Independent SAGE – Climate

Sir David King, who has been leading the Independent SAGE group, is planning to set up a similar group that will focus on climate change (H/T Doug McNeall). It will apparently have 14 experts, from 10 nations, and every continent. This include Johan Rockström, Fatih Birol, Nerilie Abram, and Mark Maslin. So far, this seems like a reasonable group.

Given that I’ve been writing a blog about climate for a good number of years, I clearly think this is an important topic and am generally supportive of attempts to make it more prominent. So, this group could make an important contribution.

However, I also think there are some reasons to be concerned. Although things have improved over the last few years, this is still a pretty complex communication environment. It can be easy to slip up, say something that’s easily criticised, and undermine what you’re tryng to do. There are lots of people who’ve been engaging publicly in this topic for a long time, some of whom I hope they include, or at least spend some time talking to.

Then there’s the make-up of the group. Those named so far seem reasonably sensible, but there are some prominent people who may not be good additions. So, it will be interesting to see who makes up the rest of the group.

Also, what will the focus be? I’m a scientist, so I do think it’s important to stress our scientific understanding, but science alone does not tell us how to deal with this issue, and convincing people of the significance of this issue involves more than just explaining the science. If, as the news article indicates, the remit will be to press for more urgency, how will they do this in a way that’s effective?

Finally, as Doug McNeall highlighted on Twitter, there was this somewhat concerning comment in the article:

“I’ve been amazed by the response to Independent Sage,” King said. “All 12 members have become media personalities. I hope we get the same level of interest for the climate group.”

Clearly, if you want your message to be heard, you do need to get media exposure. However, there is a difference between finding ways to get your message heard, and aiming to become a media personality. Becoming a media personality is probably pretty easy. Doing so while still remaining credible is probably less so (I will say, though, that I do think those on Independent SAGE who have become quite prominent in the media have generally done well.)

As usual, this has got too long, so I’ll stop here. I think this is an interesting idea and could make a positive contribution. However, this is not the first time that people have been trying to press for more urgency. I hope this group doesn’t think that they can simply step up and easily do what many others have tried before.

This entry was posted in Climate change, Environmental change, Global warming, Policy, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Independent SAGE – Climate

  1. To follow up on this a little

    Those named so far seem reasonably sensible, but there are some prominent people who may not be good additions.

    I sometimes get the sense that some who have not been all that involved in the public climate debate think that some contrarians (for want of a better term) have maybe been unfairly treated and that it might be good to include some of these voices. They often aren’t fully aware that some of these people’s reputations are justified. I’ve no idea if there’s a chance that this group could include any such people (the remit to press for urgency might exclude them) but I do think the make-up of the group could determine it’s effectiveness.

  2. Just noticed that the list of members is now available. I actually don’t recognise many of the names, but those I do seem reasonable. It also seems like quite a wide range of expertise. Will be interesting to see what they promote.

    Peter Cox worries that it might be used as a platform to say cataclysmic things that the science doesn’t really justify, but we will just have to wait and see.

  3. attp says: “things have improved over the last few years, this is still a pretty complex communication environment. It can be easy to slip up, say something that’s easily criticised, and undermine what you’re tryng to do.”

    I think that caution about criticism needs to be tempered by the severity of the predicament we face with global warming and ocean acidification. I think it is important to speak clearly and forcefully. Too much caution driven by concern about being criticized makes little sense to me because the trolls/deniers/critics/culture warriors are often not very concerned about accuracy or honesty, they simply want to produce the appearance that the science is not settled or push a conspiracy theory or argue about the meaning and process of consensus. I think we just have to speak past those folks generally and occasionally note that their arguments are nonsense and have insufficient scientific or evidential basis. I wish the same could be said of the impact of our CO2 emissions, but it cannot. The science is solid and the evidence is appalling and clear to see for folks who are operating in good faith and with a modicum of intelligence.

    It is always possible to clarify remarks or walk back comments made in haste if that is necessary. Other folks operating in good faith and in a thoughtful manner should be able to accept these minor matters without blowing them out of proportion. I think it is clear that scientists can’t talk about tuning adjustments as “tricks” because bad faith climate ball warriors will write books and harangue endlessly over this minor type of error.

