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Comments 251 to 300:

  1. New research, November 5-11, 2018

    Tax and Divident (offset payments) can be a great stimulus in a low income economy.  Money is put in the hands of the poorest who immediately spend it just to survive.  At every transaction a portion flows to the government who, ideally, spend it on good works, putting the money back into the economy.  Money supply is far less important than velocity (the rate that money circulates) and this increase in velocity lifts a country out of its poverty.  Money is simply a mechanism to get people working and the amount of work done depends to a large extent on the speed of circulation of money.

    A man comes into a hotel bar.  He says to the propriator I would like a room.  Here is $100 to show my good faith.  Could your porter show me your rooms before I decide to stay here.  The propriator calls the porter and away they go.  The hotel propriator immediately sends the $100 to the butcher to pay off part of his outstanding bill.  The Butcher uses the $100 to pay off part of his outstanding rent.  The owner of the butchers store goes to the lady of the night who uses one of the rooms of the hotel to contuct business.  She pays of part of her bill at the hotel.  The man comes down and says he has decided not to stay and takes his $100 back.

  2. There is no consensus

    Richard Tol accidentally confirmed the 97% global warming consensus. An "own-goal" if there ever was one.

    There is no doubt in my mind that the literature on climate change overwhelmingly supports the hypothesis that climate change is caused by humans. I have very little reason to doubt that the consensus is indeed correct.

    Own Goal

    LINK 1




  3. There is no consensus

    The 97% mantra is debunked in this empirical analysis, including some rebuttals by actual scientists cited in the 97% claim who say their assessments were misrepresented.

    Any responses to clear up this speed bump would be appreciated.

  4. Harry Twinotter at 07:09 AM on 17 November 2018
    Climate science comeback strategies: Al Gore said what?

    "Keep the discussion open as well as our minds."
    When ever anyone mentions "open minds", I get suspicious. Usually that is a dogwhistle to the "woke" crowd that implies climate scientists minds are somehow closed. TL;DR climate scientist's minds are not closed, they will believe anything if there is credible evidence for it.

    "While I am not alarmed and hysterical". That's an insult, unless you can demonstrate who is "hysterical".

    "So called "concensus" findings is not always scientific." Ummm the hypothesis about the Luminous Aether WAS scientific, it was completely falsifiable as the Michelson–Morley experiment later demonstrated. The scientists at the time believed in the possibility of the aether based on theoretical reasoning about the wave nature of light.

    "All scientific concensus needs is one good repeatable experiment to disprove it or at least cast doubts on a concensus." Really, on a consensus of evidence? I don't think so. Either way this comment is speculation/wishful thinking on your part.

  5. Katharine Hayhoe on Fossil Fuels

    "To continue to grow our economy"

    1% annual growth, doubling the economy in 70 years

    2% - 35 years

    3% - 23 years

    4% - 17.6 years

    Double the economy and to a good first approximation you double your use of water, wood and metal, double your pollution and garbage production and push nature even further back into a ever diminishing corner.  We have to somehow learn to live in a stable and then reducing economy and how to live well in a world with the demographics implied by an ever reducing population.

  6. Katharine Hayhoe on Fossil Fuels

    Arguably, our output of Carbon into the atmosphere started between 6000 and 8000 years ago (Ritter - Plows Plagues and Petroleum) and just managed to stop us sliding into the next Glacial.  In fact the Black Death and the disease caused demise of most of the population of North America with the accompanying re-growth of the forests, just tipped us over into the next Glacial Period.  The Industrial revolution came along and stoped the slide.  We now have the example of select farmers (Montgomery - Growing a Revolution) of how to get carbon back into the soil and so much more if we will only listen.  But at the core of the problem is the financing of our politicians.  Who Pays the Piper Calls the Tune.  If we were to finance our politicians from the exchequer and make it illegal for anyone to contribute anything for any reason to a politicians, suddenly the brakes would come off of all the campaigns we must succeed in if we are to save our sorry selves.

  7. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #45

    Lorenz-was-RIGHT @2,

    The idea that a winter can "very cold because of the sunspot dearth" has been proposed by Lockwood et al (2010) but this was firstly a statistical finding so not every year with low sunspot numbers will be cold and secondly it is certainly not a global or even a northern hemsphere statistic but relates to a particular location (the study applied to Central England).

    The hypothesis is that low sunspot numbers can result in a more wobbly and static jetstream which in turn can result in a certain location being subjected to freezing arctic winds for weeks on end. The flip-side of this is that other areas will be subjected to warm southern winds for weeks on end.

    As you say that the "very cold winter" proposal comes from a 'skeptical guy', it might be worth also pointing to Lockwood et al (2017) who conclude on this matter "The latest science indicates that low solar activity could indeed increase the frequency of cold winters in Europe, but that it is a phenomenon that is restricted to winter and is just one of a complex mix of factors" with Lockwood stressing in an accompanying release "This study provides little solace for the future, as we face the challenge of global warming. Solar activity appears to be declining at present, but any cooling effect that results will be more than offset by the effect of rising carbon dioxide emissions, and provides us with no excuse for inaction."

  8. Climate science comeback strategies: Al Gore said what?

    Whether or not we have passed a point of no return is a rather moot argument in my book.  It's akin to (what?) stage 5 climate change denial. "We Win!! There is nothing we can do so burn baby burn!!"

    My view is that even if we've reached a point where a lot of bad things will happen, like excessive ice melt in Greenland and Antarctica, major  sea level rise, and climate shifts that force mass migrations, etc. We still can and must take actions to mitigate whatever "no return" exists.

  9. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #45

    LorenzWR @2 ,

    I read that the NASA (Goddard Institute for Space Studies) global data show that October 2018 global temperature was +0.99 degreesC above the 1951-1980 reference period [so about +1.77 degreesF ].  (This does not include the poles.)

    The other American Agency ( NCDC/NOAA ) not yet released the October figures . . . but they report that the September 2018 was for Northern Hemisphere +0.91 degreesC [ +1.64 degreesF ] above their reference period (they use 20th century average, I gather).  This was the 4th hottest September on record (tying with 2017).

    Interestingly perhaps, the charts show Canada and Uzbekistan as colder than usual ~ which may be some consolation to your friend.  

    In the end, we'll just have to wait a few months, and see what the Northern Hemispheric winter delivers.  But the world temperature has been climbing steeply for 40+ years, and shows no sign of easing off (because the underlying cause of the warming is continuing unabated).

    Your friend should pay less attention to sunspots, and more to the actual heat being radiated from our sun (which has been fairly steady over the past five 11-year cycles of solar activity).  If he thinks somehow that solar magnetic flux and cosmic ray intensity are significant players in influencing climate changes . . . then he is very poorly informed, and needs to educate himself.

