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Climate Change: Years of Living Dangerously

Posted on 5 December 2013 by Rob Painting

James Cameron, the creator and director of many smash hit movies, has teamed up with producer Jerry Weintraub to make a television series on climate change for the Showtime television channel. The series, according to the promotional trailer below, seems to focus of the human story of climate change - how climate has already begun to impact the lives of people all around the world.

In the trailer, James Cameron says:

"Everybody thinks this is about melting glaciers and polar bears. I think it's a big mistake. This is one hundred per cent a people story"

I believe he's right. Even though Skeptical Science's core message is about the observational evidence underpinning the science of climate change, facts alone are unlikely to be enough to turn public opinion around. People remember human stories better than facts and figures, so examining the impacts of climate change on people around the world may leave a longer-lasting impression on viewers.

Indeed, if there's one thing that is guaranteed to shift public opinion into combating climate change, it's the warm, clammy, hand of reality intruding upon your own personal life. Whether that's in the form of more frequent and extreme heat waves, more extreme downpours, more intense drought and bushfires, or rising sea levels amplifying current flood risk many times over. Whatever form it takes, climate change is going to, at some point, intrude upon all our lives in a very detrimental way.

Sure, SkS regulars may take issue with the 99% analogy used by James Cameron, rather than the 97% which frequently appears in the scientific literature, including our study, Cook et al (2013). And with the claim by Weintraub that hurricanes are twice as bad as they ever were (they're not). Aside from these slight flaws it is encouraging to see one of the greatest filmakers of our time turn his talents toward communicating the urgency of combating climate change. 

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Comments 1 to 50 out of 58:

  1. (Forgive the 'non-sciency' comment, but as this is a 'non-sciency' post..)  I am a climate writer over at Huffington Post.  Watching a Hollywood blockbuster a couple months ago (the Brad Pitt zombie movie, 'World War Z'), I realized that many, many millions more people would see and possibly be 'moved' by a Hollywood climate change blockbuster than ever would by my articles.  I've just about completed the screenplay; am about to send it in to a 'script doctor' for vetting and feedback.  Called 'The Devil's Bargain' ( a la Hansen's 'Faustian bargain'), it is set in 2072 in a now 4C warmer world on the eve of humanity's enormous geoengineering intervention via aerosol sulfate injection -- "Project Shield".  James Cameron is my target (along with Leonardo DiCaprio).  Perhaps it is time for such a movie -- whether my screenplay is up to snuff remains to be seen!

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  2. The downside of a popularized account of the impacts of climate change is that it could end up being The Day After Tomorrow.

    Fortunately, I expect this new Showtime programme will not reach such depths. With any luck the production team will consult heavily with scientists while developing their themes and storylines for each season and episode, allowing an effective combination of factual accuracy and emotional/motivational impact (ideally maximizing both).

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  3. Composer -- along those lines, my screenplay strives to firmly adhere to scientific projections.  I hope to have a website where folks can explore the scientific basis of the different scenarios depicted.  In fact, I initially wrote in a scene featuring methane clathrate 'explosions' but then deleted it after looking at the latest findings on the 'clathrate gun' scenario.

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  4. It's great to see a heavy weight film maker as James Cameron motivated to tell this story to a larger audience. Way to go, Jim!

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  5. What I think would have the biggest impact is showing real people's faces who either lost their lives, lost their children, or lost their homes and way of life, telling their stories to the world.  Since children are especially hard-hit by warming related diseases, there should be a ruthless use of their loss, the same way those religious organizations do to get donation money.

    Part of the problem here in the US is that many of the worst effects are on the other side of the world (well, there are plenty of examples right here too, and maybe that needs to be displayed as well to make it more close to home) and the average person never sees the face of the suffering.  Too much focus is placed on the future sometimes, when the reality is that there are real consequences now, today.  And that will only get worse.  Make it moral.  Because it is.

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  6. I personally feel that a parallel thread is needed that goes beyond the actual science here at SKS; a place where the message is discussed and not just the metrics of science. Alas we do not have one so I am confused about this post.

    Unfortunately this is going to be for Heartland, WUWT, Morano and his lordship Monckton the kind of unrelated to the actual science focus point on which they can anchor all manner of obfuscation and irrelevance. This will be for the denailinistas what Sara Palin is to logic, reason and informed political discourse; a side show that addresses style over substance, where Hollywood takes the place of MIT and where science is shunted aside for a rain of tears as little innocent children run naked in fear.
    Yes tell the human story, yes tell it to a mass audience on Showtime, sure why not get James Cameron involved, by why discuss it here on SKS? If we are supposed to stay on topic and use linked sources to address the actual science why do we entertain these diversions that are neither scientific nor empirical in nature?
    There is no way in hell this movie/documentary film is going to avoid using the emotions card to try and bend our perceptions and attitudes; as soon as it does it will be game over for any objective and scientific discussion as it relates to the message.



