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All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

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Comments 451 to 500:

  1. Breathing contributes to CO2 buildup

    "It should come as no surprise that, when confronted with the challenge of reducing our carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, some people angrily proclaim, "Why should we bother? Even breathing out creates carbon emissions!"

    This statement fails to take into account the other half of the carbon cycle. As you also learned in grade school, plants are the opposite to animals in this respect: Through photosynthesis, they take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen, in a chemical equation opposite to the one above. (They also perform some respiration, because they need to eat as well, but it is outweighed by the photosynthesis.) The carbon they collect from the CO2 in the air forms their tissues - roots, stems, leaves, and fruit.

    These tissues form the base of the food chain, as they are eaten by animals, which are eaten by other animals, and so on. As humans, we are part of this food chain. All the carbon in our body comes either directly or indirectly from plants, which took it out of the air only recently"

    Only one problem, not all plant life is cycled through animal or human consumption. And, although you talk about plant respiration and proclaim that it is a very small contributor of carbon dioxide, it seems you forget that plants release carbon through decay which, when mixed with oxygen, then becomes carbon dioxide. Also, seems the issues of "carbon" and "carbon dioxide" are being confused here. Although humans may consume carbon, they produce carbon dioxide when they exhale. So, to suggest human respiration is carbon neutral is not true and to suggest plants make up for what carbon dioxide it is humans exhale doesn't seem viable either. Plants are only carbon neutral in that they take in the CO2 of which they themselves produce and convert it to O2. However, C (carbon) is produced in the form of waste, or decay. And, when that C (carbon) is exposed to oxygen, it then becomes carbon dioxide of which the plants, again, recycle and turn into oxygen and, again, into carbon in the form of waste/decay. And, the cycle goes on, and on, and on, and on. As I type this, it is autumn and I am watching the leaves fall off the trees. These leaves will decompose and, although some animal and insect life will consume some of these leaves, they will not consume all of these leaves and these leaves will decay and produce carbon. And, when said carbon is mixed with oxygen? It will become carbon dioxide. Of which, of course, these trees will use to produce new leaves when spring time arrives and will also use to continue to live throughout the rest of autumn and through winter.

  2. New research, October 15-21, 2018

    I don't doubt CO2 plays a significant role, yet I've heard nothing in the news of how global broadcast transmitters could play a role in climate change by stimulating an ozone depletion mechanism called Relativistic Electron Precipitation. Is anybody aware of this?

    Our climate is changing as many of us are aware and many have dedicated their lives and time to doing our best to set right the challenges we face so that our children and generations ahead may have a healthy ecosystem to grow in and thrive upon. About ten years ago I dove deep into the climate change issue and learned about many facets of this astronomical challenge we face, most importantly the problem that rising CO2 levels pose from man made sources. In my process of learning about various climate forcing mechanisms I became aware of another mechanism and have wondered for years of its potential significance in climate change. Through discourse with friends and others it seems little are aware of this other factor that could potentially play a role in the dynamics we’re seeing and I’m hoping to connect with you in hopes that you or one of your colleagues may be able to shed light on these curiosities should there be more to this other climate forcing mechanism, or good reasons to dismiss it. If we truly wish to solve this incredibly difficult task it seems to me that we should leave no stone unturned. So here I am doing my part and due diligence as best I know how. I hope it is well received with an open mind and an open heart.

    In 2007 I learned of a phenomenon known as Relativistic Electron Precipitation - REP and that some of the leading researchers of ionospheric physics, such as Michal Parrot of CNRS France head of DEMETER micro-satellite mission and VERSIM (VLF/ELF Remote Sensing of Ionospheres and Magnetospheres 96’ - 05’) who said in a research paper that using scientific transmitters it was becoming clear that it stimulates REP and could have a potential impact on “the global warming of the earth”.

    “At VLF frequencies between 10 and 20 kHz, the ground-based transmitters are used for radio-navigation and communications. Their ionospheric perturbations include: the triggering of new waves, ionospheric heating, wave-electron interactions, and particle precipitation. At HF frequencies, the broadcasting stations utilise powerful transmitters which can heat the ionosphere and change the temperature and the density. All these wave dissipations in the ionosphere could participate to the global warming of the Earth because the change in global temperature increases the number of natural lightning discharges in the atmosphere. Then the supplementary lightning discharges produce more magnetospheric whistlers which could produce heating and ionization in the lower ionosphere.

    Furthermore, it is a feedback mechanism because two different processes could be involved. First, lightning is a source of NOx, and NOx affects the concentration of ozone in the atmosphere which contributes to the greenhouse effect. Second, precipitation of energetic electrons by man?made waves may trigger other lightning discharges. It explains the importance of the study of such man-made waves [7]. Ionospheric perturbations by natural geophysical activities have been made evident by two methods: the study of the electromagnetic waves, and the measurement of the electron density.” LINK

    Since learning of REP and its potential role in climate change we’ve seen more and more research coming out that could potentially support the possibility that REP, along with increasing CO2, play a significant role in the climate change we are seeing. For example REP is potentially linked to the most notable region of climate warming in the entire Southern Hemisphere. “In this report we attract attention to a fact that the global maximum of the outer belt energetic electron precipitation is localized in a narrow longitudinal belt centered in the Weddell Sea i.e. in the area of climate warming in the Southern hemisphere. It was shown by several explorers that energetic resources of this electron precipitation are sufficient to change temperature regime of the stratosphere and troposphere.”

    Peculiarities of Long-Term Trends of Surface Temperature in Antarctica and Their Possible Connections with Outer Belt Electron Precipitation 

    As you may well know the stratospheric ozone level is at an altitude above the carbon from man made sources and acts as a valve for UV rays coming into our atmosphere heating these greenhouse gasses. While most of the scientific community has been focused on rising CO2 levels, we’ve heard very little about how our potential use of broadcast energy on a global scale could be stimulating this REP ~ ozone depletion mechanism.

    Though we hear more about the potential healing of the ozone holes in polar regions, we’ve heard little about how ozone levels over most populated areas are thinning increasing UV rays: "The potential for harm in lower latitudes may actually be worse than at the poles..The decreases in ozone are less than we saw at the poles before the Montreal Protocol was enacted, but UV radiation is more intense in these regions and more people live there.

    A 2016 scientific report first coined the term Anthropogenic Space Weather and discussed the effect our output of electromagnetic energy specifically in the VLF range has been directly observed by NASA satellites to radically alter our magnetosphere creating an artificial bubble of energy around the planet capable of blocking high energy particles from space. This article frames the energetic bubble as being beneficial to blocking radiation from space, but could it also be playing a role in stimulating ozone depletion through Relativistic Electron Precipitation? 

    First-time evidence shows electrons precipitating or 'raining' from Earth’s magnetosphere are destroying ozone in the upper atmosphere: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center— 

    In 2002 Bo Thide from the Swedish Institute of Space Physics wrote a paper titled, “Atmosphere-Ionosphere-Mission, an Elaborate Science Case” in which he put out a call for ideas regarding this REP climate forcing mechanism saying that the public should be concerned. Bo Thide is one of the world’s leading ionospheric physicists. He wrote the book on Electromagnetic Field Theory and single handedly revolutionized our understanding of ionospheric research with multi channel ionospheric probing; awarding him the Edlund Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1991. If he’s saying “the public should be concerned”.. why aren’t we even aware of this?

    So after looking at all this I’m left wondering how significant our use of broadcast energy could be in climate change given these new findings? Are NASA and other scientists looking into this possibility and do they deem it potentially significant in climate change? If not.. Why not? Perhaps there is indeed a good reason I’m not aware of.

    According the the IPCC, REP was discounted as a potential player in climate change because it’s variability was too closely linked to solar proton events which are unpredictable and REP is seen as “natural”, but if we’ve been outputting EM energy into the ionosphere longer than we’ve been able to measure it, then how can we know what is or isn’t “natural”? “Nevertheless, VLF transmissions of anthropogenic origin may constitute a key space weather influence on pathways that fundamentally alter the storm-time radiation belt. Under these assumptions, it is interesting for the reader to consider what the terrestrial radiation belt environment might have been in the pre-transmitter, and pre-observation, era.”
    Anthropogenic Space Weather 2016 - 

    It has taken our scientific community a long time to realize the dire effects man made CO2 plays as a climate forcing mechanism. I don’t doubt its significance and am left wondering if it will take another 50 years before we see there’s potentially another part in the wholistic equation of our complex climate system.

