Uncomfortable knowledge

by Judith Curry

On the misuse of science and scientific authority.

The latest issue of The Breakthrough Journal is a tour de force. Excerpts from the Introduction to the issue:

<begin quote>

Donald Rumsfeld famously opined on the problems of decision-making in the face of “known knowns,” “known unknowns” and “unknown unknowns.” To those three categories Rayner added a fourth, “unknown knowns” — the things we actually know but pretend we don’t. He called this “uncomfortable knowledge,” referring to all that policy makers and institutions forget in order to govern.

To some degree, banishing uncomfortable knowledge from the picture was unavoidable, Rayner argued. Faced with a world of irreducible complexity, humans must construct simplified versions of reality in order to act. But when institutions are unable to integrate uncomfortable knowledge into policy making, the consequences can be grave. This is true not just with regard to short-term policy outcomes, but also to the long-term credibility of the institutions.

A year later, the Covid-19 pandemic has offered us an object lesson in how this is so. From the beginning, scientists, experts, pundits, and provocateurs made bold pronouncement after overconfident prediction. Policy makers announced restrictions, based ostensibly on the best available science and then abandoned them within days.

As often as not, the facts are subservient to our interpretations of their meaning. Success at containing the virus in Vietnam, Taiwan, Korea, and Japan doesn’t count because they are Asian countries. New Zealand does because they are like “us.” High case rates in the United States and the UK are due to the incompetence of globally unpopular leaders. In Italy, Spain, and France, they are due to aging populations and higher density.

One thing, though, seems certain. With each twist of the plot, each new skirmish among dueling experts, each round of blame-saying when things don’t work out as promised, our social and political institutions lose a little more credibility.

1.

As with the pandemic, so with the world. This issue of the Breakthrough Journal is titled, Uncomfortable Knowledge, in homage to Rayner, whose work informed, anticipated, and inspired so much that we have published over the years. It includes Rayner’s final essay, “Policy Making in the Post-Truth World,” published posthumously with Daniel Sarewitz. In the essay, Rayner and Sarewitz offer a valedictory of Rayner’s thinking about the demands and perversities of “post-normal” science, how normative views about nature inform science as it relates to risk, technology, and the environment, and the ways in which so much of what we call science today does not actually describe nature but rather artificial simulacrums of the natural world that are increasingly removed from anything we can observe or test.

The resulting hash of normative claims, confirmation biases, superficial empiricism, unfalsifiable predictions, counterfactuals, and counter-counterfactuals has, unsurprisingly, been attended by declining faith in the sciences, experts, and institutions that presume to guide us on these matters. In response, many observers conclude that we have entered a “post-truth” era, in which right-wing populists, conspiracists, and alternative healers are waging a war on science with potentially devastating consequences for human societies and the planet.

But Rayner and Sarewitz argue that this isn’t so. The problem is not that charlatans have duped the public with pseudoscience and misinformation but rather that the expert class and the institutions in which they are embedded has failed to attend to the panoply of public values that are unavoidably implicated in the construction of policy-relevant science. The solution, they argue, is not more research, better science communication, or louder condemnations of science denial. Instead, it is greater cognitive pluralism — both in how we define problems and how we shape solutions — so that both are better able to speak to a broader range of normative postures toward risk.

Much of the discussion of the “war on science” and our “post-truth” condition, of course, regards not a generalized condition but a specific controversy, the failure of policy makers to heed the recommendations of climate scientists, with many climate advocates claiming that the failure to act is the result of a sustained campaign of media disinformation underwritten by fossil fuel interests.

But in “Unbalanced: How Liberal Elites Have Cued Climate Polarization,” political scientists Eric Merkley and Dominik Stecula argue that there is little evidence to support this claim. Drawing upon a comprehensive study of three decades of news coverage of the issue, Merkley and Stecula find that mainstream media outlets, including conservative outlets like the Wall Street Journal and Fox News, have never given climate skeptics much of a platform.

That, however, is not the end of the story. The media has played a role in the polarization of attitudes about the issue, just not the role that many have imagined. “The problem with the conventional environmental story about climate denial,” Merkely and Stecula write, “is that it ignores the critical and polarizing impact of cues Republican voters received from Democratic and liberal elites.”

Over the last two decades, Republicans have become more skeptical about climate change. This is not because they were taking their cues from science denialists in the media but because they were reacting negatively to high-profile liberal and environmental climate advocates who have dominated media coverage.

That is indeed uncomfortable knowledge for those who have been overwhelmingly represented on this issue in media coverage and have shaped the broader narrative. And so partisans and environmentalists invented a conspiracy to explain their failure to win over the public rather than countenance the possibility that two decades of framing the issue in ways that served partisan and ideological ends predictably polarized the issue along partisan and ideological lines.

In “What Would Hayek Do About Climate Change,” Sagoff takes aim at neoclassical economists who argue that the problem is the result of a “market failure” that can be solved by pricing carbon. The claim misunderstands what markets and prices actually do. “Markets are for discovery, not utility,” Sagoff argues. Prices convey information, not value.

“If the American Economic Association (AEA) had its way, it would set prices in terms of its calculus of the social cost of carbon,” Sagoff writes. “Entrepreneurs would then plan not around market prices but around AEA ‘prices,’ which float in the doctrinal and political winds. This turns investment into speculation — bets on what the next administration or central committee will do.”

Hayek, Sagoff speculates, would have understood climate change not as a problem of market failure but as one of information, discovery, and innovation. He would not have objected to government acting as investor and venture capitalist, or even paying more for nascent clean energy technologies. But he would have objected to government attempting to fix markets by setting prices.

“By chanting a ritual ‘market failure’ abracadabra over social problems,” economists, Sagoff argues, “would replace a free-market economy with cost-benefit analysis, the better to achieve a figment of their mathematical imagination, i.e., welfare, being better off, or utility, which they expect to be paid to measure.”

2.

Across a long and varied career, Rayner, an anthropologist by training, was less interested in what science does in the abstract, or what its intrinsic value is, than what it is for. How do we use it? Why do we trust it? How do the sciences, and the people who interpret them for policy-makers and lay publics, help us make sense of the world, produce outcomes that we want, and make better decisions?

In these regards, Rayner was as concerned with the misuse of science, and scientific authority as he was with all that science could do. Whether it is climate scientists who demand ever more media coverage of their science, environmental advocates who insist that their political agenda is simply the law of thermodynamics writ small in social policy, or economists who imagine that they can reliably estimate the costs of climate change at the end of the century to calculate appropriate carbon tax levels today, all of the essays in this issue speak, in one way or another, to this question.

The notion that public science could reasonably characterize the costs and benefits of climate change over a century or the behavior of a nuclear waste repository over millennia, or even the global consequences of a quickly unfolding pandemic across hundreds of regions with different populations, cultures, and institutional traditions and capacities asks something of science, and the institutions in which it lives, that it could never possibly live up to.

“Nobody worries,” Rayner and Sarewitz observe, “whether laypeople trust astrophysicists who study the origins of stars or biologists who study anaerobic bacteria that cluster around deep sea vents.” Nor have most of us come to distrust surgeons or airline pilots. It is rather a particular kind of science, “making claims upon how we live and how we are governed” that so many of us no longer trust.

This sort of science has become so intensely contested in the early decades of the 21st century because the science, related as it is to the complex interface of human societies, public health, the natural world, and technology, carries so much uncertainty across so many valences of human choices and values. Lay publics are right to mistrust strong claims, whether they come from scientists, policy-makers, or advocates, based upon this sort of science.

For this reason, Rayner cared far more about civic institutions than the knowledge they embody; believing that good institutions, capable of navigating competing interests and worldviews, were more important than an idealized notion of “good science.” That perspective has proven ever more prescient and valuable as so much public science has become increasingly untethered from claims that are actually observable or testable in nature, as our expert class has become ever more unaccountable to its many competing and overconfident claims and predictions, and as our political class has become unwilling to take responsibility for their actions and decisions. The problem is not so much the science relevant to social controversies regarding risk, technology, and the environment but the elites and institutions that produce it.

As we have watched so many of our institutions fail and so much of our political culture come apart, it only becomes clearer that our capacity for self-government in advanced developed economies depends upon reestablishing a healthy interface between science, public institutions, and the publics they serve. Sadly, Steve Rayner is no longer here to help us navigate these challenges. But his work and legacy have left us a deep reserve to draw upon as we grapple our way toward what Rayner recognized would always be “clumsy solutions.”

197 responses to “Uncomfortable knowledge

  1. Excellent point of view. Thank you.

    (Btw there’s a typo: “A year later, the Covid-19 pandemic has offered us an *object* lesson in how this is so.” It should read abject lesson)

  2. Thank you for another thought provoking posting, Dr. Curry.

    I note that even a cursory review of UN IPCC literature reveals it is a political body run by globalist/socialist elite. Enough said.

    • Richard Greene

      Politicians and climate activists get to write the final draft of the IPCC’s Summary for Policy Makers.

      The Summary’s back up books are released many months later so no one can compare the two. Or maybe to give scientists a few months to re-write their back up books to tie with the Summary?

      The IPCC knows the Summary is the news, and most writers will just quote their press release on the Summary. And use a climate scare title for their article. No one in the media will ever check the IPCC back up books.

      I don’t bother reading the IPCC Summary, and annual updates of it, because science fiction doesn’t interest me.

      I just assume the Summary will predict a climate crisis in 10 years, or maybe 12 years — they seem to prefer even numbers.

      I’ve been hearing about a coming climate crisis for about 50 years. After 49 years, and still no crisis, I got ‘slightly’ suspicious about the coming climate crisis predictions.

  3. Thank you for an interesting post.

    On the pandemic, I think it’s mostly the “science based” actions of politicians that have sometimes been across the line. But, it also looked to me like public health scientists were both too confident in their statements (or at least didn’t adequate communicate the uncertainties), and too slow to utilize information that was available – such as the fact that the disease spread well through the air. And, the “fine tuned” actions such as the ridiculous mandates in Michigan about what could and could not be purchased in the same store, cannot be justified given the uncertainties.

    Many policy makers, and epidemiologists, didn’t seem to take voluntary actions into account. When one looks at actual behavior, it is clear that non-mandated behavior was very significant. Before public health mandates even were issued in the US, supplies of masks, gloves and cleaning materials had disappeared – hoarded by people voluntarily.

    And, of course, the experts in infectious disease epidemiology are not experts in the social and psychological impact of mass mitigation measures. That isn’t surprising, since we haven’t had examples of this in living memory. But it does call for humility.

    • Hey got water?
      “According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which has published weekly maps since 2000, the 2020 drought is the worst, in terms of its geographical scope, in more than 20 years.

