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Comments 501 to 550:

  1. Conradin sakison at 02:53 AM on 13 February 2018
    The EPA debunked Administrator Pruitt’s latest climate misinformation

    There are three schools of thought.
    0 / There is no such thing as human caused global warming.

    1/ It can be cured by using the products of recent sunshine.

    2/ It can only be cured by using the products of ancient supernova catastrophes.

    There are people who think that the third option above, nuclear, can be "part" of the solution, along with what is popularly called "renewables", but a careful analysis shows that renewables of the solar origin sort, other than hydro when it has received sufficient H2O precipitation, is not at all dispatchable. Therefore it needs backup. If that backup is non-fossil, then it is Gen IV nuclear. If you have enough geothermal, hydro, and nuclear to meet peak demand, you gain nothing from intermittent renewables.

  2. Conradin sakison at 02:44 AM on 13 February 2018
    The EPA debunked Administrator Pruitt’s latest climate misinformation

    It's hard to see how to ignore the political nature of Administrator Pruitt's activities, but I'll confine myself to saying he's unscientific. James Hansen's analysis is conclusive, and see Alex Cannara on "the Evil Twin or Global Warming"

  3. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    The issue is more complex than it is presented.

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] In what way?

    [JH] Which "issue"?

  4. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    Bob Loblaw @ 50

    I am afraid I have to be in Calgary tomorrow on an oil and gas related venture so I cannot respond right now (light oil not heavy oil).  I think I have been very forthright about my business interests even if I am pretty well fully retired.

    But let us cut to the chase.  What per tonne carbon tax would you think would be reasonable to impose on the US at this time which would not have a significant economic impact?  You surely appreciate that a large carbon tax even if completely "refundable" would have massive economic impact on the US economy.

  5. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    It has been a busy weekend.... Others have commented, but as NorrisM has directly responded to my earlier post #23, I will weigh in again.

    NorrisM @ 31: " really think I agree with the uninformed and anti-science attitude of the Trump administration. "

    I really think that you have much more sympathy for some of their claims than they deserve. And that makes it more difficult to draw a clear line between what you think and what are clear "denier talking points".

    For example, you say "...if imposing such a charge would put the world economy into a tailspin."

    "A tailsipin" is a vague, unsupported assertion. You portray a division between jobs and the environment. A carbon tax with dividend does not remove money from the economy, nor does it move money from private to public hands - it just shifts who has it in private hands. As I stated before @23, allowing those who benefit from fossil fuel use to avoid the damage costs of using them (known in economics as an externality) is a transfer of wealth. A carbon tax (with dividend) reduces that externality. Average carbon users will break even - the dividend that they receive will pay for their extra costs of carbon-fuel-based goods. HIgh carbon users will pay more (and can probably easily afford it if they wish to continue to consume), and low carbon users will receive a benefit and will have more money to spend in general. All will have an incentive to use less carbon. How this equates to an economy in a "tailspin" is difficult for me to see.

    Most economic studies indicate that the "massive benefits" of fossil fuels will be outweighted by the costs in the future. It is the future that we worry about. Past benefits are not a result of future fossil fuel use. Future costs will arise from past fossil fuel use, and future costs will rise if future fossil fuel use is not reduced. Your tendency to handwave that away by referring to "economy into a tailspin" and similar rhetoric does not put you in a favourable light.

  6. So, why is two degrees the magic number?

    There was a discussion here at SkS a couple of years ago (I think) on the effect of a sudden complete cessation of all emissions.  Andy Skuce was involved in the discussion.  If I remember correctly, for several decades the inertia of the climate system roughly cancels the temperature drop one would expect.  So the temperature remains roughly constant — with some ups and downs — until it finally starts to decline in the next century.

  7. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    Perhaps changing peoples thinking ultimately changes their values, over time.

    "If people are going to admit that climate change is problem that is solvable by humans, then there needs to be strategies that work that dont involve an end to capitalism."

    Yes to that and for numerous reasons. If the world holds a conference on how to reform capitalism, my prediction is we will still be debating it in 50 years, exactly too long to be of any use in fixing the climate problem. And conservatives will blow a huge fuse.

    Capitalism will evolve and change anyway. ("Incrementally" of course). It always has, and didn't come as a complete package fully worked out at some point in history. 

  8. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #6

    Yes, removal is possible by several mechanism. Old tech is removing CO2 from industrial gas streams with amine solution. This is used to remove CO2 from natural gas for instance (eg at Kapuni for a close-to-home example). More radical methods have been pushed by Wally Broecker and particularly Klaus Lackner, see this for example. Cost and commitment are the big factors.

    Other schemes note that natural systems already absorb CO2 (eg plant more forest) and CO2 sequestration in oceans is dependent on Ca flux from silicates (the weathering thermostat). Theoretically you could mine and crush lots of Ca- bearing silicates and let weathering leach the Ca into ocean. I suspect you will find more discussion in the IPCC WG3 reports.

