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  1. ‘Don’t Look Up’ – See the movie. Ignore the comet. (Part 1)

    I managed to sit through about a third of this movie. It tries to be satire but is more like poor farce, and fails big time in either role.

    I understand the objective, but a film this crude in its approach does little for a cause.

  2. Sea level rise is exaggerated

    Thank you BaerbelW  ~ and the same Peter Hadfield has brought out a new video on sea level rise, as of a day ago.  This, number 58 in his YouTube climate series.   Title is :- "Are prominent environmentalists buying beachside property?"

    The one you mentioned (number 57) was excellent in debunking the usual strawman myths & faked/false "scientific predictions".

    The new video also humorously looks at sea level and the ongoing Denialist cries about the hypocrisy of very prominent rich Lefties  who are continually buying expensive beach properties which would surely be doomed to inundation in the immediate future.

    Potholer54 provides a handy bunch of rebuttals.  Amusing, too.

    Over 20,000 views already.

  3. ‘Don’t Look Up’ – See the movie. Ignore the comet. (Part 1)

    To nigelj: As I understand it, one of the motivations in making the movie was in fact to promote action on climate change in an indirect way.

  4. ‘Don’t Look Up’ – See the movie. Ignore the comet. (Part 1)

    I watched the trailer for the Dont Look Up movie and it seemed quite good satire overall and hit the political and pshychological targets accurately, but the humour seemed a bit strained at times. Reviews have been a bit negative overall.

    Our brains are indeed hardwired to respond most strongly to immediate threats rather than long term slow moving train wrecks like climate change. Good commentary here. From our point of view the problem is how do we motivate more action on the climate problem given most peoples minds are not aroused much by the problem? 

    The movie does of course invert reality. I would say most people would respond strongly to a reasonably immediate threat from a comet, although theres probably some actual truth in the movie because a few people would probably still deny the problem, or see a perverted advantage to themselves out of it. 

    "It’s just not clear to this reviewer how Don’t Look Up, which vividly portrays Americans not solving a comparatively simple problem, will help Americans solve the truly wicked problem of climate change. "

    Remember its just a movie. Its entertainment, satire and a bit of social and political commentary and nothing more. Its not a documentary or a mitigation plan or intended to motivate action or change the world. Although who knows, it might embarass a few people into taking climate change more seriously.

  5. One Planet Only Forever at 02:25 AM on 20 January 2022
    ‘Don’t Look Up’ – See the movie. Ignore the comet. (Part 1)

    The connections of Don't Look Up to the tragedy regarding climate change because of the quirks of the human psyche are more terrifying than what is presented.

    Rwanda is just one of many lessons from human history of a collaborative society with a diversity of people that was rapidly perverted into being destructive by political game players who wanted to benefit from unjustly dominating Others. Their success was achieved by making misleading claims promoting alternate (irrational) beliefs that are obviously nonsense to anyone whose self-interest does not tempt them to embrace and immerse themselves in stories claiming the need to fight against "All Others who are not part of Their cult of believers".

    Anti-climate science storytelling is part of bigger harmful political cults that are built on a diversity of lies created by harmful political opportunists. And those harmful misleading political cult leaders have repeatedly succeeded in causing massive harm because many people are easily tempted to believe nonsense messages that trigger their emotions to overpower their ability to be reasonable. And once a mind is captured by cult identity it can be hard to free that mind from the harmful irrational alternate reality it has been perverted into believing.

    Back to Rwanda, one sub-set of the diverse population who had been meeting and greeting each other and working together were startlingly rapidly convinced to viciously slaughter their own neighbours (Note that Unionization of workers has been shown to reduce animosity between people with diverse backgrounds).

    Partisan democratic politics that has been allowed to be contaminated by "successful storytelling of lies" (misleading marketing) is already clearly causing massive harmful climate change impacts by delaying and diminishing leadership efforts to limit the harm done. The scarier part is that that successful misleading politics is not that far away from what happened in Rwanda and many other places that rapidly devolved into more destructive behaviour.

    Hopefully, the efforts to raise awareness of what is harmful and improve the understanding of how to limit the harm done to the future of humanity, not just the harm of rapid significant climate change, will help to counteract the powerful pressures of divisive destructive pursuits of superiority relative to others that are so harmfully dominant in the world.


  6. One Planet Only Forever at 14:03 PM on 18 January 2022
    There is no consensus

    In response to Star-affinity @#900:

    Comprehensive responses to the question about the magnitude of consensus regarding human induced global warming and resulting climate changes have been provided by others.

    My initial supplement is: Rather than debating the magnitude of consensus for the theory that “significant anthropogenic climate change is occurring” ask for an evaluation of the level of consensus for the theory that “No anthropogenic climate change impacts are occurring”.

    Increased atmospheric CO2 is unquestionably due to human activity. And increased CO2, along with other human impacts, unquestionably produce global warming and significant, hard to precisely identify, but unquestionably harmful climate changes from the conditions that human civilization developed in through the past several thousand years.

    However, there is more to consider. It is important to be aligned on the context/objectives for a 'debate'. Without objective alignment the result can be a waste of time.

    My primary objective is to try to help develop a sustainable improving future for humanity. Increased awareness and improved understanding of what is going on is essential to sustainable improvement of the future of humanity. And increased awareness of what is harmful and learning how to limit harm done is key, with climate change impacts of human activity being a significant sub-set of concern.

    Science questions things with the objective of increasing awareness and improving the understanding of what is really going on in a way that develops “improved common sense”. It is important for that “common sense” to help improve the future of humanity.

    Note that not all science or application of science is helpful. Misleading marketing is a good example of harmful scientific investigation and application. It can develop cult-like groups of believers with nonsense as “their common sense”.

