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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

Posted on 4 February 2018 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... El Niño/La Niña Update... Toon of the Week... Video of the Week... Reports of Note... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review... 97 Hours of Consensus...

Story of the Week...

Why Climate Deniers Target Women

Katharine Hayhoe Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe has suffered sexist attacks from climate change deniers. Source: Katharine Hayhoe

Harassment is no stranger to the reporters, researchers and policymakers who work on climate change, but it is particularly severe for the women in those fields.

Canadian environment minister Catherine McKenna was labeled “climate Barbie” by the right-wing political blog The Rebel Media. Kait Parker of the Weather Channel suffered attacks from Breitbart News, which dismissed her forceful and lucid explanation of climate science as an “argument from a pretty girl.” Emily Atkin, who covers climate and energy for The New Republic, also has endured sexist barbs from Breitbart, which said she had “kitty claws,” and Rush Limbaugh, who called her an “infobabe.” In similar fashion, climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe earned the moniker “climate babe” from Limbaugh.

Certainly, sexist attacks are not unique to climate science, journalism or advocacy, but research into public understanding of climate change reveals an important link between sexism and climate denial?—?support for the existing social hierarchy. 

Why Climate Deniers Target Women by Jeremy Deaton, Climate Nexus, Feb 2, 2018 

El Niño/La Niña Update

More U.S. drought in a second-year La Niña? 

Currently, we are fully immersed in the second winter of a “double-dip” La Niña.   Although it will take some time before we can see how this event stacked up with past events, you might have noticed that it has been quite dry over much of the U.S. this winter, with drought expanding across several regions, particularly in the south.  Being the big ENSO fans that you are, you might have asked yourself, are these conditions typical in the second winter of a double-dip La Niña?  And are there any differences in how the atmosphere responds to La Niña in the second winter relative to the first?  Well if either of those questions ever crossed your mind, then you’re in luck! 

A recent study (1) led by Dr. Yuko Okumura of the University of Texas at Austin addressed how the impacts of La Niña may change from the first winter to the second for double-dip La Niñas like this one. Spoiler alert: Dr. Okumura and colleagues found evidence that U.S. drought and the North Pacific atmospheric circulation anomalies strengthen in the second winter of a double-dip La Niña.  With that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at what they found.

More U.S. drought in a second-year La Niña? by Nat Johnson, ENSO Blog, NOAA's, Feb 1, 2018 

Toon of the Week...

2018 Toon 5 

Video of the Week...

The superstorms and wildfires of 2017 cost a record-breaking $306 billion. As the Trump administration has sought to reverse environmental rules, is the federal government prepared to address even stronger storms?

Is the U.S. Ready for More Billion-Dollar Storms? by Deborah Acosta, Climate Change, New York Times, Jan 29, 2018

Coming Soon on SkS... 

  • In-depth: Scientists discuss how to improve climate models (Carbon Brief)
  • How to Change Your Mind About Climate Change (David Kirtley)
  • Impact of climate change on health is ‘the major threat of 21st century’ (Daisy Dunne)
  • Guest Post (John Abraham)
  • New research this week (Ari Jokimäki)
  • 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #6 (John Hartz)
  • 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #6 (John Hartz) 

Poster of the Week...

2018 Poster 5 

SkS Week in Review... 

97 Hours of Consensus...

97 Hours Peter Hildebrand 


Peter Hildebrand's bio page

Quote derived from:

"I think that the debate is happening around the world. It's not a debate, though, in the science community. There's no debate at all there. The scientists know that human influences are creating greenhouse gases and these are warming the earth. And other things are — other human impacts, such as changing the earth's surface, paving over things and the like is also having an effect on the earth. So there's no debate there in the science community." 

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Comments 101 to 150 out of 188:

  1. Bob Loblaw @ 93

    My apologies.  Your question was obviously not a yes or no answer.  My answer should have simply stated that I cannot pick one of your arbitrary groups.   We simply have to let the chips fall where they may on a cost/benefit analysis (outside of pollution costs) when it comes to the use of fossil fuels over the last 150 years because all groups however you classify them have benefitted.  To try to do some kind of "weigh scale" measurement of costs and benefits as between different groups would be impossible.  Again, to the extent we are talking pollution rather than the consequences of rising temperatures and rising sea levels I think measurements can and should be made.

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  2. Bob Loblaw

    I hit the Submit button with a reply but it seems to have disappeared into the clouds.  I will wait to see if it appears before I try to replicate it.  I agree that your question was not a yes/no. 

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  3. Whoops! Not into clouds but on to Page 3.

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  4. scaddenp @ 96

    Where did I say anything about comparing Germany, Sweden and France on the one hand and North America on the other?

    My point was that if Germany, Sweden and France have not fully implemented the necessary changes to meet the Paris goals, there is a reason why they have not.   And the best guess is that the politicians are concerned that the required changes would bring with them substantial changes to the economy that would not be accepted by their electorates.  I used the term "harm the economy" but if you want to say "significant changes to the economy" then so be it.  But if these changes were not costly changes (or impractical at this time) I am sure Angela Merkel would moved on them by now. 

    Governments are clearly taking steps but they will not be sufficient to meet the Paris goals.  As noted by the Moderator, the OECD has so much as said that.  But they are doing what they can based upon political realities.  Nothing profound here but it is stating the obvious. 

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  5. NorrisM: I posted a link to the Reuters article about the new OECD report as a commenter and author of the OP, not as a Moderator. For your edification here is the complete OECD news release that prompted the Reuters article. 

    Governments should make better use of energy taxation to address climate change

    14/02/2018 -Taxes are effective at cutting harmful emissions from energy use, but governments could make better use of them. Greater reliance on energy taxation is needed to strengthen efforts to tackle the principal source of both greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, according to a new OECD report.

    Taxing Energy Use 2018 describes patterns of energy taxation in 42 OECD and G20 countries (representing approximately 80% of global energy use), by fuels and sectors over the 2012-2015 period.

    New data shows that energy taxes remain poorly aligned with the negative side effects of energy use. Taxes provide only limited incentives to reduce energy use, improve energy efficiency and drive a shift towards less harmful forms of energy. Emissions trading systems, which are not discussed in this publication, but are included in the OECD’s Effective Carbon Rates, are having little impact on this broad picture.

    “Comparing taxes between 2012 and 2015 yields a disconcerting result,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. “Efforts have been made, or are underway, in several jurisdictions to apply the ‘polluter-pays’ principle, but on the whole progress towards the more effective use of taxes to cut harmful emissions is slow and piecemeal. Governments should do more and better.”

    In 2015, outside of road transport, 81% of emissions were untaxed, according to the report. Tax rates were below the low-end estimate of climate costs (EUR 30/tCO2) for 97% of emissions.

    Meaningful tax rate increases have largely been limited to the road sector. Fuel tax reforms in some large low-to-middle income economies have increased the share of emissions taxed above climate costs from 46% in 2012 to 50% in 2015. Encouragingly, some countries are removing lower tax rates on diesel compared to gasoline. However, fuel tax rates remain well below the levels needed to cover non-climate external costs in nearly all countries.

    Coal, characterised by high levels of harmful emissions and accounting for almost half of carbon emissions from energy use in the 42 countries, is taxed at the lowest rates or fully untaxed in almost all countries.

    While the intense debate on carbon taxation has sparked action in some countries, actual carbon tax rates remain low. Carbon tax coverage increased from 1% to 6% in 2015, but carbon taxes reflect climate costs for just 0.3% of emissions. Excise taxes dominate overall tax rates by far.

