The tragedy of climate change science?

Since my last post was about how scientists failed the pandemic test, I thought I might comment on another paper highlighting the tragedy of climate change science. The basic premise of the article is that society has failed to take effective action on climate change and that, consequently, the science-society contract is broken and that the time has come for scientists to agree to a moratorium on climate change research as a means to first expose, then renegotiate, the broken science-society contract.

I have sympathy with the frustration, but I think the basic argument is simply wrong. I don’t think the general description of the social contract is quite right. As Andrew Dessler pointed out, the social contract is simply that [t]hey pay us to do research and we provide them with the results. There is no obligation that policy makers take the results and make decisions that the researchers agree with.

This doesn’t mean that researchers can’t, or shouldn’t, disagree with the decisions that are made. As citizens, they’re perfectly entitled to do so. However, researchers don’t have some special right to decide how their research results are used. They, of course, have the right to decide not to do some research if they think it will be used in ways that they regard as unethical, but that seems a somewhat different issue to what is being proposed in this paper.

I also thought that the paper exaggerated the level of failure. The world’s governments now virtually all agree that we need to tackle climate change, even if their actions don’t yet match their words. In some sense, this is a remarkable success of science communication. Also, even though we haven’t yet bent the Keeling curve down, global emissions have probably been lower than they might otherwise have been. There’s been a shift from coal to natural gas and a growth in the use of renewables. There’s much more that needs to be done, but I do think there has been some progress.

I do think there are also reasons to be disappointed; we should probably have acted sooner to reduce emissions and there are still those who seem reluctant to take serious action. However, there are also reasons to be optimistic; outright climate denial is far less prominent than it once was and it does seems as though the more extreme scenarios are far less likely than they once were.

As some often point out, we’re not going to solve this by doing more science. However, I think the reverse also applies; we’re not going to solve it by doing less. Policy makers have largely accepted the scientific evidence and the lack of effective action is probably more to do with political roadblocks than with how much, or how little, science is now done.

There may be merit in changing the IPCC reports so that there is much more focus on WG2 (Impacts, adaptation and vulnerability) and WG3 (mitigation) research, than on WG1 (physical science) research. However, I don’t think this means that physical scientists should change the focus of their work, or stop doing their research. The Earth’s climate is still an interesting system to study and we do still want to continually update our understanding so as to better inform mitigation and adaptation efforts. Ultimately, the failure is a failure of policy making, not a failure of science communication, and I think we should be cautious of suggesting otherwise.

This entry was posted in Carbon tax, Climate change, Research, Scientists, The philosophy of science and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

128 Responses to The tragedy of climate change science?

  1. Something I did think, but didn’t put in the post (it’s a bit churlish) is that if the authors want to tell others to stop doing some research, maybe they could focus on those who repeat “skeptic” conspiracies when writing about Climategate, or they could reflect on why there are some scholars who suggest that maybe a little science denial is actually in order.

    The paper even highlights post-normal science as being an alternative research approach, but might want to reflect on why some regard it as a field that was either made for the denialist crowd, or has been hijacked by them.

  2. Willard says:

    > I don’t think the general description of the social contract is quite right.

    It’s worse in context:

    Social contract theory, nearly as old as philosophy itself, is the view that persons’ moral and/or political obligations are dependent upon a contract or agreement among them to form the society in which they live. Socrates uses something quite like a social contract argument to explain to Crito why he must remain in prison and accept the death penalty. However, social contract theory is rightly associated with modern moral and political theory and is given its first full exposition and defense by Thomas Hobbes. After Hobbes, John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau are the best known proponents of this enormously influential theory, which has been one of the most dominant theories within moral and political theory throughout the history of the modern West. In the twentieth century, moral and political theory regained philosophical momentum as a result of John Rawls’ Kantian version of social contract theory, and was followed by new analyses of the subject by David Gauthier and others. More recently, philosophers from different perspectives have offered new criticisms of social contract theory. In particular, feminists and race-conscious philosophers have argued that social contract theory is at least an incomplete picture of our moral and political lives, and may in fact camouflage some of the ways in which the contract is itself parasitical upon the subjugations of classes of persons.

    https://iep.utm.edu/soc-cont/

    When social scientists want to sell you an old philosophical framework, reach for your wallet.

  3. As if …
    https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5235-1425
    https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3991-5211
    https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4277-5042

    Funny how those Whites who don’t do WG1 stuff would ever suggest a global boycott or some such! The tragedy of the climate science commons indeed.

    Bus boycotts worked in the Deep South because only Blacks took the bus or some such …
    Montgomery bus boycott
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montgomery_bus_boycott

  4. The Whites from Down Under …

  5. Has not https://climatechange.environment.harvard.edu/naomi-oreskes sort of suggested the same thing?

    Stop doing WG1 research or some such.

  6. EFS,
    I think there have been suggestions that the IPCC focus more on WG2 and WG3, but I’m not aware of anyone suggesting that WG1 scientists stop doing WG1-like work. I may have missed it though. The one issue that I have with the suggestion that the IPCC focus on WG2 and WG3 is that these are still strongly linked to WG1, so you would probably still need some kind of WG1-like report, even if it were only an update to previous WG1 reports.

  7. And as humanity continues to do an epic fail on mitigation … a renewed focus on WG2!

    I mean like EV’s in my dumbass country (the good ole USofA) ,,,

    These (and their SUV ilk) …
    https://www.ford.com/trucks/f150/f150-lightning/2022/
    instead of these …
    https://echo3.energy/models/

    And recharged from mostly fossil fuel sources.

    I am such a wanker!!!!!!

  8. So, hmm, err, which way is up?

    Seeking Certainty on Climate Change: How Much Is Enough?
    Two physicists object to a Scientific American essay calling for an end to one climate report. A science historian counters that the report has done its job
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/seeking-certainty-on-climate-change-how-much-is-enough/

  9. How much is enough? In a limited manner, I would suggest that the pathway focus could switch to an evaluation of where/when climate change produces significant levels of civilization collapse – things like failure of the agro systems or power generation grid. That kind of focus might help our species concentrate a bit and understand the implications better than arbitrary temp rise numbers like 1.5 or 2.0 or whatever.

    But research normally produces unintended benefits and consequences. The idea of terminating a research topic/area seems like a bad idea to me. The usual precautions apply, but probably cannot be enforced.

    As to social contracts, I am not particularly familiar with a science social contract as described. It could exist as described and it may be in tatters, but there has normally been a “science for sale” contract available, so the idea of a pure science social contract seems naive to me. There are plenty of scientists making a living these days through the science for sale institute. I think Fred Singer is still professor emeritus there? Or maybe he’s dead now?

    I love the graphs that show the Keeling curve unbent and continuing steadily upward with the projected future curve slowly dipping and then beginning to drop. They make me think of a pinata! When that curve actually passes flat and starts to drop, it’s like the pinata exploding. It’s too bad that lots of us will not live to see that happen because it would be a very festive occasion. Especially so if the change in the curve is driven by changes in emissions that are independent of significant levels of civilization collapse.

    Cheers

    Mike

  10. aquote seems to be in order …

    “To the scientists who have done the job they were asked to do, I say: Thank you! Declare victory and pass the baton to the experts in the social, political and economic questions essential to finding and implementing effective solutions to the climate crisis. Doing so would not only be a service to the world; it would be a service to science as well.”

    Perhaps the most dangerous words ever spoken. Stop doing the science! Because the epic failures of humanity in the social, political and economic fields, particularly by the Whites, is, well simply epic, throughout time and space (Southeast Asia, Africa and of course the Americas).

  11. b fagan says:

    I agree with your take on this paper. If they think that climate scientists going on strike will shock the world into suddenly changing how the world does things, they aren’t thinking clearly. Lobbyists and captive legislators for the fossil industry in Australia, US, UK and the national leaders in Russia and Middle East oil powers won’t suddenly say “Hey! Don’t take your valuable continued research away! We’ll shut down our industries toot sweet.” Won’t happen.

    Also, repeating the phrase “science is settled” is just a gift to the denial industry, so if this is an outreach approach, it’s already backfired to a certain extent. Then they throw in Al Gore and Greta Thunberg, just to be certain they won’t convert anyone primed with pro-fossil messaging the past three decades.

    But I think this is mistaken: “The tragedy is conducting more climate change research even when the science is settled.” It’s not settled. As you point out, the WG2 and WG3 work really needs a lot more insight into local changes and what to expect in shorter timeframes. Their complaint is like a astrophysicist saying the science is settled when most of the universe is still composed of the question marks labelled Dark Energy and Dark Matter.

    The Keeling Curve is bending, as you note, just not bending downwards yet. I look at the BP Statistical Review of World Energy CO2 data and highlight each nation’s ten highest- and ten lowest-emissions years.
    In Europe, the 2021 report makes progress clear – each of the following show the last ten years are the lowest emissions in the record: Czech Republic, Denmark, Sweden, UK.
    Germany, Hungary, Ukraine’s ten lowest are all since 2009. France and others are trending that way, too. Only Turkey shows the last decade as highest emissions. Over here, the US top years of emissions were 1999 through 2008. Most of the coal-fired plants China signed deals on since 2015 in Belt and Road have withered away, and they announced they won’t even try building more (outside their borders) now.

    The paper’s authors should appreciate that the economics are starting to build against fossil in ways that keep accelerating. EIA and IEA had traditionally been underestimating the growth of renewables, and then storage, but seem to finally be waking up. Exxon recently getting dumped from the Dow Jones Industrials after 98 years there underlines what the investment world sees in the future, too.

    The big automakers might have been happy selling giant gas-guzzlers, but seeing Tesla surpass them on the stock market has to hurt, and they realize they can also make a profit selling giant battery-guzzlers. More and more of their staffing is into electric-only power train development. Ford started the shift a few years ago, Hyundai just re-assigned their engineers from fueled to electric too. GM’s Ultrium battery platform is a direct challenge to Tesla’s approach.

