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2022 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #37

Posted on 17 September 2022 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Sep 11, 2022 thru Sat, Sep 17, 2022. 

Story of the Week

United in Science: We are heading in the wrong direction


Report focuses on greenhouse gases, global temperatures, climate predictions and tipping points, urban climate change, extreme weather impacts and early warnings,

Geneva, 13 September 2022 (WMO) - Climate science is clear: we are heading in the wrong direction, according to a new multi-agency report coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which highlights the huge gap between aspirations and reality. Without much more ambitious action, the physical and socioeconomic impacts of climate change will be increasingly devastating, it warns.

The report, United in Science, shows that greenhouse gas concentrations continue to rise to record highs. Fossil fuel emission rates are now above pre-pandemic levels after a temporary drop due to lockdowns. The ambition of emissions reduction pledges for 2030 needs to be seven times higher to be in line with the 1.5 °C goal of the Paris Agreement

The past seven years were the warmest on record. There is a 48% chance that, during at least one year in the next 5 years, the annual mean temperature will temporarily be 1.5°C higher than 1850-1900 average. As global warming increases, “tipping points” in the climate system can not be ruled out.

Cities that host billions of people and are responsible for up to 70% of human-caused emissions will face increasing socio-economic impacts. The most vulnerable populations will suffer most, says the report which gives examples of extreme weather in different parts of the world this year.

“Floods, droughts, heatwaves, extreme storms and wildfires are going from bad to worse, breaking records with alarming frequency. Heatwaves in Europe. Colossal floods in Pakistan. Prolonged and severe droughts in China, the Horn of Africa and the United States. There is nothing natural about the new scale of these disasters. They are the price of humanity’s fossil fuel addiction,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

“This year’s United in Science report shows climate impacts heading into uncharted territory of destruction. Yet each year we double-down on this fossil fuel addiction, even as the symptoms get rapidly worse,” Mr Guterres said in a video message.

“Climate science is increasingly able to show that many of the extreme weather events that we are experiencing have become more likely and more intense due to human-induced climate change. We have seen this repeatedly this year, with tragic effect. It is more important than ever that we scale up action on early warning systems to build resilience to current and future climate risks in vulnerable communities. That is why WMO is spearheading a drive to ensure Early Warnings for All in the next five years,” said WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas.

United in Science provides an overview of the most recent science related to climate change, its impacts and responses. The science is clear – urgent action is needed to mitigate emissions and adapt to the changing climate, says the report. It includes input from WMO (and its Global Atmosphere Watch and World Weather Research Programmes); the UN Environment Programme, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, the World Climate Research Programme, Global Carbon Project; UK Met Office, and the Urban Climate Change Research Network. It includes relevant headline statements from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report.

Source: UN Press Release Number 13092022. Published 13 September 2022.

Click here to access the entire press release.

Links posted on Facebook

Sun, Sep 11, 2022

Mon, Sep 12, 2022

Tue, Sep 13, 2022

Wed Sep 14, 2022

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Sat Sep 17, 2022

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Comments 1 to 7:

  1. Apropos not very much ~ I came across a reference to a momentously important "debate" between scientist Andrew Dessler [Atmospheric Sciences] and author Alex Epstein [contrarian] which was held in March 2022 .  Published on YouTube . . . and showing 19,000 views in just over 6 months.

    Knowing something of Epstein's propagandist track record, it seemed unlikely that Epstein would come up with anything worth giving consideration to.   And indeed, Epstein's later written "rebuttal" to Dessler showed tiresome banality & word-shuffling of the usual denialist type.   

    (Please let me know if anyone here at SkS has seen that particular video and thought it worth viewing.  I gather that Dessler occasionally gives face-to-face "debates" with such non-scientists, but I have never yet heard of any contrarians who have raised any valuable points.

