The catastrophe narrative

by Andy West

A narrative propagated by emotive engagement, not veracity.

Introduction

Within the public domain, there is a widespread narrative of certainty (absent deep emissions cuts) of near-term (decades) climate catastrophe. This narrative is not supported by mainstream science (no skeptical views required), and in the same manner as an endless sequence of historic cultural narratives, propagates via emotive engagement, not veracity.

The catastrophe narrative is propagated by all levels of authority from the highest downwards, granting it huge influence, and differentially via favored functional arms of society, plus at the grass roots level. Over decades, various forms via which the catastrophe narrative best propagates have become established via selection, and can be categorized. While covering a large range, these forms typically feature powerful emotive cocktails (mixed emotions invoked simultaneously) and great urgency, which are highly adapted to undermining objectivity.

This narrative elephant in the room not only tramples upon the mainstream output of science, but all other attempts at objectivity, at a minimum invoking bias wherever it propagates, and at maximum a complete disconnect from domain realities. While the catastrophe narrative is sometimes acknowledged even by those on the orthodox side of the climate change issue, it is typically neither studied nor opposed (and not infrequently its propagation is praised). On the skeptic side, there is often misunderstanding regarding who propagates this narrative and who merely fails to oppose it, which leads to mis-labelling. These issues are discussed in more detail within a companion post to be released shortly. Below deals just with narrative propagation and the forms via which this occurs.

Propagation by authority levels and functional arms / orgs

The catastrophe narrative has emanated from many of the most powerful and influential figures in the West throughout the twenty-first century, as exampled by 39 quotes from 26 sources in footnote 1. While based only on English language reportage, this sample nevertheless includes leaders, ex-leaders and candidate leaders from 8 Western nations (with the US, Germany, UK and France being economically 4 of 7 and politically 4 of 6, top world powers9), along with high ministers, high UN officials, the Pope and UK royalty, over about the last 15 years. The narrative is also framed in a most urgent and emotive manner, which hugely increases its re-transmission capability14, is global in scope (‘the planet’), and unequivocally attributes the imminent catastrophe from global warming to humans (via ‘emissions’), i.e. the ‘C’ is due to AGW. Regarding policy, impending catastrophe is often cited as the main reason to act.

Propagation of the same catastrophe narrative is highly visible below the primary leadership level, as exampled by 28 quotes from 26 sources in footnote 2, which covers lesser-ranking / local politicians, leaders of less influential nations, NGOs, economists and influencers. Further down still becomes a sea of comments dispersed over all media that are often hard to attribute and too voluminous to study in detail, without some serious research-time / manpower.

It appears that the catastrophe narrative finds a home much more readily in some functions of society than others. While this seems obvious for the case of say environmental science or government environmental workers, there appear to be other cases such as the caring professions (who wield much authority), with consequent propagation of catastrophe narrative either as part of expectations for future coping (i.e. with catastrophe), or as advocacy for action by some medical authorities or associations. Though needing more investigation than I’ve had time for, footnote 8 provides a brief insight via a few catastrophe narrative quotes from authorities in the medical / health domain.

Propagation by scientists

Jacobs et al (in 2016 book) finds no merit in the claim ‘that catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is the mainstream scientific position’, i.e. mainstream science as represented by the IPCC AR5 working group chapters13, does not support the concept of a high certainty (absent action) of imminent global catastrophe. This point has often been noted here and at other blogs, typically in the form of vociferous yet justified objection when skeptics inappropriately apply the ‘CAGW’ acronym to mainstream science (much more on this coming in the companion post). However, this doesn’t imply an absence of scientific support for the principle. A minority of scientists, some very vocal, believe that catastrophic scenarios are more realistic. Footnotes 6 and 7 provide examples of about 50 climate scientists plus environmental and other scientists propagating catastrophe narrative in support of these views. This minority occupy the opposite fringe to skeptical science, typically ignoring the more balanced interpretations from their mainstream colleagues, or otherwise criticizing the mainstream / IPCC as way too conservative, even politically diluted.

Main narrative forms

Emergent narratives typically spawn many variants that over many generations evolve to exploit our emotions, as configured by our current worldview (which also they may modify), for best propagation. Some are very blunt, a kind of head-on charge at emotive engagement, typically more successful if they come from higher authority that might get away with this. Others are subtler to varying degrees, and seem more often so from lesser authority sources. A majority of the examples in footnotes 1 and 2 are in the blunt category, for instance a few shorter ones here:

F1 [BAN KI-MOON] U.N. Secretary-General. At COP21 in Paris (2015): Warning that “the clock is ticking towards climate catastrophe”.

F1 [EMMANUEL MACRON] As President of France. Speaking before a joint session of US Congress, via the New York Post (April 2018): ‘Macron said that without a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and pollution, there will be no more Earth. “We are killing our planet. Let’s face it, there is no ‘planet B,’” Macron said.’

F1 [JAN PETER BALKENENDE / TONY BLAIR] Dutch / UK prime ministers, in a joint letter regarding climate change to EU leaders at a summit in Finland, via the BBC (2006): “We have a window of only 10 to 15 years to take the steps we need to avoid crossing catastrophic tipping points.”

F2 [STEPHEN HAWKING] High profile physicist to BBC news (2018): “We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible. Trump’s action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of two hundred and fifty degrees, and raining sulphuric acid.”

Note: the footnotes include links to all sources in order to see context, but an endemic feature of emotive narratives is that they frequently propagate shorn of full context, in which form they better compete for the highest selection (Ban Ki Moon’s clock ticking metaphor is a good example of this). In this form they also turn up, modified or not, within the catastrophe narratives of others. See the terminal metaphors intro section of footnote 7 plus footnote 14, for more on this aspect. Not all catastrophe narrative contains the word ‘catastrophe’ or ‘catastrophic’. For instance, a little over half of the footnote 1 examples do so; the others invoke similar meaning or even worse consequences (see footnote 1 intro for details).

More subtle variants can be categorized via their content and action, including emotively overwhelmed conditionals, fear plus hope, engaging anxiety for children, moral association, agenda incorporation, terminal metaphors, attribution reinforcement, merchants of doubt, the voice of innocence, emotive bitters and survivalist.

Emotively overwhelmed conditionals present caveats regarding catastrophe that an opposing powerful and emotive pitch, often backed by spurious and contradicting high confidence elsewhere within the message, overwhelms within recipients’ minds. The 13 authority sourced quotes in footnote 3 provide a range of examples. While presenting a surface impression of balance, because of the conflicted and emotively asymmetric context this framing will not actually work to correct the false representation of mainstream science. See the intro to footnote 3, and the equivalent section in footnote 7, for much more detail. (Note: Hawking’s ‘could’ above doesn’t even count as an emotively overwhelmed conditional, because no action by Trump will possibly result in this; it’s just false). Here’s an example, with the conditional italicized:

F3 [Jerry Brown] Governor of California. Via Bloomberg.com (Sept 2018): ‘U.S. President Donald Trump is the “enemy of the people” for hampering efforts to reverse potentially catastrophic increases in carbon emissions, Jerry Brown said Monday, blasting White House environmental policy after signing a bill that will move the state toward 100 percent clean energy use by 2045. “Trump is not just AWOL on climate change, he has designated himself saboteur-in-charge,” Brown said in a telephone interview, citing the administration’s actions against California’s emissions standards, electric-car mandates and clean-power rules. “He has designated himself basically enemy of the people. I’m calling him out because climate change is a real threat of death, destruction and ultimate extinction.”’

As climate communicators already noted some years back16, unmitigated fear memes may often produce backlash. Nevertheless, these still proliferate beyond the control of those who would limit them. Yet more sophisticated narrative variants invoking multiple emotions simultaneously, ‘emotive cocktails’, can reduce negative reactions yet retain or increase persuasiveness. One such effective cocktail is fear plus hope, familiar from its usage within various religions. The 13 authority / influencer sourced quotes in footnote 4 provide fear plus hope narrative samples. Whether the hope angle is reasonable or not in itself, invoking this positive emotion to aid digestion of an existential catastrophe crisis narrative (and the consequent end policy pay-load) not backed by mainstream (or skeptical) science, is still inappropriate.

F4 [PAUL KRUGMAN] N.Y. Times columnist. From Wind, sun and fire, New York Times (Feb 2016): “So what’s really at stake in this year’s election? Well, among other things, the fate of the planet. Last year was the hottest on record, by a wide margin, which should — but won’t — put an end to climate deniers’ claims that global warming has stopped. The truth is that climate change just keeps getting scarier; it is, by far, the most important policy issue facing America and the world. Still, this election wouldn’t have much bearing on the issue if there were no prospect of effective action against the looming catastrophe… Salvation from climate catastrophe is, in short, something we can realistically hope to see happen, with no political miracle necessary. But failure is also a very real possibility. Everything is hanging in the balance.”

Engaging anxiety for children. Care for children is a powerful instinct within humans that is easily roused, lending power to an argument if done in its name and assisting re-transmission of the argument. Inclusion within the exampled quotes is no doubt almost always a matter of genuine concerns, especially where parents cite their own children / grandchildren {and despite some cases, e.g. 5ac)i], looking rather more like stoking this concern rather than expressing realistic fears}. Yet the infectious power of such concern in society frequently transcends the issue, triggering guilt in others regarding responsibility for our children, and a need not to be seen as failing in this respect. And while even the smallest possibility of catastrophe might appear to legitimize inclusion of anxiety for children in communication, mis-framing such possibilities does far more harm than good, and once paired up with a false catastrophe narrative having no, improper, or emotively overwhelmed conditionals, the narrative combination has an amplified persuasive effect, promoting an argument not based upon mainstream (or skeptical) science. This variant is common, see footnotes 5aa) to 5ac) plus 1i), 1n), 1u)ii], 1y), 3m), and below for many more of the same from scientists. The citing of children sets an approximate timescale for anticipated catastrophe (i.e. presumably before they are pensioners). Here is a short example of engaging anxiety for children:

F1 [HILLARY CLINTON] about 6 months after announcing presidential candidacy, time.com (Nov 2015): “I won’t let anyone to take us backward, deny our economy the benefits of harnessing a clean energy future, or force our children to endure the catastrophe that would result from unchecked climate change.”

Establishing an issue as one that is fundamentally moral, means that complexity and opposition often get steamrollered beneath moral affront. Our reactions associated with moral recognition are there for in-group reinforcement of acceptable baseline behaviors (which are relative to group and era), and affront works without the long process of having to navigate complexity. It’s a shortcut. Yet in our complex modern world that shortcut is often challenged by the entanglement of many social groups (one size fits all solutions may be inappropriate), by scientific uncertainties, by the likelihood of unintended social consequences (i.e. even where physical science on a particular issue seems sound), and more. Sometimes there just is genuine complexity which needs to be carefully navigated rather than steamrollered flat, in order to arrive at an equitable solution and without major unintended consequences.

Bearing all this in mind, in the context of climate change a powerful promotion of just one policy view (swift major emissions reduction) as a moral imperative, when an immature science is still grappling with a wicked system, and with fossil fuels clearly having major social upsides too, will likely cause more problems than it solves. But whether or not this turns out to be the case, doing so based upon the pretext of a high certainty of imminent global catastrophe (e.g. citing ‘the planet’, or ‘humanity’, or ‘life’) while also implying that such is backed by mainstream science, is illegitimate. Nevertheless, there are many and varied examples of narrative that forge just such a moral association. A moral angle is not only invoked by the actual word ‘moral’, or legal equivalents like ‘just / justice’, or religious equivalents like ‘sacred’, but also via an association with particular social behaviors we consider immoral, such as criminality or greed, or implied moral wrong-doing via the deployment of a ‘guilt’ label. See footnotes 5ba) ‘sacred duty’, 5bb) ‘if this question of whether carbon emissions is not a moral question then I do not know quite what is’, 1m)i] ‘deeply immoral’, 2m) ‘no greater crime against humanity’, 2z) ‘justice requires’, 3b) ‘global leaders have been guilty of willful denial’, 5ac) ‘some mad person keeps telling them that it is a false alarm’, 5ce) ‘When we inflict our greed upon nature, nature sometimes explodes’. Here is a full example of moral association:

F2 [IAN DUNLOP] Former Chair, Australian Coal Association & CEO, Australian Institute of Company Directors, in the Guardian (March 2018): “Climate change is accelerating far faster than expected, to the point where it now represents an existential threat to humanity, that is a threat posing permanent large negative consequences which will be irreversible, an outcome being locked in today by our insistence on expanding the use of fossil fuels… …Already one of the world’s largest carbon polluters when exports are included, Australia is complicit in destroying the conditions which make human life possible. There is no greater crime against humanity.”

The agenda incorporation variant re-purposes the existing momentum of the catastrophe narrative to claim there is a solution within another cause, and hence energize that cause. Or at least it leverages the catastrophe narrative to blame or attack those opposed to such a separate cause. Given the catastrophe narrative is not supported by mainstream (or indeed skeptic) science, of course not mentioned, this is wholly inappropriate. For footnote examples 5db), 5dc), 5de), 5df) and 5dg) the agenda is anti-capitalism. For example 5da) the agenda is anti-Brexit, and for 5dd) it is anti-fracking. While the latter has indeed a direct overlap with the climate change domain via the fossil-fuel angle, this doesn’t make citing a high certainty of imminent climate catastrophe any more legitimate in relation to the mainstream climate science position. See the agenda incorporation intro in footnote 5 for its role in cultural alliances that can more permanently entangle causes. Here is an example of agenda incorporation:

F5 [EVO MORALES] President of Bolivia. At Paris Climate Summit, via The Telegraph [look for 12:50] (2015): “We are here today to voice our deep concern at the dramatic effects of climate change in the world to date. These are threatening our existence and the existence of mother earth. Saving mother earth to save life – that is our endeavour.” He makes an “urgent appeal to the Governments of capitalist powers of the world for them to stop destroying our planet irreversibly” and says “mother earth is getting dangerously close to its end… the capitalist system is responsible for that”.

Terminal metaphors compare the scenario of Earth (or humanity) under conditions of man-made climate change, to every-day real-life scenarios (or sometimes fantasy scenarios) having a terminal outcome (i.e. death), or at least a very high probability of terminal outcome (absent urgent action, which as a part of the metaphor is the equivalent of emissions reduction). E.g. Earth as a very ill person who is dying of a dire disease (which is anthropogenic climate change). The great simplicity of such metaphors opens the door wide for bias, because all the scientific hedging and caveats and balanced considerations are typically not promoted into the comparative scenario (indeed this would be very hard in most cases); the metaphor expression simply loses all of these. Hence the emotive message that Earth or humanity (or ‘all life’) simply dies, i.e. a catastrophe narrative in other guise.

Such metaphors emerge precisely because of their simplicity and their consequent focused emotive punch regarding the death of the planet (or life or civilization, depending upon the precise form). Some texts including terminal metaphors do maintain a caveat (or more), yet typically outside of the metaphor section itself. Hence the full text is contradictory, emphasizing a high certainty of terminality at one point, yet indicating a lesser probability elsewhere. Quite apart from having the same impact as the above examples of emotively overwhelmed conditionals (i.e. the emotive part of the text, the metaphor, will win out over the more objective / less emotive caveat within public perceptions), a crucial issue regarding emotive narratives is that they are frequently retransmitted shorn of context anyhow. So, in this form the metaphor alone may be built into the next person’s narrative as an embedded quote or paraphrase or whatever. Hence in such cases, the catastrophe narrative escapes into the wild without the partial bounds its original expression contained. See footnotes 1v) suicide, 2e)ii] a giant car heading towards a brick wall, 2u) drunk driver and inevitable car wreck, 3l) ‘Global Warming is Now a Weapon of Mass Destruction’, 4b) We are careering towards the edge of the abyss, 5ac) children in burning house with no help, 5ca) suicidal, 5ga) shiny new car driving too fast on a wet, curvy road, heading straight for a crowd of pedestrians, 5gb) a runaway train headed over the climate cliff as we stoke the engine with more coal to increase its speed. Here is a (short) full example:

F2 [PETER WHISH-WILSON] Australian senator, The Greens, referring to the CO2 parts-per-million in the planetary atmosphere (May 2016): “If 400 ppm was a blood alcohol reading then we would be heading for an inevitable car wreck.”

Please see the attribution reinforcement intros of footnotes 5 and 7 for this complex variant. Likewise for merchants of doubt plus the more minor catastrophe narrative variants voice of innocence, emotive bitters, survivalist and irony.

Narrative forms from scientists

Apart from Steven Hawking, no examples above are from scientists. Yet surprisingly both climate and other scientists propagate highly emotive catastrophe narrative in all the same variants as above, and arguably, theirs is more lurid and emotively penetrating plus less objective. Footnote 6 groups 30 mostly standard form quotes from 26 scientists (15 climate, 11 environmental or ‘other’). Footnote 7 covers another 26 quotes from a similar mix of 24 scientists categorized per the variants above. Given they span the same variant range as the non-scientists, this strongly suggests that their narrative owes much more to the same psychologically rooted selection pressures than to [non-mainstream] physical climate science theories supporting the catastrophic.

For example, terminal metaphors from these scientists include 6b) climate is a battalion of intergalactic smoking missiles, 6c) by driving global warming we are unleashing hell, 6d) very fast train heading for the wall, 6g) the climate dragon is being poked, and eventually the dragon becomes pissed off enough to trash the place, 6h) Imagine a giant asteroid on a direct collision course with Earth. That is the equivalent of what we face now, 6t) automobile driving with bad brakes toward a cliff in the fog, 6v) Unaddressed man-made climate change is… state terrorism, sanctioned corporate terrorism, carbon terrorism, climate terrorism, 6y) playing Russian Roulette with the future survival of human civilization [traditionally this is just a one in six chance when using a six-chamber revolver], 7ha), humanity in a boat, which ‘boat is floating right into a powerful and deadly waterfall’ that is climate change, 7hb) Earth suffering a ‘dire’ illness to have a ‘shortened life’ as ‘the pain and illness unfold’, 7hc) Earth as a very sick person, who is ‘slipping away from us’, 7ea) biblical portent of Noah type floods, 8a) comparison to World War III (very probably not terminal for everyone, but assuming it’s nuclear and truly a world war, terminal for large swathes of humanity and on a timescale far shorter than anything mainstream science proposes as likely for climate change. And scientists engaging anxiety for children as part of their catastrophe narrative can be seen in footnote examples 6g), 6h), 6p), 6s), 6z), 7bc), 7fa) and 7fb). Scientists also propagate some of the scariest forms of the catastrophe narrative, for example:

F6 [JAMES HANSEN] Up to 2013, head of NASA GISS. In a National Public Radio interview with Guy Raz (April 2017): “Imagine a giant asteroid on a direct collision course with Earth. That is the equivalent of what we face now, yet we dither taking no action to divert the asteroid.”

F6 [GIDEON POLYA] Bio-chemist, author, activist. See Inquiry Submission to Australian Senate Select Committee on Climate Policy. Via MWC News (2015): “The world faces catastrophe unless global warming and this Arctic CH4 release can be stopped. Unaddressed man-made climate change is set to exacerbate an already worsening climate genocide and cause 10 billion avoidable deaths this century leaving a predicted only 0.5 billion of Humanity alive.”

F6 [GUY McPHERSON], Professor Emeritus of Natural Resources and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona. Via his Nature Bats Last site, (2011): “About a decade ago I realized we were putting the finishing touches on our own extinction party, with the party probably over by 2030. During the intervening period I’ve seen nothing to sway this belief, and much evidence to reinforce it.”

F7 [ERIC HOLTHAUS] Meteorologist and Journalist. Via Vice (Mar 2015): “If you’re like me, climate change keeps you up at night on a regular basis. It’s not so much that we’re still on track for the worst-case global warming scenario, or that the survival of countless species—not to mention civilization as we know it—hangs in the balance, but the quiet understanding that our kids are going to feel some of the worst impacts in just a few brief decades… For natural pessimists, the inexorable destruction by climate change leads to thoughts that fall along the lines of this Jezebel headline, which asks: ‘Why Would I Ever Want to Bring a Child Into This Fucked Up World? Because really, why the hell would someone of procreating age today even consider having a baby? It feels like an utter tragedy to create new life, fall in love with it, and then watch it writhe in agony as the world singes to a crisp…”

F7 [STEPHAN RAHMSTORF] Oceanographer and climatologist, Professor of Physics of the Oceans at Potsdam University. i] Letter in response to science communicator Joe Duggan’s question ‘how do you feel about climate change?’ (2016?): “Sometimes I have this dream. I’m going for a hike and discover a remote farm house on fire. Children are calling for help from the upper windows. So I call the fire brigade. But they don’t come, because some mad person keeps telling them that it is a false alarm. The situation is getting more and more desperate, but I cant convince the firemen to get going. I cannot wake up from this nightmare.”

[NOTE: see footnotes for fuller contributions from all of these individuals].

A major issue with this public propagation is that it appears to be very rare that these scientists are billed as non-mainstream in respect of catastrophic outlooks; so the public (and likely many authority figures too) believe that they do represent the mainstream position. The ‘scientist’ label and their specific status as a professor or meteorologist or oceanographer or whatever, projects the authority of science, adding to the long list of authority sources propagating the catastrophe narrative. The A-list authorities mentioned at the beginning of section 2, indeed rafts of lesser authorities, NGOs, businesses, religious leaders etc. too, also constantly reinforce that this narrative is underwritten by ‘the’ science, which is not so.

The above quoted examples from scientists are very blunt, but the footnotes devote significant space to unravelling a few of the more complex and subtle forms of catastrophe narrative from scientists.

Motivations and narrative emergence

Notwithstanding that any human enterprise large enough will have a few bad apples regarding dishonesty or greed or whatever, belief in climate catastrophe and propagation of catastrophe narrative in any of its above forms, inclusive of all their contradictions and issues, in no way implies deliberate manipulation is in play. Terms above such as ‘inappropriate’ or ‘illegitimate’ do not imply culpability. The catastrophe narrative variants are emergent, and this emergence is via subconscious selection of the most engaging variants, which consequently will be propagated. There is no implication of illness or dishonesty or any other dysfunction, and it’s worth bearing in mind that we are all subject to the influence of emotive cultural narratives, though it works within domains (can be free of major influence in one domain, but not in another). In the great majority of cases adherents fully, indeed passionately, believe the narrative they propagate, albeit being emotively not reasonably convinced. Indeed, this is the great power of such narratives. There may be a minority of cases where very fervent belief leads to noble cause corruption.

Note: in the narrative soup of the public domain, variants may combine and meanings are not by any means black and white. Some quotes within footnote 2 show local or specific issues beginning to color the global context of the catastrophe narrative. This aspect can proceed to such an emphasis on the local / specific issue that the context may no longer really be global catastrophe. This doesn’t necessarily translate to any mainstream scientific support for the profiled issue, yet can make science / narrative contradictions more ambiguous. Likewise, some narrative variants dilute a ‘full on’ global catastrophe message. Yet similarly this doesn’t typically mean they will merit any backing from mainstream science. Variants generally arise independently of the mainstream scientific community, or exaggerate or take out of context snippets from that community, so are much more often misaligned than aligned. So even this subset are highly emotive pitches of the same ilk, that typically aren’t backed by mainstream climate science.

Companion post and common footnotes

While everyone is likely familiar with at least common / A-list catastrophe narratives, I nevertheless recommend reading all the footnotes file.

Link to footnotes file [ Footnotes ]

Although a long slog through ~180 quotes, digesting a large variety of categorized variants plus contextual notes all together, gives deeper insight on the forms and subtleties via which it most efficiently propagates through engaging emotive responses. A category I haven’t addressed is journalistic / columnist contributions, i.e. their own content not just a reflection of politician / influencer embedded quotes; this is a vast area and beyond my time at the moment.

This post only looks at the main catastrophe narrative forms and spread via different authority sources. A companion post to be published here at Climate Etc soon, addresses misunderstandings (on both sides of the conflicted domain) about the applicability of the label ‘CAGW’, which happens also to be a great vehicle to explore the deeper issues associated with the authoritative presence of the catastrophe narrative, as the same kind of misunderstandings in the wider domain mask the critical significance of this narrative. Note: the footnotes file is common to both posts, so if you come across any unexplained nuggets, hold fire and your curiosity will hopefully soon be satisfied.

Andy West.

www.wearenarrative.wordpress.com

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Moderation note:  As with all guest posts, keep your comments civil and relevant.

420 responses to “The catastrophe narrative

  1. Andy West,

    Thank you for this excellent post. An excellent recent book on similar theme is:
    Searching for the Catastrophe Signal: The Origins of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change‘ by Bernie Lewin.

    It has excellent information on how the IPCC got to be what it is.

  2. Good post. A nice source of quotes.

  3. F4 [PAUL KRUGMAN] N.Y. Times columnist. From Wind, sun and fire, New York Times (Feb 2016): “So what’s really at stake in this year’s election? Well, among other things, the fate of the planet. Last year was the hottest on record

    What complete nonsense.

    250 Ma ago the global mean surface temperature (GMST) was 21 C warmer and tropical average temperature was 17 C warmer than now. Life survived.

    50 Ma ago the GMST was 17 C warmer than now and tropical average temperature was 6 C warmer than now. Average annual temperature at the North Poles was about 18 C. Life thrived much better than now. It was much more abundant. Tropical forests from pole to pole and life thriving in the seas. Palm trees and crocodiles near the North Pole.

    Paleo temperatures sourced from : https://www.researchgate.net/publication/324017003_Phanerozoic_Temperatures_Tropical_Mean_Annual_Temperature_TMAT_Polar_Mean_Annual_Temperature_PMAT_and_Global_Mean_Annual_Temperature_GMAT_for_the_last_540_million_years

  4. The good news is that despite all the talk of catastrophe on one side and fr@ud on the other, the scientific consensus as reflected by the IPCC was moderate, and the policy response as shown by Paris was also moderate, too moderate for some.

    • JimD: The good news is that despite all the talk of catastrophe on one side and fr@ud on the other, the scientific consensus as reflected by the IPCC was moderate, and the policy response as shown by Paris was also moderate, too moderate for some.

      The contrasts have been frequently noted: (a) between the scientific information and the “catastrophe” narrative; (b) between the minimalist Paris agreement (almost no action was pledged any time soon) and the urgency of the warnings.

      • Paris is a start, not a solution.

      • Paris is a catastrophe-initiator and a move towards mindless and ill-based policy in which being in tune with the popular wave displaces rigorous analysis and beneficial policies regarding real problems.

      • The clear message from the IPCC to the Paris Coference.
        1. Dangerous climate change is caused by CO2 emissions by humans.
        2. If we don’t do something to drastically reduce emissions there will be a catastrophe for humans or the earth.
        3. Therefore the political leaders of the world must act now (or soon) to reduce these emissions, probably by drastically reducing the burning of coal and oil.
        There is no consideration of whether the IPCC is correct. Its conclusions are accepted as fact.
        There is no consideration either of whether the countermeasures proposed would be effective in ANY way, except for the ridiculous idea that reduction of a certain amount will reduce an increase in future temperatures by some specific amount. There is no factual basis for any such assumption, yet the Paris policy makers think they have done something meaningful for the world’s environment.
        How stupid can they be? Don’t they see that the Emperor has no clothes??

      • That’s the zero-sum Lomborg view. Apparently you can’t have third world immunizations and a sensible energy policy at home at the same time.

      • Geoff Sherrington

        Faustino aka Genghis Cunn | November 16, 2018 at 12:50 am |

        Yours is an excellent, succinct summary of one of the major dismal consequences of the actions that Andy West has referenced so well, with pertinent quotes.
        It is all nice work, but how is it to be sold to those who matter? Geoff.

      • 》Apparently you can’t have third world immunizations and a sensible energy policy at home at the same time.

        Yes it’s a total mystery why money spent on A can’t also be spent on B.

      • The mystery is why Lomborg thinks that the same country can’t improve its energy system while also giving third world aid. Many do that already. What is he thinking? He specializes in a false choice narrative.

      • Ah yes – it’s a false choice that money spent on A can’t also be spent on B.

    • the “talk” of catastrophe has been accompanied by sh*tloads of money that would have been better spent elsewhere actually saving people. The IPCC was founded on being corrupt, supporting ONE agenda, masquerading as a source for scientific output. They should go to jail.

      • This is just one example of the fr@ud narrative that I was talking about. Anti-science conspiracy theories abound.

      • JimD

        And which fr@ud narrative would that be? Given some of the delusional inductive reasoning practiced by the establishment, the Sigmund narrative might be more appropriate.

      • Jim D,

        Although I agree it is very unlikely that the IPCC was set up in a parlor in one of George Soro’s mansions, there is little doubt that the IPCC came into being with a political solution for which they needed to legitimize a problem for. In other words, everyone knew the correct (moral) answer that was expected from the start. Anyone interested in helping the enterprise knew which direction to choose when faced with the inevitable powers of discretion. So, the Soros result is just the same.

        It’s the dynamic, which can go in unpredictable directions that is fascinating and what likely inspired another George, who added words like doublespeak and thought-crime to our lexicon.

      • Ron, you still seem to assume some kind of inherent dishonesty or motivated reasoning by any scientist who believes that rising CO2 and rapid climate change is a problem for the environment. Why can it not be true that rising CO2 really is a problem and that scientists have long realized that.

      • Jim D: “Ron, you still seem to assume some kind of inherent dishonesty or motivated reasoning….”

        Jim, motivated reasoning does not equate to dishonesty. People with different religious affiliations, for example, can all be honest people but hold different beliefs. Where conflicting beliefs are held, logically one or both must be incorrect. Science’s success in progressing human knowledge is exactly due to the fact that without science good people are easily wrong.

        Before the advent of science truth was based on consensus rather than meticulously controlled testing and mathematical analysis of data. Consensus is still by far the driving force governing beliefs held by populations, even by scientists. Controlled science is slow, tedious and can only provide answers where controls exist. Climate science has huge uncertainty problems. Where uncertainty exists placeholder beliefs are used. This is naturally filled by tribal dogma, whose good honest leaders find irresistible opportunities for self-validation.

        A side note: Villain vanquishing is also irresistible core human tendency.

      • Follow the money in climate science. Almost all of which comes from government.. And government self-interest lies in reasons for more government. And Catastrophic AGW is a real humdinger reason. So climate scientists whose conclusions support this would go straight to the front of the government grant queue.

        It is thus virtually impossible for government climate science as a whole to adhere to the honest (witness eg the scandalous official coverups of Climategate), open-minded, dispassionate and objective approach we expect of genuine scientists There will be an unavoidable inbuilt bias to alarmism, yielding an advocacy science masquerading as the real thing. All without any conspiring needed, everyone just doing their best to enhance the wellbeing of their benefactor, without anyone having to tell them to.

      • “open-minded, dispassionate and objective approach we expect of genuine scientists” Governments can do this, e.g. the FDA insistence on proper research study design and delineation of outcomes for safety and efficacy.
        We also have reasonable and effective vehicle exhaust standards that have a measurably positive effect on air quality. Without government interventions and regulations would would be in must worse shape. The problem starts with the equating of science as practiced in other fields with “science” in environmental affairs and climatology. There are a handful of true scientists working on climate issues, but you cannot do objective research if you start with the premise that human activity in the industrial age is a prime cause of any and every climate phenomenon. The null hypothesis is that there is no effect. That should be the standard for any statistical test. The great majority of people working in these fields either don’t know or don’t care about the rules for scientific evidence.

      • bfj, a lot of the funding has come from Republican administrations that are none too happy with AGW so that particular theory of government backing falls apart. The results of measurements support the science even those from a Koch-backed project called BEST. Funding was not able to overcome good old observations, and the primary evidence is observational (warming, imbalance, glacier loss, paleoclimate). Anyway why would a fossil-fuel rich government back science that is so inconvenient for the continued use of fossil fuels? How does that conspiracy theory go among those that propagate it. Who profits? The scientists don’t have a wealthy lobby and nor is science a get-rich-quick type of job. If Trump could fund something that disproves AGW he would, but he can’t because it’s science and as such it’s a global effort and it works on the preponderance of evidence.

      • ” If Trump could fund something that disproves AGW he would…”

        Jim, If Trump could fund anything I’m sure it be a certain wall. The NSF seems still to be funding tree ring studies. Gavin still is the director for NASA’s Goddard Institute. Liberals still largely control civil service and 90% of gov jobs, outside of law enforcement.

      • Jim D And It is the institution government itself – mainly the large armies of career bureaucrats, science lackeys, etc, as opposed to the specific party in power, whose interests lie in expanding government or its and their own sakes.

        So your rather childlike hope for honest, objective government climate science immediately falls apart. And with the vested interest clear for all to see, your talk of a “conspiracy” is just as clearly a dishonourable little strawman.

        > The scientists don’t have a wealthy lobby
        An outrageous lie. The funding of climate science is almost entirely from government. Their away thus lies on a preponderance of funds rather than evidence (unequivocal evidence of imminent catastrophe, that is – CAGW, not simply AGW).

      • bfj, is this part of the deep state conspiracy theory or a whole different one?

      • Jim D
        Neither of those pathetic strawmen. As you keep ignoring, no need to concoct “conspiracy” when clear vested of the funder exists. That’s why the only people who try and bring it up are desperate, integrity-free alarmists.

  5. “We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible. Trump’s action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of two hundred and fifty degrees, and raining sulphuric acid.” ~Stephen Hawking

    Based on his prior prognostications, Steve gave up on Earth long before Trump was elected. Assuming he knew enough about Venus to know the absurdity of comparing Earth to it indicates to me that he did not mean to be taken seriously… which I guess says a lot about those closes to him and what he really thought about them.

  6. Apart from Earth’s natural recovery from the Little Ice Age cooling (.05 deg. C. per decade), and temporary recession, or volcanic-induced warming, all of the anomalous warming that has occurred has unwittingly been CAUSED by the Clean Air efforts of the environmental movement!

  7. Just remove emotion and substitute religion. Emotion can be ephemeral, religion becomes a frame of reference, a world view based on emotion.

    Scientists have a right to be religious on their own time, but religion has no place in science.

  8. It’s Malthus all over. Sticking to worst case scenarios that will never materialise. The current CO2-emissions are well below the SRES A1B scenarios.

    Latest emission outlooks by the International Energy Agency, BP and Shell ALL stay well under the A1B scenenario for their worst case.

    RCP8.5 won’t happen.

    Ever.

  9. I don’t understand. You say that

    Within the public domain, there is a widespread narrative of certainty (absent deep emissions cuts) of near-term (decades) climate catastrophe. This narrative is not supported by mainstream science

    Then you say that

    A minority of scientists, some very vocal, believe that catastrophic scenarios are more realistic. Footnotes 6 and 7 provide examples of about 50 climate scientists plus environmental and other scientists propagating catastrophe narrative in support of these views.

    First, fifty climate scientists plus environmental and other scientists is NOT a minority in the public eye, because they are a very, very vocal group.

    Nor is it true that the IPCC is NOT pushing the catastrophist narrative as you claim. Here’s an example

    The report issued Monday by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), says the planet will reach the crucial threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels by as early as 2030, precipitating the risk of extreme drought, wildfires, floods and food shortages for hundreds of millions of people.

    In addition, the UN scientists claimed that there would be 50 million climate refugees by 2010. Catastrophism run wild.

    And here’s the Union of Concerned Scientists, saying that the catastrophe is already upon us:

    Global warming is already having significant and harmful effects on our communities, our health, and our climate. Sea level rise is accelerating. The number of large wildfires is growing. Dangerous heat waves are becoming more common. Extreme storm events are increasing in many areas. More severe droughts are occurring in others.

    In short, there are many, many mainstream climate scientists who push the catastrophe narrative. You can hear them pontificating on impending arctic ice “death spirals” and sinking atolls and extreme storms and 3°C temperature rises every day of the week, every week of the year, and every year of the decade.

    Finally, if mainstream climate scientists do NOT believe in the catastrophe narrative, they certainly are very good about hiding their disbelief. When is did you hear one of them speak out against e.g. the ludicrous idea, disproven by Charles Darwin, that coral atolls are endangered by sea level rise? That claim is farcical on the face of it, but it was left for folks like me to point out that the atoll scientists’ new clothes were invisible … and I got grief about it for a decade until the recent work by Webb and Kench proved that I was right, that the atolls were in no danger from sea level rise.

    Bad news, Andy. Most climate scientists have swallowed the catastrophist Koolaid.

    So I deny the very base assumption of your post, that there is a large majority of climate scientists who do NOT believe in the catastrophe narrative …

    w.