  9. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #6

    Is it possible to  remove CO2 directly out the atmosphere, and bury it? I'm no chemist, but at  a guess there would seem to be various pathways possible, involving sucking air through solutions, and converting CO2 to carbonate compounds etc.

    You could power the fans with solar power. However presumably it's a huge task, and would require massive numbers of instillations.

  10. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    In my liturgically conservative parish, famously liberal in everything else, deniers are very few. A dozen-or-so years ago, this was not the case. I have discretely investigated what got people to change their minds. Overwhelmingly, it has simply been seeing that among the more intellectual parishioners (there are three big universities in the area; the parish has a disproportionately large number of professors… and chefs), there was no climate denialism whatever. I should add that very few if any of the people thus "converted" were passionate deniers. Indeed, the passionate deniers continue to deny at least as passionately as ever. (Fortunately, their presence lacks the persuasive presence of the intellectual elite.)

  11. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    If you stick to thinking "naturally", then yes, we are all extremely prone to motivated reasoning  (scientists included) to support value-based predispistions based on upbringing and genetics. If that was the end of the story, science wouldnt exist. However, the practice of science (if not necessarily every scientist) has evolved to counter-act this problem. The critical thinking approach is at least an approach which a self-aware thinker can use to reduce their biases. If you ask most people whether they think a position should be determined by data or values, they will reply that of course their position is based on data (even if that turns out to be deceptive blog posts). If they are  honest and open enough (and any encounter with flat-earth society will make you realize that not everyone is) then they might be induced to try a more disciplined approach to evaluating a position.

    Broadly speaking, I think you can change a person's mind but not a person's values. Demanding that the only way to solve a problem is doing something deeply offensive to their value system and identity is going to be completely counter-productive. I think a lot of environmental activism has got mixed in with left-wing political positions to the detriment of the environment. If people are going to admit that climate change is problem that is solvable by humans, then there needs to be strategies that work that dont involve an end to capitalism.

  12. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #6

    Robert De Niro takes aim at US President Donald Trump's climate change policy.

    "Hollywood star Robert De Niro has taken aim at US President Donald Trump's stance on climate change, telling a packed audience in the Middle East that he was visiting from a "backward" country suffering from "temporary insanity".

    He said that in the country he was describing, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency suggested last week that global warming may be a good thing for humanity.

    "I am talking about my own country, the United States of America. We don't like to say we are a 'backward' country, so let's just say we're suffering from a case of temporary insanity,'' he added.

  13. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    chapeaured @15

    I think you are exactly right in all of that, and thank's for posting some detail on it. Here's some more published research on a genetic basis for liberalism and conservatism that I was reading some weeks ago.

    Having said that, while genetics  predisposes some people to xenophobia for example, the vast majority of people in my country including conservatives appear to have now become pretty supportive of multi cultural immigation. There has been a change in attitude over time with at least some conservatives, perhaps partly because they have seen these people are largely well behaved, self reliant, and largely hard working, values they admire. There is however a smaller group of conservatives who remain bitterly and totally opposed to "foreigners", and no evidence shifts their view.

    But the bottom line is we have to at least try to convince people of various things. The way to change attitudes is normally to find common ground and build on that, however this appears to have broken down in America recently. It hasn't however broken down in every country.

    However blaming conseratives or  liberals as a group for whatever problem will cause people to become defensive and even more entrenched and tribal. I think the focus still has to be on criticising a particular behaviour or faulty reasoning, even although this is hard going. But I'm interested if anyone disagrees, or has a better idea.

  14. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    There are major genetic constraints to critical thinking on topics like climate change. For 17 years starting in 1995, I tried to reason with a group of very conservative American foresters in an Internet discussion group called SAFNews that morphed into ForestryFocus. They argued that we have no significant environmental problems at all and that global warming was a hoax. I had assumed that climate change was real, but the conviction of this group took me aback. For about four years, I would look up their sources, and became convinced they were all wrong. Evidence that I would present on anthropogenic global warming only seemed to strengthen their conviction that it was a hoax. I am a very strong liberal and I had never med people like this. I found it very difficult to accept that one could not find a way to reason with these people. I tried every tactic I could think of. After 17 years of trying, I finally came to conclude that they were sincere in their belief and there was no way to change that.

    Then, about two years after giving up, I read “The Republican Brain” by Chris Mooney, and it explained what I had just experienced. The book summarizes peer reviewed research that found that there is a strong genetic influence on our political orientations and that strong conservatives are incapable of thinking rationally/critically/logically about issues that conflict with their conservative beliefs. Conservatives recognize correctly that if global warming were true, then, not only does it necessitate a role for government to intervene in the economy, but, horror of horrors, all the governments in the world need to collaborate together to solve the problem. So therefore, it can’t be true and global warming is a hoax. And the most incredible research finding of all is that it is the best educated conservatives who are the least capable of thinking critically about things that conflict with their beliefs. And there is no equivalence on the liberal side – it is the best educated liberals who are the most capable of thinking critically about things that disagree with their political beliefs.