      Almost 80 percent of the Western U.S. is in drought, with nearly 42 percent of the region in “extreme” or “exceptional” drought.”
      https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

      Who gets the water? The farmers who feed us, the industry and thermal power plants who need to make money or the whinny climate skeptics?

      PS: Wind and solar don’t need water BTW.

      • Barnes,
        I knew when I typed that it was a bit of a misdirection. Everything needs some kind of maintenance and solar panels get dirty so you are correct. I suspect wind turbines need to use some water too. Solar panels do need to be washed off when they get covered in dust, pollen and bird poop. I have a PV array and I typically clean them 2-3 times a year.
        If my panels last as long as their 25yr warranty I will use around 1000 gals or about 2.5 months at my current usage volume (400gal/mo). Maybe $14 for 25 years of production.

      • A lot of thermal plants are required to use cooling towers so as not to add heat to rivers/lakes/oceans. However, cooling towers require huge amounts of water which is evaporated into the air. Far more than a once thru use of water from a lake/river/ocean.
        My point is mindless simplifications invariably lead to unintended consequences. Using nothing but renewable energy is a mindless simplification.

      • Mike,
        I like to play both sides. I have a gas lease and I am looking forward to my royalty check for this quarter!
        I think in the future access to water will strongly play to renewable strengths.
        https://news.stanford.edu/2021/03/03/much-humans-influence-earths-water-levels/
        “Analysis of new satellite data published March 3 in Nature shows fully 57 percent of the seasonal variability in Earth’s surface water storage now occurs in dammed reservoirs and other water bodies managed by people.

        “Humans have a dominant effect on Earth’s water cycle,” said lead author Sarah Cooley”

      • jacksmith4tx: Drought (and the opposite extreme) are quantified relative to normal rainfall. Therefore, on the average X% of the country is experiencing extreme drought and Y% is experiencing “ordinary” drought. Superimposed on top of this normal distribution of precipitation is increase evaporation due to temperature that has been rising about 0.2 K/decade for the last half-century. So drought has been rising more from a rise in temperature (and evaporation from land) than a decrease in precipitation. In reality, precipitation is increasing on the average, but not enough to keep up with evaporation over land.

    • thecliffclavenoffinance

      “the ridiculous mandates in Michigan about what could and could not be purchased in the same store, cannot be justified given the uncertainties.”

      Reporting from Michifan:
      The order WAS given by our Governor “Witless”, but stores ignored it. My local Meijers (Michigan version of Walmart) never even tried to place parts of their store off limits to customers (based on shopping at Meijers every week since the pandemic began).

      • That’s how authoritarianism works- you “ban” something and then arbitrarily enforce it. You will get a pass if you pay the right person, or if you support the right party, or if you’re just too big to mess with (shutting down Meijers would be hard, closing every single mom and pop place with food and other stuff would not be hard.)
        This is why it’s so fun to catch the politicians and unions that are ignoring their own mandates – these are literally people who have no expectation that the rules should ever be applied to them or their friends.

  4. > Over the last two decades, Republicans have become more skeptical about climate change. This is not because they were taking their cues from science denialists in the media but because they were reacting negatively to high-profile liberal and environmental climate advocates who have dominated media coverage.

    I love that in an essay such as this, such a cause-and-effect argument is made with total certainty.

    Notice that what is dismissed is ANY possibility that what might be “causing” a shift in Republicans about climate change would be identity orientation rather than “they made us do it.” All agency is denied.

    Also notice is no actual evidence w/r/t how views among Republicans has changed.

    In fact, most Republicans are more closely aligned to moderates and Demz on climate change than they are to the Tea Party types who are the ones who are more easily distinguished in their views on climate change. Of course, it is true that *Republican politicians* have moved towards the Tea Pariers relative to Dems and moderates on climate change. Because it’s politically expedient for them to do so.

    • Link with proof

      “In fact, most Republicans are more closely aligned to moderates and Demz on climate change than they are to the Tea Party types who are the ones who are more easily distinguished in their views on climate change.”

      • Google it. It’s easy to find.

      • Lol

        Translation, non existent. In J’s dream world.

      • If you’re actuality interested, and you Googled it, you’d find it. Just try googling it and report back.

      • I always assume that when someone says “YOU can google it”. Or “Why should I do the work for you”, that is because they really can’t do it. Most people would love to show you where they are right, and you are wrong, and will jump at the chance to demonstrate their superior knowledge. It’s always much easier to pontificate when you do not have to show your work.

      • joe - the non climate scientist

        joshes comment – “In fact, most Republicans are more closely aligned to moderates and Demz on climate change than they are to the Tea Party types who are the ones who are more easily distinguished in their views on climate change.”

        That statement is a common belief among the warmists, to a large extent perpetuated by dubious surveys with misleading questions

        A common example is the following which is frequently and heavily promoted by Skeptical science
        “Are you in favor of stopping the pollution that causes global warming?”

      • Alright. Let’s do this. Timer on.

        1. Copy-paste “most Republicans are more closely aligned to moderates and Demz on climate change than they are to the Tea Party types who are the ones who are more easily distinguished in their views on climate change”

        2. Click on first hit:

        https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/02/28/more-americans-see-climate-change-as-a-priority-but-democrats-are-much-more-concerned-than-republicans/

        3. Search “moderate.” First hit:

        But Republicans differ widely in their views on this issue by ideology. About two-thirds of moderate or liberal Republicans (65%) say the federal government is doing too little to reduce the effects of climate change, compared with roughly one-quarter of conservative Republicans (24%).

        4. Want fries with that?

        Thanks for playing the climate ball!

      • Pew polls are very interesting. The results would seem to indicate that democrats and liberal republicans are unscientific and ignore economics in their views on climate. I wonder if that is a byproduct of the media narrative.

      • Pew results are very interesting indeed, Rob. They seem to indicate that Denizens are in an epistemic bubble. Witness your deflection from the point being made.

      • Willard
        Your point is exactly what?

        Do the denizens of climate etc. follow science/economics? (I am not 1btw so I’m again not sure of your point)

        Do democrats and liberal republicans realize that gcm’s are running hot and that their forecasts appear unrealistically achievable?

        Anti science poor democrats and liberal republicans.

      • According to the article I linked, at the time of the polling some 45% of Tea Partiers thought that CO2 was increasing, even as some 83% gave themselves a good grade for their knowledge about climate change.

        And those viewpoints were correlated with “skepticism” about climate change…and of course according to Rob a superior understanding of economics and science.

      • Joshua

        1. A Washington post article is not a scientific poll as is a PEW poll.

        2. You are being untruthful to infer that i have made any comment about tea partiers. It is only democrats and liberal republicans who appear unscientific based on the PEW research.

      • Rob –

        > 1. A Washington post article is not a scientific poll as is a PEW poll.

        The WaPo article was based on this study

        https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09644016.2014.976485#.VH8J5THF98E

        I await your critique of the science..

      • Joshua
        The link that you provided is for a poll that is 7 years old and without meaning in 2021.

        Was your point that the Washington Post and you will use outdated poor information to try to influence people???

      • Willard

        You failed 1st by lumping me with climate etc denizens, which Iam not.

        You failed by making an unsupported claim about the belief of denizens with no supporting information what so ever i a very unscientific manner.

        You failed by miusing the term “epistemic bubble” in your reference to climate etc denizens. It is those who ( like you) ignore all the relevant science who are living in such a bubble.

        Those poor unscientific democrats and liberal republicans

      • > without meaning in 2021.

        OK Rob. If you say so.

    • joe - the non climate scientist

      Josh fails to note the primary reason for skepticism among republicans

      The insistence by the “experts” that certain facts are “settled science” when in reality, those settled facts” are highly dubious.

      MHB 98, Marcott, etc . very simply, dont get caught lying if you expect to retain credibility.

      • > Josh fails to note the primary reason for skepticism among republicans

        Well, we know how highly committed, online activists, who strongly identify as “skeptics, ” say the causal chain works.

        But we also know what the science say about how people (not just “skeptics”) formulate opinions on polarized issues like climate change. And the causal chain chain described in the article isn’t consistent with that science – (in particular with respect to Republicans as a group as opposed to highly committed, online activists who strongly identify as “skeptics.”)

        You think Republicans as a group have any idea what Marcottt says?

        And we also know that as a general rule, highly motivated activists tend to say “they made us do it” as an explanation for their actions and beliefs – as such a process fits with the ingroup vs. outgroup, “us” vs. “them,” zero sum paradigm.

      • joe - the non climate scientist

        Josh ‘s comment
        :”You think Republicans as a group have any idea what Marcottt says?”

        Josh – care to enlighten us on what Marcott got correct

      • Or, stop making ridiculous predictions that never come true. Climate alarmists have a perfect record of zero for all time.

        https://cei.org/blog/wrong-again-50-years-of-failed-eco-pocalyptic-predictions/

        https://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2012/04/30/the-uns-environmental-holocausts/

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/12/18/wrong-again-2020s-failed-climate-doomsaying/

        These examples along with the constant adjustment of data, models running hot, etc.

      • First link:

        Thanks go to Tony Heller, who first collected many of these news clips […]

        Hmmm.

    • As a conservative, I consider the whole “climate change” as pseudo-science that is unable to logically prove theories, hence the use of hysteria and personal attacks to silence the opposition. Ultimately, green energy is about greed and power. The environment is nothing more than a convenient prop for a movement of highly questionable integrity.

    • Richard Greene

      I’m not a Republican, and don’t pretend to know how most Republicans think about climate change.

      But I would like to offer an opinion on why so many Republicans are skeptical of predictions of a coming climate crisis:

      Logical people with common sense might be skeptical for a simple reason:

      — We have all been living in a period of global warming for roughly 45 years, and the climate change has been pleasant.

      In every one of those 45 years, we have been hearing predictions of a coming climate crisis.

      As every decade passes, we get more experience living WITH global warming, find it to be pleasant, and notice the predictions were wrong.

      But the predictions of a coming climate crisis never stop — in fact, they get louder, and more hysterical.

      Eventually, people with common sense realize the climate predictions have been wrong for many decades, so there is no logical reason to continue believing the predictions.

      Their actual experience LIVING with pleasant global warming, is nothing like the awful future global warming described in the scary climate predictions.

      I’d like to think people had enough common sense so they would never trust predictions, in general, especially climate predictions, and especially climate predictions for 100 years in the future.

      Leftists, however, rarely have this common sense test, because they have too much trust in government and authority.

      If a government bureaucrat or politician tells them the planet is doomed from climate change, they believe that bureaucrat.

      No independent thinking required.

      No skepticism required.

      They act like the borg on Star Trek.

