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Comments 401 to 450:

  1. Facebook video spreads climate denial misinformation to 5 million users

    There's one study missing concerning the scientific consensus on climate change:

    The Consensus on Anthropogenic Global Warming Matters

    => The Consensus on Anthropogenic Global Warming Matters

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

    "Humanity needs Good Reason to govern what humans do"

    But it wont happen because people dont use reason and no amount of demanding that they do will change that. If you want effective change then you have to work real human nature not an ideal.

    Your own statements really acknowledge this eg.

    "But they are rarely willing to admit the need to achieve all of them, and the sooner the better, for the benefit of the future of humanity."

    Correct - the moment you hit the "how to", you hit political values. And, if you assume people wont because they are greedy and selfish, then you will end alienating them not persuading them. Political values run far deeper than that.

    "there is no real opportunity to reason with the new-age fascists "

    Again, of course not. Tribal identity (or less politely, racism), loyalty to that and belief in structured heirachies underpinned by authority underly fascism. You wont get far with reason.

  3. One Planet Only Forever at 14:24 PM on 31 July 2018
    Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    I try to focus on Good Reasoning being the required basis for human actions for Good Reason (and I am open to personally developing improved Good Reason).

    This comment will get to Antifa and eco-terrorists, but is mainly about my understanding of the opposition to accepting climate science and the required corrections it has identified.

    My experience is that some people will claim to like the idea of one or many of the SDGs (which include climate action). But they are rarely willing to admit the need to achieve all of them, and the sooner the better, for the benefit of the future of humanity. And they often balk at getting into a reasoned discussion of the corrections of what has developed that are required to actually achieve the SDGs (including the need to un-concentrate wealth and power). They like their developed, but unjustifiable, perceptions of prosperity, opportunity and superiority (they can only rationalize, unjustifiably excuse, their primitive selfish interests). They do not want to understand that their perceptions are unsustainable, undeserved, in need of correction.

    History is full of the bad results that develop when wealth and power get to be concentrated to undeserving people. It is a down-ward spiral that can only be limited by people insisting on Good Reason governing what is done, correcting unsustainable and damaging developments that do not deserve to be popular and profitable.

    When excuse-making for primitive selfishness is not governed or corrected by altruistic Good Reasoning, regional temporary winning can develop that is detrimental to the future of humanity like: the USA backing out of Kyoto and the Paris Agreement, the invasion of Iraq, Alberta pushing to increase the rate of extraction of oil sands bitumen for burning, new-age fascism, religious fundamentalism, and other unjustifiable dogmas excusing demagogues (Read Al Gore's "The Aussalt on Reason").

    Fossil fuel burning is an unsustainable and harmful human development that needs to be corrected. And it does not matter how the need for correction is presented, it will not be liked by people who have developed a taste for the unjustified prosperity, opportunity or superiority that has to be corrected.

    And almost all of the other SDGs require 'a degree of correction of what has developed', not just climate action. Most of them require un-concentration of wealth and power (they require effective political and economic democracy by an aware and altruistic population).

    Debating a Carbon Tax with people who do not care to be corrected has gone the way I expected it would. The first step is actually their denial that what has developed is unacceptable. Instead of admitting that penalties are required to stop the unacceptable behaviour, they want to debate how much the unacceptable activity that needs to be rapidly curtailed 'should cost' (while never intending to agree to any added cost, just using the debate as a delay tactic and propaganda tool to drum up unjustified support). Then the debate over the cost becomes an argument about the discount rate to be applied (which moves even further from the reality that the activity is simply unsustainable and harmful and must be stopped). They push for a higher discount rate to reduce the 'corrective cost' to be applied . And they apply that higher discount rate to an understated evaluation of future harm done. All of this diminishes the corrective action. Then they claim the small added cost will do nothing meaningful or helpful - and they are correct because doing nothing meaningful is their end game (because meaningful helpful actions are detrimental to their developed desires and interests).

    The new-age fascists require distractions, like debating Carbon Taxes, because the Good Reasoned reality is that it is incorrect to limit the evaluation of action on carbon to financial evaluations that try to compare current day lost opportunity or costs to future harms created (some of those evaluations are even used to excuse not doing any correction of the undeniably incorrect and unsustainable developed human activity).

    The reality is that the burning of fossil fuels is an unsustainable and damaging development that needs to be rapidly curtailed to limit the negative impacts imposed on future generations. The Good Reason reality is that there should be no 'protection' for the incorrectly developed perceptions of prosperity, superiority or opportunity. Unjustified concentration of wealth and power needs to be corrected.

    That is the Good Reason basis for discussing Antifa and what is referred to as eco-terrorism. The new age fascists attack every attempt to confront, correct and constrain them. And terrorism is one of their favourite attack terms, as is national security, and declaring that their opposition is Evil (on Satan's side).

    New age fascism is a re-emerging threat to the future of humanity. It needs to be confronted and corrected. Antifa attempts to do that by raising public awareness. Of course any aggressive in the moment passionate actions by the Antifa supporters can easily become new-age fascist propaganda (but they would make it up even if it didn't happen).

