Are you alarmed?

I haven’t really had a chance to read the newly released WGII Summary for Policy Makers, but I have had a quick glance and have read some related articles. Eli Rabett has a post, Sou has some reactions, there are articles in the Guardian by Graham Readfearn and Dana Nuccitelli, there’s a Think Progress article, one in Mashable by Andrew Freedman, and many others.

As far as I can see the basic picture is that we are already seeing the impacts of climate change and the possible future impacts could be quite severe (which may well be an understatement). So, why isn’t everyone alarmed? I don’t mean alarmed as in; “OMG, WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!”. I mean alarmed as in; a large group of experts are not only indicating that climate change is already having an impact but that if we choose to do nothing (whether by design or not) the potential future impacts could be devastating. To be clear, though, being alarmed isn’t inconsistent with being optimistic. I’m alarmed by what this report appears to be suggesting, but I’m optimistic that we can do sensible things to address the risks. I am less optimistic that we will, though.

So, what could motivate people to not be alarmed? Maybe the serious risks are sufficiently far into the future that some think it won’t affect them. That might at least be honest, there may be some truth in that, and I guess noone is obliged to be concerned about future generations. Seems somewhat selfish though. Alternatively, maybe some simply think that we can clearly address these issues. That’s a commendable view and I’m optimistic that we can. However, that – in itself – doesn’t stop me from being alarmed. There are many circumstances where it’s perfectly reasonable to be alarmed while still being confident that everything will work out fine. Maybe some – like my favourite economist who is currently a media sensation (and who is also trying to promote his upcoming book) – think that the report is just being overly alarmist so as to attract attention and influence policy makers. Fair enough, anything’s possible, but any who believe that should be rather ticked off at the recent retraction of Stephan Lewandowsky’s Recursive Fury paper. If you’re going to promote conspiracy ideation, at least have the strength of your convictions. Maybe some think that these thousands of experts are simply wrong, and that the small minority who oppose them are today’s Galileo’s. Well, having encountered some of these supposed Galileo’s, that would be a remarkable outcome, if it turns out to be true.

So, it seems – to me at least – that this latest IPCC report indicates that we should be alarmed. It’s hard to conclude otherwise. Not being so, seems particularly ill-founded and short-sighted. Of course, I don’t mean that we should be alarmed and pessimistic, but recognising that the potential risks are severe is surely one of the first steps towards deciding what’s best to do about minimising the risks associated with climate change. Of course there are many other factors to consider, so I’m not immediately suggesting that this report tells us precisely what to do. However, I don’t see how we can address these risks without taking some kind of action. Suggesting that somehow everything will just turn out fine seems to be far too reliant on luck and good fortune. I’m sure we can develop new technologies that can help address the impacts of climate change. We’re not going to do so, though, if we don’t actually try.

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125 Responses to Are you alarmed?

  1. kdk33 says:

    What is it that is causing you to be alarmed?

    AFAICT: Storms, floods, droughts aren’t getting worse. SLR isn’t accelerating. Temperature isn’t changing much (and temperature isn’t going to hurt anyone anyway). Crop production is at all time high. Deaths from bad weather at all time lows. Human prosperity has never been better. Polar bears thrive.

    What exactly is troubling you? Seriously, what are the top two impacts you worry about the most?

  2. dhogaza says:

    Well, kdk33, who to believe?

    WGII written by professionals -or- drivel written by a denialist like you?

    Who to believe? It’s *such* a tough question.

  3. kdk33,
    I think the question should be the other way around. Why aren’t you alarmed? Most of your AFAICT is largely incorrect. SLR has accelerated. Temperature is changing at an unprecedented rate (the hockey stick is broadly correct). The SPM, AFAICT, suggested that we may already have seen most of the benefits to crop production. Human prosperity may well have never been better. That does not immediately mean that that will always be true.

  4. BBD says:

    I see kdk33 is still peddling debunked misinformation here despite recent corrections elsewhere.

    There’s a word for that kind of behaviour in blog comments.

  5. Maybe you are trying to be too civil, or I am trying to plug my brain child too much, but some people may not be alarmed because they like climate change, because the think other people will suffer more than they will.

    Another reason not to be alarmed is that the situation is not much worse today as yesterday. You can boil a frog by slowly turning up the heat.

    I am also not sure whether we need to be alarmed. Let’s just solve the problem because it is immensely profitable. Changing our energy system will cost so much less as suffering the consequences and having to adapt.

    We are so enormously rich nowadays, I have an average income for Germans and I hardly spend anything on energy. Even if the price of energy would double because renewable energy costs some more on the short term, why would I care? That is a small price even if only compared to having to life in air-conditioned rooms in summer. And as the report illustrates, there are some other consequences.

    Does someone know any number on how much someone in the industrialised countries spend on energy? To make this argument a bit more quantitative.

  6. My reading of the SPM tells that it allows everyone keep preceding views. People, who are alarmed, can find support for that, while those, who are not, can easily do the same. Many changes are listed as coming at some level at some time, but leaving the specifics open. There are statements on changes that have already been observed, but again in a way that allows for many interpretations concerning the need to get alarmed.

  7. BBD says:

    Interesting that Edward Elgar (Tol’s publisher) also publishes Aynsley Kellow, who is another academic with strong ideas about the “corruption” of science by “environmentalist values” etc. See Science and Public Policy.

    As you can see, RPJr’s a fan, so what’s not to like?

  8. AnOilMan says:

    kdk33: I’m not sure where you get your data… Temperatures are climbing dramatically, and well outside of natural norms.

    All papers I’ve read state that plants and ocean organisms will decline with increased temperature and increased CO2. Plants transported to warmer climates die. The sauna vortex over Australia killed more bats than wind farms could ever hope to.

    All the military projections I’ve seen suggest conflict over food and water. Its pretty hard to ask someone to ‘be reasonable’ when they are facing a starving population. What do you think they will consider reasonable?

  9. Paul S says:

    I watched part of the docutainment program Could We Survive a Mega-Tsunami yesterday. Fairly standard disaster porn but there was a section about the potential for evacuation of coastal cities which might be relevant to this topic. They interviewed specialists in emergency management who stated that behavioural research suggests about 50% of people would simply go into denial upon hearing evacuation orders and would continue living their (short) lives as normal.

  10. AnOilMan says:

    Paul: The Navy is Alarmed, Apparently they build bases near oceans. Who knew? 🙂

  11. Victor,
    I hadn’t considered the possibility that some look forward to the possibility of benefiting from climate change at others’s expense. It’s possible, I guess.

    I am also not sure whether we need to be alarmed. Let’s just solve the problem because it is immensely profitable. Changing our energy system will cost so much less as suffering the consequences and having to adapt.

    I agree, and I was trying to suggest that in the post. Even though we will likely benefit from solving the climate change problem, I still don’t think this means that it’s unreasonable to be alarmed by the potential impacts.


    My reading of the SPM tells that it allows everyone keep preceding views. People, who are alarmed, can find support for that, while those, who are not, can easily do the same.

