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Comments 651 to 700:

  1. A critical review of Steven Koonin’s ‘Unsettled’

    Good morning Eclectic and CC,

    Time is of the essence here in the once United Kingdom, so I will be brief.

    Since you mention "Koonin" and "WUWT" in the same paragraph, please keep an eye on this developing story:

    Eclectic - Since you seem to be a fellow occasional visitor to the dark side, perhaps you wouldn't mind keeping half an eye out just in case my pertinent comment at WUWT ever emerges into the cold light of day? Needless to say it has not done so as yet:

    If you are not already persona non grata over there perhaps you might like to become so by asking Anthony where's he hiding it?! 

  2. Ambitious action on climate change could be Biden’s ‘moon shot’

    Nigel @3 - Good morning (UTC)

    No I wasn't doing that. My apologies if I have inadvertently offended you, but perhaps you are the one who should avoid jumping to conclusions?

    It seems that like certain denialistas one might mention, you fail to appreciate my tongue in cheek Anglo-Saxon sense of humour?

    My "day job" involves advising the once Great British government, and indeed the rest of what remains of the planet, about "smart grid" technology, particularly with regard to electric vehicles:

    In my evidently overly brief comment above I was alluding to allegations that ICE OEMs are willing to use any excuse to avoid shipping BEVs.

    In my version of the Queen's English "waste of money" + "conspiracy" == "financial self interest".

  3. A critical review of Steven Koonin’s ‘Unsettled’

    Citizenschallenge @7 / @8 ,

    Pardon my poorly-pertinent reply, for I am presently somewhat at leisure to doodle and tap on my keyboard.

    IMO most people are busy getting on with their immediate problems, and are giving scant attention to this early stage of the climate train-wreck.  The passenger carriages are swaying and bumping a bit more than usual, it's true . . . but we've had various rough patches in the past, haven't we?  And most  of the wheels haven't come off (yet).

    Despite the decades of well-executed denialist propaganda, there is now more talk by the Press & politicians about the need to take action on climate.  The talk has increased . . . the action, not so much.  But at least the ship has left the quayside, and is picking up speed (though only reaching 3 knots so far).

    I am a regular reader of the extremists' blog WattsUpWithThat.   Entertaining if you have a strong stomach, and it's (just) occasionally informative.  The articles tend towards the Sour Grapes attitude, and the comment section is a marvellous menagerie of wingnuts and weally vewy cwoss Elmer Fudd [what an apt surname!] characters, overlapping with flat-earther "no-such-thing-as-GreenHouse-Effect" crazies.

    WUWT  is only the tip of the iceberg - and I am very uncertain about the size of the underlying berg.  But I have noticed - increasingly over recent years, and especially since mid-November 2020 - that the denizens of WUWT  are showing a slightly-desperate belligerence, and they sense that the infidel hordes have encircled the citadel of True Science (inhabited by the denizens).   And that the infidel/liberal-Press army is battering at the gates.

    The denizens feel (almost) confident the siege will soon be broken by the arrival of colossal electricity prices and the arrival of the oft-foretold onset of Giant Global Cooling.   But it seems the denizens can't entirely shake off a nagging feeling of dread.

    Let's hope the WUWT  denizens will be justified in their worries.  And let's hope that Koonin achieves little more than preaching to the choir.  Likewise with the multi-year crapola on the extremist fringe of YouTube.  I suspect that the majority of non-partisan voters pay little attention to both the good and the bad on YouTube.

  4. citizenschallenge at 14:00 PM on 4 June 2021
    A critical review of Steven Koonin’s ‘Unsettled’

     I know there's lots of wonderful stuff going on.  But it seldom seems to trickle down to the grassroots where it's needed.

    I've long dreamt of something like volunteer YouTube Fact Check squad - YouTube has become huge contributor to misinformation.  More than any few could do anything about.  But why not a loosely organized young smart students, who already spend a lot of time on YouTube and other social media.

    I mean look at the passion and rage in the eyes of the right wing thinking people who have been getting a steady dose of unopposed lies for decades - pretending that ain't so is self-destructive.

