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Video: Is CO2 actually dangerous?

Posted on 29 November 2019 by Guest Author

We're always talking about how bad carbon dioxide is, but isn't the stuff kind of important for plants? So why do we keep complaining if all life on Earth depends on this gas? Well the problem isn't CO2... It's us.

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Comments 51 to 67 out of 67:

  1. Billy Joe:

    No, I am not kidding.

    The climate denier ranting and raving in the blogosphere have had very little impact on the real world.

    The lobbyists employed by the fossil fuel industry and their allies and the campaign donations made by the fossil fuel industry and their allies have effectively prevented any worthwhile political action on climate change for decades.

    BTW, I vigorously engaged climate deniers on the comment threads of media outlets and elsewhere for a few years before I realized that doing so was a waste of my time and energy.

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  2. BillyJoe,

    My full comments and their entire context are what I meant and said. And further clarification can certainly be provided.

    I try to comment based on the objective of expanding awareness and improving understanding applied to achieve and improve the Sustainable Development Goals.

    There is almost an endless depth of understanding associated with that (the global community has been developing it since the 1960s). Climate Science is only part of the understanding of the Climate Action Goal. And the Climate Action Goal is only one of the 17 categories of Goals (and each Goal category contains a diversity of goals).

    However, what is clear is that limiting the impacts of human induced climate change is a Keystone Goal because more rapidly achieving it makes it easier to achieve almost all of the other Goals (and delaying the corrections makes the future worse). And exceeding 1.5 C brings about uncorrectable changes (some have already occurred such as initiating the collapse of an Antarctic Ice Shelf and Extinctions of many forms of life).

    Now to your response regarding the statement made by AOC. "We really don't know what she actually meant and it doesn't matter." Anyone uninterested in asking for clarification of what she said deserves to be challenged regarding their apparant lack of interest in pursuing increased understanding.

    That is what a legitimate Skeptic would do.

    And the same applies to the claims made based on misinterpretations of Mann's interview, claims made years after the interview without asking Mann for clarification. A legitimiate skeptic would have sought clarification before making a claim about what was meant.

    And that is what I meant regarding Potholer54. I do not know if Potholer54 approached either Mann or AOC for clarification. If not, he piled on to the criticism based on an interpretation of the statements. I am being a little hard on Potholer54 because he has a history of Journalism. That means he should know about investigating and verifying understanding before reporting.

    The parties deserving ridicule are the people who were not legitimately skeptical and just 'went along piling on', like the group that still claim that the climate-gate climate scientists should have been more careful about what they said in their emails. Ridicule is also to be directed at every storyteller in a position of information influence who failed to investigate and interrogate the initiators of the original 'sin' of Climate-gate: the data thieves, those who went through the emails to find the few bits to abuse out of context, those who created the initial misleading claims, the powerful people who likely coordinated it. And everyone who bought into the misleading mess without first applying legitimate skepticism and pursuing improved understanding deserves ridicule.

    What is being exposed by the Climate Science case is the Lack of Legitimacy of Games based on Popularity and Profitability. Those are clearly not measures of Merit or Worth. They are just impressions of Winning. How the winning happens is important. Thta differentiates deserved Winning from undeserved Winning. Sustainable (deserved) Impressions can only be achieved through Sustainable actions.

    Popularity and profitability can be seen to not care about the ways of Winning (or the ways of lawmaking or enforcement), and therefore can be rather useless as a means to achieve Sustainable Results. In fact, they can be seen to develop harmful results and powerful resistance to correction.

    The likes of Greta and AOC attract and expose the people who deserve to be ridiculed and dismissed until they are corrected. And anyone who reacts powerfully negatively to them is likely a lost cause. They are likely part of the group that will need to be Responsibly Governed and Limited until they learn to change their minds, which may mean they end up always being governed and limited by Responsible Others (and angrily demand more Freedom to believe what they want and do as they please but deservingly never get it).

    The future of humanity is actually at stake here. The Sustainable Development Goals are the path to a lasting future for humanity. Anyone with Other interests needs to have their awareness expanded and understanding improved. Anyone preferring to resist the required corrections deserves to be angry and disappointed.

