RealClimate logo


If You See Something, Say Something

Filed under: — mike @ 17 January 2014

Gavin provided a thoughtful commentary about the role of scientists as advocates in his RealClimate piece a few weeks ago.

I have weighed in with my own views on the matter in my op-ed today in this Sunday’s New York Times. And, as with Gavin, my own views have been greatly influenced and shaped by our sadly departed friend and colleague, Stephen Schneider. Those who were familiar with Steve will recognize his spirit and legacy in my commentary. A few excerpts are provided below:

THE overwhelming consensus among climate scientists is that human-caused climate change is happening. Yet a fringe minority of our populace clings to an irrational rejection of well-established science. This virulent strain of anti-science infects the halls of Congress, the pages of leading newspapers and what we see on TV, leading to the appearance of a debate where none should exist.

.
.

My colleague Stephen Schneider of Stanford University, who died in 2010, used to say that being a scientist-advocate is not an oxymoron. Just because we are scientists does not mean that we should check our citizenship at the door of a public meeting, he would explain. The New Republic once called him a “scientific pugilist” for advocating a forceful approach to global warming. But fighting for scientific truth and an informed debate is nothing to apologize for.

.
.

Our Department of Homeland Security has urged citizens to report anything dangerous they witness: “If you see something, say something.” We scientists are citizens, too, and, in climate change, we see a clear and present danger. The public is beginning to see the danger, too — Midwestern farmers struggling with drought, more damaging wildfires out West, and withering, record, summer heat across the country, while wondering about possible linkages between rapid Arctic warming and strange weather patterns, like the recent outbreak of Arctic air across much of the United States.

.
.

The piece ends on this note:

How will history judge us if we watch the threat unfold before our eyes, but fail to communicate the urgency of acting to avert potential disaster? How would I explain to the future children of my 8-year-old daughter that their grandfather saw the threat, but didn’t speak up in time?

Those are the stakes.

I would encourage interested readers to read the commentary in full at the New York Times website.

Constructive contributions are welcome in the comment section below :-)


606 Responses to “If You See Something, Say Something”

  1. 451
    Walter says:

    #435 SecularAnimist gave this link: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/12/05/3022271/alec-solar-clean-energy-freeriders/

    Yes there is much manipulations going on. It’s a problem, another manifestation of the underlying cause.

    It doesn’t change the fact that solar and wind still only represent under 2% of total energy use today, projected to rise to under 3% in 2040.

    It doesn’t change the fact that with BAU fossil fuel use is planned to rise ~50% from now to 2040, will still be >78% of total energy use then, and the CO2 ppm in the atmosphere will continue to rise exponentially as a result.

    I believe this is more than projected by the IPCC AR5 in Sept 2013. Most people on the planet do not know this. I think they should because it is far more important than knowing anything else. It is the contextual framing in which everything else needs to viewed within, because it represents the reality of now plus BAU and exactly where everyone is heading (all things being equal).

    Links I presented show that the some bureaucrats in the OECD and the WEF, plus another showed that the IMF/WB know this too so some are taking it seriously. There is however a huge communication barrier between these people along with the climate scientists and the policy makers and the public. No, I do not have or know of a solution either. Merely trying to articulate the reality and extent of the problem. A personal interest of mine. Nothing more.

    Walter

  2. 452
    Walter says:

    #445 found on Hank Roberts’ AGU links:

    “We live in an environment today that has an ever growing need for scientists to engage in cross-disciplinary problem solving and a world that requires basic policy understanding. If more scientists are up for the job now is our time to really engage beyond our labs and coffee shops to work alongside our state and federal legislators to influence decisions that so desperately need our expertise.”

    A “cross-disciplinary problem solving” activity is exactly what Diogenes directed asked/encouraged the RC scientists about recently, as far as engaging with economists and the like. Which I assumed was to take the hard science numbers to replicate BAU into a more realistic and understandable economic context. I assumed interactions between scientists and economists and financial modelers and policy makers and mass media communicators was already ongoing behind the scenes. Maybe not. Seems like a good idea though.

    Hank Roberts added: “For those who’ve paid their dues, follow the science, and care about policy.”

    Was that really necessary?

    Walter

  3. 453
    DIOGENES says:

    Walter #430,

    “Really genuine people seeking a discussion do not speak in one liners nor using clever quips. They make more of an effort to explain their thinking by providing the background and context and reasoning behind their ideas.”

    When there’s nothing tangible to offer, one liners or clever quips are all that remain. SA offered a proxy plan for climate change amelioration devoid of context. When it was analyzed (see #396), it was shown to reduce emissions by ~1% per year over the past decade, and projected to reduce them 1 or 2% per annum until 2050. That’s more than an order of magnitude below what is required to avoid the Apocalypse.

    Conversely, my plan (#291, #371), unlike SA’s proxy plan, will maximize our chances of staying within or near the 1.1 C desired peak temperature target. It has two major components, species survival and lifestyle maintenance. Species survival includes sharp reduction in fossil fuel use in the transition period, and massive reforestation (if possible) and/or other carbon capture approaches. The approach for the secondary component is rapid introduction of renewables/nuclear and energy efficiency improvements. We can accomplish most of my plan’s targets with what we know and have today!

  4. 454
    Mal Adapted says:

    flxible

    the mental diarrhea that’s taken over the comment threads

    Inevitably, there’s a concise neologism for what you’re referring to: blogorrhea.

  5. 455

    #423–(Walter)–

    No, I do not think that I am reminded of the ‘circular firing squad’ because I’m misreading things due to ‘training by Twitter.’ (Which I don’t use, BTW.)

    I’m reminded of it because any substantive points made are being swamped by rancorous stuff with words like “illogical, irrational, and mythical,” or “vapid fantasies.”

    Walter, you are spending hundreds of words accusing people of not being sufficiently realistic. IMO, not very interesting not illuminating–nor very accurate, either: I’ve been reading comments by Hank Roberts, Ray Ladbury, and Secular Animist for years now, and this history proves to my satisfaction at least that they are all well aware of how serious our situation is.

    Please, if you are as sincerely concerned as you say, find a more productive use of your time and energy: go out and join 350.org, or start your own blog or activism group. I’m not saying ‘don’t post here’–but as I say, your substantive points are getting lost in the noise you are making. As with some past posters, I’ve given up reading your comments in detail because the rhetoric to information ratio is just too high. Not an ‘ad hominem’–just straight feedback.

  6. 456

    #449–Good point, flxible–but I’m taking it that the Shaw context for ‘world’ was society, not environment. And in that context, he was right. We can’t just go along and get along.

    And yes, my scroll finger feels your pain. Or at least its own corresponding discomfort.

  7. 457
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Walter,
    Tell ya what. You say something worthwhile–something that isn’t just sanctimonious twaddle and woe-is-me despair–and I’ll listen.

    Telling us the situation is dire is not telling anyone who frequents this blog anything they do not already know. As I have said multiple times, the fact that we have squandered 30 years we didn’t have to waste means that we have relinquished control of our fate. It means that we will not only have to act, we will have to get lucky to avoid severe consequences. Now I had a coach one time who said “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity,” so you can increase your odds of getting lucky if you prepare to capitalize on it.

    So that is our job–to try and make our own luck and to try to buy as much time for us to get lucky as possible. That is what I mean by preserving hope–persevering while realizing that a good outcome while not probable is at least possible. I think that is a realistic attitude. I really don’t care what you think, as you’ve yet to demonstrate the capacity for original thought.

  8. 458
    DIOGENES says:

    Walter #451,

    “#435 SecularAnimist gave this link: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/12/05/3022271/alec-solar-clean-energy-freeriders/

    Yes there is much manipulations going on. It’s a problem, another manifestation of the underlying cause.

    It doesn’t change the fact that solar and wind still only represent under 2% of total energy use today, projected to rise to under 3% in 2040.”

