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Climate Hustle

Explaining climate change science & rebutting global warming misinformation

Scientific skepticism is healthy. Scientists should always challenge themselves to improve their understanding. Yet this isn't what happens with climate change denial. Skeptics vigorously criticise any evidence that supports man-made global warming and yet embrace any argument, op-ed, blog or study that purports to refute global warming. This website gets skeptical about global warming skepticism. Do their arguments have any scientific basis? What does the peer reviewed scientific literature say?

 


Our oceans broke heat records in 2018 and the consequences are catastrophic

Posted on 17 January 2019 by John Abraham

Last year was the hottest ever measured, continuing an upward trend that is a direct result of manmade greenhouse gas emissions.

The key to the measurements is the oceans. Oceans absorb more than 90% of the heat that results from greenhouse gases, so if you want to measure global warming you really have to measure ocean warming.

There are other ways to measure climate change, but none are as convincing as the oceans. Air temperatures are most commonly reported in the media as evidence of global warming, but the problem with these is they are very erratic. While there is certainly a long-term trend of higher air temperatures, any given year may be warmer or colder than the last.

So oceans are key, and they are telling us a clear story. The last five years were the five hottest on record. The numbers are huge: in 2018 the extra ocean heat compared to a 1981-2010 baseline amounted to 196,700,000,000,000,000,000,000 joules. The current rate of ocean warming is equivalent to five Hiroshima-size atomic bombs exploding every second.

The measurements have been published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences in an article by Lijing Cheng, the lead author, and his colleagues from the Institute for Atmospheric Physics in China. His collaborators, of which I am one, included researchers from around the world. The article charts ocean heat back to the late 1950s, showing a steady increase.

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Book Review: Saudi America

Posted on 16 January 2019 by gws

book cover  

Before I read the book, I had already read a few articles about it, saw a youtube video, and listened to two podcasts. It was the last podcast, on NPR's new Stateimpact Pennsylvania Energy Explained, that triggered me to actually get the book ...

Well, its not a full length book ... Columbia Global Reports, the publisher, calls these "novella-length books" that "offer new ways to understand the world" and "that can be read in a few hours". I am not a fast reader, but putting in a few hours a day, I was through after five days.

As a scientist researching environmental effects of the fracking boom, McLean's book was of interest to me as a different perspective on the US shale boom. Aside from the peer-reviewed literature I had read Vikram Rao's insightful book Shale (Oil and) Gas - The Promise and the Peril, which focuses on environmental and technological aspects of the shale boom, as well as on policy and economics. But Rao (a materials science engineer) was overly optimistic, more in the 1st Edition, 2011, but still in the 2nd Edition, 2015. He summarily dismissed the notion that shale oil and gas production is a "Giant Ponzi Scheme", a notion that is at the center of McLean's "Saudi America".

While, as a journalist, the author neither endorses the notion of a Ponzi Scheme, nor uses that terminology in the book, a central theme of Saudi America (aside from "fascination" with Aubrey McClendon) is the fact that the fracking industry as a whole is, after 10+ years of operation in the US, still deeply financially indebted to Wall Street. That is because, despite repeated statements to the contrary, overall cash-flow in the industry is negative, aka no profits are produced for stakeholders, losses are. And that may not change any time soon.

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New findings on ocean warming: 5 questions answered

Posted on 15 January 2019 by Guest Author

The ConversationScott Denning, Professor of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Editor’s note: A new study by scientists in the United States, China, France and Germany estimates that the world’s oceans have absorbed much more excess heat from human-induced climate change than researchers had estimated up to now. This finding suggests that global warming may be even more advanced than previously thought. Atmospheric scientist Scott Denning explains how the new report arrived at this result and what it implies about the pace of climate change.

How do scientists measure ocean temperature and estimate how climate change is affecting it?

They use thermometers attached to thousands of bobbing robots floating at controlled depths throughout the oceans. This system of “Argo floats” was launched in the year 2000 and there are now about 4,000 of the floating instruments.

About once every 10 days, they cycle from the surface to a depth of 6,500 feet, then bob back up to the surface to transmit their data by satellite. Each year this network collects about 100,000 measurements of the three-dimensional temperature distribution of the oceans.

