Climate Science Glossary

Term Lookup

Enter a term in the search box to find its definition.


Use the controls in the far right panel to increase or decrease the number of terms automatically displayed (or to completely turn that feature off).

Term Lookup


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.

Home Arguments Software Resources Comments The Consensus Project Translations About Donate

Twitter Facebook YouTube Pinterest

RSS Posts RSS Comments Email Subscribe

Climate's changed before
It's the sun
It's not bad
There is no consensus
It's cooling
Models are unreliable
Temp record is unreliable
Animals and plants can adapt
It hasn't warmed since 1998
Antarctica is gaining ice
View All Arguments...

Keep me logged in
New? Register here
Forgot your password?

Latest Posts


Climate Hustle

Recent Comments

Prev  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  Next

Comments 501 to 550:

  1. Book Review: A Global Warming Primer, by Jeffrey Bennett

    All solutions to the climate problem probably have to work within the framework of a market economy, because this is only going to change structurally quite slowly. Unless it suddenly self destructs or something.

    Carbon tax and dividend has the virtue of least negative impact on how markets work. It could be the main tool, but it seems unlikely that it would be the only tool.

    There are other things we can do to make markets work better. Profits and economic growth don't recognise environmental damage, yet they are the main numbers we have when evaluating companies or state agencies.

    We should develop an environmental index or rating of some kind and apply it to companies and other organisations. Some business organisations do this and a state agency could do it more comprehensively. Such an agency could be somewhat independent of government. However it needs to be robust and not just greenwashing.

    This would make performance open and transparent and could help consumers make choices, and push executives into making better environmental decisions. 

  2. One Planet Only Forever at 14:56 PM on 18 July 2018
    Book Review: A Global Warming Primer, by Jeffrey Bennett

    The solution starts with collectively admitting that it is unacceptable to create negative consequences for others, especially for future generations, no mater how popular and profitable an activity is or could be for a portion of current day humanity.

    Without that admission, what develops to replace fossil fuel burning could also be unsustainable and harmful.

    A carbon tax is only part of the solution. And it will not get the required correction to occur as rapidly as needed to limit and correct for the negative future consequences.

    A carbon tax simply makes it more expensive to burn fossil fuels than getting energy alternative ways.

    The majority of the population will end up with a significantly larger portion of their income needing to be spent on energy or retro-fits/replacements of their existing material things to reduce energy needs.

    The richer minority will be relatively unaffected. The increased energy cost will be a tiny factor. And it is typically the richest who consume the most, including energy. The richest can afford to behave better, and should be required to behave better to maintain their status relative to others. Getting them to lead by becoming totally carbon neutral super-low consumers first will not happen through a carbon tax. A carbon tax will also not discourage the richer people from pursuing profit from fossil fuel burning.

    A more effective solution would be to require the richest and the winners of leadership to be more ethically altruistic, to truly justify that they deserve to be Winners or Leaders. If they fail to act more ethically altruistically than their peers, or those of lower status than them, then they deserve to be taken down a notch, through legal means based on their failure to be more helpful, ethical and altruistic.

  3. Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    A carbon tax is certainly one way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions but it is only practical if applied by all emitters, preferably at a uniform rate. How is that to be achieved? And how many years/decades would it take to achieve global agreement on the rate and date of application?

    Other approaches are to adopt measures which reduce demand for fossil fuels by making products of fossil fuels less attractive to consumers of electricity, transport and machine operation.

    This has begun and is likely to progress rapidly over the next decade with development of ability to generate and store energy more cheaply from renewable sources and improved battery/hydro storage.

  4. One Planet Only Forever at 14:19 PM on 18 July 2018
    Book Review: A Global Warming Primer, by Jeffrey Bennett

    I have some thoughts to share regarding the faith in the marketplace to produce good results (or faith in leaders/winners to produce Good Results). These thoughts are a work in progress, open to being revised for Good Reasons (not for poor excuses).

    It is essential to encourage people to have helpful good reasons for liking what they like and doing what they do. The marketplace competitions for popularity and profitability do not do that very well. In fact, with passion triggering marketing, the marketplace can powerfully encourage the opposite to develop.

    Allowing everyone to be freer to believe whatever they want and do as they please can develop serious problems. The success of misleading marketing encouraging people to be more selfish (egoist) and less ethical (less altruistic) is a serious problem. Many people are easily tempted to be primitively defensive and selfish rather than 'thoughtfully increasing their awareness and understanding to considerately ethically altruistically self-limit their behaviour'.

    When stepping beyond the efforts to increase awareness and understanding of what is going on regarding climate science, I strongly caution people to carefully qualify suggestions that the marketplace can provide solutions (even if externally increasing the marketplace price of something will undeniably reduce its popularity relative to alternatives).

    Caution: Freedom needs to be qualified by being inextricably linked to the responsibility to be as aware and understanding as possible and to strive to help develop sustainable improvements for others, help achieve (or improve) the Sustainable Development Goals - all of them.

    Warning: A true believer in the power of the free market will not accept that any external influence is required. Their belief is that the free market will produce a good result if it is completely free from 'external meddling'. That, of course, leads to the thorny bit about 'externalities being understood to be ignored by the free market'. To a free market purist, 'the development of a sustainable better future for all of humanity' will naturally be achieved if everyone is freer to do as they please in the market. They believe that Developing Good Results is intrinsic to free market competition. That is a dogmatic belief and is clearly not supported by the developed evidence. The reality of all the damaging developments of the market have to be twisted into something that can be blamed on something like 'external influences trying to choose winners'.

