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Comments 551 to 600:

  1. Ice age predicted in the 70s

    Don @120... The "dominant view" changed precisely because it became clear the planet had moved from a cooling period into a warming period.

    You're clearly not grasping there is no inconsistency here. What Oreskes is discussing is how "contrarians" might pick up on this fact and utilize it to create doubt in the minds of the general public related to the critical nature of CO2 driven climate change.

    It's not like before 1970 researchers thought CO2 played no role in climate. It's not like they didn't know atmospheric aerosols would cool the planet. 

    I think the difference here is related to changes in the earth's mean temperature and the cause of changes in the earth's mean temperature.

  2. It's not bad

    Also Bob Loblaw, I was writing too quickly before when composing the above response, but I'll add that I completely respect this particular area is in some ways harder to address than other areas, and that I may have myself, in my wording above, reflected some errors.  Always the site should stick to the science and reality, and so if I made any errors in the above, then they should not be heeded.  Perhaps it can be said that a challenge here is to state what the myths actually are, and then to have really good scientists help with composing a rebuttal that is strictly correct (even if it's nuanced and not pithy or easy to understand).

    With all of that said, when I as a non-scientist (though with a bit of physical and social sciences coursework decades ago) went to look around to see what I could find on some aspects of these myths to do with how many people have died attributable to AGCC, it seemed to me that it has been many years that denialists have been largely succeeding in avoiding all discussions of a body count estimate (or range estimate) for AGCC leading up to this point.  And how have they done this?  I think a big part of it is they're successfully relying on the high bar of difficulty that there is in science for attributing deaths to this or that cause.

  3. Don Williamson at 00:34 AM on 17 August 2023
    Ice age predicted in the 70s

    To Bob Loblaw

    "unless we can give a convincing account of the empirical reasons behind that reversal"

    I think we can agree the reversal was real. It needs to be explained by convincing arguments (rather that dismissing it out-of-hand) ~ but was that directed to the contrarians or to the "new consensus"?

    The contrarians won't be convinced - they pounced on the flip flop as Ms Oreskes feared.

    I think her article is a valuable insight into the innate complexities of climate science. The warming can taper off or cool. Maybe natural variability plates a bigger role that we might think?

    Natural variability was a common refrain used in the hiatus discussions.

  4. Don Williamson at 00:23 AM on 17 August 2023
    Ice age predicted in the 70s

    To Rob Honeycutt

    What "change" took place in the "dominant view"?

    "change" - as in reversal from "cooling to waming"?

    The "abrupt about-face"?

  5. Ice age predicted in the 70s

    "You appear to want to make a mountain out of a molehill."

    But that would fall under geology, wouldn't it, Bob? ;-)

  6. Ice age predicted in the 70s

    Also, Don... It was around the 1970's when there was some disagreement in the climate science community regarding whether the cooling effects of industrial aerosols or the underlying CO2 driven warming would dominate. At that point in time, there wasn't a strong consensus. It took additional study to convince the leading experts that CO2 was the larger, longer term problem.

    The good news was that we, as a species, were able to substantively address the issue of industrial aerosols through the clean air acts in the US and similar regulations in other countries. 

  7. It's not bad

    Hello Bob Loblaw,

    Thanks for the explanation, it makes some sense.  I have to say though that the consequences are looming large for all of us of not responding to denialists relying on the myths of
    "nobody has died from this". 
    "you can't attribute the deaths accurately"
    "causality is hard to establish, and amateurs misuse the word"

    I do think it would be useful to memorialize your own response into part of a new myth rebuttal.  Perhaps it would be useful to break the response down to bite-sized chunks like this:

    Myth: It is impossible for scientists to attribute any increase in deaths to anthropogenic global climate change, or to its related phenomena.

    Reality: Epidemiological science has these tools which allow for analysis of such problems in thus-and-such a way.  They do not allow for saying "x" but they do allow for saying "y".  Thus, while scientists have struggled to provide an accurate body count that can be attributed credibly to the change in climate, peer-reviewed papers over the last 20 years provide us with this range of estimates."

    In the rebuttal composition a place could also be made for helping readers understand what the difficulties are in the science (lack of controlled experiments, various complicating factors, etc.) but how it is a myth (I am thinking it is anyway) that these difficulties mean that science is powerless to help us understand anything about developing a body count estimate.

    I also think the tobacco industry point seems useful, but somehow that was overcome, right? 

  8. Ice age predicted in the 70s

    "What Oreskes stated about undermining the consensus with the reversal from cooling to warming..."

    Once again, the earth was cooling mid-century. The earth had been cooling for the past 5-6000 years. When CO2 forcing came to dominate the trend shifted to rapid warming. 