The Argo measurements show that about 93 percent of the global warming caused by burning carbon for fuel is felt as changes in ocean temperature, while only a very small amount of this warming occurs in the air.

Normal cycle of an Argo float collecting ocean temperature and salinity data. International Argo Program, CC BY-ND

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Observations and models agree that the oceans are warming faster

Posted on 14 January 2019 by Zeke Hausfather

This is a re-post from Carbon Brief.  Dr Lijing Cheng is an associate professor at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics in China; Prof John Abraham is a professor in the School of Engineering at the University of St. ThomasZeke Hausfather is the US analyst for Carbon Brief; and Dr Kevin Trenberth is a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Ocean heat content (OHC) is one of the main measures of climate change, with around 93% of all heat trapped by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere accumulating in the Earth’s oceans.

The “fingerprint” of human influence on the climate is much easier to detect in the oceans, as it is much less affected by year-to-year natural variability than more commonly used surface temperature records.

Back in 2013, the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) identified a discrepancy between climate models and observations of OHC, where the oceans appeared to be warming notably more slowly than most models projected.

However, over the past five years the research community has made substantial progress in improving long-term OHC records and has identified several problems with prior OHC estimates. Improvements include properly accounting for limitations in some older OHC instruments and taking advantage of better methods of accounting for gaps in the coverage and completeness of ocean temperature measurements.

In a new “perspectives” paper for the journal Science, we show that these updated OHC estimates agree well with climate model projections over the past few decades. This means that scientists can have more confidence in climate model simulations of OHC changes now and into the future.

Ocean heat content from Cheng et al 2017 in zetajoules (10^21 joules) compared to atmospheric CO2 concentrations in parts per million.

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #2

Posted on 13 January 2019 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Analysis of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review...

Story of the Week...

Once derided, ways of adapting to climate change are gaining steam

Recognition is spreading that communities need to build resilience to climatic and coastal threats even as the world seeks ways to curb emissions driving global warming.

Hurricane Michael Impact on Mexico Beach Florida

Mexico Beach, Florida in aftermath of Hurricane Michael

From chronically flooded Midwestern towns to fire-charred California suburbs, from Bangladesh’s sodden delta to low island nations facing rising seas, a long-underplayed strategy for cutting risks related to human-driven climate change is coming to the fore—adaptation.

Through 30 years of efforts to limit global warming, the dominant goal was cutting emissions of heat-trapping gases, most importantly carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels. Efforts to adapt communities or agriculture to warming and the related rise in seas and other impacts were often seen as a copout.

The spotty nature of adaptation efforts so far can be seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael—where one reinforced, raised home famously survived, nearly alone, along Mexico Beach, Florida, after the strongest Panhandle hurricane in at least 155 years. In the Camp Fire that devastated Paradise, California, and killed 85 people, a sprinkling of houses built and maintained to withstand embers survived, but—again—were the rare exception.

But signs are emerging that a significant shift is under way, dividing the climate challenge into two related, but distinct, priorities: working to curb greenhouse gases to limit odds of worst-case outcomes later this century while boosting resilience to current and anticipated climatic and coastal hazards with just as much fervor. There’s action from the top down, and—perhaps more significant in the long run—from the bottom up.

Once derided, ways of adapting to climate change are gaining steam by Andrew Revkin, Environment, National Geographic, Jan 10, 2019

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7 comments


2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #2

Posted on 12 January 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jan 6 through Sat, Jan 12, 2019

Editor's Pick

World's Oceans Are Warming Faster, Studies Show, Fueling Storms and Sea Rise

'Global warming is here, it has major consequences, and it's going to be very, very difficult to get this under control,' an author of a new report says.

Coral Bleaching Key Largo Florida

Ocean warming fuels hurricanes and sea level rise and also affects sea life, sending fish populations migrating to cooler water and causing coral bleaching. Credit: Kelsey Roberts/USGS

A new study published Thursday strengthens the consensus that the warming of the world's oceans is accelerating.

It's a trend that climate models have long predicted, but it had been difficult to confirm until recently.