    If we’re truly dedicating our time, careers and lives to solving this monumental problem for generations ahead.. are we looking at the potential significance of how our global broadcast may be stimulating an ozone depletion mechanism allowing more UV rays to heat increasing levels of greenhouse gasses most of all CO2 from man made sources? How do we determine what is or isn’t worth our time when looking for answers?

    I really appreciate all the energy and effort you and others are dedicating to solving the issues of climate change and appreciate your time and consideration around this letter.

    Thank you sincerely, Professor Lewis Carlson PhD ~

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Hyperlinked references (URLs were breaking the page formatting).  Please learn to do this yourself, thanks!

  3. Skeptical Science at EGU 2018

    @GeoffThomas - not sure what you mean with "received no emails from S S since this"? Also, the link to Facebook isn't working if I copy & paste it - just get a "content not available" message. Perhaps send us a message via the contact-form or directly to our contact-address?

  4. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #43

    As the Gulf stream weakens, Coriolis weakens and stops pulling the ocean away from the East Coast of the USA.  Less heat is transferred northward so the waters off the southern part of the coast warm up and of course there is the overall rise in sea level.  Some time in the not too distance future one almighty storm will turn Cape Cod into a sand bank devoid of trees and houses

  5. david.brettell at 23:04 PM on 28 October 2018
    Climate change and compassion fatigue

    An honest statement but one I find to be cowardly and depressing. As a layperson with no climate qualifications I had hoped that people with the knowledge and experience you have would have been screaming what you know from the rooftops many years past, rather than going home to watch TV and eat pasties. I find it depressing to read that studying the collapse of an ice sheet is more interesting than studying a stable one. Fiddling whilst Rome burns, re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic etc. all seem apt comparisons to me as you seem content to document the end of the world. Yes, I would say you are in denial. If the majority of climate scientists are hiding inside their academic studies, then we are all truly screwed.

  6. Skeptical Science at EGU 2018

    I have received no emails from S S since this, but the IPPC report has come and gone, - completely ignored by the Murdoch press etc, now this, - breaks my heart,

  7. Science of Climate Change online class starting next week on Coursera

      I am submitting a paper to the educational section of the 99th annual meeting of AMS  (Phoenix). My paper would be on using transmittance values from Modtran Infrared Light in the Atmosphere to numerically solve Scwartzchild's Equation of RadiativeTtransport using a spreadsheet. (I can find no numerical example of solving S.E. in any existing textbook.) There is not an available format for that conference to include a sample table that can be translated, by a reader of my paper, to an Excel Spreadsheet . I have included such a table below. I hope this is O.K. I would refer to this table in my manuscript, if published.



    Alt trans 400  derivative   temp   Radiance    deriv x rad trapezrule 

    0    0.8842       0.0091    288.15 124.425     1.13226     1.043135 
    1    0.8933       0.0084    281.65 113.572       0.954         0.870094 
    2    0.9017       0.0076    275.15 103.445       0.78618     0.722131 
    3    0.9093       0.007      268.65 94.0112       0.65808     0.6018 
    4    0.9163       0.0064    262.15 85.2377       0.54552     0.49633 
    5    0.9227       0.0058    255.65 77.0931       0.44714     0.407868 
    6    0.9285       0.0053    249.15 69.5466       0.3686       0.33759 
    7    0.9338       0.0049    242.65 62.5682       0.30658     0.273968 
    8    0.9387       0.0043    236.15 56.1286       0.24135     0.218565 
    9    0.943         0.0039    229.65 50.1993       0.19578     0.176206 
    10  0.9469       0.0035    223.15 44.7528       0.15663     0.141936 
    11  0.9504       0.0032    216.65 39.7619       0.12724     0.123262 
    12  0.9536       0.003      216.65 39.7619       0.11929     0.119286 
    13  0.9566       0. 003     216.65 39.7619       0.11929     0.117298 
    14  0.9596       0.0029    216.65 39.7619       0.11531     0.115309 
    15  0.9625       .0029      216.65 39.7619       0.11531     0.115309 
    16  0.9654       0.0029    216.65 39.7619       0.11531     0.113321 
    17  0.9683       0.0028    216.65 39.7619       0.11133     0.111333 
    18  0.9711       0.0028    216.65 39.7619       0.11133     0.105369 
    19  0.9739       0.0025    216.65 39.7619       0.0994       0.097417 
    20  0.9764       0.0024    216.65 39.7619       0.09543     0.094291 
    21  0.9788       0.0023    217.65 40.5011       0.09315     0.087827 
    22  0.9811       0.002      218.65 41.2506       0.0825       0.07906 
    23  0.9831       0.0018    219.65 42.0104       0.07562     0.074173 
    24  0.9849       0.0017    220.65 42.7807       0.07273     0.069035 
    25  0.9866       0.0015    221.65 43.5615       0.06534     0.061501 
    26  0.9881       0.0013    222.65 44.353         0.05766     0.055923 
    27  0.9894       0.0012    223.65 45.1552       0.05419     0.050077 
    28  0.9906       0.001      224.65 45.9682       0.04597     0.04638 
    29  0.9916       0.001      225.65 46.7922       0.04679     0.042447 
    30  0.9926       0.0008    226.65 47.6272       0.0381       0.036017 
    31  0.9934       0.0007    227.65 48.4733       0.03393     0.034231

    32  0.9941       0.0007    228.65 49.3307       0.03453     0.030214 

    33  0.9948       0.0005    231.45 51.7918      0.0259       0.026534 
    34  0.9953       0.0005    234.25 54.3439      0.02717     0.027833 
    35  0.9958       0.0005    237.05 56.9891      0.02849     0.023207 
    36  0.9963       0.0003    239.85 59.7298      0.01792     0.021473 
    37  0.9966       0.0004    242.65 62.5682      0.02503     0.02234 
    38  0.997         0.0003    245.45 65.5065      0.01965     0.020108 
    39  0.9973       0.0003    248.25 68.5471      0.02056     0.017451 
    40  0.9976       0.0002    251.05 71.6924      0.01434     0.014664 
    41  0.9978       0.0002    253.85 74.9447      0.01499     0.015325 
    42  0.998         0.0002    256.65 78.3064      0.01566     0.016009 
    43  0.9982       0.0002    259.45 81.78          0.01636     0.012446 
    44  0.9984       0.0001    262.25 85.3678      0.00854     0.013176 
    45  0.9985       0.0002    265.05 89.0725      0.01781     0.013552 
    46  0.9987       1E-04     267.85 92.8964      0.00929      0.009487 
    47  0.9988       1E-04     270.65 96.8421      0.00968      0.009684 
    48  0.9989       1E-04     270.65 96.8421      0.00968      0.009684 
    49  0.999         1E-04     270.65 96.8421      0.00968      0.009684 
    50  0.9991       1E-04     270.65 96.8421      0.00968      0.009684 
    51  0.9992       1E-04     270.65 96.8421      0.00968      0.004842 
    52  0.9993       1E-04     267.85 92.8964      0                 0.004454 
    53  0.9993       1E-04     265.05 89.0725      0.00891      0.004454 
    54  0.9994       0             262.25 85.3678      0                 0.004089  
    55  0.9994        0.0001   259.45 81.78          0.00818      0.004089 
    56  0.9995        0            256.65 78.30          0                 0.003747 
    57  0.9995       1E-04     253.85 74.9447      0.00749      0.003747 
    58  0.9996        0            251.05 71.6924      0                 0 
    59  0.9996        0            248.25 68.5471      0                 0.003254 
    60  0.9996        1E-04    245.05 65.0805      0.00651       0.003254 
    61  0.9997        0            242.65 62.5682      0                  0 
    62  0.9997        0            239.85 59.7298      0                  0 
    63  0.9997        0            237.05 56.9891      0                 0.002717 
    64  0.9997        1E-04    234.25 54.3439       0.00543      0.002717 
    65  0.9998        0            231.45 51.7918       0                 0 
    66  0.9998        0            228.65 49.3307       0                 0 
    67  0.9998        0            225.85 46.9583       0                 0 
    68  0.9998        0            223.05 44.6726       0                 0 
    69  0.9998        0            222.25 44.0351       0                 0
    70  0.9998        0            217.45 40.3524       0                 0 