      • UK-Weather Lass

        Thank you for a very thoughtful post, RG.

        “I’d like to think people had enough common sense so they would never trust predictions, in general, especially climate predictions, and especially climate predictions for 100 years in the future.”

        We do not even have systems capable of reliably predicting events such as general elections, outcomes of protests, the way a virus will spread through a population or what the weather will be like in a specific locality when the picture is very unsettled, let alone the daily risks we face by simply being alive. We learn how to gain better judgement in our own minds via experiences good, bad and indifferent. We make mistakes and hope to learn by them.

        I think your comment about the Borg culture is absolutely relevant in the context of our current illness of believing there is only one way of solving a problem and if you do not believe then you must be dangerously deranged and in need of assimilation … as the Doctor Who script for the Darleks, many years previously put it, ‘Exterminate, Exterminate, Exterminate’.

      • ‘Pleasant warming.’

        Yes it is difficult to know why activists and the IPCC insist ion trying to align our temperatures to that of pre industrial society. I have no wish to live during some of the intense waves of cold they had to endure

        As far as England is concerned we can see from the Met Office data in CET from 1659 that anyone born in 1720 would have been at just around the low point of the LIA and would have experienced a rapid rise in temperatures, with the 1730’s being the warmest decade until the 1990’s.

        Anyone born around 1780 would have again seen a notable decline, with the second half of their lives seeing a modest recovery. Anyone born around 1820 would have seen a continuous recovery, as would their ancestors, which has continued to the present day.

        Looked at in its totality, stepping back to 1720 appears to show that this is the start of this continual recovery to the present day, albeit with some peaks and troughs. That is some 300 years of ‘pleasant warming.’ without it the world would be a much diminished place and the globe could not sustain its current population levels, thanks to the greening caused by CO2

        in an ever changing climate, we currently We live in relatively benign climatic times, long may it continue.
        tonyb

    • > Over the last two decades, Republicans have become more skeptical about climate change. This is not because they were taking their cues from science denialists in the media but because they were reacting negatively to high-profile liberal and environmental climate advocates who have dominated media coverage.

      Josh: “I love that in an essay such as this, such a cause-and-effect argument is made with total certainty.”

      In several long interviews on Fox News, over the last year, Bill Gates was brought in to provide expert opinion on science; i.e., he opined at length on the subjects of climate change, and COVID-19 in separate interviews. All Leftists would have been proud at how he wielded his authority, his profound certitude, as he was entertained as an expert on these subjects. There’s Faux News for ya.

      • trunks –

        > In several long interviews on Fox News, over the last year, Bill Gates was brought in to provide expert opinion on science; i.e., he opined at length on the subjects of climate change, and COVID-19 in separate interviews.

        The relevant question here is how that balances against the broader coverage at a place like Fox News on both topics. Anyone who spends any time watching their opinion shows as well as their straight news coverage knows that the notion that there isn’t an imbalance that skews right on these topics is nonsense.

        The only way that you could “mathematically” reach a conclusion of balance is if you centered the fulcrum directly under Sean Hannity or Tucker Carlson or Laura Ingrham and then massively weighted one side relative to the other.

      • Joshua

        Fox news has seemed FAR more balanced that either cnn or msnbc in covering the issue of climate change.

        FOX reports- the climate is changing, as it always has; and humans can/will adapt.

        CNN/MSNBC report falsely- There is a consensus among scientists that increased CO2 is driving the climate to change in catastrophic ways.

      • jungletrunks,
        I take it you think poorly of aristocrats like Bill Gates. Who is the most dangerous privileged elites we should be aware of?

      • jungletrunks

        “The relevant question here is how that balances against the broader coverage at a place like Fox News on both topics. ”

        We know you don’t spend any amount of time watching Fox News coverage, here too, expert opinion fills you in, Josh.

        But among the constellation of news sources where’s the balance in any of them? Only the intellectually inbred consensus crowd believes that Fox News is an unbalanced reporting outlier. Do the big three networks roll out objective analysis? Most Leftists will say yes to this, and why not, the big three networks are surrogates of the Democratic Party. The amount of gaslighting spewed out daily by the big 3 rivals that of a gas giant. Perhaps this gaslighting is the primary driver of climate change. The IPCC really should look into it.

      • Trunks –

        > We know you don’t spend any amount of time watching Fox News coverage, here too, expert opinion fills you in, Josh.

        Actually, you don’t “know” what you think you know.

        I watch it a fair amount. I read the website pretty regularly. And I read the aligned comments at websites like this as well. I like to test my beliefs and my reasoning (even if I’m often disappointed by the quality of the counterarguments offered) .

        You should read more closely. I didn’t weigh in on the question of which sources are more or less balanced. Obviously, the answer to that question could be predetermined by the starting orientation of people looking to confirm a bias.

        My point was imply that.

        Whether you see Fox News as being balanced on the coverage of climate change or COVID could depend on your starting orientation. If you think that Hannity is a centrist then Fox News could be consisted balanced.

        Wr/t climate change in particular, if you consider Curry/Inhofe/Watts as centrist “skeptics” then you could argue that Fox News’ coverage of climate change is relatively “balanced.” That seems to be something the authors accept as their premise.

        What’s disappointing is that the authors in question seem to have taken such a view without interrogating its veracity.

      • Rob Starkey

        I am not a Republican and I find the coverage of climate change on Fox News to be reasonably balanced in covering the science.

        Can anyone point to anything specific that fox has done on the topic of climate change that was unscientific?

        In order to have balance do you have to present with equal time unscientific alarmist claims claiming that catastrophes right around the corner?

      • When to comes to Hannity or Carlson or Ingrham, and almost everyone appearing on MSNBC and CNN, you have to sift the news from the opinion.

        I have yet to see anyone point to an actual problem with the actual News side of Fox. Specific examples will be appreciated. An opinion about the news side of Fox, or any other source, is not sufficient.

        TV is exactly like dead trees newsprint; there are news sides and opinion sides, and these are usually separated. The opinion sections are generally labeled Opinion. Recently, however, it seems that some of the big main-line dead trees organizations are making the separation lines kind of fuzzy.

        Some really, really stewpid concepts, IMO, that are beyond comprehension have recently become mainline: fake history, distorted history, cleansing of history, and now, virtually speaking, burning books.

      • Hannity, Carlson, and Ingrham ARE opinion shows. Not news shows.

      • -snip-

        Just read U.S. District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil’s opinion, leaning heavily on the arguments of Fox’s lawyers: The “‘general tenor’ of the show should then inform a viewer that [Carlson] is not ‘stating actual facts’ about the topics he discusses and is instead engaging in ‘exaggeration’ and ‘non-literal commentary.’ ”

        She wrote: “Fox persuasively argues, that given Mr. Carlson’s reputation, any reasonable viewer ‘arrive[s] with an appropriate amount of skepticism’ about the statement he makes.”

        Vyskocil, an appointee of President Trump’s, added, “Whether the Court frames Mr. Carlson’s statements as ‘exaggeration,’ ‘non-literal commentary,’ or simply bloviating for his audience, the conclusion remains the same — the statements are not actionable.”

      • Exactly correct, jim2. I don’t why those names come up when the subject is News. Others that are mentioned also belong on the list.

      • Where did you get that irrelevant nonsense Joshy? Perhaps from the New York Times (a former newspaper) that now admits to peddling the narrative and being post journalism.

      • The vast majority of mention of climate change as an issue on the Fox News network is on the opinion side of the divide. The mentions on Carlson’s show alone dwarfs the mention on the entire straight news side.

        To the extent that the subject is raised on the straight news side, the discussion is majority neutral, but with a considerable fraction that lands on the “skeptic” side of the debate and virtually none that lands on the “realist” side of the debate.

        The reason why people don’t limit the discussion to the straight news side is because only a small fraction of Fox News coverage of climate change is in that segment of their programming.

      • -snip-
        U.S. District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil of the Southern District of New York sided with the network in finding that Carlson’s statements were “nonactionable hyperbole,” and that the “general tenor” of his show should make it clear that he was not “stating actual facts” or accusing McDougal of a crime.

        https://www.law.com/newyorklawjournal/2020/09/24/sdny-judge-tosses-ex-models-defamation-suit-against-fox-news-over-tucker-carlsons-claim-she-extorted-trump/

    • It’s my impression that conservatives tend to consider climate change, but also factors other than climate change. Some of the ‘cures’ to climate change will kill our lifestyle and efficacy as a society and as a nation. Given the uncertainties of climate change, adaptation looks like a better choice as it is more flexible than attempting to eliminate carbon, which will be very costly and won’t work in the first place.

  5. Thanks as always for a most interesting post, Dr. Judith. For me, the biggest of the “unknown knowns” is the claim that we can get rid of fossil fuels by 2035 or 2050. This claim dominates the current climate discussion, and people treat it like it’s some easy task. But in fact …

    It. Cannot. Be. Done.

    The amount of fossil fuel energy that upholds our lifestyles, food supply, and our lives is far, far, far too large to be replaced by 2035 or 2050, and people are simply ignoring that ugly fact.

    Calculations are in my post “Bright Green Impossibilities“. To date, nobody has found any flaws in my calculations.

    And as long as people are chasing that chimera, I fear that reasonable discussion on the matter is impossible.

    Regards to all,

    w.

    • Willis

      Do stop thinking with your head and start thinking with your heart then you know it can be done

      Tonyb

    • The Democrats have introduced the “Make electricity extremely expensive act” (MEEEA):
      https://energycommerce.house.gov/newsroom/press-releases/ec-leaders-introduce-the-clean-future-act-comprehensive-legislation-to

      We used to call them “tax and spend” Democrats but now it is “command and control” Democrats. They simply decree zero electric power generation emissions by 2035. Engineering? Never heard of it. Where we will get the $100 trillion for enough batteries to make all wind and solar work is not specified.

      No chance this will pass the Senate, I hope!

    • “claim that we can…and people treat it like it’s some easy task. But in fact …

      It. Cannot. Be. Done.”

      Probably not, but who says its easy? False dichotomy.

      The fact that it almost certainly cannot be done is often bafflingly put forward as if it somehow debunks accelerating global warming: “We can’t stop it so it can’t be happening.”
      Too bad for that delusion.
      https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00382-011-1128-8/figures/1

      Unfortunately the ‘lets cut back on profligate fossil-fuel consumption’ train might well have left the station decades ago. Talk about “uncomfortable knowledge”, we knew what would happen decades ago but…horns of a dilemma, what?

      …in 3, 2, 1 “But why of course there’s no dilemma, move along, nothing to see, afterall we can’t give up CO2 emissions.”

      • 1) Your “… accelerating global warming …” is false, Loydo. Warming has been slowing over the 21st Century.

