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Unforced Variations: Feb 2017

Filed under: — group @ 1 February 2017

“O brave new world, that has such people in ‘t!”

This month’s open thread. Usual rules apply.

225 Responses to “Unforced Variations: Feb 2017”

  1. 1
  2. 2
    Charles Hughes says:

    Oh good! Thomas isn’t here yet.

    What about this “possible El Nino” that could develop next Fall? Anyone heard about this or know about the possibility of a 2nd big El Nino after this small La Nina? I understand that if it should develop it could push GAT much higher and rather quickly. Thoughts?

  3. 3
    CM says:

    “… like one
    Who having into truth, by telling of it,
    Made such a sinner of his memory
    To credit his own lie—he did believe
    He was indeed the duke, out o’ th’ substitution
    And executing th’ outward face of royalty,
    With all prerogative.”

  4. 4
    patrick says:

    It’s pretty clear now that one has to go deeper and farther than merchants-of-doubt methods to fully understand the long and continuing attack on climate science, if I am not mistaken. The attack can only be understood as a full fledged all-platforms dezinformatsiya campaign, of which cyber is only a part. Not a lot has changed about this since the 1930’s–approximately when usage of the original Russian word begins–not a lot, that is, except for the technologies at hand.

    Further, one has to understand explicit rules of Nazi-era mass communication, such as: 1) do not concern yourself with objective truth or fact, and 2) always speak to the lowest common denominator. The simplest, surest way to do this, I think, is to speak to the common prejudices of society. Some may disagree and some may disapprove, but the words will not fail to connect. They won’t go over anyone’s head. …much less the heads of friends, so to speak–and followers, ditto.

  5. 5
    Rapier says:

    This following link is an absolute necessity for scientists to view. It provides an intellectual history lesson in where denialism comes from and it comes from economics, in the form of neoliberalism. Yes, that neoliberalism, which many people don’t even think exists but which has infused every corner of our culture.

    The shorthand version of neoliberalism is that the ‘Market’ is believed to be a super information processing agent which knows all. (essentially making the Market God) People cannot possibly know what the Market knows. The market knows more than science too.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7ewn29w-9I

  6. 6
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    Charles Hughes @ #2, for ENSO check here:
    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/#tabs=Overview

    Check as many tabs as you like, including Outlooks at least. Note that the neutral zone per Australia extends from – .8 to + .8 – -. USA only calls +-.5 neutral IIRC.

  7. 7
    Russell says:

    Having rediscovered Dezinformatsia it may intrigue Patrick to know that among Fred Singer’s sidekicks on the Heartland Conference circuit is old school Kremlin apparachik Yuri Izrael , who nowadays gets paid to discount AGW by Lukhoil.

    That may send Naomi Oreskes into the throes of denial, however as Academician Izrael’s main claim to Cold War fame came back when Putin’s KGB mentor, Premier Andropov was on watch. as Carl Sagan’s opposite number in preaching nuclear winter to the Eurocommunists, after Boris Ponomre’ev, then Chief Ideologist of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, made the TTAPS model part of the anti-NATO party line.

    Propaganda happens.

  8. 8
    Bob Loblaw says:

    In #183 of January Unforced variations, Thomas said: thanks bob but I am not a mind reader nor a psychic. [re: the 10%/90% split]

    You seem to think that a lot of what you post will be of interest to someone – and everyone’s 10% is different. I think you need to seriously consider the possibility that 90% of what you post is of no interest to anyone, and the 10% is getting lost. It’s hard to see any signal in the noise,and people are telling you they’ve stopped trying.

    In The Oscar Wilde Sketch, your posts would not “shine out like a shaft of gold when all around is dark

  9. 9
    Pat says:

    Anyone here think they can explain “Ocean Mechanical Thermal Energy Conversion” or “OMTEC” to me?

  10. 10
    Mr. Know It All 2 says:

    Big smog problem in London due to high electricity costs prompting people to heat homes with wood – electricity costs driven by money spent on renewables:
    https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2017/01/24/domestic-wood-burning-leads-to-very-high-pollution-alert-for-london/

  11. 11
    Mr. Know It All 2 says:

    5 – R

    I watched that whole video. The guy is a believer. He presents a theory, but it’s questionable. Perhaps a small portion of denialism comes about as he explains, but the majority of people have never heard of any of the stuff he talks about; yet they doubt AGW.

    I think a lot of folks like to keep things simple so they can understand them. It seems obvious to people that predicting the future climate of a planet is not simple – the weather man regulary cannot predict the weather next week. Thus, related or not, many doubt the validity of climate models.

