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  1. SkS Analogy 24 - Atmospheric Carbon Loans

    The kinds of food you eat have from little to nothing to do with Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) caused climate change, one way or the other. Rather, how and where what you eat is produced  would have a much bigger impact. In fact being vegetarian worldwide could even be counterproductive in the fight to end climate change.

    The reason for the confusion is what they call a “life cycle assessment” in calculating carbon footprints.

    Product Life Cycle Accounting and Reporting Standard: This standard involves understanding GHG emissions related to a specific product, based on raw materials used, production, distribution, and disposal. [1]

    Just to simplify things a little, lets break down the carbon footprint of a tomato.[2]

    The primary importance in calculating tomato carbon footprints depend on the season and the type of production system as well as transportation, storage and refrigeration.

    Basically you figure out the amount of fossil fuels used in the chain of supply from the farmer to the fresh market. Greenhouses need heated in winter, and cooled in summer. The fertilizer used could possibly be made from haber process nitrogen[3] which is made from Natural gas. Trucks deliver the tomatoes to markets and burn fossil fuels to get there. The market probably uses electricity made from fossil fuels to keep the air the ideal temp for storage and prevent them from spoiling. All of these factors added up together give us a quantified idea of the total fossil fuels used and a carbon footprint is calculated for each pound of tomatoes. Basically the tomato itself, like all food, has no global warming effect at all, but all the other things like fertilizers, production, distribution, and storage do!

    So how do we fix this?

    Well starting with fertilizers. Instead of haber process nitrogen used to make NPK fertilizers, we could use natural fertilizers like compost and manure. That would greatly reduce the carbon footprint of food production worldwide. Geothermal and solar heated and cooled greenhouses eliminate the need for fossil fuel use in out of season tomatoes.

    Next is location. The backyard grown garden tomato has no transportation needed. A local organic farmer might have some fuel costs to drive to the local farmers market, but minimal if a close neighbor. Also electric vehicles, powered by electricity produced by hydroelectric, wind, solar, nuclear, have almost no carbon footprint. So transportation improvements and shopping local or growing a garden can reduce the tomato carbon footprint a lot. If you need a fresh tomato out of season, make sure the greenhouse growing the tomato is local. If it is an organic, geothermal heated, local greenhouse produced tomato, all the better!

    One thing typically not included in calculating the carbon footprint of a tomato is soil carbon. It should be, but isn’t typically included because data is limited. Certain production methods (mostly organic and permaculture methods) have been shown to improve soil carbon dramatically. This soil carbon would need to be subtracted off the emissions side of tomato production. It is theoretically possible then to produce a tomato that has a negative carbon footprint, as long as the production method increases soil carbon more than the emissions caused by fertilizers, production, distribution, and storage.

    Soils from organic farms had 26 percent more potential for long-term carbon storage than soils from conventional farms, along with 13 percent more soil organic matter (SOM).[4]

    Better data would be needed to actually calculate carbon footprints based on soil carbon. But it is clear that some farmers have been able increase the carbon in their soils, and as long as the other side is not too high by using some of the above solutions to reduce emissions, we should be capable of mass producing tomatoes with negative carbon footprints! We are not now, not at any scale to speak of at least. But we potentially could!

    Being a vegetarian could in fact be quite helpful in mitigating climate change, as long as the vegetables were fertilized, produced, distributed, and stored in these improved ways! Every bite you took of vegetables you eat could actually by a tiny amount mitigate climate changes caused by us humans! Not a lot mind you, but there are billions of people on this planet, and if enough of them did this, a little multiplied by billions of bites could indeed add up to a big improvement!

    What about meat?

    There is one thing that needs addressed though. Meat production is very similar to the above. Carbon footprints of meat production are all life cycle calculations as well! Most the carbon footprint for animal foods also lies in production, distribution, and storage! However, if what we feed a chicken or a cow etc has a positive carbon footprint, and the animal eats lots of that food to grow itself, then the carbon footprint becomes multiplied by how much food it eats![5] Some animals can actually eat so much that their feed conversion is as much as 10x! Certain industrialized production methods for meat production can have insanely huge life cycle assessment carbon footprints for this reason, as much as ten times higher than vegetable carbon footprints. That’s why you see so many campaigns to reduce meat consumption in the media these days. Keep in mind though, these are also life cycle assessments. The meat itself is carbon neutral or close to it, it's the fossil fuels used in production mainly to blame for the multiplied effect.

    “The number one public enemy is the cow. But the number one tool that can save mankind is the cow. We need every cow we can get back out on the range. It is almost criminal to have them in feedlots which are inhumane, antisocial, and environmentally and economically unsound.” Allan Savory

    But here is the nuance. If what we fed those animals had a negative life cycle assessment of carbon footprint for the feed we gave it, then we would be multiplying that number by as much as 10x too! So in theory we could produce animal foods with as much as ten times better NEGATIVE carbon footprints as vegetable foods! And by the way, people are doing that right now in fact. There actually are farmers raising both crops and animals with such improved NEGATIVE carbon footprints.

    Why pasture cropping is such a Big Deal - Milkwood
    Pasture cropping allows cereal or grain crops to be sown directly into perennial native pastures and have them grow in symbiosis with the pasture.

    So you see? It's not the food, it's how that food is produced and distributed.

