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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #1

Posted on 6 January 2018 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook page during the past week. 

Editor's Pick

Show this cartoon to anyone who doubts we need huge action on climate change

Climate Cartoon Article Vox 

This story focuses on a scenario from climate scientist Joeri Rogelj, which would give us a 66 percent chance at limiting warming to 2 degrees, which would requires no emissions by 2065, followed by negative emissions. But a previous version of this story said we would need to reach no emissions by 2050, which is part of a scenario in which we give ourselves a 50 percent chance at staying under 1.5 degrees warming — a far less realistic goal.

Show this cartoon to anyone who doubts we need huge action on climate change by Alvin Chang and David Roberts, Energy & Environment, Vox, Jan 5, 2018 

Links posted on Facebook

Sun Dec 31, 2017

Mon Jan 1, 2018

Tue Jan 2, 2018

Wed Jan 3, 2018

Thu Jan 4, 2018

Fri Jan 5, 2018

Sat Jan 6, 2018

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Comments 1 to 10:

  1. An recent additional item:

    'All happening very quickly': Tesla battery sends a jolt through energy markets by Peter Hannam, The Sydney Morning Herald, January 6, 2018

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    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Muchas gracias!

  2. No one is trying to limit warming to 2C!

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  3. bozzza,

    I partially agree.

    The trend of global awareness and understanding is increased acceptance of the stated objectives of the Paris Agreement to keep warming below 2.0 C, with the desire to limit the accumulated human im-pacts to 1.5 C warming (That is why the Paris Agreement was agreed to and is supported by responsible global leaders).

    The related understanding is that climate science is the basis for understanding the limits of human activity related to those increases of global average surface temperature, because once those increases have actually been observed 'it is too late'.

    That has lead to increased efforts to better understand the relationship between increased CO2 and ultimate rebalanced global average surface temperature. It is understood that things are currently not completely adjusted to increases of CO2 that have already occurred.

    It has also lead to 'pursuers of Private Interest in benefiting more from the undeniably unsustainable and definitely damaging burning of fossil fuels' to fight to win any way they can get away with. They are the ones who creating the incorrect generalized impression that 'No one is trying to limit warming to 2C!".

    A related growing awareness and understanding is that there are many other armful results of the pursuits of benefit from the burning of fossil fuels, not just increased CO2. So there are many Good Reasons to rapidly terminate the undeservingly popular and profitable activity.

    Good Responsible Aware People already understand the need for that change. Others can learn to be Good/Helpful. And some people will not Personally limit their Pursuits of Private Interest, and they will fight against any 'imposed limit on their freedom to believe what they want and do as they please'. That is all to be expected, with the last group clearly becoming understood to need help, to be kept from impacting others (to be kept out of competitions for popularity and profitability - or be removed from positions of already occurred but clearly undeserved Winning) until they learn to change their minds.

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  4. The dynamics are not correct at all. The relationship of Co2 to degrees C is not 1 to 1. Once the greenhouse is in place it will continue to warm even without additional Co2 until Co2 begins to drop. That and the fact that the effects of the Co2 currently in the atmosphere has yet to kick in as there is a lag. Also keep in mind that we have released as much Co2 since Al Gores presentation than all Co2 released prior to that. The warming that we are experiencing now, between 1.2 and 1.6 depending on the metric, is from Co2 released prior to 1980's. If we stop all Co2 right now the planet will continue to warm for another 50 years or more just considering Co2 and no other feedback mechs.

    Don't get me wrong, I really appreciate the work that SS does but please be real.

    We need to act now with the biggest global wide project ever known to man if we seriously want to have a livable planet left.

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    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Please calrify what "dynamics" you are referring to in the first sentence of your post. Also explain where SkS is being unreal about manmade climate change. 

  5. Do you think the mitigation in Australia is progressing according to Paris goal? Think twice:

    Cooking the books on climate change policy

    We are dealing with a classic denier strategy here: denial that something inconvenient exists, aka "heads in the sand". Emissions started increasing when the carbon tax was removed and replaced by doubtful policy of rewarding polluters for their efforts, that are often symbolic efforts, like tree planting or other "offsets". What govs are saying about it?

    The report says that will be offset in the future by "flat electricity demand, the renewable energy target and the announced closures of coal power stations"

    [...] department's report says: "The key drivers of emissions to 2030 are increases in transport activity linked to population and economic growth and increases in herd numbers in agriculture

    Which means the economy needs to slow down or rural voters and the Nationals are likely to be gearing up for a fight over farming.

    Given the choice between the two, it's likely a government of either stripe will take the third option.

    Throw Paris out the window when it comes to crunch time.