    'Appearing to be a winner of a competition' is not the same as 'deserving to be a winner based on a detailed evaluation of the actions that led to their winning, as well as their actions after they won, to confirm the helpful ethical legitimacy of the apparent winner'.

    Freedom must be governed or limited by ethically science-minded altruism (Good Reasoning - thoughtful consideration of how to help, not harm, others based on pursuing increased awareness and understanding of what is actually going on). Freedom that is not governed by helpful science-minded ethical altruism Will develop damaging results.

    Undeniably, there needs to be diligent effort to ensure that everyone is behaving helpfully, with rule of law being governed by helping to sustainably improve the future for all of humanity.

    The ideal would be for everyone to be ethically altruistically self-governing or self-limiting with the result being no need for laws or enforcement. It would be a society with Plato's philosopher kings as leaders succeeding in helping everybody else become philosopher kings. It would be a society that took heed of John Stuart Mill's warning in “On Liberty”; “If society lets a considerable number of its members grow up mere children, incapable of being acted on by rational consideration of distant motives, society has itself to blame for the consequences.”

    That ideal will never be the reality. What has developed, primarily because of freedom of people to get away with unethical harmful actions was bluntly observed in the 1987 UN Report “Our Common Future”. That report unflinchingly and accurately declared the type of winners and leaders that were developing. I para-phrase the point as follows - Damaging Winners/Leaders act as they do because they have the freedom to get away with it: the people that their actions harm, especially the future generations, do not vote; they have no political or financial power; they cannot challenge the decisions of the unethical winners/leaders; they have to suffer the consequences while the unethical winners enjoy the spoils of victory, enjoy benefiting from actions that ruin things for Other people who the undeserving winners have little reason to fear retaliation from.

    And an insidious part of freedom is the way that it can actually amplify the magnitude of damage done by unethical winners. Exposing the unacceptability of the actions of the undeserving winners is not enough (Read Naomi Klein's No is not Enough). By winning wealth and power they can influence the making-up and enforce of rules 'in their favour'. They can reduce the limits on unethical behaviour. And they can abuse the law to discourage or punish ethical altruistic attempts to help other people become more aware and understanding of the importance of being helpfully ethically altruistic.

    And unacceptable developed results of less ethical people winning can also harden the unethical behaviour. It can develop authoritarian police states or abuse the power of misleading marketing that tempts people to be primitively selfish. Either result develops unjustified popularity and profitability of understandably unsustainable and harmful activity and makes it more difficult to correct the damaging development.

    People develop their ways of thinking and resulting actions based on their inherent characteristics modified by what they experience and learn from. People can become more Selfishly Conniving (Harmful) or more Altruistically Wiser (Helpful).

    The attitudes people develop will be influenced by the environment they develop in. The ability to be better informed and understanding of what is going on is inherent in everyone. Only the most desperate and poorest have an excuse for acting unacceptably (and they can be helped to learn to be better, to become philosopher kings). Everyone else chooses their developed attitudes beliefs and actions. And what they do based on that knowledge is also 'their choice'. They can choose to be helpful or harmful. And the ones choosing to be harmful often try to develop excuse to justify their choice. One of their best excuses is to claim that winners simply deserve to be winners - Done. Their next axiom, the fall back if their first claim is not convincing enough for them to win, is that what they want has to be considered. If they do not have the power to do as they please they will demand that what is understandably helpful has to be compromised (harmed) by 'considering' their interests 'in order to be fair to them'. And they may consider anything other than fully winning their way to be unfair to them.

    The results of Freedom can be Helpfully Altruistic or Harmfully Selfish. It all depends on what Wins. Injustice or Justice can win in any system. An authoritarian dictatorship can be ruled by a philosopher king or a despot. And either of those can also win the leadership in a democracy. And helpful or harmful business activity (pursuits of popularity and profitability) can win in the free market or communism.

    A key is the potential for success of passion triggering appeals (harmful misleading marketing) that can encourage individuals to allow the dogmatic adoption of understandably harmful primal interests to over-power their potential to helpfully thoughtfully consider what should be done. If enough individuals develop a united front pursuing a diversity of unacceptable interests, the result will be a diversity of injustices. The harm done by those damaging collectives need to be limited by the development of an over-powering collective governed by altruistic desires to correct the injustices and achieve and improve on all of the Sustainable Development Goals.

  5. Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    Returning the money per capita instead of per emissions means that if you use less carbon than average, then you are actually on the make. That is a more powerful incentive to reduce carbon than just paying more your petrol.

  6. Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    >>The modeling studies consistently found that for all four carbon tax policies considered, whether the revenue is returned via rebate checks of by offsetting income taxes, the direct economic impact is minimal:<<

    As one or two comments above, I cannot for the life of me see the logic here.

    Taxes are (or should be) a means of collecting revenue. Carbon taxes, however organised, are different: they should be, if you like, "punishment" for producing emissions. Returning the cash to the end user in any way reduces or eliminates this argument.

    I wish those advocating carbon taxes would be honest about it, and affirm that they are there to deliberately make your emissions more expensive - there's no point otherwise.

  7. Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    I may have indeed misinterpreted Jef's comment. My apologies if this was so.

  8. SkS Analogy 13 - Water glasses and Greenhouse gases

    I found it confusing for me reading an analogy followed by the physical laws when normally its around the other way around. But the analogy is good and the article is very clear.

    I would suggest a link to the CC equation for us non physicists to examine or to refresh memories. Although its easily googled, so It's  not a big issue.