    Also, it probably does not help that AGW appears to have been pushed on us by Al Gore – a politician. Everyone knows that all politicians lie. He was a D politician and half the population understand that D ideas have proven to be disasters: the great society, war on poverty, etc have done perhaps irreparable harm to the country. Ds are big believers in state solutions and many folks simply think Ds want to use AGW as an excuse to destroy capitalism, or raise taxes, get us all to ride bikes, drive electric cars, etc, etc, etc. So the source of the theory being from Ds is not a good thing to 1/2 the people.

    I like economic theory that is understandable, and which has proven to be correct. Here is one such example. It’s simple, understandable and it worked out as predicted. If you just watch the first 10 minutes or so, you’ll like it and will want to watch the rest of it. Speech given November 2006:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jj8rMwdQf6k

  12. 12
    Thomas says:

    8 Bob Loblaw “You seem to think that a lot of what you post will be of interest to someone.

    Bob, you (and many others) keep stating that you already know what I think and what my intentions and motivations are.

    On top of that you (and many others) are repeatedly setting yourselves as Judge and Jury and Executioner AS IF you have the Right to speak to everyone else who reads this blog site, including the Moderators.

    Feel free to speak for yourself and express your own views and opinions about anything to your heart’s content. But do not speak for me nor for anyone else.

    RE: “your posts would not “shine out like a shaft of gold when all around is dark“”

    Interesting. That’s called an ‘opinion’ and you are welcome to it. I’m not buying it. I am not here to make you happy Bob (nor anyone else).

    Let me know when you (or anyone else) would like me to pass my haughty grandiose and presumptuous judgements upon your comment contributions to RC and share my opinion with the world about that.

    Thousands of people read this blog. A dozen plus a few make comments. I’d rather the thousands started to make their own comments and drown me out. That would be a very good day in my humble opinion.

    And no, I have no expectations that you Bob, nor anyone else here, will even comprehend what I have just said above and what it means. It isn’t my personal problem, it’s not my responsibility to fix it, and neither did I cause such problem in others to begin with.

    Have a good one, and good luck. :-)

  13. 13
    Thomas says:

    5 Rapier, excellent contribution, thx.

    Once neoliberalism became a Theory of Everything, it could no longer be falsified by anything as trifling as data from the “real” economy.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Mirowski

  14. 14
    MA Rodger says:

    A new month so the data collected from last month will soon be trickling in. To kick off, there were 194 comments in last month’s Unforced Variations thread (down from 302 in December) of which 60 comments were “Thomas says” (up from 49 comments in December) which is 31% of the total (double the 16% in December). The January thread contains 26,500 words (well down from 58,000 words in December) of which 9,000 were “Thomas says” (down on the 12,000 December count) which is 34% of the total (a big jump up from 21% in December).

  15. 15
    zebra says:

    Rapier #5,

    “neoliberalism market blah blah”

    They’ve got you, Rapier. You are buying into the right-wing framing and doublespeak just like they want you to.

    Free Markets (as originally defined) do in fact optimize the allocation of resources.

    As originally understood, that means a Competitive, Fully Internalized, Market.

    What you want to oppose, if you want to be serious, is called Laissez-Faire Capitalism. That isn’t “neo” anything. Stop watching videos and pick up a book.

  16. 16
    Jim Hunt says:

    Folks might be interested in the latest article from SkS:

    Global warming hiatus claims prebunked in 1980s and 1990s

    It seems that there already was some research on global warming hiatus during 1980s and 1990s (earliest studies on the issue were actually back in 1940s-1970s). This seems to have gone largely unnoticed in the scientific literature of current global warming hiatus, and it certainly seems to have gone unnoticed by climate mitigation opponents who have made claims on global warming hiatus since at least 2006 and still continue to do so.

    It includes 13 references.

  17. 17
    SamW says:

    10% is exceedingly generous. That would make Thomas the most interesting poster here, since he posts much more than ten times as much as anyone else. 1% would be generous. I know this is a climate-related forum, but is it really necessary to give up so much space to hot air and howling wind ?

  18. 18
    mike says:

    Charles at 2: as you know, I track atmospheric CO2 primarily and it seems like the CO2 increase is back in the 3 ppm range. That suggests to me that we are not seeing a LN trough after the pretty significant EN of 2015-2016. The CO2 fall-off patterns so far do not match well with the 1998-1999 EN event. That could change, but so far, we are continuing to bump along at 3 ppm plus over 2016 numbers. December was a fall-off to 3 minus and I thought we might have turned a corner to lower numbers, but MAR noted that baseline of Dec 2016 was unusual and I believe MAR was correct, as he usually is, at scanning big number sets and seeing the patterns and big picture.

    I remain quite concerned about the 3 ppm plus increase numbers. I think it is no coincidence that we are seeing grave changes in the Arctic sea ice pack. CO2 is expected to warm the planet. Warming is expected to be amplified in the Arctic. Change in albedo of diminishing ice pack is expected to create yet more warming and off we go.