    Extinction Rebellion appears to be on to a Good Thing, upsetting people who need to be disturbed.

    WPotholer45 may be quite helpful. All that I clearly questioned was  Potholer54's helpfulness in the specific cases that I have identified may be deserving of ridicule, his potential lack of effort to expand awareness and understanding regarding interpretations of things AOC and Mann said.

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  3. John Hartz @51

    "The climate denier ranting and raving in the blogosphere have had very little impact on the real world."

    I wouldn't be too sure about that. Plenty of ordinary people I know are sceptical about AGW climate science ,and they repeat the sort of slogans posted by denialists all over the internet, particlurly on blogs, so its fairly obvious where they get their information. It then spreads by word of mouth like an infection.

    And some of these ordinary people are in positions of power to make changes, but they are being infected by the denialists.

    Of course I dont think the impact of blogs is huge. Media articles by denialists probably  have a bit more impact.

    "The lobbyists employed by the fossil fuel industry and their allies and the campaign donations made by the fossil fuel industry and their allies have effectively prevented any worthwhile political action on climate change for decades."

    This is a big part of it. The book Dark Money is relevant although I sus pect you have read it.

    "BTW, I vigorously engaged climate deniers on the comment threads of media outlets and elsewhere for a few years before I realized that doing so was a waste of my time and energy."

    I engage people with sceptical climate views for various reasons. Firstly there's always a chance some of them will change their minds. Even a few hard core denialists like Richard Mueller change their minds, although they are exceptions to the rule.

    Do remember just because someone fights with you and never gives in on the internet, doesn't mean they aren't listening to what you say. People are reluctant to admit error, and change their minds openly in public, or admit you have a point, because its human nature. 

    However I have no illusions. Many denialists will be denialists for life even if sea level rose 20 metres.

    Secondly I'm currently living alone, and I enjoy debates, and I get very bored with television. Thirdly debates here with denialists often raise some interesting issues. But its not for everyone. I totally respect people who don't wish to engage with denialists.

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  4. nigelj @50:

    I encourage you and everyone following this comment thread to read:

    The World Solved the Ozone Problem. It Can Solve Climate Change., Opinion by the Editorial Board, Sunday Review, New York Times, Dec 8, 2019 

    Particularly germane to our discussion is this paragraph:

    Finally, despite predictable industry warnings of economic ruin, the efforts to protect the ozone layer and clean up the nation’s waters and air faced nowhere near the campaign of denial and disinformation mounted by Exxon Mobil and other big fossil fuel companies — companies that knew perfectly well what their products were doing to the atmosphere — to confuse the public about climate change and to derail serious attempts to address them. This cascade of phony science was not the only reason legislation aimed at reducing carbon pollution foundered in Congress. As Bill Clinton and Mr. Gore discovered after signing the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, there was little enthusiasm in either party for a treaty that essentially required America and other industrial nations to do most of the heavy lifting while giving other big emitters, among them China and India, a far easier path. Still, industry’s relentless obfuscation played a big role, especially among Tea Party Republicans.

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  5. John Hartz @54,

    Your links continue to be enlightening. The NYTs Editorial is generally helpful. But it includes ways of telling the story that exposes a sinister reality about the storytelling in the USA (and many other supposedly more advanced nations).

    One of those things is in the quote you chose to share from the article.

    "As Bill Clinton and Mr. Gore discovered after signing the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, there was little enthusiasm in either party for a treaty that essentially required America and other industrial nations to do most of the heavy lifting while giving other big emitters, among them China and India, a far easier path."

    That is an accurate presentation of the claims that were being made, and continue to be made. But it is an incomplete presentation and misrepresentation of what the Kyoto Protocol required and why it required it.

