A philospher’s reflections on AGW denial

by Dr. Paul Viminitz

Of the things I care most about, AGW is near the bottom. But because, as George W. Bush put it, either you’re with us or you’re against them, I think I’d rather be interestingly wrong than politically correct. Accordingly I rehearse what I take to be the case for AGW denial, masquerading – so as to continue to get dinner invitations – as tongue in cheek.

I think I was only about six or seven, but I remember it quite clearly. We were sitting at the dinner table and my sister, who was a few years older than me, asked my parents whether we Jews believe in an afterlife. I don’t remember their answer, but I do remember thinking how strange it is to ask someone else to tell me what I believe. And yet that’s precisely what I’m about to do.

Unlike Christianity or Islam, Judaism is a non-doctrinal religion. Moreover, you don’t decide to be a Jew. You’re a Jew just in case, well, you are one. Your beliefs have nothing to do with it. But one might decide, for reasons having nothing to do with what she believes, that it would be ‘cool’ to be, say, a Buddhist, or a Flat-Earther, or a white supremacist, or whatever, and only then enquire into what one needs to believe in order to count as such. Maybe it’s how they dress, or the music they listen to. Or just that anti-racists, for example, are so priggishly holier than thou. When it comes to identity politics, cool is cool. Rationale counts for naught. It’s all about image.

In any event, I decided – and I decided this sight unseen – that it would be cool to be a denialist, because for a philosopher, even bad press is better than what we typically get, which is no press at all. Of course I don’t mean I want to be a denialist tout court. I want to be selective. I want to deny something that would earn me a level of vilification that would make me cool, but not so vile that I’d never get another dinner invitation in this town. That’s why, tempting as it was, the Holocaust just wasn’t an option.

I toyed for a while with the Warren Report, and then the moon landing. But none of my students would remember the Kennedy assassination. And claiming that that “one small step for mankind” was in an airplane hanger out in the desert somewhere would just make me one of those crazies. Having met some, I’ve decided crazy isn’t cool. Cool requires at least plausible deniability.

And so …? And so that’s why I’ve settled on anthropogenic global warming (AGW). One might have to be ignorant to be an AGW denier, but not necessarily crazy. And unlike defending pedophilia, AGW denial isn’t quite cringe-worthy enough that no one would want to have anything to do with me.

The only problem, as already noted, is that since I don’t know anything about AGW, I don’t know what I’m required to not believe about it. And so the objective of this present exercise is to repair that lacuna, cuz … well, it just won’t do to know nothing whereof one’s speaks with an air of great authority.

Accordingly, I preface the remarks that follow not with a pro-forma “I stand to be corrected”, but with a genuine one. Of course no such correction will alter my view. That’s just what it is to be a true believer. But the first step in getting the facts wrong is getting them right. And for some help with that, I’ll be forever in your debt.

* * *

I’m told that a denialist is someone who espouses a view that flies in the face of a recognized scientific consensus. First question: Why do I need to espouse my denial to qualify? Answer: Because denialism is now being cited as a hate crime. The mere having of the view that, for example, anyone with haggis on her breath should be killed, is only a thought crime. But as long as I keep my thoughts to myself, celebrants of Robbie Burns Day are in no danger. No danger no harm. No harm no foul.

Second question: A consensus recognized by whom? It can’t be those who subscribe to that consensus, because then anyone who denies what the Creation Scientists are telling us would count as a denialist. After all, they too see eye to eye with each other.

One could argue that Creation Science is a misnomer, because for them their Scripture trumps their otherwise being faithful to the so-called ‘scientific method’. But I’m not sure this will do. We all rely on a chain of doxastic trust. And presumably that reliance is a function of track record. Imagine someone who predicts the future with 100% accuracy, but no one can figure out how. You could stick to your principles and refuse to consult him. But that would just make you an idiot.

So if one has reason to believe that Scripture is testimony, and that that testimony has proven reliable in moral and historical matters – e.g. the Jubilee Laws and the Empty Tomb respectively – then why not trust what it says about cosmology?

Now don’t get me wrong, which of course you will. I’m not defending scriptural literalism here. I don’t need to. I only need to claim that one needn’t be crazy to give her Scripture its doxastic due.

But let’s not quibble about what counts as science. Let’s just say that by the ‘scientific consensus’ is meant whatever’s issued by those mainstream institutions from which we’re habituated to take our lead in matters pertaining to the material world. Whether we do so right-headedly or not, and how radically contingent that leaves our beliefs, is another matter, and one that need not delay us here.

That said, no one thinks these institutions are infallible. So nothing in the definition entails that the denialist must be mistaken. And so one can, without embarrassment, concede that some of the greatest contributors to our understanding of the world were, in their own times, denialists.

But that need in no way put the kibosh to the pejorative use of the term. Tomorrow it may turn out that Andrew Wakefield was right, that vaccinations can cause autism. But that won’t entitle him to an apology. A wrongful conviction is not an unjust conviction. Truth is always uncertain. As are the processes by which we try to have at it. But those processes are all we’ve got. And for the most part they’ve done us yeoman service, the odd outlier, like thalidomide, notwithstanding.

But that still doesn’t tell us from which particular scientific institutions we should be taking our lead. Think of the media. CNN touts itself as “the most trusted name in news”. But Fox claims only it is “fair and balanced.” Some swear by the one, others by the other. So shall we just say we each pick our reality and leave it at that?

We can certainly say it, but we can’t leave it at that, because our disparate realities impact on each other’s. Not always, but often enough. If I’m not vaccinating my kid, and yours is immune-compromised, our decisions are not so nicely compartmentalized. Though whether the same can be said about AGW we’ll have to see.

I mention CNN and Fox because for most of us the only way we can come to know which is the mainstream consensus, and which is the outlier, is via the media. Because you watch and read what you watch and read, you think that “Everyone knows that p.” But because I watch and read what I watch and read, I think that “everyone knows that not-p.” What can we say to each other other than what we do say, which is that “Everyone in the know knows that …”? If we disagree it can only be because one of us is not among those in the know.

As we’ll be discussing later, combating AGW is a collective action problem. Collective action problems are hard enough to overcome when we’re of a mind that there is a problem. Even where we’re not, a collective action problem needn’t be intractable, provided there’s the requisite critical mass of us who are of a mind. But we can’t commit to the cause if we can’t overcome this afore-noted skepticism.

And yet often enough we do commit, which means we do overcome it. How? By fiat. I believe most of what I’m told because if I didn’t I’d be frozen in stasis. And the proof that having these admittedly unjustified beliefs is better than suspending belief entirely is that the former has been naturally selected for and the latter selected against.

So in this strategic sense of justification, let it be granted that one is entitled, though by no means compelled, to believe what she’s been told, namely that 97% of scientists believe that AGW is real.

* * *

Third question: 97% of which scientists? And fourth: Have they confirmed AGW themselves and independently, or do they merely believe it via the same means the rest of us do? After all, a computer scientist is a scientist, but what does she know about climatology? And if one climatologist is ratifying the findings of a colleague because the first has no reason not to trust the second, then a 97% consensus has no more probative force than would a minority report.

Let all this be granted. But so what?! Almost everything we believe is ultimately attributable to a very few people making some observations, a few more drawing inferences from those observations, a few more making inferences from those inferences, and so on. The further up the ladder we go the more our confidence hangs on the confidence we have, sight unseen, in the observations made and inferences drawn at every rung below. Pearls in, pearls out. Garbage in, garbage out. That’s just the dividends we reap, but also the dangers we incur, from the specialization of epistemic labor. It’s as they say: There’s no free lunch.

So let’s see what we’ve got. What we’ve got is that there’s a report on a report on a report, and so on … that there’s a consensus on there being a consensus on there being a consensus, and so on … about a chain of trust upon which some people, but not others, are prepared to rely … that delivers the verdict that AGW is real.

That, it seems to me, is hard to deny. And I do not deny it. Nor do I know of any AGW denier who does. The problem is, that’s just trivially true. Or as they say, that’s just trite but true.

* * *

But I can’t be a denialists without something to deny. So let’s give it another go.

By the ‘weather’ is meant what I need to know to plan my day. Flying the Pond aside, that means the behavior of the atmosphere – precipitation, wind, temperature, that sort of thing – within an hour’s drive of the local TV station. I’m told that none of these constituents is independent of the others. But for the sake of honing this discussion to our purposes, let’s confine ourselves to temperature.

We’ve only been able to take and record the temperature for a couple hundred years, and take and record it continuously rather than periodically for much less than that. Still, as with any non-monotonic function, we’re allowed, because we have no choice, to interpolate and extrapolate. And when we do, what we get is something akin to a row of shark’s teeth, jagged and nonsensical.

What we mean by climate, then, is taking these same measurements and averaging them over a period of, say, thirty years. Now as the cursor moves along, it still rises and falls. But failing some catastrophic event, like a comet strike or a Krakatoa, the jaggedness has almost entirely disappeared. At one point the average temperature over the fifteen years either side of the cursor was, say, twelve degrees. But one would have to move the cursor several decades to record an eleven or a thirteen.

So far we’ve been defining our climactic temperature as the average reading from one sensor located in the parking lot next to the local TV station. Now let’s average the average readings from all the sensors spread out across the county, being meticulous, in the positioning of these sensors, not to invite any biased sampling errors. Presumably the cursor will rise and fall even less erratically. And as we continue to spread our sensors further and further across the globe, what we should find, if the global climate is (what we’ll call) ‘stable’ – and putting the odd El Nino or La Nina aside – is something pretty close to dead flat.

But apparently we don’t. From the early 1800’s to the present, what we find – or more accurately what someone has found that someone has found that someone has found – is that the average global temperature has risen by at least one full degree. Of course whether it will continue to rise depends on what caused it to rise as it has, and whether that cause and effect is a monotonic function or a non-monotonic one. That is, does whatever caused this rise in temperature bear the seeds of its own reversal? And if so, at what point can we expect that reversal to kick in?

Note that in saying “whatever caused this” I mean to include the possibility of anthropogenesis, be it as only a contributing factor or even the sole one. For example, some people are optimistic that global temperatures will return to their pre-Industrial levels once we either exhaust the fossil fuels we’re currently converting to carbon dioxide, or kill ourselves off, whichever comes first. Though ‘optimistic’ might be a strange choice of words in this context.

* * *

As it happens, I’m an atheist. But I call myself a sympathetic atheist rather than an atheist simpliciter, because though I’d bet my immortal soul there is no God, I wouldn’t bet the family farm on it. Similarly, then, as a denialist I don’t think I’m required to rule out the possibility that global warming is real, and if it is, the possibility that that warming is anthropogenic. That would be the kind of epistemic hubris for which I rightly pasquinade my interlocutors.

What remains open to me, however, are the following options:

  • I could deny that as a matter of fact it’s real.
  • I could allow that it’s real but deny its anthropogenic.
  • I could try to assure my Chicken Little interlocutors that whether it’s real or not, it’s nothing to worry about. Or …
  • I could allow that there would be something to worry about were it not that Scripture has promised us a Second Coming. And that requires that we still be here to welcome it.

Needless to say I’m hoping I won’t be driven to this last option. And not only because as a Jew I’ve given up waiting for a First Coming let alone a second one. In any event, let’s see which of these options I should embrace.

I do worry, as do some of my fellow travelers, about how meticulous the positioning of these sensors have been not to invite a biased sampling error. But I’m prepared to accept on faith – the same faith that would allow me not to accept it – that over the past two hundred years the average global temperature has risen by a full degree.

Mind you, over the past hour it’s fallen by over eight degrees. What I need to know is why the average global temperature rising by one degree is a greater cause for concern than the local temperature dropping by eight. After all, not unlike sticks and stones and names, hurricane force winds may break my bones but climate will never hurt me. The answer, we’re told, is this:

Climate supervenes on weather. That is, there can be no change in the climate without a series of changes in the weather. But though a change in the climate can’t cause a change in the weather – that would violate the supervenience relation – its prognostication can simultaneously prognosticate changes in the weather. For example, in predicting seven years or drought, Joseph was simultaneously predicting the unlikelihood of rain next Wednesday. So if the Chicken Littlers are right that we’re in for a second degree of global warming over the next decade or so, then there are certain meteorological phenomena that can be anticipated with a reasonable degree of certainty. And some of these phenomena are indeed cause for concern.

Concern for whom? Let’s take a brief detour to see if we can answer that question.

* * *

Of the seven and a half billion people in the world, surely there exists at least one person – let’s call her Jane – who would like to end her life but lacks either the wherewithal or the courage to do so. It follows that, notwithstanding that the end of the world – by which we’ll mean the end of its anthropicity – would be a loss for the vast majority of its human inhabitants, there are some people – by which is meant at least one – for whom it would be a gain. Moreover this would be true pretty much regardless of how the world came to an end, in this anthropic sense, whether it be a planet-killing comet that gets us, nuclear Armageddon or, well, AGW.

One could hold that, notwithstanding she has a right to want to end her own life, not at the cost of ending everyone else’s. But this adds an extra premise to the story, which would have to be argued for independently. After all, David Hume argued that “’Tis not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of my finger.” If such a reason can be given, I’ve yet to hear tell of it, save that some people entertain some weird sentiment Hume calls ‘fellow-feeling’, a sentiment which Jane, apparently, does not entertain.

A fortiori, then, of the seven and a half billion people in the world, there exists at least one person – let’s call him Dick – who’d prefer to go on living, but whose quality of life, by his own measure – which is the only measure that respects him as an autonomous agent – would be enhanced, either by AGW itself, or by that of which AGW is an anticipated but autonomous effect. It follows then that, not unlike pretty much anything else that goes on in the world, AGW itself, or that which eventuates from it or in it, is destined to produce both losers and winners.

It may well be that, even over the short run, there’ll be more losers than winners. Or at least that those who’ll lose will lose more than those who’ll gain will gain. But what is that to Dick? It may even be that over the long run even Dick will lose. But what is that to Jane?

An individual can be mistaken about which of the two she’ll be. But that’s true of pretty much any choice one makes under one- or two-dimensional uncertainty. What follows, however, is that what, if anything, to do about AGW is a political decision, subject to the same forces at play in any other political decision, namely the interplay of conflicting interests. One can hope that someone else’s interests, as she herself sees them, will dovetail with one’s own. But to get in high moral dudgeon when hers don’t betrays the moral maturity of a three year old.

Now then, as any rational choice theorists will tell you, there’s often a radical disconnect between one’s declared preferences and her revealed ones. Which of the two are her real preferences? I’d go with the latter. So when someone tells me she’d prefer these ends but consistently pursues those instead, I’m inclined to suspect she doesn’t really prefer what she thinks she does.

But there’s an important caveat to this conclusion. I’d prefer to spend the afternoon cleaning up the neighborhood, if but only if enough of my neighbors join in. But if they won’t – and they won’t – then I’d prefer to watch the football game instead. This is what’s meant by a collective action problem. And the failure to resolve such problems produces what Garret Hardin has called “the tragedy of the commons”. So I can level no charge of hypocrisy at those who would do something about AGW but don’t, because in the absence of others following suit – which they won’t – their efforts would be wasted. This describes most of my colleagues. And probably yours too.

But there’s another reason why people who angst and bleat about AGW are behaviorally indistinguishable, apart from that angsting and bleating, from their denialist nemeses. They tell us that AGW is the most urgent problem facing the world today, and then they wonder why no one’s treating it as such. It’s because there isn’t a single person on the planet, themselves included, for whom doing something about AGW is anywhere near the top of her things-to-do-today list. If a comet were about to destroy the Earth in the next ten minutes, then I guess I’m going to meet my Maker with my schlong hanging out, because first I have to pee. Or pick up the kids from school. Or walk the dog. I may not bother to make the mortgage payment that’s due today. But other than that, yep, I think it’s pretty much business as usual.

A fortiori if I happen to work in the Patch. Because if it turns out we’ve got anything longer than ten minutes, say a couple of months, the bank’s not going to accept my “The End is Nigh” sandwich board in lieu of my next loan repayment.

We are told that we have twelve years to mend our ways. Or else what? Or else we’ll bear the consequences of another twelve years delay, just as we’ve borne the consequences of the last twelve years delay. So maybe what I’ll deny is not so much global warming itself – though I want to retain the right to do so – nor that it’s anthropogenic – though I want to retain the right to deny that too – nor that it won’t have devastating consequences for some people – perhaps it already has. Maybe I’ll just say that doesn’t settle the issue of who, if anyone, should do what, if anything, about it.

Or maybe I’ll just say that, because it’s such an intractable collective action problem, no one is going to do anything about it. And that since no one’s going to do anything about it, it’s not, by definition, a problem. How not by definition? Because by a problem is meant something we might be able to do something about. Otherwise it’s just called a fact. But even an unpleasant fact – like that I’m going to die some day – doesn’t bear a whole lot of worrying about.

But I’m not sure I want to leave it at that. I think I do want to deny that it’s a fact. The world will come to an end sometime. And in all likelihood the anthropicity of the world sometime before that. But the end of the world has been predicted, much to the embarrassment of countless shamans, since we emerged from the cave, and I think there’s something to be said for a little induction.

“Ah, but this time it’s different.”

And yet it never is.

“Yes, but now we have the science to prove it.”

And what shaman thought he didn’t?

Is this just my veiled way of trusting that God is going to save us? I’m an atheist, remember. But let’s see.

Your scientific consensus, coupled with my command of collective action problems, delivers to us the inevitable end of the anthropic world. My pragmatic theory of truth can’t allow that. So either your science is wrong, or my understanding of collective actions problems is woefully inadequate. I know nothing about the former. I make my living from the latter. So you tell me which I’m likely to think is the culprit.

Quod erat demonstrandum.

* * *

If you can no longer parse an argument – or perhaps you never could – it’s nothing to be ashamed of. I’ve never been able to run the ten-minute mile either. I’ve come to terms with that.

What does forfeit one’s membership in the conversation, however, is doing the Kellyanne Conway. To pivot is really just to have left the building.

I’m responsible for what I’ve said, not for what I meant, nor for what you’ve heard. My denialism can be associated with any number of mephistophilian objectives: the war on science, the alt-right, child pornography, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion … Or my interlocutors’ favorite: my being in the pay – I could only wish! – of Big Oil.

I’ll happily plead guilty to all of the above. (Well, except for Big Oil. They keep telling me the cheque is in the mail.) But not unlike the flowers that bloom in the spring, tra la, none of this has anything to do with the case, tra la!

Not unlike the ad hominem circumstantial or abusive, phrases like ‘the recognized scientific consensus’, or ‘the leading experts in’, are fit for rhetoric, but not for serious argumentation. If you’re going to use ‘urgent’ to mean something other than it does, you need to redefine it and then defend what you’re saying with it. If you think there’s an asymmetry between your epistemic protocols and those of your interlocutors, you need to identify that asymmetry without presupposing it. This is not to say your view couldn’t win the day. But it needs to win it, not just claim it.

We denialists – assuming I’ve succeeded in being one – have been as guilty as our interlocutors of making this debate into something so toxic that it’s no wonder neither of us can preach other than to the converted. So since I’m now their official spokesman, I’d like to propose we both wipe the venom from our spears and talk to rather than about each other.

Even if you have to fake it till you make it, do it. A little intellectual humility can go a long way towards making friends and influencing people, which presumably is what you’re after, especially the latter. Unless, of course, like the Almighty, you just want to bask in the splendor of your unassailable righteousness.

Biosketch:  Paul Viminitz is a professor of Philosophy at the University of Lethridge in Canada.  One of his specialties is the philosophy of war. Link to his publications. He blogs at Paulosophical Vimplications.

 

 

304 responses to “A philospher’s reflections on AGW denial

  1. Pingback: A philospher’s reflections on AGW denial — Climate Etc. – Climate- Science.press

  2. Wow! A most fascinating, erudite, and funny excursion through the world of climate science and climate politics.

    And thanks as always, Dr. Judith, for this blog which is so central to the climate discussion.

    w.

  3. Articulate and rational…hence its only impact on the AGW true believers will be to invite derision.

  4. OK. Although this space is nearly always interesting, this is the most fun I’ve had here in a long time.

    The author actually uses “doxastic” in a sentence. I haven’t seen this in 40 years…ie. college. If you use a word in a sentence, spell it correctly and spell check thinks you’re wrong, you’re probably a philosopher.

    If you watch people debate, argue or even just discuss and inwardly cringe at the continuous stream of non sequitur, you’re probably a philosopher. (Unless this happens to you while watching CNN, Fox and all news in between and then you’ve just got some degree of common sense.)

    If it’s not the color of the ox that matters but just the fact that you’re witnessing or delivering a truly epic goring, you’re probably a philosopher.

    If someone says to you something like, “I get what you’re saying and it almost makes sense but I still think I’m right,” you’re sure as hell a philosopher…that probably should have led with “epic goring” instead of trying to leave open the possibility of future dinner invitations…or just avoided the subject altogether.

    • ” If you use a word in a sentence, spell it correctly and spell check thinks you’re wrong, you’re probably a philosopher.”

      That makes me a philosopher (probably). Someone wrote that someone had “prorogated” something, I pointed out that “the verb is prorogue”, and the spelling corrector changed it to “the verb is prologue”.

      If that’s the state of AI today, AI has a long way to go still.

  5. Thank you for sharing this. I took many philosophy courses decades ago in university, but never found any of my professors showing the slightest sense of humour. What a pleasant change.

  6. A fun read. Really well done. Congratulations and thanks to the author.

    About this: well, it just won’t do to know nothing whereof one’s speaks with an air of great authority.

    It seems to work really well for some people: Gavin Newsome, Anastasia Occasional Cortex, Greta Thunberg, and others too numerous and widely quoted to mention.

  7. I’m just a simple person of average intelligence but I’m old and wise enough to recognize patterns of BS spun by those with a public voice.

    I am willing to believe the temperature may have risen one degree in 200 years though I have serious doubts that anyone can prove that beyond a reasonable doubt.

    However unlike the AGW idealogues I remain open minded which is why I am here and they aren’t and it appears they want nothing more than to hate me for being this way.

    I’ve noticed throughout my life for whatever reason my mind has often led me to find myself on the outside of the mainstream groups within society because it appears to be something innate to my genetics to question the consensus view and find it hard to keep my mouth shut for long.

    I often think the others in these peer groups have more successful genetics because they appear to be better at keeping their mouths shut even though I believe they dont but in to whatever it is that peer group is in to.

    Anyway very interesting read and a thank you to Judith Curry for not keeping her mouth shut anymore.

  8. The BBC tell us that all insects – the entire class Insecta, that survived even the end-Permian extinction that wiped out 95% of all species – will be gone within 100 years due to a mild excursion of temperature and CO2 that represents a tiny fraction of the recorded range of both.

    Do we believe this catastrophe narrative or are we deniers?

    Disagreement with this catastrophe narrative is not “denial”.

    It is simply having a modicum of common sense.

    • I have a problem with the use of the word “deniers” in this context. It is usually used in the expressions “climate change deniers” or climate science deniers. The first use is a vacant category; no one denies that the climate changes, or insists that it is always the same. The second use is merely based on an assertion that there is a consensus among almost all climate scientists, that consensus is a scientific truth, and a denier is one who denies that truth. In both of these cases, as well as in the BBC example about insects, the focus is the forecast of the future.

      There are no facts in the future, only opinions. Hence an unwillingness to accept on faith someone’s opinion of the future is not really a denial, and the unwilling person is not a denier. The unwilling person is merely someone with a different opinion, or no opinion of the future. To call someone who disagrees with my opinion a “denier” entitles the person so called to retort “If I am a denier, so are you, because you deny my opinion.” This name calling is not an argument, just juvenile verbal bullying.

    • Philip

      It’s not climate change that is doing for the insects but the wind farms that are supposed to save the world for all of us including insects.

      According to a German report some 1200 tonnes of insects are killed yearly by Germany’s wind turbines.

      I can’t visualise how big a pile of insects weighing 1200 tonnes would look

      Tonyb

      • When compared with the number of insects that die of old age each day, that’s not even a drop in the bucket.

      • jch

        I note that insects are declining by 2.5% per year so unless those dying of old age have dramatically increased for some reason, then there needs to be another explanation. This from the guardian is very interesting

        https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/feb/10/plummeting-insect-numbers-threaten-collapse-of-nature

        it leads to a link about Germany where the decline in insects is astonishing of which a large proportion are those that fly.

        Whether 1200 tonnes killed by turbines is significant in that context I don’t know but presumably man is at fault,probably through multiple reasons of which spraying of insecticide, less diverse crops, less insect friendly gardens etc may or may not figure as being much larger categories than turbines.

        I have left the Guardian article lying around on our garden table where we have meals in the hope that the wasps will realise they should not be as numerous as they are and can take the hint and either die of old age or, in some other manner, become fewer in number.

        Joking aside, this drop in insects has serious repercussions.

        tonyb

      • jch

        I note that insects are declining by 2.5% per year so unless those dying of old age have dramatically increased for some reason, then there needs to be another explanation. This from the guardian is very interesting

        https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/feb/10/plummeting-insect-numbers-threaten-collapse-of-nature

        it leads to a link about Germany where the decline in insects is astonishing of which a large proportion are those that fly.

        Whether 1200 tonnes killed by turbines is significant in that context I don’t know but presumably man is at fault, probably through multiple reasons of which spraying of insecticide, less diverse crops, less insect friendly gardens etc may or may not figure as being much larger categories than turbines.

        I have left the Guardian article lying around on our garden table where we have meals in the hope that the wasps will realise they should not be as numerous as they are and can take the hint and either die of old age or, in some other manner, become fewer in number.

        Joking aside, this drop in insects has serious repercussions.

        tonyb

      • tonyb:
        One should also check the insect fauna that gets sucked into the air-filters of gas turbines. And that is what escapes the chickens that are bred around the plant purposely to control that kind of fouling.

      • Metamegalithic

        When researching your intriguing comment about chickens I came across this

        https://www.foodunfolded.com/things-you-did-not-know/insect-farming-how-insects-help-reduce-food-waste

        Organic food waste can be fed to insects and the emissions from waste food, if treated as a separate country, would be the third largest emitter after chinaand the US!

        Let’s hope an opportunity comes up at a quiz to show off that knowledge as I can’t think how I could casually drop it into any conversation

        Tonyb

      • Tonyb
        Very possible. The natural cycle of life is a closed ring chain with many strands and many links. CO2 is one important link in many strands; human, insect, yeast, — on to plants (besides the chickens up-front of the gas turbine filters, there were greenhouses that collected the CO2 from the exhaust.

        This book is a good starter on nature’s cycle (with a sting that makes one squirm) https://ekostories.com/2012/05/26/larson-hair-dirt-worm/

      • Melitamegalithic

        Thanks for the link. Good stuff

        I knew of course that termites emit more co2 than humans but didn’t know,until this insect exchange, that collectively insectanity weighs seventeen times more than humanity. So we are outnumbered and surrounded by a force often too small to see and capable of giving us a nasty bite or sting.

        And we are killing billions of their friends and gamilies with turbines and insecticides. I think we need to make our peace with them and apologise

        Tonyb

      • I think we need to make our peace with them and apologise

        (not until they either move out of my apartment or start helping with the rent)…

      • JCH
        When compared with the number of insects that die of old age each day, that’s not even a drop in the bucket.

        Surprisingly few animals in nature die of old age.
        Most of other causes.

  9. Are you sure Lord Monckton was not your ghost writer? Well done but I had to read most of it twice and more slowly the second time. A lot of fun though.

  10. I’m told that a denialist is someone who espouses a view that flies in the face of a recognized scientific consensus

    But I think what is mainly being denied here, is that the “recognized scientific consensus” in question is produced by a process with little or nothing in common with the recognised scientific method.

    There was Climategate (and ensuing official coverups) of course, and more recently Judith recently posted on “consensus enforcement”.

  11. ‘Scientific consensus’ on climate change is a political concoction. Nothing scientific about it. After scientists finish working on an IPCC scientific report, politicos meet among themselves to iron out a much shorter: ‘Summary for Policymakers’, which big wig politicos and ‘decision makers’ are expected to read. This is a guide to climate policy for busy people. Every statement in this ‘Summary for Policymakers’ is agreed by all politicos over a fews days. Every rep from every country at the meeting must agree to the same policy statements. And so the woolly language of such reports. It must be vague enough for everyone at the meeting to agree. Agreeable to reps from: oil exporter countries, Western climate worriers, potential recipients of ‘climate aid’. After the ‘Summary for Policymakers’ is done, a couple of scientists are asked to make amendments to the yet unpublished scientific report. Because one can’t have scientists disagreeing with politicians; otherwise the legitimacy of the policies will be questioned.

    Given policy makers don’t treat ‘The Science’ seriously, I fail to see why anyone else should be serious about the ‘scientific consensus’. It’s a word game in itself; one should be playful with it.

    • Citing consensus came about because the nature of the problem is that we must act to prevent change, which is serious, and do it before the science is perfected. We can’t wait 100 years until all the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed and climate sensitivity is known to 4 decimal places. So it matters what a majority of climate scientists know.