    If we aren't changing minds we are losing.


    Not trying to be a bummer, but I've been a long time spectator and it is what it is.  Unless there's some serious stepping up by lots regular citizens, we are in trouble.  

    You know democracy demands and informed and engage electorate.



  5. citizenschallenge at 13:29 PM on 4 June 2021
    A critical review of Steven Koonin’s ‘Unsettled’

    According to Koonin and the IPCC, there is no emerging “climate crisis.” And any change to climate that might occur will not bring economic devastation: it will result in a very modest reduction in what will still be extraordinary economic growth.

    It's all fine and good rolling our eyes at the stupidity.  But, you know: Why should they change what they're doing, if what they're doing, continues working like a charm?

    People are terrified of our global/local Environmental Problem because they can't let go of their faith in a job that pays better and endless growth, so we can have more stuff (So we continue dancing to the contrarian script.


    Think about Koonin's book and the idiotic articles, spreading like wildfire on the internet, that are being spoon fed to their constituents.  

    It's the same talking points, like a decades old broken loop.  Bluster, misdirection, cynicism, backed by a self-certainty that only the thoughtless are capable of. - Still, somehow the other side* of honest, rational, pragmatic thinking (SkS and such), keep getting drown out and lost in the dust.  

    {*That is scientific constructive debates - where truthfully representing your opponent position and all around fidelity to the facts and honest are demanded, because learning as the goal. 

    As opposed to lawyerly political debate, where winning is all that matters and honesty is treated with contempt.}


    Instead, it's the same old story, same old mind-boggling misdirections, knock people off their balance and always drawing the discussion away from the issues at hand.  

    Derailing every serious attempt at dialogue is their only goal. 

    I'm astounded at how well it works, and how the liberal science loving crowd still don't seem to be capable of bringing these discussions back on point.

    Every idiot climate science contrarian claim, has the seeds of a wonderful story that can expose the lie being purpetrated, while helping explain this, or that, aspect of our Global Heat and Moisturer Distribution Engine, {which is our climate, atmosphere, ocean, land and crysophere in a dance of cascading consequences).


    But most the time no one takes the time to make the effort to help explain simple science to willfully ignorate people.  They tell me its a waste of time and effort.  But, I keep wondering, if not for our 'opponents,' what about the folks on our own side.  We could benefit from a better understanding of smarter arguments ourselves?

    {Check out SkS Arguments section. Good basics, the facts.

    Unless we are changing minds, we are losing.  People who care, need to figure out how to make those facts come alive, in a way that helps people, not only understand our complex global weather systems, but to inspire them, this Earth is worth being in love with - Why not argue for trying to nurture, rather than consume and discard.



  6. A critical review of Steven Koonin’s ‘Unsettled’

    John S @5 ,

    yes, that's a marvellous letter . . . and so utterly brazen.

    For me, it's difficult to decide whether the author is a wingnut zealot, or merely a cynical paid propagandist.  Or a mixture of both.

  7. Ambitious action on climate change could be Biden’s ‘moon shot’

    Jim Hunt @2, I assume you are referring to current supply constraints on electric cars being the current global chip shortage? It doesn't seem to be stopping them advertising electric cars where I live, and I doubt they would do that if it was a "waste of money".

    My comments were more an observation on the past. You post something that infers I either believe in conspiracy theories or cock ups by governments or car companies. I made no suggestion of either. I explained what I thought: Companies would prefer not to switch over to electric cars and obviously by not advertising them this furthers their cause. They create their own supply constraint but thankfully the whole strategy seems to be ending. This is neither a conspiracy or cock up, but pure financial self interest.

    Perhaps you should spend more time understanding what people are getting at and less time jumping to conclusions and trying to ridicule them and put words in their mouths with trick questions. And dont come back pretending you weren't doing that.

  8. A critical review of Steven Koonin’s ‘Unsettled’

    I subscribe to a blog called Canadians for Affordable Energy out of curiosity as to what they are saying, but sometimes it's so bad I wish I didn't - case in point the following under the head line "IPCC Experts Say Doing Nothing Would Be Less Harmful"

    Dear John,

    The Net Zero by 2050 agenda is being forced upon Canadians. As I wrote to you in Part 3 of my Net Zero series, no one even knows how much Net Zero by 2050 is going to cost.