    Overall for the upcoming Northern winter ~ if your friend were betting on a horserace, then I reckon (in view of September/October) that your friend's horse is trailing the field badly as they make the final turn.  But it's only over when it's over.  And unless it actually falls, his horse must have an outside chance.  But we must remember there are another 30+ winters to be run, until mid century ~ and your friend will eventually have empty pockets by then.

  10. Lorenz-was-RIGHT at 18:00 PM on 16 November 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #45

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

    My first!

    I’ve been reading for a long time but never wanted to comment. This is probably the best place to ask- for months a skeptical guy at work has been saying that this was going to be a very cold winter because of the sunspot dearth. It’s been an unusually warm Autumn but today was a little odd. 

    Now I’m down a rabbit hole. What’s the best rebuttal?


  11. The many ways climate change worsens California wildfires

    Art Vandelay @2 -

    Climate change is making fires worse in many areas but the actual incidence of ignitions is also increasing, and >90% of ignitions are human caused, either deliberately or accidentally. Fighting climate change might prevent the situation from getting far worse in the future but it's already a serious problem in need of fast acting solutions. We can't change the climate but we can significantly reduce the root cause of the problem.

    The global warming potential of a unit of greenhouse gas takes centuries and millennia to play out. Therefore most of the climate change we experience now is due to greenhouse gases emitted decades ago. Since we are now emitting greenhouse gases at a much higher rate than when we were emitting the greenhouse gases that are burning California now, we are currently locking in much worse climate change for the future.

    Even worse, any action taken by any individual, organization, or nation-state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will have no or almost no detectable effect on the local consequences of climate change the individual or organization is already experiencing. Even if California could eliminate its entire carbon footprint, humanity's global carbon footprint would only decline by about 2%, an amount below the resolution of measuring climate change impacts. Thus self-interest can play no role in fighting climate change - fighting climate change is always and only a charitable act undertaken by moral people for moral reasons. Putting up solar panels in California does almost nothing to stop wildfires in California - it is but one of billions of actions by people everywhere necessary to stop climate change.

    Climate change messaging that tries to frame the problem in terms of self-interest is logically contradictory. It's like trying to tell people they are better off if they do not steal, when in reality theft is highly profitable to the thief provided he gets away with it. Since there is no system of justice to punish carbon polluters at any level from the individual to the nation-state, committing theft by burning fossil fuels and dumping the costs on everyone else remains the perfect crime. Carbon taxes might be a start, but they'll never be implemented at a high enough level by the thieves themselves to make life as uncomfortable for the carbon polluters as it is and will be for their victims.

    But back to your stopgap strategy of reducing artificial ignitions.

    First, the problem is difficult: people like to smoke, burn things, throw glass bottles along roadsides to act as burning-lenses, consume centrally generated electricity, and be malicious. How can we protect massive areas of parched land from every jackass who wants to commit arson? Have governments figured out how to stop malicious hackers from spreading computer viruses?

    Second, you haven't justified your implied counterfactual assumption that natural sources of ignition wouldn't start more fires if human-caused ignitions weren't burning the fuel first. Perhaps if enough fuel is present, it will burn sooner or later. The longer it doesn't burn, the more fuel accumulates, thus making the eventual burn all the worse.

    The root causes of wildfires are fuel availabity and the weather conditions that allow fuel to burn. Proximal causes include every source of ignition. But given enough fuel and enough time with the wealther conditions for fire, even a low rate of natural ignitions should eventually burn everything that can burn. Is there evidence from the fossil record that during past natural periods of warming and/or drying when fire risks were increasing, the potential for fire went unrealized because there weren't humans around to light matches or build defective power lines?

  12. The many ways climate change worsens California wildfires

    President Trump’s tweets suggesting forest mismanagement is to blame for California’s wildfire woes

    Canada has vast areas of unmanaged forests, and climate change is increasing fires in them too.

    I'm surprised that Trump, who made (then lost, then remade) his fortune building things, seems unaware that monolithic dome homes are nearly fireproof. His self-proclaimed financial genius seems to have let him down here. There's a fortune to be made in fire-hardening the homes of people who insist on living in the increasingly firey fire country. Californians are already familiar with retrofitting buildings for earthquakes. A builder like Trump should recognize the emerging new opportunity.

    prompted widespread rebukes for their insensitivity as thousands of citizens flee the fires

    Trump's comments are insensitive because they appear to blame Californians for bringing these disasters on themselves. Trump is wrong about the mechanism, but right in a sense about the responsibility. Virtually all of the fire victims built their lives around burning fossil fuels, and will continue to burn them if they survive, thus contributing many times their global fair share to the climate change that is now coming back to bite them.

    Is it "insensitive" to tell tobacco smokers that they caused their own lung cancer? Perhaps, but it's irresponsible not to tell them. Some truths are inconvenient. Now, the difference between tobacco and climate change is that the tobacco smoker harms primarily himself or herself (although around 10% of tobacco deaths are to nonsmokers poisoned by someone else's tobacco pollution), whereas the individual's contribution to climate change spreads across the whole planet and primarily harms other people (and other species). You won't be killed by your own greenhouse gas pollution - someone else will be. (Or more correctly, you are responsible for on the order of a billionth of each of a billion future deaths, very roughly speaking, depending on your carbon footprint and on how bad climate change gets before Man's contribution fully plays out.)

    People who live in rural areas - for example in fire country - tend to have higher carbon footprints than people who live in urban areas, due to longer travel distances and the thermal inefficiency of detached homes. It's very hard to live car-free in a rural area in the United States. The choice to live there is in most cases a choice to contribute more to climate change.

    When people spend their lives pumping durable greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, who should pay the price? We've heard a lot about environmental injustice, whereby the global poor experience the bulk of suffering that results from our pampered lifestyles in the developed world. If environmental injustice is bad, then how is it not less bad when some of the people who contribute the most to climate change experience some of the costs for once? Would it be better for Africans or Bangladeshis to die in their stead?

    In the USA, we have a car-centric culture in which people feel entitled to burn all the fossils they want for their personal comfort, mobility, and prosperity, while ignoring the harm they rain down on those who can't buy their way out of the problem. Everyone posts photos from their fossil-fueled vacations on Facebook, and nobody posts apologies. When, on rare occasions, Nature flips the script and punishes the victimizers a little, our response should be one of remorse and contrition rather than solipsistic outrage as if we are somehow blameless.

  13. Models are unreliable

    ecgberht, see this post about that dodgy graph: Republican's favorite climate chart has some serious problems.

  14. Models are unreliable

    How do you explain the fact that the average of climate models is so far off of what has really happened in the last 30 years?

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Annual comparisons of models and temperate can be found here. But please look at the post the DK indicates below to understand the misinformation that misled you.

  15. The many ways climate change worsens California wildfires

    The denialists have been abusing data on California wildfires to claim that the wildfires are less, not more. It even got onto the forum I usually use - The Arctic Sea Ice Forum. It has been squashed pdq.

