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Comments 801 to 850:

  1. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #32

    Michael Mann is exactly right. Imho we have to balance both environmental and economic affairs. Nobody will die without owning the latest $1000 smartphone with its "face recognition and reimagined camera".

  2. Welcome to the Pliocene

    Johnboy, my understanding just as a layperson (more or less) is the pleocene was about 2-3 degrees warmer than today, with sea level about 20 M higher, but this developed over thousands of years. CO2 concentrations were similar to today and changes were slow.

    We are forcing change more rapidly, but its a case of how this works out in our reality. On business as usual CO2 emissions we are on track for 4 degrees by 2100 which are Pleocene like temperatures, but because some of the positive feedbacks are so slow, over  millenia we could experience temperatures in excess 4 degrees ultimately. Even if we dont hit 4 degrees by 2100 we will get there eventually  as positive feedbacks work.

    So huge areas of our planet could move to a tropical climate and heatwaves would be on top of that and probably in some of our lifetimes or over the next few centuries after this .

    It would take thousands of years for sea level rise to increase to 20M. Ice melts at a certain rate. We would adapt but there is obviously huge loss of land area and soils, and soils take practically forever to develop.

    However the thing that gets my attention is evidence within these early climates like the pliocene and others is that there were relatively short periods of rapid warming of several degrees per century, and rapid sea level rise of 2-5 m per century, something we would have huge difficulty adapting to. There's also evidence of things like super storms and abrupt climate shifts in the atmospheric and ocean circulations which have huge regional implications.

    If sea level rise was 20 metres over  thousands of years we would adapt to some extent, but rapid sea level rise of more than 1 metre per century, for maybe a couple of centuries  would be catastrophic and much harder to adapt to. Theres already evidence of a speeding up of ice melt in Antractica as a whole, including both east and western glaciers.

    The pleocene world.

  3. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #32

    Hot nights  can also be a real killer. Nights are warming faster than days.

  4. Trump reignited his war with California, but his Tweet got burned

    Alex Jones' term 'InfoWars' describes what Trump is doing here.  In War, truth is the first casualty.  Once the fossil-fueled rightwing disinformation network has convinced voters in critical states that 'there's a war on for your mind' (as Jones puts it), then all information becomes a weapon and either acts to defeat the enemy or weakens 'our side'.  Trump is lying, knows he's lying, his troops know he's lying, and the 'enemy' knows he's lying.  It doesn't matter, the information either hurts the other side or it doesn't, and if it doesn't, then it hurts your side.  Consider Trump's claim as a 5 year old would: do rivers, in fact, naturally flow to the sea?  If not, are salmon communists, lying about their progeneration requirements in order to impose One World Government?  You 'have to be carefully taught' to look past the obvious absurdity of what Trump is suggesting CA do, and see his tweet for what it is: a salvo, fired in the face of the enemy, and nothing more.

  5. Welcome to the Pliocene

    Fascinating post and discussions. Can someone speak to the rate of the climate changes under the Eemian and Pliocene relative to what’s happening now. These were changes spanning thousands of years. How different will this be, given the relative speed of this change. What will my grandchildren, who would be in their 90’s by 2100 experience with a 2°C rise? How many generations down the line to see the full effects.

    Maybe a couple alligators or giant tortises showing up near Springfield, Ill. Now would get denialist politicians attention.

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] I'm sure that other contributors will weigh in, but as a general note, the maximum rate of change in CO2 concentrations from the ice core records is about 100 ppm over 10,000 years (around 1 ppm per century).

    The current rate of change in CO2 concentrations, OTOH, are about 1 ppm every 20 weeks.

    Now set in motion, SLR from land-based ice sheet losses will continue for literally millennia after the cessation of the burning of fossil fuels.

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

    The Guardian ran an article on how current high temperatures affect cities.  The article describes how 50C temperatures are unlivable so the streets are deserted during the day.  Kuwait could see 60C by 2100.  The damage would be unthinkable.

    Vote climate.

  7. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #32

    Anyone that was paying attention knew who Trump was.  The fault lies with Obama and Warren who supported Hillary in the primaries instead of Bernie.  All the poles said that Bernie would beat Trump by a comfortable margin.

