Climate Change


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48 Responses to Climate Change

  1. Glenn G says:

    This 5-minute video is everything you need to know on the climate change issue. It’s a Boston Globe interview with Richard Lindzen, an atmospheric physicist and professor of meteorology at MIT. And it’s not friendly to the climate change crowd.

  2. Tyler says:

    Its always nice to see SST supporting fictional works.

  3. LeeG says:

    Homo Sap population has grown incredibly since fossil fuels started feeding its activities. Like yeast fermenting sugars, growth will hit limits as most accessible fossil resources are depleted and conditions for growth have changed. A yeast cell isn’t going to change its behavior and neither will humans.

  4. LeeG says:

    This 75 minute lecture about humans and the quadratic equation is pretty good too.

  5. turcopolier says:

    Ah, c’mon. I am just giving people a chance to discuss it. pl

  6. kao_hsien_chih says:

    Here’s one thing that boggled me from the beginning.
    Is there a good scientific foundation to worry about possible climate warming? Yes.
    Are potential damages form climate change enormous, if it is happening? Yes.
    Is there strong evidence for climate change? Maybe. Not slam dunk…but as they say, if we get slam dunk evidence, the damages will have been huge.
    Is climate change, if it is there, the fault of humans? Impossible to say.
    Of all these questions, the fourth is the most controvertible and least relevant. The bottom line is that there is good reason to believe that it might be happening and if it is, a lot of harm can be done. We would be wise to insure ourselves against the potential damage. Whose fault it is, however, is not obvious at all, or if indeed if it is anyone’s fault.
    BUT the important thing, for the advocates of the climate change is not that it might be taking place or that it can do tremendous harm if it is there. It’s simply a tool to score political points, with which to hammer their opponents with and to advance their pet agendas which often have little or nothing to do with seriously combating the possibility of climate change. In other words, a lot of climate change advocates aren’t acting like they are taking the dangers of climate change all that seriously. Not exactly something that makes people who don’t buy into their worldview trust them or their proposals.
    A useful contrast, admittedly based on a lot of secondhand information, is that, while combating the climate change propaganda on one hand, big oil corporations are also drawing up contingency plans and making investments in precautions in case of climate change–which is smart because a lot of their installations, in places like Louisiana, are greatly endangered by possible effects of climate change. This actually seems like something prudent that we might all consider, minus the wasted time on who’s to blame nonsense.

  7. Tyler says:

    Oh I know. I just wanted to see who might take my bait and start talking about “heat hiding in the deep oceans”. I needed a laugh this morning.

  8. LeeG says:

    “It’s only a few degrees”
    It only took a few degree rise over a thousand years to exacerbate extinction of mega fauna in the Americas.
    Some ecosystems, and human societies, are more vulnerable to disruption than others. We’re looking at a rate of change in 100 yrs.

  9. Donald says:

    Well, if five minutes is all you nee to understand atmospheric physics, then the following link is all you need to refute Lindzen

  10. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels
    Yes, I know, the writer very likely could be working for the Oil Plutocracy, OPEC, Russia, Texas, Louisiana, Alaska, Canada, Norway etc.