    The one thing we know for sure is that Canadians will be the ones footing the bill.

    But let me share with you what former U.S. President Barack Obama’s senior Department of Energy official Stephen Koonin said about pursuing Net Zero.

    Koonin looked at data from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and revealed that doing nothing to address climate change would not result in the economic devastation the alarmists say it would.

    According to Koonin and the IPCC, there is no emerging “climate crisis.” And any change to climate that might occur will not bring economic devastation: it will result in a very modest reduction in what will still be extraordinary economic growth.

    So from extraordinary economic growth to slightly less extraordinary economic growth.

    We, on the other hand, are pursuing Net Zero by 2050 with a whole bunch of policies that will kill economic growth.

    How is this rational?

    Read my latest blog post to find out more.


    Dan McTeague, P.C.

  9. Daniel Bailey at 05:40 AM on 4 June 2021
    Arctic sea ice loss is matched by Antarctic sea ice gain

    @Joe Levesque, per NOAA's Arctic Report Card 2017, current Arctic temperature anomalies and low values of Arctic sea ice extent are unprecedented over the past 1,500 years.

    Arctic Report Card 2017


    Expanding upon that, it's far warmer now in Greenland than it was at any point during the Viking habitation of it.  The few Vikings that survived left rather than die there (and the Inuit thrived there the entire time and still do so today).

    Viking habitation of Greenland

    As a matter of additional fact, it's far warmer now in Greenland than it has been in the past 10,000 years.

    Greenland GISP2 Temperatures

    Back to you.

  10. Ambitious action on climate change could be Biden’s ‘moon shot’

    Hi Nigel,

    Sales of electric cars worldwide are currently "supply constrained" rather than "demand constrained". In such circumstances surely advertising is a waste of money?

    Do you subscribe to the "conspiracy" theory of history, or the alternative "cock-up" theory?

  11. Arctic sea ice loss is matched by Antarctic sea ice gain

    Joe @23,

    Since the Arctic is my pet hobby horse I'll second Eclectic's request.

    I assume you must know the drill? Links to authoritative sources to evidence for your claims would be nice to see, if such are available?

    "Where they settled then is not habitable today due to ice levels."?

    Wikipedia begs to differ:

  12. Ambitious action on climate change could be Biden’s ‘moon shot’

    The issue that has surprised me is that sales of electric cars have not seemed to grow as fast as the development wind and solar power. That's my impression but perhaps the data says otherwise.

    One thing holding back sales of electic cars may be the conspicuous lack of advertising. In our media in New Zealand there has been virtually no advertising, until perhaps the last two months we are seeing a sudden surge of advertisements. Don't know if its the same in America? It's possibly because the automobile companies have not really wanted to re-tool manufacturing plant and maintainance work and retrain staff, but it looks like they may be finally accepting the inevitable.

  13. Arctic sea ice loss is matched by Antarctic sea ice gain

    Joe @23 , best if you give much more detail about what you mean.

    The Norse settlement history of Greenland is a complex multi-layered course of events.  Temperature played little part (the medieval warming was only about 0.3 degreesC above the background).  

    Social and geo-political changes were the main determinants of the settlement's ultimate failure.  All interesting.  But the late stage sea-ice increase [and we don't really know if it was particularly big] would likely have been a very minor "straw" on the camel's back, compared with all the other disincentives that the Greenland Norse settlements were facing.

  14. Joe Levesque at 14:22 PM on 3 June 2021
    Arctic sea ice loss is matched by Antarctic sea ice gain

    The historical Arctic sea ice reconstruction appears anomalous with the Viking settlements in Greenland In the 10th century.  Where they settled then is not habitable today due to ice levels. Anybody up to explain how this can be explained?

