If wishes were horses

There’s a proverb which goes if wishes were horses, beggars would ride, which basically means that it’s useless to simply hope that everything will be fine, it’s better to actually take action. If it isn’t already, it really should be the Ridley family motto.

The reason I thought I’d mention this is that Matt Ridley has another article, this time in Scientific American. I genuinely don’t understand why people think he is someone who should be given a platform to pontificate on this topic, especially in sources that aim for scientific credibility. It’s a free world, I guess, but his record isn’t exactly stellar. I was, however, going to comment on only one thing he says in his article:

If sensitivity is low and climate change continues at the same rate as it has over the past 50 years, then dangerous warming—usually defined as starting at 2 degrees C above preindustrial levels—is about a century away. So we do not need to rush into subsidizing inefficient and land-hungry technologies, such as wind and solar or risk depriving poor people access to the beneficial effects of cheap electricity via fossil fuels.

Firstly, if climate sensitivity is low, then we will have more time. However, maybe it isn’t. Climate change is probably irreversible on human timescales. Arguing that we shouldn’t be doing anything yet, because it could be low, ignores the possibility that it might not be. If it isn’t low (and there are plenty of arguments for why it probably isn’t) we don’t get to go back and make a different decision.

However, in my view, there is a more fundamental problem with the above comment by Ridley. On average, our past warming has largely depended on our emissions. The rate over the last 50 years, probably depends – on average – on the rate of our emissions over the last 50 years or so. Since pre-industrial times we’ve warmed by about 1oC. Our total emissions are about 550GtC. If Matt Ridley is arguing that it will take about 100 years to get to 2oC (about double what we’ve had so far) he’s essentially arguing that it will take about 100 years to double our emissions (i.e., emit another 550GtC). To be clear, though, taking other factors into account suggests that the budget might only be 300 GtC.

Currently we’re emitting about 10GtC per year, and this has been increasing at about 2-3% per year. So, we could double our emissions in less than 50 years. So, Matt Ridley is effectively arguing for continued (and presumably increasing) use of fossils fuels, which means we could double our total emissions well within the next 50 years, while somehow thinking that doubling our warming will take about 100 years. Well, this simply ignores swathes of evidence suggesting that warming depends largely on cumulative/total emissions.

So, either Ridley disagrees with swathes of actual evidence, in which case he should probably own his science denial, or he somehow thinks we can increase our emissions, while not doubling our total emissions for another 100 years. This, however, doesn’t make logical sense. The basic point is that Ridley is arguing that it will take a long time to reach a level of warming that could be dangerous, while – at the same time – arguing for policies that make it much more likely that we’ll do so pretty quickly. I assumed that this sort of logical inconsistency would be obvious, but clearly it isn’t to everyone. If wishes were horses,…..

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76 Responses to If wishes were horses

  1. Matt Ridley doesn’t care that his articles defy logic. He’s just spreading his own brand of propaganda. And he’s very successful at it; for hardly a day passes without another well-written but error-strewn guest piece popping up in a magazine or paper. ATTP: you write well, you have the credibility of your academic position behind you. Why don’t you submit a longer version of this article to the Scientific American? Make it less about Matt Ridley and more about the illogicality of his viewpoint, countering with a little more depth on the evidence that makes him wrong—but written in the accessible style that is your hallmark—and it will be accepted.

    I’m sure Matt Ridley has a smug laugh to himself every time he sees one of your blogposts about what he’s written, because he knows he’s the one with the exposure.

  2. NevenA says:

    The only interesting question IMO is: How did this get into Scientific American?

  3. jsam,
    I did think of that. Maybe, I’ll see.

    Neven,
    Yes, I really am amazed how some people can continue to have this kind of exposure despite saying things that seem pretty obviously, logically inconsistent.

  4. Catalin C says:

    I think another reason why all the pretentious (but baseless) denial coming from people like Ridley (or Curry for that matter) is completely wrong in this instance is the way most estimates for CO2 budgets are done – most IPCC scenarios that try to model effective temperature only start from very optimistic carbon budgets – the one that is the closest to where we currently are in politico-economic terms is RCP8.5 and even that one does not take into account realistic permafrost and peat emissions in the 2nd half of this century or the impact that the extreme warming in the deep ocean will have on the huge amounts of CO2 stored there and on the ability of the temporary CO2 sinks to continue taking CO2 at the same extreme rate that we see today.

  5. Catalin,
    I agree that there are other factors that may play a role. However, isn’t some of this taken into account in reducing the remaining budget from around 500GtC, to around 300GtC?

  6. Alberto Zaragoza Comendador says:

    ‘If Matt Ridley is arguing that it will take about 100 years to get to 2oC (about double what we’ve had so far) he’s essentially arguing that it will take about 100 years to double our emissions (i.e., emit another 550GtC)’

    I think you’re talking about different things here. You’re talking about when CO2 will reach a level that would imply 2ºC of warming at some point in the future, while Ridley says:

    ‘If sensitivity is low and climate change continues at the same rate as it has over the past 50 years, then dangerous warming—usually defined as starting at 2 degrees C above preindustrial levels—is about a century away’

    Which to me means: if climate sensitivity is low, THEN warming will continue at the pace of the last half-century, i.e. about 1 degree per century. In which case, yes, the 2ºC ‘limit’ is 100 years away. Ridley is talking about actual temps, not about ppm levels that would cause temps to rise later. (I agree that a ppm level is a better way to look at this issue than temps themselves, as the latter itself can be affected by a random volcano or some other natural factor like a change in cloud cover)

    ‘Since pre-industrial times we’ve warmed by about 1oC. Our total emissions are about 550GtC. If Matt Ridley is arguing that it will take about 100 years to get to 2oC (about double what we’ve had so far) he’s essentially arguing that it will take about 100 years to double our emissions (i.e., emit another 550GtC)’

    No, because the 1ºC we’ve warmed since 1880 or thereabouts is not ‘equivalent’ to the 550GtC we’ve emitted. It might be that our emissions have actually caused more warming than that, masked by natural variability, or that some of the warming included in this 1ºC was natural (most obviously the 1910-1940 period). Simply comparing the amount of warming and CO2 emissions in a given period is a very rough way to look at the issue… and this kind of analysis, except more detailed, is what energy budget studies do anyway.

    550GtC = 2,015GtCO2. Considering airborne fraction of 43% that’s just over 100ppm, i.e. the level reached after these emissions would be a bit over 500ppm. But if ECS = 2ºC, the level we can reach is not 500 but 560ppm.

    It matters a lot, because in one case we can emit 100ppm more, and in the other case 160 ppm more. So the emissions budget would be 3,200GtCO2, or 870GtC. 60% bigger.