    Another related point is CO2 stays in the atmosphere for ages while water vapour has a short residence time, another reason why CO2 is regarded as the control knob.

  9. Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    I took a different message from Jef's statement. I think hes saying many useful things we want to do push up costs at least in the short term, but this doesn't make them the wrong things to do.

    I think we just have to be philosophical and accept this, and of minimise costs as much as possible. It's clear carbon capture and storage has a cost for example, that it would be foolish to try to hide. However renewable energy is already cheaper than fossil fuels in many locations.

    Maybe I'm missinterpreting him, it wasn't too clear to me.

  10. Book Review: A Global Warming Primer, by Jeffrey Bennett

    David, Daniel — Thanks so much for reviewing my book!

    As to the footnote issue in the online version: Thanks for calling my attention to it. We now have them working again, though it's a mystery as to how they stopped working previously. 

    Jeff Bennett (

  11. Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy


    sounds also like an argument from special interests who want to get their hands on the revenue or (e.g. local politicians) who would enjoy giving it away to their pals for whatever green thing they want

    but a moment's reflection reveals that the net benefit to those who receive dividends = (1) the dividends minus (2) the extra costs they pay because everything costs more, especially things with high embedded carbon: surely, then, they can figure out that maximum benefit will be realised by minimizing (2), i.e. minimizing purchases of everything, especially stuff with higher embedded carbon

    it might also arise from a confusion about how much dividend each individual gets, i.e. supposing it is proportional to what they spend on carbon goods, not, as is correct, an equal amount, regardless of their consumption 

  12. michael sweet at 00:47 AM on 18 July 2018
    Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy


    I have only heard that argument from opponents of a carbon fee an dividend.  It seems uneconomic to me to suppose people will spend more for energy to hope their dividend goes up.  Since most energy is used by industry and the dividends go to individuals, the big users have no incentive to use more fossil fuel.

  13. Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    I've read arguments that returning carbon-tax dividends as rebates to taxpayers is problematic because it creates a perverse incentive to keep carbon emissions high (so that the rebates also remain high).  

    What do people think of this? 

  14. michael sweet at 18:46 PM on 17 July 2018
    Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy


    I notice that you link no "comprehensive studies" that claim it is more expensive to use renewable energy.  They exist only in your imigination. 

    Fortunately, all of the comprehensive studies like this  and this have found that it is much cheaper to use renewable energy.  They find that we will all be healthier, energy will be cheaper and the trillions of dollars of damages from climate change can be avoided using technologies that already exist.

    You have just spouted the fossil fuel line.  They have no supporting studies.  Are you a bot for a denier think tank funded by the fossil fuel industry?  If you read the comprehensive studies you will find out that we can implement a solution immediately and start saving money.

  15. citizenschallenge at 13:44 PM on 17 July 2018
    Antarctica is gaining ice

    Daniel Bailey, thanks for that summary, that was helpful.

    Moderator Response:

    [DB]  You're very welcome!  I added some additional sources and explanatory texts to my comment above.

  16. Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    Why increase the price of everything? The logical response to higher cost of goods embodying a carbon tax is move to goods that are untaxed. Just dropping the subsidies on FF would obviously increase the cost to consumer of FF, but you are currently paying for it anyway via taxes.

    If you dont think the Stanford EMF model is correct, then what is the error in their model?

    Furthermore, climate change is not free - look at your insurance premiums and expect it to get a lot worse if there isnt an effective policy to reduce carbon emisions.

  17. Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    Comprehensive study: Increasing the price of absolutely everything won't hamper the economy.

    There, I made it more honest for you. Oh and .....WRONG!

    Same thing is true with carbon capture.

    Same thing is true with recycling.

    Same thing is true with "renewable energy".

    Same thing is true with Permaculture.

    Samething is true with Localization.

    I can go on and on but the point is that everything that we need to do that is "good" increases the cost, particularly because it can only happen if finance/capitalism makes it happen which doubles the cost of everything.

    Even the most important thing we could to do, the one and only thing that will make a difference, DO LESS! makes everything way more expensive.

  18. Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    This study looks at economic history to try to find a statistically significant correlation between changes to tax rates and changes to economic growth, and only finds a very weak correlation at best.

    My understanding is taxes are bad for the economy if they reduce innovation and push too many funds towards the services sector, but carbon tax and dividend would do the exact opposite, by generating innovation and mainly in the industrial, energy and transport sectors. Perhaps it would lead to a construction energy boom analogous to the New Deal in the 1930's.

  19. There are genuine climate alarmists, but they're not in the same league as deniers

    fpjohn at 34

    "How is one to avoid being an alarmist while stating what is in fact alarming? Paul Beckwith, for instance, is presenting observations and stating their implications. Alarmist? yours Frank

    0 0
    Moderator Response:
    [DB] Which observations and implications do you refer to?"

    Beckwith on Arctic Feedback is found on YouTube

    Accelerating Effects of Arctic Feedback: 1 of 2

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Given that there is no written transcript nor any listed sources being cited, that is scarcely credible when compared to the rich body of published literature.

  20. There are genuine climate alarmists, but they're not in the same league as deniers

    Michael Sweet @38, and I understand and agree with your point about supporting people like Hansen, to push back against the middle ground being labelled alarmist. But its a fine line because if we support people like Guy McPherson, I think this does damage credibility of science a bit.  Its absurd to defend every person making huge claims.

  21. There are genuine climate alarmists, but they're not in the same league as deniers

    Michael Sweet @38, I agree about Hansen. I can't bring myself to call him an alarmist, or to totally dismiss his claims, because there is some evidential basis for Hansens theories. Also although its unlikely that he is right about sea level rise, the small possibility he is right must be considered and not rubbished, because the consequences are so grave.

