More Facts on Climate Change = What?

By Keith Kloor | August 8, 2014 2:26 pm

Climate concerned advocates received some welcome news yesterday:

A new study finds that when they understand climate basics, some conservatives are more likely to accept that climate change is happening

I continue to be amazed at how much time and resources are spent justifying attempts to win over the most ideologically entrenched demographic in the climate debate. I’m also amazed that some climate advocates still cling to the notion that inaction on climate change persists because not enough Americans believe global warming is happening.

According to a 2013 Pew survey,

Two-thirds of Americans (67%) say there is solid evidence that the earth has been getting warmer over the last few decades, a figure that has changed little in the past few years.

True, of this percentage, only 39% can be classified as “concerned believers.” Overall, 36% percent of Americans are squishy fence straddlers, while 25% are identified as the “cool skeptics” unconcerned about global warming.

Is the goal of climate activists to convince more people that climate change is happening or to persuade more people that it is a major concern? It seems that those two aims often get conflated. But it is an important distinction, since as a 2014 report from the Yale Project on Climate Communication reiterated:

Few Americans are “very worried” about global warming and many see it as a relatively distant threat.

So do Americans need more convincing that human-cased climate change is real, or do they need to be persuaded to take the climate threat more seriously? The answer is the latter, of course, which is why many in the climate concerned camp have taken to associating severe weather events and other related disasters to global warming. This is done not to educate people about a 97 percent consensus, but to activate warning bells in our heads.

Thus, I don’t understand why anyone would get excited about a new study which finds “that people who had greater knowledge of climate change causes were more willing to accept that climate change is occurring.” (One reputable researcher takes issue with the finding.) The takeaway point of the study, according to the climate-concerned Guardian writer:

There’s no question that ideological biases play a big role in rejection of global warming. However, the results of this study indicate that for a majority of the public, including some conservatives, information that increases understanding about the climate can also increase public acceptance of global warming.

But we know that the majority of the public already accepts global warming. And it hasn’t mattered.

  • bobito

    As a conservative ex-denialist I can testify, it doesn’t take much to understand the concepts of anthropogenic climate change. I think the 97% number is only rejected by the hard liners these days.

    What about the climate concerned? How likely are they to back away from impending doom positions when they understand climate basics? How many climate concerned think the earth has never been warmer than it is now? How many think there has never been a higher concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere? How many think Katrina and Sandy were CAUSED by climate change?…

    I feel the peddling of these falsehoods gets in the way of progress as much as rhetoric from denialists. Because, neither position can be backed up by science thus it’s easy for the other side to say “see… they are lying!!! It’s all a conspiracy!!!!

    • http://qpr.ca/blog alqpr

      I don’t know how serious the consequences will be, and am sure that some of the “concerned” do exaggerate. But it is clear that there will be serious consequences for *some* people and maybe for all of us, so there is reason to be concerned without being certain.

      In any case I seriously question the good intentions of those who started by denying the facts and only turned to minimizing the consequences when the facts (which have been known for over a century) finally got enough media play to make denial untenable.

      • bobito

        I agree, there is reason to be concerned without being certain.

        What I was trying to say is that many “facts” about climate change have been exaggerated to the point that some accepted positions, among the climate concerned, can no longer be supported by science (see my examples above). So, if one is working off “facts” that aren’t supported by science then one has a very similar position to a climate change denier.

    • Bart

      What do you mean by ex-?

      The IMF is so fiscally conservative that “Monetary” is literally its middle name, and yet it last week came out advising every major nation immediately adopt carbon taxes based on the calculated rate of damage due to CO2E emission — a tax rate far higher than British Columbia’s, the highest broad-based carbon tax in the world.

      Remarking that tabloid journalists partake in climate sensationalism is simply the Fallacy Fallacy, an argument that because some arguments are invalid the conclusion of valid argument is less true.

      Do you agree with the IMF’s conclusions, or do you think they err?

      • JH

        “the calculated rate of damage due to CO2E emission”

        No doubt one of the IMF’s most reliable among it’s highly reliable suite of calculations. Is this the same IMF that missed the financial crisis and the end of peak oil? :)

        Predicting the future is hard. Especially when no one knows what it will be.

        • Bart

          Of course it’s easy to believe the IMF gets the future wrong.

          It’s made up of economists. That’s what they do.

          However, when you actually go back and read http://www.imf.org/External/Pubs/FT/GFSR/2007/01/ you find the IMF was startlingly prescient; almost every item in its global financial stability report predicted the very issues at the heart of the economic collapse. I have no idea in a world of shale processing what anyone thinks peak oil is, so can’t really comment on your vague insinuation, other than to observe it lacks.. substance.

          But do you think the IMF errs on the present about carbon tax, and specifically why?

          • JH

            It errs on the carbon tax for multiple reasons:

            1) carbon tax will reduce growth. Growth is what drives technological innovation. Therefore, carbon tax will reduce the likelihood of developing economic forms of carbon-free energy (if no one needs energy because growth is slow, why develop it?), not to mention many many other beneficial technologies.

            2) for most of the world, carbon tax will dramatically reduce standard of living. Reduced standard of living will have greater impact on environment than climate change ever will (see Haiti, Pakistan, other very poor countries).

            3) If, on the off chance economic growth continues relatively strong in the face of a carbon tax, the carbon tax will fail to address many of the issues climate advocates purport to address, since many of those issues result primarily from development, not climate change.

            It’s interesting that you’re advocating for a carbon tax, because I keep hearing from solar/wind advocates that these technologies are already competitive. If they’re competitive, why do they produce such a small proportion of our energy and need such an outsized proportion of subsidy? And still they need a carbon tax on top of that??? :)

            IMO, anti-carbon environmental policies are already capping growth in the US, as are a bevy of other environmental policies. These policies are hurting people. Wages aren’t growing in the few places in the country with strong growth, because the influx of people from economically depressed areas is capping those wages.

            Without growth, you have no education, no health care, no infrastructure and, in the long run, no society.

          • Bart

            Who cares about your opinion? This is a discussion of fact and reason.

            1. Carbon tax does not reduce growth. British Columbia’s carbon tax did no harm to the BC economy. Even the most conservative estimates of the growth effects of the BC carbon tax show it to be somewhere between immeasurably small negative growth effect and mild positive stimulus. There are no good studies of the IMF carbon tax model that suggest anything like reduced growth except in reduced growth of fossil fuel burning more than made up for by positive growth in high quality high tech jobs. Where do you get your opinions from, Lomborg, Tol, Lawson and Ridley?

            2. For most of the world, fossil fuels and fossil fuel megaprojects already reduce standard of living. Have you not heard of the problem of Chinese Death Smogs?

            Asthma?

            Emphysema?

            Excess winter deaths due to bad air from fossil fuel burning?

            You put solar collectors, tidal power, offshore windmills and pumped hydro storage in Haiti, and you provide far more, far lower cost, far lower impact energy without making Haiti a dependent of fossil fuel sellers. Pakistan is already putting solar collectors over waterways to reduce water loss and generate electricity in coupled infrastructure. Your opinion demonstrates zero knowledge of Haiti or Pakistan. Have you ever been to either?

            3) Your personal opinion is that the impacts of climate change risks are overstated. That’s the personal value you personally place on climate change. The vast majority places a higher price on this risk. The IMF mechanism allows the world to place a price on that risk based on damage. Personally, I think the IMF is wrong to use damage estimates: I think the carbon emission price ought be as high as the Market will bear, at the price of diminishing returns to stakeholders, which is all of us. And all of us get paid an equal dividend as we all equally own the air.

            4) Lessons from nuclear debates are.. really founded on some obscure and shakey bases. The people who kept nuclear energy from advancing were most certainly not generally the politically weak and ineffectual environmentalists, but the strong and influential fossil lobby that claimed it could deliver power cheaper than nuclear. So, no, I can’t imagine how much less carbon we’d be emitting, most especially since Swanson’s Law was as true then as it is now, and the price of renewables is much lower than the price of nuclear right now, today, though renewables have a tiny fraction of the deployed capacity of nukes. So again, your opinion is not based on fact or reason.

            This isn’t panic, and I’m not a panic-prone person. It’s the ones who keep their heads on facts and reasons while others cling to opinion and baseless tribal fears who create valid options like the IMF.

            I advocate for a carbon tax because it’s the fair thing to do. CO2 emission is clearly using up the scarce resource of the air’s ability to turn CO2 over to CO2 sinks. The air is manifestly equally owned by each of us. We each deserve an equal share of the revenue those who use more than their share pay.

