## Climate Hawks

After a brief Twitter discussion with Ted Nordhaus (who authored the article I wrote about here) I came across another of his recent articles. It’s about Climate Hawks’s revealed preferences. The basic suggestion is that Climate Hawks don’t really behave in a way that is consistent with what they appear to be suggesting. If we really are on the verge of some kind of catastrophe, then shouldn’t they be taking more drastic action than they currently are? In not doing so,

[their] actions are telling everyone not to be so terribly alarmed.

My own views on this keeps changing, so I thought this might be an interesting discussion point. I’ll make a few general comments, though.

Some of this is a bit strawman-like. I don’t think that climate hawks necessarily think that we’re on the verge of catastrophe, or that addressing climate change will require massive changes to our lifestyles; in many cases I think they simply regard it as an important issue that should be addressed, sooner rather than later. This is also a largely a global problem that requires collective action; individual actions will, by themselves, have little impact.

I also think that some of this rhetoric is just a convenient excuse. If some people who think it’s important, don’t behave as if it really is, then it can’t be that important. If it does turn out to be important, then you can blame them for not behaving in a sufficiently convincing manner.

It’s also not obvious that it would make much difference. This is dominated, I think, by identity politics. Those who don’t identify with climate hawks will remain unconvinced however they behave.

On the other hand, people should behave in a way that is consistent with what they’re saying. Also, maybe there are people on the sidelines who would be more convinced if climate hawks did behave in a way that appeared more consistent with their rhetoric. So, the issue that I can’t quite get my head around is whether or not those who regard climate change as an important issue should be behaving in some way that makes this more obvious. If they do so, maybe others will be more convinced. On the other hand, if they do behave in some substantially different way, that might then imply that we can’t address this without changing our lifestyles, which could itself be counter-productive. However, maybe we can’t address this without changing our lifestyles. If so, shouldn’t those who regard this as an issue worth addressing lead they way? Thoughts?

WMC has a post: Climate chickenhawks.

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### 315 Responses to Climate Hawks

1. Francis says:

Is this a question of morality or politics or persuasion?

If politics, then please show me the evidence that the denialati will suddenly change their minds if Al Gore moves into a smaller house. Of course, no such evidence exists because accusations of hypocrisy are just one tool among many that are used to deny the truth of the science.

If morality, I’m not impressed. AGW is a collective action problem. If Al Gore can save the planet by flying more, then he should do so.

If persuasion, then maybe leaders on the issue should lead by example. After all, I installed a solar roof just a few weeks ago. Yes, the numbers pan out so that I should enjoy a (small) return on my investment as well as raising the value of my home. But I never would have done it without a ton of stories about other ordinary people trying to be part of the collective solution.

2. Steven Mosher says:

The argument that individual action does not amount to much is an argument that skeptics apply on the local and national level. Look, since every ton matters towards the budget, then every ounce matters.

3. T-rev says:

>The basic suggestion is that Climate Hawks don’t really behave in a way that is consistent with what they appear to be suggesting. If we really are on the verge of some kind of catastrophe, then shouldn’t they be taking more drastic action than they currently are? In not doing so,

>[their] actions are telling everyone not to be so terribly alarmed.

I agree but it’s just another form of denial, cognitive dissonance if you like, holding something to be ‘true’ but acting differently eg being in charge of an NGO campaigning against domestic violence and beating your parter, or a climate ‘hawk’ who flies.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/08/climate-change-deniers-g7-goal-fossil-fuels

Kevin Anderson is a little blunter, in a recent lecture, climate scientist where the first group he blamed and they were at the top of his list. I spooled the lecture up to where he points that out but the entire lecure is worth a watch

Paraphrasing Dennis Meadows, if there is a difference between ones words and ones actions, look for true ‘belief’ in their actions.

and yes, I quit work and lowered my emissions about 8 years ago, adopting voluntary frugality. I’ve estimated my annual emissions at about 2.5t. I am not saying everyone has to do the former but unless high emitters do the latter, then this will end catastrophically, the debate seems to be when ?

4. Joshua says:

I agree with Francis above.

Also, maybe there are people on the sidelines who would be more convinced if climate hawks did behave in a way that appeared more consistent with their rhetoric.

I think that is bullshit. But, I could be persuaded. I have yet to see any actual evidence to support that position. I get there is a certain kind of common sense logic to support the speculation. But I think there’s also a common sense logic to support the view that its bullshit.

So where is the evidence to support Nordhaus’ conjecture? You’d think that for sure, as often as we’ve seen this conjecture made, there must be abundant evidence in support.

Right?

Or maybe it’s just identity politics and polemics? And how unusual that would be, right?

I think the argument is really just another excuse for doing nothing. If climate hawks were living in caves eating berries, then the people making this kind of argument would merely move to a different excuse but hey, Al Gore is fat…

That said, I do agree with Steve. It behoves everyone to live in a way that reduces carbon emissions within the limits of current technology, as well as advocating the collective changes to needed to further address the problem.

6. Most people who have taken on the physics of the dilemma are nonetheless stuck in a different form of denial. Kari Norgaard (I think) calls it “implicatory denial”. You have taken on the science, but you haven’t really taken on what it is going to mean (the implications) for your life and the lives of others to deal with it.
They reconcile this cognitive dissonance in several ways, but three in particular come to mind as I type this. One is finding someone else to blame rather than the person in the mirror, and a very, very handy and very, very tired category of someones are the dastardly science deniers! If only they would accept the science, we could move on to solutions. Meantime, the more important thing is for me – rather than reducing my carbon footprint – is to wage daily battle with them online, study them, devise better communication strategies, blah, blah, blah, and feel good about myself despite my enormous carbon budget.
Second, there are the techno-enthusiasts – totally divorced from the colossal failure of renewables and other technologies to have delivered anything but maybe a puny, puny slowing of the incessant rise of greenhouse gas emissions. But always ready to dazzle with you stats about the “unexpected”, “exponential” declining cost curves of PV, batteries, whatever. Again, without pausing to take on board that this colossal flop in real-life effective deployment has occurred despite of the fact that these advances were made. Again, though, so long as you hold on to the techno dream, no need to curtail your flying or take up cycling for the commute to the office.
And third, related to the second, there seems to be a glitch in absorbing the difference between a stock and a flow pollutant, or the
real, real, real implications of carbon budgets. Which allows for a free-floating sense of “Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I love ya tomorrow! You’re always a day away!” that puts off having to have any personal responsibility or inconvenience.
The social scientists are spending way, way too much time trying to figure out why those who deny the science are doing so (pretty obvious, and pretty similar to those with implicative denial as well) and how to reach them. The people they need to reach are those who accept the science and can’t be arsed to do anything personally.

7. Messed up some of the formatting, but anyway, we can already see in the post itself and some of the responses: “It’s the people who are criticizing my lack of response that are messed up! Those dirty, do nothing science deniers! Just another excuse! I’m alright jack, and I need to get back to criticizing them.”

8. And I guess this subject is pushing some buttons such that I am making three rare posts consecutively, but I am pretty sure there is another category out there as well. People who fully take on the science, and the carbon budgets, and the outlook for technology and social change, and personally conclude “we’re done” and ease off on the personal changes and settle in for the fascinating ride.

Of course, we were told by the messaging experts that we should always finish with an upbeat “there are solutions!” pitch when defining the dilemma, lest the public despair and take no action. In fact, I am pretty sure that the “there are solutons!” message was heard loud and clear, louder and clearer than the dilemma message. “Hey, there are solutons. I don’t have to do much. Next!”. Big, big mistake. But here we are.

9. Steven Mosher says:

“So where is the evidence to support Nordhaus’ conjecture? You’d think that for sure, as often as we’ve seen this conjecture made, there must be abundant evidence in support.

Right?
#################3

there doesnt need to be any evidence.

His conjecture is either true or false.

If true: you and others by setting an example, will both reduce c02 and inspire the uninspired
do do so.
If false: you and others by setting an example, will merely reduce c02.

Precautionary priciple andnn pascals wager is a wonder to behold.

you are at no risk, and the climate hawks are at no risk, in walking the talk. There is only
a conjectural, speculative, upside. you dont need evidence. faith is enough

10. As pointed out in the tweet replies, there is evidence that walking the talk matters: http://archive.news.indiana.edu/releases/iu/2016/06/attari-climate-credibility.shtml

Which is also common sense.

11. Steven Mosher says:

Joshua wanted evidence of common sense.
If I claim walking the talk didn’t matter you could imagine him remaining silent.

12. Marco says:

Francis mentions Al Gore, and I have something to consider for the discussion related to Gore:

Gore’s a good bad (or bad good?) example as he claims to buy carbon offsets when he travels and that his house(s) are powered by renewables. If we for a moment assume this is true, he is most definitely walking his own talk, as he has frequently claimed we can maintain our current lifestyle also in a low-carbon economy. Moreover, he invests in renewables in various ways.

However, Gore’s electricity use and frequent flying are at the same time a bad example of walking the talk, because we likely *should* reconsider our lifestyles if we really want to reduce CO2 emissions. Some people waste a lot of energy because it is too cheap *for them* to really do anything to reduce that energy use. For others it is much more difficult to really reduce energy use.

13. “I have long been a believer that the best way to ascertain people’s intentions is to pay attention to what they do, not what they say. This concept is known in the parlance of economists and political scientists as “revealed preference.” People’s priorities as revealed by their observed behaviors often diverge quite substantially from what they say those priorities are.”

This has always stuck me that this is to peoples actual intentions what Grainger causality is to causality. Neither are really what they are often interpreted to be, just something that is easier to estimate. We are so full of cognitive biases that we often don’t act in accordance with our rational intentions/priorities (c.f. “Thinking, fast and slow”, practical examples easy to find, starting with “why didn’t I go to the gym this morning?” ;o). We should be very wary of judging peoples rational intentions from their behaviour; what we should be doing instead is to help people to behave in accordance with their intentions.

I suspect if climate hawks did behave more as if there was an immanent catastrophe, the people dismissing them now on the grounds of their behaviour would be dismissing them for being alarmist tree-hugging hippies/communists (cognitive biases again).

I suspect there are some that just want to get (public understanding of) the science right.

14. Thanks for all the comments. Food for thought. I certainly agree that actions do matter. However, these should be judged on the basis of what people actually say, not what it is that people think that they’re saying. Maybe the real issue is more to do with the behaviour of those who accept that climate change carries risks, yet do not say, or do, anything in public that indicates that they recognise this. I’m reluctant to suggest that such people have a responsibility for setting an example. However, it may be time for more to consider this, if only so that they themselves don’t look back and regret not doing more.

15. This tweet from Kevin Anderson partly motivated what I said at the end of my previous comment.

I'm less interested in the denial of global conspiracy theorists convinced world scientists collude to make something up; & much more how those accepting the science, particularly climate academics, are so reluctant to acknowledge the mitigation repercussions of their analysis.— Kevin Anderson (@KevinClimate) February 22, 2018

16. angech says:

Take cars.
Subset electric cars.
I ride a pushbike in a flat, low density small city in a group of mainly over 60’s doing 3 -5 rides a week of 50 K and a coffee afterwards.
Tried to ride the 3 K to work at one stage but just too inconvenient.
We have accidents, fractured clavicles, head injuries hips etc And this is a group that knows how to ride.
Two cars, amazing how 2 people can never quite arrange not to be needed in 2 spots at the same time.
Nonetheless cars are an indictment on CO2 use, not a luxury if you believe in lowering it.
Yet everyone here is probably at least as complacent as I am.
Electric cars have to be manufactured, Tires engines seats glass. They have to be scrapped when they are old. They need fuel input from batteries which cost to make and dispose and if using solar power thay have to be manufactured as well and those things they use to transform the energy often breakdown and need replacing.
I do feel if you are going to talk the talk, you really must walk the walk.
If you read this on a computer, or reply to it you are not really doing your bit.

17. cm says:

Whether or not it is anyone’s actual responsibility to become a walking billboard for ways to reduce one’s own carbon emissions, I still think modeling good behavior is important. What that looks like will change over time as new science and technology emerge, but take for example the issue of meat eating – when I stopped eating meat over 20 years ago I noticed that others around me quit too – telling me part of their decision was based on my example. They saw someone happy and healthy and still eating good food without suffering, making it easier for them to follow their own convictions without worrying about possible side effects.

We all know the impact raising livestock has environmentally and we all know meat consumption has to decrease (greatly and rapidly, in my opinion – but I said decrease, I don’t expect it to stop). Despite this, many people are still eating lots of meat AND – during COP21 at a workshop on climate and health there were no vegetarian options for lunch. Each pre-packaged plate came with some kind of meat. That experience has been repeated at a few conferences and workshops since, not all directly on climate but all relating to public health. This – I think – is a huge opportunity for anyone concerned about climate to set an example. Less Meat. (This topic has also hit a nerve for me, just like rustneversleeps).

Yet there are other issues that come up though in these discussions that are tricky, I feel. I was in a discussion once where everyone was so proud of themselves for not using a dryer for their clothes. I have a dryer and two tiny kids – I would go insane without a dryer. It’s new and rated A+++, never gets too hot, etc, etc, and here I am listening to a bunch of (older) men patting themselves on the back for hanging up their clothes tell me how awful it is to waste energy on something that happens naturally. I literally wouldn’t have time to work if I had to hang laundry.

Setting examples is important – of course, but we also need to be realistic otherwise no one will follow.

18. Richard S J Tol says:

Ted Nordhaus’ argument is Kevin Anderson’s. If you are as worried as you say you are, why do you act the way you do?

Eric Holthaus comes to mind:
1. Says he doesn’t want children because he’s afraid of what climate change will do to them.
2. Has vasectomy.
3. Reverses vasectomy.

I enjoy being a dad, and I knew about climate change and its consequences long before we decided to have kids. I guess Holthaus came around to my position.

In my mind, this increased Holthaus’ credibility. He has abandoned a position of raving lunacy.

Others, too, have adopted a public position that is at odds with their private choices; and have maintained this discrepancy for years. That strongly suggests that their public position is just politics.

19. Richard,
I understand the argument. Part of it, however, is rather strawman-like (they’re not actually saying what it is claimed they are saying). There is a potential irony, though. The supposed mismatch between what they appear to be saying and their actions would seem to suggest that their critics are implying that if what these Climate Hawks are saying is correct, then we can’t address climate change without drastic changes to our lifestyles. I don’t know if the latter is the case (Kevin Anderson would seem to suggest that it is) but my understanding is that there are many who do think that we can address climate change without drastic changes to our lifestyles. If so, it would seem entirely reasonable for someone to identify as a Climate Hawk while also continuing to live in a manner similar to those around them.

20. The message I hear from the climate action community is that countries must change the way our global society powers itself. We must stop burning fossil fuels and instead find ways of powering our activities in ways that don’t increase greenhouse gasses. As a consequence this is likely to change the way we individually behave. But the starting point is for society as a whole to make the necessary energy infrastructure changes.

Our individual responsibility—because we understand the problem—is to educate our fellow citizens about the issue, and then persuade the people in power to do something about it. If we personally like to make changes to the way we live, in order to make ourselves feel better about things, that’s fine; and laudable. But it’s not the most important action required to bring about the change needed.

We shouldn’t accept this finger pointing from the people who are too blinkered to see the fundamental change that’s needed.

21. Richard S J Tol says:

@wotts
Reasonable people disagree whether we can meet the climate targets in the Paris Agreement by making drastic changes to our lifestyle, whether we would need something more radical than that, or whether we can meet those targets at all.

I’m in the middle: A nuclear war between China and India would get us a long way to Paris.

22. BBD says:

Johnrussell said it for me, so just +1

23. angech wrote “If you read this on a computer, or reply to it you are not really doing your bit.”

ROFL ;o)

24. KiwiGriff says:

Some of us do walk the walk.

Off gridd.
Down sized my car to a well used crappy little thing.
Last time I Went on holiday.. .to fiji…sailed there and back.
Seldom eat meat…grow most my own food . care for and expanding a few acres of old growth forest to offset my small foot print. No offspring. Use pasive solar heating solar hot water. Have just changed from living in a tiny house to a real one..recycled from a large new development in the city. Divested from fossil fuels and high energy investments.
So what.
My contributioni to the problem was a mere grain of sand on a beach before I made an effort

Dont know why some think you nèed to live in a cave and wear sack cloth to have a low impact.
Its actully more a technological challenge than a hippy opt out.

25. Richard Tol wrote “Ted Nordhaus’ argument is Kevin Anderson’s. If you are as worried as you say you are, why do you act the way you do?”

Why do obese people find it difficult to loose weight? It isn’t because they don’t want to loose weight, it is because they have cognitive biases that make it difficult to balance short term benefits and long term goals. We all do, to varying degrees. The answer to the question is that we have cognitive biases and are not completely rational. Isn’t that obvious?

26. kevinboyce says:

Unless I missed it, nobody has mentioned what I think is a major point: Even if you believe that we will ultimately have to change our lifestyles, reducing your carbon footprint now requires in most cases a much larger change than necessary. I drive when I go downtown for a meal or a show, rather than taking public transit. I do that because I am not willing to take the significant chance of being delayed by hours due to a failure of the transit system. There is no need for this; there are plenty of cities in the world where the transit system is reliable and cheap. My actions have no effect on the local system; only political action can change it.

Another example: I tried to put solar shingles (CertainTeed) on my roof when I built my house. It was not possible. The regional rep told me they held two 2-day courses for roofers on how to install them, and zero came back to sign up for actually doing it, so they abandoned my state. Again, my only recourse is political.

I ride my bike to work when weather permits, but the roads have gotten less bike-friendly over the years, so I’m not surprised I’m nearly the only one. Political recourse required.

And then when we demand political action, we’re straying from the science and being activists and proving we can’t be trusted.

So yeah, I call shenanigans.

27. verytallguy says:

The position of “climate hawks” is a simple Catch-22

If they do reduce their personal emissions to zero, in today’s society that entails a pretty bizarre lifestyle outside of the mainstream, thereby demonstrating that zero carbon advocates are weirdo hippy eco-fascists who want to take us back to the stone age.

If they don’t reduce their personal emissions to zero, they demonstrate that that they care naught for the environment, but rather are socialist totalitarians whose only purpose is to hijack climate change in order to impose one world gubmint on the sheeple.

So which is it, AT? Are you a hippy eco-fascist or a socialist totalitarian?

28. verytallguy says:

Ha! I see that Tol had already used the exact same argument. Boy, contrarians are naught if not predictable.

kevinboyce is spot on of course – the important thing is not to get to the end, but to make progress along the way. PS kevin – cycling in the rain is never as bad as it seems!

To put it another way: Less emissions are good; climatehawks should make less emissions than their peers. The exact amount is not the point.

29. Richard S J Tol says:

@dikran
Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio suffer from a cognitive bias that prevents them from seeing that private planes and large mansions are not good for carbon dioxide emissions?

30. verytallguy says:

@Tol
What lifestyle would render their beahviour acceptable to you?

What exactly is the weight of Al Gore?

31. Richard,

Reasonable people disagree whether we can meet the climate targets in the Paris Agreement by making drastic changes to our lifestyle, whether we would need something more radical than that, or whether we can meet those targets at all.

Which is essentially what I’m suggesting. It doesn’t seem that one has to change one’s lifestyle in some substantial way in order to be a Climate Hawk whose rhetoric is consistent with their actions. If you think otherwise, that would seem to imply that you’re suggesting that if some of the more severe projections are correct, then the only way to address this would be substantial changes to our lifestyles.

32. paulski0 says:

In my mind, this increased Holthaus’ credibility. He has abandoned a position of raving lunacy.

I think this highlights the problem with Nordhaus’ conjecture. If you aren’t perceived to be “walking the walk” you’re accused of hypocrisy. If you are perceived to be “walking the walk” you’re accused by the very same people of alarmist lunacy. Damned both ways.

33. paul,

If you aren’t perceived to be “walking the walk” you’re accused of hypocrisy. If you are perceived to be “walking the walk” you’re accused by the very same people of alarmist lunacy. Damned both ways.

Indeed, and those doing the criticising seem to think that they get to define how others should be walking.

34. BBD says:

In ClimateBall, everything you say or do will be used against you.

35. Richard Tol cherry picking isn’t terribly convincing, a bit like me judging all climate skeptics by the antics of James Dellingpole. I note you ignored the substantive point, which is that judging peoples intentions based on their actions is not a terribly good idea as it makes the assumption that we behave rationally, which is evidently not true, and hence the initial question is probably rhetorical in nature.

Besides, if Gore and DiCaprio offset the emissions from their lifestyles then they would be consistent with their message. Do they? I don’t know, do you? Snopes seems to suggest that Gore does, which rather detracts from your “argument”.

36. William Connolley says:

> I don’t think that climate hawks necessarily think that we’re on the verge of catastrophe

How would you know? You haven’t defined the term “climate hawks” and neither has anyone else. Suppose I define the term “climate hawk” as “someone who believes we are on the verge of a catastrophe”? That certainly fits Nordhaus’s only real example, “Ken Ward and the small band of eco-warriors”. They are, apparently, risking jail in order to shut down fossil fuel infrastructure. Unfortunately Nordhaus doesn’t tell us if KW walks the talk or not, so we can’t judge in that case.

> We should be very wary of judging peoples rational intentions from their behaviour

I don’t think this is a sensible argument against revealed preferences. You might make allowances for one-offs, but when people *consistently* behave against what they tell you (and getting fat whilst pretending to be on a diet is in this class) then you should go with what they do as what they “really” mean.

