Unforced Variations: Nov 2013

This month’s open thread…

  1. Tony Weddle:


    I’ve tried to wade through the feedbacks that Guy lists and it does take a while, especially without access to much of the research. It seems to me that only about a third of the listed feedbacks may have definitely kicked in but it’s not clear that they are all self-reinforcing at this time. Some descriptions of the feedbacks are just wrong (e.g. the one regarding drought in the Amazon).

    I respect what Guy has done and he does provide much good info but he does tend to collect worst case scenarios, sometimes without fully checking them out and does tend to cling to them even when they’ve been shown to be either wrong or highly dubious (e.g. the Malcolm Light “paper” and the decline of phytoplankton).

    I would certainly love to see an analysis of climate feedbacks in a more considered way. If anyone knows of links, I’d love to get them. I have been pointed to a forum post of someone collecting a list, but no analysis.

  2. patrick:


    This is re-post at SkepticalScience of 17 Nov re-post of an EcoWatch article
    by Michael Mann, Super Typhoon Haiyan: Realities of a Warmed World and Need for Immediate Climate Action.

  3. patrick:

    Make that: a 16 Nov re-post by Dana of an EcoWatch article by Michael Mann


    It says in part:

    The unusually deep, unusually warm pool of water that provided the initial fuel is unlikely to have existed in a world without warming. Global warming-induced sea level rise contributed to the 20-foot storm surges that caught victims off guard, much as it contributed to Sandy’s record 13-foot coastal surge that flooded substantial sections of New York and New Jersey. These events would not have been as severe in a world without warming.

    But herein lies the crux—we no longer live in a world without warming. Given that 1985 was the last year with temperatures below the 20th century average, and 2000-2010 was the hottest decade on record, it has become impossible to say for certain that any given storm is free from the influence of our warmed world.

    While contrarians may dislike it when activists or actors like George Clooney


    point out the linkage between climate change and extreme weather, the bottom line is this: climate change makes tropical storms more damaging. Not only through increased wind speed and rainfall, but most notably through rising sea levels. This means greater damage and loss of property and life.

  4. patrick:

    Link to Clooney won’t work unless you paste it. There’s a link on Clooney in the article–no problem.

  5. Kevin McKinney:

    For your convenience at those annoying times when some chucklehead reveals that they think that the impact of two degrees (or whatever) on GMT is identical to that of two degrees warming on a random winter’s day–for some reason it’s always winter–I’ve reviewed/summarized “Six Degrees,” complete with summary tables for each of the chapters.


    So now, you can point said chucklehead to it. (Odds are they’ll ignore it, but what the heck, some other reader won’t.) The book is dated, to be sure–2008–but I’ll be updating the review, and especially the summary tables, as I can. (It was a tedious pain to do, so your editorial thoughts are particularly welcome–tedium induces error.)

  6. sidd:

    Joughin says Pfeffer is here already at Jacobshawn

    The Cryosphere Discuss., 7, 5461–5473, 2013

    “If, as the glacier recedes up the trough, it is able to maintain the peak speeds year round, then a sustained speedup by a factor of 4 of 5 is conceivable based on recent behavior, which is about half of the ad hoc tenfold upper limit on speed proposed by Pfeffer et al. (2008). Nevertheless, these speeds would occur in a trough roughly twice as deep as prior to the speedup. Hence, a tenfold increase in ice flux may be possible for Jakobshavn Isbræ if the trough does not narrow substantially with distance upstream. Equivalently, while the increase in terminus speed and the glaciers overall maximum speed may remain under a factor of five, as the terminus retreats farther inland where the speeds now are comparatively slow, the relative speedup is much greater (e.g., if the terminus retreated to M26 with a speed of 16 000 m yr−1 , this would represent a twelve-fold speedup). Thinning by hundreds of meters to a terminus near flotation, however, yields something closer to a ten-fold flux increase.”

    free access, Fig.3 is revealing

    very nice paper


  7. Lennart van der Linde:

    sidd #156,

    Thanks for the reference to the draft paper by Joughin & Smith. I’m trying to understand how exactly this compares to Pfeffer et al 2008:

    Pfeffer et al say:
    “Average (present day to 2100) outlet glacier speeds required to meet 2- and 5-m SLR targets range from 26.8 km/year to 125 km/year, depending on the scenario considered [Table 2 and supporting online material (SOM)]. These velocities must be achieved immediately on all outlets considered and held at that level until 2100.”

