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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #44, 2019

Posted on 5 November 2019 by Doug Bostrom

OUP Bioscience statement on climate

It's normally the case that research scientists leave it to society to find the meaning and importance of their work to the world at large. Their activities are normally motivated by and confined to satisfaction of curiosity. Given that, the statement and evidence just published in Bioscience is quite notable, not least because the often fractious world of researchers has produced a declaration of urgency signed by some 11,258 practitioners from a wide diversity of domains. The World Scientists' Warning of a Climate Emergency is open access and includes a plethora of supporting data.

Burning Paris 

The conjunction of the Bioscience statement mentioned above with a newly confirmed development concerning governmental climate policy drips irony.

As the final net of this fishing trip bulging with new research results came inboard over the gunnels of the Skeptical Science research trawler, the Trump administration triggered the clock on the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement. In a year, the largest economy on the planet will not be cooperating or pulling its weight on repairing our originally accidental but now arguably willful destructive rampage through Earth's various surface systems. This decision is so at odds with the reality we face as occupants and members of a closed space that speculating on why such a choice would be made inevitably leads to unflattering conclusions.

Today's relatively few articles on the physical science and effects of our CO2 emissions  and their web of supporting references alone seem amply galvanizing of attention and concern, but they're just a small school of fish from the enormous ocean of hard scientific research defining the urgent problem we're facing with climate. This fresh haul presents familiar proportions of species; there's an already-large and rapidly growing body of subsidiary research investigating how we might ameliorate our dilemma, how we can better understand and think about it, what it will cost to fix and how we can pay, and not least indicators of how all of this painstakingly accumulated intellectual mass and momentum might be synthesized and exploited to craft effective public policy to create a better future than what we're facing otherwise. Against all of that, we hear only "no, I don't believe it" with not-even-flimsy arguments in support of behaving and living as though we're more ignorant than we are. "Inadequate" hardly begins to describe the deficit of virtue and pride that could lead the US into such deviation.

The US could do better but the country's population is handicapped, inert beyond the norm. The country has been targeted by a prolonged,  concerted stream of misinformation and disinformation promulgated by interests unable to see a horizon beyond the edges of a financial balance sheet. Thus the US has failed to develop the public awareness and public expression of urgency needed to foreclose such folly as just committed by the current administration. Deceit is costly as a matter of reality; misperceptions are not confined to the mental domain and as we see in this case may escape into the real world, to our peril.

Where's the remedy? When you hear something, say something. When you hear somebody repeating science fiction in place of science fact don't let them run aground— steer them to back toward reality. You're reading this, so you already know what course to set.  

58 Articles: 

Physical science of anthropogenic global warming & effects

Quantifying the Drivers of the Clear Sky Greenhouse Effect, 2000?2016

Sea-level-rise-induced threats depend on the size of tide-influenced estuaries worldwide

Observation of global warming & global warming effects

Antarctic Temperature Variability and Change from Station Data

Summer albedo variations in the Arctic sea ice region from 1982 to 2015

Observed trends in daily rainfall variability result in more severe climate change impacts to agriculture

Relationship between sea surface temperature and the maximum intensity of tropical cyclones affecting Vietnam's coastline

What Caused Recent Shifts in Tropical Pacific Decadal Sea?Level Trends?

Identifying key driving processes of major recent heatwaves

Assessing spatiotemporal variation of heat waves during 1961?2016 across mainland China

Climate change decreases the cooling effect from post?fire albedo in boreal North America

Modeling global warming & global warming effects

Potential impacts of specific global warming levels on extreme rainfall events over southern Africa in CORDEX and NEX?GDDP ensembles

Terrestrial N2O emissions and related functional genes under climate change: A global meta?analysis

Causes of future Mediterranean precipitation decline depend on the season (open access)

Large changes in Great Britain’s vegetation and agricultural land-use predicted under unmitigated climate change (open access)

The amplified Arctic warming in the recent decades may have been overestimated by CMIP5 models

Humans dealing with our global warming

Acknowledging uncertainty impacts public acceptance of climate scientists’ predictions

Probabilistic assessment and projections of US weather and climate risks and economic damages

Climate and health benefits of increasing renewable energy deployment in the United States (open access)