  15. A critical review of Steven Koonin’s ‘Unsettled’

    I'm sure that's the case Bob! Here's an advertisement for the most recent episode in my ongoing unsettling review of "Unsettled":

    Note that in other news Ken Caldeira is running a poll on Twitter:

    Is it OK to use the tactics of those undermining trust in climate science (ad hominem attack, saying money is the motivation, accusation of lying) to undermine those underminers, or should we hold ourselves to higher standards?

  16. A critical review of Steven Koonin’s ‘Unsettled’

    I suspect that the article that Eclectic is referring to would be this one:

  17. A critical review of Steven Koonin’s ‘Unsettled’

    And a very recent article (dated 1st June) in ScientificAmerican by Oreskes et al, gives a fairly damning description of the context of Koonin's "magnum opus".

    Among other things, the article claims that, in the Obama Administration, Koonin was chosen to join the team because Koonin was seen as a contrarian i.e. because they wished to avoid the danger of Groupthink.

    So it is disingenuous for Koonin to present himself to the (bookbuying) public as an Obama-approved "leftie" who has now Seen The Light and is now ruthlessly exposing The Truth  about the climate exaggeration/ hoax/ propaganda/ conspiracy/ etc.

  18. Talking about climate change: Necessary, yet so uncomfortable

    prove we are smart @9, glad you got something out of Prof. Anderson's talks. Thanks for providing the link to one of his other talks.

  19. A critical review of Steven Koonin’s ‘Unsettled’

    Part of own (extremely!) critical review of Professor Koonin's recent magnum opus also includes an extract from Mark's article:

    And a "cranky uncle" cartoon!

  20. Skeptical Science needs your help!

    Thanks to everyone who have signed up so far to help us improve Skeptical Science content, exciting to see the enthusiasm! Note that the window on "applications" closes on Sunday so look forward to hearing from more of you :-)

  21. Dr. Ben Santer: Climate Denialism Has No Place at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    Thanks for you kind words @Eclectic.

    FYI my Arctic alter ego has a warped sense of humour:

  22. prove we are smart at 21:43 PM on 1 June 2021
    Talking about climate change: Necessary, yet so uncomfortable

    Thanks Evan for introducing me to Prof Kevin Anderson- this link to one of his youtube classes really hits home

    I also followed his advice to watch this also  " Merchants Of Doubt" . The sound is a bit low and a quirky way the poster got around the copyright but if only the climate deniers could watch it

    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.

    The second link (to Merchants of Doubt) appears to be restricted to certain regions.


  23. The Debunking Handbook 2020: Downloads and Translations

    Within the last week, the Spanish and Ukranian translations of The Debunking Handbook 2020 have been published! Since its publication in October 2020, 11(!) translations have been created.

  24. Dr. Ben Santer: Climate Denialism Has No Place at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    Jim Hunt @26 ,

    it is a good comparison you make about SLR and the man in the street.  And it appears there is zero hope that Koonin will attempt to salvage his reputation.

  25. Dr. Ben Santer: Climate Denialism Has No Place at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    Al @25 - Did you by any chance read my response to Prof. Koonin over at Medium? Or his response to my comment? If not here is a precis for you:

    Steven then rather ungraciously chose to ignore my follow up question:

    Regarding “the topic somewhat distant from ordinary folks’ perception”, that is largely my point. Is Arctic sea ice decline really any more distant to the average (wo)man in the street than sea level rise?

  26. Dr. Ben Santer: Climate Denialism Has No Place at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    We are now a few days after Koovin's seminar at the LLNL but I don't see a word of the grand message presented by Koonin. Presumably it is as embarassing as his silly book.

    Trying to find some coverage of the seminar, I did spot Koonin's pathetic attempt at de-debunking, that is debunking the WSJ Mills' article [LINK-paywalled] that debunked his silly book. Koonin's efforts at de-debunking simply demonstrates the level of utter nonsense you can expect from an obfuscatiing denialist troll like Koonin.

    Just holding up the first of the nine items Koonin attempts to de-debunk shows the purile standard. This first item involves the following untruthful quote from Koonin's book which needs little comment to debunk.

    "Greenland’s ice sheet isn’t shrinking any more rapidly today than it was eighty years ago."