    • Wiilis, what you say is certainly the case in Australia. Here is one (of many) examples. Stephen Lewandowski arranged for 13 articles on different aspects of climate change to be published on The Conversation. 87 Australian academics endorsed it. The list of signatories is near the end of Part one followed by the list of and links to 13 articles (called Parts 1 to 13):
      Part One: Climate change is real: an open letter from the scientific community
      https://theconversation.com/climate-change-is-real-an-open-letter-from-the-scientific-community-1808

      The last article is titled:
      The false, the confused and the mendacious: how the media gets it wrong on climate change

      • The 87 signatories are:

        “Winthrop Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, Australian Professorial Fellow, UWA

        Dr. Matthew Hipsey, Research Assistant Professor, School of Earth and Environment, Centre of Excellence for Ecohydrology, UWA

        Dr Julie Trotter, Research Assistant Professor, School of Earth and Environment, UWA Oceans Institute, UWA

        Winthrop Professor Malcolm McCulloch, F.R.S., Premier’s Research Fellow, UWA Oceans Institute, School of Earth and Environment, UWA

        Professor Kevin Judd, School of Mathematics and Statistics, UWA

        Dr Thomas Stemler, Assistant Professor, School of Mathematics and Statistics, UWA

        Dr. Karl-Heinz Wyrwoll, Senior Lecturer, School of Earth and Environment, UWA

        Dr. Andrew Glikson, Earth and paleoclimate scientist, School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Research School of Earth Science, Planetary Science Institute, ANU

        Prof Michael Ashley, School of Physics, Faculty of Science, UNSW

        Prof David Karoly, School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne

        Prof John Abraham, Associate Professor, School of Engineering, University of St. Thomas

        Prof Ian Enting, ARC Centre for Mathematics and Statistics of Complex Systems, University of Melbourne

        Prof John Wiseman, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, University of Melbourne

        Associate Professor Ben Newell, School of Psychology, Faculty of Science, UNSW

        Prof Matthew England, co-Director, Climate Change Research Centre, Faculty of Science, UNSW

        Dr Alex Sen Gupta Climate Change Research Centre,Faculty of Science, UNSW

        Prof. Mike Archer AM, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, UNSW

        Prof Steven Sherwood, co-Director, Climate Change Research Centre, Faculty of Science, UNSW

        Dr. Katrin Meissner, ARC Future Fellow, Climate Change Research Centre, Faculty of Science, UNSW

        Dr Jason Evans, ARC Australian Research Fellow, Climate Change Research Centre,Faculty of Science, UNSW

        Prof Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Global Change Institute, UQ

        Dr Andy Hogg, Fellow, Research School of Earth Sciences, ANU

        Prof John Quiggin, School of Economics, School of Political Science & Intnl Studies, UQ

        Prof Chris Turney FRSA FGS FRGS, Climate Change Research Centre and School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, UNSW

        Dr Gab Abramowitz, Lecturer, Climate Change Research Centre,Faculty of Science, UNSW

        Prof Andy Pitman, Climate Change Research Centre, Faculty of Science, UNSW

        Prof Barry Brook, Sir Hubert Wilkins Chair of Climate Change, University of Adelaide

        Prof Mike Sandiford, School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne

        Dr Michael Box, Associate Professor, School of Physics, Faculty of Science, UNSW

        Prof Corey Bradshaw, Director of Ecological Modelling, The Environment Institute, The University of Adelaide

        Dr Paul Dargusch, School of Agriculture & Food Science, UQ

        Prof Nigel Tapper, Professor Environmental Science, School of Geography and Environmental Science Monash University

        Prof Jason Beringer, Associate Professor & Deputy Dean of Research, School of Geography & Environmental Science, Monash University

        Prof Neville Nicholls, Professorial Fellow, School of Geography & Environmental Science, Monash University

        Prof Dave Griggs, Director, Monash Sustainability Institute, Monash University

        Prof Peter Sly, Medicine Faculty, School of Paediatrics & Child Health, UQ

        Dr Pauline Grierson, Senior Lecturer, School of Plant Biology, Ecosystems Research Group, Director of West Australian Biogeochemistry Centre, UWA

        Prof Jurg Keller, IWA Fellow, Advanced Water Management Centre, UQ

        Prof Amanda Lynch, School of Geography & Environmental Science, Monash University

        A/Prof Steve Siems, School of Mathematical Sciences, Monash University

        Prof Justin Brookes, Director, Water Research Centre, The University of Adelaide

        Prof Glenn Albrecht, Professor of Sustainability, Director: Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy (ISTP), Murdoch University

        Winthrop Professor Steven Smith, Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, UWA

        Dr Kerrie Unsworth, School of Business, UWA

        Dr Pieter Poot, Assistant Professor in Plant Conservation Biology, School of Plant Biology, UWA

        Adam McHugh, Lecturer, School of Engineering and Energy, Murdoch University

        Dr Louise Bruce, Research Associate, School of Earth and Environment, UWA

        Dr Ailie Gallant, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne

        Dr Will J Grant, Australian National Centre for Public Awareness of Science, ANU

        Rick A. Baartman, Fellow of the American Physical Society

        William GC Raper, Senior Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO (retired)

        Dr Chris Riedy, Research Director, Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney

        Ben McNeil, Senior Fellow, Climate Change Research Centre, UNSW

        Paul Beckwith, Department of Geography, University of Ottawa

        Tim Leslie, PhD candidate, Climate Change Research Centre, UNSW

        Dr Peter Manins, Chief Research Scientist, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research (post-retirement Fellow)

        Prof Philip Jennings, Professor of Energy Studies, Murdoch University

        Dr John Tibby, Senior Lecturer, Geography, Environment and Population, University of Adelaide

        Prof Ray Wills, Adjunct Professor, School of Earth and Environment, UWA

        Jess Robertson, Research School of Earth Sciences, ANU

        Dr Paul Tregoning, Senior Fellow, Research School of Earth Sciences, ANU

        Dr Doone Wyborn, Adjunct Professor, Geothermal Centre of Excellence, University of Queensland

        Dr. Jonathan Whale, Director, National Small Wind Turbine Centre (NSWTC), Murdoch University

        Dr Tas van Ommen, Australian Antarctic Division, Cryosphere Program Leader, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems CRC

        Dr Jim Salinger, Honorary Research Associate, School of Environment, University of Auckland

        Dr P. Timon McPhearson, Assistant Professor of Urban Ecology, Tishman Environment and Design Center, The New School, New York

        Prof Deo Prasad, Director Masters in Sustainable Development, UNSW

        Prof Rob Harcourt, Facility Leader, Australian Animal Tagging, Monitoring System Integrated Marine Observing System and Professor of Marine Ecology, Macquarie University

        Dr John Hunter, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems CRC, University of Tasmania

        Dr Michael Brown, ARC Future Fellow & Senior Lecturer, School of Physics, Monash University

        Dr Karen McNamara, Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development, University of the South Pacific

        Dr Paul Marshall, Director – Climate Change, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

        Dr Ivan Haigh, Post-doctoral Research Associate, UWA Oceans Institute and School of Environmental Systems Engineering

        Dr Ian Allison, Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC

        Dr Jennifer Coopersmith, Honorary Research Associate Department of Civil Engineering and Physical Sciences, La Trobe University

        Professor Emeritus Peter Kershaw, School of Geography and Environmental Science, Monash University

        Professor Peter Gell, Director, Centre for Environmental Management, University of Ballarat

        Prof David A Hood, Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering, Queensland University of Technology

        Professor Lesley Hughes, Head of Biological Sciences and Co-director of Climate Futures at Macquarie, Macquarie University

        Dr Melanie Bishop, Senior Lecturer, Department of Biological Sciences, Climate Futures at Macquarie, Macquarie University

        Dr Jane Williamson, Senior Lecturer, Department of Biological Sciences, Climate Futures at Macquarie, Macquarie University

        Associate Professor Grant Wardell-Johnson, Director of the Curtin Institute of Biodiversity and Climate, Curtin University

        Associate Professor Ralph Chapman, Director, Graduate Programme in Environmental Studies, Victoria University of Wellington

        Dr Malcolm Walter, Director, Australian Centre for Astrobiology, University of New South Wales

        Dr Darrell Kemp, Senior Lecturer, Department of Biological Sciences, and Co-leader of Terrestrial Adaptation Research, Climate Futures at Macquarie, Macquarie University

        Dr Liz Hanna, Fellow, National Center for Epidemiology & Population Health, ANU

        Dr. Patrick J. Conaghan, Honorary Associate, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Macquarie University.”

      • ’87 Australian academics endorsed it.’

        Indeed. In the second post I point to a ‘no planet B’ (catastrophe variant) letter from 154 mainly Australian scientists. Yet the vast majority of these are not associated with core climate science, and of those who are only a subset have likely contributed directly to the IPCC AR5 Chapters, which for the purpose of this post represents ‘the science’ as it is the only thing we have that high authorities (and everyone else) can point to for their backing (albeit I’m limiting context to the Chapters and not SPMs or Press etc.) And the backing is simply not there. Environmental science seems particularly to be overwhelmed by the catastrophe narrative in all its forms, but environmental science is not climate science. Thanks for the letter link, at a quick glance I notice some of these names turn up in my list of quotes.

      • Geoff Sherrington

        Peter,
        Did you note as I did that most of the people on this list are employed in the ‘global warming industry’ and that without its continuation, they would be out of work?
        One wonders how much their words are to protect their future employment, as opposed to genuinely-held, personally-researched scientific understanding and agreement. Geoff

    • And what about the statements on AGW issued by over 50 of the world’s scientific societies? Although they avoid emotional language, rarely even going as far as “dire,” what they foresee if action isn’t taken amounts to a catastrophe. What percentage of such statements advocate rapid CO2 mitigation? (someone should investigate this.) I suspect it’s at least a third. If so, they are in the CAGW camp, aren’t they?

      • Roger, They’re for sure in the ‘CAGW’ camp if their statements include a high certainty of global catastrophe (absent major emissions cuts), or whatever wording amounts to that (‘catastrophe’ isn’t the only word choice). But as you imply there aren’t clean lines, depending on language they may do enough to satisfy the heavy moral pressure without actually quite claiming the catastrophic. However, the world’s scientific societies are not made up of climate scientists anyhow, these are probably in a massive minority for every one even of those they actually belong to. Nor is it likely (as we have seen from some battles) that the statements reflect the majority of members anyway, but the stance of a steering committee or whatever. And as noted to Willis, the cellular nature of science helps other disciplines to tumble into the catastrophic hole, which nevertheless is not supported by the IPCC AR5 Chapters, which is really the only thing that would let all these societies or presidents or prime ministers or all the rest off the hook regarding their claims of scientific support, if it did claim a high certainty of global catastrophe, but it doesn’t.

    • I don’t know about the majority/minority issue, but I do know there are not many scientists writing to the top newspapers complaining about the newspaper’s over the top, hysterical articles that are short on science but long on the fear factor. As long as the silent majority stays that way, they are complicit in pushing the catastrophic narrative. In this case, silence is deafening and says everything we need to know about their beliefs.

    • Hi Willis, thanks for dropping by.

      “First, fifty climate scientists plus environmental and other scientists is NOT a minority in the public eye, because they are a very, very vocal group.”

      Indeed. But a perceived minority is not an actual minority, and this public perception doesn’t make it so. OTOH this doesn’t mean that the public (mis)perception isn’t a very major problem. I agree, and cite exactly this in the post as a ‘major issue’:

      ‘A major issue with this public propagation is that it appears to be very rare that these scientists are billed as non-mainstream in respect of catastrophic outlooks; so the public (and likely many authority figures too) believe that they do represent the mainstream position.’

      It’s worth noting that in a (probably very) small minority of cases, they are cited as non-mainstream (i.e. being in opposition to the IPCC reports). Btw I am not claiming the 50 is all of them by any means (and there are far more non-climate scientists in the world, so even a small proportion of them jack up the propagation a lot).

      ‘Nor is it true that the IPCC is NOT pushing the catastrophist narrative as you claim’

      At the beginning of section 3 I defined ‘mainstream science’ that does not support the catastrophic, specifically as the IPCC AR5 WG chapters, not other IPCC output or press or special reports. The IPCC is multi-layered and there is huge tension (and contradiction) between the layers. For this reason I don’t think I’d make such a claim, but if my text is ambiguous somewhere, please point it out. If you look at footnote 13, which is referenced from the main post where I make this definition, it describes the IPCC layering as summarised by Caleb Rossiter, and hence the ‘alarmism’ from higher layers. This also means that I’m not assuming an absence of potentially major bias at the chapter level either, but whether there is or is not, that level doesn’t support the catastrophic.

      ‘Catastrophism run wild’

      I agree it does run wild, all over the place, this is the nature of emotive narratives, and due to the cellular nature of science, non-climate disciplines can fall like dominoes very uncritically into belief. However, it is to be doubted that the Union of Concerned Scientist statements are grounded in the same papers (and indeed a majority of the same scientists) inputting to the AR5 chapters. In fact it is to be doubted that anything this org says is grounded in any science at all. It’s just a PR outfit, and soaked in the Koolaid, excepting Anthony’s dog of course who I’m sure he protects. Many other parts of the UN, including pretty much all the elite leadership, frequently propagate the catastrophe narrative; there are various examples in the footnotes including from 3 secretary generals I think, yet typically such narrative merely claims an underwriting by science yet without actually pointing to any, or sometimes pointing to the IPCC reports, which per AR5 Chapter level, do not support the catastrophe narrative.

      ‘In short, there are many, many mainstream climate scientists who push the catastrophe narrative. You can hear them pontificating…’

      I have included a large list of such catastrophe pontifications below. And I could have included more. But as you noted above, these folks are part of a ‘very, very vocal group’, and strictly within the climate science bucket (most environmental science seems to have no significant overlap with climate science), what they lack in numbers they make up for in sheer volume plus strong emotiveness of messaging.

      While I am hampered by searches only in English, from 831 scientists contributing to AR5 I find only 7 with public propagation (typically prolific) of the catastrophe narrative, and 1 more who claims to have contributed except that his name isn’t listed in the chapter he claimed to be part of. This is working backwards from catastrophe narrative associated with science, not by plugging 831 names into a thorough search for each (apart from a few more likely candidates). So with that and the language thing (albeit English is the main domain language) I probably missed many. I figured that a factor of 10 at least might cover it, but say 20 or 30 would still leave a large majority without public statement on catastrophe and contributing to chapters that do not support it, and which are the nearest thing we could take as representing the mainstream position. They would not all necessarily be vocal, yet as you noted they generally are, and this is an expectation due to the typical passion of belief (very apparent in some of the listed quotes).

      “Finally, if mainstream climate scientists do NOT believe in the catastrophe narrative, they certainly are very good about hiding their disbelief.”

      Absolutely! A primary feature of cultures is moral pressure that suppresses objections. This is a massive effect within the climate domain, and not signing up to actual global catastrophe in a paper by no means amounts to any kind of push-back on A-list authorities or anyone else (which in fact is emphasised in the second post) when they spout the various ridiculous sub-memes it spawns. Or indeed to potential major bias that nevertheless so far, in many, doesn’t amount to the catastrophic. I think misunderstandings arise on these kind of issues because it is assumed those concerned are working only with their reasoning equipment, so things appear ‘not logical’, but their emotive equipment, geared for cultural conformance right down at the level of brain architecture, is interfering.

      “Bad news, Andy. Most climate scientists have swallowed the catastrophist Koolaid.”

      I think we couldn’t determine that for sure without a thorough international survey of all concerned, which in this highly conflicted domain would likely be impossible to conduct objectively anyhow. However, my pitch here is that if this was currently so, the IPCC AR5 Chapters would support the catastrophic narrative, i.e. a high confidence of imminent (decades) global catastrophe (and by implication all the tall tales this spawns per the many catastrophe narrative examples). But this is not the case (albeit I rely on others for this case, though per footnotes I did search for catastrophe / abrupt / collapse etc and check context). In general, orthodox and sceptic sources agree on the lack of support for a high certainty of catastrophe in AR5. And there have been some attempts at surveys, for instance it’s part of the second post, but 41% of 998 AGU+AMS members asked about ‘the likely effects of global climate change in the next 50 to 100 years’, replied ‘severe/catastrophic’ (2012). I considered this useful support, it’s a minority (albeit large) even if the category is strongly weighted to ‘catastrophic’ rather than ‘severe’. At half each say, this is still a substantial minority but not one that could dominate, and some US institutions seem more weighted than the international science community. Of course, AR6 could flip over to the catastrophic, but this seems unlikely, and as Judith plus Pielke Jr pointed out regarding the opening salvo of SR15, despite all the catastrophe narrative hype around it, the innards do not actually point to any high certainty of same (referenced in the footnotes somewhere).

      • andywest2012: Hi Willis, thanks for dropping by.

        That’s a good response to Willis’s good comment. Thank you for this and your responses to other comments.

      • P.S. I presume that a significant proportion of the AGU / AMS are not in fact ‘climate scientists’, but I’m not familiar with the profiles.

      • Thanks for the reply, Andy. I’m sorry, but in the following you are engaged in the “No True Scotsman” fallacy. I’d said:

        Nor is it true that the IPCC is NOT pushing the catastrophist narrative as you claim’

        You reply:

        At the beginning of section 3 I defined ‘mainstream science’ that does not support the catastrophic, specifically as the IPCC AR5 WG chapters, not other IPCC output or press or special reports.

        So you arbitrarily define “mainstream science” as scientists who do NOT make catastrophic predictions, not other scientists.

        You then follow up that argument with the claim that mainstream scientists are not making catastrophic predictions, e.g.:

        Jacobs et al (in 2016 book) finds no merit in the claim ‘that catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is the mainstream scientific position’,

        Etc, etc.

        So … no TRUE mainstream climate scientist makes catastrophic predictions, and if you find one making such predictions, obviously they are not a mainstream climate scientist.

        No True Scotsman …

        w.

        PS—Do you have an example of say half a dozen mainstream climate scientists saying something like:

        “Yes, the earth is warming, but that won’t be a problem. There won’t be any catastrophe, so you can all stop worrying!”

        Because unless they are actively trying to calm people’s fears, they are supporting all the fearful catastrophism out there …

        I can’t think of one mainstream climate scientist making that claim, much less six, but I’ll wait …

      • The climate of “climate science” is fear. Fear is what is spread to bring support and revenue into the mainstream, and there is another kind of fear at work, the fear that if I step out of line, even to express doubt, I will be seen as stepping out of the mainstream where the consensus, the public applause, and the money are.

      • If you look at the Union of Concerned Scientists web pages, you will find that there are very, very few scientists of any strip in the organization.
        It should be sued for false labeling. I’d be happy to contribute $10.00
        to start the process.

      • Willis,

        ‘So you arbitrarily define “mainstream science” as scientists who do NOT make catastrophic predictions, not other scientists.’

        This definition is far from arbitrary. Regarding all the A-list leaders / UN elite, some scientists, and very many other orgs / individuals who propagate the catastrophe narrative, whenever they point to something that actually exists in relation to the science (as opposed to simply saying ‘the’ science or merely implying the support of science in some vague manner), they almost always point to the IPCC reports. Therefore, the fact that this actual synthesis does *not* support their catastrophic narrative, demonstrates that even by their very own terms, this narrative is false, notwithstanding the limitation of using the Chapter level per previous up-thread (which after all, is the meat of the whole thing). So ultimately, it is those who propagate the catastrophe narrative themselves that create the definitional framework, I merely constrain it to the specific meat of the report (i.e. prior to most of the political input).

        ‘So … no TRUE mainstream climate scientist makes catastrophic predictions, and if you find one making such predictions, obviously they are not a mainstream climate scientist.’

        If I alone was creating the definition of ‘mainstream’ and also without any parity checks regarding numbers, this would be so. But per above, pretty much the whole world makes the definition that IPCC science reports are what represents ‘the’ science, the benchmark, the mainstream, the considered and synthesised opinion of climate scientists world-wide. And not only does the AR5 synthesis not support the catastrophic narrative, none of the prior reports have ever supported the catastrophic, and these positions have been reached via the co-operative work of several thousands of climate scientists over decades. Dick Lindzen’s 3 group model (he has a video on same out there), assumes that because the IPCC science is non-catastrophic, then all the IPCC contributing scientists do not support this position. However, for sure a few who have participated within this process on one report or another do indeed propagate the catastrophe narrative (footnote 19 indicates which ones of these from my example catastrophe narrative quotes). Nevertheless, it is a big challenge to imagine that this could be a majority or likely anywhere close to one, when none of the reports actually comes out with a position that supports the catastrophe narrative.

        There remains the possibility that those involved, while numbering thousands, are still a minority within a larger international pool (for sure there are still many climate scientists who have not participated), of whom a pool majority actively supports the catastrophic (as opposed to just staying stum). There is no survey I know of that can tell us this across the whole domain (which would also have to exclude adjacent areas such as environmental science). However, such clues as we have to numbers are not supportive of this possibility (e.g. per above the AMS/AGU survey or the apparently [better searches may pick up more] small number of climate scientists actively propagating what is clearly catastrophe narrative in English or available translations [there are some very active Germans for instance] within the public domain).

        ‘Because unless they are actively trying to calm people’s fears, they are supporting all the fearful catastrophism out there …’

        Well indeed this is a huge issue, and for sure it explains the discrepancy of numbers, i.e. while ‘active catastrophists’ are a minority, those who never push back, for instance even to the point of defending the non-catastrophic ARs they have contributed to, must be large indeed. I don’t know if you’ve read any of my other posts, but my main position does not come from much-disputed evidence about physical climate science in any case. It comes from social analysis factors that point to the catastrophe narrative being a cultural consensus (all strong cultural consensuses are wrong), not a scientific one, for which per above the non-catastrophic IPCC Chapters are a helpful confirming support. As noted above, cultures are tremendously efficient at suppressing objections to their manufactured and arbitrary consensuses, which are policed via emotive manipulation. I prefer that we figure out how things work without getting into blame, but staying silent cannot be assumed to mean active support for the catastrophic, whether or not we nevertheless regard them as culpable in some way for staying silent. The heavy emotive pressure (it is emotively policed bottom up not top down), generally suppresses (negative) or overrides (positive) objective statements opposing the catastrophic, and will undermine any numbers game. Stealing again from the second post, back in 2006 climate scientist Mike Hulme said this:

        “It seems that mere ‘climate change’ was not going to be bad enough, and so now it must be ‘catastrophic’ to be worthy of attention. The increasing use of this pejorative term – and its bedfellow qualifiers ‘chaotic’, ‘irreversible’, ‘rapid’ – has altered the public discourse around climate change.”.

        In 2010, Hans von Storch agreed. There are various effects in play, but a biggy is that the fear of been called a ‘denier’, of potential disdain not only from colleagues but maybe even from friends and family, has meant very few indeed in climate science would speak like Hulme or Von Storch here. Regarding other effects, I talked at length with one climate scientist (at a science fiction convention in 2016 of all places) who just couldn’t see that ‘the catastrophic’ was at all important in the domain, “but that’s just a few politicians” he said with genuine puzzlement on his face. Anecdotally, this is common, and I’ve seen it right here on this blog. An effect of strong cultural bias overriding reasoning equipment. Regarding implicit support, I’d go further than silence and point out that many statements from both scientists and others (I found a large number when trawling for catastrophe narrative), fall short of actual catastrophe but ‘conspire’ (I don’t mean this in a deliberate sense) to be um… maybe ‘ambiguously compatible’ might be a good phrase. This indicates strong bias, BUT… plumbing such is a matter of complex detail from conflicting sides, whereas a straightforward catastrophe narrative quote is unambiguously unsupported by the very scientific synthesis that the world points to for its evidence. Anyhow, to not take the major behavioural effects into account regarding silence or complicity during our deliberations on this issue, and merely to try and count folks as though they are somehow free of such effects, would be a serious mistake imo. As all your good efforts on the science help to demonstrate, this whole phenomenon is not ultimately about science, it is about culture. Meanwhile, by what the world defines as the benchmark, the mainstream, the science, it doesn’t support the catastrophic narrative that is endlessly propagated in its name.

      • P.S. forgot to mention Hulme and Storch are not skeptic, plus former has contributed to the IPCC, and of latter wiki says he ‘concurs with the mainstream view on global warming’ (which matches some personal statements). Storch did however pick up flak in Germany a few years back for acknowledging ‘the hiatus’.

      • P.P.S. It’s also worth noting that the papers sucked into the bottom of the Chapter reports implicitly pull into the process a lot more climate (and some other) scientists than those many who explicitly take part in the process. From this large number, some must for sure support the catastrophe narrative. Notwithstanding which the cumulative view of all this input, as synthesised by those explicitly involved in the process, is still that it does *not* support the catastrophic. And from an org hardly likely to be biased towards rather than against this conclusion. Albeit indirectly, this considerably widens the landscape regarding an assessment of majority lack of support for the high certainty of imminent (decades) global catastrophe, as propagated via the catastrophe narrative. Picking at random the refs from chapters 2 and 3 of WG I, they have 17 and 8 close print pages of multi-person papers each, about 50 papers per page, albeit there must be repeats throughout.

      • Andy and Jim, I hope we can agree that there are many examples of leaders lying to the public. In every instance I believe they felt it was for the common good. Their rationality is easy to understand. Opponents would “exploit” the truth to de-legitimize them and harm their power to do good. Thus the protection of themselves equals protection of the public. This dynamic becoming normalized in “seasoned politicians” is the strongest argument for term limits.

        Now, compared to that, exaggerating the facts on a real issue of international concern is a slam dunk, especially if you can paint political opponents as selfish or irresponsible. Yes, they knowingly lie (or exaggerate), just as bloggers do — for a good cause. But they are not just volunteers for the cause, leaders and activist scientists are career-bound to the cause.

      • Ron: Well indeed some leaders lie about some issues (e.g. Nixon), and some leaders are just out and out corrupt in pretty much all ways, e.g. Robert Mugabe. But the great strength of social phenomena like climate catastrophism, and notwithstanding sometimes a small fringe of noble cause corruption (not at leadership level but down in the roots typically), is that adherents, whether leaders or the just members of the public, honestly and indeed passionately believe in it. So they are not misrepresenting when they claim via whatever variant of the catastrophe narrative, that mainstream science supports the prospect of imminent global catastrophe (absent major action), they honestly believe this.

      • andywest, you complain about framing as imminent catastrophe, but none of these people actually use that phrasing so you have to be careful about using a straw man when you are not examining a particular quote. If by imminent you mean within this century and by catastrophe you mean famine, floods and refugees, they are not lying. You may not like that politicians actually use rhetoric to drive action, but there we are. They are not scientists, but they do have thoughts to convey and results to get. When another world leader clucks about whatever happened to global warming because it is cold today, you have another example of someone providing their thoughts on the matter, and a lot of people who also don’t like the science nod along to that too. Even the skeptics who denounce CAGW may well be saying they don’t believe in famine, floods and refugees as a problem, but they won’t be specific, so we can’t tell what their threshold for catastrophe is.

      • Jim D:

        “…none of these people actually use that phrasing…”

        Read all the quote variants and all the context notes within the footnotes file. Via one variant of another, the presidents, prime ministers, UN elite, religious leaders, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities sampled, are indeed adamantly informing their publics that a high certainty of imminent global catastrophe (absent major action), is the judgement of ‘the’ science, the mainstream, the considered and co-ordinated opinion of climate scientists world-wide. Yet as this catastrophe narrative is *not* underwritten by mainstream science, this assertion is wrong and you agree that it is wrong. For comparison, if during an exchange on a climate blog any of these narrative variants came from skeptics associating the catastrophic with mainstream science, you would be up in arms; most such expressions are far more emotive and explicit in their association of the catastrophic than merely bolting a ‘C’ onto ‘AGW’, which while indeed this is still the same fail earns your strong objection despite being a much less emotive form of the same falsity.

        “If by imminent you mean…”

        As repeatedly noted, I don’t have any meaning here. The catastrophe narrative as related by presidents, prime ministers, UN elite, religious leaders, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities, is theirs not mine, and covers a range of dates. Yet where any dates are expressed at all rather than just extreme urgency or say within the lifetime of current children or whatever, then they are generally before 2100, and often sooner. Hence my characterisation of their range of expression as being ‘decades’, so between about 1 and 8.

        “…by catastrophe you mean…”

        As repeatedly noted to you, this meaning has nothing to do with me. It is the meaning related by the presidents, prime ministers, UN elite, religious leaders, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities. So if you want definitive detail, go ask them. Yet as you can see from the various narrative variants, (absent major action) they express the prospect of imminent (decades) global climate catastrophe. And they underwrite the assertion by saying this prospect is supported by mainstream science, which it is not, and you agree it is not.

        “…they are not lying…”

        Absolutely they are not lying. An important component of my stance as expressed for years here in guest posts and comments at Climate Etc is that these authority sources are not lying, in either a coordinated fashion (so there is *not* a hoax or a conspiracy), or an uncoordinated fashion (see footnote 32, which emphasises that these possibilities are wildly unrealistic).

        “They are not scientists, but they do have thoughts to convey…”

        Indeed they are not scientists, so as noted repeatedly above and as can be seen from the quotes, this is exactly why on this important science-related topic, they express as part of their catastrophe narrative that what they are saying is *not* merely their own personal thoughts or views, but the judgement of ‘the’ science, the mainstream, the considered and co-ordinated opinion of climate scientists world-wide. This is indeed an expectation, because they hold for their publics the high responsibility of most certainly not driving major policy from just merely some personal thought or opinions. Yet a high certainty of imminent (decades) global catastrophe is not the judgement of mainstream science, and you agree that this is the case.

        Driving major policy from a false scary narrative will spread ignorance and fear, whoever does it and from whatever side. As repeatedly noted, while the skeptics who associate the catastrophic with mainstream science are indeed unspecific about detail, the presidents, prime ministers, UN elite, religious leaders, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities are likewise unspecific, plus typically much more emotive and scary to boot, notwithstanding which these are identical veracity fails.

        So… we agree that the many authority sources are not lying, they believe what they say. And we agree that the catastrophe narrative is not supported by mainstream science. We also agree that skeptics associating the catastrophic with mainstream science are wrongly doing so. Yet despite objecting to the latter, you still give a completely free pass to the catastrophe narrative from all the presidents, prime ministers, UN elite, religious leaders, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities, which identically associates the catastrophic with mainstream science, albeit typically in much more emotive forms. And your only justification so far for this free pass, is noble cause, which isn’t one. Contradictions of this nature are highly relevant to domain understanding, yet you always avoid tackling it.

      • No, we don’t agree that the catastrophic narrative is not supported by the mainstream science, as I have been saying all along. Catastrophe is not a scientific term, but a personal value judgement of the effects, so mainstream science has nothing to say either way on catastrophe. There is no statement of how people should feel about the results. These leaders have their opinion that famine, floods, refugees, heatwaves, storms, fires, etc., do meet their criteria for a catastrophe, and they have a right to state that and to convey the urgency. If skeptics want to say AGW projections are too catastrophic for them to believe, that’s fine by me too, but I’m only interested if they say which parts they are dismissing on that basis.

      • You have agreed all along that a high confidence in imminent (decades) global catastrophe is not the judgement of mainstream science. And this is the message that the catastrophe narrative as related by the presidents, prime ministers, UN elite, religious leaders, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities, propagates.

        “Catastrophe is not a scientific term…”

        Indeed! Which is why it should not be invoked in the *catastrophe* narrative by the presidents, prime ministers, UN elite, religious leaders, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities, and absolutely not then backed by an assurance within this narrative that it *is* underwritten by mainstream science. Yet this is exactly what has been happening for many years.

        “…a personal value judgement of the effects…”

        As noted directly above, and repeatedly, and as can be seen from the quotes, what the presidents, prime ministers, UN elite, religious leaders, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities are saying on this important science-related topic, is *not* merely their own personal thoughts or judgement; they claim it is the judgement of ‘the’ science, the mainstream, the considered and co-ordinated opinion of climate scientists world-wide. And this is indeed an expectation, because they hold for their publics the high responsibility of most certainly not driving major policy from just merely some personal thought or opinions. Nor are they lying, as agreed. Yet a high certainty of imminent (decades) global catastrophe is not the judgement of mainstream science, and you agree that this is so.

        As noted immediately above, and repeatedly, while those skeptics who associate the catastrophic with mainstream science are indeed unspecific about detail, the presidents, prime ministers, UN elite, religious leaders, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities are likewise unspecific, plus typically much more emotive and scary to boot, notwithstanding which these are identical veracity fails. You still give a completely free pass to the catastrophe narrative from all the presidents, prime ministers, UN elite, religious leaders, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities, which identically associates the catastrophic with mainstream science, albeit typically in much more emotive forms. And your only justification so far for this free pass, is noble cause, which isn’t one. Contradictions of this nature are highly relevant to domain understanding, yet you always avoid tackling it.

      • You have to separate what the science says and what the politicians feel about it. They see the scientific (non-political) projections of floods, famines, heatwaves, storms, fires, etc. and judge that as catastrophic when put in relevant human terms as a politician would. Why is it wrong for them to say as part of their policymaking job that they foresee catastrophe based on what science they have seen? How else would they frame catastrophe if not as backed by the climate projections? These things cannot be separated because science is the foundation of this belief.

      • Jim D:

        “You have to separate…”

        It isn’t what I do, or what you do come to that. It is about what the politicians say they are relating, which they emphasise is absolutely *not* some personal ‘feel about it’. As noted directly above, and repeatedly, and as can be seen from the quotes, what the presidents, prime ministers, UN elite, religious leaders, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities are saying on this important science-related topic, is *not* merely their own personal thoughts or judgement. They claim that this is the judgement of ‘the’ science, the mainstream, the considered and co-ordinated opinion of climate scientists world-wide. And this is indeed an expectation, because they hold for their publics the high responsibility of most certainly not driving major policy from just merely some personal thought or opinions. Nor are they lying, as agreed. Yet a high certainty of imminent (decades) global catastrophe is not the judgement of mainstream science, and you agree that this is so.

        “…and judge that as catastrophic…”

        No. They don’t presume to judge anything in relation to this important science-related topic. They say, and have said for very many years as part of the catastrophe narrative itself, that it is mainstream science which judges there to be a high confidence of imminent (decades) global catastrophe, in fact frequently emphasizing this judgement of ‘the’ science, the mainstream, the considered and co-ordinated opinion of climate scientists world-wide, as the ultimate arbiter, so *not* merely their own personal opinion in any way. Nor are they lying, as agreed, they absolutely believe what they say. Yet a high certainty of imminent (decades) global catastrophe is not the judgement of mainstream science, and you agree that this is the case.

        “Why is it wrong for them to say as part of their policymaking job that they foresee catastrophe…”

        Because they say that mainstream science forsees an imminent (decades) global catastrophe, which forseeing is of high certainty, and this is not true. And you agree this is not true. Nevertheless that’s exactly what they’re doing. At one point you say they are relating their ‘feel about it’, at another you say they are relating climate projections from science. These views are contradictory, but at any rate they are doing neither through the catastrophe narrative. They are saying there is a high certainty of imminent (decades) global catastrophe (absent action), which is not an output of mainstream science, and yet they are also saying this *is* an output of mainstream science, which is not so, and you agree it is not so. Nor are they lying, they truly believe this is what the science says. You are giving them a free pass for this false and scary emotive narrative, simply because you deem their cause noble. The mainstream science community itself gives them the same free pass and presumably for the same reason, at any rate it does not push back upon their claim of a high certainty of imminent global catastrophe, so how are they ever going to discover that their narrative is false? Despite the association by some skeptics of the catastrophic with mainstream science is typically in less emotive terms (generally via ‘CAGW’), you do object (rightly) to this identical veracity fail. It is not a serious argument to say that presidents, prime ministers, UN elite, religious leaders, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities are driving climate policy via personal opinion; they themselves say this is absolutely not the case. So are you disagreeing with all these authorities? And nor would anyone ever expect at least the higher of these authorities to be using merely personal opinion in any important policy area related to complex science. They claim that they are relating the judgement of science, yet they are propagating the catastrophe narrative that is not supported by mainstream science.

      • I see that we are not getting anywhere. Mainstream science describes floods, fires, famines, heatwaves, refugees, etc. Some would automatically call that out as a need for urgent changes. You wouldn’t agree with that as a threshold for urgent action whether you call it catastrophe or not. The link between what science describes and the need for action is fairly direct whatever words are used in between to convey the urgency. You don’t agree with their linking wording, and that’s fine too.

      • Jim D:

        “Mainstream science describes…”

        If an authority source describes an output of mainstream science, be it any in the list you name, which description includes the proper mainstream science pre-requisites and (specific event / regional / etc) bounds and relevant hedging / caveats / associated uncertainties that place it in proper (mainstream) context, plus does not place unreasonable extrapolations or unsupported speculations on the end that swerve towards or into arbitrary catastrophe mongering, then this is not called ‘catastrophe narrative’, whether or not that actual word (or equivalents) is used within. It is then called ‘communication’, i.e. despite that this science is challenged by skeptic science, the report has nevertheless stayed faithful to the mainstream position, whether or not it also mentions such challenges. But the catastrophe narrative is where this most certainly does *not* occur, and instead where the presidents, prime ministers, UN elite, religious leaders, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities, are propagating a message of high certainty of imminent global catastrophe in the most emotive and ill-defined terms, plus losing all proper reference to mainstream science while also claiming this science underwrites their narrative, and that is what all the many example quotes are aligned to. Those skeptics who associate the catastrophic with mainstream science are indeed also unspecific about detail, and the presidents, prime ministers, UN elite, religious leaders, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities make an identical veracity fail with their catastrophe narrative, plus are typically much more emotive and scary to boot. This does not preclude other narrative, either less far away from the mainstream, or indeed accurate in its representation of the mainstream position. You still give a completely free pass to the catastrophe narrative from all the presidents, prime ministers, UN elite, religious leaders, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities, which messages a high certainty of imminent global catastrophe, which is false, and you agree it is false, and indeed you object to skeptics making an identical veracity fail. And your only justification so far for this free pass, is noble cause, which isn’t one. Contradictions of this nature are highly relevant to domain understanding, yet you always avoid tackling it.

      • I “give a free pass to the catastrophic narrative” because of free speech. You seem to object if science and catastrophe appear in the same sentence. Good luck with that level of thought-policing. Maybe next time you’ll be able to stop a world leader from expressing such frank views and water them down a bit for the sensitive types.

      • Jim D:

        ‘I “give a free pass to the catastrophic narrative” because of free speech.’

