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Unforced Variations: March 2017

Filed under: — group @ 3 March 2017

This month’s open thread.

343 Responses to “Unforced Variations: March 2017”

  1. 51
    Thomas says:

    re #5/22

    44 nigelj, OK with a little humour I was talking about the difference between side / marginal issues and the core issues of seriously addressing agw/cc no matter what nation one lives. Building codes did not cause the problem – burning coal etc and land clearing did. To me talk about “rearranging the deck chairs on the titantic” is an unnecessary distraction aka noise.

    The #1 goal for all climate denial proponents/funders is to generate as much noise and distraction from the core issues as possible. They are highly successful at this – and then many pro-agw action ‘believer’ folks make it even worse. That’s been happening for 25 years now without any improvement.

    The denialist/distracted camps are the Tail wagging the climate science Dog – but far too few hear it’s non-stop barking alarm anymore.

    RE: “Banning coal mines might be a very good idea, but how do you propose that happens in our politically divided countries?”

    Marketing:101 Repeat Repeat Repeat – every chance there is.

    Stay focused on the big but simple easy logical rational solutions eg REGULATE fossil fuel out of existence bit by bit one step at a time … everything else is “fluff, weak excuses, sophistry and false dilemmas.”

    The little impact marginal but sensible actions that further reduce GHG emissions/levels will follow by default as a result like Gravity.

    Another simple easy logical rational solution is using modern cutting edge professional Marketing/Communication EXPERTS and techniques to shift the false beliefs in the politically divided countries.

    Since Adam was a boy, Public Opinion has always been manufactured – it does not arise from the bottom up. That’s a scientific and historical fact btw.

    RE: I’m more interested in what you think, than a list of about 6 links, which becomes overpowering to look at. It’s easy enough to google various writers.

    It’s only easy if you know who to google and who to not. Most everyday people get overpowered by reading an Abstract. I can’t help you with being overpowered. It’s not my job. But this might help a lot, shared by Radge on another page.

    EG A modern society cannot function without a social division of labor. No one is an expert on everything. We prosper because we specialize, developing formal and informal mechanisms and practices that allow us to trust one another in those specializations and gain the collective benefit of our individual expertise.

    AND Experts don’t know everything, and they’re not always right, but they constitute an authoritative minority whose views on a topic are more likely to be right than those of the public at large.

    PLUS for the over-powered especially The digital age has simply accelerated the collapse of communication between experts and laypeople by offering an apparent shortcut to erudition. It has allowed people to mimic intellectual accomplishment by indulging in an illusion of expertise provided by a limitless supply of facts. But facts are not the same as knowledge or ability—and on the Internet, they’re not even always facts.

    The bad news, of course, is that to find any of this, you have to navigate through a blizzard of useless or misleading garbage posted by everyone from well-intentioned grandmothers to propagandists for the Islamic State (or ISIS). Some of the smartest people on earth have a significant presence on the Internet. Some of the stupidest people, however, reside just one click away. The countless dumpsters of nonsense parked on the Internet are an expert’s nightmare. Ordinary people who already had to make hard choices about where to get their information when there were a few dozen newspapers, magazines, and television channels now face endless webpages produced by anyone willing to pay for an online presence.

    How many webapges are funded by Billionaire Crack Pots and Neoliberal Cultists?

    But how do we identify who these experts are?

    It always comes down to personal Judgement. Something that the average human (me included) is not consistently good at, if they were truly honest with themselves. Self-honesty is even rarer than good judgement. :-)

    Read the article slowly and research those matters and keywords that catch your attention and confuse the hell out of you. Knowledge takes Time – there is no short cut.

    RE Whats your personal opinion or insight?

    Thanks for asking. Read my past comments and research the content from the links provided if you are interested. Though my #1 Opinion is that my Opinion doesn’t matter (or shouldn’t) to anyone but myself. As per the content in the link just above ‘opinions are like bottoms’ (I’m getting more polite in my old age lol)

    It’s not my job to tell others what they should think believe or opine. I’m more like a street sign merely offering directions to a destination.

    The only thing that should matter to you (or anyone) is your own opinion based on what you really know of the relevant facts/evidence, what’s more important or not important, and how well you can evaluate that in a way that makes sense to you.

    That and “Know Thyself” – written on the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. Self-knowledge is all-encompassing. What is learned on one scale of experience can be applied to all scales.

    It is the highest form of knowledge, surpassing all other knowledge.
    Self-knowledge is also timeless, which means that what is gained in one era, benefits all subsequent generations.

    The closer one gets to that ideal the less their own and others opinions matter to them.

    Good luck and again thanks for asking.

  2. 52
    Thomas says:

    omg, TL/DNR?

    I’m a humble Gardener planting seeds.

    Knowing that not every seed will sprout or bear fruit. I plant seeds anyway. (smile)

  3. 53
    Thomas says:

    31 nigelj, says things that are immanently sensible and intelligent.

    RE “And we need to understand that government ownership can develop some problems of it’s own, for example if you get an irresponsible and lazy government.”

    True. However … a review of recent modern history would more likely highlight the serious problems, egregious damages and permanent harm done by an irresponsible and lazy Private Sector.

    The public scrutiny on Government decisions and actions is a million times more than what occurs across the Private Sector.

    Government automatic disclosure, openness and FOI is the norm. That’s why we know how many “problems” Govt can cause and why. Lack of disclosure and being caught out lying or insidious abuse of entitlements is a red flag to the bull (the public.)

