One of the more stupid debating tricks of the “skeptics” is to oscillate between Ha ha, you believe in Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming which is obviously not happening so you’re very silly, and when told that CAGW is a strawman that they’ve invented they switch to if it isn’t catastrophic we’ve got nothing to worry about, have we?1

To which the answer is always some variant of if you can’t imagine anything between “catastrophic” and “nothing to worry about” then you’re not thinking. But I’ve got bored of saying it, so I thought I’d write it down and link to it instead.

Refs

* Climate inaction to be ‘catastrophe’

Notes

1. Most recent example: comment by David Smith on JoNova’s total-lack-of-introspection “Climate Rage: We absolutely cannot have… a rational conversation!”

Comments

  1. […] If it isn’t catastrophic we’ve got nothing to worry about, have we? […]

  2. #2 andrew adams
    2014/06/24

    Another common fallacy, also repeated in that thread at Nova’s, is that Catastrophic Anthropogenic Warming can’t be a thing because AGW is not catastrophic now.

  3. #3 bill
    2014/06/24

    …which is like sneeringly pointing out to your doctor, who is chiding you for your exclusive diet of triple-cheeseburgers, that you feel just great and aren’t having a heart attack, so there!

  4. #4 BBD
    2014/06/24

    Yup, right on a par with “hey, I’m 16 and as fit as a butcher’s dog, so of course smoking won’t do me any harm”.

  5. #5 JBL
    2014/06/24

    “fit as a butcher’s dog” is this a real idiom in some part of the world? And if so, where?

    [Moderately common around here; I've heard it used in real life -W]

  6. #6 Hank Roberts
    hankroberts.wordpress.com
    2014/06/24

    Like “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” — it’s an advertising slogan:
    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=butchers+dog

  7. #7 JBL
    2014/06/24

    Fascinating, thanks all!

  8. #8 Frank
    Sydney
    2014/06/24

    I sometimes use the phrase “death by a thousand cuts” to explain the transition from AGW to CAGW to my AGW dissenter friends. Wikipedia has the term “creeping normality”.

  9. #9 David Smith
    2014/06/24

    Ed Davey seems to be into the ‘catastrophic thing’:

    “We do have to act. I see the expenditures we’re having to make as an insurance policy, if you like. By paying a small premium now we deal with the risks so we prevent catastrophic climate change.”

    [He's a pol; you shouldn't be listening to them -W]

    But then again, Ed has always been a bit, ahem, misguided.
    People should pop on over to see what I’ve had to say to Will at Jo’s blog. It’s so easy for me it’s like shooting fish in a barrell :)

  10. #10 David Smith
    2014/06/24

    “[He's a pol; you shouldn't be listening to them -W]”

    In that case, we can ignore all those useless diatribes from Obama and Davey and also ignore any suggestions about a ‘carbon tax’. Yes?

    [You should ignore the pols, obviously. You should listen to the economists telling you that a carbon tax is a good idea -W]

  11. #11 And Then There's Physics
    2014/06/24

    I note that our Scottish friend has kindly illustrated the point I think you were trying to make. Although, he seems to have spelt your pseudonym wrong :-)

  12. #12 John Mashey
    2014/06/24

    Some people seem to think in binary (OK(0) vs Catastrophe(1)) as opposed to better approximations to a continuous representation of damage. Of course it also matters where you are. Residents of Boulder,CO or Scottish highlands may not consider a 1-2m SLR as generating catastrophic events.
    Residents of Miami or some areas of the South of UK might.
    The binary view assumes that on an increasing scale of damage, the assessment suddenly changes from 0 to 1.

  13. #13 BBD
    2014/06/24

    # 6 Hank Roberts

    It was fairly common enough in the Midlands (Coventry, Nuneateon area by the ’70s) also NW (South Manchester). I have heard my grandfather use it and for that reason suspect that it predates the advertising slogan which simply co-opted existing argot.

  14. #14 David Smith
    2014/06/24

    “You should ignore the pols, obviously. You should listen to the economists telling you that a carbon tax is a good idea -W”

    ROFL! Taxing the air – what a great idea!
    If, like me, you think the whole global warming thing is twaddle, then a ‘carbon tax’ makes no economic sense at all.

  15. #15 David Smith
    2014/06/24

    Just to say:
    Hats off to you Will for not censoring my comments (so far). Other blogs can be far more censorious.

  16. #16 David B. Benson
    2014/06/24

    David Smith — Try reading the boffins. For example “The Long Thaw”.

  17. #17 BBD
    2014/06/24

    If, like me, you think the whole global warming thing is twaddle, then a ‘carbon tax’ makes no economic sense at all.

    Circular argument.

  18. #18 Hank Roberts
    hankroberts.wordpress.com
    2014/06/24

    > BBD
    You’re right: “Butcher’s … dates back to 1987, when the small family enterprise was established.” (company website)

    Odd that the butcher’s dog is well fed, while “the shoemaker’s children go barefoot” …

  19. #19 David Smith
    2014/06/24

    BBD,

    in what way is my argument ‘circular’?
    I don’t think we should have a tax to solve a non-existent problem. There’s nothing circular about that line of thought.

  20. #20 BBD
    2014/06/24

    It goes around and around, like a bluebottle in a locked room.

  21. #21 JBL
    2014/06/24

    David Smith, the original topic of discussion is whether or not the problem exists, or, more particularly, whether something being non-catastrophic means that it is not a problem. Thus, to make your argument rest on the non-existence of a problem is circular. (Also, honestly, it’s just dull.)

    Let’s see if we can get some basic agreement on a simple point: do you agree, in principle, that it is possible for something to be non-catastrophic but nevertheless problematic? Do you agree that it is possible for someone to honestly believe that this description applies to global warming?

  22. #22 JBL
    2014/06/24

    (I should say about the second question: of course, I do not expect *you* to believe this, and I so expect that you would believe that someone holding this view is *wrong*; but obviously people hold wrong views all the time.)

  23. #23 Eunice
    2014/06/24

    Baseline weather deaths amount to about 0.06% of all deaths.

    It would seem there are certainly more significant things to worry about, sucj as:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_causes_of_death_by_rate

    [I notice that you rely on wiki whenever it suits you -W]

  24. #24 JBL
    2014/06/24

    Eunice, same principle as DS: let’s try to agree on some basic terms of discussion. For example:
    Do you agree that it’s possible to worry about more than one thing at a time? Do you agree that “death rate in the year 2002″ is not the usual metric by which people judge the question “is X a problem?”? Do you agree that Wikipedia is a reliable source of factual information on scientific questions?

  25. #25 bratisla
    2014/06/24

    23 double strawman : it is not because I worry about something that something else does not worry me AND the subject here is not death rate but economic damage. A flood does not kill (much) compared to a year of people killed on the roads, but car crashes usually do not shut down all the infrastructures in a whole area for several days/months. Oh, and extreme weather creates problems with food growing, see your link.

  26. #26 PaulB
    England
    2014/06/24

    Eunice, if you can cure cancer by burning fossil fuels, please go right ahead.

  27. #27 Mal Adapted
    2014/06/25

    Catastrophic is in the eyes of the beholder. The shorter snow season in the Sangre de Christo mountains of New Mexico are a mere disappointment to skiers in Santa Fe, but catastrophic to a pecan grower in the Mesilla Valley — not to mention an entire species, the Rio Grande silvery minnow.

  28. #28 David Smith
    2014/06/25

    “JBL
    2014/06/24
    David Smith, the original topic of discussion is whether or not the problem exists, or, more particularly, whether something being non-catastrophic means that it is not a problem. Thus, to make your argument rest on the non-existence of a problem is circular. ”
    What?????
    The following is not circular:
    If the problem doesn’t exist (the topic of debate), you don’t need a carbon tax. Do you agree?

    [If the problem doesn't exist, there would be no cause for a carbon tax. But the original question was, can we conceive of something between a catastrophe and nothing-to-worry-about; some of your fellow "skeptics" appear to believe they can't, which I find incomprehensible. I've answered your question; perhaps you'd be good enough to answer mine -W]

  29. #29 David Smith
    2014/06/25

    “Let’s see if we can get some basic agreement on a simple point: do you agree, in principle, that it is possible for something to be non-catastrophic but nevertheless problematic? Do you agree that it is possible for someone to honestly believe that this description applies to global warming?”

    Sure, something can be problematic.
    However, billions of dollars being wasted every day is a sign that people and governments think the problem is catastrophic. Other wise, why would they spend such an imaginable amount of money?

    ["billions of dollars being wasted every day" doesn't sound very plausible to me. That would be ~700 bn wasted per year. Do you have any evidence to back that up? (Not the waste, which we're not going to agree on, just the spend) -W]

    BTW I thought the phrase du jour is ‘climate change’ and not ‘global warming’? I believe the phrase ‘global warming’ was hurriedly dropped when the globe stopped warming at the turn of this century. (Something that the Doug Smith from the met office got wrong in 2007 when he predicted in a peer reviewed paper that “… climate will continue to warm, with at least half of the years after 2009 predicted to exceed the warmest year currently on record.” Whoops! http://www.sciencemag.org/content/317/5839/796
    http://notrickszone.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/DkS_Bosse.gif )

    [You're wrong. Semantic quibbles about the name of GW are silly -W]

  30. #30 David Smith
    2014/06/25

    “If the problem doesn’t exist, there would be no cause for a carbon tax. But the original question was, can we conceive of something between a catastrophe and nothing-to-worry-about; some of your fellow “skeptics” appear to endorse that view, which I find incomprehensible. I’ve answered your question; perhaps you’d be good enough to answer mine -W]”
    I think my answer to JBL answers your question, but I’ll repeat it again:
    Only a problem believed to be catastrophic would justify billions being spent on it every day. I suppose it boils down to being a matter of scale.

  31. #31 David Smith
    2014/06/25

    “Semantic quibbles about the name of GW are silly -W”

    I agree with you wholeheartedly, but the lads over at SkS seem to think there is an important difference:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/print.php?r=326

    Mind you, they are odd people over at SkS. They seem to enjoy making pictures like this one:
    http://benfrommo.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/1_herrcook.jpg
    and this one:
    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/skstroopers_marked.jpg

  32. #32 David Smith
    2014/06/25

    Right guys,

    I’m afraid I’ll have to drop out of this conversation now as I’m a busy guy. I’m a maths and science teacher, and I’ve got a lot of kids to teach and a lot of lessons to plan.

    Thanks for having me over here and for being so civil – some other blogs can get rather hysterical!

  33. #33 David Smith
    2014/06/25

    I was going to sign off, but I just saw this from Will, and felt I had to answer:

    “["billions of dollars being wasted every day" doesn't sound very plausible to me. That would be ~700 bn wasted per year. Do you have any evidence to back that up? (Not the waste, which we're not going to agree on, just the spend) -W]”

    Well, it seems some organisations think we should be spending that much:

    From bloomberg:
    “About $700 billion a year of new spending on renewable power, low-carbon transport and energy efficiency is needed to meet the United Nations goal to cap temperature rises, a report for the World Economic Forum showed.”
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-21/averting-climate-change-may-cost-700-billion-a-year.html

    The US alone has spent a hell of a lot over the past few years:
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/assets/legislative_reports/fcce-report-to-congress.pdf

    And yet more:
    http://cancun.unfccc.int/financial-technology-and-capacity-building-support/new-long-term-funding-arrangements/

    http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/finance/international/index_en.htm

    Right, I really must go now.
    Once again, thanks for having me.

    [I can't work out whether you're talking about billions-per-day in the present tense, or as something you think people are aiming for in the future. I initially thought you were talking about present-day expenditure -W]

  34. #34 BBD
    2014/06/25

    So the “billions of dollars wasted every day” is confabulated – even as a simple quantification of expenditure without considering ROI.

  35. #35 Harold Brooks
    2014/06/25

    Re: 29

    Decade’s not over yet. By GISS dataset, we’re at 1 of 4 exceeding previous record right now. 2014 and 2015 have an excellent chance, given the El Nino forecast, to exceed the previous record. That would make it 3 of 6.

