324 thoughts on “General Climate Discussion (2)

  1. I’ve updated my ESAS-exponential methane model to include a way to relate ESAS emissions to measured global methane burden (Mauna Loa). It’s debatable how much of the increase in atm. concentration in the years 2007-2012 is attributable to which sources. Human sources from fracking, for instance, are suspected, as well as natural sources like wetlands and bogs where, in some places rain has increased. I’ve tested to see what happens if we assume ESAS emissions have contributed between 25-50% of the increase. I’ve also used 1991 as the start year for elevated emissions in the ESAS; and assumed 0.2MtC/year as the base level of emissions in that year. Of course all of these assumptions are contestable and adjustable. That’s the nature of assumptions, as also is the primary assumption of an exponential type of growth. But all of these assumptions seem reasonable and arguable to me, and some of them are not terribly consequential to the results. And they do constrain Shakhova’s estimate pretty well, and show that within a reasonable set of assumptions, her estimates fit very well with the global concentration data. Here’s a screenshot of my excel model, which is now up to 3 worksheets:

    You can see the worksheet names down at the bottom of each sheet (on the tab). The “global” sheet is there to demonstrate the math used to convert from ppb (volume) to MtC. And also to do the math on how much methane was added and stayed in the atmosphere in terms of mass rather than ppb.

    The “ESAS” page is the same as the old model and allows you to change the beginning assumptions of baseline emissions in the first year; to pick the first year; and to change Shakhova’s estimate for 2012. Inputs in green, outputs in red.

    The two categories, “ESAS 2007-2012 (MtC)” and “WORLD Methane Growth 2007-2012 (MtC)” compare cumulative emissions between the ESAS and the entire globe for the period 2007-2012 and the ratio is expressed in the category “ESAS Contribution %”.

    The spreadsheet calculates changes in the assumptions upon entry, but you need to hit the “Calculate” button for “doubling time” and “ESAS Contribution” to update. Hitting the button also adds a line of data (inputs and outputs) on the “dataOUT” page. I do a bunch of calculations, accumulating data on the “dataOUT” page and then delete the lines of data I don’t care about to make comparisons. It can also be helpful to use excel’s sort function.

    Using the inputs of
    First Year = 1991
    Beginning Emissions = 0.2 MtC/Year
    2012 Emissions = 15 MtC/Year

    yields an ESAS contibution of 50% to the total global increase in methane burden for 2007-2012. Changing 2012 Emissions to 7.5 MtC/Year lowers ESAS contribution to 25%—-a range which I think is realistic.

    You can take the model for a spin and check my math if you would like. One caution: On the global page there is a number for “methane lifetime”. This number is linked to the one of the same name on the “ESAS” sheet. If you want to change that assumption, do it on the “ESAS” page, to keep everything synced to the same assumption.

    download link: https://mega.co.nz/#!SBAR2I6I
    decryption key: AIgFmPVX2umcqSw2U8i4dwtWxzyH7oDPSJwpR7F8HMg


  2. Obama Administration Reveals Plan To Slash Methane Emissions In Oil And Gas Sector

    In March, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell cited a methane gas plume the size of Delaware hovering over the Four Corners area in Northwest New Mexico as evidence that the Interior Department needs to cut “wasted gas that results from venting and flaring during oil and gas operations.”

    According to a 2014 report by the Center For American Progress, unconventional natural gas production and processing on federal lands and waters, including offshore drilling, may have generated as much as 3.7 million metric tons of methane in 2012. These fugitive methane emissions are notoriously hard to measure, and improving processes for data collection and synthesis are a primary aspect of the Interior Department’s responsibility on the matter.

    I’m mulling the math here. Need more specific numbers (which may be impossible to get), but from these numbers it looks like fracking is a small part of the post-2006 ramp in global methane emissions. The other major culprits are tropical and boreal wetlands and, of course the ESAS.


      1. Researchers clarify impact of permafrost thaw

        “Schuur and fellow researchers coalesced new studies to conclude that thawing permafrost in the Artic and sub-Arctic regions will likely produce a gradual and prolonged release of substantial quantities of greenhouse gases spanning decades as opposed to an abrupt release in a decade or less.”


        Well, I suppose “substantial quantities of greenhouse gases spanning decades” is meant to be reassuring.


      2. Is this another mangled review by phys.org? I’m not aware of any studies that have suggested a massive, abrupt release of greenhouse gases from land permafrost sources (“an abrupt release in a decade or less.”). Sounds like refutation of Shakhova by confusion.–a “ghostman” argument.

        john wrote:
        Well, I suppose “substantial quantities of greenhouse gases spanning decades” is meant to be reassuring.

        You’re probably right about the intention. Hansen cites the same evidence using the same term, “substantial”, to argue that the +2C IPCC-proposed “limit” (around which point the “gradual” releases become “substantial”) is a disaster scenario.


      3. PhysOrg, like ScienceDaily, doesn’t write anything. They just publish university press releases.

        I don’t think that’s a great sentence. There’s some stuff about abrupt thaw (thermokarst) in there, and a short discussion of the ESAS, in the paper, though.

        Just for giggles, here’s the thrust of the ESAS section (refs deleted for readability):


        blockquote>New quantification has estimated that 17 Tg of CH4 per year (where 1 Pg = 1,000 Tg) is emitted from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf after accounting for both diffusive and point-source bubble emissions. Although this amount represents an increase from what was previously estimated for this region, this is probably because of improved observations of these emissions that may have been persistent over the thousands of years of land submergence. Climate warming, sea-ice decline, and increasing storminess have been linked to a 2.1 °C increase in bottom water (<10 m depth) temperature since the mid-1980s in this region. Degradation of subsea permafrost from above by climate warming, and also from below by ongoing geothermal heat, will tend to increase new pathways between CH4 storage areas deeper in the sediments and the sea floor. But it is not known whether meaningful increases in CH4 emissions via these processes could occur within this century, or whether they are more likely to manifest over a century or over millennia. What is clear is that it would take thousands of years of CH4 emissions at the current rate to release the same quantity of CH4 (50 Pg) that was used in a modelled ten-year pulse to forecast tremendous global economic damage as a result of Arctic carbon release, making catastrophic impacts such as those appear highly unlikely.


      4. sj wrote:
        PhysOrg, like ScienceDaily, doesn’t write anything. They just publish university press releases.

        Well, except for last time (my link).

        From the present link:
        *Provided by Northern Arizona University *

        Now I understand what this refers to. Thanks. So I was wrong that the actual article actually does what the title says and reviews and assesses reports on all (terrestrial AND subsea) permafrost sources.

        Thanks also for the snippet from the actual article.

        Although this amount represents an increase from what was previously estimated for this region, this is probably because of improved observations of these emissions that may have been persistent over the thousands of years of land submergence.

        Does the author mention what these earlier estimates were? I’m guessing in the range of David Archer’s current estimate for what emissions are now, i.e., in the range of 0.3 MtC/Year.

        The author says “probably because of improved observations”, but a discrepancy of almost 2 orders of magnitude does not seem “probable”.

        I’m seeing mainstream science denialism here.

        Just for laughs I used 1985 as the starting year for rising ESAS emissions in my model and tried different numbers for baseline emissions, to see the minimum number needed to get to 50Gt cumulative by 2100. That number is 3.5MtC/Year for baseline (pre-1985) emissions. Which, I’m guessing is 10X more than what was “previously estimated”. That set of assumptions also implies that ESAS emissions are only responsible for 50% of the 2007-2012 increase in global methane emissions.

        My model can’t get to 50Gt cumulative by 2050 using 0.3Mt/year as the baseline and keeping 2012 emissions within a realistic amount vis global measurements.

        Thanks again for the snippet.



      5. bill shockley wrote:
        My model can’t get to 50Gt cumulative by 2050 using 0.3Mt/year as the baseline and keeping 2012 emissions within a realistic amount vis global measurements.

        Meant to say 3.5Mt/Year.


      6. Thanks, I got the complete article. There’s a paraphrase and calculated inference from a 1993 article by Hovland that estimates total Arctic shelf methane emissions at 1 -12 TgCH4/Year, which would translate, depending on the interpretation (area proportion? permafrost proportion?) to maybe 1-6 TgCH4/Year, but then take 3/4 (12/16) of that because Shakhova’s numbers are in TgC. But the original (Hovland) paper has to be consulted.

        Here’s the passage from McGuire:

        Hovland et al. (1993) have set the global seepage of CH4 from continental shelf sediments (27.4 3 106 km2) at 1–50 Tg CH4/yr, which would imply an Arctic shelf flux to the atmosphere of 1–12 Tg CH4/yr. It is possible that the discrepancy between this number and measured flux estimates can be explained by bubble transport. We assume that this estimate encompasses CH4 emissions associated with the dissociation of gas hydrate throughout the Arctic Ocean and associated shelf seas.

        But that’s just one reference. A look through Shakhova’s papers would probably turn up many more.


  3. Using the new information from John’s permafrost carbon feedback article and the ensuing discussion, which provided new ideas for timeframe and baseline emissions values, I’ve done some new model runs and also improved my model with some simplifications and fixes. ESAS year-to-year source-vs-sink accounting is now done using the same method as with global emissions. The methods yield nearly identical results, but the global method is much simpler and takes less sheet space. With the new free space on the “ESAS” page, I’m able to mirror the dataOUT page, so there is no need for flipping back and forth to see the results.

    With the timeframe pushed back to 1985, the ramp in the 2000-2012 period is much more gradual and, as a result, it contributes less, percentage-wise, to the 2007-2012 global renewed increase. In order to make the ESAS contribution more significant, either the baseline emissions have to be smaller or the 2012 estimate has to be larger. I have tested for these possibilities in the model runs shown in the dataOUT table. The “run length” is adjusted appropriately to get to a cumulative methane emissions of 50GtC.