37. “How would you know? ”

“think” and “know” are not the same thing.

“I don’t think this is a sensible argument against revealed preferences.”

I put the word ” rational” in “We should be very wary of judging peoples rational intentions from their behaviour” deliberately. Revealed preferences are not the same thing as intentions, which was my point. “(and getting fat whilst pretending to be on a diet is in this class)” you are missing the point being made which is that our rational intentions and our subconscious drives do not always coincide. Revealed preferences seems not to make that distinction, which is O.K. provided you don’t use them as a way of judging rational intentions.

38. Joshua says:

There could be things that are going on here that aren’t mutually exclusive.

1) Folks like Richard Tol are playing personality politics, and using personal behaviors on energy usage as a gambit.

2) The behaviors of people who are out front in trying to convince the public to make behavior changes w/r/t energy usage can influence their effectiveness.

3) The argument that people’s personal behaviors can necessarily be interpreted to show that they’re frauds, and feigning concern to advance political goals rather than their stated goals (in the case reducing emissions) is based on a fallacy (although it can be an valid argument at times).

Thank you Richard Reiss for providing some evidence. Evidence is good. And indeed, it could be that even though people like Richard are playing personality games, and even though it could be that people’s behaviors regarding energy usage aren’t necessarily a reliable barometer of what they really believe about ACO2 emissions, #2 could still be important.

Then, I guess, the question is the size of the effect I described in #2. One paper isn’t really something to take to the bank. But the abstract says that the effect they discovered is significant, and so it prolly shouldn’t be taken lightly. It would be interesting to know if there is more evidence.

That said, also, Steven does make a valid point also. Assuming that we don’t have clear evidence one way or the other (that the personal behaviors of people out front makes a meaningful difference in the effectiveness of their messaging), I think that there are some follow on points. One is that even if the relative effect is large (personal behavior strongly influences the effectiveness of an individual messager) does that mean that the absolute effect is meaningful (increasing the effectiveness of people out front will really meaningful influence the overall process of policy development).

39. Richard S J Tol says:

@vtg, wotts, paul
Individual action is indeed almost futile. That said, if I do not act, I can be sure that not all act.

What matters is that, over time, your stated position should be consistent with your acts. A prolife politician who tells his mistress to get an abortion is just as credible as an environmentalist in a private plane. The former is not allowed to hide behind others getting abortions, so why should the latter?

40. Richard Tol wrote ” A prolife politician who tells his mistress to get an abortion is just as credible as an environmentalist in a private plane. “

specious argument – the environmentalist can offset his/her carbon emissions from use of a private (or any other sort of) plane.

41. Joshua says:

Sorry…I didn’t finish my thoughts about Steven’s point – being that assuming that we don’t have clear evidence, the best default position may well be that in order to enhance the potential of their evidence, people who are out front in promoting mitigation policies should make a big show about having low carbon footprints.

I guess a reason not to do that is a desire to not give people like Richard who run with fallacious arguments a sense of satisfaction. But that’s operationalizing a zero sum gain mentality, from a tribal framework. IMO, that’s sameosameo – which I happen to think isn’t like to be effective.

42. Joshua says:

WMC –

You might make allowances for one-offs, …and getting fat whilst pretending to be on a diet is in this class

This ducks the point. As Dikran points out, we all know it is quite common for people who truly, truly want to lose weight, to fail to enact the best behaviors for advancing that goal. Judgying their intent by their behaviors

Another concept of modern behavioral psychology is that making judgements about the rationality of behavior, particularly by projecting our own biases about rationality, is problematic.

43. Prof. Tol wrote “What matters is that, over time, your stated position should be consistent with your acts.”

For some reason, when I read that I immediately thought of this: Your null hypothesis should therefore be that I do not make elementary errors. ;o)

44. verytallguy says:

The former is not allowed to hide behind others getting abortions, so why should the latter?

I don’t know why contrarians are so obsessed with abortion and rape*, but let’s observe that (1) less objectionable analogies are also available and (2) If you do insist on such unpleasant allusions, abortion is all or nothing whereas carbon emissions reductions are continuous.

45. WMC,

How would you know? You haven’t defined the term “climate hawks” and neither has anyone else.

Introduced by David Roberts here.

On Monday I asked, “What should we call people who care about climate change and clean energy?” ……..

Without further ado, the winner is … [drumroll] …

Climate hawks.

46. Joshua says:

VTG –

I don’t know why contrarians are so obsessed with abortion and rape*…

I think the answer “why,” at least in this case, is that Richard is baiting people. IMO, he plays this game often. Comparing environmentalists to people hiding behind abortions doesn’t seem like part of a good-faith discussion, IMO.

47. > David Roberts

Not everyone can recall every DR post from 2010. It would have been better linked in your post. But with that definition you now have the vagueness of the word “cares”. If you interpret this the obvious way, then I agree Nordhaus is being too tough in his standards. But is there any reason to think that Nordhaus is using the phrase in the same sense that you (now reveal you) are?

> we all know it is quite common for people who truly, truly want to lose weight, to fail to enact the best behaviors for advancing that goal. Judgying their intent by their behaviors

That doesn’t make sense. You’re pretending that you know their internal state – you’re pretending you know what they “truly” want. But you don’t. You only know what you observe and can deduce from that: what they say, and what they do. So people who “truly” want to get thin but actually keep eating are revealing that they value eating more than they value getting thin. Similarly, people who “truly” want to Save the Environment but actually live wasteful lifestyles are revealing…

> wary of judging peoples rational intentions

Same answer. You don’t know anyone’s actual intentions.

48. verytallguy says:

Richard is baiting people. IMO, he plays this game often

Hmmmm. You seem to be describing trolling behaviour.

I know! Maybe teh google has advice for “how to constructively deal with the troll Richard Tol”

Oooh look – first hit. Who’da thunk.

49. Joshua says:

WMC –

That doesn’t make sense. You’re pretending that you know their internal state – you’re pretending you know what they “truly” want. But you don’t. You only know what you observe and can deduce from that: what they say, and what they do. So people who “truly” want to get thin but actually keep eating are revealing that they value eating more than they value getting thin.

Jesus. That has to be on of the single most stupid arguments I’ve seen on the Interwebs.

I want to lose weight. My behaviors are not always consistent with that desire. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have that desire. Nor does it mean that I “care” more about eating than I do getting thin.

You’re not accounting for the complicating factors associated with the energy balance model of nutrition. There are many factors that influence perceived associations between eating and weight loss, and you’re also failing to account for the complicating factors behind the nutritional energy balance model itself.

The ironies are fascinating.

50. Joshua says:

VTG –

Hmmmm. You seem to be describing trolling behaviour.

I was struggling with how to find a good faith way of suggesting bad faith. I guess that didn’t work very well, eh?

51. WMC,

But is there any reason to think that Nordhaus is using the phrase in the same sense that you (now reveal you) are?

I was mainly providing an example of a definition. I don’t think Nordhause really defined it either. If he’s suggesting that some activists behave in ways that are inconsistent with what they say, then that seems obviously true.

I also thought I made clear that I wasn’t really arguing against his article (when I was thinking about writing this, that had been my intention, but then I read his article again and found myself in less disagreement than I was after my first reading). I was more interested in thinking about how much this really matters. Are all Climate Hawks behaving in an inconsistent manner? I think the answer is probably “no”. Are some? Probably; they’re human like the rest of us. If they did behave in some different way, would it make much difference? Probably not; I don’t think their behaviour is why we’re not implementing effective climate policy Should we be consistent; yes, we should aim to be, but perfection isn’t possible, and it’s not as if inconsistency is restricted to those who identify as Climate Hawks. Should we blame them for the fact that some people don’t see much need for alarm? I don’t think so; I think people should take responsibility for their own actions/views.

52. verytallguy says:

I guess that didn’t work very well, eh?

As teh google points out, Tol is “notoriously nasty”. Like all contrarians, he gives every impression of thoroughly enjoying his notoreity.

He’s the centre of attention. It worked out just fine for him.

53. “That doesn’t make sense. You’re pretending that you know their internal state – you’re pretending you know what they “truly” want. But you don’t.”

It is interesting that we have moved on from rational intentions to “internal state”. “internal state” could conceivably encompass both rational intentions and instinctual drives, and so is obfuscating the point being made.

“You only know what you observe and can deduce from that: what they say, and what they do.

Yes, and if what the say disagrees with what they do, why should we assume what they do tells us what they rationally intend?

So people who “truly” want to get thin but actually keep eating are revealing that they value eating more than they value getting thin.

Again this is blurring the distinction between rational intention and instinctual drives. We rationally want to be thin, but our subconscious wants the food. We do not maintain an logical balance between the two at all times, but getting thin requires long term attention to rational goals. Some people are better at maintaining a rational balance than others, but that doesn’t mean those that stay obese want to be obese as a rational trade-off between long term weight loss and having a doughnut now more or less every time they see a doughnut.

As I said, it is a bit like saying Grainger causality is causality – it isn’t, but it is still useful, as long as you don’t over-interpret it.

54. John Hartz says:

As I have been saying for years, Time is not on our side!

I live in Columbia SC and this year Spring has arrived two months early.

https://insideclimatenews.org/news/21022018/february-record-high-temperature-east-coast-arctic-climate-change-nws

I now wonder whether time has already run out!

55. I should point out that I don’t think we have any evolved instincts that cause us to pay attention to scientific information, or to consider the needs of others much beyond the level of clans (or groups of people we know). This suggests “climate hawks” trying to get people to take action on climate change, it is a rational intention, rather than an instinctive drive in action (for most of us the major threats of climate change don’t affect us personally, at least not in the near future). However making decisions about whether to drive to work this morning, rather than walk/cycle, even though the weather is terrible, will be influenced rather more by our sub-conscious evolutionary inheritance of mental heuristics. That is why the distinction matters in this particular case.

56. > We rationally want to be thin, but our subconscious wants

You’re assuming two people in there. You, and your subconscious. That might be a useful model for some circumstances but from the outside it is all meaningless because there is only one person acting. This is exactly analogous the “climate chickenhawks”.

> clear that I wasn’t really arguing against his article

Maybe clear to you but not me. You’re rather one-one-hand-on-the-other-hand so it is possible to read your article in many ways depending on how you balance the bits. I’d say that it comes across as mostly against N.

> they simply regard it as an important issue that should be addressed, sooner rather than later

That’s probably a useful defn. In which case I think I’d argue that N is more correct than not. Too many people who are far more for the “sooner” side of things than I am in terms of talk act otherwise, I think. Obviously, I have no good stats to back this up, it is just an impression.

57. Richard S J Tol says:

@dikran
Sin can be offset by prayer and good deeds.

I note that you frequently call out me out for (alleged) hypocrisy, suggesting that you do think this is a valid argument.

58. Joshua says:

We rationally want to be thin, but our subconscious wants the food.

It’s more than just subconsciously wanting the food.

I want to be thin. And I am fully conscious of wanting to eat food. The fact that I consciously want the food doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be thin. WMC’s logic is absurd.

Some people are better at maintaining a rational balance than others,

Which fails to account for the fact that it is simply much easier for some people to stay thin than for others. There are myriad factors in addition to some simplistic notion that I don’t really want to be thinner than I am because I eat.

59. WMC,

You’re rather one-one-hand-on-the-other-hand so it is possible to read your article in many ways depending on how you balance the bits. I’d say that it comes across as mostly against N.

My against bit was mainly the idea that we can use the apparent inconsistency of Climate Hawks as an excuse for why some people see no reason to be alarmed. Even if the former is true, I don’t think it’s really acceptable to use the behaviour of others as an excuse for your own behaviour/views.

In which case I think I’d argue that N is more correct than not. Too many people who are far more for the “sooner” side of things than I am in terms of talk act otherwise, I think.

Except, getting emissions to reduce sooner rather than later will require (as far as I’m aware) some kind of global cooperation. Their own behaviour will have little impact on emissions and therefore they need (I think) to argue for stronger climate policy. This doesn’t require that they themselves change how they live their lives. It may make their arguments more convincing if they did, but it’s not obviously inconsistent, especially if they’re arguing that we can somehow reduce emissions while not substantially changing our lifestyles. Maybe the latter isn’t possible (and some do indeed argue that it isn’t – Kevin Anderson and Peter Kalmus, for example) but I’m not yet convinced that it’s a given. In some sense arguing that they’re behaving inconsistently implies that it’s not possible to reduce our emissions soon without changing our lifestyles.

60. Prof. Tol wrote “Sin can be offset by prayer and good deeds.”

That would depend on the religion. Sin can be forgiven by the grace of God, but it isn’t offset by prayer or good deeds, just that good deeds ought to be the sign of true repentance. Or at least that is my understanding of Christianity.

However that is avoiding the point that a pro-lifer asking a mistress to have an abortion is not a valid analogy for environmentalists flying in a private aircraft.

“I note that you frequently call out me out for (alleged) hypocrisy, suggesting that you do think this is a valid argument.”

I don’t see the logical connection there, perhaps you could explain (but preferably first acknowledge that the pro-life/abortion analogy was invalid, or defend it, rather than just use this theological digression as a means of evasion).

61. WMC wrote ” That might be a useful model for some circumstances but from the outside it is all meaningless because there is only one person acting.”

I’m sorry, but that is sophistry. If we are talking about peoples intentions and values (and particularly whether they are being sincere, honest or hypocritical) then we do need to consider their “internal state”, not just their actions.

62. Steven Mosher says:

do good when others are not watching you

63. verytallguy says:

do good when others are not watching you

Off to cycle home. Have a good weekend all, hippy eco-fascists and socialist totalitarians alike.

64. > If we are talking about peoples intentions and values

If you want to measure people’s hypocrisy, then you need to compare what they say and what they do. Both of those are externally visible. Their internal state remains unknowable.

> the apparent inconsistency of Climate Hawks as an excuse for why some people see no reason to be alarmed. Even if the former is true, I don’t think it’s really acceptable to use the behaviour of others as an excuse for your own behaviour/views

I don’t think that’s quite the argument. Or at least, that’s clearly not a valid argument, so let’s assume that isn’t what is intended. What is intended, I think, is “what should the bulk of the public and/or politicians do and believe, in the face of their personal inability to understand and evaluate the science?” Such people will need to accept some Authority, or combinations of authorities. One such authority is Opinion. What is the general Opinion, and how would you discern it? Ah, now we’re back: you could discover people’s Opinion by what they say… or by what they do.

65. WMC,

I don’t think that’s quite the argument.

Okay, maybe it’s not quite the argument, but he does end his article with And those actions are telling everyone not to be so terribly alarmed.

What is intended, I think, is “what should the bulk of the public and/or politicians do and believe, in the face of their personal inability to understand and evaluate the science?” Such people will need to accept some Authority, or combinations of authorities.

Okay, fair enough, and how people behave will influence their conclusions. However, I come back to what I said before. If it is possible to start addressing climate change now without needing to substantially change our lifestyles, there would seem to be nothing especially inconsistent with a Climate Hawk behaving like everyone else, while advocating for action. What would be inconsistent would be claiming that we need to change our lifestyles, while not doing so themselves, or making claims about climate change that are inconsistent with addressing it now without changing our lifestyles.

So, it does seem as though some people are defining how a Climate Hawk should behave, in order to then claim that their behaviour is inconsistent with their words, without really demonstrating this to be the case.

66. “If you want to measure people’s hypocrisy, then you need to compare what they say and what they do. Both of those are externally visible. Their internal state remains unknowable.”

I note you left out the “sincere” and the “honest” part, which are also relevant, but which do require assessment of their internal state. Peoples internal states are not knowable with certainty (often not even by themselves) but that doesn’t mean they are completely unknowable.

67. The idea that people demand individual action by climate hawks as proof of concern is real, and as most here note, not all that important in terms of emissions reductions. But it’s also a bit of a straw man. Climate Hawk policy preferences are just as important.
Why, for example, hasn’t California taken action to reduce the obscene number of daily tourist flights to Hawaii or New York out of LA and San Francisco? This would have reduced emissions much faster than anything California has done to date and people “need” to be able to get to work much more than they “need to” vacation in Hawaii or New York City (or Europe or Asia for that matter). The fact of the matter is that if the world is in danger then neither you nor Leonardo DiCaprio can jet across country for fun. The fact that Lenny does it in a private jet is just amusing icing on the cake.
The answer’s pretty obvious, people want to fly and they don’t want to hear they can’t. So the “solutions” put forward are vague, have denials about any actual cost to John Q Public, and have timetables that appear to be pure fantasy. It’s understandable, support for climate policy drops quickly when people see a cost such as “you can’t go to Hawaii.” So they make black paint on cars unavailable instead.
Secondly, nobody can provide a straight answer to what New York City looks like in February powered with no fossil fuels (or nuclear power if most of the climate concerned get their way). And the vague answers to date don’t add up.
Realistic alternatives to fossil fuels, honesty and care about costs, transparency about achievable timelines are all lacking in Climate Hawks. And that’s far more limiting to action than questions about attribution or trend. Put another way, if you’re friend tells you that you need to travel from LA to New York by noon tomorrow, you’re willing to go. If he insists you both walk there and you can be there by noon, you aren’t going to do it. And this has nothing to do with the reason why you need to be in New York.

68. Joshua says:

Compare and contrast:

Their internal state remains unknowable.

And

So people who “truly” want to get thin but actually keep eating are revealing that they value eating more than they value getting thin.

So what people say they value isn’t a guide, but how WMC reverse engineers about their internal state (to determine what they actually value) from how they behave is what is important, except we can’t know their internal state.

Beautiful.

69. Hyperactive Hydrologist says:

Just in case people wanted a reminders of the potential consequences of inaction:

Cities are particularly vulnerable to climate risks due to their agglomeration of people, buildings and infrastructure. Differences in methodology, hazards considered, and climate models used limit the utility and comparability of climate studies on individual cities. Here we assess, for the first time, future changes in flood, heat-waves (HW), and drought impacts for all 571 European cities in the Urban Audit database using a consistent approach. To capture the full range of uncertainties in natural variability and climate models, we use all climate model runs from the Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) for the RCP8.5 emissions scenario to calculate Low, Medium and High Impact scenarios, which correspond to the 10th, 50th and 90th percentiles of each hazard for each city. We find that HW days increase across all cities, but especially in southern Europe, whilst the greatest HW temperature increases are expected in central European cities. For the low impact scenario, drought conditions intensify in southern European cities while river flooding worsens in northern European cities. However, the high impact scenario projects that most European cities will see increases in both drought and river flood risks. Over 100 cities are particularly vulnerable to two or more climate impacts. Moreover, the magnitude of impacts exceeds those previously reported highlighting the substantial challenge cities face to manage future climate risks.

70. MarkR says:

Dr Peter Kalmus is a climate scientist at JPL and he’s written a book:
https://www.newsociety.com/Books/B/Being-the-Change
He was working on astrophysics but moved into climate out of interest. Now he never flies, composts, grows & barters food, cycles to work, converted a car to run on waste vegetable oil, etc. He cut his fossil fuel use by about 90 %.

I deeply respect his choices. He argues that it’s like we need to act loudly so that other people realise this is an oncoming disaster. This makes sense.

I don’t think it’s the only & necessary way though. Lots of people are like me and don’t own land so we can’t grow our own food. Also, it plays into the denial storyline about how effective climate action involves going to live in a mud hut, which is bullshit.

Personally I carbon budget and cut the limit each year, such that if everyone copied me the U.S. (where I’m living now) would do its fair share to restrict emissions. It’s pretty easy, it’s empowering and I can see a pretty clear path for the next few years. And it rubbishes the idea that effective climate action means living in a cave or whatever. For example, Even though the last tenant used 150% more electricity than I do, my lifestyle still meets pretty standard western expectations. It’s just that my light comes from LEDs, my clothes dry on a rack, I watch Netflix on a tablet and I don’t leave the A/C on for hours when I’m out at work.

71. Hyperactive Hydrologist says:

As part of my work I attended a climate conversations workshop which made me realise how much I could actually do to reduce my emissions. Since then I have got rid of my car, and now cycle everywhere or get the bus, eat meat a maximum of once a week and grow my own fruit and vegetables. I would like to get solar panels and a battery for my house but we have limited roof space for panels. However, we do get our gas and electricity from a renewable provider.

My work is also pretty good. They are aiming to be carbon neutral by 2025 and already charge a project levy in internal flights.

72. ATTP said: “I was mainly providing an example of a definition. I don’t think Nordhause really defined it either. If he’s suggesting that some activists behave in ways that are inconsistent with what they say, then that seems obviously true. “

Maybe Nordhause, like others using this argument, is taking what activists say personally. When we (activists) say that we must get rid of our petrol and diesel cars and avoid using plastics—or whatever—they think we mean everyone individually must do this. In fact we’re saying that society as a whole must make changes so that fossil fuel use is no longer an option, for anyone. That’s certainly what I mean.

To be part of society is to use the tools society provides. Not using those tools can make a person uncompetitive and even un-productive. If society as a whole decides not to burn fossil fuels for our tools we’re all in the same boat and it’s a level playing field. Human ingenuity is then incentivised to look for less polluting ways of doing things.