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  7. "Yes tell the human story, yes tell it to a mass audience on Showtime, sure why not get James Cameron involved, by why discuss it here on SKS?"

    SkS has no shortage of blog posts on the dry technical aspects of  global warming. I contribute to SkS because, ultimately, we need to act to reduce fossil fuel emissions to limit further harm - the science is crystal clear on that. Unless, of course, the great majority of people want to act out their Mad Max fantasies for real. 

    A series such as this may help shift the needle of public opinion toward support of climate policy and this is to be condoned (IMO). The consequences of climate change and ocean acidification are emotive issues - people have and will continue to die because of the effects of climate change (more intense and more frequent heat waves for instance), so I am unclear how James Cameron is able to film the human aspect without invoking an emotive response - nor should he.

    Slavery/segregation/apartheid did not end because white people were convinced that people of coloured skin were not inferior, nor was it driven by politicians - they only reflect the prevailing attitudes of the day.  Slavery/segregation/apartheid ended when enough people were convinced it was morally wrong, and they then forced politicians to act. I expect the same with climate change/ocean acidification - there is going to be only so much suffering that people will put up with.

    SkS will continue to publish dry technical posts, but we (me in particular) will also deviate from that from time-to-time.  

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  8. 99% vs 97%? hurricanes twice as bad?

    It's exactly those 'minor' errors that will be latched onto by deniers, blown out of all proportion, and used to try - probably with some degree of success - to undermine all accurate / credible content.

    Cameron and colleagues will need to be extremely careful on that score.

    I hope they will also include some element - even just a passing reference - to denialist efforts to undermine effective mitigation. It would be interesting to have a credible, carefully thought-through 'historical' take on the issue, from the 'future'.

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  9. .... I should have made clear that I hope dagold (@comment 1), not Cameron et al., will include some 'historical' take on denialist culpability! My mistake.

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  10. Rob@7

    So I take it that you also would like to establish a parallel forum that invites a freer range of topics as they relate to AGW? Would you agree that amelioration and geo-engineering issues should be discussed in depth? Would you find it helpful to open up discussions on the nature of communication and the media as it relates to AGW and climate change? Should we not be talking about the economics as they relate to both the impact from climate change and the cost of re-directing the industrial paradigm?

    I know I would, but the SKS structure currently is resistant to these kinds of discussions as they enter a more subjective and interpretive area of discourse. Questions or discussions that enter into the politics of the debate and the form the message takes are somewhat off limits and it is often times hard to know when and if particular subject can or should be discussed.

    I applaud all the hard work being done here by the site administrators, the moderators and those who take the time to do the hard yards of research and submission of articles. I only ask if we couldn’t do more and establish a new line of conversation that allows topics and discussions currently frowned upon. Your posting Rob would be a perfect opening for this new forum.

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  11. Jeremy@8

    those 'minor' errors that will be latched onto by deniers, blown out of all proportion, and used to try - probably with some degree of success - to undermine all accurate / credible content.

    When you know the science, pound the science.
    When you know the facts, pound the facts.
    When you know neither pound the table.

    One of the points I was making by suggesting that the usual suspects will latch on to the messenger (Hollywood) or apply a cherry picker to find inaccurate outliers and then wail from the highest highs about how the science is wrong; never mentioning that science is not what Cameron is about or that slight mistakes in a glossy production does not alter the reality that various metrics have established.

    Something tells me that Heartland planed a fund raiser and cocktail party the moment this program was announced.

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  12. Jeremy - I think you and Yube appear to be looking at this in the wrong way. The great bulk of humanity are completely unaware of the enormous threat posed by global warming and ocean acidification. Those people are Jim Cameron's target audience, and are unlikely to have heard of any of the bogus claims by contrarians.

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  13. Yube - you are obviously entitled to start your own blog and focus on such issues. This post does not advocate any particular climate policy. 

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  14. The comment above that included this should be deleted:

    Since children are especially hard-hit by warming related diseases, there should be a ruthless use of their loss, the same way those religious organizations do to get donation money.