  36. #36 metzomagic
    Dublin
    2014/06/25

    David Smith said:

    “Sure, something can be problematic.
    However, billions of dollars being wasted every day is a sign that people and governments think the problem is catastrophic. Other wise, why would they spend such an imaginable amount of money?”

    David would do well to take off his libertarian-issued blinders and have an objective look at what is being discussed here. Putting money into renewables isn’t ‘waste’. It creates jobs, it provides money for research into new technologies to make renewables ever more viable, and it paves the way to a sustainable future.

    Right now mankind is consuming resources at the rate of several Earths, and the waste from the consumption of those resources is polluting the atmosphere, the land, and the oceans. As a result, we will leave the planet in a vastly poorer state for future generations if we continue on with business as usual. It’s only a matter of time, and it’s decades we’re talking about, not centuries, before the onset of serious and *undeniable* consequences resulting from our activities.

    Why people of your ideological bent can’t see what the rest of us can plainly see is a bit of a mystery to me.

  37. #37 John Mashey
    2014/06/25

    I ask a question that I do on occasion.
    People are of course allowed to offer opinions, but in the real world, not all opinions carry the same weight, and people calibrate/recalibrate the weight given to others based on pereived expertise, track record, etc.

    Perhaps David Smith would tell us:of his preferred information sources about climate science, including climate scientists he’s spoken with, conferences attended, etc, to help us calibrate the weight that should be attached to his views.

  38. #38 Hank Roberts
    hankroberts.wordpress.com
    2014/06/25

    > David Smith
    > the globe stopped warming at the turn of this century.

    > I’m a maths and science teacher, and
    > I’ve got a lot of kids to teach

    I sure hope this was a troll, not an actual teacher in maths and science for children.

  39. #39 BBD
    2014/06/25

    Yes, I flinched a bit at that, too.

  40. #40 David Smith
    2014/06/25

    I’m back – I couldn’t resist!

    Right, here we go:
    “[I can't work out whether you're talking about billions-per-day in the present tense, or as something you think people are aiming for in the future. I initially thought you were talking about present-day expenditure -W]”
    Yep, billions a day was an exaggeration on my part :) But current expenditure for the US alone is over 1billion per month. And this is without considering all the spending from other countries around the globe. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was already at the billion a week level. Imagine what that money could be used for e.g. making sure people across the globe had access to fresh drinking water.
    This huge amount of money being spent because of a single scientific hypothesis is staggering.

    [But $1 bn a month is no longer big money. "Imagine what" isn't useful, either. Compare "Imagine what we could do if we didn't waste so much on military spending, so much of which is itself wasteful". Etc etc. And even on your terms, not all of that is wasteful: solar power, for example, is close to competitive on straight terms; its not then accurate to count all subsidies as waste. Its a flow of money. It might be possible to use it more efficiently elsewhere, but counting it all as waste is wrong -W]

    “metzomagic
    Dublin
    2014/06/25
    …Putting money into renewables isn’t ‘waste’. It creates jobs, it provides money for research into new technologies to make renewables ever more viable…”
    ROFL what economic dream-cloud are you living on? Research into the Spanish flirtation with green tech showed that every green job created in Spain cost Spanish taxpayers $770,000. Each Wind Industry job cost $1.3 million to create:
    http://www.juandemariana.org/pdf/090327-employment-public-aid-renewable.pdf
    The cost to Germany’s electricity consumers has sky-rocketed because of their government’s renewables targets:
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/338781/high-renewable-energy-costs-damage-germanys-economy
    Renewables are an economic basket-case

    “John Mashey
    2014/06/25

    …Perhaps David Smith would tell us:of his preferred information sources about climate science, including climate scientists he’s spoken with, conferences attended, etc, to help us calibrate the weight that should be attached to his views.”
    Yep, the usual attempt to shut-down debate by insisting that my opinion doesn’t count because I haven’t personally published a paper on climate change or sat down to have coffee with Mike Mann and James Hansen at a climate conference. I don’t need to chat with James Hansen to know that his A/B/C scenarios were a complete fail:
    http://jonova.s3.amazonaws.com/graphs/alarmist/hansen-1988-forecast-uah.gif
    If you must know John, I read all sorts of stuff about climate, and none of it has convinced me that CO2 is the evil gas we should all fear.

    “Hank Roberts
    hankroberts.wordpress.com
    2014/06/25

    ….I sure hope this was a troll, not an actual teacher in maths and science for children.”

    Sorry to disappoint you Hank, but I really am a maths and science teacher. However, David Smith is not my real name. When I used to post under my real name I feared for my job, because climate-zealots threatened to contact my school and have me sacked. Nice.
    When kids ask me about climate change I tell them what I believe, and then tell them to go away, do their own research and make their own minds up. I refuse to use the “my way or the highway” approach to my science teaching.

  41. #41 guthrie
    2014/06/25

    Ahh, that explains it. Dave Smith runs on belief, not science.

  42. #42 metzomagic
    2014/06/25

    @#40 David Smith:

    Poor David. Like most self-centred [Sorry. I'm going to make an example here: please remain polite. If you want an example of why, see http://joannenova.com.au/2014/06/climate-rage-we-absolutely-cannot-have-a-rational-conversation/#comment-1493525 for example], can’t look at anything with a view to the long term. It’s always gotta be short term profits or bust, and damn the consequences. He’s been meaning for the longest time now to look up ‘externality’ in the dictionary, but couldn’t be bothered.

  43. #43 David Smith
    2014/06/25

    “guthrie
    2014/06/25
    Ahh, that explains it. Dave Smith runs on belief, not science.”

    If you mean that I believe the ‘science’ is truly awful, then yes I suppose you could call it a ‘belief’.

    ” Compare “Imagine what we could do if we didn’t waste so much on military spending, so much of which is itself wasteful””
    Will, I didn’t say that military spending wasn’t waste. Some of it is.
    “It might be possible to use it more efficiently elsewhere, but counting it all as waste is wrong”
    Because I believe (sorry Guthrie) that the global warming hysteria is unwarranted then I also believe (sorry once more Guthrie) that it is a waste. I certainly resent the tax I pay being spent on green boondogles.

    [I don't think you've understood what I said. In pure economics terms, subsidies mean that, say, what we pay for solar is over the odds. But its wrong to regard all taht spending as waste, because some of the spending is useful - it generates power. More expensively that, say coal-without-costing-externalities, but nonetheless power. So your crude accounting all of that spending as waste is wrong -W]

    “solar power, for example, is close to competitive on straight terms” So you admit that, currently, solar power is economically uncompetitive? It would be great if renewables such as solar and wind were economically feasible as we’d have yet another energy resource. However, right now they cannot survive without subsidies and so they are an economic bust. Sure, spend money on further research, but don’t waste it on the current batch of inefficient tech.

    “metzomagic
    2014/06/25
    @#40 David Smith:

    Poor David…can’t look at anything with a view to the long term. It’s always gotta be short term profits or bust, and damn the consequences”
    When did I say that? I think that the billions being spent on a non-existent problem is not going to help our economy in the long term (or short term). That’s nothing to do with boom or bust.
    BTW let’s keep it civil metzo. I appreciate Will’s intervention. Ranting never gets us anywhere.

    [I'm glad you think that about ranting. Saying that here is cheap, of course. But I don't notice you doing the same over at JN's - reproving the foul-mouthed folk over there would not be cheap -W]

  44. #44 dean1230
    2014/06/25

    > [You should ignore the pols, obviously. You should listen to the economists telling you that a carbon tax is a good idea -W]

    I’m not sure I follow your logic stated above. Don’t listen to the pols but let’s send them our money via taxes? That just doesn’t make sense…

  45. #45 Hank Roberts
    hankroberts.wordpress.com
    2014/06/25

    Well, “David Smith” isn’t a competent teacher; he’s an authority at the front of the classroom bamboozling the kids about the process, as well as about what’s known.

    “When kids ask me about climate change I tell them what I believe, and then tell them to go away, do their own research and make their own minds up.”

    Shame on you.

    The kids shouldn’t know what you believe. You should be a good enough teacher that you keep your beliefs to yourself, and you should be competent to work with them without influencing them before they have searched for facts.

    [Are you sure about that? "The kids shouldn't know what you believe" sounds impossibly idealistic to me. And not even obviously correct. We live in a liberal democracy, or hope to: that means allowing teachers a fair degree of freedom to teach as they see fit, rather than having to teach to government rote -W]

    As you are promoting yourself, I suppose it’s better that you “tell them to go away” after that.

    At least there’s some chance they’ll find a competent librarian — which is where you should have encouraged them to start.

    Your belief, from the front of the class, as the first answer they hear, is all about you. Not about the world.

    http://blogs.plos.org/scied/2013/09/02/why-i-dont-believe-in-science-and-students-shouldnt-either/

  46. #46 dean
    2014/06/25

    Depending on the students’ ages, this

    … I tell them what I believe, and then tell them to go away, do their own research and make their own minds up

    could be interpreted (by the students) as one of a challenge to do some extra work, a direct dismissal of the issue of climate change in his class, or an indirect way of saying “shut up and don’t bother me with silly ideas”.

    You wonder if he answers every question that is not directly in his day’s lecture with “go to the library and find out”.

  47. #47 Hank Roberts
    hankroberts.wordpress.com
    2014/06/25

    > “The kids shouldn’t know what you believe” sounds
    > impossibly idealistic to me.

    As applied to this particular science question?
    I don’t think it’s impossibly idealistic.

    I think a science and maths teacher who starts from personal belief is impossibly idealistic — whether he thinks he’s influencing what the kids learn, or doesn’t.
    Either way — he should avoid doing what he’s doing.

    He can’t avoid stating his beliefs, as his first response to a science question?
    He’s doing it wrong.

  48. #48 Hank Roberts
    hankroberts.wordpress.com
    2014/06/25

    To be as clear as possible, because I’m not making a global statement about everything in the world, I’m arguing against this statement of belief as the first answer given kids:

    > the globe stopped warming at the turn of this century….
    > …
    > “… When kids ask me about climate change I tell them
    > what I believe, and then tell them to go away, do their
    > own research and make their own minds up.”

    C’mon.

  49. #49 David Smith
    2014/06/25

    “[I’m glad you think that about ranting. Saying that here is cheap, of course. But I don’t notice you doing the same over at JN’s – reproving the foul-mouthed folk over there would not be cheap -W”

    While I think Jo has got it nailed with regards to global warming (I’ll openly admit that she’s a heroine in my eyes!), I agree that some of the people posting comments there are getting too rude.

  50. #50 David Smith
    2014/06/25

    Hank,
    I think you’re getting too hung-up on the word ‘believe’.
    I teach high school kids. I tell them what I believe/see/think/infer/understand is scientifically correct (with sources and graphics to back up my assertions) but tell them they should not take just consider my view, but they should also look for other sources of information as science is all about discovery and nothing in science will ever be settled.

  51. #51 BBD
    2014/06/25

    While I think Jo has got it nailed with regards to global warming (I’ll openly admit that she’s a heroine in my eyes!)

    Science isn’t opinion.

  52. #52 David Smith
    2014/06/25

    Will,
    I must admit to being rather taken aback.
    Whilst I’m convinced that you and I will never agree on the science, I have to admit that your politeness and willingness to let me comment here has been superb.
    In hindsight I have to admit that I was rude and snarky towards you on Jo’s blog and for that I apologise.
    I have always had a lot of respect for Nick Stokes, as despite me never agreeing with most of what he has to say, I have always admired his politeness in the face of provaction. I hope I can remain that way in future.
    Skeptically yours,

    David

  53. #53 David Smith
    2014/06/25

    “BBD
    2014/06/25
    While I think Jo has got it nailed with regards to global warming (I’ll openly admit that she’s a heroine in my eyes!)
    Science isn’t opinion.”
    Not sure what that has to do with my comment, but all I can say is that it depends on your definition of opinion

  54. #54 David Smith
    2014/06/26

    Right,

    I will genuinely stop commenting now as it’s 1am and I’m off to bed. Hope to get back to you all tomorrow.