    Everyone should seek out the original development documents, or at least read the final document. The details missed and misstated include:

    • There is a debt owed by each nation for its history of contribution to the current day problem.
    • Every human has equal right to be as harmful as every other human, a presentation of 'all people are equal' that leads to understanding that every nation has the right to increase its impacts to the same per-capita levels as other nations.
    • The highest per-capita impacting nations need to lead the correction of ways of living by reducing their per-capita impacts, to set the upper limits for the less developed nations to develop up to.
    • Since the end requirement is the ending of fossil fuel use it will be beneficial for the more developed nations to help the less developed nations develop more directly to sustainable activity, not follow the path of increased fossil fuel use followed by a need to undo or correct that development.
    • The nations with the highest current day debt (due to total impacts to date) also owe the less impacting and less developed nations assistance in 'adapting' to climate change impacts already created.
    • That means that the Sustainably Corrected future would have less perceptions of superiority and dominance by the current day "Winners of perceptions of Superiority".

    That fuller understanding has been 'removed from discussion, maybe never introduced in the first place' by leadership in some of the supposedly more advanced nations, making them undeserving of being considered 'more advanced nations'. It makes them nations deserving ridicule for having developed misleading storytelling propaganda systems, and apparently not realizing that it has happened, all in pursuit of 'harmfully selfishly tribally trying to maintain and increase unsustainable perceptions of superiority relative to others'.

    This is something that has been able to be understood for decades. Edward S. Herman (with Noam Chomsky) produced Manufacturing Consent in 1988 as a presentation of Herman's Propaganda Model (Movie of the same name made in 1992). And Alan MacLeod produced an update on Manufacturing Consent in the 2019 book Propaganda in the Information Age.

    How stories get told and what stories get told matters (even News Reports and Science Publications are stories). And the harmfully correction resistant among the powerful understand that very well.

    I appreciate that that is 'not a solution'. But any claimed solution that is not based on understanding the problem 'is not a sustainable solution'.

    Another quote that exposes a sinister aspect of the way climate change stories get told is "Climate change, by contrast, has for a long time been seen as remote, something for future generations to worry about, and in polls has appeared far down on the list of voters’ concerns."

    That misrepresents the unacceptability of acting to benefit today in a way that future generations cannot continue to enjoy (fossil fuels are non-renewable). And it dismissively brushes away any sense of guilt about causing harmful challenges that Others (the future generations) will end up having to deal with. It also highlights the grotesque unacceptability of basing Leadership action on Popularity and Profitability, especially in a socioeconomic-political system that is undeniably perverted by propaganda pressures to defend unsustainable developed perceptions of Superiority.

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  6. John Hartz @54,

    A better story to tell regarding helpful leadership actions would be the Good Leadership actions by Responsible Conservatives in Australia to temporarily sacrifice their popularity by enacting undeniably helpful and sustainable gun control legislation.

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  7. OPOF@55:

    Thank you for challenging certain statements made in the New York Time's editorial. Suggest that you forward your commentary to the newspaper's Editorial Board — perhaps in the form of a Letter-the-Editor.

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  8. As documented in this article, the fossil fuel industry continues its quest to shape the international response to man-made climate change. It's happening in real-time at the ongoing COP 25 conference in Madrid. 

    COP25 summit: fossil fuel groups accused of trying to influence climate talks, AFP/South China Morning Post, Dec 7, 2019

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  9. John Hartz @54 thank's for the pertinent, sensible and interesting quote. But it said in part "This cascade of phony (climate) science was not the only reason legislation aimed at reducing carbon pollution foundered in Congress. " This is the exact sort of junk science and myths posted by denialists all over the internet, and yet you seem to think pushback is a waste of time, so I'm a bit baffled by that.

    Anyway, I think its its worth spending some limited time pushing back against climate denialists and debating with them, providing its done right. The "facts dont convince anyone" claim is a bit simplistic for me, and only really applies to hard core denialists, and its hard to know if someone is a hard core denialist. I would rather apply the precautionary principle, and apply some push back.

    What matters is how we push back, because a lot of people do it badly and get lost in detail, and they get bad tempered. Often its best to be short and to the point with some key information of use to ordinary people, always with one internet link to a key document.

    Many websites are unmoderated and denialists will just spam so you have to be careful not to get into long converstations that give them a platform to go on and on. You aren't ever going to get them to say "maybe you are right" so what you post is more for the general interest of everyone. Bear that in mind.

    I engage in more length with denialists on this website sometimes, because the moderated format at least leads to vaguely useful and interesting discussion and they aren't allowed to sloganeer and spam.

