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Unforced variations: August 2013

Filed under: — group @ 1 August 2013

This month’s open thread.

Since there are two main topics (Advocacy and Methane bombs) buzzing around the blogo-twitter-sphere this week, perhaps those are our starters for ten… (Feel free to populate the comments with links to various commentaries – we will chime in as we find time).

450 Responses to “Unforced variations: August 2013”

  1. 151

    #148–Radge, if you’re referring to my #147, I certainly don’t mean to ‘lecture.’ Steve did ask for a study, so–.

    And subjectively, I don’t *think* I’m defensive on this–though one of the hallmarks of defensiveness is that it’s generally obvious to everyone else first!

    I don’t know anything about Steve’s background; you seem to be implying that he has a lot of expertise in ‘the neuro stuff.’ In that case, I can understand a framing of this whereby he cringes at a ‘dumbing down’ of subject matter near and dear to his heart, whereas I’m in support of what I perceive as a useful behavioral strategy–one which I have a certain amount of practical experience with. By extension I also support what I see as a simple, broad-strokes characterization of the brain anatomy involved.

    But, for the record, I cheerfully renounce any claims to high expertise here, as well as any intent to ‘lecture.’

  2. 152
    Icarus62 says:

    The concern over a methane emergency seems to be based on the more general concern that we could set off self-sustaining feedbacks which won’t stop until they’re played out – such as all the permafrost having thawed and decomposed, all the ice sheets having melted etc. Is there any evidence for self-sustaining feedbacks in the palaeoclimate record? Could today’s climate state and rate of warming make them particularly likely? How would we know if we had already passed ‘the point of no return’?

  3. 153
    Hank Roberts says:

    > 135, the last reference to pingoes

    The post quotes a description from that, but omits mention of the depth.
    Here’s more from the same cite:

    “…. A total of four complex pockmarks, named: A, C, G8, and G11 were investigated in 2003 (Hovland et al., 2005). The pockmarks are located at water depths between 600
    and 750 m ….
    “… On 2D-seismic records, the pockmarks are seen to occur immediately above vertical ‘chimneys’
    or pipes (also called ‘wipeout’ zones, and ‘blow-out pipes’), which extend down to and in some cases beyond the BSR, about 200 m sub seafloor ….”

    The word “shallow” there is in contrast to the nearby abyss at 3000m depth (the Storiegga slide is near the study site, where the continental shelf collapsed).

    This 600-750m depth is far deeper than what “methane emergency” people mean by “shallow hydrates”

  4. 154
    Chuck Hughes says:

    Question: Is Steve Fish in any way related to or associated with FishOutofWater who posts climate related information on I figure they’re not the same person but wanted to ask.

    I know who the moderators on this site are of course and a few others on here who have been kind enough to respond to my questions. I’m trying to assimilate a list of reliable sources for my own personal study of Climate Change and I like to know who people are and if their research is published somewhere. I happen to be using my real name on this site but I know a lot of folks don’t do that on the interwebs. Thanks

  5. 155
    prokaryotes says:

    Icarus62 #152 wrote = “The concern over a methane emergency seems to be based on the more general concern that we could set off self-sustaining feedbacks which won’t stop until they’re played out – such as all the permafrost having thawed and decomposed, all the ice sheets having melted etc. Is there any evidence for self-sustaining feedbacks in the palaeoclimate record?”

    What is the general concern? Actually the general public has no clue about any potential – is my best guess.

    The main problem is that we aim for all deposits on current trajectory – an ice free planet.

    Even with today known methane hydrate located below 270 meters

    “The Arctic is thought to be undergoing some of the most dramatic effects of climate change anywhere in the world. And this particular deposit is just within what scientists call the ‘methane hydrate stability zone’, the range of pressure and temperature at which gas hydrates are stable. In this region, the stability zone begins at a depth of about 270 m, above which sea temperatures are too warm to ensure the methane remains locked in its water-molecule cage”

    What if the new freshwater currents drive warmer water into the deep ocean?