    People in Teslas and Priuses can be ridiculed by the right as urban elitists, but when a rural farmer with wind turbine money in his pocket buys an electric F-150, and it powers his home for a while after a derecho knocks power lines down, that will start making things more difficult for the fossil-fuel defense industry. Four Red States generate most of the wind power in the USA, and in Oklahoma, wind generation is catching up rapidly to gas generation.

    I think now’s the time to stop pushing mostly on climate science and start pushing the costs – of cheap new energy sources vs. rising gas and oil, of lower cost-to-operate for EVs, of the increasing costs and taxes needed to “just adapt” as the fossil PR advises now. Hard to justify rebuilding a mile of road too many times in a row, just to have it end up offshore anyway.

    Re-focusing people on the benefits of the energy transition instead of trying to get action by scaring people with a genuinely scary future might be more effective in groups unwilling to admit a scientific conclusion they’ve been conditioned to resist accepting.

    Everything we do is too little, too late if the Perfect Response is the comparison. But Perfect Response requires too much backwards time travel, so we can only keep an eye on the successes (and failures) in the present. Progress that’s too slow is still progress, even though much more should be done. Climate scientists should keep at their job of giving us useful information, and acknowledge that good information doesn’t always produce good policy against entrenched interests.

  12. Jon Kirwan says:

    I don’t have much to contribute to this. Different people have different world views and life experiences. So what qualifies as sound reasoning about this still turns on the axioms one accepts before starting that process.

    As Andrew Dessler pointed out, the social contract is simply that [t]hey pay us to do research and we provide them with the results. There is no obligation that policy makers take the results and make decisions that the researchers agree with.

    I want to use the above to clarify my meaning at the outset. I’ve been self-employed my entire life. This means I have to be able to read contracts, negotiate changes, etc. This also means that I have very much learned not to just accept the rules of the game handed to me by those paying my bills. I’ll either negotiate them, early on, or else if I feel it makes no matter because I’ll win in the end I’ll leave their clauses in place and fight them, later, when and if necessary.

    That kind of world view informs my perspective here. I do agree that those paying the bills do in fact expect that they get to set the rules for that work. In fact, in my experience they not only expect that the explicit rules are theirs to make, they also expect a great deal of malleability when issues arise that weren’t explicit. And given the fact that I’m just a contractor and they have been for example at times Lockheed, they know they have a great deal more muscle to apply.

    But that doesn’t mean I would then accept their rules. Nor do I have to play by them. Where I think it is important, I bring forward issues that I think we can negotiate and resolve. In some cases, I’ve simply refused the work as the terms we simply unacceptable. And in still others, I make my own choices and live with their results.

    In most states in the US, it is technically legal to sell a box of apples that are labeled “Fresh Crop” when there is but one in ten apples that are what a consumer would imagine as fitting that label. The law isn’t there because consumer groups demanded that there be at least one in ten. That’s crazy-minded. It is there because those who supply apples have a huge store of cold storage (varying techniques used) apples that may span back two years, at times, and when a fresh crop of apples arrive from say Hood River, OR, these apples are immediately mixed up and used to sell boxes of apples that are 90% the same as they are, the rest of the year.

    That “they pay us to do research and we provide them with results” is not a matter of research scientists getting together and demanding this. It’s instead what those in control of the work contracts want to be believed and accepted by those performing the work.

    If you accept and believe everything you are told to believe, fine. That’s a valid path. And then I’d agree with the conclusion. But it’s not the only path.

    Don’t infer from any of the above that I have a well-formed opinion. I don’t. That would require me to have different and probably far broader life experiences than I’ve had. I’m only poking at it with a stick for now to see how it wiggles.

  13. Jon,
    The clarification I would make about what I was saying is that I’m not implying that society decides what research they want to do and researchers are then obligated to do it. Researchers, and institutions, are free to not do some research. They can choose to not do research that might lead to the development of weapons; they can choose not to do research funded by the fossil fuel industry; etc. However, having submitted a proposal and been funded to do some research, they then don’t have some special right to decide how the research results are then used, once they’re made public. They can object as a citizen, but their position as a researcher doesn’t give them some special right to influence how their research results are used by society.

  14. thanks to b fagan for a comment that I read a couple of times. There is a lot there in what you typed in

  15. Yes, b fagan made a number of good points. I thought this was particularly good

    Everything we do is too little, too late if the Perfect Response is the comparison. But Perfect Response requires too much backwards time travel, so we can only keep an eye on the successes (and failures) in the present. Progress that’s too slow is still progress, even though much more should be done.

    We do have to be careful of letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. Also, because of the complex relationship between emissions and concentrations, we probably won’t see much obvious impact on increasing concentrations until we’ve made substantial emission cuts (we won’t have data from the world in which such emissions cuts weren’t made to compare with). Hence, we do have to be careful of judging success as being failure because we haven’t yet noticed the impact.

  16. Joshua says:

    Off topic.

    I thought this article about discourse on the pandemic describes some close parallels to discourse on climate change.

    In particular, the concept of “binary consensus building” and the rhetoric of “think of the children.”

    https://indignity.substack.com/p/indignity-vol-2-no-4-covid-on-the?s=09

  17. Jon Kirwan says:

    The clarification I would make about what I was saying is that I’m not implying that society decides what research they want to do and researchers are then obligated to do it.

    I was on about something else.

    Researchers, and institutions, are free to not do some research.

    Just as I’m free not to accept work. I mentioned that.

    But I also mentioned that when I do take work as a business relationship, that doesn’t also mean that I fully accept my employer’s sole interpretation of that relationship.

    The point I am trying to poke at is that there may be a valid perspective (for some) in the Third Option mentioned in that paper. (And perhaps a little more than that, which I’ll get to later below.)

    It sounds, your writing does to me anyway, almost as though you feel there is only one way to interpret the research relationship — that the only right way is as those funding the research see things. They get to define the entirety and that’s the end of it?

    I don’t know. I’m asking if that is the way you feel.

    Personally? It is not a successful business model to allow those funding it to always define the entirety of every funding relationship. Were it that scientists were unable to think their way out of a paper bag, I’d say, “Yeah. Just take the money and jump when they say jump.” But I’ve never worked with any who I felt were anything but people I looked up to and learned from. Especially, in fact, their business acumen. One of those on a team I worked with walked away with about a hundred million dollars in a buy-out. Not stupid. So I wonder if scientists, as a group, can also do a little better on this relationship game and balance things out a bit.

    Again, I don’t know. But I don’t think a sustainable relationship is one where just one side defines all the rules and other side just “performs.” Everything has to be mutual. Or it isn’t going to survive over the long term.

    They can choose to not do research that might lead to the development of weapons;

    Yeah. I’ve done that. (Not easy to set aside that kind of money, by the way.)

    …they can choose not to do research funded by the fossil fuel industry; etc. However, having submitted a proposal and been funded to do some research, they then don’t have some special right to decide how the research results are then used, once they’re made public. They can object as a citizen, but their position as a researcher doesn’t give them some special right to influence how their research results are used by society.

    I don’t necessarily agree. And perhaps some others may not. (Not sure if there is a disagreement, yet, to be honest.)

    Their Third Option is again just voluntary, isn’t it? People and their organized bodies can make choices about the kinds of relationships they want and the kinds they don’t. I don’t imagine you are arguing against that.

    There is subtle part of what I’m considering that isn’t entirely explicit. So I’ll try and make that explicit, now.

    One can take everything you’ve said and everything I’ve said and just imagine that, at bottom, it’s all about what people are willing to accept in terms of their research contracts/grants. They can say yes. They can say no. They can organize and say yes or now as a larger group, too. And who can say that is right or wrong. Each makes their own choices here. So perhaps you don’t find their Third Option difficult and are also just asking about the thoughts of others. Perhaps you think it is fine and that people are, in fact, free to select that option. I can’t tell, for sure.

    But the subtle part is that I’m also suggesting something I didn’t read in that paper, where one can in full faith still accept a research contract/grant but even then one does not necessarily need to take what the grantor says defines that relationship, without argument later (or without risk.)

    I’ve had plenty of circumstances (okay, sure, yelling matches) where in the middle of the performance of my work my grantor (my contractor) tells me that they meant X and not Y (not explicitly in the contract text), when I darned well knew different and had to line up various parties in order to make my case stick. And in one of the more serious of these situations, I simply told the president of the contractor business (a large one) that I would never work for them again until a certain vice-president of the company was permanently removed. Two years later, I got that call and we had a very good decade together, after.

    In one quite different case, I was flying out to a nearly billion-dollar newly funded company called “G Squared” in California as a specialist consultant working for a 3rd party as their “black body radiation physics consultant.” Chris, the president at the time of G^2, explained the problem they were having with an RTP (rapid thermal processing) FAB. The 3rd party who paid my bills and flew me out fully expected me to sell their product (which they were also paying me to achieve for them.) But upon seeing the situation, I pointed out the obvious to Chris and he spent that night drilling holes and testing my ideas the next day. Turns out, the solution could use cheap, readily available parts and my thoughts from the prior day were validated. Of course, this meant the 3rd party lost a huge sale of overly expensive, still not well-tested equipment I was otherwise involved with.

    I did the right thing. Chris sold the company to Applied Materials the next year and made a bundle. And everyone actually benefited in the end, as Chris purchased the “cheaper” equipment from that 3rd party — perhaps partly because they had taken the time to send me to Chris. Of course, I got yelled at on the flight home. And more. But that’s what comes with the work.

    Just hunkering down and letting others tell me what my reality should be about the world? Not something I do.

    Again, just poking it with that stick.

  18. russellseitz says:

    The theoreticians merchandising the Social Contract known as The Green New Deal already seem focused on the subjugation of the class of persons known as Beefeaters.