    Cutting through the nonsense presented by Koonin's de-debunk, the troll defends his grand assertion using Fig 1d of Frederickse et al (2020) 'The causes of sea-level rise since 1900'  which shows the 30-year average rate of SLR attributed to Greenland by the study 1910-2010. Koonin tells us:-

    "The “fact check” [by Mills] does not refute the statement quoted, which is about the rate of sea level rise 80 years ago."


    "The 2019 paper by Frederikse et al. clearly shows that Greenland’s contribution to sea level rise around 1940 was about three times higher than it was in the last decades of the 20th century."

    Yet, if it is about SLR and not Greenland, then the relevant evidence from Frederickse et al is shown in Fig 1c not Fig 1d. And Fig 1c shows average rate of SLR in 2010 was 33% greater than at any time "eighty years ago" and that "today" it is likely higher again. Greenland is not the sole contributor to the acceleration in SLR (thus a cherry-pick) while Koonin's use of "the last decades of the 20th century" to represnt "today" is no more than disigenuous trolling.


    And in the intrests of correctness (the troll Koonin may have been saving his best until last), the ninth and last of his de-debunking atttempts to defend the Koonin quote:-

    "...while global atmospheric CO2 levels are obviously higher now than two centuries ago, they’re not at any record planetary high — they’re at a low that has only been seen once before in the past 500 million years."

    The context of this quote which compares today with "the past 500 million years" is not given. It appears Koonin bases his "only seen once before" comment on CO2 relative to today's 400ppm being lower 300 million years ago. And presmably his grand book does not provide a justification for this comparison. So, as was discussed in the debunking by an actual geoscientist, 300 million years ago the sun was much weaker, this perhaps 1.5% weaker 300 million years ago, so [0.025 x 250Wm^-2 =] 3.75Wm^-2 or the equivalent to a doubling of CO2. Koonin ignores such argument agaist him and instead concentrates on refuting the potential for future CO2 levels reaching 1000ppm.

    Moderator Response:

    [BL] You can make your points without all the labeling. Please try to tone it down a bit.

  27. Talking about climate change: Necessary, yet so uncomfortable

    Thanks Jim for the link. The classroom and general layout looks familiar. Could it be that I've seen this presentation elsewhere? :-)

  28. Talking about climate change: Necessary, yet so uncomfortable

    Evan @6 - Once upon a time, in my professional capacity, I gatecrashed one of Kevin's seminars to a couple of lecture theatres full of climate scientists. Et moi.

    I discovered that I still had my surfcam in my backpack, so here is the abstract:

    There's a link to the whole thing in the YouTube description.

  29. Talking about climate change: Necessary, yet so uncomfortable

    prove we are smart @4 You ask good, probing questions and I don't want to pretend to offer simple answers. A researcher who has influenced me a lot is Prof. Kevin Anderson in the UK. I highly recommend watching some of his video lectures, because I think he is one of the few people giving an honest assessment of the problem and what solutions need to look like. For one, we won't build a bunch of wind and solar farms and solve the problem. It is deeper than that, and Prof. Anderson does a great job of dealing with this difficult subject. He is more of an engineer than a scientist, and I think he comes at the problem with the common-sense approach of engineers. To find his talks, try the following Google search:

    youtube Kevin Anderson climate

    He gives a lot of talks with different titles and similar content. One that I think is particularly informative is the following.

  30. Talking about climate change: Necessary, yet so uncomfortable

    Thanks Timo,

    "This observation raises the question why people get so emotional about the topic...

    Often you find yourself shouted down or repeatedly interrupted in the middle of a sentence, because the topic makes people boil. You will hear falsehoods, misconceptions, and lies that are circulated by politics, media, and lobbies."

    Been there, done that. And while doing that I discovered in a public house in Exeter several years ago that political neuroscientists have a theory:

    Accurate political predictions can be achieved through modelling brain function. This produces a new view of human nature, with biology subservient to the demands of human politics and its shifting coalitions, making our brains hardwired not to be hardwired.