    Quote’s from “A Looming Climate Shift: Will Ocean Heat Come Back to Haunt us?”:
    “A climate model-based study, Meehl (2011), predicted that this was largely due to anomalous heat removed from the surface ocean and instead transported down into the deep ocean. This anomalous deep ocean warming was later confirmed by observations.

    This deep ocean warming in the model occurred during negative phases of theInterdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO), an index of the mean state of the north and south Pacific Ocean, and was most likely in response to intensification of the wind-driven ocean circulation.

    Meehl (2013) is an update to their previous work, and the authors show that accelerated warming decades are associated with the positive phase of the IPO. This is a result of a weaker wind-driven ocean circulation, when a large decrease in heat transported to the deep ocean allows the surface ocean to warm quickly, and this in turn raises global surface temperatures.

    This modelling work, combined with current understanding of the wind-driven ocean circulation, implies that global surface temperaures will rise quickly when the IPO switches from the current negative phase to a positive phase.”

  6. 156
  7. 157
    Steve Fish says:

    Kevin and Chuck:

    I got my Ph.D. in neurophysiology and did a postdoc in neuroanatomy. I did (funded) research early on and mostly teaching, both inside and outside my area of specialization, later on. The course I was most fond of was Scientific Presentation skills for Ph.D. students and faculty. I also did scientific illustration for teaching and research and didn’t charge for the more than 1,500 illustrations I did for colleagues and students. I retired in 2005 and have never posted on Daily Kos.

    The only thing that is important about this, here, is that it is never wise to make statements outside of ones area of expertise when speaking to a science literate audience because it is too easy to say something dumb. Neuroscience is especially a problem. Look at the silliness made of Roger Sperry’s split brain (right brain-left brain) research in popular culture.

    Be accurate and be prepared to document it. Steve

  8. 158
    prokaryotes says:

    On The Sensitivity Of Ocean Circulation To Arctic Freshwater Pulses During The Paleocene/Eocene Thermal Maximum

    These results suggest that Arctic freshwater flux into the North Pacific through the Bering Strait may induce circulation patterns similar to those inferred from stable isotope reconstructions during the PETM as well as increase intermediate and deep ocean temperatures and that flow through the Turgay Strait into the North Tethys Ocean would increase surface ocean and atmosphere temperatures. Based upon circulation patterns and temperature increases due to freshwater flux through the Bering Strait, Arctic freshwater input into the North Pacific could serve as a catalyst for methane hydrate destabilization, an event suggested as a precursor to the onset of the PETM.

  9. 159
    prokaryotes says:

    Updated the question/headline to “Does Ocean Circulation in the Arctic drive Freshwater into Deep Ocean and Unlock Methane Hydrate?

  10. 160
    Hank Roberts says:

    More at:

    which quotes Maslin (London):
    > temperature changes alone won’t trigger underwater landslides.
    > “Dramatic degassing events require a change in pressure”

    Now could a change in pressure happen? That would take a tsunami,
    one that happened to occur at a low-low tide to go well below normal
    water depth, I’d guess.

    Maybe this?

    (speculation there whether that was a tsunami from a storm surge, or a tsunami from an undersea geological event like, er, a slope failure. I trust they’re looking for some evidence either way.)

    Turns out they’re not uncommon, nor are continental slope failures causing slides into the deep ocean:
    “Two small tsunamis that struck the Atlantic Seaboard on April 11 and June 13 have oceanographers hot on the trail of a possible undersea landslide in the Hudson Canyon, off the coast of New Jersey.

    “The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) ship Okeanos Explorer has been diverted from its previously scheduled survey of mapping the undersea New England Seamount Chain to collect seafloor data that can be compared to another survey in the summer of 2012. Scientists are hoping that they will find some sign of a large landslide which could account for at least one of the tsunamis….”

    Hey, what’s the worst that could happen?
    That’d probably provoke a methane burp, but we’d barely notice in the other troubles.
    I do hereby join those acknowledging that ReCaptcha has achieved sentience and is helping us along with suggestions (or maybe it’s the NSA).
    For this posting the words are:

    ycounci Swamp

    Yep, I can see that happening.

