Climate Science Glossary

Term Lookup

Enter a term in the search box to find its definition.


Use the controls in the far right panel to increase or decrease the number of terms automatically displayed (or to completely turn that feature off).

Term Lookup


All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

Home Arguments Software Resources Comments The Consensus Project Translations About Support

Bluesky Facebook LinkedIn Mastodon MeWe

Twitter YouTube RSS Posts RSS Comments Email Subscribe

Climate's changed before
It's the sun
It's not bad
There is no consensus
It's cooling
Models are unreliable
Temp record is unreliable
Animals and plants can adapt
It hasn't warmed since 1998
Antarctica is gaining ice
View All Arguments...

New? Register here
Forgot your password?

Latest Posts


Video: Is CO2 actually dangerous?

Posted on 29 November 2019 by Guest Author

We're always talking about how bad carbon dioxide is, but isn't the stuff kind of important for plants? So why do we keep complaining if all life on Earth depends on this gas? Well the problem isn't CO2... It's us.

Support ClimateAdam on Patreon:

2 0

Printable Version  |  Link to this page


1  2  Next

Comments 1 to 50 out of 67:

  1. Regarding the question "people ask whether carbon dioxide is actually bad?" They want people to say its not bad, so that they can dismiss climate change problem. They know perfectly well that CO2 is not bad at stable levels. Its not a genuine question unless its coming from a young child.

    They mostly hear Climate Adam saying CO2 is not bad. It's better to reply that some CO2 is necessary for plant growth and photosynthesis works like this, but excessive levels of CO2 are bad for the planet because they cause climate change. Add that photosynthesis works fine without requiring more CO2, which only provides a limited boost for plant growth and this is is offset by more heatwaves and droughts etc.

    The science in the video is well explained and made interesting, but stop letting these denialist guys set the agenda with their endless strawan statements and questions, because thats all they are.

    1 0
  2. Each to his own, I guess, but I find this presenter particularly annoying. But I couldn't stand Jerry Lewis either. Is there someone else who explains climate change to the general public in short bites like this without all the intolerable cornyness. Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest. Delete the comment if you must. 

    1 0
  3. BillyJoe , you might care to look at the Youtube video series by Potholer54  (science journalist Peter Hadfield).

    I'm not sure if it's the ideal Climate Change explainer for the general public . . . who might rather prefer an Attenborough-ish 25 minute program of hi-rez superbo photography and rich voice-overs.  Though perhaps with Yankee drawl?

    However, the Potholer54 videos (from low-rez 2009 to higher-rez 2019) are very good value for a video-watcher who has already started to develop an interest in climate topics.  All the videos are reasonably up-to-date in their science.  They range from mostly short ( five to ten minutes) through to a few long'uns (twentyish minutes).

    They are very informative, and they have the slant  of debunking the myths & lies put about by the denialist propaganda industry.

    There's a lot of them (48) ~ but they are easy-going to digest, because of their brevity and their entertainingly humorous style.  Especially amusing, are the 5 Monckton Bunkum videos, regarding the "error-prone Viscount".

    1 0
  4. I agree with Billy Joe about this presenter being annoying. But more importantly it seems to me he is trying to use comedy to discuss climate change. I can’t find any humor in what we are doing to the planet.

    Eclectic is right about Potholer54. It has great videos. In addition to debunking Monckton Bunkum, the 4 back and forth interchanges with Tony Heller who operates realclimatescience is just a pleasure to watch. One by one he demolishes Tony’s erroneous climate change statements until Tony refuses to continue the debate. And he does this all without making the audience feel like he is in an attack mode.

    0 0
  5. The following seems to be a fairly thorough reveiw of CO2 toxicity.  

    Carbon dioxide toxicity and climate change: a serious unapprehended risk for human health.

    P.N. Bierwirth, PhD
    Emeritus Faculty
    Australian National University

    First draft - Web Posted 25 February, 2014
    Current Version – 23 Dec 2016
    Web Published: ResearchGate DOI:10.13140/RG.2.2.16787.48168

    0 0
  6. mrkt, that's just an unpublished web document.  So not actually a peer-reviewed document of any credibility.

    Unlike some previous studies, which had some methodological flaws (like not being published), this study presents a different, sobering look at increases in atmospheric CO2 levels:

    "Growing evidence suggests that environmentally relevant elevations in CO2 (<5,000 ppm) may pose direct risks for human health. Increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations could make adverse exposures more frequent and prolonged through increases in indoor air concentrations and increased time spent indoors.

    We review preliminary evidence concerning the potential health risks of chronic exposure to environmentally relevant elevations in ambient CO2, including inflammation, reductions in higher-level cognitive abilities, bone demineralization, kidney calcification, oxidative stress and endothelial dysfunction.

    This early evidence indicates potential health risks at CO2 exposures as low as 1,000 ppm—a threshold that is already exceeded in many indoor environments with increased room occupancy and reduced building ventilation rates, and equivalent to some estimates for urban outdoor air concentrations before 2100.

    Continuous exposure to increased atmospheric CO2 could be an overlooked stressor of the modern and/or future environment. Further research is needed to quantify the major sources of CO2 exposure, to identify mitigation strategies to avoid adverse health effects and protect vulnerable populations, and to fully understand the potential health effects of chronic or intermittent exposure to indoor air with higher CO2 concentrations."

    Jacobson et al 2019 - Direct human health risks of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide

    0 0
  7. Eclectic, thanks. They are not really for me though I'll take a look but something I can recommend. It does looks like they're more for the educated layman than for the general public (and you are right about the low rez early videos!)

    Hank, yes I thought I recognised the name and it is these four exchanges that I remember. It was marvellous to see the 20 claims progressivley retracted over the course of those four videos until there was only one left. 

    0 0
  8. I have to confess I'm not a huge fan of Climate Adams style, as I have said before, but this is probably a generational thing as I get older. His style would probably connect well with younger people much better than a dry sort of dissertation and hes very genuine.