    In the Private Sector it is completely the opposite, secret board meetings, no record of discussions, commercial in-confidence, back room deals, no light, no access to evidence, and on and on it goes … until a BP Oil Well explodes, an Enron or a Worldcom, an AIG or a Lehman Brothers collapses overnight.

    Systemic problems and Cultural Norms are hidden from plain view 24/7/365. It’s the nature of the beast. The East India Company got away with it for 250 years before they were royally busted as being right assholes and liars. The core system has not changed one bit since then except on the “margins”. I know having lived inside the belly of the beast.

    99.9% of scientists and voters have not. So they have no alternative to believe the sophistry, the lies, and the PR instead. (smile)

    Private sector Whistle-blowers are endlessly Gas-lighted as overly emotional, psychologically disturbed, as liars or crazy conspiracy theorists.

    That fireman’s job is typically done by the Private Sector Media doing favors for an executive mate or to protect the value of their own shareholdings in xyz company. Been there done that bought the T-Shirt.

    The most prized asset above all in the private sector is Secrecy.

  4. 54
    nigelj says:

    Thomas @51, fair enough on the whole.

    You want to regulate fossil fuel use out of existance, step by step. This sounds very good to me,as it’s the most direct and simple way. But the challenge we face is suspicion of government regulation, and the attendant accusations people make of nanny state and over regulation, etc,etc ad nauseum. I find these objections shallow, simple minded and tedious lobby group driven drivel, masquerading as genuine concern, but how do you cut through this? Apart from just repeating our concerns? It beats me and it’s frustrating.

    I think carbon taxes maybe in combination with some regulation is probably more palatable to governments and the public, and would also be effective. You can call it second rate, but it’s workable.

    Yes I get that you see cutting emissions as the “big thing” and other things are a distraction. I feel that way sometimes, but sometimes we need distracting or we go crazy. And we need to be thinking about mitigation and adaptation in parallel with cutting emissions.

    I appreciate and agree with your comments about interpreting websites and information. I’m sure your links are good, but what I really meant was when I see your list of about 6 links, buried in a very long post, my eyes glaze over, and I don’t read any of them. When I see an interesting post with just one or two links, I often read them. Just saying.

  5. 55
    patrick says:

    “Why Scientists Should Speak Out: New research shows Americans continue to trust scientists who publicly advocate for climate action.” (Mar 2)

  6. 56
    nigelj says:

    Thomas @53, yes I hear you on that. The private sector sometimes behaves badly, is very secretive, and use deceptive marketing, and fake organisations that purport to be “ordinary citizens” when they are not. They act to minimise any form of regulation or control, or accountability.

    However private sector ownership and competition is a healthy thing, for many things at least, and the bad behaviour of corporates can be at least policed or regulated by governments, if they have the courage. They just have to get this right.

    I think state ownership should be reserved for things where there’s a real failure in the market. This might include electricity, but it probably depends on the situation in a specific country.

  7. 57
    Chuck Hughes says:

    Thomas says:
    7 Mar 2017 at 5:33 AM
    38 Charles Hughes, now try and fit that in a single Tweet. You can do it if you try harder! (smile)”

    I’m not the one taking up 1/5 of the comments with more links than a German October fest. If you would limit your posts to original thoughts only I doubt you could come up with 140 characters.

  8. 58
    MA Rodger says:

    Antarctic Sea Ice Extent has at last reluctantly decided that the freeze-up has begun this year with both NSIDC & JAXA showing a small rise in Antarctic SIE levels over recent days. Throughout the melty period of minimum ice, 2017 continued to sit below all other years, in JAXA figures passing 60,000 sq km below the old record minimum set 19th February 1997 (2,251,372 sq km). And 2017 continued showing a declining SIE, setting a new record minimum of 2,147,347 sq km on February 28th, besting 1997 by 104,000 sq km.
    Even today, the 2017 freeze-up shows little enthusiasm and now 2017 sits 485,000 sq km below any other year on record for the time of year.
    This is strange times down South. Back before Autumn 2015, Antarctic SIE had been dramatically setting all-time highs only to quickly slip down into very average levels following the peak of the southern freeze-up. Then in the peak of the 2016 freeze-up it fell out the bottom of the pack and has ever since been setting dramatic all-time lows. The story behind those great changes in pan-Antarctic SIE would be well worth hearing.

    Up north, 2017 SIE continues to nudge higher in its wobbly progress through the maximum-ice period. It has so-far come within 64,000sq km of the ‘lowest maximum on record’ set in 2015 but there are still another three weeks available for 2017 to set its maximum, although I note there is vaccuous comment up-thread (from what has become a ubiquitous source for such gobshite) replied to the likely-rhetorical question “Has Arctic ice extent already reached it’s peak?” with the purile reply @23 “It’s looking that way at the moment.” (Such nonsense would be well worth not hearing. The “moment” actually lasted less that 24 hours.)
    While ‘areal’ measures of pan-Arctic Sea Ice are little different from the last two years, PIOMAS is showing values of Arctic Sea Ice Volume well below all previous years.

    The NSIDC Arctic Sea Ice News report of February’s SIE ends with an account of the satellites available for monitoring SIE that some may find of interest.

  9. 59
  10. 60
    Charles Hughes says:

    Kevin McKinney says:

    “Remind me why Hillary would have been no better. Somehow the logic has slipped my mind.”

