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All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

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Climate Hustle

Climate Adam Explains Extinction Rebellion

Posted on 25 April 2019 by Guest Author

Extinction Rebellion have been causing disruption in the name of preventing catastrophic climate change. But what are the organisation's aims? And how do they compare to our understanding of global warming?  Climate Adam explains.

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  1. Climate Adam did a good job explaining Extinction Rebelian. 

    As for Extinction Rebelian itself, I recommend they 'market test' the results of their campaign of street protests and see if it helps them meet their stated goals. For example, does disrupting someone's commute make them talk about global warming, or does it just make them mad at some hippies?

    Here in the US, what's the first rule of global warming? Don't talk about global warming. The topic is taboo. Try this at a cocktail party and see what you get.: "Hey, if we continue business-as-usual, the mean wet bulb temperature will rise to 35C, and humans will no longer be able to cool themselves, therefore become extinct." Thud.

    You are up against slick marketing technologies, so I suggest you reply in kind. Start by reading "Don't Even Think About It" by George Marshal, or "Merchants of Doubt" by Conway, et al, or more generally "Made to Stick" by the Heath brothers.

    I also suggest you target the media first. For example, during the Vietnam war, Johnson knew the jig was up when Walter Cronkite started reading the names of the dead on every broadcast.

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  2. The extinction rebellionwebsite has a good video on the tab labelled the truth. 

    However I dont think the IPCC reports are too hugely conservative as such relating to the science. The problem for me is more related to the summary for policy makers. It is good in terms of the science, but  badly written in terms of style and presentation,  and creates a very understated, conservative impression and it's this document that politicians will read.

    For example it talks about things like good certainty of more extreme floods and heatwaves and sea level rise of up to one metre by 2100, etcetera, but I would say most policy makes looking at this will conclude this isn't too terrible, we can adapt.

    What is missing from the summary for policy makers are some terse statements that warming could exceed 4 degrees as we go beyond 2100, multi metre sea level rise will occur beyond 2100, heatwaves could become deadly even this century, and we are getting near tipping points. Much of this information is buried in the body of the report, but policy makers will not be reading this.

    Of course most of the summary for policy makers is meticulous, accurate and well written, but it could be better in terms of getting the seriousness across and still be accurate. I have not read every word of the IPCC report and stand to be corrected, but this is the impression I get. 

    Perhaps the summary for policy makers gets watered down by politicians who have to sign the thing off. I don't know. But if so then climate scientists need to be speaking out more. And yes they sometimes come up against a corporate owned, hostile media, but do what you can.

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  3. I will rephrase my comment at 2 slightly. There are some elements of the last IPCC report where it is too conservative, but the equal problem is the way the summary for policy makers communicates things.

    There's much to praise about the report as well. The information that is there is generally high quality, meticulously organised and comprehensive.

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  4. nigelj,

    Awareness and understanding of the process for writing the 'consensus' IPCC reports explains why the reports 'appear to understate or obscure' the risks of climate changes caused by human impacts.

    The leadership of the moment in each participating nation gets to have political-minders, 'working with' that nation's science representatives, 'compromise' the presentation of the scientific understanding to their desired limit of reasonable representation of what the science indicates. Everyone has to 'agree to the wording'. The 'political-minders' can't have the report state nonsense. The statements in the report must be scientifically supportable. But the political-minders can push things as far as possible from the reasonable currently developed understanding of what is going on.

    I use the term 'compromise', but the people liking the result of the influence of the political minders would claim it is just allowing 'everyone' to participate in the 'negotiation' of what gets presented.

    Why is the presentation of the science 'up for negotiation'? Why it mainly the Conservative leadership likes of Harper in Canada, and Bush/Trump in the USA who use (abuse) mechanisms in efforts to restrict and control the communication of 'science'? Why do the fans of such people like being misled that way?

    There are winners of leadership who want the presentation of the certainty and risk of climate change due to human impacts to defend and maintain their incorrectly developed perceptions of prosperity and status. Improving awareness and understanding is contrary to their developed interests. And their fans are easily impressed into sharing that interest in resisting being corrected in ways that are contrary to their developed liking.

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