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  1. 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #25

    For Sat June 24, the link for 'The World is Burning' by IPS News Desk goes to an article 'The 1C milestone' by '...and then there's Physics'.

    The National Geographic article 'Antarctica Is Melting, and Giant Ice Cracks Are Just the Start' is really well-written and informative.  Highly recommend.

  2. 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #25

    Regarding John Vidals very good article he says "Whether it’s faster than average warming, more vulnerable than average populations, or more severe than average drought, floods and storms, it’s clear that some places are being hit harder than others ... But the bottom line is that climate hotspots intersect, and nowhere will we escape the changes taking place. What happens in the Amazon affects West Africa....."

    This physical process is of course already happening, and will continute to happen, and is predicted to accelerate. At precisedly the same time, the world is globalising and becoming ever more inter linked and inter dependent, by free trade, tourism, immigration and international agreements and alliances. It is process is sometimes criticised, but appears inevitable and largely desirable. Therefore severe economic problems and social problems in certain countries caused by climate change, will become eveyones problems.

    As some countries are hit harder by climate change, this inevitably affects their economies and internal political stability, etc. This then effects other countries, on trade and economic levels, and all these things are now in a delicate balance. We saw how the financial crash in america rapidly spread globally. Of course global political and economic systems develop some resilency, but there are limits and problems in such systems adapting to fast rates of change generated for whatever reason.

    Climate change will also create a refugee problem and this will also become an ethical and moral concern and hard to ignore because in a globalising, inter linked world there are all sorts of consequences if you ignore problems.

    In a globalising world it will herefore becomes much harder for individual nation states to insultate themselves. Climate problems are going to become everyones problems, not just on the physical affects, but through economic and political and humanitarian levels as well. It's utterly inevitable, and retreat into isolationism is not a viable option.

    Quantifying and predicting this is all but impossible, but it looks like a distinctly damaging problem, and  I'm reminded of an old saying "prevention is better than cure".

  3. Exxon, Stephen Hawking, greens, and Reagan’s advisors agree on a carbon tax

    Tom Curtis @5, yes true enough a carbon tax may only work up to a certain limit, but then we have other alternatives. I believe its better to do something than nothing, and to start with the most workable and politically plausible solution, even though its not what I personally ideally prefer. I prefer the best technical or theoretical solution, which is sometimes the simplest as well, and zooming straight to that, but sadly politics gets in the way.

    I'm also reminded of tobacco taxes. In my country have seen these contribute strongly to a drop in smoking rates from 40% to 15%, which shows the powerful effect of taxes. However getting rates to fall from 20% to 15% required quite significant taxes and things seem to have reached a plateu. A sort of law of diminishing returns has been generated, I assume this is because of we are left with  people very highly addicted and / or financially well off.

    But "e cigarettes" have been legalised, and may make a difference. There are always alternatives and if smoking gets down to under 10% that may be sufficient anyway as the taxes pay for health costs.

    However the tobacco issue isonly a rough anaology to fossil fuels, and even a moderate tax may have larger effects than we think provided renewable energy is attractive. Plus its important to get fossil fuel use as close to zero as possible.

  4. Exxon, Stephen Hawking, greens, and Reagan’s advisors agree on a carbon tax

    Driving By @7, yes you are probably right. A telephone tax going back to the Vietnam war. Thats astounding!

    I accept only a revenue neutral style of carbon tax is likely to gain traction in America, where there is a strong suspicion of taxes, and a lot of ideological and partisan contoversy on the issue. I was thinking about the issue more from the perpective of what might work in my country. It's all about the art of what is politically possible, sadly to say, and thats how democracy works.

    However a revenue neutral carbon tax is without doubt a tremendously good concept on several levels and a viable way forwards out of this mess. You could still deal with other issues in other ways. You could subsidise renewable energy and electric cars, and this has justification in orthodox economic theory, and it could be done out of the existing tax base / government revenue by some small re-prioritising spending, so it could also be revenue neutral if required.

    A carbon tax is a good base to build on. Project specific taxes and subsidies can also have time limit clauses in legislation so that they dont get cemented in forever, and need to be renewed by a vote in government of some sort.

  5. 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #25

    The link to "Deadly heatwaves could endanger 74% of mankind by 2100, study says" isn't working for me.  It leads to a 'forbidden' page.  I got the article separately through a google search.

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Link fixed. Thanks for bringing this glitch to our attention.

  6. 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #24

    SteveW: Who is making the claim that melting sea ice contributes to sea level rise?

  7. One Planet Only Forever at 03:59 AM on 25 June 2017
    Exxon, Stephen Hawking, greens, and Reagan’s advisors agree on a carbon tax

    A revenue-neutral carbon tax will "help" make marketplace competition more helpful at achieving the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals. But as Tom Curtis points out, the need is to end the human activities that are causing increased GHGs will require other measures.

    Additional measures will be needed to compensate people who did not benefit from contributing to the problem (the 'loss and damage' compensation owed by the current generations in nations that had previously 'benefited from activity that increased the current problem').

