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Comments 1 to 50:

  1. SkS Analogy 2 - Ferrari Without Gas

    nigelj 

    "The blanket / body analogy is excellent, and will bring a wry smile to people, but I do think most people probably accept the greenhouse effect."

    How do you explain the greenhouse effect with the blanket/body analogy then? Is the blanket the crust and the body is the hot interior? A blanket reduce the amount of heat absorbed by the surroundings from the hotter body, by being a poor conductor and a poor absorber. If you put something on your body increasing the amount of body heat that is absorbed, what you do is changing the surroundings of your body to suck more heat out of your body.

  2. SkS Analogy 2 - Ferrari Without Gas

    "The concentration of greenhouse gases is like the size of a car engine: higher greenhouse gas concentration is like a bigger engine."

    But greenhouse gases is the waste from the engine of a car. Or rather, the combustion product left after thermal energy is released. Making it low in internal energy and a potent absorber. First it is included in high energy hydrocarbon molecules, prone to release it´s internal energy. When energy is released it is in the opposite state, prone to absorb energy.

     
    "Infrared radiation is like the gasoline in the tank of a car."

    No, it is like the heat leaving the radiating body, cooling it. Exactly that. Infrared radiation is energy leaving the engine, the sun is like the gasoline in the tank of the car.

    "Just as gasoline is the fuel that drives an engine, infrared radiation is the fuel that drives the greenhouse effect."

    No, heat from the sun is the fuel that drives the engine. What you refer to as infrared radiation I suppose is the thermal emission from the surface or atmosphere. That is exactly equal to the infrared radiation leaving the cooler of the engine when water circulate in contact with a high flow of air molecules across the surface. Like wind across the earth surface.

    "Global warming occurs because infrared radiation emitted from the surface of the Earth is captured by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, increasing the temperature of the atmosphere."

    But I thought greenhouse gases increased absorption, isn´t that confirmed by decreasing emission from the atmosphere? How can the atmosphere increase absorption and temperature at the same time as it decrease it´s emission?

  3. Humidity is falling

    "Technically that means if you are calculating the radiative forcing between 280 ppmv and 400 ppmv the model would need to be set for the relative humidity at an equilibrium temperature for 280 ppmv, and retain a constant water vapour pressure when calculating the the radiative forcing outgoing IR radiation at 400 ppmv. That in turn would require knowing the offset in temperature from 1976 to the temperature equilibrium."

    I don´t get it. The definition given for radiative forcing is:

    "For the purposes of this report, radiative forcing is further defined as the change relative to the year 1750 and, unless otherwise noted, refers to a global and annual average value."

    How is the change relative to 1750 connected to the temperature offset from 1976 to what equillibrium? What is the difference in forcing between 400ppm and what value from 1750? 280ppm? Determined how?

    "I should note that there exists a technique for adjusting for stratospheric equilibrium in calculating the strict radiative forcing, which I have seen explained by David Archer."

    This then has to be connected to the equillibrium of the stratosphere in 1750, am I right? We have no information about that. How is this possible as a theoretic framework for making claims about evaporation and RH in the past, today or in the future? I see no possible way to use this to claim predictive ability in climate models. 

  4. Humidity is falling

    Tom Curtis 

    "That is intuitive. To a first approximation, all water in the atmosphere over land comes from the ocean. Therefore the specific humidity over land will increase in line with SST, not land temperatures."

    When SST increase evaporation, the SST will decrease from evaporation. If the cause of increase in SST is increasing temperature of air, evaporation is driven by increasing kinetic energy of water molecules where the energy is coming from air molecules. Which means that the kinetic and thermal energy in air molecules will drop as a result of water having a much larger heat capacity than air. Water increase less in temperature than air from the same amount of energy absorbed.

    Direct evaporative cooling in open circuit is lowering the temperature and increase the humidity of air by using latent heat of evaporation, changing liquid water to water vapor. In this process, the energy in the air does not change. Warm dry air is changed to cool moist air.

    This is the principle of evaporation from warmer air. It is hard to combine that with how you describe it. If water vapor increases, it would have to be connected to decreasing air temperatures in those areas where evaporation increase. And the water surface that is warming at first when evaporation increase, would also be cooling at the same time. I can only see how water vapor cools water surface temperatures and at the same time cool the air. 

    "While global temperatures are increasing under global warming, the models predict a slight increase in relative humidity over the ocean, with a massive reduction over land."

    So when temperatures increase globally, evaporation will lower temperature of the air over the ocean. And over land, plants and water surfaces will evaporate less? And the water vapor over oceans will stay there? And not follow the usual cycle where it precipitate over land areas?

  5. March against madness - denial has pushed scientists out to the streets

    Red Baron @10

    Yes, I mean exactly as Teddy Roosevelt was saying. I agree its silly to call that socialist, and such labels are just unhelpful anway. Of course there's more to it, but you have mentioned some important things.

    In fact  I knew very little about TR. I live in NZ, so your comments were an eye opener for me.

    I think Jospeh Stiglitz has similar views. He is not anti corporations, but just a realist that power can become excessive, and some boundaries are perfectly healthy.

    I don't know how you make it stick. That's a hard question. I would say the two main political parties in my country are slowly moving towards those values by public pressure, but dragged kicking, and screaming, and not fully there yet by a long way. But there does seem to be a consensus now on at least some elements, that has stuck pretty well. Its a case of improving and broadening that consensus. It's complex.

    A lot of it has to be about improving public understanding somehow. I don't have any time right now to think much about it, but will sleep on it.

    A lot of the problem is lobby groups and campaign financing dependent on corporate groups, and I dont know how you change that one.

  6. March against madness - denial has pushed scientists out to the streets

    @9 nigelj,

    AHA. You mean like this? Teddy Roosevelt

    Free markets for Main Street USA, Small family run business, and even mid level business, but strict regulation against mega-corporation, trusts, and Plutocrats. As well as strong environmental and public safety regulation. Instead of a wall, we build a canal which is profitable and benefits all the Nations in the hemisphere.

    That's a whole different kind of populism, and not even slightly socialist/communist either.

    Yes I would say we know what to do, and even how to do it, seeing as how it was done once already.

    The question is how do we make it stick? Doesn't take long for gains like that to reverse themselves.

  7. March against madness - denial has pushed scientists out to the streets

    OPOF @8, I found the article in your link interesting and worthwhile, and it's conclusion about a possible descent into nihilism rings true, but the material in the middle is a bit confused.