            And ending with an alarmist “end of growth.. end of society” syllogism? How is that not panic?

          • JH

            “This is a discussion of fact and reason.”

            Then why are you here flapping your jaw?

          • Bart

            Ethics?

            Fairness can be determined by the principles of equity, an accounting concept.

            Accounting is based on fact and reason.

            Any fiscal conservative, like the IMF, would be demanding action based on accounting facts and logic.

            People who resort to falsehoods like “carbon tax will reduce growth” ought not presume to lecture on ethics.

      • bobito

        By ex- i meant I no longer have a denialist position. However, based on your reply, I’m assuming you are asking a rhetorical question.

        “Remarking that tabloid journalists partake in climate sensationalism is simply the Fallacy Fallacy, an argument that because some arguments are
        invalid the conclusion of valid argument is less true.”

        I never stated that some invalid arguments make valid arguments invalid. I’m saying that some people form their opinions based on bad or incomplete information. This happens all the time with partisan issues…

        You bring up British Columbia. They are in the midst of a boom in their economy due to natural gas. So to say they are doing fine even though they have carbon tax is a bit of cherry picking.

        You ask about the IMF, yes, I agree. But I’m assuming China is a major nation how do you plan on getting them involved? I think a better plan is for any country that has carbon taxes to tax imports from countries that do not. This way, a country won’t lose jobs to another country that will just create the CO2 elsewhere.

  • https://plus.google.com/111658787134687480269 Dan Pangburn

    CO2 change, and therefore human activity, does not cause global warming. The reason is that terrestrial radiation absorbed by CO2 is immediately thermalized, i.e. the energy absorbed by CO2 is handed over (in a process similar to thermal conduction) to other atmospheric molecules which outnumber CO2 molecules 2500 to 1. CO2 can only absorb terrestrial EMR that has wave length 14-16 microns out of the significant range 5-50 microns of terrestrial radiation. The absorption/thermalization quickly depletes the 14-16 micron radiation flux coming from the surface.

    But this leaves the question of what actually does drive average global temperature change.

    After some research to find out what causes climate change. . .

    Two primary drivers of average global temperature have been identified. A simple equation, using only them, very accurately explains the reported up and down measurements since before 1900. The coefficient of determination, R2>0.9 (correlation coefficient = 0.95). The equation provides credible estimates back to the low temperatures of the Little Ice Age (1610). The current trend is down.

    R2 = 0.9049 considering only sunspots and ocean cycles.

    R2 = 0.9061 considering sunspots, ocean cycles and CO2 change.

    The tiny
    difference in R2, whether considering CO2 or not, corroborates that
    CO2 change has no significant effect on climate.

    The coefficients of determination are a measure of how accurately the calculated average global temperatures compare with measured. R^2 greater than 0.9 is very accurate.

    The calculations use data since before 1900 which are official, accepted as valid and are publicly available.

    Solar cycle duration or magnitude, considered separately, fail to correlate but their combination, expressed as the time-integral of solar cycle anomalies, gives excellent correlation. A solar cycle anomaly is the difference between the sunspot number for a year and an average sunspot number for many years.

    Everything not explicitly considered (such as the 0.09 K s.d. random
    uncertainty in reported annual measured temperature anomalies, aerosols, CO2, other non-condensing ghg, volcanoes, ice change, etc.) must find room in the unexplained 9.51%.

    Search AGW unveiled for the method, equation, data sources, history (hind cast to 1610) and predictions (to 2037).

    • Bart

      Wow. Immediately thermalized.. back into the same wavelengths that GHG’s block, as clearly demonstrated by experimental measures of absorbtion spectra, the fact that heat seeking missiles work, and, oh, that air doesn’t visibly glow as the CO2 turns the heat back into visible light. Shenanigans.

      Sunspot plus ocean cycles are an extraordinarily poor predictor of global temperature, as witnessed by the disappearance of the signal of correlation of the Hale Cycle with global temperatures six decades ago. The greenhouse effect has so flooded the atmosphere with heating that sunspots’ influence is impossible to detect in the instrumental record.

      Correlation with ocean circulations is even worse, and considering the Earth has some four dozen climate basins, anyone in bad faith seeking false correlations can construe matches by cherry picking, as the epic Stadium Wave hoax paper did, and as you sketch out here.

      • https://plus.google.com/111658787134687480269 Dan Pangburn

        Your ignorance is impressive.

        For openers, find out what thermalization means.

        • Bart

          The more I learn, the less I know.

          You vastly underestimate my ignorance.

        • SkyHunter

          It means translated into sensible heat, IE, warming.

    • DavidAppell

      >> The absorption/thermalization quickly depletes the 14-16 micron radiation flux coming from the surface. <<

      If this were true, there'd be no radiation at those wavelengths at the top of the atmosphere. But there is:

      http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/schmidt_05/curve_s.gif

      • https://plus.google.com/111658787134687480269 Dan Pangburn

        There is no significant difference in R2 whether CO2 is considered or not.

        • DavidAppell

          Then your model is wrong.

          • https://plus.google.com/111658787134687480269 Dan Pangburn

            So check it and be the first to tell me where.

          • DavidAppell

            It’s wrong in assuming climate is determined by only one or two factors.

          • https://plus.google.com/111658787134687480269 Dan Pangburn

            There are undoubtedly other factors, but they all, including all that no one has thought of yet, must find room in the unexplained 9.51%. I suspect that a lot of that is taken up by the apparently random influence of el Nino.

            My perception is that trying to get significant improvement on R2 greater than 0.9 would be trying to ‘guild the lilly’.

          • DavidAppell

            >> must find room in the unexplained 9.51% <<

            Because a model looks kind of right doesn't mean it's right. Both CO2 and ocean cycles affect climate; your basic assumption is flawed.

          • Tom Scharf

            “Because a model looks kind of right doesn’t mean it’s right.”

            I sure hope I can quote you on that if the temperature trends pop back up to IPCC expectations, ha ha.

          • DavidAppell

            1) The IPCC has no “expectations, nor does any modeling.
            2) Climate models solve a boundary value problem, not an initial value problem. Their initial state looks nothing like the real initial state of the climate. Hence they say nothing about short-term intervals, only about long-term (equilibrium) sttes.

          • Tom Scharf

            The IPCC EXPECTS temperatures to more or less follow their projections if the forcings match what is input to the models. I’m not really interested in the semantic gymnastics here.

            Are you really going to continue to twist yourself into a pretzel on how the models don’t really predict anything, and then claim they will get it right “later”, and then claim they are actually kind of working right now, and then…the equivocating here is unbelievable. It is also completely undecipherable.

            I’m more than happy to wait 30 years for a better assessment, but I’m not going to trust them in the meantime. Pretending we must cover our eyes while awaiting the long term results from the models is ridiculous.

            How would you suggest we judge a model’s performance?

          • DavidAppell

            >> The IPCC EXPECTS temperatures to more or less follow their projections if the forcings match what is input to the models.<<

            Not over the short-term — a couple of decades — where natural variability like ENSO is significant. (Like the La Nina-dominated last decade.)

            The general public puts far too much faith in climate models. Few scientists do that; in my experience talking to them, they mostly see models as a tool that can be used to test various assumptions — what happens if I use this parametrization instead of that one? What happens with this assumption about deep ocean heating, compared to other assumptions, Etc. They know their models are just models. See, for example

            http://www.ted.com/talks/gavin_schmidt_the_emergent_patterns_of_climate_change

          • Tom Scharf

            I’m willing to wait another 20 years.Until then the prospects aren’t looking promising.

            My standard response is to “feel free to model ENSO correctly”. This inability is not a feature, it is an example of how these models cannot predict major climate drivers. Does this have anything to say about 100 year simulation capability, maybe, maybe not. The mismatch with observations cannot be explained by ENSO, there is more to the story.

            “The general public puts far too much faith in climate models.”

            This is a very interesting argument, not sure what to do with this one. I agree that modelers are not robustly confident of their models. The models are the basis for all the “dangerous” outcomes and temperature predictions, the public puts too much faith in them because they were oversold by others.

          • DavidAppell

            >> My standard response is to “feel free to model ENSO correctly” <<

            And where is your manuscript showing how that is done?

            And why does it need to happen?

            Over the long-term ENSOs average out to near zero. The long-term is far more relevant than the last 15-years, which has been La Nina-influenced. In 100 years, no one will care there was a pause in the first 15 years of the 21th century — and by the way, such pauses have happened several times in the 20th century — they will care that it's X degrees warmer. Our calculation of X doens't depend on getting ENSOs right, which no one knows how to do anyway.