    I have always regarded SKS as an aurthority and and educator and still do, but this is beyond the realm of normal science comments.

    I am disgusted about the above, but to Rob, keep up the good work, as maybe you are right, but this eventually may come back to bite. Undecided so far.

    I prefer science.

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    Moderator Response:

    [JH] For future reference, please identify the name and number of the comment that you are referring to when you post a comment like the above . Doing so, helps everyone follow the converstation without spending time searching through a batch of prior comments. Thank you.

  15. @YubeDude #10:

    Simply put, SkS cannot be all things to all people. There are numerous quality websites that focus on the issues you have identified. Over the course of the past couple of years, more than 200 of these websites have been highlighted in the Spotlight section of the SkS Weekly Digest.

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  16. Great to hear, this is a good thing and about time. People are moved by things that touch and affect their lives, like nothing else.

    Apologies in advance but I have to get this off my chest.

    There is no disputing the dedication and determination of climate change activists, and those working towards a 'carbon free' future based on the outstanding work of our scientific community. You’d have thought the overwhelming weight of evidence would have been enough to rouse and activate an increasingly apathetic and at times confused public (outside the community of dedicated activists). So what happened?

    Any change in direction will have to be driven by popular demand, and not by osmosis.

    Perhaps the key is to move the argument to the ‘audience’ and engage it at an emotional and organic level. Whilst individuals remain insulated from the true nature of things, leading comfortable lives, and who’s greatest fear is losing, or not accumulating wealth; they will not be inclined to act. Isn’t this message of fear being pushed by the denial fraternity?

    I would probably go further:

    Projects such as this TV series are essential to help engage and educate the public. They also help to mitigate and marginalize a highly organized and financed propaganda machine.

    However, there are a multitude of initiatives that work tirelessly towards a common goal, but where is the ‘Communications Strategy’?

    I doubt there any single organisation with the finances and clout to drive the message into the lives of the people who will ultimately make things happen.

    Dialogue and cooperation, coordinated through a single strategy (perhaps away from the UN) will deliver economies of scale…

    • Deliver an effective and incontrovertible empirical argument.
    • Move the whole debate away from politics to evidenced based arguments, defining and quantifying the ‘Opportunity Costs’ of the individual.
    • Identify the 'value proposition' that demands and holds the attention of the majority of the population
    • Personally attach the ‘audience’ to the problem, they need to own it!
    • Develop an irresistible 'call to action'.
    • Through highly targeted and well planned communication campaigns, neutralize the opposition's strategic and tactical position and operational advantages.

    It is now time to recognize the situation for what it is, emulate a corporate model and take a leaf out of the business strategic and marketing handbook. It is essential this is a professional and well led ‘Corporate Marketing Campaign’.

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    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Unneccesary white spaces deleted.

  17. Boswarm wants to delete my comment because it's not about science and he or she doesn't like the idea of showing the real face of the suffering resulting from climate change.  First, this particular blog is NOT about the science, but about the upcoming movie.  Second, science has failed to convince people to act.  Science is clearly important, but there are many more people in this world Un-moved by science than are moved by it.  

    I follow the science because I'm a scientist and it's interesting to me.  I 'care' about the subject because it is now, and will continue to, cause both human suffering and suffering to other species.  Because life is beautiful.  Children the most of all.  They are innocent, and they will feel the burden more than others.  Why is it offensive to try to make people understand that?

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  18. YubeDude: Your most recent post has been deleted because it constituted excessive repetition which is prohibited by the SkS Comments Policy. You have made your points and Rob Painting has responded to them. Please move on.

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  19. wpsokeland: Your comment was deleted because it was sloganeering in the form of gobblygook. Sloganeering is prohibited by the SkS Coments Policy. Please read this policy and adhere to it.

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  20. John @ 18 

    Well surely you will allow me to ask for Rob to link a source for his "great bulk of humanity is unaware" comment. 


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    Moderator Response:

    [RH] Moderation complaints snipped.

  21. Although welcome, I doubt that a movie is going to move sufficient number of people to make a difference. It’s all about marketing – people need to hear the message 10-15 times before they sit up and take notice. And by message I don’t mean blogs, or arcane science papers that help contribute to our knowledge but are almost totally meaningless to the general public. By message I mean extreme weather events: extended droughts, massive storm surges, typhoons, extreme heat waves, etc. Even though the deniers attempt to downplay the relevance of climate change to these events, my sense is that most people recognise these events as being unusual, and climate change offers an explanation. But how many Florida residents can see the writing on the wall regarding loss of potable water because of just modest sea level rise? How many people in the south western USA think that somehow they will continue to have drinking water despite the continued reduction in Colorado river water flows? Just two examples of the many that abound in the world regarding the effects of climate change.