    “Yes, agriculture done improperly can definitely be a problem, but agriculture done in a proper way is an important solution to environmental issues including climate change, water issues, and biodiversity.”-Rattan Lal

    In that potential future case where all our future foods are produced, distributed and stored properly, then a vegetarian would not be helping end human caused climate change as much as a standard diet. But right now, that future does not exist. Right now being vegetarian does indeed help! However, changing the entire worlds dietary habits would seem to be much harder than just raising our food better to begin with! We had made that effort to produce the so called "green revolution" and that worked. We could do the exact same strategy again, this time emphasizing reducing carbon footprints in agriculture.  It could work. And without the obvious dead end that simply forcing the world to become vegetarian has.

  2. SkS Analogy 24 - Atmospheric Carbon Loans

    swampfoxh@5 Professor Kevin Anderson has some opinions worth considering on this subject. In his opinion, NET cannot offset our fossil-fuel carbon emissions, but maybe able to offset our agricultural-based emissions. Here is an interview with Kevin Anderson worth watching. Quite simply, it is very unlikely that NET will ever allow us to safely continue to burn fossil fuels as we currently are.

    Kevin Anderson Interview

  3. SkS Analogy 24 - Atmospheric Carbon Loans

    It might also be said that global outlawing of Industrial Animal Agriculture is much easier than eliminating fossil fuels, since the human diet would not suffer from the elimination of animal flesh, while the loss of fossil fuels as an energy source probably demands considerable and wrenching changes in energy production technologies.  What would NET look like if aimed at Industrial Animal Agriculture rather than fossil fuels?? (or aimed at both?)

  4. CO2 effect is saturated

    I have now read enough of the Coe et al paper to form an evaluationbased on its content, rather than its origin.

    As MA Rodger says, they ignore emissions from the atmosphere - although they do use terms that suggest they've at least heard of it. The bizarreness of their model show up early,in section 1.4 "The Impact of Retained Energy". They are talking about IR energy absorbed by the atmosphere, and state (p31):

    "What happens to this absorbed energy? Some will be retained by the atmosphere/earth system, and some will be re-radiated by the atmosphere through to space.

    This is not even wrong. If the earth/atmosphere system were constantly retaining energy, it would be constantly warming. They have completely confused the effect of re-radiation downwards as if it is some permanent retention of energy. It is not. That energy joins the rest of the energy, to be re-radiated again and eventualy lost to space. At equilibrium, no "retention of energy" is happening and gains from the sun equal losses to space and temperatures are constant.

    They intoduce n as an "energy retention factor", and start talking about atmospheric absorption fractions, but all of that is already built into the "earth emissivity" term they use in equation 1 (the standard zero-dimensional model). They have also completely ignored the fact that vertical energy transfer in the atmosphere includes convection - probably part of the "complex atmospheric thermodynamics" that they explicitly ignore.

    All of these extra terms they introduce are smoke and mirrors. They argue that the real atmosphere is far too complex to model, and then create a simple model that is far too wrong.

    The rest of their manipulations of HITRAN data and "atmospheric absorption calculations are all just hand-waving and not worth any further examination.

  5. SkS Analogy 24 - Atmospheric Carbon Loans

    No one, (on this thread), has yet pointed out that fossil fuels are probably the lesser troublesome contributor to global warming. The ecological damage and apparent adverse climate change generated by fossil fuel-burning is small compared to Industrial Animal Agriculture's contribution.  There is a study, currently under peer review, that purports to show that Industrial Animal Agriculture contributes betweeen 19.2 and 30% of global GGEs.  Similar evidence has been published before about Industrial Animal Agriculture's impact on the environment, including descriptions of other crucial climate disruptors like excessive water use, domination of arable lands for livestock feed and maintenenace versus plant food production for humans, eutrophication of the oceans, waste stream contamination of municipal potable water supplies, broadcasting of endocrine disruptors, antibiotics, hazardous chemicals...the list goes on.

  6. SkS Analogy 24 - Atmospheric Carbon Loans

    "Unsustainable financing (i.e., debt) is often used to establish strong foundations."

    Strange choice of words. Its not clear why debt is considered unsustainable. Surely debt that is prudent, and time limited, and builds useful things is sustainable? In fact the rest of the article seemed to suggest this. However the overall analogy seems quite good to me.

  7. CO2 effect is saturated

    MA Rodger links to a 2005 RealClimate post that discusses the relative importance of CO2 and water vapor in IR transfer. A more recent journal paper on the subject is:

    Schmidt, G. A., Ruedy, R. A., Miller, R. L., and Lacis, A. A. (2010), Attribution of the present‐day total greenhouse effect, J. Geophys. Res., 115, D20106, doi:10.1029/2010JD014287.

    Gavin Schmidt is, over course, the one that wrote the RealClimate post, too.

    Discussion of water vapour vs. CO2 belongs on the following thread, though:

  8. CO2 effect is saturated

    ...and another comment on the Berry paper is here:

  9. CO2 effect is saturated

    As a quick follow-up, the same journal in a 2019 issue has the following:

    Human CO2 Emissions Have Little Effect on Atmospheric CO2, Edwin C Berry

    This paper has been previously discussed at SkS on the human emissions of CO2 post:

    More evidence that the "journal" in question will accept all sorts of crackpottery.

  10. CO2 effect is saturated

    andrewhoward @628,
    Concerning the 'nit-picking', back in September there was no sign of the Coe et al paper [full paper here] but instead another paper occupying those pages. It thus appeared at that time to be somewhat more than 'nit-picking'. There since has been some page re-numbering by the journal which isn't very professional and the side-bar buttons for 'Submit a Manuscript' and 'Become a Reviewer' and even 'Launch a New Journal' suggest a title that is more vanity publishing than serious science.