    Perhaps more importantly, there is no reason to believe the net sink, over 2ppm now, would decline along with our emissions. At least I haven’t seen anyone arguing why would that be case. Obviously, if the net sink stayed constant then a 43% emissions decline would be enough to stabilize ppm. Perhaps not forever, as natural sinks may saturate, but for the time foreseeable.

    In short, it seems to me the ‘carbon budget’ issue isn’t nearly as urgent as implied in this post.

    Btw, I think CO2 is more intuitive than carbon to count emissions. At least most charts and stuff I see are expressed in CO2 per capita, CO2 per kWh, etc.

  7. BBD says:

    Bloody editors. All the same.

  8. BBD says:

    In short, it seems to me the ‘carbon budget’ issue isn’t nearly as urgent as implied in this post.

    If sensitivity is right at the low end of the range and if carbon sinks keep pace with emissions – which is not my understanding of the scientific view.

  9. Alberto,

    Which to me means: if climate sensitivity is low, THEN warming will continue at the pace of the last half-century, i.e. about 1 degree per century. In which case, yes, the 2ºC ‘limit’ is 100 years away.

    Except that even if it is low, it still depends – roughly – on total emissions. So, if emissions are greater this century than they were last century, we’ll warm faster. Also, if he wants to argue that we might not reach 2oC after doubling our emissions, then he’s essentially suggesting that some of our past warming is internally-forced, rather than externally-forced. Well, even his preferred method (Nic Lewis’s energy balance method) assumes that it’s all externally forced. So, his position is still inconsistent.

    Perhaps more importantly, there is no reason to believe the net sink, over 2ppm now, would decline along with our emissions.

    Actually, this isn’t true. The airborne fraction is expected to go up slightly with increasing emissions.

    In short, it seems to me the ‘carbon budget’ issue isn’t nearly as urgent as implied in this post.

    I didn’t really say that, though. I’m pointing out that how much we warm depends largely on how much we emit. To suggest that we can double our total emissions in less than 50 years but that we’d only warm by 2oC in 100 years, is not consistent with the evidence.

    Remember also that the carbon budget includes uncertainties. The 300GtC is set so as to give us something like a 66% chance of staying below 2oC. So, yes, we could emit more and still stay below 2oC, but the chance of doing so goes down. The general view today is that a further 600GtC would virtually guarantee 2oC. If we follow Matt Ridley’s advice (do little now, more fossil fuels for to help those in the developed world) we will emit this much in less than 50 years.

  10. Alberto Zaragoza Comendador says:

    ‘Perhaps more importantly, there is no reason to believe the net sink, over 2ppm now, would decline along with our emissions.’

    ‘Actually, this isn’t true. The airborne fraction is expected to go up slightly with increasing emissions.’

    I think we’re talking about different things. You’re talking about what would happen to the airborne fraction in case of a continued emissions increase; this fraction is expected to decline, meaning the net sink rate would grow more slowly than emissions. It’s true (that this is expected to happen), but it wouldn’t really affect ppm. Even if average emissions over the next 100 years are 6ppm and the net sink stays at 2.3ppm or so, instead of rising to 3ppm, basically what it means is that by the end of the period we’ll have 770ppm in the atmosphere instead of 700ppm.

    I was talking about what would happen in case of an emissions decline. If we cut emissions 43% and the net sink stays the same, then ppm would stabilize. That’s really just an assertion, though – I haven’t seen any research either in favor of or against this position.

    Anyway, if that’s the case obviously this has huge implications for policy, as the power sector alone accounts for about 40% of emissions in developed countries and decarbonizing it is not a pipe dream (some lucky nations with lots of hydro and geothermal have done it already); another 30% comes from heat which can be electrified, and has in fact been electrified in Iceland, Norway and a few more places.

    I don’t think transport will be electrified this century… but that’s because I read those depressing reports on electric vehicle sales.

    As for the 66% chance, as I said in other post it seems really unintuitive because it’s generally not stated in sensitivity estimates (though it may be stated in the CO2 budgets themselves, I haven’t really read any of those), and if it’s the assumption built into a budget that should be stated.

    Regards

  11. I was talking about what would happen in case of an emissions decline. If we cut emissions 43% and the net sink stays the same, then ppm would stabilize. That’s really just an assertion, though – I haven’t seen any research either in favor of or against this position.

    No, this is not correct. There’s a continual flux between the carbon reservoirs – ocean, biosphere, atmosphere. If we simply reduce our emissions slightly, then the airborne fraction would stay about the same, To stabilise atmospheric CO2 would require a very substantial reduction in emissions – probably something like 80 – 90 %. Essentially, if we’re emitting more than about 1-2 GtC per year, then that will exceed the rate at which CO2 can be sequestered in the slow carbon sinks. This means that the total amount of CO2 in the oceans (upper mainly), biosphere, and atmosphere will continue to increase. Hence the atmospheric concentration will continue to increase. The animation in this post is quite useful.

    You can also mess around with this Carbon cycle simulator. It’s not exact, but it’s quite a nice illustration. Vary the simulation degassing rate on the right-hand side. Anything above about 150 \times 10^{12} mol/yr will cause atmospheric concentrations to continue rising. 150 \times 10^{12} mol/yr is about 2GtC/yr.

  12. Catalin C says:

    @ATTP

    > However, isn’t some of this taken into account in reducing the remaining budget from around 500GtC, to around 300GtC?

    No, I don’t think so, from what I understand the number of 300 is obtained from a target total of 800 (which can also be seen on your excellent graph) minus 500 which we have already emitted (which I believe already in AR5 is updated to be more realistically 550), but that number is then assumed to be a budget that can be effectively be emitted by direct human activities, when in fact there is a very significant probability that at least 50 and possibly even 100GtC could come anyway from things that humans have set in motion long time ago and which can not be realistically be stopped for at least a few centuries.

    @Alberto Zaragoza Comendador

    Speaking about climate sensitivity around 2 is extremely ignorant at this point for many reasons – first not even the denialists like Ridley and Curry are raising the topic in the articles that we have recently seen, but far more important is that we have serious direct evidence that we are already seeing measurable effects that are beyond the ECS timeframe (of fast-feedbacks) and into the long-term Earth Climate Equilibrium Sensitivity – which are very likely in a range of 4.5-6 degrees C – see for instance this page for details from actual published literature:

    http://people.earth.yale.edu/earth-system-climate-sensitivity

  13. Catalin,
    Okay, yes I think you’re right. Thanks.

  14. lord sidcup says:

    I got curious about the Ridley family motto. It’s constans fidei. The best translation I could find was steadfast faith, which is not inappropriate.

  15. snarkrates says:

    Lord Sicup, Well they certainly have a steadfast faith that nothing bad can ever happen.

  16. Alberto Zaragoza Comendador says:

    ‘To suggest that we can double our total emissions in less than 50 years but that we’d only warm by 2oC in 100 years, is not consistent with the evidence.’

