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Comments 251 to 300:

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

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

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

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

    fpjohn at 34

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

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

    Beckwith on Arctic Feedback is found on YouTube

    Accelerating Effects of Arctic Feedback: 1 of 2

    Moderator Response:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    michael sweet @38,

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  8. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #28

    Another perspective on this years high temperatures from  The Guardian. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The graph from the OP sums it up:


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

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

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

  10. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #25

    PWadhams @2,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  13. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #25

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

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

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

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] From Page 93:

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

  16. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #26

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

  17. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #26

    Better questions AJC1973 to ask are:

    1/ Are there more record highs than lows?

    2/ Is my area typical?

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

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

  18. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #26

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

    Moderator Response:

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

    Global DJF

    And for Northern Hemispheric temperatures for the same season:

    NH Winter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Moderator Response:

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

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

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

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

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

    Moderator Response:

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

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


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

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

    nigelj @5:

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

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

    Matter of opinion....

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

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

    Or here for open version.

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

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


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

    thank you

    Tony Noerpel

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

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

    And these are standard economic ideas.

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

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

    sauerj @ 2:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    I think all environmental organizations were damaged by the intentional alarmist predictions of Paul Ehrlich and others back in the 70s. So I think it is important to call out the few extremists and explain why mainstream scientists think they are wrong.

    SirCharles @21, I think the widely publicized news on this article is somewhat alarmist (though the paper isn’t).

    MA Rodger @23, Thanks for the link. I downloaded the pdf of the paper.
    I thought this subject was treated pretty well in the Ars Technica article reposted on this site on June 28.
    (Sorry, can’t get link tool to work. Are there instructions anywhere?)

    Nigelj @18 I think the conservative conclusions of AR5 have caused some damage. California communities are now looking at a realistic possibility of 6.5 ft of SLR by the end of the century while the Summary for Policy Makers had given a maximum of 0.98m. Granted a couple of 2015 papers were game changers in the area of SLR but the following comment from the SPM, in retrospect, seems exaggerated on the conservative end. “Based on current understanding, only the collapse of marine-based sectors of the Antarctic ice sheet, if initiated, could cause global mean sea level to rise substantially above the likely range during the 21st century. However, there is medium confidence that this additional contribution would not exceed several tenths of a meter of sea level rise during the 21st century.”

  35. Benjamin David Steele at 02:18 AM on 13 July 2018
    Animal agriculture and eating meat are the biggest causes of global warming

    Below are two passages quoted in Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. The first is by Charles Hallmark from Health Freedom News:

    If it were not for beef, the United States could produce perhaps 25% of the small grain it does. . .. The factors that would limit our production is winter kill and tillering.

    First, winter kill happens when small grains, such as wheat or oats, get into what is called the joint stage. Grain planted in the fall sprouts and grows fairly rapidly. Once it sends up the stem that the grain head grows on, and it makes the first joint in that stem, if it gets about 10 degrees Fahrenheit it will kill the plant.

    To prevent this from happening, cattlemen and wheat farmers graze small grains with cattle. Without cattle grazing, the wheat, all wheat planted as well as oats, would have to be planted in the spring. Usually, moisture conditions remain too wet for this to work well.

    Without beef you can kiss goodbye probably to 50% of the earth's population.

    Another misconception is water supposedly taken up by cattle. Water weighs approximately eight pounds per gallon. A one thousand-pound steer, if 100% water, would be 125 gallons of water. Where is the rest of the thousands of gallons of water? If handled properly, the waste water from cattle is a very valuable resource. It removes nitrate nitrogens and ammoniacal nitrogens and returns them to the soil. Nitrate nitrogens make forage, and ammoniacal nitrogens make seeds and flowers. Farmers pay big money for these in bag form to apply to the land.