  8. Welcome to the Pliocene

    Driving by @15, yes history is littered with examples of civilisations collapsing due to environmental problems ( Jared Diamonds book Collapse covers some examples) although improving understanding of science allowed us to recognise and fix the ozone hole problem. Of course the industry lobbying was on a smaller scale to fossil fuels, and it didn't so directly affect the public and become politicised. However it shows what can be done with policy when we want to.

    I was wondering about the Dutch. They did react well to the problem of sea level inundation, and I guess it was partly because it was so very visible and present, and partly because so much of their land is below sea level that they had no choice. It's just that little bit easier to rationalise that people can migrate inland to escape rising seas.

  9. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #32

    Just about any state west of the Rockies has hills covered with brush somewhere.  It should be pretty obvious to anyone there who watches any kind of news that wildfires in that are not fought with firehoses connected to hydrants.  We always here about containment percentages as those fires go on for days, usually until there is a change in the weather.  Between Montana and Arizona, is pretty much Trump country.  He may have some trouble living this one down.

  10. Welcome to the Pliocene

    @nigel, #6

    I certainly hope the scenario I outlined doesn't become real, and somehow the entire world decides to act reasonably about a condition whose effects are mostly (not all, I know) far in the future.  History has far more examples of entire civilizations stumbling into tar pits than it shows them correctly identifying, then planning for and avoiding a future hazard. It's been done - the Dutch and the sea - but it ain't the average. 

  11. Welcome to the Pliocene

    trstyles@10: Interesting stuff about the Eemian in Illinois. I live in St Louis and grew up in southern Illinois. I'd love to read more about these alligators and tortises. Do you have a link?

  12. Welcome to the Pliocene

    BChip @11, I can relate to much of that. Humans are indeed not hardwired to think and act very long term and also think altruistically long term. We are programmed to react strongly to immediate threats which activate our adrenalin system.

    We conceptualise and moralise about very long term multi generational threats, but the motivation for action is not as high on a gut level. We do think of our children, but tend to rationalise that they will find a way to deal with the problem.

    Having said that,  some people do think long term. James Hansen for example. It's always possible to influence people to open their eyes a little. We are a species governend by innate instincts, yet we are not a complete slave to them either.

    In fact many people want to see something done when you look at polls, but frankly the political right have neutralised efforts at carbon taxes and meaningfull deployment of renewable energy, and have abandoned any commensense in their world view. Commonsense would suggest medium size government to me, and I think extremes beyond this in either direction are unwise.

    It's also not entirely economically  rational to expect people to make huge self sacrifices, regardless of the price future generations pay. The system favours fossil fuels and cheap petrol powered cars, and until politicians bend the system to favour renewable energy, it's hard to expect individuals to do too much, although theres no excuse for financially well off people to do nothing. 

    So yes, because of all this it may take a few more heatwaves to motivate people. I think we are going to end up in damage limitation mode, doing what we can.

  13. Welcome to the Pliocene

    We will soon see in the upcoming USA midterm elections if this issue can help refocus the country on existential evironmental threats !

  14. Welcome to the Pliocene

    The next dozen years are going to serve up repetitions of the heat waves, droughts and floods (sometimes in the same suburbs in the same month ie Greece) sufficient to bring climate up-close and personal to the average person on the street.  That has to happen for humans to pay attention to a threat.  It can't be distant, it can't be theoretical.  We didn't evolve a mechanism to handle that. 

    It is socialized, not genetic, this concern for future generations.  So most people have difficulty with it. Georgia without Peaches, or a table without food on it, can get our attention.  

    Homo Sapiens may be an oxymoron but we manage to panic efficiently enough once it is too late to do much... still.. what can be done will be done after the 2x4 events Mother Nature is swinging at our "heads of state" get everyone's attention.  So we won't burn it all.  We WILL stop burning it sometime in the next dozen or so years, in an orgy of panicked reaction.  Too little too late to prevent a lot of damage, but enough soon enough I think, to make that sharp turn. 

    Maybe.   At this point one expects it to be a compound radius "Fishhook". 

    There will of course, be criminal trials for some, should they live long enough to stand trial.  

    The Republican Party of the US will disintegrate or reorganize around its cadre of sane "small government" realists.  Small government IS a valid goal to continuously strive for, but to paraphrase Einstein "...but no smaller",  it has to be at least large enough to do its job.

    So not too late, and not hopeless but damnably bad news for us humans.  We have to survive long enough to evolve our social structures and select for civilization... and we may not remain civilized long enough to do that.

