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Forced responses: Oct 2019

Filed under: — group @ 1 October 2019

Bi-monthly open thread on climate solutions. Please try to be civil. Remember, climate science questions can be discussed on the Unforced Variations thread.

325 Responses to “Forced responses: Oct 2019”

  1. 51

    Crom 40,

    A greenhouse gas molecule doesn’t lose an electron when it absorbs an IR photon; the electron is simply kicked to a higher level. Eventually it radiates a photon at the same wavelength. (I am excluding quenching with other molecules and excitation by later molecules as they are only intermediate phenomena.) Since the direction of radiation is random, half the new photons go “down” as well as “up.” “Trapping” heat isn’t really involved.

  2. 52
    b1daly says:

    Kevin @39, I am not claiming that fossil fuel companies have not funded “skeptical” research and PR on climate change: they have. The problem I see with how this information is being used, for example through groups like this:

    https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/climate-denial-machine-how-fossil-fuel-industry-blocks-climate-action

    Is that they are employing the same disingenuous propaganda techniques that they are ostensibly fighting against. I people using these rhetorical strategies assume they are “fighting fire with fire” but think this tactic is doomed to failure if your goal is constructive action on climate change. The underlying messaging is based on conspiracy theorizing and demonization of one’s political opponents.

    There are many problems with “attack” strategies. One is that they tend towards increasing polarization of opinions. When you turn political opponents into enemies, to succeed you have to “defeat” them. The fossil fuel companies are massive, wealthy, and are an integral component of modern economies. They have political power. Many individuals depend on the success of these companies for their livelihood. And virtually everyone who lives in the developed world, if not the whole world relies on their products in almost every facet of life. You cannot defeat such a powerful opponent with wreaking have on at least the civic infrastructure of society, if not the material infrastructure. This battle cannot be one at a cost people would be willing to pay. To think otherwise is delusional. Any effective climate solution must incorporate stakeholders from a wide range, especially the corporate world.

    The other problem with overly simplistic framing like this is that is trivial to show that it’s validity is weak, if not outright deceptive.

    One issue is that the funding sources scientific research don’t necessarily invalidate the research. The strategy of mainstream climate science to portray skeptics as being either shills or “ flat earthers” not worth debating on the merits in public is failing. It also ignores the fact that virtually all scientists “work for hire” and are subject to influences of personal interests. To someone not already “in the choir” it makes climate “activists” appear ignorant to their own foibles as humans, and leaves them open to charges of hypocrisy. From what I can see, the scale of funding for mainstream climate science dwarfs the fossil fuel funding of skeptical research.

    This graph from the GOA shows government funding of about $2b/year for decades. According to the activist site I linked above, the top five oil companies invested $2b in the 3 years after the Paris accords in PR and research.

    Groups like ALEC and Heritage have annual budgets in the range of $1m-60m/ year. These are lobbying groups, any funding of research they are doing is token amounts. I think Willy Soon said he got around $1.2m over 10 years. He had to fund his own research through grants. His argument was that he would take money from anybody willing to fund him, and these were the only organizations he could get. He claims he wouldn’t let that change his science, of course he is not immune to bias, but I don’t think that is sufficient to discredit his peer reviewed work.

    This site compiled a list of the top 10 most influential mainstream climate scientists and top five skeptical scientists. The skeptics have all established themselves in regular university positions, and as far as I know none have been primarily funded by fossil fuel interest: https://thebestschools.org/features/top-climate-change-scientists/

    Essentially, the form of communication I am complaining about is “propagandistic.” I don’t think this is effective if we want real action on climate. It doesn’t take a climate scientist to see that they are losing the debate badly in the US. The Republicans are actually climate change denialists, and as much or more power than the Democrats despite being supported by less than half the population because of quirks in the demographics of the US. Until they are outvoted any constructive action here is impossible. Getting all hysterical and “woke” about climate change is a turn-off to huge swaths of the US. A better strategy is needed.

  3. 53
    James McDonald says:

    Crom @ 40:

    I’m sure the professionals here can clarify this far better than I, but you seem to be rehashing the “saturation” argument raised and refuted over a century ago.

    Yes, once a CO2 molecule absorbs a photon it then rather quickly emits that energy, and (if I’m not mistaken) it typically does that though collisions with other atmospheric molecular at denser low altitudes, but via radiation at more rarified high altitudes.

    To see how the heating at the surface comes about, focus on the thin layer of molecules at the top of the atmosphere where photons make their last escape to space. If you add more CO2 up there, some of those photons that otherwise would have escaped are intercepted and then some of that energy is redirected back downward. That means more energy is trapped below that layer, and thermodynamics tells you the rest: increased temperatures.

    And sunlight passes through CO2 molecules because those photons do not match any energy gap (rotational, vibrational, ionizing, etc.) for a CO2 molecule, making CO2 almost completely transparent to them. That’s basic quantum mechanics: photons must be absorbed or deleted as quanta at relatively precise energy levels, and won’t interact efficiently at levels above or below those precise levels.

    By contrast, the long wave photons escaping from the earth to space *do* match CO2 energy gaps and thus can be absorbed/emitted very efficiently.

  4. 54
    William B Jackson says:

    #40 Actual climate scientists don’t seem to have your problems with those “assumptions” perhaps you can disprove E = mc2 next?

  5. 55
    Steven Emmerson says:

    Crom@40, See the peer-reviewed paper referenced in posting #70 of “Unforced Variations: Oct 2019”.