    I think this issue is more about cycles.  America, and various other countries went through a period of "laissez faire" (extreme capitalism) in the 1800s and up until the 1930s when it all collapsed due to inherent problems with the economic model. Thats definitely not to say capitalism is bad, simply that some issues became exposed.

    Then America and most western countries went through a  "mixed economy" phase combining capitalism and some socialist ideas from the 1930s up until the 1980s. This period had some merit, but in turn collapsed, or stagnated for certain reasons. It was also the end of a long wave economic and investment cycle, (a type of Kondratief wave) cycle, but thats another matter that would complicate the discussion.

    Then in the 1980's we had the counter reaction, and entered the era of neoliberalism and "greed is good" which was an attempt to revert to laissez faire capitalism. This ideology promotes extreme individualism, free markets, open immigration,  globalisation, privatisation, deregulation, etc. This ideology has some merit in parts, but become too extreme and is the source of numerous recent problems, and it sacrifices the environment. It has generated poverty issues for some groups of people. But elements of neoliberalism like free trade and globalisation have had positive effects for many people, so its not a simple issue

    The counter reaction to some elements of this globalist, neoliberal ideology has been exemplified with Donald Trump, except that he has kept some elements of the ideology such as deregulation, and ther worst forms of deregulation, for example regarding the weakining of environmental standards. But essentially Trump is trying to revert to a nationalist, more isolationist agenda, and almost a version of crony capitalism. I'm not enthused.

    We need to get back to a simpler, more commonsense philosophy as Scandinavia has, of a robust capitalism and moderately free markets, but with a human touch, including appropriate restraints and controls where appropriate, (especially over environmental impacts) in other words a refined, improved version of the mixed economy ideas of the 1950s. This will enable humanity to tap the benefits of free markets and private ownership, without killing the environment or causing instability or poverty. (Imho).

    Putting it another way, entrepreneurship and private enterprise is good, but "greed is not good", and a completely uncontrolled business sector is destructive to the public good.

  8. Humidity is falling

    Thank You Tom Curtis

    This shows that its good to consult with someone who has a long view knowledge of a topic before jumping to confusions over short term data. 

    Glad I asked.

  9. New study: global warming keeps on keeping on

    As has been pointed out by some scientists, the amount of warming is not what we observe.  It is how much the present temperature is above what we would expect based on previous interglacials in which, as soon as we reached peak warming as we came out of a glacial, we immediately started the slow slide back into a glacial.  Apparently the interglacial with a most similar Milankovitch profile to our own is the one which occured some 400,000 years ago.  Using this expected cooling curve as the base line, the amount of warming is more than the 1 degree we observe.

  10. One Planet Only Forever at 06:39 AM on 29 April 2017
    March against madness - denial has pushed scientists out to the streets

    A related comprehensive perspective was just published:

    NYtime OpEd "America, From Exceptionalism to Nihilism" by Pankaj Mishra

    It mentions the damage done by the irresponsible actions of some among the elite (but the item just refers to the elite as if the whole group deserves to be smeared, proof of how damaging the actions of a few can be, how willing some people are to make any excuse to resist having to accept input or understanding that they dislike).

    The OpEd also mention of a loss or disapperance of ethics. This is key. The internationally developed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) present a well developed basis for 'justified ethics'. The ethical basis for their development has been the basis for many previous similar presentations of developed better understanding.

    In spite of that clear example of what needs to be done, what is ethically required, the SDGs lack broad popular support. The lack of popularity of such a good ethical purpose, to genuinely help to raise awareness and better understanding with the objective of improving the future for all of humanity, is the root of the problem.

    Climate scientists have continued to do their part, as have the many diverse NGO and Charity groups striving to help achieve the SDGs, each facing the uphill battle of the damage done by those who care less (are care and consideration free pursuers of what they think would make them happier). The ones among the Elite who are failing humanity are typically the less ethical wealthy undeserving Winners.

    Distinguishing the most-worthy, trust-worthy, among the Elite from less ethical Undeserving Winners will be difficult. Many people are unfortunately very easily impressed. The thinking of the Marque de Sade “It is infinitely better to take the side of the wicked who prosper than of the righteous who fail”, will never produce a Good Result.

  11. Humidity is falling

    Curiousd @37:

    1)  Quoting a single year is not very informative.  Rather you should quote the trend, as in this figure from the Hadisdh dataset:

    The headline result is a -0.08 (-0.18- 0.04) %/decade trend in relative humidity from 1973-2013.  The negative trend is steeper in the raw data. 

    Two things are noteworthy about the trend.  First, the trend in RH is near zero in the first part of dataset, and noticably steeper from about 1998.  Over the period of the steeper trend, there was a noticable trend away from El Nino conditions towards La Nina conditions.  Given that El Nino's are associated with greater global relative humidity, the trend over that period is likely significantly influenced by ENSO.  The overall trend, however, is likely to be primarilly the result of global warming.

    Second, as the map shows, this is a land only record, and further is restricted by latitude so as to exlcude the poles.  You will notice that the graph of relative humidity provided by the NOAA 2013 state of the climate report is for land only.  Further, they show a greater increase in specific humidity over ocean than over land, while the SST has increased less than the land surface temperature.  That suggests the change in relative humidity over the ocean is less negative than that over land, and may even be positive.  So, lacking evidence to the contrary, I would assume the that where NOAA say, "...while relative humidity—how close the air is to being completely saturated with water vapor—was far below average", they are referring to the land only data.  That interpretation is supported by the immediately following sentence in the quote.

    2)  While global temperatures are increasing under global warming, the models predict a slight increase in relative humidity over the ocean, with a massive reduction over land.  They also predict significant increases in relative humidity at the poles, particularly in the Arctic:

     

    (Source)

    That is intuitive.  To a first approximation, all water in the atmosphere over land comes from the ocean.  Therefore the specific humidity over land will increase in line with SST, not land temperatures.  Because land temperatures are increasing faster, that will result in a reduced relative humidity over land.  (Here is a recent paper exploring the mechanisms in greater detail.)

    If you hold CO2 concentrations constant at an increase level, the increase in land and sea temperatures will tend to equalize at the Earth approaches the equilbrium increase in GMST.  If the mechanism discussed above explains most of the change in RH, that means RH over land will restore towards its original value.  That is because the ocean will get warmer relative to land as equilibrium is approached, thereby leading to an even higher specific humidity over land.

