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Comments 301 to 350:

  1. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #46

    Still, it's always a bad look when the process of peer review fails as is the case here, and especially so when it's a climate change contrarian who brings it to public attention. 

  2. The many ways climate change worsens California wildfires

    Philippe Chantreau says "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."

    The data is readily available from relevant government agencies. For the mainland US States it's around 90% that have a human ignition.  Obviously, more humans can only result in more human ignitions, and it's difficult to stop urban creep into more fire sensitive hinterlands. 

    As was pointed out in the post above , we can't stop CC any time soon but there is very considerable scope to reduce ignitions as well as scope to improve forest management, and that's where the focus needs to be right now, because what else is there?  

  3. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #46

    Regarding "Scientists acknowledge key errors in study of how fast oceans are warming", I have come across a few media articles about this which I found interesting.

    From my (very limited) understanding, it seems like there were basically two main errors in the paper, one was in underestimating the uncertainty in the results, and the other was in overestimating the actual trend, which overstated the warming. 

    If my understanding is correct on there being two different errors in the paper, was it actually two separate mistakes that were overlooked in the original paper? That's what I would assume.

    I'm not being critical, because I know the authors quickly corrected their mistakes once they were pointed out to them, and mistakes happen.

    Just trying to understand it a little better.

  4. Katharine Hayhoe on Fossil Fuels

    #1 Absolutely spot on William. Well stated too.

    We really are as a society getting what we paid for with AGW. Even now fossil fuel subsidies vastly outsize renewable energy, and subsidies for industrial agriculture vastly outweigh subsidies for regenerative Ag that sequesters carbon.

  5. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #46

    Unfortunate, but quickly rectified to the credit of the researchers, and perhaps there is a positive side. We have an army of sceptics scrutinising the most important research, and just occasionally they find genuine fault with a research paper. It helps confirm that the vast majority of the research, including the critically important research is robust, a point I hope is not lost on the general public.

  6. One Planet Only Forever at 14:34 PM on 19 November 2018
    Katharine Hayhoe on Fossil Fuels

    I have a concern with stating that burning fossil fuels has developed significant benefits for humanity. Humanity requires the development of sustainable benefits for the future of humanity. Implying that the burning of fossil fuels has been beneficial is misleading from the perspective of that awareness and understanding.

    Before people became aware of the unsustainability and harmfulness of the activity, people who benefited can be excused. But the global winners and leaders have been aware of the unacceptability for a long time (though they make-up unjustified evaluations that they claim justify the continuation of the activity they have developed an addiction to benefiting from).

    I appreciate the developed political preference, particularly in supposed democracies, to allow all opinions to be considered equally valid, and negotiating a compromise of those opinions to get along. But humanity advances by improved awareness and understanding. And that advancement is compromised when improved awareness and understanding is compromise, especially if popularity and profitability get to significantly influence how those compromises get made.

    While significant benefits were obtained by portions of humanity from the burning of fossil fuels, it is important to understand that almost none of the developed sustainable improvements for humanity have been a result of the burning of fossil fuels.

    In fact, a similar, and likely stronger, claim can be made that developments of sustainable improvements for humanity have been tragically compromised by the ability of already more fortunate people to unjustifiably obtain increased personal benefit, convenience, pleasure and enjoyment from the burning of fossil fuels.

    Any developed improvements for humanity, especially perception of reduction of poverty, that are due to burning of fossil fuels are as unsustainable as benefiting from the burning is. Therefore, stating that there were legitimate benefits developed by the burning of fossil fuels is not helpful. Many people will likely respond to that claim with a reinforced belief that burning fossil fuels should not be stopped, because of the harm that will do to the poor.

    A more sustainable statement is admitting that there have been no sustainable benefits developed that rely on the burning of fossil fuels. And it can be added that global leaders (in business and politics) have been aware of the unacceptability of the burning of fossil fuels since before the 1972 Stockholm Conference that documented that awareness at the global leadership level. And that understanding can be further reinforced by pointing out that the awareness and understanding of the unacceptability of burning fossil fuels has been steadily improving since the late 1800s.

    Honest altruistic pursuit of improved awareness and understanding is the only way to sustainably improve awareness and understanding. It is the only way to be on the Right side of history on any issue where reason can be applied to improve awareness and understanding.

    The development of perceptions of progress, grandeur and superiority relative to others as a result of burning fossil fuels has been understandably unsustainable and harmful for many decades. The people who have most significantly developed such perceptions through the burning of fossil fuels are likely to deserve to experience losses of such developed perceptions.

    A portion of the population can be seen to have divisively polarized themselves away from that improved awareness and understanding (and United with others divisively polarizing themselves away from many other improved understandings). Compromising with that portion of the population is harmful to the pursuit of sustainable improved awareness and understanding and the application of that understanding to develop sustainable corrections and improvements for the benefit of the future of humanity. There is no denying that. There is just the potential for some people to really dislike it because they would prefer to not be corrected (back to every opinion being deemed equally valid and compromise, to their satisfaction, being demanded rather than them being corrected).

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

    The aether was a well-motivated hypothesis, given that physicists were trying to interpret light as a mechanical (transverse) wave in some 'medium'.  And the predictions the model made were really based in Maxwell's equations, which we still use.  So saying there turned out to be no ether is a completely different kind of 'correction' than saying that CO2 emissions don't cause the climate to warm.  The ether was required if Maxwell's equations described a mechanical wave phenomenon.  But whatever the deep metaphysics of radiation and its interaction with various gases, we know that CO2 absorbs IR and causes the earth to be warmer than it would be (quite a bit warmer, in fact) if the atmosphere didn't include CO2...

  8. Philippe Chantreau at 03:55 AM on 18 November 2018
    There is no consensus

    realelybritt, you should have followed the link included in the paper you referred. All this is old news. Cook et al published a response to Tol 2014, here are the highlights:

    T14′s consensus value is based on a math error that manufactures ~300 nonexistent rejection papers.

    •T14 infers data drift using an inappropriate statistic that poorly correlates with consensus.

    •Analysis of appropriate consensus statistics reveals no significant data drift.

    •T14 wrongly conflates abstract ratings and author self-ratings; differences are detailed in C13.

    •Re-analysis without T14′s errors confirms 97±1% consensus on AGW

  9. 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.

  10. 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




  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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."

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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?


  19. 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?

  20. 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.

  21. Models are unreliable

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

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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. 

  27. 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.

  28. 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. 

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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

  34. 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.

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

    Al Gore was right ten years ago. 

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. 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.


  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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. 

  44. 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.

  45. 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!

  46. 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."

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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?

  50. 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).

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