    And the second is by Mark Purdey from The Nutcracker Suite:

    One of the most nutty, stereotype fallacies. . .is the vegetarian claim that crop husbandry is less chemically and energy intensive than livestock farming. Whilst this is true in consideration of the intensive grain-fed livestock units, the traditional mixed farming unit raises livestock for meat and milk off extensively managed, low-input grassland systems; and each acre of well-managed grassland can produce four harvests a season of high-protein forage utilizing its all-inclusive clover plants as a green manure for fixing free atmospheric nitrogen into the soil. Whereas, an arable cropping system will only yield one or two crops per season and will largely remain reliant on the inputs of artificial fertilizer for its nitrogen source; one ton of which requires ten tons of crude oil in the manufacturing process. . .. Well-managed grassland is rarely sprayed with pesticide/fungicide/herbicide, not even on the most chemically orientated of farms. Yet virtually all vegetable and arable systems receive an average of ten chemical sprayings annually through from the initial seed stage to the final storage of the produce. Vegetables are so heavily sprayed that the more perceptive elements of the medical establishment have actually linked the victims of a mystery, novel neurological syndrome to the fact that they are all vegetarians in common. One team led by Dr. David Ratner from the Central Emek Hospital, Afula, in Israel, bloodtested several isolated cases of those suffering from this syndrome and found that various organophosphate pesticide residues intensively present in their vegetarian diet were responsible. Once the victims were convinced that they should return to a diet including meat and milk products, their symptoms and abnormal blood enzyme levels normalized rapidly.

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

    Question: Does this book include a comparative review of the different forms of macro-economic solutions, those being: 1) Carbon tax (sub-set being rev-neutral tax), 2) Cap & Trade, 3) Command & control (classic gov regulations) and 4) Subsidies? ... A review of the macro-economics should come before any review of an itemized list of technological solutions. And, skipping the macro-economics all together would not, in my opinion, be an adequately comprehensive primer (leaving the reader critically ignorant on effective & timely implementation of mitigation solutions). ... Interlaced in the comparative review of macro-economics is the subject of political durability, a component of reality that must be considered in order to achieve the end goal, that being accelerated reductions in carbon emissions.
    I am truly curious if this books includes a review of macro-economic policies to achieve meaningful reductions in carbon emissions! If it does, then I will buy this book and pass it on, as, then, I would feeI that it "covered it all". If not, then I believe it is just another typical climate change book, that falls short on broadening the concept of 'solutions' beyond simply our own personal lifestyle changes or beyond an itemized list of technology solutions (since understanding & embracing such a macro-perspective is also a vital grassroot component in the politics & ultimate goal of achieving meaningful macro-level carbon emission reductions), as well as providing to the reader critical information on what are these fundamental cornerstone economic tools/policies and rating their effectiveness on achieving large-scale effective & timely carbon emission reductions.
    An adequate primer should (I think) push the reader beyond the confines of their own personal lifestyle changes or even the confines of an itemized list of technological solutions (such a 'micro' approach, by itself, will not be enough, by a long shot). Instead, an adequate primer should illuminate the reader to the concept & understanding of macro-economic policies (why this is necessary to achieving the end goal, and which policies are most effective). This is necessary, as well as, yes, pushing the reader to also make personal lifestyle changes & a basic grasp of all the presently known technological solutions.
    I speak from personal experience on this. I read many CC books over a course of ~6 years and never felt like I was getting fully educated on truly effective solution methods that would overcome the massive economic forces that gave FF energy 'inertial leverage' over competing sustainable efforts. I always felt that my personal heroic lifestyle changes did nothing but keep the price of FF down, and then others & industry (bound by the economic survival constraints of free enterprise) would be more than happy to burn the lower priced FF that I heroically tried to keep in the ground. Individually, I was fighting macro forces far beyond what I could effectively alter. I knew these concepts intituitively, but had no organization or authoritative education to grab hold of or be a part of. When such a macro-based perspective and economic solution finally came to me, in terms of clear articulation & an organizational community, it was extremely uplifting & empowering. This happened when I discovered, joined & was further educated by Citizens' Climate Lobby.
    Therefore, I think for a primer to due justice to adaquately educate a reader, it should provide this kind of macro or broader-level 'illumination'. This then opens the door to the reader on the kind of macro-based solutions that the reader intuitively feels is necessary to truly do the job, but simply lacks articulate understanding and a macro-level organization to plug into. Such a primer would also guide the reader to where he/she should focus their macro political energy. All of this is, of course, in addition to (going above & beyond) changes to their own personal lifestyle. Both grassroots efforts are necessary & should be part of educational primers with the goal of achieving meaningful declines in annual carbon emissions (declines of at least 2-4%, or more, per year).
    Supporting References to the above points:
    1) The Case for a Carbon Tax (Shi-Ling Hsu) ... LINK
    2) Guardian Article (Dana Nuccitelli) ... Quote: "81% said a market-based system (carbon tax or cap and trade system) would be most efficient" ... LINK
    3) Brookings Institute Interview (Adele Morris & David Victor) ... LINK
    4) Hansen (Book: 'Storms of My Grandchildre' and many other numerous papers and public statements)