        2) Your “… we knew what would happen decades ago …” is laughable. Every “we knew” prediction over the last 40 years has not proven out. The UN IPCC climate models have been shown to be wildly inaccurate.

      • You courageously state:
        “Warming has been slowing over the 21st Century”

        Is that it? No link? How is that not courageous hand-waving?

        The link I gave shows an accelerating trend over the data. Hand-waving, cherry-picking. And you make it sound like scientists back in the 90’s were arguing about whether CO2 is a GHG. So lets add misleading to your achievement. In five and half lines, nice work Dave.

      • Never heard of the 21st Century temperature rise ‘hiatus,’ Loydo?

      • Loydo said:

        “claim that we can…and people treat it like it’s some easy task. But in fact …

        It. Cannot. Be. Done.”

        Probably not, but who says its easy? False dichotomy.

        If you haven’t seen brain-dead people pushing for zero emissions by 2035 in the same way they push for people to drive less, you’re not paying attention.

        The fact that it almost certainly cannot be done is often bafflingly put forward as if it somehow debunks accelerating global warming: “We can’t stop it so it can’t be happening.”
        Too bad for that delusion.

        I have not seen anyone but you make that claim, that the fact we can’t possibly go zero-emissions by 2035 means that the world isn’t warming. That’s all you.

        In addition, per Berkeley Earth, during the last 50 years the global warming is not accelerating.

        Unfortunately the ‘lets cut back on profligate fossil-fuel consumption’ train might well have left the station decades ago. Talk about “uncomfortable knowledge”, we knew what would happen decades ago but…horns of a dilemma, what?

        …in 3, 2, 1 “But why of course there’s no dilemma, move along, nothing to see, after all we can’t give up CO2 emissions.”

        I have no clue what this part of your comment is about, or what the source of your quote is.

        I said something very simple. We can’t replace fossil fuels by 2050. I made ZERO further claims, that’s just the voices in your head. I’m simply bone-tired of folks putting up a bright green fantasy and trying, and in far too many cases succeeding, in getting politicians and other idiots to sign on to an impossible dream.

        w.

      • Yes there is uncertainty and yes there is natural variation, but overlaying a linear trend line will show warming could quite well be accelerating.

        https://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2019/08/rate4.jpg?w=768&h=511

        “…so we don’t have statistically significant evidence of any recent change in the warming rate since 1970. It’s certainly possible, we just don’t have solid evidence for it….given that the uncertainty is so large, we should at least be prepared for the possibility that right now, Earth is warming substantially faster than it has for the last 50 years. “

      • Loydo | March 4, 2021 at 2:43 am |

        Yes there is uncertainty and yes there is natural variation, but overlaying a linear trend line will show warming could quite well be accelerating.

        An ANOVA analysis of the post-1970 Berkeley Earth land and ocean temperature shown in my graph indicates that there is NO acceleration. In the analysis below, “tser” is the time series (post-1970 Berkeley Earth land and ocean temperature), “thetime” is the time of the “tser” time series, and “thetimesq” is the square of the time.

        Analysis of Variance Table
        
        Model 1: tser ~ thetime
        Model 2: tser ~ thetime + thetimesq
          Res.Df     RSS Df Sum of Sq      F Pr(>F)
        1     49 0.46111                           
        2     48 0.45111  1 0.0099956 1.0636 0.3076
        
        [1] "Acceleration = 0.00014 mm per year^2"
        [1] "Trend = 0.02 mm per year

        Note that the p-value is 0.30, meaning that it is a long ways from statistically significant acceleration.

        Best regards,

        w.

      • B.S. Only if one takes a short period ending on the recent Super El Nino.

      • My bad, wrong units. Should be °C, not mm. Otherwise, all good.
        w.

      • No statistically significant acceleration since 1970. What about since 1850?
        Thats what I meant when I said “overlaying a linear trend line”. It would show what is already obvious from the plot: acceleration over that period.

      • While I might question your numbers, I otherwise agree entirely TonyB.
        But if you’re asking to wait to see further confirmed acceleration, isn’t it going to be a bit late and be even more disruptive then to do anything about it? This has been on the radar since 1896.
        The crazy thing is the science is the easy part. The difficult part is convincing China, India and a host of other populous, impoverished countries that making progress from fossil fuel was only something rich western nations were permitted to do and now that window has closed. How will two or three billion peasants think that is fair?
        Unfortunately we’re on the horns of a diabolic dilemma, one of the horns being: “It. Cannot. Be. Done.” The other being we might screw our only habitat for a few hundred generations.

      • Willis, you said “people treat it like it’s some easy task.”. Thats a strawman argument. Who thinks its easy?

      • > In addition, per Berkeley Earth, during the last 50 years the global warming is not accelerating.

        Here’s the figure Willis posted:

        Noticing the steep rise from 1950 onward should be enough to put Willis’ claim in perspective.

        Readers might ask themselves: if that chart represented a stock, would Willis sell it?

      • Mk. 1 eyeballs tell me that over the past 100 years we have had slightly over 1 C increase in temperatures. In the past 80 years, we have had about 1 C increase in temperature, the period over which man has produced the bulk of his CO2. There is no apparent acceleration in temperature, despite exponential increases in mankind’s CO2 production. Dicking around at statistical margins doesn’t change the basic facts.

      • Willard | March 5, 2021 at 1:46 pm |

        >

        In addition, per Berkeley Earth, during the last 50 years the global warming is not accelerating.

        Here’s the figure Willis posted:

        Noticing the steep rise from 1950 onward should be enough to put Willis’ claim in perspective.

        Readers might ask themselves: if that chart represented a stock, would Willis sell it?

        You seem to not understand the difference between “increasing” and “accelerating”. The temperature is increasing, but it is not accelerating, as was falsely claimed.

        w.

      • > Mk. 1 eyeballs tell me

        Your eyeballs are of little relevance, Charlie. What matters is would you bet that the temps will go down, and how much can you afford to lose.

        The difference between the ice age and us is something like 5C over thousands of years, so 1C in a century is no small change.

      • > You seem to not understand the difference between “increasing” and “accelerating”.

        Willis seem not to understand the difference between absolute and relative units. Besides, no wonder he restricts his claim to 1950 and up:

        Source: https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

      • I’m not Charlie, Willard; I killed “Charlie” decades ago. And the “what” is CO2 atmospheric concentrations. There is no correlation between CO2 and temperatures. Go for a scientific education, like I did.

      • Dave,

        Speed questions, like relevance, need to be settled relative to a frame of reference. The long view graph puts Willis’ claim in a greater time perspective than from 1850 to today. While Willis emphasizes the latter half, we could emphasize that before 1850 there was hundreds of years of unprecedented speed of warmth. So it’s the time scale that was relevant to the point being made.

        As always, Willis is being economical with the truth. It does not matter much if the growth of Jeff Bezos’ fortune accelerates or not if it steadily increases at a very fast pace. Same for temps. His claim does not even contradict Loydo’s.

        If you deny that there’s a connection between carbon dioxide and temperature, you could win money by betting against the actual trend. Solar activity is decreasing and we’re entering or into a La Nina. It’s not clear what you deny exactly as your claim isn’t quite clear.

        Are you disputing that greenhouse gasses warm the atmosphere?

      • “Greenhouse gases” (most notably water vapor) do warm the atmosphere. The dynamic interaction of water, in its solid, liquid and gaseous forms, regulates the earth’s average temperatures. Get a grip; CO2 is a very minor player.

      • > CO2 is a very minor player

        So you’re not denying that carbon dioxide warms the atmosphere, Dave.

        It just so happens you minimize it.

        Well played!

      • I don’t minimize CO2’s warming potential, Willard. The science points to CO2’s minimal warming potential … about 1 C/doubling (everything else remaining unchanged) according to the scientific literature. More recent studies indicate that CO2’s warming potential is saturated in our current atmosphere. Go argue with actual physicists, Willard.

        I have no idea as to the point you are trying to make.

      • Dave,

        To claim that “CO2 is a very minor player” like you just did looks a lot like minimization to me. And you’re the one who needs to argue with actual physicists, as those I know don’t claim that CO2 is a very minor player in the AGW game.

        If you really think CO2 is a very minor player, you should bet that temps should soon stop rising as we’re entering a La Nina and Solar Cycle 25 is under way and it should be weaker than average:

        https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2020/what-will-solar-cycle-25-look-like-sun-prediction-model

        As long as you bet money you can afford to lose, you should make a killing.

        Best of luck!

    • –But in fact …

      It. Cannot. Be. Done.

      The amount of fossil fuel energy that upholds our lifestyles, food supply, and our lives is far, far, far too large to be replaced by 2035 or 2050, and people are simply ignoring that ugly fact.–

      One can say they aren’t doing it. Solar and wind don’t work. Burning wood {biofuels] causes more CO2 emission.
      But it could be done.
      One start with question, can make nuclear energy cheaper.
      Their approach has been to make electrical power more expensive, you could go in the opposite direction, make electrical power [from something the doesn’t emit CO2] much cheaper.
      Being opposed to nuclear power and wanting to lower CO2 emission is stupid.
      Can it done without using nuclear energy?
      Geothermal energy is possibility. But again issue is can harvest geothermal energy, and get cheaper electricity.
      There are also other things one could do.
      But we living in one of coldest periods in Earth’s history, and the warming we had has been good.
      What wrong with increasing Earth average temperature?

      • gbaikie | March 4, 2021 at 1:53 am

        –But in fact …

        It. Cannot. Be. Done.

        The amount of fossil fuel energy that upholds our lifestyles, food supply, and our lives is far, far, far too large to be replaced by 2035 or 2050, and people are simply ignoring that ugly fact.–

        One can say they aren’t doing it. Solar and wind don’t work. Burning wood {biofuels] causes more CO2 emission.
        But it could be done.

        As I mentioned above, the calculations are in my post “Bright Green Impossibilities“. To date, nobody has found any flaws in my calculations.

        w.

      • Loydo

        We have spent trillions on the science and to upend our society will cost hundreds of trillions and cause the utmost disruption

        So surely it is reasonable to expect that we should have ‘solid evidence’ and not merely the ‘possibility’, before proceeding on our disruptive way, as we retreat from the pinnacle of civilisation to a place much lower down the comfort, health, longevity and wealth ladder?

        tonyb

      • “As I mentioned above, the calculations are in my post “Bright Green Impossibilities“. To date, nobody has found any flaws in my calculations.”
        “Two 2.1 gigawatt (GW, 109 watts) nuclear power plant each and every day until 2050”
        You don’t just start with 2 a day, we don’t even do 2 a year.
        Let’s get to say, 10 a year and then double it per year: 10, 20, 40, 80, …
        There is no political will to do this, and endless political will not to do it.
        So need to at least get ball going.
        US has 94 reactors doing 19% of total electrical power what it had nuclear energy doing 60% of electrical power within 10 years?
        And issue is global CO2 emission, and US should follow it’s treaty obligations and help other non nuclear countries, peaceful use nuclear energy.
        And that means US has have capability to do this.
        It could be done.
        Whether it could be politically be done, is another matter.