The public costs of climate-induced financial instability

Engineering challenges of warming

Partisan strength and the politicization of global climate change: a re-examination of Schuldt, Roh, and Schwarz 2015

Abrupt changes across the Arctic permafrost region endanger northern development

Carbon and health implications of trade restrictions (open access)

Climate finance and disclosure for institutional investors: why transparency is not enough (open access)

Using ingroup messengers and ingroup values to promote climate change policy

Twenty-five years of adaptation finance through a climate justice lens (open access)

The politics of “usable” knowledge: examining the development of climate services in Tanzania

Building capacities of women for climate change adaptation: Insights from migrant-sending households in Nepal

Policy innovations for pro-poor climate support: social protection, small-scale infrastructure, and active citizenship under India’s MGNREGA (open access)

Bridging the gap between will and action on climate change adaptation in large cities in Brazil

Environmental associated emotional distress and the dangers of climate change for pastoralist mental health

Inclusive agribusiness under climate change: a brief review of the role of finance

Household carbon footprint patterns by the degree of urbanisation in Europe (open access)

Co-benefits, contradictions, and multi-level governance of low-carbon experimentation: Leveraging solar energy for sustainable development in China

Mitigating CO 2 emissions of concrete manufacturing through CO 2 -enabled binder reduction (open access)

How to avoid history repeating itself: the case for an EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) price floor revisited (open access)

Biology and global warming

Global Change Biology: A Primer [speed kills?]

Long-term standardized forest phenology in Sweden: a climate change indicator (open access)

Temperature change as a driver of spatial patterns and long?term trends in chironomid (Insecta: Diptera) diversity

Secondary forest fragments offer important carbon and biodiversity cobenefits

Response of foundation macrophytes to near?natural simulated marine heatwaves

When to start and when to stop: Effects of climate on breeding in a multi?brooded songbird

Rapid assessment of management options for promoting stock rebuilding in data?poor species under climate change

Ocean warming and tropical invaders erode the performance of a key herbivore

Projecting terrestrial biodiversity intactness with GLOBIO 4

Satellite-based decadal change assessments of pan-Arctic environments

GHG sources and sinks, flux

Modeling organic carbon accumulation rates and residence times in coastal vegetated ecosystems.

Interannual variations of terrestrial carbon cycle: Issues and perspectives

Land?use controls on carbon biogeochemistry in lowland streams of the Congo Basin

Recent changes in the dominant environmental controls of net biome productivity (open access)


Uncertainty estimates for sea surface temperature and land surface air temperature in NOAAGlobalTemp version 5 (open access)


Please let us know if you're aware of an article you think may be of interest for Skeptical Science research news, or if we've missed something that may be important. Send your input to Skeptical Science via our contact form.

A list of journals we cover may be found here. We welcome pointers to omissions, new journals etc. 

The previous edition of Skeptical Science New Research may be found here. 

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Comments 1 to 3:

  1. It looks reasonably likely that the USA will meet her climate commitments despite trump.  Economics is the kicker.  It appears that it is now less expensive to build and operate a wind turbine or solar panels than to operate existing coal fired power stations.  Add to this that as you build turbine after turbine or install solar panels they immediately go into operation.  No wait until the whole plant is finished.  And many states are going it alone.  Trump is a temporary blip in a process that is inevitable now.  We might just stop the ship before it hits the iceburg. 

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  2. Per Williimam, so in a way the various interests behind Trump's putting his thumb on the scale are choosing to die off like dinosaurs, stubbornly sticking with a doomed ecosystem? 

    The trouble is we have so little time available. I suppose the retro-energy industry understands this. Any delay means they have a little more space to monetize in an increasing frenzy while the going is still good. To a paranoid mind this would help to explain active attempts to degrade efficiency standards; maximize consumption while it's still possible. 

    We can probably count on the race backward ending up crashing prices on fossil fuels as producers act in their own interest in a panic even as demand levels off or slumps, meaning that for investors not wedded to combustion there may be better places to put money. 

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  3. I try to talk about global warming with people, but I tend to scream and throw things.  I don't think I change very many minds.


    One problem is that mainstream media doesn't cover it, and the deniers are full of shallow false information.

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