    Another link by SA devoid of context. Yes, we know there are many groups who are opposed to more rapid introduction of ‘clean’ energy, and who profit from continuance of the status quo; nothing new there. Neither the article nor SA admits that, while clean energy is required for the long-term, it will not avoid the Apocalypse of the near-term. Kevin Anderson showed that supply-side cannot get us over the ‘hump’; strong reductions in demand are required. In #396, my analysis of SA’s proxy plan (which contained introduction of clean energy and energy efficiency enhancement technologies) showed it would give emissions reductions of 1 or 2% annually to mid-century. Even these targets were labeled as ‘challenging’ by the analysts quoted, and are less than an order of magnitude than that required to avoid the Apocalypse. My plan (#291, 371) provides a good chance of avoiding the Apocalypse, and we can do much of it with what we know and have today!

  9. 459

    #429–Diogenes, you’ve made this point before:

    we need to make sure we’re headed in the right direction, and the change sought is on the scale of the problem.

    (See more at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/01/if-you-see-something-say-something/comment-page-9/#comment-455383)

    At which point I responded, “Fair enough.”

    However, it’s hardly an either-or choice, is it? And every classically-trained musician knows about the phenomenon of ‘analysis paralysis,’ in which the quest for technical perfection impedes effective action. So, sure, think about where we should be going, and whether it’s adequate. But let’s not allow that to substitute for action. A 1% improvement is obviously marginal–but if all we do is plan, then we will have a 0% improvement.

    There are many actions that can be taken NOW that we know will lead us in the right direction at least: ending support for fossil fuel subsidies:

    http://priceofoil.org/fossil-fuel-subsidies/

  10. 460
    Jim Eager says:

    I think it’s time Diogenes and Walter got their own thread.
    Oh, wait……, they already have one.

  11. 461
    DIOGENES says:

    Walter #450,

    “Also regarding your friend Diogenes here, perhaps you got back what you yourself was putting out in the first place, and he was responding in kind? That’s what it looked like to me at least. I do not know what he/her was thinking though.”

    You have the patience of Job; I do not. We are on a default path to the Apocalypse in the most serious crisis to have faced our civilization. I have no respect for anyone who knowingly will keep us on this path, whether it is the Koch brothers, ALEC, or SA. Yes, one uses fossil energy and the other uses clean energy, but neither will avoid the Apocalypse. You tell me how I can have respect for someone whose efforts to push renewables et al while denigrating sharp demand reduction, will result in the possibility that my grandchildren’s lives may be curtailed or made significantly harsher if these efforts are successful.

    [Response: What you feel or don't feel is irrelevant to this forum. If you cannot maintain respectful communications with other commenters, we will ask you to take your comments elsewhere. No more warnings. - gavin]

  12. 462
    concerned citizen says:

    #451
    “It doesn’t change the fact that solar and wind still only represent under 2% of total energy use today, projected to rise to under 3% in 2040.”

    Walter, that growth does not seem credible.
    If total energy use grows 50% and solar + wind grows about additional relative 50%, then the aggregate absolute growth of solar + wind would be about to 2-3 times the current level. That would mean an annual growth rate of 3-4%.

    Wind is growing at around 15-40% annually:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power#Growth_trends

    And solar also at 10% annually.
    http://cleantechnica.com/2013/11/13/global-solar-pv-installations-will-double-hit-grid-parity-by-2020/

    So not nearly as much as I previously assumed (at 30% to 100% annually), but much faster than your report suggests.

  13. 463
    wili says:

    Diogenes at 453: An element of what you said helped me resolve a problem I’ve been having trying to think through messaging. People have shown, over and over again, that when it is clear to them that there really is a crisis, they are willing to give up comforts and change habits. But generally this is in the context of a temporary crisis. GW, of course, is not going to be a temporary crisis no matter what we do at this point. And whether it’s war rations or restrictions on water use during drought, one of the reasons people are willing to cooperate with restrictions in such situations is because they can see that those will probably be _temporary_ (and that they are fairly distributed and crucially needed).

    But it could be that some of the cutting back that we will need to do most immediately can be seen as a ‘special period’ when we get rapidly carbon emissions down (on something like the schedule that the physics requires) mostly through efficiency and immediate curtailments, but such curtailments that will only be fully needed until the build up of alternatives catches up.

    So we may need some of SA’s sunny optimism that alternatives are riding to the rescue as a reason why curtailments may be temporary–just not as an excuse to avoid the necessary pain of the curtailments that need to happen promptly.

    No one seems to be looking at any of my links any more (perhaps because there’s already plenty of text to absorb on this thread? ‘-)), but I’ll just note that there are more and more economists pointing out that endless growth was never a vision of the early architects of economic theory, and that we seem to have reached (and long past, really) the point of diminishing returns with it, as far as happiness and well-being achieved per unit of growth go.

  14. 464
    DIOGENES says:

    Kevin McKinney #459,

    “There are many actions that can be taken NOW that we know will lead us in the right direction at least: ending support for fossil fuel subsidies:”

    Granted. Unfortunately, we are running out of time to take actions at the scale required. It’s one thing to petition your Senator to end subsidies; it’s another thing to approach him/her with a meaningful plan that will avoid the Apocalypse. The former has the appearance of progress, like the Spross posting that I analyzed in #396, but unless the impact is on the scale of what is required to solve the problem, it won’t have the substance of progress, again like the proxy plan of the Spross posting.

    In the link provided, the range of subsidies to the fossil fuel industry in the USA is estimated between $14B-$52B per year. Let’s take the average for discussion, $33B per year. What is the context for these numbers? A Web article (http://priceofoil.org/2013/09/26/profits-oil-gas-coal-companies-operating-u-s-canada/) states: “$271 billion is the profit made in 2012 by companies involved in extracting, transporting, refining, distributing and trading in fossil fuels in the United States and Canada.” I couldn’t locate better numbers; if someone has them, please provide. I don’t know what the breakdown between USA and Canada is in these numbers; let’s assume ~$200B for USA profits in 2012. So, if all the fossil fuel subsidies were eliminated (and I have no problem with that at all), that’s ~15% of profits. Would this have an impact on demand? It could have a modest impact, but with profits at that level, they could cut profits modestly, eat the reduced subsidies, and not miss a beat.

    The point is, cutting subsidies is a very indirect approach to reducing fossil fuel consumption, and certainly would not produce the sharp reductions in demand that avoiding the Apocalypse requires. It parallels the proxy Spross plan in that regard. We need to have a plan to present to our elected representatives, and to the media, that shows the seriousness of the problem, the targets required to avoid the Apocalypse, and the strategy required to meet those targets. I have presented such a plan in #291, #371.

  15. 465
    Hank Roberts says:

    Walter, when I pointed to the AGU policy forum, you asked if paying dues is necessary. You can decide for yourself. I recommend it highly.
    http://membership.agu.org/benefits/

  16. 466
    SecularAnimist says:

    wili wrote: “we may need some of SA’s sunny optimism that alternatives are riding to the rescue”

    I don’t know why other commenters attribute views to me that I have never expressed, especially when I have repeatedly, explicitly, expressed the opposite view.

    I am not at all optimistic. On the contrary.

    For one thing, as I have repeatedly written here, the global warming problem is much worse than most people realize. It is already having severely harmful and dangerous effects, and is certain to get much worse no matter what we do at this late date. Indeed, my views of what we can expect and when we can expect it would probably be considered “alarmist” even by the moderators of this site.

    What I have said, because I believe it to be true, is that it is possible to rapidly eliminate the GHG emissions from fossil fuels without subjecting humanity to “deprivation and hardship”.

    The amount of energy provided on an ongoing basis by sunlight and wind completely dwarfs all the energy in all the fossil fuels on Earth.

    And the technologies that we have in hand today for harvesting those sources of energy, which are already being deployed at all scales all over the world, are fully capable of providing abundant, cheap, zero-emissions energy more than sufficient to meet the needs of a technologically advanced human civilization. Humanity faces any number of “resource limits”, but the energy supply is not one of them. “Energy scarcity” is a myth.

    And the rapid deployment of wind and solar and efficiency technology, which is already far exceeding all projections even with minimal support from public policies, demonstrates that we CAN, IF we choose, eliminate the use of fossil fuels for electricity generation much more quickly and easily and at much lower cost than most people realize, while at the same time creating a basis for sustainable, equitable prosperity for all.