        Wow. So you give a free pass for the highest authorities in the world and many others too, including presidents, prime ministers, high ministers, the UN elite, religious leaders, NGOs, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities, to drive world-wide climate policy from a false narrative of imminent (decades) global catastrophe, which narrative they also claim is supported by mainstream science, merely due to your dedication to ‘free speech’. You know this claim to be false, indeed you object to the same claim (via ‘CAGW’) from some mere skeptics on a blog or three (despite too theirs is typically a less scary and emotive form of the same veracity fail), but because ‘free speech’ you will *not* object to all these powerful authorities or say that they are wrong. Since when did supporting free speech mean we are not allowed to call out speech that is false? You said above we weren’t getting anywhere, but I think we’ve definitely arrived at a surprising destination.

      • You are calling it out as false as is your right to disagree, but they are only expressing some concern with the risks to their and other nations which is not a false opinion to have at all in the light of the science. To express an emotional level of concern is not false. Also, these people you refer to are not dictators and will only get any action with consent from others in government. Like I said, good luck with getting them to soften the rhetoric. They are politicians. Rhetoric is what they do to be effective. If you want a scientific statement, get it straight from the scientists, not the politicians who don’t parse words in the same way.

      • Jim D:

        “You are calling it out as false as is your right to disagree…”

        And yet at every turn you adamantly refuse to do so under the same rights, even though you agree that mainstream science does not support a high certainty of imminent global catastrophe, as the catastrophe narrative falsely states. You agree this is false. And indeed you *do* (correctly) call out some skeptics (of relatively insignificant influence) who likewise associate the catastrophic with mainstream science, yet you rotate around a string of apparent justifications why you will *not* call out the presidents, prime ministers, high ministers, the UN elite, religious leaders, NGOs, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities, who make the same veracity fail and are deploying this falsity within the driving of worldwide policy.

        “they are only expressing some concern with the risks…”

        When claiming mainstream science support for whatever scenario, the correct expression of which is itself indeed within the bounds of mainstream science support, then whether or not the word ‘catastrophe’ or equivalent is included in such concerns, as noted above this is not catastrophe narrative. But this is not what occurs with the catastrophe narrative, via which presidents, prime ministers, high ministers, the UN elite, religious leaders, NGOs, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities state that mainstream science supports a high certainty of imminent global catastrophe. This is false, you agree it is false, yet you adamantly refuse to call it out, even though you call out some skeptics for the same veracity fail.

        “Rhetoric is what they do to be effective…”

        This is not just rhetoric. It is simply false to state that mainstream science supports a high certainty of imminent global catastrophe. You agree it is false. You call out others for this falsity, but you refuse to call out the presidents, prime ministers, high ministers, the UN elite, religious leaders, NGOs, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities deploying this falsity within the driving of worldwide policy. If history is any guide, spreading ignorance and fear via (in this case scary) falsity never results in good policy. This not an issue of free speech or policing of same. It is no opposition to free speech to call out something that is false. You claimed so above, but now move again. And indeed you *do* call it out for one group, yet at every turn you refuse to call it out for all these authorities high and low, whose influence is immeasurably higher. You appear now to be leaning back towards noble cause, i.e. you imply here that any falsity is acceptable ‘to be effective’, because you happen to believe so strongly in the goals that presumably for you the noble intent overrules the need to maintain veracity. But this is never a justification, and despite your implication I think you would agree so. Hence if not this, what is your reason for avoiding at every turn calling out of the false catastrophe narrative?

      • It is going to come down to your definition of catastrophe. For many, increased danger of famines, heatwaves, flooding is a catastrophe. These lead to disasters for some societies. You can’t call it wrong to say something is a catastrophe just because your own definition is different from theirs. I have said from the beginning, catastrophe is a subjective term. It depends a lot on what you care about when you look at the projections.

      • Jim D:

        “It is going to come down to your definition of catastrophe…”

        Nonsense. You’ve looped through here several times before. It is nothing to do with me. The catastrophe narrative is propagated by presidents, prime ministers, high ministers, the UN elite, religious leaders, NGOs, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities. It is ill-defined and highly emotive and outside of scientific projections, falsely stating that mainstream science supports a high certainty of imminent global catastrophe. You agree this is false. You call out some skeptics for this same falsity, but you adamantly refuse to call out the presidents, prime ministers, high ministers, the UN elite, religious leaders, NGOs, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities deploying this falsity within the driving of worldwide policy. If history is any guide, spreading ignorance and fear via (in this case scary) falsity never results in good policy. Nor as repeatedly noted above is it a problem to use the word ‘catastrophe’ or similar for concerns that *are* phrased within the bounding of mainstream science, when same then claims science support. But that is not what happens with the catastrophe narrative. This not an issue of free speech or policing of same. It is no opposition to free speech to call out something that is false. You claimed so above, but now move again. And indeed you *do* call it out the falsity for one group, yet at every turn you refuse to call it out for all these authorities high and low, whose influence is immeasurably higher. Now you loop yet again around a red herring long eliminated. And one comment further above you appeared to be leaning back towards noble cause, i.e. you imply there that any falsity is acceptable ‘to be effective’, because you happen to believe so strongly in the goals that presumably for you the noble intent overrules the need to maintain veracity. But this is never a justification, and despite your implication I think you would agree so. Hence if not this, what is your reason for avoiding at every turn calling out of the false catastrophe narrative?

      • No, you haven’t listened. People can use “catastrophe” in agreement with what the science predicts will happen. Danger to societies and ecosystems counts. I have never said that it is wrong to use this word in connection with projected effects of climate change despite your repeating that I have. On the contrary, I have evoked free speech for people to reflect their frank level of concern. Even CAGW skeptics can use the word if they define which catastrophes they are denying (which they don’t even when asked). You are seeing this whole argument through a narrow lens of your own definition of what matters and what catastrophe is. People have other worldviews and some things matter to them that don’t to you, so they see catastrophes where you don’t.

      • Jim D:

        “People can use “catastrophe” in agreement with what the science predicts will happen.”

        Absolutely. I not only listened, I have offered this to you several times above already. This context is however not the catastrophe narrative. The catastrophe narrative as propagated by presidents, prime ministers, high ministers, the UN elite, religious leaders, NGOs, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities, is ill-defined and highly emotive and outside of scientific projections, falsely stating that mainstream science supports a high certainty of imminent global catastrophe. You agree this is false; this is why re-introducing the existence of some concurrent non-catastrophe narrative (whether it uses the catastrophe word or not) is merely a red herring. You’ve already agreed that it is false to state the mainstream science supports a high certainty of imminent global catastrophe, yet this is exactly what the catastrophe narrative does. You call out some skeptics for this same falsity, but you adamantly refuse to call out the presidents, prime ministers, high ministers, the UN elite, religious leaders, NGOs, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities deploying this falsity within the driving of worldwide policy. If history is any guide, spreading ignorance and fear via (in this case scary) falsity never results in good policy.

        So the falsity of saying that mainstream science supports a high certainty of imminent global catastrophe, is the issue, not whatever other concerns properly expressed within the bounds of science may say. And you agree the former is false; so it is nothing to do with what specific events you or I or anyone else personally considers to be a catastrophe, it is about what you already agreed to be false, i.e. falsely stating that mainstream science supports a high certainty of imminent global catastrophe, and too in the most emotive ways. You ‘evoke the issue of free speech’, but not only is it no opposition to free speech to call out something that is false, this is a fundamental right of free speech. And indeed you personally *do* call out the falsity for one group, vigorously, yet at every turn you refuse to take up the right of free speech and call it out for all these authorities high and low, whose influence is immeasurably higher. A couple of comments further above you appeared to be leaning back towards noble cause, i.e. you imply there that any falsity is acceptable ‘to be effective’, because you happen to believe so strongly in the goals that presumably for you the noble intent overrules the need to maintain veracity. But this is never a justification, and despite your implication I think you would agree so. Hence if not this, what is your reason for avoiding at every turn calling out of the false catastrophe narrative?

      • Be specific. Give an example of someone who says that there is a high certainty of imminent catastrophe. Do all the world leaders do this? If not, who not? How about Obama and the Pope? What’s the worst quote you can find for them? What you construe as noble cause is that these leaders want to have action and fast. If they make the need seem urgent, it is because the science says it is difficult to stay below 2 C without quick action and so it is urgent. It is not noble cause to convey urgency.

      • Jim D:

        “Be specific”

        What do you think the whole post is about? You have read it, right? The footnotes contain many quotes, with context notes, per categories in the body of the post for authority level / type etc. For comparison, if during an exchange on a climate blog any of these narrative variants came from skeptics associating the catastrophic with mainstream science, you would be up in arms; most such expressions are far more emotive and explicit in their association of an ill-defined catastrophic than merely bolting a ‘C’ onto ‘AGW’, which while indeed this is still the same fail earns your strong objection despite being a much less emotive form of the same falsity.

        “It is not noble cause to convey urgency…”

        To use a falsity in order to create urgency is wrong, no matter the cause. If history is any guide, this will result in bad policy. You agree it is false to say that the judgement of mainstream science is a high confidence in imminent global catastrophe, yet this is what the presidents, prime ministers, high ministers, the UN elite, religious leaders, NGOs, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities are doing via the catastrophe narrative. And indeed you *do* call out this falsity for one group, yet at every turn you refuse to call it out for all these authorities high and low, whose influence is immeasurably higher. Are you giving them a free pass for this falsity because you believe the falsity is acceptable ‘to be effective’ in creating urgency, in turn because you happen to believe so strongly in the goals that presumably for you the noble intent overrules the need to maintain veracity? Sometimes you imply so, sometimes you veer away, but if so this would be noble cause, and it is never a justification.

      • I see the quotes, and there is nothing by the Pope or Obama. Others about about clocks ticking and 10-15 years urgency, reflective of the urgency to even succeed with a 2 C target. You don’t like when they make something sound urgent because it worries people. It should. If it didn’t, they wouldn’t be reflecting what is needed to avoid the dangers beyond 2 C, which would not be reflecting what the scientists are saying. So if it is scary to you, that’s because the science says it’s scary in its own way by describing risks to ecosystems and societies. There is no softening that message.

      • Jim D:

        Then indeed you have not read them, because the 2 authority sources you mention are for sure within the quote lists called up in the footnotes file, although why you are focusing upon those particular 2 out of very many I don’t know. In case you are fishing, I’m neither religious (or militant atheist) or American, these sources are just 2 more among many. As repeatedly stated, whatever is said in regard to targets / scenarios that correctly remains within the bounds of science, is not catastrophe narrative, as noted above whether it uses the word catastrophe or not. So it is nothing to do with what I like or dislike, it is an issue of conveying falsity. You agree it is false to say that the judgement of mainstream science is a high confidence in imminent global catastrophe, yet this is what the presidents, prime ministers, high ministers, the UN elite, religious leaders, NGOs, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities are doing via the catastrophe narrative (which goes back many years and hence some predating even having a 2C target). And indeed you *do* call out this falsity for one group, yet at every turn you refuse to call it out for all these authorities high and low, whose influence is immeasurably higher. Above, you said ‘I “give a free pass to the catastrophic narrative” because of free speech.’ But not only is it no opposition to free speech to call out something that is false, this is a fundamental right of free speech. So are you giving them a free pass for this falsity because you believe the falsity is acceptable ‘to be effective’ in creating what you think is the right urgency to meet the 2C target, as you imply in your last, in turn because you happen to believe so strongly in the goals that presumably for you the noble intent overrules the need to maintain veracity? If so this would be noble cause, and it is never a justification.

      • Those quotes (selecting Obama and the Pope as examples that may influence Americans most) cannot be characterized as false. You may not consider a global catastrophe possible with 4 C of warming, but that’s just you. It’s a valid opinion given the 2 C threshold for it being bad that 4 C from BAU is catastrophic and many including scientists share it. You prejudge it as false because of your own bias. It is wording in common use now. This is from back in 2009.
        https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2009/sep/28/met-office-study-global-warming

      • Jim D:

        As noted many times before, my opinion is irrelevant. The examples you picked don’t specify any targets, or any science, except to falsely claim science backs their claim of imminent global catastrophe. Outside of the science section maybe only 3 or 4 of the very many authority quotes do, yet this in support of a high certainty of imminent global catastrophe in any case, which is not what mainstream science says. No matter what the specific mainstream science deduced targets are or what their projected outcomes, you agree that mainstream science does not support a high certainty of imminent global catastrophe, so therefore all these quotes are false. The quotes are also international, as clearly is the issue, not American only. I am not judging anything; neither come to that are all these presidents, prime ministers, high ministers, the UN elite, religious leaders, NGOs, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities. As we agreed above, they are being honest. They genuinely believe that the judgement of science is a high certainty of imminent global catastrophe, and this is the judgement they are using. But this is false, and you agree it is false. If there is never any objection due to noble cause or whatever else giving a free pass, nor will they ever learn it is false.

        “It is wording in common use now…”

        So having looped through you saying ‘I “give a free pass to the catastrophic narrative” because of free speech’ when this is not an issue of free speech, and veered away from noble cause as your reason for a free pass, despite also implying that you believe the falsity is acceptable ‘to be effective’ in creating what you think is the right urgency to meet the 2C target, i.e. you believe so strongly in the goals that presumably for you the noble intent overrules the need to maintain veracity, and throwing in the red herring of other narrative that is within the bounds of science whether or not it uses the word catastrophe or equivalent, you are now saying that you are giving a free pass to the catastrophe narrative because ‘it is wording in common use now’, and point to… a newspaper. Say what? Since when did common usage excuse a falsehood? Namely that presidents, prime ministers, high ministers, the UN elite, religious leaders, NGOs, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities, not to mention a lot of newspapers, are propagating the falsity of a high certainty of imminent global catastrophe. Which you agree is false. This is no explanation at all for a free pass, unless now you have suddenly jumped completely outside of the mainstream / IPCC camp, and are saying that in opposition to this science you *do* believe in a high certainty of imminent global catastrophe, simply because the usage is ‘common’?? (i.e. notwithstanding this isn’t the mainstream position, you believe the mainstream position isn’t extreme enough, so grant the free pass anyhow).

      • I am not going to repeat everything I said. You say your opinion is irrelevant, but your whole premise is that these statements are false which IS your opinion and not that of those leaders or many scientists. This means your whole article is your own opinion and therefore irrelevant. This is why I have from the beginning stressed that “catastrophic” is a subjective term depending on what you care about and cannot be assigned as false when it is their assessment. These leaders read reports not just by the IPCC but by their own scientists that are more customized to their own interests and I am sure they talk to experts too. There is one report called 4C: Turn Down the Heat, by the World Bank, for example. You can read that and judge whether anything looks catastrophic to you, although again your opinion is just one of many and you have to expect people to differ while not denouncing other opinions as false.

      • Jim D:

        “…but your whole premise is that these statements are false which IS your opinion and not that of those leaders or many scientists”

        No. As stated innumerable times above the premise has nothing to do with my opinions regarding particular projections or ‘catastrophes’. It is about the fact that the many listed authority sources are stating a position which they claim is supported by mainstream science, but which isn’t supported by mainstream science. Hence it is the opinion and judgement of that science which matters. This position as propagated by presidents, prime ministers, high ministers, the UN elite, religious leaders, NGOs, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities, is that mainstream science supports a high certainty of imminent global catastrophe, which also they express in a most ill-defined and emotive manner, and you yourself agree that this is a false representation of mainstream science. Indeed you strongly object to the same associations of an ill-defined catastrophic when made by skeptics, albeit their typical expression by bolting C onto AGW is not so emotive as the scary narrative from the presidents, prime ministers, high ministers, the UN elite, religious leaders, NGOs, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities.

        “…I have from the beginning stressed that “catastrophic” is a subjective term depending on what you care about and cannot be assigned as false when it is their assessment.”

        And I have stressed repeatedly that when it is in the proper context of mainstream science, this term is fine. But the catastrophe narrative is not in the context of mainstream science, it is in the context of saying that mainstream science supports a high certainty of imminent global catastrophe, which is also expressed in an ill-defined and highly emotive manner, and this is false, and you agree this is false representation of mainstream science.

        “You can read that and judge whether anything looks catastrophic to you…”

        Once again, it is irrelevant what I think regarding this term within any specific usage. What all the world points to, what all the listed authorities point to, is the judgement of ‘the’ science, the mainstream, the considered and coordinated opinion of climate scientists world-wide, as represented by the IPCC reports (latest full being AR5). Hence this is the judgement that counts regarding the perceptions of the world and indeed of those leaders, not mine or yours. But this science does not support a high certainty of imminent global catastrophe, and you agree it does not, yet via the catastrophe narrative all the presidents, prime ministers, high ministers, the UN elite, religious leaders, NGOs, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities, say that it does.

        “This means your whole article is your own opinion and therefore irrelevant.”

        So having looped through you saying ‘I “give a free pass to the catastrophic narrative” because of free speech’ when this is not an issue of free speech, and veered away from noble cause as your reason for a free pass, despite also implying that you believe the falsity is acceptable ‘to be effective’ in creating what you think is the right urgency to meet the 2C target, i.e. you believe so strongly in the goals that presumably for you the noble intent overrules the need to maintain veracity, and throwing in the red herring of other narrative that is within the bounds of science whether or not it uses the word catastrophe or equivalent (once again, right here), then saying that you are giving a free pass to the catastrophe narrative simply because ‘it is wording in common use now’ and pointing to a newspaper report, you are now saying the whole issue as staked out in this post is ‘irrelevant’. So while continuing to give a free pass to all these highly influential authority sources who associate a high certainty of an ill-defined imminent global catastrophe with mainstream science, I presume meanwhile you’ll still be objecting to those skeptics who also associate mainstream science with the catastrophic. I think contradictions of this nature are highly relevant to domain understanding.

  10. Some people think “catastrophe” when they are only reading about increased risks of heatwaves, floods, droughts and famines. The science always puts things in terms of increased risks. Catastrophe is a word you may or may not assign to those. It’s a subjective choice.

    • Since AR5 there have been several studies identifying geothermal activity not only under the Greenland and West Antarctica Ice Sheets but also affecting waters off the associated marine terminating glaciers. I assume the IPCC will make reference to those studies in their next report.
      After reading for years about catastrophic sea level rise from AGW induced Ice Sheet collapse, what do you think the public reaction will be when they learn there might be other dynamics at play in melting those Ice Sheets and glaciers?

    • While word choices are not always black and white (some exploration in the footnotes), ‘the catastrophe narrative’ emphasises high certainty, imminence (decades), and a global nature (plus typically in highly emotive ways), which regarding the quotes and also a lack of support for this in the AR5 Chapters, form the main criteria. It’s noted in footnote 15 that there is indeed use of words like ‘catastrophe’ or ‘abrupt’ and other terms in the AR5 Chapters, plus their context, but nevertheless either separately or cumulatively these by no means support ‘the catastrophe narrative’.

      • As Willis points out scientists talk in terms of increased risk which he interprets as catastrophe. Skeptics can’t really argue against increased risks so they have to bundle it in the (straw man) term “catastrophe” which they can then tear down. It’s a reframing of the science for their convenience. Climate is about probabilities and changing probabilities not just of the mean, but also of extreme events.

      • Jim D | November 15, 2018 at 8:03 pm |

        As Willis points out scientists talk in terms of increased risk which he interprets as catastrophe. Skeptics can’t really argue against increased risks so they have to bundle it in the (straw man) term “catastrophe” which they can then tear down.

        Jim, that’s nonsense. Scientists talked in terms of coral atolls disappearing due to sea level rise. That’s not “increased risk”, that would be a catastrophe.

        The UN predicted 50 million climate refugees by 2010. Not an increased risk. 50 million of them. That would be a catastrophe.

        James Hansen predicted that New York would be underwater within the next decade. Not an “increased risk” that it would be underwater. A clear statement of catastrophic sea level rise.

        Here’s the IPCC:

        The report issued Monday by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), says the planet will reach the crucial threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels by as early as 2030 …

        “Increased risk”??? Sorry, Jim, that is a clear prediction of catastrophe. There’s no “might reach the threshold”, they say it WILL reach the threshold.

        The idea that skeptics are creating these as “straw men” doesn’t pass the laugh test.

        w.

      • Willis, all those are risks whose probabilities increase with climate change. If you want to argue against increasing probabilities of extremes like this with global warming, that’s the argument to have. Most people would take actions to reduce risks of these and so many other things besides corals. Each person would have a different concern or definition of catastrophe. This is how decisionmaking works in deep uncertainty. As you approach a blind curve, you slow down, and so it is with the climate-change risks and common sense is reducing emissions. It is not just in the realm of climate change that we do things to reduce risks. It occurs with food, air and water standards.

      • Re: “James Hansen predicted that New York would be underwater within the next decade. Not an “increased risk” that it would be underwater. A clear statement of catastrophic sea level rise.”

        Please provide a citation. You’ve been previous caught misrepresenting what Hansen said, because you didn’t read his original words, but instead went off what you read in the press:

        https://tamino.wordpress.com/2017/07/22/does-willis-eschenbach-have-any-honor/
        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/07/22/autopsy-of-an-excuse/

        So given your history, I want an actual citation from you backing up what you claim Hansen said. After all, Skeptical Science offers a quote on how this was about sea level rise *once CO2 levels had doubled*:

        https://www.skepticalscience.com/Hansen-West-Side-Highway.htm

        So who am I to trust? Skeptical Science, who provides a citation to back up their claim? Or you, who’s previously misrepresented Hansen because you didn’t check your primary source?

      • Jim D | November 15, 2018 at 9:43 pm |

        Willis, all those are risks whose probabilities increase with climate change.

        Jim D, a claim that there WILL be 50 million climate refugees by 2010 is NOT a statement about “risk”. It is a catastrophist prediction.

        And how about the 1990 IPCC FAR:

        Under the IPCC ‘Business as Usual’ emissions of greenhouse gases the average rate of increase of global mean temperature during the next century is estimated to be 0.3°C per decade (with an uncertainty range of 0.2°C – 0.5°C).

        Not a statement of risk. A catastrophist prediction with uncertainty. And a failed prediction at that.

        So no, Jim, those are not statements about risk. They are failed alarmist predictions, period. Nothing to do with risks. Failed predictions.

        w.

      • Willis, was that a consensus view? No. Nor was the claim that children in England would never see snow again or that the Arctic would be ice-free in a decade or that we were headed for an Ice Age. These are the cherry-picks of quotes that skeptics are fond of, but that on further investigation turn out not be consensus at all and are usually opposite to consensus when you ask around. Linearizing 3 C of warming in a century to 0.3 C per decade, then calling it wrong when it starts at 0.2 C per decade is another skeptic trick (invented by Monckton?). That 0.2 C per decade is actually consistent with a TCR greater than 2 C per doubling and the skeptics just don’t know how to calculate that so you can tell them it doesn’t agree with AGW predictions and they’re none the wiser when you say it is a failed prediction.

      • Jim D | November 16, 2018 at 12:18 am |

        Willis, was that a consensus view? No.

        Since I NEVER said that was a “consensus view”, nor anything even remotely like that, why are you addressing this to me? That’s all you …

        w.

      • So, you’re missing the point and the one Andy West raised. When you deal with mainstream scientists and consensus it is not about catastrophe, it is about increasing risks of multiple things. Policymakers act on what the IPCC write and that is about how much policies can change risk levels. So their policies are based on risk reduction. Skeptics miss those nuances of the science when they glom onto, and become obsessed with, newspaper quotes or what a politician says. The real decisions by national governments are made based solely on policies for risk mitigation. How do catastrophes figure into those decisions? Is an increased frequency of heatwaves or flooding a catastrophe, or 3 C global warming, or two meters of sea-level rise? Whether you call them a catastrophe or not, they pose real risks and are best avoided.

      • Jim D puts forth the following scenarios:
        “Is an increased frequency of heatwaves or flooding a catastrophe, or 3 C global warming, or two meters of sea-level rise?”
        It should be noted that there is no empirical data or trend line from the last 50 years that any of these presumed climate changes will take place in the next 50 years, no uptick in heatwaves, no 3C GW, no 2 meters SLR.
        If you think there is a likelihood of any of these happenings, you are surely a catastrophist, through and through.

      • The largest uncertainty is emissions, but the higher the emissions, the more these fall into the range of likelihood.

      • Jim D | November 16, 2018 at 1:33 am |

        So, you’re missing the point and the one Andy West raised. When you deal with mainstream scientists and consensus it is not about catastrophe, it is about increasing risks of multiple things.

        Jim, since Andy has defined “mainstream scientists” as those NOT talking about catastrophes, that is a meaningless circular statement.

        Next, Andy said NOTHING about consensus. Not one word. I said nothing about consensus. Not one word.

        So I have no clue why you keep bringing it up.

        Next, you say:

        The real decisions by national governments are made based solely on policies for risk mitigation.

        Oh, please. That’s ridiculous. Politicians are just as subject to being swayed by catastrophic claims as anyone else. Do you seriously think that Maxine Waters or Alexandria Occasional-Cortex knows the first thing about “risk mitigation”?

        Yet they are 100% behind screwing the poor by raising the price of fossil fuel … because of the endless bogus catastrophist predictions that THE SKY IS FALLING! CLIMATE IS GONNA KILL US ALL!

        Regards,

        w.

      • The point is mainstream science is about consensus and consensus is not about catastrophe but it is about risk and how to reduce it. Risk is a much broader concept than catastrophe and policymakers set goals based on risk reduction. These are the points I am trying to get across. Catastrophe is used by some for publicizing risk (forest fires, hurricanes), but that’s just the world we live in. You have to decide what you believe.

      • Jim D | November 16, 2018 at 2:09 am |

        The point is mainstream science is about consensus and consensus is not about catastrophe but it is about risk and how to reduce it.

        Sorry, Jim, but that’s not true in the slightest. Here’s Michael Crichton on the subject:

        I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled.

        Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.

        Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results.

        The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.

        Crichton’s Caltech Michelin Lecture should be required reading for everyone interested in climate science …

        w.

      • Jim D:

        As we’ve discussed at length before, and you have acknowledged as far as I recall, the narrative of the catastrophic, i.e. a high confidence in imminent (decades) global catastrophe (absent major emissions reduction), as propagated by a whole raft of the world’s highest authorities and very many other orgs, religions, individuals, businesses, etc. plus *some* scientists, is not supported by the AR5 (or indeed any of the IPCC reports). Indeed when any skeptic here makes such an association, usually via the term ‘CAGW’ applied to mainstream / IPCC output (tune in next week for much more on this), they are rightly pulled up for same. So…

        “The real decisions by national governments are made based solely on policies for risk mitigation. ”

        I think this is a statement of faith. It makes the assumption that the narrative elephant above has had no significant effect on policy direction, so that risks are objectively assessed. Despite the fact that many of the A-lister’s above are the very folks who order policy from the top (both nationally – presidents and prime / other minsters etc), and globally (UN elite and others regarding international co-ordination), plus that the narrative itself frequently cites the unsupported catastrophic as the main reason for policy action. What evidence do we have that this hugely biasing factor has not only had a significant impact, but could well be the principal determiner of policy?

      • Willis, is Crichton dismissing consensus just because it is consensus or does he accept any science at all as being right even if it is also consensus? The view he expresses does not seem very useful in application. Do you apply it to Newton’s Laws or thermodynamics or radiative transfer, which are consensus because they are quantitatively correct theories that have passed tests.

      • Re: “There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.”

        I’m stunned Crichton made it through medical school, with such a woefully poor understanding of science. Evidence-based scientific consensus is common in science, including in medical science. So it’s nonsense to claim that consensus is incompatible with science. No wonder Crichton went off to mostly write fiction, if that’s his view on science.

        Some examples:

        “European evidence based consensus on the diagnosis and management of Crohn’s disease: definitions and diagnosis”
        “Twenty-first century behavioral medicine: A context for empowering clinicians and patients with diabetes: A consensus report”

        “An overview of the last 10 years of genetically engineered crop safety research
        […]
        We selected original research papers, reviews, relevant opinions and reports addressing all the major issues that emerged in the debate on GE [genetically engineered] crops, trying to catch the scientific consensus that has matured since GE plants became widely cultivated worldwide.”

        “Consensus Study Report: Consensus Study Reports published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine document the evidence-based consensus on the study’s statement of task by an authoring committee of experts. Reports typically include findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on information gathered by the committee and the committee’s deliberations. Each report has been subjected to a rigorous and independent peer-review process and it represents the position of the National Academies on the statement of task.”
        https://www.nap.edu/catalog/23395/genetically-engineered-crops-experiences-and-prospects

      • Andy West, it is a risk reduction exercise to reduce emissions, which also reduces uncertainty about the future climate. Yes, part of that risk is catastrophes, but increased heatwaves, floods, sea levels, themselves are motivation enough. In fact I always say that the leading edge of climate change is the most dangerous part. As bell curves move right, unprecedented events occur at increasing frequencies, and that is where the damage (catastrophes, if you want) is. I think politicians realize the importance of unprecedented events because we see examples of those in the news. So it is hard to separate dangerous events from rapid climate change. A stable climate is also a safer climate.

      • Jim D:

        “… it is a risk reduction exercise …”

        Nevertheless, you still miss my main point. There is a narrative elephant within the public domain (aka a high confidence of imminent global catastrophe), which we both agree is not backed by mainstream / IPCC science, and whose trumpetings sound from all quarters including the highest national and international leaderships, over many years. What evidence do we have that this major force for bias has not significantly impacted, or possibly even dominated, policy? Bear in mind that however noble the intent, a strong bias that is not justified by findings is almost certainly going to result in the wrong policies.

      • Possibly only global in the sense that it would be an expanding set of local catastrophes. And the risks for those increase with rapid climate change. The most obvious concern would be how to handle a couple of meters of sea-level rise which governments are responsible for. The fast increase in risks of extreme events, and that being in proportion to global emissions going forwards, is a real concern but difficult to convey to the public in those terms. Labeling extreme events as catastrophes conveys the meaning of why action is needed. Pointing out current catastrophes and saying these will increase in frequency in the future is another way to convey the change that is happening. What has to be shown is the urgency and not in a too detailed way because nuance defeats urgency. To the public, risk and tails of bell curves don’t mean much, but catastrophic events do.

      • Jim D:

        “And the risks for those increase…”

        Once again you miss my point. I’m not talking about any individual events or whether these may be labelled as catastrophes or not. What evidence do we have that this major force for bias, which we are both agreed upon is not supported by mainstream science yet which has been propagated by rafts of leaders both national and international plus reams of other orgs and individuals for many years, has not significantly impacted, or possibly even dominated, policy? Bear in mind that however noble the intent, a strong bias that is not justified by findings is almost certainly going to result in the wrong policies.

      • Andy, catastrophe is not a scientific term and so science can’t express the consequences of climate change that way. However when politicians or the environmentalists want to convey urgency they have to use words like this. “Risks of more extreme events” which the scientists can say and justify and even quantify, and which policymakers really need to know for planning, just doesn’t cut it in the public forum. The action is what is needed whether you label the consequences as catastrophe or just in terms of risks.

      • Jim D:

        ‘Andy, catastrophe is not a scientific term and so science can’t express the consequences of climate change that way.’

        Of course not

      • Jim D: bother… pushed send by accident above.

        “Andy, catastrophe is not a scientific term and so science can’t express the consequences of climate change that way.”

        Of course not! This whole post not only agrees with this, it shows that nevertheless the narrative of high certainty of global catastrophe has been propagated, per the copius examples given, by national and international leaderships and rafts of other authorities / orgs / religions / businesses / individuals / etc in the public domain for many years, and in the most urgent and emotive forms. This is not about all such folks conveying balance; the ‘urgency’ you claim is transmitted appropriately is beneath the huge narrative elephant of this global catastrophe tale that we both agree is simply not supported by mainstream science. What evidence do we have that this hasn’t had a significant bias on policy, or indeed may have dominated policy? Are you implying with your latest that it is okay or even desirable to scare people to death with an emotive narrative that in no way is supported by mainstream science?

      • “Risks of more extreme events” which the scientists can say and justify and even quantify,”

        What if this is completely wrong?

        Global warming leads to less extreme events.

        This is a physical consequence of 1.) reduced temperature variability and 2.) reduced thermal gradient. Both are modeled and have been since Manabe. Modeled is not the same as observed, but there it is.

        The narrative is in error.

      • Re: “What if this is completely wrong? Global warming leads to less extreme events. This is a physical consequence of 1.) reduced temperature variability and 2.) reduced thermal gradient. Both are modeled and have been since Manabe. Modeled is not the same as observed, but there it is. The narrative is in error.”

        It’s like you ignored how anthropogenic climate change would affect water vapor levels, and the whole notion of “wet becomes wetter, dry becomes drier.” Your claim clashes with the published evidence and modelling work:

        “Anthropogenic warming has increased drought risk in California”
        “Contribution of anthropogenic warming to California drought during 2012–2014”
        “Increasing drought under global warming in observations and models”
        “Global warming and changes in drought”
        “Emergence of heat extremes attributable to anthropogenic influences”
        “Observed heavy precipitation increase confirms theory and early models”
        “Observed drought indices show increasing divergence across Europe”
        “Influence of anthropogenic climate change on planetary wave resonance and extreme weather events”
        “Quantifying the influence of global warming on unprecedented extreme climate events”

      • It’s too much about semantics. Can we agree that catastrophes are what scientists would call tail events and they say that these events would increase in frequency with climate change? By whatever name, urgency is needed in response to this.

      • “Can we agree that catastrophes are what scientists would call tail events and they say that these events would increase in frequency with climate change? “

        Studying atmospheric physics, one learns that the atmosphere tends toward equilibrium by exchange of imbalances.

        As modeled, AGW tends to:
        1.) increase the thermal energy content of a unit of atmosphere
        2.) decrease the pole-to-equator gradient of thermal energy.

        Increased thermal content means less exchange ( brought by motion ) of air mass is necessary to return to balance extremes, making extremes less frequent.

        Decreased gradients, which themselves result from reduced extreme contrast, also make extremes from distant air mass intrusions less frequent.

      • Jim D:

        ‘Can we agree that catastrophes are what scientists would call tail events and they say that these events would increase in frequency with climate change?’

        Scientists use this term in many restricted senses in various disciplines. But this is completely irrelevant to a usage that clearly indicates a high certainty of imminent (decades) global catastrophe, as propagated so much within the public domain per the copius examples given, by national and international leaderships and rafts of other authorities / orgs / religions / businesses / individuals / etc over many years, and in the most urgent and emotive forms. Not to mention *some* scientists too, who clearly are using it in the catastrophe narrative sense and (for a subset) in some of the scariest forms of catastrophe narrative out there, per footnote quotes. What evidence do we have that this hasn’t had a significant bias on policy, or indeed may have dominated policy? Are you implying above that it is okay or even desirable to scare people to death with an emotive narrative that in no way is supported by mainstream science?

      • TE, more stationary weather patterns are not a good thing. That’s where droughts and heatwaves come from and prolonged cold spells, and Harvey-type flooding. There is a suggestion that we will get more sluggish weather in a warmer climate and that leads to problems.

      • Andy, I am saying it is correct to see urgency whatever words that is steered by. Scientists see urgency too even without using that word catastrophe. The resulting policy efforts are the correct ones for the known risk factors. We have risk factors and consequent mitigation, much like with other environmental and medical science outcomes.

      • Jim D: within appropriate bounds and notwithstanding those bounds are disputed, you may well be right re your immediate above, but this in no addresses my questions one more above.

      • You’re asking how rational or emotional the policymakers are. However, both lead to the same result so it is hard to tell.

      • I am asking what has been the cumulative impact of the unsupported catastrophe narrative from a whole raft of authorities including the very top that initiate policy. Where is our evidence that the impact on policy is not significant, or even not dominant? I don’t know what you mean by ‘both lead to the same result’; are you claiming you can demonstrate that
        policies are the same as they would have been absent the very many years of propagation of the unsupported catastrophe narrative from all those listed authorities and individuals (and some scientists)? How? In many cases this false catastrophe narrative is cited as the very reason for policy action. Why would everyone ignore their leaders (and all the other many authorities / influencers) over decades?

      • Whether the politicians act rationally based on the IPCC SPM’s words or emotionally based on politicians’ and media hype, the urgency happens both ways and you get the same resulting policies. In this case guided by Paris. In the US it is the opposite for the Republicans who en bloc don’t support the IPCC conclusions. This is pragmatic for their re-election bids more than anything else. The idea of catastrophe demonstrably had no effect on their thinking at all, so it may not be as effective as you think.

      • Jim D:
        ‘the urgency happens both ways and you get the same resulting policies.’

        If you have any way to demonstrate this is so, i.e. ruling out beyond any reasonable doubt that significant or maybe major or indeed possibly even dominant bias from the the unsupported catastrophe narrative, as has been propagated by all the authorities / influencers / others over many years, has definitely not impacted policy, then please do demonstrate this.

        Does your statement also mean that you think it is just fine that all the false (unsupported by mainstream science) catastrophe narrative scare variants are being used to create urgency and emotive engagement?

      • I am saying that regulation policies for the environment (and in medicine) have always been based on science, so why should it be different for climate? Politicians are well capable of limiting their decisions to what the scientists say is safe or unsafe. However, we see in the case of Republicans that they can be skewed by industry too. Either way, it’s not a good situation if they ignore the science in whichever direction, and it leaves them liable to blame when they have heard the best science to date and ignored it.

      • Jim D:

        “I am saying that regulation policies for the environment (and in medicine) have always been based on science…”

        This is absolutely not the case. The polices within medicine have often been based on complete nonsense, which has often lasted for decades or generations when group-think consensuses have dominated or straight hi-jacked the science. The collapse of the 50 year consensus on saturated fats being a recent case in point, which enacted through long government policy within many nations has likely damaged the health of hundreds of millions of people.

        “So why should it be different for climate?”