    I believe what Dr. Oreskes is saying is, that change in the dominant view could be used by "contrariants" to cast doubt on the science. It's a rather precient statement since they subsequently did exactly that.

  9. Ice age predicted in the 70s



    You have not specified what you think are the two sides implied by your "both sides" quip.

    If  you are going to be condescending about throwing out Michael Mann's name, your credibility is going to go to zero. Without a statement explaining what you think "both sides" means, then providing names is meaningless.

    It is not the label "Geology" on Mann's PhD that makes him a climatologist. It is the nature of the work that he did (paleoclimatology) and what he has done since. It appears that you would rather obfuscate, than clarify.

    @ 115:

    Let's look at Oreskes' exact words in the last paragraph of her introduction:

    If scientific knowledge can be characterized as the convergence of expert opinion, then this kind of abrupt reversal of opinion might undermine our confidence in that knowledge, unless we can give a convincing account of the empirical reasons behind that reversal, and the historical context in which those reasons became persuasive.

    Since sarcasm and condescension seem to be the kind of discussion you want to have, please note Oreskes' use of the word "might". In case you are unfamiliar with the word, it means "possibility". It is a conditional statement, and the condition is "unless we can give a convincing account".

    The simple fact is that we do have information about why old viewpoints regarding the cooling of the earth on geological time scales transformed into an expectation that CO2 would lead to warming. And Oreskes' paper discusses this.

    You appear to want to make a mountain out of a molehill.

  10. Don Williamson at 22:27 PM on 16 August 2023
    Ice age predicted in the 70s

    To Bob Loblaw

    I apologize for misspelling your name, it was unintentional.

    What Oreskes stated about undermining the consensus with the reversal from cooling to warming is her pov as a professor of science history and I can't dispute it. She has much more background to draw on for her conclusions and opinions than I would. I would defer to her as the expert.

    I specifically use her terms throughout the discussion to try limit any inference that it's my opinion or my interpretation. I hope this clarifies the situation.

  11. Don Williamson at 22:18 PM on 16 August 2023
    Ice age predicted in the 70s

    To Rob Loblaw

    WRT "both sides"

    Micheal E Mann for one - You are familiar with that name or would you like some background on his achievements?

    He has a geology PhD so I'm not sure if that meets everyone's definition of *climate scientist*

  12. Ice age predicted in the 70s

    One more for tonight.

    Don, you state in #108:

    Some well known climate scientists were on both sides and that wasn't very helpful.

    My challenge to you is to do two things:

    1. State clearly what you think the "both sides" are.
    2. State clearly who you think was a well-known climate scientist that was on "both sides".
  13. Ice age predicted in the 70s


    Please first do me the courtesy of getting my name right. It's Bob, not Rob. You have repeated this several times, and it makes me think you are not reading carefully.

    Not all geologists are the same. I am a physical geographer, and my specialty was climate (and more specifically, microclimate). You can read more about my background in the "Team" menu option under "About" (beneath the main masthead).

    Other physical geographers specialized in topics such as geomorphology, hydrology, etc., and within those sub-disciplines they may have specialized in coastal geomorphology, glacial geomorphology, etc. And after they finish PhDs, they spend years continuing to learn (I would hope) that would allow them to become specialists in areas peripheral from their early studies. Although I am very familiar with many of these other sides of physical geography (which overlaps with geology in many cases), it does not mean that I am an expert in coastal geomorphology.

    Unfortunately, your position in #105 that Michael Mann has a background in geology means that all geologists can be considered to be "climatologists" only demonstrates your lack of understanding of the discipline. Only a very small subset of geologists learn the processes that drive climate and can be considered to be climatologists.

    As the saying goes, cats have four legs, and dogs have four legs, but cats are not dogs.

    Your comment in #106 about Oreskes using awkward wording is only evidence of your desire to read something into it that isn't there. And your devolution into "undermine the consensus argument" only demonstrates where your true bias rests. You are seeing this as a battle between two camps, rather than a scientific discussion.

    Most of the rest of your posts are exposing your bias: you have your talking points that represent "our side" (that is, your side). You think that your misrepresentations expose some nefarious intent on the part of a group you think of as your opponents. This is most unfortunate, as it makes it very difficult to have a constructive discussion with you.

  14. Ice age predicted in the 70s

    Don @108... The fundamental facts of CO2 driven warming are incredibly well understood at this point in time. For this to be wrong would require nearly two centuries of physics to be fundamentally wrong. 

    Is there a possibility that nearly all the science is getting something really basic completely wrong? Absolutely. But the question arises, are you willing to bet a sustainable, livable planet for human civilization on the slim odds that the science is wrong?