  19. mrkenfabian says:

    “I don’t think the general description of the social contract is quite right. As Andrew Dessler pointed out, the social contract is simply that they pay us to do research and we provide them with the results. There is no obligation that policy makers take the results and make decisions that the researchers agree with.”

    Duty of care? Not necessarily to do what scientists say should be done but there IS an obligation to take that advice seriously. That duty of care is not so much a contract between governments and scientists (or institutions) – more like a duty to the body politic and to the national and public good and to legal principles like responsibility and accountability. But having commissioned that research and experts to give advice (because they are not climate experts) it looks a lot like negligence (or worse) to then turn about and dismiss or pass over it.

    If the “social contract” between science and government isn’t working that looks like failures on the government and society side of that equation, not failures of science. We can’t expect governments to stop until they get it right (my initial choice) but stopping climate science – and this is suggestive of simply treating climate science as wrong until the improved “social contract” is established – looks like conceding irrevocable victory to those who want to avoid responsibility and accountability on a problem that is cumulative and irreversible and – going by that pesky science based advice – incredibly damaging to economies and people and environment.

    How does stopping climate science possibly lead to better outcomes?

  20. Jon Kirwan says:

    How does stopping climate science possibly lead to better outcomes?

    That’s a good question.

    At some point the desperate need for precipitous action crosses over the need for still better climate science results. I don’t know if that’s already happened or will happen a few decades out. I’m just a silly engineer specializing in few tiny niches. Perhaps this paper is attempting to shake a few more of those who do have the better clues into pursuing this question a little more and other questions a little less?

  21. Jon,

    It sounds, your writing does to me anyway, almost as though you feel there is only one way to interpret the research relationship — that the only right way is as those funding the research see things. They get to define the entirety and that’s the end of it?

    I don’t know. I’m asking if that is the way you feel.

    No, this isn’t what I was trying to say. I’ll have to think a little more about the rest of your comment, but a key thing about typical academic research is that the results become public. Once this has happened, the researchers don’t then have some special right to define how this information is then used by society. They can, of course, publicly correct misinformation and can have strong views as citizens, but they don’t get to take the results back once they’re public.

    One other difference between what you describe and typical academic research, is that the funder rarely (if ever) plays a direct role. Some of the big European grants expect researchers to submit reports for all of their research packages, but many grants just let researchers get on with their work. If what they end up doing is slightly different to what they proposed, that can be fine if it was in a similar area and was probably motivated by something having happened between the time the grant was submitted and the time the work was done. So, it’s very unlikely that the funders will be actively engaging with the researchers to ensure that the work they want to have done, gets done.

    So, I don’t necessarily think there is anything wrong with deciding not to do some research because of a frustration with how the information has been used to date. In this context (where the frustration is a lack of sensible action, rather than an ethical concern about what is being done) I don’t see that it will have the desired effect and it may lead to a shortage of reliable information, which may itself be ethically questionable.

  22. Mark,
    Yes, you make a good point. I also think that the failure here is more on the side of society, than on the side of scientists. I didn’t really go into this, but one additional concern I have with the way this is framed, is that it implies that the scientists should do something to fix this, when – as you say – the problem is mostly on the society side. So, this narrative then runs the risk of preople later saying “if only scientists had done ….”, implying that the problem was with what scientists did, or did not, do rather than with what society did, or did not, do.

  23. dikranmarsupial says:

    If I were a peer reviewer, I would not have recommended acceptance while the second paper started with the sentence “The science-society contract is broken” without some pretty substantial justification. This seems to me like mere polemic/rhetoric and I don’t think there is a place for that in an academic journal. Even in subjects which will inevitably be a matter of opinion (and there is nothing wrong with that), it should be carefully argued and balanced opinion. But perhaps that it just me.

    The thing that amused me is that they wrote:

    There is an unwritten social contract between scientists and society, whereby public investment in science will lead to an improved understanding of our world and help achieve outcomes that are deemed beneficial to society (Lubchenco, 1998). … However, it is clear that despite scientific success in advancing understanding about various aspects of global change, notably climate change, scientists have been spectacularly unsuccessful at bridging the science-policy interface.

    However in the previous paragraph, the wrote:

    Governments concur that the science is settled on the reality of global change. Consensus dates back at least to the 1972 Stockholm Conference, was reiterated at the 1992 and 2002 Earth Summits, and in subsequent global agreements, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 2015 Paris Agreement and Aichi Biodiversity Targets (2011–2020).

    Which seems to me compelling evidence that the science-polity interface has been bridged, the politicians have accepted the science, they just haven’t done anything with it (apart from to set targets). I would normally reject a paper that contained a contradiction in its argument, at least until it had been expressed more clearly.

    If the “science-society contract” is broken, it is society that has broken it. Of course it isn’t broken – it could be argued that the scientists have fulfilled their end of the contract and so have society, because our inaction accurately reflects our true values (as a society rather than as individuals).

  24. dikranmarsupial says:

    I also didn’t like the “science is settled” bit. It is settled enough (combined with economics/politics/values etc) to know that climate change is a problem we need to do something about, but science is never really settled.

    The phrase “the science is settled” is associated almost 100% with contrarian comments on climate and is usually a paraphrase of what ‘some scientists’ are supposed to have said. The reality is that it depends very much on what you are talking about and I have never heard any scientist say this in any general context – at a recent meeting I was at, someone claimed that this had been said by the participants and he was roundly shouted down by the assembled experts.

  25. Chubbs says:

    This is 180 degrees off. If we had reduced CO2 emissions, we could have reduced climate research funding. However that isn’t the case. There are many areas where we are flying blind: collapse of ice sheets, permafrost melt, amazon drying, etc.arguing for more research and not less.

  26. wmconnolley says:

    They are impatient children and have got their history wrong: “Consensus dates back at least to the 1972 Stockholm Conference” is simply not true; e.g http://mustelid.blogspot.com/2018/03/who-knew-what-when.html. “The first Assessment Report of the IPCC, published in 1990, concluded with certainty that human activities were substantially increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases and warming the earth’s surface” is literally true but in context misleading, because the IPCC was of course only certain of the sign of the effect, and not the magnitude. So I don’t think these people are honest.
    But their main problem is that we have enough science (so their call for a moratorium is pointless); what we don’t agree on is exactly what should be done. The problem has passed out of the hands of physical-climate-science folk.

  27. WMC,

    But their main problem is that we have enough science (so their call for a moratorium is pointless); what we don’t agree on is exactly what should be done. The problem has passed out of the hands of physical-climate-science folk.

    I agree that we have enough science and that more (or less) science isn’t going to resolve the political issues. I tend to think, though, that if we significantly reduced the focus on physical science we’d start to see people promoting various crackpot ideas. So, I think you still need to have some focus on the physical science, even if it’s not likely to change all that much.

    However, there are also aspects that have become much clearer in the last few years. The idea of net zero, the concept of carbon budgets, the difference between short- and long-lived pollutants, etc. Plus, adaptation measures will also rely on fairly up-to-date physical science. So, even if we’ve done enough science to know the basics of what needs to be done, physical science is still providing some important updates.

  28. wmconnolley says:

    You’re being too generous, which is always your vice, and never mine 🙂 Phy Sci is providing updates, but in the great scheme of things, compared to the political manoeuvering, they don’t rise to the level of “important”. FWIW, I’m not arguing for less budget for Phys Sci: it might easily produce something useful, and it is pretty cheap.

  29. WMC,
    Yes, I largely agree. The dominant issues that are influening progress (or lack thereof) are no longer related to physical science. Hence, more science, or less science, isn’t going to play a big role (or any role) in resolving these political roadblocks. However, despite these roadblocks, we are actually achieving some things, and the physical science still plays a role in informing this, even if it’s not the main reason why progress is slower than many might hope.

  30. You indeed have ‘enough’ science to make your case for anthropogenic contributions to global climate change. And there is a robust (66%, not 97%) consensus backing this. The public largely agrees, though they are ‘lukewarm’ in their support for expensive remediation policy.

    But I don’t really think the physicists should give up on WG1 until they narrow the uncertainty bands on atmospheric sensitivity to a doubling of concentrations of CO2.

    Unless you don’t want to know, of course.

  31. Tom,

    You indeed have ‘enough’ science to make your case for anthropogenic contributions to global climate change. And there is a robust (66%, not 97%) consensus backing this.

    No, the consensus is obviously not as low as 66% and anyone who thinks it is is not paying attention.

  32. Willard says:

    Probly a typo:

    We conclude with high statistical confidence that the scientific consensus on human-caused contemporary climate change expressed as a proportion of the total publications exceeds 99% in the peer reviewed scientific literature.

    https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/ac2966

    Easy to write “66” instead of “99.”

  33. izen says:

    @-thomasfuller2
    “But I don’t really think the physicists should give up on WG1 until they narrow the uncertainty bands on atmospheric sensitivity to a doubling of concentrations of CO2.”

    Atmospheric sensitivity is bound within a degree and a half between 2.6 and 4.1 Kelvin. I do not know how many tenths of a degree you would want shaved off this, perhaps you would not be satisfied until the range was zero and sensitivity could definitively be defined as 3.2738K ?

    It may be impossible to reduce the bounds of sensitivity further just because of the complexity of the climate system. The local variation and latitude differences may make it beyond the realm of feasible to reduce the range further.
    Of more interest is research into those local effects. I suspect many would like to know how often droughts and the subsequent fires, heavy rain and the subsequent flooding, and storms and the subsequent damage are likely to occur.

  34. gator says:

    thomasfuller2: ” The public largely agrees, though they are ‘lukewarm’ in their support for expensive remediation policy.”
    My thesis – climate denialism always comes back to “it’s going to cost ME money”.
    No one who looks at the science really disagrees with the science.

