Tolerably tepid?

I was going to ignore Tamsin Edwards’s article in the Guardian, but there was one phrase that, I think, deserves due diligence and which – IMO – illustrates the problem with how the whole article is framed. The article was largely about Lukewarmers, who are essentially those who think that our climate’s sensitivity to changes in anthropogenic forcings will be on the low side of the IPCC range. If you want a critique of the Lukewarmer position, you could try this.

The phrase that bothered me was this one:

And that’s because the Earth’s sensitivity to carbon dioxide is still an open question. Are we destined for dangerous warming, or could we still keep things tolerably tepid?

Why does this bother me? Well, because it appears to essentially buy into the whole alarmist framing (destined for dangerous warming), and makes it appear that the Lukewarmers think we could keep things tolerably tepid. Well, this is the wrong way around. The Lukewarmers think we don’t need to really bother doing anything specific, because it will be tolerably tepid all by itself. It’s those dastardly alarmists who think that there are risks associated with continuing to increase our emissions, and that maybe we should do something to minimise these risks. So, I think it’s unfortunate that Tamsin appears to have framed it in this way, as it – IMO – adds undue legitimacy to the Lukewarmer position, and largely misrepresents the alternative.

However, I was going to say that I broadly agree with the overall message in the article, but I’m not sure I really do. In a sense, I’m not sure I even get the point. Is it better that some now accept – at some level – anthropogenic global warming? Sure, but I’m not sure why we should applaud people for not being completely wrong. Is it good that they’re part of the debate? Well, yes, of course. That’s kind of the point of democracy; everyone should be free to participate. Do they need some kind of protection from criticism and a patronising pat on the back for at least trying to be credible? Well, no, that’s not a condition of participating. Would it be better if there were less name calling? Yes, of course. However, given that the current Lukewarmer argument appears to include a suggestion that those who disagree with them are advocating for the death of millions, I’m not going to spend too much of my time worrying about it. If Lukewarmers were genuinely concerned about the prevalence of name calling, then they’d stop doing it themselves. Although, maybe they think that accusing others of being responsible for a future genocide doesn’t qualify?

However, I do think that the motivation behind the article is decent; let’s applaud and encourage better dialogue. I just think that the general framing is poor. If people want to hold a Lukewarmer position, they’re free to do so. They shouldn’t, however, expect some special protection from criticism and expect to be applauded just because their scientific position is marginally consistent with that of most experts.

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364 Responses to Tolerably tepid?

  1. I may be wrong, but I have a suspicion that some of my regular commenters may have some strong views about Tamsin’s article. Maybe they could show some suitable restraint, if they do see the need to comment 🙂

  2. jsam says:

    Her article was rapidly spattered with full blown denial.

    And then there are those claiming Lomborg, Tol, Ridley and the GWPF are Lukewarmers.

    The Overton window is shifting rapidly.

  3. dana1981 says:

    jsam has identified the biggest problem with the post – it shifts the Overton window.

    It’s bad enough in singing Nic Lewis’ praises, but the real problem was that Tamsin totally neglected the evidence for relatively high climate sensitivity. And by putting ‘lukewarmers’ in the middle of her imagined spectrum, between deniers and mainstream climate scientists, she made them seem like the moderate middle ground. In reality there’s evidence for low sensitivity on one end, high sensitivity on the other, and it’s mainstream climate scientists who inhabit the middle ground. She’s shifting the Overton window to put ‘Lukewarmers’ in the middle of the spectrum when actually they’re on the low (overly optimistic) end.

  4. Rachel M says:

    She’s providing a pathway for “Skeptics” to join the mainstream without having to accept they were wrong.

  5. Is it better that some now accept – at some level – anthropogenic global warming? Sure, but I’m not sure why we should applaud people for not being completely wrong.

    Not so sure. A little too generous for me.

    If they do not have good arguments for their tepidness, which generally seems to be the case, they are still completely wrong.

    How wrong someone or some paper is is not determined by their estimate climate sensitivity. That is how WUWT judges science. What counts is the strength of the arguments and the evidence.

    Related to this, it is funny that the proponents of The Uncertainty Monster (Judith Curry TM) are more certain about the range of possible climate sensitivities than the scientists working in that field.

  6. Rachel M says: “She’s providing a pathway for “Skeptics” to join the mainstream without having to accept they were wrong.

    Politically, that is the good part of Tamsin’s article. Humans are not good in admitting they are wrong. Making that easier is important if you want to see change. And these people have some changing to do to get closer to reality. The scientific culture is what it is in large part to help humans see and admit they are wrong and change their minds.

  7. Victor,

    Not so sure. A little too generous for me.

    I may have a tendency of erring on the side of being overly generous. You do make a valid point. To argue that you’re right because you’re view is not completely inconsistent with the IPCC position – for example – is not really a valid argument if it requires dismissing large swathes of valid evidence.

  8. To argue that you’re right because you’re view is not completely inconsistent with the IPCC position – for example – is not really a valid argument if it requires dismissing large swathes of valid evidence.

    That is just as insane as expecting the throw a 6, because it is possible to throw a six.

  9. Eli Rabett says:

    If you err on the side of being generous to the delusional, you will spend your life being generous, or more to the point being dumped on by the delusional as the prematurely anti-fascists discovered after WWII.

  10. BBD says:

    I may be wrong, but I have a suspicion that some of my regular commenters may have some strong views about Tamsin’s article. Maybe they could show some suitable restraint, if they do see the need to comment 🙂

    [Innocent expression]

  11. Rachel M says:

    Victor, I was thinking the same thing in that as long as they come around to the science eventually, it doesn’t really matter if they can’t admit they were wrong. We can still say “told you so” under our breaths 🙂

  12. Brandon Gates says:

    Anders,

    I may have a tendency of erring on the side of being overly generous.

    I too try to give the opposition the benefit of the doubt; however, of late I find that when I do it smacks a bit of trying too hard. I’m really not one to hold dichotomous views on things, but when the stakes are large in conjunction with uncertainty, erring on the side of caution means pretty much one and only one thing to me: better to err on the side of the worst-case scenario.

    The luckwarmer position is denial of the prudent case for action, pure and simple. I appreciate Tasmin apparently wishing to keep things civil by not using the D-word liberally, but I don’t appreciate not speaking to what I perceive to be faulty reasoning. Accepting most of the science profits nothing when the science implies that BAU is risky.

  13. mwgrant says:

    Maybe people should resist arguing and pontificating over labels in forums. But then I suspect most wouldn’t have much to say.

  14. BBD says:

    Tamsin writes:

    Lewis is trusted by the wider contrarian community, and he’s one of those helping to replace the name-calling with numbers, the polarisation with probabilities, rants with research.

    Ha ha ha. Yarbles. Short memory, our T.

  15. Brandon Gates says:

    Quite a good example of her being far too kind.

  16. Bobby says:

    ATTP, I read her article and I read your post. Your words made sense. I’m also not even sure I get her point. I think her article is an attempt to win a popularity contest, and I didn’t think ClimateBall ™ had such plays.

  17. entropicman says:

    Tamsin Edwards’ article did contain one very useful word.

    Up to now there has been no clear term for a moderate acceptor that climate change is a problem.

    The skeptics automatically call such people warmists. I like the way Tamsin called us the Concerned. Its wider use should be encouraged.

  18. BBD says:

    Many will know it, but for anyone who doesn’t, there’s a good article about the way in which ‘lukewarmerism’ is a rhetorical gambit to move an outlier into central position (‘jimming the Overton Window’).

  19. dana1981 says:

    I think it’s more accurate to say that Tamsin is providing a pathway for deniers to seem like they’re being reasonable with respect to accepting (some) climate science whilst still maintaining their opposition to all meaningful efforts to mitigate the problem. Personally, as someone who’s primarily interested in solving the immense problem we face, she’s doing a lot more harm than good in that respect.

  20. climatehawk1 says:

    “The luckwarmer position is denial of the prudent case for action, pure and simple. I appreciate Tasmin apparently wishing to keep things civil by not using the D-word liberally, but I don’t appreciate not speaking to what I perceive to be faulty reasoning. Accepting most of the science profits nothing when the science implies that BAU is risky.”

    Exactly. IMHO, the reason for climate science denial is not to deny climate science, but to provide a fig-leaf rationale for slow-tracking action to reduce the combustion of fossil fuels. Deniers have no problem with “alarmism”–they are just as alarmist about the economic consequences of action to stop climate change as the “alarmists” they criticize are about the impacts of inaction.

    I think if one judges folks on the actions they support, it might help to winnow the wheat from the chaff. Most of us are saying, heck yes, we need insurance. Those who are arguing for slow or no action to insure against the possibility of a dire outcome must necessarily be viewed as being in the denier camp, regardless of their “rationale” (as the science becomes harder and harder to deny, the “rationales” will necessarily grow more and more intricate and sophisticated).

  21. guthrie says:

    Actually, that bit you quoted is poorly written:
    “And that’s because the Earth’s sensitivity to carbon dioxide is still an open question. Are we destined for dangerous warming, or could we still keep things tolerably tepid? ”

    It confuses who is responsible for what. WHich we could still keep things tolerably tepid? Things could be tolerably tepid if climate sensitivity is low OR it is high but we act now rapidly to reduce our emissions. Alternatively, we could be destined for dangerous warming because we keep emitting OR because climate sensitivity is high and there’s nothing we can do about that.
    Confusing those various possibilities is not sensible. Or have I read it completely out of context?

  22. Eli Rabett says:

    Eli is not Concerned, he is Scared Shitless. In the Rabett’s case tho the time horizon is short which provides some comfort. So long and thanks for the air conditioning.

  23. BBD says:

    guthrie

    Tamsin does say this (emphasis mine):

    Lukewarmers have much more mainstream views than the easy stereotype of the denier. They agree carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, that the world is warming, and that a significant fraction of this is down to humans. In terms of policy, they typically support adaptation to climate change. But they differ from mainstream views because they’re not convinced there’s a substantial risk that future warming could be large or its impacts severe, or that strong mitigation policies are desirable.

  24. Guthrie,
    You’ve largely illustrated my issue with that phrase. There are – broadly speaking – two variables, climate sensitivity and what we choose to do. We only have control over one of these. Either we do nothing and hope climate sensitivity is low, or we do something, given the risk that it might not be. The phrase almost implies that we have some control over climate sensitivity, which we clearly do not.

  25. Michael 2 says:

    Climatehawk says “Most of us are saying, heck yes, we need insurance.”

    But not if the insurance costs more than the house.

  26. jsam says:

    M2 – this house has infinite value for humans.

  27. Willard says:

    > The skeptics automatically call such people warmists. I like the way Tamsin called us the Concerned. Its wider use should be encouraged.

    Whatever terms one might employ, contrarians would find and promote others, if only to annoy.

    Also, those who use the lukewarm gambit are the most concerned of us all. This is why we should always thank them for their concerns.

    In any case, mwgrant wins.

  28. jsam says:

    Rereading this thread, a couple of thoughts.

    Tamsin is welcome to her opinion. To my taste she is overly tolerant and papers over some fairly large cracks.

    Butt.

    Rachel commented “She’s providing a pathway for “Skeptics” to join the mainstream without having to accept they were wrong.”. If that is so then that is probably a good thing. If it spares them the embarrassment and provides them the reason/excuse to participate in the policy discussion instead of saying the science must (must!) be wrong, then progress will have been made. That it might stick in my throat a bit is neither here nor there.

  29. BBD says:

    I don’t think lukewarmers think that they are wrong.

  30. BBD says:

    Speaking only for myself, as a former ‘lukewarmer’, it was essentially denialism. Selective blanking of rather a lot of the relevant evidence on sensitivity.

    I knew what answer I wanted.

  31. jsam says:

    They don’t need to recognise their problem. Lots of people change without ever admitting there was a problem in the first place. Their lack of self-awareness is amusing but is not the issue. Having them inside the test pissing out has value.

  32. dana1981 says:

    It’s also important to note that, depending how you define the term, even the low sensitivity scenario would require more significant mitigation efforts than most “Lukewarmers” support if we want to maintain a “tolerably tepid” climate. Of course I think most “Lukewarmers” would define rather dangerously hot climates as “tolerably tepid” due to their cognitive biases – those same biases being the reason they’re “Lukewarmers” to begin with.

    One problem I’ve always had with Tamsin’s writing is that she often doesn’t define her terms, so her comments can be interpreted in a lot of different ways. This being a perfect example, with “Lukewarmers” seeming totally reasonable until you actually drill down to figure out exactly what her terms mean and what she’s saying, i.e. it doesn’t just boil down to what you believe the true ECS range is, or how much mitigation you favor, but also how much climate change you’re willing to accept. To be fair, she does ask that question at the very end, but in a very vague way.

  33. BBD says:

    jsam

    Having them inside the test pissing out has value.

    I understand this, but the problem is that the lukewarmers want to move the tent.

  34. BBD says:

    TE

    Non-linear feedbacks may mean that a liner fit is not the most informative way of looking at temperature evolution over this century.

    Surface temperatures are arguable more robust than satellite reconstructions of TLT.

    And why this fixation with Hansen’s obsolete Model2 runs from long ago?

  35. Eli is not Concerned, he is Scared Shitless.

    Where I live, there are many rabbits ( no relation ).
    There are also many hawks, which prey on the rabbits.
    Also, there are many hot air balloonists.

    When the balloonists are overhead, rabbits in an open field will
    frantically race around in a circle because they cannot distinguish
    a benign occurrence ( the balloon ) from a real threat ( the hawk ).

    I hope we are wiser.

  36. Michael 2 says:

    jsam writes “If it spares them the embarrassment…”

    I am not embarrassed either way. That is a weakness of an emotional person. Shame, guilt, embarrassment — I have very little of any of those kinds of things nor can I be manipulated by these things. Your mileage obviously varies.

    “and provides them the reason/excuse to participate in the policy discussion”

    It is not necessary, nor even useful, to seek your approval before engaging in policy discussions; it is a feature of any western democracy.

  37. andrew adams says:

    And that’s because the Earth’s sensitivity to carbon dioxide is still an open question. Are we destined for dangerous warming, or could we still keep things tolerably tepid?

    The problem I have with the framing of this question is that I don’t think CS is the determining factor here, it’s more to do with policy. If we have sudden and dramatic reductions in emissions then we may indeed keep things “tolerably tepid”, but that’s hardly likely so even on lower credible estimates of CS we are heading for dangerous warming.

    Of course “dangerous” doesn’t mean certainty of bad consequences, merely the possibility, and people might disagree on the likelihood of harm, but it’s the outright dismissal of that possibility which makes the lukewarmer position so lacking in credibility. And I wouldn’t give any more credit for accepting CO2 is a GHG or that human activity is partly responsible for recent warming than I would for accepting the moon landings weren’t faked.

  38. BBD says:

    M2

    That is a weakness of an emotional person. Shame, guilt, embarrassment — I have very little of any of those kinds of things nor can I be manipulated by these things.

    That’s oddly reassuring. YMMV.

  39. jsam says:

    People have emotions. Not having the sense you list is the weakness.

    The faux sceptics I deal with don’t discuss policy. They deny it’s happening. They’re conspiracy theorists. If they stop that idiocy, under almost any pretext, and they start discussing policy that’s good.

  40. And why this fixation with Hansen’s obsolete Model2 runs from long ago?

    It’s important for policy makers to recall how poor the guidance can be.

  41. BBD says:

    jsam

    All you will get is this (from Tamsin’s article):

    But they differ from mainstream views because they’re not convinced there’s a substantial risk that future warming could be large or its impacts severe, or that strong mitigation policies are desirable.

    By any other name…

  42. Surface temperatures are arguable more robust than satellite reconstructions of TLT.

    Yep – more strongly represented by a linear trend, anyway.

    But all measurements are of trends less than the low end projections.

  43. Non-linear feedbacks may mean that a liner fit is not the most informative way of looking at temperature evolution over this century.

    Which feedbacks are you expecting to accelerate? and why?

  44. BBD says:

    TE

    It’s important for policy makers to recall how poor the guidance can be.

    How was Hansen’s input to policy-making ‘poor guidance’?

    Decades later, nothing significant has changed.

  45. BBD says:

    Which feedbacks are you expecting to accelerate? and why?

    WV, carbon cycle.

    Because it’s getting hotter.

  46. Eddie,
    I think the implication was that our emissions might accelerate.

  47. jsam says:

    OT, but amusing.
    SOCIOPATH LACK OF CONSCIENCE, LACK OF REMORSE, GUILT OR SHAME
    http://datingasociopath.com/2013/03/25/sociopath-lack-of-conscience-lack-of-remorse-guilt-or-shame/

  48. dana1981 says:

    But all measurements are of trends less than the low end projections.

    That’s because you’re comparing them to projections from a model with 4.2°C ECS. Why not use Hansen’s 1981 model instead, for example? It’s earlier and has an ECS more comparable to today’s models. But its projections were also quite accurate, which is inconvenient if you’re trying to disparage climate models and their usefulness.
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/lessons-from-past-predictions-hansen-1981.html

    Or for a wide variety of such comparisons, read my book.
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2015/feb/23/climatology-versus-pseudoscience-new-book-checks-whose-predictions-have-been-right

  49. Eddie, I think the implication was that our emissions might accelerate.

    Emissions->Accumulations->Forcing

    Since Forcing is 5.35*ln( C/C0 ),
    Accumulations must accelerate exponentially just to maintain a linear increase in Forcing.
    Uptake also increasing, so Emissions must increase at an even faster rate to maintain linear forcing rates.

    But wait…

    Emissions were flat in 2014.

    Could emissions increase again? Sure!

    But global interest rates ( something grumpy old persons think about ) being at millenial lows
    is telling us something: the global economy is likely to suck for a long time, largely because
    the global population is more and more made of of grumpy old people. Emissions would appear likely to be limited by the same factors.

  50. John L says:

    As BBD already cited:

    “Lewis is trusted by the wider contrarian community, and he’s one of those helping to replace the name-calling with numbers, the polarisation with probabilities, rants with research.”

    This is very naive, is there really any evidence that he is trying to counter the name-calling and polarisation? Lets not forget his recent hard words against Marotzke&Foster 2015 which I understood in the end were shown to largely be a bunch of misunderstandings on his side of how to do physical modelling. Which he never acknowledged, leaving people with an incorrect view… Presented at “Climate Audit” of all places… And being on the board of GWPF…. I actually prefer the rants to the cherry-picked numbers, because then it is more obvious what it is about 🙂

    And lets not forget that this talk about ECS is rather abstract and risks becoming cliché-ish. There is a very long way from an equilibrium sensitivity number to some actual consequences measured in money, in human health or similar. It matters how long time it will take to reach the equilibrium and you have to consider things like how sensible extreme weather statistics is to changes in global mean temperature. We have ocean acidification and carbon cycle feedbacks, etc.

  51. Richard says:

    Hi, the point about taking a precautionary approach (rather than accepting at face value lukewarmers probably false mean on ECS) was surely not lost on TE, which is why her article concluded as follows …

    “But whether we are in denial, lukewarm or concerned about global warming, the question boils down to how we view uncertainty. If you agree with mainstream scientists, what would you be willing to do to reduce the predicted risks of substantial warming? And if you’re a lukewarmer, confident the Earth is not very sensitive, what would be at risk if you were wrong?”

    That puts the challenge squarely back in the lukewarmers court. Firm but not as robust as you (on this thread) are demanding. Did everyone read that before before reaching for ‘TE is too nice’ meme?

    The context is important. The Observer newspaper had a climate special with 11 articles including one from Lord Stern, and another from Kofi Annan. I suspect TE was commissioned to write something to reach out to the lukewarmers. But I did not read it has her giving them a get out of jail free card.

  52. BBD says:

    jsam

    Similar mileage then.

  53. Re: “Are we destined for dangerous warming, or could we still keep things tolerably tepid?”

    Yes; “destined for dangerous warming” makes it appear like we have no control, it’s just fate: while “or could we still keep things tolerably tepid”, makes the possibility of low sensitivity seem like something within our control. As you say, ATTP, it’s completely the wrong way round. If I was re-writing the sentence to be accurate I’d say, “Are we creating dangerous warming, or could we get lucky and see things stay tolerably tepid.”

    As for ‘The Concerned’: is Tamsin trying to be too nice to everybody? ‘The Alarmed’ is more accurate (noting the big difference between that and the insult, ‘Alarmists’). As for Lukewarmers, I prefer to call them ‘The Complacents’.

    Only in the last para did Tamsin get it almost right…

    But whether we are in denial, lukewarm or concerned about global warming, the question really boils down to how we view uncertainty. If you agree with mainstream scientists, what would you be willing to do to reduce the predicted risks of substantial warming? And if you’re a lukewarmer, confident the Earth is not very sensitive, what would be at risk if you were wrong?

    …Except I’d add the word ‘irrationally’ before ‘confident’ in the last sentence.

  54. Joshua says:

    I thought we all agreed to call them luckwamers? 🙂

    Anyway, yeah. This:

    -==> “Are we destined for dangerous warming, or could we still keep things tolerably tepid?”

    …assumes the oft’ found “skeptic” CAGW strawman – which lays out a framework where anyone who thinks that there is a risk of harmful climate change as the result of BAU becomes someone who thinks that such an outcome is our “destiny.”

    The very core of the “mainstream” scientific argument is one of probabilities of dangerous warming, not that were are “destined” for dangerous warming.

    If Tamsin thinks that the path forward includes better dialogue with “skeptics,” that’s fine, but if that effort entails employing the same facile arguments that “skeptics” use, I don’t see how there will be any benefit.

  55. MIchael Hauber says:

    ‘The lukewarmers don’t deny climate change. But they say the outlook’s fine ‘

    Even if climate sensitivity is 1.5 degrees, is the outlook fine? What will happen to our hydrological cycle? What ecological disruption could occur? How much farming productivity might be lost? How will the ocean life react to the change in ph?

