CAGW rears its ugly head

Whenever I descended into the den of iniquity that is WUWT, I'd get "CAGW" flung at me. And I'd always reply that they had made it up1. See for example my If it isn’t catastrophic we’ve got nothing to worry about, have we? or comments in When will it start cooling? But now, alas, the philosophers are back (I wasn't impressed last time; ATTP clearly was) with an open letter.

DSC_5410

TheConversation blurb contains the regrettably vague Those most responsible for climate change are relatively few compared to the vast numbers of people who will be harmfully affected. I don't know how to interpret that: do they mean that the population of, e.g., the US and Western Europe and a few other places is small compared to the world population? That seems unlikely Or are they following the popular and deeply silly meme that those "responsible" are a tiny number of Evil Capitalists and Plutocrats? For people claiming academic rigour such vagueness is unimpressive.

But on to my main point. The intro to the letter starts We invite academics from all countries and disciplines to sign this Open Letter calling for world leaders meeting in Paris in December this year to do what is necessary to prevent catastrophic climate change. So, they've blown it. I can no longer say that CAGW is a made-up thing by the Watties and the denialist nutters; a whole pile of people at least a few of whom must be respectable are now endorsing the same. Are any of them respectable? Of the first 500 I recognise only Mike McCracken2, but he is definitely respectable.

Perhaps I shouldn't worry about that too much; I no longer bother to descend into the filth-heaps. Let's look at the substance:

Yet it looks unlikely that the international community will mandate even the greenhouse gas reductions necessary to give us a two thirds chance of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. At the moment, even if countries meet their current non-binding pledges to reduce carbon emissions, we will still be on course to reach 3 degrees Celsius by the end of this century. This is profoundly shocking, given that any sacrifice involved in making those reductions is far overshadowed by the catastrophes we are likely to face if we do not: more extinctions of species and loss of ecosystems; increasing vulnerability to storm surges; more heatwaves; more intense precipitation; more climate related deaths and disease; more climate refugees; slower poverty reduction; less food security; and more conflicts worsened by these factors. Given such high stakes, our leaders ought to be mustering planet-wide mobilization, at all societal levels, to limit global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

This, too, lacks any attempt at academic rigour. How, exactly, would one measure the balance between the sacrifices required and the damage to be done? The most obvious way is a cost-benefit analysis; if they've got another method in mind, they don't trouble themselves to mention it. Perhaps its "obvious"? As I was taught many years ago as a maths undergraduate, "that's obvious" is what you say when you don't actually know the answer. Anyway, if you try to do the balance (maybe Stern?) you don't come out with "far overshadowed". Or perhaps they're using some kind of moral balance, rather than an economic one? These are philosopher-y type folks, not economists, it looks like. In which case, I'm even more puzzled, because I've no idea how you'd construct a moral balance. At least with numbers you can just add and subtract.

Another thing wrong is the constant use of "more" in the above. The current amount of warming is not very large - so far - perhaps 1 oC above pre-industrial. Adding another 2 oC on top of that would be massively different. And so the same must be true of the consequences.

Notes

1. Another convenient example from Wikipedia.
2. Actually, that's a different MMcC. The "real" one occurs later, it seems. And the "fake" one is no longer in the first 500; or maybe I miscounted last time? That seems unlikely.

More like this

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The major catastrophe is a linguisticone-- the metaphysical agression against meaning of adding future tense particles like ' catastrophic ' , that pertain to imagined consequences, to real phenomena.

Political problems can arise from inculcating belief in the chimerical result, -- what philosphers of language like Kripke term

" a rigid designator in the null set"

because as surely as models are not things, it is dangerous to confuse a rhinoceros and a unicorn.

By Russell Seitz (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

Fools like Torcello, scientific illiterates climbing aboard the climate bandwagon, are a gift to the climate sceptics and must be an embarrassment to climate scientists. The same applies to many of the others he mentions in his article.
The so-called Conversation claims to offer 'academic rigour' and 'journalistic flair'. Most of its articles contain no trace of either.

How, exactly, would one measure the balance between the sacrifices required and the damage to be done?

I don't even think that's the issue, as the bulk of the population is still whinging about abstractions like Freedom! and Socialism! I get the impression that they really believe the issue is about control of society, and not about an increasingly unpredictable future. Maybe I'm wrong, too.

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/CAGW concisely give the main points, i.e., history of the term and the squishiness of "catastrophic."

[RW and TF disagree quite strongly. RW is closer to my view, but TF does provide some links which I'll need to examine -W]

By Raymond Arritt (not verified) on 23 Nov 2015 #permalink

> Anyway, if you try to do the balance (maybe Stern?) you don’t come out with “far overshadowed”

But we are good (perhaps an exaggeration) at determining the costs of mitigation and lousy (not an exaggeration) at working out the damages. IMO (and often in the caveats), the former is likely overestimated and the latter underestimated (particularly for higher temp changes). Partly due to avoidance of speculation. We work out the costs of mitigation based on technology we know. We work out the damages on things we are relatively sure of - damages that are likely to occur but we cannot estimate get left out completely.

IIRC, the average growth rate is about 1.5-3.5% p.a. Mitigation (to 2degC) reduces this by about 0.1%.

[I wouldn't defend either costs or damages as being known accurately. But the point remains: the sweeping statements of the letter are hard to defend -W]

Stephan Lewandowsky who gets a mention- psychologist - has been hanging out with George Marshall recently... back in 2001, only enlightened people like George could see the coming imminent danger, comparing us all to Jews who could not see what was to befall them.

Marshall -
"However, following Cohen we can draw out certain consistent psychological processes that are highly pertinent to climate change.

Firstly, we can expect widespread denial when the enormity and nature of the problem are so unprecedented that people have no cultural mechanisms for accepting them. In Beyond Judgement, Primo Levi, seeking to explain the refusal of many European Jews to recognise their impending extermination, quotes an old German adage: ‘Things whose existence is not morally possible cannot exist.’

In the case of climate change, then, we can intellectually accept the evidence of climate change, but we find it extremely hard to accept our responsibility for a crime of such enormity. " - Marshall

George was of course one of the enlightened people, compared to the rest of us al in denial..

"Anyone concerned about this issue faces a unique historical opportunity to break the cycle of denial, and join the handful of people who have already decided to stop being passive bystanders. The last century was marked by self-deception and mass denial. There is no need for the 21st Century to follow suit."

http://www.ecoglobe.ch/motivation/e/clim2922.htm

Some of George's thinking (sociology 1984, rainforest activist, greenpeace, roads movement, Rising Tide, COIN, etc) thinking seems to have seeped into Torcello, Oreskes and Lewandowsky.

By Barry Woods (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

Fiona Harvey gets 'catastrophic' in the Guardian this week.

"France has made a huge play of preparing for the summit, which is supposed to achieve a new global deal to curb emissions from 2020 and prevent the planet from catastrophic overheating"

And

"Without a Paris agreement, global warming is set to reach as much as 5C (9F) above pre-industrial levels. Scientists estimate that warming above 2C (4F) will result in catastrophic and irreversible changes to the weather, including droughts, floods, heatwaves, fiercer storms and sea level rises."

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/22/cop21-climate-change…

Fiona initially made the usual convert C to F error, but it seems they have corrected it now..

as the 1st comment noted - "5C is not 41F above pre-industrial levels and 2C is not 35.6F above pre-industrial levels"

By Barry Woods (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

via the Whitehouse.gov - "scientists say..."

(I wonder if Obama can identify which scientists say catastrophic)

https://www.whitehouse.gov/climate-change

Carbon pollution is the biggest driver of climate change
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Global temperatures and carbon dioxide levels are on the rise

The global annual average temperature has increased by more than 1.5 degrees F between 1880 and 2012. This interactive graph from the National Climate Assessment shows the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide over the same time period. Climate scientists say we need to avert an additional 2-degree temperature increase to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change."

By Barry Woods (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

What's the definition of catastrophic?

At least with numbers you can just add and subtract.

Yes, and when you don't know the exact number, you just assume it's zero. Economics, the rational science.

Barry, it's not just Fiona Harvey of course.
The Guardian promotes CAGW on an almost daily basis.

Here's Naomi Klein on Friday:
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/20/paris-climate-talk…
"When governments and corporations knowingly fail to act to prevent catastrophic warming, that is an act of violence."
In fact that article uses the C word three times!

Then yesterday there's an article
Paris climate talks: Developed countries must do more than reduce emissions
"We would then get a maximal outcome – which is what the world requires if it has to escape the catastrophic consequences of climate change. "

Climate scientists and other defenders of the faith could spend their time more productively criticising this sort of nonsense - which directly fuels climate scepticism - rather than, for example, relentlessly attacking Matt Ridley.

The ‘C’ has been there from as long as I’ve been aware of the issue, which was 2000ish. Even where it wasn’t used as a word it was used by example. Images of cities swamped are woven through climate propaganda. The UK government used cartoon images of a cat and dog swept away in its Act On Carbon campaign in 2009

http://theinspirationroom.com/daily/commercials/2009/10/bedtime-story-c…

It even uses the words ‘World’s End’ as a pub sign.

Think about the 10:10 No Pressure campaign, where talented, intelligent adults thought that simulating blowing up kids was a good way to mobilise people into action on CO2. What would have spurred them to do something that daft if they weren’t convinced of the C word?

Now you could claim that they were the works of non climate experts but where was the scientific out cry against them?

[Indeed, I will claim that. As to outcry at political errors, that's not a serious point, its just point-scoring. Pols make far too many errors to complain about them all -W]

Mega LOL

“This will be a make-or-break presidency as far as our ability to avert a climate change catastrophe,” says Michael Mann, meteorology professor and director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, whose “hockey-stick” shaped graph warned of sharply rising emissions and temperatures."

