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26 July 2016


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Leaving aside your pinkish AGW friends and their concerns as you define them mankind is living longer and less brutish lives due to fossil energy inputs. I don't see the need to define the problems of fossil fuel consumption in unrealistic binary terms of unrestrained use or no use. The problems of poisonous smog wasn't met by proposing the elimination of cars but tightening emission standards.
Like yeast with finite environment and energy sources a large part of mankind, and the ecosystem we feed off of is condemned to the consequences of taking 60million old carbon out of the ground and putting it into the atmosphere over 150yrs. The consequences won't be felt by you or me in our remaining decades but will be felt by those on the margins in fragile circumstances in coming generations.
If you want to make domestic energy policy factoring morality on a global scale that's a pretty big task. Most people will reject the slightest increase in present expenses for a benefit to people fifty years down the line on the other side of the planet. The fight to take lead out of gasoline and impose emission restrictions took decades even when the benefits were immediate and obvious.


I'm not aware of Republican solutions to CO2 emissions, Trump denies AGW exists. That particular Republicans proposal for a carbon tax is anathema to the Party.


As always, John Michael says it better than I ever could.


I, for one, would love to be a fly on the wall for a conversation between the Colonel and the Archdruid.

It would probably be a remarkable thing.


Ah, c’mon Tyler. You should know all we need is a blowtorch waved over a cold bathtub to warm it up, don’t you? Who needs a hot water heater? And it’ll reduce your carbon footprint.

Besides, heat doesn’t rise. Not any more. Now climate “physics”--taught in the Social Sciences Dept along with Economics--says it sinks. And it loves deep water. The Marianna Trench must have been positively tropical when Mr. Avatar Director went down there. Anyone remember?


You beat me to it.


I Went in and checked all kinds of different stuff. NOAA keeps lots of good datasets. NASA is in there too. Heck, I was up in Boulder visiting friends and went up to NCAR/UCAR for two days and they were super helpful and had great patience with a non-meteorologist type scientist asking questions. I bought them lunch for being patient.

The data appears to be pretty dang solid. Perfect,, Probably not. But having been around for a bit working in the lab sciences, It looks pretty damn good, warts and all.

As always, my unease with observational science is lack of controls. But that is the nature of the beast

Babak Makkinejad

You won't get any argument out of me on this, I am in general agreement with you.

My opinion is that the Global Warming is very largely a natural phenomenon and we best learn to live with it rather than running around like headless chickens, lying about the causes and promulgating a whole bunch of fantasy projects, policies and laws that will have zero impact on the effects of Global Warming as experienced by several billion people on Earth.


I've been away from the climate thread for a few days- brain tumour (friend), abscess (cat), repairs (car) etc, so I'll pick up where the discussion is, rather than where it was.

Please correct me if I misread it, but the Archdruid's article seems to be putting the blame for lack of action on climate change on the scientists and policy makers, rather than the denial industry and its manufacturing of fear, uncertainty and doubt. Almost like a case of blaming the victim- Is he really saying that the proponents of action should have forecast that interests that may be potentially affected by this action would resist, and thus they should have taken pre-emptive measures?

Nice idea in theory, but hardly likely in the real world. Imagine the indignant outrage from the coal and oil industry if some policy maker had said 'fossil fuel industry are going to fight this tooth and nail; we'll need to get in first'. Very courageous, 'Yes Minister' style. Fossil fuel PR outfits and lobbyists would have had them for breakfast.

Communicating climate science is difficult because it involves working with concepts that the bulk of the human population don't handle very well. One thing is handling time scales- people tend to over-weight the short term at the expense of the long term. Another is evaluating probabilities and risk. Most people tend to do this very subjectively, which is an issue because most of the predictions about climate change impacts are couched in probabilistic terms.

Another factor is that following the unusually high temperatures in 1998, the denialist industry was able to cherry-pick a period of below-trend temperature increase. Referring to this factual data added plausibility to their wider misrepresentation of climate science, and their claims of conspiracy.