    More recently, I read the book “Our Political Nature” by evolutionary anthropologist Avi Tuschman. It argues that our genes are responsible for just over half of our political orientations and it goes into what scientists believe the evolutionary selective factors were for our political orientations. Conservatives are genetically predisposed to be more xenophobic, have greater religiosity, to be more repressive of women’s rights, to be less concerned about fairness than liberals and to have a darker view towards human nature. One can clearly see this being played out on the national stage today.
    Roy Hagen

  15. Most of the last 10,000 years were warmer

    Understand too that if you want to blame greenland melt on geothermal activity, then you need to demonstrate a change in geothermal activity of an appropriate magnitude. That is not to say that higher than expected geothermal flux may be responsible for a mismatch between modelled and observed ice loss in parts of Northeast Greenland (eg see here ), but that is very different from postulating that a change in heat flux has occurred.

    The observed high heat flux is 0.093Wm-2. This is indeed high compared to a global average of 0.050Wm-2, but no indication that it has changed recently. Compare that to a global heat flux change of 3.7Wm-2 from doubling CO2 and you can see why geothermal is a bit player in ice melt.

  16. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    The whole idea of the Paris accord was to let countries decide their own way to limit emissions. Its just not practially plausible to get the whole world to agree on one way to limit emissions, for example carbon tax, emissions trading, command and control. Paris implicitly recognised this.

    We dont have the right to tell other countries how to run their economies so whether they have command and control or carbon taxes etcetera. We can only advocate our philosophical preferences, and hope to persuade them, but it would be wrong to manipulate the climate issue to try to somehow coerce them to take a particular position. The only exception might be if their preferred solution involved  life threatening human rights violations. 

    I'm a pragmatist as well on economic policy. Its a question of what makes sense in the specific circumstances, and I rule nothing out. Maintream economics says free market economies work best an are the preferred default option, but there is sometimes a definite place for command and control provided its used sparingly. This makes total sense to me.

    Simply having a police force is command and control, so free markets in a pure sense are a fiction anyway. The debate is about what to do in specific circumstances (hopefully on the basis of evidence) and I dont have much time for people who can't work this out. Obviously we should always be careful not to let government crowd out private sector solutions, but neither should we assume the private sector always has all the answers. Welcome to the real world of complexity.

    If one accepts a middle ground flexible economic philosophy of this kind, its a question of what is going to work best on the climate issue. This might actually be regulatory command and  control because of the limited time period we have. However because this is politically difficult to swallow,  at least as the main dominant mechanism, carbon taxes are the next best option, and Im totally happy with that.

  17. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #6

    Thanks as always for these.

    Something for next week's News Roundup?

    Climate Impacts From a Removal of Anthropogenic Aerosol Emissions


    “Limiting global warming to 1.5 or 2.0°C requires strong mitigation of anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Concurrently, emissions of anthropogenic aerosols will decline, due to coemission with GHG, and measures to improve air quality. However, the combined climate effect of GHG and aerosol emissions over the industrial era is poorly constrained. Here we show the climate impacts from removing present-day anthropogenic aerosol emissions and compare them to the impacts from moderate GHG-dominated global warming.

    Removing aerosols induces a global mean surface heating of 0.5–1.1°C, and precipitation increase of 2.0–4.6%. Extreme weather indices also increase.

    We find a higher sensitivity of extreme events to aerosol reductions, per degree of surface warming, in particular over the major aerosol emission regions. Under near-term warming, we find that regional climate change will depend strongly on the balance between aerosol and GHG forcing.”

  18. So, why is two degrees the magic number?


    I typed "how much will temperature rise if all fossil fuel usage stops" into GOOGLE and the first hit was this article from the Conversation.  It suggests that the temeprature would rise about 0.6C more before it levels out.   There are a lot of caveats. 

    As OPOF points out, land usage and agriculture also affect temperature.  I do not think the 0.6C number includes heating from decreased albeido due to meltig of ice sheets which takes a longer time frame.  This is about what I remembered from articles I have read before, although the linked article does not provide a link or a graph to support the claim. 

    Google found several more interesting articles.

  19. One Planet Only Forever at 03:03 AM on 12 February 2018
    So, why is two degrees the magic number?


    An evaluation of the global average temperature increase due to an immediate stopping of all fossil fuel burning does not "put a lower bound on the problem".