    I read pieces about the warming in the Arctic

    http://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/arctic-is-warming-twice-as-fast-as-the-rest-of-the-planet/

    and see some discussion of the potential release of CO2 from thawing permafrost and methane from clathrates.

    Looking ugly.

    CO2 numbers:
    January 22 – 28, 2017 406.48 ppm
    January 22 – 28, 2016 403.12 ppm

    3.36 ppm increase. Dr. Mann said in 2014 that we should stay under 405 ppm. Uh-oh!

    Warm regards all,

    Mike

  19. 19
    Barbara says:

    AGW denialism is childishly easy to understand. Here, in a nutshell, are the two most obvious reasons for it:

    1. Most people are not scientists. They know that science messes up sometimes. They tend to judge by how people act rather than what they say. Thus if only five climate scientists give up flying, they go by that.

    2. Our whole way of life depends on fossil fuels. Any scientist who wants us to give them up had better provide a realistic alternative first (realistic does not mean a 100,000 dollar electric car).

  20. 20
    Scott Nudds says:

    Neil Gorsuch founded ‘Fascism Forever Club’ in school

    Neil Gorsuch, Donald Trump’s nomination to replace the late Antonin Scalia in the US Supreme Court, was the leader of a student group called the Fascism Forever Club during his high school days, according to reports.

    The Colorado judge was the president of the right-wing club during his time at the prestigious Georgetown Preparatory school in the 1980s.

    According to his yearbook, the Fascism Forever Club was set up to oppose the “liberal” views of the school’s administration, reported the Daily Mail.

    A description in the yearbook added: “In political circles, our tireless President Gorsuch’s ‘Fascism Forever Club’ happily jerked its knees against the increasingly ‘left-wing’ tendencies of the faculty.”

    During his time at the school, Gorsuch also co-founded a magazine called The Morningside Review, and The Federalist newspaper, both of which were set up to oppose the liberal views at Georgetown at the time.

    Following his nomination, Rev Scott R Pilarz, Georgetown Prep’s president, said: “We are proud to have a son of Georgetown Preparatory School, a Catholic, Jesuit school founded the same year the United States Supreme Court was established, nominated to the nation’s highest court. All of us at Prep send our prayers and best wishes.”

    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/donald-trumps-supreme-court-nominee-neil-gorsuch-founded-fascism-forever-club-school-1604426

  21. 21
    Scott Nudds says:

    Leaks from inside the Drumpf Administration indicate that it intends to fire 2/3rds of the EPA Employees.

  22. 22
    MA Rodger says:

    UAH has now posted January’s global temperature anomaly for its TLTv6.0(beta5) at +0.30ºC (two significant places), the 45th warmest anomaly on the record. This is the 7th warmest January on record (after 2016, 2010, 1998, 2013, 2007, 2003, only 2013 not a strong El Nino year.) And only the El Nino years 2016, 2010 & 1998 averaged above 0.30ºC so 2017 kicks off with a warm start.
    The table here allows comparison with the 1997-99 El Nino years. That 1997-98 El Nino was quickly followed by La Nina conditions. While the 2015-16 El Nino ended pretty-much in sinc with 1997-98 El Nino, any La Nina conditions this time round are now seen to be a non-event by all indicators.
    Back in 1998 as per the table below, the big drop from the elevated El Nino temperatures was well established by the new year. The same big drop is not apparent following this El Nino with temperatures roughly down to 2015 levels, the second hottest year on record.
    ……….1997/99 … 2015/16
    Dec … +0.250ºC … +0.450ºC
    Jan … +0.479ºC … +0.540ºC
    Feb … +0.653ºC … +0.832ºC
    Mar … +0.475ºC … +0.734ºC
    Apr … +0.743ºC … +0.714ºC
    May … +0.643ºC … +0.545ºC
    Jun .… +0.575ºC … +0.338ºC
    Jul … +0.511ºC . … +0.389ºC
    Aug … +0.516ºC …. +0.435ºC
    Sep … +0.441ºC …. +0.440ºC
    Oct … +0.403ºC …. +0.410ºC
    Nov … +0.123ºC …. +0.450ºC
    Dec … +0.246ºC …. +0.240ºC
    Jan … +0.060ºC …. +0.300ºC
    Feb … +0.166ºC
    Mar … -0.081ºC
    Apr … +0.009ºC
    May … -0.037ºC

  23. 23
    Thomas says:

    An example of Philip Mirowski’s ‘thesis’ and assertions of how it plays out in the real world is unfolding in real time right now.
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/planet-oz/2017/feb/03/coal-lobbys-long-game-puts-talking-points-into-leaders-mouths

    This website was originally called RealClimate for good reasons. The western world ignores reality at your and our collective peril.