    Every individual’s perception of what is going on is their reality. All understandings of what is going on are individual beliefs. And everyone has biases regarding what they learn. Everyone develops their understanding based on their experiences in the socioeconomic-political environment they grow up in. In many cases people develop a fondness for, or addiction to, harmful unsustainable developments (systems and beliefs) and resist correction of harm done that they benefit from or hope to benefit from.

    Getting alignment on the objective of “reducing harm done to the future of humanity and developing lasting improvements for humanity” is essential. Without that alignment the discussion can be a competition with the different sides having different sets of rules about how the game is played or judged/refereed. That can be a waste of time.

    Debating details about the level of consensus of understanding that human activity is causing harmful rapid climate change impacts is one of those waste of time games. Establishing that there is significant consensus is important. However, questioning a well developed understanding of the level of consensus is a game being played to delay and distract from the important discussions of how to identify and most effectively limit the harmful impacts of the many developed unsustainable activities that cause climate change impacts.

    One of the most harmful activities is misleading marketing. Always keep in mind that popularity and profitability have no reason to be aligned with limiting harm done. They are measures that are indifferent to harm done . Being more popular or profitable does not mean something is less harmful. In fact, getting away with being more harmful or misleading can be a competitive advantage in games of popularity and profit. And being more popular and profitable can make harmful beliefs and actions harder to correct (the persistence of climate science denial is one of many cases proving that point).

  7. The 1.5 degrees goal: Beware of unintended consequences

    I think it has been shown that industrial animal agriculture, which is about a 33% contributor to CO2e emissions, still carries the burden of deleterious ecological effects outside of the subject of GGEs, and, of course, the emissions footprint of nearly 8 billion humans added to the biomass is a major issue. Trying to add up all CO2e emissions while passing up the Industrial Animal Ag piece seems to leave a rather large deficiency in the math. Moreover, the body count of Humans and domestic animals, together, requires action, but COP26 avoided conversations that implicated both. The Animal Ag piece probably upsets environmental health because of its contribution to the list of nine serious adverse effects, starting with deforestation, desertification, fresh water use and land use changes made for the benefit of Animal Ag...the other 5 topics being no less important to curtail.

  8. Big numbers – dollars and institutions – behind divestments from fossil fuels

    Hal, in terms of being better informed, Newton isnt connected with conservation of energy - first steps in that direction would be Leibnitz, but in a very limited context. von Mayer and, independently, Joule would first to really state it in a modern form in 1840s. Attempts at attribution to Newton require very creative interpretations of his work, using concepts that Newton never knew.

    Renewable energy can be thought of as conversion of energy to useful forms (generally electricity) from renewable sources.

  9. There is no consensus

    Thank you, Bob, for showing the ingenious Project Steve.

    The vonStorch survey [referred to, above] may not have many Steves, but it is a good survey - in the sense that it has a suitable first filter.  It contacts many thousands of appropriately qualified scientists.

    Unfortunately, the low 7% return rate is the first weakness.  It would have been better (but at much greater expense) for expert interviewers to personally meet with a truly random selection of perhaps 200 of the scientists . . . and gently hound them for their views, allowing no-one to drop out or excuse himself!

    At 7% return , there is the reasonable fear that the respondents include a relatively high proportion of "extremists" (from either end of the spectrum).   For example, in one of the questions, 2.5% of respondents replied that they were "not at all"  convinced that AGW existed.   And this 2.5% is an amazingly high percentage, in view of the accumulated overwhelming evidence that the 2.5 percenters are flat wrong.

    In such extreme cases, one suspects that a big slice of the 2.5 percenters have bizarre/extremist political views & a lot of cognitive dissonance.  But 'twas ever thus ~ for almost any field of science.  (Personal anecdote - I know quite well a PhD-level scientific researcher who is a member of his local Flat-Earth Society.)

    And the vonStorch survey questions were very unsuited to elicit actual consensus-relevant opinions.

    Overall, John Cook's 2013 survey of the true scientific literature was the optimum approach to the "consensus" issue.  It was reasonably neutral in selection; it didn't suffer from drop-outs (drop-outs by the busy, or by the disgruntled) . . . and it looked at the actual science , not the sometimes-flaky opinions of us imperfect human beings.

    And on top of it, the Cook 2013 survey doubled-down by asking the scientists personally to confirm (or not) what they viewed their scientific papers as saying.   Brilliant !

  10. There is no consensus

    Regarding the utility of surveys such as the Oregon Petition mentioned by Eclectic, I always think of Project Steve, which the National Center for Science Education uses to track opinions on the scientific validity of evolution theory. (Wikipedia also has a page on the project.)

    The question basically comes down to whether the selection of individuals responding to the survey is reasonable or not.

  11. There is no consensus

    BaerbelW  @  #902  :  We can look even further, regarding the Forbes 2016 article mentioned by Star-affinity @ #900 .

    The article's author, Mr Earl Ritchie, has grossly misrepresented the vonStorch 2013 survey  ~ the survey simply does not support Ritchie's thrust of argument.   Ritchie is severely misleading the Forbes  readers - readers who are probably good at business but probably rather unthinking (and ill-informed) on science.   And Ritchie is also misleading them about the Cook 2013 survey of scientific papers.

    The vonStorch 2013 survey [now 8 years old] had its interesting points.  And I think the brief "Mertonian" discussion on pages 68 & 69 was a pleasant change of pace.   And at the end of the survey report, Bray & vonStorch published a long list of comments criticizing the deficiencies of the survey (participants' critiques ~ especiallly about the ambiguities of the survey questions).

    Additionally, please note that the survey had a 7% return rate.  (Vastly different from the Cook 2013 survey, which had a different structure.)

    And, the survey was about opinions ~ and much of it was about opinions on technical aspects/adequacies of climate models & future projections.

    Most of the questions were rather vague and fuzzy and "word based" instead of scientific concept based.  So, somewhat difficult for the participants to express themselves about the overall climate science situation  ~ in analogy: they were invited to give opinion about a leaf or two, but not to discuss the background forest.

