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2023 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #29

Posted on 22 July 2023 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news and opinion articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, July 16, 2023 thru Sat, July 22, 2023.

Story of the Week

This heatwave is a climate omen. But it’s not too late to change course 

The warming of the planet – including the most up-to-date data for 2023 – is entirely consistent with what climate modelers warned decades ago

Thirty years ago, the world’s nations agreed to prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system. But what is “dangerous climate change”? Just turn on the television, read the headlines of the morning paper or view your social media feeds. For we are watching it play out in real time this summer, more profoundly than ever before, in the form of unprecedented floods, heatwaves and wildfires. Now we know what dangerous climate change looks like. As has been said of obscenity, we know it when we see it. We’re seeing it – and it is obscene.

Scorching temperatures persist across Europe, North America and Asia, as wildfires rage from Canada to Greece. The heat is as relentless as it is intense. For example, Phoenix, Arizona, has broken its record of 18 consecutive days above 110F (43.3C). Even the nights, generally relied upon as a chance to recover from the blistering days, now offer little relief: for more than a week, night-time temperatures in Phoenix have exceeded 90F (32.2C). Meanwhile, severe and deadly flooding has stricken South KoreaJapan, and the north-east United States, from Pennsylvania to Vermont.

The climate crisis – and yes, it is now a crisis – is endangering us now, where we live. Whether it’s the recurrent episodes of hazardous air quality in the east coast cities some of us call home from windblown Canadian wildfire smoke or the toll sadly now being measured in human lives from deadly nearby floods, we are witnessing the devastating and dangerous consequences of unabated human-caused warming. That is a fact.

Indeed, as you “doomscroll” on whatever social media platform you prefer these days, you might see selective images and graphs that would lead you to think Earth’s climate is spinning out of control, in a runaway feedback loop of irreversible tipping points leading us down an inescapable planetary death spiral.

But that’s not what’s happening

Click here to access the entire article as originally posted on The Guardian website.

This heatwave is a climate omen. But it’s not too late to change course The warming of the planet – including the most up-to-date data for 2023 – is entirely consistent with what climate modelers warned decades ago, Opinion by Michael Mann & Susan Joy Hassol, Environment, The Guardian, July 19, 2023 

Articles posted on Facebook

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Monday, July 17, 2023

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Friday July 21, 2023

Saturday July 22, 2023

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Comments 1 to 7:

  1. The term "climate change" has buried the lead for too long, so it's time to correct this. When Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds and Mark McGuire were not voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, it was not because of Home Run Change, it was because of Performance Enhancing Drugs. And everyone who watches baseball knows that.

    When the severity and frequency of extreme weather increases, the sea level rises and gets more acidic, wildlife populations move and wildfires abound, it is not because of Climate Change. It's because fossil fuel use that has changed the atmospheric and oceanic chemistry, allowing it to store more heat, changing the climate. Everyone who watches the weather needs to be reminded of that, too.

    It's time to stop using euphemisms that don't explicitly connect the changing climate to fossil fuel use so that folks understand in the same way that folks understand the role of performance enhancing drugs in sports. Everyone needs to be reminded of the role fossil fuels has in climate change, just as they know about the role of performance enhancing drugs in turbocharging the natural talents of the users. Whenever discussing any of the things related to Climate Change we should make that link explicit by using phrases like:

    - Fossil fuel induced Climate Change

    - Increased greenhouse gases from Fossil Fuel use

    - Climate Change caused by Fossil Fuel use

    - Changed atmospheric chemistry through the widespread use of fossil fuels

    and the like. And if someone says that you're politicizing the weather, tell them that this isn't just political; it's based on overwhelming scientific evidence. Refer them to the IPCC or skepticalscience websites if they are still deniers, and change the focus to how to become more energy efficient first, replace fossil fuel use with renewables second, and nurture local ecosystems third. We don't have a choice but to make things super-clear if we are to have a chance to turn the ship away from almost unimaginable disasters for future generations.

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  2. wilddouglascounty,

    I agree. And my initial impulse was to simply add the importance of reducing unnecessary consumption, especially energy consumption. More is not always an improvement.

    Then I wondered about the merit of the change. It seems that the problem is that when there is competition for the ‘popularity of ideas’ rather than ‘evaluation of the merit of ideas’ less ethical and more misleading marketers have a competitive advantage. Successful misleading marketing has already developed many people who are interested in dismissing or denying that fossil fuel use is a significant problem – mainly because they consider that ‘their perceived benefits from fossil fuel use’ off-set or justify ‘any perceived harm done’ (higher discount rates used by the likes of Nordhaus are examples of that). And adding the mention of fossil fuels may not change that.

    However, it is important to avoid distracting debates about what is ‘more or most helpful’ among the diversity of helpful harm reduction understandings and actions. Many things are helpful and need to, and can, happen concurrently to improve conditions for others, especially for future generations.

    My interest is increased awareness and improved understanding regarding Sustainable Development. I have developed the understanding that a root of the problem is that a lot of harmful unsustainable actions have become popular and profitable ... and ... a lot of misunderstanding exists that resists correction because becoming more aware of, ‘awakening to’, the harmfulness of what has developed leads to changes that can reduce developed perceptions of superiority.

    Applying the Imrov Comedy approach of “Yes ... And” may be helpful. So...

    Yes to calling it many versions of ‘fossil fuel use caused climate change’

    And ... Consider saying climate change ‘primarily’ caused by fossil fuels.

    And ... Consider mentioning that there are many other harmful impacts of fossil fuel extraction, processing and use.

    And ... An additional related problem is misleading marketing fuelling misunderstandings.

    Yes to the list of actions

    And ... Reduce unnecessary consumption, especially energy consumption. Limiting unnecessary actions is not harmful no matter what is claimed by people who like benefiting from being unnecessarily harmful.