  15. Ice age predicted in the 70s

    "Why not acknowledge the 'dominant view' was wrong and science coalesced into a new consensus?"

    Don... This comment is exactly what I'm talking about. There was (and still currently is) a dominant view that the earth has been cooling for the past several thousand years. There was (and still currently is) a dominant view that the earth had been cooling from the 1940's up to about the early 1970's. 

    What she's saying is that "contrarians" might exploit these facts of science in order to seed doubt in the minds of the general public about the clear reality of CO2 driven global warming.

  16. Ice age predicted in the 70s

    Don... "I can't fathom why an American professor of her status would travel overseas to a conference and present her article is she wasn't aligning herself to the opinions as stated in the article."

    You are very definitely misinterpreting what she's stating again, I believe primarily because you don't understand what she's saying.

    I, or anyone else here, can explain it for you if you're willing to listen.

  17. Don Williamson at 12:30 PM on 16 August 2023
    Ice age predicted in the 70s

    Here's a great argument from Oreskes in her 2007 paper on the consensus.

    "might the scientific consensus be wrong? If the history of science teaches anything, it’s humility. There are numerous historical examples where expert opinion turned out to be wrong"

    The "cooling" was obviously in the data (some say cooling from the 1920s, some say cooling from the 1940s) but the warming eventually came to the forefront as Oreske stated in her 2004 article.

    Will the warming continue? That can get into a very complex discussion about the hiatus - where many diverse opinions were offered. Some of the same scientists disputed and supported the reality of hiatus. Can cooling start again despite CO₂? We really don't know so locking in only one direction for temperatures leaves an opening for contrarians to pounce when it's not warming and they took advantage of that with the so-called hiatus. Some well known climate scientists were on both sides and that wasn't very helpful.

  18. Do phrases like ‘global boiling’ help or hinder climate action?

    How about "Climate chaos". This is quite literally true from a mathematical sense (e.g., non-linear dynamics and the emergence of tipping points) and it gives a sense of the impending dysfunction and seemingly random profusion of unpleasant events. But alas, still it comes off as hyperbole. For those of us who see what is happening, "climate change" is sufficient. The devil is in the details, not the title. 

  19. Don Williamson at 10:47 AM on 16 August 2023
    Ice age predicted in the 70s

    To Rob Loblaw

    "why did geologists shift their attention from cooling to warming?"

    Oreskes keeps reiterating that point for a reason.

    To counter the (pending) exploitation with a convincing argument is required, I haven't seen that argument put forward. I've seen dismissals, denials but are those very convincing? 


  20. Don Williamson at 10:41 AM on 16 August 2023
    Ice age predicted in the 70s

    To Rob Loblaw

    I never stated that Oreskes wanted to promote the cooling but it was an awkwardly worded challenge to contrarians to exploit if they think about it.

    The most important aspect IMHO is the following:

    "unless we can give a convincing account of the empirical reasons behind that reversal"

    "that reversal" "cooling to warming" "abrupt about-face" needed a convincing argument, I'm not sure simply dismissing it is a very convincing argument.

    Perhaps she is trying to suggest a way to maintain solidarity in needed in order to not "undermine" the consensus argument - when and if the reversal is exploited?

    I think she realizes that without a convincing argument, it's not easy to dismiss it. The reversal has legs, how strong the legs are depends on how strong the arguments are from our side.


  21. Don Williamson at 10:18 AM on 16 August 2023
    Ice age predicted in the 70s

    To Rob Loblaw

    What is a Geologist?

    A geologist is a scientist who studies the Earth, its history, and the processes that shape and change it. Geology is a broad field that encompasses the study of rocks, minerals, fossils, mountains, volcanoes, earthquakes, rivers, oceans, glaciers, and more. Geologists use a variety of methods to gather information about the Earth, including fieldwork, laboratory analysis, computer modeling, and remote sensing techniques. They often work in teams with other scientists, engineers, and professionals to solve complex problems related to natural resources, environmental protection, land use, and natural hazards.

    That meets the definition of 'climate scientist. btw Prof Michael E Mann has a PhD in Geology, not specifically "climate science"


  22. A Frank Discussion About the Propagation of Measurement Uncertainty


    Thanks for the additional information. From the Bevington reference you link to, equation 3.13 looks like it matches the equation I cited from Wikipedia, where you need to include the covariance between the two non-independent variance terms. Equations 4.13, 4.14, and 4.23 are the normal Standard Error estimate I mentioned in the OP.