  11. 161
    prokaryotes says:

    Does Freshwater Runoff in the Arctic change Ocean Circulation to Unlock Methane Hydrate in the Deep Ocean?

    Freshwater input into the Pacific Ocean produces the highest temperatures(~12°C) in the global ocean in intermediate and deepwaters

  12. 162
    prokaryotes says:

    Destabilization of methane hydrates, clathrate hydrates, within the oceans depends on temperature and pressure. These hydrates are crystalice structures that contain molecules of CH4 within. As temperature increases or pressure decreases, the ice structures will melt and release the methane, which contains large amounts of carbon. The critical pressure(or depth) of the methane hydrate release depends on the temperature; the higher the temperature the deeper the critical depth of the release (see Dickens et al., 1995 and Figure1 therein). Most hydrates are formed and are stable on the continental margins, specifically the slope and rise that are between 900-2000m (Dickens, 2001). Bice and Marotzke (2002) propose a positive feedback loop responsible for the onset of the PETM due to the release of these hydrates (see Figure9 therein). They conclude from their ocean model study that an initial increase in CO2 in the atmosphere, caused possibly by volcanic outgassing, would increase the strength of the hydrological cycle. These increases could cause a warming at intermediate depths within the ocean on a regional scale that could induce limited methane hydrate destabilization.They argue that this release of CH4 would then oxidize to CO2 in either the ocean or atmosphere and furth erexacerbate extremes in the hydrological cycle and eventually switch high southern latitude deep-water formation to high northern latitude deep-waterformation. This switch would bring sudden warm water to the ocean bottoms and incite methane release on a global scale. FreshwaterinputintothePacificOceanproducesthehighesttemperatures(~12°C)intheglobaloceaninintermediateanddeepwaters

  13. 163
    Hank Roberts says:

    More for Chuck Hughes:

    “… if we put enough CO2 into the atmosphere to equilibrate global temperatures at 1 K above preindustrial levels before we become extinct, we have committed the planet to 2.3 x 0.4 = 0.9 m of sea level rise over the next two millennia.

    All of this helps to put into context Climate Central’s scary interactive map of sea level rise. Look at how much of our major cities will be under water in two millennia! Ah, but under this scenario we’re extinct and the cities will be empty anyway….”

  14. 164
    Hank Roberts says:

    Seems to me if policy policy desperately needs scientific advice, including statistical advice, because policy’s been so dumb from letting money decide policies. Money’s not smart enough to account for costs, til the statistics are done and that’s “after the fact” as far as money is concerned.

    Costs aren’t accounted for until: experience.

    Would you buy an airplane for which “the most likely failure occurs slightly above design cruise speed if minimum strength and minimum stiffness were used in design”?
    But how would you know? Takes a while for the statistics to come in.
    Then, what do you do? Hope the market changes the design spec? Make policy? Let the insurance companies decide, as they’re willing to do?

    Dunno. Wish we were smarter.

  15. 165
    Hank Roberts says:

    (Yes, that’s a modeling study)

  16. 166
    David B. Benson says:

    Strangers Invade the Homes of Giant Bacteria
    Not sure just how climate related this is but certainly fascinating.

  17. 167
    Hank Roberts says:

    So, let’s see
    Most of the methane hydrate is happening where old methane comes up from geological sources — maybe old seabed long since subducted perhaps carrying some load of organic material, eventually mostly limestone or dolomite, isn’t it? Heat sufficiently, stuff bubbles up. Hot, we get volcanos. Do we get methane that old coming up under solid salt domes contributing to petroleum, or is that generated from more shallow and more recently buried stuff? And methane coming up under the ocean at depth in the cold can make clathrates.

    So at the PETM that stuff melted? Down to say the 400 meters that used to be the shallowest known?

    But — since the PETM — there’s also been time for the stuff to build up at depths shallower than that, up to the oh around 300 meters, 270 in that one location? So — we need to know how old the stuff is, in each location where it’s found, as well as its depth and temperature.