    > This administration is playing with fire by gutting E.P.A, Education and the like. Rex Tillerson is Vladimir Putin’s inside man and he’s fired every senior staff member at the State Department. Some had served under several Presidents for over 40 years. Tillerson doesn’t want ANYONE looking over his shoulder or questioning his actions. Andrea Mitchell was ushered out of a press conference with Tillerson as soon as she started asking him questions. It was bizarre to say the least. Coupled with what we already know about Russia’s interference with our elections and the various reports from the FBI and CIA I’d say we’re in a lot of trouble on several fronts Check out this video of Andrea Mitchell being escorted out of the press pool:

  11. 61
    Killian says:

    Re #59 Kevin asked to be reminded why Hillary would not have been better.

    1. She was two-faced, by her own admission.

    2. She would have created a worse long-term problem because she would have done nothing of significance on climate, energy, simplicity, would also have expanded the gap between rich and poor (and all that is implied by that), and, since she would have very likely been in office for 8 years, holding the corporate middle, adored by ignorant dems/women/centrists of all stripes, thus virtually guaranteeing no meaningful action on regenerative systems whatsoever for eight years.

    3. Conversely, Trump is already triggering a backlash so hard the WH and Congress will almost certainly flip over the next four years, and flip hard, thus speeding up change in the long run, ironically.

    Meanwhile, MA Rotter said I am the Peanut Gallery. I shall speak nothing of substance, ever.


    While there may be the tiniest rise in ASI before all is said and done, it will not matter. The ice growth season is as good as over. Any ice developing now will be thin, weak, and meaningless to the melt season. MA is a fool to attack posters here without cause or reason, and do so so consistently. And the admins are mistaken to allow it all these years.

    Ironically, I was one of the first, if not the first, posters here to note the shift of peaking ice growth into March might be a systemic, possibly permanent shift. I suggested at the time it was possibly due to the slow growth in the Fall leaving room for growth in March, whereas in the past the ice growth had often been maximized in February. If you look at the decadal averages for peak, they have steadily retreated from February to now being typically in March… at least in the most recent years.

    So, for Peanut to pretend it was somehow vacuous to state what was likely to happen – no significant growth to come before melt – was unintelligent, at best. It was, in fact, typically childish and immature.

    All the more so since my prediction – yes, prediction, not scenario – that ASI would hit near new lows or new lows in ’16 and/or ’17 (see UV, August 2015), at least in part due to the influence of El Nino, is holding up nicely.

    ASI has been at record lows for a number of **months** over the course of 2016 and ’17, and hit ties or new second highest records, depending on whom you ask, in 2016. (I am planning an analysis of volume for 2016 to see if there is support for record lows in 2016 because naked eye analysis suggests there was.)

    It’s sad that people who contribute unique analysis here (I used to track CO2 increases long before Mike started, and caught the same flack he does, e.g., as well as other correct scenarios and predictions over the long years I have posted here.)

    Enjoy your peanuts, Peanuttles.

  12. 62
    Mr. Know It All says:

    Yes, I can feel the heat. Heat wave even in Antarctica. It’s only -62 right now at 1:05 AM on 3/9/2017 in Vostok. Only have 2 down parkas on today!

  13. 63
    nigelj says:

    nigelj #50,

    On your last paragraph: I would only say that we need to be more forceful and explicit, which I assume does not come as a surprise.

    Somehow we have to get people to understand it’s not an issue of capitalism versus some controlling socialism, and more of a logical management tool that fixes issues where sometimes some markets don’t inherently provide very good control systems.

    This implies that capitalism “isn’t working” when there are monopolistic practices.

    Capitalism is like a dangerous drug; it does wonders, but its application must be carefully controlled and calibrated. So, your expression “management tool” is exactly correct, but I would make clear that competitive, fully internalized, markets, are that tool. Regulation is just a necessary part of the process.

    Markets can exist without capitalism. Capitalism enhances the operation of markets, but laissez-faire capitalism destroys markets and leads to feudalism/fascism.

    So I would emphasize that as the choice you mention. I realize you are trying to use conciliatory language, but perhaps in this political climate it is not sufficient.

    On the electricity thing: Your system sounds like a very positive effort. I would go the next step and have users buy directly from generators. Then, how would it be possible to block anyone with safe equipment from selling his/her rooftop solar to any consumer?

  14. 64
    Thomas says:

    For 63 etc by nigelj

    What follows is an example of the simplicity of [rational evidence based real world positive change] Regulation and the reality of “free enterprise” in the USA and it’s capacity to solve the environmental problems of GHG emissions the main driver of AGW/CC.

    No one liked it here, even those that actually read a little bit of it. The inbuilt ‘assumptions’ of real world private enterprise activity are too numerous to list. Only those with a decent knowledge and experience in large corps / private enterprise and business marketing dynamics (not advertising) / long term strategic thinking would know what they are .. which cuts out the majority of theoretical economists and everyone who makes comments on RC.

    FWIW you could be the exception to the rule. :-)

  15. 65
    zebra says:

    #63 is from me, not nigelj

    Caffeine deficit. Also a different computer. Sorry.

  16. 66
    Dan says:

    re: 63.
    “She would have created a worse long-term problem because she would have done nothing of significance on climate…”

    Wow, talk about alternative facts, that is a whopper. She would have continued to enable the reductions of man-made greenhouse gases via executive orders and the EPA, just for starters. And renewables would continue to have a friend in the WH.