    I will finish by noting that the map in the first figure above shows a very similar pattern to the changes in relative humidity shown in the second figure, over those areas which actually have data.

  12. Humidity is falling

    Here is a quote from NASA on their 2013 "State of the Climate"

    "Specific humidity—the amount of water vapor–was well above average over land and ocean in 2013, while relative humidity—how close the air is to being completely saturated with water vapor—was far below average.
    Overall, water vapor in the surface atmosphere has increased over land and ocean relative to the 1970s, while the atmosphere over land is becoming less saturated".

    The URL is https://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/2013-state-climate-humidity

    Rather than toss out any opinions of my own on this, because I am curious..

    What are the opinions of others as to why relative humidity is decreasing, or should I not "jump to that confusion" from the NASA quote above ???

    Curiousd

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Link activated.

  13. 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #16

    joe @8, it has been a little difficult getting the data on the Mendenhall Glacier tree stumps.  The only public record is limited, AFAIK, to an article in the Juneau Empire, and one in Live Science.  No scientific paper reporting the results has been published as yet.  Cathy Connor (the lead researcher involved) did give a 2014 conference report on the glacier, buit was not on the topic of the tree stumps.

    From the Juneau Empire, we learn that:

    "The most recent stumps she’s dated emerging from the Mendenhall are between 1,400 and 1,200 years old. The oldest she’s tested are around 2,350 years old. She’s also dated some at around 1,870 to 2,000 years old."

    Please note that they are not continuous ages.  Had the area uncovered been continuously forested from 2,350 to 1,200 years ago, the older trees would have fallen and rotted due to old age, and only trees from about 1,700 to 1,200 year old would have been found.  Rather, what has happened is that the area was uncovered 2,350, 1870-2,000, and 1,200 to 1,400 years ago.  It was likely covered inbetween times, although there may have been intervening periods in which the glacier left the area uncovered but in which the trees remained embedded in the gravel which protected them.

    The most interesting finds are tree stumps in ice caves, ie, tree stumps still technically covered by the ice, such as the example below from Live Science  (chosen to provide scale):

    And here is an external view from the Juneau Empire, also to show scale:

    And a modern 30 year old Spruce:

    Comparison of trunk width shows there is no reason to think the trees were exceptionally old at the time of their destruction.  Again, this shows your idea that the area was uncovered for "... a 1,000 to 1,200 year period going back from circa 1,000 AD..." is incorrect.

    Finally, here is a photo from the Juneau Empire, whose caption read:

    "Vertical tree stumps remain in some of the ice caves beneath the glacier.  Two ice cave stumps have been dated at two different date ranges - between 670 and 780 AD, and between 620-670 AD."

    That date range is consistent with the "1,400 and 1,200 years old" date range, ie, circa 600-800 AD, mentioned in Live Science.  The MWP proper did not start till circa 900 AD, so the regional warm period shown by the Mendenhall Glacier preceded the MWP by (at minimum) 100 years, and appears to have been replaced by regional cooling during the MWP.

  14. 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #16

    But I have the same reaction to the tree stump issue. Basically so what? It's well known that during the mpw some specific locations warmed more than others. The more important point is the mwp was rather weak overall, 

    But anyway Tom Curtis has cast very genuine doubt about whether you can conclude the region of the Mendenhall glacier was particularly warm.

    Referencing back to the tree stumps from the MWP at the mendenhall glacier, both the age of the trees and the size  should cast reasonable doubt as to both the short length and breadth of the mwp in the region.  Its a 1,000 to  1,200 year period going back from circa 1,000ad without the glacier. Given that time frame, Tom's geniune doubt explanation is closer to a plausible explanation.

  15. 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #16

    Tom Curtis @6, yes my disagreement with joe over drainage basins was pretty much terminological. In fact for practical purposes what Joe says is all fair enough, and I was being a bit pedantic. 

    But you are right about the need to agree on definitions. In fact I would go further and say a huge ammount of disputes and problems on the net is people talking past each other, and having different interpretations of certain words or ideas, and also general lack of clarity of writing. Of course often its a time related thing.

    However what frustrated me was Joe going on about rivers returing to some drainage basin. To me it misses the point of what is going on in terms of human caused climate change, and this is what set me off!  

    Thank's for the detail on the antarctic. Interesting stuff.

  16. SkS Analogy 2 - Ferrari Without Gas

    Thanks Jim for this insight.

  17. SkS Analogy 2 - Ferrari Without Gas

    "The proof is just how hot it got immediately after snowball earth"

    A second "proof" are the cap carbonate layers that follow every snowball excusion, caused by the sudden increase in rock weathering after the land ice melts, exposing freshly ground rock to the high-CO2 atmosphere and acidic rainfall.

  18. March against madness - denial has pushed scientists out to the streets

    Dcricket @5 

    "So what is to be done? I am perplexed. About the only idea I have is that the answer might lie in learning what makes so many people reject the consensus of those with intimate knowledge of the truth."

    You may want to take a look at our MOOC "Denial101x - Making sense of climate science denial" as it has answers to your question. The current run is already in its final weeks but you can still register to check it out. All the videos from the MOOC are also available on YouTube and the list to them is here.

    Hope this helps!

  19. No climate conspiracy: NOAA temperature adjustments bring data closer to pristine

    Spassapparat @34, Tony Heller (aka Steven Goddard) shows the following graph of USHCN adjustments:

    You will notice that there is not a lot of scatter in the individual points from year to year, a necessary feature for the high correlation with CO2 given the very limited scatter found in the CO2 record (at least from Mauna Loa).  That being said, the graph comes as a surprise to me, for I have typically seen a much larger year to year scatter in the graphs, such as shown here:

    The author of this second graph is in obvious, and fundamental disagreement with Tony Heller about the size and nature of the adjustments in the USHCN temperature record.  Importantly, if Heller is correct, there is a significant correlation between CO2 concentrations and temperature adjustments, but if the author of the second graph is correct, there is not.  That is odd, because the author of the second graph is Tony Heller.  

    It turns out that when Heller is not trying to argue that there is a high correlation between CO2 concentration and temperature adjustments, he thinks the adjustments are very different from what he takes them to be when he trying to make that argument.  It might make one think that Heller has adjusted his calculation of the adjustments to fit is CO2 correlation argument.