    Please note the word IF emphasized in the previous paragraph.

    Because the reality is that what we ARE doing falls far short of what we COULD do.

    At this point I am actually pretty pessimistic that people, corporations, governments and other institutions will actually implement these emissions-reducing solutions anywhere near as quickly and widely as could be done, and as needs to be done if we are to stop and reverse the growth of GHG emissions and begin steep reductions within a few years.

  17. 467
    SecularAnimist says:

    Diogenes wrote: “SA offered a proxy plan for climate change amelioration devoid of context. When it was analyzed (see #396) …”

    With all due respect, that is just another strawman.

    I did not “offer” any “plan”, proxy or otherwise. At no time have I ever offered anything resembling a “plan for climate change amelioration” in any comment that I have posted on this site. At no time have I ever claimed to have any such “plan”.

    In the comment that you refer to (#373), I simply linked to and briefly excerpted from an article about a study by the nonprofit organization ENE, which examined ways that the Northeastern US could achieve significant GHG emissions reductions through such undertakings as replacing fossil fuels with electricity for building heat and vehicle fuel, modernizing the electric grid, deploying renewable energy and increasing efficiency — all without subjecting anyone to “deprivation and hardship”.

    I “offered” that link simply as information about one of many ongoing efforts to find ways to rapidly reduce GHG emissions from fossil fuels, which might be of interest to readers concerned about addressing the global warming problem.

    My only comment about it in that post was “FYI”. I certainly did not represent it as a “plan” to completely solve the global warming problem.

    I do believe that it supports my contention that much greater emissions reductions CAN be achieved, much more quickly and at much lower cost, than most people think — IF we choose to do so.

  18. 468
    DIOGENES says:

    Wili #462,

    “People have shown, over and over again, that when it is clear to them that there really is a crisis, they are willing to give up comforts and change habits. But generally this is in the context of a temporary crisis.”

    I don’t think we’ve gotten to Step 1, making it clear that there really is a crisis. I don’t think on this blog we have shown unambiguously that there is a crisis. As you can see by my posts, I don’t believe in gimmicks. In this case, we should be communicating the deadly seriousness of the problem, the targets that need to be reached to contain the problem, and the difficult personal choices required to meet these targets.

    There seems to be an unwritten consensus among many of the leaders in the climate change advocacy movement to downplay the depth of personal hardship required to achieve these targets, specifically the level of demand reduction required. Now, some of the key people who have related the proposed climate policies to climate change targets, such as Hansen, Anderson, McKibben, all use some similar underlying assumptions: rapid implementation of renewables, of energy efficiency improvement technologies, etc. These are certainly needed for the long-term, but they are insufficient to overcome the short-term barriers.

    What remains are two variables that determine demand reduction: carbon capture and peak target temperature. They can be related as follows:

    DEMRED = f(CARBCAP, PEAKTEMP)

    Thus, the amount of demand reduction we require is a function of the carbon capture intensity and the peak temperature needed for the interim, in addition to the renewables and energy efficiency technology installations that all assume. The greater the carbon capture intensity, the less the demand reduction required. The greater the allowable peak temperature in the interim, the less the demand reduction required. Anderson and McKibben choose to increase the peak temperature to 2 C, and immediately acknowledge that it is a political target and 1 C is the appropriate scientific target. That does not prevent Anderson making recommendations based on 2 C, or McKibben saying we have 565GT remaining carbon budget based on 2 C in his ‘terrifying new math’. Hansen chooses to increase the carbon capture intensity and duration, assuming massive amounts of reforestation.

    I have started with Hansen’s selection of peak temperatures near prior Holocene experience (~1 C), and have added as much demand reduction as the traffic will bear. As Spratt effectively implied for the 2 C case, increasing demand reduction increases the chances that we can remain under 2 C, going from the 50/50 case of Anderson with 10% annual demand reduction to 90/10 for very high demand reduction (no carbon budget left). Thus, my addition of very high demand reduction increases the chances of remaining within (or far more probably near) the 1.1 C limit. I think that’s what needs to be communicated to the public. They will not buy into increased installation of renewables et al with no targets specified and no personal deprivation or hardships required. That’s not how people conduct their daily lives. They want to understand what any treatment will do for their medical problem, and they will want to know what any climate change strategy will do for their survival. No more gimmicks; tell them the truth!

  19. 469
    SecularAnimist says:

    Walter wrote: “It doesn’t change the fact that solar and wind still only represent under 2% of total energy use today, projected to rise to under 3% in 2040 … It doesn’t change the fact that with BAU fossil fuel use is planned to rise ~50% from now to 2040 …”

    With all due respect, “projections” are by definition NOT YET “facts”, and what the “facts” will be in 2040 is subject to change, depending on our actions, to a degree that can only be determined empirically.

    As I have noted previously, the current actual growth of renewable energy far exceeds previous projections — even in the absence of strong public policies to support and facilitate that growth.

    Readers who are interested in comparing and contrasting several projections for the growth of renewable energy may be interested in the January 2013 “Renewables Global Futures Report” from REN21, the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century:

    The REN21 Renewables Global Futures Report (GFR) is a pioneering publication that provides access to the range of credible possibilities on the future of renewable energy. The report is based on interviews with over 170 leading experts around the world and the projections of 50 recently published scenarios. The report can serve as a tool for dialogue and discussion on future options, and compliments well the REN21 Renewables Global Status Report.

    Released in January 2013, the report was authored by Dr. Eric Martinot and was the product of a unique collaboration between REN21 and the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies (ISEP) during 2011-2012.

    REN21′s companion publication “Renewables 2013 Global Status Report” provides a similarly detailed look at the current state of renewable energy (through 2012).

  20. 470
    SecularAnimist says:

    Diogenes wrote: “You tell me how I can have respect for someone whose efforts to push renewables et al while denigrating sharp demand reduction”

    I have NEVER “denigrated sharp demand reduction”.

    In fact, I have REPEATEDLY emphasized the CRUCIAL IMPORTANCE of reducing demand for fossil fuels — and I have REPEATEDLY stressed that the USA in particular has enormous potential for reducing the demand for fossil fuels, given that much more than half of the USA’s primary energy consumption is wasted.

    What I have “denigrated” is your entirely unsupported assertion that sharp reductions in the demand for fossil fuels must require “severe economic reductions” and “deprivation and hardship”.

    You just keep making stuff up and pretending that I wrote it, and then insulting and attacking me for things that you pretend I wrote.

    I’m not asking for “respect”, Diogenes.

    I am simply asking you to STOP LYING ABOUT MY COMMENTS.

    I am simply asking you to cease your baseless, ugly and nonsensical accusations that I am a paid shill who is lying for money as part of a “Merchants Of Doubt” style “disinformation campaign”.

  21. 471
    Walter says:

    #461 concerned citizen says:
    #451
    “It doesn’t change the fact that solar and wind still only represent under 2% of total energy use today, projected to rise to under 3% in 2040.”

    Walter, that growth does not seem credible.
    If total energy use grows 50% and solar + wind grows about additional relative 50%, then the aggregate absolute growth of solar + wind would be about to 2-3 times the current level. That would mean an annual growth rate of 3-4%.

    Wind is growing at around 15-40% annually:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power#Growth_trends

    And solar also at 10% annually.
    http://cleantechnica.com/2013/11/13/global-solar-pv-installations-will-double-hit-grid-parity-by-2020/

    So not nearly as much as I previously assumed (at 30% to 100% annually), but much faster than your report suggests.

    —————–

    Concerned Citizen,
    those are good points to raise, because it is that complex and it is hard to line up the ducks. Took me a while, and I have yet to complete my summary of the key numbers facts regarding the BAU ‘projections’.

    What I find it that there is little consistency in how various orgs/bodies present their data. That and the starting point always shifts. Like how the 1998 starting point of temps changes the ‘outcomes’ of temp increases and so this manipulates how things appear.

    On the projections I have seen both Wind and Solar GWH output multiply by a factor of somewhere between 15 to 20+ times (2000%) from 2010 to 2040.

    Nuclear increases by a factor of 10+ (1000%) even though many nations will be reducing or stopping nuclear power plants.

