21 Responses to Take your lumps and forcefully engage the public back

  1. I was going to write more, but it’s getting late and I couldn’t quite phrase things in a way that I liked. I may write more at a later stage, but what resonated was the take your lumps and forcefully engage the public back. I certainly feel that I’ve been somewhat battered by trying to engage publicly, but I’ve also learned a lot; about myself, about the topic I’m discussing, about the views of others, and also about how to more effectively communicate. Hopefully, others have also learned something, not only about science, but also that scientists are not automatons who work robotically, but are also people who can also get frustrated, who can also get things wrong, who also have opinions and views about topics that influence society.

  2. Willard says:

    Here’s how Mr. Rogers saved PBS:

  3. Steven Mosher says:

    Tom Nichols?

    ‘Climate change is the perfect example of taking arguable data and trying to turn it into unarguable policy.”

  4. Joshua says:


    the distinction that pollsters normally make between college-educated and non-college-educated respondents isn’t as strong an indicator of differences in voting as it used to be.




  5. Joshua says:

    Beware conservatives who spout reactionary claptrap.

  6. Joshua says:



    Q:… but anti-vaxxers mostly tilt left.
    A: And the anti-GMO people.


    Also wrong. These people need to consult with an expert.

  7. “Scrapping with the public over what’s true or false is very uncomfortable for most experts,”
    Boy, now there’s a statement that resonating for me with the bitter taste of experience.

    You could start much closer to home.
    What to say about rational science communicators who freely denigrate – but then refuse to offer specific critiques, suggestions, or even serious feedback beyond attitude?

    When will polite society understand the need to go toe to toe? Here’s an example of what I’m talking about – the need to debate item by item and not be afraid to call lies, lies.
    http://whatsupwiththatwatts.blogspot.com/p/landscapesandcycles.html ;- )

  8. Joshua,
    I guess that might be an illustration of how even people who do have some expertise aren’t right about everything and, hence, why public engagement should involve dialogue (since some of those being engaged with might understand better some aspect of what is being discussed).

  9. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    Experts are going to have to re-engage the public with patience, with fortitude, and with an absolute insistence on empiricism and rationality.

    And sometimes those experts will have to be willing to walk straight into the damned fight, throw some punches, and unseat a government.

  10. I think the folks who want to believe that climate change is not happening will need to have a first hand experience in order to overcome the value system that makes them want to believe it is not happening. I think the empirical nature of science is not well understood by a large slice of the general population, so science is simply seen as another “expert” opinion and devalued by some well-deserved skepticism about expert opinions. Our species is in trouble.

    Daily CO2

    May 29, 2017: 409.91 ppm
    May 29, 2016: 407.92 ppm

    This is the ballgame. The CO2 number goes up and the planet becomes less hospitable to the planet’s creatures. Annual increase of 2 ppm is driving the sixth great extinction. There is about a ten year lag on global temps in response to these atmospheric changes, so we are seeing record high temps that reflect a CO2 level of roughly 390 ppm. We have not seen the weather we get with a level of 410. It might not be to our liking.

    I think we can and should try to engage with the general population about the gravity of the situation. And we should be sophisticated about how we frame the discussion so that various populations might more easily understand the situation, but I am not optimistic about our species. I think there are smart individuals, but the species is only clever, it is not smart or wise.

    Per Baldwin et al: Remember the good old days when talking with folks who do not believe in global warming.
    Past-focused environmental comparisons promote proenvironmental outcomes for conservatives

    warm regards

  11. Vinny Burgoo says:

    smallbluemike: ‘Annual increase of 2 ppm is driving the sixth great extinction.’

    Nope. Other factors are driving it. In a few cases, AGW is giving one last tiny shove to a species that is already on the edge but even if you are willing to ascribe such cases entirely to AGW (many are, alas) you’d be hard pushed to name a species that has, by that misleading definition, actually been made extinct by climate change. The only one I can think of is the vagrant marsupial that was washed off a tiny island by storm surges, and it probably still survives elsewhere.

    It’d be more accurate to say that an annual increase of 2 ppm might eventually become an important driver of the sixth great extinction. Or it might not.

  12. BBD says:

    Or it might not.

    It’s difficult to see how it might not. Extremely rapid environmental change (temp and ocean pH) that far outpaces many species’ ability to migrate or evolve in response will render those species extinct. When this happens, food webs unravel and even species capable of tolerating the rapid environmental change are also at high risk of extinction.

  13. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    In a few cases, AGW is giving one last tiny shove…

    Climate change doesn’t cause species extinctions – It’d be more accurate to say that it’s storm surges combined with the inevitable regulatory mission-creep of socialist governments…

    …an annual increase of 2 ppm might eventually become an important driver of the sixth great extinction. Or it might not.