    The new version of the model spreadsheet is called methane00.1 and is available at:
    link: https://mega.co.nz/#!KFBkwbbK
    decryption key: Y3x0TPyMXetK3x4VS3bM6t94vepY67Tn4GnhzZ36IOI

    Thanks to John and Scott for the helpful articles and snips!


    1. Of interest,

      Arctic Emergency: Scientists Speak

      The Greatest Water Crisis In The History Of The United States

      All-Time May Heat Record for Europe Falls For the 2nd Time This Month

      Super El Nino Likely as Huge Warm Water Wave Hits West Coast, Extreme Marine Die Off Developing

      New study finds a hot spot in the atmosphere

      U.S. Gives Conditional OK To Shell Oil For Drilling Off Alaska’s Arctic Shore

      I happened to turn on the radio between jobs yesterday and I heard a representative of Shell talking about the inevitability of an oil spill or several in the pristine waters of the Arctic. Her said not to worry, they have chemical dispersants at the ready, the same stuff used in the Gulf oil spill. Whew, so it’s all good. I was worried for a minute there.


  4. New update to my model spreadsheet:
    link: https://mega.co.nz/#!HN4GGQqa
    key: ZlLUwzWr_XIwnnuqYLEgZo1ZE2hhBhqW1538M-x_cdE

    Eliminated “DataOUT” page
    Streamlined the calculation process, so the program finds the first year that meets or exceeds the cumulative emissions target. Before, you had to do it by trial and error, which took some time and cluttered up the dataOUT table.

    -There was a bug in the mirrored table when you used the button to clear it. That’s fixed now.


  5. This is a fantastic series:
    Youtube: Miracle Planet HD (6-part series)
    It’s like the Mother of Extinction Documentaries. It’s been available on Youtube since Feb., 2013, so I’m surprised I haven’t come across it before. Some familiar faces and names: Paul Wignall, Peter Ward, Doug Erwin, and probably some others, since I haven’t seen the whole thing yet. Starts with Earth as a much smaller planet than it is now, before it collided and bonded with other large bodies that crossed its orbit. This is one theme, among others, that is echoed later on. When the story gets to the PETM extinction, which wasn’t as bad as the Permian because animals were more adapted to the changes, having been there before, we are reminded of the tremendous amount of energy, in the form of heat, that is released in a major collision.

    “co-produced by Japan’s NHK and the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), narrated by Christopher Plummer”, some really good research and reporting.
    subterranian anaerobic,thermophilic, salt-deposit-dwelling microbes were the only survivors of a huge, planet-modifying extraterrestrial collision. The physics and special effects are great.
    cyanogens were the first oxygen producing organisms, and as such were responsible for turning the sky from methane-dominated red to oxygen-imbued blue and, in turn, setting the stage for snowball earth #1, (not sure Hansen would agree with this).
    Lots more… it’s six parts!

    Came across this documentary while looking through arctic-news refs while trying to figure out how Sam came up with his methane growth polynomial extrapolation, which I’m unable to reproduce. Sam is prolific, if not always accurate.


  6. John posted off-topic 05/21/2015 at 9:45 am, in FP blog post Once More: McPherson’s Methane Catastrophe below, mischaracterizing the article he cites. Actually, the so-called lukewarmer scientist in the article he cites named Nic Lewis does not say “the outlook is fine”. It really pisses me off when careless citations like this are present on this blog. I work hard to understand things and my time is valuable and I don’t want to waste it with rank-beginner BS. Any reader might take note of John’s careless citations and extend that possibly to other insights he might have. John, shape up or ship out. No ideologues here, please.

    Here’s another article which is written by, I assume, the same author at The Guardian, but just last week. Enjoy! Worthy of continued discussion, for sure. But here, not over there!



    John 05/21/2015 at 9:45 am

    …Yet another side in the CC argument,

    The lukewarmers don’t deny climate change. But they say the outlook’s fine

    Go figure.


    1. Dana Nuccitelli is author of May 15th, 2015, Guardian article, not Tamsin Edwards.

      According to her, looks like GM is a Stage 5 in The Stages of Climate Denial! In contrast, SJ believes it’s a serious problem and supports policies to address the problem. Hmmm…


      1. Interesting Balan, well, as I said on the other thread, I only post articles related to CC that I think others might be interested in reading. You said that I am,

        “mischaracterizing the article he cites. Actually, the so-called lukewarmer scientist in the article he cites named Nic Lewis does not say “the outlook is fine”.

        For one thing, I don’t see how simply posting a link to an article is mischaracterizing anything. My post simply said,

        “Yet another side in the CC argument,

        The lukewarmers don’t deny climate change. But they say the outlook’s fine

        What am I mischaracterizing? Your argument that I’m wasting your time is somewhat analogous to the idea that people who gain weight can blame McDonalds.. No one is forcing you to eat that burger or to read a post. Feel free to skip anything I post, I don’t mind at all. If SJ would prefer that I stop posting, I’ll do so forthwith. In the meantime, as I said elsewhere, I believe everything I post is related to CC. No articles about engine repair here.


      2. If I may jump in:

        I don’t think Balan did anything more than pass a link along. But Balan, I would warn you against something I fall prey to all the time – hyperbolic headlines. In your “worse than expected” post, your first link was from 2009, the next to last from 2013; they covered completely different studies, but the actual temperature increases each article warned about fell into the same range. At least one of your links was so generic that I’m amazed that the editor OKed such a title or the piece. Headlines like that may grab attention, but the content underneath them usually seems to end up being either a re-tread of old news or something well within the normal operation of research.

        (Climate science isn’t the only branch to suffer from over-wrought journalism; I still come across articles covering the fact that birds are dinosaurs, or that dinosaurs had feathers, as breaking news…the same way it was covered back in the 90s).


      3. John,

        You can post all you want on CC, but do it in the blog post suited to it, which is why we set up General Climate Discussion 1&2 for… Don’t spam other threads with CC articles like at Once More. Curious and Bill are doing it too. It’s frustrating for me because if I want general info about climate change I’ll come here, but I want to discuss GM’s hyping methane emissions and him being in Stage Five of climate denial I’ll go there.




      4. John,

        You are off topic and I think you know it. If you can’t figure out the proper topic of a thread can anyone trust the content of it? I’m wondering why you are doing it and question your and others intentions here. In the future, if you want to post on topics other than GM’s methane issues, do it here in General Climate Discussions.

        Thank you!



      5. Hi, John.

        Reviewing your post again I think I what I’m really wanting is you to post on-topic, and when posting articles about climate change, etc., that you post eco-news about something you didn’t know or want to know, not forcing on others some kind of point – like we are not listening or something. I sometimes get the sense from you that we who read this blog don’t understand how bad the ecology is suffering under human domination, as if GM haunts the blog, and you want to enlighten us. It kind of comes off, to me, and I’m guessing some others too, that you are kinda preaching.

        One of the things I value most in this blog is the inquiring mind and looking at evidence to corroborate what we believe to be happening. SJ said to effect that your eco-spamming is a poor way to explain a scientific field, and I whole-heartedly agree. Some of your articles I’ve appreciated getting, but mostly it’s just a distraction from the main course which is a healthy and hearty meal. You’re analogy of my accusation of you posting off-topic to “people who gain weight can blame McDonalds” is problematic at best because you’re putting McDonalds in my face every few posts. PLEASE STOP PUTTING MCDONALDS IN MY FACE WHERE IT DOESN’T BELONG EVERY FEW POSTS. IF YOU DO, BE ASURED, I WON’T BE EATING ANYMORE. It’s like watching commercial television for me!

        I’m very appreciative to you for your sensitivity on this issue.

        Finally, no, I think you didn’t mischaracterize the article after-all, but just wanted to show how there is another side of the climate change debate out there which included people called “lukewarmers”. Thanks for sharing that point. And, hope to read about in future posts in General Climate Change Discussions 2. Your posts on methane and GM in Once More are more than welcome.



      6. Dear Will (and John),

        Thanks for your insight on hyperbolic headlines…appreciate it. Yeah, I was just passing along a link, but yes, I should have been more careful at looking at its base studies. I falsely accused John of mischaracterizing a link, and I apologize for that, John. I’ll be more careful going forward when posting links. Thanks for your compassionate understanding.




  7. Will, I think your post above was meant for me. I totally agree with you. As I’ve said before in other posts, I’m very skeptical about anything I read in the media, particularly the so-called MSM or ‘Mainstream Media’. I know how the newspaper industry works, less so tv media though I presume their interests in yellow journalism is just as tenacious, if not more so. When it comes to hyperbole, the media is all over that. My guess is that all of us who come here have already taken that into account.

    I just post CC and related articles I think those who come here might be interested in. That doesn’t mean that I agree with everything the articles say, or even anything that they say, actually. But I don’t consider myself the final arbiter of what’s right and wrong or what I think other people should or should not be allowed to read when it comes to Climate Change.

    That’s why some of the articles I link are often contradicted to some degree by other articles I link. While my take on the subject is that CC is real and serious, I still think some of the particulars are open to debate and post such as long as I think the article attempts to be fair. My thought, the people who come here like you and I are demonstrating their interest in the subject as a whole. I just put out those articles I think interesting and usually headline them with the phrase,

    Of interest,

    and let others choose to read or not read, believe or not believe whatever they like. My hope is that, in this way we’ll be able to separate the chaff from the wheat.