    And yes Fossil Fuels only increase by 50% over this same time period. The problem is the starting point. Now 83% of total energy is fossil fuel, and solar wind geothermal wave is barely 2%.

    I’ll put a link to the summary doc here when it’s finished. Otherwise if you’re keen the EIA is as good place to start as any. Just keep alert viewing such sites of when apples aren’t being compared to apples, and the implications of shifting starting point levels and years being compared.

    Walter

  22. 472
    Walter says:

    #455 Kevin McKinney,

    Gavin has his way of doing and saying things. Michael Mann has his way. And James Hansen has his. They are each different and a positive difference they all make.

    I prefer to dance the Cha Cha, but you may like dancing the Twist. You say tomato but I say tomatoe. I have no issues with diversity and I do not complain about that.

    I do not complain about your writing style or personal values. I will not make judgments about the content and presentation style of your blog site either.

    Walter

  23. 473
    Walter says:

    #460 DIOGENES says: “You have the patience of Job”

    Not really. Appearances are deceiving Diogenes. Learning to manage ourselves and our reactions is a life long project, it never stops. As much as humanly possible I endeavor to be nice and tell the truth. My failure rate is very high. Fact is Diogenes, no matter how nice one can be when they tell the truth they will be attacked anyway. Not being nice opens another door and the truth is then lost on the wind.

    If I may be presumptuous I do have an idea to suggest. Take some time out. Skim through the threads where you presented your thoughts. Copy and paste all of that into a single document. When you are relaxed again, start going through it, create section headings as you go, and then edit the hell out of it until you have a clear and coherent theme running that presents exactly what it is you wish to say. Toss in the various reference links that apply as well.

    Save it as a PDF document (MS Word, Open Office, and Adobe will let you do this free). Email it to whomever you think needs to hear it and may be interested. Create a simple website, eg google sites is free and easy to use. Publish your text on one page, and also upload the PDF file so people can download it easily. Use the URL link to share with others on sites you frequent from here on in. Update that document when new information comes to hand.

    Then repeat the process when a different subject matter takes your fancy. Keep using news and blog sites (like RC) to crystallize your thoughts, getting feedback, and honing your skills by posting comments.

    Walter

  24. 474
    Walter says:

    #462 wili, excellent observations! Very true. I read the content of the links you offered. very good, ty.

    I will add that the reason why business etc is taking matters more seriously now is not so much about 25 years of science but the real impacts of climate change being felt in financials and in risk assessments of business and the financial system. The first thing that began to bite was Insurance costs rising. The average person does not understand the implications of Insurance in fixed cost impacts on business and how much Insurance is intricately linked into the Financial system of the world. As in in Loans, Debts, Stock Markets, and National Budgets.

    The GFC of 08/09 gives a good example of how critical it all is, but again most average people still don’t grasp what actually happened then or why. It’s a long ‘story’.

    Walter

  25. 475
    SecularAnimist says:

    FYI …

    “The biggest thing you can do in this country is to close coal-fired power plants. They generate a third of all of the emissions.”

    – Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, NPR Interview, 2/6/2014

  26. 476
    Walter says:

    #461 concerned citizen,

    An aspect to consider is the differences between ‘capability’ and ‘capacity’.

    A Capability is the ability to perform or achieve certain actions or outcomes through a set of controllable and measurable faculties, features, functions, processes, or services. As it applies to human capital, capability represents the intersection of capacity and ability.

    Capacity utilization, in economics, the extent to which an enterprise or a nation actually uses its potential output
    Productive capacity, in economics, management and engineering, refers to the maximum possible output of a system
    Capacity planning, in economics, the process of determining the required production capacity
    Technologically (not practically) there is a huge capability to introduce renewables to replace fossil fuels for electrical power generation. What the world currently lacks is the capacity to manufacture all the components needed and physically build such massive plants, and reconfigure the existing Grid system to integrate such shifts. And at the rate needed to rapidly reduce GHGs growth.

    There is also a huge technological capability (maybe existing Potential is a better word?) to improve electricity efficiency by ~30%, however there is also a lack of capacity both from the capital expenditure required (finance streams) and the physical production of replacement ‘products’ and market forces.

    For example, Domestic refrigerators are already available that consume ~10% of the electricity that the best available units did barely 5 years. Proven capability. But everyone with a fridge does not have the capacity to go out and buy a new one. Replacement also raises GHGs emissions if it was possible to manufacture the billions of new units. So there is no real ‘capacity’ for the world to actually make this existing efficiency gain we are already capable of doing.

    Also Governments are refusing to impose tighter Regulations to insist that all new fridges being sold from here on in are at world’s best practice either. Manufacturers also have serious constraints over “patents”, limited finance support, plus their capacity to retool or expand plants to meet a demand even if the Govts imposed best practice on energy efficiency products.

    Massive changes would be needed to rebuild the grid system in a way which is more efficient too. Which would need to be done in coordination with bringing on new smaller sized renewable power plant systems built closer to population areas.

    Then there are the physical and geographic constraints. Arizona does have the physical ‘capability’ of powering the entire USA in solar power, but there is no capacity to get that power from there to New Hampshire. Most high population and industrial centers all have huge multiple >5GWe power stations. No existing solar or wind plant gets anywhere near 1GW output yet (?) let alone 5GW.

    No renewable technology as yet exists in scale that can provide a replacement for these typical power stations in the foreseeable future (20 years). One cannot shut down 10 coal fired power station in Pennsylvania nor NYC producing 50GW of electricity and replace them with either solar or wind power. There is no capacity to do that now or in a decade. 20 years maybe but still who knows.

    Nuclear could but that would still take 10 to 15 years to roll it out, and then there is the lack of political support in the west in particular needed to do that.

    Of course, any move to end user self-sufficiency can only decrease Grid demand. Most advanced nations industry and business etc pulls twice as much electrical power than residential does. Again only so much can be achieved at present, and in the foreseeable future. Such known realities (and expectations) are what has been plugged into energy use projections to 2040 so far.

    On the other hand China is building ~300 Nuclear power plants in the next decade and a bit, and yet still their Fossil Fuel use will increase towards 2040. Well if their economic growth continues on trend, which it may well not. China has 65 million empty residential apartments at the moment, with no capacity to put people into them. Just siting idle. They have over 25 cities enough to fill with 1 million people each and they are totally finished but empty.

    Meanwhile there is not as yet a viable ‘global’ alternative for Oil based transport ‘fuel’ on the scale required to really make a difference yet. Despite some potential technologies, this is still a huge unknown. In formal Energy projections Oil use keeps rising at a faster rate than Coal and Gas which is being partly replaced by renewables and nuclear power plants.

    Among all these complexities in 2014, as mentioned by Mann in his NYTs article which this thread is about, there are still Politicians, Media & Business power brokers, some Scientists, and millions of Voters who refuse to accept AGW is real yet or that Climate Change should even be addressed.

    China on the other hand doesn’t have the typical constraints of democracy therefore it is taking much more rational action there to implement massive renewable alternatives and nuclear power plants. It has poured $billions into research and development the last 2 decades. For the last 2 decades and into the next 2 China continues to build it’s industrial scale low carbon ‘capacity’ from scratch as we speak.

    No other nation, bar India at the moment, has such a ‘capability’ and the ‘capacity’ to do so at such a high and fast rate.

    It’s complex. More complex when one needs to reinvent the wheel and replace all the existing wheels out there at the same time. Many totally separate components have to come together in coordinated harmony for major and rapid reductions in GHGs of the order need to block the dangerous implications of what the science says is unfolding.

    The existing Science and Technology are not the problem. Science tells us that climate science is very complex and is not linear. Global Economics and the Business world is actually more complex and even less linear. It is also less understood by people than the climate crisis currently is.

    From what I have seen over the years most everyday people do not realize this and don’t understand why consistent long term action on climate change is so difficult, bordering on the impossible.

    Like an iceberg, 90% of the barriers to change are unseen because they are ‘under the radar’ and out of sight. The expertise of scientists is recognized in their field. Few know ‘how they do it’. Only those on the inside of a system really know how the system really works.