And:

"If we are going to avoid catastrophic, irreversible climate change impacts, we have to be ramping down our carbon emissions dramatically in the years ahead. The current administration has begun that process, but our next president must not only continue but build on that progress," Mann says.

http://www.usnews.com/news/the-report/articles/2015/08/14/the-2016-elec…

By Barry Woods (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

Michael Mann, talking about how 'Exxon knew' about catastrophic consequences.

http://insideclimatenews.org/news/12112015/michael-mann-climate-change-…

Mann: I think it’s a legitimate question to ask, "Was there some collusion here?" Were they intentionally misleading the public and policymakers and their own stockholders about what they knew about climate change...when they knew better—when their own scientists had told them that the science is real and the outcomes would potentially be catastrophic?

and a letter about how he feels...
http://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2015/09/climatologist-michael-man…

"Now, Mann is one of a number of climate scientists who have described their personal feelings about climate change in the form of handwritten letters.

MANN: “I feel concern that my 9-year-old daughter, her children, and grandchildren may end up asking why it is that my generation failed to act in time to avert a catastrophe.”

By Barry Woods (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

"may end up asking"

Notice the 'may'?

Like I wrote on Tom 'Fake Lukewarmer' Fuller's blog:

There’s a small group of alarmists who maintain that there will be 100% catastrophe for everyone on this planet if business-as-usual continues for X amount of time (some, like Guy McPherson, even say it is inevitable whatever is done at this point).

This is the exact mirror position of climate risk deniers (some of them hiding in lukewarmer clothing) who maintain that there is zero risk that AGW could ever pose any serious danger or cause serious damage.

And then there’s the people in the middle, mainstream science, the IPCC, etc, who say that there is a risk of catastrophe under a business-as-usual scenario. Not 100% certainty, but a possibility that there will be serious damage. Some of them may even say that chances are small, or that it will only be catastrophic for an X percentage of the global population, not everyone. It all depends on what you define as ‘catastrophic’.

Of course, climate risk deniers (wearing lukewarmer clothing) will lump in that middle ground with the extreme position as part of their strategy to keep things going business-as-usual, actually increasing the chances of catastrophic consequences for people in the future (probably not them).

---

So are there people who think there will be a catatstrophe (leaving aside the matter of definition and scope, etc) if things continue as they are? Yes.

Are some people who may not think it's 100%, sloppy when communicating? Yes.

Do the media blow everything up? Yes.

Is there a risk that AGW may have catastrophic consequences? Yes.

Should one act based on risk assessment rather than waiting for 100% certainty? Yes.

Will people who deny this risk lump in their mirror image with the large middle ground to promote their strategy of maximizing the chances of CAGW? Yes.

Will that be successful? Depends on how people from the middle ground handle it.

clicking on the link in the Open letter..

16) Who are ‘academics’ for purposes of the Open Letter?

By ‘academics’ we mean teachers and/or researchers at colleges, universities and other institutions of higher learning. We include graduate students because they are typically full-time researchers, but not undergraduate students or school teachers. People who are sympathetic to our Open Letter but don’t count as academics for our purposes can sign related petitions calling for strong action in Paris"
---------
The Guardian to it's credit accurately went with the 2000 academics (not scientists line)
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/23/over-2000-academics-…

Looking through the signatures, very very few climate (WG1 type) scientists, 20+ Law Professors, phd's for example. English Literature, 5 Professors of Marketing.

and even an Islamic history lecturer.

Andrew Marsham, Senior Lecturer in Islamic History, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom

and 10 Spanish professors..

Tourism
Joana Lima, Assistant Professor, Tourism, Portucalense University, Portugal
James Higham, Professor of Tourism, University of Otago, New Zealand
Hossein GT Olya, Head of Tourism Department, British University of Nicosia, Cyprus

But 2000 'academics' signed...
To get the headlines in the media....

The get those academic numbers to put pressure on politicians approach? nobody will ever check what they do..

Mike Hulme reflected on his Invitation to Influence Kyoto - open letter recently, the one that Tom Wigley utterly condemned. (and a very good friend of mine signed)

http://junkscience.com/2013/03/climategate-3-0-tom-wigley-goes-ballisti…

this seems to be a rehash of that, butt his time without any climate scientists!

even same approach as this from the climategate emails..?

Distribution for Endorsements --
I am very strongly in favor of as wide and rapid a distribution as possible for endorsements. I think the only thing that counts is numbers. The media is going to say "1000 scientists signed" or "1500 signed". No one is going to check if it is 600 with PhDs versus 2000 without. They will mention the prominent ones, but that is a different story.

http://junkscience.com/2013/03/climategate-3-0-media-only-concerned-wit…

-----

but this time without hardly any climate scientist, because nobody will check, and ask what Spanish professors, or Law professors, etc,etc know about climate change. pure political advocacy.

And equally doomed to failure?

By Barry Woods (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

"Or are they following the popular and deeply silly meme that those “responsible” are a tiny number of Evil Capitalists and Plutocrats?"

I haven't encountered this. Any links to examples?

[I'm surprised you're surprised. I've seen any number of articles blaming Exxon for GW, for example. Much the same as http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2015/05/18/fossil-fuels-subsidised-by-10m… -W]

“Or are they following the popular and deeply silly meme that those “responsible” are a tiny number of Evil Capitalists and Plutocrats?”

I haven’t encountered this. Any links to examples?

I believe William is referring to Thomas Piketty here.

From what I've been reading from him lately, I haven't seen any suggestion that he thinks it's a tiny number of people responsible for climate change. His general thrust is that wealthier people account for a disproportionately large chunk of global emissions (which is true) and proposes measures to deal with that.

[No; its more the idea that fossil fuel companies are to blame for CO2 emissions, rather than the consumers of said fuels -W]

'catastrophic' politicians
COP15 - the Prime Minister of the UK:

“Mr Brown said: “If we do not reach a deal at this time, let us be in no doubt: once the damage from unchecked emissions growth is done, no retrospective global agreement in some future period can undo that choice.

“By then it will be irretrievably too late. So we should never allow ourselves to lose sight of the catastrophe we face if present warming trends continue.”
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/environment/climatechange/6372542…

Brown’s successor – Ed Milliband
(now former leader of the Labour Party.

“I do not want to see Britain or any country having to adopt crisis measures to halt the slide into global catastrophe because we missed this critical opportunity now”

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/feb/21/ed-miliband-climat…

David Cameron – Prime Minister (UK)

“…the threat of imminent, irreversible, and catastrophic change to the climate of our planet should prompt us to challenge any perceived consensus on green growth…

…the vital need to protect our environment through policy that enhances, rather than impedes, wealth creation.

I won’t rehearse here the arguments in favour of action to halt climate change.” Cameron 2007
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6987556.stm

By Barry Woods (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

WMC:
You may have mistaken "Mike McCracken" in the 1st page of 500 for "Michael C. MacCracken", now of the Climate Institute, Washington, DC.

However, looking more deeply into the list, you will find that Michael C. MacCracken--on around the 4th page of 500. And nearby him you will find Maureen E. Raymo (yes, that MER). And on the last page (5th, only 2236 at my reading), Michael E. Mann (Distinguished Professor of Meteorology; Penn State University), and nearby, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg (Professor and Director, Global Change Institute, University of Queensland).

There are probably quite a number of others "of climate science name" on the list; my scan was very superficial--hardly worthy of the term "scan"..

[Ah, thank you. I did. I'll update it -W]

By GP Alldredge (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

Then I think I disagree with your reasons for rejecting the "CAGW" meme. To me it isn't that nobody has ever made pronouncements about future catastrophic impacts of climate change - it seems clear that numerous people have many times, and it's not clear that it's unreasonable to do so.

The problem is that "CAGW" tends to be used in the form "there's no real evidence for CAGW, so even if AGW is real we shouldn't worry about it or do anything." It's a dodge, used to avoid and derail genuine thought and discussion of potential implications of real evidence for AGW. Because clearly the only real evidence that "skeptics" would accept for large or catastrophic impacts would be something that already happened, which is obviously pointless to consider.

Is it reasonable to talk about impacts of AGW in terms of catastrophe? In terms of normal human language, I can't see why not. Different people have different scales for what amounts to a catastrophe, of course. The 2008 financial crisis was, and is, frequently described by leading economists and politicians in terms of catastrophe, and courses of managing the situation were advertised in terms of potential catastrophe should they not be followed.

I'd be confident that impacts of climate change will be more damaging overall than the 2008 financial crisis. To establish a scale, where would things have to be before you'd describe the situation as catastrophic?

Catastrophic climate change has always been talked about once the basic science was established and a consensus had been reached. What Watts and Woods have done by turning it into an acronym, is attempted, with unfortunately some success, to trivialize the problem.

By Eli Rabett (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

not sure I deserve any 'credit' -

CAGW is merely convenient shorthand acronym for discussing "Catastrophic (presumably man-made) Climate Change', just like Obama, Kerry, Brown, MIlliband, Caameron, Foe, Greenpeace, WWF, National Trust and least of all Prince Charles,do. vs, climate change

By Barry Woods (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

In reply to by Eli Rabett (not verified)

Vagueness and its cousin ambiguity are essential tools in art, not so much so in science. So how then should the next petition of academics NOS be worded? "Those responsible for thwarting a scientific response to the problem of climate change are acting irresponsibly, especially in regards to the people who are likely to suffer adverse consequences ( such as famine, drowning, geographical displacement, war, or some combination of these ) from climate change." Would something like that work?

