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Comments 1 to 50:

  1. One Planet Only Forever at 09:00 AM on 18 February 2018
    How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    Further thoughts related to my comment at 28.

    This issue could also be seen as a conflict between Teaching/Education and Indoctrination/Brainwashing.

    Teaching and education today is very different from the past. That is because, when performed properly teaching/education is updated as new awareness and more complete or more correct understanding develops.

    Attempts to maintain previous understandings can be seen as being the result of effective indoctrination/brainwashing rather than genuine educating that leaves the learner open to new learning, or as a result of personal resistance to new awareness and understanding (a self-imposed indoctrination/brainwashing).

    And new awareness and understanding that contradicts a perceived to be personally beneficial belief could even be challenged as being an attempt to indoctrinate/brainwash people (that could be how it is perceived by people with a motivation to hold onto beliefs that the new awareness and understanding contradicts).

    That would explain the high percentage of highly educated people in regions like Alberta choosing to disagree with the developed better awareness and understandings of climate science and arguing that 'they do not have to give up their potential for benefit just because of claims about the future developed by climate science', after all, they can vote in their preferred leaders and profit from the activity, so it must be justified.

    Regional socio-economics can result in indoctrination/brainwashing of many people including people who have completed high levels of education. To change their minds, they would have to admit they have allowed themselves to desire unacceptable things, admit their developed desired ways to pursue benefit are harmful to others, and admit that their perceived success/superiority relative to others is not deserved. Those can be powerful motivations to not change their minds.

  2. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #7

    On second thoughts, electricity generated by wood pellets and the like probably wouldn't respond fast enough to help with wind intermmitency issues, power outages or sudden peak load situations?

    Humanity is sure in the deep end over climate issues, and making sense of solutions. However we have quite a range of possible negative emissions systems, and promoting all of them equally may be the best option right now, and they will add together.

  3. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #7

    BECCS has its merits, but there just probably isn't enough land to scale it up massively. Biofuels would have to take priority over BECCS, as they are the only realistically potential way of dealing with aircraft emissions.

    The article also gave no indictation of whether there are enough geological formations suitable for storing such massive quantities of CO2 from plantations the size of India. Storing emissions like this also looks expensive to me.

    However BECCS has one advantage not mentioned. Wind and solar have intermittency problems, and BECCS could resolve those perfectly if it was perhaps 10% - 20% of electricity generation. The land areas required to do this might be realistic in scale, and you are getting at least some absorption of atmospheric carbon. So maybe BECCS is destined to be part of an overall mix of negative emissions technologies and systems.

    Sequestering soil carbon seems an attractive option to me, because its just a change of technology using existing land, and doesn't require additional land or huge changes in crops. Its almost purely a question of convincing 570 million farmers. But a lot of farmers already use no till or reduced till farming, and regenerative farming has a range of benefits in addition to the climate issue. Its a huge scaling up challenge in terms of education, but at least there are no hard land limits like BECCS, and there are no obvious downsides.

  4. One Planet Only Forever at 04:48 AM on 18 February 2018
    How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    As a professional engineer I was never opposed to climate science. I was less aware than I should have been, mainly because the socio-economic systems were not raising awareness of the issue.

    Increased awareness and understanding of climate science was natural for me as an engineer dedicated to constantly increasing my awareness and understanding of things related to my works as a civil and structural engineer. Regional extreme climate design conditions are the basis of much of the designs developed by civil and structural engineers. So the rapid pace of climate change potentially creating unanticipated climate conditions became a serious concern of mine.

    As I was becoming more aware of, and better understanding, climate science I was amazed to see others in my profession in Alberta being dismissive of climate science and even being angry at anyone who tried to increase proper awareness and understanding of climate science.

    That behaviour needed an explanation. I also have a MBA, and learned about the way that pursuers of wealth can develop damaging desires and try to justify them (usually wanting the items I was engineering to be cheaper and done quicker and not liking me pointing out the reasons they could not get what they wanted). It led me to wonder about the power of socio-economic situations on the way people think, and to date I have reached the following understanding, consistent with many other presentations of human behaviour.

    The socio-economic environment a person developed their ways of thinking in can challenge their ability or willingness to change their minds about climate science, or many other matters that they have a Private Interest in.

    A Developed Lack of Concern for Others or the Future of Humanity can be the result of a competitive socio-economic environment (a desire for the best possible personal Present any way that can be gotten away with). And that lack of concern can lead to unacceptable ways of deciding what is acceptable.

    People can be easily tempted to believe that acceptability should be determined by comparing personal (Private Interest) perceptions of joy/benefit to the perceived harm/detriment that actions cause, with the personal conclusion being that things are acceptable as long as the perceived personal joy/benefit obtained exceeds the assessment of harm done (as the person pursuing benefit sees it).

    And competition to appear to be better-off ruled by popularity and profitability, rather than competition to be understood to be most helpful ruled by Good Reason, develops more people who are more determined to believe that unacceptable way of determining the acceptability of attitudes and actions.

    And groups of people who share that unacceptable way of determining acceptability can be seen to gather together in opposition to any developing better understanding that contradicts their preferred, but understandably unacceptable, Private Interest beliefs.

  5. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    The main thing I think needs pointing out with respect to the skeptical/denial side, is that almost entirely all of their claims come from people, blogs, media and organizations with absolutely no science background what so ever, much less that of climatology.  Additionally, the science papers they criticize are based on cherry picked data or deliberate misrepresentations of what those papers actually show.  Also, I would have to ask these skeptics/deniers why is it that none of the non consensus climate scientists are taking any of the 97% consensus papers and showing "specifically" their mistakes?

  6. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change


    I was commenting in the same spirit as your post I was replying to.

    Medical papers are a special case where comanies with much money to gain have gamed the system.  Scientists have identified that there is a problem and are working on solving this problem.

    By contrast, all the money in climate is on the denier side.  Seminal papers have been reproduced many times.  Arrhenius 1896 paper is still in the IPCC range and he did his calculations with a pencil.  Many projections of temperature rise have been shown to be within the range of error after 30-50 years wile denier claims of flat ot cooling have been proved incorrect.  Review  the temperature comparisons here at SkS or at Realclimate.  Jacobson has hundreds of citations that get about the same result as he did on using renewable energy.  While there are undoubtedly errors in Jacobson's work, the replication of his work by so may others shows he was on the right path.