    Doubling ppm, from 400 to 560, would take about 80 years at the current rate and about 70 if we continue to increase our emissions. It can only take ‘less than 50 years’ if you use the 550GtC ‘budget’ you proposed, which is adjusted to give a 67% probability of staying below a given temperature target… but Ridley didn’t talk about probabilities at all.
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/climate-change-will-not-be-dangerous-for-a-long-time/

    You may as well come up with a 90% chance of avoiding a temperature target, then say that we’re really really close to hitting that (or we’re past it already) and therefore Ridley is wrong. But since Ridley didn’t mention any percentage we can only assume he was talking about the central ECS estimate, not about the 67% figure. That in fact leaves us with the additional 160ppm, or 3,200GtCO2, or 870GtC I mentioned before.

    The key paragraph you take issue with is:
    ‘If sensitivity is low and climate change continues at the same rate as it has over the past 50 years, then dangerous warming—usually defined as starting at 2 degrees C above preindustrial levels—is about a century away. So we do not need to rush into subsidizing inefficient and land-hungry technologies, such as wind and solar or risk depriving poor people access to the beneficial effects of cheap electricity via fossil fuels.’

    In short, I don’t see any inconsistency in the article. We won’t double pre-industrial ppm for another 70 years or so, in which case expecting temperatures to take 100 years to increase another degree centigrade is entirely reasonable.

  17. Alberto,
    I’m being pretty relaxed, but you’re continually saying things that are wrong. Warming is thought to depend linearly on total emissions. If we can double total emissions in less than 50 years, then we could warm by 2oC within the next 50 years. You’re also wrong about the ppm issue. We would probably get to around 560 ppm when we’ve emitted about 1000 GtC. We’re already done 550GtC. We’re emitting 10GtC per year at the moment. If we do as Matt Ridley suggests we will continue to increase this and will get to 560ppm probably within 50 years. See the figure below.

    In short, I don’t see any inconsistency in the article. We won’t double pre-industrial ppm for another 70 years or so, in which case expecting temperatures to take 100 years to increase another degree centigrade is entirely reasonable.

    Not only is 70 years probably too long (as explained above). Taking 100 years to increase another degree – if we continue to increase our emissions – would require a very low CS. This is possible, but not that likely. Hence this is only entirely reasonable if you cherry-pick.

  18. BBD says:

    AZC has moved from ‘Tesla cars are crap’ and ‘beware ye green scam’ to ‘standard position on climate is wrong’.

  19. Alberto Zaragoza Comendador says:

    ‘Warming is thought to depend linearly on total emissions.’

    That is one way to look at the issue. Other is to look at concentrations, not emissions. I’ll admit to being sloppy here, as you were writing about (cumulative) emissions and I jumped to concentrations instead.

    Anyway, Ridley didn’t mention cumulative emissions, he only talked about levels or concentrations:
    ‘At the same time, new studies of climate sensitivity—the amount of warming expected for a doubling of carbon dioxide levels from 0.03 to 0.06 percent in the atmosphere

    So I don’t see why anyone would frame the issue in terms of cumulative emissions, especially when all the energy budget studies, climate models, etc. look at concentrations rather than emissions.

    ‘If we can double total emissions in less than 50 years, then we could warm by 2oC within the next 50 years.’

    Doubling cumulative emissions in less than 50 years (an additional 120ppm, or an increase of 2.4ppm/year) is of course possible. No disagreement there.

    Doubling concentrations, which is what Ridley and I were talking about, would take about 70 years or perhaps a bit more at the current rate. So you were talking about an additional 120ppm, and I was talking about an additional 160ppm.

    ‘You’re also wrong about the ppm issue. We would probably get to around 560 ppm when we’ve emitted about 1000 GtC.’

    Neither of the charts you posted shows this so I would like to know what is the source of this statement. Especially since you say that we’ll get WHEN cumulative emissions reach 1000GtC – that’s a 160ppm increase in only 45 years, assuming we continue to emit 10GtC/year. That implies average ppm increase in this period will be 3.5, which sounds crazy (75% higher than currently). Perhaps you mean that these cumulative emissions will cause us to reach 560ppm at a later date?

    Besides, an additional 450GtC or 1,650GtCO2 is just over 100ppm going with the 43% fraction, so this can only happen if the airborne fraction goes up dramatically (there is no sign it’s doing anything, although is expected to increase… slightly, as you said before, and probably depending on an emissions increase). Actually, correct if I’m wrong, but for an additional 1,650GtCO2 to result in 560ppm would require an airborne fraction of over 80%.

    Again, I’m pretty clueless about the carbon cycle, so perhaps you mean that these emissions will at a later date cause further CO2 increases due to ocean outgassing or something similar?

  20. Alberto,

    That is one way to look at the issue. Other is to look at concentrations, not emissions. I’ll admit to being sloppy here, as you were writing about (cumulative) emissions and I jumped to concentrations instead.

    They’re essentially equivalent. The current evidence is that if we emit 600GtC more we will warm by around 2oC. If we follow Ridley’s advice this will happen within about 50 years, not 100.

    I’ll admit to being sloppy here

    Some of what you’ve said has been more than sloppy.

    Neither of the charts you posted shows this so I would like to know what is the source of this statement.

    The bottom one I posted does. Look at the yellow circle: 530-580ppm. The middle of that is at about 1000GtC. Halfway between 530 and 580 ppm is 555ppm, so roughly 560ppm would be achieved when we’ve emitted 1000GrC in total. Currently we’ve emitted about 550GtC.

    Actually, correct if I’m wrong, but for an additional 1,650GtCO2 to result in 560ppm would require an airborne fraction of over 80%.

    I think there are some complexities here. The 560ppm is CO2eq, so maybe the figure above is a little deceptive in that it’s showing CO2 only, not CO2eq. CO2eq is slightly higher (there are other GHGs). If you want to look at actual data, then you can download it here. Under a high emission pathway, we would reach 560ppm CO2eq before 2050. If we follow Matt Ridley’s advice, then presumably this is what we would do. This is the important issue. We can potentially double atmospheric CO2 within 50 years. If so, we can potentially reach 2oC within 50 years. Matt Ridley’s position is inconsistent because he’s arguing for a high emission pathway, while suggesting that we’ll warm as if we’re following a low emission pathway.

  21. dikranmarsupial says:

    Alberto wrote “Doubling concentrations, which is what Ridley and I were talking about, would take about 70 years or perhaps a bit more at the current rate. ”

    This seems a rather incongruous thing to write immediately after posting a graph that shows that the rate at which atmospheric concentrations is steadily rising. What makes you (or Ridley) think that the rate is going to stay the same for the next 70 years or so?

  22. There is another–even more–fundamental problem with the SciAm piece. Our interference with the climate system is *already* dangerous for those facing severe impacts. The conflation of (a) the two degree limit with (b) a supposed limit below which our interference is not dangerous is…unjustified.