Seriously, how could such a world wide conspiracy stay totally secret for more than two minutes? How long would it be before a disgruntled climate scientist or ten(eg laid off after failure to get a research grant) began beating a path to the media. Besides, the incentive to prove the present global warming is wrong/a crock/ whatever is immense. Nobel prizes and Einstein-like status would only be the start.


Hold a mixing bowl of hot water in your hands, lo and behold the heat "sinks" down to your hands. Get under a tin roof where you're shaded from the sun and miracle of miracles you'll feel heat radiating down from the tin.

The same science that gives you gps and satellite telemetry, not taught in Social Sciences either, is measuring increases in water temperature where 90% of the heat rise is contained.

According to some the process of research, discovery and development that gives the US such powerful weapon systems mysteriously stops when it comes to analyzing global warming. NOAA and the Navy seem to do just fine handling the reality of climate sciences yet you characterize the science coming out of social studies.


It's an easy path to rely on belief over reason when there is no immediate benefit but immediate cost. Good luck to the friend and cat.


Thanks for your kind wishes. Friend is on a steepening glide to the inevitable, cat is insolent again, so must be feeling better.

different clue


I partway agree with Henshaw's comment below in that the coal, gas and oil lobbyists and spokesfolk combatted very effectively every effort the carbon emissions control movement people made. There were also a couple of efforts to imagine and describe that positive conservation and sustainably renewable future that The Archdruid says were never made at all. I remember efforts to inspire broad interest and pursuit in "The Apollo Project" and "The Green-Blue Alliance". I don't know if they were beaten down or if the political landscape was already sterile enough by the time they emerged that they could not have grown big enough to attract Mr. Greer's attention in any case.

I remember Professor Reid Bryson at University of Wisconsin predicting a Frosty-Chill Age but I thought that media predictions of a coming New Ice Age were just media drama. I did not know that science writers and etc. were also predicting a New Ice Age. I read a Reid Bryson interview about the coming Frosty-Chill Age in Mother Earth News Magazine, which I used to get at the time. If today's Warmists are pretending that there were never any Coolists in the 1970s, then they do discredit themselves as Mr. Greer says. It would be better to re-study why the Coolists at that time expected a cooldown and try and work out why the cooldown didn't happen, rather than pretend no cooldown was even predicted by people of that time.

He also raises a good general point about the de-warming activists needing to model visible conservation lifestyling their own selves if they want an audience to take seriously their advice on who should do what. I would question the value of the particular visible target that Mr. Greer wants the Warmists to take down to show their sincerity. And that target is commercial air travel. He vaguely claims that commercial air travel emits a "huge" amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. (Whereas I have read that commercial air travel emits 5% of the greenhouse gases that are emitted by fossil fuel burning in general. So killing commercial air travel would leave the other 95% untouched). Also, he claims that killing commercial air travel might kill "a few" jobs but since everything the Warmists suggest would kill jobs, so what?
He says that "coal mining provides wages for the working poor, commercial air travel provides amenities for the affluent". But this is where Mr. Greer strikes me as symbolically verbiating rather than logically thinking, in that the money the affluent pay for the unecessary amenity of flying . . . goes to jobs which provide wages for the working poor, just like coal mining. I wonder which activity provides MORE jobs and wages to the working poor . . . coal mining? Or commercial air travel?
And the abolition of commercial air travel would mean the abolition of plane trips once every year or two years or five years for the biweekly wage earners just as much as every day for the salary-drawing twice-a-day fliers on the commuter redeye. So it looks to me as if Mr. Greer has picked on air travel as a symbolic scapegoat technology. As a biweekly wage-earner myself, I seriously enjoy my once-every-one-to-three-years air travel trip as a sometime escape from my slow small narrow life. If I were able to shrink my carbon footprint in other areas of my life enough to cancel out my once-every-one-to-three-years airplane carbon bigfooting, I wonder if Mr. Greer would respect my results? If I had genuine results to show Mr. Greer? And also, as a biweekly wage earner, I would say . . . .lets curtail commercial air travel before we abolish it altogether, if it really is more than the 5%-of-the-problem which I think it is. Lets limit everyone to the same once-a-year-or-less air travel that I do and see if that's good enough. If it isn't good enough, then we can all abolish that last little bit of air travel together. I wonder if Mr. Greer would accept that as lifestyle-sincerity-on-display?