    There was also a Dessler debate against Steven Koonin [physicist & contrarian] who definitely qualifies for a [non-climate] scientist, but who likewise failed to make any valid points against Dessler, IMO.  )

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  2. Eclectic @1,

    The vocal denialist you raise here, Alex Epstein (Wikkithihg page), is a vacuous non-scientific motor-mouth. He has nothing to say yet still says an awful lot.

    He brands himself a philosopher & energy expert and says his approach to AGW & its mitigation is "pro-human."

    There is a Dessler/Epstein thing from Nov 2021 (MP Podcast #126) which is 80 mins long with Epstein being interviewed in the first half and Dessler in the second, so you would perhaps waste less of your life on it than the hour long March 2022 debate. And the Nov 2021 does include Dessler recommending some go-to climate site called 'ScepticalScience,'

    In his Nov 2021 40 mins Epstein tries to set out his own crazy AGW debate with the impacts of AGW being considered as side-effects of FF-use which apparently are trivial relative to the benefits of FF-use.
    For instance drought is no problem as FF can enable a water supply to be provided. And even within climate, we must balance positive against negative. So Arctic amplification is making a cold place less cold, which is good. And don't forget the fertilizing effect of CO2. His message is that we "should be using far far more FF."

    The Epstein interview does address AGW for a portion - 23:00 to 26:00
    So we are far safer today from climate problems than ever (because, for instance, there are far less climate-related-disaster deaths). And we also ignore adaptation to AGW.
    Three things would worry Epstein with AGW. (1) Runaway AGW but that's impossible. (2) Storms becoming 3 or 4 times more powerful but they are only 10% more powerful. (3) SLR at multi-feet per decade but it's only 3ft in a century.

    Later he says we've invested (in how we live today) AGW and that "could be inconvenient based on SLR and temp change and stuff " but it is really slow - +2°C (so a second 1°C rise from now) by the end of the century. This is not a problem. Concern over AGW is "a total denial of human mastery." (36:00).


    There is also Epstein's "20 myths about fossil fuels, refuted" from August 2022. This is mostly about energy & power supply. The only climate stuff is #13, 16, 17 &18 for which he strangely has the same answer - AGW's impacts as "speculation" or in the case of a +5°C temp rise "extreme speculation."

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  3. Epstein appears to be a Destructive Utilitarian. He seems to argue, like many others who prioritize 'pursuits of personal benefit' over 'learning not to harm other people or other life', that harm done in pursuit of personal benefit is justifiable ... because of the benefit.

    A recent development by these Destructive Utilitarians (harmful selfish people) is claiming that increased awareness and understanding of developed harmful beliefs and actions (developed injustice) is 'being woke in a way that is Too Progressive'. They are likely to try to claim that any increased awareness and improved understanding of the need to change what has developed and make amends for the harms done is Too Progressive, and that promotion of that type of learning proves (in their harmfully made-up minds) the unacceptability of encouraging people to be more Woke (woke beyond the injustice of treatment of Blacks in the USA).

    The following CBC item is just one example of the New Right anti-Progress attempts to denigrate the term Woke in harmful unjust ways.

    So who's 'woke,' what does it mean and how is it being used in Canadian politics?

    Increased awareness and understanding regarding the climate change harmfulness of fossil fuel use and the need to rapidly end the accumulation of harm from fossil fuel use is just another subset of what the New Right will try to denigrate as being Woke - Too Progressive.

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  4. Epstein apparently prides himself on being "known for his willingness to debate anyone, anytime" having "publicly debated leading environmentalist organizations such Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and over the morality of fossil fuel use." This I find difficult to understand. Have none of these numerous debates managed to nail-down what Epstein is actually proposing? In the last decade fossil-fuel-use runs to something like 75Gt coal, 45Gt oil & 35 billion m^3 gas. Epstein is proposing we use more of this stuff. How much more? With eight decades to run until 2100, what level of FF-use is he suggesting through that period? And if he answers, it will then be plain what he means by a +5°C temp rise being "extreme speculation."