    I recently attended Green Party meeting where I live (BC, Canada), and a well-known climate scientist commented that I was a pessimist because I didn’t see any significant action happening in time to mitigate climate change (although he did subsequently comment that perhaps I was being a realist). The question is one of balance – how to convince the public not just that climate change is real (it appears most people now get that!) but to convince them that the consequences are going to be very severe unless something is done about it, and done soon, yet at the same time not have them give up hope. People need to be mobilized so that governments worldwide are forced to take strong action to reduce CO2 emissions. That is the real problem facing us. Living in Canada, with both federal and provincial governments hell bent on extracting fossil fuels as fast as they can, and a population that appear to be resigned to the status quo, hanging onto hope is tough!

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  22. I have a design background but also some science, and I take an interest in climate change. I do agree human stories of climate impacts are a great idea, however I dont think you want examples of specific human suffering creeping into this websites articles on the science, as you will make yourself targets for accusations of scaremongering.

    If there must be articles like this on this website, they need to be separate articles clearly stating that they are dealing with the human side of climate change. Articles in newspapers would be good but they must be highly accurate or they will get ripped apart.

    For example look what happened to Al Gore. Al Gores book was very good on the science but it also made some open ended disaster speculation on sea level rise that went beyond the IPCC predictions, and he made himself a target for accusations of scaremongering. One relatively little thing in his book weakened it somewhat.

    In terms of reaching the public the research debunking the pause is criticical. Assuming this is strong research it needs much wider exposure in the mainstream daily media. This in combination with a human interest and suffereing angle would be quite compelling.

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  23. @Jeremy(#9) - yes, Jeremy, I do address the denialist campaign (which in my screnplay has gone strong thru 2070).  I am fairly well informed (for a 'lay person') around climate issues.  It has been fun AND challenging to think about what to include and/or not include in a 2 hour 'blockbuster' type movie about a 4C warmer world.  For example, I have NOT mentioned ocean acidification because I am trying to be conscious of what the average (re: at best, superficially informed) citizen-movie goer can take in.  For instance, I include a scene straight from a headline story in my local (Eugene, Oregon) paper last month about coastal fishermen hauling in nets full of writhing jellyfish and baby octopi climbing onto their fishing lines in an attempt to escape an oceanic 'dead zone' - but do not mention OA specifically.  BTW, email me at, be glad to send a copy for a read and some feedback!

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  24. Yube - it's an anecdotal observation. I am unaware of any public survey which delves into the level of understanding of its respondents sufficiently to gauge whether they truly understand the ramifications. When I talk to people (non-experts) I've yet to run across a single person whom has even heard of ocean acidification. And yet, on our current trajectory, an extinction event later this century appears likely as a result of ocean acidification and ocean warming.

    Coral reefs are already headed toward functional extinction, and a looming change in the wind-driven ocean circulation (greater warming in the tropical oceans) will see massive coral reef mortality in the coming years. Too late to stop that sadly, but it is likely to further galvanise climate policy activism.

    Boswarm - I have no idea what you mean about coming back to bite us. The scientific basis for climate policy action is overwhelming. SkS writes about the science relentlessly, and will continue to do so. But the more people that understand the moral implications of climate change and ocean acidification the better. If Jim Cameron's mini series, and the use of movie celebrities, helps to penetrate public indifference or apathy, even better still. Hopefully he avoids further scientific mistakes, such as those I pointed out in the trailer.

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  25. Nigelj - "I do agree human stories of climate impacts are a great idea, however I dont think you want examples of specific human suffering creeping into this websites articles on the science, as you will make yourself targets for accusations of scaremongering."

    As I wrote earlier, climate change has and will continue to cause suffering. To ignore this simply because climate science cranks make spurious allegations is weak justification in my book. Burning fossil fuels = suffering. Those are the cards that physics has dealt us. Doing something about it is a moral challenge.

    "In terms of reaching the public the research debunking the pause is criticical."

    I think you underestimate the temporary nature of these memes. They are soon forgotten and new ones evolve over time. This meme doesn't really have any legs because the Earth as a whole continues to warm - especially the oceans. Ongoing global sea level rise is a testament to this.

    SkS also has a series coming up on the wind-driven ocean circulation explaining the fundamentals of the so-called 'hiatus' and 'accelerated warming' decades. Finishing the animations and graphics are the hold-up at the moment. 