          • DavidAppell

            >> How would you suggest we judge a model’s performance? <<

            Hindcasts. Put in the known climate state of today — the ENSO state, the PDO, AMO, etc states, sea ice extents, etc — and run the model backwards using the known (as well as possible) GHG emission time series, the known volcanoes, the known changes in solar irradiance, ozone holes, etc. Then see what the model predicts backwards.

            They still will not be perfect (for one thing, aerosol emissions are poorly known; and becase they reflect sunlight (and so depend on the angle of the incoming rays), you need to know their longitude and latitude as well).

          • Tom Scharf

            Hindcasts are BS and you know it. The models are tuned to the historical record, and this is not even controversial.

            It is a clear sign of over fitting that models with uncanny ability to work in a hindcast perform poorly immediately when let loose in forward mode.

            It almost like a tree ring model immediately going south once the fitting is done.

            It brings the model into question. If you want to continue down this path of there is no reason to question climate models, I’m going to defer.

          • DavidAppell

            All models are tuned to the “historical record!” Do you think Bohr’s model of the atom was created in a vacuum, with no consideration of reality? Of course not — it agreed somewhat with reality, but not perfectly, so they had to introduce a new concept called spin (I can only imagine how people like you would have howled then), and when that didn’t quite work Dirac came up with his equation, and when that failed QED was proposed with virtual particles having a real impact on real particles.

            If not reality, what would you rather tune a climate model to?

            >> It is a clear sign of over fitting that models with uncanny ability to work in a hindcast perform poorly immediately when let loose in forward mode. <<

            Prove your claim of "poorly."

          • DavidAppell

            >> It almost like a tree ring model immediately going south once the fitting is done. <<

            False. It's the other way around –the fitting was done when the results turned south, which obviously indicated a problem..

          • DavidAppell
          • DavidAppell

            Many of my replies aren’t showing up here. Damn Disqus.

          • DavidAppell

            I’m thinking of models that initially looked viable, but didn’t pan out on closer inspection: the epicycle model of the solar system, phlogiston theory, the ether, N-rays, the bootstrap theory of particles, the SU(5) grand unification model that predicted proton decay, etc.

            It’s already clear that the model of a manmade, enhanced greenhouse effect due to anthropogenic GHGs will not fall into that class.

          • DavidAppell

            1) the IPCC assesses science; they don’t do it.

            2) for the nth time — climate models solve boundary value problems, not initial value problems. They project the long-term (equilibrium) state.Their initial state rarely looks like the real initial state of the climate system, so their short-term projections are meaningless.

          • https://plus.google.com/111658787134687480269 Dan Pangburn

            I made no assumption.

            Do you know the difference between an assumption and a verified hypothesis?

  • peterdtillman

    Re: John Cook, 97% Consensus, Climate Communication:

    Lucia Liljegren of the Blackboard had this to say:

    “We are seeing tons and tons and tons of “how to communicate” documents, but none seem to point out the obvious: We need to stop being caught lying. Oh… here’s a strategy to stop being caught: Don’t lie in the first place!” (http://climateaudit.org/2014/07/26/cooks-fake-ethics-approval/)

    • Bart

      Without looking, I’m guessing Steve Mosher is the author of the strategy line. He’s one of the people in the debate most competent at not being caught in a lie.. And he’s been saying it online for years.

      Nope, it looks like Lucia quoted Mosher without attribution.. and McIntyre posted this on a screed about ethics.. prompted by the proud announcement of McIntyrite Brandon Shollenberg’s hacking of private data.

      Yum, the ethics of hackers. Delicious.

      • peterdtillman

        Um, IB you *should* check before making accusations. Seems like common courtesy.

        • Bart

          I checked after, and admitted my error.

          If I were lining up candidates among those in climate discussions who lied least, Mosher would head the list. This isn’t an accusation; Mosher accedes to being a Black Hat Marketer, and the profession recognizes his aptitude, but for all that he comports himself with the highest integrity.

          I’m glad Lucia’s getting others to repeat Mosher’s advice. Would that they recognized first the beam in their own eye.

          • CB

            “I checked after, and admitted my error”

            Your error was in pretending a well-known Climate Denier like Stephen McIntyre is a reliable source of information:

            “Stephen McIntyre has been a long-time mining industry executive, mostly working on the “stock market side” of mining exploration deals. He published a blog called Climate Audit”

            http://www.desmogblog.com/steve-mcintyre

            Edit: Sorry, I misread your statement. I don’t keep track of all the shady characters behind Climate Denier propaganda.

          • Bart

            Keep track of all the shady characters of Climate Denial?

            Who possibly could, without substantial mental health qualifications and outpatient monitoring resources?

  • JH

    “do they need to be persuaded to take the climate threat more seriously?”

    By “threat” you mean “risk”, right? So isn’t that a measure of error? If you take the error estimate (which is rather fraught for climate change anyway) more seriously, what does that do for you? :)

    • Bart

      It makes you nescient.

      Thanks for asking.

  • JH

    Judith Curry also posted yesterday on climate science communication. Her post rounds up a variety of ideas from several published sources.

    http://judithcurry.com/2014/08/08/engagement-vs-communication-vs-pr-vs-propaganda/

    • Bart

      And yet, her Coal Rollers keep on not grasping the basics.

      • JH

        :) Substance obviously isn’t your specialty.

        • Bart

          Tut-tut. Just because I’m familiar with Curry does not mean I’m unfamiliar with substance. It’s not like Curry is contagious.

  • Weejus

    While Climate Change may be real (although there’s no evidence of it for the past 15+ years), here’s 3 points to consider:
    1. The earth is not a static environment. change occurs naturally and, sometimes, rapidly. To assume that the planet’s mean temperature would stay unchanged over a period of decades (and centuries) is ludicrous to the extreme.
    2. There is little to no evidence that this change is anthropogenic. Ther is TONS of evidence that it’s causes are completely natural and man has nothing to do with it – and that, IMHO, it is the height of hubris to think we can somehow control it.
    3. The Climate Change proponents are intentionally misleading the public using everything from unsupported scare tactics to using the fallacy of big numbers. Here’s just one example – They claim that man produces 3 million tons of CO2 a year which sounds like a lot, and we should all be worried sick. However, when you do the math, it reveals a different picture: there are an estimated 3 trillion cubic tons of CO2 in the atmosphere with a margin of error of 3%. That means the estimated amount can be off by as much as 90 billion tons. To repeat, man produces an estimated 3 million tons of CO2/yr. That means that man produces 0.000033% of, not the estimated amount of CO2, but the amount the calculation may be OFF. Let me repeat that. Man produces 0.00033% of the FUDGE FACTOR in calculating the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Suddenly that 3M number isn’t so scary when displayed as 1 millionth of 1% of the calculated atmospheric CO2.

    • DavidAppell

      >> To assume that the planet’s mean temperature would stay unchanged over a period of decades (and centuries) is ludicrous to the extreme. <<

      The climate changed very little over 10K+ years of the Holocene, until recently. Ludicrous?

      • Weejus

        That’s a misrepresentation of facts. The “Hockey Stick” statistic conveniently leaves off the 3 degree change less than 1000 years ago. The temperature during the Holocene varied by as much as 8 degrees. So far, we’re talking about 1,2 degrees in “recent” times. barely a blip compared to historical evidence.

        • DavidAppell

          >> The “Hockey Stick” statistic conveniently leaves off the 3 degree change less than 1000 years ago. <> The temperature during the Holocene varied by as much as 8 degrees <<

          Evidence?

      • JH

        “The climate changed very little over 10K+ years of the Holocene,”

        What bosh! :) You ain’t gettin’ away with that one, Apple.

        http://www.realclimate.org/images//Marcott.png

        Note the rather substantial variation in global average temperature, even after substantial variation has been removed through poor age control. I didn’t even bother to look up the period of the running mean. Now, of course, many skeptics take issue with this work, but I’m sure it’s golden in your book. I’m fine with it for the sake of argument on this point.

        And of course if you look at individual locations instead of global average temps, you’ll see substantial variation in the Holocene climate.

        Stick with physics. Don’t embarrass yourself by going paleo.

        • DavidAppell

          The graph shows a range of only 0.6 C over 12,000 years — that’s remarkably little change. Especially when compared to the transition from a glacial to and interglacial, or something like the Younger Dryas, or our current relatively quick warming,

          >> And of course if you look at individual locations instead of global average temps, you’ll see substantial variation in the Holocene climate. <<

          But then you're not talking about global climate.