    “The damage to climate and air quality resulting from fossil fuel combustion can be contained, but the longer action is delayed the more difficult and expensive it becomes to tackle this challenge,” Mr Gurria said. “Aligning energy prices with the costs of climate change and air pollution is a core element of cost-effective policy, and vast improvements are urgently needed. While in some cases compensation for higher energy costs faced by households or firms may be deemed necessary, especially to those more vulnerable, lower tax rates or exemptions are not the way to provide it – targeted transfers should be favoured.”

    Further information on Taxing Energy Use, including graphical profiles of energy use and taxation in the 42 countries is available at:

    An embeddable version of the report is available, together with information about downloadable and print versions of the report.

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  6. NorrisM @101

    "Again, to the extent we are talking pollution rather than the consequences of rising temperatures and rising sea levels I think measurements can and should be made."

    Nobody here is likely interested in a carbon tax based purely on particulate emissions and their relation to lung problems. That's just a non starter, and too contrived for words.

    And the public might find such a strategy confusing and devious. 

    It also doesn't make sense  because theres a huge difference between health effects of burning coal, gas and oil. It would be a nightmare practically.

    If anything, a carbon tax should include the effects of both climate change and something limited added on for respiratory health effects. And it just goes to show a carbon tax has several justifications.

    However, just my opinion, others may disagree.

    Norris M @104, you are just spamming, and repeating yourself.

    You have also not answered my question: do you accept a carbon tax and dividend scheme starting at about $30, and ramped up to about $80?

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  7. NorrisM @ 101:

    The third "arbitrary group" was "or some other group", which gives you free form to explain why you are not part of the first two. I can't see why that has been so hard.

    You say "To try to do some kind of "weigh scale" measurement of costs and benefits as between different groups would be impossible." That is exactly what economic analysis attempts to do. When they do it, they try to clearly state assumptions, and provide explicit definitions for the terms they use. DIfferent assumptions end up with somewhat different results, but they nearly all indicate that future costs will outweigh future benefits.

    At this point, I can only conclude that all your attempts to say things like "bring the economy down", "materially damage the economy", "put the economy into trouble", "industries that would immediately suffer greatly ", "a massive transfer of wealth", "out of a job", "all those direct costs you allege", etc. really were just rhetoric, and had nothing to do with an actual cost/benefit analysis (which you now say is impossible).

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  8. "My point was that if Germany, Sweden and France have not fully implemented the necessary changes to meet the Paris goals, there is a reason why they have not."

    How about it takes time? But if you never start, you will never get there. The OECD report looked only at taxes and only to 2015. Post-Paris there has been a raft of additional measures, in EU and other places (but not Canada or US) and it remains to be seen whether these will be sufficient. In countries which dont have neoliberal governments, measures other than carbon taxes are acceptable to the electorate. If you dont want to advocate for those, then you had been be ready to advocate for carbon tax.

    Disruption to the economy is inevitable - either from decarbonizing or from adaption to a new climate. Why would you not choose to take the cheapest route?

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  9. Nigel, you may have heard of Moral Foundation theory? Haidt? One interesting feature of it, is the observation across cultures that left-wingers make gut moral judgements based on just care and fairness foundations. Right-wingers also use what are called binding foundations (loyalty, respect for heirarchies/authority, and purity). The last one means you have right-wing more ready to deal with pollution than rising sealevel.

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  10. Scaddenp @109, I hadn't heard of the Moral Foundation Theory, but I had a quick scan on wikipedia. I think it sounds broadly correct, and agree with your comments. Many of these differences are known anyway as part of the general discourse.

    I had heard of the "purity" issue associated with conservatives, in the sense that they react very strongly to bad body habits and things like homosexuality, where liberals do also react also but not quite as strongly. So I can believe right wingers would be concerned about very optically visible forms of air pollution.

    Nixon passed some great environmental law, despite his other failings. But times have changed and Republicans seem prepared to scale back all environmental laws, possibly because the liberty, loyalty and authority "foundations" seem to now over rule the purity foundation? But Norris is possibly reacting to the purity thing more like Nixon did in the old days.

    However the theory as a whole is many shades of grey, because liberals also dont like visible forms of air pollution. 

    I'm a consensus seeker. I recognise these sorts of moral differences between left and right, (as you probably already know) but prefer to see the gap closed. Wikipedia made the point we mistake these differences for evil intent. Unfortunately differences in America are starting to spiral out of control, and it looks like I'm on the wrong side of history, in a way.

    However I would still hope that conservatives (and anyone else)  see the CO2 emissions problem as a "dirty" form of problem, even if its invisible and odourless.

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  11. Here's a synopsis of the harsh reality and hard choices that now confront the human race...

    There are now so many of us on Earth that the planet just doesn't have enough resources for us all to live comfortably, which means we require a radical rethink of how we could start living within our means.

    That's the conclusion of a new study which looked at 151 nations and found not a single one was running itself in a sustainable way – ensuring a decent life for its inhabitants without taking more than it gives back in terms of natural resources.

    The international team of researchers has even put together a website showing how each country is performing in terms of balancing the well-being of its citizens against figures such as land use, CO2 emissions, ecological footprint, and phosphorus emissions.

    "Almost everything we do, from having dinner to surfing the internet, uses resources in some way, but the connections between resource use and human well-being are not always visible to us," says one of the team, Daniel O'Neill from the University of Leeds in the UK.

    "We examined international relationships between the sustainability of resource use and the achievement of social goals, and found that basic needs, such as nutrition, sanitation, and the elimination of extreme poverty, could most likely be achieved in all countries without exceeding global environmental limits."

    "Unfortunately, the same is not true for other social goals that go beyond basic subsistence such as secondary education and high life satisfaction. Meeting these goals could require a level of resource use that is two to six times the sustainable level."

    There Might Be No Way to Live Comfortably Without Also Ruining The Planet: It's time to face an uncomfortable truth. by David Nield, Science Alert, Feb 10, 2018

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  12. nigelj @95 and 106

    Firstly, in answer to your question at 106, I have a number of times indicated that I would be happy starting with US$20/tonne and even perhaps US$30/tonne and see what happens.  For that reason I would not "sign on" to a possible $80/tonne tax until we saw what happened at $30.  Again, I personally have no real idea what the right level of carbon tax should be as I suspect is the case for most on this website because none of us have the economic resources to make rational judgments on such an issue.  If there is a "peer reviewed" paper on this I would be happy to review same. Governments have those resources so I will choose to trust our federal government in Canada on what level of carbon tax can work without "complicating the economy".

    But given the additional information provided by John Hartz above,  the carbon taxes implemented so far are not having the effect required just as I suspected.  Having said this, the answer I assume is to give them some time to work.  I am happy with that but time is not on our side in the view of many on this website.

    But I have intended to ask you a question related to the following comment you made in 95:

    "The storage problem is largely solved in terms of technology. Look at the huge Tesla lithium battery complex in southern Australia, that is now saving them money."

    My understanding that with respect to "bulk storage" this statement is incorrect.  The Tesla installation has not solved the bulk storage issue associated with wind and solar power so that "pumped storage" is still the only viable source of bulk storage at present.

    This view is based upon the comments of other contributors on this website.  I would be happy to be proved wrong on this.

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  13. scaddenp @ 108 and 109

    "How about it takes time? But if you never start, you will never get there."

    Sounds like incrementalism to me.    

    If you are trying to build a consensus with conservatives using a heavily laden word like "purity" is counter productive.   And if you are not, then are we not into "echo chamber" issues? 

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  14. NorrisM @112

    Yes pumped storage is the main current bulk storage option. There is also molten salt storage associated with some forms of solar power as below.