      “Climate science is settled *enough*” Raymond Pierrehumbert, Slate 10/1/14

      http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2014/10/the_wall_street_journal_and_steve_koonin_the_new_face_of_climate_change.html

      • What are these “serious controls on carbon dioxide emissions”? How is “emissions growth halted and eventually reversed”? What should be settled enough by now is that it’s all BS.

      • So it matters what a majority of climate scientists know.

        Even though a majority of scientists have been wrong about other paradigms in the past. (and will most certainly be wrong about still more paradigms in the future)…

      • There is a mistaken implication that regularly occurs in otherwise reasonable claims that the science is “settled” to one degree or another.

        Although I am a skeptic to a certain degree, I also respect the IPCC’s projections as a possible outcome. But what are the implications of that outcome, even if we take it as settled enough at this time to justify basing policy on it?

        There are two factors that render virtually all of our current warming mitigation policies as a waste of resources that are quite possibly doing more damage in this present moment than warming will for the next several decades.

        The first is that the CO2 warming effect is logarithmic and highly saturated. This means that near term, costly efforts to immediately reduce CO2 emissions are not an effective use of resources. Without technology with the capability to substantially move us down the slowly sloping curve of the CO2 effect there is a small benefit at best in near term CO2 reduction efforts which might even be offset by the plant fertilization benefit that CO2 brings.

        The second that really compounds this is that developing countries are still growing rapidly. China, the world’s largest emitter, is projected to increase emissions until 2030. Reductions in CO2 by developed countries are absolutely a drop in the bucket in the time frame of the next few decades.

        So what does this mean? The hidden implication is that some level of catastrophe is predicted by the mainstream science and that immediate action in reducing CO2 is the necessary policy. That’s wrong, I believe on both counts. To my knowledge the most authoritative projection on the cost of warming is by the Copenhagen Consensus group who project an overall benefit until 2070 or 80. (I think it’s 2080). The warming after that is expected to begin to cost the world increasingly as we approach the end of the century. So to my knowledge the implication that there is a predicted catastrophe is wrong, almost everyone who thinks it’s a problem is wrong about how serious the projected costs are.

        That’s the first, and interestingly, the less important incorrect implication. The second implication is that immediate or near term CO2 reduction is the correct policy. Again taking from the Copenhagen Consensus group, because CO2 has a logarithmic effect and we cannot decrease total emissions effectively in the near term, the most effective policy for the next few decades is R&D into new energy sources and perhaps energy storage and the like. They rate this at having $15 dollars of benefit per dollar spent vs. $2 for other climate policies that focus on immediate reduction.

        I don’t know if you already agree with this or not. I would guess you haven’t heard of any look into the best policy to take given the “settled enough” current warming projection. What I think is really interesting about the R&D policy is that there should be a very broad base of potential support for it. I like the idea on the basis of replacing coal as fast as possible and hedging against fossil fuel scarcity. Even knowing that there is no mainstream catastrophe projection I am still skeptical of both the level of warming and the costs of that warming that are actually projected. But when it comes to policy it doesn’t matter, R&D is a good idea in any case. Bjorn Lomborg of the Copenhagen Consensus group proposes spending of a few hundred billion a year worldwide, interestingly a third the projected cost of the Paris Accords.

        So I would be interested to know if this makes sense to you or if you think there is some flaw in my information and reasoning. I am making the case that the science is even more settled when it comes to policy than projections. And I think it’s something we can all agree on.

      • Mr. Appeal to Authority Apple:

        Step down from your fantasyland of a coming climate crisis. Put down that joint. Sober up.

        We’ve been hearing the climate scaremongering since the 1970s.

        No climate crisis has arrived.

        And no climate crisis is coming, except in your imagination.

        We have experience with global warming since the late 1600s, including lots of CO2 added to the atmosphere in the past 100- years.

        Where is the bad news ?

        Who has been hurt ?

        The planet is ‘greening’ = good news !

        Alaska has warmer winter nights = good news !

        The bad news about global warming is ONLY in leftist imaginations, like a scary campfire story that gets told every year.

        The existential threat to the U.S. economy would be trying to implement the Green New Deal (I wrote “trying”, because it is not feasible).

        “Green New Socialism”, not climate change, is the true existential threat to the United DStates (that leftists, and other fools, like you, support).

        Have a nice day !

      • Donn Armstrong

        “We can’t wait 100 years until all the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed and climate sensitivity is known to 4 decimal places.”

        For over 30 years the concensus “climate sensitivity” is estimated to be between 2 and 6 degs C. If the concensus can’t get any closer than 4 degrees in that amount of time I wouldn’t trust anything they say.

      • edimb: you can answer your own question.

      • afonz: it’s been known since 1859 that CO2 absorbs IR. And since circa 1900 that blackbodies emit it. These two facts will not ever go away. They’re all we need to know that atmo CO2 causes global warming.

      • Richard Greene can’t contain his rudeness. Therefore he doesn’t get the courtesy of a reply.

      • Robbie: CO2 isn’t saturated.

        This is obvious: if it was, there’d be no IR at CO2 absorption frequencies leaving the TOA. But there is:

        On Earth, CO2 is far from being saturated. It isn’t even saturated on Venus. See the sidebar on page 37 of:

        Pierrehumbert RT 2011: Infrared radiation and planetary temperature. Physics Today 64, 33-38
        http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/papers/PhysTodayRT2011.pdf

      • Robbie: CO2 isn’t saturated.

        This is obvious: if it was, there’d be no IR at CO2 absorption frequencies leaving the TOA. The data clearly show there is.

        [Link not allowed here.]

        On Earth, CO2 is far from being saturated. It isn’t even saturated on Venus. See the sidebar on page 37 of:

        Pierrehumbert RT 2011: Infrared radiation and planetary temperature. Physics Today 64, 33-38
        [Link not allowed here]

      • Hmm. Suddenly forced into moderation.

      • David Appell: We can’t wait 100 years until all the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed and climate sensitivity is known to 4 decimal places.

        With the 65% CI being 1.5-4.5, I’d recommend that we wait until the climate sensitivity is known to 1 decimal place. The consensus is compatible with at least a 10% chance that the sensitivity is less than 1, and at least a 10% chance that it is greater than 5. Since the parts of the surface that experience alternations of drought and flooding will continue to do so under almost all scenarios, the most productive approach to construction while the scientific investigations continue is to upgrade flood control and irrigation systems. For a $13T (pick your favorite non-trivial effort, not a pure gesture ) construction program, the science is not well enough known.

      • David Appell: Hmm. Suddenly forced into moderation.

        Don’t worry. It happens to almost everybody.

      • Matthew: what difference will it make if the ECS is 3.1 C instead of 3.2 C?

      • David Appell: Matthew: what difference will it make if the ECS is 3.1 C instead of 3.2 C?

        Excellent question! I meant to say that even the first significant figure is not known. I apologize. The comment about the tails still applies.

      • We know the first digit isn’t zero or one.

        It’s two or more.

        Isn’t that bad enough already?

      • David Appell: We know the first digit isn’t zero or one.

        The left end of the most commonly reported 65% CI is 1.5. That allows the first sig fig to be between 0 and 1 with non-negligible probability. But I think surface temperature change will be lower than the density-weighted tropospheric temperature change, by enough that matters. Some of the uncertainty results from not having really good estimates of the change in the rate of the hydrologic cycle with surface warming..

      • No Matthew, you’re wrong.

        Anthropogenic CO2 is only 45% above the preindustrial baseline of 280 ppm, and warming is 1.0 C, so the Transient Climate Response is at least 1.0 C. So looking like 1.5 C at the least, so ECS looking like 2 C at the least.

      • David

        You said

        “No Matthew, you’re wrong.

        Anthropogenic CO2 is only 45% above the preindustrial baseline of 280 ppm, and warming is 1.0 C, so the Transient Climate Response is at least 1.0 C. So looking like 1.5 C at the least, so ECS looking like 2 C at the least.”

        What decade or quarter century are you measuring the warming from as pre industrial-1750-covers a very long period and what are you taking as being the reliable measure of the known temperature during whatever period you cite as being ‘normal’?

        tonyb

      • Oh please Dave, could you have dumbed down the analysis and the issue any more? Not accounting for any natural warming? No one is able to disentangle the AGW from other reasons. Go ahead, ignore all the warming pre 1950. Ignore innumerable studies finding warming all over the globe for the last 2,000 years.

        You remind me of AOC when she looks out the window, sees rain, and says, see we have a climate crisis.

        Pick up your game. Use a little complex and sophisticated thinking.

      • it’s been known since 1859 that CO2 absorbs IR. And since circa 1900 that blackbodies emit it. These two facts will not ever go away. They’re all we need to know that atmo CO2 causes global warming.

        Rubbish… We’re still dealing with a hypothesis in agw that has been in no way, shape, or form verified. It remains as unproven today as it was thirty plus years ago. For all that we know, observed warming may be due to the imminent return of Christ as opposed to that of warming from CO2(!) We just do not know. Truth is, agw may be spot on or it may be dead wrong or it may be somewhere inbetween. To pass off theory as fact is patently absurd…

      • Pick up your game. Use a little complex and sophisticated thinking.

        Ceresco, complexity and sophistication don’t win the game. Ever notice how simpletons seem to rise to the top of the agw pile? If stupid sells, then people will sell stupid. Dr Roy put it this way, it takes exponentially more energy to refute malarkey than it does to produce it. If that’s the case, then you can see why people produce so much bull. Big Appell is no different. He just talks real fast and attacks anything that comes remotely close to threatening his bias. (sad that’s what’s become of his brand of liberalism, but it tis what it tis)…

      • David Appell: No Matthew, you’re wrong.

        It’s the straightforward meaning of a confidence interval.

      • CO2 also emits LWR, hence removing energy. Does this mean that it causes cooling? Of course not, no more than that it causes warming by absorbing LWR. It is just not that simple.

      • “For a $13T (pick your favorite non-trivial effort, not a pure gesture ) construction program, the science is not well enough known.”
        – matthewrmarler

        Hi David, I’ll work on the CO2 relative saturation point later. Although interesting it is secondary to my main point about effective solutions which Matthew makes in a fairly similar manner.

        Even throwing saturation out my argument stands about immediate CO2 reduction policies. Developing countries will overwhelm CO2 reduction until 2030 or so. The current best policy is R&D and it matters even more the more serious you expect warming costs to be. If you expect no costs or are relatively skeptical about warming costs you worry about the mere waste of money. If you expect serious costs it’s far worse – we’re looking at lost decades of what could have been effective policies. For instance I have heard a carbon tax rated as having 8 cents of benefit per dollar spent in terms of mitigating warming costs. That’s not bad if you’re shifting tax policy like British Columbia did – but it’s a disaster if your warming mitigation efforts are spent on that or similar policies and there are serious costs down the road.

        The Paris Accord’s own projections are that if fully upheld until 2050 I believe, the projected reduction in warming by those efforts in 2100 will be too small to measure and can only be presumed to exist through the IPCC’s warming models. This is at a projected cost of 1 trillion a year. It’s obvious from that even if you want to elide or throw out the Copenhagen Consensus group’s calculation on the effectiveness of different policies that immediate CO2 reduction programs a la the Paris Accords are a complete misallocation of resources.

        It does appear you are making the implications that I argued against in my first post, not knowing then if you were in fact making them. The two implications are that the costs will be very severe and that immediate CO2 reduction is the best policy.

        The scope of potential costs actually matters even less than relative CO2 saturation. In terms of policy, again, if R&D is the most effective policy it only becomes better / more crucial to focus the next few decades of warming policy on R&D the higher you think the cost could be. I am still in the dark on your definite take on specific policy, just presuming you take the ‘party line’ of Paris Accord style CO2 constriction since you made no response to my reasoning/information on that.

        You are clearly making the assertion that the consensus is that costs will be severe. This is secondary but like saturation, still interesting. The Copenhagen Consensus group projects warming to be overall beneficial until 2080 despite advocating spending of a few hundred billion per year in response. It makes superficial sense to me given the well known prediction that warming will primarily be at the poles, as I understand because warming increases cloud cover and radiation reflection at the tropics. This is combined with the fact that the beginning of our baseline for the temperature rise is at the tail end of the Little Ice Age – a cool start. What I have typically heard is that warming from that point will be overall a plus until 2 degrees. I don’t recall if that’s the Copenhagen Consensus group’s projection specifically, it’s just what I’ve consistently heard, only once hearing something different from a single scientist on the specific topic of costs and benefits. Given the expected, mainstream, range of warming sensitivity it would appear to make for a strong superficial case for relatively low costs.

        Going back to policy again, as I recall, it was estimated that ethanol subsidies cost 40,000 people their lives during the food price spike around 10 years ago. The range of estimates I saw were something like ten thousand to hundreds of thousands. The policy matters more than anything else. It looks to me like the catastrophists have won the popular debate. “The consensus” brought the hidden, and incorrect, implication of catastrophe with it. But it doesn’t matter to me if people think the worlds going to end as long as the main policy makes sense.

      • David Appell,

        “you can answer your own question.”

        Here we have it. David says we must act to prevent change, but doesn’t answer what the action is. To quote James Hansen, “All we’ve done is agree there’s a problem. We agreed that in 1992 [at the Earth summit in Rio] and re-agreed it again in Paris [at the 2015 climate accord]. We haven’t acknowledged what is required to solve it. Promises like Paris don’t mean much, it’s wishful thinking. It’s a hoax that governments have played on us since the 1990s.”

        Or Bjorn Lomborg, “Paris is being sold as the summit where we can help ‘heal the planet’ and ‘save the world’. It is no such thing. If all nations keep all their promises, temperatures will be cut by just 0.05°C (0.09°F). Even if every government on the planet not only keeps every Paris promise, reduces all emissions by 2030, and shifts no emissions to other countries, but also keeps these emission reductions throughout the rest of the century, temperatures will be reduced by just 0.17°C (0.3°F) by the year 2100.
        And let’s be clear, that is very optimistic. Consider the Kyoto Protocol, signed in 1997, never ratified by the US, and eventually abandoned by Canada and Russia and Japan. After several renegotiations, the Kyoto Protocol had been weakened to the point that the hot air left from the collapse of the Soviet Union exceeded the entire promised reductions, leaving the treaty essentially toothless.”

        Even if we all agree and accept that human CO2 emissions are a problem and need to be reduced, it is obvious that all the action proposed and attempted so far is hot air, a hoax. A very expensive and destructive one.

      • David A: Interesting to see why H2O doesn’t already saturate the CO2 wavelength, in a similar way to why it isn’t saturated on Venus, although the situations are different as Venus only emits from it’s upmost layer while on Earth it’s at a lower altitudes of the tropics that H2O saturates CO2’s absorption band – thus I believe Earth’s value for CO2 saturation should be lower than for Venus. By the looks of it though Earth is nevertheless less saturated than Venus.

        Looking at the difference in the size of the ‘CO2 spike’ for 300 ppm and 1200 ppm it seems to me it is accurate to say CO2 is relatively saturated on Earth for the concentrations we are likely to see. The 1200 ppm spike is not much bigger. That makes sense to me as I’m given to understand the direct warming effect of CO2 doubling from the pre-industrial starting point is 1 degree.

        This is why I’m skeptical of any projected warming beyond 2 degrees. It all depends on knock-on effects that at that point are as large as the direct effect. This is where I’m skeptical of the mainstream warming projections which appear to range from 1.5 to 4 degrees. For the ranges we’re likely to see, which I think it’s fair to take 1200 ppm as an upper limit, the CO2 absorption band doesn’t grow very much. To me this confirms the basic argument of relative saturation – doubling to ~600 ppm which I find pretty likely should cause a direct effect of warming of 1 degree. Doubling again to 1200 would cause another direct effect of less than 1 degree, I assume substantially less.

        A CO2 effect that doesn’t conform to what you would expect from it being relatively saturated relies on secondary warming effects that quickly start to leave behind the magnitude of the primary effect. I assume projections of warming over 2.5 degrees are essentially absurd products of confirmation bias. Everyone is thinking about how if things warm up by x degrees, they might then warm up even more by y degrees and no one is thinking about the opposite possibilities at the same time. It’s an exponential/catastrophic/confirmation bias at work that is unlikely at best in response to the logarithmic CO2 effect.

        I saw looking up what the ICPP’s current range of projections are that the UN appears to be at least rhetorically claiming 1.5 degrees is the point where we don’t want to go beyond at any essentially any cost. And the given policy is near term emissions reductions aiming for zero emissions by 2050. I obviously disagree with cost benefit calculations that see 1.5 as being a severe outcome but then I’m not sure that the UN is projecting 1.5 as a severe outcome. In an appearance on Greg Gutfeld I recently saw on Youtube Bjorn Lomborg mentions that the UN projects warming costs in the 2070’s to be from .2 to 2% of GDP. In the brief look at what Google has up as the top results for UN recommendations they are advocating spending 2.5% of GDP from now on. We’re going to immediately begin spending more than the projected costs 5 decades from now? This appears to be where the proposed consensus has gone crazy and any concern about cost effectiveness and practical near term policy has long gone out the window.

        Meanwhile, in 2017 1600 new coal plants were planned for construction. (https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/fossil-fuels/coal/despite-paris-agreement-china-india-continue-build-coal-plants/)

        Shutting down however many it’s possible to shut down in developed countries right now won’t change that. Germany has recently increased its coal power after shutting down their nuclear. Australia shut down some plants and experienced brownouts. Generally speaking I’m in favour of anything but coal but we obviously can’t do without it in the near term, apparently even in developed countries. To my knowledge the limiting factor is electricity grid destabilization that becomes critical at 20% wind/solar, or intermittent sources in general, besides any increase in cost. Without energy storage tech you essentially need 100% of your electricity needs in reserve non-intermittents if you do build a lot of wind/solar which I can only assume makes them more expensive in the near future besides having the grid stability limit.

        What all these things mean is the current mainstream proposals from the UN for policy have nothing to do with anything that could reasonably be called a scientific consensus, whether about projected warming, projected costs, and especially level headed analysis of policy. We need R&D into something that can cost effectively displace the next two thousand or whatever number of coal plants will be built from now to 2050 after the planned 1600. I assume effective energy storage could be a game changer, allowing for intermittent sources to reliably power the grid without needing backup. Current technology cannot effectively limit CO2 emissions, logarithmic and saturated or not, until something major develops and that won’t happen except very tangentially and slowly from focusing on near term emissions cuts rather than R&D.

  12. “Third question: 97% of which scientists? And fourth: Have they confirmed AGW themselves and independently, or do they merely believe it via the same means the rest of us do?”

    97% of peak oil researchers believe we ran out of oil in the ’70s
    97% of Club of Rome researchers believe we all died in the population bomb in the 1980s.
    99% of New York Times writers are sure Hillary Clinton won the election because they’ve never met a single soul who voted for the other guy.
    97% of Bigfoot researchers want to know why you still deny.
    97% of dentists who chew gum prefer sugarless gum.

    And Pew found trust in environmental researchers to be abysmal. One out of five Republicans trust them and less than half of Democrats do. That one is earned.

    https://www.pewresearch.org/science/2019/08/02/a-majority-of-americans-have-positive-views-of-environmental-scientists-but-trust-in-them-varies-by-politics/

  13. Sometimes we forget Copernicus was a denier.

    Philosophy is just fancily-worded opinions. – Bob

    • “Sometimes we forget Copernicus was a denier.”
      In what sense? Copernicus was well aware of a number of astronomers, some even before Ptolemy, who preferred heliocentrism over geocentrism on the ground that it explains planetary motion more simply than Ptolemy’s epicycles. Copernicus was not so much denying Ptolemy as agreeing with the many supporters of heliocentrism that had come before him, on solid scientific grounds.
      The real denier was Tycho Brahe, who, decades after Copernicus, pointed out that there was no sign of stellar parallax (google it) and concluded that the evident relative motion between the Earth and the Sun was entirely due to the Sun. Brahe’s observations were several times more accurate than any prior astronomer. That, the holy scriptures, and Francesco Ingoli’s support of Brahe, convinced the Church that heliocentrism was heresy, the main ground for Galileo’s house arrest.
      Brahe had an excellent point, and it took more than a century of improvements in astronomical observations before it became possible to observe stellar parallax with sufficient precision to demonstrate that the Earth was indeed moving around the Sun.
      Had Brahe been able to look for stellar parallax from the Sun he would have realized that the stars were much further away than he or anyone else thought at the time.

  14. Paragraph 40, line 8 (or maybe 9) replace “decade” with something a bit more reasonable, for example “four decades”(?). I think that’s plenty alarmist, although it may not satisfy the 90th percentile of climate activists.

    “So if the Chicken Littlers are right that we’re in for a second degree of global warming over the next decade or so”

  15. Bravo. The tragedy of the commons… The war of rhetoric… Seeking to win an argument as a way to coerce others to act according to our beliefs… We tell stories, not Truth.

  16. An interesting read, well thought and better expressed. I’ve always thought that once the scientific method was properly established, philosophy became irrelevant. A part of the necessary cultural background but little else. A philosopher nowadays was someone that just didn’t work hard. However with the abandonment of the scientific method by 97% of scientists maybe philosophy will have a second chance. Maybe a new Aristotle can explain us all about anthropogenic climate.

    • In reality, philosophy has often articulated new concepts to the point where science can take them over. Science requires a degree of precision which is often lacking in the early days of a new concept. (I have a chapter on this in my Ph.D. Thesis.)

  17. “Remember that [scientific thought] is the guide of action; that the truth which it arrives at is not that which we can ideally contemplate without error, but that which we may act upon without fear; and you cannot fail to see that scientific thought is not an accompaniment or condition of human progress, but human progress itself.”
    ― William Kingdon Clifford,

    Having recently decided that I am giving up on science at CE – I seem to have reached the same conclusion as Paul Viminitz but from opposite poles. Earth system science – an emerging discipline – requires a less certain world directed approach with much less emphasis on traditional reductionist modes of hypothesis testing.

    “Though arguably appropriate for applications of theory to engineering and applied science, the associated emphases on truth and degrees of certainty are not optimal for the productive and creative processes that facilitate the fundamental advancement of science as a process of discovery. The latter requires an investigative approach, where the goal is uberty, a kind of fruitfulness of inquiry, in which the abductive mode of inference adds to the much more commonly acknowledged modes of deduction and induction.” https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/2016WR020078

    Unfortunately it has led me to a point where – like Paul Viminitz – I can say nothing about the future of a world in which we are making small changes to a hyper complex and wildly dynamic system. I am in short neither alamist or denier – rather I am a catastrophist in the sense of René Thom.

    An interesting aside on the Joseph prediction – if you read the primary literature – is that hydrologist Dimitris Koutsoyiannis found a 7 year pattern – inter alia – in millennial scale ‘nilometer’ data. Little wonder considering Joseph’s source.

    “And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt.” That seems more to the point of collective action – hopefully more in the way of Elinor Ostrom’s polycentric governance than Hardin’s tragedy of the commons. She at least was working from field experience and not thought bubbles that appealed to central planning enthusiasts. Of which the latest manifestation is belief in the AI central planning overlord.

    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 scientifically designed in a broad Earth system dynamic context of economics and democracy, population, development, technical innovation, land use and the environment. These are the ‘grand challenges’ for humanity in the 21st century.

    Any rational and objective assessment would find that I am that discerning and wise person who should be put in charge. A multi-gas and aerosol strategy is required – carbon dioxide. CFC’s, nitrous oxides, methane, black carbon and sulfate. With ongoing decreases in carbon intensity and increases in efficiency and productivity. And technical innovation across sectors – energy, transport, industry, residential and agriculture and forestry.

  18. “Of the things I care least about, AGW is near the bottom.”
    The list must be inverted from what I would have expected.
    Of things I care most about, AGW is near the bottom.

    I know what he means, but I had to pick a nit.

  19. “So shall we just say we each pick our reality and leave it at that?”

    You mean, like left versus right? That could work except, Leftists’ ‘Utopia’ is telling everyone else how to think and what to do.

  20. “We are told that we have twelve years to mend our ways. Or else what? Or else we’ll bear the consequences of another twelve years delay, just as we’ve borne the consequences of the last twelve years delay.”

    “A doctor gave a man six months to live. The man couldn’t pay his bill, so he gave him another six months.” – Henny Youngman

    • Michael

      It is disturbing that this mantra of we have 12 years to save the world has taken such hold and is rarely challenged

      There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding the subject of 12 years which is creating a worrying hysteria as govts councils and groups declare a ‘climate emergency’ and increasingly vocal voices demand that current plans for zero emissions by 2050 be brought forward to 2025 often citing , the IPCC’s statement that ‘we have 12 years to save the planet’ and that there is a ‘cliff edge’ or ‘tipping point.’

      The UN did make the ‘12 years’ comment in 1988-with a timeframe for climatic doom of 2000. Which is probably why the IPCC never said this in 2018 and have been busy trying to correct this misconception.

      “The panel “did not say we have 12 years left to save the world,” said James Skea, co-chairman of the report.and professor of sustainable energy at Imperial College London, told The Associated Press “The hotter it gets, the worse it gets, but there is no cliff edge.”

      “This has been a persistent source of confusion,” agreed Kristie L. Ebi, She was Executive Director of the IPCC Working Group II Technical Support Unit from 2009 -2012“The report never said we only have 12 years left.”

      The actual science –as distinct from the wild claims-can be read in Chapter 3, Box 8 of the IPCC report

      tonyb

      • The 12 year hoax is based on what the October IPCC report said would be needed to stay below 1.5 degrees of warming. It is not a threshold to catastrophe.

      • Back when the crisis – emergency – catastrophe – existential threat stuff emerged, the October IPCC report was routinely cited, although that seems to have faded. But the standard milestones, like net zero by 2050, are from there.

        The reality is that the IPCC was tasked with saying what difference the two Paris Accord targets made — 2 degrees versus 1.5 degrees of warming. Predictably (because all warming is bad to these people) they found more damage at two degrees, but arguably not a lot more. (There is also damage at 1.5 degrees, just as there is today at 1.0 degrees.)

        The IPCC also pointed out, correctly, that according to the models it would be a Herculean task to hold to 1.5 degrees. This is where the extreme measures are found.

        The more severe alarmists warped these modest findings into an emergency program to meet the 1.5 degree target. (Whether this is a matter of ignorance or deception is a big question.)

        There is no scientific support for this crash program. The literature is full of severe damages but these occur when models are pushed at 4 to 6 degrees of future warming, or even more. There is no support for making 1.5 degrees of total warming, which is just 0.5 degrees of future warming, a monster threshold of catastrophe. Scientifically this is absurd, but politically it is running amok.

        Simply put, the “crisis” is either a hoax or a colossal blunder.

  21. ‘Climate change controversy gets air-time. Although controversies are allegedly about science, often such disputes are used as a proxy for conflicts between alternative visions of what society should be like and about who has authority to promote such visions.’ ~Mike Hulme

    • ^^^ THIS ^^^

      It’s not simply about “the authority to promote such visions”, but, in the case of the Left, the authority to COMPEL such visions.

  22. Ireneusz Palmowski

    A tropical storm is developing over the Bahamas.

  23. “I’m told that a denialist is someone who espouses a view that flies in the face of a recognized scientific consensus.”

    First rule for a philospher. Don’t believe everything you are told.

    A denier is someone who denies established scientific facts.
    Now, of course a consensus of scientists adhere to these facts
    but NOT because there is a consensus. The consensus is a fact,
    The consensus is what happens because of the scientific facts.

    You are a denier if.

    1. You deny that it has gotten warmer, that there was an LIA
    2. you deny that c02 is a green house gas
    3. you deny that Green house gases warm planets, rather than cool them.
    3. you deny that humans emit c02 through burning fossil fuels.
    4. you deny that the rise in c02 is caused by humans
    5. You deny that doubling c02 will cause, all other things held constant, about 1.5 to 6C of warming.
    6 you deny that there will be winers and losers in global warming ( yup that too is in the science)

    You are a denier if you deny any of these. Not because there is a consensus on these. There is. but that is beside the point. You are a denier of science, if IN FACT, you deny what science has shown.

    well who decides what science has shown? scientists of course.

    • WRONG

      “5. You deny that doubling c02 will cause, all other things held constant, about 1.5 to 6C of warming.”

      Mosher–This is NOT a fact, but your opinion. Other’s opinion is that the range could be below 1.5C and not go as high as 6C

      • Rob: Equilibrium warming after a forcing is determined by the planet’s overall climate feedback parameter (usually lambda, the sum of all feedbacks including Planck feedback). This parameter determines how much more heat escapes from the planet per degK of warming at the surface measured in W/m2/K. Using the law of conservation of energy, one can calculate that equilibrium warming after a forcing is -F_2x/lambda. For lambda equals -1, -2 or -3 W/m2/K, ECS will be 3.6, 1.8 or 1.2 K/doubling (assuming the forcing from 2XCO2 is 3.6 W/m2).