  17. 67

    I voted for Hillary and would do it again. The mere fact that she would not have gutted EPA, NOAA, and NASA would have helped, plus the fact that she embraced renewable energy. She would not have helped to tax and regulate it out of existence, an ongoing Koch project which the Trump administration will only aid and abet. To say she would have made no difference is just wrong. Just by staying out of the way of the renewable revolution she would have made things much better.

  18. 68
    Mike says:

    Can someone please rebut or provide a source that rebuts this article?

    This is making the rounds amongst the skeptics.

  19. 69
    nigelj says:

    Zebra @63

    Ha ha. I thought it might be something like that.

    I agree with your comments on capitalism being like a drug needing some control. It’s like riding a wild horse.

    I also like your way of promoting competitive markets, as the main factor, with regulation simply as a little tool. This is likely to have wide appeal to people who may be suspicious of government.

    Can markets exist without capitalism? I suppose this depends on how you define capitalism. If you define it as private ownership of capital, and the existence of limited liability companies, then yes technically markets can exist without capitalism, but it would be an unlikely occurrence. However I assume your point is to focus attention on the idea of markets, which is generally a popular concept, and less emotive and divisive than the term capitalism?

    Perhaps you are also suggesting markets are ultimately the most important thing, as in competitive markets, and I would agree if you are.

    Of course sometimes monopolies are inevitable. Such as natural monopolies like lines netwworks.

    Yes laissez fair capitalism could be said to destroy markets. It ultimately leads to monopolies for obvious reasons.

    Laissez faire capitalism also leads to degradation of the environment.You have the whole negative externality issue.

    Laissez faire also leads to very high inequality or poverty (in some groups) that eventually brings social unrest that undermines both markets and capitalism. You can even end up with revolution. For example Russian communism emerged partly due to class driven exploitation of workers after WW1, resulting in dire poverty in this class of people (although granted it was within an economic framework that was only partly capitalistic, and still pretty feudal). But it shows what happens when people are financially exploited, in that ultimately they rebel, and might support extreme political movements whether communist or fascist (or Trumpian).

    I find it hard to know whether to use conciliatory language, or blunt language, regardless of whether the issue is climate science or economics etc. I’m a fairly passive person who hates bitter arguments, although I do like debate. I suppose I can be rather too “pc” (politically correct) or excessively polite at times, but the very strong bile laden comments you get from some people have impact but are ultimately brain numbing. If we descend to name calling or strident claims, all logical debate disappears. The Victorians developed the “polite society” in recognition of this.

    I think one communication approach is to be generally cool and polite, and acknowledge the good parts of peoples arguments, but be prepared to sometimes be very strong as well, when a point needs to be highlighted. We don.t want to be so polite we bore everyone to tears but we don’t want to end up with truly vicious personal attacks either especially when it becomes dumb or involves threats.

    Totally agree about electricity users being able to buy directly from generators. (which could be the guy next door) Sort of like “uber”. Of course the big companies would hate this ha ha.

    It would just need some market rules to make sure the whole thing was safe. It’s electricity afterall.

    Going back to another issue. We privatised our electricity system, and as I said the generators didn’t provide enough capacity for dry years etc. This was probably because they didn’t want to invest in plant that stood idle much of the time.

    Plus we have a spot price system, and this system unfortunately encourages under supply and price gouging.But its hard to make a market work without spot pricing.

    There’s also a dilemma in that even if one generator had spare capacity, that would still not provide security because others may not, and people are reliant on multiple generating companies to make the whole system work. I don’t know if I have explained this quite right.

    However for all these various reasons, the only solution is for governments to legislate to ensure the system has adequate capacity for dry years and other problems. Our government eventually did this, somewhat reluctantly.

  20. 70
    mike says:

    Daily CO2

    March 8, 2017: 406.56 ppm
    March 8, 2016: 403.43 ppm
    3.23 ppm increase. Noisy number, but I think representative of the current baseline trend.

    February CO2

    February 2017: 406.42 ppm
    February 2016: 404.04 ppm

    2.38 ppm over Feb 2016. I seem to recall that Feb 2016 was in that heat burst that drove up CO2 as well, so I think that 2.3 range number is under the actual current baseline trend.

    Main number to consider is the 406 ppm and that number is a problem. hat tip to Killian and Thomas for leading and/or following the CO2 number thread.

    Arctic sea ice? Arctic polar ice cap? Kiss it goodby, baby. It’s going away and it’s not coming back. Smooth sailing in the Arctic? I don’t think so. I think we were better off with a significant, stable multi-year icepack.

    Cheers to all,


  21. 71
    nigelj says:

    Thomas @64, thank’s for the link on regulation / business realities/ electricity system. This one looks very, very interesting. But again your commentary is a bit cryptic.

    The post you were referring to was actually by Zebra. Sort of freudian slip or caffeine slip or something, But I largely agree with his views anyway.

  22. 72
    nigelj says:

    Killian @71,

    You appear opposed to Hilary Clinton on the basis her policies were rather timid. You appear to think Trump will self destruct, leading to a resurgence of a democratic majority in the congress, plus maybe a strong democratic president eventually, in 4 or 8 years with some decent policies. Or something like that. Trump imploding would certainly give the whole system a shock and shakeup.

    It’s still a risky way of seeing things. In the meantime Trump could do a lot of damage on many things, as well as climate change,and this is more embedded stuff that will be time consuming to over turn. Trump could also start a big international conflict or crisis. The guy is like a “bull in a china shop” (pun not intended).