    Regrettably, there is no real opportunity to reason with the new-age fascists (the House Freedom Caucus members rarely debate issues in Congress - like the lack of debate that preceded the Invasion of Iraq). They have rationalized poor excuses for what they want. They have rationalized their unjustifiable selfish primitive beliefs and are not willing to use the more human part of their brain to develop Good Reason, learning how to be helpful rather than harmful. The new-age fascists aggressively attack and demonize anyone who tries to confront and correct them (and they do need to be corrected).

    The new-age fascists also like to get away with unacceptable economic pursuits (the 1987 UN Report “Our Common Future” included the chillingly accurate declaration that leaders do what they do because they can get away with it). They will resist being corrected regarding the social and ecological harm done by their unsustainable pursuits of personal benefit. And when they can concentrate wealth and power, like they have done in Alberta, they can 'legally' do all kinds of unjustified things like pushing to increase the rate of extraction of oil sands for burning.

    I am open to better understanding ways to confront and correct the new-age fascists among the Unite the Right collectives of greedier and less tolerant people. But I already have a robust understanding that it is futile to attempt to negotiate a compromise of Good Reason in the hopes of 'getting along with them'. I frankly do not expect them to ever be satisfied (and their actions in pursuit of wealth and power any way they can get away with are proof that I am correct). And my experience to date has confirmed that some Conservatives can understand that they have to 'not vote for' the United Right Conservative Option that may be the only conservative option left in their political system (In Canada the Uniting of the Right eliminated conservative alternatives to try to get people who consider themselves to be conservative to support the new-age fascists/evangelical fundamentalists, and it tragically works).

    A similar Unite the Right new-age fascist group (partnered with fundamentalist evangelicals) are in power in the USA at the moment. And almost all of their actions have been detrimental to achieving the SDGs, especially climate action.

    Pushing for people to learn to have Good Reasons for their actions (particularly for their economic and political choices) is the best way I can see to try to correct the resurgence of rationalized excuses for supporting new-age fascism (concentration of wealth and power). It will also result in more aggressive and effective corrective climate action.

    Democracy and free markets only produce good results when they are governed or limited by Good Reason (same goes for communism, any other -ism, or any religion). As John Stuart Mill warned in “On Liberty”: “If society lets a considerable number of its members grow up mere children, incapable of being acted on by rational consideration of distant motives, society has itself to blame for the consequences.”

    Humanity needs Good Reason to govern what humans do. Everybody can understand that (even the people who are determined to resist admitting it).

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

    Antifa and ecoterrorism are extreme examples of people talking past each other - thinking that somehow people will be persuaded by your point of view by engaging in activities that they would automatically label as "bad".

    If you present the SDG to people, I am pretty sure that most would agree wholeheartedly. You say that way to achieve that is say a carbon tax and people would instantly split on party lines. Arguing for reason is mostly futile in my opinion. Most people, most of the time do not use reason (including me). They will rationalize (slightly different) from a gut judgement based deep within their value system. If you present something to them in a way where their reaction is governed from a tribal position, then that is all you will get. Moving forward means finding ways to avoid this so that reason is in fact engaged. "Tax" and "fine" both provoke a gut reaction. Emphasize the "trading" in ETS and you have more hope. Yelling at conservatives about harm and fairness when their mind is made up from other considerations doesnt help. It simply identifies you as belonging to the other tribe who arguments should be ignored - because you belong to the other tribe.

  5. America spends over $20bn per year on fossil fuel subsidies. Abolish them

    Including Federal and State subsidies, the total is just about the same as NASA's annual budget. A year of Space Exploration as opposed to hand-outs to the fossil fuels industry. I know which I choose as my tax money well spent!

  6. America spends over $20bn per year on fossil fuel subsidies. Abolish them

    The GOP claims to be the low tax party, yet has to effectively keep taxes higher then otherwise required for unjustifiable fossil fuel subsidides. It's an exercise in hypocrisy, out of control campaign financing rules, and crony capitalism. The Democrats are not much better.

  7. America spends over $20bn per year on fossil fuel subsidies. Abolish them

    Virtually every aspect of consumer capitalism is subsidised and generates a massive waste stream that is destroying the entire biosphere.

    The entire developing world is doing everything possible to reach higher levels of consumer capitalism increasing the waste stream along with them.

    We need to provide alternatives for people trying to claw their way out of a miserable existance.

  8. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #30

    Considering Alley's work on abrupt climate change and the latest Siberian Traps research, global warming should be considered and immediate existential threat.

    As such, either keep a quasi market system (like WWII mobilization, but hopefully more equitable) or create a rational society that uses less energy, produces more free time and ensures we don't have this issue in the future (as very likely any market 'solution' would insure since markets have always tended to expand)...

    examples of rational societies are Paris Commune (worked well until French allied with German Capitalists to crush it), Catalonia for a few years (until Capitalists crushed it) and Rojova (in process of being crushed by Capitalists)... we know how to have a higher standard of living, using much less energy.

    In the US, the vast majority of people pumps tons of carbon to drive in a big circle to an activity that does not need to happen (Finance, Insurance, Real Estate); couple that with Graeber's bullshit jobs and we've a whole lot of folk that can help others do real (material) work. If automate most of this and localize production (Bookchin, et. al.), we could all have much better lives and save this set of evolution's species (what's left of them anyway).

    We could do this in a democratic way (as in Catolonia).