      • In fact, here is the Global TES. What does the replacement energy source for fossil fuels look like? Net Zero? Net, Nope.

        https://www.iea.org/data-and-statistics/?country=WORLD&fuel=Energy%20supply&indicator=TPESbySource

      • gbaikie – The Paris treating isn’t legal – it was not approved by Congress. We have no obligation imposed by it.

      • jim2-
        Treaty I was referring to is the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
        “NPT Article IV acknowledges the right of all Parties to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and to benefit from international cooperation in this area, in conformity with their nonproliferation obligations.”
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_on_the_Non-Proliferation_of_Nuclear_Weapons
        Most countries belong to this treaty, and they don’t have nuclear weapons,
        to what extent has US engage in this international cooperation to promote all these countries peaceful use of nuclear energy?
        I would say, not enough.
        But it seems if US focused making nuclear power cheaper {domestically} it seems US could potentially be more successful in helping other countries use nuclear energy.

      • gbaikie – Sorry, my mistake. Yes, it seems the US has done many things to make nuclear expensive. That’s the way the Dim’s want it – and they get their way by hook or crook – mostly crook.

      • gbaikie | March 4, 2021 at 4:37 am |

        “As I mentioned above, the calculations are in my post “Bright Green Impossibilities“. To date, nobody has found any flaws in my calculations.”
        “Two 2.1 gigawatt (GW, 109 watts) nuclear power plant each and every day until 2050”

        You don’t just start with 2 a day, we don’t even do 2 a year.
        Let’s get to say, 10 a year and then double it per year: 10, 20, 40, 80, …
        There is no political will to do this, and endless political will not to do it.
        So need to at least get ball going.
        US has 94 reactors doing 19% of total electrical power what it had nuclear energy doing 60% of electrical power within 10 years?

        To bring a nuke online it typically takes ten years from conception through finding a site and then going through all the regulatory hoops to where you can construct the plant and get it running.

        As I pointed out, we don’t need one ever ten years. Or even ten every year. To replace fossil fuels we need to find sites for, go through the regulatory hoops for, construct, test, and hook up to the grid two 2+ GW power plants per day starting tomorrow.

        Given that we likely can’t even get one done for ten years, that means we’d need to do about three a day after that. That’s a thousand nuclear plants per year … yeah, right …

        As to your proposed doubling, here’s a thought experiment. Today, suppose you can do ten chin-ups. Does that mean tomorrow you can do twenty chin-ups, forty the next day, and eighty the following day?

        Doing anything on a “doubling the number per period” schedule runs very quickly into physical real-world limits. For example, we’d need 11,000 nuclear power plants, with about a sixth of them in the US for our power. That’s 1,800 nukes … I’m not sure that there are that many suitable sites in the US.

        Bear in mind, I’m a huge fan of nuclear. I think that the dangers are wildly overrated, and we should indeed move towards them ASAP.

        But the total fossil fuel energy we use every year? Beyond stupendous.

        Best regards,

        w.

      • “As I pointed out, we don’t need one ever ten years. Or even ten every year. To replace fossil fuels we need to find sites for, go through the regulatory hoops for, construct, test, and hook up to the grid two 2+ GW power plants per day starting tomorrow.”
        So saying need 2 time 365 day = 730 GW in a year.
        US currently has, wiki:
        “Nuclear power in the United States is provided by 96 commercial reactors with a net capacity of 98 gigawatts (GW), with 64 pressurized water reactors and 32 boiling water reactors. In 2019, they produced a total of 809.41 terawatt-hours of electricity, which accounted for 20% of the nation’s total electric energy generation.”
        98 GW. And so I saying need a total 300 GW or about 60% of US electrical consumption.
        And I am saying it needs to be cheap electrical power.
        And I am supposing you are focus all energy use rather than just electrical consumption. Or anything which produces CO2, which imagine this include CO2 emission from using concrete. Or massive increase electrical cars and other kinds transportation. And heating for buildings and etc.

        Per capita since 1970 US electrical consumption has been roughly flat.
        US pop since 1970, gone from about 210 to 320 million and world has roughly doubled in same time period, 3.7 billion to 7.7 billion.
        Or nation of US total electrical use has increased by about 50% or about 1% per year.
        “Coal plants have been closing at a fast rate since 2010 (290 plants have closed from 2010 to May 2019; this was 40% of the US’s coal generating capacity) due to competition from other generating sources, primarily cheaper and cleaner natural gas, (a result of the fracking boom) which has replaced so many coal plants that natural gas now accounts for 40% of the US’s total electricity generation” current number 241.
        And if continue that and get less 50, and get rid older power plants of other kinds fuel {like biofuel}: “plants producing electricity from combustion, co-firing, gasification, anaerobic digestion, and pyrolysis, nearly doubled between 2003 and 2016 (from 485 to 760).” These are worse than most coal plants. Getting rid of all of them would be good idea.
        Or in terms siting, anywhere within 100 miles of any of the above.
        But personally, I think there should be a significant focus on off shore nuclear powerplants. And I am big fan of governmental prizes, so I would have contest for best design of a floating nuclear powerplants.
        The idea is roughly having an approved design before you make them and floating nuclear powerplant in a big lake or ocean could have more uniformity. And one make them in port and ship them where the site is.
        And this works also in terms international aspect, assuming a nation isn’t land locked. Russia doing this on a small scale {roughly for isolated areas}.
        Of course US has the Great Lakes, and perhaps one could use the Mississippi river {but other Great Lakes, mostly thinking western, eastern seaboard, and plus the Gulf Mexico}

      • > a floating nuclear powerplants.

        What could go wrong?

      • –Willard | March 6, 2021 at 3:53 pm |
        > a floating nuclear powerplants.

        What could go wrong?–
        Hmm, how about floating and submerged nuclear plants.
        I was thinking that one would put them behind breakwater, then I was thinking probably have design them to withstand the worse storm and the breakwater also failing [somehow] at the same time.
        So make a breakwater which should withstand worse conditions AND have the nuclear powerplant able to withstand the worst conditions without having any protection from a breakwater- so, have it submerged.
        So guess it have to be water which was, say 500 feet or deeper. Which is a bit of problem. But perhaps could design them for shallower water.

      • Ok, figure out one for about 220 feet of water depth. It doesn’t need breakwater to withstand say category 6 Hurricane. But you should have in a breakwater which can withstand/”stop” the waves of a category 5 hurricane. It should have any problems with earthquakes/tsunami but may not survive, space rock impact causing 100 meter tsunami wave, but the coastal area won’t either.
        The space for nuclear reactor would 20 meter in diameter and up to 40 meters tall. It will be encased in freshwater, and reserve tank of freshwater which is pressurized at about +50 psi which caused by gravity [is not dependent on power for this water pressure]. The reserve tank is about size of Olympic swimming pool. I made a bit smaller than Olympic swimming pool but it could be made bigger without any significant cost.
        The 20 by 40 meter volume for nuclear reactor would/could have water in it. That total volume is 12,560 cubic meter [+3 times volume of a Olympic swimming pool ].
        The cost of breakwater should be less than 50 million and this “underwater floating structure” should cost around 10 million or so.
        It’s massive in sense it holds a lot water- including reserve tank all water it encloses is much more than one Olympic swimming pool {which quite massive] but structural elements containing all the water is not significantly massive {so it’s low cost}. It’s same concept of how I would make a breakwater- little structure material needed enclosing a large mass of water}. Anyhow, all I am doing is giving a space for the nuclear reactor and all that can be made of huge massive construction- thick concrete or whatever. I guess I want the nuclear powerplant to weight less the 4000 tons {not including any water- any water is zero weight, and if want air space, that more of problem- and may requiring ballast or more pile anchoring.
        But it seems it would work better in deeper water- and could survive 100 meter tsunami wave from a space rock impact. But you want it to be close to land settlements.

  6. I think the “uncomfortable knowledge” and the “known known” is that climate change is a Big Lie.

    Who needs a 1000 word essay of gobbledy-gook?

  7. “As we have watched so many of our institutions fail and so much of our political culture come apart”

    Yes. Let’s hobble our institutions and tear apart the political culture then complain about how public policy and science fails.

  8. The dominant climate paradigm is that diverse anthropogenic changes are imposed on a natural system that shifts dramatically and rapidly in response to the slow pressure of change. There are all sorts of wild and wooly contrarian theories but they are fringe beliefs. Exactly like the wooliest end of the progressive spectrum.

    Risk management suggest reducing anthropogenic pressures on the Earth system using innovative energy technology, building for resilience and caring for the planet and its wild places. This is what is happening.

    The challenge comes in maintaining economic growth and development opportunities in free markets in what is called the fossil fueled development scenario of SSP5.

    • How can it shift rapidly to slow pressure? Slow pressure takes a long time. If the change accompanies it that too takes a long time. Or do you mean every now and then it shifts rapidly? If so then it is not a response to slow pressure, more like the buildup of pressure, which is different. Sounds like the usual pointless tipping point speculation.

    • Its possible that scientific paradigms shift as new information comes to hand. For example we can all agree that ENSO is a finely tuned temperature control knob. El Nino should remain absent for awhile and temperatures should stay at this level.

  9. Roger Knights

    See “Dogmatism in Science and Medicine: How Dominant Theories Monopolize Research and Stifle the Search for Truth,” by Henry Bauer, a $10 Kindle e-book, on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Dogmatism-Science-Medicine-Dominant-Monopolize/dp/0786463015/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Henry+Bauer&qid=1614804436&s=books&sr=1-1

  10. Roger Knights

    Here’s an event that would discredit officialdom’s experts: Global cooling. It might be starting, and if it proceeds rapidly for two years it would erase all the global warming they have been berating us about. Then it would be our turn to do the berating.

  11. Dr. Curry,

    A most excellent review and assessment of the current state of science, politics, technology, social media, and the interplay between them all. It well describes in succinct fashion why I am a proud skeptic of not just climate science but of most science these days. There’s a long history governing this erosion in faith among various entities, not unlike that which is seen in religion. Faith in anything has to be challenged, much as metal must be wrought through trial by fire and hammer. When the challenge is prevented from being discussed, attempted, or demonstrated, faith is simply lost.