    Indeed, but as I was trying to suggest in the post, it’s possible to be highly optimistic but still alarmed by the potential for extreme damage.

  12. I have been following, how the report has been discussed in Finland. The main emphasis has definitely been on adaptation. Only rather brief comments have been made on the impacts in other ways than as starting point for the discussion of adaptation.

  13. BBD says:

    I’ve already heard the report described as “Lomborgian” which is, I trust, simply a gross misrepresentation.

    However, as it becomes increasingly clear that there’s a problem no doubt we will slide increasingly into denial dressed up in wish-fulfilment fantasies about “adaptation” obviating the need for any further policy response.

    Sometimes I actually think we are doomed.

  14. johnrussell40 says:

    The problem of adaptation is it tends to encourage one to wait until events force a reaction; as opposed to mitigation which requires one to think ahead. I guess that’s why adaption is so loved by those of little imagination who advocate doing nothing. Unfortunately there’s a lot of risk in opting to rely on adaptation. Feeling lucky?

  15. AnOilMan says:

    I think the real problem with adaptation is that it concedes that its OK the change the climate without defining how much change is acceptable. Its a full throttle blind gamble for those in favor, and at the same time it represents the succinct knowledge and intent to destroy the homes and lively hoods of others.

    I also find it unnerving that folks who would previously deny climate change, will essentially turn around and latch onto the notion that terraforming the earth is not only possible, but a good idea.

  16. BBD says:

    It’s all avoidance and denial, OilMan.

  17. Rachel says:

    The IPCC have released a video about WGII:

    They talk about the benefits of adaptation and mitigation and how they play out on different time scales: the benefits of adaptation can be felt immediately while investing in mitigation can make it easier to adapt in the long term. Chris Field says, “Investments in mitigation in the short-term really lead to an era of climate options in the long term”.

    The way I see it, the two are closely linked. We need to mitigate in order to adapt more effectively.

  18. That is a nice video, Rachel. The climate dissenters are gonna hate it, if only for the diversity of the people that are portrait. I wonder when we will get the first response that the video provokes unnecessary fear. Bonus points for people that fear the aquarium because it is too full of fish.

  19. Rachel.
    It’s a very good video. I do think the suggestion “Investments in mitigation in the short-term really lead to an era of climate options in the long term”. is quite sensible. Both mitigation and adaptation can clearly play a role, but the timescales that they influence are clearly different and – as AOM was pointing out – adaptation alone likely gives fewer options in the future while mitigation (together with adaptation) can provide more options in the future.

  20. Rachel says:

    Oh yes, I had quite forgotten that the video from WGI generated quite a bit of criticism and for being policy prescriptive if I remember correctly. I’m sure they’ll find something to criticise about this one too, for instance, the music is too alarming.

    Yes, I thought it was sensible too. We need both adaptation and mitigation where mitigation influences the effectiveness of adaptation. I also thought it was good how vulnerabilities were highlighted, particularly in communities with high inequality. I started reading the technical summary yesterday and they mentioned this aspect quite a bit as well. From what I can tell, most of the people pushing for adaptation strategies only are the people who are the least vulnerable.

  21. BBD says:

    If we agree that mitigation is essentially proactive while adaptation is essentially reactive, the logic that should be guiding policy is evident.

  22. I join with those that like the video.What’s perhaps the best part of that is that it leads to further thoughts and questions.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that mitigation of the warming is essential for best future in long term, but the value of adaptation is not limited to shorter term but there are forms of adaptation on all time scales.

    Developing countries are the clearest case for the importance of balance of all actions. Their present problems are huge without any contribution from the climate change. Therefore it’s essential to direct resources correctly. Very much emphasis must be put in solving the present problems, but that must be done taking into account both the likely future changes from warming climate and all possibilities of avoiding contradictions with mitigation goals.

    There are fundamentally different forms of adaptation. Human societies have always adapted to changing conditions, and continue do that in the future. Market mechanisms are an important contributor to that automatic adaptation in the short term.

    A second part of adaptation could be considered mitigation of consequences. By that I mean planned actions that should help at some future time. It might be better to consider that in combination with the mitigation of the climate change itself because the practical approaches are similar. Both include research of future options, technology development and speeding up investments by policy measures. (In IPCC work WG3 might be the right place for that.)

    Finally, if the worst comes, the humankind will adapt by giving up areas where living gets too difficult. That may involve large reductions in the population. That’s also a form of adaptation, and the severity of the suffering from that may be influenced by policy decisions.

  23. Philip Hardy says:

    How do you adapt to something that’s barely noticeable?

  24. Philip Hardy,
    Are you of the “Boris Johnson – looked out of my window and it’s snowing” school of climate science?

  25. BBD says:

    Philip Hardy

    You’re doing fine. But it may get harder as the years go by.

  26. Philip Hardy says: “How do you adapt to something that’s barely noticeable?”

    Good point. You need models for that, models that are locally accurate. That is why for adaptation climate models are very important. For understanding the changes in the global mean temperature, our basic understanding of the physics and data on past changes are more than sufficient to make accurate projections. However, for the local data we really need climate models.

    The larger the uncertainties are, the more different scenario’s we have to adapt to. And climate models are not very reliable when it comes to such local details. That makes adaptation very expensive and mitigation such an attractive option. Unfortunately, we have done much too little the last decades and we will have to do both. We have the [mod: snipped] climate change dissenters to thank for those additional costs.

    Somehow these dissenters hardly protest when money needs to be spend on adaptation to protect their local communities. Then they do not claim that CO2 is not a greenhouse gas, that CO2 makes the Earth surface cooler, that CO2 is life, that the CO2 increase in not man-made, that the temperature increase is just urbanization and what ever nonsense. That nonsense is only sprouted to protest against mitigation. Mitigation that would protect everyone. Mitigation that is not connected to the large uncertainties due to climate models the way adaptation is. One wonders why.

  27. kdk33 says:


    Perhaps you could point me to the data that shows accelerating SLR. I just look at the data on the CU site, which isn’t accelerating.

    The scariest forcast I can find is 0.3mm/yr/c – a kind of acceleration, but certainly not alarming.

    But maybe there is other data I could look at.

  28. kdk33,
    Define your timescale.

  29. BBD says:


    Have a look at this and read to the end, where you will see this (emphasis from original):

    And now to the really important part, which is not the math but the physics. Whether sea level showed 20th-century acceleration or not, it’s the century coming up which is of concern. And during this century, we expect acceleration of sea level rise because of physics. Not only will there likely be nonlinear response to thermal expansion of the oceans, when the ice sheets become major contributors to sea level rise, they will dominate the equation. Their impact could be tremendous, it could be sudden, and it could be horrible.

    This bears repeating:

    it’s the century coming up which is of concern.

    The C20th doesn’t tell us much about ice sheet dynamics in the late C21st and beyond.

    But maybe there is other data I could look at.

    MSL highstand during the Eemian.