  6. 56

    Crom, #40–

    We tried to walk through the “CO2 as a greenhouse molecule” assumption.

    Maybe because there’s no such “assumption.”

    Read the literature.

    If you don’t know how to find the relevant literature, then start with the AIP “Discovery of Global Warming” link on the right in the sidebar. It summarizes the scientific history in considerable depth.

  7. 57
    Al Bundy says:

    b1daly: alarm about possible apocalyptic outcomes from climate change is associated more with secular groups than, for example, Christian’s who already have an apocalyptic outlook on the fate of humanity. Hazarding a guess, it might be simply that since they already have an apocalyptic narrative they grew up with, and an easy solution, alarming news about climate change doesn’t trigger that narrative archetype.

    AB: When someone Believes then the chance to cheer on or even nudge the unfolding of ‘proof’ of one’s Belief is a Godsend to be cherished. Some evangelicals are surely spewing carbon with abandon because if all the sciency gobbledy goop turns out to be true it will only be verification of His Truth. Praise God and let the Holocene burn.
    (And fundamentalists ask what harm can come from Belief. After all, if they’re wrong then they just die like the whole planet they’re taking down with them but if non-believers are wrong then… well, fundamentalists can’t fathom that there might be a God who isn’t a sadist {or one who only tortures those who believe in sadistic deities})

  8. 58

    Carbon tax? Let’s just phase out the depletion allowance, that would be a start.

    But one is no more likely than the other until we break the hold of the fossil fuel industry on Congress.

  9. 59
    Killian says:

    Re #28 nigelj said b1daly @22

    Thank’s for at least trying to look at both sides of the issues.

    That’s some serious naivete, nigel.

    TO ALL:

    You see the little flood of denialists we’re getting? That’s on you all for coddling them for the last several years.

    Note to denialists: You’re criminals. STFU.

  10. 60
    Dominik says:

    @crom
    1. the co2 molecules do release the energy; as a result the surrounding air becomes warmer. The term “trap” refers to not letting the IR radiation escape into space.
    2. Your laser physicist friend should actually know, that the ionization energy is well above the energy of IR light quanta, so there is no ionization.
    3. Convection does apply to whole bodies of air, not single molecules. So the concept of convection of only the co2 molecules doesn’t make any sense.
    4. Again something that your laser physicist friend should know: molecular absorbtion is strongly frequency dependent. If there are no appropriate energy level differences, no absorbption will take place.

  11. 61
    Mr. Know It All says:

    Renewables can’t save the plant. Nuclear can help fairly quickly. Good read with good comments:

    https://quillette.com/2019/02/27/why-renewables-cant-save-the-planet/

    How can this be? I thought y’all said I was paid by the FF industry, not the nuke industry? Hmmm….

  12. 62
    Marcus says:

    In response to comments on the GND and Greta, I am continually surprised (due to her age) and impressed with Greta’s insight. I agree very much with her that the continual linking of climate action to a more general leftist agenda reduces our chance of change (I am left of centre myself). The only way I see forward is to convince the other half of voters that this is their problem as well and that a total leftist revolution isn’t necessary to fix (or at least improve) it. In fact I would say that despite calls for action on the left many activists still see general left-wing issues as more important than climate change. They still don’t quite get the scale of what is happening….

  13. 63
    Al Bundy says:

    Nigel: to avoid apocalyptic consequences

    AB: You’ve obviously never met a fundamentalist. Their goal is to bring about apocalyptic catastrophe. If the planet doesn’t die in the climax, “it’s not God’s will and we will fight against said non-fatal result tooth and nail’

  14. 64
    Al Bundy says:

    Ray, you speak of scientists doing their jobs admirably. I’m confuzzled. How does totally failing, in a practical sense, allow the failures to define a definition of success?

  15. 65
    Al Bundy says:

    Nigel: but I did some psychology at university

    AB: do you have the slightest clue? Nothing you learned back then applies beyond the most rudimentary level. NOTHING. MOST of what you learned would be considered laughable today.
    If it didn’t originate in the last two years, don’t crow about it.

  16. 66
    Al Bundy says:

    Nigel,
    With natural gas or anything else, exceptions can be logically carved out. Of course, those “exceptions” will always become superhighways. So your “Ch4 for the 1% of the time it’s truly needed WILL become CH4 99.999% forever

  17. 67
    Mal Adapted says:

    Marcus:

    In response to comments on the GND and Greta, I am continually surprised (due to her age) and impressed with Greta’s insight. I agree very much with her that the continual linking of climate action to a more general leftist agenda reduces our chance of change (I am left of centre myself). The only way I see forward is to convince the other half of voters that this is their problem as well and that a total leftist revolution isn’t necessary to fix (or at least improve) it. In fact I would say that despite calls for action on the left many activists still see general left-wing issues as more important than climate change. They still don’t quite get the scale of what is happening….

    I’m pretty much of a mind with you, although I can’t confirm that Ms. Thunberg herself is explicitly critical of leftist overreach, or if that’s just what a right-wing columnist sought to imply about her. I’d appreciate a link to a direct quote. Assuredly, there are plenty of professional disinformers eager to co-opt her.

    I agree that ‘many’ – just how many, I couldn’t say however – left-wing activists still see general left-wing issues as more important than climate change. While it’s not all that surprising, it does make me uneasy. To be clear, there are many who will soft-pedal other issues if it gets us an effective decarbonization policy sooner rather than later. I for one am convinced we don’t have time for a full-scale social revolution. Let’s fix this problem first, then talk about the rest of the agenda.