    1. Of interest (or not),

      California Governor Declares State Of Emergency As Santa Barbara Oil Spill Worsens Dramatically

      Stable Antarctic Ice Is Suddenly Melting Fast
      Multiple glaciers, previously frozen solid, are adding vast quantities of water to the ocean

      Destroying What Remains: How the US Navy Plans to War Game the Arctic

      Experts Warn of “Cataclysmic” Changes as Planetary Temperatures Rise

      Exposure of US population to extreme heat could quadruple by mid-century

      For those interested in the latest Mad Max,

      Mad Max’s Scarily Accurate Take On Climate Change

      Fury Road: All Your Darkest Environmental Nightmares Come True
      Is there an environmental message at the core of George Miller’s new high-octane “Mad Max” film?

      Charlize Theron: Mad Max landscape awaits unless we tackle climate change


      1. Balan, your insistence that I’m trying to, I guess you’re saying I’m trying to con people in someway, I assume that’s what you mean when you say I’m trying to ‘spam’ people, is getting annoying. I have zero intention of trying to fool anyone. I thought I made my intentions clear in my last couple of replies to your accusations, but I guess you didn’t bother to read them. I’m not going to repeat myself yet again.

        To be honest, I thought Fractal Planet was SJ’s blog but I’m guessing that you consider yourself the guardian here, making sure that people are only exposed to what you decide is correct. You say that you’re suspicious of my intentions here, you’re attempts to limit what others can read about the subject at hand makes me rather suspicious of yours. And the continual accusations you’re flinging about like the one saying I was mischaracterizing someone simply because I had posted a link to an article about a CC issue leads me to believe that honesty is not your strong suit.

        In the future, if you disagree with what I have to say or articles I post (which, if you haven’t noticed, agree for the most part with the substance of this blog, that CC is real), perhaps pointing out why said article is wrong would be better than simply attacking me personally. I post those articles from reputable sources so that people CAN read them and agree with or dispute here as they see fit. This is a discussion forum after all.


      2. Hi, John.

        Yes, I falsely accused you of mischaracterizing that link. Sorry! Hope you have it within your heart to forgive me.

        I have read your replies to me, and I’m grateful for your response. SJ is free to permit you posting off-topic, as it’s his blog. I’m not the “guardian”, but have a right to express my unease with you posting off-topic. At the same time, I’m going to request that he request people – in general – to post on-topic. I’m glad to hear that your intention to post various links all at once is not to fool anyone and I accept that. To repeat, please post them on-topic, or in General Climate Discussions. You know John, if I want to get information about the topics you post I can very easily get them by going to any number of blogs out there. You posting them assumes that we somehow don’t have access to them. I much prefer, and I guess others too, that if there’s an article in particular you have a question about or want to make a point about that needs making – then you post it with your question or comment. To post eight links in one shot is, to me, frankly, SPAM. It takes away, IMHO, the original intention of this blog which is to investigate climate science claims and debunk them if possible, and if not, then recognize the implications. When you post tons of links like that, it makes it seem to me you are treating this blog as general clearing-house for general climate info – which at times, admittedly, it is – which I don’t want it to be, frankly, because I want to be able to take time to analyze each piece and break it down with care. I go to the pros for climate blogs, such as RealClimate, ClimateCrocks, ClimateProgress, and others. If you come across an article that you doubt the info in, or you think is under-reported in the blogosphere that you think most of us don’t know about already, then, hey, I’d love to know about it. But you’re posting reams and reams of links at a time, for me, doesn’t work. In the future, FYI, if you do it, I’ll just skip it. But if you post one link with some useful commentary about what was meaningful to you about it, and why you think it’s important to share with our community, then I’m going to read your post. I’m looking forward to reading your posts, I hope.

        From another angle, maybe John you’d like a place on FP for SJ and others – like yourself – to collaborate to create a blog that does provide climate info much like ClimateProgress, ClimateCrocks, et al. I know SJ will kill me for suggesting such as it’s a huge investment of energy. Sorry, SJ! Please don’t hate me.



  8. Ok Balan, when I post something that’s not related to Guy McPherson per se, I’ll post in the General Climate Discussion side of Fractal Planet. I understand what you’re saying, McPherson’s name is on that thread so it should relate to McPherson specifically. No need to forgive anyone.

    On another note, you said,

    “You know John, if I want to get information about the topics you post I can very easily get them by going to any number of blogs out there. You posting them assumes that we somehow don’t have access to them.

    “When you post tons of links like that, it makes it seem to me you are treating this blog as general clearing-house for general climate info – which at times, admittedly, it is – which I don’t want it to be, frankly, because I want to be able to take time to analyze each piece and break it down with care.”

    Balan, the reason why I post so many links here is two fold,

    1) They’re timely and, at least I think, probably important and,

    2) Specifically so that the other people who come here don’t have to hunt and peck for these articles across multiple websites. Simply, I’m just trying to make things a little easier for everyone else. There are many CC sites I’ve found and most of those tend to publish CC articles in a list format, I think, just for that same reason. I’m not suggesting that the articles I link are more important than articles anyone else might suggest BTW, just that these are articles I thought noteworthy.

    I try to read enough of each to at least familiarize myself with the gist of each though I often do NOT have the time to read them very thoroughly. If I ever post a link to an unrelated or obviously bogus piece, it will be because I didn’t read it as carefully it as I should have. I apologize in advance for those mistakes.

    I try to make sure the articles are timely, hopefully published recently and I try to make sure they come from reputable sites like Scientific American, Science Daily and those lesser known places that I’ve not heard anything particularly negative about. I’m not familiar with the scuttlebutt of who’s ‘in’ and whose ‘out’, so expect there will be times when I screw up. For instance, you won’t find me posting anything from the Heritage Foundation as though it had anything pertinent to say.

    As long as SJ is patient and willing, or at least patient, when I have time I’ll continue to post articles I hope will enlighten or at least inform us on the subject of climate change. When SJ decides he’s had enough or when I find I no longer have the time to do this, I’ll quit. Take care Balan.


  9. Will offers good advice above:

    “… I would warn you against something I fall prey to all the time – hyperbolic headlines. … “worse than expected” …. Headlines like that may grab attention, but the content underneath them usually seems to end up being either a re-tread of old news or something well within the normal operation of research.”

    I think all of us who have been trying to learn this stuff for some years now have, painfully, learned that headline writers, and press release writers, and those who pick up on what they write — are predators on attention, and looking past their work and reading what the scientists actually write takes a good bit of effort and thinking.

    The eye-traps are easy to fall into and the temptation to rebunk them is strong.
    I’ve been there, done that, been corrected, apologized, tried to do better and warn others.

    Why use DOI? Giving the DOI reference makes everyone smarter — and why people who want you to take away their opinion instead of the facts rarely cite to the actual source.

    Nature’s Annals of Climate Disinformation collected warnings of such sources, years ago. Alas, nobody’s keeping up that list nowadays. I miss that.

    Citation matters, whatever “side” of the many-sided issues one is on. Either you want people to think for themselves, or not.



    1. Hank,

      I think I’m not understanding what you’re saying. Are you saying the links to articles, even from sites like NASA, I’ve posted here are incorrect or deceitful in some way? That there’s another way to post those links? Or better sites from which to understand CC? I’ve never heard of DOI. That there’s a way to ‘verify’ the info before it’s posted? I looked at the link you sent but I think I’m missing the point.

      I agree with what that cartoon you posted had to say. Believe me, I’m just as suspicious of the media as you are, more so perhaps. I think what I”m saying is that if we can’t even trust sites like NASA and Scientific American, what’s the point?

      I’m getting the impression that those who come here don’t want links to articles about CC. Or those articles need to go through some kind of verification process of which I was unaware. Or if they spell out some disaster in their headlines, they’re misinformed? Not trying to dense here, just trying to figure out what you’re saying. Well anyway guys, I certainly never meant to deceive anyone in anyway. My apologies.


      1. I’m saying what I learn from librarians, it’s opinion. I recommend this from painful experience trying to best communicate scientific information without being fooled by stuff meant to grab attention without informing the reader.


        So here’s my advice:

        You should find the science behind the “article” or ‘story” and provide the link to that. Do you use Google Scholar to look for the science? Put in the author name, the title or subject or words directly quoted if any appear, and limit your search by date range. Make the effort you’d expect anyone to make to find out whether you’ve had your attention captured by someone’s puffery, or whether there’s real science — and then read the science and weight whether the article you found gets it right.

        Then tell us what you think after you read the science, if there’s anything to say.

        Remember, for anything written more than a month or two ago in the science journals, check the citing papers — that’s how science works, not by one single paper but by how many following papers have looked into the interesting subject and found there’s something there worth going into further.

        If you can’t find the science, question whether the article you’re posting is outdated, or a second hand copy with added spin, or just some writer’s puff piece.

        If you feel it’s too much trouble, or too “burdensome” as one fantasy writer puts it, to give good links to the science — then ask yourself why you’re here.

        Don’t take this personally — I’m passing on what any reference librarian would be happy to help you with.
        This is how knowledge works — by having good sources you can find again.

        Every science paper you find will have a “how to cite” and a DOI reference on the page. Use those.


      2. Yes, but… Most papers are behind a paywall. For news stories that don’t link to the study, it can be very difficult to track down, and Google Scholar won’t have it listed right away. I think that’s a big ask for most people.


      3. P.S.:

        if we can’t even trust sites like NASA and Scientific American, what’s the point?

        “Trust, but verify” — you should take a look at Retraction Watch

        Don’t leap to an extreme interpretation when folks like me suggest checking the source. Sure, NASA and Science and Nature and the AGU press releases are apt to be reliable. But they do make mistakes and do correct errors (and that may take months). Once a paper has a few, or a handful, or a few dozen, or a few hundred citing papers, you know a whole lot more about the subject.

        All the first papers are wrong. Early groundbreaking research gets published and then worked over by others to the extent they lead to interesting results from further study.