    The consensus of evidence is what shows us that Climate Theory is on the correct path.  Yout claim is false.

    I see that as I expected, you trust experts most of the time.  It is only when you do not like the result that you claim that they are always incorrect.  

    You inform no-one when you claim that peer reviewers do not re-do the papers they  review.  It is not their job.  They are supposed to provide a filter to remove errors but they are not expected to be perfect.  The good journels (like Science and Nature) do a pretty good job of removinng the chaff.  Lower quality jourals are not as good.

    Mann's hockey stick paper has been reproduced by other people using different data hundreds of times.  How much replication do you need?  Every global climate model (dozens of different models) makes a projection of future temperatures.  That is in addition to the papers that sepecifically address the climate sensitivity by other means like comparison to past temperatures. 

    Replication by obtaining the same result by a different path, as has been done repeatedly in climate science, is better than re-doig the experiment.    Your insistance on re-doing things over is rarely done.

    Your argument is incorrect.  Your claims do not withstand the slighest examination.  You should apologize to the hard working scientists you have insulted.

  7. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    The so called "harm the economy" issue is meaningless, and scaremongering, unless people are specific on what they mean. I haven't had time to read the links on the costs studies, but here are a couple of thoughts from a slightly different perspective, stripping it right back to first principles.

    Start with a basic normally accepted definition.The economy is the way 'society' chooses to organise the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services and money. This can be paraphrased as the best use of scarce recources.

    Reducing emissions doesn't really reorganise how the economy works in terms of basic decision making and systems. It might add a carbon tax, but taxes are nothing new, and its limited to one product essentially. Even Trump wants a petrol tax for road funding.

    Reducing emissions has some potential to have inflationary effects, but not significantly as I talked about above. It doesn't have to add debt. However the point is, its hard to see why it would cause stability problems, like economic bubbles do.

    Of course nobody thinks making the required changes comes for free. We need to cap industrial emissions and replace coal plant etcetera. But costs of all this are put at a couple % of gdp, which equates to a couple of % of our income each year, not some doubling of income tax, or massive drop in living standards. Renewable electricity is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and it creates jobs.

    The point on discounting of future costs is a good point and needs to be considered.

    And of course there are the costs of continuing to use fossil fuels. They harm the economy, and not just because of CO2, and they are not ultimately a sustainable resource in the way solar power is for example.

    Until its all broken down like this into the component issues, we will go around in circles.

  8. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    Alchemyst @24

    Thank's for the links etc. Interesting.

    I didn't really refer to the peer review system as such. I'm just saying climate science generates a huge mountain of research, even on basic causation. It would be almost impossible for one individual to make sense of it all to see what it adds up to, and it seems only a large organisation like the IPCC or someone like the BEST organisation can do this as a team effort. And we see meta studies. None of this is ideal, but I'm mystified what the practical alternative would be.

    Likewise as MS says no one individual can be expert in everything in life. I like to think I am, but I'm just not!

    But regarding peer review. I have never been involved in this, but I was a quality assurance manager for a design company for a couple of years, so I know about reviewing things and writing QA systems.

    I think peer review is a very good system from my general knowledge, but its only really a means to maintain quality, and weed out obvious junk science and basic errors to declutter things. It doesn't mean every paper is guaranteed100% correct. I think the correctness can only be established by how the science community responds to published science over time, so its a quite drawn out subtle kind of process to me. But it basically works well.

    Of course peer review isn't perfect, and some absolute junk slips through the system sometimes. That is not good. But nothing is perfect. And it's expensive to purchase research. On the other hand, peer reeview has worked well enough for a long time, and you would need a significantly better alternative. Journals that make scientists pay are not too compelling, and this website did an article I think.

    The validation system is hard to understand, looks complicated, and like its subcontracting part of the process to some person, who in turn is validated by someone else? This looks like an expensive process, and is not going to be 100% proof something is correct. However it would provide a sort of chain of documents identifying strengths and problems in a rigorous, formalised way and this is a strength.

    The stealth syndromes project peer review reproducability... I think this is all good commentary.

    This makes obvious sense "For all those reasons, important decisions should not be based on a single study, but need to be made on the basis of a consensus of the overall body of trustworthy studies considered as a whole."

    Repoducability and easily available and full data and methods definitely needs much more emphasis.

    Stealth systems what is peer review? Churchill sums it up well. Again the criticisms of peer review make sense, and I certainly think the suggestions to improve peer review largely make sense, after a quick read.

    I wouldn't blame regulatory agencies too much. They are just people trying to do a job, and are governed by partisan politics, which is sometimes very hostile even to the idea of a regulatory agency. This probably warps things.

    Ultimately no checking procedure will be perfect but they can certainly be very good. I think it comes down to how studies stand up over time to wider scrutiny and more information, and also having multiple studies, especially of criticaly important science. For example, the risk of saturated fats seems to have been exaggerated to some extent, and was based on a small number of rather old papers apparently. The body of research on climate change is much larger and more recent.

    Yes the climate debate gets a bit personal at times unfortunately. Perhaps theres fault on both sides. However Michael Mann and other "warmists" have been viciously insulted and received death threats not so much from scientists, but from political groups etc. Anyone in his shoes would then get bad tempered sometimes, although he seems very affable. 

    I have my share of dark thoughts on certain people, and its also possible to be excessively polite, but I dont like debates that become highly abusive. It just becomes a shouting match.

  9. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    michael you are offensive.  

    Read the Feyman quotes. My opinion is that he was the greatest scintist of his era


    scientists were unable to replicate the results of 47 out of 53 papers that were seminal to launching drug-discovery programs. “This is a systemic problem built on current incentives,” he said according to Nature.