    The reference to “…usually defined as…” is a red herring. True, there are many examples of people and texts conflating (a) and (b). But, more importantly, there is a UNFCCC Structured Expert Dialogue report rejecting such a definition, rejecting the idea that warming is not dangerous until greater than two degrees.

  23. BBD says:

    It’s always worth bearing in mind that the Eemian was only 1C – 2C warmer than the Holocene, and MSL was ~6m higher.

  24. Alberto Zaragoza Comendador says:

    ‘They’re essentially equivalent. The current evidence is that if we emit 600GtC more we will warm by around 2oC.’

    ‘The bottom one I posted does. Look at the yellow circle: 530-580ppm. The middle of that is at about 1000GtC. Halfway between 530 and 580 ppm is 555ppm, so roughly 560ppm would be achieved when we’ve emitted 1000GrC in total. Currently we’ve emitted about 550GtC.’

    True, my bad. Now, is this the model average or something else? Because the models have ECS of over 3ºC, and Ridley’s point was that the recent estimates have come way below that.

    In response to dikranmarsupial, no, I don’t expect it to remain stable, but expecting it to shoot up from 2 to 3.5ppm, over the next 45 years, doesn’t seem reasonable either… though it turns out Ken wasn’t exactly implying that (see next quote).

    ‘I think there are some complexities here. The 560ppm is CO2eq, so maybe the figure above is a little deceptive in that it’s showing CO2 only, not CO2eq.’

    Thanks for the link. Yes, ppmeq is higher than ppm, and CO2eq is higher than CO2 alone. In any case, I don’t think it’s right to say doubled concentrations are ‘essentially equivalent’ to doubled cumulative emissions. The former is 560 ppm, the latter is 520-530ppm; you can ‘reconcile’ them by arguing that the latter goes to 560ppm if you include non-CO2 GHGs, but I didn’t see the ‘eq’ in the rest of your messages and charts so that’s at best confusing.

    In any case, Ridley was talking about concentrations, not emissions. A case can be made that he was sloppy or misleading by talking about CO2 only, but if you’re going to criticise him partly on the basis of GtCeq, GtCO2eq or similar, please include the ‘eq’.

    Anyway, I’ll admit to defeat-by-Excel here…

    Turns out the models have three emission forecasts: CO2, CO2eq and CO2eq-Kyoto (whatever that means). There is no significant difference right now between CO2 and CO2eq – both are almost exactly 400ppm. By 2065 RCP6 expects a 130ppm increase, or 2.6ppm/year for CO2 alone, and 168ppmeq or 3.4ppm/year for all GHGs (eq-Kyoto expects 3.5/year).

    So yes, one can say we’ll go from 400ppmeq to 560ppmeq by 2065. At least that’s what RCP6 expects. If the models are right we’ll actually get 2ºC by the time we’ve accumulated these emissions (so they expect 0.2ºC/decade from now on)… and if the recent sensitivity estimates are right, a 2ºC degree will take a few decades more.

    Now, the charts Ken posted actually say ‘CO2’ but (according to himself) he was talking about CO2eq… to which my questions, which of them? 😉

  25. Alberto Zaragoza Comendador says:

    Hey BBD, I didn’t ‘move’ from anything. My articles on Tesla are on Seeking Alpha for everyone to see. The first one included a massive mistake, which I apologized for and fixed as soon as a reader told me; the others stand unrefuted and some of them have already been confirmed (e.g. company lowballed Supercharger – they surreptitiously admitted this very recently: http://seekingalpha.com/article/3174266-turns-out-a-tesla-supercharger-costs-2-or-3-times-what-elon-musk-said)

    I think the Model S is a great car, by the way; it’s just the company that is crap. As for green scams, unfortunately there’s one in the news right now and it threatens to be the biggest bankruptcy in my country’s history – but you already knew that.

  26. JCH says:

    How are they calculating warming over the last 50 years. Is it one number minus another, or is that too simple?

  27. BBD says:

    AZC

    You know what the logical fallacy of false equivalence is, right?

    That’s what people do when they get all hot under the collar about ‘green scams’ and then make the illogical leap to climate change ‘scepticism’. Your trajectory of logical error is painfully obvious.

  28. Alberto Zaragoza Comendador says:

    The two issues are separate. That I found deception in Tesla’s accounts, and that many of these ‘green’ companies have dodgy accounting and end up imploding, is not relevant in a discussion about climate. You are the only one making the connection here, and you will never see me bring up the climate issue in a Tesla article, or viceversa… unless somebody else does, in which case I feel obliged to emphasize that they are separate issues.

    (Well, I did mention electric cars before, but only to say that I consider electrification of transport unlikely – not to imply that electric cars are ‘scams’ or anything).

  29. Alberto Zaragoza Comendador says:

    Ok, I’ll stop spamming here but I just wanted to add two things.
    a) I posted a long-ish response to Ken before, on the issue of CO2 vs CO2eq. Basically saying he’s right, but explaining also that if he’s going to criticize Ridley (partly) on CO2eq then he should say CO2eq, which neither the charts he posted nor this previous messages do. Oh, and there’s another measure, CO2eq-Kyoto; what it means, well, don’t ask me.

    (Actually I posted this message twice. Not sure what’s the hold up)

    b) Speaking about non-CO2 GHGs, the main one is methane… and the IPCC doesn’t exactly have a stellar record predicting methane concentrations.

    With methane flat and CFCs gone the way of the dodo, one has to question exactly how much the other GHGs matter.

    Anyway, yes, Ridley was sloppy/misleading by talking only about CO2 – but almost everyone in this business talks only about CO2 now.

  30. BBD says:

    The two issues are separate.

    So you say, but I have never yet met a climate ‘sceptic’ who wasn’t fundamentally hostile anything ‘green’. There is a near-universal conflation of ‘green’ and physical climatology in the minds of ‘sceptics’, hence the false equivalence.

  31. Alberto,

    Anyway, yes, Ridley was sloppy/misleading by talking only about CO2 – but almost everyone in this business talks only about CO2 now.

    No, he wasn’t. He claimed that we won’t warm by another degree for 100 years. That’s clearly nonsense, in the sense that if we follow a high-emission pathway (as he seems to be suggesting) we will probably warm by 1 degree in the next 50 years. CO2 versus CO2eq, doesn’t change this.

    Because the models have ECS of over 3ºC, and Ridley’s point was that the recent estimates have come way below that.

    Yes, but there are many valid arguments as to why these estimates are probably too low and even they do not rule high climate sensitivity.

    Just out of interest, why are you suddenly using my name when I choose to be pseudonymous here?