    I’m not sure many lukewarmers actually hold this view point, but holding up this viewpoint as a credible position in the climate debate is bad.

    I also find the graphic to be quite odd. Surely the yellow shading between 0 and 1 should be interpreted as a small but significant number of mainstream scientists believe in a climate sensitivity below 1, which to me is nonsense.

  56. anoilman says:

    Turbulent Eddie: What are you doing here? Seriously. You actually think climate scientists predict volcanoes, weather, and the all variances in the solar cycle.

    Anything you say has to be garbage in light of the Ouija Board logic to apply. I note that you refused to respond when I demanded you back up your beliefs.

    Again, here’s Foster Rahmstorf;
    http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/6/4/044022

  57. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Thanks for stepping up and posting your critique — definitely a candidate for reposting on SkS.

  58. John Hartz says:

    Here’s what keeps me awake at night…

    The planned curbs in greenhouse gas emissions by the nations of the world fall well short of what is required to avoid global average temperatures exceeding the “danger limit” of 2C this century, a report has warned.

    An analysis of the pledges made by countries attending the climate summit in Paris this December has found that the promised reductions as they stand will still exceed the amount of greenhouses gases widely considered to breach of the safe threshold, it says.

    The authors of the report have called on nations to be more ambitious in their promises for reductions of the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that scientists have found are largely responsible for the rise on global average temperatures over recent decades.

    The analysis by the Grantham Research Institute and the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy at the London School of Economics found serious shortcomings in what countries have suggested for their future annual emissions, and what is actually needed as the basis of an international treaty in Paris – widely considered the most important climate summit yet.

    Planned curbs in greenhouse gas emissions won’t prevent global warming ‘danger limit’ being reached, warns report by Steve Connor, The Independent, May 5, 2015

    Meanwhile Tasmin Edwards spoons out feel-good pablum to the general public.

  59. Windchasers says:

    I’m with Rachel here. I think this is a positive (at least for the human race), as for many of these folks, it shifts the Overton Window in a favorable way, from outright to denial to just lukewarming.

    It allows them to gradually shift their position and save face.

    But I see that others disagree. So I guess the question is this: will this shift the overall population’s average guess at climate sensitivity up or down?

  60. Richard,

    That puts the challenge squarely back in the lukewarmers court. Firm but not as robust as you (on this thread) are demanding. Did everyone read that before before reaching for ‘TE is too nice’ meme?

    That is a fair point. I once tried asking Nic Lewis the same question as Tamsin asked at the end of the article. I didn’t get an answer. I don’t really understand what Tamsin means by

    the question really boils down to how we view uncertainty.

    When we have only one chance, I’m not sure that there is more than one way to view uncertainty. As Victor pointed out, the Lukewarmer position is a little like someone arguing that they’ll probably throw a 6 just because they might throw a 6.

  61. Windchaser,

    It allows them to gradually shift their position and save face.

    I broadly agree with this too. I’m just not sure why they need to be patted on the back while they slowly move closer and closer to an actually credible scientific position.

  62. Richard says:

    I understand the point. But is it just possible that TE is extremely smart not just at the science but at the use of constructive ambiguity (to be contrasted with ramming one’s position down someone’s throat)? After all, despite many who claim we can separate the science from our values, our politics, the truth is that on something so huge and interconnected as AGW, everyone is now a negotiator in some form. We need more than the science to get to where we need to. After all, in a completely different context (but one involved diametrically opposed positions), the process that led to peace in Northern Ireland involved just such used of constructive ambiguity to navigate opposed positions, to reach a sometimes messy but positive consensus. We are missing that consensus today in terms of the whole population, and the steps it must take to avoid dangerous AGW. Why wouldn’t we try many ways to achieve it? Fossil fuel protests, great, Paris, great and why not TE’s way. Give her a break guys. We are all on the same side.

  63. Richard,

    But is it just possible that TE is extremely smart not just at the science but at the use of constructive ambiguity (to be contrasted with ramming one’s position down someone’s throat)?

    Yes, quite possibly.

    After all, despite many who claim we can separate the science from our values, our politics, the truth is that on something so huge and interconnected as AGW, everyone is now a negotiator in some form.

    Indeed, but as Michael Tobis pointed out on Twitter, this recent article would seem to be slightly at odds with Tamsin’s earlier one where she argued that scientists should not advocate.

  64. Richard says:

    Good catch! I rather like the Schneider approach that Gavin Schmidt used in his AGU talk a while back, namely, being quite explicit about when and where one is talking about “Is” (the science), “Ought” (your values) and “Should” (ones advocacy), and on the latter there is responsible and irresponsible advocacy. So long as scientists are clear about the boundaries (and the relationships, because after all, ‘is’ informs ‘should’), why shouldn’t scientists be part of the discussion. You agree, I know. But we can hardly argue with TE if she is saying that ‘should’ is a difficult place for climate scientists in the current ‘climate’. But she is asking ‘should like’ questions.

  65. izen says:

    The TE article may provide a face-saving path for denialists to make the journey in stages of denial, from –
    ‘It definately not warming.’
    To –
    ‘Its definately warming, but climate sensitivity is so low that the effects will be tolerably tepid.
    Or hardly noticeable and will only need small adaptions.

    @-M2
    It is not only shame, guilt or embarrassment that drives people to change their views to conform with social norms or mainstream science.
    Its utility.

    The problem with this ‘Lukewarmer’ position is that whatever ECS or TCR or any other acronym may be, we have ALREADY reached tolerably tepid. For anyone over 40 years old, the warmest years of your youth were ALL colder than the coldest years of the last couple of decades. There is NO overlap! It is unlikely this has been true for any other generation in the Holocene. (the rate of warming during the A1 meltwater pulse or the recovery from the Younger Dryas may be exceptions)

    The warming that has already occurred is having impacts to which we are struggling to adapt. Climate extremes, droughts floods and storms are up, sea level rise is inexplorable and accelerating, the collapse of the ocean ecologies and acidification continue…

    This is the problem with the ‘Lukewarmer’ position. It rejects the need for significant emission controls because the future warming will only be small and not catastrophic.
    But we are lukewarm already and there are significant impacts now.

  66. Andrew Dodds says:

    M2 –

    Shame, guilt, and embarrassment are, in limited doses, useful emotions.

    They stop people having a s**t in the street. They stop people automatically taking stuff and harming others just because they can. They stop people making fools of themselves by claiming things that they can’t possibly back up.

    A person who lacks these emotions will have no problems with stealing everything they can get away with, lying at every opportunity, exploiting others and, of course, having a dump on their neighbor’s lawn. I’m not sure you should be claiming to be without these emotions..

  67. jsam says:

    aTTP, “I’m just not sure why they need to be patted on the back while they slowly move closer and closer to an actually credible scientific position.”

    Pour encourager les autres.

  68. verytallguy says:

    Just read the Graun article.
    This made me laugh:

    one of those helping to replace the name-calling with numbers, the polarisation with probabilities, rants with research.

    Contrast with Nic’s article at Climate Audit:

    The statistical methods used in the paper are so bad as to merit use in a class on how not to do applied statistics.
    All this paper demonstrates is that climate scientists should take some basic courses in statistics and Nature should get some competent referees.
    The paper is methodologically unsound and provides spurious results. No useful, valid inferences can be drawn from it. I believe that the authors should withdraw the paper.

    http://climateaudit.org/2015/02/05/marotzke-and-forsters-circular-attribution-of-cmip5-intermodel-warming-differences/

    Nic’s host at Climate Audit, however, needs an audit before deciding if schoolboy errors were made…

    Without handling the data in the precise form considered by M and F, I think that this discussion cannot proceed. I’ve written to Marotzke requesting that he provide his data as collated for statistical analysis, together with his script showing his statistical calculations. Hopefully, he will see the benefit of disseminating this information. I don’t propose to comment further without such data.

    http://www.climate-lab-book.ac.uk/2015/marotzke-forster-response/#comment-447932

    Climateballers will appreciate the not so subtle snide from the Auditor.

    Rather than “replacing name-calling with numbers”, Nic rather seems to enjoy augmenting name-calling with numbers.

    Good luck to Tamsin with her rapprochement. She’ll need it.

  69. Andrew Dodds says:

    My general take on the Lukewarmer position..

    Imagine you are rolling dice. Your lukedicer comes along and claims that the next throw will be a 1 or a 2. Now – you may bet against them, but not too much because it’s not a crazy position (WUWTD is claiming it’ll land on it’s corner and balance).

    But they then extend this claim.. so they are now saying that 5 dice will ALL come down as a 1 or 2. In climate terms.. Sensitivity is at the lowest semi-plausible bound; sea level rise is at the lowest bound for that temperature rise; desertification is at the lowest plausible bound; permafrost; hurricanes – everything has the smallest possible impact for the temperature rise. Which is good for debates – you never have to claim outright falsehoods – but not something any gambling man would back..

  70. One thing I’ve noticed is that in all of Tamsin’s writings there is never even the slightest hint that she has any concern, other than concern that everyone has a fair hearing. It’s like she’s a parent trying to be fair and reasonable with squabbling children. It’s like she’s moderating discussion of a football match with heated and partisan supporters and she doesn’t have any interest other than keeping the peace. Never do I get any hint from her that what we’re arguing about is potentially—under the worse case scenario—existential. It’s as if climate science is some aspect of social history; you know, interesting, but not really consequential.

    Regarding this supposed continuum between those in denial, through “skeptics” and ‘lukewarmers’, to those who are alarmed: that’s bunk. There’s a simple, single clear fault line and it lies between those who see the potential for an existential threat and those who cannot recognise there’s even the smallest chance of catastrophe. As far as I’m concerned they’re all in denial. The question is, is Tamsin?

  71. GSR says:

    Anders wrote “I’m not sure why we should applaud people for not being completely wrong.”

    Tamsin Edwards (and Richard Betts as well) please note;
    SCIENCE DOES NOT HAND OUT PARTICIPATION AWARDS.
    Entertaining bad science is wildly antithetical to both of your professional roles. Stop it please.

  72. RB says:

    Being a cynic. TE is a young scientist who’s trying to make a name for herself. She’d be better employed publishing some papers rather than ingratiating herself with skeptics. IMHO.

  73. RB,
    To be fair, Tamsin’s academic record is pretty good, and there is more and more of an obligation to engage publicly if you’re an academic. So, I think it’s a good thing that Tamsin does so. In fact, I’d be quite pleased to see more doing so. I just think the general framing of the article was unfortunate (of course, that’s my view and others may disagree). Although, as Richard points out above, the ending did try and put the ball back in the Lukewarmers’s court and I should maybe have given some credit for that in my post.

  74. Andrew Dodds says:

    @RB

    Actually, if you want fame and adulation as a climate scientist (or an Economist at a place like sussex, for example) then going down the ‘Lukewarmer / Copenhagen Consensus / Auditor’ route is going to get you a lot further, a lot quicker, than actually doing new and innovative research in climate or the economics of climate. It is, of course, a one way street..

  75. I disagree with some of the characterisations of Tamsin Edwards as providing cover for climate change denial -at least intentionally. You all might be correct of course, but it seems to me she is trying to write what she believes to be a neutral, middle-of-the road perspective. I often feel her tone is like the polite, diplomatic dinner guest who makes peace between the two plus-ones who can’t get along.

    Perfectly fine and decent, but not much like the political world. In my experience, natural scientists are no less inclined than most people to think they understand all they need to about politics (I will never want for strangers telling me exactly how I should teach political science), and I wonder whether Edwards anticipated how hard it is to pull off ‘reasonable’ in this environment. Obviously nobody gets to keep control of their words once they’re in print and become grist to the political mills.

    I don’t see Edwards as trying to shift the Overton window -rather, in her attempts to avoid being ‘political’, she is actually a good reflection of where the Overton window is right now.

    I have a theory.

    Sensing the implications of this year’s El Nino, the smarter anti-mitigation people have started to move away from flat-earth Monckton-level denial, which will in due course become a noisy fringe in the echo chambers. But Lomborg’s style of argument will become more common, as it is much more sustainable if denying the temperature records makes you look silly.

    This process will shift the balance of debate a little towards explicit political/economic issues, rather than simple science denial -but my worry is that economics is way, way easier to obfuscate than climate science!

  76. jsam says:

    Tamsin may be incorporating some of the ideas from COIN.s “How to talk climate change with the centre-right”. They call it an election guide but it is more general than that.
    http://www.climateoutreach.org.uk/portfolio-item/election-guide/

  77. Mark,

    I disagree with some of the characterisations of Tamsin Edwards as providing cover for climate change denial -at least intentionally.

    Yes, I agree. There’s certainly no intent.

    I don’t see Edwards as trying to shift the Overton window -rather, in her attempts to avoid being ‘political’, she is actually a good reflection of where the Overton window is right now.

    That’s a good point. Rather than actively shifting it, Tamsin’s article broadly reflects where it is at the moment. The problem, though, is that there is probably no way to write such an article in a way this isn’t actually political, so it probably has some influence, even if the intent is to remain apolitical.

  78. “The problem, though, is that there is probably no way to write such an article in a way this isn’t actually political, so it probably has some influence, even if the intent is to remain apolitical.”

    No doubt!

    But it is equally true there is no way to write an article which the finely tuned senses of the blogosphere cannot sort into ‘for’ or ‘against’ in a flash…far faster than the ordinary public.

  79. But it is equally true there is no way to write an article which the finely tuned senses of the blogosphere cannot sort into ‘for’ or ‘against’ in a flash…far faster than the ordinary public.

    Yes, another good point. I do have to remind myself that much of what goes on in the blogosphere is largely invisible to the broader public. That is probably one reason for my lack of enthusiasm for Tamsin’s article. Having encountered supposed Lukewarmers who promote Salby or anything else that minimises anthropogenic emissions and having encountered supposed Lukewarmers who are happy to throw about labels and insults when it suits them, makes it hard to see this article as properly representing their position. Of course, to the general public, it may seem completely reasonable.

  80. Richard says:

    @GSR shouting in capitals is never attractive, particularly when it is making personal attacks on scientists engaged in good faith on this terribly difficult issue. PLEASE STOP IT 🙂

    I imagine those criticising the piece would explode in frustration if they read “why we disagree about climate change” by Mike Hulme, an analysis of cultural, historical and other factors alongside the physical reality. His position, as a great leader in climate science, is that if success if measured by getting everyone to agree on the science, we will fail.

    He believes that the issues are so broad and complex that we need a more inclusive, more nuanced conversation than that. Well beyond anything that TE was attempting in that short piece.

    He concludes the book by saying “… let us recognise that the sources of our disagreement about climate change lie deep within us, in our values and in our sense of identity and purpose … Our engagement with climate change and the disagreements that it spawns should always be a form of enlightenment.”

    I often find enlightenment on ATTP!

  81. BBD says:

    Mark Ryan

    The reason the Overton Window is in the wrong place at the moment is because of the deniers / ‘sceptics’ and lukewarmers and their political enablers on the right who have shifted it there.

    It is difficult – not impossible, but hard – not to perceive TE’s approach as inappropriately generous to those who will simply abuse that generosity for their own ends. Some would argue that the Overton Window needs to be returned to a more appropriate position and the only way to do that is by vigorously opposing insidiously dangerous misrepresentations like lukewarmerism.

  82. BBD says:

    Mark Ryan

    I should add that Tamsin’s endorsement of Nic Lewis really stuck in my craw. Presenting NL as the calm voice of reason when he so clearly is not shows either that TE is worryingly blind to where NL is coming from, or that she has deliberately misrepresented him as a force for good. Either way, it rather destroys the credibility of the article.

  83. OJohnsen says:

    What is “the lukewarmer position”?
    Is it saying:
    1) My view of the available data and theories is that climate sensitivity is most probably in the very low end of the spectre showed by the different papers on the subject.
    Or is it
    2) It is certainly in that very low end.
    I think many “lukewarmers” are unclear about this, because of the political consequences.
    It seems to me that many “lukewarmers” hold this position (lukewarmer) for a political reason, that is, they dont like mitigation politics.
    From a risk management point of view, if you hold position 1) it is still wiser to go for some kind of mitigation policy. If you hold position 2), not so.
    But while position 1) is scientifically defendable, position 2) is not.
    Being unclear about their actual position, the lukewarmers try to be both scientifically sound and politically against mitigation. Which is, in my view, impossible.
    Are these distinctions to simplifying?

  84. GSR says:

    @Richard. Tamsin’s easy accommodation of “Luke Warmers” has policy consequences.
    http://judithcurry.com/2015/05/05/follow-up-questions-re-my-recent-house-testimony/

  85. verytallguy says:

    GSR,

    Judith’s position is simply that of a policy advocate, operating outside of her own strongly espoused principles of advocacy.

    climate scientists should avoid advocacy related to public policy related to climate science research findings.

    See also

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/curry-for-dinner/

    I don’t think Tamsin Edwards is comparable in any way to Judith Curry.

  86. izen says:

    @-Richard
    “I imagine those criticising the piece would explode in frustration if they read “why we disagree about climate change” by Mike Hulme, an analysis of cultural, historical and other factors alongside the physical reality. His position, as a great leader in climate science, is that if success if measured by getting everyone to agree on the science, we will fail.”

    Some of us exploded with annoyance at the whole Post-Neo-Modernism nonsense from the Foucault-Ravetz-Hulme school of crap long ago.
    It was used against Evolutionary Biology by those arguing that “an analysis of cultural, historical and other factors alongside the physical reality.” – which is mere methodological Naturalism is required to decide whether we share a common ancestor with Chimps. Or whether such a transition requires more than contingent processes.
    Arrrgh!

    @-“He believes that the issues are so broad and complex that we need a more inclusive, more nuanced conversation than that. “… let us recognise that the sources of our disagreement about climate change lie deep within us, in our values and in our sense of identity and purpose … ”

    And at the trivial political level he is right.
    WHAT we do about a metre of sea level rise, expanding droughts and a disrupted agricultural system causing famine and political disruption undoubtedly will be a matter of disagreement that will need a more nuanced and inclusive conversation. Our responses to these changes will reveal the values and deep sense of identity…

    However none of this socio-political neo-post-moderne semiotics will have any effect at all on the physical reality of the sea level rise and climate change. And it always seems to be peddled by religionists?

    And when and who elected Mike Hulme to “His position, as a great leader in climate science,”
    I am always suspicious of ‘Great Leaders’….-grin-

  87. Willard says:

    > Some of us exploded with annoyance at the whole Post-Neo-Modernism nonsense from the Foucault-Ravetz-Hulme school of crap long ago.

    A good way to implode back in is to distinguish Hulme’s approach, which might belong to what Ian Hacking calls an historical ontology and Ravetz’, which belongs to the Kuhnian framework, something that looks more like a rational reconstruction than a sociological description.

    Both approaches have merits. They provide useful tools to do some philosophy of science. Don’t hire carpenters who blame their tools for not getting the job done.

    Uninformed dismissiveness leads to self-undoing.

  88. Eli Rabett says:

    Tamsin Edwards is Roger Pielke Jr. in training with a couple of good papers to her name. She is a careerist just like Roger, just a bit younger.

  89. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    Edwards:

    But, perhaps surprisingly in this charged debate where to question scientific evidence on global warming sees you branded idiotic, nefarious, or both, the scientific community is listening to lukewarmers.

    Listening, perhaps. Agreeing? Not so much.

    Show me the data.

    Edwards mostly discusses the finer points of climate-science identity-politics – but with this:

    But whether we are in denial, lukewarm or concerned about global warming, the question really boils down to how we view uncertainty.

    she reveals that she thinks that “the question” is about degrees of belief, or the subtleties of personal epistemic weighting. In this sense, Edwards is playing the same sophomoric word-games as Curry.

    Watching people stake out their preferred belief-territories can make for fascinating psychology.

    But it’s mind-numbingly boring when compared with real-world events – you know – like the dawn of the anthropocene epoch.

    Not that it matters what I believe – – but I’m with Eli.

  90. Eli Rabett says:

    Ravetz never figured out which end was up. What he described as post normal science, uncertainty, value loading, and a plurality of legitimate perspectives, is really pre-normal science, and the problem emerges at the interface when a strong scientific consensus has emerged but it has not percolated into the public and policy areas. Indeed, when policy positions cannot be accommodated with the scientific consensus there is a strong push back to recapture the uncertainty. They are characterized by a need for action which threatens major industries. Among them have been tobacco, air and water pollution, cfcs, climate change.

    The Jerry Ravetz’s and Tamsin Edwards of the world make careers acting as property transfer agents between science and policy makers. Attempts from either side of the gulf to contact the other directly without paying the toll threaten their magic moments,

    It is important to recognize that controversies where the second major economic interests are lacking have not become poster kids except as clubs to beat the scientific consensus with. There is considerable choosing up side in the Pre Normal Science stage before the scientific consensus emerges, but beyond a few bitter enders they do not take hold although they remain within rejectionist communities. DDT, not being tied to a large industrial complex, the chemical manufacturers had better things to do, was dragged out only as a distraction for the tobacco companies by Roger Bate and by Bjorn Lomborg supporting the fossil fuel industry’s opposition to legislation regulating CO2 emissions.

  91. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    To hell with “Lukewarmism”:

    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/two-degrees-of-global-warming-is-not-safe/6444698

    Hansen on the 2 degree C limit:


    2 degrees is actually a prescription for disaster. That’s well understood by the scientific community.

    We know that the prior interglacial period about 120,000 years ago – it’s called the Eemian – was less than 2 degrees C warmer than pre-industrial conditions and sea level was a least 6 to 8 metres higher, so it’s crazy to think that 2 degrees Celsius is safe limit.

