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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #26

Posted on 29 June 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jun 23 through Sat, June 29, 2019

Editor's Pick

When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez met Greta Thunberg: 'Hope is contagious'

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Greta Thunberg 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Greta Thunberg. Photograph: Stephen Voss, Anna Schori/The Guardian

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez enters a boardroom at her constituency office in Queens, New York, after a short delay which, a political aide hopes, hasn’t been caused by a constituent waylaying her in the corridor. (“They can get really excited to meet her.”) Greta Thunberg is in her home in Sweden, her father testing the technology for the video link while the teenager waits in the background. The activists have never met nor spoken but, as two of the most visible climate campaigners in the world, they are keenly aware of each other.

Thunberg, now 16, catapulted to fame last year for skipping school every Friday to stand outside the Swedish parliament, protesting against political inaction over the climate crisis and sparking an international movement, the school strike for climate, in which millions of other children followed suit. Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district is, at 29, the youngest woman ever to serve in Congress, whose election over a well-funded incumbent in 2018 was a huge upset to politics-as-usual. She has been in office for less than a year, which seems extraordinary given the amount of coverage she has generated. In February, Ocasio-Cortez submitted the Green New Deal to the US House of Representatives, calling for, among other things, the achievement of “net-zero” greenhouse gases within a decade and “a full transition off fossil fuels”, as well as retrofitting all buildings in the US to meet new energy efficient standards.

The Green New Deal, while garnering support from Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar, was mocked by speaker Nancy Pelosi (“the green dream or whatever they call it”), and defeated in the Senate by Republicans. Like Thunberg, however, Ocasio-Cortez gives every appearance of being galvanised by opposition, and has the kind of energy that has won her 4.41 million Twitter followers and makes establishment politicians in her path very nervous.

In the course of their conversation, Ocasio-Cortez and Thunberg discuss what it is like to be dismissed for their age, how depressed we should be about the future, and what tactics, as an activist, really work. Ocasio-Cortez speaks with her customary snap and brilliance that, held up against the general waffle of political discourse, seems startlingly direct. Thunberg, meanwhile, is phenomenally articulate, well-informed and self-assured, holding her own in conversation with an elected official nearly twice her age and speaking in deliberate, thoughtful English. They are, in some ways, as different as two campaigners can get – the politician working the system with Washington polish, and the teenager in her socks and leggings, working from her bedroom to reach the rest of the world. There is something very moving about the conversation between these young women, a sense of generational rise that, as we know from every precedent from the Renaissance onwards, has the power to ignite movements and change history. 

When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez met Greta Thunberg: 'Hope is contagious' by Emma Brockes, Environment, Guardian, June 29, 2019 

Links posted on Facebook

Sun June 23 2019

Mon June 24 2019

Tue June 25 2019

Wed June 26 2019

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Sat June 29 2019

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Comments 1 to 26:

  1. Regarding the great interview with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Greta Thunberg. The considerable power of lobby groups and the lack of limits on campaign donations in America is because the constitution protects free speech and the courts have interpreted this to mean that there should be no limits on lobby groups and what people can donate to political parties. Refer this article. Changing the constitution is not easy.

    It looks from various polls like the left mostly accept the science of climate change and want something done at both individual and government level, and the right largely still reject the overwhelming consensus on climate science, and see this issue as a socialist conspiracy to entrap them and attack their wealth and privilege, just for the sake of it, and to manipulate people like Greta. Unless this thinking of the right changes, we have a stalemate situation and probable environmental disaster of epic proportions. Yes all people and political parties need to find common ground, but the right have to shed some delusions.

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  2. The Republicans hate socialism because they practice its variant...fascism. I'm referring to Ayn Rand's classical definition and her distinction that the two systems only vary in whether there is only government control of the means of production and distribution (fascism) versus government ownership (socialism).

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  3. Hitler's cabal loved control so they didn't have to own the means of P an D...the Soviets wanted to own it. that led to a real hatred between the advocates of the two it still does.

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  4. America displays the fascist variant...look at the voluminous Code of Federal Regulations telling everybody how they will behave in our "free" country.

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  5. Clearly, the US Government doesn't own the means of P and D unless you just want to argue about the Tennessee Valley Authority, a dam on the Colorado, nuclear power stuff or the USPS...and a few other things. But control? Yep...lots of control emanates from the USG. LOTS!

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  6. Democrats just don't want to understand why socialism is a generally bad idea because they refuse to look at the Russian experience or the Chinese system. Republicans soothe their nerves thinking private ownership is always the "best" idea, the most moral, the only way to spread equal opportunity amongst the masses whom they are sure want to climb the ladder of success through efforts on their own. They can demonstrate that "effort on their own" axiom by citing Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, Facebook's CEO....accolades go on forever. Jonas Salk and MLK have done more for the welfare of Humanity than those Captains of Industry 

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  7. But capitalism, fascism, socialism and autocracy will, all, have to be re-conceptualized if the human race is going to survive the coming climate future because nature is pitiously indifferent and won't save anybody or any thing in the coming future if organisms can't adapt to the conditions that will exist tomorrow.