  8. One Planet Only Forever at 08:48 AM on 28 October 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #43


    The bigger issue is how easy it is to just claim that 'future generatons can adapt'. Whenever adaptation is mentioned, it is essential to understand that the adaptation is not by the people who get to benefit from creating the need to adapt. The most resistant people really like to benefit in ways that negatively affect Others. This was bluntly pointed out in the 1987 UN Report "Our Common Future" with the statement:

    "25. Many present efforts to guard and maintain human progress, to meet human needs, and to realize human ambitions are simply unsustainable - in both the rich and poor nations. They draw too heavily, too quickly, on already overdrawn environmental resource accounts to be affordable far into the future without bankrupting those accounts. They may show profit on the balance sheets of our generation, but our children will inherit the losses. We borrow environmental capital from future generations with no intention or prospect of repaying. They may damn us for our spendthrift ways, but they can never collect on our debt to them. We act as we do because we can get away with it: future generations do not vote; they have no political or financial power; they cannot challenge our decisions.
    26. But the results of the present profligacy are rapidly closing the options for future generations. Most of today's decision makers will be dead before the planet feels; the heavier effects of acid precipitation, global warming, ozone depletion, or widespread desertification and species loss. Most of the young voters of today will still be alive. In the Commission's hearings it was the young, those who have the most to lose, who were the harshest critics of the planet's present management."

    It is primarily the Right-wing types who would object to that being pointed out because it essentially declares the unacceptability of the results of people freer to do as they please in competitions for popularity and profitability. It points out that much of what has developed does not deserve to be conserved, it needs to be corrected.

    I am starting to consider that the political divides that are developing have a powerful one-side initiation. People resisting improved awareness and understanding are 'polarizing themselves away from detailed discussions on the issues they do not want to have to change their minds about'.

    That can happen on the Left or the Right. But the group primarily doing that are Conservatives and the Right, especially the new political Unions forming collectives of greedy and intolerant people (Uniting the Right) who will vote to support each others unacceptable interests, because without uniting they would have little chance of political or popular success. They are United against the improving understanding of climate science (and many other developed improved understandings of the brilliant diversity of humanity that should be appreciated and accepted as they are, rather than being attacked for being "those Others").

    It is primarily Right-wing Conservatives who do not want to get along with Others through discussions that would lead to common sense improved understanding, because they 'accurately' sense that doing so is likely to require them to change their minds, and Conservatives are not very willing to do that.

  9. Climate change and compassion fatigue

    I understand that's how you cope but that isn't a particularly goid way of dealing with it.  It can lead to depression or worse.

    The best curative is action, making sure you aren't making the problem worse, something Kevin Anderson remarks on (climate scientists being some of the worst offendors). While you can't be responsible for everything, you are responsible for your own actions and for how you vote. Another example is Peter Kalmus.

    The denial you mention is impactory denial, it's far more insidious then science denial. Those that understate the issue, the likey outcomes and not doing anything...

    This reminds me somewhat of the issue of the recent Royal Commision into child sexual abuse that occurred in Australia.  What's worse, the perpetrators, or those who remained quiet and in denial ? I wonder what will happen if we have a royal commission into carbon emissions ? After all, as you point out the outcomes of our impacatory denial are far worse, possible destruction of the biosphere.

  10. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #43

    Great article full of good people. You can almost see the cogs turning in their minds: agw climate change equals more taxes (eg a carbon tax), don't like taxes, better to just adapt to climate change and not try and cut emissions. It's understandable anyone could empathise.

    However relying purely on adaptation will be very costly in the long run. Prevention is better than cure, but its a hard message to sell, yet its the message we must sell much better.

    I think the culture wars and political tribalism between conservatives and liberals is getting dangerous and entrenched. The sad thing is all attention has now focussed on immigration, taxes gun rights and a few hot button issues,  and the environment has been pushed into the background, however looming environmental disaster will make many of the other issues and arguments seem trivial. 

    America is heading towards civil war if this continues. I have said it before and now someone else is here.

  11. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #40

    It's not hard to become a "denier" when the only facts shown are Anthropologic climate change ! There is much scientific data outside the elite scientific agenda of human induced change ! But alas that is never or quickly dismissed by the same obove mentioned group. This science is available to any who wish to read the truth about past pole shifts. Soooo, that is why myself and many like me discount your claims and dismiss them as you do ours.....

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] This is a science- and evidence-based forum.  While you are welcome to your own opinions, any contentions expressed by participants that fall well outside accepted science must therefore be accompanied by credible evidence, typically in the form of published research appearing in peer-reviewed credible journals.  So that burden falls largely upon you, in this instance.

    For example, while the Earth's magnetic axis is shifting somewhat, Earth's rotational axis shifts only a little bit, mostly in response to the mass redistribution of water around the Earth from land-based ice sheet losses. This is a normal response.

    The net change in the position of the Earth's rotational axis is about 37 feet. The largest annual change is about 7 inches.

    If you move over 37 feet, the climate doesn't change. It changes even less per year if you only move 7 inches.

    SOURCE 1

    "The last time that Earth's poles flipped in a major reversal was about 780,000 years ago, in what scientists call the Brunhes-Matuyama reversal. The fossil record shows no drastic changes in plant or animal life. Deep ocean sediment cores from this period also indicate no changes in glacial activity, based on the amount of oxygen isotopes in the cores. This is also proof that a polarity reversal would not affect the rotation axis of Earth, as the planet's rotation axis tilt has a significant effect on climate and glaciation and any change would be evident in the glacial record."


    "The science shows that magnetic pole reversal is – in terms of geologic time scales – a common occurrence that happens gradually over millennia. While the conditions that cause polarity reversals are not entirely predictable – the north pole's movement could subtly change direction, for instance – there is nothing in the millions of years of geologic record to suggest that any of the 2012 doomsday scenarios connected to a pole reversal should be taken seriously."

    SOURCE 2

    "What would happen if the magnetic field of the Earth suddenly changed?

    Magnetic field wandering would let the aurora borealis occur at any latitude, but other than that there would be no noticeable effects other than changes in the amount of cosmic rays that penetrate to the ground. Even this effect is minimal because we can visit the Arctic and Antarctic and only receive a slight increase in cosmic rays. So long as the strength of the field remains high during this field wandering event, the effects should be pretty benign."

    SOURCE 3 and SOURCE 4

  12. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #42

    Scaddenp, yes I agree it's a totally misleading headline. I have noticed a lot of misleading headlines in the Herald lately, and have formally complained but have not received a response.

    I have also complained about misleading and biased articles by  Roughan and Hosking and one article by the climate guy De Freitas, and although I received predictable, dismissive, replies it was the last article by De Freitas they ever published and I noticed an improvement in how articles were written. The Herald probably hate me, but I don't care, someone had to say something because it was getting out of control.

  13. Blood coal: Ireland’s dirty secret

    Good article, fracking is no answer to climate change. But Ireland does appear to have a modest carbon tax here and here. 

  14. 1.5 Degree Climate Limit: Small Number; Huge Consequences

  15. Newcomers, Start Here


    Been a while since I posted here. I recall there used to be a way to make a table or graph and post it so there was a URL associated with the table or graph. Of course I would be willing to pay to have this done.

    Ant suggestions?

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] You will need to use an image hosting service or on a website that allows the formation of a dedicated URL.

    [PS] Plenty of free image hosting services out there (eg tinypic) Just dont forget to limit image width to 500. More detail at bottom of the comments policy.