    David

  55. #55 TheGoodLocust
    2014/06/26

    It is hard to argue that it is a straw man when you have:

    1. James Hansen warning about the oceans boiling off into space.

    2. J. Marshall Shepherd saying 97% of climate scientists are “alarmed” (not concerned) about it, that climate change is the single biggest problem his grandchildren will face,implying that crocodiles swimming at the north pole and Georgia being submerged is a possibility.

    3. Neil DeGrasse Tyson – implying the oceans will rise high enough to come to the Statue of Liberty’s elbow ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=KJhbQIlu4mk#t=83 ). That’s what? 300 feet of ocean rise? Who the hell is predicting that?

    [No one. That's my point -W]

    These aren’t politicians – these are scientists. Politicians are merely informed by these people. I can’t help but think of Stephen Schneider’s famous quote, ” So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have,” when wondering what these scientists are privately telling the politicians.

    [Again, you make my point. That sentence is taken out of context. You know that. You know it doesn't read like that if you include the full context. So you're not being honest by quoting it out of context -W]

  56. #56 JBL
    2014/06/26

    TGL: suppose you were to say, “If X, then Y.” And I were to go around saying, “Gosh, TGL is a dishonest fool because TGL predicts Y.” Would you characterize this as fair or unfair? Because (to take the only example of yours I bothered to check) Tyson quite explicitly made clear that he was talking about a conditional: if the polar ice-caps melt, then …. FWIW, the top of the Statue of Liberty’s torch is about 300 feet off the ground; her elbow is probably 100-200 feet off the ground (there’s a big pedestal). So NdGT’s assertion is a conditional with some vivid imagery. Do you disagree that if the polar ice caps melt that this would raise sea levels by something on this order of magnitude?

    I guess I don’t understand the following thing: why would you so blatantly misrepresent someone, in such an easy-to-check way? Or, do you really believe as a general principle that “if X then Y” and “Y” are equivalent statements?

  57. #57 Hank Roberts
    2014/06/26

    A recent summary:
    “Various geophysical datasets recording global surface temperature anomalies suggest a slowdown in anomalous global warming from historical baselines. Warming is increasing, but not as fast, and much of the media attention to this is reacting to the second time derivative of temperature, which is negative, not the first time derivative, its rate of increase. Explanations vary. In one important respect, 20 or 30 years is an insufficiently long time to assess the state of the climate system. In another, while the global surface temperature increase is slowing, oceanic temperatures continue to soar, at many depths. Warming might even decrease. None of these seem to pose a challenge to the geophysics of climate, which has substantial support both from experimental science and ab initio calculations….”

    http://johncarlosbaez.wordpress.com/2014/06/05/warming-slowdown-part-2/

  58. #58 TheGoodLocust
    2014/06/26

    @GBL “Tyson quite explicitly made clear that he was talking about a conditional: if the polar ice-caps melt, then …”

    Sure, that’s why I said he “implied” it. Keep in mind the context where he is talking about “all the coastal cities being underwater.”

    He is a science communicator. He should be smart enough to know what he is implying and how people will interpret it.

    “FWIW, the top of the Statue of Liberty’s torch is about 300 feet off the ground; her elbow is probably 100-200 feet off the ground (there’s a big pedestal)”

    All, well I was assuming the island was a bit taller than it was (I’ve never been there). Looking at this picture here:

    http://www.statueofliberty.org/images/funfactsstatue.jpg

    I’d say the ocean is about 20 feet from the base. Also, looking at the numbers in the photo I’d esti-calculate that the oceans would have to rise by 250 feet to reach the elbow.

    “Do you disagree that if the polar ice caps melt that this would raise sea levels by something on this order of magnitude? ”

    I disagree with the implication that such a sea level rise is going to happen. And, assuming my previous calculation is accurate, I doubt 250 feet of sea level rise is possible.

    “why would you so blatantly misrepresent someone, in such an easy-to-check way? ”

    If I was trying to misrepresent what he said then I wouldn’t have said “implied” and I wouldn’t have linked the video. Context is important.

    The idea of this article is that CAGW is a straw man. Is it less of a straw man if prominent scientists are strongly implying catastrophe rather than outright saying it?

    Does a scientist have to use the world “catastrophe” or is catastrophe implied when he says the biggest problem his grandchildren will face is global warming and that 97% of climate scientists are “alarmed” by climate change (That’s all from his Ted talk btw).

  59. #59 Hank Roberts
    2014/06/26

    Looks like _both_ elbows would be submerged, were the Statue of Liberty somehow to persist until all the icecaps melt.

    The Statue of Liberty is 93 meters high.
    http://galaxywire.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/saturn_v_statue_of_liberty.jpg

    “… if all of the modern ice sheets were melted (an “ice-free Greenhouse world”) … sea-level would be … 73 m higher than today….”
    http://static.springer.com/sgw/documents/650498/application/pdf/978-1-4020-4551-6_Sea+Level+Change,+Last+250+Million+Years_Miller_web.pdf

  60. #60 TheGoodLocust
    2014/06/26

    “The Statue of Liberty is 93 meters high.
    http://galaxywire.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/saturn_v_statue_of_liberty.jpg

    “… if all of the modern ice sheets were melted (an “ice-free Greenhouse world”) … sea-level would be … 73 m higher than today….””

    But I calculated it would have to rise 250 feet to reach the elbows. 73 m is about 240 feet – and it appears (although I could be wrong) to be adding at least 30 feet due to thermal expansion of the oceans.

    But are we now conceding that NDT is implying CAGW?

  61. #61 JBL
    2014/06/26

    TGL, I think you’re nicely proving the point: “CAGW” is, in this context, something that one can see in these remarks only after heavily interpreting them by stripping away all the conditionals and other careful phrasing. You’re taking a correct, cautiously phrased statement and intentionally distorted it in order to make it seem more extreme, and then used it as an example of how scientists go around making extreme statements. This is exactly the sort of thing WMC is talking about, I venture.

  62. #62 Hank Roberts
    2014/06/26

    it appears (although I could be wrong) to be adding …

    Yes, you’re confused; that refers to accounting for the sea level in the long ago time and why it can’t get that high again even if.

  63. #63 Hank Roberts
    hankroberts.wordpress.com
    2014/06/26

    Point being — as several people have pointed out — that assertion of belief in without bothering to look it up and quote sources relied upon isn’t good teaching.

    As a reminder, still awaiting an answer:
    John Mashey
    2014/06/25

    I ask a question that I do on occasion.
    People are of course allowed to offer opinions, but in the real world, not all opinions carry the same weight, and people calibrate/recalibrate the weight given to others based on pereived expertise, track record, etc.

    Perhaps David Smith would tell us:of his preferred information sources about climate science, including climate scientists he’s spoken with, conferences attended, etc, to help us calibrate the weight that should be attached to his views.

  64. #64 David B. Benson
    2014/06/26

    David Smith could read some college freshman texts on climatology, being a science teacher. I earlier suggested David Archer’s text. There is also Ruddiman’s. Both are excellent.

  65. #65 Susan Anderson
    2014/06/26

    I have to ask why you all are providing a captive audience to a bore who has not done his research. Just because he obviously likes it doesn’t excuse the rest of you.

    (Sorry, I’ve fed enough trolls (polite, literate, clever ones who look quite plausible by carefully studying the real stuff to make the mirror ones look the same) to know they never give up until they have the last word. This one isn’t up to that standard; his lack of interest in backing up his favorite opinions is a giveaway. Now if he’s a teacher, that is shocking. Teachers should actually have done their homework.)

  66. #66 Tom Fuller
    Shanghai
    2014/06/26

    Susan, why does it bother you when people talk to skeptics?

  67. #67 TheGoodLocust
    2014/06/26

    @JBL “TGL, I think you’re nicely proving the point: “CAGW” is, in this context, something that one can see in these remarks only after heavily interpreting them by stripping away all the conditionals and other careful phrasing.”

    It isn’t a heavy interpretation at all. NDT said he used the ice sheets melting/all coastal cities being underwater/Statue of Liberty example to “wake people.”

    Why would he use a statement that needs to be “highly interpreted” in order to “wake people?”

    The “conditional” is only meant to imply “if we do nothing.”

    If you want more examples of him promoting the concept of CAGW you can watch this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QY5iUwf_FkE

    Choice quotes:

    “I don’t want to end up like either of these planets.” (Venus or Mars)

    “If you wait around until you say, “This is what made us extinct!” Too late!”

    @Hank “Yes, you’re confused; that refers to accounting for the sea level in the long ago time and why it can’t get that high again even if.”

    I merely scanned it since it isn’t terribly important, but that figure did seem to include significant thermal expansion.

  68. #68 Kevin O'Neill
    2014/06/26

    I think in part that TGL is correct, but he’s drawn the *wrong* implication from the Tyson vignette.. The idea being transmitted is: There’s a whole lot of ice on this world and we don’t want even a small percentage of it to melt.

    240 feet? 220 feet? 250 feet? Who cares. We’ll be far up sh*t creek before 100% of it melts. But take 5% of that — 12 feet. Do we care if just 5% of the ice caps melt? By pointing out the enormity of the sea level rise at 100% it brings home the *implied* point that we do not even want a ‘small’ percentage of it to melt.

    So, yes, there is an implied message, but it’s not the one TGL proposes. It’s a far more effective message that Tyson makes by implication. Forget about melting all of it – we can’t even afford to melt a small fraction of it.

  69. #69 Michael Hauber
    2014/06/26

    Would it be acceptable for each person on this planet to spend 50 cents a day on a problem that is not catastrophic?

    That would amount to billions of dollars per day.

    I would hope that a math teacher might teach students that totalling up the $ amount for something over a even a decent size nation is typically a cheap propoganda trick to make something sound more serious than it is. Better to put things in a per capita, or percent of total GDP context.

  70. #70 TheGoodLocust
    2014/06/26

    “But take 5% of that — 12 feet. Do we care if just 5% of the ice caps melt?”

    5% of the Antarctic ice sheets would be, on average, a loss of 350 feet or so.

    At the current rate of warming, .05 C per decade according to wikipedia, it would take about 4000 years for the temperatures to get to 0 degrees C – in the summer.

    After that how long do you suppose it would take to melt 350 feet of solid ice?

    Although, to be fair to myself, we should really only count the temperatures once it gets above freezing during the winter, and since it averages -60 C in the winter now, then, at the current rate of warming, we should expect it to reach 0 degrees C in a mere 12,000 years.

    Obviously I’m being silly here, because the rate of warming is not going to be linear. Is any climate model going to show us a 60 degree C increase in Antarctic temperatures in the winter? On any time scale?

    I suppose you could argue that all that 5% is going to be melting along the margins, but I’d love to see the numbers on that since the western ice sheet is a small minority of the total.

  71. #71 Marco
    2014/06/26

    TGL, the antarctic ice sheet is already losing mass, despite temperature not even close to zero degrees. Perhaps that tells you something about the ability to lose ice sheets at temperatures below zero degrees?

    Aother thing for you to consider: the antarctic ice sheet developed around the Eocene. Temperatures on earth were warmer then, but not by 60 degrees…

  72. #72 TheGoodLocust
    2014/06/26

    @Marco “TGL, the antarctic ice sheet is already losing mass, despite temperature not even close to zero degrees. Perhaps that tells you something about the ability to lose ice sheets at temperatures below zero degrees?”

    He specifically said “melt.” I’d love to know how this ice can melt when it is well below its freezing point.

    [Only on the surface. It can, and does, melt from underneath -W]

    FYI, the very small western sheet is losing mass,

    [You're trying too hard. The WAIS is not "very small" by any standard other than comparison to the EAIS; there's about 5 m of SLR available in it, about the same as Greenland -W]

    but the much larger eastern ice sheet has been gaining mass. I’m not up-to-date on what the current “balance” is, but last time I checked the gains were exceeding the losses.