    In any event, the basis of the adjustments is in fact well known.  NOAA publishes the algorithms used to make the adjustments.  The publish the raw and final data as well.  Consequently anybody with the appropriate skills and determination can calculate the adjustments independently of NOAA.  Several people have, and they have come up with the same result.  Needless to say, none of NOAA's algorithms make any reference to CO2 concentration, as can be seen for the step wise adjustments as calculated by Judith Curry:

    Heller knows this, so he knows that any correlation between the adjustments and CO2 concentration (whether assisted by adjusting the adjustments or not) is coincidental.  His failure to discuss the known basis of the adjustments in his post must therefore be considered a calculated deceit.

  20. 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #16

    nigelj @5, I think your dispute with Joe about the natural drainage basin is terminological rather than real.  Topography can be defined by the shape of the ground, or the shape of the ground plus permanent ice.  Which we use is a matter of convenience, which in turn is a matter of just how permanent the ice is on human time scales.

    The perfect example to illustrate this is the Antarctic Peninsula.  If you look at the level at which the ice grounds, ie, the "natural topography" according to Joe, then clearly the Peninsula is actually an island (or series of islands).  Nobody, however, is making an attempt to have the Peninsula renamed, or various regions of West or East Antarctica renamed as seas.  Because the ice is sufficiently permanent, we take the surface of the permanent ice sheets to define the topography of Antarctica, so any such change in nomenclature would be absurd.

    The case with the Kaskawulsh glacier is interesting because the duration of the ice is significant in human terms (several hundred years) but clearly the topography defined as including the ice surface has changed significantly on a human timescale.  That makes it a matter of terminological choice as to which definition is used.  If we choose that the topography is taken as following the surface of the ice, then the natural drainage basin of the river has changed, just as much as if the cause of the change was the reshaping of the land by an earthquake.  I am not certain, but I suspect topographical maps of the area will show contour lines following the ice surface, which would show that that was the convenction we had adopted.  If we follow the convention that topology follows the land surface, then, of course, the natural drainage basin has not changed.

    The key point here is that neither choice of terminology is right, or wrong.  They are only convenient or inconveneint.  But to avoid confusion we must be clear as to which convention we are following.

  21. 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #16

    Joe @3, thank's for your comment.  I was indeed thinking of drainage basins in the very long term. 

    However I take your point, but I just think so what? I'm not sure what you think is so compelling about the river returning to a previous state / drainage basin.

    The more important thing is we are melting the glacier, and altering the course of the river in that process. This could possibly cause us problems either in this specific case, or other cases, and regardless of whether it goes back to some previous state or not. It's also showing the impact of agw climate change, and is just another potential heaadache being caused by agw climate change.

    Nothing personal, your comments were interesting and raised various issues. I didn't know about the tree stumps etc.

    But I have the same reaction to the tree stump issue. Basically so what? It's well known that during the mpw some specific locations  warmed more than others. The more important point is the mwp was rather weak overall, and climate change really "is" like a hockey stick according to all the studies I have seen.

    But anyway Tom Curtis has cast very genuine doubt about whether you can conclude the region of the Mendenhall glacier was particularly warm.

  22. March against madness - denial has pushed scientists out to the streets

    Dcrickett @5, the bible shows how these denialist issues have a pretty long history! Although I'm an athiest, I can see sense in the verses you quote.

    I don't think you will remove all doubters. I saw a book a couple of years ago disputing literally all the fundamentals of Einsteins theories of relativity. I would have thought that was settled science, and the writer was a degree qualified engineer. But you can convince most doubters.

    I think you have a range of sceptical views: Some people are contrarians by nature in my experience, some have genuine doubts, perhaps some have vested interests or ideological axes to grind, which leads them to deny the science. There's a  range of things.

    Regardless of motivations, it appears most people are prepared to change their views on various issues, if you look at history of other controversies, although it can take some time. We will never get everyone to accept climate science, but I think you can get most people to. It just takes explaining the science issues, as websites like this do. You also have to deal with worries about costs of renewable energy etc.

    To some extent it's like swing voters or moderates in politics. Those are the people we need to target over climate, the moderates, and they are largely convinced by rational argument,  (slowly sometimes). There will be a small group that remain very stubborn, but my instincts tell me its a small group.

    Pew Research has done polls showing about 70 - 80% of people already accept the science in many countries and want action. More in some countries. So quite good progress has already been made. We tend to hear about the doubters in America, who get a lot of publicity, and think this is overwhelming or typical globally, when it isn't.

    Don't get me wrong, the doubters really annoy me, but I think it's easy to let them get us down too much.

    And a strong consensus like this of 70 - 80% would often lead to action by politicians on many issues. Its often enough to trigger having a referendum etc, and would certainly be enough to pass a referendum.

    But unfortunately politicians do not always do what the majority want, because of their personal views, or pressure from lobby groups and people who fund their election campaigns. We see this clearly in America when you look at poll numbers.

    But the larger the public consensus accepting climate science, and wanting action, the harder it is likely to be for politicians to ignore, which is why websites like this are valuable.

  23. No climate conspiracy: NOAA temperature adjustments bring data closer to pristine

    Hi,

    an argument that appears on many climate skeptic blogs (ex: https://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2014/10/02/co2-drives-ncdc-data-tampering/) to justify the claim that there is deliberate tampering going on is to plot the NOAA temperature adjustments against measurements of atmospheric c02 and finding that there is an almost perfect fit. While a close correlation imo can be expected, that close of a fit appears surprising to me too. As I'm neither a climate scientist nor a statistician I was wondering whether someone could provide an explanation for this?

  24. March against madness - denial has pushed scientists out to the streets

    Horrid, the denial, the disbelief.

    Last Sunday the Gospel lesson was John 20:19-31, the “Doubting Thomas” story. It has some relevance. Taking the story literally, one guy of the twelve did not believe, because he didn’t see it. He could not take the word of his fellow disciples, with whom he had spent years. So, 1/12 or ≈8% on the skeptic side. He did not take the word of the two women who went to the tomb, nor of the guy who made the tomb available. So, 1/15 or ≈7%. The ≈3% disbelievers are worse then Thomas, who did not deny the evidence. These “scientists” stuck their hands in the data equivalents of the nail-holes, etc, and they still do not believe (or so they claim).