73. John Carpenter says:

Leading by (good) example should result in others following that good example. Common sense stuff. Having said that, the expectation that anyone sounding an alarm should be required to take extreme measures in their own lifestyles to show they walk the walk is not altogether practical or possible. Who can rightfully judge when someone is walking the walk? It comes down to owning the decisions you make day to day and weighing that against how you want to lead with (or follow) good examples of what you believe in. Most rational people will accept an acknowledgment of a contradiction in behavior, real or perceived, if it is an honest one. We are human and are not perfect. We cannot always behave perfectly attuned to our beliefs or in a manner that will please everyone. The more consistent we are in behaving in a manner consistent with our beliefs, the better we are in leading by (good) example. However, be prepared to be called out if you engage in or appear to be engaged in behaviors inconsistent with your beliefs. The more vocal or prominent you are in your beliefs, the more prepared you need to be with honest acknowledgments of those real or perceived contradictions.

74. The primary premise is an appeal to hypocrisy which is a logical fallacy:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tu_quoque
why engage beyond identifying the logical fallacy being employed?
Mike

75. BBD says:

In ClimateBall, whatever you do will be used against you, so best just get on and do whatever you think is right. It won’t make any difference either to your critics or anyone else.

76. Joshua says:

Mike –

why engage beyond identifying the logical fallacy being employed?

While indeed the premise is rooted in a fallacy (and it’s not exactly shocking to see who is employing that gambit here), it may also be true that the argument has real relevance to the politics of climate change policy development.

Being a fallacy doesn’t render the argument irrelevant.

I would like to see more engagement on the question as to whether this fallacious line of reasoning has real impact, or if it is essentially just a gambit being used by outrage mongers.

77. Joshua says:

This struck me as a nice example of William’s logic:

“Many in legacy media, love mass shootings. You guys love it. Now I’m not saying that you love the tragedy, but I am saying that you love the ratings. Crying white mothers, are ratings gold to you and many in the legacy media in the back. “

The “values” of the “legacy media” are made apparent by their behavior. Since they cover mass shootings, they “love” mass shootings, because…ratings. Of course, they will deny that they value ratings over fewer deaths, but their behavior makes their values obvious. And, to extend the analogy, members of the media should not cover mass shootings if they want to advocate for policies to reduce mass shootings.

78. Willard says:

> why engage beyond identifying the logical fallacy being employed?

Sometimes, because the fallacy fails to be relevant. If a contrarian doesn’t use the tu quoque to undermine AGW, the fallacy does not obtain. Misidentifying a tu quoque can lead to a fallacy fallacy.

Sometimes, a tu quoque can be more than relevant:

Though textbook tu quoque arguments are fallacies of relevance, many versions of arguments from hypocrisy are indirectly relevant to the issue. Some arguments from hypocrisy are challenges to the authority of a speaker on the basis of either her sincerity or competency regarding the issue. Other arguments from hypocrisy purport to be evidence of the impracticability of the opponent’s proposals. Further, some versions of hypocrisy charges from impracticability are open to a counter that I will term tu quoque judo.

Not all tu quoques are thus fallacious.

The relevance of tu quoques undermines the idea that scientists would have “nothing to lose” by walking the talk. Recall Alinsky, or witness the Auditor and the fellowship that tweets about Justin Trudeau’s visit in India as we speak. Of course walking the talk puts more skin in the game – they’d put their own credibility on the line. In fact, they themselves would become the topic of consideration. A contrarian dream come true.

That’s more skin in the game than teh Taleb himself, whose personal wealth and SpeedoScience render immune to shaming.

79. Joshua says:

hey John Carpenter –

Most rational people will accept an acknowledgment of a contradiction in behavior, real or perceived, if it is an honest one.

I’m not so sure about that. I would agree it is true in an un-polarized context. In a polarized context, some (rational) people are trolling the water to find any hint of contradictory behaviors so they can confirm a bias. Despite being rational people, their discernment of “honesty” can become “motivated.”

80. Joshua says:

Of course, they’re also trawling the water. 🙂

81. angech says:

Joshua “In a polarized context, some (rational) people are trolling the water to find any hint of contradictory behaviors so they can confirm a bias. Despite being rational people, their discernment of “honesty” can become “motivated.”

As Willard said, very true but it does not stop the examples of unconscious hypocrisy and motivated discounting permeating nearly every comment on this thread.

I really liked the comments about living in a cave above as not being helpful. Of course it would be helpful if we all (everyone) lived in caves and gave up fossil fuels.
How dare anyone argue otherwise?
The practicalities are another thing. We all like to be fat. we all want to be fed with good food and wine and have as much as we can. (Except the gluten free).
Even if it is not good for us we still feel we have to try.
Hence the dilemma.
We all would like to avoid CAGW.
But we all love our computers cars and electricity.
Turn them off?
No, thats what everyone else should do if they know what’s good for them.
I love this argument.

82. angech says:

The rational approach, rarely used by either side of the debate, skeptics can be worse is to just call the obvious and leave it at that.
Simply.
Yes climate hawks should walk the walk.
Yes most don’t.
Is it a good look, no.
Is the message right , yes?
Keep on trying
Why is it so hard?
Christians have been doing it for 2000 years, mostly failing.

83. Willard says:

> Yes climate hawks should walk the walk.

When will you be rolling coal, Doc?

Here’s how we do it:

84. John Carpenter says:

“In a polarized context, some (rational) people are trolling the water to find any hint of contradictory behaviors so they can confirm a bias. Despite being rational people, their discernment of “honesty” can become “motivated.”

Hey Joshua, I had a feeling you would pick up on that 😉 . Based on my own observations, I agree that a polarized environment poses more challenges, but I don’t think it is wise to focus on the ‘some people’ as they will likely never be swayed to change their opinion or even accept that other opinions matter. Where I think the climate conversation (not debate) fails is when we focus on the extremes on both sides instead of finding the common ground that is actionable. Some people just want to argue and debate…. but they are not the people who are going to make the difference and lead the way to changes. I disagree that the ‘some people’ can be considered rational. If they are not rational about their bias toward either alarmism or denialism of climate change, then they are likely irrational and intransigent about other polarized issues. Folks trolling/trawling the water for any hint of contradictions are, in my opinion, not being rational about the issue. Someone who is trawling the water for any hint of contradiction sounds to me like someone who occupies an extreme position. It goes both ways.

85. Joshua says:

Willard –

Yup.

On one hand, I’m reflexively skeptical about people pointing to asymmetries across boundary lines like views on climate change. On the other hand, I’m reflexively inclined to think that I see asymmetries across boundary lines live views on climate change. For example, sometimes I think that “realists” are reflexively reflective about issues, whereas “skeptics” are not (parallels an asymmetry I sometimes see were libz are inherently worse at fallacious framing of issues compare to conz).

In other words, I would like someone to point me to a thread from the “skept-o-sphere” where “skeptics” navel gaze about whether they have some kind of moral or logistical obligation to:

Burn as much carbon as they can, since it would fulfill the precautionary principle in protection against the next ice age.

Burn as much carbon as they can, since ACO2 is plant food, and improves agriculture and helps to prevent poor brown kids from starving in Africa.

Ensure their kids’ future financial security shorting on alternative energy stocks and going long on fossil fuel stocks.

Burn as much coal as possible to employ starving coal miners and help folks in flyover country.

Burn as much coal as possible to speed up the process of proving the climate hoax, so that we can rid the country of warmistalarmistwarmistareligiousfanatics as soon as possible.

Burn as much coal as possible to so that we can defeat the Chinese by exposing their hoax.

86. Steven Mosher says:

nice Joshua.

In the end it probably comes down to this. The vast majority of skeptics are not trying to tell anyone
what to do or how they should act. With the execption of course “don’t infringe on my freedom”, let me continue the way I am. I get my electricity from god knows where. They pick up my trash and someone else puts it somewhere I dont see or know. I drive my car, I havent died from smog. I’m not bothering you, why are you bothering me. I’m doing fine. I’m not telling you to live your life differently, with the exception of this ‘please stop telling me how I should live my life.” just stop. mind your business. Clean your side of the street first. Mote, beam brother. The opportunities for hypocrisy are pretty damn slim in this “leave me alone” ethic. In fact most of them could go happily through life never telling you how you should live. The talk they walk is, “mind your own business.”

So ya, the only folks open to the charge of hypocrisy are busy bodies.

I do like Willard’s:

‘Of course walking the talk puts more skin in the game – they’d put their own credibility on the line. In fact, they themselves would become the topic of consideration. A contrarian dream come true.”

If one walks the talk and talks about walking the talk, then of course they become the focus. The key is to walk the talk without talking about your walking: except when asked.

You dont announce that you have stopped flying to conferences: you just stop. Your friends notice.
They ask. You tell them: I’m doing my part. Just that. And you hope they say “Gosh that’s a good idea”

The problem is that this approach to changing the world will probably take too long. Consequently some believers in climate change will end up going door to door, knocking and reading the gospel according to Gore. They usually end up being imperfect messengers. Good god even Mother Teresa

87. Chris says:

The hope is that the unrealistic expectations of the baby boomers will die out with them. Younger people are spending more money on ‘virtual products’ and much of their time with them.
It would be easier if you baby boomers didn’t break the internet before you go…. 😉
…not entirely fond of that generation….present company expected to be doing better than others of their generation. 🙂

88. Chris says:

Too late for the ‘Insect Hawks’…. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-24/decline-in-insect-population-baffles-scientists/9481136
Now that is looking like ecosystem collapse to my untrained eye. All our night time insects have gone in our rural area in South Australia (not mentioned in the story) in the last 3-4 years. No magpies either. I thought it may be the massive, obscenely overly illuminated stock feed factory that had killed them all but unfortunately it seems more widespread than that.
This is devastating news, I fear.

89. wouldn’t it be easier just to consider the arguments on their own merits, rather than judge the argument on what are essentially ad-hominem issues? ;o)

90. angech says:

“> Yes climate hawks should walk the walk. When will you be rolling coal, Doc?”
– I’m cool.
Well really I’m not but it sounds good.
I guess I have decided that it is all a bit too hard, sad but that is the way it is.
Further I feel that life is too short generally to go telling other people what to do with their short lives.
So, if they want to smoke, drink, fight, cheat, swear and carry on that is generally their business.
I try to live as simply as possible with a few vices.
Wine, food, exercise, family and friends, gambling, contrarianism and bridge.

Do I want an electric car? No, could not care less.
Do I want solar panels? I would love them if they could guarantee power, I have some but see no benefit at all.
I feel I would be a mirror image of most people here and most people here are just too comfortable to be real climate hawks.
Real climate hawks just have to walk the walk, that’s always been the deal.

91. Eli Rabett says:

Wherein Richard Tol

I’m in the middle: A nuclear war between China and India would get us a long way to Paris.

advocates for a race war to preserve his lifestyle? Just sayin

92. Chubbs says:

Perhaps this approach would be more effective with skeptics:

https://www.theonion.com/sighing-resigned-climate-scientists-say-to-just-enjoy-1823265249

93. Late to the party, but this climate hawk both thinks “catastrophe” (rapid nonlinear change) is possible, and we don’t necessarily know how it will happen, because of our collective tendency to linearize, both because of limitations on knowledge and it’s the only way we can engineer big things. I also try, in many ways to live accordingly. This includes minimizing travel and Carbon-rich vacations, implying, for instance, that we sell our Disney Vacation Club properties, which we have, and invest our IRAs and 401k with fossil fuel-free vehicles.

It also means, as I recently have, that I criticize environmentalist colleagues for doing wishful environmentalism where they focus upon “Clean Energy Now!” but oppose cutting down new growth forests for solar farms, or building wind turbines along coasts, or hydropower or, I daresay, new nuclear (Thorium) initiatives. It is so bad, and there’s so little time, I even recommend a serious look at means of extracting Carbon from the climate system. In short, I agree with Stewart Brand on a lot of these things.

This doesn’t mean it is easy. In particular, environmentalists as a group seem to have a penchant for complicating an already wickedly difficult problem with side conditions which make it harder or impossible to fix. They don’t get joint probabilities. If climate change mitigation (A) is sought, coupling it with (B) repealing Citizens United, or (C) seeking social justice, as completely worthwhile as those are, makes $P(A,B) < P(A)$, and $P(A,C) < P(A)$, when $P(A)$ was small enough as it was.

And, the idea that the responsibility is entirely because of corporations is a complete distraction, in my opinion. Sure, there are incumbent interests and fossil fuel companies that work against climate mitigation progress. But there are corporations, like Unilever, and Virgin, and others who are very actively pursuing that, and corporate leaders like Carney and Branson and Bloomberg who are advancing things like the Sustainability Accounting Standards and Climate Accounting Standards. But, too, there is a great deal of grass roots opposition in the form of local towns and neighborhoods who fight-tooth-and-nail against people putting up wind turbines and solar panels entirely on their personal land. Indeed, the late Hermann Scheer wrote that, in Germany, removing the right of localities to oppose these advancements with a federal law was one of the reasons the Energiewende was so successful.

Taking this position has a big emotional toll, as well. As snarkrates‘s wife remarked, “One of the penalties of [a proper] ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds.” (My edit.) This has affected my wife, our friends, me, with deep worries about the future of our kids and grandkids.

But, one can only do so much. We hope that, maybe the biosphere will cut us some slack, but there’s no evidence of that. And, for people familiar with the nonlinear changes it is capable, and the deep lack of knowledge we have about ice sheets and deep oceans — and next to no budgetary willingness for governments to fix that — that there might be surprises is entirely possible.

It used to be said that we Work for +2C and plan for +3C. Now it’s Work for +2.5C and plan for +4C. But, I gotta tell ya, from what I have seen, no government entity anywhere is preparing for the direct and financial costs of a +3C world.

94. HH,

Late to the party, but this climate hawk both thinks “catastrophe” (rapid nonlinear change) is possible, and we don’t necessarily know how it will happen, because of our collective tendency to linearize, both because of limitations on knowledge and it’s the only way we can engineer big things.

This reminds me that in Ted Nordhaus’s other article he said

Many climate scientists and advocates argue that the risks associated with triggering these impacts are so great that it is better to take a strict precautionary approach to dramatically cut emissions. But there are enormous uncertainties about where those tipping points actually are. The precautionary principle holds equally well at one degree of warming, a threshold that we have already surpassed; one and a half degrees, which we will soon surpass; or, for that matter, three degrees.

This is wrong for many reasons. The probability of crossing a tipping point (assuming we haven’t done so) increases with increasing warming. Also, there is more than one tipping point, some of which we are likely to cross at lower levels of warming than others. The idea that there is essentially no difference between one degree, one and a half degrees, and three degrees is bizarrely wrong.

95. The probability of crossing a tipping point (assuming we haven’t done so) increases with increasing warming.

What specifically?
“tipping” implies phase change.
Deglaciation is an obvious candidate, but not much evidence of other “tips”.
And in that context,
consider that ice accumulation on Greenland correlates positively with temperature.

96. TE,
Here you go. It even shows the temperature ranges over which these tipping points are expected to occur. In this a tipping point is a major destabilisation of some part of the climate system.

97. The above figure is from this paper.

98. Joshua says:

As a matter of scale, try placing the potential of a differential impact from climate scientists reducing their footprint into the context described in this article:

I an skeptical that climate scientists’ carbon footprints really have a measurable impact – but some evidence has been provided.

What would really be nice is to get some evidence w/r/t the absolute impact viewed in overall context.

99. Marco says:

“Ice accumulation on Greenland correlates positively with temperature”

Citation needed!

100. I suspect TE might be referring to this kind of thing, which can indicate that there can be more accumulation on the surface of Greenland when it is warmer, due to increased precipitation. However, what those who promote this figure never seem to highlight is that this does not include calving and submarine (I think) melt. The net mass balance is typically still negative, even if the surface mass balance is positive – Greenland is still losing ice mass.

101. Hyperactive Hydrologist says:

Marco,

I am guessing TE means an increase in snowfall in the accumulation zone due to an increase in atmospheric water vapour.

I would therefore ask TE the question: do you think the same mechanism can cause an increase in flood risk that is shown in the paper I linked above?

102. JCH says:

2018 Greenland snow accumulation to date:

103. @TurbulentEddie,

The AMOC is not well understood and it just got instrumented.

It’s not at all clear you could see a nonlinear change if it were on its way, although some have tried to anticipate what it might look like.

Prof John Marshall of MIT has stated (Lorenz-Charney Symposium, Feb 2018) that he doesn’t think one is on the way soon (personal attendance). On the other hand, one think I’ve only begun to appreciate over the last year is how impactful the biosphere is upon the climate system, and how whole regions could be transformed if, say, we got carried away and started planting Jatropha curcas. When someone talks biosphere, they’re talking microbes and evolution, and that’s very nonlinear. It might be good, but it’s more probable it would be bad.

104. Chris says:

Did you all miss my point that advocating for a free and fair and accessible internet is also an important mitigation effort to ponder ? Or is it something you feel has been talked to death ?
PS. I was joking about breaking the internet before you leave because it is already somewhat broken….

105. Marco says:

I would guess indeed that this is what TE is referring to, but then he’s missed the reports that Greenland is losing mass over the last 15 years or so (SMB seems to be rather confusingly defined depending on the source – DMI mentions it excludes calving, elsewhere it seems to be included in the calculations). Apparently 2016 was the one recent year where there was a positive total mass balance, mostly due to a hurricane that took a rather weird route.

But one thing is that SMB issue, the other is the correlation with temperature…

106. Chris says:

@Dikranmarsupial
“wouldn’t it be easier just to consider the arguments on their own merits, rather than judge the argument on what are essentially ad-hominem issues? ;o)”

If that is aimed at me….Is it much different to Kevin Anderson saying “Imagine if we did care about our children’s futures….” ? not so much really I think…but boomers certainly are the most sensitive generation ever.
Just recently they have also totally destroyed my local creek and all its frogs, kookaburras,etc and have done nothing to advocate on its behalf. That has been left up to me. Unfortunately everyone is totally unaccountable for anything until it is too late. Someone designed their jobs to be exactly like that….

107. tragedy of the commons. I don’t think boomers are more to blame than any other particular demographic slice, but maybe I am wrong about that. I think a lot of boomers worked hard on issues like clean air, clean water etc. The past few generations have not done enough. The problem has been understood since Carson’s Silent Spring. The solution at scale has been quite elusive. Very sad, really.

108. Chris says:

The thing that gripes me is that from what I see ‘people of grand parent age’ rarely see themselves as parents even, anymore. They are mostly in the mindset of ‘we were parents already’ and so this message about children barely effects them. They are quite happy to have grand kids as accessories and offload vast amounts of plastic onto them at every opportunity….

Awww crap I just can’t be nice even when I try. 😀

109. John Hartz says:

ATTP/JCH: What is the source of the Greenland snow graphic?

110. John Hartz says:

The Polar Portal website contains mucho up-to-date information about what’s happening to the Greenland ice sheet.

http://polarportal.dk/en/greenland/

111. John Hartz says:

ATTP: Thanks: The Danish Meteorological Institute is one of the three Danish Institutions supporting and conributing to the Polar Portal.

112. JCH says:

JH – it’s the graph that got them all excited last year (haven’t seen a final number for 2017, but it’s possible Greenland was a net offset to SLR last year.)

113. Mark Carney has added a tragedy of the horizons as well. What he means is that there is no evidence, despite the Chicago and Austrian schools, that markets are properly pricing the risks of climate change in their investments. The most notable is, of course, the real estate market, which, in terms of damage, is likely to soon exceed the governmental support willing to be paid out for such. At that point, the trajectory of such real estate, notably coastal, is predictable, but it’s not known exactly when that will be.

114. Speaking as a climate hawk, interested in anything that will work, has anyone looked at Eli’s Eli’s neat idea over at RRun? I am also intrigued by John O’Neill’s suggestion in the comments.

115. John Hartz says:

The concluding paragraph on an excellent article about recent and dramatic changes occuring in the Arctic.

“The Holocene climate system is unraveling,” Jason Box, an ice researcher at the Danish Meteorological Institute, told Earther in an email. “We should not be surprised if/when ongoing de-glaciation of the Arctic combined with global (and Arctic) atmospheric heating and humidification causes climate shifts that appear to be step changes.”

Has the Arctic Finally Reached a Tipping Point?</strong by Brian Kahn, Science, Earther, Feb 23, 2018

Time is not on our side.

116. Steven Mosher says:

“Here’s something to cheer everyone up
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-25/port-hinchinbrook-prices-plunge-residents-beg-government/9477178

as good conservative I have to say just stop with the building in risky areas,
especially risky areas that promise MORE RISK in the future.

117. Steven Mosher says:

“TE,
Here you go. It even shows the temperature ranges over which these tipping points are expected to occur. In this a tipping point is a major destabilisation of some part of the climate system.”

That chart is awesome.

Now, Look at where all the Action is..

If I had to choose how to spend expensive computer time?

RCP 2.6 to 4.5

RCP 6 and the new RCP7

118. Chris says:

@Steven Mosher Thanks, yeah. One would expect they may have been rather poorly informed….
Strangely, the other Steven Mosher (i would assume) was on the radio in the shed not long after reading that.
Not sure how he got called “Kosher” in the address….

119. Steven Mosher says:

The other Steven. Steven W.

long ago DIA (defense investigative services) mistook me for him. Funny
Then on Real Climate same thing happened. not funny
Then, after 9/11 a conservative talk show mistook me for him.
I was explaning invasion strategies for Afghanistan ( key roads, strongholds, and where bin laden would flee to ) and they mistook me for him and that was hella funny.
Lastly some guy at the Hoover institute hunted me down to get together.. wrong guy again.