    OTOH, it shouldn’t be necessary to convince all the other half of voters, to eke out a governing plurality on climate. The current POTUS didn’t require a majority of votes, after all. Again, here’s hoping.

  18. 68
    Ray Ladbury says:

    AB@63: “Ray, you speak of scientists doing their jobs admirably. I’m confuzzled. How does totally failing, in a practical sense, allow the failures to define a definition of success?”

    Not sure of what you speak. It doesn’t bear much resemblance to what I actually wrote.

  19. 69
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Marcus and Mal,
    Although I am pro-market and of a centrist perspective myself, unfortunately after the efforts of the rightwing nutjobs over the last 20 years, I think we can conclude (echoing Jim Hightower) that there’s nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos. Moscow Mitch and his fellow criminals have scorched the earth and sown it with salt. The center is dead, and it won’t recover for a generation.

    The only hope I see is to make common cause with the left and hope the rightwing nutjobs don’t take too long to die off.

  20. 70
    nigelj says:

    Mr. Know It All @44,

    I said (paraphrasing) gas should stay in the ground in case we have severe difficulties making a fully renewable grid work.

    You said “Do you mean “severe difficulties” such as the fact that it really can’t be done at this point, because the storage technology does not exist for a reasonable cost and assuming the required materials even exist in sufficient quantity?”

    The storage technology does exist at reasonable cost in some places at least. Australia is already committing to pumped hydro storage projects here:

    https://www.pv-magazine.com/2019/03/26/pumped-hydro-to-triple-australias-storage-capacity/

    I’m not sure how viable this is in America, yet its hard to see why it wouldnt be in some places at least.

    It’s really the last 10% of generation in a renewable grid that becomes challenging because of intermittency problems. This is not a large number, so even if we absolutely have to use gas in some places, a 90% renewables grid would be doing a huge amount to reduce harm caused by climate change. There is also the nuclear power option.

    Regarding battery storage. I agree its still in the development phase and tesla style instillations can only provide storage for an hour or so at economic costs. But costs are dropping at a very significant rate, and are likely to drop further according to the experts.

    Availability of lithium is not too much of a problem. The media like to quote scary headlines that we will run out in 50 years or whatever, but this is based on known land based reserves at current prices. Of course they don’t mention this (the fake news media). Needless to say there’s a lot more lithium than that out there. In addition, sea water contains hundreds of billions of tons of lithium and most other metals, and lithium has already been extracted from sea water at reasonable costs, but a bit higher than current land based reserves so obviously even a small difference means land based reserves are mined first. Some of the minerals dissolved in sea water and their concentrations:

    https://www.miningweekly.com/article/over-40-minerals-and-metals-contained-in-seawater-their-extraction-likely-to-increase-in-the-future-2016-04-01/rep_id:3650

    Several other non lithium battery technologies are well under development, an issue easily googled. So don’t panic.

  21. 71
    nigelj says:

    Killian @59, b1daly has been far more balanced than your average denier. This is a fact obvious in his rhetoric, for example compare his discourse to KIA, Victor and DDS in particular. Now it does raise the question of whether this balance is a carefully calculated fake balance, but I think in this case hes in the luke warm environmentalist and moderately conservative camp. Such people do exist, I have personally known them.

    Of course I disagree with several points he makes.

    Deniers come and go, and will do so regardless of whether we interact with them or not. Many are paid to spread their BS as you probably know so they will never stop.

    I just don’t buy into this idea that facts don’t convince people. I posted some references where at least a couple of hard core denialists have changed their minds, although its clear some of them will never change their minds, looking at other issues and where denialism has persisted very long term. However I totally understand your point of view, and I don’t blame you for not engaging with them.

  22. 72
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @63

    Nigel: to avoid apocalyptic consequences

    AB: You’ve obviously never met a fundamentalist. Their goal is to bring about apocalyptic catastrophe. If the planet doesn’t die in the climax, “it’s not God’s will and we will fight against said non-fatal result tooth and nail’

    Nigelj: I have met fundamentalists. I never said anything to suggest that I have never met a fundamentalist. In fact I recall saying the evangelical churches are strong on the end of world narrative.

    I’m well aware they want an end of world scenario so that jesus can come back and rule or something. They are getting all hot and sweaty wanting it asap, but maybe not this week exactly. Fortunately the mainstream churches aren’t quite so barking mad, and seem to be cautiously embracing the agw theory.

    There will always be idiots, fanatics and conspiracy thinkers but they are at the outer edges of the bell curve. Our job is mainly to convince the middle ground of people, and you need a critical mass, not everyone. Having said that when an idiotic fanatic gets in a position of political power it’s frustrating. Cough, cough not mentioning anyone in particular…

    _____________________________

    Al Bundy @

    Ray, you speak of scientists doing their jobs admirably. I’m confuzzled. How does totally failing, in a practical sense, allow the failures to define a definition of success?

    Nigelj: You are being too hard on Ray. By and large scientists have communicated the science quite well. Look at the evidence: Polls show most people accept the science. The problem is a lack of will to mitigate by trying to rationalise the problem away in various ways. If scientists start screaming the world could end it won’t help. I mean what exactly do you think they should do that they aren’t doing?