    Bulk battery storage is actually technically feasible, but the cost is too high. However we have good certainty that battery costs will fall very considerably.

    Im not a person who normally buys into some of the technology hype we see, however I think theres good evidence that battery costs will fall and numerous new technologies are already in working prototype stage such as aluminium batteries.

    I just take a general interest in the climate issue, and I try to make considered statements, but theres never enough time to tackle every aspect in the detail it really needs. Im sure you find the same. I rely on people being smart enough to "join the dots" sometimes. My real point was storage options do exist already.

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  15. NorrisM - I actually dont dispute incrementalism as a good idea. Would just like conservatives to take a first step - even killing FF subsidies is a good first step. However, as indicated, I also think we have used FF to breach incrementalism and are flailing to cope with consequences. If we want to rapidly reduce (30 year timeframe), then time to start was long ago.

    "Purity" is just a word - teasing out its meaning in Moral foundation theory really means looking at how it is measured. I am not advocating using the word in framing (white supremicists do however, appealing to that foundation) but appealing to that foundation in environmental advocacy is effective for gaining wider support. eg clean air, preservation of "virgin" forest etc.

    I have to thank my son's master's dissertation for making me aware of this and I am digesting the material on effective communication. Nonetheless, I feel it is pretty hard to have a dialogue when one side has little respect for facts or logic and leap to rhetoric and FUD instead.

    Storage issues are tightly linked to the actual mix of generation available and the ability of the transmission network to move power from distant sources. Having any hydro is a plus, because you can do zero cost storage by holding back water when sun shines, wind blows, and generate from it when it doesnt. While a lot has been made of storage issues as an excuse for sitting on hands, in places where need is arising, I see a rush by technology to meet the need. One of the points of measures like banning FF from a certain date, carbon taxes etc. is to actually stimulate that technology development.

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  16. Speaking of carbon taxes...

    INDUSTRY observers welcomed Singapore's soft start in its implementation of a carbon tax through an initial price lower than the range provided earlier by the government, though some affected companies continue to hope for benchmarks to be used together with the tax.

    The gradual increase upwards will help companies to decide whether they want to pay the tax or spend on projects to reduce their carbon emissions, said Nanyang Technological University (NTU) department of economics head Euston Quah.

    Singapore's carbon tax will start at S$5 a tonne for five years from 2019, and, following a review in 2023, eventually be raised to between S$10 and S$15 a tonne by 2030, said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat.

    Singapore Budget 2018: Singapore's carbon tax to start at S$5 a tonne by Andrea Soh, Energy & Commodities, The Busines Times, Feb 20, 2018

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  17. Incrementalism seems like a good philosophy as a general rule. The problem Karl Popper has is there are far more exceptions than he is willing to acknowledge. That's just the reality.

    However incrementalism is pretty applicable obviously to things like carbon taxes, provided we start right now. The longer its left, the shorter the window of opportunity becomes, and then there could be a need for a far more drastic solution to climate change, as panic sets in, and fossil fuel companies will really be feeling pain. New research has shown strong evidence of an acceleration in sea level rise over the last 20 years, and projecting that takes us to about half a metre by end of century. Now even just a small additional acceleration this decade or so will get to a metre or more and this is what models predict, conservatively.

    And there was nothing too incremental about growing fossil fuel use. Looks more like an exponential growth curve to me.

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  18. I have to say Singapores incrementalism looks a bit like a very timid little snail. However it shows how many countries are at least doing something. Or maybe its a reasonable tax measured against their level of economic output.

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  19. scaddenp @ 115 and nigelj @ 115

    I think we have pretty well exhausted this topic.  But I think you agree that the use of the word "pure" has just too many contexts related to fascism and its modern version the "alt right" to be used in a conversation to describe conservative viewpoints on climate change.  I think nigelj makes this point.  There is an aspect of evil (whatever that term really means) in the views of fascists and their racist views that should have nothing to do with a discussion of climate change.

    I once attended a fairly small gathering in Vancouver with Bob Woodward (in town promoting his latest book at the time I believe) where he expressed the view that of all the US presidents he had interviewed, notwithstanding their differing political viewpoints, they all had the best interests of the American public at heart with the sole exception of Richard Nixon.

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  20. nigelj - while incrementalism is generally good in governance, we also have to be aware that nature doesnt follow those rules and shouldnt necessarily be a guide in all circumstances - particularly we have ignored incrementalism to begin with.

    Norrism - in MFT, the purity foundation is also called sanctity. Maybe a better term? However, forget what the term is called, and consider more it's influence on instant subconscious judgements about something. This foundation is behind why racists consider themselves moral actors. It is also believed to behind the appeal to preserve virgin forest. There is no judgement involved here on the moral foundations. Sanctity is not immoral for instance. The binding moral foundations give a very clear evolutionary advantage. However, I am noting that there is a clear left/right difference in the influence of moral foundations.

    Climate change opinions are now strongly influenced by identity politics in the US which is unfortunately rather intractable. Once something becomes polarized, then feedbacks work to increase polarization. It is all to common for left-wing activists to indulge in behaviour which alienates the right where what they do can be perceived as disloyal, disrepectful or even unclean. This is one of the feedback that creates or builds polarization.

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  21. Scaddenp @120

    Yes I did allude to the fact incrementalism doesn't apply to everything.

    Growth in fossil fuels use, population and economic growth all looks exponential. Just out of curiosity would you consider that "incremental"? It doesn't seem so to me.

    I think you have explained the the purity issue very well and its not meant to be taken offensively or as a bad thing in principle. I think it depends how its applied, and whether application has some sensible basis.  I do also understand Norris point of view on it.

    But I would suggest politics is being polarised by activists on both left and right and feedbacks set in. The leftists are seen as disloyal etc, and the right wing activists (tea party, heartland people) are seen as not caring about fairness, and evidence based science. Its all very unfortunate.

    However I read an interesting article in the Economist that researched political attitudes with Americas population. The partisan division is much stronger between politicians and elite groups than the general population overall. Of course there are big red / blue partisan state divisions, and divisions within states, but the biggest divisions are in the leadership. Apparently many people in small town america voted on gut instincts on the leaders style and personality, rather than policy or democratic / republican divisions. This is all contrary to my impression. Complicated. But the polarisation is apparently more at the top than the bottom. Don't know what it all means, but its not good.

    All the moral foundations in the theory seem to have value. It just seems to me all become toxic when taken to extremes, for example excessive authoritarianism. Children need authoritarian parenting to a point, but treating adults this way can go too far. However fairness seems unique and something that is more clear cut. It seems hard to say that unfairness is ever a good thing. 

    I have read some moral philosophy like aristotle, kant, mill, rand (please forgive me about rand, I must have been crazy).

    I also have a book you may find interesting, but I have not read much of it yet: "Behave" by Robert Sapolsky. "The biology of humans at their best and worst". This was the main point in my replying to your post. You are a busy guy so I dont expect a reply. We are possibly talked out on the issues for now anyway.

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  22. Yes, activism by both sides can increase polarity but I think there needs to be distinction between right-wing activists and paid disinformers. Someone lying for money is not a moral actor.

    Agreed too that there is good data suggesting general public is less polarized than elites but elites act to lead opinion so it matters. Also data the importance of the middle ground. The civil rights movement didnt convince hard line racists (still hasnt), but it did influence more flexible thinkers who in turn influenced the next level down eventually creating a new norm.

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  23. John Hartz@111,

    Thank you for the informative reference. It helps me better understand how 'competition to appear to be better off than others' developed desires/excuses for things that are understandably harmful to the future of humanity, Personal/Private Interests that are understandably unsustainable.

