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Comments 551 to 600:

  1. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    Bob Loblaw @ 23

    I do not believe that you really think I agree with the uninformed and anti-science attitude of the Trump administration.  My hope of a Red Team Blue Team discussion was to put this issue front and centre in the US which would have the effect of forcing the Republicans to admit those things on which all agree.  Although Pruitt in his recent interview at a television station in Nevada again made reference to the red team blue team analysis, I just do not think Trump will agree to it because it seems that what makes him tick is this desire never to be proven wrong no matter how much evidence is put before him.  He just will not "eat his words" that "climate change is a hoax". I came to realize this about him after learning more about his personality from reading Fire and Fury.   

    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.

    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.

  2. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    michael sweet and nigelj

    Some good points.  Nigelj, a great website reference which I will have to read more carefully.

    I agree that a carbon tax would have relevance but only if China came onboard.  If anyone has any references about the chances of a carbon tax in China or India that would be interesting.

  3. One Planet Only Forever at 02:26 AM on 10 February 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5


    Unite the Right and the Alt Right movements are indeed different.

    The Alt Right is indeed an extremist group that seems particularly focused on Conserving their perception of the deserving superiority of White Males in every nation they are active in. They seem to be indifferent to climate science as long as it does not interfere with them achieving their Private Interests.

    Unite the Right is more focused on Conserving their ability to get away with Private Interest economic pursuits that are contrary to advancing humanity to a sustainable better future. They oppose any changes that would reduce their ability to development of perceptions of economic/financial superiority compared to others. They are willing to play a Net-Negative game, a game that produces an overall damaging result, if they think they can be seen to be better off as a result of playing that type of a game. They deliberately try to impede corrective actions that climate science has identified are essential to improving the future for humanity. Their motivation is obvious, their choice to pursue/develop a Private Interest that is contrary to advancing humanity to a better future.

    Unite the Right groups attempt to build a 'Big Tent' of support in a way that includes the Alt Right types. 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'. And Alt Right types seeing what they like in the United Right can indeed be tempted to vote for a 'major' party, something they previously never thought would help them get what they wanted. They definitely would like what they see in the likes of Trump and Sessions and Bannon.

    In Canada and Alberta the Unite the Right groups deliberately pursued the amalgamation of political parties with Private Interests that were contrary to improving the future for humanity. They also fought to get the right to call themselves the 'Conservative' Party. In Canada and Alberta that meant removing the Progressive Conservative Party from voter choices. They first attempted to take over the Progressive Conservative Party, but shifted to other means of getting what they wanted when they were unable to sustainably push the Progressive members out. A very similar thing can be seen to have happened in the USA.

    Unite the Right can be seen as a significant developing political barrier/challenge to increased public awareness and understanding regarding climate science. People who like the Unite the Right will vote united for each other's understandably unacceptable Private Interests. They know that each of their Private Interests only really appeals to a smaller group, and understand what they have to lose if they allow the understanding of the corrections of their preferred beliefs to overwhelm their ability to get away with what they want to get away with. 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.

    Unite the Right can be seen to be a very dangerous development that is expected given the fatal flaws of the developed socio-economic-political games; games that promote the fatally flawed belief that 'Everyone being Freer to Believe and Do Whatever they Want Will Develop Good/Helpful Results'. The actions of those United groups claiming to be Right regarding climate science are only part of their many understandably harmful actions (actions that can include appealing to the Alt Right types). Those actions are almost certainly (beyond a reasonable doubt) done with awareness of their leadership that they are harmful - but may not able to be proven to be Illegal. Deliberately doing something understood to be harmful is the fundamental definition of Criminal Behaviour. Legal Loopholes, or the absence of Legal Measures, or the lack of diligent enforcement of the laws are the kinds of Freedoms that the United Right can be seen to be fighting for (for their understandably harmful Personal Private Interest Reasons).

  4. Climate change is increasing flood risks in Europe

    @nigelj, I really enjoyed your “rough guesstimate simplified calculation,” for it was very helpful to understand the weight of climate costs through your comparison of these costs to global GDP. As climate patterns continue to become more obscure, I reckon we will see even greater costs associated with the inevitably stronger and more frequent storms, droughts, spurts of desertification, ocean acidification and warming, and increased habitat loss. We are at a pivotal point where turning to mitigation strategies appears like an appropriate next step, but it may not be enough, and to your point, climate change costs certainly outweigh those associated with mitigation. According to, 80% of our planet’s fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground in order for us to stay below two degrees Celsius of warming. In order for this to occur, the shift to renewable energy must be of utmost priority for nations around the globe, notably the most industrialized and populated. While mitigation techniques offer quick, temporary relief, they are still acting upon the fundamentally destructive, problematic system we have in place. I believe that we must work to absolutely transform the structure of our society from one of capitalist industry to that characterized by virtues of ecological reciprocity and stewardship, if we wish for real change to occur!

  5. Philippe Chantreau at 00:23 AM on 10 February 2018
    Climate change is increasing flood risks in Europe

    Thank you Sir Charles for speaking sense. One of the most significant risks associated with AGW is the increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events and it's already been happening. It is not only visible in Europe. The US incurred 306 Billion dollars of damage from extreme events in 2017. What used to be 500 years events happen now on a regular basis. The cost/benefit analysis of not doing anything about climate change does not hold water for second, even from a purely short sighted capitalistic point of view.

  6. Climate change is increasing flood risks in Europe

    When you're living in Europe you have realised for long that these 'once in a century' floods are occurring all couple of years now. In Germany that karaokee started already in the late 90s. Ireland is experiencing these events since last decade. And just take a look at France these days.

    You only need to open your eyes. Climate change is no more an issue of the future. Climate change is occurring here and now! And this seems to be just a starter...

  7. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    I actually came to the "climate debate" (in 2011ish) a bit of a sceptic tbh (although i knew nothing the science) but it was Potholer54's debunking/demolition of Monkton (and his video series) that really hit me. In particular it was the “trace gas” meme they trotted out, because when you sit down and think about it just contains no actual science – it is simply nonsense, yet it seemed a tenet of faith to people like Monkton et al.