    It needs to be understood that since the 1972 Stockholm Conference no business or government leader/winner (including investors) can claim to not be aware of the unacceptability of trying to expand or prolong their ability to benefit from activity that increased the GHGs. As John Hartz points out, the cheaters are now trying to get 'legal immunity from penalty' by claiming to support carbon-taxes 'if and only if they will be free from potential penalty for the understandably unacceptable things they got away with benefiting from'.

  8. 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #24

    As this is your first post, Skeptical Science respectfully reminds you to please follow our comments policy. Thank You!

    It doesn't make sense to attribute the, alleged, melting of floating sea ice as contributing to sea level rise. Melting ice does not change sea level if it is already floating.

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] "Melting ice does not change sea level if it is already floating"

    The melting ice referenced in the article refers to land-based ice sheets and the loss of the floating ice shelves that buttress them.  The loss of those ice shelves mean that the rates of land-based ice sheet mass losses via calving will increase dramatically, raising sea levels around the globe.

  9. One Planet Only Forever at 01:09 AM on 25 June 2017
    Exxon, Stephen Hawking, greens, and Reagan’s advisors agree on a carbon tax

    There are a number of concerns to be aware of. There are the many ways of behaving that people who have previously Won by getting away with behaving understandably less acceptably than others (to get the competitive advantage that doing so provides to those who get away with it) are likely to try to get away with regarding this measure:

    • It needs to be a truly transparent revenue-neutral tax on all activities that have an accumulating impact increasing GHG. The cheaters would try to hide what they are doing (claim proprietary business rights protect them from having to disclose information or be monitored). But it practically needs to be limited to the significant activities that are contributing to the problem (like any legal regulatory measure it is not possible to have the rules and monitoring address "everything" - the cheaters will try to limit what gets addressed).
    • To block attempts by pursuers of profit to by-pass a national tax system, it needs to be a consistent internationally set value collected and distributed in each nation. That way products exported from high impact nations would "Cost More as a traded commodity" and the extra cost would provide more financial benefit for the least fortunate in the high impacting nation.
    • The tax level should start high and rapidly go very high. Since it is revenue-neutral a high tax would only negatively impacts those who live higher-than-average lifestyles (and positively impact those who live lower impact lifestyles. Cheaters will try to argue that the tax needs to start very low. Then they will fight against it being increased.

    An internationally applied revenue neutral tax-rebate program could indeed be a good measure to help change the attitudes of people who have not willingly decided to best understand how they can help advance humanity to a sustainable better future as a robust diversity of humanity that fits into a robust regional diversity of other life on this, or any other, amazing planet. But rigorous effort is required to keep those who care less about helping improve the future for all of humanity from being able to believe and do as they wish.

  10. Exxon, Stephen Hawking, greens, and Reagan’s advisors agree on a carbon tax

    Always read the fine print...

    "Buried in pages of supposedly 'free market' solutions is new regulation exempting polluters from facing legal consequences for their role in fueling climate change."

    Climate Groups: Don't Be Fooled, Industry-Backed Carbon Tax Just Latest Scam by John Queally, Common Dreams, June 20, 2017

  11. Exxon, Stephen Hawking, greens, and Reagan’s advisors agree on a carbon tax

    Ogemaniac @1, first, carbon taxes are normally designed to tax CO2eq emissions, and consequently do not ignore emissions other than CO2.  Further, given a sufficiently large carbon tax, industry will itself pay for the necessary infrastructure, etc.  At least it will if given sufficient time to adapt.  The major problem with a carbon tax, other coordination between separate economies, is that as the time span to convert to a carbon free economy contracts, carbon taxes become more and more inefficient.  At some point they become less efficient than regulations, but it is certainly not clear that we are at that point yet.

  12. Exxon, Stephen Hawking, greens, and Reagan’s advisors agree on a carbon tax

    "Secondly I would question whether a carbon tax should be completely revenue neutral...."

    In my humble opinion, having a scrupulously, exactly and demonstrably revenue neutral carbon tax is the one way it might suceed. Otherwise, the voter's already slim trust in, goverment fixes... will go 'poof' and any future proposals from the same quarter will be met with rage. It's already at this point with many taxes; in the USA we have a "temporary" tax on telephone services which was to pay for the Vietnam war. That was about 50 years ago, the tax is still collected.  Same for 'temporary' state tax hikes, they are all but permanent.  

    As for renewables, when the public's income tax is lower they have more to spend, sales of goods increases so business has more ability to invest. At least some will use that for electric delivery trucks, solar hot water, perhaps solar electric, etc. After low-carbon replacements demonstrate success - IF they succeed - then they'll be adopted in bulk. Something's better than nothing. 

    Personally, I think that as long as the world has 7 billion people, nearly all of whom want refrigeration, TV, cars and meat, we're going to have a degraded environment.  You're not going to change the fact that 99% of humanity wants more, not less. If we got to 3 billion instead of 7, this and other issues could be tackled with ease.   This is politically a non-starter, of course.    