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  5. MA Rogers,

    Another way of describing the likes of Epstein is 'people with a developed bias for excusing what they personally benefit from because they can understand that what they like to believe and benefit from is harmful and unjust'.

    And making up excuses like claiming that 'a warmer Arctic is better' is part of the absurd nonsense they seem to faithfully, loyally, and passionately believe.

    And, tragically, many people are easily tempted to want to believe harmful nonsense and claim that learning about the need to change their mind to be less harmful and more helpful to other people and other life would cause Too Much Progressive thinking for their mind to deal with ... too much awakening and improved understanding threatens their developed mental state and related personal desires.

    And, of course, the likes of Epstein evade the reality that any perceptions of benefit from fossil fuel use cannot be sustained when the fossil fuels become too difficult to continue to 'benefit from'. Humanity has millions of years of habitability to adapt to and improve ways of living as part of a robust diversity of life on this amazing planet. Fossil fuel use ruins that future no matter how optimistic the Destructive Utilitarians are that things will always only get better for humans.

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  6. As a Greenhouse gas, CO2 makes life possible on Earth but also threatens it's inhabitants with extinction. Both side of the argument have big misunderstandings on this issue and that's what makes things really frightening. To see a US Senator babble about what the"ideal temperature" is without realizing that it is ∆T, is, the rate of change is of crucial importance.  We are still in a glacial period and we need to learn more about being able to control the Earth's climate.

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  7. Eagle the Greek,

    My initial reaction to your comment was to ask for clarification, and specific examples, regarding your belief that "Both side of the argument have big misunderstandings".

    But, upon further consideration of your entire comment from the perspective of the pursuit of increased awareness and improved understanding of how to sustainably improve things for the future of humanity, I wish to provide the following context as the reasonable common sense basis for your response.

    Human activity can undeniably influence the environment of this planet on a local and global scale. But it is unlikely that humans will even learn enough to accurately control the results of human development impacts. The environment, local and global, is amazingly complex. It was not just made for humans to do whatever they wish with. The best that can be hoped for from humans, with their ability for thoughtfulness, is increased awareness and improved understanding of unsustainable harmful activity governing leadership actions to limit the harm done by people who have developed a liking for 'other interests' which keeps them from helpfully self-governing, keeps them from learning to be less harmful and more helpful members of global humanity.

    Human actions add up. So everyone needs to be helped to limit harm done. Being a better person would also involve being more helpful to others, not just less harmful, to help develop a sustainable improving future for all of global humanity. Admittedly that may require some supposedly higher status humans to lose some developed perceptions of superiority.

    Human actions can be negative or positive from the perspective of developing sustainable ways of living and sustainable improvements. And it is undeniable that a lot of negative (harmful unsustainable) activity has developed, especially by the supposedly more advanced portion of the global population.

    With that understanding as the context, please elaborate on your belief that there are "big misunderstandings" on both sides of the CO2 debate, understanding that CO2 impacts are not the only human activities causing rapid ∆T. The response also needs to be consistent with the awareness and understanding of all the other harmful unsustainable impacts of human activity which includes many other harmful impacts of fossil fuel use, not just the increase of CO2 levels.

    And, of course, a reasonable response would also be consistent with the understanding that fossil fuels are not renewable. Future generations will have to live without benefiting from burning them. And an challenging perspective is that human impacts causing slight global warming may be helpful in the future by limiting the changes of the next natural glaciation event. That next glaciation is expected to be at least 50,000 years away (lots of studies indicate that approximate date. But some studies have indicated that the warming impact to date is delaying the onset of the next glaciation to be about 100,000 years from now.

    It would be great if lots of easy to access fossil fuels were available at that time for humans to cautiously limit the challenges of that next natural glaciation. And the other benefits of rapidly ending fossil fuel use to leave the stuff for those distant future generations are the reduced harm done today and to generations in the more immediate future.

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