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  8. Swampfox @1-7

    "America displays the fascist variant...look at the voluminous Code of Federal Regulations telling everybody how they will behave in our "free" country.'

    Mostly health and safety related regulations, environmental regulations, building codes, occupational licencing. Seems fine to me so I'm not sure why you would object to that? Not sure if I would categorise it as control of the economy. 

    Socialism doesnt work in dictatorships like the Soviet Union because leadership is not accountable for failures and so the system stagnates and environments get utterly trashed. State owned and controlled education and healthcare works quite well in democracies, because teachers and doctors are passionate about their jobs and governments can be voted out if performance of the education system falls. Industry works better in private ownership. I like systems that combine elements of capitalism and socialism, fwiw.

    Agree with comment 7, all economies are going to have to change to become more environmentally sustainable.

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  9. I would recommend that a site focused on science not endorse political activism which this particular article clearly demonstrates. AOC does not have a good record of embracing intellectual concepts much less scientific concepts. 

    This particular post suggests a clear bias which I thought the editors were trying to avoid. We must all remain skeptical of all the scientific efforts toward climate research in order to embrace new information and methods. 

    Embracing a political stunt on the front page of a science site by someone that clearly has no interest in science outside of its political benefit is a ding to the site's reputation.

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  10. jjworld @9

    "I would recommend that a site focused on science not endorse political activism which this particular article clearly demonstrates."

    Imho this website didn't endorse politicial arcivism. It's just presenting an article in the Guardian,  and John Hartz expressed no opinion on the matter. The article in the guardian reports facts on what has happened in the lives of these people,  and a record of the interview so is not really an opinion piece.  It didn't endorse anything either. We need to know whats happening.

    "AOC does not have a good record of embracing intellectual concepts much less scientific concepts."

    Opinionated,  and not backed up with any examples. According to her wikipedia entry "She graduated cum laude from Boston University's College of Arts and Sciences in 2011, majoring in international relations and economics." So she has rather good credentials to grasp concepts.

    "This particular post suggests a clear bias..."

    I dont see a bias: the website discusses different sides of issues. Imho this website treads carefully on political issues and just reports on what is happening. We are free to make up our own minds on the issues.

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  11. it is pretty hard to be immersed in climate science without being very aware that urgent action is required, even if only on the precautionary principle. When we have political parties in major democracies embracing anti-science disinformation, then it becomes obvious that political traction is needed or science will be only able to say "I told you so". While Skpsci has not embraced any particular political position on how to deal with climate change, let alone activism (beyond debunking), it has done articles looking at the validity of proposed solutions. While this article is just a reprint from another source, it is likely to be of interest to many concerned about the way climate will affect our future. The roadblocks to dealing with climate change are more political than technical.

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  12. Maybe I misunderstood. I see "Editor's Pick" at the top of the article. That sounds like an endorsement. 

    "She graduated cum laude from Boston University's College of Arts and Sciences in 2011, majoring in international relations and economics." So she has rather good credentials to grasp concepts." 

    Really? She worked as a bartender after graduating. That doesn't sound like she leveraged those credentials very well. And she clearly doesn't understand economics since she tanked the Amazon deal which cost her constituency dearly. She thinks being rich is evil on its face as evidenced by her numerous statements on the topic.

    If the Editor's Choice title didn't come from Skeptical Science than I'll back off. But the article was clearly meant to invoke an emotional reaction since she was meeting with a young climate activist. For a science site, the bar should be higher. 

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  13. jjworld @12, I understand where you are coming from, but editors choice just means its an interesting article. This doesn't mean the website endorses OCS's views and this should be obvious. I would publish the article, but I only half agree with her views on the GND.

    Working as a bar tender after graduating doesn't change the quality of her degree or her judgement. Maybe she wanted some time out. Have you thought of that? Plenty of good people do that.

    Your claim that she tanked the Amazon deal is just your opinion. About 30% of people blamed her for tanking the Amazon deal in some poll which isn't exactly an in depth analysis of what tanked the deal. Maybe her concerns about the tax breaks were well principled concerns. Donald Trump tanked plenty of deals, and many of his companies went bankrupt. The point I'm making is many people make mistakes, if she made a mitake, and its absurd to judge them on one deal.
    What I find very annoying is you are personally denigrating OCR's judgement, rather than by talking about the points she raises on the issues and how we best mitigate climate change. 

