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Climate Hustle

2012 SkS Weekly Digest #15

Posted on 16 April 2012 by John Hartz

SkS Highlights

Dana's NASA Climate 'Skeptics' Respond with Science! Just Kidding, drew considerable attention from SkS readersand was reprinted by the UK's The Guardian. It was also reposted and referenced on a number of other prominent websites. [See the SkS in the News section of this digest for more details and links.] 

Dana's Shakun et al. Clarify the CO2-Temperature Lag has generated over 100 comments since it was posted thereby setting a record for the year to date. Linking Weird Weather to Rapid Warming of the Arctic by Daniel Bailey is a repost from Yale 360.

Toon of the Week

2012Toon15 

32 Minutes

Source: Code Green, a weekly editorial cartoon focused on the environmental emergency, by Stephanie McMillan.

Quote of the week

"NASA sponsors research into many areas of cutting-edge scientific inquiry, including the relationship between carbon dioxide and climate. As an agency, NASA does not draw conclusions and issue 'claims' about research findings. We support open scientific inquiry and discussion.

"Our Earth science programs provide many unique space-based observations and research capabilities to the scientific community to inform investigations into climate change, and many NASA scientists are actively involved in these investigations, bringing their expertise to bear on the interpretation of this information. We encourage our scientists to subject these results and interpretations to scrutiny by the scientific community through the peer-review process. After these studies have met the appropriate standards of scientific peer-review, we strongly encourage scientists to communicate these results to the public.

"If the authors of this letter disagree with specific scientific conclusions made public by NASA scientists, we encourage them to join the debate in the scientific literature or public forums rather than restrict any discourse."

Response from NASA Chief Scientist Waleed Abdalati to Letter on NASA Climate Studies. Abdalati's response was posted on SpaceRef, April 12, 2012.

Issue of the Week

Based on your personal experience, what is the most difficult aspect of manmade climate change to explain to the average person? From your perspective, has SkS adequately addressed this particular issue?

Word of the Week: Ecocide

eco•o•cide noun: the extensive damage to or loss of ecosystem(s) of a given territory, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that the peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been severely diminished.

Source: Eradicating Ecocide in Canada

The Week in Review

A complete listing of the articles posted on SkS during the past week.

Coming Soon

A list of articles that are in the SkS pipeline. Most of these articles, but not necessarily all, will be posted during the week.

  • Cliff Ollier: Swimming In A Sea of Misinformation (Rob Painting)
  • New research from last week 15/2012 (Ari Jokimäki)
  • Global Surface Warming Since 1995 (Dana)
  • GISTEMP: Cool or Uncool? (Kevin C)
  • Global Warming Causing Heat Fatalities (Dana)
  • Two Centuries of Climate Science: a potted history (John Mason)
  • Why Are We Sure We're Right? #1 (Rob Honeycutt, Dikran Marsupial, Glenn Tramblyn, Ari Jokimäki)
  • Climate Change Boosts Then Quickly Stunts Plants, Decade-long Study Shows (John Hartz)

SkS in the News

Dana's NASA Climate 'Skeptics' Respond with Science! Just Kidding, was re-posted by The Guardian and Climate Progress, and referenced and cribbed by The Huffington Post.

Simple Myth Debunking of the Week

Climate's changed before, you say?  Certainly it has, but those changes must have a cause.  All long-term climate changes are caused by a global energy imbalance, and right now that energy imbalance is being caused by humans increasing the greenhouse effect.

SkS Spotlights:

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to advance strong policy and action to address the twin challenges of energy and climate change.

Launched in November 2011, C2ES is the successor to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, long recognized in the United States and abroad as an influential and pragmatic voice on climate issues. The Pew Center’s founder, Eileen Claussen, and its senior team continue to lead the effort.

At C2ES, we believe that ensuring safe, reliable, affordable energy for all – while protecting the global climate – is a paramount challenge of the 21st century. We see signs of progress around the world. But far greater effort is needed if we are to keep these challenges from becoming true crises. Now more than ever, we need committed voices with the expertise to cut through complexity and craft innovative solutions; the independence to separate fact from fiction; and the credibility to work with all sides to build common ground.