    The article in the link below does a good job in debunking this nonsense. Perhaps another one for skepticalscience's climate myths debunked section?

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Activated link. Please learn how to do this yourself with the link button in the comment editor. Thank you for the link.

  16. The many ways climate change worsens California wildfires

    Santa Ana winds have made the fires worse. With global warming the increased downwelling long wave sky radiation is also making things worse. Here is how relative humidity can be increased to reduce the risk of fires: When warm dry air blows over a cold sea the air temperature near the sea surface is reduced and relative humidity (RH) near the sea surface increases and fog may occur (of course there will be more fog with hot moist air). Since net evaporation into saturated air does not occur the broader mass of air will remain dry. If you have plastic sheeting suspended quite high above the sea at an angle of 45 degrees to the sea this will force warm air downwards and will mix warm air into the air near the sea surface and evaporation will continue, humidifying a large mass of air.
    Example: If the air blowing over the sea has temperature Tair=28 deg C and a relative humidity RH=40%, then on cooling to 13 deg C at the sea surface the air will have become saturated and fog could occur above the sea surface.

  17. Philippe Chantreau at 00:36 AM on 16 November 2018
    The many ways climate change worsens California wildfires

    Art Vandelay, can you substantiate your argument? You are saying that the increase in man made ignitions is a significant factor, "the root cause of the problem." However what the OP shows is that it is the change in average long term weather that is by far the most significant factor in making the fires worse. It may be the case that there are more fires happening (which would correspond to more ignitions) but you don't bring evidence to substantiate that. Nonetheless, the real problem is that the fires that do start are spreading farther, expand at mind boggling speeds and are much more difficut to control. The root cause of that problem is climate change.

    I researched the BC fires of 2017, and most information I found suggested they were started by lightning. Of course, climate change there is causing more frequent and severe thunderstorms so I guess you could say that human caused ignitions are responsible in that sense.

  18. The many ways climate change worsens California wildfires

    I happen to live in a high risk area myself, and every summer there's a period of 4-6 weeks when the combination of intense heat, high wind and low humidity conspires to create perfect fire storm potential, and much nervousness. Climate change is making fires worse in many areas but the actual incidence of ignitions is also increasing, and >90% of ignitions are human caused, either deliberately or accidentally.  Fighting climate change might prevent the situation from getting far worse in the future but it's already a serious problem in need of fast acting solutions. We can't change the climate but we can significantly reduce the root cause of the problem. 

  19. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #44

    LaymanSC @3 , the matter of the oceanic warming paper (by Resplandy et al) which you mention, has turned out to be a storm in a teacup.

    And the paper's criticism by Nic Lewis is also a storm in a teacup.

    You are wrong to imply that Lewis sometime had a Damascene Conversion to "turn skeptic" ~ he is no such animal, no such converter.  He was always a science "denialist",  AFAICT from reading his various posts & articles on the Judith Curry blog.  A denialist is someone who fails to follow the scientific process of objective assessment, but who allows his bias/emotions [by means of motivated reasoning] to impel him in the direction he wishes to go.  Lewis in an intelligent and educated fellow ~ yet he bends over backwards to minimize the size of that important matter, Climate Sensitivity to CO2.  But please note that he is not one of the usual denialist crazies who deny the actual basic science involved in AGW ~ yet it seems clear that he has a similar psychological motivation as some of the crazies (but he does not overtly express conspiracy theories & Socialist World Government fears).

    The end result : is that the Resplandy paper presented a clever novel way of assessing global warming . . . clever and novel enough to impress the paper's initial reviewers.  The Resplandy paper indicated the global warming rate to be worryingly worse than the mainstream scientific opinion.

    However, it seems now (provisionally) that the "fuzziness" of the Resplandy assessment is large enough [as discovered and pointed out by Lewis] to render the paper to be of little utility in quantifying climate sensitivity.  So we go  back to the status quo.  And the views held by Lewis and Curry are still wrong ~ still outliers, unsupported by the generality of scientific evidence.

  20. Climate science comeback strategies: Al Gore said what?

    Yep, Al Gore's "point of no return" appears to have been reached.  And, yes, we are still here, but our being here has nothing to do with having "reached the point of no return". He didn't say humans would disappear from the planet "in ten years", he just said we would reach "the point of no return".  Presumably, he was interested in our "return" to the relative "normalcy" of our last 8,400 years of Goldilocks" climate. But, alas, seems not to be possible now.  I think it's pretty well accepted (scientifically) that some humans will probably be around when the predicted climate problems "do in" most of the human race (if the problems are unresolved).  Certainly, the accelerating disappearance of phytoplankton in the oceans is going to make animal respiration a lot tougher "someday" if we humans don't fix what we've broke.  The plight of phytoplankton is only one many more problems need to be solved so that deniers can hope to share a livable planet with the rest of us?  It's too bad there's a "tragedy of the commons".  If we could export our deniers; say, to Mars, perhaps we could set about to fix things. 

  21. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #44

    There is further article here on RealClimate from one of the authors (who takes the blame for the error). A correction has been submitted to the journal. Science working as per usual as opposed to how the misinformation providers do things. Hopefully the conclusions of the corrected paper will not be lost in the noise, but I am not holding my breath. I suspect there will be a substantial number on deniers who believe that all the science is wrong and it is just that noone has found the errors yet.

  22. The many ways climate change worsens California wildfires

    Indeed, and it's absolutely obvious climate change is making wild fires worse as below:

    Management of forests can only do rather limited things to prevent or slowdown forest fires. I mean Donald Trump is dreaming if he thinks this is the answer. La la land. You can avoid build up of scrub that is highly combustible and create fire breaks but there are no magic tools that can really prevent problems. On a windy day fire will jump over even quite large fire breaks. And management tools are expensive, and require funds the very thing Trump is hell bent on holding back from the States.

    Although it mystifies me why California allows housing to be built so close to these forests. Australia is much the same.

    Donald Trump has demanded better management of forests yet his administration has passed a little known piece of legislation called "The Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017" which if anything increases the fire risk, and hands huge areas of forests to private interests and removes environmental assessment requirements and protections as below:

    The Jet stream is compounding the problem. However according to the modelling it will not become worse than currently provided  we keep warming to around 1.5 degrees. If warming gets above this the problem will escalate further. I think this was in the IPCC report on 1.5 degrees of warming.

    I just can't believe how unaware these politiicans and their hangers on are. We are seeing evidence of a problem with forest fires at just 1 degree, it can only get worse with more warming and drier conditions and we are on track for 3 degrees at least if nothing is done. One hopes the relationship is only linear. It looks like forest fire risk is incredibly sensitive to warming for some reason.