    [You're wrong. Its the other way round; and I'm not at all sure I believe your EAIS-is-gaining. I think you're confusing surface mass balance with overall balance -W]

  73. #73 TheGoodLocust
    2014/06/26

    @WMC “[No one. That's my point -W]”

    And my point is that public scientists are talking about these things like it is a possibility. James Hansen and Neil DeGrasse Tyson have both warned about the Earth becoming like Venus.

    It isn’t a scientific prediction, but it is a “prediction” by scientists and made to the public in order to promote certain voting patterns.

    “[Again, you make my point. That sentence is taken out of context. You know that. You know it doesn't read like that if you include the full context. So you're not being honest by quoting it out of context -W]”

    I’ve read the full quote. Here it is:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Schneider

    I’m not sure what context is being omitted.

    [You know exactly what is being omitted. And you know that I know, and you know that the people reading this know. What's the point in pretending otherwise? -W]

    He is contradictory is what he says and seems slightly conflicted, but he certainly seems to be advocating that scientists “exaggerate” or otherwise mislead people so their communication can be “effective.”

    “[Only on the surface. It can, and does, melt from underneath -W]”

    IIRC the Southern ocean is also below freezing for fresh water.

    [As ever, you're crippled by what you don't know you don't know; and since you're over-confident, you don't think to look for yourself. Its a very common problem with the "skeptics" - you should read some of the stuff that the E Eng's post at JoNova's. For your enlightenment, try http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v4/n8/abs/ngeo1188.html or related -W]

    Or were you referring to the recent volcanoes paper? I haven’t read up on that.

    “[You're trying too hard. The WAIS is not "very small" by any standard other than comparison to the EAIS; there's about 5 m of SLR available in it, about the same as Greenland -W]”

    I was indeed comparing it to the EAIS because we were talking about the concept of the entire Antarctic ice sheet melting. It only makes sense to point out that the vast majority of the ice is probably stable or growing.

    “[You're wrong. Its the other way round; and I'm not at all sure I believe your EAIS-is-gaining."

    I was referring to this:

    http://www.climate-cryosphere.org/en/events/2012/ISMASS/AntarcticIceSheet.html

    Is that now out of date?

    " I think you're confusing surface mass balance with overall balance -W]”

    Perhaps, I’m sure you are more knowledgeable on the subject than I am.

  74. #74 Steve Milesworthy
    2014/06/26

    TGL: “[Schneider] certainly seems to be advocating that scientists “exaggerate” or otherwise mislead people so their communication can be “effective.” ”

    Why must offering up a “scary scenario” of a plausible event be “exaggeration” or “misleading”?

    Why did you put “exaggerate” in quotes when it is your word and not Schneider’s?

  75. #75 Marco
    2014/06/26

    TGL that last paper you cite is indeed out of date. And not by a little:
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/338/6111/1183.abstract
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014GL060111/abstract
    Note there have been some issues with ICE-Sat, which may explain Zwally’s ‘outlier’.

  76. #76 matt
    2014/06/26

    > [Are you sure about that? "The kids shouldn't know what you believe" sounds impossibly idealistic to me. And not even obviously correct. We live in a liberal democracy, or hope to: that means allowing teachers a fair degree of freedom to teach as they see fit, rather than having to teach to government rote -W]

    Don’t you think “government rote” does a much better job than an individual teachers “beliefs” (opinion)? On average of course.

    [I'm not decrying a national curriculum, that's fine by me. I'm reacting against the apparent belief that *nothing* personal from the teacher should come through. I'm pretty sure that, well I don't know, suppose some wacko US redneck state decided to impose creationism in its textbooks, you'd be applauding the brave teachers who'd follow their conscience and taught evolution. Its not an exact analogy, but you see the point I hope - people have a tendency to applaud actions that lead to what they like, not the actions themselves -W]

    Curriculums get designed with input from genuinely knowledgeable sources (e.g., CSIRO has been involved in Aus climate change).

    How good would evolution teaching be in the US, Aus, UK? I had an English teacher teach me a high-school physics course (due to shortages I imagine). She wasn’t good, but i am glad she stuck to the curriculum rather than give me her beliefs based on what she read on blogs.

    Perhaps we agree and I am just misinterpreting what you mean by “a fair degree of freedom”. Eg, I think some subjects (English, economics) allow some freedom to deviate. Physics, chemistry (at HS level) don’t*.

    *Yes, HS science is sometimes simplified/older theories taught (gravity – Newton vs Einstein) and could be considered technically wrong. Minor point.

  77. #77 David Smith
    2014/06/26

    “Susan Anderson
    2014/06/26
    …(Sorry, I’ve fed enough trolls (polite, literate, clever ones who look quite plausible by carefully studying the real stuff to make the mirror ones look the same) to know they never give up until they have the last word. This one isn’t up to that standard; his lack of interest in backing up his favorite opinions is a giveaway. Now if he’s a teacher, that is shocking. Teachers should actually have done their homework.)”
    Susan, you seem rather agitated. I think you’ll find that I have ‘backed up my opinions’ if you look at the sites I’ve linked to up-thread: Science Magazine, US govt site, an academic paper, UNFCC, Bloomberg, SkS, Nova, Watts, James Hansen’s ABC scenarios, etc. I rather think I have ‘done my homework’.

    “Tom Fuller
    Shanghai
    2014/06/26
    Susan, why does it bother you when people talk to skeptics?”
    Good point Tom. I notice that Susan hasn’t answered.

    [Can we have less of this "hasn't answered" stuff? The curse of the internet is people who insist on having the last word. Someone who doesn't so insist is great -W]

    “matt
    2014/06/26
    Perhaps we agree and I am just misinterpreting what you mean by “a fair degree of freedom”. Eg, I think some subjects (English, economics) allow some freedom to deviate. Physics, chemistry (at HS level) don’t*.”
    What a boring view of science you have! Science should always be about debate as nothing is ever settled. Your rote approach would foster no love of scientific enquiry.

    [nothing is ever settled - common "skeptic" meme, and of course its silly. Self-refuting too, since you state it as an absolute certainty -W]

    “Michael Hauber
    2014/06/26
    Would it be acceptable for each person on this planet to spend 50 cents a day on a problem that is not catastrophic?”
    Because it is a crying shame that all that money that adds up to billions is being wasted on a non-problem. It should be spent on real problems e.g clean drinking water and access to cheap medicines

    “Hank Roberts
    hankroberts.wordpress.com
    2014/06/26
    Point being — as several people have pointed out — that assertion of belief in without bothering to look it up and quote sources relied upon isn’t good teaching.

    As a reminder, still awaiting an answer:
    John Mashey
    2014/06/25…..

    Hank, I did give an answer but I’ll repeat it here for you again:
    Yep, the usual attempt to shut-down debate by insisting that my opinion doesn’t count because I haven’t personally published a paper on climate change or sat down to have coffee with Mike Mann and James Hansen at a climate conference. I don’t need to chat with James Hansen to know that his A/B/C scenarios were a complete fail:
    http://jonova.s3.amazonaws.com/graphs/alarmist/hansen-1988-forecast-uah.gif
    If you must know John, I read all sorts of stuff about climate, and none of it has convinced me that CO2 is the evil gas we should all fear.

  78. #78 Tom Fuller
    Shanghai
    2014/06/26

    Well, as the theme of this basically defines the lukewarmer view, I’ll risk commenting here again.

    Most of the lukewarmers I know (Mosher, Lucia, etc.) believe that even a low sensitivity to increases in concentrations of CO2 pose a threat, especially to the developing world, given our increasing emissions. I certainly do.

    Right now the ‘hiatus’ is a great point for lukewarmers–the stars are aligned to push temperatures down with various pseudocycles, but temperatures are not declining.

    The fact that we’ve belched out a third of all industrial emissions since the hiatus started is not an argument for high sensitivity, of course–but then that’s a major reason I’m a lukewarmer. But it’s clear that emissions are going to increase even faster–and the pseudocycles will shift to pushing temperatures up at some point.

    I just hope it doesn’t happen this decade because I bet Joe Romm a grand that temperatures would not rise more than 1.5C this decade.

    [I have a bet against Romm too: http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2008/01/24/sea-ice-betting-summary/ -W]

  79. #79 NikFromNYC
    2014/06/26

    Naked translation: “Ha ha ha.”

    “I’m betted than thou, please believe me!”

    My bleeding heart makes it so!

    Exhibit A:

    http://oi49.tinypic.com/r245ex.jpg

    Exhibit B:

    http://s6.postimg.org/jb6qe15rl/Marcott_2013_Eye_Candy.jpg

    You are cultists proactively supporting charlatans. Thus on your faces is mud.

  80. #80 BBD
    2014/06/26

    I don’t need to chat with James Hansen to know that his A/B/C scenarios were a complete fail:

    Rubbish. All contrarian claims need to be checked. Virtually all are false.

    I repeat: science is not opinion. You are full of (mostly nonsensical) opinions which you mystifyingly believe constitute a scientific counter-argument to the scientific consensus on AGW. They don’t.

  81. #81 BBD
    2014/06/26

    Lukewarmerism is physics denial. Wishful thinking if we’re being charitable. You cannot square low climate sensitivity with paleoclimate behaviour. As you would know if you bothered to check, Tom.

    Rohling et al. (2012).

  82. #82 Kevin O'Neill
    2014/06/26

    TGL: Did you read the sentence I wrote before the one you quoted? Let me say it again:

    “There’s a whole lot of ice on this world and we don’t want even a small percentage of it to melt.”

    Antarctic Glaciers calve. Greenland glaciers calve. The ice from these calvings almost invariably melts. It doesn’t necessarily melt in place, but it melts nonetheless. Also, note, I said “world”, not limited to Antarctica, and it we routinely see temperatures far above zero in Greenland now in summer — 22C the other day at Kangerlussuaq and 11 C on the ice sheet itself. So your point is ill-taken.

  83. #83 Steve Milesworthy
    2014/06/26

    David Smith, to prove that Hansen’s prediction was a failure you’ve cited a comparison between Hansen’s prediction and UAH LT temperatures.

    Was Hansen predicting UAH LT temperatures?
    Do you understand the difference between what Hansen was predicting and UAH LT temperatures?
    What is the definition of “a complete fail”?
    Have you ever shown that graph or similar to your class, and if so, how did you describe it?

  84. #84 BBD
    2014/06/26

    TGL

    I was indeed comparing it to the EAIS because we were talking about the concept of the entire Antarctic ice sheet melting. It only makes sense to point out that the vast majority of the ice is probably stable or growing.

    No. See McMillan et al. (2014) which uses the latest CryoSat-2 results. Some news coverage here.

    Even the EAIS is now losing ice mass. Although IMBIE (2012) found a slight mass gain this now appears to have reversed.

    More nonsense “sceptical” claims. Take note, David Smith.

  85. #85 BBD
    2014/06/26

    Sorry, link failure:

    McMillan et al. (2014)

  86. #86 Pan Outeast
    2014/06/26

    W – [I have a bet against Romm too: http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2008/01/24/sea-ice-betting-summary/ -W]

    Oh hell, and against me. A bloody foolish bet that was too. My side, I mean :)

    [Tee hee. I must remember to collect -W]

  87. #87 thomaswfuller2
    Shanghai
    2014/06/26

    BBD, go back to Deltoid with your friends.

    [No, I'm not having stuff like that. You don't get to tell anyone where to go on my blog. Do that again and you're in moderation guv -W]

    I am not alone in admitting the possibility of low climate sensitivity: According to Scientific American, “A leaked draft copy of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fifth assessment report (AR5) surfaced earlier this summer and triggered a small tempest among climate bloggers, scientists and skeptics over revelations that a key metric, called the “Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity” (ECS), had been revised downward. The ECS’s lower threshold had been extended by half a degree — from 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) to 1.5 C (2.7 F) — indicating that a lower range of warming now fell within the IPCC’s range of “likely” possibilities.”

    Perhaps they don’t know paleoclimate, however.