    Of course, calculating the mean of two values is equivalent to merging two values where each is weighted by 1/2. Frank's equations 5 and 6 are just "weighted" sums where the weightings are 30.417 and 12 (average number of days in a month, and average number of months in a year), and each day or month is given equal weight.

    ...and all the equations use N when dealing with variances, or sqrt(N) when dealing with standard deviations. That Pat Frank screws up so badly by putting the N value inside the sqrt sign as a denominator (thus being off by a factor of sqrt(N)) tells us all we need to know about his statistical chops.

    In the OP, I linked to the Wikipedia page on MDPI, which largely agrees that they are not a reputable publisher. I took a look through the Sensors web pages at MDPI. There are no signs that any of the editors or reviewers they list have any background in meteorological instrumentation. It seems like they are more involved in electrical engineering of sensors, rather than any sort of statistical analysis of sensor performance.

    A classic case of submitting a paper to a journal that does not know the topic - assuming that there was any sort of review more complex than "has the credit card charge cleared?" The rapid turn-around makes it obvious that no competent review was done. Of course, we know that by the stupid errors that remain in the paper.

    It is unfortunate that the journal simply passes comments on to the author, rather than actually looking at the significance of the horrible mistakes the paper contains. So much for a rigorous concern about scientific quality.

    The JCGM 100:2008 link you provide is essentially the same as the ISO GUM I have as a paper copy (mentioned in the OP).

  23. A Frank Discussion About the Propagation of Measurement Uncertainty

    Bdgwx @21 , allow me to say it here at SkS  (since I don't post comments at WUWT  ) . . . that it is always a pleasure to see your name/remarks featured in the list of comments in any thread at WUWT.   You, along with a very small number of other scientific-minded posters [you know them well]  provide some sane & often humorous relief, among all the dross & vitriol of that blog.

    My apologies for the fulsome praise.  ( I am very 'umble, Sir. )

  24. Ice age predicted in the 70s

    Don @ 102:

    Is there any particular reason you keep ignoring the "earth scientist", "geologist" and "geophysicist" qualifiers that appear in Oreske's article?

  25. Don Williamson at 07:18 AM on 16 August 2023
    Ice age predicted in the 70s

    To Rob Honeycutt

    You appear to have moderator status "[RH] Shortened and activated link" but the link I provided has been disappeared?

    Moderator Response:

    [BL] Yes, Rob is one of the moderators here, as am I. As a general rule, though, we do not moderate discussions that we are involved in, except for simple clerical issues such as fixing links.

    In your comment #90, the link is still there, behind the LINK text that Rob added. Hover your mouse over the link and your browser should show you the full link. In any web page, the text that is displayed and the actual link URL are two different items.

    The web software here does not automatically create links from text. 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. In the dialog box, you will see that you have explicit control over the displayed text and the URL for the link.

  26. Don Williamson at 07:06 AM on 16 August 2023
    Ice age predicted in the 70s

    To Rob Honeycutt

    To say that the Oreskes article as a draft is an incorrect interpretation.

    It was a pre-print and never published in scientific literature but she did present these views in a European meteorology conference in Germany 

    link: LINK

    I can't fathom why an American professor of her status would travel overseas to a conference and present her article is she wasn't aligning herself to the opinions as stated in the article.

    She offered no rebuttal in her article so one must assume that it stood on its own merits. And to encourage contrarians to exploit the reversal, that's a very powerful argument that the contrarians cooling era argument has merit ~ whether we want to admit it or not.

    Why not acknowledge the 'dominant view' was wrong and science coalesced into a new consensus?

    To assert that a scientific consensus can't be wrong is a foolhardy position to take, I'm sure you'll agree.


    Science moves forward but is dismissing the pov from a science historian as esteemed as Prof Oresekes is - the best way to move forward?

    Moderator Response:

    [BL] Link linkified.

  27. A Frank Discussion About the Propagation of Measurement Uncertainty

    I have had numerous discussions with Pat Frank regarding this topic. His misunderstanding boils down to using Bevington equation 4.22. There are two problems here. First and foremost, 4.22 is but an intermediate step in propagating the uncertainty through a mean. Bevington makes it clear that it is actually equation 4.23 that gives you the final result. Second, Equations 4.22 and 4.23 are really meant for relative uncertainties when there are weighted inputs. Frank does not use weighted inputs so it is unclear why he would be using this procedure anyway.

    Furthermore, Frank's own source (Bevington) tells us exactly how to propagate uncertainty through a mean. If the inputs are uncorrelated you use equation 4.14. If the inputs are correlated you use the general law of propagation of uncertainty via equation 3.13. 

    A more modern and robust exploration of the propagation of uncertainty is defined in JCGM 100:2008 which NIST TN 1900 is based.