120. Everett F Sargent says:

“The above figure is from this paper.”
Why the right climate target was agreed in Paris
https://www.nature.com/articles/nclimate3013

” The climate target determines the speed of the decarbonization process: for a 66% probability of staying below 2 °C of warming, cumulative CO2 emissions after 2011 need to be constrained to another 1,000 GtCO2 (ref. 38, Table 2.2). In order to not exceed 1.5 °C of warming, they would need to be restricted to an additional 400 GtCO2 compared to 2011 levels (see Fig. 2).”

I can’t wait until 2020 when the real Climate Hawks will take over … or not …

https://www.unenvironment.org/resources/emissions-gap-report

In the fall of 2018 the IPCC will deliver its ‘so called’ What It Will Take To Stay Below 1.5C?, we should also see a more detailed 2018 Emissions Gap Report from UNEP with respect to the ‘so called’ make believe 1.5C target. 😦

121. angech says:

Steven Mosher says:

“Here’s something to cheer everyone up port-hinchinbrook-prices-plunge as good conservative I have to say just stop with the building in risky areas,especially risky areas that promise MORE RISK in the future.”

Whatever happened to more risk, more reward??

“The issues are the sewerage, the road maintenance and the dredging issue.
Port Hinchinbrook is the only safe harbour between Townsville and Innisfail, but the coast guard is often stuck in the mud at low tide.
Seems like they might welcome a sea level rise to float their boats?

Hurricanes hit roughly every 30 years in Northern Australia at any locale. People take a risk because they are forced to, being born there or because the lifestyle without cyclones is so good that they factor it into the absolute value.
The issue here is nothing to do with climate change, just very poor planning.
Again, could every one stop nailing every natural disaster as a fingerprint or proof.
Is it really too much to expect?

122. I’m afraid I need to agree with you here. +2C is barely attainable and +1.5C not at all ..
.. So what are trying to do? Proactively set up a defense to deflect blame when things go badly wrong?

123. Everett F Sargent says:

hypergeometric,

I’d like to think it is called the Truth, 2030 is only 12 years away. I don’t like playing the blame game, but when I do, I blame humanity.

124. The IPCC has weight and will receive a lot of press coverage when they release statements about what it will take to stay within 1.5 degrees temp rise, yet their statement is about as reliable as a Wadhams sea ice projection. Being on the low side, with weight and credibility with the general population, the IPCC statements that paint the picture in rosy hues are pretty damaging to the species’ ability to respond properly to global warming.

In either instance, I would like to see the scientific community respond respectfully, yet firmly to Wadhams and IPCC in a similar way. With this IPCC report, it’s just a matter of pointing out that “The IPCC consensus model has consistently underestimated the amount of global warming that has been set in motion and this report follows that pattern. The likelihood of staying under 1.5C rise is now very, very small.”

with Wadhams, it is: “Professor Wadhams has consistently overestimated the amount and pace of sea ice loss that has been set in motion and his most recent position and statement follow that pattern. There is little chance that the current Wadhams estimate is more accurate than his past estimates.”

This is respectful and consistent and might help the general public understand the weaknesses in some of the positions and statements that receive a lot of press and contribute to public confusion about where we are with global warming. Treating individuals or organizations rudely or sarcastically is fun, but probably contributes to misunderstandings by the general population.

I think the same respectful approach should be followed with regard to folks like Curry or Tol or the famous polar bear scientist whose name escapes me at this moment. Maybe all that needs to be said is that “fill in the blank has consistently underestimated/overestimate the impact of global warming in the past and the current statement is likely to be no more accurate than their past work.”

I suspect that terms like alarmist or warmist or denialist, etc. just create more smoke and confusion for the general population. I think informing the general population is important for creating the groundswell of support for public policy and change that is required.

I think this is why I speak up when Wadhams is treated with disrespectful scientific shorthand. I should be consistent and take the same position with folks like Curry, et al.

Cheers,

Mike

125. Garethman says:

Excellent post which sums up many of my issues. I am commonly told by ‘right on’ mates that I do not take climate change issues seriously enough, but I am the only one in circle of friends who has taken action in the issue. ( Solar panels, renewable hot water, and heating drastic reduction in flying etc) I also dislike forecasts for events in the near future which are unlikely to to transpire. It hold climate science as a hostage to fortune ammunition to be misused.
Talking the talk has minimum impact on damaging climate change.

126. Steven Mosher says:

angech. i said nothing about agw.
im just against bailing out those who build by the ocean. as long as they own all the risk its their choice. but in the end we always bail them out. ffs. we rebuilt new orleans. dumb.

127. Cerridwen says:

For my own part, although I recognise that reducing my own carbon footprint will have little, or no effect, on the end result, I find Professor Anderson’s views about “carbon equity” and the responsibilities of large consumers to reduce their footprints very compelling (and I think others would too if they were widely known). If I stop flying and reduce my meat consumption etc then some of the limited carbon budget available before we hit 1.5, or 2 or whatever, is available for someone else, who hasn’t already had more than their fair share. It might make seconds of difference to when we exhaust that budget or minutes (if I persuade my friends and family to do the same) but it is having an impact. It feels worthwhile though is probably still full of holes from a rational point of view 🙂
However, individuals who can alter policy by acting in ways not available to me (scientists, politicians, media personalities) may not calculate a benefit to changing their lifestyles in the same way as I do. Complex and interesting issue.

128. angech says:

Steven Mosher “angech. i said nothing about agw.”
Apologies, I’m just oversensitive at the moment. It will pass.
” as long as they own all the risk its their choice.”
Agreed.
New Orleans is great though, isn’t it?
Apart from and because of location.

129. zebra says:

With respect to the efficacy of “walking the talk” as a tactic to counteract “skeptical” arguments.

1. Al Gore will never be thin enough. (The goalposts always move.)
2. If it isn’t Al Gore, it will be someone else. (Over-generalization; one bad apple means the entire barrel is spoiled.)

It might be helpful, though, to make certain changes like buying an EV or getting solar panels. Not because it will convince others about the “morality” of doing so, but because your neighbors will see that it is a good and viable economic choice.

130. JCH says:

New Orleans exists because America had to have ports for commerce. Early explorers were looking for natural ports. One they found was New Orleans. So people in the landlocked interior are perhaps just as responsible for its existence as the people who live there. Their products have been flowing out through New Orleans for a very long time.

131. It might be helpful, though, to make certain changes like buying an EV or getting solar panels. Not because it will convince others about the “morality” of doing so, but because your neighbors will see that it is a good and viable economic choice.

I certainly applaud anyone for making these changes and choices. It helps to get the word out by holding local meetings, even living room parties to encourage these changes. Local places of contemplation, congregation, and worship can be centers advancing these choices.

However, my wife and I have found advocating these changes and even making them for yourself can be polarizing. While Westwood (MA) has bylaws which govern and somewhat encourage residential PV, for example, the same bylaws cap the “you can’t say nuthin”’ amount at 15 kW roof mounted. More than that, or if the property hasn’t a good insolation surface on its roof but somewhere on the ground in the property, even if it cannot be seen from a road or a neighbors, the neighbors have a right to petition town committees to stop the project, or curtail it. Presumably this is because of some kind of concern about property values, but it could be something else.

This is the kind of opposition we see, and it has little or nothing to do with corporations or fossil fuel companies.

132. Vinny Burgoo says:

zebra: ‘It might be helpful, though, to make certain changes like buying an EV or getting solar panels. Not because it will convince others about the “morality” of doing so, but because your neighbors will see that it is a good and viable economic choice.’

If that is what it is. Solitaire Townsend, 2007:

If I change my light bulbs and put cavity wall insulation in my home and turn all my lights off when I go to bed and half fill my kettle, it’s not something that’s giving me any social status, it’s not something which my neighbours can see; whereas if I put a wind turbine on my house or a solar panel on my house or park a Toyota Prius outside my front door, it’s a social proof action. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean that you did it for climate change. One of my friends has got a solar panel on the north- facing roof of her house. When I pointed out to her that’s not necessarily the best place in the UK in order to be generating energy, she pointed out to me that I wasn’t understanding why she’d done it. The north facing part of her house is the part that faces the street.

133. “One of my friends has got a solar panel on the north- facing roof of her house. When I pointed out to her that’s not necessarily the best place in the UK in order to be generating energy, she pointed out to me that I wasn’t understanding why she’d done it. The north facing part of her house is the part that faces the street.”

This does not sound like a true story. It sounds like the kind of anecdote/meme that gets floated and repeated as part of the climate wars. Just two quick observations about the story:
1. “a solar panel” ? An array? a single hot water panel? or is this one of those silly 50 watt units with built-in inverter that allows plug in to an outlet with to run an inconsequential amount of juice back in to the house?

2. I don’t think an installer or homeowner who is spending \$\$ for a serious array and an installer is going to set it up on the wrong side of the house so that folks driving by can see it.

This does not pass the smell test for me. Vinny, can you provide a street address so others can take a look at the installation through google maps?

Thanks

Mike

134. John Hartz says:

Two years ago, we installed solar panels on the south facing roof of our house in Columbia, SC. Unfortunately, we also had to cut down some mature southern pine trees in order to maximize the sunlight on the panels. BTW, our house faces north so the Homeowners Association’s pre-approval of the installation was readily obtained. Our solar panels generate enough excess electricity to pay for whatever we use off the grid during non-daylight hours.

Thanks to the fiasco re the partial construction of two new nuclear plants, our utility-generated electrcity rates are now the highest in the US.

For details about the nuclear plant fiasco, see:

SC nuclear debacle, by the numbers by Cindi Ross Scoppe, The State, Feb 24, 2018

135. Chris says:

It does sound like rubbish and the only people who would do that obviously have too much money so why would they not just get correctly aligned solar panels as well ?
No one sees that I have never had a drivers license (til I tell them)……or the poverty it has brought me but I decided that ‘just not having one’ was the most effective lobbying I could do to encourage good public transport policies. Before I picked up a work injury from someone and moved back to the country.

😉
The only way individuals can have an effect is by lobbying/complaining/pushing for changes in areas that are not climate science but from an AGW mitigation perspective.
This is why there is so much resistance from the ‘status quo’ representatives.

@Steven Mosher I feel for you. The imposter Steven seems like a jerk.

136. zebra says:

@hypergeometric,

While I could never afford to live in Westwood myself, I can empathize/sympathize with those who would want limits on what you can install. If the zoning is strong residential, then building a little electricity generating plant (with capacity way beyond your needs) in your backyard is really not appropriate, visible or not. Why not a grow-house for pot, or any number of other enterprises?

But anyway, you seem mostly interested in proselytizing. I was just suggesting you give your neighbor a ride in your Tesla, and punch it when you merge onto 95. Or, mention that you didn’t get ripped off on your electricity bill this year with supposed natural gas price increases, because of your rooftop panels. (Not “you” personally; I mean the hypothetical owner of those things, of course.) The point is to “sell the product” on its tangible merits.

At some point the energy transition will happen because the new stuff is just way better than what’s available in the old FF paradigm. I just saw an article about trucking companies being very interested in Tesla’s semi. One suspects a majority of the people in that industry probably voted for our current President, but their tribal loyalty is not going to include sacrificing their bottom line.

137. If the zoning is strong residential, then building a little electricity generating plant (with capacity way beyond your needs) in your backyard is really not appropriate, visible or not. Why not a grow-house for pot, or any number of other enterprises?

But it’s okay for a new owner or builder to buy up and trash two small homes, rip down all the trees, destroy a non-public but open path between the two properties kids used to use to walk to school, and erect a McMansion surrounded by massive landscaping that blocks everyone’s views?

Besides, here’s a great reason to do this: Houses with extensive solar sell more than houses which do not have it! From “Appraising into the Sun”:

Photovoltaics added value to homes in six markets, according to a new report titled “Appraising into the Sun: Six-State Solar Home Paired-Sales Analysis,” led by a researcher from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and a home appraisal expert. Researchers engaged a team of seven appraisers from across the six states to determine the value that solar photovoltaic (PV) systems added to single-family homes using the industry-standard paired-sales valuation technique, which compares recent sales of comparable homes to estimate the premium buyers would pay for PV.

Increased appraisal value per Watt installed:

Time on market compared to matched non-PV homes:

Besides, our system isn’t anywhere near that big, yet it will pay for itself in 7 years, and will be a profit center at least 3 years after that. (Our heating is air source heat pump, efficient. As is our water heater. As our appliances. And the house is small, appraised at \$650,000 or so, tucked in between two million dollar behemoths.) And, since we’re leasing an EV, we’ll probably add another 3 kW to the 10 kW array we have, and drop in storage some place along the line, with the aim being to get off the grid (“hoard electrons”) as much as we can.

138. By the way, the zoning is technically in violation of Massachusetts Commonwealth statute:
M.G.L. Chapter 40A, Section 3:

No zoning ordinance or by-law shall prohibit or unreasonably regulate the installation of solar energy systems or the building of structures that facilitate the collection of solar energy, except where necessary to protect the public health, safety or welfare.

Massachusetts isn’t the only state with wind and solar rights. Consider Wisconsin:

First, under Wis. Stat. § 66.0401, local governments — counties, towns, cities and villages — may not place any restriction on the installation or use of solar or wind energy systems unless the restriction:
* serves to preserve or protect public health or safety
* does not significantly increase system cost or efficiency
* allows for an alternative system of comparable cost and efficiency

This law effectively prohibits unreasonable public land use controls covering solar and wind energy systems by defining a fairly narrow set of “reasonable” conditions. The law subsequently allows for a local permitting procedure for guaranteeing unobstructed access to wind or solar resources. A permit will not be granted if obstruction already exists or if the construction of such an obstruction is already well into the planning stages. The effect of the permit is similar to a private solar easement agreement, except it does not require the consent of a neighboring property owner. It is important to note that system owners are not required to obtain a permit under this subsection prior to installing a solar or wind energy system. If a permit is necessary as the result of a local zoning ordinance, the permitting burden may not deviate from Wis. Stat. § 66.0401 as described above.

Limitations on private land use restrictions

A separate law, Wis. Stat. § 236.292, voids all restrictions on platted land that prevent or unduly restrict the construction or operation of solar and wind energy systems. This law effectively prohibits private land use controls (e.g., deed restrictions, homeowner association regulations, easements, etc.) from preventing the installation and operation of wind and solar energy systems. In the case of both access laws – public and private – solar energy systems are defined broadly to include both thermal and electrical technologies.

139. Chris says:

I don’t really know if this is a well known piece from The Braidwood Dispatch and Mining Journal, 17 of July 1912. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/100645214
COAL CONSUMPTION AFFECT-
ING CLIMATE.
The furnaces of the world are now
coal a year. When this is burned,
7,000,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide
to the atmosphere yearly. This tends
to make the air a more effective blan-
ket for the earth and to raise its
temperature. The effect may be con-
siderable in a few centuries.

140. Yeah, Svante Arrhenius in 1896 …

141. Chris says:

I should have added: Notice how they start a war everytime someone starts talking about Global Warming ? 😉

142. Chris says:

@hypogeometric Did you think I didn’t hear about Arrhenius…..? [insert imagining me being impolite to a baby boomer] 😉

143. Well, no. But it wasn’t only Arrhenius, but, like Ben Franklin a century earlier, Arrhenius was a bit of a rock star … Your surprise appeared to be the popular article. Some people actually listened to scientists in those days, e.g., the Lyceum movement.

See Archer and Pierrehumbert (eds), The Warming Papers for the full collection.

I haven’t the foggiest what my or anyone else being a Boomer having to do with anything.

Still, …

144. angech says:

Chris says:
“The furnaces of the world are now burning about 2,000,000,000 tons of
coal a year. When this is burned, uniting with oxygen, it adds about
7,000,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere yearly. This tends
to make the air a more effective blanket for the earth and to raise its
temperature.”

Sounds very impressive. Does this mean when the the world turns over the equivalent of 700,000,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere yearly that it is as big a deal?
[made up figure 100 times greater than the human contribution, someone may have the right equivalent]. Secondly you ignore totally the sink effects, More in more out …..or not.
As an aside a series of forest fires in Indonesia might add most of that human budget in one year …or not.
In other words the natural variation can eclipse the human effect without trying, at times.

145. angech says:

Plus that is a lot of people fed, watered and transported. Hard to replace that sort of energy quickly, efficiently and recurrently.
Which is why, when our spike of energy use and information development ends we will have to go back to a smaller, more savvy sustainable number of people.

146. Chris says:

147. Chris says:

…..and the fact I don’t really have to say anything to make you look like an ass.

148. I’m not sure what is going on here, but it doesn’t seem particularly constructive.

149. Chris says:

I want somebody to engage me about something I have said or raised like has happened in the Guardian (unusually).
Not patronizing guff that is totally uncalled for and addresses nothing I raised. Just some sort of power trip.
“https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/25/mass-mortality-events-animal-conservation-climate-change#comment-112716779

“This year has really taken the cake with the lack of insects, it’s left me dumbfounded, I can’t figure out what’s going on.”
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-24/decline-in-insect-population-baffles-scientists/9481136

9h ago

Insect life has crashed here in SA. Totally crashed. Windows at night are bare, not even a single insect on them and we live amongst bush, in the same house for 13 years. When we moved here insects were abundant and began to decline 3 years ago.

Something is VERY WRONG.

9h ago
3 4

I know ! I’m here and I have noticed it for the last 3-4 years….I was hoping I was not the only one who noticed. Good on you.
…I’m worried/mortified….

…..and it has eleven upvotes so far and it is my only very rough sample of across South Australia (not many people saw my comment and some upvotes of the reply may not be South Australians.

@Angech The point was some people have been collecting old secondary source type articles from various places to make a political point and I thought maybe someone may be interested in this one as it is from early last century and may not be very well known…. (I found it in my bookmarks while I was looking for something else).

150. Chris,
I’ve been somewhat distracted lately, so am not engaging in the comments as I maybe used to. I suspect most accept that something is wrong. I’m not entirely sure what you’re expecting other people to say. It’s just a comment thread; people have some right to determine what they choose to address.

151. Richard S J Tol says:

@Small Blue Mike
Bring it on.

Dowlatabadi and I published a paper in 2001, forecasting a slow increase in malaria incidence followed by a slow decrease. We were wrong. Malaria has fallen sharply. George W. Bush was our mule.

152. Chris says:

I was going to say…
Sure and I’ve only tried to put my comments in a light-hearted way that many generation x and y might appreciate. This topic seemed as close to an open thread as it gets around here (and chronic pain makes my hands hurt….if you must know)
….but…. “people have some right to determine what they choose to address.” and I fairly politely addressed his seemingly obviously patronizing attempt at engagement. Taking offense is OK isn’t it ?
I pwned him gently….

153. Chris wrote “If that is aimed at me”

No, it was a general point. At the end of the day it would be better if we concentrated on the content of the argument rather than on properties of the source, at least as far as the scientific and economic arguments go, where on principle it is only the content that matters. I understand it is human nature to be on the lookout for duplicity or hypocrisy as that is apparently a fundamental requirement for civilisation, however it isn’t a fundamental requirement for science, and often it gets in the way of getting the science right.

154. Chris says:

How much has the non-gentle pwning of Al Giordano cost the environmental movement ?
I’m not really sure because I had forgotten who he was before this (from reading some Abbie Hoffman book) but a whole lot of young people didn’t know him up until then either….

If you missed it >>

How much does the continual self pwning of the Guardian hurt environmental advocacy ?
Lots I tend to think.

Dikranmarsupial “No, it was a general point.”

155. zebra says:

@hypergeometric

OK, I see we have very different stylistic approaches when trying to “sell” people on these issues. But I would like to ask a couple of technical questions about your system, if you don’t mind.

1. When you say “…will be a profit center at least three years after [it pays for itself]…”, what is happening for those 3 years– I can’t quite parse the language?

2. The heat-pump water heater (which I might be considering for my own house) has instructions on it which indicate that you are maintaining the function of your oil-burner to use as a demand heater. Does this mean the unit doesn’t have an internal resistance-heating option? What’s the logic?

156. Dave_Geologist says:

@Richard S J Tol
Sooo… If we cut carbon emissions in a way that harms global economic growth, delaying the development of Africa etc. towards a point where they have good healthcare and social conditions and can live with malaria etc. but have a low death rate, it may have an adverse long-term impact on their health. But a short-term benefit relative to BAU, up to the point at which they’d have otherwise reached the magic wealth threshold. Maybe we could, say, transfer some funds from rich countries to compensate? Just a thought, wonder if it was raised in Paris? Trump seems to think so.

That’s assuming we can believe predictions about Africa, based on a regression which shows no correlation of mortality rate vs. wealth unless you throw away Africa and China, leaving only three points. I presume the high wealth one which strongly influences the threshold is the Middle East (tsk, tsk, poor labelling in Fig. 1 – and I can’t find the raw data in [16], are you sure it’s the right reference)? You don’t think the high malaria death toll in Africa might have something to do with jungles, perchance? And the low Middle East toll with, you know, all those deserts?