    Walter

  27. 477
    Walter says:

    For those coming late to this thread and interested in the topics raised the following may be helpful:

    U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)
    AEO 2014 EARLY RELEASE OVERVIEW December, 2013
    http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/er/index.cfm

    Gavin A Schmidt, NASA/GISS – Stephen Schneider Lecture AGU December 2013
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJC1phPS6IA

    Michael Mann radio interview by KCRW 21 January 2014
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYygBAQ2RVs

    Professor Kevin Anderson on scientists who get “political” December 2013 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjrAZhymE5Q

    Hans Rosling IPCC AR5 Lecture – 200 years of global change September 2013
    http://youtu.be/grZSxoLPqXI

    Dr James Hansen Discusses Solutions To Climate Change July 2013
    http://youtu.be/6Ibp_gMk3i8

    Dr James Hansen Discusses Species Extinction July 2013
    http://youtu.be/v5B-JsTLEF0

    Prof. Kevin Anderson & Dr. Alice Bows-Larkin post-COP19 November 2013
    Anderson says that to avoid an increase in temperature of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), the world would require a “revolutionary change to the political and economic hegemony.”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEQ7cOUjwgM

    Naomi Klein: How science is telling us all to revolt October 2013
    “Is our relentless quest for economic growth killing the planet? Climate scientists have seen the data – and they are coming to some incendiary conclusions.”
    http://www.newstatesman.com/2013/10/science-says-revolt

    Walter

  28. 478
    Walter says:

    Mike Mann @ 17 January 2014 said on page one:
    “The New Republic once called (Stephen Schneider) a “scientific pugilist” for advocating a forceful approach to global warming. But fighting for scientific truth and an informed debate is nothing to apologize for.”
    “We scientists are citizens, too, and, in climate change, we see a clear and present danger. ”
    The piece ends on this note: “How will history judge us if we watch the threat unfold before our eyes, but fail to communicate the urgency of acting to avert potential disaster?”
    “Constructive contributions are welcome in the comment section below :-)”

    I’d like to contribute the following extracts and URLs:

    12/10/2012 Is The Earth F**cked?
    Brad Werner AGU 2012 – Why shout out the blunt question on everyone’s mind? Werner explained at the outset of the presentation that it was inspired by friends who are depressed about the future of the planet. [..]

    Lonnie Thompson, one of the world’s foremost experts on glaciers and ancient climates, framed the dilemma in a speech he gave to a group of behavioral scientists in 2010: “Climatologists, like other scientists, tend to be a stolid group. We are not given to theatrical rantings about falling skies. [..] Why then are climatologists speaking out about the dangers of global warming? The answer is that virtually all of us are now convinced that global warming poses a clear and present danger to civilization.”

    That’s the sound of serious-minded scientists fretting out loud to the rest of us that the earth is indeed f**ked, unless we get our s**t together. More and more are willing to risk professional opprobrium to drive that message home. In short, some scientists are now turning to environmental activism. However, there is a constant avoidance of the only question which really matters, which in the context just above, turns out to be — Why can’t humans get their shit together?

    Now, allow me to be blunt. This is a problem with humans, it is about humans, and to figure out what that problem is, you have to step outside the Human Condition (to the extent possible) and take a long, hard look at what humans are, and why they do what they do.

    This is not the kind of problem which can be solved with the same techniques used to simulate the dynamics of natural systems like glaciers or coastal landscapes. [..] But Brad Werner is completely immersed within the Human Condition. He can not step outside of it (to the extent possible) in order to draw some conclusions about human behavior. So he has come to the totally absurd conclusion that he can facilitate “better decision-making” with a computer model of human-environmental interactions. But it is that very human decision-making which is at issue! He has begged the question!
    [..]
    The great tragedy of the Human Condition is that humans can not figure out who they are and why they do what they do. In short, humans are completely immersed in their own nonsense. [..] But humans are apparently intrinsically incapable of taking the large leap toward self-knowledge which would make possible the very slim HOPE for a happy outcome.
    http://www.declineoftheempire.com/2012/12/is-the-earth-fcked.html

    08/08/2012 Climate Change Idiots
    Freelance journalist Beth Gardiner wrote an editorial called ‘We’re All Climate Change Idiots’ which appeared in the New York Times Sunday Review on July 21, 2012. There are valuable insights in it, though they are not the ones Beth had in mind when she wrote it.
    http://www.declineoftheempire.com/2012/08/climate-change-idiots.html

    There’s No Hope At All — Zero, Zip, Nada — Forget about it!
    As I work on another long essay on … I thought I’d pass along this little economic update from the Wall Street Journal (February 6, 2014).
    http://www.declineoftheempire.com/2014/02/theres-no-hope-at-all-zero-zip-nada-forgettaboutit.html

    Walter

  29. 479
    Walter says:

    12/30/2013 Elizabeth Kolbert On The Sixth Extinction

    It was back in 1992 that I first had the thought about the Sixth Extinction. At that time 3,000 acres of forests every hour were being clear felled and otherwise destroyed. This despite it was already known that >80% of all native forests had been totally destroyed since civilization began thousands of years ago.

    Human behavior has continued regardless when it came to my awareness the other mass extinction under way, humans are causing it too, it is centered in the oceans, and it is happening incredibly rapidly on the geological time-scale. I have a Bookmark folder with links to papers, articles, documentaries and videos on that subject too.

    By 1995 I had the ideas and structure ready for a book titled ’2020 Vision’. Then the computers and the internet came along and I was distracted for the following 18 years. It was easy to say to myself, next year I will get to that 2020 book. Of course it never happened. No problem though, for some things are not meant to be and it’s too late anyhow. Now I know a little better than I did before.

    So long before Elizabeth Kolbert started working on her new book The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, I could have written it. Years ago I gave up on the idea that people (generally speaking) would pay any attention to the well-informed warnings I was issuing, but I also knew a few people would get the message. And a few people did. I don’t expect Kolbert will fare any better than I have.

    In the New Yorker podcast below Kolbert talks about her forthcoming book. It’s worth listening to, and I recommend that you listen all the way to the end. http://www.declineoftheempire.com/2013/12/elizabeth-kolbert-on-the-sixth-extinction.html

    02/04/2014 The Argument From Ignorance
    I see that Elizabeth Kolbert’s book The Sixth Extinction has been published. Before I get to Kolbert, for whom I have a lot of respect, I am reminded of some text I wrote in another context but didn’t publish.
    http://www.declineoftheempire.com/2014/02/the-argument-from-ignorance.html

    Walter

  30. 480
    Walter says:

    #457 Ray Ladbury says:
    “Walter, Tell ya what. You say something worthwhile–something that isn’t just sanctimonious twaddle and woe-is-me despair–and I’ll listen.”

    Ray, I do not believe you would. Why should it matter to me if you personally listen or not? You seem to think it should, though I cannot understand why. But thanks for the warm positive encouragement. It says so much. I think I should listen to Hank more and dftt.

    Walter

  31. 481
    Walter says:

    #464 Hank Roberts says:
    “Walter, when I pointed to the AGU policy forum, you asked if paying dues is necessary.”

    For the record I didn’t ask that. Doesn’t matter anyhow. Many thanks, Walter

  32. 482
    Walter says:

    #468 SecularAnimist says:
    “With all due respect, “projections” are by definition NOT YET “facts”, and what the “facts” will be in 2040 is subject to change, depending on our actions, to a degree that can only be determined empirically.”

    This is quite true. Have you considered that the very same thing applies to the IPCC projections? Yet I suspect you and others are quite willing to accept them on the basis that those very projections are based upon empirical facts modeled into the future. And also subject to change. I cannot comprehend how it is that when both cases are the same ‘process’ that you take to time out to criticize the very same kinds of projections of scientists and economists about energy use. Which I am merely sharing here and not making up. This makes no sense to me at all, because it makes no sense.

    SA “As I have noted previously, the current actual growth of renewable energy far exceeds previous projections — even in the absence of strong public policies to support and facilitate that growth.”

    Yes that is also true. For it is also true of other information I have shared and quoted on this thread such as IPCC projections made in Sept 2013 are already out of date and wrong now.