    I agree we dont want to have to be discussing politicial issues, it frustrates me as well, but its impossible to avoid political discussion because the science and mitigation has become politicised. Its possible to discuss politics rationally and if anyone can do this scientists can because of their training.

    "The article was clearly meant to invoke an emotional reaction since she was meeting with a young climate activist. For a science site, the bar should be higher."

    I don't believe they are trying to invoke an emotional reaction. The interview just happened to be with a young person, and young people have a right to be heard on the climate issue, and ironically Greta comes across as cool headed and with her emotions well under control.

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  14. Part of the purpose of Skeptical Science is to equip science communciators to better communicate science into science-hostile environments. From my perspective, anything that Greta Thunberg says or does is something I want to read about, because she is someone from whom I as a climate scientist have a lot to learn. And while politicians are an incomprehensible alien species, I am interested in how they interact with scientists and advocates for science.

    The Thunberg article and the PPI article would be my top two picks.

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  15. Global Warming is inherently political if you take the view we have to implement a WWII scale mobilization.

    BTB, "socialism" originally meant "for society", while "capitalism" meant "for capital".

    The Paris Commune, Free Catalonia of the 1930s, Mondragon to the extent worker owned/operated enteriprises can do so in a sea of Capitalism, Rojova (last I checked, maybe gone by now), the Zapatistas in Chiapas (Mexico) among many others through space and time democratized resources. I.e., means of production, food, shelter, education, healthcare.

    And yes, under these systems you own your home (everyone gets one you can't get evicted from), and everyone gets a say in all the things that affect you per the amount they affect you. E.g., you have ane equal say in the operation of your work place. Means of production are democratically owned and operated.

    Stalinism, Maoism along with any other system that destroyed democracy at any levels of life shold not be considered socialism by a reasonable person.

    A nice intro to some of the history of various sorts of systems "for society", can be had in "It's not over..." by Dolak.

    There's also a website called ZComm (google "Z Communications").

    Among others doubtless.

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  16. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's response to the attacks made on her employment record by the Republican/Tea Party echo chamber including jjworld #12... poster

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  17. AOC working as bartender after graduation proves nothing at all. The first job one finds after college is more of a reflection of their willingness to work than anything else. Has the conservative ideology changed so much that one should now be expected to sit on their butt until they find the perfect fit to their education level intheir area of study, counting on society to provide for their needs until that happens? That'd be new one.

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  18. After getting a BA from Florida’s honors college, New College, I worked as a night janitor while I figured out what to do next, then did the work needed to do that. It is a chronic “problem” for New College’s “success” criteria submitted to the state of Florida. Ended up with a PhD, post doc at IBM’s Watson Research Center, Bellcore, and so on. Not actually a problem. 

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  19. Wow. Think I opened a big cam of worms on this thread. AOC says nothing new that hasn't been said a hundred times before, and by people with the gray hair to elaborate on it. I too, wanted to have a site like this one in order to keep up with my climate lectures...I can get politics stuff anywhere. Political opinions are as numerous as anal openings, everybody's got one and they aren't all exactly the same. Science is conspicuously different and you actually learn something useful, so how about we all refrain from introducing political rhetoric into this place so there remains room left for peer-reviewed science to help us save the future? Eh?

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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Political rhetoric snipped.

  20. I've been attached to Skep/Sci for about the last 5 years, maybe six. I've noticed an increasing presence of contributors who talk a lot and take up a lot of space doing what I'm going to call, Liberal Arts "stuff". I'm beginning to think the people who run this site, perhaps, ought to screen out this material, somehow. I need to keep up with the plight of phytoplankton in the ocean, or the methane emissions from the Arctic permafrost...Liberal Arts stuff really gets in the way.

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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Feel free to submit a relevant science- and evidence-based article of your own for consideration.

  21. At this point (unless someone on this site can fully dis-prove the catastrophists (tm), which they sort of addressed but didn't really disprove... yes, I know the research is scanty but Sharkova and some others point to real possibility of us being in abrupt climate change) it's very possible we have several years to change society if we want to avoid an ag-system induced collapse.

    The IPCC has been way behind the science (understandably so), and if they say 11 years and note a bio-diversity collapse, that points to the real possibility things are going very bad very quickly.

    So it's time for scientists and engineers to read some history, sociology, anthropology, and, ok poli-sci, to understand how this problem must be approached.

    This also means they need to start understanding what is going on in the body politic, if they are going to talk about solutions.

    A very large part of the skepticism has now been morphed into, "oh, we can't do that" or "we can't do that that quickly"...

    This is where historical data comes in.

    I.e., WWII mobilization in for the market oriented, centrally planned model and Free Catalonia of the 1930s for the non-market model.

    Not saying we have to copy those (sure there are other examples) but if scientists want to be a part of the solution, they have to understand how to implement solutions in society.