  16. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #42

    That is a really misleading headline. The hum is function of winds over the ice shelf. Whether monitoring the hum will tell you anything interesting about how the shelf changes as the climate warms is conjecture at this stage. The instruments measuring the physical properties of the shelf (from which you can derive the hum) most certainly will tell you something interesting.

  17. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #42

    Listen: Antarctic ice shelf's 'hum' warns of climate change.

  18. Some of the countries leading on climate change might surprise you

    One thing is Iran is on the Persian Gulf, so as a last resort desalinisation would be an option. The inland ex soviet block countries adjacent to Iran probably have the bleakest future.

  19. It hasn't warmed since 1998

    andyred3D @404,

    There are big amounts of energy required to melt Arctic Sea Ice each spring/summer, also the amount released with the winter freeze-up. Of course this cycle has been happening for millenia and involve lots of energy. So such energy fluxes are already part of global climate and even then they fall far short (perhaps just 10%) of that which would be released by global surface temperatures falling modestly behind the long-term upward trend.  If you are interested, numbers can be presented but they are a mite too involved to pop into the thread without an audience.

  20. Philippe Chantreau at 04:16 AM on 25 October 2018
    Geologists and climate change denial


    Reasoned discussion is not possible with people who argue in bad faith. There was a contributor on this site who participated for some time and claimed he was a retired lawyer for Cabadian fossil fuel interests. His approach to the evidence was that of a lawyer; it included minimizing what was not going his preferred direction, repeatedly re-using arguments that had been shown to have no validity, establishing premises as facts when they weren't, etc, etc. It is impossible to read his posts over time and not come to the conclusion that he was arguing in bad faith.

    I strongly object to the use of the word "agnostic", which suggests that this is all  matter of faith. There is enough scientific knowledge available on the subject to not have to rely on faith. The only way one can fall back on faith is if they are unable to think quantitatively or so deep in denial that all rational thought is abandoned. If any debate is to be had, it is not about the reality of what is happening; that is the terrain for pseudo debates, indulging those who are incompetent, uninformed, misinformed, overwhelmed by emotional attachment to ideology, or simply dishonest.

  21. One Planet Only Forever at 01:53 AM on 25 October 2018
    Geologists and climate change denial


    My thoughts regarding your points:

    1. Reasoned discussion leads to common understanding when there is substantial amounts of evidence available. The fundamentals of climate science identifying the need for the current generation to rapidly end the burning of fossil fuels, and even to start unprofitably and safely removing CO2 from the atmosphere, is not debatable. It hasn't been debatable for a very long time (decades). The debates need to be about why some leaders still try to claim that it, or the need to rapidly unprofitably and unpopularly correct the unacceptable activity that has developed, should be debated.

    2. The human impact that has rapidly increased atmospheric CO2 from 280 ppm to over 400 ppm is not small. And much of the new Carbon imposed on the environment has been harmfully absorbed into the oceans (or there would be even more still in the atmosphere), significantly rapidly changing the ocean acidity. Removing CO2 from the atmosphere would not reverse the ocean chemistry changes. And it is unacceptable to excuse making a problem for future generations by claiming that they will develop the ability to fix it, or can adapt to the harsh new climate realities.

    3. The natural changes of the planet are not the issue. The rapid changes created by human activity are the issue.

    4. The fossil fuels already burned up could have been very helpful in the future. A controlled future burning could have moderated a natural cooling period. It is also possible that a massive rapid burning could help mitigate the chilling results of an asteroid impact (a small enough one to dust up the atmosphere without massive damage done).

    5. The climate scientists' warnings are becoming 'more alarming' because they never were mistaken. People preferring leaders who told them what they wanted to believe led to winners in popularity and profitability competitions that have continued to make the problem worse.

    Science is about awareness and understanding, not beliefs. People either want to understand it or want to doubt it. You appear to want to understand. Others want to doubt, and repeatedly debating with a deliberate doubter is a waste of time.

  22. Geologists and climate change denial

    I have had several thoughts about the climate change issue:

    1. The shutting down of debate is counterproductive; it does nothing to convince deniers & possibly swings abstainers to the denial side. Reasoned discussion is essential, even if it does become tiresome repeating the same points over & over.

    2. If a small human-made change to climate can be amplified to produce a large effect, then that implies that a small reverse adjustment could also easily fix the climate later.

    3. The lack of any clear explanation of how the massive climate changes of the last 100 million years fits with recent climate history. This suggests we're doomed anyway within the next 1000-2000 years when the next ice-age kicks-in.

    4. If we are about enter a new ice-age within the next 500-2000 years... is it possible that human-made global warming could be used to stabilise global climate to prevent a new ice-age from happening at all?

    5. The more alarming the climate scientists warnings become, the more I hope they are mistaken, because I believe economic/political forces will prevent any effective action until it is too late.

    I'm genuinely interested to hear peoples responses to my points above.

    PS - I'm not a climate change denier, or even a skeptic, more of a climate agnostic... :)

  23. Climate change and compassion fatigue

    Excellent sentiments.  However the article opens with "I’m a climate scientist, and I don’t worry about climate change very much". I understand this is intended to be sort of catchy and provocative, but I think this is an unfortunate opening line that detracts. Plenty of people will read this and get the message that if climate scientists dont worry why should anyone?

    And plenty of people won't bother to read past the first paragraph, but those that do will still have the opening line indelibly etched in their mind, despite all the statements in the rest of the article that explains what is really meant. 

    Sorry for the nit pick but communications skills are really important.

    But I agree completely we have to have coping mechanisms and escapes to deal with potentially destructive pehomena, or we get depressed and overwhelmed. As long as such mechanisms are not used to deny the problem, because I think some of this goes on with some people.

    I recommend an excellent and amusing but scholarly little book: "Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind" by Y N Harari. The chapter on the evolution of gossip and play is interesting and relevant to how we cope with things.

  24. One Planet Only Forever at 03:00 AM on 24 October 2018
    1.5 Degree Climate Limit: Small Number; Huge Consequences


    I agree about being careful what points get raised with what type of people.

    But I believe it is important for everyone who tries to correct minds regarding climate science to understand the type of developed mind they may be dealing with.

    I hope that what I present about the way the current day Right has become 'a gathering collective of greedy people and intolerant people' helps people understand why it is possible for many Republican voters to claim that they understand and support the need for Climate Action, yet continue to vote for representatives who are deliberately harmful to achieving the required climate action corrections of what has developed, including voting against a Carbon Fee policy.

    Some of those who understand the climate science are choosing to be more concerned about being anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ, anti-immigrant, anti-refugee, anti-'helping the less fortunate in their own or other nations' (or pro-gun), than they are about climate science based correction of what has developed (some even claim that environmental protection and help for the less fortunate can only happen if economic pursuits harmful to the environment or unfair to less fortunate people are allowed). And the greedy ones who are opposed to the 'undeniable climate science based required corrections of what has developed' may not agree with those other 'anti-actions', but they are OK with supporting them as long as Standing United with those other type of people will help them win the power to protect their unjustified wealth and unjust pursuits of more undeserved wealth and enjoyment.

    Every conservative who claims to accept climate science needs to be encouraged to stop supporting the party they developed a liking to support, regardless of the private interest that tempted them to support it. It should be easy for them to understand that the unacceptability of the Party Position regarding climate science extend to the unacceptability of many of the other Party policies. A reluctance to understand that would indicate the person you are dealing with is not likely to change their mind, no matter how much information you present to them. That type of person has become very determined to want their private interest, been encourage to become very selfish, will powerfully resist changing their mind. That is why scientists are generally correct to not be interviewed by, or participate in discussions on, media that has a recent history of significant climate science dismissal or denial. That media will likely try to manpulate the message to suit the pleasure of their biased audience as much as they can get away with.

  25. Climate change and compassion fatigue

    Nice statement of how we deal with such problems.

    There is value in each day we live, with each person we reach, and each positive action we can squeeze out of life. This keeps me going.