    The only thing you can argue is that, well, it might take a while for the sea level to rise that much, but we know that it would happen because once the fossil fuels are burned to reach that level they are not taken out of the systems for millennia, and it does not require millennia for the ice sheets to disintegrate.

    That number (2 degrees) was chosen because it was convenient and thought that well that will give us a few decades so we can set targets for the middle of the century.

    Actually what the science tells us is we have an emergency, this is actually a global crisis and the science for that is crystal clear. It’s not obvious to the public because the climate system responds slowly, the ocean is 4 kilometres deep, these ice sheets are 3 kilometres thick. They only respond over timescales of decades to centuries, but once the processes are started it’s going to be extremely difficult if not impossible to stop them.

    So what the science actually tells us is that we should reduce emissions as fast as practical, bearing in mind the economic consequences, but in fact the actions that are necessary are not economically harmful. You just have to make the prices of fossil fuels honest…. instead of subsidising them.

    Hansen on the IPCC’s sea-level rise predictions:


    The paleoclimate evidence indicates the ice sheets are much more sensitive than the glaciologist, the modellers of ice sheets have indicated and furthermore we now have satellite data over the last 12 years that confirms that ice sheet disintegration is a non-linear process that should not have been surprising, and I have been saying that for 10 years, but now this satellite data confirms that.

    The ice sheets are losing mass faster and faster with a doubling the of about 10 years. If that continues, we would get sea-level rises of several metres within 40 to 50 years.

    The consequences are almost unthinkable. It would mean that all coastal cities would become dysfunctional, some parts of the cities would still be sticking above the water but they would not be habitable, so the economic implications are incalculable. We really cannot go down that path, this is an issue of intergenerational injustice, it’s a moral issue…

  92. BBD says:

    The Very Rev

    To hell with “Lukewarmism”

    Amen.

  93. Joseph says:

    Of course “dangerous” doesn’t mean certainty of bad consequences, merely the possibility, and people might disagree on the likelihood of harm

    I like to make the analogy that it is like playing Russian roulette with the climate. A grand experiment that will tell us if we can pump large volumes of CO2 into the atmosphere without causing negative consequences to our climate and society. The lukewarmers seem to not be worried about the bullet and think we should let the experiment continue.

  94. Willard says:

    > Ravetz never figured out which end was up. What he described as post normal science, uncertainty, value loading, and a plurality of legitimate perspectives, is really pre-normal science, and the problem emerges at the interface when a strong scientific consensus has emerged but it has not percolated into the public and policy areas. Indeed, when policy positions cannot be accommodated with the scientific consensus there is a strong push back to recapture the uncertainty. They are characterized by a need for action which threatens major industries. Among them have been tobacco, air and water pollution, cfcs, climate change.

    Right on, Eli. One might also go even further than that and hypothesize that normal science is a myth that was more plausible during the awakening of the military-industrial complex, i.e. at the time the United States had 80% of the world’s money. In other words, Kuhn’s view of science is tainted by its historical origin. However, to see that, one needs something like a genealogy:

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/foucault/#4.3

    If one prefers the analytical route:

    ClimateBall ™ should remain our way to celebrate our violent agreements.

  95. matt says:

    > ” Lewis would put his money on the low end. “I think one can probably say one to three degrees,” he said, with a 10% chance it’s outside that range.” (Edwards)

    If Judith is consistent, she will unleash the uncertainty monster on this one.

  96. matt says:

    Not a terrible article, but 5 mentions of Lewis (no other scientist/paper gets a mention) seems a bit rich. Why not mention the other end of the spectrum (just once)?

    Also, “They agree carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, that the world is warming….”. How is this even worthy of comment (especially from someone like Tamsin). Appropriate response is

  97. verytallguy says:

    Matt,

    If Judith is consistent…

    Oh my sides!

  98. RB says:

    A few small points. Seems to me that TE article might not say anything very incisive and may be full of intellectual holes….but it does get you noticed. The likes of Mike Hulme have made whole careers out of this! FWIW I hope that she builds a credible research career first.

    Also. The lukewarm position seems to be the clever sceptic’s position now. But as others have pointed out even if sensitivity was on the low side it still means that we are in for a rough ride. I mean less than 1 degree warming has produced significant changes in biological and other earth systems,

  99. Richard says:

    @izen – I guess I poked a stick into the hornets nest!!

    I don’t think anyone suggested that the physical basis was at all dependent on your values (although what scientists select to study could be dependent on values, how they do the science should not). Mike Hulme was a founding Director of the Tyndall Centre, and has a pretty impressive CV, and decades thinking about this! I recognise that as leadership, or irrefutable wisdom! [what is this with putting people down?]

    I think that if you (‘one’) wanted to engage more widely than perhaps the small self-selecting readers of a blog (any blog), then it is worth asking where would you start and how would you finish?

    While, I do believe that there is a kind of empowerment for the general public to have some understanding of the physical basis, is that the best place to start, and would you really spend your hour showing Keeling Curves, Vostok core results, IPCC scenario projections, etc.?

    Here are 3 examples of how to navigate science and values:

    – Gavin Schmidt in his 2013 AGU talked “What should a climate scientist advocate for?” muses on the ‘Is’, ‘Ought’, ‘Should’ dimensions (it certainly does not spend the whole talk on ‘Is’). Is ‘Ought’ and ‘Should’ really “trivial”? He says regarding advocacy that we must always be vigilant, because no one is value free … “… and if you spend your time assuming that anyone who disagrees with you about policy is just idiot because they don’t follow the science, right, then that is an error”.

    – Johan Rockstrom’s TED talk is all about positive action – what we can do. It is about mitigation and adaptation strategies. This is meant to inspire action and takes it as read that climate warming is real and a clear danger. i.e. don’t engage on ECS for example, engage with those wanting strategies and tools to make a difference.

    – Katharine Hayhoe, who is quite open about how important religion is to her, believes that you should start with values, then talk about the science (but not too much). She is looking in her scientific work at local/ regional impacts (her ‘Is’), and this naturally leads to the values (‘ought’) conversation with local communities (people are interested).

    [there you go … a few more names to take pot shots at 🙂 ]

    Do Gavin, Johan and Katharine spend their time trying to convince Matt Ridley that he is an Irrational Optimistic w.r.t. ECS, or whatever? No. Because they are working around him and (get this) one of a minority of people [albeit high profile] who think there is not a significant problem.

    If you had 1 hour and a village hall full of – can we call them educated lay-people – what would you do with that precious hour? Where would you start and where would you finish?

    Is that all too trivial to worry about? Shall we just convince ourselves that everyone else is either too stupid, or too accommodating, to be worthy of respect?

    COIN’s “How to talk climate change with the centre-right” mentioned earlier (link earlier repeated here http://www.climateoutreach.org.uk/portfolio-item/election-guide/ ) is an example of a practical tool for advocates wanting to navigate values. This may seem trivial to you, but I suspect if you really want to influence that hall of people, you may welcome this kind of tool-kit, as much as the important argument on ECS range.

    You never know … once you’ve engaged on the values you might be surprised and they might come back and show an interest in learning more about the science. There are many roads to Rome.

  100. Richard says:

    that should have been “not irrefutable wisdom”

  101. Richard,

    once you’ve engaged on the values you might be surprised and they might come back and show an interest in learning more about the science.

    I think you highlight the quandary I often find myself in. As a scientist, I feel that I should approach this primarily from a scientific perspective. Hence, I find the Lukewarmer position lacking in credibility because it ignores inconvenient evidence. Consequently, I find Lukewarmers being credited for not being completely wrong, a bit unfortunate.

    What you seem to be suggesting is that this is really a values issue and hence you start by appealing to people’s values and then you can try to bring in the science. That may well be an optimal way to communicate, it’s just not quite how I feel comfortable doing so.

  102. Richard says:

    I am working on a draft of how I would do it … I need to as I have just such a hall of intelligent lay people waiting for me in July. I may even share it beforehand so I can be shot down in flames by the supportive band of concerned brothers & sisters 🙂

  103. John Hartz says:

    Richard: Thank you for your insightful and thought-provoking commentary.

  104. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    Richard says:

    You never know … once you’ve engaged on the values you might be surprised and they might come back and show an interest in learning more about the science.

    Why play this “let-me-try-to-educate-you-on-the-science-by-engaging-on-the-values” game?
    It’s transparently patronizing, and unnecessary.
    Science stands or falls on its own merits.
    Besides, there is even less agreement on “the values” than on, say, the value of ECS.


    Shall we just convince ourselves that everyone else is either too stupid, or too accommodating, to be worthy of respect?

    Respecting people is all well and good – but some ideas are not worthy of respect.

    I mean, some ‘lukewarmers’ are still trying to talk up “climategate”, “the pause”, and (gasp! – hide the children!) “advocacy by scientists”.


    I am working on a draft of how I would do it … I need to as I have just such a hall of intelligent lay people waiting for me in July.

    Tell them the facts.
    Tell them what the science says.
    Tell them that a 2 C limit is a prescription for disaster.

    If you get loud applause at the end, then your talk probably needs more work.

  105. BBD says:

    Richard

    The values of many who deny the scientific evidence cannot be engaged with in good faith. Since a sincerely-held belief in the sanctity of the ‘free market’ is an immovable impediment to reason, I can see this approach failing with the very people one seeks to engage.

    Speaking personally, I have some sympathy with the Very Rev. The scientific insight into eg. climate sensitivity speaks clearly for itself and is a valuable, even vital component of understanding AGW and its probable consequences under BAU.

  106. John Hartz says:

    The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse:

    You state,

    Why play this “let-me-try-to-educate-you-on-the-science-by-engaging-on-the-values” game?
    It’s transparently patronizing, and unnecessary.
    Science stands or falls on its own merits.
    Besides, there is even less agreement on “the values” than on, say, the value of ECS.<

    Are you saying that the efforts of Pope Francis and other religious leaders throughout the world to convince the public that tackling climate change is a moral imperative are all for naught?

  107. We only get worked up about luckwarmers + ‘the ‘Complacents’ because many of them seem to have wheedled themselves into positions where they have a disproportionate opportunity to influence the uninformed general public by appearing to be, superficially, so reasonable. Note that we rarely now bother with the extreme end of denial, typified by such people as Monkton, as their message is self-evidently wacky and most of the reasonable general public are instinctively wary of their statements.

    The problem we alarmed have, is so few influential people writing mainstream newspaper columns mention the dangers of climate change. This leaves the coast open for the Bookers, Ridleys, Lawson and Lilley-types of the world to grab the climate message and distort it to their viewpoint. The only people left to address the real warning message are the odd scientist who is given the occasional opportunity and a few environmental and science correspondents who also ‘get it’.

    The question I ask is whether my perception is correct? For this is why I sense so much frustration amongst those who see us heading blindly for a cliff, while very few in positions of influence are actually raising the alarm. I mean, for chrissake, the UK has an election on (ICYMI) and climate change has hardly (if at all) been mentioned!

  108. @Richard.

    Whatever you do—and I agree with much of what The Very Reverend says—make sure you end up by explaining to people what a 2C, 4C and 6C increase will actually mean in practical terms with which people will identify. Link it to the effects we’re seeing already at 0.7C and then project into the future.

    Then you have to explain why they’ve not heard much about this on the news, because you’ll find people are going to say, “surely, They would have told us if it was going to be this bad”. Note the word ‘They’. Short-term thinking by people with power is key to understanding the politics of the issue.

  109. Johnrussel40, maybe Brigitte Nerlich could study this, but I would expect that your impression is wrong, except maybe in the USA. Most of the news on climate change might be wrong in detail, which bugs me as a scientists, but not of the wacky denial or lukewarm kind. You may get this impression because when you read a normal article, you hardly notice that it is normal, because it is normal. You notice the wacky outliers of Booker, Ridley, Lawson and co. Would be my guess.

  110. We have to bear in mind (as Richard pointed out) that the Guardian is promoting the whole climate change issue quite strongly and a good deal of the articles are very good. I think Victor is right that we notice the outliers more because they stand out, rather than because they’re necessarily particularly prominent.

  111. jsam says:

    I think I shall start calling them luckwarmers.

    By induction if Nic Lewis is one therefore the GWPF?

  112. Richard says:

    Rev … i agree on the 2C by the way. Africa would prefer a lower number. The UK is in a position (geographically) that helps feed complacency … a village hall in Kenya would warrant a different talk (or should we use the same mallet to beat up every audience?!).

    JH – Thanks. I guess the Pope is now also a target. How to make friends and influence people … comes to mind.

    JR40 – A naughty child gets naughtier if bad behaviour is instantly scolded (rewarded with attention)! But seriously, someone being wrong is not a reason to give them disproportionate, or even any, attention. Do we spend our time trying to convince conspiracy theorists that Kennedy was indeed shot from behind, and Newton’s laws easily accommodate the flick of the head in the ‘wrong’ direction? Why waste our time. The surveys indicate that especially the young and even the young conservatives are looking for action on climate change …

    BBD – “cannot be engaged with in good faith” … so I assume that means “don’t engage, ignore”. If that is your choice, it sounds perfectly sensible. But there are many others out there who could benefit from engagement. Which is why I never read anything Lomborg or Ridley or Lawson write any more. I have my health to consider after all.

    Lomborg et al are infuriating and get undue attention, but why add petrol to their fire? Can’t we move on past them? If Monckton is being jettisoned today by the mainstream LW conservatives, what is to stop others being sacrificed tomorrow? If there is a trend, it may be moving in the right direction.

    All I am saying is that giving them (the public) the science facts (caveated where necessary) is important but not enough … it is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for engagement and enlightenment.

  113. @Victor V. You might be right about mentions of climate change generally, but most of that is just reported factually as news pieces without any warning element about where we could be headed. When it comes to opinion, editorial and the weekly columnist-type pieces I would say it’s much more heavily weighted towards those with a ‘skeptical’ message. The Guardian is the only newspaper which probably bucks this trend but it’s read very much by an intellectual minority of the population and its readership is dwarfed by the popular press. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_newspapers_in_the_United_Kingdom_by_circulation

    But I could well be wrong, for the reasons you give.

  114. Johnrussel40, that could be, I do not read such editorial stuff much.

  115. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    John Hartz says:

    Are you saying that the efforts of Pope Francis and other religious leaders throughout the world to convince the public that tackling climate change is a moral imperative are all for naught?

    No.

    Personally, I’m thankful that the current Pope, for example, is paying attention.

    However, it is possible to concur with his Pope-ness on the urgency of confronting climate-related issues, but nevertheless suggest that he’s completely bonkers on just about everything else.

    There are reasons for that disjunction – reasons that may have something to do with the fact that it took the RC Church until 1758 to retract its ban on publications that argued for heliocentrism and until 1992 to exonerate Galileo…

    So – What I am saying is that the moral imperatives are conditional on matters of fact – i.e. the science.

    I’m just agreeing with what Hansen is saying.
    There is an emergency.
    If that position is called “alarmist” by some, then ‘mea cupla’.

    Sometimes yelling “fire” in a crowded theatre is a public service.

    The identity-politics rhetoric that keeps so many of the Very Concerned engaged in back-slapping and tone-trolling is all beside the point. Having a nice discussion about the essential characteristics of ‘Lukewarmism’ is beyond futile. Rearranging-the-deck-chairs-on-the-Titanic stuff, that is.

  116. BBD says:

    Well, what did you expect? News International is Murdoch, the Telegraph is owned by the Barclay brothers and the Daily Mail is edited by a free-market ideologue (Dacre) who is a mate of Lord Lawson.

  117. Willard says:

    > What you seem to be suggesting is that this is really a values issue

    The correlation between the lukewarm gambit and libertarian tendencies is hard to miss.

  118. verytallguy11 says:

    Willard, 

    are you suggesting that endorsement of a laissez-faire conception of free-market economics predicts rejection of climate science ?

  119. BBD says:

    Good grief VTG how can you say such things?

  120. BBD says:

    Richard

    BBD – “cannot be engaged with in good faith” … so I assume that means “don’t engage, ignore”

    Or challenge, vigorously. The trouble is, our free-market chums belief system is under existential threat from CC which tends to make them… impervious to reason.

  121. Could we stop the cheap Tamsin Edwards bashing?

    The cheap puns on her age. She has a PhD, that makes her an independent scientist. Typically they are the smartest ones. Older scientists just have had more time to build up a reputation and are thus given bigger opportunities.

    The cheap puns on her gender. Why else compare her with Judith Curry? There are so many male mitigation sceptics to chose from if you hold the wrong opinion that she is no longer in the science realm.

    There is also nothing that deserves a comparison with Roger Pielke Jr. I know of nothing that written by her that is comparable to terrible misleading nonsense Pielke wrote at FiveThirtyEight. I do not know of her editor having to release a public apology. And maybe reread the second opinion of Kerry Emanuel to remember how wrong Pielke was about the science, not just the framing.

    There is also nothing in the article to make you think she herself is a lukewarmer. Except for the title maybe, but I guess everyone knows that the author has no say in the title (I would love to change this bizarre tradition, because the title sets the tone and can change the impression of the article enormously, but for now it is what it is).

    In this article she in not communicating to you, but to the mitigation sceptics. I can image that you do not like the framing, but that is because this one is not for you. I happen to think that is futile to try to convince the most extreme 8% of dismissives and would focus on the other less vocal 92%, but there is no hard data on any communication strategy for specific audiences. Just some social scientists with big fast opinions only based on some correlations and lab experiments where people read a text once. Already for that reason I would say: everyone is free to chose their own communication strategy.

    Personally I do not only think it is futile, but that hanging out with the wrong kind of people is bad for you. Humans are social beings and you quickly pick up ideas from your surrounding without even noticing it. Even ideas that you consciously would know to be totally wrong. You start thinking about problems that you consciously know to be marginal (if you would think about it), but which your social environment is talking about. That may also explain some of the framing that we would not have chosen.

    Let’s try to stay civil, even if the motto is now “likhipa inhlanzi emanzini”.

  122. Victor,
    Yes, I agree. Thanks.

  123. BBD says:

    Victor V

    I have said nothing about TE’s age, gender or competence except that her endorsement of Nic Lewis was risible and wrong. When I write nonsense it is in blog comments. When TE does, it gets printed in the Guardian. With readership comes an obligation to get the facts straight.

  124. @The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

    When you say, “If that position is called “alarmist” by some, then ‘mea cupla’…”, are you aware of what ‘alarmist’ means?

    Alarmist: “A person who needlessly alarms others, as by spreading exaggerated rumors of impending danger.”

    That’s why I keep referring to the word as an insult. I think you are, in fact, ‘alarmed’.

  125. izen says:

    @-Richard says
    “I don’t think anyone suggested that the physical basis was at all dependent on your values”

    You have led a sheltered life…

    @-“Here are 3 examples of how to navigate science and values:…
    [there you go … a few more names to take pot shots at 🙂 ]
    Do Gavin, Johan and Katharine spend their time trying to convince Matt Ridley that he is an Irrational Optimistic w.r.t. ECS, or whatever? No.”

    I am quite familiar with those names, you missed out Hansen amongst others, and I would certainly not be taking pot-shots at them. Gavin I think has an especially clear perception of this issue. If you are unable to see the qualitative difference between the approach taken by Hulme and Gavin…

    As to tactics and strategy, there has been a role for rebuttal of the most egregious scientific nonsense put out by the Ridleys and Koonins as recently demonstrated by Andy Lacis. There is also good reason to avoid repeating the zombie memes to avoid reinforcing them.

    Trying to reshape the argument to be about values, can work, if only because it falsely flatters the individual by pretending they they act from ‘values’, rather than on need, interests and desires.

    @-“If you had 1 hour and a village hall full of – can we call them educated lay-people – what would you do with that precious hour? Where would you start and where would you finish?”

    Easy.
    I spend 5 minutes telling them that individuals discussing this in village halls may be an intellectual entertainment, but is irrelevant in affecting how society is going to act on this issue because large political and economic interests are the only players with any ability to carry out significant action. Even an individual with the weight of a religion behind him, is pretty much a policy irrelevance as the response to the Pope shows.

    Spend another 5 minutes pointing out that if they want to make money from the coming climate problems, divest from coal, invest in energy storage technologies and find a way to profit from the flood of refugees. Future climate disruption will make the current exodus from the Horn of Africa and Syria as a result of a drought and famine look small. A mere 6000 crossing the Med in a weekend? a few thousand along the N French coast Looking to get to the UK?
    Or if they are in the US, how to make money from several million refugees from S America and Asia.

    After 10 minutes, you can tell them to go home and do something meaningful and enjoyable with the remaining 50 minutes you have given them.

    (Of cause if it is a paid gig you might get complaints if you don’t play for the full hour…)

  126. Eli Rabett says:

    #AgreeableNicLewis

  127. John Hartz says:

    Accepting the scientific consensus about manmade climate change is not an “upper” for most people. That is why the majority of people would rather not even think about it. Bombarding them with scientific facts is not, by itself, going to move them to take action.

  128. verytallguy says:

    Victor said

    Could we stop the cheap Tamsin Edwards bashing?

    To those who may disagree with Victor, note that this is a warning as to how your comments read to others.

    Victor said

    everyone is free to chose their own communication strategy.

    It is worth noting that regardless as to whether you agree with Tamsin’s strategy, your own is not working to get mitigation policies implemented. Or perhaps you can point to somewhere that is implementing these?

  129. Richard writes: “A naughty child gets naughtier if bad behaviour is instantly scolded (rewarded with attention)! But seriously, someone being wrong is not a reason to give them disproportionate, or even any, attention.”

    Every time someone writes crap and is not called out on it, their audience thinks they must be right or have a point so damning there’s no answer for it. If they don’t have an audience or it’s limited to like-minded people (say like on WUWT, BH or Climate Etc.), then leave them alone in the muck. But when they do have a mainstream audience of the climate-uninformed, it has to be rebutted. Then the audience have all the facts.