    I understand your point about how Hansens theories have evolved and the IPCC is a little bit in catch up mode. I never labelled him an alarmist even in the early days because I hate the term, because its obviously meant to be demeaning. But like I said its probably not worth taking it personally.

    But because the IPCC underestimates things doesnt mean all alarmists are right either.

    I tend to agree with MA Rodgers conculsions on Wadham, but again you wont find me accusing him of alarmism as such. I would just say he hasn't sufficiently backed his case.

    Definitions are important. Alarmism is normally defined as exaggeration or making claims without good reason. Like you said Hansen was on shaky ground in the early days, and probably did deserve to be dismissed as making implausible claims, but he has gained at least some support in the science community.

    But  if we are to use terms like alarmism, how much support in the scientific community is required to say someone is not an alarmist? Is one paper enough to demonstrate its not alarmism? I think it is, but only because nobody has firmly debunked Hansens claims, and instead they have simply stated that an awful lot of conditions would have to occur. But such conditions appear at least possible.

    But genuine alarmist scientists are pretty uncommon. I put Guy McPherson in that category because his claims are too far fetched. There might be some almost infinitely small possibility he is right, but is that enough to give them credibility? I dont think its quite enough to mean anything. We could argue almost anything in life is possible with some almost infinitesimally small possibility, but don't we need something more than that for them to rise above alarmism?

    I remember the ebola outbreak in Africa a year or so ago, and they were talking about possible exponential spread. To me this was possible and not alarmism, so in no way to I dismiss dangerous and / or extreme scenarios,  provided theres a possible mechanism that makes sense.

  22. There are genuine climate alarmists, but they're not in the same league as deniers

    michael sweet @38,

    The idea that for AGW 'alarmist' is the antithesis of 'denier' is probably something that folk can think about signing up to. Thus the characteristics of an 'alarmist' is that they ignore the rest of the science and insist that they and only they are correct (something impassioned academics often have a hard time not doing) and this when they themselves have no appropriate evidential support for their position.

    Taking that forward, Hansen did not have any proper support for his 5m SLR by 2100 under A1B until Hansen et al (2016). Now we have the basis for a hypothesis set out. And Hansen has always agreed that he is an outlier, even before the 2016 paper. To me, even if I find it hard to run with the hypothesis, I cannot brand Hansen as 'alarmist' over SLR. (Note that IPCC AR5 dismiss Hansen 2007 as being a heuristic argument that exceeds likely SLR limits set by other methods.)

    Where Wadhams differs from this is in statements such as (from 2009) "The data supports the new consensus view" which he has consistently seen as an iceless Arctic summer by roughly 2030 but with effective ice-free summers appearing ten years earlier. The basis for this prediction is dismissed by IPCC in a simlar way to Hansen's SLR, but I don't see a lot of development in the underlying basis for Wadham's position which is always a worry. This, and the failure to accept it his is an outliers' view, for me makes the Wadham's position that of an 'alarmist'. In terms of science, this is not un-fixable (as is the individual denialist position on AGW had the individuals concerned a mind to try to fix it). It can also be seen that the IPCC consensus position (which is roughly that ice free summers require 2ºC of AGW to happen) is not presented with a great deal of confidence. Thus the Slingo prediction of 2012 adding that a date of 2025-30 was not impossible. So there is a case forsupporting the work of those with a 2020 finding. But I still baulk at the poor support for the Wadham's position. I therefore don't see it as scientifically in play even though the discussion at Neven's forum may suggest otherwise.

  23. michael sweet at 00:03 AM on 16 July 2018
    There are genuine climate alarmists, but they're not in the same league as deniers


    My point is that when Hansen originally made his projection that 5 meters sea level rise was a better estimate than the IPCC estimate many called him an alarmist.  As time has passed the IPCC estimate has increased substantially while Hansen has maintained his top estimate.  Current high sea level estimates by mainstream scientists approach Hansen's estimate and he no longer can be considered "alarmist".  The original IPCC estimate (from around 1990) is clearly overly optimistic.

    "Alarmist" scientific estimates are very rare.  Meanwhile deniers like Lindzen, who in 1989 testified next to Hansen that he thought temperatures would stay unchanged, write Op-Ed pieces in the Wall Street Journal.  Curry publishes bullshit about Hansens 1989 projections.   The deniers claim that accurate projections are "alarmist". 

    We have to support scientists like Hansen and Waldhams when they speak their minds.  Otherwise we contribute to the censorship of the majority scientific opinion that currently occurs.

    In posts above I copied dates from other posts.  On review I find that Waldhams projection originally comes from 2007 when he suggested that sea ice could be completely gone by 2016 +/- 3 years.  Note his projection was made before the 2007 sea ice collapse.  At the time mainstream projections for ice free were 50+ years in the future.  He has maintained his projection to today wile mainstream projectins now are decadesw earlier than they were. 

    The mainstream has come closer to Waldham than they are to previous mainstream projections.  Even if it is 2030 before the first ice free year, Waldham will have been much closer when he made the projection.   Every January many of the posters on the Arctic Sea Ice Forum have long discussions about whether this year is finally the one where the ice will collapse.  Waldham's projection is still in play, to call him an alarmist is to contribute to scientific censorship.

  24. There are genuine climate alarmists, but they're not in the same league as deniers

    I don't think Hansen is an alarmist, because theres a small possibility he could be right, as opposed to so infinitesimally small its absurd. But opinions clearly vary in the climate science community.