    About the only tentative conclusion I can find from the above paragraph is that pointing out more nail-hole and piercèd-side data will not convince those who will themselves into disbelief.

    So what is to be done? I am perplexed. About the only idea I have is that the answer might lie in learning what makes so many people reject the consensus of those with intimate knowledge of the truth.

  25. 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #16

    CO2 was about 315 ppm when the Mauna Loa observations started in 1958.

  26. 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #16

    joe @3:

    "Secondly, we know that mwp was most likely warmer in the region as indicated by the exposed tree stumps dating from the mwp ( which you acknowledge) from the retreating mendenhall glacier."

    With respect, we do not know that at all.  Firstly, glaciers exhibit a lagged response to temperature.  Consequently, in a period of very rapid temperature rise as at present, the equilibrium glacial terminus may be significantly up slope of the observed glacial terminus.  So while the tree stumps at Mendenhall Glacier give reason to think the temperature whose equilibrium terminus coincides with the current terminus, all else being equal, was less than that in the MWP in that region.  But that may have been the temperature 10 or 20 years ago in a rapidly warming region.

    Secondly, all else is not equal.  Specifically, the glacial terminus is the result of a lagged equilibrium between precipitation on the glacier above the snow line, and temperature below the snow line.  Current precipitation in the area is high, having risen from a low base (for the region) over the last century or so.  That would have slowed the retreat due to temperature alone for glaciers in the region, and for some specific glaciers may have reversed it.  In contrast, from approx 900 to 1300 AD, precipitation in the region fell - which would have resulted in a glacial retreat even in the absence of any increase in temperature.  The reduced glacial length of Medenhall Glacier shown by the tree stumps are as likely to be a consequence of those changes in precipitation as changes in temperature.  (Precipitation data from Lowe et al 1997)

    Thirdly, glacial responses to temperature and precipitation changes within a region can vary significantly within a region due to shifting microclimates.  Medenhall Glacier is in British Columbia, sufficiently distant from the Kaskawulsh Glacier, which is in Yukon, that the glacial record of Medenhall cannot be treated as directly relevant to Kaskawulsh.  Kaskawulsh glacier has itself been shown to have advanced between the MWP and the LIA by tree ring and C14 data on woody debris, but that debris has been found next to currently existing vegetation, in some cases in trees with trunks thicker than the debris (See fig 3 of Reyes et al 2006).  The debris has been carried downhill from its initial location, but it cannot be directly inferred that it originally grew uphill of the current terminus, let alone the current equilibrium terminus line.

    Finally, a temperature reconstruction for the summer temperatures in South West Canada has been inferred from known glacial advances in retreats in the area (see fig 12 of Menounos et al 2008).  This shows peak temperatures over the last 1000 years around 1020-60 and 1400 AD, with 1940 temperatures (20 year mean) being 0.3 C cooler than those peaks.  Temperatures in the region have risen by more than 0.5 C since the 1940s:

    That is, based on multiple regional proxies, it is more likely that curren temperatures are slightly warmer than the MWP peak than that they are slightly cooler; but the data is not sufficiently robust to say definitively which was warmer or cooler.

  27. March against madness - denial has pushed scientists out to the streets

    We can not use language of physics and chemistry to solve climate change. Laws of physics and chemistry produce waves which trap heat and make objects appear real. We need new laws to dissolve solid objects into light in our eyes and new words to experience our changing senses.

  28. 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #16

    Joe @1, I don't see how you can say that this rivers natural drainage basin existed back in the mwp, because this is arbitrary. I could equally say it's natural drainage basin was back before the mwp where things were probably different yet again, but this is just as arbitrary.


    NigelJ - How can I say what is the river's natural drainage basin? - Its basic topography

    How can I say what is the rivers natural drainage basin during the MWP? Based on known facts.  First we know that the most of if not all the glaciers in the region made significant advances during the LIA (LINK)

    Secondly, we know that mwp was most likely warmer in the region as indicated by the exposed tree stumps dating from the mwp ( which you acknowledge) from the retreating mendenhall glacier. You may also note that the age of the tree stumps indicate a reasonably long warm period. 


    I think the only meaningful definition of natural drainage basin would be "before humans substantially changed things" for example by agriculture and hydro power etc,


    Are you attempting to argue that topography that has existed for millineums is not relevant to what any hydrologist would demonstrate is the natural drainage basin?  


    The glacier has indeed revealed some tree stumps from very roughly around the mwp. However studies of the mwp find that for Europe as a whole, it was rather weak with about half a degree of warming, in the northern hemisphere only, as below


    The mwp trees stumps that you acknowledge are just one of the many of the pieces of evidence that the region for the slim river was most likley warmer during the mwp and thus  the slim river most likely drained south which is its natural drainage basin.  The river most  certainly followed its natural course as recently as 2k-3k years ago. 

    Moderator Response:

    [RH] Fixed link. Please note that there is a link tool in the menu above the comment box.

  29. Joel_Huberman at 22:52 PM on 26 April 2017
    March against madness - denial has pushed scientists out to the streets

    I don't agree with the 97 to 3 odds, and I think that using that argument gives too much credit to the 3 percent. Climate science is basic chemistry and physics. There is no doubt that our release of CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels is warming our planet, melting glaciers, and fueling both storms and droughts. I don't understand the motivations of the 3% of doubters who claim to be climate scientists, but whatever their motivations, they're just plain wrong.

  30. March against madness - denial has pushed scientists out to the streets

    Recommended supplemental reading:

    Networks Covering March For Science Provided Platform For Climate Deniers by Kevin Kalhoefer, Media Matters for America, Apr 24, 2017

  31. 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #16

    Joe @1, I don't see how you can say that this rivers natural drainage basin existed back in the mwp, because this is arbitrary. I could equally say it's natural drainage basin was back before the  mwp where things were probably different yet again, but this is just as arbitrary. Rivers change their courses long term.

    I think the only meaningful definition of natural drainage basin would be "before humans substantially changed things" for example by agriculture and hydro power etc, or by agw global warming, depending on specific rivers. This would mean natural drainage basins are far more recent than the mwp.

    The real point is we are causing the glacier to melt through burning fossil fuels, or are at least this is a dominant cause. And its happening at a fast rate compared to previous warming periods like the mwp. And its altered river flows.