The findings are vindication of the scientific community's work so far and lend greater weight to the projections for warming through the end of this century, said Gavin Schmidt, a leading climate scientist at Columbia University who was not involved in the study.

The new paper, published in the journal Science, reviews four studies conducted over the past decade and was partly a response to a controversy over one of them, an article published in the journal Nature on Nov. 1. The authors of the November article were forced to issue a correction after discovering they had made errors in their assumptions and that the uncertainty in their findings was much greater than they had thought.

World's Oceans Are Warming Faster, Studies Show, Fueling Storms and Sea Rise by Nicholas Kusnetz, InsideClimate News, Jan 10, 2019

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New research, January 1-6, 2019

Posted on 11 January 2019 by Ari Jokimäki

A selection of new climate related research articles is shown below.

Climate change

Temperature, precipitation, wind

Spatial modelling of summer climate indices based on local climate zones: expected changes in the future climate of Brno, Czech Republic

Comparison of the temporal variability of summer temperature and rainfall as it relates to climate indices in southern Quebec (Canada)

Analyses of temperature and precipitation in the Indian Jammu and Kashmir region for the 1980–2016 period: implications for remote influence and extreme events (open access)

New insights into the rainfall variability in the tropical Andes on seasonal and interannual time scales

Analyzing the variation of the precipitation of coastal areas of eastern China and its association with sea surface temperature (SST) of other seas

Effect of empirical correction of sea-surface temperature biases on the CRCM5-simulated climate and projected climate changes over North America (open access)

Spatial structure and temporal variability of a surface urban heat island in cold continental climate

A Dynamical Perspective on Atmospheric Temperature Variability and its Response to Climate Change

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Climate negotiations made me terrified for our future

Posted on 10 January 2019 by Guest Author

This is Climate Adam's latest video

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Republicans call for 'innovation' to tackle climate change, but it's not magic

Posted on 8 January 2019 by dana1981

Limiting global warming to less than the Paris Climate Agreement target of 2°C (3.6°F) hotter than pre-industrial temperatures will require a rapid global transition away from fossil fuels. That’s a point on which the scientific community strongly agrees.

If we start now, we need to cut global carbon pollution by about 5 percent per year to avoid burning through our remaining “carbon budget”. Since 2012, emissions have gone up about 1 percent per year on average. That was an improvement on the 3 percent rise per year from 2000 to 2011, but global carbon emissions rose by about 2.7 percent in 2018.

In the USA, emissions had been falling by about 0.5 percent per year since 2000 and 1 percent per year since 2010, but they rose by about 2.5 percent in 2018. Basically, the U.S. is making some progress in decarbonizing, thanks primarily to wind, solar, and natural gas replacing more expensive coal power plants, but it’s not happening nearly fast enough to stay within our carbon budget.

That point was made especially clear when the IPCC published its special report on the difference between 1.5 and 2°C (2.7 and 3.6°F) and the Fourth National Climate Assessment report was published soon thereafter. Journalists asked numerous policymakers what they propose to do to address the problem, and surprisingly, many Senate Republicans accepted the scientists’ findings and the need for solutions. Their answers tended to share a common thread:

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Skeptical Science takes the Pro-Truth-Pledge

Posted on 7 January 2019 by BaerbelW , John Cook

Skeptical Science has been fighting misinformation about human-caused climate change since the website was launched in 2007. But with the rise in prevalence of fake news over the last few years, protecting truth and facts has become more important than ever. To help with that task, some additional means by which to distinguish between truth-tellers and those who spread misinformation would be useful to have. This is where the Pro-Truth-Pledge comes in.

ProTruthPledge

The Pro-Truth-Pledge (website: www.ProTruthPledge.org) has been established in order to reclaim the fuzzy concept of "truth," which different people may interpret differently.  It gives a much stricter definition, outlined by the following twelve clearly-observable behaviors that research in behavioral science shows correlate with truthfulness:

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #1

Posted on 6 January 2019 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week...  Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review... 

Story of the Week...

Katharine Hayhoe: 'A thermometer is not liberal or conservative'

Katharine Hayhoe 

Katharine Hayhoe: ‘Fear is a short-term spur to action, but to make changes over the long term, we must have hope.’ Photograph: Randal Ford

The award-winning atmospheric scientist on the urgency of the climate crisis and why people are her biggest hope.