    Of course, I'm not too hopeful, considering folk on this very site talk about market incentives that might have worked, had they been implented at the turn of the 20th century (and yes folk knew about global warming even then... see Tyndall and others around that time).


    We might have 10 or fewer years to get to 0 emissions. Even the overly optimistic Paris Accord depend on carbon extraction that as of now we're not sure will work.

    So, yes, using markets, hoping for new technology, might work, but it doesn't seem worth the risk, considering possible scenarios.

    Notice also the recent study on the AMOC slowing and speeding up in a natural cycle, which of course means two things. It's going to get hotter in the next few years and we get to see if the paper's contention is true or if the extra heat in the newly claimed altantic (from the arctic) ocean will offset the mechanism from the past (the paper contends that in the past, more melting led to a slowdown which led to less tropical water delivered, which reset the cycle... of course that was before all the extra heat we've beening allowing our emissions to trap)

  9. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #30

    I thought the word "Skeptical" meant something. Guess not. This site seems to have been taken over by people who broght you global cooling in the '70s and 80s and now bring you global warming today. Please tell me, where are the real scientists that aren't in it for the money and government substities? You cannot explain the past variations in climate by current theories of MMGW, but youo can make tons of money. Like Diagonies, I am still looking for the honest website.

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Blatant argumentative sloganeering snipped per SkS Comments Policy

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  10. One Planet Only Forever at 15:05 PM on 30 July 2018
    Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    scaddenp - The leap of faith from what I am pursuing to claims that my thinking is aligned with the likes of Antifa or Ecoterrorism is exactly the type of lack of Good Reason I argue against. The Sustainable Developments Goals and Good Reason are the basis for my pursuits.

    However, I agree that the leap of faith view you presented would be a 'go to way of thinking' for the people I identify as needing to change how they think, people I would talk past for the benefit of bystanding observers.

    Good Reason can be the basis for the thoughts and actions of everyone, all -isms, even Egoism (though Good Reason would lead to the need to abandon many of Egoisms dogmas).

    However, as an example, people who claim they want to help the poor by personally being able to benefit from burning fossil fuels are making up a lot of non-sense, poor excuses, unjustified by good reason.

  11. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #30

    Daniel Mocsny:

    As long as people remain immoral enough to actually enjoy doing all the things that account for their personal carbon footprints that remain 5, 10, 20 or more times higher than the carbon fair share, we absolutely remain on pace to burn all the world's economically extractable fossil fuels.

    I'm sorry, but this ignores economic reality while putting all hope for decarbonization on aspirational morality.  Like other commenters, I don't think voluntary personal sacrifice should be discouraged, and it may reduce carbon emissions noticeably.  It won't cap AGW on its own, however, because AGW is a Drama of the Commons.  It's a result of the individual pursuit of happiness, or of sheer survival, agreggated over all individuals in the global economy. Yet we're already paying for climate change in money and tragedy, in the the US as well as globally. If we're not directly affected by a record-breaking weather disaster, our taxes, donations and sympathy go to victims at home or abroad. Nevertheless, while SkepticalScience commenters may voluntarily pay more for carbon-neutral energy ourselves and exhort others to do the same, the bulk of the US and the world's consumers will buy fossil carbon until alternatives are able to compete on price. 

    Because the free market (free, that is, of collective intervention in private transactions) for energy externalizes, i.e socializes, the marginal climate-change costs of each fossil-fuel transaction, FFs enjoy a potent price advantage over alternatives. What's needed is collective (i.e. government) intervention in the 'free' market, to re-internalize a portion of the climate-change cost of FFs in their price 'at the pump', thereby reducing emissions immediately to the extent ernergy demand is price-sensitive, and nudging the 'invisible hand' of the market to drive build-out of the carbon-neutral economy rapidly and at the lowest social cost. I specifically favor a revenue-neutral national Carbon Fee and Dividend with Border Adjustment Tariff. The US economy is the 2nd largest producer of CO2, and our collective national choices at the polls can result in both a disproportionate reduction in emissions, and regain some of the technological and industrial leadership we once possessed. Please see for details.

    Of course, before anything like CF&D with BAT can be enacted, we first have to tip a few key legislative elections in favor of the candidate who is more realistic, or less in denial, about AGW. It will typically be a choice of the lesser of two weevils. Then we have to lobby our newly-rational legislators to move toward an effective national decarbonization policy. Piece of cake? No, but IMHO well within the realm of probability over the next 15 years or so. The alternative is frightening to contemplate.

  12. michael sweet at 07:23 AM on 30 July 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #30

    This Climate Central article from 2015 documents the striking increase in fires in the USA.  Since then fires have increased substantially.

    I remember reading a peer reviewed article (sorry no cite) several years ago that looked at fires in remote areaas of the American West where no fire control had ever taken place.  There was a substantial increase in fires recently from the historical average.  This showed that more fires is not due to fire control measures that have been in place for the past 100 years in the USA, although fire control may affect individual fires.

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

    OPF - all true maybe but if your chosen path to the future, particularly in a democracy, depends on changing peoples core value system, especially polical values, then well, good luck. Not a lot of evidence for this being possible without major trauma. With few exceptions, people of all sides really do want a better future, do care somewhat about fairness and the welfare of their fellow man. They also care about a quite a no. of other things as well and ignoring that will not create a conversation that leads to meaningful action. I think Antifa, from what I have seen in media, is a absolute gift to far right. Simialarly ecoterrorism is about as counterproductive to ecological action as you can get. The participants feel self-righteous warriors for the good cause while damaging any possibility of a concensus with conservatives.