  30. dana1981 says:

    It was interesting to read some of the reports on the leaked WGII SPM, and then to read the report itself. Some like Revkin emphasized that uncertainty about some types of events increased from AR4 to AR5, so I assumed the report wouldn’t be particularly alarming. Then I read it.

    It paints a bleak picture. Strained food and water supplies, increased conflicts as a result, sea level rise inundating coastlines, increased species extinctions, etc. We can adapt to some impacts of course, and the report was good about discussing that. But adaptation can be a painful process. It’s easy to say “we’ll adapt”, until you’re the one losing your home and being forced to “adapt” by moving elsewhere. It’s also easy to say for those of us in wealthy countries – the report notes that poorer countries will be hit the hardest.

    It’s just another reminder how stupid we’re being by failing to minimize the risks posed by rapid climate change.

  31. Rachel says:

    From chapter 5 of the report, Coastal systems and low-lying areas:

    The GMSL (global mean sea level) rise is projected to be 0.28-0.98 m by 2100 (Table 5-2) although with regional variations and local factors the local sea level rise can be higher than the projected for the GMSL. This has serious implications for coastal cities, deltas and low-lying states.


    When using other approaches such as semi-empirical models, evidence from past climates and physical constraints on icesheet dynamics GMSL rise upper bounds of up to 2.4m by 2100 have been estimated, but there is low agreement on these higher estimates and no consensus on a 21st century upper bound (WG1, 13.5.3). Coastal risk management is
    thus left to choose an upper bound of GMSL rise to consider based on which level of risk is judged to be acceptable in the specific case. The Dutch Delta Programme, for example, considered a 21st century global mean sea level rise of 1.3m as upper bound.

    This is interesting and suggests that the horizontal encroachment of sea over land is much greater than the amount of the rise in sea level:

    The Bruun rule, (a simple rule based on the assumption that to maintain an equilibrium cross-shore profile under rising sea levels, the coastline will move landwards a distance of approximately 100 times the vertical sea level rise; Bruun, 1962), has been used by many researchers to calculate erosion by sea level rise. However there is
    disagreement about whether the Bruun rule is appropriate (Cooper and Pilkey, 2004; Woodroffe and Murray-Wallace, 2012) and how to calculate the amount of retreat remains controversial (Gutierrez et al., 2011; Ranasinghe et al., 2012). An increase in storm intensity and ocean swell may accelerate erosion of beaches, barriers and dunes although in some places beach response to sea level rise could be more complex than just a simple retreat (Irish et al., 2010).

    Projected impacts on human settlements:

    Nicholls et al. (2011) estimate that without protection 72 to 187 million people would be displaced due to land loss due to submergence and erosion by 2100 assuming GMSL increases of 0.5 to 2.0 m by 2100.

    And projected impacts on infrastructure:

    Vulnerability to flooding of railroads, tunnels, ports, roads and industrial facilities at low-lying areas will be exacerbated by rising sea levels or more frequent or intense storms, causing more frequent and more serious disruption of services and damages under extreme sea levels unless adaptation is enforced (Aerts et al, 2013,Wilby et al. 2011, Esteban et al. 2012, Esteban et al. 2010; high agreement).

    It is estimated that a hypothetical 1 m rise in relative sea level projected for the Gulf Coast region between Alabama and Houston over the next 50-100 years would permanently flood a third of the region’s roads as well as putting more than 70% of the region’s ports at risk (USCCSP, 2008).

    That kdk33 finds none of this alarming is alarming itself. I could go on and on but this is getting long and is all rather depressing, not just because it’s sobering reading, but because there seem to be people who dismiss the gravity of these projections with a callous heartlessness which I find disturbing.

  32. AnOilMan says:

    dana1981: Adaptation has a lot of double meanings hidden in it. I seem to recall the CEO of Exxon saying that if food is a problem then we can just move it to where it’s less of an issue. In effect Oil and Gas is demanding the right to bankrupt farms to maintain its own profits.

    I’m saying that the only people not adapting are Oil and Gas.

    I don’t think its unreasonable to start demanding cash from the oil industry to pay for the damage its causing. After all this is exactly what has happened with smoking. Smoking causes lung cancer, ergo, they should pay for it.

    Why aren’t we demanding our governments not only resolve climate change issues, but that they extract the cash from oil and gas?

  33. andrew adams says:


    What was the rate of sea level rise over the 20C and what is it now?

  34. kdk33 says:

    I’m also curious about food supply disruptions and associated conflict.

    All the data I can find shows farm productivity increasing essentially monotonically. But perhaps there is other data. Can someone please point me to the farm productivity data that is cause for alarm.

  35. BBD says:

    Pure trolling.

  36. andrew adams says:


    Unfortunately I am unable to provide you with farm productivity data for the next few decades and in the second half of the 21st century and beyond, which is the timescale in question.

  37. johnrussell40 says:


    If farmers keep throwing fertiliser, pesticides, herbicides and diesel power at their fields, it’s possible to keep increasing yields… up to the point the soil erodes away or water becomes a problem through drought or flooding. At that point production falls off a cliff. Climate change will cause worse droughts and floods (see IPCC WGII) and over-production will deplete soils. If you search for info on the effects of the UK floods in 2012 on crops, and the effect of drought on the US grain yields in 2013, you’ll find data you need. These things will get worse under all projected climate scenarios.

    The fact productivity has yet to drop off in a big way globally is testimony to the short-term ingenuity of farmers and agri-science, and the availability of relatively low-cost oil. However, more than one report has suggested the ‘Arab Spring’ was partly a function of rising food prices due to climate and oil price pressures. See

  38. Mike Fayette says:

    kdk33 seems to be asking reasonable questions, which are being mocked by everyone else.

    Why? If I understand it, this IPCC Summary claims that we are already experiencing major negative impacts from CAGW. If so, this argument should be easy. Point the skeptics to the DATA (not predictions) that show increases in droughts, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, crop loses, animal extinctions, abandoned coastlines, human deaths from heatwaves, etc…… From the charts available on, even most temperature records don’t seem to have risen much (if at all) in the last 10-15 years.

    I get it that the theories predict doom. It’s just that (to a layman) those past theories didn’t seem to match measured realities. Isn’t that a rational reason to be skeptical of new theories?

  39. Mike,

    kdk33 seems to be asking reasonable questions, which are being mocked by everyone else.

    To a certain extent, but one of the reasons is that kdk33 appears to be insisting that others provide the evidence to convince them to be alarmed/concerned. That’s not my job or anyone else here’s job. There is an entire document linked to in the post that kdk33 can read and absorb. kdk33 is also welcome to make up their own mind.

    Why? If I understand it, this IPCC Summary claims that we are already experiencing major negative impacts from CAGW. If so, this argument should be easy.

    Firstly, noone has mentioned major negative impacts or CAGW. There are already attributable impacts. Secondly, again it’s not my job or my goal to convince people. The idea that it is easy is also absurd, even if the evidence was watertight. Try to convince people that the greenhouse effect exists when they think it doesn’t and you’ll see what I mean. I’ve wasted more time than it really was worth doing that. I no longer have any interest in convincing people of anything. What people want to believe is entirely up to them.