So I then thought, assuming the high mortality one is Africa, maybe we can keep the gradient from the remaining three points and extrapolate from 1996 African mortality, to allow for its higher environmentally-driven disease burden. Then the magic wealth threshold goes up to \$40,000 (presumably 1996 \$\$). What’s than in today’s money, about \$100k? So we can cut emissions in good conscience, knowing that even without wealth transfers it will be a very long time before the equation turns negative for Africans (2100s? 2200s?). They’d have to exceed Singapore living standards (actually, Singapore’s \$53k per head would probably do it, as it’s pretty jungly and they’ve got their malaria death rate down to zero).

157. Richard S J Tol says:

@Dave
Indeed. None of those things are forecasts that can be tested against observations, however. Our projections of malaria incidence can be tested.

158. @dikranmarsupial, @chris,

Not to say “holier than thou” too much, but I think it’s a fair claim to argue that if 50% of the population did as much as Claire and I do, in terms of expenditure, lifestyle habit changes, and working towards advancing public insights, with me definitely a Boomer, and Claire at the edge, we’d be a tad better off:

Doing zero emissions in Westwood, MA
Lyceum 1, where I, in part, zing wishful environmentalism
Lyceum 2, to be done by Claire, on
Selling Disney Vacation Club to avoid air travel

159. Sorry, Claire’s Lyceum is about Single Use to Zero Waste.

160. @zebra

Thanks for your useful and constructive questions.

The payback time for the panels includes avoided costs of energy and then income from SRECs, the incentivization program from Massachusetts which pays roughly (it varies) \$230 per MWh generated. This is completely separate from net metering and all that. Accordingly, when the panels pay off, there will be at least three years of SREC income and the avoided costs will continue indefinitely. The MA statute says they owe us SREC income for at least 10 years after commencement of generation. Whether or not they will continue the income stream beyond that is really not within our control. We’ll take it, but we’re not counting on it. I was being conservative, at least in that way. A way I am not being conservative is that we’ve also dumped some \$27,000 of energy efficiency improvements in our home to go to air source heat pump heating and the air source heat pump hot water heater. That’s not included in the payoff period for the panels.
On the oil furnace, yes, it sits there mostly lonely in the corner of the storage room of our basement. It is active, and, indeed, about once a month I fire it up for 10 minutes to be sure it’s okay and to circulate the hot water in it for a bit. Why is it there at all? This is a great example of where the incumbent utilities are keeping power to themselves. Current MA Department of Public Utilities regs say that if the grid drops, so do the solar panels. There’s a way around that, by putting storage in and putting the panels behind the storage, but, then, the same regs say we then are not eligible for SRECs. In this situation, if it is prolonged, two things happen. I just down and isolate the air source heat pump hot water heater, and flip on the oil furnace. Because the panel circuit is on the 220v line, the air source heat pumps for heating are also offline. Because NSTAR/Eversource, in their wonderfully reliable grid (having nothing at all to do with variable wind and solar generation) has a history of having power off in the aftermath of storms for up to 2 weeks in this area, we also have an 8 kW backup propane generator. This is enough to run the oil furnace and lights and refrigerator and a small oven and our computers.

This remains a work in progress. We are moving, as mentioned to an additional 3 kW to help offset the EV and eventually storage. That will probably be brought in at the end of the SREC income stream life. Storage will be more effective at that time, anyway. And then we’ll put the panels behind the storage.

We put in the air source heat pumps for heating/cooling and hot water with the full expectation that, as time progresses, the climate will warm. If we get snow, we expect that while it may increase in amounts, it will also last for shorter periods of time.

We have already saved a bunch on heating due to the heat pumps, completely ignoring where the electrical energy is coming from.

161. dikranmarsupial says:

Hyper, absolutely, but my point is that the truth of what you say doesn’t depend on whether you put it into practice yourself or not. If your doctor suggests you stop smoking to reduce your chance of lung disease, it is still good advice even if he/she smokes like a chimney. If that stops you from giving up smoking, then you are just being as irrational as they are!

162. @zebra,

Oh. I neglected to answer one of your questions. Yes, the heat-pump hot water heater has an internal resistance option, one we use in winter in a “hybrid” heat-pump mode, in order to get better efficiency. (You can force it to use the resistance always, but we never do that.) Some of the heat in winter comes from the ambient heat provided by a solitary heat pump head on the wall in the basement, serving my office, and some directly.

In summer, that heat pump heat on the wall is never on for cooling and dehumidifying because the heat pump hot water heater does everything.

I’m also sorry to report that the heat pump hot water heater we have, a GE GeoSpring GEH50DFE, has been discontinued by GE. I thought that might be because it wasn’t popular enough for them, but, given the many financial problems GE has been having of late, who knows? A.O. Smith makes some, too. We inspected a GeoSpring installed at a friend’s home ahead of the purchase.

I opted for the GE model in part because I liked the built-in ability of these to be controlled by your electric utility for demand response. NSTAR/Eversource are unfortunately a long way from doing that or even being interested in it, but it was an important function.

163. @dikranmarsupial,

Of course!

My favorite is the quote by, I believe, 19th century Norwegian religious leader Waldenström who said:

If even the Devil says that 2 x 2 = 4, I am going to believe him.

164. a broken clock still gets the time right twice a day

165. Regarding the positive correlation of Greenland ice accumulation with temperature,
I’m referring to the glacial record:

That’s accumulation on the summit, of course, not ice mass balance for the entirety, but more snow accumulates over the majority of Greenland when temperatures are warmer over long time scales.

Regarding cited, modeled tipping points, the half millenia long projections are interesting, but speculative and certainly not validated. Many things are conceivable, but are they bandied about because they’re scientifically valid? or are they attractive because they convey confirmation for action?

166. TE,

Regarding cited, modeled tipping points, the half millenia long projections are interesting, but speculative and certainly not validated.

Well, it looks quite likely that we’re going to find out if these projections have any validity, or not.

167. Reminds me of an Indiana Jones quote:

168. Ugh. that was supposed to be at a certain time in the video! I meant quote #2 of 10. Sorry for the inconvenience.

“You wanna talk to God? Let’s go see Him together. I have nothing better to do.”

169. Well, it looks quite likely that we’re going to find out if these projections have any validity, or not.

Probably not.

The not depicted duration for ice sheets is many millenia, which we will never see ( and may never occur anyway ).

The other events are for high end scenarios.
We could focus on Summer Arctic Sea Ice, Alpine Glaciers, and Coral.
Not sure if these are really tipping points since they have always reversed in the past and presumably would reverse in the future ( leaning points, not tipping points? )
And very similar coral species are found in both cooler and warmer waters.

170. TE,

Probably not.

Current committments suggest that we might keep warming below 3.5C, which would suggest that we have a good chance of passing tipping points for summer Arctic sea ice, Alpine glaciers, coral reefs, Greenland, and possible the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

171. Chris says:

@hypo If you copy the address from the ‘share’ option with the ‘start at’ box ticked is the easiest way to get the video at the point you want fyi.
I am also happy for you that you have such generous feed in tariffs for your solar power where you are. Here they were taken away as soon as non ‘rich baby boomers’ could afford to put in solar systems (as we did).
Surely no one wants to talk god….

172. Windchaser says:

Not sure if these are really tipping points since they have always reversed in the past and presumably would reverse in the future ( leaning points, not tipping points? )

“Tipping point” doesn’t mean irreversible, only that it’s not smoothly reversible. In other words, a “tipping point” means the point at which the equilibrium state “jumps” from one state to another, discontinuously.

Consider a drop of water in your bathtub. It takes a pretty smooth path to the drain. Perturb the initial condition, dropping another drop of water nearby. The path it will take is rather similar to the first. You can perturb the initial conditions, and the path to the final destination will alter only slightly with each perturbation.

The consider two drops of water at the very top of a mountain ridge. If you’re right at the top, just a small variation in where you drop the water will have a huge impact on the path — one will go to one side of the mountain, the other, the other.

The “equilibrium” paths for the water droplets varies greatly with only a small peturbation at this line along the ridge. This is a “tipping point” — a small change makes an outsized difference.

173. Windchaser says:

From my understanding, the minimal Arctic summer sea ice does not have tipping points — it will vary smoothly with respect to temperature. Warmer means less ice, sure, but the function of ice vs. temperature is smooth.

On the other hand, there are plenty of grounded ice sheets with instabilities. They may retreat just a little for X degrees of warming, then retreat a little more for another +X, and then with the next bit of warming.. *bam*, the front edge of the ice sheet will retreat quite a bit, and the mass will drop much more quickly.

That’s a tipping point.

174. Actually, they’ve already started cranking back the solar supports. Those are great for early adopters, but most don’t want to be.

175. Arctic tipping, etc: The wonders of Arctic-related tipping concern surface layer heat obtained from high albedo in Arctic summer … When that heat is released back into atmosphere, no longer blocked by layers of ice, it creates storms in the Arctic, something which almost never happened. The winds from storms marshall ice, but they also churn in nutrients and CO2 and such. That, in turn, plus the greater insolation, causes plankton blooms. And now you’re squarely in Nonlinear Land because once Life gets into the picture all kinds of things are possible, both good and bad.

The loss of heat as Arctic winter approaches and begins also pushed the Arctic high about.

176. Chris says:

Fracking ban in the Northern Territory should stay, group of leading climate scientists says
This is good although the value of signing letters has definitely decreased.

177. Willard says:

> Taking offense is OK isn’t it?

Not sure why, Chris. As Doc already suggested, consistency ought not be expected from contrarians. Even coherence is a remote ideal.

178. John Hartz says:

As I cited upstream, Brain Kahn has written an excellent article about the Arctic reaching a tipping point. If you have not already read it, you will find it to be very informative. Kahn quotes a number of artic experts about what’s happening.

Has the Arctic Finally Reached a Tipping Point? by Brian Kahn, Science, Earther, Feb 23, 2018

179. John Hartz says:

What’s going on in the Arctic has received quite a bit of media coverage globally. Here’s an example from the Down Under.

Really extreme’ global weather event leaves scientists aghast by Peter Hannam, Sydney Morning Herald, Feb 26, 2018

As are some scientists, I too am aghast.

180. Chris says:

@Willard Doc who ? I’m not here to call out contrarians. I just want you older guys to realize how your generation will be remembered (if you really are an older guy… 😉 ).

THE GENERATION OF WRECKERS…. [that is in polite terms ofc]

“I think it’s because many Baby Boomers feel eternally optimistic having seen off the Cold War and the threat of nuclear holocaust. They sort of feel the grand challenge of our age has already been overcome, and now is the time to enjoy life.”

“There’s also this kind of almost religious like faith in “technology”. Again boundless optimism in the superiority that won the Cold War. My parents often kind agree climate change is worrying but they then sort of just assume some technology will fix it. It’s bizarre.”

“They deeply resent their children and want the pain of an all-too-real existence to end?”

“I’m middle aged and I ask my father that all the time. I think change gets harder the older we get and accepting climate change means making huge changes…”

“They are but their efforts are constanstly being thwarted by governments and corporations who are corrupt. They also use the law to change policy and defence forces to make people fighting for rights into criminals by charging and jailing them for their efforts.”

“It’s a small % that walk the talk unfortunately”

“It’s a very deep-seated human trait. Fright, flight, fight. Most won’t react until last possible moment. Besides, “I won’t be here to see it. Someone else’s problem”.”

“There seems to be a strange combination of unrealistic faith in technology to save us, a fatalism (inevitable that man will kill the planet), a lack of caring about what happens after we die and a failure to grasp the true level of danger for their children.”

….etc

While you lot dither about whether there is nothing a climatehawk can’t do if he really doesn’t know whether he believes in anything or not.
The Bells are getting louder !

181. Michael 2 says:

Chris says: “They are mostly in the mindset of ‘we were parents already’ and so this message about children barely effects them.”

I will suggest that the reasoning, for some anyway (me, in other words) is the hypocrisy detector alerts when the Party of No Children (and terminate the ones you’ve got in the oven) speak of “the children”.

You cannot effectively signal things important to the other side when your side doesn’t believe or subscribe to those same notions. For that same reason it would be hypocritical of me to pretend to be a socialist. It’s easy enough; just use “we” twice in every sentence, but the pacing won’t be exactly right; you’ll know I am speaking a foreign language.

Now it seems true that conservatives are highly oriented toward children — but not your children, in a manner of speaking. It is biological. If climate change destroys everything *except* my children, and their children, and thus establishes a dynasty; well, that’s how the mutation called blue eyed Norwegians happened (more or less).

182. angech says:

“Fracking ban in the Northern Territory should stay, group of leading climate scientists says
This is good.”
Strewth,too right, as we would say in the Top End.
“The fracking inquiry found it would increase Australia’s emissions by 5 per cent., a single NT gas field of 365 petajoules would result in a global emissions rise of 0.05 per cent.”
Professor David Karoly. “In Darwin the number of days over 35 degrees Celsius is expected to increase from 11 per year currently to up to 308 in 2070 if emissions are not reduced.”
ridiculous.
“Heatwaves have killed more Australians than any other extreme weather events.”
True but not relevant, bit hard to die from cold when it only freezes on a few mountaintops

smallbluemike says: “a broken clock still gets the time right twice a day”
Even more if you consider all the different time zones!

183. Michael 2 says:

Chris says: “It would be easier if you baby boomers didn’t break the internet before you go….”

There is no “the internet”. It is a voluntarily cooperative polymorphic assemblage of private networks and some public networks that in the 1990’s started to connect together and agree on some protocols for doing so. Many people include non-networked functions such as the Domain Name Service as part of “the internet”; but in truth alternative DNS roots exist and strictly speaking “the internet” ignores DNS but your customers will say the internet is broken when really their particular DNS is broken.

184. angech says:

“If Schmitt’s Island (83-42) is granted the status of land area, it is the northernmost land area of the earth, because it is closer to the North Pole by 2.8 kilometres (1.7 miles) than ATOW1996. Since the classification of a land area as an island is not dependent on the size of the land area, 83-42 would be, if recognized as a land area, also the most northerly island in the world. In most geography books Kaffeklubben Island is still listed as the northernmost land point.”
Kaffeklubben = Coffee club

185. Chris says:

PS. I have a lot more moral high ground I could take at any time if required… 😉

Well, frankly, I don’t have anything like a representative sample, but among the environmental activists in local Green Needham, Green Congregation Committee, Sustainable Wellesley, Sustainable Sharon, Neponset River Watershed Association, etc, the regular members and activists are, for the most part, 60+ y.o. and certainly 55+ y.o. There is a sprinkling of people under 30 y.o. Whether the gap is because people are too busy driving SUVs to bring kids to soccer practice and the like, I do not know.

I do know NONE of this would happen without retirees.

So …

And, if anything, the people who are active don’t trust the possibilities of technologies and corporations enough, even if there have been horrible things done by these entities.

But my repeated message is Heal thyself. Living in places which have bigger and bigger development, compromising wetlands (despite the so-called “Wetlands Protection Act”), and therefore need more car travel longer distances, this is in large measure responsible as well. The average U.S. home now has 3 bathrooms. In the early 1960s it used to be 1.

187. Willard says:

> Doc who ?

This one, Chris. The more you react to some kind of ClimateBall moves, the more contrarians will play them against you.

188. John Hartz says:

Speaking as a member of the “Silent Generation”, playing the intergenerational blame game is a waste of valuable time and energy.

Time is not on our side.

189. Chris says:

lol

But on the bright side we even have rare earth elements under our town.

The recent advancements in ISR lixiviants and extraction technologies offer new methods that could be permitted to extract the copper. ……. has been considered a stranded deposit, with the Mine historic site heritage listed and the proximity of the township of ….. The ISR method is
considered to be a viable method of extracting the copper in this location.
The proposed use of the ISR method to extract copper from oxide and secondary sulphide copper mineralization was chosen based on several criteria including: the majority of the ore body sitting below the water table; the fractured nature of the host rock providing transmissivity for fluids through the preferentially mineralized fracture systems; the potential amenability of the mineral species to the leaching and recovery process; the relatively low visual and environmental impact of the ISR method (no bulk movement of rock, no open cut pits or waste dumps, little noise or dust pollution) given the proximity of the orebody to the local population.
Table 4

Table 4: Rare Earth Oxide assay results for KP07 (HREE in italics). Note, yttrium not reported as an oxide by assay laboratory (ALS Global).

The REE discovery represents an exciting avenue for additional value of the project, alongside our copper focus for the area . With REE still at relatively high prices as a consequence of the current imposition of export quotas by the world’s dominant producer China, the area presents an attractive target for REE exploration. REE are vital in such high-tech developments as hybrid cars, wind turbines and low energy light bulbs, and their strategic importance in a world embracing green technology has also raised our level of interest in further exploring this region.

The REE mineralisation sampled to date comes from the remanent tail ends of the lodes exposed in the walls of the Open Cut that were historically mined for copper . Each lode is made up of a single or a set of sheeted veins typically 10cm to 100cm in width. Initial

In 2011, the US Department of Energy completed a study entitled, Critical Material Strategy. The study reviewed rare earths based on their role in clean energy as well as supply risk. They identified Neodymium (Nd), Europium (Eu), Terbium (Tb), Dysprosium (Dy) and Yttrium (Y) as critical rare earths (CREE) for both the short and long term. Rare Element includes Praseodymium (Pr) in this list because of its ability to be substituted for Neodymium in high-intensity permanent magnets. The ….. REE mineralisation has a relatively high proportion of what are considered the CREE’s.

Figure 9: Critical Matrices based on the US Dept. of Energy “Critical Materials Strategy” report – 2011
Regional REE Potential

Previous explorers have identified carbonatites and other alkaline igneous rocks in the area. An important economic source of REE are alkaline rocks, skarns and carbonate-replacement deposits associated with alkaline intrusions, veins and dikes cutting alkaline igneous complexes and surrounding rocks.

Radiometrics is a widely used technique in identifying REE deposits as they are often associated with thorium or uranium. Modelling of the aerial radiometric survey over the lamprophyre field (Figure 10) has identified several REE exploration targets. The magnitude of the radiometric measurements over the lamprophyre field is significantly higher than those over …… Mine.

…..Shit hey…?
Of course the council a very keen on the idea and I have some of the unusual mineralisation from when we had our septic tank dug out…..quite interesting looking and heavy…

190. angech says:

“Rome was greeted on Monday morning by its first snowfall in six years.”
Sharing some rare good news with JH as a reaction to some kind of ClimateBall moves,

191. Jp says:

“Heatwaves have killed more Australians than any other extreme weather events.”
True but not relevant, bit hard to die from cold when it only freezes on a few mountaintops

It’s very relevant. It’s mentioning the dying from cold that is irrelevant. The issue is: considering the number of people dying of heat stress at the moment, what will happen when heat waves become worse. How is that not relevant to global warming?

Just wondering. Is there a new denier meme out there which says that so many people are freezing to death that we should encourage global warming? I wouldn’t be surprised. I know they want more CO2 to encourage more food production.

192. Leto says:

Jp, it’s all about scoring points with angech. Every person that dies from cold is like a goal for him, and offsets someone who dies from heat. Temperature wobbles up, warmists win the day, temperature wobbles down, angech and co win for the day.

193. zebra says:

@hypergeometric

Thanks for the information. A couple more questions and then an observation:

1. Interesting point about the water heater cooling and dehumidifying the basement. It follows, then, that the condensate goes somewhere, like a drain?
2. How’s the noise, and how long does the compressor run to generate how much hot water?

The observation is this. In all fairness, the typical homeowner is going to find both the complexity of the decision-making, and the cost, daunting. I suspect that even on a blog called “and then there’s physics“, some eyes are glazing over from the stuff we are talking about.

Maybe when it becomes possible to install a unitary “starter system” that is designed to serve (and marketed) as a power-outage backup that also pays for itself, you could get a more rapid acceptance for home solar in more parts of the country.

194. Dave_Geologist says:

@Richard
“Indeed. None of those things are forecasts that can be tested against observations, however. Our projections of malaria incidence can be tested”

But have you tested your projection the way climatologists test theirs? IOW you have to be right for the right reason, not by chance or for the wrong reason. I can predict a coin toss correctly 50% of the time, but it takes zero skill. I would define such a prediction as [B], but a projection in the IPCC sense as if [A], then [B]. So, for example, if a denier predicted a fall in temperatures from now to 2025, and we got five Pinatubos in a row and the world did cool, the denier would still be wrong and the IPCC would still be right. Because the denier was superficially right but for the wrong reason (aerosol screening, as opposed to CO2 is not a GHG), and if the climate models were re-run with added volcanoes, they’d also predict (post-dict) short-term cooling. But for the right reason. That’s what separates physics (= climatology) from mathturbation or coin-tossing.

So to return to malaria, is the impressive fall in African mortality (31% from 2010-2015 alone, according to the World Malaria Report) due to increasing GDP (still only about \$1500 per capita in sub-Saharan Africa) or, as the WMR says, to enhanced rollout of insecticide-treated mosquito nets (up from 30% of the population to 53%). If not, your projection was only superficially right because it imputed the wrong cause. And yes attribution blah blah blah, but as with the physics of climate change, you can test causation, i.e. whether the nets make a difference (count mosquitoes with and without, count bites), whereas a graph of malaria incidence vs. GDP per head is at best correlation without demonstration of causation.

195. zebra says:

@dave geologist,

“if a then b”

Yes, a nice exposition, but let’s not forget, as someone said, “and then there’s physics”. Or, more generally, you just need a model or narrative of causation consistent with our understanding of the world– so “fewer mosquitos and bites means less malaria” doesn’t require all that much statistical validation.