  15. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #32

    Worse yet,Trump isn't the only resident of the USA to believe such nonsense. He is simply parroting the propaganda memes beamed into America's TVs by Fox News. Turn on a radio and you will hear the same repeated verbatim by talk show hosts. Most Americans live far away from the west coast. They have no native understanding of the situation in California so they are very susceptible.

  16. Welcome to the Pliocene

    That greenhouse gases and heat energy added to global systems have surpassed those required to bring about conditions similar to the Eemian is already a potential disaster. Return to the environmental conditions of that warm era will disrupt food production in the Midwest USA and similar latitudes in Eurasia. Much of the world population depends on food imported from these most productive of agricutural regions. Pliocene conditions will almost certainly result in famine, and this seems to be the best we can hope for? Personally, my hair is already on fire!

    Paleontologists from the Illinois State Museum have found alligator teeth in Eemian deposits just south of St. Louis, Missouri. That's the middle Mississippi valley not the deep south. In an excavation of Eemian deposits on the uplands to the east, near Springfield Illinois, excavations recovered remains of a giant tortoise, similar in size and morphology to those of the Galapagos Islands. Pollen from the associated sediment indicates the local environment was a warm parkland, a mosaic of groves of trees interspersed with open glades.

    Alligators can protect themselves in cold weather by surrounding themselves with water or burrowing into rotting vegetation. No such escape for giant tortoises in the uplands. Temperatures in the winter must have been considerably warmer than historic times in which 3 or 4 months of bitter cold have been the norm. Cold snaps lasting more than a few days would have been fatal to the tortoises.

    The sites mentioned are within the southern part of USA's "Corn Belt" famed for it's rich black prairies soils and massive production of maize corn and soybeans. The fertility of the soils here is in large part a happy result of our cold winters. When the ground freezes microbial activity ceases as does burrowing activity that increases aeration and oxidation. Under Eemian climate conditions, let alone those of the Pliocene, soils and crops alike will be out of equilibrium with the new environment. In the minds of most soils are considered rather inert. People will be surprised by the rate at which fertility declines.

    Since the environment here is optimal for the crops grown, any change in weather during the growing season is likely to be detrimental. Long droughts are a distinct possibility, but if weather swings in the opposite direction, increased rainfall can also devastate crops. In hilly areas erosion becomes a problem. In the more typical extensive flat lands water is slow to move off. Many fields require extensive systems of buried "tiles" to ensure drainage (plastic pipes nowadays). Even 3 or 4 days of standing water kills crop plants.

    Just the relatively minor variation in climate through the Holocene has seen the USA's Midwest evolve from near total forest cover to approximately 2/3 tall grass prairie. During the warmest part of the Holocene grasslands extended 100s of kilometers eastward, across the state of Indiana and on into Ohio. All this with changes in temperature and rainfall that were but a fraction of what is already "in the pipe"!

  17. Welcome to the Pliocene

    I live in Holland and we have the most to lose from sea level change (except Bangaladesh amongst others) but all new cars have airco most people use driers and Sunday roads are always clogged with people tooing and frooing.

    If the Ducth who are a very sensible people can't ditch their wasteful habits who can? Interestingly the Swedes are starting to think about taking things more seriously after their wild fires.

    https://www.thelocal.se/20180724/swedens-wildfires-are-everyones-business

    Ok so ther's a political twist but then again there usally is!

  18. Welcome to the Pliocene

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

    The biggest issue is that people don't want to give up what they have and why should they! There are lots of 'tips' to save energy and most notably energy saving light bulbs! But what you save in electricty you will spend on a new coat. Everybody has an energy pie which comes from their income and must be spent at all costs, it would seem. Mother nature has saved up all that lovely oil, etc for us to spend and she is the only 'person' to stop us as governements are far too inaffective. I think Mother Nature is starting to get just a little cross withymankind!

  19. Seal of approval - How marine mammals provide important climate data

    Here is an update about the ICARUS project mentioned in the article: it took longer than expected but the antenna is now scheduled to be attached to the I.S.S. during a 6 hours space walk by Russian astronauts Artemyev and Prokopyev on Wednesday, August 15 2018 starting on 11:58am Eastern U.S.