        There are some are some physical limits on the range of values lambda might have that don’t come from AOGCMs. If ECS were 0 W/m2/K, a runaway greenhouse effect would exist. Outgassing of CO2 from the deep ocean and the melting of ice caps are positive feedbacks that develop over millennia, too slowly to be fully included in standard estimates of ECS. So there must be an upper limit to lambda and therefore ECS. (On the same time scale, the oceans are going to take up a much larger fraction of emitted CO2 (80%?) than the have so far (50%), and the forcing per gigaton of CO2 released will drop.)

        If ECS is going to be zero, then the climate feedback parameter needs to negative infinity, an impossibility. We are fairly confident that Planck is about -3.2 W/m2/K, that combined WV+LR feedback is positive, and that surface albedo feedback is positive (but hopefully small). During the seasonal cycle that has been observed from space for many years, WV+LR is very close to +1 W/m2/K, but this value overweights the large response outside the tropics. That means that lambda appears to be in the vicinity of -2 W/m2/K without cloud feedback. If so, one needs about -1 W/m2/K of negative cloud feedback to reach lambda equals -3 W/m2/K (1.2 K/doubling) and -2 W/m2/K to reach -4 W/m2/K (ECS 0.9 K/doubling). Our planet reflects about 100 W/m2 of incoming SWR, about 70% by clouds. A +/-1%/K change in cloud fraction is about +/-0.7 W/m2/K and our planet’s temperature during the LGM was about 6 K colder. So there are some practical lower limits on ECS that come from observations and simple physics, AOGCMs.

        Therefore, there are some practical upper and lower limits to ECS even without relying on AOGCMs. I might not place those limits exactly where Mosher does, but he uses the word “about” with those values.

      • Frank
        It is scientific opinion not fact that conclude a range of warming associated with a doubling of CO2 in Earth’s s climate system. Such estimates require sub estimates on individual known forcings as well as for potential unknowns. Mosher’s wide ranged estimate is evidence of the lack of “scientific fact” vs. opinion associated with the impact of each forcing.

      • Frank (aka Franktoo)

        Rob wrote: “It is scientific opinion not fact that conclude a range of warming associated with a doubling of CO2 in Earth’s s climate system. Such estimates require sub estimates on individual known forcings as well as for potential unknowns. Mosher’s wide ranged estimate is evidence of the lack of “scientific fact” vs. opinion associated with the impact of each forcing.”

        Physical science can tell us little about emissions scenarios. It can only tell us how much forcing (W/m2) will be associated with any anthropogenic forcing. We can calculate the slowdown in radiative cooling to space through today’s atmosphere caused by rising GHGs with suitable accuracy, but with much less accuracy with ECS is high and the atmosphere changes a lot due to warming. By definition, ECS (K/doubling) describes change in terms of doubling of CO2, whereas the climate feedback parameter (W/m2/K) circumvents some of these issues. It provides a more direct way to convert any combination of forcing (W/m2) into warming at equilibrium.

        1) All things give off more radiation (thermal infrared in the case of our planet) when they warm. That is a scientific fact.

        2) Without feedbacks besides Planck feedback, we know that our planet emits an additional 3.2 W/m2/K (-3.2 W/m2/K of Planck feedback) because we know surface temperature and emissivity and we can calculate how that emission changes as it passes through our atmosphere with GHGs. It drops from an average of about 390 W/m2 to 240 W/m2 because GHGs absorb thermal infrared and emit less than they absorb because they are colder than the surface. This is a fact. It is going to drop another roughly 3.6 W/m2 with the equivalent of a doubling of CO2.

        3) If you want to propose an ECS of 0.6 K/doubling, then the climate feedback parameter needs to be -6.4 W/m2/K if F_2x is 3.6 W/m2 and -4.8 W/m2 for the AOGCM with the lowest possible F_2x. This is a fact.

        4) Even if we ignore other feedbacks (which are almost certainly net positive), cloud feedback needs to be about -3.2 W/m2/K (possibly as low as -2.4 W/m2). If that negative cloud feedback were caused by an increase in cloud cover with warming, that would be a 4.6% increase in cloud cover per 1 degK of warming (but possibly as low as 3.4%). This is another fact.

        5) Only about 30% of the sky is clear today! To have precipitation, one needs both rising and descending air masses. Descending air masses are usually clear. A climate sensitivity below 1 K/doubling requires absurdly large changes in clouds (that probably would have been detected by now.) More facts.

        6) No one has proposed a mechanism capable of producing anywhere near the negative feedback (-3.2 W/m2/K) needed to produce an ECS nearer 0.6 K than to 1.2 K. Until they do, you should accept that it is a fact that ECS can’t be below about 1 K/doubling. (Yes, I have read Lindzen and Choi.)

        The unknowns you worry about are in the size of the positive feedbacks I have completely ignored in the above discussion – the feedbacks that make a climate sensitivity likely greater than 1 K/doubling. Our inability to tightly constrain the climate feedback parameter (and therefore ECS) doesn’t change the fact that there are practical limits on ECS that can be deduced without relying on AOGCMs. The wide range between those limits does not imply an absence of facts. With enough patience, I could provide evidence that would raise the lower limit on ECS modestly.

        At the upper limit of climate sensitivity, we are dealing with a climate feedback parameter greater than -1 W/m2/K (ECS greater than 3.6 K/doubling), but which must still be safely below a runaway GHE (0 W/m2/K) despite the existence of slow feedbacks that take millennia to develop and are under-represented by AOGCMs. I personally think climate models are incapable of distinguishing between the 0.18 W/m2/K that distinguishes an ECS of 4.0 from 5.0 K/doubling or the 0.12 W/m2/K that distinguishes 5.0 from 6.0 K/doubling. Discussing an upper limit for ECS with any precision is meaningless from the climate feedback parameter perspective.

      • “. Mosher’s wide ranged estimate is evidence of the lack of “scientific fact” vs. opinion associated with the impact of each forcing.”

        hardly. that is not what distinguishes fact from opinion.
        You forget who decides what constitutes a scientific fact.
        Folks who INSIST that ECS is less than 1.5, those are the guys with opinions.

      • It’s amazing how Frank menages to describe the physical science of GHE without ever mentioning evaporation and convection, which dominate the heat transfer between the surface and the atmosphere.

      • Mosher writes:
        “Folks who INSIST that ECS is less than 1.5, those are the guys with opinions.”

        You established a range of warming estimates (1.5-6C). You are the one defining that it CAN”T be below 1.5, but could go as high as 6. That is a quite different that insisting it must be below 1.5 and is your opinion. Is 1.4 less likely than 4.5? Both estimates have many assumptions.

        Frank
        I understand the physics. The issue is Mosher’s establishment of a estimated range of warming associated with a doubling in the actual system. His range allows for unknowns at the upper range but not so much at the lower range of HIS ESTIMATE.

    • 1. You deny that it has gotten warmer, that there was an LIA
      I don’t deny that
      2. you deny that c02 is a green house gas
      I don’t deny that
      3. you deny that Green house gases warm planets, rather than cool them.
      I don’t deny that
      3. you deny that humans emit c02 through burning fossil fuels.
      I don’t deny that
      4. you deny that the rise in c02 is caused by humans
      I don’t deny that
      5. You deny that doubling c02 will cause, all other things held constant, about 1.5 to 6C of warming.
      If all other things are held constant then there are no feedbacks and therefore the no-feedbacks warming to a doubling of CO2 should be around 1.0-1.2°C. So yes, I deny that one.
      6 you deny that there will be winers and losers in global warming ( yup that too is in the science)
      I don’t deny that. There are always winners and losers whether things change or even if they don’t. And global warming is already producing lots of winners like Al Gore or those investing in CO2 rights of emission in Europe. Lots of losers too like anybody paying an electricity bill.

      I guess I pass that test better than you do, Steven, as #5 was a trick question and I didn’t fall for it. 😉 So I am less a denier than you are. With a perfect score I guess I am a perfect climate science-fact believer.

      • Javier

        the only one I deny is also 5) Such a huge spread of temperatures is sheer guesswork not science. Science would narrow it to a few percent.

        tonyb

      • Tony,
        Recently Warren Meyer blogged about why he left the climate debate years ago:
        http://coyoteblog.com/coyote_blog/2019/08/why-i-mostly-dont-blog-about-climate-anymore.html

        “From my observation, the world of climate remains the same old sh*t. No one has come up with a better approach for estimating the all-important value of the temperature sensitivity to CO2 concentration. Alarmists are still assuming massive amounts of positive feedback in the climate system but have done nothing new to prove this is really true. Trends are still extrapolated from individual weather events, and trends are often claimed in the media without actually showing any trend data.”

      • Javier

        thanks for the article, I thought it good. the comments were also interesting

        “They don’t really have a plan – just a giant wish not to exceed 1.5C or 2C of warming from pre-industrial times.”

        Having made a considerable study of historic temperatures over the last 1000 years and more specifically the last 500 -as our records and CET enable us to have a good idea as to what is happening- it is always curious to me that people seem alarmed at becoming warmer than pre industrial times i.e the little Ice age. That was the coldest period in the Holocene. Why would we want to revert to that?.

        I often ask the question as to what decade or quarter century period an alarmist commentator would like the world to revert to as being ‘natural’. Unfortunately no one can ever tell me

        tonyb

      • “They don’t really have a plan – just a giant wish not to exceed 1.5C or 2C of warming from pre-industrial times.”

        If they don’t want to exceed the fabled +2°C they should stop messing with the records to cool the past and warm the present.

        If they don’t we will soon pass the +2°C and then people will realize that nothing happens. What will they say then, that +4°C is the disaster?

      • 3. you deny that Green house gases warm planets, rather than cool them.

        It depends on the planet. For example, Jupiter should radiate its internal heat more efficiently (and thus cool its atmosphere) because of gases that radiate well in the IR spectrum.

        Carl Sagan’s early estimates of the surface temperature of Venus were much higher if the atmosphere was nitrogen than carbon dioxide because we new the depth of the atmosphere from radar data, the cloud top temperature from observation, and nitrogen has a higher adiabatic lapse rate than CO2. However, that result is based on a given depth and cloud top temperature, which might have been quite different with a nitrogen atmosphere.

      • It appears that the resident english major of climate, etc bungled his syntax there on number five. (i don’t think he meant to say exactly what he said) As is usual, he won’t return to clean the mess up. Just another molotov cocktail comment thrown our way before disappearing once again into cyberspace. (stevie, do ya really think yer stragedy is workin’?)

      • “….doubling CO2 will cause….”

        Operative word……will.

        Sorry, but speculation about the future. That is not a fact.

        Perhaps that is why warmists take the position they take. The can’t distinguish fact from fiction.

        Right down AOC”s alley. Good company there, SM.

    • Mr. Masher:
      I deny that you know what you are talking about.

      Your list of 6 items has two number 3’s !

      “Denier” is an insult term that should not be used here.

      The “coming climate change catastrophe” is NOT science.

      Yet you believe in it.

      It is a near religious belief that ignores ACTUAL experience with global warming since the late 1600s, including lots of CO2 added to the atmosphere in the past 100 years.

      ACTUAL warming was mild, intermittent, harmless, mainly in higher colder latitudes, mainly in the coldest six months of the year, mainly at night, and the extra CO2 is greening the planet.

      That adds up to 100% good news, to me.

      Meanwhile, climate alarmists like yourself predict only 100% bad news from global warming in the FUTURE, completely unlike PAST global warming.

      As greenhouse owners have known for decades, adding more CO2 to the air is smart for growing plants faster, larger, and with LOWER water requirements.

      Over 3,000 scientific experiments confirm this.

      Do you “deny” that increasing the production of plants used for food, by humans and animals, would benefit our planet ?

    • David L. Hagen (HagenDL)

      Steven Mosher
      Following Paul’s example, what if we examine your proposition:
      “4. you deny that the rise in CO2 is caused by humans”
      Where comes the hypothesis, model, law, authority, consensus, or evidence, for that proclamation?
      What is the degree of uncertainty in each of the components that contribute to that declaration achieve that degree of authority or consensus?
      What organization has proclaimed that diktat?
      By what document, with what the assurance of the accuracy of transmittal and reproduction in compiling, preparing, deciding, and distributing that evidence was that made?
      Is that a statement implying ignorance of all other sources and sinks of CO2?
      OR is it a remarkable presumption that ALL other CO2 sources and sinks remain constant, though orders of magnitude larger?
      OR is that a presumption that humans are thus not part of nature – while all natural causes continue in perfect equilibrium?
      …. which then begs the question of how humans came into being, and whether you demand or deny their origin out of nothing and chaos, or out of Divine fiat, or of Divine guidance?
      Presumably Congress and Parliament are major causes of AGW, by each politician emitting ~40,000 ppm CO2 when breathing.
      Agriculture and construction are further presumptive causes of AGW by converting forests to fields, roads and cities, by changes in albedo, CO2, clouds and rainfall.
      Perforce to be a climate denier, must one deny that these are causes of AGW?
      Furthermore, the AGW reference case is taken from 1950 as a break in the trend of natural warming from the Little Ice Age at the end of the 19th century through to the present.
      To identify the class of climate deniers, let us examine that of climate true believers – with the possible consideration that this is not a binary closed system but there are others who are climate agnostics;
      Do climate true believers therefore deny:
      that the oceans continue to warm from natural causes after 1950?
      that all ocean warming since 1950 must perforce be anthropogenic and not natural? and therefore
      that all CO2 emitted from the oceans after 1950 is due to human caused warming and cannot be natural?
      Consequently by logic, must climate deniers be any who do not hold to any of these logical inferences of climate true believers?
      Are climate true believers correspondingly required to believe that all IPCC global warming models must show a complete change from natural to anthropic warming after 1950?
      And that if one believes that the IPCC models do not show that, then one must be a climate denier?
      Or might there be a possibility that you wish to clarify your absolute statement?
      Or is that intentional to the definition of climate denier, such that you now categorize all scientists as climate deniers?
      Or was that a profession of a climate denier, and that all who believe otherwise are therefore climate true believers? Or could they be climate agnostics?
      Where then in this progression into Alices Climate Wonderland does that leave the scientific method?

    • (and, of course, mosher gets to pick the facts)…

    • Mosher

      How would you categorize a person who denies the medieval warm period, despite multiple lines of evidence that show it did exist? Or a person who trusts paleoclimate evidence of the period, despite the warning, by the IPCC, that such evidence is not reliable.

      Richard

      • First, they said it was warm only in Northern Europe. But studies showed it was in more locations in the Northern Hemisphere. Then they said it was only in the Northern Hemisphere. But studies showed it was in both hemispheres.

      • The Vikings were growing wheat in Newfoundland during the Medieval warm period, but when it cooled they abandoned their settlement and returned to Scandinavia. You can see the ruins if you visit Newfound.

    • Steven Mosher: 5. You deny that doubling c02 will cause, all other things held constant, about 1.5 to 6C of warming.

      The quantitative estimates of effects of CO2 are like sand castles, likely to be obliterated by tides of research.

    • Canada’s “foremost philosopher of war” rightly observes that:

      We all rely on a chain of doxastic trust. And presumably that reliance is a function of track record. Imagine someone who predicts the future with 100% accuracy, but no one can figure out how. You could stick to your principles and refuse to consult him. But that would just make you an idiot.

      It is a cautionary observation, as this is Ig Nobel Prize announcement day, and those vesting their trust in Steve Mosher’s elastic powers of contrarian belief could well end up short listed for next year’s awards.

    • Steven Mosher: 5. You deny that doubling c02 will cause, all other things held constant, about 1.5 to 6C of warming.

      “Other things held constant” — is that possible? Is that what is assumed by “consensus makers” like IPCC?

      There is a lot of solid science behind the assertion that ECS and TCS are poorly estimated, all estimates depending on other untested assumptions.

      Besides, that is a confidence interval, so even that allows for the possibility that the true value is not in the interval.

      That one you definitely need to reconsider in depth.

    • Mosh the Denialati believe that there are no positive feedbacks to be seen and that the system is stable even with an increase in CO2.

      We also hold the view that the sun, moon, Venus and gas giants aren’t given enough credit for climate change on earth.

    • Of the seven claims that Steven Mosher made, only one is substantive, that is number 5:

      “5. You deny that doubling c02 will cause, all other things held constant, about 1.5 to 6C of warming.”

      And although I think that is likely to be true, I don’t believe it is something we know with certainty. They obvious issue with such a statement is that there are other things affecting climate than CO2. You can only make an assertion like that with confidence if you assume that we largely understand all of the other significant factors impacting the climate.

      And not only is it possible that this is not the case, I believe it’s manifestly obvious that there are many important factors that we do not understand. The failure of the models to substantively predict temperature trends should be more than enough evidence for that.

      Number six isn’t really a scientific statement. It doesn’t matter how obviously true it may be, if it’s not part of science if it can’t be tested by science.

      Number one is probably a buried dig at Michael Mann and his believers, since they are the only people that I know of that don’t believe there was a Little Ice Age.

      And the remaining four claims are pretty much what everybody believes, including most people that are skeptical about certain things.

      So this all boils down to one claim, number 5. And the rest is aimed at a fictional group that mostly doesn’t exist.

      But if we look at who the word “denier” is really aimed at, well this seven claims are kind of disturbing, because there are plenty of real people who have the pejorative “denier” aimed at them, and who don’t believe in 6 out of 7 of the claims that Steven Mosher makes, or even all seven.

      So though it perhaps it wasn’t Mosher’s intent to do so, he is actually misrepresenting what people believe and doing it in a ugly way because of course “denier” is meant to evoke “holocaust denier.”

    • Mosher: “The consensus is what happens because of the scientific facts.”
      No, no, no, Steven. The consensus is what the scientists have, the facts are what the deniers have. The deniers have said this a thousand times, you’re clearly not paying attention.

  24. The word “denier” as used in this context is merely a trivial epithet.

    A denier is someone who disagrees with someone’s predictions of the future. It is more socially acceptable for a scientist to call another scientist who has a different opinion of the future a denier than an anus, or to use a more colloquial expression for the same orifice. Hence the usual expression is “denier”.

    To talk about “the science” as in “I have listened to/ agree with the science” or what “science has shown” is metaphorical. It is personifying science. Science is not a person to whom one can listen or with whom one can agree. Science is a method of collecting, analysing and debating information. There is no such person as “the science”. There are only scientists. So if you say “the science has shown” what you could better say is “My understanding of the writings of scientists A, B C …..etc. is that in their prediction is that a doubling of CO2 will cause…”

    This prediction is their opinion, not a proven fact, unless and until it happens. Predicting the global average temperature in 2100 is neither verifiable nor falsifiable today. To disagree with their opinion does make us a denier that their opinion is likely to prove to be correct, but so what? If another scientist says a doubling of CO2 will cause much less warming, or that it is unreasonable to assume that all other variables can be held constant, the original scientist who disagrees with this other scientist is also a denier. Each is a denier of the opinion of the other.

    Of course, the epithet “denier” evokes the memory of a Holocaust denier, which is to imply that a scientist denier is an anti-Semitic bigot. So if you disagree with scientist A’s forecast of the planet 30 or 80 years from now you are no better than an anti-Semitic bigot who denies the Holocaust.

    If we were to change the word “denier” to “disagreer” it would lose its condemnatory sting. It may be more a more accurate word, but then it would deprive the user of “denier” of the fun of swearing at someone.

  25. “I’d like to propose we both wipe the venom from our spears and talk to rather than about each other.”

    So would many of us labeled as unworthy of mutual respect (a/k/a deniers). This cute little, well, rather longish, bit of intellectual showing off needs to tell us how to do it when the spears still are being thrown at us. We want to talk, but “the other side” refuses to engage in a meaningful way.

  26. This was the most tedious article I (almost) read on a climate science website in many years.

    The author might consider learning to organize his thoughts, and then communicate them with a simple, concise, and short article … that does not induce sleep.

    The author does, however, get extra credit for use of the word “kibosh”.

    I’d like to put the kibosh on this long winded article !

    Also, the word “denier” has one very negative meaning, and should never be used at a climate science website, or blog, because it is always taken as an insult, and usually meant as one.

    A person who says no one knows exactly what causes climate change, and no one can predict the future climate, could be called a skeptic, but should not be called a “denier”.

    I won’t be surprised if this critical, but polite, comment is not published.

    Richard Greene
    Bingham Farms, Michigan

    My own climate science blog:
    http://www.elOnionBloggle.Blogspot.com

  27. Regarding the potential for a professional discussion, there is an
    article online at The Hill, 11 Sept 2019 re: William Happer
    “Climate skeptic on National Security Council leaving Trump administration”

    https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/460944-climate-skeptic-on-national-security-council-leaving-trump-admin

  28. Somehow within the context of addressing climate change, a clear vision of how modern livelihoods will be altered must be presented. My own background in home energy conservation through the 1980’s led to higher standards of living; cleaner, more comfortable, healthier, more sturdily built as well as more energy efficient home standards.

    Since the 1990’s I’ve applied that energy conservation perspective to transportation planning but have yet to see similar benefits. Municipal mass transit improved marginally with light rail projects but all standard buses remain outdated in vehicle type, routes and schedules.

    The planning philosophy of New Urbanism – mixed-use, transit oriented, infill development offers potential to increase transit patronage and grow local economies, but has yet to counter ongoing car-dependent development patterns of the past century.

    These days, my approach to questioning the status quo starts with exposing self-driving car tech as a fraudulent ruse that would do more harm than good if it were possible. I’ll also argue that plug-in hybrid vehicles, believe it or not, have more potential than all-battery and fuel cell EVs to reduce fuel/energy consumption. Similarly, I’m against 200mph high speed rail as prohibitively expensive and instead favor 100mph train travel as imminently more applicable.

    Cars, trains, buses, urban/suburban redevelopment, the growth of local economies within metropolitan area economies, supported by State and National economies which reduce the influence of the global economy, when considered thoughtfully a vision emerges for how our dependence upon long-distance travel and transport may change for the better.

  29. “It is straightforward to argue that a climate with significant internal variability is a climate that is very sensitive to applied anthropogenic radiative anomalies [cf. Roe, 2009]. If the role of internal variability in the climate system is as large as this analysis would seem to suggest, warming over the 21st century may well be larger than that predicted by the current generation of models, given the propensity of those models to underestimate climate internal variability [Kravtsov and Spannagle, 2008].”

    Surely you aren’t skeptical of internal variability? Frankly Frank and others – I find it all obtuse linear linear thinking in a nonlinear world.

    e.g. https://history.aip.org/climate/rapid.htm


    Solutions of an energy-balance model (EBM), showing the global-mean temperature (T) vs. the fractional change of insolation (μ) at the top of the atmosphere. (Source: Ghil, 2013)

    In the words of Michael Ghil (2013) the ‘global climate system is composed of a number of subsystems – atmosphere, biosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere – each of which has distinct characteristic times, from days and weeks to centuries and millennia. Each subsystem, moreover, has its own internal variability, all other things being constant, over a fairly broad range of time scales. These ranges overlap between one subsystem and another. The interactions between the subsystems thus give rise to climate variability on all time scales.’

    Ghil’s model shows that climate sensitivity (γ) is variable. It is the change in temperature (ΔT) divided by the change in the control variable (Δμ) – the tangent to the curve as shown above. Sensitivity increases moving down the upper curve to the left towards the bifurcation and becomes arbitrarily large at the instability. The problem in a chaotic climate then becomes not one of quantifying climate sensitivity in a smoothly evolving climate but of predicting the onset of abrupt climate shifts and their implications for climate and society. The problem of abrupt climate change on multi-decadal scales is of the most immediate significance.

    The paradigm suggests that the system is pushed by greenhouse gas changes and warming – as well as solar intensity and Earth orbital eccentricities – past a threshold at which stage the components start to interact chaotically in multiple and changing negative and positive feedbacks – as tremendous energies cascade through powerful subsystems. Some of these changes have a regularity within broad limits and the planet responds with a broad regularity in changes of ice, cloud, Atlantic thermohaline circulation and ocean and atmospheric circulation.

    Dynamic climate sensitivity implies the potential for a small push to initiate a large shift. Climate in this paradigm of abrupt change is an emergent property of the shift in global energies as the system settles down into a new climate state. The traditional definition of climate sensitivity as a temperature response to changes in CO2 makes sense only in periods between climate shifts – as climate changes at shifts are internally generated. Climate evolution is discontinuous at the scale of decades and longer.

    It sums to a possibility of extreme change within a decade or so – whether of natural or anthropogenic origin. Climate is a very risky business. What more do we need to know?

    • I am sorry, but your oft repeated claim that “Dynamic climate sensitivity implies the potential for a small push to initiate a large shift” is completely false, a common mistake in fact. In nonlinear dynamics the so-called small pushes are infinitesimal, not small. There is nothing whatever to suggest that visibly small pushes might initiate a large shift. This is a fallacy, perhaps we should call it the butterfly fallacy.

      • You confuse thresholds with control variables. And how else to question the endlessly repeated sensitivity talking point than to elaborate on tipping point realities – and attendant risk – in the Earth system. An idea skeptics are these days – the shoe was once on the other foot – motivated to resist.

        The US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) defined abrupt climate change as a new climate paradigm as long ago as 2002. A paradigm in the scientific sense is a theory that explains observations. A new science paradigm is one that better explains data – in this case climate data – than the old theory. The new theory says that climate change occurs as discrete jumps in the system. Climate is more like a kaleidoscope – shake it up and a new pattern emerges – than a control knob with a linear gain.

        Explain data on abrupt climate change – as in the AIP link provided – other than by ‘nonlinear dynamics’.

      • I did not confuse anything. You do not understand nonlinear dynamics.

      • IMO – you confuse most things David.

    • Robert wrote: “Frankly Frank and others – I find it all obtuse linear linear thinking in a nonlinear world.”

      Even Planck feedback is non-linear. So is the increase in saturation water vapor pressure with temperature. However, a linear approximation is good for small changes. It is even better for responding to commenters who don’t understand the basics.

      FWIW, I often wonder how linear the climate feedback parameter is in the colder direction. Given that we shift from glacial to interglacial without the benefit of a significant global forcing, it seems to me that a near runaway GHE (climate feedback parameter near zero) could exist in the colder direction on the millennial time scale. However, our climate seems to reproducibly stabilize about 5 degC colder than present, so perhaps the climate feedback parameter has dropped to -1 or -2 when it is that cold. Interglacials seem to warm to near present day temperature, so a more stabilizing climate feedback parameter appears to exist at present day temperature. I would assume a reasonably stabilizing climate feedback parameter exists in the warmer direction, because the climate record doesn’t show oscillations in the warmer direction like those we have seen in the colder direction during the Pleistocene.

      However, I treat this as idle speculation since I see no way to confirm it. And I don’t place much faith in reports showing the climate sensitivity parameter will rise as the planet warms.

      • Of course it is chaotic. And the ‘feedback parameters’ involve shifts in ocean and atmospheric circulation with changes in ice, cloud, dust. vegetation, water vapor, greenhouse gases… With temperature variability considerably larger than suggested and an exponentially varying negative feedback in the Planck response.

        But they were talking CO2 sensitivity in the modern era assuming the ‘linear approximation’. Possibly a wrong assumption on any scale given large system variability – but certainly with changes on multidecadal scales with shifts in surface temperature trajectories associated with shifts in Pacific state.

        Until internal variability and anthropogenic warming can be unraveled – they are all talking through there hats.

  30. As a Ph.D. In philosophy, I have to say this is marvelous. I enjoyed the sometimes surprising, but always logical, twists and turns as much as the very substantive content.

    Given that argument is the methodology of philosophy, and half the methodology of science (the other half being observation) it must be truly galling to see a huge science intensive policy issue where debate is deliberately suppressed.

    Well done!

    • I have a colleague who insists that there’s no debate about AGW. But there does seem to be a debate about whether there’s a debate about AGW. So does that mean there IS a debate about AGW after all? Don’t you just hate these nth-ordered questions? – Paul

  31. “William Happer has resigned as senior director on the National Security Council. Happer’s decision to leave comes after he failed to persuade President Trump to conduct an “adversarial” review of research on climate change.”
    https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/460944-climate-skeptic-on-national-security-council-leaving-trump-admin

    So much for the red-team/blue-team exercise. I hope you didn’t have your hopes too high.

    • Like I said

      They cant feild a team.
      and now the coach quit

      • The climate issue is not important for politicians. They talk about it for popularity, but if they do something, like Macron with the fuel tax increase, they get a severe backlash. That’s one of the reasons why 30 years of climate crisis have left no perceptible signal on CO2 emissions.

        All talk no action means it is not being perceived as the very serious problem many claim it is. I guess the idea that we only have X years is silly.

      • “All talk no action means it is not being perceived as the very serious problem many claim it is.”
        To be precise, there is “no action” by the vendors of fossil fuels. You are absolutely correct that those vendors do not see it as a “very serious problem”, or at least are hoping to be able to persuade their customers of this.
        However it does not follow that it is therefore not a very serious problem for planet Earth. Just because your burglar doesn’t see it as a serious problem doesn’t mean his burglary is not a serious problem for you.
        Or to take a more extreme example, someone with his feet in concrete being tossed into the water.