    The fact one might have drawn more attention to the original article is unfortunate: this is not a perfect world.

  130. BBD says:

    vtg

    It’s not working because of the torrent of misinformation injected into the public discourse by individuals like NL, here modestly enabled by TE.

    If we are to make progress, it is IMO through a zero tolerance policy for bullshit and misinformation compared to which what you see now is astonishingly laissez-faire and excessively over-tolerant.

  131. verytallguy says:

    BBD,

    a zero tolerance policy is unenforceable.

    I’m not saying Tamsin is right (see my above on her adoration of Lewis), merely that I agree with Victor in that alternatives to your approach are worth exploring.

    How do you think someone unfamiliar with the blog reading your comment would feel about your opinion?

  132. John Hartz says:

    Izen:

    You state:

    Even an individual with the weight of a religion behind him, is pretty much a policy irrelevance as the response to the Pope shows.

    Please elaborate on what you mean and provide a couple of examples of the “responses to the Pope” that you have in mind.

    BTW, The Pope has yet to issue his Encyclical and by all accounts I have seen will continue to campagin for international action until the Paris conference convenes. Therefore, it is premature to judge how effective his initiative is at this point in time.

  133. BBD says:

    vtg

    How do you think someone unfamiliar with the blog reading your comment would feel about your opinion?

    This isn’t about me or my commentary here. Nor have I been intemperate upthread, so you may take this up with others.

    Right now, there is a self-destructive tendency for excessive politeness and reticence when it comes to responding to the misinformers. That needs to change or they will continue to distort the public discourse and so the political one until something is done about it.

    Consider other areas of public behaviour where attitudes have hardened considerably in recent years: eg. physical punishment of children. Attitude-shifts may not be universally enforcible but they happen and they work.

  134. verytallguy11 says:

    “Consider other areas of public behaviour where attitudes have hardened considerably in recent years: eg. physical punishment of children. ”

    interesting analogy. There are others: acceptance of same sex relationships, drink driving, smoking in public, etc.

    I’m not sure that any of these were effected by hardening language used against them, more by a far more gradual acceptance which eventually reached a tipping point.

  135. vtg,

    I’m not sure that any of these were effected by hardening language used against them,

    Except, I think it did become publicly embarassing to drink drive, etc. Maybe not quite the same as hardening language, but I do think it was more than just a gentle tipping point.

  136. anoilman says:

    In case anyone missed this at Skeptical Science;

    BBD: I am not polite to misinformers. (Why is Lucifer the Prince of Lies aka Turbulent Eddie still around here?)

  137. Brigitte says:

    Victor JohnRussell,
    Sorry I thought I had just left a comment, but was in hurry and must not have pressed right button. I haven’t done a systematic analysis of media representations across the ‘spectrum’. I have something coming out on various ‘labels’, but these of course don’t include ‘mainstream scientist’…. Hmmm, perhaps James Painter has some more info. As I am off work for a while I can’t do my usual quick media analysis of things, such as ‘lukewarmer’… which will be quite interesting. Only 50 articles or so since that label was first used in 2010 by Delingpole about Steven Mosher… I’ll see when I can get round to writing that up…

  138. It is normal for people to seek out a group – we wouldn’t have survived as a species if we didn’t.

    Unfortunately, though we share ideas, only dogma and indoctrination take place as a group.

    Reason remains a one brain at a time process.

  139. BBD says: “I have said nothing about TE’s age, gender or competence except that her endorsement of Nic Lewis”

    Then I was not talking about you. Although if you see this threat as “responding to the misinformers”, the I probably do mean you. Maybe my term “bashing” was a bit strong, but many other word choices on this page are also a bit strong.

    I agree with that Lewis does not sound like the best example of an improvement in the atmosphere in the climate “debate”. Whether Lewis is, however, still a nice chap is a matter of opinion. Something we can legitimately disagree without comparing people to Pielke Jr.

    It would be nice if newspapers would ask Earth First half of the time for a second opinion rather than the GWPF. Even better, just ask scientists for a second opinion, like newspapers do for any other science topic.

    If I had a zero tolerance policy, I would have to respond (almost?) every article in the mainstream media on topics where I am somewhat knowledgeable.

    Let’s save our testosterone for the real problematic cases.

    Even an individual with the weight of a religion behind him, is pretty much a policy irrelevance as the response to the Pope shows.

    No one is almighty, but I have the feeling that a clear statement from the Pope does make a difference. Even if the Catholic church and almost any other Church outside of the USA is already convinced that climate change is a serious problem.

  140. verytallguy11 says:

    ATTP,

    I think perhaps the public embarrassment may have followed the change in attitude, rather than driven it.

  141. vtg,
    Okay, that’s possible.

  142. BBD says:

    VV

    If I had a zero tolerance policy, I would have to respond (almost?) every article in the mainstream media on topics where I am somewhat knowledgeable.

    Let’s save our testosterone for the real problematic cases.

    I haven’t been clear: I meant a zero-tolerance attitude to the real problematic cases, those with public heft, not every paranoid nutter out there.

  143. BBD says:

    One must ask how – exactly – did certain behaviours become unacceptable if not for a hardening in public attitudes? Such a hardening involves *zero tolerance* which is what I suggested above.

    Somebody added this ‘hardening of the language‘ bit in later.

  144. John Hartz says:

    Bearing directly on thie issue of how best to communicate the need to take action on manmade climate change…

    Last month, the White House circled back to the issue of health problems. “There are a whole host of public health impacts that are going to hit home,” Obama said at a Washington, D.C., event focused on climate change. “All of our families are going to be vulnerable. You can’t cordon yourself off from air or from climate” (ClimateWire, April 8).

    The health care messaging makes sense, said Christopher Borick, who directs Muhlenberg College’s Institute of Public Opinion and has polled extensively on environmental issues. “Even when Americans accept the reality of climate change, they continue to generally give it low saliency in terms of issues on the agenda.”

    “When you think about public health matters like asthma or any breathing issues that many Americans face, it’s real and it’s immediate,” Borick said. “The threats from climate change are major and potentially devastating, but to many individuals, remain abstract. The more you can get individuals to think about carbon and fossil fuel matters through the lens of public health, the more likely you are to get them on board in policy efforts to reduce emissions.”

    So expect to hear a lot more about this report from the White House as it prepares to release its final regulations later this year.

    Clean Power Plan Would Save Thousands of Lives Each Year by Scott Detrow, ClimateWire/Scientific American, May 5, 2015

  145. GSR says:

    Victor could you please specify the comments that used cheap puns re TE’s age and gender. I can’t locate them.

  146. Gender:
    “In this sense, Edwards is playing the same sophomoric word-games as Curry.”
    Only found one, thought there were more, but it is a bizarre comparison that is made more often, which I can only explain by both being women.

    Age:
    “I hope that she builds a credible research career first.”
    “She’d be better employed publishing some papers rather than ingratiating herself with skeptics. IMHO.”
    “She is a careerist just like Roger, just a bit younger.”

  147. izen says:

    @-verytallguy
    “It is worth noting that regardless as to whether you agree with Tamsin’s strategy, your own is not working to get mitigation policies implemented. Or perhaps you can point to somewhere that is implementing these?”

    A number of countries have pledged Carbon neutral societies by a reasonable date, and some appear to be acting on that. But the obvious example is China.
    http://climateactiontracker.org/countries/china.html
    Given a choice between pursuing cheap coal for fast growth and up-front investment in zero-Carbon energy sources it is pretty clear which they have made. You might not think this enough… but there are plenty of examples if governments and communities making some attempt at emissions reduction. Even if it is only to make vague promises. But in politics adopting an idea has to come before implementation…

    It is perhaps instructive to look at those nations and polities that are NOT making any serious attempt to implement mitigation policies.
    The fossil fuel resource owners obviously, Russia, Australia and some of the OPEC nations are not hot on mitigation. And the US. Why America is so far behind the curve on governments making some policy decisions beyond the purely reactive on this issue can be puzzling. The reductions that the US has made in emissions are despite rather than because of a coherent policy.
    In my darker moments I suspect it is because the Kochs have more influence than the Pope.!

  148. It is worth noting that regardless as to whether you agree with Tamsin’s strategy, your own is not working to get mitigation policies implemented. Or perhaps you can point to somewhere that is implementing these?

    Agree with Izen, it might be easy for decent people in the USA to despair, but it is really not going that badly. Many countries have shown it is possible to grow economically without corresponding growth in energy use. Most European countries have achieved reductions in emissions. This is mostly due to more efficiency and better building codes (unfortunately also partially by importing energy intensive goods).

    What you do not notice (in the emissions) is the build up of a renewable energy system. This goes, however, enormously fast, prices are dropping beyond anyone’s dreams and growth rates are well above 10 %. If that can be sustained, that means that between starting to notice the influence of renewables (on the emissions) and near complete market dominance is only a decade.

    It will also eat into the profits of fossil industries, limiting their lobbying power. That point may not be more than a few years away. In Germany the stubborn companies are already suffering. German utility E.ON just officially switched to renewables. Which you can also see more cynically as them putting their unprofitable fossil parts into a bad bank to get rid of them. Other utilities will follow soon or die.

    It is not for nothing that the fossil industries are in such a panic and try to manipulate the political process to keep in business a few more years. It is also not for nothing that the divestment movement growth so fast, that is not just idealism, if you are the last one to leave a dying industry you have to pay the full price. My Dutch pension fund unfortunately does not want to understand what exponential growth means, still invests 10% in fossil fuels. If they stay stubborn a little longer this will mean my pensions will be 10% lower. 😦

  149. Ken Fabian says:

    We should not allow the pretense that Lukewarmers aren’t climate science deniers to stand. They are climate science deniers who seek to maintain the pretense that they are not. Warming being real but the consequences being minimal to insignificance is rejection and denial of some of the most important bits of the modern, mainstream science based understanding of climate.

    Far from being more reasonable about the climate problem than open rejectors of climate science, they are just more prepared to be misleading and deceptive to prevent the necessary commitment to tackling it head on.

  150. matt says:

    Victor,

    > The cheap puns on her gender. Why else compare her with Judith Curry? There are so many male mitigation sceptics to chose from if you hold the wrong opinion that she is no longer in the science realm.

    > “In this sense, Edwards is playing the same sophomoric word-games as Curry.”

    IMO, if you are going to label someone as sexist (or making a sexist comment – “cheap puns on her gender”), you should have stronger evidence than that.

    If the comparison is appropriate, it is appropriate. Gender does not matter. Why should the comparison be made to a male? Cos TE is female? That is bizarre. TE and JC are both white, so could it also be construed as a cheap pun on her race?

  151. Steven Mosher says:

    who woulda thunk that a rag tag group of climate audit types could re brand the fight.

  152. verytallguy says:

    Izen,

    A number of countries have pledged Carbon neutral societies by a reasonable date, and some appear to be acting on that. But the obvious example is China.

    In this sentence “some” is far smaller than “a number”, and therein lies the rub. From my (probably too parochial) UK perspective, I see many pledges but all the action going the other way.

    We’re excitedly talking about building roads and airports, subsidising fracking, removing building codes, trying to extract North Sea Oil to the fastest and largest extent possible, whilst at the same time making entirely contradictory pledges on climate change. Climate change hasn’t had a look in during our current election campaign.

    China is interesting. It’s not a system of government I would like, however effective on climate change.

    Victor,

    you may be right to some extent on renewables but I think without intervention there are limits both in absolute (eg space for wind) and proportional (grid balancing) terms. The challenge will become much harder beyond low levels of penetration as storage becomes essential. Plus of course, there’s the need to electrify transportation and hence massively increase electricity production. And Germany doesn’t seem to like nuclear much.

  153. GSR says:

    Tamsin, Mosher, and Richard, what would James Hansen do? Where is there even the slightest of nods to URGENCY displayed in your professional conduct?

  154. I agree with Victor that the lukewarmers are more confident in their ability to predict the future than most climate scientists. I find this very ironic since Bishop Hill and others try to claim that it’s climate scientists who are over-confident.

    Can I ask people here a question though? Ideally Dana if he’s around. Why is Tamsin’s article different to “consensus messaging” that many folks here are keen on? Nic Lewis’s papers seem to come within the Cook et al 97% as far as I can see. In a way, isn’t Tamsin really just doing the same as Cook et al, in highlighting the fact that pretty much everybody agrees that humans are causing warming?

  155. Richard B.,

    Why is Tamsin’s article different to “consensus messaging” that many folks here are keen on?

    There’s a nuance to this; certainly in my case at least. It’s not so much that I like consensus messaging, it’s that I have no particularly issue with consensus messaging and find it very odd that some seem to object to it so strongly. There is a consensus. It is very strong. Why do people object to having this pointed out? It almost feels as though people don’t want the truth to be presented.

    Why is Tamsin’s article different to “consensus messaging” that many folks here are keen on? Nic Lewis’s papers seem to come within the Cook et al 97% as far as I can see. In a way, isn’t Tamsin really just doing the same as Cook et al, in highlighting the fact that pretty much everybody agrees that humans are causing warming?

    An argument that might be made is that Tamsin’s article provides a loophole. In other words, there is a position you can adopt (Lukewarmer) that is within the consensus, but that allows you to argue that we should proceed slowly and cautiously because we might have more time to deal with this than we once thought. I realise that this isn’t what the article was suggesting, but by focusing on Lukewarmers it could be perceived in this way.

    Now, of course, it is possible that climate sensitivity is on the low side of the range, but given that Lukewarmerism is simply a subset of the consensus, doesn’t really mean that higher climate sensitivity is unlikely and that we shouldn’t be considering doing something sooner rather than later.

    Of course, the positive spin (which is what I think Tamsin was going for) is that this is progress and we should be pleased that more and more are adopting positions that are not inconsistent with the broader consensus. This is good and I largely agree with this. I just see no real reason to not still point out that their position is only marginally consistent with the overall evidence and that – typically – you don’t get to pick which evidence you like and which you don’t.

  156. GSR says:

    Richard we are probably fucked at 1.3C why are you legitimising this outrageously reckless display of La Di Da?
    At what point does urgency inform and affect one of the most senior climate practitioners on the planet?

  157. GSR,
    Let me defend Richard here. Being a UK public servant (Met Office) I think Richard is contractually obliged to avoid expressing any particular views with respect to policy and, hence, is only really able to engage in discussions related more specifically to science. Richard can correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that is roughly correct. If we would like Richard to respond to comments here, then we have to bear that in mind.

  158. Roger Jones says:

    Richard,

    for me it’s the risk thing. Why act as if the higher registers of temperature and therefore risk aren’t on the table? There is not a good scientific reason for doing so.

    In hedging against risk, people often refer to avoiding the worst plausible outcomes. This is advised in all risk management guidance. However, merely saying the entire range of outcomes is plausible and avoiding the worst case is important is enough to be labelled as a catastrophist. The IPCC gets labelled a catastrophist organisation for doing so.

    This opens the door for the ‘reasonable’ protagonist, who claims to communicate balance. But because it has chopped out half of the scale, which has been unduly weighted from the wrong end, this is not real balance, it’s a balance with bias.

    Tamsin is wrong to say that ” the question really boils down to how we view uncertainty”. It’s about how we view risk.

  159. dhogaza says:

    Steven Mosher:

    “who woulda thunk that a rag tag group of climate audit types could re brand the fight.”

    So it never was about science, was it?

  160. Roger,

    Tamsin is wrong to say that ” the question really boils down to how we view uncertainty”. It’s about how we view risk.

    Yes, I found that an odd way to phrase it too. Uncertainty is quite well-defined; you don’t really have more than one way to view it. Risk, on the other hand, is something about which we can – and do – have differing views.

  161. andrew adams says:

    I’m with Victor here. Tamsin is (as far as I can tell) an accomplished scientist with pretty mainstream views as far as the science goes and I don’t think there is any reason to doubt that she is sincere in her attempts to engage with skeptics even if some of us disagree with some of what she says or think her view of the skeptics or lukewarmers is somewhat rose-tinted. It’s certainly unfair to compare her to Pielke or Curry. It’s perfectly fair to criticise her artice (I’ve done so myself) but let’s at least do it from the perspective of people who are broadly on the same side.

  162. GSR says:

    OK but I note that Richard thinks it’s just tickitty boo to comment on WUWT, break bread and clink the finest glasses of Nic’s finest wines against those held by scientific misanthropes who threaten my children’s stab at peace and happiness. Where in the MET’s governing legislation does it allow such conduct?

  163. GSR,
    I think that implies that there are a range of possible strategies that may lead to an improved understanding of the underlying science and its significance. We might disagree with the strategies that others employ, but that doesn’t imply that their intent is wildly different to what ours might be.

  164. Andrew Dodds says:

    Victor –

    Problem is this – as far as I can see, nothing is being done about the grid-instability issues, the seasonality issues or other problems. And frankly, quoting a percentage of a small amount is somewhat disingenuous. At least is not a measurement in ‘number of homes powered by project X’.

    The question that arises is not so much one of cost or growth rates as of ‘What is the end state? How does it work? Is it feasible?’. If we slam into a wall 10 years hence where we can’t add more renewable electricity – or adding more simply leads to shedding at peak times – then we’ll just end up still burning coal, just a bit less.

  165. dikranmarsupial says:

    Richard Betts wrote “Why is Tamsin’s article different to “consensus messaging” that many folks here are keen on? ”

    It would be nice if we could talk about the existence and meaning of a scientific consensus without it being “messaging”. The existence of a consensus is a useful piece of information for the public in forming an opinion on climate change, even though no science depends on it; discussing it is not “messaging”, it is providing information.

  166. verytallguy says:

    OK but I note that Richard thinks it’s just tickitty boo to comment on WUWT, break bread and clink the finest glasses of Nic’s finest wines

    Why not give it a rest with the division into tribal groups?

    Nic is doing exactly what “sceptics” are challenged to do – publishing science in peer reviewed journals. I’ve got a pretty jaundiced view of his behaviour generally (see my comment above), but at least he is publishing solid science. Talking to someone like that doesn’t seem remotely beyond the pale to me, even if I think it’s hindering rather than helping.

    Richard is perfectly free to comment at WUWT (generally challenging them I assume). You or I might find it counterproductive, but Richard can legitimately do so. In fact, he might even argue that there is a moral imperative to do so if he were on his high horse.

    Again, the current way to get action underway is not working. A few people trying to help in alternative ways might not be a bad thing. Who opened up the back channels to the IRA in the 1980s? How many more people might have died if they didn’t?

  167. Andrew Dodds says:

    vtg –

    Yes, I had noticed the complete lack of talk about the environment in the general election.. Conservatives don’t want to talk about it because it upsets the Daily Mail vote. Labout don’t want to talk about it because they are worried about talking any position that appears even slightly left-wing.

    The SNP position is interesting. They are devoutly anti-nuclear and pro-wind, but also want independence without noticing that their energy policy absolutely depends on England supplying the grid balancing at no extra charge. That same England that they have spend quite a bit of effort demonizing..

  168. Yes, I agree with this

    Nic is doing exactly what “sceptics” are challenged to do – publishing science in peer reviewed journals. I’ve got a pretty jaundiced view of his behaviour generally (see my comment above), but at least he is publishing solid science.

  169. GSR says:

    Richard Betts September 23, 2014 at 3:51 pm
    Hi Anthony

    It was good to meet you and those who I’d not met before, and to catch up with those I already knew. It was a very interesting evening. Thanks very much to Nic and Sarah for their kind hospitality.

    Otter – I’m intrigued about what you imagined I looked like. Maybe I shouldn’t ask….!

    Cheers

    Richard

    Anthony Watts September 23, 2014 at 3:54 pm
    Likewise Richard, and I’ve corrected your title appropriately.

  170. GSR,
    Yes, we get the point. I don’t think that Richard choosing to be civil to Anthony Watts is really indicative of anything. If anything, I’d rather we were all able to be more civil, although I am struggling to do so myself these days 🙂

  171. verytallguy says:

    GSR,

    so, you’ve demonstrated that Richard is polite.

    Next you’ll be telling us he’s generous and kind too. A really dangerous combination!

  172. victorpetri says:

    To people that claim the so-called lukewarmers have recently changed their position to either accommodate coming fast warming, or to escape scientifically untenable positions, Ridley has been a lukewarmer for a very long time already, before which he was mainstream/alarmist/concerned*.

    On the Guardian article, it seemed very reasonable. I don’t really understand why so many here are so unhappy with this very sensible and objective representation of different points of view. I applaud people’s ability to be able to represent someones else s opinion without resorting to ridiculisation, sarcastic small misrepresentations and small exaggerations (reductio ad absurdum) that seem to be so common on both sides of the aisle.

    * Please use the term you find the least objectionable.

  173. BBD says:

    vtg

    Who opened up the back channels to the IRA in the 1980s? How many more people might have died if they didn’t?

    The awful irony here is that we *could* negotiate with the IRA in the ’80s because it was transitioning into its present state as essentially an organised crime network. This displaced grim, implacable ideological determination to fight on with pragmatic self-interest.

    The intractable problem with denial is that it is an aspect of free-market fundamentalism, which finds itself under existential threat from CC. So denial cannot negotiate. The gates of reason will remain forever locked.

  174. vp,

    I don’t really understand why so many here are so unhappy with this very sensible and objective representation of different points of view.

    Did you actually read my post? Also, choosing to select only a subset of the available evidence might qualify as a point of view, but it’s not a very scientific one.

  175. GSR says:

    Where is the urgency or is urgency above the MET’s pay scale?