  14. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #30

    Daniel Mocsny,

    I also think personal initiative in reducing carbon footprints is very important, although I think the term ethics might be more appropriate in this case. We cannot expect and wait for the government to fix every aspect of the climate problem for us. The problem is fundamentally a consumption problem, and we have to consume less fossil fuels and carbon intensive products.

    However we cannot expect people to do this if there aren't viable alternatives such as renewable electricity generation, electic cars,  and alternatives to high use of cement etc. Governments have a role to play in terms of renewable electricity generation and some related issues, because in some countries they own these systems, and in others we need government incentives to help develop this energy source. Of course this requires voters make good moral (or ethical) voting choices to parties that have the strongest positions on reducing emissions.

    I also don't see how you conclude renewable electricy would take a very long time to develop. Society could convert quite rapidly to renewable energy if it wanted, in a practical sense. I don't have time for a lengthy comment, but I suggest look at the massive economic transformation that happened during WW2 in just 5 years, and look at the costs of changing over to renewable electricity generation, which are calculated to be only 1% of a countries economic output per year spread over 30 years. On this basis I think its certainly possible to at least largely transform the transport and home heating sectors etcetera to renewable electricity by 2050, the Paris Accord timeframe, and without huge economic sacrifices or problems. It is more of a political problem than a practical problem. You are right about the power of lobby groups, but they cannot withstand strong popular support for climate policies.

    There is also a role for carbon tax and dividend schemes. Please appreciate no individual wants to make ethical choices unless they sense other people are prepared to do the same, because they will feel their own choices would have no significant effect unless everyone does the same. This dead lock situation can be broken with carbon taxes that put some pressure on everyone that few will be able to ignore.

    The July 28th edition has just published an article called "Sin Taxes" related to tobacco, alcohol and sugar and looked at the historical evidence and found them to be very effective at reducing use of these products, so carbon taxes are based on sound precedent. However it requires popular public support and understanding of why such taxes make sense, and how a tax and dividend scheme returns the money to consumers and is therefore not harsh on consumers and keeps the tax revenue separate from general government income.

  15. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #30

    Related material : "A rapid assessment by scientists of the ongoing heatwave across northern Europe this summer has found that human-caused climate change made it as much as five times more likely to have occurred."

  16. michael sweet at 03:07 AM on 30 July 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #30

    Daniel Mocsny:

    I think you are incorrect.  If renewable energy is substituted for fossil fuel for all electricity than CO2 release can be contained.  If we converted all heating and transportation to electricity (except airplanes) than we would be well on the way to a completely renewable society.  The remaining power could be from electrofuels.

    In order to have this renewable future we need politicians to make it profitable to switch to renewable and away from fossil fuels.  Most people cannot switch to completely renewable energy on their own. 

    A carbon fee would get society started.

  17. Daniel Mocsny at 02:43 AM on 30 July 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #30

    #3. michael sweet at 07:23 AM on 29 July, 2018

    Perhaps as more houses lose their value from sea level rise politicians will start to notice.

    It would be nice if politicians were to notice, but politicians do not control the fate of the climate - individual consumers do. Greenhouse gas emissions cannot be curtailed without curtailing the behaviors that emit greenhouse gases. In the very long term, perhaps technological substitution can reduce the emissions from a high-energy lifestyle, but we don't have the long term. We need to slash emissions yesterday.

    A politician can notice coastal flooding all day long, but that won't enable him or her to impose carbon rationing on individuals who refuse to ration their own carbon. Any politician who attempts real action on the climate will just get voted out by voters who refuse to take real action on their own contributions to climate change.

  18. Daniel Mocsny at 02:36 AM on 30 July 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #30

    #6 billev at 10:21 AM on 29 July, 2018

    U.S. history records many large forest fires throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

    Of course, but you are sampling from a long period of time (centuries) to find exceptional events, which you then compare to exceptional events from a much shorter period of time (the last few years).

    This is like comparing the heights of men in a professional basketball team to the heights of men in the general population. If you search through billions of men, you will find a few exceptionally tall ones. If we were to apply your reasoning about forest fires, we might erroneously conclude there is nothing unusual about the heights of basketball players.

    The name for what you are doing is: selection bias.

    It's hard for a basketball team of just 12 men to have taller individuals than the general population of billions. But that ignores what is special about the basketball team: its extraordinary concentration of tall men.

    To conclude nothing has changed weather-wise since the 19th and 20th centuries, you'd need to wait for the 21st and 22nd centuries to play out so you could compare equal spans of time. But we only have a small sample of the 21st century so far. And so far that brief span looks unusual compared to most of the similar spans within the last two centuries. What's more, climate scientists have a well-developed theory to account for what is different, giving us good reason to believe we're not just seeing an anomaly, but part of an ominous trend.

  19. Daniel Mocsny at 02:25 AM on 30 July 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #30

    Those worst-case scenarios are still quite unlikely, since they require both that we do nothing to alter our emissions path, which is still arcing upward, [...]