    That really made me just trust the science, not in a blind way but simply a belief in peer review science as a way to gaining knowledge – it is not perfect, but the best we have. (Actually the concept of “perfection” is a recurring conspiracy theorist meme - the theorise that because we do not have a perfect record of an “event” – well it must be “fishy” – it is similar to the “because we don’t know everything we know nothing” the AGW deniers use about climate science

    And you are right about the fact that conspiracies do occur – we know that because we have evidence, Watergate et al, but the evidence CT provide simply does not pass the smell test

    Actually "climategate" is a good example – when you look at it with a debunker’s mentality and apply the null hypothesis i.e. if you expose the email conversations of the “movers and shakers” of any worldwide company or organisation (political or not), would you find disagreements and rudeness as in the climategate expose

    Err yes you would – and probably a lot more, the emails did not reveal anything you would not find if you had hacked into the top brass of the Sony Corporation – and if the one or two they highlighted was the best they could find!!!! It actually shows that the science is robust and agreements very few

  8. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5


    The current trend in fossil fuel use certainly does not make anyone concerned about AGW feel good.  On the other hand, it was only in the past year or two that renewable energy became the cheapest form of energy.  Prior to that time, persons concerned about AGW had to encourage governments to build out more expensive energy to replace fossil energy.  Now that renewable energy is the cheapest energy we can hope that renewable energy will be built out faster.

    The United States has been the biggest reason for the failure of the Paris agreement.  When you have to drag the biggest economy in the world kicking and screamig it is much harder to get anything done.  Attitudes are slowly changing in the US as people see the damage caused by AGW. 

    Insurance companies are starting to adjust rates to reflect Climate risk.  Since that affects conservatives wallets many of them who are not fossil executives are starting to notice.  Democrats noticed a long time ago.

    We can only do the best we can to influence the political theatre.  The more renewable energy built out today the better things will turn out in the end.  If the best we can do is 3C that is better than 5C.  In the end fossil fuels will run out and we will be forced to use renewable energy.  Hopefully the Earth will sustain civilization at the end.

  9. Climate change is increasing flood risks in Europe


    You cite the IPCC projection of 1 meter sea level rise but also cite Hansen 2016 which proejcts a sea level rise of 2-5 meters.  Which projection do you support? 

    It is not logical to cite opposite projections at the same time.  Choose one reference and stick with it.

  10. Climate change is increasing flood risks in Europe

    PS - Thanks

  11. Climate change is increasing flood risks in Europe

    For most of Europe by 2050 the risk of drowning appears to be greater than the prospect of dying from heat stroke.

    Hansen et al 2016, predict that much of north-west Europe will cool as a result of disruption of the north Atlantic overturning current, caused by discharge of cold water from melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

    What is not clear from the article is the likely cause of likely flooding in Europe. Will it be due to increased precipitation or sea level rise. Surely not the latter? After all, the IPCC’s 5AR makes it clear that the SLR will be less than I meter by 2100.

  12. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    NorrisM @26

    The graph of fossil fuel consumption at post 22 is only until 2012.

    Rates of fossil fuel consumption and production have fallen since 2014, as can be seen on this website.

    The website has several graphs on fossil fuel consumption and production, including breakdowns by types of fuel, and the global trend, and trends in specific countries. So things have actually improved.

    Note that although overall fossil fuel use has gone down, within this trend gas has increased a little while coal has declined more significantly.

    The articles and research you reference are in the very speculative category.

    I don't understand how you conclude that a carbon tax wont work, on the basis of a historical trend. History hasn't got anything to do with it. Consumption taxes are based on tested, proven principles of economics, but of course the exact extent that they will work ultimately requires implementing them and adjusting them if required.

    Just a few thoughts. I don't have much time right now.

  13. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    michael sweet @ 21

    Until I saw scaddenp's chart, I thought world consumption of fossil fuels had levelled off. 

    If the world continues to unabatedly increase its use of fossil fuels then trying to "wean ourselves" is somewhat laughable given that solar and wind power today provide  no more than, say, 2% of world energy supply (up from 1.5% in 2014). 

    And, based upon where it seems this increased fossil fuel use is coming from, it does make you wonder how much impact a  carbon tax will have in North America and Europe if other countries continue to increase their use of coal unabated.

    Until I saw scaddendap's graph, my suspicion had always been that the real increase in CO2 emissions for the last 35 years could be largely "laid at the doorstep" of China because it was really in the 1980's that they started their industrial resurgence, largely on the back of coal.  I attribute no "guilt" to this term because their industrial resurgence has lifted probably 100's of millions of people out of abject poverty (along with globalization). But clearly, China just "took over" from the increases pre 1980's from the industrialized countries.  Because the rate seems to be about the same, I have to assume the contributions from the industrialized countries did start to drop during this same time period.

    But today it is certainly the case that the increased fossil fuel use is coming from China, India and other developing countries.  

    In fact, Climatewire has just referenced a study published in the Environmental Research Letters that Turkey, Vietnam, Indonesia, China and India could increase their greenhouse gas emissions dramatically by 2030 suggesting that the Paris Agreement was purely a political document with promises in the future that have no chance of being kept.  These five (5) countries represent 73% of "planned or under construction" coal plants.

    According to a Washington Post article on February 7, 2018 referenced in Climatewire, the new coal plants planned by these 5 countries alone could eat up another 150 billion tons of the remaining 700 billion tons of CO2 left in the carbon budget.  According to that article, our existing use of fossil fuels are capable of consuming 500 billion tons.  So this planned increase in the use of coal is massive notwithstanding the bold statements made by both China and India about their future use of fossil fuels at the time of the signing of the Paris Agreement. 

    Perhaps it is just depressing to realize that there is not a chance of meeting a 2C limit in temperatures by 2100 let alone keeping to a 1.5C limit even with the IPCC assumptions of "negative emissions".  We better hope this Washington Post article is incorrect.