  13. Exxon, Stephen Hawking, greens, and Reagan’s advisors agree on a carbon tax

    Ogemaniac @ 1, yes a revenue neutral carbon tax is clearly insufficient as a stand alone scheme to fight climate change. But it doesn't have to be a stand alone scheme.

    Firstly a similar tax scheme could be applied to methane emissions in theory, as a tax on animal products, or  you could deal with methane emissions in other ways.

    Secondly I would question whether a carbon tax should be completely revenue neutral. Part of the money could be given back to the public directly, or with income tax cuts, part could go into things like electric cars, and part could go into the administration costs of a carbon tax scheme anyway.

    Thirdly and alternatively have a revenue neutral carbon tax, and the government could just subsidise renewable energy. This is not ideologically incompatible. There are also cases where subsidies make economic sense, because of recognised market failures.

    I think we are faced with trying to develop the best possible overall package of measures that is ideologically acceptable but also practical, and we won't ever address all of these perfectly, but can do a reasonable job overall. We probably need a combination of taxes, some mild regulation and subsidies. There are no perfect ideologically pure and  pain free options, but a carbon tax of some sort combined with measures to address methane etc and rebewable energy seems the best overall.

  14. One Planet Only Forever at 09:06 AM on 24 June 2017
    Claiming that Listerine alleviates cold symptoms is false: To repeat or not to repeat the myth during debunking?


    I am not convinced that media have to state a climate science myth. The reports should simply present a clear and fairly complete understanding of the science and leave it to the recipient to understand how misleading the myth messages are.

    What should happen is the media that fails to present Good Reasons for their reporting will be more clearly understood to be providing Poor Excuses.

    That does not mean that the Poor Excuses will not be popular. I have mentioned many times that behaving less acceptably affords the Bad Behavers a competitive advantage as long as they can get away with it.

    The failure of leaders in business and government to effectively block the pursuits of Winning by the less acceptable behavers, thwarting their attempts until they learn to change their minds, is a failure of the society they are members of no matter what perceptions of prosperity get away with being temporarily created or prolonged. In fact the larger the development in the wrong direction (away from Good Objectives like the sustainable development goals), the bigger the inevitable correction will be. That applies to individuals, businesses, and nations.

    Trump told no lie when he said that doing responsible changes to correct for past incorrect development regarding climate impacts will be harder on the callous greedy in the USA and many other nations. But they have no one to blame but themselves and those among their predecessors who were just like them.

  15. New Video: John Cook and the 97 Percent

    TC @7, yes I realise all that about the movie! I'm sure most people would understand things can't happen that fast or involving super storms taking up half the plant. I was just trying to say rapid change of some sort is possible. I should have been clearer.

    Abrupt climate change on wikipedia is an easy to read account of past periods for lay people, and documents periods of several degrees of cooling or warming in a matter of just a few years, and changes in weather systems although not at the speed or scale of the movie. That would still be bad enough for humanity to adapt to on global or even regional scales.

    However no doubt the teflon coated president would somehow escape a cooling event, tucked away down in mar a lago.

  16. Claiming that Listerine alleviates cold symptoms is false: To repeat or not to repeat the myth during debunking?

    OPOF @7, what you say makes total sense if you are talking to a friend, or responding on a  website. No need to restate the myth, so you just respond on whats really happening with temperatures (and this can also be a valid response to numerous myths)

    I think the issue being described above is more relating to the media. It's hard for the media to respond to the latest myth doing the rounds in society, without actually stating what it is, and the logical place is to put the myth as the top of discussion. Avoiding being specific about the myth or burying it in the text is confusing for me.

    However I agree about satellite data. A couple of additional things occur to me. If you are just a typical person and not a science expert and look at the UAH satellite data on Roy Spencers website, or over at RSS, the graph looks kind of flat compared to the surface data. This is partly because the vertical scale is simply a bit different I think. When you see the satellite data together with surface data on the same graph, there is much less difference. Of course the satellite data doesnt show as much warming since about 2005, but when seen together with the surface data even that difference is not as huge as it seems.

    And the satellite data doesn't measure temperature directly. It extracts temperatures by measuring changes in the molecules that make up the atmosphere, and this is not as reliable as simple surface thermometer readings.

    As you undoubtably know satellites also do not actually measure surface temperatures where we live, only the middle of the troposphere. But how many other people realise this? 

  17. Exxon, Stephen Hawking, greens, and Reagan’s advisors agree on a carbon tax

    Carbon taxes have worked quite well in British Columbia as below. They have reduced emissions and fossil fuel use, and ironically because it was set up as revenue neutral, people now have low income tax rates. I wouldn't claim its all perfect, but it is proof of basic viability and potential, and shows the predicted negative problems haven't happened.

    Not only do carbon taxes incentivise people to reduce carbon use, they provide an income stream that can be given back to the public, or used to subsidise electric cars, or subsidise renewable energy or some combination of these. This seems to make total sense to me in a practical sense.

    In my opinion, carbon taxes are transparent and upfront costs with a clear price on carbon underpinning the concept, where cap and trade schemes are harder to comprehend and appear less upfront. A revenue neutral tax overcomes most of the ideological criticisms directed at taxation. We know from history and economic analysis that taxes can influence rates of consumption of products.