    Does it make sense to speculate on which clathrates would have survived the PETM spike and so be very very old, and could those be distinguished from any that formed since that low point in their development? Not C14, it’s not good except for geologically very recent dates. Other ratios?

    Dunno. Just wondering out loud. More explanation would be welcome from those who have facts and figures.

    Someone’s got to be doing the methane C14 numbers, I hope?

    Just wondering.

  18. 168

    MA asked

    MLO CO2 figures for July show a continued high annual increase. The average annual increase over the last 6 months tops 2.8ppm which for ENSO neutral conditions is a bit extraordinary when compared to previous values.
    And the opening days for August show little signs of a return to lower annual increases this month.
    So what’s happening?

    For one, China has easily doubled coal consumption in the last 10 years

    Second, based on the recent paper by W.Wang (thanks for the link to the PDF guys), integrated positive tropical temperature residuals can also have a transient impact on CO2 increase above that what emissions will cause.

  19. 169
    Hank Roberts says:

    (There’s this, but no way I’m competent to read this stuff and draw conclusions)

  20. 170
    flxible says:

    The State of the Climate in 2012, a supplement to the August 2013 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

  21. 171
    patrick says:

    164 On climate science, economics, and advocacy. There is the famous analogy of Read’s pencil, taken up by Friedman, which is taken to show that economic exchange allows people to interact where they would not otherwise, who may seem to have very little in common. A lot is made of this. I think at least as much should be made, in the same sort of way, of climate science as science. If there is an ‘invisible hand’ (think about it) in the market, surely there is an ‘invisible hand’ in science of equal or greater interest.

    “Science is a process that works despite our human frailties.” –Gavin Schmidt, in yesterday’s Sustainability Media Lab hangout (minute 23):

    Read capitalizes the term, ‘Invisible Hand,’ for whatever reason. The process is as remarkable for the cooperation involved as for lack of a ‘mastermind.’,_Pencil

    At least as much should be made of intelligence, formalized in science, as of markets. This pencil is self-writing, so to speak. Remarkable.

    I don’t think what’s going on with climate science and AGW, with emphasis on C02, is Gallileo all over again. I think it’s Gallileo continued.

  22. 172
    Chuck Hughes says:

    All of this helps to put into context Climate Central’s scary interactive map of sea level rise. Look at how much of our major cities will be under water in two millennia! Ah, but under this scenario we’re extinct and the cities will be empty anyway….”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Aug 2013

    This is exactly what I’m trying to get at. I read all manner of comments about human extinction and dire predictions. Michio Kaku, Stephen Hawking, Peter Ward, Dr. James Hansen to name but a few. And some of these guys are saying we have a 50/50 chance of making it to the end of this century or no chance at all, according to Frank Fenner. I understand our situation is serious and dire. I get it. But is our situation really to the point that we have a 50/50 chance or less of making it to the end of this century???

    You can find this stuff on youtube coming from the very people I just named. These are very credible people and they sound serious to me and the evidence seems to back up what they’re saying but it’s pretty hard to believe we’re this close.

    Sooo… Are we going to be able to pull this off and survive??? I know everybody hopes we can but realistically, what are the odds given where we are now and what’s happening politically?

    Frank Fenner:

    Stephen Hawking on the future of humanity. TED Talks:

    Michio Kaku – Will Mankind Destroy Itself?:

  23. 173
    Hank Roberts says:

    ah, possible evidence of a combination: asteroid impact and methane release:

  24. 174
    patrick says:

    171 Make that: “Galileo.”

  25. 175

    Sooo… Are we going to be able to pull this off and survive??? I know everybody hopes we can but realistically, what are the odds given where we are now and what’s happening politically?

    Without a reusable heavy lift launch vehicle system?

    Not a chance. Don’t worry, you’re in good hands. Congress has you covered.

  26. 176
    Radge Havers says:

    Chuck Hughes @ 172

    If we’re going to be extinct in 100 years, I suspect that it will essentially be a fait accompli before we can accurately compute the odds of its happening.