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  26. Rob- yes, OA feels like it might be a 'Horseman of the Apocolypse' that is being largely (in terms of the general public) overlooked compared to his more 'glamorous' colleagues.  

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  27. Rob Painting at 2. I certainly agree we are causing climate change, and climate change is causing suffering, and will cause considerably more. This does need discussion, its just a question of treading carefully.

    At the very least descriptions of human suffering must be totally accurate. My concern is the climate sceptic denial people jumping on any errors or waving their arms about scaremongering.

    Regarding the alleged pause, I disagree a little. This is rather a big meme. I listen to ordinary people in the street discussing clmate change, especially the sceptical ones, and this is the big thing they quote. Of course they dont undertsand the reasons that its just the solar cycle and la nina having a temporary affect on surface temperatures, and that the oceans continue to warm strongly.

    It would be good to see this issue adressed better in the newspapers and the research suggesting the pause is minimal needs wider publicity. This site does a good job on this particular issue and needs wider publicity. I look foward to your next upcoming article on the issue.

    I think global warming is probably changing the el nino / la nina cycle. This cycle isnt fully understood, but currents relate to differential temperatures affecting this and unevenly around the world. It may lead to bigger el ninos but fewer of them.

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  28. nigel- you comment that "the research suggesting the pause is minimal needs wider publicity".  I, of course, agree.  I actually wrote an article about the 'pause' several months ago for Huffington Post:       The problem is, as I see it, that even this relatively simple level of nuance and iteration is simply too much for the level of discourse these days in the media and the public-at-large.  Another factor, of course, is the question of what proportion of the media even WANTS wants to dig too deeply into the nuances of climate change. 

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    Moderator Response:

    [JH] The use of "all caps" is prohibited by the SkS Comments Policy.

  29. "Regarding the alleged pause, I disagree a little. This is rather a big meme. I listen to ordinary people in the street discussing clmate change, especially the sceptical ones, and this is the big thing they quote"

    Yes, for now. My point was that this meme will fade. It will disappear entirely when the wind-driven ocean circulation switches phase and global surface warming rises abruptly. Of course the climate science cranks will simply move on to another meme. But I'm interested in the bigger picture, not the crank shifting of goalposts.

    As for future changes in El Nino/La Nina, that's an area of great uncertainty. There are a number of research papers that claim various things. No clear picture has yet emerged. What I have observed is El Nino tends to be stronger when the circulation is sluggish (positive Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation [IPO]), and La Nina stronger when the circulation is vigorous (negative IPO).    

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  30. David Goldstein - sorry to be a pedant, but the atmospheric lifetime of industrial sulfate pollution is typically just over a week, not years. Nice bit of writing though.

    As for your movie script, ignoring ocean acidification is a glaring omission. It could well be the most devastating consequence of fossil fuel emissions. Ocean acidification appears to have extinguished ancient marine life (based on the preferential extinction of marine calcifiers) in some of the major extinction events in deep time. Those rates of ancient ocean acidification were probably far slower than the rate of ocean acidification occurring today. Indeed, the current rate of ocean acidification is unprecedented within the last 300 million years.

    It's like jumping off a tall building, marine biologists suspect the outcome is going to be very, very bad, but it's extremely difficult to quantify. Even some species that appear resistant to ocean acidification (some crab species for instance), don't come off that well when one considers that their main food source is highly vulnerable.   

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  31. Rob.   Hmmm...yes, I hear you about OA.  It's just so challenging to present effectively in the visual media of mainstream cinema.  Something for me to think about.     As far as the industrial sulfates....the one week life span does not change the basic dynamic of temporary cooling that Hansen called the 'Faustian Bargain' this correct?  Also, I have read that volcanic aerosoles remain effectively airborn (as far as the cooling mechanism) for 1 to 2 years a la 'The Pinatubo or Mt. Tambora Effects' this correct?

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  32. Rob Painting, I have to agree regarding acidification.  It should not be ignored in any story about carbon, since it is the twin sister to warming (or maybe it's the left half of the body and warming is the right), and because oceans are the Earth's main source of oxygen.