    Of course it would be good if you turn out to be right.

    I’m not saying Hilary is terribly inspired, but her policies were ok, and she was probably the safer pick overall.

    The real issue is more as follows: I have admiration for Americas constitution and bill of rights,etc, but it creates political grid lock.

    Also elections and candidates are funded by lobby groups, with agendas. This makes things very difficult. For example despite a majority of Americans wanting action on climate change (according to polls by Pew Research) nothing gets done by congress, whether republican or democrat, possibly due to pressure from lobby groups. Until the campaign financing rules change, this will be a big issue. Is it likely campaign financing rules would change under any president or congress? It seems unlikely.

  23. 73
    barry says:

    The methods paper for UAH version 6 upper air temperature record has been published.

    Link to the full submitted version (supplied by Dr Spencer):

    Kevin Cowtan added it to his trend analyser promptly, followed soon after by SkS.

  24. 74
    Thomas says:

    69 nigelj etc.

    Laissez faire capitalism is not the same as Neoliberal capitalism (fwiw) the latter requiring an activist interventionist State to upend the world in which we live.

    Climate science eg IPCC reports as well as ‘economics’ ‘politics’ is all too ‘cryptic’ for the general public. :-)

    RE: Sort of freudian slip or caffeine slip or something …. and 65
    zebra says: #63 is from me, not nigelj

    Ah ha, sure, if you say so. Most won’t be able to work it out anyway. hehehe

  25. 75
    Thomas says:

    68 Mike, I doubt it’s worth arguing about. This kind of vapid crap will never stop.

    A million emails being sent to the Scott Pruitt every week on his cell phone at the office on his yahoo account and copied to everyone who works at the EPA and the White for the rest of his term would be more useful.

    It won’t change his opinion but it as hell would make his life and others as miserable and unworkable as it needs to be for 4 years. (smile)

  26. 76
    David B. Benson says:

    More evidence for the Clovis Comet:
    Looks to be solid grounds.

  27. 77
    Harry Todd says:

    Scott Pruitt needs to double up on the Paris Agreement instead of dropping it. Carbon dioxide curbing is our only way to combat recently discovered non-anthropogenic climate forcing factors that are beyond our control. Study it at this website:

    Global Warming, Ozone Holes, and Magnetic Poles
    “An Investigation Reexamining Brewer-Dobson Ozone Theory to Uncover the Atmospheric Role of Paramagnetic Oxygen in Recent Extreme Weather Patterns and Global Climate Change” by Harry Todd

    An undiscovered relationship exists between tropospheric oxygen and the wandering magnetic poles of Earth’s core. All oxygen is paramagnetic, the colder the better. In the southern hemisphere the Ozone Hole boundary is being held open by the eccentric South Magnetic Pole, and Antarctic sea ice expands to match that latitude. In spite of the curtailment of CFCs under the Montreal Protocol, the Ozone Hole has not shrunk in three decades. In the northern hemisphere rampant carbon dioxide warming is being stirred by elongated jet stream loops melting ancient Arctic sea ice with subtropical air masses. Comparison of daily satellite maps of total ozone to maps of jet stream velocity show a close physical relationship. The old Brewer-Dobson equatorial ozone migration theory is inadequate for modeling the factors involved in actual documented ozone generation.

    A new thesis is proposed for stratospheric ozone formation in situ at higher latitudes. It is based upon…

  28. 78
    barry says:


    In the Forbes article Richard Muller doesn’t critique any particular survey of opinion. He gives a question that he says typifies survey questions on opinion, and what follows in the article riffs on that.

    “Do you believe that humans are affecting climate?”

    This is a mischaracterization of ‘typical’ survey questions.

    Oreskes (2004) did a literature survey of 928 studies on climate to to see whether they endorsed, rejected, or were non-commital on the IPCC statements:

    “Human activities … are modifying the concentration of atmospheric constituents … that absorb or scatter radiant energy. … [M]ost of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations.”

    Finding 75% of papers agreed with that assessment, 25% non-committal, and zero papers against.

    Doran (2009) asked the question:

    “Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?”

    82% answered yes. The proportion of earth scientists who research climate change that answered yes was 97%.

    Anderegg et al (2010) Gathered a list of 1372 qualified climate researchers who had signed a statement either endorsing the IPCC’s main tenets (including that anthropogenic emissions are responsible for most of the global warming since 1950), or rejected them, finding 97-98% endorsed the IPCC view, and 2% rejected.

    The 2012 Vision Prize online poll of experts gave a choice of 4 categories describing the influence of human activities on global average air and ocean temperatures over the last 250 years. 90% agreed that human activity was a primary influence, 10% agreed that it was a secondary influence, and no one agreed that there was no human influence, or that global temps had not risen.

    Cook et al (2013) rated study abstracts and arranged the results in a number of categories, the first 2 of which explicitly or implicitly endorsed the IPCC view that human activity is responsible for most of the warming since the mid-20th century. They found that, of those abstracts taking a position on that basis, 97% endorsed.

    Verheggen et al (2014) state, “90% of respondents with more than 10 climate-related peer-reviewed publications (about half of all respondents), explicitly agreed with anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHGs) being the dominant driver of recent global warming.

    Carlton et al (2015) asked if scientists believed the mean surface temperature of the globe had warmed generally compared to pre-1800 levels. 94% of respondents said yes (next largest response was ‘don’t know’), and of those, 98% believed that ‘human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures.’