When actively engaged in blog fights, I have occasionally worked at killing the " You are trying to scare me with catastrophic predictions!" meme of the denialists by pointing out that they are the ones responsible for their own feelings, not me. If I point out to you that the pollution of our environment may ultimately kill you ( which, for most people, is regarded as a catastrophic outcome) , I may or may not be trying to scare you, but whether or not you get scared by any facts that I present is more or less up to you. Unfortunately, for the vast majority of people, I suspect that their emotional response to difficult facts is pretty automatic and not subject to much attenuation by their weak powers of reason.

Barry Woods:

CAGW is merely convenient shorthand acronym for discussing “Catastrophic (presumably man-made) Climate Change’, just like Obama, Kerry, Brown, MIlliband, Caameron, Foe, Greenpeace, WWF, National Trust and least of all Prince Charles,do. vs, climate change

There are no climate scientists on your list. Just political types, doing what political types do. So?

By Mal Adapted (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

I left out Michael Mann by mistake in that summary.! ;-)
see earlier quotes above. Is he enough of a climate scientist for everybody here.
Plus the Whitehouse.gov says 'scientists say' catastrophic climate change.. again, see above for quote/references

By Barry Woods (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

I always wondered at the responses by people claiming that the use of 'catastrophic' never occurs in serious climate discussions - it clearly does, as Barry has tediously demonstrated. However, as he also, though probably unintentionally, demonstrates this is almost always as a *potential* outcome. The use of CAGW usually twists this, implicitly at least, to suggest that those concerned by the potential for catastrophic outcomes are actually convinced of the certainty of these outcomes. I don't understand why this point doesn't get made when people object to the use of CAGW. It doesn't seem a difficult one to make.

I'm also confused by your confusion over the quote "Those most responsible for climate change are relatively few compared to the vast numbers of people who will be harmfully affected." Doesn't this just mean that the number of people who are living lifestyles that contribute significantly above a sustainable level of emissions is relatively small compared to the number of people now, and in the future, who are likely to suffer as a consequence?

[Because, as I say, its possible to read it otherwise; and reading it the way you suggest doesn't really fit numerically, I think -W]

> “Those most responsible for climate change are relatively few

And long since dead, eh?

" Evidence of coal stores along the length of Hadrian’s Wall suggests that the Romans learned about coal mining and its uses from the Britons...."
http://www.ukcoal.com/mining-through-the-ages.html

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

Didn't check what the "C" in "CAGW" means, but among the deniers I hang out with it would mean "Commie."

HTH

By Edward Measure (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

CCC or if you wish FECC, not CAGW.

By Eli Rabett (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

“Next week, I will be joining President Hollande and world leaders in Paris for the global climate conference.
What a powerful rebuke to the terrorists it will be, when the world stands as one and shows that we will not be deterred from building a better future for our children.”
– President Barack Obama

By See Noevo (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

MalAdapted writes "There are no climate scientists on your list." There are, at my blog, but it is true that most C users are politicians, lobbyists and members of NGOs.

That's because most scientists don't think that AGW will also be C.

The fact that the C is a-scientific in usage is not something climate activists usually want to discuss.

Regardless, activists invented and promoted the term 20 years ago and are now, as evidenced here, blaming their opponents for it.

By Thomas Fuller (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

Quibbling over a word? Most definitions include "sudden" and that's the one I always thought, so perhaps it is all bogus. However, it's difficult to say with confidence that none of the results will be sudden. Bangladesh probably won't just slowly disappear. Sudden might happen. Storm surge.

By Russell the Stout (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

While the word catastrophic sometimes is applied to anthropogenic global warming (and on occasion even by people who should know better), I do believe that the acronym CAGW is almost exclusively owned by "skeptics."

By Raymond Arritt (not verified) on 24 Nov 2015 #permalink

"That’s because most scientists don’t think that AGW will also be C."

I'd be very surprised if there were clear evidence to support this assertion.

> [Because, as I say, its possible to read it otherwise; and reading it the way you suggest doesn’t really fit numerically, I think -W]

The reference at the start of the letter to the leaders of industrialised nations bearing the greatest burden of responsibility suggests, to me, that this is the way to read it. And is it possible to say that the phrase 'relatively few' can not fit numerically, given that relative is a ... well, relative term?

I'm sure there could always be better ways for people to express themselves both accurately and succinctly, but would it be better for them just not to say things for fear of opening themselves up to misinterpretation?

[No, they should say things, but they should strive for clarity, if they're writing, as they claim to be writing, as scientists and academics. If they're writing as PR flacks or pols, then their ambiguities are deliberate not accidental, and have achieved their aims -W]

That’s because most scientists don’t think that AGW will also be C.

Again, you confuse the issue. There are hardly any scientists who will say that the C is 100% certain to happen if business-as-usual is continued,. But very few will also say that there is 0% chance C will happen.

There is a risk of C under the business-as-usual scenario (that we're still on), plain and simple. Once you acknowledge that, you don't go whining about a handful of alarmists or point scoring politicians.

Conversely, if you do whine about that, you actually think there is no possible C whatsoever. Which makes you a climate risk denier who whines about all sorts of stuff because business-as-usual must continue more or less as is.

And so you put up a strawman and lump the handful of alarmists/politicians (who say 100% C, the exact opposite of your 0% C) in with the vast majority of people in the middle ground (scientists, IPCC, sensible activists) who say the risk is somewhere between 0% and 100% and thus warrants action, more so because of uncertainty around the exact number.

And so CAGW is a climate risk denier strategy to delay action. And that's how self-professed lukewarmers give themselves away.

Neven, your blog is better than your thinking here. Activists accuse skeptics (and lukewarmers) of putting the 'C' in your mouths. That we are the ones using it.

That's not true. It's the activists. And it's not climate scientists. It's NGOs, bloggers and other vacuous folk.

Our host is displeased to find one of your tribe using it. At my blog, where you so graciously commented, we show many other examples.

What part of this is difficult to understand? We don't say that scientists categorically rule out the C, although it doesn't appear to be top of mind for most. We just say you brought up the subject.

By Thomas Fuller (not verified) on 25 Nov 2015 #permalink

Ah, Fuller, the leader of the NoActualEffectFromGlobalWarming crew. Nothing to worry about lads, keep moving. Eli almost prefers the Kool Kidz

By Eli Rabett (not verified) on 25 Nov 2015 #permalink

Activists accuse skeptics (and lukewarmers) of putting the ‘C’ in your mouths. That we are the ones using it.

Again, you are confusing the issue. Like Eli said: "Catastrophic climate change has always been talked about once the basic science was established and a consensus had been reached." So, the C has always been in the mouth, because of the risk of AGW causing C..

What this is about, is climate risk deniers (and their lukewarmer allies) smearing everyone who doesn't believe that the risk of C is 0%, like they do, by pretending they are saying/thinking that the risk of C is 100%. That they're all a bunch of crazy alarmists, just like the pols and the NGOs, "one of your tribe".

So, climate risk deniers didn't invent the C, but they sure as hell invented the CAGW as a meme. This is a bigger problem than activists/pols/NGOs saying (or suggesting through sloppy/simplified communication) that C will happen 100% under a business-as-usual scenario. Because it delays the discussion we need to have as a society to determine what to do about it.

That is, if you believe that there is a risk of C coming about. If you think that there is a 0% chance of C happening, you whine, smear and confuse.

"Climate scientists/NGOs/bloggers/activists"

In this context "catastrophic" is a laymen synonym for "really really bad thing". "Really really bad" is not well-defined, which is why you won't find that or its synonym in many scientific papers or science-facing discussions and interviews. Loose definition means it could also be considered an opinion, with policy implications. Another reason why some scientists, even in public-facing situations, may not use the word.

But scientists do talk about 1m sea level rise over the next century (to focus on an example). For some regions of the world the impacts of this could reasonably be described as catastrophic. NGOs and activists trying to communicate the impacts of sea level rise to the public and politicians may use this term as description. Scientists may not, for the reasons given above, but that doesn't make any difference to the actual impact.

Of course, some will scream "alarmism", because "catastrophe" should be reserved for "really really really bad things". I've never seen anybody cause a stink about the financial crisis being called "catastrophic". The UK floods of two years ago were frequently described as "catastrophic" without any pushback. If that's the benchmark, I see no reason why future impacts of climate change can't be described similarly.

(I prefer Teddy's big matchstick; the better to subdue Tomcat's legion of strawmen.)

(And "straw man" accurately describes this entire non-issue. BAU emissions will lead to end-century catastrophes by any reasonable metric.)

"We don’t say that scientists categorically rule out the C"

“That’s because most scientists don’t think that AGW will also be C.”

When you guys start losing a mini-argument, you show up in force, link to completely irrelevant sources that I have nothing to do with and just generally make stuff up.

Rabett, you lied about Tim Worstall. Now you'e lying about me. I don't think Harry Truman would approve.

wheelism, you say that was 'my Carleton U. class.' That's a lie. No surprise. It's not my class. I've never seen that document. I am not mentioned in it.

PaulS, speaking of strawmen, I am not saying that no scientists speak of catastrophe. I am not saying that there is no risk of catastrophe. Please don't change the subject. I am saying that using the 'C' in 'CAGW' isn't something invented by skeptics. That activists have repeatedly used the 'C' word and that it is ridiculous to say that skeptics are putting the 'C' word in activists' mouths.

MalAdapted, those are the only casualties attributed to human caused global warming so far. The Argentinian couple did kill their child and themselves due to despair over climate change. The gunman who took over the Discovery Channel and committed suicide by cop did cite climate change (as well as overpopulation) as his motivation.