  88. #88 Pan Outeast
    2014/06/26

    BTW, was there a memo I missed about what ‘catastrophic’ warming means? Since that’s where this started off, I’m wondering. I’ve been looking around and there seem to be more than a few different definitions, ranging from ‘has very bad effects’ (eg collapse of some ecosystems), through ‘has effects so sudden and dramatic as to seem discontinuous with preceding events’, and all the way up to ‘wholly irrecoverable breakdown of the climate’ (the latter being synonymous with runaway climate chance, another of William’s favourites; all definitions paraphrases btw, not quotes).

    [Well yes, its a vague term with no clear defn - as you say, one person's catastrophe ("What!?! The coffee machine is broken AGAIN! How do you exect me to do any work") is another person's Meh. The acronym "CAGW" though is definitely a "skeptic" strawman -W]

  89. #89 Hank Roberts
    2014/06/26

    > David Smith 2014/06/26
    > I read all sorts of stuff about climate, and none of it has
    > convinced me that CO2 is the evil gas we should all fear.

    Evading the question. You said:

    >> David Smith
    >> the globe stopped warming at the turn of this century.
    >> …
    >> I’m a maths and science teacher, and
    >> I’ve got a lot of kids to teach

    and then you said

    >> I teach high school kids. I tell them what I
    >> believe/see/think/infer/understand is scientifically correct
    >> (with sources and graphics to back up my assertions)…

    Please: sources and graphics you think back up your assertion for telling this to kids who ask about climate:
    >> the globe stopped warming at the turn of this century.

    What sources and graphics do you show these kids to back up your assertion?

  90. #90 John Mashey
    http://www.desmogblog.com/user/john-mashey
    2014/06/26

    Hank:
    1) “David Smith” (assuming that’s real name) has already answered the question, in effect. Rather than claiming someone’s opinion is irrelevant, the neutral question on expertise and sources elicits a mostly-bimodal distribution of responses:
    a) Some will respond with some websites, books, maybe a name or two of scientists they talked to, and then likely ask if there’s something better, or what they should read next. Sometimes they haven’t read anything, in which case I usually suggest David Archer’s “The Long Thaw” as a good start.
    In my case, I was supposed to be the “skeptical discussant” for an EE380 lecture Steve Schneider* did at Stanford long ago, and I was just starting, so I’d bought about a dozen mainstream books, IPCC TAR, etc … plus Fred Singer’s “Hot Talk, Cold Science,” Lomborg’s “Skeptical Environmentalist” (sic) piled them up and asked Steve about each one. He had no problem with that, nor would I.
    Any of the above is classical skeptical behavior.

    b) A few pseudoskeptics will open cite WUWT, ClimateAudit, or a few of the books … of which copies sit on my special shelves where I don’t allow science books to go for fear of contamination.

    … but the most common reply is vague, like “I’ve studied this a lot.” That answers the question well enough for me :-)

    * I see somebody once again has repeated the misleading partial quote created by Julian Simon. See p.5 of APS News. Simon omitted the key sentence or two.

  91. #91 TheGoodLocust
    2014/06/26

    @WMC “[You know exactly what is being omitted. And you know that I know, and you know that the people reading this know. What's the point in pretending otherwise? -W]”

    No, I’m afraid I don’t understand you at all. I’m not sure if you have me confused with someone else. I’ve read the entire quote and also that the wikipedia entry says he claims it was “taken out of context.” Perhaps he misspoke, but if that was the case then why didn’t he claim that? I’ve often noticed people claim things are “taken out of context” when they don’t like what they’ve said – it doesn’t necessarily mean it was taken out of context.

    “[As ever, you're crippled by what you don't know you don't know; and since you're over-confident"

    If I was "over-confident" then I wouldn't have said things like:

    Perhaps, I’m sure you are more knowledgeable on the subject than I am.

    I’m not sure what context is being omitted.

    Is that now out of date?

    "For your enlightenment, try http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v4/n8/abs/ngeo1188.html or related -W]

    Ah so the going theory is now that global warming *might* be shifting some local ocean currents around (because I’m assuming, in general, the Southern ocean still averages below 0), which is melting some glaciers rapidly.

    That’s quite a few degrees of separation from the carbon dioxide model. More likely this is just natural variation in a local climate that hasn’t been observed for very long.

    @Steve “Why must offering up a “scary scenario” of a plausible event be “exaggeration” or “misleading”?”

    If you must find “balance” between honesty and effectiveness, as he said, then clearly honesty must suffer somewhat – which is, by definition, misleading. The exaggeration factor comes into play when you make these scenarios seem more plausible than they are by not mentioning the doubts you may have.

    “Why did you put “exaggerate” in quotes when it is your word and not Schneider’s?”

    Because I think exaggerate is only quasi-accurate which is why I put quotes around it. If you don’t mention your doubts then you are effectively exaggerating the plausibility – one could call it exaggeration by omission.

    @Marc “TGL that last paper you cite is indeed out of date. And not by a little:
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/338/6111/1183.abstract

    I looked at your first link. Looking at the margins of error for the different areas it looks like you can’t say with statistical certainty one way or the other.

    So if someone is using that data to claim the losses are exceeding the gains then it is an inaccurate statement – and vice versa.

    @Kevin “There’s a whole lot of ice on this world and we don’t want even a small percentage of it to melt.”

    I’m not sure why you seem to think that is a self-evident truth.

    Broadly speaking, we’ve been losing ice mass since the end of the Last Glacial Maximum. In other words, ice loss is the norm for human civilization.

    BBD “You cannot square low climate sensitivity with paleoclimate behaviour.”

    This sounds like a presumption that the paleoclimate records are accurate enough to determine the climate sensitivity.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divergence_problem

  92. #92 JBL
    2014/06/26

    Can we have a moratorium on this sort of nonsense, too:
    ““David Smith” (assuming that’s real name) ” (along with, “You haven’t addressed my question”)?

    Because (1) who gives a damn whether it’s his real name? and (2) he’s already said above that it *isn’t* his real name, and given a reason why, and (3) who gives a damn whether it’s his real name? It’s just a completely pointless rabbit hole.

  93. #93 Hank Roberts
    2014/06/26

    > I think exaggerate is only quasi-accurate
    > which is why I put quotes around it.
    _________________________________________
    ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words [and punctuation marks] mean so many different things.’
    ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’

  94. #94 JBL
    2014/06/26

    TGL: “… [link to wikipedia].” Do you believe that, in general, Wikipedia is a good source for information about scientific topics?

  95. #95 Hank Roberts
    hankroberts.wordpress.com
    2014/06/26

    >>> “You haven’t addressed my question”

    No, it’s “you claim you’re a teacher, show your work”

    The person using the pseudonym “David Smith”
    when his high school science students ask him about climate tells them:

    >> the globe stopped warming at the turn of this century.

    and he asserts he accompanies his statement of belief:

    >> (with sources and graphics to back up my assertions)…

    Please show your work.

  96. #96 BBD
    2014/06/26

    Tom Fuller

    Perhaps AR5 WG1 was overly cautious. That certainly seems to be the case when all the evidence is considered.

    A few studies reliant on over-simplified models and exceptionally sensitive to measurement uncertainty (aerosol; decadal variability in ocean heat uptake) don’t alter the basic problem – paleoclimate behaviour is incompatible with low sensitivity. Waving at the fact that the lower bound for ECS has been put back to where it was for the first three reports changes nothing.

  97. #97 BBD
    2014/06/26

    TGL

    Waving at the modern divergence problem doesn’t invalidate the entire field of paleoclimate and every other proxy used. It doesn’t even invalidate the use of dendro proxies.

    The point stands: low sensitivity is incompatible with paleoclimate behaviour. Consider deglaciation, for example. Net insolation barely changes, but a spatial and seasonal reorganisation of insolation is enough to terminate a glacial. This requires amplifying positive feedbacks, which of course give rise to higher climate sensitivities to radiative perturbation.

  98. #98 BBD
    2014/06/26

    TGL

    Broadly speaking, we’ve been losing ice mass since the end of the Last Glacial Maximum. In other words, ice loss is the norm for human civilization.

    More rubbish. Ice mass loss levelled off at the end of the Holocene Thermal Maximum ~5ka and sea levels stopped rising. Can’t you be bothered to check anything you assert?

    [I agree the quote is rather silly; but its good in reply to point to something like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_level_rise#mediaviewer/File:Post-Glacial_Sea_Level.png Oh, unless the original point was that human civilisation is clearly coping with SLR. Which I'd call silly, too -W]

  99. #99 TheGoodLocust
    2014/06/26

    @BDD “Waving at the modern divergence problem doesn’t invalidate the entire field of paleoclimate and every other proxy used.”

    I’m not going to get into the weeds of all the problems with all the proxies. The divergence problem was just an example.

    Paleoclimate is not an accurate science, but I doubt anything I say will convince you of that. As the satellite records continue to show low climate sensitivity you’ll have to reconcile it yourself.

    “More rubbish. Ice mass loss levelled off at the end of the Holocene Thermal Maximum ~5ka and sea levels stopped rising. Can’t you be bothered to check anything you assert?

    [I agree the quote is rather silly; but its good in reply to point to something like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_level_rise#mediaviewer/File:Post-Glacial_Sea_Level.png -W]”

    Yes, well you are both wrong:

    http://stevengoddard.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/animationimage3379.jpg

    Zoom in a bit and you’ll see that the oceans were still rising all that time.

  100. #100 BBD
    2014/06/26

    TGL

    I’m not going to get into the weeds of all the problems with all the proxies.

    You are, I think, blustering at this point.

    Paleoclimate is not an accurate science, but I doubt anything I say will convince you of that.

    We know enough. Agnosia isn’t an argument, it’s denialism in a mask.

    Yes, well you are both wrong:

    Steven Goddard? Be serious.

    Here’s an actual scientific expert explaining why you and SG are talking through your respective hats.

    If you go to biased contrarian bloggers for your information, you will remain wrong and confused.

  101. #101 Steve Milesworthy
    2014/06/26

    TGL “If you don’t mention your doubts then you are effectively exaggerating the plausibility – one could call it exaggeration by omission.”

    First, have you read what Schneider wrote in the link John Mashey gives in #89.

    Schneider says “…and make little mention of any doubts we might have…”. So a) “doubts” are mentioned. Schneider has stated his solution to the problem (that the media allows you very few words to explain your position):

    “They also omit my solutions to the double ethical bind: (1) use metaphors that succinctly convey both urgency and uncertainty … and (2) produce an inventory of written products from editorials to articles to books, so that those who want to know more about an author’s views on both the caveats and the risks have a hierarchy of detailed written sources to which they can turn.”

  102. #102 BBD
    2014/06/26

    TGL

    You ignored what I had to say about orbitally-triggered deglaciation as a demonstration that feedbacks net positive making the climate system moderately sensitive to radiative perturbation.

    Why did you skip over this point?

  103. #103 Hank Roberts
    hankroberts.wordpress.com
    2014/06/26

    > TGL … Schneider
    > Perhaps he misspoke
    He didn’t.
    > but if that was the case
    It wasn’t.
    > then why didn’t he claim that?

    Because: partial quote out of context, as he explained:

    “It is a major misquote….leaving out the last sentence, leaving out the context….it is all explained in the Mediarology section of my website.”

    She asked, that was his answer:
    http://climatesight.org/2009/04/12/the-schneider-quote/

  104. #104 Hank Roberts
    hankroberts.wordpress.com
    2014/06/26

    Reminder:

    Lots of distractions, digressions and red herring being thrown up, but the topic began with
    __________
    “1. Most recent example: comment by David Smith on JoNova’s total-lack-of-introspection “Climate Rage: We absolutely cannot have… a rational conversation!”
    —————–
    Still hoping.

  105. #105 TheGoodLocust
    2014/06/26

    @BDD “Steven Goddard? Be serious.

    Here’s an actual scientific expert explaining why you and SG are talking through your respective hats. ”

    I did a simple google image search. If you didn’t like that SG hosted the file then you can look at the file here too:

    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Holocene_Sea_Level.png

    Still, if you disagree that sea levels have, broadly speaking, been rising since the end of the LGM then please explain all the ancient settlements that are now quite underwater.