  176. verytallguy says:

    BBD,

    The intractable problem with denial is that it is an aspect of free-market fundamentalism, which finds itself under existential threat from CC. So denial cannot negotiate. The gates of reason will remain forever locked.

    I fear that the irony of your position is that even if you are right, about the locked gates, you would be more effective with those outside of the gates if you behave as though they were ajar.

    I don’t have the background knowledge of the IRA to comment further on that; the point I was trying to make was only that the mere act of talking to them was seen as betrayal at the time, but it was a necessary, though not sufficient, part of coming to a much improved state of affairs.

  177. victorpetri says:

    @attp
    Yes, I read, and most of the comments as well.
    Your beef with the phrase seems rather nitpicky.

    “Also, choosing to select only a subset of the available evidence might qualify as a point of view, but it’s not a very scientific one.”
    Well, TE doesn’t agree with it, so she says:
    “I disagree, but then again I use both those methods.”
    But that’s not what her article is about, it’s about describing the differences (which she does very clearly), it’s about finding common ground, not about attacking the other side. Which is a very welcome change, imo.

  178. BBD says:

    vtg

    I tend to see the problem now as damage limitation. Denial has done a great deal of damage to the political process while everybody has been politely fussing round the edges, letting it happen.

    I think we should learn from the politically savvy denial lobby. It gets results!

  179. verytallguy says:

    Andrew Dodds,

    the defining characteristic of the UK election campaign has been the studious avoidance of reality from all concerned across every single important issue.

    There is only one positive for me – as I live in Tatton I can have the cathartic but entirely pyrrhic pleasure of voting against George Osborne.

  180. verytallguy says:

    BBD,

    I think we should learn from the politically savvy denial lobby. It gets results!

    Good plan. I shall go and buy up every major media organisation and publish shamelessly inaccurate propaganda, whilst funding environmentally progressive political groups way beyond the means of their opponents.

    I’ll go and get $200bn out of my savings account.

  181. vp,

    Your beef with the phrase seems rather nitpicky.

    I think it’s amusing what some people regard as nitpicky and others regard as important. I think the phrase is important as it presents a simplistic characture of the alternatives and also makes it appears as though Lukewarmers think we can do something to keep things tepid; which is – very obviously – not their position. Their position is that there isn’t much reason to be concerned about it being any worse than tepid.

    it’s about describing the differences (which she does very clearly), it’s about finding common ground, not about attacking the other side. Which is a very welcome change, imo.

    Well, yes, it is a welcome change. However, it would be nice if those with whom she was finding common ground didn’t spend a good deal of their time attacking the other side, and if it could have been done without making it appear that they’re all so nice and cuddly, when they very obviously aren’t. It’s possible to find a common ground without pretending that those with whom you’re finding a common ground are much more reasonable than they actually are.

  182. BBD says:

    vtg

    Yes, an uphill struggle. And it starts with zero tolerance, not hand-wringing and being nice to the ideologues and misinformers out of a doomed urge towards engagement and inclusivity which will never work. We are past that now, it was never going to work (see upthread) and besides, time is getting short.

  183. Paul S says:

    who woulda thunk that a rag tag group of climate audit types could re brand the fight.

    A ‘rag tag group’ which has had ready access to national publishing and broadcasting channels across the world? I think pretty much everyone woulda thunk it.

  184. Andrew Dodds says:

    vtg

    I get to vote against Jacob Rees-Mogg…

    It’s going to be interesting some the 8th. Quite possible that we get a serious constitutional crisis.. which may be no bad thing given how poor the current system is.

  185. Willard says:

    > IMO, if you are going to label someone as sexist (or making a sexist comment – “cheap puns on her gender”), you should have stronger evidence than that.

    Beware your wishes, Matt. I may tag team Victor on that one. There are previous threads to look into, and his comment was general. What he quoted is patronizing enough.

    Stay classy, guys.

  186. Eli Rabett says:

    GSR asked what Hansen would do. Well, he has always been both explicit and consistent. Certainly his interview with the AusBC was clear and Eli posted a transcript of the entire thing

    Short answer is go full France nuclear in the near term. This does not please everyone.

  187. Willard says:

    > Your beef with the phrase seems rather nitpicky.

    That might not be the best argument to defend the lukewarm church, vp. Its mecca is Lucia’s, and its faithfuls indulge in literalism so often that Eli called their discipline parsomatics, e.g.:

    In the never never admit you are wrong land, there has been a recent outbreak of IAAL, Steve Mosher went into lawyer mode

    Is the IPCC a legal entity? capable of entering into a legal agreement? Now we know that individuals can enter into contracts and corporations can. they can both have the intention to enter into a legally binding agreement with legal obligations and consequences. Can the IPCC? If the IPCC cant be held to FOIA law because its an extra legal entity, can it enter into contracts or even own a copyright?

    and Lucia brought out her parsomatic […]

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2012/02/law-blogging.html

  188. Eli Rabett says:

    Richard Betts asks how talking up the luckwarmers (TM/ER) differs from talking up the IPCC consensus. Dikran provided a useful answer, but allow Eli a moment and it goes like this:

    Exaggerating the contributions of a small group of politically driven dissenters provides a false impression to the public. This, of course, is the habit of journalists, but should not be that of scientists. Moreover, if one does so, perhaps it would be best to include the views of those who see the situation much more darkly than even the consensus. Balance you know.

    So we have the situation where the outright IPCC consensus deniers are “balanced” with those who accept the consensus with the luckwarmers in the middle according to the picture of one who cannot be named. In the words of Richard Alley “This is certainly not both sides. If you want both sides, we would have to have somebody in here screaming a conniption fit on the red end, because you are hearing a very optimistic side”. It’s enough (well not really) to make Eli long for Greenpeace and Naomi Klein.

  189. @ATTP

    Being a UK public servant (Met Office) I think Richard is contractually obliged to avoid expressing any particular views with respect to policy

    Correct – especially the day before a general election!

  190. @GSR

    You’ve mentioned my ‘conduct’ twice as if to insinuate that there is a problem with it, and you’ve also used the F word at me.

    This is exactly the kind of thing that the more unpleasant characters at WUWT and Bishop Hill do. Please don’t.

  191. victorpetri says:

    @W
    Did not know I was defending the “lukewarm church” nor did I imply to give an argument for it.

  192. @GSR (again)

    To respond to the actual content of your points. You speak of urgency, and as ATTP says, I don’t comment specifically on policy, but I’ll make the following point:

    While it can be argued that a sense of urgency may be important to spur action, there is also the matter of due diligence in not over-stating the case, which could lead to rushing into wrong and expensive decisions.

    An example is Hansen’s “several metres of sea level rise in 40-50 years”. He and his supporters are clearly making a noise about this in order to try to motivate rapid and deep emissions cuts. Alongside this, we have the Met Office & Environment Agency advice to the UK government on SLR scenarios to inform the ongoing strategic development of London’s flood defences. This includes the H++ scenario, which is broadly in line with the IPCC AR5 tail risks (1m + several 10s of cm by 2100, or roughly 2m as a round number). If Hansen’s numbers are used instead of this, this may imply spending billions of pounds on upgrading the Thames Barrier or even an outer barrage very soon. Clearly this would have substantial economic implications, and possibly environmental ones as well.

    And indeed this is why it can be useful to talk to people like Nic Lewis, who (as has been pointed out above) does publish his work in the scientific literature and presents reasoned arguments which can be discussed. I’ve told him I disagree with his confidence on narrow uncertainty bounds, but that doesn’t stop me talking to him, in fact it makes it even more important that I do. Science is trying to find the right answer, in order to inform good policy decisions, and that means looking at the problem from all angles and listening to reasoned criticism with an open mind.

  193. @verytallguy

    While I’m uncomfortable with the Northern Ireland analogy – it risks trivialising the Troubles – I think it could apply to the climate debate reasonably well. In a deeply divided situation with entrenched positions, stalemate reigns and nobody gets anywhere. Someone has to take the initiative to look past what has gone before, however hurtful they feel it is, and at least begin to talk to the ‘other side’.

    Funnily enough, Chris Rapley once said to me that we (climate scientists) need some sort of “Good Friday Agreement” with the sceptics.

    (Of course there’s actually 3 sides, as some greens don’t like the caution of scientists, and indeed some seem to think we’re actively downplaying of the situation.)

  194. Eli Rabett says:

    Richard, allow Eli to point out that Hansen has been aware of, thinking of, and doing research on the sea level rise issue for over three decades, and indeed put the gray Eemian line there for a reason in 1988. So he may be wrong, but he has always been worried, and many experts in the sea level business (James Titus for one), respect his opinions on this so it is not off the wall, nor is it solely tactical, and it sure ain’t Morner.

  195. verytallguy says:

    Richard Betts,

    I agree NI is not a great analogy, perhaps tasteless, particularly right now given very recent events. A possible better one comes to mind – perhaps given his full time position, ATTP might enlighten us as to how the rapprochement between the groups differing in their assessment of the Hubble Constant came to an agreement? I recall that being rather poisonous at the time.

    I must say, despite supporting your right to engage I do think it is entirely pointless and even risks bringing undeserved legitimacy to some of the characters involved.

    On the other hand, as I’ve observed, current efforts don’t seem to be getting us anywhere on substantial actions on mitigation.

    I’d be very interested in your views as to how Anthony Watts has behaved since your convivial dinner.

  196. @Eli

    Interestingly, you’re making the opposite case to what has been said to me when I criticise the more extreme behaviour on the pro-mitigation side as well as on the anti-mitigation side. When I say some green activists are criticising climate science out of ignorance in the same way that some climate sceptics do, I get accused of false balance. I’m told that such behaviour is less common on the pro-mitigation side than the anti-mitigation side.

    But now you’re asking for balance between the two ends of the range of consensus. So, it seems that outside of the scientific consensus, there’s more people at the “denier” end than the “alarmist” end so they should not be equally represented. But mysteriously, once we move into the range of consensus, the high end should be represented equally with the low end.

    In practice, you can never achieve an appopriate or true balance. You just go with what makes the point and assume that people are sensible enough to think about it and look at the bigger picture. Tamsin’s point is that more people agree that AGW is real than is generally supposed, and the real debate is not whether AGW exists but what level of risk it poses and how to respond to this risk.

    As a piece of journalism, her article has done a good job in getting people talking about it. There was an interview with Kofi Annan on the preceeding page of the Observer, which was basically just a couple of pages of preaching to the converted. Boring and uninspiring – I’d be surprised if it made any impact.

  197. Andrew Dodds says:

    @RIchard

    Hansen’s work does at least focus the mind as to where we try and stop the sea in the UK, which is a 100+ year forward job. Having politicians basically having to tell the residents of Hull, Skegness, Boston, Wisbech, King’s Lynn and all the towns around them that they won’t get any new investment because they won’t be around long enough to enjoy it.. this may focus minds.

    Frankly, the paleo view, which is where I’m most comfortable, is that something like 12-25 meters of sea level rise has already been baked in, and the argument is not ‘will we get more sea level rise than most people can imagine’ but ‘how quickly’.

  198. Eli Rabett says:

    Richard, it is not clear that there are more people at the denialist end than at the alarmist end. It is clear that the former have more financial support from industrial interests which has greased their way into the media.

    For example, Bjorn Lomborg’s CCC’s move to the US using a PR firm with strong links to the right wing of the Republican Party. The first CCC 990s listed the PR firm’s CEO’s house as the place of business. See also Heartland. They don’t do this stuff for free.

    IEHO Richard, you seriously underestimate the deviousness of the PR campaigns supporting those in denial and therefore you need be sentenced to spend a few hours poking through the Legacy Tobacco Archive to gain an understanding of the playbook. Here are a couple of places to start with links

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2015/03/why-willie-soongata-may-be-but-start.html
    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2007/05/original-sin-tobacco-denialism-is.html
    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2015/04/amitai-etzioni-and-willie-soon.html

  199. verytallguy says: “you may be right to some extent on renewables but I think without intervention there are limits both in absolute (eg space for wind) and proportional (grid balancing) terms. The challenge will become much harder beyond low levels of penetration as storage becomes essential. Plus of course, there’s the need to electrify transportation and hence massively increase electricity production. And Germany doesn’t seem to like nuclear much.

    Storage is not worked on much because it is not much of an issue yet. The rule of the thumb used to be that you need storage when sun and wind get above 50%. (Do not forget water and biomass.) I recently heard some Danish engineers estimated that it is more something like 80%. It also depends a lot on how easy it is to adjust demand to the supply. When the price of electricity changes with supply many companies and some consumers will be willing to invest in technology to use electricity when the price is cheap. Shortages is communism.

    That Germany has left nuclear may not look nice for the short term emissions, but it opened a market for renewables. Furthermore, slow nuclear power plants do not fit to the stronger fluctuations of the future, not only due to demand, but now also more due to supply. France is already subsidising electricity in all of Europe because they have too much nuclear power plants and cannot reduce their output fast enough during the night when there is less demand.

    Given that the fuel is for free, it is also not a huge problem when there is overproduction of renewable electricity once in a while. We have (car) batteries for short term storage, water power for seasonal storage and biomass to fill the gaps. Energy intensive industries will probably move to 30° latitude, the mostly cloud free subtropics.

    Andrew Dodds says: “The SNP position is interesting. They are devoutly anti-nuclear and pro-wind, but also want independence without noticing that their energy policy absolutely depends on England supplying the grid balancing at no extra charge. That same England that they have spend quite a bit of effort demonizing.

    I thought that Scotland had more than enough water power to go to 100% renewable energy without any problems. In fact I thought that England and near parts of Europe is counting on Scotland to provide us with storage via pumped hydro. There is already an electrical grid planned for the North Sea to connect the pumped hydro power from Scotland and Norway to North West-Europe.

    The above is naturally just my private opinion as an inhabitant of technologically optimist Germany with can-do engineers. (Just like James Hansen speaking about something he does not know much of.) Feel free to see it differently if you come from a past-oriented culture or have the kind of personality that worries that without coal the Middle Ages are automatically back again.

  200. The Skeptical Science consensus was defined as more than 50% of warming due to humans. The Lukewarmers have settled on the 50%, which is probably the PR optimum, less would not be credible, more would not be policy relevant. Skeptical Science consensus definition and the Lukewarmers are far away from the scientific understanding that almost all of the long term warming in man made. It would be nice if the next consensus study would use a stronger definition. At least for the more recent literature, I would expect to get a similarly strong consensus.

    verytallguy says: “Good plan. I shall go and buy up every major media organisation and publish shamelessly inaccurate propaganda, whilst funding environmentally progressive political groups way beyond the means of their opponents.

    That used to be called: organizing. Much more important than leaving comments on the internet complaining about WUWT or some scientists. These scientists will not change the world for you, the population will have to make its stance clear. The bad guys do not leave the stage without a fight. We have the advantage that we do not even have to lie.

    People do not seem to realise how much power (and also money) they have. But you do need to organize and show everyone what you see as important.

    Willard says: “Beware your wishes, Matt. I may tag team Victor on that one.

    Matt, be careful, you do not want to have to debate Willard. Don’t say I did not warn ya.

  201. Victor,

    I thought that Scotland had more than enough water power to go to 100% renewable energy without any problems.

    I don’t think this is the cse. I think there have been suggestions that Scotland could provide a lot of hydro power but I think there is a general objection to turning picturesque Highland valleys into dams.

  202. jsam says:

    The reasonable middle now includes Bishop Shill, the GWPF and the Kochs. It’s hard to think of any outliers. Slayers, perhaps – although they too will surely lay claim to being part of the 97% and luckwarmers.

  203. BBD says:

    Victor V

    The rule of the thumb used to be that you need storage when sun and wind get above 50%.

    Where to start?

    There is so much wrong with what you say above that rather than critique it and be OT at length here I will instead recommend a book.

    To give you a flavour, have a look at ch 26 in the online version, which deals with smoothing for wind intermittency and has a section on pumped storage directly relevant to one of the things you claimed above.

  204. BBD says:

    Richard Betts

    While it can be argued that a sense of urgency may be important to spur action, there is also the matter of due diligence in not over-stating the case, which could lead to rushing into wrong and expensive decisions.

    An example is Hansen’s “several metres of sea level rise in 40-50 years”. He and his supporters are clearly making a noise about this in order to try to motivate rapid and deep emissions cuts. Alongside this, we have the Met Office & Environment Agency advice to the UK government on SLR scenarios to inform the ongoing strategic development of London’s flood defences. This includes the H++ scenario, which is broadly in line with the IPCC AR5 tail risks (1m + several 10s of cm by 2100, or roughly 2m as a round number). If Hansen’s numbers are used instead of this, this may imply spending billions of pounds on upgrading the Thames Barrier or even an outer barrage very soon. Clearly this would have substantial economic implications, and possibly environmental ones as well.

    Well, given the near-inevitability of inaction pushing us past the 2C mark, as Andrew Dodds says, it’s not if we lose London, just when. Since the smaller defences will inevitably be overwhelmed, perhaps it would be more cost-effective to build only the larger ones and them first. It must be difficult to convey this to politicians, so you have my sympathy.

  205. Michael 2 says:

    Victor says “German utility E.ON just officially switched to renewables. Which you can also see more cynically as them putting their unprofitable fossil parts into a bad bank to get rid of them.”

    Or you can see it as pursuing their share of a huge government subsidy:

    “The EEG Surcharge was originally added to electricity bills in 2000 to support subsidies provided to developers of renewable energy as part of Germany’s so-called Energy Transition or the Energiewende.”

    “In 2012, renewable energy developers in Germany received $18 billion (0.5% of German GDP) in subsidies”

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/williampentland/2014/10/16/germanys-renewable-energy-surcharge-declines-as-subsidy-reforms-take-effect/

    Naturally, one would not expect the Guardian to mention any of that crass capitalistic stuff. After all, neither you nor they made mention of the prime motive: BFS (big fat subsidy).

  206. I don’t think this is the case. I think there have been suggestions that Scotland could provide a lot of hydro power but I think there is a general objection to turning picturesque Highland values into dams.

    Okay. To be clear I was not talking about 100% hydropower, but using the fast responding hydropower to fill the gaps of the other renewable sources. Every energy source has its downsides. Also renewable sources are not without environmental impacts. It is a pity that there is so little focus on improving efficiency. Doing the same with less does not much political appeal.

    BBD, a hint of an argument would be nice. Germany has about 25% wind and sun for electricity. The net is still stable. The suggestive graph for wind power in a small country like Ireland may suggest that this is not possible, but that is just why it is a suggestive graph. Having to take all nuclear power plants from the net because a new security problem has been found is also somewhat intermittent, but also something most countries can cope with.

  207. Victor,
    Maybe I misunderstood you. I took what you wrote to suggest that Scotland currently had enough hydro power, rather than it having the potential to have a lot of hydro power. I think I also missed your point about using it to fill the gaps, rather than providing 100% itself.

  208. Eli Rabett says:

    Nuclear is well suited to baseload, renewables to peak load. Stored hydro can be used for bridging. There is, for example, a lot of stored hydro in France

  209. I think I also missed your point about using it to fill the gaps, rather than providing 100% itself.

    I mean with filling the gaps that when there is no wind (sun likely not too efficient and big in Scotland, or is that a prejudice. 🙂 ), you can use hydro power. When there is wind you do not use hydro (and sell it to England).

    A German engineer would say: baseload is a term from time we had coal and nuclear power plants. The future is for using power when it is cheap, (a large refrigerated warehouse does not have to cool when there is little supply, it can wait and use cheaper power), having strong and smart (supplying prices) grids that equilibrate supply and demand. There is always wind somewhere in Europe. Thermal solar plants can be build in a way that they also produce electricity during the night. We will also need storage, but it may be less than people thought in the past. Let’s see what the future will bring.

  210. BBD says:

    Victor V

    BBD, a hint of an argument would be nice.

    Where’s this spare pumped hydro capacity in Scotland? Please list by site and capacity.

    Where do you get the 50% figure from? Citation needed. Standard figure is 20 – 30% with the upper value considered optimistic – see (where’s the spare capacity in the UK as a whole?).

  211. BBD says:

    The UK is not Denmark.

  212. guthrie says:

    Scotland does’t have much more space for large hydro, and is currently exploiting micro-hydro. They are also building a new pump storage facility with around 500MW capacity. We don’t, from what I have read, have enough hydro capacity to cover the non-windy days, which is a problem. I’d like to spend millions on some fancy new elecitricy storage solution, but I’m not a politician or rich person.

  213. Nuclear is, indeed, well suited to base load, but renewables are not at all suited to peak load in most cases. What’s needed for peak load is generation that can be regulated according to demand and renewables are, in general, the worst of all in that respect. There’s on exception, solar power in regions, where the demand correlates strongly positively with demand. Otherwise renewables tend to add to the demand for regulating power, not reduce it.

    All the regulating potential of hydro power can cover only a very small fraction of the total need for regulating power in Europe. Norway has even more regulating capacity than it needs. Therefore Norway can sell some of that to neighboring countries, but on European level that’s a small factor. Pumped hydro can add only very little to the natural regulating capacity of hydro.

    Most of the regulation is still done by varying generation from fossil fuel burning power stations.They are the producers of peak power.

  214. BBD, please take you blood pressure pills.

    I do not have a reference, I am writing here as a normal citizen and try to explain how the German mass media I consume see the situation. The 50% comes from my study in environmental sciences, I guess it was a number of the world, not for the UK or Scotland. But I do not have the reader any more after 25 years.

    Wouldn’t it be harder for Denmark than for the UK? Denmark is smaller and flat.

    Gurhtrie, ATTP, you know Scotland better than I do.

    (My last comment is still in moderation.)

  215. Willard says:

    > Did not know I was defending the “lukewarm church” nor did I imply to give an argument for it.

    Start here:

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/04/28/matt-ridley-on-coal/#comment-54503

    We could look into just about any thread related to Matt King Coal and the Lomborg Collective.