    (There were a few exceptions in the questions:  one where 2.5%  of respondents opined that they were not at all convinced about AGW.   And another question, where 89% of respondents said they were now more convinced [versus in 2007] that greenhouse gasses had produced modern global warming.)

    All this compares very poorly with the excellent methodology used in the Cook 2013 assessment of scientific consensus.

  12. There is no consensus

    Star-affinity @#900:

    Several other studies have looked at the scientific consensus on human-caused climate change since that Forbes article was published. Here is a blog post from last year written by John Cook about a study he was involved with, replicating Doran & Zimmermann (2009) with a larger sample:

    The scientific consensus on climate change gets even stronger

    The interesting thing with the Forbes' article is, that it has to cherry pick a particular study to make its point of a lower than 90% consensus. And expecting 100% agreement of climate scientists before accepting the evidence is a case of impossible expectations, one of the main science denial techniques covered in the FLICC framework.

  13. wilddouglascounty at 08:31 AM on 16 January 2022
    How weather forecasts can spark a new kind of extreme-event attribution


    I appreciate your patient discussion of the topic, which I believe has met its desired level of mutual understanding. I think you understand my desire for folks to use the term "greenhouse gases" or the related phrases: "changes in the chemistry of the atmosphere linked to human activity," "anthropogenic greenhouse gases," "increased AGGI index," or any other term you want to choose, when trying to attribute the causes of a particular extreme weather event, or trends for that matter. For clarity's sake, it leads to a cleaner understanding of the causes of the observed changes, in the same way as pointing to steroid use is a cleaner understanding of the causes of changed performance patterns in sports. It is also more encompassing in that the change in greenhouse gases is linked to observed physical phenomena outside the realm of the earth's climate.

    On my part, I have a renewed respect that the terms climate change, AGW and global warming are still useful terms, especially when they are used outside the discussion of causality. The observation that most years I cannot skate on ponds that I grew up skating on in the winter is one example of global warming that I can point to in my neck of the woods, just as peonies that were planted by my ancestors to bloom on Memorial Day at the end of May but now bloom weeks too early most years is another indication of a changing climate.

    Regarding when terms first began to be used, I am not so interested in when they were first used so much as what terms are currently being used, which is increasingly climate change, as evidenced here: LINK

    Personally I find climate change to be more inclusive so I'm fully supportive of using that phrase when talking about generalities, for the reason I've already stated. But I understand that this is a usage preference only, as any term is fraught with and susceptible to misuse and abuse. So thanks for the conversation and hopefully we have all gained something from the exercise.

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Shortened link breaking page formatting.

  14. There is no consensus

    Star-affinity @ #900 :

    Thank you for the reference to the 2016 Forbes  article by Earl Ritchie, who describes himself as a retired oil industry executive (not a scientist).   I read the article with interest, and found it disappointing.  It was more a propaganda piece, and not at all a rigorous logical examination of the issue.

    Star-affinity, if one chooses to define things very loosely, and also use rhetoric like a lawyer-advocate  ~ then one can come to any "conclusion" that is desired.   (e.g. the good Lord Monckton - not at all a scientist - can re-define "3%" to be the result of the excellently clever Cook 2013 survey of scientific papers which produced the famous "97%" consensus figure.)

    What is a consensus here?  (See some of the comments upthread.)   Broadly, consensus in non-scientific matters is all about opinion  ~ and opinion is worth the price of the paper it is printed on [except in politics!]

    But consensus in scientific matters (such as climate science) is all about the evidence.  And that evidence is expressed in the scientific literature (peer-reviewed papers published in reputable journals).   And there you will nowadays  find a 99+% consensus in line with the mainstream science.   Not an 80-90% consensus (not even in 2013 or 2016).

    The 80-90% figure you (or Mr Richie) are mentioning, is a result of canvassing opinions of "scientists"  ~ not of canvassing the evidence.   And who is a scientist?  And are their individual opinions relevant?  The notorious Oregon Petition (of the 1990's) had "scientists" ranging from Wood Engineers to Spice Girls.   In other words, it was a completely worthless survey,  simply gathered for propaganda value.

    In short, Mr Ritchie's article is worthless.

  15. The 1.5 degrees goal: Beware of unintended consequences

    Hal @8, I think you may be looking for where the GHGs came from before the Industrial Revolution. The GH effect is necessary for life on Earth. Our black body temperature would be 34 deg C lower than the current avg T---too cold for liquid water, hence no life. Carbon is emitted by volcanos, which currently produce about 1-2% of our emissions annually, and converted to limestone by weathering of silica based rocks. You are correct that paleo-agriculture increased CO2. From around 5000 years ago to around 1790, our ancestors increased CO2 back up to where it was at the last climate optimum (280 ppm). Since then, the rise to 420 ppm has been mostly from the burning of fossil fuels.

  16. Big numbers – dollars and institutions – behind divestments from fossil fuels

    Hal @ 1:

    Ditto what Doug said @ 2.  Your statement ".. but assume the contrubution of fossil fuels to building the blanket was very small." is virtually certainly incorrect.

    Yet another pointer to other posts here at Skeptical Science:

    Climate Change Cluedo: Anthropogenic CO2

    Short version: the atmospheric increase is half of what has been spewed into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels, and the only reason it hasn't all stayed in the atmosphere is because of natural sinks absorbing the other half. The contribution from fossil fuels is not small.

  17. Big numbers – dollars and institutions – behind divestments from fossil fuels

    Hal, one must always remember that from the layperson's perspective our tendency is to wrongly imagine "nobody thought of this before,"  then to construct a mental model from our paltry state of information. 

    "I have no data, but assume..." nicely captures the problem. 

    With all respect the best thing to do in terms of getting up to speed would be to go over to Google Scholar and apply imagination with respect to your assumptions (and I don't mean this in snarky fashion) to search terms there. 

