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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #2

Posted on 13 January 2019 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Analysis of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review...

Story of the Week...

Once derided, ways of adapting to climate change are gaining steam

Recognition is spreading that communities need to build resilience to climatic and coastal threats even as the world seeks ways to curb emissions driving global warming.

Hurricane Michael Impact on Mexico Beach Florida

Mexico Beach, Florida in aftermath of Hurricane Michael

From chronically flooded Midwestern towns to fire-charred California suburbs, from Bangladesh’s sodden delta to low island nations facing rising seas, a long-underplayed strategy for cutting risks related to human-driven climate change is coming to the fore—adaptation.

Through 30 years of efforts to limit global warming, the dominant goal was cutting emissions of heat-trapping gases, most importantly carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels. Efforts to adapt communities or agriculture to warming and the related rise in seas and other impacts were often seen as a copout.

The spotty nature of adaptation efforts so far can be seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael—where one reinforced, raised home famously survived, nearly alone, along Mexico Beach, Florida, after the strongest Panhandle hurricane in at least 155 years. In the Camp Fire that devastated Paradise, California, and killed 85 people, a sprinkling of houses built and maintained to withstand embers survived, but—again—were the rare exception.

But signs are emerging that a significant shift is under way, dividing the climate challenge into two related, but distinct, priorities: working to curb greenhouse gases to limit odds of worst-case outcomes later this century while boosting resilience to current and anticipated climatic and coastal hazards with just as much fervor. There’s action from the top down, and—perhaps more significant in the long run—from the bottom up.

Once derided, ways of adapting to climate change are gaining steam by Andrew Revkin, Environment, National Geographic, Jan 10, 2019

Analysis  of the Week...

How the fossil fuel industry got the media to think climate change was debatable

Brown Coal-fired Power Plant Bergheim Germany

A brown-coal-fired power plant in Bergheim, Germany. (Sascha Steinbach/EPA-EFE/REX)

Late last year, the Trump administration released the latest national climate assessment on Black Friday in what many assumed was an attempt to bury the document. If that was the plan, it backfired, and the assessment wound up earning more coverage than it probably would have otherwise. But much of that coverage perpetuated a decades-old practice, one that has been weaponized by the fossil fuel industry: false equivalence.

Although various business interests began pushing back against environmental action in general in the early 1970s as part of the conservative “war of ideas” launched in response to the social movements of the 1960s, when global warming first broke into the public sphere, it was a bipartisan issue and remained so for years. On the campaign trail in 1988, George H.W. Bush identified as an environmentalist and called for action on global warming, framing it as a technological challenge that American innovation could address. But fossil fuel interests were shifting as the industry and its allies began to push back against empirical evidence of climate change, taking many conservatives along with them.

Documents uncovered by journalists and activists over the past decade lay out a clear strategy: First, target media outlets to get them to report more on the “uncertainties” in climate science, and position industry-backed contrarian scientists as expert sources for media. Second, target conservatives with the message that climate change is a liberal hoax, and paint anyone who takes the issue seriously as “out of touch with reality.”In the 1990s, oil companies, fossil fuel industry trade groups and their respective PR firms began positioning contrarian scientists such as Willie SoonWilliam Happer and David Legates as experts whose opinions on climate change should be considered equal and opposite to that of climate scientists. The Heartland Institute, which hosts an annual International Conference on Climate Change known as the leading climate skeptics conference, for example, routinely calls out media outlets (including The Washington Post) for showing “bias” in covering climate change when they either decline to quote a skeptic or question a skeptic’s credibility. 

How the fossil fuel industry got the media to think climate change was debatable by Amy Westervelt, Post Everything, Washington Post, Jan 10, 2019 

Toon of the Week...

2019 Toon 2 

Coming Soon on SkS...

  • Observations and models agree that the oceans are warming faster (Cheng et al.)
  • New findings on ocean warming: 5 questions answered (Scott Denning)
  • Book review: Saudi America (gws)
  • SkS Analogy 17 - Lotteries, evaporation, and superstorms (Evan)
  • New research this week (Ari)
  • 2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #3 (John Hartz)
  • 2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #3 (John Hartz)

Poster of the Week...

2019 Poster 2 

SkS Week in Review... 

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Comments 1 to 8:

  1. Occaisional hurricanes along the gulf coast and up the easter US seaboard is a normal event that has alway been happening. That is just proof the climate has not changed or not enough to change this fact.

    Also nice picture of "steam" rising into the air above a power plant. 

    As for my neck of the woods, it is still the same old spring, summer, fall and winter with the same unpredictable weather as always. Tornados, flooded rivers, 14 inch snow storms is nothing new and has neither gotten worse nor better. Just in the last 6 years, I've seen warm, cold and average winters. Nothing has changed out of any norm. 

    I'm not saying earths average temperature does not waiver up and down over the millenia because it does. As for causation, the 'real' science is not settled. 

    Of all the years I've been reading this 'stuff', I've yet to see any solid proof of CO2 or man causing any of the very, very small amounts of warming or cooling. 

    I hate to burst your bubble but CO2 is not a heat trapping gas. If you put CO2 in between your house window panes unlike argon or krypon gas, your heating bills will go up because it is a worse insulator than regular air. They use CO2 as refrigeratns because its properties to quickly obsorb and release heat unlike reguar air.