    The scientific consensus (IPCC Fourth Assessment Report) is that:

    There is medium confidence that approximately 20-30% of species assessed so far are likely to be at increased risk of extinction if increases in global average warming exceed 1.5-2.5 °C (relative to 1980-1999). As global average temperature increase exceeds about 3.5 °C, model projections suggest significant extinctions (40-70% of species assessed) around the globe.

    That’s quite a “few” cases of “might not”.

    No matter if the human food-chain collapses later this century – We will have figured out how to survive by eating our credit-cards by then.

  14. ‘Publicity or perish: finding the balance in science communication’

  15. john,
    Thanks, I’m just writing about that one.

  16. Steven Mosher says:

    “No matter if the human food-chain collapses later this century – We will have figured out how to survive by eating our credit-cards by then.

    Credit cards?

  17. izen says:

    “Credit cards?”

    And other plastics and products of the petrochemical industry.

    1) Renewables and storage threaten the demise of the fossil fuel industry as its role in power generation and transport is replaced.

    2) But rapid climate change disrupts ecologies, the agricultural ‘green revolution’ fails and food production returns to 1950s levels.

    3) the fossil fuel industry is saved by the development of bacteria able to convert hydrocarbons to carbohydrates and replaces the lost agricultural food production with digestible plastic.

    When your credit card expires you put it in a blender with water and the Plastidigest(TM) yeast mix and make a nutritious and tasty smoothie.


  18. Frank says:

    Smallbluemike says: “There is about a ten year lag on global temps in response to these atmospheric changes, so we are seeing record high temps that reflect a CO2 level of roughly 390 ppm. We have not seen the weather we get with a level of 410. It might not be to our liking.”

    390 to 410 ppm is a 5% increase or about 1/14 of a doubling. For short time periods, TCR is the relevant metric. This translates to approximately a 0.13 K change in temperature based on AOGCM’s and 0.1 K based on energy balance models. The recent El Nino caused an increase of about 0.5 K in a year.

    As best I can tell, there is no short-term crisis. The problem arises from long-term trends that are difficult to change over a few decades. In the years covered by Kyoto (1990-2010 in an IPCC document), global CO2 emission rose 24%. In the years covered by Paris (2010-2030), emissions will rise 11-23% – if every nation meets its mitigation, economic and foreign assistance targets. After 25-years of publicity, I don’t expect a major change in behavior, perhaps a 50 ppm (or 0.25 K) increase over 2 decades – half of the 2016 El Nino. That is roughly the bottom end of the IPCCs projections (0.3-0.7 K for all GHGs) for the next two decades.

    So why are projections for the end of the century so awful. The latests analyses of AOGCMs show their cloud feedback increases with warming. CO2 air-borne fraction will begin to increase at some point. RCP 8.5 projects massive increases in emissions.

  19. russellseitz says:

    Fortunately , many on the White House staff have read again , and again, and again of how much CO2 climate policy conference commuting generates, and are determined to break the vicious cycle


  20. Brian Dodge says:

    @ The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse
    “A large fraction of species faces increased extinction risk due to climate change during and beyond the 21st century, especially as climate change interacts with other stressors (high confidence). Most plant species cannot naturally shift their geographical ranges sufficiently fast to keep up with current and high projected rates of climate change in most landscapes; most small mammals and freshwater molluscs will not be able to keep up at the rates projected under RCP4.5 and above in flat landscapes in this century (high confidence). Future risk is indicated to be high by the observation that natural global climate change at rates lower than current anthropogenic climate change caused significant ecosystem shifts and species extinctions during the past millions of years. Marine organisms will face progressively lower oxygen levels and high rates and magnitudes of ocean acidification (high confidence), with associated risks exacerbated by rising ocean temperature extremes (medium confidence). Coral reefs and polar ecosystems are highly vulnerable. Coastal systems and low-lying areas are at risk from sea level rise, which will continue for centuries even if the global mean temperature is stabilized (high confidence).”

    Click to access AR5_SYR_FINAL_SPM.pdf

    Dude, if you’re gonna cherrypick old arguments, why not go with Angstroms “CO2 is saturated”? I’ll bet that canard could be sold on WUWT.

  21. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    But I think you have misunderstood my comment of May 30, 2017 at 4:07 pm.
    I could be wrong – but since we both cite IPCC Assessment Reports, I’m guessing that you just missed my sarcasm in response to Vinny’s “Or it might not”…
    I have no interest in peddling canards, or anything else, at WUWT.

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