    So about an average speed of 27 km/yr is needed from now until 2100 for all GIS outlet glaciers, in combination with a 10x higher surface melt rate, to get a GIS-contribution to global SLR of 2 meters this century.

    It seems Joughin & Smith argue in their last sentence this seems unlikely to be possible. However, Pfeffer et al also show a scenario of 2 meter total SLR by 2100 in which GIS contributes about 54 cm. In this scenario:
    “Greenland SMB was accelerated at present-day rates of change, but dynamic
    discharge was calculated by accelerating outlet glacier velocities by an order of magnitude in the first decade.”

    This implies that over the 21st century all GIS outlet glaciers should reach an average speed of about 12 km/yr in this scenario, if I understand correctly. Marine outlet glaciers could then reach a higher average speed and land outlet glaciers a lower average, but it’s not obvious from Joughin & Smith that such average speeds could be sustained for nine decades, I think.

    Jim Hansen for one seems to think Pfeffer et al may under-estimate in particular the potential AIS contribution, so all this is not to say that 2 meter of total SLR by 2100 would be impossible.

  8. Pete Dunkelberg:

    PIG Loses Chunk
    The Pine Island Glacier has calved a sizable iceberg. This has been expected as Mauri Pelto explains and illustrates. This site has fun videos.

    This seems to be typical for the PIG.

    Recapcha says Etat icertypp

  9. Pete Dunkelberg:

    Lennart van der Linde @157

    “”Average (present day to 2100) outlet glacier speeds required to meet 2- and 5-m SLR targets range from 26.8 km/year to 125 km/year, depending on the scenario considered [Table 2 and supporting online material (SOM)]. These velocities must be achieved immediately on all outlets considered and held at that level until 2100.”” (embedded quote)

    I think that is only one way to get 2 or 5 meters SLR by 2100. Another is acceleration of glacial flow as temperature increases. Here is another: Antarctica only appears to be a continent. If ocean channels into the interior occur, the number of ice outlets increases. A combination of these two ….

    SLR by 2100 looks like a wild card to me.

    (Next commenter, please note that bedmap2 is not the original bedmap of Antarctica.)

  10. wili:

    Apologies, Hank. I should have said ‘busy’ rather than ‘lazy’ (which you aren’t).

    Tom, someone on another forum pointed me to this link where apparently Guy keeps an updated feedback list.


    It is really I who am too lazy to go through and figure out which of these we can discard out of hand, which are future issues to keep an eye on, and which are actually feedbacks/tipping points that have now kicked in at some significant level. Since I am also a bit busy (and always tired), I will have to come back in a bit for a first crack at this analysis.

    Kevin, thanks for that summary. I look forward to reviewing it. Do you mind if I share it with others?


    “Current climate change models greatly underestimate the amount of methane being released by thawing permafrost in the Canadian Arctic, according to Canada’s National Institute of Scientific Research (INRS).

    Canadian, French and US researchers from the INRS have been studying the methane and greenhouse gas emissions in small thaw ponds, concluding that the emissions could have a significant climate impact.

    “We discovered that although the small shallow ponds we studied represent only 44 percent of the water-covered surface in a Bylot Island valley, they generate 83 percent of its methane emissions,” said Karita Negandhi, a water sciences doctoral student at the INRS’s Environment Research Center.”


    Original article:


    “Small Thaw Ponds: An Unaccounted Source of Methane in the Canadian High Arctic”

    Does anyone know anything about the reputation of this journal (PLOS One)?