    This would not be the first time denialists have accessed HITRAN to produce a pack of nonsense. Their description shows them calculating how much surface radiation is absorbed by the various GHGs and ignoring the emissions from the atmosphere. It is the density/temperature of the GHGs where they emit into space that determines the GH-effect so the paper's calculations are simple nonsense.

    In terms of their basic findings, they find H2O alone would provide 91.8% of the GH-effect, CO2 alone would provide 24.7% but when added to H2O, CO2 would provide an additional 7.7%. The CH4 & N2O alone value isn't expressly given while their additional contribution is 0.5%.
    This is all very silly. This RealClimate post provides a more conventional set of findings but includes further contributions to the GH-effect. Thus the CO2 percentages do not look greatly different. But H2O alone is given as just 66% and while the 'Other GHG' (which would be more than just CH4 & N2O but they would be the lion's share) provide an additonal 2%.

    When Coe et al address ECS, they are entirely off with the fairies. It is well known that the forcing from 2xCO2 increases global temperatures by +1ºC. These jokers manage to find just +0.4ºC, a certain maker of 'idiots-at-work'. Coe et al say ECS estimates range from +1.5ºC to +4.5ºC. The usual best estimate is seen as +3ºC, thus a trebling of the CO2 warming through feedbacks. The statement by Coe et al that "More recent work, however, suggests ECS values of less than 1degC" is plain wrong - a cherrypick of fellow denialist work. Coe et al prattle through a pack of nonsense to turn the climate feedback from a best estimate +200% into just +12.4%. Of course, if such a crazy finding were in the slightest bit serious, it would need nailing down and strongly justifying. But Coe et al jump straight to what is the purpose of their task and so predictably conclude "There is no impending climate emergency and CO2 is not the control parameter of global temperatures."

  11. CO2 effect is saturated


    I have downloaded the paper and will try to look at it. Michael Sweet has noted the lack of background of the three authors. Also note that the page you linked to provides received, accepted, and publication dates:

    • Received August 2, 2021.
    • Accepted August 11, 2021.
    • Published August 23, 2021.

    Nine days for an editor to look at a paper, send it to reviewers, get reviews back, evaluate the reviews, and get the authors to address any deficiencies in the paper and resubmit a revised paper, assess the revisions, and accept the final paper? I don't think so.

    This tells me that the journal has essentially no review process in place, and will publish pretty much anything.

    And the company that "publishes" the journal (Science Publishing Group, also known as SciencePG and SciPG) is on Beall's list of potentially predatory publishers:

    The chances that this paper represents a noteable scientific advancement is pretty close to zero.

    ...but I will try to read the paper.

  12. SkS Analogy 24 - Atmospheric Carbon Loans

    wilddouglascounty@1 Can't argue with your logic. Analogies usually have shortcomings, and this one is no exception. What I was trying to get people to understand is the delay between cause and effect. Another message was not to villify past fossil-fuel use, but to note that we need to move on to more sustainable energy use. I share your reservations about the use of NET, but because NET is a central component of current IPCC models, I thought it good to put them in perspective, in the sense that they are being proposed as a method to pay off our "debt".

    But I agree with your reservations about NET.

  13. CO2 effect is saturated


    I just read the abstract you linked.  I noted that the three authors have no experience in atmospheric sciences.  They claim that doubling CO2 would result in a 0.5C increase in surface tempeatures with other human generated gasses being insignificant.  Since the temperature has already risen 1C and we have not reached a doubling yet it seems to me that their analysis is obviously incorrect.

    Why do you think that this example from persons unskilled in the art of atmospheric science is worth our time to analyze?  The IPCC report is compiled by experts in the field, not beginners. 

    I continue to be amazed at conservative people in the USA who refuse to accept data from scientists and then dose themselves with dangerous drugs that have been shown to have no effect against covid.  The same argument applies to "papers" by unskilled people like the one cited by Andrewhoward.  MARodger can ddress what mistakes were made in the "paper".

  14. wilddouglascounty at 22:35 PM on 27 October 2021
    SkS Analogy 24 - Atmospheric Carbon Loans

    This can be a big picture metaphor that helps folks understand the issue, but it has oversimplified the issue considerably by seeing the carbon emissions and removal as a kind of loan and repayment. For instance the Negative Emissions Technologies include a very unsettled range of protocols that are highly speculative, have a wide range of social, financial, political and ethical consequences, some of which is explored here: as just one example. There is some question about how the impacts of some NETs could have adverse impacts on global ecosystems almost as great as the problem it is supposed to solve. Finally, the financial barriers to large scale implementations of NETs is explored here: leaving in question the viability of large scale deployment of many of these technologies, let alone the sustainability of doing so for very long.

    In other words, to oversimplify, if NETs is seen merely as a carbon cash source for paying off the carbon debt, this is akin to accepting bank robberies, drug sales, kidnapping, bogus investment and Ponzi schemes as viable carbon cash sources for the repayment of our carbon debt.

  15. CO2 effect is saturated

    MA Rodger @626

    I am brought to this site/thread by searching on the Coe, Fabinski, Gerhard paper

    This does indeed seem to have been published, albeit in an open access "journal" - so I am slightly puzzled by what you wrote - indeed your link takes me not to pages 29-41 as writ, but to different pages (and indeed to a different article). The "climate change denying" article does indeed appear at pages 29-40 in the same journal. The author list is shorter.

    The publication status and page numbering is all nit-picking (by me) - I mention it just for completeness. I am more interested in knowing whether there is a simple rebuttal to the analysis in said article. I am not a practising scientist and my maths and physics are rather rusty. I can see that the claims in the article fall into the "CO2 is saturated" category. It appears to present a sophisticated numerical demonstration of this saturation and I'm interested to know where it might be wrong (or not). Can anyone oblige?


