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2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #19

Posted on 12 May 2024 by BaerbelW, Doug Bostrom, John Hartz

A listing of 35 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, May 5, 2024 thru Sat, May 11, 2024.

(Unfortunate) Story of the week

"Grief that stops at despair is an ending that I and many others, most notably those on the frontlines, are not prepared to accept." — Dr. Christiana Figueres

Our Story of the Week concerns what can be termed a gut check survey of climate scientists commissioned by The Guardian newspaper, World’s top climate scientists expect global heating to blast past 1.5C target. With nearly half of all IPCC lead authors and review editors responding, this highly informed body of opinion tabulated unfavorably:

Almost 80% of the respondents, all from the authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), foresee at least 2.5C of global heating, while almost half anticipate at least 3C (5.4F). Only 6% thought the internationally agreed 1.5C (2.7F) limit would be met.

In a period where we're barely flirting with 1.5C of warming yet seeing breathaking and disturbingly unusual weather phenomena, biological impacts and disastrous effects on human affairs, this obviously comes as bad news. It's accompanied by the usual litany of other wages of complacency, including record-high increases in atmospheric CO2 concentration.  The week also sees a nasty inventory of indicators of how political processes underpinning production of public policy to check and repair this unfolding disaster are at risk from alliances of narrow self-interests. 

"It's all a little much," to say the least. We can and do productively channel the energy of anger to produce positive results, but despair is hard or impossible to catalyze into useful action. With this week's bundle of results a feeling of hopelessness may be knocking on our psychological doors. How do we refuse this invitation?

How about heeding expert advice from climate scientists?

While it's true that hope is not a plan and optimisim needs to be backed by methods, it's equally true that our species has often survived on nothing more than wishes. People who know climate science and climate change at the deepest levels suggest we dig into our reserves. We must carry on with imagining and pursuing a better future. As an antidote to despair we recommend reading this article by former UN climate convention head Christiana Figueres, who has shown what's possible by her shepherding us to the seeming impossibility of the 2015 Paris Climate Convention. We can also listen to practical advice from a younger perspective offered by British Antarctic Survey scientist Dr. Ella Gilbert, whose thrust essentially boils down to "get informed, and take that information to your political processes." 

As Gilbert says, we are doomed to damage— but every avoidance measure we take adds up. We're on a bus headed for a brick wall, but we do have the power to push harder on the brakes and thereby save rows of passengers. Our understanding of climate and our available suite of technologies are more than adequate to deal with our situation; it's "only" lack of coherent and concerted public policy that is making our harm larger. With powerful forces aligned against improved public policy, even if we're feeling very blue indeed we can and must continue to participate in creating our future. It's helpful to note: this is not wishful thinking but instead proven method, a means of action known to work. Example? While it's by no means a perfect outcome, the Paris Convention is undoubtedly going to produce a marginally better future. 

In terms of results, giving up looks exactly like complacency. Are we complacent? No. Let's not behave as though we are. Being complete citizens of our planet by diving into politics armed with information is our way forward. As messy and sometimes repugnant as political processes are, they're the factory where public policy is made— and only effective public policy is going to save us from ourselves. 

Stories we promoted this week, by publication date:

Before May 5

May 5

May 6

May 7

May 8

May 9

May 10

If you happen upon high quality climate-science and/or climate-myth busting articles from reliable sources while surfing the web, please feel free to submit them via this Google form so that we may share them widely. Thanks!

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Comments 1 to 3:

  1. Based on the Story of the Week:

    The consensus of people who seriously and responsibly investigate global climate appears to be that, due to the undeniable failure of global leadership by the most harmful powerful people, humanity's future requires adaptation to more dramatically end the use of fossil fuels and other harmful developed human activities plus adaptation to the expensive effort to reduce the excessive accumulated harmful impacts.

    When people resist learning to be less harmful 'liberty reducing law and order' can become the required corrective recourse (far better than the disaster of attempted rebellion against undeserving powerful harmful leaders) ... but that requires people who are focused on being less harmful and more helpful to others to 'govern law and order actions without compromising the actions to get along with people who resist learning to be less harmful'.

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  2. Video -- Skeptical Science - Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #19 4:51    

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    Moderator Response:

    [BL] Eddie: when you post a link like this, please remember to give a brief description of what people should expect to find at the other end of link.

    For the information of others, it is a Youtube video reading of the SkS News Roundup of this week (as suggested in the text title of the link).

  3. A follow-up comment to my comment @1,

    This CBC News item: Small island states hail ocean court victory on greenhouse gases is evidence that the 'law and order' approach can work ...

    But there need to be more votes of support for helpful harm reducing law and order actions. More people need to choose to 'learn to be less harmful and more helpful to others' so that 'justified rule of law' can effectively limit the harm done by those who resist such learning.

    Competition for perceptions of status and reward can obviously powerfully compromise such helpful pursuits. These recent legal wins, like the recent increased actions to limit climate change impacts, have been diminished and delayed ... to the detriment of the future of humanity ... by the popularity and profitability of 'more freedom to believe and do whatever is desired'.

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