    It’s always a buzz when things or people show up unexpectedly out of the blue and fit so well it’s like they were planned to precisely happen like that. Surprises like this often happen to scientists when they least expect it! (see recent Einstein quote here)
    Word for the day: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/prescient

  24. 24
    Thomas says:

    And this follows that:
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/02/corporate-dark-money-power-atlantic-lobbyists-brexit

    Only for those interested in the bigger dynamics of systemic causation, fractured ideologies and how the brain works.

  25. 25
    nigelj says:

    Patrick @4, I agree.

    I find the origins of all the rather strident climate change scepticism fascinating, and not 100% clear to me. Perhaps it’s just complex and there’s no one factor.

    It has certainly taken on a feeling of an alternative truth, Orwellian black is white fascist disinformation campaign.

    We do clearly have at least two groups of sceptics with different reasons. We have groups with vested interests in fossil fuels, and other groups with ideological concerns related to what governments do etc. They have possibly teamed up to form a rather horrid alliance.

    There are other reasons for climate scepticism as simple as a poor grasp of science that makes some people suspicious of science, and also psychological factors on how humans process information.

    Its a big thing to untangle. To some extent history shows the vast majority eventually make sense of new science and see through campaigns designed to undermine science or spread doubt, but it takes time for this. This is time humanity doesn’t have, given the nature of greenhouse gas warming and mitigation options. How do we speed up the process to get people to see the science is correct?

    Perhaps its also about scepticism about solutions to resolving climate change. We are requiring people to make some sacrifices now, to help future generations. It’s a moral sort of choice. How do we clarify and better justify this choice?

  26. 26

    Some RC readers might be interested my back-and-forth with Pat Frank on his claims regarding climate models and propagation of error:

    https://patricktbrown.org/2017/01/25/do-propagation-of-error-calculations-invalidate-climate-model-projections-of-global-warming/

  27. 27
    Thomas says:

    ‘Comment is free… but facts are sacred.’ Charles Prestwich Scott 1921

    Thinking about the Real Climate Comments sections during 2016 overall, AND the Posts made by ‘Thomas’…… to participate got to: https://goo.gl/vDvAAm

    Go hard! (smiling)

  28. 28
    Scott Strough says:

    @5 Rapier,
    What’s interesting to me about the talk you linked is that the he identified the fact that the source of the denialism and all the hair brained schemes that have no chance of solving AGW is neoliberalism, rather than conservatives, as often attributed.

    I am a conservative and have been all my life, and have constantly attempted to point out the control of the Republican party isn’t conservative at all. Not even progressive conservatism (think Teddy Roosevelt), but something very different. Now I have a new term for this, although I doubt people will understand it if I use it too much. Even in other political discussions unrelated to climate change it is well known that the Republican party was hijacked by neoconservatives, which counterintuitive to the name isn’t conservative at all either.

    Now I am beginning to get it. The unholy alliance between neocons and neolibs is really why every election phase we get choices between worse and worser! Never an actual chance to break out and accomplish a real solution to AGW.

    Looks like I need to do some further political science study before I can make any informed conclusions or meaningful commentary though, much as I hate political science. Aaarrrggg That guy really profoundly messed up my comfortable world. As if I didn’t already have enough on my mind trying to develop my mitigation plan.

    Thanks for the link! It is helpful. But I think I hate you for forcing me to think about it! :P

  29. 29
    Charles Hughes says:

    Here’s another situation I’d like an ‘informed’ response to..

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2017/02/01/beyond-the-extreme-scientists-marvel-at-increasingly-non-natural-arctic-warmth/?utm_term=.efe0c1b1bf44

    I understand what’s happening in the Arctic as far as sea ice extent and warming but what are the immediate implications? I’m wondering how this will affect weather patterns in the future concerning heat, drought and flooding. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see the Arctic completely ice free by 2020 or before, but what then? Would there be some attention grabbing event or will we just continue to muddle through like we’re doing now?

    (I know tRump et al are oblivious so there’s no need to speculate about that one.)

    https://img.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://img.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/files/2017/01/DMI_Degreedayfreezingseason_anom.png&w=1484

  30. 30
    Charles Hughes says:

    Pete Dunkelberg says:
    1 Feb 2017 at 7:16 PM

    Pete, I looked at your link and thumbed through the tabs but I wasn’t able to get much from it. What I’m watching is the Pacific heat content which looks ripe for a second El Nino. Could we have two back to back of similar intensity? If so, what might that do to GAT going forward? Or, maybe I’m just seeing things. I’m also wondering what that might do to the Arctic Sea Ice since it’s already taking a beating.

    http://www.livemint.com/Politics/0VGL0wGvuefsl67kNuA4lL/Will-El-Nino-return-in-2017.html

    What I also worry about is the possibility of a rapid rise in GAT in the space of a few years rather than decades. Dr. James White apparently believes it can happen:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBZXFv5vsBY