    What concerns me is he gets sucked in to repeating over and over that CO2 is not bad, which is exactly what the denialists want him to say. But very smart people can sometimes be naieve like this.

    0 0
  9. Regarding the health dangers of CO2, I recall reading somewhere that a couple of people have died  in homes in the UK when they started using new types of highly sealed window joinery units, and airtight house construction,  so when people closed all the windows in winter they literally asphyxiated. You really need to leave a few windows open all the time, just very slightly, to prevent both CO2 build up and dampness. If you wake up feeing headachy and sluggish or just bad,  its probably high levels of CO2 in the room.

    0 0
  10. We live in the age of Youtube and memes, I don't half understand the appeal, but sitting with my 13 year old nephew and some of his friends and watching them totally enjoy them, I'm guessing Climate Adam is reaching younger people btter than some dry presentations as Nigel says.

    As for carbon dioxide, how many times does it need to be explained that it traps heat, that's the issue here. Not whether it is also used in photosynthesis to create the hydrocarbons life on Earth is based on.

    Us humans have already killed half the life on Earth and we're heading for eliminating much if not most of the remaining biosphere, it's really hard to see how we're going to survive that kind of ecological collapse.

    Understanding extinction — humanity has destroyed half the life on Earth

    As Nigel also says, why get sucked into a discussion of whether carbon dioxide is "good" or "bad" when the only issue in regards to catastrophic climate change is whether it traps heat and if it is effective in doing so in the Earth's atmosphere.

    All the evidence says that carbon dioxide is highly effective in moderating the Earth heat budget, it's the most important persistent greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. If you removed all the CO2 then within decades the water vapour would be gone as well leaving an Earth that is hardly livable.

    Increase the atmospheric concentration and Earth warms so rapidly that isotherms migrate poleward so fast most of their associated biotas can't keep up or adapt and they go extinct. When half the Great Barrier Reef dies in two years and with everything else going on with this crisis, should we be wasting any effort pandering to those who would deny your house is on fire just to watch you burn.

    1 0
  11. @BillyJoe 2, I'd add Katherine Hayhoe's "Global Weirding" series as an effective climate-change-explainer to the masses.  As for Climate Adam, let's grant perhaps that there is room for differenting 'styles' in presentation depending on intended audience, as long as there is accuracy?  

    0 0
  12. sdinardo, I did say "each to his own".

    I'll have a look at Katherine Hayhoe's "Global Weirding" after getting through Eclectic's suggestion of Potholer54's series of 50 videos. I'm at #35 and it is far more informative and entertaining than anything I've seen from Climate Adam (although I have picked up a couple of minor errors probably related to the fact that his earlier videos are nearly ten years old).

    0 0
  13. BillyJoe @12 , you must certainly be "a glutton for punishment" ~ being up to Potholer54's video #35 already!   But they are a bit addictive in their humorous style.

    I would be interested to hear your critique of his videos, and especially about any errors you notice.  Off the top of my head, I can think of the way he somewhat "up-played" [is that a word?] the magnitude/extent of the Medieval Warm Period ~ but then again, the video was made in 2012, before the publication of later research.  And again, his comments may have been intended rhetorically to "draw in" the more Conservative viewers and lull their initial antagonism.

    If you do comment further, I hope it can be on this thread.  Possibly the moderators will approve it as being on-topic, as videocentric comment (not just ClimateAdam's videos).   Katherine Hayhoe is an excellent speaker, too.  Quite a star performer !

    0 0
  14. After watching just a few Potholer54 climate change videos I can see his approach and attitude is not for people like me. It's like listening to a machine for all his concern for the billions of people caught in the cross hairs of this looming catastrophe.

    I vastly prefer Climate Adam to the emotional blackhole I get sucked into trying to relate to someone like potholer. 

    0 1
  15. The main problem I have with Climate Adam is he completely misses the boat on agriculture and thus has made inaccurate assessments on the potential of soil sequestration for reducing atmospheric CO2 and CH4.

    He knows his specialty and has a PhD which I respect. But he really fell down the Vegan rabbit hole into fantasy world when it comes to agriculture. The problem being it is not his specialty, so he can't see where he is wrong and is so strongly biased by Vegan talking points he misses the single biggest climate mitigation potential there is....


    0 0
  16. RedBaron @15

    That's a very interesting concept and something to look at seriously. There are concerns with having so many methane emitting livestock around, but all agriculture and ranching is not the same when it comes to net emissions and shouldn't be treated as such.

    Personal beliefs towards diet and the consumption of meat is not a relevant perspective when it comes to something like climate change mitigation. Or restoring ecosystems to a much more robust state.

    We're going to need every tool in the box to work through this growing catastrophe.

    0 0
  17. I've been starting to think that Red Baron is on to something. This came out recently.

    Problem is how to integrate a different way of doing things in the intensive argriculture model we have nowadays, where the operation is an industrial undertaking and the product is a commodity to be exchanged in order to maximize the profits of a few actors.

    There is hardly such a thing left in the Western world as a farmer, agro-industrial conglomerates rule. They care less about the nutritional value of their product, the land, the sustainability, than they do about profits.

    0 0
  18. Philippe Chantreau @17

    I agree. My first job was working on a ranch in the BC interior in the late 1970s where the cattle were grass fed and moved from area to area to preserve the resource. That is what real ranching is.

    SInce then the feedlot system has expanded and like most industrial agriculture the main focus is on scale and profit. Smaller scale ranching that is focused on grassfed beef managed in a sustainable manner is completely different from filthy and polluting feedlots that use large amounts of grown feed. Much of the risk from things like e coli beef contamination has come from the highly unsanitary feedlots where cattle are packed into as little space as possible as they eat, defecate and emit methane. And are then shipped off to slaughter.

    0 0
  19. Eclectic, yes Potholer seems to think that the more research that is done the more it looks like the MWP was global. But that was one of his earlier videos and, at present, the consensus is that the MWP was regional.