    All of this is to say that talking about "weaning ourselves" from fossil fuels with the use of a carbon tax may be a relevant discussion for North America and Europe but when looking at the world picture it seems we are "dreaming in technicolour" (to date myself somewhat).

    Am I wrong?

    Moderator:  I appreciate that this has now moved a long way from the original post.  Any suggestions on where we should go?

  14. Climate change is increasing flood risks in Europe

    For most of Europe by 2050 the risk of drowning appears to be greater than the prospect of dying from heat stroke.

    Hansen et al 2016, predict that much of north-west Europe will cool as a result of disruption of the north Atlantic overturning current, caused by discharge of cold water from melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

    What is not clear from the article is the likely cause of likely flooding in Europe. Will it be due to increased precipitation or sea level rise. Surely not the latter? After all, the IPCC’s 5AR makes it clear that the SLR will be less than I meter by 2100.

    Moderator Response:
    [PS] A glance at the title of paper referenced by the article ("Multi-Model Projections of River Flood Risk in Europe under Global Warming") says it river flood risk. I also hope I have linked the correct paper to your Hansen 2016 ref- please learn how to do it yourself.
  15. Climate change is increasing flood risks in Europe

    The total cost of climate change through flooding, crop damage, sea level rise, and extreme weather, etcetera combined are estimated to cost 12 trillion dollars per year globally by 2050, from an article in the Independent. I understand elevated temperatures will last roughly 1000 years or more, so these are large ongoing costs.

    The costs of converting the entire world to renewable electricity are estimated by Jacobson as 5 trillion dollars per year globally, over 20 years. However I would say the amortised cost over a thousand years is more pertinent, and clearly less than one trillion dollars per year. The costs of reducing industrial and agricultural emissions, creating carbon sinks and burying carbon is unknown to me, but I hazard a guess it’s a couple of trillion dollars a year.

    To put this in context, global gdp is approximately 100 trillion dollars per year.

    So the costs of climate change are 12 trillion per year and the costs of mitigation are perhaps 3 trillion. That’s before one considers human costs, hidden costs, species loss and possible abrupt climate change. It seems the costs of climate change outweigh the costs of mitigation.

    This is just my very rough guesstimate simplified calculation, does anyone have a link to a formal up to date study?

  16. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    Tadaaa @6

    Yes agreed.

    Gravity caused the twin towers to fall straight down - but also buildings are deliberately designed to fall straight down in a certain way. In fact they are designed to withstand being hit by aircraft, but there were design issues in the twin towers steel structure and fire proofing systems that caused a weakness.

    Most conspiracy theories are rubbish of course, particularly the sorts we are talking about. But you do get conspiracies where corporates collude to fix prices, and it has been suggested America knew Pearl Harbour was coming, and I believe official  data has confirmed that relaeased in recent years. So there are grains of truth. 

    The trouble is the really silly conspiracy theories are hard to refute, because its hard to complely prove a conspiracy theory wrong. Refuting them is like wrestling with jelly as follows:

    However people should ask themselves how things like a climate change conspiracy starting with Arrhenius in 1895, and involving thousands of scientists and  of officials, would keep secret. It just wouldn't. If you have more than ten people, things leak like a sieve, just look at the White House.

    The NWO / jewish /  illuminati thing has been debunked hundreds of times. But in terms of a grain of truth, the Bilderberg group does meet secretly,  but largely to consume caviar and pontificate on policy as people do. So who really cares.

    People need to look at these conspiracies with their healthy sceptics arsenal of analytical tools.

  17. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    @ Nigelj

    yes metabunk is a very good and informative blog - it has a very strict "politness policy" that does keep threads on topic and free of adhoms (which i am gulity of as much as anyone)

    but you make a great point about "a grain of truth"  - absolutly, from the conspiracy memes of "the twin towers fell straight down" - err yes that is simply gravity

    to "the climate has always changed" err yes no one says it has not

    they are used because they are powerful and represent a "truth" that is hard to refute and to apoint self evident

    aka - the NWO conspiriacy, a conspiracy that says a small cabal of [jewish] shadowy bankers conspire to rule the world

    well sort of...... the rich are powerful, it is sort of a benefit of being rich after all 

  18. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    OPOF @24

    It looks like I  may be "confusing unite the right" with the "alternate right" Breitbart White Supremacy group. Although it also looks like they have some things in common as well.

    Politics in NZ doesn't really have unite the right groups in name, but it has its own version of these things with coalition governments sometimes. However the agenda tends to be more transparent.

    So yes I agree with your comment. Unite the right are a problem. And yes its common in politics to see a coming together of a disparate group of people, but with one driving thing in common. "A marriage of convenience sometimes". In this case it seems unite the right have  a dislike of government restrictions on business, even the mildest of restrictions. One good thing is disparate groups like this sometimes eventually self destruct. The marriage leads to divorce.

    "It really upsets me to hear people claim that leadership like the current leadership of the USA will not cause 'that much harm'"

    Yes this is my reaction exactly. Although its perhaps an attempt to see the brighter side, and not get despondent, but that can become a dangerous way of excusing behaviour even with good intentions.

    Also, Trump and the RC have appointed  certain Judges who will be around for a long time, and the foolish things they have done with restructuring various organisations and various executive orders will take time for future governments to fix. 

    It seems to me the strong partisan and ideological divisions in the USA right now should be part of yesterdays world, where serious issues and conflicts between workers and employers needed sorting out with proper protection of workers rights. In the modern world, many countries have moved on from this and have bipartisan agreements on various things, or agreement on the basics.  I feel in todays world we hire governments to do a job, so we should simply chose the best qualified, and should avoid tribal feelings if possible. 

    But this does assume people agree on certain basics, for example  that laws should be fair to all parties, and climate change is a problem and requires enduring policies that don't constantly flip flop. This seems not to be the case in America. It's a political war zone in America, and while we need a contest of ideas, I'm going to suggest this has got out seriously of control.

    And with the rise of alternative facts, attacking basically good institutions like the FBI and attacking scientific bodies, post truth,  and the internet conspiracy websites,  it has become an even more clouded debate. People need to demand better.