    Cheers

    Mike

  4. izen says:

    I’m sure they will be treated with the same respect that the COVID SAGE group attracted. /s

  5. Digital,
    I’ve done this for long enough to be suspicious that your questions are not entirely in good faith.

  6. Steven Mosher says:

    We need more urgency now!

  7. Anthony Albert Laven says:

    Global warming is attributed to CO2 in the upper atmosphere intercepting “heat” radiated from the Earth’s surface, and thus trapping it. But global warming requires the re-radiation of the energy “miraculously” back to itself itself. Thermodynamics dictates that it enters the Earth energy system – it cannot exist in isolation of the other forms of energy. Temperature is the product of thermodynamic equalisation which as a global average is the global average temperature. Any change is a change of the net energy embedded in the Earth environment. It cannot be an indicator of global climate or even local climate. Global warming is thus ONLY due to excess energy and includes all sources of energy INCLUDING those sources regarded as renewable.

  8. Anthony,
    I can’t quite make sense of what you’re saying, but this is not correct

    But global warming requires the re-radiation of the energy “miraculously” back to itself itself.

  9. Steven Mosher says:

    Anthony . no. just no

  10. Anthony Albert Laven (Tony) says:

    The statement is unequivocally precise. The IPCC asserts that infrared energy is radiated from -19 degrees C to the ground at +15 degrees C. Heat can only be radiated from a hot body to a cooler one – and most certainly it cannot return to itself unless perpetual motion is in fact reality. Since it is not, therefore the IPCC believes in miracles – and this is just one of their suite of fanciful conjecture.

  11. Anthony,
    Where does it say that?

    Heat can only be radiated from a hot body to a cooler one

    Actually all bodies with temperatures above 0K radiate energy. So, clearly if a cool body is next to a hot body, some of the energy being radiated from the cooler body will be intercepted by the hotter body. However, what cannot happen is for there to be a net transfer of energy from a cooler body to a hotter body. If you want to claim that the greenhouse effect violates the Laws of Thermodynamics, you’d need to demonstrate that there is a net transfer of energy from the region that is ~ -19oC to the region that is ~ +15oC. You can have a go at doing so, but I’m pretty sure you’d fail.

  12. Steven Mosher says:

    anthony no. just hell no

  13. Steven Mosher says:

    Anthony watch this

    then telll us the mistake you made

  14. Yes, I really like Ray’s explanation.

  15. Anthony Albert Laven says:

    [Mod: Sorry, but this is just nonsense, so I’m not posting it.]

  16. izen says:

    @-Tony
    “Heat can only be radiated from a hot body to a cooler one …”

    But the energy can be transferred as motion. When CO2 and H2O absorb radiated energy they then bounce off Nitrogen and Oxygen transferring some of that energy into extra velocity of the atmosphere; thermal energy. That is what raises the average temperature of the atmosphere and keeps the surface warmer.
    Without the ability of a gas to absorb radiative energy and transform it into thermal (velocity) energy the Earth surface would be much colder.

  17. Jim Eager says:

    Isen, Anthony’s statement “heat can only be radiated from a hot body to a cooler one” is simply not true, full stop. Anthony is just using the “2nd Law” bingo chip. He obviously has no idea what the 2nd law of thermodynamics actually states or means.

  18. Russell says:

    I hope King’s new crew will liase with Biden’saspirant technology asessment team- Harvard just published their playbook

    https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2021/06/tech-asessment-itchy-and-scatchy-show.html

  19. Steven Mosher says:

    tempered by the severity of the predicament we face with global warming and ocean acidification.

    We are in the business of convincing people to change their behavior. There are two tools.