    However one thing bothers me. A lot of IPCC attention has been placed on warming predictions out to 2100, and perhaps people dismiss 4 degrees of warming as tolerable and likely to be less anyway ( a bad mistake to make). If we focus on 2200 – 2300 its harder to dismiss 6 – 8 degrees of warming. Presumably the focus is not on 2200 – 2300, because it might make people complacent thinking we have plenty of time, but this approach of focusing on 2100 badly misses just how bad things could get.

    _________________________________

    Al Bundy @65

    Nigel: but I did some psychology at university

    AB: do you have the slightest clue? Nothing you learned back then applies beyond the most rudimentary level. NOTHING. MOST of what you learned would be considered laughable today.

    Nigelj: I disagree completely. The fundamentals are all still valid especially those that relate to the discussion I was having. And how would you know because you haven’t even done the subject. Apply your statement to physics to see how absurd it is. And yes psychology isn’t as well developed as physics, but its more developed than you probably think. How many text books have you read?

    Don’t confuse psychology with S Freuds questionable ideas and his psychotherapy.

    ________________________________

    Al Bundy @66

    AB: With natural gas or anything else, exceptions can be logically carved out. Of course, those “exceptions” will always become superhighways. So your “Ch4 for the 1% of the time it’s truly needed WILL become CH4 99.999% forever.

    NigelJ: It wont be forever, because we will run out of gas, but it could be a long time, but you are exactly right in principle. Habits die hard. However the problem is really the last 10% of generation in a renewabales grid, and if we stockpiled the gas and only used it if we had no other options, a 90% renewables grid would still reduce the harm from climate change. CO2 would still accumulate but at a lower pace. And of course carbon sinks might be able to deal with that 10%, or a few nuclear reactors if we must.

    It just seems the argument the denialists make is that a renewables grid is useless unless it perfectly renewable, which is not the case.

  23. 73
    nigelj says:

    b1daly @52,

    “I am not claiming that fossil fuel companies have not funded “skeptical” research and PR on climate change: they have. The problem I see with how this information is being used, for example through groups like this:”

    https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/climate-denial-machine-how-fossil-fuel-industry-blocks-climate-action

    “Is that they are employing the same disingenuous propaganda techniques that they are ostensibly fighting against.”

    Really? Isn’t that a bit hysterical? Its a factual history of how the fossil fuel companies have operated, not propoganda. They have funded climate denial for decades, and some of the sceptical science. It’s important the wider public learn this, and if it annoys the fossil fuel companies that is a price worth paying to spread awareness. Being nice to the fossil fuel companies has achieved nothing, and will achieve nothing, with a few rare exceptions. They exist to make a profit and will guard their resource base, and I don’t entirely blame them for that. Oil and coal is all they have.

    The answer to this problem is with some form of carbon tax on them, or government regulation, and with consumer behaviour. Of course we should not burn oil executives at the stake or place all blame on oil companies! I agree that the climate solution must mostly involve all stakeholders, just that we are not going to get much progress with fossil fuel companies by negotiating and being nice, instead it will need government involvement as I mentioned. I think there’s more potential to be inclusive in approach with other corporates, and I’ve seen some real efforts from some corporates.

    “The other problem with overly simplistic framing like this (the report in the link) is that is trivial to show that it’s validity is weak, if not outright deceptive.”

    Please do so, because you have made several claims of this sort and have yet to back them up with any evidence. I showed where one of your previous claims of this sort was false. People who make contentious claims should be expected to at least provide robust evidence ,otherwise its just insinuation and should go in the borehole.

    “Getting all hysterical and “woke” about climate change is a turn-off to huge swaths of the US. A better strategy is needed.”

    My leanings are boringly centrist, perhaps a mildly centre left and liberal, but I like free markets in the main, and generally to win elections requires being reasoned, and appealing to the middle ground and swing voters. But this isn’t working in America. Maybe they need a bit of left wing wokeness and urgency.

  24. 74
    Al Bundy says:

    Ray,
    I was speaking of communication. Scientists have failed dismally at communication because they insist that the audience change their vocabulary and thinking patterns. Much better is to speak the language of those who need edumacating. Fortunately, some scientists are buying a clue. Better late than never.

  25. 75
    Al Bundy says:

    Killian,
    Agreed. Pretending that morons enthralled with evil are sincere is foolish. I scrolled through the goop, along with the answers to said goop.

  26. 76

    KIA: Renewables can’t save the plant [sic]. Nuclear can help fairly quickly.

    BPL: Nuclear costs more and takes the longest to deploy of any energy source. It’s a technological dead end which no one will invest in any more. The only countries trying to build new nuclear plants are totalitarian countries which don’t have to worry about local resistance.

  27. 77
    Killian says:

    71 nigelj said

    Killian @59, b1daly has been far more balanced than your average denier. This is a fact obvious in his rhetoric, for example compare his discourse to KIA, Victor and DDS in particular. Now it does raise the question of whether this balance is a carefully calculated fake balance

    I hate denialists passionately. Their apologists are a close second.

    Stay out of my lane, nigel; you post too much as it is without wasting everyone’s time with drivel like this.

  28. 78
    Mal Adapted says:

    Ray Ladbury:

    The center is dead, and it won’t recover for a generation.

    The only hope I see is to make common cause with the left and hope the rightwing nutjobs don’t take too long to die off.