  19. Humans need to become smarter thinkers to beat climate denial

    Regarding cold weather, a lot of climate denialists are probaly older people with time to comment on websites. Older people feel the cold more. We are all good at fooling ourselves in so many ways.

  20. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    Sorry I hit submit by accident before finishing that. I wanted to add conspiracy theories intrigue me, and also the package of associated philosophical beliefs that the conspiracy theory believers have, which often seems to include a belief in multiple conspiracies, and a deep suspicion of government and academic elites, and law enforcement.

    Of course we all have some of that scepticim of authority, or should have, but I have slowly realised it goes incredibly deep in some people, and is a total guiding force in their lives. Tinfoil hats anyone?

  21. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    Metabunk sounds excellent.

    Scientific American also has a really nice magazine size publication "The Science Behind the Debates" Collectors edition, Volume 26, no 5, Winter 2015 / 2018. It might be on their website, but I'm older generation and buy the paper copy,

    It deals with the philosophical issues, post truth, climate change, vaccines, the gun debate in America, food and diets, ge food, evolution and creationism. And it does it really well.

    One of the problems with conspiracy theories and 'alternative' science theories is theres sometimes a "grain of truth" in some of them. It takes a lot of mental and emotional discipline to work out which conspiracy theories are nonsense, which might make sense, and what might be really going on.

  22. One Planet Only Forever at 03:55 AM on 9 February 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5


    I would caution against dismissing Unite the Right as 'outer fringe'.

    The greedy deniers of climate science, the ones trying to get away with maximizing their personal benefit from the burning of fossil fuels, are almost certain to be major players in the promotion and funding of Unite the Right movements.

    Those greedy people (deniers of climate science and fighters for freedom from restrictions on their ability to behave understandably unacceptably in their pursuit of personally Winning More) can be seen to be uniting with other people who also have Private Interests that are contrary to changes that would advance humanity to a sustainable better future for everyone (like the fundamentalist tribal religious people claiming to be Christian, Muslim, Hindi, or Jewish as they fight to harm 'All Others' in defence of 'Their US', or the more extreme tibalists who try to claim the right to make their nation a nation controlled by 'males of their skin colour' for the benefit of people of 'their skin colour').

    In Canada, that collective of United people claiming to be Right recently won the national leadership for a decade by getting the legal right to call their party Conservative. And they did massive damage to Canada's actions to reduce GHG production, because their funding came largely from the exporters of fossil fuel). Until they won that Naming right, they were indeed a national minority interest. However, even without that name they had the ability to drum up anger that motivated their kind of people to vote.

    In Alberta, the United Right has just been formed and will likely win the next Provincial Election, calling themselves the United Conservative Party (being the only Party with the term Conservative in their name is a key). And their main platform points are eliminating the carbon tax that has been implemented in Alberta, along with secretive or carefully phrased indications that they are the party that religious fundamentalists should vote for (they fight against changes that would make LBGTQ people a more accepted and protected part of society - but are careful because they know some Conservative thinking people support LBGTQ changes and they want as many of those votes as possible - getting people angry about GHG restrictions can be interfered with if the pursuits of votes for people who dislike the idea of LBGTQ acceptance become too apparent. Like Trump claiming to be the least racist person on the planet, the United Conservative Party claims to like Gay people while its policy actions contradict that claim).

    Even when they are a less significant aspect of a society, Unite the Right can be seen to be a major cause of damage to attempts to advance humanity to a better future. A Unite the Right type of groups produced the narrow 'Brexit Win'. And they are the group in the USA that produced President Trump and all the actions to undo the Good GHG actions that had developed in the USA, including a having a President that claims the science is far from settled and therefore should not be acted upon to the detriment of clearly incorrectly over-developed perceptions of prosperity and opportunity. And their 'Tea Party', particularly the 'House Freedom Caucus' part of it, are small but very influential parts of the USA government that vote united against the other Conservatives to get the other Conservatives to shift their actions towards the Unite the Right desires if they want to get a passing vote on any actions (significant power even when Obama was the President).

    So, Beware the ones claiming to be 'Uniting the Right'. They are not to be dismissed as a marginally popular 'fringe'. They can and do Win to the detriment of the future of humanity.

    It really upsets me to hear people claim that leadership like the current leadership of the USA will not cause 'that much harm'. The starting point of such a statement is the admitted understanding that the leadership is harmful. That should be the end of any attempt to 'excuse it or accept it because it Won', not be the basis for claiming the future of humanity just has to put up with it.

    The attitude that 'the future of humanity is not a concern or that harm to the future generations can justified because of benefits obtained by portions of a current generation' is the problem that needs to be corrected. The future generations have no legal power, no vote, no marketing ability. Hind-sight clearly shows how damaging the current developed socio-economic systems are.

    Fore-sight, the consideration of what the hind-sight in the future will be, needs to become the rule and the measure of acceptability of the actions of all of the Winners/Leaders (Engineering or application of science is designing with that type of fore-sight in mind). The attitudes and actions of Winners Leaders regarding climate science can be a major part of evaluating the acceptability of Winners/Leaders.

    For the past several decades there has been no good reason for any of the wealthiest or most powerful to 'misunderstand the significance and robustness of climate science' (ever since the 1987 UN Report "Our Common Future" made it clear that being able to get away with being dismissive of the future generations was a major problem to be corrected).

  23. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    the other notable one is Bob Inglis a republican politician who features in the film Merchants of Doubt

    He was swayed when he went to Antartica and looked at the Ice Cores

    where Shermer also talks about his initial doubts - and metions the tribal nature of climate denia - in that you buy into a "package of beliefs"

    This a subject that fascinates me - and one one science blog i visit ( - dedicated to debunking Chemtrail nonsense amongts other things), there is a thread called "A view from the rabbit hole" which documents peoples conversions from all sorts of conspiracy theories - and it is fantastic, and in some instances quite moving how they find a way out.

    it also has good threads on the backfire effect - and science communcation in general

  24. Humans need to become smarter thinkers to beat climate denial

    Recently someone suggested that the cold in the USA from about December 24 to January 7 was record cold.  Climate Central has analized the cold outbreak in the USA at that time.