  35. wmconnolley says:

    > No one who looks at the science really disagrees with the science.
    True. But besides the point. See above.
    >> ‘lukewarm’ in their support for expensive remediation policy.”
    > climate denialism always comes back to “it’s going to cost ME money”
    I think you’re wrong to categorise it this way. Not being in favour of poorly designed and economically inefficient measures is not denialism; and reacting as though it is only gets in the way of genuine discussion.

  36. WMC,

    I think you’re wrong to categorise it this way. Not being in favour of poorly designed and economically inefficient measures is not denialism; and reacting as though it is only gets in the way of genuine discussion.

    Yes, I agree. On the other hand, genuine discussion seems largely impossible. Pro nuclear people are called deniers, and those who are pro nuclear accuse green activists of being misleading and holding back progress.. Unfortunate, but probably not surprising.

  37. mrkenfabian says:

    ” I think you’re wrong to categorise it this way. Not being in favour of poorly designed and economically inefficient measures is not denialism; and reacting as though it is only gets in the way of genuine discussion.”

    But alarmist economic fear – “solutions worse than problem” – IS a principle meme of Doubt, Deny, Delay politicking, perhaps the most successful of all obstructionist arguments – and the more likely a policy is to work the fiercer the criticism. If we have to wait on a complete and clearly articulated plan that everyone agrees on we will be still waiting in 2050 and beyond. But any policy – even “mandated” ones – are still able to be changed; the capacity to shift policy as obstacles and opportunities present themselves – flexibility – may be more important than any overarching plan.

    I’m personally glad that environmentalist lobbying has been consistent in their support for renewables – a position that has never prevented “mainstream” people who like the “just use nuclear” approach from taking up the climate issue; it became a “green” issue as much because mainstream politics abrogated their responsibility and handed the issue, the podium and the microphone to them in “you care so much, you fix it” style as because green politics took up the issue, the empty podium and the microphone.

    We can decry the opposition of a minority political movement (movements?) to nuclear along with decry the mainstream apathy and opposition to strong climate policies. We can invent alt-histories where Greens didn’t vote against nuclear, that look like it would (surely) have led to better climate policy outcomes but I beg to doubt that; had they been divided on renewables and nuclear they may have been politically forked early on, whilst the apathy and opposition would have had their way. The success of renewables is testament to consistent persistence.

  38. angech says:

    Probly a typo:

    Willard says: January 17, 2022 at 6:18 pm
    We conclude with high statistical confidence that the scientific consensus on human-caused contemporary climate change expressed as a proportion of the total publications exceeds 99% in the peer reviewed scientific literature.
    dikranmarsupial says: January 17, 2022
    I also didn’t like the “science is settled” bit. It is settled enough (combined with economics/politics/values etc) to know that climate change is a problem we need to do something about, but science is never really settled. The phrase “the science is settled” is associated almost 100% with contrarian comments on climate

  39. Chubbs says:

    Will second Ken. Haven’t seen any evidence that tackling climate change has any impact on economic growth. Drop in costs for solar, wind, batteries, EV argues the opposite. Did not take much public policy investment, to give the world cost competitive solar energy. The solar investment will pay huge dividends in the coming decades. Research isn’t going to move the needle either, need commercial application at scale to drive lower costs.

  40. gator says:

    @WMConnolley
    “> climate denialism always comes back to “it’s going to cost ME money”
    I think you’re wrong to categorise it this way. Not being in favour of poorly designed and economically inefficient measures is not denialism; and reacting as though it is only gets in the way of genuine discussion.”

    So you lump yourself in with climate denialism? There is a difference between “it isn’t happening, and if it is, it isn’t us” and technocratic discussions of tax policy. You’ve entirely missed the point, but do illustrate the final form of climate denialism I suppose: “it is inefficient to do XXX, I guess we just all wait to see what happens.”

  41. Willard says:

    Since when are we supposed to presume that TimW designs sound policies?

  42. Ben McMillan says:

    The problem is not “it is going to cost us money”, it is “it is going to cost ME money”. Mostly what upsets people is that they might personally lose out.

    Generally people are much more worried about losing what they have than hopeful for getting anything new and nice (especially in the face of decades of declining/flat median real wages): you thus have a recipe for the defense of the status quo.

    It isn’t too hard to design policy that doesn’t cause too much pain to specific groups, and that often matters more than overall “efficiency”. Other things like consistency and ability to drive radical change in key areas are also crucial, rather than just the short-term marginal cost of reducing one unit of CO2 emissions.

    I guess the UK offshore wind auction is an example of a targeted but somewhat market-based approach, which offered enough long term targeted support to a key technology to drive it over the cost hump. Or Germany’s PV subsidies. Or wind/EV subsidies in the US.

    The key though is to be willing to compromise, rather than insisting on only one kind of policy or one kind of technical solution, and attacking anyone who wants the same outcome, but has a different preferred approach.

  43. People may also be concerned that the costs will not be shared fairly. Some folks may lose a lot, others not so much and some may gain. Folks don’t like to feel that they are being gamed.

  44. Willard says:

    > Folks don’t like to feel that they are being gamed.

    Few do:

  45. Jon Kirwan says:

    gator
    climate denialism always comes back to “it’s going to cost ME money”

    wmconnelley
    I think you’re wrong to categorise it this way. Not being in favour of poorly designed and economically inefficient measures is not denialism; and reacting as though it is only gets in the way of genuine discussion.

    gator
    So you lump yourself in with climate denialism? There is a difference between “it isn’t happening, and if it is, it isn’t us” and technocratic discussions of tax policy. You’ve entirely missed the point, but do illustrate the final form of climate denialism I suppose: “it is inefficient to do XXX, I guess we just all wait to see what happens.”

    Gator, First off you miss-characterize William’s statement. He didn’t associate himself as you suggest. Read carefully what he actually said, please.

    There is only so much energy left in the system to spend (most effective choices will involve a significant fossil fuel component — so we burn fossil fuels to make those choices) and we have to spend that cost wisely and not fritter it away.

    Approaches that sound good, but actually do either the opposite of what is claimed (see the recent report on the use of plastic bags in the UK, as an example) or waste fossil fuel use in order to make minor/poor progress are, as a rule, should not be pursued early on. Instead, we need to gather up the low hanging fruit, so to speak, and focus attention on things we are more certain (can predict better) and will have a significant impact on a more rapid scale. (The Exxon claim they will be net-zero in 2050 is just plain silly, at this time.)

    We have only so many moves we can afford to take on the short term available. While we need to make those earlier choices quickly, we also must make them the better ones, as well.

    It’s complicated. Some of these changes can only be approached on a global scale. Some can be done, regionally. Some can even be done, personally. (For example, we can choose to wear sweaters in the colder times or find passive approaches to deal with hotter circumstances, and thereby reduce our energy use.)

    But it also a huge problem when we talk about “improved efficiency” (for example, refrigeration) without looking at the fact that these improvements are also attended by lower costs of manufacture, cheaper purchasing prices, better energy efficiency in terms of what you need vs what you get for it, and therefore overall increased usage in the end because far more people now have access to it and the net result is more energy usage for creating the capital investments as well as for operating them over a much wider range of usage.

    In short, if the idea doesn’t actually prove out to reduce total energy consumption on a per-capita basis — taking into account all of the factors under consideration, including those of human choices — then it doesn’t get us from A to B. And there is no point going down that road if the end result is just creating more access to more people in need and therefore an expanded use of energy (which at this time always entails more fossil fuel use.)

    The entire cycle has to be analyzed and the low hanging fruit chosen, with intelligence. We cannot afford to just throw mud at the wall to see what sticks and what doesn’t. No time. Insufficient remaining resources. Insufficient (affordable) human energy.

    It’s not denialism to rub peoples’ noses in the past failures of “ideas.” (Such as the plastics case.) it’s not denialism to require the intelligent application of the remaining fossil fuels left to us to use. And I don’t think William intended you to twist his comment into such association, either. Read it closely. See if I’m right.

    We cannot afford excessively wasted energy. All of it, right now, entails fossil fuels exchanges. And we only have so much of that to go forward with. Use it wisely, not wastefully.

    Best wishes,
    jon

  46. Mack says:

    You still blogging away here with this little bunch of intellectual cranks, Ken ?
    Here’s the truth of the science (mainly my confrontation with Rick)
    https://www.climateconversation.org.nz/2021/02/science-says-change-the-weather-and-break-the-countrys-heart/
    This last comment of mine (+links) just about encompasses everything..
    https://www.climateconversation.org.nz/2021/02/science-says-change-the-weather-and-break-the-countrys-heart/#comment-1596412
    Best for the future,
    Mack.
    Sky Dragon Slayers Chief Public Relations Officer.

  47. Mack,
    I see you’re still your usual charming self.

  48. Ben McMillan says:

    What bugs me is the symmetry in the arguments used by the people who are opposed to action on climate change, and those who want action on climate change, but just not any of the things that are actually being done.

    i.e. if your main contribution to the discussion is to attack all of the things actually being done to try to mitigate climate change, it is very unsurprising that people assume you are deliberately being unhelpful.

  49. izen says:

    @-Mack
    “You still blogging away here with this little bunch of intellectual cranks, Ken ?”

    Oh the irony !
    Or is it just a profound lack of self-awareness ?

  50. Everett F Sargent says:

    So, with disrespect to … Net Zero By 2050 … or with respect to … Not Zero by 2050 … are there any brave souls or reports or papers on how that would occur globally? The build out on non-fossil fuel energy sources using the build out of non-fossil fuel equipment and the build down of fossil fuel energy energy sources and equipment using non-fossil fuel equipment.

    For example, the retirement of all IC engines (amounting to approximately the entire human population of several billion). So that when you trade in your $50K IC for a $70K EV you get only the melt down value of that IC SUV engine? A real and palatable form of so-called stranded assets that the common person would directly observe. TIA!