    • I still believe in Science, but am skeptical of experts. If you give me all the data and then justify your conclusions – Fine. Too many of today’s “experts” can’t / won’t do this.

      • In the utility business, we employ all kinds of experts, many of whom are used in regulatory battles. Funny how our experts often completely contradict government experts. I’ve often wondered if expert opinion depends upon who’s paying. Just sayin’.

  12. Roger Knights

    Here’s another event that would discredit establishment experts: proof of ivermectin’s effectiveness, in all phases of the disease, against Covid-19. The NIH only moved it from the “against” to the “neutral” category on January 15. It has funded no studies of the drug on its own, nor has any other first-world governmental body like the CDC, etc. But it’s been a miracle cure everywhere it’s been tried since the summer of 2020 (there are dozens of studies (including RCT studies) in the developing world, and a half-dozen in the developed world, and only one negative study—largely disavowed by the institution employing the authors), apparently. If that claim holds up, then, if “apex” developed-world gatekeepers had green-lighted or even investigated it earlier, hundreds of thousands of lives would have been saved. Those experts will have some ‘splaining to do if and when ivermectin’s effectiveness is established. Things should be pretty clear in three months.

    Here’s a link to a recent thread from TrialSite News on the untenable position of our medical Authorities, and on the media silence on and censorship of posts and threads on the matter. In the upper left corner is a link to all its threads on Covid-19, many of them on ivermectin.

    “The War on ‘Misinformation’ Claims Two Victims. Truth. And the Right to Treatment.”
    https://trialsitenews.com/the-war-on-misinformation-claims-two-victims-truth-and-the-right-to-treatment/

  13. Post normal science. The environmental movement has been dominated elite “scientists” and “public intellectuals” so bad it would be hilarious if they hadn’t caused so much damage.
    There is literally nothing that Paul Ehrlich got right, yet he was a media darling in his day and is still revered by green “academics.”
    He wasn’t alone.
    They said we could safely ban DDT. When banning it killed millions, they claimed they didn’t ban DDT (even though you can still find the releases where they pat themselves on the back for “banning” it.)
    Remember the “population explosion” that was really interesting as long as you didn’t look at birthrates?
    They said we’d run out of oil in the 1980s (no, they mean the 1990s, no they mean before 2010, no… ) And anyone who thought you could pay $2/gallon in 2021 was derided as a complete denier. The “renewables” nonsense was largely the mistaken belief in peak oil.
    Climate? We’re all supposed to forget that back in the day only “deniers” claimed AGW would result in something less that 6-8 degrees of warming this century- that was the critique of Hansen’s claims that it would be over 4. Today everyone acknowledges that you have to stretch credulity to even get to 3 degrees, but we’re all supposed to pretend the old drum-bangers were “right on the money.”
    Policy? In 1997 the US Senate voted unanimously against the Kyoto Protocol- clearly rejecting the international “policy” of tripling or quadrupling emissions in China and India and expecting the west to compensate. Not even the most green-minded EU nation has even come close to moving toward zero emissions since then. Yet here is the same old. obviously not happening, policy celebrated again in the “Paris Accord,” only this time it’s nonbinding.
    AOC, bless her heart, actually wrote down on paper what the “climate concerned” have been saying they want to do, policy wise, for 30 years. The Green New Deal made so many people of both parties laugh out loud that, at first, she pretended she didn’t actually write any “policy,” just a vague “aspiration.” That was so patently untrue that even NPR called her on it, so she and her fans had to say they didn’t really mean it- except for the spending and tax hike parts.
    Meanwhile, here’s the status of climate change: it’s a possible existential threat that isn’t dangerous enough for any of it’s advocates to accept a nuclear power plant. Or any other thoughtful policy. So the world takes the post-normal “science” at it’s word- it’s not serious enough of a problem to actually address, but it’s a fun “wedge issue” to goof around with in the political arena.

  14. In hopes of explaining why the ‘public science” is such a mess these days, I would like to add four categories to the Rumsfeld/Raynor categories (known-knowns, known-unknowns, unknown-unknowns, and unknown-knowns) referred to in the introduction to this blog. These categories would be (1) “confidently act like it’s settled science when we actually know that we are really just guessing about the knowns”, (2) “confidently act like it’s settled science when we actually know that we are really just guessing — and even refuse to acknowledge that there are many relevant unknowns”, (3) “consensus is sufficient to override knowledge for policy and end all inquiry regarding any knowns or unknowns”, and (4) “anyone who disagrees with us that it’s settled science is instantly discredited, intimidated and cancelled”. The reason people trust pilots so much is that they are in the plane with us — so BS points of view like 1 through 4 above never see the light of day with them. Not true with “public science”. Rumsfeld/Raynor were implying a level of integrity among policy makers that can’t be assumed in public policy issues.

  15. What if? What if this climate change is mostly natural and man has prevented detrimental cooling climate change? What if man-made solutions to man-made climate change are worse for the environment than the change? What if the real man-made climate change is from paving over earth and constructing structures that act as “heat reservoirs”? What if the solution creates more man-made warming or extreme ecosystem degradation? Co2 is not the enemy but ambitious, power-grabbing politicians and greedy money venture schemers have created that narrative. The suns radiation sure seems stronger now, more than it did with more pollutants in the air or is it just that we are we in a new ellipse around the sun? Lots to ponder besides Co2 but here we are, off to the races to destroy earth in other ways….

    • Indeed. I haven’t seen anyone make a strong case that global warming is a bad thing. Heck, I think warming the planet to Eocene levels, or even getting it out of our current icebox Earth situation, would be fantastic for everything. The whole alarmist position is predicated on the idea that, oh, 1972 was the most optimal conceivable climate the Earth could ever have. Though obviously better than a glaciation period, I really don’t find that assumption the least bit persuasive or supportable.

      • thecliffclavenoffinance

        Mr. Turner wrote:
        “The whole alarmist position is predicated on the idea that, oh, 1972 was the most optimal conceivable climate the Earth could ever have.”

        Actually, it is claimed that “pre-industrial” had the ideal climate. And any change from then is bad news.

        Pre-industrial is not defined, so I’ll assume 1750. But anecdotal evidence is that people living in the 1700 to 1750 period thought their climate was too cold, and would have loved the more moderate climate today.

        Beyond the bizarre claim that, of all 4.5 billion years of climate change, 1750 was optimum, is the wild guess estimates of the global average temperature and CO2 levels in 1750.

        They are VERY rough estimates from ice core proxies, not actual real-time measurements.

        But never mind all that questionable logic, and the very rough estimates from ice cores.

        The global average temperature on June 6, 1750, at 3:05pm was perfect, and any change from that hour, of that day, is a CLIMATE EMERGENCY !

        Scientific explanation: Because we say so!

  16. “The problem is not that charlatans have duped the public with pseudoscience”

    Scientists have duped themselves with the pseudoscience that natural variability is unforced. Which leads to the speculations of climate change increasing weather extremes like major heatwaves, which are generally discretely driven by faster solar coronal hole streams, and are a cause and not a product of climate change.
    Overlooking the solar forcing of ENSO and the AMO though is unforgivable, their inverse response to net changes in climate forcing ensures that highly amplified warming and tipping points are not physically possible.
    If the AMO had not warmed from 1995, think how bad the climate model warming projections would look. But if the solar wind had not weakened from 1995, the AMO would not have warmed either. Then think about all the things that the warm AMO phase is driving but which are often being attributed to human driven global heating. Arctic warming, continental glacier retreat, intense Atlantic hurricanes, floods, blocking, etc.

  17. Brilliant
    and a lot of new insight gained by his reader.
    Thanks.

  18. Geoff Sherrington

    Judith,
    You have a knack of writing, or selecting the writings of others that is so, so similar to my understandings of the topics that it is almost surreal (except I don’t do surreal). Then , the cream on the dessert comes from the better reader comments.
    Soon we will have the happier state when green RIE gets knocked out of the ring so many times that he throws in the towel. Like in your last edition, “Week in review – TX edition” when Robby claimed that the Sth Aust power grid failed from the loss of pylons and lines that were damaged after the supply had already gone black.
    Thank you Geoff S

  19. Soon policy makers might have the uncomfortable knowledge that new physics will open the door to unsettled science of climate change:


    Scientists Detect Signs of a Hidden Structure Inside Earth’s Core
    ..
    Now Stephenson and colleagues have found more evidence Earth’s inner core may have two distinct layers.

    “It’s very exciting – and might mean we have to re-write the textbooks!” she added.
    ….
    https://www.sciencealert.com/earth-s-hidden-innermost-core-hints-at-an-even-more-dramatic-planet-history/amp

  20. Climate science is today a complex mix of various opinions and those that have the power to pick the ones with higher returns are those that write the polycies. Science should forget argumentation with complex models and return to base one. Take out your school-time books read and think what in reality drives and has driven global climates ever since our Earth was inhabited by countless life-forms. Simply stating it is the Sun in unison with water and the thermodynamic processes between the three phases of water (Gaseous water vapor, fluid water and solid ice.) In other words go to the basics!

  21. When it gets to the point where power brokers are actively fighting against treatments for Covid-19 that are safe, cheap, and effective, then we’ve passed from a failure of institutions and a desire to control the narrative to what can only be called insanity.

    I’m referring to hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin.

    Just focusing on ivermectin, alongside the FLCCC group’s recommendation to use this drug– accompanied by a review of the evidence– we have the recent British Ivermectin Recommendation Development (BIRD) that assessed all the evidence to date and states: “The British Ivermectin Recommendation Development panel recommends ivermectin for the prevention and treatment of covid-19 to reduce morbidity and mortality
    associated with covid-19 infection and to prevent covid-19 infection among those at higher risk.” https://b3d2650e-e929-4448-a527-4eeb59304c7f.filesusr.com/ugd/593c4f_1324461135c749dab73ed7c71e47d316.pdf

    Despite this, “Frontiers in Pharmacology” took down a recent paper by the FLCCC group on ivermectin that was previously accepted: https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/frontiers-removes-controversial-ivermectin-paper-pre-publication-68505. We can’t have people actually using this, can we?

    Not to be outdone, MSN warned Americans just one day ago that you’re poisoning yourselves with this stuff! No mention at all of all the research done so far and of the hope that this drug holds. https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/americans-poisoning-themselves-with-horse-de-worming-drug-to-treat-covid-19/ar-BB1eaeFG?li=AAggFp4&ocid=U452DHP#comments

    Am I lost? Some unknown territory? Last I heard people were dying of a disease that’s destroyed livelihoods and liberties.

    This goes way beyond arguments over science and passes the threshold into utter insanity. It’s as if an insidious force is trying to herd us all into a realm of reset wherein our new normal disregards (real) science, evidence, compassion, caring, common sense, dignity, and everything good, for some unknown bastardization of reality. Or is it just me?