  23. Climate science comeback strategies: Al Gore said what?

    There is the possibility that we actually have past the point of no return or at least have committed outselves to suddenish climate flip which will not be pleasant.  It is a little like a balistic pendulum.  This is a device for measuring the velocity of a bullet.  A heavy weight is suspended on a teather and the bullet is fired into it.  If you watched it in slow motion, you would see initially nothing happening but the momentum of the bullet has been added to the inertia of the weight.  The weight begins to swing and by measuring the height to which is swings you can calculate the velocity of the bullet.  In our case, the ocean is the huge weight that has been set in motion but we won't see the results for a while.  Since there seems no prospect that we will stop pouring green house gasses into the atmosphere it is as if we continue to fire at the balistic pendulum.

  24. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #44


    As detailed in the below article, the authors of the paper, Quantification of ocean heat uptake from changes in atmospheric O2 and CO2 composition have made corrections to it. This incident is a good example of the self-correcting nature of the scientific process. When mistakes are discovered, they are acknowledged and corrected in a very transparent manner.

  25. What are the climate change consequences of the midterm elections?

    Recommended supplemental readings:

    With Democratic Majority, Climate Change Is Back on U.S. House Agenda by Marianne Lavelle, InsideClimate News, Nov 7, 2018

    Blue Wave in Midwest Could Resurrect Climate Compact by Daniel Cusick, E&E News/Scientific American, Nov 12, 2018

    Backed by Ocasio-Cortez, Youth Climate Activists Arrested at Pelosi's Office Demanding Democrats Embrace 'Green New Deal' by Jessica Corbett, Common Dreams, Nov 13, 2018

    Wins By Democratic Attorneys General Threaten To Multiply Climate Suits Against Big Oil by Alexander C Kaufman, HuffPost, Nov 10, 2018

  26. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #44

    Regarding the media releases on this study and disregarding the fact that ocean temperature rise and atmospheric rise are in fact linked (are they not?) I came across this : 

    In that paper, a mathematician/physicist/financier turned climate "skeptic" posted a mathematical analysis in which just some basic division was in error on the first page of a peer reviewed and approved Nature article that subsequently made huge headlines. However, not so much on the correction of the paper. I found that surprising. I was, perhaps incorrectly, under the assumption that part of the peer review process would include a double check on the maths involved - especially for a paper that may potentially revise multiple studies done before it, to the point where the previous papers would have been an epic miscalculations and the results imperiling the drive towards action on the issue of carbon pollution. 

    I believe the evidence (that I am capable of understanding) that climate change is happening. Personal experience within my lifetime, some basic chemistry and physics knowledge, and a strong interest in the subject (I am human and have a child that I would like to have live in a climate-stable world).

    However, the fact that a very simple division calculation was skipped over in the peer review process troubles me. So my question is, since I am ignorant of the total body of the researchers involved, are there also teams of mathematicians whose job it is to help interpret calculable risks, projections, and also some basic maths checking of the results of climate scientists (in whatever specialized fields that umbrella covers)?

    If so, is there a (set of) resource(s) for their interpretations?

    If not - why not? 

    I also note that it was stated above that "Three scientists analyzed the article and estimate its overall scientific credibility to be 'high'".

    When can the public expect to start seeing "scientists AND mathematicians analyzed" these issues and calculations - hopefully BEFORE being released to the major news media so that the waters don't get even more muddied than they already are? With all due respect to these scientists and their areas of expertise, their maths seem to be a little less developed.

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] You have conflated the peer review process of the paper, Quantification of ocean heat uptake from changes in atmospheric O2 and CO2 composition and the Climate Feedback review of Chris Mooney's article about the paper. The two processes are quite distinct and should not be mushed together.

    The final paragraph of your comment constitutes sloganeering and has been snipped. Sloganeering is prohibited by the SkS Comments Policy.

  27. Climate science comeback strategies: Al Gore said what?

    Al Gore was right ten years ago. 

  28. Climate science comeback strategies: Al Gore said what?

    Scepticism is a process of doing checks but to refuse to accept the mainstream science until and unless personally satisfied is a serious logical fallacy - more so even than appealing to authority - and the 'appeals to authority are fallacious' argument is one of the most abused bits of logic going, allowing anything someone doesn't understand, can't understand and doesn't want to understand to be rejected out of hand. ie a way to conclude that anything you don't understand is wrong.

    Something said by a consensus of experts isn't evidence of anything but that it is a consensus of experts, however it is a common sense truth that people who study and work at something almost all know more about it than people who don't. An empirical truth or perhaps a statistical one - not a certainty but by far the best bet. Scientists do work within codes of professional conduct and, by the nature of their jobs, is accompanied by copious documentation - which is usually openly available for independent review and critique. And such review is generally welcomed - but with a requirement for actual knowledge and appropriate expertise by the reviewers.

    Undermining trust in the science and fanning alarmist economic fear of going without fossil fuels are the principle themes of obstructionist climate politicking. That and blanket blaming of 'green' politics - for misrepresenting the science, for being the hidden hand behind the science, for failing to be enthusiastic supporters of the nuclear option that - bizarrely - most of those calling for it don't actually have as their own policy response.

    There was never anything wrong with the communications by scientist, but it was met with counter-communications at every point of the way. The counter communications didn't arise because the numerous studies and reports didn't express it clearly enough. Quite the inverse - it is because it did express it clearly and left no legitimate room for rejecting it that prompted the concerted efforts to employ misinformation undermine trust is science. In the absence of any way to prevent it, dealing with the counter-communications to diminish it's reach and effectiveness is essential.

    My own choice in discussing these issues is to make it clear that it is about the mainstream science, not the advocates. I routinely tell people to look to long running organisations like The Royal Society or US National Academy of Sciences for non-partisan advice. I don't ask or expect people to trust and accept what Al Gore or Greenpeace say - even though on this issue they are getting it much closer to correct than the counter-informers do; I say look to three decades of expert reports and studies that have been consistent and persistent in what they have been saying.

  29. What are the climate change consequences of the midterm elections?

    Yes the climate issue is utterly and frustratingly political, and in fact I can't remember any other environmental issue becoming remotely this political.  I suppose its a result of a combination of the scale of the issue, a well funded denial campaign, and its come at a time of huge political tribal polarisation and climate change has been dragged into this, and its come at a time of an unfortunate GOP and Trumpian ideological and business orientated rejection of regulatory laws and systems, and a time of growing power of lobby groups and billionaires financing election campaigns. This combination is quite a cocktail.

    And one side is essentially wrong in this debate, they both can't be right.

  30. Climate science comeback strategies: Al Gore said what?

    prophtch44 @1, one thing it's not 100K ( $100,000 (American)) for solar panels. About $10,000 will get the average home owner a good solar panel array and a tesla backup battery pack is about $10,000. This is easily googled. so perhaps your 100K was a typo.

    It's the cost equivalent of one ensuite bathroom, to put it in context.

    And another thing. Experiments have been done literally hundreds of times  with CO2 in a canister with a light source applied and a warming effect has been measured. The planets temperature can also only be explained by the greenhouse effect. This is the basis of the whole issue. It's incredibly unlikely any of this would ever be overturned, virtually zero chance.

