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2022 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #46

Posted on 19 November 2022 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Nov 13, 2022  thru Sat, Nov 19, 2022.

Story of the Week

Is COP27 the End of Hopes for Limiting Global Warming to 1.5 Degrees Celsius?

The climate talks are going into overtime with little progress toward the emissions cuts required to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The COP27 climate conference in Egypt may be remembered as the moment when the world gave up on limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the most ambitious goal set by the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Late Friday, the last scheduled day of the climate talks in Sharm el-Sheikh, the heads of the national delegations were still meeting to discuss whether the final documents should include a reference to that temperature target, which scientists call a limit that, if breached, would push some Earth systems past dangerous and irreversible tipping points.

This year’s annual meeting was billed as the “implementation COP,” but so far “nothing has been implemented, and it has thus failed to achieve what it set out to do,” said Stephanie Hirmer, a senior researcher at the University of Oxford’s energy and power group. “While everyone knows the 1.5-degree target is off the table, it is not openly discussed in official sessions,” she said.

The only way to stay under that limit, a recent United Nations Environment Programme report concluded, would be for industrialized nations to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions—cutting them by about half in the next eight years and to zero by 2050—but nothing that happened at this year’s two-week conference has increased the likelihood that will happen.

Click here to access the entire article as originally posted on Inside Climate News.

Is COP27 the End of Hopes for Limiting Global Warming to 1.5 Degrees Celsius? by Bob Berwyn, Science, Inside Climate News, Nov 19, 2022 

Links posted on Facebook

Sun, Nov 13, 2022

Mon, Nov 14, 2022

Tue, Nov 15, 2022

Wed, Nov 16, 2022

Thu, Nov 17, 2022

Fri, Nov 18, 2022

Sat, Nov 19, 2022

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Comments 1 to 13:

  1. I am sad to say that the observation that the COP system for addressing climate change is broken is incorrect simply because it is an understatement.

    To break, it has to be working, which it has NEVER managed to do in terms of rising to the levels of action required. Seeing the oil producers end COP 27 by nixing even considering cutting back on fossil fuel production should make that clear to even the most hopeful.

    The current war in the Ukraine only reinforces how destructive a force our dependence on fossil fuels has become, and to what extent the controllers of energy will go in order to retain their power. I'm not saying this as a political statement at all, as the countries who control the fossil fuel production cut across the entire political spectrum. We don't have much of a track record for successfully breaking up such a stranglehold, but I believe that despite such sobering evidence, we must continue to try, ever more clear-eyed about calling a spade a spade. COP was probably co-opted in its inception: what next?

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  2. I could not agree more; we should have started a planetwide GHG reduction program similar to the US Manhatten program around 1980. 

    Your comment is too accurate to see lost to one website, so, I shared the only way I know. Thanks!

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    Moderator Response:

    [BL] Link activated

  3. wilddouglascounty,

    What next?

    That depends on what admissions about the reality of what has been going on become the 'common sense'.

    My comments on the SkS reposting of the Yale Climate Connections item "New reports spell out climate urgency, shortfalls, needed actions" provide an indication of the type of 'common sense understanding' that would be helpful.

    As you have identified, essentially the problem is the power and influence of the most harmful portion of the global population allowing the most harmful to evade losing undeserved developed perceptions of prosperity and superiority.

    That is historically a tough problem that has rarely, perhaps never, been sustainably solved in any region, and it has certainly never been globally solved.

    How does 'leadership by the wealthy and powerful' get corrected to bring a sustainable end to all of the harmful systemic developments of activity and beliefs that the undeserving among the wealthy and powerful have benefited from being able to develop, increase and 'conserve' popular support for?

    An increased common sense that that is the problem is a required starting point for pursuit of sustainable improvements, corrections and other solutions to the developed problem.

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  4. 2 Eddie,

    Apologies for the delay; I just checked back today to see what you have done here. Thanks so much for this--I see that there are 137 folks as part of your channel, so I'll check out the other posts you've made there. I think small circles are really a good way to spread the conversation and discussions to elevate the discussion toward taking on the many tasks that will be required to create real change.

    And 3/One Planet, I agree that acknowledging that climate change is a problem is the starting point for sustainable improvements. Different circles are at different points in this process, so fortunately we don't have to have all of humanity to agree to anything all at the same time in order to proceed.