    I can’t say where the center is, Ray, but I have some hope left and right can meet at collective decarbonization, sooner rather than later. Why? I’m glad you asked 8^). Two particular reasons: one is that none other than notorious Republican Party strategist Frank Luntz, who advised party leaders to adopt climate obfuscation and obscurantism as an official policy plank 16 years ago, is now advising the party to moderate its stance:

    In a memo circulated Wednesday [06/12/2019] to Republican congressional offices, the polling firm of longtime GOP strategist Frank Luntz warned that climate change was “a GOP vulnerability and a GOP opportunity.” The firm conducted a survey for the Climate Leadership Council, a policy group promoting its variation of a carbon tax, and said in the memo that 69% of Republican voters are concerned their party was “hurting itself with younger voters” because of its climate stance.

    That news is more credible for the source, at least. The other reason for my current flicker of optimism is the global youth movement fronted by the astonishing Greta Thunberg. As lately covered in the majur meejuh, she sounds like a secular Joan of Arc. Let’s hope she avoids Joan’s fate!

    Depending on how many mobilized young voters actually vote, these developments could be significant.

  29. 79
    scott nudds says:

    Scientists endorse mass civil disobedience to force climate action

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climate-change-scientists-idUSKBN1WS01K

    LONDON (Reuters) – Almost 400 scientists have endorsed a civil disobedience campaign aimed at forcing governments to take rapid action to tackle climate change, warning that failure could inflict “incalculable human suffering.”

    – It is about Fucking Time.

  30. 80
    nigelj says:

    Killian @77

    “Stay out of my lane, nigel; you post too much as it is without wasting everyone’s time with drivel like this.”

    You raised the issue with me. You do realise this don’t you?

    You are a threatening, highly authoritarian character aren’t you. Given how far you push things on a moderated website, I would bet money you have a violent temper. Thank god I never have to associate with you, and your ridiculous ideas.

  31. 81
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @74, scientists have been saying for years: temperature rise of between 4-6 degrees if we go on burning fossil fuels, sea level rise of 1 metre this century, more storms etcetera. Its kind of hard to see how this is complicated sciency language people can’t understand.

  32. 82
    nigelj says:

    https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change-fossil-fuels-uk-funding-environment-export-finance-a9129731.html

    “‘Utter hypocrisy’: Government refuses to stop spending billions on fossil fuel projects across world”.

  33. 83
    Mal Adapted says:

    scott nudds:

    Scientists endorse mass civil disobedience to force climate action

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climate-change-scientists-idUSKBN1WS01K

    Well, that looks like another reason for cautious optimism about climate-change political dynamics.

    – It is about Fucking Time.

    Damn skippy.

  34. 84
    nigelj says:

    Killian @77 claims he hates denialists and I’m an apologist for denialists, because I said “thanks for at least making some effort at being balanced”. Wow just wow you really conclude that? You don’t think your logic and judgement is a bit skewed?

    My neighbour is a denialist, but a lovely person. I’m not about to start hating her or avoiding her. Denialists are very annoying, but grow up Killian before you do something stupid that you regret.

  35. 85
    Nemesis says:

    @nigelj, #82

    ” “‘Utter hypocrisy’: Government refuses to stop spending billions on fossil fuel projects across world”.”

    That’s just capitalism and you know it, hehe:

    Where there is carrion, there will be vultures. Just BAU. Any surprise here? Not for me.

    There’s a nice little poem, written by R. M. Rilke:

    Das Karussell

    Mit einem Dach und seinem Schatten dreht
    sich eine kleine Weile der Bestand
    von bunten Pferden, alle aus dem Land,
    das lange zögert, eh es untergeht.
    Zwar manche sind an Wagen angespannt,
    doch alle haben Mut in ihren Mienen;
    ein böser roter Löwe geht mit ihnen
    und dann und wann ein weißer Elefant.

    Sogar ein Hirsch ist da, ganz wie im Wald,
    nur dass er einen Sattel trägt und drüber
    ein kleines blaues Mädchen aufgeschnallt.

    Und auf dem Löwen reitet weiß ein Junge
    und hält sich mit der kleinen heißen Hand
    dieweil der Löwe Zähne zeigt und Zunge.

    Und dann und wann ein weißer Elefant.

    Und auf den Pferden kommen sie vorüber,
    auch Mädchen, helle, diesem Pferdesprunge
    fast schon entwachsen; mitten in dem Schwunge
    schauen sie auf, irgendwohin, herüber –

    Und dann und wann ein weißer Elefant.

    Und das geht hin und eilt sich, dass es endet,
    und kreist und dreht sich nur und hat kein Ziel.
    Ein Rot, ein Grün, ein Grau vorbeigesendet,
    ein kleines kaum begonnenes Profil -.
    Und manchesmal ein Lächeln, hergewendet,
    ein seliges, das blendet und verschwendet
    an dieses atemlose blinde Spiel. . .

    – R. M. Rilke

  36. 86
    nigelj says:

    Nemesis @85, I found an english version of the poem. I get the point, I think. It’s a good depiction of what capitalism is really like, a wild ride and we cant get off? The translation was a bit hard to follow.

    Governments fund fossil fuel companies partly because of their lobbying power and size. Politicians are afraid of upsetting them, like with the banks.

    But there’s another reason I think. Fossil fuel companies and their donations fund election campaigns, so politicians become reliant on them so don’t want to upset the companies and loose the funds. Most countries permit pretty much anyone to fund election campaigns and with few real limits. This is particularly the case in America because of free speech rights in the constitution.