    Uncertainty. Plenty.
    Reasons to worry. Plenty.
    Makes it all the more painful, no? C’est la vie.

  27. 177
    prokaryotes says:

    Hank, check out the “Hot Cakes” here

  28. 178
    Susan Anderson says:

    Gavin Schmidt, Richard Betts, and Judith Curry appear on a Google hangout (cited at DotEarth and elsewhere) about Tamsin Edwards. Currently listening, and probably too inexpert to say more (except please don’t buy in to “own goal” tricksiness); here’s the link:

    (others may have been before me on this. A commenter over at Rabett’s has transcribed a small bit of it (Taylor B 7/8 8:36 pm) but beware of getting caught by the troll(s) who have taken up residence there.)

    Dr. Schmidt, as he often does, seems to be picking his words very carefully.

  29. 179
    Radge Havers says:

    Chuck Hughes, here’s one way to look at it. You’re in a car with passengers barreling down the road, and it’s headed off the road toward a ravine. Will you all walk away with scratches? Doesn’t seem likely, it’s a ways down. Will some be killed, maimed? Will the car br totaled or salvageable? Will it be trauma by fire, blunt force or what? How much injury, and where? How much will it hurt? How much will it cost?

    Don’t know. Let’s not try it and see. Is the driver an idiot? Yeah. Will he get serious before the nose dive? Who knows, he’s an idiot.

  30. 180
  31. 181
    prokaryotes says:

    Sensitivity of the global submarine hydrate inventory to scenarios of future climate change

    The global submarine inventory of methane hydrate is thought to be considerable. The stability of marine hydrates is sensitive to changes in temperature and pressure and once destabilised, hydrates release methane into sediments and ocean and potentially into the atmosphere, creating a positive feedback with climate change. Here we present results from a multi-model study investigating how the methane hydrate inventory dynamically responds to different scenarios of future climate and sea level change. The results indicate that a warming-induced reduction is dominant even when assuming rather extreme rates of sea level rise (up to 20 mm yr−1) under moderate warming scenarios (RCP 4.5). Over the next century modelled hydrate dissociation is focussed in the top View the MathML source of Arctic and Subarctic sediments beneath View the MathML source water depth. Predicted dissociation rates are particularly sensitive to the modelled vertical hydrate distribution within sediments. Under the worst case business-as-usual scenario (RCP 8.5), upper estimates of resulting global sea-floor methane fluxes could exceed estimates of natural global fluxes by 2100 View the MathML source, although subsequent oxidation in the water column could reduce peak atmospheric release rates to 0.75–1.4 Tg CH4 yr−1.

    I would like to read the full paper.

  32. 182
    Jim Larsen says:

    On extinction:

    It’s easy to come up with scenarios where a billion or three people die. But even the death of 6.9 billion people isn’t remotely close to extinction. There’d still be 74,000,000 of us left. Come up with a scenario where it’s impossible for several governments to each keep a few hundred people alive and then we’ll talk extinction.

  33. 183
    flxible says:

    I’m always a bit amused when folks raise a sweat over the survival of “civilization” beyond 2100. None of us here today will be around in 2100. Unlikely anyone at all alive today will be alive in 2100. Even likely none of your grandchildren will be alive in 2100. Pretty safe bet that I, and many here, won’t see the end of this decade, certainly not the next. The Mayans were a “civilization”, and after thriving for centuries that unit disappeared long ago. Many “civilizations” have come and gone. Might be best to focus on the problems at hand.

  34. 184
    Hank Roberts says:

    Chuck Hughes, the lines you quoted and attributed to me, were lines I quoted from (and I hope properly linked to) John Nielsen-Gammon.
    His article is here:

    Read that and the two papers he cites and quotes from; they’re research articles with discussion of the assumptions made and the consequences — directly on point to your question.

    Read more of what he writes there in various columns to get a feel for his tone and attitude toward knowing what’s going to happen if we go on like this.

