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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #17

Posted on 28 April 2019 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Opinion of the Week... Toon of the Week... SkS in the News... SkS Spotlights... Report of Note... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

Reckoning With Personal Responsibility In The Age Of Climate Change

As someone who loves traveling and going outdoors, I struggle with balancing my hopefulness and my despair — and my culpability — regarding an imperiled earth.

Gentoo Penguins on Iceberg in Gerlache Strait, Antarctic Peninsula

Gentoo penguins taking a rest from fishing on an iceberg passing by in the Gerlache Strait, Antarctic Peninsula. Sophie Lanfear / Netflix

A couple weeks ago, I made the mistake of watching Netflix’s new documentary series Our Planet after hitting a friend’s weed pen. Even though I knew that famed naturalist David Attenborough’s latest project aimed to explicitly address the effects of climate change, I was still expecting to (mostly) enjoy a big, splashy nature doc, letting myself become fully immersed in the overwhelming beauty and vastness of life on Earth — especially since, someday all too soon, many of these glorious scenes will be lost to us.

What I didn’t expect were the horrors awaiting me at the (now-infamous) end of Episode 2. A huge group of walruses congregate on a tiny stretch of land because they can’t gather on swaths of Arctic sea ice that no longer exist. Forced to find space from the crowd, some of the poorly sighted animals climb up steep cliffs — then, sensing other walruses below, fling their bodies off the edge. Somehow I’d missed all the coverage of Netflix’s warnings to animal lovers about this particular moment. Even if I had, I don’t think anything could have prepared me to see these gentle, gigantic animals tumble to their deaths. I started to weep; I think being stoned could only partially account for my spiral.

Reckoning With Personal Responsibility In The Age Of Climate Change by Shannon Keating, BuzzFeed, Apr 27, 2019 

Opinion of the Week...

The Climate Change Generation Needs to Know What's Coming

School Strike for Climate Action Melbourne  

The fossil fuel industry’s decades-long campaign to build political power and spread disinformation about climate change is well-documented. It has long kept the American public in the dark and elected leaders in their pocket. Their strategy of denying the causes of climate change has been wildly lucrative for the fossil fuel industry, but devastating for our environment and democracy.

As kids across the U.S. and around the globe rise up to demand action, this disinformation campaign is now being targeted at America’s classrooms.

A spate of bills introduced in states across the country would either prohibit teachers from discussing climate change in their classrooms or require public school teachers to present “both sides” of an issue that has come to dominate American political discourse. This would give science equal weight with flat-out propaganda. 

The Climate Change Generation Needs to Know What's Coming, Opinion by Michael E Mann, Newsweek, Apr 24, 2019

Toon of the Week...

 2019 Toon 17

SkS in the News...

Willard MacDonald? article, It’s Easy to be Tricked by a Climate Denier (Medium, Apr 20), debunks claims made in Gregory Wrightstone's book, Inconvenient Facts and is a neat example of debunking done very well. The article references the consensus studies and the SkS homepage.

"Wrightstone attacks the often-quoted statistic that 97% of climate scientists agree that global warming is man-made. This 97% number comes from a number of studies, including one by Cook et al which looked at the abstracts from 11,944 peer-reviewed papers related to climate change over 21 years. They identified 4,014 papers that stated an opinion about whether climate change is man-made or not. 3,898 said it is man-made. The study correctly calculated 3,898/4,014 x 100 = 97%. Wrightstone’s complaint about this study is that the 7,930 papers that made no statements about whether climate change is man-made or not were not included in the 97% calculation. His argument is that the researchers should have counted these in the denominator of the % calculation, and so the number should be 3,898/11,944 x 100 =32.6%.

This is not a valid way to tally opinions. If you are trying to report the number of people who have opinion A vs opinion B, you take the total number who have opinion A and divide it by the total number that stated either opinion A or B. If there was no opinion stated, then it is not part of the statistic.

Other similar studies have been done by numerous scientists with similar results to the Cook et al result from 2015. See the image below from Skeptical Science."

