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Comments 901 to 950:

  1. Biofuels can help solve climate change, especially with a carbon tax

    Regarding the troublesome child of biofuels.

    While the article makes a good case for biofuels and a carbon tax makes sense, I have always been a little bit sceptical of biofuels. For example, to scale biofuels up to fuel significant parts of the entire transportation sector is going to undeniably intrude massively on forestry and agricultural land, because scrub lands are limited in area ( I vaguely recall about 10% of land and much of this wont be in suitable growing climates).

    Using established forests for biofuel crops simply doesn't make sense given forests are good carbon sinks, provide timber and biodiversity. Do we really want to replace the Amazon Rainforest with fast growing grasses and small trees? 

    Using crop land for biofuel planting is senseless,  given a population heading towards 10 billion by 2100 is going to require more food.

    The more likely and preferred path for biofuels is grazing land will be used for biofuel planting. This is plentiful land, and cattle are not the most efficient form of provision of food energy, so some could be replaced with biofuel crops and also food crops.

    However grassland soils are already very effective carbon sinks with potential to be even more effective if managed well. In some parts of the world carbon rich grassland soils are ten metres deep. So someone better be analysing whether biofuels are a better strategy than this already established soil potential to sequester carbon.  

    At the very least we need to be considering how much grassland is viable to be used for biofuel crops. I would suggest a limited ammount is feasible.

    Therefore I think we have to make basic choices about how much land is viable for biofuels and what parts of the transport sector would benefit most form their use.   Someone need to develop a global plan or strategy for biofuels and use of land in general for negative emissions schemes.

    In this respect, using biofuels as blended fuels for cars is senseless, given the speed electric cars are developing. You don't need modelling to show the obvious.

    Yes I realise biofuels are about the only way of improving the carbon emissions of older cars, but if you were to look at the advantages of something like a 20% blend and all the other issues involved biofuels are probably achieving almost nothing. The whole petrol fleet of cars could be replaced in decades by electic cars if we wanted.

    Instead apply biofuels to those things where alternative approaches are limited, like air travel and perhaps sea travel which are hard to electrify. Even there, we do have an alternative approach of simply using fossil fuels, and offsetting this with conventional forestry planting or garicultural soil sinks. Has anyone modelled using biofuels as against using fossil fuels with forestry carbon sink offsets or soil cabon offsets?

    And hopefully OPOF is right and alternative ways are found for powering ships that don't require biofuels or reduce thier use.

  2. Biofuels can help solve climate change, especially with a carbon tax

    Carbon fee and dividend is revenue neutral, flexible, and treats people fairly. We wont find a better form of tax mitigation strategy in environmental, economic and social terms. Theres no magic bullet.

    Money in politics is a huge problem. It only takes one large wealthy lobby like the fossil fuels lobby to distort things enough to have a disproportionate influence. Environmental and citizens groups can't compete with this form of corporate funding.

    We really do need to get money out of politics, or even just have some form of limit. I'm fairly sure Norway has publicly finded election campaigns, and Britain has some sort of limit on campaign spending. New Zealand has upper limits on campaign spending. 

    However things are unlikely to change in America, and attempts to put caps on spending have been struck down by the courts as unconstitutional. Hopefully more environmentally conscious millionaires contribute to election campaigns in America, to dilute the effect of people like the Koch Brothers.

  3. Burning coal may have caused Earth’s worst mass extinction

    Yes, I was wrong about the burning of coal, as I was guided by “”. The “secret” value of CO2 level in the period under review was found in Wikipedia article “Permian-Triassic extinction event”. This value is of 2000 ppm and rise in temperature is of 8oC (original source is not in open access).
    So, correct statement may be: “Burning coal is a culprit, but not CO2”.
    At first, 2000 ppm is much less than 7000 in Cambrian or 4000 in Devonian period when both terrestrial and marine life was actively developing.
    Secondly, the increase of temperature can be explained by the release of heat into the atmosphere during combustion, without resorting to the theory of greenhouse effect.
    Third, the combustion of coal is accompanied by the release of toxic gases SO2, NOx, and CO that kill living things both directly and through acid rains (SO2 and NOx).
    Finally, the death of marine organisms is due to acidification of seawater by dissolution of SO2 and NOx and it triggered by H2S.

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] By making assertions without documentation, you are skating on the thin ice of sloganeering which is prohibited by the SkS Comments Policy.

    Please note that posting comments here at SkS is a privilege, not a right.  This privilege can be rescinded if the posting individual treats adherence to the Comments Policy as optional, rather than the mandatory condition of participating in this online forum.

    Please take the time to review the policy and ensure future comments are in full compliance with it.  Thanks for your understanding and compliance in this matter.

  4. Biofuels can help solve climate change, especially with a carbon tax

    This is an endorsement of William's "one and only solution", which I would prefer to describe as a "pre-requisite to many solutions" in an even more foundational way than carbon fee and dividend (CF&D); in fact, it's probably a pre-requisite to getting CF&D passed; end private payments to legislators, i.e. give them modest amounts to conduct election campaigns funded by tax-payers.  Our return on investment would be huge in terms of getting policy passed that actually benefitted us 99% rather than Big Coal or Big OIl.  I hope you don't delete this as a political comment, even though it is a bit, because surely you realize that solutions to climate change are inevitably political, e.g. we need legislation to enact CF&D.  When we've got CF&D, the best solutions will arise and it don't matter whether they involve sustainable biofuels, batteries or sheep dung (which, I don't know but, may be a contender in New Zealand where William appears to reside).  Early on in the last US election there was a contender for President who espoused that platform but he didn't get very far, probably for lack of campaign funds.  But might this be done with crowd-funding through the internet?  Personally, I'm not at all wealthy but just on principle I'd send something to such a candidate even though I'm not even American.  If a good portion of 7 billion people did the same, maybe he or she could succeed next time.  I'm too old, but this is a call to arms, a great opportunity, for all you young aspiring politicians, full of piss and vinegar, who understand climate change to get on with this.

  5. Explainer: The polar vortex, climate change and the ‘Beast from the East’

    Jonbo69 @3,

    I would suggest there is a vast level of complexity in what you ask but it can be knocked into shape.

    The complexities of Polar Vortex-Solar Minimum linkage has been utilised by some denialists to create anti-AGW messages. So, for instance, this post at denialist site TheHockeySchtick rests on three published papers which are not entirely relevant or conclusive or credible.
    Such denialist posts are often response to messages linking intense cold snaps of winter to our planet's atmospheric circulations that are evidently being impacted by AGW. Thus the likes of this report of an AAAS meeting results in the deniosphere responding with the likes of this nonsense at the planet Wattsupia.

    The complex variability of the Polar Vortex is in no way solely associated with solar output. Indeed, it is a relatively minor player. Thus Kim et al (2014) add the helpful concluding comment with solar activity the tail-end-Charlie of the list of possible factors:-

    "(N)ote that Arctic sea-ice loss represents only one of the possible factors that can affect the stratospheric polar vortex. Other factors reported in previous works include Eurasian snow cover, the Quasi Biannual Oscillation, the El-Nino and Southern Oscillation and solar activity. Systematic consideration of these factors would extend our understanding of climate variability, possibly leading to the improved seasonal forecast Nonetheless, the relative contributions of each factor have not been systematically examined. As these factors may be interrelated, they may not control the stratospheric polar vortex independently. These issues must be examined further in future works.

