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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #5

Posted on 1 February 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jan 26, 2020 through Sat, Feb 1, 2020

Editor's Pick

Social tipping points are the only hope for the climate

A new paper explores how to trigger them.

Egg on Edge 


Egg on the edge. Fine balance, tipping point etc. Risk, danger concept or metaphor. by Sarah2, Shutterstock

At this point, the targets enshrined in the Paris climate agreement — holding the rise in global average temperature to a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius, with efforts to limit to 1.5°C — are beyond the reach of incrementalism. If the world’s large economies had begun a slow, steady reduction in greenhouse gas emissions back in the 1990s, it might have sufficed. But action has been delayed so long now that only rapid, radical change can still do the job.

As I wrote in a somewhat gloomy post earlier this month, the world is not exactly filled with happy signs and portents these days. The chances of sudden, coordinated change in a positive direction seem ... slim.

If there is any hope at all, it lies in the fact that social change is often nonlinear. Just as climate scientists warn of tipping points in biophysical systems, social scientists describe tipping points in social systems. Pressure can build beneath the surface over time, creating hairline fractures, until a precipitating incident triggers cascading changes that lead, often irreversibly, to a new steady state. (Think of the straw that broke the camel’s back.) It is less a matter of simple cause and effect than of emergent network effects that are unpredictable and somewhat mysterious even in retrospect.

Social tipping points are the only hope for the climate by David Roberts, Energy & Environment, Vox, Jan 29, 2020

Click here to access the entire article as originally posted on the Vox website.

Articles Linked to on Facebook

Sun, Jan 26, 2020

Mon, Jan 27, 2020

Tue, Jan 28, 2020

Wed Jan 29, 2020

Thu Jan 30, 2020

Fri Jan 31, 2020

Sat Feb 1, 2020

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Comments 1 to 5:

  1. The Vox article regarding Social Tipping Points research efforts is very helpful in spite of the admission of serious limitations and uncertainty.
    Although specifics regarding social tipping points are not easy to evaluate, any expanded awareness and improved understanding applied to help develop sustainable corrections and improvements for the benefit of the future of humanity is helpful. And every step of expanded awareness and improved understanding that way is essentially an irreversible increment towards helpful social tipping points. Once someone has expanded their awareness and understanding that way they will likely make personal helpful corrective actions.

    The effort to achieve and improve on the Sustainable Development Goals is only going to increase. It will not go away no matter how much the resistance to the required changes appears to temporarily regionally Win.

    Everyone’s actions add up. And though it may be difficult to get a rather fundamentally harmfully self-interested made-up mind to expand its awareness and understanding, there is no reversing the thoughts of a mind that has expanded awareness and understanding to help others and be less harmful to others. Such a mind is almost certain to develop further improvements in that direction. And other characteristics of the expanding and improving thoughtful helpful mind do not matter. Things like political-leaning have very little influence, except for some tribes trying to limit expanding awareness and understanding among their ideological political or otherwise made-up cults even though that is undeniably a harmfully unsustainable way to play the game that has a declining ability to sustain its perceptions of winning that way.

    In many ways the efforts to resist correction and limit awareness and understanding may accelerate the development of helpful social tipping points of expanded awareness and improved understanding governing over those trying to resist correction.

    Hopefully the harmful efforts to resist correction do not get pushed to the point of developing a powerful over-corrective social tipping point reaction. But history is full of examples showing that is a possible future result if the resistance to correction does not give up on their efforts to be as harmfully incorrect as they can get away with.

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  2. A useful book is "The Tipping Point, by M Gladwell". It describes how trends simmer way for years with little or no momentum then theres a tipping point where change is rapid often exponential.  One new factor comes along that can hugely invigorate the trend. That new factor doesn't have to be huge, but it does has to have the right characteristics, be at the right time, and have a popular connection with the public. 

    They use examples from fashion, epidemiology of disease spread, spread of new educational ideas and some other stuff I think. One amusing example is hush puppy shoes that were never really fashionable until a group of kids started wearing them as an anti fashion statement. Sales  increased over a couple of years  then exploded with youth, as the idea became popular. it was the idea that connected.

    So Greta Thunberg could potentially fit the description of the start of a tipping point but only time will really tell.

    Right that's me done for the day.

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  3. On a live TV broadcast in Australia a Senator is booed by the audience when he says he questions in climate change is "human caused"  He says "my mind is open" based on "I'm not relying on evidence".

    Michael Man responds "you should keep open mind but not so open your brain falls out" (2:00, the very end).

    Three cheers for Michael Mann!!! On live TV!!

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  4. The public reaction seen in the live TV broadcast that Michael Sweet's comment @3 provided a link to is indeed encouraging.

    However, the reasons people vote the way they do is what needs to change, not just the expression of public moments of ridicule.

    Many people who understand that the developed attitudes and actions of most of the more fortunate humans are causing significant unacceptable climate change to occur will continue to vote for candidates and parties they know do not share that understanding and the need for correction. They will vote for candidates and parties that have a proven a history of resisting expanded awareness, resisting improving understanding, resisting applying learning to help develop sustainable improvements for humanity, resisting correction.

    Some people will understand they should dislike a Leader, or leadership candidate, who proves they lack the ability to responsibly perform the duties of their elected office like the "booed at Senator". But they will still vote for that type of individual or party "for other reasons". And, tragically, what many of those types of voters will fail to realize is that the "other reasons" they have for voting for that type of candidate or party are also resistance to expanded awareness, improved understanding and correction of unjustified developed beliefs and related harmful unsustainable actions.

    The pursuit of Sustainable Development is a response to the harmful developments that have been occurring. And many of the wealthy and powerful have responded to the expanded awareness and improved understanding of the corrections of what has developed in order to achieve Sustainable Development by gathering up the diversity of "resistance to Sustainable Development Corrections" into United Political Groups as a way to divisively polarize societies in order to prolong the winning by a Collective Diversity of Resistance to Sustainable Development Correction. They, like the Senator, demand the freedom to believe whatever they want as the justification for resisting the correction of something they have developed a liking for. They like the freedom to continue to do what they like. They dislike "Any External Governing/Limiting of their behaviour, and any related corrections of beliefs".

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  5. Yes good on Mann. Its about time the scientific community was just a little bit more, whats the word, pointedly critical of the denialists, but in a humorous way.

    What intrigued me is when he said "Im not relying on evidence". Bet he didn't mean for that to slip out. Bit of a freudian slip perhaps.

    Someone should have asked him what he was relying on. Fairy dust perhaps.

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