        Look at for example http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/ and click through the top level to the supporting information and, eventually, you’ll find the science papers or at least enough information to paste into a Google Scholar search box. Yeah, NASA and Science and Sci.Am. set a high target for ordinary folks like us who are trying to understand the science.

        It’s worth trying to go beyond the surface.


      4. Following up Scott’s comment, I do agree — many papers are paywalled, and hard to get to. But when the information is available giving it is basic practice.
        Here for example: http://arstechnica.com/science/2015/05/sudden-melt-strikes-glaciers-on-the-antarctic-peninsula/
        Anyone who actually reads all the way to the bottom of that page sees the DOI link and the explanation (I could wish it were at the top! — so many people think they’ve never seen a DOI link because they get buried)

        But further on the paywall thing — Scholar will list multiple sources for papers, often hidden under the word “more” at the bottom of the result, like this one

        And if clicking the “more” doesn’t turn up a cached copy, or a PDF file in a researcher’s open directory file, every paper lists a “corresponding author” and those folks are often very pleasantly surprised to get a letter (nowadays email) saying “I read your abstract, and some press releases and I’d really like a copy of your paper because I’m not in academia and it would take weeks to borrow it by Interlibrary Loan” — in other words, I made some effort to understand it, can you help.

        Just saying — there are lots of ways to go beyond copypasting press releases, and they do take effort, and they can be _very _ rewarding to those who want to make the effort.

        We can be more than tubes carrying copies of stuff — we can filters, clarifiy, help kids find stuff and learn how, and raise the really interesting work above the huge mass of clutter and echos and spin.


  10. The carbon tax idea gets so little coverage, this Climate Progress article came as a surprise.

    Report: Fossil Fuels Receive $5.3 Trillion A Year In Subsidies Worldwide

    In the lead up to the United Nations’ climate negotiations in Paris this fall, how we curb carbon emissions is a burning question for many policymakers, and a carbon tax — widely seen as the most effective way to change behavior — is getting mixed backing.
    A group of business leaders, including many oil and gas interests, have perhaps surprisingly come out in favor of a carbon tax.
    “The call for carbon pricing is unanimous,” Gerard Mestrallet, CEO of the French energy company Engie, said at a conference in Paris this week, according to Bloomberg News. “It’s loud and clear. Carbon pricing is the right signal, the right tool.”


    1. Hank, I think what you’re saying is not to post an article until I’ve verified it to the best of my ability through every possible avenue, wait until it’s been out for a while and see if there are others who agree or disagree, view each with a juandiced eye, etc. I agree that that’s a good way to proceed. Well, probably the best way would be to actually DO the hard science as SJ and others in the field are doing. You’re right, it’s not the best idea to just post something just because it may come from a ‘reputable’ source.

      However, I’m not a scientist, so that lets me out of the best way to verify information – doing the actual science myself. That leaves me with finding it from sources most people trust. Yes, I could go through all the steps you mentioned, takes months of checking each and every source if the article is brand new as you said,

      “Remember, for anything written more than a month or two ago in the science journals, check the citing papers — that’s how science works, not by one single paper but by how many following papers have looked into the interesting subject and found there’s something there worth going into further.”

      until I’m satisfied that the author got it right. But at that rate and with that degree of cynicism even when it comes to sources (I’m not talking about UPI or API or McClatchy) that most people agree should command at least some degree of trust, it becomes pointless. For whatever reason, some here, it seems, are making things as difficult as they can. That’s fine.

      Besides that, as I mentioned earlier, I’m not even sure what these articles ARE correct myself. As I said, I’m not a scientist. I posted a few links ONLY for you and others to have something to consider in the realm of CC. Flat out, that’s it.

      Scott runs a professional blog here and I’ve appreciated the information he’s put out tremendously. I’ve learned a lot from Fractal Planet and I hope to build on that over the coming years. Thanks to all.


      1. John,

        I think when posting an article here you don’t have to “[do] the actual science” (that’s what the pros are for, like Michael Mann, James Hansen, Jason Box, et al.), but definitely try to do some due diligence to sort out the sources cited in that article, and the source in which it’s found. For example, articles from The Daily Telegraph (www.telegraph.co.uk) are riddled with disinformation and generally not to be trusted at all. I agree with SJ that finding the DOI is sometimes really hard and a hard ask for someone not familiar with academic writing and citations, and it’s also true a lot of the source material might be behind a firewall (…long live Aaron Schwartz!) making it impossible.

        I think all of us, like you, are just doing our best to sort things out and have turned to SJ for help – gradually we all gain more clarity as a group. SJ isn’t perfect (I’ve never found anyone who was…), but he’s sure done a hell of a job sorting through the misinformation and ideological bias of GM on methane emissions (Carana, Light and Beckwith, included!!!), that’s for sure.


    1. Amory Lovins is a huge optimist, bordering on a cornucopian. He thinks we can grow the economy without having a downside. He thinks renewable energy is free. He thinks our industrial civilisation can be built, operated and maintained with inexhaustable materials, without oil, including the obtaining and processing of those inexhaustable materials. He doesn’t even consider EROEI in any of this. Apparently we can have our cake and eat it too. If it was all as straightforward and profitable as he claims, I wonder why we’re not already on the path he maps out. After all, business is all about maximising profit.

      We face a tough future and it’s only natural to hope that it won’t be too bad, and even better. All civilisations fail. It’s what happens.


      1. Mike,

        Amory Lovins is a huge optimist, bordering on a cornucopian. He thinks we can grow the economy without having a downside. He thinks renewable energy is free.

        Nowhere in the presentation cited above, nor in any other videos of his I’ve watched, does Lovins claim “renewable energy is free”. Get your facts straight, please. Citation? The lowest price I’ve seen is in the Middle East is at 6 cents per kilowatt hour. That’s not free.

        He thinks our industrial civilisation [sic] can be built, operated and maintained with inexhaustable [sic] materials, without oil, including the obtaining and processing of those inexhaustable [sic] materials.

        Again, I think you are smoking crack, in other words, very wrong. We can power our civilization using renewable energy, Mike. Renewable energy is, after all, renewable, yes? M.I.T. just came out with a new report (http://mitei.mit.edu/futureofsolar) titled, The Future of Solar Energy: An Interdisciplinary MIT Study led by the MIT Energy Initiative. Among its key findings are that today’s solar panels are all that is needed to supply the world with many terawatts of clean solar power by 2050 (modern civilization currently uses 15 terawatts). The other main point the study makes is that it will take political will to finally wean the world off of fossil fuels. This last point would fit into Lovins case (not in this video, but another) that “we get an attack of the stupids”, one example possibly being that The Koch Brothers get the XL Pipeline approved and make another $100 billion, and Republicans winning the presidency and congress again in the next election cycle.

        He doesn’t even consider EROEI in any of this. Apparently we can have our cake and eat it too. If it was all as straightforward and profitable as he claims, I wonder why we’re not already on the path he maps out. After all, business is all about maximising profit.

        It’s apparent to me that you haven’t even watched the full video, because if you had you would see that we ARE already on the path to decarbonization at current rates of new energy installations…in the first quarter of this year over 90% of new energy installations were renewable with solar and wind leading the way. Why? Because it’s cheaper than fossil fuels, even with drops in oil prices! That’s a market mechanism at work. That is maximizing profit. Renewables are in many cases now cheaper than many fossil fuels, and in some cases all of them. That trend is set to continue for confluence of factors. Lovins presentation offers tons of statistics which demonstrate a very compelling case. I’m dubious about your application of EROEI to his presentation, as how are you certain he hasn’t already considered it just because he doesn’t explicitly mention it.

        We face a tough future and it’s only natural to hope that it won’t be too bad, and even better. All civilisations fail. It’s what happens.

        I’m not full of hopium, a term that GM likes to use. These are on-the-ground facts that are observable and researchable. Yes, birth and death is a reality. Civilizations rise and fall, and it’s irrelevant to Lovins presentation.


      2. Balan, I guess the only thing I’m guilty of is assuming that you actually watched the video that so inspired you. View it again and pay special attention to what Lovins says at 26:03.

        If you believe that our current civilisation (especially with developing nations wanting a bigger slice) can be powered by diffuse low EROEI energy (not counting hydro, which is quite limited and also destructive), then that’s up to you. Everything I’ve read about it suggests that is a pipedream. Heaven help us if it ever happens because civilisation destroys the environment. Lovins sees the US economy growing to 2 and a half times its current size (+158%) this century, powered by renewables. Horrifying. He sees planes flying on advanced bio-fuels (that don’t yet exist), so he’s even relying on wishful thinking for his vision, which, as Bill has pointed out, Hansen shows was way off reality.

        By all means hope for life just going along as though there were no limits (Lovins doesn’t even examine limits), but I, for one, hope your wishes (and Lovins’s) don’t come true.

        [By the way, sorry about misspelling inexhaustible, and thanks for pointing it out, but I didn’t misspell civilisation. however, there’s really no need for such editorial niceties.]


      3. Mike,

        I did watch and it and yes, he says “free”, but what does he mean by free from the context of all that he said previously putting that statement in context. What he actually means, if you watch the entire video, not just 26:03, is that renewables prices have dropped dramatically, and yes, the sun IS free. Wind IS free. And it is ubiquitous, democratic, renewable, etc. But the technology to build it is not, and costs so many kilowatts per hour. Duh.

        Your characterization of Lovins as a cornucopian is off the mark, as he’s not blinded by optimism, but seeing solutions and the possibility of living in abundance that is grounded in hard facts and painful reality. Are you a Malthusian? To me, from what I’ve watched of Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and Lovins’ numerous videos, is that he is someone who very much cares about the negative impact of civilization on Earth’s biosphere, that he acknowledge Earth’s carrying capacity through his life mission and personal example and lifestyle choices in which he’s built his own personal home to be carbon-neutral (have you done this yet?), in which he doesn’t have a need for heating or cooling. If anything, we need solutions to civilizations rampant destruction of its own biosphere, and Lovins is providing them en mass. It’s one thing to harp on the problems, it’s quite another to provide workable solutions.