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Comments

Comments 1 to 29:

  1. Has any thought been given to what seems to be the emerging denier tactic of claiming interest in Climate change is 'dying out'? This claim was advanced in the Telegraph the other day ("the fading belief that the world is in the grip of runaway man-made global warming"), and soemthing similar was regurgitated on the radio here in New Zealand by a rightwing propagandist, Matthew Hooton. There have been couple of other recent examples as well. Sounds like a meme that denier propagandists are trying to plant in people's minds, hoping it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. I think we'll hear a lot more of this "old story, last years problem" in the future, as Climategate2 failed so miserably.

    Funny how the Other Side (pokes Daniel Bailey in the ribs) act in unison like this - while we're tearing big chunks out of each other over ice cores. Almost like we have real, if occasionally divergent opinions, whereas they all read from scripts. Surely not?!
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  2. Issue of the week: "Based on your personal experiences, what is the most difficult aspect of manmade climate change to explain to the average person?

    The magical "natural variability" or "unknown factor" that the person seems to believe exists, but can't name or describe, that just has to be the real explanation to the warming [that isn't actually happening, because of the unknown factor that's causing errors in anything that "shows" warming], not CO2...

    ...and if I ever figure out what that is, I'll let you know if SkS has it covered!
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  3. What is the difference between "denier" and "denialist"? And similarly, between "denial" and "denialism"?

    I've seen people (including climate scientists) using both terms. The latter term is not explained by any dictionary (and is marked with squiggles in my spell-checking software) so it must be neologism. I wonder if that neologism has some peculiar meaning among climate scientists or if it is just a fashionable contortion of the established term.

    If the distinction exists, I'd like it to be added to the SkS dictionary of terms and acronyms, which is in the making according to the long heard rumours. Thanks!

    I think the difficulties of explaining AGW to the average person largely depends on who this person is: truly "average" and easy to convince, "skeptic", "denier" or "denialist"? :)
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  4. @ lurgee 1

    "Has any thought been given to what seems to be the emerging denier tactic of claiming interest in Climate change is 'dying out'?"

    This is a point that is being made here in Australia too, I have not looked into it but tend to think people are becoming more educated on the subject of climate change and are not prepared to disregard it, so tv/news networks have to play the card that its "dying out".
    @ Issue of the week:

    "Based on your personal experiences, what is the most difficult aspect of manmade climate change to explain to the average person?"
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  5. Based on your personal experinces, what is the most difficult aspect of manamde climate change to explain to the average person? from your pserpsective, has SkS adequately addressed this particular issue?
    Apart from how to use a spell checker? [/sarc]

    The area most often misunderstood seems to be the difference between weather and climate. When someone is objecting to AGW on the grounds that "locals reckon it was hotter here 50 years ago", it can be hard to get them to see that one local phenomenon is not representative of the Earth over time, or that anecdote is not the same as accurate observation. I find that referring to the melting Arctic is a good way to guide the conversation onto topics related to global effects. I use SkS references extensively, because SkS provides plenty of science to counter misunderstandings.
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    Moderator Response: [JH] Typos fixed. Thanks for pointing them out. "Haste makes waste."
  6. @ Issue of the week:

    "Based on your personal experiences, what is the most difficult aspect of manmade climate change to explain to the average person?"

    Connecting events to anthropogenic climate change seems to be a hard argument. We are only in the beginning of a climate shift, and trying to make people understand that everything is not normal, isn't easy. I have heard it said before, but its going to take some serious natural disasters before people are going to get angry at the likes of Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones for their nit picking of climate science.
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  7. Lurgee @ 1 -- "Has any thought been given to what seems to be the emerging denier tactic of claiming interest in Climate change is 'dying out'?"