    And, speaking of consensus, he is of the mistaken opinion that there is no such thing as a scientific consensus - because science is not a democracy or not the result of a vote. But that just illustrates that he does not understand the meaning of the term.

    He also mentions the aluminium battery in a positive light whereas, in fact, is more of a scam than anything else. And solar panel roads, a venture that was always going to fail from the time it was proposed.

    He also rejects the term "climate denier" even though he has a horde of them commenting on his videos. And "Louder with Crowder" on whom he did two videos is such an obvious climate denier it's not funny. Of course he may have changed his mind after this experience. 

    But I enjoyed the videos and they were very informative. I defintiely do not understand Doug_C's comment at all. A hell of a lot more thought and time has been put into Potholer's videos and they are both educational and entertaining. Each to his own, I guess. 

    1 0
  20. BillyJoe @19

    I'm not criticizing his production values, but the content. I'm not looking for entertainment in regards to fossil fuels and climate change. Like so many people I want an acceptance of the scale and threat on a policy level.

    I don't need to see someone deriding James Hansen who has put out a great deal of peer-reviewed wotk on this subject over half a century for entertainment value at best and possibly to discredit Hansen at worst.


    In the same way I don't like sound bites on the news that are often used to misrepresent someone's position, I find it highly disigenuous for Peter Hadfield to try and typify a genuine climate change researcher in this manner. If he has so much to offer then do it in peer-reviewed journals.

    But that isn't whatHadfield is doing, he's a performer in this discussion, not a real researcher.

    You kicked off this part of the discussion by making it clear how much you dislike Climate Adam based on his personal approach.

    I find Peter Hadfield to be rude, condescending and supercilious. Maybe that plays well to his audience, but considering he's doing to it sell his viewpoint on what is an existential threat while quite possibly doing more harm than good, I see absolutely nothing of value from his work.

    I do not feel that way about Climate Adam.

    0 0
  21. Doug_C, James Hansen's "boiling oceans" was a ridculous comment, as he himself has admitted. It even got into his book though he promised to amend it in the next edition. Apparently there would have to be 5 times the carbon reserves we actually have and it would all have to be burnt to produce enough CO2 to cause a runaway greenhouse effect on Earth.

    But Potholer simply shows a video of him making his claim and then says "I think we can safely say that the oceans won't boil" and then moves on. He doesn't get stuck into him. Elsewhere he put James Hansen in a favourable light though I can't remember where.

    I'm surprised you say that you don't want entertainment but at the same time write in support of Climate Adam. He is almost all entertainment - if you like that type of entertainment. You do. I prefer Potholer. No problem. As I say, each to his own.

    But, seeing that you made the claim, I would like to see you provide an example of where Potholer misrepresents someone's position. As for him not being a researcher, no he is not, and he is at pains to explain that he is not even clever having graduated bottom of the class. He is simply giving an account of climate change as advocated by climate scientists. I haven't been able to fault him except for some minor tangentially realted points mentioned above. But he gets the climate science right.

    He also exposes frauds like Monckton and Crowder - who are blatantly misinforming the public about climate change - by tracing down their original sources and showing how those sources do not say what those climate deniers say they are saying. In fact, often the opposite. I have no problem him being "rude, condescending and supercilious" towards these frauds.



    1 0
  22. @ 17 Philippe Chantreau,

    Here is what we are up against. 

    "no convincing evidence supports the theory that herbivory benefits grazed plants." Belsky 

    The American Naturalist
    Vol. 127, No. 6 (Jun., 1986), pp. 870-892

    Now I happen to agree with the Bison study you posted. It's nothing new though. That Belsky from 1986 was arguing against the very same observation made and scientifically quantified back in the 1950's. In fact the first truely modern use of biomimicry to develop a science based improvement in grazing was Grass Productivity (1957) André Voisin in France.

    Much later Alan Savory began to see and develop his expansion of Voisin's work in Africa. He developed ways to help make the system more universal and include a much wider range of extreme environmental conditions where it can work.

    But the Belsky-ites had all the power and repeatedly people continue to claim not only is the rotational grazing not working, the claim that it is biomimicry of observed coevolved symbiotic beneficial grazing found in wild herds was equally wrong. She published more than 45 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters on African and North American grasslands, many of them blaming livestock grazing for upsetting the delicate balance of native plants and wildlife in the arid Interior West. Now we have Briske taking up where Belsky left off.

    The problem is that while she did identify the problems with overgrazing, she failed in understanding that undergrazing was equally or in some cases even more harmful. 

    In short if a person can't identify the wild symbiosis between grazers and grasslands, then clearly they have no chances at all of understanding biomimicry of that beneficial relationship using livestock. And so more and more livestock was removed from the West and the deserts spread and are still spreading because of this.

    More importantly though is that the grasslands (and their symbiotic grazers) are the cooling system of the planet. So there is huge AGW mitigation potential in getting those grazers back out on the land.

    0 0
  23. BillyJoe @21

    After the literally decades of work that James Hansen has done, why include the comment at all if your intent is to inform. It totally misrepresents the massive contribution that James Hansen has made to science as a whole and climate change specifically. It was a cheap shot for pure entertainment value and nothing more.

    Potholer's latest video is more meaningless nitpicking as he's going after Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for claiming that we have a very limited amount of time to deal with this crisis which is what all the information is saying, not just on climate change but as far as biodiversity and the presence of life itself on Earth.

    Read the peer-reviewed article I linked above on how humans have killed half the life on Earth already. And as report after report is now indicating, this process is accelerating not slowing down. And climate change is a huge part of that. You'd expect someone concerned about that to be for bold ambitious plans that are now needed after decades of inaction. 

    I get absolutely no impression of that from Peter Hadfield, just petty shots at others who he apparently is convinced lacks his brilliance. 

    There was also a piece from 2013 all about how projections of negative impacts of climate change on a global scale are just one more myth. I can't turn on the news without the latest climate change linked disaster being reported on. I've been caught in several myself with weather so extreme and dangerous I feel like I'm in a disaster movie.