    They find that the cold outbreak was the coldest in that area since 1994, but outbreaks that cold (or colder) were not innfrequent from 1960-1994.  It is just that people have forgotten that it used to be colder.

    cold waves

    You can see from the above graph that while it was cold this year, it was not record cold.  They used the area of this years cold to measure all the cold outbreaks.  That makes it appear that it was colder this year than it really was since past cold outbreaks were not necessarily in the same area.

    Cold outbreaks are getting warmer faster than average global warming.  They calculate that it is 15 times less likely for this cold outbreak to occur.

    I thought their article was an interesting read.

  25. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    NorrisM @ 13.

    If you discuss "the reality of the present political environment" [of the U.S.] too strongly, it makes it look like you agree with the widespread, uninformed, unscientific positions that prevail there.

    Likewise, use of strawmen positions such as "scary scenarios" and "take into account all possible costs of fossil fuels" [my emphasis] do not lead to fruitful discussions. With respect to the latter phrase, our past discussions often focused on what we felt were reasonable costs to include (and we differed in opinion), I may be misrepresenting your position, but my impression was that you only wanted to include very well-defined costs, and I wanted to include likely costs (less well-defined), but I never argued for "all costs" because that is too poorly defined. Restricting a carbon tax to only well-defined costs will most certainly underestimate the true costs.

    Failing to identify a large portion of those costs and failing to include them in a carbon tax does not mean we will avoid those costs. We'll just pay for them differently (different taxes, more expensive maintenance on damaged property, lost incomes, lost property, lost lives, etc.). And the people that will pay them will often not be the people that benefit from consumption of fossil fuels (wealth transfer).

    Do you want to be part of the group that pays for the damage costs of someone else's fossil fuel use, part of the group that is happy to let someone else pay for damage caused by your use of fossil fuels while you get the benefits, or some other group? Remember: part of your tax dollars went to disaster relief after the catastrophic flooding in southern Alberta a few summers ago (assuming you pay at least some taxes in Alberta or Canada).

  26. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

     What is meant by pace needs some quantification.  Here is the rate of increase in FF consumption over past 50 years.

    Is it too fast or too slow to reduce FF consumption by the same rate?

  27. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    NorrisM @13,

    So I take it that you have no problem increasing fossil fuel usage as rapidly as possible but you have strong objections to limiting fossil fuel usage?  Do you see any contradiction in this position?

    Why is it OK to very rapidly increase fossil fuel usage but we have to slowly wean ourselves off said fuels?  

  28. There's no correlation between CO2 and temperature

    MA Rodger @ 179

    Thanks, I see the difference between the comparison of maximum annual values and average values.  I learn by asking questions but, as per strop's comment above,  I do not appreciate being insulted.  Take the edge off.

  29. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    OPOF @18 yes fair comment. The thrust of everything has to be in that direction.

    I'm interested in the liberal conservative issue partly as I did some psychology at university. However we should not let it totally frame the debate, and what individuals do is the more significant issue. 

    Unite the right is outer fringe, insane and cruel stuff.  Sensible conservatives  don't subscribe to unite the right, just as sensible Moslems don't support ISIS.

  30. In-depth: Scientists discuss how to improve climate models

    I highly commend for posting this information.  This kind of honesty in these comments tells me that climate scientists are not "pushing an agenda".   Science is focussing on what you think you know and what you know you do not know.   

    Reasonable people can disagree on what level of confidence on the climate science we require to make major changes in our society.  It seems to me that there is no question about AGW and the only questions that remain are how much warming and how soon and what should we do about it.

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Be sure to check out the entire series of articles about climate models that are posted on the Carbon Brief website.

  31. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    Norris M @13,

    Karl Poppers writings are valuable. I haven't read his books, but have read various articles and summaries of his views, and he is very good in issues of deductive and inductive reasoning, and their ultimate limitations.

    I do wonder about his incrementalism. Or put it this way, I think its a good approach as a very generalised rule, angels rush in where wise men fear to tread and all that, however it's very hard to totally avoid making quite abrupt and large changes at times, because of the nature of things. Not everthing can be changed in little steps. What does incremental even mean, and how is it quantitatively defined?

    You need to appreciate Popper was involved in a personal tragedy that made him very sceptical of huge sweeping reforms like communism, so theres some personal bias there.

    So how do we deal with this? Well we can certainly recognise huge economic and social reforms always carry risk, so its unwise to rush in. We could all agree on that. Ideally its much better to do little local experiments to see if a policy works, before inflicting such things on a country as a whole. But this is not always possible, due to the nature of certain issues.

    Rational analysis can go a long way. Communism never made much rational sense, and was bad economic science from the start. But the failure of communism should not make us totally afraid of all change, or making large changes when theres no alternative and the need is pressing and obvious. I'm thinking some of Margaret Thatchers reforms which had to be pretty huge and abrupt to work (although I disagree with some of her harder right ideas, and some of her reforms could have been more incremntally introduced) 

    The trouble with climate change is this. It looks like a very substantial problem,  and it's not going away. Climate modelling is ultimately reliant on inductive and deductive reasoning, but we would be foolish to ignore this simply because such reasoning doesn't come with a 100% proven guarantee, or has its limitations. It's still powerful reasoning, and the alternative is making decisions on the basis of studying the entrails of a goat. And I'm not joking, in the sense its either science, or guesswork and gut feel and I would prefer we face problems on the basis of the former obviously.

    We also can't do a nice experiment and put the entire planet in a laboratory. We have no choice but to rely on modelling.

    In addition, the climate problem requires a very definite need to keep temperatures under 2 degrees, which demands a concerted and large effort within a certain time frame.

    Having said that, some things are actually consistent with Poppers incrementalism. Renewable energy has developed incrementally, and has effectively been trialed in a number of countries. I suggest we now therefore know enough, and the costs are low enough, to risk it on larger scale.