    This is precisely why so many scientists are willing to 'get all political'. AGW is incredibly rapid on the geologic timescale, but it is slow on the timescale of a human life. When living under an economic mode that, even according to its most steadfast defenders, encourages people to focus on the next month rather than the next hundred years, it's fairly clear that unless the message is strong and delivered by a united front of really smart and/or well-respected and/or well-trusted people, concern will be set aside in favor of short-term economic and political goals. The occasional local manifestation of AGW will produce brief bursts of public concern, but it will take government (the only institution whose purpose it is to think long range in the general human interest . . . well, ideally anyway) to actually do something about it. This is all especially true if institutions (and the humans that populate them) designed to cast doubt on science, such as Heartland, continue to be given a free pass in mainstream media.

    Given those conditions, is it any wonder why scientists and other concerned citizens do things that allow the unconcerned to shout "alarmists!"
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  8. In response to issue of the week, the following is about those who accept the GW part of AGW, but not the 'anthropogenic' part. I've kind of made a resolution to engage more regular people regarding climate change (i.e., not just on internet fora). Today I sat down and scraped up a general 'gameplan':
    1. CO2 in the air blocks infra-red (show this youtube video on smartphone), and we've increased CO2 a lot (explain enormity of change in atmosphere and ocean).
    2. Greenhouse effect of CO2 is not a radical new-age idea (very brief listing of Tyndall, Arrhenius, Callendar, video from 1958, Hansen, George Bush Sr and formation of the IPCC).
    3. CO2 and climate throughout the ages (faint young sun, natural CO2 sequestration, Milankovic cycles).
    4. Predictions for recent and near future temperature measurements (ask them what they think will happen, ask them what they think has been predicted by climatologists).
    5. Ask them for either their favoured explanation of recent temperature increase or for their favorite arguments against the consensus explanation.
    6. Compare their predictions (for their favored warming mechanism) to those of climate change.

    Okay, so here I get to the relevant part for the issue of the week. I imagine the myths most needing to be dislodged will be about solar influences. In that case, under item 6 above, I say that a simple solar explanation (increased irradiance) would predict: daytime, summer, tropics would show warming first; stratosphere should warm; satellites should detect increasing radiation (from the sun); more visible radiation should be detected at the Earth's surface; current solar minimum should result in cooling temperatures. AGW on the other hand predicts nights, winters, poles warming faster; stratosphere should cool; satellites should detect decreasing radiation (from the Earth); more infra-red should be detected at the Earth's surface; warming of the planet should continue. Two of these are taken from the 10 indicators post (see 5 & 6 at this SkS fave ). There are citations provided, but I'm lacking a competent layperson's explanation for what is being compared. Satellites detect 'less' infra-red in the CO2 absorption/emission spectrum leaving Earth, but less than what? Less than when? Ground-based monitors detect 'more' infra-red bouncing back down toward them in the CO2 absorption/emission spectrum. More than what? More than when? I should look this up, but there may be other SkS visitors who would benefit from a more complete treatment of the topic here, at this excellent web resource. Thanks.
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  9. @ lurgee 1

    "Has any thought been given to what seems to be the emerging denier tactic of claiming interest in Climate change is 'dying out'?"

    Here is a fine example of Andrew Bolt getting a real scientist on his show and getting put in his place when it comes to the truth The youtube video.

    These money making deniers can not afford the truth are playing the "climate change is dying card".
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  10. #1 lurgee - I'd agree, it appears to be an emerging tactic of some sort, but little different to the playground bullies who have run out of taunts and say they're not interested anymore. I think the claim is running in parallel with a trend in which there are progressively fewer and fewer skeptic arguments that even deserve more than about five seconds to debunk (especially if you have SkepticalScience to hand!). More and more people are aware of the vacuity and mutual incoherence and fundamental incorrectness of various skeptic arguments, so they have to resort to claiming that nobody's interested anymore. I doubt we'll have the luxury of them just disappearing off, but it's an interesting possible trend nonetheless.