    Carbon taxes are flexible, and can be combined with government regulation regarding large emitters.

    But to be effective carbon taxes do need to set quite a high price on carbon that will raise petrol prices very significantly, so its important that renewable energy alternatives and electric cars and hybrids are made attractive options. The two things must be combined.

    Alternatively you can force companies to keep fossil fuels in the ground by simple government regulation. This is simple and almost ideal, but it's unlikely to win industry, political, or public approval and may be perceived as harsh and excessive use of state power. It would be hard on consumers as well.

    The other alternative is an emissions trading scheme, sometimes called cap and trade. This is one of those mechanisms that makes total sense confined to a textbook, but I think it has problems when implemented in the real world. For example the scheme in Europe has been only minimally effective, and the whole scheme looks easy for governments and participants to manipulate and rort to me, because of its inherent nature. The public in my country are suspicious of the scheme as it looks like crony capitalism. This may be unfair, but the perception is there.

    Cap and trade also looks suspiciously like a neoliberal free market dream, artfully structured to look good, but designed to achieve precisely nothing, but so complex that all this becomes well hidden. Poor results in Europe seem to bear this out.

    Carbon taxes seem  the best alternative overall.

  18. Exxon, Stephen Hawking, greens, and Reagan’s advisors agree on a carbon tax

    There are two major problems with a revenue-neutral carbon tax

    1: It only addresses about half the problem, as other climate-related pollutants are ignored and substantial amounts of carbon emissions come from non-point-sources such as land use, animal husbandry, or forestry practices that cannot be addressed easily by a carbon tax.

    2: The government will need tens of billions of dollars a year if not more to pay for the related infrastructure, R&D, enforcement, and regulations that will be necessary to tackle this problem. Where would this come from, if not the carbon tax?

    Such a plan could be a devil's bargain, where by tackling one half the problem, we make the other half unsolvable.

  19. One Planet Only Forever at 01:36 AM on 24 June 2017
    Claiming that Listerine alleviates cold symptoms is false: To repeat or not to repeat the myth during debunking?

    When dealing with temperature 'misclaims', I do not have to restate any of the myths. I start with the values for CO2 in the atmosphere continuing to rise rapidly. The NOAA movie is a presentation of data I refer people to because the site includes lots of related information (and some people seem to "Switch Off" if I refer to SkS information).

    I state that when you look at the full set of temperature data from any source you can clearly see how much the values bounce in the short term but you can clearly see that the temperature has been increasing. I add that the satellite data starts in the late 1970s, not the late 1990s.

    The SkS Temperature Trends tool is handy for seeing the full set of data from several sources (however, some people seem to instantly distrust anything directly from SkS - a testament to the value of this website, but also backfire trigger).

    For those willing to use the SkS Temparture Trend tool to compare surface and satellite data I encourage them to set the years from 1978 to 2018. They can see for themselves how the satellite data for the Lower Troposphere (TLT) shows a temperature trend similar to the surface data.

    I also try to add that the satellite data is not the temperature at the bottom of the accumulated impact of all the CO2 in the atmosphere (sometimes that leads to an opportunity to present more details).

    However, it is unfortunate that there are different baselines for each data set. The difference between the approximate 12 month averages of the non-Satellite data at the start of the 1978 to 2018 plots is from +0.7C for GISTEMP to -1.4C for NOAA. And the satellite values start with 12 month averages of -1C for RSS to -2.1C for UAHv6.0. Those ranges are more than the total increase of the average surface temperature since the late 1800s.

    I try to explain that the trend is what is important. But some people focus on the different temperature values, even claiming that the UAH satellite data being so much lower than the surface temperature data proves that the surface temperature data has been Fudged. When I try to explain the different baselines I quickly find out if the person I am dealing with is genuinely interested in better understanding the issue.

    Those complexities of properly understanding this issue make it prone to easy abuse by very smart people who deliberately want it to be misunderstood. Those smart deliberate trouble-makers can easily become popular by helping to create effective Poor Excuses for undeserving pursuers of more perssonal benefit any way they can get away with.

    The real problem is not the way that climate science is legitimately  communicated.  The real problem is the failure of leaders (winners) in business and government to deal with those type of undeserving people before they can achieve signficant success. Once enough of those type of people get away with becoming a significant portion of the Winners it can be very difficult to Correct the situation because Those undeserving Winners can and do Band Together to Defend and Excuse each other's different unacceptability.

  20. New Video: John Cook and the 97 Percent

    I would like to propose another consensus. Let us all agree to stop using the term "believe" in and around Climate Change.

    Nobody gets to decide if they believe or don't believe in CC. By using the term "believe" people think they need to choose a side like all other belief systems.

    You either "understand" or don't understand" Climate Change.

  21. Claiming that Listerine alleviates cold symptoms is false: To repeat or not to repeat the myth during debunking?

    This is useful information.  There's an almost overwhelming human desire to correct someone who says "There's been no global warming in 20 years".  You want to show the many ways this person has been fooled (cherry-picking start dates, cherry-picking temperature surveys, missing the ocean-forest for the atmosphere-trees, etc).  Instead you end up reinforcing the myth.  The problem is the brazen statement of the myth in the first place immediately places you on the defensive.  The fossil fuel companies know that the best defense is a strong offense.