    A nit-pick with the author's Headline. The play on words with Comfortable/Uncomfortable is cute. But the study is not about 'comfort'. The study's concern is “Humanity faces the challenge of how to achieve a high quality of life for over 7 billion people without destabilizing critical planetary processes.” (the opening statement of the abstract for the report). Comfort may be a part of the life satisfaction goal that is in the study. But it is a term that is wide-open to interpretation. And even if it was more precisely defined, how significant it is could vary a lot among the population, even among the population of a single nation.

    The study is limited to evaluating measurements of what has developed in nations based on 2011 data. Admittedly, data is required for an analytical analysis. But the developed data pool is not the full spectrum of possible ways people can live. It is only the results of the current global domination of human activity by competitive materialism and consumerism. The result has been competition/fighting to develop perceptions of superiority relative to others any way that can be gotten away with, generally ruled by popularity, profitability or social/financial/warfare power. A different result would develop if helping to advance humanity to a sustainable better future was the understood measure of success and acceptability (a justified Golden Set of Rules/Goals globally understood and accepted by the majority of humans to increase the chances of a helpful result developing, such as the set of sustainability goals mentioned in the report).

    The required changes to have a better chance of a future for humanity will not be developed in the same socio-economic-political 'attitude environment'. In fact, the evidence is that deliberate actions in opposition to such changes are to be expected to be able to unjustifiably win in the existing developed system.

    A global change of understanding regarding what is acceptable will be required. Games of power, popularity and profitability with everyone freer to believe what they want and do as they please will not develop the required changes. In fact, the developed evidence measured in the study shows that people freer to believe what they want and do as they please in pursuit of Private Interest can be expected to develop less sustainable ways of living.

    A second nit-pick is in the following quote in the article (and repeated in your comment).

    "Unfortunately, the same is not true for other social goals that go beyond basic subsistence such as secondary education and high life satisfaction. Meeting these goals could require a level of resource use that is two to six times the sustainable level."

    The study Abstract states 'life satisfaction' as the example of goals that requires high resources. The following quote is from the Abstract: “However, the universal achievement of more qualitative goals (for example, high life satisfaction) would require a level of resource use that is 2–6 times the sustainable level, based on current relationships.”
    In the report the following is stated: “The social goals with the highest associated resource use, ranging from about two to six times the per capita biophysical boundary, are democratic quality, equality, social support, secondary education and life satisfaction.”

    It makes sense that those items are measured as 'highly achieved goals in high resource use nations'. But the correlation exists in the socio-economic-political 'attitude environment' that has developed. It is not a required correlation.

    They are the Winner Nations of the competition to gather as much benefit as possible in the games people play. The fact that there is serious poverty in many of the Biggest Winner Nations exposes that there are serious flaws in the ways things have developed, flaws in the play of, or enforcement of rules in, the games/competitions.

    Clearly, changing attitudes through global education can change the resulting development. But the real change has to occur among the perceived Winners. All of the most powerful, most popular, and wealthiest need to have their helpfulness/harmfulness evaluated, with penalties personally assessed accordingly.

    Things boil down to needing to correct the incorrectly developed perceptions of "Life Satisfaction" and correcting the incorrect admiration for Masters of Illusion/Deception, the undeserving winners.

    And everyone can understand that unsustainability is due to the total actions of the total population. So, although the total population is a concern, the developed over-consumption and highest harm creating ways of life of the 'Biggest Winners in the competition to be perceived to be superior to, or more successful than, others' can clearly be the real problem.

    Also, the problem is not 'Nations', it is people who play to Win any way they can get away with, including deliberately attacking increased awareness and better understanding that would expose the unacceptability of the way they play the game, exposing how harmful they have been. Those type of people can be Harmful Winners in any nation (rich or poor).

    The entire global population needs to be educated to admire and desire actions that help sustainably improve life for others (and sustainably means able to continue to be a help into the far future, only retired/replaced when a better sustainable way is developed). The converse is for the entire global population to understand the importance of no longer being impressed by anyone who tries to 'get ahead, Win a harmful Private Interest pursuit, in an unhelpful/deceptive/secretive way', no matter how powerful, popular, or rich they appear to regionally temporarily currently be.

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  24. NorrisM @ 119,

    I like your story of Bob Woodward and his "sole exception of Richard Nixon".

    The story is somewhat dated now, for I gather Woodward has just recently added a "second exception".

    All the same, it illustrates how those who are evil-doers can still believe (at least in some small part of their brain) that they they are working towards the public good. 

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  25. nigelj @ 21

    We obviously have some similar interests.  I have "Behave" by Robert Sapolsky sitting at home in Vancouver.  Too heavy to lug down here.  Instead I brought along Steven Pinker's new book "Enlightenment Now".

    One of the interesting parts of spending some time down south (for us in Canada) is the chance to "rub shoulders" with some real Republicans.  Last night we were seated at a restaurant by a retired internist and his wife from Oregon.  They were clear Trump supporters but clearly acknowledging that Trump had personality disorders (sounds like Paul Ryan).  But he actually described American society as an "eat what you kill" society and seemed happy with it.  For a medical doctor to espouse this view was somewhat surprising and disappointing.  His only justification for "gerrymongering" was "that is the way it has always been" (again very happy with it).  Although we did not have time to get into it, I think he rolled his eyes when he (not me) mentioned climate change.  So Trump supporters are not just the ones alienated from globalization.  A little "anecdotal" but there are some pretty wide gaps in US society.  He blames the media on both sides for the disconnect that has developed between Democrats and Republicans over the last 30 years.   On the other hand, there was another couple from Washington state who, when they found we were Canadian, were very apologetic about the US and Trump.  The fellow had a fleecy on with the word "Canada" emblazoned on it. He said he bought it in Vancouver and planned to wear it on their upcoming trip to Great Britain.  Pretty scary to see this gap in the most powerful democracy in the world.

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  26. I read what appears to be the same article referenced by John Hartz @111 but in New Scientist 10 Feb. "Rags to Riches. It's official we cant be wealthy without trashing the planet".

    Anyway, great article, but sadly the article was just too short to really do the subject justice.

    I have been debating sustainability, resource scarcity, etcecetera with some people on another website. I tell you a lot of things will have to change, or the planet will teach us some bitter lessons and force change. But its off the climate change topic. Anyway I remain an optimist.

    This may be of related interest on economic growth and why we may be heading to reduced growth rates:

    I have the same basic belief as OPOF: we have to ensure everyone progresses, not just a few. There are many reasons for this, not simply compassion, there are security and economic reasons. It doesnt have to be relentlessly exact, but we need to be going in at least roughly the right direction.

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  27. nigelj@126,

    The article John writes about @111 is regarding a study that was submitted to Nature Sustainability on 08 August 2017. It was published on 05 February 2018 (to get to the article you click on the Nature Sustainability link at the end of the article).

    This is more recent than the 2016 article you referred to. And it is a very different type of evaluation. It is very applicable to climate science because it points out that “The most difficult biophysical boundary to meet is climate change: only 34% of countries are within the per capita boundary for this indicator.”

    I will add that I also agree with incrementalism. That is basically what the Kyoto Accord followed by the Paris Agreement is. The Kyoto Accord was the first serious coordinated global effort by the most fortunate nations to show leadership on transitioning human activity away from the unsustainable and harmful burning of fossil fuels. The Paris Agreement was the next increment. It clarified the ultimate objective as keeping total impacts below the 2.0 C threshold, and aspiring to limit impacts on future generations to 1.5 C which almost certainly will require charitable actions (actions that do not benefit the ones paying for them to be done) that effectively reduce CO2 in the atmosphere. The first increment of the Paris Agreement is the initial pledges of action by all nations. The next increments are the ratcheting up of the actions as required to have all nations equitably work on solving the problem, equitably including the understanding that those nations that benefited most from the current developed scale of the problem should be expected to do more to correct the problem.