Katharine Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist and director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University. She has contributed to more than 125 scientific papers and won numerous prizes for her science communication work. In 2018 she was a contributor to the US National Climate Assessment and was awarded the Stephen H Schneider award for outstanding climate science communication.

In 2018, we have seen forest fires in the Arctic circle; record high temperatures in parts of Australia, Africa and the US; floods in India; and devastating droughts in South Africa and Argentina. Is this a turning point?

This year has hit home how climate change loads the dice against us by taking naturally occurring weather events and amplifying them. We now have attribution studies that show how much more likely or stronger extreme weather events have become as a result of human emissions. For example, wildfires in the western US now burn nearly twice the area they would without climate change, and almost 40% more rain fell during Hurricane Harvey than would have otherwise. So we are really feeling the impacts and know how much humanity is responsible.

Katharine Hayhoe: 'A thermometer is not liberal or conservative', Interview by Jonathan Watts, Science, The Observer/Guardian, Jan 6, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #1

Posted on 5 January 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Dec 31, 2018 through Sat, Jan 5, 2019

Editor's Pick

A Terrifying Sea-Level Prediction Now Looks Far Less Likely

But experts warn that our overall picture of sea-level rise looks far scarier today than it did even five years ago.

Neko Harbour Antarctica Feb 2018 

A boat floats in Neko Harbour, Antarctica, in February 2018. (ALEXANDRE MENEGHINI / REUTERS)

One of the scariest scenarios for near-term, disastrous sea-level rise may be off the table for now, according to a new study previewed at a recent scientific conference.

Two years ago, the glaciologists Robert DeConto and David Pollard rocked their field with a paper arguing that several massive glaciers in Antarctica were much more unstable than previously thought. Those key glaciers—which include Thwaites Glacier and Pine Island Glacier, both in the frigid continent’s west—could increase global sea levels by more than three feet by 2100, the paper warned. Such a rise could destroy the homes of more than 150 million people worldwide.

They are now revisiting those results. In new work, conducted with three other prominent glaciologists, DeConto and Pollard have lowered some of their worst-case projections for the 21st century. Antarctica may only contribute about a foot of sea-level rise by 2100, they now say. This finding, reached after the team improved their own ice model, is much closer to projections made by other glaciologists.

A Terrifying Sea-Level Prediction Now Looks Far Less Likely by Robinson Meyer, Science, The Atlantic, Jan 4, 2019 

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23 comments


New research, December 24-31, 2018

Posted on 4 January 2019 by Ari Jokimäki

A selection of new climate related research articles is shown below.

Climate change

Temperature, precipitation, wind

Trend analysis of climate time series: A review of methods (open access)

Strong but intermittent spatial covariations in tropical land temperature

Intercomparison of long-term sea surface temperature analyses using the GHRSST Multi-Product Ensemble (GMPE) system

The role of buoy and Argo observations in two SST analyses in the global and tropical Pacific oceans

Linear trends in temperature extremes in China, with an emphasis on non-Gaussian and serially dependent characteristics (open access)

Effect of Tibetan Plateau heating on summer extreme precipitation in eastern China

Observed Decadal Transition in Trend of Autumn Rainfall over Central China in the Late 1990s (open access)

Observed rainfall trends over Singapore and the Maritime Continent from the perspective of regional-scale weather regimes

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3 comments


Portuguese Translation of The Debunking Handbook

Posted on 2 January 2019 by BaerbelW

dbh-portugueseThe Debunking Handbook is now available in Portuguese. Many thanks to our translator team in Brazil - Claudia Groposo, Luciano Marquetto and Sabrina Leitzke - who created this 12th(!) translation of the handbook.

Note to other translators:

If you'd like to translate the Debunking Handbook into another language, please contact us (select "Enquiry about translations" from the drop-down list) to ensure nobody else is already working on your language. Then download this Word document which has all the English text in one column and a blank column in which to place the translated text. Once complete, send us back the document and we'll insert the translated text into the existing design. The already available translations can be found on this page.