        I think your concern that EROEI is not considered by Lovins to be worthy of more investigation. As time unfolds, I’d enjoy discussing this topic more with you, as I’m presently researching it.

        Here’s a link to get the juices flowing…I’m not agreeing with it nor disagreeing with any points in it yet, just starting to read it and ask around to my friends who know more than I on what I see as a critical topic.




      4. Well, I’d place more weight on estimates from those who are trying to be objective (Charles Hall, for example) than those who try to promote the idea that somehow we can cleanly support industrial civilisation. So I hope you don’t only read pro-solar/wind advocates. Other points to note include the rate at which renewable energy can be realistically harvested (which includes considering any resources in short supply for the renewables infrastructure) and what the impact of the the diversion of natural energy flows on the environment. I’ve only seen one paper address the issue of impacts and limits to wind energy, much more needs to be done.


      5. Mike, with your permission, I’d like to move our conversation on this topic over to Discussions / Climate Change Solutions #1. Is that ok with you?


    2. Well, i watched it. But i just don’t see any of those ideas in reality, that’s the problem. I hear about those ideas since the 70s, but nothing happened. The problem is the system, not the lack of ideas, see? BMW recently threw a new hybrid car onto the market, the new BMWi8, it only costs 130 000 €, the luxury of ecoconscious driving, muhahahaha… no more ecofriendly news from Germany for now, see? It’s all about money, not survival, it’s all BAU.


    3. It is clear that the capitalist class across the globe have neither the intention nor the intention nor the knowledge of how to stop catastrophic climate change. The pursuit of hydraulic fracking, tar sands, nuclear energy, geo-engineering all reveal how the capitalist system is blind to the pursuit of profit at all costs. We cannot place any faith in corporate politicians of any stripe to help ordinary people cope with the effects of climate change as it gets worse and worse.

      What do you guys think? Can we place faith in the political and economic system or will we be on our own when it gets tough?


    4. I haven’t watched your video, but if Amory Lovins message is still the same, (and I think it is, because I’ve seen more recent comments from JH in a similar vein that I can’t find now), James Hansen isn’t drinking the kool-aid. From 2011:

      [Amory Lovins]

      Note the failure of U.S. energy to follow the ‘soft’ energy path of [Amory] Lovins. Lovins asserts that we could phase out nuclear power, large hydro, coal, oil and gas. But soft renewables are still nearly invisible after 30 years, providing about one third of the thin renewable slice of total energy.

      Yet Amory Lovins is the most popular person that I know and has received uncountable awards. He deserves them. But I believe his popularity is in part because he says everything people want to hear. He even says there is no need to have a tax on carbon. Thus even fossil fuel companies love him. Fossil fuel companies are happy to support energy efficiency, which places the onus on the public and guarantees fossil fuel dominance far into the future (see Yankee Ticket Prices).

      When I saw Amory most recently and queried him, he affirmed that no tax was needed. He said that hundred dollar bills are being left on the ground by companies that ignore energy efficiency. Indeed, there is still great potential in energy efficiency. However, the full potential of energy efficiency to help rapidly phase down fossil fuel CO2 emissions will be achieved only if there is a substantial rising price on carbon emissions.

      As long as fossil fuel energy is cheap, efficiency encourages more energy use. For example, solid state lighting is much more efficient, but it encourages more extensive lighting. That would be o.k., if the energy source were carbon-free.

      The Real World

      Many well-meaning people proceed under the illusion that ‘soft’ renewable energies (1) will replace fossil fuels if the government tries harder and provides more subsidies. Meanwhile, governments speak greenwash while allowing pursuit of fossil fuels with increasingly destructive technologies (hydrofracking, mountaintop removal, longwall mining, drilling in the deepest ocean, the Arctic and other pristine environments) and development of unconventional fossil fuels

      It will be a tragedy if environmentalists allow the illusion of ‘soft’ energies to postpone demand for real solution of the energy, climate and national security problems. Solar power is just a small part of the solution. Subsidies yielding even its present tiny contribution may be unsustainable….

      Recently I received a mailing on the climate crisis from a large environmental organization. Their request, letters and e-mails to Congress and the President, mentioned only renewable energies (specifically wind and solar power).

      Such a request offends nobody, and it is worthless. Indeed, it is much less than worthless. If you drink the kool-aid represented in the right part of Fig. 7, you are a big part of the problem. Sure, I could ignore this and wait for time to make the situation clear to you, but I could say the same thing 10 years ago. Look at part (a) of Figures 5 and 6; do not be fooled by parts (c), which have a vastly different (smaller) scale.

      *The problem is that, by drinking the kool-aid, you are also pouring it down the throats of my dear grandchildren and yours. The tragedy in doing so is much greater than that of Jim Jones’ gullible followers, who forced their children to drink his kool-aid.**

      All life will bear the consequences.


      1. @Bill

        Thanks for this quote by Lovins… interesting. I really want to look into this more.



      2. Balan wrote:
        Thanks for this quote by Lovins…

        I assume you meant “quote by Hansen”.

        Another telling fact he cites is that soft renewables are 3% of world energy use. And yet, energy use is growing at 3% per year. There is an obvious problem with the math here if we have to reduce energy use at a rate of 6% per year or thereabouts. No doubt solar and wind are growing rapidly, but that rate has to be put in context of what is needed to solve the climate problem.

        Hansen is technology neutral—he says let the market decide, but he doesn’t think renewables can expand fast enough. He cites the example of France as an example of how fast nuclear can be rolled out.

        In one decade (1977–1987), France increased its nuclear power production 15-
        fold, with the nuclear portion of its electricity increasing from 8% to 70% [231].

        but is absolutely emphatic about the need for a carbon tax… “an honest price”, “the sine qua non”, “the Only way”.


      3. “reduce energy use at a rate of 6% per year”

        should be

        “reduce carbon emissions”


      4. Bill,

        Yeah, I meant to say “Hansen”, not “Lovins”. Thanks for pointing that out. And sorry to take so long to respond, busy with life.

        While I like Hansen for sure, I do not agree with his take on nuclear at all, and do believe through an Apollo-like governmental intervention we can make massive in-roads within months to transform our energy system using renewables. The cost of renewables has come down so much in recent years to make it competitive with fossil fuels. This trend is predicted to continue, and renewables have a strong back wind. In Europe now renewables generate more power than nuclear. Renewables are scalable at much higher efficiency than any fossil fuels. Put up a solar array on your roof and within hours you’ve got power. Building a nuclear power plant takes years to decades, not to mention dealing with all the waste for thousands to hundreds of thousands of years.

        I totally agree with the need for carbon pricing immediately.


      5. This guy who provided the Lovins Hansen quote appears to be a Hansen critic, but he is a font of great links to Hansen material. Here is a page where he reposts Hansen’s defense of fee/dividend in response to a Krugman editorial, which is all part of a larger story in which a Hansen NY Times guest editorial was sabotaged by the title-writer.

        Hansen’s response to Krugman is the best discussion by Hansen I’ve seen so far of the mechanisms, differences, and worthiness of cap/trade & fee/dividend and the surrounding issues. Really good reading.


      6. Might as well post this one too… A 2008 throw-down by Joe Romm aimed at Hansen concerning the best policy path to address global warming. Seems Romm’s style has mellowed somewhat over the years as I haven’t seen anything nearly so crass and arrogant since I’ve been reading in the last year or two.

        The comment section following this article is full of interesting comments and links. McKibben makes a low-key cameo appearance. Again, really good reading.


    5. Curious wrote:
      What do you guys think? Can we place faith in the political and economic system or will we be on our own when it gets tough?

      If I listen to you or Chris Hedges or Noam Chomsky, I see little hope. Hedges says we need to be fighting in the streets or as you aptly put it, we’ll be on our own. It’ll be us against the military. If I listen to Hansen, there is hope. His climate analysis, without mitigation, is as dire as they come, at least among the mainstream. But he also sees greater opportunity for mitigation—complete restoration of energy balance—than anyone else I’ve read or listened to. He is so up to the challenge, that he inspires hope even in the face of the savage political realities. I’m thinking he may be a bit politically naive, or else he is a magician. He reminds me of Thomas Mann, who was yelling at Germany before the war: “Hoere Deutchland!”. Of course we know how that worked out.

      I met an old–early 60s–guy at the grocery store the other day. I was admiring his bicycle trailer and he started talking about how things are getting expensive. He seemed a bit aware politically so I broached the climate change topic. He said it was a scam. Snow is increasing in the Antarctic. That was his only fact. He has no television, no internet. Doesn’t go to the library. Doesn’t need facts. Graduated from the University of Rochester as a science major so, what he thinks must be true. He didn’t care to discuss it. Business man all his life (bike shop). He agreed that his mind was closed. His frozen groceries were melting. Affable fellow… we parted laughing.


      1. @Bill Shockley

        … He seemed a bit aware politically so I broached the climate change topic. He said it was a scam. Snow is increasing in the Antarctic. That was his only fact. He has no television, no internet. Doesn’t go to the library. Doesn’t need facts. Graduated from the University of Rochester as a science major so, what he thinks must be true. He didn’t care to discuss it. Business man all his life (bike shop). He agreed that his mind was closed. His frozen groceries were melting. Affable fellow… we parted laughing.

        Yeah, you name it. We are all people after all, everyone of us, rich or poor, strong or weak, clever or foolish. I am happy you parted laughing :-) There are the doomsday prophets and there are the deniers and there’s much in between, all people, all suffering and searching for peace and an end of suffering.

