2018: A year in review

Well, it’s the end of another year, so I should probably do a round-up of what’s happened on the blog. The blog seems to be ticking along quite well, but I still don’t really know what I’m doing; I just write stuff. I feel as though the general tenor of the public climate debate is improving; there’s less outright denial and the media seems to be doing a better job of covering the topic. Still don’t seem to be achieving much in terms of actually addressing climate change, but it feels as though we’re moving in the right direction, if a little slowly.

Below is my rather rushed attempt to summarise the blog for 2018.

January saw a guest post by Mark Richardson on a new measurement of climate sensitivity and a discussion about being wicked (a suggestion that I typically find quite irritating).

February had a discussion of about determining the ECS using a modified energy balance approach and a challenge for my readers (which was to find examples of typical contrarian arguments).

March involved a discussion of extreme events and anthropogenic emissions (suggesting that we don’t really need to do formal attribution studies), a post about talking solutions and motivating action, and also one about observing the earliest stages of star and planet formation (discussing some of my own work).

April included a post about our response to Hermann Harde’s flawed paper, a post highlighting the 20th anniversary of the hockey stick (which turned out to be more controversial than I’d expected), a post about criticising the critics (suggesting that defending oneself against criticism is, often, itself simply a tactic), and another discussion of Nic Lewis and Judith Curry’s work.

May involved a post about initial values problems versus boundary value problems, one about the rather contentious issue of RCP8.5 (some people seem to think it’s impossible and shouldn’t be considered, while also arguing that emission reductions are going to be virtually impossible too), one about carbon budgets and the impacts of climate change, and one about the rather pretentious intellectual dark web (Jordan Peterson et al.).

The most active post in June was about James Hansen’s projections not being wrong (which seems to have led to me being blocked on Twitter by one of those who had suggested that it was). There was also a discussion of low-probability, high-impact outcomes (we should consider these, IMO).

July saw a discussion about Skeptical Sciences Climate Misinformers site (which has now changed it’s name), and a post about zero emissions or, more correctly, the common misconception about committed warming.

August was quite quiet, but included a post about the “Hothouse” Earth paper, and a post about why you only need 60 stations to produce a global surface temperature anomaly dataset. It also included a post about one of my papers that discusses estimating eta-Earth (the frequency of Earth-like exoplanets).

The main posts in September were probably my reviews of Roger Pielke Jr’s recent book, the response to which has led me to conclude that there isn’t really much to be gained from engaging with anything Roger says.

October included a post about Richard Lindzen’s lecture to the GWPF (highlighting that the GWPF really does struggle to get credible speakers), a post about John McLean’s PhD (which should be an embarassment to the university that awarded it), and a discussion about an article suggesting that we focus too much on public mobilization and exposing denial (which, in my view, falls into the standard trap of criticising those who present credible information for not doing better, rather than criticising those who present misinformation).

November also seemed quite quiet, but a post arguing that there are benefits to acting now, rather than later was quite active, as was a post about limits to growth. I also wrote a post about an STS perspective, something I still don’t really understand, despite having read quite a lot about STS (Science and Technology Studies, in case that isn’t obvious).

December again discussed the plausibility of RCP8.5 (yes, it is), Tame and Wicked problems, and a rather active one about between conflation and denial, where the author of the paper demonstrated their annoyance with my post in the comments (which wasn’t really a surprise). The month ended with a post about one of my papers that characterised the three exoplanets around GJ 9827.

So, that’s it. Some posts that I think are quite interesting, some I’m quite proud of, and some that ended up somewhat contentious/controversial (or, in some cases, all three). I hope others have found them interesting and useful, and I hope everyone has a good New Year.

Links:
Stoat: The lyf so short, the craft so longe to lerne.

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11 Responses to 2018: A year in review

  1. verytallguy says:

    Happy New Year!

  2. Happy New Year.

    Let’s hope 2019 is the last bad year for people valuing rationality, social mobility, open societies and the enlightenment. Keep fighting the good fight.

  3. Dave_Geologist says:

    Happy New Year!

  4. Magma says:

    Happy New Year to the readers, contributors and host of this blog, which is both entertaining and informative.

    But since it’s still 2018 where I am, and since our host mentioned him first, one last bit of snark before the year-end. A week ago, Roger Pielke Jr. weighed in on a Twitter discussion of how potential mass murderers could potentially be identified in advance with algorithms analyzing their credit card spending patterns (a sudden onset of steady purchases of guns and ammunition, for example).

    Pielke, a political scientist who has published and spoken extensively about natural hazard and climate change risk analysis, contributed the following:

    If the Minority Report algorithm is 99% accurate (identifies future killers w/ 99% accuracy) and the true prevalence of such killers is 0.001% (500/50m people) then false positive rate is 1%, or 500,000 people. For every future killer caught, you’ll falsely accuse a half million.

    The ratio of false to true positives using Pielke’s hypothetical numbers is clearly not 500,000:1 but rather 1000:1. True, it’s just a tweet, but I suspect that steady contrarianism and false skepticism has a corrosive effect on expertise, rather than strengthening it.

  5. JCH says:

    First, banjo master Bill Keith says good bye to days gone by:

    And, Happy New Year!

  6. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    A very Happy New Year to y’all.

    Kevin Olusola:

  7. BBD says:

    Happy New Year all!

  8. KiwiGriff says:

    Giday.
    Happy new year.
    Don’t forget Kiwis got here first.

  9. David Hodge says:

    And another Happy New Year from New Zealand

  10. angech says:

    happy New Year to all. Thanks for all the hard work you put in.

  11. Willard says:

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