    And the nature of the beast means you will get your incrementalism anyway. A moderate price on carbon is still going to be somewhat incremental. Nobody is going to suggest some outrageously high price, abruptly introduced overnight. The trouble is the current pricing strategies are so incremental and weak, they are all but invisible!

  32. One Planet Only Forever at 07:37 AM on 8 February 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5


    Thank you for the reply. I have found these comments to be very helpful as I try to increase my awareness and understanding of what is going on, particularly the ethics issues that have been unintentionally exposed by climate science.

    My concern with competition is 'allowing unsustainable harmful behaviour to occur in the competition'. Every game has developed rules for exactly that reason (and most of them constantly add and edit rules as new unacceptable behaviour gets identified. The more reward that is at stake in the game, the stricter the monitoring and enforcement becomes - except in the games of economics and politics (Olympic Soccer/Hockey has drug testing and very experienced Referees, pick-up games of soccer/hockey rely on the good nature of all the participants with some participants penalized or banned from playing for good reason).

    The global economy is the biggest game on the planet and should have the strictest monitoring and enforcement to ensure that only sustainable helpful activities get to compete; the more wealth at stake, or the more potential for harm, the more vigorous the monitoring and enforcement needs to be.

    And I find terms like conservative and liberal to be gross generalizations that distract from the important focus on whether a person is being helpful or harmful. The objective has to be improving the future for all of humanity. Conservative people can be helpful by restricting freedom of people to do whatever they may want to try to get away with, and Liberal people can be harmful by demanding freedom to believe and do whatever they want.

    What I currently see as a very serious developing problem is the Unite the Right movements that clearly strive to build a United base of support by tempting people to be greedier and less tolerant. Those groups claim to be Conservative because they know some people are almost sure to continue to vote for what they think is Conservative, not considering if they are being helpful or harmful, just doing it because that is what they learned to do and they are not interested in trying to learn any more.

    Conservative/Liberal is also fairly ineffective because the key is limiting of the behaviour of the individual. Libertarians are bit of a combination of both and often claim that competition will 'bring out the best in them'. Without a shared understanding of what is helpful, and therefore allowed in the competition, what they consider to be 'Their Best' is exemplified by the likes of Trump, a Winner they are proud to support.

  33. One Planet Only Forever at 07:09 AM on 8 February 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #4

    Art Vandela@5,

    While total population is a concern, the real concern is the highest consuming and impacting portion of the total population.

    I share the concern about developing nations following the damaging and unsustainable development part of the supposedly most advanced nations, because many of those supposedly more advanced have developed to massive unsustainable over-consumption and negative impacts.

    But I identify the real problem as the individuals whose way of living and earning a living make them the largest consumers and highest impacting people. They can be found in every nation (higher percentages of them in the populations of the supposedly more developed/advanced nations).

    It is members of that group that clearly will need to be forced to behave better; the ones who choose not to sacrifice a potential for personal benefit to help advance all humanity to a sustainable better future, leading by example by being the lowest negative impacting people on the planet (being the lowest impacting because they can afford that way of living while working to charitably improve the cost-effectiveness of everyone living that more responsible way is developed, especially acting to charitably help developing nations go directly to more responsible ways of living).


  34. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5


    By balanced I probably used the wrong words. I'm trying to say competition is a natural healthy part of business, and so is cooperation. They co-exist obviously, but there can be excessive competition, that becomes destructive and this can happen between firms, and also within firms.

    This is best managed by 1) rules and 2) having people united in some greater project that is beneficial to society. I think that was what you were also implying with the sustainable development goals thing.

    Regarding women in leadership roles. I agree certain male leaders have no fear of women, eg Trump. He is an unusual character and not really a conservative. He simply manipulates  blue collar workers when it suits, and they tend to be more insecure about the roles of women so he plays to their biases and fears, but Trump is happy to support some woman if it suits.

    But then other more conservative leaning leaders are genuinely fearful and resentful of women in leadership roles. Theres no denying this.

    I sense you are trying to steer clear of using conservative / liberal labels and identities,  to avoid infaming debate, and part of me is sympathetic to your constructive approach. But sometimes its hard to avoid discussing such groupings, because its a reality. However I personally try to at least  avoid the fingerpointing blame game, in regard to different groups.

  35. In-depth: Scientists discuss how to improve climate models

    Oh boy! The likes of Booker, Moncton et al will love this!

    "Climate "scientists" have little idea of the climate modellings' results or how they work'.

    I can just see their take on these reports.

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

    Knaugle says "Throughout the conservative culture and heirarchy in the USA, the social norm is that men are in charge, and women participate."

    This is true to a significant extent, but it's liberalised since the 1950's. Attitudes do eventually change. I have my optimist hat on.

    Dwelling on the intransigence of such people gets depressing, because theres no obvious thing that will change their mind, other than to encourage them to understand they are worrying about nothing. Its far more beneficial to have the best talent for the job, and not worry about gender, race etc.

  37. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    Michael Shermer is a psychologist, and author of Skeptic and The Moral Arc, both interesting books. From his book he was apparently a climate sceptic and general environmental sceptic, because of the overly negative failed predictions of the book Limits to Growth. But this was an early book based on a lot of huge approximations of resources.

    However Shermer  changed his mind, and accepted agw climate change and other environmental problems were real, after  reading various popular books by Tim Flannery, Jared Diamond,  and seeing Al Gores presentation on agw science. He cited Gore as a significant influence.

    So Al Gore converted at least one sceptic! And Shermer was converted by old fashioned factual information, and making the effort to read a few books, and there are great books out there.

    John Key, the moderately conservative leader of one of our political parties, became a convert to AGW after seeing a graph of the last 70 years plotting solar irradiance against temperatures, and it was clear to him that solar irradiance was mostly flat in recent decades, so is obviously not a driving factor. He is a currency trader, and so possibly very data orientated.

    This was something that also convinced me agw was real, because the sun is obviously such a powerful possible alternative theory. However not everyone relates to graphical information, and data on watts / sq m and things like this. 