    Muller’s ‘typical’ survey question is not typical at all. But that straw man allows him to make the points that follow.

  29. 79
    barry says:


    So, to respond to the Muller’s points.

    Surveys are not asking if researchers agree with all/most of the points in Al Gore’s film. Muller writes: “The 97% number is typically interpreted to mean that 97% accept the conclusions presented in An Inconvenient Truth by former Vice President Al Gore.” This is not a ‘typical’ interpretation. He just made that up.

    The surveys are about global mean temps, not heat islands. Any confusion about that is Muller’s.

    The surveys are not about temperature variability, sea level, floods or drouhgts or hurricanes. He tries to make uncertainty on these topics equivalent in some way to expert opinion on what the surveys actually probe. This is simple mis-direction.

    Muller handily gives us his context:

    A really good question would be: “Have you studied climate change enough that you would put your scientific credentials on the line that most of what is said in An Inconvenient Truth is based on accurate scientific results?” My guess is that a large majority of the climate scientists would answer no to that question, and the true percentage of scientists who support the statement I made in the opening paragraph of this comment, that true percentage would be under 30%. That is an unscientific guesstimate, based on my experience in asking many scientists about the claims of Al Gore.

    He is imagining something very different from what he is critiquing and arguing as if they are equivalent.

  30. 80
    Mr. Know It All says:

    67 BPL

    Quote: “To say she would have made no difference is just wrong. Just by staying out of the way of the renewable revolution she would have made things much better.”

    She would not have made things “much” better. She may have reduced CO2 spewing by an infinitesimally small amount. Even if she had doubled renewables (unlikely), that would not be “much” better – it would be a tiny bit better as far as CO2 output is concerned. Obviously not worth the other negatives she would have brought along.

  31. 81
    MA Rodger says:

    Mike @68,
    First off, the source of the Forbes article you link to (headlined – “97%: An Inconvenient Truth About The Oft-Cited Polling Of Climate Scientists”) does require some explaining. Do the other answers provided to the question “What are some widely cited studies in the news that are false?” also merit such attention? So why is Richard Muller setting-out his skeptical credentials here? Is it in any way appropriate?
    And then there is the substance of Muller’s answer.
    It is a very raggedy piece of writing.
    He says he is concerned with surveys, at one point even talking of “the survey, which asked a very general question,” but nowhere does he name any survey. Instead he reduces it to the question “Do you believe that humans are affecting climate?” and he considers himself answering “Yes” because:-

    “humans are responsible for about a 1 degree C rise in the average temperature in the last 100 years. So I would be included as one of the 97% who believe.”

    But Muller goes too far when arguing that AGW-denier William Happer would also be a part of the 97%.
    Even though Muller does at times name this group being surveyed as being “climate scientist” he also repeatedly manages to contradict this, for instance by saying “There is a real danger in people with Ph.D.s joining a consensus that they haven’t vetted professionally.”
    What is plain is that Muller is not addressing the likes of Cook et al (2013) but by bandying his 97%-from-wherever he is allowing his words to stand as a contradiction from a climate scientist of such surveys that also famously headline 97%. In simply allowing such a contradiction to stand, Muller is himself “false!”
    And deluded denialists will go even further (as they always do), for instance here using Muller’s statement to legitimise Dicky Lindzen as being part of the 97% (but who pointedly does not agree that “humans are responsible for about a 1 degree C rise in the average temperature in the last 100 years”).
    Muller’s main complain concerns with what he sees as the use of his 97%-from-wherever to support the assertions made in Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. It is not clear if Muller sees Gore’s film as the “widely cited study” that is “false” or if it is the survey(s) he doesn’t name that take on this role. Muller does however grossly misrepresent Mr Justice Burton who ruled that “I have no doubt that Dr Stott, the Defendant’s expert, is right when he says that: ‘Al Gore’s presentation of the causes and likely effects of climate change in the film was broadly accurate.’

  32. 82
    zebra says:

    Nigel #69,

    Freudian? Maybe, but do I think I am your sockpuppet or are you mine?

    Anyway, you are correct; I am trying to tailor my language, for the US “marketplace of ideas” in particular. But I also just think getting the basics right is important. So, I would not agree with “capitalism is the private ownership of capital”, because that again falls into the false dichotomy we are talking about.

    Capitalism in my understanding is the accumulation of “value” or “wealth” such that it can be distributed in a shorter period of time, in exchange for an net increase in value. The sovereign State by definition “owns” natural resources (which are “accumulated” by nature). The confusion and conflation of these different forms of “wealth” is a big part of our current problem.

    I read the Wikipedia article on the history of your electricity market– can of worms indeed. But the article did suggest that bilateral arrangements for buying and selling are possible– although perhaps the process is too cumbersome for individuals. I also finally had a d’oh moment and realized that “dry years” refers to the availability of hydro.

    Referring back to the discussion for Johnno(?) about passive houses– we have to be clear on characterizing what product is involved in our market. I don’t know if your system does it, but here in some more enlightened States utilities are rewarded for reducing capacity requirements through promoting consumer efficiencies.

    So, the obvious example: I can sell you electricity, or I can sell you lumens of illumination. In the latter case, I use my capital to buy LED bulbs for my customers rather than using it to build a new generating plant. Ideally, consumers would make the decision to conserve on their own– but, we don’t have a competitive and internalized market in lumens, for historical reasons.