  35. 185
    Hank Roberts says:


    that’s a page of work and work in progress, lots on point for this discussion,
    Andy Ridgwell
    Professor of Earth System Modelling
    I hope he’s reading or comes by here.

    Good pointer, thank you.

  36. 186
    Radge Havers says:


    Yes, however to be fair to Chuck, and maybe I’m thinking of someone else here, but I think he’s looking for a way to present concrete and demonstrable consequences of the path we’re on to high school students — a specific audience.

    In any case, it seems to be more of an issue of finding a compelling narrative for the purposes of advocacy, rather than one of mundane explication.

  37. 187
    Doug says:

    Gavin, I know my blood pressure goes up every time I hear Judith Curry speak, I can only imagine having to actually be in a discussion with her. Do you have good health insurance? (: Thanks for taking part in that Google Plus hangout.

  38. 188
  39. 189

    “Unlikely anyone at all alive today will be alive in 2100. Even likely none of your grandchildren will be alive in 2100.”

    Huh? A newborn today would be all of 87 in 2100. I personally know several people older than that–and I don’t think I’m particularly unusual in that respect. (OK, life expectancy is neither a given nor a constant, but still…)

    And the two boys I raised have yet to have kids, so the actuarial odds of any offspring they may yet have reaching 2100 CE are still better.

    I’d say if someone has a young child today, the odds of having a grandchild live to 2100 are pretty darn good–systems crashes excluded, of course.

    I think it’s important to keep this perspective in mind, because at this point we are mostly ‘playing’ for the lives of our kids and grandkids. No matter what plausible emissions trajectory we end up following, the difference between ‘best’ and ‘worst’ in 2050 is probably going to be less than 2 C. But for 2100, it could easily be 5 C, or even more.

    So our climatic fate is pretty much sealed. But we can make life hell for those kids, or not. And while everybody is in favor of something as noble-sounding as ‘intergenerational justice’, people get very fierce about their kids’ and grandkids’ best interests.

  40. 190
    Susan Anderson says:

    In talking about the future, please remember that time does not stop at 2100.

    Gavin, IMHO, showed remarkable patience and made a strong effort to find common ground. An excellent presentation, I thought.

  41. 191
    flxible says:

    “A newborn today would be all of 87 in 2100. I personally know several people older than that”

    Yes, life expectancy is a moving target, but currently in the US it’s less than 87, in fact much less than 87 pretty much anywhere in the world, and your chances as a male are even slimmer, regardless if you know a couple hundred oldsters over that age out of the billions of humans now alive. Would that handful constitute a “civilization” in 2100?

    “I’d say if someone has a young child today, the odds of having a grandchild live to 2100 are pretty darn good – systems crashes excluded, of course.”

    As you point out, the outlook for 2050 isn’t all that grand, excluding the ‘systems crashes’ we’re already seeing. Particularly wrt ‘petro-wars’ and developing conflicts over water and food, not to mention the religious disagreements. You have no ‘actuarial evidence’ that your boys will live to have kids, let alone that those hypothetical kids would survive until 2100. Trying to motivate folks now to make some adaptations or do some mitigating in order to avoid hypothetical living conditions 50-100 years hence seems less than useless, considering the behaviour of those subjected to the ravages inflicted on the US East Coast recently: simply dredging the beaches back up and carrying on. Where’s the best interests of their progeny?

  42. 192
    prokaryotes says:

    Earth Under Water – Worldwide Flooding | Global Warming | National Geographic Documentary

  43. 193
    Chuck Hughes says:

    My thinking is that if things are as bad as Frank Fenner stated, we’re in some serious trouble, (to put it mildly). And furthermore, why would he say that if he didn’t have some concrete evidence that that’s where we’re headed? Even Stephen Hawking said as much as has Peter Ward and several others who should know. I have to believe these people wouldn’t be making such statements if they didn’t really know something significant.

    If the analogy of being in a severe car crash is any indication of what to expect, I would not expect to walk away from it, although I’ve seen some pretty dramatic NASCAR wrecks where the occupants walked away. For some reason I get the feeling we’re riding in a late model Chevelle instead, with pointed metal radio knobs and no seatbelts.