    Organizations advocating for Carbon Tax Policies:

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

    It would be nice to have a full debunking of that arctic news blogspot. I went to the "deep dive" on debunking Guy McPherson and the person dismissed the idea that methane could be released on a massive scale by noting sea temps had been about the same 200k yrs ago (and it didn't happen then) and also that Archer does some back of the envelope calcs showing it won't be a problem.

    Note though that GHGs were about half what they are now, 200k ago.

    Note Alley's work (as someone mentioned above).

    Note Archer's history on various parts of artic behavior (e.g., permafrost in which he didn't include the effect of microbes), which he always corrects himself later on. But notice how his timelines have changed over the last 15 years.

    The problem with arctic news blog is it's harder to debunk than McPherson. They do cite lots of papers. Some of it is new lines of inquiry, but the direction they point is quite dramatic (Sharkova et. al., e.g.).

    Considering PETM and Siberian Traps events happened around 500 — 1500 ppm CO2, and Alley has shown a very good case that global climate can change in a matter of 5 years, and we've trapped a great deal of heat in the ocean that hasn't come out to play yet and we already have 2ce as much CO2 as 200k ago...

    They make a good point as to the possibility.

    What they don't really flesh out is that, if there is a sudden climate flip and many crops fail along with massive drought, the global capitalist system could grind to a halt for a bit. This could lead to a lot fewer particulates in the air, which could lead to very fast (others have researched this pretty well from what I can tell) warming.

    So please, Skeptical Science, fully debunk these guys. Point out what they are missing in your usual ultra thorough manner.

  38. One Planet Only Forever at 09:59 AM on 12 July 2018
    There are genuine climate alarmists, but they're not in the same league as deniers


    I agree, but would add that every future human needs equal consideration, without discounting the consideration of people in the future. And that makes it difficult to justify any unsustainable activity.

    I often quote a longer portion of the 1987 UN Report "Our Common Future" that includes "... We act as we do because we can get away with it ...".

    The follow-up to "Our Common Future" is "Back to Our Common Future" which is a summary of the UN's “Sustainable Development in the 21st Century” (SD21) project. That document includes specific mention of the need for all nations to include consideration of the future generations in their policy evaluations and decision making.

    And the Sustainable Development Goals, which include Climate Action, are all about consideration of the future generations.

    No rich or powerful person has an excuse to be unaware of this or to misunderstand the importance of sustainable development. The ones fighting against the increased awareness and understanding of the required change of direction of development, and the corrections of what has developed, clearly need to be effectively targeted for correction.

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

    Looks like a well written book. The book "An Inconvenient Truth" presented the issues well on the whole, but had nothing on the sceptical myths. Perhaps Gore did this deliberately to keep the book short, and to avoid giving the sceptics any publicity, but I feel it was a mistake. The sceptical pseudo science should have been shot down from day one without mercy.

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

    OPOF @26 &27, I can relate to the risk management issue, because I also work in a design profession, and we have both issues of risk, technical codes, and codes of practice and professional conduct. I think the dam analogy is quite compelling.

    The whole concept needs developing further. Psychological research has discovered we quantify risk and probability all the time in all our decision making. As we all know normally we manage risk on the basis of how probable the risk, so the more the probability of risk, the more caution we have. But we also quantify the level of risk, so very low probability extremely high risk scenarios can justify a lot of caution as well, especially if the outcome cannot be reversed. But I think we are not as good at this.