  11. wili:

    Now this:

    “Poor countries walk out of UN climate talks as compensation row rumbles on:
    Bloc of 132 countries exit Warsaw conference after rich nations refuse to discuss climate change recompense until after 2015”

    “Representatives of most of the world’s poor countries have walked out of increasingly fractious climate negotiations after the EU, Australia, the US and other developed countries insisted that the question of who should pay compensation for extreme climate events be discussed only after 2015.

    The orchestrated move by the G77 and China bloc of 132 countries came during talks about “loss and damage” – how countries should respond to climate impacts that are difficult or impossible to adapt to, such as typhoon Haiyan.

    Saleemul Huq, the scientist whose work on loss and damage helped put the issue of recompense on the conference agenda, said: “Discussions were going well in a spirit of co-operation, but at the end of the session on loss and damage Australia put everything agreed into brackets, so the whole debate went to waste.”

    Australia was accused of not taking the negotiations seriously. “They wore T-shirts and gorged on snacks throughout the negotiation. That gives some indication of the manner they are behaving in,” said a spokeswoman for Climate Action Network.

    After a three hour delay in the negotiations,while countries debated what to do in private, talks resumed.”


  12. Hank Roberts:

    > Does anyone know anything about



    The review process was great…. All told, from submission to first decision was about a month. And the decision was … major revisions.

    No, our paper was not simply accepted at PLoS ONE (in fact, PLoS ONE only has about a 30% [] rejection rate). The reviews were tough, critical, and insightful. It was obvious there was no free pass at PLoS …. This was not peer-review light, as some (who have not submitted a paper to PLoS I presume) call it***.

    In the end, I am very happy with our decision to publish in PLoS ONE. ….

  13. wili:

    Thanks, Hank. I couldn’t find anything too damning on a quick perusal, but I thought someone here may have had first hand knowledge–there is a whole industry devoted to scrubbing the web of negative info about journals and other institutions and individuals.

  14. OnceJolly:

    The 20-year GWP for methane reported in the AR5 is somewhat lower than the value reported in Shindell et. al. (2009). I’ve read through parts of Chapter 8 of the AR5 report and there seems to be two possible explanations (pg. 8-58): either (i) the IPCC calculation doesn’t include the indirect effects of methane on the oxidation of SO2 to sulfur aerosols or (ii) the effects are included, but subsequent research found a smaller effect. Unfortunately I’ve been unable to determine where the differences come from. Any clarification would be much appreciated.

  15. Bojan Dolinar:

    Anyone noticed new preliminary survey on consensus. Some are already manufacturing spin on conclusions, but from diagonal read it seems that it merely replicates other such studies.

  16. Hank Roberts:

    > new preliminary survey on consensus


    (Bojan’s second link “manufacturing spin” is broken by a familiar bug — the blog software links itself to itself here.

  17. Tom Roche:

    On NPR yesterday (21 Nov 2013) Richard Harris said “about half of all carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has come from the developing world.” Seems high regarding *all* atmospheric CO2 (i.e., the stock, not current flows), but ICBW.

    Could anyone enlighten me regarding the provenance of that estimate? Particularly, does that include emissions from colonies (e.g., Africa before 1950)? I’m also interested in political partitioning of CH4 and N2O–are such estimates available?

  18. Tom Roche:

    @160, @162: PLoS ONE is an open-access journal. This leads some (notably, those with an interest in maintaining for-profit scientific publishing) to question its quality. They are generally wrong, but there are specific concerns about PLoS ONE, as expressed here.

  19. Killian:

    First time I recall hearing a climate scientists say what many of us have been saying for years: We must rapidly and significantly reduce consumption.

    The scientists also address scientists’ activism. That starts at @ 14:45. They say, for example, scientists have been too quiet about the misuse of their work.


    The interview is via Democracy now at the COP.

  20. wili:

    Tom, thanks for the PLoS ONE insight. On the Harris quote, “about half of all carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has come from the developing world” someone got something wrong. The developing world is just now approaching annual CO2 emissions levels of the developed world (which is presumably the intended message, or the original message that got garbled somehow intentionally or un-). So it should say, “about half of all CO2 in the atmosphere _IS NOW COMING_ from the developing world.”