  11. Tel says:

    John Cook has been debunked so many time it just isn’t funny any more. By his own standards only trained and qualified scientists should be allowed to comment on science and Cook isn’t one.
    But anyhow, here goes nothing.
    The “thermal inertia” argument is garbage. We know the Earth surface heats and cools rapidly (happens every year, known as “Summer” and “Winter”). If there was some deep state change somewhere it would be measurable, but no one seems capable of finding this.
    The “aerosol” argument only popped up after previous predictions of warming failed badly… it became the figure to balance allowing retrospective adjustments of the models. Industrial air pollution was much worse across Europe and North America during the late 19thC and early 20thC, (think all the coal burning, no filters, automobiles were less efficient, etc) and it’s had much lower particulate matter since then. If anything the trend should be the other direction.
    The “tipping point” argument has never been even slightly proven in a scientific manner. No one knows where these points supposedly exist, nor how to find them, it’s entirely Fear Uncertainty and Doubt. In the past Earth’s climate has been warmer for some periods and cooler for other periods than today. In addition we know there were times when Earth’s atmosphere had higher CO2 and also times when Earth’s atmosphere had lower CO2, but no sign of a tipping point triggering. It’s just made-up garbage.
    The “hottest on record” global temperature is full of adjustments, the past temperatures are regularly being re-calculated to different values, it is questionable whether the concept even makes sense of averaging together a bunch of surface temperature measurements, especially when various measurement techniques have been deployed, stations have moved, large areas of the Earth’s surface are not being measured and anyway they only look at daily maximum/minimum values which are not particularly representative. Yet they still claim accuracy down to small fractions of a degree. This is not science. No other discipline would allow this type of fudgery.
    The Phil Jones quote about “no statistically significant warming” was perfectly accurate, and the relevant context was perfectly well understood. I read through those emails myself. Cook is talking total BS, here is his explanation in detail:
    “When you read Phil Jones’ actual words, you see he’s saying there is a warming trend but it’s not statistically significant. He’s not talking about whether warming is actually happening. He’s discussing our ability to detect that warming trend in a noisy signal over a short period.”
    That’s why we have tests of statistical significance, because the data is noisy and because possibly you could just be looking at natural variation. That’s why something “not statistically significant” should never be used as the basis to taking action (especially expensive action), because there is a high risk of a mistake. Cook does not even understand the basic concepts, yet he pretends to be some sort of reference site on this.
    Besides that, what the climate “scientists” were predicting was much more warming than ever happened. This tells you their models were wrong, because the predictions didn’t come true.
    We are supposed to have climate refugees all over the place by now, and accelerating sea level, and all of these disasters like hurricanes. Did you know that during the Obama Presidency the number of hurricanes hitting the USA has been at an all time low? Strange the newspapers aren’t jumping all over that.

  12. Tel says:

    That’s right, humans never change behaviour. The Internet never happened actually I’m communicating with you by beating my club on a hollow log.
    Sheesh, here I am making that big presumption that communication is even possible under the circumstances.

  13. BraveNewWorld says:

    I would like to ask. How many people here have actually stopped and looked at the “science”? By that I mean how the raw data is collected, how it is packaged and how it is massaged. As opposed to just reading the headlines in the MSM.

  14. LeeG says:

    Or the young man with his degree in Philosophy and years working at the Ayn Rand Institute has found a niche. Good for him. Not sure of his relevance to the topic.

  15. LeeG says:

    By taking the word ” behavior” from a specific context of fossil fuel consumption to a general meaning of all human behavior you are communication your intention just fine.. Someone has to be the 3%,

  16. HawkOfMay says:

    @LeeG Trends are already in place the contradict you. China has passed peak coal and is now on the down side of coal consumption. China made this choice despite the detail it would have been cheaper economically to continue to burn coal. They are betting big on alternative energy and are in position to be the new provider of energy to the developing world.

  17. HawkOfMay says:

    I much prefer the Republican (i.e. those who are willing to move on the issue) proposed solutions to the problem of climate change rather than the Democrats:

  18. HawkOfMay says:

    No, not directly but I’ve worked with people who I trust who have done this leg work. One of my previous jobs was a software engineer at the Environmental Research Engineering Institute of Michigan (
    My job was to support the software that the remote sensing engineers and statisticians used. Lots of PHDs in the hard sciences running around in that group. Their job was working on automatic target recognition algorithms. I’ve contacted those folks with exactly the same question you just asked, they did that legwork and they are convinced that climate change is real.
    I would like to do that same work and follow through with my own investigations.

  19. oldephartte says:

    I’ve seen such allegations before. Historically, coal has been a fuel of choice for centuries despite problems with fly ash. Collecting that to alleviate acid rain looks to have been a momentous exercise in shooting oneself in the foot if you check the Sourcewatch data on degraded retention facilities. New plants are being built.