    And no, I’m not going to watch a half-hour video just so I can try and extract whatever point you are trying to make.

    @Steve “First, have you read what Schneider wrote in the link John Mashey gives in #89.

    Schneider says “…and make little mention of any doubts we might have…”. So a) “doubts” are mentioned. Schneider has stated his solution to the problem (that the media allows you very few words to explain your position):”

    Sure, I read it. It sounds like a post hoc rationalization to me.

    Politicians do that all the time because they know their supporters will cling to any defense they put forth.

    I obviously can’t read his mind. All I can do is go by the words that he said at the time. Clearly he later came to regret those words. Whether that regret was do to their subsequent interpretation, an initial poor choice of words, or regretting the consequences of those words, I obviously can’t say.

    @Hank “She asked, that was his answer:
    http://climatesight.org/2009/04/12/the-schneider-quote/

    And if you peruse the comments on that page then you’ll find numerous others saying that quote is just as bad as the original.

    Are all of them “dishonest” as well? This is a matter of interpretation and that means biases are involved.

  106. #106 Steve Milesworthy
    2014/06/26

    TGL: “Sure, I read it. It sounds like a post hoc rationalization to me.”

    It wasn’t a post hoc rationalisation because a bit of the quote you missed out he said that people should aim always to be honest.

    Unfortunately it seems to be you that is doing all the “rationalisation” around this. Some people are careful to say what they mean and mean what they say. Sometimes it requires *you* to look at the context to get the full meaning. If *you* ignore some of that context to pretend to others that the meaning is different then you are being dishonest.

  107. #107 BBD
    2014/06/26

    Still, if you disagree that sea levels have, broadly speaking, been rising since the end of the LGM then please explain all the ancient settlements that are now quite underwater.

    Which ones? Local subsidence and post-glacial isostatic adjustment effects are the likely causes.

    If you can find me a paper or two demonstrating that MSL has risen globally ~5ka to ~1750 I would be interested to see it. The informed view seems to be that it has not. The reason for that would be that ice mass loss tailed off at the end of the HCO.

  108. #108 BBD
    2014/06/26

    TGL

    Why are you blanking my remarks about orbitally-triggered deglaciation as a demonstration that feedbacks net positive making the climate system moderately sensitive to radiative perturbation?

  109. #109 BBD
    2014/06/26

    Regional vs global sea level changes are complicated by GIA and basin siphoning, so one has to be careful not to generalise from regional to global:

    By the mid-Holocene period, 6000-5000 years ago, glacial melting had essentially ceased, while ongoing adjustments of Earth’s lithosphere due to removal of the ice sheets gradually decreased over time. Thus, sea level continued to drop in formerly glaciated regions and rise in areas peripheral to the former ice sheets. At many low-latitude ocean islands and coastal sites distant from the effects of glaciation, sea level stood several meters higher than present during the mid-Holocene and has been falling ever since. This phenomenon is due to lithospheric responses to changes in ice and water loading. Water is “siphoned” away from the central equatorial ocean basins into depressed areas peripheral to long-gone ice sheets. Loading by meltwater that has been added to the oceans also depresses far-field continental shelves, tilting the shoreline upward and thus lowering local sea level. Over the past few thousand years, the rate of sea level rise remained fairly low, probably not exceeding a few tenths of a millimeter per year.

    Source.

  110. #110 TheGoodLocust
    2014/06/26

    @Steve “It wasn’t a post hoc rationalisation because a bit of the quote you missed out he said that people should aim always to be honest.”

    Where did he say that? He said he “hoped” scientists could be both honest and effective. And if you take that in context of the entire quote, then he is rationalizing being less honest.

    Again, that’s not just my interpretation.

    Btw, I cut his quote for brevity, which is probably what the original person did as well.

    @BDD ” The informed view seems to be that it has no”

    Ah so you claim the default view is that the sea level hasn’t risen in 5k years and therefore I’m the only who needs to go looking for peer-reviewed papers.

    I’m getting bored and I’ll be very busy soon enough.

  111. #111 TheGoodLocust
    2014/06/26

    @BDD “Over the past few thousand years, the rate of sea level rise remained fairly low, probably not exceeding a few tenths of a millimeter per year.”

    In other words, I was correct and the sea level has been rising even in the past few thousand years.

    Thanks for proving me right.

  112. #112 BBD
    2014/06/26

    TGL

    Very slight rise vs modern SLR which is the point. Modern SLR is exceptional. It’s a shame you haven’t time to watch the Mitrovica lecture.

    You seem to prefer nit-picking to addressing the actual point. And what about orbitally-triggered deglaciation?

  113. #113 BBD
    2014/06/26

    Interestingly, I think there may eventually be a bit of a re-think about the very slight SLR ~5ka to pre-industrial in the light of the Ruddiman hypothesis. ‘Wrong-way’ CO2 and CH4 trends in the Holocene compared to previous interglacials might be a contributory factor.

    * * *
    Ruddiman et al. (2011)

  114. #114 Hank Roberts
    hankroberts.wordpress.com
    2014/06/26

    > you’ll find numerous others saying that
    > quote is just as bad as the original.

    Yes, it’s a stalking point, almost a required merit badge for that sort.

  115. #115 John Mashey
    2014/06/26

    BBD, yes: given Figure 2 and Figure 6 in that paper, the rise in CO2/CH4 should have counteracted the normal solar insolation-driven cooling, maybe enough for a slight rise. That’s why I encourage people to read that paper and Bill’s book:
    it’s silly to believe in magic when there are actually pretty good explanations for the Holocene. We never know everything. but the picture keeps getting clearer … and very little of human civilization has existed in a purely natural climate.

  116. #116 thomaswfuller2
    Shanghai
    2014/06/26

    When I interviewed Schneider he talked about the famous quote being taken out of context. He was more amused than upset, saying other quotes from other people had been twisted even more.

    BBD, [PA removed -W]. 3 mm / year is slight sea level rise.

  117. #117 David Smith
    2014/06/26

    “Steve Milesworthy
    2014/06/26
    David Smith, to prove that Hansen’s prediction was a failure you’ve cited a comparison between Hansen’s prediction and UAH LT temperatures.

    Was Hansen predicting UAH LT temperatures?
    Do you understand the difference between what Hansen was predicting and UAH LT temperatures?
    What is the definition of “a complete fail”?
    Have you ever shown that graph or similar to your class, and if so, how did you describe it?”

    Hi Steve, I’ve read that article by Tamino before (and others who’ve claimed the same thing). The line of reasoning is basically ‘Hansen would have been right if he hadn’t been wrong.’
    The fact of the matter is Hansen said that if we carried on with a BAU situation (which we have) gloabl avg temp would have risen roughly one degree since 1988 (it hasn’t). Hansen was wrong.

    Hank Roberts,
    For you.
    I show the kids this:
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/from:1997/to:2014
    Or this:
    http://donaitkin.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/cmip5-90-models-global-tsfc-vs-obs11.jpg
    Or this:http://oi55.tinypic.com/necf12.jpg
    Or this:
    http://policlimate.com/tropical/frequency_12months.png
    Or this:
    http://policlimate.com/tropical/global_running_ace.png
    This one to stop them worrying about ‘accelerating rates of sea level rise’:
    http://stevengoddard.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/700px-recent_sea_level_rise.png
    And lastly this, to put it in mathematical perspective, because the kids have no idea about the real size of the percentage of the atmosphere that is CO2 (most of them tell me 50%!):
    http://yukonjackblog.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/carbon-chart.png

  118. #118 BBD
    2014/06/26

    Tom

    Have you looked at Rohling et al. yet? Have you thought about what orbitally-triggered deglaciations tell us about positive feedbacks and therefore climate sensitivity?

    We have to think because this climate change stuff is important.

  119. #119 David Smith
    2014/06/26

    I was fully signed up to the global warming meme until I watched Al Gore in his terrible ‘movie’, heard David Suzuki with his multiple homes telling us all to save energy, read the Climategate files, and smelt a rat. That’s when I went away and actually did some research of my own. Then I became a fully signed up skeptic (just like the head of my science dept did. We both think it’s all bunkum).

    Bottom line is: I refuse to get worked up about a less than 1 deg rise since 1900. Climate changes, always has and I imagine it always will (although nothing is certain!).
    The only settled fact is that no science will ever be settled – that’s what makes the world of science so damn exciting.

    I bid you all farewell.

  120. #120 BBD
    2014/06/26

    David

    The line of reasoning is basically ‘Hansen would have been right if he hadn’t been wrong.’

    This is perhaps to miss the wood for the trees. The model Hansen used (Model2 I think?) is primitive by modern standards. It exhibited a higher ECS than modern models (4.2C/2xCO2?) and the forcings used in the modelling runs differ from what happened in the real world.

    Trying to argue that a study from the late 1980s using a crude model somehow delegitimises Hansen and thereby climate science is, frankly, daft.

  121. #121 David B. Benson
    2014/06/26

    David Smith — As to why additional carbon dioxide is worrisome, try Mark Lynas’s “Six Degrees”:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2007/apr/23/scienceandnature.climatechange

    For the physics, study Ray Pierrehumbert’s “Principles of Planetary Climate”.

  122. #122 stuart
    Australia
    2014/06/27

    David Smith: wrote “The fact of the matter is Hansen said that if we carried on with a BAU situation (which we have) gloabl avg temp would have risen roughly one degree since 1988 (it hasn’t). Hansen was wrong.”

    No. Clearly you do not understand what Tamino wrote. Whether this is due to an inability to follow a logical argument, or rejection by “motivated resoning” is unclear. (Actually, both seems plausible.)

    The fact that you then link to a bunch of many-times-debunked denier nonsense shows that you are not basing your position on an *understanding* of the science, but rather a willing adoption of misinformation.

    Your links are nothing but a colleciton of logical fallacies (cherry picking, argument from incredulity, etc.) But I strongly suspect, based on your posts, that you don’t even understand what those logical fallacies are, let alone that your entire position in based on them.

    For a science teacher, that’s a very poor effort. No different really to teaching creationism as science because you don’t understand the difference.

  123. #123 Hank Roberts
    hankroberts.wordpress.com
    2014/06/27

    I’m sorry, Dave, that you can’t do better.

  124. #124 Alan
    2014/06/27

    It’s fun how in David Smith’s last comment “I refuse to get worked up about 1C since 1900″ we simply returned to “Its not catatrophic NOW, so whats the issue?”

  125. #125 Hank Roberts
    hankroberts.wordpress.com
    2014/06/27

    Lest anyone fail to see Dave’s trick there, make sure to read the Notes page:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/notes#trends

    which begins by illustrating his misdirection:

    “Temperature trends – pick a timescale, any timescale!

    After many requests, I finally added trend-lines (linear least-squares regression) to the graph generator. I hope this is useful, but I would also like to point out that it can be fairly dangerous…

    Depending on your preconceptions, by picking your start and end times carefully, you can now ‘prove’ that:
    Temperature is falling!
    Temperature is static!
    Temperature is rising!
    Temperature is rising really fast! …”

  126. #126 Marco
    2014/06/27

    David Smith, do you really show your kids that chart from heritage (it’s the last link you provided)?

    If so, you are misinforming them in two ways:
    1. The first step in that chart misrepresents the role of GHGs. It’s like showing a chart with the number of people in the Board of Directors of General Motors vs the total number of employees. Message to be conveyed “See, hardly anything!” – although I am sure we all agree that the Board of Directors determines what happens to the company

    2. The second step misrepresents the growth in CO2 due to anthropogenic sources. Anthropogenic emissions are about 3-3.5% of the natural emissions, but this ignores the natural uptake of CO2, which is LARGER than the natural emissions.
    Let’s take a hypothetical examle using GM again: suppose it spends 10 billion a year on making cars. It sells cars worth 9.9 billion. The government provides supports worth 300 million. Despite the government support being a mere 3%, it is the sole cause GM actually has a profit.

    I am sure you are as horrified as me that such blatant misrepresentations like that chart from heritage exist.