  40. verytallguy says:


    a suggestion that reading at least some of the document might help you. The summary for policymakers is the place to start, table SPM.A1 lays out *current* impacts:

    SPM.A1: Observed impacts attributed to climate change reported in the scientific literature since the AR4… … for natural and human systems across eight major world regions over the past several decades.

    Droughts was the first in your list. Herer’s just one relevant, to whet your appetite:

    Reduced soil moisture in North-Central and North-East China…

  41. andrew adams says:

    Mike Fayette,

    kdk33 referred to food supply disruptions. The relevant section of the SPM reads

    This section presents future risks and more limited potential benefits across sectors and regions, over the next few decades and in the second half of the 21st century and beyond

    The key risks that follow, all of which are identified with high confidence, span sectors and regions. Each of these key risks contributes to one or more RFCs

    v. Risk of food insecurity and the breakdown of food systems linked to warming, drought, flooding, and precipitation variability and extremes, particularly for poorer populations in urban and rural settings.
    vi. Risk of loss of rural livelihoods and income due to insufficient access to drinking and irrigation water and reduced agricultural productivity, particularly for farmers and pastoralists with minimal capital in semi-arid regions.

    So the IPCC is identifying threats to food supply which will occur in the coming decades. They are not predicting the future, but are identifying risks which climate change poses over the timescale in question, which is part of their remit. The basis for their assessment of these risks can be found by following the references to the relevant sections of the main report, and ultimately by reading the underlying literature.

    Even where there is high confidence of the risks it doesn’t necessarily follow though that this will be reflected in current trends. Some of these problems are not expected to manifest themselves on a global scale until later this century (although there could already be problems in particular regions), or the data is too noisy to establish a meaningful trend over recent years.

  42. BBD says:

    It’s the tired old “sceptic” trick: look at the C20th and say “no catastrophe here so CAGW is a hoax”. It’s false framing coupled with a really silly false equivalence – the C20th tells us very little about climate change in the C21st.

    This sort of tedious attempt at guile is a waste of everybody’s time. Those peddling arguments this weak and intellectually dishonest don’t deserve the attention they get by doing so.

  43. andrew adams says:

    I certainly don’t get why if people are instinctively doubtful about the IPCC’s conclusions they don’t follow the references and dig further into the reports to try to understand their reasoning, rather than ask us to provide them with data.

  44. Mike Fayette says:

    BBD – I’m not trying “trick” anyone, here. I respect the general tone of this blog, but I also don’t try to put words in people’s mouth’s either. For example, I don’t believe the CAGW theory is a hoax. I have doubts that human-caused Global Warming will be catastrophic, but I don’t deny that human activities are probably contributing to a somewhat warmer climate.

    But in trying to research the literature, I seem to consistently find that the actual data (where I can find and understand it) does not match the claims reported elsewhere.

    As just one example, I can’t find any chart that shows that their has actually been an increase in tornadoes. I went to the NOAA site and found a chart showing the US count of tornadoes greater than EF1 since 1954. If you trust this data, then there has been no increase for 60 years. I frankly would have expected an increase, if for no other reason than a greater population and better reporting (including weather radar) would have detected more of the smaller ones that were previously missed.

    I also can’t find data that shows an increase in hurricanes, droughts or floods. I am looking for it and maybe I am just missing it.

    So when folks like kdk33 ask for data, just point at a link or post a chart, even if you have done it before. Theer are new people visiting this blog all of the time looking for reliable insights and information. Help us, please…….

  45. Mikky says:

    The Believers will continue to be alarmed, the Skeptics will continue to be amused (when they’re not exasperated). Both sides can see how everything (all the data and publications) “is consistent with” their pre-conceptions. Believers are impressed with the consensus findings of so many scientists, Skeptics expect many findings from a pot of govt money given out to look for such findings. The war continues unabated.

    [Mod : You’re getting a little close to me “no conspiracy ideation” moderation policy.]

  46. Mike Fayette says: “As just one example, I can’t find any chart that shows that their has actually been an increase in tornadoes.”

    Ask the person making the claim for the source. Do not expect us to be omniscient.

  47. AnOilMan says:

    kdk33: It is a myth that increasing carbon will increase food supplies.

    All data shows directly decreasing food supplies.

    Data showing happy plants with increasing carbon is largely based on green houses with sealed environments. So… if you want to stick earth in a plastic bag, attach a heating and cooling system, and perhaps pump water to the dry spots, you may have some success. I’ll hold your coat while you go figure out how to do that. 🙂

    Mikky: I’m still waiting to see a single article or paper from the so called skeptic side which doesn’t seem like a wet willy in the ear.

  48. BBD says:

    Mike Fayette

    BBD – I’m not trying “trick” anyone, here.

    I didn’t have you in mind. My remarks were directed at kdk33, but sorry for the misunderstanding.

    However, since you aren’t reading what is written and making the same basic error kdk33 is using to trick people, I will repeat myself:

    look at the C20th and say “no catastrophe here so CAGW is a hoax”. It’s false framing coupled with a really silly false equivalence – the C20th tells us very little about climate change in the C21st.

    The climate signal is barely distinct from the weather noise at present. Try to understand the basics and the rest will follow.

  49. BBD says:

    I have doubts that human-caused Global Warming will be catastrophic

    It need not be with appropriate policy responses, primarily centred on emissions reduction.

    Since there is no evidence that sensitivity is low enough to obviate the need for such a policy response, you appear to be saying that you are optimistic that it will occur.

  50. Paul S says:


    It is a myth that increasing carbon will increase food supplies.

    AR5 appears to disagree with you:

    Increase of atmospheric CO2 by over 100 ppm since pre-industrial times has virtually certainly enhanced water use efficiency and yields, especially for C3 crops such as wheat and rice, although these benefits played a minor role in driving overall yield trends (Amthor, 2001; McGrath and Lobell, 2011).
    (WGII Chapter 7, section

    They do note a confounding factor, though not the carbon itself:

    Emissions of CO2 often are accompanied by ozone (O3) precursors that have driven a rise in tropospheric O3 that harms crop yields (Morgan et al., 2006; Mills et al., 2007; Elevated O3 since pre-industrial times has very likely suppressed global production of major crops compared to what they would have been without O3 increases, with estimated losses of roughly 10% for wheat and soybean and 3-5% for maize and rice (Van Dingenen et al., 2009). Impacts are most severe over India and China (Van Dingenen et al., 2009, Avnery et al. 2011), but are also evident for soybean and maize in the United States (Fishman et al., 2010).
    (WGII Chapter 7, section

    And the executive summary states:

    Evidence since AR4 confirms the stimulatory effects of CO2 in most cases and the damaging effects of elevated tropospheric ozone on crop yields (high confidence). Experimental and modelling evidence indicate that interactions between CO2 and ozone, mean temperature, extremes, water and nitrogen are non-linear and difficult to predict (medium confidence).