    But yes I agree with you that most of our efforts should go into promoting positive change and "doing stuff" and raising awareness, rather than worrying too much about the denialists.

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  10. nigelj@59: I am baffled by what you meant when you wrote:

    John Hartz @54 thank's for the pertinent, sensible and interesting quote. But it said in part "This cascade of phony (climate) science was not the only reason legislation aimed at reducing carbon pollution foundered in Congress. " This is the exact sort of junk science and myths posted by denialists all over the internet, and yet you seem to think pushback is a waste of time, so I'm a bit baffled by that.

    The sentnce that you have quoted in the above has a context. It is followed by these two sentnces...

    As Bill Clinton and Mr. Gore discovered after signing the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, there was little enthusiasm in either party for a treaty that essentially required America and other industrial nations to do most of the heavy lifting while giving other big emitters, among them China and India, a far easier path. Still, industry’s relentless obfuscation played a big role, especially among Tea Party Republicans.

    Do you take issue with them?

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  11. nigelj & OFOP:

    Score one for your side...

    Comment threads can influence climate change attitudes by altering perceived consensus by Eric W Dolan, PsyPost, Dec 8, 2019

    With the following caveats...

    Over the decade, many MSM websites have eliminated comment threads from the materials posted on them.  

    I have yet to see any statisitcs about the number of people who actually read what is posted on commnt threads to climate-related articles other than those people who are posting comments. I personally belive there aren't that many. 

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  12. John Hartz,

    I am revising my comment @55 to be a Letter to the Editor at the NYT.

    Regarding comments on News Sites. My own reason for reading and posting comments is to expand awareness and understanding to help better argue against the claims made-up by the people who are trying to excuse harmful unsustainable beliefs and actions.

    I learn by reading comments from others. And I hope others learn from what I share.

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  13. John Hartz @60 and 61, the quote you posted clearly implied junk science and industry obfustication posted in the media  was at least "a reason" for the failure to make legislative progress, even although it was clearly not the only reason. Hence the rest of my comments. Or maybe we have crossed communication on it. Not a big issue anyway.

    And yes the NYT article does vindicate my position. I have to crow about that a bit. "I told you so comes to mind!"

    I agree probably only a small number of people read comments, and Im sure I read a study finding this somewhere, but I suspect sometimes those people can be influential. I prefer to apply the precautionary principle of applying pushback because we can't ever  be certain about who reads what, plus I confess I quite enjoy the verbal fencing, plus what OPOF says about it. We dont all need to be doing it.

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  14. nigelj@63: My apology. I misinterpreted what your wrote in your comment #50.

    We're good. 

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  15. John Hartz, apology accepted and appreciated. Not many people apologise these days so thanks. Not need to discuss the specific issue further. Were good.

    I would just add that 'generally' in  my experience half the problems and friction people have on the internet seem to be a result of  misinterpretations. I know I misinterpret people sometimes, and sometimes its my fault for not reading carefully enough, and sometimes its their fault for lack of clarity, and sometimes it's a bit of both.

    It's probably because we are dealing with complicated issues, but theres never enough time to really write with crystal calrity, and its harder to clarify things than in a verbal face to face conversation. Although that's no excuse really. It's important to define exactly what we mean and sometimes seek clarification before ploughing ahead.

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  16. John Hartz @57,

    I tried to reduce my comment to the 250 word maximum recommended for Letters to the Editor of the NYTs. But the results end up being too incomplete, too open to misinterpretation, and too easy to unjustifiable counter-argue against.

    In comment sections there is the ability to engage in a back and forth to clarify points made. There is no similar opportunity with Letters to the Editor.

    So I sent a revision of my full comment to the Editorial Board as a concern regarding a couple of serious inaccuracies and omissions in the otherwise brilliant Opinion “The World Solved the Ozone Problem. It Can Solve Climate Change” produced by the Editorial Board of the NYT, for their consideration.

    As I am not a paying subscriber to the NYTs, just one of the many free subscriptions based on giving them my email, so my comments may not get a lot of attention. But maybe.

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  17. OPOF@66: Way to go!

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