    In answer to your question regarding medics. I do not self diagnose but I always ask to see the test results and often  ask for a second opinion. I only fly in planes that have co-pilots. It's what is known as double contingency. The systems allow it for a very good reason as a bad decision can easily be fatal. As for a second shot at filling a cavity, on that, I gernerally think that once is enough, the pain ain't worth the gain.

    nigelj, you seem to give too much reverence and attribute too much power to the peer review system. It is better to have it than to have not. But it has limitations, in that  it does not guarantee 
    that the work is reproducible, or correct, see above. The reviewers check it for grammer, style, reasoning but not specifically that the results are correct and reproducible. see

    1/      I have personal experience of stopping an already peer reviewed  paper from an eminent scientist going to publication. The reasoning in the paper was correct. His results were not faked, but his conclusions had a mistake, which had only become apparent through supplemental work which we had performed at our own suggestion to strengthen his work. Upon hearing of our results he pulled the paper back.  But it was only by luck through that eminent scientist talking with my collegue that these supplemental tests were performed.

    2/ Peer reviewers are normally very busy and do not go to their labs and repeat the experiment, or in the case of climate reseach do not repeat the darting of polar bears or checking the thermometer readings.  However there should be sufficient information available so that another researcher can reproduce the results. Please read the next ref in it you will find how long a reviewer spends on a paper. the longest time in this unscientific sample was one day whilst the researcher may well have encompassed an entire PhD project of 900 days. It can hardly do merit to the original work.

    3/ Having shown you the weakness of the publish and peer review process, it is still better than nothing at all. However it does have a strength. It sets out a paper with a conclusion that can be confirmed or  denied by someone else skilled in the art.  In reality most papers end up in the journal and get read by the apocraphal 2 and a half other researchers on a wet thursday afternoon. But sometimes someone will take the effort to properly check out the paper, which is more likeley if the guy has a genuine interest or maybe does not like the author. It is only then do we have any idea if the paper was reproducible or just bad sciencce. I hope now that you and this website will realise that Muller did the correct thing

    please take the time to read these attachments and give me your opinion  

    ps from the accounts Bohr and Einstein were always disagreeing with each others papers and trying to find holes in them. Yet both men had a deep respect for each other (and both men went out to meet the young Feynman ) and that is how scientific knowledge progresses.  What I am seeing in the climate change argument is a lot of disagreement without respect.

  10. New research, February 5-11, 2018

    Excellent research on deconstructing denialist myths, and fascinating.

    Regarding your example:

    P1: The climate has changed in the past through natural processes
    P2: The climate is currently changing
    C: The climate is currently changing through natural processes

    In summary this is of course one of the most frustrating denialist arguments, because the fact that climate changed before does not mean natural causes are a driving factor today. Its logically flawed before even needing to consider the science.

    However its also a frustrating argument, because I think there are other issues as well. I think this is how some denialists might see this particular myth:

    P1: The climate has changed in the past.
    P2: The climate is currently changing
    C: Change happens all the time, so why worry?

    The premises are true, but it is of course a false deduction because the argument lacks sufficient information on cause, consequences, dangers, and options available to humanity to change things to draw the conclusion. Its also a form of philosophical fatalism.

    Some denialists also see the myth in yet another way in my experience:

    P1: The climate has changed in the past, and humanity survived.
    P2: The climate is currently changing
    C: So why worry?

    The premisese are true, but are not sufficient reasons because mere survival still had huge costs, and the past is not fully understood, and relevant to todays more complex integrated technological world with billions of people. So the premises are misleading, or have inadequate information.

    This is possibly why "climate has changed before" is such a recurring and annoying myth, because it possibly combines three arguments in the one myth, all logically flawed. Its a sort of super myth.

  11. News network climate reporting soared in 2017 thanks to Trump

    The fact that our digital age enables people to “stay up to date” with current events strictly through outlets that do not pose a threat to their viewpoint or identity is a curious phenomenon. Theoretically, the interconnectivity that technology offers allows for diversity in coverage and opinion relating to a particular issue (e.g., yet many people have constructed their own worldview and voluntarily choose to stay within its confines. For instance, according to the article’s “US Corporate News Network Climate Coverage” figure, in 2016, FOX News only discussed climate-related matters for approximately five minutes in total. This is in part due to the presidential election, and for those who view FOX News exclusively, the topic of climate change is simply irrelevant, even nonexistent within the lens by which they interpret the world. Further, I found the comparison of major news networks’ — ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, and FOX — coverage of extreme weather events in 2017 in the context of climate change to be very interesting and helpful for better understanding the scope of these outlets. Luckily, climate reporting in 2017 generally increased relative to 2016; however, the corporate broadcast networks including ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX only aired four total segments relating to natural disasters and climate change. Contrastingly, PBS continues to be an exemplar in publicly advancing climate science data, yet may face substantial reductions in federal funding in light of Trump’s proposed budget. It is critical that as conscious citizens we continue to be skeptical and inquisitive of what we hear and see on the news, pushing back against vested monetary interests that value arbitrary wealth over planetary longevity.

  12. One Planet Only Forever at 01:46 AM on 17 February 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    michael sweet@77 provides a comprehensive rational assessment of NorrisM's commenting to date.

    I would add that the issue neglected or deliberately ignored by NorrisM and many others is the proper consideration of the Future for humanity including the economies of the future.

    NorrisM has correctly observed the problem: The development of a focus on 'Trying to get the best personal Present (Private Interest) rather than living a Good life helping Others, especially helping to develop sustainable improvements for the future of humanity (Global Public Interest)'.

    However, NorrisM fails to understand/admit that is a problem to be corrected (and many others share that failing).

    The economic evaluations I have seen, including the evaluations by Stern, side-step the issue of the simple unacceptability of current day activities negatively affecting the future. They often pretend that perceived benefits today translate into eternal future benefits.

    One way they do that is by comparing the 'costs today, or lost opportunities for perceptions of prosperity today, of rapidly correcting the incorrectly over-developed activities' with 'an assessment of future costs created by those incorrectly over-developed popular and profitable activities'. And things are declared to be OK as long as the evaluation shows less future costs than the current day costs of correction. That is like declaring it is OK to do something you enjoy/benefit from because you have determined that the joy/benefit you get is more than the cost/distress/annoyance you consider you have created for your neighbour.