    Who on this blog still believes that summer arctic ice will not disappear totally until ~2060? Yet that is what the IPCC says, and that is what has been handed to Policy Makers worldwide barely 4 months ago.

    SecularAnimist I did not argue with your facts as presented. I simply offered a grander more accurate framework into which those facts should be placed in order for them to be seen in truer more accurate context.

    When you combine the truth about the ‘potential’ of change being possible as per your NE USA example. Then add that to the truth about the real future projections for Fossil Fuel Use to 2040 in the USA and globally. Then also add that to the truth of where the IPCC projections are far too conservative in their future projections … then and only then can the true extent of the challenge and urgency be seen with more clarity and in it;s correct context.

    As well as this the reality of either the climate impacts from inaction far sooner than ‘expected’ or the economic impacts of massive change occurring in the economy and financial systems in order to implement rational mitigation of GHGs.

    I do not know what you (and several others now and then) are arguing about, why you see important differences where probably none exist, nor why splitting hairs about ‘projections’ discounts the truth of what I have actually said as if it is wrong. Given such figures and findings are actually supported by credible reports, papers, studies and experts around the world already.

    If the ‘projections’ I have made or the assumptions are in fact wrong, then please the door is open to present the evidence of where and why they are wrong. So far not one person has produced an ounce of contrary evidence they are. Nor why any conclusions based on those are in error.

    I have also presented material that indicates how these matters are in fact on topic given the content of Michael Mann’s article, and the general topic of climate science here. Everything else is a complete mystery and I consider quite irrelevant to anything I have presented myself. Thanks.

    Walter

  33. 483
    Walter says:

    18 months ago now – Sept 2012 NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE | COMMENTARY
    A new paradigm for climate change by Kevin Anderson & Alice Bows

    “How climate change science is conducted, communicated and translated into policy must be radically transformed if ‘dangerous’ climate change is to be averted.”

    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v2/n9/full/nclimate1646.html?WT.ec_id=NCLIMATE-201209

    “.. politicians may well have left the Rio+20
    conference without understanding the
    viability and implications of proposed low-
    carbon pathways.
    We urgently need to acknowledge that
    the development needs of many countries
    leave the rich western nations with little
    choice but to immediately and severely
    curb their greenhouse gas emissions.”

    “Hope and judgement
    There are many reasons why climate science
    has become intertwined with politics, to the
    extent that providing impartial scientific
    analysis is increasingly challenging and
    challenged. On a personal level, scientists
    are human too. Many have chosen to
    research climate change because they
    believe there is value in applying scientific
    rigour to an important global issue. It is
    not surprising then that they also HOPE that
    it is still possible to avoid dangerous..”

    Blogs citing this article http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v2/n9/nclimate1646/metrics/blogs

    The Nature article was Quoted by Naomi Klein in Oct 2013

    Klein says: So what Anderson and Bows are really saying is that there is still time to avoid catastrophic warming, but not within the rules of capitalism as they are currently constructed. Which may be the best argument we have ever had for changing those rules.

    In a 2012 essay that appeared in the influential scientific journal Nature Climate Change, Anderson and Bows laid down something of a gauntlet, accusing many of their fellow scientists of failing to come clean about the kind of changes that climate change demands of humanity. On this it is worth quoting the pair at length:

    Anderson: ” . . . in developing emission scenarios scientists repeatedly and severely underplay the implications of their analyses. When it comes to avoiding a 2°C rise, “impossible” is translated into “difficult but doable”, whereas “urgent and radical” emerge as “challenging” – all to appease the god of economics (or, more precisely, finance). For example, to avoid exceeding the maximum rate of emission reduction dictated by economists, “impossibly” early peaks in emissions are assumed, together with naive notions about “big” engineering and the deployment rates of low-carbon infrastructure. More disturbingly, as emissions budgets dwindle, so geoengineering is increasingly proposed to ensure that the diktat of economists remains unquestioned. ” [end quote]

    Klein continues: In other words, in order to appear reasonable within neoliberal economic circles, scientists have been dramatically soft-peddling the implications of their research. By August 2013, Anderson was willing to be even more blunt, writing that the boat had sailed on gradual change.

    Quoting Anderson:
    “Perhaps at the time of the 1992 Earth Summit, or even at the turn of the millennium, 2°C levels of mitigation could have been achieved through significant evolutionary changes within the political and economic hegemony. But climate change is a cumulative issue! Now, in 2013, we in high-emitting (post-)industrial nations face a very different prospect. Our ongoing and collective carbon profligacy has squandered any opportunity for the ‘evolutionary change’ afforded by our earlier (and larger) 2°C carbon budget. Today, after two decades of bluff and lies, the remaining 2°C budget demands revolutionary change to the political and economic hegemony” (his emphasis).

    Klein says: We probably shouldn’t be surprised that some climate scientists are a little spooked by the radical implications of even their own research. Most of them were just quietly doing their work measuring ice cores, running global climate models and studying ocean acidification, only to discover, as the Australian climate expert and author Clive Hamilton puts it, that they “were unwittingly destabilising the political and social order”.

    But there are many people who are well aware of the revolutionary nature of climate science. It’s why some of the governments that decided to chuck their climate commitments in favour of digging up more carbon have had to find ever more thuggish ways to silence and intimidate their nations’ scientists.
    http://www.newstatesman.com/2013/10/science-says-revolt

    If I have a point, it is that the issues raised by Micahel Mann in january 2014 are not at all new. But it is good to see these matters being exposed in the NYT and elsewhere now. The Nature article by Anderson and Dows was not carried in the mainstream press and therefore have minimal impact.

    In Marketing semantics this relates to the idea of ‘market penetration’. One could say the timely message 18 months ago now by Anderson and Dows was lost in the ‘noise and clutter’.

    Perhaps RealClimate is in a position to offer them a venue in which their research and analysis could be presented here as ‘guest authors’? Thereby contributing to this critical subject being even further disseminated thus adding to a more informed public debate.

    Walter

  34. 484
    Walter says:

    Jevon’s Paradox, Energy Efficiency, Price and Economics [Backgrounder Info]

    In 1865, a twenty-nine-year-old Englishman named William Stanley Jevons published a book, “The Coal Question,” in which he argued that the bonanza couldn’t last. Britain’s affluence, he wrote, depended on its endowment of coal, which the country was rapidly depleting. He added that such an outcome could not be delayed through increased “economy” in the use of coal-what we refer to today as “energy efficiency”.

    Jevon concluded, in italics, “It is wholly a confusion of ideas to suppose that the economical use of fuel is equivalent to a diminished consumption. The very contrary is the truth.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Stanley_Jevons

    During the 1970s oil crisis, Brookes argued that devising ways to produce goods with less oil – an obvious response to higher prices – would merely accommodate the new prices, causing energy consumption to be higher than it would have been if no effort to increase efficiency had been made; only later did he discover that Jevons had anticipated him by more than a century!

    Brookes says: “Jevons is very simple. When we talk about increasing energy efficiency, what we’re really talking about is increasing the productivity of energy. And, if you increase the productivity of anything, you have the effect of reducing its implicit price, because you get more return for the same money-which means the demand goes up.”

    Nowadays, this effect is usually referred to as “rebound” – or, in cases where increased consumption more than cancels out any energy savings, as “backfire.”

    In a 1992 paper, Harry D. Saunders, an American researcher, provided a concise statement of the basic idea: “With fixed real energy price, energy efficiency gains will increase energy consumption above where it would be without these gains.”

    The above sounds quite similar to the Climate Science term “positive feedback” as it operates in quite similar ways within a complex non-linear system.

    I do not know if anyone has done any studies but I have been coming to the view that Economics is as complex, if not more so, than the Climate.

    Walter

  35. 485
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Walter@479: “Ray, I do not believe you would. Why should it matter to me if you personally listen or not? You seem to think it should, though I cannot understand why.”

    Walter@422: “Ray, you are unwilling to listen.”

    Do you have a problem with short term memory in addition to all your other cognitive difficulties?

  36. 486
    DIOGENES says:

    Walter #472,

    “If I may be presumptuous I do have an idea to suggest. Take some time out.”