  33. 83
    Hank Roberts says:

    March 7th, 2017 at 7:17 PM
    …Marketing:101 Repeat Repeat Repeat – every chance there is.


  34. 84
    Russell says:


    Kevin McKinney will find that while few classical authors praise the administrative skills of Perseus, most regard him as an improvement on Medusa.

  35. 85
    nigelj says:

    Zebra @72, yes I totally agree with your discussion on who owns what wealth. This is all much to my way of thinking. It’s just commonsense economics, that promotes the power of private rights, and in addition the proper ways of dealing with certain resources as public or state rights.

    But it’s a rationalistic approach, and some people just don’t seem to think like that. It beats me why they don’t, but they seem to think any state rights at all undermine all private rights. It’s paranoid thinking, because it’s easy enough to compartmentalise these things and have appropriate protections, if society has the will.

    “but here in some more enlightened States utilities are rewarded for reducing capacity requirements through promoting consumer efficiencies.”

    Interesting because this has been suggested recently in my country, but not as yet adopted. We currently have a centre right government that dislikes regulatory incentives of this type, and believes in individual responsibility, and the “power of the invisible hand”, etc. Sad because it’s a good idea. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with carrot and stick policies like this.

    Going back to keeping houses cool, I was looking at evaporative coolers that are coming on our market and at quite affordable prices now. Sort of a poor mans heat pump, or air conditioner, but quite effective, except in high humidity situations. They also don’t require complex chemicals to operate.

  36. 86
    nigelj says:

    Zebra, I meant your comment at 82. Too much caffeine.

    We have just had some of the highest rainfall in our history, and its gone on for days. Absolutely astonishing, never experienced anything like it. The primary cause is a sub tropical low, blocked by a slow moving high.

    This is weather, however it does raise the question of whether it’s influenced by global warming, and higher atmospheric water vapour. I suspect we will see more flooding events like this, and they are very disruptive, and have caused numerous landslides.

  37. 87
    Thomas says:

    Clive Hamilton [the deniers are winning hands down downunder] “If you look at what the scientists are saying and you’re not despairing then you are not really listening to what they are saying.”

    ” a paper just published today in Science Advances uses a new strategy to improve upon our understanding of ocean heating to estimate the total global warming from 1960 to 2015″ … ???

    73 Hank Roberts says “Boring”.
    A saying goes: “It’s better to be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth only to remove all doubt.”
    Because Hank you don’t have any knowledge about psychology and marketing, do not have any ability to understand such proven truths about advertising/marketing and you do not have a clue about the critical importance of shifting public opinion AND how to do it. You’re not alone there.

    But what is really boring is hearing people like you (and across the internet) say the same bullshit for a decade plus and yet REPEATEDLY not make an iota of difference in shifting anyone’s opinion on climate science and the urgency of action today, immediately, right now.

    Ignorant hand waving fools imo

    …. while scientific proven knowledge is at hand and yet REPEATEDLY IGNORED by people who falsely claim to care about agw/cc and TRUST IN SCIENCE — fact is you do not!

    GO stick your head back in the hole in the sand, and preferably stfu. People who think/opine/comment like you are part of the problem not the solution. Clueless!

  38. 88
    Mr. Know It All says:

    80 below in Vostok today.
    posted 3/10/2017 @ 2:43 pm pacific.

  39. 89
    nigelj says:

    Mr Know it all @80 says

    “She (Hilary Clinton)would not have made things “much” better. She may have reduced CO2 spewing by an infinitesimally small amount. Even if she had doubled renewables (unlikely), that would not be “much” better – it would be a tiny bit better as far as CO2 output is concerned. Obviously not worth the other negatives she would have brought along.”

    Doubling renewable energy would be a decent step forwards, and sets the scene for more doubling over time. Obviously she can’t realistically do much more than that in one election term. At least she had a plan that made some sense.

    In comparison Trump has nothing. His minion and puppet at the EPA, Scott Pruitt, has now come out and says he doesn’t think we are altering the climate, and claims there is much disagreement on what is causing climate change. This is absolute nonsense of course, with study after study showing 90% and more climate scientists agreeing we are the main factor in climate change. So what expertise does Pruit have personally, that we would believe him, and there’s absolutely none, as he is not even a scientist or academic. The guy talks baloney.

    Hilary Clinton was not perfect, but her policies were mostly pretty sensible, and would be considered mainstream in most other countries, including many wealthy stable countries. And at least she respects science and basic economic data etc.

  40. 90
    Thomas says:

    GBR in the news again … not an El Nino year either.

    Great Barrier Reef bleached for unprecedented second year running

    Reef authority says findings of aerial surveys show enough to confirm another mass coral bleaching event, after last year’s dramatic death rate.

    The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has declared widespread damage from an underwater heatwave after a single day of aerial surveys between Cairns and Townsville on Thursday [9th March 2017].





  41. 91
    Thomas says:

    71 nigelj, a properly regulated electricity market and the corporations operating in that domain would soon lead to hundreds of long term practical solutions like this arising each year.

    The Tesla founder says he can build a 100MW battery storage farm within 100 days or provide the system free of charge

    This is what a genuinely functional and honest private enterprise corporate sector could do IF Science and facts took precedence over bullshit and political fraud.

    But in today’s commercial political environment in the west led by the Neoliberal Cult and “Science Denier Central” USA where all Regulations aka PROTECTIVE LAWS are deemed Evil Incarnate by default then it’s not going to happen.