    I think also that the participants in the COP process are well past this point and that the real questions that have emerged in my mind and many others are: since fossil fuel interests have positioned themselves to be able to neutralize and even stop needed reforms called on by the scientific community in the COP meetings, how to proceed?

    -Do we showcase their fossil fuel interests as sacrificing the ability to mitigate an increasingly hostile environment for short-term, selfish gain?

    -Do we show that delays and resistance only increase the severity of large scale suffering, mass migrations, warfare and authoritarian regimes?

    -Do we spend our time really showcasing successful transitions of large economies to drastically reducing emissions as well as showcasing economic development of the South in ways that are empowering and sustainable? 

    It's my sense that we need to be doing a mix of all of these and probably other initiatives if we are to have a chance. The important realization for me is that we cannot expect those changes to come through the COP process. There must be pressure applied in ways that the fossil fuels interests cannot so easily insert themselves into to stop.

    I'm really interested in hearing more about these types of things and hope that this website will showcase these types of things more and more.

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  5. The subcribers number on climate deception is inaccurate by far. I do not have any sexy-like content, and much of it is not strictly climate deception; had I kept my voice I would have done more original, less robot reading. 

    I am eclectic and pick and choose; so I have gone far afield from strictly climate deception material. I cannot produce enough to remain a ranking channel without highjacking kinda related content. For example, today, I will upload a fifteen-minute podcast highlighting the plutocrat control of information, which means more climate deception, denial, and delay.

    I choose all four of your questions and then some. There is no silver bullet. Besides, more people must notice that the Mississippi River is a stream, Lake Powel is a fish bowl, and California burns from time to time.

    For the record, I am looking for others to contribute and/or take over anyone or all of my channels: climate deception, climate damage, and global warming simplified. Note that NASA's climate effects page and NASA Climate Kids need more attention than any Youtube channel. 

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  6. wilddouglascounty @4,

    I agree that a diversity of actions are required to increase the number of people who change their mind to abandon harmful Beliefs by improving their Knowledge regarding how to be less harmful and more helpful. And that includes recognizing that not all people in a 'category of people' are harmfully selfish even if the majority in that category are.

    I think that the best thing would be for people to use their connections and methods of connecting with others to be more helpful including:

    • raise awareness and improve understanding about the harm of fossil fuels and the harmful actions of people trying to maximize their benefit from fossil fuels as harmfully as they can get away with.
    • correct harmful misunderstandings or misleading claims when they encounter them (don't be a by-stander)

    Unlike 'more on-line interactive' people like Eddie Evans who have the potential to reach a broader audience, I am not a Social Media participant. My interactions are more direct encounters with people in my many diverse groups of acquaintances. I do not bring up topics like climate change. But whenever a misunderstanding is raised I try to improve the understanding ... with mixed results. I live in Alberta. So I interact with many people who are powerfully motivated to misunderstand a topic like the harmful climate change impacts of fossil fuel use.

    I have made a more expansive comment about this regarding the added challenge of the 'recent changes by Twitter' on the 2022 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #48. The recent SkS post "Publishing a long overdue explainer about a scientific consensus" is also related to the problem.

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  7. Regarding your comment, “I agree that a diversity of actions are required to increase the number of people who change their mind to abandon harmful Beliefs by improving their knowledge regarding how to be less harmful and more helpful.”

    In the US, it’s clear that churches play a big part in climate literacy potential and climate denial. The fatal mix of ideology with science has a wide track to Galileo Galilei. Medical science history repeated itself in my lifetime: the HIV denial, deception in both the US Presidency and some prominent religious leaders; play it again, recent Covid-19 deception and delay in both the White House and churches.

    We have one prominent, but not nearly as popular as needed, climate scientist, Katharine Hayhoe.

    Popular entertainers, singers, and musicians may pierce the denial wall, but not so long as my generation, Baby Boomers, remains extant. (USA)

    We Baby Boomers overstayed our welcome on this planet. It’s time for Katharine Hayhoe and Greta Thunberg’s followers to shape what my generation ignored. Sadly, we left them too little time, too slow to stop extinction and reshape the earth’s atmosphere.

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  8. EddieEvans @7,

    I agree that the current situation, and the future for humanity, is more damaged than it needed to be.

    The problem is indeed better identified by understanding that the main reason things are so bad is the popularity of ‘resistance to learning to be less harmful and more helpful’ (that applies to far more than climate change).