    A better response: "Global warming is indicated in the vast majority of surface temperature records, for all time scales, 15, 20, 25, 100 years, and for both ocean and atmosphere."

  22. New Video: John Cook and the 97 Percent

    nigelj @6, the day after tomorrow gets the science almost completely wrong in every way.  You might get rapid cooling with an AMOC shutdown, but not a turn around in days.  Nor would you get supercells so large and so intence that they are effective vacuums in the eye.  Nor, with rapid cooling, would you get snowfall sufficient to bury multistory buildings within a matter of weeks (cold water equals low precipitation), nor a sudden seal level rise (in a matter of days) from current to sufficient to float a ship through NY streets.

    And last, and worst of all, what happened to that wall between the US and Mexico ;)

  23. New Video: John Cook and the 97 Percent

    TC @5, that's interesting.  There have certainly been some short and quite intense cooling and warming periods, so the day after tomorrow is not quite as out theres as it seems. The current rapid arctic warming seems to fit the definitions of abrupt regional climate change.

    An analogy for abrupt climate change might be an earthquake.

  24. Claiming that Listerine alleviates cold symptoms is false: To repeat or not to repeat the myth during debunking?

    Simple messages are indeed powerful. I mean short sentences, and short, clear, concise explanations.

    Of course this is not appropriate for dedictated enthusiasts, but it works for certain target audiences. This website gets it, by having different levels of explanation, but sometimes the beginners explanation is still quite complex.

    Remember most people are busy people,and dont have the time to read masses of stuff, and others have short attention spans.

    Trump is most definitely not to my preference in presidents, but he undertands certain aspects of communication like simplicity, although he probably takes it a bit far at times to the level of a child. But you know what I mean, he does have certain communication skills of a sort, and knows his target audience (say no more).

    Most science issues revolve around causation and correlation. Most climate science myths can probably be condensed to a brief couple of sentences on both these elements. It's important to cover both, and get the point across on these elements, and not lost in endless detail, unless you are writing or discussing with someone educated, and with the time and interest to take in detail.

  25. New Video: John Cook and the 97 Percent

    nigelj @4, from Alley et al (2003)

    "“Technically, an abrupt climate change occurs when the climate system is forced to cross some threshold, triggering a transition to a new state at a rate determined by the climate system itself and faster than the cause” (2, p. 14). Even a slow forcing can trigger an abrupt change, and the forcing may be chaotic and thus undetectably small. For human concerns, attention is especially focused on persistent changes that affect sub-continental or larger regions, and for which ecosystems and economies are unprepared or are incapable of adapting."

    Reference 2, from which the first sentence appears to be quoted, is the NAS report on abrupt climate change.

    The classic case of abrupt climate change is the Younger Dryas, which in Greenland saw a change in precipitation patterns over 3 years, and in temperature over 50 years, although the change was much slower in the tropics.

    Based on that definition, the end of glacials, which takes thousands of years, counts as abrupt, whereas a similar warming from AGW over a century or two may not count as abrupt if it follows change of forcing smoothly.  There is, of course, a considerable risk that it will not.

  26. Claiming that Listerine alleviates cold symptoms is false: To repeat or not to repeat the myth during debunking?

    The range of effects of the myth (from being debunked to 100% backfire) depends on the way the myth is presented. So, the issue herein boils down to the accurate, and easy to understand by the intended audience, presentation by the communicator. Note, that the intended audience must also be considered. A person with phD in the rellevant or related field is interested in different details than a newbe person.

    But above all, the myth should be clearly labeled as a falsehood, with simple and unambiguous words, the simpler the better, especially if expressed not the target person's main language. Complex words as well as colloquial jokes will create confusion. So jokes and satire is IMO unacceptable.

    As an example: a badly frased poster confused even myself, because it used some complex words and some thinly veiled satire. If I was a climate science conspiracy theorist, this poster would only reinforce my opinion. Much better wording of the poster would be simply:

    "A plucky band of bilionaires [...] created a plot: '...'; but the plot is an absurd falsehood"

    which states unambiguously what the myth is and does not allow it to stand but debunks the myth in the same sentence.

  27. Digby Scorgie at 11:43 AM on 23 June 2017
    Claiming that Listerine alleviates cold symptoms is false: To repeat or not to repeat the myth during debunking?

    A lot of energy is being expended on persuading doubters about the reality of climate change.  (I'm excluding those who are ideologically wedded to their denialism.)  The doubters, however, are actually victims of the "propaganda war" (Stefan Rahmstorf's term) on climate science.  Would it not therefore be more effective first to sketch the nature of this "war" and then follow with details of how they've been deceived?