    So some sceptics do change their minds simply through looking at the facts. They seem to be less strongly influenced by motivated reasoning and confirmation bias.

    And there seem to be many different paths to how they decide agw is real because different people seem to connect with different aspects. For this reason as a general rule presentations on climate change might be best to include a mixture of human interest, natural world material, and more abstract material on ocean processes and graphical trends.

    I do however agree with Knaugle that a certain group of deniers are very intransigent. They might never be convinced, even if sea levels rose 20 metres, or perhaps only then. I think the reason is that there are an overwhelming number of political, ideological and psychological issues combining together with this group. It's an additive thing. It's not just one thing.

    No doubt the denialists look at both sides of the debate, but see only what they want to see. They get very invested in a position, or strongly tied to the influence of a peer group,  and then its hard for them to back down, and pride wont let them admit they were wrong.

    We all know that shifting political beliefs can be difficult. However most people also have some desire to know the truth, and understand that science is about getting at the truth.


  38. There's no correlation between CO2 and temperature

    NorrisM @178.

    You are famously confused, so you better concentrate.

    The recent BEST & GISS global temperature anomalies are in close agreement, their maximum annual values (2016) within 0.02ºC of each other. So the bulk of the 0.2ºC discrapency will likely be due to the other end of the record.

    There are a couple of other factors which cancel each other out. Here in this thread you will note I was using 'period-maximums' (which thus includes 2016) but the 'Empirical evidence that humans are causing global warming' comment was using BEST 'period-average' values (1850-1935) to align the BEST data with the Loehle & McCulloch data  (covering 11,700BC-1935AD with their zero equal to their full 'period-average'). Not using 'period-maximums' increases the measure of rise-in-temperature-since-pre-industrial by about 0.1ºC,  but this is canceled out by the re-basing to the Holocene 'period-average' which is warmer than pre-industrial by a similar amount.

    At the early end of the two temperature records, there is more of a discrepancy between BEST & GISS (with BEST -0.17ºC cooler than its GISS equivalent) which, coupled with BEST extending back to 1850 with even lower temperatures, this providing adjustments that tot-up to the bulk of the extra +0.2ºC above the zero to yield +1.2ºC on the Loehle & McCulloch graph.

  39. There's no correlation between CO2 and temperature

    MA Rodger @ 177

    I am somewhat confused by the discussion between MA Rodger and strop regarding what the temperature rise has been since the 1880's.  My understanding is that MA Rodger suggests that it has increased from .8C to 1C as of now.

    But on Feb 4, MA Rodger on the "There is no empirical evidence" blog, he stated the following for 2016:

    "Using a modern global surface record to fill in recent decades (BEST was to hand) and aligning it with the tag end of the Loehle and McCulloch data (1850-1935), the temperature for 2016 would be plotted at +1.2ºC which is plainly off the graph."

    If the yearly temperature can jump up and down by .2C per year then do we not really have to use a minimum 10 year period in anything we talk about?  I appreciate that El Nino's and La Nina's, as well as volcanoes, complicates looking at what temperature rise we have had over this period.  But is even an average over a 10 year period relevant?  Look at the famous "hiatus". 

  40. One Planet Only Forever at 04:39 AM on 8 February 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5


    The understanding of the need to gradually terminate the burning of fossil fuels and limit human pursuits of benefit to sustainnable energy consumption was established in the 1960s.

    The reality of obstruction of that responsible issue is now, 50 years later, clearly continuing. The reality of the near criminality of continued efforts to 'slow down the termination of the damaging and ultimately unsustainable way the Winners enjoy their life' will clearly need to lead to investigation into the actions of 'all of the biggest winners' with penalties assessed based on their Won wealth/power and the severity of their obstructive actions attempting to delay the change of undertsanding and action that is requied.

  41. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    Correction.  IEA statistics for 2014 not 2015.

  42. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    Bob Loblaw @ 5

    A very legitimate comment that I have deflected my own views towards the reality of the present political environment.  What I find more relevant to policy discussions is what can be done today given the political realities rather than my personal opinions.

    Having said that, I will explain my view now that you have put me in a corner. 

    Karl Popper, a scientist, wrote one book on political theory entitled "The Open Society and Its Enemies", which has been described by the Economist as "the best intellectual defense of liberal democracy" ever written.  A key part of his political theory as espoused in this book is that man has throughout his time on this planet taken many "bold" steps and many times regretted them because of the "unintended consequences".  His view is that we should respect "incrementalism" in everything we do to avoid this folly. 

    Many will say that "Oh, yes I agree with Popper's theory" except for "this case" because it is the exception because drastic action has to be taken because of its seriousness.  This is the answer provided by the proponents of any proposed action, not just climate change.

    If we had a meteor hurtling towards earth which was clearly going to impact us, then, yes, that would be an exception.  But we have many years before the effects will be felt in any significant way and even the worst case scenarios do not result in the end of our civilization.  Furthermore, these scary scenarios are largely based on economic models which do not have the computing power to even properly input the effects of clouds on the climate let alone all of the other "non-linear" physical processes which together constitute our climate.  It is for that reason that I have begun to limit my research to sea level rises and land temperature rises which I can understand somewhat.

    So let us gradually move from fossil fuels to alternative sources of energy and not choke our civilization as a result of some massive denial of the source of energy which has brought us to this great flowering of our world over the last 200 years.  Man's  "leverage of energy" is what has brought us here.  But to deny the world of cheap energy at this time would take us back to the dark ages.  As of 2015, based upon IEA statistics, 81% of world energy was supplied by fossil fuels and of the remaining 19%, 92% was supplied by nuclear, hydro and biomass (largely dung burning) leaving 1.5% to wind and solar in 2015.

    That is why I am in favour of a carbon tax which levies a charge on fossil fuels that represents the pollution costs and encourages alternative fuels but does not throw the baby out with the bath water.

    It is a tough read (Plato does not come off well) but it is one of the best books I have ever read.  I highly recommend it.