    • Roger Knights

      Here’s the latest on Ivermectin, from today’s email from TrialSite News:
      ————-

      TrialSite Staff By TrialSite Staff March 3, 2021

      On May 8, 2020, Peru’s Ministry of Health approved ivermectin (IVM), a drug of Nobel Prize-honored distinction, for inpatient and outpatient treatment of COVID-19. As IVM treatments proceeded in that nation of 33 million residents, excess deaths decreased 14-fold over four months through December 1, 2020, consistent with clinical benefits of IVM for COVID-19 found in several RCTs. But after IVM use was sharply restricted under a new president, excess deaths then increased 13-fold.
      https://trialsitenews.com/ivermectin-for-covid-19-in-peru-14-fold-reduction-in-nationwide-excess-deaths-p-002-for-effect-by-state-then-13-fold-increase-after-ivermectin-use-restricted/

      Major Czech Republic Hospital Embraces Ivermectin and Many Other Hospital Physicians Calling as Pandemic Rages

      While this European nation of 10.7 million doesn’t have nearly enough vaccines, they are apparently embracing ivermectin, the drug already in use in multiple Eastern European nations. As TrialSite has reported, Slovakia, Macedonia, and Bulgaria have formally accepted the generic, FDA approved drug due to its ability to inhibit the novel coronavirus. Now in a recent entry in Czech Republic media the head cardiologist of a prominent hospital reports that a major shipment of the drug has arrived at his facility. Apparently, they have purchased 20,000 doses and will serve as some form of distribution hub for ivermectin. Lots of physicians in other hospitals are calling and requesting the drug.
      https://trialsitenews.com/major-czech-republic-hospital-embraces-ivermectin-and-many-other-hospital-physicians-calling-as-pandemic-rages/

    • Roger Knights

      Here’s the cokmment I posted on the MSN site:
      Roger Knights
      You wrote, “It can also be used to eliminate lice, scabies and worms in dogs, cats and other mammals.” That was the place to mention that “other mammals” includes humans, to whom 3.7 billion doses have been administered over the pas 25 years for the treatment of various tropical parasitic diseases. The doctors who pioneered this use won a Nobel prize in 2015. It is safer than aspirin, and cheaper.

  22. UK-Weather Lass

    Another brilliant article. I didn’t believe this site could get any better than when I first came here but it just does.

    Thank you, Dr Curry.

  23. Let us not forget the seamless overlap between the sets of QAnon, Birtherism, climate change “skepticism,” COVID “skepticism, ” and the Trump cult.

    Of course, they aren’t completely congruent sets. There are climate change “skeptics” who think the QAnon cult is nuts. There are even some climate change “skeptics” who think that COVID “skepticism” is bad science, or who aren’t on the Trump Train.

    But there is, inarguably, a large degree of overlap.

    And this is where some important questions lie.

    Group think exists (on all fronts) , confirmation bias exists (on all fronts), entrenched castles of “expert” ignorance exists,
    but so do “right-wing populists, conspiracists, and alternative healers” exist, in a loose alignment with political ideology and political activists that see themselves locked into a battle with establishments and norms of science, academic, and the media.

    So what are the navigations tools to use in steering a course through these overlaps?

    The problem with the Breakthrough Crew is that they have long tried to solve the problems by doubling down on the polarizing forces that exacerbate the navigational obstacles.

    • This is just a poorly formulated compendium of biases and prejudices. It’s also content free. No real issue Is addressed. Ad hominums abound but this takes the prize for unfocused and fact free ad hominums.

      • joe - the non climate scientist

        Along with Josh taking a extremely small sliver of opinion and attributing it to all conservatives

      • David –

        Unwittingly or not, you’re illustrating the problematic dynamic.

        The overlapping sets of which I spoke exist. Now you might want to argue the significance of the overlaps and there are, no doubt, other overlapping sets as well.

        But hostile attacks are part of the problem, not the solution. Up to you to decide on which side of that divide you want to focus your energies.

      • I said nothing about “all conservatives.”

        Th*re are, for ex*mple, m*ny lifel*ng cons*rvatives (and Rep*blicans) who h*ve cons*stently dist*nced th*mselves from the Trump c*lt.

      • And above, I talked about how, actually, mainstream Republicans are more closely aligned on the issue of climate change to independents and Demz than they are to the online crowd of activists who strongly identify as climate change “skeptics.”

      • A large majority of “skeptics,” by which I mean people who strongly identify in such a way as we see here with the online activists at blogs such as this one (mostly an outlier group w/r/t the larger set of Republicans or conservatives), have been strikingly loyal to a man who largely forged his political fortunes and access to enormous power, by spearheading a political faction and group identity grounded in an absurd conspiracy theory.

        This is an important phenomenon. It has to be addressed as part and parcel of the notion of “uncomfortable knowledge” (which, btw, in a nice touch of irony looks largely like a repackaging of an “inconvenient truth.”

        Without tackling that phenomenon head on, there is no meaningful way to address the complex problem of “post truth” and over-extended “expertise.” You can’t look at the problem of entrenched institutions of “expertise” without integrating the truth that sheer obsurdity has come to wield great magnitudes of power in our society.

      • Without ANY evidence, Joshua asseŕts that he knows the make up of the beliefs of the republican party. Seems highly likely to be completely wrong.

      • > Without ANY evidence, Joshua asseŕts that he knows the make up of the beliefs of the republican party. Seems highly likely to be completely wrong.

        What’s funny here, is that no matter how many times I take the time to qualify that I’m not talking about the Republican Party” or “conservatives,” but an outlier subset of those sets, the false claim keeps getting made that that’s who I’m talking about.

        Just goes to reinforce my point: Pelle will see what they want to see.

    • Joshua, here is a simple, straightforward environmental policy question for you.

      Should the Biden Administration accede to the demands of climate activists and adopt a goal of a 50% reduction in America’s GHG emissions by 2030, using 2005’s GHG emissions as the baseline?

      Any answer you give which isn’t a simple ‘yes’ with no qualifications will be interpreted as ‘no.’

      • Beta –

        I reject the conditions that you place upon my answer. How is a form if consensus agreement reached with such a limited frame for discussion?

        I tbink there should be a process of stakeholder dialog, in a format that seeks to reach a form of consensus. I think that frames that reinforce the polarizing energies are counterproductive in the long run even if, of course I recognize the possibility that power plays will get something done whereas efforts at consensus will end in futility and inaction. AFAIC, it’s a matter of weighing the probabikities against the extreme downside risks.

      • Beta Blocker

        Joshua, climate activists have set their own standard for what constitutes productive debate. If you aren’t for them, you are against them.

        Evaluating your highly evasive but not unexpected response according to the climate activist’s own criteria for what constitutes productive debate, your answer must be interpreted as ‘No, I do not support a 50% reduction in America’s GHG emissions by 2030.’

      • Beta –

        I have no problem if you or GND advocates want to interpret my answer – advocating for stakeholder dialog and compromise – as “evasive” or capitulation to the enemy. In understand that for many, that kind of zero sum frame is operative.

        In fact, that’s my point.

    • Speaking of science and politics, I’ve been working on losing weight and told a friend who replied: “don’t post anything on social media about it, the social justice warrior fat activists will come cancel you.”
      I thought she was joking. She wasn’t. I looked it up and it helps understand where folks like Joshua come from.

      Did you know that thanks to left-wing intersectional racial studies, we learn that the CDC and Michelle Obama are white supremacists?
      Seriously.
      https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-racist-roots-of-fighting-obesity2/

      The CDC’s scientific determination that obesity poses health risks in general is just right-wing, white supremacist propaganda. But the CDC is particularly evil, according to these folks, for promulgating the nazi myth that there is any connection between so-called “obesity” and COVID response. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html#obesity

      And of course, all this would make Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign on par with KKK lynchings if there were any intellectual rigor here. But there isn’t any rigor to this- intersectional “intellectuals” seek out marginalized people and instruct them to hate. With a passion.

      This is the left, this is post-normal “science.”

      Actual research is all relative – facts bow to the narrative of the hours. The rules and principles of the new science are arbitrarily applied- you can simultaneously praise Mrs. Obama and believe everything she says is Fox News hate-speech because.. whatever.
      Every movement has its nuts, of course, but the conspiracy theorists on the left are given PHds, hired to speak on campuses and in board rooms, invited to publish (uncritically) in America’s largest newspapers and scientific journals.
      By the way, several of these activists are registered, licensed and credentialed dieticians and nutritionists. If you or a loved one are referred to a nutritionist for any reason, make sure you go to a right wing one that will speak of mundane things such as fiber and calories instead of the left-wing ones that will encourage fighting fascism by eating donuts and fried foods.

      IMO this has a real and lasting impact. When people say Trump is “a white supremacist” do they mean as in orders a salad and likes The Grinch racist?
      And do you “deny science” in terms of the bizarre belief in eating “healthy” or that viruses might spread in left-wing protests, or that highways in New York City will be underwater any day now (in fact must already be because James Hansen’s forecasts were obviously “spot on”) ?

  24. An ‘unknown known’ example: ERCOT. Intermittent renewables destabilize grids, and any penetration over about 10% can have disastrous consequences. ERCOT wind penetration was about 25% and the grid pricing was run as energy only, with no capacity pricing. Dumb.

    • thecliffclavenoffinance

      There is no science supporting the 10% claim.
      The science says that ALL sources of electric power should have a constant output, or be able to ramp up quickly to meet peak power demands. There is no science to defend adding ANY unreliable windmills or solar panels to an electric grid. That is a political virtue signalling choice.

  25. Matthew R Marler

    Judith Curry, thank you for this essay.

    “Uncomfortable knowledge” is a good phrase — stuff of which people need constant reminding.

    “known knowns” turn into “unknown unknowns”; or, as Mr Dooley said, “It ain’t the things we don’t know that gets us into trouble, it’s the things we know that ain’t so.”

    “Science” is what gets published in the peer-reviewed literature. Peer review isn’t perfect, and published science does not always support a simple, coherent account of complex phenomena.

    “Scientists” are the people who do the work.

    “Expertise” consists of knowledge and mastery of the published work. Where the evidence has been published that supports particular assertions.

    Scientists, experts, and non-expert commentators often enough express opinions that exceed or extrapolate beyond what has been published; or ignore the published work that is “uncomfortable”. Citizens have to be alert to those threats to sound judgment.

  26. Without Michael Mann’s ‘hockey stick’ and the assumptions underlying it, there is no alarm about humanity’s release of CO2 into the atmosphere. Climate models run hot because the underlying assumptions are wrong. Besides, global warming is not a net-negative: it’s been good for all living things. The UN’s official climate science prognostications of doom have really been a, stick up!