    See also:

  31. prove we are smart at 22:22 PM on 30 May 2021
    Talking about climate change: Necessary, yet so uncomfortable

    About the only time I feel positive about people understanding the dire straits we are facing (even before the terrible tipping points soon to come)-is reading here on this blogsite the consensus of fixes and ways forward to address this building doom.  Alas, upon resuming my regular day to day life ( I'm a farmer) it seems our systems are all failing us, not just GW and since unbiased common sense isn't coming from our leaders... will it come at all.

  32. Talking about climate change: Necessary, yet so uncomfortable

    Great post. I can share those identifications - been there, done that, on many occasions.

    These obstacles were what got me into writing books like The Making of Ynyslas - to see if coming at climate change from a less conventional angle might bear fruit. Fitting a narrative of change to a place created by that change makes it hard to argue against the fact that the change has occurred.

  33. SkS Analogy 22 - Energy SeaSaw: Part II

    Of course, the other key point of the analogy is to show that temporary downturns in the temperature record do not mean that the basic long-term upward trend is no longer there.

    Just as Evan has created a fitted curve by adding a linear trend and a sine wave together, you can think of the observed temperature observations in the opposite direction. The observations are a complex curve, and you can subtract a sine wave from it reveal a much straighter line that makes the trend easier to see.

    This "start with the full signal, subtract known oscillations" is the technique used in the paper by Foster and Rahmstorf (2011), which was blogged about over at Tamino's. They did not use just a simple sine curve - they used statistical methods to remove short term variations due to El Nino and volcanic activity, leaving a clear warming signal in the underlying trend. More sophisticated - with stronger physical reality - than just a sine curve, but the same "add the parts up, subtract them out" principle is at work.

    Figures from Tamino's blog post:

    Raw data (Foster and Rahmstorf)

    Adjusted data (Foster and Rahmstorf)


    To beat Fourier's drum just a little bit more, it's the same Fourier that created Fourier's Law of heat conduction. Quite a talented fellow.

  34. SkS Analogy 22 - Energy SeaSaw: Part II

    Thanks for the comments Bob and for the explanation of Fourier series and how fitting can be used to ignore physics. For those not familiar with Fourier series, this is the same Fourier who, in the 1820's started the field of climate science. Fourier was not only well known for his mathematical developments, but he was also well known for his advancement of the science of radiation heat transfer, which led to his discovery of the greenhouse effect.

    Bob's comments are right on the money in explaining how complex functions can be used to hide/ignore the physics. Because these analogies are designed to teach climate science to a wide audience, one of the challenges in communicating is to demonstrate how simple, easily grasped concepts explain much of what we observe. There are certainly climate scientists who have done a much better job of matching the observed warming trend with complex models that include more physics, but the point here, of course, was to show how observed trends can qualitatively be explained by the combination of a simple perturbation superimposed on a general trend.

  35. SkS Analogy 22 - Energy SeaSaw: Part II

    Good post, Evan.

    The idea that a complex variation (in this case, temperature versus time)  is the sum of components of predictable simple variations is fundamental to science and statistical analysis. A very useful technique.

    In this case, you have used a linear trend versus time, summed with a sinusoidal variation over time, and it is clear from figure 3 that this simple variation of two types can closely match observations.

    There are still squiggles left, and these could be "matched" by adding more cycles. You don't want to go to far without some physical reasons to expect cycles at different intervals, though.

    Although it is purely curve-fitting, you can do a sine that repeats once in the time period, then add a sine that repeats twice in the time period, then a sine that repeats three times, then four, then five, etc. Keep adding cycles, and you can match a very complex set of observations.

    Sound odd? No, it's called a Fourier series, and by comparing the amplitude of all those cycles you can use it to identify the important frequencies/periods of repeating patterns in your data.

    Overuse it, and you can always say "it's cycles". Read How Curve-fitting can ignore physics.  A common thread in the Anything But CO2 crowd is to fit cycles and claim you don't need CO2 to explain recent global temperature trends. (Spoiler alert: they are wrong.)

    Where else do we see this? Ptolemy's geocentric model of planetary motion used cycles this way. But it wasn't based in physics, just math. A better model - simpler, and more in tune with our knowledge of the physics - is the Heliocentric model.