        Indeed the climate domain is every bit as vulnerable to such hi-jacking, which has more chance of occurring the more scary the emergent narratives get, and the narrative of the catastrophic in the climate change domain that is not supported by mainstream science, has some of the most scary forms one can imagine (see the example quote lists).

        And at any rate this means you are just assuming equivalence, so you are putting forward no evidence whatsoever that the unsupported climate catastrophe narrative as propagated by all those a-list leaders and ngos and orgs and religions and influencers and the rest, hasn’t impacted policy to a significant degree, or indeed maybe even to a dominant degree.

        “Politicians are well capable of limiting their decisions to what the scientists say is safe or unsafe.”

        Nonsense. There are reams of politicians putting out the catastrophe narrative, and they are saying that it is underwritten by science, which is not so. And this includes not just local / minor politicians but those at the highest level both nationally and internationally. Per above, what evidence do you have that the policies they are initiating are not either wholly in the name of the catastrophe narrative, or at least significantly biased by its presence? After all they *think* they are responding to science re a high confidence of imminence of global catastrophe. And the catastrophe narrative is frequently cited as the main reason to enact policy. The fact that politicians (Rep or Dem) can be swayed by other influences too, regarding science related issues, does not help your case here. (Nor does a divide like Rep / Dems exist in most countries re climate change).

        Does your this and your statement further above also mean that you think it is just fine that all the false (unsupported by mainstream science) catastrophe narrative scare variants are being used to create urgency and emotive engagement?

      • Andy West, I am saying that it is not a perfect world, and being swayed towards too much precaution or away from the precaution at all as the Republicans are doing now is just proof of that. Policymaking should be based on science otherwise the politicians become open to lawsuits for ignoring the best evidence. Part of the risk assessment for them would be liability. This leads to erring on the side of caution, which is what happens with medicine. There I am talking about drugs and treatments, not advice on diets which are voluntary and not regulated and should not be conflated with policy decisions.

      • ‘Policymaking should be based on science ‘

        of course, but it seems you, and I suspect no-one else, has any evidence that this is indeed the case within the climate domain, or whether the false narrative elephant of catastrophism has significantly or indeed very majorly impacted policy. You are working on blind faith. Nor have you answered my question re scary messaging. Saturated fats is one example, and hardly a mere voluntary diet thing for all those with heart issues who were under hospital and doctor regimes. Plus even for those not under such care, I think we have to assume the governmental advice in multiple nations in how to eat did have some significant impact, or what is the point of any government guidelines at all. The stomach ulcers thing is another such example; not voluntary.

      • You are showing examples of erring on the side of caution which is understandable in a litigious society. If the government does not hew to scientific evidence, they are motivated by something else and that way lies trouble, and I think the politicians know that. This includes climate related policy, but the repercussions for that could be well after this generation of politicians has gone, so it is a special case because it is a slow problem unlike pollution or medical advice. However to act on the evidence, they have to make a case to the public too, which is not necessarily the same case as the IPCC presents to them.

      • Jim D writes: “However to act on the evidence, they have to make a case to the public too, which is not necessarily the same case as the IPCC presents to them.”

        I think you are saying that it’s OK to exaggerate for the sake of effectiveness — that it’s justified in dealing with a the recalcitrant, self-absorbed or otherwise distracted. I would argue that exaggeration has many unintended negative consequences.

        1) Diversion of resources from more effective use.
        2) Backlash from those that learn the truth propagates division and paralysis.
        3) Need to defend staked claims repeated by those who unwitting of their exaggeration.
        4) Invites exaggerated counter-narrative claims.
        5) Crying wolf reduces trustworthiness of alarms per se.
        6) Offers policy makers propaganda tools of diversion to escape culpability for poor performance.

        A current example of 1), 3) and 6) is the California wild fires being blamed on Trump’s climate policy by Governor Brown to avoid re-evaluation of forest management.

        Jim D, If exaggeration is ethical for good cause can you tell me where the line is in degree and who gets to decide that line or when it is no longer moral to add ones own contribution to the exaggeration? Did you ever play “whisper down the lane” in school?

      • Ron, sometimes simplifying a complex concept can sound like exaggeration when it is just using more familiar words. For “catastrophes will occur globally” you can read “unprecedented events have a significantly higher risk of happening in a wider range of areas.” The former statement is more blunt but not wrong. For politicians, understating a risk is a mistake that could come back to bite them. Similarly for under-responding to risk.

      • Re: “The collapse of the 50 year consensus on saturated fats being a recent case in point, which enacted through long government policy within many nations has likely damaged the health of hundreds of millions of people.”
        “Saturated fats is one example, and hardly a mere voluntary diet thing for all those with heart issues who were under hospital and doctor regimes.”

        What are you talking about? It’s getting annoying seeing so many political conservatives misrepresent the science on saturated fats, the way they misrepresented the science on anthropogenic climate change. Please keep your pre-conceived narratives away from science.

        The relationship between saturated fat and heart disease is well-established. For instance:

        “A systematic review of the effect of dietary saturated and polyunsaturated fat on heart disease”
        Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: “Reduction in saturated fat intake for cardiovascular disease”
        “Association of specific dietary fats with total and cause-specific mortality”
        “Saturated fats versus polyunsaturated fats versus carbohydrates for cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment”
        “Saturated fats compared with unsaturated fats and sources of carbohydrates in relation to risk of coronary heart disease: a prospective cohort study”
        “Dairy fat and risk of cardiovascular disease in 3 cohorts of US adults”
        “Saturated fatty acids and coronary heart disease risk: the debate goes on”
        “Saturated fat and heart disease: The latest evidence”

        It’s so well established that it’s still recommended that people limit saturated fat intake and eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible:

        “Intake of saturated fats should be limited to less than 10 percent of calories per day by replacing them with unsaturated fats and while keeping total dietary fats within the age-appropriate AMDR.
        […]
        As recommended by the IOM,[24] individuals should eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible while consuming a healthy eating pattern.”

        https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/chapter-1/a-closer-look-inside-healthy-eating-patterns/#footnote-24

        And vegetarian diets that limit saturated fat intake also improve heart-disease-related metrics. See, for instance:

        “Vegetarian, vegan diets and multiple health outcomes: A systematic review with meta-analysis of observational studies”
        “Vegetarian diets and blood pressure: A meta-analysis”
        “Effects of vegetarian diets on blood lipids: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials”

        Re: “The stomach ulcers thing is another such example; not voluntary.”

        It’s based on evidence. Medical science on stomach ulcers went through a somewhat similar process as what happened on climate science with respect to anthropogenic climate change:
        Someone presented scientific evidence through the standard scientific routes, such as the peer-reviewed literature and scientific conferences. Other scientists responded, and eventually an evidence-based scientific consensus formed. This consensus could then inform policy.

      • Jim D:

        “they have to make a case to the public too, which is not necessarily the same case as the IPCC presents to them.”

        So I think as Ron Graf notes above, what you are finally saying is that you are just fine with the fact of an emergent scary catastrophe narrative that is not at all supported by mainstream science, let alone anything skeptical, dictating world climate change policy. I think this is unconscionable. Ron notes just some of the effects from this. The narrative is way OTT, it cannot possibly ever result in the correct approach, understanding, or policies. It creates rampant fear and ignorance in authority levels and the public alike, and they will all act accordingly.

      • Jim D:

        “sometimes simplifying a complex concept can sound like exaggeration when it is just using more familiar words”

        The catastrophe narrative is not a simplification of AR5. It is emergent, very clear, phrased in the most emotive terms, and not at all supported by AR5. Look at all the listed examples from authority sources etc.

      • It can be scary and true at the same time because the truth is scary. In fact if it doesn’s sound scary, you’re not describing the situation right.

      • Jim D:

        ‘It can be scary and true at the same time’

        Nonsense. You already agreed it is not at all supported by the mainstream science. And for sure skeptic science doesn’t support it either. So this means exactly that it is *not* true by any measure we have. And as the example quotes show, it says a high confidence of imminent (decades) end of the planet / life / civilisation / humanity etc, absent very major action of course. This is massively OTT from any science based view. And propagated by the highest authorities, plus rafts of other authorities and influencers. Per above this only spreads fear and ignorance in the public and authority levels alike; they will act accordingly. It is unconscionable that you are happy with this emergent scary catastrophe narrative dictating world climate change policy. You (rightly) object to those skeptics who sometimes associate ‘the catastrophic’ with mainstream science (the implication usually being a global catastrophe), generally via the ‘CAGW’ label, because this is a scary and damaging misrepresentation. Yet it seems you are happy with that scary and damaging misrepresentation being in control of world climate change policy.

      • No, I mean what I say. If it doesn’t sound like mitigation is needed, the IPCC view is not being represented well. Some would call it catastrophic but that is a term that is not well defined and depends largely on the values of the person using the term. You can only interpret that term by who is saying it and what they care about. Some would call it dangerous instead. Anything that conveys urgency. Perhaps you have different preferred words that convey that without saying catastrophic or dangerous.

      • Jim D, I understand that you have honest and good intention in believing that mitigation is necessary based on the science. Do you also believe that good people, just as informed as you, disagree? And, do you acknowledge some disagree about the type and timing of the mitigation?

        If so, can you answer my previous question asking where the ethical line is in distorting the truth in the name of good cause? And, who get’s to decide where that line is?

      • TE, more stationary weather patterns are not a good thing. That’s where droughts and heatwaves come from and prolonged cold spells, and Harvey-type flooding. There is a suggestion that we will get more sluggish weather in a warmer climate and that leads to problems.

        This is just speculation.

        If one suffers from confirmation bias and is attracted to confirming climate catastrophe, which you probably do, then these ideas are very attractive.

        But they are not demonstrably true.

      • Jim D:

        “No, I mean what I say.”

        But what you said is simply not so. You said it can be scary and true at the same time, but you already agreed the catastrophe narrative is not at all supported by the mainstream science. And for sure skeptic science doesn’t support it either. So this means exactly that it is *not* true by any measure we have.

        “If it doesn’t sound like mitigation is needed…”

        This completely avoids all my points above regarding your stance. I didn’t say anything about what messaging might exist instead absent the false catastrophe narrative as propagated by the highest authorities, plus rafts of other authorities and influencers and the rest. As you noted yourself, messaging should be based upon science, and the catastrophe narrative is not.

        “Perhaps you have different preferred words that convey that without saying catastrophic or dangerous”

        It is irrelevant what my preferred words are, or yours. What is relevant is what is actually being said via the scary catastrophe narrative, which is simply wrong, and completely OTT wrt mainstream science. It spreads fear and ignorance within authority layers and the public alike, and they will react accordingly. Spreading falsity is never the way to achieve science related (or any other) policy goals, especially highly emotive scary falsity.

        “Anything that conveys urgency.”

        It is unconscionable that you are happy with this emergent scary catastrophe narrative dictating world climate change policy. You (rightly) object to those skeptics who sometimes associate ‘the catastrophic’ with mainstream science (the implication usually being a global catastrophe), generally via the ‘CAGW’ label, because this is a scary and damaging misrepresentation. Yet it seems you are happy with that scary and damaging misrepresentation being in control of world climate change policy.

      • If someone says something is catastrophic, who are you to thought-police them and say they can’t think that? There are people who think aspects of climate change are catastrophic because of their world view and what they care about. If you want to debate each individual on what they mean by catastrophic go ahead, but there is no way to stop them thinking that. Perhaps you can suggest to them they really think it is just dangerous but not catastrophic then a debate can be had about the meanings of words.

      • Jim D:

        This is nothing to do with what individuals think are particular meanings of catastrophe. These are presidents, prime ministers, UN elite, religious leaders, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities, falsely claiming that mainstream science underwrites a high confidence of imminent (decades) global catastrophe (absent major action), which is also phrased in the most emotive manner, and employing that to drive policy (indeed often citing this as ‘the’ critical reason to act). They are not claiming personal interpretations, they are saying that this is exactly what science says is the interpretation, and it is not so. You agree it is not so. They are not acting as individuals, they are acting on behalf of their orgs and countries, and this includes right up at the highest level of authorities there are, nationally and internationally. It seems that you are perfectly happy with this emergent scary catastrophe narrative dictating world climate change policy, yet you (rightly) call out those skeptics who sometimes associate ‘the catastrophic’ with mainstream science (the implication usually being a global catastrophe), generally via the ‘CAGW’ label, because this is a scary and damaging misrepresentation. You should therefore also be calling out all these authorities for propagating the same scary and damaging misrepresentation, which is not supported by science and spreads ignorance and fear. Ignorance and fear based on falsity from authorities high and low will not produce appropriate policy, yet despite your objections to a few skeptics on blog or three for misrepresentation, who probably have immeasurably small world impact compared to all the a-list and other authorities above, it appears that you are perfectly happy with the same damaging misrepresentation driving world climate change policy, and don’t call it out.

      • If we look at what’s been said about climate change then apparently it’s right here now: sea level rise (Miami Beach!), polar bears dying, ocean acidification, reefs dying, California wildfires, polar ice melting. But, nothing is happening! At least, nothing we can pin on CO2, and correlation isn’t causation, although granted it also isn’t not-causation.

        But, we can go down the list. Sea level rise? It isn’t accelerating, and if it is, you’ll have to show me the tidal gauges because I don’t see it.The Miami Beach meme is just silly, unless you want to believe that building more impervious areas in low-lying lands reclaimed from mangrove swamps has no effect on flooding (read: take away land that absorbs flood surges and you might have more floods.) Polar bears dying? According to census figures presented by Dr. Crockford polar bears are doing fine, and besides they don’t want a lot of spring sea ice because they like to feed on baby seals. http://landscapesandcycles.net/blind-polar-bear-researchers.html Ocean acidification? According to the Journal of Marine Science we should apply some skepticism to that one. https://academic.oup.com/icesjms/article/73/3/529/2459146 Reefs dying? Reefs are dying primarily due to overfishing (but it’s so convenient to take that cause and apply it to “climate change”.) Regarding GBR bleaching, Wolanski et al demonstrated in 2017 that the 2016 GBR bleaching event was due to ocean currents alterations in turn due to El Nino; to wit, lower western Pacific sea levels due to El Nino led to the warm waters of the shallow Gulf of Carpentaria flowing into the Northern GBR, reversing the usual flow from GBR into Gulf of Carpentaria. And Cinner et al in 2016 demonstrated that proximity to fish markets, not temperature, was the key factor in reef health: once again, it’s about overfishing the fish that keep the reef-smothering algae in check. Not “climate change.” https://www.nature.com/articles/nature18607 California wildfires? With people setting 80-90% of fires in a region prone to droughts and where fires have been suppressed, and hence fuel has been allowed to accumulate, and more and more people building in this drought-prone and fire-prone land, then I’d say blaming it on climate change is barking up the wrong tree. Polar ice melting? That’d be summer ice, and historical records tell us of numerous instances of “unprecedented”– yes, that’s the word they used– warming in the arctic, so I’m not buying that this must be caused by CO2.

        Nothing much is happening, except that imaginations are running wild and too many have their CO2 glasses on and so see CO2 disaster in everything that comes up. To a hammer everything looks like a nail.

      • Andy West, you are trying to suppress people from expressing their opinions in public. They use terms you don’t agree with but mean exactly what they say to themselves, otherwise they would not be on record saying them. Free speech allows people to be as forthright as they want with their opinions. What is catastrophic to them may not be catastrophic to you, but you can’t prevent them thinking and saying it. You can criticize them for having that view and expressing it, and people do this also in public, and that is your right, but you can’t stop them. If Hansen fears for his grandchildren, who are you to say he is wrong to express that in public?

      • Jim D:

        Nonsense, I am doing no such thing. These presidents, prime ministers, UN elite, religious leaders, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities, are certainly not expressing their interpretations of the ‘catastrophe’ word. They are falsely claiming that mainstream science underwrites a high confidence of imminent (decades) global catastrophe (absent major action), which is also phrased in the most emotive manner, and employing that to drive policy (indeed often citing this as ‘the’ critical reason to act). They are saying that this is exactly what science says is the interpretation, and it is not so. You agree it is not so. So indeed they are *not* expressing their opinions, they are claiming ‘this is what science says’, which is not an opinion but an undertaking that their words are backed by what mainstream science supports. Further, they are not acting as individuals, they are acting on behalf of their orgs and countries, and this includes right up at the highest level of authorities there are, nationally and internationally. As the companion post (coming up soon) points out, a small number of scientists, of whom James Hansen is one, correctly state that they fundamentally disagree with mainstream science, because the mainstream / IPCC does not support their projections of high confidence in imminent global catastrophe. This is proper expression, i.e. they are *not* claiming an underwriting by the mainstream or ‘the’ science, they are saying they have different, minority science. So Hansen can be worried on behalf of his daughters via the basis of what he believes in regarding his personal non-mainstream science. However, all the authority sources above (and some other scientists) make no claim that their catastrophe narrative is not supported by the mainstream. Quite the reverse. But per above this is false. It seems that you are perfectly happy with this emergent scary catastrophe narrative dictating world climate change policy, yet you (rightly) call out those skeptics who sometimes associate ‘the catastrophic’ with mainstream science (the implication usually being a global catastrophe), generally via the ‘CAGW’ label, because this is a scary and damaging misrepresentation. You should therefore also be calling out all these authorities for propagating the same scary and damaging misrepresentation, which is not supported by science and spreads ignorance and fear. Ignorance and fear based on falsity from authorities high and low will not produce appropriate policy, yet despite your objections to a few skeptics on blog or three for misrepresentation, who probably have immeasurably small world impact compared to all the a-list and other authorities above, it appears that you are perfectly happy with the same damaging misrepresentation driving world climate change policy, and don’t call it out. You fail to answer this contradiction at every reply. Or… similar to minority cases such as James Hansen above, are you now jumping ship and saying you no longer believe in the mainstream / IPCC science, that you are jumping right outside all the official boundaries and landing on (one of several) minority flavours instead, which do claim a high confidence of imminent global catastrophe?

      • andywest, so you are saying politicians should never exaggerate things to get things done. What kind of ideal world is that? Does that apply to business leaders too? Politics and business are not science, and not held to the same peer-reviewed standards. If you want a politician to explain why he describes something as catastrophic you will get a reason. Maybe you won’t agree, but that’s how debate works. If Barack Obama or the Pope want to say that they believe climate change is a big threat, let them state that opinion. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s their reason for supporting urgent action.

      • “…you are saying politicians should never exaggerate things to get things done…”

        I am neither condoning it or saying it doesn’t happen. But these presidents, prime ministers, UN elite, religious leaders, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities, are underwriting their scary catastrophe narrative by saying it is supported by mainstream science, and this is simply a falsity, so not just an exaggeration. They are hi-jacking the authority of science to falsely underwrite a certainty (absent major action) of imminent (decades) global catastrophe, also presented in the most emotive and scary fashion. It is from the highest authorities and likewise down through many other authorities and influencers on an industrial scale, and it simply isn’t supported by the mainstream science. You agree this is so. You yourself call out this equating of mainstream science with the catastrophic when skeptics sometimes do it, generally via the ‘CAGW’ label, because this is a scary and damaging misrepresentation. You should therefore also be calling out all these authorities for propagating the same scary and damaging misrepresentation, which is not supported by science and spreads ignorance and fear. Yet despite your objections to a few skeptics on a blog or three for misrepresentation, who probably have immeasurably small world impact compared to all the a-list and other authorities above, notwithstanding the above is an emergent phenomenon it appears that you are just perfectly happy with the same damaging misrepresentation driving world climate change policy, and don’t call it out. You fail to answer this contradiction at every reply.

        You are very unhappy indeed with this association from a few skeptics with virtually no influence, and yet perfectly happy with the same falsity from whole rafts of the world’s most powerful leaders over many years, and a whole raft of other authorities besides. And nor per further above in this thread do you have any evidence whatsoever that the catastrophe narrative isn’t significantly impacting policy in an inappropriate fashion, or indeed dominating it. As you correctly note, policy should be based upon science; ignorance and fear based on falsity from authorities high and low will not produce appropriate policy, and likely cannot be reigned when it results in inappropriate policy. You and likely no-one else, have any idea what policies would result if the messaging had stuck to science and not the scary catastrophe narrative. Your last send, as some previously, sanctions scaring the entire world’s population half to death with a narrative that is simply not supported by mainstream science, yet claims it is so supported; this is not ethical, it is not just some exaggeration, and if history is any guide will result in serious net negative outcomes. Your apparent equinamity with this huge misrepresentation within global authority and hence the consequent effects too, evaporates completely into swift disapproval when some insignificant skeptic blogger makes the same misrepresentation.

      • I keep saying this but here it is again. They are using the strong words about catastrophe and threat to humanity because they firmly believe it is something that needs prevention. This is a subjective view and they are entitled to have these quotes to their name if they want. Perhaps that serious view categorizes them as environmentalists to you. Skeptics use CAGW to attach it to the AGW theory. It is one thing to hold strong views yourself and stand up for them, but another to ascribe them to a group that doesn’t profess them as a consensus in order to undermine them. This is why when a skeptic says CAGW to me, I ask them to describe what they mean by catastrophic because then we can compare it with what the consensus science says. They won’t of course. When politicians say catastrophe they have things in mind, whether its coastal flooding, heatwaves, refugees, famines, ecosystems, etc. Skeptics either don’t believe these things are possible, or don’t label them as catastrophic. It is hard to tell when they are not specific.

      • “When politicians say catastrophe they have things in mind…”

        No. As pointed out some posts above in this thread, these presidents, prime ministers, UN elite, religious leaders, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities, are certainly not expressing their interpretations of the ‘catastrophe’ word. They are falsely claiming that mainstream science underwrites a high confidence of imminent (decades) global catastrophe (absent major action), which is also phrased in the most emotive manner, and employing that to drive policy (indeed often citing this as ‘the’ critical reason to act). They are saying that this is exactly what science says is the interpretation, not their personal interpretation, and this is not so. And you agree it is not so.

        “This is a subjective view and they are entitled to have these quotes to their name if they want…”

        No. They are not. If all these rafts of authority figures loudly and clearly preceded all their narrations on the issue with ‘I am not speaking as the’ [insert] ‘president of country X’ or ‘prime minister of country Y’ or ‘energy minister of country Z’ or ‘high priest of church of major religion A’ or ‘CEO of major international business B’ or ‘chair of the world economic forum C’ or even ‘ex-prime minster of D with the associated authority status and continued membership of policy forums M,N,O’, etc, etc. AND FURTHER went on with ‘and also the scenario I am about to present in order to persuade you into important policy choices is definitely NOT supported by mainstream science, I am speaking to you merely as any other individual with my own personal and unsupported opinion on stuff’, then despite that all publics *would* still give them some undue weight of authority, because psychologically this is what humans do, it would at least avoid an outright falsehood, and go *some* way into mitigating the inappropriate influence that the unsupported catastrophe narrative wields in society. But this never happens. They are not acting as individuals, they are acting on behalf of their orgs and countries, and this includes right up at the highest level of authorities there are, nationally and internationally, and they underwrite the catastrophic narrative via the backing of mainstream science, which is false.

        “Skeptics use CAGW to attach it to the AGW theory…”

        Indeed sometimes they do. And all those leaders and orgs and influencers are also attaching the catastrophic to AGW, which considering the positions of power they hold and that many are the ultimate sources of policy, has monumentally more consequences than whatever some skeptics do on a blog somewhere. Both instances are ascribing in exactly the same manner, which makes them both wrong, but as it so happens the consequences of the former case are massively amplified by who those people are.

        You are very unhappy indeed with this association from a few skeptics with virtually no influence, and yet perfectly happy with the identical falsity from whole rafts of the world’s most powerful leaders over many years, and a whole raft of other authorities besides. Your latest still avoids this contradiction; you essentially give these most powerful leaders and orgs and influencers a free pass, and you do not do so for the mere skeptic bloggers. Wrong and right are not different for these groups, neither should have a pass; you are choosing to view them (completely) differently.

      • Once again, the politicians are giving their own views based on what they see from the scientists. If they see danger or threats and risks, they say it in their own words, and they would view it as their obligation to do so as leaders. The CAGW skeptics ascribe a label they disagree with to mainstream science, plus they don’t make clear what exactly they are arguing against when they just say catastrophic. If they want to argue with Obama’s use of words or with the Pope on science they can, but if they want to argue with the scientists on science, it is a fail when they use CAGW as a straw man especially with the C undefined.

      • Once again, the politicians are giving their own views…

        Once again, they are absolutely not doing this. The presidents, prime ministers, UN elite, religious leaders, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities, including the Pope and Obama, adamantly inform their publics that a high certainty of imminent global catastrophe (absent major action), is the judgement of ‘the’ science, the mainstream, the considered and co-ordinated opinion of climate scientists world-wide as voiced via the IPCC, so not in any way merely their personal opinions as individuals. They are not in any case ever acting as individuals, neither are they perceived as individuals, they are acting on behalf of their orgs and countries, right up to the highest level of authorities there are, nationally and internationally, with all the influence and policy initiation power that brings, PLUS also, the responsibility that they will not be recommending major policy to their publics from mere personal opinion, but from the best judgement that exists, which is exactly what they do claim is the case within their messaging. They say that the catastrophe narrative *is* the judgement of mainstream science (*not* their personal judgement), which is false. And indeed you agree this is false, i.e. the catastrophe narrative is indeed not backed by mainstream science. Hence, exactly like those skeptics whom you note sometimes associate via ‘CAGW’ an ill-defined but emotively big scary (and unsupported) imminent global catastrophe with mainstream science, this is exactly what all those a-list leaders and rafts of authority sources are likewise doing. It is a fail for skeptics to do this; it is an identical fail when the Pope and Obama and all the rest assure their publics in the most emotive terms that not they, but the mainstream science, predicts for said publics a high confidence of imminent global catastrophe (absent action). You are very unhappy indeed with the catastrophe association from a few skeptics with virtually no influence, and yet perfectly happy with the identical falsity from whole rafts of the world’s most powerful leaders over many years, and a whole raft of other authorities besides. You still avoid this contradiction; you essentially give these most powerful leaders and orgs and influencers a free pass, and you do not do so for the mere skeptic bloggers. Wrong and right are not different for these groups, neither should have a pass; you are choosing to view them (completely) differently.

      • You say imminent and the IPCC says imminent. We can reach sufficient CO2 levels to commit to 2 C warming in only a few decades with our growing emission rates. Beyond 2 C they say there is a lot of damage and risks of catastrophes. This has since been revised by the IPCC to 1.5 C which is even more imminent. Effective action is needed almost immediately not to pass these thresholds. Obama and the Pope seem to realize the existence of these danger thresholds and what it takes to avoid them and this is what they are talking about. If they come across as flashing red lights, it reflects what the IPCC has set as targets and how hard these are to reach without immediate action.

      • Jim D:

        ‘You say imminent…’

        No, I don’t. This post relates not my view but the catastrophe narrative via which presidents, prime ministers, the UN elite, religious leaders, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities and influencers, adamantly inform their publics that a high certainty of imminent (decades) global catastrophe (absent major action), is the judgement of ‘the’ science, the mainstream, the considered and co-ordinated opinion of climate scientists world-wide. However this narrative ‘comes across’, which indeed is highly emotive and very scary, it certainly does NOT represent the IPCC / mainstream science position, as you yourself agree. Just like those skeptics whom you note sometimes associate via ‘CAGW’ an ill-defined but emotively big scary (and unsupported) imminent global catastrophe with mainstream science, all those a-list leaders and rafts of other authority sources are likewise doing exactly the same thing. It is a fail for skeptics to do this; it is an identical fail when the highest authorities in the world plus all the other authorities / influencers etc. assure their publics in the most emotive terms that not they, but the mainstream science, predicts for said publics a high confidence of imminent global catastrophe (absent action). You are very unhappy indeed with the catastrophe association from a few skeptics with virtually no influence, and yet perfectly happy with the identical falsity from whole rafts of the world’s most powerful leaders over many years, and a whole raft of other authorities besides. You still avoid this contradiction; you essentially give these most powerful leaders and orgs and influencers a free pass, and you do not do so for the mere skeptic bloggers. Wrong and right are not different for these groups, neither should have a pass; you are choosing to view them (completely) differently.

      • Andy West, at the current rate we could cross 450 ppm which is equivalent to the threshold for 2 C within 25 years. This is imminent and the IPCC says it is dangerous and needs avoiding. When politicians echo that it is both imminent and dangerous, you don’t like it. Both end up with the same result that meaningful action needs to start now to avoid this imminent threshold, and you are just complaining about words when what matters is the implied actions. When skeptics use CAGW it is with the purpose of trying to ridicule the scientists about their level of concern, but it has backfired because now people are associating the word catastrophic with the scientific view of climate change even more.

      • Jim D:

        “…at the current rate we could cross…”

        Whatever the particular details that mainstream science relates, these are irrelevant to what the catastrophe narrative says, which you agree is not supported by mainstream science, and via which presidents, prime ministers, the UN elite, religious leaders, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities and influencers, adamantly inform their publics that a high certainty of imminent (decades) global catastrophe (absent major action), is the judgement of ‘the’ science, the mainstream, the considered and co-ordinated opinion of climate scientists world-wide, yet this is certainly false. You agree it is false. I don’t like it or unlike it, it is simply false; you agree it is false. I do however apply the same rule to all, and you do not. You claim that one group have noble motives for this falsity, hence you grant them a totally free pass, and that one have distinctly less than noble motives for the same falsity (more on these issues and the reasons each get there in the next post), nevertheless motives make no different to an identical fail of veracity. When the highest authorities in the world plus all the other authorities / influencers etc. assure their publics in the most emotive terms that not they, but the mainstream science, predicts for said publics a high confidence of imminent global catastrophe (absent action), and skeptics likewise associate mainstream science with the catastrophic, this is an identical fail. You are very unhappy indeed with the catastrophe association from a few skeptics with virtually no influence, and yet perfectly happy with the identical falsity from whole rafts of the world’s most powerful leaders over many years, and a whole raft of other authorities besides. You apply different rules to each, and still avoid this contradiction; you essentially give these most powerful leaders and orgs and influencers a free pass, and you do not do so for the mere skeptic bloggers. Wrong and right are not different for these groups, neither should have a pass; you are choosing to view them (completely) differently. The presidents, prime ministers, the UN elite, religious leaders, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities and influencers have associated the catastrophic with mainstream science for very many years, see the footnote quote lists, nor are any of them likely to ever have read a skeptic blog.

      • When even the skeptics are using catastrophic to describe the mainstream view (famine, floods, heatwaves, etc.), who am I to argue. Perhaps the projections are catastrophic to them after all. I allow that point of view, but I would like them to define what they see as catastrophic when they use the term, while you say they shouldn’t be using the term. It seems you’re on losing ground expunging the term from the debate when both sides are using it.

      • Jim D:

        What some skeptics use on a few blogs will likely have virtually no impact. Meanwhile, for very many years many of the most powerful people in the world, presidents, prime ministers, the UN elite, religious leaders, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities and influencers, who collectively have a massive say in policy, adamantly inform their publics that a high certainty of imminent (decades) global catastrophe (absent major action), is the judgement of ‘the’ science, the mainstream, the considered and coordinated opinion of climate scientists world-wide, yet this is certainly false. You agree it is false. Their collective impact will be huge, and the unsupported catastrophe narrative they propagate is frequently cited as the main reason to act. Notwithstanding the comparatively insignificant impact of skeptic bloggers, some of these likewise associate mainstream science with the catastrophic; this is an identical veracity fail. You are very unhappy indeed with the catastrophe association from a few skeptics with virtually no influence, and yet perfectly happy with the identical falsity from whole rafts of the world’s most powerful leaders over many years, and a whole raft of other authorities besides. You apply different rules to each, and still avoid this contradiction; you essentially give these most powerful leaders and orgs and influencers a free pass, and you do not do so for the mere skeptic bloggers. Wrong and right are not different for these groups, neither should have a pass; you are choosing to view them (completely) differently. I do not expect for one moment ‘the catastrophic’ will be expunged from the climate domain by my efforts. However, who is using these associations in what ways plus the identical nature of the veracity fail for the above usages, are issues of interest in understanding the domain (stay tuned for the next post that has more on this, after Thanksgiving).

      • Jim D:

        P.S. excusing your lack of call-out regarding a (huge impact) group including the highest authorities there are, for using a vague, scary, and unsupported narrative that misrepresents mainstream science, by saying ‘who am I to argue’ with a different (and as it happens comparatively insignificant impact) group who are also invoking (usually via ‘CAGW’) the same vague and scary narrative that misrepresents mainstream science, is in fact no kind of argument at all. Especially when you have indeed called out the latter group for this, you have indeed argued with them. You apply different rules to each group, and you still avoid this contradiction; you essentially give these most powerful leaders and orgs and influencers a free pass, and you do not do so for the mere skeptic bloggers. Wrong and right are not different for these groups, neither should have a pass; you are choosing to view them (completely) differently.

      • Andy West, if you look back I have not said it is wrong to call it catastrophic. What I have said is that that is a personal choice of someone who may see famine, flood, etc., as catastrophic, as Obama and the Pope and others may. Even when skeptics use this term, they may be thinking of famine and floods, but when I ask them what is catastrophic to them they don’t respond, and you can’t have a debate with them when they don’t want to be specific about a particular scientific point in the projections. The mainstream science just presents the projected risks of such things, and anyone can call it catastrophic or not depending on their level of concern.

      • Jim, the basic question is not whether individuals have the right to express uniformed opinions, it’s whether authorities have a right to intentionally mis-inform the public, which includes policy making authorities and their voter bases. Clearly, the answer is no — short of being in a state of war. But perhaps that rule is changing or the definition of what level of we are aloud to trust the public with the truth. That path is also a dangerous one.

      • It is not misinforming the public to say that urgent action is needed to avoid dire consequences. This lines up with the IPCC view of the 2 C target versus what happens with no action and 4 C. Anything less would be misinformation.

      • Jim D:

        “What I have said is that that is a personal choice of someone who may see famine, flood, etc., as catastrophic, as Obama and the Pope and others may.”

        Among many other things, you have indeed stated it’s a personal opinion / choice / view of authority figures. More than once. It is still not so. Likewise you have also complained before about the ill-definition / vague-ness of a generic scary global ‘catastrophe’ implication from skeptics in the case where they apply this to mainstream science, yet give a free pass to the identical ill-definition / vague-ness of a generic scary global ‘catastrophe’ implication from authority figures when they likewise apply this to mainstream science; these are identical fails. Both aspects are addressed below, starting with you from several posts above, followed by my reply.

        “Once again, the politicians are giving their own views…”

        Once again, they are absolutely not doing this. The presidents, prime ministers, UN elite, religious leaders, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities, including the Pope and Obama, adamantly inform their publics that a high certainty of imminent global catastrophe (absent major action), is the judgement of ‘the’ science, the mainstream, the considered and co-ordinated opinion of climate scientists world-wide as voiced via the IPCC, so not in any way merely their personal opinions as individuals. They are not in any case ever acting as individuals, neither are they perceived as individuals, they are acting on behalf of their orgs and countries, right up to the highest level of authorities there are, nationally and internationally, with all the influence and policy initiation power that brings, PLUS also, the responsibility that they will not be recommending major policy to their publics from mere personal opinion, but from the best judgement that exists, which is exactly what they do claim is the case within their messaging. They say that the catastrophe narrative *is* the judgement of mainstream science (*not* their personal judgement), which is false. And indeed you agree this is false, i.e. the catastrophe narrative is indeed not backed by mainstream science. Hence, exactly like those skeptics whom you note sometimes associate via ‘CAGW’ an ill-defined but emotively big scary (and unsupported) imminent global catastrophe with mainstream science, this is exactly what all those a-list leaders and rafts of authority sources are likewise doing. It is a fail for skeptics to do this; it is an identical fail when the Pope and Obama and all the rest assure their publics in the most emotive terms that not they, but the mainstream science, predicts for said publics a high confidence of imminent global catastrophe (absent action). You are very unhappy indeed with the catastrophe association from a few skeptics with virtually no influence, and yet perfectly happy with the identical falsity from whole rafts of the world’s most powerful leaders over many years, and a whole raft of other authorities besides. You still avoid this contradiction; you essentially give these most powerful leaders and orgs and influencers a free pass, and you do not do so for the mere skeptic bloggers. Wrong and right are not different for these groups, neither should have a pass; you are choosing to view them (completely) differently.

      • Ron:

        “…it’s whether authorities have a right to intentionally mis-inform the public…”

        It is highly unlikely that all the presidents, prime ministers, UN elite, religious leaders, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities, who adamantly inform their publics that a high certainty of imminent global catastrophe (absent major action), is the judgement of ‘the’ science, the mainstream, the considered and co-ordinated opinion of climate scientists world-wide as voiced via the IPCC, are lying. While there’s a couple of bad apples in every barrel, and this barrel of authority sources is very large indeed, speaking generally they are propagating the (unsupported) catastrophe narrative and claiming this is underwritten by mainstream science, because they (passionately) believe these things to be true. Hence the misinforming is not intentional. The catastrophe narrative is emergent, it convinces emotively.

      • You’re accusing people like the Pope and Obama of lying. It is not lying if they’re giving their own honest opinions on the issue. If they have said something you think is a lie, you need to put it out there, because this whole thread is too abstract without a concrete example. The idea of major problems ahead is not a lie, nor is the need for urgent action. All this follows the expert scientific advise they have received and their statements have adhered to it as far as I can tell.

      • Jim D:

        “You’re accusing people like the Pope and Obama of lying.”

        If this is addressed to me, I did the exact opposite of your statement. My reply to Ron repeated below, asterisks added for you to even easier pick out the assertion that they are not lying. If you are exclusively addressing Ron, ignore this part of the reply.