  20. oldephartte says:

    Hawk of May I was started enough to note the exact day that the anthropogenic global warming / climate change representation caught my attention ( Nov 30 2009 ) to find it had been going on for years. In fact, both the first two directors of the Climate Research Unit of Climategate fame were tarred with the ‘Denier’ label for their opposition to the CO2 as driver of climate and warming alarm recurring representations. It is the hallmark of propaganda to beat down alternate analysis through sheer repetition. The UN’s IPCC does not even pretend to be a scientific research utility, but rather a provider of position papers to government issued under a presumption that there is no need to prove their case. This has meant the abandonment of reasoned discussion in favour of browbeating and silencing dissent – which would otherwise be the default exercise under scientific method.

  21. Grizziz says:

    It appears that in this thread most commentators have picked their side and are looking for allies or evidence to support their argument. Investigators are trying to model a complex system which is not going to give up a simple cause.The economics profession was so bad at this statistical modeling that its hard not to be skeptical.
    Most everyone is a stakeholder in the climate and it is hard to know if it is a zero-sum game or less. IMO it is hard to imagine that the overall benefit to humanity of increasing CO2 in the atmosphere in some immediate to long term.
    It is the length time for this process unfolds which seems to be the most contentious, i.e., do we act now or never? You can only eat and excrete in a single spot for awhile.
    Was it the drought or Turkey damming the rivers or global climate change that drove the tribal rural folks into the cosmopolitan cites of Syria to create the environment for the rebellion? Each part had an effect, but in which proportion? No one wants to take a crack at that without looking un-empirical.
    I take it as a fact that the sea level on the East Coast of America, that snow packs are shorter in the mountains of the West and that glaciers are shrinking everywhere. My observations of all these so-called empirical events is third or fourth hand, but oddly enough I believe it and think that when I drive my car to the grocery store and buy heavily packaged products that I am adding to the problem. Call me naive.
    And by the way the acidification of the oceans caused by increases in atmospheric CO2 which may be a nearer problem:

  22. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Our Anthropogenic Global Warming friends are after the chimera of alternative energy sources, largely “renewables” and are opposed to burning of the fossil fuels.
    That their policy preferences and choices would condemn 4/5 of mankind to short brutish lives does not prick their pink ticklish consciences.
    There lies the relevance to the topic.

  23. Charles Michael says:

    China has been cutting its use of coal first and all to limit the huge thick fog in its major cities, as suppose everybody has seen the darkness of the sky, some may have experienced the breathing hazard.
    Not much related to climate change.
    My opinion on the climate change with anthropic cause is modest: who am I to contest the scientifics ? but personal opinion is of absolutely no relevance or in fact importance. Rigth or wrong, nothing substantive will be done.
    Renewable, I mean new ones solar and wind are no realistic mass solutions IMO; in fact there is actually no solution to the depletion of natural fossil ressources. That means a futur of scarcity.
    There migth be a link with the sorry state of the economy and some explanation to the belligerant moods here and there.

  24. LeeG says:

    That article talks about energy sources for electricity not total fossil fuel consumption. Look at a chart for oil consumption. That carbon goes out a tailpipe .

  25. LeeG says:

    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.

  26. Robert says:

    Elon Musk posted a link on twitter yesterday on this subject, and has skin in the game with Space X and Tesla. I give him far more credibility than the cognitive dissonance of Deniers.
    “Letter from basically every scientific org in the United States to Congress about climate change”
    Here is a direct link to the document sent to Congress

  27. LeeG says:

    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.

  28. Degringolade says:

    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.

  29. MRW says:

    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?

  30. jld says:

    You beat me to it.

  31. Degringolade says:

    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

  32. Babak Makkinejad says:

    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.

  33. Henshaw says:

    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.

  34. LeeG says:

    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.

  35. LeeG says:

    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.

  36. Henshaw says:

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

  37. different clue says:

    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?

  38. jld says:

    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.

  39. Degringolade says:

    I have always thought of cats as insouciant more than insolent

  40. different clue says:

    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?

  41. JJackson says:

    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.

  42. elkern says:

    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?

  43. Henshaw says:

    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

  44. Babak Makkinejad says:

    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.

  45. LeeG says:

    “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.

  46. Degringolade says:

    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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