    • DavidAppell

      >> They claim that man produces 3 million tons of CO2 a year which sounds like a lot. <<

      Please, check your facts before you assert all the science is wrong. It's the least you can do.

      • Weejus

        I checked my facts. That’s where I got my numbers. I did that so I could do my own research and not rely on propaganda. Those numbers were culled from several pro-climate change sites. Using their own “facts” against them is fair play in my book.

        • DavidAppell

          You wrote, “They claim that man produces 3 million tons of CO2 a year.”

          You’re off by a factor of over 10,000. The rest of your claims are about as valid.

        • Jamie Bobini

          The number is actually 36.6 billion metric tons (in 2010). What’s a cubic ton? Did you mean cubic metres?

          • DavidAppell

            He means tons. (Metric tons.) For CO2 at 400 ppm, there are 3 trillion tones of CO2 in the atmosphere.

          • DavidAppell

            Thanks — about 36 Gt CO2/yr. Add a couple more Gt/yr for land use changes, and we’re nearing 40 Gt CO2/yr.

            Now Weejus’s numbers look much different — every year we’re emitting about 1.3% of the CO2 in today’s atmosphere, and about 1.8% of the amount in the preindustrial atmosphere. There’s your anthropocene.

    • DavidAppell

      And what, pray tell, is a “cubic ton??”

      • JH

        Gotta give you that one. Whew.

  • J M

    I think most people agree that global warming is a problem. How serious a problem remains an open question. Only thing certain is that if nothing is done, it will be a very serious problem for sure.
    The problem for many people is that the means to tackle the problem put forward by “climate concerned advocates” are basically the same old green and left wing darlings they have promoted since 1970’s. Solutions that work but are abhorred by the Greens (nuclear power, fracking) are fiercely opposed.
    As long as policies promoted to fight global warming have a distinct left and green signature, one can hardly expect people with opposing views to embrace them. Ditto with adopting “green” lifestyle.

    • Buddy199

      The solution proposed for climate change:

      Get used to a poorer life style, getting by with less and paying a lot more for it – a proposition that will impact people progressively harder the further down the income and wealth ladder they happen to be.

      More regulations, higher taxes and more government spending. Goes without saying, that’s the solution for everything.

      All administered by the same type of progressive central planning geniuses who designed Obamacare and implemented its square wheeled roll out.

      And you wonder why so many people don’t buy into the climate catastrophic doomsday cult.

      • Bart

        British Columbia has a better average lifestyle today than it did eight years ago before its carbon tax. China has more smog-related death and disease than eight years ago before so many coal plants were polluting China’s air. By the way, China’s the Leftist nation, and British Columbia has one of the most right wing governments in North America.

        You’re talking out your hat.

        • J M

          BC is also exporting coal, over 28 million tons of it in 2012, earning 5 billion dollars. Most of it ends up as Chinese smog.
          Carbon tax in BC is sort of a feel-good fig leave. They can export coal, contribute to global warming and earn lots of money while feeling that they are doing their best to save the planet….

          • Bart

            BC does export coal. 28 million tons, 90% of which is metallurgical coal, which is added to steel and most of it sequestered as long as the steel lasts, in 2012. Compared to US coal exports? Not even a rounding error.

            It’s the natural gas BC plans to export that will end up increasing Chinese smog, as China will use coal to convert the gas to ammonia for fertilizer, much of it for resale to the rest of the world.

            BC’s carbon tax has reduced CO2E emissions per capita in BC almost 19% in under seven years. If you’re speaking for the rest of the planet, we in BC believe it’s your turn to try to catch up before you blow any more smoke.

          • J M

            BC per capita emissions are around 12 tons right now? Quite a feat for a province that generates close to 90% of its electricity with hydro and zero emissions.
            Looking from Europe, you still have quite a bit of catching up to do.

          • Bart

            Ayup, Europe puts North America to shame on a per capita basis.

            http://www.livesmartbc.ca/learn/emissions.html

            BC’s per capita emissions fell from 14.9 tonnes CO2e per capita, one-third below the national average of 22 tonnes in 2008 by some 17%, while the rest of the country shot up by almost 2%, per capita.

            Which is why a carbon tax is a great idea.. even for Europe. Imagine how much better the EU balance of trade would be from the EU perspective, with carbon pricing on (North) American imports?

          • Warren

            The broader point is that if all countries of the world embraced a carbon tax, there presumably would be agreements requiring that either exports OR imports include the cost of carbon, and no goods flowing across borders could escape the embedded cost of carbon. Perhaps BC doesn’t do this for exports –it’s likely difficult, politically, to do so on your own.
            Regardless, BC is to be commended. Even though BC isn’t denting the world’s climate problem, they’re demonstrating how to make a carbon tax work.
            By the way, can you tell me a high quality reference that would explain why Australia’s c.t. failed, and BCs succeeded?
            Thanks for cranking out so many excellent posts. Education and advocacy is essential for convincing a skeptical public to support public policies to mitigate AGW.
            BTW, how in the heck did BC government get enough public support to pass a carbon tax?

          • Bart

            BC is a subnational government. It can’t tax across the national border as you speculate about, and the current national government in Canada is not so disposed.

            A good citation with understanding of Australia’s tax system?

            No. But http://tbo.com/list/news-opinion-commentary/a-tale-of-two-carbon-taxes-20140803/ is at least a fair recitation of some salient points. There are better sources I do not have at hand right now.

            The BC government had a lot of conditions favoring carbon tax: the government had been cutting tax for years and the carbon tax doubled the income and corporate taxes of the prior eight years; the government had majority control; the carbon tax dividend was paid in advance, with checks to every taxpayer before the rollout; BC has a slightly higher level of awareness of exposure to risks from climate change than most populations, having seen invasive species destroy a huge swath of timber due a series of warm winters, and spectacular extreme visits of invasive sea species normally seen in California.

          • Warren

            Thanks for the info and response

            Re your correction about taxing across intl borders. My mistake, ..of course you ‘re right.

    • SkyHunter

      What do you expect?

      Polluters and Republicans deny it is even happening. They propose no solutions because it will cut into the profit of the polluters and consequently the campaign contributions to Republicans. That leaves Democrats and environmentalists to come up with policy solutions.

      • Bart

        The IMF are as far to the Right as you can get without falling off the edge of the world. The IMF carbon tax proposal is technically pretty competent.

        The Citizen’s Climate Lobby has its roots in the Right, too. And they have somewhat feasible proposals, too.

  • Sarah Abrams

    I find uncanny similarities in anti vax, climate change denial and gun control advocate idiocy. eg Pew found that of the 1/3 of Americans who want more gun control, over 97% think gun murder is up, when US gun murder has plunged 50% in 20 years.

    • Bart

      Lawyers tell me gun crimes are three times as hard to get convictions on; it’s no mystery why 1/3rd of Americans favor more guns: just as many Americans think they’re a millionaire in waiting despite the long odds against it, many know if they had a gun in their hand one day they’d pull the trigger, and they want the best odds of getting away with it.

      • Matt B

        Huh? “Gun crimes are three times as hard to get convictions on?” What can that possibly mean? And that “idea” is the basis of slotting 1/3 of Americans into killers in waiting?

        Authentic frontier gibberish………

      • Sarah Abrams

        What a strange post. gun crimes have a 30% higher conviction rate than other crimes.
        And less than 1/3 of Americans favor more gun control.
        And 100 million Americans own guns and those that do are actually a lower risk for crime commission than the national mean

        • Bart

          30% higher?

          http://www.justice.gov/usao/reading_room/reports/asr2010/10statrpt.pdf disputes your claim.

          It’s fascinating to look at the projection in your 97% figure, since the first time I saw that wording on this topic, it was in the form “of the 1/3 of Americans who want more guns, 97% think violent crime is up, when US violent crime plunged 50% in 20 years.”

          Which do you reason makes more sense: a statistic about irrational fear of crime indicating the folly of wasting money on guns for self defense when 20 years ago the crime rate was much higher, or a statistic on the folly of being afraid that guns kill people?

          I have no problem with Americans owning guns. I’m actually in favor of it. I just object to bad math and false claims.

  • David Skurnick

    The linked article is deceptive, because it omits quantifiers. Here are two examples. The article says:

    “there’s a 97% consensus among climate science experts and their research that humans are causing climate change”

    In fact, there is a consensus among climate science experts that humans are causing some amount of climate change, although that amount may be very small.