    What will happen if mixing stops, and what is the likelihood?  Will it result in anoxia (seems likely)?  How did time play into previous anoxia events?  What was the relationship between ∆ pH, ∆ temp, ∆ ocean circulation, ∆ time and anoxia?  Seems like a complicated relationship.  If there is a time aspect aka organisms have time to adapt so anoxia is avoided, does our unprecedented rate of acidification mean too little time for adaptation?  I understand oxygen levels have been decreasing in the atmosphere, but think it is mostly due to the combustion reaction between CO2 and O2, yes?  Is there any portion attributed to less oxygen formation in the oceans?  I think the answer here is also yes.  Yale Environment 360 Story

    What tips the scale for ocean organisms that would cause a full scale anoxia event?  Since I don't hear much about this, I assume it's because the scientists who study it aren't concerned about it?  Maybe this is a whole separate Hollywood blockbuster...

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  33. Hansen's Faustian Bargain still holds. Industrial sulfate pollution generally stays in the lower atmosphere where clouds form. They serve as 'seed' particles around which water vapor can condense to form clouds. Therefore they either settle out, or get rained out of the atmosphere rather quickly. The Faustian Bargain remains only because industrial sulfate pollution continues to be pumped out around the clock. If it were to ever stop, 'payment' would become due within several weeks, not years.

    Strong volcanic eruptions are different, the strong uplift from violent eruptions in the tropics get entrained into the upper atmosphere (above the level at which clouds typically form). The strong uplift near the equator as part of the large-scale atmospheric circulation, combined with the general absence of cloud formation, ensures that volcanic sulfate emissions can remain aloft in the upper atmosphere for up to several years in the case of large tropical eruptions. There has been some research which suggests intense industrial sulfate pollution from China is able to reach the upper atmosphere, but this is somewhat contentious. 

    I would also point out that some researchers have identified moderate tropical volcanic eruptions as a reason for less sunlight reaching the Earth's surface over the last decade or so (global dimming). The ocean circulation plays a part, but you can see in the Hiroshima widget (top right-hand corner of this page), that the heating rate declined after 2004. How much of that is due to dimming, and how much due to the ocean circulation, is an open question.    

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  34. Dagold #28. Good on you for commenting in the media on the research debunking the pause. I agree scientific comment in the newspaper media is often lacking in nuance. Frankly it can be at a poor standard although clearly your article is very good. I would like to see more climate scientists commenting directly in the daily media as guests, and combating the key sceptical arguments. This would get some respect.

    Of course the media sometimes dont want to dig too deep and have their biases. They like things to remain controversial to create an ongoing story, and digging into the pause may be seen as ending the controversy on recent temperature records. One can only hope they put important science first and the future of humanity first, and comment more on this pause in terms of the generating factors and research suggesting its minimal.

    Certainly the pause is minimal and is likely to end quite soon as the el nino / la nina cycle changes, but sceptics have used uncertainty and deliberately clouded the issue, to delay doing anything. Which I find very frustrating.

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  35. Climate Lurker - I'll stick to what the research implies. Public claims of ocean anoxia are generally exaggerated. Yes, it is very much a problem for apex predators in the ocean because their musculature demands a great deal of oxygen, and well-oxygenated waters in the upper ocean are declining. See Stramma (2012) in Nature Climate Change. It's a long way from that to large-scale ocean anoxia though.

    I don't want to give readers the impression that our atmosphere will run out of oxygen because of human activity either - which I've seen suggested elsewhere. The de-oxygenation of the oceans is a problem though, and could favor jellyfish which are less dependent on well-oxygenated surface waters. 

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  36. This Scripps Institute FAQ is useful in putting the oxygen question in perspective, which shows a loss of ~ 0.03% between 1992 and 2009, hardly something worth staying up at night over.

    (I'm not saying I think a massive anoxia event is about to happen, just so that's clear, though I'm no expert...)  The whole ocean acidification thing does worry me though.

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  37. Thanks for the aerosol info Rob...very useful.  FWIW, got another climate article published today in Huffington Post:    More psychologically than 'sciencey' oriented.

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  38. Sometimes I see people edit their comments after they've posted them, and was wondering how to do that?  I see in my ocean acidification comment that I did actually make a remark that sounded like I think anoxia is likely, when what I actually meant to say is that if the layers stop mixing completely, then it seems likely that it would happen.  To me it seems really unlikely that mixing will completely stop any time soon.

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    Moderator Response:

    [TD] Moderators can edit anyone's comments, including their own.  We try to refrain from editing our own, but speaking for myself, if I notice I made a typo and my comment has not been up long enough for many people to see it, sometimes I succumb to temptation and fix it.

  39. Rob@24

    it's an anecdotal observation

    Based on what? Is this your observation?
    How can an English language program broadcast on a subscription cable network reach the audience you are suggesting? And did you not suggest that it is this audience that Cameron is trying to reach?