    And despite this, people do take enormous risks where the outcome is potentially certainly instantly fatal and probabilities are low for example extreme sports. They possibly regard the planet in the same way, and you dont need to be a genius to know which side of the climate debate they are likely to be on.

    Individuals perhaps think they can escape climate change risks, especially if they have plenty of money. This will ultimately not be so easy.

    The thing is with climate change it effects the entire planet, so while extreme scenarios are perhaps low probability, they are high risk, and also affect billions of people. In addition the costs of remedying a catastrophic climate scenario would be vast. Therefore  the community is surely justified in minimising the risk by taking a united approach.

    I think we do have to to convince people we are dealing with a potentially very high risk situation without exaggerating, or sounding like "chicken little" and inviting ridicule.

    For me the complexities of altruism and selfishness would be best resolved by simply evaluating policies on the basis of whether they are fair to all the people involved, (and ultimately this includes everyone in society). So for me it comes down to what is "fair and reasonable" and this is a key value people need to unite around, if we were to reduce the issues to the simplest possible form. Of course theres much more to it, but this is the simplest way of summing it up for me personally anyway.

  41. Climate Science blogs around the world

    Two Italian blogs have been added to the article: and Il Kyoto fisso

  42. One Planet Only Forever at 04:11 AM on 12 July 2018
    There are genuine climate alarmists, but they're not in the same league as deniers

    A further revision/expansion of my revision/expansion @26

    What I referred to as Engineering Risk Management is just an example of appropriate Risk Management. It is the approach that should be used to evaluate the acceptability of any human activity. The developed Business Risk Management approach I presented in my comment@5 is undeniably unacceptable.

    As a General Rule: Increased awareness and understanding of what is really going on (science, but also so much that isn't called science and can't be confirmed by experiments in a lab), is essential to advancing humanity/civilization. And the application of increased awareness and understanding needs to be governed/limited by thoughtful consideration to avoid harm to others (ethical altruism). Everyone who ethically altruistically self-limits their actions should be free to do as they please. Anyone who tries to act less ethically needs to be corrected. Anyone who resists being corrected needs to be kept from having any influence on others until 'they learn to change their mind'.

    That is not new. It is my 'newest way' of expressing something that has been presented many times before by many people including Plato's idea of Philosopher Kings. It is another way of addressing John Stuart Mill's warning about allowing people to grow up mere children. It also exposes that law making also needs to be governed by ethical altruism or the laws and their enforcement could be illegitimate/unsustainable.

    It is an understanding that seems to constantly need to be re-learned because of the tendency for people to allow their primal instinctive reactions to over-power their advanced human thoughtful consideration. Only the least fortunate, most desperate, have an excuse for allowing their primal needs to over-power their ability for thoughtful consideration.

    Regrettably, the Constitutions of many nations do not include this fundamental General Rule or Guiding Principle. As a result, their law making can be unjustifiably governed by unsustainable, but temporarily gotten away with, popularity and profitability.

    That General Rule undeniably makes the actions of people who deliberately develop misleading marketing messages against increased awareness and understanding of climate science undeniably harmful. And the 'more successful' such a person appears to be, the less acceptable their actions are.

    The shift of culture in America from a Culture of Character to a Culture of Personality was a significant unhelpful change that needs to be corrected (see Foot Note).

    Increasing the awareness and understanding that less ethical/altruistic actions can get away with an unjustified competitive advantage in freer competitions for popularity and profitability may help change the way people respond to messages, change what impresses them most. It may help them think about the reaction that the message triggered and evaluate whether that triggered reaction was helpful to developing a sustainable better future for humanity, helped achieve the Sustainable Development Goals - did not harm the achievement of any of the goals. Passion triggering messages can be helpful, but often they are knowingly being abused for harmful purposes.

    Foot Note:
    Part of what happened to ethics is the shift of recognition of merit from 'Justifiably Helpful to Others and the future of Humanity' to 'Populist Celebrity - measured by power, popularity and profitability'.