    Another angle is that media only tend to report something that's 'different', such as today's example of the Karakorum glaciers on BBC, and tend not to report on the continuations of warming, melting, acidification and so on. Merely confirmatory research does not make such a good 'story', even though it makes up the bulk of research on climate-related issues. The result is that the consensus views get a poor airing even from unbiased news outlets - expanded on in Freudenberg's Asymmetry of Scientific Challenge. I wonder if this effect is furthering, to some people, an impression that the issue is less prominent? There's precious little 'skeptic' research, and so we see that the research that WUWT and co pick up on, such as the recent ones about Antarctic ikaites, deglacial CO2 and Karakorum glaciers, is actually research that confirms the overall scientific consensus. Desperate times for those in denial!

    As for the issue of what is most difficult to explain to the average person - not so sure, but perhaps the concept that it is something we need to act upon now, and we can't wait/put it off like our parents did. Actually, rather like DSL's comment even if that one was in response to lurgee! - namely that this is stunningly rapid in the context of geological or vegetational change, and so represents a very real threat to large-scale agriculture. Very hard for the average person to realise this as they are not accustomed to thinking on timescales of thousands or millions of years. Has SkS got it covered? - largely in skeptic argument #3, It's Not Bad, and #8,Can animals and plants adapt to global warming?
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  11. "I'd agree, it appears to be an emerging tactic of some sort, but little different to the playground bullies who have run out of taunts and say they're not interested anymore."

    I'd like to think it was that simple, but my more paranoid and suspicious side suspects a tactic of some sort. First of all, as Stephen Schneider pointed out, scientists had to play the media game to get the attention the issue deserves. Then they were accused of alarmism and retreated. Now it's a dying issue. Seems like, if they ain't gotcha one way, they gotcha another. What's it all about?

    My other issue of the week (I suspect "fading concern" may be an issue for weeks to come) is the instant conflation of any trash media story with considered scientific opinion. Like the story WUWT dug up, about 4.5 billion people being dead by 2012. Not a single scientist named, no references, just some dreck posted on a website by a weevil. But immediately paraded about the interweb by a million deadhead followers of the Wattsacious One.
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  12. (Which, of course, has nothing to do with the science itself, but a perennial bugbear of mine.)
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  13. Based on your personal experience, what is the most difficult aspect of manmade climate change to explain to the average person?

    Perhaps the overarching nature of the issue. Climate change affects so many aspects of our lives but in many cases is just one of the contributory causes and for each problem, looked in isolation, might not appear to be significant.

    As an example take the drought in the UK - most discussion is about water companies failing to prevent leaks, which is a valid criticism. Then there is the natural variability in the weather which may only be marginally influenced by changes in climate.

    It can be difficult to get people to understand the multiple, cummulative impacts from climate change and consequently the urgency of the problem when the tendency is always to focus on specifics.

    From your perspective, has SkS adequately addressed this particular issue?

    Possibly not, though posts like Global Warming in a Nutshell help.
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  14. One problem I note that could fit the issue of the week is that on blogs protagonists on both sides can end up talking past each other. For example I can cite Skeptical Science only to have it thrown back in my face with accusations of SKS being a PR site, which charge of course is totally out of order. I will then be pointed at the likes of WUWT, which I don't bother visiting on the grounds of not wishing to up Watt's hit count.

    A typical case arouse with a protagonist Cole at Concordiensis .

    It looks like I could have misinterpreted the context in this search on Cole here at SKs , not having seen the original exchanges with Cole here. Despite that it looks like Cole has done a 'Monckton Manoeuvre' and flounced off, possibly because of the evidence for, even though I could not see examples of, his 'carpet bombing' of topics here.

    On ecocide E O Wilson produces a fine assessment of the problems in his 'The Future of Life' (Wilson's earlier 'The Diversity of Life' provides more context) and Richard Pearson provides other interesting perspectives in his 'Driven to Extinction'.