  28. Claiming that Listerine alleviates cold symptoms is false: To repeat or not to repeat the myth during debunking?

    Random people or educated people?  I think that something like this is going to be an important variable.  People who are familiar with and used to logical and analytical thinking may be more competent in accepting the debunking and having it override false information than people who are not.  People who rely on their gut and their belief system rather than analytical thought would be more vulnerable to the repetition than the debunking.  Effect will depend on audience. 

    One other thing.  Reading this I tripped over this phrase... 

    "our studies remain moot on whether familiarity backfire effects will occur in other circumstances."

    In most cases we see mute used incorrectly.  In this case however, mute (silent) would be (I think) more appropriate than moot (hypothetical - open for debate).  YMMV. I simply know that it caused my reading process to stumble to a halt for a wee while.  

    I think that this is important.  To debunk effectively one has to explain at least once what the error is that is being debunked.  OTOH, and this is important, in many forums the subject is set by the original post.  Often it is worth debunking by starting a new post because when looking at the subject lines there is an obvious propaganda value to those, and no matter how well you debunk in your response, you just repeated the error in the subject... which may well be all that most people ever see.

    Be careful out there



  29. To lead on climate, leave the ivy tower

    All these institutions and governement members and others that have signed on will mean nothing unless they find a way to keep funding the $100 billion Climate Fund for disadvantaged countries.

    Words will not help here real funding is needed.

  30. New Video: John Cook and the 97 Percent

    What is actually meant by the term "abrupt change" ? And what is a possible scenario, even if it's unlikely to actually happen?

    The IPCC report related to this overturing circulation is very long and technical to read right through.

    We all know "The Day After Tomorrow" scenario can't happen that fast (rather good move though) but what is a more likely scenario and timing?

    Or do I just have an unhealthy  fascination with disasters and horror stories?

  31. stephen baines at 07:37 AM on 23 June 2017
    To lead on climate, leave the ivy tower

    They want to stand apart from the other universities as they feel they are elite.  OK if they feel superior, but this is not the way or the time to emphasize that sentiment over a broad commitment to Paris.

    Frankly, I'm ashamed of my alma mater.  Not the first time, I admit.

  32. Claiming that Listerine alleviates cold symptoms is false: To repeat or not to repeat the myth during debunking?

    Very illuminating. It's good to hear this familairity bakfire effect is not always as strong as feared, because it's very difficult addressing science based myths or issues (or anything serious) without putting the key points up front at the top of discussion. It becomes confused and looks like something is being hidden or dodged to do otherwise. Your research is preliminary, but I thought the experiments discussed in the links were reasonably convincing.

    The familiarity backfire effect has also been studied and discussed as related to economic, social, and poltical debate as well, with some views that its better to avoid attracting attention to negative problems, and instead simply either go on the offensive, change the subject, or accentuate the positive or bury the problem text in the middle somewhere. Some say "explaining is losing". However I dont think you can apply this strategy to science. We expect manipulative spin from politicians, but people will be less forgiving when academics indulge in it.

    The research appears to show the familiarity backfire effect doesn't have much effect on people already familiar with a myth, or who are prepared to study it in detail and listen. I think the real problem is that when myths or problem issues are put at the start of discussion, theres a risk some people wont read more than the myth, so see what the counter arguments are, or just skim the counter arguments only briefly, so the myth might spread. It's similar to the use of "click bait" headlines in the media, that are exaggerations, spin, or simply false, but many people dont read past them so are left with false beliefs.

  33. 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #24

    Art Vandelay @5:
    The period 1921-1980 was 0.06°C and 0.05°C colder in the Berkeley Earth and NASA record respectively than their reference period 1951-80, so including those 30 years would make the temp anomalies that much larger, not smaller.
    Note: Berkeley Earth presents two versions of their temperature record, but they recommend using the one with air temperature above sea ice, not water temperature below it.

  34. SkS Analogy 3 - The Greenhouse Effect is Like a Cloudy Night

    Isn't this example a little more than an just an analogy? A cloudy sky implies higher relative humidity. Water is a greenhouse gas, which will absorb infrared radiation and return some of it to the ground. I think most people would expect a more gradual temperature drop at sundown in humid climates than in dry climates, even without cloud cover. The only difference seems to be that clouds are visible but greenhouse gasses are not. Isn't the same effect noticeable during a total solar eclipse? In other words, isn't there a more gradual temperature drop during a solar eclipse in humid areas as compared to dry areas? How measurable is the effect of 45% more CO2 and 124% more CH4 in the atmosphere on the rate of temperature drop? If we compare the rates of temperature drop we measure now during a solar eclipse with the rates measured before the Industrial Revolution would we notice a difference? I guess I'm asking for a quantitative estimate of the difference. Given that an eclipse moves so quickly over the earth's surface, I would expect that the radiative effects would dominate convective effects. A total solar eclipse will cross the United States in August. Could this present a teaching moment on the greenhouse effect or is the effect too small? 

  35. One Planet Only Forever at 14:01 PM on 22 June 2017
    To lead on climate, leave the ivy tower

    It is very 'telling' that the Leadership of the Universities that have not signed on to "We Are Still In" have not provided a detailed 'explanation' for not signing it.