    But through most of the relevant history (last 200 years or so) nearly all the additional CO2 from burning ff and land use changes were the result of activities of industrial nations (and early on, industrializing nations). I don’t have the latest estimated imbalance historical figures in front of me. But there is still an enormous ‘ecological debt’ owed to the ‘developing’ world from these historical emissions (among other things).

  21. Tom Roche:

    @170: “The developing world is just now approaching annual CO2 emissions levels of the developed world”

    That’s my impression: current *flow* of CO2 (gotta check on the other major GHGs) from LDCs is approaching parity with current flow from MDCs. But given the atmospheric lifetime of CO2 and the history of its anthropogenic emissions (both subjects with which Harris should be familiar), I was startled to see and hear Harris’ bald statement regarding global CO2 *stocks*.

    @170: “(which is presumably the intended message, or the original message that got garbled somehow intentionally or un-)”

    Increasingly unimpressed by NPR’s “journalism,” I’ve been getting my daily “news fix” via MP3s from Democracy Now! for a few years now. Call me biased, but I suspect intentional garbling: à la Krugman, I’d label this NPR’s “Opinions Differ on Climate Loss and Damage” moment.

  22. Tom Roche:

    @169: “hearing a climate [scientist] say[,] We must rapidly and significantly reduce consumption.”

    If you want some *serious* firebreathing, check out Naomi Klein’s piece in the New Statesman. Anybody got media of Brad Werner‘s talk?

  23. Russell:

    This superb slice of bafflegab from the Heartland Institute deserves response :


    Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science has generated extensive press and online attention worldwide. Of course, not all of it has been positive.

    Jim Lakely, Heartland’s communication director, has collected links to MSM, television and radio hits, and online hits at http://www.climatechangereconsidered.org. That site includes links to the new book as well as past volumes in the series, background on NIPCC and IPCC, bios of the lead authors, review procedures, and much more.

    A new link has been added (in the right-hand column of the home page) to replies to critics of the book:


    If you’re familiar with critical commentaries about NIPCC that you think merit an “official” reply from Heartland, please let me know and I’ll see what I can do, or write a reply yourself and send it to me. If you have some free time, I hope you’ll also consider visiting the sites where the negative reviews appeared and add a comment or two.

    Sam Karnick

    Director of Research
    The Heartland Institute

  24. prokaryotes:

    Extreme Weather November 2013 (Super Typhoon Haiyan, Midwest Tornado Outbreak, Sardinia Cyclone)

    Americans Are Convinced Climate Change Is Connected To Stronger Storms, Poll Says

  25. Hank Roberts:


    You want to know who’s putting money against climate science, and making money off the bad news, this is one way to find out.

  26. wili:

    Hi prok. Does your site carry only videos any more? It used to be a great clearing house for scientific papers on a number of important topics. Have you dropped that side of the site? (Of course, I like your collection of videos, too.)

    Meanwhile, the emissions figure is out for last year: 36 billion tonnes CO2.


    “Carbon Emissions on Tragic Trajectory”

    “Global emissions continue to be within the highest scenario of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), she said.

    “This is a five-degree C trajectory. It’s absolutely tragic for humanity to be on this pathway,” Le Quéré said.

    This year’s 36 billion tonnes of CO2 will raise the planet’s temperature about 0.04 degrees C for thousands of years. [b]Every tonne emitted adds more warming[/b], she said. (If one tonne of CO2 was a second, 36 billion seconds equals about 1,200 years.”

  27. wili:

    Thanks for the link, hank. The takeaway seems to be this paragraph:

    ““This is perhaps the most corporate climate talks we have ever experienced … not to say that previous ones haven’t had a large corporate influence,” Pascoe Sabido told me. “But what’s different this time is the level of institutionalization, the degree to which the Polish government and the U.N., the UNFCCC, have welcomed this with open arms and have actively encouraged it.” Sabido works with Corporate Europe Observatory, which published the pamphlet, “The COP 19 Guide to Corporate Lobbying: Climate Crooks and the Polish Government’s Partners in Crime.” Among them, Pascoe says, are “General Motors, known for funding climate skeptic think tanks like the Heartland Institute in the U.S.; you have BMW, which is doing equal things in Europe, trying to weaken emission standards.” LOTOS Group, the second-largest Polish petroleum corporation, has its logo emblazoned on the 11,000 tote bags handed out to delegates here.”