    Oh and this is a very serious question, so that if all you got is hand waving, I will respond with something like ‘all you are doing is engaging in obtuse hand waving’ or some such. TIA too!

    Oh and too, Google “co2 emissions 2021” before answering any of the above. TIA too too!

  51. Ben McMillan says:

    “IEA net zero 2050” is worth a read (energy sector only, but that’s most of it).

  52. Willard says:

    Mack,

    Drive-by done.

    ***

    Izen,

    The drive-by might have been caused by my Climateball presence at Roy’s. I started to identify those who deny just about everything as Dragon Cranks. There are Sky Dragon Cranks, and there are Moon Dragon Cranks. I was I was telling one of them yesterday:

    Malevolence Forestalled – perhaps you’re starting to get it.

    Mike Flynn ignores more than demands. Mike Flynn ignores everything that makes society what it is. Reciprocity, truthfulness, consistency, decency. Basic pragmatics too!

    Mike Flynn illustrates why Dragon cranks don’t have a knowledge problem. They have personality issues.

    And you know the best of all?

    That Mike Flynn is you.

    Cheers.

    https://www.drroyspencer.com/2022/01/unreliable-and-harmful-claims-this-website-has-been-demonetized-by-google/#comment-1134834

    Mack contacted my by email a few days ago. The same kind of email he sends around to climate scientists, authorities, chancellors. John might be onto something with his cranky uncle app:

    https://crankyuncle.com/

    Dragon Cranks have cranked the crankiness to 11. Considering that they slayed nothing, it’s fairly understandable.

  53. Mal Adapted says:

    Mack: “Here’s the truth of the science”

    Heh. He may be wrong, but at least he’s sure!

  54. Mal Adapted says:

    wmconnolley: “Not being in favour of poorly designed and economically inefficient measures is not denialism”.

    Perhaps not, but it’s opposition to well-designed, economically efficient measures that we call “lukewarmism”, a species of AGW-denial in so far as it devalues or dismisses the uncounted individual tragedies due to global warming. To do so with fake facts, fallacious logic and deceptive rhetoric makes the lukewarmist’s selfish motive transparent. And given the urgency of the problem, shouldn’t all climate realists actively support some plan for decarbonizing the global economy ASAP?

  55. Everett F Sargent says:

    MA,

    Perhaps it is not such a good idea to put the wrong words in another person mouth. I believe that is called a strawperson or some such.

    Oh and I am still waiting on “well-designed, economically efficient measures” that would actually work. Something like a global ban on all ICE’s? Like globally illegal. Same goes for power plants no fossil fueled anything by 2050. That is what I demand for a start.

  56. Mal Adapted says:

    Everett F Sargent:

    MA,

    Perhaps it is not such a good idea to put the wrong words in another person mouth.

    Who, me? What wrong words did I put in which person’s mouth? Both Mack and WMC did write the words I attributed to them. WTF, Everett?

  57. Willard says:

    > I am still waiting

    This isn’t an Arby’s, Everett. Be searching instead. Not here, but where you could find one. One that would meet all your requirements. Which you haven’t specified.

    Sammich requests by contrarians are not annoying because they’re made by contrarians.

  58. wmconnolley says:

    > opposition to well-designed, economically efficient measures that we call “lukewarmism”
    Which measures are you referring to?

  59. Everett F Sargent says:

    Willard,

    My request is rather simple. I am well aware of the IEA’s rebirth as an energy estimation transitionalist, AKA carpetbagger.

    There are those of us who can do the engineering and you are by no means one of us. No more sloganeering but real actionable plans with a time table and deliverables.

    We are now less than 29 years to 2050 and yet there are no real understood and actionable plans to get us from 2022 to 2050. Period. Full stop. :/

  60. Willard says:

    Everett,

    Ninjas like me can see that your “actionable” is first and foremost sloganeering for engineer-minded folks. It’s easy to ask for engineer-level derivations. In fact the Auditor did that for years about the doubling of CO2. His swindle worked until BobG asked him for what he had in mind. Crickets.

    Incredulity does not sell tickets. Where have you looked?

  61. Everett F Sargent says:

    Willard said …

    “Which you haven’t specified.”

    The bleeding obvious as in Net Zero By 2050. Either that or concede that that goal is not possible. BYW it is not proving a negative as the clock is running and will reach 2050 in all too short order when it then becomes a very provable positive, so there.

  62. Mal Adapted says:

    WMC: “Which measures are you referring to?”
    In the US, a national Carbon Fee and Dividend with Border Adjustment Tariff, for one. Note that Mitt Romney (R-Utah) is the only Republican Senator who has declared support for CF&D with BAT, although he has not signed on to any such legislation. Some Republican lukewarmers downplay the need for carbon pricing:

    More specifically, lukewarmers look at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s official projections and see a strong likelihood that rising temperatures will drag on GDP without leading to catastrophe. They look at the record of climatological predictions and see a pattern in which observed warming hugs the lower, nondisastrous end of the spectrum of projections. And they look at the substance of the Paris accord, which papered over a failed attempt to set binding emission rules with a set of fine-sounding promises, and see little to justify all the anguish and despair over Donald Trump’s decision to abandon it…

    A Republican Party that was really shaped by lukewarmism would probably still oppose the Paris deal and shrink from sweeping carbon taxes.

    That brand of lukewarmism is tantamount to denial, because uncertainty is not our friend, and because the claim that climate change will be ‘nondisastrous’ devalues the individual and local disasters it has already caused.

  63. Ben McMillan says:

    I also thoroughly recommend “Carbon-Neutral Pathways for the United States” which provides various alternatives for people who are averse to certain kinds of tech.

    https://doi.org/10.1029/2020AV000284

    It isn’t the sandwich you ordered, but it is just so tasty, and you really ought to take a bite.

  64. Willard says:

    > Net Zero By 2050

    That’s just the objective, Everett. The net number of actionable parts in it is zero.

    Is there any plan around that would look like what you’re looking for?

  65. Everett F Sargent says:

    It is actually less then 28 years or ~10,200 days, so 100%/28 = ~ 3.6% linear reduction over those 28 years. Or about a 5*3.6 = 18% reduction by 2027 for an assumed linear decrease per annum. Whatever the near term annual REDUCTIONS turn out to be, I very much doubt an initial linear decrease of even 1e-4567% over these next five years.

    Imaginationland indeed.

    Top Climate Scientists Are Skeptical That Nations Will Rein in Global Warming
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/top-climate-scientists-are-skeptical-that-nations-will-rein-in-global-warming/

  66. mrkenfabian says:

    Jon – “In short, if the idea doesn’t actually prove out to reduce total energy consumption on a per-capita basis — taking into account all of the factors under consideration, including those of human choices — then it doesn’t get us from A to B. And there is no point going down that road if the end result is just creating more access to more people in need and therefore an expanded use of energy (which at this time always entails more fossil fuel use.)”

    I disagree and think that we have to aim for ongoing growth of both total and per capita energy whilst reducing emissions. Growing prosperity at this time already entails less use of fossil fuels than a decade ago. Constraints on ongoing growth of consumption will be significant but I don’t see any intrinsic reason why energy has to be one. As energy production approaches zero emissions more of it doesn’t have to (and won’t) entail more fossil fuel use.

    Climate policies have to accommodate increasing (clean) energy availability for increasing population or else it will be unfit for purpose and strongly opposed. Alarmist fear of climate commitment and climate policy leading to reduced living standards is something we are better not to feed – and I suspect promoting frugality and going without stuff as the principle climate action people should take may be a tactical mistake for climate activism – a gift to Doubt, Deny, Delay politickers, and perhaps part of the reason handing the issue to environmentalists was initially welcomed by opponents. Until renewables, instead of failing spectacularly as expected, began exceeding even optimistic expectations. Governments being willing to even ssay they are committed to zero emissions is in large part because of renewable energy successes.

    Fear of enforced frugality and going without stuff – fear of less for ME – easily gets turned to fear of climate activism when going without stuff is (or appears to be) environmentalism’s principle solution. It isn’t wrong – our high consumption lifestyles ARE truly unnecessarily and extravagantly wasteful – but it is deeply unpopular.

  67. Everett F Sargent says:

    No Willard, there are exactly zero actionable and enforceable global plans that will get us to Net Zero By 2050.

    Notice how I added enforceable together with actionable and global? Ones (timeline of global reductions thru to 2050) that Russia, the Middle East, China, India and Africa have signed off on last time I checked.

  68. David B Benson says:

    As best as I can tell, see
    https://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/

    Everett F Sargent has the right of it.

  69. Willard says:

    > No Willard

    No what, Everett? I’m asking you what you mean by actionable. You give me – Net Zero by 2050. I tell you that’s not even a thing that should be actionable, it’s an objective. Rookie mistake in any curriculum design, if you ask me.

    If you want something actionable, you need to clarify what would be actionable for you. In other words, scratch your own itch.

    Is that clearer?

  70. Everett F Sargent says:

    BM said …
    “80% by 2050” for the USA even if achieved is definitely not Net Zero By 2050 globally speaking. But I do like this figure …

    3.6% per annum linear reduction starting 20 days ago. Most people would suggest you all stop digging but not me …

  71. Willard says:

    Are you threatening us with making a coherent case, Everett?

  72. Everett F Sargent says:

    Are you threatening me? Period. Full stop. And no I am not talking about what I have posted here but in general.

  73. gator says:

    Jon Kirwan: read what you copy/pasted again. Then imagine Venn diagrams. I did not twist what WMC said, he inserted his objection into my assertion about climate denialists. Funnily enough, seeming to illustrate a version of “inactionism” – I’ll leave it to better climateball players to referee if that counts as a kind of denialism.