Of course, if you want to add some percentage of cold deaths in the UK due to rising prices caused by renewable energy support, you may.

By Thomas Fuller (not verified) on 25 Nov 2015 #permalink

Mea culpa, and apologies.

Google's NGRAM viewer shows many, many hits for 'anthropogenic global warming' - it shows nothing for 'CAGW' or 'catastrophic anthropogenic global warming'.

By Kevin O'Neill (not verified) on 25 Nov 2015 #permalink

Meanwhile Google internet search returns 344,00 hits for "cagw" - but tens of thousands of these hits are unrelated to climate change; Citizens Against Government Waste, Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington, Census Advisory Group for Wales, etc., etc.

Of these 12,200 are located at WUWT; another 2,010 at judithcurry.com; and joannenova.com.au chips in with 2,320.

DailyKos = 76.
Huffington Post = 25
scienceblogs.com = 463

Just scrolling through the first 20 or 30 pages of results it becomes pretty clear that the people that use the term CAGW are predominantly deniers and pseudoskeptics

The largest single 'warmist' site I found was SkepticalScience with 1,430 hits. But this number is mostly due to deniers and pseudoskeptics using the term in the comments.

Pretty much if you use the term CAGW you identify yourself as a denier - or at least a very high probability of being one :)
.

By Kevin O'Neill (not verified) on 25 Nov 2015 #permalink

Gee, Kevin, too bad you didn't try a search for 'catastrophic climate change. ' You might have found twenty million results.

By Tom Fuller (not verified) on 26 Nov 2015 #permalink

William: I can no longer say that CAGW is a made-up thing by the Watties and the denialist nutters;

Kevin: Just scrolling through the first 20 or 30 pages of results it becomes pretty clear that the people that use the term CAGW are predominantly deniers and pseudoskeptics

Tom: Gee, Kevin, too bad you didn’t try a search for ‘catastrophic climate change. ‘

Look, a squirrel on another goal post.

Let's go through this again: Catastrophe has always been used as a word in relation to AGW, because that's what it's about: the risk of catastrophic climate change due to AGW. Hence the 20 million hits (or more). And 'catastrophic climate change' is a more correct term, caused by AGW. CAGW is less correct, but that's to be expected of memes invented by climate risk deniers (climategate comes to mind).

And the meme is invented to smear everyone who doesn't believe, like they do, that the chances of AGW causing catastrophic climate change are zero. A classical strawman, really.

William, are you still confused by this?

[I need to find some time to mull this over an update the post to clarify what I meant, but your first three lines are essentially it. I was talking about CAGW, or intending to do so; not the use of the word "catastrophe" or variants in the same sentence or document as "climate change" -W]

By Neven (not verified) on 26 Nov 2015 #permalink

In reply to by Tom Fuller (not verified)

My understanding of TF's basic position is as follows. The main problem with the climate debate is activists, who he now seems to call Klimate Kultist Kooks (or KKK for short) who "sell" catastrophe. For reasons I don't fully understand, this means that we will not effectively address anthropogenically-driven climate change; something TF (I think) does recognise as a potental problem. A consequence of this is that climate change will possibly have catastrophic impacts. This will all be the fault of those who have regularly pointed out that climate change might be catastrophic.

The above might seem rather confused, which might be because I am.

By ...and Then Th… (not verified) on 26 Nov 2015 #permalink

Your understanding is flawed, ATTP and you are indeed confused.

What I am saying is that activists have repeatedly said that climate change will be catastrophic unless their policy measures are adopted. Those who point out that a) catastrophe is an outlier on the PDF and b) that other policies would almost certainly be more effective than those proposed by the activists, are accused of denying the science.

When we on the other side of the fence refer to catastrophists as catastrophists, those on your side of the fence say that we made the term up, kinda like you all did with 'denier'. But we didn't. We're quoting you guys, not inventing a characterization. That's where [Removed. I'm going to step in here and prevent this thread descending into, well, whatever. You get the low ground, because you've banned ATTP for, as far as I can see, no good reason -W] comes in. See the difference?

By Thomas Fuller (not verified) on 26 Nov 2015 #permalink

That’s where Krazed Klimate Kultist comes in.

Sorry, I thought it was Klimate Kultist Kooks.

See the difference?

No, because most of what you say appears to be a strawman. You seem to be describing some imaginary being and then associating everyone who's ever criticised you (or said something with which you disagree) with these imaginary beings.

[You get to keep this, though I've removed it above for TF, because you have the moral highground for the moment. But I'm going to step on any more KKK stuff -W]

We’re quoting you guys, not inventing a characterization.

You're certainly not quoting me, so yes, you are inventing a characterisation. This is obvious, right?

those on your side of the fence

You've introduced a fence, not me.

Those who point out that a) catastrophe is an outlier on the PDF and

How do you know this? Even I don't claim to know where on the PDF we would start to have impacts that would reasonably be described as catastrophic.

that other policies would almost certainly be more effective than those proposed by the activists, are accused of denying the science.

Well this is nonsense. Most people who get described as deniers say things that are justifiably described as science denial. As I've said before, my impression is that those who object most to the term "denier" are those who typically sprout all sorts of science denial, and then whine about being criticised.

I may have pointed out before the irony in you complaining about labelling while being pretty prolific yourself. IIRC, that didn't go well.

By ...and Then Th… (not verified) on 26 Nov 2015 #permalink

No-one objects more to the term 'denier' than I do. I consider it hate speech introduced by Hoggan in 2005 and promulgated through complaisant journalists starting with Ellen Goodman.

And yet, despite being labeled everything from 'denier' to 'mitigation skeptic' I accept the science and have been pushing mitigation proposals since 2009. Among them: A carbon tax, technology transfer to developing nations, subsidies for renewables, etc., etc. But because I think there is a quicker bang for the buck with Fast Mitigation policies, people like Victor Venema continue to say I'm... whatever.

I'm not describing some imaginary being with 'catastrophist.' I'm quoting those who have used the term. They don't say 'there may be a catastrophe.' They say 'Unless we do X, Y and Zed there will be a catastrophe.'

By Thomas Fuller (not verified) on 26 Nov 2015 #permalink

No-one objects more to the term ‘denier’ than I do.

Yes, I know. That you would do so while using KKK to describe those with whom you disagree makes you - IMO - a raving hypocrite.

[Damn, you get away with one more, because I get to leap in and say "I know someone who objects even more: AW" -W]

And yet, despite being labeled everything from ‘denier’ to ‘mitigation skeptic’ I accept the science and have been pushing mitigation proposals since 2009. Among them: A carbon tax, technology transfer to developing nations, subsidies for renewables, etc., etc. But because I think there is a quicker bang for the buck with Fast Mitigation policies, people like Victor Venema continue to say I’m… whatever.

I don't care what other people might have called you in the past, or whether or not you associate with terms that are not directly aimed at you. To be clear, I think I know roughly what you think. I think it's bizarre that you publicly hold these views while - at the same time - childishly criticising anyone else who happens to think that climate change presents risks and that we should act to minimise those risks. You're essentially doing exactly what you're criticising what you claim others are doing (many of whom are doing no such thing).

I’m not describing some imaginary being with ‘catastrophist.’

Yes, in general, I really think you are. I think you avoid reading all the words that people with whom you disagree use. I can highlight numerous examples of you stating I've said things that I very obviously have not, so it's not as if you don't have form.

By ...and Then Th… (not verified) on 26 Nov 2015 #permalink

You're welcome to think whatever you want, however divorced from reality it is.

I don't childishly criticize anyone who happens to think climate change presents risks. I think it presents risks and I've been writing about them since 2009. You think you know what I think. I disagree. I sometimes wonder if you know what you think, actually.

I criticize those who claim that climate change will result in a catastrophe unless we follow their policy dictates. On both counts.

Yes, I tweaked you a lot when you banned me, but I told you I was tweaking you. And I stopped when I finally gave in to your pleas and banned you.

By Thomas Fuller (not verified) on 26 Nov 2015 #permalink

My second ever post on TLW has this:

"Warming the planet–oh, yes, that’s what this is about, even if I took a circuitous route to the subject. Although the extent and duration of our contribution to a warming planet is still very much an open question, there’s little doubt that the planet is warming and we are contributing in various ways.

If we were to freeze development of civilization to today’s standards and extent, what we are doing to the planet would not be considered extreme–at least not by historical standards, which saw us destroy forest and plain, wantonly exterminate species (as well as each other) and let our waste fall anywhere convenient. Our impact on and stewardship of this planet is vastly improved.

Despite all the conversation (which I consider incredibly silly) about extreme weather events, the political exploitation of the modest global warming that has occurred to date, the attempts to wrest corporate control of energy production from one set of corporations and turn it over to another, we do face a climate conundrum, precisely because we cannot freeze development at today’s rate. ‘Every man will be a king.’

That is the implicit promise and premise that has legitimized the current version of the world order. Not that we will all be rich as Croesus, but that we will have the technology and its fruits that enable us to live better than the richest of the past. This promise has kept us in line, willing workers expressing modest preferences at the polls and increasingly passive members of the polity.

And sadly we are less than a third of the way done. We must make this style of life available to another 7 billion people by 2075. Every forecast, from Stern to the IPCC to the World Bank to the IMF starts with that assumption–that economic growth will power the planet to an upper middle class income level and lifestyle during this century.

It is this promise that keeps both the Chinese employee at Foxconn and the U.S. FedEx delivery driver in line, in post and part of the river of progress. And it requires energy. Americans use about 308 million btus per person per year. The Chinese use 59 mbtus. They will not be satisfied until they reach American levels.