  32. “Abrupt climate changes were especially common when the climate system was being forced to change most rapidly. Thus, greenhouse warming and other human alterations of the earth system may increase the possibility of large, abrupt, and unwelcome regional or global climatic events. The abrupt changes of the past are not fully explained yet, and climate models typically underestimate the size, speed, and extent of those changes. Hence, future abrupt changes cannot be predicted with confidence, and climate surprises are to be expected.” https://www.nap.edu/read/10136/chapter/2

    The ideal state is where biological and physical systems are not being forced to change as rapidly as they are.

    • you really do not understand nonlinear dynamics. It has nothing to do with forcing. Constant forcing by the sun can produce irregular oscillations.

      • I was being consistent with the NAS terminology in the quote. I often use the terms driver and trigger.

        “Technically, an abrupt climate change occurs when the climate system is forced to cross some threshold, triggering a transition to a new state at a rate determined by the climate system itself and faster than the cause. Chaotic processes in the climate system may allow the cause of such an abrupt climate change to be undetectably small.” op. cit.

        The NAS report – by a committee of eminent scientists – provides an analogy of pressure (forcing) slowly applied to a light switch until the switch shifts. But there is a world of other literature on Earth system dynamics you have never read out there to supplement these ideas. An entire discipline in fact.

        e.g. https://www.earth-syst-dynam.net/

        The sun is never constant – btw. Slow changes may have triggered the abrupt mid Holocene Pacific state transition. Even subtle changes in the Hale quasi-cycle of solar magnetic reversals may drive 20 to 30 year Pacific periodicity.

        e.g. https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/2016GL068012

        And if you are going to claim nonsense about a constant sun causing nonlinear oscillations – do us all a favor and cite some literature. As distinct from what you make up or might have seen on a blog.

      • Quote (part of ) “Chaotic processes in the climate system may allow the cause of such an abrupt climate change to be undetectably small.”

        ‘Undetectably small’ only because one sticks to the present ‘common hymn sheet’. Look elsewhere in other hymn sheets (like geology and archaeology) and the cause is evident and staggering in extent. But that’s like Eve’s apple; the bite tastes bitter and comes with a terrible price.

      • Regime shifts may be evident but triggers inscrutable.

      • RIE; +
        In my link below the traces are from ice-cores, polar and equatorial, based on Oxygen d18O. The abrupt variations are tied to earth’s obliquity changes as measured from ancient calendars (ie earth dynamic change) and their orientation changes (linked to geological tectonic change).
        Link: https://melitamegalithic.wordpress.com/2019/03/15/searching-evidence-update-2/
        Trying to understand earth changes from climate models is like a semitic speaker singing the hymn sheet written in garbled latin.

        I agree with what you have been saying all along, but I can provide the unpalatable evidence.
        Looking at polar cores only is looking at the world with one eye covered. Comparing polar to equatorial corroborates what the other ‘hymn sheets’ are telling with more clarity.

      • Abrupt changes in temperature are the result of internal variability. It may be triggered by things such as extremes in solar activity as measured by sunspots or slow orbital changes pushing the system past thresholds. Which is where the rest of the NAS quote comes in.

  33. Professor Viminitz wrote: “Your scientific consensus, coupled with my command of collective action problems, delivers to us the inevitable end of the anthropic world. My pragmatic theory of truth can’t allow that. So either your science is wrong, or my understanding of collective actions problems is woefully inadequate. I know nothing about the former. I make my living from the latter. So you tell me which I’m likely to think is the culprit. Quod erat demonstrandum.”

    Of course, there is NO REASON TO BELIEVE that the professor’s “pragmatic theory of truth” or other such philosophical reasoning can actually lead us to the truth about climate change – or anything else for that matter. History teaches us that rationalization by the greatest philosophers over the past 2+ millennia has not led us to any unambiguous truth. Some have led us to tragedy or held up scientific progress for centuries. Even the logic of mathematics has floundered on Godel’s incompleteness theorem (when attempting to identify a fundament set of axioms).

    Science, however, is not simply another dubious way of discovering the truth about the world. “It is a methodical process of checking each other, checking theory against experiment, claim against fact and fact against fact.” (Alice Dreger). Since it is carried out by flawed humans subject to confirmation bias, it isn’t perfect. Nevertheless, compared with the centuries before the scientific method was adopted, progress in science and technology and their impact on our standard of living have been astounding. Today, there is a reproducibility crisis in some fields that illustrates both the weaknesses and eventual self-correcting nature of the scientific method. Assuming we live don’t live in a world like that depicted in the “Matrix” movies, the scientific method has been vastly more successful in uncovering the truth – in the many areas where definitive experiments are possible – than any other approach. As Alice Dreger describes it, Galileo and the scientific method triumphed over the Pope’s Catholic identity politics. Science has the potential to triumph over Republican and Democratic identity politics today, but not if scientists behave like politicians.

    Philosophers complain that scientific revolutions occasionally change what science has established as true. Quantum mechanics is the current theory that explains the interactions between GHGs and radiation in our atmosphere that produce radiative forcing. These interactions along with conservation of energy demand that our planet warm in response to rising GHGs. However, if quantum mechanics were ever replaced by a new theory, that theory must be consistent with all of the experiments that have been performed with GHGs and radiation, including those that have validated the use of radiative transfer calculations in our atmosphere. Like Newtonian gravity, radiative transfer calculations will almost certainly remain useful, whether theory depicts radiation as waves, particles, strings or something new.

    In some areas, especially the social “sciences” and economics, it is difficult to carry out definitive experiments that can illuminate “the truth”. Far too much research in those areas is carried out designed to collect evidence to support conclusions that researchers already believe – not to properly test those beliefs by attempting to invalidate them. Political correctness has made it “offensive” to even question some beliefs on our campuses.

    Aside from radiative forcing, climate science is an area where it is also difficult to perform definitive experiments. Climate models are merely hypotheses about how our climate system behaves. Climate scientists spend far too much time making predictions for policymakers and far too little time trying to invalidate these models, or to determine a confidence interval for their output that includes parameter uncertainty. It is a fact that today’s climate models and their multi-model mean make incorrect predictions about the feedbacks that are observed from space during seasonal warming AND that model predictions about such feedbacks are mutually inconsistent. Tsushima and Manabe (2013). https://www.pnas.org/content/110/19/7568. Unfortunately, far too many climate scientists feel that “making the world a better place” by getting lots of publicity from telling scary stories, making oversimplified statements, and hiding doubts”, is more important than behaving in public like the ethical scientists they aspire to be in scientific forums – ones who are obligated tell the whole truth with all of the ifs, ands, buts and caveats, and who recognize the dangers of confirmation bias.

    Law and politics attempt to discover “the truth” or optimum policy using an adversarial system different from the one used by scientists. In this system, no one is expected to tell the whole truth – just the parts that support the position they advocate. Hopefully outright lies are not frequent, but they are an increasing problem. However, both sides in any legal or political dispute are guaranteed equal opportunity to present their case. Once upon a time, an ethical press even aspired to present the public with the arguments from both sides. (Now the public is presented with anger-inducing “click-bait” designed to attract more eyeballs to advertising.) In climate science today, we have the worst of both systems for discovering “the truth” about climate change: the IPCC, a self-nominating and self-perpetuating group of scientific activists. They serve as prosecutor, judge and jury conducting a trial of our fossil fuel based economy without defense attorneys capable of presenting the if, ands, buts, and caveats necessary for ethical science. They actually let a group of political appointees unanimously determine the wording the their Summaries for Policymakers, a process guaranteed to eliminate candor and caveats.

  34. Denying something for the sake of denying seems to put the cart before the horse. Further, you are making a purely phenomenological argument without addressing the physical processes underlying global warming *as a theory.* The basics of this have been understood for over a century: increase the mean path length for infrared escaping the planet, and the troposphere warms. Indeed, the basics of the greenhouse effect are agreed on by 100% of scientists: without it, earth would be a snowball at mean temperature of -15C. Without starting from this, you are arguing what is in effect an issue of style.

    • “Our ‘interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural.’ Anastasios Tsonis

      Philosophically – I’d back another horse.

      e.g. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41612-018-0044-6

      • It is a nice idea. But i am a bit dubious of extracting a spectrum from a single full cycle in a chaotic system with any confidence. Yes, it gives a rough timescale. But the error bars will be enormous–big enough that they should be reported logarithmically.
        The authors seem guilty of the same error they are reporting on.

      • Do you imagine that I should bother with such a superficial dismissal of a result suggesting that models miss decadal variability? The result would be trivial – so well known it is – if they didn’t reveal that half recent warming was the ‘global stadium wave’. Such ‘refutation’ of science that doesn’t fit the narrative is a very bad climateball habit.

      • Robert I Ellison: e.g. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41612-018-0044-6

        Thank you for the link. The paper is open access, as well as the supplementary information.

  35. Judith, you site seems unable to remember my identity.

    With every comment I have to log out of where I was and log in again, using a different site’s credentials.

    Can’t you please fix this? It seems absurd.

  36. Lewis P Buckingham

    It would seem that buried in all this is the concept that if someone is convicted of something they did not do this is a just outcome, since the process is good.
    MY denialist streak says ‘The flowers that bloom in the spring,tra la, have nothing to do with this case.
    As Poo Bah would have it.

    ‘Ko-Ko: Well, a nice mess you’ve got us into, with your nodding head . . .

    Pooh-Bah: Merely corroborative detail, intended to give artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative.’

    — The Mikado

  37. “Climate supervenes on weather. That is, there can be no change in the climate without a series of changes in the weather.”

    Yes there can be, rising CO2 forcing has nothing to do with the generation of weather patterns.

    “But though a change in the climate can’t cause a change in the weather – that would violate the supervenience relation – its prognostication can simultaneously prognosticate changes in the weather.”

    One needs to know what drives weather to know how it will change.

    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/major-heat-cold-waves-driven-key-heliocentric-alignments-ulric-lyons/

  38. Of the things I care about most – AGW is on the bottom of the list. Economic growth and democracy, development, food security, energy access, technical innovation, land use and the environment all rank substantially higher. But all of these things are consistent with reduction of greenhouse gases and aerosols – with most of the best ideas for progress coming out of Bjorn Lomberg’s Copenhagen Consensus.

    The economic (and Paris accord) energy reality for developing nations – where most emissions growth is coming from – is HELE coal plants. These reduce CO2 by some 9% and more importantly eliminate almost all black carbon and sulfate emissions. Black carbon has a modern climate forcing of some 1.1 W/m2 – second only to CO2.

    e.g. https://agupub s.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/jgrd.50171

    Rather than cooling the planet – co-emitted sulfate is bound in a ‘lens’ on particulate black carbon increasing the warming potential by some 240%.


    https://www.pnas.org/content/113/16/4243

    CFC’s, nitrous oxides, methane, black carbon and sulfate can be reduced using technology in use in developed economies. Ongoing decreases in carbon intensity and increases in efficiency and productivity are paths taken in the west decades ago – and are at the core of Indian and Chinese Paris commitments. Technical innovation across sectors – energy, transport, industry, residential and agriculture and forestry – is transforming societies and economies as it always has. It is not too difficult to see cost competitive small. modular nuclear reactors in the not too distant future. Farmers are enhancing productivity – in ways that ‘global greening’ can’t hope to do – and nutrition across grazing and cropping systems. Everywhere people are reclaiming desert and restoring woodland, savanna and wetlands – sequestering carbon lost over the course of human civilization. The 21st century is when everything changes – to quote Capt. Jack Harkness. So do we need a list at all?

  39. “How we make decisions depends on how uncertain we are”
    The findings published in Nature Human Behavior, challenge one of the most fundamental assumptions in economics, neuroeconomics and choice theory that decision-makers typically evaluate risky options in a multiplicative way when in fact this only applies in a limited case when information about both the magnitude and probability of the reward are clearly known.
    -New cross-species study pushes back on decision-making theories
    -Dartmouth College
    https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-09/dc-hwm090919.php

    • So climate can and does shift rapidly and profoundly – regionally as much as 16 degrees C in as little as a decade – with presumably severe consequences if it happens in our modern world. Risk then is a product of the two in the ordinary way. Low probability of occurrence times severe consequences equals risky behavior in a chaotic world.

      And you spend your time making back of the envelop calculations of climate sensitivity using crude assumptions?

  40. I majored in history, and although I took courses in biology, botany and anthropology, I’m not even close to claiming to have a good handle on science in general an AGW in particular. But, if I was asked for one single reason why I reject AGW, it would be as a prior poster noted, the ability over several centuries, or something close to it, to predict a global temp accurately with 1 or 2 degrees with a high degree of certainty. I work at a radio station where we monitor and transcribe out transmitter temps about 24 times per night, and there’s no way I would put a dime that there close to accurate, especially within a degree…

    • You’ll have to find another reason. Variability of local temperature has no relation to variability of global temperature. It is not rare that maximum temperature might fall by 10°C from one day to the next in one place, however the difference in global temperature from a glacial period to an interglacial is of just 5°C. We can all be pretty confident that over the next 80 years the average surface temperature of the planet is not going to change by more than 1°C in any direction.

      • A global average temperature has to be on something, in this case I’m assuming that instrument records are the surest, most reliable method known to measure temperature regardless of the circumstances. If so, that information, over decades, must be reliably measured and placed in some sort of database in which an average can be gleaned. I’m making the assertion that given human and instrument inefficiency that it cannot be done within a degree or two of accuracy…

      • The global surface average temperature of the planet doesn’t change much. It is not known with precision, but is known to be 14±1°C. We are very certain that it cannot be 12°C, nor 16°C.

        It is easier to measure changes in temperature (wrongly named temperature anomaly). Perhaps not with the claimed precision ±0.1°C, but certainly less than ±0.3°C.

        People have a hard time understanding how constant the average temperature of the planet’s surface is. The longer the timescale the less variation it presents over time. The Plio-Pleistocene glaciation took place at a rate of ~ 1°C/million years. Between 4 and 1 million years ago the planet’s surface cooled by just about 3°C.

        That was enough to glaciate Greenland and make the Late Cenozoic Ice Age the second strongest in 560 million years.

        On shorter timescales the temperature can change at a higher rate but not sustained for long. Over the glacial cycle, at deglaciations the temperature can change at ~ 0.5-1°C per millenium but then it stops and goes the opposite a few millennia later. And at present the temperature can change by 0.5°C in a month before going back a few months later (an El Niño for example).

        What alarmists don’t understand is that a change of 1°C in a century is not really that unusual, and they are wrong in extrapolating that over several centuries. That temperature change will be reverted in a few centuries. The claim that the modern rate of temperature change is the highest in X thousands or millions of years is silly. We don’t have the resolution required to know the rate of past short term changes, and long term rates are always lower as the temperature of the planet changes very little.

  41. The glacial/interglacial polar contrast is more like 10 degrees C – with more extreme regional changes in as little as a decade.

    In a warming climate with the potential for breakup up of marine stratocumulus – https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-019-0310-1 – or step changes in thermohaline circulation – https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/2017GL076350 – I am not of the we who can be confident that climate won’t change abruptly.

  42. Just a note to inform readers of my new book, titled “Existential Threat: Facing the Climate Change Abyss.” This is not just another book on climate change, as should be evident from the following excerpt from the introduction:
    “What makes this book different is the fact that I no longer really care whether or not you believe me. As I see things, it’s already too late to argue one way or another on this topic. It’s not that “the science is settled” – I feel sure it isn’t – it’s that the issue is settled. Climate change is no longer a scientific matter, but a social construct. The debate is over and it’s been won by those most adept at influencing public opinion.

    At this point, therefor, it’s no longer a matter of whether “the science” is right or wrong, but whether humanity can survive the exceedingly dangerous “existential” abyss we are now being forced to confront. I’m not talking about the predicted climate disaster, but the social and psychological trauma induced by the extreme demands that will increasingly be imposed as necessary to avoid it.”
    Preprints are being offered free of charge to readers of this blog (and of course, Dr. Curry, if she’s interested). Email me with your request at doktorgosh (at) live.com

  43. Rarely does a true philosopher concern himself with “I.”

  44. Refreshing viewpoint.

  45. Sir,
    Are you aware that colleagues of yours, among them the VIP Daniel Dennett – tell you, in an open letter to the media, that climate sceptics are not sceptics but pseudo sceptics? (yes, to the convenience of alarmists sceptic equals denier/denialist and denier/denialist equals sceptic)

  46. Thanks to Dr Paul Viminitz for this outstanding article. The combination of humour and philosophy is perfectly appropriate. Humour dissipates the acrimony of the climate issue. And philosophy is at the heart of the climate question. The army of journalists, self publicists and ex-scientists who make alarmist-catastrophism pronouncements consider it sufficient to flourish a handful of technical sounding factoids and buzz-words, to establish an unassailable argument for anthropogenic catastrophe. For example up thread we are told that IR absorption by CO2 and black body radiation are all we need to know.

    This illustrates perfectly that there is a black hole of philosophical, epistemological dysfunction at the heart of the AGW alarmist case. Physics alone assuming linear simplicity ad absurdam in a chaotic-complex atmosphere predicts warming from CO2. This allows us to ignore historical data that shown no causation of warning from CO2. Either the reverse – CO2 is forced by temperature, not the reverse – or complete non-correlation, characterise the historic record of CO2 and temperature.

    Alarmists have woken up to complexity. Instead of recognising that chaos-complexity undermines AGE catastrophism (climate changes by itself without outside forcing so observed change means almost nothing) the alarmists have pivoted to cooling on warming and claiming every twist and turn of weather and climate as proof of the nebulous climate dread. Both warming and cooling confirm it. Both wet and dry confirm it. Both more and less hurricanes confirm it. Both more and less ice and snow confirm it.

    Karl Popper was a philosopher who was told by his peers that the then-fashionable theory of Marxism was amazing in that it explained everything. Philosophically he realised that this meant that the theory actually explained nothing. A true theory has to be falsifiable. Marxism is not and neither is AGW catastrophism. Both have no philosophical foundation and thus no validity or scientific or societal value.

  47. Phil Salmon: This illustrates perfectly that there is a black hole of philosophical, epistemological dysfunction at the heart of the AGW alarmist case.

    That is one of the more well-turned phrases of recent memory.

    !!!

  48. Pingback: A philosopher on AGW – It's Karl

  49. Melanie Sue Smith

    Damn…..I really enjoyed reading this.

  50. Part of global warming has been caused by humans but the shallow science has picked the wrong molecule.

    The observation is that, at least since it has been accurately measured worldwide, WV has been increasing about TWICE that expected from temperature increase. Therefore, for periods of a few years or more, WV increase has been driving temperature increase, not the other way around. Calculations are provided in Section 8 of my blog/analysis http://globalclimatedrivers2.blogspot.com . Section 2 provides multiple compelling evidence that it’s not CO2. Section 4 and the last paragraph in Section 19 describe how/why.

    Typical relative IR absorbing ability of the greenhouse gasses water vapor and CO2 at zero altitude are shown in this graph calculated by Spectracalc/Hitran using Quantum Mechanics: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/ECWhyyDUYAA1P89?format=jpg&name=medium
    http://spectralcalc.com/spectral_browser/db_intensity.php . At zero altitude, on average, there are about 10,000/410 ≈ 24 H2O molecules for each CO2 molecule. The relative absorb/emit of H2O vs CO2 can be determined by the ratio of sum of the line lengths for each on the Hitran graph. The ratio of the line-length sums divided by 24 calculates that each H2O molecule is about 5 times as effective at absorb/emit of thermal (LWIR) radiation as a CO2 molecule.

    The tiny % increase in ground level absorbers from increased CO2 is countered by the large % increase in emitters to space above the tropopause with the end result that CO2, and therefore burning fossil fuels, has no significant effect on climate. Climate sensitivity is not significantly different from zero.

    The human contribution to global warming has been from increased water vapor. WV increase is self-limiting and therefore so is global warming.

    Any climate model which assumes CO2 affects temperature and does not include an independent input for water vapor is fundamentally wrong.

  51. Pingback: A philospher’s reflections on AGW denial – Daily News

  52. Dear Paul Viminitz

    I take it, that you’r article should be considered a request for a good take on AGW-denial, or an interesting angle so to speak.

    So on that note, I have decided to answer you, so here goes –

    A cause for AGW denial.

    The planet and its nature, is often by the AGW crowd, pictured as som garden of Eden and humans as it’s delinquent tenders. This comparison is terribly lacking, because of the use of a garden. As a garden is a completely human concept. A plot of land mostly, if not only, populated by flowers, bushes and trees not native to the latitude of the garden. Making it near impossible for any of the plants to survive without human intervention.

    Now what they all agree on, the AGW crowd, is that the planet and nature, would thrive without humans.

    So a garden, it is obviously not, the planet and it’s nature. Then what is it, and what is the relation between human’s, nature and the planet.

    Well, so far, humans, as far as I can understand it. At least if we listen to the AGW crowd. Humans are tremendously well adapted to live on the planet. Our ability to consume and devour our soundings, have reached such a degree. That to many of these AGW’s, humans are overpopulating the planet. And should be considered almost a cancer or a parasite, growing at an exponential rate.

    So what do we have for a comparable anecdote in nature, where can we find ourselves, or should I say, where can we find a similar destiny. Somewhere you will find exponential growth, coupled with a near omnipotence versus it’s surroundings and an appetite for destruction.

    The chicken little analogy springs to mind, although, a tad before it became a chicken (depending on you’r stance on som other topic). A state known commonly; as an egg.

    Some say, that you must brake a few egg’s, to make an omelet. Well you need to brake one to make a chicken to. And life prior to that moment of official vandalism. What would that be like, for the chicken. Perhaps not so unlike that of humanity. The egg, laid before it, in all it’s pristine glory. As it eats and grow’s, grow’s and eat’s, both in an exponential fashion. Much like a parasite or a cancer.

    Now it might see it self, as the «Destroyer of Egg», and try to limit it’s consequence to the egg, rasjon it, perhaps. It is after all a garden-egg, and chicken the egg’s tender. Allas, as is obvious to us on the outside, the egg is but a temporary adobe. And only through eating it at break neck speed, and in as short a while as possible, empty the egg. So that when hunger leaves no other option than to destroy, what has been a life long home. The chicken will have attained the needed strength to complete it’s herculean task.

    Armed with this comparison, who are we, to potentially jeopardise the path laid before us by nature? Nature, who has been around a bit longer than humans. And might have a plan for us after all. Although it might be a bit hard for us to se, from within the egg.

    Earth, is as every other thing or place in the universe, of a temporary nature. It is not a staying place. And as egg, it won’t be a place we would like to return to, after we once have left.

    To sum it up, to deny AGW, is to embrace nature and human’s place in it, as chicken.

    Fibo DeGjenn
    CARPE OVUM
    edo – rumpo

  53. Are the warmists saying 1. Man is increasing the temperature of the lowest few meters of troposphere? Ie the kinetic energy of its molecules? Or 2. Man is increasing the total kinetic energy in the troposphere? At all levels? Or 3. Man is adding to the total energy in joules—kinetic and potential—of the lowest levels of the troposphere Or 4. Man is causing more than 239 watts per square meter to enter the atmosphere and this has reset the watts leaving as LWR into space? So that we might now have 242 watts entering at TOA and 242 leaving as LWR?

    How much abrogation of warming does latent heat of evaporation take up as liquid water goes into gaseous H2O? Maybe we are living on a swamp cooler?

    If we are warming the surface there must be more gaseous molecular H2O in the troposphere. We are living on a wet ball. As this reaches the lapse altitude of condensation temperature, there must be release of latent heat of condensation? Where is this hot spot and why is it so difficult to find?

    As gaseous H2O assembles into particles at @31,000 feet are all of these visible as clouds or are some so small we don’t see them? Like a few micra? There must logically be more liquid water particles in the air, at some height or another, if we are warming a watery surface. Got to be.

  54. If the latent heat of evaporation were high enough, we could have global warming causing global cooling.

  55. Wow that was a long read for one relevant suggestion in the very end.

    For all the teeth gnashing about the word “denier” that people do, it is not actually very useful to characterize the problem with climate change science communication with respect to the science that people believe or don’t believe. I think that it is more helpful to characterize it w.r.t. what panic level people have and why.

    Where does your personal needle point in the following spectrum?

    1. PANIC HARD! AGW is going to destroy the world soon so we have to stop all fossil fuel exploitation this instant!

    2. A bit of panic might be helpful. Our current efforts to mitigate climate change are insufficient. We need to light a fire under our political leaders, our industrial leaders and, most importantly, be motivated to change our own behaviours.

    3. No Panic. AGW exists. Let’s continue to examine the scientific evidence to establish an appropriate threat response and argue with careful reason to get everyone on the same page.

    4. A bit of panic might be helpful. AGW exists but it may not represent a serious threat. We are in danger of over-reacting to AGW activists’ demands and this will cause economic damage that will ultimately slow our response to climate change.

    5. PANIC HARD! AGW doesn’t exist or it is at least a very minimal threat. Our collective mitigation efforts are a waste and are already causing substantial harm to our economy. Drop it already!

    Now that you have picked the number that best reflects what you believe, is there any bit of science or an argument that you could read that would move that needle? Hint: if there isn’t, you’re probably in a filter bubble.

    Personal disclosure: I point at (2.). What would it take to make me think differently?

    I try to be open-minded. I initially found Dr. Curry’s analysis of uncertainty to provide a compelling argument that the objective best direction should be toward (3.). Reading more deeply into it, I was disappointed to realize that the bedrock of her argument is the semantic difference between (knightian) risk and uncertainty. By definition, future climate outcomes will only ever be at best a “scenario uncertainty” and, given that there will always be the possibility of unanticipated outcomes, there will always be a solid argument that policy-making w.r.t. climate change involves “deep uncertainty”.

    Has anyone else noticed? The deep uncertainty argument is completely immune to scientific developments. It consequently has precisely nothing to do with assessing the threat posed by climate change. It is both a collection of important sounding words that will slow policy-makers down and hot air designed to fill filter bubbles that sit around (4.) on the above spectrum.

    Respecting the very good message in the 2nd to last paragraph of this painfully long article: Dr. Curry, I say this respectfully to you, on your blog. Not about you.

    This post was so much about the choice of what to believe — sitting atop a ladder of “observations made and inferences drawn at every rung below” as Dr. Viminitz put it. It may be instructive to step down a bit.

    In the 80’s when the first alarm bells were rung about climate change, it was simpler. There was some relatively simple math and chemistry that suggested that doubling CO2 levels over pre-industry would cause 1.5-4.5 degrees of global warming. There was also a very obvious correlation between the progress of human industrialization (i.e. GHG emissions) and observed increases in atmospheric CO2.

    That correlation, in combination with a projection of the simple models was enough for a few scientists to say: The possibility of global warming represents a threat. We should do everything we can to reduce our emissions in order to minimize that threat.

    Since that first alarm, measurements of global temperature have recorded a significant increase, putting us now at 1C higher than pre-industry.

    The temperature measurements can be viewed two ways (both entirely valid):

    a. As an additional correlation: now temperature increase clearly correlates with the progress of human industrialization and CO2 levels.

    b. The prediction of the initial alarm that there would be global warming from the early 1980s was correct.

    That simple bit of very solid, established science is why 4 out of 5 climate scientists prefer Colgate — or whatever consensus this post was blathering on about.

    You. Yes you reading this post. You’re probably quite smart. Ask yourself how many climate scientists in the 1980s were saying “Hey, take a look at this natural variability. I bet we’re going to see a sharp increase in global temperature over the next 35 years.”

    There weren’t any. As correlations go, natural variability doesn’t rate.

    Let’s be clear. AGW is a hypothesis. Occam’s Razor says it is a good one. Since the 1980s, climate scientists have measured a lot, analysed a lot, modeled a lot. The iterative and exhaustive IPCC review of all of that supports the hypothesis and provides a guide for threat assessment.

    To sum up, there are many people experiencing some degree of panic about climate change. I have detailed why I think that panic is reasonable.

    If you think that I’m wrong to sit at (2.) on the above spectrum, if all those people are wrong to be experiencing this panic, I suggest that you get to finding a better argument than “deep uncertainty” or “natural variability” to allay their fears. That would be much more useful than whining about who is calling who a denier.

    • mdander,
      Your scale assumes that if climate change (whether anthropogenic or not) is real and dangerous there is something we can do to significantly alter its rate of change. Even discounting the negative effects (we shouldn’t) of reaching zero emissions, there is no evidence that climate change would stop (climate always changes), or that it would alter significantly its rate of change. Besides, GHGs are a byproduct of our growth in number and progress. Thirty years of efforts have been unable to have a noticeable effect on CO2 growth, and as the yellow vest revolt in France showed, any success would likely result in the fall of those in power.

