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2021 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #2

Posted on 9 January 2021 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Jan 3, 2021 through Sat, Jan 9, 2021

Editor's Choice

After the Insurrection: Accountability, Reform, and the Science of Democracy

Trump  & Sen Hawley

The poisonous lies and enablers of sedition--including Senator Hawley, pictured here with the president--will remain even after Trump leaves office. The new president and Congress have the chance to begin to right many wrongs. But they need our strength to hold them to task--and to hold them accountable for resetting the norms, actions, and policies of our government. Photo: Charlie Riedel/AP

I have led the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists since 2012 when it was formed. We came into being because UCS believes that science and scientists have a critical role to play in our society and because of the urgent needs to strive for a “healthy planet and a safer world.”

When we are witness to the events of this week—and indeed the last four years—it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that those who support the role of science in American constitutional democracy must also defend and strengthen that democracy in order to achieve our aims. We, as the UCS community, can not stand by as our very democracy is attacked by President Trump, his henchmen in Congress, and his rioters attacking the Capitol.

There are many organizations working on civil rights and democracy reform. What UCS brings to the battle is a connection to the science of democracy, elections, and fair representation—and the critical importance of fair voting and broader representation to achieving virtually all of the policy reforms UCS advocates for across our issue areas. Our supporters, based on science as well as the urgent need for civil rights, advocate for the changes we need as a country to combat disinformation. Together we fight to institute policies that secure fairer representation, safer elections even in times of pandemic, and policies that serve the interests and needs of all of the public.

Make no mistake that we, as the voice for science, have a unique role and responsibility in the movement for a healthy democracy and fair representation. Just as science is needed to ensure that policies are effective, a healthy democracy is needed to ensure that they are fair—and the success of both hinge on people’s right to vote and fair representation. Simply put, we cannot realize the role of science and evidence for achieving a healthier and safer society until we can ensure our government is serving and accountable to the people. 

After the Insurrection: Accountability, Reform, and the Science of Democracy by Andrew Rosenberg, Blogs, Union of Concerned Scientists, Jan 8, 2021

Articles Linked to on Facebook

Sun, Jan 3, 2021

Mon, Jan 4, 2021

Tue, Jan 5, 2021

Wed, Jan 6, 2021

Thu, Jan 7, 2021

Fri, Jan 8, 2021

Sat, Jan 9, 2021

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Comments 1 to 4:

  1. As a lay person I am confused:

    Sun: Many Scientists Now Say Global Warming Could Stop Relatively Quickly After Emissions Go to Zero

    Tue: Global Warming Already Baked In Will Blow Past Climate Goals, a New Study Says

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  2. Jonas:

    Are you thinking of the two studies discussed in the following blog post over at And Then There's Physics?

    The key is that the first title you mention says that if emissions go to zero, atmospheric CO2 will start to decrease and temperatures will quickly stabilize. With no further emissions from fossil fuels, natural uptake of CO2 will be able to absorb some of the current atmospheric CO2.

    The second statement is based on a study where emissions continue at a slow rate, so that atmospheric CO2 stops rising but remains at current levels. In that case, temperatures will continue to rise for while. because global climate has not stabilized yet at current CO2 levels.

    The two scenarios are not incompatible.

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  3. Bob Loblaw,

    The second study "Greater committed warming after accounting for the pattern effect" reported in Nature - Climate Change, appears to be primarily considering the implications of the 'pattern effect' of surface warming (some areas have warmed more rapidly than others). A specific aspect that is evaluated to be significant is the pattern effect of Sea Surface Temperature (SST). The study compares the warming that will occur with the pattern consideration vs. without the pattern consideration and determines that the pattern effect means that future temperatures will be higher that evaluations that are performed ignoring the pattern effect.

    As you indicate the reports are not inconsistent. The second report suggests that the results of the first report are understating the expected warming because it does not include consideration of the pattern effect.

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  4. The need for scientists to be more prominent promoters of knowledge-based action by elected representatives, as opposed to representatives being ideologically driven into positions that compromise the constantly improving understanding (knowledge) is indeed important (and their potential engagement with journalists, to help them be more helpful, is a critical part of that).

    As presented by Shawn Otto in "The War on Science" scientists need to be engaged in more than pursuing improved awareness and understanding of what is going on in their knowledge silo. Everyone, including scientists should be more generally aware of a diversity of improved knowledge and its helpful application.

    I recommend the Human Development Report 2020 (HDR 2020) as a comprehensive presentation of constantly improving knowledge and its application to help develop a sustainable and improving future for all of humanity.

    Pursuing and promoting improved understanding of what is going on to reduce harm done (with the governing objective being "No Harm Done") and help Others (Others includes all future generations) goes beyond the issue of Climate Science.

    The HDR 2020 is mainly about climate science and the importance of limiting climate change harm done by humans to Others. But it also relates to the other aspect of the Sustainable Development Goals.

    A critical aspect of that understanding is the knowledge that Technology can be Helpful or Harmful. Too many people, including scientists, are under the delusion that the solution to the developed problems of human activity is "New Technology". It is true that new technology can provide sustainable benefits. But, the current situation has been significantly over-developed in harmful unsustainable "New Technology" directions. As a result, a technological development that is less harmful than what has currently been developed may not be a sustainable technology. It may just be another unsustainable harmful development.

    Ending accumulating harm done, including ending over-exploiting the renewable resources of this planet, is a key requirement for humanity to have a sustainable improving future. And that requires a focus by scientists and engineers on developing truly sustainable knowledge and related technology, not something that is less harmful but is still harmful. And that means application of new technology requires lots of research into fields that are potentially connected to and impacted by the application of the "New Technology".

    Thinking that through leads to the conclusion that the highest consuming and highest impacting portion of the population needs to reduce its perceived status relative to Others by dramatically reducing their level of consumption and being truly harmless humans, humans whose helpfulness is not compromised by being harmful - Now, not in the future if some New Technology is developed. They need to be pushing the development of truly sustainable New Technology. It also means ending the belief that Popularity and Profit can be relied on to guide the development of helpful new ways of living.

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