    It gives all sorts of lobby groups a lot of power over politicians. The theory is that it all balances out, but fossil fuel companies are huge and even losing one donor can be a problem. Politicians want all the money they can get, so they continue fossil fuel subsidies. Its a bit of a catch 22.

    It has to stop of course and we could have publicly funded election campaigns. But that’s a hard sell with the average dim witted voter.

  37. 87
    Raymond Ladbury says:

    Al Bundy,
    If climate scientists fail uniformly when it comes to communicating the science, then why, pray, are you here?
    The scientists who run this blog (in their spare time and as a service to the lay community) do an excellent job of providing information at a level understandable by the intelligent layman–at least those intelligent laymen who are willing to work and learn. Tamino’s Open Mind blog has been presenting excellent tutorials and debunking denialist crap for years! Skeptical Science, And Then There’s Physics, Rabett Run… Your failure to recognize the efforts of these SCIENTISTS makes me wonder how diligent you’ve been in your search?

    Perhaps the problem is not with the scientists, but rather with the fact that our species is, by and large, pretty damned stupid and lazy. There is a cure for that. It’s called science, but that takes work, so we’re probably f*cked.

  38. 88
    Raymond Ladbury says:

    Mal Adapted,
    Frank Luntz is an excellent example of why we cannot count on the right side of the aisle…for anything but treachery and hostility. He has no more principles than a weather vane. All it will take is a new poll or a spell of cold weather, and he’ll be back with the denialists.

    Other on the right are even worse. Karl Rove (among others) doesn’t even believe in objective reality! And given the dismissal of all but the party organ and the embrace of “alternative facts,” I find it unlikely that our more conservative citizens will have a sudden “Come-to-Newton” moment and embrace science. No, they’ve made it pretty, damned clear that we cannot work with them. The only alternative is to beat them and beat them hard. We cannot do that without the left, who at least seem willing to embrace most of concept of physical reality.

  39. 89
    Nemesis says:

    @nigelj, #86

    “It gives all sorts of lobby groups a lot of power over politicians. The theory is that it all balances out, but fossil fuel companies are huge and even losing one donor can be a problem. Politicians want all the money they can get, so they continue fossil fuel subsidies. Its a bit of a catch 22.”

    Lobbyism is an intrinsic part of capitalism and money resp lobbyism is real political power. Capitalism is all about money generating power generating money ad infinitum, a real samsaric carousel (and climate heating is just one issue among countless crimes within that money game). Multinational corporations make money from eco-destruction and massive exploitation and the costs don’t appear in any accounting, so, in a capitalist sense, it is simply extremely profitable to destroy the planet, that’s exactly the catch-22 situation and it will not stop until capitalism and money-power will have vanished once and for all. Soon.

    “It has to stop of course and we could have publicly funded election campaigns. But that’s a hard sell with the average dim witted voter.”

    No vote will ever stop the intrinsic fatal dynamics of money-power generating capitalism. Just look at political history since capitalism is ruling the world. Simply put:

    Money is ruling the world, not reason, not sustainability, not ethics. And that’s absolutely fatal, literally lethal. Don’t hope for any “taimed” form of capitalism or that some dems or any party might save us ect, it didn’t happen so far and it will not happen in the future. Democrats or whatever party are part of the capitalist game. Period.

    Here’s a translation of Rilkes samsaric carousel wich is quite acurate:

    ” Beneath a roof and with its shadow spins
    for just a little while the stock
    of painted horses—all are from the land
    that lingers on before it vanishes.
    Though some are hitched to carriages,
    they all show fierceness in their faces;
    a frightening red lion walks among them
    and now and then there’s a white elephant.

    Even a stag is there, like in the woods,
    except he bears a saddle and above it
    a little blue girl, firmly fastened.

    And on the lion rides a boy in white,
    who holds on with a small hot hand;
    meanwhile the lion shows his teeth and tongue.

    And now and then there’s a white elephant.

    And on the horses they come passing by,
    girls also, luminous, almost too grown up
    to join this horse ride; in mid-swing
    they look up, somewhere, this way -.

    And now and then there’s a white elephant.

    And so it goes and hurries up to finish,
    and turns and circles only without aim.
    A red, a green, a gray sent gliding by,
    a little profile, barely seen and gone -.
    And every now and then a smile, turned hither,
    enchanted, ravishing, and lavishing
    upon this blind and breathless game.”

    – R. M. Rilke

  40. 90
    nigelj says:

    AL Bundy, Ray Ladbury and others. Regarding scientists communications skills.

    I think scientists do quite well on the whole communicating with the public. Of course its natural enough to ask the question of whether denialism is a result of scientists not communicating well. I’ve done this. However I’ve listened to quite a few climate scientists now and the majority communicate quite well to the public in language that is easy to understand, and they show obvious passion for the job.

    In any event, most people can probably grasp the greenhouse effect just by comparing cloudy and clear nights, and almost anyone would understand the basic temperature and sea level rise projections. You can’t really simplify these further for the truly clueless. Likewise if someone is determined not to believe them there is only so much we can do.

    But understanding the details of the greenhouse effect is hard work. You need to pick up a textbook there’s no substitute.

    Likewise the implications of climate change such as crop failures, drowned cities and hothouse earth scenarios have been discussed in fairly simple terms. I’m not sure what else can be done?