    Fossil fuel burning is only part of the human impacts that are producing increased GHG and resulting in increased global average surface temperature. And there is a range of climate sensitivity values that could be used for the evaluation. The detailed analysis comes down to a probabilistic evaluation through the various potential future realities (similar to the Monte Carlo financial analysis that is performed by companies to evaluate the probably outcomes of major investment opportunities).

    So doing an analysis of a hypothetical stopping of fossil fuel burning does not produce "a lower bound". Such a question may be analytically interesting, but it really would not establish anything meaningful.

    What needs to be changed and corrected in the current developed ways that humans live (particularly the biggest winners, the biggest consumers, the biggest impacting people), is presented in many sources including the IPCC reports. The presentations typically discuss the carbon budget, meaning the GHG impacts, that is still available before there is a a reasonable probability that the global average surface temperature would reach 2.0C.

    The focus of any discussion about what needs to be done should include the understanding that the current challenge is bigger because the biggest winners did not begin to responsibly behave better decades ago when the understanding of the needed changes/corrections of behaviour were very well established.

    Note that understanding is not determined by regional temporary popular opinion. And the actions of many of the biggest Winners to attempt to influence public opinion in favour of their understandably 'harmful to Others, particularly to future generations' Private Interest pursuits (understandable to the biggest winners that they had a lot to lose if the general population better understood the required corrections, and that they could gain benefit by misleading portions of the general population) is a major part of the problem they should be penalized for deliberately trying to make worse.

    There are legal cases developing (particularly in the New York region that includes the Stock Exchange where Team Trump are currently trying to get their preferred legal leaders in place) in the hopes of penalizing the real trouble making Winners at the top - the ones who are very well shielded from legal consequence - their best defence being denial of awareness of what was happening 'below them' that was undeniably very beneficial 'to them' - people who may try to claim that a particular expectation was unrealistic because things had already been pushed to a higher level of trouble 'by others' - people who would abuse an analysis of a calculated value of the global average surface temperature impact already created to claim it is unfair to 'expect them to not try to legally pursue maximizing their, and their investors, personal potential for benefit ' based on a 2.0C limit of total impacts (it is generally not illegal to mislead the general population, and the limited legal requirements for truth in product and services advertising do not apply to political advertising, but it is illegal to mislead investors). Those biggest winners likely knowing they are acting harmfully can also claim 'someone else should have to do more first - to be fair'.

    Hopefully that gives you reason to no longer care about the temperature expected if fossil fuel burning was stopped today, or tomorrow, or any other day. What is important is the understanding that the harmful impacts of burning fossil fuels needs to be ended far quicker than the games of popularity and profitability would end them. And the reluctance of people in the recent past to behave more responsibly has created an even bigger challenge today, with bigger loses required to be suffered by the ones who gambled more on getting away with not changing their minds and behaviour. They can be expected to perceive such personal loses as being 'unfair to them' but that is clearly an incorrect way of thinking about this matter. They need to be helped to better understand that.

    The climate science based understanding of a 2.0C limit (with the aspiration of rapidly correcting things to undo human impacts back down to a 1.5C level for the greater benefit of the future generations), accepted by all global leaders in the Paris Agreement, and the changes/corrections needed to have a good chance of achieving it, is what needs to be focused on, for many Good Reasons.

  20. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    Arguing that China needs a carbon tax is simply a variation of your opinion that capitalism is better than command economies. I agree but whether a carbon tax is effective in their existing political structure is something for the Chinese to decide. Democracies can also simply impose a moritortium on an new generation plants that carbon (as the NZ Clarke government did). Let the market decide how to meet future power needs. However, carbon tax advocacy is mostly trying for a solution that is acceptable to the political right where an ideological position limits government intervention to correcting externalities that the market does not cover. 

    I frankly have little time for ideological solutions unless they are also pragmatic. I'll back command solutions, moritoriums and carbon tax as all potentially effective ways to decarbonize an economy.

  21. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    NorrisM, moving off fossil fuels is necessary to avoid excessive adaption costs. If you do not agree that we can move off fossil fuels at the same rate as we increased our usage of them, then your argument from incrementalism is pure sophistry as michaell sweet was hinting at here.

  22. So, why is two degrees the magic number?

    One Planet @11.

    I agree with you.  However, my question remains unanswered.  Can you direct me to someone who may have run such an analysis?

  23. Most of the last 10,000 years were warmer

    Understand that underground geothermal activity is a small factor for a landmass the size of Greenland.

  24. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change


    Not "everyone in physics". von Jolly, who's main claim to fame was that he was Max Plank's professor is quoted as advising his student against physics as "in this field [physics] everything is already discovered, and all that remains is to fill a few holes"

  25. One Planet Only Forever at 10:26 AM on 11 February 2018
    So, why is two degrees the magic number?


    The understanding I am aware of is that, in addition to the rapid ending of the burning of fossil fuels, there will need to be actions taken that remove some the created excess CO2 from the atmosphere.