  32. dikranmarsupial says:

    Alberto wrote “In response to dikranmarsupial, no, I don’t expect it to remain stable, but expecting it to shoot up from 2 to 3.5ppm, over the next 45 years, doesn’t seem reasonable either…”

    That is no excuse for giving an estimate based on the rate remaining constant. Given that the rate has gone up from about 0.5ppm per yer to about 2ppm over the last 45 years, it seems pretty reasonable to me that it might continue increasing at that rate for another 45 under business as usual. The dynamics of ocean uptake means that it is possible for the oceanic sink to begin to saturate (thankfully this doesn’t seem to have happened yet), but if it does then the rate of growth will increase even faster.

    So WHY don’t you think it is reasonable?

  33. JCH says:

    Maybe he plans on destroying global GDP per person by encouraging billions of people to reduce their carbon footprints.

  34. Alberto Zaragoza Comendador says:

    dikranmarsupial: the ICPP, in its RCP6 (which is equivalent to doing nothing to avoid emissions – RCP8.5 is unrealistically high), expects CO2 to increase by 2.6ppm/year over the next 50 years. I don’t think they would lowball this figure. As I said, the 3.5 (or 3.4) ppm/year I objected to is in fact CO2eq… more on that below.

    ATTP: sorry about the name issue – I just thought it was normal.

    From the Excel you posted before:

    ‘1. CO2EQ: (For Information only, not CMIP5 recommendation) CO2 equivalence concentrations using CO2 radiative forcing relationship Q = 3.71/ln(2)*ln(C/278), aggregating all (efficacy-adjusted) anthropogenic forcings, including greenhouse gases listed below (i.e. columns 3,4,5 and 8-35), and AEROSOLS, trop. ozone etc. (not listed below).’

    My caps.

    This kind of nonsense is why the few non-scientists who bother reading about climate science, like myself, conclude it’s largely smoke and mirrors. You cannot aggregate aerosols and GHGs, then call it ‘CO2eq’, because no one’s got a clue about the cooling efficacy of aerosols. Of course one can ‘average’ -0.1 and -2.3, then ‘conclude’ that they cool -1.2w/m2. In fact, one of the main skeptical arguments over the decades has been that aerosols are used simply as a fudge factor to reduce the discrepancy between models and observations.

    One dollar to the person who knows the author of this quote without googling:
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CUhf6fQXAAA_stq.png:large

  35. This kind of nonsense is why the few non-scientists who bother reading about climate science, like myself, conclude it’s largely smoke and mirrors. You cannot aggregate aerosols and GHGs, then call it ‘CO2eq’, because no one’s got a clue about the cooling efficacy of aerosols.

    Why not? The effects are essentially equivalent. An aerosol forcing of -1W/m^2 reducing anthropogenic forcings by 1W/m^2. It’s easy enough to find the individual forcings if you really want to.

    In fact, one of the main skeptical arguments over the decades has been that aerosols are used simply as a fudge factor to reduce the discrepancy between models and observations.

    Well this is clearly nonsense. If you’re going to say such things you really need to say “skeptical” not skeptical. Not doing so is an insult to all of those who are genuinely skeptical.

  36. Willard says:

    > You are the only one making the connection here, and you will never see me bring up the climate issue in a Tesla article, or viceversa […]

    Actually, here’s what you said, Alberto:

    Anyway, if that’s the case obviously this has huge implications for policy, as the power sector alone accounts for about 40% of emissions in developed countries and decarbonizing it is not a pipe dream (some lucky nations with lots of hydro and geothermal have done it already); another 30% comes from heat which can be electrified, and has in fact been electrified in Iceland, Norway and a few more places.

    This was an excursus that skipped this part of AT’s comment:

    [I]f emissions are greater this century than they were last century, we’ll warm faster. Also, if he [Matt King Coal] wants to argue that we might not reach 2oC after doubling our emissions, then he’s essentially suggesting that some of our past warming is internally-forced, rather than externally-forced. Well, even his preferred method (Nic Lewis’s energy balance method) assumes that it’s all externally forced. So, his position is still inconsistent.

    So there was a transition between “if climate sensitivity is low” to “what if emissions decline” and to “what about the energy sector,” paraphrasing.

    Hope this helps.

  37. Alberto Zaragoza Comendador says:

    To recap:
    -Ridley wrote a vague, derivative article with three or four numbers (yawn). Basically saying we can cut emissions in the future, it’s no big deal because the 2ºC ‘limit’ or whatever you call it is probably 100 years away. The reason for this, in his view, is that recent sensitivity studies have come way below CMIP5 models. He didn’t talk about probabilities of staying below that target – one can only assume he meant the central ECS estimate, i.e. 50% which is what everybody quotes. He mentioned exclusively fossil fuels, which obviously don’t emit CFCs or HFCs when combusted; he didn’t say anything about non-CO2 GHGs. The difference between CFCs, HFCs and CO2 is obvious – the former are niche chemicals while the latter is produced to the tune of 35-40 billion tonnes per year.

    While his article could be criticized for not mentioning other GHGs, or for inanity as the same argument has been made so many times, that’s about the only thing I see wrong. Whether one chooses to believe the models or the energy budget studies is, at this point, a matter of opinion. If Ridley had not mentioned the models at all, I can see why he could be criticized… but if you mention both models and papers and say that you think the papers are more believable, well, what’s the problem?
    (And to Ridley’s article I would add: perhaps it only takes 90 years to warm an additional 1ºC, instead of 100 years, but then 2015 is unusually warm because of ENSO – it’s added about a decade’s worth of warming compared to 2014. So ‘about 100 years’, considering all the uncertainties, seems right)
    http://woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:2005/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:2005

    -ATTP argued that it would take only 50 years or so to double cumulative emissions at the current rate. Why he mentioned emissions while Ridley’s article talked about concentrations, I don’t know.

    -ATTP later clarified that doubled concentrations and doubled emissions are ‘functionally equivalent’. Okay, but why use a different number than the article itself says? The former is 280 x 2 = 560, the latter is roughly 400 + 120 = 520. (Actually 550GtC today, which I considered equivalent to 120ppm would lead to LESS than 120ppm – more on that below). The difference, 40ppm, is 15-20 years of emissions so it matters quite a bit for any ‘tipping point’ or related policy decision.

    -In the meantime I put my foot in my mouth with something about the sink rate. I’m emailing an expert to see what he thinks but well, I have to concede this one. ATTP also said something about 67% probabilities – as I’ve said before, Ridley didn’t mention this, and any ‘budget’ that includes this assumption has to say so clearly.

    -I pointed out that in 50 years we could double cumulative emissions, but we are unlikely to double concentrations – that would be more like 70 years. If indeed 560 ppm takes 70 years, and ECS is 2ºC, then the additional degree is about a century away because it will take a couple (or a few) decades to reach ECS, after doubling ppm. That seems to be Ridley’s point, and I fully agree.