  51. AnOilMan says:

    Paul: Its the other bits that go with the CO increases that cause problems, like increased temperatures, decreased water, and as mentioned O2.

    I haven’t kept up with the subject matter in this case. But its not much different than ocean acidification. There will be winners, and there will be loosers, but overall, we loose.

  52. mpcraig says:

    For a quick and brief answer to your basic question, I do not believe people have as much faith in “experts” as they used to. Especially ones who lean heavily on their predictions of the future.

  53. BBD says:

    And one can only speculate as to how much effect the voluble, incessant mud-slinging campaign by the “sceptics” has contributed to this putative diminution in trust…

  54. mpcraig says:

    BBD: Note that my comment applies to much more than climate change.

    Also note that most of friends do not follow this issue closely and are frankly unaware of the skeptical, denier or even lukewarmer viewpoints.

  55. BBD says:

    So ATTP asks a specific question about climate change: “are you alarmed?” and you respond with a generality rather than a specific. Right. Then you feel the need to tell us that “your friends” don’t know nothin’. Okay.


  56. Rachel says:

    Someone asked about farm productivity data. Here’s a good chart from a very recent publication – A meta-analysis of crop yield under climate change and adaption which shows declines for three main crops (rice, maize and wheat) under increasing temperatures.


  57. AnOilMan says:

    Thanks for that Rachel.

  58. Rachel says:

    You’re welcome, OilMan. I should have noted in my comment that these crop losses can be reduced in some instances (not for maize) with adaptation.

  59. Steve Bloom says:

    Mike Fayette, you could get a good start by being aware that “CAGW theory” is a denialist construct. Even “AGW theory” is shorthand for something much broader and complex than a single theory.

    But if you want to talk catastrophe, the first thing you have to do is define it. People using “CAGW theory” generally have not. Nor has the UNFCCC or IPCC as far as I’m aware, but then they don’t use such a term at all. What the UNFCCC did do recently was define a temperature increase of 2 degrees Centigrade relative to pre-industrial (~1850) as “dangerous,” which while arguably incorrect (as in too high) is the appropriate starting point for such a discussion. This article is informative.

    Re tornadoes in particular, it’s one form of extreme weather that may or may not be worsening (they’re very hard to measure; the EF scale is based on peak damage on the ground, so doesn’t capture key characteristics like track duration) and may or may not do so in the future. This, note, is despite the fact that potentially tornado-generating thunderstorm are on the increase, and is a result of cross-cutting influences (more strong storms vs. a reduction in the shear winds needed to get rotation going). *Both* of those influences are consequences of AGW, note. Just a few minutes googling should have told you all of this. Re “hurricanes, droughts or floods,” similarly you aren’t looking very hard.

    Maybe start by reading both AR5 SPMs to understand the *conservative* view of the science (necessarily conservative since a broad cross-section of scientists must agree on it). For a different, IMO more correct, view, have a look at the material linked on the websites of Jim Hansen and Kevin Anderson.

  60. Steve Bloom says:

    Re agriculture, climate is far from the only big threat. There are also phosphorus depletion and topsoil loss. Both of these will require massive changes in agricultural practices.

  61. Steve Bloom says:

    mpcraig, I expect your friends will require some pretty hard hammering to knock that self-centered complacency out of them. It’s on the way, although if your friends are old enough they may miss a lot of it. But even if so do they actually care about their descendants, or is that just a pretense?

    Re trust in experts, while it’s not possible to know the long-term trend since all of the relevant survey work is fairly recent, scientists are the group most trusted by the U.S. public (~75% IIRC), and that level of trust doesn’t seem to be declining. My own view is that that ~25%, perhaps including your friends, has ever been with us. The difference now is that they can avoid alternative views by staying inside the media bubble constructed for them (Fox News, Limbaugh), then go on line at will (another bubble awaits there) to tell the world how wrong it is. So while their views are more apparent and do get more attention, note that’s not the same thing as becoming more prevalent.

  62. BBD says:


    So while their views are more apparent and do get more attention, note that’s not the same thing as becoming more prevalent.

    I tend to agree, which is why I used the word “putative” when referring to this claim above. It’s entirely possible that this is simply argument from assertion.

  63. AnOilMan says:

    The vast majority of people I work with in Oil and Gas understand, and are concerned about Climate Change. These people go all the way to the top of major oil companies.

  64. dana1981 says:

    Good reference Rachel. Another is Hawkins et al. (2012), which examined maize yields in France and found that improved agricultural technology has increased crop yields, but hotter temperatures are taking a toll, and the increase has already begun to slow and is likely to reverse.

    Click to access hawkins_etal_2012_GCB.pdf

  65. Rob Nicholls says:

    I am alarmed, and I’m glad to see that I’m not alone.

    Way back in the comments Pekka said “My reading of the SPM tells that it allows everyone keep preceding views. People, who are alarmed, can find support for that, while those, who are not, can easily do the same.” I’m inclined to agree (and I am struck by the lack of quantification of effects), but that’s not meant in any way as a criticism of the SPM. I think it’s inevitable that the difficulties in estimating the future impact of climate change on complex systems (particularly systems which are dependent on so many other variables) will result in the use of very cautious language, with lots of emphasis on the uncertainties in a report like this.

    If I was new to looking at climate change, reading the WG2 SPM on its own probably wouldn’t convince me that urgent action to cut GHG emissions is needed. I think it’s really important to take the work of WG2 and summarise it to show what the science says a world 4 or 5 degrees warmer could be like (without dismissing the uncertainties), and why we really need to avoid such a future by cutting GHG emissions very rapidly. I’m impressed that, in such a short time, some have already made a really good start at this (e.g. in the comments above and

  66. kdk33 says:

    I’ve waited patiently. But I now take it then that there is no actual data that can be shown that would indicate alarm – for SLR and farm productivity, anyway. (And this seems to be consistent with the subject issue of the latest ATTP post.)


  67. verytallguy says:


    ah, seagull chess on this thread too.


  68. verytallguy says:


    on the facts rather than the game.

    What you said:

    SLR isn’t accelerating

    What the facts are, IPCC AR5 SPM:

    Proxy and instrumental sea level data indicate a transition in the late 19th to the early 20th century from relatively low mean rates of rise over the previous two millennia to higher rates of rise (high confidence). It is likely that the rate of global mean sea level rise has continued to increase since the early 20th century. {3.7, 5.6, 13.2}

    Presented nicely here (h/t Dana N):

    Why this conclusion may actually be a very conservative view of 20th century SLR:

    AR5 process based ice sheet projections are optimistic and over confident when compared to views of ice sheet expert

    My opinion:
    That your [mod:redacted – uncivil] initial post was intended to [mod:redacted – uncivil]. That you are fully aware of the facts I lay out above already but choose to deliberately ignore them for the purpose of trolling. In other words, that you are [mod:redacted – uncivil]

    However, if you simply acknowledge your error in asserting that SLR isn’t accelerating, I’ll happily withdraw [mod:redacted – uncivil], [mod:redacted – uncivil] and [mod:redacted – uncivil].