    Linkage between Polar Vortex and Solar Minimum is more a subject of research (eg Maycock et al (2015), Chiodo et al 2016) because the regional impact of Grand Solar Minimums is missing from the standard climatological assessment. Yet these papers make no startling claims and are setting the solar-minimum-effects within future AGW which is probably why denialists wouldn't dream of touching them with a barge-pole.

  6. Ivar Giaever - Nobel Winning Physicist and Climate Pseudoscientist

    Atc @#102 thru #106  :-

    before replying, I gave a quick look in my cheval mirror, to check that I was not a five-eyed, five-tentacled citizen of the Betelgeuse sector of Orion.   Perhaps you have been misinformed about me, but I do not require you to post the same lengthy post 5 times in a row.

    In replying only to your first post #102 , i have perhaps rashly assumed that your lengthy posts #103 thru #106 are all identical to #102 (and that they do not contain subtle minor differences buried among the foliage).   Possibly a kindly Moderator will undo the work of your Fat Thumb (or Tentacle?).

    And my apology to you, if it was all the result of an unfortunate brain condition causing tremor of your extremities.    ~ PC enough, I hope !

    Atc , much as we all enjoy hearing the euphonious name of the Greek Eratosthenes, or hearing of the earlier (but less well known) Egyptian priest-scientist Amenorrhea [of the 8th Century BC] . . . nevertheless it is getting just a tad off-topic for this thread about Ivar Giaever.

    Likewise, the old tale of Einstein and the precession of Mercury's orbit — an interesting example perhaps of how The Hour Bringeth The Man . . . but there appears [IMO] to be little connection with the dysfunction in the brain of Giaever.

    Atc , please educate yourself much, much further on the climate science . . . and you will see that there is no room for an as-yet-undiscovered Black Matter type of factor for causing the current rapid global warming.  Sorry, that's all been well looked into by scientists (and even by decades of desperate contrarians).   I could explain that to you in much more detail — but again, we would be getting yet more off-topic.

    And that is an important point , Atc  — here at SkS you should seek out particular threads if you wish to discuss various particular topics.   Not jumble everything into a post (a post as long as the proposed Mexican Wall).   See the house rules on posting.   Also look up the term "Gish Gallop" (a form of debate used by clueless posters, such as those from Categories B and C , above).

    That would also apply to your absurdly illogical line of argument referencing the special (and transient) case of German electric power.

    Now also including your post [current label #107] , you seem very confused about observations, models, physical mechanisms of heat transfer etc.     Please educate yourself, Atc.


    In the meantime, Atc , you could go back onto topic, and reply to Philippe Chantreau @ #101.   If you are able to dispute his well-stated comments.

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Argumentative text snipped. Please keep it civil.

    Atc's five dupplicative posts have been reduced to one and his/her two "test" posts have been deleted. 

  7. Ivar Giaever - Nobel Winning Physicist and Climate Pseudoscientist

    Eclectic @100,

    Money and Politics corrupt everything including your apples and oranges. I’ll leave it at that. 


    Yes. Physicists are used to being able to test and verify their theories. 

    Yes. They do look down on any other discipline that cannot do that. 

    Yes.. They know that their equations do not scale up yet.  That’s why you cannot explain all the other disciplines in terms of the physicists ‘ physical models. That’s why you have Chemistry, Biology, etc. 

    Yes. That’s why computer simulations are not really doable in any other discipline including climate science. 

    Yes. They know it’s not doable. That’s why they use these fudge factors to tweak it to get a feel of what direction the answer will be in. 

    Yes. Climate science also copy that tweaking. Except they were actually trying to get the prediction.

  8. Ivar Giaever - Nobel Winning Physicist and Climate Pseudoscientist

    Eclectic @100 ,
    on the question of money...
    For me to respond to this part, I will really have to go off topic. It now goes into the realm of politics.
    Money and politics corrupt everything. Certainly it holds true for governments and universities. I’ll just leave it here.

    If you were new to the field of Earth's geography, why would you not .... position of Flat Earth...
    I wouldn’t go that far. I would have to read the Old Testament in Hebrew. And understand it in the context of the people at the time it was written. Dead Sea scrolls for instance. And then I would investigate the older Sumerian culture. Figure out whether or not if there is any truth to the idea that the story of Genesis already existed there. By the time I am done with that I probably wouldn’t be around to answer the question of whether it is mentioned anywhere in the Old Testament a “flat earth” theory.
    Simply state that it is not round. Then just go down the list of ancient cultures until you find Eratosthenes. Once I am convinced by his arguments, I can now move forwards; that the earth is round. I am not going to rely solely on the consensus. Unless of course they show me that their arguments were also based on Eratosthenes’. In other words, I need a paper trail.
    Don’t just tell me that we have multiple lines of evidence. I need to look at how each evidence stands on its own. If the individual evidence cannot stand on its own, throw it out. See what you are left with. If it is not testable and not verifiable, it is not evidence for me. Unfortunately in climate science, a lot of what they say is not testable nor verifiable. Correlation is not causation. It is a necessary condition but not sufficient. This is the part I am still having a problem. If I can get pass this part, everything else will fall in place. I am referring to CO2.
    This part is hard to explain. It’s going to be in a very roundabout way. Let me try.

    When Newton explained gravity he first started by fitting his observations to a curve, in this case a quadratic. The motions of the planets fits this curve very well for the time. Now he has to explain what is it that makes the planets follow that curve. He called it a force. So that’s the theory.
    It was good. But still he doesn’t know what was this force that can act through space. That’s just left like that for 200 years. At some point they started seeing problems with the Perihelion Motion of Mercury. Basically what’s happening is that they got better with their observations. Newton’s first curve fit is not that good anymore at explaining the observations. It is not off by much. Now Einstein steps in. His model is more refined and is a better fit. “Gravity, Einstein asserted, is caused by a warping of space and time—or, in a language we physicists prefer, by a warping of spacetime. The Earth’s matter produces the warpage, and that warpage in turn is manifest by gravity’s inward tug, toward the Earth’s center.
    The inward tug is not the only manifestation of spacetime warpage; the warpage is much richer than that. As we shall see, it curves space, it slows the flow of time, and it drags space into tornado-like motions — at least that is what Einstein’s general relativity predicts.”

    We are no more closer to understanding gravity. It went from a force to a warping in space-time. There is, however, a better correlation between observation and the models. But the question went from what’s this force that acts at a distance to what’s this warping of space-time. The story does not end here. Then came Vera Rubin. “She uncovered the discrepancy between the predicted angular motion of galaxies and the observed motion, by studying galactic rotation curves. A significant discrepancy exists between the experimental curves observed, and a curve derived from theory. The theory of dark matter was postulated to account for the variance.”
    There is something else now not explicable about some kind of matter. It interacts with this world through gravity but nothing else that we know of at this point. This is still a work in progress. It is faster now. Newton to Einstein 200 years, Einstein to Rubin 50 years. the mystery continues  

    So if I haven’t lost you yet, what we see happening is that we have at the planetary scale Newtonian mechanics, atomic and subatomic scale Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity and now dark matter theory at the galactic scale. At each scale, a different set of curves has to be fit.
    And fit they do. The curve fitting is what I would call the correlation. The various explanations, theories, are the causation ( a force, a warping of space-time, dark matter). What we see here is that these theories change, the causation changes.