    I think you also need visionaries that explore the outer limits of whats possible, but some claims have just been ridiculous, like claiming climate change could cause human extinction within 30 years. Temperatures would have to escalate massively, and even then small pockets of populations would survive in the colder regions. 

    I think a more plausibe scenario is sudden and very dangerous phase shifts in the climate, because it appears to have happened in past climates, although this might tend to be regional. But what regions? We don't really know. Nobody is safe.

  25. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #28

    Another perspective on this years high temperatures from  The Guardian. 

    “What’s unusual is the hemispheric scale of the heatwave,” said Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University. “It’s not just the magnitude in any one location but that high temperatures are being seen over such a large area.”

  26. michael sweet at 04:16 AM on 15 July 2018
    There are genuine climate alarmists, but they're not in the same league as deniers

    I think Dr. Waldhams has a good point.  He has been deliberately insulted with the derogatory term "alarmist".  

    If we compare his original projection of 2013-2019 with the Met Office of the second half of the century (after 2050) which one appears more likely today?  Why is it acceptable for a projection to be inacurate by being 50 years too late but alarmist to be 10 years too early?

    We do not yet know when the Arctic will become ice-free.  Until we know the result we do not know who will be closer to what actually happens.  Dr. Walshams is sticking to his projection from 2012.  The Met office has changed their projection from 2012 and made it decades earlier. 

    When Hansen first suggested that 5 meters sea level rise was possible most scientists rejected that idea.  The IPCC projection was less than 0.5 meters.  Hansen's recent paper, with 5 meters still one of the projections, had 19 co-authors.  Many of those authors are sea level or glacier specialists. I saw a paper recently that projected a high maximum of 3 meters (sorry no cite).  The US Climate report had a maximum of 8 feet (2.4 meters). 

    Every report increases the maximum.  Hansen's old projection is clearly much closer to current projections of the top end than the IPCC was when he made his projection.  Deniers continue to call Hansen "alarmist".  

    The graph from the OP sums it up:


    Scientists who are well inside the top of scientific thought fall into the catastrophic range in the graph and are muzzled.  It is unscientific to muzzle scientists who are in the range of scientific thought.  Dr. Waldhams is at the top of scientific thought, but since he made his projection the mainstream thought has dramatically shifted in his direction.  If we have melt conditions like 2007 next year who knows how low the ice could go.

    Hansen's paper from 2007 on scientific reticence and projections being low-balled for political reasons is worth reading again.  Time and again changes in the climate happen decades before scientists expected (arctic sea ice as a prime example).  We frequently hear of reporters saying scientists will say in private converstions that they think things will go much worse than the IPCC reports.   Calling those who say what they think "alarmists" is silencing everyone on the middle to right side of the graph, even though they are the majority of scientific opinion.

    I generally agree with Dana but he missed the mark with this post.

  27. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #25

    PWadhams @2,

    I'm not sure why you are having problems commenting on the 'There are genuine climate alarmists, but they're not in the same league as deniers'   thread. The process is identical to that required to comment here.

    I have thus responded to the substance of your comment on that thread.

  28. There are genuine climate alarmists, but they're not in the same league as deniers

    Responding here to an off-topic comment on another thread by PWadhams.

    The idea that the prediction of 2012 as reported by The Guardian:-

    "This collapse, I predicted would occur in 2015-16 at which time the summer Arctic (August to September) would become ice-free. The final collapse towards that state is now happening and will probably be complete by those dates."

    is 'Alarmist' or not; I would suggest that the idea of an Ice Free Summer Arctic Ocean 2015-20 is still an alarmist one. The transition from this year (which is certainly a long way from becoming ice-free) is surely far too big a leap to be considered possible. After 2018, in the remaining two years we would need something twice as spectacular as 2007 & 2012, and such spectacles one year after the other, to achieve ice-free conditions by 2020. And 2020 is a considerable extension to the initial prediction. (Do note the Slingo projection does not rule out 2025-30 for an ice-free summer Arcitc.)

    And even if the 'alarmist' label were misplaced, does it constitute an ad hominem insult? Surely not.

  29. David Kirtley at 23:48 PM on 14 July 2018
    Book Review: A Global Warming Primer, by Jeffrey Bennett

    Wol @4 & @6 "My point is that any possible "solutions" are by definition political, and therefore not succeptible to factual debate. They are, basically, opinions."

    I agree as well. And you may be happy to know that Bennett also agrees. In his intro to the chapter on "solutions" he has this to say:

    ...the fact that people of all political persuasions can agree on the nature of the problem does not necessarily mean that everyone will agree on the best way to solve it. A discussion of potential solutions therefore takes us away from the “pure science” focus of the previous chapters and into areas that are more a matter of opinion. For that reason, I’ll admit to having had some reluctance about including this chapter in the book, because I can’t defend everything in it with the same high level of evidence that I’ve presented in previous chapters. However, I also recognized that if I stopped at the end of the prior chapter, I would have been leaving you with lots of reasons to be concerned about the future without having given you any cause for great hope. And personally, I am very hopeful and optimistic about our future.

    So with some trepidation about sharing my personal opinions in a book primarily focused on science, I’ll go ahead and explain why I am so optimistic. ...

    sauerj @7 "The hyperlinks to the book's footnotes didn't work for me on-line"

    Yeah, I had the same problem. I'm using Firefox with Windows 8 on an older machine. Maybe a different web browser/OS would work?