    Similarly, I’ve added quantifiers to make the next quote more accurate: “Only about half of Americans realize that humans are causing some, possibly small amount of global warming.

    The article later addresses, “Team ‘global warming is a problem caused by humans”. However, there is no scientific consensus that global warming is a problem, nor does Cook’s dreadful paper even make that claim.. The consensus is that some warming is taking place and man is contributing some amount to that warming.

  • David Skurnick

    The cited article gives an inaccurate, comic book version of what skeptics believe. Most skeptic climate scientists agree that the earth has warmed and that man’s activities have contributed to the warming. Here’s a list of things the skeptics are truly skeptical about:
    1. They think the various climate models are unreliable.
    2. They think the CO2 mitigation proposals, such as the one adopted by the Obama Administration, are too small to save us, if the disastrous models are correct.
    3. They think the focus should be on: A. Developing a non-carbon energy that can replace almost all burning of carbon fuels cheaply. B. Adapting to the impact of climate change, e.g., by building dikes, C. Geo-engineering.
    4. They are not certain that the current rate of warming is catastrophic or even that it does more harm than good. In particular, they look at the good done by global warming as well as the harm.
    5. They believe that it’s unproved that global warming leads to worse extreme weather events. (On this point, UN IPCC should be counted among the skeptics or deniers!)
    6. They think that there’s great pressure on scientists to publish results supporting climate worries and not to publish articles questioning the tenets of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change.

    • Bart

      As you’re speaking for the non-comic-book reading skeptics, if you could clarify:
      1. How unreliable are which models, specifically, compared to for example the Higgs Boson models, the extra-solar planet models, the DNA models, and any other models in advanced sciences? Because when I compare them on factual, rational bases, the climate models fare by far the best.
      2. What about the IMF proposals, and why would they think these proposals are so bad, when the bulk of skeptics resolutely ignore the best examples of them working, like in British Columbia, in favor of really bad examples of how not to do it like Australia?
      3. Geo-engineering is a lunatic fringeworthy precept with how much ‘skeptic’ support? We’re going to have to build dikes in any event, but do the skeptics want to pay that cost out of their own pockets, or do they just expect all taxpayers to shoulder the bill equally? Non-carbon energy is already, by Swanson’s Law, cheaper than fossil; skeptics ought to keep up with developments.
      4. Why do skeptics presume to inflict a risk on behalf of everyone else? Did they pay for that right, or just take it assuming it was theirs? If someone leaps out of a dark alley and does me ‘good’ from behind without me asking them to, I don’g call it ‘good’, I call it assault; why don’t you?
      5. Misstating IPCC claims is a hallmark of ‘skeptics'; why? The expectation of extreme events from external forcings is a mathematical product of Chaos Theory, easily demonstrable by anyone with a sharp stick and an active hornet’s nest. Externally force the stick into the nest and see what extreme events occur; don’t you agree?
      6. People who have conspiracy theory ideation cannot call their mental condition ‘skepticism'; that’s called paranoia.

      • Tom Scharf

        1. The question is whether climate models are adequate for their intended purpose. Are they “accurate enough” to estimate future temperature increases close enough so that policy can be set, and so forth. If you examine the observations vs estimates so far, and have concluded they are “by far the best” that can be done, then I guess we will simply disagree.

        2. What BC has done has almost zero effect on future global temperature increases and emissions. It is a valid question to ask whether sacrifices the public is being asked to make will result in meaningful results on the global scale. Most people are not interested in “feel good” solutions, this is why they fail, they are not effective against the problem they are supposed to solve. This matters. Hint: Look at Asia’s emissions trends and projections. This matters. BC pretty much does not.

        4. Skeptics get a vote just like anyone else. If you can’t convince people of the efficacy of your policy proposal, it is not the fault of the listener, it is normally due to a weak argument. You can either blame the listener or get a better argument.

        5. Misstating IPCC claims? It is the advocates that have got caught up into claiming current extreme events are caused or influenced by climate change. This is not supported by the observations. The IPCC AR5 and SREX both state there are no discernible trends in drought, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc. It’s been warming for a century now, and the hornet’s nest seems to be unaware of it.

        • Bart

          1. You’re ducking the question, and misattributing the purpose of the models. The models work far better than most on the frontier of most science endeavors. To doubt these models implies rejection of almost all of science.

          2. “Zero” effect? Sacrifices? BC has sacrificed nothing while proving carbon taxes have significant impacts rapidly. That’s pretty much the opposite of your claims.

          3. You have no 3.

          4. If some minority voted to make alcohol free, pretty soon there would be chaos in the Market. If they voted to make apples free, the same would happen, albeit in different ways. That a minority votes to make it free to pollute with CO2 does not equal democracy, it equals fossil fuel socialism. The majority of Americans, according to polls, by the way, agree with the IMF on this.

          5. You pretty much got nothin’ for 5, too. http://ipcc-wg2.gov/SREX/report/ says “There is evidence from observations gathered since 1950 of change in some extremes. Confidence in observed changes in extremes depends on the quality and quantity of data and the availability of studies analyzing these data, which vary across regions and for different extremes. Assigning ‘low confidence’ in observed changes in a specific extreme on regional or global scales neither implies nor excludes the possibility of changes in this extreme. ”

          Which is hardly a surprise, as evidence for extreme events can be pretty slippery stuff, taking longer timeframes to establish and characterize. However, just because the scholarship the IPCC looked at was weak on the topic does not mean it is not there. and does not mean it is not strong.

          • Tom Scharf

            Absence of evidence implies evidence of absence. I can just as easily argue that an observational increase in temperatures is not actually evidence temperatures are increasing, but that would be a very weak argument, so I wouldn’t do that.

            If you want to claim extreme events are getting worse, you need to do more than hand waving and claim it’s really there but we can’t measure it yet.

            You make unqualified statements alluding this is true even when you apparently know the observations don’t back this up. Then explain it with some non-sequitur about chaos theory of all things. Keep up the good work.

      • David Skurnick

        Bart, I will just focus on your question about the adequacy of the models. A key output of the models is climate sensitivity, which tells us how much the globe will warm due to a given percentage increase in CO2. Sensitivity is believed to be a fixed, but unknown, number. Models show sensitivities ranging from less than 1 degree C to over 6 degrees C. So, the models are not adequate to tell us what the true sensitivity is.
        The IPCC admits that sensitivity is unknown. Their most recent report says that it’s “highly probable” that sensitivity is between 1.5 and 4.5 deg C, but that it might be lower than 1.5 or higher than 4.5 deg C.
        Two other reasons to question the models:
        1. The IPCC models have failed to predict the actual temperatures.
        2. Some believe that the reason for the 15-year pause in global warming is that heat is going into the deep ocean. If that’s so, then all the IPCC models are wrong, because none of them reflect heat going into the deep ocean.

        • Bart

          One: no one who understands complex systems believes climate sensitivity is a fixed number. This is part of why it is invariably represented as a range of values. This is part of why it is so hard to derive an agreed-on value or even range. A climate in a state near many or steep tipping points will of course have a far higher climate sensitivity than one with relatively few unstable dynamic structures. There is no one “true” sensitivity.

          The IPCC presents reports on what is known about the climate sensitivity range in probabilistic terms. Are there some in the IPCC who believe in a single value? Likely. There’s bad math everywhere in the world. It doesn’t make the IPCC math bad.

          1. IPCC models have done a remarkable job of predicting the profile of actual temperatures for those runs that use ENSO and happened to arbitrarily place La Nina events in approximately the actual time sequence. There are only four model runs from the ensemble of 18 that did this, but their fidelity, once volcanoes and the economic crash of 2008 are taken into account (all things that affect the climate substantially but are not cumulative and not predictable), is rather startling, considering actual climate prediction is not what they are designed to do.

          2. There is no 15-year pause of global climate warming. There are seven distinct half-decade or more pauses in the past six decades, the fastest warming period we can confirm in history. Had there been another such spike, it’d have left a mark in the extinction record and displacement of species, and we don’t see another such spike in the paleo record for the lifespan of the human species, with the exception of the transitions between glacial and interglacial periods. Further, if you compare like-to-like, and plot say January trends, February trends, etc., you see the ‘pause’ vanish, and what is revealed is that global seasonal relationships of months has spiraled out of its normal relationship, another prediction of AGW. The four La Nina model runs, La Nina being a push of warm water to the deep ocean and deep cold ocean water displaced up to the surface, very much reflect heat going into the deep ocean.

          http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/every:12/mean:10/plot/gistemp/from:1880.17/every:12/mean:10/plot/gistemp/from:1880.34/every:12/mean:10/plot/gistemp/from:1880.5/every:12/mean:10/plot/gistemp/from:1880.67/every:12/mean:10/plot/gistemp/from:1880.83/every:12/mean:10/plot/esrl-co2/normalise/mean:12/offset:0.25/plot/esrl-co2/normalise/mean:12/offset:0.5

          You’re simply wrong on fact.