    It will be broadcast live on NASA.TV which you can tune in to here:
    https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html#public

  20. Welcome to the Pliocene

    To keep going on like a broken record, we should abandon all our disparate campaigns and focus on the prime mover.  WHO PAYS THE PIPER CALLS THE TUNE.  As long as vested interests are allowed to support our politicians, our politicians will do their bidding.  Get this one sorted out and all the other very necessary campaigns will suddenly start to gain traction.  We are doing remarkably well despite our politicians but no where near fast enough.  Just imagine if they were on our side.

  21. Welcome to the Pliocene

    Driving By @4 &5, it's  hard for me to see climate change impacting fertility.  We know widely available contraception, better women's rights, and reasonable but basic health care appears sufficient to lead to small families, from experience in a couple of African countries.  It's hard to see climate change altering this too much. Countries don't need to be wealthy to have lower fertility rates.

    Of course bending the population growth curve down with good social policies is all for the good on numerous levels. Middle range projections have population hitting 10 billion by 2100 then slowly declining. Refer population growth projections on wikipedia.

    Climate change will increase mortality, but my guess is not enough to lead to actual absolute declines in population numbers, or this would at least be a slow process to develop. Of course catastrophic climate change is a possibility. This would all be a negative feedback, but there are much gentler ways of reducing population size, simply by encouraging smaller families and the magic number is 2 children in western countries, and 3 children in poor countries. 

    I dont think the nickel content of electric cars makes them any less effective at reducing emissions. It's more a problem of the availability of supply of nickel, and the terrible conditions in the mines. We will probably end up mining old land fills, but this will be true for all sorts of products ultimately. 

  22. Welcome to the Pliocene

    oops, previous comment needs editing, but cannot be edited once posted. 

  23. Welcome to the Pliocene

    "Most likely we will keep pumping CO2 into the atmosphere until the last SUV runs out of gas...."

    Changing your 5000# resource guzzing "suv" for 3400# resource guzzling Prius will do zero of substance to change matters.  If you stop eating food, living in a heated building, traveling over paved roads and having kids, it would.  

    Here's your green car saving the environment:

    https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/aug/24/nickel-mining-hidden-environmental-cost-electric-cars-batteries

  24. Welcome to the Pliocene

    Welll, here's another thought, albeit speculative. 

    No other species has been able to remove barriers to exponential population growth. The human population grew at a glacial pace until the 19th century, when the Industrial Revolution detonated the plodding circle of history.  For a hundred thousand years, there were fewer than 100 million of us, then about a thousand, fewer than a billion of us. For the last one hundred years, our numbers have exploded. 

    Like other animals, we're territorial. We want territory because we need some, and we want more because we want it, and if you give up half of yours others will take it, surround you and then take the rest. That is how humans have always been and always will be. 

    So probably we're headed towards a tipping point, not soon (well over 50 years forward) but inevitable, where people go to war over land and water, then continue wars because fire has its own force.  

    If Climate Change causes a collapse in feritily, then a decrease in population, we'll avert that scenario. World population falling by, say, 2/3rds would free up massive amounts of land for reforestation, it would decrease the massive amonut of fuels used for farming and it would allow societies to move to accomode rising seas. It would also allow for sharp cuts in C02 output, since when one is not in a war for survival the option to act about other things exists.  

    Climate change will bring immense costs and eventually destroy coastal cities - that's most great cities - which have been settled for thousands of years.  It might also save us from something much worse. 

  25. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #32

    And the circus continues, with more simplistic stupidity from Trump. Diverting water that isn't even needed, cutting down the forests, climate change is a chinese hoax. 

    I think we better get used to a hothouse earth, or worse.

  26. Welcome to the Pliocene

    Thanks, John Mason and "JG," for a very clear explanation of the important paper by Steffen et al. It really does seem we're on our way to the Pliocene. The question, as raised by Steffen et al., is whether we can stop there. Some feedbacks will be beyond our control. For a frightening worst-case scenario of what might happen if we continue blindly along the path of business as usual, read James Hansen's forecast of what the Earth might look like in 2525 (pages 260-270 of Storms of My Grandchildren).

  27. Welcome to the Pliocene

    We need to drop all scenarios that start with "if we drastically cut our emissions immediately..." We are not going to drastically cut emissions. It would be a miracle if the world's emissions plateaued. Most likely we will keep pumping CO2 into the atmosphere until the last SUV runs out of gas....