  30. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #25

    Thank you. You make it very dificult to add a commenbt. I wish to comment on the article by Dana Luccatelli in the 9 July issue, which insults me ad hominem. Mostly I agree with his views, but in this case they are based on ignorance and lack of experience of Arctic science. I am accused of being an alarmist because I predicted an early end to the summer Arctic ice. Well, that is very likely to happen this year, and if not this year in the next couple of years, as opposed to the second half of the century as proposed by distinguished Governmental modellers such as
     Dame Julia Slingo of the Met Office. Is it being alarmist to be a couple of years out? Or is it being complacent to be 40 years out like most modellers? I suggest that Dana reads my book "A Farewell to Ice" (UK Penguin, US Oxford Univ Press) and even considers recommending it to his readers. That way he could do some good. And I would like to make him a little wager - if the summer ice is gone by 2020 he might consider apologising for calling me an alarmist. If not - then let him continue with his troll act.  Best wishes Peter Wadhams

  31. Book Review: A Global Warming Primer, by Jeffrey Bennett

    @Daniel Bailey [DB] ... footnote: #11 ... thank you!
    Quote from book: "Personally, I’m much less concerned with what we do with the revenue than in making sure we institute a carbon tax so that the free market can take care of the critical problem of global warming. That said, if it were up to me, I’d institute what economists call a “revenue-neutral” carbon tax, meaning one in which all the incoming revenue would be returned to the public through some combination of lower tax rates or dividends. (then footnote #11)" 
    I agree w/ Bennett, by being rev-neutral, then the tax can be as steep as possible ($100/tonne or higher), thus have both maximum free-market effect as well as be as politically durable as possible.
    I'm just curious what footnote #11 says or refers to. Thanks again!

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] From Page 93:

    "11  One example of this type of approach is ballot initiative 732 that will be voted on in Washington State in November, 2016."

    As a general note, the footnote numbering resets in each Chapter.

  32. michael sweet at 20:35 PM on 14 July 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #26


    As Scaddenp suggested, the question is do we get more record lows or record highs.  It will be a long time before it is so hot that there are never any record lows.  Similarily, it will always snow in winter if you are far enough north.

    According to the NCDC Weather Records page, in the past 365 days in the USA there have been 71,000 daily record highs and 37,000 record lows.  I.E. there have been twice as many record highs.  That is a pattern that shows global warming.

    For all time records, which are much more difficult to set, in the past 365 days there were 168 record highs and 21 record lows.  Eight times as many high records. 

    For the Global all time records we see 330 all time highs and 47 all time lows.  Do you start to see a pattern?

    Deniers cherry pick the occasional lows and make a big noise about them.  The mainstream press only mentions the highs when there is a striking anomaly, like recent world wide heat.  If you don't pay attention you hear the deniers and don't notice the pattern.

  33. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #26

    To help with Question 1, try here. Only for US however.

  34. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #26

    Better questions AJC1973 to ask are:

    1/ Are there more record highs than lows?

    2/ Is my area typical?

    3/ What are the temperature trends? Climate is 30 year averages. It is the trend that matters.

    If your record lows are from record snowfall, then get used to it. Warming puts much more water into atmosphere and if your area gets below freezing in winter, then it will fall as snow. The good news, is that spring will likely come sooner and summer will be hotter.

  35. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #26

    I can only remember every winter when there are record lows and I'm supposed to think its only weather... why isn't this only weather?

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Because natural variation still exists in a warming world.  We can see this by looking at global temperatures for December-February:

    Global DJF

    And for Northern Hemispheric temperatures for the same season:

    NH Winter

    Which is born out by the research, which shows that Northern Hemispheric winters have been warming:

    "Employing reanalysis data sets, several threshold temperatures at 850 hPa are used to measure the wintertime (DJF) areal extent of the lower tropospheric, Northern Hemisphere cold air pool over the past 66 cold seasons. The analysis indicates a systematic contraction of the cold pool at each of the threshold temperatures. Special emphasis is placed on analysis of the trends in the extent of the -5°C air.

    Composite differences in lower tropospheric temperature, middle tropospheric geopotential height and tropopause-level jet anomalies between the 5 coldest and 5 warmest years are considered. Cold years are characterized by an equatorward expansion of the jet in the Pacific and Atlantic sectors of the hemisphere and by invigorated cold air production in high latitude Eurasia and North America. Systematic poleward encroachment of the -5°C isotherm in the exit regions of the storm tracks accounts for nearly 50% of the observed contraction of the hemispheric wintertime cold pool since 1948. It is suggested that this trend is linked to displacement of the storm tracks associated with global warming.

    Correlation analyses suggest that the interannual variability of the areal extent of the 850 hPa cold pool is unrelated to variations in hemispheric snow cover, the Arctic Oscillation, or the phase and intensity of ENSO. A modest statistical connection with the East Asian Winter Monsoon, however, does appear to exist.

    Importantly, there is no evidence that a resurgent trend in cold Northern Hemisphere winters is ongoing. In fact, the winter of 2013-14, though desperately cold in North America, was the warmest ever observed in the 66-year time series."

  36. Rising ocean waters from global warming could cost trillions of dollars

    Dr Jevrejeva and her colleagues calculate costs of coastal flooding based on estimates of 52-63cm in SLR by 2100. Others, including leading glaciologists Drs. Velicogna, Rignot and widely respected Dr. Hansen predict multi-metre SLR within 100 years.

    The cost of damage associated with SLR is likely to be far, far in excess of that suggested in the above review and, as stated in the title of the Hansen et al 2016 Paper, ‘irreparable’.