  18. Big numbers – dollars and institutions – behind divestments from fossil fuels

    We built the greenhouse gas blanket that is raising Earth's surface temperature by feeding ourselves.  It took about 7-10 millenia, and our mining of soil carbon certainly must be increasing annually.  I have no data, but assume the contrubution of fossil fuels to building the blanket was  very small.   Since we deposited the bulk of that soil carbon into oceans, rivers, and wetlands, perhaps a retrieval system should be considered if we wish to keep feeding ourselves.   Besides food prices, the  'social costs of carbon" must include the use of hydrocarbons for nearly every prouct used in our daily lives including plastics, drugs, coatings, roads, vehicles, and (shudder) the energy used to move them.

    As an aside, i cringe a bit when I see the term 'renewable' applied to energy and energy sources.  Newton showed us hundreds of years ago that energy can only change state.  

  19. There is no consensus

    What do you think of the article critizising the 97% number here?

    It's claiming the consensus number is closer to 80% – at least in the study being referred to from 2013 by Dennis Bray & Hans von Storch, (linked to below).

    While 80% is still a strong consensus I must agree with the Forbes article author (Earl J. Ritchie) that:

    "It’s not as easy to discount dissenters if the number is 10 or 15 percent."

    The reason for me asking this is that I'm discussing with a friend whether there's still a debate going on if the climate change is of "natural" origin or if human activity is contributing. I'm arguing that the science is basically settled, but he seems to think it's not since not all climate scientists agree. He was the one giving me that article questioning the 97% claim. Now, I of course think the researchers behind the 97% number presented here on the Sceptical Science site has been thorough and honest, but if there are serveys such as the one below pointing more to 80% agreement I'm wondering how we can be sure the consensus number is around 97%?

    "A survey of the perceptions of climate scientists 2013":

    A comment on the above study from the Forbes article by Earl J. Ritchie:

    "A value of 1 indicates not convinced and a value of 7 is very much convinced. The top three values add to 81%, roughly in the range of several other surveys."

    Moderator Response:

    [BL] Links activated.

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

  20. How weather forecasts can spark a new kind of extreme-event attribution

    Wilddouglascounty ,  your analogy with steroids is a good one.  (Though technically an athlete can achieve "steroid performance" via scientific strength-training  ~ it just takes a little longer and requires more willpower.)   And apart from Thatcher, our politicians tend to lead from behind . . . excepting for just their rhetoric, as shown in international conferences!

    Bob Loblaw points out that the terms CC (Climate Change) and GW (Global Warming) have both been in use for many decades.   CC from the 1950's and GW from the 1980's at least.

    Always it comes back to what the public - the voters - perceive.  They seem moderately happy to use the terms CC and GW in their thinking about the anthropogenic CO2 problem.   I would worry that your proposal for using a third term might well be counter-productive, with some portion of the population being irritated by a sense of "constant revolution" in climate terminology.

    Using a broad-brush classification, people can be divided into 4 categories :-

    A/  the cognoscenti/activists, who see the AGW problem for what it is ~ regardless of terminologies used.

    B/  the general public, who are moderately aware of the AGW issue, and who don't really care whether it's called CC or GW.

    C/  those who, while not actively hostile to broad socioeconomic changes required in solving the AGW problem  ~ are nevertheless a bit reluctant to suffer mild inconvenience, or who feel unease about prospective changes.  And they also don't care whether it is called CC or GW.

    D/  the Denialists, who oppose anything and everything AGW-related.   They do definitely care about the terminology used  ~ and they tend to froth at the mouth at any flip-flop in terms used, and they create strawman arguments regarding "the science obviously not being settled". (Among other things.)

    For my sins, I often look through the articles and comments at the WattsUpWithThat  blogsite.  (It doesn't take long to skim through the day's effusions, provided that you only pause to read comments - and immediate replies to - the handful of commenters who are scientifically well-informed and intellectually sane.)

    Sadly, the great generality of WUWT  commenters are like a group of tetchy backyard dogs.  They launch into prolonged barking at even the slightest disturbance  ~ at someone's door closing; at a pedestrian walking by; at a bird chirping in a tree; at a vehicle going past.   Perhaps they like barking, or they are hungry, or their emotional needs are not being met.

  21. Skeptical Science New Research for Week #2 2022

    "Thank you," Mike. :-P

    That one showed up past deadline, for this week.

    It adds to quite an unusually large litany of "similar & consistent" in this edition #2. 

    Not least, Intense ocean freshening from melting glacier around the Antarctica during early twenty-first century

  22. The 1.5 degrees goal: Beware of unintended consequences

    swampfoxh and Hal

    The additional carbon stored in (human and domestic animal) biomass is part of the modern carbon cyle. It would otherwise exist in another biosphere carbon compartment, such as soil or standing biomass, such as forests.

    It is true, however, that a significant amount of soil and aboveground standing carbon was, and is, on average, transferred to the atmosphere for thousands of years. Yes, it was at times a function of population due to agriculture expansion. Scientists summarize it under the term "land use change" (LUC), and you can read up on that in IPCC reports that discuss the carbon cyle and/or sources of atmospheric CO2 over time. A sumary graph is here:

    Figure TS.4

  23. The 1.5 degrees goal: Beware of unintended consequences

    Swampfox @14 and 15. The suggestion that industrial agriculture is articially manufacturing greenhouses gases has merit. Bear in mind you could argue that the explosion in human population is doing the same. And it its true that we have more humans than previously and perhaps more grazing animals and all expiring greenhouse gases. The issue with all these things is the respiration of both humans and animals is ultimately absorbed by natural carbon sinks through photosynthesis and this is regardless of how animals are farmed. Its a carbon neutral process. So the previous points are moot. Its quite a different thing from buring fossil fuels where emissions are not quickly absorbed by natural sinks.