    You now know lukewarm kung fu.

  216. BBD says:

    Victor V

    BBD, please take you blood pressure pills.

    A little less misinformation about renewables would be nice.

  217. BBD says:

    Gurhtrie, ATTP, you know Scotland better than I do.

    And at the very least, read the suggested chapter in MacKay linked above. The information you need is in there.

  218. A little less misinformation about renewables would be nice.

    Not everyone who disagrees with you is a misinformer. It depends on the confidence with which the information is presented and it depends on the certainty anyone can have.

    How a renewable energy system will look like in two generations let alone a century is anyone’s guess. Future societal and technological development is not something any side can be confident about.

    Who would have thought a few weeks ago that batteries may suddenly become so much cheaper and that Aluminium Carbon batteries may become an inexpensive option. Greenpeace invests in converting wind power to natural gas for long-term storage. I expect that to be more expensive than the other options, but would not call Greenpeace a misinformer and am happy to find out later that they did pick the right horse.

  219. Without calling anyone specifically a misinformer, one thing is sure. The extent of misinformation on renewable energy options is huge. Large private interests are involved, and that’s a major factor behind the misinformation. The most common form of misinformation is presenting highly unrealistic claims about the potential of some new technology. Part of the misinformation is presented in good will, but directly criminal examples of trying to cheat investors to fund a company that to develop something (or give money to the owner of the company) that has zero potential of success is not that uncommon. I have seen several certain cases of such essentially criminal action in the past.

    The book of MacKay is really well written and well balanced. Some parts of it may be a little outdated, and there’s always a risk in reading a well written and argumented book. Perhaps the argumentation is just too well written and therefore misleading. Perhaps something essential is left out, and noticing that is made difficult by the fluency of the presentation. With that caveat I join in recommending the book.

  220. John L says:

    @Richard Betts
    Nic Lewis’s papers seem to come within the Cook et al 97% as far as I can see

    I don’t think this framing is really accurate. His papers explore a particular methodology. He never published a peer-reviewed assessment on climate sensitivity combining all evidence. So his papers are entirely open for interpretation regarding what they say about the climate sensitivity. It seems like the concensus among the experts is that they are biased low, as Edwards also hinted to in her article. It is very misleading to pick single studies or methods and pretend that they are assessments. Let’s not be tricked by that.

    An example is Hansen’s “several metres of sea level rise in 40-50 years”[……]And indeed this is why it can be useful to talk to people like Nic Lewis, who (as has been pointed out above) does publish his work in the scientific literature and presents reasoned arguments which can be discussed

    Well, in principle you could learn something from anyone, but there should be at least hundreds of scientists and PhD students as well as most commenters in this thread that are much more useful to talk to than Lewis. The problem is that he gets so much attention despite that he has so very little interesting to say. He might have made some very minor technical contributions to the science, but if your interest is outside technicalities there are others to talk to. (Based on his Climate Audit post mentioned above, last year’s GWPF report and discussions at http://www.climatedialogue.org/ and more)

    The comparison with Hansen is a bit silly as well. Better instead ask mainstream scientists like Alley or Rahmstorf with real knowledge if you want a second opinion on Hansens sea level predictions.

  221. BBD says:

    Victor V

    Not everyone who disagrees with you is a misinformer.

    I’m sorry, that was too strong and I would un-say it if I now could. I was in a foul mood to start with and this stuff really pushes my buttons.

    What annoys me is the glib and technically misleading narrative now widely current that we are simply going to hitch up our skirts and skip into a lovely green renewable future. It is simply not true. More than that, it is an extremely dangerous narrative, as eg. James Hansen has often pointed out.

    We are going to need pragmatic, holistic energy policy using everything we can muster – including nuclear – and even then we are going to end up decarbonising too slowly and too late.

  222. BBD, no problem, I am used to robust “debate” by now. 🙂

    No idea who is right, but at least what I said is basically consistent with the German Wikipedia on energy storage, which unfortunately only gives references in German. The German engineers seem to be a bit more optimistic than the Anglo-American ones.

    The greater the proportion of renewable energy is, the greater is the importance of storage options to match the fluctuations of the energy of the fluctuations in energy consumption and thus establish security of supply. In the literature it is assumed that from a renewable energy share of 40% to a greater extent additional memory needed sporadically is also the number called 70%. Long-term memory is required only from a share of more than 60-80%. Below 40% renewable energy is controlling by the thermal power plants and a slight downward regulation of production peaks of renewable energy is an efficient way to compensate. Thus, additional storage facilities in Germany are held at the earliest from 2020 necessary.

    The statement, “The extent of misinformation on renewable energy options is huge“, is probably also true outside of Germany. 🙂

    Let’s see what the future will bring.

  223. John Hartz says:

    Willard: From your perspective, are the results of yesterday’s provencial elections in Alberta a portend of things to come at the federal level?

    Leftist Party’s Win in Alberta May Affect Future of Oil Sands by Ian Austin, New York Times, May 6, 2015

  224. Joshua says:

    Richard Betts –

    You are critical of tribalism and hype on the “mainstream” side, which I think is entirely reasonable.

    So what do you think about Nic’s blog post that said the recent paper authored by M & F was the work of scientists who lacked even the most basic skills in statistics? How about his dismissal of the work of scientists because he deemed them to be “SkS activists?”

  225. guthrie says:

    BBD – Mackay’s book is saying pretty much what i was, except with more data. The scary thing is that by internet time, it’s ancient, and yet our politicians still don’t understand or want to deal with energy policy.

  226. Michael 2 says:

    BBD says “The intractable problem with denial is that it is an aspect of free-market fundamentalism, which finds itself under existential threat from CC. So denial cannot negotiate. The gates of reason will remain forever locked.”

    Agreed. (Treasure this moment!)

    While climate change itself is basically off the negotiating table; closely related projects can still advance; solar power for instance, not to challenge climate change or CO2, but simply to address the inevitability of running out of oil and coal.

  227. It’s disappointing that Dana should chose a man-made hydroelectric reservoir as an iconic proxy for AGW, rather than population growth in the Los Angeles basin and runaway almond farming – the Colorado is being drained dry because they sell the water for six bucks an acre-foot.

    Surely he can do better than Josh!

  228. dhogaza says:

    Are you suggesting that the drought is not real, and the shortage of water is simply due to population growth in LA and the growth of the nut ag?

    Seriously?

  229. Joshua says:

    Richard Betts –

    Not to mention that Lewis is also on record as saying that Forster and Gregory “at least tacitly” accepted the misuse of their data by the IPCC.

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/07/05/the-ipccs-alteration-of-forster-gregorys-model-independent-climate-sensitivity-results/#comment-83248

    What do you think about someone, who thinks they have found flaws in published papers, publishing blog posts that say that the authors lack basic scientific skills or that say that the authors “tacitly” accepted the misuse of their data (without even first approaching the authors directly)?

    Do you consider what Nic did in those situations to be counteproductive w/r/t advancing the general state of the science or the state of the dialog about the science?

    And while I’m at it…

    ==> “Tamsin’s point is that more people agree that AGW is real than is generally supposed, and the real debate is not whether AGW exists but what level of risk it poses and how to respond to this risk.”

    I think that is not a realistic characterization of the debate. From most of what I’ve seen, although sometimes their rhetoric indicates otherwise, mostly “lukewarmers” go further than simply questioning how to respond. Often, in my experience, they (1) mischaracterize the “mainstream” position as one of being absolutely certain that climate change will be catastrophic and, (2) state with complete certainty that any mitigation will result in more cost than benefit.

    Of course, all of these terms like “lukewarmer” and “skeptic” suffer from a lack of standardization, and there is no coherently objective and definitive way to define what being a “lukewarmer” means – but I have very often see self-described “lukewarmers” make arguments such as those I listed above. Although it would be nice if the reality were that “lukewarmers” didn’t often make those arguments, I fail to see how the discussion of climate change will be advanced by dismissing the prevalence of “lukewarmers” who do hold those positions,.

  230. > From your perspective, are the results of yesterday’s provencial elections in Alberta a portend of things to come at the federal level?

    Not really. The two levels of government are not correlated at all. My guess is that it symbolizes the dissatisfaction regarding the low oil prices, which a real impact in Canada:

    Statistics Canada reported a March trade deficit of $3-billion, surpassing the previous record of $2.87-billion in July, 2012. The government statistical agency also made a major downward revision to its February number, to a deficit of $2.2-billion from an originally reported $984-million, and revised the January deficit to $1.8-billion from $1.5-billion.

    The resulting $7-billion deficit in the first quarter was the biggest ever recorded, reflecting the severe damage wrought by the steep drop in prices for oil, one of Canada’s biggest exports. Exports of energy products plunged by $5.8-billion, or more than 20 per cent, in the quarter.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/canadas-trade-deficit-balloons-to-record-3-billion/article24252653/

    Please bear in mind that the distance between Paris and Moscow is shorter than Calgary and where I live by a few hundred miles.

  231. Joshua says:

    dikran –

    ==> “It would be nice if we could talk about the existence and meaning of a scientific consensus without it being “messaging”…discussing it is not “messaging”, it is providing information. ”

    FWIW, there are those among the strong proponents of providing information about the “consensus” who refer to what they are doing, explicitly, as consensus messaging.

  232. Joseph says:

    Their position is that there isn’t much reason to be concerned about it being any worse than tepid.

    To me the consensus is that there are range of possible ECS values and some of those may end in severe negative consequences. It looks to me that Lukewarmer position might almost entirely exclude ECS values with severe negative consequences. Do I have that about right?

  233. Joseph says:

    Let me rephrase that.. Instead of ECS maybe I should have said a range of increases in temperature in this century and that temperatures at the higher end of the range may end in severe negative consequences. The Lukewarmer, if I have this right, position would almost entirely exclude temperature increases that could end in these severe negative consequences.

  234. Roger Jones says:

    Joseph, that’s right. And it’s why a lot of climate researchers are responding negatively to the article. Because the only honest thing to do with respect to the science is to accept the whole of the calculated range of risk – or come up with a scientifically-based or economically sound argument as why it should be truncated. Inference, hand waving and flogging straw horses do not cut it.

  235. Being a ‘lukewarmer’ means groupthink, just like every other category one could conjure up.
    Observing that temperature trends indicate ‘luke-warming’ is apt, depending on one’s definitions.
    And there’s good reason that warming is ‘luke-warming’ because forcing has been ‘luke-forcing’:


  236. I’m with Eli insofar as I can follow him. It’s getting late, the confusionists are consolidating their positions, and a lot of people are only interested in cheaper gas. I do not agree that scientists have overstated the case; quite the reverse, they tend conservative, especially the IPCC, which has to arrive at consensus with a lot of people with vested interests who don’t have the skills to follow the scientific arguments.

    Meanwhile, this might be relevant and if it is what it looks to be, will change the conversation:
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf

  237. Misinformation? As applied to climate science? Kind of naive.

    Misinformation warfare was invented by oil companies. The phrase “hide the decline” did not start with climategate. It was already established long ago in the context of worldwide oil depletion.

  238. victorpetri says:

    @WHT
    That doesn’t make sense at all. One only needs to consider the many predictions of the end of oil, that came a large part from the industry, among which the theory of peak oil itself as well, which also sprung from the industry. Considering how often they were wrong, a more believable conspiracy theory would be: “exaggerate the decline”

  239. BBD says:

    Turbulent Eddie

    And there’s good reason that warming is ‘luke-warming’ because forcing has been ‘luke-forcing’

    Misrepresenting that Hansen graph again I see. Rather tr0llish of you.

    Two little words missing from your attempt to mislead above:

    Montreal Protocol

  240. I don’t even know where Eddie is getting his forcing projections from – making them up, I think. If you consider his projection, it would suggest that the forcing would have increased by 2.7W/m^2 since 1979. If you consider the AR5 radiative forcing diagram, it was about 1.25W/m^2 in 1980, so Eddie is implying that it would be 3.95W/m^2 today if the expected projections had materialised. I don’t think anyone suggested such a rapid increase in radiative forcing. Maybe Eddie should acknowledge that simply adding lines onto graphs doesn’t really qualify as a robust projection.

  241. Andrew Dodds says:

    aTTP –

    If you take enough derivatives you’ll always end up flat (OK, apart from the cases where you don’t) (But this sin’t one).

  242. Andrew Dodds says:

    Oh, and turbulent ed’s graph does show one thing – the fact that the Economy (and hence energy use) was growing exponentially until the neoliberal/free marked ‘revolution’ slammed the brakes on in the late 1970s onwards. But I digress..

  243. Paul S says:

    ATTP,

    If you consider his projection, it would suggest that the forcing would have increased by 2.7W/m^2 since 1979. If you consider the AR5 radiative forcing diagram, it was about 1.25W/m^2 in 1980, so Eddie is implying that it would be 3.95W/m^2 today if the expected projections had materialised. I don’t think anyone suggested such a rapid increase in radiative forcing.

    Those numbers are actually very close to Hansen’s scenario A – http://www.realclimate.org/data/H88_scenarios_eff.dat

    As mentioned above, the key factor in this not happening was the Montreal protocol. Behind that, the flattening of the methane trend through the 90s and early 2000s.

  244. BBD says:

    Behind that, the flattening of the methane trend through the 90s and early 2000s.

    Before this falls prey to yet more misrepresentation by TurbEd, the reduced CH4 trend is apparently a result of reduced venting and flaring of natural gas in oil fields (Simpson et al. 2012). This would be reversible by increased leakage from fracking and by CH4 feedbacks to global average temperature increase.

  245. victorpetri says:


    That doesn’t make sense at all. One only needs to consider the many predictions of the end of oil, that came a large part from the industry, among which the theory of peak oil itself as well, which also sprung from the industry. Considering how often they were wrong, a more believable conspiracy theory would be: “exaggerate the decline”

    This more than anything else shows what you are dealing with — the eternally contrarian mind.

    These “skeptics” are not here to argue via reason but to generate foo and spew.

    Every country has a physical allotment of oil within their territory, and its just a matter of keeping track of which ones are further down the decline curve.

    Like I said, the oil industry and its mouthpieces will go to absurd lengths to hide this decline — even to go so far as pleading with anybody that will listen that it is due to lawyers:
    http://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/news/uk-aims-to-stem-decline-of-north-sea-oil-and-gas-production/

  246. BTW, on the climate skeptic sites such as Climate Etc and The Blackboard, I am more hated for my discussion of peak oil topics than for my consensus AGW views. Skeptics are nearly always driven by ideology, and will gladly trade in reality for what they rationalize as a more easily defeated AGW strawman. As victorpetri demonstrates, tilting the discussion to oil depletion is damaging to their rhetorical strategy.

  247. matt says:

    @ Willard,

    > “There are previous threads to look into, and his comment was general.”

    Ok, not that interested so I’ll take your word for it. I did think at the time, perhaps previous comments might have had more to do with VVs comment than those on this tread.

    @VV,

    > “Matt, be careful, you do not want to have to debate Willard.”

    Very true.

  248. Andrew Dodds says:

    Peak oil is interesting if only for the caveats..

    The actual Hubbert theory applies to well defined geographic areas in which a particular type of oil is exploited with no political constraints. So.. we can apply it to the lower 48 states, onshore without fracking in the US and it works well. If you add in separate/later developments such as Alaska North Slope, Gulf of Mexico deepwater, fracked tight sands and shales.. you get a more complicated figure. For the UK north sea, there is a huge impact from the Piper Alpha disaster which gives us a double peak. The Norwegian north sea is, however, a near-perfect example.

    For OPEC countries that have had all sorts of political and technical constraints on oil exploration and production it is of very limited value. Basically, as theories go, it is very much in the stamp-collecting area even by geological standards.

    Of course, the central and obvious message – that oil as a major source of fuel is a transient, one time blow off that can never expand to the extent required by 10 billion 1st-worlders – is past dispute. And the same applies to natural gas. But we blunder on anyway..

  249. Andrew, There is no “Hubbert Theory” and there never was. The basic idea is a law of nature — that non-renewable resources will deplete.


    For the UK north sea, there is a huge impact from the Piper Alpha disaster which gives us a double peak.

    What we are doing now is not using the heuristic Logistic peak that Hubbert slapped together, but applying a stochastic model of oil depletion that I developed as described in The Oil Conundrum. That’s called the Oil Shock model and you can see it applied for Bakken as well on various peak oil sites.

    But for the double peak due to Piper Alpha, you can understand the mathematics here.

  250. Eddie is implying that it would be 3.95W/m^2 today if the expected projections had materialised. I don’t think anyone suggested such a rapid increase in radiative forcing.

    Maybe Eddie should acknowledge that simply adding lines onto graphs doesn’t really qualify as a robust projection.

    The point is not what I depicted but that actual forcing is less than the low end ‘B1’ scenario.

    If you believe the physics that radiative forcing rates determine warming rates, then you are a luke warmer because forcing has been luke forcing.

  251. John Hartz says:

    Speaking of Willie Soon and the Koch brothers, here’s the latest…

    Willie Soon Out of Headlines, but Still in the Crosshairs by David Hasemyer, InsideClimate News, May 4, 2015

  252. “Montreal Protocol”

    Yep.

    The rapid deceleration of forcing from CFCs and Methane, and the moderate deceleration of forcing from carbon dioxide account to the slowdown.

  253. Eddie,

    If you believe the physics that radiative forcing rates determine warming rates, then you are a luke warmer because forcing has been luke forcing.

    That’s not Lukewarming. Lukewarming is the belief that the response to a change in forcing is almost certainly going to be on the low end of the IPCC range.

  254. afeman says:

    Comparing Edwards to Pielke Jr. may be over the top, but the struggles with “does she really mean that?” do remind me of my and other’s puzzling out why everybody hates Roger (before that wonderful list of sneering quotations), or Curry’s debut at Kloor’s when she was talking about building bridges and still had the benefit of doubt. Edwards might mean better, but the schtick is too familiar.

  255. John Hartz says:

    Batten down the hatches…

    The world is headed into a major drought-bringing El Nino event, which will lift global temperatures and lead to bushfires and water shortages in eastern Australia, climate scientists have confirmed.

    Fairfax Media understands that Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology will announce next Tuesday that the El Nino event is all but certain.

    Sea-surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific are recording anomalies of more than 1 degree, a combination that has not previously been seen in weekly data going back to 1991, according to a bureau climate forecaster.

    Australia’s measure of El Nino thresholds is sustained warmth of sea-surface temperatures of 0.8 degrees above average in the key regions surveyed, a higher bar to clear than set by the US and some other agencies.

    “You can see a warming in the eastern Pacific, which looks to be a classic [El Nino] event,” said Agus Santoso, an El Nino modeller at the University of NSW’s Climate Change Research centre.

    World headed for an El Nino and it could be a big one, scientists say by Peter Hannam, Sydney Morning Herald, May 7, 2015

  256. John Hartz says:

    Back to the OP…

    How many of the commenters on this thread who are critical of Tasmin Edwards’ article have communicated their concerns directly to Edwards? If not, why not?

  257. JH,
    I think Tamsin is well aware of the views of her critics and simply disagrees, which – obviously – is fine. As VTG is pointing out, alternative approaches have not be obviously successful and so someone trying something different should – in some sense – be encouraged. My personal issue was not so much that Tamsin’s article highlighted that there was maybe less disagreement than there once was, but that it seemed to do so in a manner that painted a more positive picture than I think is warranted. We can, in my view, be pleased about some positive steps without papering over the issues that still exist.

  258. BBD says:

    TurbEd

    Thanks for demonstrating that the climate system is sensitive to radiative forcing and so the pressing need for emissions regulation going forward.

  259. anoilman says:

    victorpetri says:
    May 7, 2015 at 6:48 am

    @WHT
    That doesn’t make sense at all. One only needs to consider the many predictions of the end of oil, that came a large part from the industry, among which the theory of peak oil itself as well, which also sprung from the industry. Considering how often they were wrong, a more believable conspiracy theory would be: “exaggerate the decline”

    I take this to mean that you fully enforce the serious and deadly scenario of RCP 8.5.

    Before you start blathering away, you may want to look some of this stuff up. I have already instructed you that fossil fuel reserves are defined was whether they can be profitably extracted. That’s where shale oil comes from. But its not a new discovery by any means, but is very expensive to extract. This means continued fossil fuel use most cost more and more.

    Which brings you to the other unfortunate truth which (by your thinking) is that oil will bring about the end of growth, and damage the planet. It would be prudent to switch to solar/wind/nuclear now I guess. At least, that’s where your logic takes me.

  260. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Is it safe to assume that Edwards has read your OP?

  261. JH,
    Oh, I don’t know. May have chosen to ignore it 🙂

  262. TurbEd
    Thanks for demonstrating that the climate system is sensitive to radiative forcing and so the pressing need for emissions regulation going forward.

    Well, the regulation of CFCs clearly did have an impact.

    But forcing from methane and co2 have clearly decelerated from secular forces.
    And given economics and demographics,
    forcing is at less than low end rates now, and likely to decelerate further.

  263. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: In that case, I suggest you convert the OP into an email note and send it to her. You cannot persuade someone to change without communicating with that person.

  264. Joseph says:

    I think the lukewarmers are primarily only circling (Curry might be backing up) the tent. I think before they can be accepted into the tent, they have to acknowledge that severe negative consequences from climate change are possible based on our current understanding of the science.

  265. BBD says:

    TurbEd

    And given economics and demographics,
    forcing is at less than low end rates now, and likely to decelerate further.

    Same old rubbish.

  266. John Hartz says:

    Turbulent Eddie: Please document the sources of the information that you are posting. If you do not, those reading this thread might conclude that you are just making stuff up as you proceed.