  69. kdk33 says:


    The data is on the CU website. You can see it for yourself. If there is other data (not SkS interpretations or projections) I’d be delighted to look at it.

    BTW, what were CO2 emissions in the late 19th century?

    I take it by your uncivilness that you are finding the congnative dissonance painful. I can understand why that would be so.

  70. kdk33,

    not SkS interpretations or projections

    Why? Most of their material is straight out of the scientific literature.

    Here’s a suggestion. If you want to make an argument as to why you’re not alarmed, that’s fine. That’s kind of what the post is about. However, what you seem to be doing is challenging people to provide evidence for you, or to explain why you should be convinced. As you may have worked out, many find that frustrating. You don’t have to be alarmed. You don’t have to believe that AGW is happening. It’s not our job to convince you of anything. If you’re going to keep doing that, you’re just going to frustrate people on this thread.

    So, I’m asking nicely that you present an argument of your own and engage constructively with those who respond. This cat an mouse style is neither particularly scientific, nor conducive to pleasant exchanges.

  71. Nobodyknows says:

    What makes me most afraid is the lack of reflection on what climate change is . This is based on something I’ve seen as cold facts. Firstly, it seems that the facts about global warming, in terms of measurements, only has a history of just over 10 years, with ARGO measurements in the deep ocean. Have these last 10 years with reliable measurements any relevance? It does not seem that way. Rather than basing conclusions on unreliable measurements of what has happened on planet Earth the last hundred years. For the last fifty years, some people have calculated energy that goes into our climate system , which is equivalent to four Hiroshima bombs per second. Every second there is hundreds of Hiroshima energies that go into the oceans and at times as many or even more Hiroshima energies out of the oceans. At the same time, there has been an increase of co2 in the air, without having given the noticeable effect on the temperature of the atmosphere. Perhaps the increase of co2 might lead to one percent of global warming for these last ten years, or it may be even less. I know that it is many fanciful ideas on how co2 is warming up oceans, but I have not seen any trustworthy theories.

  72. BBD says:

    The “cat and mouse style” is diagnostic of trolling, ATTP, because that is what kdk33 is doing. Please note that he completely ignored posts by myself and Rachel upthread responding to his false assertions and rhetorical trickery.

    Blatant intellectual dishonesty and baiting is indeed frustrating. It’s a form of incivility to other commenters. Of course people get angry.

  73. BBD says:


    That paper is about huge increases in rainfall over land related to the recent predominance of La Nina slowing the *apparent* rate of SLR. Fake sceptics seem fond of the Cazenave study, which suggests that – like you – not one of them has read or understood it.

  74. verytallguy says:


    it’s a shame that you’re so [mod: redacted – uncivil] humourless as not to recognise automoderation, but never mind.

    I provided a direct quote from AR5, merely backed up with SKS for you as an easy read for you.

    The AR5 SPM quote is unequivocal – sea level rise is likely accelerating. If you want more detail, read the relevant sections. Unsurprisingly, they back up the SPM.

    Until you acknowledge that acceleration is real, there’s no value in any other discussion. If you don’t, we’re clearly in D-territory.

    mpcraig – not sure what specifically is interesting in the paper – care to elaborate?

  75. BBD says:

    Oh we’re in D-territory all right. kdk33 tries to hide it, but it will out, soon enough.

  76. AnOilMan says:

    It is interesting to see the psychological diagnosis for this behavior;
    “In a survey conducted by the group of psychologists, people who partake in so-called trolling online showed signs of sadism, psychopathy, and were Machiavellian in their manipulation of others and their disregard for morality.”

    Its equally sad that this kind of behavior is the height of denial prowess.

  77. OPatrick says:


    You might find this interesting:

    This bit, presumably?

    Our results confirm the need for quantifying and further removing from the climate records the short-term natural climate variability if one wants to extract the global warming signal.

  78. kdk33 says:

    Sure, I’m delighted to detail my argument.

    SLR increased around the turn of the 20th century, long before CO2 could have had any effect. This, of itself, is evidence that linkages between CO2 and SLR acceleration are spurious.

    Sea level by tide guage data has not accelerated since ~1930, which covers the period during which CO2 could have had an effect. Sea level by satellite has not accelarated (data available since about 1978, IIRC), thus confirming the lack of SLR acceleration during the period in which CO2 could have had an effect.



    SkS emplys two tactics I find questionable. First is (Mike’s Nature trick?) to append the satellite data to tide guage data to create what I consider to be an artifical acceleration – the data are offset by about 1.5 MM/yr presumably due to rebound. The Second is to use early century data to illustrate an acceleration, which I consider misleading because this is from the period before CO2.

    I have to confess that I am, in generall, underwhelmed with SkS. I consider it an advocacy – not science – site. But that’s just my opinion.

  79. BBD says:

    SLR increased around the turn of the 20th century, long before CO2 could have had any effect. This, of itself, is evidence that linkages between CO2 and SLR acceleration are spurious.

    Rubbish. Nobody claims that CO2 was the dominant climate forcing during the early C20th, rather that solar and aerosols were.

    It’s all just nonsense with you. And argument from assertion.

  80. BBD says:

    But that’s just my opinion.

    And it is demonstrably wrong, as usual.

  81. johnrussell40 says:


    Seeing as most of us responding to you on this thread have both commented and written posts on SkS, it seems peculiar that you should seek out data and evidence on this blog but not be prepared to except that provided on SkS, when I’m 100% certain that it will be exactly the same. Could it be that the more tolerant moderation on this blog makes it easier to play games?

  82. verytallguy says:


    noting that you did not claim that SLR acceleration was not correlated to CO2, you simply claimed, and I quote *again* “SLR isn’t accelerating.”

    On sea level rise, the issue at hand:

    1) You acknowledge that 20th century sea level rise is faster than 19th, but claim this is not acceleration.

    2) You assert a lack of acceleration during the 20th century without citing a source.


    on (1) you’re simply denying the facts and on (2) you’re arguing from assertion when the science shows, and again I quote from AR5 “It is likely that the rate of global mean sea level rise has continued to increase since the early 20th century”

    Denial of the facts.

  83. kdk33,

    SLR increased around the turn of the 20th century, long before CO2 could have had any effect. This, of itself, is evidence that linkages between CO2 and SLR acceleration are spurious.

    Do you care to elaborate?

  84. AnOilMan says:

    kdk33: Wrong on all points near as I can tell. Perhaps you should read Church 2008 for the first time;

    Click to access 2008SLRSustain.pdf

    Figure 3a will show you Tide Gauge Data, and the fact that its not linear. Sea level rise has accelerated. Figure 3b will show you how much it has changed over time. (You can ignore the satellite data.)