    Moderator Response:

    [BL] Link activated.

    The web software here does not automatically create links. You can do this when posting a comment by selecting the "insert" tab, selecting the text you want to use for the link, and clicking on the icon that looks like a chain link. Add the URL in the dialog box.

  16. It's albedo


    The graphs are a bit hard to read, but your link to the paper at ResearchGate provides a way to download the entire paper as a PDF, and the graphs (and others) can be easily read there.

    The most interesting aspect of the graphs in that paper (in the context of the horribly over-simplified views of the insistent commenter) is the complexity they show. Both the diagrams such as the ones you point to, where we see zonal averages (function of latitude), and in the maps that they provide (showing two-dimensional variability).

    Of course, several people tried to explain some of that complexity to the insistent commenter, to no avail. The insistent commenter's claim of increases in surface evaporation leading directly to proportional increases in cloud cover and changes in radiative forcing (based on a global diagram), remind me of this well-know cartoon. (Hint: the insistent commenter is the one that is trying to foist the miracle as as if it is a proper explanation.)

    A miracle occurs

  17. It's albedo

    I was reluctant to look into the values of Cloud Radiative Effect by location as up-thread the idea that added cloud & associated albedo came without added warming from water vapour seemed to be too difficult to accept by an insistent commenter and I wasn't sure how supportiive the result would turn out to be.

    However, Calisto et al (2014) does provide in its Fig 7 the positive and negative components of CRE by latitude for both Land & Ocean and they can be easilyare here adapted to show net CRE as in the following graphic (assuming the graphic is visible to others when I link to it). The net CRE by latitude is the gap between the bold red trace & the green/blue trace in the upper panels.

    Calisto et al (014) fig 7 adapted

  18. The scientific consensus on climate change gets even stronger

    Jim - Tol's comment seems to be Tol's way of stating that he thinks both the denominator and the numerator are invalid for purposes of the caluclation

  19. The scientific consensus on climate change gets even stronger

    In a perhaps surprising recent development regarding the change in consensus among economists, Professor Dr. Richard S.A. Tol MAE endorsed the Cook et al. approach:

  20. 2021 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #42

    Greta Thunburg has an opinion piece inThe Guardian today.  She says actions that have been proposed are insufficient and calls for one leader of a major country to step forward and take real action.   It is well written and informed.

  21. One Planet Only Forever at 06:20 AM on 17 October 2021
    Overconfident Idiots: Why Incompetence Breeds Certainty

    Dunning-Kruger types of over-confidence and misunderstanding do indeed affect everyone - constantly.

    As a Professional Engineer I appreciated having my work checked by a peer. Occasionally they would find something that was an obvious error that I missed even though I had set the work a side and then reviewed it again before sending it to be checked. Constantly being reminded about how easy it is to miss something obvious was sobering.

    An additional measure to reduce the potential for Dunning-Kruger misunderstanding by Professional Engineers in Canada is a requirement for Professional Engineers to be Constantly Learning about their area of expertise, and other topics related to the work they do. That increased awareness increases the chances of noticing something unusual.

    A related concern is the mistake that can be made when a computer analysis produces an unusual result but the person who ran the analysis does not sense that the result was unexpected. Inexperience, or an incorrect faith that a computer analysis must be correct (computer results are better aren't they?), can lead to a Dunning-Kruger type of result.

    The number of Serious Climate Scientists producing results confirming the consensus understanding creates a basis for questioning unusual analysis results ... leading to more investigation, not dismissing the results.

    The smaller number of people trying to claim the consensus understanding is wrong appear more likely to suffer from motivation to believe something that does not make sense, which is a form of the Dunning-Kruger syndrome. And of course there are the misleading marketers who likely understand that they are being misleading - nothing Dunning-Kruger about that. That is intentionally harmfully misdirected intelligence (but very hard to prove the harmful misleading intent).


  22. Faster transitions to clean energy are also cheaper

    David Hawk:

    I am not sure what point you are trying to make. The presentation in the blog post talks about Levelized Cost of Energy, not building design. The cost of infrastructure needed to produce energy would be part of the cost of developing that energy, but the cost of a bulding that uses energy is not.

    And the last paragraph is the only place where there is any discussion of the benefits associated with avoiding extreme climate change, and pretty much all it says is that the numbers presented here do not include those benefits.

  23. Faster transitions to clean energy are also cheaper

    Comparing this with the numbers from 1980 is very interesting. What we do know, based on such comparisons, is that the costs of business as usual in building design will be far greated then conceived above, and the benefits of developing business as unusual around energy needs will also be far greater then listed here. 

    This comment comes from having written a book in 1979 on humans creating conditions of climate change then serving as senior advisor to the world's largest construction company for 15 years, a company doing $200 billion a year in projects.

    Is my comment considered "ad hominem?"  Knowing Hawkings first article on black holes was categorized as ad hominen by two reviewers, do you really want to post that you rely on such political filters?

  24. Soares finds lack of correlation between CO2 and temperature

    Frantz & Dayton - Clearly Frantz is a statistician. And knowledgable. He realizes that precedence (cause-effect) analysis (and the correlations used in that) picks up all types of cause-effects. Irrespective of T causing CO2 and CO2 then  causing T. Frantz recognizes that even those types of cause-effects are captured.

    Frantz was clearly trying to get Dayton to think. To challenge his belief. To test his belief with actual climate records. So let me try.

    To repeat Frantz, knowing that spiral relationships are still found in precedence analysis, shouldn't there be evience of CO2 causing warming in actual real-time records?