          • David Skurnick

            Bart — The IPCC range of sensitivities does indeed represent their uncertainty, rather than a prediction that sensitivity moves around within that range.

            Defining the exact period of the pause has a certain element of judgment because of variability. E.g., look at the lower troposphere temperatures at http://www.drroyspencer.com/latest-global-temperatures/ Temperatures have been more or less hanging around the level they were at just prior to the 1998 El Nino. Still, there’s enough movement that one could interpret this graph is various ways.

            Your point about chaos theory makes no sense. I studied some chaos theory as a mathematics grad student. There is nothing in chaos theory that would tell us whether global warming would cause a change in the frequency or severity of extreme weather events. Check the Accumulated Cyclone Energy at http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http%3A%2F%2Fpoliclimate.com%2Ftropical%2Fglobal_running_ace.png&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fpoliclimate.com%2Ftropical%2F&h=696&w=1411&tbnid=03B1kagxy-HEMM%3A&zoom=1&docid=73UNCESyh4ggRM&ei=HKjpU5bwEMKsjALFnICACg&tbm=isch&ved=0CCIQMygAMAA&iact=rc&uact=3&dur=1535&page=1&start=0&ndsp=6

            You can see that we have been at a relatively low level during the last 6 years, even though global temperatures have been relatively high. This is why the IPCC says there’s no evidence that global warming causes extreme weather events. Based on the this data, there’s a stronger case that global warming reduces the impact of extreme weather events.

          • Bart

            If the whole entire IPCC is of the belief that climate sensitivity is a single value, at least a few of their members have an odd way of showing it, and none of them would conceivably be right about single value global climate sensitivity. At best, it’s like a driver asking, “what is the global speed limit?” so he knows how fast to drive everywhere always.

            There are many ways to determine the timing of extrema in curves, like the crest or trough of a wave or the saddle point or plateau of a step function.

            Every technique used to establish such a point must pay heed to the physical properties of what is measured.

            You cannot tell if a person is smiling or frowning from a picture of fifteen or twenty pores on their lip.

            You cannot tell what sort of DNA you are looking at by a scan of fifteen or twenty atoms in the molecule.

            You cannot tell what climate is doing with less than thirty years global temperature data, and it’s best if you have at least two discrete (non-overlapping) 30-year periods (or better, conventionally, 32-year periods) to compare.

            Overlapping 30-year periods are okay, as a judgment, but not spectacular.

            Seeing as Dr. Roy Spencer once used biblical numerology as a basis to analyse satellite climate data.. in a published paper!.. I’m not disposed to click the link you provide.

            Temperatures on sub-climate spans have been doing all sorts of things as weather components of climate have interacted, like pores or atoms. The invisible, intangible, but very real cluster of probabilities represented by the changing climate have been doing things we cannot directly observe on so short a span of time, and attempting to argue sense of nonsense like you do is simply irrational.

            And the IPCC flat out does not say there is no evidence global warming causes extreme weather events. There is substantial evidence, it merely does not rise to the same confidence level on observations as the entirely compatible evidences of like changes in four dozen other climate variables.

            The frequency of landfalls of Medicanes has doubled every fifteen years for the past century, a pattern unprecedented in one of the historically best known regions of the world, but perfectly fitting with Chaos Theory “period doubling” indicating a complex system in decay to chaos.

            The mean path length of Atlantic hurricanes has increased over 40% in half a century.

            The hurricane season has increased in length.

            The basin where hurricanes form has more than doubled in area.

            The superstorm count worldwide has increased from almost nothing to at least annual.

            Looking willfully away from these significant figures, ignoring them to only look toward the counts that least well reflect extreme weather?

            That’s willful ignorance.

          • Tom Scharf

            Your views on climate sensitivity are not in line with the science.

            Willful ignorance:

            IPCC AR5:

            “Current datasets indicate no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century … No robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes counts have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin”

          • Bart

            Yes, yes. That’s what I’ve been saying on willful ignorance. Citing out-of-context and cherry-picked fragments of passages from AR5 is willfully deceiving others, and yourself.. In point of fact, I doubt you’re even faithfully citing the actual report, because I can’t find that quote anywhere in AR5, and the information AR5 does present on tropical cyclones sharply differs from your quote.

            Though your first line makes it sound like you’re arguing everyone ought be slavishly devoted to what the IPCC says.

            Me?

            I’m happy to distance myself from where the IPCC is actually ambiguous or communicating itself in ways that the average lay reader without a serious background in STEM will be confused by, even without bad faith cherry-picked willful ignorance.

          • Tom Scharf

            The quotes above come from the draft report, not sure if they exist verbatim in the final. But the message is the same, this one I believe is from the final:

            “Confidence remains low for long-term (centennial) changes in tropical cyclone activity, after accounting for past changes in observing capabilities.”

            I could link to numerous trends in the US and globally on hurricanes, but I doubt this will make any difference.

            http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2014/08/normalized-us-hurricane-losses-1900-2013.html

            Some basins change more than others, but the global trends are pretty clear, as in no discernible trend. The NA basin has an increase since 1970 which is offset by reductions in other basins. Maybe it will change in the future, but for now, it is definitely not “already worse”.

          • DavidAppell

            A few weeks ago I had the chance to chat at length with one of the world’s hurricane experts. He told me no one in his field accepts Pielke Jr’s conclusions, because there are many things he leaves out of his calculations, such as the money spent on hurricane damage protection (dikes, MRGO, etc), flood insurance (often subsidized by governments), enhanced building codes (hence costlier buildings) for vulnerable areas, etc.

          • Bart

            That’d mean it wasn’t Maue, Curry or Gray, then.

          • DavidAppell

            It was off-the-record.

          • Bart

            That’s hardly surprising; the hurricane world is highly politicized on its face, and dominated by denier culture to the extent it hurts the outcomes of their science.

            The US had to be warned by the Europeans when Sandy strengthened toward the East Coast, after US hurricane experts announced Sandy would dissipate in the North Atlantic. The hurricane jockeys couldn’t even grasp the concept of the superstorm Sandy was mutating into, or at least not on the record.

            Imagine a political party so eager to inflict its world view as to expose people to greater hurricane risk through confirmation bias and influence peddling.

          • DavidAppell

            “The NA basin has an increase since 1970 which is offset by reductions in other basins. Maybe it will change in the future, but for now, it is definitely not “already worse”.”

            The data is here:

            http://models.weatherbell.com/global_ace_monthly.dat

            Since 1970, here are the linear trends for the various basins:

            northeastern Pacific: -6%/decade
            north Atlantic: +22%/decade
            northwestern Pacific: +1%/decade
            north Indian ocean: +5%/decade
            southern hemisphere: -3%/decade
            global ACE: +1%/decade

            But again, ACE is a lousy metric, because (1) it takes no account of a storm’s size, and (2) it doesn’t correlate with economic damage. This paper by William Nordhaus finds that US hurricane damage scales with the 8th power of wind velocity:

            http://www.nber.org/papers/w12813

            I’d like to see ACE-like numbers for v^8, not v^2, and a measure of the storm’s size (such as is in a new metric like TIKE). The global Power Dissipation Index (PDI; ~ v^3) has increased 6% per decade since 1970.

            Data;
            http://policlimate.com/tropical/pdi.dat

          • Bart

            Y’know, when something gets dropped from a draft, it’s usually because it’s unsatisfactory, and considered unrepresentative.

            To repeat draft papers as if they represent the IPCC’s official stance? That’d be called dishonest.

            I’ve looked at cyclone trends worldwide, too. Some trends — the ones most closely bound to attractors — do not show much shift. Focus just on what isn’t showing its changes yet is faulty reasoning, cherry-picking and willful ignorance. Looking at the dozens and dozens of changes that stand out like a sore thumb without understanding the big picture, too would be wrong, but it’s assured not to lead to the false conclusion of no change.

            Cyclone path length. Cyclone season start and end dates. Cyclone creche of origin. Cyclone-cyclone interactions. Worldwide cyclone activity across basins. There is plenty of iron-clad evidence of changing trends best explained by AGW. Why does the IPCC ignore them? The IPCC collects extant research, and the hurricane field is dominated by people like Bill Gray and disciplines of his like Ryan Maue and Judith Curry.