Because the Chinese (and Indian, and Indonesian and… and…) fuel of choice is coal, even a Lukewarm low sensitivity of the atmosphere to CO2 will not be adequate insurance against the rolling tide of emissions that will make today’s CO2 levels look like the quaint prelude they are.

If this is not in our thoughts today, by the time that ‘every man is a king’, he (it will actually be more likely to be a she) will be the mistress/master of a kingdom that cannot be seen through the smog, but will be felt as a kingdom transported to a warm and wet distant place.

Two degrees Celsius rise in this temperature–it will not destroy our civilization, but it will transform it in ways we would not choose today.

We may have to work to earn those crowns."

By Thomas Fuller (not verified) on 26 Nov 2015 #permalink

I criticize those who claim that climate change will result in a catastrophe unless we follow their policy dictates. On both counts.

No, this is not what you do. You make stuff up about what other people say, and then you criticise what you've made up, often in a remarkably juvenile way.

Yes, I tweaked you a lot when you banned me, but I told you I was tweaking you. And I stopped when I finally gave in to your pleas and banned you.

Let's be clear. You whined when you were banned. You then banned me after I pointed out you were being a dishonest hypocrite (not for the first time, I will add) and then deleted all my comments from that post and - I think - some earlier posts.

I'm not complaining mind you; you're free to run your blog as you see fit, but I think suggesting that you banned me because I was pleading for you to do so is stretching the truth somewhat. Not a great surprise, I will add.

By ...and Then Th… (not verified) on 26 Nov 2015 #permalink

[Damn, you get away with one more, because I get to leap in and say “I know someone who objects even more: AW” -W]

Sorry, I hadn't noticed your earlier intervention. I've probably made the point, so will avoid further use.

By ...and Then Th… (not verified) on 26 Nov 2015 #permalink

I forget, ATTP. How many times did you come to my blog and ask you to ban me? Four or five?

[Point us at the comments, please, then there will be no need for memory or guessing -W]

By Thomas Fuller (not verified) on 26 Nov 2015 #permalink

TF:"I don’t childishly criticize anyone who happens to think climate change presents risks. "

LOL.

Really, I mean this is such an outlandish lie that all one needs to do is visit your site for 5 minutes to find a dozen counterfactuals.

Still calling Al Gore a sex-offender? Yep. "...he can join Al Gore in the Hall of Shame for climate opportunists, under the category of sex offender."

What makes TF's statements even more hypocritical is that he won't retract/correct his infantile libel despite it being pointed out to him 100 times. He has all the integrity of a piece of swiss cheese.

By Kevin O'Neill (not verified) on 26 Nov 2015 #permalink

Oh, sorry, is this the Fuller topic?

[Only if people make it so ;-) -W]

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 26 Nov 2015 #permalink

It would be a lot easier for everyone if someone could create a 'why I choose not to engage with Tom Fuller' page that could be linked to, rather than having to spend multiple comments going through the process of re-establishing this reason every time. The inevitable response to such a suggestion (and probably the suggestion itself) being a good part of this reasoning.

[Only if people make it so ;-) -W]

Even I can resist the temptation (usually) these days.

But none of you would put the real reason: "We lose when we do."

By Thomas William… (not verified) on 26 Nov 2015 #permalink

The Catastrophe Denier:

MalAdapted, those are the only casualties attributed to human caused global warming so far. The Argentinian couple did kill their child and themselves due to despair over climate change.

Well then Tom, you should have no problem telling the families of the 6300 who died when Typhoon Yolanda struck the Philippines that those deaths can in no way be attributed to AGW.

By Mal Adapted (not verified) on 26 Nov 2015 #permalink

TF,

Noticed this on your slog ...
https://thelukewarmersway.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/climate_sensitivi…

It seems to be missing an attribution statement?

http://www.eike-klima-energie.eu/climategate-anzeige/die-vorausgesagte-…

At least EIKE used and cited the original ...
https://landshape.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/climate_sensitivity5.png

landscape.org?
https://whois.icann.org/en/lookup?name=landshape.org

Now if only Stockwell had removed landscape.org from landshape.wordpress.com no one would be the wiser ...
https://landshape.wordpress.com/enm/about-the-author/

"Oops! That page can’t be found. It looks like nothing was found at this location. Maybe try one of the links below or a search?"

https://wottsupwiththatblog.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/watt-about-david-s…

I'm absolutely certain that IPCC AR6 WG1 would at least mention differences in methodology in arriving at different ECS estimates.

Anything above an ECS of -666C/CO2 doubling and humanity is doomed I tell you D-O-O-M-E-D!

By Everett F Sargent (not verified) on 26 Nov 2015 #permalink

those are the only casualties attributed to human caused global warming so far

Apart from these" of course.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 26 Nov 2015 #permalink

Mr. On'Neill, I refer you to my recent post on that subject:

https://thelukewarmersway.wordpress.com/2015/11/25/anthropomorphic-glob…

(Kofi Annan's report attributing 300,000 deaths a year to climate change writes) "The number of deaths from weather-related disasters and gradual environmental degradation due to climate change — about 315,000 deaths per year — is based on a similar calculation, (i.e. an attribution of 40 percent from weather-related disasters that translates into 40 percent of the death burden from weather disasters due to climate change and 4 percent of current death burden from disease14).”

But the WMO reports ” Weather, climate and water-related disasters are on the rise worldwide, causing loss of life and setting back economic and social development by years, if not decades. From 1970 to 2012, 8,835 disasters, 1.94 million deaths, and US$ 2.4 trillion of economic losses were reported globally as a result of hazards such as droughts, extreme temperatures, floods, tropical cyclones and related health epidemics, according to a new report.”

That averages to 46,190 deaths a year, many from cold weather. Even if you were to assume that 40% of the deaths were due to the 0.8C rise in temperatures or the nine inches of sea level rise since 1945, that’s still quite a bit less than either Kofi Annan or the WHO project. It would be 18,476, including 40% of those who froze to death.

By Thomas William… (not verified) on 27 Nov 2015 #permalink

Tom Fuller,

I think the key there is that you're looking exclusively at disaster-related death figures whereas the vast majority of the 150,000 figure in Chris O'Neill's link (and I suspect the Kofi Annan report) come from gradual climate change modulation of disease.

the 150,000 WHO and 300,000 GHF 'climate deaths' were a quite prominent feature of the 10:10 /Age of Stupid campaigns when they were announced..

Franny some time after (10:10 / Age of Stupid) founder

https://twitter.com/frannyarmstrong/status/337624969758507008

Franny Armstrong
@BarryJWoods @Foxgoose @richardabetts
Yes that 300K figure is discredited and no longer quoted by me or others. Kofi Annan's org was wrong

By Barry Woods (not verified) on 27 Nov 2015 #permalink

In reply to by PaulS (not verified)

Hi Paul,

And yet incidence and mortality of the types of disease most likely to be advanced by climate change are falling. The geographic range of malaria for example has shrunk consistently over the past two decades.

"During the period 2000–2013, malaria incidence and mortality rates of population at risk have both fallen globally, 30% and 47% respectively."

"MDG Target 6.C also includes neglected tropical diseases – a medically diverse group of infectious conditions caused by a variety of pathogens.

In 2013 only 6314 cases of human African trypanosomiasis were reported, representing the lowest levels of recorded cases in 50 years. This disease is now targeted for elimination as a public health problem by 2020. Dracunculiasis is also on the verge of eradication with an historic low of 126 cases reported in 2014 and an ongoing WHO target of interrupting its transmission by the end of 2015.

Plans to eliminate leprosy as a public health problem worldwide by 2020 have also been prepared and are being implemented. The elimination of visceral leishmaniasis as a public health problem in the Indian subcontinent by 2020 is on track with a greater than 75% reduction in incident cases recorded since the launch of the programme in 2005. In the case of lymphatic filariasis, more than 5 billion treatments have been delivered since 2000 to stop its spread and of the 73 known endemic countries 39 are on track to achieve its elimination as a public health problem by 2020."

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs290/en/

And if I'm reading the WHO Global Health Repository correctly, the total burden of disease has fallen by roughly 50% since 2000. http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.YLLNUMWORLD?lang=en

But I'm not at all certain I'm reading it correctly.

By Thomas William… (not verified) on 27 Nov 2015 #permalink

And again, PaulS, where is this 'gradual climate change modulation of disease' coming from? There has been no increase in drought globally. There has been no increase in intensity or frequency of tropical storms.

The obvious increase in risk has been overpopulation leading to settlement of unsafe areas, something that has exacerbated the toll of flooding and storm casualties. But that surely has nothing to do with climate change.

By Thomas William… (not verified) on 27 Nov 2015 #permalink

I did read that table wrong, by the way. It doesn't say what I thought it did. In fact it looks the other way--total burden increasing in line with population, sadly.

By Thomas William… (not verified) on 27 Nov 2015 #permalink

I didn't really want to get much into the nitty gritty of trying to determine through observations what's occurred, because I just wouldn't know where to start. Your initial point seemed to be simply that the numbers didn't add up. I was merely pointing out that the numbers didn't add up because you were missing out most of the numbers.

Tackling malaria and other diseases was a Millennium Development Goal. That would (I assume) explain much of the improvement. But overall improvement doesn't mean that climate change by itself hasn't been a factor increasing mortality i.e. maybe those falls could have been 40% and 60% without climate change.

where is this ‘gradual climate change modulation of disease’ coming from?

From what I could read in the report, although they may have been simplifying for brevity, the estimate seems to stem largely from a temperature influence on disease occurrence.

Should add, given the theme of discussion, that the way malaria and other diseases have been tackled is through people telling others about the catastrophe that is occurring and will occur unless we follow their policy dictates.