    In addition to that obviously fundamentally unfair method of evaluating acceptability:

    • current day costs often get exaggerated
    • future costs are limited to a few specifically identified future impacts.
    • reduction of non-renewable resources is ignored, no future costs assigned for that.
    • Future costs get reduced by discounting, basically saying the future is less important than the present. Note that Net-Present Value type discounting is a legitimate way to evaluate alternative investment opportunities as long as the future costs are experienced fully by the ones receiving the present day benefit. Activities that future generations do not benefit from, like the burning of non-renewable buried ancient hydrocarbons, can only be acceptable if there is no negative future consequence. And the simple reduction of access to buried ancient hydrocarbons is a negative impact on future generations.

    The bottom line is the developed popular concepts of 'pursuits of popularity and profitability economics' are in need of significant correction.

    That means significant corrective education of the general population, another item NorrisM should be able to appreciate, unless his motives are different from the Global Public Interest of ensuring that activity today minimizes the harm done to future generations of humanity and actually develops sustainable better ways of living.

  13. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    An economic reason for mitigating manamde climate change now, rather than later...

    Scientists are warning us that the winter is becoming shorter. First freezes are starting later. So when I look at my children, I am even more convinced that we must take immediate and aggressive action on climate if we want their generation to learn these sports and enjoy winters in the mountains. More important, we must act quickly to preserve the culture and economies that depend on winter and snow.

    A report to be released this month by the group Protect Our Winters, which I founded, shows that tens of thousands of jobs are at stake in mountain towns as our climate warms. In total, the 191,000 jobs supported by snow sports in the 2015-16 winter season generated $6.9 billion in wages, while adding $11.3 billion in economic value to the national economy.

    Saving Winter Is More Than About Snow. It’s About Jobs., Opinion by Jeremy Jones, New York Times, Feb 16, 2018

  14. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5


    All the peer reviewed economic reports that I have seen from the Stern report on the Ecoomics of Climate Change up to the present show without question that it is much more economic to take strong action about AGW than to wait or go slowly as you suggest.  I.E. it is much more damaging to the economy to use fossil fuels than to take action about AGW.

    Your claims that reducing fossil fuel use might damage the economy are simply fake news and propaganda from oil companies.  Please provide a peer reviewed economic analysis that indicates there is danger of harming the economy from reducing fossil fuel use.  I doubt such an analysis exxists, it is all propaganda.  Everyone who actually looks at the data concludes it is more economic to change to renewables.

    You are simply spamming us here since you have provided zero peer reviewed studies to support your claims that taking action about AGW will damage the economy.

    I have provided you at least 8 peer reviewed analysis of renewable energy like the Smart Energy Europe: The technical and economic impact of one potential 100% renewable energy scenario for the European Union and the Jacobson papers.  All these analysis conclude it is cheaper to switch to renewable energy.  They conclude jobs will increase and the economy will expand using renewables.  You are simply voicing oil industry propagada.  Provide peer reviewed evidece to support your absurd claims.

    Moderators: Norrism has not provided any evidennce to support his repeated, wild claims.  That is the defination of sloganeering.  He should be required to provide citations to support his claims just like everyone else.

    Your claim above about "what the climate may be in 2100" is specious.  The climate will continue to change after 2100 even though the IPCC does not consider that time period.  Peer reviewed economic analysis like I have cited above show that if we do not rapidly reduce fossil fuel use there is a strong likelyhood that all of civiliation will collapse.  Farming in the world's breadbaskets will not be possible with 6C climate change.

    Since fossil fuels will run out in 100 years or so anyway, we will be forced to use renewables in the end no matter what.  Why destroy a living climate for those in the future when we can make the switch now?

    Provide peer reviewed papers to support your wild claims.

  15. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    Norris M @75

    All you have said is that the public dont all understand the economy / environment relationship, and they worry about jobs. You are stating the obvious and reinforcing the general ignorance, so what is your point and purpose? 

    "That means convincing the public and if you make proposals that are not practical in relation to the economy then you are just whistling against the wind in my respectful view."

    What impractical proposals?

    You talk and talk and never really say anything. You go in circles like a merry go around like you are paid to waste time.

  16. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    scaddenp @ 71

    The environment will always be here long after man has parted this world (after listening to a few of Sam Harris podcast interviews with people knowledgeable about Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) all of this talk about what the climate may be in 2100 may be a bit academic, for the human race at least).  

    But assuming we somehow figure out "the alignment of AGI" and we still are around, again, it comes back not to what we might think is right (the left side or the right side of the graphic), but rather as to what does the public think about this graphic?  My sense is that they would point to the representation on the left of the graphic. 

    What the public most thinks most about are jobs, education, health care, pensions, taxes, etc etc ie. the "economy". So "harming the economy" is very relevant. 

    From the above, I trust you will see Phillipe Chantreau that I believe the economy is much more than just "corporate profits".    

    It just seems to me to be irrelevant to talk about things in a vacuum.  Anything we do has to come back to convincing governments elected (in theory) by the public to take action.  That means convincing the public and if you make proposals that are not practical in relation to the economy then you are just whistling against the wind in my respectful view.

  17. One Planet Only Forever at 10:11 AM on 16 February 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5


    I agree that the graphics presented by scaddenp are a good representation of different potential 'worldviews'. I would add that the right presentation is the only one that can be supported by reason.

    Reality is the entire physical universe (or multi-verse if verifiable observation leads to that awareness and understanding). All of that physically understandable stuff is the Environment. Within that Environment there are Living things that have developed by 'fitting into the Environment'. Within Living Things there are Humans. Humans develop a variety of societies within the totality of Humanity. And each society of humans can have a variety of economies developed within it. But any part of developed life can only continue to exist if it is a sustainable part of the Environment.

    Societies are developed by the interaction of individual humans. And economic activities are a sub-set of those human interactions. Therefore, the economy is a diversity of possibilities that can develop regionally and be changed as needed.