    The incremental application of measures like carbon taxes would be to start with a rate of taxation then observe the result. After a few years adjust the tax rate or implement other measures as required to get closer to achieving the required result (combined global actions limited to a 2.0 C increase). Repeat the increase of tax or implementation of other measures as required to meet the required objective. Note that less action done earlier means more action will be required later.

    That is the expected result of the Paris Agreement - Continuing the Incrementalism after the first stage that was the efforts to meet the Kyoto commitments. Of course any nation that had members who deliberately resisted participating in correcting the incorrect developed ways of living after Kyoto would have developed a bigger current day challenge that now needs to be corrected. Since the need to transition from burning fossil fuels was well understood before Kyoto there is no reason for anyone to feel sorry for current day people who 'will suffer due to having to make more significant changes to 'fairly contribute to meeting the required global objective'. The real key is making sure that the ones who deserve to suffer most are actually the ones who suffer the most form the required correction.

    Some people figured out what is inevitably going to have to happen if humanity is to sustainably develop a better future. But instead of supporting the education of the population about the required changes and correctly identifying who should change or suffer, they try to argue for incrementalism that will fail to limit the harm to others (including future generations), choosing to demand/declare that the required incrementalism is incrementalism that in no way negatively affects them (many of them actually understand that they deserve to be negatively affected by the required corrections of what has developed - they can be expected to fight the hardest against admitting what the appropriate objective is, using the popularity of profitable harmful unsustainable activities as their main excuse to defend those activities).

    And what is undeniable is that more fortunate people who did not transition away from the burning of fossil fuels could gain a competitive advantage relative to those who more responsibly changed their ways. Deliberate attempts to get competitive advantage that way since Kyoto deserve a penalty. That will likely need to be corrected by targeted trade sanctions against those people who have shown a history of trying to Win that way. To 'be fair', it appears inevitable that targeted trade sanctions will be required to penalize things like attempts by people in nations like the USA, Canada, and Australia (the supposedly more advanced nations on the planet), to continue to benefit from the burning of coal (including exports of coal for burning elsewhere). And those actions targeting already fortunate people who continue to try to benefit from the burning of coal will likely need to incrementally be expanded to target already fortunate people who continue to try to benefit from the burning of bitumen, then oil, then natural gas, as required to achieve the agreed objective of 'fairly' limiting the harm done to future generations.

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  28. OPOF, many thanks for that tip on how to find the original research study.

    So everyone is agreed on incrementalism. Its just the size of the increments!

    I always thinks its better to just get started, and do something, than debate endlessly about problems. Things can always be modified in accordance with changing circumstances, or if results are not acceptable in some way.

    Looking at history, consumption taxes don't normally cause the huge problems the scaremongers claim. One fear is that taxes become embedded and hard to reverse, however the climate issue means a carbon tax would eventually do its job, and would thus inevitably expire as alternative energy becomes abundant and permanent. Its not so much like a soft drink tax, that might be more a permanent fixture, designed just to pay for health costs.

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  29. NorrisM

    You may want to read this on renewable electricity and battery storage. Theres not much detail, probably due to  commercial sensitivity, but its interesting.

    "A final intriguing note: Robo says the company is hard at work on combining renewables with storage. “We recently submitted a bid at a very competitive price for a combined wind, solar, and battery storage product,” he said, “that is able to provide an around-the-clock, nearly firm, shaped product specifically designed to meet the customers’ needs.”

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  30. nigelj@128,

    Though everyone agrees to use the term incrementalism, I am almost certain that the likes of NorrisM do not agree that the objective of the incremental change must be limiting total global impacts to 2.0 C.

    NorrisM never responded to my comment @46, perhaps because my comment @62 accurately represented his position.

    However, NorrisM's comment @69 implied he was still considering a response to my requests for a response. But, my comment @70 may have 'pinned him down too much' for him to bother to try to ceate a reasonable sounding response. Or he may have considered my comment @90 to be an accurate understanding of his position.

    But NorrisM has commented since then in ways consistent with an understanding that the type of incrementalism he would support is actions that would likely significantly fail to meet the objective of limiting future impacts to 2.0 C increase.

    As I have mentioned in an earlier comment, doing less action earlier to meet an objective requires more action later. The likes of NorrisM appear to like the idea of having to do less (leaving more for others to do later), and even hoping to get away with prolonging their ability to benefit from the understood to be unacceptable activity or, even worse, increasing their ability to benefit from the damaging activity, developing an even bigger challenge that Others have to deal with.

    The understanding of the harmfulness and unsustainability of the burning of fossil fuels was undeniably internationally established at the 1972 Stockholm Conference. The urgency of correcting the problem of CO2 from burning fossil fuels has become better understood since then. And the 1987 UN Report "Our Common Future" left no doubt about the main excuse for lack of responsible leadership by the winners in political and economic market competitions, a lack of action to limit harm done to future generations was popular and profitable because it could be gotten away with.

    The development of understanding since 1987 leading to the Kyoto Accord leaves less doubt about what acceptable/unacceptable leadership actions are. And the Paris Agreement tightens up that understanding.

    So, since 1987 (or earlier), anyone who was already fairly fortunate but still tried to get significant further benefit from the burning of fossil fuels rather than correcting their ways has no excuse. Their developed perceptions of prosperity or opportunity deserve to be shattered, the sooner the better to 'be fairer' about achieving the undeniable required objective, fairly limiting global total impact to 2.0 C.

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  31. nigel @ 129

    Thanks Nigel.  I had reported on Nextra's announcement earlier based upon it having been reported on Climatewire.  Still unclear to me on the battery storage issue but obviously that would be a major breakthrough.

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  32. OPOF @ 130

    I did respond to you but it seems that my comment either did not make it onto the website for some technical reason or was deleted although I do not think it was in any way inflammatory.

    Basically acknowledged that my best guess is that the incrementalism that we see in government actions around the world (including the US) will mean that we cannot meet the 2C threshold by 2100.  This will mean that if the climate model predictions of accelerating rates of sea level and temperature are correct that we will be spending more money on adaptation.

    Maybe adaptation is not such a bad thing.  It will keep our populace busy amidst automation removing jobs.  When you look at the renewal that happened in Germany and Japan after WWII and the advantage it provided to them with modern equipment and facilities (look at China last 30 years) you sometimes wonder whether reconstruction is not something that we humans require to keep us going.  Kind of like ants and anthills.  You kick one over and away they go rebuilding it. 

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    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Re your first paragraph, your response to OPOF was not deleted by a Moderator.

  33. NorrisM,

    Thank you for the reply, but you did not answer my specific questions.

    However, the lack of a direct answer is answer enough.

    All I will add is that you should correct the way you state what is going on, with the following as an example of the more accurate way to say it:

    "Basically acknowledged that my best guess is that I am not concerned that the incrementalism that we see in the most irresponsible government actions around the world (including the US - due to the deliberate lack of responsible leadership in nations like the USA) will mean that we cannot meet the 2C threshold by 2100 (the requirement is 2.0 C increase, not 2.0 C at 2100 with more to follow). This will mean that if based on the developed climate science the climate model predictions of accelerating rates of sea level and temperature are correct that we those others in the future (that I do not care about) will be spending more money on adaptation (because people did not 'have' to care about how their desired pursuit of a better Present for themselves was harmimg the fuure of humanity)."