  26. Trump thinks scientists are split on climate change. So do most Americans

    I would prefer to see the title of this post be "Trump says scientists are split on climate change. So do most Americans," rather than the word "thinks". To use the word "thinks" implies that he really believes that. I would sooner accept that many politicians, including Trump, understand there is a consensus but find it to their advantage to say the opposite. Accepting the ideas of GW and CC requires accepting the science of GW and CC. Accepting that there is a consensus among scientists that GW and CC is real and that we are the problem only requires the skill of bean counting, or rather, reading the reports of other bean counters (no insults intended).

  27. Trump thinks scientists are split on climate change. So do most Americans

    I've followed the climate issue for over 20 years, just out of general interest. I live in New Zealand, and I don't recall ever seeing an article in our two main local newspapers, or on radio or television talking about the consensus studies, or even just the IPCC process. I believe its because the general daily / weekly media would prefer to give the impression theres still a "debate" so they can keep a sense of controversy alive, because this gets people buying their  newspapers. So their motive is driven my wanting popularity and profits above all else.

    The media are letting humanity down, with the exception of websites like this.  Climate change is no joke and the media have a duty to communicate the facts, including the consenus studies. Governments need to ensure this happens and put some pressure on the media, but stopping short of dictating exact content of course. The issue is too important to leave to the discretion of the media.

  28. Republican lawmakers react to the IPCC report – ‘we have scientists’ too!

    Greg Dance,

    I think you are broadly right, and I like the camel analogy. But heres my slightly different take. Science tells us there are quite deep seated differences between conservatives and liberals, the main difference being that conservatives hold onto traditions and are sceptical of change, liberals are the opposite. More or less what you are saying. These differences have a genetic and evolutionary basis, so we are essentially born leaning liberal or conservative. This stuff is easily googled.

    There's also an interesting and reasonably compelling theory called moral foundations theory exploring the differences. Google it if you are interested.

    However while I personally often struggle with how conservatives respond to issues, its not entirely a bad thing to be cautious about change or to want to hold onto what one has earned, and imho its more a problem when these values start to be taken to absurd and illogical extremes. And one could say the same for the liberal world view, although it has to be said that without embracing change we would be in a sad state I think.

    I think its probably also not good to demonise conservatives, because they will just become entrenched in their views, and ditto liberals.

    The other issue is science suggests although conservative and liberal leanings have some sort of genetic basis through evolution, they are not black and white, and exist a little more on a continuum and they are also not rigidly fixed values. People do change their outlooks and theres evidence for this, although they may never change completely.

    So my take away is we should not be too pessimistic, and I think more people could be persuaded to aspire to values like altruism for example. Its also important that liberals understand other points of view, although that does not mean accepting all decisions that conservatives or whomever make.

  29. Philippe Chantreau at 03:13 AM on 23 October 2018
    It hasn't warmed since 1998

    andyred3D, there is really no "hiatus" to explain. Statistical analysis of the time series of global surface temperature anomalies does not show a significant departure from the trend; correcting for El-Nino/La Nina and volcanic activity makes it even more obvious. The so-called hiatus is entirely dependent on selecting 1998 as a start date, and as we all know, that year saw a massive El-Nino. What is remarkable is that it took only a few years for global temps to set a new normal at or above the extraordinary 1998 level. Moderate or non El-Nino years then beat 1998 and finally when a comparable El-Nino came, the 1998 record was shattered. There was no pause. 

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] To illustrate the overall trend, here's the NASA GISS temperature record with a 132-month filter applied:

    132-month smooth

    The overall long-term trend continues upward, inexorably, as Philippe notes.

  30. One Planet Only Forever at 00:48 AM on 23 October 2018
    Republican lawmakers react to the IPCC report – ‘we have scientists’ too!


    In spite of the powerful influence of capitalism discourging altruism, the global community has still altruistically collaborated to developed improved awareness and understanding.

    That type of development was apparent in The Enlightement. And it got re-started globally with the League of Nations. And the UN replaced the League of Nations by starting with the establishment of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    The UN then developed the Stockholm Conference in 1972 as a global leadership formal documentation of the many concerns being created by capitalism and managed economies that are not altruistically governed, including the concern about CO2 from fossil fuels.

    Those efforts have continued, including the formation of the IPCC. The latest greatest development is the gobal identification of the Sustainable Development Goals which includes Climate Action.

    So altruism has survived the pressures against it. Humanity does have a future. It just needs to correct and disappoint the appropriate portion of the current day population.

  31. One Planet Only Forever at 00:32 AM on 23 October 2018
    Republican lawmakers react to the IPCC report – ‘we have scientists’ too!


    I agree, and would add that the human developed socioeconomic-political systems are the real problem because they discourage people from helping others. And they allow misleading marketing to influence people to develop and hold onto unjustified greed or intolerance based opinions (those opinions that conservatives would like to preserve).

    Our sports have all been constantly developing improved regulations, monitoring and enforcement to sustain the legitimacy of the games played.

    The Conservative-Right fight against any correction or regulation of their behaviour. They like systems that let them get away with actions based on what they have developed liking and dislike for. They choose to be very difficult to correct (like the bully hockey player who will not stop punching other plaayers, and whose team fans and management defend and excuse because they like the other things the player does or the impact on the games when the player punches someone from the other team)

    In the Feb 29, 1960 issue of Time magazine Ayn Rand stated that “If any civilization is to survive, it is the morality of altruism that men have to reject.” and “Capitalism and Altruism are incompatible ... capitalism and altruism cannot coexist in man or in the same society.”

    Ayn Rand's observations were correct, but she came to the wrong conclusion. Since every human can understand that it is better for the future of humanity if they behave altruistically, the correct conclusion is that capitalism discourages the development of altruism and encourages the development of anti-altruism if it can be gotten away with.

    Capitalism that is not fully governed by altruism can be expected to be detrimental to the future of humanity. Anti-altruistic capitalism will create a hiatus in the advancement of humanity, or create damaging set-backs like the unsustainable burning of fossil fuels already has. Technological development is not necessarily advancement of humanity. It can actually be the opposite.

    Any competition for impressions of superiority relative to others encourages the development of anti-altruism (egoism). It is seen all the time. And rules and enforcement to limit behaviour need to be developed whenever competition driven anti-altruism creates the potential for harmful results.

    More potential for personal benefit creates more temptation to be anti-altruistic, because the less altruistic have a competitive advantage (advantage increasing the less altruistic they can get away with being). This is especially true in mass-advertised capitalism and politics.

  32. Republican lawmakers react to the IPCC report – ‘we have scientists’ too!

    One thing that I have become very clear on in recent weeks is that to attempt to pursuade any form of conservative of an urgent need for changes in everyones behaviour from climate change is never going to move them.

    To build on that let me zoom out a bit so we can imagine the entirety of humans inhabiting Planet Earth.

    Humans are 'Hunter Gatherers' by scientific definition and just because we now parade around the planet as if we made it ourselves with great ease, this hasn't removed the tendency of most to grasp more and give away as little as possible, conservatism.

    But exactly who are conservatives?

    Examine the word and you see it mostly made up of the word 'conserve' so logically it can be interpreted as the tendency of those like it who hold onto what ever they possess or control.

    It doesn't necessarily mean political conservatives though I'm certain that their use of the name is no coincidence.

    So we have a low level (often unreviewed) human baked in trait from millions of years ago, coupled to the most powerful technical mechanism yet created, which is fuelled by fossil energy in the hands of the already established to take as they lplease and deny access to any proceeds by others.

    Therefore I say that the issue is a human one, its a deep flaw in our current state as beings that we haven't evolved as rational beings by reviewing our current life state. Instead we keep a tight hold of our traditions both in civil life and especially in law which then guide us to a future vastly unlike the past in which they were formed in!

    Rather like sitting on a train window seat facing backward so mostly only seeing past land marks, conservatism justifies itself based entirely on the past!

    And as our collective future is becoming impossible to control due to the consequences from 7.x billion humans all seeking to grow their families and prosper on a finite planet, the ecosphere suppkly of life force services is straining under the weight.

    In summary I see this as similar to a bunch of over weight juveniles sitting on a camel (as they did as infants) but now they are heavier and in greater numbers. The camel is walking ever more slowly into a barren land and is their only hope of survival and yet they see no reason to look after it so they and sing loudly their traditional songs to keep them cheery.