    Truly responsible leadership would push for that combination of actions to minimize the peak increase of global average surface temperature and rapidly bring the CO2 levels even lower than the 2.0C levels.

  26. Most of the last 10,000 years were warmer

    Greenland has been loozing a lot of its ice lately (2017-2018)

    Could it be because of this underground thermal activity.They do have nateral hot water pools in greenland.

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Link activated.

  27. So, why is two degrees the magic number?

    To put a lower bound on the problem, what is the expected temperature rise in 2100 IF if we were to stop all human produced greenhouse gas emissions RIGHT NOW right now? Has anyone plugged these conditions into their computer?

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] The use of all-caps constitutes shouting and is prohibited by the SkS Comments Policy. To emphasize a word or a sentence segment, please use bold font.

  28. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    Alchemyst @11

    Obviously a "consensus" is not 100% proof of an idea. However a consensus has considerable value, and  is more likely to be correct that the ravings of some ignoramus with limited intelligence in the local drinking house. Its also more likely to be correct than dozens of eccentric alternative theories. 

    Your Einsten example is a poor example. Everyone in physics knew that Newtons laws didn't explain everything, and that change was coming.

    I think it  comes down more to politics. Do governments look at the consensus, or the views of some eccentric when deciding policy? I think they have to go with the consensus. Perhaps there are exceptional circumstances otherwise sometimes, but there are none to suggest they should ignore the agw consensus. 

    A consensus also gives the general public an indication of what the majority of scientists are thinking, and this is necessary. One of the great frustrations in the climate debate is deceptive propoganda planted by climate denialists suggesting there is no consensus, or something like a 50 / 50  split. For this reason alone its important to highlight that a consensus exists. People are entitled to know the staus of things at least. 

    I personally think Muller is slightly more towards the healthy sceptic end of the spectrum, and was at least prepared to back himself. But lets face it, 90% of the scepticism directed at agw climate change is irrational, misleading, barking mad denialism.

  29. One Planet Only Forever at 07:56 AM on 11 February 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5


    Rereading comments in this string, and recalling previous strings, I have to ask if you understand, accept and support the need for the global impacts of human activity to be limited to a level that climate science indicates has a good chance of less than 2.0C increase of global average surface temperature above pre-industrial levels.

    If you disagree with that understanding, that all of the global leaders agreed was the proper understanding of what was needed to responsibly limit the harm done to future generations, please provide the 'substantial new climate science evidence' that was not part of the basis for the understanding and acceptance of the Paris Agreement. 'Substantial new climate science evidence' is the only thing that would justify changing such a decision (not the election of a different leader in the USA).

    I am not asking for an expession of a different belief or opinion. The Paris Agreement was a robustly based reasoned decision that, if anything, was an expression of a lower level of corrective action because of the reluctance of some of the participants to have to do more. That is why it includes the expectation that all parties will ratchet up their actions to responsibly and fairly achieve what is required (The belief/claim by the likes of Donald Trump that the Paris Agreement is unfair to their Tribe (sub-set of humanity) is 'the stuff that male cattle emit from their rear ends').

  30. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    sorry typo please delete "not a single " and replace with "every"

  31. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    Powell is appealing to authority. As a geologist he should know that befoe Wallace's and Darwin's papers were read the almost 100% view by the experts in the field (eg Owen) was that biological species do not change. His comments on Muller were completely unfounded and do not reflect history.

    By definition not a single revoltionary thought eg from Darwin, Galileo, Bohr and Einstein have always come by disagreemt with the consensus.

    "One of the great commandments of science is "Mistrust arguments from authorty". Too many such arguments have proved painfully wrong" - Sagan

    One Muller is worth 98 Powells 

  32. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #6

    "The plan may be contingent on the outcome of a March election, in which current South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill faces a challenge from a conservative candidate who opposes specifics of the plan, referring to it as a “reckless experiment.”

    I dont see why its called a "reckless experiment". The system could be modelled quite well, and only involves a relatively small number of homes, so the state as a whole is not likely to be critically reliant on the system. If it has problems, they have gas fired plant.

    Elon Musk has had huge successes with his cars, this space launch vehicle, and tesla power cells so he clearly knows what hes doing with technology. (He could however find a better factory manager).

    Opposition sure looks politically motivated.

  33. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    Recommended supplemental reading:

    Two days after the 2016 presidential election I found myself eavesdropping on Paul Lussier and a group of students at the Yale School of Forestry and the Environment as they discussed the future of climate science. The students feared that the things they held dear—renewable energy, sustainable development, ecological conservation (and no doubt their careers)—would be derailed by Donald Trump, who has expressed skepticism about climate change.

    I listened as Lussier, who directs the Yale Science Communications with Impact Network, reminded them how researchers, businesspeople, policymakers, and media can work together to inspire action around climate change, regardless of the government’s stance on the issue.