    Well, I have basically achieved the posting objectives I set out to achieve. I have increased my understanding of the targets we need to meet in order to avoid the Apocalypse, and have in fact presented a ‘plan’ that will meet those targets with modest/reasonable chances of success. While the ‘plan’ is certainly not perfect, it provides a reasonable indication of where we need to go, and what is required. Unfortunately, ‘what is required’ is the polar opposite of what we are doing now and what we are projected to be doing in the critical few decades from now. It is even far more rigorous than ‘what is required’ by climate change experts for whom I have the greatest respect: Anderson, McKibben, and even, to some degree, Hansen.

    The ‘fixes’ proposed on this blog won’t begin to scratch the surface of what is needed. All these target-less strategies tend to do is substitute one technology for another, when the critical need for the transition period is demand reduction.

    So, at this point, I see little purpose in any further posting on this blog. I find I am in a repetitive mode, and that’s becoming a time burden. But, keep up the good work here. Your projections of the future indicate a strong tie to reality, and are not dependent on ‘hope’ or ‘miracles’.

  37. 487

    “…summer arctic ice will not disappear totally until ~2060? Yet that is what the IPCC says, and that is what has been handed to Policy Makers worldwide barely 4 months ago.”

    Er, no. What AR 5 says on this is:

    …Among the five selected models, four project a nearly ice-free Arctic Ocean in September (sea ice extent less than 1 × 106 km2 for at least 5 consecutive years) before 2050 for RCP8.5, the earliest and latest years of near disappearance of the sea ice pack being about 2040 and about 2060, respectively…. It is also likely that the Arctic Ocean will become nearly ice-free in September before the middle of the century for high GHG emissions such as those corresponding to RCP8.5 (medium confidence).

    This is just a highlighting of a much more extended discussion, page 995 (Chapter 11)–a discussion which includes Maslowski’s projection of a possible 2016 [+-3} date for an ice-free Arctic Ocean.

    True, that's the full WG1 report, not the SPM. The SPM says, in not-quite-identical words:

    ...a nearly ice-free Arctic Ocean in September before mid-century is likely for RCP8.5 (medium confidence)

    Do I (as one of the commenters "on this blog") "believe" this projection? Well, I certainly believe it is reasonable--in fact, it may be the best projection available (subject mainly to the delays inherent in producing and publishing such a massive report, which unavoidably mean that the newest work is always excluded.) So I suppose the short answer is 'yes,' I 'believe' it.

    But what does that actually mean, more specifically? In view of the fact that [a] it’s given as “medium confidence”, and [b] it’s contingent on an emissions trajectory close to RCP 8.5, that doesn’t mean that I think that it is necessarily exactly what WILL happen. Maybe Dr. Maslowski’s projection is more nearly right than the CMIP 5 models selected, which would bring the date forward. Maybe the rapid growth of renewables, and their seemingly relentless drop in price, will take us below RCP 8.5, which might take the date backward. And maybe we will actually see concerted, meaningful action on mitigation, despite the years of delay, denial and disappointment we’ve endured so far. Projections are not predictions…

    But please note: I’m not just passively ‘wishing for’ the last outcome, not just ‘hoping for the best.’ I’m devoting significant amounts of my time and energy to actively trying to make them happen. And the hope for success at some level helps fuel that activity. There’s a reason that humans have evolved a tendency to be hopeful creatures: hope does fuel action, and action (sometimes) brings success.

    In a word, despair is not adaptive.

  38. 488

    #485–”I… have in fact presented a ‘plan’ that will meet those targets with modest/reasonable chances of success.”

    Honestly, Diogenes, I missed it in all the back and forth, all the repetition, rhetoric and whatnot that has been clogging this thread of late. Before you go, can you restate it briefly–say, under 250 words? (Maybe point form, even?) Or provide a specific pointer to where you already did so?

    I would certainly be interested to read it.

  39. 489

    Thanks Dave, You are right about my having temporarily stopped following this post, but you do have a way to reach me at my own blog http://www.abeqas.com. In that blog you are free to comment of course, and you will see some additional posts I’ve made on pH data, including my ongoing features of pH measurements for each decade, and the actual locations of sample collection are mapped. There are many additional time series statistical processes I am working on with regard to the data sets, as time permits.
    But I think the simple data descriptions and the maps of their collection points are compelling. ALL of the data I’ve been featuring had been omitted without public disclosure or rationale, by virtually the entire world community of ocean acidification scientists.
    More statistical work than I can muster will be welcome, as well as many other lines of study. If only a few other ethical scientists can seize the opportunity.
    It’s somewhat a challenge for me to keep following the conversation here in a timely manner (and I don’t know what it means to have my comments ‘boreholed’) because there are very many independent conversations etc. If you don’t hear back from me on this blog, please feel free to visit my pH blog site. At least there, it is set to ping me when there is a comment.

  40. 490
    wili says:

    Diogenes, do you have a blog? Is there another forum where you might want to continue to develop your ideas? Do let those of us interested in your ideas (and your passion) know, please.

  41. 491
    Jim Bullis says:

    Re #403 wili

    California did a good job of distributing water. It worked ok until government lost self control and over-reacted with protection of species. We should ask the question whether the climate would take over the task of species removal, and then maybe adjust laws a little.

    Or are you thinking about the ‘drought’ which might well go away this week-end. Well no, it will take more than just this weekend.

    Water distribution on a continental basis is quite another thing, which could be a way to seriously do a lot of good things. I put that as an alternative to economy damaging options such as seriously penalizing fossil fuel usage.

  42. 492
    Walter says:

    Ray Ladbury says:
    8 Feb 2014 at 6:29 AM
    Walter@479: “Ray, I do not believe you would. Why should it matter to me if you personally listen or not? You seem to think it should, though I cannot understand why.”

    Walter@422: “Ray, you are unwilling to listen.”

    Rat: Do you have a problem with short term memory in addition to all your other cognitive difficulties?

    Walter: No Ray. I hadn’t forgotten I said that @422, then or now. I am functioning fine, thank you for asking.

    Walter

  43. 493
    Jim Bullis says:

    483 Walter

    On the basis of your quote of Jevons, it sounds like he failed mathematics.

    If one thinks according to the definition of the partial derivative, he speaks of the effect of a change of one variable, all others remaining constant. That is how logical thinking avoids confusion of ideas.

  44. 494
    Walter says:

    #485 DIOGENES good luck with it. Please remember to credit Michael Mann in the future for his inspiring article that motivated you to speak up and go another step forward to achieve what you have done. Use the good information suggested & linked to by your critics as much from those who agreed with you is another suggestion. Valid factual evidence doesn’t take sides, doesn’t react emotionally, and doesn’t criticize anyone. Real facts are only stepping stones to the truth. The truth is always more confronting than a lie.

    Walter

  45. 495
    Jim Bullis says:

    485 DIOGENES

    Keeping a dialogue going about a plan is a good thing, though nobody seems interested in seriously discussing possibilities other than the simplistic and obvious action of choking off the cheap energy supplies of the developed world, and complaining about China for seizing on cheap energy as it becomes part of the developed world.

    My actions in response to the CO2 problem have been to ‘invent’ high efficiency cars, trucks, power generation systems, tractors, and new agriculture systems. ‘Invent’ means working out design details and proceeding with patent applications and prosecution. Some of this work has been over-shadowed by electric car nonsense from the very authorities that should be guiding such things.

    That which seems to be a scientific community says a collective ho-hum to a fake definition of MPGE by the EPA that denies the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Thus leaving serious misguidance in place about how to significantly reduce CO2.

    Inventing a way to expand plankton to an extent that could accomplish a lot for CO2 capture as well as stimulate the function of the oceans as a source of higher level food, did not involve me, but it certainly seems like a much better thing to harangue about than the Keystone pipeline. Killing Keystone might seem like something that would be a great victory, but it comes with a serious impact on the economy; quite the opposite from a beneficial action such as a plankton project could be.

    Why not also promote National or better still, a continental, water system directed to enabling universal irrigation, while also providing the means to alleviate both floods and drought effects could lead to a greatly increased amount of growing vegetation, including establishment of standing forests where under-use land achieves little?