    I notice that the presence of anti-environmental corporations is even being felt right here on this site. Has anyone else noticed the little annoying advertisement videos that now occasionally pop up on the right of the main page? One was for Walmart, recently identified as one of the top corporations undermining climate progress. http://todayeco.com/pages/17707403-wal-mart-fedex-among-the-top-50-undermining-climate-progress

    Adds for cars also seem particularly inappropriate here.

    Are these kinds of adds really the only way this place can keep the doors open?

  28. prokaryotes:

    Wili, all the content should be still there, though i tested another concept for some time under a different layout, but i integrated those into the video site a few month back. This week i moved the server and did not established this other concept again. But the content should be still there, just under the video site. Let me know if you missing something in particular and i will link it here.

  29. flxible:

    What ads on the right wili? Must be something your browser is doing, I’ve never seen any adverts whatever here.

  30. wili:

    “What ads on the right wili? Must be something your browser is doing, I’ve never seen any adverts whatever here.”

    That’s weird. They don’t seem to be coming up any more. Maybe a short term glitch. I do hope they weren’t anything that was happening with mods approval.

  31. wili:

    New article on seabed methane out in Nature Geoscience DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2007

    Here’s a link to the article about it in New Scientist: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn24639-arctic-storms-speed-up-release-of-methane-plumes.html#.UpJdRI2kCxl

    Apparently, Arctic storms increase methane release from the seabed. So far, though, the amount of increase is relatively small (not the ‘big burp’ Shakhova has been warning could happen any time). So far.

  32. prokaryotes:

    Re #181 The NS article links a 2007 study and refers to expeditions from 2010 and 2011.

  33. wili:

    Good catch, prok. The coverage at the Guardian doesn’t link to a current scholarly article, either. http://guardianlv.com/2013/11/global-warming-arctic-storms-releasing-methane/

    Anyone have a link to the actual scholarly article?

  34. prokaryotes:

    Here is the study, from today

    Ebullition and storm-induced methane release from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf

  35. wili:

    Thanks, prok.

  36. wili:

    Note that they found that seabed surface (former) permafrost “entirely unfrozen.” That does not bode well, it seems to me.

    (reCaptcha oracle comments: knostic account)

  37. wili:

    The storm-induced methane story has been picked up by Climate Central now. http://www.climatecentral.org/news/storms-warming-mean-more-arctic-methane-being-released-16775

    How about a main post about it here at RealClimate?

    [Response: In the works. – gavin]

  38. wili:

    Gavin wrote “In the works.” wili replies: ‘F’ing awesome!’ ‘-) No, really, it seems to me quite an important matter to get a good discussion about.

    For example, Shakhova is quoted in the CC piece as saying the latest study increases the estimate of total methane being emitted by that part of the Arctic Ocean to 17 teratonnes, but that this is probably a conservative estimate. So lets round it up to 20 million tonnes.

    If we take the Shindel et al. estimate of short term GWP of methane as about 100 times that of CO2, that bring us to 2 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent from this one source. Total CO2 emissions this year are looking to be about 36 billion tonnes, iirc. So this added amount is already looking like a pretty significant chunk of what is going on, especially if it is on an exponentially growing curve (as feedback systems tend to do). But maybe my maths are wrong somewhere?

    What is clearly needed is an immediate ‘feedback’ of quick reductions of human carbon emissions, but that does not seem much in evidence after the latest farce in Warsaw.

  39. Hank Roberts:

    … “You have given more presentations that Al and I ever thought possible — to date, more than a million people have seen that slide show, personally delivered around the world!”More than a million served. It seems like an amazing statistic to the group, who are stunned to hear that there are now 1,700 trained presenters working in a dozen countries — over a thousand in the U.S. alone — and that the next big training session is scheduled for India in March.