    The following is an edited version of our conversation.

    On the Side of Climate Solutions: An Interview with Paul Lussier by Catherine Halley, JSTOR Daily, Feb 7, 2018

  34. One Planet Only Forever at 01:45 AM on 11 February 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5


    The continued increase of burning of fossil fuels has occurred 'Because the understandably unacceptable activity can be gotten away with in the fatally flawed developed socio-economic-political games people play'.

    Correcting the incorrect developments is what is required. Believing there is a way to get things corrected without changing the game/system that the incorrect things developed in is a Fool's Game.

  35. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    knaugle @1 Funny you should mention The Hidden Brain, my wife is a big fan of Vedantum's podcast and is currently reading that book. I might have to read it next.

    Tadaaa @3 I agree with nigel, Metabunk looks very interesting.

    I originally had included Bob Inglis in this blogpost but I felt it was getting a bit too long so I edited him out. Here is a good Yale360 interview with him. As you noted, he too was persuaded by evidence (ice core info from Antarctica) but another thing which moved him was his voters, specifically the voters in his own family! Perhaps there's some hope in that fact: politicians do have to answer to their voters, and ideally they should listen to their constituents, so that gives us some "power" to influence them. Although in reality that power is pretty "soft" when compared to the power which their major donors have over them (for example, the Koch brothers).

    Another example which didn't make the cut is Dave Titley, former US Navy Admiral. Peter Sinclair has a good video of him describing his "conversion" .

  36. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5


    I think we can take NorrisM@40 as being a "No".

    Of course, I would also answer "No" because I would at first consider reducing-FF-use  as a 1-to-1 proxy for reducing-FF-emissions. In that circumstance, reducing FF use at the same rate as they increased would result in 350Gt(C) of CO2 emissions by 2100, a figure which doesn't include any LUC or cement CO2 emissions and which on its own is well above the remaining budget set out in IPCC AR5 Synthesis Report Table 2.2. The central values set out in T2.2 were a post-2011 budget for 1.5ºC of 550Gt(CO2) (or 90Gt(C) post-2017) and a post-2011 budget for 2ºC of 1300Gt(CO2) (or 190Gt(C) post-2017).

  37. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5


    I just want to clarify I think western governments should allow electricity companies to make the precise choices on what forms of renewable energy they use, and I'm using the term renewable energy reasonably widely here. Government should set the market rules and  a few key goals,  implemement carbon taxes, and then let the market do its thing. 

    I think China will go its own way on how it implements renewable energy. There would as you say be some sense in them at least having a carbon price, but  they have a kind of a more government heavy economy, and it may just be inevitable that they make use of that in their own way. Things aren't black and white economically and politically. China is a hugely culturally diverse country of a billion people, and might have been hard to unite without an element of autocracy, although I personally prefer democratic government.

    Fwiw I support practical mixed economies, with large private sectors, but the state provides services where the market doesn't do an adequate or equitable job. Ideally I think China should evolve towards this direction. It is a bit too government heavy.

    I agree a revenue neutral carbon tax is good for the reasons you say. It also makes sense because it maintains the operation of market forces. However if the world doesn't get on with things like this, and if climate change were to become abrupt and highly dangerous, command and control in some form will be the only remaining option. So if you and people like Scott Pruitt value free markets, think about that.

  38. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    nigelj @ 37

    "All the renewable energy policies and carbon tax propoals being realistically considered are incremental anyway, so I don't know why you are criticicing them as not being incremental."

    I completely agree with the first part of this sentence so I don't know why you think I have criticized them.  But I do think that we should let the market make these decisions after placing a cost on fossil fuels.  Unless we are talking about major infrastructure projects or research and development, I do not trust governments to spend our money wisely.  

  39. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    scaddenp @ 33

    Obviously the reason fossil fuel use has increased relates to the increased demand by the world for energy so I do not think you can simply say that fossil fuel consumption has to decrease at the same rate it has increased.  There is no logical connection between the two. 

    I think placing a cost on fossil fuels in the form of a neutral carbon tax (by neutral I mean one which is either refunded to the populace by dividend or, as in British Columbia, replaces other tax revenue sources) is the form of incrementalism that I have in mind.  This incrementalism is already happening.  I highly doubt that new coal plants would have any chance of being funded in the marketplace and the old ones are being displaced by lower operational cost alternatives like natural gas, wind and solar.

    I do not agree with nigelj's comments that countries like China with command economies should not "price" carbon costs into the economic system. 

    Placing a cost on fossil fuels will allow other technologies to compete and new ones to come into existence.  The problem with command economies (or partial command economies like China) has always been that they always get it wrong on what to produce.  Let the market decide. 