    What is needed by Humanity is a sustainable future for humanity that is constantly getting better for all of humanity. That requires the interactions between humans to be constructive and helpful to the development of a sustainable better future for humanity. That requires all of the chosen to be developed interactions of the economy to be sustainable improvements for 'all of humanity including generations into the distant future'. Another way to say that is 'all human activity needs to fit in as a sustainable part of the environment'.

    That understanding leads to the need for restrictions on human activity to protect the sustaining of a robust diversity of life in the environment, things like healthy water, healthy air, healthy soil, healthy food.

    Those reasonably required restrictions contradict the preferred developed beliefs of the Economy-Centric types (the people who think the Economy Governs Reality and must be Protected, or at least be allowed to compromise Society or the Environment). Like a Religion, the Economy-Centric fans require Faith when the evidence (Reality) exposes that a developed profitable and popular Economic activity is harmful to the pursuit of sustainable development benefiting all of humanity, especially the future of humanity. But Economy-Centric belief is unlike spiritual religions because almost every spiritual religion includes teachings of the need for humans to honour, respect and protect the Environment and other life.

  18. Philippe Chantreau at 09:50 AM on 16 February 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    "the economy can't exist without the environment."

    I can't think of a more concise and accurate way to define the problem. We are on the way to discover the true cost of ecosystem services; it's not going to be pleasant. The other aspect is this: the immense majority of arguments that go the "harm the economy" route conflate "the economy" and corporate profits. 

  19. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    Regarding Scaddenp's nice graphic, the right hand set notation is clearly the more convincing. The economy is a subset of the environment. The environment is more important than the economy, because the economy can't exist without the environment.

    New Zealand had a proposal to change the resource management act environmental legislation, to make the economy equal to the environment, more like the left hand graphic. I think Scaddenp is from NZ, so may recall how this provision was fortunately defeated. While it sounded superficially appealing, and balanced, they cannot be considered equal as well demonstrated by your graphic. (I lobbied on this issue under the name of gandalf.)

    Although it is self evident that the economy is also important. Imo its always going to have to be a case of demonstrating that some economic activity does not significantly harm the environment, and the RMA has a good process for this. Although I think it could be made to operate more quickly I think in a practical sense, without qualitatively changing the process and rules. Lawyers slow it all down (sorry Norris).

    Here is a bit of a personal view on the forces behind all this. The environment is effectively a combination of our home in the galaxy, and the the raw materials of the economy. The environment is a limited and finite resource. While we may eventually be able to mine asteroids, we know this will have problems and limitations, even with the most optimistic assessment of the possibilities so we cannot possibly count on this sort of thing as a given.

    The environment is constantly changing for natural and man made reasons. It can be transformed in ways that are sustainable, and ways that aren't sustainable. Waste can turn the planet into a rubbish dump, or be disposed of more carefully, or we can use alternative materials. 

    All these things are interrelated of course.

    The goal should be to maximise the time humans can exist and flourish on this planet. The environment can be conserved with a combination of sustainable development goals and appropriate rules. It also requires a voluntary and enlightened change in both personal and corporate lifestyles and values. Ultimately, and sooner rather than later, population growth must slow radically. Economic growth must slow, or change its focus.

    If all this doesn't happen by design and evolution, planetary limits are likely to force things to change and population and growth to fall the hard way.

  20. News network climate reporting soared in 2017 thanks to Trump

    Regarding Trump pulling out of Paris, and similar matters. Imo much of what Donald Trump does is similar to internet trolling. Trolls set out to be provocative, seek attention and  to cause maximum argument and disruption, and have certain personal characteritics all as below.

    I think pulling out of Paris is partly just to be deliberately disruptive for the sake of it.

    You could also add self centred plundering of the environment with no care for the consequences.

  21. News network climate reporting soared in 2017 thanks to Trump

    My thanks to PBS, CBS, and NBC for making the effort to report the science.

    Fox are just pathetic, completely asleep at the wheel. Anything that upsets their world view is ignored. This will come back to bite them and their supporters.

  22. Scott Pruitt insincerely asked what's Earth's ideal temperature. Scientists answer

    Recommended supplemental reading:

    It's misleading to ask what Earth's 'ideal temperature' is. Here's what's really important by Andrew Freedman, Mashable, Feb 14, 2018

    The article is chocked full of quotes from prominent climate scientists.

  23. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change


    I suppose you diagnose all your illnesses yourself instead of going to the doctor and fill your own cavaties also.  You build your own car and pilot the airplane whe you travel.

    What a stupid comment.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Over the line.

  24. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    Alchemyst @21

    Richard Muller didn't do the calculations for the global temperature record himself. He was part of a large team of scientists called the BEST project as below.

    So this is not so different from other research teams, or even the IPCC in principle.

    I know thats not your point, and its good to check things yourself where possible. But its not always going to be possible, because some issues are too large. So we have to have faith in other people at some level I think. 

  25. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    David Kirtley 3:55 am 14 feb

    "Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts

    "I never pay attention to anything by "experts" I calculate everything myself"    -Feynman

    And if it was good enough for Feynman it is good enough for me. I admire Muller for calculating it himself which I suspect that the overwhelming majority of the advocates of man made climate change have not.

    It then becomes an act of faith and that has been horribly wrong in the past. If you believe that you definately know the answers on a subject, then you do not not it well enough.

  26. The EPA debunked Administrator Pruitt’s latest climate misinformation

    nigelj: We also have this...

    Trump seeks big cuts to science across agencies by Scott Waldman, E&E News, Feb 13, 2018

    Luckily, the US Presidents' budget proposals are rarely, if ever, enacted as proposed. This one will be no different.

  27. The EPA debunked Administrator Pruitt’s latest climate misinformation

    Speaking of heads of organisations we have the following:

    "Trump’s Science Advisor, Age 31, Has a Political Science Degree
    Because Trump has not nominated someone to head the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Michael Kratsios is the de facto leader."

    Can anyonee believe the  cynical, destructive,  ideologically driven anti science agenda here? Political science is not a hard physical science, or even much of a science at all.

    "Kratsios graduated from Princeton in 2008 with a political science degree and a focus on Hellenic studies. He previously served as chief of staff to Peter Thiel, the controversial Silicon Valley billionaire and Trump ally."