  42. 92
    Thomas says:

    More ‘boring’ facts

    “…potential donors were reluctant to back what they viewed as a losing battle

    “And in the end, who cares what he believes? He is a functionary, chosen in part to dismantle EPA regulations on greenhouse gases. If it weren’t him, it would be some other functionary. The GOP’s [all NEOLIBERAL’s] goal is to block or reverse any policy that would negatively affect its donors and supporters”

    “But the reason GOP beliefs on climate are so difficult to pin down is that the beliefs are not the point. The party’s institutional opposition to action is the point.”

    It’s not about facts, it’s about institutions

    Predictably, Pruitt’s comments were met with an outpouring of [ineffective] sciencesplaining. Article after article after article patiently walked through the evidence that, #actually, climate change is real and caused by human beings.”

    “…. the climate fight has long since moved past the stage when it was about the facts.”

    [ … gosh even Thomas has been saying that for ages – as have many others who drop in and out of RC and in other Public forums and in the media over the years … ]

    “Explaining the basic facts of climate science (again) is utterly futile if the intended audience rejects the authority of climate scientists and scientific institutions.

    “We’re eventually going to have to grapple with this crisis of authority. Until then, more facts and periodic outbursts of outrage are futile.

  43. 93
    Thomas says:

    [ineffective] sciencesplaining … the result of the tail wagging the dog.

    Intelligent wise scientists should learn about the facts contained in the numerous quality links about cognitive science, psychology, marketing, advertising, communication, linguistics, politics, economics, the neoliberal cultic false beliefs, the news media, social media, public opinion and so on …. and dig deeper and then think much clearer and logically based on the genuine evidence of experts and expert institutions.

    Or keep doing what your doing and remain ineffective. :-)

  44. 94
    Thomas says:

    58 MA Rodger who is the purile one when it’s you who is criticising a true statement of fact being made that is based on actual scientific data and long term evidence?

    AND selective much?

    35 Killian says: 5 Mar 2017 at 11:34 PM Ŕe #13 Scott Nudds said, Has ASI Extent peaked?
    I say, purdy much. Been wrong once, so…

    Possibly OCD?

    Sharing is caring. :-)

  45. 95

    Th 87: you do not have a clue about the critical importance of shifting public opinion

    BPL: Since the US is now effectively a one-party state, public opinion will make very little difference.

  46. 96

    KIA: 80 below in Vostok today.

    BPL: It was really cold in my freezer, too. I guess that disproves global warming.

  47. 97
    Tom Adams says:

    From, the White House did not endorse Pruitt’s statement on CO2, for what this is worth:

    Q Second question on another Cabinet Secretary. Scott Pruitt said today that carbon dioxide was not a primary contributor to global warming. That obviously is at odds with global scientific consensus. Does the President agree that —

    MR. SPICER: I think — that’s a snippet of what Administrator Pruitt said. He went on and said, I don’t think we know conclusively, this is what know. I would suggest that you touch base with the EPA on that. But that’s — he has a very lengthy response, and so that is just one snippet of what the administrator said at that.

  48. 98
    mike says:

    rate of increase of CO2 in atmosphere is increasing.

    Daily CO2

    March 9, 2017: 405.65 ppm
    March 9, 2016: 403.50 ppm

    Emission reports, target reductions, pie in the sky plans to capture CO2 are interesting fluff. The absolute level of CO2 and which direction it is moving and at what pace is the ball game. Up and faster does not work. That formula drives the sixth great extinction. Up and slowing would be nice to see, but we are not seeing that.

    Warm regards


  49. 99
    Hank Roberts says:

    Thomas says: “people like you (and across the internet) say the same bullshit for a decade …”

    Thomas is a great contribution to making this the kind of place people want to read for scientific discussion, there.

    Please keep publishing him, it’s encouratement he needs to persist.

  50. 100
    nigelj says:

    Thomas @91, I agree totally. Well summed up.

    A properly regulated electricity market is a good approach to cutting fossil fuel use. It’s clean cut, people know where they stand, it would if anything encourage innovation (as has happened regarding car safety), and because it would be a competitive market with many players, it would not be so easy to push prices onto consumers. All good.

    It’s really more of a political issue. the Republicans hate regulation as a matter of ideology. So do some other governments around the world. None of us want over regulation of course, but mainstream economic theory promotes proper regulation regarding environmental matters, because self regulating markets just don’t work in terms of the environment. They may work well enough for other things.

    Generally I’m not a fan of neoliberalism, but it does rather depend on how you define the term. It’s sometimes taken to mean open trade, open immigration, extensive privatisation, and deregulation. It’s a return to the ideas of Adam Smith who was a liberal in the old classical sense of the term liberal. But it’s a very divisive term, with no fully agreed definition.

    I’m a believer in open free trade, but more cautious about privatisation and deregulation. I think these things can go too far.

    But regarding regulation, it is challenging getting agreement on the extent of regulation, and it causes a pitched battle in America and elsewhere. This is frustrating, because most economists see a need for government regulation of some areas such as safety and environment issues. They oppose things like extensive occupational licencing. This seems like a generally sound approach, but politicians don’t always agree.

    I understand America developed the EPA to take regulation out of partisan political hands, and this seems like quite a good idea. Of course Trump clearly wants to undermine the EPA and this is unfortunate, and sounds like authoritarianism gone crazy.