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2018 in Review: a recap of the Skeptical Science year

Posted on 1 January 2019 by BaerbelW

It's time for another year-in-review post, so here is an account of what the SkS-team was up to during 2018. As in previous recaps, this one is divided into several sections:

Involvement with the IPCC 1.5°C report

Scholary publications

Other publications and activities

Our MOOC Denial101x

Other educational activities

Conferences and presentations

Website activities and social media

What will 2019 bring?
Collage-2018

Involvement with the IPCC 1.5°C report

SkS members' involvement in the IPCC Special Report was a key achievement of 2018.

Mark Richardson was a contributing author on chapter 1 ("Framing and Context") of IPCC SR1.5  And, in a major development, Cowtan & Way (v2) was included as a fourth surface temperature dataset, given equal weight along with the traditional NASA, NOAA and HadCRUT series. Cowtan & Way was the main temperature series underpinning the regional warming analysis, while the Cowtan et al. (2015) model-observation comparison was also highlighted.

Thus, the following four papers figure quite prominently in this chapter (SkS authors in bold):

IPCC-1.5°C Coverage bias in the HadCRUT4 temperature series and its impact on recent temperature trends
Kevin Cowtan and Robert G. Way, 2014
Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 140(683), 1935-1944

Robust comparison of climate models with observations using blended land air and ocean sea surface temperatures
Kevin Cowtan, Zeke Hausfather, Ed Hawkins,Peter Jacobs,Michael E. Mann, Sonia K. Miller et al., 2015
Geophysical Research Letters, 42(15), 6526-6534

Global temperature definition affects achievement of long-term climate goals
Mark Richardson, Kevin Cowtan, RJ Millar, 2018
Environmental Research Letters 13 (5), 054004

Reconciled climate response estimates from climate models and the energy budget of Earth
Mark Richardson, Kevin Cowtan, Ed Hawkins, and Martin B. Stolpe, 2016
Nature Climate Change, 6, 931-935


Scholary publications

Apart from having these papers featured in the IPCC 1.5°C report, several members of the SkS-team were lead- or co-authors of peer-reviewed papers published during 2018. Here is a list of some of them:

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4 comments


2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #52

Posted on 30 December 2018 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... Toon of the Week... SkS in the News... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review... 

Story of the Week...

2018 Was A Milestone Year For Climate Science (If Not Politics) 

Hurricane Michael Impact on Mexico Beach Florida 

The devastation from Hurricane Michael over Mexico Beach, Fla. A massive federal report released in November warns that climate change is fueling extreme weather disasters like hurricanes and wildfires. Gerald Herbert/AP

2018 was a hot year — in fact, the fourth warmest on record. The only years that were, on average, warmer were the past three, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

It has been warming for decades now. But 2018 brought several major new and markedly more precise reports from scientists about what climate change is doing to the weather and how dire they expect the consequences to be.

That didn't stop President Trump and others from continuing to question the evidence.

"Is there climate change?" Trump said to reporters from Axios on HBO in November. "Yeah. Will it go back like this?" he added, motioning up and down with his hand. "I mean will it change back? Probably. That's what I think."

Another politician who weighed in on the clear evidence of a warmer planet was Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, when he was campaigning this past fall.

"Well, listen," he assured a moderator at a televised debate. "Of course the climate is changing. The climate has been changing from the dawn of time. The climate will change as long as we have a planet Earth."

Both statements are at odds with the consensus within the climate science community.

2018 Was A Milestone Year For Climate Science (If Not Politics) by Christopher Joyce NPR News, Dec 27, 2018

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5 comments


2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #52

Posted on 29 December 2018 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Dec 23 through Sat, Dec 30

Editor's Pick

Green New Deal: what is the progressive plan, and is it technically possible?

The idea, central to Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign, aims to eliminate greenhouse gas pollution – but lacks key political support

Sunrise Movement Sit-In, Pelosi's Office, Dec 10 2018

Members of the Sunrise Movement advocate for the Green New Deal in Nancy Pelosi’s office on 10 December. Photograph: Michael Brochstein/Zuma Wire/Rex/Shutterstock

Most US voters would support a “Green New Deal”, for the country to transform its infrastructure with a rapid shift to clean energy. But while the idea is gaining attention on Capitol Hill, it lacks key political support.