    Hank, I did read and see the NYT article about the former heads of the EPA but as many have pointed out, the article appeared in the NYT which has a very low Conservative readership. I don’t think you’d have too difficult a time convincing readers of the NYT that we have a problem.

    What I would really like to know… is there some sort of common knowledge amongst Climate Scientists where folks know but won’t say so publicly simply because it would be too upsetting? I know there’s been a lot of political backlash against scientists for speaking out so I can understand why some would want to exercise extreme caution when making a public prognosis. I apologize for sounding repetitive here. If you feel you’ve already answered to the best of your ability then feel free to ignore me. I did read all the previous responses so thank you for that.

  44. 194
    owl905 says:

    @183 fixible – “I’m always a bit amused when folks raise a sweat over the survival of “civilization” beyond 2100.”
    Wrong-way Corrigan had a better sense of location. This argument combines the binary fiction “nothing is happening now”, with the free-stuff attitude “they can pay for the pollution then”. Too late and always was too late. Increasing food prices, insurance costs, and government disaster expenses, are the debt service costs for the unpaid pollution bill. Hyperbole claims about the ‘non-threat of extinction’ divert attention from the real deal – your neighborhood could be the next extreme event disaster. It won’t kill you (we’re really good at warning and response), it will just hand you the end of your personal prosperous life. It eats wallets and it devours futures. One-third of natural disaster costs are now uninsured and unfunded.

  45. 195
    patrick says:

    “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?”

  46. 196

    #191, 194–I’m bemused, too.

    All I can say is that my perspective is very different from flxible’s–I don’t think that emotional distancing from any future more distant than–what? A few years hence?–is helpful.

    I find the prospect that my boys are likely to be enduring whatever we send them in the way of climate–not, to be sure, in 2100, which neither is likely to live to see, but very likely in, say, 2060-70, which will be their ‘golden years,’ or should be–to be very motivating indeed.

    And I’m darn sure I’m not alone in that.

  47. 197
    Hank Roberts says:

    Jay Forrester, quoted by Donella Meadows:

    People know intuitively where leverage points are. Time after time I’ve done an analysis of a company, and I’ve figured out a leverage point—in inventory policy, maybe, or in the relationship between sales force and productive force, or in personnel policy. Then I’ve gone to the company and discovered that there’s already a lot of attention to that point. Everyone is trying very hard to push it in the wrong direction!”

  48. 198
  49. 199
    Patrick 027 says:

    I had read, in Pale Blue Dot (Carl Sagan), that setting aside all of humanity’s quirks (incl. AGW), and just based on us being a mammal (or some category of mammal?), we would have x% confidence of not going extinct before t1 but going extinct before t2. Offhand, I think (somewhat fuzzy, though; it’s been over 10 years since I read it) those numbers may have been 95 %, 12 years, and 8 million years; ie we have a 2.5 % chance of going extinct within the next 12 years. Or maybe it was 97 %, 8 years, … well it was a bit astounding, whatever the details.

  50. 200
    Hank Roberts says:

    Nowadays, you don’t need to fool all of the people all of the time; a bare majority of actual voters is all you need to fool.

    No limit on anonymous money advertising in politics, in the US.

    Most people still think that “news” should be honest and accurate.
    There is no rule against distorting or falsifying the news in the United States.

    The language used is, perhaps intentionally, utterly confusing for the naive reader:
    “editorial content” means news, not opinions.
    “editorials” are opinion, not news.

    The advertising business and publishers are actively working on making advertising look as much like news as they possibly can. AdWeek describes how it’s done.

    So — when you read, see or hear something about science and climate:

    — is it “news”?
    — is it “editorial”?
    — is it “opinion”?
    — is it “advocacy”?
    — is it “advertising?

    Damned if I can tell them apart most of the time, until I dig for cites.

    Where the hell are the librarians?
    Weren’t they our last hope for help?