    As leaders of institutions where new reasons and potential better understanding are constantly presented for investigation, consideration and challenge by other well informed people, they are undeniably aware that a 'Good Reason' will stand up to scrutiny and challenges, while a 'Poor Excuse' will stick out like a sore thumb (especially when that excuse is being rationally considered by a person who is well aware of Good Reasons for signing on to "We Are Still In".

  36. New Video: John Cook and the 97 Percent

    Curiousbev @2, scientists have had considerable discussion of the input of fresh water from the melting of the Greenland icesheet on the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC).  This has been discussed in the IPCC AR (Chapter 10), which concluded that:

    "Taken together, it is very likely that the MOC, based on currently available simulations, will decrease, perhaps associated with a significant reduction in Labrador Sea Water formation, but very unlikely that the MOC will undergo an abrupt transition during the course of the 21st century. At this stage, it is too early to assess the likelihood of an abrupt change of the MOC beyond the end of the 21st century, but the possibility cannot be excluded."

    It was also discussed on the IPCC AR5 (Chapter 11), which was more cautious, concluding:

    "Overall, it is likely that there will be some decline in the AMOC by 2050, but decades during which the AMOC increases are also to be expected.  There is low confidence in projections of when an anthropogenic influence on the AMOC might be detected (Baehr et al., 2008; Roberts and Palmer, 2012)."

    That low confidence, however, means the current influence of AGW on AMOC is weak, so that the possibility of an abrupt change in the 21st century is still low.

    With regard to the possibility of a change in the AMOC initiating a new glaciation, Dana Royer has shown that such an event is unlikely with CO2 concentrations of 500 ppmv or above; and hence very unlikely given AGW

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Another recent paper looking at this is here but not expecting anything dramatic this century.

  37. Factcheck: Grenfell Tower fire and the Daily Mail’s ‘green targets’ claim

    I find it hard to believe that in 2017, you could have a 24 storey appartment block in the UK without sprinklers.

  38. Factcheck: Grenfell Tower fire and the Daily Mail’s ‘green targets’ claim

    Paul D @11, yeah the daily mail have tried to distract attention from the real causes with a classic red herring fallacy and some emotional crowd manipulation. 

    As you point out fire safe panels would have cost almost nothing more. The media has also  said there were no fire alarms, smoke detectors, stair pressurisation, and smoke stop doors, and these things are relatively inexpensive and provide at least basic safety, and would certainly have saved lives.

    Sprinklers are worth mentioning. These are expensive to retrofit, but they have been shown to reduce property damage and save lives by approximately 50%, especially in risky occupancies with highrise buildings and kitchens etc. Houston in America has made it mandatory to fit these to old buildings, but have given owners some help with finance through some sort of tax concession and depreciation allowance. Britian has put it in the too hard basket. Sprinklers also sometimes significantly reduce insurance premiums.

  39. To lead on climate, leave the ivy tower

    Agreed, universities should join this coalition and show leadership. But perhaps these universities are worried about a backlash if they openly join this coaltion? Backlash could come from a variety of parties sceptical of climate science, and influential in education.

    Some people probably think the laws of science can be "negotiated". There is a powerful, toxic, anti science, anti intellectual bullying movement in America, and it want's to control what universities do. It is utterly delusional, and will lead to ignorance, and your economic and social destruction. It's a return to the stagnation and values of the fuedal middle ages period. (the so called medieval "warm" period)

  40. New Video: John Cook and the 97 Percent

    I am not a climate change denier. I just want to understand why nobody seems to be talking about all the fresh water pouring into the current.  Why is there no discussion about the possibility of an ice age? Do we know how much fresh water it would take to stop the current? Can we even have a conversation about the possibility without being dismissed as religious fanatics?

  41. Factcheck: Grenfell Tower fire and the Daily Mail’s ‘green targets’ claim

    80 people died to save £5000 in taxes.

  42. Factcheck: Grenfell Tower fire and the Daily Mail’s ‘green targets’ claim

    Re: Skeptism = challenging consensus

    True. But Skeptism does not = rejecting consensus

    Anyway, that aside. Lets not forget that the Daily Mail is a political activist product not unlike state controlled communist and fascist media of the 1930s/40s or modern day Russia.

    The reason for posting such a despicable article (the title of which is an informal fallacy of one sort or another, see below) is to distract attention away from investigating the genuine causes.

    Informal Fallacies:

    onus probandi = Shifting the burden of proof
    post hoc ergo propter hoc = Correlation proves causation

    or 'Fallacy of the single cause' maybe appropriate.

  43. Skeptical Science now an Android app


    same here :(

    i'm able to run the android_app after installation for a (very) short time.

    after a while it is only possible to find infos in the news and about section.

    the main menu (browse) and the "top arguments" are "empty".

    reinstall the app deliver same results :(

  44. 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #24

    Art Vandelay @5, I don't think that is correct.  While it is likely that the 1940s were warmer than the 1970s, the 1920s and 30s were definitely cooler than any following decade:

  45. Art Vandelay at 23:34 PM on 21 June 2017
    2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #24

    Worth noting that the temp anomaly was referenced against 1951-1980 which was a relatively cool interval thanks to AMO / PDO phases, so the anomaly is made to look slightly more severe that what it would if the previous 30 years was also included.  