        I do have much respect for Hansen. He seems always beeing straight to the point, keen. The problem is just the system, the system of profit. Money is charged with magical power. Without that magical power it would only be colored paper. It is the magic of money that replaced the ancient gods. And this power will be alive as long as one can get things with money. As long as this magical power of money is alive, there will be no change. But when the trust, the hope, the money utopia, the modern money god brakes down and people realise, that one can’t get things, water, food, survival with colored paper and round metal anymore, then the money system will brake down and the people wake up to reality. And then change will come, if some survived the brakedown. There are many, many real good and honest ideas, plenty of them, since the 70s, 80s, 90s and so on, but there are powerfull people who want to maintain the status quo as long as they can, dead or alive. That’s the bottom problem it seems to me. Thousands of real good intentions, real good ideas, but no change of the system, no paradigm shift, it is all about getting more money, more things, more, more, more. That’s the problem. Ask the people on the street, what they want and most of them will answer:

        Money, more money, a car, a bigger car, a house, a bigger house and so on ad infinitum. There are just a few who say: I want to be free, I want clean air, clean water, I want love, creativity, I own the whole Universe, I am the whole Kosmos, I have enough to eat, I have an appartement, I have enough money, enough things, I can’t reach the stars with a spacecraft, but I went inside.


      2. My dog’s getting old. Goethe, when he was old, would take walks outside, and reflect that out of doors really is the place to be. Air. Motion. I had a really nice walk yesterday with my dog, bringing her back from the suburban animal hospital where she had been taken by a “good samaritan”, who had found her trotting along the expressway. We got about halfway home and she disappeared . Again! LOL

        She’s back home now. Same lady, “good samaritan”, showed up in my driveway this morning with my dog. And a leash and two big bags of dogfood and a food bowl and a water bowl and a collar and an ID tag and a chew bone and a box of treats and a lecture. LOL

        My dog’s really only happy when we’re out. Movin’.


  11. A while ago, there was a rather heated back-and-forth in a thread over on Neven’s sea ice forum about climate sensitivity. I was only a spectator, and I didn’t expect either side to give what one could call an objective answer to any questions. Basically, one side insisted that ECS had to be 4 C or higher (see recent papers on how models with higher sensitivities are the only ones to accurately replicate cloud and atmosphere behavior), and the other argued that there are lines of evidence for high and low sensitivities (not Judith Curry low, 2-2.5C low), but that the models that best represent the rate of temperature increase are toward the more modest end. The argument petered out a few weeks ago, largely due to one side giving up.

    It went on for pages, with link after link, so I won’t post the thread here and expect you to pour over the posts. I only had one major question on the brain as I read through all this: there seem to be a lot of papers out on ECS lately, but I’ve only been following this kind of news for the past year/year-and-a-half, so I don’t exactly have a lot of past experience to compare. Do you get the sense that some breakthrough is on the horizon for narrowing the range of likely ECS, or does every year or two see a couple of papers on the subject that leave the matter basically where it was when it started?

    OK, one link: one of the 4+ people migrated over to And Then There’s Physics and left a post that was a handy summary of that side of the argument: https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/05/19/lukewarmers-a-follow-up/#comment-56713

    I could follow maybe a third of that.


    1. I don’t think anyone is expecting a breakthrough at this point. There have been two or three of those papers showing that models matching some specific cloud behavior tend to be a little higher, but there have also been a number of papers trying to estimate ECS from the last ~century of observations getting lower numbers. (But yes, that includes a couple Curry/Lewis papers that don’t deserve many brain cycles.) That technique is just as fraught with problems as any other, though. I don’t think there’s anybody arguing for much over 4C.

      I don’t know if this came up, but there was just a big climate sensitivity workshop that everyone attending seemed to find pretty useful. Here’s a good write-up: http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2015/04/climate-sensitivity-is-unlikely-to-be-less-than-2c-say-scientists/
      Also: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2015/04/reflections-on-ringberg/ , https://bskiesresearch.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/climate-sensitivity-workshop-at-schloss-ringberg/
      I keep meaning to take a look at the slides, which have been posted: http://www.mpimet.mpg.de/en/science/the-atmosphere-in-the-earth-system/ringberg-workshop/ringberg-2014/talks.html


      1. Yeah, that did come up. One of the 4+ people kept insisting that Gavin’s “less than 2ºC or greater than 5ºC” line represented Gavin revising his estimate of ECS upward; I failed to see how every time the guy said it.

        The other side summarized the meeting as: the vast majority of presentations agreed with the IPCC range/best estimate for ECS, while a small number argued for lowering the best guess slightly (3 to 2.5 slightly). I haven’t gone through the slides either, but the CarbonBrief write-up seems to back that summary up.


    2. James Hansen has been requesting aerosol-measuring satellites for years. As this is one of the remaining large radiative forcing uncertainties in the atmosphere, accurate data would narrow the uncertainty range of models.


      1. An article dated 15 May 2015 about thawing permafrost.

        I know some here have long ago made up their minds about, well about most everything, but if any here are interested in reading and/or commenting on the following article, I’m really hoping for more than just the quick out of hand dismissal or sudden acceptance. Anyone?

        Permafrost thaw’s runaway effect on carbon release

        Arctic warming is causing organic carbon deep-frozen in the soil for millennia to be released rapidly into the air as CO2, with potentially catastrophic impacts on climate.

        “Dr Spencer says: “When you have a huge frozen store of carbon and it’s thawing, we have some big questions. The primary question is, when it thaws, what happens to it?

        “Our research shows that this ancient carbon is rapidly utilised by microbes and transferred to the atmosphere, leading to further warming in the region, and therefore more thawing. So we get into a runaway effect.'”



      2. Pretty standard nitty-gritty research. Nothing new for your take-away impression of permafrost carbon. I think someone may have posted something about this before, because the quote is familiar.

        I’ve begun to really hate loose use of “runaway”… He’s just trying to describe the positive feedback- that thawing permafrost amplifies warming by releasing carbon to the atmosphere.


  12. Hey SJ, nice to hear from you. Sorry if I posted something someone else might have posted before. Yeah, I was thinking there do seem to be a few feedbacks stirring in the wind these days. Well anyway, thanks for your… feedback on the above article.

    Hope everything is going well with you. BTW, I have to agree with a comment I read here earlier, though I don’t remember who said it, thanks for being patient with the diverse opinions expressed by all. I think that may be quite a rare quality in the blog world.


    1. Thanks, John.

      I certainly wouldn’t mind if somebody else had posted it. I just had a little deja vu going there…


      1. I could only read the abstract, and things like “zero-dimensional energy balance” are Greek to me, but:

        “As a result, for reasonable values of feedback temperature dependence and preindustrial feedback, Earth can jump to a warmer state under only one or two CO2 doublings”

        Was the bit that really confused me. Isn’t it already commonly accepted that a single doubling of CO2 would shift the Earth to a warmer state?


      2. I can’t get my hands on a copy of the paper to read it right now, but…

        Well, zero-dimensional here literally means reducing complexity from a 3-D model until all you have is a simple energy balance equation– not even surface differentiated from clouds.

        “Warmer state” here is going to mean more than “2C warmer”– more like some hysteresis. A meaningful shift.

        I can’t guess at how subtle the effect is, or how hand-wavey this simplified approach is, but I am curious.


      3. Well, zero-dimensional here literally means reducing complexity from a 3-D model until all you have is a simple energy balance equation– not even surface differentiated from clouds.

        Wouldn’t that mean this approach is further removed from what goes on in the real climate system than a model assuming warming proportional to forcing?

        (Don’t mean to keep asking after these things when you haven’t had a chance to read the paper, but this sort of math/physics is the sort that leaves me feeling dizzy as I try to read it).


      4. That’s not a question I should need the paper to know the answer to, hopefully… It’s definitely a very simple energy balance model, but those can be an acceptable tool, depending on the nature of the question asked. I would guess they tread lightly, though, recognizing the limitations of that model, and aren’t making grand claims.


      5. Finally was able to snag the paper and look it over. (If anyone is super-curious, I can email it.)

        So, the paper isn’t arguing that climate sensitivity does increase as the Earth warms. It’s examining what that would look like, as well as the case that sensitivity decreases, or that it stays the same. They use a reasonable range of such curves estimated from the behavior of the big, complex Global Climate Models.

        The “shift to a warmer state” you were wondering about refers to something their analysis is too simple to produce. Basically, their equation can spit out a case of indefinite runaway warming, but they note that it’s certainly possible to have a shorter “runaway” jump that then settles at a new stable value. They make the interesting point that climate models that do such a thing might be thrown out because they’ll seem like they’re running away when they shouldn’t (and therefore messed up). However, they also state that the combination of characteristics needed to produce such jumps might simply be impossible.

        It’s a theoretical paper focused on understanding “if things were this way, what would it look like?”, sort of laying the groundwork for future work, or clarifying a complicating factor that shouldn’t be ignored in certain types of studies. I think you could say it has implications for research rather than implications for our outlook on warming.


      6. Paul Beckwith. Noticed this yesterday. Looked but didn’t see it posted,

        I see as there are a few here who are saying that Beckwith is a crank. Is that because he’s associated with AMEG?


  13. Science 10 April 2015:
    Vol. 348 no. 6231 pp. 229-232
    DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa0193
    Ocean acidification and the Permo-Triassic mass extinction

    What’s the rate of change currently, compared with the slow and fast episodes during the PT period, anyone know?


    1. Well, pH has dropped about 0.1 units so far… I’m not sure that there’s a neat global number you can put on aragonite saturation state…

      This is relevant: http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/download/fedora_content/download/ac:145565/CONTENT/Science-2012-H_nisch-1058-63.pdf

      It would be easier just to compare carbon emission rates, but past rates can be quite uncertain. We think PETM was significantly slower than today, but I think end-Permian rates are a bigger question mark.