    I have heard one climate expert who got lost in detail and was overly technical, and I’ve heard a couple of gifted communicators like J Hansen (in my opinion). But most are just generally good communicators. In other words scientists communications skills overall are similar to most other professional people.

    One thing though some scientists are not great public speakers. I know I never used to like public speaking much, and a course in this can help.

    The problem is people don’t like where the science leads, namely lifestyle changes, carbon taxes, business regulations etcetera ,so they attack the science. They might accept the basics of the climate issue, but they start pontificating maybe humans are only causing a little bit of the warming, and its mainly natural in origin. Therefore this belief that climate change is currently mostly natural is the key thing that has to be strongly rebutted, over and over again. Scientists do it of course, not saying otherwise, but it needs to be hammered home.I always focus on this issue in discussions.

    I believe its as simple as this. Some of you guys have unrealistic expectations of how scientists communicate. I suspect it’s frustration with the denialism.

  41. 91
    Mal Adapted says:

    Raymond Ladbury:

    Frank Luntz is an excellent example of why we cannot count on the right side of the aisle…for anything but treachery and hostility. He has no more principles than a weather vane. All it will take is a new poll or a spell of cold weather, and he’ll be back with the denialists.

    Well, yes, we can always trust a politician to bend with the political winds. The USA’s founders set things up that way. My modest decrement of bleak pessimism is due to a shift I sense in the winds. I’m assuming the WSJ article is accurate, and that Luntz didn’t make up the results of the poll of GOP voters he referenced. BAU money may buy compliant government, but in the US the government has to be elected to be worth buying. It’s reasonable to say popular will (or whim, if you prefer) won’t always respond to AGW-denialist propaganda as well as its fossil-fuel capitalist investors hope, if only because people are funny that way.

    And while every extra day’s revenue is still a positive ROI for them, those people must know they won’t be able to sustain official denial forever, no matter how much they invest. To date, the flood of professionally crafted disinformation in the public sphere has preserved their governing plurality in the US. But we on RC expected local weather to get worse, with rapid succession of record-breaking events as GMST rose, and AFAICT recent record weather is getting proportionate attention. Also, it seems to me that although “everyone connected all the time” communication is useful for deceiving the public, it’s also good for mobilizing international youth movements that recruit newly or about-to-be enfranchised US voters. History suggests that emergent cultural wild-cards like Ms. Thunberg can spark regime change, at least with ever more severe storms, heatwaves, wildfires etc. backing her up. So can getting a nominally compliant but spectacularly noxious narcissist, whose tiny weather vane rooster crows loudly in the slightest breeze, elected POTUS. Even plutocrats make mistakes.

    Ray:

    I find it unlikely that our more conservative citizens will have a sudden “Come-to-Newton” moment and embrace science. No, they’ve made it pretty, damned clear that we cannot work with them. The only alternative is to beat them and beat them hard. We cannot do that without the left, who at least seem willing to embrace most of concept of physical reality.

    I think you’re right about our more conservative citizens, but not about our less conservative ones, who’ve been not voting, or voting Republican out of habit but getting uneasy about it. We don’t have to beat the Koch Klub that hard, we just need to assemble a plurality. Seeing US citizens left homeless by fires and floods on their device screens, isn’t making them feel better. Watching Pippi Longstocking tearfully haranguing world leaders about it, followed by over 300 angry climate scientists calling for civil disobedience in London, just might tip a few of the complacent over the edge. Al Gore lost in 2000 for want of 537 Florida voters. Trump barely won in 2016, even with under-handed Republican electoral machinations. In three years he hasn’t only offended liberals. And I quite agree we can’t get a plurality without at least most of the left, who for curious historical reasons are likely to be in it already. Now what we need is for more voters, who may not think of themselves as ‘left’, to prioritize climate change. In any case the chief virtue of maturity is patience. Anyone committed to global economic revolution will want to help the rest of us buy them time!

    History will unfold as it will (me talk deep one day). I expect to be around for another three decades, +/-, so I may live to see who of us is wiser. If I give up on American popular sovereignty now, it will be a long 30 years indeed. Meanwhile, it’s compelling to see a teenager in braids in front of a UN audience, hectoring it to let her have a future.

  42. 92
    nigelj says:

    Mal Adapted @91, I like your views on this, and I hope you are right. It’s not just climate that reaches tipping points, so does public opinion and slow to act “tribal elders”.

    I’m reminded of the great stink of the river Thames in London in 1858. Only when it reached the houses of parliament did politicians do something to clean up the river. Here’s the history in short form:

    https://allthatsinteresting.com/great-stink-london

  43. 93
    nigelj says:

    Nemesis @ thank’s for the translation. Yes capitalism is harsh on the environment and the whole capitalist system could collapse. I don’t disagree with you.

    Hunter gatherer culture and early farming culture of 10,000 BC were not capitalist and were 100% sustainable environmentally because they were wood based cultures, but most people obviously dont want to go back to living like that because they are trying to go in the opposite direction. Modern society becomes addictive and comfortable and has its merits.

    I suspect society will learn to waste less, recycle more and get population size down, but society is unlikely to give up much modern technology. It’s important to try to get society more sustainable, and I have a reasonably low carbon footprint, but I’m not into turning environmentalism into a religion, or seeking impossibly perfect solutions or perfect levels of sustainability.I simply don’t think such things make much sense.

  44. 94
    Mr. Know It All says:

    90 – nigelj
    “…Some of you guys have unrealistic expectations of how scientists communicate. I suspect it’s frustration with the denialism.”