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  34. Norrism @132:

    Do you realize that "adaptation" to sea level rise means moving the majority of the world's great cities inland many miles, hundreds of millions or billions of refugees with no-where to go and the inundation of a substantial amount of the best farming land in the world?  In Miami alone over a trillion dollars of real estate is in danger with sea level rise that is possible by 2100 and sea level will continue to increase after 2100.  With a 1.5C increase Miami is doomed, the question is how long it will take to inundate the city.

    Can you provide data to show that there will be enough farmland left after 2 meters of sea level rise to feed the current world population?  Will you  be willing to accept several million refugees from Bangladesh into Canada?  

    You say "Maybe adaptation is not such a bad thing. It will keep our populace busy amidst automation removing jobs."

    People will be active building all those new cities on current farmland.  Teaching all those refugees English will employ a number of others.  You are blind to the consequences of the path that you are in favor of.

    Let us suppose Miami is inundated and two trillion dollars of real estate is destroyed.  Four million people move to Kansas and spend a trillion dollars to build new housing that is half as good as their old houses.  Economists count that as adding a trillion to GDP.  The people have worse housing and had to spend a trillion dollars that they could have used for other, better stuff.  Be careful what you wish for.

    Please describe where you think a hundred million refugees can be placed worldwide.  Keep in mind all the complaints from about a million refugees from Syria.

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  35. Some may consider all the costs of adaptation as "good for the economy". After all, we live in a throw-away society for many cheaply-made consumer goods, and buying new ones creates jobs for someone.

    If we treat all the land and development that will be flooded due to sea level rise as "throw-away" goods, then large amounts of money will have to be spent to replace them. That will add to the GDP, at least locally. Business is booming!

    One might ask where all that money comes from, though. Well, governments can just borrow it can't they? Disaster relief! The whole global economy can run on money governments borrow to provide disaster relief. I'm sure there won't be any problems with that.

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  36. NorrisM,

    Upon further reflection I am adding to/changing my recommendation/hope for you.

    I hope you will change your mind about what is acceptable and be able to correctly make statements like the example correction I provided without having to refer to yourself as part of the problem.

    The future you indicate is indeed a 'possible future', especially if deliberately irresponsible and harmful leaders, like the current Winners of leadership in the USA, achieve more undeserved Winning in other locations.

    The future of humanity requires more people actively trying to help others become more aware and better understanding of what is really going on and the corrections/changes required to actually improve the future for humanity.

    Admittedly the required corrections have become significant for those who wasted the past several decades trying to prolong their ability to enjoy their life in ways that were understandably unsustainable and harmful to others, especially damaging to the future of humanity. The required corrections will indeed be perceived negatively by those people, but they will understand why they deserve a negative consequence, even if they fight against having to suffer it.

    Those developed unsustainable perceptions of prosperity and opportunity will have to be corrected. Humanity has to have a better future.

    Hopefully humanity is turning around. While you focus on finding evidence to try to justify continued reluctance to change direction, I see a declining number of wealthy people being able to easily impress people into supporting their understandably unsustainable and harmful desires.

    The worst case scenario is indeed continued damaging winning by the wealthy and powerful who are opposed to the better understanding of the changes required by the constantly improved understanding of climate science (like the deliberate ignorance that allowed the USA sub-prime mortgage debacle to become the massive disaster it developed into).

    Hopefully real responsible leaders will over-power the harmful less responsible pursuers of competitive advantage, like the ones in the USA who recently won the ability to do more harm to the future of humanity, to incrementally reverse progress towards a better future in their pursuit of damaging Private Interests.

    We should all try to help others be more helpful, aware, and better understanding of what is really going on and how they think about the acceptability of things. That is key to over-powering those who try to Win by keeping people unaware, incorrectly aware, or misunderstanding what is going on.

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  37. michael sweet @ 134 and Bob Loblaw @ 135

    I just went on the NASA website to check out Miami.  It is completly there  with 6 feet of sea level rise.  At the present rate of sea level rise of ballpark 3.5 mm/yr by 2100 this represents about 11 inches of sea level rise.  So once again we are back to "what if"s to get to some significant impacts (I am not going to define "significant"). 

    So a lot of the "distance" between us is our lack of ability to see into the future and our disagreeing beliefs on what will happen based upon those differing views.  Right now, the IPCC is somewhere around 1m. by 2100.  I do not have the ranges at my fingertips but I do believe these predictions are based upon assumptions of accelerating sea levels which are predicted sometime in the future.

    Paul Ehrlich did not help things with his wild predictions made in the 1970's and 1980's.  So along with the problems of the climate models not being able to accurately represent our actual climate (and therefore accurately predict the future), we do have a bit of the problem that "we have been here before" with dire predictions that simply did not come true.

    I see climate change as a concern but I also see a host of other problems with our world that could make all this worry about 2100 a little academic (accidental nuclear destruction, AI, developments in genetic engineering) when there is absolutely no one who can look into the future 80 years from now and tell us where sea levels will be. 

    So we plod along doing the best we can (knowing that we live in democracies that have a lot of priorities to deal with) but I do not think there is a chance in the world that millions of refugees will be knocking at the doors (or landing on the shores) of the US and Canada in 2100 or sooner.   Wild exaggerations like this are not helpful. First of all, these nations will take steps to protect their people by spending funds to build dikes to protect large areas of the land if these sea levels continue to rise at accelerating levels (probably with foreign aid).  Secondly, maybe at some point we actually will become more proactive at reducing the world population long before then by methods of birth control and other family planning incentives so that we do not have rampant poverty in many places of the world. 

    I think the cartoon at the top of this blog misses the point that this is a very long process and if it becomes more and more of a problem then the world will deal with it.  You may say it will be too late but everything that I read suggests that it is already too late if the dire predictions do come to pass. My understanding is that even a frog would jump out of a slowly heating pot of water.  Hopefully, we are a little smarter than frogs.

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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] As others have already noted, your claims about SLR and Miami are without evidence and merit.  As for "rates" of global SLR, recent research demonstrates that the rates of global SLR are now accelerating and are thus greater-than-linear already:

    "Global sea level rise is not cruising along at a steady 3 mm per year, it's accelerating a little every year, like a driver merging onto a highway, according to a powerful new assessment led by CIRES Fellow Steve Nerem. He and his colleagues harnessed 25 years of satellite data to calculate that the rate is increasing by about 0.08 mm/year every year—which could mean an annual rate of sea level rise of 10 mm/year, or even more, by 2100."

    "This acceleration, driven mainly by accelerated melting in Greenland and Antarctica, has the potential to double the total sea level rise by 2100 as compared to projections that assume a constant rate—to more than 60 cm instead of about 30." said Nerem, who is also a professor of Aerospace Engineering Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder. "And this is almost certainly a conservative estimate," he added. "Our extrapolation assumes that sea level continues to change in the future as it has over the last 25 years. Given the large changes we are seeing in the ice sheets today, that's not likely."

    Per Nerem et al 2018:

    "the observed acceleration will more than double the amount of sea-level rise by 2100 compared with the current rate of sea-level rise continuing unchanged. This projection of future sea-level rise is based only on the satellite-observed changes over the last 25 y, assuming that sea level changes similarly in the future. If sea level begins changing more rapidly, for example due to rapid changes in ice sheet dynamics, then this simple extrapolation will likely represent a conservative  lower bound on future sea-level change."

    SLR Acceleratio - Nerem 2018

    Tamino weighs in with more.

    If you wish to pursue a discussion on SLR and how it impacts global port cities like Miami and others worldwide, this thread is a good place for that.