    And the first step in "altering our emissions path" would be to start speaking about it plainly and directly, instead of using stilted distancing language constructed specifically to obfuscate reality and reinforce inaction. "Emissions path" is a euphemism to distract people from the behavior changes necessary for a sustainable civilization. If we can't even speak honestly about what a low-carbon lifestyle looks like, how can we adopt one?

    The only "action" that matters for reducing emissions is behavior change by individuals. Namely, individuals must become moral. Morality is the force that takes the fun out of behaviors that are otherwise enjoyable to the actor but inflict harm on other people, other species, and the shared environment. A moral person may be forced through circumstances to inflict harm on others, but a moral person cannot enjoy doing inflicting harm, and will constantly look for ways to defeat those circumstances. Neither does a moral person use the kind of stilted distancing language which has become standard in the climate change community to deny personal responsibility for causing climate change.

    As long as people remain immoral enough to actually enjoy doing all the things that account for their personal carbon footprints that remain 5, 10, 20 or more times higher than the carbon fair share, we absolutely remain on pace to burn all the world's economically extractable fossil fuels.

    To see what has to stop or scale back by at least 90%, we need only look at where the bulk of a typical modern household's greenhouse gas emissions come from: driving, flying, heating, cooling, eating meat, owning meat-eating pets, and proceating. There are thousands more sources of emissions, but each person's focus needs to be on the largest sources of his or her emissions, not on some abstract world of huge numbers and other people and nations beyond his or her control. Until we control what we can control, how will we control what other people control?

    As long as people lack the moral development to stop them from experiencing pleasure when they rape the climate - for example, by flying on holiday - then they will continue to rape the climate and enjoy doing it. No amount of policy tinkering can substitute for morality, thanks to the iron laws of economics. As long as people are willing to spend money to buy things they enjoy, their money concentrates into the hands of whoever can give them what they want. The money then buys politicians, churns out disinformation, or whatever else is necessary to continue meeting the demand for climate-raping goods and services. The election of Trump shows the folly of imagining policy can substitute for individual morality.

    In contrast, a moral person cannot be lobbied. A moral person does not have to worry about getting re-elected. A moral person cannot be bought. He or she does what is right because it is right. For civilization to survive, it needs the vast majority of its constituent citizens to become moral.

  20. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #30


     Fire season in much of Western U.S. has increased by two months since 1970.
     In California it has increased by 70 days.

  21. One Planet Only Forever at 14:30 PM on 29 July 2018
    Facebook video spreads climate denial misinformation to 5 million users

    Al Gore's "The Assault on Reason" is a detailed presentation of what has been happening in the USA.

    Essentially, the acquisition of wealth or power is becoming less constrained by good reason. And wealth has been getting an increased ability to purchase power.

    People are more easily moved by appeals to selfish fears than by appeals to be more caring altruists. They believe simple claims from demagogues rather than determining if the claim is made for good reason. The Sustainable Development Goals are a compendium of Good Reason.

    Climate science presents a threat to unjustified wealthy and powerful people. And those unjustified rich and powerful people can easily get support from people who sense that they would personally lose their currently developed perceptions of prosperity and opportunity if burning of fossil fuels was limited or made to be more expensive.

  22. One Planet Only Forever at 13:30 PM on 29 July 2018
    Comprehensive study: carbon taxes won't hamper the economy

    nigelj and scaddenp,

    The basis for my position is the need for good reason to limit or govern what is done.

    I admit that such a position will never connect with someone who will allow personal unjustified beliefs to overpower their inherent ability to understand good reason and the importance of limiting what people do based on good reason.

    Democracy can only develop sustainable good results if it is limited or governed by good reason. The same goes for capitalism or any other system, including communism.

    Al Gore's book "The Assault on Reason" is a very comprehensive presentation of what is going on in the USA. It includes the observation that concentration of wealth and power has repeatedly developed damaging results.

    The problem is people abandoning the responsibility to learn and reason, choosing instead to idolize the simplistic appealing claims of demagogues offering prosperity and protection in exchange for more power for leaders to do unreasonable things, things they cannot reasonably justify.

    I consider it to be necessary to change the way that unreasonable people think about things before attempting to help them by use of good reason. Without changing how they think they will do what elected Republicans have done 'remained dogmatically immoveable'.

    That means talking past a person who claims to be a conservative but who is actually an unreasoning faithful fan of dogma with no interest in developing good reasoning as the basis for what they consider to be just and fair.

  23. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #30

    Right, and the establishment of fire servise and massive increase in their fire fighting capability could not be relevant? Of course you could look at some peer reviewed research. I dare you. 

  24. michael sweet at 11:44 AM on 29 July 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #30


    Yes there have been fires in the past.  It also has rained in the past.  Records conclusively prove that the area burned in the past decade is much greater than it was in any past decade.  The increase in fires is caused by climate change.

    I note that you have provided no links to support your wild claim that past fires compare to current fires.  That is because current fires are much greater in extent than any past fires and you cannot find any citation that support your claims.

  25. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #30

    U.S. history records many large forest fires throughout the 19th and 20th  centuries.  Link to forest fires of the 1930's and you will be led to descriptions of many large fires throughout this country over the years.