  46. Art Vandelay at 23:29 PM on 21 June 2017
    Factcheck: Grenfell Tower fire and the Daily Mail’s ‘green targets’ claim

    Most, if not all residental towers don't allow access to the roof, even in cases of emergency. Not sure if it would have helped in this situation but given that residents on higher floors were effectively isolated by the extent and severity of the fire on lower floors, going up was the only viable option but was apparently not available.    

  47. Explainer: Dealing with the ‘loss and damage’ caused by climate change

    WatrWise @20 and prior posts,

    you will have to explain yourself rather more clearly.   You are coming across as somewhat confused in ideas & terminology.

    (a) Scientific information is not a "product" requiring marketing (a very nebulous term, in itself).  Perhaps you mean "how best to educate people" .

    (b) The essential problem with education (in this particular case) is that there is a widespread highly-determined strongly-funded effort by vested interests, to oppose real education.   That effort includes both a corrupt pressure on politicians and deceitful propaganda to the general public.   That's a Double Whammy — and it will be interesting to hear your own ideas on how to counter that, reasonably effectively.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] This is not the place for such discussion. It has nothing to do with the topic of this thread. Nothing further on this thread unless it is on-topic please.

  48. Explainer: Dealing with the ‘loss and damage’ caused by climate change

    Moderator Response:
    [PS] Suggestions welcome. The scientific community is throwing enormous effort at this but unfortunately cant cure wilful ignorance.

    Watrwise response: Sir, I have apologized for my initial post and offered an explanation of my intentions, which are not threatening. While I am not educated in climate science I am quite intelligent and not willfully ignorant. You claim that “suggestions are welcome”, then in a later post place restriction/conditions on suggestions.

    Moderator Response:
    [PS] Marketing is needed to sell a product. Truth is not a product. Try putting "science communication" into search box and take your pick.

    In my humble opinion the scientific community generally, and you in particular, could refrain just bit from beating interested laypersons over the head with empirical evidence and heavy handed arrogance.

    Without malice or criticism I have put forth that “selling or marketing” climate science/change could improve acceptance by the general public. In response you have just given a perfect example of why many people reject your “Truth”.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Sorry but in science integrity has to come first or it is no use at all. Marketing - not so much. Either we are warming or we are not. We are to blame or we are not. You cant have your truth and mine being different. Empirical science seems the best way to answer that question. Ideological/identity-based motivated reasoning seems the worst and yet it seems to dominate especially in the USA.

    The comments policy is designed for calm, on-topic,  discussions of the science. The policy is not up for discussion. Please use that guidance to find suitable threads. Other sites such as ThinkProgress may be more to your taste. 

  49. Explainer: Dealing with the ‘loss and damage’ caused by climate change

    Apologies for double posting! Error addressing previous post!

    nigelj@17 Mr. Nigel it is! My comments were/are not ment as criticism. My goal is to discuss how to move the climate change message forward. I agree that - given an inspired message - people will readily follow.

    While I agree that we should not narrow the playing field, perhaps focusing the message might speed things up.

    I just now did a quick search of the web and apparantly there are papers written about this subject!

    “Selling climate change? The limitations of social marketing as a strategy for climate change public engagement
    Adam Corner a, *, Alex Randall b a School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Tower Building, Park Place, Cardiff CF10 3AT, United Kingdom b Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth, United Kingdom”

    I haven’t read this example in depth… but a brief scan perked my interest.

    I have done a search of this website and apparently there is no thread for “Marketing” Climate Science/Change. Without criticism I wonder why not? It would seem to be a topic that would be well received on this website. I would be interested in hearing your thought as well as others on starting a Marketing Thread.

  50. 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #24

    pjcarson2015 @5, the continuous parade of climate "skeptics" who pontificate on what "AGW predicts" without ever bothering to look up what climate science actually predicts is tiresome.  In your case you claim AGW predicts a stronger greenhouse effect on Earth, whereas it actually predicts a much weaker GHE on Mars:

    On Earth, as a convenience, the effect of the greenhouse effect is determined as a function of percentage change in the atmospheric concentration of CO2 on Earth as a convenience, but in the full theory, the effect of the greenhouse effect is determined by the partial pressure profile with altitude of CO2 (and other greenhouse gases). 

    High partial pressures of non-IR active gases (such as O2 and N2) can effect the strength of the greenhouse effect by lifting CO2 to a higher altitude, thereby increasing the partial pressure of CO2 at that altitude.  But without the GHG, IR inert gases will have no greenhouse effect, and no tendency to increase surface temperature above the simplified black body estimates.  (They will slightly increase surface temperature by equalizing temperature between poles and equator, but the simplified black body estimates assume equal temperature at all points, so this effect cannot raise the temperature above that value.)

    For a more detailed account of what "AGW theory" predicts about the temperature of Mars, I refer you to Toigo et al (2012).

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] I think pdCarson has outstayed is welcome. No further comments please.

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