    Some will say okay, both numbers are approximations, but why does it take an additional 40% years (70 vs 50) to achieve 33% higher concentration increase (160 vs 120)? Well, although the IPCC expects the airborne fraction to go up in the future, it is now LOWER than it was on average in the past. Just do the numbers: cumulative emissions 550GtC = 2,000GtCO2 = 250ppm. If ppm has gone up by 120 since 1870, that gives you an airborne fraction of 48%, not 43% which is what we have now. That’s another reason I prefer to look at concentrations rather than emissions; the emissions count works only if the airborne fraction has been the same for the whole period (it hasn’t and it will not).

    -ATTP then argued that the difference between CO2 and CO2eq was because of non-CO2 GHGs. He posted a link which I found quite useful… and in the ExceI I saw that this ‘CO2eq’ included aerosols, which seems complete nonsense as there is HUGE uncertainty on their effects and estimates where thrown off by a paper that came out just six months ago. There is also ‘CO2eq-Kyoto’ which removes aerosols and some GHGs.
    (Particularly hilarious is how they include the effects of ‘ozone etc’)
    Actually, neither the charts he posted before nor his previous messages talk about ‘CO2eq’ or ‘CO2eq-Kyoto’. I’m not sure what are the assumptions built into these charts, but why does ATTP insist on talking about cumulative emissions when the whole point of Ridley’s article was concentrations and sensitivity?
    Furthermore, it seems the use of CO2eq or CO2eq-Kyoto is not recommended for CMIP5 models, though in this respect it would be good if an expert clarified the issue.

    -While CO2 is a fundamental byproduct of the world’s economy, and thus its future concentrations and emissions can be more or less be predicted, HFCs seem about to go the way of the already-defunct CFCs; as for methane the IPCC has failed massively in predicting concentrations. So any talk of future ‘CO2eq’ or ‘ppmeq’ should be taken with a Gt of salt. The problem of GHG emissions is fundamentally a CO2 problem.

    -The disagreement between ATTP and Ridley stems from the point above (560 vs 520 ppm), plus the fact that one prefers models while the other prefers energy budget studies. Is Ridley biased? Well yes, we all are.

    Again, I could see why Ridley could be criticized for ignoring non-CO2 GHGs…

    …but with CFCs gone, methane almost flat, HFCs also about to get hammered, and the IPCC itself saying ‘CO2eq’ or ‘CO2eq-Kyoto’ should not be used in CMIP5 models, plus the fact that ‘CO2eq’ is nonsense aggregating GHGs with aerosols, I can also see why Ridley would steer clear of that, especially in a short, non-technical piece.

  38. dana1981 says:

    “If” statements are usually followed by “then” statements, not “so” statements. You don’t say “If I win the lottery I’ll be rich. So I’m going to go buy a Ferrari.” But that seems to be how Ridley thinks, which explains both Northern Rock and his skewed perspective on climate change.

    As for SciAm, at least the rest of the entries for this issue were really good (Mann, Hayhoe, Oreskes, Jacobsen, etc.), but including Ridley’s non-expert biased nonsense is a pretty gross example of false balance. One problem is that there are so few credible experts on ‘the other side’ that if you want some false balance, often the best you can do is a non-expert like Ridley or Lomborg.

  39. Alberto Zaragoza Comendador says:

    Willard, please be serious. I don’t bring up the ‘global warming is a scam to enrich Tesla&Solyndra’ meme, ever. I just think it’s a lie and bad argument besides. Some energy-related companies try to take advantage or the climate issue, for good or bad reasons, legitimately or not… but it doesn’t affect the debate on climate itself. So I don’t bring it up, though WUWT posted one article of me on how Tesla was abusing California’s ZEV program – an article that, again, made no mention of climate science or of the need to reduce CO2 emissions or anything like that. I simply sent it to a bunch of sites and WUWT posted it.

    But then, if one is going to debate climate policy, I suppose one can make comments on how easy or difficult it is to reduce CO2 emissions in this or that sector. Can’t one?

  40. Alberto,

    The reason for this, in his view, is that recent sensitivity studies have come way below CMIP5 models.

    Wrong.

    Whether one chooses to believe the models or the energy budget studies is, at this point, a matter of opinion.

    Not if you want to consider all the evidence. Doing what Ridley did is called cherry-picking.

    -ATTP argued that it would take only 50 years or so to double cumulative emissions at the current rate. Why he mentioned emissions while Ridley’s article talked about concentrations, I don’t know.

    Seriously? To illustrate that his claim that it would take 100 years to warm by 1 more degree C is wrong. Simple.

    -ATTP later clarified that doubled concentrations and doubled emissions are ‘functionally equivalent’.

    No, I didn’t. I said one can think of cumulative emissions or the equivalent concentration. There’s a relationship between them.

    Okay, but why use a different number than the article itself says?

    Because I’m interested in actual reality, not Ridley’s make-believe world where we can follow a high-emission pathway but somehow warm as if we were following a low-emission pathway. Magic?

    -I pointed out that in 50 years we could double cumulative emissions, but we are unlikely to double concentrations

    No, we can double concentrations in 50 years. Given that Ridley is arguing against renewables and continued use of fossil fuels, I think we can assume that his suggestion is to follow such a pathway.

    – that would be more like 70 years. If indeed 560 ppm takes 70 years, and ECS is 2ºC, then the additional degree is about a century away because it will take a couple (or a few) decades to reach ECS, after doubling ppm. That seems to be Ridley’s point, and I fully agree.

    Well then you’re cherry-picking, just like Ridley.

    -The disagreement between ATTP and Ridley stems from the point above (560 vs 520 ppm), plus the fact that one prefers models while the other prefers energy budget studies. Is Ridley biased? Well yes, we all are.

    No, my disagreement is two-fold. One is that if we follow a high-emission pathway (as he seems to be suggesting) then it is extremely unlikely that it will take a further 100 years to warm by 1C. The second is that you don’t get to cherry-pick your evidence. You’re meant to consider all of it. To be as certain as Ridley is that we won’t warm much, means that he’s simply choosing the evidence that suits him. That’s not scientific.

  41. semyorka says:

    “This kind of nonsense is why the few non-scientists who bother reading about climate science, like myself, conclude it’s largely smoke and mirrors. ”

    You believe yourself to be the spokes person for all the non scientists who bother to read up on climate science? Was there a meeting and a vote?

  42. dikranmarsupial says:

    Alberto wrote “the ICPP, in its RCP6 (which is equivalent to doing nothing to avoid emissions – RCP8.5 is unrealistically high), expects CO2 to increase by 2.6ppm/year over the next 50 years. ”

    RCP6 is not equivalent to doing nothing to avoid emissions, it is a scenario based on stabilization of radiative forcing. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10584-011-0148-z This won’t be achieved without limiting emissions, hence the 2.6ppm/year.