  31. 31
    Thomas says:

    Another snippet – Neoliberalism and Denial component of Global warming climate science designed to ‘buy time’ and the Cap’n’Trade Carbon Taxes they know do not will not work, and the Long Game ie ‘Geoengineering’ aka Commercialising the Atmosphere and the Environment to fix the things left over from the ‘old market’ by the new market w/ Orif. Philip Mirowski https://youtu.be/zsiT9P87J4g?t=26m21s

  32. 32
    prokaryotes says:

    YouTube removes hundreds of the best climate science videos from the Internet http://climatestate.com/2017/02/02/dailymotion-is-the-new-youtube/

  33. 33
    MA Rodger says:

    RSS TLT has posted for January at +0.409ºC, a significant bounce-back from December. This is the 8th warmest January on the RSS TLT record (after 1 – 2016, 2 – 2010, 3 – 1998, 4 – 2007, 5 – 2005, 6 – 2003, 7 – 2013) and the 45th warmest monthly anomaly on the full record.
    A comparison of recent RSS TLT anomalies with the 1997/98 El Nino years:-
    ……….1997/99 … 2015/16
    Dec … +0.302ºC … +0.568ºC
    Jan … +0.550ºC … +0.680ºC
    Feb … +0.736ºC … +0.993ºC
    Mar … +0.585ºC … +0.870ºC
    Apr … +0.857ºC … +0.784ºC
    May … +0.667ºC … +0.542ºC
    Jun .… +0.567ºC … +0.485ºC
    Jul ….. +0.605ºC … +0.492ºC
    Aug … +0.572ºC… +0.471ºC
    Sep … +0.494ºC… +0.580ºC
    Oct … +0.461ºC… +0.353ºC
    Nov … +0.195ºC… +0.390ºC
    Dec … +0.311ºC… +0.229ºC
    Jan … +0.181ºC… +0.409ºC
    Feb … +0.317ºC
    Mar … -0.013ºC
    Apr … +0.182ºC
    May … +0.112ºC
    Jun … -0.083ºC

  34. 34

    The installation of Donald Trump and his associates in the White House is, as we all know, a massive threat to progress on climate change.

    Now is a good time to look for a new, more aggressive approach to the climate debate on our part. The application of philosophy of science can help us to put an end to climate change denial, at least insofar as it affects the public debate.

    Philosophically, Popper still rules: science does not prove true theories right, it proves false theories wrong. http://greenerblog.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/climate-science-falsifiability.html?m=0

    I find it enormously difficult to get deniers to admit that they do have a climate hypothesis. They duck and weave, trying desperately to get back into their comfort zone. Unless they are totally adrift from reality, they are prepared to accept that the greenhouse effect is real, that CO2 is a GHG, and that we have been increasing the levels of CO2. After that, that they are putting forward an hypothesis, and it is this:
    “Anthropogenic changes to the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere will not affect the ability of Earth’s climate to support human life as it does at present”.

    In quantitative terms, their case translates into establishing that ECS lies in the range 1-1.5ºC.

    It is possible to refute this hypothesis systematically.

    First, there is an internal contradiction in their argument, since low climate sensitivity belies their stock claim that the warming that we are recording is just due to natural variation, which demands high climate sensitivity.

    Second, they are just pushing the problem into the future, since even if ECS were indeed just unity, continual emissions of CO2 and other GHGs would still cause a 2*C rise in the 22nd century or later.

    Third, and most importantly, their low ECS figure is contradicted by more than 20 papers, using a variety of methods, all of which converge on a value around 3ºC. Only a handful of papers seem to back a lower figure, and these can be deconstructed.

    For the last three decades, climate scientists have been continually on the defensive, responding to the Hydra-like nature of the deniers’ talking points. The very number of their criticisms creates uncertainty in the minds of neutral observers, especially, it seems, journalists. We can end this uncertainty by making the strategic shift from defense to attack. If we show conclusively that the low ECS value that is central to their case simply cannot be substantiated, this changes the uncertainty that perpetuates the “controversy”. If we can show that their preferred figure fails to explain events such as the end of the Ice Ages, and other phenomena, there is a chance that this new message will get through.

    The advantage is that the debate focuses on CS, instead of ranging across the whole vast range of climatology, as we run chasing and retrieving the endless number of sceptical sticks they love to throw for us.

    Sure, the core deniers will not be moved by this process of focus on climate sensitivity, because they are in denial and that is what they do. But neutral onlookers and neutral journalists will welcome a clear change in the dynamic of the debate. Journalists like clarity and simplicity. They understand and can use phrases like “The deniers’ case has been disproven”.

    Putting together the case will take a certain amount of collaborative work, but there are enough scientists with a detailed knowledge of climate sensitivity to produce a definitive paper in a short time. It is not just one more paper defending the science; it is a Popperian refutation that systematically deconstructs the deniers’ case for low climate sensitivity.