  267. Steven Mosher says:

    “The Skeptical Science consensus was defined as more than 50% of warming due to humans. The Lukewarmers have settled on the 50%, which is probably the PR optimum, less would not be credible, more would not be policy relevant.”

    The original Lukewarmer estimate was 30% of warming in the 20th was human caused

    Next, we tried to define the position relative to expected warming over the next few decades.
    IPCC was .2c pre decade Luke warmer was .15C

    Next came the definition by sensitivity : 50% chance that its less than 3C

    I like the last one. Look at the IPCC PDF for ECS: a lukewarmer wil look at the lower half
    and sell, hope luck and dreams.
    other folks will look at 3C and above and sell fear doom and panic.

    so perhaps as willard was the first to get, it is largely positioning or marketing the science differently.

    Which would you rather sell? well its known that people become immune to sales pitches based on fear.

  268. BBD says:

    Steven Mosher

    it is largely positioning or marketing the science differently.

    Yes. Lukewarmerism is selective misrepresentation. The scientific approach includes all lines of evidence.

  269. John Hartz says: “ATTP: Is it safe to assume that Edwards has read your OP? … ATTP: In that case, I suggest you convert the OP into an email note and send it to her. You cannot persuade someone to change without communicating with that person.

    If she is anything like me, she has read the post, but did not feel like responding given the poisonous atmosphere. She apparently has a thick skin, she communicates with the most disgusting mitigation sceptics. But again, if she is anything like me, it hurts much more when people you respect reject you.

    After all the comments on her person and all the over-the-top comparisons, it is probably too late to expect a civil reasoned discussion with her about the content of her article.


  270. NY Mercantile Natural Gas Prices ( 7 May 2015 ):

  271. Victor,

    But again, if she is anything like me, it hurts much more when people you respect reject you.

    Yes, I agree. That is something that can be particularly hurtful.

    After all the comments on her person and all the over-the-top comparisons, it is probably too late to expect a civil reasoned discussion with her about the content of her article.

    That was one reason I was reluctant to write the post and was a motivation for my first comment. It didn’t work quite as I’d hoped. I do find these kind of posts a bit tricky. I don’t particularly like writing something that might negatively influence someone who is trying to do something decent. On the other hand, if you write publicy (in a newspaper, for example) then I think it is reasonable to expect some criticism. It’s a balancing act, and it doesn’t always go as I might like.

  272. BBD says:

    TurbEd

    Blah.

    Under BAU, emissions will be determined by the increase in the size of the global consumer class. Let’s just add the relationship between demographics and emissions to the list of stuff you are prepared to misrepresent.

  273. ATTP, I was not talking about you. The above post and your own comments are fine and discusses the content of Tamsin Edwards’ article.

    I was talking about people comparing her to Pielke Jr. Nothing justifies comparing a honest scientist to the honest broker. I was talking about people comparing her to Curry and assuming that everyone who talks to mitigation sceptics automatically starts a terrible unscientific blog. (Disclosure I also wrote comments for WUWT, I think my brain still works.) I was talking about comments that were “patronizing enough”.

    Wikipedia has stricter rules for biographies of living persons. Maybe comments below posts on living scientists could be moderated in advance. That would be work, however.

  274. I was not talking about you. The above post and your own comments are fine and discusses the content of Tamsin Edwards’ article.

    I know, but I do feel some responsibility for what appears here.

  275. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: I still believe it would be beneficial for you to engage Edwards in a private dialogue about her article. Given your personality, you are an excellent teacher/mentor.

    Victor: I never would have expected Edwards to engage on this thread. Whether or not she read the OP is unknown.

  276. @Roger Jones

    Thanks for replying to my 1st question – sorry I didn’t pick up on your reply earlier.

    I agree with you that Tamsin’s phrase “the question really boils down to how we view uncertainty” would have been more appropriately stated as “how we view risk” – that was what she did seem to be saying in the rest of the paragraph. Slightly unfair of me to say this now, as I didn’t spot that when Tamsin sent me a draft, but hey ho.

    I also agree with ATTP’s point in the header post that “can we keep things tolerably tepid” is not right, and indeed I don’t believe she really meant that. (It wasn’t in the draft I saw – I don’t know whether the Guardian edited it at the last minute, or Tamsin did so too hurriedly.) It would seem more consistent with the rest of the article to say “will things stay tolerably tepid”.

    Nevertheless I do think it’s a good, thoughtful article. Personally I think it is essentially doing the same thing as the “97% consensus” – pointing out the area where there is agreement. The 97% has a pretty low bar, it only refers to acceptance of human influence, not whether this influence is dangerous or whether action is required (although Cook et al is sometimes misrepresented as including these things). Tamsin has also pointed out that there is a wide acceptance of AGW. I think it’s inconsistent to like one but not the other.

    If you want the “consensus” to refer to views on the need for action rather than just the existence of AGW, you should not quote 97%. This is evident to anyone who’s read Cook et al – I guess Tamsin has just made this subtle point more obvious, which may explain why some folk are grumpy about it…!

  277. Michael 2 says:

    “World headed for an El Nino and it could be a big one, scientists say”

    Or maybe not so big; after all, we said could be just in case this prediction fails as did the last prediction of a big El Nino.

  278. GSR says:

    Richard if you think that Cook et al is not a significant document then you really shouldn’t be dealing in public policy.

  279. Joshua says:

    ==> “I like the last one. Look at the IPCC PDF for ECS: a lukewarmer wil look at the lower half
    and sell, hope luck and dreams.
    other folks will look at 3C and above and sell fear doom and panic.”

    Unfortunately, the discussions do often play out this way.

    And to compound the problem, folks will box their “opponents” into a corner. Most “lukewarmers” that I’ve encountered will justify their views by arguing against the “doom and panic” minority and either ignoring the actual scientific consensus (that there is a risk of dangerous climate change, not that it is certain) or explicitly conflating the scientific consensus with the more extreme “doom and panic” positions.

    One way of selling your own product is to mischaraterize the competing products. “Lukewamers” can assign “guilt” by associating the “consensus” with such slogans as “the science is settled” – even though hardly any scientists ever say something like that, (and even when they say something similar what they mean is something like “there conclusive evidence that the GHE exists” – which “lukewarmers” claim to agree on).

    I would imagine a “lukewarmer” could point to a similar dynamic on the other side, such as the attribution of all arguments about the range of sensitivity to big oil.

    Anyway, it’s hard enough to address risk in the face of uncertainty even when people are not viewing the issues as a proxy identity battle. Put the polarization and identity issues into play, and what you get is a zero sum gain scenario. Purposeful hedging against risk in the face of uncertainty is, I am thinking, mutually exclusive with a zero sum gain view of the problem.

  280. @GSR

    I didn’t say Cook et al is not significant. It’s clearly very influential. I just quoted it’s top-level conclusion.

    I don’t deal in public policy. I do scientific research, some of which informs public policy.

  281. Joseph says:

    Richard would you say whether or not there is “97 consensus,” that there is a “scientific consensus” that warming in this century “could” result in negative and with some being severe consequences in this century, if we don’t do something to slow our current rate of CO2 emissions? This statement seem to be consistent with the position statements of various scientific organizations I have seen.

    Here is the definition of “scientific consensus” so we are on the same page.

    Scientific consensus is the collective judgment, position, and opinion of the community of scientists in a particular field of study. Consensus implies general agreement, though not necessarily unanimity.

  282. Joshua says:

    Richard Betts:

    Maybe you didn’t read them, or maybe you’re just not interested enough to respond, but I had some questions for you upstairs:

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/05/04/tolerably-tepid/#comment-55217
    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/05/04/tolerably-tepid/#comment-55223

  283. Michael 2 says:

    WebHubTelescope says “Misinformation warfare was invented by oil companies.”

    Perhaps you and Naomi could get together and decide on a single story. She seems to think this was invented by tobacco companies.

    Or maybe it goes all the way back to ancient Greece.

  284. > Richard if you think that Cook et al is not a significant document then you really shouldn’t be dealing in public policy.

    C13 doesn’t claim statistical significance, GSR.

    Chill.

    ***

    > Most “lukewarmers” that I’ve encountered will justify their views by arguing against the “doom and panic” minority […]

    To take the most recent example:

    [R]ubbish arguments tend to keep the conversation from where it should be, and give CAGW advocates easy things to critique. The legitimate arguments about weaknesses in the CAGW case are what need to be focused on, not rubbish arguments about why CO2 is rising.

    http://judithcurry.com/2015/05/06/quantifying-the-anthropogenic-contribution-to-atmospheric-co2/#comment-700835

    More on the wedging technique:

    A wedge issue is a social issue, often of a divisive or controversial nature, which splits apart a population or political group. Wedge issues can be advertised or publicly aired in an attempt to weaken the unity of a population, with the goal of enticing polarized individuals to give support to an opponent or to withdraw their support entirely out of disillusionment. The use of wedge issues gives rise to wedge politics. Wedge issues are also known as hot button or third rail issues.

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

    An older study:

  285. Eli Rabett says:

    Victor, back in the days of yesteryear when Eli mentioned that IEHO Roger was a dodger there was a significant amount of Betts like push back We have since kissed and made up, mostly because it became clear that Eli was right.

    Listen to the bunny. It saves time

  286. GSR says:

    @ willard
    C13 doesn’t claim statistical significance
    Willard could you flesh-out that statement because I thought it did.

  287. Willard says:

    It’s easier to show that it did, if it did so, GSR. So a quote might be nice.

    As far as I can read, they simply claimed that bigger is better (4.1):

    We address the issue of representativeness by selecting the largest sample to date for this type of literature analysis.

    http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/2/024024/article

    It would be tough to argue more than that.

    ***

    OTOH, this also shows that the related analysis by Richard Tol was mostly a red squirrel.

  288. GSR says:

    @ willard
    OK.

  289. @Joseph

    Richard would you say whether or not there is “97 consensus,” that there is a “scientific consensus” that warming in this century “could” result in negative and with some being severe consequences in this century, if we don’t do something to slow our current rate of CO2 emissions?

    Yes, I agree with that completely.

  290. GSR says:

    Richard in 2100 how do you think Cook13 will stack up against we must play be nice with Rose, Curry and Watts and Lawson?

  291. Michael 2 argues:


    Perhaps you and Naomi could get together and decide on a single story. She seems to think this was invented by tobacco companies.

    Or maybe it goes all the way back to ancient Greece.

    Of course my context is geophysics and earth sciences, which is the focus of this blog. I suggest you go elsewhere for discussion on health topics. That is, unless you are a Fred Singer, who is willing to be paid by the highest bidder to be an expert at anything and everything.

  292. Joshua says:

    Richard Betts –

    As near as I can tell, you think that one of the problems with the public discussion about climate change is that some scientists make personal attacks against other scientists.

    I’ve asked you to respond to some criticisms I made of Nic Lewis’ personal attacks against climate scientists.

    But you haven’t responded to my criticisms. Can you at least explain why you haven’t responded?

    Is it merely that you think that those criticisms aren’t significant enough to merit response? Or is it that for some reason, you don’t want to criticize Nic Lewis for the same behaviors that you criticize in others?

    If it is the later, then could you explain why you’re applying different standards to NIc than you do with others?

  293. Joshua

    Can you at least explain why you haven’t responded?

    I’m busy! I did write half a response earlier but then had to go to a meeting. I will respond to your perfectly reasonably questions in due course 🙂

  294. GSR says:

    [Mod : Sorry, I think this is just a bit too personal to expect a response.]

  295. @Joshua

    OK to avoid you hanging on longer – I know you’re dying to hear my words of wisdom 😉

    Yes Nic is often OTT in questioning competence etc. While some climate scientists do still work with him, some have stopped becuase of this. He was OTT in his comments on Marotzke & Forster, I encouraged him to reply at Ed Hawkins’ Climate Lab Book blog. IMO it makes him less effective in moving forward the scientific debate, but probably more effective as playing to the sceptic audience.

    I do see people misrepresenting mainstream science as being over-confidence on the high end. Not sure if this is general of lukewarmers though, but maybe I haven’t noticed, or maybe we characterise people differently.

  296. Joshua says:

    Thanks Richard.

    I can sleep now. 🙂

  297. Joshua says:

    And FWIW –

    From my observations – which are obviously subject to observer bias, the tendency to misrepresent the treatment of uncertainty when referring to the “scientific consenus is a fairly pervasive feature of “lukewarmer” rhetoric.”

    If there’s a problem with Tamsin’s article, IMO, it’s that it doesn’t ” explicitly recognize that problematic component of engaging with “lukewarmers.”

    There is a solid body of literature that points to an association of identity-protective and identity-defensive behaviors when matters of science become polarized. It seems to me that those behaviors are rather incompatible with engaging in debate in order to find synergistic interests between people who differently evaluate the implications of various sensitivity ranges. Tamsin represents a hopeful element, IMO, for advancing dialog – but I think that her attempts will be sub-optimal if she isn’t explicit about identity-related biases among the entire spectrum of participants.

  298. Joshua

    Um, so, to translate….. you mean yes it’s fine to talk to lukewarmers as long as you point out where you think they are wrong…?

  299. Paul S says:

    ATTP,

    I think Tamsin is even aware that what she’s writing is a positive spin on the situation rather than necessarily being accurate. The slightly buried question ‘In other words, is this just the same wolf – political and cultural opposition to mitigation – now dressed in sheep’s clothing?’ is revealing in that sense.

    It’s clear to me that, for most who self-describe as such, lukewarmism is a strategy to retain credibility when advocating against mitigation. Given that the majority of politicians don’t seem overly concerned with doing anything real about the problem, all the sheepwolves need to do is retain a semblance of credibility in terms of the science while arguing that there is no clear imperative for action to be taken. Not that they are necessarily strategising on an individual level. It’s just become part of the social fabric for advocates against climate change action to “accept the basic science” or be cast out.

    However, the fact that it’s a deliberate strategy doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good one for them in the long run – realistically there weren’t many alternatives open to them. One key part of their strategy is to emphasise disagreement, thereby maintaining an appearance of controversy even while “accepting the basic science”. By instead emphasising agreement, as Tamsin has done, the lukewarmer strategy is partially undermined. Plausibly, lukewarmers can then be portrayed as what they are – people who are cherry-picking within a wider set of scientific evidence – rather than as one of two opposing sides saying different things.

    I would disagree that the majority of “skeptics” in the UK are “lukewarmers” rather than “deniers”, even with the overly-narrow definitions she uses, but it is a classic tool of persuasion to say “most of your peers think this…” If we can reach a situation where everybody at least agrees that continuing CO2 emissions will cause noticeable climate change it should at least move the debate to a different area.

  300. Eli: “Victor, … Listen to the bunny. It saves time

    Thank you for your overconfidence and self-fulfilling prophecies.

    The mitigation sceptics do not care about her mainstream views, they are friendly to her. Thankful for any attention and not caring about science. If we cannot be bothered to respond to the content of her article, but resort to easy personal denigration and disgusting comparisons, we should not be wondering when your prophecies fulfil themselves. At least theoretically, Edwards thinks much too clear to become a Curry. So, no, I will not listen to you and trust your underpowered pattern. I’d rather think myself.

  301. Eli Rabett says:

    The original sin is indeed tobacco, because the tobacco industry decided that the EPA was the main threat against them and their tactic was to attack the EPA on a broad front. TAASC (Steve Goddard and others), for example was an astroturf organization designed to do this which was designed to discredit the EPA on many issues including climate change in order to discredit the EPA on environmental tobacco smoke. Many organizations such as Heartland who started as (and remain) shills for the tobacco industry adopted climate change as an issue through this.

    Jules @ Klimaatblog is working on a long paper analyzing how much of this was done using the Legacy Tobacco Archive.

  302. John Hartz says:

    Does anyone happen to know how much editorial freedom Edwards had over her article? Is it considered to be an Op-ed rather than a straight article? Did she choose the topic, or was it assigned to her?

    As a Yank, I am not very familiar with Edwards and her views on climate science.

  303. Joshua says:

    Richard –

    Sorry that translation is needed. :-)…but thanks for bearing with me.

    ==> “Um, so, to translate….. you mean yes it’s fine to talk to lukewarmers as long as you point out where you think they are wrong…?”

    Maybe.

    But I think it’s more than just that. People need to recognize the larger patterns in the discussion. Part of dealing with risk assessment in the face of uncertainty and in polarized contexts is understanding how identity-related behaviors play into the discussion.

    If people want to talk about the more general phenomenon, of “lukewarmer” vs. “denier” vs. “skeptic,” vs. “realist” vs. “concerned,” etc., then I think they need to be precise in what they mean.

    When you say

    “Tamsin’s point is that more people agree that AGW is real than is generally supposed, and the real debate is not whether AGW exists but what level of risk it poses and how to respond to this risk.”

    …as if that captures the distinction between the “lukewarmer” position and the “consensus” position in some generalizable sense…I think it is important to note the prevalence of (IMO) a large % of “lukewarmers” who are not actually debating as you describe.

    I see many acting as if there are no positions between theirs and “CAGW” (where the argument is that “catastrophe” is a certain outcome) in other words, when the use the term “CAGW” to discribe any position of more concerned about BAU then theirs.

    Look at their language. How many “lukeswarmers” do you see that don’t use the epithet of “alarmist” to distinguish their position from that of the “scientific consensus?”

    That type of rhetorical position enables a identity battles in the stead of discussion – where a “lukewarmer” can avoid dealing with the potential harm of a relatively high sensitivity that they say that they accept. (This is what Anders frequently talks about.)

    Similarly, with Tamsin. If in outlining the different positions she doesn’t explicitly acknowledge the true dimensions of the discussion taking place, then I don’t see how there will be much in the way of beneficial outcomes from her efforts.

    Of course, maybe I’m wrong in my characterization of the prevalence of different “lukewaramer” positions…and asking for proof of a negative is problematic…but show me a prominent “lukewarmer” who doesn’t uniformly characterize those more concerned than he/she about BAU, pejoratively, as an “alarmist.”

  304. Richard Betts says: “Um, so, to translate….. you mean yes it’s fine to talk to lukewarmers as long as you point out where you think they are wrong…?

    Given that I see talking about science with luckwarmers and other mitigation sceptics as pointless, I am mainly interested in the impression this gives to the observers. You do not notice the observers, but is a group that is orders of magnitude larger and have a much more open mind, if only because they did not publicly announced their erroneous positions. If you fail to point out that the luckwarmers are wrong and just make friendly chit chat, the observers get the impression that the position of the luckwarmers is at least not very wrong.

  305. John Hartz says:

    Yet another dimension to this discussion…

    Climate change theories and open scientific discourse is being muted by the intensity of climate denial arguments, according to a new psychological study released today.

    The language used by climate change opponents has gradually “seeped” into the language of climate change theory proponents – and it has unwittingly reinforced and legitimized the argument of the scientific minority, according to the paper published today by the journal Global Environmental Change.

    “It seems reasonable to conclude that the pressure of climate contrarians has contributed, at least to some degree, to scientists re-examining their own theory, data and models, even though all of them permit – indeed, expect – changes in the rate of warming over any arbitrarily chosen period,” said Stephen Lewandowksy, a professor from the University of Bristol’s School of Experimental Psychology.

    The language and arguments amount to giving the minority of scientists a disproportionate amount of attention – a phenomenon known as “pluralistic ignorance” – a factor present even in the latest assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

    Climate Change Denial Arguments ‘Seep’ into Scientific Debate, Seth Augenstein, Laboratory Equipment, May 6, 2015

  306. Wanna see denial? How about the wuwters on the UK energy situation?
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/05/08/kpmg-addressing-britains-energy-crisis-a-priority

    Too funny. Blaming environmentalists for using up the UK’s allotment of North Sea oil.

    But there’s lots under Gatwick airport !

  307. Dear all,

    I have been reading these comments, and wasn’t going to reply because (a) it was rather heated…, (b) I didn’t feel responding would particularly help (in dampening things down or in persuading people), and (c) there were simply too many things to reply to…!

    But given the sheer amount of time put by so many into this comment thread, and a little free time on a Saturday afternoon, I would like to say a few things.

    The Observer asked for me some ideas to cover in this special issue. I gave them several, of which the existence of lukewarmers was one. They were planning to write it themselves but later commissioned it from me instead. They suggested some ideas for the angle, but I already had my own (including shoehorning in as much science as I could, and Ringberg) and was given completely free rein.

    I was over the word limit and struggling to bring it down, so they suggested some large edits and re-ordering which I then re-edited substantially (during an all day teaching meeting…oops…they were very good about my split focus). One of the cuts for length was a quote from Gabi Hegerl, i.e. Nic was not the only person interviewed.

    There were a few late edits that I was not 100% happy with, some of which you’ve pointed out and made some good suggestions for. Some of your suggestions and queries were in previous drafts too. In the end I simply ran up against limits of time, word count and bandwidth (there’s only so much you can do during a meeting, and when you’ve read it so many times you can no longer see it with a fresh eye…).

    I’d like to remind people I didn’t write the sub-head or headline, which was the part that described lukewarmers as the “middle” of the spectrum. Dana, I expect it’s the same for you? Perhaps you have full control over headlines, which is great, but I didn’t see mine until it was already published.

    Most importantly, I’d like to thank those of you who’ve really engaged with the piece – those who haven’t immediately judged me, to quote myself, “idiotic or nefarious”, but have taken some time to consider my point of view (even if you disagree with it). This means a lot.

    Victor and others are right that it’s most demoralising and disheartening when people you respect and/or are “on your side” are very negative, especially when it veers towards speculation or ad-hom (ad-fem). But I do appreciate your thoughtful comments and criticisms, and I do consider them.