    Watch Potholer's video on science vs. "feelies" to get a sense of the contempt that Hadfield shows for those who dare to be emotional at all about this catastrophe. Which he would probalby claim isn't a catastrophe at all.

    Climate Adam has a constructive purpose, he is presenting what can often be difficult to understand concepts in a way that allows people otherwise not well versed in science to connect with. In some regards with the same sense of whimsy as employed by science communicators like Carl Sagan.

    With Peter Hadfield I'm often left wondering if I'm not in the presense of a sociopath for the almost total lack of empathy he seems to have. Emotional intelligence is a real thing and Adam has heaps of it over Hadfield is my impression.

    Eaxch to his own, I get value from the Climate Adam videos and think they teach more than talk down to his audience. 

    Potholer54 is a master class in how to talk down to literally everyone else on the planet.

    0 0
  24. BillyJoe @19 (onwards) .

    BillyJoe, thank you for your comments on Potholer54.

    I will act as an apologist for Potholer ~ to some extent.   While using the term Climate-Denier very frequently myself, nevertheless I do see he has a strategic point in himself avoiding using the Denier label in his videos.   As you know, the typical dyed-in-the-wool  climate denier always protests and squawks about the use of that label, and tries to make that a deflection from the actual scientific issue.   But that sort of person can never be reasoned with, anyway!!

    Where I think Potholer is going, is that he is wishing to educate the waverers & uncommitted fence-sitters who don't have a strong emotional investment in science-denial . . . and who are open to persuasion via sweet reason.   By avoiding such an emotion-charged term [though fully justified term] he simplifies his educational efforts and also makes himself a smaller target for hostile critics.

    Likewise, by avoiding arguments around consensus ~ the abstract arguments, the "Galileo" arguments, the arguments over whether it's Consensus of opinion polls versus Consensus of scientific evidence in the journal literature . . . and so on.   I think he is just picking his battles, and concentrating on his core messages.

    If you read through some of the comments/replies below his videos (if you can bear with, and laugh at, some of the painful stupidities from The Usual Suspects ! ) . . . then you might be entertained & educated by the skill of Potholer's ripostes.   And he continually says he is not giving his opinions, he is just giving the published science.   (And I can't believe he was at the bottom of his class ~ that's probably simply an effective rhetorical line.)

    Doug_C , you must have gotten out of bed on the wrong side, if you regard Potholer as "rude, condescending and supercilious".   ClimateAdam and Potholer54 are on the same scientific team, but their styles are very, very different.   ClimateAdam is more the zany loopy stand-up comedian type.  Potholer is more toward the end of the spectrum where dry humorous barbs & icy scathing politeness are the valued method of take-down.  

    And you will note Potholer's meticulous attention to detail, and to sourced references.

    1 0
  25. Addendum.   Doug_C, you are completely missing the point of Potholer's "Science vs the Feelies" (his 28th video).

    His choice of maudlin music etc is an effective counter to the intellectual laziness and utter stupidity of the denialists'  Tiny CO2  line of denigration of real science.

    Doncha gotta love the scene with the picture of the execrable Tim Ball (he of the fake Professorship in Climatology) sitting in an armchair, with an empty thought bubble over his head.

    Not to mention the other gloriously humorous quips !

    0 0
  26. I agree with Red Baron to the extent that cattle are not the enemy and the public are getting an over simplified message on the issue.

    Grazing cattle are part of a carbon neutral cycle, all other things being equal. This is non controversial science. 

    Now my understanding is things aren't equal, because we have increased cattle numbers while there has been deforestation, and grasslands degradation and erosion, so this means cattle contribute positively to climate change through their methane emissions, ie not all emissions are absorbed by natural sinks in a timely fashion.

    So the answers are eat less meat, grow forests and graze cattle in ways that promote plant growth and dont damage the environment and that don't rely on vast quantities of corn feed. These things are not mutually exclusive. We should do all of them.

    There is no need to become vegetarian, and this obviously means we loose the ability to graze cattle in useful ways.

    I was watching a documentary on the symbiotic relationship between butterflies and plants. I can believe something like this evolved between grasslands cattle and grasses, so we can try to get back to that with careful rotational grazing. It's not clear to me how much it would achieve, but everything helps.


    0 0
  27. Doug_C,  I've only read a couple of snippets somewhere by Potholer, but his comments seemed ok to me, and  I get the same sort of impression as Eclectic that he is trying to communicate the dangers of climate change, but not come across as a very one sided fanatical warmist.

    He understands his audience. There are denialists and some of them will never change their minds but a few might, and you also have people slightly sceptical and  the fence sitters towards the middle of the bell curve, like swing voters in political elections. These people tend to respond best to cool reasoned argument and get suspicious of emotive argument, button pressing, and one sided rhetoric where one side can never do wrong.

    0 0
  28. BillyJoe kicked off this topic of discussion with stating in no uncertain terms how unpleasant he finds Adam based on his personal mannerisms and Potholer54 was presented as an option.

    I tried that option and found exactly the same reaction, I have no desire at all to subject myself to that kind of exposition. I don't find it effective or even professional. Just highly annoying as Billyjoe claims he finds Adam.

    Maybe Peter Hadfield knows his stuff, but the way he presents truly is ofputting for some of us. And when he makes claims as in the start of this video that the catastrophic impacts of climate change have been exaggerated and the scale contracted, I seriously question what planet Hadfield is on. Does he seriously think we have decades to proscrastinate as we've been doing.

    It has been six years since that video has come out and catastrophic wildfires are becoming a regular occurance for many of us. Or record hurricane seasons, massive flooding, killer heat waves and more. As I keep pointing out, half the Great Barrier Reef system died in two years directly from warming resulting in coral bleaching on a truly massive scale.

    When you include all the reports of huge parts of the biosphere, many of them at the base, being threatened with extinction you'd think that a rational person would show some sense of urgency.