    I have come to expect sources and citations not hyperbole and anecdote; maybe that is the reason for my confusion over the tone and subject of the op


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  40. This is a good thread for this forum because it introduces factors other than technical, which otherwise dominates most threads.

    What we are seeing and feeling (in the world around us) is the rapid rise of a "paradigm shift"  in how we so-called individual personages should/will/must relate to the Earth.  Some will learn through hard experience: others may be angry at the depridations to "The Earth" perpetrated by us all:  some may become "enlightened" by other ways of which we can only speculate.

    Eventually,every person will become a rabid environmentalist:  hopefully in time to effectively respond to "what is required."

    This site is a wonderful resource, and more than once I've said to a recalcitrant nay-sayer..

    "Since you don't believe ME, take your arguments to "Skeptical Science", and see how your ideas hold up..."


    Anyway, there is at least a vision for how we (life on the planet) can mitigate this situation, located at


    I need to learn how to finish the website, but the "story" part is ther, but not the support documentation.  It's "benign global engineering" , and totally do-able.

    I'd like to put it up here for comments, but.. don't know how.

    It does address the ocean acidification within 50 years, I estimate.


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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Hotlinked URL; extraneous line spaces deleted.

  41. Yube - seem to be arguing a strawman - note the hyperlinks provided in the blog post. As for anecdotal evidence, until such time as someone conducts the research in that regard, that's all there is. I seriously doubt the greater proportion of humanity are so immoral that they would continue business-as-usual armed with the knowledge of all the harm and suffering that it entails. I could be wrong though. Until proven wrong by the relevant research I'll operate under the assumption that the public don't truly understand the ramifications of climate change and ocean acidification.   

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  42. Climate Lurker - AFAIK only SkS moderators can edit their posts. 

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  43. Rob @41

    Now you are just being disingenuous. You did say that the great bulk of humanity was Cameron’s target audience and that they are unaware (Rob @12) of the enormous threat.
    There is no straw man on my part and suggest that there is sophistry. The links??
    Something I am going to learn about cable access by clinking on the Weintraub wiki link? Even the Showtime link doesn’t illuminate a potential for widespread distribution to the great bulk as you suggest.
    My point is consistent. None of this has anything to do with the core position of SKS, and little of anything Cameron says in this film is going to affect the great bulk that you anecdotally referenced. This is for a western market and not the unwashed masses living on Asian flood planes or those low lying islands scattered about the South Pacific.

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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Moderation complaints snipped.

  44. Yube - I think any rational reader of this thread can clearly see whom is being disingenuous. This video has clearly triggered an emotional response in you and you seem committed to making a nonsensical argument. Is it really your contention that the great bulk of humanity truly understand the ramifications of climate change and ocean acidification, but just don't give a damn? That would be very sad, but I'd like to see some evidence to support it.

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  45. "......and little of anything Cameron says in this film is going to affect the great bulk that you anecdotally referenced. This is for a western market and not the unwashed masses living on Asian flood planes or those low lying islands scattered about the South Pacific."

    Maybe, but now you're venturing into prognostication. And I'm not sure why refer to people from Asia and Polynesia in such a derogatory fashion, it smacks of bigotry. Having been to several South Pacific islands, and living in New Zealand with it's huge polynesian population, I can assure you that many people in the South Pacific watch American television.   

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  46. Rob@44

    Well thanks for showing us what a real strawman looks like.

    Is it really your contention that the great bulk of humanity truly understand the ramifications of climate change and ocean acidification, but just don't give a damn?

    The only thing I have said in relationship to your anecdotal great bulk of humanity repetition is that nothing Cameron says will they ever hear. They don't get Showtime. If you followed the links you would know where the cable is available and how much it cost. The cost alone puts it out of reach to your great bulk; most of whom it should be noted are too poor, too disconnected, and too interested in eating to really give a shit about what you or Mr. Cameron have to say.

    As for the morality or other side issues you keep trying to draw into this thread none of them have any merit on a site dedicated to the science of climate change...maybe a faith based web site is what you should be looking for.

    Regarding the suggestion that my comments smack of racism...I live in the third world and here I am in the minority. It is in the third world where most of the impacts are going to be felt especially in regards to sea level rise. The unwashed masses is offered as an alternative to your repeated use of the equally evocative great bulk of humanity. But please, don’t let me slow down you cause or suggest that on SKS science is the discourse of choice; let the pejoratives and accusations fly.