      1. I missed that SJ. I guess that’s why everyone else here is so much more on the ball than I am, hmmm? Ah well. A nice day, just came in from a barbeque, chicken legs and a couple of beers. The buzz has worn off already. Tsk.

        I think what bothers me about out of hand dismissals (not you, I mean in general) of the work of people we don’t like for whatever reason or whose position(s) we might happen to disagree with is the thought that we might be missing something important when we throw out the baby with the bath water. Some on other sites have come close to labeling Beckwith a crackpot because of his association with AMEG or because he has cats in a few of his videos, or because he hasn’t repudiated McPherson or whatever. People tend to dismiss and label people we don’t like but that’s been our pattern from the beginning of recorded history. Later those same people, upon reflection are often called visionaries. I admit, I like Beckwith. I sense sincerity from the man. I wouldn’t want to be labeled, I’ll wait to see what comes over time before I rush to judgement.


      2. Beckwith does depart from McPherson when it comes to the species impacts of climate change over the short to medium term. He doesn’t believe humans will become extinct by mid-century or even by end century. He’s got a long way to go to live up to McPherson’s billing of him as the leading expert on Arctic sea ice but he does at least recognise that he has to publish at least one peer reviewed paper to be taken seriously by other climate scientists. I think he’s hampered by a belief that abrupt climate change is already upon us (on geological time scales that is probably true but he’s talking more abrupt than that), but it will be interesting to see if he gets any research published over the next couple of years or how his views change in doing that abrupt climate change research.


      3. Hi, John.

        Just for the record, I’ve been on this blog for over a year investigating McPherson’s claims and Scott’s rebuttal, have read perhaps 90%+ of all posts, and I’ve concluded that both McPherson and Beckwith are not to be trusted at all on issues of climate. Why? McPherson has turned out to be a methane extremist who hypes Beckwith as “the world authority” on methane emissions. I asked Beckwith himself why GM would say such a thing, and Beckwith hasn’t ever replied. On Beckwith, he has never even published a single solitary peer-reviewed paper on climate change, even in his specialization, and hasn’t even yet got his PhD – yet he brands himself as a climate scientist. GM told me Beckwith would never get his PhD because he is so busy doing YouTube selfies, I swear to God.

        Ok, so if one wants to study climate change, I emphatically say, DO NOT GO TO GUY MCPHERSON OR PAUL BECKWITH. There are thousands of hard-core scientists actually doing research who know a hell-of-a-lot more than GM or PB!!! Uh, just google “Wikipedia climate scientists” – McPherson and Beckwith are NOT there. Well-known names such as Michael Mann, James Hansen, and Gavin Schmidt…are there. You are not missing anything by throwing out McPherson and Beckwith… In fact, IMHO, you are purifying your bath water of dirty water. If you want clarity on climate change, do not listen to either of these guys, as they’ll lead you down the wrong path. Why waste your time? I did and it cost me dear.

        But if you like, and not go ahead and purify your bath water for your precious baby, then go ahead and resign from your tenure-track professorship, invest all your retirement savings to build a, seriously, “doomstead” home in ground zero of climate change desertification, and get into all kinds of fights with your friends and neighbors so that you have to sell your “doomstead” and move on. That’s what extremist ideology does… In the case of Beckwith, it might eventually cost him any chance of actually getting a PhD.

        At the same time, I’m very much supportive of all divestment of fossil fuels, protection of endangered species, and a massive transformation in humanity’s consciousness that respects and reveres the Earth as a precious living being that has not only given birth to us but sustained us over millions of years. Thank you Earth!


  14. Mike, I think that’s about right – your assessment of Beckwith I mean. I agree with his position that humans may very well survive abrupt CC. Even McPherson maintains that humans are clever – though not necessarily wise. Survival is a part of human nature, I don’t see humankind going gentle into any good night. Period.

    My guess, if and when we hit crunch time, there are going to be a whole lot of people still around conducting BAU. The following article highlights that point,

    G7 leaders agree to phase out fossil fuel use by end of century


    Money and Stability, those are our priorities.


    1. In light of our seemingly slow but inevitable descent into climatic anarchy, perhaps a bit of humor is in order.



    1. Actually Curious, it doesn’t look all that bad. According to the image above, it appears that most of the world is not under any water stress at all. True, there is some in larger metropolitian areas but then that’s to be expected.


    2. Hi, Curious.

      Yes, as time unfolds and emissions are not arrested, desserts are set to expand. In essence, a major effect of climate change is desertification. Some of this map is misleading as, for example, South Korea is not having extreme water stress issues like the map claims.


      1. @Sue

        Actually Curious, it doesn’t look all that bad. According to the image above, it appears that most of the world is not under any water stress at all. True, there is some in larger metropolitian areas but then that’s to be expected.

        Yes, “some” water stress in populated areas, like India ~ 1 Billion people, China ~ 1.3 Billion people, USA Southwest ~ 150 Million people, Sao Paulo 20 Million people…


        South Korea is not having extreme water stress issues like the map claims.

        Phew, South Korea no extreme water stress, that’s good news for South Korea^^


      2. On Korea and desertification, I was wrong!


        Apparently, our government has more important things to worry about than desertification and water, as we are not very water conscious here yet like California. At the moment, MERS is taking most attention, though one might say that this is related tangentially to climate change in that it feeds into the same modern civilization hubris on agriculture and modern medicine and antibiotics, which are being overused and super-bugs are being created. I wonder if MERS is influenced in any way by climate…







  15. Hello, Everyone.

    For all those who believe in James Hansen’s nuclear power fix to plug the gaps that supposedly renewable energy will not be sufficient to provide.


    Paul DeRienzo is a freelance reporter based in New York City. He received a grant from the George Polk Awards of Long Island University to investigate the former nuclear weapons site at Hanford in Washington State. DeRienzo discovered that decades of nuclear bomb fueled production had left a legacy of environmental pollution and cancer among residents and employees. He’s also reported on how mismanagement of the clean up at Hanford had further endangered the public. DeRienzo is a regular contributor to The Villager newspaper, WhoWhatWhy.org and Pacifica national radio. He has reported from throughout the nation and around the world on issues ranging from police violence to CIA drug smuggling and the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. DeRienzo was on air on September 11, 2001 at WBAI-fm in NYC just blocks from the attacks and was one of the few newscasters on air during those events. He his currently working on a book tentatively titled The Last Secret of the A-Bomb


    SHARMNINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore.
    Barrels of nuclear waste at the isolation plant in New Mexico could be a ticking time bomb. Waste from our nuclear weapons has been piling up for about 75 years now. Our next guest, Paul DeRienzo, has written an investigative report on what he calls failed disposal of the waste from three quarters of a century of weapons development.
    Joining us now from New York is Paul DeRienzo. Paul is a freelance journalist and a regular contributor to the Villager newspaper, and WhoWhatWhy.org, and also Pacifica Radio. Paul, thank you so much for joining us.
    PERIES: So Paul, give us a sense of the facility in New Mexico and the explosion that had happened, and actually what kitty litter had to do with it all.
    DERIENZO: Well, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant is the final disposal location for defense-related nuclear waste that was produced by the United States beginning with the Manhattan Project in 1942. The idea was to bury this waste, some of which has to be kept isolated from humanity from at least a quarter of a million years, 2,000 feet underground in the New Mexico desert near Carlsbad, New Mexico, south of the capital of New Mexico.
    And the, what happened was that about a year ago in 2014 a barrel of waste, it’s stored in barrels, exploded. And it was what the Secretary of the Department of Energy, Moniz, Mr. Moniz, called a thermal event. In other words, it heated up to over 1600 degrees, and radiation monitors started going off, and it was discovered that plutonium, which is a deadly carcinogen had escaped. In small amounts, but detectable amounts for many, many miles around the plant.
    And considering that this plant was supposed to remain isolated from humanity, as it says, Waste Isolation Pilot Plant for 250,000 years, and it’s only about a dozen years since the plant was first opened, that we’re already leaking radiation into the environment. So we have a serious problem here that might cost about $500 million to fix, and which then was later discovered to, unlike what the original description of the incident, that one barrel of waste was involved, in fact maybe as many as 500 barrels of waste were involved.
    PERIES: Paul, tell us about where this waste is coming from and what are other installations across the country that might be housing this type of waste.
    DERIENZO: The waste in particular that we’re talking about came from the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Los Alamos is the flagship of the American Nuclear Weapons Complex, which is the system of laboratories, factories, and other facilities that create the nuclear weapons that make up the United States’ nuclear arsenal. And it was sent from there in–it was supposed to be very carefully monitored, and we were supposed to know everything that was in all of these barrels. It was a requirement by the state of New Mexico to allow the United States government to use these facilities to store nuclear waste.
    However, it came to the attention through the report on the incident, the incident report, that an error had been made in which kitty litter was used as an absorbent in these barrels, which also contained TRU, what they call TRU waste, or trans-uranic waste, which are items that are contaminated with elements that are beyond uranium in the periodic table of the elements. And they’re mostly clothing, tools, glove boxes, other detritus that was created by 75 years of nuclear weapons production that were contaminated with these elements. Enough to fill, depending on who you talk to, one or two Empire State Buildings if they were empty. And this is then packed into barrels and these barrels are then sent to WIPP for storage. However, some of this waste is liquid or liquefied, and when they put the kitty litter in there to absorb the liquid, they were told to use inorganic kitty litter.
    Now, we’re not a thousand percent sure of what happened here, but it looks like there was a typographical error. And putting inorganic, one word, kitty litter was misinterpreted as in organic kitty litter, two words. And so they went to a, my understanding, they went to a local outlet and purchased bags of Swheat brand organic kitty litter. They packaged it in the barrels. The barrels were then stored. And then they should have known that that, because they should know everything that’s in these barrels, they should have known that this exact combination would create a chemical form of a plastic explosive. That is, the formula which is already known, so that should have popped up on their computers because they knew what they were putting in there. If they had known what they were supposed to have known what they were putting into these barrels.
    So basically they in the process of packing the barrels created a radioactive plastic explosive. And one went off and caused an entire area as big as a football field to be contaminated, which is not supposed to happen, endangering at least 32 workers including, I think, ten or a dozen workers were internally contaminated. Very dangerous to actually absorb inside your body plutonium, which is a potent carcinogen when you absorb it inside your body. And there was a fire, and now this plant is going to be closed for many years.
    PERIES: And in your article you refer to all of this as a coverup of mounting problems encountered in modernizing the United States’ nuclear weapons arsenal. What did you mean by that?
    DERIENZO: Well, the information has been very slow in coming and there’s very little information. There has been an incident report, but it was the state environmental secretary of New Mexico who was the one who told us that it was not one barrel that was potentially involved, but 500 barrels. That did not come directly to the public from the Department of Energy.
    PERIES: And so are you going to continue your work in this area, and can we come back to you to make sure that we cover this story in an ongoing way?
    DERIENZO: Yes. Part of this story is that this waste–some of this waste I write about in this story, which is on Who What Why, originated in a place called West Valley, New York, about 30 miles south of Buffalo, New York, where a waste storage facility, 3,300 acre waste storage facility, was created by then-governor Nelson Rockefeller in the 1960s to make the state of New York a leader in nuclear fuel reprocessing, taking the waste from nuclear power plants and reprocessing it.
    That business collapsed, and New York became the proud owner of 6,000 gallons of highly radioactive nuclear waste, which was supposed to be sent to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant but now has no future as far as being sent there, at least for the foreseeable next few years. And is leaking its contents, has been exposed to be leaking its contents, radioactive contents, into the Great Lakes, and that there’s a plume of strontium and other, cesium and other radioactive elements that are traveling underneath the ground towards, closer and closer towards the Great Lakes as we speak.
    PERIES: Paul, thank you so much for joining us today, and we’re going to be following this story. I hope you join us again.
    DERIENZO: Thank you very much.
    PERIES: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.