    The increase in emissions from agriculture relates to transport and processing. For THAT particular reason there is merit in low meat diets, and more natural lower technology forms of farming like regenerative agriculture.

  24. One Planet Only Forever at 03:14 AM on 15 January 2022
    How weather forecasts can spark a new kind of extreme-event attribution

    Bob @23,

    The lack of certainty of how to design things for the future climate is a serious problem. Not having 'adequate certainty' regarding what needs to be adapted to is the real problem, more so for food production than for things like structures or drainage systems. And a related problem is that the people benefiting from compromising the certainty of future climate conditions face very little potential for personal negative consequences.

    If a designed and built item fails, or other harm is done, there can be legal and image problems for anyone directly involved like the engineer. But the people who push for things to be quicker, less expensive, more harmful or more likely to be harmful (pursuers of maximized personal benefit) can be very hard to penalize.

    Demands for things to be more popular and profitable leads to things being done quicker and cheaper, which leads to pressure for more harmful and riskier things to be done, especially if Others will likely suffer any negative consequences.

    A root of the problem is the lack of effective penalty for people who benefit from harmful activity. Their defence is typically a lack of proof that what they benefit from is unjust or harmful. They also raise doubt about the proof of their harmfulness. They will try to limit the emergence of evidence and improved understanding. They also demand that the "certainty of proof that they are being harmful" must be absolute. And they also raise doubt about being harmful by claiming Others are also, or are more, harmful.

    And in a system governed by public opinion, like the competition for superiority based on popularity and profitability, it can be easy to get support for misunderstanding 'what and who is harmful', especially when there is ample evidence of the ability to get away with benefiting from being more harmful, especially if the benefit is being obtained at the risk of harm to Others.

    A root understanding of ethics is "Do No Harm". Games played to determine who gets to benefit from 'Harm or Risk of Harm Done to Others' are ultimately unsustainable. The popularity and profitability of getting away with being harmful is able to powerfully compromise leadership actions almost everywhere. That type of game playing, or pragmatic or moderate balancing of interests, has no sustainable future. But a lot of harm can be caused before leadership is forced to prioritize effective actions to limit the understandable harm being done.

  25. Skeptical Science New Research for Week #2 2022

    File under “faster than expected.”

    “we detect a sustained pattern of retreat coincident with high melt rates of ungrounded ice, marked by episodes of more rapid retreat. In 2017, Pope Glacier retreated 3.5 km in 3.6 months, or 11.7 km yr–1. In 2016–2018, Smith West retreated at 2 km yr–1 and Kohler at 1.3 km yr–1. While the retreat slowed in 2018–2020, these retreat rates are faster than anticipated by numerical models on yearly timescales. We hypothesize that the rapid retreat is caused by unrepresented, vigorous ice–ocean interactions acting within newly formed cavities at the ice–ocean boundary.”

  26. How weather forecasts can spark a new kind of extreme-event attribution

    wilddouglascounty @ 24:

    It is worth noting that "They changed the name from 'global warming' to 'climate change" is #90 on the SkS list of "Global Warming and Climate Change Myths".


  27. wilddouglascounty at 01:26 AM on 15 January 2022
    How weather forecasts can spark a new kind of extreme-event attribution

    #18 Eclectic,

    Thank you again for your continued discussion, which on the whole has been much more extensive on this thread than I ever expected. I agree that "global warming" and "climate change" have become extremely recognizable in the media and the public around the world, and wanting to replace it with a mouthful of words with nearly the same meaning has questionable merit, so I understand why you are wondering why I want to shift it to what seems to be a subtle point which might be lost on most people. And you may be right.

    But there are a couple of points I want to bring up for consideration. The first point is that do you remember when the phrase "global warming" was first popularized, the denialists got a lot of coverage whenever a greenhouse gas turbocharged polar vortex came barreling down from the arctic? Or when the north Atlantic cooling and salt dilution from all the ice melt from Greenland became a thing, potentially causing colder weather for northern Europe, as another example?  The climatological community quickly realized that "global warming" did not adequately capture the complexity of changes that were occurring as a result of the changing atmospheric chemistry that were being observed. So "climate change" became the new replacement mantra, at least in the US community. This is an example of how popular terms are changeable, and made more accurate, thereby short circuiting misinformation in the process.

    The second point to consider is how the use of steroids has played out in the sporting world.  I've used baseball as an example, but steroid use clearly has had its impact across all sports as is evidenced in the Olympics Committee rules development and the increasingly complex monitoring of athletes across all sports. If the conversation in the sporting community just focused on homerun inflation, or increasing serving speeds in tennis, or other sports specific measures, then it would perhaps be harder to connect the dots to reveal the larger cause: steroid use. As we know, climate science has had to look at the much larger net of causality and relationships that impact and are impacted by the increase in the atmospheric greenhouse gas component. The ocean has increased CO2 absorption rates, resulting in acidification. The oceans themselves, not just the atmosphere, is warming, which contributes to sea level rise. The bottom line is that there are several monitoring indexes that are important to watch to understand the impact of greenhouse gas composition in the atmosphere. So just as the sporting community has focused on steroid use as the source of the myriad changes occurring in the sporting community, it makes sense to me to focusing on the source of ocean acidification, sea level rise relating to ocean water temperature, etc. AND climate change: greenhouse gases. It leaves the conversation about whether humanity is causing the problem behind us so we can move ahead with the next steps.  

    Thanks again for persisting, and I hope that this clarifies why I think it is worth considering this.

  28. How weather forecasts can spark a new kind of extreme-event attribution

    With regard to desiging for weather/climate, this happens at the individual buliding scale (insulation levels, weight-bearing capacity for roof snow loads, solar heating rates to determine A/C capacity, etc.) and at the regional infrastructure scale (road drainage and frost-heave protection, storm sewer capacity, snow-clearing equipment capacity, etc.)