    The glacier has indeed revealed some tree stumps from very roughly around the mwp. However studies of the mwp find that for Europe as a whole, it was rather weak with about half a degree of warming, in the northern hemisphere only, as below

    (LINK)

    The mwp was also rather short, and was clearly not enough to seriously raise sea levels long term. The recent agw warming is driven more by greenhouse gases, and is at a much higher rate, and likely to lead to long term sea level rise. 

    Moderator Response:

    [RH] Shortened link.

  32. SkS Analogy 2 - Ferrari Without Gas

    This analogy does not claim to be a definitive thesis on snowball earth. But here are a couple of points I think worth pondering. Related to the comment

    "Eventually the sun strengthened enough to warm things up."

    The sun strengthens over geologic times due to changing fusion reactions in the core of the sun. These change are on the order of 100' millions of years, far too slow to bring the earth out of snowball earth. Earth's orbit changes, causing a small amount of warming. One theory of what brought us out of snowball earth is plate tectonics, which caused increased vulcanism, which increased the CO2 in the atmosphere to the point that at the equator the ice melted just enough to expose dark oceans underneath. This increased warming, which melted more ice, exposing more dark oceans, etc. Very quickly we came out of snowball earth and, because of all the CO2 that built up during snowball earth, we entered a hothouse.

    But my point is primarily this. The greenhouse effect requires both the engine (CO2, CH4, etc.) and the fuel (infrared radiation). Once the world got locked into a snowball earth, for whatever reason, for a very long time, high CO2 levels were insufficient on their own to bring the earth out of its deep freeze. This is partly because the snow and ice reflected most of the incident radiation back to space. Eventually a combination of plate tectonics, vulcanism, orbital alignment all happening together increased CO2 and temperatures to the point that we did come out of snowball earth, but for a very long time CO2 was at a level which, under non-snowball earth conditions, would have caused significant heating. The proof is just how hot it got immediately after snowball earth. Really hot, because all of the CO2 built up during snowball earth, combined with all of the radiation present after snowball earth, meant extreme heating.

    No analogy is perfect, but this analogy is trying to make the point that when skeptics/deniers point to periods such as snowball earth as proof that CO2 does not cause warming and that high levels of CO2 are not dangerous, we simply want to remind them that warming requires both the engine and the fuel, and not just the engine. During snowball earth we had a big engine (CO2) and little fuel. Today we have both the engine and the fuel, both in plenty of supply.

  33. Neil deGrasse Tyson on science vs. denial

    Daniel Livingston:

    For the sake of having the best chance of mitigating climate change impacts, I think it may be better to keep the arguments separate.

    Agree completely.

    I'm such an example. I'm a practising Christian who loves God; and I believe that climate change is real and that mitigation is important.

    So is Katharine Hayhoe, yet to me she's a heroine. I'm an atheist, at least in the dictionary sense, but you and I have no dispute.

  34. Neil deGrasse Tyson on science vs. denial

    Daniel Livingston @30, yes it's a tough one because as you say evolution comes up against the creationist thing, and vaccines do reflect at least genuine concerns ( even if  missplaced imho). These two things in particular fire people up and make some people very emotive and defensive. I alluded to this in my first post that these things are not fully indicative of the more general distrust in science we are seeing, and should not become too big a focus in debate. 

    Having said that it's not just climate science under attack, but other environmental science. And evolution and vaccines are related to both science and current irrational attitudes as well, so it's very hard to ignore them entirely. It's hard to walk around everyones sensitivities all the time. I make this effort because I prefer this, but it's hard work.

    I also see from various polls that climate change scepticism seems more prevalent in the Republican congress than the general membership. It's driven in Congress, as much by political factors and lobby group pressure, rather than genuine doubt's although there is this as well.

  35. SkS Analogy 2 - Ferrari Without Gas

    ? looking for help here. The article says:

    "... infrared radiation ... captured by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, increasing the temperature of the atmosphere. ... absorb an increasing fraction of the emitted infrared radiation, causing warming."   

    captured?  absorbed?

    I thought that the CO2 reemitted the IR, causing the surface to warm. 

    The surface then warmed the lower atmosphere.

    Is that a more accurate desciption?

    Thanks

  36. March against madness - denial has pushed scientists out to the streets

    Well said. The loss of belief in science is tragic, and astounding, and dismissing the views 97% of climate scientists that agree we are altering the climate, and going with a small minority of sceptics of 3%, is irrational, and ammounts to an insane sort of selfish gamble, and is dumping our stupidity on future generations. We have just one planet, and it needs to ne managed well or things will go very wrong. Most importantly, it's a completely senseless gamble, given renewable energy is now cost competitive, or close enough to be genuinely viable.

    (Polls actually show a variance from 90% - 97% who think we are altering the climate, but I think its immaterial whether its 90% or 97%. It's a big majority, and no poll has ever found climate scientists with a radically different outcome. I suspect sceptics have conducted such polls, but they have not delivered the results they wanted, so never got published)

    Yes some will argue that the majority are not always right, but given the sceptics are in a distinct minority, their work has to be carefully scrutinised, and the duty is on them to have a pretty convincing argument, including not just some big problem with mainstream climate science theory, but a viable alternative reason for global warming that explains not just the rate of warming, but also other associated atmospheric changes. They have consistently failed to do this imho.

    Climate denialists and sceptics also seem to consistently come with a lot of ideological baggage, that to me undermines their credibility.

    I remain open minded, but we have completely run out of time to theorise, because if we don't act now, serious climate change will be totally locked in for millenia.

    I take some degree of issue with the claim that people have "suddenly lost the ability to judge what is right or not," in other words suddenly become irrational. I think many people have always stuggled to evaluate science, because we have failed to teach enough about the scientific method itself, along with skills of logical thinking, identifying shallow rhetorical tricks and so on. Given climate change is a big issue with big implications, it has exposed this lack of skill.

    However some things have changed as well. In the past I think people have accepted science on trust, and have been respectful of elites, during the 1800's and authoritarian post WW2 period, up until the 1960s, and had no particluar reason to question things like quantum physics, that doesn't require them to change lifestyles. This subservience to authority was however oppressive in various facets of life, especially socially.

    Things are now different as culture is more liberal and less authoritarian on the whole, so people question things more. This is basically very healthy, but has gone totally out of control with some people, with a total lack of respect for elites, for various reasons. People have simply lost faith in elites, possibly for partisan political reasons, frustration that things dont always work smoothly, etc. This has led to Trump gaining unfortunate traction.