    Feel free to tie up your high horse in the stable along with the other emotive moral imperatives that have no scientific foundation.

    Moving on... 

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  47. Yube - you simply continue to demonstrate you have no rational argument to make. Your lame attempts to wriggle out of this by accusing me of creating strawman arguments is fooling no one. This isn't Jabberwocky you know. You have not answered the question I posed to you several times already because I suspect you know you're probably wrong. Remember upthread that you were the one to raise this issue.

    The assumptions are either that:

    a) the public understand the dire consequences of climate change and ocean acidification under business-as-usual scenarios - which would suggest a lack of morality by continuing down this path, or.... 

    b) the public don't understand and are therefore largely ignorant of the looming ecological and humanitarian crises that lay ahead. 

    I suspect option b, but there is no scientific research that I am aware of to substantiate this. Therefore, as any rational person would surmise, my comments in this thread have been entirely consistent.

    "Regarding the suggestion that my comments smack of racism...I live in the third world and here I am in the minority."

    Maybe you do. As far as I'm aware you're just an anonymous person on the internet, but regardless, this doesn't give you any right to make bigoted comments.

    "They don't get Showtime. If you followed the links you would know where the cable is available and how much it cost."

    Well I don't know about where you live, but down here in the South Pacific a lot of cable TV material is watched even though people don't have cable. I think you might be able to figure out how this is so. You do seem to have a rather naive understanding of the world.    

    "most of whom it should be noted are too poor, too disconnected, and too interested in eating to really give a shit about what you or Mr. Cameron have to say."

    Unlike you I have actually listened to Tuvaluans speak about climate change. They may be poor, but they do give a shit about climate change. I didn't have the heart to tell them that sea level rise could not be stopped and that their homeland will become inundated later this century, or early in the 22nd century. But at some point someone is going to have to spell it out to them.

    "As for the morality or other side issues you keep trying to draw into this thread none of them have any merit on a site dedicated to the science of climate change...maybe a faith based web site is what you should be looking for."

    I'm sure when you are running your own website you will be able to exercise complete editorial control. 

    "Feel free to tie up your high horse in the stable along with the other emotive moral imperatives that have no scientific foundation."

    Climate change and ocean acidification have consequences. Increased heat wave intensity and frequency, for instance, kills people. You can pretend that it doesn't, but it does. There can hardly be a stronger scientific foundation than the many scores of peer-reviewed scientific papers published on this subject. Maybe you have not read any of them. It would seem so. 

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  48. Rob@47 

    Remember the topic is the Cameron project that is being shown on Showtime. The moral issue may be a part of his project but it hardly falls into the cited and sourced catagory. 

    Now, not to put too fine a point on it, what the hell question did you ask that is relevant to the SCIENCE scince of AGW as it pertains to the SKS guidelines? Or was this just your moral outrage demanding a response? Did you get a chance to look at some of those faith based web sites?

    Regardless of what you think or what your opinion is regarding the prognostications, or my own for that matter, it is irrelevant. The post is about a Showtime production. It will be in English. Now it's wonderful you live in New Zealand, I use to live in Gisborne. It is mind boggling that you all know how to illegally obtain a signal and get first rate American productions for free (if that is what you are inferring) but I hate to be the one who has to break this shocking new to you…New Zealand, the entire Polynesian Pacific, and you can even throw in all of North America and Australia hardly constitutes the great bulk of humanity which as you clearly stated is Cameron’s audience.

    So continue on your excess of repetition beating a horse that died many post ago.
    You questions and high minded attitude are yours and yours alone; why the mods have not suggested you cool your distinctly unscientific rants is a mystery to me.

    Morals, emotions, and glossy productions really don’t have any peer review; I have been told that is pretty much sacrosanct here at SKS. Maybe you have heard otherwise.

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    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Your rehetoric is overheated. Please dial it back. If you do not, your future posts will be summarily deleted.

    PS - SkS Comments Policy prohibits the use of all caps. Please read the SkS Comments Policy and adhere to it.

  49. Rob Painiting & Yube Dude: Your discourse has degenerated into a rather absurd peeing match. Pleaese cease and desist.

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  50. John Hartz - this is not a pissing match. Yube has made a number of spurious claims, and I feel it's important to not let these go unchallenged. Yube, however continues to duck the question, and also steers well clear of any discussion of actual science, so this has come to its conclusion.  

    1 0
    Moderator Response:

    [JH] I am remiss for not pointing out that YubeDude was doing most of the peeing.

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