    This approach is worth serious consideration, is it not?

  35. 35
    Johnno says:

    It’s getting a tad warm in parts of eastern Australia
    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/queensland-weather-birdsville-braces-for-temperatures-nearing-50c/news-story/2caecb416318c5043747375916cc05f1
    Something to keep in mind when the northern hemisphere is cold. Many homes have solar panels which can power air conditioning until the late afternoon. However most people need aircon to sleep when it still 30C at midnight and that grid power largely comes from burning coal. While in the middle of a big gabfest about clean energy the state of Queensland recently broke all time coal and gas burning records
    http://www.wattclarity.com.au/2017/01/queensland-demand-today-exceeds-the-previous-all-time-record/
    I don’t see this vicious cycle easing up.

  36. 36
    nigelj says:

    Barbara @ 19 says :

    “AGW denialism is childishly easy to understand. Here, in a nutshell, are the two most obvious reasons for it:

    1. Most people are not scientists. They know that science messes up sometimes. They tend to judge by how people act rather than what they say. Thus if only five climate scientists give up flying, they go by that.

    2. Our whole way of life depends on fossil fuels. Any scientist who wants us to give them up had better provide a realistic alternative first (realistic does not mean a 100,000 dollar electric car).”

    I disagree about both statements. Whether people fly or not right now doesn’t make my mind up about climate science. Most people have enough sense to understand flying is one of the most difficult elements of fossil fuel issues to resolve. It’s also not sensible not to fly at all, when there are no viable alternatives as yet, and the difference one person making the sacrifice would make is small. The solution to the issue is alternative fuels, or using forestry carbon offsets to mitigate emissions from flying, or carbon taxes, or some combination of all three.

    I think there’s far more evidence that people are sceptical about climate science due to denialist campaigns by groups with vested interests in fossil fuels and other groups with political motivations generally opposed to government regulation. Dozens of books have been written starting with “Merchants of Doubt” that document these campaigns and the influence on public opinion.

    Another frustrating problem is politicians rely on campaign donations from fossil fuel lobbies.

    We already have plenty of electric car alternatives far cheaper than $100,000 for something like a tesla which is basically a sports car (a rather good one). You can buy electric cars like the Nissan Leaf and a new model from General Motors that are roughly $30,000 – 40,000 and not much more than a typical petrol hatchback. The latest versions of these have quite respectable range, and good acceleration etc. Sorry I don’t have time for details, but it’s easily googled.

  37. 37
    nigelj says:

    Just on this neoliberalism issue.

    I just bought a book a couple of days ago that is relevent “How will capitalism end” by Wolfgang Streeck.

    A lot of this discussion on neoliberalism relies on how you define the term, and also what you mean by desirable economic policy generally.

    Economists generally define desirable economic policy, as meaning free markets in the sense of no tariffs, free flowing immigration and a robust and large as possible private sector. They often call this neoliberalism as a shorthand. Economists in the main recognise the need for government regulation of things like health and safety and environment issues, and some degree of regulation of financial markets. Economists also accept governments need to provide certain public services where the private sector doesn’t do a great job. Not all economists do, but that would be the mainstream textboook view that I have read, taking just a general interest in the issue. I’m not an economist.

    I think that is a largely sensible economic policy, with one exception that I personally think immigration while a good thing needs a good deal of control for obvious practical reasons.

    Now governments particularly some right wing or conservative governments define neoliberalism quite differently, and closer to “laissez faire capitalism”. This is certainly what the Republicans are attempting to promote in many regards, (although Trump has thrown a spanner in the works wanting to bring back tariffs).

    This version of “extreme” neoliberalism or “laissez faire capitalism” promotes very low levels of government regulation if any at all, or “self regulation” very low taxes, massive privatisation, and is hostile to trade unions. This version of neoliberalism is very hostile to taxation and any attempts to regulate or tax environmental matters. It’s small government ideology pushed as hard as possible.

    Essentially politicians are claiming they have an expert economic mandate for this extreme hard edged version of capitalism when economists, in the main, do not actually promote this.

    I guess Im saying, or another way of putting it is a light version of neoliberalism is quite good, but an extreme version suddenly and rapidly becomes toxic on many levels. For example we have considerable evidence that the de-regulated approach to finance, an attempt at laissez faire capitalism, was a major part of the global financial crash. We have considerable evidence that laissez faire capitalism or “extreme neoliberalism” leads to high inequality and related poverty problems. Etc. Yet amazingly so many people in politics are in complete denial of what is patently obvious.

    We need environmental rules in the same way we need the criminal law. People and organisation or corporations simply don’t adequately self regulate their environmental behaviour. The Trump crowd need to realise and accept this stunningly obvious reality.