  28. Factcheck: How global warming has increased US wildfires

    Interview with Michael Brune, the director of the Sierra Club, and Michael Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State University and author of “The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial is Threatening our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving us Crazy.”

    => Experts: If We Don’t Stop Climate Change, CA Fires “Will Seem Mild In Comparison to What’s Coming” - YouTube

  29. Climate change science comeback strategies

    Another take on putting the recent warming in context, this time from Bruce Railsback's 'Fundamentals of Quaternary Science' at the University of Georgia:

    Last 22,000 years

    Larger version here.

     

    And this one, with the SLR curve from Shakun 2015 added in:

    Last 22,000 years with SLR

  30. Climate change science comeback strategies

    A fascinating take on this whole subject is in the book Plows Plagues and Petroleum by Ruddiman.  He shows pretty conclusively how we should have slid into a glacial period but the slide was slowed by the plow (releasing CO2 into the atmosphere) and rice cultivation (releasing methane) until, as we were finally almost at the threshold, plagues in Europe and North America resulted in massive forest growth and tipped us over the edge.  This is visible around the high lands of Baffin Island (you have to read the book to see how).  However CO2 was rising and tipped us back out of a glaciation.  We have now pushed it way back despite the fact that we are at the bottom of the 22000 year cycle.

  31. Pollution is slowing the melting of Arctic sea ice, for now

    China is flat out replacing old inefficient polluting coal plants with new, high efficiency clean ones. They dont want discontent about polution causing a challenge to the government. See here for more information. Note fig 1 and Fig 3 in particular. I have done some work on chinese plants - I believe they are mostly taking up Japanese technology while inventing their own.

  32. Climate change science comeback strategies

    Good graphical information. A picture paints 1000 words. Unfortunately plenty of people are simply not good at reading graphs.

  33. Climate change science comeback strategies

    20000 years

    temp reconstructions

    Finally, an enlightening video => Scratching the 1.5°C Jazz

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Reduced image widths breaking page formatting

  34. michael sweet at 22:42 PM on 9 August 2018
    Pollution is slowing the melting of Arctic sea ice, for now

    Willian,

    In the USA currently the coal pollution kills over 10,000 people each year.  Coal barons and the Republican party think it is too expensive to equip old coal power plants to reduce pollution.  Most of the regulations in Obama's clean power plan forced reductions of particulate and sulphur pollution with carbon reduction as a side effect.

  35. Pollution is slowing the melting of Arctic sea ice, for now

    Likely, as the asians increase their individual wealth, they will demand that their governments clean up their air.  This should be a fascinating experiment.  The technology is off the shelf.  Many years ago America put in particulate scrubbers and sulphur scrubbers which were very effective.  China, for instance, could buy the technology off the shelf and install it or alternately, buy a few and reverse engineer them.  Possibly they don't want their population to live long lives.  Big pension payouts.

  36. Climate change science comeback strategies

    I think strategies 1 - 3 are excellent. Its hard to add anything.

    I'm less persauded by strategy 4. It comes across as patronising, and I'm not sure you want to try to be the doubters "friend". But I think it does pay to talk freely in a humourous way, and anyway science is an adventure and exercise in discovery, and historical aspects are easy to grasp. Insults and ad hominems convince nobody.

    Just some random thoughs on whats going on. Some denialists say provocative things like what about all this snow? but seem prepared to listen to arguments in an open minded way. I think they are secretely sitting on the fence, and say provocative things as a way of elicting the counter arguments as to why the world is in fact warming.

    Of course some people have very rigid views about the science, and we see them just repeating the same things over and over. Some may be fronting lobby groups, some may not be.  The political right has turned agw climate change into a sort of object of derision, and we know  tribal affiliations mean subscribing to this view without question. You wont convince this lot, but that doesn't mean they won't support renewable energy. Texas has a lot of wind power I think, even although its Republican heartland.

    But the acceptance of climate science has still  improved in America, according to various polls,  and so clearly views aren't entirely fixed with everyone. Imho the most likely reason is presentation of the facts about the issue, exposing the misleading nature of much denialism, and the continuing worsening weather.

  37. Red Letter Day at 09:02 AM on 8 August 2018
    Breathing contributes to CO2 buildup

    Nearly 8 yrs elapsed  since the first question on this topic was posted: "Does breathing buildup CO2 in the atmosphere?"