    Dayton - Explain why ...

    Actual climate records for the past 62+ years show that large changes in CO2 are followed by cooling. And that weak changes in CO2 are followed by strong warming. To repeat, our actual climate records show that the full effect of CO2 is to anti-force climate! This is true for all long-term cause effects over three months--the time it takes for CO2 to cause flora that cools to grow enough to counter and then overpower the Greenhouse effect.

    The above facts are from the highest authorities in climate science—actual climate records. And those highest authorities all validate each other: NOAA, Mauna Loa Observatory, NASA, UK Met Center, Cowtan-Way, Japan Meteorological Organization, Berkeley Earth, RSS, and UAH. Download the records. Do the math yourself.

    And don't try the trend trick. You know that is invalid. Greenhouse gas theory clearly states that a Doubling in CO2 will cause a Change in global temperature. That is CHANGE causes CHANGE! So your evidence needs to be in the form of changes.

    And that brings us back to Soares. You will find that not only was Soares correct, but that what he concluded was truly validated by all nine highest authorities in Climate Science.

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] In the same fashion that asserting a dog's tail is a 5th leg does not make it so, asserting that increases in atmospheric concentration in CO2 cause cooling also does not make your assertion valid. 

    This venue is based on an understanding of science and entails the usage of credible sources to support claims.  The more egregious the claims, the even more substantial must your sources be to support them.  Simply saying "nuh-uh" doesn't cut it here.

    Please read this site's Comments Policy and comport future comments to be in compliance with them (and this includes citing credible sources to support your claims).  

  25. Reposted articles from Thinking is Power

    This is really good; I plan to make a video of the cartoons for a very short presentation of critical thinking and climate deception and climate denial. Credit will precede the video and again following it.

  26. Overconfident Idiots: Why Incompetence Breeds Certainty

    Simply great.  Thank you so very much.  Now I feel really, really dumb.  Did I understand? 

  27. My Climate Science PhD (at @University of Oxford )

    As always, you are quite terrific.

  28. Fighting back against climate misinformation and the damage being done

    Nigelj You say you aren't clear what I'm saying but then go on to explain you do exactly what I advocate. I think we agree, in the end.

    The main "comments" section I tend to post on is the London Telegraph, with its 99% - or so it appears - denialist readership. Until a few years ago they used Disqus but then they moved to an inhouse program and it's near to impossible to return to a thread to counter comments. After 24 hours the articles have been replaced with others and the threads effectively closed.

  29. Fighting back against climate misinformation and the damage being done

    I've been commenting on climate-related articles on for a few years now. I've noticed a change in the science-denying participants, as public opinion has tilted in favor of the scientific consensus, perhaps shocked by widely-reported new weather extremes. Denialism is ever more automatic and reactive. Some regular pseudonyms appear to be software agents, deployed to spout denialism on triggering. OTOH, the overwhelming consensus of commenters in these articles is science-respecting. Every once in a while, a comment of mine will get enough 'recommends' to make me think I'm not just talking to myself. I'll probably keep  commenting for awhile, at least.

  30. Fighting back against climate misinformation and the damage being done

    Wol @1, I'm not too clear on what you are saying. I assume you must mean media websites that don't have a reply button. You can still post a comment quoting what the denialist said and discuss why its incorrect. Even if it appears detached from the original comment,  some people will read it. 

    That said I find responding  to denialists in any fashion is troublesome. In my experience they often use it to create a lengthy two way conversation where they spread yet more denialist points like a machine gun. They rarely engage in truly open truth seeking conversation. They stick to their claims and use every rhetorical trick in the book. So you inadvertently  give them a platform which is excatly what they want. They can then spam the website claiming they are only responding to someone, thus getting around website moderation rules forbidding repetition or spamming. 

    On general media websites with lots of readers I have been trapped in these ways. These days I just post a short fact based response with a single link to the key information and leave it there. I mostly avoid conversataions with denialists.

  31. Fighting back against climate misinformation and the damage being done

    Interestingly, I was just this morning looking up some information on the CDC website about negative effects from the COVID vaccines. Their web page is very well structured to not reinforce any misinformation, and presented in a manner that focuses on effectively presenting correct information. It's almost as if they've been reading your materials, John.

  32. An exponential increase in CO2 will result in a linear increase in temperature

    plincoln24 @18,
    I think you appreciate that this SkS OP is attempting to address the perception of "exponential growth" and thus the idea that the log relationship between atmospheric CO2 cncentrations and forcing makes such "exponential growth" linear and thus arguably entirely acceptable. I would suggest it is not the easiest of messages.

    There are also some real-world considerations with the Log(Exp)=Linear relationship. ♣ There is the impact of any change in the exponential factor driving the CO2 increase (with the OP pointing to that exponent increasing & NOAA AGGI showing CO2 forcing which post-2000 exhibit a doubling-time of 43 years & a decade longer for all-GHG forcing). ♣ There is the transcient effect of the sudden tripling of the GHG forcing back in the 1960s (which all else being equal should provide an accelerating temperature for some decades following). ♣ There is (thus) the impact of non-CO2 forcings as well as natural forcings. ♣ There are the natural feedbacks and their impact on very-long-term warming resulting from an initial forcing, these timescales which are generally considered the factors that will define whether ECS is high or low.

  33. Fighting back against climate misinformation and the damage being done

    I think the worst thing that can be done - and I am guilty of it on a daily basis - is attempting to argue the case on forums such as newspaper comments columns.

    The problem here is that it isn't one-to-one in the sense that a denier says one thing and you can counter the misinformation a few seconds later as if in a conversation. The misinformation is there in "print" and often never gets replied to: it is often requoted by others as if it's established fact (no-one has countered it, so it must be true.)

