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2014 SkS Weekly Digest #18

Posted on 4 May 2014 by John Hartz

SkS Highlights

John Cook and Dana continue to stir the pot with their respective posts, The Quantum Theory of Climate Denial and The Australian quantum theory of climate denial. both articles have attracted the largest number of comments of the articles posted on SkS this past week. If you have not already done so, you will want to read both articles.  

Toon of the Week

 2014 Toon 18

h/t to I Heart Climate Scientists

Quote of the Week

"To be an activist is to plunge into the unknown and into a world where guarantees of results do not exist. On climate and the environmental crisis we don’t know how far we’ve already pushed the planet toward ecological Armageddon or what impact we actually have when we block coal trains, hold impassioned news events, or get arrested at the White House.

"So we guess, and there are two different ways we can guess wrong. The first is to overestimate our power to change what’s coming and to give people the 'false hope' Kingsnorth warns about. The second is to underestimate what is possible, to believe that we are less powerful than we actually are and to do less than we can. That’s the wrong guess that worries me more. Faced with a choice between disappointment or failing to do all that is possible, I don’t find the decision a hard one to make.

To My Friend the Climate Defeatist: Here's Why I'm Still In the Fight by Jim Shultz, Yes Magazine/Common Dreams, Apr 30, 2014 

SkS in the News

In his Hot Topic blog post, Herald gives de Freitas platform to smear climate science, Ryan Walker cites Rob Painting's Is a Powerful El Niño Brewing in the Pacific Ocean?  

The SkS rebuttal article, How reliable are CO2 measurements? is the source of a graphic (plot of Global CO2 v Mauna Loa CO2 from 1980 thru 2009) inserted by Ryan Cooper in his article, This is a perfect example of why scientists don't vote Republican posted on The Week magazine. 

SkS Spotlights 

On April 28, The Globe & Mail* launched a series examining health repercussions for Canadians due to a changing climate. The articles published to date are:

*A Canadian media corporation based in Toronto.

SkS Week in Review 

Coming Soon on SkS 

  • Brandis confuses right to be heard with right to be taken seriously (Peter Ellerton)
  • The Weekend Wonk: Gavin Schmidt on Climate Models (Peter Sinclair)
  • Answers to the top ten global warming 'skeptic' arguments (Dana)
  • Economics is clear on the need for climate action, now it's time to act (John Abraham)
  • Looking for connections (Marcin Popkiewicz)
  • SkS Weekly News Roundup #19 (John Hartz)


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Comments 1 to 8:

  1. I am very much looking forward to the skewering George "people have a right to be bigots" Brandis by Ellerton.  His recent comments complaining about the infringement of the right to free speech of climate change deniers (who from 2% of the scientific literature receive 50% of the press coverage, and nearly 100% of the commentary in The Australian) is patently absurd, and yet more evidence that Australia has a government of climate change deniers - determined to place posterity in hock for the short term benefit of investors.

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  2. "People who campaign against slavery don't own slaves. People who campaign against smoking don't smoke. People who campaign against violence against women do not commit violence against women. And so it goes for almost all causes - except for climate change. Then, somehow, it becomes not only acceptable but almost obligatory for people who campaign against fossil fuels to burn more than their fair share of them."

    "You have people who support a cause in the abstract, general sense, while acting against the cause in their personal life. The typical rationalisation is to view one's personal contribution to a problem as being an insignificant part of the whole problem. But this ignores the fact that the problem results from vast numbers of people making similarly insignificant contributions. It will be just as hard for any of them to stop and they can all make the same excuse that their bit doesn't matter"

    -The Guardian Comments section

    We have to stop emitting first.  My parter and I are working hard to get our emisisons as close to zero as we can.   How can we convince others to recue thier emisisons if we won't ?

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  3. Trevor, I don't think a person needs to have zero emissions before they have the right to support the science and ask the government to do something about it. If everyone asked the power companies to supply them with green electricity (like i do) it would be a start, but that does not mean factors and businesses will do the same. Big and small business needs to be taxed to give them an incentive to reduce their carbon foot print. This is the same for everyday people, you reduce your carbon foot print because you care, but that is not good enough, skeptics need to be forced to care with a tax. If skeptics have a problem with the science they can do their own science or reference science that proves their point, until then a tax needs to be introduced.