    "The vacancy might reflect Trump's skepticism on climate change. If the president believes that the Senate would balk at a nominee who questions widely accepted views on climate change, he might prefer to leave the post open, said William Happer, an emeritus physics professor at Princeton University who is considered a leading candidate for the job. Happer says the Earth is experiencing a "CO2 famine."

    "There is no problem from CO2," Happer said last month in an interview with E&E News (Climatewire, Jan. 25)."

    You couldn't make this stuff up. If it was an idea for a fiction book or movie, it would be rejected as too implausible. But no, it's actually happening.

  28. Humans need to become smarter thinkers to beat climate denial

    Conradin Sakison @8

    What you say seems quite interesting, and technically true. At that level of thinking, there's no absolute division between natural and un-natural. I would say theres no absolute division between a lot of things.

    However the term natural is just a way of categorising things for convenience in discussion, so we dont have to constantly recite detailed lists. Its sort of a way of organising information. For example saying he died of natural causes saves having to go into complicated details about diseases, especially if more than one contributed to the death.

    It only relies on general agreement on what fits in the category of natural versus un-natural or mad made, and this is generally not so difficult to agree on. Its not a contentious issue in the climate debate, because everyone pretty much agrees on what constitutes the group of natural causes versus human causes. Categories are useful things, even if there are sometimes no absolute divisions between categories.

    I think climate denialists might respond to your idea along those lines, and I'm not sure it would be worth arguing with them. Most of them would also struggle to grasp what you are saying philosophically, because the climate denialist world view seems to crave for absolutes and clear divisions in all things. So good luck!

  29. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    NorrisM - how come it is okay to harm the environment but we mustnt on any account harm the economy? Which of these is more accurate representation of reality?

  30. One Planet Only Forever at 03:37 AM on 15 February 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5


    When considering how to respond keep the following in mind.

    The issue is 'Correcting incorrect over-development to minimize the damage done to future generations'. The current globally agreed understanding, based on all the currently developed understanding of climate science, is to limit the accumulated impacts of incorrect over-development to a level that has a good chance of limiting the increase of global average surface temperature to 2.0C.

    Such corrections will inevitably involve 'harming' the incorrectly over-developed aspects of the global economy. And since 1987, and actually earlier than that date, there has been no valid excuse for any leader, political or economic, to actually believe otherwise (their desire to get away with behaving less responsibly, more harmfully, and try to keep popular opinion on 'their side, excusing them' is understandable, but is not excusable).

    Another thing to keep in mind is that pursuing benefit from light crude is not necessarily better than trying to pursue benefit from bituminous sand deposits. In Alberta light crude extraction can involve tertiary recovery methods that involve high energy requirements, and may include 'permitted' chemical pollution, making such light crude as bad or worse than some bitumen (though totally legal because of the legal loopholes like 'permission' to pollute). And the end result of burning the final consumer products from either source is the same magnitude of problem, something that needs to be rapidly curtailed in spite of the losses that could/should be suffered by the people who gambled on benfiting that way.

  31. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    scaddenp @ 66

    If you were to reduce the rate to take into account population growth during this period, I would have to agree that that level of reduction should not put the economy in trouble.

    I am going to have to apologize that I am going to be out of pocket for a couple of days before we leave for an extended holiday in Mexico.  Once we get there (assuming the WiFi works) I will have more time to reply to Bob Loblaw and OPOF.

    All of us simply do not have the resources to analyze how seriously various steps will affect the economy.  So perhaps all we can do is look to jurisdictions like Canada, Germany and Sweden and others in the European Union to see what can and cannot work without jeopardizing the economy.  California should also be included in this mix.  It is a little like an federal jurisdiction which allows various components to try things and see what works.

    So rather than talk about theoretical percentage reductions in a vacuum I suggest that we would be better to see what these other jurisdictions have done, what has worked and what has not.  All of these jurisdictions have experts who can attempt to advise them on these issues but once again they have to look over their shoulder to see if their voters are going to come along.  None of us (I trust) are proposing steps ignoring the democratic polictical realities that exist at least in most of our Western civilization.  With the acknowledged exception of China (nigelj), we have to respect this process when we make proposals.  

    Having grown up in Calgary, lived in Toronto for three years (while attending law school at UofT), and then having spent my adult life in Vancouver, I think I have a "balanced" view of what is in the interests of Canadians generally and certainly not just Alberta.  My children do not live in Alberta.  

  32. The EPA debunked Administrator Pruitt’s latest climate misinformation

    If Pruitt opposes renewable energy like wind power, he is just hurting the American People, given its now cheaper than coal, as well as lower CO2 emissions, and it also causes less respiratory health problems. I don't think there can possibly be any logical argument otherwise. I dont live in America, so it's just my observation. 

  33. One Planet Only Forever at 15:59 PM on 14 February 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5


    "One of the big reasons our energy demand has increased is because the population of the world keeps on growing"

    The growth of population is a concern. But the real problem is the continued growth of consumption of unsustainable and damaging energy by the more fortunate, the ones who can afford to get their energy more responsibly (admittedly more expensive, but everything else about their efforts to impress others is also - More Expensive) and can afford to reduce the energy they need to live decently (admittedly for no personal perception of increased grandeur relative to others).

    So the answer is actions that will get more responsible behaviour from the Winners of the games people play, not a claim that limiting population growth will meaningfully correct the damage done by the development of popular and profitable but irresponsible and incorrect behaviour that is obvious to anyone who cares to see it for what it really is rather than try to excuse it.

  34. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    But on mechanism, how do you feel about governments simply banning new generation that either not carbon-free or doesnt bury all of its emission (by forests or directly)? Still lets markets decide and largely free of administration costs?

  35. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    No NorrisM, not what I am asking. You argued from Popper's incrementalism that we could only go off FF slowly. I showed the rate with which we increased, and asked were you comfortable with going down at the same rate. I didnt ask for a mechanism to bring us down by that rate.

    I am asserting that if it was safe (from a Popper incrementalism viewpoint) to increase FF at that rate, then it follows that it is safe to bring them down at the same rate. Do you agree?