    Everett F Sargent: you’re an engineer? Have you never started on a project with goals but not a clearly defined path to the end goal? I’m a product guy and that’s how I work. “We need X, Y, Z” – hand it off to the engineers, get time and budget estimates back. So you don’t see a plan? Work on the plan! If there’s no goal there will never be a plan.

  74. Willard says:

    > Are you threatening me?

    No, Everett. Why would you feel threatened – because you have no idea how to meet the demands you impose on otters?

    I don’t have to prove that Net Zero by 2050 is possible. I have no dog in that fight. You’re forcing an open door.

    If you want to make the case that it isn’t possible, then I expect that the demonstration meets your own criteria. And remember – you’re the engineer here! Greater power, greater responsibility.

    But if you simply want to assert that it’s not possible, then your job is done. No need to repeat it.

  75. Everett F Sargent says:

    Well since some here think making up numbers makes them objectives that may, OR MAY NOT, be met with no particular deadline … I’ll go with Net -135 by 2050!!! 415 + 28*2.5 – 135 = 350 After that one it will be Net -70 by 2100 = 350 – 70 = 280 or PI CO2. Boy am I ever glad that that argument is over and we can all agree on one single global objective at a TBD date (say 4000CE). 🙂

  76. Willard says:

    Well done, Everett!

    You’re confusing ridicule with reductio, and if you are not willing to add anything more constructive, I suggest you drop the stick and move away from the horse.

  77. Everett F Sargent says:

    [Playing the ref. -W]

  78. Jon Kirwan says:

    gator
    “I’ll leave it to better climateball players to referee if that counts as a kind of denialism.”

    I guess we don’t currently share the same projections onto his words.

  79. Jon Kirwan says:

    mrkenfabian
    “I disagree and think that we have to aim for ongoing growth of both total and per capita energy whilst reducing emissions. Growing prosperity at this time already entails less use of fossil fuels than a decade ago.”
    and,
    “Climate policies have to accommodate increasing (clean) energy availability for increasing population or else it will be unfit for purpose and strongly opposed.”

    I don’t think nature cares the least bit about whether or not the population strongly opposes an idea (or if they cry, beg, or plead.)

    But nature is a very consistent teacher.

    Climate is but one collection of symptoms out of a much larger set. The disease itself lays elsewhere. And nature will solve that problem for us if we don’t.

  80. David B Benson says:

    The top 3 CO2 producing countries have no plan for net zero by 2050.

  81. Willard says:

    China’s 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Toward 2035 (14th FYP), a document of over 140 pages, is the most critical blueprint for bending China’s emissions curve in the next 10 years (toward the 2030 peaking goal). This is also the most critical time window for the world to avoid catastrophic climate change. The 14th FYP sets legally binding targets to reduce carbon emissions per unit of GDP by 18% in the next five years, calls for the implementation of supplementary regional absolute carbon caps and locking-in efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, and in general calls for the adoption of policies and measures with higher impact.

    https://racetozero.unfccc.int/chinas-net-zero-future/

  82. Ben McMillan says:

    The ‘radical energy austerity’ approach to mitigate climate change has similar problems to the Thanos approach. Firstly, it looks like it will immiserate everyone, so is politically unfeasible.

    Secondly, if we can click our fingers and make people (including the global poor) use half as much energy services, that still only gets us 50% of the way there.

    You could get a lot of the way with energy efficiency (unfortunately there is a confused line of thinking that sees energy efficiency as a bad thing).

    Of course, some combination of reduced energy services for those who currently consume in excess, energy efficiency, and clean energy supply, would work excellently together. For example, this would very much reduce the land use and mining impacts of building out a new energy infrastructure.

  83. One comment about net zero by 2050 is that even if we don’t achieve it exactly, if the pathway is still towards net zero, then that would be a more successful outcome than one in which the pathway is still nowhere near net zero. Net zero by 2050 is (roughly) the requirement for meeting the Paris targets, but it’s not the case that if we fail to do so it’s game over. There is a big difference between just missing this target (net zero just after 2050), and getting to 2050 with emissions higher (or similar) to what they are today.

  84. Chubbs says:

    Yes its better to be trying for net-zero, even if it isn’t achieved, than lukewarming. This is a bathtub problem; so, better to turn down the faucet as much as possible as early as possible. The only reason this is an “emergency”, is failure to fill the tub at a slower rate, when the water level was lower.

  85. Willard says:

    Robin Wigglesworth mentions an interesting anecdote when discussing cryptos on the last episode of Rational Reminder:

    Even if we’re incredulous regarding the actual value of the market, cryptos might bring disruptive techs that in the end may help us all, a bit like the railroad bubble that built America:

    https://money.cnn.com/galleries/2007/news/0705/gallery.bubbles/2.html

    Robin remains sceptical regarding ESGs and socially responsible investing in general, but at least he’s not willing to commit to the idea that it’s bad. He’s right to say that not buying an asset like fossil fuels won’t prevent someone else from doing so. Besides, fossil fuels are not exactly like cigarettes. It’s really hard not to have any exposure in that industry when you’re a Canuck investor.

    Even more importantly, to divest is all well and good, but that does not tell us in what to invest. So once again to criticize is only one part, the easiest one in fact. The world isn’t built with criticism.

  86. Ben McMillan says:

    The other option is not to divest, but buy out fossil companies and strip them for their assets and geotechnical expertise. Drill, baby, drill. But for geothermal.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jan/14/leading-uk-fracking-firm-taken-over-by-green-energy-group

  87. mrkenfabian says:

    Maximising growth of clean energy doesn’t look like an especially complex or controversial goal to promote – some parts of mainstream politics here in Australia can have that as climate policy whilst being obsequious supporters of unconstrained fossil fuel mining.

    Even which kinds of clean energy to promote in the near term isn’t a particularly difficult question to answer for most of the most populous regions of the world, purely as the least cost choice (and who ever predicted that?). It isn’t whole-of-problem solution but it deals with the largest part quite effectively.

    Opposing unconstrained growth of and growing our economic dependence on renewable energy because the last quarter of emissions don’t yet have obvious or easy answers overlaps so widely with the purposeful alarmist fears promoted by obstructionist opponents that it ends up indistinguishable. There isn’t ever going to be an all-of-problem plan all the way to zero, let alone know with confidence what it will cost, and holding out for it becomes one more kind of Doubt, Deny, Delay – irrespective of intentions.

    When we hand off the issue to others in “you care so much, you fix it” style, then follow with “not like that”, oppose what those who do care propose and insist on options we know they won’t accept – whilst not actually having or supporting such options ourselves… whether you are a climate science denier or not you might as well be. And refusing to support them even without directly opposing isn’t any better, not when when the default choice is more fossil fuels (until “they” get it right).

  88. Michael 2 says:

    Willard writes: “The world isn’t built with criticism.”
    I observe that, in contrast, the internet IS built with criticism (this being a mild criticism of another criticism of a blog post that is itself a criticism).

  89. russellseitz says:

    ” I suggest you drop the stick and move away from the horse.”

    Willard, ClimateBall is more often predicated on burro dressage than horsemanship.

  90. angech says:

    ATTP
    Getting to net zero by 2050 is extremely difficult.
    Semantically possible if one is to say declare all gas usage to be green like the EU is doing.
    There would be no more than 2 people here living off grid, and even they would be benefiting from mechanised transport of food, clothing and electrical power outside their sphere.
    While you can aim and claim to get benefit from aiming for net zero only people who are over subsidised like us can afford to dream of giving up the chains of fossil fuel.

  91. Jon Kirwan says:

    mrkenfabian
    “Maximising growth of clean energy doesn’t look like an especially complex or controversial goal to promote…”

    The phrase clean energy lacks precise meaning in my environment here in the US. My own local power company, PGE, buys solar power “green credits” and uses them to offset fossil fuel generated energy, allowing them to call carbon generated energy “green” by calling the solar power generation “dirty.”

    But in general I agree that promotion (which I take to mean the same as “propangandize” through “advertising”) of clean energy can be relatively uncontroversial to the public, at large. Everyone wants a cleaner environment, no matter which side of the political aisle they are on. So focusing on reducing pollution is an across-the-board “good thing.” It doesn’t have to be climate-related. Most folks prefer clean vs dirty.

    I do think (my own projection, admittedly) that you put far too much stock on what people think and what motivates them versus what nature requires and the physics demands of us. And so, again, I emphasize that physics and nature cares not the least bit for what we think or are motivated by or what makes us cry tears or scream out. It is simply a very consistent teacher. It does what it does and doesn’t listen to us, neither our hopes nor our fears, at all.

    mrkenfabian
    “…some parts of mainstream politics here in Australia can have that as climate policy whilst being obsequious supporters of unconstrained fossil fuel mining. “

    Doesn’t matter to me. Doesn’t matter to nature.

    mrkenfabian
    “Opposing unconstrained growth of and growing our economic dependence on renewable energy because the last quarter of emissions don’t yet have obvious or easy answers overlaps so widely with the purposeful alarmist fears promoted by obstructionist opponents that it ends up indistinguishable.”

    I have to admit that I can’t read any of that with understanding. I’m totally confused every time I re-read that.

    mrkenfabian
    “There isn’t ever going to be an all-of-problem plan all the way to zero, let alone know with confidence what it will cost, and holding out for it becomes one more kind of Doubt, Deny, Delay – irrespective of intentions.”

    Probably right there. That’s not a criticism of the physics we face in nature. That’s a criticism of the inability of humans collective capacity to deal with the physics we face in nature. And I don’t expect us to succeed. I expect us to fail.

    mrkenfabian
    “When we hand off the issue to others in “you care so much, you fix it” style, then follow with “not like that”, oppose what those who do care propose and insist on options we know they won’t accept – whilst not actually having or supporting such options ourselves… whether you are a climate science denier or not you might as well be. And refusing to support them even without directly opposing isn’t any better, not when when the default choice is more fossil fuels (until “they” get it right).”