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  4. The legislator who authored the bill outlawing indoor smoking in my state was himself a smoker. He recognized it as an addiction, and he recognized that he and other smokers did not have the right to polute other people's lungs.

    We are indeed in the position of having to be 'slave holders advocating for emancipation.' Of course, it's good to try to free as many of your own 'carbon slaves' as you can, but that alone is not going to end the 'peculiar institution' we find ourselves inevitably participating in.

    But yes, by all means, join me and others in not flying or taking any (motorized) long-distance trips unless it is absolutely necessary (and how often is that). Minimize or eliminate meat and dairy and car trips. Consume little and consume local.  Encourage others to do the same, individuals and institutions.

    But also demand changes in legislation and demand divestment from ff...

    We have to be able to "chew gum and whistle at the same time." The merchants of death are certainly multi-tasking and are very well organized in their very successful campaign to make the planet essentially unlivable for our kids and for most other species.

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  5. Until enough of us are dramatically and obviously reducing our carbon emissions others won't feel any compulsion to do likewise. It will only be when the worlds' more conspicuous fossil fuel consumers start to feel some guilt and embarrassment about their life-style that there may be some hope of a better future. Those of us who are making a determined effort to reduce our emissions are but a tiny fraction of the population for the majority will always blame the government for their own lack of action at an individual level. Until the media and governments make a forthright condemnation of the denialist agenda I fear little will change.

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  6. localis, I pay a little more for my electricity so that I am supplied with carbon free (green) electricity. When I fly I pay extra to offset my carbon emissions, I also drive a small car.. But its a choice.. because I research climate change, I know.. But we can't expect everyone or even more than 5% of the population of the world to know anything about climate change or about a carbon foot print. My point is even if this 5% of people reduced their emissions, no one would even notice because governments are not passing laws that force people to reduce their emissions. At the end we all need energy to live, we cant be expected to sit around doing nothing in the hope to reduce our carbon foot print. Electricity companies need to go green so as everyone can live normally. Carbon tax that gives the revenue back to the poor is spot on.

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  7. White House Hangout: Commitment to #ActOnClimate

    Phil Larson
    May 06, 2014
    10:58 AM EDT

    Today, the White House is hosting an event highlighting the release of the Third U.S. National Climate Assessment – a major scientific report on the impacts of climate change on all regions of the United States and key sectors of the national economy. The report was called for in the President’s Climate Action Plan, launched last June, to cut carbon pollution in America, prepare communities for the impacts of climate change, and lead international efforts to fight this global challenge.

    The event will include remarks by senior Obama Administration officials and experts who contributed to the development of the new National Climate Assessment. Tune in to at 2 p.m. ET.

    And on Thursday, we’re co-hosting a conversation with the Weather Channel about the current state of climate science and impacts and what work we are doing to make a difference. Use the hashtag #ActOnClimate to ask questions and join the conversation with these participants via Google+ Hangout on Thursday, May 8 at 2 p.m. ET:

    • Sam Champion, host, The Weather Channel
    • Carl Parker, Meteorologist, Hurricane Specialist, The Weather Channel
    • Kathy Sullivan, Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    • Dan Utech, White House Domestic Policy Council
    • Mike Boots, White House Council on Environmental Quality
    • Laura Petes, White House Office of Science & Technology Policy

    Find out more about the National Climate Assessment, and check out some of the graphics and videos about the findings by visiting the website here.

    Watch today’s event at 2 p.m. ET, and then join and ask your questions for Thursday’s White House hangout on the National Climate Assessment at 2 p.m. ET right here, or on the White House Google+ page.

    Phil Larson is Senior Advisor for Space and Innovation at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

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  8. Climate change: what are the worst impacts facing America?

    A government report has found the US is already experiencing the effects of climate change. Karl Mathiesen, with your help, investigates where it will cut deepest.

    Join the debate. Post your views in the comments below, email or tweet @karlmathiesen

    This EcoAudit post is now live.

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