    Hadfield's latest video is on how reckless a policy maker is for wanting to take emergency measures for what is in fact an emergency. I don't find Hadfield merely annoying, his very well communicated lack of any apparent concern about this catastrophe actually angers me.

    0 0
  29. Doug_C @28, sorry, but I watched the potholer (Peter Hadfield) video and I loved it! I guess I just connect with his sardonic, sarcastic, humorous style, but I can understand it might annoy some people. It's good that we have options.

    Hes good at debunking denialist myths.

    I don't see where potholer is downplaying the impacts of climate change. Are you sure you aren't misinterpreting all the sarcasm?

    Hes also obviously a born sceptic, and is prepared to question fringe extremist and crazy warming claims as well as denialist claims.

    You might enjoy the book "The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace Wells". This gets across the dangers of climate change quite graphically, and is evidence based and credible, and written in a different style to Potholer without all the sarcasm.

    0 0
  30. Doug_C , slow down a bit.

    You say Potholer/Hadfield has a "lack of any apparent concern about this catastrophe" ~ but if that is so, why would he have made 50 (fifty) videos educating people about the scientific truth of AGW . . . and educating people about the falsehoods & propaganda of the Denialists.   He has been working on this video series for over 10 years now.   And I think you are wrong to suggest he should be a Fire-and-Brimstone preacher ~ that approach would have too much blowback.

    Time for you to sit down (with a large mug of coffee) and actually look at all  his videos, with as open a mind as you can manage.   The total context shows Potholer is deeply concerned.   But his ideas of how to be effective, are clearly different from yours.

    Ultimately, the climate problem must be solved "top down" ~ by means of the politicians' policies.   There are politicians who are already "on the side of the angels" . . . but there are many politicians who are "stuck" on the teat of Big Business/ Big Donor money, and they won't move very far or fast until they see a sufficiently big groundswell from the majority of voters.

    To me, it seems Potholer is aiming to educate & persuade the centrists (since the 15%  hard-right-wingers are always a lost cause).   He doesn't need to persuade the left-wingers, since most of them already lean toward a realistic attitude to the climate science.

    Yes, Potholer [video #50] criticizes AOC for her clumsy disservice to the cause of countering AGW.   In making her "12 years to the end of the world" public statement, AOC was appealing to her Millennial base.   It was only a brief comment: but it was a gift and a Gotcha moment for her opponents, and a moment which will forever be replayed by the science-denying right-wingers.   She needs to learn to be more prudent and careful.   And by pointing this out, Potholer gains credibility in the eyes of centrists . . . and that enhances his persuasiveness with centrists . . . who vote !

    1 0
  31. Eclectic @30,

    AOC may have been clumsy by saying "12 years to the end of the world". But how are the Future Generations to be spoken for?

    As was clearly identified in the opening statements of the 1987 UN Report "Our Common Future" the Status Quo Power Players get away with harming the future generations because the future generations have no vote, no ability to gerrymander in their favour, no legal power, no lobbying power, no buying power, no marketing/advertising power, ...

    Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (the 2030 targets) is the best understanding of what is required for The Future of Humanity (clumsily referred to by AOC as The World).

    Had she said "the future of humanity requires all of the SDGs to be achieved in the next 12 years" would she have had more support? My guess is that the Status Quo Power Players would have just come up with different versions of their Harmful Self-Interest Protection Racket.

    0 0
  32. @26 nigelj,

    You said, "Grazing cattle are part of a carbon neutral cycle, all other things being equal. This is non controversial science."

    Wrong. This is a large carbon sink to the tune of at least 5-20 tonnes CO2e/ha/yr.

    I know I have mentioned this to you before with multiple citations from around the world. This site even brought in a well known top climate scientist to look over some of those citations about a year ago. I am sure you remember it.

    So why once again in denial? Why are you pretending cattle and the grasslands are carbon neutral?

    Grazed incorrectly or not grazed at all and they become a significant net emissions source.

    Grazed correctly they become a significant net sink.

    It is near impossible for them to be net neutral. It just won't happen.

    Biological systems are self adjusting enough that any attempt to try and make it net neutral would most likely self adjust to a net sink in spite of your efforts. And purposely poorly grazing beyond the tipping point and grasslands rapidly deteriorate and desertify. You are highly unlikely to acheive net neutral even if you tried.

    0 0
  33. Red Baron @32, while you make some good technical comments over the years, you have to be one of the most frustrating of people at times. I was speaking generally in a way average people can quickly grasp. Cattle farmed using standard grass grazing techniques are roughly carbon neutral and that was was I was obviously referring to. I was making the point that people are wrong when they think cattle are a source of emissions when they belch methane and therefore we should not eat meat and stop farming cattle. You must surely be aware this is a common belief? Did you even read all my comments?

    Yes badly grazed cattle are carbon positive, I never denied it, never said they weren't. Yes cattle can sequester soil carbon if farmed using certain rotational grazing techniques making them a net carbon sink. Please be aware I did say "So the answers are ..... graze cattle in ways that promote plant growth..." so therefore by obvious implication they sequester more carbon. Hello? Did you even bother to read that?

    The science article on this website that you referred to claimed the effect was modest.

    I think you need to read things a bit more carefully, and you need to not shoot from the hip and you need to respond to people more accurately and more diplomatically.  That is if you want to be taken seriously. 

    0 0
  34. My reply was reposted to here as requested. Sorry for diverging from topic.

    0 0
  35. Doug_C, when James Hansen said the seas could boil, he was wrong. It cannot be wrong to point that out. When AOC said the world will end in 12 years, she was wrong. She was wrong to say that even if she meant it as hyperbole. It cannot be wrong to point out that it is wron. The climate deniers have been using James Hansen's howler for decades and will probably use AOC's silly hyperbolic statement for decades to ridicule climate science. That is a bad outcome. And it cannot help to pretend that it didn't happen. Point out that it is wrong. Accept that it is wrong. That's the only way to help prevent the same sorts of errors happening again. 