  43. Alberto Zaragoza Comendador says:

    ATTP, you skipped one part of my message. I can see why, and I’ll make two questions:
    -If you emit CO2 and it doesn’t end up in the atmosphere, does it cause any warming?
    -If the answer is ‘no’, why do you insist on talking about emissions instead of concentrations?

  44. dikranmarsupial says:

    Alberto, have you heard of something called the “airborne fraction”?

  45. semyorka says:

    “And to Ridley’s article I would add: perhaps it only takes 90 years to warm an additional 1ºC, instead of 100 years”

    You provide no physical justification or support for this number other than it being your personal guess.

  46. -If you emit CO2 and it doesn’t end up in the atmosphere, does it cause any warming?

    No.

    -If the answer is ‘no’, why do you insist on talking about emissions instead of concentrations?

    Because if you look at the first figure I posted in the comments, there is an indication that there is a linear relation between warming and cumulative emissions. This is essentially the basis for the idea of a carbon budget.

  47. Willard says:

    I have no idea why you’d ask me to be serious when you immediately follow up your request with a strawman, Alberto. BBD’s point was not that you brought Tesla up. Read back what he said.

    You can peddle “green scams” or comment on “on how easy or difficult it is to reduce CO2 emissions in this or that sector” all you want. It won’t cover from the way you skipped AT’s remark about Matt and Nic’s lukewarm inconsistency.

    Thank you for your concerns.

  48. BBD says:

    Alberto writes:

    As for green scams, unfortunately there’s one in the news right now and it threatens to be the biggest bankruptcy in my country’s history – but you already knew that.

    The WSJ writes:

    Investors and analysts trace Abengoa’s current financial trouble to a shift in strategy during Spain’s property boom, which started to gain momentum around 2004. The country’s banks eased borrowing requirements for companies, which helped trigger an infectious corporate optimism, spurring some Spanish companies to step up expansion abroad.

    Since Abengoa was founded, the company had built power transmission lines, biofuel plants and desalination infrastructure for clients. During Spain’s boom years, though, it began to construct such projects for itself, fueled by cheaper bank loans and a desire to expand.

    The company took on piles of debt in anticipation of a growth rate that never materialized.

    So not a green scam, then. Except according to AZC. Predictably. Next thing you know, he’ll be speaking up in defence of Exxon. Oh…

  49. Willard says:

    Oh, and you skipped just about everything in AT response:

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/11/28/if-wishes-were-horses/#comment-67863

    Contrary to you, I can’t see why. There’s no need anyway, for I presume you’ll answer them shortly. You’re a Very Serious Person who doesn’t skip points, right?

  50. Alberto Zaragoza Comendador says:

    There is also ‘an indication’ that warming is dependent not on cumulative emissions but on the log of concentrations… except it’s not an indication, it’s reality.

  51. dikranmarsupial says:

    Alberto, are you willing to admit that RCP 6 is not a scenario that does nothing to avoid emissions, but is explicitly designed to represent stabilization of radiative forcing (which would require limitation of emissions)?

  52. Alberto,

    There is also ‘an indication’ that warming is dependent not on cumulative emissions but on the log of concentrations… except it’s not an indication, it’s reality.

    Yes, it does depend on the log of concentrations. However, when you include the carbon cycle into the calculation it turns out that warming is roughly linear with cumulative emissions. You can wave your hands as much as you like, but a back of the envelope calculation where you assume that the airborne fraction remains unchanged is not going to trump detailed scientific analysis.

  53. Alberto Zaragoza Comendador says:

    Willard, the rest of ATTP’s response ignored the numbers and basically said ‘you wrong cherry picking’, plus assuming that Ridley wants unrestrained emissions indefinitely (which Ridley didn’t actually say), with enough imprecision to weasel out if needed.

    Consider this:
    ‘No, we can double concentrations in 50 years. Given that Ridley is arguing against renewables and continued use of fossil fuels, I think we can assume that his suggestion is to follow such a pathway.’
    Ridley essentially called for unrestrained emissions, but never did he say *forever*. One could grow emissions 2% a year the next decade, then 1%, then 0, then 1% decline, then 2% decline… and one would stay way below those dreaded 560ppm after 50 years. So we could do nothing about emissions for a decade and still not arrive at the point ATTP mentioned. By the way, 2% emissions growth or lower is what we had before putting in effect measures to restrain emissions (4% growth in the century’s first decade was an anomaly due to Chinese coal use – emissions in the country are declining now).

    Perhaps ATTP didn’t mean 560ppm, he meant 560ppmeq? But how do you calculate ppmeq, by the way – old aerosol forcing or post-Stevens?

    If you mean 560ppmeq, but you neglect to mention the ‘eq’ and don’t bother explaining what it means… well, you’re not taking the issue very seriously.

  54. Alberto,
    I’ll say this one more time. Can you at least concentrate a little bit? The idea that it will take 100 years to warm by another 1C is nonsense. The rate at which we will warm will depend on our future emissions, not on our past emissions. Given that we could double our emissions within the next 50 years means that we could warm by another 1C within the next 50 years. Do you at least get this point? We might not if CS is low, if our understanding of the carbon cycle is wrong, if carbon cycle feedbacks don’t operate, but to claim that it will take a further 100 years, while arguing against renewables and for fossil fuels, is utter garbage.

  55. Alberto Zaragoza Comendador says:

    dikranmarsupial: RCP6 doesn’t peak until 2080, so I wouldn’t say it is restrained in any meaningful way. Well it’s restrained if you take the really really long view, but I don’t think anyone is saying ‘forget about CO2 for the next 50 years’ (or 30, or even 20).

    ATTP: I concentrate… on the numbers, which I’ve discussed already.

  56. Willard says:

    > the rest of ATTP’s response ignored the numbers and basically said ‘you wrong cherry picking’

    I don’t think so, Alberto. Here’s AT’s own summary:

    No, my disagreement is two-fold. One is that if we follow a high-emission pathway (as he seems to be suggesting) then it is extremely unlikely that it will take a further 100 years to warm by 1C. The second is that you don’t get to cherry-pick your evidence. You’re meant to consider all of it. To be as certain as Ridley is that we won’t warm much, means that he’s simply choosing the evidence that suits him. That’s not scientific.

    Your “you skipped one part of my message” trick hides your lack of response to everything AT hasn’t skipped. And your actual “the rest of ATTP’s response” also hides your non-response to my own comment. And your “be serious” also hides your non-response to AT’s comment regarding this inconsistency:

    [I]f emissions are greater this century than they were last century, we’ll warm faster. Also, if he [Matt King Coal] wants to argue that we might not reach 2oC after doubling our emissions, then he’s essentially suggesting that some of our past warming is internally-forced, rather than externally-forced. Well, even his preferred method (Nic Lewis’s energy balance method) assumes that it’s all externally forced. So, his position is still inconsistent.