    Noone denies CC. Many, based on past history of climate, and the uncertainties in the science, just don’t believe it’s man-made. I think more are starting to wonder if something is happening, however, past predictions of doom are hard to forget:
    1960s – population bomb will cause us to starve
    1970s – ice age will cause us to starve
    1980s – AGW will cause us to starve
    1990s to now – today it’s climate change and no matter what happens we will starve
    Many people like Greta and AOC, are terrified and actually believe that we’re doomed unless the governent takes over everything. You can’t make this stuff up. When the left figures out that a man and a woman are not the same thing, and they use different restrooms, we may pay some attention to their “communication”.
    ;)

    91 – Mal
    “…Trump barely won in 2016, even with under-handed Republican electoral machinations….”

    Yeah, I was shocked at how under-underhanded he was in 2016 – HOW IN THE HELL did he convince HRC to not campaign in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, etc?!?!?!?!? “The Art of the Deal”, perhaps?
    ;)

  45. 95
    Killian says:

    Re #84 nigelj said Killian @77 claims he hates denialists and I’m an apologist for denialists, because I said “thanks for at least making some effort at being balanced”. Wow just wow you really conclude that? You don’t think your logic and judgement is a bit skewed?

    Bwahahahahahahaha! You enabling fool… Regret? LOL… You’ve never been up to the task and never will be. You get taken in and get all whiny when called on it.

    Classic nige.

    To answer your question, which I was already more than clear about, dunderhead, I’ve dealt with hundreds if climate denial trolls over the years. And, nope, not once wrong. They always use the same recycled approaches. The “concern troll” is one of the easiest to spot. That you cannot is not in any way surprising.

    My neighbour is a denialist, but a lovely person. I’m not about to start hating her or avoiding her. Denialists are very annoying, but grow up Killian before you do something stupid that you regret.

    We’re going to have to start calling the Straw Man the nige fallacy. I didn’t say a single word about how to treat people personally. I have denialists in my own family. What? I’m supposed to have disowned them all?

    Stupid. Nothing new.

  46. 96
    Killian says:

    Re #80 nige mewled

    Killian @77

    “Stay out of my lane, nigel; you post too much as it is without wasting everyone’s time with drivel like this.”

    You raised the issue with me. You do realise this don’t you?

    Boy, you always take things beyond where I do. You have no idea what is connected to what.

    You are a threatening

    That’s the dumbest shit you’ve ever said here, and that’s saying something as you’re only slightly less useless than the denialists.

    highly authoritarian character

    The (hundredth) One Where nige Shows He Needs Reeducation in the Engish Language.

    Now, little one, pay attention:

    The authoritarian personality is a personality type characterized by extreme obedience and unquestioning respect for and submission to the authority of a person external to the Self, which is realized through the oppression of subordinate people.[1] Conceptually, the term “authoritarian personality” originated from the writings of Erich Fromm, and usually is applied to men and women who exhibit a strict and oppressive personality towards their subordinates.[2]

    See, an Authoritarian person is a FOLLOWER. Like you, regurgitating what you learn here, adding nothing.

    Given how far you push things on a moderated website

    Soooo… this is a “moderate” website? Funny, I thought it was a climate science site. What would that have to do with political leanings, you fegging rock-for-brains?

    How far I push? Push what? I push nothing. I analyze and state. Dipshits like you have agendas, I deal in facts, data, objective analysis.

    I would bet money you have a violent temper.

    Really, nasty little monkey? Take a look in your mirror: Blowing a fuse bc you got called on enabling denialists.

    Thank god I never have to associate with you

    Don’t you? You can’t quit me, Brokeback.

    and your ridiculous ideas.

    Humanity is ridiculous, then, bc that’s where they come from.

    Fun to see your hostility to actual solutions come out of hiding, denier.

  47. 97

    N: Don’t hope for any “taimed” form of capitalism or that some dems or any party might save us ect, it didn’t happen so far and it will not happen in the future. Democrats or whatever party are part of the capitalist game.

    BPL: Communism screwed up the environmentalism just as badly or worse than capitalism. And Democrats will actually do something about the climate crisis; to equate them with Republicans who deny the climate crisis is either ignorant or disingenuous. Keep your political prejudices to yourself.

  48. 98
    Mark-US says:

    USED LABCOATS NEEDED ASAP – climate solutions start with education and we need 100 labcoats for a street theater action to address the “consensus gap” and do outreach to a largely GOP audience. If by some miracle you have a number of a idle labcoats to donate or at least loan to us…. please shout out, and we can discuss details. (USA)

  49. 99
    Nemesis says:

    @nigelj, #93

    ” It’s important to try to get society more sustainable, and I have a reasonably low carbon footprint, but I’m not into turning environmentalism into a religion, or seeking impossibly perfect solutions or perfect levels of sustainability.I simply don’t think such things make much sense.”

    I hear that society needs to get more sustainable since the early 70s.
    I’m not into any religion at all, I grew up in the basement of capitalism, the only thing I believe in are the harsh laws of Nature and her cooking pot.

    Good luck.

  50. 100
    William B Jackson says:

    #94 Can someone clue me in on this: How can someone use the cognomen Mr Know It All and post such blithering nonsense. Just the 1980’s claim for instance one or two articles were written and the claim was briefly taken up in the news media, but scientists found the claims less than well founded. This has not stopped such as KIA from using this to bolster their nonsensical tripe…how sad!

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