    People who choose to develop and defend an interest that is contradicted by reasoning and evidence-based pursuit of being less harmful develop ‘Conflicts of Interest’. Their developed perceptions of prosperity or opportunity for more prosperity are able to be understood to be harmfully obtained. But their desires conflict with that learning.

    Among the diversity of ‘categories’ or ‘groupings’ of people the one that matters most is the clear categorization of:

    • constant reasoned and evidence-based learning to be less harmful and more helpful
    • resisting that learning because of other interests.

    Based on that categorization/division the USA and its Baby Boomers or religious groups are not categorically a problem. USA Baby Boomers, including many religious Boomers, were a significant part of the development of learning how socioeconomic interests conflicted with the development of a sustainable improving future for humanity. That ‘still improving understanding’ had developed global awareness at the highest levels of leadership in the 1972 Stockholm Conference. Many developments since then, not just the UNFCCC/IPCC, have improved the consensus understanding of the harmfulness of Economic interests being prioritized over concerns about Social or Environmental harm being done. But admittedly, many members of the USA and other harmfully over-developed(ing) nations have been aggressively opposed to that learning becoming the global common sense (consensus understanding).

    The important learning from that evidence is that:

    • with few exceptions like medical actions that risk harm to a person for the benefit of that person and things like vaccinations which protect the person but also benefit the general population, Harm Done or risk of harm done cannot be excused by Good Done.
    • An important clarification of that understanding is that Harm Done to some people is not excused by Benefits Obtained by other people.
    • A related further understanding is that “It is not harmful to reduce perceptions of prosperity or opportunity by: restricting harmful actions, making harmful actions more expensive, and correcting unreasonable beliefs (especially beliefs that are contradicted by the evidence)”.
    • And a final related understanding is that people who need assistance to live basic decent lives can be excused for doing something harmful in pursuit of improvement of their circumstances, attempting to develop up to basic decent living. And more fortunate people should help those people live better less harmfully.

    The bottom line is that the serious problem needing to be admitted as unacceptable is: Groups that choose to be gatherings of harmful special interests, creating larger groups that excuse each other’s harmful interests, and claim that they are ‘harmed’ by having their freedoms or beliefs and actions contradicted and restricted because their beliefs are unreasonable and are contradicted by the evidence and understanding of harm done.

    The Baby Boomers and religious groups can and should help the younger generations break out of the cycle of excusing harmful pursuits of perceptions of prosperity and superiority.

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  9. Yes, "The Baby Boomers and religious groups can and should help the younger generations break out of the cycle of excusing harmful pursuits of perceptions of prosperity and superiority."
    The new climate change creates "a perfect moral storm that threatens our ability to behave ethically." So I'm obliged to follow Stephen M. Gardner's wordy "A Perfect Moral Storm: The Ethical Tragedy of Climate Change (Environmental Ethics and Science Policy Series)".
    In the US, we have the science; we know what must happen, and it's clear that at the bottom, it's now an ethical issue, climate deception, denial, and delay. Our climate joins the intergenerational buck-passing we find in nuclear weapons, waste, and mass extinction. Yet, I guess that James Hansen remains unknown to the general population, and looney politicians and cult followers have control over idols of the market, idols of the stage.
    So when do intergenerational social and cultural patterns break for science? When it's far too late for the following generations. Tragically, they each will pass the buck by necessity or choice to the following generations, if any.

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  10. EddieEvans,

    I agree that a major part of the problem is the lack of legitimate ethical considerations governing thoughts and actions. Misleading marketing is a serious ethical problem.

    I read Stephen M. Gardner's "A Perfect Moral Storm: The Ethical Tragedy of Climate Change" several years ago. It is an easy read compared to other presentations on ethics. It is encouraging that more books are being produced by a diversity of people on a diversity of issues related to ethical understanding. And those books are aligned with the consensus understanding presented in the Sustainable Development Goals. Those diverse converging lines of thought develop increasing awareness and improved understanding that competition for status needs to be governed to limit the development of harmful unsustainable results (and some current perceived winners need to lose status).

    Effectively solving the climate change problem, and many other developed problems, will require systemic changes that increase governing by ‘ethical consideration’ rather than ‘popularity or profitability’. Competition based on popularity and profitability has a tragic history of developing harmful results when it is not rigorously governed by the ethical objective of constantly improved learning to be less harmful and more helpful to Others. And when it is poorly governed the competition for status develops harmful undeserving winners who can powerfully resist their deserved loss of status, especially through misleading marketing of harmful misunderstanding.