      The most likely scenario is that climate change is the result of a combination of natural and anthropogenic factors (not limited to CO2 emissions), under which a reduction in CO2 emissions would not only have limited effect, but would very likely reduce our capacity to adapt to climate change.

      Judith Curry’s uncertainty is a triple one: Uncertainty that climate science has correctly diagnosed the causes of climate change, uncertainty about future climate, and uncertainty of the effectiveness of the proposed solutions. As uncertainty is multiplicative we face an scenario of total uncertainty under which the only actions that can be justified are no-regrets actions that increase resilience, and adaptation actions.

      AGW is a hypothesis. Occam’s Razor says it is a good one.

      I disagree. AGW is actually three chained hypotheses:
      (1) GHGs are important for the temperature of the planet (GHG theory).
      (2) Changes in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere govern climate changes (CO2 hypothesis).
      (3) Recent changes in climate are mainly due to human-produced GHGs (anthropogenic climate hypothesis).

      Each hypothesis requires the previous ones to be correct but is independent of them. Even if changes in CO2 determine changes in climate (2), the recent climate change (3) could be mainly due to some other factor, like the Modern Solar Maximum, and the effect of (2) could be overestimated.

      While most scientists (including me, and perhaps Occam if still alive), are convinced (1) is correct, there is plenty of paleoclimatical evidence that questions the veracity of (2). The correlation of climate and CO2 prior to the Pleistocene is pretty awful, and there appears to be anti-correlation during most of the Holocene. The most we can say is that CO2 levels tend to be very low during Ice Ages. Outside them there appears to be no correlation. Regarding (3) we have several outstanding problems, the first one can be illustrated with an image:

      Intense climate change without accompanying significant CO2 changes.
      Another outstanding problem is the Early Twentieth Century Warming (ETCW), also illustrated with another figure:

      Therefore, there is evidence that (3) is not correct. Ad hoc explanations have been presented to dismiss this evidence, but with enough explanations, even God can be responsible for climate change. Occam doesn’t like ad hoc explanations, and neither do I.

      And then we come to the last point. Any level of AGW panic (even yours) must rest on a last assumption on top of the three hypotheses: That the increase in CO2 emissions is net negative. The beneficial effects of increased CO2 are based on observation, while its detrimental effects are based on simulation. I’ll take observation over simulation any day.

      It looks to me like turtles on top of turtles all the way down.

      • Javier,

        Judith Curry’s uncertainty is a triple one: Uncertainty that climate science has correctly diagnosed the causes of climate change, uncertainty about future climate, and uncertainty of the effectiveness of the proposed solutions.

        You missed the most important uncertainty. Is global warming actually harmful, or is it in fact beneficial?

        The premise that global warming is harmful is the (probably false) premise upon which the whole climate scare is based.

      • Javier,

        You: “Your scale assumes that if climate change (whether anthropogenic or not) is real and dangerous there is something we can do to significantly alter its rate of change”.

        Nope. My scale is a response to this article — it’s about belief and climate change science communication. It has nothing to do with the possibility that mitigation could be successful.

        You: “any success would likely result in the fall of those in power” — alright, you are sitting at (4.) on the scale, I hope not (5.) because it’s pointless to engage in a rational discussion with people in full panic (5.) or (1.).

        You: “Judith Curry’s uncertainty is a triple one”.

        I don’t think you understood my problem with the “deep uncertainty” argument. She uses the Knightian economic definitions of uncertainty. Consider an asteroid hurtling toward earth with a 25% chance of a direct hit that will kill millions of people (so not an extinction event). That would be an event with “statistical uncertainty” (Knightian risk) so a threat assessment is relatively straightforward. Climate change, as Dr. Curry as effectively argued, has “deep uncertainty”. My concern is that the deep uncertainty remains even if there were compelling evidence that the likelihood of billions of people dying was very high. It is such an effective argument that it cannot provide any help with establishing a useful threat assessment — unless you sit at (5.) on the spectrum, we need one. She constructed her argument so well that it is useless.

        The rest of your post appears to be an effort to provide science that refutes the AGW hypothesis. Oh dear, I guess you are at (5.) on the spectrum, so here’s where I back away slowly while saying “nice scientist … nice scientist”. There is a point where a scientific claim (such as claims about “the beneficial effects of increased CO2”) require us not just to question the methods of the IPCC, but to accept that it is a huge conspiracy. Who knows, maybe it is. But as I do my own personal climate change threat assessment, I certainly have to consider the likelihood that it isn’t.

        Maybe the question of the IPCC being a huge conspiracy is a “deep uncertainty” — whoa, head exploding emoji.

      • My scale is a response to this article

        Your scale is not useful. Positions 1 and 5 are illogical and irrational as there is clearly not immediate existential threat, and even if there was, panic is not an adequate response unless one has to attempt to outrun a predator.

        alright, you are sitting at (4.) on the scale

        I don’t fit your scale. I am not worried at all about climate and I don’t oppose the exploration of energy alternatives. Fossil fuels are by definition finite after all. Climate worries are just a fad of prosperous societies that will disappear as soon as we have more important worries or we simply tire of them, but some people will make a lot of money from them.

        My concern is that the deep uncertainty remains even if there were compelling evidence that the likelihood of billions of people dying was very high.

        Your statement is contradictory. “High likelihood” indicates in a way an assignment of probability, and that turns the Knightian uncertainty into Knightian risk, as long as the assignment is due to knowledge. Conceivably billions could die from climate change but it is more likely that they would do it from cooling than from warming, as 20,000 years ago the climate was a lot colder, and quite colder 300 years ago. Do you think we need a threat assessment and a risk assessment for climate cooling, and if not, why not?

        There is a point where a scientific claim … require us not just to question the methods of the IPCC, but to accept that it is a huge conspiracy.

        No conspiracy is required, just a little bit of “History of Science” knowledge, but not from the books that only mention successes. History of Science is full of wrong consensuses, from the stress as a cause of ulcers, to the “Clovis first” theory, or the phlogiston theory. Many of our great scientists had to fight (sometimes unsuccessfully) against the consensus of the day. Ignaz Semmelweis was ridiculed for insisting on doctors washing their hands before treating patients and died unrecognized. Alfred Wegener was ridiculed by geologist of his time and died in an expedition to Greenland decades before his hypothesis was recognized. Milutin Milankovitch waited 20 years to see his theory of glaciations being widely accepted only to be disregarded again, dying before definite proof was found that he was correct. In none of those cases a conspiracy was required. Human nature is all it takes.

        The CO2 hypothesis of climate change was developed in the late 19th century to try to explain glaciations. It was thoroughly beaten by the orbital theory. It has always been popular during periods of warming, like in the 1930s with Guy Callendar, or now, but it goes underground during periods of cooling like the 1960s-early 1970s. Most scientists are really simple people. If it is warming and CO2 is increasing they make a connection. If it is cooling and CO2 is increasing they have doubts about the connection. That’s no conspiracy. Besides over 97% of the scientists have not examined the evidence from different climate subfields in a comprehensive way. They are too busy for that. Particularly the paleoclimatology that is not so supportive of the CO2 hypothesis. Besides, who wants to spoil the party? They are being showered in money and attention and viciously attack any scientist that steps out. No conspiracy required. After all if they are wrong it doesn’t really matter, scientists have been wrong before many times. They were wrong about the ozone hole being human made and nobody took any scientist to the woodshed for it. There is no accountability in science.

      • Javier gets the big picture. It’s refreshing.

        Now take a look at the increase in water vapor (you do know that WV is a ghg, right?). WV has increased about twice what it would have if driven only by average global temperature increase. That demonstrates that warming follows WV increase, not the reverse. During 1988-2002 about 5 WV molecules were added for each CO2 molecule and each WV molecule is about 5 times as effective at absorb/emit as a CO2 molecule. Details are at http://globalclimatedrivers2.blogspot.com .

    • My personal needle points to a reworded version of 5.

      5. Adaptation only, no GHG mitigation! AGW exists but is beneficial. Our collective mitigation efforts are a waste and are already causing substantial harm to our economy. Further, they are reducing the benefits of global warming. Drop it already! + !!!!!

  56. In today’s GWPF newsletter:
    https://mailchi.mp/9331a14b404b/new-survey-half-of-britons-and-most-europeans-are-climate-sceptics-175025

    Begin quote:

    New Survey: Half Of Britons (And Most Europeans) Are Climate Sceptics

    London, 16 September: An international opinion poll published today reveals that half of the UK population and most European citizens are sceptical about the conventional climate alarm.

    Despite blanket coverage of the antics of Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion on the BBC and elsewhere in the media, just 51% of Britons think that mankind is the main cause of climate change.

    And as the poll reveals, a majority of Europeans, including two thirds of Scandinavians, are dissenters from the climate “consensus”.

    According to GWPF director, Dr Benny Peiser, the general public is hard to fool:

    “The public can tell when they are on the receiving end of a hard sell. The more climate alarmists scream about emergencies, the more the mainstream media shut down any dissent, the less convinced the man in street will be.”

    And although the results have been met with incredulity, according to Dr Peiser, they merely confirm earlier polls, like the British Social Attitudes Survey, which also found that climate scepticism was thriving among the public.

    As Dr Peiser explains:

    “According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Britons are actually becoming happier and wealthier. When they are being told that there is a climate emergency, that they must tighten their belts and that nobody seriously disagrees, people naturally assume that they are being conned.”

    End quote

  57. Here are two questions for Steven Mosher concerning the scientific credibility of climate model runs which produce exceptionally high predictions of future warming; for example, 6C of warming, a figure which Mr. Mosher states above that he regards as credible.

    Question #1: What kinds of evaluation criteria should be applied when assessing the scientific credibility of a climate model run which produces 6C of future warming?

    Question #2: Will the basic list of evaluation criteria be different for a model run which produces only 2C of future warming, as opposed to a run which produces 6C of warming?

  58. Trump’s election brought the truth out of the Western academic complex. The climate alarm Leftists put the polar bear ahead of the horse, pledged allegiance to academia’s phony graphs and
    and helped facilitate the conscience-free treatment of the productive like beasts of burden to be ritually beaten and bled on the altar of their liberal Utopia.

  59. “That climate change is happening and that humanity is at least partly responsible is a view held by the majority across the world.”
    https://yougov.co.uk/topics/science/articles-reports/2019/09/15/international-poll-most-expect-feel-impact-climate

    Most people seem to base concern for climate change on the last extreme weather event. Unsophisticated but the GWPF is still on a hiding to nothing.

    ‘Observational climate sensitivity’ is based on crude assumptions that all 20th century warming was anthropogenic , that the climate response is linear and that nothing else will happen. The math is simplistic and the results unpersuasive. Easy enough to do but not something a sophisticated practitioner should put her name to.

    Opportunistic ensembles – such as the CMIP – have their own limitations. Initial values are not known with great precision and this creates the potential for a family of feasible solutions that diverge exponentially – and not a single deterministic solution that can be rationally compared to other single solutions from other models. And as well – these models miss sometimes extreme internal variability – something so widely known it can be regarded as common knowledge. It results from a lack of domain knowledge. While clearly there is internal variability in the modern era – quantifying it has proved more problematic.

    There is deep uncertainty about past climate and profound limitations in tools to predict the future. We may be a long way from understanding the dynamical complexities of the system. Many unsophisticated observers are unaware that the system is chaotic – or what that means. Others are too busy looking for keys under the lamp post.

    If surface warming continued at the rate seen in the 20th century there wouldn’t be much of a problem. I’d suggest alarmists focus on tipping points instead. But the scientifically unsophisticated public creates a problem for skeptics. I’d suggest they focus on pragmatic responses to anthropogenic pressures on the dynamic Earth system.

  60. From the article…”I’m told that a denialist is someone who espouses a view that flies in the face of a recognized scientific consensus.”.

    *****
    You don’t need to be told what denial means, it’s obvious. Either you deny something or you don’t. The question is, what is it you are denying? I thought your essay missed that point.

    In fact, you cannot be a good denier unless you have a strong belief system in place. I can joke that the Earth is flat, but it takes a true believer to claim it is flat. You covered belief in your essay so I presume you understand that belief and science do not go hand in hand. I take it then that the rest of your essay is a practice in witticisms.

    The denial in climate denier, or global warming denier, has nothing to do with a scientific consensus per se. It is more a denial of a religious-type belief. It’s akin to claiming there is no God and being called a denier by those who believe there is a God.

    This is a case of the cart being placed before the horse. The AGW theory has never been proved, probably because there is no way to prove that a trace gas in the atmosphere has the capacity to affect the temperature of the rest of the atmosphere. When you look at pseudo-proofs related to the warming effect of CO2, none of them have followed the scientific method therefore none can be replicated,

    A simple test, like mentally applying the Ideal Gas Law to the atmosphere, as a relatively constant volume, shows clearly that as a gas in a mixed gas, CO2, at 0.04% of the atmosphere could not possibly supply more than its mass percent as a heating effect.

    Why don’t we hear alarmist scientists speaking of the IGL, or other science that can refute AGW? Why has AGW become the de facto paradigm when there is not an iota of proof for it other than nonsense programmed into climate models?

    Before you can be a denier, you must understand what it is you are denying. Either that or be a faith-based fool.

    Alarmist scientists are not interested in scientific proofs, or disproofs, they are only interested in maintaining their religious-type beliefs.

    The question is: why?

    Why did James Hansen, then head of NASA GIS, push his religion to the point of being arrested for protesting the Keystone pipeline?

    • Gordon Robertson: You don’t need to be told what denial means, it’s obvious. Either you deny something or you don’t. The question is, what is it you are denying? I thought your essay missed that point.

      I think you are missing the point that “denialist” is a social construct, only loosely related to any actual definitions of propositions or denials.

      • Gordon Robertson

        Matthew…”I think you are missing the point that “denialist” is a social construct, only loosely related to any actual definitions of propositions or denials”.

        I get that, Matthew, but thanks for pointing it out anyway. The word denialist, or the phrase climate denier, is thrown around without an intelligent basis and thrust on so-called deniers out of sheer emotion. It is ultimately political-correctness.

        The point in my reply to the author was that he has a desire to be a denier, and he found AGW a good forum for his denial. I commented that perhaps he was trying to be witty because i saw no other point in his essay. At the same time, even though he merely wants to be a denier, I commented with regard to AGW, that he should have something to deny.

        So, I laid him out some facts to deny. My intention was not to enlighten other bloggers on the meaning of denial. There are times, however, when one should define what they are talking about so readers have a basis for comparison.

    • Gordon Robertson: A simple test, like mentally applying the Ideal Gas Law to the atmosphere, as a relatively constant volume, shows clearly that as a gas in a mixed gas, CO2, at 0.04% of the atmosphere could not possibly supply more than its mass percent as a heating effect.

      Why do you say that? O2 and N2 are completely transparent to LWIR corresponding to the radiation temperature of Earth, but H2O and CO2 are tuned to that spectrum of light. The entire “heating” effect comes from broad spectrum sunlight; H2O and CO2 affect the rate of cooling of the Earth by absorbing the LWIR and warming the N2 and O2. The effect of the water vapor is more obvious, as it damps the oscillation between warm days and cool nights experienced in dry regions.

      That’s the AGW hypothesis, for which you mass fraction argument is irrelevant.

      • Gordon Robertson

        “Why do you say that? O2 and N2 are completely transparent to LWIR corresponding to the radiation temperature of Earth, but H2O and CO2 are tuned to that spectrum of ligh”t.

        The Ideal Gas Law is not about radiation, it’s about the properties of a gas, in this case a mixed gas. The temperature of a gas in the atmosphere has little to do with radiation and everything to do with the 99% of the atmosphere made up of N2 and O2. Both of the latter pick up their heat at the surface via conduction and evaporation, where the heated air rises.

        AGW is trying to tell us that the atmosphere is heated by trace gases. That conflicts with the Ideal Gas Law which pretty well states, for a constant volume, that temperature is directly proportional to pressure.

        One part of the IGL is Dalton’s Law of Partial Pressures. It states basically that the total pressure of a mixed gas is the sum of the partial pressures of each constituent gas. If temperature is proportional to pressure, it stands to reason that the heat contributed to the entire atmospheric gas mass is proportional to each partial pressure, which is proportional to its mass percent.

        The mass percent of CO2 is roughly 0.04% whereas the combined mass percent of N2/O2 is about 99%. That suggests to me that N2/O2 is supplying 99% of the heat whereas CO2 is supplying about 0.04%.

        It’s true that CO2 and WV can warm due to radiation from the surface but no one has ever shown how much surface radiation they absorb and how much of it contributes to atmospheric warming. I would think that is limited by the IGL. Furthermore, any radiation CO2 and WV receive is dependent on the inverse square law. R. W. Wood claimed surface radiation would be insignificant beyond a few feet above the surface.

        I am well aware of the meteorological explanations re lapse rate etc., but I think far too much is made out of lapse rate. For one, it does not explain why the air pressure at the top of Mt. Everest, near 30,000 feet is 1/3 the air pressure at sea level. It just so happens the temperature at that altitude is proportionately lower. Lapse rate theory claims the temperature is lower because rising, warmer air masses cool as they expand. I think that theory has completely missed the reality.

        If you look at the graph of lapse rate, it is linear between temperature and pressure (altitude) right through the troposphere. I don’t think that’s due to the mysterious adiabatic conditions, it think it’s explained better by the IGL.

        WV and CO2 are tuned to a tiny portion of the electromagnetic energy spectrum in the IR band. To me, light is the visible portion, in which most of solar energy resides. BTW, 52% of solar energy is in the IR band but that portion is above the IR portion where terrestrial radiation is measured.

        I think a lot of good science has been ignored by focusing on radiation rather than examining all gases and how they control heat in the atmosphere. R. W. Wood, an expert on the radiation of gases like CO2 opined that CO2 could not warm the atmosphere. He thought a better explanation was the one I described wherein N2/O2 gathers heat at the surface and rises.

        Wood added that because the atmosphere is a poor radiator, despite its CO2/WV content, it holds onto its heat, hence a better explanation of the greenhouse effect and AGW.

  61. Robert I Ellison: There is deep uncertainty about past climate and profound limitations in tools to predict the future. We may be a long way from understanding the dynamical complexities of the system. Many unsophisticated observers are unaware that the system is chaotic – or what that means. Others are too busy looking for keys under the lamp post.

    If surface warming continued at the rate seen in the 20th century there wouldn’t be much of a problem. I’d suggest alarmists focus on tipping points instead. But the scientifically unsophisticated public creates a problem for skeptics. I’d suggest they focus on pragmatic responses to anthropogenic pressures on the dynamic Earth system.

    That fits in well with praising Mother and Apple Pie. I would suggest that a pragmatic approach to anthropogenic CO2 would be to measure it but not intervene in its production, except where useful to increase electric power output or transport. Since future tipping points are not known, it will be hard to “focus” on them, except as hypotheticals: e.g., suppose the overall warming rate of the 20th century were to be doubled after the atmospheric CO2 concentration reached 500 ppm; that’s reasonably well-formulated so that it could probably be tested about 50 years after the achievement of the 500 ppm tipping point.

    • Pick one. Tipping points happen in many Earth subsystems. Every 20 to 30 years in the Pacific Ocean state. We should expect them to keep happening – albeit unpredictably and maybe in response to greenhouse gas and aerosol emissions. Avoiding unpleasant surprises is about reducing pressures on systems – something far from beyond human capacities.


      https://www.stockholmresilience.org/research/planetary-boundaries/planetary-boundaries/about-the-research/the-nine-planetary-boundaries.html

      There are ways to a bright future for the planet, its peoples and its wild places – but these need to be scientifically designed in a broad context of economics and democracy, population, development, technical innovation, land use and the environment. The real ‘grand challenges’ for humanity this century. Food security through soils restoration, reclaiming desert, restoring woodland, savanna and wetlands. And small, modular nuclear power in the very near future.

      Many people have suggested a multi-gas and aerosol strategy – carbon dioxide. CFC’s, nitrous oxides, methane, black carbon and sulfate. With ongoing decreases in carbon intensity and increases in efficiency and productivity. And technical innovation across sectors – energy, transport, industry, residential and agriculture and forestry.

      JC SNIP

      • Tipping points are observed in many biological and physical systems. In climate they are caused by an internal dynamic driving changes in ice, cloud, dust, biology, ocean and atmospheric circulation, water vapor…

        At decadal scales.

        And over eons.

        https://history.aip.org/climate/rapid.htm

        JC SNIP

      • Gordon Robertson

        robert…”Tipping points are observed in many biological and physical systems”.

        Maybe if you used the proper scientific term I might be able to understand what you are talking about. A tipping point, as far as I understand, is a slang representing the end result of a positive feedback.

        Another way of putting this is as follows. All feedbacks in biological and physical systems are negative. There is no such thing as creating energy with a feedback that exceeds the initial energy of a system. Unless there is amplification, using an amplifying device, there is no positive feedback.

        Even with PF in an electronic amplifier system, the required new energy is supplied by the power supply. Energy magically appearing from nowhere would constitute perpetual motion.

        It was explained to me that a positive feedback in climate science is regarded as a not-so-negative, negative feedback. Transferring an energy, such as heat, to increase the energy level of a system, at the expense of another system, is not a result of positive feedback. With PF, heat must be created, using an amplifier. As far as I know, there is no such amplifier.

      • Robert I Ellison: Tipping points happen in many Earth subsystems. Every 20 to 30 years in the Pacific Ocean state.

        For you, the peaks and troughs of natural oscillations qualify as tipping points, as though the peaks and troughs of sine curves demarcated tipping points. That’s not to say tipping points can’t exist, only that evidence sufficient to discriminate a tipping point from an oscillation has never been presented.

        I did present a possible example a while ago, a model of switching regimes between stable oscillators driven by periodic and random forcing. It is hard to draw much of a conclusion from such a short sequence of such hypothetical switches, but the model demonstrates the possibility.

        But, to rephrase what I wrote, show us in advance how to recognize one, and we can perhaps focus on whether it occurs or not. Maybe the beginning and end of the pause were tipping points.

      • What Matthew did was link a paper that suggested that stochastic resonance – analogous to something that occurs in electronic circuits – might suggest a mechanism. I read it years ago.

        What I said was that the shift in physical state of atmospheric and ocean circulation over much of the tropical and subtropical Pacific was “a phase transition, a bifurcation, a catastrophe (in the sense of René Thom) or a tipping point.” Didier Sornette – Dragon-Kings, Black Swans and the Prediction of Crises

        The distinction between climate shifts, chaotic oscillations, state shifts, etc are purely semantic. They are ways of putting into words an underlying physical reality of shifts in patterns of ocean and atmospheric circulation. What they don’t understand is that weather and climate are problems in fluid dynamics in a real physical system with real data and not some discombobulated application of inapplicable temporal chaos theory to spatio-temporal chaos in a system the size and complexity of the Earth system.

        Next Matthew will tell me the descriptors are not semantically equivalent in the climate system – but have unspecified but distinct definitions in chaos theory. In a theory where chaos is identified by precisely this behavior – it is complete rubbish. In a system the size and complexity of the Earth system – it is a mad hubris.

        You see we have had this discussion and any further discussion on this – or anything much else – with Matthew (or indeed Gordon) is a massively futile trafficking in ideas way over his head. Next he will tell me that I am using these terms sloppily – and that I am confused – in his passive/aggressive way.

        “We construct a network of observed climate indices in the period 1900–2000 and investigate their collective behavior. The results indicate that this network synchronized several times in this period. We find that in those cases where the synchronous state was followed by a steady increase in the coupling strength between the indices, the synchronous state was destroyed, after which a new climate state emerged. These shifts are associated with significant changes in global temperature trend and in ENSO variability. The latest such event is known as the great climate shift of the 1970s.” https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2007GL030288

        Climate has of course shifted again in 1998/2001 – with another change in surface temperature trajectory – the hiatus – resulting from cloud feedback in the upwelling region of the Pacific Ocean. It’s just the energy dynamic in a non-equilibrium system stupid.

        From observation.

        https://www.mdpi.com/2225-1154/6/3/62

        And from theory.

        https://aip.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/1.4973593

        JC SNIP

      • Gordon Robertson

        Robert…”You see we have had this discussion and any further discussion on this – or anything much else – with Matthew (or indeed Gordon) is a massively futile trafficking in ideas way over his head”.

        After reading this portion of your reply I am getting a feel for what you are on about. Oscillations in the oceans do not lead to tipping points like a runaway feedback. Oscillations re-distribute existing heat and do not create new heat or amplify heat.

        Tsonis et al concluded after study oscillations over a century that when the oscillations are in phase they cause warming. When out of phase, they cause cooling.

        You mentioned the great climate shift of 19977 which was later discovered to be the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. There was an unexplained 0.2C rise in the global average which some scientists wanted to discard as an error.

        I have pointed out the nearly 0.2C shift of 2001 only to have people claim it is not a shift. However, before the 1998 El Nino, the UAH trend was mainly below the baseline then post 1998 EN, it dipped briefly then suddenly jumped 0.2C and flattened out for 18 years.

        I don’t pretend to understand any of this, the only conclusion I can reach is a guess that something is going on related to warming that no one understands. AGW does not begin to explain the 1977 rise of 0.2C or the rise I claim of 2001. If I am right, there is 0.4C of last century’s warming unaccounted for.

        My point re tipping points is that heat must be created from somewhere other than solar energy. That would require a heat amplifier, and I know of no such device.

        I think we are in the middle of cyclic change which is redistributing heat. We are also likely still recovering from the Little Ice Age, where global temperatures were deemed to have dipped 1C to 2C globally.

        The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation is a long term oscillation, and coupled with the PDO, ENSO, the AO, and other oscillation may be causing Arctic warming and the mystery jumps in temperature.

        If that’s the case, it should all reverse sometime in the future. I am putting my money on that scenario.

      • Tsonis et al used a network model to evaluate synchronous chaos in the Earth system. These are associated with shifts in the Pacific state and cloud cover anti-correlated with SST. Something better defined as the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation. This is all in the science linked and discussion above.

        The 1976/77 climate shift and subsequent warming of both oceans and atmosphere – was caused by less marine stratocumulus over the eastern Pacific and a lower domain albedo. What triggered the shift may be as subtle as solar magnetic variability in the Hale Cycle. But the sub-system shifts aperiodically at many scales over millennia at least and is by no means cyclic.

        The system will shift again with potential for regional changes in surface temperature of some 20 degrees C in as little as a decade. And as I say above reducing risk is limited to reducing anthropogenic pressures on physical, hydrological and biological systems. The best response is to find pragmatic ways of doing so – again as I discuss above.

      • Gordon Robertson referred to control systems theory, where ” sample of the output signal in an amplifier fed back to the input so the feedback signal is in phase with the input signal.” A good example is the NE555 comparator, where when the trip point is reached there is abrupt change in condition. The same event occurs in the old steam engine where at the end of the piston travel, the valve is triggered to reverse the action. So is the steam hammer; when it reaches the end of the slow upward stroke the reverse action is triggered in an abrupt an cataclysmic fashion to whatever happens to be on the anvil under the hammer.

        The trigger signal, in control theory, is a step input. The import of this point is that such a step input has been perceived to have taken place in earth dynamics. Contrary to current belief a step input changing earth tilt from a low value to what it is today occurred circa 2345bce. Applying control theory the step input caused an overshoot. Its decay in an exponential mode was evidenced in the actual readings of obliquity from as far back as 1100bce. The discrepancy in measurements from what has been theorised (by Stockwell, Newcomb, Lieske and Wittmann) to actual, is quite clear. This was done originally by G Dodwell back in 1936. Precisely that change is recorded in a megalithic calendar built around 2900bce to an obliquity of ~14.5deg.

        GR says “A tipping point, as far as I understand, is a slang representing the end result of a positive feedback.”. Which is effectively entering then into a whole new dynamic.

      • Robert I Ellison: The distinction between climate shifts, chaotic oscillations, state shifts, etc are purely semantic.

        There is no point to having detailed definitions and theorems, eh? Everything is everything else.

        Another word I used besides “sloppy” is “gobbledegook” — but am I being “passive aggressive”? That, too, is a matter of “semantics”, and I might be schizoid or autistic instead. WebHubTelescope brought in Dunning-Krueger syndrome as well (ironically, without his ever having studied reliability of trait assessments)..

      • Matthew asserts that there is a useful distinction to be made in descriptors used in the literature on Earth system dynamics for deterministic chaotic shifts in patterns of ocean and atmospheric circulation in the physical system. But cannot of course demonstrate one.

        His problem – well one at least – involves too much word salad and too little geophysics.

      • Robert I Ellison: Matthew asserts that there is a useful distinction to be made in descriptors used in the literature on Earth system dynamics for deterministic chaotic shifts in patterns of ocean and atmospheric circulation in the physical system.

        It is always a pleasure to look forward to and then to read your comments.