    But yeah everyone should keep an open mind in general.

  31. Climate science comeback strategies: Al Gore said what?

    Imho people must rebut climate science denialists, and unambiguously and firmly. There's no way on earth we should ignore their toxic  garbage. If we don't rebut climate denialists, their nonsense will gain traction. Would you go to court and not rebut accusations made against you?

    But you don't want to give them too much oxygen and publicity either. Feeding trolls is risky and often they are best ignored, but I dont think this is quite the right response over the climate issue, not in every case anyway.

    Keep to the core issue like the article says and stick to the facts. I would add be polite and keep it fairly concise and include an internet link to the key data, so it's not just your opinion its something more. Don't let them bait you into loosing your temper or getting bogged down in game playing, because you end up looking foolish to other people reading. But imho don't be nauseatingly polite and boring either.

    Remember you are commenting not to convince some hard core denialist, but for the benefit of more open minded people reading. If the troll keeps comng back with more nonsense, terminate fast, you have made your point and long discussion with trolls are a waste of time
    I admit I dont always follow my own rules. It takes discipline. 

    It also depends on the situation. Long discussion can be good if someone makes genuinely good points or is a genuine open minded sceptic, as oppsed to some politically tribal denialist.

    Regarding the Al gore issue and the real science behind it. Heres an analogy. I knew this smoker who was convinced it was harmless because he had never became sick, then a few months later he was diagnosed with emphysema. He was relying on short term personal anecdotal information, rather than understanding he was gradually increasing his risk and playing russian routlette and also failing to trust the experts, who are right far more than the non experts.

    But he couldn't be told, perhaps because there's lots of psychological denial and rationalising going on, because smoking is very addictive and its easier to just deny theres a problem.

    Although the climate issue has become a political issue as well as an addiction to oil, so theres more going on.

  32. Climate science comeback strategies: Al Gore said what?

    I have been a skeptic for many years.  Not of climate change but the degree of man's role in the change.   That being said I don't think it's wise to whistle past the grave yard.   There are so many pressing problems that need resolution.  For example.  Plastic in our oceans, mono-cropping, acidification of our oceans, and many others just to name a few.  We need to make alternative energy sources affordable to the average consumer.  Most people don't have 35,000 dollars for an electric car or 100k for solar panels.  Practical solutions would dictate that these alternate sources must become more accessable.  

    While I am not alarmed and hysterical about climate change and global warming I am not a gambling person.  We should try to err on the side of caution without going to extremes.  Consider all the outcomes of measures to control climate and will they really work.

    I think it is also important to important to hear all sides of the issue.  So called "concensus" findings is not always scientific.  For over 100 years practically 100% of all scientists believed in "Luminous Aether" .  Even as late as 2002 there were some experiments being done to disprove it's existence.  So don't hedge all your bets on concensus.   All scientific concensus needs is one good repeatable experiment to disprove it or at least cast doubts on a concensus.  

    Keep the discussion open as well as our minds.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] No one claims "consensus" makes something true. This is a strawman argument and verging on sloganeering. Consensus studies show a/ that there a consensus exists (counters the argument the science is divided), and b/ that it is strong. Everything in science is conditional, no better than the next experiment, but a scientific consensus, especially when it is strong, is the only rational guide to policy.

    Open discussion is welcome. You could begin by stating what evidence you have that man's role in climate change is not strong, on the appropriate thread. Use the "arguements" menu item, then Taxomony, and look under "Its not us" to help.

    [DB] Please read this post before commenting further.  If you have questions on it, place those questions there, not here.


  33. What are the climate change consequences of the midterm elections?

    Like it or not, the whole problem is political.  We have the technical knowledge and ability to halt the progress of global warming in its tracks (that is, if we are not already past a critical tipping point) but won't do it because of politics.  As Hansen said often, he would much rather be in his lab doing research instead of becoming a public figure.  I'm sure we would all prefer that the facts spoke for themselves and politicians would respond with simple logic.  Unfortunately it is not so.

  34. One Planet Only Forever at 13:19 PM on 13 November 2018
    What are the climate change consequences of the midterm elections?

    I agree with nigelj, except more needs to be said about free markets.

    Leaders (preferably business leaders, but if necessary political leaders) need to govern and limit the activity in free markets to sustainable activity. That is the only way that perceptions of wealth and progress will actually be sustainable and have a chance of sustainable growth.

  35. What are the climate change consequences of the midterm elections?

    I think lobby politicians relentlessly especially now the democrats have the house, but keep the written message concise, with references if they want to explore the issue more. They don't have all day to read a lengthy treatise. Ideally meet with them and talk to them.

    They all know the basics or can be given a very, very brief synopsis of the greenhouse effect and its consequences, like one paragraph. There are a couple of points I would hammer home to them that are not getting enough attention:

    1) We aren't just warming the climate. People think a few degrees is nothing. We are at high risk of causing a complete climate shift with extensive changes to the atmospheric circulation and very damaging consequences and no realistic technical fix.

    2) Hammer home the wide benefits of renewable electricity. Politicians are like anyone they get a lot of information from the media and it is mostly climate doomery, and this can swithch people off and misses the positives like successes with renewable energy around the world.

    3) Accentuate the value of free markets, but that it doesn't legitimise lobby groups and wealthy business people highjacking the idea to mean anything is permissable, and it doesn't mean carbon tax and dividend schemes are somehow wrong in principle. 

  36. What are the climate change consequences of the midterm elections?

    We have to be able to talk about the interface of politics and climate, occasionally anyway. Provided its done in a measured, fact based, non aggressive way, like the article above, I dont see it discouraging climate sceptics from taking the website seriously. If it does, it will be a small minority of people that will never be convinced no matter how things are worded.

  37. What are the climate change consequences of the midterm elections?

    Very good. Thanks for the explanation and huge thanks to John and his wife. Perhaps that statement about funding on the Welcome page needs to be more forward facing - or perhaps a prominent link to it that says something like "How Skeptical Science is Supported?"  Keep up the great work!

  38. What are the climate change consequences of the midterm elections?

    @1 - Hunabku

    Thing is, regardless of what gets shown on our homepage, those who want to deny that human-caused climate change is real will aways find an excuse to not read what we publish. If they really are interested about who is running Skeptical Science, please point them at our Welcome page. The article includes this relevant information regarding "funding":

    "There is no funding to maintain Skeptical Science other than Paypal donations to cover hosting & domain expenses. John Cook has no affiliations with any organisations or political groups. Skeptical Science is strictly a labour of love. The design was created by John's talented web designer wife."

  39. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #45

    Some time ago it was reported that Pacific Salmon are appearing in some Arctic streams.  They may be migrating, stream by stream toward the Atlantic.  The purists won't be pleased but imagine the great variety of Pacific Salmon in Atlantic waters.  Salmo salvar will have some competition.