    This all seems kind of unreal. When we applied for this gig, on an unassuming little web site set up by The Climate Project and Participant Productions after the release of the movie “An Inconvenient Truth”, it seemed like a quixotic dream that might appeal to only a few hard-cord activists. Al Gore wanted to train a thousand people to be communicators for the climate crusade. Most of us thought he’d have to paper the house.

    But as it turned out, they received nearly ten times that many applications, and those of us who got to go to Nashville a year ago for the climatology boot camp are now considered the lucky few….

    … Jeremy and the other science advisors to The Climate Project are here with the data to re-focus us and make sure we get the story right — fearlessly and confidently, without backing down.

    “We know you guys are modifying and updating the slide show — we know you have to,” says Roy with a smile. “People don’t want to see the movie over and over again, they need the new information and they need the solutions-based slides, we know, and we thank you for your resourcefulness. But as you know, you cannot just grab anything off the Web and put it in your slide show, make sure you get it right.” So this retraining session is a critical opportunity for us — we can share our new solutions-based slides, update them and fact-check them, and The Climate Project scientists have new, peer-reviewed information to share with us. And we have a couple of amazing mentors — called District Managers — who guide us through the technical bits ….


  40. Sean:

    This may help show the kinds of outcomes I feel need addressing by the IPCC as a Global UN Institution.
    Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard has delivered a speech on climate change Nov 5th 2013 the Global Warming Policy Foundation in London. This has been widely reported. The speech title was “One Religion is Enough!” http://australianpolitics.com/2013/11/05/howard-one-religion-is-enough.html

    Some comments were: “I chose the lecture’s title largely in reaction to the sanctimonious tone employed by so many of those who advocate quite substantial, and costly, responses to what they see as irrefutable evidence that the world’s climate faces catastrophe, against people who do share their view. To them the cause has become a substitute religion.”
    He calls for a “sense of proportion” in the global warming debate and says that “first principles tell us never to accept that all of the science is in on any proposition”.
    “In the past five years, the dynamic of the global warming debate has shifted away from exaggerated acceptance of the worst possible implications of what a majority of climate scientists tell us, towards a more balanced and questioning approach.”
    He warned against use of “offensive language” such as the term “denier”.
    Howard said it is “highly unlikely” there will ever be a worldwide agreement on global warming.
    He said he had “always been something of an agnostic on global warming” and suggested his support for an emissions trading scheme in 2007 was purely political and occurred at a time when it was expedient to be seen to be “doing something”. (iow public opinion forced his Govt to do something – this is no longer the case and all climate change action in 33 separate actions is being repealed or defunded in Australia with the re-election of his centre-right party in Sept.)
    Global warming is a quintessential public policy issue. Understanding the science is crucial;….
    In his speech he quotes/mentions: Lord Nigel Lawson; Dr Richard S. Lindzen:”This immediately involves a distortion of science at a very basic level”; the GFC Irving Kristol’s famous phrase, it mugged the debate with a heavy dose of reality;
    “flood of emails coming from the University of East Anglia, the admitted errors regarding the Himalayan Glaciers, as well as the nakedly political agendas of some of those allegedly giving impartial scientific advice have DEGRADED the image of the IPCC as the unchallengeable body of scientific EXPERTS on global warming.”
    Otto Edenhoper, Co-Chairman of the IPCC Working Group III, and a lead author of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report, released in 2007, demonstrated his commitment to impartial scientific enquiry with his remarkable statement, “One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore.” Revealing his REAL AGENDA he has stated: “One must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy.”
    ” the most recent IPCC Report has produced a grudging ADMISSION that the WARMING process has been at a STANDSTILL for the past 15 years. But we are assured that is only temporary.”
    “Most in this room will recall the apocalyptic warnings of the Club of Rome, more than 40 years ago. They were experts; they predicted that the world would run out of resources to sustain itself. They were wrong. ”
    ” the report by Sir Nicholas Stern hit the shelves, with the author himself visiting Australia, and lastly the former US Vice President Al Gore released his movie “An Inconvenient Truth”. To put it bluntly “doing something” about global warming gathered strong political momentum in Australia.”
    “2009 Abbott turned the Liberal Party’s policy on the issue on its head. He withdrew any kind of bipartisan support for an ETS (and more)”
    “two years ago Canadians gave majority government to Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, who were pledged to a sensible use of its resources, so Australians have now elected a government with a pragmatic attitude on global warming”
    “Led by Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, an attempt was made, by what can only be described as alarmists, to exploit these fires for the purposes of the global warming debate. She said the fires were an example of the “doom and gloom” the world may be facing without vigorous action on climate change”. ”
    ” Nigel Lawson’s compelling point in his book An Appeal to Reason, that the present generation should not carry too heavy a burden so that future generations ”
    “Can I finish on a geo-political note? What some call “the shale revolution” now underway in the United States has the potential to be a game changer in the proper sense of that expression. ”