    No clue, in reading this, too. I guess you are saying that everyone must support every initiative, useful or not, just because. And for no better reason than that.

    But I’m not sure.

    In any case, we have only so much fossil fuel budget remaining to us. Best to use it wisely than foolishly, I think. And if all we can do is use if foolishly, then it might just as well never have happened at all. The results will be little different.

    I’ll repeat myself: Climate is but one collection of symptoms out of a much larger set. The disease itself lays elsewhere. And nature will solve that problem for us if we don’t.

  92. ARTICLE / 04 NOV, 2021
    COP26: Update to the NDC Synthesis Report
    https://unfccc.int/news/cop26-update-to-the-ndc-synthesis-report

    “The latest update shows that for all available NDCs of all 193 Parties taken together, a sizable increase, of about 13.7%, in global GHG emissions in 2030 compared to 2010 is anticipated.”

  93. Willard says:

    Many NDCs from developing countries contain more ambitious conditional commitments to reduce emissions, which can only be implemented with access to enhanced financial resources and other support. The report suggests that the full implementation of these components could allow for global emissions to peak before 2030.

    https://unfccc.int/news/cop26-update-to-the-ndc-synthesis-report

  94. It’s astounding. You folks keep missing the point! Humanity failed itself!
    Mr. Science explained the basics of climate scientific in the 1950’s and nothing, nothing has changed about the fundamental reality and the direction that reality points to! Nor the consequences of, (whichever choice we made). The science has become more informed ever since. Nothing changed about the outline, we’ve simply been increasing the resolution on the folds within folds of harmonic complexity that is our global heat engine. In so far as the science goes, scientists did what they were supposed to do.

    What all too few seem capable of facing, is that this has been a collective mass societal willful denial of fundamental science, because the consequences of doing the right thing for future generations appalled us. Less growth, less greed? “You gotta be kidding!”

    The fact of Anthropogenic Global Warming made clear to every thinking person who looked at it, that humanity had one simple choice. (It was the lesson stars have taught us, the bigger it is, the more it consumes, the faster it burns up, and dies.) Increasing Earth’s temperature will force cascading consequences that will profoundly supercharge weather, and degrade our biosphere, plus damage and destroy our infrastructure. No maybe about it.

    If we cared about the wellbeing of future generations – the choice was clear.

    We needed to Power Down, less greed, less kids, less consumption, less military, less commerce, less raping our Home Planet’s biosphere, instead more awareness towards Earth, Evolution and Deep Time, which would have enabled a sense of duty towards the welfare of this miracle planet – who’s biosphere and global heat and moisture distribution engine created us and sustains us.

    Instead we allowed: “I hate taxes so I’m going to normalize blatant lies and slander and misrepresentation along with demonstrable fraud against science,” to win the day, and year, and decades. Now, here we are.

    No one stood up to take down that sort of self-delusional, self-destructive thinking and behavior. Instead it became normalized to the point that a hollow corporate cypher like Trump is made leader of our nation.

    All the while the brainiacs from every branch of our society and media simply keep on talking past each other.

  95. Ben McMillan says:

    The current path is probably somewhere between SSP2-4.5 and SSP1-2.6: looks like an improvement from where we seemed to be heading in year 2000.

    Yet people loudly proclaim that all our current efforts have been futile.

    Not only are there some bright spots of progress, one can learn something by looking at which places and sectors that have seen limited improvement and which haven’t.

  96. Ben says: “Yet people loudly proclaim that all our current efforts have been futile.” As a proclaimer, I suggest that most proclaimers state that we believe our efforts have been insufficient to take us off the path toward civilization collapse or something along those lines. Like the collapse of the Thwaites, it will be hard to unring the bell when big systems begin to collapse. Not impossible, but difficult. Our efforts are seldom, if ever, futile in my opinion.

    A lot of techie type folks feel confident that we will reach net zero before big systems collapse. I hope they are right. I think we should err on the side of precaution and get to net zero faster than 2050 or even 2040. Is that possible? I don’t know, but I do observe that there is a lot of global warming suffering occurring at our current level of temp gain and that motivates me to push for more action and speed.

    When folks post graphs that show us reaching and passing net zero, the curve of the chart to date shows a curve going up. That is not encouraging to me when I consider how much effort has been expended to change the Keeling curve. Bending the curve toward net zero is always out there a few years, maybe a decade or two. These graphs looks like “best laid plans” to me. They are good plans. I will breathe a sigh of relief (if I am still alive) when I can actually detect a change in the Keeling curve that is not accounted for by a global economic downturn or pandemic, etc. I haven’t seen anything like that so far.

    short version: I don’t think much about futility, I worry about insufficiency. YMMV

    Cheers
    Mike

  97. I hear you, citizen. Our species has not yet demonstrated much ability to absorb the challege we face and organize around a sufficient plan of action. I think we need to keep working at the problem. Every day, more global citizens are impacted directly by the changes on the planet. So, each day we should be closer to the critical mass required to spur real and sufficient action. As Jesse Jackson said, keep hope alive.
    Cheers
    Mike

  98. russellseitz says:

    CitC:
    “Mr. Science explained the basics of climate scientific in the 1950’s and nothing, nothing has changed about the fundamental reality… The science has become more informed ever since. Nothing changed about the outline, we’ve simply been increasing the resolution …”
    You seem to have left out a century:
    https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2021/11/what-did-they-know-and-when-did-they.html
    Or two:
    https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2014/10/climate-wars-salt-talks.html

  99. Ben McMillan says:

    Mike: I’m on board with “actions insufficient”. Just not extreme doomerism, which paints everything black. The paint scheme on the “Heart of Gold” wasn’t the most practical.

    I think the techie types think we have the resources technical capability to get to net-zero 2050.

    Maybe we’ll just use those resources and capabilities to trade tokens linked to pictures of bored apes though.

    As they say, “What a piece of work is man, How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty”.

  100. Ben McMillan says:

    Embarrasingly, I was thinking of totally the wrong starship from the Hitchkikers Guide…

  101. Ben,

    I’m on board with “actions insufficient”. Just not extreme doomerism, which paints everything black.

    This is my view too. I don’t think that nothing has been achieved (emissions are probably lower than they might have been) but I don’t think enough has been achieved or that the current pathway is really good enough (we could have taken more serious action much earlier and could be doing more now).

  102. Okay “nothing” is hyperbole. How about nothing of real future altering substance? Slowing down the tempo of potential warming is nice, but it’s no rescue plan.

    I keep hearing about the wondrous promise of technology, but what’s actually happening with advanced technology: the billionaires space program; developing fantasies of landing people on Mars; mass media juggernauts dedicated to brainwashing and delusional thinking for profits and power for the few? Computer gaming a multi-billion dollar industry? Waste of food and resources like never before – (I’ve spent the last month in middle-class suburbia and what I’ve seen has me gobsmacked.)

    Russell, I wasn’t implying there wasn’t a long history to our Climate Science learning curve – I was referring to public awareness and scientific progress.

    {Which reminds: Why oh why has no one, with academic credentials done a detailed public documentary revealing the history of US Air Force (and other nations) atmospheric studies (Air Force Cambridge Research Lab) of the late ’40s, 50’s, 60’s? See, confrontingsciencecontrarians-blogspot-com Jan 1, 2018, “CO2 Science – Blue team: “Pruitt, it’s certain as certain gets! It’s the physics! Don’t you know???” Jan 1, 2018
    “CO2 Science – Pruitt, proof is in the pudding! Impossible Modern Marvels” }

    “Just not extreme doomerism” What does that even mean?
    No ‘Day After Tomorrow”? Are we supposed to take comfort in that?
    We are on a continuum with no U-turn imaginable. Or?

  103. smallbluemike says:
    I hear you Mike. With a slight twist. “Hope is a survival strategy in hopeless times.”

  104. Jon Kirwan says:

    citizenschallenge
    “I keep hearing about the wondrous promise of technology, …

    I’d like to help add another twist into that Gordian Knot

    Both refrigeration and LED lamps, only two of many such examples, didn’t just promise but also achieved marked improvements in efficiency-for-purpose. An order of magnitude. One might imagine this would mean lower energy usage. But just the opposite occurred. Dramatic expansion of use-for-purpose resulted and whole new application spaces also opened up where the size, weight and energy requirements made it possible to consider them. Developing countries have been able to improve their own standards of living, due to the greater availability and lower costs. The end result hasn’t been to reduce energy needs, but to increase them. And not by a little bit. The delivery of that added energy hasn’t been mostly from renewable sources but, once again, from expansion of fossil fuel usage.

    We not only have climate undergoing unprecedented (over-used word, granted) rates of change today, but whole ecosystems in free-fall collapse. Not only from climate, but from quite direct challenges as humans literally cut down and burn entire forest systems, wholesale, as just one of many such direct impacts, locally and globally. We literally occupy the entire land-based mammalian niche. There’s too little room left over for what remains of wildlife.

    Optimistic prognosticators can’t even predict the sign when considering the energy demand resulting from an order of magnitude improvement in efficiency for refrigeration or lighting. Let alone specific quantities.

    I also continue to hear voices hanging their hats on answers coming from technology. But I’m an engineer who has been fortunate enough to have spent most of a lifetime as part of several different teams delivering successful solutions to previously unsolved problems. And I’m not so confident. I know just how hard it is when the problems have fewer interacting important elements. And our teams also never had to face such powerful political headwinds. Sure, money and time was an issue. But not outright opposition and passive/aggressive foot-dragging.

    The public discourses offering a “wondrous promise of technology” are really just hopium for the masses.