    Also, I think you should watch Potholer's video on AOC again. He was spot on in his criticism about the negative effects of her hyperbole. It is all over the climate denying blogosphere. The have been blasting climate science as "catastrophism" for years and now they have proof.  They are ridiculing her and the climate science in general. 

    You also misrepresented Potholer's "Science vs feelies" video. Please watch it again. It is not about not being emotional about the consequences of climate change. It is about not relying on intuition to come to conclusions such as "the Sun revolves around the Earth. It is just obvious". Yes, it is obvious, and wrong.

    And I have to disagree with your general criticsm of Potholer. I quite enjoy Potholer looking down on the likes of Christopher Monckton and Steven Crowder and various other politcians and bloggers. They either don't have a clue or do have a clue and are blatantly lying. They deserve to be taken down on and ridiculed. But you can't then just dismiss errors by James Hansen and AOC.  

    0 0
  36. Eclectic, I read your explanatipon for Potholer's take on "consensus science" and "climate denier". But, I'm surprised because he seems to be pretty blunt about everything else. I prefer to call all spades spades. 

    0 0
  37. I have to say I strongly support Eclectics and Billy Joes comments on the potholer videos, having watched a couple of them including the one linked by DC @28. I don't want to engage in too much mutual back slapping, but the comments are so close to my own reaction it needed to be said.

    However potholer has a  satirical / sarcastic style and sometimes people take it too literally. You have to read between the lines a bit at times. But I enjoy his style, and he's good at debunking myths and the fact that he confronts Hansens mistake (a rare thing) gives him credibility and objectivity.

    Like eclectic says, the most important thing is to communicate in ways that appeal to the centre ground, and being objective appeals to these people. There's tons of commentary on that easily googled.

    The hard right have stopped listening, in the main, and the lefties, hard core liberals and greenes already accept the climate consensus. We dont need to preach to the choir - we need to preach to the fence sitters in the centre and this means understanding what makes them tick. They do tend to like reasoned argument and not too much emotion, just a little bit of emotion. I'm repeating some of what Eclectic said, but its worth doing because he hit the nail on the head. It's the same issue as we get in election campaigns.

    However a few hard core denialists have changed their minds, eg Richard Mueller. Theres always hope...

    0 0
  38. Different styles of communication will reach different people.

    Any action that has a chance of changing the mind of an older person is helpful.

    However, what is most important for the future of humanity is inoculating the younger generation against the temptations towards selfish interest that can convert a More Helpful Thoughtful Person into a More Defensive Correction Resistant Harmful Person.

    Cranky Uncle and Climate Adam (and Greta) are likely better at that inoculation effort on the younger generation than Potholer54 (John Oliver seems to be better at providing a detailed inoculating presentation that appeals to younger people - cuz he effectively uses Hyperbole and cusses).

    As for the 'tragedy of hyperbole' by the likes of Mann and AOC creating 'easy Wins' for the group wanting to resist corrections of harmful unsustainable developed human activity. Anyone easily impressed by the criticisms that are made-up based on those hyperbolic statements is unlikely to be moved to change their mind by a detailed presentation of the reasons to change their mind (nothing to do with the hyperbolic statement). Their lack of effort to investigate the merit of the criticism of the likes of AOC and Mann is likely due to a Powerful Developed Bias that would not be easily chipped through by attempts to appeal to their ability to be reasonable and helpful.

    And this recent Comment published Nov 27 in Nature "Climate tipping points — too risky to bet against" is more 'valid hyperbole' with a detailed presentation of current developed understanding that appears to indicate that Mann and AOC were only being 'a little bit hyperbolic'. The potential for passing significant climate change tipping-points by a failure to 'get control of what is going on and effectively correct things by 2030' appears to deserve to be a serious concern for the 'Future of the world that humanity hopes to continue to live in' even if some people will 'get popular support for claims that it is absurd hyperbole'.

    0 0
  39. Perhaps this websites main page could have a permanent link to Climate Adams Videos and Potholers videos and similar videos titled "Interesting Videos", or "Interesting Information". Their work goes to the heart of debunking myths. A brief description could indicate the basic differences in their approaches.

    OPOF @38, maybe yes, maybe no. I think that when the average person hears about warmists exaggerated and incorrect and easily debunked claims, its never a good thing. We could debate forever whether this is so and whether it significantly alters their perception of things, but there's an easy answer: Do the homework and don't make exaggerated and mistaken claims. Don't give denialists even the slightest ammunition. 

    0 0
  40. nigelj @39,

    It is highly likely that anyone showing little interest in pursuing more awareness and improved understanding of climate science 'because of comments made regarding the potential worst consequences of a lack of corrective action' actually has no interest in expanding their awareness and improving their understanding regarding this issue.

    By the standard you set, the article I linked to at the end of my comment would be banned from publication. Even presenting the range of possible future consequences the way the IPCC does would not be allowed.

    If the qualification is added that the near term range of climate change should be able to be presented, then why not the 'possible' longer term realities of a lack of correction, why stop at presenting the consequences in 2100? What about the consequences in 3000?

    The approach you suggest, without opening it up to wider awareness, is like saying scientists should only report absolute certainty. And any science-minded individual understands the repugnant absurdity of that.

    That demand for certainty is the main basis for resistance to correction of harmful developed activities. The claim is made that those activities (the people wanting to benefit from them), cannot be stopped or even be penalized unless there is a very high degree of certainty. Any question at all means nothing should be done to stop or discourage the activity. That is playing the game the way the likes of Singer want it played. And that is a dead-end game for humanity.

    0 0
  41. OPOF @40, I agree that hard core denialists wont be more in denial by  mistaken claims about warming, but we are not talking about those people. We are talking about middle ground people and  fence sitters who in my experience very sensitive to hype. When they sense exaggeration or big mistakes, they loose confidence.

    The research on tipping points is not an exaggerated or mistaken claim, as far as we know. I dont think you can compare that to Hansens claim about boiling oceans or  AOC who said the world will end in 12 years. Both should have known these statements were wrong, and shouldn't have made them. Alternatively they could have been more nucanced and labelled them exreme possibilities, or something like that. This would get around your concern that there has to be a place for speculation. 