    The general Public, and Journalists, and Politicians do hear unrelenting promotions of these kinds of views in the press, radio, TV, news, and online.

    ex-PM John Howard is representative of a distinct alternative **global consensus** of key **public opinion makers** in the media, in business, in politics, even Priests and Archbishops, with influence and a distinct public presence about Climate Change today.

    These views are representative of the majority in the US Congress, and of the current Governments in Australia, Canada, UK, Russia, Poland and several other eastern european nations which is reflective of a dominant view of the people in those nations as to CC importance and the validity/certainty of the science and risks involved.

    The US, Australia, UK, Poland & Canada are all nations that are actively pursuing CSG/Shale Gas exploitation. Which may only a coincidence or indicative of the situation being coupled with a strong climate science denial activism, plus News Corp presence.

    A quite common view now vs 2007/08 is, “well of course climate changes, that’s natural. But man-made caused global warming, well that’s just a MYTH.” This promoted daily across the globe today. 25 years after the IPCC was created.

    The open question I have is what has the IPCC or other climate science body publicly done to counteract the falsity about the “science” and about the IPCC itself, and working climate scientists, as expressed by John Howard and others?

    Many here seem to believe this is not an issue about effective public communication, and that neither the IPCC nor anyone else holds a responsibility for this current state of play. I find that very odd and unreconcilable. Maybe I am missing something? Anything is possible.
    Lord Nigel Lawson’s The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) http://www.thegwpf.org/ (good mates with Lord “the Fraud” Monckton btw

  41. Sean:

    IPCC “Because of its scientific and intergovernmental nature, the IPCC embodies a unique opportunity to provide rigorous and balanced scientific information to decision makers.”

    PM John Howard was a major Government “decision maker” from 1996 to 2007.

    Clearly the “information” did not sink in. The communication of the science of AGW & Climate Change & future risks was ineffective in this case.

    The direct public response to John Howard’s speech in Nov 2013 by the IPCC and Climate Scientists and other formal organisations has been ZERO.
    I personally find that unconscionable and a dereliction of responsibility. That’s my opinion.

  42. Sean:

    ‘We’re F***ed! Conceptualising Catastrophe’.

    The inspiration for this came from Stephen Emmott’s recent sell-out play 10 Billion. At the end of the play, having reviewed the different ways in which humanity has altered Earth’s climate, the Oxford professor (and expert in complex natural systems) states ‘I think we’re already f***ed’.

    This is a sentiment that has been surfaced by others, including US geophysicist Brad Werner in a conference paper last year. Indeed, short of the expletive, the theme of humanity’s suicidal trajectory in the Anthropocene has been highlighted by writers such as Clive Hamilton, Mark Lynas and George Monbiot.

    This has been reinforced with increasing urgency by scientists around the world, with US climate scientist James Hansen this week publishing a paper highlighting that ‘conceivable levels of human-made climate forcing could yield the low-end runaway greenhouse effect’ including ‘out-of-control amplifying feedbacks such as ice sheet disintegration and melting of methane hydrates’.
    [embedded links within the article]

  43. prokaryotes:

    The livescience article on the recent methane study features an interview with Natalia Shakova and has an interesting image. Twice as Much Methane Escaping Arctic Seafloor

  44. Hank Roberts:


    ALEC puts a crimp in U.S. democracy. When a politician receives enough votes to make it to the U.S. House or Senate, the assumption is that person will spend time learning the facts about multiple issues and then drafting legislation around those issues that better society. ALEC tries to shortcircuit all that nasty legislative stuff and put elected state officials directly in touch with corporations and other like-minded lobbyists and politicians to meet outside of the legislature and make things happen.