  37. Book Review: A Global Warming Primer, by Jeffrey Bennett

    Wol @6, I understand where you are coming from, but I don't think carbon taxes or cap and trade schemes are opinions. All these things are recognised economic devices. Consumption taxes have been used in the past so we know how they work.

    But I agree with you completely to the extent that  that these solutions can  become politicised with huge dollops of fake news. I would add ideological debate about role of government.

    But you get fake news and political nonsense about the science as well.

    We cant hide from any of this. Sooner or later we have to deal with solutions as well as the science. I dont have a problem with everything to do with climate change being in one book. It's normal to talk about problems and then solutions, and its strange to me that climate change should be different, if its a book targetting the general public.

    I will try to say it again. Provided the book (and any book)  talks about all solutions, so personal responsibility, carbon taxes, cap and trade etc and doesn't push one above the others, it will be avoiding politicising the issue as much as possible.

    We have tried books purely based on the science. Has that worked? Not so well.

    Just my opinion of course, and I'm keeping an open mind on it.

  38. There are genuine climate alarmists, but they're not in the same league as deniers

    How is one to avoid being an alarmist while stating what is in fact alarming? Paul Beckwith, for instance, is presenting observations and stating their implications. Alarmist? yours Frank

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Which observations and implications do you refer to?

  39. Book Review: A Global Warming Primer, by Jeffrey Bennett

    @ Bob Loblaw (#2): Thanks! Sorry I didn't read the last line carefully enough. Thanks for pointing this out. I cruised thru chapter #4 (solutions), and, yes, it does cover (in the latter two parts of chapter #4) these larger macro-economic issues at hand (i.e. externalities, social costs, and the 4 methods of macro-economic mitigation). I have added this link to my climate change folder to return to. ... Thanks again for helping me on this matter!

    @ Wol (#4): I agree with you 100%! I am so with you on that. Not only does the science need to be effectively explained, but it needs to be explained in a way that speaks on a level that the reader can viscerally understand (deeply relate to); therefore, I super-stress effectively explained. (Off topic: Part of my beef w/ past books is that I believe they did not explain the science in terms that the average reader can deeply relate to.) So, yes, first & foremost is the science. You are right. In fact, I think that is 'more than 50%' of the battle of getting people on-board & active participants in CC mitigation. I didn't say not to do that or not to dilute that half of it. In my note above, I felt I didn't need to say that, and so I had moved on to inquiring about the solutions part. And, the summary above seemed to point out only the technological "micro-level" solutions, so I was only focusing on what I thought was a shortfall, only on this half (the solutions half), of the whole CC apologetics discussion.
    I am only saying that the other half (the solutions half) should also include a thorough review of the macro-economics as part of an overall plan to educate the reader in the bigger picture on how to effectively reduce carbon emissions (the book does seem to hit these macro-economic points & policies). [In fact, I think people who moderately want to do something to address CC are, unfortunately, very uninformed on the macro-economics of the larger issue. And, this shortfall, stunts their understanding on how best to reduce carbon emissions and on how they can best empower themselves to help in the cause. So new primers should address this shortfall.] ... In addition, I believe a good primer should also facilitate people to get involved politically so to implement effective macro-economic policies for no other reason than to help them know how best to cast their vote, concerning discrete macro-based policies that will evenutally get proposed (i.e. which ones are good, which ones are not). Of course, this is in addition to educating the reader on doing their part personally in reducing their own carbon footprint ... but that alone is not enough.
    The book does, in fact, cover these larger macro-economic issues; most CC primers don't go that far; so I am glad to see that. So I will be interested in getting deeper into this particular primer, and definitely consider buying it to read in-depth and pass along (as well as share on-line personally and within our local CCL chapter). I do wish the book summarized & promoted organizations that advocate for implementation of these macro-economic solutions; I didn't see anything like this (I would have thought this would hvae been in the 'To Learn More' section or in the Solutions chapter, but I didn't see any given).

    One other thing:
    The hyperlinks to the book's footnotes didn't work for me on-line, and I couldn't find any section that gave all the footnotes in its text. Anybody able to see the footnotes somehow / somewhere?

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] The Footnotes are in the book (I have a copy).  Is there a particular one you're interested in?

  40. Should we be worried about surging Antarctic ice melt and sea level rise?


    thanks so much.  I have a subscription to nature but searched for Shepherd in the author querry.  

  41. Book Review: A Global Warming Primer, by Jeffrey Bennett

    nigelj @5:

    My point is that any possible "solutions" are by definition political, and therefore not succeptible to factual debate. They are, basically, opinions.

    As soon as an argument strays from the hard factual science into matters of opinion, those who are hard wired to that scientific way of thinking are going to lose to people who can pull "fake news" out of thin air because they have no ammunition to counter opinions. The gish gallop (aptly named) tactic will always win in that debate, but has less of a chance when faced with referenced  science.

    Matter of opinion....

  42. Should we be worried about surging Antarctic ice melt and sea level rise?

    Tony, the figure is Fig 2 of Shepherd 2018 "Mass balance of the Antarctic Ice Sheet from 1992 to 2017".

    Or here for open version.

  43. Should we be worried about surging Antarctic ice melt and sea level rise?

    As this is your first post, Skeptical Science respectfully reminds you to please follow our comments policy. Thank You!


    what is the reference for the second figure?  I have a copy of Shepherd 2018 Nature and it does not have this figure.

    thank you

    Tony Noerpel

  44. Book Review: A Global Warming Primer, by Jeffrey Bennett

    Wol @4,  I  disagree.  I haven't had time to read the book, but it talks about solutions as well as the science, and carbon taxes etcetera are part of the solutions. I think if the book did it in a balanced and factual way without promoting one solution, it would be on safe ground.