    Actually if you do ever read the paper you will note that it spends a lot of time trying to determine how much sea level rise is coming from what sources, like how much is glacial run off, etc. It also discusses significantly more sources of data that the satellites you harp on.

  85. Rachel says:

    On sea level rise (source:

    It is very likely that the mean rate of global averaged sea level rise was 1.7 [1.5 to 1.9] mm yr–1 between 1901 and 2010, 2.0 [1.7 to 2.3] mm yr–1 between 1971 and 2010, and 3.2 [2.8 to 3.6] mm yr–1 between 1993 and 2010. Tide-gauge and satellite altimeter data are consistent regarding the higher rate of the latter period. It is likely that similarly high rates occurred between 1920 and 1950. {3.7}

  86. Rachel says:

    It seems to me that questioning the acceleration or not of sea level rise is just a red herring. If we assume there is no acceleration (and I don’t think this is the case, but just for the sake of argument let’s say it is), then it does not follow that we have no cause for alarm. The sea level is rising. Whether the rate of change is increasing just changes the time frame we have available for adaption but it does not change the need for mitigation.

  87. BBD says:

    It seems to me that questioning the acceleration or not of sea level rise is just a red herring.

    Of course it is. What is never discussed is why sea levels continue to rise which brings us neatly to the interaction between thermal expansion and marine ice sheets. Ice, as we all know, floats.

  88. kdk33 says:

    Hi Rachel,

    It matters. It matters a lot. It matters because it tells us if SLR behavior is caused (or could likely be caused) by CO2. It if isn’t, then mitigation is the wrong answer.

    Let’s assume that SL is changing in a worrisome way (I don’t think it is, but for the sake of argument, let’s assume so). If SLR increased before CO2, that is evidence that there is no linkage. If SLR has not increased during the time when CO2 should be having an effect, that fairly much seals the deal. CO2 is not the driver.

    The proper response is to adapt. Implementing disruptive energy policy will not affect SLR and will destroy wealth and reduce our ability to adapt. It is the exactly the wrong thing to do.

  89. kdk33,
    Why do you keep claiming that it started before CO2?

  90. Rachel says:


    From IPCC WG1 AR5:

    The rate of sea level rise since the mid-19th century has been larger than the mean rate during the previous two millennia (high confidence).

    and also:

    Since the early 1970s, glacier mass loss and ocean thermal expansion from warming together explain about 75% of the observed global mean sea level rise (high confidence). Over the period 1993 to 2010, global mean sea level rise is, with
    high confidence, consistent with the sum of the observed contributions from ocean thermal expansion due to warming (1.1 [0.8 to 1.4] mm yr–1), from changes in glaciers (0.76 [0.39 to 1.13] mm yr–1), Greenland ice sheet (0.33 [0.25 to 0.41] mm yr–1), Antarctic ice sheet (0.27 [0.16 to 0.38] mm yr–1), and land water storage (0.38 [0.26 to 0.49] mm yr–1). The sum
    of these contributions is 2.8 [2.3 to 3.4] mm yr–1. {13.3}


    It seems to me that the combination of thermal expansion and melting ice is causing the sea level to rise and this rate has been larger than the rate during the last 2000 years.

  91. Paul S says:


    “Ladies and gentleman of the jury, I put it to you that people have died before so how can my client be accused of murder?”

  92. Combining all the quotes from AR5 shown above, we can conclude

    1) Sea level has been rising longer than can be explained by AGW.
    2) The rate of rise has been higher recently, but similar rates have occurred earlier. Thus there’s considerable variability. Many reasons for that are known including changes in water reservoirs of continental areas and tectonic movements (both local and large scale).
    3) The recent rise is consistent with a combination of thermal expansion and glacier melting, but with a large uncertainty range.

    To me all the above means that we cannot conclude very much from that data. Estimating thermal expansion from warming and glacier melting gives a better basis for the projections to the future.

  93. BBD says:

    Let’s assume that SL is changing in a worrisome way (I don’t think it is, but for the sake of argument, let’s assume so). If SLR increased before CO2, that is evidence that there is no linkage.

    Nope. You either aren’t reading my comments or you are pretending not to have done so.

  94. kdk33 says:

    So I guess (in at least one small way) I’m just agreeing with AR5 …

    And back to the original subject of the post. I’m not alarmed because there is no data that suggests I should be alarmed (SLR being one example).

    Projections are interesting; modeling has a role to play in science; I think folks should pay attention. But no models have demonstrated enough predictive skill to make me alarmed. Or make me want to change energy policy. Unpopular though that position may be.

    I’m guessing it w0uld probably not be helful to review farm productivity data.


  95. verytallguy says:


    You claimed, and yet again I quote, “SLR isn’t accelerating”

    You *still* fail to address whether this is actually true or not, and instead try to wheedle out of a response by saying it doesn’t matter, or it’s not worrisome, or similar weasel words.

    You are denying the facts. Still.

  96. verytallguy says:


    We crossed.

    “I’m not alarmed because there is no data that suggests I should be alarmed (SLR being one example). ”

    Ships? I see no ships!

  97. BBD says:


    You don’t seem to think much has happened or will happen. Which makes me wonder what is your preferred estimate of climate sensitivity (TCR and ECS), with error margins?

  98. As far as I have noticed no-one has linked to this post of Kerry Emanuel here

    I just wonder whether it’s, indeed, true that scientists give so little emphasis on tail risks as he tells. My impression is quite different on that point. Tail risks have been discussed here, and they have been discussed in many other places. Those words are perhaps not used, but the issue is discussed all the time.

  99. Rachel says:


    “So I guess (in at least one small way) I’m just agreeing with AR5 …”

    What? Really? Let me requote something which is said in AR5 which I thought you were disagreeing with:

    The rate of sea level rise since the mid-19th century has been larger than the mean rate during the previous two millennia (high confidence).

    and this too:

    It is very likely that there is a substantial anthropogenic contribution to the global mean sea level rise since the 1970s. This is based on the high confidence in an anthropogenic influence on the two largest contributions to sea level rise, that is thermal expansion and glacier mass loss. {10.4, 10.5, 13.3}

  100. AnOilMan says:

    kdk33: Obviously I’m not smoking the right stuff.

    “If SLR increased before CO2, that is evidence that there is no linkage.” is a lie if I ever heard one. The issue with absolutely all science is teasing out signal in the presence of other signals and or noise. You’d know this if you did technical work for a living.

    Going back to Rachel’s post;
    “It is very likely that the mean rate of global averaged sea level rise was 1.7 [1.5 to 1.9] mm yr–1 between 1901 and 2010, 2.0 [1.7 to 2.3] mm yr–1 between 1971 and 2010, and 3.2 [2.8 to 3.6] mm yr–1 between 1993 and 2010.”

    So, sea level rise has doubled, and that sounds significant to me. Moreover this correlates with expectations from ocean heating.