    Getting it wrong can mean relatively manageable issues - higher operating costs (heating, cooling) - or catastrophic failures (roof collapse, bridge collapse, major flooding. loss of life).

    Uncertainty is not our friend, and "that's someone else's problem, in the future" is not a very considerate point of view.

    Overdesign costs money and is rarely noticed as a long-term problem. Underdesign makes the news, does undesirable things to an engineer's liabilty insurance premiums (or career), may end up in court, and may end up forever archived in Youtube videos.

  29. The 1.5 degrees goal: Beware of unintended consequences

    To go on...the authors, Bar-On et al (2018), found that the biomass of humans and livestock combined have increased the total mammalian biomass by a factor of 4...It's not too much of a leap in logic to conclude that, above some minimum livestock population threshold or meat animal product consumption level, additional livestock units need be considered as added sources of GHG emissions akin to any other emissions-producing industrial factor of production.

  30. One Planet Only Forever at 13:23 PM on 14 January 2022
    How weather forecasts can spark a new kind of extreme-event attribution

    Bob Loblaw @21,

    Indeed, the Canadian Building Codes include regional climate design requirement extremes (like snow, wind, rain, temperatures) based on the Climate Normals and Averages that Environment Canada updates every 10 years (EC has not yet published the 1991-2020 data). And design requirements like the Canadian Building Code are written as if they establish design requirements that will be adequate for the potential extreme weather conditions that would potentially impact a structure or system that is being built to last an established number of years like 50 or 100 years. But the rate of climate change and uncertainties of future climate make a difference to design requirements that is hard to establish.

    What you have pointed out is indeed a challenge for designing things to successfully deal with the potential future climate conditions in any region. The Building Code only establishes “minimum design requirements to be met”. Everyone is free to design for more extreme requirements but, as I mention @16, without knowing how quickly the human impacts causing climate change will ‘change the climate’, and without knowing the expected peak level of impact, it is a bit of a fool’s errand to try to establish a regional design basis that would be sufficient to withstand conditions that may occur in the next 100 years, or even 50 years. Even if the regional climate forecasting could reasonably provide potential climate change results far enough into the future (like 100 years), knowing the peak human impact and how quickly it will be reached is required to establish appropriate design requirements.

    Of course, absurdly severe design conditions could potentially be used. But who will establish what is ‘absurd enough’? And who will choose to impose the absurd requirements on what they ask to have designed and built, with the person making the request paying what it costs to get the result?.

    And, as I mentioned @16, food producers have an even harder challenge attempting to plan their ‘adaptation to rapid human caused climate change’.

    The conundrum of designing Civil and Structural systems for hard to predict (uncertain) rapid human-caused climate changes (and the potential absurdity of requests for that to be done) is what initially sparked my interest in learning more about this issue of “Rapid human caused Global Warming causing significant Climate Changes”.

  31. The 1.5 degrees goal: Beware of unintended consequences

    There is a study, currently in peer review, that approaches some elements of analysis differently than has been published over the last decade or two. This particular one asks the question, "what would we not have if we did not practice industrial animal agriculture?" The total absence of domesticated animals tended as food would see the reduction in methane and CO2 from animal respiration. The philosophical argument is: animal agriculture is a purely human invention, so the CO2 exhaled by livestock is no less unnatural than the CO2 emitted by cars and factories, etc.

  32. The Debunking Handbook 2020: Downloads and Translations

    In December, the Dutch translation of The Debunking Handbook 2020 was published, followed by the Galician translation today.

  33. The 1.5 degrees goal: Beware of unintended consequences

    Hal Kantrud.  This topic of re-carbonizing of the soil is burdened with a wide variety of proposed remedies.  I recommend the Australian soil scientist, Dr. Christine Jones, as a good first source on the subject of carbon and soil. Also, I recommend a close look at the role of plankton, specifically phytoplankton, rather than new grasslands planted in degraded soils, as the way to, effectively, support the natural carbon cycle.  It appears that the human race may not have enough time to re-forest our de-forested lands and, in any case, re-forestation or re-grassing will run into property and legal rights issues which, in places like Brazil, will likely be insurmountable.

  34. The 1.5 degrees goal: Beware of unintended consequences

    I'm pretty sure our moderator tires of the task of referring participants to other threads.  SkepSci has been around a long time, and lots of participants have contributed much to its informations stores.  Hal Kantrud seems to be at a bit of a disadvantage since he is possibly fairly new to Skep/Sci and has not been through the voluminous scientific data regarding the topic of C02 emissions and the particular isotopic types of CO2 which lead us back to the origins of these different carbon dioxide "culprits".  Perhaps new contributors could receive an occasional reference from Skep/Sci on where to browse the "catalog" of threads, etc that permits new participants to get "on board". (??)

    Moderator Response:

    [BL] Let's leave moderation to the moderators - the comments policy does consider moderation issues to be generally off-topic.

    All users are encouraged to use the "Search" function to find suitable threads and information, and the Most Used Climate Myths list is prominent near the top of the left margin.

  35. The 1.5 degrees goal: Beware of unintended consequences

    I certainly did not mean to minimize the contribution of fossil fuel emissions toward the developing climate problem.  It is not an area I spend much time in, anymore, because the science is pretty well "evidenced". But, Industrial Animal Agriculture is flying under the radar and very little dialog exists on the plight of phytoplankton in the ocean, such essential creatures now suffering from ocean acidification.  Dialog, on this site, would contribute much to the big picture. 

  36. How weather forecasts can spark a new kind of extreme-event attribution

    In comment #12, OPOF mentions civil design aspects of dealing with severe weather.

    I'm pretty sure that every jurisdiction with design rules has some that are specific to climate/weather. In Canada, the Meteorological Service publishes "Engineering Climate Datasets".

    There is a limitation to these data sets - they are based on historic data, not future climate.