    The parlous state of the biosphere and the lack of realisation of how much we are in debt to it for services provided is something that appears to be much under represented in discussion right now.
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  15. I think it's 'Stephanie McMillan' though artists sometimes go by another name or short of their given name.
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    Moderator Response: [JH] Corrected. Thank you.
  16. lurgee@1: As a earth systems scientist who battles this type of disinformation almost daily, the best I can offer as an answer is:
    -Rampant Dunning-Kruger, coupled with;
    -wishful thinking, that if the deniers say it loud enough and long enough, the general public will believe it. given their overwhelming success at that tactic so far, I wouldn't count them out. I will, however, continue to add my voice to the side of reasoned, rational and non-hyperpartisan science.
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  17. chriskoz@3: You ask:

    "What is the difference between "denier" and "denialist"? And similarly, between "denial" and "denialism"?"

    As a paid skeptic (geologist) here's how I define it: Deniers/denialism reject *any* evidence of AGW/CC regardless of its robustness or irrespective of how well vetted the data is. To utilize an oft-used term, they are the 'birthers' of the science world.

    skeptics, OTOH, question the data and interpretations of data NOT with ad hominem attacks, or hyperpartisanship: they act as any good scientist should, by analyzing the extant evidence then addressing that with science-based rationale.
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  18. Based on your personal experience, what is the most difficult aspect of manmade climate change to explain to the average person? From your perspective, has SkS adequately addressed this particular issue?

    I'm getting more and more pessimistic towards the effectiveness of the whole debunking process. One reason for this has lately publicly been brought up by Dr James Hansen (see Climate scientists are losing the public debate on global warming [Telegraph, UK]). Another reason for me is that the ongoing discourse has lost any rationally based angle (or never had that). When person A says "p!" and B responds with "non p, because...", you'd expect A to argue about the case and, eventually after a longish and intense discussion, A and B will come to an end (be it p, modified p, modified non-p or non-p). This whole concept of a discourse is plain and simple not existing regarding climate change. A very subjective perception is that for every great article on SkS or elsewhere 10 new blogs pop up with myth content that has been totally debunked 10, 15, 20 years ago.

    One reason for Joe Sixpack (or national equivalent) to "mistrust" the findings of the scientific community may be something like the notion 'This will cost me NOW!'. To counter that, SkS could possibly intensify argumenting within "It's not bad" or "Animals and plants can adapt" or the like. But SkS can't do that, since it can not and will not spread FUD.

    So beyond "Keep up the valuable work" I can't tell.

    Best,
    Andreas
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  19. About the Issue of the Week:

    Debunking is a well-intended effort, but ineffective. It even reinforces those unfruitful "debates" with boneheaded "skeptics" - a waste of good minds.

    Explaining the science is good. How about some do-it-yourself experiments that the reader could try at home or at some simple lab? This would be much more effective than, say, 1000+ comments trying to explain to some hard-headed commenter why the 2nd law of thermodynamics is correct and consistent with the GHE.

    Much in agreement with ajki above.
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  20. I don't know if this is THE most difficult aspect of AGW to explain, but I think it's important. It's the difference between 'weather' and 'climate'. There are many tv weathermen out there who are climate deniers, and that's a BIG problem because 1) they have a tv audience of regular people, and 2) they have some science background and therefore some credibility to have a reliable opinion about climate change. They understand weather very well, but weather is more deterministic (meaning models that involve solution of a system of partial differential equations), whereas climate models are more statistical in nature and involve more sampling from probability distributions. We can't predict the weather much more than a week or so into the future, so how the hell can we be predicting it years or decades or centuries in the future? We need to do a better job of getting across to the general public (not just SkS readers) that climate is averaged weather, and it's an entirely different thing to predict and even to think about. And we need to start by educating the weatherpeople.
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  21. My own experience is that the well known Groucho Marx crack: "What do I care about posterity? What's posterity done for me? usually applies."I'll be long dead when it gets really bad" is a common response.Personally speaking,I'm a powerless-useless AGW flailer.Trying to pull up people's denialist anchors needs a Hercules because the AGW worry-load that is swopped for the anchor is groaningly heavy cargo.In any case,debunking denialism just creates more denialism feedback--more anchors.All I can offer is that we need to organise a la 350.Org and ACTIVATE! but just how:what's the best way? escapes me.