    Cyckes are a very useful tool for exploring data, and helping us see what is there. Physics is an even more useful tool for explaining data, helping us understand why it is there. A good scientist uses it all.

  36. Talking about climate change: Necessary, yet so uncomfortable

    Nice article Timo.

    My personal opinion is that very few people will change their ways just by reading this or any other article on SkS or other high-quality news sources. However, reading these articles gets people equipped with the information they need so that when they encounter the types of painful transitions in their lives that do motivate change, that they are then equipped to change in the correct direction.

    Talking about climate change is essential to prepare people for change, even if the change itself is delayed.

  37. Talking about climate change: Necessary, yet so uncomfortable

    Well said. I think a significant part of the scepticism and emotion about the climate issue is just some peoples natural fear and dislike of change, whether its new science, or economic or social changes. Especially if they are making good money from business as usual. The climate issue is pretty big and complex so that amplifies the fear. Unfortunately its spilled over into political tribalism. Changing all this is hard work, but we just have to keep trying. It might help to show them the wider benefits of climate mitigation policies.

    And sooner or later fossil fuels will run out so we can't put off change forever even without the climate issue. Now might be as good a time as any. 

    And human beings are slow to do much about climate mitigation because we are mentally constructed to respond most strongly to immediate threats, not more distant threats like climate change. This is basic psychology. The work around might be to show people the fact that things like renewable energy and electric cars etc have some immediate and wide benefits.

    If people are convinced something else is causing climate change like the sun or cosmic rays or geothermal activity they will remain being sceptics, so you must prioritise rebutting those arguments. You can rebut everything else, and miss this issue, you won't achieve anything.

  38. SkS Analogy 22 - Energy SeaSaw: Part II

    Wow! The power of collaboration. :-)

  39. One Planet Only Forever at 07:11 AM on 29 May 2021
    SkS Analogy 22 - Energy SeaSaw: Part II

    Evan. The revised wording is better than my suggestion.

  40. SkS Analogy 22 - Energy SeaSaw: Part II

    OPOF, thanks for your suggestion. I modified the text according to your suggestion, not word for word what you suggested, but in that spirit.

  41. One Planet Only Forever at 03:49 AM on 29 May 2021
    SkS Analogy 22 - Energy SeaSaw: Part II

    Evan and jg,

    Excellent brief and clear supplement to the See-Saw Part 1.

    My only recommendation is a minor one. Try to improve the wording of the explanation of the production of Figure 2. My suggestion is:

    "If we super-impose, or add together, the teeter-totter and elevator motions the combined result will vary up and down from the elevator line as the elevator continues to go up over time producing the motion shown in Fig. 2."

    I am not brilliant regarding commas so my suggestion with few commas may not be the best presentation.

  42. Dr. Ben Santer: Climate Denialism Has No Place at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    P.S. I just glanced at a calendar!

    r/his upcoming/yesterday's/!

  43. Dr. Ben Santer: Climate Denialism Has No Place at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    Eclectic @20:

    It seems Boslough has a historical "soft spot" for Koonin:

    "I’ve known the author of 'Unsettled' since I took his quantum mechanics course as a Ph.D. student at Caltech in the 1970s. He’s smart and I like him, so I’m inclined to give his book a chance.

    But smart scientists aren’t always right, and nice guys are still prone to biases – especially if they listen to the wrong people."

    I agree that there's "no excuse", and Koonin's "motivations" are unknowable. Getting back to his "actions", and in particular his upcoming "seminar" at LLNL.

    What do you suppose Ben Santer asked the powers that be at LLNL for in the way of "ample opportunity for actual climate scientists to set the record straight", and why was his request (presumably) refused?

  44. Dr. Ben Santer: Climate Denialism Has No Place at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    Nigelj , I am in much agreement with you.   MA Rodger earlier pointed out the long back-story of Koonin's employment in the oil industry.

    People can change . . . but sometimes they don't . . . and it is easy to see the possibility that Koonin's previous sphere of employment would give him a bias towards retrospective justification of his earlier activities.