    And I've told Pat Frank repeatedly to verify his results with the NIST uncertainty machine. He has insinuated (at the very least) that NIST and JCGM including NIST's own calculator are not to be trusted.

    Another point worth mentioning...he published this in the MDPI journal Sensors. MDPI is known to be a predatory publisher. I emailed the journal editor back in July asking how this publication could have possibly made it through peer review with mistakes this egregious. I basically explained the things mentioned in this article. The editor sent my list of mistakes to Pat Frank and let him respond instead. I was hoping for a response from the editor or the reviewers. I did not get that. 


  28. Ice age predicted in the 70s


    Yes, I agree that the Wikipedia article I linked to does not specifically state that  Gordon MacDonald was of the view that cooling was the dominant factor. That is why I followed up with comment #93. Oreskes does say in the paper that she is examining certain issues "through the experience of one influential individual: Gordon J.F. MacDonald". If you have the information about the conference and other papers that were presented, that may give additional context.

    I disagree with your suggestion that Oreskes wanted to promote the cooling argument. I omitted the lead-up to the quote I presented in comment #92. The lead-up says:

    But one aspect of the debate not often noted by climate
    contrarians, but which they might exploit if they thought about it...

    I do not see that as an intention to promote the idea - rather, it is simply an expression of surprise that the argument is not made more often by people intent on discrediting climate science. It is an observation, not a recommendation.

    I will also re-iterate the point I made in #92 that Oreskes refers to earth scientists, geologists, and geophysicists. Not climate scientists. Climatology as a distinct science was just beginning to emerge in the 1950s and 1960s. Prior to that "climatology" was largely descriptive, not process-oriented. To this date, many earth scientists have little background in the processes that affect climate - and the poorer their understanding, it seems the more likely they are to fall into the contrarian camp.

    The "Further reading" list in the OP is more geared towards what climate scientists thought and published, not what non-climate specialists in earth sciences thought.

  29. Don Williamson at 05:11 AM on 16 August 2023
    Ice age predicted in the 70s

    To Rob Honeycutt

    Her inclusion of some fearing the coming ice age indicates at least some thought it was going to continue. I'm not aware of surveys of that era so I can't offer insights for what the dominant view predicted for the next years, decades or centuries.

  30. Don Williamson at 05:07 AM on 16 August 2023
    Ice age predicted in the 70s

    To Rob Honeycutt

    Quoting her article isn't a misinterpretation. Maybe she regrets it now, especially egging on contrarians, but it is what it is [circa 2004]

    Feel free to ask her about it, I'm not able to offer insights into her state of mind.


  31. Ice age predicted in the 70s

    Don... I know Dr. Oreskes fairly well, and have had several one-on-one conversations with her in the past during AGU in SF.

    I think perhaps you're misinterpreting what's being stated in this piece. Re-reading it myself, I wonder if you're thinking stating the dominant scientific view in the 1950's, 60's and into the 1970's was that the earth was cooling and would continue to do so. That would be an inaccurate interpretation.

    Mid-century cooling was, and is, very well understood and accepted. There was some exploration at that time whether cooling or warming would dominate in the coming decades, but even then the dominant view was that it would likely be CO2 induced warming.

    Famously, the renowned climate scientist Dr. Stephen Schneider, produced one paper suggesting that cooling due to global dimming from aerosol pollution was the bigger problem. Fairly soon, though, he also became convinced by the weight of evidence that the underlying warming from CO2 was the larger problem.

  32. Don Williamson at 04:41 AM on 16 August 2023
    Ice age predicted in the 70s

    To Rob Loblaw

    Oreskes stated that it was the dominant view, not that was the only view. The alternative or flip side to that dominant view is that the minority held to the global warming view. It looks like the minority were right and the dominant view was wrong.


  33. Don Williamson at 04:30 AM on 16 August 2023
    Ice age predicted in the 70s

    To Rob Loblaw

    I couldn't find any reference to MacDonald saying the dominant view of the 1950s to 1970s was a cooling climate in your wikipedia link. Perhaps you could demonstrate that it was his thoughts not hers. I can't really bend my brain into that logic without supporting documents. What have you found?

  34. Don Williamson at 04:26 AM on 16 August 2023
    Ice age predicted in the 70s

    To Rob Loblaw

    She offered no other context so I can't dispute it, even encouraging contrarians to exploit the reversal - how was that speaking for MacDonald and not her own thoughts?

  35. Don Williamson at 04:19 AM on 16 August 2023
    Ice age predicted in the 70s

    To Rob Honeycutt,

    The article - as is - was presented at a meteorological conference in Germany.