  26. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #30

    nigelj - I certainly don't disagree, but I'm sure anytime the local news or weather even barely mentions Global Warming, they get bombarded by the deniers. And given the number of death threats Climate Scientists receive, I can't blame them for dancing around the subject. People like you and me have to just keep speaking the truth. Unfortunately, as things deteriorate, we will be heard more.

  27. michael sweet at 07:49 AM on 29 July 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #29


    Apparently I was mistaken about the heat waves and British concern about food.  This article in the Guardian discusses both the drought affecting food yields and Brexit affecting food supply. 

    Other sources say that Russian wheat is suffering.  We will have to wait a few weeks to find out how food yields across the world have been affected by the heat waves.

  28. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #30

    The media have done a bad job, by not reporting well enough on climate issues and connections between heatwaves and climate change.

    Heatwaves have already become more frequent. The media could at least have mentioned this, while awaiting expert opinion on this specific northern hemisphere heatwave.

    Imho there may well be a non linear sort of response where heatwave problems could accelerate if we do nothing. There are many examples of abrupt change in the past climate record.

  29. michael sweet at 07:23 AM on 29 July 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #30

    Anecdotal story:

    I live in Tampa, Florida.  Some of the city is very low lying (less than 3 meters or 10 feet) but most is higher than 20 feet.  My son wants to buy a starter house.  We went to look at one that was a nice, small house and the neighborhood looked OK.   It was priced about $40,000 below comparable houses he had looked at. 

    Then I noticed that there were mangroves at the end of the street and the house was much less than 10 feet above sea level.  The neighbors across the street had recently raised their septic system, which means their old system flooded from sea level rise.

    I think the price of the house was lowered because of the flood risk.  We did not bother to find out what flood insurance would cost but the newspaper says it is a lot.

    Last summer I was in the Chesapeake Bay and in a neighborhood near where I stayed the houses were unsellable due to sea level rise.

    Perhaps as more houses lose their value from sea level rise politicians will start to notice.

  30. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #30

    Two new things I just ran across: The Russian wheat crop might fail again, along with crop failures in other countries. And fresh water sources are warmer than normal, which limits their cooling ability for nuclear power plants. It's all connected...

  31. Philippe Chantreau at 03:13 AM on 29 July 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #30

    I'd like to add to that list the severe thunderstorms that happened at the end of the spring in France, flooding multiple regions. France has been experiencing exactly the alternance of drought and flood that was predicted by multiple studies as a resut of the warming climate. 

    I think this is a very valuable article. We had countless discussions on this site recently with a former lawyer going by the handle of NorrisM and one pivotal argument of his was that causing economic transformations of any kind for climate risks was unjustifiable because these risks were possibilities that could materialize in the future, or not, with unclear probabilites and unclear severity. This already was disonest at thie time, but now has become a completely obsolete line of argument.

    Climate change is happening now, its predicted manifestations are happening all over the world, including the rather catastrophic types. Arguing that we can't launch any significant action because potential problems are diluted in an uncertain future is downright stupid. 

    But the Japanese floods and heat waves carry little weight in the public minds compare to Meghan Markle lates dress or other distractions. We'll eventually get what we deserve, and earn, as a species.

  32. Wind Energy: What About Those Subsidies?

    Funny ... read a few books on the Oak Island mystery when I was a kid & retained a lifetime's curiousity. Sometime before 1800, somone dug elaborate tunnels on Oak Island, Nova Scotia, with passages connected to the sea, possibly to hide pirate treasure (one theory). Generations of explorers have ripped up and added new layers of confusion to the whole elaborate network. Lovers of a mystery will love Oak Island.

    The Laginas (Marty and Rick) returned to the island a few years ago, as the latest generation of explorers. Cannily they made their exploration a Reality TV show, so their research and drilling at least partially pays for itself. The show is watchable & (I think) fun, with a lot of red herrings and cliffhangers (some fake, imho). Personally, their favoured theory of a treasure buried by pre-Columbian Templars is wacko (again, imho).

    In the UK, there are repeats on Sky, and I believe a new series in the offing, the 6th. The Laginas, by the way, come across as pretty hard-headed and practical, not starry eyed romantics.

    Just enjoy suddenly finding out Marty Lagina is a renewable energy guy. I had wondered where he made his money.

  33. Wind Energy: What About Those Subsidies?

    Lachlan @14, I believe in subsides in general principle, but you have to be careful that you dont get political conyism to buy votes, tax payer funds are limited, and its impossible for countries to be self sufficient in everything, and you don't want to distort free markets and free trade excessively. So subsides need to be limited to things that really make sense, and mostly have time limits applied. 

    I'm not sure Australias car industry makes sense because Australia is just too small to maintain a viable car industry. Poor countries subsidising food doesn't make much sense for example, and it would be better just to give people financial assistance. Subsidising millionaire farmers doesn't make much sense and is cronyism.

    Subsidising renewable energy development makes sense, to help get it established. Subsidising new pharmaceutical drugs makes sense, as industry is reluctant to develop drugs for rare conditions and to develop new antibiotics.

    I'm a free trade advocate, But I do agree about the problems of relying on imported energy. Opec has been an ongoing headache, so renewable energy would free us from this although please note countries in Europe already trade in renewable energy surpluses!