  62. The climate as a political issue about justice. Activists like AOC will tell you that. It’s a climate justice movement. Scientists are the courtroom hired expert witnesses.The criminally liable entity is envisioned by most of them as a white Christian male, about the age and image of the surviving Koch brother. Man caused climate change follows a bilabial folly of the decadent and arrogant intrusion onto the natural order, beginning somewhere between Columbus’s discovery of a new land for Spain and the current day insurance executive.

    In contrast, when I was in fourth grade and the classroom news of the day included inevitable return of the ice age in a relatively short but unknown time frame. This envisioned years with year-round snows north of Washington DC and gradual glacial obliteration. There was no call to action, no contemplation of an international body to study problem. Only school children and a handful of scientists even cared. The natural climate was out of bounds of humankind’s responsibility. Adaptation was assumed.

    I think this is what deniers call a “no regrets” posture. I think the activists who really care to change minds do a terrible disservice to their own cause by attaking the individuals they need to enlist. Nobody denies that humankind has huge challenges ahead, including better adaptation to the current climate.

  63. robert…”Tipping points happen in many Earth subsystems”.

    The kind of catastrophic tipping point inferred by James Hansen is a reference to a runaway greenhouse effect. In physics, it’s called a positive feedback. That term is often applied incorrectly in climate science.

    In control system theory, there is one definition of positive feedback. In servo systems, a positive feedback is a positive voltage fed back to an error sampler to tell the direction in which a load is moving. That kind of PF is not related to runaway positive feedback as in a tipping point.

    The other definition is that of a sample of the output signal in an amplifier fed back to the input so the feedback signal is in phase with the input signal. The two signals add at the input, are amplified, then the amplified signal is fed back again to the input. During each iteration, the output signal increases, theoretically without bounds. Of course, in an electronic amplifier, the output level is controlled by the ability of the power supply to deliver current.

    There is no such feedback available in the atmosphere for the simple reason that no gain device exists in the atmosphere. Gavin Schmidt of NASA GISS has incorrectly defined positive feedback as causing an amplification (gain). That is simply not possible since PF is only a small signal fed back in an amplifier circuit. The amplifier causes the amplification, not the feedback.

    You might be referring to an example like the destruction of the Tacoma Narrow Bridge by natural resonance. Wind blowing through the suspension cables caused them to vibrate in resonance with the bridge structure. Eventually, the entire bridge began moving in resonance with the fundamental frequency, leading to the collapse of the bridge.

    That could be described as a natural PF and there are certain resonant structures in nature that could lead to such a tipping point destruction. However, the PF described in AGW theory and modelling fails to explain how it works.They are presuming it and presuming incorrectly.

    AGW suggests positive feedback using back-radiation from CO2 in the atmosphere to the surface. The theory goes that CO2 can back-radiate ‘energy’ that is absorbed by the surface to warm it.

    Let’s back up a bit. The surface is radiating infrared energy in large amounts from every nook and cranny. When the surface radiates electromagnetic energy, it immediately cools, and that cooling represents a significantly massive loss of heat.

    I say significantly massive loss in comparison to the amount of CO2 available to absorb it. I have seen calculation that suggest CO2 can absorb no more than 5% of surface radiation, a figure I think may be excessive.

    Meantime, CO2, at 0.04% of the atmosphere absorbs a portion of this energy, radiates it isotropically and send a fraction of it back to the surface. That fraction is claimed to be absorbed, but how can it warm the surface if it first has to make up for the significantly greater energy loss, part of which was used to warm the CO2?

    I have not yet mentioned the contravention of the 2nd law of thermodynamics or the perpetual motion suggested by the recycling of heat from the surface so as to raise its temperature.

    • “The theory goes that CO2 can back-radiate ‘energy’ that is absorbed by the surface to warm it.”

      The theory is quite simply that CO2 and any radiative gas will impede the cooling of a planet. There are a couple of ways to explore the physics of this. One is back radiation. The other is the rising of the effective height at which the atmosphere radiates as much outgoing as back down. The higher this elevation the lower the temperature the outgoing radiation’s black body profile, and thus the lower the energy able to be expelled.

      Gordon, I am far from a defender of what the activist and leftwing media have done to science. But I think most at this site, even the ones who have come with a very skeptical view, have come to accept the validity of the radiative physics portion of the enhanced greenhouse effect, the Plank Effect portion, which is calculated to produce approximately 1.1C in global mean surface temperature with each doubling atmospheric CO2 upon the new equilibrium. The oceans take many decades to warm thus about 1/3 of the warming is delayed for several hundred years. These two numbers are the difference between Transient Climate Response TCR and Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity ECS or just CS.

      The feedbacks are real also. However, there is much more uncertainty there than and a lot of tricks (tuning) that can be done to show warming. One favorite is to exaggerate the cooling factor of aerosols from both natural and anthropogenic. This allows an offset to exaggerated warming in hindcasts. BTW, models do not forecast volcanic cooling events but they model them with vigor in hindcasts.

      Gordon, I don’t know how long you have been following this site but you are always welcome as well as your ideas and your corrections to mine. This is the right site for a robust and mostly civil discussion on climate (etc.).

      • Gordon Robertson

        Ron…”The theory is quite simply that CO2 and any radiative gas will impede the cooling of a planet. There are a couple of ways to explore the physics of this. One is back radiation. The other is the rising of the effective height at which the atmosphere radiates as much outgoing as back down….”

        Thanks for your words about the site. I’ll try to lay out where I am coming from.

        Sorry for the length of this, I have been working on this for years and it involves different disciplines. On face value, it does not make as much sense as when evidence from different disciplines is included. Unfortunately, the explanation gets lengthy.

        I don’t take myself seriously and I have no beliefs. I would be delighted if someone could prove me wrong using good science. Unfortunately, I tend to meet authority figures who try to tell me I am wrong without the proof. I am a student of science and as such I am open to insight. At the same time, I am a Scotsman who is prone to the canniness and stubbornness of the race.

        I should add that I have studied electrical engineering at university and I have worked in the electrical, electronics, and computer fields for decades. I have an intimate understanding of electrons and their relationship to atomic nucleii. Not at the level of a nuclear physicist but at the level of someone who has applied the theory in many different ways.

        When I talk about positive feedback and how it requires an amplifier, I certainly know what I’m talking about. I know for a fact there are no positive feedbacks in the atmosphere. It’s simple, there are no heat amplifiers.

        I have been approaching the problem from a POV of physics, not the popular paradigm. In fact, I was drawn to the debate by the iconic IPCC statement that it is 90% likely humans are causing global warming. That raised my curiosity as to how anyone could offer such an opinion with such a high confidence level.

        I am no fan of opinion polls for the same reason. Having studied probability and statistics as an engineering student I learned that rules exist to govern a sample size. It was unheard of for me to hear that an opinion could command a 90% confidence level.

        I have argued this point before about GHGs slowing heat dissipation at the surface. I have found people who make that claim are confusing blackbody theory, the Stefan-Boltzmann equation, and the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Not only that, they are confusing heat with electromagnetic energy.

        Some have even claimed heat does not exist, that it is nothing more than a mode of energy transfer. The first question that occurred to me is what energy is heat supposed to transfer? Is it not thermal energy? So heat becomes a mode for transferring heat.

        There is no other energy that could be transferred in the context of heat transfer. Some are confusing kinetic energy with a form of energy which it is not. Kinetic energy is simply energy in motion….any energy in motion. It is necessary at times to specify the kind of energy in motion.

        In the case of heat, the energy is thermal energy. Clausius defined heat as the kinetic energy of atoms and that’s all it can be. He laid out a compelling argument, relating heat to work in atoms, and it must have been compelling because his definition of internal energy is the U in the 1st law.

        To understand the 2nd law better, and entropy, I went to the source, Rudolf Clausius. He has written excellent books on the mechanical theory of heat and he explains it all in words as well as with equations. Unlike some modern scientists who present only a set of equations as proof, Clausius explained heat and heat transfer in words.

        He explained his development of the 2nd law with the use of heat engines, using temperature, pressure, and volume. Until someone can do better and prove him wrong I’ll go with the Clausius definition of heat, entropy, and the 2nd law..

        With regard to the 2nd law, Clausius explained it in words. He said, heat can NEVER be transferred BY ITS OWN MEANS from a colder body to a warmer body. There are people arguing that his law can be modified to allow heat to be transferred in the opposite direction based on a mysterious net energy balance and freely interchanging electromagnetic energy with thermal energy.

        Until proved differently, I take the definition of the 2nd law from Clausius, the scientist who wrote the law. Based on his law, it is not possible to transfer heat from a cooler GHGs in the atmosphere to a warmer surface that allegedly warmed the GHGs in the first place.

        I don’t know why this bothers certain people so much. If AGW or the GHE contradicts the 2nd law, get over it. Find an explanation that does not. It’s not good enough to modify the law of an icon in thermodynamics to satisfy a theory.

        The 2nd law contradiction is not the only problem with the GHE. The theory that the glass in a greenhouse traps infrared energy is wrong. It was disporved by R. W. Wood who did an experiment to prove it is the lack of convection in a greenhouse that causes the warming.

        Wood was not your run of the mill experimenter, he was an authority on the radiation of gases. He was consulted by Neils Bohr on the radiation spectrum of sodium vapour. Wood claimed CO2 could not warm the atmosphere via radiation, adding an aside, that due to the inverse square law, surface radiation would become insignificant over a few feet.

        He thought a better explanation was that all gases in the atmosphere absorb heat by conduction at the surface. The heated air rises, but the atmosphere, being a poor conductor and a poor radiator, tends to hang onto its heat.

        There’s your GHE bundled and wrapped by an expert on gases and their radiation.

        Heat transfer from cooler GHGs to a warmer surface not only contradicts the 2nd law it is perpetual motion. It is not possible to recycle heat surface-to-atmosphere and back to realize an increase in heat of the surface. In fact, it makes no sense.

        The notion that GHGs can slow heat dissipation at the surface contradicts the Stefan-Boltzmann equation. Again, I went to the source…Stefan. He got his T^4 relationship between the temperature of a body and the intensity of the EM radiated from an experiment by Tyndall.

        Tyndall heated a platinum wire electrically till it glowed. As he increased the current, the coiours changed as per BB radiation (colour temperature), and he suggested a ratio of radiation to temperature. Someone else took his data and equated the actual temperature to a body emitting such a colour. Stefan took it further, calculating the T^4 relationship between the temperature of a body and the intensity of the radiation emitted.

        Please note that the temperature range of Tyndall’s experiment ranged from about 700C to about 1400C. The platinum filament was radiating to a much cooler environment therefore the 2nd law was not contradicted. There is no proof that the process can be reversed.

        Radiation can be equated to heat dissipation at the emitting surface through a modification of the S-B equation. The source is here:

        https://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/radiation-heat-transfer-d_431.html

        Look under Net Radiation Loss Rate…

        “If an hot object is radiating energy to its cooler surroundings the net radiation heat loss rate can be expressed as…

        q = e.sigma.Ah(Th^4 – Tc^4)

        Note the confusion between radiation loss and heat loss. The heat loss is in the atoms of the radiating body. The radiation, as a physical entity, has nothing to do with that heat of the body. which is lost when the radiation occurs.

        Essentially, heat is CONVERTED to EM. The equation’s LHS is q, the symbol for heat. What the equation tells us is that the rate of heat loss is dependent on the temperature of the body and the temperature of it’s surroundings.

        I said EM has nothing to do with the heat lost in the body. I mean only as a form of energy. Like the equivalence between heat and work, there must be a quantitative relationship between heat and the EM emitted. However, it needs to be clear that EM is not heat moving through space.

        The 2nd law is about heat, not EM, or any other kind of energy. Heat quantities can be summed but EM and heat cannot be summed. It is wrong to claim that EM from a cooler body can cause the amount of heat in a hotter body to increase.

        Physics does not work that way. Water cannot, by its own means, flow uphill. A boulder cannot, by its own means, raise itself onto a cliff. Free electrons cannot, by their own means, flow from a lower potential to a higher potential. Heat cannot, by it’s own means, be transferred from a lower energy (cooler body) to a higher energy (hotter body).

        There is nothing in the equation above to suggest that CO2 can influence heat dissipation at the surface. In fact, Tc = Tcold = the temperature of the cold surroundings. That has to be a reference to the temperature of the entire atmosphere if Th = the temperature of the surface. In that case, Tc is due to nitrogen and oxygen, which makes up 99% of the atmosphere, not a trace gas like CO2 or water vapour.

        Some modernists have modified S-B to allow a heat transfer from a colder body to a warmer body by simply modifying S-B to allow it. Some engineering texts are guilty of that but they don’t include practical examples of how it can be done. They are essentially doing thought-experiments based on math with no experiments or evidence to back the presumption.

        When the same texts include radiative transfer in their examples they always present it as a heat transfer from hot to cold. That’s because the example also includes conduction and/or convection, as one might expect in reality. Conduction must be from a hotter body to a cooler body, (or hotter region to a cooler region within a body) and that applies to convection as well. Why should heat transfer by radiation differ?

        S-B satisfies the 2nd law when a body of 700C radiates to a cooler environment. The reverse is not true and it is a misunderstanding based on blackbody theory.

        When Kircheoff introduced BB theory, he did so at thermal equilibrium only. Over the years, it was claimed that a BB can absorb all frequencies of EM it encounters and that has lead to the belief by some that two BBs of different temperature must be able to transfer heat in both directions.

        It’s not true. Heat can never be transferred by its own means from a colder body to a warmer body.

        Quantum theory suggests why. EM is radiated and absorbed by electrons in atoms. When an electron drops from a higher energy orbital to a lower orbital it radiates a quantum of EM with intensity E = hf.

        That value is critical, In order for the electron to rise to a higher energy level, it must absorb EM with the proper intensity and frequency. Neither is available from the EM from a cooler body.

        The changes of energy levels are equivalent to changes in kinetic energy of the electron, and heat is that kinetic energy. It makes sense. If a body emits EM it cools and if it absorbs EM it warms.

        It is vital to note that when a body emits EM, heat is lost. EM is not heat and that is another mistake made with the modern theories like AGW. There is a presumption today that EM and heat are one and the same energy. They are completely different forms of energy with different properties.

        Heat requires mass, heat cannot travel through a mass-less environment like a vacuum. EM is an electric field perpendicular to a magnetic field. It has no mass, and it is no coincidence that the electron which emits EM has an electric field and a magnetic field.

        When the surface emits EM it cools. It emits far more EM than the trace gas CO2 can absorb. I have seen figures that suggest CO2 cannot absorb more than 5% of surface radiation. Where then does CO2 get the means to back-radiate enough energy to do anything?

        .

      • Until proved differently, I take the definition of the 2nd law from Clausius, the scientist who wrote the law. Based on his law, it is not possible to transfer heat from a cooler GHGs in the atmosphere to a warmer surface that allegedly warmed the GHGs in the first place.

        I don’t know why this bothers certain people so much. If AGW or the GHE contradicts the 2nd law, get over it. Find an explanation that does not. It’s not good enough to modify the law of an icon in thermodynamics to satisfy a theory.

        Nobody’s actually claiming that it is possible to transfer heat from a cooler GHGs in the atmosphere to a warmer surface that allegedly warmed the GHGs in the first place. In reality, the claim is that the cooling of the earth is slowed so that it results in a warmer surface temp than otherwise would be without GHGs. All one needs do is observe night time surface cooling. The earth still cools at night even with the presence of GHGs. (thus no violation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics)…

      • The global first order differential energy equation can be written as the change in heat in oceans is approximately equal to energy in less energy out at the top of the atmosphere (TOA) – where all energy is electromagnetic.

        Δ(ocean heat) ≈ Ein – Eout

        Heat in oceans – and in the atmosphere – is a measure of the kinetic energy of molecules excited by photons – photons being the original quantum of energy. The planet can only warm or cool if there is a (transient) power flux inequality at TOA – by the 1st law of thermodynamics. Energy out is overwhelmingly as reflected shortwave or emitted infrared. How that changes is the bottom line.

        But the idea of a violation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics is one that I haven’t heard for a decade or more. It is based on a interpretation that requires that the emitting body know what the temperature of the receiving body is. Occam’s razor suggests that a statistical quantum mechanical interpretation is more likely. Warm bodies emit more photons than cooler with a net flow of energy from warmer to cooler.

      • There are people arguing that his law can be modified to allow heat to be transferred in the opposite direction based on a mysterious net energy balance…

        For Gordon, net flow is too mysterious. Maxwell’s Demon was predicated on the principle that not all molecules have the same amount of kinetic energy. Warmer on average have more, cooler on average have less. So, it’s not inconceivable that a cooler substance could have some faster molecules than a warmer substance. In those specific cases, the kinetic energy from a cooler substance could be transfered to a warmer substance. (maxwell’s demon sat with a door between two substances of differing temperatures only to let the faster molecules of the cool and the slower molecules of the warm through his door thus violating the 2nd law of thermodynamics)…

      • Maxwell speed distribution and the The Maxwell-Boltzmann energy distribution.

        http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/Kinetic/kintem.html
        http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/quantum/disfcn.html#c2

        Air molecules have both kinetic energy and internal energy states associated with electron orbits. Which state changes when hit by a packet of energy (photon) may be susceptible to quantum uncertainty. Photon absorption or emission results in or from a quantum jump in electron orbits.

        Demonic details indeed.

      • Gordon Robertson

        afonzarelli…”Nobody’s actually claiming that it is possible to transfer heat from a cooler GHGs in the atmosphere to a warmer surface that allegedly warmed the GHGs in the first place. In reality, the claim is that the cooling of the earth is slowed so that it results in a warmer surface temp than otherwise would be without GHGs”.

        ****

        I covered both situations in my verbose reply. Actually, there are two versions of AGW, the one about GHGs slowing surface radiation, aka heat trapping, and the other about back-radiation being absorbed by the surface so as to increase its temperature.

        In his book on atmospheric radiation, physicist/meteorologist, Craig Bohren, referred to the first as a metaphor at best, and at worst, plain silly. I go for plain silly. How can a trace gas accounting for 0.04% of the atmosphere, possibly control the rate of heat dissipation at the surface?

        Those favouring this edition of AGW fail to explain how it works. It contradicts the Stefan-Boltzmann equation on which it is based. There are no provisions in S-B for a trace gas affecting the rate of emission from the surface. The only way that can happen is if the entire atmosphere acts as the environment into which the surface is radiating.

        Bohren also mentioned the back-radiation form of AGW. He regarded that as nothing more than a theory.

        The contradiction of the 2nd law is in the transfer of heat from a cooler atmosphere to a warmer surface during the day. Heat cannot be transferred from any cooler region, by its own means, to a warmer region.

        We all know that heat can be forced to move from cold to hot by the use of gases, compressors, and external power to drive the compressors. On it’s own, heat cannot be transferred from cold to hot.

        The atmosphere, at best, is in thermal equilibrium with the surface. There are local inversions, of course, but hopefully we can ignore those. The atmosphere’s temperature moves from that state of TE with altitude to cooler temperatures. At 30,000 feet, atmospheric pressure has dropped to 1/3rd sea level pressure and temperature drops to below 0C.

        There’s no way heat can be transferred from a sub-zero gas to a surface with an average temperature of +15C. I don’t think heat can be transferred from a gas at +14C to a surface at +15C.

      • Gordon: “Note the confusion between radiation loss and heat loss. The heat loss is in the atoms of the radiating body. The radiation, as a physical entity, has nothing to do with that heat of the body. which is lost when the radiation occurs.”

        I agree that heat is only a factor in the discussion when it comes to the oceans finite heat capacity as it strives to reach an equilibrium temperature at which a planetary radiative steady state is maintained.

        Radiation has everything to do with temperature.

        Clearly, you have put a lot into your analysis, and I tried to follow to find the flaw that must be there since it’s quite simply a matter of the Earth being a isolated body in space trying to remain in a radiative steady state with the constant bombardment of sunlight. The surface warming property of greenhouse gas like CO2 is due to its impeding of longwave radiation (specifically CO2’s 15 micron band), which is in the heart of the black body emission profile at average Earth surface temperatures. As the CO2 concentration increases the atmosphere approaches a saturation of opacity in this 15 micron band, which is why the warming effect diminishes. (But at our current 411ppm CO2 is not near its saturation at 15u in our atmosphere according to the best labs.)

        What do you disagree with here, Gordon?

      • Emitted photons from a quantum decay in electron orbits do indeed travel in random directions. Including down.

        It results in an increase in mean free photon paths – more energy in the atmosphere – ans an increase in photon scattering that can be seen from space in snapshots taken at different times through narrow apertures.

        A classically elegant test of the hypothesis. From the empirical evidence – I am pretty sure that Gordon’s horse is dead and flogging it is rather pointless.

      • Gordon Robertson

        afonzarelli…”Maxwell’s Demon was predicated on the principle that not all molecules have the same amount of kinetic energy. Warmer on average have more, cooler on average have less. So, it’s not inconceivable that a cooler substance could have some faster molecules than a warmer substance”.

        ***

        This is true only at thermal equilibrium.

        Maxwell knew nothing about electrons and the relationship between electrons and electromagnetic radiation. He was dealing with a statistical analysis of molecules within a gas and he was not examining the relationship between a gas at temperature T1 and a surface at T2. Nothing in his analysis could deal with that problem.

        It was not till Bohr initiated the theory relating electrons in an atom to electromagnetic radiation, then Schrodinger explained it mathematically, that anyone knew how heat (as kinetic energy of atoms) and EM were related.

        Between Bohr and Schrodinger, an understanding emerged regarding the process of heat conversion to EM. Bohr used Einsteins relationship, E = hf to explain the relationship between the kinetic energy of an electron and the quantum of EM it emits. He maintained that the relationship was precise in his attempt to explain the spectral lines of gases.

        Maxwell knew nothing about that nor did Clausius who wrote the 2nd law. It’s absolutely amazing given his incomplete understanding of the atom that Clausius was able to explain the internal energy of an aggregation of atoms, as in the 1st law. It was even more astounding that he gained the insight that thermal energy can be transferred only in one direction, by its own means.

        Maxwell’s Daemon has nothing to do with the direction of uncompensated heat transfer between masses of different temperatures.

      • Gordon Robertson

        Robert…”Emitted photons from a quantum decay in electron orbits do indeed travel in random directions. Including down”.

        There is no proof that said photons emitted by a cooler mass can be absorbed by a warmer mass. The 2nd law states clearly that they can’t.

        Those photons can fly all over the universe, they just can’t be absorbed by a mass hotter than the mass that emitted them.

        If you add up the mW (that’s right…milliwatts) of surface IR energy absorbed by CO2, you will find that CO2 is capable of absorbing about 5% of surface radiation. Even if that energy could be absorbed by the surface, it could not make a dent in the loss of heat due to surface radiation.

      • It is just a packet of energy – E = hf

        And you need to show that it discriminates on some other basis than repeating an interpretation of the 2nd law that neglects the statistics of quantum mechanics.

        Your the one trying to prove a sky dragon slayer thesis.

      • sky dragon slayer

        SDS — Gordon needs to be branded thus, just like one brands cattle. (right on the back side GR… 😖)

      • Gordon: “Those photons can fly all over the universe, they just can’t be absorbed by a mass hotter than the mass that emitted them.”

        You are forgetting that the photons are being absorbed by cooler mass at every level in the atmosphere. They are being absorbed into kinetic energy of the greenhouse gas molecules and constantly re-emitted. In the microseconds of delay they have increased the average kinetic energy of the molecules and thus increased their temperature at every level. The effect is to impede the photons from a free path from the planet’s surface to the vacuum of space, impeding radiative cooling.

      • Actually, there are two versions of AGW, the one about GHGs slowing surface radiation, aka heat trapping, and the other about back-radiation being absorbed by the surface so as to increase its temperature.

        That is incorrect. There is a lot of misunderstanding about the incorrectly called “greenhouse effect.”

        A planet without atmosphere emits from the surface. A planet with atmosphere emits also from the atmosphere so the effective height of emission is increased. Gas molecules with bonds joining different atoms, H2O, CO2, CO, CH4, NH3, are very good absorbers and emitters of IR radiation. When their amount increases they are more effective at increasing the effective height of emission. When the effective height of emission increases, the IR radiation is emitted from higher in the atmosphere where the temperature is lower, so less energy is emitted. To maintain balance with the incoming energy more radiation has to be emitted, so the surface warms until that happens.

        So adding GHGs to an atmosphere warms the surface all things being equal. As things are not equal we don’t know by how much, since the climate system is highly regulated and its response to an increase in GHGs is not well known. Besides, the effect of GHGs is logarithmic and most of the effect in the case of CO2 is obtained over the first 40 ppm.

        The greenhouse effect is real. The effect of CO2 on climate is unknown.

    • Gordon Robertson: I have not yet mentioned the contravention of the 2nd law of thermodynamics or the perpetual motion suggested by the recycling of heat from the surface so as to raise its temperature.

      There is no contravention of the 2nd law of thermodynamics or perpetual motion. All the energy input for heating the earth surface comes from the sun, and the rest of the hypothsized CO2 effect relates to speeding and slowing the rate of radiative transfer from surface to space — including the omnidirectional radiation of energy from energized water vapor and carbon dioxide molecules.

      • Gordon Robertson

        Matthew…”There is no contravention of the 2nd law of thermodynamics or perpetual motion. All the energy input for heating the earth surface comes from the sun, and the rest of the hypothsized CO2 effect relates to speeding and slowing the rate of radiative transfer from surface to space …”

        ********

        Please explain how a trace gas making up 0.04% of a mixed gas (the atmosphere) can slow heat dissipation at the surface.

        Here are the problems I have with this theory:

        1)No one has explained how much infrared energy is emitted by the surface, No one has explained how much of that radiation is absorbed by CO2.

        2)No one has explained the mechanism by which GHGs allegedly slow the rate of heat dissipation at the surface. I presume it is related to the Stefan-Boltzmann equation but there is nothing in the basic equation that indicates how heat dissipation can be affected.

        *****

        The initial Stefan equation is simply J = sigma.T^4. J is the intensity of electromagnetic radiation, sigma is the proportionality constant, and T is the temperature of the radiating body.

        Modifications have been added like e for emissivity and A for the area of radiation. Still nothing to indicate how a trace gas in a mixed gas surrounding the radiating body can affect the rate of heat dissipation.

        It is understood that the rate of heat dissipation in any body depends on external factor affecting conduction, convection, and radiation. For example, the heat dissipation of a power transistor in free air is limited to the amount of heat it can convert to EM, by it’s ability to transfer heat to air molecules, and by the ability to remove that heat from the transistor surface via convection.

        We can increase its rate of heat dissipation by attaching a heat sink, a device with fins to increase the radiation and conduction surface area of the transistor. We can also add a fan to increase the rate of convection.

        Since we are talking only about radiation, we need an amendment to S-B that addresses the environment into which a body is radiating. That takes the form of a temperature gradient in which the ambient environment is cooler than the body. If the ambient temperature of the environment is hotter than the body, heat transfer will be from the environment to the body.

        This satisfies the 2nd law.

        Here’s an equation with that temperature gradient:

        q = e.sigma.A(Th^4 – Tc^4)

        Got that from this site:

        https://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/radiation-heat-transfer-d_431.html

        Unfortunately, they use the symbol ‘q’ as ‘heat transfer per unit time’.

        No heat is being transferred in S-B and this misunderstanding forms the basic error in much of the analysis of AGW theory. When a body converts heat to EM, the heat is lost. It’s gone…kaput. Heat, as thermal energy, has been converted to electromagnetic energy, an entirely different form of energy.

        It’s a serious error to mistake radiated energy from a body with heat. The 2nd law pertains only to heat, not EM. In the S-B equation of the form indicated at this site, q = sigma.T^4.A…. q is not heat and heat is not transferred.

        Heat is never transferred via radiation. During such a process, heat is converted to EM at the emitter and EM is converted back to heat at the absorber. That process must be one way according to the 2nd law,

        Heat is a local property of mass, and unless that mass moves physically, heat cannot be transferred in that manner.

        The equation above, q = e.sigma.A(Th^4 – Tc^4), as applied to the surface/atmosphere interface, tells us that the amount of radiation from the surface at temperature Th is affected by the temperature gradient Th^4 – Tc^4, the difference in temperature between the surface and the atmosphere..

        In light of that, the trace gas CO2 cannot contribute more to Tc than it’s mass percent, which is about 0.04%. Therefore, Tc must come 99% from nitrogen and oxygen.

        The temperature of N2/O2 controls the rate of heat dissipation at the surface. CO2 has nothing to do with it.

      • How is it possible that sending a maximum of half the energy emitted by a surface back to the surface will warm the surface? Whatever AGW is or isn’t, it most certainly is not a violation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics…

      • As the presence of CO2 and other GHG’s builds in the atmosphere, the ratio of energy emitted at the surface becomes sourced more and more from back radiation, and less and less from SW radiation.

        Or, ask an 80-year plumber in South Dakota how deep he had to bury a water line – 6′ when I was a kid in the 1960’s – and how deep they bury water lines today. By convention, it may still be 6′, but there is no possibility of water lines freezing at 5’5″, whereas, when I was kid they absolutely would.