    With the use of many technological advances in research and data analysis over these 8 years, is the answer different? I would appreciate a review and updated opinion presented for both basic and intermediate level readers. Thank you. 

    Moderator Response:

    [TD] Nope, there are no changes in the conclusions.

  38. The GOP and Big Oil can't escape blame for climate change

    I suspect (and would like to believe!) that the author of the awesome subject article was being a tad sly in the dichotomy of reporting and conclusion. We might do well to consider Abraham Lincoln's rebuttal of an opposing attorney in a trial: “My opponent’s facts are right, but his conclusion is wrong.” (It's a tad off-color; I prefer to let the salaciously-minded look it up themselves.) What I would read is that Rich is trying to make it less difficult for mugwump denyists to walk back their opposition.

    And then, maybe not; nevertheless, to misquote Alexander Pope, hope springs eternal in the [i.e. "this"] old man's breast.

  39. Pollution is slowing the melting of Arctic sea ice, for now

    I thought coal fired electricity generation was required to filter out sulphate aerosols? So do some countries do this better than others? 

    Or are other aerosols contributing?

  40. Pollution is slowing the melting of Arctic sea ice, for now

    I'm curious about attribution to black carbon.  Is this well-estimated?

  41. They didn't change the name from 'global warming' to 'climate change'

    I can concede that the terms "global warming" and "climate change" have been used interchangeably for decades, but the fact that Frank Luntz suggested using "climate change" instead of "global warming" is a sure indication that one term is less likely to promote activism than the other, and activism on the problem of global warming was never what Luntz advocated nor has it been a feature of conservatism for nearly a decade.

    I'm going to stick with the term "global warming" unless it becomes repetitive. It is the cause of climate change, not the reverse. I want people to be alarmed about it. I want them to do something themselves and insist their representatives in government do something about it, also. If it didn't matter what it was called, Luntz would never have written what he did. What we call things matters. It can make all the difference. Luntz knows this. We should, too, if we care about making a difference.

  42. Increasing CO2 has little to no effect

    "warming has occurred since 1975, at a rate of roughly 0.15-0.20°C per decade". More specifically and quite interestingly:

    +0.165 degrees / decade: La Nina years 1967-2012
    +0.165 degrees / decade: ENSO-neutral years 1970-2013
    +0.20 degrees / decade: El Nino years 1966-1990
    +0.23 degrees / decade: El Nino years 1990-2013 (sparse data though)

    El Ninos are "pulling away".

  43. The GOP and Big Oil can't escape blame for climate change

    The Nathaniel Rich history is an excellent history and all credit to the LA Times for publishing this. The more climate coverage like this the better!

    However imho the article does indeed make way too many excuses for the fossil fuel industry and the Republicans, and this is so frustrating and peculiar. The writers own conclusions contradict his own history. I think the writer was trying to be nice to everyone and unbiased, and took this too far to the point of sanitising the real history, all perhaps because of the attacks on the media lately by Trump made him reluctant to be too critical of one side of politics. It's good to be unbiased and impartial, but being unbiased should not mean sanitising history.

    Or perhaps the writer is just a political centrist or something. 

    However you have to ask why did the brief political consensus break down? Imho Naomi Klein has it right when she refers to the frustrating and flawed neoliberal ideology that gained traction from the early 1980's, with the Reagon and Thatcher reforms and the anti tax and anti regulation agenda, and tendency to put excessively huge faith in free markets and unlimited economic growth. This was the birth of the "greed is good" generation that falsely believed that all problems will be solved by the unlimited pursuit of profitability, and the near idolisation of wealth aquisition. Neoliberalism has also been an excuse to let money excessively influence political campaigns. If  we blame anything, its probably more useful to blame this neoliberalism, than scapegoating political parties as such.

    Not that all elements of neo liberalism are flawed, for example I personally have no problem with free trade and profit is not an evil thing. In other words, the 'neoliberal' issue is confoundingly complicated, and hard to unpack, especially in a world that deals in simplistic slogans and sound bites.

    The article also tries to lay home blame on "everybody" for the climate problem, and by arguing our lack of action is "human nature". Well we have more confounding complexity here!

    I guess we are all to blame in a very general sense, because we continue to consume products with a high fossil fuel content etc, however some do this more than others, and one side of politics has been more obstructive towards things like a carbon tax and renewable energy development. So some are more responsible than others. Those are the facts of history.