        ‘It is highly unlikely that all the presidents, prime ministers, UN elite, religious leaders, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities, who adamantly inform their publics that a high certainty of imminent global catastrophe (absent major action), is the judgement of ‘the’ science, the mainstream, the considered and co-ordinated opinion of climate scientists world-wide as voiced via the IPCC, are lying. While there’s a couple of bad apples in every barrel, and this barrel of authority sources is very large indeed, speaking generally they are propagating the (unsupported) catastrophe narrative and claiming this is underwritten by mainstream science, because they (passionately) *believe these things to be true*. Hence the misinforming is *not* intentional. The catastrophe narrative is emergent, it convinces emotively.’

        You still continue to avoid contradiction. You are very unhappy indeed with the catastrophe association from a few skeptics with virtually no influence, and yet perfectly happy with the identical falsity from whole rafts of the world’s most powerful leaders over many years, and a whole raft of other authorities besides. You give these most powerful leaders and orgs and influencers a free pass, and you do not do so for the mere skeptic bloggers. Wrong and right are not different for these groups, neither should have a pass; you are choosing to view them (completely) differently.

      • Obviously you didn’t give a quote from the Pope or Obama, and just repeated your wrongitudes about my view (see above).

      • Jim D:

        Please clarify in your replies whether you are addressing me or Ron. Thankyou.

        “Obviously you didn’t give a quote from the Pope or Obama, and just repeated your wrongitudes about my view (see above).”

        What ‘wrongitudes’? Please explain what these are, clearly. I have no idea what you are talking about. There is no way that any of my statements, here or elsewhere, can be construed as support for the view that the presidents, prime ministers, UN elite, religious leaders, many other orgs and businesses and other authorities, who adamantly inform their publics that a high certainty of imminent global catastrophe (absent major action), is the judgement of ‘the’ science, the mainstream, the considered and co-ordinated opinion of climate scientists world-wide, are doing this because they are lying. If you believe so, provide detailed quotes from me, and in full and proper context. Nevertheless, the catastrophe narrative that they propagate in the name of mainstream science is not supported by mainstream science, so their assertion is false, and you agree it is false. As noted to Ron however, they are *not* intentionally misleading wrt to this falsity, because they believe it to be true. The footnotes contain many examples of the catastrophe narrative including from the two of the many authority sources you mention. These authority sources stretch downwards from the highest levels to much lower (and so broader) in the tree. Notwithstanding that somewhere in any bunch of thousands of humans there’ll be someone who lies about something, that caveat aside, which I must include or some joker will find a lie somewhere and attempt to use it to (wrongly) say my whole position is flawed, I do not believe in any way that they are lying. In fact further, their belief in what they say is palpably passionate in many cases. I presume that you do not think all these many authority sources are lying too, yet indeed you already agreed that the catastrophe narrative is indeed not supported by mainstream science.

        You still continue to avoid contradiction. You are very unhappy indeed with the catastrophe association from a few skeptics with virtually no influence, and yet perfectly happy with the identical falsity from whole rafts of the world’s most powerful leaders over many years, and a whole raft of other authorities besides. You give these most powerful leaders and orgs and influencers a free pass, and you do not do so for the mere skeptic bloggers. Wrong and right are not different for these groups, neither should have a pass; you are choosing to view them (completely) differently.

      • I missed this thread and replied here.

    • Geoff Sherrington

      Jim D,
      There is much talk here, especially from you, about the place of consensus in science. There seems to be a split of what consensus means, either (loosely) –
      “I agree with this, my mate agrees with it, if we do a head count we can conclude that most of us agree with it, so we have a consensus and we can tell the world that it is fruitless to argue against it”; or
      “We have what we could call a consensus about this scientific point because it has been examined so conclusively that all objections to it that have been raised have been answered and countered. It is now so absent of further objection that we can give it a scientific class of status like ‘a Law of Physics’ which is an interim description unless and until a person (typically a sceptic) tables a vital new angle that re-opens the study.”

      Many commenters here adopt the framework of the first example because they are social commentators, not scientific thinkers.

      Consensus can be used to express a social solidarity if you are use the first description; or it can indicate a great deal of investigative science has exhausted all objections so far raised.

      I see very little climate science that has been done well enough to even think about saying it has achieved a scientific consensus. Climate research is almost identifiable by a feature of being loaded with quasi-scientific guesswork, opinion and belief that is far, far from any consensus of the second kind. Geoff.

      • It is important to realize that consensus is not necessary in science, but it is needed for policy. This is why we get the IPCC reports and their use of peer review to provide a consensus for the policymakers. Measurements are imprecise, but they give a self-consistent energy budget that is also understood from basic physics. The measured imbalance tells us that all the warming we have had so far still lags the forcing change that is GHG-dominated. Even Lewis and Curry have used this energy balance argument and the differences left are only related to choices of baseline periods and aerosol assumptions. The Greenland glacier has not seen CO2 levels over 400 ppm before, so unsurprisingly it is losing mass by the decade too.

      • Geoff Sherrington

        Jim D,
        Thank you for this response. It confirms what I suspected, that Jim D does not know much about the conduct of good science, though he/she writes a lot of poor science.
        Your assertion that “The Greenland glacier has not seen CO2 levels over 400 ppm before, so unsurprisingly it is losing mass by the decade too.” is so full of non-scientific hearsay dogma that it brands you as just another pretend scientist.
        Bye now. Geoff.

      • Geoff, I mentioned energy balance models, anthropogenic forcing and observations of the imbalance and Greenland melting. If you consider that to be poor science, you would be somewhat detached from reality.

      • Yes – most of it is very poor science #jiminy.

      • A lot of skeptics don’t like using the energy balance terms one little bit. It is understandable that they shy away from those results.

      • I use them all the time of course. #jiminy is one of those recalcitrant, inflexible and dogmatic progressives. It is impossible to have a dialogue when one side has only memes – I have wasted enough time to know this.

  11. Pingback: Mainstream scientists verballed on climate | Pursue Democracy

  12. This paper seems pretty “academicky.” Has it been submitted to a sociology journal, especially one on the sociology of science? (If not, it is understandable why not.)

    • Roger, I think we know what would happen 0: the social sciences seem almost exclusively to profess belief in calamitous climate change, thinking it merely a matter of hard science. The deeper, emotive level of belief is also very common. This means they can’t turn their tools onto the issue, or merely start by trying to explain climate change ‘denialism’, which after decades they’ve essentially failed to do (you’d think that might be a clue). A small minority try manfully (or personfully) to be objective, yielding some great data even if hard priors afflict further analysis.

      • i read some years ago that practitioners of the sociology of science are licking their chops over the prospect of CAGW and significant AGW being debunked, or on the verge of such. They are gadflies of official narratives, like most sociologists, and the narrative they oppose is that scientists are adventurous truth-seekers, paragons of rationality, and that in the rare cases when they aren’t an infallible scientific process weeds out their errors. (This naive, idealistic line is expressed in its purest form by bigshots in the Capital-S Skeptics Movement.)

        Sociologists of science, such a Kuhn in his book on scientific revolutions, contend on the contrary that science is pervaded by careerism, groupthink, tunnel vision, and attachment to orthodoxy, aka established paradigms. Maybe you could link up with some of them and see if there is a journal that would publish your material. A person who could make suggestions on who to contact is Henry Bauer, who has cited approvingly a sociologicaly-informed STEM-studies field.

      • Thanks, Roger. If you have a link or reference for that chop licking, I’d appreciate it. I keep some profile in comments at Dan Kahan’s cultural cognition, which is a hopeful place because despite belief, he has good objectivity in techniques and shows all his working, plus nearly made it through the veil a couple of times. He even once retweeted one of my critiques of his analysis of the time on climate change beliefs, which was another guest post here a few years back. For me this has all been a hobby away from my day-job too, so it’s citizen science which doesn’t help. I’ll check out Bauer though.

      • Andy (et al.):

        Wikipedia umbrella link to 19 “sociology of science” topics:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Sociology_of_science

        Wikipedia link to “sociology of scientific knowledge”:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociology_of_scientific_knowledge

        Wikipedia link to “science and technology studies” (STS—which I wrongly remembered as STEM above)
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_and_technology_studies

        These will give you leads toward allies and outlets for your work.

    • Re: “A person who could make suggestions on who to contact is Henry Bauer, who has cited approvingly a sociologicaly-informed STEM-studies field.”

      Upon reading your post, I thought you were being sarcastic and making the same type of point I would make. But it looks as if Andy West is taking your point seriously. So some background may be in order.

      Much of “sociologically-informed STEM-studies” is roundly mocked by the mainstream scientific community, and rightly so. Many of these sociologists tend to have very weird ideas on how science works, to the point that they don’t grasp that scientists change their mind in response to objective scientific evidence. Some of these sociologists simply reject the notion of objective scientific evidence.

      A classic example of this was when the STEM sociologist Bruno Latour objected to the claim that an ancient Egyptian pharaoh died of tuberculosis. Latour objected because he claimed that the idea and language for “tuberculosis” did not exist in ancient Egypt, and thus the pharaoh didn’t die of tuberculosis. Latour’s claim was silly, since the idea and language to refer to tuberculosis don’t need to exist in order for the bacteria to exist and kill people. But Latour claims otherwise. Latour’s essay is below:

      “On the partial existence of existing and nonexisting objects”

      Of course, faux “skeptics” like to latch onto such ideas, since it allows them to avoid evidence-based science, depicting scientific evidence as the subjective perspective of modern scientists. That brings us back to your reference to Henry Bauer. I know of him, because he’s an faux “skeptic” on HIV causing AIDS and on anthropogenic climate change. Since mainstream virology, immunology, medicine, climate science, etc. debunk his position on those topics, then of course he would cite some STEM sociology in order to attack those branches of science. He’s the last person an informed person would want to work with, and using his tactics is not a good sign:

      https://scimedskeptic.wordpress.com/tag/hivaids-denialism/

  13. For me it began in 1972. After 6 years of active duty I returned to Cal to complete my degree. “Limits To Growth” was my guide to understanding what might happen sometime between 2030 and 2050. The 40 Year Update of LTG was even more catastrophic than the original, for 2 reasons:

    1. The “Tipping Point” for what Dr’s Meadows and Randers called global population overshoot and collapse, from starvation caused by our failure to invent an effective detoxification response – to prevent our pollutants from poisoning our planet’s food, water and air, was in 1975.

    2. The time frame in which the Collapse was expected was no longer between 2030 and 2050, but NLT 2024!

    What life forms have become extinct, or nearly so, in that period?

    I’m aware of a few easily visible species. The Pacific Northwest is known for its salmon. Nine years ago I took part in a local salmon count. We knew they were in Lake Washington; however, not a single salmon was seen. The locals I spoke to remembered when they were so abundant you could almost walk across the creek. The difference was contaminated food was making them too weak to reach their spawning grounds.

    One obvious source of some of that contamination was runoff from agricultural operations, saturated septic drain fields and urban surfaces. That was common knowledge when we moved from Anchorage to Puget Sound. Nothing has been done to alleviate that contamination.

    This summer, one of the local apex predators, the Orca, was seen pushing her dead baby to the surface in a vain attempt to revive it. Most first born Orca die from the concentration of toxins in their mother’s milk, from the salmon.

    Think of the similarities between the air quality in California and having to subsist under water.

    Heard much about the continuing contributions to the Pacific Ocean from Fukushima? I’ve seen then and now videos of the life forms around Vancouver Island in BC. Then, there were 5,000 species living in those waters. Now, there are 4, none of which are considered palatable.

    The last couple years there have been a number of reports on the disappearance of 67% of insects. I don’t remember a single mosquito bite this summer. Neither do I remember having to scrape bugs off the windshield when driving in the agricultural areas nearby and east of the Cascades.

    How many more missing links in my food chains will it take before this Collapse must be confronted. Claude Levi-Strauss called it “the poisoning of the planet.” The current phrase referring to this process is the 6th Mass Extinction’s events.

    Mass migrations of folks looking for a safer, cooler, and damper clime in which to raise their kids and their crops are unlikely to be reversed, imho. Pandemics and conflicts with those unwilling, or unable to share, are probably inevitable – helping to further reduce the surplus population of us apex consumers.

    Who understands and monitors the microbes that enable us to grow our food, digest it, and dispose of it? How many of those can we survive without? I’m afraid that we will find out sooner than later.

    My point is that whether these vital species are contaminated or cooked, when they begin to disappear why won’t we?

    • My point is that whether these vital species are contaminated or cooked, when they begin to disappear why won’t we?

      Because any warming we can get this century will be beneficial. It will be benefical for ecosystems, forestry, agriculture, freshwater, etc. and also beneficial for the global economy (sum of all impact sectors).

      It is unlikely we will get 3 C GMST increase this century. That amounts to about 2C average increase across the tropics. Outside the tropics will all benefit. Most warming will be at high latitudes, in winter not summer, at night not day. It’s all beneficial.

      Biosphere productivity increases as temperatures increase from current temperatures. Earth is currently in a severe ice house phases. It hasn’t been in such a cold state since nearly 300 Ma ago.

      Hence my opening sentence: any warming we can get this century will be beneficial.

    • I think pollution is a real problem. Overfishing is a real problem, and the overuse of pesticides and antibiotics is a real problem. Deforestation in order to grow monocultures is a real problem. Grabbing land from indigenous peoples in order to grow these monocultures in a real problem. But I don’t believe CO2 warming is a real problem because we see no tell-tale warming of the upper troposphere, as predicted, nor do we see increased water vapor feedback in the upper troposphere. Sea level rise is natural; we see no acceleration, and I judge this by looking at actual NOAA tidal records. According to historical records arctic warming isn’t unusual, nor are fairly rapid climate changes, according to Greenland ice cores. Antarctica isn’t warming as predicted. Coral reefs aren’t dying from global warming, although they’re certainly dying due to overfishing, which is a documented cause.

      So the false narrative of CO2 warming is supported by a misappropriation of causes, IMHO. Events that are caused by one cluster of causes which have nothing to do with CO2 warming, or which appear to be normal climatic variations, are used to present global warming disaster to us.

      I recently read about insect declines in the Luquillo Forest of Puerto Rico, attributed to climate change. But the temperature there had only risen two degrees, to 28C; it’s hard to believe this could lead to such a decline in a territory with a large presence of chemical companies and, as I understand, with a history of agricultural pesticide use, as well as the nearby use of naled to control mosquitoes as recently as 1987.

      So I agree with Graham that we face a lot of problems. I think CO2 warming is a distraction from real problems.

      From a science perspective, the false narrative has been perpetuated by scientists who get causation wrong through carelessness brought on by bias, or sometimes by just plain bad science. You can point to a dead reef and say “global warming” but in reality what you’re looking at is usually overfishing, or alternatively starfish overgrowth or some other cause that isn’t “global warming”; we need to be honest about that.

      I don’t think the overpopulation narrative is valid. The problem is we have too many poor people; help them bring themselves out of poverty and they’ll behave more like the wealthier countries who have fewer children.

      • Don,
        Agree. Perhaps the most immoral aspect of CAGW is that it diverts energy and funds from legitimate environmental problems, and, of course, gives science and environmentalism a bad name.

    • DG, interesting piece. What you talk about is the natural evolution and attrition of species from natural planet changes. That said the last half century has accelerated that attrition due to human interference (pesticides, water contamination, light contamination, etc ). Others have noted that there are also cycles, benevolent at points but adverse at others, where human populations increased and decreased accordingly.
      However there were also times and events when whole civilisations ceased to exist ‘overnight’. A link to something recent here: https://melitamegalithic.wordpress.com/2018/11/13/some-correlations-to-the-past/ posted lately. The marked events between 8k and 4k were such events. Why — ????

  14. Even if the world grows hotter, where is the direct scientific “proof” of the cause? CO2 has never been “proven” to cause more than a small increase in temperature, so what is causing CAGW? Using hyperbolic language to describe our fears is useful, I suspect, but at some point we have to be willing to counter it with creditable solutions. Wind mills and solar won’t cut it.

  15. It seems to me that the catastrophe narrative is a uniquely western phenomenon. I may be wrong but I don’t see an equivalent in Asian countries such as Russia, China or India. If this is so maybe there is a need to examine just what it is about the recent history of western political thought that is pessimistic enough to need to contemplate an impending catastrophy.

    • Bill, I think this may in part at least be a lack of available translations, unless you are able to search in Russian or Chinese or whatever? English is used in India and I do have one quote from a minister there [(see 5ce)], plus spotted a couple of others but not from from high authority sources / influencers, and I didn’t search very hard. Having said that, the phenomenon started in the West so one would expect most growth there. It’s also hard to know whether what comes out of China is genuine or just intended for Western consumption.

    • The West is the only place where academics are wealthy and comfortable enough to mistakenly believe abandoning modernity is a serious option. For the rest of the world, this is a technical problem. For the latter, it doesn’t matter if sea level rise will be three inches or 300 feet. You can only talk about abolishing air conditioning and cars if it’s 300 feet.
      Catastrophe narrative disappears when anybody gets around to doing an objective scientific/engineering review of available alternatives.
      IMO, the very minute an objective review of available alternatives is completed, and the options ranked in terms of feasibility and cost, will be the very moment that more than half the western warm drop AGW as a cause. I’m a broken record on this, but for advocates- the ones driving the catastrophe narrative – AGW is horrific enough to contemplate abandoning capitalism but not serious enough to warrant construction of a nuclear power plant.

  16. Here’s an interesting quote from Steven Pinker:

    “How bad will climate change be? Not very. No, this isn’t a denialist screed. Human greenhouse emissions will warm the planet, raise the seas and derange the weather, and the resulting heat, flood and drought will be cataclysmic. Cataclysmic—but not apocalyptic. While the climate upheaval will be large, the consequences for human well-being will be small. Looked at in the broader context of economic development, climate change will barely slow our progress in the effort to raise living standards.”

    Pinker points out negativity bias in most human affairs, but doesn’t seem to appreciate his own negativity bias in even referring to climate change as cataclysmic!

    Humans lived through the last glacial maximum as well as the Holocene Climatic Optimum, during which most major civilizations flourished. There’s a case that the radiative changes of CO2 are largely irrelevant to climate in comparison to the changes of the LGM and HCO. That’s because the change of gradients of net radiance probably won’t change that much in comparison:

    • Thanks for this, TE. Goodness, drawing a thin line between cataclysmic and apocalyptic is a hard act to start with (on the assumption of a global context, which he appears to make). At any rate the synonyms of cataclysmic (at 1st link that came up) include: disastrous · catastrophic · calamitous · tragic · devastating · ruinous · terrible · violent · awful. So I think he still qualifies as propagating a catastrophe narrative that is unsupported by the mainstream science (per above definition same).

    • Re: “Pinker points out negativity bias in most human affairs, but doesn’t seem to appreciate his own negativity bias in even referring to climate change as cataclysmic!”

      It’s not “negativity bias”, if there’s evidence of negative effects. You can familiarize yourself with ocean acidification, sea level rise, and so on.

      Re: “Humans lived through the last glacial maximum as well as the Holocene Climatic Optimum, during which most major civilizations flourished. There’s a case that the radiative changes of CO2 are largely irrelevant to climate in comparison to the changes of the LGM and HCO.”

      First, the fact that humans “lived through” X, doesn’t mean X is irrelevant. For example, humans lived through the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Doesn’t mean that epidemic was irrelevant.

      Second, humans are in a different position now then they were in the distant past. For instance, we have many more people living in coastal areas, and thus more people susceptible to the effects of sea level rise. So no, claiming we lived through some event in the past, doesn’t mean we’re equally fine now.

      Third, as you faux “skeptics” have been told many times before, one relevant factor here is the rate of change. The rate of change here is quite fast, and thus harder to adapt to. Some examples on this (the first source is Scotese, a researcher’s who’s work Peter Lang habitually abuses on this forum):

      “Some thoughts on global climate change: The transition from icehouse to hothouse
      […]
      When humankind emerged from the last major ice age, about 21,000 years ago, both poles and much of the northern continents were covered by expanding ice sheets […]. In the past 10,000 years the Earth has naturally warmed and the ice sheets have retreated towards the poles.
      […]
      But Nature may not have its way. Things have changed. We have changed things. The addition of CO2 to the atmosphere during the last 200 years of human industry has amplified this natural warming trend and the average global temperature has risen rapidly. […] Since 1880, [the average global temperature] has increased another .6° degrees to 14.4°C (as of 2015). This rate of warming is ~50 times faster than the rate of warming during the previous 21,000 years [emphasis added; endnotes removed].”


      [Figures 2A and 2B of: “Pacific ocean heat content during the past 10,000 years”]

  17. The UK government Chief Scientific Adviser got the IPCC report that he ordered, as is peddling it already:
    https://civilservice.blog.gov.uk/2018/11/12/responding-to-climate-change-is-a-team-effort/

    As is the Astronomer Royal:
    https://futureoflife.org/2018/10/11/podcast-martin-rees-on-the-prospects-for-humanity-ai-biotech-climate-change-overpopulation-cryogenics-and-more/?fbclid=IwAR1ZVIML_FZFzY5RF1zd2LFMb-hq8zFwHcT7NBc4C2e5MbZpaUToOU_UhVE&cn-reloaded=1

    Looking back at IPCC AR5:
    “For most economic sectors, the impact of climate change will be small relative to the impacts of other drivers. Changes in population, age, income, technology, relative prices, lifestyle, regulation, governance, and many other aspects of socioeconomic development will have an impact on the supply and demand of economic goods and services that is large relative to the impact of climate change.”
    http://ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/wg2/WGIIAR5-Chap10_FINAL.pdf

    How did we get from that, to ‘we only have 12 years left to prevent catastrophe’?

  18. Is it just coincidental that Edward Bernays and Maurice Strong were both vociferous advocates of World Government or is it possible that the founding father of the IPCC read the works of the ” Master of Mass Manipulation”. The IPCC certainly is in keeping with the modus operandi that Bernays used to get Americans to eat more bacon or use Dixie cups. To achieve those goals, Bernays created a panel of trustworthy experts ( carefully selected to make sure they were all of the same opinion) got them to issue a report then got the media to promote the results to the public. Strong improved the methodology to make sure the “experts” also controlled the flow of funding and dissemination iof information.

  19. I am collecting climate predictions by scientists, so we can track their accuracy. These are “hard” forecasts — not projections (i.e., based on a specific future scenario such as an RCP).

    The current campaign is 30 years old, and has already accumulated a long list of failed predictions – most of which are catastrophic predictions. This might be one reason for the public’s low interest in large-scale policy measures to fight climate change.

    People have submitted hundreds of predictions. I’m checking each out and then adding them to the post. Add yours to the comments.

    https://fabiusmaximus.com/2018/11/12/collect-all-climate-forecasts/

    • Terrific idea. By 2050-60, this whole climate science group think phenomenon should be a gold mine for case studies by some courageous social psychologists. As the list of failed predictions grows it should dawn on the more alert ones that a rethink is in order.

      • Cerescokid,

        Speaking from high in the peanut gallery, I wonder if climate science will eventually be added to the roster of physical sciences afflicted by the replication crisis. Now biomedicine-related fields are the most extreme case. But time might change that.

        Most sciences (not all) allow faster testing of theories, proving replication failure. The long time horizon of climate science forecasts make that process slower.

        But even after 30 years, I’ve documented an impressive number of failures – and a few impressive successes.

    • I predict that anthropogenic global warming will be as widely revered as cold fusion in 2050.

      • “I am collecting climate predictions by scientists, so we can track their accuracy. The current campaign is 30 years old, and has already accumulated a long list of failed predictions – most of which are catastrophic predictions. ”

        Are you really?
        Well bully for you Mr Kummer.
        It still does not twig it seems, that “predictions” by individual scientists do not the consensus make.
        Peter Wadhams being the one at the top of your “list” I hope.
        You are collecting eye catching extremes that have come to the public’s attention via the usual clamour of the media for sensationalist headlines.
        How about you tell us those “predictions” (actually projections) the IPCC have made that are “wrong”? Let alone any “catastrophic” ones (FFS)
        No cheating now … actual ones that should have occurred by this year (2018) …. and not decades in the future, which also seem to have been deemed to have “failed” reading some comments on the usual Blogs.
        Yes, for peeps that do not inhabit the rabbit-hole – we do know that is bizarrely illogical.

    • Re: “I am collecting climate predictions by scientists, so we can track their accuracy.”

      Climate science already has a long history of accurate predictions, not that faux “skeptics” will ever admit that.

      Ray Pierrehumbert’s 2012 video: “Tyndall Lecture: GC43I. Successful Predictions – 2012 AGU Fall Meeting”

      • Atomsk,

        If you had read this post, you would see mention of some successful predictions.

        “Read first, then comment.” Words to live by.

      • Re: “Atomsk, If you had read this post, you would see mention of some successful predictions. “Read first, then comment.” Words to live by.”

        You mean the accurate predictions that have been cited to you before, but which you’ve habitually ignored?:

        https://judithcurry.com/2018/09/17/a-test-of-the-tropical-200-300-mb-warming-rate-in-climate-models/#comment-881343

      • It is quite obvious Atomsk that you still don’t bother to read from your pulpit. You wrote “Climate science already has a long history of accurate predictions, not that faux “skeptics” will ever admit that.
        Ray Pierrehumbert’s 2012 video: “Tyndall Lecture: GC43I. Successful Predictions – 2012 AGU Fall Meeting””
        Guess what, in the Fabius post is written “Climate science, like other physical sciences, has a long record of successful predictions (see this partial list from the AGU 2012 Tyndall Lecture by Ray Pierrehumber – video here – using a broader definition of “prediction” than used here, and even so citing only one in the period examined here).”
        So comprehension fail along with your other faults.

      • Re: “It is quite obvious Atomsk that you still don’t bother to read from your pulpit.”

        It’s quite obvious that people can add material after it’s pointed out to them, and judiciously choose their time-period to avoid the accurate predictions that would rebut their narrative. And then people can come along after the fact, to act as if they’ve made a point.

        Re: “So comprehension fail along with your other faults.”

        Feel free to list the other faults. I’m sure you have lots of evidence-based points to contribute.

      • Re: “Atomsk, If you had read this post, you would see mention of some successful predictions. “Read first, then comment.” Words to live by.”

        But I already had read it. Your tactic was transparent: pull random stuff you found in the press, so you could avoid the confirmed predictions scientists made in reputable sources, such as peer-reviewed papers. Also, you narrow the period down to post-1988, to evade accurate predictions I’ve cited to you before. You know, the accurate predictions that are actually central the to science on attribution and/or effects (ex: positive feedback from clouds, positive feedback from water vapor, upper atmosphere cooling):

        “The campaign began with James Hansen’s 1988 testimony to the US Senate about global warming. Since then, the Left made frequent predictions about the imminent climate catastrophe – going beyond anything in the reports of the IPCC or major climate agencies. Many of the target dates of climate predictions will come due in the next few years. Let’s assemble a list. Here are a few to get started. Compare these with the solidly grounded, careful forecasts of Working Group I – The Physical Sciences – in the IPCC’s AR5 – and the almost always well-grounded predictions in the peer-reviewed literature.”
        https://fabiusmaximus.com/2018/11/12/collect-all-climate-forecasts/

        So no, you are not “collecting climate predictions by scientists, so we can track their accuracy.” You’re collecting stuff you saw in the press and elsewhere, in order to undermine science you find politically-inconvenient.

  20. Man can polute the atmosphere but we can not stop th new ice age which thge Almighty, NATURE, began 18,000 years ago.
    Arctic sea ice’
    The Iceberg that broke off in the Antarctic broke off because we have switched from ice melting to ice making. That means I believe we began the new Ice Age 18,000 years ago. The oceans at the time of the peak were at least 400’ lower than present. That was about 72,000 years ago. The ocean water around the poles is always turned over.
    The ocean at the edge of the ice berg, before it was an ice berg, was 400’ lower and it was the edge of the Continent, and the ice and snow were deep back to the center of the continent. The new snow, ice, began to grow, and the ocean began to rise. Because the ocean has turned over the upper level of the ocean is 32’F. Because the 39’F heavier water is a little bit lower, as the ocean rises it begins to melt the ice form the bottom and work its way inland. It has been doing this for the last 72,000 years. 18,000 years ago, the ice age ended and nature began making ice. The ice and snow have been growing on the top, as the bottom is still being eaten inward. The average iceberg is 80% underwater. Sometime in the last 18,000 years that which was over the land got over the water, got heavy enough and it broke off and floated way. At this point in the new ice growth it is about 250 meters thick (820 feet). At this point the lowering of the ocean began to slow down. That is where we are now. When the breaking off gets to the edge of the continent the dropping of the ocean will accelerate.
    The Arctic ice at the north pole is doing the same. If you look at the Northwest passage, the shallowest is over land 400’ or less. The ice at the pole is an iceberg. As the ice and snow on top grows the iceberg gets heavier, and it sinks. The 39’F water works on the edge and the center gets thicker and the edge melts away, thus it looks like it is getting smaller but it is actually getting a lot thicker. The Antarctic ice core shows in the last 18,000 years, the beginning of the new ice age, the ice over land has risen 250 meters.
    The term THE LAKE HAS TURNED OVER MEANS THE WATER AT THE SURFACE HAS REACHED 39’f. Water as it cools from 39’F to 32’F expands as the surface water cools further. Thus, the term the lake has turned over.

  21. Excellent essay, Andy May.
    I said something similar, but much less sophisticated and less documented, in essay Climatatrosphistry in ebook Blowing Smoke, which has the kind foreword from Judith. It covers a number of additional examples you didn’t.

  22. Andy West, thank you for the essay. It is well done and backed by plenty of appropriate references.

    Within the public domain, there is a widespread narrative of certainty (absent deep emissions cuts) of near-term (decades) climate catastrophe. This narrative is not supported by mainstream science (no skeptical views required), and in the same manner as an endless sequence of historic cultural narratives, propagates via emotive engagement, not veracity.

    The catastrophe narrative is propagated by all levels of authority from the highest downwards, granting it huge influence, and differentially via favored functional arms of society, plus at the grass roots level.

    “Widespread” does not mean “universal”; you don’t claim it does, but I think it has been interpreted that way. Likewise, “all levels of authority” does not imply :universal”; you don’t claim that it does, but I think a few commenters have interpreted it that way.

    The “catastrophic” narrative of AGW is “widespread” and propagated by members of “all levels of authority”. Claims that “CAGW” is somehow undefined or a “straw man” are ignorant (at best), disingenuous, or intentional falsehoods.

    • Matthew, thanks. And thanks too for emphasising that those phrases don’t amount to universal. Quite apart from skeptical views arising from reason, the biggest opposition to the social phenomenon of CAGW is from ‘innate skeptisicm’, which is a cultural value dependent thing (see prior post on this topic here), and whether or not this happens to be aligned to older cultural conflicts (e.g. Lib / Dems v Rep / Cons in the US), or not (in some other countries). It results in very significant portions of all publics being at least nominally in opposition (in US and UK around half is best guess from highly variable figures).

  23. Salvatore del Prete

    Another article once again devoted to man made global warming implications which keeps putting the the state of the science of climatology where it has been and continues to be consumed by the man made global warming issue.

    Some how the current state of climatology is obsessed in trying to show how relevant man made global warming is despite the current temperature of the climate , rate in temperature change of the current climate , length of temperature change of the current climate, in no way being any different in any shape ,manner or form from all previous climatic changes when viewed against the historical climatic record.

    To take it further the recent warmth coming out of the Little Ice Age has been mild in contrast to earlier times.

    I also strongly believe that the run up in global temperatures recently has ended and now a down trend has just become established.

    The seeds of this down trend were put into place around 2005 when natural climatic factors started to change and this change is still taking place. All natural factors are now in a down turn (led by solar)and this is going to continue as we move forward.

    The item I am watching with keen interest is overall oceanic sea surface temperatures which should start to show a more definitive trend down as time moves forward. In addition geological activity ,snow cover, cloud cover on a global basis should continue to increase, while the atmospheric circulation features a more meridional pattern with lowering heights overall (500mb level for example).

    All the above moderated by a weakening geo magnetic field, but instead of the science of climatology being devoted to all the areas I have just mentioned along with looking at the historical climatic record , it instead is transfixed on the global man made fiasco and trying relentlessly to prove this is what governs the climate. What a waste of time and this happens day in and day out as is evidenced by this latest article. We all relentlessly discuss the man made global warming scam in one form or another over and over and over again.

  24. This is always a good space for good information but this article is truly exceptional. It is a very complete and also detailed explanation of peer group dynamics in climatology. I’ll definitely bookmark this.

    • The journalist says ‘as though warming was an existential threat’ coming from ‘other activists’. However, he also quotes a raft of doom and gloom sources, including from other newspapers, although a pnas source too. There appear to be thousands of journalistic efforts of this kind over the years, which border upon or indeed cross into catastrophism. It’s only in the latter case that one can clearly and quickly know it is wrong, else-wise it’s a matter of judging all sources and needing reference expertise to do so (with most assisting expertise sources being potentially biased). In the case of a clear catastrophe narrative, both mainstream (per above definition) and skeptical science think its wrong, so there’s not such an issue regarding bias, plus the domain independent social data says that the narrative of catastrophe is a cultural not scientific consensus. In this case, he also includes this: ‘Eric Holthaus wrote that “civilization is at stake.”’ This is catastrophic narrative (and it’s clear from Eric’s other public statements that he doesn’t mean centuries away, he is in my quote list below). Yet that clincher quote is Eric’s, not the journalist’s. I was going to have a section on journalistic input that was catastrophic *not* based upon included quotes, i.e. exaggerating quotes into the catastrophic or merely lobbing this angle in themselves, or based on other spurious sources (e.g. not infrequently, other journalists!). But this a vast area and a huge task. If a journalist quotes say a prime minister or a UN leader propagating catastrophe narrative, this is not the journalist’s issue unless he throws a whole lot more of the same off his / her own bat.

      • Atomsk’s Sanakan: Where does it say “human extinction”? Where does it say that humans will go extinct?

        the author refers to “genocide”, which is local extinction of of a lineage or language group.

        I recommend you stop getting your information on science from the press. Read reputable scientific sources.

        I get my scientific information from peer-reviewed research, mostly. That was an example of the widespread “catastrophe” narrative deserving of skepticism, or even disparagement.

        CAGW is rarely, if ever, defined or sourced to a mainstream scientific organization or study.

        You haven’t noticed that is a two-edged sword. Most expressions of skepticism toward CAGW are expressions of skepticism toward claims that go beyond what is supportable by the published evidence. Consider the claim that reducing ocean pH by 0.3 will result in extinction of some large populations of small, fast reproducing species: where is the scientific evidence supporting that? Extant species have survived more extreme declines in pH; studies of populations for whom dissolved CO2 is a nutrient show that increased CO2 promotes their growth (e.g. coccolithophores, as reported in Science magazine); intentionally attacking populations with chemicals has not eliminated them — syphilus, TB and staphylococcus have survived everything directed at them, and weeds that compete with soybeans have survived glyphosate. So, to repeat, where is scientific evidence that increased CO2 will harm (limit, extinguish, devastate, etc) any ocean populations.

        Also, without using the word “catastrophe”, AAAS has recurrently asked me for donations of money urgently to prevent diverse catastrophes. Examples of the extreme claims from their solicitations help to define “catastrophe”. Consider the frequent claim that increased CO2 will hurt crop production in the upcoming century; the literal warning is of billions more per year of people dying of starvation. That is a catastrophe that we have been enjoined to prevent, but the evidence to date is that the increase of CO2, rainfall, and temperature over the past 1.25 century has been beneficial to crop production. So one can be skeptical of that catastrophic claim without “denying” the scientific evidence.

      • Looks like you put your response in a weird place outside the main chain of the discussion, so I missed it. My mistake.

        Re: “”Where does it say “human extinction”? Where does it say that humans will go extinct?”
        “the author refers to “genocide”, which is local extinction of of a lineage or language group.”

        A genocide is not the same thing as humanity going extinct. So you were exaggerating when you called this a human extinction. Human extinction requires that humans go extinct, not just a group of humans dying out. Similarly, dodo extinction requires that dodos go extinct, not just a group of dodos dying out.

        Re: “I get my scientific information from peer-reviewed research, mostly”

        Yet you rarely, if ever, cite evidence from it, and you dodge the evidence in it when it’s cited to you. I’ll give an example of this below.

        Re: “Most expressions of skepticism toward CAGW are expressions of skepticism toward claims that go beyond what is supportable by the published evidence”

        Not really. Expressions of skepticism towards CAGW tend to be attacks on a made-up, ill-defined straw man that the critic applies to mainstream climate science, so that they can act as if the science supports their position and not mainstream climate science. You were already given a source on this:

        “Another claim advanced by those who reject the mainstream scientific agreement on climate is that the consensus position consists of a claim of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming or the frequently used acronym CAGW […]. However, CAGW is rarely, if ever, defined or sourced to a mainstream scientific organization or study. Any scientific study’s result, or statement by a researcher, that does not fit a contrarian’s personal, flexible definition of CAGW can therefore be adopted as ostensibly supporting their view and refuting the mainstream, even when such results are actually consistent with the mainstream position on climate […].”
        https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-20161-0_3

        Re: “Consider the claim that reducing ocean pH by 0.3 will result in extinction of some large populations of small, fast reproducing species: where is the scientific evidence supporting that? Extant species have survived more extreme declines in pH”

        I don’t care whether or not that meets your personal, flexible definition of “catastrophe.”