    Don’t start nit picking. The purpose of this history is to show that at least in physics on this subject we can easily follow how the theories change. How they are verified by better observations and what difficulties they run into that requires modification of the theory.

    What I would like to see is a similar attempt in climate science. Like I said earlier I am stuck on CO2 right now. What I would like to see is how they went from CO2 and temperature correlation to catastrophic man-made global warming.
    This is what I have found so far. It does not of course answer the questions. But it’s a start to see if I can get to the CO2 explanation.
    Is that CO2 vs temperature correlation the first order fit? How was it determined that CO2 that is 400 ppm is primarily due to human activity? How are the catastrophic predictions done?

    Detection and Attribution of Recent Climate Change: A Status Report
    T. P. Barnett*, K. Hasselmann+, M. Chelliah#, T. Delworth@, G. Hegerl&, P. Jones**, E. Rasmusson++, E. Roeckner+, C. Ropelewski##, B. Santer@@ and S. Tett&&

    *Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California.
    +Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany.
    #National Centers for Environmental Prediction, Washington, D.C.
    @Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton, New Jersey.
    &JISAO, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.
    **University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom.
    ++University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland.
    ##International Research Institute, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, New York.
    @@Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California.
    &&Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, U.K. Meteorological Office, Bracknell, United Kingdom.
    Corresponding author address: Dr. Tim P. Barnett, Climate Research Division, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Dept. 0224, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0224. E-mail:
    Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
    Vol. 80: , Issue. 12, : Pages. 2631-2660
    (Issue publication date: December 1999)
    Received Date: July 13, 1999;2
    “This paper addresses the question of where we now stand with respect to detection and attribution of an anthropogenic climate signal. Our ability to estimate natural climate variability, against which claims of anthropogenic signal detection must be made, is reviewed. The current situation suggests control runs of global climate models may give the best estimates of natural variability on a global basis, estimates that appear to be accurate to within a factor of 2 or 3 at multidecadal timescales used in detection work.”

    If you guys can find the follow up paper to this, it would be much appreciated. This is dated 1999. It’s now 2018. It should be very informative.

    And why would you wish to pay more for electricity in future years ...

    I think you should ask the Germans how they are doing without nuclear power. Then ask how they are doing with green power. From the clean energy website, we see that currently clean energy is 33%. Fossil fuel is 50%. Nuclear is 10%.
    So by 2022 nuclear will be gone. Then after that progressively wean himself off of fossil fuel.

    The other piece of information we need is the cost.
    Weaning a major economy off fossil fuels, while phasing out nuclear power at the same time, comes at a cost. Major investments are needed, not only to transform the power sector, but also to find sustainable solutions for transport and heating. Shifting these sectors to clean electricity as their primary source of energy – a process referred to as sector coupling – will further increase demand for renewable power. Many oberservs believe Germany's current system is not up to the task of financing this new phase of the Energiewende.
    With general elections looming later this year, the debate over a general overhaul of Germany’s much-imitated system for renewables support – shouldered by electricity consumers – has gathered pace.

    I think you should read the rest on your own.
    This is the most optimistic scenario one can get for a country with a strong economy. They are able to make their consumers shoulder the cost. What the heck are the other countries going to do?

  9. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #10

    But then there could be good news: According to the NZ Herald

    "Others considered at risk for being fired or reprimanded include ...... Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, who has been under fire for his first-class travel at taxpayer expense;"

    What an extraordinary situation the whole thing is. It's like an alternate reality, or a real life version of The Apprentice. Pass the popcorn. 

  10. Daniel Bailey at 11:54 AM on 16 March 2018
    Explainer: The polar vortex, climate change and the ‘Beast from the East’


    Lacking a physical mechanism to link solar output and the polar vortex is enough by itself to dismiss that conjecture outright.

    TSI, 1610-2015

    TSI to 2015

  11. Burning coal may have caused Earth’s worst mass extinction

    MS thank's for that research paper. 

    It's pretty clear to me that there was a large increase of CO2 during the late permian. That is the most important thing, even if we dont know the exact ppm.

    Sources of both volcanoes and coal  make it pretty compelling to me. And it appears considerable methane was also released as well as sulphur oxides and volcanic ash etc. The period seems like a sort of hell on earth, and I dont think thats hyperbole.

    This article is from Peter Ward, a reputable paleontologist, includes a  graph with a huge spike in CO2 levels in the late permian. The graph  also shows a remarkable correlation between multiple extinction events over millions of years and peaks of CO2 levels. I have no idea how correct this information is, but it's interesting, and he is not a crank or arm chair expert.

  12. michael sweet at 08:47 AM on 16 March 2018
    Burning coal may have caused Earth’s worst mass extinction

    Here is a free copy of the preprint of the paper.  Dr. Burger claims that his data shows a large increase in CO2 that would not have been in previous data.  He claims that this is the first high quality section of the boundry found from the western coast of Pangea.

    I typed "Benamin Burger Permian" into GOOGLE scholar and it was the first hit.  GOOGLE scholar often shows the location of free copies.

  13. Biofuels can help solve climate change, especially with a carbon tax

    Biofuels take a lot of energy to produce and with the best will in the world, tend to use resources that could better be put into producing food.  Let's cut the gorgon knot and just go straight for batteries.  In a car, for instance, it is far more energy efficient to simply charge a battery than to produce biofuel and transport it to the petrol station.  The network already exists.  Hydrogen, of course, as Elon points out (admirably keeping his cool) is simply a not starter for transportation use.  Electrolize, liquidify or compress, transport and then get a product that doesn't have the energy density of liquid fuel.  No way.  As for a carbon tax, great if you use the tax and dividend formula.  Carbon trading simply leads to corruption.  A carbon tax at the point of exit from the ground or entry across your boarder is clean, easy to administer and unavoidable.  While we are at it, let's stop subsidizing fossil fuel.  What a joke.  So I've had a cathartic blowing off of steam but none of what is needed will come to pass.   There is one solution and only one solution to all our problems.

  14. Burning coal may have caused Earth’s worst mass extinction

    Aleks @19

    You claim "None of these links contain a numerical value of suggested spike in CO2 level:"

    The article I linked said "With further calculations, the group found that the average rate at which carbon dioxide entered the atmosphere during the end-Permian extinction was slightly below today’s rate of carbon dioxide release into the atmosphere due to fossil fuel emissions. Over tens of thousands of years, increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide during the Permian period likely triggered severe global warming, accelerating species extinctions."

    The research  would contain the precise values but its paywalled and I haven't read it. "Slightly below" is good enough information for me. You are nit picking as usual.

  15. Burning coal may have caused Earth’s worst mass extinction

    aleks @19, I havent read the research article because is paywalled, but they clearly found evidence of a  substantial increase in CO2 levels and evidence of sulphur oxides etc. It certainly suggests coal burning was a factor.