    I frankly don't see any way around this.

  34. Estimates of the economic damages from climate change

    If economic damage accrues, then change your policy.  If you can't change your policy, then you are 'up the creek without a paddle'.  Thus, it is your ability to change your policy that must figure heavily when adding up economic damages.  Each policy option has a 'permanence risk' that may be the most significant factor in its evaluation; far more important than knowing in fine detail what economic damages will acrue from that option.  It bears repeating that while solar and wind farms can be taken down, nobody is trivially taking down an excess of atmospheric carbon dioxide.  Hence, the carbon option has a large 'permanence risk', while the renewable option does not.  If we admit we have a limited ability to see what these options hold for the economy, then the desireability of the renewable option becomes plain.

  35. An exponential increase in CO2 will result in a linear increase in temperature

    I just realized that I forgot some words in the sentence that reads "I can understand the public..."  The sentence should read "I can understand the public misreading the claim to think it means no need to be alarmed, but the fact is that given a finite interval, you can always find a linear function that grows faster than any exponential function on that interval. So the only way to know whether we have a problem or not is to crunch the numbers from the data with appropriate modelling.

  36. An exponential increase in CO2 will result in a linear increase in temperature

    I really don't understand this article. I don't doubt that the climate crisis is serious and that we have to do something about it, however, I am a mathematician and the lograithmic relationship between the equilibrium temperature and the increase in CO2, implies that if the CO2 increases exponentially that the expected equilibrium temperature will increase linearly. So I don't understand why the claim "An exponential increase in CO2 will result in a linear increase in temperature" is posted as a myth in this article. I can understand the public misreading the claim to think it means no need, but the fact is that given a finite interval, you can always find a linear function that grows faster than any exponential function on that interval. So the only way to know whether we have a problem or not is to crunch the numbers from the data with appropriate modelling. The evidence is in, we should be alarmed. But I am puzzled by this post.

  37. Estimates of the economic damages from climate change

    Seems to me that meaningful action to mitigate adverse climate change does not include considerations of economics. Some of the climate problems are already upon us...yet, the greater public and their government's decision-makers are paralyzed. The economic cost of adverse climate change seems directly (and largely) related to the presence on Earth of a biomass composed of (going on) 8 billion humans and billions of domestic livestock who's numbers nearly no one is able or willing to reduce. As long as that footprint upon the planet exists, matters of economic cost or benefits will never find a meaningful place in the discourse...certainly not in any action plan. Jared Diamond might offer that a "collapse" will have to finish out its typical process, after which "what's left" will have to begin again...albeit differently.

  38. Estimates of the economic damages from climate change

    Here's a late-breaking item: Do climate dynamics matter for economics?

    The author arguably suffers from  what might charitably be termed "chronic irrational exuberance," so this article will need careful scrutiny, complete fact-checking; to an unusual degree full containment and isolation of various impulses cannot be taken for granted. 

    Unfortunately the piece is paywalled and even US$ 9.99 is big gamble against odds of utility.

  39. Skeptical Science New Research for Week #39, 2021

    David thanks for the link. Unfortunately, the format is very difficult / burdansome to navigate . I also did not see any conversion to temps from each proxy. Do you have a link to where the individual proxy data is converted into temperature graphs somewhat similar to the graphs the HS despicts. thanks

  40. Estimates of the economic damages from climate change

    Sounds like a good meeting. There seems to have been a touch of optimism present, in their seeking economic models that matter. From the outside it seems much more optimistic than an NSF seminar I organized at New Jersey Institute of Technology in 1986. It was for international economists that had an interest in environmental deterioration impacting infrastucture. My climate change research from the Stockholm School of Economics in 1977 was the rational behind the meeting. Models of social and physical infrastructure, including governing systems, were discussed relative to deterioration of their essential context. 

    Those in attendance were quite pessimistic about chances for avoiding economic and societal turbulence from consequences of relying on short-term economic valuation as the motivator of humans. They thought 2035 looked like a bad time. Many lecturers were there and recorded. Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen was the most emphatic about the urgent need for a different kind of concern.  In his response to questions from a Swiss economist, about the value of ecological economics modeling and thinking, Nicholas responded:

    "Ecology will eat economics." 

    Thereafter he and I wrote a paper on "Second Law Economics," that joined the stack of the unpublishable, due to reviewers calling it "pointless pessimism."   Based on events of the 35 years it seems the reviewers were right. It was pointless.  One reviewer called climate change "ad hominem."  

    NSF reviewers avoided such labels and set up a National Academy of Science Commission in 2001 based on the earlier seminar. It was called "Committee on Business Strategies for Public Capital Investment," Published by NRC. The Committee's draft report of 2003 had much potential but was edited in the White House before release. A Presidential Aid managed the re-review saying our earlier draft report contined too much "ad hominem" material? Probably that term needs to be avoided as humans keep moring towards the fateful. Its use is mostly as policies of the political, not a means to empower the scientific.

  41. What role for small modular nuclear reactors in combating climate change?

    Doing a little background reading on modular reactors I found this:

    "The Guardian reported in October 2018:22

    "Backers of mini nuclear power stations have asked for billions of pounds of taxpayers' money to build their first UK projects, according to an official document. … But the nuclear industry's claims that the mini plants would be a cheap option for producing low-carbon power appear to be undermined by the significant sums it has been asking of ministers.

    "Some firms have been calling for as much as £3.6bn to fund construction costs, according to a government-commissioned report, released under freedom of information rules. Companies also wanted up to £480m of public money to help steer their reactor designs through the regulatory approval process, which is a cost usually paid by nuclear companies. ...