    Dont take it as a general criticism of AOC.

    0 0
  42. nigelj @40,

    It would be great if 'moderates' could become passionate defenders of the future of humanity. But without a 'shock' many of the fence-sitters and by-standers are likely to remain neutralish and resist learning that developed ways of living that are popular and profitable are actually very harmful and need to be stopped.

    The article about tipping-points indicates that there is the potential for 'the boiling of the oceans' (runaway hot-house earth) due to interactions between tipping-points. And it identifies that if dramatic corrective action is not taken during the next 12 years (now to 2030), the world of the future several 1000s of years that humanity could have been able to quite easily enjoy sustainably living is very likely to be Gone Forever, no possible fix to bring it back.

    Climate Adam's video about the 'harm' of CO2 is valid. And the article about tipping-points indicates that limiting the impacts to 1.5 C is 'scientifically the requirement'. More than 1.5 C warming impact is unacceptably risking harm to the future of humanity, potentially bringing about more rapid changes that are far more challenging to adapt to.

    The excuse seekers like to hear that 2 C is OK (and even warmer would be OK you know - to be fair to current day people). They are likely to be turned off by any attempt to get them to understand that more than 1.5 C warming impact is unacceptable, because that understanding actually leads to admitting they need to sacrifice some of their developed ways of enjoying living, and stop trying to profit from fossil fuels.

    So AOC and Mann did not exaggerate. They stated 'shocking' potential future consequences. Some people succeeded in getting Others to believe that the statements were reasons to be dismissive of the concerns being raised by climate science (just like the Climate-gate email scandal was abused).

    I still maintain that anyone 'significantly doubtful and reluctant to learn' because of what they 'perceive' to be an exaggeration is 'just looking for excuses' and they will always be able to find excuses.

    The problem is not the attention-getting claims made by AOC and Mann. The problem is people who are looking for excuses to be less interested in paying attention to the issue and learning about the issue.

    Unfortunately, current day politicians respond to unreasonable popular passion (that is what a system that rewards based on popularity and profit will develop). I wish that would change. But until it does "Shocking people into paying attention" is likely a helpful action. Climate matters are definitely in the News more (even in the Fake News more), potentially because of those 'shocking comments' (and Angry Teenage Greta).

    Anyone resisting learning about the corrections that are required 'because they do not like to be shocked' is likely not genuinely interested in being helpful even if they claim to be. Many people can claim to be very concerned about climate change, maybe even saying it is their highest concern, but would still vote for a party that definitely acts contrary to that concern because of Other Concerns (often based on made-up claims and unjustified beliefs targeting status quo tribal selfishness) that tempt them to like that party.

    The slow and steady, 'Kumbaya style - Let's all just get along' approach of the moderates has been a damaging failure through the past 30 years. Sadly, the new generation being significantly angry and motivated to vote (along with the adults who care about the future) may be the solution. That can be expected to be viciously resisted. But the future of humanity is actually at stake.

    CO2 is potentially very Harmful.

    0 0
  43. OPOF @, I do agree to the extent the middle grounds people need a bit of a shock or jolt. The tipping point paper does that nicely, but at least it is science based and makes it clear boiling oceans are just a possibility.

    It's also interesting that the extinction rebellion people have resonated with the public in what looks like a largely positive way despite the scary and extreme name. I'm undermining my own argument a bit here, but I like to be open minded and not stubborn.

    But mistakes, hype and exaggeration does annoy me. It's possibly because I did a couple of years in quality assurance, in a management role, and it cultivates a nit picking sceptical attitude. I make no apologies for that.

    I think past a certain point exaggeration and stupid claims will have the reverse effect of whats intended. Ie self defeating. And while Manns claims are defensible, just, AOC was simply mistaken even if well intentioned and it undermines her many good contributions. The GND is definitely a big shock sort of policy, but that at least can be logically defended.

    If people cry "fire" too often people eventually stop listening. But the tipping points research is the right sort of shock doctrine, because its evolving and has a good foundation.

    Yes the slow steady kumbya style of the moderates is frustrating, but politics is politics. These people don't respond well when shouted at. They like to see evidence based reassoned argument, and not too much hype and emotional button pushing (like Trump does to people and it only really works well with his base).

    0 0
  44. OPOF: "So AOC...did not exaggerate".

    AOC said: "the world is going to end in 12 years if we don't address climate change". 

    Well, I guess I would have to agree that this is not an "exaggeration". But only if I'm allowed to call it a "lie". But let's just settle on "hyperbole" because that is what it was and I don't for a moment think she believed her statement was actually true. 

    And the effects have all been negative. Climate deniers are having no end of fun pointing out how ridiculous the statement was. And climate proponents are having a pretty hard time defending her statement as hyperbole (response by climate deniers: "yeah like all climate science!").

    This was a fail for climate change. No question.



    Potholer's latest video on 5th Dec 2019 (not specifically about climate change) has over 35,000 views and over 2,000 comments.

    Climate Adam on 28th Nov 2019: 732 views, and 10 comments. 

    0 0
  45. nigelj @ 34,

    I share your experience as an Applied Science Professional seeking justification for any claim or decision made (and trying to make sure my claims or decisions had a robust basis). My most common move regarding a claim was to ask the claim-maker (Sales-pitch deliverer) to provide a clarification or more detailed justification and independently investigate the issue.

    That led me to challenging "technical Sales Reps" in ways that resulted in them changing their sales pitches. In some cases they realized they had been caught making a claim they could not defend and they changed.

    To be as correct as possible here is what Mann said:

    "A runaway greenhouse effect means once the planet gets warmer and warmer, then the oceans begin to evaporate. And water vapor is a very strong greenhouse gas, even more powerful than carbon dioxide. So you can get to a situation where it just — the oceans will begin to boil, and the planet becomes so hot that the ocean ends up in the atmosphere. And that happened to Venus."