    But I think it's also exposed that many people lack the rational thinking skills to discern when the elite or politicians are genuinely wrong or genuinely right, or to spot flaws in denialist claims, which might be scientic flaws or simple logical absurdities.

    Of course we cannot expect people to accept every pronouncement of the elite at face value. Alternative views are healthy. Scepticism has its place and can be healthy, if it's rationally based.

    But alternative facts are a nonsense. Conspiracy thinking is insane. These things are dead ends.

    Without basic, fundamental faith in mainstream institutions and mainstream science, and the scientific method, and rational evidence based thinking, we are lost and things will end badly. We loose unity of human purpose and belief. It will become a war zone on every level, with human groups divided, and it could literally come to civil war.

    There's no viable alternative to mainstream science, rational thinking, evidence collated or collected by good public institutions, and private institutions that have integrity and reputation, and some form of authority that is tasked with collecting such evidence.

  37. SkS Analogy 2 - Ferrari Without Gas

    NigelJ: point out to them that all the volcanoes on Earth provide only 1% of the CO2 we are emitting, sometimes less. Note that there are more vents, geysers, fumerols, mud pools and other geothermal outlets in Yellowstone Park than the rest of the world combined but there are more "fumerols" (exhaust pipes) on the LA Freeways alone, let alone the rest of the planet.True, big volcanic eruptions release a lot of gas, but they are all over in a few days or weeks, with decades/centuries until the next time. Exhaust pipes are 24/7/365.25.

  38. SkS Analogy 2 - Ferrari Without Gas

    Just related to snowball earth, I had to read up on wikipedia, I confess. It appears solar radiation was very significantly less when earth first formed, and has been gradually increasing over the millenia, at an incredibly slow pace according to well understood astronomical evidence.

    Whats interesting is that prior to snowball earth there was a period of liquid water  that coincided with a weak sun. It's called  "the faint sun paradox" given solar output suggests everything should have been frozen.  It's thought that greenhouse gas concentrations were extremely high, enough to keep the planet above freezing point. Some think alternatively that given oceans were larger in extent, this affected the heat balance.

    It's thought the greenhouse gas balance eventually fell leading to snowball earth. Snowball earth was a period of low solar radiation, and quite high greenhouse gases, but not high enough to overcome the weak sun. Eventually the sun strengthened enough to warm things up.

    Now the suns energy output is essentially falling very slightly, and we are adding greenhouse gases, so this is the dominant factor affecting climate.

    This is my understanding. From snowball earth and related links on wikipedia.

  39. Daniel Livingston at 07:04 AM on 26 April 2017
    Neil deGrasse Tyson on science vs. denial

    No worries regarding my name - I get David and Livingstone frequently.

    Thanks for the informative responses. I guess we will probably see things differently regarding some philosophical questions, but I hope that doesn't prevent meaningful dialogue.

    This is a site about the science of climate change, so behind my post was an implicit / veiled plea to keep the issues of evolution and vaccines separate. If we lump them all in together as science vs anti-science issues, I fear we will unnecessarily alienate people (such as many US evangelicals) whose minds are not already made up on the question of climate science, but are made up on, say, the question of origins.

    The risk of lumping them all in together is that a Creationist may find it difficult to evaluate the evidence and arguments around climate change if he thinks that he is already labelled as being in the 'anti-science' crowd because of his beliefs about origins.

    For the sake of having the best chance of mitigating climate change impacts, I think it may be better to keep the arguments separate.

    I'm such an example. I'm a practising Christian who loves God; and I believe that climate change is real and that mitigation is important.

  40. Neil deGrasse Tyson on science vs. denial

    Daniel Livingston, apologies for the name mistake. I know a David Livingston, I mixed it all up.

  41. SkS Analogy 2 - Ferrari Without Gas

    William @3, yes very bad scenarios are certainly possible.

    Also have a look at "The Revenge of Gaia" on wikipedia.

  42. SkS Analogy 2 - Ferrari Without Gas

    The blanket / body analogy is excellent, and will bring a wry smile to people, but I do think most people probably accept the greenhouse effect. The small number who don't might be the very stubborn types who will be hard to convert.

    The problem is people query whether the CO2 is coming from fossil fuels or the oceans or volcanoes, or whether natural causes for warming dominate, etc,etc, ad infinitum. I suppose all we can do is combat these fallacies, and this website is a good resource for this.

    Combatting climate change is more of a political / psychological / economic /social /vested interests  problem.

    It's tempting to be pessimistic about the whole climate thing at times, with the slow progress, complacency, and astoundingly ignorant and self interested positions of people like Donald Trump, but things in life often reach tipping points, where the public and even most politicians suddenly change their positions, and progress starts to happen rapidly. It's like there is a silent gestation period, and then everyone reaches a silent consensus, and change their mind or want action almost in unison. You see it in politics sometimes.

    People can be fixed and partisan, yet they "do" eventually change positions on at least some things. I think this may happen over climate, and full commitment to renewable energy. The question is whether it's soon enough to be of any use.

    However it may take longer in America given the deep divisions, and powerful influence of lobby groups and various other factors.

  43. SkS Analogy 2 - Ferrari Without Gas

    The solution may be at hand.  We are in a horse race to see whether sudden climate change or economic collapse will come first.  If Economic collapse knocks us back into a dark ages or even into a stone age, our carbon output will crash and huge areas of the world will go back to forest.  Imagine the legends that the remaining survivors will tell of this "Atlantis" and the deniers that will maintain that it could never have been.  For that matter, sudden climate change will precipitate an economic collapse so pretty soon we will stop straining our poor old earth whichever wins the race.

  44. 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #16

    A stream flows through the toe of Kaskawulsh Glacier in Kluane National Park in the Yukon. In 2016, this channel allowed the glacier’s meltwater to drain in a different direction than normal, resulting in the Slims River water being rerouted to a different river system. (Dan Shugar)

    A team of scientists on Monday documented what they’re describing as the first case of large-scale river reorganization as a result of human-caused climate change.


    A more accurate statement is that the river is reverting back to its natural drainage basin,  which existed prior to the glacier blocking its natural flow.  The retreat of the mendenhall glacier revealing tree stumps from the early mwp indicates a much warmer period in the region and that the north bound flow of the river has most likely only been a fairly recent occurance.