    "David Lowry, a nuclear policy consultant who obtained the document, said: "SMRs are either old, discredited designs repackaged when companies see governments prepared to throw taxpayers' subsidies to support them, or are exotic new technologies, with decades of research needed before they reach commercial maturity.""

    The so-called Expert Finance Working Group on Small Nuclear Reactors in the UK laments "the financing sectors potential misunderstanding of nuclear specific risks and how such risks can be mitigated, and that nuclear specific risks aside, nuclear energy projects are no different to any other energy project."23 The finance sector might be in need of education on nuclear-specific risks, but its disinterest in SMRs suggests a clear understanding of the likelihood that they would be uneconomic."my emphasis source

    Nuclear reactors are not economic.  Baseload power will be of very low value is a renewable energy world.  Peak power on windless nights will be most valuable.  They do not address the lack of rare materials, like uranium, needed to produce a significant amount of nuclear power.  Most of the remaining problems in Abbott 2012 are also not addressed.  Without enormous government subsidies they cannot compete with renewables.

  42. What role for small modular nuclear reactors in combating climate change?

    Something on the alleged advantages of small modular reactors:


    There do seem to be some moderate safety advantages in these reactors and they supposedly can't melt down. This is a big plus if it's correct, but I agree that with so many of these reactors you might end up with a proliferation of smaller but still troubling problems. It might be one step forwards and one step backwards.

  43. Skeptical Science New Research for Week #39, 2021

    David @1

    Not sure if this is what you are suggesting but Carbon Brief has a neat interactive, and a good article, about proxies: Mapped: How ‘proxy’ data reveals the climate of the Earth’s distant past

  44. Skeptical Science New Research for Week #39, 2021

    its great to see Mann fighting back agains the skeptics.  As the article notes above, there are now 70+ studies validating his findings.  It would be great to have all the individual proxies published in a format so that everyone could easily see the underlying data that supports the findings.  Everyone could easily see the long term proxies and the short term proxies used on the studies such as Pages2k, et al.   While such a display would not dispel the hard core skeptics, it would certainly inspire confidence in those that are agnostic and relegate the hard core skeptics to the fringe.  

  45. What role for small modular nuclear reactors in combating climate change?

    All nukes at any scale suffer from:

    1) solvable in principle but unsolved waste disposal in the US, 2) operational hazards due to operator error, 3) leakage of radioactives into the water supply due to maintenance failure, 4) the possibility of radioactive spills in transit, 5) the possibility of theft of fissionables to make a dirty bomb, 6) the possibility of theft of fissionables to make a nuclear bomb.

    All these issues will get much worse if we start to distribute lots of small reactors over the landscape. The resources of the companies involved will not be adequate to secure them, their operations or waste disposal.

    Waste disposal can be solved for a time by the right reprocessing and burial, as is going on in Sweden, Norway and France, but we have repeatedly failed to do this in the US for political reasons. Also we should be spending money to put together a reprocess that converts the fissionables and radioactives to safer isotopes using accelerators or nukes, powered by waste fuel and renewables, lowering required times of storage integrity.

    We should convert cooling from water to air. The technology exists and should be used as it is less prone to catastrophic failure. It would also free siting to be almost anywhere, not limited to vulnerable coastlines.

    Lots of mini-nukes is a bad idea. Put effort into improving what we have on a larger scale. If we build new large ones set the size to 500mwe or so and make them all to the same design to gain feature standardization, operating reliability and load following flexibility. Don't build mini-nukes.

  46. How Skepticism Can Protect You From Being Fooled

    The second diagram, covering "gullible", "skeptical", and "denial" reminds me of a saying one of my T.A.'s had posted over his desk when I was an undergrad.

    "To accept everything, or reject everything, is an equally-convenient solution: it disposes of the necessity of thinking about the situation."

  47. Book Review: Saving Us by Katharine Hayhoe

    Sorry BL. More haste less speed!

    See also my Arctic alter ego's recent missive:

  48. Book Review: Saving Us by Katharine Hayhoe

    See also Katharine's recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live:

    Moderator Response:

    [BL] Link activated.

    The web software here does not automatically create links. You can do this when posting a comment by selecting the "insert" tab, selecting the text you want to use for the link, and clicking on the icon that looks like a chain link. Add the URL in the dialog box.

  49. One Planet Only Forever at 07:21 AM on 27 September 2021
    To meet America’s Paris pledge, climate policy Avengers must assemble

    Conservatively limiting harm done requires more, and more aggressive, actions than may be considered to be necessary to limit harm done. It especially requires more helpful, less harmful, leadership actions by the wealthiest and most powerful.

    Framing a problem to ensure it is well understood is essential to effectively solve the problem. The climate change problem raises an important “framing” question. What is now required because of the lack of responsible leadership by “All of the wealthiest and most powerful” through the past 30 years?

    The failure of leadership action on climate change impacts, and other harm reduction issues, by winners of competition for superiority relative to others is understandable. Allowing and excusing harmful actions that offer a competitive advantage in the competition for perceptions of superiority creates an environment that will motivate the development of harmful behaviour. It is also easy to understand that it is difficult to develop solutions that effectively address and correct for those social-political-economic market competition failures because of the powerful resistance to learning about things that would lead to more rapid corrections of harmful unsustainable developments. Especially challenging is the ability of political misleading marketing to:

    • Support leaders who resist the actions that are understandably required to limit harm done and make amends, or assign penalties, for harm done
    • Attack and discredit anyone who would try to raise awareness and improve understanding of what is harmful and required changes of harmful unsustainable developments, especially when those developments are popular and profitable for the more fortunate, more influential, portion of the population.