    And ... Minimize the harms done by the remaining necessary actions. Note that actions that limit climate change should not cause other harms.

    And ... Repair the damage that has been done ... and ... require those who benefited most from the damage done to do the most to repair the damage done. Note that not everyone in a ‘most harmful nation’ is a ‘most harmful person’... and ... Very high impact people can hide in a nation that has low per capita impacts.

    And ... Understand that the current developed, and developing, condition includes harmful over-consumption and related developed desires to resist giving up any of the incorrectly and unjustified developed perceptions of superiority or opportunity to obtain more personal benefit.

    And ... Understand that mitigation and adaptation are both versions of ‘repair of damage done’, including the damaging fundamentals of developed socioeconomic political systems, especially the harmful ‘conflict of interests’ and related desires for more freedom to do whatever a person or group develops an interest or desire to do.

    And ... Help people increase their awareness and understanding of what is harmful, which includes helping others become more aware of the importance of more people becoming “more woke”.

    And ... Call-out harmful people who try to promote the misunderstanding that “being woke” is harmful. More people being more woke only harms the interests of people who want to benefit from lack of awareness and harmful misunderstandings. Woke is a Helpful and necessary part of harm reduction


    Understand that it is harmful for leaders to compromise actions that would reduce harm done by ‘being considerate and accepting of harmful interests and related misunderstandings’. Some people will passionately resist learning to be less harmful and more helpful. They are personally interested in having more freedom to believe and do whatever they perceive to be ‘beneficial to them’.

    ... A more comprehensive understanding may be ...

    Harmful climate change and resistance to limiting and repairing the harm done is due to unnecessary and harmful human activity that incorrectly became popular and profitable. And the developed harmful activity and related misunderstandings can powerfully resist being limited and corrected.

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  3. Wild and One:

    I'm going to have to express some disagreement. Although in public discourse and discussion there may be reasons to keep emphasizing the links between human activities, fossil fuels, and changing climates, in the scientific discussion (which Skeptical Science tries to focus on), the terms such as "climate change" have specific scientific meaning.

    Not all climate change is induced by burning fossil fuels or other recent human activities. Using vocabulary that fails to recognize that will lead to a risk of losing credibility. Number 1 on the SkS "Most used climate myths" is "Climate's changed before". Number 89 is "They changed the name from 'global warming' to 'climate change'." Number 209 is "IPCC edited out natural causes of climate change".

    It's unfortunate, but you need to be careful on how contrarians will twist your words.

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  4. Bob Loblaw,

    I understand the focus on presenting defensible statements. But the science is pretty clear that the use of fossil fuels has produced the majority of human influence on observed Climate Change.

    We are clearly in a system/state where the 'popularity of an idea' can trump the 'merit of an idea'. I am not sure that any significant portion of humanity has ever developed out of this condition. Even current day science, what is investigated and how it is reported, can be seen to be influenced by powerful interests that conflict with how a ‘pure pursuit of science’ would improve the understanding of what is going on.

    It seems that the degree of power held by ‘popularity of impressions favouring those with higher status’ has varied. But ‘popularity of impressions’ has rarely been fully governed by the ‘pursuit of improved understanding’. In such a system/state it seems that people who are willing to mislead others in the hopes of benefiting from popular misunderstanding will have a competitive advantage ... no matter how carefully worded a statement of understanding that they dislike is ... no matter how much evidence supports the understanding they dislike ... no matter how much evidence contradicts the belief/misunderstanding they prefer and want to promote.

    Competition for status has developed in a diversity of nations and cultures. The result is a diversity of ways that 'many people with higher status' potentially have to lose status relative to others if 'increased awareness and improved understanding governed'. That applies 'Big Time' to the matter of the harms of climate change.

    It seems there is little chance of increased risk of harm from indicating that fossil fuel use is causing unacceptable climate change (unacceptable because the persons benefiting from harmful fossil fuel activity are not the persons being harmed by that activity).

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  5. The following BBC News: Science item is a recent example, only one of many, regarding the communication challenge I refer to in my comment:

    "False claims that heatwave is bogus spread online"

    In spite of meticulously correct reporting 'one of many characters' is used as a clear example of false claims made about the reporting.

    The BBC did an excellent job of quickly rebutting the false and harmfully misleading claim. However, it is likely that not everyone who sees and prefers the non-sense false claims will see the refutation and corrections of understanding. And it is also likely that many of the fans of the falsehoods will believe that they are the ones with 'the common sense understanding' and everyone who disagrees with them has been duped ... by The Globalist Elitist Programming.

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  6. OPOF - blog-post in an advanced state of preparation to dispel the latest emergent climate-myths. Expect to see it fairly soon.

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  7. wilddouglascounty

    "When the severity and frequency of extreme weather increases, the sea level rises and gets more acidic, wildlife populations move and wildfires abound, it is not because of Climate Change. It's because fossil fuel use that has changed the atmospheric and oceanic chemistry, allowing it to store more heat, changing the climate. Everyone who watches the weather needs to be reminded of that, too."

    I'm sympathetic to what WDS wrote and what OPOF says. One reason. Apparently the link between fossil fuels and climate change is not mentioned in the IPCC summary for policy makers (or rarely mentioned I just forget which), because the oil exporting companies lobbied vigorously to keep it out. And in hindsight I've noticed our news media doesn't explicilty mention the link very often.

    The counter argument is that almost everyone on the planet must know by now that fossil fuels are the main cause of climate change in recent decades. You would have to live a very isolated existence not to have heard by now.

    But I think the link should always be mentioned more often and when appropriate. ( I hear what BL is saying) Reinforing the facts is arguably a good idea and cannot be a bad idea. 

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