    And solving the climate problem has two sides. Individually we must make voluntary and responsible changes in how we consume, yet the government has a part to play as well. It has to provide energy and transport alternatives, or incentivise the development of these, and ensure fossil fuels are priced to reflect the damage they cause with carbon taxes or something similar. And we need to support political parties which have the strongest climate policies.

    And while humans are governed by our human nature, people do clearly rise above the baser instincts of human nature at times. Whether we do this enough to solve the climate problem is of course the big question. Do we wait until climate change is so severe that it can no longer be ignored, or take a more planned action? I hope for the later, but increasingly fear it will be the former.

    The article ends with an interesting point. It makes the observation that humans are not good at acting to prevent long term problems that involve many future generations, because psychology shows us we are more tuned to respond rapidly to short term threats than long term threats. Again there is some truth in this, yet it's a generalisation and somewhat defeatest in tone, because some people do clearly think and act with consideration to long term issues. We all care about our grand children.

    James Hansen certainly looks far into the future, so for me if we want to leave the planet in sound condition for our children and grand children perhaps people can be encouraged, and taught to think longer term. I dont think we are totally captive to our evolutionary instincts of "short termism".

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Rich's article was published as Sunday's New York Times magazine.

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

    I'm wondering if anyone who has access to it has reviewed this report, which suggests that eliminating beef could get most of the way toward meeting President Obama's 2020 emissions goals that he announced in 2009.

  45. One Planet Only Forever at 00:34 AM on 7 August 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #31

    william @2,

    The real tragedy is how correct some leaders were centuries ago about the unacceptable types of leadership that have been winning unjust power recently.

    This is not new learning. It is learning that was even written about by the Greeks. And it is understanding that exists in most religious texts (though many have decided to selectively interpret those texts in other ways).

    Closer to the climate change issue, and the way it has exposed the real problem, Al Gore wrote "The Assault on Reason". That book contains very important points of understanding for humanity, particularly for Americans, including the following:

    “The derivation of just power from the consent of the governed depends upon the integrity of the reasoning process through which the consent is given. If the reasoning process is corrupted by money and deception, then the consent of the governed is based on false premises, and any power thus derived is inherently counterfeit and unjust. If the consent of the governed is extorted through the manipulation of mass fears, or embezzled with claims of divine guidance, democracy is impoverished. If the suspension of reason causes a significant portion of the citizenry to lose confidence in the integrity of the process, democracy can be bankrupted.”

    He also wrote about America's founder's concerns about religion intruding on government:

    “They were also keenly aware of the thin and permeable boundary between religious fervor and power-seeking political agendas. “A religious sect may degenerate into a political faction,” wrote James Madison, but the new American nation would nevertheless be protected against the ungovernable combination of religious fervor and political power as long as the Constitution prohibited the federal government from establishing any particular creed as preeminent.
    This principle was so well established that in 1797 the U.S. Senate unanimously approved, and President John Adams signed, a treaty that contained the following declaration “The United States is not a Christian nation any more than it is a Jewish or Mohammedan Nation.””

    Al Gore losing to Bush because of a sigh during the debates (which made him clearly one of those disgusting Ivory Tower Intellectualies who tell people they are wrong, compared to Common People Bush who tells people what they want to hear) and Conservative Judges making an undeniably biased 'recounting of the Florida votes' could be one of the worst things that ever happened. It may have been a significant boost to the incorrect direction of development that has resulted in the global lack of climate action and the election of someone like Trump as President of the USA (a result that bankrupts, and makes a mockery, of the idea of USA Government of the people by the people for the people).

    My developed summary description of the problem is: The United diversity of greedy and intolerant supporting each other's understandably unsustainable and harmful interests, and claiming to be Right about everything, is undeniable Wrong about almost everything (must give them credit for potentially having a selfish interest that aligns with achieving the Sustainable Development Goals - it could happen).

    And that disease, grown in the USA, has been infecting other parts of the planet.

    Inoculation against that disease, treatments that get people to be more Good Helpful Altruistic Reasoning (GHAR) people could be the cure. All that is needed is for GHAR to govern over the other types of thinking, to keep them from being harmful, and to try to educate everyone to be more GHAR.