William, I would very much like your definition of "catastrophe." Like "disaster" it refers to astrology, leaving me a bit more disgusted with both these words than I was last week.

On Wikipedia I notice a certain breed of cat, and specimins of this clade seem curiously unable to think any thoughts except in what I have come to think of as "Headline-ese." Along with this realization has been the one I've known but not consciously thought about for a long time: that no matter how respected any news source might be regarding the content of their articles, all probity is discarded when writing the headlines. And criticism of this fact will gain you only a smirk from the news people, as if I am a naive rube for complaining about this.
I'd also like to see a definition of "catastrophe" from the pernicious deniers who've appeared here.

[My defn? Up to this moment I didn't really have one. If pushed, I'd say "needing efforts outside of the ordinary to deal with". That's a scale-dependent thing; Katrina on New Orleans was a catastrophe, locally, but not globally or for the US in total; the overall life of the US barely noticed. So one has to beware headlines of "catastrophic" floods, and so on. At the moment, I think that the threat from GW could be met with efforts not-far outside the ordinary; imposing a carbon tax, for example, would likely do much of it -W]

By Russell the Stout (not verified) on 28 Nov 2015 #permalink

Catastrophe: noun. an event causing great and usually sudden damage or suffering; a disaster.

I think a carbon tax would do a lot with regards to climate change, but not all. (I have recommended for years that we institute a revenue neutral global carbon tax starting at roughly $12/ton and re-evaluated decenially against predetermined benchmarks.)

But I also think we should invest in Fast Mitigation actions, some pre-adaptation in infrastructure work, continue subsides for renewable energy and have very large innovation incentives for energy storage technologies.

I also believe we should aggressively move forward with technology transfer to the developing world, particularly with regards to best technology for coal-fired generation.

By Thomas William… (not verified) on 28 Nov 2015 #permalink

I was talking about CAGW, or intending to do so; not the use of the word “catastrophe” or variants in the same sentence or document as “climate change”

Then why did you write an article titled "CAGW rears its ugly head" and wrote "So, they’ve blown it. I can no longer say that CAGW is a made-up thing" in response to an "Open Letter calling for world leaders meeting in Paris in December this year to do what is necessary to prevent catastrophic climate change"? That seems more than a bit inept to me, and could be characterized as "alarmist" in a sense. This nonsensical post is all the worse for the presence of several long comments from some extremely intellectually dishonest people.

[Ah, you have found my key error. I was talking about CAGW, the letter is about something similar but not the same. How shall I rescue myself? Stay tuned -W]

By Marcel Kincaid (not verified) on 28 Nov 2015 #permalink

I'm unsure how anyone can consider the likely warming we will induce to be anything other than catastrophic given the paleoclimate evidence. Hansen and Sato wrote in Paleoclimate Implications for Human-Made Climate Change:

"Global temperature change of 5 ± 1°C between the last ice age and the Holocene implies an equilibrium climate sensitivity of 5/6.5 ~ ¾°C for each watt of forcing. The fact that ice sheet and greenhouse gas boundary conditions are actually slow climate feedbacks is irrelevant for the purpose of evaluating the fast-feedback climate sensitivity (Hansen et al., 1984; Lorius et al.,1990).

This empirical climate sensitivity incorporates all fast response feedbacks in the real world climate system, including changes of water vapor, clouds, aerosols, aerosol effects on clouds, and sea ice. In contrast to climate models, which can only approximate the physical processes and may exclude important processes, the empirical result includes all processes that exist in the real world – and the physics is exact."

It is only our fixation on the next 50 or the next 85 years that gives any rationale for complacency. Since we appear headed for temperature levels not seen since the Pliocene whether Hansen's non-linear increase in ice melt actually results in a 5m sea level rise by 2100 is really only an academic question; multi-meter sea level rise is surely in our great-grandchildren's future and generations beyond that are likely to see Pliocene levels of sea level rise commensurate with Pliocene temperatures.

An explanation of why we should disregard what paleoclimate climate tells us should be required of everyone that scoffs at multi-meter sea level rise. If 3C above pre-industrial led to 25m of sea level rise in the past, why will this time be different? And similarly the question needs be asked: Which future generation can we complacently disregard?

[Because many people don't believe Hansen's view. See http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2007/11/23/hansen-again/ for example. Thinking beyond 50 or 100 years is indeed a question; but doing that is very hard. Hansen, when he pushes this stuff, generally blurs that, whereas I think its very important to be clear about it -W]

By Kevin O'Neill (not verified) on 29 Nov 2015 #permalink

Tom wrote: "I think a carbon tax would do a lot with regards to climate change, but not all. etc etc"

Great, thanks for writing what many people have written over the past 20-30 years (and then be smeared, vilified and accused of CAGW-alarmism). Now, if you could match your actions with what you say, by:

1) Stop whining and spreading the CAGW strawman, like climate risk deniers to delay the action you proscribe.

or

2) Whine about alarmists and climate risk deniers equally, instead of bashing the former and cosying up to the latter, while spreading their disinformation and memes through your blog.

Oh, and you could take responsibility for your share in the Climategate non-scandal that has done so much harm (people coming away with the idea that it was all a big scam, data manipulation etc) by delaying the actions you prescribe, increasing chances of C (which is neither 0% or 100%, something in between). But that's up to you.

I'll stop calling you a hypocrite climate risk denier if you do either 1) or 2).

By Neven (not verified) on 29 Nov 2015 #permalink

In reply to by Russell Seitz (not verified)

Neven, I'm not 'whining' about alarmists--I'm flat out saying that you do more damage to the cause of fighting climate change than 'deniers' do.

Considering that I've been advocating the same thing for 7 years now, and getting vilified for writing my policy preferences as a 'denier', 'scumbag', pimp and much more by alarmists, your thanks are a bit late in coming.

As for spreading the 'CAGW' strawman, you commented on the thread on my blog about that--weren't there enough examples of fools prattling on about it? If not, there are many more.

I'm happy to claim responsibility for whatever art I played in the very real Climategate scandal. I'm proud that we were able to shine a light on the misbehaviour of a handful of scientists and still let people know that it didn't affect the science.

You can call me a hypocrite. I don't mind--I consider the source. You can butter my bum and call me a biscuit. I don't mind. You've already said that I was too old, too white and too something or other to participate in the climate conversation. Hypocrite's pretty far down the list.

By Thomas William… (not verified) on 29 Nov 2015 #permalink

There appears to be no defence of the claim:

those (the Argentinian couple and the human) are the only casualties attributed to human caused global warming so far

It must have been an attempt at deception.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 29 Nov 2015 #permalink

The "astro" in "catastrophe" is not a stellar remnant, it turns out.
( from kata- ‘down’ + strophē ‘turning’ (from strephein ‘to turn’).

By Russell the Stout (not verified) on 29 Nov 2015 #permalink

WC:"[Because many people don’t believe Hansen’s view..."

Which view? That we're headed for Pliocene termperatures?
That Pliocene temperatures imply Pliocene sea level rise?

[The latter, I think. I'm familiar with neither, but wiki tells me "The global average temperature in the mid-Pliocene (3.3 Ma–3 Ma) was 2–3 °C higher than today,[1] global sea level 25m higher". So we're heading for the temperatures, but not the SLR within any plausible timescale -W]

As I said, the rest is just academic. Why will this time be different? No answer, here or in your previous post. What generation can we complacently disregard? No answer, here or in your previous post.

The polar regions, sea ice, and ice-sheet/glacial melt appear to be poorly understood and poorly modeled. It's odd that when a Ridley or a Judith uses uncertainty to question science, it has to be pointed out that uncertainty is not our friend, but apparently uncertainty *is* our friend when it comes to Hansen's projections.

By Kevin ONeill (not verified) on 29 Nov 2015 #permalink

TWF:

Mr. O’Neill, you are not clear. Are you saying that didn’t happen?

Tom, you're being deliberately obtuse. Kevin and I have both called out your confident assertion that those poor Argentinians are somehow the only casualties that can be attributed to AGW so far. You know very well that is unwarranted certainty on your part.

Lukewarmers may rely on scientific reluctance to attribute causes to any complex natural phenomenon with certainty. Your self-conscious adherence to the lukewarmer position, however, doesn't require you to deny that more severe storms and heat waves within the past couple of decades, for example, can be attributed to AGW with probability greater than 0. It's unreasonable for you to claim that thousands of deaths from such events cannot therefore be attributed to AGW.

Kevin and I are both waiting for your response.

By Mal Adapted (not verified) on 29 Nov 2015 #permalink

WC - "...So we’re heading for the temperatures, but not the SLR within any plausible timescale ..."

Weasel words without answering the other question: Which future generation can we complacently disregard?

[We should not complacently do anything; nor should we try to put words in other people's mouths. But nor should we try to bind our distant descendants. How much would we thank people in 1800 for trying to look 200 years ahead? Not at all, I suspect. I've written this all down before, but even I can't find it now. Trying to plan even 100 years ahead is too hard, but as a semi-believable attempt it can be attempted; extending that to 200 would not work, I think -W]

via mt I just saw these lines from the poem ‘hieroglyphic stairway’ by the American social activist Drew Dellinger. It's the poetic version of the same question.

it’s 3:23 in the morning
and I’m awake
because my great great grandchildren
won’t let me sleep
my great great grandchildren
ask me in dreams
what did you do while the planet was plundered?
what did you do when the earth was unraveling?

So, we're on course to provide some future generation with 25m of sea level rise. Obviously to get to 25 we have to get to 1, 3, 5, 10, 15 and 20 first. But everything will be copacetic. Catastrophe is not plausible. Very Panglossian.