        Land does store sunlight. So do the oceans. Way more now than at the turn of the 19th century. And, for a reason: the enhanced greenhouse effect.

        If there were no alteration in the way energy from the sun is leaving the planer, the GMST would still be right around that of 1905.

      • JCH,

        “As the presence of CO2 and other GHG’s builds in the atmosphere, the ratio of energy emitted at the surface becomes sourced more and more from back radiation, and less and less from SW radiation.”

        What a n*ns*nse! The atmosphere is NOT a heat source for the surface, the heat is transferred from the surface to the atmosphere. The surface warms the atmosphere and the atmosphere cools the surface, mostly by direct contact (convection and evaporation).

      • “Please explain how a trace gas making up 0.04% of a mixed gas (the atmosphere) can slow heat dissipation at the surface.”

        Trace gas argument. And water vapor is how many ppm?
        At 1% of the atmosphere, that’s 10,000 ppm.
        GHG effect = 33C
        CO2 ppm / Water vapor ppm = 3%
        3% X 33C = 1C
        Trace gas effect = 1C

      • Gordon Robertson: Please explain how a trace gas making up 0.04% of a mixed gas (the atmosphere) can slow heat dissipation at the surface.

        “How” has been explained plenty of times, the basic unknowns are in the quantifications of the diverse energy fluxes and their consequences. The effect of doubling the CO2 concentration is variously estimated to increase global mean temperature something like 1K – 4K, not a large percent increase over a base mean temp of 288K, but potentially biologically important.

        The second law objections are essentially worthless.

      • JCH, if you are replying to me, then i’ve been misconstrued (my fault). GHGs no more warm the surface than a thermos warms a cup of chicken soup. While the chicken soup stays warmer, it is not being warmed by the thermos. Ditto with GHGs. While they keep the surface warmer than without GHGs, they are in no way warming the surface. (all the energy comes from the surface itself) Thus, there is no violation of the second law with AGW theory. One will never find night time surface temperatures increasing from dusk to dawn because of GHGs. (surface will always cool, not warm)…

        i’ve probably bungled my syntax again, but that’s what happens when you argue the 2nd law. (☹️)

      • JCH, i’ve been misconstrued here. Comment clearing up (my) mess is stuck in moderation…

      • (looks like i’m stuck in a moderation bubble… 😖)

      • i’ve been misconstrued here. Comment clearing up (my) mess is stuck in moderation…

      • “Or, ask an 80-year plumber in South Dakota how deep he had to bury a water line…” JCH, Gordon is clearly needing a scientific explanation. Anecdotal observations correlated with pre-conceived notions is not science; it’s what we had before science. And, you keep forgetting a thousand times that the GMST had substantial warming for hundreds of years before you were a kid. I bet they would have had to bury water lines 7′ in the seventeenth and eighteenth century (LIA) even though there could have been no substantial AGW until after the 1950s.

        Gordon, there is no Second Law violation because each successive atmospheric height is cooler on average than the one below. Cooling rate is a function of the gradient. GHG reduces the gradient in each successive layer by slowing transmission of EM. Radiation absorbing gases act as insulators in the outgoing longwave, while providing much less insulation in the incoming shortwave, changing the thermal flux in a steady state system and thus changing the equilibrium temperature.

      • To commenter at 9:09am (yer handle trips me into moderation), if you are replying to me, then i’ve been misconstrued (my fault). GHGs no more warm the surface than a thermos warms a cup of chicken soup. While the chicken soup stays warmer, it is not being warmed by the thermos. Ditto with GHGs. While they keep the surface warmer than without GHGs, they are in no way warming the surface. (all the energy comes from the surface itself) Thus, there is no violation of the second law with AGW theory. One will never find night time surface temperatures increasing from dusk to dawn because of GHGs. (surface will always cool, not warm)…

        i’ve probably bungled my syntax again, but that’s what happens when you argue the 2nd law. (☹️)

      • Good idea, Dr C! (after all, boyz will be boyz… 😉)

      • Gordon Robertson

        afonzarelli…”How is it possible that sending a maximum of half the energy emitted by a surface back to the surface will warm the surface? Whatever AGW is or isn’t, it most certainly is not a violation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics…”

        Please tell me you are not going on the pseudo-science of Trenberth-Kiehl’s energy budget? They did not measure or calculate their figures for back-radiation, they guessed at them. In a similar manner, after Trenberth admitted in the Climategate email scandal that the warming had stopped, he rushed out the crazy idea that the missing heat is hidden in the oceans.

        What missing heat, we were in the middle of an 18 years flat trend when he made the claim?

        There is no way in real physics that a trace gas making up 0.04% of the atmosphere could possibly send back half the radiation emitted by the surface. Trenberth et al guestimated the feedback at nearly 100%, simply to balance a non-existent heat budget.

        Come on folks, let’s do real physics. We are not dealing with a generic energy, we are dealing with thermal energy, aka heat. The 2nd law applies only to heat, not energy in general. Including EM in the 2nd law is not allowed.

        EM is merely the transporting agent, it has nothing to do with warming unless it can be absorbed by a mass. The only way it can be absorbed by a mass and satisfy the 2nd law is when the absorbing mass is cooler than the emitting mass.

        If someone has proof that the 2nd law is no longer valid, I’d be interested in hearing the explanation. As far as I know, the definition offered by Clausius still stands…heat can NEVER, by it’s own means, be transferred from a colder body to a warmer body.

        I mean, this is intuitive as well as factual. Can anyone demonstrate an example from real life where heat can be transferred, by it’s own means, from a colder body to a warmer body?

        That is akin to claiming water can run uphill, by it’s own means. We know intuitively that it can’t and neither can heat be transferred from cold to hot.

      • You are about the 100th person to play this game. I don’t see agreement on Fact A. It is like agreeing to gravity. We are on different sides of the issue. When I am trolling on Facebook, I sometimes say this: Go away Skydragon, we don’t want you. I am sorry to some extent. But some of us have goals and identifty rightly or wrongly those working against our goals.

      • I’d like to take this opportunity to comment on the trace gas argument. Anyone, even our reliable allies who uses this argument ought to stop it. I cringe every time I hear it. It is a net loss to the cause. And when we don’t comment on it, it’s worse than when the left doesn’t call out their allies who make stupid claims. Because we know better. But we want to win. So much that we’ll take the crazies, same as the left. We need to look to our right, and get rid of those people. Same as we expect the left to do.

      • Ragnaar: Anyone, even our reliable allies who uses this argument ought to stop it.

        We can but hope.

        I cringe when I read the 2nd law arguments. People look at the temp, and forget that temp is proportional to the average kinetic energy, and ignore the distribution. IR is radiated in a region by the molecules of above average excitation, and absorbed by the molecules of below average excitation; as temp increases, the balance of absorption and emission changes. There is no temp at which all the molecules are the same. And for some reason they ignore that all the energy inflow is from the sun, which is radiating energy to the earth at all times.

      • We a have a comment-section bully. Everybody knows it. I have been posting here since almost the very beginning. In total, the percentage of my posts that have required moderation is very very low when compared with many local favorites who poop frequently on the lawn. This blog is a cesspool full of misinformation floaters.

        It is an honor to be moderated here every single time.

        I was in Houston on the first day of Imelda. Everybody was yawning. I said to get the heck out of there, and I headed for Fort Worth. Lived there through Katrina, Rita, and Ike. My son was interviewing for a job there that pays close to 600 thousand for the first year. It flooded. Tough choice.

      • In total, the percentage of my posts that have required moderation is very very low when compared with many local favorites who poop frequently on the lawn.

        Which is quite the mystery… You, to my knowledge, are the only person who frequently uses nasty curse words at this blog. Your disgustingly vile comments often go by without notice. Your attitude is among the most grotesque that has ever been seen here. Why Dr. Curry hasn’t banished you long ago is quite beyond belief. YOU, my friend, are the only blot on an otherwise stellar blog(!)

        (Dr C, why you tolerate this guy is a mystery indeed)…

      • Not clear who you are referring to? I don’t think you are referring to Matthew Marler. Send me an email to discuss

      • Gordon, i am only addressing any objections here to the 2nd law being violated. (that’s all) So long as night time temperatures fall from dusk til dawn, then there cannot possibly be any violation of the 2nd law by AGW theory. It’s a moot point. GHGs do not actually cause the surface to warm as evidenced by night time temps falling. The claim is that they are causing temperature anomalies to rise. Night time temperatures are not as cool as they used to be. (and i ain’t arguing about the veracity of that claim here; only about the the alleged violation of the second law)…

      • Ragnaar, fwiw, Gordon is a socialist and a fan of (true) communism. (he’s further left than anyone here)…

      • “We a have a comment-section bully. Everybody knows it.”

        Paranoid much, JCH? All of my comments also have been in moderation for a day (and perhaps others). I think WordPress wants you now to log in, not just fill in name, before commenting.

        Gordon has not responded to me so it may be that he doesn’t really believe what he is writing. Is it true Gordon that you lean left politically? If so, why would you want to spread doubt about the radiative physics, the 97% consensus part the left’s foundation upon which all else is extrapolated in order to leverage themselves into power?

      • OK, moderation is not caused by WordPress login glitch.

        I seems that Gordon is thus committed to his notion that the GHE violates the 2nd Law, and no amount of pointing out that cloudy nights are warmer than clear, forests are warmer than deserts, etc.., is going to change his view. I find it no less puzzling though that others are unshakable from the view that a 2C warming would be an insoluble world catastrophe.

      • I like you JCH. When I look at who has commented, I’ll usually pick yours over everyone else. I find that you’re pretty accurate.

      • Gordon Robertson

        Ron Graf…”Is it true Gordon that you lean left politically? If so, why would you want to spread doubt about the radiative physics, the 97% consensus part the left’s foundation upon which all else is extrapolated in order to leverage themselves into power?”

        ***

        I have no problem answering your query. I am a socialist, and I have no idea what socialism has to do with global warming/climate change. I live in Canada, a socialist state. We’re socialist because we have centralized health care, pensions, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, etc. We also have a free market economy where corporations are free to do business. Heck, we even support the free-loaders with huge tax breaks and financial handouts.

        I am totally opposed to climate alarmists, the IPCC, and the UN, with their secret agenda for world taxation. Although many people try to associate the so-called Left with climate alarm and secret agendas for world governance, that is a load of nonsense. The people pushing climate alarm in the US are usually Democrats and I don’t think they are leftists. They are politically-correct cultists with, as Michael Crichton put it, an adopted religion called environmentalism.

        I don’t want to confuse that cultist environmentalism with people who truly care about the environment, like me, a socialist. My interest is in science and I think AGW is pseudo-science. Greenpeace-like environmentalism is a scam, as was revealed by Patrick Watson. I prefer to call such movements eco-alarm.

        I think the UN is a useless organization that should be disbanded, along with the IPCC. I have no interest in world governance or any kind of tax related to climate change. The UN was formed to protect countries from each other and as such they have been an abject failure.

        BTW…the basis of the IPCC came from an uber right-winger, the late and former UK Prime MInister, Margaret Thatcher. She was having trouble with the coal mining unions and an advisor suggested she use her degree in chemistry to baffle delegates to the UN re coal emissions. The socialists in the coal unions wanted nothing to do with emission control for obvious reasons.

        After the UN formed the IPCC, Thatcher’s protege, climate modeler John Houghton, was installed as the first co-chair. That’s why the IPCC is so hopelessly mired in the pseudo-science of climate modelling.

        Finally, I am an independent socialist. I have nothing to do with a 97% consensus or any other movement. I think the basis of such a consensus is unscientific and the basis of such studies are scams.

        Furthermore, I have nothing against capitalists making money as long as they leave people alone to live their lives in peace.

        Once again, my interest is science.

      • Gordon Robertson

        Matthew m…”I cringe when I read the 2nd law arguments. People look at the temp, and forget that temp is proportional to the average kinetic energy, and ignore the distribution. IR is radiated in a region by the molecules of above average excitation, and absorbed by the molecules of below average excitation; as temp increases, the balance of absorption and emission changes”.

        ****

        You are being far too general on the one hand and not sufficiently specific on the other. Your arguments re average KE are related to a gas in thermal equilibrium.

        A molecule is an aggregation of atoms and the main components of atoms are electrons and the nucleii the orbit in Bohr’s model. There is no need to discuss molecules because molecules do not emit electromagnetic energy. Electrons do.

        When you talk about rotational energy and vibrational energy of a molecule, you are talking about electrons interacting with their respective nucleii. The difference between the straight atom and the molecule are the bonds holding various atoms together. Those bonds are all due to electrons and any EM must come from them and be absorbed by them.

        When you talk about kinetic energy you are talking about either entire atoms in motion or the electrons within an atom moving between orbital energy levels.

        No electrons, no EM, simple as that. I suppose the protons in the nucleus could emit EM if they were free.

        However, it’s not just about EM and radiation. The 2nd law is better understood in solid conductors. If you heat one end of an iron bar, heat will flow from the heated end to the cooler end. There are no exceptions and your average kinetic energy has nothing to do with it. Furthermore, there are no molecules in an iron bar, nothing but good old iron atoms made up of neutrons and protons in the nucleus and electrons orbiting the nucleus.

        Why should the application of the 2nd law be any different when EM is the radiating medium? We are still talking about heat transfer but with pure radiation, as in a vacuum, there can be no physical heat transfer. If you have a heat source in an evacuated chamber, the electrons in that heat source radiate EM through the vacuum but no heat can flow through a vacuum.

        If you have a cooler metal target in the vacuum, EM, being radiated isotropically, will contact the target. The electrons in the target will absorb the EM and their kinetic energy will increase as they rise to a higher energy level. That rise in KE is heat.

        Just out of curiosity, suppose the heated source is at 1000C and the other element is also heated but at 2000C. Do you really think the 1000C source will raise the temperature of the 2000C source? Do you think the 2000C source will raise the temperature of the 1000C source?

        Over at Roy Spencer’s site, a guy did an experiment where he had a heated source in an evacuated chamber. He rigged the system so he could raise a plate in front of the source. He noted that when he raised the plate that the source temperature increased and he concluded that the raised plate, although cooler, was radiating heat to the source, raising it’s temperature.

        Several of us argued that was a contradiction of the 2nd law and we offered a counter argument. When he raised the cooler plate in front of the heated source, he was effectively blocking the source’s means of cooling itself via IR emission and the body rose toward its natural temperature without any means of heat dissipation.

        From my experience debating this on Roy’s site, it slowly occurred to me that most people arguing the 2nd law do not understand it. When I quoted Clausius verbatim, that heat can never be transferred by its own means from a colder body to a warmer body, alarmists countered with blatant amendments to the Clausius definition that were cherry picked from the Clausius statement.

        BTW…for those mentioning Dragon Slayers I have no affiliation with them whatsoever. Never spoke to any of them. I have arrived at my views on the 2nd law from my studies in electrical engineering and decades applying what I learned.

      • “Finally, I am an independent socialist. I have nothing to do with a 97% consensus or any other movement. I think the basis of such a consensus is unscientific and the basis of such studies are scams.

        If one feels the 97% is wrong then science provides a peaceful and fair platform to overturn that tide. This site and others like it are a part of the scientific discussion and form a valuable bridge from field investigators to general public. For those sincerely dedicated to the truth above all other agendas the preserving of the integrity of science’s debate platforms should be the highest priority. I believe this is why all the respondents to your post, even the ones that agree with that “climate change” is being mischaracterized by the lion’s share of the media and even scientific community, tried to correct your claims as not being grounded in science.

        Gordon, it’s true that science is not about consensus. However, in the only means we have of evaluating good science, (and all truth), is by consensus of reasoning.

        “Furthermore, I have nothing against capitalists making money as long as they leave people alone to live their lives in peace.”
        This statement would make you a conservative in the USA right now.

      • Gordon Robertson

        Ron…”I seems that Gordon is thus committed to his notion that the GHE violates the 2nd Law, and no amount of pointing out that cloudy nights are warmer than clear, forests are warmer than deserts, etc.., is going to change his view”.

        ****

        I am not claiming that an explanation does not exist that explains why the Earth’s average temperature is higher with an atmosphere and oceans that a planet without either. I am claiming the GHE theory does not explain it, I think the proofs are primitive and not well thought out.

        I think the problem as you have stated is more complex than surface heat loss via radiation. To complicate matters, as Hansen pointed out, no one measures the temperature of the actual surface by making a hole in it and inserting a thermometer. Rather, we build housings above the surface at various heights, with thermometers, to measure the temperature of the atmosphere near the surface.

        In essence, we are measuring an atmospheric temperature differential based on the height of thermometer housings. The GHE definition is based on another principle, that trace gases in the atmosphere can behave like the glass in a real greenhouse to trap heat. It is simply not possible for molecules in any gas to trap the atoms upon which heat is defined. The glass in a real greenhouse can trap those molecules but a gas can’t.

        GHE’s can only trap infrared energy, and the amount of IR radiated from the surface is far greater than what the GHE’s can trap. The GHE theory is actually about average atmospheric temperature as opposed to a theorized physical surface temperature without an atmosphere or oceans. The relationship between physical surface and the atmosphere is not explained. The GHE presumes all surface cooling is based on radiation and that is not true.

        Solar energy heats the physical surface, and the atoms in the surface mass, especially the electrons, convert short-wave solar energy to long wave infrared energy. There is likely a delay in that conversion due to the transfer of heat to adjacent surface atoms/molecules.

        However, surface radiation is not the only means of transferring energy to the atmosphere. The atmosphere in contact with the surface absorbs heat by direct conduction and that heated air rises. As it rises, cooler air rushes in to replace it. Both are convection.

        The GHE is based on the incorrect notion that the glass in a greenhouse ‘traps’ infrared energy. It actually traps molecules of heated air, 99% of which is nitrogen and oxygen. It would be unscientific to presume greenhouses warm due to trace gases in that air which can absorb so-called trapped IR hence warming the entire air mass.

        I’d be willing to bet that if CO2 and water vapour were removed from the air in a greenhouse that the greenhouse would warm as usual. I’d bet further that if the glass was replaced by halite, which passes IR freely, that the greenhouse would warm as usual.

        The GHE suffers from the notion that the molecules in a trace gas can trap heat. That statement confuses infrared energy with heat, which is the kinetic energy of atoms. No gas can trap the mass upon which heat is defined, but the glass in a real greenhouse can.

        If it is warmer on a cloudy night than a cloudless night, I’d like to see the proof. Living in the cold of Canada in winter, I have experienced some mighty cold nights with a cloud cover. I wonder if anyone has taken the time to confirm that theory at all temperatures and all locales.

        I wonder how much of that theory is imaginary? Seeing clouds overhead in winter may give the impression that one is surrounded by an insulator, like a blanket.

        Furthermore, clouds are not water vapour, they are actually droplets of water that are modelled as lakes of water. Physicist/meteorologist Craig Bohren, measured the apparent temperature of the atmosphere by pointing an IR meter at clear sky then cloud. Clear sky was measured at around -50C whereas clouds were measured at -3C. The ambient temperature where he took the measurements was well above either.

        The 2nd law tells us that heat cannot be transferred from either source to the surface. Remember that clouds seldom reach the surface and that the air between the surface and the clouds is essentially clear air. If you are suggesting that heat can be transferred from the clouds at -3C to the surface at a higher temperature, to warm the surface, that is a direct contravention of the 2nd law.

    • Several years ago, I too became curious about the Stefan-Boltzmann equation and the thermodynamics of coupled fluxes of radiative and material energies. Qualitatively, as well-illustrated by waveguides and optical fibers, multiple photons (bosons) can independently co-exist at the same point whereas convective fluxes can not and this distinction leads to basically different differential equations for each. Anyone preferring mathematics to semantics may be interested in notes on black-body radiation and thermal dissipation (III) still on the internet in an online notebook (click Quondam above).

      • Gordon Robertson

        Quondam…”I too became curious about the Stefan-Boltzmann equation and the thermodynamics of coupled fluxes of radiative and material energies. Qualitatively, as well-illustrated by waveguides and optical fibers, multiple photons (bosons) can independently co-exist at the same point whereas convective fluxes can not….”

        The EM in wave guides and optical fibre does not behave like the EM related to heat. The EM is fundamentally the same in that the energy is an electric field perpendicular to a magnetic field and both have regular and continuous fields.

        In a wave guide, EM is generated by a device like a klystron or magnetron, which force electrons into high frequency oscillations. The oscillating electrons generate an electromagnetic field down a channel (our prof described them as soup cans soldered together) that is tuned to the wavelength of the EM. If the frequency was low enough, the soup cans soldered end to end would likely work.

        The EM bounces off the walls of the guide till it reaches a load, or a special termination such as a short circuit at 1/4 wavelength, etc.. If the load does not match the EM’s frequency/wavelength it reflects part of the EM back down the guide causing interference with the EM travelling forward. This produces the standing waves you describe as photons co-existing.

        There is no proof that a photon exists. It is a definition created for EM that describes the EM as a particle with momentum but no mass rather than a wave of energy. In electronics, I am used to working with waves, not photons. It makes little sense to have masses of photons forming a wavefront when wave theory does it perfectly well.

        Optical fibre differs from wave guide in that the medium is glass surrounded by a plastic medium. The idea is to let the EM running down the fibre bounce off the surrounding plastic (cladding) so it can propagate down the glass rather than escape through the walls. Wave guide tries to replicate the open atmosphere contained within metal walls to ‘guide’ the EM.

        EM related to heat does not operate like either. For one, the EM in fibre or a wave guide is not intended to transfer heat. Therefore, the 2nd law does not apply. For another, the Em travelling both ways in a fibre or guide is not intended to do that. It’s an undesirable effect due to a mismatched load on the guide or fibre.

        Ideally, you’d like to have all the EM absorbed by the load but when your EM wavelengths being transmitted vary over a wide frequency band, the load will react to them individually. That’s especially true if the load has reactive elements rather than purely resistive elements.

        However, your point raises another interesting point. EM is the result of an electron in an atom dropping to a lower orbital energy level. With heat, the electron loses kinetic energy as heat is converted to EM by electrons. That translates to the entire body losing heat as all the electrons drop from higher energy levels. The only way to keep them at the same energy level, or move them to a higher energy level, is to replace the lost heat, or increase the heat input.

        Electrons cannot simultaneously absorb and radiate EM. In a wave guide or fibre, the EM emitted by the electrons flows down the guide or fibre in one direction only FROM THE EMITTING DEVICE. The interacting photons to which you refer occur due to an accidental reflection of the EM from the load.

        There is no two way transfer of energy in a wave guide or fibre, even though the Em travels both ways. There is nothing to absorb it at the transmitter end.

        When heat is converted to EM by electrons in a hotter body, that EM is radiated isotropically to space. If…and a big if…that EM contacts a cooler body, the electrons in the cooler body will see the EM as being equal to or greater than the energy required to boost them to a higher energy level. They will absorb the EM and their KE will rise, leading to warming of the mass.

        If at the same time, EM from a cooler body passes the EM from the hotter body, and contacts the hotter body, the electrons in the hotter body will see the EM as lacking the required intensity and frequency, and they will ignore the EM.

        That satisfies the 2nd law.

        If the hotter and cooler EM fluxes meet, nothing will happen. The only reason they coincide in a guide or a fibre is the nature of the EM wavelength bouncing back on itself. It’s a phase relationship due to the waves in either direction coinciding with each other.

        That does not happen with the EM related to heat transfer. It can only happen in enclosed media at specific frequencies that are close enough to each other.

    • I think you are confused. PF can be positive forcing or periodic forcing. Positive forcing causes a shift to a different neutral. periodic forcing can be in sync with natural frequencies and cause resonating cycles to increase.
      CO2 increase is one more molecule added to ten thousand molecules and is not a measurable factor, with or without feedbacks. .

      You Wrote:
      Tipping points happen in many Earth subsystems

      I write:
      Earth subsystems are very robust and self correcting.
      Tipping points always have tipped toward correcting and reversing the climate limits. Name one example that did not end a warm period with a cold period or that did not end a cold period with a warm period.

  64. Perhaps we should just stick to predicting – or even just identifying – climate shifts. Slowing down, dragon-kings, flickering – things that may precede or attend climate shifts. Difficult and tentative ideas – but in the right ball park.

    https://www.vasilisdakos.info/publications-2/

    https://people.uwm.edu/kravtsov/publications/

    http://scrippsscholars.ucsd.edu/gsugihara/publications

    Let me know if you ever have some useful notions.

  65. Mr Viminitz should, if he wishes to opine on Wakefield, MMR and autism, read the original paper, subsequently retracted (I am not sure what scientific reasons were cited, but apparently the clinical data presented is not in dispute).

    The weblink is: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2897%2911096-0/fulltext

    The original paper expressly states that NO ASSOCIATION was found between chronic enterocolitis in autistic patients and MMR.

    Read that again: Wakefield et al stated the exact opposite to the accusations made against them.

    They had not found a statistical link between the two, and the study they published was nothing to do with investigating whether MMR induced autistic regression in a small number of patients.

    Like most science papers, the discussion section included citations of a variety of theories concerning autism, including MMR; opioid excess theory; altered gastrointestinal permeability and alpha1-antitrypsin activity; and altered vitamin B12 metabolism. No judgements were made on any theories, as any competent scientist of any discipline would be able to discern. It is exactly the same as Professor Curry discussing computer models, ice core proxy data, satellite era measurements, radiosonde balloon methods etc etc when discussing as yet incompletely understood aspects of climate.

    I quote directly from the Wakefield paper: ‘ We did not prove an association between measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described. Virological studies are underway that may help to resolve this issue.’

    The climate analogy would be to say: ‘We did not find any correlation between carbon dioxide levels and rises in global temperature from 1800 to 2000. Further studies may reveal previously undetected associations using novel mathematical analyses.’ You are then accused of scientific fraud for not being on message and hounded out of academia.

    I am not saying I have all the facts on the Wakefield case, what I am saying is that the retracted paper made no claims proving statistical association nor causal links between MMR and autism, either the medical condition in totality, nor the gut abnormalities which the children concerned presented with at clinical referral.

    I will also add that WUWT is a highly partisan, censoring site which does precisely what it accuses its opponents of doing: covering up inconvenient truths which dilute the veracity of messages being peddled.

    This contribution is solely due to suppression at WUWT of comments containing no bad language.

    WUWT allows promulgation of highly racist views concerning the British Empire by Monckton of Brenchley. Lest the idiotic hereditary peer were too ignorant to realise it, the Caledonian forest was chopped down in its entirety by the British in centuries past so if Africans chopping trees down affecting Kilimanjaro glaciers is a reason to bring back Empire, the idiotic British who chopped their own trees down should not be the ones leading it….

  66. Green Teen Greta testified in the House this morning. She tabled the October IPCC 2.5 degree report as her oral testimony, basically saying “read this and act on it.”

    By coincidence I just published a piece pointing out that this report in no way supports the crisis narrative:
    https://www.cfact.org/2019/09/18/is-the-climate-crisis-a-cruel-hoax-or-tragic-blunder/

    The climate crisis outcry has no basis in science, none at all. Is this a cruel hoax or a tragic blunder? Either way it is wrong.

    • “An IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.”

      As they quote –

      ”Pour ce qui est de l’avenir, il ne s’agit pas de le prévoir, mais de le rendre possible. “ 
      – Antoine de Saint Exupéry, Citadelle, 1948

      https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/sites/2/2019/06/SR15_Chapter3_Low_Res.pdf

      It is ironic that David depends on models that do not include internal regime shifts or provide a deterministic – as opposed to a chaotic -solution. And as I say – skeptic curmudgeons – right or wrong and they are mostly humongously wrong – are on a hiding to nothing in the political arena. Perhaps it’s time for a liberal (in the classic sense) utopian narrative – as Hayek might say in the circumstances.

      • I do not believe in the models, much less use them. Nor do I know where your quote comes from, certainly not from me. Your confusion is curious, but impressive

      • The IPCC report that you claim falsifies the crisis narrative – it doesn’t – is based entirely on models.

        And the quote was provided by the IPPC – as I said.

        If you are going to insult me – ensure that it is based on something of substance and rigor.

  67. Sorry, that is the 1.5 degree report, which looked at the modest differences in projected damages between the two Paris Accord targets — 1.5 and 2.0 degrees of total warming. This means 0.5 or 1.0 degrees of future warming, neither of which is a threshold to catastrophe as the crisis claims.

  68. I suppose it is my fault for arguing at mind numbing length that oscillations as a term don’t do justice to state change in the climate system.

    But should absolute uncertainty lead to a lack of progress?

  69. Since 1988 both CO2 and water vapor have been accurately measured worldwide. According to Hitran https://pbs.twimg.com/media/ECWhyyDUYAA1P89?format=jpg&name=medium , during that period, at ground level, the water vapor increase has had about 100 times as much influence on average global temperature as the increase in CO2. The tiny contribution of CO2 to temperature increase at ground level is countered by an increased cooling from more CO2 above the tropopause with the net result being that CO2 does not, never has, and never will have a significant effect on climate http://globalclimatedrivers2.blogspot.com

  70. An interesting exercise, but I found it fails on two points, assumptions you adopted that “denialists” typically reject. One explicitly, one implicitly.