People just throw GDP into all kinds of discussions with no logical explanation of why it might be relevant. That’s the first thing I would ask for when someone makes a claim. Ockham’s Razor is enough.

196. John Hartz says:

angeh: Do you suppose there might be a connection between what’s happening in the Artic and the snow in Rome?

197. John Hartz says:

The Peter Hannam article I cited above is based on the following more detailed article:

North Pole surges above freezing in the dead of winter, stunning scientists by Jason Samenow, Capital Weather Gang, Washington Post, Feb 26, 2018

198. @zebra,

Okay, on the first question, yes, in our case the heater is situated near the indoor interface to a French drain, where the pump accesses it. It drains into the drains. In warm climates, such as the Southwest in the United States, people put these things in their garages since there is usually plenty of warm dry air to access. There they just drain onto a concrete floor which evaporates.

On the second question, it is no louder than the oil furnace it and our air source heat pumps for heating-cooling have orphaned. My office is outside of the utility room where it is located, and I do not need to close the door. (And I don’t wear headphones.) I can’t really answer the “how long it runs” question crisply. It depends. Digression …

The idea behind the air source heat pump hot water heater is that it is more efficient and cheaper to move heat energy from ambient air to heat the hot water than use energy directly to provide the heat. That, to some degree, implies needing a larger amount of time to extract the heat to do this with. Pretty clearly, the amount of time needed also depends upon the amount of available heat, setting aside when the heater runs in hybrid mode, deciding the balance between available heat in air versus directly heating water.

But the digression is about a whole system view. In particular, and in our case, we have a 50 gallon tank. It is, the overwhelming amount of time, just my wife, Claire and I, so that’s fine. We do have company from time to time. We don’t change patterns of water use when company arrives. We have a high efficiency side opening clothes washer, and modern dishwashers don’t use a lot of water. Claire takes short showers. I take long ones. We have never run out of hot water.

But the efficiency of the home, in energy, and in water use depends upon all these factors. I leave out the air source heat pumps when I talk about costs of our solar installation, even though their efficiency contributes to the overall workability. On the other hand, of course, if we were heating with oil, there wouldn’t be any electrical burden at all, so I feel fine leaving them out.

I say this to address the complexity of doing this question. There is a transition coming, from consumer to prosumer and, ultimately, taking charge of the responsibility for your own electrical generation. As most things, those who learn and do will have economic efficiencies and savings. That they do this on their own initiative and capital is why I irritate when I learn of utilities taking punitive measures against people who self-generate power, as with solar. My irritation doesn’t turn to anger because, in the long run, all they are doing is building the financial case for creative and smart homeowners to abandon the grid and its overheads altogether, leaving its overhead to be borne by a smaller group of less incentivized individuals. The are social injustices implied by this transition, but people who adopt these technologies are not the ones standing in the way of their widespread acceptance. Our utility does everything possible to bad mouth and keep control of the grid and these technologies. Fortunately, there are a growing number of third party businesses who see the financial opportunities helping to move people off the grid.

A word about storage … Facts are, were there a way to more completely control our consumption (they exist out there; we haven’t invested in them), the cheapest way for us to have energy storage would be first to dump the electrical energy off the solar PV into our hot water heater and, then, into the battery of a big EV. (Our leased Chevy Volt isn’t really big enough for that. It’ll get replaced at the end of the lease.) There are third parties working up ways of tapping the energy in the EV for your home, and the offset on the heat in the water tank is a clear win.

I would also like to develop the income stream to get payments for demand response on our usage, but that requires the cooperation of our utility and they still seem not to understand what this new world means for them.

Thanks for the questions.

199. the local utilities in the PNW have been offering a \$500 rebate to folks adding a heat pump water heater. We put an 80 gal unit in our home with 5 folks in residence. We put a 50 gal unit in our daughter’s house with two adults and two, soon three, small children. Pretty easy to install. Complexity is low. The condensate plumbing issue is simple. The savings on electric bill is substantial. The recovery of hot water in the full hybrid mode is not as fast as a standard hot water heater. Noise level is quite low.

200. John Hartz says:

More evidence that manmade climate change is already negatively impacting the major cities of the world.

Storms, floods and other extreme weather events are hitting cities much harder than scientists have predicted, said the head of a global network of cities tackling climate change.

The severe water shortages pushing drought-stricken Cape Town towards “Day Zero”, when it runs out of water, are proving a wake-up call to other vulnerable cities, said Mark Watts, executive director of the C40 climate change alliance.

“Almost every (C40 member) city is reporting extreme weather events that are off all the scale of previous experience, and ahead of all the modelling of climate change,” Watts told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Given that all the scientific models are failing to predict the pace that climate impact’s actually having, how do you do good public policy?” he said on the sidelines of the C40 Women4Climate conference.

Nearly half of the 92 cities in the C40 network saw extreme flooding last year, according to Watts, who said an “optimism bias” was built into scientific forecasts.

Climate change pushing weather extremes ‘off the scale’, says global cities group by Sophie Hares, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Feb 27, 2018

201. Chris says:

Here is the Critical Material Strategy Dept of Energy, 2011 https://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/DOE_CMS2011_FINAL_Full.pdf

You discuss it amongst yourselves as you are all obviously all a bit uncomfortable with me owning all the moral high ground…..but I have more if you need it. 😉
I should also say that more than 10 years ago i made inquiries with our department of mines as to whether there was any possibility of the town mine being re-worked. The response was that it was exhausted and a ridiculous idea because it was in the middle of a town….they also sent me some nice maps and charts.
I hope you can also see how the destruction of the local creek over the last few years has been no accident and why i was unable to stop it and no people with any level of responsibility will address the issues I raise with them (i obviously don’t call out the obvious corruption aspect).
Who wants bio-indicator species anyway ? The council has also gone on a sudden frenzy of road sealing and paved foot paths….now what kind of report would be recommending that in the current circumstances ?
Australia is a crook place. ….and a state of the US.

202. John Hartz says:

The need for better short-range forecasts of severe weather events at the local level is the focus of the following indepth article.

As companies around the world grow concerned about the risks of climate change, they have started looking for clarity on how warming might disrupt their operations in the future. But governments in the United States and Europe have been slow to translate academic research on global warming into practical, timely advice for businesses or local city planners.

What Land Will Be Underwater in 20 Years? Figuring It Out Could Be Lucrative by Brad Plumer, Climate, New York Tiems, Feb 23, 2018

203. angech says:

JH
This pushing of the disaster now scenario has to stop.
Or not.
Would you care to justify it a little bit more, the alarmism it contains, who called it and why one would wish to attribute every change in the weather in the world now to climate change man made?
A clue is that severe flooding in a city does not need an extreme weather event and a biased organisation claiming so is not fair or valid, IMO.

204. Joshua says:

I think this podcast touches on issues very relevant to questions about the real world impact of carbon footprint messaging on the part of climate scientists.

In particular, the first part, (I found the second part less interesting). I think that there are important reasons to question simplistic, or “common sense” views on the relevant mechanisms, the evidence linked upstairs in this thread notwithstanding.

My guess is that the carbon footprint of climate scientists will not significantly alter the opinion formation trajectory of the public one way or the other. People already convinced one way or the other will keep moving on the same path. “Realists” will continue to be concerned about climate change. “Sceptics” will continue to be unconcerned (and see climate scientists as hypocrites, regardless). Richard Tol and WMC will continue to be concerned about the behavior of climate scientists (i.e., concern tr*ll ATTP), People unaligned will continue to be unaligned.

205. Willard says:

Beyond beliefs, as DanielD might say:

206. Joshua says:

DanielD?

207. Willard says:
208. Willard says:

A video:

Speaking of Enlightenment, this is a gem I wish I would have written:

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2018/02/20/4806696.htm

209. Steven Mosher says:

go figure. a bunch of us nuts argued for natural gas, efficiency, and renewables where they made sense.

speaking of skin in the game. lets di a go fund me to buy up all the coal and not burn it.

who is in?

every little bit helps

210. John Hartz says:

Angech: Do you accept the scientific consensus that mankind is impacting the Earth’s total climate system through the burning of fossil fuels and deforestion? “Yes” or “no” will suffice.

211. angech says:

“Angech: Do you accept the scientific consensus that mankind is impacting the Earth’s total climate system through the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation? “Yes” or “no” will suffice.”
Yes, Yes, Yes.
but I am still not on your side.
It would be good to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, Our climate system would improve but not for the reasons put forward from the CO2 argument and the spin offs.
AGW, when proven will easily show up in effects 50 to 100 years away.
Current events, droughts floods and extreme events have always occurred and will always occur.
Wanting them to be happening now [ it’s all about scoring points, remember].
Does not mean that there is any easy way to prove provenance now.
As much as we would all like to think so.

212. Hyperactive Hydrologist says:

Angech,

This provides a good summary of the observed and projected changes in Europe due to climate change.

And a new study looking at projected impacts of climate change to cities in Europe. I can provide you with more papers on observed changes if you are interested.

The point is, while extreme events have happened in the past there is a notable increase in the magnitude and in some cases frequency of recent event and this is consistent with what is expected from climate change.

I decided to specialise in hydrology and flood risk management partly because of climate change. I knew I would never be out of work and living in the UK, with the extreme flooding events that have occurred in recent years that has turned out to be the case.

213. zebra says:

@hyper-g (and smallblue-m)

Thanks for the answers! A quick look shows that the condensate collects high enough up so that I could use my existing basement sink pump. Unfortunately, that requires relocating (re-plumbing and re-wiring) the heater. Since I do all that stuff myself, and my project list is already out of control, it may be another year or so before I close the deal.

Hyper-g, about the utilities “not understanding what the new world means for them”… no, no, they absolutely get it. That’s why they, like the oiligarchs, and the ICE auto manufacturers and their associates, are going to fight as hard and as dirty as they can to kill or slow down the transition.

Which brings us to where I would take issue with what I understand you to be saying. If the goal is reducing FF use, people going off-grid is clearly counterproductive. Let me offer my “ideal scenario” that I think will create rapid progress on the electricity issue:

Utilities are strongly regulated as common carriers, whether they are public or municipal. They take care of the delivery system only.

They cannot be generators or wholesalers, but only facilitators for direct sales–see Uber, Amazon Marketplace, and similar paradigms. That way, you can buy electricity from your neighbor’s solar panels or from Hydro-Quebec or whomever is hooked up and has product to sell. Or, sell your surplus yourself, obviously. And it’s just a matter of setting your app to the parameters that work for you individually.

In that situation, you promote installations at all levels, as well as efficiency. The natural monopoly aspect is under control, and market forces will take care of the rest, assuming there is some kind of carbon price imposed.

214. @angech,

Does not mean that there is any easy way to prove provenance now.
As much as we would all like to think so.

Then how do you explain the increase in heat content in the oceans? Or is your point that, while that may be happening, there’s no impact to you and there won’t be to you or your kids for 100 years, you don’t care?

215. BBD says:

zebra

We’re back to the world of necessary but not sufficient components of energy transition we’ve discussed exhaustively elsewhere.

In the UK, we have a common carrier (National Grid) and things are not working out as you imagine. Hence ‘not sufficient’. You know what else is required because we have been over this on several occasions already. It doesn’t emerge spontaneously from markets.

216. John Hartz says:

Angech: Do agree that weather events occur within the Earth’s total climate system?

217. @zebra,

Thanks. There is a certain anti-socialness to “hoarding electrons”, I agree. However, if a local utility does not cooperate, it is a way of driving them towards oblivion.

My older son observed, once he learned of the efficacy of solar generation, that it seemed to him most environmental groups are wasting their time in money. To the degree that climate change is the environmental problem, he felt what they should all do is pool their monetary resources and use them exclusively for putting solar panels on every square meter of surface that’s effective and available, for free for the property owners. Naturally, such a suggestion would bump up against caps on grid interconnection, but, still, I can’t say I disagree with him. (He works in finance.)

218. Steven Mosher says:

219. Joshua says:

angech –

Do me a favor, and pass this on to your buds at Lucia’s. I’m sure they will find it extremely enlightening:

220. “go figure. a bunch of us nuts argued for natural gas, efficiency, and renewables where they made sense.”

Damn, boy, save me a seat – I’m one of us nuts too.

“speaking of skin in the game. lets di a go fund me to buy up all the coal and not burn it.”
How about buying it for the remaining third world nations, along with particulate clean generating plants, so they’re not third world anymore, at which time they can convert to copious alternatives?

221. I use a condensing natural gas burner to heat the water than runs through the old radiator heat system in my hundred year old house. The NG burner and the electric heat pump water heater are next to each other and I drop the condensate from both into a small pump that runs when the tank fills. The pump pushes the water out of the house and into sump outside. I attached the lightweight condensate line with cable ties to the 4 inch PVC pipe that exhausts the NG fumes outside.

So far, the condensing NG burner has cut my NG consumption to about 60% of what I used before. I think the annual savings will be a little greater than that. I hope the NG consumption will be half of what I used before. I also have solar panel array that makes about 1/3 of my annual electric consumption. I would love to get to zero carbon footprint on housing, but it’s really hard and/or expensive to do with a large old house like this one. Cutting footprint in half is pretty easy, getting to zero is pretty hard. Law of diminishing returns.

222. JCH says:

How about buying it for the remaining third world nations, along with particulate clean generating plants, so they’re not third world anymore, at which time they can convert to copious alternatives?

Sounds like the biggest, most gigantic giveaway in history: welfare/socialism on an epic scale.

223. angech says:

HH
“The point is, while extreme events have happened in the past there is a notable increase in the magnitude and in some cases frequency of recent events and this is consistent with what is expected from climate change.”
Thanks for the links and thanks for putting your viewpoint so succinctly.
It is a view most here take having made the initial assumption.
The problems are a notable increase in the magnitude and in some cases frequency of recent events is also entirely consistent with simple natural variation.
The past is replete with examples for millions of years
I am sorry that transient change per se is not a proof of causation.
and pointing out multiple examples of current change which may be natural is not fair.

224. angech,

The problems are a notable increase in the magnitude and in some cases frequency of recent events is also entirely consistent with simple natural variation.

No, it’s not. It’s possible that some individual extreme events are consistent with natural variability. An increase in the magnitude and frequency of extreme events probably is not.

225. angech says:

Angech: Do agree that weather events occur within the Earth’s total climate system?
Sigh
Yes
Even I do not wish to be that contrarian JH.
Joshua, off to Italian class will try a look later Ta

226. @JCH, Well, no: Could be a 21st century Marshall Plan.

Unless you think that, and the GI Bill were “socialist giveaways”, too ….

227. @angech,

I think we went ’round on this before. “Cauation”, as a tool of scientific or engineering inquiry, is not the cornerstone of modern thinking Causation as Folk Science.

228. John Hartz says:

ATTP: What is your working definition of “natural variability”?

229. I’d like to pile on here with a second question: Is “natural variability” different than “internal variability”? I was puzzled about the latter and investigated it.

230. John Hartz says:

More interesting news from Down Under…

Arctic heat spasm caused by stratosphere warming has a southern cousin by Peter Hannam, Sydney Morning Herald, Feb 28, 2018

231. Chris says:

“Sounds like the biggest, most gigantic giveaway in history: welfare/socialism on an epic scale.”

You can’t be serious, can you ? Where’s your head at ?

….so you see why i am of the opinion that the boomer generation are the most selfish, self obsessed and cowardly generation ? You need to ‘get real’.

232. Steven Mosher says:

“Damn, boy, save me a seat – I’m one of us nuts too.”

You mean start with stuff that is practical and build from there?
No WAY
we have to get to zero immediately or we are all doomed.!!

I’m surprised that out of 236 comments, only sbm brought up the tragedy of the commons, and only zebra has mentioned a carbon price. Pseudo-skeptics, and whatever Richard Tol is, are demanding that climate hawks who talk the talk, walk the walk. It ought to be embarrassing for Prof. Tol of all people to ignore the underlying economics of common pool resources, when talking about what motivates people to change their behavior.

In the ancient Greek tragōidía (“goat-song”), the protagonist is brought to ruin or otherwise suffers the extreme consequences of some tragic flaw or weakness of character. Tragedies of the commons occur because every human being is afflicted with the ‘flaw’ of economic agency. They are the aggregate result of the economically-sound private choices of every buyer and seller in the global marketplace.

The Tragedy of the climate commons ensues precisely because the energy market doesn’t require either producers or consumers to pay for the marginal climate-change costs of their choices. It’s therefore perverse, IMHO, to propose that particular consumers voluntarily internalize the full costs of their choices when the market allows all others a free ride.

The “invisible hand” of the free market created the rising trend of GMST, and only the “visible hand” of collective intervention can bring the slope of the trend to zero.

234. …. we have to get to zero immediately or we are all doomed.!!

Well, it would be nice to see global emissions heading downwards. They are not even flattening yet. So, you can claim all you want about starting “with stuff that is practical” and building from there, but if it there is any sense of wanting to see evidence of real harm from warming before taking it very seriously (and my view is we have that in spades), it also makes sense to see how marvelously well the “starting with stuff that is practical and building from there” is working out on greenhouse gas emissions. I’d say the latter is much easier to detect and measure, and after nearly 40 years (some say 100 years) of pious platitudes and appeals to how the god of Technology will save us, there is NO progress, at least on anything that can be measured.

So, if some of us are feeling like maybe this “starting with stuff that is practical and building from there” guy ought to be fired and someone who can cut it hired, you might excuse our sentiments.

235. John Hartz says:

I agree with Steve Hanley, it’s time to start shouting from the rooftops!

At CleanTechnica, our main mission is to bring our readers news about how to decarbonize the economy so average global temperatures don’t rise high enough to roast us and every other living thing on the planet out of existence. We try to inform rather than preach. We may cajole on a regular basis, but we try not to shout. Yet if there was ever a time to shout, it is now. Climate change denial is simply endangering the lives of all 7 billion+ souls who inhabit this planet, regardless of age or ethnicity.

Climate Change — The Earth Is Screaming For Help. Is Anyone Listening? by Steve Hanley, Clean Technica, Feb 28, 2918

236. John Hartz says:

Speaking of flood risks, this just in…

A new paper publishing today in Environmental Research Letters has some sobering news for people living in the Lower 48 states: you may be at risk from river flooding and not even know it until the waters start to rise.

In fact, the study, “Estimates of present and future flood risk in the conterminous United States,” found that 41 million U.S. residents – about 13 percent of the entire population of the study area – are at risk from flooding along rivers. That’s about three times more than current estimates based on the regulatory flood maps produced by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which primarily map the areas at risk for 1-in-100-year floods in populous river basins.

New Study Shows Flood Risks Across the U.S. are Underestimated (in a Big Way)</strong. by Cara Byington, Cool Green Science, Feb 28, 2018

Time is not on our side!

237. @John Hartz,

Okay, except Earth and its critters and plants are gonna be just fine. People, not so much. That exit from the Climate Optimum which defined the time after the Iron Age, that’s gonna be Big.

Thanks for the ref to the flood study! That pertains here in Westwood, MA, where people don’t see the risks around them.

238. angech says:

HG “In crude analogy, seeking causation in nature is akin to seeking images in the
clouds. Different people naturally see different images.” from
“Causation”, as a tool of scientific or engineering inquiry, is not the cornerstone of modern thinking”
I think he meant that causation is a vital cornerstone of rational thinking even though it can be proven to not be real.
“Is natural variability” different than “internal variability”
I would assume that the latter is a subset of the former in that natural variability has the possibility of external forcings.
In the long run if we get hotter as a cause of CO2 rising with positive rather than negative feedbacks it should show up in the course of 50-200 years as a greater global surface temperature at reputable marked spots or satellite interpretation and greater ocean heat content.
In terms of weather events none can be attributed to the current small degree of change and in years to come events attributable will be long term rather than short term weather events.
No matter how severe a hurricane or polar vortex they have all happened before from time immemorial and even if we have a monster 1 in 2000 year hurricane, god forbid, it would still only be the normal 1 in 2000 year mega hurricane that is statistically expected next week or in 10,000 years time.

239. Chris says:

240. Chris says:

241. Chris says:

242. Steven Mosher says:

“At CleanTechnica, our main mission is to bring our readers news about how to decarbonize the economy so average global temperatures don’t rise high enough to roast us and every other living thing on the planet out of existence. We try to inform rather than preach. We may cajole on a regular basis, but we try not to shout. Yet if there was ever a time to shout, it is now. Climate change denial is simply endangering the lives of all 7 billion+ souls who inhabit this planet, regardless of age or ethnicity.”

oy vey.

243. Richard S J Tol says:

@dave the geologist
No. Our prediction was wrong. We had a mule.

Generally, predictions of the impact of climate change cannot be validated because we lack the systems to monitor said impacts. We have published a few papers on climate change impacts in the 20th century, to make the point that we cannot compare our hindcasts to observations.

244. Leto says:

Angech writes: “No matter how severe a hurricane or polar vortex they have all happened before from time immemorial and even if we have a monster 1 in 2000 year hurricane, god forbid, it would still only be the normal 1 in 2000 year mega hurricane that is statistically expected next week or in 10,000 years time.”

Do you believe that the occurrence of events that are exceedingly rare in one situation but common in another situation provide o information as to which situation pertains?