  40. One Planet Only Forever at 09:48 AM on 10 February 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5


    A supplement to my comment at 38. The people benefiting from an activity that is potentially or actually creating negative consequences for Others do not get to determine the acceptability of what they are doing. All of the Others being fully informed and thoroughly understanding the negative impacts are the ones to determine acceptability or acceptable compensation.

    For actions related to climate science it is clear that it is all members of future generations (and the negatively affected portuions of today's global population) who are to determine the acceptability of what is being done. The problem is clearly the lack of foresight by leaders today to properly act in ways that will result in future generations (and all the others in today's generation) being pleased with the developed results.

  41. One Planet Only Forever at 09:18 AM on 10 February 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5


    I agree that the most helpful actions are efforts to raise awareness and improve understanding of real reality.

    That means climate scientists continue pursuing new awareness and developing improved understanding of what is going on. They do need to try to understand why the challenges to increased public awareness and understanding of what they are learning. But they should not apply the 'misleading marketing lessons' they learn have been successfully used against their efforts to improve public awareness and understanding.

    It also means directly calling an activity that is beneficial to the ones benefiting from it but harmful to others an 'uncategorically unacceptable activity'. And that includes calling the continued efforts by already rich people to try to get more benefit from the burning of fossil fuels, including their efforts to discredit climate science, unacceptable - especially since the late 1960s. Before the 1960s it may be possible to legitimately claim that those rich people just didn't know better. But the added climate science awareness and understanding in every decade since the 1960s has further reduced the potential to excuse any wealthy person or person in a position of power who tries to claim they were not aware of the unacceptability of the burning of fossil fuels. And at some point in the recent past, maybe about the time of the Kyoto Accord, it became almost unbelievable that any wealthy or powerful person could legitimately claim to be unaware of the unacceptability of already fortunate people trying to benefit even more from the burning of fossil fuels.

  42. Climate change is increasing flood risks in Europe

    Michael Sweet:

    I didn’t cite Hansen et al estimate of SLR but rather their prediction of cooling in NW and central Europe. But since you mention it, when it comes to a choice between Hansen et al and 5AR, Hansen gets my vote every time.

    River flooding can be caused by SLR, glacier melt or precipitation. By 2100 it seems likely that SLR and precipitation will be the main culprits since ice mass loss from glaciers might be expected to slow due to cooling predicted by Hansen.

    The problem I have with the 5AR prediction is that it is widely accepted by Local, State and Federal Governments as the basis on which they zone land and permit building. The result is likely to be that, within 100 years land and buildings could be under several metres of water, giving rise to the question of public liability.

    It also enables Governments to ignore what is likely to prove a very real threat to existing infratsructure on which entire economies - and populations - rely for their survival. 

  43. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    Norris M @31

    "I think our major disagreement is at what level should a carbon tax in the world be imposed. As much as you could argue that certain costs from rising sea levels could be directly attributed to fossil fuels it hardly matters if imposing such a charge would put the world economy into a tailspin."

    I dont see the need for endless prevarication on the issue. America should just implement just a relatively modest carbon tax, as long as its not ridiculously modest, and the economy is not going to collapse. Some other countries have already implemented carbon taxes, and not one economy has collapsed, or even had any negative effects. The best approach is carbon tax and dividend because its going to have the lowest risk of causing any abrupt negative economic reaction.

    "As well, when you reach too far into the "costs" of fossil fuels worldwide, at what point do you have to offset those "costs" with the massive benefits that fossil fuels have provided to humanity over the last 200 years? I wonder whether the lawyers filing defences to these actions by cities in the US against large oil companies for the damages arising out of sea rise levels will raise this. I suspect not because they just want the actions thrown out of court. But some judge might want to comment on this."

    The actions against fossil fuel companies appear to be that they hid evidence of climate change, not that fossil fuels are evil, so your comment is a red herring.

    All academics and climate scientists considering the climate issue are perfectly aware fossil fuels have had benefits. I dont know why you think they don't know this. Studies factor in benefits.

    All the renewable energy policies and carbon tax propoals being realistically considered are incremental anyway, so I don't know why you  are criticicing them as not being incremental.

  44. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    NorrisM @30, I dont think a carbon tax is all that relevent to China. Basically they are a dictatorship, but fortunately a relatively benevolent one, and in many ways China is still a command and control economy. 

    So if China want to reduce emissions, all Xi Jin Ping has to do is order coal plants closed, and order companies to sell electric cars and so on. Western democracies operate a bit differently.

  45. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    One Planet Only Forever @29

    Yes that is interesting and compelling about unite the right, and consistent with what I see in NZ with the behaviour of the right wing's attempts to pull various groups together, although fortunately its just not nearly as powerful as in America and Canada. We are largely a country of boring moderates, and long may it remain that way.