    Blindness from madness or the other way around, you decide!

  33. It hasn't warmed since 1998

    I am not a climate scientist and have no knowledge of the sophistication of the models. But is there a way to explain the 'Hiatus' when considering the melting of ice?

    Doesn't the ice absorb a lot more heat going through the phase change to water? So once the world has warmed up enough to initiate a lot of ice melting, the large scale ice melting would then absorb a lot of heat energy and keep temperatures relatively stable, until a significant amount of ice has melted.  Then everything would continue heating up more linearly.

    Basically the world is acting like a big old glass of iced water with a lid on top, left out in the sun!?

    The scary thing is what happens when the stabilising effect of melting is over and all those previously white, heat reflecting surfaces have gone to reveal plenty of dark rock and gravel...  

  34. 1.5 Degree Climate Limit: Small Number; Huge Consequences

    OPOF @19, interesting you mention the transgender issue, because Trump is trying to reverse Obamas legislation on this here. So this is unfortunately a backwards step for transgender rights. But he is playing the his evangelical base, who only seem to care about sexual identity and abortion. They will put up with any ridiculous behaviour and policy as long as those boxes are ticked. Sigh. Me I just dont care what transgender people do, and cant see the problem with them. People come in varied shapes and flavours.

    But I think this is part of the "purity" thing in moral foundations theory. Conservatives are uncomfortable with shades of grey.  But again in my country many conservatives have come to accept homosexual law reform and transgener people, it just took them a while. But the core religious fundamentalist lobby think differently, and can swing elections and wield power.

    The trouble is (just between you and me) conservative media people are very powerful and take outrageous positions because this gets them good ratings. Its a vicious cycle because most conservatives are reasonably moderate, but these media characters inflame them and conservatives are easily influenced by authority figures. Strange times we live in.

    Anyway your comments on leadership issues and final two paragraphs sum up the problem, but at the same time I think we have to be careful not to antagonise people, point the finger,  and preach too much because at this stage it will probably increase the tribalism, and the "bunker mentality",  which is why I tend to focus more on the actual behaviours, and the economics, the tragedy of the commons problem and commonsense solutions and values that we could all aspire to (as do you).

  35. One Planet Only Forever at 09:25 AM on 22 October 2018
    1.5 Degree Climate Limit: Small Number; Huge Consequences


    We do agree.

    I would add that people who are conservative the way you describe need to be distinguished from people who are leaders of Conservative or Right-wing groups.

    It can be harmless for a person to have a small worldview (short-term, local, their sub-tribe). The limits of their local actions could make them harmless to others. And they can be helped to develop a larger worldview (long-term, things further from home, broadening the diversity they include in their sub-tribe).

    Anyone in a position of leadership needs to be holding, setting an example of, and promoting a larger worldview than the population sub-group they represent. They interface with a larger worldview and need to ensure that the actions of their population do not negatively affect any part of that larger interface. And they should be governed by national leadership if they will not self-govern responsibly to limit their impacts.

    And national-level leaders should be internationally required to act in ways that are: very long-term, totally global, with the broadest acceptance of diversity of humanity including diversity of gender identity and sexual preference (which are two very different things, each having a broad range of diversity).

    That last requirement of National Leaders is particularly tough to get when they are tempted to try to appeal for the votes of people with smaller worldviews rather than striving to help those people develop larger worldviews and risk not getting their votes.

    However, the toughest requirement to get from national leaders appears to be commitment to correct incorrectly and unsustainably developed perceptions of superiority relative to others. That is the challenge faced by people trying to get leadership to act responsibly regarding the IPCC reports. It is very easy for competitors for national leadership popularity to drum up support by appealing to greedy selfishness. It is more challenging if that same political group also appeal for support from less tolerant smaller worldview people. And that irresponsibly developed popularity will influence the actions of leaders who see the need for a minimum level of popularity to remain as the leaders.

    That is the damaging reality of many developed Conservative Political Parties. They may have supporters who want Climate Action, but many of those supporters do not want it to cost them any perceived status of reduction of developed lifestyle. And many of those supporters will still support the party if it does not Lead Climate Action but appears to be delivering on actions that suit their less tolerant smaller worldview, which are more important to them than climate action.

    Many conservatives may individually be nice people, as long as you do not challenge their small worldview. And their local actions may be harmless to the future of humanity. But the current developed united conservative political groups are globally becoming a big problem for the future of humanity.

  36. 1.5 Degree Climate Limit: Small Number; Huge Consequences

    OPOF @17, I think we are basically in agreement, probably saying the same things in slightly different ways. 

    I have read Al Gores book The Assault on Reason (very good) and another book The Republican War on Science by Chris Mooney.

    Yes I noticed your comment on the bridge, and how it was a rejection of so called big government. I just agree this is crazy thinking. I would say none of us want an over bearing government that rules every aspect of our lives, but theres a simple obvious case to be made for governments providing 1) safety rules in some industries and 2) funding core infrastructure or at least planning the system (such as roading), as you obviously realise, maybe others just dont see it. Frankly anyone who doesn't get it is a bit of an ideological fanatic, or is letting their gut feelings and paranoias about government rule their intellects too much.

    I think the thing with government safety codes is they are very good and necessary, but can sometimes get a little out of control. Bureaucrats do sometimes try to build empires, but its really easy to have mechanisms in place to minimse this, so various auditing procedures and Asian countries sometimes do this really well, but for people still to be arguing whether governments should or should not have a role "in principle" is dark age thinking and so dumb, yet Americans do this.

    I agree anyone can be altruistic. It's a choice ultimately.

    I think the thing with conservatives is they are quite altrusitic with their local communities, or no more or less so than democrats, but are naturally tribal and suspicious of "foreigners" and also government programmes that promote altruism, and more so than liberals, so their altrusim doesn't extend so easily to foreigners and helping other countries. Its a suspicion of people who may appear to be different, or an unknown quantity so its understandable and not entirely wrong, yet this suspicion can so easily become an irrational fear and turn into prejudie and bigotry. But I would not see this suspicion of foreigners as a "fixed" state of mind or value. For example, in  NZ conservatives have (in the main) become big champions of immigration and multi culturalism.

    Likewise conservatives were very supportive of environmental regulations in the 1960's and 1970's but the small government thinking then gained ascendency with Reagon and the rest is history unfortunately.

  37. One Planet Only Forever at 03:07 AM on 22 October 2018
    1.5 Degree Climate Limit: Small Number; Huge Consequences


    Some of my reply to Evan relates to the points in your comment. There are few additional things to consider.

    In the bridge example, the local community was offered financial assistance to get a proper bridge. Those regional leaders appear to have been so dogmatic about 'smaller government is better government (less regulation of what can be done, less taxes collected and directed to public work, more local control is better)' that they refused to accept assistance that would 'impose things they did not want, on them' based on the belief that they 'knew better'.

    Reading "The Enigma of Reason" by Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber combined with Al Gore's "The Assault on Reason" is very enlightening.

    The belief that people 'know better' is what many psychology experiments and studies are confirming. People instinctively come up with reasons to defend a belief or preference they instinctively have. But the studies are also finding that every modern human develops a brain that is capable of evaluating the legitimate justification for their perceptions and impressions. Every human who is old enough - over 25 - has almost certainly developed a brain that can understand the need to evaluate their first impressions or developed preferences. Every human can learn to question their impressions, awareness and understanding. And that learning can undeniably happen after they have a fully developed brain for doing that.

    What I see, based on much recent reading and observations of how people respond to the IPCC reports, especially the most recent one, is that many of the developed socioeconomic-political systems have developed people who encourage other people to allow their selfishness to over-rule an ability to understand the need to correct what has developed. They encourage people to believe that they have the right to believe that they are right (the right to resist being corrected). The damaging ultimately unsustainable results are beliefs that are detrimental to the future of humanity developing popular support, resistance to the corrective actions identified by the Sustainable Development Goals. A related damaging development is the less deserving people being rewarded with wealth and popularity to the point where the society becomes ruled by harmful selfishness rather than altruism.