  40. What are the climate change consequences of the midterm elections?

    Please explain why you post political material - especially directly on your home page? I spend a great deal of time trying to combat all the fossil-fuel-funded propaganda out there - trying to convince other conservatives that ACC is real. Occasionally after much effort, i get a denier to come to your site, but they still want to know if your site is funded by some liberal elite.  If they see a post like this, their confirmation bias is confirmed and they discredit everything else on your site.

  41. Renewable energy is too expensive


    From your reference Barriers to Energy Technologies:

    "Renewable energy opponents love to highlight the variability of the sun and wind as a way of bolstering support for coal, gas, and nuclear plants, which can more easily operate on-demand or provide “baseload” (continuous) power. The argument is used to undermine large investments in renewable energy, presenting a rhetorical barrier to higher rates of wind and solar adoption.

    But reality is much more favorable for clean energy. Solar and wind are highly predictable, and when spread across a large enough geographic area—and paired with complementary generation sources—become highly reliable. Modern grid technologies like advanced batteries, real-time pricing, and smart appliances can also help solar and wind be essential elements of a well-performing grid.

    Tests performed in California, which has some of the highest rates of renewable electricity use in the world, provide real-world validation for the idea that solar and wind can actually enhance grid reliability. A 2017 Department of Energy report confirmed this, citing real-world experience and multiple scientific studies to confirm that the United States can safely and reliably operate the electric grid with high levels of renewables." my emphasis.

    It has been widely documented that installing a completely renewable energy system would save money.  The savings from health costs alone far outweigh the transmission issues you mention. You are simply parrotting the fossil fuel industries.  Solutions exist for all the issues you bring up.

    In 100 years fossil fuels will run out.  Then people will be required to use renewable energy because there will be no other choice.

    We can either switch to renewable energy as soon as possible and hope that we have not already passed the breaking point for the environment or we can continue to use fossil fuels until the environment collapses.  Which do you think is the better choice?

  42. One Planet Only Forever at 08:40 AM on 12 November 2018
    Climate change science comeback strategies: 'In it for the money'


    Our thoughts do substantially align.

    I agree with sustainable urbanization. I agree that cities that sustainably minimize the energy needs for a person to live and limit/minimize the negative impacts of that life on the future of global humanity is progress. My point is about the unsustainability and unacceptability of people being forced from sustainable rural living that is counted as $0 a day living, into living in an urban area earning $3 a day with poorer quality of air, water and food (and more violence) being considered to be above the threshold of poverty (incorrectly considered to be a significant improvement over that sustainable $0 a day life).

    The new NZ measures of progress are a big step in the sustainable direction. But I sense that sustainability will be compromised for 'perceptions of getting richer relative to other nations'. That is inevitable as long as globally there are richer people who still can get away with staying or becoming richer in unsustainable ways.

    The key understanding is 'sustainability'. And that awareness and understanding is contrary to the interests of almost everyone who is 'in it for the money or wanting other personal benefits'.

    Sustainability means:

    • not using up non-renewable resources (burning fossil fuels is not sustainable by that measure)
    • not using renewable resources at a rate exceeding their renewal (for anyone arguing that fossil fuels are renewable as new vegetation is buried and converted into fossil fuels, the current rate of fossil fuel burning is not sustainable).
    • not creating harmful impacts on others, and future generations are the largest group of others (there are many harmful consequences of fossil fuels, not just the future impacts of increasing CO2 in the atmosphere and related impacts in the oceans).

    Altruism governing and limiting egoism is almost certain to be required for the development of sustainable improvements for humanity, especially improvements of conditions for the poorest. Any perceptions of improvement for a person that relies on burning of fossil fuels is not sustainable. That unsustainability of developed perceptions probably applies to all of the 'popular' evaluations of improvement/progress to date, not just Pinker's.

    The production of the robustly defensible Sustainable Development Goals is evidence of the emergent understanding that the current systems fail to develop sustainable improvements, a true Enlightenment that Altruism needs to govern and limit Egoism.

    The Enlightenment of improved awareness and understanding of the necessity of sustainability of human activity shatters many developed illusions of grandeur and superiority. And much of the resistance to accepting the improved awareness and understanding of climate science is related to attempts to maintain unsustainable developed illusions.

    Climate science unintentionally exposes the harmful unsustainability of developed illusions of human progress. And the negative reactions to climate science, and the required corrections of what has developed that climate science identifies, is additional evidence that there are serious errors in the developed socioeconomic-political systems (almost all of them - not just free-for-all capitalism).

    That improved awareness and understanding can be seen to have resulted in people 'in it for the money, or wanting other developed personal desires and preferences' to have to Unite with other people (greedy and intolerant are general categories that cover most of these people), to maximize their chances of Winning the ability to resist being corrected, to continue to get away with understandably unsustainable activities. They conservatively defend existing unsustainable harmful activity and progressively push for new unsustainable harmful developments - what I referred to in a previous comment as the Worst way people could behave.

    Hopefully the new NZ measure of progress will accurately evaluate the sustainability of what develops. GDP clearly excludes that evaluation.

    Sustainability is actually a very important consideration for anyone who wants 'continuing economic growth'. The lack of sustainability shows up as corrections of GDP (and many other measures of the merit or value of human activities). The current developed global economy is in serious need of correction to mitigate the magnitude of a future corrections.

    Popularity and profitability also side-step an evaluation of sustainability. Getting the evaluation of sustainability to govern thoughts and actions is challenged by the primitive human nature of desiring personal benefit, magnified by misleading marketing appeals that tempt people to have smaller worldviews (personal interest in the moment or near future rather than caring about helping, or avoiding harming, globally into the future).

    Modern human brains have the ability to reason. That allows people to rationally evaluate the merits of different plans into the future. And that ability to understand how to plan for sustainable improvement into the distant future is the real root of Enlightenment (and is a fundamental basis of good engineering), not “faith in the ability of future generations to come up with new technological developments that will fully correct for the incorrect unsustainable things that have developed”.

    The ability to plan into the distant future is the ability to develop sustainable improvements for global humanity. It is the understanding that local actions contrary to developing a sustainable better future for global humanity are damaging unacceptable activities, no matter how popular or profitable they are perceived to be 'locally' at any moment (particularly moments like election days).

  43. Renewable energy is too expensive

    A more fundamental challenge is that renewable generators also impose costs on the broader power grid. The top sites are often far from large cities (on Scottish hillsides, French lakes or American deserts) making them more expensive to connect. Many common kinds of renewable generators only create power intermittently--if the sun shines or if the wind blows. Wind turbines, by way of instance, spin just about a third of the time. That means countries that have a whole lot of renewable generation must still pay to keep traditional sorts of power stations ready to fire up when demand peaks. And energy from such channels also becomes more expensive since they might not run at full-blast.
    Higher construction costs may make financial institutions more likely to perceive renewable as insecure, lending money at higher prices and making it harder for developers or utilities to warrant the investment. For natural gas and other fossil fuel power plants, the expense of fuel might be passed on the consumer, lowering the risk associated with the initial investment (though raising the chance of erratic electric bills).