        And this is good example of what I mean when I say you ignore peer-reviewed research when it’s cited to you. I already cited you evidence on:

        1) increased atmospheric CO2 resulting in both warming and ocean acidification that contributed to past mass extinctions
        2) an anthropogenic mass extinction going on right now, including in the oceans
        https://judithcurry.com/2018/11/14/the-catastrophe-narrative/#comment-883691

        You didn’t address the evidence, but just asked your question as if no evidence was cited. Amazing.

        Anyway, you provided no evidence that extant species survived more extreme declines in pH. And even if you did, that wouldn’t be a cogent objection. Of course extant species survived past changes; if they didn’t, then they would not be extant. That doesn’t mean a future change wouldn’t kill them. For instance, some species have survived asteroid impacts. That doesn’t change the fact that a subsequent impact event can cause a mass extinction, including killing the species that survived a previous impact event. Similarly, surviving some past ocean acidification isn’t a guarantee for surviving the current round of ocean acidification, especially if the species’ population isn’t in as good shape now as it was during a past round of ocean acidification.

        Moreover, one thing that’s especially pertinent here is the rate of multi-decadal ocean acidification. It’s one thing for a species to adapt to seasonal fluctuations in ocean pH, or a very slow pH reduction of hundreds of years. It’s another thing for them to adapt to the current, fairly rapid, multi-decadal decrease in ocean pH. Analogously, it’s one thing for a species to adapt to 20K diurnal variations in temperature, or an increase in temperature of ~0.2K per 500 years. It’s quite another thing for them to adapt to a multi-decadal increase of ~0.2K per decade.

        When you decide you want to engage with the peer-reviewed literature on ocean acidification and its effects, then I’d recommend starting with sources such as:

        “Meta-analysis reveals negative yet variable effects of ocean acidification on marine organisms”
        section 3 on pages 5 – 14 of: “Ocean acidification due to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide”
        “Have we been underestimating the effects of ocean acidification in zooplankton?”

        Re: “Also, without using the word “catastrophe”, AAAS has recurrently asked me for donations of money urgently to prevent diverse catastrophes”

        Once again, what you interpret as “catastrophe” isn’t particularly relevant to me, when you’ll shift your flexible definition around to mean whatever you need it to mean at a particular moment (see the quote I mentioned above).

    • Re: “Is extinction catastrophic?”

      Don’t know, given your history of abusing the term “catastrophic” to mean whatever you need it to mean at the moment. An anthropogenic mass extinction is occurring, however:

      Re: “Here is a warning that CO2 accumulation is an “existential threat”.”

      I recommend you stop getting your information on science from the press. Read reputable scientific sources.

      Anyway, increased atmospheric CO2 results in both warming and ocean acidification (due to ocean uptake of some of the excess CO2 from the atmosphere). Both of these factors likely contributed to the Permian extinction. For further context, see:

      ,”Initial pulse of Siberian Traps sills as the trigger of the end-Permian mass extinction”
      “Climatic and biotic upheavals following the end-Permian mass extinction”
      “Ocean acidification and the Permo-Triassic mass extinction”
      “End-Permian mass extinction in the oceans: An ancient analog for the twenty-first century?”
      “High-precision geochronology confirms voluminous magmatism before, during, and after Earth’s most severe extinction”
      “Global warming and the end-Permian extinction event: Proxy and modeling perspectives”
      “Mass extinction events and the plant fossil record”
      , table 2 on page 549

      This has interesting implications for how CO2-induced, anthropogenic climate change contributed to the current man-made mass extinction.

      • Atomsk’s Sanakan: Don’t know, given your history of abusing the term “catastrophic” to mean whatever you need it to mean at the moment.

        Didn’t you read Andy West’s essay? Its supporting references? It was not I who injected the words “catastrophic” and “catastrophe” into the discussions.

        Would human extinction count as a catastrophe? If so, this article shows that references to “catastrophic AGW” are not referencing a “straw man”.

        Does human extinction avoid being a “catastrophe” if those warning of extinction avoid using the word “catastrophe”?

        My answer is that “human extinction” counts as a “catastrophe”, and the warning of its imminence is another example of the “catastrophe narrative”.

        Do you proffer an answer to the question?

      • I second your comment

      • Re: “Didn’t you read Andy West’s essay? Its supporting references? It was not I who injected the words “catastrophic” and “catastrophe” into the discussions.”

        Actually read the Jacobs article he mentioned, since I’ve read it and I’ve cited it to you multiple times. The article explains how you faux “skeptics” flexibly define term like “catastrophe” to mean whatever you need it to mean at the moment. That way, no matter what the scientific evidence shows, it never meets your personal definition of “catastrophic”. Many creationists use the same tactic to make sure no biological evidence meets their artificial definition of “molecules-to-man evolution”. You’ve done this before in previous discussions on “catastrophe” with me. So I’m not interested in dealing with it again:

        “Another claim advanced by those who reject the mainstream scientific agreement on climate is that the consensus position consists of a claim of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming or the frequently used acronym CAGW […]. However, CAGW is rarely, if ever, defined or sourced to a mainstream scientific organization or study. Any scientific study’s result, or statement by a researcher, that does not fit a contrarian’s personal, flexible definition of CAGW can therefore be adopted as ostensibly supporting their view and refuting the mainstream, even when such results are actually consistent with the mainstream position on climate […].”
        https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-20161-0_3

        Re: “Would human extinction count as a catastrophe?”

        Same answer:
        Don’t know, given your history of abusing the term “catastrophic” to mean whatever you need it to mean at the moment

      • Re: “Does human extinction avoid being a “catastrophe” if those warning of extinction avoid using the word “catastrophe”? My answer is that “human extinction” counts as a “catastrophe”, and the warning of its imminence is another example of the “catastrophe narrative”. Do you proffer an answer to the question?”

        Your response is a great example of the exaggeration and misrepresentation many faux “skeptics” use to erect their “CAGW” straw man.

        Here’s the article you cited:
        http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/10/un-says-climate-genocide-coming-but-its-worse-than-that.html?fbclid=IwAR00sKxT2JQ5Xh6dTzHTY-wYW41p9AQks3osEcS81a0llHOpN2he8zUiMbA

        Where does it say “human extinction”? Where does it say that humans will go extinct?

        If you can’t show where it says that, then feel free to retract your misrepresentation / exaggeration.

      • Atomsk’s Sanakan: However, CAGW is rarely, if ever, defined or sourced to a mainstream scientific organization or study.

        It is well-defined by the many examples of “catastrophe” and its cognates in widespread use at all levels of authority.

      • Re: “It is well-defined by the many examples of “catastrophe” and its cognates in widespread use at all levels of authority.”

        You didn’t answer the question.

        Once again, here’s the article you cited:
        http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/10/un-says-climate-genocide-coming-but-its-worse-than-that.html?fbclid=IwAR00sKxT2JQ5Xh6dTzHTY-wYW41p9AQks3osEcS81a0llHOpN2he8zUiMbA

        Where does it say “human extinction”? Where does it say that humans will go extinct?

        If you can’t show where it says that, then feel free to retract your misrepresentation / exaggeration.

  25. The urban doofus hipster vision involves narratives of moribund western economies governed by corrupt corporations collapsing under the weight of internal contradictions – leading to less growth, less material consumption, less CO2 emissions, less habitat destruction and a last late chance to stay within the safe limits of global ecosystems. And this is just in the ‘scholarly’ journals. It is the rhetoric of autocratic transformation of economies and societies in the shape of their fetid little fantasies.

    But this doesn’t the mean that the risk of catastrophe in a chaotic system is not extreme – low probability high consequence. Either from natural or anthropogenic sources. It is a chaotic system right? And all the skeptical curmudgeon pontification about how benign it all is signifies nothing. While the 20th century has been relatively balmy – climate is still a fierce beast and we are poking it with sticks.

    The solution is to build prosperous and resilient communities in vibrant landscapes. This requires embracing in no uncertain terms optimal economic growth – with mainstream macroeconomic management principles – and a high energy future. Prosperity and resilience require restoration and conservation of environments for people and flora and fauna. The real geoengineering task now a global movement that owes little to governance and much to real people. A high energy future depends on transition from the best current cost effective technologies – gas, HELE coal, various niche technologies – to cheap and abundant 21st century energy sources as they emerge. Much will be left stranded in the turbulent wake of the creative destruction of capitalism and it doesn’t matter a damn.

  26. The catastrophe narrative requires complete abandonment of the scientific method. Anyone questioning the narrative is labeled a science denier by people practicing pseudo-science. The brainwashing has been so complete that people are incapable of accepting empirical evidence. This is the actual catastrophe.

    • Perhaps a broader view of the methods of science would help.

      “Of course, a difficulty with thinking about first principles is that it can take quite a while to get going with the business at hand. Discussion of such perspectives can result in a much longer discourse than any audience (other than one of philosophers) would be likely to endure. The challenge is always to provide just enough philosophy to begin to do justice to the topic, without leading to problems of incomplete reasoning and/or the closing of inquiry.

      So the reader will have to trust a bit, considering that the relevance will only emerge later in the paper. Nevertheless, the wait could be productive. While the focus of this debate is on hypothesis testing, there is an implicit assumption that the philosophy of science that underpins this concept will serve to justify (1) a methodology of experimentation that can successfully falsify hypotheses, and (2) a program of measurement, either in experiments or general monitoring, that will produce replication and generalization of the most satisfactory hypotheses. What if this view is not the best way to organize scientific research and make progress in advancing the understanding of hydrological phenomena? Given current presumptions that place immense emphasis on hypothesis testing in the conduct of hydrological research, in the evaluation of research proposals, in reviews of hydrological research articles, etc., perhaps it might be philosophically appropriate to question the basis for placing so much emphasis on this particular paradigm.” https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/2016WR020078

  27. It is all about the globalists, i.e., an alliance of the utopian communist left and the corporate facists to destroy the one thing that stands in their way-nations-and replace the Westphalian order with global facism and slavery.
    Don’t agree with me? Then you aren’t listening:

  28. The CIA has developed a protocol to analyze conflicting and uncertain information to decide if it is actionable. Would be interesting to see it applied to Climate Change claims. https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/psychology-of-intelligence-analysis/art11.html

    • love it, i’ve flagged for a future post

    • Santer, Oreskes and Emanuel have rejected any such audit of climate science. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2017/06/21/attention-scott-pruitt-red-teams-and-blue-teams-are-no-way-to-conduct-climate-science/?utm_term=.a7423094fa6d
      So apparently, as these three authors say, any type of audit would “undercut the legitimacy, objectivity and transparency of existing climate science,” but that purported “transparency” is only available to those who agree with the mainstream consensus. Notice to others: none of your business how we conduct the science, but we’re transparent to ourselves.

      Funny, the same exact thing happened with our hen house. We had some foxes guarding it and they said the chicken count was legitimate. When I asked to see the actual chickens, they said they couldn’t show them to me but they were transparent to the foxes. Since the consensus was that the foxes were honest I was over-ruled.

      You can’t make this stuff up. Or, maybe you can.

    • “There is no guarantee that ACH or any other procedure will produce a correct answer. The result, after all, still depends on fallible intuitive judgment applied to incomplete and ambiguous information. ”

      Unless one has honest brokers evaluating the various hypotheses and data the process will only highlight areas of disagreement.

      “Step 8
      Identify milestones for future observation that may indicate events are taking a different course than expected.”

      Warmists have already made numerous predictions that have been proven false, and are now increasingly using weasel words to permit plausible deniability in the future.

      Nevertheless, it would be an interesting exercise and likely raise doubts in many about the CAGW hypothesis.

  29. Opening to CIA procedure
    “Chapter 8
    Analysis of Competing Hypotheses

    Analysis of competing hypotheses, sometimes abbreviated ACH, is a tool to aid judgment on important issues requiring careful weighing of alternative explanations or conclusions. It helps an analyst overcome, or at least minimize, some of the cognitive limitations that make prescient intelligence analysis so difficult to achieve.

    ACH is an eight-step procedure grounded in basic insights from cognitive psychology, decision analysis, and the scientific method. It is a surprisingly effective, proven process that helps analysts avoid common analytic pitfalls. Because of its thoroughness, it is particularly appropriate for controversial issues when analysts want to leave an audit trail to show what they considered and how they arrived at their judgment”

  30. The real catastrophe that confronts us is the corruption of science and the degradation of what is sometimes referred to as “the scientific community.” The sad truth is that most people, including most people who consider themselves “scientists,” don’t know what science really is, a set of rules which govern the rational quest for truth about nature. Thus, they take for granted that a simple correlation is proof of cause and effect, e.g. a rise in CO2 over a period of a few years ’causes’ a rise in temperature, however modest and irregular that rise might be. The CO2 is measured from a single source, a laboratory high on a volcano in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, controlled exclusively by a father and son (the Keelings). Cherry picking? Who cares? Sampling? What’s that? As for floods, droughts, storms, they are so horrible that there must be a human cause behind them, right? The principle that major claims require substantial proofs is easily tossed overboard. Indeed, the more extreme the claim, the more credence it must be given (the precautionary ‘rule.’
    Andy West’s paper documents the pervasiveness of the catastrophe ideology, but we, the “deniers,” need to be aware of the seriousness of the danger because it throws the scientific form of reasoning into the garbage and threatens the survival of serious scientific inquiry in many areas. When I think of AAAS and its flagship journal today, I can no longer think of it as representing true science but rather as a collection of ideologues who have forgotten what science really is, if they ever knew. Shocking!
    Along with Pinker, Rosling, and Julian Simon, I see a bright future for humanity if we are guided by science (see my 2011 book, “Acceleration”), but if our culture remains in the thrall of the neo-Malthusians and their catastrophic nonsense, maybe the result will be a true man-made catastrophe.

    • ronhav
      The Ice Ages are controlled by the rules that radient heat travels thru a vacuum, and radient heat is reflected by water.
      If you check the Vostic ice core chart (CO2) with the depth of the ice on top and understand two other basic rules of nature you can understand the Ice Ages.
      CO2 is removed from the atmosphere by green foliage.
      Water contracts as it cools from 112’F to 39’F. Water expands as it cools from 39’F to 32’F
      With this knowlledge and common sense you can understand the ice core chart, thus the Ice Ages, and that we began this Ice Age 18,000 years ago.

    • Re: “Andy West’s paper documents the pervasiveness of the catastrophe ideology, but we, the “deniers,” need to be aware of the seriousness of the danger because it throws the scientific form of reasoning into the garbage and threatens the survival of serious scientific inquiry in many areas.
      […]
      Along with Pinker, Rosling, and Julian Simon, I see a bright future for humanity if we are guided by science”

      You mean this Pinker?:

      “How bad will climate change be? Not very. No, this isn’t a denialist screed. Human greenhouse emissions will warm the planet, raise the seas and derange the weather, and the resulting heat, flood and drought will be cataclysmic. Cataclysmic—but not apocalyptic.”
      https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/should-we-chill-out-about-global-warming/

  31. Pingback: The Catastrophe Narrative | We Are Narrative

  32. I’ve said this many times before: the “CAGW” is a straw man that faux skeptics abuse.

    Faux “skeptics” will make sure to shift around the meaning of “catastrophe” in such a way that climate change never counts as a “catastrophe”. It’s akin to how many creationists will shift around the meaning of their term “molecules-to-man” evolution, in order to misrepresent mainstream evolutionary theory (as including abiogenesis, for example) and to make sure nothing ever meets their personal definition of the term. The Jacobs article makes this point rather well:

    “Another claim advanced by those who reject the mainstream scientific agreement on climate is that the consensus position consists of a claim of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming or the frequently used acronym CAGW […]. However, CAGW is rarely, if ever, defined or sourced to a mainstream scientific organization or study. Any scientific study’s result, or statement by a researcher, that does not fit a contrarian’s personal, flexible definition of CAGW can therefore be adopted as ostensibly supporting their view and refuting the mainstream, even when such results are actually consistent with the mainstream position on climate […].”
    https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-20161-0_3

    I’ve encountered many faux “skeptics” who use the CAGW label, and they’re pattern is predictable. If you point out the straw man, then they claim that if AGW is not catastrophic, then AGW must be harmless or beneficial. This response reveals one of the motives behind abusing the CAGW label: it allows people to create a false dichotomy between “catastrophe” (which they define as flexibly and vaguely as they need to) vs. “harmless or beneficial.”

    That false dichotomy is nonsense. There are plenty of things have negative effects that we focus on, without them being world-ending, human-species-ending catastrophes. For example: cancer, car accidents, gun violence, etc. These can be serious problems, without being world-ending catastrophes. So no, one does not need to accept some “CAGW” straw man, in order to claim AGW has negative effects.

    So then, what of scientists who do talk of catastrophe? Well, as noted by Jacobs, the “CAGW” term makes next-to-no experience in the peer-reviewed literature:

    “Additionally, we find that catastrophic anthropogenic global warming [CAGW] is essentially a term that is never used in the relevant scientific literature by mainstream sources. Furthermore, in the press it appears to be used exclusively by climate contrarians. The term is typically neither defined nor attributed to a mainstream scientific source. Our conclusion is therefore that CAGW is simply a straw man used by climate contrarians to criticize the mainstream position (50).”
    https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-20161-0_3

    But if a scientist is going to talk about “catastrophe”, then they need to place that into concrete terms. For example, are they talking about sea level rise? If so, then how much sea level rise and what effects will it have? If they do that, then their claim can be evaluated. Of course, faux “skeptics” who abuse terms like “CAGW” don’t bother to offer those kind of clear accounts of what “catastrophe” means, since they’re goal isn’t to offer a clear position. Their goal is to offer a politically-motivated straw man.

    By the way, it’s ridiculous to object to science by citing what politicians say. It’s like objecting to the science on smoking causing cancer, because you don’t like what Clinton or Gore say on the science and on cigarette taxes. I’m reminded of the times when political conservatives of the past whined about medical scientists being “alarmists” due to what the scientists were saying on the effects of smoking. Even when those scientists place their concerns in terms of concrete, negative effects of smoking. Some things never change…

    • Frankly his version of ‘the science’ is far too pedestrian to hold much interest – even the superannuated bit about smoking. Something new would be good in place of this tediously repeated narrative. Some solutions maybe? World government? Forced sterilization? Death camps? Socialized production run by committees of hemp wearing technocrats? ‘Economic degrowth? Involuntary poverty? Perhaps like his scientific credentials – he doesn’t have any.

      I go much further than he does as a dedicated climate catastrophist – in the sense of Rene Thom. And endlessly discuss the rational response to anything at all – building prosperous and resilient communities in vibrant landscapes. Does he agree or not? And I’m the denier? Sheesh as Willis might say.

      “We emphasize the importance of understanding dragon-kings as being often associated with a neighborhood of what can be called equivalently a phase transition, a bifurcation, a catastrophe (in the sense of Rene Thom), or a tipping point. The presence of a phase transition is crucial to learn how to diagnose in advance the symptoms associated with a coming dragon-king.” Didier Sornette

      Hmmm… I think we may be in an ENSO dragon-king – and I am laughing at the thought of #atomski puzzling over this – or not – but I am not sure if human pattern recognition is better than tossing a coin. How’s that for denier science #atomski?

    • I’ve said this many times before: the “CAGW” is a straw man that faux skeptics abuse…. etc.

      Much more on this exact topic next week, stay tuned…

      • Re: “This minority occupy the opposite fringe to skeptical science, typically ignoring the more balanced interpretations from their mainstream colleagues, or otherwise criticizing the mainstream / IPCC as way too conservative, even politically diluted.”

        It’s already known that the IPCC tends to under-estimate climate change effects. So it’s not far off the mark to claim they are too conservative. This is why it helps to actually read the published literature, instead of offering evidence-free rhetorical discussions of straw men like “CAGW”.

        Further context below:

        https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-the-ipcc-underestimated-climate-change/

        “Climate Change Skepticism and Denial: An Introduction
        […]
        A constant refrain coming from the denial campaign is that climate scientists are “alarmists” who exaggerate the degree and threat of global warming to enhance their status, funding, and influence with policy makers. The contribution by William Freudenburg and Violetta Muselli provides an insightful empirical test of this charge and finds it to lack support. […] They then present evidence that IPCC assessments have in fact understated the degree of subsequently reported climate disruption, supporting their argument.”

        And this is some of the relevant supporting research on this point:

        “Reexamining Climate Change Debates: Scientific Disagreement or Scientific Certainty Argumentation Methods (SCAMs)?”
        “Climate change prediction: Erring on the side of least drama?”
        “Global warming estimates, media expectations, and the asymmetry of scientific challenge”
        “Comparing climate projections to observations up to 2011”

      • Atomsk’s Sanakan,

        ‘So it’s not far off the mark to claim they are too conservative.’

        This claim is also featured within next week’s post, so I’ll hold off until then. Not long to wait.

    • Atomsk’s Sanakan: By the way, it’s ridiculous to object to science by citing what politicians say.

      It depends on whether the politicians quote the scientist accurately.
      But notice that much objection is specifically to what the politicians say that is not backed by scientific evidence. Former US VP was awarded a share in the Nobel Peace Prize; is it certainly worthwhile and not “ridiculous” to object to his claims.

    • Atomsk’s Sanakan: Faux “skeptics” will make sure to shift around the meaning of “catastrophe” in such a way that climate change never counts as a “catastrophe”.

      I think you are mistaken. CAGW was initiated by proponents of claims that inaction will result in catastrophes, sometimes using that word and its cognates, sometimes nearly equivalent words. Skeptics will show that those particular claims are not backed by scientific research.

      Increased genocide, warned of in an article I linked, may or may not satisfy someone’s definition of “catastrophe”, but there is no research backing the claim. Whether a disputant of the claim is a “true skeptic” or your “faux skeptic”, increased genocide would be a catastrophe, were it to result from increased CO2.

      • Re: “It depends on whether the politicians quote the scientist accurately.”

        Nope. If you want to address science, then you address the science, not what you heard some politician say. A politicians quote of a scientist is irrelevant; one should go directly to the science and scientific evidence in question.

        Re: “I think you are mistaken. CAGW was initiated by proponents “

        And you have no evidence for your claim, so I’m going to dismiss it until you do.

        Jacobs et al. provided clear evidence on the usage of the “CAGW” term by contrarians. The term was poorly defined and used to misrepresent mainstream climate science. This allowed contrarians could act as if anything that did not match their ill-defined CAGW straw man, was against mainstream climate science and in support of the contrarian’s position. Nowhere have you dealt with the evidence Jacobs et al. cite in support of that claim. Nowhere did you show the “CAGW” label being initiated by anyone other than contrarians.

        Let me know when you actually have evidence for what you say, and can address the cited evidence.

      • Matthew, Atomsk’s Sanakan, this angle is covered in the companion post out soon, stayed tuned…

  33. We’ve been subject to this catastrophist BS ever since Earth Day in 1970. Here are some examples, from here:

    1. Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”

    2. “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation,” wrote Washington University biologist Barry Commoner in the Earth Day issue of the scholarly journal Environment.

    3. The day after the first Earth Day, the New York Times editorial page warned, “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.”

    4. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Paul Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 issue of Mademoiselle. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”

    5. “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born,” wrote Paul Ehrlich in a 1969 essay titled “Eco-Catastrophe! “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.”

    6. Ehrlich sketched out his most alarmist scenario for the 1970 Earth Day issue of The Progressive, assuring readers that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the “Great Die-Off.”

    7. “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” declared Denis Hayes, the chief organizer for Earth Day, in the Spring 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness.

    8. Peter Gunter, a North Texas State University professor, wrote in 1970, “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.”

    9. In January 1970, Life reported, “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: 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….”

    10. Ecologist Kenneth Watt told Time that, “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.”

    11. Barry Commoner predicted that decaying organic pollutants would use up all of the oxygen in America’s rivers, causing freshwater fish to suffocate.

    12. Paul Ehrlich chimed in, predicting in 1970 that “air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” Ehrlich sketched a scenario in which 200,000 Americans would die in 1973 during “smog disasters” in New York and Los Angeles.

    13. Paul Ehrlich warned in the May 1970 issue of Audubon that DDT and other chlorinated hydrocarbons “may have substantially reduced the life expectancy of people born since 1945.” Ehrlich warned that Americans born since 1946…now had a life expectancy of only 49 years, and he predicted that if current patterns continued this expectancy would reach 42 years by 1980, when it might level out. (Note: According to the most recent CDC report, life expectancy in the US is 78.8 years).

    14. Ecologist Kenneth Watt declared, “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’”

    15. Harrison Brown, a scientist at the National Academy of Sciences, published a chart in Scientific American that looked at metal reserves and estimated the humanity would totally run out of copper shortly after 2000. Lead, zinc, tin, gold, and silver would be gone before 1990.

    16. Sen. Gaylord Nelson wrote in Look that, “Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”

    17. In 1975, Paul Ehrlich predicted that “since more than nine-tenths of the original tropical rainforests will be removed in most areas within the next 30 years or so, it is expected that half of the organisms in these areas will vanish with it.”

    The astounding part to me is that people are STILL buying into this lie about THE SKY IS FALLING!!!, only this time the excuse is climate.

    w.

    • Geoff Sherrington

      Willis,
      What a lovely collection of garbage quotes. From where do you derive the energy to collect and repeat them?
      You have a special skill in the presentation of global data in ways that are easily comprehended. Your posts on the lateness of daily tropical clouds, on the barrier to higher tropical SSTs, to name a couple, are classics of which we crave more.
      Cheers Geoff

  34. The wiorst case emission outlook of three organisations (International Energy Agency, BP and Shell) is far far below RCP 8.5. Time to scrap RCP8.5 scenario in the IPCC and climate models.

  35. Stripe, that is.

  36. Climate change is melting the world’s glaciers. This IS a catastrophe. Right now, the phase change from ice at 0 degrees C to water at 0 degrees C at the edge of glaciers is making our summers so much more bearable. I live near the Olympic mountains. It takes the same amount of energy to turn a kg of ice at zero C into water at zero C as it does to heat that kg of water at zero C to 79 C! So, as the buffers that glaciers are melt away, we are heading very quickly to a world of enormous spring floods, followed by very hot probably very dry summers. At the very least, humans are going to have to start making lakes and reservoirs, big and small to contain these seasonal floods and hopefully we can moderate the summer heat with this trapped water. Every year now, our forest fires are bigger, more intense and last longer into the fall. Its all connected, its all happening and if we recognize it, we can preserve some of our way of life. Here on the west coast, I water my garden in summer because I know that water is transpired by the plants, later turns into clouds and eventually falls as rain further inland and helps cool it down! But, we have hosepipe bans everywhere! Its not appropriate. The air needs that little bit extra water vapour and terpenes (given off by heat stressed plants), actually eventually form condensation nuclei for cloud formation). Anyway, I wish climate change was not such a political subject. Here a local vegetable farmer is digging reservoirs every year, because the winter rain can water his vegetables in summer, but only if it is retained. We need to have water retention at every house at the design stage now. For instance, maybe under the garage in many new houses, might be a great place to build a water tank

    • Brian White: Climate change is melting the world’s glaciers. This IS a catastrophe.

      We have been informed that (a) only “skeptics”, “denialists” use the word “catastrophe” and its cognate “catastrophic”; and (b) “catastrophe” is anyway only a personal judgment. [for example, by Jim D, though his pronouncements, some above in this thread, are variable.]

      I put your post into the examples of “catastrophe narrative”, adding it to Andy West’s list. I hope you don’t mind.

    • You do realize Meltwater pulse 1A was 14,000 years ago, and temperate zone glaciers have been declining and sea level rising about a foot per century for the last 8000 years, right ?

  37. here’s betting your nuanaced view of things will not be accepted by flame throwers.

    I appreciate it. You read texts like someone with actual training.

    • Geoff Sherrington

      Thank you, Steven,
      I did not immediately realise that you were writing about me, though I appeciate the feelings. Geoff.

      • Geoff, here is another. This catastrophic vision was provided to hundreds of families, including my own, to celebrate the graduation ceremonies in 2016. The professor received a wild standing ovation after delivering this rousing speech. I like the part about the 30-year prediction of “climate launch dates” when the daily record high of of a place today becomes the daily average temperature of that place.

        …Since the industrial revolution, we have been pouring greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and it is warming the temperature of the planet, starting at the poles. It is changing the face of the earth as we know it forever. We are facing what the scientists are calling The Sixth Extinction, an event characterized by the loss of between 17,000 and 100,000 species each year. The last great extinction of this size occurred 65 million years ago. Last month was the hottest April on record in the world, by the largest margin ever, continuing a record-breaking trend. Ocean fish, salt-water fish, will become extinct by the year 2050. Also around 2050 come the climate launch dates for major capitals around the world. That’s the date when the record high temperature for that place becomes the average temperature for that place. That year will be 2047 in Philadelphia. We are facing the poisoning of the oceans and the despoiling of the land. Precious ecosystems of the biosphere are in turmoil. And as I said to one economist friend of mine, the economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the biosphere. If the biosphere fails, the economy fails.

        We need only look at the weather that has battered our nation all spring – the massive and unprecedented tornadoes over the heartland, the floods, as in Miami, where I am retiring, the droughts, as in Berkeley, California, where my son lives, the endless rain, and the fires. Over 650 million acres of Canadian boreal forests have burned just this month, with comparable burns in the northwest, in Russia and Alaska in the last couple of years. These forests were sinks for carbon dioxide, absorbing some of the greenhouse gases spewing into the atmosphere. Now they are burning and turning into even greater sources of these gases. The permafrost in the arctic is melting, releasing methane, the most toxic of all greenhouse gases. The fires and smoke contribute to the melting of ice in the Arctic and Antarctic, the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, and the Antarctic southern ice sheet — warming the oceans and making them more acidic — also making them rise. It is all interconnected. All of us are downstream from somewhere. The greatest myth that afflicts our society is the myth of separation. There is no separation.

        Climate scientists now predict that the seas will rise three to six feet by the end of the century. That would pretty much wipe out the east coast. By July 4, 2076, the 300th anniversary of the United States, even Independence Hall will be under water — not submerged entirely, but challenging for a parade. And the bad news is that all this weather, all this dying of the oceans, is the effect of the greenhouse gases spewed into the air 30 years ago, before our graduates were born. There is a 30-year time gap between the emissions and their effects. What will be the effects of the emissions we are spilling out now, 30 years from now? We are fast reaching numerous tipping points. What are we going to do with all the people who live on the coasts of America? What about all the people who live on all the coasts all over the world?… https://www.swarthmore.edu/commencement-2016/cindy-halpern-baccalaureate

  38. A climate catastrophe rests on four assumptions:

    1 Increasing emission growth
    2 Increasing CO2 sink saturation
    3 High climate sensitivity
    4 High temperatures cause danage and casualties.

    All four assumptions are debatable.

  39. andywest2012 | November 16, 2018 at 8:21 am |
    Willis,

    ‘So you arbitrarily define “mainstream science” as scientists who do NOT make catastrophic predictions, not other scientists.’

    This definition is far from arbitrary. Regarding all the A-list leaders / UN elite, some scientists, and very many other orgs / individuals who propagate the catastrophe narrative, whenever they point to something that actually exists in relation to the science (as opposed to simply saying ‘the’ science or merely implying the support of science in some vague manner), they almost always point to the IPCC reports.

    But that’s not what you said. You defined “mainstream science” much more narrowly, viz:

    … mainstream science as represented by the IPCC AR5 working group chapters

    But indeed, that is NOT mainstream science. It is intended as a synthesis of the work of hundreds of scientists, and is deliberately made vague by using a specificied and totally subjective assessment of uncertainty.

    Why do that?

    So it cannot be falsified. So in that narrow sense you are right. The Working Groups don’t make catastrophic predictions, because those could actually be falsified. But if all you do is wave your hands and say “very likely” or “likely” there is no way to falsify the claims.

    Unfortunately … if it cannot be falsified it is not science, so your claim that that the IPCC WG reports are “mainstream science” makes no sense at all.

    You continue:

    ‘So … no TRUE mainstream climate scientist makes catastrophic predictions, and if you find one making such predictions, obviously they are not a mainstream climate scientist.’

    If I alone was creating the definition of ‘mainstream’ and also without any parity checks regarding numbers, this would be so.

    You are the ONLY person I know of who defines mainstream science as being the IPCC AR5 Working Group chapters. And as I pointed out above, those cannot be falsified, so they are not science at all. They are deliberately vague bafflegab, designed so that people can point at them and make catastrophic predictions like the following:

    We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns UN

    The Guardian

    IPCC REPORT: DELAY ON CLIMATE ACTION WILL BE CATASTROPHIC

    Environmental Justice Foundation

    Planet has only until 2030 to stem catastrophic climate change, experts warn

    CNN

    Even a slight increase in global warming could be catastrophic, experts warn

    PRI

    And if you think that somehow it’s a cosmic coincidence that the IPCC does NOT explicitly say “catastrophe is coming” but every news agency on the planet reads it that way … well, I have a bridge over the East River I’ve been thinking about putting on the market …

    One final thing. I asked you the following question above:

    Do you have an example of say half a dozen mainstream climate scientists saying something like:

    “Yes, the earth is warming, but that won’t be a problem. There won’t be any catastrophe, so you can all stop worrying!”

    Because unless they are actively trying to calm people’s fears, they are supporting all the fearful catastrophism out there …

    I can’t think of one mainstream climate scientist making that claim, much less six, but I’ll wait …

    Still waiting …

    w.

    • Willis,

      “It is intended as a synthesis of the work of hundreds of scientists…”

      Indeed, not to mention one that also calls up the papers from thousands of others. Which synthesis the world almost always points to as the benchmark, the mainstream, ‘the’ science, the co-ordinated and considered opinion of climate science world-wide, when they point to anything at all.

      “Why do that?

      So the above is exactly why. The very underwriting of the catastrophe narrative is via this vehicle, hence the inability of the vehicle to actually provide the touted support demonstrates the narrative to be false on its own terms.

      “So it cannot be falsified.”

      Sorry, Willis, I’ve lost you here. What cannot be falsified? Can you clarify please? The above AR5 synthesis (or any previous report) does not support a high confidence of imminent (decades) global climate catastrophe, per the catastrophe narrative. It is not only the skeptic side that agree this, but the orthodox side, albeit those at the opposite fringe to skeptics claim that this is because the IPCC reports are ‘too conservative’ (or less polite terms).

      Unfortunately … if it cannot be falsified it is not science,

      As noted, you lost me. There are many things that AR5 cannot falsify, and I agree on its vagueness in this respect, plus it is (cultural) bias that drives this vagueness. I don’t claim otherwise. But the catastrophe narrative per above *is* falsified by the AR5, and indeed by every other IPCC report, simply because all that vagueness nevertheless runs out of steam by the time one gets to such a near-term extremity.

      Pretty much the entire world considers the IPCC output to be the benchmark, the mainstream, ‘the’ science regarding the climate change domain. For climate scientists likewise, whether they agree with it or not (skeptics not, and at the opposite end catastrophe fringe likewise not, for wholly different reasons of course). I merely limit this to the more science pole of the enterprise than the more political pole; as noted this is in the end the meat of the report anyhow. If the claims cannot rest on this, they cannot rest upon anything above either no matter how it is manipulated, because no extra science is going in.

      “…so that people can point at them and make catastrophic predictions like the following: [catastrophe narrative claims].

      This is exactly my point though, those claims *cannot* rest upon the AR5 (or prior IPCC reports), because it does not support them.

      “And if you think that somehow it’s a cosmic coincidence that the IPCC does NOT explicitly say “catastrophe is coming” but every news agency on the planet reads it that way…”

      Of course not. This is exactly an expectation for a cultural narrative that has hi-jacked science and leans deeply into that enterprise. The narrative presence and consequent bias is in grades as you move further from reality checks (the Rossiter model being a basic example of same). [Which is not to say that virtually the whole enterprise of climate science might be biased too, i.e. even down at the raw papers end, but whether or not this is the case, not (yet at least) to the extent that it supports the touted certainty of imminent global climate catastrophe]. So this is completely in agreement with my whole stance. I’m now flummoxed as to why you think this is a contradiction?

      “Still waiting”

      I think you are waiting for a claim I didn’t make. Notwithstanding there happened to be 2 in the next post objecting to the use of this narrative, both noted above, it is you who claimed that silence / absence of push-back implies explicit support for the catastrophe narrative, not I. Social data is almost never the hard data we would like it to be, and often very soft indeed; however, I have pointed out that some data exists to demonstrate that support for the catastrophe narrative is not a majority, to wit the survey above plus the very small proportion of climate scientists actively propagating catastrophe narrative. (This also doesn’t make any claim about the larger number not doing so, yet whose lesser claims may potentially still be biased or very biased, as such material typically cannot be falsified via AR5, but the full-on catastrophe narrative, can). Also, my citing of the huge numbers involved in this ‘non-catastrophic’ report very much count, by my understanding, as I thought was clear from all my above; but maybe not in your mind if we are at odds about something much more fundamental (see below); what data do you have in return?

      Your latest makes me think we are now somehow completely talking past each other, so maybe we always were. Perhaps we ought to take a step back to more basic terms and understanding. Regarding the catastrophe narrative, all the quotes in the accompanying footnotes are aligned to a high confidence of imminent (decades) global climate catastrophe (absent drastic action of course). So we are not talking the ‘catastrophe’ of losing the curly toenailed lizard, or even the catastrophe of say losing a forest micro-climate eco-system in Venezuala to savannah or whatever. Whether via terminal metaphor or direct X months to save the planet / life / civilisation / humanity, or whether engaging anxiety for children that they are all going to be toast or whatever, we are talking exactly what these quotes claim, planet wide imminent catastrophe (which is not to say there may be no justification for all the lesser quotes too, but these can’t be falsified). Your mini quotes make me think we are indeed aligned on this, but I need to check. If this is so, are you then saying that you believe the AR5 *can* support the catastrophe narrative in these terms, i.e. with a high confidence of global catastrophe in decades (which is what all the emotive urgency is geared to). Again I steal into the next post where this is covered, but those scientists who do claim the catastrophic have to leave the AR5 behind because it does *not* support them, and so they call out the IPCC for having ‘suppressed’ the true science or whatever.