    (my emphasis)

    Correct analysis. History of this gov has shown, they would not hesitate doing that. Prime example: the Turnbull government's best attempts to prevent the closure of inefficient, coal-fired Liddell power station.

    So do you think AUS gov is better than US because they do not reject Paris? Not really. They just want to look "smarter" but avoid talking about it when incomvenient. We know that attitude for more than decade since Gore's movie. I think the end result of both types of science denial is the same.

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  6. OPOF,

    Dr David Mills from Ausra acknowledged years ago that it was impossible to keep carbon emissions below 440ppm no matter what happens!

    Whether that can be taken back under 440ppm after the fact he said was still under scientific debate but the fact the world can‘t help but breach that level of CO2 was realised many moons ago.

    Governments have done nothing because democracies are largely two parties preaching the one shared message. 

    It always ends in Oligarchy...

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  7. jef, could you please clarify your third sentence?

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  8. I thought I explained the dynamics in my second and third sentences.
    The point is that even if the Co2 ppm were to somehow stop and stay right where they are now the earth will continue to warm, the greenhouse effect will continue to "work" as a greenhouse. There is obviously an upper limit to the heating when using this hypothetical which makes using it not very useful but the point is that Co2 ppm does not equate to a global temperature degree c that can be stated as done in the cartoon. No one knows for instance, what the high end global temperature of say 400 ppm is mostly because we have not reached that temperature yet. We can not state the high end of any ppm because we have continually added more ppm.
    Also we are not accounting for feedback mechanisms which are numerous, many of which kick in even at lower levels of ppm and vary widely due to other variables.
    I realize that SkS didn’t do this cartoon but I do believe it is disingenuous to promote talk about Co2 ppm and degrees C as if they are connected on a 1 to 1 basis. Also talking about 2050 or 2065 is less than useless as we are already committed/locked in to at least 2 to 3 degrees right now and again that is without all the feedbacks.
    Also methane doesn’t go away as depicted in the cartoon. I starts out in the atmosphere at 85 to 100 times more potent than Co2 then gradually diminishes and becomes Co2, small amounts but still adding to Co2 ppm.

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  9. bozzza@6,

    I will counter the claim you are banking on that was made by Dr. David Mills 'the venture capitalist pursuer of Private Interest who would want to induce governments to do more to fund his Private Interest pursuits' (he can be seen to be a bit of a misleading alarmist marketer), with the simple fact that in 1960 lots of wealthy people pursuing Private Interests  would have told you Man was not going to be landing on the moon in less than 10 years because their Private Interest would not benefit from such a pursuit.

    The technology for all of humanity to live without burning fossil fuels already exists, as does the technology to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere. The only thing missing is the 'powerful charitable desire' to do it (charitable because many people who incorrectly benefited from development in the wrong direction have to give up some of their perceived prosperity and opportunity). But that powerful desire is developing, and may develop far faster than 'the ones who have a Private Interest in not seeing those changes happen' will want/expect it to happen. Many of them thought/hoped the Paris Agreement would never be Agreed to. And many of them thought/hoped the Trump Win would cripple the global collective effort for Good Sustainable Change. They continue to be wrong. If anything the Trump Win has stepped up the rate of change globally as more people more clearly see how unsustainably damaging Winners like Trump are (albeit with a core of faithful Private Interest pursuers who will stubbornly resist better understanding what is going on and changing their minds to become helpful rather than harmful).

    The current damaging fatally flawed economics may indeed push CO2 beyond the Paris Agreement limit, but that would be the fault of the flawed damaging system not being corrected quickly enough, with 'everyone who fought in any way against the changes being achieved - anyone who did not properly raise awareness and understanding' clearly understood to have been damaging the future of humanity for unacceptable Private Interests. And that awareness of who the trouble-makers are could develop so rapidly that the trouble-makers actually get significantly penalized in their lifetime, not just posthumously in the better understood corrected record of what was going on.

    The developing awareness and understanding is that some Winners are Helpful, but many Winners are getting an undeserved competitive advantage by getting away with behaving less acceptably.

    What will actually happen is hard to predict, but the Trend is clear.

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  10. bozzza@6,

    Your initial claim "No one is trying to limit warming to 2C!" is not defended by you comment @6. Your comment @6 just attempted to change the subject.

    Regarding the 440 ppm number (with the recommended safer value of 350 ppm). It is like a speed limit. The fact that some people are pushing to go faster does not justify 'accepting an upping of the speed limit'. And when the limit is exceeded everyone in the vehicle will not just say, seems OK since we exceeded the limit so we can go even faster. More and more people in the vehicle will be demanding the vehicle slow down, taking firmer and firmer action against whoever they understand is pushing the accelerator, including keeping them at the back of the bus or locking them in the biffy if that is what is needed to reduce the harmful impact of the pushers.

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