    And these are standard economic ideas.

    The hard climate science has certainly not convinced the GOP. In fact if anything might convince them its a revenue neutral carbon tax, and there is some support for this in the GOP.

  45. Book Review: A Global Warming Primer, by Jeffrey Bennett

    sauerj @ 2:

    I think you are falling into the same trap as many posters in various forums and newspapers' comment columns.

    That trap - from the point of view of those who accept the science - is bringing the hard climate science into the same argument as the political. That way lies defeat.

    I accept as a relative layman that the science is robust. I also accept that in practical terms what if anything can be done about the issue is very debatable. It's largely political, and may well be an impossibility: the CFC problem was better defined, easier for the public to accept and certainly less disruptive to the status quo than climate: it was relatively simple to get international agreement.

    Climate change is an entirely different animal. Persuading the public, and especially politicians (who, ultimately, have to agree any solutions) rests largely on getting them to accept the science: if that is achieved there is a much better chance of having them go on to agreeing solutions.

    Bringing what are very iffy and controversial quasi-political arguments into the hard science debate allows deniers free rein to obfuscate the facts with the sandal-wearing bearded environmentalist meme, which is not relevant when trying to persuade people about the facts.

  46. Rising ocean waters from global warming could cost trillions of dollars

    Sea level rise is likely to cause some very expensive problems to the worlds drainage systems, as water backflows up drainage systems

    During the Pliocene period temperatures were about 2-3 degrees warmer than currenty, and sea level was 25 metres higher than today over millenia time scales. The paleo climate record also contains periods of rapid sea level rise of several metres per century. We have to be very careful before we rule these out in todays world. Even a small possibility would be genuinely catastrophic on global scale, and must form the basis of risk analysis thinking.

    The Pliocene also had considerable regional variability of climate change, sometimes astonishingly severe change.

    As to economsists being "sceptical"of climate change projections, problems and costs. Ha ha ha, since when have economists ever understood anything, or predicted anything reliably? Large parts of macroeconomics are about as credible as voodoo.

  47. Book Review: A Global Warming Primer, by Jeffrey Bennett


    The post (second-last paragraph) does include a link to a free on-line version of the book. Perhaps your questions regarding what it has to say can be answered by reading it?

  48. There are genuine climate alarmists, but they're not in the same league as deniers

    It is not reasonable to assume that just because one boy cried wolf, that every call of "wolf!" is unjustified. Rejecting a whole field of science because of one (or a few) "alarmists" overstated the risks requires a pre-existing desire to ignore the risk to begin with. That's not to say that large numbers of people won't respond that way.....

    ...but remember: in Aesop's fable, the wolf does eat the sheep in the end.

  49. Animal agriculture and eating meat are the biggest causes of global warming

    Ben, interesting but this would be a lot more convincing if backed with some peer-reviewed science. Some of the sweeping statement "Without beef you can kiss goodbye probably to 50% of the earth's population" is pretty hard to support. This appears to be an extrapolation of NA farming practice (7.5% of world wheat production by FAO 2014) to rest of world. This isnt a farming practise here, and I suspect it also isnt the practice in major producers like EU,China,India, Russia.

    The question over water usage looks like a straw man. The water issues around cattle here focus on irrigation of pasture mostly. eg 1000 litres of water needed to produce 1 litre of milk. 15400 litres for 1kg of beef (eg see here). That is very high compared to plant-based protein sources.

    I do not contest the value of well-managed, low-input rangeland but at first glance your sources are unconvincing and smack of rhetoric.

  50. There are genuine climate alarmists, but they're not in the same league as deniers

    dkeierleber @31, I agree about Paul Ehrlich. These huge catastrophic claims are risky to make, because  if they dont eventuate they destroy the credibility of the entire environmental community and feed the denialists.

    Having said that, we dont want to muzzle scientists, like someone said above,  and sometimes the extreme alarmists are right. And Ehrlich  was right in principle, population growth is a huge problem.

    The book "Limits to Growth" made scarey predictions that didn't eventuate, but fortunately it stated these were based on known mineral reserves, and this reality would likely change over time. I think its important to "qualify your predictions", but then we have the huge problem that the media often dont report the qualifications.

    The IPCC sea level rise predictions just look too low to me. And you raise a good point they are global averages, and not regional, and theres no obvious warning in the IPCC documents that regional rates could be very high. If there is it gets lost in the fine print.

    Yes the antarctic destabilisation seems exaggerated in the "conservative direction" by the IPCC. Or perhaps put it this  way: they are right to say the probable trend is it will only add about 200mm to sea level rise, but they should have said theres a 'possibility' it could be much more, or that such things cant be ruled out.

    The paleo climate evidence suggests the Antarctic destabilied rapidly at one point causing 2 metres of sea level rise per century, although this may have been preceded by several years of a  developed warming trend of several degrees. But we just dont really know. The important thing is climate change has been rapid in the past, so I think we cant rule it out now. We dont know enough to be able to rule it out.

    However when I see estimates that sea level rise could be 5 metres by 2100 this stretches credibility. Past examples of this are rare and relate to periods when there was far more ice on the planet. So this is truly an extreme scenario and seems very unlikely to be relevant to our situation.

Prev  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  Next

The Consensus Project Website


(free to republish)

Smartphone Apps


© Copyright 2018 John Cook
Home | Links | Translations | About Us | Contact Us