    Please note that posting comments here at SkS is a privilege, not a right.  This privilege can and will be rescinded if the posting individual continues to treat adherence to the Comments Policy as optional, rather than the mandatory condition of participating in this online forum.

    Moderating this site is a tiresome chore, particularly when commentators repeatedly submit off-topic posts, intentionally misleading comments, ignore when others have demonstrated you to be wrong (sloganeering) or simply make things up. We really appreciate people's cooperation in abiding by the Comments Policy, which is largely responsible for the quality of this site.
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    Please take the time to review the policy and ensure future comments are in full compliance with it.  Thanks for your understanding and compliance in this matter, as no further warnings shall be given.

    Sloganeering and off-topic snipped.

  38. NorrisM:

    Miami? Completely there, with 6 feet of sea level rise?

    That's not what I see on this map. At least, not if you include MIami Beach, Key Biscayne, and close to the shore where much expensive real estate is located. Or large areas inland of Miami. What NASA site did  you use? I didn't find one in the first few pages of a google search.

    And please don't bring back that whole linear extrapolation of current rates as if accelerated sea level rise in the future is unrealistic. It is not "an assumption", it is a projection made by actually looking at the physics of climate change and glacier melt, and how it affects sea level. You know: that "science" stuff.

    A linear extrapolation only works if your "what if?" is "what if the experts that study this have got it all wrong?"

    Dikes don't help in MIami: the "rock" is Swiss cheese and water will just percolate under it. Miami is already having problems and spending money:

    The rest of your post is basically a "technology will save us with magic money" argument. Talk about wild exaggerations and assumptions.

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  39. NorrisM,

    All of your arguing is attempts to excuse unacceptable developed desires to get away with creating a bigger problem - unless you admit that people today have to conservatively correct things so that the actions of the current generation will almost certainly develop a sustainable better future for humanity.

    I am an Engineer. I apply developed, but still uncertain, understanding to 'safely design things that will hopefuly last into the future'. So do all other responsible engineers.

    The responsible actions to address the uncertain creation of sea level rise would be for the people today benefiting from creating the uncertain future problem to have to build solutions that are likely to survive long into the future (not leave it to future generations to try to solve).

    And to be safe, structural designs are based on a 98% probability of performing adequately in the future. That would mean evaluating the range of possible sea level rise and associated storm event surges to determine the level that only has a 2% chance of being exceeded in the future. And that evaluation would have to include the uncertainty regarding how much irresponsible action will occur, how bad it could get, conservatively.

    So, less aggressive action today to reduce the future impacts would require more expenditure today to correct for the possible worst future that is being created.

    Said it before. Will say it again. Less action taken earlier to correct a problem likely develops a larger future problem requiring more dramatic corrective action.

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  40. Norrism:

    The "distance" between us is caused by you always minimizing the dangter.  I provided a link upthread for you that estimated as much as 8 feet of sea level rise by 2100 from the US Climate Change report released by the Trump administration.  Since recent peer reviewed studies linked above have shown that sea level is accelerating a minimum of 0.68 meters is expected.  As Bob Ladlaw says, the physics indicates that much more is projected.  Where did you get 11 inches? Since we have already seen 9 inches and at 3.4 mm/yr 12 more inches is expected by 2100 even your minimum estimate is 21 inches.  Your numbers are deliberately incorrect.

    Looking at Bob's map from Climate Central, at only 6 feet (two feet less than what might occur) most of Miami is under water.  Looking a little north I seee all of Fort Lauderdale is underwater and Miami is actually an island.  Since they get all their water from wells located at 3 feet above sea level (the old sea level, now it is 2 feet 3 inches above sea level) their water will all be gone.  They already have salt intrusion problems.

    In addition, the Climate Central maps only show land that is submerged at mean higher high water.  That means homes that are at 6.5 feeet are flooded several times a month by spring tides, hardly livable.  They will need a bridge to get past Fort Lauderdale when they ship in food.

    If you simply deny all the problems caused by AGW it is easy to claim it is not too bad.  You have beeen provided with the data.  You are just not able to remember the bad things.

    You have not given me a descritpion of where you are going to put 100,000,000 climate refugees.  Canada will have to take at least several million.  Where in Canada do you propose to put several million people from Bangladesh?

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  41. Moderator,

    Norrism has produced no data to support his wild claims about sea level or "Maybe adaptation is not such a bad thing".  We have only his unsupported word.  On sea  level he ignores the data he has been given and makes up absurd claims.  We had a long discussion about "harming the economy" where he produced nothing beyond his unsupported word.  He dismissed the Stern report with he thought he had heard someone criticize it but produced nothing in writing.  He ignores questions that he doesn't like.  

    Norrism should be required to support his wild claims just like everyone else.  It is very time consuming to find peer reviewed data to show his claims are false and then he denies the data.  He should have to answer the questions he faces.  It is impossible to debate smoke.

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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Agreed.

  42. Speaking of sea level rise in Miami...

    Sea-level rise is a regional threat. It will need a regional game plan to fight it by Harvey Ruvin, Miami Herald, Feb 13, 2018

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  43. NorrisM,

    To help you better understand how to 'correctly' evaluate potential impacts of sea level rise I offer the following 'increment' of better understanding. To determine the region where the ground surface is affected you need to compare ground elevation to:

    • Mean Sea Level
    • + The potential rise of sea level due to global warming
    • + The increase at High Tide
    • + The maximum potential storm surge including any potential increase due to global warming climate change
    • + Wave action which is potentially increased by global warming climate change. Note that the impact of waves is the added height of the wave tops plus the inland velocity moving the water to even higher ground surface levels further inland.
    • + inland surface runoff occurring during the same event which is undeniably increased by global warming climate change - the Houston event proved that.
    • The identification of any below ground human creations like parking basements, that would be compromised because they are lower than the ground water level increases.

    A related 'increment' of understanding is that the 'building today' of the sustainable fix that will survive far into the future would include the complete demolition of the currently built items that would potentially be within the range of increase water encroachment, be impacted in the future, with the area they had been built in reclaimed to the pre-development natural conditions.

    Note that attempting to accomplish something by building walls is a fool's game. A wall needs to be maintained to survive into the distant future. And if the wall becomes understood to be inadequate, if the original attempts to conservatively determine what would be required are incorrect, it can be almost impossible to practically improve the wall. That imposition of a future cost would be unacceptable, so the initial wall would need to be a massive feature, able to endure thousands of years into the future.

    And a further increment is that sea level rise is only one of the many climate change impacts that today's 'most fortunate who got their fortune from the global burning of fossil fuels' have to address by revising/strengthening of already built items. Other actions required by Today's most fortunate beneficiaries of the entire history of burning of fossil fuels include:

    • Increased snow weight on all buildings in regions that may have snow, including regions that have an increased potential for snow events due to global warming climate change.
    • Stronger maximum wind speeds everywhere.
    • Upgrade all drainage systems for increased peak rain intensities, especially dam spillway features (to avoid the future near disaster as almost occurred in California in 2017).
    • Upgrade all surface runoff reservoirs to hold increased total runoff from a multi-day rain event combined with snow melt.

    And the next increment of understanding is Today's 'most fortunate who got their fortune from the global burning of fossil fuels' have to pay to do the upgrading/strengthening changing everywhere on the planet, including being the ones to pay for impacted regions where the people did not gain significant benefit from the burning of fossil fuels, did not benefit from the creation of the problem that has to be corrected for.

    And what I have mentioned is only part of what has to be required to be  done by today's most fortunate beneficiaries of the global burning of fossil fuels to be 'fair to those who do/did not benefit as much from the activity', especially to be fair to the future generations who get no benefit, just the burden of dealing with the impacts.