    Peter Cummins
    New Zealand
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  22. Alexandre @19, having reviewed a large number of "home experiments" purportedly proving or disproving the greenhouse effect, my conclusion is that people conducting those experiments nearly always fail to control for other factors, and execute the experiment poorly. Even the Myth Buster's attempt may only show that the containers in the center catch more stray light from adjacent spotlights.

    What is more,the do not demonstrate the GHE, but only the fact that methane, and CO2 absorb IR radiation. This is more directly demonstrated by Iain Stewart for the BBC:



    A proper "home" demonstration of the GHE would require an investment of several hundreds of dollars for materials and instruments.
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  23. Issue of the week

    My biggest problem with the whole issue of AGW is the 'A' bit. The opinion seems to be that if the current warming we are experiencing were not anthropogenic in origin, all would well. I find that utter nonsense, and consider that we on this side of the fence do great harm by concentrating on that aspect of the problem.

    Perhaps I have it wrong, but from my perspective if the current warming were due to the Sun, say, then the need to reduce CO2 emissions would be all the more urgent, seeing as such an increase in solar output would be unexpected and not in line with how we expect the Sun to behave. Such unexpected behaviour would mean that we would be unsure whether the warming was going to continue indefinitely, stabilize at some point, or was just the ‘up’ part of a new and previously unknown cycle that was soon going to reverse itself and thus become a cooling phase. Until we were able to determine which of the options was correct (and quantify, if possible, the extent of the warming we were going to experience), it seems to me utter folly not to act, and act urgently, to do whatever we could to combat the warming induced by the increased solar radiation. Obviously, increasing albedo by painting all roofs white and growing flora that had lighter coloured, or shiny, foliage would help. So too would reducing CO2 emissions. In fact, so long-lived is atmospheric CO2 it would surely have top priority. I would find refusing to support action to combat the warming an act of treason against the human species, as indeed do I see the behaviour of all current members of the denialati, some more than others, in fighting CO2 induced warming. It is no defence that a very small number of scientists do not think that the level of warming will be as high as others. Until they can prove their case conclusively, we are obliged to go with the majority of scientists (as Galileo did with his fellow scientists, with emphasis on the word ‘scientists’).

    As for action by sks, or lack of it, I think that this site pays far too little attention to tipping points. In fact it almost seems to be a side issue, yet crossing a tipping point – always silently – might commit our offspring to dire conditions. Again, perhaps I am wrong, but I don’t think that the public is as aware as they should be of the danger that crossing a tipping point brings. There is a YouTube video of a car on a road covered in black ice. The driver crawls very cautiously at less than walking pace over the brow of a gentle hill on a housing estate somewhere or other. The driver obviously becomes aware, too late, that they have crossed a tipping point past which they cannot slow down. The car proceeds down the hill, wheels locked, until it hits a parked car. Am I wrong in thinking that we, as a species, are in a ‘car’ called planet earth that is creeping towards the brow of an icy galactic hill and the time is nigh, if not already in the past, where we will not be able to slow down, or stop progress to circumstances where planet earth will not support our descendants in anything like the projected population numbers soon to be upon us, not to mention what will happen to those that survive. The public are just not aware of that there is even a hill, let alone the danger of crossing its brow.

    The question in my mind is not ‘if’ the population will wake up to the danger of climate change, but ‘when’ it will, and whether the time that it does will be too late to act in any meaningful way. I will only get a small amount of pleasure from the fact that the prominent members of the denialati will be in grave danger if the public rise up in the way they have in the past, such as how they did in forming lynch mobs against paedophiles in the U.K. That will be their problem; my problem will be concern that perhaps I could have done more.
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  24. Tom Curtis at 09:43 AM on 17 April, 2012

    Indeed, an experiment has to be sufficiently controlled to produce any meaningful result.