    I'm sure I can find the link to the seminar that hosted her article.

    She's a professor of the history of science so I'll have to defer to her expertise

    Unfortunately she seems to have suggested rather awkwardly, that contrarians exploit the about face.

  36. It's not bad

    Regarding the discussion about cold- vs. heat-related deaths this current blog post from Andrew Dessler on his substack page "The Climate Brink" might be helpful. It is the 2nd of a 3-part series, with the 3rd part expected soon:

    Unraveling the debate: Does heat or cold cause more deaths? Part 2

    This is US-centric and Andrew Dessler points out that there will be a lot of differences across the globe.

  37. Philippe Chantreau at 01:56 AM on 16 August 2023
    Is Nuclear Energy the Answer?


    As you said yourself, you looked at 2 days of nameplate capacity percentage. Perhaps that is not quite enough to form a good perception of how the power mix is managed. I do not share your assessment, which I think is a little too hasty and lacking context.

    During the day, solar picks up considerably. Over a 24 hours summer day, it changes from 0% of the mix to over 20%. You looked at the percentage of nameplate capacity, but if flexibility is to be a part of the system, it is inevitable that this percentage be low during some periods. Solar picks up to 23% of the total capacity during the peak demand time of the days I looked at, and that was pretty close to the variation in total demand. It is therefore not surprising that nuclear's share be reduced, especially if waste heat is to be limited.

    This site shows generation by source as the data is compiled. I find the graph very interesting and the ability to compare time periods is handy too:


    It also shows that coal, gas and oil make up a very small percentage of the mix. Although GHG emissions were not the main concern when this system was developped, it did reach the goal of achieving a very low level of dependence on fossil fuels. That is a good thing, no matter what, under the circumstances that we are now facing.

    I do not see the ability to be flexible as a weakness. Flexibility was in the plans for a long time for the nuclear part of electricity in France. The increase in river water temperatures is what was not planned for. Design features can allow to exploit warm/hot water instead of discharging it, as has been done in Olkiluoto (albeit somewhat experimentally or small scale).

    These plants exist and generate enormous amounts of electricity without greenhouse gases production. They do have a useful role to play, and they can be succesfully integrated in a cleaner system:


    Flexibility is not a bad thing: 



    You seem to suggest that no new nuclear produciton should be added anywhere in the world. I think it is debatable and depends on local and grid factors. Of course there are problems that can not be ignored. Waste, safety, waste heat, vulnerabilities from natural factors. Every solution has problems and vulnerabilites. There is no free lunch.

    By the same token, the question that is the title of this entire thread is ill posed. There is no single solution to the problem we face. There is no silver bullet, but the fight is on and any ammo that has a chance of reaching a mark should be used. I do not see a massive ramp up of nuclear generation under the form we have it now (gen III reactors at best) as the solution, but it does not mean that there is no merit in the existing plants, or that new ones muct be banned under all circumstances. No way of generating electricity without producing CO2 should be discarded.

  38. Ice age predicted in the 70s

    Reading further into the Wikipedia page on Gordon MacDonald, it seems that he became concerned about the effects of climate change in the 1960s (both natural and anthropogenic),  and was warning about the risks of fossil fuel combustion and global warming back in the 1960s.

  39. It's not bad


    Studies of excess heat deaths, etc, run into a common problem in epidemiology: you can't do controlled experiments, and analysis of data requires a rather convoluted mix of causes that need to be isolated through various models. In the end, you get probabilities, not explicit cause-effect relationships.

    Even in a "simple" autopsy, the cause of death is often a series of factors that combined to yield a fatal result. Did Covid cause that death? Well, he was elderly, had COPD and diabetes. The death certificate says his heart gave out. But he was living with those diseases and had prospects for many more years of life until Covid came along and hit him.

    The tobacco industry used this limitation to great effect: "you can't prove that this person got this cancer from smoking our cigarettes", etc.

    That's not to say that you suggestion is without merit. It will be considered, but I"m not sure how we might go about it.

  40. Ice age predicted in the 70s


    That is a pretty short article by Oreskes, with very few references, and carries no date. It has a email address (U California at San Diego). For her current Harvard web page, you can find a link to her CV, which tells us she was at UCSD from 1998 to 2013. So it is potentially a rather old article.

    In the 1970s, there was indeed speculation that the observed cooling might continue, but the "Further reading" section of this rebuttal shows more detailed analysis of how much of the scientific literature believed it was likely (not much).