    Going from one talking point to the next is a technique I call rope-a-dope. Unless you’re some kind of ClimateBall ™ Muhammed Ali, I advise against such technique. Very Serious Persons stick to topics, and respond to comments.

    As ever, thank you for your concerns.

  57. dikranmarsupial says:

    dikranmarsupial: “RCP6 doesn’t peak until 2080, so I wouldn’t say it is restrained in any meaningful way. Well it’s restrained if you take the really really long view, but I don’t think anyone is saying ‘forget about CO2 for the next 50 years’ (or 30, or even 20).”

    This is just silly. How can it peak in 2080 without us doing something to reduce emissions? So far you have made a statement that was directly refuted by the diagram immediately preceding it. Then you tried to explain that away by claiming that RCP 6 didn’t involve avoiding emissions, and when it was pointed out that this wasn’t true, you try and bluster your way out of it by saying that it won’t peak until 2080. For a start in order for it to peak as early as 2080, I think you will find that this requires us to do something to ,limit emissions in the short term (as otherwise the reductions required later would be extreme).

    Please stop BSing, it doesn’t impress anybody here much.

  58. BBD says:

    ATTP: I concentrate… on the numbers, which I’ve discussed already.

    And you made mistakes which were pointed out. But hey, green scams…

  59. Magma says:

    Neven’s comment (second from the top) echoed what I was thinking. Doesn’t Scientific American have basic standards for publication?

    On the bright side, this holds out new hope for my own short paper ‘Viruses are imaginary’ that has been viciously blacklisted by mainstream journals.

  60. BBD says:

    Students of the Gallop will enjoy AZT’s guest post at M Tobis.

  61. BBD,
    Yes, I read that post. I’m surprised AZT didn’t respond to any of MT’s comments.

  62. BBD says:

    Oops. AZC, I beg his pardon.

  63. BBD says:

    ATTP

    I’m surprised AZT didn’t respond to any of MT’s comments.

    Oh, me too. Absolutely gobsmacked.

  64. Alberto Zaragoza Comendador says:

    Honestly, MT has his opinion and I have mine. If you read my response and his comments about it, it’s obvious neither of us is going to change his point of view for now.

    He made an article about a tweet of mine, I responded, he responded to my response. As I said before, at some point every internet discussion reaches a dead end… it’s not like I need to have the last word, or to keep the discussion going on forever.

  65. AZC,
    Fair enough. It was only a comment. I happen to agree with you that sometimes it’s best to just leave discussions as they are and not push beyond the point of no return.

  66. Lydia Noyes says:

    An interesting thing to look at is the new film series Resisting the Green Dragon, a twelve part series put out by conservative christians about the dangers of “environmental extremism” Check it out! I’m sure you will find it as offensive as I did. http://livingechoblog.com/resisting-the-green-dragon/

  67. Lydia,
    I guessed right. It’s the Cornwall Alliance. My understanding is that the Cornwall Alliance is regarded as a group of crackpots even by other conservative Christians.

  68. Alberto Zaragoza Comendador says:

    Just one last comment. The anonymous BBD seems obsessed with this idea:

    ‘AZC has moved from ‘Tesla cars are crap’ and ‘beware ye green scam’ to ‘standard position on climate is wrong’.’

    ‘So you say, but I have never yet met a climate ‘sceptic’ who wasn’t fundamentally hostile anything ‘green’. There is a near-universal conflation of ‘green’ and physical climatology in the minds of ‘sceptics’, hence the false equivalence.’

    ‘So not a green scam, then. Except according to AZC. Predictably. Next thing you know, he’ll be speaking up in defence of Exxon. Oh…’

    If you have an issue my Tesla articles, take it up on Seeking Alpha. Problem is, you actually have to discuss specific company issues. They don’t allow you to post an article saying “I hate this green scam ooga ooga” so instead I talk about “serious evidence that Tesla deceived investors”, for example.

    If you have an issue my Exxon article (singular, because I only wrote in response to the nonsense Oreskes and others are propagating – I don’t follow the company on a regular basis), well, take it up on SA too. The responses there have been very feeble.

    If you’re going to imply that my position on one issue is influenced by my position in others, well, whatever man. Doesn’t change the discussion one bit.

  69. BBD says:

    AZC

    If you have an issue my Tesla articles, take it up on Seeking Alpha.

    I don’t. Nor did I say so above. But since this rankles with you, can you explain to the forum how Abengoa is a ‘green scam’?

  70. BBD says:

    To save time, let’s remember that what I said is not contingent on whether or not there is a problem with Tesla:

    I have never yet met a climate ‘sceptic’ who wasn’t fundamentally hostile anything ‘green’. There is a near-universal conflation of ‘green’ and physical climatology in the minds of ‘sceptics’, hence the false equivalence.

  71. ­> it’s not like I need to have the last word

    Not if the objective is to peddle talking points while rope-a-doping around objections.

    For instance, this gem:

    My point was simply that, given [1] the lack of evidence [2] that this first 1C rise (over 130 years) has actually caused a lot of damage [3], one should not [4] be especially worried [5] about one degree more [6].

    http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2015/11/a-z-comendadors-response.html

    To borrow MT’s technique (it’s mine, after all), we have:

    [1] Begging the question.
    [2] Appeal to ignorance.
    [3] Weasel wording.
    [4] Non sequitur.
    [5] Normative interjection with weasel words.
    [6] Invalid assumption of the monotonicity of degrees, i.e. the relationship between 1C and 2C (and so on) and the environment ain’t the same.

    See? No need to write 4k responses to such trickery.

  72. Neven’s comment (second from the top) echoed what I was thinking. Doesn’t Scientific American have basic standards for publication?

    Amen. Especially in a scientific journal I do not expect false balance. I expect good science. If that is not the case, there is no reason to buy Scientific American any more. I guess I like New Scientist more any way.

  73. jsam says:

    Ridley has coming further out of the denier closet. It is not a pretty sight. Honestly, Benny? Ugh.
    http://climatecrocks.com/2015/11/30/answering-the-wall-street-journals-guide-to-science-denial/

  74. mt says:

    I gave AZC a guest posting at InIt in the hope that he might be different.

    His response to my initial critique was polite enough that I thought he might be accessible to reason.

    That he didn’t engage my points and wandered off shows that something less interesting is going on. Instead we see silliness like this appearing here:

    “ATTP, you skipped one part of my message. I can see why, and I’ll make two questions:
    -If you emit CO2 and it doesn’t end up in the atmosphere, does it cause any warming?
    -If the answer is ‘no’, why do you insist on talking about emissions instead of concentrations?”

    The answer is not entirely elementary, I’ll grant, but it seems to me that people expressing themselves publicly on the matter ought to at least have some grasp of how that would be answered.

  75. mt,
    I think this comment also gives a few things away.

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