    I trust this comment will escape the Moderator's clippings given that you asked me for my opinion on why I do not think a carbon tax should take into account all possible costs of fossil fuels (without taking into account the present benefits to the world).

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

    #10 One Planet Only Forever

    I would disagree in the sense that Ann Coulter or Laura Ingraham would be a good refutation were I talking about Rachael Maddow, but not for women in true positions of leadership.  Regardless there is a clear double standard that applies to women who are running the show.  Throughout the conservative culture and heirarchy in the USA, the social norm is that men are in charge, and women participate. 

  44. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    I don't have a lot of hope most deniers will ever change their minds. Many of them know the science as well as I do, quite a few better in fact.  Yet they cling to their current world view.  This effect is well documented in Shankar Vedantum's book "The Hidden Brain"

    The Hidden Brain - Amazon

    You see the same effect with respect to vaccines, where people will acknowledge what the science says, but still insist vaccines are dangerous.  Deniers are clinging to the hope we will soon see a significant cooling trend, when, like the proverbial hypochondriac, they can respond with "See I told you I was right!"

  45. do u know da wae at 00:29 AM on 8 February 2018
    Climate's changed before

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

  46. There's no correlation between CO2 and temperature

    strop @176.

    You fail to describe this "theory" you mention @176. As it appears as a fundamental consideration of what you describe as "point was..." it does appear to be an important part of your comment. Can you describe what you mean by the "theory"?

    You did indeed set out @174 a 0.4 deg warming in the period 1880s-1940s, this 50% relative to the warming in the period 1880s-2010. And if your argument is made for you, the topic under discussion is the correlation between CO2 and global temperature (specifically here the Gistemp LOTI) and thus the comparison you suggest is not in principle unmerited. My apologies. I was paying little attention to your comment as it is somewhat banal.

    You still fail to explain properly your derivation of the numbers you set out and how you obtain the 50% result so I will do this analysis for you. To achieve a more fruitful outcome, I will not expend apples and oranges within this analysis. Rather than mix period-averages with cherry-picked period-maximims, I will use period-maximums throughout.

    If we consider the maximum annual LOTI temperature within the start period (1880-1900, sometimes considered a measure of pre-industrial temperature) and the intermediate period (1940s) and the end periods (1) 1970s-2010 and (2) 1970s-2017:

    This yields a result of (1) 38%  and (2) 28% of the warming occuring by the 1940s (specifically in 1944), a time when the industrial-period CO2 forcing had reached (1) 34% and (2) 30% relative to the end periods. Thus the level of warming is reasonably reflective of the CO2 forcing (and indeed also if all positive forcings are included in the analysis). It should be noted that the 38% value relies solely on the 1944 annual anomaly. If multi-year averages are substituted for annual temperatures, something that should be done given the nature of the data, the percentage drops markedly.

  47. citizenschallenge at 13:24 PM on 7 February 2018
    Humans need to become smarter thinkers to beat climate denial

    Nice write up!

    nigelj, seems to me we haven't done very well with the math these past decades either.  Case in point:  "Sustainability 101: Exponential Growth - Arithmetic, Population and Energy (Dr. Albert Bartlett discusses the implications of unending growth on economies, population, and resources.)

    “The answer does not care if you like it. It just is.” Should be carved in stone.  ;- )

    (SkS, have reposted this at )

  48. Humans need to become smarter thinkers to beat climate denial

    A few decades ago, back when I was still a member of the working class, I was at a conference on Reliability & Maintainability (R&M) of large and complex manufacturing machines. I went out for dinner and beer with two young German engineers who worked for a competitor to my employer. They were both worried about their employer moving manufacturing to Brazil. Knowing that I am fluent in Spanish, it didn’t take much beer for them to believe that I’m fluent in “Brazilian” also.

    I never was able to convince them that the main language of Brazil is Portuguese. (Something to do with the beer, most likely.) But they kept pestering me with “How hard is it to learn Brazilian?” I gave up and told them, “It’s much easier to learn Brazilian than to learn how to live on a Brazilian engineer’s income.”

    One of them scowled and said, “That’s not the answer I wanted.” The other said, “The answer does not care if you like it. It just is.” Then he swigged some more beer.

    These two young engineers were wiser than climate change deniers: at least they recognized the risk of their jobs being offshored… which did happen, several years later; Dunno know what happened to these two engineers. But at least they did not deny the oncoming peril. That memorable line from “The Boxer” by Simon and Garfunkel, “…still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest” did not apply to at least one of the engineers.

    Tuning out what they don’t want to hear is not peculiar to climate change deniers and squiffed German engineers only.

  49. Humans need to become smarter thinkers to beat climate denial

    I just loved the humour in the first video. John, Peter, and David .... you can keep your day jobs. But if you do have trouble in the future, you've got a future. :-)

  50. One Planet Only Forever at 08:52 AM on 7 February 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5


    It is not helpful to think of the issue as a need for 'balance' between competition and cooperation.

    Sustainably Justified and meaningfully enforced limits on what is allowed in 'the competition for popularity and profitability' is what is required.

    Imagine a system with no rules and many situations where there are limited opportunities to benefit, with everyone 'competing to personally perceive themselves to be better-off than others, thinking they are the Winner'. What is expected to develop in such a system? How does activity beneficial to the future of the collective develop in the system? The people willing to do less acceptable things will Win to the detriment of the collective as long as they can get away with behaving less acceptably. And even if the collective decide to act in 'their best interest' the future generations will likely be the ones to suffer. This is what is happening regarding correction of economic activity in response to the increased awareness and understanding of climate science.

    The Sustainable Development Goals are all about the future. Achieving them requires charitable sacrifice of potential personal benefit. And that requires the charitable sacrifice to be shared fairly by all, not requiring that the portion of the population that is willing to make such a sacrifice try to over-come the accumulating damage done by those who care less.

    What is required is global awareness and understanding that popularity and profitability competition does not properly distinguish 'what deserves to be encouraged and rewarded' from 'what deserves to be discouraged and penalized'. The economy clearly requires diligent and effective responsible refereeing, contrary to the beliefs of many people including many 'economists'.

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