          • DavidAppell

            “No robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes counts have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin”

            http://policlimate.com/tropical/north_atlantic_hurricane.png

          • David Skurnick

            Bart — You may be interested in the following letter, which was accepted for publication by a magazine for professional statisticians:

            Climate scientists on all sides generally agree that the earth has warmed since 1800, that some of the warming was caused by man’s activities, and some of the warming was natural. What does the data tell us about the magnitude of man-made global warming?

            Climate sensitivityrepresents the amount of warming caused by a doubling of CO2. At its current rate of growth, atmospheric CO2 doubles in about 70 years. The most consistent temperature data available is from the lower troposphere. This series has been available since 1979. From 1979 to today, the average temperature of the lower troposphere increased by 0.55°C. That corresponds to a sensitivity of 1.1°C (assuming that none of this warming was due to natural causes.) So, the actual data corresponds to a considerably lower sensitivity than the range of 2.5°C to 4.5°C produced by Lovejoy’s model.

            Another controversial area is the amount of benefit expected from various proposals. Because the world is so dependent on fossil fuels, any plan that would stop the increase in atmospheric CO2 would need to be quite radical. It has been calculated that the EPA plan announced by President Obama would reduce the earth’s
            temperature in year 2100 by only 0.018°C. Meanwhile, the world continues to rapidly increase its use of fossil fuels. President Obama’s plan would have a negligible effect on global warming.

          • Bart

            The authority of an unnamed magazine and an unnamed letter writer mean less than nothing, in that citing them this way smacks of deception and reduces one’s goodwill immediately.

            I’m one of those who believe there was likely no natural warming since 1800, that more than 100% of the rise since the mid 1700’s is due CO2 from human burning of (mainly fossil) fuels.

            CO2 doubles in the atmosphere at an accelerating rate at present about 67 years per doubling; 20 years ago it was about 70; under BAU, in 20 years it’ll be 65. That’s a greater than exponential rate.

            The most inconsistent temperature data available is the lower troposphere satellite record. The 1979 technology in the 1979 satellite is known to be failing, but in some way we cannot well discern, due in large part to the two major satellite temperature interpretations being through UAH (Spencer & Christy, Cornwall Alliance signatories and deniers), and RSS, a proprietary private company, both of whom hold as close secret their processing steps. Relying on the lower troposphere record without the utmost care to avoid its pitfalls is ill-advised.

            Climate sensitivity estimates below 2.0 are considered the low end of the range, more than a standard deviation from the mode, which is in the neighborhood of 2.95 +/- 0.15. The best evidence suggests climate sensitivity has no single value, but varies with initial conditions.

            Also, you do not use the term Transitory Climate Response, which likely is what your source means. Who can tell? They’re so wonky in what they do write.

            It is hardly radical to use windmills. They’ve been around since the dawn of human history. The BC carbon tax was a difference of less than 2% of the revenue system of British Columbia, and in less than seven years led to almost a 19% drop in per capita CO2 emission. That’s a tiny change, and the economy of BC is booming. The IMF recommends such a carbon tax for every major nation.

            And claiming negligible effect on global warming of a drop of CO2 emission of about a fifth in less than a decade?

            That’s a patent absurdity. How stupid do you have to think people are to say something that obviously wrong?

          • David Skurnick

            How could Obama’s plan drop CO2 emissions by a fifth, when the US only emits 16% of the total? Perhaps you were addressing US emissions only, ignoring the fact that global warming is, well, global.
            A 20% reduction in US emissions is only a 3% reduction in global emissions. However, global CO2 emissions are growing at 3% per year, so a reduction of 3% over a century won’t have much impact.

          • Bart

            WHO IS TALKING ABOUT OBAMA?

            I said IMF.

            The I stands for International, indicating their advice is worldwide.

            The M stands for Monetary, indicating fiscally conservative.

            China has done more in the past five years to move toward reducing its dependence on coal than the USA has done in history. Sure, the BASIC countries are still increasing their emissions overall, but they’re also outspending the US on moving to renewables.

            Pay more attention.

          • bobito

            “the fastest warming period we can confirm in history”
            Is the “can confirm” caveat due to the fact that Greenland and Antarctic ice core research shows that there are other times when the earth has warmed as quickly?

          • Bart

            Nope.

            Even though the ice cores just don’t show warming as quickly, for at least 800,000 years.

            The caveat is because the granularity of paleoclimate time series data is too low to confidently resolve a warming trend below about 130 years.

            We don’t have the seventy years at the present warming rate left to wait to see, if we wish to avoid extra costs of trillions of dollars a year to the world’s economy.

            What we can say is that a warming spike like the current one ought leave deep marks in multiple global variables, jump discontinuities in populations (extinctions and migrations), chemical signatures and the like which are just missing from whatever record we look at in any way associated with temperature spikes.

            So, that’s what the caveat means.

            So far as everything in fact and reason tells us, our fossil fuel burning is the biggest cause of sudden global environmental disruption ever.

          • bobito

            I hate using this source, but the article sums up why there is nothing abnormal about the current warming trend. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/03/08/marcott-et-al-claim-of-unprecedented-warming-compared-to-gisp-ice-core-data/

            Please note, I do believe in AGW, I just find it annoying when scientific data is selectively ignored. And when someone says “unprecedented warming” or “warmest ever” they are ignoring the ice core records. They are also saying something that can be easily disproved with pretty graphs you can find with a google search. So, if one is inclined to deny AGW, they can say “why make stuff up if the science is so certain?” Stick to facts, they work the best…

          • Tom Scharf

            “The caveat is because the granularity of paleoclimate time series data is too low to confidently resolve a warming trend below about 130 years.”

            So in other words, after filtering out all high frequency events from paleo data through signal processing, an astonishing finding is made (and reported here with great fanfare) that no high frequency events are in the paleo data.

            There are plenty of high frequency events in this data, just look at raw tree ring trends, but they are removed through what is essentially averaging (which is a low pass filter) because the usual goal of paleo data is to find what the average temperature change was over centuries.

            Removing this information and then claiming it must have never existed is a pretty large fallacy repeated by many.

          • Bart

            You must understand why high frequency events were filtered in the paleo record, else you could not even begin to form the thought that removing the data had anything to do with signal processing.

            Adding back in the high frequency events would not successfully restore global fidelity, given how highly regional most paleo records are separately, and how complex and likely impossible cross-source integration would be.

            There is, however, another option.

            One could run a Holocene or even Vostok or longer GCM simulation fitted to the paleo data, regressing to the probabilities that the paleo outcomes would be generated by the climate of the simulation.

            Of course, this would be computationally intensive, and might take several hundred years to run even with all the world’s computing power dedicated to it. This year.

            With Q-computing, we might see GCMs on such long time series. Then we could get a fair idea of whether or not the current spike is as unique as it now appears based on all evidence. Of course, that would first you recognizing the power of GCMs to produce a disproof for physical evidence.

          • Tom Scharf

            Models are only good as their programming and their inputs. There is no way to discern what all the global forcings were 1,000 and 10,000 years ago. The data simply doesn’t exist and likely never will.

            We don’t even know what the forcings were a 100 years ago, and we are struggling to determine the cause of the pause even with good climate monitoring.

            The modeling exercise might be an interesting academic exercise, but I doubt it would be useful in answering this question.

            I don’t think the paleo data has much to say about unprecedented either way. At best it is a very vague view of the past.

          • Bart

            Would you like me to describe the fallacies in your argument alphabetically, in the order you presented them, or in order of how absurd they are?

            Not all models are computer models, and by and large computer models are generally better in a number of ways than physical analogs.

            The nescient claim that we cannot discern forcings from the far past therefore we cannot use the information we do have to bound the parameters of a GCM is on its face an absurd form of exceptionalism. What, are you claiming the rules of Physics changed on a particular day 1,000 to 10,000 years ago? Which day was that?

            And what pause?

            http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/every:12/mean:10/plot/gistemp/from:1880.17/every:12/mean:10/plot/gistemp/from:1880.34/every:12/mean:10/plot/gistemp/from:1880.5/every:12/mean:10/plot/gistemp/from:1880.67/every:12/mean:10/plot/gistemp/from:1880.83/every:12/mean:10/plot/esrl-co2/normalise/mean:12/offset:0.25/plot/gistemp/mean:149/mean:151/plot/esrl-co2/normalise/mean:12/offset:0.5

            When you bound by CO2 levels the monthly trends of global temperature plotted separately, you clearly see what’s happened: the external forcing due burning fossil fuels has overwhelmed the usual seasonal relationship of monthly temperatures, giving the false impression of a pause when what has happened instead is an inversion.