    It is important to remember the harmful reality of the popular dogmatic Belief that “increased Freedom for people to believe whatever they want to believe and do whatever they desire to do” is the best way for things to be, and that it will produce lasting improvements for each person, each group, and all of humanity. That is a version of the “wide-open to interpretation” call for Liberty to pursue Happiness. (see footnote 1: A Bit on Ethics).

    It may appear nonsensical to argue against Freedom or to argue that Winners are undeserving. But the evidence and improving understanding of what is harmful and what is fair and just is increasingly biased against the dogma of “Freedom” and “All Winners are Deserving” and any of its many ideological incarnations.

    The measure of improvement is “leaving things better than they were found”. Lasting improvements only develop when the pursuit of increased awareness and improved understanding of what is harmful (like accumulating climate change impacts) and what is unsustainable (like burning up non-renewable buried ancient hydrocarbons) governs, limits, and corrects actions and developed results.

    Everybody’s choices about learning, what they will learn and what they will not, and their resulting actions and inaction, add up to become the future. It is important to avoid the “tragedy of the commons” that can develop when individual or group pursuits of benefit add up to produce harmful unsustainable results. The rich and powerful cannot be excused for failing to learn to be less harmful. But the less fortunate who aspire to develop to live like the richer people can be excused for being tempted to aspire to the harmful examples set by Winners.

    The lack of that understanding governing and limiting past developments has created harmfully over-developed beliefs and activity that are popular and profitable. There is now an undeniable need to un-develop many things that have become popular and profitable. That includes correcting developed perceptions of superiority between people or groups. That understanding is required to develop a sustainable future for humanity. (see footnote 2: A Bit on Politics)

    The Sustainable Development Goals are robust, constantly improving and open to improvement, evidence-based understandings, like the climate change impact understanding presented in the IPCC Reports. And the 2020 Human Development Report is a detailed robust presentation of understanding that includes the understanding that developed measures of superiority, like GDP per-capita, are not legitimate indications of sustainable superiority. Increased GDP per-capita, or number of billionaires in a culture, are not measures of success or improvement. When the measures of success are harmfully incorrect then developed perceptions of status will need to be corrected.

    The richest portion of the global population have had 30 years to show leadership on the required changes of ways of living and profiting. The failure of the games, that the rich and powerful made the rules for, to get all of the rich and powerful to be more helpful, less harmful, leaders indicates the need for the system to change. The currently rich and powerful cannot be allowed to compromise the awareness and understanding of what is harmful and the required actions to correct incorrect perceptions of superiority relative to others.

    Possible actions to motivate all of the wealthier and more powerful individuals would be:

    • giving credit for verifiable carbon reduction actions taken since 2015.
    • penalties for the current wealthier people who have tried to increase how much benefit they get from harmful unsustainable activity
    • severe penalties for wealthier people who have a history, especially a recent history, of trying to delay or discredit the development of increased awareness and improved understanding of the required corrections of what has developed.

    Helping the less fortunate through the rapid transition to less harmful ways of living is also required. Lower income people face more of a burden from a carbon fee, even with an equal rebate to everyone. An improved way to rebate would be having the carbon fee fully rebated equally, but only to middle income and poorer people (like families with reported income below $120,000 or individuals with reported income below $60,000). Also, there should be funding for Charities and NGOs to help all the less fortunate, especially the homeless, submit income tax statements with the rebate system set up to ensure they receive their rebates, perhaps getting the rebate at the time that their “zero or near-zero income statements” are submitted.

    Footnote 1: A Bit on Ethics: A common thought process for ethical considerations is to recognize that everybody’s actions add up and everyone has the right to behave the way any other person does. That develops the understanding that examples set by leading, higher valued, people are what other people can be expected to try to develop to match, and be excused for trying to do that.

    The examples set by “all of the Winners” is the key. Allowing any Winner to Win by setting a more harmful, less helpful, example will produce increasingly unethical results. It would be great if the competitive advantages of getting away with benefiting from injustice or being more harmful failed to win. But that is likely a fantasy. Injustice and harmful behaviour likely need to be externally refereed or governed out of the game. A system that does not do that is ethically compromised would need to be changed in order to achieve ethical reductions of harm being done and ethical corrections for harm done.

    Footnote 2: A Bit on Politics: Understandings like the 2020 Human Development Report, the IPCC Reports and recommendations, and the Sustainable Development Goals are not political. And I have tried to also be apolitical in my presentation.

    What is being presented is apolitical evidence-based understanding, not political ideology. But there are developed social and economic ideologies that oppose learning it. And the proponents of those social and economic ideologies can be harmfully resistant to the learning and resulting understandably required changes, especially being resistant to changes of the system that would reduce developed perceptions of superiority. They will even argue against the undeniable understanding that GDP does not properly measure what is important (refer to the 2020 Human Development Report for a presentation of that improving understanding).

    The opponents to learning about the required system changes use political misleading marketing to delay the learning and corrections. They often resort to accusations that “The Left” (or some other term that is hoped to trigger a emotional response rather than a rational consideration) are trying to turn things into “taking money away from rich people” even though there is plenty of evidence to support a common sense understanding that many wealthy powerful people got their wealth and power by pursuing competitive advantages available to those who are willing to try to benefit at the expense of Others or by harming the environment.

  50. Can the economy afford NOT to fight climate change?

    plincoln24, thanx for that En-ROADS tool. Most useful and interesting!

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