    And many years later some people, including the infamously incorrect Watts of WUWT, started claiming Mann had incorrectly declared the "End of the world". And very few reporters who started piling on to the original misleading claims about what Mann said appear to have bothered to actually better understand the issue before piling on (potentially including Potholer54). Few if any appeared to ask Mann what his comment or clarification was. And nobody asked the originators of the misleading claim making like Watts to explain themselves (just like few, maybe nobody, are asking the misleading climategate claim-makers to explain themselves).

    The same thing happened to AOC and her "End of the World" remark. AOC was most likely correctly commenting regarding the need to achieve all of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, not just the climate change goal. But it is still correct to have said it if her comment was restricted to climate change because of the potential for significant irreversible future consequences if serious climate impact correction is not achieved by 2030 (the date for all of the SDGs). Many people did not bother to ask her to clarify what she meant. She could have, and probably would have, done that. And some reporters, after obtaining a better understanding of what she meant, could have asked the people who criticised her 'sales-pitch' what they think of the clarification (some of them would dislike the achievement of the SGDs, but probably would try to not admit it).

    It is important to understand that people like Trump do not like to be asked to explain themselves (that is why he limits his interviews and loves His One Way Rallies with his Loyal Fans). AOC and Mann are the opposite (in spite of claims that they are just appealing to 'their base' with their sales-pitches).

    Not all sales-pitchers are bad. The intention is what matters most. And seeking clarification of a sales-pitch helps determine if it is intended to improve awareness and understanding to help develop a sustainable and improving future for humanity, or is harmfully misleading and hoping to be appealing.

    Helpfully tugging on Heart-strings can be effective. And a jolt to get the heart pumping can also work. But, tragically, the likes of Trump prove that anger and fear based passion is more motivating. The likes of Greta and AOC appear to be on to that, but in a helpful rather than harmful way.

    0 0
  46. OPOF @ 15, AOC probably meant to say: the world "as we know it" is going to end in 12 years if we don't address climate change" which is fine. Unfortunately she didn't. But I get your point.

    0 0
  47. nigelj,

    Trying to be brief, clear, attention getting, and unable to be misinterpreted is very hard.

    Even warning about the end of the world "as we know it" does not say what needs to be said.

    If "all of the SDGs, but especially the Climate Action Goals, are not achieved by 2030 and improved on after that time", humanity will have a much tougher time developing a sustainable future that can be improved by new sustainable developments.

    The world humanity developed in is already irreversibly negatively affected in many ways. And lack of action towards achieving all of the SDGs by 2030, and improving on them all, makes it worse.

    We are already seeing extinctions of life forms as a result of the harmful unsustainable ways of living that the current fatally flawed developed socioeconomic-political systems encourage because popularity and profitability are claimed to be "Irrefutable Proof of Good and Deserving". And the climate change tipping point of one of the Antarctic Ice Sheets has already been passed.

    The robust diversity of life for a robust diversity of humanity to sustainably be a part of is being irreversibly damaged. And a very slow changing physical planet has also been irreversibly impacted by sped up changes.

    The Harm of CO2 from fossil fuels is a by-product of the harm of human competition for perceptions of superiority relative to others. The developed systems, especially ones that measure merit by popularity and profitability but do not effectively limit what is allowed in the competition, are "the world as we know it" that actually needs to be ended by 2030, the sooner the better.

    Actions that are likely to be sustainable should be the only actions allowed to compete. And if new learning identifies that an action is not as sustainable as originally thought, a good system would rapdly shut it down, not caring about how popular or profitable it was, and not caring to 'protect the perceptions of wealth that had been developed'. That was done with MTBE (google it). But it is essential for the system to care to make sure everyone is helped to rapidly transition to a sustainable way of living as the developed unsustainable action is very rapidly terminated.

    Correcting the massively incorrect system and its current day developments means a lot of people who perceive themselves as winners actually have to admit they are 'less deserving' and need to change how they live and be more helpful to others as they give up personal benefits.

    Try to say that briefly. It is what the SDGs and the GND are all about. But it cannot be 'stated briefly'. And more careful communication of climate science will not do it.

    0 0
  48. OPOF, you seem to be quite happy to defend the indefensible. AOC saying "the world is going to end in 12 years if we don't address climate change" is not defensible at any level. The statement is wrong on its face. We really don't know what she actually meant and it doesn't matter. The climate denying blogosphere predictably got great mileage out of it. And, hopefully, if AOC had her time back again, she would not have fed them this goldmine quote. But she won't learn any lesson from this incident if she keeps her head in the sand and brushes it aside as obvious exaggeration as you have done. 

    On the other hand what did you mean by the following:

    "And very few reporters who started piling on to the original misleading claims about what Mann said appear to have bothered to actually better understand the issue before piling on (potentially including Potholer54)"

    I know you don't like the guy, but what does "potentially including Potholer54" even mean? If he actually did pile on Mann then you need to link to where he does so and not just say that you think he might have done so if he had thought about it or whatever else you meant by that statement.

    Potholer's latest video now has over 40,000 views and over 2,300 comments. Climate Adam's video is now dead in the water. You might not like his style but he is having a significant effect here.

    0 0
  49. BillyJoe @48: You wrote:

    The climate denying blogosphere predictably got great mileage out of it.

    Who cares? The "climate denying blogosphere" has little impact on the real world. Let them wallow in their own poppycock!

    0 0
  50. John Hartz, you are kidding, right?

    Through moderation, this site is shielded from commentary by climate deniers, but try to write anything about climate science on any unmoderated forum and see the mountains of nonsense you have to put up with.

    Climate deniers have had so much impact that they have effectively prevented any worthwhile political action on climate change for about three decades. 

    0 0

1  2  Next

You need to be logged in to post a comment. Login via the left margin or if you're new, register here.

The Consensus Project Website


(free to republish)

© Copyright 2024 John Cook
Home | Translations | About Us | Privacy | Contact Us