  45. Neil deGrasse Tyson on science vs. denial

    My apologies to Daniel Livingston, for calling him David after reading nigelj's reply to him.

  46. SkS Analogy 2 - Ferrari Without Gas

    Macabre, but effective analogy. We need lots of variations on the same theme to reach the broadest audience, and your's works. Thanks. Perhaps we can publish this as Analogy 2B.

  47. SkS Analogy 2 - Ferrari Without Gas

    In the 1930s my father-in-law escaped Depression-era Seattle for Alaska to pan for gold (his father had made quite a bit of money that way).  He and his friends hooked up with an old prospector who was certain that up a particular river they would find El Dorado.  After much trial and tribulation, they ended up-river with no gold, winter approaching, and then the prospector died.  They quickly did an about-face, the river froze, it became perilous.  Worst of all, my father-in-law had drawn the short straw, and had to sleep with the old man's body in his tent (the ground was too frozen to bury him properly).  One night he woke up, and the old man was staring at him, and he swore at the old man that if he ever haunted him, he would find a worthy adversary as they fought their way down to hell.

    This is a long-winded, more macabre way of saying that another way of making your analogy is to note that you can throw a blanket (of CO2) on a freezing human being, and they will warm up.  But, if you throw a blanket on a freezing corpse, they just stay frozen.

  48. Neil deGrasse Tyson on science vs. denial

    David Livingston

    Evolution: most informed people are aware that there is abundant scientific evidence of natural selection that is essentially incontrovertible. What scientists have failed to ever once demonstrate, however, is that observable natural selection can be a means of producing new genetic information such that biodiversity or biogenesis can be explained in an observable, reproducible way.

    Mr. Livingston has demonstrated is a fundamental confusion about what science is. He is thus like "most informed people."

    His use of "biogenesis" is ambiguous, but if by "biodiversity" he means speciation, then the "failure" of evolutionary biologists to demonstrate it before Mr. Livingston's very eyes in no way undermines any refereed claims of the neo-Darwinian synthesis.  Nor is "failure" to replicate every step in the process a substantive challenge to current models of abiogenesis, the origin of life from non-living chemical precursors.

    Mr. Livingston goes on to assert that alternative hypotheses to evolution, that assume intelligent and/or supernatural causes, can't be ruled out.  That's not correct either, I'm afraid. 

    Science, as a way of trying not to fool oneself, relies on the a priori assumption of invariant natural law; since no later than the mid-17th century, disciplined scientists have agreed that "then a miracle occurred" is wholly unsatisfactory as an explanation for anything (hence, according to an 1825 biography of Napoleon, Pierre-Simon LaPlace's reply when Napolean asked him "how the name of God, which appeared endlessly in the works of Lagrange, didn't occur even once in his?": "I had no need of that hypothesis"). The only "miracle" that can't be ruled out is the origin of the Universe itself, since our Universe's invariant laws themselves originated with the Big Bang.

    For their part, as nigelj has already pointed out, proposed natural but super-intelligent causes all suffer the "what created them?"  flaw. That is, they contravene the principle of parsimony, also called the least hypothesis rule or "Occam's Razor".

  49. Neil deGrasse Tyson on science vs. denial

    A couple of comments from the US:

    Despite religious conservatives, most classrooms in the US do get taught evolution. Counterexamples are usually based on individual teachers who are violating the curriculum. Whether or not evolution or climate change are presenting in anything like a convincing fashion, however, is more variable.

    There is an ongoing failure to teach methods vs. facts. One of my most useful Junior High classes was an English class where we learned Greek and Roman origins of suffixes and prefixes, experimenting with creating our own words using modifiers - and giving the tools to examine new vocabulary from scratch. And spending time for a degree in Philosophy, which provided considerable experience in identifying logical fallacies, in understanding poor argumentation.

    How to think is perhaps the most important subject of all - and sadly, not always taught.

  50. Neil deGrasse Tyson on science vs. denial

    David Livingston @24 

    You say "usually the question is whether or not to vaccinate my kids rather than whether vaccines have efficacy."

    Clearly for you, but I have observed plenty people  claim vaccines have nasty side effects and also that they don't work. I suggest they reject the science of whether vaccines work, in a sort of reaction to provide another reason not to use vaccines.  

    And their concerns about side effects seem rather irrational given the same people are often happy to use other medications, which also have equal side effects. 

    However I do understand people do worry about what they are giving their children, and it sometimes worries me, but overall I think vaccines are advisable. The risks are no more than other medications, and serious risks are at very low level. Remember people can have a fatal allergic reaction to almost anything, but it's rare enough.

    That's not to say we should accept everything pharmaceutical companies claim at face value, but let's keep the "scepticism" sensible with some real foundation, not some of the crazy conspiracy claims people make.

    You say "What scientists have failed to ever once demonstrate, however, is that observable natural selection can be a means of producing new genetic information such that biodiversity"

    So you  appear to claim people accept some evidence for evolution, but science has never demonstrated formation of a new species. I'm not up with the latest on this, but the problem is it's virtually impossible to create in a laboratory the geographical conditions that lead to new species in the real world. This doesn't mean it didn't happen.

    You say "but there is no evidence that would require the abandonment of alternative hypotheses for the origin of species (such as alien seeding, intelligent design, the multiverse, a creator, etc)."

    Well theres quite a lot of evidence that suggests it's all rather unlikely. Also, if human or animal evolution was due to alien impregnation, where did aliens come from if not evolution? This is the same sort of problem as "who created the creator". It's all a bit of an intellectual dead end really.

    You make the claim "In climate science, however, it’s harder to imagine ways to reject the mainstream understanding without reasonably attracting the label ‘anti-science’."

    Yes, however I would suggest 95% of those who reject the science of climate change  because they have vested interests in fossil fuels, or are worried about carbon taxes, etc,etc rather than as an academic exercise. Just imagine if we could solve global warming by fitting an inexpensive device to the exhaust pipe of our cars, and ask yourself how much scepticism would be left? Not all much I would suggest.

    So vested interests, and various fears, and entrenched beliefs, might be causes of rejection of science. (You could add in genetic crop engineering). However I doubt these are the only things, recently, if you look at the comments various people make. There's an emergent distrust of elites,  and rational evidence based thinking, that seems to go beyond just vested interests or fears about the effects of new technologies. This distrust has ideological roots, and is sometimes very unjustified.

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