If you had 10 bags of marbles, and 9 bags had 1 black marble and 2000 white marbles, and the 10th bag had 1000 black and 1000 white, and you picked a bag at random and drew a marble at random, would finding a black marble on your first draw be devoid of information? Or would it be a strong pointer that you probably picked bag number 10?

245. Leto says:

o information = no information

246. Steven Mosher says:

‘No matter how severe a hurricane or polar vortex they have all happened before from time immemorial and even if we have a monster 1 in 2000 year hurricane, god forbid, it would still only be the normal 1 in 2000 year mega hurricane that is statistically expected next week or in 10,000 years time.”

Angech logic: nothing unprecented can ever happen.
it has all happened before.
there is never a first time for anything.
It’s merely an eternal return of the same.
he can accept this this, nay he wills it.
that’s why he is the ubermensch.

247. zebra says:

@smallbluemike,

It’s really useful to get input on various options, if, like me, people are looking to make some changes. But I think the really important message is just how much variation there is in what works or can work– the US is a big country, with lots of different mini-climates, and lots of different infrastructure, and different available energy source choices.

I can’t discharge from my basement to the outside because, well, even the salty water from my water softener would freeze sometimes– so, it has to go into the sewage system. Not a problem, really, but again, the kind of detail that has to be included in planning.

I figure you “did the math” for your location, but in some cases, if you have a NG hookup, using that for hot water is cheaper and produces less CO2, even compared to the heat pump modality. And so on, for all the houses in all the different locations.

Due respect to hyper-g, but I don’t think there are enough people willing to work this stuff out– choosing a paint color, or what kind of counter-top for a remodel, causes enough domestic strife.

Breaking the utility monopoly and obstructionism is only going to happen if you offer an attractive political argument and the (mindless) convenience to which people have become accustomed these days: “Siri, find the best price and environmental impact for our electricity, and buy it for us!”

248. angech wrote “In the long run if we get hotter as a cause of CO2 rising with positive rather than negative feedbacks it should show up in the course of 50-200 years as a greater global surface temperature at reputable marked spots or satellite interpretation and greater ocean heat content.”

except this has already happened, it is just that you don’t accept it:

The “reputable marked spots” demonstrates an ignorance of the science, station level data is very noisy, so detecting a long term trend isn’t easy, but perhaps that was a feature rather than a bug. The “satellite interpretation” displays ignorance again, given that the two main satellite datasets diverge more from each other than the surface temperature datasets. Note there is statistically significant warming in the satellite datasets.

Of course angech has been posting here more than long enough to know this already.

249. angech says:

Thanks for the graphs DM showing 35x 10 to 22 joules increase over 60 years. An interesting concept given that it seems to be an increase from a baseline unstated and does not give the pertinent actual change in temp being measured and incorporates possibly 4 different types of data sets in achieving such measurement over that time.
The ocean heat content is, I guess, taken from actual temperatures at different known depths over that time.
Two questions, How much does this actually amount to in a temperature change if such a concept is possible. The relevance being if this only equates to say .02 C or even 0.2 C we are actually talking about changes which the boundaries of error far exceed.
Secondly what is the percentage change in terms of the total real OHC of the whole ocean. Are we taliking 1% or 1/1000th of 1%?
Nonetheless you have shown an upward change over 60 years, thanks.

250. zebra says:

Sounds like lots of people here have never heard of Zeno’s Paradox and that it has all been settled for a long time. If you want to keep arguing about that kind of thing, here’s an experiment:

Have someone shoot an arrow at you. If you feel pain and observe blood flowing from your chest, write a philosophical paper explaining how the arrow didn’t move and there was no cause for your condition.

251. angech says:

Leto, disingenuous or what are you trying to say?
If colour is the only difference in the marbles I would weigh that bag against any other bag after putting the marble back in it and if the other bag was heavier I would know for certain it was the one with a fifty fifty distribution, correct?
As to your actual example yes it is a strong pointer but it is in no way an analogy to the situational probability we are discussing.
Mosher, have fun.
I never said anything unprecedented can never happen.
You said I said it.
I said that precedented things have always happened, that is why they are precedented.
The larger or more extreme an event is the less precedented ie happens less commonly.
This does not preclude a run of extreme events in a short time frame or runs of runs of extreme events in a short time frame.
Given enough goes at Leto’s 10 bags and calling each black marble an extreme event someone somewhere will pull the black marble out of each of the nine 2001 marble bags in a row.

252. angech writes:

“Two questions, How much does this actually amount to in a temperature change if such a concept is possible. The relevance being if this only equates to say .02 C or even 0.2 C we are actually talking about changes which the boundaries of error far exceed.”,

O.K. give me a verifiable source for your claim that the “boundaries of error” in global ocean temperatures are greater than 0.2C.

253. @angech,

Norton’s view is far from perfect. I disagree, for example, that it is always true “… [C]ausal talk … remains a most helpful way of conceiving the world, and I will shortly try to explain how that is possible.” But it was from a philosopher, and accessible. If I were to say, instead, that the only kind of thing which makes sense today is directly examining a probability density, that would have been somewhat opaque.

But I will now.

To

In terms of weather events none can be attributed to the current small degree of change and in years to come events attributable will be long term rather than short term weather events. No matter how severe a hurricane or polar vortex they have all happened before from time immemorial and even if we have a monster 1 in 2000 year hurricane, god forbid, it would still only be the normal 1 in 2000 year mega hurricane that is statistically expected next week or in 10,000 years time.

I suggest that this is a mindset imprisoned within a relative frequency kind of thinking, one wherein the only way of detecting anything is by awaiting a sufficiently long number of trials, and can never predict anything about something which has never been observed before. Right off, this should make one uncomfortable, because it means that rare or unobserved events can never be detected with statistical evidence. And, clearly, they can be. In particular, because an event E is rare among all events, that is, $P(E)$ is very small, does not mean that $P(E|W)$ is small for all $W$. If one has a 10,000-sided die, which, historically, has landed on 1,000 of its faces, but, then, undergoes a well-understood, physical change so only 100 of its faces are predicted to be expressed, including 10 which have never been seen before, when one of those shows up, because of the physical understanding, it is not as improbable as it first seemed.

In my opinion, the modern canonical statement of a degree of expectation and knowledge is the probability density, not an English courtroom-style argument about causation. It is more powerful. It permits risks to be assessed in quantitative way. It tells where investing effort to obtain greater precision helps. You can rationally bet with it. Causes are singular and have no continuity with alternate explanations. Ultimately, they are useless for planning.

254. Magma says:

Sometimes retired folks with time on their hands take up fishing. There’s a particularly lazy style of fishing where lines are pulled through the water behind a slowly moving boat…

Anyway… readers don’t have to take the bait.

255. @zebra, @smallbluemike,

Due respect to hyper-g, but I don’t think there are enough people willing to work this stuff out– choosing a paint color, or what kind of counter-top for a remodel, causes enough domestic strife.

Breaking the utility monopoly and obstructionism is only going to happen if you offer an attractive political argument and the (mindless) convenience to which people have become accustomed these days: “Siri, find the best price and environmental impact for our electricity, and buy it for us!”

I agree (unfortunately?). I have heard many times from neighbors, friends, and acquaintances that they would love to put up PV but their spouse either doesn’t like the way it looks, or is concerned about its effect upon property values. The message is, one, that, as a culture, the looming threat hasn’t been appreciated yet. And, two, we have been really and badly coddled by our success.

To the former, yeah, alas, authorities don’t put up traffic lights and such until there are a sufficient number of body bags hauled away. To the latter, a network analysis suggests that each and every well-off and comfortable American relies upon a broad supply chain to keep them employed and in their comfort zone. Cross-sections of broad supply chains are much bigger than those for small supply chains. If one posits a set of climatological or weather circumstances which impacts supply chains, the big ones are more likely to take it on the chin and harder than smaller ones. Translated, that means that, eventually, either there will be an equilibration or regression to the [global] mean of Americans’ consumptive habits, or it will get much more expensive to remain in place. It’s only logical. That means a redistribution of income, but not from one population segment to another, but wealth destruction. How long will this take? Dunno, but I’m pretty confident I’ll see it before I die. (I’m 65 now.)

256. @angech,

Methinks learning a little physical oceanography would help. 90% of forcing from GHGs goes into oceans. Because of the huge heat capacity of water, the aphorism is that the top thousand meters or so of ocean could hold all of the heat energy in the rest of the climate system. They won’t, of course, because they are in equilibrium with the environment, and at that amount of heat, a bunch would leak out. Some of the heat gets buried in deep ocean, but most appears to remain. This proportion is a field research area.

The direct effect of this is to raise sea levels because warmer water expands.

The other point is that this effect is about as irreversible a change as can be imagined. There is no physical way to remove this thermal energy once it’s there, particularly deep. Why is this bad? If, it turns out, in the long run, that there’s something really bad about having this much energy go into the oceans, there is absolutely nothing we can do about it, no matter how much money or engineering is applied.

Oceans via currents normally are the largest conveyor of thermal energy from the tropics towards the poles. It’s a steady system. Dumping large amount of additional thermal energy into odd places — like an Arctic in summer with no ice sheet that now has a low albedo — risks disrupting these current patterns. The dynamics are really complicated, although I would stay away from saying “unpredictable”. There’s a lot of interest in eddy formation around the edges of major currents, as these can persist for a time and affect local weather. There’s also this:

One of the most important roles of ocean currents is in governing Earth’s weather and climate. Western boundary currents such as the Gulf Stream carry large amounts of heat from tropical waters to the north. This flow is part of the thermohaline circulation, or ocean conveyor and helps distributes heat around the planet. This in turn governs wind patterns, air temperature and precipitation both locally and globally.

Recent studies have shown that western boundary currents have shifted position slightly over the course decades, leading to changes in wind, temperature and precipitation patterns around the globe more commonly associated with El Niño and the other ocean oscillations. One important question oceanographers are trying to answer is how small changes in the placement, temperature, speed and volume of currents might result in large or abrupt changes in Earth’s long-term climate. Identifying the natural and human factors that could change or disrupt the natural function of ocean currents is also an important part of understanding and predicting future climate changes.

As has been said many times here and elsewhere, how lucky do you feel?

257. @angech,

Following up with a specific example:

There’s a substantial shift of a probability mass towards the lower end of the return-time scale. Many coastal locales in the Northeast, not to mention the Southeast, will see similar effects. It depends where one sat (some were worse), but 2.5m was about the peak storm tide elevation of Hurricane Sandy in New York City.

258. Vinny Burgoo says:

smallbluemike: ‘This does not pass the smell test for me. Vinny, can you provide a street address so others can take a look at the installation through google maps?’

Here it is:

Just kidding. I very much doubt that posh greenies like Townsend know people who live in Coatbridge.

Townsend’s anecdote about her greenie friend’s street-facing boastful/messaging north-facing solar panels passed smell tests by WWF and other greenies at the time. Now, eleven years later, some blog commenter suddenly demands Google Maps proof.

I should probably congratulate you on your scepticism but my nose smells…

No. I do congratulate you. Well done!

259. Michael 2 says:

Chris says: “so you see why i am of the opinion that the boomer generation are the most selfish, self obsessed and cowardly generation?”

Mal Adapted says: “I’m surprised that out of 236 comments, only sbm brought up the tragedy of the commons, and only zebra has mentioned a carbon price.”

I imply it regularly by pointing out there is no “we” and no single society. Many societies exist, within each society exists a commons; and of course national commons and global commons.

The forces that cause the tragedy, “advantage”, is embedded in DNA. Persons seek advantage over other persons; families over other families, clans over other clans, nations over other nations. No strategy or tactic is off the table, including tricking you into giving up your heat, light, transportation and reproduction.

The contrary force (toward collectivism of any kind) for the past few thousand years tends to be religious. Rosseau seems to have had something to say on it; you need a transcendental force that doesn’t DIE in the middle of a grand scheme.

“Pseudo-skeptics, and whatever Richard Tol is, are demanding that climate hawks who talk the talk, walk the walk.”

So do I; but it’s something of a trick or strategy. Doomed if you do, doomed if you don’t. If Climate Hawks decarbonize, they vanish! Problem solved. If they don’t, they are seen as hypocrites, problem solved!

The solution seems to be to “walk it down”, don’t take a binary approach. Take measured steps; that way you are demonstration consciousness of efficiency while at the same time not removing yourself from the memetic gene pool.

“Tragedies of the commons occur because every human being is afflicted with the ‘flaw’ of economic agency.”

It isn’t a flaw. It is neither good nor bad. It just is. Anyone who does not seek advantage disappears and if this gene is widespread that culture, race or phenotype disappears.

It is likely that an optimum exists where persons obtain *some* advantage, as does family, clan and nation; but not at the expense of their own future and in careful balance with everyone else’s advantage, but that balance must be negotiated.

“The Tragedy of the climate commons ensues precisely because the energy market doesn’t require either producers or consumers to pay for the marginal climate-change costs of their choices.”

No doubt. I suppose we can turn to any of several dozen self-serving experts to decide what that price ought to be and who “owns” the carbon and thus the right to price it. What a curiously Western conceit.

“only the ‘visible hand’ of collective intervention can bring the slope of the trend to zero.”

And there’s the rub. Collectives haven’t fared well. Sheep and pigs. See George Orwell for more detail.

260. Leto says:

Angech, why even mention weight? Are you trying to dodge the point? Do you fail to understand that the drawing of a black marble carries information? Sure, a black marble could simply be a fluke, but that does not mean all explanations are equally valid. In this case, after a single rare event, the probability that we are now dealing with the minority bag with more black marbles can be calculated precisely. It makes your nod towards statistics, which I quoted, wrong. Do you understand the point or not?

261. Everett F Sargent says:

hypergeometric,

Be real careful now, because that figure is not here and I’d like to think that I know this stuff forwards and backwards …
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/10/03/1703568114

Click to access 1703568114.full.pdf

Click to access 1703568114.full.pdf

(I’ve tried the CLIVAR site but no luck so far)
http://www.clivar.org/

262. @Everrett F Sargent,

Everrett:

Sure! It’s here. In addition, it’s DOI: 10.5065/D6445K82

263. Everett F Sargent says:
264. angech says:

“I suggest that this is a mindset imprisoned within a relative frequency kind of thinking, one wherein the only way of detecting anything is by awaiting a sufficiently long number of trials, and can never predict anything about something which has never been observed before. Right off, this should make one uncomfortable, because it means that rare or unobserved events can never be detected with statistical evidence. And, clearly, they can be. In particular, because an event E is rare among all events, that is, P(E) is very small, does not mean that P(E|W) is small for all W. If one has a 10,000-sided die, which, historically, has landed on 1,000 of its faces, but, then, undergoes a well-understood, physical change so only 100 of its faces are predicted to be expressed, including 10 which have never been seen before, when one of those shows up, because of the physical understanding, it is not as improbable as it first seemed.”

Imprisoned is an interesting way of describing probability and mathematical thinking.
Setting boundaries of logic would be another way.
Science would be a third.
Unobserved events, unknown unknowns, can never be detected by statistical evidence.
The moment one has evidence of any type means, by definition, the event has already been observed through the presence of such evidence.
Taleb has written extensively on this and the impossibility of predicting an unknown event.

You seem to be making the same argument as Leto, that is if you define the number of sides on a die or types of ball in a sack you can predict the game. Imprisoning the definition.
I would state categorically that my view on the statistical implication of any single weather event linking to climate change as being unprovable is the corrected and accepted view of most statisticians, scientists and the IPCC.
The correlation depends on the size of the change, the frequency of the change and the length of the change and relates to temperature increase, not weather variations.

265. Chris says:

Well you’d be wrong.

266. angech says:

Example
For Mosher.
If (a unicorn) appeared (on a field) and (ate some grass) would (the farmer shoot it?).
If (unknowable agent) appeared (unknowable place) and (unknowable action) would (unknowable consequence) .
Can you tell me what event occurred, when it was likely to occur, what the event caused and what he consequences of the event would be?
No.
Taleb’s advice was to keep some money in the mattress, not that this would change anything about the unpredictable, but that it is always nice to be able to afford some ice cream and beer.

267. angech says:

Leto,
I agreed with your preposition that it is a strong pointer.
To be precise you have 20009 marbles of which 1009 happen to be black and 19000 are white and a strong unstated presumption that colour is the only difference.
There is also the stipulation that the first marble drawn has to be black.
Without realising it that extra information changes the odds dramatically. Would you care to state your exact implied odds and the actual odds given that you insist the first marble drawn has to be black?
What were the chances that the first marble would have been white. Which bag would it have come from? If it had to be white how did that change the odds?

Do you fail to understand that the drawing of a black marble carries information? No.
“a black marble could simply be a fluke, but that does not mean all explanations are equally valid.” A valid explanation does not admit of equality, you are confusing probability with validity.

“In this case, after a single rare event, the probability that we are now dealing with the minority bag with more black marbles can be calculated precisely. ”
Wow. Are you saying a rare event is something occurring 50% of the time.

268. @angech,

[ANGECH] Imprisoned is an interesting way of describing probability and mathematical thinking.

Relative frequency in the limit is but one way of looking at probability. The so-called classical interpretation is better, but it’s circular and fragile, being based upon equiprobables. That leaves a subjectivist interpretation. These distinctions are more than philosophical, because, if one is imprisoned within a certain interpretation, there are problems which cannot be addressed, let alone solved. There’s more about this in DeGroot and Schervish, Probability and Statistics, 3rd edition, 2002, section 1.2. It is strikingly different from the presentation of a much older text, e.g., Parzen’s Fundamentals of Applied Probability Theory, 1967. My way of looking at it is from Jaynes (Probability Theory: The Logic of Science, 2003) where probability is introduced along the way as an index of plausibility in reasoning (with Laplace, a “calculus of inductive reasoning”). Jayes writes in one place section 10.1) that

We … show that maintenance of the frequency interpretation to the exclusion of all others requires one to ignore virtually all the professional knowledge that scientists have about real phenomena. If the aim is to draw inferences about real phenomena, this is hardly the way to begin.

And this is why I zoom in upon your relative frequentist interpretation and tests of significant change. Because, if you are logically consistent, and I assume you are, it requires you to disregard science.

[ANGECH] The moment one has evidence of any type means, by definition, the event has already been observed through the presence of such evidence. Taleb has written extensively on this and the impossibility of predicting an unknown event.

Actually, I think you have Taleb backwards here. In Black Swan Taleb criticizes based upon the idea that black swans were said to not exist because they had never been seen. His argumentation up to and beyond that is somewhat muddled, but he’s basically criticizing what he sees as an arrogance of certainty from rational calculation. I don’t think his argument for such arrogance is well formed, but if it’s simplified, it can be brought back to an Urn Problem.

In fact, I did a presentation in 2013 introducing these ideas. The setup is two opaque urns, filled with marbles behind a curtain by a third party with which you can’t communicate, and the source is shown to you before the fill as consisting of red, green, and blue marbles. And the problem is to estimate the relative proportion of red, green, and blue marbles in one urn by sampling with replacement from it, and use that to predict the proportions in the second. (There are fairness contracts granted and such, so that representativeness of one urn of the other are assured.) I have put the slide deck here, and there’s a lot more in it than just the urn problem, so the urn thing begins on slide 40 of 83.

So suppose 5 marbles are drawn from one urn, in succession: A marble is drawn, color noted, placed back in urn, urn shuffled, and then the next is drawn. And what’s noted is 2 red, 3 green, and no blue. So, what’s the estimate at the end of drawing 5 of the proportion of red, green, and blue marbles? Well, y’can do relative frequency and say red 0.2, green 0.3, and blue 0.0, bue that’s not satisfactory for several reasons. So, the Bayesian estimate is to show this:

At 10, seeing 4 red, 6 green, and no blue, this:

At 40, seeing 7 red, 31 green, and 2 blue, this:

The point is, we don’t even need to know the number of marbles in the urn. The posterior densities are as complete a statement of estimates of proportions that can be had. We never say blue is impossible, even if none have been seen.

[ANGECH] I would state categorically that my view on the statistical implication of any single weather event linking to climate change as being unprovable is the corrected and accepted view of most statisticians, scientists and the IPCC.

That’s decidedly incorrect. There is an entire field of attribution studies in climate and meteorology. The definitive work from the United States was reported in 2013. Here are three recent entries:

M. C. Kirchmeier-Young, “Attribution of extreme events in Arctic sea ice extent”, Journal of Climate, 27 December 2016
C. Burke, P. Stott, A. Ciavarella, Y. Sun, “Attribution of extreme rainfall in southeast China during May 2015”, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 12 January 2017
S. Philip, et al, “Attribution analysis of the Ethiopian drought of 2015”, Journal of Climate, 1 March 2018

The general current paper on the problem is P. A. Stott, et al, “Attribution of extreme weather and climate-related events”, WIREs Climate Change, 7(1), January/February 2016, 23-41. There was an earlier 2013 paper, P. A. Stott, M. Allen, et al, “Attribution of weather and climate-related events”, which appeared in the Springer book Climate Science for Serving Society, which the paper above updates. That 2013 paper has an assertion in its introduction:

… [I]t is sometimes stated that it is impossible to attribute any individual weather or climate-related event to a particular cause. Such a statement can be interpreted to mean that human-induced climate change could never be shown to be at least partly responsible for any specific weather event, either the probability of its occurrence or its magnitude. There is clear evidence from recent case studies that individual event attribution is a feasible, if challenging, undertaking.