    I dont think anyone has claimed certainty over this, but nobody has a better theory that explains the evidence including yourself. This is  so typical of sceptics, they pick a few holes around the edges of an idea, but never come up with a better hypothesis.

    Thank's for the information on lead and mercury. Somebody gave me a piece of galena once, an amazing looking very crystaline heavy sort of mineral. 

    I gained the impression that they found lead and mercury in the ash, when normally this would not be expected, so it suggested coal as a source.

    I'm not a chemist, however I think the scientists probably looked at the quantities of lead and mercury you usually find in rocks associated with volcanic eruptions and found the quantities in the permian material were unusually high, which suggested coal may have been involved. They would obviously have also considered other potential sources of these compounds to rule those out. There may be other tests they did as well.You seem to think scientists are all stupid and just guess things, but I find whenever I read the research the opposite is the case. 

  16. Burning coal may have caused Earth’s worst mass extinction

    Nigelj @14,15
    Thanks for links. None of these links contain a numerical value of suggested spike in CO2 level: what change of initial 210 ppm can be considered as essential and how much coal must be burned for this?
    It's known that 5 great extinction events (see Wikipedia) occurred both at high concentrations of CO2 (Ortodovian-Silurian and Late Devonian) and at low levels (three others). The relationship between CO2 concentration and mass extinction was not proven in any case.
    “Lead and mercury are a byproduct of burning coal”. Byproduct is a secondary product derived from a manufactured product or chemical reaction. Lead and mercury are microimpurities in coal. In itself, presence of of Pb and Hg in samples does not indicate the source of these elements.
    Of course, “lead and mercury are not associated with volcanic ash.” The main lead ore galena (PbS) is very easy to smelt and lead is collected below the ash. As for mercury, its minerals are thermally decomposed, and its boiling point is much lower than melting points of basalt and granite, so it simply evaporates from lava. Anyway, it does not allow to determine the origin of these elements in samples.

  17. Philippe Chantreau at 01:11 AM on 16 March 2018
    Ivar Giaever - Nobel Winning Physicist and Climate Pseudoscientist

    Contradiction indeed. I have read a fair bit by Feynman. He would have scoffed at the idea that someone would trust any opinion by default just because it came from anyone in particular. He would even have advocated his own opinion not to be trusted and to be duly verified for its true validity. I don't really care where information comes from, I verify. People who study cimate and actively publish tend to be more reliable sources, although what they say should also correlate with all the rest of the big picture. People who are not equally conversant can have interesting input, but should be scrutinized even more attentively.

    The flaws in Giaever's talk are addressed in the OP. In the absence of some coherent argument explaining exactly why his ignorance on the subject does not matter, all I see is you saying "this guy thinks this and he has to know better than me so I'll go with it." Sorry, not convinced.

  18. How blogs convey and distort scientific information about polar bears and Arctic sea ice


    "... somehow I doubt providing the requested information will greatly improve my standing in this forum."

    Exactly. That is my point. 

    It is telling that out of your "thousands" of posts about climate change you can only offer something about your hobby. 

    Many people here have long experience of dealing with climate contrarians and can recognise the style and techniques that are used. In short they can detect insincerity from a mile away. One of those techniques used is pretending not to be a contrarian. This is often backed up by the unwillingness to properly engage, to answer questions and a rather shifty, reluctant demeanor, often reinforced by aggression and criticism of the people responding.

    You have shown all these traits so it is not surprising people are not taking you very seriously. If you want a real discussion you have to engage properly and openly.

  19. How blogs convey and distort scientific information about polar bears and Arctic sea ice

    ImaginaryNumber @61 , it is fair enough for you to raise your point of criticism — but your criticism is misplaced.

    SkepticalScience [SkS] website is primarily about the science of climate (and especially the modern AGW).   It is not a website about politics — if you wish to discuss that aspect, then please go to another venue.   True, the politics of what best to do about about our AGW climate problem . . . is an aspect which cannot entirely be avoided — but SkS exists for scientific education, rather than for "persuasion of the voting masses".

    Yes, there have been occasional articles on the psychology of (rational) persuasion.  But that aspect is largely pursued elsewhere.  Indeed, I gather John Cook, one of the founders of the volunteer website SkS, has moved to George Mason University, Virginia, for that purpose.

    People come to SkS to be educated through the articles (which also give links to the scientific research).   Attached to the articles are comment columns, which attract certain subgroups of people :-

    ( A ) Those who wish to engage in genuine discussion of certain aspects e.g. in giving, gaining, or exchanging information

    ( B ) Those who disingenuously troll the topics

    ( C ) Those who truculently come to rant, sloganize or otherwise vent their denialism.

    ImaginaryNumber, when you log on to post in the comment columns, you ought first to make a clear decision in your mind — whether you wish to participate per A , B , or C .    And you should clearly express yourself in a manner in accordance with A or B or C .    Do not try to straddle 2 or 3 of these categories.   Nor be so careless or clumsy in execution, as to give the reasonable reader the impression of straddling.

    If you are clearly in category A , then you will be treated politely.

    On the matter of Dr Crockford, she is well-known for her unscientific attitude regarding polar bears and global warming.   You encroach on categories B and C , by asserting that the other posters here are not familiar with her or have not read her comments nor understood her.

  20. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #10

    "Think Rex Tillerson was bad on climate change? His successor’s likely to be worse."

  21. Ivar Giaever - Nobel Winning Physicist and Climate Pseudoscientist

    Atc @95 , on the question of money — the remuneration of 200 deniers by fossil fuel companies, and the remuneration of 20,000 scientists by governments & universities . . . is an apples & oranges comparison.  And is somewhat off-topic for this thread.  Even further off-topic, are crazy conspiracy theories.

    If you were new to the field of Earth's geography, why would you not start investigating it by commencing from the mainstream consensus scientific position (= Round Earth) — why would you commence with the Old Testament position of Flat Earth.  Really, Atc, you have made a very strange suggestion.

    And why would you wish to pay more for electricity in future years (as coal-burning power generation becomes increasingly more expensive than wind or solar) ??   Quite apart from the other aspects !

    Howzabout we get back to the science.  Also check out my post #92 on Giaever (which also touches briefly on the psychology of money payments).

  22. Ivar Giaever - Nobel Winning Physicist and Climate Pseudoscientist

    Philippe @96,

    It seems like a contradiction. But I have a habit of reading about geniuses. The way they solve problems is definitely not the way we do it.

    Gauss. When he was 10, his math teacher asked the class to add 1 to 100. Instead of adding one number at a time he did the following in his head
    1 +2+.... +50
    100+ 51
    101 +. ... 101. 50 times.
    He wrote down only the answer 5050.

    Richard Feymann. When asked how is it that you solve your problems, he replied I already see the answer. What you see me doing is actually me working backwards to answer.

    I am pretty sure Giaever is in the same class of geniuses.

    This is the real reason I am bothered with this whole climate science thing. When you have people of this caliber asking questions that are not being answered, this definitely has my attention.