  127. #127 Steve Milesworthy
    2014/06/27

    TGL: The irony of your take on Schneider is that Schneider’s comment was warning about the risk of short comments to the media being misinterpreted or misleading, and you have misinterpreted (disinterpreted) his comment by shortening his comment.

    The second irony is that you are offering up a “scary scenario” of scientist being deliberately alarmist without expressing any doubts in your position.

    Thirdly, the quote was in 1989 and the “post-hoc” rationalisation was in 1996 for goodness sake! You have to go back a looong time for your evidence!

    David Smith: I asked a few questions which you evaded. I don’t know where Tamino comes into this. I did not read Tamino’s comment on Hansen. Are you evading the questions because you know you are wrong and you don’t care?

  128. #128 Phil.
    2014/06/27

    David Smith
    2014/06/26

    “The fact of the matter is Hansen said that if we carried on with a BAU situation (which we have) gloabl avg temp would have risen roughly one degree since 1988 (it hasn’t). Hansen was wrong.”

    Fundamental mistake, we didn’t carry on with BAU, the Montreal Protocol was put into effect for one thing. For some of the non-CO2 emissions we actually were close to scenario C.

  129. #129 dean
    2014/06/27

    I was fully signed up to the global warming meme until I watched Al Gore in his terrible ‘movie’,

    This would seem to be enough to show how weak an effor DS put towards considering the science.

  130. #130 PaulB
    England
    2014/06/27

    These statements taken together bother me:

    DS: “I think Jo has got it nailed with regards to global warming (I’ll openly admit that she’s a heroine in my eyes!)”
    DS: “I’m a maths and science teacher”
    DS: “When kids ask me about climate change I tell them what I believe… is scientifically correct (with sources and graphics to back up my assertions)
    DE: “…a squared sinusoid rather than sinusoidal”

    So, you think Jo has got it nailed. And Jo thinks DE has made “a huge leap” in understanding the climate. And DE thinks that the square of a sinusoid is not sinusoidal. And you are a maths teacher.

    If you’re not good at reading papers, fair enough, that’s not an essential qualification for a science teacher. But it is an essential qualification for a science teacher who is going to foreground his own, minority views in his lessons. I strongly suggest you mention your own ideas only as an afterthought in future.

  131. #131 Hank Roberts
    hankroberts.wordpress.com
    2014/06/27

    Well, you can see why he doesn’t want people to know who he is: “I became a fully signed up skeptic (just like the head of my science dept did. We both think it’s all bunkum)”

    I seriously wonder what they think about evolution.

  132. #132 Matt
    2014/06/27

    @WMC – no probs. agree.

    @DS – c’mon mate. Unfair quotation of me. Of course science is never settled. Truism. Boring. Later u say

    >> “Climate changes, always has and I imagine it always will (although nothing is certain!)

    I agree nothing is certain but I question whether this is at all valuable in science or basic conversation. Are u genuinely uncertain that climat will not change? Should we bother speaking of such uncertainties given available evidence ( solar evolution alone is enough for me to say, “yes climate will always change, I’m ‘certain’”). Look up the various definitions of scientific fact – much more valuable to conversation than scientific truth (non-existent).

  133. #133 David B. Benson
    2014/06/27

    Yawn. He isn’t reading here anymore.

  134. #134 Hank Roberts
    hankroberts.wordpress.com
    2014/06/27

    > He isn’t reading here anymore.

    Maybe.

    But a Dave by any other name would smell as sweet.
    “Dave” was just the then most recent exemplar for the “you’re not thinking” group.

  135. #135 Hank Roberts
    hankroberts.wordpress.com
    2014/06/27

    Oh, and just for the record, since “Dave” relies on
    > This one to stop them worrying about ‘accelerating rates of
    > sea level rise’: http://stevengoddard.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/700px-recent_sea_level_rise.png

    “Dave” should also point out that Anthony Watts wrote two articles about why Steve Goddard was wrong when he claimed the US temperature data has been “fabricated” (archived here and here)

  136. #136 BBD
    2014/06/27

    Since SLR stabilised at a few tenths of a millimetre per year for ~5ka and now runs at >3mm/yr, the recent acceleration of SLR is clear. It’s unfortunate that the graphic DS says he is showing his pupils obfuscates this fact.

    I was also troubled to see that he is using Christy’s misrepresentation of observations vs CMIP5.

    Mrs BBD is also a teacher. She spends a great deal of time and effort trying to avoid using incorrect or misleading information when planning lessons.

  137. #137 Steve Milesworthy
    2014/06/27

    It’s more satisfying to submit comments to sceptic blogs, because they can’t run away.

  138. #138 Mal Adapted
    2014/06/27

    David Smith:

    I was fully signed up to the global warming meme until I watched Al Gore in his terrible ‘movie’, heard David Suzuki with his multiple homes telling us all to save energy, read the Climategate files, and smelt a rat.

    Oh, so he got his information from politicians, popular TV shows and emails stolen from their contexts. He replied to John Mashey thus:

    If you must know John, I read all sorts of stuff about climate, and none of it has convinced me that CO2 is the evil gas we should all fear.

    Apparently he hasn’t read much actual science, though. He hasn’t evinced much scientific meta-literacy so far, but maybe he’d learn something from the Royal Society. The RS, together with the US National Academy of Sciences, has published a 36-page booklet titled Climate Change: Evidence and Consequences, free to download at the link. OTOH, he apparently thinks he’s as qualified to judge the evidence as any member of the RS. I wonder how he’d resolve a disagreement between the RS and Steven Goddard?

  139. #139 David Smith
    2014/06/27

    Hi All, I’m back!

    My, I’ve got people worked up into a lather!

    Hank:
    “I seriously wonder what they think about evolution.”
    Sorry to disabuse you of your preconceptions, but not all skeptics are gun totin’ bible bashers from the Deep South.
    I can’t speak for my Head of Dept, but I’m an atheist who has no truck with creationist rubbish. I like this Eddie Izzard skit about Evolution vs Intelligent Design:
    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xb7qu4_eddie-izzard-evolution-vs-intellige_fun
    You also didn’t seem to like my SLR graph, mainly it seems because it came from Steve Goddard and Anthony Watts happened to disagree with him on something. Anyway, here’s another couple of graphs to show the alarming lack of SLR accelaration:
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5e/Trends_in_global_average_absolute_sea_level,_1870-2008_(US_EPA).png
    http://blog.okfn.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/meansealevel.png

    “BBD
    2014/06/27
    Since SLR stabilised at a few tenths of a millimetre per year for ~5ka and now runs at >3mm/yr, the recent acceleration of SLR is clear. It’s unfortunate that the graphic DS says he is showing his pupils obfuscates this fact.”
    So SLR wasn’t rising as fast for roughly ~5ka? So what?
    It has also risen way faster in the past than it is today. That proves nothing.
    Right now it’s rising at just about 3mm/yr and has been for ages. We were promised dangerously frightening SLR and 3mm/yr is still not frightening in any way (100 years for a 30 cm rise? Pardon me while I don’t get concerned at all). Someone who did think we’d all be in our wellington boots right now was Jim Hansen, who got it massively wrong once more: again:http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/stormy-weather-salon.pdf
    “I was also troubled to see that he is using Christy’s misrepresentation of observations vs CMIP5.”
    Whether you like Christy’s method or not, I don’t think anyone can keep a straight face and say that the models are doing a good job. When did they predict the current pause? The following article by Prof Ross McKitrick is a good one:
    http://business.financialpost.com/2014/06/16/the-global-warming-hiatus/

    “PaulB
    England
    2014/06/27
    …a science teacher who is going to foreground his own, minority views in his lessons. I strongly suggest you mention your own ideas only as an afterthought in future.”
    I don’t ‘foreground’ my views at all, if anything I try to avoid talking about global warming with the kids because it’s become a vipers nest of a politicised subject area that they don’t need to worry about (kids would rather be in a lab watching cool stuff blow up than discussing extremely under-whelming temp rises of mere tenths of a degree over a time scale of more than a century). I only tell the kids what I think about global warming if they ask me directly. What else am I supposed to do? Should I just say, “I’m not telling you what I think. So there!”?

    “PaulB
    England
    2014/06/27
    …DE thinks that the square of a sinusoid is not sinusoidal. And you are a maths teacher.”
    What has what DE thinks about sinusoids got to do with my being a maths teacher? Am I supposed to never question his every utterance just because I like what Jo and him have to say about some other things?

    “BBD
    ..Mrs BBD is also a teacher. She spends a great deal of time and effort trying to avoid using incorrect or misleading information when planning lessons.”
    Tell her not to use Hansen’s ABC scenarios graph then ;)

    “Phil.
    2014/06/27
    Fundamental mistake, we didn’t carry on with BAU, the Montreal Protocol was put into effect for one thing. For some of the non-CO2 emissions we actually were close to scenario C.”
    We can debate about the state of BAU all night (the Chinese are currently doing a good job of banging out the see-oh-toos), but the fact of the matter is that Hansen’s faulty scenario A is what the world’s media, politicians, scientists, NGOs, UN, and international bankers paid attention to, and they all realised they could make a quick buck out of the hysteria. And they have. A lot of quick bucks. At our expense.

    I have really enjoyed my time here and I keep saying I’ll go, but keep coming back. However, my wife’s just looked at what I’ve been doing here and she’s told me to do something more constructive, so I really must stop :(

  140. #140 David B. Benson
    2014/06/27

    David Smith — I previously suggested some books you could read. That would certainly be more constructive.

  141. #141 Hank Roberts
    hankroberts.wordpress.com
    2014/06/28

    Dang, didn’t have time to ask him what he tells his students if they want to learn about ocean pH change.

  142. #142 stuart
    Australia
    2014/06/28

    So DS pops his head back up and spews more standard denial-o-matic rubbish. Just another willfully ignorant (and dishonest) troll then. Very sad that he is responsible for teaching science to kids. Not surprising, but sad anyway.

    I notice he never addresses my points about his logical errors. I guess logic (like science and maths) is really not his strong point. Just another Gish-galloper with nothing to contribute but noise.

  143. #143 Tony Duncan
    2014/06/28

    And in one of my favorite topics he gets the Hansen thing completely wrong by using the salon article about West Side highway being under water by 2012. I argued this with godddard dozens of times, and when Reiss finally realized he had screwed up the interview. the period was 40 years and not the 20 he stated and it was ale if there was a dubbing of CO2 by then, which of course there won’t be.
    the funny thing is Hansen was RIGHT. the highway was under water in 2012, 20 years before he predicted it and with CO2 WAY below a doubling of pre industrial levels.
    goddard did NOT like this at all and he and a few acolytes ( is there a better word?) kept arguing with me even after I had bought the bk and quoted the actual quotes. They seemed to resort to some bizarre sort of time traveling conspiracy theory.
    But if this is the sort of “documentation” our friend David is willing to base his arguments on, then I am not surprised he accepts pseudo science as opposed to real science.
    Maybe he can get a special certificate for teaching pseudo science.
    I find it odd that he believes in evolution and not creationism, when he is using the exact same tactics as creationists use

  144. #144 Michael
    2014/06/28

    In any dept big enough there’s always a DS lurking in a corner, mumbling about WUWT, ‘ClimateGate’ and other fringe obsessions.

    Thanks for all the lucid responses and informative links – always good to be reminded just how shallow the ‘skeptic’ end of the pool is.

  145. #145 Steve Milesworthy
    2014/06/28

    DS: “Whether you like Christy’s method or not, I don’t think anyone can keep a straight face and say that the models are doing a good job.”

    Shorthand version: you’ve caught me out on this, so let’s gallop off quick to the next thing.

  146. #146 Hank Roberts
    2014/06/28

    So — for those of us outside the UK – how does pre-college schooling work there? I recall your private schools are public and vice versa, the ‘separated by a common language’ problem. Do you have elected school boards?

  147. #147 BBD
    2014/06/28

    #144 Steve MIlesworthy

    And DS is again wrong. He should remember that the forcings for the models (AR5 WG1) were somewhat at variance with reality over the last decade or so.