    Are we up to 483 comments of chatter?

  46. 496
    Walter says:

    #468 SecularAnimist, thanks for the REN21 links. I am slowly trudging through that information. Mainly interested in the Futures scenarios http://www.ren21.net/Portals/0/documents/activities/gfr/REN21_GFR_2013.pdf

    The hardest aspect for me is working through the different ways that data is ‘framed’ as per my prior comment about ‘comparing apples with apples’. On the plus side is that REN21 appears to draw on some high level experts in the field and organisational research compiling of data. Good to see the German Govt supporting such an activity with funding.

    A couple of initial thoughts:

    “The annual REN21 Renewables Global Status Report provides evidence of this rapid development. In 2011, over $260 billion was invested in new renewable energy capacity, more than for fossil fuel and nuclear power combined. This is up from just $40 billion in 2004.”

    I don’t doubt the figures here but considering the larger context of ~$550 Billion being spent each and every year on Fossil Fuel Subsidies alone by governments globally I think this places the $260 Billion into it’s proper perspective. Better than nothing, but a drop in the bucket is still only a drop.

    Whilst 2011 investment for FF/Nuc might have been below $260 Billion it doesn’t show the value of the operating “capital investment” in multi-Trillions of ‘capacity’, nor the new investments over the previous decade in expansion of FF mining activities that keeps feeding the existing ‘capacity’.

    In nuclear the 2011 figures don’t show the decade long research and development of China’s GenIV pebble bed reactor tech is about to be a decade long investment program of building ~50 of them and another ~250 other Nuclear power plants of various configurations from 350MW to circa 3+GW.

    The report also said: “Cost comparisons between renewables, fossil fuels, and nuclear, and the role of future policy for all technologies are of course key elements of the context for future energy choices. However, choices also depend on how cost comparisons are made, and on changing paradigms for energy systems and services, mobility, and buildings.”

    Very true!

    Also: ” “High renewables” outlooks project 50–95% energy shares by 2050. Such shares were cited by many experts, and are projected in several scenarios, typically those of public advocacy organizations, but also in recent scenarios of the International Energy Agency (IEA), which has traditionally published more conservative projections.”

    I find that too hard to believe right now, especially the ref to the EIA unless it is an old report by them. Maybe it is similar to the RCP 2.6 forecasts by the IPCC. A theoretical possibility if, if, if and if X happens by some miracle shift away from the BAU reality. Need to see exactly what they mean by “energy shares” too.

    Other issues that has come up before are bio-mass vs bio-fuels and how they are treated. EIA plugs bio-fuels straight into their “Oil” component, they don’t treat that as a ‘renewable’ (from what I saw). But bio-mass used for electricity generation they do. Very hard to get a handle on this and understand what various organisations are presenting and any biases or framing influences may be there. Very complex. Better to not jump to conclusions to quickly. The devil (if there is one) is usually hidden in the details.

    I’ll keep looking through the REN21 reports and see what they say. Looks like there is some some very good data there and rational ‘possibilities’ for the future on first view. Thanks again. Got any more credible future projection reports?

    Walter

  47. 497
    Walter says:

    #468 SecularAnimist, an update

    GFR Page 31 Theory:
    “Automakers also offer many future visions. Almost all of the
    top-25 global automakers are developing plug-in hybrids and/or
    electric vehicles, and many appeared set to bring them to market
    in 2013–2014, following early leaders such as Mitsubishi, Nissan,
    BYD, Kia, and GM, which already introduced commercial products in
    2009–2012. Mitsubishi envisions that 15–20% of its annual vehicle
    sales by 2020 will be electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles (following
    the commercial introduction of its iMiEV electric car in 2009).59

    Reality?
    “Mitsubishi sold 588 units of the all-electric model last year (2012) and appeared to get a little momentum earlier this year, moving 594 i EVs through February. That may have been helped by lease deals for as low as $69 a month, and sales plummeted to 31 units in March and 127 vehicles in April.
    http://green.autoblog.com/2013/05/13/mitsubishi-brings-back-10-000-rebate-on-i-miev-electric-vehicle/

    Cumulative sales since November 2009 reached 8,496 i-MiEVs through September 2013.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plug-in_electric_vehicles_in_Japan

    Electric/hybrid to be 15-20% of Mitsubishi sales by 2020? I do not think that is realistic.

    This isn’t important in itself, it is only a minor item. What is important is that it is suggestive of a lack of credibility in the report as a whole. Up this point there has been no genuine facts presented. Unless one considers reporting the ‘theoretical’ scenarios produced by others is reporting ‘facts’ which I have concerns of being valid or realistic already. There are (or should be) limits to being upbeat about future possibilities.

    So far this GFR is reading more like a glossy PR brochure prepared by a corporate marketing department or a speech by a Chairman/CEO to their annual shareholders meeting. Having been involved in this kind of work myself I am speaking from personal experience of how these things are done. Clients and shareholders never get to hear the whole story.

    I already accept that the IEA and US EIA can equally be over optimistic and naturally biased too. I do not find fault in SecularAnimist for suggesting the GFR info. He/she is not responsible for the content. I am merely suggesting there is a need to apply a lot of discrimination to what is being said here. It is not adding up as ‘factual’ to me. Yet.

    Walter

  48. 498
    Walter says:

    #486 Kevin McKinney, thanks for the comments and feedback.

    I did say: “…summer arctic ice will not disappear totally until ~2060?”

    ~ being circa, about. I also used the words “disappear totally”

    May I refer you to this IPCC AR5 RCP image/graph
    http://econnexus.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/2013-09-27_AR5-SPM-SeaIce.png

    Kevin, you also said: “The SPM says, in not-quite-identical words:
    …a nearly ice-free Arctic Ocean in September before mid-century is likely for RCP8.5 (medium confidence)”

    That uses the words “nearly ice-free”. This may seem pedantic you some, but to me it is important to compare apples with apples. Yes?

    You did say however at the beginning: “Er, no. What AR 5 says on this is:”

    I have no argument with what the AR5 actually says. I have read the full AR5 report not only the SPM. No, I do not claim I understand it as fully as a climate scientist or academic might.

    But when you say “Er,no” about what I said, I simply need to say that you are wrong on that point. And the IPCC AR5 in fact supports my “more simple” representation of what they have provided.

    I still believe what I said is a true and accurate representation of the AR5 on arctic sea ice forecasts. It might be a good exercise to compare the very same diagram as provided in the AR4 Report. That put it at ~2100.

    I believe, taking all the materials I have looked at thus far, that summer arctic ice will disappear totally ~2025 +/-5 years.

    If I am more correct than the IPCC AR5 this means that all their RCP8.5 scenarios and the SREX go out the window overnight. Any and all positive feedback estimates (not included in any RCP scenario) also start to play out in very unexpected ways.

    I could be wrong. And that’s OK. I’ll be in good company if I am. Time will tell. The potential variations involved and the unknowns makes this purely crystal ball stuff anyway.

    Walter

  49. 499
    Walter says:

    #492 Jim Bullis,

    I am not responsible for Jevon’s words or thinking. The quote and ref and the idea of the little known effects by the general public about ‘energy efficiency’ feedbacks/rebound is what was important for me to share here.

    I could have said a lot more but am already under pressure to not post information or say what it means to me. I left it to anyone interested in the Jevons paradox to research it for themselves and maybe see where it continually shows up in modern day economics and energy use research, commentaries, and published academic papers today. I trust people are capable to look after themselves and make their own judgments.

    That aside, I heard what you said. Thanks. Not sure how many here already know the context and how that may or may not fit their own opinions about ‘energy efficiency’ potentials for lowering GHG emissions going forward within our current global economic paradigm. It’s very complex.

    Walter

  50. 500
    wili says:

    Jim B at 290 blames “over-reacted with protection of species” for California’s woes. {Sigh.}

    Which prompts the questions: Do you also then blame climatologists for the calamities brought about by GW?
    And: Do you think we are going a bit to slowly in driving the 6th Mass Extinction Event since the evolution of complex life?


Switch to our mobile site