  36. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    Just to clarify I think $80 is a proper carbon price from what I have read, but $25 is a reasonable starting point. But it will need to be ramped up reasonably quickly to the proper price.

    Bob Loblow those are good examples of change, or "disruptions" on the wider scale, and our psychological tendency to ignore certain ones.

    Change and disruption is inevitable. I have a beautiful and expensive stereo cassette deck at home, completely superseeded by compact discs, now almost superseeded by internet services,  all in less than 50 years. 

    I think it's best to avoid generalised, vague ideological positions that act as roadblocks to change. Its better to look at specifics and ask what organisation is best practically placed to so something, so is it government, or private business, or something else? 

    For example I suggest the private sector is best placed to build and also choose specific types of renewable electricity and electric transport etcetera.The government should not rule any out, unless theres an awfully strong reason. 

    But sometimes governments can have a role in the lines network, especially in small countries. There are pretty obvious practical reasons for this.

    Personally I can see government organising a carbon tax, some subsidies for electric cars and renewable electricity etcetera (funded partly though the tax). Taxes are sometimes slow mechanisms, and a subsidy turbo charges the process, and can be funded from the tax, or cancelling fossil fuel subsidies. Put it this way taxes, and subsides work well together.

    Government potentially has a role making sure the electricity market has sensible market rules and deals properly with spot pricing issues. Electricity markets are not your usual market.

    Governments may also have a role in promoting forestry carbon sinks, especially because a carbon tax will not incentivise those, where emissions trading does.

  37. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    NorrisM @ 57:

    It seems you want to try to pin me down to a fixed number, even though you appear to be completely unwilling to tell me what you mean by such phrases as "a significant economic impact" and "massive economic impact... " That is unfortunate. It looks like yet another rhetorical trick, in which you think you gain advantage by trying to make it look as if I am unwilling to answer. I am too old to respect such debating tactics.

    I will attempt to give you an answer,, once more. I have (in previous discussions) pointed to evaluations that place the social cost of carbon considerably higher than $30/tonne. I am not an economist; I accept these higher estimates as reasonable, and I think that any carbon taxes need to start small and grow over time. $30/tonne will be insufficient, and a carbon tax alone will be insufficient.

    You have continued by using phrases such as "bring the economy down",  "materially damage the economy", "put the economy into trouble", "industries that would immediately suffer greatly ", "a massive transfer of wealth", "out of a job", "all those direct costs you allege", etc.

    If you do not realize that you are using vague, emotional triggers, then you should reflect on what you post. If you are aware of it, then shame on you.

    Having lived in Alberta for a number of years (not currently), I am familiar with the role that the gas and oil industry plays in the economy there. Either consciously or unconsciously, I thnk that your thoughts are dominated by the positive role that fossil fuels play in the wealth of that province, and downplay the hugely negative role that economists forecast for the future world. That is why I see your positions here as far closer to Trump et al than you want to or are able to see.

    You have also said to me "Your theory about it being "neutral" just does not make sense." Bluntly, all you seem to see is the job losses that will inevitably occur in the fossil fuel industries. Those jobs may be you (semi-retired), your friends, or loved ones. Get used to it - it will happen. I have seen three boom-bust cycles in Alberta in my adult life, and every time the general attitude in Alberta is "this boom will never end". It will, whether it is due to action on climate change or just the cycle of business, What you constantly ignore is the job opportunities and economic potential in alternative energy sources. You see costs, not benefits. You need to look more widely.

    You also say "I would much rather governments stick to building the necessary infrastructure rather than making decisions for private sector." This places you squarely in the group that reject climate science and action due to political ideology. I explicitly said that I favour a carbon tax and dividend that leaves money in the proivate sector. Your statement about the public vs. private sector reminds me only too much of the ...but communism..." response that was so common in the years that I lived in Alberta.

    In #56, I gave you list of historical events that I asked you to rate as "significant" or "massive" (your terms). In each of those events, people lost jobs, and parts of the economy suffered. To them, each was a bad event - most likely "significant", and quite possibly "massive". Each of those events also provided others with new opportunities and wealth. Whether you consider those events as overall good or bad depends, it seems, on whose ox gets gored.

  38. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    scaddenp @ 61

    If you are asking for solutions from me beyond a reasonable level carbon tax and some infrastructure projects I have to admit that I do not have many solutions.  One of the big reasons our energy demand has increased is because the population of the world keeps on growing.   Birth control anyone? I think it was Prince Phillip who suggested he would like to come back in his next life as a virus and wipe out half the world.  Leaving aside drastic solutions such as this, I do not really have an answer for the continuing growth of the world population let alone cutting back on fossil fuel use by a static population. 

    Perhaps you can suggest some specific steps beyond a carbon tax (or a much less desirable cap and trade system) which would not throw the baby out with the bathwater.  

    Back to the comment by times24by7.  It is a very complex problem.

  39. James Powell is wrong about the 99.99% AGW consensus

    If you are actually interesting in volcanic contributions to atmospheric CO2, then try

    Burton, M.R., Sawyer, G.M., Granieri, D. (2013). Deep carbon emissions from volcanoes. Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry, 75, 323–354.


    Gerlach, T. (2011). Volcanic versus anthropogenic carbon dioxide. EOS, 92(24), 201–202

  40. James Powell is wrong about the 99.99% AGW consensus

    Atc - I would argue that studies on Lake Nyos disaster are of almost no relevance. From a climatic point of view, the interesting no. is how much CO2 is released on average from volcanoes and whether that is changing. Studies of a highly localized eruption like Nyos contributes almost nothing except when the context of global inventories. Papers on global inventories of CO2 from lakes are another story.

  41. One Planet Only Forever at 10:30 AM on 14 February 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5


    You have not answered the questions I have asked. But from your comments I have a clear understanding of your position/perspective.

    You are essentially arguing for only a minor reduction from a Business as Usual scenario. That would be like an RCP 7.0 or 8.0, which can only be argued for by someone who does not understand or accept the globally agreed need to 'limit total human impacts to 2.0C and an aspiration of reducing the impacts inflicted on future generations to 1.5C (significant rapid CO2 removal from the atmosphere)'.