    If the models are forced with observed solar, observed ENSO and improved, updated estimates for volcanic aerosols rather than those used for AR5, they come into much better agreement with observations (Schmidt et al 2014).

    When the full effects of cooling from enhanced wind-driven ocean circulation are taken into effect (England et al. 2014), the agreement will presumably get better still.

    Then of course there’s the very real possibility that the instrumental record is itself biased cool because of coverage lacunae (Cowtan & Way 2014)

    Closer still and closer.

    I wonder when DS will admit, even if only to himself, that his preferred contrarian sources have let him down very badly.

  148. #148 Steve Milesworthy
    2014/06/28

    #146 “And DS is again wrong.”

    Obviously DS has enjoyed his moment of being the centre of attention and telling his wife that he can’t do the chores because there are people on the internet who are wrong. But people in this situation need to be pinned down so that they are forced to discuss one or two things to some sort of conclusion before they are allowed to move on to the next thing.

  149. #149 BBD
    2014/06/28

    people in this situation need to be pinned down so that they are forced to discuss one or two things to some sort of conclusion before they are allowed to move on to the next thing.

    I have tried eg. with TGL but it never goes anywhere substantive. But as they say, that’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

  150. #150 turboblocke
    2014/06/28

    # 29 and the AGW/CC terminology quibble. Clear proof that Dave Smith has never heard of the IPCC. He should have as it was set up in 1988. Anyone care to enlighten him as to what the CC in their name stands for?

    Perhaps it’s harsh of me but I can’t take seriously anyone who pretends to know anything about AGW/CC if they don’t know about the IPCC.

  151. #151 Hank Roberts
    2014/06/30

    http://grist.org/politics/conservatives-dont-deny-climate-science-because-theyre-ignorant-they-deny-it-because-of-who-they-are/lj

    ” Ask a polling question about climate change in one way, and you may cause conservatives to reassert their ideological identities, and reject the most important finding of climate science (that humans are causing global warming). But ask it in another way and, well, it may turn out that they know what the science says after all (even if they don’t personally believe it).”

  152. #152 Mal Adapted
    2014/06/30

    Strip ‘/lj’ from the end of Hank’s link to make it work.

  153. #153 Hank Roberts
    thank you Mal
    2014/06/30

    corrections always appreciated

  154. #154 adelady
    city of wine and roses
    2014/07/01

    David Smith,

    I rarely have opportunity to do this, but I heartily, strongly, commend that Jerry Mitrovica video as a teaching tool. Here it is without the SkS context. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhdY-ZezK7w

    Particularly because …
    1. He shows how different branches of science – archaeology for instance – can help our understanding of things like ocean levels and movements of water.
    2. He explicitly expresses some gratitude (is there a better word) for sceptical arguments driving scientists to come up with new and better analyses.
    3. He goes to a great deal of trouble to explain things which are not self evident to most of us – like the fact that sea level is not the same all over the globe. And how movements of water and ice have short and long term gravitational effects. With occasionally surprising results.

    So it’s a good introduction to how scientists work. It also shows how the best of them take in ideas from other fields – and from people who openly oppose them – to make their own work better.

    And I also recommend it to TGL. It really is interesting.

  155. #155 William McClenney
    2014/07/03

    Doing nothing about climate change probably will be a catastrophe.There is very little (bordering on zero) doubt in my mind on that. Loutre and Berger (2003) (paywalled at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921818102001868) inform us that the Holocene will just go blithely along for another 50k years. It’s always good to be stuck in time, isn’t it? Unfortunately, as early as 2005 Lisiecki and Raymo (paywalled at:http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2004PA001071/full) inform us:

    “Recent research has focused on MIS 11 as a possible analog for the present interglacial [e.g., Loutre and Berger, 2003; EPICA community members, 2004] because both occur during times of low eccentricity. The LR04 age model establishes that MIS 11 spans two precession cycles, with 18O values below 3.6 o/oo for 20 kyr, from 398-418 ka. In comparison, stages 9 and 5 remained below 3.6 o/oo for 13 and 12 kyr, respectively, and the Holocene interglacial has lasted 11 kyr so far. In the LR04 age model, the average LSR of 29 sites is the same from 398-418 ka as from 250-650 ka; consequently, stage 11 is unlikely to be artificially stretched. However, the June 21 insolation minimum at 65N during MIS 11 is only 489 W/m2, much less pronounced than the present minimum of 474 W/m2. In addition, current insolation values are not predicted to return to the high values of late MIS 11 for another 65 kyr. We propose that this effectively precludes a ‘double precession-cycle’ interglacial [e.g., Raymo, 1997] in the Holocene without human influence.”

    As Lisiecki and Raymo (2005) allude, the Holocene is 11k years old so far, in fact the more precise age as counted from periglacial lake varves is 11,717 years old. And this is where the problem with future climate catastrophe lies. You see only the MIS-11 interglacial is known to have achieved interglacial warmth for longer than about half a precession cycle.

    And that is where the potential climate catastrophe resides in spades! We are at the 23kyr part of the precession cyclicity right now, making 11,500 half and 11,717 “about half.”

    If we don’t do something about this specter, and quicksmart, then we could end up with mind-boggling climate catastrophe! Neuman and Hearty (1996) spell it out for us:

    “The lesson from the last interglacial “greenhouse” in the Bahamas is that the closing of that interval brought sea-level changes that were rapid and extreme. This has prompted the remark that between the greenhouse and the icehouse lies a climatic “madhouse.” (http://www.researchgate.net/publication/249518169_Rapid_sea-level_changes_at_the_close_of_the_last_interglacial_(substage_5e)_recorded_in_Bahamian_island_geology/file/9c96051c6e66749912.pdf)

    What on earth do they mean by a climatic “madhouse?” Well, the IPCC in 2007, in figure 10.33 from page 821 of Chapter 10 of Assessment Report 4 in SRES marker A1F1 show the upper error bar of the worst case “business as usual” shows that if we do nothing about anthropogenic GHG emissions, sea level (the ultimate measure of climate change) could go up a whopping +0.59 meters, which, of course, is an awful lot of sea level rise!

    To put this into proper perspective one should have a look at Figure 2 of Hearty et al (2007) “Global sea-level fluctuations during the Last Interglaciation (MIS 5e)”, a compilation of a dozen studies from around the globe which show estimates of what was either the 2nd or 3rd strong thermal excursion (depending on other studies) right at the end of the Eemian, the last interglacial back in the record. The estimates show anywhere from a +6.0 to +45 m amsl sea level rise accompanied the final thermal pulse before climate dropped off into the last ice age.

    But it might be worse than we thought…… Lysa et al (2001) measured up to a +52.0 m amsl rise at the end of MIS-5e, the Eemian (http://lin.irk.ru/pdf/6696.pdf)

    In fact, studies of MIS-11 and MIS-19 show a similar pattern of 3 strong thermal pulses that also occurred during glacial inception.

    That is why it is absolutely critical that we get right after quelling that IPCC AR4 worst case scenario of +0.59 meters by 2099. Why? If we can quell an anthropogenic rise that is 1 to almost 2 orders of magnitude less than that which might occur anyway, and maybe up to 3 times in quick succession, it will be good practice towards taking on the specter of far more catastrophic climate “madhouse” also known as glacial inception.

    “As always……this message will self-destruct in five seconds” see William Connolley and his Wikidelete key.

  156. #156 William McClenney
    2014/07/04

    But that’s not actually the worst of it, as you might very well expect. What if the IPCC is right about CO2? Ulrich Muller and Jorg Pross, writing in Quaternary Science Reviews 26 (2007) sum this nasty little problem up neatly:

    “The possible explanation as to why we are still in an interglacial relates to the early anthropogenic hypothesis of Ruddiman (2003, 2005). According to that hypothesis, the anomalous increase of CO2 and CH4 concentrations in the atmosphere as observed in mid- to late Holocene ice-cores results from anthropogenic deforestation and rice irrigation, which started in the early Neolithic at 8000 and 5000 yr BP, respectively. Ruddiman proposes that these early human greenhouse gas emissions prevented the inception of an overdue glacial that otherwise would have already started.” [emphasis mine]

    Bet you didn’t see that one coming. Or this one:

    “Investigating the processes that led to the end of the last interglacial period is relevant for understanding how our ongoing interglacial will end, which has been a matter of much debate…..”

    “The onset of the LEAP occurred within less than two decades, demonstrating the existence of a sharp threshold, which must be near 416 Wm2, which is the 65oN July insolation for 118 kyr BP (ref. 9). This value is only slightly below today’s value of 428 Wm2. Insolation will remain at this level slightly above the [glacial] inception for the next 4,000 years before it then increases again.” Sirocko and Seelos (Nature, 2005) [emphasis mine]

    Essentially, this means that if the IPCC is right, Ruddiman is probably right in that the reason we are not already undergoing the climatic “madhouse” known as glacial-inception is BECAUSE of our anthropogenic emissions! Wouldn’t that mean that removing the CO2 “climate security blanket” at any time in the next ~4,000 years could “tip” us into the next glacial? Tell me again why you want to remove it?

    The entire AGW debate actually IS just that simple. We, meaning us, would really have to up our climate change game to get anywhere close to the normal natural background noise of the climatic “Madhouse” that is a glacial inception.

    GHGs either can or cannot mitigate glacial inception. It is no more complicated or simple than that. Period.

    a) If GHGs can get us over the next ~4,000 years of glacial inception risk, then why are we having this discussion at all?

    b) If GHGs can’t vault us across the next ~4,000 years of glacial inception risk, then why are we having this discussion at all?

  157. #157 Hank Roberts
    2014/07/08

    For William McC:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/02/strange-bedfellows/

    “… At minimum it might indicate that reducing CO2 below pre-industrial levels might not be a good idea, but that is far from saying that any amount of further increases are beneficial. It certainly doesn’t follow that if a little bit of CO2 is good for the climate, then a lot more is better.

    I think a more obvious explanation is that, for some critics, any argument will do – regardless of its coherence with the argument they had before, or the one they will pick next.”

  158. #158 Hank Roberts
    2014/07/08

    Oh, and:

    ” Interpretations of future changes in the Earth’s orbit have changed somewhat. It now seems likely (Loutre and Berger, Climatic Change, 46: (1-2) 61-90 2000) that the current interglacial, based purely on natural forcing, would last for an exceptionally long time: perhaps 50,000 years….
    … An analysis of various papers that mention the subject is at http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/iceage/.

    - http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/01/the-global-cooling-myth/

  159. #159 Russell
    U.S.
    2014/07/09

    What with ocean acidification I don’t see any reason to avoid the characterization of CO2 as “evil gas.”

  160. #160 Hank Roberts
    2014/07/09

    +1

  161. #161 Christopher Winter
    2014/07/13

    David Smith might be gone from here, or he might pop back in. Either way, I think this is worth posting for third parties:

    David Smith: If, like me, you think the whole global warming thing is twaddle, then a ‘carbon tax’ makes no economic sense at all.

    You think not? What about a cigarette tax to defray the costs of treating lung cancer, for example?

    What about a gasoline tax to collect money for highway maintenance?

    Leaving aside carbon dioxide, the burning of fossil fuels releases particulate matter to the atmosphere. Such particles, especially those under 2.5 microns in size, contribute to asthma. A carbon tax would help defray the costs of that illness, as well as making renewable energy more competitive — starting the transition toward that time when fossil fuels become unavailable.

  162. #162 Christopher Winter
    2014/07/13

    Oh, and RE: Stephen Schneider’s “double ethical bind” quote, this may be useful in future.

    http://www.chris-winter.com/Erudition/Reviews/Memoires/Schneider_SH/Misquote.html

  163. #164 crandles
    2014/07/24

    More/better climate science communication is not what is needed:

    http://arstechnica.com/science/2014/07/are-the-people-who-refuse-to-accept-climate-change-ill-informed/

    we need extreme agreement:
    http://m.medicalxpress.com/news/2014-07-attitudes-dont-extremely.html

    Therefore Anthony Watts is obviously the most effective environmental campaigner.

    All hail Anthony Watts. I honestly believe this (in the extreme ;) )

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