  101. Joseph says:

    It’s my understanding that SLR will accelerate with a rise in temperature, regardless of whether the temperature increase is driven by CO2. So it would be expected that during the period before CO2 was the primary driver of global temperature(early twentieth century), we would see significant SLR because the temperature was still increasing. But the recent increase in global temperature has been found to be linked for the most part to CO2, so the IPCC can conclude that CO2 is currently responsible for SLR and will continue to do so in the future.

  102. kdk33 says:

    For the more interested reader….

    The PSMSL webpage (which holds tide gauge data) has several reconstruction products – data sets of global mean sea level derived from tide gauge data.

    The latest is by Ray and Douglass for 1900 to 2007. That data can be downloaded and tested and one can easily see there is no acceleration.

    The Church and White data can also be downloaded. While SkS reports an acceleration, The data can be readily tested to show that there was a linear increase until about 1930 and then a different linear trend (with no acceleration) from 1930 onwards. (there is a clean break in the trends, and no continuous acceleration)

    There are longer term reconstructions by Jevrejeva showing that Seas began to apparently rise around 1850 – I say apparently because the data in those times seems very, very sparse. Either way, this is too early to be attributed to AGW.

    The trends:
    RD – 1.7 mm/yr
    CW (1930) – 1.8 mm/yr

    And of course there is satellite data which shows no acceleration and has a trend of 3.2 mm/yr (according to CU). The offset presumably due to land movement. SkS appends the satellite data to tide gauge to detect and artificial acceleration – I think this is invalid.

    Anyhooter… Sea levels are not rising at a rate that is alarming. Sea level rise is not accelerating, SLR is not correlated with atmospheric CO2 so cannot be attributed to CO2 driven climate change.

    I am therefore not alarmed, because I see not data to justify that alarm.

    I do appreciate everyone who challenged my views. This was an entertaining way to spend the wee hours of the morning. And I’ve learned a bit. So: Thank You.

  103. kdk33 says:

    Funny. Something changed in my latest

    CW prior to 1930 should be 0.8 mm/yr
    CW post 1930 should be 1.8 mm/yr

  104. kdk33,

    Sea levels are not rising at a rate that is alarming. Sea level rise is not accelerating, SLR is not correlated with atmospheric CO2 so cannot be attributed to CO2 driven climate change.

    Statements without any sense of uncertainty. Do you not see how unscientific this is? You do realise that CO2 started rising in the mid 1800s and has been a dominant (or almost dominant) radiative forcing since at least 1880. Your claim that sea level rise cannot be attributed to CO2 is incorrect. As Pekka points out, there are other factors that could have contributed to sea level but your assertion that it cannot be attributed to CO2 appears to be a classic example of making unjustified causation versus correlation claims. Also, you appear to be suggesting that sea level rise is indeed faster today than it has been in the past but, we can’t call this acceleration because it wasn’t a smooth change?

    You’re free to not be alarmed and I certainly hope that your lack of alarm turns out to be justified. As with all of us though, you’re also free to be wrong.

  105. jsam says:

    At the current rate average rate of sea level rise of 3.2mm per annum that’s a foot in a century – assuming SLR does not accelerate (a stupid bet).

    To not be alarmed is quite alarming.

  106. verytallguy says:


    Your own post demonstrates that sea level rise has increased from 1.8 to 3.2 mm/yr.

    Yet you manage to convince yourself that this does not constitute acceleration.

    Denial definition (from wiki) : “in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence”


  107. Paul S says:


    And of course there is satellite data which shows no acceleration and has a trend of 3.2 mm/yr (according to CU). The offset presumably due to land movement. SkS appends the satellite data to tide gauge to detect and artificial acceleration – I think this is invalid.

    Not quite sure what you’re saying here about an offset due to land movement. The RD trend for 1993-2007 is 3.2mm/yr, in agreement with satellite data. CW global reconstruction trend for 1993-2009 is 2.8mm/yr compared to 3.1mm/yr with satellite data, though their simple tide gauge average gives a larger trend. In both reconstructions the most recent period features the largest trend across the record, though perhaps not significantly so.

    Regarding earlier elevated rates, dismissing a significant anthropogenic component is not clearly justified. WMGHGs were probably not major factors but measurements in a Greenland ice core suggest high latitude concentrations of black carbon were strongly elevated, in particular between about 1890 and 1950. This would obviously have affected glacier melt.

  108. BBD says:

    I am therefore not alarmed, because I see not data to justify that alarm.

    That’s because you are in denial.

  109. BBD says:

    Evidence denial, physics denial, denial of being in denial… as VTG says above, textbook, full-spectrum stuff.

    Speaking of physics denial, you dodged a question a while back. What is your preferred estimate for TCR and ECS (stating uncertainty ranges)?

    You don’t appear to believe that anything much will happen, which suggests that the range of things you deny includes the GHE. Now would be a good time to clarify this.

  110. verytallguy says:


    Now would be a good time to clarify this.

    No, it really wouldn’t. kdk33 has provided in the same post clear evidence that the rate of sea level rise has increased together with a statement that sea level rise is not accelerating (!)

    Why after witnessing that you’d want to encourage kdk33 to clarify anything is rather a mystery to me.

    Unless of course you want to provide another comic example of something which “contains little more than ad hominem attacks, contradiction,[9] and does not contribute to critical thinking.”

  111. BBD says:



    Why after witnessing that you’d want to encourage kdk33 to clarify anything is rather a mystery to me.

    Filthy job, but someone has to do it…

  112. idunno says:

    Hi Andy,

    Bob Ward is concerned about factual inaccuracies in Tol’s work…

  113. idunno,
    Tol’s response appears to be typically thoughtful and insightful

  114. idunno says:


    Is that not perhaps a description of his own collected published works?

    hashtag tolgate

  115. idunno,
    I hadn’t thought of it that way 🙂

  116. idunno says:


    That’d be my reading of it; and the scond half of this comment has been eaten by your moderation policy.


  117. Rachel says:

    I love how everyone moderates their own comments now. 🙂

  118. Marco says:

    More alarm should come from this message (provided it is correct): (scroll down for the article).

    Maybe ATTP remembers he pointed out an error (positive vs negative impacts) in one of Tol’s papers, and Tol doggedly ignoring this. Well, it appears there are more such errors in Tol’s papers…

  119. verytallguy says:


    I love how everyone moderates their own comments now

    The only reason we do that is because the [mod:redacted] mods are a [mod:redacted] bunch of [mod:redacted] [mod:redacted] who ought to [mod:redacted] themselves.


  120. verytallguy says:


    Wow. I’m not qualified to judge the accuracy but that’s one hell of a slap down if correct. And terminal for Bob’s reputation if not.

  121. Rachel says:


    Any more of your [Mod: snipped] nonsense and I’ll ban your [Mod: snipped] [Mod: snipped].

  122. AnOilMan says:

    [Mod : Sorry, this is a little too close to being perceived as potentially libelous, for comfort.]

  123. AnOilMan says:

    *sigh* Spanked again.

  124. Pingback: Another Week of Global Warming News, April 6, 2014 – A Few Things Ill Considered

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