    And nobody would want to be reliant on imported water for example. And some economic diversity is a good thing, so that countries aren't reliant totally on exporting just a couple of products.

  34. Upcoming webinars on turning misinformation into an educational opportunity

    Thank's for doing this work. I don't know how much impact it will have on the climate issue, hopefully as much as possible, but the general principles of recognising logical fallacies, logical reasoning, and identifying reliable evidence are applicable to analysing any field of knowledge or current affairs issue, and are such an important way of understanding whether somebodies claims are valid  or not. It also helps us identify our own biases.

    The sooner young people are given a good grounding in this the better, especially in the age of the internet with its alternative facts and conspiracy theories. It should all be compulsory in schools, up there with equal importance with the core basic subjects.

  35. Facebook video spreads climate denial misinformation to 5 million users

    The internet has been really useful in getting some truths, like how to get the water out of your headlights and seal the seams again:  Just 'youtube' it.  At the same time, its become filled with misinformation about less personal, general interest topics, like climate change, where the moneyed-interests are free to broadcast their lies.  As SkS repeats, if you don't innoculate people against these viral lies, they catch the disease and its difficult to dislodge.  Commerce is global.  The internet is global.  Some kind of global governmental watchdog is needed to counter these diseases.  I know that sounds like 'one world government', but in the absence of global regulation, we have unregulated global capitalism.  This is a place where a gangster like Vladimir Putin can realistically expand his vision from ripping off mere Russia, to ripping off the whole world.

  36. Facebook video spreads climate denial misinformation to 5 million users

    Morano gives me the impression that a major part of his motivation is the thrill of conflict and the pleasure of thinking he has ut down an adversary.

    If I am right then he cannot admit that he is wrong and there is an element of bad faith in all his arguments.

    Now I think most of us know there is little chance of getting an ideologue to understand. You have to make your aguments for the benefit of bystanders who are willing to try to understand.

    But how do you deal with someone like Morano who is probably in part doing it for kicks? How do you make this behaviour recognizable to bystanders?

  37. Wind Energy: What About Those Subsidies?

    nigelj @12, the Australian car industry was subsidised and not competitive, but only in the way that the army is subsidised and not competitive.  Having a manufacturing capability is an important part of any country's national security, and especialy an isolated island nation's.

    Similarly, freeing ourselves from imported fossil fuels should be seen as just as worthy of subsidy as maintaining the military is.  Russia has a strong hold over Europe because they buy its gas.  The Middle East has a strong hold over US policy because of oil.

    Until we are energy-independent, we should subsidise the shift to a sustainable electrified economy.  That may or may not involve subsidising wind directly, but certainly will involve subsidising energy storage, which is an indirect subsidy to wind.

  38. michael sweet at 05:15 AM on 27 July 2018
    Wind Energy: What About Those Subsidies?


    As pointed out in the video, currently fossil fuels receive much more in subsidies than wind does.  Why do you think new technologies like wind should have to work without any subsidies when established industries like coal, gas, oil and nuclear don't?

    It seems to me that everyone says they don't like subsidies.  In the real world fossil fuels receive huge subsidies. Those will not end.  To level the playing field new technologies need to receive a comparable subsidy or it makes it too hard to crack into the market.  

  39. michael sweet at 05:01 AM on 27 July 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #29


    While you and I am concerned about crop failures due to heat waves, I doubt that the British government is.  I think they really are concerned that their food distribution system could have severe problems from Brexit, especially a no-deal Brexit.  Since no-deal is looking more likely it might be prudent to stash away some food. 

    Brexit issues would be something that would be ironed out in a few weeks or months.  If there are severe crop disruptions they will affect the food supply for longer and in different ways.  The poor would suffer the most.

  40. Philippe Chantreau at 03:33 AM on 27 July 2018
    Facebook video spreads climate denial misinformation to 5 million users

    Indeed it is a bleak time, in the middle of unprecedented material wealth, and security from the traditional chief killers of humans (infectious diseases, by far).

    The climate aspect of it is only one side. The true damage is the diminishing ability of the population to distinguish between what's real, or at least a sincere attempt at approaching it, and what is thrown around only to serve the interest of a few.

    There is no doubt in my mind that smart phones and social media are quite likely at this point to have a much more negative overall effect on humanity than positive. As of right now, they are having an overall negative effect by quite a margin. Democracy is receeding all over the World. Fascists and populists are gaining ground everywhere because their propaganda finds an ear in attention deficient populations completely unable to think critically, who have forgotten even the recent history of the 20th century. Traditional tyrants have been overthrown only to be replaced by religious fanatics. Long held bastions of freedom become overtly friendly to such ideologies as white supremacism, nazism, and neo-nazis. Even countries that have suffered tremendously in WW2 like Poland are sliding toward the ideology that was unleashed on them only a human lifetime ago. 

    The people who are in the best position to enact progress, westerners, are obsessed with material things that are of no interest and react like capricious children at the simple thought that they may not have what they're made to want by the enormnous burden of advertisement that have invaded our entire lives. Despite being richer, more secure and more comfortable than ever, they can't contemplate having less and they're full of fear: fear of terrorists that kill minuscule numbers compared to diabetes and other avoidable diseases, fear of having less stuff, or simply of not having in the future all the stuff they have envisioned. It's really sad.