For reference (and humorous enjoyment) the Professional Doomsayer Guy McPherson, climate change "guarantee" a Near Term Extinction, all of us wiped out by 2050 or such!
Meanwhile, I guess he is making quite a living and fun meetings out of it.


I have always thought of cats as insouciant more than insolent

different clue


I wonder if this McPherson guy is a "reverse-psychology" underminer-from-within? Because if I were to decide he is correct, I would stop caring about anything at all regarding the future. Because if we are all going to go extinct in 2050 anyway, why shouldn't I have all the irresponsible fun I can possibly have in the meantime?


I have not and I doubt that it is realistically possible, there is just too much data. You could not look at more than a fraction of the data generated today before even more was produced tomorrow. That said I have tried to read what I can and believe that human civilisation has occurred in a very atypically stable climatic period and it is likely to suffer greatly if there is a rapid change (not unusual in the climate record but novel in human recorded history).
I doubt this thread will reach any useful conclusions. I, like HawkOfMay, have had to accept the consensus amongst those scientists who have spent all their waking hours pondering the issue, and even they only cover their own specialisations. I think it is real and we should be planning and acting now on the best data currently available. We will need to revue and amend our plans as new data emerges. Doing nothing, absent a smoking gun, would be unwise given the time lag between action and reaction. This is one very big super-tanker and waiting until you can see the beach before putting the engines in reverse will be catastrophic.
Not that what anyone writes here will change minds, most seem to have already been made up - at least on this issue.


Step I:

Carbon Dioxide functions as a "GreenHouse Gas" (GHG) because of it's absorbsion spectrum: like glass, it's transparent to visible light, but opaque to infrared.

Anybody disagree?


Ice age predictions were made by science writers and journalists, rather than scientists themselves. A major issue was the role of aerosols- which provide a cooling effect, and were growing in concentration at the time.

There's a good article on 1970s cooling predictions published by the American Meteorological Society http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/2008BAMS2370.1

Babak Makkinejad


A new paper published in Nature:


"Absence of 21st century warming on Antarctic Peninsula consistent with natural variability"

John Turner,
Hua Lu,
Ian White,
John C. King,
Tony Phillips,
J. Scott Hosking,
Thomas J. Bracegirdle,
Gareth J. Marshall,
Robert Mulvaney
& Pranab Deb

Nature 535, 411–415 (21 July 2016) doi:10.1038/nature18645 Received 05 February 2016 Accepted 06 June 2016 Published online 20 July 2016

"The Antarctic Peninsula has been warming for many decades, but an analysis now reveals that it has cooled since the late 1990s. Inspection of the factors involved suggests that this is consistent with natural variability."

So, temperature changes in the Antarctic are not due to anthropogenic causes nor all that ice is going to melt and raise the sea levels.

The write-up, in Nature, to be distinguished from the actual paper, by one Professor Steig (U. of Washington) makes an attempt to keep the possibility of an anthropogenic cause alive.


"Our findings cover only 1% of the Antarctic continent and emphasize that decadal temperature changes in this region are not primarily associated with the drivers of global temperature change but, rather, reflect the extreme natural internal variability of the regional atmospheric circulation."

Not sure what you're trying to say. The Antarctic is not the globe, one per cent of the Antarctic is not the Antarctic.


I like the idea of a betting system, where people put up real money to match their mouth.



An I especially liked this quote

Opponents of science-informed policy cite uncertainty as a reason to delay action. Mainstream science acknowledges and objectively quantifies uncertainty, whereas opponents often use the language of certainty. Because communication is typically more persuasive when a message is conveyed with certitude, contrary voices may appear stronger than scientific voices to the public. To redress this imbalance, we must find a way to determine whether expressed opinions represent true opinions. One longstanding method is through wagering, and this session will examine the role of bets in exposing actual beliefs related to climate change and associated risk.

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