    Susan Cain's “Quiet: The Power of the Introvert in a World That Can't Stop Talking” refers to cultural historian Warren Susman's work identifying that America went through a culture shift from a Culture of Character to a Culture of Personality in the late 1800s and early 1900s. His evaluation included a review of self-help books where he identified the dramatic shift of terms used to describe the desired person (to the detriment of people wanting to be helpful developers of a sustainable better future for humanity).

    In the Culture of Character the most common terms were: Citizenship, Duty, Work, Golden deeds, Honor, Reputation, Morals, Manners, Integrity (behaviours that everyone could aspire to, including scientists). The terms most common in the new Culture of Personality are: Magnetic, Fascinating, Stunning, Attractive, Glowing, Dominant, Forceful, Energetic (behaviours that scientists should not aspire to in order to 'sell their increased awareness and understanding').

    That culture shift was a shift from valuing ethical altruism and the pursuit of increased awareness and understanding of how to be helpful to others, to distraction from the pursuit of sustainable improvement for humanity and excusing selfishness and individual freedom of belief and actions.

  43. michael sweet at 01:56 AM on 12 July 2018
    Water vapor is the most powerful greenhouse gas

    It appears that Cosmoswarrior is back again. 

    Moderators: good luck and keep up the good work.

    I have recently been reading a lot of comments at RealClimate and their comment threads are severely clogged by two spammers.  (their OP's continue to be terrific and very informative).  Tamino is also discussing this problem.

    I think that SkS's decision to remove the spammers is the best way to go.

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Yes, it was yet another iterative and boring sock puppet of serial spammer Jeff Dylan/cosmoswarrior/et al.  No further replies to it are necessary as its posting rights have been rescinded.  

    As will happen to all future iterations of such.  Be forewarned, Jeff.


  44. CO2 lags temperature

    Tcflood @576 , certainly for me there was some "unclearness" in the messages from Schmidt and Dana.   Maybe in their comments they did not choose to spend time going into meticulous details of the time-lines and/or regional variations [such as in the northern Pacific?] involved in the glacial/interglacial transition phase.   Or maybe those details have not yet been determined exactly.

    Nevertheless, the important "take home" message is that of (a) an initial warming from Milankovitch orbital effects, causing (b) warming oceans to release CO2 which provides the bulk of subsequent global warming.   Which is always an excellent point for rebutting those tiresome denialists' claims of "no CO2/temperature causative relationship".

  45. TornadoWatch at 16:38 PM on 11 July 2018
    Water vapor is the most powerful greenhouse gas


    I'm sure that albedo has its part in establishing temperatures, but that is not the issue here. The issue is in correctly calculating the greenhouse effect for water vapor. Now, James Frank and John Cook of this webpage along with Lacis et. al. (referenced by Dan Bailey@278) have claimed that water vapor and other condensable GHG cannot be a forcing of temperature since they too short-lived in the atmosphere to cause much greenhouse heating. TD@267, however, points out that GHG molecular atmospheric lifetimes are irrelavent in determining such heating. I won't argue that point at this time, but I think you would agree that we must at least be consistent. Therefore, if there is no temperature forcing due to the water vapor greenhouse effect, then there is no feedback to a rise in temperature either. There can only be one value for the H2O greenhouse heating, not two different values for forcing and feedback. Of course, with no H2O feedback, there will be no amplifying the CO2 greenhouse heating and no CO2 "control knob".

    Moderator Response:

    [TD] You misinterpreted Frank, Cook, and Lacis et al. by thinking they claimed that condensable GHGs cannot be forcings solely because individual molecules are too short-lived in the atmosphere. What actually is being "claimed" is that throwing into the atmosphere, more molecules of water vapor than the atmosphere can contain at the atmosphere's current temperature, results in that extra number of molecules (regardless of which individual molecules those are) quickly to fall out of the atmosphere without replacement of that fallen extra number, so that the total number of water vapor molecules in the atmosphere quickly returns to its original, lower value.

    The original, lower value (equilibrium number of water vapor molecules) is maintained as water vapor molecules are thrown into the atmosphere by evaporating from the vast pools of liquid water that always are present around the world, followed by an equal number of water vapor molecules condensing out. If you throw extra water vapor molecules into the air, a molecule condensing out will not quickly be replaced by another molecule evaporating, because there is no room in the atmosphere at the atmosphere's current temperature. Therefore adding water vapor without first or simultaneously increasing the atmosphere's temperature by some other means, cannot force the temperature higher.