By Kevin ONeill (not verified) on 29 Nov 2015 #permalink

From the TAR Read it and contemplate how much has changed in so few short years. Then explain how uncertainty is our friend and how plausible 'plausible' is in this discussion.
I didn't do a running count - but there may actually be more mentions of gain and accumulation than of loss :)

11.2.3.1 Mass balance studies

Traditionally, the state of balance of the polar ice sheets has been assessed by estimating the individual mass balance terms, and making the budget. Only the mass balance of the ice sheet resting on bedrock (the grounded ice sheet) needs to be considered, because changes in the ice shelves do not affect sea level as they are already afloat. Recent mass balance estimates for Greenland and Antarctica are shown in Tables 11.5 and 11.6. Most progress since the SAR has been made in the assessment of accumulation, where the major obstacle is poor coverage by in situ measurements. New methods have made use of atmospheric moisture convergence analysis based on meteorological data, remotely sensed brightness temperatures of dry snow, and GCMs (see references in the tables). Recent accumulation estimates display a tendency for convergence towards a common value, suggesting a remaining error of less than 10% for both ice sheets.

For Greenland (Table 11.5), runoff is an important term but net ablation has only been measured directly at a few locations and therefore has to be calculated from models, which have considerable sensitivity to the surface elevation data set and the parameters of the melt and refreezing methods used (Reeh and Starzer, 1996; Van de Wal, 1996; Van de Wal and Ekholm, 1996; Janssens and Huybrechts, 2000). Summing best estimates of the various mass balance components for Greenland gives a balance of �8.5 ± 10.2% of the input, or +0.12 ± 0.15 mm/yr of global sea level change, not significantly different from zero.

During the last five years, some mass balance estimates have been made for individual Greenland sectors. A detailed comparison of the ice flux across the 2,000 m contour with total accumulation revealed most of the accumulation zone to be near to equilibrium, albeit with somewhat larger positive and negative local imbalances (Thomas et al., 1998, 2000). These results are likely to be only little influenced by short-term variations, because in the ice sheet interior, quantities that determine ice flow show little variation on a century time-scale. Recent studies have suggested a loss of mass in the ablation zone (Rignot et al., 1997; Ohmura et al., 1999), and have brought to light the important role played by bottom melting below floating glaciers (Reeh et al., 1997, 1999; Rignot et al., 1997); neglect of this term led to erroneous results in earlier analyses.

For Antarctica (Table 11.6), the ice discharge dominates the uncertainty in the mass balance of the grounded ice sheet, because of the difficulty of determining the position and thickness of ice at the grounding line and the need for assumptions about the vertical distribution of velocity. The figure of Budd and Smith (1985) of 1,620x1012 kg/yr is the only available estimate. Comparing this with an average value of recent accumulation estimates for the grounded ice sheet would suggest a positive mass balance of around +10% of the total input, equivalent to -0.5 mm/yr of sea level. Alternatively, the flux across the grounding line can be obtained by assuming the ice shelves to be in balance and using estimates of the calving rate (production of icebergs), the rate of melting on the (submerged) underside of the ice shelves, and accumulation on the ice shelves. This results in a flux of 2,209 ± 391x1012 kg/yr across the grounding line and a mass balance for the grounded ice equivalent to +1.04 ± 1.06 mm/yr of sea level (Table 11.6). However, the ice shelves may not be in balance, so that the error estimate probably understates the true uncertainty.

By Kevin ONeill (not verified) on 29 Nov 2015 #permalink

Mal - the O'Neill TF is referring to is Chris O'Neill. I don't engage with TF any longer except to ask him when he's going to correct his smears of Al Gore (calling Gore a sex offender). I consider him a despicable human being - not because of his views - but simply because he spreads lies and refuses to correct them. Reasonable people can be wrong, or disagree, or have a different opinion. Reasonable people don't lie and spread smears and refuse to apologize or correct them when they're pointed out.

By Kevin ONeill (not verified) on 29 Nov 2015 #permalink

My apologies, Kevin. I take your point about Fuller. I'm probably naive to expect him to admit he's wrong about casualties from AGW, but IMO there's value in calling him out when he goes so far beyond reason.

By Mal Adapted (not verified) on 29 Nov 2015 #permalink

WC: "How much would we thank people in 1800 for trying to look 200 years ahead? Not at all, I suspect."

Really? In the USA we continually thank our founding fathers for being far-sighted and *not* just dealing with their immediate concerns. In many instances we wish they'd have been even *more* far-sighted (race-relations in the USA have never recovered from their failure to do away with slavery then and there).

We have a record of what they thought, what their disagreements were, why they settled on the precise wording of many of our founding documents. Oftentimes the disagreements were precisely on what it would entail for future generations.

What we're dealing with now is not the organization of a state and how a government should be setup - but the livability of the only planet we have. There's no climatological equivalent to amending the Constitution (unless one believes geo-engineering is the way to go). We can't vote physics out of office. If anything, more care and consideration should be given to future generations than that displayed by Jefferson, Adams, Franklin et al.

Your answer implies that we shouldn't attempt to micromanage the future, but the result of following your path is just the opposite -- because getting it wrong will place a straitjacket on those that follow.

By Kevin ONeill (not verified) on 29 Nov 2015 #permalink

We have been contracting debts that we cannot pay. And we are leaving the check for others to pickup. This is not what Jefferson envisaged.

Thomas Jefferson to James Madison (September 6, 1789)

For if he could, he might during his own life, eat up the usufruct of the lands for several generations to come, and then the lands would belong to the dead, and not to the living, which would be reverse of our principle. What is true of every member of the society individually, is true of them all collectively, since the rights of the whole can be no more than the sum of the rights of individuals. To keep our ideas clear when applying them to a multitude, let us suppose a whole generation of men to be born on the same day, to attain mature age on the same day, and to die on the same day, leaving a succeeding generation in the moment of attaining their mature age all together. Let the ripe age be supposed of 21. years, and their period of life 34. years more, that being the average term given by the bills of mortality to persons who have already attained 21. years of age. Each successive generation would, in this way, come on and go off the stage at a fixed moment, as individuals do now. Then I say the earth belongs to each of these generations during it's course, fully, and in their own right. The 2d. generation receives it clear of the debts and incumbrances of the 1st., the 3d. of the 2d. and so on. For if the 1st. could charge it with a debt, then the earth would belong to the dead and not the living generation. Then no generation can contract debts greater than may be paid during the course of it's own existence.

[These are reasonable things to say; and yet, you are blurring together different notions under the word "debt". Jefferson is talking about ownership; you aren't -W]

By Kevin ONeill (not verified) on 29 Nov 2015 #permalink

Jefferson is talking about more than "ownership" there, I think.
____
Apropos the "C" word, reminded of this from that 2007 thread:
Good reminder. And that 2007 topic reminds me of
-----
Back on Hansen, I find three scenarios here, the third of which considers catastrophic collapse of the ice caps in this century and a 2-meter sea level rise, interesting because from a very blue-ribbon panel, and it comments explicitly on climatologists having difficulty going beyond what they’re sure they know to address catastrophic possibilities. It’s a very large PDF:
http://handle.dtic.mil/100.2/ADA473826
-----

What'cha think, eight years on?

[I think their opening quote that in the beginning of the malady it is easy to cure but difficult to detect, but in the course of time, not having been either detected or treated in the beginning, it becomes easy to detect but difficult to cure is as wrong today as it was then. Can they not see that? Ref 2, https://www.sciencemag.org/content/316/5825/709.short, isn't looking good at the moment. And why are their three scenarios "expected, severe, and catastrophic"? That doesn't span the expected range; by defn of "expected", there should be one-less for every one-more. I don't see where they address that -W]

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 29 Nov 2015 #permalink

WC: "Jefferson is talking about ownership..."

No, he isn't. He's using this as an example. He makes the same argument for national debt. You are reading too literally.

[How do you know? What makes you so sure that your interpretation is the only possible one? -W]

The only rebuttal to this philosophical argument is that our use of fossil fuels will, in net, leave future generations better off. This argument is never explicitly made. It is most decidedly true for some level of fossil fuel use. It is just as decidedly false for some level of fossil fuel use.

[I think this argument is explicitly made. Plenty of people will tell you that fossil fuels have lifted us out of poverty, blah blah blah. Perhaps it is too obvious to say explicitly very often -W]

But the external cost to future generations incrreases the further we go along without paying the bill. It makes for a very comfortable discount rate to wave hands and say catastrophe is implausible. It is only possible by ignoring not just the uncertainties involved, but also the reality that just about every climate factor involving the polar regions has been estimated *too* conservatively.

[I don't think that's true. The arctic sea ice has definitely retreated faster than models predict; but that's the only stand-out -W]

The takeaway from Schröder and Connolley or Tietsche et al is that sea ice can recover quickly from an abrupt perturbation (though 2007 and succeeding years never did see a complete recovery - or even one in line with what might be expected from subsequent temperature changes). What often gets forgotten is that both show sea ice declining as temperatures increase. Go back 10 years in time. Would you have believed that any one of the years 2007 or 2010 or 2012 could conceivably happen in the Arctic during the ensuing decade? All three? Sea ice loss does not directly increase SLR, but similarly who was predicting 10 years ago the levels of ice sheet loss that GRACE is seeing? Anyone?

Pfeffer et all responded to Hansen with their paper, 'Kinematic constraints on glacier contributions to 21st-Century sea-level rise' setting a 2m limit on SLR by 2100. Sriver et al correct just the thermosteric analysis by Pfeffer and push that to 2.25m by 2100. Now, does anyone believe we actually know how these ice-sheets are going to react over the next 100 years with any reasonable level of certainty?