    E.g., the shortcomings of carbon taxes should alert scientitst and others this is dead end. Yet many of them seem to think "ah, if we implement it correctly..." point is, with oligopolies in power, policies will always be subverted, sooner or later. And we very likely don't have time for that nonsense.

    Another one is divestment. Some scientists seem to think it toppled the Aparteid regime. It likely helped, but it was the people there that did it along with many other factors.

    Even the WWII mobilization in the US was very messy and non-linear, though it was likely the most effective one on the planet. But there were many factors unique to that time an place as well as factors still here today.

    It seems likely we'll have to do the WWII version, which means people need to understand how it was done.

    First and foremost, money is no object when you own the printing press. You just have to ensure you let it chase the wrong stuff (WWII war mobilization involved 30-40% created money and inflation was kept at 7-10%)... see Stephani Kelton and the MMTers for a full break down.

    But anyone that understands Keynsianism or even resever banking understands you can create money from thin air. The MMTers went so far as to outline how the Romans created money then markets (see Graeber's "Debt: First 5k...."

    Given that and current tech we could change the whole economy in 3 - 5 yrs... as long as society is willing (as for WWII mobilization) to do it.

    But we need politicians like the Great Savior of Capitalism FDR who said things like "I want 5000 destroyers by May 15...", "But sir, we don't have the capacity..." "well build the capacity..." and many of the "pie in the sky impossible" targets were met.

    And most of that was accomplished by governemnt owned and operated shipyards who were more productive and efficient than the private ones.

    So, yes, we can get to 0 emissions in a matter of a decade or less, but we have to understand market systems left alone or anything other than commandeered (as in the US WWII production) fully or by coercion ain't going to get us there in any reasonable time scale.

    Unless we have 50 to 100 years to mess around with, in which case I'm just a silly alarmist. And it's not clear whether or not we do have that time (unless I missed a post on it), so it would seem better to get to negative emissions ASAP (which is likely materially possible in a few years but politically impossible).

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  22. swampfoxh @19 and 21, I always like reading your comments, but I get annoyed when people imply I'm making "liberal arts comments". I made some political comments at post 1 because the article covered political issues! Doh! How else can one respond if not politically? I based my comments on facts and what polls are telling us.

    My main interest is the science and the technology of mitigation, but politics is embedded in the climate issue whether we like it or not. It seems artificial to put such issues off limits. This website was set up to expose denialist trickery, its not atmospheric physics 101, so I think there is room for rational political articles and discussion on occasion.

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  23. Recommended supplemental reading:

    Meet generation Greta: young climate activists around the world by Anna Turns, Environment, Guardian, June 28, 2019

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  24. Swampfox: As clearly stated in the green box of the OP, the Weekly News Roundup is "a chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week."  Because the SkS FB page is a social media platform, I select of a variety of articles from around the world to post links to. Some articles focus on climate science and other articles focus on climate policy. I personally chose the articles to be linked to without oversight by the SkS volunteer team. Likewise, I personally select the article to be fetured as the "Editor's Pick." 

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  25. Swampfox: If you are indeed looking for the latest information about the scientific research findings about climate science to to keep your lectures current, the SkS New Climate Research weekly listings are made to order. Given the content of your posts, I suspect that you are more interested in scoring politicl points than in learning about new scientific research. 

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  26. John Hartz.  Well then, I take it all back.  I did think it odd when you snipped my comment about AOC saying nothing new that hasn't been said by people with more gray hair.  Since I don't have a party affiliation...the best that might be said is that I am a radical environmentalist, but I do find it odd that people fawn over this person who clearly offers northing new "under the sun".  If that means to you I am trying to score political points, I would wonder whether you see that as points in favor of the Republicans or in the favor of the Democrats.  Neither party appeals to me and I probably should add that I teach a class entitled "Origins of the American System of Government" at a colloge here in Central Virginia, and do so alongside the climate lecture titled: Climate Change: Impact of an Outlaw can quickly imagine whom is the outlaw species.  Also, your management of this site has never been an issue for me, I was only growing tired of lengthly tomes of rhetoric that often seem not to tie the science with the solutions.  My use of the term, Liberal Arts, to enclose non-science materials should not be viewed as pejorative, it might be that at my age, 75, I'm reflecting how we used to view much college curricula.  Finally, the New Climate Research weekly listing are the best around and I thank you for those.  You can imagine the flack I receive for my Climate Lecture...but those listings are "fingertip" rebuttals for some of the Denier materials I see every day.  Thank You.

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    Moderator Response:

    [JH] For the record, DB snipped your comment about AOC saying nothing new that hasn't been said by people with more gray hair. He may snip it again. FWIW, I will celebrate my 76th birthday next week.

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