    Words (explanation
    Or
    Power (force

    Choose your words wisely

  20. Steven Mosher says:

    @-Tony
    “Heat can only be radiated from a hot body to a cooler one …”

    smart photons

  21. mike thefordprefect says:

    Anthony Albert Laven (Tony) says: June 21, 2021 at 11:27 am
    THeat can only be radiated from a hot body to a cooler one – and most certainly it cannot return to itself unless perpetual motion is in fact reality.
    ———-
    I’m sure you have heard of thermal imaging cameras? The most common (cheapest) type has a room temperature micro-bolometer sensor. The sensor is at slightly above ambient (max ambient can be around 50°C). The image is focussed on this and hotter objects in this image can increase the temperature of the bolometer sensors changing their resistance which can be electronically detected and formed into an image.
    However in your world an object below the sensor temperature cannot heat the bolometers at 50°C. BUT these cameras will demonstrably show images of -40°C objects.
    How do you explain this – is the lower temperatures image created by cold rays cooling the bolometers?! – it will be difficult for you to change the physics of IR and radiation in general.
    Or do you believe that the IR from the bolometer falling on a cool object will cool the bolometer more?! Radiation from the warm bolometer will be focussed back through the lens and to all camera parts equally. However for this explanation to work you have to have the IR communicating back to the source. IR is not that clever!
    What actually happens is all temperatures above absolute zero radiate and change the bolometer temperature upwards. (below -40°C the change is so small that measurements are not precise – hence the low temp limit). A focused object at -40°C will cause less heating than an object at -39°C and this will be detected by the electronics.

    Room temperature thermal imaging cameras exist (£200 will buy you one for your phone!). They can demonstrably image objects less than the bolometer temperature. Cold rays do not exist. Ir has no reverse channel communication.

    I would be interested in hearin how you think a room temperature thermal imager works!

  22. izen says:

    @-Jim
    “Anthony is just using the “2nd Law” bingo chip.”

    I know, but I spent a long and fruitless thread in 2018 arguing with his… doppelganger (?) nickreality, about this belief to no avail. So I thought it wise to circumvent the entrenched belief with an alternative mechanism.

  23. Jim Eager says:

    The simple fact is you will never convince the Anthony’s of the world. I spent over a decade arguing politely with his ilk. It’s not a matter of providing them with sufficient information or facts or reasoned explanation, they are utterly impervious to it. And it’s not because they are stupid, it’s because their character simply won’t let them think clearly and rationally about the problem. It’s way, way past time to just stop letting them hold the rest of the human race hostage to their ignorant and irrational beliefs.

  24. gator says:

    I’d bet Anthony is a follower of that guy discussed in the “mind your units” post. This idea that “cold can’t radiate to hot” is directly related to the idea that a radiative flux has a temperature. Wrong wrong wrong.

  25. Russell says:

    It might amuse Mike to get hold of some hexagonal boron nitride, AKA “white graphite”

    While isoelectronic with carbon, – it also forms a hard diamond -like phase, it differs radically in emissivity, because its light atoms and strong covalent bonds give rise to a lattice vibration ( restrahl) infrared reflectivity with a sharp peak around ten microns. In other words it is a body temperature infrared mirror. As emissivity is inversely proportional to reflectivity, and boron nitride reflectivity rises to above 90% around 11 microns, it can paradoxically look cold in thermal IR camera images even if it is slightly warmer than its surroundings.

    Best of luck explaining this to Anthony

  26. Jim Eager says:

    If he comes back, someone might ask Anthony how exactly, if heat can only be radiated from a hot body to a cooler one, does a vacuum oven work.
    Hat tip to Eli: http://rabett.blogspot.com/2020/05/good-intentions.html

  27. Steven Mosher says:

    yes athonys misunderstanding is very hard to dislodge.
    thATS why i like rays explanation. it clearly identifies that c02s role is REDUCING cooling not adding heat.
    the key here of course is that the anthony’s of the world are so locked into their misuderstanding you can only snap them out of it by changing your explanation

  28. I also like Ray’s explanation. One issue with some of the explanations of the greenhouse effect is that they’re overly simple and some who have some knowledge find ways to strawman these explanations. Ray’s is probably the explanation that still reasonably simple, but includes enough of the relevant physical processes to make it difficult to strawman.

  29. Steven Mosher says:

    yes attp. once i found rays explanation everything made sense

  30. Steven Mosher says:

    However for this explanation to work you have to have the IR communicating back to the source. IR is not that clever!

    smart photons remembr the ctemperature of their source

  31. izen says:

    @-SM
    “smart photons remembr the ctemperature of their source”

    Even smarter, they can detect the temperature of the surface they are heading towards at the speed of light and avoid it if it is hotter than their source….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.