    Also note that the title of the paper you link to includes "The work of Gordon J.F. MacDonald". Wikipedia has a page on Gordon J.F. MacDonald, and it is likely that Oreskes is summarizing the views of MacDonald rather than presenting her own detailed analysis. After all, she is a science historian. Also note that in her first paragraph, Oreskes states (emphasis added),

    ...not very long ago most earth scientists held the opposite view. They believed that Earth was cooling. Throughout most of the history of science, geologists and geophysicists believed that Earth history was characterized by progressive, steady, cooling

    MacDonald was a geophysist, and according to the Wikipedia page he also was skeptical about continental drift/plate tectonics. The contrarian community is littered with geologists that have limited understanding of climate science.

    I don't see this as an expression by Oreskes that she thought the "it's cooling" crowd had a legitimate argument.

  41. It's not urgent


    As Eclectic points out, Judith Curry's shtick is basically a "sow doubt" approach with a lot of maybes and ifs and other qualifiers. If you ignore the maybes and ifs,  her statements act as dog whistles to the contrarians. The approach allows her to walk back with an "I never said that" response when her "interesting" or "curious" pronouncements about highly speculative (or sometimes clearly wrong to begin with) ideas are shown to be incorrect.

    She presents herself as being open to new ideas (although they are usually the same-old, same-old debunked talking points), while feeding red meat to those that think the mainstream climate science community is close-minded. This approach works well to those who, as the saying goes, are so open-minded that their brains have fallen out.

    Curry's favourite method is to beat the Uncertainty drum and call up the Uncertainty Monster at her earliest convenience. Although the following cartoon was prepared for the recent post on Pat Frank's horrible paper on measurement uncertainty, Judith Curry was not far out of sight when the idea for the cartoon (and preamble to the Pat Frank post) was being prepared.

    The attack of the Uncertainty Monster


    SkS has a page on Judith Curry, as does DesmogBlog. The DesmogBlog text includes the sentence

    Climate scientists have also criticized Curry’s “uncertainty-focused spiel,” as Sourchwatch [sic] has put it, “for containing elementary mistakes and inflammatory assertions unsupported by evidence.

    Desmog links to this SourceWatch page.

    If I wanted to stoop to Curry's tactics, I probably should litter this comment with multitudinous use of qualifiers such as "it appears as if", "my initial impression is", "people have said", "if this is the case", "it would certainly be interesting if", "there is a chance that", "maybe we should consider the possibility that", etc. You get the idea.

  42. Ice age predicted in the 70s

    Don... Best I can tell, this looks like an early draft of an abstract for a potential paper or even a draft for a chapter of a book. I wouldn't put much credence in this piece, one way or another, since people are allowed to explore ideas and decide in the process they're wrong and choose not publish.

  43. Don Williamson at 23:40 PM on 15 August 2023
    Ice age predicted in the 70s

    There was an article by Naomi Oreskes regarding the cooling climate dominant view of the 1950s to 1970s.

    I was finally able to locate her work after months of research, I heard rumors about it but it turns out to be real.

    It might advance the discussion if this is included in the consensus debate. It needs to be tackled head-on, what does Naomi Oresekes say about her previous paper?


    Moderator Response:

    [RH] Shortened and activated link.

  44. Is Nuclear Energy the Answer?


    My understanding is that it is much more difficult to ramp up/down a nuclear plant than a coal plant.  Some of the reaction products poison the chain reaction.  If you change the reaction conditions the balance between the chain reaction and poisoness elements in the waste also changes.  It is difficult to keep everything under control.  You cannot shut the reaction down and then start it up again immediately like a coal plant can.  In the USA none of the reactors can load follow.  In France some of the reactors can slowly ramp production (maybe 1-2% per minute).  It is hard to find references that describe how France lowers their production.

    Here David-acct claimed that nuclear plants ran 92% of the time at full power.  France currently has installed nuclear nameplate of 61.4 GW.  The highest capacity factor in the two days I looked at was 51.5% in the middle of the night.  The lowest was was 41.6% during peak power.   

    The point is that claims that nuclear plants are "always on" are easily demonstrated to be false.  Cold weather, hot weather, drought, flooding, nearby fires and other natural changes can all cause reactors to shut down on short or no notice.

    In a renewable energy world stored power will be most valuable.  Baseload power will not be valuable.  Baseload power that shuts down during peak times is very low value.  If the reactors in France were not owned by the government they would be bankirupt.

  45. It's not urgent

    PM @42 , please report on anything genuinely valid  which these deniers can produce from Mr Stossel or Dr Curry.  I'm betting that's Zilch.