  38. 38
    Mike Roddy says:

    Maybe it’s time for climate scientists to take their concerns to the next level. This should not derive from some sort of obligation that comes from learning important truths. Knowledge of the different hells that await us as the climate careens out of control should be plenty of motivation.

    The lab coat protest in San Francisco was a good start, but now things have become even stranger. Few would have predicted the oil company/bank takeover of our government that is now quite obvious. Majority deniers in the Cabinet was a nightmare that few would have predicted.

    None of us here want to engage in the sewer that is now DC politics, but there are other options. McKibben has shown consistent leadership here. It’s time for product boycotts of Koch Industries retail divisions, advertiser boycotts of Fox News, even more determination from surviving Democrats in Congress and the Courts, and much else.

    All independent thought was suppressed in Germany in 1933, including artists and scientists who were not willing to devote themselves to the regime. We are not far from that now.

    I’m not a scientist, and cannot presume to lay out resistance strategies for scientists, many of whom work in academia or government research. Everything should be on the table- as long as you are willing to fight. It’s only the future of life on earth that is at stake, and if that is not enough motivation, the human race might as well resign right now.

  39. 39
    JCH says:

    Chuck Hughes, others… This website has the ENSO record since 1950. There are several back-to-back events, but…

    For historical purposes, periods of below and above normal SSTs are colored in blue and red when the threshold is met for a minimum of 5 consecutive overlapping seasons.

    So today they posted for NDJ. It’s -0.7, which makes 5 consecutive overlapping seasons. It’s a La Niña unless an adjustment drops it back below 5 consecutive overlapping seasons. If DJF, the next reporting period, is at least -0.5, it will be the 16-17 La Niña. That looks unlikely.

    Could be the hottest La Niña ever.

  40. 40
    Steve Fish says:

    Re Pat: 2 Feb 2017 at 1:05 AM, ~#9

    You ask: Anyone here think they can explain “Ocean Mechanical Thermal Energy Conversion” or “OMTEC” to me?”

    Don’t bother. OMTEC stands for “Ocean Magical Thermal Energy Conversion.” The claims about it aren’t supported by the physics. Steve

  41. 41
    Thomas says:

    32 prokaryotes, that’s a real bummer Chris. Talking to Youtube is like conversing with the Ministry of Truth in 1984. I suggest you challenge the decision via the normal channels (it has worked for me before as I got them to reverse a decision where they deleted a video of mine) and also ask for their contact so that you may commence legal action. There’s a thing in the Law about making unjstified accusations against anybody whilst refusing to provide the basis in fact of that decision.

    Now it doesn’t matter whether you win or not, imho, just make their lives of the “drone workers” a misery for as long as possible without getting your own nose bent out of shape. He’s a tip : GOOGLE LIES 24/7/365.

    It’s what happens when Government, Intel agency research, plus any other Taxpayer funded research gets blended in with Taxpayer funded Venture Capital and this all gets mixed in the “washing machine” to be placed in the hand of 21st century Mafia Dons. :-)

    Besides being booted from any Google product is a blessing in disguise! Make better choices in the future Chris. And always do your ‘homework’ from now on. Nothing that came out of Langley is trustworthy. End of ‘story’.

    Good luck.

  42. 42
    Charles Hughes says:

    Mr. Know It All 2 says:

    Your comment is bullsh*t of course and not worth a response other than to wonder aloud how adding #2 to your moniker makes you any less stupid than before?

  43. 43
    Charles Hughes says:

    JCH says:

    Is there such a thing as a “permanent El Nino”? That’s what I’m wondering right now. It has been suggested as a possibility.

  44. 44
    Thomas says:

    20 Scott Nudds, thanks, I hadn’t seen this little factoid reported. Neil Gorsuch viewed ‘a Catholic, Jesuit school’ as having ‘left-wing’ tendencies?

    That’s simply mind-boggling. It’s unbelievable on all levels, and if true is frightening what was going on inside that guys head when at school.

    Jesuits are to broad based Catholicism what Mubark and Pinochet are to Elanor Roosevelt or Martin Luther King.

    ex-PM Tony ‘coal is good for humanity’ Abbott, anti-government, anti-universal healthcare, anti-welfare, anti-union, anti-environmental regs, anti-renewable energy, anti-abortion, anti-NGO, anti-United nations, anti-science not merely climate science, anti-same sex marriage, anti-sex ed in schools, anti-school counselors but pro-religious chaplains, and the ‘Liberal Party’s’ pin up boy for the socially economic conservative right wing faction spent several years studying to be come a Jesuit Priest after his time in a Jesuit High school, and a 2 years as a Rhodes Scholar.

    But Jesuits do have a positive reputation regarding their charitable work among the poor, eg Pope Francis, however …. there’s a big sting in that scorpions tail.