    ALEC’s m.o. is to write blueprints for laws that would advance the council’s cause, and then pitch these draft bills to potential sponsors in assorted state legislatures….

  45. prokaryotes:

    Singapore sized iceberg breaks off in Antarctica

  46. Ray Ladbury:

    Sean@190-1: John Howard is a politician who has decided that there are more votes to be gained from denial and delay than by taking action that we cannot be sure will avert catastrophe. I do not view him as an unintelligent or misinformed, but rather as a cynical manipulator who world rather wield power in his life than preserve the planet for his progeny.

    Where he and so many others are wrong, and where indeed, the views you allude to in 192 are wrong is that there is no limit to how badly we can screw up the planet for our progeny. There is not some magic level of CO2 or temperature where we simply proclaim “We’re f***ed”. Rather we can always continue to make it worse and worse or start to make it slightly better. We will determine how badly off our children and grandchildren will be during our own lifetimes, and we will do it consciously with every decision we make during that lifetime.

  47. Mal Adapted:


    The direct public response to John Howard’s speech in Nov 2013 by the IPCC and Climate Scientists and other formal organisations has been ZERO.
    I personally find that unconscionable and a dereliction of responsibility. That’s my opinion.

    The IPCC is not organized to do what you are asking. It is has fulfilled its charter by issuing the Assessment Reports. In the U.S., the National Academy of Sciences promulgates document after document. Many of the world’s professional scientific bodies have issued statements calling for government action, and various individual climate scientists have forcefully expressed their concerns in public venues. They are out-shouted by professional deniers, in the employ of those who will lose the most if fossil fuel use is curtailed.

    Policy responses to climate catastrophe are up to politicians like John Howard, whom Hank succinctly characterized. Every member of the U.S. Congress makes the same cynical calculation that Howard does. In Australia and the U.S., scientists lack credibility with the voters who might elect climate realists to office. Nothing a scientist can say will get through to them.

    I expect that nothing will be done until enough voters experience undeniable impacts themselves, which of course will mean that catastrophe is already well advanced. Only then will efforts to keep it from getting even worse get under way. I’d love to proved wrong, though.

  48. nigelj:

    I agree with Shaun at 33-36. The sceptics are having things all their own way and the mainstream climate community are letting themselves be treated badly, and are not approaching things at a level the public can grasp. Their discussions are factually sound and their work is brilliant, but is too complex for the public, as are the IPCC reports. The media are biased and unreliable.

    Why doesnt the IPCC release a very short, simple guide to climate change, and get it in the media? This would have some authority with the public and politicians. You could produce a guide, and counter the main sceptic argments in about two pages as follows.

    The evidence for the greenhouse affect goes back 150 years and was prediced long ago. The climate has warmed recently and isnt explained by solar activity. Sceptics who say its driven by solar activity have not produced evidence of this.

    There are certain changes in the atmosphere that point at CO2. The increase in temperature is varaible due to ocean cycles. The result will be significant sea level rise and extreme weather. Look no numbers, graphs, and complex science or fear mongering photos and the guts of it in one paragraph.

    I have always believed science should be slightly cool and conservative in terms of public communication, but if a sceptic argument is seriously missleading the IPCC itself should address this firmly. As should climate scientsits by getting in the mainstream media. And obviously the climate community itself should get together and get the latest research on the non pause in the media as this is very significant research. Climate scientists have to get in the media and attend to communicating the issues in simple, slightly blunt terms to the public or they will not be taken seriously.

  49. prokaryotes:

    U.S. Methane Emissions Vastly Underestimated: Study

  50. Bojan:

    Regarding @165 and @166, this is the link that got broken:

    Ray, thanks for pointing it out