  23. Ivar Giaever - Nobel Winning Physicist and Climate Pseudoscientist

    Micheal @95,

    If you are new to the field, why would you start out by agreeing with the consensus. You should start out by disagreeing and then slowly answer the questions you have. If you were a scientist, the first thing you normally do is to survey the literature to see what’s written about the topic. Usually if the topic is mature and settled, you should be able to find a survey paper usually done by a senior scientist in that field; this paper summarizes the current findings and put it in historical timeline ; you would find at the end of the paper a list of references. That way, you can trace when, what, who to see how an idea developed. 

    The insinuation of someone working for money is equally applicable to both sides of the aisle. Do you really think there would be any research money if global warming was not viewed as man-made and catastrophic? It has to be man-made CO2 in order to target the fossil-fuel companies so that the green energy companies have a chance. It has to be catastrophic in order for you to make the investments now. Why pay more for electricity unless you think it is catastrophic if you don’t? Missing either one and you go nowhere. 

    Moderator Response:

    [DB]  "If you are new to the field, why would you start out by agreeing with the consensus. You should start out by disagreeing and then slowly answer the questions you have"

    On the contrary, a real skeptic would refrain from forming any opinion on the subject until they had learned enough to actually understand their limitations.

  24. ImaginaryNumber at 14:53 PM on 15 March 2018
    How blogs convey and distort scientific information about polar bears and Arctic sea ice

    I'd like to make another comment regarding my experience in asking questions on this forum. Many of you seemed to think that the interests of science were best served, not by working to understand my point of view to better answer my questions, but rather to blast Crockford without even reading the particular posts I had questions about, and by leveling all sorts of criticisms against me for using the word "paper" when I should have used the word "article", and for criticizing me for either not explaining my point of view well enough, or my saying too much, or my not listing the correct number of scientifically-approved citations.

    While the gods of scientific correctness are undoubtably smiling on your heroic posts, your winning a few battles obscures the fact that you/we are losing the war. By that I mean that it really doesn't matter if you totally prove to the scientific community that a climate disaster of epic proportions is about to swamp the Earth. What matters is if you can convince the voting public to put into office people who take climate change seriously. I thought we in the U.S. had plumbed the depths of stupidity we we elected G W Bush president. But no, we doubled down to elect Trump. What an awful choice we've made.

    Those many thousands of posts that I referenced were made in an attempt to change the minds of the voting public. I came to this forum asking for help with a question that had me stumped. I feel that collectively you did a very poor job in furthering what I think would be a mutual goal to better explain and persuade the non-scientific community of what the world is facing.

    I hope the next non-scientific fool who comes to this forum to ask a question has a better experience than I've had.

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Multiple JAQing off and inflammatory snipped.

    I suggest that a venue such as this one, one based in science and credible evidence...and one that is a moderated forum that enforces the Comments Policy on all participants equally, is not to your liking.

  25. One Planet Only Forever at 13:12 PM on 15 March 2018
    Biofuels can help solve climate change, especially with a carbon tax

    I agree with nigelj but would add out-of-the-box developments such as letting long distance transportation take longer along with reducing the enegry needed to accomplish the transport.

    That would mean considering ideas like sails to assist ocean transport (already being developed) and using derigible-plane hybrids to allow natural winds to assist the transport when possible (also already being developed).

    The key is to be willing to have things happen Slower when Slower is understood to be Better for the Environment and Resource Management.

    However, the correction of the incorrectly over-developed unsustainable and harmful aspects of the existing economy should not be 'Slower to avoid penalizing people who do/did not care about the impacts of their chosen way of obtaining Personal Benefits', people who ignored warnings that what they enjoyed benefiting from was unsustainable and harmful, warnings that were undeniable 30 years ago and have continued to become less deniable with each new year of increased awareness and understanding.

    A significant carbon tax would be the motivation for very creative development of alternatives, more than biofuels. For creativity to produce wonderful results, it has to be motivated to be prioritized over 'creative attempts to delay the development of awareness and understanding in the general population of the need to correct many existing developed popular ways of enjoying life and profiting'.

  26. Ivar Giaever - Nobel Winning Physicist and Climate Pseudoscientist

    ATC @94 , you might benefit from watching the video recording of Dr Giaever addressing a meeting composed of Nobel Laureates & bright young scientists, where he states that (from a cold start) he researched online to gather views & evidence on AGW . . . and he spent only half a day or so gathering information.  On the strength of that, he started lecturing the expert climate scientists on how they were all doing it wrong.  The video is quite painful to watch, as Giaever (in full lecturing pontification mode) tells the audience how to do science — while himself demonstrating the exact opposite of good scientific thinking.

    It must have been an absolutely cringeworthy experience, for the poor audience.   But possibly the audience was able to tolerate the debacle — by remembering how sometimes even the most distinguished savants can deteriorate into "going Emeritus". [ NB — the cartoon in post #66, by poster KR ].

    Somewhat younger scientists (such as Spencer and Lindzen) appear to have their rational abilities severely compromised by old-fashioned religious concepts (concepts which are condemned by modern religious figures such as the Pope).

    Some scientists, such as Dr Koonin, exhibit similar irrationality about AGW science — but their psychological motivation is less clear (to me).

    Nevertheless, Atc, with or without obvious causation of their intellectual dysfunction, there is an interesting tiny minority of practising "scientists" who are in full denial of the facts of climate change.   Whether influenced by monetary inducement (or the ego-boosting inducements of fame/celebrity in newsprint or the invitations to address Congressional/Senatorial committees) or for reasons of extremist religious attitudes, or from having a perverted contrariness of personality . . . or for a mixture of these reasons . . . we find such people existing !!

    Atc, I am slightly surprised that you have not observed such human frailties around you, in your life up till now.   The existence of such people, does in no way indicate that there must be some merit in what they say.  You can even find intelligent Flat-Earthers !!

    Atc, please educate yourself to at least a moderate level of climate science knowledge.   You will very soon see why the mainstream consensus position is held by (very close to) 100% of climate scientists.  And as you progress through life, I hope you will come to recognize that there will always be a minority of crazies who can never be convinced by truth and logic.

  27. ImaginaryNumber at 11:55 AM on 15 March 2018
    How blogs convey and distort scientific information about polar bears and Arctic sea ice

    JohnSeers said:

    Why don't you give some links to just a few of your thousands of posts on climate change issues? That should be sufficient to allay any doubts.

    JohnSeers said:

    You haven't given a few links to some of the thousands of posts you have made about the climate. Why not? As you are so industrious and assiduous on this subject you must think what you have to say is worthwhile and informative.

    This seems to be very important to you, though somehow I doubt providing the requested information will greatly improve my standing in this forum.

    Here are two few threads I've started (screen name SailOar, and screen name ImaginaryNumber). I've posted many thousands of posts in other threads.

    Northwest Passage - 2018

    Ocean News

  28. ImaginaryNumber at 11:52 AM on 15 March 2018
    How blogs convey and distort scientific information about polar bears and Arctic sea ice

    michael sweet said:

    Peer reviewed papers are written for experts to read. They leave out information that everyone who is expert knows. There is not enough space to rewrite the history of science in every paper. Crockford's suggestion that they have left out necessary information is only relevant to people who are not experts (like Crockford). Subadult seals include pups, experts know this and it does not need to be explained. Experts know about snow conditions and leads, Crockfords comments are irrelevant.