    The super rich, except for a few running significant charitable work, seem to have no other drive than getting always richer, without concern to the price of doing so. The new dominant western religion is profit, at any cost, by any means. Large interest groups are so powerful that most nations are too small to do anything against them and essentially are their vassals. African nations can not warn their populations against the danger of tobacco because tobacco companies sue them and they can't defend effectively. Drinkable water supplies are being bought by profit driven private interests everywhere. A new feodal order of money is emerging.

    Reality will win eventually, as it always does. Whatever form that takes will likely be a surprise. 

  41. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #29

    @ Jim Kirk #8

    Re your third point, check out: 

    The Global Heatwave Is About to Hit Your Wallet by Rachel Morison, Marvin G Perez & Nicholas Larkin, Climate Changed, Bloomberg News, July 25, 2018

  42. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #29

    Thank you for your response.

    (1) Yes, it seems some further articles have come out being more firm in attributing climate change to this northern hemisphere ‘heat wave’ via citation of the jet stream fragmentation (already attributed to climate change via arctic warming) and the warmer north Atlantic (also attributed to climate change). There have also been some articles stating we should perhaps expect summers like this to become the norm.

    (2) By way of an easy accessible data point the met office histograms have all had temperatures peaking early evening time for July with variation of peaks between 1700 and 1900 hours. This has met with what many have experienced on the ground in the South of the UK and has been a topic much discussed around the dinner table. Not a scientific analysis but the night temperatures have also been high (accepted) and heat dissipation has not been as intense (by virtue of the accepted hotter nights)

    (3) When I read articles about farmers saying their crop yields across not just the UK but Europe and elsewhere too have already been significantly effected and one counts growing weeks until Spring (March), then how can one not consider the stockpiling of food as unrelated to that too?

  43. Facebook video spreads climate denial misinformation to 5 million users

    Yes it may be hard work getting Zuckerberg to do anything about Morano. Even this material isnt serious enough to be banned: "Facebook on Tuesday said that Infowars founder Alex Jones’s monologue threatening special counsel Robert Mueller is not a violation of its platform rules. In his rant, Jones accuses Mueller of covering up sex crimes, challenges the special counsel to an imaginary gunfight and pantomimes shooting the former FBI director."

    Phew! If that doesn't violate facebook rules what does? Well apparently nude artworks by the painter Rubens are a terrible violation. Some websites have pretty unusual priorities....

  44. Wind Energy: What About Those Subsidies?

    Driving By @9, yes in many places subsidies on wind power have probably served their purpose and should be phased out.  The cost of generation is now low enough that new projects won't need subsidies.  However it will vary from place to place.

    I think the vast majority of subsidies generally should have time limits built in so industries don't become dependent. The Australian car industry had subsidies for decades and never became truly competitive. Subsidies should be help to get started, then companies have to stand or fall on market conditions. Creative destruction and all that. 

    I think the newer wind farms are not so noisy. Most are away in rural areas in New Zealand.

  45. Wind Energy: What About Those Subsidies?

    Scaddenp @10,  you are probably right that economics is the driver of wind power in NZ. I would just add there were growing environmental concerns about new dam projects as well as cost concerns.

    I just had a look at the Te Apati wind farm by Meridian Energy, the first large wind farm, and it did get given carbon credits under the new cap and trade scheme as an incentive, but this was after construction had already started. So it looks like the basic decision to build was economic.

    The ETS may have helped encourage later projects, who knows. I get the sense the effect would have been minimal. 


  46. Wind Energy: What About Those Subsidies?

    nigelj, I dont think wind power developed because of climate change policy. Looks to be a purely economic, market-based decision. FF doesnt get much of a subsidy here so cost per MWh is comparitively expensive especially compared to hydro. The advantage for coal/gas was always minimal dependence on weather/season (well Huntly was limited in summer generation by the extent they could heat the river).

    I think more of case that electricity demand increased and hydro options got scant. Wind power was demonstrated (Brooklyn) as a technology that could compete in the NZ market. It might be intermittent but the wind still blows in dry years. However, it has done it tough since 2013 against new geothermal.

  47. Wind Energy: What About Those Subsidies?


    I agree that wind is worth subsidizing, up to some point in time.  Wind is no longer a new technology so in my humble opinion that point in time is now.  Subsidies should not be cut all at once, but they should start diminishing today.  They should also be in aready industrial or noisy areas, as they make a contant background noise the ruins the silence of otherwise quiet areas, where ppl who need silence go to get away from constant noise. 

  48. Facebook video spreads climate denial misinformation to 5 million users

    I doubt Zuckerberg cares at all - it's just business.

    As for "science and reason": remember that Mother Nature Bats Last.

  49. Wind Energy: What About Those Subsidies?

    Correction. The first wind farm in New Zealand was built by Genesis Energy in 1997. It was relatively small, and I had forgotten about it.

    I don't recall any specific government climate change policies from that period, but it must have been a result of emerging climate change concerns, because we have coal and gas reserves.

  50. Facebook video spreads climate denial misinformation to 5 million users

    It would be good if there were a method by which we could complain to Zuckerberg personally about this clown.  Banning him and his ilk would be a start. Facebook should start taking a stand for truth, since it is being used as a source of information (news). 

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