Towards the end of his article MacDonald references the SkS homepage:

"The motivating forces behind climate denial are most certainly from the fossil fuel industry. Climate denial has become a formula, and the people and institutions spreading this false information recycle the same arguments over and over again. Skeptical Science does a great job cataloging and debunking these myths. The home page includes the image to the left showing the top 10 most used myths. You’ll recognize many of them from the analysis of Wrightstone’s book." 

SkS Spotlights...  is a volunteer organization dedicated to helping the media link stories about climate-change impacts to climate change itself. Mobilizing through digital activism, we focus on all media platforms—from television networks to print outlets to online content providers to radio programs. We are motivated by the awareness that climate change poses a grave danger to humanity and we must transition from fossil fuels to safe energy immediately in order to preserve a planet that supports civilization. We see that climate change has begun to hurt people, and it's the media's job to report on that fact.

Report of Note... 

Nature loss: Major report to highlight 'natural and human emergency'


Credit: Getty Images

Scientists and government officials meet this week in Paris to finalise a key assessment on humanity's relationship with nature.

The Intergovernmental Panel for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, or IPBES, will issue the first report of this type since 2005.

It will detail the past losses and future prospects for nature and humans.

One author says the report will highlight the "social and ecological emergency" the world is now facing.

From Monday some of the world's leading researchers in the field of biodiversity will meet in the French capital to work through the details of their report with representatives from 132 governments.

Their conclusions, known as a Summary for Policymakers, will then be published on 6 May.

Nature loss: Major report to highlight 'natural and human emergency' by Matt McGrath, Science & Environment, BBC News, Apr 28, 2019 

Coming Soon on SkS...

  • Rebellious Times (John Mason)
  • What's Earth's ideal temperature? (Climate Adam)
  • Inspiring, not depressing, film fest messages (Daisy Simmons)
  • Former climate 'denier' regrets 'how wrongheaded but certain I was' (Karen Kirk)
  • New research this week (Ari)
  • 2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #18 (John Hartz)
  • 2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #18 (John Hartz)

Climate Feedback Reviews...

[To be added.] 

Poster of the Week...

 2017 Poster 17

SkS Week in Review... 


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Comments 1 to 3:

  1. It is so sad that the fantastic publicity that Greta Thunburg and Extinction Rebellion are generating will achieve,  at the most, lip service from the politicians who are the only ones that can do the really heavy lifting.

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  2. Regarding personal responsibility. There is obvious value in individuals reducing meat consumption and flying less, but I think it's absurd to expect individuals to stop flying, and make big cuts to their consumption of energy and consumer goods, and it isn't happening anyway. Even Jared Diamond has stated its absurd to expect people to go back to the stone age or abandon the capitalist system completely (printed in the NZ Listener magazine). This is not to say that capitalism can continue in its present form.

    The climate problem is an energy substitution problem, and principal solution to the climate problem has to come from renewable energy which is feasible, and this is up to governments and corporates. The thing standing in the way of change is conservative leaning vested interest groups well documented in dozens of studies (try the book Dark Money). These have huge power especially over right wing political parties, so don't vote for right wing political parties!

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  3. When are we going to admit that Animal Agriculture is around 50% of global emissions?.  We go after the fossil fuel industries (which we should) and ignore the elephant in the room.  Animal Ag has been flying under the radar for the last 50 years of climate change discourse.  Animal Ag is primarily responsible for deforestation, desertification, eutrophication of the oceans, significant acidification of the oceans and outsized NOx emissions, wild animal habitat loss, outsized fresh water use, polluted watersheds, untreatable communicable diseases, raising, slaughtering, packing, transportation, storage and even freezers and their associate refrigerant chemicals...not to mention methane emissions.  And it doesn't even end there...those are the bigger ones.  SKS has an evaluation on Animal Ag emissions, but frankly, it doesn't count everything.  The World Bank commissioned WorldWide Watch to take a look at Animal Ag's impact...they came up with 51% about a decade ago.  Animal Ag needs to be revisited and if the numbers WorldWatch came to aren't close, we need a new look by the scientific community... and new action to change the food marketplace from animal products to plants.

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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Off-topic snipped.  Please read this link before placing any comments on it, including the comments.

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