    If you want to build something today, for use over the next 30, 50, or 100 years, you will have an added burden of determining proper design limits based on future weather.

  37. The 1.5 degrees goal: Beware of unintended consequences

    Hal Kantrud @ 8:

    As Eclectic points out, you need to define your time scales fully.

    Several Skeptical Science posts cover CO2 changes over different time scales:

    The last century or so

    The past 800,00 years

    The last 100 million years (or so)

    Hundreds of millions of years ago


  38. The 1.5 degrees goal: Beware of unintended consequences

    Hal Kantrud @8  ~ your meaning does not come through very clearly, at all. Do you mean long term periods as decades, or mega-years?  What are these spikes (plural) that you are referring to?  Clarity of explanation would be most welcome!  Indeed, essential.

    (b)  Thanks once again, Bob  Loblaw.  I have been tinkering with trials of back-and-forth with tabs etcetera - but the website has a strong inclination towards deleting whatever has been typed in the comments box.  (Previously I had naively assumed that the entries inside the comments box were the criterion for "activity".  But your advices make me come to the realization that it would of course be difficult for "offsite" text work within the box to register at SkS site.) 

    Simplest overall: I hope that the Administrator could add 60 minutes or so to the qualifying time recognized by the server.  Would there be some security concern in using a longer time?  Or is it a congestion problem, or something else?

    Moderator Response:

    [BL] Pretty much the only thing I know about the code development is that it is a volunteer process. We'll look at it, but no promises.

    You need to stick to one comment box, in one tab. But that session is linked to timing of other sessions (as far as I can tell), so as long as you are clicking on links or refreshing a different page, your login is active.

    A web site is not an interactive ongoing dialog between server and browser. It's "you ask, I send, I don't know you any more, so next time you ask I have no idea you were here before". Cookies were invented to get around that limitation: "Oh, I gave you a cookie. Now I remember who you are". Much else in terms of modern web page design works around some of that, but in the case of the comments box here, it is still just "you are typing on your computer, and I (the server) know nothing until you click 'submit'".


  39. The 1.5 degrees goal: Beware of unintended consequences

    So did burning fuels create most of the greenhouse gas blanket? I would guess there are significant lag times but are there long-term temperature data that generally follow the long-term increase in atmospheric CO2? If they increase together, the recent spikes look small compared to the long term trends.

  40. One Planet Only Forever at 08:07 AM on 13 January 2022
    How weather forecasts can spark a new kind of extreme-event attribution

    What Bob Loblaw presents in his comment @19 is consistent with the evidence. It is independently verifiable understanding.

    Building on Bob's points, admittedly triggered by him correctly pointing out the annoying claims some people make that the required changes to limit the harm done to the future of humanity (the rapid ending of fossil fuel use and other changes of developed activity) “will hurt the poor today”, there are many other harmful unsustainable developed human activities and unjust claimed excuses for them, not only the ones that can be connected to the harm done by human activity that increases CO2 levels.

    That leads to an understanding based on the evidence (still open to improvement):

    Actions, like attempts to end poverty, that depend on harmful unsustainable activity are not helpful, but will be developed by people who believe they will benefit from their development. And their helpfulness, especially their limiting of harm done, will be limited to what they believe they need to do to avoid personally suffering a lose of perceptions of status. They will continue to benefit from being harmful if they can get away with it. Their 'helpful' actions are harmfully unsustainable regardless of perceptions of helpfulness. Also, developed perceptions of enjoyment or superiority, or the opportunity for continued or increased perceptions of enjoyment and superiority, from understandably harmful developed systems and actions makes it harder to get people to unlearn, and resist liking, beliefs and claims that are developed to excuse harmful unsustainable developments they developed a liking for potentially benefiting from.

  41. The 1.5 degrees goal: Beware of unintended consequences

    (A)  Yes, thanks BL   ~ those are useful tips.

    I hadn't gotten round to using a copy/paste using Word or similar: nor was I aware of the potential of the "html junk" problem.

    My assumption had been that the "time out" was relating to activity within the comment box itself.  But if it's just a matter of refreshing the whole page, then that is easier to deal with.

    Nevertheless, the Alexandrian solution is to extend the qualifying period.

    (B)  As Scaddenp points out, increasing the soil carbon is excellent in many ways.  Like AGW, the soil quality degradation seems a gradual "non-urgent" problem that we really should be tackling seriously.

    Moderator Response:

    [BL] The catch is that typing in the comments box is just filling out a box provided by your browser. It isn't until you click "submit" that your browser posts the text you have typed to the server, and the server has a chance to think "oh, an active session".

    If you refresh the page with the comment box you are working in, the browser tells the server "send me that page again", and the server (which knows nothing about what you typed in the box) will send you an updated page - with another empty comments box again.

    I have been told that if you click "submit" and your comment disappears, you can use the "back" button on your browser to get back to the version of the page with your text in the box. At that point, you could copy the contents, paste elsewhere, log back in, and continue.

    To keep your session active, and keep the contents of your comments box intact, you need to interact with using another tab or window. The activity in the other tab will extend the timeout for all tabs/windows connected to


  42. The 1.5 degrees goal: Beware of unintended consequences

    Hal, the IPCC report  estimate the contribution from land use change but they have wide error bars. However, carbon from soils has a different isotopic composition from carbon from fossil fuels. The build up of CO2 in the atmosphere is consistant with largely FF source. Some more details here.

    However, increasing soil carbon reserves is a useful (in many ways) mitigation strategy.

  43. The 1.5 degrees goal: Beware of unintended consequences

    Swampfox & Hal Kantrud  ~ yes, I've had a comment, on various occasions, simply disappear when I press the Enter button.

    Almost always, it has happened when I've taken my time to type up a comment.  If say, I'm interrupted during the typing-up . . . or if I've taken my time to arrange and consider/review my wording . . . plus proofreading, etc.