    There is no need to posit any recent financial influencing of Koonin.  The past connection may well be enough, psychologically, to have him self-censor his intellect.

    Nigelj,  I am sure you can think of many cases where prominent individuals have been "turned" by means of big amounts of money.  But psychologists' experiments show that one can often achieve large influence through surprisingly small payments.  It seems the smallness of the reward causes the recipients to over-compensate by becoming even stronger in their advocacy role.  Example: the very small stipend that was paid by Peabody to Lindzen.

    But we needn't get too bogged down in all these sorts of analyses.  The real problem is the actions of the deniers, rather than their motivations (which are difficult to change).

  45. Dr. Ben Santer: Climate Denialism Has No Place at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    Eclectic @20, Koonins  motivations are a bit of a mystery to me as well. However he was chief science officer at BP (an oil company). Although he was hired to develop a renewables programme he was paid by the oil company and very much part of it. Seems possible his basic allegiances might be to the oil industry and its goals.

    I couldn't find anything on his political views or world views or psychological state of mind (the later which you wouldn't expect to find). But like you say hes an intelligent guy yet he goes on promoting things that are just obviously nonsense. He must know at least some of these things are nonsense. So hes not your typical sceptic with a few lingering doubts. Those people come around eventually. He a hard core denialist and theres something going on in his head driving this. Trouble is it could be many things.

  46. Dr. Ben Santer: Climate Denialism Has No Place at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    Yes, thank you Jim Hunt @19 .

    Author Boslough's phrase: "Koonin's trust of those [poor] advisers and lack of rigorous independent verification"  can be seen as a sort of semi-apology for Koonin.

    But that doesn't really wash ~ for there is even less  excuse for a very intelligent guy like Koonin to fall into the usual Denialist incompetence of intellect (in matters of climate).

    Figuratively speaking, something is rotten in the state of Denmark ~ and presumably that something is a powerful lot of motivated reasoning going on in the mind of Koonin.   And for me, it is quite unclear what is the underlying emotion driving Koonin.  Whatever it is, it only partly overlaps with the emotional driving force to be found in the usual average denier.  (But the end result is the same.)

  47. It's El Niño

    Recommended supplemental reading:

    As the 2020–21 La Niña has come to an end, leaving us with neutral conditions in the tropical Pacific, we now wonder if we have seen the last of La Niña for a while or if we will see another dip into La Niña conditions by next fall. In the world of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), double-dipping is not a party foul—it’s actually quite common for La Niña to occur in consecutive winters (not El Niño, though). If you’re wondering why, then this is the blog post for you!

    Double-dipping: Why does La Niña often occur in consecutive winters? by Nat Johnson, ENSO Blog, NOAA's, May 27, 2021  

  48. michael sweet at 23:44 PM on 27 May 2021
    2021 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #21

    Yesterday (May 25) two new board members were elected to the board of Exxon.  These new board members have climate concerns!!!!  Who would have thought 5 years ago that climate activists would be on the ExxonMobil board! 

    Hopefully industry will start to work on climate solutions instead of denial.  There is hope for the future.

  49. Dr. Ben Santer: Climate Denialism Has No Place at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    Eclectic @17:

    I selected a different quotation from Mark Boslough as my favourite in a recent review article:

    Most of the technical mistakes and misrepresentations in “Unsettled” may simply be attributable to Koonin’s trust of those advisors and lack of rigorous independent verification.

    "Those advisors" being John Christy, Judith Curry, and Richard Lindzen.
    Plus an informative infographic from his suggested source:


  50. Dr. Ben Santer: Climate Denialism Has No Place at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    If you jump off a 10-story building, for 9 stories you can claim gravity is 'unsettled': where is the evidence for this invisible force?  The problem, for climate science is it takes decades for the planet to respond to our climate forcer, during which the Koonin's can harvest their doubt.  It may be useful to confront them with doubts of our own: what if they are wrong?  An errant wind turbine can be disassembled, an errant excess of carbon dioxide... absent the much-hyped technologies of Science Fiction, something we could be paying for over many hundreds of years.

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