    Although the mass of CO2 is greater than O2, the small rising amount is negligible. 4 molecules per 10,000 is too small to have any affect. 

    The problem for me isn't I can't see the graph date showing some small recent rise. It is the causation of the rise that I am skepical with. There is no proof. Climate scientists are no different than religous people who come at you with the predetermined idea that god exists and everything they do and say are predicated to the existance of their god. 

    Climate scientists have done the same. They come at me with this predicated idea that man and CO2 is the cause and foundation of their argument but with no proof. They throw graphs in my face without evidence of causation. If 97 of 100 people say god exists does not make said god real. It is the same with climate change. 97 of 100 scientist say CO2 and man is causing the earths temperature to rise does not make said accusations true.  Consensus is not proof nor is it scientific. It is scientific in the way that it is easier for men to believe in what cannot be seen than what is in front of their faces every time they walk outside and see that nothing has changed.

    I'm not sorry for being what you call a skeptic.

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    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Welcome to Skeptical Science. Your comment is a gish-gallop of strawman arguments, slogans and long-debunked myths, in contravention of the comments policy which is not optional.

    This site is organized by myths, please use the search button or the "Arguments" item on the menu to find an appropriate topic. Make your on-topic comment there (no offtopic points) and back your assertions with evidence. As example of strawman - noone asserts that CO2 is a conductive insulator like Argon; that is not how GHE works. Please take some time to review beginner material to acquaint yourself of the science.

     [PS] Anyone tempted to respond to this post, please do on an appropriate thread and only post links to your comment here.

  2. I'm not going to waste time on this sort of stuff here or anywhere else, but perhaps a humourous quip is ok? If 97% of scientists said god exists, I would say we better be paying attention!

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  3. Regarding "How the fossil fuel industry got the media to think climate change was debatable"

    The book to read is Dark Money. Free copies easily googled.

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  4. Now for the next battle. The inevitable claims that adaptation is nothing to do with governments and tax payers money, and is all "personal responsibility".

    And that we musn't sacrifice profits, consumption and economic growth for adapting to climate change, building barriers and using higher building foundations etc.

    Does anyone seriously think the Kochtapus is going to sleep through adaptation?

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  5. Oh the legends our 7 times great grand children will tell about this Camalot of a society (or is it the new Atlantis).  How will they explain the artifacts they find strewn around, the radioactive hot spots, the paths through the forest where if they dig down they find this layer of tar and gravel.  Will they believe that man actually flew to the moon.  And our texts will all disappear.  Even now who could read a floppy disk.  Books are all printed on paper that at most lasts a hundred years and no electronic media will be readable.  Perhaps we should print information on the essence of our society on clay tablets, fire them and secrete them in caves all over the world.

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  6. Iceland have a seed vault storing a range of seeds in case disaster strikes the planet. Unfortunately the permafrost is melting compromising the vault.

    Adaptation to climate change is going to have to include preserving old, important cherished buidings. Will be an expensive exercise, if its even possible.

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  7. 30 years ago the argument for not curtailing the burning of fossil fuels was that doing so would limit the growth of enjoyment and future wealth (by the portion of humanity that benefited from it), and that increased future wealth would pay for the required adaptation (And it would also mean evil government interference in the freedom of people to believe and do as they please - freedoms that undeniably produced in the problem, and its resistance to correction).

    Today, 30 years later, all we hear from those who enjoyed getting wealthier because of the continued burning of fossil fuels are compaints about suggestions that the activity they like now requires a more rapid reduction and that they should be the ones paying for the required adaptations by the poorer who did not benefit from the creation of the problems the poorer now have to suffer the expense of adapting to.

    They righteously declare that such 'wealth transfers' are immoral. They also demand that Tax money (everyone's not just their's) only be spent to address any negative impact on their precious developed likes (and they fight to reduce how much tax 'they' pay).

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  8. I live in a place where in the last 6 years seen temperatures as high as 104F in the summer and as low as -24 in the winter. That is a temperature differnce of 128° F. I and millions of others have no choice but to adapt to every 6 months.

    How much has the average temperature rose in the last 50 years? 0.75° C? No wonder I see no difference when I walk outside. When I say it's the same old spring, summer, fall and winter, it's because it is. Honeslty, 1.35 F average in the last 50 years. That is not climate changing. Too bad for you.

    I have no concern on the issue of climate change as most people don't. Maybe some day there will be some real scientist who can study this subject without bias. At this point, No. As of now, I don't see any difference between this and any other religion.

    The reason I call this a religion is because of the bickering between those who are for and those against. As an escapee of religion, these types of arguments are very familiar. Also the way pro climate change people talk  of "non believers" is exact to the talk I've heard in church of those of other religons... exact. 

    Religion and climate science is no different than any other business. It is designed to separate people from their money. I ask, "Why is it soooo important I buy into climate change and all this belief man kind is dangerously raising the earths temperature?" Why? It's to justify taxing me for the air I breath. That simple. It is designed to separate me from my money by taxing energy via "Carbon Tax". 

    The conservatives are right. This is a scam. It's all about money and the people who are really going to be hurt by this are the poor.

    Delete this if you'd like.

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    [PS] Ignoring comments policy and moderator directions will not get you an audience. Nor is wilful ignorance. This site has many resources to answer your points, look, learn and contradict only if you have supporting evidence.

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