    As evidenced by your own faulty knowledge, you are not a polar bear expert and therefore shouldn't be reading Pagano's paper. I'll not comment on your other questionable comments for fear of the moderators censoring my remarks as being argumentative.

    According to this paper seal pups are different than seal subadults.

    pup < 1 years old

    subadult1–4 years

    old adult ≥ 5 years old

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Inflammatory and moderation complaints snipped.

  29. Philippe Chantreau at 11:52 AM on 15 March 2018
    Ivar Giaever - Nobel Winning Physicist and Climate Pseudoscientist


    To me, your post has too many contradictions. How can you be swayed by somebody smart supposedly not being convinced by a coherent scientific argument while at the same time not being bothered that they may have done only minimal research? That is contradictory. One can not assess how convincing the science is by doing only minimal research. If one has objections, the obvious thing to do is to epxplore whether these objections have been the subject of study. Giaever apparently doesn't think that he could be wrong, and it's not worth his time to look deeper. That is not a very rigorous way to go about any subject for a scientist.  

  30. ImaginaryNumber at 11:48 AM on 15 March 2018
    How blogs convey and distort scientific information about polar bears and Arctic sea ice

    michael sweet said:
    I noticed that you incorrectly linked to a "paper" by Crockford and compared it to a peer reviewed paper by Pagano...

    Thank you for correcting my improper use of the word "paper".

  31. ImaginaryNumber at 11:46 AM on 15 March 2018
    How blogs convey and distort scientific information about polar bears and Arctic sea ice


    I am dismayed by the instructions you have given me. In my first post (#35) I simply asked for help in understanding two articles, and gave the links for each. I thought that anyone who read the two links would then be able to understand the nature of my questions, and possibly give me assistance.

    By post 39 it was becoming clear to me that few, if any, were actually reading Pagano and Crockford, so I posted a more extensive synopsis of what they had said.

    At the end of post 49 you said

    Moderator Response:
    [DB] Yes, it's time for an evidence-based based approach for your position, grounded in the reputable literature and using citations.

    By this point I was getting really frustrated. Both Pagano's and Crockford's articles provided a number of citations from reputable sources. I did not understand why you wanted even more information, but I attempted to comply with your request by spending four hours creating post 52. A huge waste of my time, as far as I was concerned, as I figured if folks would simply read Pagano and Crockford they would understand the arguments far better than anything I could write down.

    And now I am being told:

    Moderator Response:
    [JH] You have stated your case and expressed your concerns multiple times. You are now skating on the thin ice of excessive reptition which is prohibited by the SkS Comments Policy.

    It appears I'm damned it I do, and damned if I don't. I came to SKS wishing to learn, and had high expectations of my questions being taken courteously and seriously (and they were by some — thank you), but for others it was clear that they had not read either article, yet they seemed to enjoy piling on.

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Moderation complaints snipped. 

    Please note that posting comments here at SkS is a privilege, not a right.  This privilege can be rescinded if the posting individual treats adherence to the Comments Policy as optional, rather than the mandatory condition of participating in this online forum.

    Please take the time to review the policy and ensure future comments are in full compliance with it.  Thanks for your understanding and compliance in this matter.

  32. michael sweet at 10:10 AM on 15 March 2018
    Ivar Giaever - Nobel Winning Physicist and Climate Pseudoscientist


    Most scientists follow the path you outline and agree with the consensus.  Trump is unable to find a scientific advisor becasue no-one will support his climate program.

    It is not a surprise that 1 or 2% of scientists have preconcieved notions that prevent them from accepting the consensus.  No-one would care what Happer thinks about most anything if he was not a denier.  The same for Curry, Vahrenvolt, Carter and Spencer.  They get their name in the newspaper regularly, get to write OP-Eds for the Wall Street Journal and get paid to testify to congress simply because they are deniers.  Many are tempted just by the fame not to mention the money.

  33. Ivar Giaever - Nobel Winning Physicist and Climate Pseudoscientist

    Magellan @90 and Tom Curtis

    We often see scientists from non-climate fields who believe they have sufficient expertise to understand climate science despite having done minimal research on the subject; William Happer, Fritz Vahrenholt, and Bob Carter, for example.

    What bothered me the most isn’t that they are from other fields or did minimal research; that could be a plus for having a different perspective. What bothered me the most is that nobody actually doing the research was able to convince nobel laureates on this topic of global warming. These guys are not idiots. It seems that with some good convincing presentations you should be able to get them all to fall in line. If you are not able to explain or convince another scientist and a Nobel laureate, it raises very very serious concerns that climate scientists don’t really have any substantive evidence. Why would any trained scientist remain unconvinced if you present him with the data and a good argument? 

    For instance, if he questions how you can even get an average temperature, the correct response should be. Here is how the scientists did it. Here are the considerations.  How we took the averages. Here are the questions and discussions. Here are the criticisms of this method. Here is what we finally settled on. This is the correlation and this is the causation. Remember he is a physicist. He is used to just doing an experiment to verify his theories. Climate scientists don’t have that luxury. They have to use some other method. They are in the same league as Darwin. And you know how evolution debate went. Almost parallel climate science. A consensus of Darwinian evolution. Finally giving way to accepting a minority view. My own understanding of evolution is now. Yes. There is evolution (not the current definition, undefined for me). No. It is not Darwinian. It is not random.   Likewise, a concensus of catastrophic man-made global warming.  Giving way to a minority view. My own understanding of global warming is: Yes. There is global warming (as partially due to natural variabilit). No. It is not catastrophic. It is only partially man-made. Probably not significant. Pollution is probably more of a pressing problem.

    I am not a scientist. I have come to my own conclusions by watching the various discussions on the internet. My belief is that from a starting point of zero knowledge on any scientific topic and using the scientific method you should be able to get to the truth logically. I also believe that if a scientist is unable to convince me logically by means of the scientific method, I remain unconvinced. No need of any consensus.

  34. Burning coal may have caused Earth’s worst mass extinction

    TR Styles @17, I think your gasification theory sounds very convincing. But I'm not a geologist to say much about it.

    It could of course be a combination of burning and gasification.

    Just to be clear the example I quoted in Australia of coal burning underground was not a mine, and  was a natural seam that somehow caught fire possibly from a forest fire, and somehow enough oxygen gets right down there, possibly as the seam gradually burns from the outside down or just through fissures in the rock, Im not sure. I can believe that the very widespread surface volcanic lava flows during the Permian event ignited more than a few coal seams over extended time periods. But gasification could also have happened and may be the dominant factor.

  35. Biofuels can help solve climate change, especially with a carbon tax

    This article makes a very good case in all respects,  however using biofuels in blended fuels for cars is senseless to me.  I suggest limit use of biofuels to air travel and shipping which are hard to electrify, to minimise intrusion on forestry and agricultural land. 

  36. Burning coal may have caused Earth’s worst mass extinction

    Thanks WOL. I really should dust off my laptop for these things, but I've become addicted to portability. Each keyboard app and wallpaper theme in Android seems to project things differently.

    Hey! I'm a little suprised no one had anything to say one way or the other about "gasification" as a source of P-T greenhouse gases.. I may well be off base on that idea, but still can't see that literal burning is necessary, where hot magmas are involved, to put a lot of nasty volatiles into the atmosphere .