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  11. I'm not so sure that ethics will help with denial or the climate, but I seem to think so at times. 

    We are speaking of ethics in climate science. Here's an example of the problem.

    In a recent publication, J. Hansen et al., footnote #9, says that E.E. David, Jr. later became a global warming "denier." I'd like to know more about David's history with Exxon. It's part of the denier's legacy. This stuff needs to be documented, something like in Speth's "They Knew."

    David's turnabout is especially egregious because he previously said in David, E.E., Jr.: (American Geographical Union Monograph 29), footnote #8 of Hansen et al.

    "Assuming the greenhouse effect occurs, rising CO2 concentrations might begin to induce climatic changes around the middle of the 21st century." page 3

    I'm not sure what constituted a "denier" at the time, but the consequences outweighed a "fair and balanced" opinion, a lingering assumption on David's part. David had no right, no duty to declare anthropogenic climate change a dead idea if that's what "denier" meant. He's like Exxon's guy.

    Exxon and the others are still at it.

    I'm arguing with myself here. Venting after running into Hansen's paper.

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  12. EddieEvans @11,

    There is indeed serious ethical concern regarding the actions of someone like E.E. David, Jr. But the more serious ethical concerns are people in leadership roles (in Exxon, other businesses, and Government) who choose to be influenced by harmful misunderstandings presented by people like E.E. David, Jr.

    I recommend focusing more on the behaviour of Leaders.

    The common sense understanding should be that leaders need to be ethically responsible for: paying attention, learning to limit harm done, and helping to make amends for harm done. Leaders who are not 'ethical in that sense’ will fail to develop sustainable improvements (in business or government). Leaders choosing to compromise their judgment because of ‘other interests’ (like popularity or profitability), will most likely make harmful decisions and fail to produce lasting benefits (because the harm being done gets harder to hide or excuse).

    I try to focus on the need for ethical governing/limiting of harmful impacts, with ‘ethics’ being understood to be about limiting harm done and helping to correct for harm done. It leads to understanding that ‘it would be great if everyone self-governed that way’.

    Everyone pursuing increased awareness and understanding of what is harmful and trying to help minimize and repair harm done is clearly a fantasy. There will always be some people trying to hide or excuse harm done because of benefits obtained (by them or their group). That is the absurd result of ‘ethical perspectives’ claiming to seek things like ‘the Greatest Good’ (like Utilitarianism). That type of thinking can justify ‘an individual (or group) obtaining massive benefit to the detriment of all others’ (they are shown to be self-defeating theories by Derek Parfit’s ethical evaluations in “Reasons and Persons” published in 1984 – cited more than 14,000 times. Parfit’s presentation includes ‘responsibility towards future generations’).

    Clearly there will always be a need for people who will not responsibly ethically self-govern to be 'Governed and limited by Ethical Others'. The problem becomes more challenging when ‘ethically compromised’ competitors win significant leadership influence through popularity or profitability.

    That is a long way of saying that “What happened at the leadership levels regarding climate science was most likely the result of unethical people winning significant influence over leadership”. The result was probably not because of the actions of people who present misunderstandings. The problem is leaders who seek out and act based on harmful misunderstandings. The people developing harmful misunderstanding share in the blame. But decision-makers who seek out, and allow themselves to believe, harmful misunderstandings are the root of the problem. And that systemic problem has to be corrected to develop sustainable improvements.

    Also, in case there was a misunderstanding, I wish to clarify that the Sustainable Development Goals include Climate Change. In addition to Climate Action being identified as Goal 13, limiting Climate Change impacts makes it easier to achieve, and improve on, many of the other SDGs.

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  13. Follow-up to my comment @12,

    This NPR report about changes in leadership of the Westlands Water District (the largest agricultural irrigation agency in the US):

    Some of America's biggest vegetable growers fought for water. Then the water ran out'

    is a good example of the type of leadership change needed at all levels of leadership on all issues related to climate change impact (and many other issues).

    What is not mentioned, and is an important part of the required systemic change of leadership, is whether the changing leadership will also be pushing for higher-level leadership to do more to limit the harm of increased climate change impacts.

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