According to a survey from the Yale Climate Change Communicationprogram, 81% of voters backed its description of a Green New Deal.

Similar plans vary in detail, but all are inspired by the New Deal that Franklin Delano Roosevelt launched to battle the effects of the Great Depression. The idea was central to the high-profile campaign of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the young Democratic socialist from New York who won a US House seat in November. Ocasio-Cortez and the youth-led Sunrise Movement are encouraging Democrats, who will retake the House majority in January, to produce a blueprint.

Their Green New Deal would center around creating new jobs and lessening inequality. Aiming to virtually eliminate US greenhouse gas pollution in a decade, it would be radical compared with other climate proposals. It would require massive government spending.

Dozens of Democrats have signaled support, including potential 2020 presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Cory Booker. This month, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo said his state would launch its own Green New Deal, seeking carbon-neutral electricity by 2040.

But Nancy Pelosi, Democrats’ nominee to run the House, has not agreed to direct a select committee on climate change to focus on the strategy. 

Green New Deal: what is the progressive plan, and is it technically possible? by Emily Holden, Environment, Guardian, Dec 29, 2018

Read more...

4 comments


New research, December 17-23, 2018

Posted on 28 December 2018 by Ari Jokimäki

A selection of new climate related research articles is shown below.

Couple of hiatus papers (including Skeptical Science authors)

A fluctuation in surface temperature in historical context: reassessment and retrospective on the evidence (open access)

The 'pause' in global warming in historical context: (II). Comparing models to observations (open access)

Climate change mitigation

Climate change communication

Framing Climate Uncertainty: Frame Choices Reveal and Influence Climate Change Beliefs

It is Always Dry Here: Examining Perceptions about Drought and Climate Change in the Southern High Plains

Relationship‐building between climate scientists and publics as an alternative to information transfer (open access)

Climate Policy

What future for the voluntary carbon offset market after Paris? An explorative study based on the Discursive Agency Approach

Quantifying the potential for consumer-oriented policy to reduce European and foreign carbon emissions (open access)

Norms and flexibility: Comparing two mitigation policies implemented in Shanghai

Review and assessment of energy policy developments in Chile

Interactions between federal and state policies for reducing vehicle emissions

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0 comments


Greta Thunberg's TEDx talk

Posted on 27 December 2018 by Guest Author

If you haven't yet, watch Greta Thunberg's TEDx talk.

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21 comments


Global warming ‘hiatus’ is the climate change myth that refuses to die

Posted on 26 December 2018 by Kevin C, Stephan Lewandowsky

Kevin Cowtan, Professor of Chemistry, University of York and Stephan Lewandowsky, Chair of Cognitive Psychology, University of Bristol

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The record-breaking, El Niño-driven global temperatures of 2016 have given climate change deniers a new trope. Why, they ask, hasn’t it since got even hotter?

In response to a recent US government report on the impact of climate change, a spokesperson for the science-denying American Enterprise Institute think-tank claimed that “we just had […] the biggest drop in global temperatures that we have had since the 1980s, the biggest in the last 100 years.”

These claims are blatantly false: the past two years were two of the three hottest on record, and the drop in temperature from 2016 to 2018 was less than, say, the drop from 1998 (a previous record hot year) to 2000. But, more importantly, these claims use the same kind of misdirection as was used a few years ago about a supposed “pause” in warming lasting from roughly 1998 to 2013.

At the time, the alleged pause was cited by many people sceptical about the science of climate change as a reason not to act to reduce greenhouse pollution. US senator and former presidential candidate Ted Cruz frequently argued that this lack of warming undermined dire predictions by scientists about where we’re heading.

However, drawing conclusions on short-term trends is ill-advised because what matters to climate change is the decade-to-decade increase in temperatures rather than fluctuations in warming rate over a few years. Indeed, if short periods were suitable for drawing strong conclusions, climate scientists should perhaps now be talking about a “surge” in global warming since 2011, as shown in this figure:

Global temperature observations compared to climate models. Climate-disrupting volcanoes are shown at the bottom, and the purported hiatus period is shaded. 2018 values based on year to date (YTD). NASA; Berkeley Earth; various climate models., Author provided

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