    But I still think the education provided by SkS could greatly benefit from experiments, even simple ones. Questions like "can a cooler object affect the temperature of a warmer object?" could be greatly assisted, or even resolved, with an experiment, saving patience and time from all parties involved.

    I confess I don't have the time or knowledge to provide concrete examples, though. It's just a thought.
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  25. Alexandre @24, that a cooler object can contribute to the more rapid, or greater heating of a warmer object is one of the easiest home experiments you can conduct. It is in fact, as easy as putting on a lid:



    For an alternative take, we can check out Matt.

    To fully satisfy the "skeptics" we would need two thermometers, one in the water and one on the lid to show that the lid is cooler (the use of hands to determine temperature not being recommended).

    I discuss the relevance, and other examples here.

    This experiment has additional benefits. It teaches you how to save water, money and CO2 emissions.
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  26. LarryM: There's a trivial proof that climate is not chaotic, and indeed is predictable. Isaac Held's presentation is elegant.
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  27. Re: Issue of the Week

    To me, accepting the realities of AGW comes about because I've taken the time to build up in my head a simple working model of how the Earth's climate works and how global temperatures are maintained. Having done that, everything new I read fits into place and makes sense. The problem of dealing with the 'don't knows' is that they don't carry this model around in their heads and so when they hear ridiculous denial claims -- which are often simple and (superficially) seem logical, they cannot apply them to any in-built model and thus see the flaws.

    A very basic example of this is the idea that global warming can actually produce a cold winter and/or a wet summer; which seems completely counter-intuitive unless you have the model in your head -- at which point it becomes logical. Another example is the one that leads people to say, "how can a trace non-toxic, seemingly inert, gas be harmful?"

    So to answer the question: the key requirement is to help people construct the model in their heads of how climate works and then how human actions are impacting on it. Of course, even more important, is how we generate the interest in people in order that they're driven to start creating this personal model.

    Without their personal model in place, you're just appealing for people to trust your expertise or judgement: which can work up to a point. But it can also break down once someone more charismatic comes along.
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  28. The issue of this thread is subtle, in my opinion. For the last year or so, it seems SkS has taken direct aim at deniers, both scientists and non-scientists.

    There has been some good to come from that - the Pielke Sr. conversation was illuminating. I can quickly get Monckton rebuttals (although he rarely shows up in US discussions of climate change).

    But I think something has been lost as well - the positive focus on science has been reduced to accommodate the direct interaction with the deniers. We become, in the eyes of the world at large, just another WUWT - only with a different point of view. We are unwitting/unwilling partners in the deniers war on science - just by refuting them (at least directly).

    Perhaps adding a series just reviewing the science would help? Ari Jokimaki provides great summaries - perhaps one or more of those could be expanded into a full SkS post? Also, posts that tie current events into the discussion (like pointing out that a warm March in the US does not mean the entire globe is setting records (the "G" in AGW)) would be very helpful.

    Sadly, at this moment I can't volunteer to write the those articles, and I hasten to add this is the best site on the subject - by far - without any changes.
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  29. As an avid (non contributing) reader...

    Another angle on 28 is that, IMHO, denial through being Sciencey or matherterbation has just about run its course. It's been important and informative to do thorough take-downs and those are excellent resources; but now I'm always surprised when the same-old-same-old arguments are trotted out (except by politicians!) and would be equally surprised to see any new tropes which really take hold, be they sciency or 'social'... how much of a real splash did the NASA administrators joint letter really make?

    SkS is settling, seems to me, into more posts of excellent reviews and takes on new research. And this is right. Seems to me it's time to spend less time reacting and to take back the lead both in terms of understanding the severity and impacts of AGW and policy.

    We're told by Chris Mooney that 'conservatives'* are good leaders in a crisis - more and more are now realising the facts of AGW and are likely to be looking for material to use in combating it... those who've changed, or made up, their mind and come to SkS for information on AGW should find a friendly place.

    *I put quotes there as I'm aware the SkS contributors are actually from a very broad Church ... and not just liberal-minded, pink-o heathens ;)
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