    The explicit one is that the temperature measurements are meticulous; On the contrary, “denialists” will usually deny this, claiming that “all the warming is in the adjustments”, and that the adjustments were done wrong. That reliable rural stations are being adjusted to match stations subject to the urban heat island effect, rather than the other way around.

    The implicit assumption you make is that warming is a bad thing. This is where “denialists” will point out that more people die every year of cold than heat, that longer growing seasons are a positive good, that warming models actually predict night will warm more than day and winter more than summer, and are mild winters and balmy nights really a horrible prospect?

    As a consequence of these assumptions, you’re not actually modeling the reasoning of denialists very well.

  71. BB,
    I agree that some of the ‘warming’ is in the ‘adjustments’. I call it ‘cooking the books’. I expect that at least some think they are improving the accuracy but when the preponderance of ‘adjustments’ are in the direction which corroborates an agenda, I suspect political influence and/or science malpractice.

    I stated the year 1988 because that is when satellite based measurements for WV started. Also, satellite based temperature measurements were in place. These at least eliminate the UHI issue but introduce issues associated with proxies. Also, I effectively use only the trends which greatly reduces effects of bias and random ‘noise’ in measurements.

    As a further caution, I monitor the reports of several reporting agencies as shown at https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EAbq6CaVUAAPdos?format=jpg&name=small . I also monitor the ENSO stuff which is reported weekly. It (they) are currently in downtrend and the rest of the globe usually follows.

    I certainly do not believe that warming is a bad thing. In fact I have suggested that the warming from increased water vapor is countering the temperature decline that would otherwise be occurring as a result of the quiet sun and will delay, mitigate and possibly even prevent the disaster of another LIA.

    I have no interest in modeling anyone’s reasoning other than my own which is a relentless pursuit of truth and understanding.

  72. Water vapor is of course a positive feedback to atmospheric temperature. Even with a recent paper that identified a reduction in relative humidity in recent decades. The null hypothesis for a decadal decline in relative humidity is internal decadal variability.

    Feedbacks operate through modulation of tremendous energies cascading through abruptly shifting ice volume, cloud cover, dust, vegetation, biology, flood, aridity… delivered by regime shifts in patterns of ocean and atmospheric circulation.


    (a) Strengths of individual feedbacks for CMIP3 and CMIP5 models (left and right columns of symbols) for Planck (P), water vapour (WV), clouds (C), albedo (A), lapse rate (LR), combination of water vapour and lapse rate (WV+LR) and sum of all feedbacks except Planck (ALL), from Soden and Held (2006) and Vial et al. (2013), following Soden et al. (2008). CMIP5 feedbacks are derived from CMIP5 simulations for abrupt fourfold increases in CO2 concentrations (4 × CO2). (b) ECS obtained using regression techniques by Andrews et al. (2012) against ECS estimated from the ratio of CO2 ERF to the sum of all feedbacks. The CO2 ERF is one-half the 4 × CO2 forcings from Andrews et al. (2012), and the total feedback (ALL + Planck) is from Vial et al. (2013).

    Change occurs at all scales from minutes to eons. How to superimpose anthropogenic forcing on internal regime change is a known unknown. The NAS suggests inevitable surprises.

    And sky dragon slayer is code for crude and motivated reasoning on a system that is far too large and complex for easy answers. Excuse my skepticism.

  73. I said it a decade ago and it remains true today “There is only one complete and exact computer of global climate and that is the planet itself.” http://climaterealists.com/attachments/database/2010/The%20AGW%20Mistake.pdf

    CMIP – The M stands for Model. That means it is a guess for an approximation of how climate works. The fact that they (models) have failed miserably to predict anything doesn’t appear to faze many Climate Scientists. They appear to believe what the models say and ignore what happens in the real world. Feynman would be appalled.

    One comparatively simple mistake is confusing relative humidity with absolute (aka specific) humidity. Relative humidity depends on both absolute humidity and air temperature. Only absolute humidity has a calculable relation to planet temperature forcing.

    NASA/RSS have been measuring TPW (Total Precipitable Water, i.e. sum of water vapor molecules all the way up) by satellite and reporting it since 1988 at http://www.remss.com/measurements/atmospheric-water-vapor/tpw-1-deg-product . Fig 3 in my blog/analysis at http://globalclimatedrivers2.blogspot.com is a graph of the NASA/RSS numerical data. When normalized by dividing by the means, the NASA/RSS data are corroborated by NCEP R1 and NCEP R2.

    The per cent increase in WV as a result of average global temperature rise is readily calculated from the vapor pressure vs temperature relation for water.

    Calculations in Section 8 of my b/a demonstrate that WV has been increasing about twice what it would if driven only by temperature increase. It has to be monumentally stubborn to persist in the belief that water vapor increase results only from temperature increase.

    It is unlikely that anyone who has successfully completed a course in engineering heat transfer analysis doubts the existence of the misleadingly named GHE. The surprise to some might be that it is primarily and perhaps totally caused by water vapor.

    • As a hydrologist – I have a relatively good grasp of the difference between relative and absolute humidity. I presume that what you mean is that there has been an increase in relative humidity rather than that the warmer atmosphere is over-saturated – i.e more water vapor than the phase transition diagrams would suggest.

      Modelers btw assume constant humidity. I don’t know what you assume – and frankly I have been down enough of these sky dragon slayer rabbit holes not to wonder. But let me know when you are published in a reputable journal.

      • Your presumption is wrong.
        If you weren’t too stubborn to look up what I actually used you would have known better.
        I actually used what is relevant to GLOBAL warming.
        The use of RH contributes to the failure of GCMs.

      • RH is simply the ratio of measured humidity to maximum humidity at a temperature. The assumption of a constant RH in models is to define changes in actual water vapor content of the atmosphere with temperature. Models have limitations – but that’s not the reason why.

        But science is built on solid foundations. You rely on a single data series and likely simplistic. idiosyncratic and dodgy math. If you provided anything of scientific substance in your bald assertions here – I might relent. As it is – such rabbit holes are eminently ignorable.

      • RIE,
        Up thread you asserted that you didn’t want to waste time “going down another rabbit hole”. You are already down a rabbit hole now. You are probably not aware of it because a lot of folks within your ‘circle’ who’s knowledge and opinions you respect are down there with you.

        Javier listed several examples above where the consensus was ‘down a rabbit hole’ and a single individual could see further. Invariably it took many years for the more-accurate understanding to be accepted. The period has shortened; probably a result of growth of knowledge about how stuff works and certainly by improving communication. Geocentric to heliocentric took a century, theory of evolution a lifetime, equivalence of mass and energy a couple decades, and the cause of ulcers from psychological stress to bacteria in only a few years from demonstration to Nobel Prize. The understanding that the human contribution to Global Warming (GW) is from water vapor (WV) increase not CO2 increase is just beginning.

        You can get my understanding of average global climate from my blog/analysis at http://globalclimatedrivers2.blogspot.com . Although there has been no successful challenge, perhaps it is incomplete or even wrong. Even if it is right and essentially complete, there is a trillion dollar movement to overcome so general acceptance and redirection of activity is probably a long way off.

        Arriving at my understanding did not happen overnight. I have been researching this on line for over a decade. The research process included substantial new learning in addition to the Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and engineering license acquired early in my professional career.

        Although my b/a explores the subject in detail with graphics and analysis, I will try to describe how it works in terms most folks who visit here are familiar with or at least should be familiar with. Much of understanding is augmented by developing mental images of the physical phenomena.

        To start, general understanding of the atmosphere at the scale of atoms is useful. It can be described as molecules bouncing elastically (no friction) off each other with empty space between them. Deeper understanding involving electric fields and Quantum Mechanics is sometimes also useful.

        Gravity causes the molecules to be closer together at low altitude which is measured as pressure. The pressure declines with altitude but never actually gets all the way to zero. What is called top-of-atmosphere (TOA) is a more-or-less arbitrary decision as to when the pressure gets close enough to zero that the residual can be ignored.

        Temperature declines with increasing altitude to about -50 °C at the tropopause (about 8 to 12 km depending mostly on latitude). The temperature decline has a huge effect on the population of WV molecules. Water vapor is a unique greenhouse gas (ghg) in that it is the only one that it sometimes condenses at atmospheric temperatures resulting in clouds and precipitation. The term ghg is misleading because it has little to do with greenhouses. It is more correct to realize that ghg molecules can substantially absorb and emit thermal radiation (AKA LWIR & radiant heat) at wavenumbers (the number of wave lengths per centimeter) associated with atmospheric temperatures.

        The unique and important distribution of WV molecules is that they average about 10,000 parts per million by volume (ppmv) at ground level but, because of the low temperature, decline to about 32 ppmv at the tropopause. Combined with the pressure decline, the population of WV molecules at the tropopause is about 1/1200 of the population at ground level. CO2 fraction, on the other hand, is about the same all the way up; about 410 ppmv in 2018.

        A key to understanding how climate works is understanding thermalization. Thermalization is the process of ghg molecules (this includes WV molecules) absorbing thermal radiation energy and sharing it with surrounding molecules. That is how thermal radiation warms the atmosphere nearly all of which (about 98 %) consists of molecules that are transparent to thermal radiation.

        The absorbed energy dwells in the molecules for a brief time. Realize that if the dwell time was zero there would be no way to tell that the energy had been absorbed. The dwell time is about 5 microseconds at room temperature and increases with decreasing temperature. The time between molecule impacts at room temperature and pressure is about 0.0002 microseconds. For all practical purposes, all absorbed radiation energy is thermalized. Thermalization is continuous throughout the atmosphere.

        A characteristic of ghg is that they can absorb/emit only at certain, wavenumbers. Each molecule specie has a characteristic ‘signature’ of the wavenumbers at which it can absorb/emit. Radiation in the wavenumber range of 0-500/cm can be absorbed/emitted only by WV molecules. With increasing altitude, because of the progressive decline in the number of WV molecules, more and more of the emission from WV molecules that are located below the tropopause gets all the way to space. Figures 1 and 1.5 in my b/a are example graphs of radiation flux vs wavenumber.

        The energy path is substantially that thermal radiation absorbed by CO2 molecules is thermalized and progressively with altitude increase is emitted to space by WV molecules. The evidence for this process is shown in graphics of TOA radiation flux vs wavenumber where emission is reduced in the wavenumber range dominated by CO2. An example graphic of comparison of absorb/emit intensity of WV vs CO2 at ground level is at https://pbs.twimg.com/media/ECWhyyDUYAA1P89?format=jpg&name=medium

        Above the tropopause, CO2 molecules outnumber WV molecules by about 410/32 ≈ 13 to one. The CO2 molecule population progressively declines as the pressure declines with increased altitude so, progressively with altitude, more and more of the emission gets all the way to space. As the CO2 molecules emit to space, they are ‘recharged’ by contact with surrounding molecules. More CO2 molecules here just means more molecules to radiate energy to space resulting in cooling. The additional cooling from more CO2 molecules at high altitude apparently offsets the increased absorption and warming from more CO molecules at ground level with the end result being that CO2 does not, never has had, and never will have a significant effect on climate.

        The situation with WV molecules is entirely different. The increase at ground level causes warming but the level at the tropopause does not significantly change so there is no compensating cooling. The increase WV has contributed part of GW. A study of sources of increased WV reveals that it is primarily (about 86%) a result of increased irrigation and this is attributed to humanity. However, because the capacity of the atmosphere for more WV is limited, the increase in WV and therefore the increase in warming is self-limiting.

      • The atmosphere is a fluid.

        Pressure at sea level is the weight of the atmospheric column times the acceleration of gravity divided by a unit area – A. F = ma => P = F/A

        It is warmer at the surface – but the heat is dissipated – it is not a physically impossible adiabatic process – and the warmer it gets the exponentially greater the rate of dissipation.

  74. And because I am bored…


    “This image shows the Moon at the centre, with the limb of Earth near the bottom transitioning into the orange-colored troposphere. The troposphere ends abruptly at the tropopause, which appears in the image as the sharp boundary between the orange- and blue-colored atmosphere. The silvery-blue noctilucent clouds extend far above Earth’s troposphere.” Wikipedia

    Because what are called absorption spectra are absorption, re-emission and photon scattering. Changes in IR scattering can be observed in snapshots taken at different times through a narrow aperture from space.

    Emissions return to equilibrium with warming in accordance with the Stefan-Boltzmann law – how quickly is the ‘heat in the pipeline’. Re-emission is of the same frequency as the photon absorbed – necessarily as the internal energy gained with an electron orbit quantum jump on absorption is lost.

    But there is also kinetic energy (heat) that is gained with resonant frequency interactions with photons in the rotational and translational bands. This is imparted to other molecules in the atmosphere through collision.

    • Nice picture. You said:
      … But there is also kinetic energy (heat) that is gained with resonant frequency interactions with photons in the rotational and translational bands. This is imparted to other molecules in the atmosphere through collision …

      This process is commonly called thermalization. It is 2-way. Kinetic energy can be lost to CO2 from O2 and N2 too.

      The main CO2 radiative band at 667 cm-1 has a radiative equilibrium temperature, calculated using Planck’s Law, of -77.8C. When CO2 is at or below that temperature it tends to absorb radiation. When above, it tends to emit. It hardly ever gets as cold as that anywhere on earth, so it follows: nothing stops CO2 from emitting. After it emits radiation, a CO2 molecule is a prime candidate to absorb kinetic energy from N2 and O2 molecules it collides with.

      • The translational and rotational, kinetic energy of greenhouse gases change with photon collisions. Occasionally a photon of the right vector and frequency will be emitted or absorbed in electron orbit quantum leaps. Quantum statistics says that greenhouse gas molecules have an average electron state but have a distribution of all possible energy states .

  75. Lost interest after a few paragraphs.

  76. I hope that the article author is reading the comments.

    He wishes to be seen as a “denialist” in order to … um … promote his brand? Sadly, he missed the one quality that a denier, or indeed a person that calls someone else a denier, must have. Namely, an unshakable belief that what they are saying is the objective truth. I think that the state of denialist and philosopher may be mutually exclusive.

    Even though the word “denier” is used very seldom in the comments, there are tremendous threads of serial denialism going on.

    Dr. Viminitz does achieve, by the end of his lenthy missive, a message that climate change denialism is okay, with a philosophers official stamp of approval.

    I disagree that it’s okay and would like to suggest that the unproductive denialist conversations on this blog could benefit from a simple re-framing that, if properly done, could inject some much needed empathy.

    Change the discussion to one of threat and threat assessment.

    If a person stands in front of you with a knife and says “I am going to stab you.”, that is a threat.

    It fits the definition if that person is a 4 year-old child holding a plastic knife from McDonalds as much as it is if that person is a former MMA champion on bath salts wielding a switchblade. However we assess these threats quite differently.

    The AGW hypothesis is a threat by definition and every individual who has heard that hypothesis has done a personal threat assessment.

    A high school student, will assess it differently than a scientist, or a politician, or a corporate CEO.

    A person with 60+ years of life ahead of them, will assess it differently than someone with less than 20 good years.

    A person who has had parents provide for them their whole life, will assess it differently than someone who has built a life, bought a car and house (with loans and a mortgage) the stability of which depends heavily on liquid fuels.

    A person who has never held a job, will assess it differently than someone who works in the patch.

    A person who has achieved fame and gets speaking engagements for highlighting the severity of the threat, will assess it differently than someone who has achieved fame and gets speaking engagements for highlighting the uncertainty of the threat.

    Are you starting to understand the value of empathy? If the groundswell of climate concern and action from young people is worrying you, you would do well to try to understand why their demographic is particularly prone to being concerned.

    Not that I’m and expert, but I’ll take a crack at suggesting some of the facts (or lies or semi-truths) among those that young people are exposed to, that may cause their growing climate anxiety:

    ONE: They may have been told that, long before they were born, a group of maverick scientists noticed a correlation between human industrialization and increases in atmospheric GHG concentrations. Using some well known chemistry and basic mathematical models they said: Hey, if we keep emitting GHGs at this rate, we could well cause some global warming that would be, you know, bad. We should slow our GHG emissions down. Now, almost 4 decades later, we are at 1 Celsius degree of warming over pre-industrial levels. The maverick scientists’ prediction apparently came true.

    TWO: They may have read that quote from the Hansen et. al. paper from 1988: “Potential effects on climate in the 21st century include the creation of drought-prone regions in North America and central Asia as part of a shifting of climatic zones, erosion of the West Antarctic ice sheet with a consequent worldwide rise in sea level, and opening of the fabled Northwest Passage.” It is easy to find controversy concerning Hansen’s projections in general, but that one sentence is again convincingly predictive.

    THREE: An organization called the IPCC has, every 7 years since those original projections, released a report that says roughly the same thing each time: Because we haven’t yet started taking significant action to reduce emissions, our assessment of the threat related to climate change has increased. They may have actually taken a look at one of these reports and seen the pages of acknowledgements of contributing scientists along with their very climate sciencey sounding PhDs.

    FOUR: More than half a life ago (i.e. a decade), Some climate scientists said that the gradual increase in global temperature would not be uniform. Our experience of it will be in the form of increasingly extreme local weather events that will be very difficult to predict. In 2019 we have seen an extreme heat wave and forest fires in the arctic, severe heat waves in Europe and hurricane Dorian which, for a category 5 hurricane, sat on top of the Bahamas and wrought devastation for an unprecedented amount of time. It seems like yet another climate change prediction is coming true.

    FIVE: The IPCC has said that, if we do not significantly reduce emissions by 2030, it is very likely that we will exceed 1.5C of warming within their lifetimes. The IPCC has also said that the impact of exceeding 1.5C of warming will be potentially long-lasting or irreversible, such as the loss of some ecosystems.

    If I said any one of these five statements were objectively true, I am sure there’d be a whole host of commentators ready to challenge me. However, true or false, the impact of these five statements on an individual making a personal threat assessment of the AGW hypothesis, is undeniable.

    To my knowledge, scientists that suggest that natural variability is largely responsible for observed climate change do not have any significant successful predictions under their belt.

    Meanwhile, saying that policy decisions related to climate change have “deep uncertainty” has precisely zero impact on an individual’s need to make a personal threat assessment with which to inform their personal actions.

    If you want to have an impact on what people believe, try making an effort to figure out why people believe what they do.

    Writing an article like this one, which seems best designed to make people feel better about bucking the trend, simply because it is their right to do so, is more hot air to inflate filter-bubbles.

  77. Mda,
    The warmists guessed the wrong molecule, the increase of which is actually beneficial.
    The EPA ignored the correct molecule.
    With the correct molecule, GW is self-limiting.
    The only real concern is that the politicians will destroy human progress and prosperity and/or waste even more than the trillion dollars or so already wasted in failed attempts to blame CO2 for GW and in misguided activities to try to do something about it.

  78. thank you drs. curry and viminitz for including philosophy in climate talks, especially re the issue of intellectual arrogance, which caused me to reject AGW alarmism long ago. as a lawyer i blanche when anyone, let alone scientists, claims all wisdom on any subject, especially one as controversial and unproven as climate change. philosophy is critical to both science and democracy, which alarmists fail to respect, properly causing dick lindzen to call them ‘cultists’. if they are so insecure in their beliefs as to depend on consensus rather than non-falsifiable fact finding, and pejorative name calling [‘denier’; not even a science term] rather than force of argument, they should merit no respect from any thinking person. dr. viminitz’s artful polemic on AGW has made this clearer to me and should to any thinking person.

    • Please don’t mistake this article for philosophy.

      For an example of what philosophy from Dr. Viminitz looks like, I suggest you take a look at some of his published scholarly articles. I am sure that you can find some cracking examples of top notch philosophizing if you do, but I am equally sure that this article isn’t that. To qualify, I’m pretty sure there has to be an original argument somewhere in there.

      Dr. Viminitz is a trained wordsmith. This many-paged bit of banter is designed to poke some gentle fun at climate change alarmists for the benefit of those visitors to Judith Curry’s site who are mainly here to fortify the walls of their personal filter bubbles.

      As I argued in my previous comment that the choice to be a “climate change alarmist” or a “climate change denier” or to be the kind of person that uses either of those epithets to label someone else, has much more to do with demographics than any series of logical / scientific epiphanies or blunders (although I am sure there are one or two of the latter in the preceding 284 comments).

      If you would like your words to have an impact, try visiting some other blogs — ones that present a viewpoint that you disagree with. Read the articles, read some comments and do your best to put yourself in the shoes of the person writing them.

      Doing this almost certainly won’t change your fundamental opinions. It won’t make you less angry. It may not even help prevent you from making the occasional logical or scientific blunder. However, it is almost guaranteed to make you better at getting your own thoughts across to others constructively.

      haroldb1234, you in particular may be surprised to find that, among the people you label “alarmists”, there is a great variety of voices, some of which are not at all “intellectually arrogant”. You may also discover that the “subject” of “climate change” (I think you mean “the AGW hypothesis”) will remain unproven except in hindsight (that’s just how science works). You will not be surprised to find that many don’t think that the AGW hypothisis is particularly controversial, but maybe you will gain better insight into why they don’t.

      • “Dr. Viminitz is a trained wordsmith.”
        A trained blacksmith makes neatly shaped horseshoes that the horse will feel comfortable with.
        A trained wordsmith does the same for consumers of words.
        Dr. Viminitz’s words are those one imagines Salvador Dali would come up with if he were painting a blacksmith’s forge.

  79. Far, far above in the comment stream is this one statement:

    “In some areas, especially the social “sciences” and economics, it is difficult to carry out definitive experiments that can illuminate “the truth”.”

    Actually, it is the opposite

    Management “science” and practice reveals the following:

    1. Social organizations are notoriously plentiful and fragile.

    2. Therefore there are millions of social organizations/networks (companies, political parties, governments, clubs, religions, etc) that rise and fall all the time in almost any dimension of human endeavor. The number of social science experiments, with documented results is far, far larger than the number of global scale “climate science” experiments.

    3. This is also true for small-set non-human biological forms. Plants, diseases, insects, etc.

    4. This means there are far more experimental data on the realities of human social/economic systems than there are on any “climate” or “environmental” system.

    5. At this moment there are millions of social experiments happening. And their principles can be easily documented and compared to the millions of social organizations in the history of human (and some non-human) “species”.

    6. At one level, therefore, it is easy to predict the generic outcomes of most social networks.

    7. An easy way to see this is to compare the short history of the Alfred Sloan model of organization (General Motors)…to the so-called “Toyota Way”. Over the past 100 years the bottom-up management of the Toyota way (which is also the organizational form of the “internet”) – has been much more successfully adaptive than the top-down “Sloan” command-control model of social organization.

    8. All social organizations have two dominant network forms at work simultaneously. Central command (fixed nodes and links) – and “emergent” (constantly adapting new nodes and links that adapt to “bad forecasts” by commanders) .

    9. Both forms are always present, all the time. If the command share gets too large in the system, the system fails (GM). If the “emergent” ratio remains high, but not chaotic, then the system can adapt to even extreme, unforcasteable changes (Toyota, Honda, Google, Dubbawalas, etc)

    10. The IPCC organization has a very high proportion of command in its organization, and its strategy seeks to eliminate most/all “emergence” (“deniers”). It also appears to seek to extend this high-command-ratio form of social organization to 7 billion humans, and countless other plant/animal species.

    11. So BECAUSE the social sciences have so much evidence-producing scientific testing – it is pretty easy to argue that – the probability is – the IPCC central-command-dominant social process will NOT achieve its social organization targets.

    12. The “social probe” of the Toyota Prius has already been far more successful on all environmental, social, economic, political, and emotional dimensions – than anything the IPCC proposes.

    • @Marty: “The IPCC organization has a very high proportion of command in its organization, and its strategy seeks to eliminate most/all “emergence” (“deniers”)”
      Boy are you paranoid. You are clueless about how science and scientists work. Nothing could be further from the agenda of the scientists who conduct research in the many fields treated in the IPCC reports since 1992. If it were, science over the past many centuries would be uttlerly chaotic and totally unbelievable,

      • Vaughan

        Nice to read your words again. Where have you been hiding?

        tonyb

      • Hi Tony. I sent you a couple of emails a while back about south-east winds in Devon as a proxy for temperature but never heard back, so I could ask the same of you (“where have you been hiding?”).

        Anyway I’ve been busy writing about climate change, publishing in annual Fall Meetings of the American Geophysical Union, answering questions on Quora, converting my 1981 Delorean DMC-12 to an FCEV, analyzing data from tagged tuna fish at the Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove, CA, and working with Global Fishing Watch. Basically all the things that climate deniers keep insisting are just hoaxes and scare tactics aimed at making us alarmists incredibly wealthy at the expense of those of you on Climate Etc. who can clearly see that the planet is in fine shape and not suffering at all from the top predators in the food web, namely the species homo sapiens.

        If I thought it was possible to get the denizens of Climate Etc. to listen to what they view as “the enemy” I’d post here more often, but it’s become very obvious that it’s not and that it’s a complete waste of time trying to talk to y’all.

        Otherwise I’d post here more often.

      • Hi Vaughan

        Just this second seen your email and replied to it, so please let me know here or direct whether it arrived.

        You have never heard me use the word ‘hoax’ and I often defend scientists when sceptics here and at WUWT use that term.

        I have also become incredibly rich from money emanating from Big Oil and Big Gas.

        I hope to earn even more from Big Gas in the near future as the Govt has announced it will ban gas boilers in new homes. No firm date as yet. What with the fuss about methane I am also expecting to earn large sums from Big Cow.

        your research sounds interesting.

        best regards

        Tony Brown

      • Quite right, Tony. Furthermore your extension of CET back a century based on (IIRC) old records of south-east winds (what my files refer to as BrownCET.csv) contained the same 20-year period as in the actual temperature measurements during the 17-18th century. (19th century aerosols seem to have made CET messier, but it cleared up again mid-20th-century.)

        To be fairer, it’s a mixed bag here. The problem is more with me, I’ve just gotten less noise-tolerant in my old age.

      • Vaughan

        so did you get the email I sent back to you this morning which I note was a ‘ping’ dated today but attached to a short message from October 21st 2017??!!

        There seems to be another sharp temperature drop in CET around 1310-after some centuries of mostly settled weather and mostly south and westerly winds (but by no means all the time)

        This cold period lasted until probably 1380 or so. It was so cold our local abbey bricked in windows and roofed over cloisters and noted a change to cooler easterlies (in winter) and much wetter and stormier weather. These dates are a rough estimate as the detailed data is being examined. I don’t think it was as severe as the 1600 episodes

        Does that tie in with anything?

        tonyb

  80. “And the proof that having these admittedly unjustified beliefs is better than suspending belief entirely is that the former has been naturally selected for and the latter selected against.”

    Is the belief that “the former has been naturally selected for and the latter selected against” a justified, or unjustified, belief…?

  81. I agree. I am a British Climate Sceptic from a scientific background. I am not a climatologist but I have seen your lecture on You Tube and it encouraged me to start to challenge AGW (or MMCC as I call it). Due to my scepticism (British spelling!) I have been accused of being the following: stupid, an idiot (with a PhD in Plant Science well Transgenic wheat actually- another ‘no-go in current day research), and of course a Climate Change Denier.
    I now embrace the Natural Climate Variability Theory as a planet whose climate is driven by the Sun makes more sense than the anthropogenic alternative.
    I can be found on Facebook and am associated with the Action4Life movement.

    Marlon Corvin Stone, PhD

  82. robert cartwright

    More evidence philosophy is something to occupy smart people so they don’t cause problems for rich people.

  83. That’s all very well.

    But the silliest thing about the whole toxic debate, so far as I can see, is the way in which those who’re most invested in having us emotionally overwrought about it have yet to propose a single plan that fixes the problem without slaying half of humanity (plus a goodly number of farm animals).

    In the meantime, the persons most associated with “denial” are also, as a rule, hard-in-favor of 4th-generation nuclear power plants…and the conversion of most 1st-world power-generation to 4th-gen is not only the sole serious plan for reducing the carbon footprint of industrialized nations, but, amusingly, it’s what we ought to do anyway, since 4th-gen is more practical and efficient at scale, better at distributed supply and demand-balancing, doesn’t require sulfur scrubbers, fails to stable/safe, and can actually “eat” the waste produced by older reactor designs.

    So the “greens” are all about scaring children, panicking, and stridently hectoring us towards arduous symbolic penances lacking any solution value, and the “deniers” are all about being chill, pooh-poohing the whole thing, and advocating (for unrelated reasons!) the one course-of-action that’ll actually help the situation if they turn out to be wrong.

    Of course, it’s still the “greens” that get treated as heroes by our major media organs.

    Sigh. Humans.

    If I had the option, I’d turn in my membership card.

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