            The globe is warming as fast as ever, and faster than most realize.

          • Tom Scharf

            “One: no one who understands complex systems believes climate sensitivity is a fixed number. This is part of why it is invariably represented as a range of values. ”

            This is incorrect, I have no idea where you got this idea from. This number is unknown because the extent of the theoretical positive feedbacks from carbon has not been quantified through observations and has only been estimated through models. This number is very likely knowable to within 0.1C, but the variability of the climate makes it very difficult to measure and long term observations are required.

            There is a large range of values because the magnitude of the natural variability in the climate and other forcings and feedbacks are not well known because they cannot be directly measured.

            If you are aware of any near term tipping points in the climate that are supported by the IPCC, please do tell.

          • DavidAppell

            “This number is unknown because the extent of the theoretical positive feedbacks from carbon has not been quantified through observations and has only been estimated through models.”

            Not true — there have been many studies that use paleoclimate data to estimate climate sensitivity.

            “Making sense of palaeoclimate sensitivity,” PALAEOSENS Project Members, Nature 491, 683–691 (29 November 2012)

            http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v491/n7426/full/nature11574.html

          • DavidAppell

            Hansen, J.E., and M. Sato, 2012: Paleoclimate implications for human-made climate change. In Climate Change: Inferences from Paleoclimate and Regional Aspects. A. Berger, F. Mesinger, and D. Šijački, Eds. Springer, 21-48, doi:10.1007/978-3-7091-0973-1_2

          • DavidAppell

            Climatic Change
            February 1996, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 165-184
            Paleoclimate data constraints on climate sensitivity: The paleocalibration method
            Curt Covey, Lisa Cirbus Sloan, Martin I. Hoffert

          • DavidAppell

            Efficiently Constraining Climate Sensitivity with Ensembles of Paleoclimate Simulations
            J. D. Annan, et al, SOLA 2005

            http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frsgc/research/d3/jules/SOLA.pdf

          • Tom Scharf

            What are you talking about? Bart was apparently saying that the number had a wide range because it actually varies, not because it had measurement uncertainty.

            I don’t trust paleo data for sensitivity studies, but then again i don’t really trust it for much of anything. If it was valid and we actually had good observational data for hundreds of years it would be useful for sensitivity. It’s not just that the temperature records are vague, all the other forcings are equally vague, especially on a global scale. Believe it if you want.

          • DavidAppell

            Of course the data are less than perfect. In climate science you take the data you can get, which is usually not be the data you’d really like to have. Hence the use of paleoclimate data.

            Climate sensitivity may well vary depending on the climate state, but even for present climate the data isn’t always available and the system is so complex that the uncertainties are relatively large.

          • DavidAppell

            “This is incorrect.”

            No, it isn’t. The climate’s response to CO2 likely depends on the climate’s initial state — whether it’s today, or a glacial period, or a hothouse like the Pliocene, or, as Bart said, near a tipping point.

            For example, see

            Pierrehumbert RT 2013: Hot Climates, High Sensitivity. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci}, 110, 14118-14119, doi:10.1073/pnas.1313417110
            http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/papers/PNASHotClimates2013.pdf

            Caballero R, Huber M (2013) State-dependent climate sensitivity in past warm climates and its implications for future climate projections. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 110:14162–14167.
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3761583/

          • DavidAppell

            “If you are aware of any near term tipping points in the climate that are supported by the IPCC, please do tell.”

            We just passed one — the WAIS. Arctic sea ice is probably another one.

          • Tom Scharf

            Really. Are we speaking of the less than 1 mm per year both Greenland and WAIS contribute to sea level rise, and how this rate might jump up after the next 200 to 900 years to 2 mm per year or so according to one recent study?

            I guess near term is a pretty flexible phrase.

            Is this your tipping point argument? Better run for the hills and contact your local doomsday prepper. Pretty scary stuff.

          • DavidAppell

            The WAIS will ultimately cause 10-13 feet of sea level rise. Scientists say it can’t be stopped.

            A “tipping point” doesn’t depend on how dire or expensive its consequences are. It’s a scientific term that means you can’t go back to the earlier state.

  • Tom Scharf

    If there is one thing that constantly gets conflated, it is (a) global warming and (b) global warming is dangerous. A does not automatically lead to B. Many advocates seem to believe that once the public is on board with warming, that enviro-utopia must surely follow with the greens setting public policy. This is a fantasy many greens entertain.

    This is simply a prerequisite to the next stage of the debate:

    1. The world is warming.
    2. The warming is (potentially) dangerous.
    3. An effective global mitigation solution exists, or
    4. An effective global adaption solution exists, or
    5. Wait for the risks to become more clear and reassess
    6. Which is “better”, 3, 4, or 5? A value based trade-off.

    The greens are their own worst enemy. Whether it is unsupported alarmism, counterproductive political polarization, anti-nuclear, anti-fracking, anti-hydro, or uncountable ineffective policy proposals, the inmates are definitely running the asylum.

    The public simply looks at this group (with their associated sanctimony, self righteousness, and hypocrisy) and decides these are the last people on earth they want running public policy.

    It is telling that most of these professional climate change communicators only seem interested in designing more effective propaganda for no other purpose than converting the unwashed for an obvious political agenda. And one wonders why after the full power of the social sciences are unleashed, nothing changes.

    Has anyone ever read a strategy from these guys and thought “they really understand skeptics!”? Kahan I think makes the most effort here.

    • Bart

      The IMF are greens?

      You don’t need 2-6 from your list;
      1. the world is warming;
      1. a.) burning fossil fuels is causing it;
      1. b.) no one is paying the people who don’t want it to happen any compensation for dumping CO2E into the air causing the world to warm;
      1. c.) if everyone pays a fair price for polluting with CO2E, then the amount of fossil fuel burning goes down as people naturally seek less costly sources of energy to meet all their needs.

      Maybe you haven’t been following the real professional communicators, if you ignore a-c.

      • Tom Scharf

        Yes, the externalities argument. And as always the arguer ignores the benefits of cheap abundant energy and only adds up one side of the ledger. Society benefits from cheaper energy relative to more expensive energy, and the less wealthy a society is, the more it costs relatively to implement clean energy.

        Their are valid externalities of non-CO2 pollution with coal (go to Beijing), but the technology to scrub these plants is available. The developing world doesn’t even put scrubbers on their coal plants due to cost. Cheap energy trumps clean air.

        If you want to change this equation, climate guilt is not going to do it in the developing world. Period. You need to replace fossil fuels with less costly clean alternatives. The price must come down and the reliability must improve.

        • DavidAppell

          This paper looks at values and damages:

          “Environmental Accounting for Pollution in the United States Economy,” Nicholas Z. Muller, Robert Mendelsohn, and William Nordhaus, American Economic Review, 101(5): 1649–75 (2011).+
          http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.101.5.1649

          It finds that for every $1 in value that comes from coal-generated electricity, it creates $2.20 in damages.

          Don’t forget, CO2’s damage is essentially forever. It adds up.

        • Bart

          Not the externalities argument. You can only call something an externality if it does not belong in the Market.

          CO2E dumping very much belongs on the Market, by Elinor Ostrom’s reasoning. The resource of removing CO2E from air is scarce, as CO2 levels are rising. It’s rivalrous, as it is essentially forever, to borrow Appell’s phrase. It’s excludable, as all fossil fuels are excludable on the Market, and fossil fuels are essentially the source of all the lucrative emission of CO2.

          Further, as BC has proven with its revenue neutral carbon tax, it’s cheaply administrable and because there are readily available alternatives and sequestering remedies and some legitimate offsets, CO2 is merchantable, and capitalizable, too, as we’ve seen from Al Gore’s ability to turn his investments into profits in carbon offsets. Scarce. Capitalizable, Rivalrous, Excludable. Administrable. Merchantable. SCREAM = internal.

          The fact that governments need the IMF to tell them to put a price on carbon tells us everything we need to know about how lackadaisical and indifferent your government is to enforcing the principles of Capitalism.

    • DavidAppell

      >> for no other purpose than converting the unwashed for an obvious political agenda <<

      But deniers have no agendas. Right?

  • http://jult.net/ Julius

    “human-cased climate change” ? Oh wait, you write as your brain fails you?

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Collide-a-Scape

Collide-a-Scape is a wide-ranging blog forum that explores issues at the nexus of science, culture and society.

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.

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