    You won't change the deniers, but you may influence "onlookers'.   Myself in this situation, I'd figure it is reasonably justified to "poison the well".   Point out that Stossel once, years ago, was a reputable journalist . . . but now he's an angry propagandist and has received money from the billionaire Charles Koch, whose propaganda "institutes" encourage propaganda half-truths & cherry-picking slanted information.

    I would probably also go ad hom  [ ad fem ? ] on Curry ~ whose arguments are vague & tenuous & rhetorical . . . and are therefore difficult to get to grips with.   Point out that the real climate scientists find her a joke, and laugh at her and her vague position.

    Challenge the deniers to come up with anything definite  from these two anti-science propagandists.

  46. PollutionMonster at 19:18 PM on 15 August 2023
    It's not urgent

    Now the denier is linking to the infamous John Strossel and Dr Judith Curry. I am attempting to show the errors of their source, but having trouble.

  47. There is no consensus

    Rkrolph @948 , as far as I have seen, Dr Curry has not changed her expressed views in recent years (she has retired academically, but AFAIK still maintains a commercial interest in weather/hurricane season predictions).    # I follow her blog most days ~ the blog is slightly redeemed by one or two of the commenters there.   The blog is a somewhat more genteel version of WUWT  blog.

    Unlike Drs Spencer & Christie, and the definitely-emeritus Prof Lindzen, the good Dr Curry maintains a certain amount of vagueness in her speech and presentations . . . implying that she is not quite opposed to the mainstream climate science.   Vagueness & a degree of "uncertainty"  are her game  ~  enough fuzziness for some Plausible Deniability, when someone tries to pin her down now or at a future date.   But it is as obvious as an elephant in your kitchen, about which side of the scientific fence she occupies.   And this goes down well with the usual group of denialist U.S. senators.

    **  Up to as much as two-thirds of modern rapid global warming might possibly  be owing to "natural variations" or ocean/atmosphere cycles . . . that's the sort of Plausible Deniability she goes for.   So no need to take any climate action.

    Mr John Stossel is a reporter that has gone over to the Dark Side, years ago.   Basically a propagandist.   I haven't followed him closely enough to allow me to make a psychiatric assessment.

  48. There is no consensus

    I have been wondering lately if some of the more famous climate change skeptics, climate scientists like Judith Curry, have modified or adjusted their outlier positions as the global warming crisis grows worse year by year. 

    But apparently not, based on the article I read in the Torrance Daily Breeze by John Stossel, titled "The fake climate change consensus", that quoted her extensively,   Most of the article I recognized as long ago debunked garbage, but it seems surprising to me that experienced climate scientists like Curry would still be promoting this kind of nonsense.   


  49. Is Nuclear Energy the Answer?

    I know next to nothing about nuclear reactors but I know coal-fired power stations well. When less power is needed then less coal is fed into furnace (making a mile of other adjustments especially to air flow and feedwater as well), so steam output is reduced. I would assume nuclear similarly slows output by slowing the nuclear reaction. To me, a partial shutdown is stopped one or more generation units not reducing steam output.

    All steam plants have to reject heat back into the environment to convert steam back to water, usually by cooling towers. High summer temperatures play havoc with this especially if there are restrictions on temperature of cooling water going back into rivers. This usually means easier (and more efficient) to generate at night. If close to limit, then you have to reduce power as the day warms up.

  50. Is Nuclear Energy the Answer?

    Phillippe Chantreau,

    My understanding is that many reactors stop generating electricity on weekends for economic purposes.  Since France often has cooling issues on hot summer days, and they are reported to be in drought, a lack of cooling water could also contribute to less generation.  If a reactor was off line both days for cooling issues it would not have registered in the data I copied (a good reason not to do your own analysis).

    Here are my personal definations:


    If a reactor is taken off line so that it no longer generates electricity it has been shut down.  It does not matter what the reason is or if they keep the reactor hot so that it can be more rapidly started up again.  I do not know the Wikipedia defination.

    If a reactors power output has to  be reduced for any reason that is a partial shut down and is an indication that the reactor is an unreliable power supplier.  I note that nuclear supporters frequently claim that reactors are "always on".  

    What is your defination of shut down?  If they insert all the control rods the chain reaction stops. The decay of radioactive fission products continues to produce a very large amount of heat.  Enough heat to keep the boilers hot and requiring a large amount of water to prevent disasters.  For me that is completely shut down but a nuclear technician might have a different defination. 

    Do you have a link that describes what the French do on weekends to lower nuclear power output by 20%?  I would  also like to know why they generate less power during the peak periods than during the low at night.  I suspect waste heat is causing at least some of the decline (as you mention).

    My understanding is that some reactors are taken below the critical level.  The control of reactors is extremely complex so I could be incorrect.

    The dates are from August 2023.

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