    Hope that helps you become a Better Understander.

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  44. Bob Loblaw @ 138 and michael sweet @ 40

    Here is the NASA interactive graphic that shows Miami is still around with 6 feet of sea level rise:

    I think that Miami will be a fascinating analysis of the dynamics of American politics when it comes to solving the issues of sea level rise.  Who will pay the bill?  The Miami Herald article referenced by the Moderator suggests that they will be looking for federal money on the grounds that their adaptations will somehow assist other areas of the country.  I am not sure that the rest of the country will so sympathetic to assisting the wealthy who have developed this land full-well knowing that it would be vulnerable to rising sea levels.  How long have sea levels been rising?  From what I understand a couple of hundred years.

    I fully understand the issues with the porous rock that underlays Miami.  Again, how long has this been known?

    New Orleans is another fascinating case where a lot of the sea level rise has been caused by the subsidence in the land mass from drainage.  Again, who will foot the bill?

    I acknowledge michael sweet's correction that my calculation was one of future sea level rise from 2018 to 2100 whereas the IPCC prediction of 1m goes back to ballpark 1870 (I believe).  This was a mistake on my part because I forgot that the IPCC prediction related to a different period.  It was not an intentional misrepresentation.

    My mistake indicates the confusion that I suspect there is with the public when 1m of sea level rise (best guess) is predicted by 2100. 

    What the public wants to focus on is the "here and now".  From where we  are today,  what can we expect by 2100?   It is too sophisticated to talk to the public about 1 m since 1870 unless the point is made at the same time that we have already seen 9 inches of the predicted 39 inches.

    As for the recent Nerem paper, I was aware of it but my understanding is that it is one paper and it certainly is not the considered view of the IPCC at this time.  I am not sure if it was referenced by the recent US Climate Change Report.  Secondly, the predicted acceleration of the sea levels by the climae models was some time in the future. 

    But if Nerem is correct then this certainly is information that has to be taken into account.

    michael sweet, I would very much appreciate it if you could again provide me with the link to where the US Climate Change Report references predicted sea level changes.  Does it specifically accept the Nerem paper?  I thought the Nerem paper would have come out too late to be considered.

    Moderator: Again it is difficult to discuss issues in a vacuum without crossing into other threads where these things are discussed.  Perhaps ms could reply to me on the sea level change thread with a cross reference to this thread. 

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  45. OPOF @ 143

    Thanks for this summary of the continuing changes that we will be required to address with climate change.  They obviously will be things that must and will be addressed as the costs of operating our society. When these adaptation costs become too burdensome for the public then you will see the outcry that will get the public behind more mitigation measures. I just see at the present time a different mix of adaptation and mitigation than many others on this website. 

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  46. NorrisM,

    You also seem to believe it is acceptable for people in the future to have to 'adapt or mitigate'. That misunderstanding needs to be corrected. Correcting that misunderstanding will make it clear that many among the most fortunate today 'owe others, specially the future generations' what it takes to correct the incorrect things that have developed.

    'Future adaptation' is not a 'fair or legitimate' option. Globally correcting that misunderstanding will change everything - for the better (except for those who want to maintain undeserved developed perceptions of personal prosperity or opportunity).

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  47. NorrisM @ 144:

    OK. Now I can see what you see on the NASA map. At least, I think I see what you see.

    What I see is a map of the SE US, from Texas to Florida and points north along the Atlantic seaboard. A map that simply does not have sufficient detail around Miami to show the areas that will flood that are shown in the map I link to in #138. I do see a bit of red near Miami on the NASA map.

    If the NASA map were the first one I was to see, I'd go looking for another map with better resolution and detail around Miami. I"d be curious what those few pixels or red represented. I am guessing that you saw what you wanted to see (lots of white), and stopped.

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  48. NorrisM,

    To reinforce the understanding of my previous comment about the future perception of unacceptability of a portion of current day humanity enjoying the creation of future consequences others will have to deal with, I offer the following current day perception regarding the lack of action through the past several decades.

    It can be justifiably claimed that the current generation of humanity faces a larger and 'more urgent to act on' challenge to reduce the total accumulated climate change impacts due to the 'attempts by already more fortunate humans to continue to personally benefit from burning of fossil fuels', as well as having to make amends for the already identified harmful consequences being experienced by people who did not significantly sustainably benefit from the creation of the challenges they face.

    Current day people understanding that would be justified in taking actions against the Private Interest of all of the more fortunate people who, since 1987 (and likely earlier) when it became undeniable that their continued attempts to benefit that way were unacceptable, have continued to try to get away with understandably unacceptable behaviour rather than change their minds and their ways. And those justified actions would include stripping some of those "Big Winners" of most of their wealth (Just like cheating athletes get their medals removed at later dates).

    The likely result of increased understanding of what is going on includes the end of the belief that popularity and profitability are decent ways of determining acceptability. The improved understanding would include the knowledge that everyone freer to believe what they want and do as they please will actually delay or reduce the chances of developing sustainable improvements for humanity. A lot of horrible harmful things have developed and been prolonged in the games of popularity and profitability.

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  49. Norrism"

    Googleing "US climate change report" gave me Climate Science Special Report 2017 as the third hit.  The 5th paragraph of the executive summary states:

    "Global average sea levels are expected to continue to rise—by at least several inches in the next 15 years and by 1–4 feet by 2100. A rise of as much as 8 feet by 2100 cannot be ruled out."  there is a chapter on sea level rise.

    Please note that this is a substantial increase from the National Climate Assessment 2013 which gave a maximum of 6.6 feet. 

    The Nerem paper is too recent to be considered in any summary report.  When the Nerem paper is taken into consideration the maximum (and the expected) will have to be increased again.  There have been several recent papers on Antarctic ice starting to collapse.  That will be added on also.  This is par for the course, they always increase sea level rise every time they write a report.  Hansen's suggestion of 16 feet of rise by 2100 as posssible is looking more likely all the time.

    Sea level declined slightly from 1500 to 1850 then started to rise as AGW took effect. (details in the reports cited above)

    You only consider the best case.  To properly plan for the future you have to plan for the worst case.  "plan for the worst and hope for the best".  The problem with planning for the absolute best possible, like you do, is that if it doesn't work out than you are in big trouble.  If you plan for the worst you can adapt easily to better conditions.

    Look carefully at the NASA map.  Often satalite data is used which measures to the top of buildings and the top of trees. That is not very useful and it appears to me that is what NASA has done.   The Climate Central map that Bob Ladlaw linked up thread is more accurate (I believe it has been peer reviewed).  Both NASA and Climate Central only consider a home flooded when it is permanently under water.  In the real case, people have to have several feet of difference between their house and mean higher high water.  That means they substantially underestimate the number of people flooded by a certain amount of sea level rise.

    South Florida cannot be defended because the rock is porous. They have not realized that they will all have to move when the sea rises a few more feet.   They will have no water and it will be clear they will be flooded in the long run.   What will be  done with the nuclear reactor at Turkey Point that is already on a low lying island island?  

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  50. Bob Loblaw @ 147

    I suspect the red on the NASA map is Miami Beach.  I find the map you referenced difficult to work with.  I would have thought NASA would have had a much more comprehensive "climate time machine" for all parts of the world.  Cannot even see New York or Los Angeles.

    I do not have a lot of sympathy for Florida.  There is a certain amount of "caveat emptor" that does not apply to countries like Bangladesh.  And here Florida, the most vulnerable state in the US to climate change passes its electoral college seats to Trump who calls climate change a hoax.  Is this a bit of "head in the Florida sand"?

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