    But i would like to add another point of view that uses of solar energy are on the rise and countries like Germany, China and Japan are on the top of using it. Wind energy, yes, is on the other side where common man access is still limited.

    Also check Barriers to Renewable Energy Technologies for making better arguments regarding cost and usage.

  44. Climate change science comeback strategies: 'In it for the money'

    Alternative measure for economic growth: The NZ well being budget.

  45. Climate change science comeback strategies: 'In it for the money'

    OPOF @9,

    I think its important to have an accurate picture of the world, and neither be fooled to think that everything is getting worse or be deluded that everything is getting better. Its more nuanced. Books like Pinkers help as long as people read them critically and don't rely on just one source of information like his book.

    I think Pinker has a libertarian leaning. I certainly don't take his book at face value, and  he makes excuses for inequality and is a little hyped in his tone and I agree with your points. But its still a good read and has some good data that is sound enough.There are far worse than Pinker, try reading The 12 rules for living book.

    The book the Moral Arc is similar to Pinkers book, but is better imho, and more neutral in tone somehow and focussed more just on history. Pinkers book has more of an ideological flavour.

    Yes whether poverty has really reduced is debatable, but plenty of things have improved, eg deaths from famine have decreased.

    I think yes urbanisation has downsides, but its a separate issue from poverty as such. Rural lives have improved and sometimes simple technologies can halp hugely, like a small solar panel or health clinic. But I think you are right that improvements in poverty reducation can be exaggerated and crude numbers dont tell the whole story.

    You have to wonder how urban slum living, or some shoe box apartment is any better than rural living. But as poor people move into a middle class lifestyle things do improve.

    Our government is introducing an alternative measure for economic growth that takes wider values into account including happiness, environment and social data. This is the way we need to go.

  46. One Planet Only Forever at 09:13 AM on 11 November 2018
    Climate change science comeback strategies: 'In it for the money'


    As an engineer I learned to seek 'good reasons for improved awareness and understanding and the application of that knowledge'. I had to learn to avoid being easily impressed. Sales representatives are always coming up with ways of pitching their products in ways that make their product look as good as possible. As a responsible engineer I had to be able to see through that and ask the questions the promoter did not want to have to address. I, and other engineers, develop the ability to identify people who are 'in it for the money' to do our jobs well.

    Pinker appears to be a promoter doing worse than “missing” some understanding related to his presentations of history of progress, partly because he is a promoter of the belief that created problems will have a technological development 'solution'. He misses the reality that technological developments create problems that need solutions. And many of the beneficiaries of the activity that resulted in the problems do not suffer the consequences of, or have to fully rapidly correct, the problems.

    Very tellingly, Pinker does not explain why the USA has not progressed as much as others relative to its amount of wealth increase. He simply notes that that is what the numbers show because it cannot be overlooked.

    Pinker also side-steps the reality that environmental impacts are not being neutralized by the wealthier nations, or people who benefit from activity that results in the impacts. Others have to try to limit and correct the impacts (and those others include future generations). And the negative impacts are typically more extreme in areas that the more fortunate people do not have to care about. And that same pattern can be seen to be happening in developing nations. The negative environmental impacts of the ways that the wealthiest enjoy their lives are addressed to minimize the impact on the wealthiest - the ones who are most 'in it for the money'.

    Pinker also subscribes to the common misunderstanding that leads to beliefs that the World Bank measures of poverty are legitimate measures of sustainable improvement of living conditions. The most glaring flaw in that evaluation is the lack of assessment of whether the measured perception of improvement is actually sustainable. The unsustainability of perceptions of 'progress' due to unsustainable activity, like the burning of fossil fuels, is not part of the evaluations. And many of the negative impacts of climate change are unlikely to show up in that type of evaluation of “progress”.

    The evaluation of progress regarding reducing poverty is also flawed by the incorrect presumption that earning $3 a day in a city with dirty air, dirty water, questionable food, and violence is better than self-sufficient communal rural living with cleaner air, cleaner water, and adequate food (a hard but decent life that the likes of the World Bank measure at $0 a day living). And the negative value of displacement of people from that $0 a day type of life by economic actions that displace them into city slums, or negatively impact their water, air and food quality in their $0 a day living, is not measured by the likes of the World Bank evaluations (Pinker also presents every move to the city as a desired step by the ones making the move).

    This is not something that is difficult to understand. But it can be difficult to quantify. And it is easy to mask the understanding with a misunderstanding based on measurements that can be claimed to be comprehensive because they are values that can easily be quantified.

    Difficulty monetizing or otherwise 'quantifying' something does not mean that it is irrelevant. A great example of that point is that the key consideration of 'sustainability' has no monetary value and can be very difficult to quantify (and does not really need to be quantified - an activity either is or isn't sustainable, no matter how popular or profitable it is).

  47. Climate change science comeback strategies: 'In it for the money'

    OPOF @7, yes its important to acknowledge up front that some scientists ( a rather small number I think)  are probably in it for the money, and I would add some may not have the greatest personal integrity. Its important to acknowldege simple facts, because to claim all scientists have noble motive is absurd and easily shot down. The article failed to acknowldge this clearly enough.

    I feel its always important to get the facts up front, or it will be an never ending and absurd argument about whether scientists are good or bad as a group .

    However the way science is remunerated suggests the vast majority of research scientists would not be in it for the money, they could earn more in other occupations or working for the private sector, and the way science is done is designed to pick up on errors and cheating. So even if a few scientists are "bad eggs" it won't detract from the findings of large studies like the IPCC studies.

    Nobody can show me a better approach to how we do things. Put up or shut up!

    It also needs to be pointed out that sceptical climate change studies are also carried out and it can be equally argued that some of their authors may be in it for the money, and given they are renumerated by wealthy fossil fuel companies, they may be more in it for the money than other scientists... 

    Pinkers book has good data on progress humans have made, and that was my point really. I agree his interpretation of the issues misses the target at times. I'm also a bit cautious that its possible to start celebrating the progress we have made, and it can become an excuse for arguing we have made enough progress and can stop, if you know what I mean. However his book has value because  it's important to point out that the progressive era since the 1950s has not actually lead to moral decay as some have argued, quite the reverse if you use objective measures or morality, rates of crime etc, although theres still a long way to go. 

  48. One Planet Only Forever at 04:44 AM on 10 November 2018
    Climate change science comeback strategies: 'In it for the money'

    I used the term “Good scientist” rather than the generic term “Scientist” in my comment@4, for good reason.