    In contrast, if the temperature of the atmosphere is increased by some other means, more water molecules will make the leap from liquid to gas, and when they condense out other water molecules quickly will take their place, thereby creating and maintaining a larger total number of water vapor molecules in the atmosphere at any given moment. So an increase in temperature by any other means causes an increase in total number of water vapor molecules--a feedback to whatever caused that initial increase of temperature.

    Non-condensing GHGs such as CO2 have no such temperature limits on the total numbers of molecules that can exist in the atmosphere at a given time. So throwing more of them into the atmosphere results in them just staying there, for a really really really long time until other mechanisms remove them.

  46. One Planet Only Forever at 13:23 PM on 11 July 2018
    There are genuine climate alarmists, but they're not in the same league as deniers

    Reading the recent comments and thinking more about what needs to be done, I am revising/expanding my comment@5.

    I will, however, preface this by saying that the most important challenge to overcome is the ability of the less ethical among the wealthy and influential people to get away with misleading marketing appeals triggering passionate unjustified responses in support of excuses for causing harm to the future generations of humanity (appeals that make people primitively react selfishly and resist performing the more advanced human activity of thoughtfully considering things to help improve the future for humanity).

    It is important to understand the difference between Engineering Risk Management and Business/Economic Risk Management.

    I presented a common Business Risk Management method in my comment@5. In addition to liking to have others suffer any negative consequences, the business/economic approach attempts to justify what is done (claiming it is acceptable) by discounting future negative consequences and comparing that reduced perception of harm being done to others with the perceived lost opportunity (or cost) that some people today would experience if the amount, or risk, of future harm to others was reduced.

    Engineering Risk Management is different. It strives to reduce the chances of negative future consequences. The way it works is evident in the development of Building Codes and design codes for special items such as Dams. It is important to severely limit what is allowed because once harm has been done it can be very difficult to properly compensate those who were harmed and properly penalize those who benefited from the riskier more harmful approach.

    Canadian, US and many other Building Codes are based on designs statistically having a small chance of experiencing an event that would result in damage to any part of the structure. And the design of the structure would strive to allow all the occupants to be safe and safely exit the building even though the building is now damaged and may no longer be able to be used. The code minimum requirements are established to ensure that the statistical probability of damage occurring to a building is limited to a 1 in 50 year event (like a 2% chance of occurring).

    The requirements for Dams are typically more stringent because of the amount of harm that could be caused by the dam failing. A common requirement for dams is that they be designed to safely manage a 1 in 100 rain event without wave action resulting in any water reaching the top of the containment features of the dam, and be capable of holding the expected water from at least a 1 in 1000 year event without risk of failing. That is like protecting against an event with a 0.1% chance of occurrence.

    And with the Building Code and Dam Requirements, it does not matter how much cheaper or quicker an alternative is. The minimum requirements must be met. In a way, the codes set hard limits on economic/business options. And engineers are ethically responsible for not budging on those hard limits.

    For an issue like climate change (and so many other things), the Engineering Risk Management approach should be applied, setting hard limits on Business/Economic considerations and the way that options are evaluated. Engineering Risk Management also screens out (eliminates/dismisses) options that would result in harmful future consequences. Those options don't get to be considered no matter how desirable those options may be to someone or some group.

    The risk avoidance criteria for Dams is based on lower probability extreme events than the criteria for a building. The criteria for the planet should be based on lower probability extreme events than is used for Dams. I have seen many reports of evaluations indicating that humanity could experience livable conditions on this planet for hundreds of millions of years (before the changes of the Sun result in climate change that makes it too difficult to sustain life). Perhaps 1 in a billion is the more appropriate Engineering Risk Limit basis for global livability impacts like climate change impacts.

    That is essentially the same as the common sense understanding that it is unacceptable for any portion of current day humanity to be benefiting in a way that causes negative consequences for future generations.