  45. 45
    Charles Hughes says:

    I strongly suggest that those with a scientific bent or background throw their hat in the ring and try running for political office. There’s obviously no moral or intellectual barriers when it comes to politics. No muss no fuss. I don’t think we have much more to lose by trying and it might help to bring Climate Change to the fore. If you’re a scientist and thinking of running for political office Senator Al Franken has some salient advice:

    http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/daily-affirmation/n10295?snl=1

  46. 46
    Thomas says:

    14 MA Rodger, I love a committed person. Dig deeper Mr Rodger. Short term variability confuses people with cherry picked stats, remember? Lies, damned lies and statistics? So beware the confirmation bias as you crunch your scientific data sets. :-)

    Go back to Jan 2016 and start from there. Then go back the last several years and see where UV was never below 500 comments, and peaked often above 1000 comments per month.

    Then some anecdotal feedback by asking Chucky how sore his scrolling finger was back then, or if he as even here then. Then MA Rodger, mathetologist extrordinaire, toss in the ~46 posts by me in January into the mix and tell me what the Data tells the world?

    Take my ~46 posts posts OUT of January Data and then tell the world what that Data telling you about the current and longer term TRENDS …. then you can be true to form and simply blame me for all of it. (smiling)

    Like everyone blames Obama’s failures on the Republicans, HRC supporters blame it on the Electoral College, and some climate scientists and their supporters keep blaming their failures of communication on all the deniers who don’t understand science – for the world making no progress in the last 25 years on action on AGW/CC.

    Or why not blame me for that as well? (wink)

    Go Hard MA Rodger, crunch that data but do it properly and get it checked and peer-reviewed before you publish. Make sure you include your assumptions parameters and raw data. I ca use a spreadsheet too. Maybe that’s why I caught so many company embezzlers in my day.

    Nah must only been the luck of a fool. https://goo.gl/vDvAAm

  47. 47
    Mr. Know It All 2 says:

    12 – Thomas

    You are exactly right Thomas. The arrogance and bias of many commenters on this site is stunning. As long as they tow the AGW line their comments are allowed; even very political, unscientific, blatantly false anti-Trump comments are allowed – recent examples being 37 and 38 above. Many comments which don’t tow the AGW line are not posted. It’s moderated by extremely biased people who obviously cannot stand the heat of examination by many with different opinions or facts.

  48. 48
    Mr. Know It All 2 says:

    Cartoon on climate change. This is what many believe. It may be true.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d6db6f68fdbc8076e8f51a55c85eea7f2d3b4b3726afea3ca553d36f82a04759.jpg

  49. 49
    zebra says:

    Nigelj,

    Good response to Barbara, but on “neoliberalism” I still find that the language/framing battle is being won by the other guys.

    Look, I know I’ve said it before, but if we want to foster the kind of thinking and precision of language that is supposed to exist in science and other disciplines at an advanced level, we have to stop compromising.

    A Free Market (Competitive, Fully Internalized Market) is a result, not a policy. This truth is what the laissez-faire crowd is trying to bury, corrupt, co-opt, through manipulation of language.

    There’s no such thing as a “free-market economy”; there are free markets (CFIM) in any given transactional milieu. My favorite and too-often repeated example is electricity generation, where the markets (e.g. within a State) are mostly not even close to “free”.

    The only way for them to be free is through comprehensive government intervention, by strict regulation of or ownership of the grid (a natural monopoly), giving all buyers and sellers equal access, and mechanisms to eliminate externalities (from using fossil fuels, obviously).

    And you need both– carbon taxes aren’t going to work if the coal company and the utility company and the State government agencies are effectively one and the same.

    So, you get an actual free market, where anyone can generate and sell electricity to anyone. This is what the usual suspects fear most of all.

  50. 50

    KIA 11: It seems obvious to people that predicting the future climate of a planet is not simple – the weather man regulary cannot predict the weather next week.

    BPL: Weather and climate are not the same thing. Weather is local and short-term; it is chaotic and cannot be predicted beyond about two weeks. Climate a is wide-area or global average of weather values taken over thirty years or more. It can be predicted statistically.

    KIA: Also, it probably does not help that AGW appears to have been pushed on us by Al Gore – a politician.

    BPL: Al Gore did not invent the theory of anthropogenic global warming. Shooting the messenger does not make the message false.

    KIA: the great society, war on poverty, etc have done perhaps irreparable harm to the country.

    BPL: Medicare was a huge success.

    KIA: Ds are big believers in state solutions and many folks simply think Ds want to use AGW as an excuse to destroy capitalism, or raise taxes, get us all to ride bikes, drive electric cars, etc, etc, etc. So the source of the theory being from Ds is not a good thing to 1/2 the people.

    BPL: The idiots who think everything is politics and who decide science issues on the basis of which tribe agrees with them.

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