    This is all pretty new to me. But I am hopeful that it is already happening because of Trump winning, and a similar lack of GHAR resulting in the  Brexit result.

    Perhaps every deplorable Trump Tweet and Team Trump action is a Good Thing, in a backhanded way. Maybe Trump is a genius.

  46. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #31

    @ nigelj #3:

    By portraying the early years of climate politics as a tragedy, the magazine lets Republicans and the fossil-fuel industry off the hook.

    The Problem With The New York Times’ Big Story on Climate Change by Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, Aug 1, 2018

  47. The Skeptical Science temperature trend calculator

    I should probably clarfy that my thanks is a year and a half late. The update was done about a day after I made the request.

  48. The Skeptical Science temperature trend calculator

    A year and a half late, but thanks for updating UAH6 to the options.

    I was curious exactly how the 12-month averaging is centred. I can figure out how to centre a 13-month average - 6 months either side of the month in question+ the month in qestion. But how is it done with a 12 month average?

  49. One Planet Only Forever at 13:38 PM on 6 August 2018
    Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    scaddenp,

    Another weakness of the USA is their failure to care for their entire population. They have the lousiest social safety net system of the developed nations. And many developing nations put them to shame on that front.

    Admittedly that lack of concern for 'All of their fellow citizens' can be part of the reason so many justifiably are living horrible frightful existences, in the richest nation on the planet, with some of the richest people on the planet pulling the strings of its leadership by powerful misleading marketing that appeals to a population that is desperate because of unjustified leadersip actions that make the richest even richer.

    That free-for-all competition madness can also explain the lack of concern for the plight of the less fortunate in other parts of the planet.

    And it certainly explains the growing unjustified power of wealthy people who are willing to give religious extremists just enough of what they want to get their votes of support.

  50. One Planet Only Forever at 13:26 PM on 6 August 2018
    Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    scaddenp,

    What I call Good Helpful Altruistic Reasoning should govern/limit the actions of 'everyone'. That includes GHAR people being the majority, and making good changes and corrections in spite of fears among the less altruistic minority who do not like things changing from 'their developed way' 'their developed beliefs'.

    Science is destined to disappoint and anger those type of people. It has to, or it isn't being done properly. (Admittedly as a Professional Engineer in Canada I had to disappoint clients and managers, for Good Reason. So my understanding is that even my good reaoned understanding will not be welcomed by everyone, but that is no reason to abandon standing firm on Good Helpful Altruistic Reasoning grounds. It is called Being Ethical)

    Here are a few quotes from Al Gore's book "The Assault on Reason" for you to seriously consider.

    “The derivation of just power from the consent of the governed depends upon the integrity of the reasoning process through which the consent is given. If the reasoning process is corrupted by money and deception, then the consent of the governed is based on false premises, and any power thus derived is inherently counterfeit and unjust. If the consent of the governed is extorted through the manipulation of mass fears, or embezzled with claims of divine guidance, democracy is impoverished. If the suspension of reason causes a significant portion of the citizenry to lose confidence in the integrity of the process, democracy can be bankrupted.”

    In that book Al Gore also wrote about America's founder's concerns about religion intruding on government:

    “They were also keenly aware of the thin and permeable boundary between religious fervor and power-seeking political agendas. “A religious sect may degenerate into a political faction,” wrote James Madison, but the new American nation would nevertheless be protected against the ungovernable combination of religious fervor and political power as long as the Constitution prohibited the federal government from establishing any particular creed as preeminent.
    This principle was so well established that in 1797 the U.S Senate unanimously approved, and President John Adams signed, a treaty that contained the following declaration “The United States is not a Christian nation any more than it is a Jewish or Mohammedan Nation.””

    America appears to have been losing its way in a dangerous way, starting way before Trump entered the Republican race.

    Leadership is about determining what to encourage and what to discourage, who to please and who to disappoint.

    The USA is struggling to overcome being governed by unjustified made-up beliefs and claims that make some people irrationally fearful and hateful. What you have presented is a fair presentation of the damaging beliefs fueling the extreme right-wing that has unjustifiably taken control of the Republican Party.

    On the climate science front, what appears clear is that some people will need to be shaken out of their fear before they will hear. And having something change in a way that they fear or do not expect to like, then gradually learn that it was good that the change happened (rather than the alternative), is a more likely future than getting the minority of angry fearful greedy people to change their minds first.

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