    To those of you wondering whether I’m even concerned about climate change. Like many others, I spend a very large amount of my own personal time trying to improve public understanding of, and interest in, climate science. Not just online, which you can see, but also at science festivals, in schools, in broadcast media – particularly trying to find new ways of reaching unengaged audiences. One of things I’m most proud of is this school workshop about Antarctica: http://www.paleo.bris.ac.uk/~ggejs/webpage/media.html We persuaded a bunch of primary school kids in a disadvantaged area of Bristol that they wanted to be scientists and explorers 🙂 I’m also very proud of this year’s BBC’s Climate Change by Numbers, for which I spent many, many, many hours of my free time helping them to get the science right, because I think the public deserve to hear accurate, accessible representations of IPCC science. I hope this illustrates how important an issue it is for me. Perhaps for some my non-mainstream approach to sceptics has obscured my mainstream views on the science; hopefully most can distinguish them.

    And finally, to those of you who think I’m a careerist, or only seeking attention or fame: you should see the things I turn down 🙂

    I may have ended a little cheeky, but I mean this post in good humour… please take it as such.

    Best wishes all,

    Tamsin

  308. Tamsin,
    Thanks for the comment. I apologise that some of the comments were less civil than I would have hoped. Moderating a blog is not one of my skills – amongst many other things for which I have little skill.

  309. Eli Rabett says:

    Dear Dr. Edwards,

    You need to read and understand the Idiot Tracker on Luckwarmers.

    Disputing one point with the scientific community – climate sensitivity – is compatible with a reasonable, pro-science argument. Hey, it happens — an idea becomes the established consensus, and it turns out to be, not completely wrong maybe, but off (this has already happened several times in climate science — unfortunately, every time, to date, the majority of the mistakes have been in the direction of under-estimating the speed and magnitude of the effects of global warming.)

    However, when you begin to argue that not only does science have climate sensitivity wrong but also emissions and maybe impacts to boot – well, you’re going to have a hard time explaining why thousands of scientists have made not one but a series of mistakes, all supposedly exaggerating the dangers of global warming. Go down that road, and pretty soon you’re right back in the tinfoil-hat camp lukewarmist rhetoric was supposed to deliver you from. If you allege not one but a whole series of gigantic mistakes by huge numbers of investigators, all tending to undermine a scientific conclusion (only rapid reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases can prevent a substantial risk of planetary disaster) to which you are avowedly hostile, the simplest conclusion is not that you are a genius and the rest of the scientific community are fools; it is that you are a partisan and you are attacking science with implications contrary to your political goals.

    Part 2

    BTW, the Editor made me do it is a good keeper.

  310. John Hartz says:

    Tasmin Edwards: Thank you for taking the time to post your comment and for answering my “process” questions. I do hope that you and ATTP are able to get acquainted and share notes in private. ATTP is both knowledgable and civil.

  311. jsam says:

    Good on you, Tamsin, for pitching up here. Thank you.

    It’s interesting to note, via comments on various blogs, that many of those in denial.

    – most of them claim to be part of the 97% – and think their heroes are too: Watts, Monckton, Dyson. Even Heartland and GWPF defenders.
    – almost all of them claim to be a luckwarmer – including the GWPF and Heartland.

    There was a good point made upstream about intentional ambiguity aiding diplomacy. I’m still mulling that one over. It certainly helped in Northern Ireland. To my taste you appear to bend over backwards, often a bit too far, to accomodate. But then perhaps that’s the route to progress.

    (Oh, and Climate Change by Numbers was very good. Thank you for your time.)

  312. verytallguy11 says:

    Thank you for taking the time to comment Tamsin

  313. Tamsin, that is a good point you (indirectly) made, most people on this blog want mainstream scientists to engage more with the public. Then it is not very helpful when a scientist who does so is immediately called an attention or fame seeking careerist. And I also really thought we had this ivory tower time behind us.

    It would have been nice if everyone on the threat had stayed with the arguments, rather than getting personal. That would entice scientists to engage. Why do you think the mitigation sceptics are so nasty and aggressive?

    Time, space and bandwidth are real life concerns. We can only guess that Editors are not that often interested in the opinion of bunnies, which is why the attack bunny, like me, has to blog. (Once someone himself starts, I feel entitled to reciprocate the verbal aggression. 🙂

    Lukewarmism without arguments is scientifically just as irrational as denial or ice-ageism.

    Politically I wonder whether the lukewarmers are doing their political cause a favour. Not only is it easy to point out that they are more certain than science. It is likely not for nothing that most of the political movement against mitigation denies any significant influence of humanity. A factor two difference is not much for a political debate.

    Do you think humanity would have acted faster if global warming were twice as big? Normal citizens, who do not know the ins and outs of the debate, will likely just assess whether global warming is happening or not. If they think it is, it makes sense to do something about it, climate is the basis of our societies and civilisation. It is not for nothing that worries about changes in climate are as old as history.

  314. John Hartz says:

    Tamsin: My apologies for mispelling your first name in my prior post.

  315. Willard says:

    > Lukewarmism without arguments is scientifically just as […]

    With arguments, it’s worse, and in context, it’s even worser.

    ***

    > show me a prominent “lukewarmer” who doesn’t uniformly characterize those more concerned than he/she about BAU, pejoratively, as an “alarmist.”

    I’d rather show someone who uses the A-word instead:

    If the world (ever) grasps implications of low sensitivity, it’ll be the alarmists who get pushed out the Overton Window. Believe me, it will be easy doing it to doom-mongers and 10:10 video makers who cannot get simple things straight.

    https://nigguraths.wordpress.com/2015/05/05/low-climate-sensitivity-heretical-implications/#comment-12672

    Join the lukewarm bandwaggon!

  316. I correct myself: “We can only guess that Editors are not that often interested in the opinion of bunnies, which is why the killer bunny, like me, has to blog.

  317. BBD says:

    While we are on editorial issues, one thing I think I forgot to mention earlier is that I wince whenever I see Nic Lewis described as an ‘independent researcher’. Whilst superficially true in the sense that he is not part of any academic institution, it would be more accurate (and rather less misleading) to describe NL as a retired financier with strong links to Lord Lawson’s climate sceptic lobby group the GWPF.

  318. John Hartz says:

    For the record, I always consult my friend, Harvey before I post. 🙂

  319. BBD says:

    The invisible rabbit?

    😉

  320. John Hartz says:

    BBD: I can see Harvey. My wife cannot. 🙂

  321. Richard says:

    In case anyone feels the need, here is your introduction to anger management … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8YFxuKrJBI 🙂

  322. However, when you begin to argue that not only does science have climate sensitivity wrong but also emissions and maybe impacts to boot –

    And yet, that’s what the evidence indicates:

  323. Could we maybe introduce a new moderation rule? No more figures without a link to how they were computed. Images are highly suggestive (maybe not exactly the last one with the curve fitting of a 4 year old), but actually do not say anything if you do not know what exactly is displayed.

  324. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: I second Victor’s motion! (Harvey said I should.)

  325. Susan Anderson says:

    More anger management (h/t Brian at RabettRun)

    It was courageous and helpful for Dr. Edwards to take the time to respond here. Some younger more optimistic people looking at the way the conversation has gone amiss is the continuous unmixed provocation offered at all times and in all places by a massive group of professionals and amateurs bent on deception and distraction, often without understanding they are doing so.

    It has come to the point when being “reasonable” is less and less relevant to the discussion, which has been derailed. Recently a fellow sufferer offered up a nice list of the “seven deadlies”* which exchange included his comment that he doesn’t always agree with me but supports the general effort to point past the nonsense. I thought, that’s interesting, we can no longer have a rational discussion about the finer points, because there is always a great hovering of exploitation and weakness-seeking, making it about distortion and dishonesty rather than exploring the variety of points of view.

    They’re against laziness, blindness and stupidity. It’s lazy to just keep cranking out the volts and the pollutants with old coal and oil technology, just because it’s there. It’s blind to keep pretending that there are no consequences and costs, especially for the poor. It’s stupid, because there’s better available now.

    Pride (look at our big scoop shovels, mommy!), envy (those Chinese get to pollute, why can’t I?), wrath (Monckton, Heartland, Newsmax), sloth (I don’t wanna do better, I wanna sit right here!), avarice (the greed involved speaks for itself, though I’d add that the denier always leads straight to resource-grabbing), and even lust for doing it to Nature.

    pretty much the Seven Deadlies. At bottom, that’s what the Pope and others are against.

    i forgot gluttony, of course. but then, that’d be a cheap shot…”How Much Earth Does A Man Need?”

  326. BBD says:

    Make this a third endorsement.

    And here’s a another suggestion: further repetitions of that debunked misrepresentation of Hansen’s fig. 5 should be deleted.

  327. John Hartz says:

    Turbulent Eddie:

    Posting grahics without documenting source smacks of pulling rabbits out of a hat.

  328. BBD says:

    TurbEd

    Your first graph seems to be confusing TCR with ECS.

  329. BBD says:

    John Hartz

    The second graph is fig. 5 in this study.

    The first looks like a roll-yer-own special to me.

  330. JCH says:

    GHG growth rate graph has been on Sato’s page, where is is updated regularly, for a very long time. TE believes that graph explains a slowdown in warming, which is just plain nuts.

  331. Could we maybe introduce a new moderation rule? No more figures without a link to how they were computed.

    Yes, okay, that’s a good suggestion.

  332. Richard says:

    BBD, indeed and a roll your own that is not making its first appearance if my memory serves me well!

    Tamsin – I recall in one talk you gave how you were inspired to study science by Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time” and no one can be in doubt as to your passion for science and your belief in the need to communicate it. It is sad that some who question your methods of communication choose to use bogus methods of debate (questioning your motives, your qualifications, your scientific credibility). Isn’t that the kind of crap we criticise the shock jocks of the antiscience for? Let us hope that this is not motivated by misogyny or ageism. For me, your integrity and courage in the face of these unwarranted brickbats is self evident. Please keep up the great work, whether in the lab, or outwith. Our fellow commentators frustration at inaction is no reason to vent anger at those like you who have the timerity to try to create bridges, however flimsy, for dialogue in a world that values antagonism and conflict above civil debate. Thank you.

  333. jsam says:

    Luckwarmers can be bitter.

    “SkepticalScience…a bunch of none-too-bright rabid environmentalists.”

    http://richardtol.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/denial101x.html

  334. jsam,
    Maybe he’s just bitter that they haven’t let him inside the hut?

  335. BBD says:

    Susan Anderson

    i forgot gluttony, of course. but then, that’d be a cheap shot…”How Much Earth Does A Man Need?”

    Which reminds me of another Biblical reference:

    For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? [Mark 8:36]

    A pertinent question if there ever was, but the more so these days when greed might lose us the world as well.

  336. BBD says:

    jsam

    Ah, that old contrarian false equivalence: conflating physical climatology with ‘environmentalism’. It’s so much easier to dismiss a straw-stuffed caricature of smelly, loony-left tree-huggers than the laws of physics, isn’t it?

  337. King James saith it best:

    So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

    Biblical, biblical, I wanna get biblical.
    Lemme hear Revelation 3:16,
    Revelation 3:16.

  338. anoilman says:

    jsam… Better than being a rabid economist.

    I hear that late at night they howl at the moon. Gr Gr Gr GRoooooowwwwth!

  339. BBD said on May 9, 2015 at 9:46 pm, in reply to Susan Anderson’s comment on May 9, 2015 at 6:45 pm, quoting her:

    “”i forgot gluttony, of course. but then, that’d be a cheap shot…”How Much Earth Does A Man Need?””
    Which reminds me of another Biblical reference:
    For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? [Mark 8:36]
    A pertinent question if there ever was, but the more so these days when greed might lose us the world as well.”

    willard (@nevaudit) said on May 10, 2015 at 3:15 am:

    “King James saith it best:
    So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
    Biblical, biblical, I wanna get biblical.
    Lemme hear Revelation 3:16,
    Revelation 3:16.”

    As beautiful as that language is, I prefer the translation called “The Message” (MSG), the most visceral idiomatic translation *by far* – consider the same part, this time in the whole context of Revelation 15-17:

    “I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not hot-far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit. You brag, ‘I’m rich, I’ve got it made, I need nothing from anyone,’ oblivious that in fact you’re a pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare and homeless.”

    (I really like it when translators plainly and explicitly let us know when and why “The Man” wants to vomit.)

    …(smile)…

    (But seriously, on translations in general, I think that such visceral language is a sign of a good idiomatic translation, where the translators are not afraid to really try to really get at and bring out the underlying meanings of the text.)

    And while we’re on biblical references that relate to humanity’s destruction of this world in which we live, let’s not forget Revelation 11:18:

    “The time has come to…destroy the destroyers of earth.”

    https://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Message-MSG-Bible/#booklist

    It seems that destroying nature is not looked kindly upon by some.

    (One can read every part of every version in just about every language in which there’s a translation for free at this site. Scroll down at each version’s page to choose any part. See
    https://www.biblegateway.com/versions/
    for a list of all the versions in all the languages in question, which gives the link further above for the full context of the quote I gave.)

  340. The more pertinent question for Turbulent Eddie is why? Why post the stuff he does which is almost always and often obviously intended to mislead? You have to try hard to come up with some of these graphs and even harder to ignore the bulk of the evidence.

    So the only conclusion I can come to is he knows the evidence and picks only that which misleads. And again, why? Is it fun?

    I find it depressing. The lack of respect for truth and integrity is just a bummer. There’s a whole cadre of misinformers roaming about the world and I guess it’s especially easy with anonymity to not worry about truth or consequences. Still I’d just once like to see one of them answer the question: Why? Turbulent Eddie/Lucifer has avoided it many times.

  341. John Hartz says:

    Kevin O’Neill: I concluded many years ago that the more vitriolic deniers have egos that just won’t quit.

  342. The name Lucifer already suggests that he feels he is above the moral values of the common people.

    Many people simply do not know better. Kevin O’Neill, you are right that it looks as if Lucifer does know better. Not everyone is bound by logic, but it may make sense if you consider that the liberals told everyone that people in Africa would suffer most from climate change. There is a few percent of population that like that and may be willing to suffer themselves to make that happen and are willing to deceive the rest .

    It is probably no coincidence that UKIP is popular among UK mitigation sceptics. On the net we are not debating a random sample of the population. Those normal people we should reach. If journalists are only willing to provide access to more reasonable people if we write something about lukewarmers, it may be a good price to write something about lukewarmers.

  343. Susan Anderson says:

    Aside from inadequately proofing, here’s a link to the “seven deadlies” which appeared in a comment section that is a pit for ClimateballTM nonsense, it’s such a mess. I don’t recommend DotEarth because of the abdication of the blog owner. Andy Revkin’s failure to distinguish between real science and its imitative hordes, as well as passive hosting of denial, have driven a lot of people away.

    There is a parallel to be drawn, however, in advocates for being reasonable (such as Dr. Edwards) not being aware that this is unilateral disarmament. I think even those of us who used the strongest language are not unsympathetic to the desire for a reasonable conversation and the need to avoid exaggeration. My initial fragment was meant to point out that after a decade of unremitting attacks, we have found that being polite, honest, and good listeners is not getting anywhere. Scientists are too busy being correct at the expense of not making it clear what is at stake. So if climate sensitivity is a bit lower, and doubling will take longer, what about the continuation? How exactly are we to cut back later if we won’t do it now? Does time stop at 2100? What about the various threat multipliers? What about the worldwide evidence for climate chaos vs. those who don’t believe it’s real unless it’s in their backyard.

    I didn’t mean to start a whole biblical conversation, currently calling myself a ‘mystical atheist’ fwiw. In my salad days as a “seeker” I spent quite a bit of time with the world’s religions, which contain some fine ethical material, and do get annoyed with both the exclusion and hatred for atheism and the alienating pushback.

  344. Susan Anderson says:

    Always an afterthought. One reason I continue with DotEarth despite its obvious shortcomings is that it is the only New York Times climate-related blog, and as such needs not to surrender to the posse that attempts to dominate it. The NYT has something to answer for in being prone to the false balance problem, particularly in selecting “verified” commenters and occasionally lending credibility to people like Christy and the peculiar climate deceived reincarnation of the otherwise brilliant Freeman Dyson.

    I notice about the deception campaign, as distinguished from generic climate denial (fake skepticism, unskeptical “skepticism”, what have you), it is important to remember that the better efforts are professional, and even the volunteers have access to a highly professional mirror universe deriving from PR analysis and the days of big tobacco.

  345. Susan,
    Your DotEarth link doesn’t work.

  346. BBD says:

    Willard

    Excellent!

    * * *

    KeefeAndAmanda

    Thank you for the links. I knew nothing about the MSG translation and as you say, while the KJV is wonderful language, it is not always wonderful translation. It’s pleasantly surprising what crops up on physics blogs from time to time 🙂

  347. Susan Anderson says:

    Thanks ATTP (probably html ineptitude). It was in this article, buried deep.
    dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/04/28/a-vatican-declaration-seeks-equitable-clean-energy-access-in-a-livable-climate/

    This gets closer, but still requires scrolling in the subcomments to Fagan comment (Robert Out West, begins “Nice one. as a brief addendum, here’s a suggest about something the Pope and barious other religious leaders have in common:”):
    http://tinyurl.com/ns5x3qp

    That’s why I extracted it 😉

  348. Dear all,

    Thanks Victor, verytallguy11, and everyone else who replied to me.

    Richard – thank you so much for your thoughtful comment.

    Anders – thanks, and I know moderation is a difficult line to tread…

    John Hartz – no problem, but thank you.

    Eli – I can understand why you misunderstood me, but by “late edits” I meant my own, not the editor’s. I take full responsibility for every word, obviously – hence “free rein” and saying that I had re-edited their changes substantially. I was merely giving some background to how the article was shaped. Sorry that it wasn’t clear to you what I meant. I’m also sorry that you think I endorse the lukewarmer view. I thought I’d made it clear that I don’t, but evidently I need to work on my communication in that regard…

    Best wishes,

    Tamsin

  349. John Hartz says:

    Hot off the press…

    On 3 May Tamsin Edwards wrote an article for The Observer entitled “The lukewarmers don’t deny climate change. But they say the outlook’s fine” (see here for a discussion; I should point out that Tamsin didn’t choose the title for this article). This prompted Steven Mosher to write the following comment: “Lukewarmers have come a long way from the day in 2008 when we first recognized that there actually was a position that was INSIDE the mainstream of science but at odds with the public face of that science. Like I tell my skeptic friends there is a debate, its inside the science community and they are welcomed to join if they want to. Hmm one day I suppose I’ll have to write a history of the term and ‘team” lukewarmer.”

    As I am interested in the emergence and spread of various labels used in the climate change debate, such as for example ‘greenhouse sceptic’, I wanted to know more about the label ‘lukewarmer’ and while I can’t write its history in this post, I can show how it was used in the news. I put ‘lukewarmer’ and ‘climate’ as search terms into my preferred news data base, Lexis Nexis, on 3 May 2015 in All English Language News and got (only) 43 results. There were 8 duplicates. So, in the end I read 35 articles, published between 30 January 2010 and 22 April 2015. Compared to the use of other labels, such as denier and alarmist for example, these are small numbers. What follows are extracts from this small body of articles and I’ll leave it to readers to draw their own conclusions.

    Lukewarmers by Brigitte Nerlich*, Making Science Public, U of Nottingham, May 14, 2015

    *Professor of Science, Language and Society – Institute for Science and Society, The University of Nottingham. Director of the Leverhulme research programme ‘Making Science Public‘ and PI on ESRC funded project devoted to charting climate change debates.

  350. John Hartz says:

    Nerlich’s blog post cited above has generated a lively comment thread discussion by a number of “luminaries” from Deniersville. ATTP is valiantly posting on it as well but is quite outnumbered.

  351. BBD says: “Speaking only for myself, as a former ‘lukewarmer’, it was essentially denialism. Selective blanking of rather a lot of the relevant evidence on sensitivity. I knew what answer I wanted.

    An interested question, something I simply do not understand. When people are denial, why do they not simply see the topic as not interesting and move on? Where does the need to attack the science and even scientists come from and for the leaders the tendency to fabricate deception? That sounds more like a strong aversion to some solutions than like denial to me.

  352. BBD says:

    Victor V

    Sorry – you were right – I haven’t been looking at this thread for a while.

    I suspect that the urge to attack science and even scientists comes from the fact that those in denial are at some deep level aware of the fact. This drives them to combat the consensus and by so doing constantly re-affirm their always-shaky belief system.

  353. BBD says:

    Victor V

    That sounds more like a strong aversion to some solutions than like denial to me.

    I’m not sure that for many (most?) contrarians there is a meaningful distinction. Denial is borne from a strong aversion to a painful reality, which can include the discrediting of free market ideology, the need for government regulation of industry and the scientific evidence itself. The denier feels under serious threat – serious enough to trigger denial – so responds aggressively to the perceived threat. They literally cannot just walk away and leave it be.

  354. Ah, I had always assumed the “painful reality”, they could not endure, would be the consequences of climate change, not the slow modernization of the energy system over two generations. My bias.

    You think people really think that this minor change will make the markets less free? I had thought that that was just something they always say, like others say hmmmmmm, to have some time to think, no matter what the topic is. As if there is no regulation in the fossil fuel sector. If anything, renewable energy will lead to less micromanagement by the government because it is not so dangerous.

  355. BBD says:

    Victor V

    Ah, I had always assumed the “painful reality”, they could not endure, would be the consequences of climate change, not the slow modernization of the energy system over two generations. My bias.

    I didn’t say it was one or the other. I suspect that there is no real dividing line in the minds of most contrarians. It’s generically all bad stuff. Also, don’t expect contrarians to reason as you do. For example, many are pro-nuclear, with no apparent awareness that a global build-out of nuclear will require considerable regulation and oversight by central government.

  356. Pingback: Making Science Public » Lukewarmers

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