    The understanding of the reason why Business Essentially as Usual approaches that inflict minimum negative consequences to aspects of economies that over-developed in the wrong direction can not be expected to produce the required chnages/corrections was well stated in the 1987 UN Report "Our Common Future" which included the following blunt assessment of the unreliability of pursuit of profit and popularity to develop the required changes/corrections.

    "25. Many present efforts to guard and maintain human progress, to meet human needs, and to realize human ambitions are simply unsustainable - in both the rich and poor nations. They draw too heavily, too quickly, on already overdrawn environmental resource accounts to be affordable far into the future without bankrupting those accounts. They may show profit on the balance sheets of our generation, but our children will inherit the losses. We borrow environmental capital from future generations with no intention or prospect of repaying. They may damn us for our spendthrift ways, but they can never collect on our debt to them. We act as we do because we can get away with it: future generations do not vote; they have no political or financial power; they cannot challenge our decisions.
    26. But the results of the present profligacy are rapidly closing the options for future generations. Most of today's decision makers will be dead before the planet feels; the heavier effects of acid precipitation, global warming, ozone depletion, or widespread desertification and species loss. Most of the young voters of today will still be alive. In the Commission's hearings it was the young, those who have the most to lose, who were the harshest critics of the planet's present management."

    When President Bush Jr announced that the USA would not participate in Kyoto he proudly declared that Americans did not need to change the way they lived. That attitude has developed an unsustainable economy that needs significant correction. The required responsible correction will be a negative result from current perceptions of prosperity. But that current perception is clearly a falsehood, a Fake Economy. The perceptions of prosperity in the USA are substantially built on getting away with deliberately behaving less acceptably.

    As a result, I agree that the USA leadership is unlikely to willingly choose to responsibly and fairly correct the incorrect economic over-developments. Something like carefully targeted international trade sanctions against specific USA activities are likely to need to be developed in order to get more responsible leadership behaviour from the USA (just like sanctions are required to try to get better behaviour from leadership in N. Korea and Russia).

    That a once great leader towards a better future for humanity should have so significantly devolved through the past several decades is a major tragedy.

  42. James Powell is wrong about the 99.99% AGW consensus

    To clarify what I meant by relevance, in the carbon dioxide example. The study was on the deaths caused by carbon dioxide coming out of a lake. Would it be of interest to pursue how much carbon dioxide was coming out? How significant is it? We know it is relevant in this example; but are there other ones with not so obvious relevance? Relevance which we  can’t think of right now. 

  43. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    "So perhaps you should be re-visiting the answer you gave to the question asked by saddenp@33"

    I agree. Interested to know.

  44. James Powell is wrong about the 99.99% AGW consensus

    With the AI program, we wouldn’t be searching just for climate change or global warming. We can be searching in other fields such glacier science, volcanology, oceanography, etc. So what we want is for the AI program to be looking for relevance to the topic of global warming or climate change. For instance, carbon dioxide in lakes or submarine volcanoes. They may not have a position on global warming but may be relevant. Just a thought. Don’t know if it will clarify anything or just muddy it more.

  45. The EPA debunked Administrator Pruitt’s latest climate misinformation


    I'm quite curious to see the analysis of which you speak which indicates that solar power is not dispatchable. Certainly, you can't "turn on" more solar panels to meet peak demand when there are clouds, it is night time, etc, but a robust power storage system will still allow a solar powered grid to meet demand when demand peaks. There have been notable recent advancements in solar power that now allow many solar power plants to supply the grid in much the same way as older fossil fuel or hydropower plants were able to load follow. Specifically, concentrated solar power plants use concentrated solar radiation to melt salts or other substances, which are then used to generate electricity thermally, and the molten salts are stored to meet later peaks in electricity demand.

  46. James Powell is wrong about the 99.99% AGW consensus

    Can the survey of peer-reviewed literature be done with some kind of AI program? This way we don’t just have abstracts but the entire paper. We can do all sorts of analyses on the papers. Something like the AlphaGo but for reading research papers.

  47. How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change

    Here is another interview with Jerry Taylor in this podcast: Important, Not Important: Episode 3

    Alchemyst @11 - It seems to me that Powell is appealing more to the "authority" of the peer-reviewed science rather than to any particular scientist(s). The "appeal to authority" fallacy usually involves a claim that something is true because "Great scientist x" said so; not by pointing to a consensus of scientists and the wealth of data/theory that the consensus is based upon. A good example of this fallacy (or at least the thinking which it is based on) might be: "One Muller is worth 98 Powells". ;)

  48. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    [JH] Recommended supplementary readings:

    Tomgram: Michael Klare, Militarizing America's Energy Policy, Introduction by Tom Engelhardt, Article by Michael Klare, TomDispatch, Feb 11, 2018

    11 takeaways from the draft UN report on a 1.5C global warming limit by Megan Darby, Climate Home News, Feb 13, 2018

    Expect more 'complete surprises' from climate change: NASA's Schmidt by Peter Hannam, Sydney Morning Herald, Feb 12, 2018

  49. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    MA Rodger @ 58

    I agree that it is somewhat of an over-statement to suggest that a carbon tax is the only tool but with the exception of infrastructue projects I am leery of what governments might do in their zeal to meet certain voluntarily imposed limitations on the use of fossil fuels.  One of those actions is the banning of ICE in automobiles by a certain date when there is no viable alternative on the horizon (will not get into the problems I see with EVs on a massive scale).

    But here is where I strongly disagree with you as to the practicality of this statement by you:

    "In a AGW-mitigated world, without a breakthrough in zero-carbon energy supply, we can expect the use of energy to be much constrained."

    I think we have to plan for a future where the demand for energy increases not decreases.  That has been the history of the world to date and that would be a large ship to turn around.  I just do not see that it is practical to assume otherwise.

  50. New study ‘reduces uncertainty’ for climate sensitivity

    I found the IPCC reference

    It was in TAR. I wonder if there's an update in the 5th Assessment Report.

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Link activated.

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