    Every human is capable of developing and understanding the importance of having altruism govern the way they think and what they choose to do. People who choose to be more selfish are 'making that choice'. They are not 'incapable of changing their mind'. They are unjustifiably choosing to excuse and defend that preference. Increasing that awareness and understanding is helpful.

    A lack of recognition and reward for people who try to correct incorrect beliefs (such as the treatment of scientists like Micheal Mann or political people like Al Gore by leadership/winners in the USA), is evidence of how unsustainably incorrectly developed a society has become (how far they have developed in the wrong direction, how much correction is required, how powerful the resistance to correction is).

    So I would encourage you to understand that what is being seen is not a sluggish response to long term threats. What is happening is the development of popular support for profitable harmful unsustainable activities due to a significant portion of a population being easily impressed to like to believe what they prefer to believe, to the point of powerfully resisting being corrected in spite of their innate human ability to altruistically evaluate the legitimacy of their developed preferences and impressions.

    Humanity has only ever advanced because of altruism governing what is done. When altruism is not governing what people do the advancement of humanity experiences a regrettable hiatus or a damaging set-back.

    There can be impressions of advancement from technological developments. But without altruism governing and limiting what can compete for popularity and profitability those technological developments, including any attempts to profitably or cheaply 'fix the climate change problem', will likely be harmful to the future of humanity. Those harmful beliefs that are detrimental to the sustainable advancement of humanity include beliefs that magical future fixes will be developed, and that unjustified belief can be used to excuse not correcting the incorrect ways of living that have developed.

    Being positive about the future of humanity does not include positively believing that the future generations will brilliantly magically fix the damaging results of unsustainable pursuits of selfish interests today. Today's generations always owe the future generations sustainable advancements, with no harm done to them, only sustainable improvements. That can be understood by everybody. Anything encouraging people to resist that understanding clearly needs to be corrected.

  38. One Planet Only Forever at 01:28 AM on 22 October 2018
    1.5 Degree Climate Limit: Small Number; Huge Consequences


    Some people will always try to get away with behaving less acceptably. And that attitude is encouraged to develop in socioeconomic-political systems where people compete to develop impressions of superiority relative to others, and a related desire to be free from restrictions imposed by others. They personally allow harmful selfishness to over-power the innate ability of every human to be thoughtfully altruistic. It is a choice they make, because their selfish desires are so desirable to them. And they seek any excuse to justify what they want rather than question the legitimacy of their strong developed desires.

    I would encourage you to understand that when risk of harm could occur, leadership of sustainable human societies have learned to accept the advice of experts. They impose regulations and legal mechanisms to force the general population to be governed and limited by 'experts'. Admittedly some will still try to get away with not being restricted or limited, but they would be limited and punished regardless of regional popularity or profitability.

    The bridge example is a curious case-in-point. Canada has had a national requirement for responsible Professional Engineers to be involved in the design and construction of every public-use bridge. Somehow, a regional authority was able to dismiss or discredit the advice of engineers and ended up with a near disaster that could have been avoided. There was no need for them to 'learn from experience'. And it appears they 'learned very little from the experience'.

    It will be interesting to see if the leaders of the Province of Saskatchewan are responsible and step in and force a proper bridge to be built. The current Saskatchewan leadership is one of those political groups that likes 'Freedom from Regulation', and uses that to excuse fighting against having Carbon reduction actions forced on them by the Federal Government of Canada (they are part of the group Ontario Premier Ford is rallying in opposition to the Federal imposition of Carbon Pricing on provinces that have failed to implement comparable measures.

    Any society or business that fails to develop responsible sustainable altruistic governing leadership will eventually fail (as the damaging reality becomes blatantly inexcusable). That understanding is critical, especially among the leaders and winners, for humanity to develop a sustainable future. Appreciating the need for leadership to ignore, and even argue powerfully against, the potentially easier paths to temporary regional popularity and profitability (appeals to greed and intolerance are very easy paths), is what needs to be developed in any society or business that wants to have a future. Altruistic restrictions on freedom are undeniably required (like regulation and legal requirements that force people to have more expensive bridges that are designed properly by experts).

  39. 1.5 Degree Climate Limit: Small Number; Huge Consequences

    OPOF @13, I don't disagree. The point I was making is we know from psychological research that humans respond more urgently to immediate threats (and often remarkably altrustically) but are sluggish at responding to long term threats, like the climate issue. Its just because of how we are evolved to escape natural predators. This helps explain why the response to the climate threat is sluggish.

    However this is not an excuse, and doesn't mean we have no response at all to long term threats, or are incapable of altrustic thinking on wider time frames. Clearly we do think long term in a hazy kind of way, some more focused and concerned than others. I suppose all we can do is encourage people to see the nature of long term threats and the right responses and the value of altruism. Many of our behavioural responses are sort of automatic and innate, but it appears they are not rigidly fixed either. I certainly think humanity is capable of more altruistic levels of thinking and ultimately it may be forced on us by circumstances, but it may take time to evolve.

    I think the bridge example is horrifying and  a classic example of short term misguided attempts to save a couple of dollars. Its the almightly dollar that is the biggest impediment to thinking long term.

    Anyone with brain knows that you need a geotechnical report for a bridge. Even just a house really needs at least a simple penetrometer test of soil bearing capacity that takes little time, and costs almost nothing.

    But people cut the most ridiculous corners due to money pressures. Its astionishing the risks that are taken. But it depends very much on who is in charge of the project, and their personal standards of integrity and their level of respect for safety codes, and in my observation such things vary a lot from individual to individual. Fortunately most people are reasonably responsible and near the middle of the bell curve, or far more bridges would be falling down!

    But this sort of failure simply isnt good enough. Safety codes and geotechnical resports are there for a reason and money must be found or consequences can be tragic.

    Listen to the experts. They have the training and a wide knowledge base that arm chair amatueus like city officials don't always have.

    Declaration of bias: I'm a design consultant :)

  40. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #42

    nigelj@4 I concur with your sentiments and your assessment. We have to keep pushing whereever and however we can. Carbon tax would be great!

  41. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #42

    Evan @3, well thanks! And I enjoy bouncing ideas off you and others.

    I try to be optimistic because we need hope, but my natural character is somewhat pessimistic and cynical.

    Yes kicking fossil fuels will not be easy. It is a form of addiction I think and people will ignore even the most obvious dangers when addicted. But people do give up addictions, and all we really need is enough people to give up to create forward momentum.

    I think a lot of different things have combined to make it hard to deal with the climate problem, but that is not a reason to give up trying. One of the main ones is no individual wants to take strong action unless they see everyone taking action so we have a sort of locked up situation, and its not actually economically rational to make huge self sacrifices if you are alone or in a minority. This is why I think something like carbon tax and dividend is important, because it pushes everyone at once, if that makes some sense.

  42. 1.5 Degree Climate Limit: Small Number; Huge Consequences

    OPOF@12 Thank you for your thoughtful response. When you write "... why people should listen to experts who tell them they need to pay more than they want to," this is an "ought to" kind of argument. My only point is that regardless of what people "ought to" do, my experience is that people must first experience first-hand bad effects before supporting costly intervention. Natural disasters lead to great resolve to better prepare, but if nothing is done within a year, the interest wanes, people feel secure again, and life goes on as before.

    There is no logic to why people ignore the experts: everytime we use our smart phones we have ample evidence of why we should trust scientists. Scientists really do know what they're talking about and society is full of examples of scientific successes. But people will always pay the least to get the most and put off as long as they can paying any bills they don't want to pay.

    It seems to me to be a tough nut to crack to figure out how to get people to listen to the scientists, other than waiting until a majority of people have experienced first-hand the ill effects of the warming planet.

    Fortunately there are coporations and municipalities that are making the right moves. We just have to keep spreading the word, talking about GW and CC, and keep pushing. We don't know what circumstances will move the public dialogue forward, so in the meantime we have to keep applying pressure so that when there is a move forward, our applied pressure will move the needle as far foward as possible. People are watching and reading the scientific community, and many will only have courage to act where there is a critical mass formed. Peer pressure works wonders both for restraining progress and for moving things forward.