  37. How blogs convey and distort scientific information about polar bears and Arctic sea ice


    You haven't given a few links to some of the thousands of posts you have made about the climate. Why not? As you are so industrious and assiduous on this subject you must think what you have to say is worthwhile and informative. 

  38. Burning coal may have caused Earth’s worst mass extinction

    T R Styles @ 12 (Mod - off topic but for info) Your superscripts appear just fine on my PC so obviously went OK from the phone and tablet: Might just be ine "incoming" text interpretation on them.

  39. New scenarios show how the world could limit warming to 1.5C in 2100

    Any reasonably bright, year 12 student could tell the politicians exactly what they should be doing to limit Carbon dioxide emissions and to solve all the other problems we face but they won't do it.  There is one ring that controls them all and if we sorted out this one, the rest would fall into place.

  40. Explainer: The polar vortex, climate change and the ‘Beast from the East’

    I have a question re the polar vortex and would be grateful for any responses. I have a climate denying relative who tells me that the recent shift in patterns of the polar vortex is a result of the sun which has just entered a solar minimum. Does this have any basis in fact? (I suspect not but would be interested in what people have to say on this). Thanks.

  41. michael sweet at 20:56 PM on 14 March 2018
    How blogs convey and distort scientific information about polar bears and Arctic sea ice

    Reading your summary of Pagano's paper I did not see any mention of the fact that polar bears are white because of evolution.  There is also no mention that the polar bears and the ice they stand on are made of atoms.  It appears to be incomplete. 

    Peer reviewed papers are written for experts to read.  They leave out information that everyone who is expert knows.  There is not enough space to rewrite the history of science in every paper.  Crockford's suggestion that they have left out necessary information is only relevant to people who are not experts (like Crockford).   Subadult seals include pups, experts know this and it does not need to be explained.  Experts know about snow conditions and leads, Crockfords comments are irrelevant. 

    Pagano's paper shows that polar bears are expending more energy to survive.  That suggests that that reproduction is threatened.  

  42. michael sweet at 20:27 PM on 14 March 2018
    How blogs convey and distort scientific information about polar bears and Arctic sea ice

    Imaginary Number,

    I noticed that you incorrectly linked to a "paper" by Crockford and compared it to a peer reviewed paper by Pagano.  The piece by Pagana was a carefully written paper reviewed by experts to determine that there were few or no errors in it.  By contrast, Crockford's "paper" was only a blog post that has not been reviewed for errors.  It is not more authorative than a high school term paper.

    Crockfords work is simply the paid shilling of a non-expert.  You cannot compare a peer reviewed paper in a scientific journal to a blog post by a paid shill who is not an expert.  It has been well documented that Crockford is paid to write her nonsense.

  43. How blogs convey and distort scientific information about polar bears and Arctic sea ice

    ImaginaryNumber @52 , firstly: the polar bear occupies a limited niche in the arctic environment.   It is a highly-specialized apex predator.   It relies upon its build-up of fat reserves, to get it through the annual cycle of feeding & breeding  — and it leads a hazardous existence because of the prolonged & irregular fasting periods between kills of prey.   It cannot benefit from the broad environmental band which is available to its cousins, the various species of "brown" bears (which are omnivorous).

    Essentially the polar bear is in a rather precarious position, and its survival (as a species) depends on a complex interaction of sea-ice conditions suitable to itself, and sea-ice conditions suitable to its prey, the seals.

    Secondly , the study by Pagano et al 2018, does little more than indicate that the situation [of polar bear energy requirement] is even worse than previously thought.  And it points out that the arctic warming is producing conditions requiring even greater travel/energy-requirement.   Thus an even more precarious existence for the polar bear. 

    None of this provides any real support for Dr Crockford's contention that "all is well" for the polar bear & the polar bear future as a species.  In essence, Crockford takes a short-term [not "big-picture"] view of the situation.   Short-term and unsupported [= anti-scientific] . . . and quite reprehensible "Fake News" propaganda.

  44. ImaginaryNumber at 15:48 PM on 14 March 2018
    How blogs convey and distort scientific information about polar bears and Arctic sea ice

    Thank you all for your patience. I'm away from home, and have to fit in this extra-curricular activity whenever I can.

    First of all, I haven't read a lot of what Crockford has written about polar bears. And I haven't read much of what her critics say about what she has said about polar bears. I'm hoping you won't mind just sticking, as much as possible, to the Pagano paper, and those Crockford papers that deal most directly with the Pagano paper. Thanks :)

    Now back to the Pagano paper --

    As I understood it, the study by Pagano, et al, was primarily designed to determine the how much energy polar bears expended during the yearly time period (late spring and early summer) when they typically put on the most fat. Nine female bears were caught and monitored for between 8 and 11 days, each year, in April of 2014, 2015, and 2016. During the study period, four bears gained 5% to 15% of their initial weight, four bears lost at least 10% of their initial weight, and one bear lost a very slight amount of weight. Pagano notes that--

    "Bears that successfully killed and ate adult or subadult ringed seals either gained or maintained body mass, whereas bears that only scavenged or showed no evidence of eating lost mass."

    From my reading of the Pagano paper, the major conclusion of the study was that polar bears expend about 1.6 times the amount of energy, during late spring/early summer, as had been previously estimated. Thus, to put on the fat needed to fast through the summer/autumn months, when they are land-bound and fasting, they need to be able to capture and eat more seals than other researchers had previously estimated. Clearly, not all of Pagano's polar bears were able to capture enough seals to meet their energy needs, at least during the observation period. This later point is important, because Pagano also noted that --

    "previous researchers reported that 42% of adult female polar bears in the Beaufort Sea during the spring from 2000 to 2016 had not eaten for ≥ 7 days before capture."

    — suggesting that historically polar bears are not always able to find food when they want it. Pagano then goes on to say that --

    "This rate of fasting was 12% greater than measurements from 1983 to 1999, suggesting that spring ice conditions are affecting prey availability for polar bears even before the summer open water period."

    Pagano concludes by saying that --

    "These studies suggest that an increasing proportion of bears are unable to meet their energy demands. Our results indicate that further increases in activity and movement resulting from declining and increasingly fragmented sea ice are likely to increase the demand side of the energy balance ratio."


    Now to Susan Crockford's critique.

    Her primary concern with Pagano's paper was a lack of explaination for why the Beaufort polar bears were having trouble catching seals? Crockford claims that in the spring of the year ringed seals have their birthing lairs on the ice, and that in good years they should be relatively easy for bears to raid. But Pagano's paper only mentioned eating adult or subadult ringed seals (for the healthy bears), or carcasses (for the unhealthy bears) — but no pups.

    Crockford provides a link to another paper she wrote  in which she discusses the snow conditions under which ringed seal births are either successful or unsuccessful. She cites various research papers which show, for example, that when snow cover over the sea ice is deep, seal lairs are well-protected, bear predation is low, and bears became malnourished. Conversely, when snow cover is light, or when there is rain, seal lairs are easy to locate and break into, and bears are better fed. In that same paper Crockford also cites research which shows that when sea ice is very thick polar bears also have trouble finding enough to eat.