    That would be the result of ethically altruistic thinking, pursuing increased awareness and understanding of what is really going on in pursuit of the development of sustainable improvements for the future of humanity and, as a minimum, protecting the future of humanity from harmful consequences.

    Science is by default, when being done properly, Ethically Altruistic. At its best it, a-politically and without potential bias for economic benefit, develops improved understanding and identifies required corrections, including corrections of economic and political developments.

    So the 'climate alarmist' evaluations deserve to be rigorously evaluated. If they are found to be 'based on good reasoning and are more probable than 1 in a billion' then the most severe of those probable events should be promoted as the proper basis for economically evaluating the acceptability of developed actions, and alternatives being considered, by the current day population.

    Attempts to defend much of what has economically/politically developed, including attempts to defend the failure of leadership (political and business) to responsibly limit the creation of additional climate change impacts will inevitably fail such an evaluation. It is common sense that what has developed cannot be justifiably defended.

    The lack of responsible actions from the wealthier and more powerful people can only be excused by misleading marketing claims. That must be corrected; the sooner the better, no matter how unhappy some people are about being told that they have developed unacceptable desires and are required to change their mind and actions.

    SkS cannot help but be Politically Correcting. People claiming that it is unacceptable for SkS to be seen as political, meaning politically biased, need to be challenged to justify why they want to protect understandably unacceptable developed economic and political beliefs from being corrected. Why do they want to believe that Ethical Altruism should not be limiting or correcting Egoism/Selfishness?

    Another way to say that is that SkS strives to be ethically altruistic, which can only be perceived to be Political if some political groups have allowed egoist/selfish desires to over-power their human ability to thoughtfully consider their actions, over-powering the ethical altruistic interest in striving to be more aware and better understand how to help develop sustainable improvements for the future of humanity.

  47. CO2 lags temperature

    Eclectic @575

    Your explanation paints a consistent picture with Schmidt's comments and makes sense. Dana's comments when taken at face value still seem to me to be a little unclear.

    Thanks for taking the time to respond. 

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

    "I hear you but my concern is that the denialists are constantly reminding the average Joes out there (like me) of exaggerated or unfulfilled predictions, including distorting them.'

    This is my concern as well. Saying stupid stuff like "climate change will cause human extinction within 30 years" is not going to convince either denialists or "fence sitters". Such claims are easy to ridicule and disprove.

    What will be more likely to convince fence sitters are defensible projections with some evidential basis. This would include sea level rise towards 2 metres or maybe slightly more this century, serious lethal heatwaves, and the possibility of abrupt climate shifts and other things. That is "alarming enough" and can be substantiated with evidence, historical examples, and physics. 

    And it all comes done to how we define "alarmist" and of course nobody is going to really agree on this. It's a term that will continue to be thrown around like throwing mud. I tend to think while I dislike the term, it's best to "take it on the chin" and say maybe we are being alarmist, but with pretty good cause. But you then have to be able to back your position with good evidence and facts.

    Politicians are often "alarmist" . Sometimes their alarmism works, but sometimes it doesn't when people see through them. Extreme alarmism is a risky card to play.

    Ultimately you have to be able to credibly back your position. J Hansen is obviously some sort of genius, but for me straddles the ground between the possible and the impossible and his sea level rise predictions require a lot of conditions to occur. One should however justifiably argue even the remote possibility he is right is enough to justify urgent action.

    Of course the denialists often twist sound predictions to make them sound false, for example using Hansens scenario A predictions when the only prediction that makes sense is scenario B. But thats another matter. It seems like theres no option but to patiently rebut this sort of thing, or is there another way?

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

    Michael Sweet @ 12. I hear you but my concern is that the denialists are constantly reminding the average Joes out there (like me) of exaggerated or unfulfilled predictions, including distorting them. They often get away with equating alarmism with climate science in the eyes of the public. I think the scientists need to get out front of this to continue to bring the fence sitters into the fold.

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

    Sir Charles @21-24,

    The primary source may be an proper point of referenece.  And that is Fischer et al (2018) 'Palaeoclimate constraints on the impact of 2 °C anthropogenic warming and beyond'

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