    My impression is (for my case) that it is a "timing-out" problem.  If that's all it is  ~  then I hope the Administrator will consider lengthening the available window.

    Moderator Response:

    [BL]. Yes there is a time limit on logins. If no activity is detected, you are automatically logged out. Typing in the comments box does not seem to be considered "activity".

    If this is what is happening, you will find that your typed comment has disappeared and you are no longer logged in after you click "submit".

    I do not know what the time limit is, but  I can try to find out.

    As a workaround to prevent the problem, there are a few choices:

    1. Open a second tab with a Skeptical Science page in it. You will see that you are already logged in. Periodically refresh that page (or click to another Skeptical Science page) and your session will stay active.
    2. Prepare long comments in a text editor, and then paste them into the comment box when you are ready for final editing. Avoid a word processor, as they tend to include a lot of html junk that is hidden from you in the copy/paste process.
    3. Before clicking submit, select all the text in the comment box, and copy/paste it into a word processoor text editor. If the "submit" fails, at least you don't have to start over.


  44. The 1.5 degrees goal: Beware of unintended consequences

    Did we not create the greenhouse gas blanket by mining the soil for carbon during the last ten millennia, mostly from the perennial grasslands, the old "land of milk and honey"? I think a strong case can be made that the post-Industrial Revolution spike in atmospheric carbon dioxide resulted as much or more from the conversion of the New World grasslands to cropland and pasture than to the energy sources used for that effort. After all, in many areas, the plows were pulled by humans, then animals, then wood and coal for the steam engines, and only recently by petroleum.

    We transferred most of the carbon to the oceans, rivers, and wetlands, so perhaps we should begin a retrieval effort to begin rebuilding soil carbon. Since we still rely on carbon remaining in the former perennial grasslands to feed ourselves, perhaps we should consider planting perennial grasses in areas where carbon has been most severely depleted such as former forests, shrublands, and deserts. Planting trees and injecting carbon deep underground makes little sense to me

  45. The 1.5 degrees goal: Beware of unintended consequences

    Hal Kantrud....happens to me, occasionally...don't know why.

  46. The 1.5 degrees goal: Beware of unintended consequences

    The authors point to "...existing energy producing systems and capital stock", which are only half the problem.  The other half of the TWO LEADING PROBLEMS of GHG emissions is Industrial Animal Agriculture.  These authors are silent on this topic (?)  Further, GGEs should occupy only a small space alloted to the topic of environmental/ecological damage. Deforestation, desertification, excess fresh water useage, wildlife habitat destruction/extinction, widespread land use conversions for the support of animal agriculture, eutrophication of fresh and saltwaters, human diseases connected to domestic livestock, herbicides, pesticides, chemical exceedingly long list of eco-distructive activities and behaviors that may not materially affect the quantity of GGEs in the atmosphere, but even at 270 or 350ppm, (now long gone) would dangerously affect the future welfare of living things...especially humans.    

  47. The 1.5 degrees goal: Beware of unintended consequences

    dammit had a comment typed in and it disappeared.  Don't know what I did wrong.

  48. How weather forecasts can spark a new kind of extreme-event attribution

    The problem I have with the "it's not climate change, it's greenhouse gases" narrative is that the chain of causality never ends. And at each step of the chain, the contrarians will come up with an excuse to ignore it.

    After "it's greenhouse gases", the contrarians wll come up with one of the following bogus arguments:

    Once you successfully argue that it is CO2, then you get

    and then if you manage to establish that the rise in CO2 is due to burning fossil fuels, you get all the "it's not bad", "technology will save us", "you'll hurt the poor", etc arguments.

    There are many such arguments on the Skeptical Science "Arguments" page. I have only linked to a few.

  49. How weather forecasts can spark a new kind of extreme-event attribution

    Wilddouglascounty, thanks for your comment.  No, I wasn't wishing in any way to imply that the current rapid global warming has a component of raised TSI ~ the evidence is quite clear that it doesn't.

    I was interested in how you would choose to discuss the "attribution" of weather events, when talking with a layman ( 99% of the population - including politicians).   You seem keen to use the phrasing which specifies the underlying cause ( CO2/greenhouse).   Fair enough, mentioned once in a conversation.  Yet I suspect your audience would soon tire of the repetition of a six-word phrase, when the two-word phrase ("global warming" or even vaguer: "climate change") conveys essentially the same message.

    "Global warming" and "climate change" are terms now bandied about, throughout the media, and very frequently.  People are used to hearing it, as a concept.  Apart from Denialists, and people who are simply not interested in the topic ~ most people will know what you are talking about (and know the cause, as specified by scientists & science reporters).   And that is why I am unclear why you wish to make use of "a distinction without a difference".  Or perhaps better described as  ~ a distinction which is unimportant to the man in the street.

    That is where I am missing the subtlety of your message here.

  50. wilddouglascounty at 15:05 PM on 12 January 2022
    How weather forecasts can spark a new kind of extreme-event attribution

    15 Eclectic:

    Global warming is a measurement that tracks one effect of an increased amount of greenhouse gases present in the atmosphere. The reason it is always important to take causality back to greenhouse gases is for the same reason we take the cause of an enhanced performance back to the ingested steroids instead of attributing that enhanced performance to the improved statistics that that performer has now.

    If it were increased solar activity that was warming the planet say 1.5 degrees Celsius, you would have to look at the physics of the increased radiative output of the sun, just we look at the physics of increased heat retention provided by greenhouse gases, and calculate how the sun, not greenhouse gases or other components of the energy balance created the net increase.

    We know quite a bit about the physics of solar irradiation and its warming component in the energy balance equation, just as we know quite a bit about the physics of greenhouse gas heat retention in that same equation, right? Both could cause the exact same amount of global warming, but the physics of both, being different and testable, are distinguishable, which is why we have concluded that the GW should have an "A" in front of it, not an "S" right?

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