      • Geoff Sherrington

        Andy,
        Both you and Willis are writing valuable and pertinent information. A blog is not an easy place to reconcile differences of expression or interpretation.
        I’m largely with Willis on this, though when he argues about falsified science, I tend to concentrate on the deficiency of climate research that involves the unrealistic, almost childish approach to the expression of real error and unbcertainty. You can distil the error analysis problem to be much like the falsification problem. Geoff

    • reply fell into moderation; hopefully out soon.

    • “You are the ONLY person I know of who defines mainstream science as being the IPCC AR5 Working Group chapters. ”

      Huh? you forgot me?

      Psst, who you know is not relevant to the claim

      • stevenmosher (@stevenmosher) | November 17, 2018 at 5:14 am |

        “You are the ONLY person I know of who defines mainstream science as being the IPCC AR5 Working Group chapters. ”

        Huh? you forgot me?

        Steve, I wouldn’t do that, you are unforgettable in the best of senses … I just didn’t realize that you defined mainstream climate science, not as the output of individual scientists, but as the output of the highly politicized and deeply corrupt IPCC process (“The Jesus Paper”, anyone?).

        Finally, “psst”, when someone says “the only individual I know who believes X”, generally they mean “individual I know OF” rather than meaning “individual I know personally IRL” …

        Best regards,

        w.

    • Willis Eschenbach: But that’s not what you said. You defined “mainstream science” much more narrowly, viz:

      … mainstream science as represented by the IPCC AR5 working group chapters

      But indeed, that is NOT mainstream science. It is intended as a synthesis of the work of hundreds of scientists, and is deliberately made vague by using a specificied and totally subjective assessment of uncertainty.

      I think that your interchange with Andy West has been informative.

      Why do you consider the working group chapters not to be a fair representation of mainstream science? Is there a better representation of mainstream science?

      • matthewrmarler | November 17, 2018 at 1:16 pm |

        Willis Eschenbach: But that’s not what you said. You defined “mainstream science” much more narrowly, viz:

        … mainstream science as represented by the IPCC AR5 working group chapters

        But indeed, that is NOT mainstream science. It is intended as a synthesis of the work of hundreds of scientists, and is deliberately made vague by using a specificied and totally subjective assessment of uncertainty.

        I think that your interchange with Andy West has been informative.

        Why do you consider the working group chapters not to be a fair representation of mainstream science? Is there a better representation of mainstream science?

        Good question, Matt. I don’t like the entire IPCC process. Here are some of the major reasons. I have more.

        First, it assumes a degree of scientific agreement which simply doesn’t exist. Most people in the field, sceptics included, think the earth is warming an humans may well have effect on it. But the agreement ends there. How much effect, and how, and for how long, those and many other questions have little agreement.

        Second, it is corrupt, as shown inter alia by the Jesus Paper incident.

        Third, it generally ignores anything which might differ from climate science revealed wisdom.

        Fourth, it is driven by politics, not by science. Certain paragraphs and conclusions have been altered or removed because of political objections.

        Fifth, in an attempt to be inclusive of developing countries, it includes a number of very poor scientists.

        Sixth, any organization that ends up with Rajendra Pachauri as its leader is very, very sick.

        Seventh, they’ve ignored actual uncertainty and replaced it with a totally subjective estimate of uncertainty.

        Eighth, it lets in things like the Hockeystick paper and the numerous “Stick-alikes” despite them being laughably bad science.

        Ninth, it makes “projections” that are simply not possible in the real world, like Scenario 8.5.

        Tenth, it generally excludes skeptics of all types, either directly or because skeptics know better than to associate with such an organization.

        Eleventh, anyone making “projections” that go out to the year 2100 is blowing smoke up your fundamental orifice.

        Twelveth, it is far, far too dependent on untested, unverified, unvalidated climate models.

        Thirteenth, the IPCC generally thinks without thinking about it that warming is bad, bad, bad … which is the opposite of the actual effects of the warming since the Little Ice Age.

        Fourteenth, the IPCC was given the wrong task at its inception. Rather than setting out to find what actually controls the climate, it was given the task of finding out how much CO2 we could emit before it became dangerous. That tasking assumed a whole host of things which have never been established.

        Fifteenth … aw, heck, that’s enough. I have more if you are interested.

        And having made that list, sadly, I find that you are right.

        The IPCC actually is a fair representative of mainstream climate science—corrupt, blinkered, alarmist, asking the wrong questions, exclusionary, ignoring inconvenient evidence, enforcing a false sense of consensus and with a clear agenda …

        Best regards,

        w.

      • Matthew, Willis:

        I detect some likely misunderstanding of my position here, and hence maybe also what this post is saying.

        As I note above, pretty much the whole world considers the IPCC reports (latest full report AR5) as being the benchmark, the mainstream, ‘the’ science, the considered and coordinated opinion of climate science worldwide. And hence this is indeed the vehicle that the global climate catastrophe narrative points to for its underwriting, whenever it actually points to anything.

        This is the context in which the post takes that de-facto standard as read, and points out the very obvious, that this vehicle does *not* in fact support the narrative of high confidence in imminent (decades) global catastrophe that is propagated so much in its name, by all those A-list leaders and so many others over many years. And the orthodox folks agree this too, when they cannot avoid the issue.

        This does not mean any endorsement whatsoever of the IPCC or AR5 (or the other reports) at all. It doesn’t mean any criticism either. The AR5 synthesis (and indeed even the papers that go into it), may be brilliant, good, indifferent, bad, or so abysmal and ill-conceived as a process that it doesn’t even count as science. And for sure while I appreciated the Jesus paper long ago and much else written about the IPCC since, my own opinion here is irrelevant to the point. This is an exercise in showing that the catastrophe narrative is false *in it’s own terms*. By virtue of the world’s perception, plus the many hundreds of scientists in each synthesis and the thousands whose papers are hoovered into the bottom, which numbers far outweigh the full-on catatsrophists who think AR5 way too conservative or the skeptics who variously think it is biased or just BS, this also demonstrates that most of these numbers do *not* support the catastrophic narrative, or their cumulative output would have been different, would be supportive of that narrative.

        Like Monckton’s attempt to show basic maths flaws while taking certain disputed values as read (i.e. as orthodoxy reads them), this exercise shows that the catastrophe narrative is unsupported *even it its own terms*, and so also cumulatively by the huge raft of scientists involved. (many misunderstood what he was doing and challenged his acceptance of those values, he had to explain about a 100 times). But this post says nothing regarding the more absolute veracity of those terms I am taking as read, i.e. the AR5 chapters, which obviously are heavily disputed. Yet practically no-one in any place in the scientific dispute thinks AR5 supports a high confidence in imminent global catastrophe; not the skeptics, not the orthodox, nor the catastrophists (i.e. those scientists who do support full on imminent global catastrophe), the latter of whom rail against the IPCC for its ‘conservatism’ in *not* coming to the ‘right’ conclusion. So all that full-on catastrophe stuff the leaders and orgs and religions and businesses and uncle tom cobbly and all put out, needs no skeptic views to show it is simply false; AR5 shows it is false, and the great majority of the whole scientific spectrum agrees this is so.

        Note: Unlike Lindzen’s simple 3 group model, in which all IPCC contributors are assumed non-catastrophists due to the non-catatstrophic conclusion, clearly a small minority propagate catastrophe narrative (of which various examples included).

        There’s more in the second post, this one was more just of an intro to the various catastrophe narrative variants, which take up most of the body of the post.

      • Andy, thanks for your clarification. It seems that your position is:

        • Lots and lots of scientists are putting out alarmist, “catastrophist” scenarios.

        • The catastrophist scenarios are NOT supported by the IPCC Working Groups.

        However, I find the following:

        WGIII

        Example 2: Supporting scientific research into solar radiation management (SRM). SRM may help avert potentially CATASTROPHIC temperature increases, but may have other negative impacts with respect to global and regional climatic conditions (Rasch et al., 2008).

        and

        Chapter 2 in WGIII AR4 on risk and uncertainty, which also served as a framing chapter, illuminated the relationship of risk and uncertainty to decision making and reviewed the literature on CATASTROPHIC or abrupt climate change and its irreversible nature.

        and

        Underweighting of probabilities and threshold models of
        choice The probability weighting function of prospect theory indicates that low probabilities tend to be overweighted relative to their objective probability unless they are perceived as being so low that they are ignored because they are below the decision maker’s threshold level of concern. Prior to a disaster, people often perceive the likelihood of catastrophic events occurring as below their threshold level of concern, a form of intuitive thinking in the sense that one doesn’t have to reflect on the consequences of a CATASTROPHIC event (Camerer and Kunreuther, 1989). The need to take steps today to deal with future climate change presents a challenge to individuals who are myopic. They are likely to deal with this challenge by using a threshold model that does not require any action for risks below this level.

        and

        Several ethical and methodological critiques have been put forward with respect to the application of CBA to climate policy (Charlesworth and Okereke, 2010; Caney, 2011). For example, the uncertainty surrounding the potential impacts of climate change, including possible irreversible and CATASTROPHIC effects on ecosystems, and their asymmetric distribution around the planet, suggests CBA may be inappropriate for assessing optimal responses to climate change in these circumstances.

        and

        One way to address the fat tail problem would be to focus on the potential CATASTROPHIC consequences of low-probability, high-impact events in developing GHG emissions targets and to specify a threshold probability and a threshold loss.

        and

        Although studies differ in their approaches, the case against accelerated or increased mitigation action is the possibility that irreversible sunk cost investments in abatement options outweigh the irreversible effects of climate change. This has been an infrequent finding, with the exception of those studies that have not included CATASTROPHIC/threshold damage

        and

        Barrett (2013) has investigated the role of CATASTROPHIC, low probability events on the likelihood of cooperation with respect to a global climate agreement.

        Plus lots of references like:

        Azar C., and K. Lindgren (2003). CATASTROPHIC Events and Stochastic Cost/benefit Analysis of Climate Change. Climatic

        Then we have the WGI Summary for Policymakers (SPM), which says right out front:

        Risks from mitigation and from climate change are different in nature, magnitude, and in their potential to cause irreversible consequences. In an iterative risk management framework, the level of
        desirable efforts over the short-term is increased by the inertia in the climate system and the possibility of irreversible and CATASTROPHIC impacts from climate change.

        … catastrophic impacts from climate change … yeah, that’s the one …

        And here’s a most definite catastrophe … irreversible ice loss.

        13.4.3.3 Possible Irreversibility of Greenland Ice Loss and Associated Temperature Threshold
        A number of model results agree in showing that the Greenland ice sheet, like other climatic subsystems (Lenton et al., 2008; Levermann et al., 2012) (see Section 12.5.5), exhibits a strongly nonlinear and potentially irreversible response to surface warming. The mechanism of this threshold behaviour is the SMB-height feedback (Section 13.4.3.2); that is, as the surface is lowered due to ice loss, the associated warming of the near surface increases ablation, leading to further ice loss. This feedback is small but not negligible in the 21st century (Section 13.4.3.2) and becomes important for projections for the 22nd century (Goelzer et al. 2013) and beyond. This nonlinear behaviour may be accelerated by a reduced surface albedo caused by surface melting which tends to further decrease the surface mass balance (Box et al., 2012) (Section 13.4.3.1).

        Here’s a good one from the AR5 Synthesis SPM.

        SPM 2. Future Climate Changes, Risks and Impacts
        Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems. Limiting climate change would require substantial and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions which, together with adaptation, can limit climate change risks. {2}

        and

        Many aspects of climate change and associated impacts will continue for centuries, even if anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are stopped. The risks of abrupt or irreversible changes increase as the magnitude of the warming increases.

        That’s not buried in the report. It’s right there in the summary, the “likelihood of SEVERE, PERVASIVE AND IRREVERSIBLE impacts. I won’t bother you with the other FOURTEEN references to severe, irreversible events in the SPM. But be clear, they are staying over and over that if we do NOT “limit climate change” we are in huge danger of an irreversible catastrophe.

        Let me close this by looking at the WGII SPM, which identifies the “key risks”. These are the risks that they say are:

        …potentially severe impacts relevant to Article 2 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which refers to “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” Risks are considered key due to high hazard or high vulnerability of societies and systems exposed, or both. Identification of key risks was based on expert judgment using the following specific criteria: large magnitude, high probability, or irreversibility of impacts; timing of impacts; persistent vulnerability or exposure contributing to risks; or limited potential to reduce risks through adaptation or mitigation.

        Those “key risks”, which they say have “large magnitude”, “irreversibility” and “high probability” are:

        i) Risk of death, injury, ill-health, or disrupted livelihoods in low-lying coastal zones and small island developing states and other small
        islands, due to storm surges, coastal flooding, and sea level rise.

        ii) Risk of severe ill-health and disrupted livelihoods for large urban populations due to inland flooding in some regions.

        iii) Systemic risks due to extreme weather events leading to breakdown of infrastructure networks and critical services such as electricity,
        water supply, and health and emergency services.

        iv) Risk of mortality and morbidity during periods of extreme heat, particularly for vulnerable urban populations and those working outdoors
        in urban or rural areas.

        v) Risk of food insecurity and the breakdown of food systems linked to warming, drought, flooding, and precipitation variability and extremes,
        particularly for poorer populations in urban and rural settings.

        vi) Risk of loss of rural livelihoods and income due to insufficient access to drinking and irrigation water and reduced agricultural productivity,
        particularly for farmers and pastoralists with minimal capital in semi-arid regions.

        vii) Risk of loss of marine and coastal ecosystems, biodiversity, and the ecosystem goods, functions, and services they provide for coastal
        livelihoods, especially for fishing communities in the tropics and the Arctic.

        viii) Risk of loss of terrestrial and inland water ecosystems, biodiversity, and the ecosystem goods, functions, and services they provide for
        livelihoods.

        EVERY ONE of those is a catastrophe, and they list them as “high probability” … and you claim that the AR5 does NOT push catastrophism?

        Sorry, Andy … not buying it. AR5 provides all kinds of explicit support for catastropic predictions, there are eight of them just above, and a whole bunch of them above those.

        w.

      • Willis Eschenbach: However, I find the following:

        Direct and clarifying. Many thanks.

      • Matthew, Thanks for asking the questions

        Willis, thank you for the excellent answers. You’ve clearly been thinking about this for a long time.

      • Willis Eschenbach,

        Why don’t you put this material together and offer it to Judith for a CE post?
        That would make it easier to find and link to in future. It would also get to a broader audience and create quite a discussion, I expect.

      • Willis, thanks for your considered reply.

        This is exactly why I wanted to align above on what we were talking about by ‘catatsrophe’, and its exact meaning. While using AR5 (so the the latest only) and as noted Chapters (not SPMs), I looked at all these occurrences of local / specific ‘catastrophe’ (there are many more than above), plus ‘abrupt’ / ‘collapse’ (also many) and as noted in footnote 15 these do not amount to a ‘high confidence of imminent (decades) global catastrophe’, which is what all the catastrophe narrative samples are aligned to – i.e. to summarise, the end of the planet / humanity / life / civilisation / children are toast etc. Those biggies that might drive this like clathrates or collapse of AMOC are low confidence, the others typically need longer times and / or (low confidence) connections to make it to global destruction. Lindzen’s position from his 3 group model is exactly the same (link in footnotes 22), i.e. that these reports in no way justify an imminent global catastrophe, and yet this is what the narrative actually says (absent drastic action of course). Likewise for SR15, the opening salvo in for AR6, as initial views by Pielke and Curry show (footnote 31), this likewise does not amount to a high confidence of imminent global catastrophe, despite all the catastrophe narrative hype around it. It is of note that whenever skeptics use ‘CAGW’ to describe IPCC / mainstream science, orthodox folks (including here at climate Etc) typically jump on them for associating ‘the catastrophic’ (a global context is usually implied, sometimes specific) with this output. More on this in the next post out soon, but they know also that this output does not support a high confidence of imminent global catastrophe, and typically they strongly object to any implication that it does. Of course there is huge hypocrisy here (as always occurs around cultural narratives), because they almost never push back on the A-listers who propagate the tales of our doom via their oft-pushed narratives of the catastrophic.

      • To both Andy and Willis. Thank you for a very thoughtful and helpful discussion.

      • P.S. ” Lots and lots of scientists are putting out alarmist, “catastrophist” scenarios.”

        Lots and lots of A-list leaders such as presidents, prime ministers, high ministers, UN elite, religious leaders, etc. then second rank such as NGOs, businesses, influencers, economists, philanthropists, medical authrorities etc. and on downwards (all above listed within the sample quotes), plus a bunch of scientists, which includes a subset of climate scientists.

        I add for clarity in case we are not aligned here, rather than ‘catastrophist scenarios’, more specifically, a high confidence in imminent global catastrophe (absent action). Because the loss of a wetland in South America somewhere say, or jobs in India somewhere say, or snow in the UK say or whatever, can sometimes be described as catastrophes. However, one can’t usually say much about such things from AR5, it may or may not support, but the vagueness you note gets in the way and anyhow this would be complex and disputed for each case. Not so for a high confidence of imminent global catastrophe.

      • Hi Willis, sorry my respnse in dribs and drabs, I’m between other things. Re your examples:

        Your 1st, caps changed, so this defers to those potentials, which nevertheless per increased temp winter nights or whatever, do not have high confidence of anything that could be regarded as an imminent (decades) global catastrophe:

        ‘…SRM may help avert POTENTIALLY catastrophic temperature increases…’

        Your 2nd, references prior probing of risk and uncertainty around abrupt / catastrophic change; we would expect nothing less than such probes, which perforce must include the terms abrupt / catastrophic:

        “…illuminated the relationship of risk and uncertainty to decision making and reviewed the literature on CATASTROPHIC or abrupt climate change and its irreversible nature…”

        Your 3rd, refers to disasters that have always occurred, notwithstanding the catastrophic nature as perceived by those afflicted, this is not referring to a high confidence of imminent global catastrophe.

        “…Prior to a disaster, people often perceive the likelihood of catastrophic events occurring as below their threshold level of concern, a form of intuitive thinking in the sense that one doesn’t have to reflect on the consequences of a CATASTROPHIC event (Camerer and Kunreuther, 1989).

        Your 4th, caps changed, which like the 1st defers to these uncertainties and possibilities and potentials, which nowhere appear to come out as a high confidence of imminent global catastrophe.

        “For example, the UNCERTAINTY surrounding the POTENTIAL impacts of climate change, including POSSIBLE irreversible and catastrophic effects on ecosystems”

        Your 5th, caps changed, an addressing of the fat tail issue that acknowledges the POTENTIAL catastrophe from LOW probability events but which doesn’t claim a high confidence of imminent (decades) global catastrophe.

        “One way to address the fat tail problem would be to focus on the POTENTIAL catastrophic consequences of LOW-PROBABILITY, high-impact events in developing GHG emissions targets and to specify a threshold probability and a threshold loss.”

        Your 6th, part of the economic / impacts discussion, and the uncertainties thereof. The catastrophic threshold damage referenced (and also the ‘non-climate related benefits’ in this section) does not infer a global catastrophe in which there is professed to be high confidence. It is related to differing ways of assessing economic impacts, regarding which it is noted that notwithstanding a range of papers / positions, if indeed the ‘non-climate related benefits’, of which they cite energy security as one (presumably of windmills etc ha!), are included, plus also the catastrophic / threshold damages, this significantly changes the equation regarding net effect. But while the threshold damages would typically attempt to incorporate say loss of corals or explosion of hydrates (latter within AR5, low confidence) or whatever, and I couldn’t find Lorenz 2012a to see what’s inside, I see from 2010 (Nævdal) that ‘There is very little formal economic analysis of threshold effects with unknown threshold location’ (which most of them are). So this is indeed exploring the cost / impact models and assumptions of climate change across a range of possible scenarios and attempting incorporation of threshold models. But the usage of the term ‘catastrophic’ here does in no way indicates that this section or AR5 generally underwrites a high certainty of imminent (decades) global catastrophe.

        Your 7th, caps changed. I should hope they are investigating such things. They get paid enough after all. But this usage in no way underwrites a high certainty of imminent (decades) global catastrophe.

        “Barrett (2013) has investigated the role of catastrophic, LOW probability events on the likelihood of cooperation with respect to a global climate agreement.”

        Your 8th, yes not only this paper but quite a few more with catastrophe in the title are called up into AR5. No way I’m going through them all, and the contexts are likely very wide, but it is not an underwriting of a high confidence of global catastrophe in some, and cumulatively at least, this is not the position of the AR5 chapters into which all these papers go. From the end of the abstract in this one, it says: “We will present results from a stochastic version of Nordhaus’s DICE model that demonstrate that a SMALL probability for a catastrophic event may substantially alter the optimal emissions targets in the near term.” Caps mine. Unfortunately the whole paper is pay-walled but presumably they are arguing for higher emissions targets based upon the increased costs that their preferred model predicts regarding low probability / high impact events. But they are not underwriting a high confidence in imminent (decades) global climate catastrophe.

        As noted, I explicitly excluded the SPMs (your last ones) due to the much increased amount of that ‘vagueness’ you mentioned, plus the Rossiter model which I noted before and is in footnotes, and indeed which is an expectation for the bias from a strong cultural narrative. In practice, I doubt you could squeeze a high confidence of imminent global catastrophe from these either, but unlike Lindzen’s model where he doesn’t distinguish between the two layers, I did. As I noted above in this thread regarding the claims of the catastrophe narrative, “If the claims cannot rest on this [i.e. the Chapters], they cannot rest upon anything above either no matter how it is manipulated, because no extra science is going in.”

        There are vary many more examples than the ones you have shown here (and not all based on the word ‘catastrophe / catastrophic’. Admittedly it is tedious in the extreme to trawl through them.

      • Andy, thanks for your replies. It seems to me that what you’ve done is to take the entire IPCC report. You looked at the Synthesis SPM … contains predictions of catastrophes. Lots of them.

        You looked at the individual Working Group SPMs … they also contain predictions of catastrophes. Lots of them.

        You looked at the references that went into the Working Group chapters … and like the others, they contain predictions of catastrophes. Lots of them.

        So at the end you say, but the actual WG chapters don’t have predictions of catastrophes.

        Then I give you a whole host of places where the WG Chapters expressly discuss catastrophes … and you come up with a host of reasons why these are not True Scotsmen. They are not catastrophic enough. They are not near enough in time. They are not spelled out in enough detail. They are not high enough in probability to qualify.

        Look, Andy, THEY CALL THEM CATASTROPHIC OUTCOMES IN THE CHAPTERS, and you can hem and haw all you want, but the Chapter authors are quite clear that they are indeed talking about catastrophes.

        And of course they are vague and pushed out into the future. That way they can be scary without being falsifiable. You don’t seem to get it. That’s not a bug, that’s a feature. The job of the IPCC is to scare people in such a way that it cannot be gainsaid. If they said “The world will blow up tomorrow” and it doesn’t happen people would stop believing them.

        But if some given vague catastrophic outcome with no specific time frame doesn’t happen, the authors can say “well, we didn’t say exactly WHEN it would happen”. They end up like Paul Ehrlich. He thought he was safe predicting starvation and food riots twenty years out … but when they didn’t happen he was ready. After repeatedly making the same prediction decade after decade, he now claims the food riots and starvation are still coming, and guess what? They will be WORSE THAN WE EXPECTED because they’ve been delayed.

        So I’m sorry, but the IPCC reports are filled with non-falsifiable alarmism, including the WG Chapters. Their vagueness, which you think makes them not a catastrophic prediction, is specifically designed so that they cannot be disproven, EVER.

        Which, if you think about it, is the scariest kind of catastrophism, the kind where they say “Might happen next year … or next decade … or any time during the century. The fact that it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t matter, that goblin is still under the bed waiting to come out.”

        My conclusion? I’m not buying your claims about the IPCC. And I’m saying that you are using special pleading to achieve your desired result, which is to exonerate the WG chapters from catastrophism. The fact that they are not making a high-probability prediction of bad stuff happening within the next 45 minutes doesn’t mean it’s not a prediction of catastrophe, except apparently on your planet. For everyone else, the message is clear—Be scared … be very scared …

        Look, Andy. You agreed that the Summaries for Policymakers, both overall and for each WG, are indeed catastrophism on steroids.

        Do you think that is accidental? Do you think that is an incorrect summary of the Chapters? Those guys know more about the WG chapters than anyone, and that is THEIR summary of what the chapters actually mean.

        Given that … why should we believe your summary of what the chapters actually mean in preference to their stated conclusions as to the contents of the chapters?

        Thanks for your detailed answers, most interesting.

        w.

      • Thankyou, Willis. That should be the last word on this subject. If the messages from the IPCC were not catastrophic, the Paris policy makers would not have been so proud about saving the planet. There would have been no treaty, and there would be no reason to make a treaty.

      • Willis,

        Yes, I ruled out the SPMs. As noted, if the catastrophe narrative can’t rest upon the Chapters, it can’t be said to be validated by ‘the’ science that the narrative itself points to, because no more science is really going in above that level, it is meant to just be a summary (which doesn’t mean I think this is all that’s going on, but no-one can argue that without the chapter support the SPMs could still say something absolutely fundamental that the chapters do not). In practice, I suspect that a high confidence of imminent global catastrophe cannot be squeezed out of the SPMs either, certainly Lindzen makes no distinction in his model of IPCC science output, but looking personally this is harder to work through because of all the ambiguities that seem to creep in at this level. In truth, I didn’t have the stomach to go further, as per my logic above I believe the test inclusive of my Chapters constraint is still adequate to purpose. The main science input and effort is below that point, hence the great majority contribution of same.

        ‘Chapter authors are quite clear that they are indeed talking about catastrophes.’

        Per the few examples listed above, the term is used in all sorts of contexts within the Chapters, from mundane (e.g. ‘normal’ several century scale episodic river flooding say), to speculative (e.g. models for economic impacts which take all scenarios into account including the worst case), to some which merit more investigation (of which one in footnote 15), but none of these usages underwrite a high confidence of imminent global catastrophe, and the majority are not even in the frame of attempting something of that sort.

        This is why I’ve tried to emphasize the specific criteria all the way through our exchange. There are two, what the narrative says, and what we are testing it against. We’ve been through the latter, i.e. it is the world that points to the IPCC reports (the latest full being AR5) as the benchmark, the mainstream, ‘the’ science, the co-ordinated and considered opinion, which is why for the purpose of demonstrating the narrative is wrong on its own terms, this is what I’m using (and notwithstanding the caveat of Chapter level). I’m assuming that once I’d clarified above that this implies nothing whatever about the quality of the AR5 in an absolute sense (sorry I should probably have stated that earlier), you are okay with this (even if you still don’t agree with the final result). The second criteria, what the narrative says, is dependent on the meaning of ‘catastrophe / catastrophic’ within the ‘catastrophe narrative’.

        So in my first line of the introduction of this post ‘The Catastrophe Narrative’, I say that it’s a ‘narrative of certainty (absent deep emissions cuts) of near-term (decades) climate catastrophe’. (I see sometimes I’ve said ‘high-confidence’ instead of ‘certain’, a looseness on my part, but I think even the weaker is appropriate). So re your Scotsmen thing, if I was defining this without respect to what the world was doing, I’d agree. But I’m not. In the context of high uncertainty (which narratives themselves can help sustain but that’s another story) emotive narratives rise to the top by selection, and the most emotive ones have the highest selection value, though typically there’ll be a range of variants playing the field yet all linked by a common theme (these variants are described in the body of the post). The linking theme in this domain is a ‘high confidence of imminent global catastrophe’.

        So this is not just ‘catastrophes’ e.g. per previous examples a strip of wetland or a forest changing to savannah or the loss of the curly toenailed lizard, even ‘lots of them’, with combined uncertainties unknown (generally, this isn’t explicitly attempted). Cumulatively or separately these do not speak to the end of the planet / humans / civilisation / life / or your children are toast, which is exactly what the catastrophe narrative *does* do. So this is not my pick, the world picked this, via iterative selection. So the top dog narrative via this emotive selection is a ‘high confidence in imminent global catastrophe’, and this is what all the listed quotes align to. Now I think it is actually well known that this is the characterisation of the top narrative, in fact someone who regularly demonstrates high integrity in this domain, and generally shows a great ability to summarise the complex in some great basic vernacular, agrees with same right here on this thread. That someone is you. Here is your definition: ‘because of the endless bogus catastrophist predictions that THE SKY IS FALLING! CLIMATE IS GONNA KILL US ALL!’. Maybe a little less careful than mine, and more picturesque, but nevertheless essentially the same thing.

        ‘You don’t seem to get it. That’s not a bug, that’s a feature’

        I absolutely get this. But as noted above, I’m pointing out that *even in its own terms*, the AR5 does not support the imminent (decades) certainty that ‘the sky will fall and kill us all’, and none of those possibilities / potentials / uncertainties / explorations of myriad paths of local / specific events, described using the ‘catastrophe’ word or similar within the exposition of all, amounts anywhere either separately or cumulatively to a high confidence that the sky is falling and is going to kill us .

        “They are not catastrophic enough. They are not near enough in time. They are not spelled out in enough detail. They are not high enough in probability to qualify.”

        Indeed. Every time. None of them at all underwrite a high confidence that ‘the sky will fall and kill us all’ within decades.

        ‘The job of the IPCC is to scare people in such a way that it cannot be gainsaid.’

        But I believe it can be gainsaid. Certainly from the Chapters. As you note the SPMs are on steroids, but falsifying it with the chapters is sufficient to take the ground away. Even the IPCC still has to claim validity from science input and the grunt work of its contributing scientists. and too I strongly suspect that if anyone has the stomach for more, the SPMs would likewise not yield support.

        “…specifically designed so that they cannot be disproven, EVER’

        I think if we were trying to disprove the alarms that they do encompass, we might very well never achieve this. Or we’d be engaged nearly forever. But the top dog narrative goes so utterly and ridiculously far out, that even the steroids you note cannot keep the reports up with it. They would not just need steroids, they’d need a nuclear explosion or something. Bear in mind that this narrative is completely out of control; it does not come from the IPCC or any other body, it is emergent, and it has grown way beyond any possible justification of any process that has even the most remote link to reality (so even a massively biased process). This top dog narrative does actually say that within decades (and absent drastic action), ‘the sky will fall and kill us all’.

        ‘Which, if you think about it, is the scariest kind of catastrophism…’

        As it happens I’m very familiar with scary narratives and how they engage our emotions in all sorts of ways, in this domain and others ;)

        ‘I’m saying that you are using special pleading…’

        I have ruled out the SPMs, which as you note are the most biased part of the process and also are after all the main science effort and all the main science papers input, and likewise therefore after the main contributions related to same. I think the test is adequate to purpose without them; I think very likely they also wouldn’t yield that within decades (and absent drastic action), ‘the sky will fall and kill us all’.

        ‘The fact that they are not making a high-probability prediction of bad stuff happening within the next 45 minutes doesn’t mean it’s not a prediction of catastrophe, except apparently on your planet.’

        Hmmm… I think that’s not a proper characterisation of my position. No doubt there are lots of completely irrelevant things they aren’t predicting. But they are also not making a high-probability prediction of imminent (decades) global catastrophe, which is exactly what the catastrophe narrative does do, and that very narrative as propagated by all the a-list leaders and other authorities and orgs and religions and businesses and influencers etc, is emergent. I didn’t define it (and neither did the IPCC or any other org).

        “Do you think that is accidental?” etc.

        Of course not. As noted before I am working with their terms, I’m aware of all the things you note regarding such, but this is not part of the exercise here.

        “..why should we believe your summary of what the chapters actually mean in preference to their stated conclusions as to the contents of the chapters?”

        If you mean their summaries in the SPMs, well for a start because of all the massive biases and distinctly non-accidental stuff that you’ve just been telling me about, which we note is far worse in those summaries :)

        However, I wouldn’t for a moment think you or anyone should rely on me! You’ll forgive me surely if I don’t really entirely on you either. If you can find a few sources with decent domain knowledge who can definitively show that the AR5 supports the catastrophe narrative, i.e. a high confidence of imminent global catastrophe, or to paraphrase an imminent ‘end of the planet / life / humanity / civilisation / your children are all toast’ (absent action), or to use your own version ‘the sky is falling and will kill us all’, whether from sceptical or orthodox or even catastrophist sources, you’re doing much better than me. There’s a bit more on this in the next post, but those who indeed say the sky is falling, since the AR5 at least and some before, have had to attack the IPCC output (SPMs and all), because they believe it doesn’t agree with them and the org is ‘suppressed’, by political fiat (or other reasons).

        In the end, if you think my limitation of cutting out the SPMs weakens the test too much, amounting to special pleading (and I’m loathe to go there albeit I speculate the result would be the same), so be it. I think the test makes the point adequately. In any case, many thanks for a very healthy exchange.

        Ronhave: ‘If the messages from the IPCC were not catastrophic…’

        The messages from the UN elite and sometimes indeed including the IPCC leadership too, are most certainly catastrophic in the way defined above. Various examples are actually included in the footnote quotes. However, this is completely different to saying the data in the reports themselves support anything like the same catastrophe narrative. See the Rossiter model in the footnotes, which is helpful in this respect. Of course per above thread, Willis disputes my claim that the full-on catastrophe narrative isn’t supported by same, but my point here is that I fully agree about the messaging given by all the UN elite at Paris (and at many other places, for many years).

      • Bother, reply to Willis and Ronhave fell in moderation, hopefully out soon…

  40. Salvatore del Prete

    All those who promote AGW look back words instead of forward in time when trying to defend AGW.

    They do that because they mistakenly think natural climate variability was not responsible for the bulk of the warming since the end of the Little Ice Age- year 2005.

    They have hi jacked natural climatic variability to try to make it validate their false AGW theory. Trying to wrongly convey that some how the present climate is in some way different then it has ever been which is such rubbish.
    One look at the historical climatic record shows the climate of today is in no way unique in regards to present temperature, rate of temperature change or persistence of temperature change. Not even close to being unique.
    To their dismay the natural factors that were in a warming mode started to change to a colder mode in year 2005, and now after a lag time of 10+years this is starting to become more apparent.

    Evidence is all over the place from a stop in the rise of the average global temperature, overall oceanic sea surface temperatures steady at best and no longer rising, to an increase in geological activity ,a more meridional atmospheric circulation pattern, and greater global cloud /snow coverage.
    It is going to be interesting to see how the decline in overall global temperatures takes place. Will it be a slow steady decline like it has been for the past year or two or will it come in jerks of quick drops followed by a period of steady temperatures?

    This asinine false theory(AGW) I am very confident of it being in it’s last days as the 1st inning of global cooling has now started to take place.
    :

  41. Sensible energy policy – #jiminy – is fostering innovation and public/private partnerships for FOAK deployment. Sensible aid policy is not wasting scarce resources on wind and solar nonsense where there are many higher humanitarian priorities. Their moral philosophy sucks as well.

  42. Tell it to the Minoans #jiminy – maybe they will fall for his snake oil.


    The Moy et al (2002) Laguna Pallcacocha Pacific proxy – greater red intensity is associated with warm surface states. (Source: Tsonis, 2009)

    Moy et al (2002) present a record of lake sediment which is strongly influenced by Pacific sea surface temperature. It is based on the presence of greater and less red sediment. More sedimentation is associated with a warm Pacific. It has continuous high resolution coverage over 12,000 years. It shows periods of positive and negative IPO activity alternating with a period of about 2,000 years. There was a shift from cool state dominance to warm state dominance some 4,000 years ago that was identified by Tsonis 2009 as a chaotic bifurcation – and is associated with the drying of the Sahel. There is a period around 3,500 years ago of a warm Pacific associated with the demise of the Minoan civilisation (Tsonis et al, 2010). It shows ENSO variability considerably in excess of that seen in the modern period. Red intensity was in excess of 200. For comparison red intensity in 1998/99 was 99.

    Those for whom history is cognitively dissonant are condemned to a meme death spiral until they disappear up their own fundament. Climate we know is dragon-kings and perpetual change.

  43. Geoff Sherrington

    Andy,
    This no doubt is not new to you.
    One group in society that has weilded strong support for global warming horrors is the collection of scientific learned societies. When people in some group cite other groups that agree with them, the learned societies as a cluster are commonly high on their list of ‘the right stuff’.
    Groups with the status of the Royal Society in Great Britain, the Australian Academy of Science and equivalents in countries everywhere are the first of the groups that I would recommend to look at their credibility on this issue of climate change. While these societies appear united in their support for each other and while their public statements of policy on the issue are somewhat similar, one is left with the strong impression that their views are shaped by inadequate quantities of their own research effort .They are shallow views that seem to derive much from what is being said by others in The Establishment, like good club members not rocking the boat.
    For practical work to give ongoing support to the ideas in your excellent essay here, I would recommend that readers here who are members of such learned societies contact their elected officers and ask for a re-examination and re-statement of the position of the society. Times change, people change. The societies, key players in this issue, should change.
    “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” (with thanks to Keyes or Churchill as a learned Society might one day research and properly attribute to the correct author.) Geoff.

    • “They are shallow views that seem to derive much from what is being said by others in The Establishment”

      Agree. One of the example catastrophe quotes in the footnotes file (see 2l) is from the 2014 incoming president of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (a global org with ~40,000 members).