    Now back to Crockford's more recent paper. She notes that Pagano makes no mention of ringed seal lairs or sea ice conditions in their paper. This seems to me to possibly be a critical omission.

    Crockford then posts US Navy sea ice thickness maps for the Southern Beaufort Sea, for April 2014, 2015, and 2016. In all those years, but especially for 2014, there was a band of very thick (up to 5m) sea ice along the coast of Alaska. She suggests that this thick band of sea ice may have been critical to the study polar bears not finding sufficient nourishment.

    Crockford also quotes from another paper (by Stirling) --

    "Polar bears prey mainly upon ringed seals and, to a lesser degree, on bearded seals. Polar bears appear to be more abundant in polynya areas and along shoreleads, probably because the densities of seals are greater and they are more assessable. For example, between March and June in the Beaufort Sea from 1971 through 1975, 87% of the sightings of polar bears were made adjacent to floe edges or in unstable areas of 9/10 or 10/10 ice cover with intermittent patches of young ice.”

    Stirling also says in the same paper:

    "the influence of rapidly changing ice conditions on the availability of open water, and consequently on populations of seals and polar bears, has been observed in the western Arctic. Apparently in response to severe ice conditions in the Beaufort Sea during winter 1973-74, and to a lesser degree in winter 1974-75, numbers of ringed and bearded seals dropped by about 50% and productivity by about 90%. Concomitantly, numbers and productivity of polar bears declined markedly because of the reduction in the abundance of their prey species. … If the shoreleads of the western Arctic or Hudson Bay ceased opening during winter and spring, the effect on marine mammals would be devastating."

    This suggests that polar bear foraging is best when there is a reasonable number of open leads, which is less likely when there is very thick sea ice. Again, is seems that Pagano was remiss in not including more information about sea ice conditions, and seal lair conditions.


    My thoughts and questions:

    Now that I've read Pagano's complete paper, and not just the abstract; and now that I've read two relevant papers by Crockford, it seems to me that Crockford is raising valid questions as to why some, but not all, of Pagano's polar bears were malnourished? Maximim sea ice extent occurs in mid-March, and maximum sea ice volume typically occurs in the later part of April. So lack of sea ice is certainly not the problem.

    Did Pagano provide an answer in their paper that I (and Crockford) missed, or was their analysis of polar bear dietary habits and processes less than complete?

    Likewise, has Crockford misunderstood seal breeding cycles, or misinterpreted the polar bear research that she cites?

    As I understand it, if Pagano (and the news media which reported Pagano's findings) has just stuck with saying that their research showed that polar bears expend 1.6 times more energy than previously thought, Crockford might not have found anything to criticise. As it was, many concluded that because half the bears in Pagano's study were malnourished (at least during the 8-11 day study window, which apprently happens quite a lot — sort of a feast or famine situation for bears), that it must be true that all polar bear populations, at all times of the year, were also not finding enough to eat. While that concievably may be true, it appears to me that you can't infer that from Pagano's study, as Pagano didn't include a number of relevant factors in their study (e.g. sea ice thickness; snow thickness; number of open leads; relative abundance of seals, etc).

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] You have stated your case and expressed your concerns multiple times. You are now skating on the thin ice of excessive reptition which is prohibited by the SkS Comments Policy

  45. Stop blaming ‘both sides’ for America’s climate failures

    NorrisM @46, I also see a difference between trying to deliberately link climate mitigation with some form of economic reform, and a carbon tax that makes inequality worse and is just patently unfair. I can't support option 2 and I'm not even sure enough Republicans would like it to get it passed.

    Option 3 has a range of different advantages, and the only objection would be its "too fair" which would be a silly objection.

  46. Stop blaming ‘both sides’ for America’s climate failures

    NorrisM @46, my understanding from Naomi Kleins article is that option 2 has been proposed in Washington, and has been opposed by Democrats,Republicans and most environmental groups. It has not been put to the public for some sort of vote, but it certainly doesn't look like it will be popular.  Its a dumb idea, and anyone should be able to see it regardless of their politics. The failings have been pointed out enough and dont need repeating.

  47. One Planet Only Forever at 12:43 PM on 14 March 2018
    Stop blaming ‘both sides’ for America’s climate failures


    Things Actually can Change, and quickly when there is Good Reason for the required correction to occur.

    In the 1950s the idea that the global community would collectively collaborate over 50 years to develop something like the Sustainable Development Goals was generally unthinkable, as was getting Americans to stop allowing members of their population to unjustifiably persecute people who had darker skin.

    I will give you some benefit of the doubt and believe that, to a degree, you are genuinely stuck in the 'Things are what they are and will only ever change very slowly' mind-set. However, by striving to make others more aware and better understanding of the required corrections of what has developed you can be Part of the more rapid Change/Correction of awareness and understanding that undeniably needs to happen.

    However, by your comments, you do not appear to be interested in properly raising awareness and understanding so that the current damaging developed realities in some parts of this planet are corrected. I suspect you also play a game of misleading marketing to try to delay the correction from developing. It could be that your Private Interest actually does not want the changes of awareness and understanding to develop too quickly.

    Misinterpreting and Misrepresenting things in an attempt to unjustifiably manipulate opinions of others in order to benefit from limiting the development of corrected awareness and understanding is one of the worst things that 'competition to appear to be superior to, or more prosperous than, others' has ever developed. One interpreter of satellite data to determine temperatures in the atmosphere clearly does it in his Blog Posts which are slanted to make it appear as if things are cooling, or that any observed warming is somehow not significant. Many economists do it as well, claiming that doing harm to future generations can be economically justified, or that not harming the future generations is "Too Hard". And a cognitive psychologist may also be doing that, using knowledge of how to influence people in ways other than maximizing the rate of correction of awareness and understanding in the general population.

    It all comes down to Motivation, and how helpful to others, especially to future generations, a person genuinely wants to be.


  48. New scenarios show how the world could limit warming to 1.5C in 2100

    Meeting the goals in the article sure looks like a mountain to climb. However another way of looking at the climate issue could be to target a sustainable lifestyle as the primary goal, and it could make reducing carbon footprints part of the mix and therefore just easier. SSP 1 is looking like the most feasible pathway.

    I have been following the tall wooden buildings issue. This has huge potential for numerous reasons, and many have already been built as below:

  49. Digby Scorgie at 11:39 AM on 14 March 2018
    New scenarios show how the world could limit warming to 1.5C in 2100

    Given the recent study concluding that "NETs are of limited potential", this new study sounds like tilting at windmills.

  50. Stop blaming ‘both sides’ for America’s climate failures

    nigelj @ 42

    I personally would have no problem with Option 3 and in fact, contrary to michael sweet's accusations, I personally would prefer Option 3 but this would be bringing into the equation something else (income inequality) which complicates the issue.  So, again, I would like to deal with  "realpolitik".  Is it not better to have an Option 2 carbon tax than no carbon tax at all because that is what I think is political reality.  Or do you think Option 3 could be sold to the Republicans? 

    For that matter, could it be sold to Canadians?  Trudeau certainly has not stepped into this.  I actually should have researched the Alberta NDP carbon tax as to whether it is "revenue neutral" but that government is an abberation in Alberta.  Now that the two right of centre parties have united, I do not think we will see the NDP in Alberta for long.

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