You may be confusing the microphone-in-the-face response of climate scientists and meteorologists right on the heels of a major weather event with the long term prospect. Attribution analysis takes months if not years, and then needs to be peer-reviewed. By that time Mr/Ms Journalist no longer cares about the weather event, and won’t ask the question.

269. Leto says:

Angech writes: “A valid explanation does not admit of equality, you are confusing probability with validity.”

There is no confusion at this end. Please elaborate on why you think there is. Inferences about probability can be invalid or valid.

Angech writes: “Wow. Are you saying a rare event is something occurring 50% of the time.”

No, I am not saying that. I kept the numbers simple to minimise the chance of the discussion getting lost in quibbles about the correct number of marbles. I think you know this. I would appreciate it if you did not waste my time by attributing beliefs to me that I clearly do not hold. You do this to other commenters here, and it is simply tedious, not clever.

I thought the analogy was so obvious I did not need to spell it out, but since you willfully misunderstand, here goes… The nine bags in which black marbles are rare are analogous to climate conditions before AGW. Black marbles are rare events under normal pre-AGW conditions. The tenth bag is analogous to the new climatic conditions after AGW has distorted the probability distribution for what were previously rare events. The nine bags outnumber the tenth bag in a way that is analogous to your preconceived bias against the claim that AGW has affected the incidence of events. Your argument (mostly implied rather than explicit) was that warmists falsely interpreted the increasing occurrence of freak events as evidence of AGW, when it was equally valid to conclude the freak events were simply freak events that had no bearing on AGW. Your argument relies heavily on the view that it is rational to cling to a belief if it remains logically possible, even if it is unlikely. Your position also relies heavily on not facing up to the fact that evidence for and against a proposition is often probabilistic in nature. Your position also relies heavily on glossing over the fact that the increasing occurrence of events that were previously considered rare is evidence of an altered probability density function.

At this point, I’ll leave hyperg to school you on probability theory. You would do well to listen to him.

270. Everett F Sargent says:

hypergeometric.

I’d very kindly suggest that you don’t post figures from the grey non-peer reviewed literature. The figure you have posted is 100% BS.
https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/est/est_station.shtml?stnid=8518750

https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_station.shtml?stnid=8518750

2,25 m storm surge every five years in 2030-2045? From this?

ROTFLMFAQ! 😦

271. John Hartz says:

ATTP: A hot topic of discussion for a future post?

Ancient carbon is coming from Arctic soil. It might be fine, but it might be terrible. by Chris Mooney, Energy & Environment, Washington Post, Mar 1, 2018

272. angech says:

hyper and Leto.
“I thought the analogy was so obvious I did not need to spell it out,”
Where it was going was not so obvious to me, so thanks.
Away for 2 days.
H Black swan argument I will find some text comments, Leto
The nine bags in which black marbles are rare are analogous to climate conditions before AGW. “Black marbles are rare events under normal pre-AGW conditions. The tenth bag is analogous to the new climatic conditions after AGW has distorted the probability distribution for what were previously rare events.”
Not a 10 to 3 power increase no matter how far you try to stretch the analogy.

273. Michael 2 says:

John Hartz says: “It might be fine, but it might be terrible.”

Either way he predicted it correctly!

(by Chris Mooney, Energy & Environment, Washington Post, Mar 1, 2018)

274. John Hartz says:

275. Hyperactive Hydrologist says:

Angech,

If you were designing High Speed 2 (HS2), a new rail system in the UK, with a potential design life of 100+ years. Would you account for climate change in your design?

276. Chris says:

Check out how ‘Apartheid South Africa’ Australia looks in parts these days. I’m shocked and I am already unimpressed by the current regime here.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-02/nt-government-agrees-to-pull-down-indigenous-housing-sheds/9502880

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-02/sixth-infant-dies-of-syphilis/9503964

The first one certainly has a climate related aspect…I’m not sure if I could claim that in the second although the difficulty of providing remote health services is obviously increased.

277. zebra says:

@hypergeometric , also angech,

I think I understand angech’s argument, and it is clearly not valid. However, I am a bit troubled by this statement of yours:

“Causes are singular and have no continuity with alternate explanations. Ultimately, they are useless for planning.”

Let me pose a question for both of you to answer; you clearly have more statistical expertise than angech (and me), but I don’t think it matters:

-My house is 100 feet above sea level, according to the maps. It has never experienced coastal flooding.
-Assume that seal level rises by 96 feet.
-I observe waves crashing over my patio.

Do we require an exposition about marbles, of whatever color, to characterize the phenomenon in terms of cause and effect? Is the obvious causal narrative not sufficient for me to plan on building a seawall based on the expectation of that change in sea level?

You know, I think that in the climate wars, the so-called skeptics have learned that it is very easy to suck people with expertise into a discussion, creating the illusion by implication that there is some real debate about the underlying science. That appears to be the case here.

I would say some version of the response often given these days about attribution is properly calibrated:

“It is not possible (or, very difficult) to attribute the magnitude of this particular event to GW, but it is an example of what we can expect to occur more often in the future.”

278. Hyperactive Hydrologist says:

Zebra,

I would also argue that scientists have predicted increases in extreme events. The observed increase in these events is validating these predictions.

279. angech writes:

“Two questions, How much does this actually amount to in a temperature change if such a concept is possible. The relevance being if this only equates to say .02 C or even 0.2 C we are actually talking about changes which the boundaries of error far exceed.”,

O.K. give me a verifiable source for your claim that the “boundaries of error” in global ocean temperatures are greater than 0.2C.

280. Leto says:

Angech writes: ” Not a 10 to 3 power increase no matter how far you try to stretch the analogy.”

Once more, Angech, do not put words into my mouth. Try arguing against the point someone is actually making, rather than some related point you think you can beat.

With Angech, I can never quite tell if he is truly as thick as he acts, or whether he is trolling.

281. zebra says:

@hyperactive hydrologist,

Sure. But then angech and others will say “but sometime in the last 10K years there may have been similar swarms of black swans, and the evidence has been erased by time.”

The point of their game is to create the illusion that the validity of the theory is dependent on observation rather than the underlying physics, because they can’t refute the underlying physics.

I’m just making the case that engaging on such issues without first requiring agreement on the fundamentals is creating a false equivalence. International stability is being threatened by thermodynamics, and fluid dynamics, and radiation physics, not some philosophical wordplay.

282. Leto says:

@zebra ” International stability is being threatened by thermodynamics, and fluid dynamics, and radiation physics, not some philosophical wordplay.”

Yes, I think you’re right. The usual strategy of those trying to delay action on AGW is to toss up some spurious objection to the science, and then refuse to engage directly when the spurious objection is rebutted. Angech, in particular, would prefer to duck and weave and debate irrelevancies than let one discussion approach a resolution. His style is typical of fake-skeptics throughout the blogosphere.

283. John Hartz says:

Leto: Your description of angech’s modus operandi is spot on.

Attempting to engage him in a focused and coherent conversation about a specific issue is akin to trying to push water uphill.

284. @Everett F Sargent,

Frankly, I personally don’t give a gnat’s wit whether Sargent think it’s B.S. or not. To the rest of the audience, the figure was from an article which appeared in the proceedings of the WCRP/IOC Sea Level Conference held in July 2017 at New York City. The particular paper was “New York City’s evolving flood risk from hurricanes and sea level rise”. It’s authors?

* Andra J. Garner, Rutgers
* Robert E. Kopp, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
* Benjamin P. Horton, Rutgers and NTS, Singapore
* Michael E. Mann, Pennsylvania State University
* Richard B. Alley, Pennsylvania State University
* Kerry A. Emanuel, MIT
* Ning Lin, Princeton University
* Jeffrey P. Donnelly, WHOI
* Andrew C. Kemp, Tufts University
* Robert M. DeConto, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
* David Pollard, Pennsylvania State University.

Some of the names ought to be very familiar. Kerry is the worldwide expert on hurricanes, a major fluid dynamicist, and a student of Lorenz and Charney. Michael Mann is one of the prominent climate scientists, a great communicator and, as I’ve written elsewhere, a pioneer in bringing modern mathematical and statistical methods into climate science, which is what he did with colleagues on his tree rings work. (And, by the way, the criticism his work there gets is a laughable demonstration of how poorly some climate deniers understand PCA and SVD.) Richard Alley is perhaps the international expert on ice sheets. Jeff is a guy for so many seasons, oceanographer, climate scientists, communicator. David Pollard has a doctorate from CalTech (more impressive in my opinion than MIT), and is a numerical modeler and deep theory scientist who studies viscoelastic modeling of ice sheets and, of particular interest to me of late, vegetation-climate feedbacks. Andrew Kemp is an expert on coastal processes and climate change. And Robert DeConto is an expert on ice sheet dynamics.

Had Sargent been being transparent and genuine he’d had indicated that the last figure he posted in the Comment to which this is responding was taken from another paper with the same authors, not from the one I cited directly, which was peer-reviewed, and appeared in an unimportant little publication called the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences as “Impact of climate change on New York City’s coastal flood hazard: Increasing flood heights from the preindustrial to 2300 CE”, 2017.

So, from this little encounter, I’d say Sargent is playing games and is being disingenuous. So, as far as Sargent goes, I am happy. From what it says about both his public assessments and what it implies about his knowledge of SLR and the field, it saves me time. I can now completely disregard everything he posts, and if he chooses to do the same with mine, that’s perfect as far as I’m concerned. That goes for more than ATTP. He hangs out at other places, too.

285. I don’t bother to engage with folks who are historically and notoriously wrong and/or dishonest. I have better things to do with my time. Angech is historically/notoriousally wrong and/or dishonest. Pushing water uphill is a good description of the challenge posed by this type of commenter. We all know who posts here in good faith and who does not. I appreciate all you good faith folks.
Cheers,
Mike

286. Magma says:

“akin to trying to push water uphill” — John Hartz

Hey, none of that now! Pumped water storage holds promise as a short/medium term method to balance out nondispatchable renewable energy production vs. demand. It’s a much more useful endeavor than engaging in the comment forum equivalent of bouncing a tennis ball off a blank concrete wall.

287. There’s an arithmetic error in one of my posts above. Specifically, where I wrote:

So suppose 5 marbles are drawn from one urn, in succession: A marble is drawn, color noted, placed back in urn, urn shuffled, and then the next is drawn. And what’s noted is 2 red, 3 green, and no blue. So, what’s the estimate at the end of drawing 5 of the proportion of red, green, and blue marbles? Well, y’can do relative frequency and say red 0.2, green 0.3, and blue 0.0, but that’s not satisfactory for several reasons.

Well, y’can do relative frequency and say red 0.4, green 0.6, and blue 0.0, but that’s not satisfactory for several reasons.

since, obviously, it’s 2/5 and 3/5, not 2/10 and 3/10.

288. @zebra,

Do we require an exposition about marbles, of whatever color, to characterize the phenomenon in terms of cause and effect? Is the obvious causal narrative not sufficient for me to plan on building a seawall based on the expectation of that change in sea level?

Yeah, I’d say, yes, because it’s possible a meteor landed in the ocean 1000 km away from your home, and impact statistics, while they exist, operate on much longer time scales than climate SLR.

289. @Magma, @John Hartz,

Ach, meine Herren!

290. Everett F Sargent says:

hypergeometric,

Appeal to authority does not cut it with me at all.

“To the rest of the audience, the figure was from an article which appeared in the proceedings of the WCRP/IOC Sea Level Conference held in July 2017 at New York City.”

Then you would be WRONG!!! 😦 😦 😦

The were only in a POSTER SESSION!!! So NO paper, only a POSTER.

Go to the website and download all of that conferences PDF’s to see that fundamental TRUTH!!! 😦 😦 😦

So special pleading also does not cut it, especially when that special pleading id factually incorrect.

It is also not appropriate to publish a figure in a grey non-peer reviewed as not acceptable practice according to the IPCC AR5 guidance …

There is also an academic debate in the peer reviewed literature with respect to the works of * Kopp, Horton, Kemp, et. al. (there are several others in that infamous group). You should look into this rather esoteric debate (it relies to the amount of contamination due to anthropogenic land use changes in the Atlantic sectio over these past ~500 years (e. g. flood control/diversion and navigation structures, as well as agricultural usage and deforestation).

KE of MIT has been unable to produce one single article/paper on hindcasting of 1850-20XX North Atlantic Tropical Cyclones in the stochastic sense (not the IC/BC sense but in the BC only sense). That is almost certainly due to the downscaling of AOGCM/ESM’s that have well know circulation biases (plus the frequency limitation inherent in the rather course AOGCM/ESM’s grids (information theory suggests the smallest scale fluid structure that can propagate between very course and finite grid cells)). There are also issues with KE’s use of pinching of storm event tracks as this is a a priori biased selection criteria (no longer all possible storm tracks but a subset of all storm tracks that satisfy a pinch radius criteria centered on NYC).

The works of DeConto and Pollard are also currently being highly debated with respect to Antarctic ice sheet losses (If and when the get someone on board with at least a PhD in structural mechanics their works amount to nothing more that an of the cuff SWAG).

That takes care of most of them, the others are on board for a free ride IMHO.

So now, let’s get back to that ‘so called’ figure you postes, mkay. The NOAA extreme event data clearly shows that only one event has exceeded 2.25 meters (Sandy)between 1893-2017 or 125 years. Do you concede that fact? Yes or No will do. We already know the subsidence rate for NYS (1.3 +/- 0,18 mm/yr). Do you concede that fact? Ditto Y/N.

NOAA also gives us the current linear rate of RSL (relative sea level) as 2.85 +/- 0.09 mm/yr (and being RSL already includes the 1.3 +/- 0,2 mm/yr land subsidence (at The Battery at last (or all other bedrock dominant areas in and around NYC)). Do you concede that fact? Ditto Y/N.

Note also from that NOAA figure that the last several years have, more or less, flatlined!

And finally, the Figure 3 from the 2017 paper that I cited above, clearly shown negligible sea level rise in the 2010-2045 era, maybe 0.1 or 0.2 meters at best at the high end.

That’s just enough information to subtract out the NOAA RSL tide gage rate (2.85 +/- 0.09 mm/yr) and the net difference between their 2017 paper SLR projection rates, that is over and above, the NOAA rate (2.85 +/- 0.09 mm/yr) from their purported 2.25 meter storm surge criteria.

So I’ll SWAG say 1.75-2.0 meter storm surge after subtraction (don’t have the time to waste on you, seriously). The historical record still shows only one event (Sandy) that has exceeded 1.75-2.0 meter storm surge in 125 years. Note that their 2017 paper shows no change in intensity or frequency of occurrence from the tropical storm simulations, the even suggest a slight downturn.

You may be able to fool others with your talk the talk, but where I’m from, I prefer to always walk the walk,

291. Everett F Sargent says:

Left out groundwater extraction in the Atlantic sector as well as population demographic growth and infrastructure growth (roads, bridges, buildings and supporting rainfall runoff diversion structures (and subsequent modifications). In other words, there’s more than one anthropogenic factor (e. g. GHG’s) that must be accounted for, that being our changes to the landscape or Land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF).

292. Everett F Sargent says:

hypergeometric,

Having just now read your entire comment, I must say, that as rants/screeds/manifestos go, I’d give it a C-. Basically because, it boarders on, or even slightly crosses, an ad hominem attack.

293. @Marco, from here:

I agree that I think at this point, Al Gore could make a much bigger impact if he insisted upon giving speaking and other engagements by video link. The point is, the marginal effect upon emissions, both upstream and downstream of a point of consumption by reducing consumption is much bigger than either offsetting the consumption or mitigating the effects of consumption. So, to make it concrete, bringing your own bag is much better than paper or plastic bags, but not buying what you’re going to buy in the first place is better than any of them.

294. JCH says:

PSMSL allows an approximation of the satellite-era SLR, with caveats:

295. John Hartz says:

Speaking of severe weather events in the US during the current Winter season…

>Major Coastal Flooding, Hurricane-Force Wind Gusts Expected From Friday’s Nor’easter by Jeff Masters, Category 6, Weather Underground, Mar 1, 2018

Once-in-a-generation flooding possible in Boston — for the second time this year by Matthew Cappucci, Capital Weather Gang, Washington Post, Mar 1, 2018

‘Bomb cyclone’ forms as flood threat sparks ‘LIFE & DEATH’ warning by Faith Karimi & Joe Sterling, CNN, Mar 2, 2018

296. John Hartz says:

From the Jeff Masters, post that I listed in my prior post:

Two 1-in-100-year coastal flooding events in one year for Boston

According to NOAA, there is a 1% chance per year that Boston will see coastal flooding in excess of 4.59’ above Mean Higher High Water, MHHW (a 1-in-100-year event). A flood of this magnitude already occurred once this year, on January 4, when Winter Storm Grayson brought a top-five highest storm tide on record to the coast from Boston to Central Maine. Boston saw its highest water level on record, 4.88’ above MHHW. The NWS in Boston is predicting a storm surge of 2.5 – 3.5 feet during the time of high tide on Friday and Saturday. Exacerbating the event will be the highest tides of the month—more than a foot above average–associated with the full moon. The combined effect of the storm surge and the unusually high astronomical tide is predicted to bring a water level among the top-three highest ever measured, about 4.5’ above MHHW. Thus, this weekend’s storm surge may well give Boston a second 1-in-100-year coastal flooding event, something one would expect to see randomly only once every 10,000 years! [My bold.]

298. John Hartz says:

The url for the CNN article that I listed above:

“https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/02/us/weather-bomb-cyclone/index.html”

299. JCH says:

ES, a very long time ago on Realclimate I suggested materials/structure science could be applied to the Antarctic ice sheet. My uncle was a member of George Rankine Irwin’s team at Naval Research Labs during WW2.

Later I discovered it already was being applied, an example was Rist 99.

This paper is more current, and it cites Rist 99:

Structural provinces of the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica

300. Everett F Sargent says:

John Hartz.

“Thus, this weekend’s storm surge may well give Boston a second 1-in-100-year coastal flooding event, something one would expect to see randomly only once every 10,000 years!”

And I call shenanigans!!! 😦 😦 😦
North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study Phase I: Statistical Analysis of Historical Extreme Water Levels with Sea Level Change
https://erdc-library.erdc.dren.mil/xmlui/handle/11681/7353

Search that PDF for the word “Boston” …
p. 15. Table 5 MSL = 2.660 meters (NAVD88 2.752 meters, dy = 2.660 – 2.752 = -0.095 meters)
p, 25, Table 7 MHHW = 4.21 meters, MSL = 2.66 meters (check), MLLW = 1.07 meters

So MHHW – MSL (NAVD88 datum) = 4.21 – 2.752 = 1.458 meters = 4.784 feet
p. 35. Table 11 10-year return period = 2.59 meters = 8.497 feet (NAVD88 vertical North American Datum)

Hmm, so according to NOAA …
https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/waterlevels.html?id=8443970&units=standard&bdate=20180302&edate=20180303&timezone=LST/LDT&datum=NAVD&interval=6&action=
And using the proper local time and NAVD88 datum and units of feet we have … wait for it … 8.37 feet at midnight local time (00:06 or six minutes into 2018-03-03)

S-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o, not a 100-year event, not even a 10-year event (but it is close) … 8.5 – 8.37 = 0.13 feet BELOW a 10-year event.

Better change your 10,000 to something less than 100.

But consideration of the 18.6 year nodal tide (which we are only passed ~ one year ago, I’m quite sure all of you already knew this as its been in the media all the time over ~ the last two years, and using the JPL Horisons I got within 4 days of the actual nodal tide, so there) will show that these two events are NOT iid to begin with in the 1st place!!!

Word to the clueless, some of us were paid full time to know this stuff.

301. Everett F Sargent says:

NOAA’s version of EWL’s for Boston, MA …
https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/est/est_station.shtml?stnid=8443970
What’s a few mm amongst friends NOAA numbers versus USACE ERDC CHL numbers for the 100-year event. 🙂

302. Everett F Sargent says:

OK, so the previous high tide topped out at 9.17 feet (NAVD88) so about 0.67 feet ABOVE a 10-year event, equivalent to a 3-foot storm surge above the NOAA predicted astronomical tide, so eating crow, about a 25-year event (still stand by the iid nodal tide argument though).

303. I call foul and prevarication because the report and cite uses NOAA thermosteric expansion in its calculations. It is not as you pass. It off simply an extrapolation of historical trends but an embodiment of climate change SLR effects for the USACE.

So I say congratulations for you’ve demonstrated how well NOAA SLR projections work. The remaining discrepancies are within the bounds of prediction error.

304. That’s bupkis because. The .mil projection was designed and tested to be completely consistent with the NOAA one. So if there is an inconsistency it’s due to you, not them.

305. Everett F Sargent says:

hypergeometric.

I’m sorry if you don’t appear to know this stuff and are pi\$\$ed off because there are better people abouts than you.

So in three words, please calm down, mkay.

306. Everett F Sargent says:

I should also mention that the report I cited above is now considered obsolete IPhase 1). The follow on report (which I also linked to above) which uses several high fidelity numerical models (e. g. ADCIRC specifically developed originally for just the USACE), its database, is the current go to study for current and future water levels for NAD.

The Phase ! report is straight forward but is only useful for the NOAA gage locations, while the more comprehensive numerical report covers the entire NAD at the corresponding grid resolution(s).

307. Maybe we can draw this discussion to a close? It doesn’t appear to be achieving much, well much that’s constructive, that is.

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