  44. Here is Mr Hansen with another one of his catastrophic predictions unless we change our ways.

  45. Here is another one with Mr Hansen and the word catastrophe, though I note his time interval for action has already expired . The Arctic seems to have survived OK
    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/14834318/ns/us_news-environment/t/warming-expert-only-decade-left-act-time/#.W–q1_ZuKe8

    • Re: “The Arctic seems to have survived OK”

      The Arctic is not a living organism, so your comment on “surviv[ing]” is irrelevant. I suggest you go familiarize with the multi-decadal trend of Arctic sea ice loss, instead of relying on press pieces for your science information:

      https://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/arctic-sea-ice/


      [from: “Reconstructed changes in Arctic sea ice over the past 1,450 years”]

      • When Arctic sea ice is maximum, it snows less in the Arctic and the ice there depletes and it gets warmer. When Arctic sea ice in minimum, it snows more in the arctic and ice there piles up and spreads out and it gets colder. These are normal natural and necessary cycles that we do not cause and that we can not stop or change.

      • Re: “Atomsk, as you quote from a cartoonist’s blog and put in unattributed graphs, you are in no position to complain about how others don’t meet your hypocritical standards.”

        That’s nice. Let me know when you’re done pretending that John Cook is just a cartoonist. You just brought up that irrelevant point, in order to evade the fact that you didn’t actually read the paper in question. You just copied a distorted graph from the NoTricksZone blog, without realizing that graph wasn’t in the paper. There’s a reason there’s folks like me and Nick Stokes around on websites like this, so that people like you stop falling for tripe from blogs like NoTricksZone:

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/02/22/science-debunks-the-arctic-sea-ice-extent-at-its-lowest-for-at-least-1500-years-meme/#comment-2290610

        When you claim something came from a paper, I expect it to have actually come from the paper, as opposed to it being a distortion you got off of a blog.

        Re: “Endpoint bias – isn’t that “Hide the Decline”?”

        No, since end point bias is thinking that a recent, statistically insignificant shorter-term trend rebuts a longer-term statistically significant trend. It’s inapplicable here, since recent warming was statistically significant.

        I also suggest you not waste my time with debunked talking points / paranoia on “Hide the Decline”, as if you’re unaware of scientists dropping proxies when needed (ex: dropping carbon dating as a proxy in the context of the reservoir effect, dropping certain biomarkers as proxies when a person has a medical condition that interferes with the biomarker, etc.)

        Re: “It doesn’t change the graph at all.”

        Of course it matters, since it helps creates the misleading impression that the graph runs up to the present day.

        Re: “What else has he got to quibble about? My claim (?) that the surface is the present? Well – for one it is stated in this paper. “

        We’ve been over this. Once again:

        “Before present” means “before 1950” in paleoclimatology. So the paper’s reference to “before present” does not mean the present day. You’ve claimed that the paper actually means present day. Yet you’ve provided no evidence for this. You’ve also failed to address the evidence I gave against that claim (ex: the paper’s figure does include the recent multi-decadal ice loss that the paper mentions, the paper uses sediment cores and those cores treat “before 1950” as meaning “before present”, etc.).

        Re: “He comments ooze filibustering contempt – as such I find it repellent and generally avoid them. The bloviating is obvious and endless.”

        Your insults are not evidence, but are part of your usual practice.

        If you have no evidence for your claim regarding the paper, then just say so. All this griping from you is unbecoming.
        ;)

      • So he is back again with more nonsense. The paper says that the surface is zero years – but even if it didn’t his point is still so trivial – yet again – that it belies belief. You can see the satellite era in blue.


        “Time series showing the August ice-extent anomalies (x 1000 km2) in the Arctic Ocean along the coast of Russia, Siberia and Alaska: The Kara Sea, the Laptev Sea, the East Siberian Sea, and Chuckchi Sea (Polyakov et al. 2003). The composite record show large sea ice variations around a small negative trend since 1900, although the trend from a statistical point of view is not significant (Polyakov et al. 2003). The blue area to the right shows the time extent of the satellite-era shown in the figure higher up in this paragraph.”

        John Cook – btw – is a utter twit.

      • He oozes contempt and then whines about moderation. He should try his nonsense at SOD. He could stop of course – but not persuade me that an obvious characterization of his demeanor is my problem. Honesty and reality have left the building.

      • Re: “The paper says that the surface is zero years”

        Which would be relevant if figure 6 said the PIP25 plot went right up to the surface, and the units for the figure were in years relative to the surface. But the units for the figure are instead years “BP”, not years relative to the surface. So no, you didn’t actually support the point you made, nor did address the ones I made.

        Re: “but even if it didn’t his point is still so trivial – yet again – that it belies belief. You can see the satellite era in blue.”

        Could you be a bit clearer in your citation of sources? Because you’ve made it very unclear what paper you’re citing, beyond the fact that it’s from 2003 and who one of the authors is. That’s all one gets from you writing “Polyakov et al. 2003”.

        Anyway, it looks like you’re citing a portion of figure 2 (on sea ice extent) from this 2003 paper:

        “Long-term ice variability in Arctic marginal seas”

        2003 seems a bit outdated when newer analyses are avilable, and it was looking at just 4 areas. You’ve been repeatedly told by both I and other people, that you should stay more up-to-date when you cite research. Here’s a more recent image from IPCC AR5:


        [figure 4.3 from page 326 of: https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/wg1/WG1AR5_Chapter04_FINAL.pdf%5D

        That’s consistent with the trend for the 2011 image I showed before on latter 20th century ice melt pushing ice levels significantly below 1900 levels. It also largely matches the trend from another image in that 2011 paper:


        (from figure 2 of “Reconstructed changes in Arctic sea ice over the past 1,450 years”)
        https://judithcurry.com/2018/11/14/the-catastrophe-narrative/#comment-883858

        Also, since you cite “Polyakov et al. 2003”, you may want to stay-up-to-date on some of Polyakov’s more recent work. For example, the following 2017 research from Polyakov argues that anthropogenic aerosol emissions contributed to an increase in Arctic ice in one region during the 1950s, while anthropogenic greenhouse gas release caused much of the Arctic sea ice melt during the latter part of the 20th century into the 21st century:

        Figure 5 of: “Aerosol‐driven increase in Arctic sea ice over the middle of the twentieth century”

        Re: “John Cook – btw – is a utter twit. He oozes contempt and then whines about moderation. He should try his nonsense at SOD. He could stop of course – but not persuade me that an obvious characterization of his demeanor is my problem. Honesty and reality have left the building.”

        Your behavior simply illustrates my point, as does the fact that it makes it through moderation.
        :D

      • Sorry, looks like the IPCC link I gave before is broken. Here’s a working link:

        Figure 4.3 from page 326 of: “Observations: Cryosphere. In: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change”
        https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/wg1/WG1AR5_Chapter04_FINAL.pdf

        And for the sake of completion, here’s the 2017 image I mentioned before from Polyakov arguing that anthropogenic aerosol emissions contributed to an increase in Arctic ice in one region during the 1950s, while anthropogenic greenhouse gas release caused much of the Arctic sea ice melt during the latter part of the 20th century into the 21st century


        (figure 5 of: “Aerosol‐driven increase in Arctic sea ice over the middle of the twentieth century”)

      • Running unconnected comments together is just a sign of dishonesty. He is also adamant about dismissing observations. But as I say elsewhere – it is a little difficult to disentangle internal decadal to millennial variability from AGW. Much as they try to ignore the dilemma.

        I have never actually figured out what I am skeptical of except not believing John Cook and ilk.

        “The relative contribution and physical drivers of internal variability in recent Arctic sea ice loss remain open questions, leaving up for debate whether global climate models used for climate projection lack sufficient sensitivity in the Arctic to climate forcing. Here, through analysis of large ensembles of fully coupled climate model simulations with historical radiative forcing, we present an important internal mechanism arising from low-frequency Arctic atmospheric variability in models that can cause substantial summer sea ice melting in addition to that due to anthropogenic forcing. This simulated internal variability shows a strong similarity to the observed Arctic atmospheric change in the past 37 years. Through a fingerprint pattern matching method, we estimate that this internal variability contributes to about 40–50% of observed multi-decadal decline in Arctic sea ice. Our study also suggests that global climate models may not actually underestimate sea ice sensitivities in the Arctic, but have trouble fully replicating an observed linkage between the Arctic and lower latitudes in recent decades. Further improvements in simulating the observed Arctic–global linkage are thus necessary before the Arctic’s sensitivity to global warming in models can be quantified with confidence.” https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-018-0256-8

      • And I would like to disabuse #atomski of the peculiar notion that there is a cut off date for citations.

        e.g. https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/ref/10.1175/JCLI-D-17-0078.1

      • And it was figure 8 I linked to.

      • Atomsk’s Sanakan: so your comment on “surviv[ing]” is irrelevant.

        Clearly, the excerpt shows that Hansen has contributed to the widespread “catastrophe” narrative.

      • Re: “Atomsk’s Sanakan: “so your comment on “surviv[ing]” is irrelevant.”
        Clearly, the excerpt shows that Hansen has contributed to the widespread “catastrophe” narrative.”

        Stop your practice of misleadingly quote-mining. The full quote provides clear context to why the statement was irrelevant:

        The Arctic is not a living organism, so your comment on “surviv[ing]” is irrelevant.”
        https://judithcurry.com/2018/11/14/the-catastrophe-narrative/#comment-883858

        And as I’ve told you before in the comments section for this blogpost, I’m not interested in what you count as a “catastrophe” under your flexible, ill-defined straw man.

        Re: “But as I say elsewhere – it is a little difficult to disentangle internal decadal to millennial variability from AGW.”

        Not really. For example: cooling of the stratosphere, mesosphere, and thermosphere; paleoclimate estimates of climate sensitivity; changes in the diurnal temperature range. Basically, different forcings have different vertical, horizontal, and temporal patterns. You can use those patterns for attribution. That’s been known for decades, since at least back to Manabe and Wetherald in 1967.

        Re: “The relative contribution and”

        And? I’ve already that paper. It’s a bit on the low end in terms of anthropogenic attribution and still a slight outlier, but interesting nonetheless. I’m not sure how you think it’s meant to be a rebuttal to anthropogenic GHGs contributing to Arctic sea ice melt.

        Make sure not to fall to single paper syndrome or cherry-picking:

        “Selectivity of citation: Any paper, no matter how methodologically flawed, that challenges the dominant consensus is promoted extensively by denialists, whereas any minor weaknesses in papers that support the dominant position are highlighted and used to discredit their messages.”
        http://www.bmj.com/content/341/bmj.c6950.full

        To help with that, I suggest you become more familiar with the broader literature on causal attribution of Arctic warming and of Arctic ice melt:

        “Human influence on Arctic sea ice detectable from early 1990s onwards”
        “Recent and future changes in Arctic sea ice simulated by the HadCM3 AOGCM”
        “Observations reveal external driver for Arctic sea-ice retreat”
        “Attribution of polar warming to human influence”
        “Response of Arctic temperature to changes in emissions of short-lived climate forcers”
        “One hundred years of Arctic surface temperature variation due to anthropogenic influence”
        “Attribution of Arctic temperature change to greenhouse-gas and aerosol influences”
        “Arctic sea ice loss directly follows cumulative anthropogenic CO2 emissions”
        “Changing state of Arctic sea ice across all seasons”
        “The trajectory towards a seasonally ice-free Arctic Ocean”
        “Observed Arctic sea-ice loss directly follows anthropogenic CO2 emission”

      • Atomsk’s Sanakan: The Arctic is not a living organism, so your comment on “surviv[ing]” is irrelevant.

        That is absurd. The Arctic was said to be threatened, and it clearly survived. Did you not know that an inanimate object can survive a threat, as when a house survives a firestorm or a flood, or when a semiconductor survives a stress test?

        Atomsk’s Sanakan:
        And as I’ve told you before in the comments section for this blogpost, I’m not interested in what you count as a “catastrophe” under your flexible, ill-defined straw man.

        The quote from the article is this: A leading U.S. climate researcher says the world has a 10-year window of opportunity to take decisive action on global warming and avert catastrophe.

        It was not I who introduced the word “catastrophe” into this discussion, and clearly Hansen has contributed to the “catastrophe narrative.”

  46. My you are sensitive soul aren’t you.
    As the word save was used by Mr Hansen in the article, survived is the appropriate riposte. And as usual you are posting irrelevant stuff.
    Mr Hansen made his prediction in late 2006. From your link, the 2018 minimum is higher than 2007 so it hasn’t got worse Where was it 2-10k years ago?

    • The latest research on the historic Arctic ice extent record seems to be this.
      https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/jqs.2929 with the graph here.

      It indicates than for the last 500 years, it has been significantly higher than the 10,000 year period before that. As creatures like the polar bears predate that, the ice extent isn’t the catastrophe people make it out to be.

      • Re: “The latest research on the historic Arctic ice extent record seems to be this. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/jqs.2929 with the graph here.”

        It’s always nice when someone makes a good faith effort to read the peer-reviewed literature… if that’s really what you did. I suspect you’re likely just copying this article because you saw it on a faux “skeptic” source like NoTricksZone. I know this, because your image is annotated in a misleading way that comes from NoTricksZone, not the actual paper.

        Anyway, I’m familiar with the paper:

        Your image appears nowhere in the aforementioned paper. Instead, your image seems to come from the NoTricksZone page here:
        http://notrickszone.com/2017/03/02/new-paper-indicates-there-is-more-arctic-sea-ice-now-than-for-nearly-all-of-the-last-10000-years/

        Here is the real figure from the paper:

        [Figure 6 of “Holocene variability in sea ice cover, primary production, and Pacific-Water inflow and climate change in the Chukchi and East Siberian Seas (Arctic Ocean)”]

        Notice that the real figure says years “BP” on its y-axis. It also does not include the “20th century” annotation from your image. This is important because years “BP” means “before present”, and “before present” means “before 1950” in paleoclimatology. See, for instance:

        “20th Century back to 795,000 years Before Present (B.P.) (Before 1950).”
        http://cdiac.ess-dive.lbl.gov/trends/atm_meth/ice_core_methane.html

        “North American stratigraphic code
        […]
        The ‘‘present’’ refers to 1950 AD [page 1564]”

        https://ngmdb.usgs.gov/Geolex/resources/docs/AAPG_Bull-89_NACSN2005-rev2016.pdf

        Faux “skeptics” have messed up on this point before. For example, it tripped up Craig Loehle:

        “Comments on Loehle,“Correction to: A 2000-Year Global Temperature Reconstruction Based on Non-Tree Ring Proxies”, E&E, 18 (7 and 8), 2007”
        “Correction to: A 2000-year global temperature reconstruction based on non-tree ring proxies”

        Since “BP” means “before 1950, you need to check if the graph you cited includes the recent multi-decadal period of sea ice loss. Did you do that? Or did you fall for NoTricksZone misleading “20th century” labeling?

        I recommend you not rely on faux “skeptic” blogs like NoTricksZone in the future. They willfully mislead people.

        Re: “From your link, the 2018 minimum is higher than 2007 so it hasn’t got worse”

        Your end point bias is noted. Statistically insignificant shorter-term fluctuations do not rebut statistically significant long-term trends.

        Overcoming endpoint bias in climate change communication: The case of Arctic sea ice trends
        […]
        Unusually cold winters, a slowing in upward global temperatures, or an increase in Arctic sea ice extent are often falsely cast as here-and-now disconfirmation of the scientific consensus on climate change. Such conclusions are examples of “end point bias,” the well documented psychological tendency to interpret a recent short-term fluctuation as a reversal of a long-term trend.”

      • 1950 is used in radiocarbon dating for obvious reasons. For these sediment biomarker proxies – combiner in the PIP index – the surface is the present day.

        Although the purpose is not to supersede modern short term satellite observations but to extend our understanding if ice dynamics into the distant past. Extracting a panel and flipping it was all that was done – the bottom line rather than the biomarker proxies.

        And this is just yet more repellent bloviating from a rank amateur who get’s all of his talking points from insular true believer blogs.

      • Re: “1950 is used in radiocarbon dating for obvious reasons. For these sediment biomarker proxies – combiner in the PIP index – the surface is the present day.”

        No, it’s not just for radiocarbon dating, as the Loehle example I gave showed. Loehle also used temperature proxies that were not based on radiocarbon, but failed to realize the “before present” meant “before 1950” for those proxies. You haven’t presented a shred of evidence that “before present” means “before the present day” for sediment proxies. You’ve simply asserted it.

        Re: “And this is just yet more repellent bloviating from a rank amateur who get’s all of his talking points from insular true believer blogs.”

        And the selective moderation continues.

        Feel free to keep lashing out, pretending the sources I cited were “insular true believer blogs”, etc. We both know that since you’re a contrarian on mainstream climate science, you’ll be safe under the selective moderation.

      • Re: “Extracting a panel and flipping it was all that was done”

        False. Other changes were made, and I even pointed some of them out. For example, adding misleading annotations such as “20th Century”.

        Re: “1950 is used in radiocarbon dating for obvious reasons. For these sediment biomarker proxies – combiner in the PIP index – the surface is the present day.”

        Still waiting on evidence for that claim of your’s. While you figure out a way to present that evidence (or a way to evade my request for evidence), I’ll make a couple of other points.

        First, the paper in question affirms the recent multi-decadal loss of Arctic sea ice, which NoTricksZone conveniently failed to mention. The fact that this ice loss does not appear in figure 6 of the paper, strongly suggests that the figure stops before the multi-decadal period of ice loss (such that “before present” on figure 6 means “before 1950”):

        “Holocene variability in sea ice cover, primary production, and Pacific-Water inflow and climate change in the Chukchi and East Siberian Seas (Arctic Ocean)
        […]
        In the last four decades, the extent and thickness of Arctic sea ice has decreased dramatically […], and this decrease seems to be by far more rapid than predicted by any climate model […].”

        Second, PIP25 is based (at least in part) on a sediment core using IP25:

        “Holocene variability in sea ice cover, primary production, and Pacific-Water inflow and climate change in the Chukchi and East Siberian Seas (Arctic Ocean)
        […]
        For more semi-quantitative estimates of present and past sea ice coverage, Muller et al. (2011) combined the sea-ice proxy IP25 and phytoplankton biomarkers in a phytoplankton-IP25 index, the so-called ‘PIP25 index’”

        The Arctic sea ice biomarker IP25: a review of current understanding,
        recommendations for future research and applications in palaeo sea
        ice reconstructions

        Sediment cores use “before present” to mean “before 1950”. For instance:

        “Climate impacts on human settlement and agricultural activities in northern Norway revealed through sediment biogeochemistry
        […]
        The molecular marker proxy records used in this study indicate two distinct phases in the sediment core record (Fig. 3). Phase I (7,300–2,250 calendar years before 1950 AD [calendar years before present (cal y BP)])”

        That casts serious doubt on your claim that “before present” for PIP25 means “before the present day”, not “before 1950”. So I await evidence in support of your claim. And no, pretending that my above sources are “insular true believer blogs”, does not qualify as evidence.
        ;)

      • Eh – it makes no difference to add LIA and the medieval optimum labels, and even 1950 is the 20th century. It doesn’t change the graph at all. Piffling quibbles.

        What else has he got to quibble about? My claim (?) that the surface is the present? Well – for one it is stated in this paper. His is a trifling prevarication.

        He comments ooze filibustering contempt – as such I find it repellent and generally avoid them. The bloviating is obvious and endless.

      • Atomsk, as you quote from a cartoonist’s blog and put in unattributed graphs, you are in no position to complain about how others don’t meet your hypocritical standards.
        Endpoint bias – isn’t that “Hide the Decline”?

    • Thanks – I have bookmarked it.

  47. What is proven, over and over, is that warmer, more thawed, oceans and lakes and warmer earth causes more evaporation and more snowfall and the natural, normal and necessary warming causes snow and cold. That prevents it from getting too warm. We warmed out of the little ice age because when it was colder and oceans and lakes and land was colder and more frozen, water evaporated less and it snowed less and ice depleted and retreated and caused warming. These natural and normal and necessary cycles depend on the temperature that oceans freeze and thaw and turn evaporation and snowfall off and on. This does not depend on external forcing, it depends on the internal natural ice cycles.

    Alarmist and luke warm climate theory changes temperature based on CO2. Mother Nature uses the temperature that oceans freeze and thaw as the thermostat setting. Water is abundant in all of its forms. Water vapor is increased when earth and oceans are warmer and there is more evaporation. This overwhelms one molecule of CO2 in ten thousand molecules. The more water vapor is more greenhouse gas which does not matter, but it promote more snowfall that does matter.

    Record snowfalls in the middle of November does happen when oceans and lakes are warmer and more thawed. In history, warmer periods were always followed by colder periods because it always snowed more in the warmer periods.

    Look at past data, look at history, look at what is happening now. Ewing and Donn published this in the 1950’s.

    When oceans are warmer, more snowfall causes cooling. When oceans are colder, less snowfall causes warming. This causes climate cycles that alternate warmer and colder. The thermostat setting is the temperature oceans freeze and thaw. External forcing does influence the cycles but it does not change the thermostat setting, it is based on basic principles. Extra warming from anything causes warmer sooner and thawed oceans and snowfall sooner. The colder period depends mostly on how much snow fell because more snow causes more ice accumulation and more ice extent and colder longer. The ice is the cause of colder and not the result of colder.

    Alex Pope

  48. It is 5.00 am here – my coffee is delicious – and I was having a serious chuckle when I came across yet more simplistic bloviating dogmatism from #atomski. Of course melting ice is ‘consistent with’ AGW. So are other things in the complex dynamical Earth system – Bond events, decadal variation in the AO, anti-phase temperature variation between the poles, etc. – disentangling those may be a little more difficult. And we could mention uncertainties in oxygen isotope and other proxies or smoothing in ice cores and sediments as compared to satellite data. I accept science for what it is. #atomski shares the problem of leaving their curiosity at the AGW door.

  49. typically in the form of vociferous yet justified objection when skeptics …

    OMG did I just become a human being again??

  50. Andy: You may have missed my 3-link comment above because I was replying to myself. Here’s a link to it:
    https://judithcurry.com/2018/11/14/the-catastrophe-narrative/#comment-883788

  51. “CAGW” is a strawman says Atomsk.
    So science is not warning of a CO2-driven catastrophe.
    So there’s no need to worry about emissions anymore.

    • Re: ““CAGW” is a strawman says Atomsk.
      So science is not warning of a CO2-driven catastrophe.
      So there’s no need to worry about emissions anymore.”

      And you did just what I predicted, by resorting to a false dichotomy:

      “I’ve encountered many faux “skeptics” who use the CAGW label, and they’re pattern is predictable. If you point out the straw man, then they claim that if AGW is not catastrophic, then AGW must be harmless or beneficial. This response reveals one of the motives behind abusing the CAGW label: it allows people to create a false dichotomy between “catastrophe” (which they define as flexibly and vaguely as they need to) vs. “harmless or beneficial.”
      That false dichotomy is nonsense. There are plenty of things have negative effects that we focus on, without them being world-ending, human-species-ending catastrophes. For example: cancer, car accidents, gun violence, etc. These can be serious problems, without being world-ending catastrophes. So no, one does not need to accept some “CAGW” straw man, in order to claim AGW has negative effects.”
      https://judithcurry.com/2018/11/14/the-catastrophe-narrative/#comment-883689

      • Atomsk’s Sanakan: For example: cancer, car accidents, gun violence, etc.

        Those are not dependent on anthrpogenic CO2, so perhaps you might pick some worrisome threats that do so depend.

      • Re: “Those are not dependent on anthrpogenic CO2, so perhaps you might pick some worrisome threats that do so depend.”

        Your response failed, since you missed (or pretended to miss) the point of the comparison.

        The point was obviously 1, not 2. Yet you acted as if the point was 2:

        1) Cancer, car accidents, gun violence, etc. can have negative effects, without meeting someone’s personal, flexible definition of a “catastrophe”. This illustrates the general point that X can have negative effects, without X being a catastrophe. This also applies when X is anthropogenic global warming; to say otherwise is special pleading.

        2) Cancer, car accidents, gun violence, etc. are dependent on anthropogenic CO2.

        Seriously, Matthew, the point was not that hard to grasp. Next time, please don’t blatantly misrepresent the point of a comparison.

    • Atomsk, There is no false dichotomy in what I say. Nor is there a strawman.

      > they claim that if AGW is not catastrophic, then AGW must be harmless or beneficial

      Either climate scientists are warning of an imminent CO2-driven catastrophe or they aren’t. Most people think they are, but you say above they aren’t – in which case there’s no urgency to the issue.

      See the straw your case rests on now?

      • Re: “Atomsk, There is no false dichotomy in what I say.”

        Of course there is a false dichotomy. You even showed it again when you wrote this in your reply:

        “Either climate scientists are warning of an imminent CO2-driven catastrophe or they aren’t. Most people think they are, but you say above they aren’t – in which case there’s no urgency to the issue.”

        That’s a false dichotomy between “catastrophe” and “no urgency”. As I already explained at least 3 times now:

        “There are plenty of things have negative effects that we focus on, without them being world-ending, human-species-ending catastrophes. For example: cancer, car accidents, gun violence, etc. These can be serious problems, without being world-ending catastrophes. So no, one does not need to accept some “CAGW” straw man, in order to claim AGW has negative effects.”

        So your dichotomy is a false one, since one can have urgent issues (ex: gun violence, cancer, car accidents) that wouldn’t meet many contrarians’ flexible, ill-defined account of “catastrophe”.

        Re: “See the straw your case rests on now?”

        No straw man, since you’re continuing to do what I predicted:

        “I’ve encountered many faux “skeptics” who use the CAGW label, and they’re pattern is predictable. If you point out the straw man, then they claim that if AGW is not catastrophic, then AGW must be harmless or beneficial. This response reveals one of the motives behind abusing the CAGW label: it allows people to create a false dichotomy between “catastrophe” (which they define as flexibly and vaguely as they need to) vs. “harmless or beneficial.””
        https://judithcurry.com/2018/11/14/the-catastrophe-narrative/#comment-883689

      • Atomsk
        The Consensus speaks virtually non-stop of imminent catastrophe to mankind, thereby imparting to climate policy the highest possible urgency. “CAGW” accurately captures that.

        You apparently differ from that position, comparing AGW to car accidents and cancer. While certainly important troubles we would all like to see the back of, these are not “urgent” in the sense and league that climate discussion uses it, and in the resource and policy priority it therefore ought to be accorded.

        So what I’m saying is, you presented there as a skeptic lukewarmist rather than a faithful consensus alarmist. Which means you think the issue is not “urgent” in the sense climate discussion employs it; “less urgent” (than the consensus) being more accurate. There is no false contradiction (dichotomy) in that. Don’t be so defensive.

  52. And catastrophe is largely an invention of the press (and big-government activists?), wrongly claiming that is what science is saying.
    So how hard have scientists really worked at publicly correcting this devious putting of “catastrophe” in their mouths ?

  53. “We explore the risk that self-reinforcing feedbacks could push the Earth System toward a planetary threshold that, if crossed, could prevent stabilization of the climate at intermediate temperature rises and cause continued warming on a “Hothouse Earth” pathway even as human emissions are reduced.” http://www.pnas.org/content/115/33/8252

    And although I have noted snippets from some of these people over the decades – it is only in passing. It is all so scientifically superficial. Tipping points are very real – but this is nothing more than a narrative of catastrophe that has ‘gone viral’ apparently.

    “We emphasize the importance of understanding dragon-kings as being often associated with a neighborhood of what can be called equivalently a phase transition, a bifurcation, a catastrophe (in the sense of Rene Thom), or a tipping point.” Didier Sornette.

    It is all catastrophe and irreversible limits – playing with words is to ignore the fundamental narratives of limits in the genre of climate catastrophy science – the 2K limit especially – that lead to catastrophic and irreversible change – tipping points – in the Earth system. There are 10 of them – if we include climate.


    https://www.stockholmresilience.org/research/planetary-boundaries/planetary-boundaries/about-the-research/the-nine-planetary-boundaries.html

    Speaking as an environmental scientist – there is an underlying reality. But these are far from beyond the capacity of rich economies to redress – and they are being fixed. Economics is of course at the core of the climate culture war – that I won’t go into deeper just now.

    The alternative myopia involves narratives of moribund western economies governed by corrupt corporations collapsing under the weight of internal contradictions – leading to less growth, less material consumption, less CO2 emissions, less habitat destruction and a last late chance to stay within the safe limits of global ecosystems. And this is just in the ‘scholarly’ journals. They see this as a ‘transformative moment’ in Earth history.

    “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the industrial revolution. That will not happen overnight and it will not happen at a single conference on climate change, be it COP 15, 21, 40 – you choose the number. It just does not occur like that. It is a process, because of the depth of the transformation.” UNRIC

    Iriai is a Japanese word meaning to enter into the joint use of resources. There are ways to a bright future for the planet, its peoples and its wild places – but these need to be consciously designed in a broad context of economics and democracy, population, development, technical innovation, land use and the environment. There is a stark choice in which these narratives of catastrophe and economic and social transformation have no place. Which future is for you? Economic collapse, civil strife, war – or prosperous and resilient communities in vibrant landscapes.

    My WordPress site is under reconstruction and this is definitely the core of a new front page. 😊

    Bye

  54. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #336 | Watts Up With That?

  55. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #336 |

  56. I apologize for not having an attribution for the following. It was written by a history professor over 20 years ago and posted on the emerging medium we call the Internet. The professor was studying the path to despotism in all of its forms. He identified 5 basic steps to the process, which have been followed by the most infamous despots in history on down to parents seeking dominion and control of their children:

    1. Adopt a noble cause
    2. Exaggerate the threat to the noble cause
    3. Demonize your opponents as being against the noble cause
    4. Offer the ‘one-and-only’ solution to the problem
    5. Collect a sacrifice (money, freedom…) to implement the one and only solution.

    Andy west does an excellent job of documenting the widespread exaggeration of the threat of man-made climate change, but he doesn’t recognize the reason for this exaggeration, other than siting the effectiveness of the emotive narrative. But what exactly is this exaggerated, emotional narrative effective at doing?

    Simply put, the purpose of the emotive narrative is to gain power and control over other human beings. It is despotic in nature and in effect.

    As such, I strongly disagree with Andy May when he concludes: “In the great majority of cases adherents fully, indeed passionately, believe the narrative they propagate, albeit being emotively not reasonably convinced. Indeed, this is the great power of such narratives. There may be a minority of cases where very fervent belief leads to noble cause corruption.”

    The whole process he is documenting is one of noble cause corruption, whether those engaging in the process are aware of it or not! They believe the narrative, not because of a rational examination of the facts, but because they wish to be powerful and exert their will over others! They have convinced themselves that their motivation is the noble cause, but have crossed the line into despotism when they exaggerate the threat to the noble cause in order to convince others to take action as they prescribe.

    Indeed, ‘exaggeration-of-threat’ is the red flag that separates the noble crusader from the one with despotic desires, even if they completely believe in their emotive narrative. They bought into the emotive narrative to feel more powerful and better about themselves, not to effect positive change through a rational, well-researched course of action. They quite consciously choose to avoid rational thought, continuing education, alternative arguments and alternative courses of action; all aspects of one truly fighting for a noble cause.

    Invariably, the noble cause IS corrupted when exaggeration-of-threat is employed. Whether the operators are conscious of it or not, they are still culpable. It is not a conspiracy to succumb to an emotive narrative, but it is still immoral.

    • Quote “Invariably, the noble cause IS corrupted when exaggeration-of-threat is employed.” Not so fast. A sleek and hungry tiger is a cute and cuddly thing for someone who has not the least concept of one’s relation to it and has not yet understood what it is. Evidence counts not assumptions.

      • I do not deny the compelling nature of a well-spun emotive narrative. When you look at the history of man’s inhumanity to man, you will find an emotive narrative justifying the carnage. The Holocaust, the Killing Fields, Rwanda, the Rape of Nanking, the discouragement of DDT for malaria prevention, the Gulags, Reeducation Camps, the Crusades and so on. All were made possible when people bought into compelling emotive narratives, and surrendered their moral compass and rationality. All started with a noble cause that was horribly corrupted by exaggeration and appeals to fear and outrage.

        It is tempting to lay the entire blame squarely on the originators of the emotive narrative, but nothing would have happened without a multitude of willing, ‘blind’ followers. These followers bare some responsibility for their actions. They are not puppets, and it is believed that most have a brain to reason with. If they choose not to use it, are they not responsible for that choice?

      • Emotive narrative serves for nothing, – at best – . Adding to jclarke341 ‘s list read “The Great and Holy War” by Philip Jenkins (the world just celebrated the century from the end of it). The science that elevated many from abject misery in the past century was not the result of deceitful narrative but of making the best use of scientific research, many times in spite of deceitful leadership, 1870 to 1970 offers excellent examples.

        Still a proper understanding of what can lead to calamitous results is imperative to avert such. Again I stress follow the evidence, not the dogma resulting from the assumption.

  57. In case anyone is still interested in the “human extinction” meme, here is another instance:

    https://news.sky.com/story/extinction-rebellion-protesters-block-london-bridges-over-climate-change-call-11556496

    Clearly that is part of the castrophe narrative; equally clearly, it is not supported by any reliable peer-reviewed research. No doubt (?) AAAS and every other scientific organization will alert members, readers, and the press to the baselessness of the warming.

  58. “The above arguments suggest that conclusions about insufficient
    model sensitivity as an explanation for the discrepancy between observed and modelled decline must be viewed with caution35 and that our findings identifying internal variability as an important contributor may serve as an alternative explanation. Thus, consistent with early studies16,21, this should be seen as another reminder of the need to account for internal variability in the assessment of recent sea ice loss and the fidelity of global climate model simulations.” https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-018-0256-8?WT.feed_name=subjects_cryospheric-science

    They suggest that 40% to 50% of Arctic sea ice loss over the the past 37 years was internal variability. I caught a sentence that someone – myself I presume – was as usual selectively quoting the entire abstract. But I really can’t be bothered.

    #jiminy’s PAGES hockey stick is even more motivated. I posted the yesterday a figure from pages 2k.

    It is worth a close examination if you are so inclined. I think it is meticulous and impressive science. nothing especially jumps out about tress – apart from the relative sparsity of other records. But it is not a hockey stick.

    More a stadium wave.

    • The 1000 year peak in solar activity:

      and El Nino intensity and frequency:

      are not relevant to earth system dynamics?

    • You say it is not like a hockey stick despite the picture?

      • Which graphic? There are leads and lags everywhere – including anti-phase polar responses – that be seen in the 2013 PAGES graphic.

        “Evidence is presented supporting the hypothesis of polar synchronization, which states that during the last ice age, and likely in earlier times, millennial-scale temperature changes of the north and south Polar Regions were coupled and synchronized. The term synchronization as used here describes how two or more coupled nonlinear oscillators adjust their (initially different) natural rhythms to a common frequency and constant relative phase. In the case of the Polar Regions heat and mass transfer through the intervening ocean and atmosphere provided the coupling. As a working hypothesis, polar synchronization brings new insights into the dynamic processes that link Greenland’s Dansgaard-Oeschger (DO) abrupt temperature fluctuations to Antarctic temperature variability. It is shown that, consistent with the presence of polar synchronization, the time series of the most representative abrupt climate events of the last glaciation recorded in Greenland and Antarctica can be transformed into one another by a π/2 phase shift, with Antarctica temperature variations leading Greenland’s. This, plus the fact that remarkable close simulations of the time series are obtained with a model consisting of a few nonlinear differential equations suggest the intriguing possibility that there are simple rules governing the complex behavior of global paleoclimate.” J. A. Rial, 2012, Synchronization of polar climate variability over the last ice age: in search of simple rules at the heart of climate’s complexity

      • Mind you you don’t get the stadium wave from eyeballing a graphic – it does require a bit of an intellectual slog.

      • Quote RIE ” millennial-scale temperature changes of the north and south Polar Regions were coupled and synchronized.” Those synchronisations are also evident in this link: https://melitamegalithic.wordpress.com/2018/07/24/searching-evidence-update/
        However polar regions act in opposition to equatorial. Then see how Dodwell’s date aligns with one shift. Three earlier shifts are recorded in the ancient structures between 7k and 4k yr. All agree. Then note (in the other posts) how the several proxies also indicate abrupt change. With sync polar in opposite to equator – and with the 980yr Eddy cyc. Only Dodwell explains that. But the driver remains unknown.

  59. The problem with catastrophe is threefold:

    * it frightens only children, small animals and pissant progressives;
    * it will happen anyway; and
    * it’s an implicit sales pitch for totalitarian world government.

    “From the saintly and single-minded idealist to the fanatic is often but a step.”
    ― Friedrich A. von Hayek

    Hayek was wrong. They were never the former – and they don’t have the balls for the latter.

  60. In the Netherlands a climate activist group called Urgenda (combination of Urgent and Agenda) sued the Dutch government for not taking enough action against climate change. And the judges agreed.

    Sums it up nicely, doesn’t it?

    • The next step is toward initiating 195 country class action suits containing all the other 194 countries as the plaintiffs in each case. Beings in far off galaxies would reading it in the strange but true news for a chuckle.

  61. https://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2018-11-26/report-climate-change-is-wreaking-havoc-now
    “Climate Change is Wreaking Havoc Now”
    Article in today’s news by a staff writer at U.S. News & World Report conveys the message of climate havoc and “Scientists say recent hurricanes and wildfires could be a consequence of global warming.”

  62. Pingback: Den politiska synen på klimatet jämfört med den vetenskapliga – DET GODA SAMHÄLLET

  63. Pingback: Bits and Pieces – 20181118, Sunday | thePOOG

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