    Some scientists deserve to be ridiculed for being “elites and experts mainly in it for the money”. And some scientists need to be corrected for being “elites and experts who choose to pursue unsustainable and harmful activities”. The problem is the generic use of that criticism for all “Elites and Experts”.

    It is important to differentiate The Altruistically Governed from The Others, in all categories, not just scientists. And the “in it for the money” attack on climate science is a perfect opening to improve awareness and understanding about Egoism and Altruism.

    Unrestrained Egoist competition will result in combative efforts to personally perceive the 'self' to be superior relative to others. History is full of examples of that. And recent psychological research explains the reasons that happens. I have many good reasons to consider “The Enigma of Reason” to be a very good book on the subject. It has helped me improve my awareness and understanding of what is going on and how to help others improve their awareness and understanding.

    Altruism is the key term. Egoism may be all there really is. Altruistically governed Egoism would then be the only kind of altruism. And that helpful understanding is what needs to be developed.

    Altruistically governed Egoist competition would be - striving to sustainably help others with improved awareness and understanding of what is really going on and the application of that knowledge to develop sustainable better ways of living - Trying to be the best you can be that way.

    Very powerful poor excuses (unjustifiable reasons) for unsustainable harmful pursuits are:

    • the activity can potentially be, or is, popular and/or profitable
    • a person's Ego, self-perception, gets a boosted sense of superiority relative to others if the activity is successful (for as long as it can be successfully gotten away with).

    A lack of altruistic governing can develop:

    • Progressives who consider any New Thing Good, rather than the required Altruistic Conservative limiting of those New Things to sustainable helpful developments.
    • Conservatives who try to defend and protect unsustainable and harmful developed activities and beliefs, rather than the required Altruistic Progressive correction of those unsustainable and harmful developments.

    And Moderates is also not a helpful term. A compromising Conservative-Progressive Moderate can be the best or the worse:

    • They can conservatively defend existing unsustainable harmful activity and progressively push for new unsustainable harmful developments -Worst
    • Or they can altruistically pursue sustainable development and correction of unacceptable developments - Best

    What can be seen to be occurring is a battle that includes battles between the Moderates. Egoist driven Moderates vs. Altruism governed Moderates. And for the benefit of the future of humanity, the Altruists, not just compromising moderates, clearly need to be governing all Others.

    Some institutions of experts and elites (Political groups, Universities, Businesses) are setting themselves up for having no sustainable future. They are deliberately headed in the wrong directions, away from sustainable development. They have been taken over by egoist selfishness that pushes against altruistic objectives. They are trying to pursue research that will 'make money without limiting those pursuits to sustainably helpful ventures'. They are 'the harmful experts and elites that people do need to be warned about', and many of them are scientists.

    Research that identifies the harmful results of developments that people want to benefit from is very important research. And leadership in business and politics that supports that type of research and effectively acts to correct incorrect developments is required for humanity to advance. That is the Understanding of Enlightenment that needs to be developed.

    What is clearly required is the development of larger worldviews - awareness of, and focus on, the global future of humanity. Serious problems can be seen to develop as a result of incorrectly governed or directed small worldviews - promotion of local individual interests now (including research by scientists at Universities).

    It is almost certain that all there is is the collective of 'local individual actions now' (well explained by Sean Carroll in “The Big Picture”). What is required is Leadership ensuring that those local individual actions are governed by the pursuit of sustainable improvements for the global future of humanity (ungoverned capitalism clearly does not develop that result, it develops the understanding of the need for it to be altruistically responsibly governed, limited and corrected).

    People like Pinker seem to have have misunderstood what has been happening. They claim that great things are happening as long as they see evidence of Good Things. Their mistake is the failure to recognize that people developing problems in a system is a problem with 'the system'. And the system is more problematic when it develops resistance to the correction of the developed problems (and resistance to identifying the need to correct the system). Such systems develop problems that can only be corrected by the influence of people who are not immersed in the ways of thinking that are developed by the system.

    People, like Pinker does in “Enlightenment Now”, miss the fact that unsustainable and harmful developed activity is seldom self-corrected within the systems they want to defend. And the corrections that did get imposed on the results of the system did not effectively limit the harm done and fully correct the harm done.

    Pinker does promote a thing called Effective Altruism. But I suspect he is too enamoured by the potential for “Technological Development” to provide “The Solutions”. The advancement of humanity requires altruistic governed improved awareness and understanding, not New Technology that altruism and improving awareness and understanding has to try to limit and correct the impacts of 'after the fact'.

    The burning of fossil fuels is clearly an example of how damaging a New Technology can become, how powerfully it can resist altruistic correction.

    Improving awareness and understanding of Who is really 'in it for the money' is very important.

  49. Climate sensitivity uncertainties leading to more concern

    Some very eminent climate scientists have examined ECS and are agreed that it is around 3°C, possibly higher. They note that CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are around 406 ppm and continue to rise at an accelerating rate. On this data they conclude that pre-industrial CO2 concentration (~280 ppm) is likely to be double and average global temperature rise 3°C above the pre-industrial average, possibly by 2050.

    This is wrong because it does not take into account the significant rise in other, more potent greenhouse gasses. As I have pointed out, anthropogenic methane emissions now stand at 1,860 ppb compared to pre-industrial concentration of ~700 ppb - and methane is x35 more powerful than CO2. I have also drawn attention to continued emission of man-made halogen gasses which are up to x5,000 more powerful than CO2.

    Although electrification of transport and stationary machines has made a slow start, net production and use of fossil-fuelled vehicles continues to rise. The result is production of increased emission of greenhouse gases such as Nitrous Oxides. Here again I have drawn attention to the need to rapidly reverse this trend – an outcome which could eventuate over the next decade.

    Coal combustion for electricity generation is a major source of CO2 emissions. Its use is not in decline and proposals for significant expansion of its use, if implemented, could see rapid increase in its concentration in the atmosphere. Without an international agreement akin to the Montreal Protocol, with severe penalties for its breach and strict policing, reduction in it’s use to zero by 2050 – required to avoid warming of 2°C – may not be achieved.

    The above shows that rather than using likely rise in concentration of CO2 as an indication of future average global temperature rise, we should be calculating and using actual and expected increase in Carbon Dioxide equivalent (CO2eq) as a more accurate indicator of future temperature increase. Why do leading climate scientists ignore this and insist on using CO2 concentration only – ignoring the effect of all other greenhouse gas emissions when estimating future temperature rise?

  50. How (not) to talk about Climate Change

    Markets don't always self correct, obvious examples being environmental problems, the Great Crash of the 1930's, the 2008 financial crash but there are thousands more. The evidence is so obvious even a complete dolt should be able to see it. 

    The answer is equally obvious: You need laws relating to the environment, human health and safety, some basic labour protections, and the finance sector. In most other ways markets do self correct adequately.

    Reality is complex. Simplistic economic theories are mostly doomed from the start.

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