  27. We’ve all lost a little bit on the journey

  28. > Drawing upon a comprehensive study of three decades of news coverage of the issue, Merkley and Stecula find that mainstream media outlets, including conservative outlets like the Wall Street Journal and Fox News, have never given climate skeptics much of a platform.

    The authors’s study is clearly predicated on a hard wedge between denial and contrarianism, so much in fact that they don’t classify Cato, AEI, or Exxon as such:

    https://osf.io/674xm/

    In other words, the authors emphasize denial to hide minimization.

  29. But they must be conflating “skepticism” and “denial” to say something like Fox News doesn’t give “skeptics” a platform. Who’s on Fox News taking about climate change:
    Curry/Inhofe/Watts, or Mann/AOC/Schmidt?

    • Just wait until Richard Tol discovers that two guys “analyzed” the content of over 8,000 print, broadcast, and cable news stories without offering any replicable methodology.

  30. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/opinion/cuomo-was-always-new-yorks-bad-guy-heres-why-he-was-finally-exposed/ar-BB1e9A0i

    A question every honest liberal needs to ask himself ( or perhaps to avoid offense I should say itself). I actually disagree a little with this in that I think Cuomo was elevated as a white knight contrast to the evil Trump. Turns out it was a big lie like most media narratives for the last 5 years.

    Until corporate media are removed from their pedestal we will be unable to have any honest public discourse.

  31. Still don’t know what “virus” you guys are talking about, neither do the Chinese folks!

  32. Geoff Sherrington

    Why has there been such a failure of medical science to produce a clear, definitive answer to the question “How do masks affect the spread of Covid-19?”

    Geoff S

    • It seems leaving links to collections of scientific papers is a crime on this site!

    • Geoff Sherrington

      Voza0db,
      Your response was cut before I saw it.
      My comment arises because no authority on medical science, or group of such from a learned society, has made a definitive statement that I know of.
      Which, given the fuss in climate work about the IPCC and captured learned societies, might be a good outcome.
      Are medicos able to recognise dangers from “known but not admitted” knowns, better than climate researchers? Geoff S

      • Seems too many fellow modern slaves “think” I’m someone they really like!
        “How do masks affect the spread of Covid-19?”

        As for the comment I wrote to you it was just a link for a document with a compilation of all the major studies done during the past decades showing that face masks do not work when it comes to prevent the spread of cold/flu/pneumonia, or like many useless slaves like to call these since 2020: “COVID-19”

        But clearly that’s not allowed on this site!

      • voza –

        > But clearly that’s not allowed on this site!

        There have been tons o’ comments at this site questioning the efficacy of wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID.

        You should re-think your basic reasoning and deduction processes, as “clearly” they have led you to highly certain, but completely erroneous conclusions.

        If your comments have been disappeared, there’s a different reason than what you think.

      • Well Joshua… your circular comment is just funny.

        If I never posted a single comment about what conclusion I have reached, I wonder how you are able to write that?!

        Clearly you are also a card reader…

  33. To be complete and honest, I think we need a fifth element: known lies.

  34. “or economists who imagine that they can reliably estimate the costs of climate change at the end of the century to calculate appropriate carbon tax levels today” Any economist worth the name knows that it’s very difficult to make forecasts ten years ahead, and that any they make will almost certainly be wrong. When I used modelling, it was to assess the likely outcomes of one policy relative to another, to find out whether one could say that A was better than B; but the modelling figures were never regarded as forecasts. And any detriment from further warming that has been claimed by warmists would be miniscule conmpared to the economic growth liikely to occur by end end century even growth rates of recent history are not sustained.

  35. I like the lead sentence of Breakthrough Journal

    “ Breakthrough Journal exists to modernize environmental thought for the 21st century, challenging conventional wisdom in service of crafting a relevant and powerful new ecological politics.”

    Modernize environmental thought.

    On target. We are not in the 1950s with dumps next to rivers. The rivers aren’t burning. We are not creating toxic waste sites, we’ve been cleaning them up for decades. The air we breathe is vastly cleaner than before NEPA. Every aspect of regulating pollution has improved over the last 50 years and our public policy proscriptions should reflect that.

  36. Pingback: Uncomfortable knowledge – Watts Up With That?

  37. John Shewchuk

    Here is the antidote to the 97% consensus … https://newtube.app/user/RAOB/drbkiaw

  38. Pingback: Uncomfortable knowledge |

  39. Pingback: Uncomfortable knowledge – Climate- Science.press

  40. “ Over the last two decades, Republicans have become more skeptical about climate change. This is not because they were taking their cues from science denialists in the media but because they were reacting negatively to high-profile liberal and environmental climate advocates who have dominated media coverage.”

    Most likely true. But it doesn’t go far enough. If a person digs into the science a little and learns about what has happened over the last few thousand years, learns about myriad natural cycles, learns about physical processes and their interrelationships with climate, learns about failed predictions and has a grasp of social psychological dynamics and politics, it’s obvious something is askew. There are more unknowns than publicly portrayed. There are fewer reasons to have such an absolutist view about the apocalypse. In the end, it’s just allowing common sense to take over.

    • There’s more to it. “There are more unknowns than publicly portrayed. There are fewer reasons to have such an absolutist view about the apocalypse.”
      Too true.

      And Judith has herself been quite expert in reporting about this. Her reward? Ignored.

  41. The Left declares war on gas

    by David Wojick
    https://www.cfact.org/2021/03/06/the-left-declares-war-on-gas/

    The beginning: The so-called CLEAN Future Act just introduced by the Democrat leaders of the house energy Committee calls for the elimination of gas-fired electric power generation, some immediately, some by 2023 and all by 2035. That is just 14 years from now. Coal-fired power will also be gone, the war on coal finally over with the ultimate solution: complete extermination.

    The fifty year history of electric power in America goes like this:

    First they came for the nukes in the 70’s. Coal and gas smiled, saying we can do the job, so we built 350,000 MW of coal-fired baseload and gas-fired peakers.

    Then they came for coal in the 90’s. Gas smiled, saying we can do the job, so we built 220,000 MW of gas-fired baseload.

    Now they have come for gas. Wind and solar are smiling; their trade associations love this law.

    But there is a big difference this time. WIND AND SOLAR CAN’T DO THE JOB.
    End of excerpt

    There is a lot more in the article, including a conservative cost estimate of $120 trillion for enough batteries to make wind and solar work under this impossible scheme.

    Please share this article.

    David

  42. Pingback: Unbequemes Wissen – EIKE – Europäisches Institut für Klima & Energie

  43. Pingback: Unbequemes Wissen – finger’s blog

  44. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #445 – Watts Up With That?

  45. Sarewitz is one of the clearest-eyed thinkers on the issue of science, science policy, and science in the media. I’m not surprised he’s got another winner.

  46. UK-Weather Lass

    Lord Sumption believes ‘that once the present crisis [of SARS-CoV-2] is over people will strive to [restore the institutions that prevent tyranny and strengthen democracy] but there will be other crises that will propel us straight back [into tyranny] again’. He says ‘It is not until we learn to live with misfortune, to live with risk, because the alternative is worse. It is not until we learn to say that … that we are going to get out of this.’
    I believe this profound logic applies to almost every wrong turning humanity has taken in the 21st Century including the gobbledegook about fossil fuel and climate change.

  47. This is genuinely uncomfortable viewing:

  48. Uncomfortable Knowledge

    The great news is that no one has died or suffered as a result of the radiation releases from the Fukushima nuclear accident!!!

    Tenth anniversary of Fukushima accident
    The strongest earthquake ever recorded in Japan ten years ago caused a tsunami which resulted in the meltdown of three operating reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant and the release of much airborne radioactive material. While the reactors shut down automatically from the earthquake, the tsunami about an hour later disabled their cooling which was required to remove decay heat from the fuel. Following hydrogen explosions, failure of containment resulted in radioactive material – mainly iodine and caesium – being released and carried downwind. The iodine rapidly decayed to innocuous levels, while some contamination from caesium remains.

    Some 20,000 people were killed by the tsunami, but there were no deaths or serious ill effects from the radioactivity. However, the precautionary evacuation of many people up to 20 km downwind was prolonged indefinitely by the government (instead of for a couple of weeks) and resulted in over two thousand deaths, according to official figures. The UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) has published an updated report of the accident, confirming its 2013 view that “future health effects directly related to radiation exposure are unlikely to be discernible.”

    The March edition of the IAEA Bulletin covers safety issues focused on Fukushima lessons.
    WNN 9/31/20. Fukushima accident, Effects of nuclear accidents”
    https://mailchi.mp/world-nuclear-news/weekly-digest-12-march-2021

    An advance copy of the full report is here: https://www.unscear.org/docs/publications/2020/UNSCEAR_2020_AnnexB_AdvanceCopy.pdf

  49. UK-Weather Lass

    There is an interesting article from The Conservative Woman (link below) which looks at apparent ‘conflicts of interest’ within Sage. An Interest in something which, at first sight, appears unrelated to any one particular subject, can and will influence the person’s judgements and actions in every subject and therefore be a conflict even if the breakdown in integrity seems unconscious, indirect, or just plain inconvenient to them. The conflict becomes the same thing as any ignored and inconvenient truth is when presenting a knowingly false statement or set of information whilst claiming they have acted professionally on all counts. In short the person is being dishonest and lying to themselves first and foremost. Integrity is vital in such circumstances.

    We know this problem exists everywhere – media, academia, corporations, government departments, anywhere groups of people organise. It is not new but it does appear to have grown in size since consensus became more important and generous with favours than being honest, moral, and of clear conscience. In a large consensus it is hard to know who is really telling the porky pies, who simply cannot think for themselves, and who is getting richer by the moment and is not about to throw it all away. There is safety in the herd as long as they all cover for each other. In their case the herd is immune because they all have the virus already …

    We need a return to recognising and valuing individuality, difference and integrity. We need to do the hard work of allowing people to be themselves while, if necessary, steadily chipping away at the rough edges. It may take much longer to achieve a rewarding situation or outcome but the satisfaction is vastly superior to everybody than dishonestly shallow homogenous output ever could be.

    https://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/sages-covert-coup/

  50. More fantastic news. Australia’s ex-Finance Minister (for 7 years, 2013-2020) has been elected Head of the OECD.

  51. I’m not a huge fan of Donald Trump but this story of how The Washington Post had to make an apology after writing blatant untruths about his conduct puts mainstream media under the spotlight:

  52. Rowan Dean sums up the climate debacle and China’s humiliation of the west:

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