[Why use a paper from 2008? Why not http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2015/11/18/potential-sea-level-rise-from-… ? And anyway, 2m is an upper limit, not a prediction (http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/09/on-straw-men-and-… etc) -W]

It seems to me - and maybe I'm incorrect here - what we see are papers attempting to explain why it's all happening fast than we thought it would.

By Kevin ONeill (not verified) on 29 Nov 2015 #permalink

WC: [How do you know? What makes you so sure that your interpretation is the only possible one? -W]

As I said, Jefferson wrote similarly on the national debt as well. See several quotations here: Federalist Papers. He believes that each generation should not bind the next. Also, it's difficult to reconcile the use of 'usufruct' with your idea this is about ownership.

WC writes: [I think this argument is explicitly made....]

No, it is not *explicity* made - it is hand-waved away in almost every instance. I've never seen a serious cost-benefit-risk analysis of leaving some future generation with 3m of sea level rise, much less 5m, 10m, or 20m. Most analysis simply ends at 2100, as if the world ends in 2100 or climate becomes static thereafter.

WC writes: [I don’t think that’s true. The arctic sea ice has definitely retreated faster than models predict; but that’s the only stand-out -W]

Arctic temperatures are warming faster than predicted. Arctic sea ice extent is dropping faster than predicted. Arctic sea ice volume is dropping faster than predicted. Greenland glacier/ice-sheet mass loss is dropping faster than predicted. Permafrost melting faster than predicted. Arctic methane concentrations higher than predicted. Arctic methane found outside the hydrate stability zone where it wasn't believed to exist. Antarctic glaciers/ice-sheets losing mass faster than predicted. You're only aware of SIE? I think you're just funnin' with me now.

WC writes: [Why use a paper from 2008? ...]

Because the Pfeffer paper is the one usually referenced in rebuttal. And the other is paywalled. Without reading it I can't really agree or disagree with their analysis. I had previously read the RealClimate post on Hansen/Pfeffer. Upthread I referenced Hansen & Sato's 2011 paper, Paleoclimate Implications for Human-Made Climate Change. In it Hansen references the Pfeffer paper and says,

"The kinematic constraint may have relevance to the Greenland ice sheet, although the assumptions of Pfeffer at al. (2008) are questionable even for Greenland. They assume that ice streams this century will disgorge ice no faster than the fastest rate observed in recent decades. That assumption is dubious, given the huge climate change that will occur under BAU scenarios, which have a positive (warming) climate forcing that is increasing at a rate dwarfing any known natural forcing. BAU scenarios lead to CO2 levels higher than any time since 32 My ago, when Antarctica glaciated. By mid-century most of Greenland would be experiencing summer melting in a longer melt season. Also some Greenland ice stream outlets are in valleys with bedrock below sea level. As the terminus of an ice stream retreats inland, glacier sidewalls can collapse, creating a wider pathway for disgorging ice.

However, the primary flaw with the kinematic constraint concept is the geology of
Antarctica, where large portions of the ice sheet are buttressed by ice shelves that will not survive BAU climate scenarios. West Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier (PIG) illustrates nonlinear processes coming into play. The floating ice shelf at PIG's terminus has been thinning in the past two decades as the ocean around Antarctica warms (Shepherd et al., 2004). Thus the grounding line of the glacier has moved inland by 30 km into deeper water, allowing potentially unstable ice sheet retreat. PIG's rate of mass loss has accelerated almost continuously for the past decade (Wingham et al., 2009) and may account for about half of the mass loss of the West Antarctic ice sheet, which is of the order of 100 km3 per year (Sasgen et al., 2010).

My bolding -- it shows the main problem I have with Peffer. Rates since 2008 have increased significantly. The same analysis would have a significantly different result today. It was nonsense even then to assume the rates we were seeing then (2008) would be the maximum rates we might see in the future given significantly warmer air and ocean temperatures.

I also think the supplemetary comment Ice Melt Predictions they put together as part of the response to their Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics paper is also worth reading. I thought the Maurice Pelto criticism was well thought out, but I think the Hansen response is sufficient.

I did ask you, "Go back 10 years in time. Would you have believed that any one of the years 2007 or 2010 or 2012 could conceivably happen in the Arctic during the ensuing decade? All three? Sea ice loss does not directly increase SLR, but similarly who was predicting 10 years ago the levels of ice sheet loss that GRACE is seeing? Anyone?"

Well?

By Kevin ONeill (not verified) on 30 Nov 2015 #permalink

I just finished The Grand Idea, a book about George Washington's plan to transform the Potomac River into a canal route connecting the eastern seaboard to the Ohio River system and thus the West. The earliest American railroad was built shortly after.

By Russell the Stout (not verified) on 01 Dec 2015 #permalink

Kevin,

Arctic temperatures are warming faster than predicted.

I don't think that's at all clear in the long run: http://s23.postimg.org/feo2zw2dn/Arctic7090_N_Ts.jpg

I think scientists are rightly wary of potential impact from internal variability on short-term trends. There seems to be a debate growing about just how unusual is this most recent period e.g. http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/blog/isaac-held/2015/10/03/63-how-unusual-is-t…. England et al. 2014 also indicated quite strikingly unusual wind stress variability in the context of the past century.

If it is particularly unusual, firstly there's the question of whether this is random chance or some kind of dynamic response to anthropogenic forcing.

But there's also the potential consequence that short trends in numerous systems over this period (including sea ice - Arctic and Antarctic, ice shelves, ice sheets) could be highly unrepresentative samples. Perhaps the large ice sheet losses seen by GRACE over the past decade are beyond a 95% level expectation (?), but some indications suggest this may have been a 1 in 20 period.

Paul S - I'm talking about past predictions/expectations and what we see today. CMIP5 is relatively recent and models have made improvement in the polar regions. We should wait another 10 to 15 years to make any real judgement on the CMIP5 projections.

But 25 years ago when I first started following the Arctic, the idea that the Arctic Ocean might be seasonally ice-free was just a far-fetched nonsense idea unless you were talking mid-22nd, 23rd century. Today it's pretty much expected *this* century - perhaps in a couple of decades.

From Held: " If you intervene in a climate model by imposing the observed near-surface ocean temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific (Kosaka and Xie, 2013) or by imposing the observed surface equatorial Pacific wind fields (England et al 2014; Delworth et al 2015), the rest of the simulation falls into place– not just the global mean temperatures but the spatial pattern of temperature trends over the past two decades — as well as the California drought.

Held is pointing out that climate models are missing something in the Pacific - and if they get that right (by imposing equatorial Pacific ocean SSTs or wind fields) then everything else globally falls into place.

The interesting question is this a forced response or natural variability. Toward that idea he is interested in a longer data record and explores a possible proxy. Reading more into it than that would not be presenting Held's ideas, but your own. It's difficult to see how either answer would change the long term effect of global warming (and Held of course doesn't go anywhere near there).

As for ice melting: Random chance? When physics tells you temperature is going to increase, then ice melting as a result hardly seems surprising. As I wrote upthread, if we accept 2C of warming we're headed for Pliocene temperatures. Would we not expect to see similar levels of glacial/icesheet melt? Would we not expect to see similar levels of sea level rise? If not, why not? Why is this time different? Given that we're also going to increase global temperatures in what is probably an unprecedented short period of time, should we not - at least naively - expect the ice melt and sea level rise to also occur in unprecedented short periods of time?

By Kevin O'Neill (not verified) on 01 Dec 2015 #permalink

> [..by defn of “expected”, there should be one-less for every one-more. I don’t see where they address that -W]

Not if the zero lower bound is expected. Or are you Tolsian?

[Glib, but not an answer; "expected" isn't the lower bound -W]

By Eli Rabett (not verified) on 06 Dec 2015 #permalink

As Stephan Gardiner put it in A Perfect Moral Storm (a book the Weasel would profit from reading)

In conclusion, the presence of the problem of moral corruption reveals another sense in which climate change may be a perfect moral storm. This is that its complexity may turn out to be perfectly convenient for us, the current generation, and indeed for each successor generation as it comes to occupy our position. For one thing, it provides each generation with the cover under which it can seem to be taking the issue seriously – by negotiating weak and largely substanceless global accords, for example, and then heralding them as great achievements – when really it is simply exploiting its temporal position. For another, all of this can occur without the exploitative generation actually having to acknowledge that this is what it is doing. By avoiding overtly selfish behaviour, earlier generations can take advantage of the future without the unpleasantness of admitting it – either to others, or, perhaps more importantly, to itself.

There is even a version for 14 year old boys
http://hettingern.people.cofc.edu/Environmental_Philosophy_Sp_09/Gardne…

[Why would I read that? I've already complained quite enough about pointless meetings and prefer a carbon tax -W]

By Eli Rabett (not verified) on 06 Dec 2015 #permalink

In this case expected is the lower bound because of the innate conservatism of such evaluation panels.

By Eli Rabett (not verified) on 06 Dec 2015 #permalink

[Why would I read that? I’ve already complained quite enough about pointless meetings and prefer a carbon tax -W]

You might learn something? Naw.

By Eli Rabett (not verified) on 06 Dec 2015 #permalink

Another instance of moral corruption: Future generations haven't done a damn thing for today's poor.

By Thomas William… (not verified) on 06 Dec 2015 #permalink

Rebutting both Wm and TWF -- we do have a carbon tax.
It's paid by the future. We collect the benefits.

Thank you, future . It's been yummy for our generation.

This, when you look at things straight, is how most taxes are imposed and paid.

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 07 Dec 2015 #permalink

P.S., perhaps you can make something of these?

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 07 Dec 2015 #permalink