    1. @Balan

      I’ve seen that film some days ago, funny :-) But is it for real? The pope and jeezus as kung fu masters? Well, maybe we should include kung fu into the climate mitigation plans 8-)


    2. We scratch our collective heads and quietly label ‘ignorant’ any who deny what appears to be certain proof of Climate Change. We wonder how anyone can be so stupid when the ‘experts’ are out there all telling us each and everyday how certain that proof is, when every name of those respected members of the scientific community are each followed by a string of titles and superlatives that would make a head of state blush. Could it be that in all the smug self congratulations and back patting, the rather arrogant though unspoken belief amongst some members of the scientific community that because they are more learned, they are somehow better than the public at large, something has been forgotten?

      Doubt is an honest, genuine and worthy state of mind. Scientists are trained to be skeptics, to seek doubt in what appears to be certainty more than those in any other discipline of ‘higher learning’. And yet there seems to be a growing consensus amongst some that persons who doubt what those in charge simply tell us to believe are not just ignorant, they’re fools.

      In asking persons to accept what they may not see with their own eyes and which is often contradicted by other ‘experts’, some are asking people to accept what they say on faith. What is faith? What better source than the Bible tell us,

      “Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of the existence of things we cannot see.” Heb 11:1

      Consider what members of the scientific community have said in the past,

      “Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” — Harvard biologist George Wald

      “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” — Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich

      “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born… [By 1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.” — Paul Ehrlich

      “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions…. By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.” — North Texas State University professor Peter Gunter

      “In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution… by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half.” — Life magazine, January 1970

      “[One] theory assumes that the earth’s cloud cover will continue to thicken as more dust, fumes, and water vapor are belched into the atmosphere by industrial smokestacks and jet planes. Screened from the sun’s heat, the planet will cool, the water vapor will fall and freeze, and a new Ice Age will be born.” — Newsweek magazine, January 26 1970

      June 8, 1972, Christian Science Monitor: “Arctic specialist Bernt Balchen says a general warming trend over the North Pole is melting the polar ice cap and may produce an ice-free Arctic Ocean by the year 2000.”

      June 11, 1986, Dr. James Hansen of the Goddard Space Institute (NASA) in testimony to Congress (according to the Milwaukee Journal): “Hansen predicted global temperatures should be nearly 2 degrees higher in 20 years, ‘which is about the warmest the earth has been in the last 100,000 years.’”

      Andrew Simms, policy director of the New Economics Foundation: “Scholars are predicting that 50 million people worldwide will be displaced by 2010 because of rising sea levels, desertification, dried up aquifers, weather-induced flooding and other serious environmental changes.”

      Sept 11, 1999, The Guardian: “A report last week claimed that within a decade, the disease (malaria) will be common again on the Spanish coast. The effects of global warming are coming home to roost in the developed world.”

      1969, Lubos Moti, Czech physicist: “It is now pretty clearly agreed that CO2 content [in the atmosphere] will rise 25% by 2000. This could increase the average temperature near the earth’s surface by 7 degrees Fahrenheit. This in turn could raise the level of the sea by 10 feet. Goodbye New York. Goodbye Washington, for that matter.”

      April 22, 1990 ABC, The Miracle Planet: “I think we’re in trouble. When you realize how little time we have left–we are now given not 10 years to save the rainforests, but in many cases five years. Madagascar will largely be gone in five years unless something happens. And nothing is happening.”

      Michael Oppenheimer, 1990, The Environmental Defense Fund: “By 1995, the greenhouse effect would be desolating the heartlands of North America and Eurasia with horrific drought, causing crop failures and food riots…”

      “Earth Day” 1970 Kenneth Watt, ecologist: “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”

      April 2008, Media Mogul Ted Turner on Charlie Rose (On not taking drastic action to correct global warming) “Not doing it will be catastrophic. We’ll be eight degrees hotter in ten, not ten but 30 or 40 years and basically none of the crops will grow. Most of the people will have died and the rest of us will be cannibals.”

      These are just a sampling of failed CC predictions. I don’t put these here to dispute CC, but to demonstrate that wild predictions and unkind judgements may be unwise. Throughout history, wild predictions by ‘wise’ men have been the rule and throughout history wild predictions have failed. People who doubt something that wise men tell us we should believe may have heard a few wild predictions before.

      Perhaps a little less criticism, a little more understanding would be productive.


      1. John…

        While I understand your benign intention to support greater understanding and less criticism, none of the quotes you cite have any links to confirm authenticity, and they remind me very much of a list I saw a month or so ago on The Heartland Institute’s website for those denying climate science as a justification for dismissing ecologists concern on environmental issues in general. Maybe it wasn’t from The Heartland Institute, but from some right-wing blog like thefederalist.com, or something. Did you gather all those quotes yourself, or did you copy and paste it from other site? If the latter, please give us the link from which you found it so we can decide for ourselves authenticity.


  16. Dear Scott,

    I’d like a new thread on Climate Change Solutions as separate from Climate Change Discussions or HGMGIW. Would you permit it? Hope so. It would allow us a space to exchange and discuss the validity of what is actually possible in a short amount of time.




    1. Hey everyone!

      I think I just figured out a solution I’m happier with. Over on the sidebar, below the Contact link, there is now a Discussions link. If you click that, you’ll see two threads you can enter (at least for now). Let me know if this works alright- it would allow me to easily create fresh threads without turning my blog into nothing but a forest of thread posts.


      1. No Balan, I didn’t get a single quote from the Heartland Institute. Doesn’t mean they haven’t got these quotes somewhere on their site, probably do, just that I didn’t get any there. I never heard of the Federalist. I looked up climate change predictions and then tried to verify the quotes from more than one source. That doesn’t mean much on the internet but it was the best I could do. My purpose wasn’t to discredit climate science but to suggest that we’re all human, we all make mistakes, it’s part of the learning process. But in light of that tendency, it might be an idea to try to understand the skepticism some feel when faced with still more bold predictions from anyone about a future not one of us have ever seen. When talking about predictions based on modelling, what we’re really talking about are educated guesses. The world is much more complex than any model can foresee and that complexity has a way of turning predictions into hash fairly regularly.

        I’m not going to run down these quotes again, they’re are many references for each on the internet. I’m not trying to prove anything, the post was about understanding, not criticism. Even if just one of the above quotes is genuine, if a skeptic heard that quote, saw it’s failure, his skepticism should be understood. Yes? That was my point.

        I can tell you from my own experience that I have heard deadlines bandied about for years. One liners stating that we only have 2 years or 4 years or 10 years to put a halt to ACC or it would be too late. Time has run out for all of those bold predictions yet I’m still hearing those same messages on the radio, in the paper by this or that climate scientist – we only have this many years left before it’s too late. If I heard and read these predictions and watch each come and go w/o event, I’m sure a lot of other people have as well.

        How many people read this article printed 3/2000,

        Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past

        Or this one,

        These Photos Of Drought In The Colorado River Basin Are Beautiful And Depressing

        and then,

        Colorado weather: Massive rainfall floods streets throughout Denver metro area

        How about this,

        North Pole could be ice free in 2008


        Ice-free Arctic in two years heralds methane catastrophe – scientist

        How about this nifty quote.

        Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us

        “Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters..

        A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a ‘Siberian’ climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.

        Maybe it’s time for us to pull back on the predictions… and the criticisms.


      2. I get your point, John. :) It’s a great reason why we’re all here on this blog posting, I think.


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