    "They (unite the right) oppose any changes that would reduce their ability to development of perceptions of economic/financial superiority compared to others. "

    Yes, and they are driven so strongly by their desires to be at the top of the pecking order materialistically that all else becomes sacrificed. They are slaves to their biological drives and emotions of the short term, while hypocritically blaming others for being slaves to other forms of addiction.

    "They like people who have anxieties that are easy to trigger as long as they can get many of those triggered anxious people to 'vote for/with them'."

    The unite the right right manipulate anxieties with arguments to emotion and prejudice, while the left are trying to take an evidence and rational argument based approach. Unite the right play a dirty game, and also use clickbait as much as possible.

    However the left get lost in details and nuance, and lack a simple clear agenda at times. However its challenging, because the answers to todays problems are often complex, so over simplified messaging is a problem as well. But the bottom line is it would be a mistake I think for scientists and moderates to start using manipulative fear mongering, and to start playing unit the rights own rhetorical game.

    "They are correctly certain that their chance of Winning Their Private Interest increases if the agree to, or do not caring that they, support other unacceptable Private Interests."

    Yes, however this process of compromise will hopefully eventually become unplatable, and will tear them apart. In a similar way The White House is in turmoil. Also on a related matter, how far can the RC in America compromise its own beliefs? Right now they have trashed their beliefs in fiscal responsibility, freedom of the press, and any shred of a science based or even a commonsense approach to environmental legislation. They have sold their soul for what? A tax cut that is clearly excessive and not properly funded,  and which has caused the stock market to crash, and has locked in probable interest rate rises. Genius, not.

  46. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    "In the end fossil fuels will run out and we will be forced to use renewable energy.'

    Yes, and this may happen sooner than we think. British petroleum says we have 50 years of oil left, on the basis of known reserves and current rates of consumption. More oil will be discovered of course, but new discoveries have been dropping for decades now. I would hazard a reasonable guess that only 100 years are left.

    Its similar with coal, estimate are that 100 - 200 years of coal are left.

    All these estimates are on current rates of consumption and take no account of population growth. So those 100 year estimates may well be optimistic.

    And the point is 100 years is nothing in terms of human time scales. Renewable energy is inevitable sooner than we think, and so now is as good a time as any, especially considering the climate problem . By the time countries like India and Africa, start developing serious electricity grids at scale, coal prices will probabaly be increasing, even if there was no climate issue to consider.

  47. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    NorrisM, based on your 'incrementalism', can we assume you are comfortable with FF consumption being reduced at same rate as it increased?

  48. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    I started out believing in agw climate change, then went through a brief sceptical period after seeing some sceptical movie, can't remember the name, then went back to believing in the mainstream position after looking more closely at all sides of the issue. It wasn't one thing that convinced me really, although understanding solar trends was important.

    Moncton drives me insane, but is presumably quite well educated. Its a mystery to me whether he really believes the "insignificant trace gas" theory, or it's just deliberate stupidity, or maybe hes just talked himself into it.

    But there are just so many obvious examples of very small quantities having profound impacts, such as certain toxins, and semiconductor physics. But it appears a lot of people struggle with this concept.

    Yes peer reviewed science is not perfect, but nobody has a better alternative as you say. Individuals and governments must go with the mainstream, weight of peer reviewed evidence, even if it sometimes turns out to be wrong, which is not actually very often. The only alternative is gut instincts and conspiracy theories, which will be wrong a great deal more of the time. Anyway, the climate issue has been researched in vastly more depth than most scientific issues, like for example the saturated fats issue where a lot of reliance was put on a couple of poor quality, ancient studies.

    I agree about climategate. Private emails from other organisations would probably be much the same or worse. In fact, what surprised me about climategate is how little of substance was revealed. It actually convinced me more that scientists could be trusted. 

    But it all hinged around the "hide the decline" email. This looked really bad from the general publics point of view, and has set things back in terms of winning over the public. I knew roughly what was meant by that, and it as a legitimate technical term, not meaning literally manipulate the evidence, but the general public would not know, and trying to then explain "after the event" sounds defensive and like a convenient excuse, even although it isn't. Someone in politics said that "explaining is losing". Of course this is a rash generalisation and not literally true, but you would understand his point.

  49. One Planet Only Forever at 05:05 AM on 10 February 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5


    Kyoto and the Paris Agreement both include the clear expectation that after responsible leadership toward sustainable energy is shown by the already well-developed nations, the developing nations like China and India, would follow that leadership (and be assisted by the already 'better-off'.

    Many of the wealthy in the USA in particular decided not to do that, not to responsibly lead the correction of energy sourcing.

    So the real question should be, what will it take for the USA to collectively act Responsibly in the interest of improving the future for global humanity?

  50. It's the sun

    Recommended supplemental reading:

    Reduced Energy from the Sun Might Occur by Mid-century; Now Scientists Know by How Much, News, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Feb 5, 2018

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