  43. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #42

    nigelj@2 I always enjoy reading your responses and bouncing ideas off of you.

    I like your optimism, but what dampens my optimism is that a person can see evidence all over the place that smoking is dangerous to their health, but not be able to kick the habit for a variety of reasons. The evidence we have with personal behavior is that even when people perceive a clear and present danger of particular lifestyle choices, they persist in destructive habits for a variety of reasons. Kicking the fossil-fuel habit will not be easy. I state this emphatically, because whereas I perceive the dangers as you do, I know how hard it is for myself to change my lifestyle to comply with warnings of the IPCC.

    But we agree that we must keep pushing forward in the direction that the IPCC is laying out for us. There is no option but to push forward in that direction.

  44. One Planet Only Forever at 07:18 AM on 21 October 2018
    1.5 Degree Climate Limit: Small Number; Huge Consequences


    "We know from psychological research that humans are hardwired to respond with more psychological urgency to short term threats like a hurricane, than an insidious slow motion train wreck like climate change"

    I have read many recent books regarding the research that indicate that people will have an impulsive response to emergency, but can thoughtfully evaluate the legitimacy of their 'first-impression' 'gut-reaction'. Everyone has the capabiolity to be Altruistic. What they do is a 'choice', especially regarding climate science.

    When confronted with an immediate situation people can naturally react in the full range from: 'trying to be helpful to others at significant personal risk of harm' through 'trying to ignore what is happening' to 'running away screaming and trying to hide'. How each person responds 'in the moment' is their innate intuitive response. And that is not what is being discussed when discussing altruism or selfishness regarding 'responses to the improving awareness and understanding of climate science'.

    What is being discussed is the 'choices' people allow themselves to make when confronted with the climate science in a non-emergency condition, when there is time to reflect and consider how to respond.

    My point is that in non-dire-immediate-moment-emergency situations, people need to always govern their thoughts and actions thoughtfully altruistically when there is the potential for harm. Emergency responders are trained to be more altruistically helpful in such a situation than their basic nature would have them behave. They are also trained to keep themselves safe while putting themselves at risk to help others. They think first in an emergency. And surgeons also are trained to think about what they are doing when they respond to an emergency during surgery.

    That trained behaviour proves that humans can learn to be more altruistic, even to be willing to make a personal sacrifice, rather than allow First Impressions and Personal Intuitive Desires to rule.

  45. One Planet Only Forever at 07:12 AM on 21 October 2018
    1.5 Degree Climate Limit: Small Number; Huge Consequences

    Evan and nigelj,

    I have followed your discussion. One point made by Evan@5 needs more discussion related to non-profitable removal of CO2, or any other perceived loss of potential benefit by current day people if burning fossil fuels is made more expensive or is restricted.

    "But how do you demonstrate to the average voter that they should pay year after year to avoid a future that is only predicted in computer models and that they are not now experiencing?

    We have to first experience the future we are trying to avoid."

    The following CBC news item is about a bridge disaster in a region in Canada that is an example of why people should listen to experts who tell them they need to pay more than they want to, or have to do something they do not personally think they will benefit from.

    "Municipality where bridge collapsed opening day doesn't regret declining provincial cash for better bridge"

    Thankfully the bridge collapsed without injury or loss of life. It could have stayed standing until a loaded bus was crossing it. And experts using models and detailed understanding have successfully designed many bridges in Canada (and around te world) without learning from failures. And in cases of failures most cases are discovered to have been a failure to follow the instructions of the experts when building the bridge, or not listening to experts who advise that a bridge has deteriorated to the point of needing repair.

    Understanding the need to act to limit the harm to future generations is the fundamental requirement. That leads to understanding the need to accept the recommendations of experts, even if what the experts say is contrary to personal interests. People can only be free to ignore expert advice if they, and only they, will suffer any negative consequences.

    The learning from the response to climate science is that many developed socioeconomic-political systems have failed to ensure responsible leadership, leadership that would ensure that the entire population is properly educated about how to behave as a helpful part of a sustainable society. In fact, what can be seen is that some of the more supposedly developed nations have actually encouraged people to be less understanding of their responsibility to be helpful regarding the future of humanity.

  46. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #42

    Imho the new IPCC report on 1.5 degrees could turn out to be a damp fizzer with little impact. It is good science with a welcome sense of urgency, but I doubt it will have the impact hoped for, because numbers like 1.5 degrees, and 2 degrees and a difference of 100mm in sea level rise wont sound terribly dangerous to the average person. Regulars on this website understand the difference is serious, but others might not.

    I think equal attention needs to be placed on IPCC worst case scenario projections that warming could potentially reach about 12 degrees C by the year 2300 if we go on burning fossil fuels , because this number is genuinely scary and without needing too much detailed explanation of why. While we know people struggle with comprehending and responding to longer term issues, the year 2300 is just not that far away.

    I know the IPCC prefer to avoid long term time frames in case it creates a sense of complacency, and the modelling is less certain, but I think that is a mistake. You need to scare people with hard numbers like 12 degrees, and massive sea level rise, not things like 100mm of sea level rise and desperately hyping its significance.

    Happy to be criticised if you think I'm wrong.

  47. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #42

    I enjoyed and call attention to 'How A Viking Swimming With A Sheep Led To Climate Change Denial'.  It's a powerful reminder of how people who desperately wish something to be true (in this case, the Medieval Warm Period) will inflate any possible evidence into a 'proof'.  Apparently, it was recorded that in the 10th century, a Greenland Viking swam to a neighbor island to get a sheep, then swam back.  Clearly, the World was quite warm back then, because Greenland is the World.  Also, a 10th century book of Viking lore, which includes accounts of mermen giving prophecies, and witches luring fish into their baskets, should be taken literally as a serious account of Viking history. 

  48. 1.5 Degree Climate Limit: Small Number; Huge Consequences

    Evan @10, good summary. We know from psychological research that humans are hardwired to respond with more psychological urgency to  short term threats like a hurricane,  than an insidious slow motion train wreck like climate change, together with its political dimensions and vested corporate interests, but I would contend we are not helpless to deal with it either. Some people are futurist thinkers and can raise awareness and persuade as best they can.

    We clearly need emissions cuts otherwise negative emissions technologies would be forever running to catch up, at huge and unacceptable cost or land area would just be insufficient.

  49. 1.5 Degree Climate Limit: Small Number; Huge Consequences

    nigelj@9 I think you make a great point with your statement

    "And playing devils advocate, people might actually be more receptive to negative emissions projects because it means they dont have to make as many painful adjustments to their own lives." This still requires them to perceive the problem, but simply accept a more palatable solution.

    But we will likely need cuts plus negative emissions. 30 years of climate awareness and exponential growth in the renewable-energy sector and CO2 concentrations are still accelerating upwards with no indication of any slowdown. So far we are not yet slowing the increase of CO2.

  50. 1.5 Degree Climate Limit: Small Number; Huge Consequences

    nigelj@9 I agree with your points.Let me restate what you said the way I see it (not disagreeing here, just restating in a different manner).

    I think most people agree that we will not make real progress towards implementing negative emissions technologies until there is a sufficient acceptance of the bad effects of climate change that must be mitigated. I also think the hope of scientists is that from that point onwards that the climate plays nice so that we have a second chance to reign things in.

    Because you and I study climate change we are in a sense already living in the future, because the science we are reading about has taken us foward. You and I accept what the scientists are saying and we are already "feeling" the effects of climate change through our mental exercise of studying and writing about climate chance. But quite honestly, in Minnesota where I live, there are no real bad effects of climate change yet, so for me it is still something that does not affect me except through my intellectual study. And yet I fully acknowledge the desperate race we are in and the fact that we are out of time. I'm just afraid it's going to take a long time to get others on board.

    So my hope is that through the efforts of the people who understand the desperate situation (i.e., IPCC, climate scientists, progressive companies and individuals, SkS team members, etc.) we're in that we can buy enough time until a majority of voters get on board to start voting for real action. As you say, there's a perception problem. We must find ways to get people to perceive the problem.

    We must take people into the future for a glimpse of where the train is taking them. Maybe then they will properly perceive the problem.

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