    I take seriously those proposals that also come with sufficient detail so that others, similarly trained, can and have been able to replicate their work and confirm what’s being claimed. And even then, cautiously, because it is more likely than not from a company selling themselves disingenuously to governments and their populations. If you cannot see (and share with others) the whole picture with some clarity, then it’s likely not real.

  105. Susan Anderson says:

    For anyone who has read Ministry for the Future, we’re missing the Kali element. Unfortunately, undercover action of that nature is coming from the wrong direction, removing objections to predation rather than the worst predators. I dislike what I know about Crypto, but that’s another part of the narrative that works in Robinson’s fiction, replacing money with a carbon currency to break the cycle of profit and speed up the stranding of assets that are harmful to us all. As a work of imagination, it is fiction, but it holds together to remarkably well.

    I’m with Ben M and Citizen, and post here a final paragraph from his link – https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2020AV000284

    9.6 The Actions Required in the Next 10 Years Are Known With High Confidence
    Carbon-neutral pathways diverge in energy strategy, resource use, and cost primarily after 2035. The highest-priority near-term actions are similar across pathways and have clear quantitative benchmarks for policy: renewables build-out (>500 GW total wind and solar capacity by 2030); coal retirement ( 50% of LDV sales by 2030) and buildings (heat pumps >50% of residential HVAC sales by 2030). Longer-term uncertainties are related mainly to fuels and CCUS, areas in which technical potential, costs, and environmental impacts at large scale need to be better known before specific strategies are adopted. There is time for society to explore different approaches to these questions and learn from the results before solutions are needed in bulk in the 2030s, but the solutions will only be ready if the preparatory work—R&D, demonstrations, early commercial subsidies—is begun now. In other words, taking decisive near-term action in the areas that are well understood, combined with laying the necessary groundwork in the areas of uncertainty, puts the United States on a carbon-neutral pathway right away while allowing the most difficult decisions and tradeoffs to be made with better information in the future.

    Though it’s a start, it is unrealistic and somewhat dishonest in all the usual directions. CCUS and natural gas advocacy appear to partake of magic thinking. Most of the problems are political and/or social. Policy has surrendered to marketing and sales, if not outright greed and exploitation. There are a number of consumption and convenience habits we’ve acquired over the past few decades that could easily be cut if we had the will. We simply don’t need so many billiionaires and such exaggerated modes of entertainment.

  106. Pingback: 2022 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #3 |

  107. Jon Kirwan says:

    Nicely added, Susan. Thanks. Let’s see how other minds resonate…

  108. Ben McMillan says:

    Attacking efficiency has to be one of the most pernicious lines that the ‘energy doomers’ tend to take.

    Yes, improved lighting efficiency increases lighting use, because it allows poor people to afford lighting. People not having to sit around in the dark in developing countries is a good thing.

    It also, obviously, allows places like the UK to reduce electricity usage. This is what we have control of, and responsibility for. We should reduce our excess consumption, rather than try to prevent the world’s poor from getting access to lighting, heat, and refrigeration.

    https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-why-the-uks-co2-emissions-have-fallen-38-since-1990

    https://doi.org/10.1080/17583004.2015.1006020

    (by the way, if you want to do energy economics, you really need to go all the way and think about “pricing externalities”)

  109. Ben,
    I think Jonathan Koomey has made similar arguments about Jevons Paradox. I think his basic argument is that claiming that it is simply improved efficiency that leads to more energy use ignores the many other factors that also play a role.

  110. Jon Kirwan says:

    Ben McMillan
    “Attacking efficiency has to be one of the most pernicious lines that the ‘energy doomers’ tend to take.
    Yes, improved lighting efficiency increases lighting use, because it allows poor people to afford lighting. People not having to sit around in the dark in developing countries is a good thing.”

    Agreed.

    My point is mostly that things aren’t simple. They are instead non-linear and very complicated.

    We want better efficiency. No question. But the real problem is larger and that’s what needs to be addressed. Avoiding the sum avoids finding a solution path.

  111. Ben McMillan says:

    Susan: I also thought the “Ministry for the Future” was an interesting read. Even the kind of direct action that just gets in the way of fossil-fueled infrastructure is starting to see some pretty seriously heavy-handed responses from the state. i.e. things being called eco-terrorism that are rather mild and traditional forms of protest.

  112. Every argument around Jevon’s Paradox should also include discussion of the concept of satiation. I may leave the lights on longer because it’s cheaper. I cannot leave them on more than 24 hours a day.

    People will consume more when they can. But there are limits.

  113. smallbluemike says: January 22, 2022 at 5:27 pm
    “… Every day, more global citizens are impacted directly by the changes on the planet. So, each day we should be closer to the critical mass required to spur real and sufficient action. …”
    ________________
    Humans live by instinct, all of our knowledge is on the surface of our brains. We are mammals, yes our amazing mind is something to behold and to experience, yet our lives are guided by our passions, the stuff that we viscerally connect with. Right now most remain connected to a greed is good and endless expectations mindset, that is reflected at every level in our global society.

    How is any of that going to change without individuals viscerally disconnecting from our expectations and connecting with the majesty of Earth, her Deep Time story, the reality that Earth’s biosphere literally created us and that each of us belong to but one generation of a lineage that literally goes back many hundreds of millions of years and then some? An element in the pageant of Earth’s Life Story! Why not try to treat Earth like the nurturing mother that she is? Then things could change.

    What terrifies me is that I’ve been trying for decades to find & connect with people who relate to Earth on that sort of visceral level and it’s been few and far between. Still looking.

    If anyone is curious, after an depth critique of Hoffman’s book “The Case Against Reality” – I was finally able to enunciate my curious perspective, ATTP hope you don’t mind me sharing a link:

    https://confrontingsciencecontrarians.blogspot.com/2021/11/preview-cc-hoffman-caseagainstreality.html
    * (7.01) An Alternative Philosophical Perspective – “Earth Centrism”
    * (7.02) Appreciating the Physical Reality ~ Human Mindscape divide
    * (7.03) Being an element in Earth’s Pageant of Evolution
    * (7.04) It’s not a “Body-Mind problem” it’s an “Ego-God problem.”

    { Excuse this digression, but this is a critical election year, like none before, and I have an idea worth broadcasting. Why not a Democratic Party Discussion Forum for party members? Use the internet to help invigorate their disillusioned grassroots get reconnected, informed, network, engage? }

  114. russellseitz says:

    JK & ATTP:
    Re Jervon’s Paradox and

    “Both refrigeration and LED lamps, only two of many such examples, didn’t just promise but also achieved marked improvements in efficiency-for-purpose. An order of magnitude. One might imagine this would mean lower energy usage. But just the opposite occurred. Dramatic expansion of use-for-purpose resulted and whole new application spaces also opened up”

    Unalloyed pessimism tends to overlook synergy in energy conservation . People may leave six watt LED bulbs on longer than needed, but they don’t double air conditioning power demand as houses ablaze with incandescent lighting do.

    Those who anguish over air conditioning being rendered more widely affordable by the power and money saved by efficient solid state lighting (and its displacement of the high carbon footprint of short lived hot glass bulbs) should consider better home insulation as a policy alternative to behavior modification in the service of the misery index.

  115. David B Benson says:

    Increased lighting is a bad idea. Worst is blue light at night
    https://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/thread/735/blue-light-night
    but astronomers need dark nights at all portion of the spectrum.

  116. Susan Anderson says:

    Yes to efficiency. It has a further benefit in increasing awareness of all the things we take for granted, and beginning to count the cost, not just financial. One could hope that a few realize a more humanist perspective. I would also like to see a wholesale reboot of religion to be more spiritual and focused on the real lesson’s of history’s great teachers: Buddha, Jesus, and the like. Right now it seems far too many are using it to boost their ego, based on a distortion of the gods made in man’s image.

  117. Susan Anderson says:

    David Benson: we all know what should (and must) be done. But we have to work with people as we find them. A little is better than nothing. Comfort and convenience go a long way before thinking for the long haul, and most people are too distracted to think it matters. They are also wholly-owned subsidiaries of marketing and sales, which is fully invested in more stuff. Disposables are all the new rage, and the chemicals involved are horrendous! Not much talk about the vast toxic waste from climate disasters either.

  118. Susan Anderson says:

    in speaking of comfort and convenience, I forgot to mention the billions who are barely surviving. They matter too. Empowering women would help as well. (I’m all over the place here, and continuing my off topic ranting, oh well …)

  119. David B Benson says:

    Susan Anderson,, I disagree about blue light at night. The vast majority do not begin to understand what must be done: stop producing blue light, as a portion of white white, outdoors at night.

  120. Susan Anderson says:

    David B, I didn’t disagree, I said that we have to accept that there are obstacles and difficulties and do what we can.

  121. Jon Kirwan says:

    russellseitz
    “Those who anguish over air conditioning being rendered more widely affordable by the power and money saved by efficient solid state lighting (and its displacement of the high carbon footprint of short lived hot glass bulbs) should consider better home insulation as a policy alternative to behavior modification in the service of the misery index.”

    If that’s in reference to my writing, let me modify the strawman a bit.

    I don’t anguish over efficiency improvements. As Susan says, “yes.”

    I’m simply pointing out that things are not well-defined along a one-dimensional view. That’s simplistic to the point of gross distortion. Instead, results play out along many different dimensions and the state space over which things play out increase exponentially with the dimension number.

    When someone focuses on a single dimension to discuss, my hackles rise. Nothing is ever that really that simple. That’s all.

  122. Jon Kirwan says:

    citizenschallenge
    “Humans live by instinct, all of our knowledge is on the surface of our brains.”

    I’ll just add a quote I encountered yesterday from the following link:

    https://www.cnn.com/2022/01/23/us/climate-risk-communication-psychology/index.html

    “Never underestimate the power of the human mind to rationalize its way out of reality,” Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, told CNN. “People are way more complicated because they come preloaded with all these prior beliefs and attitudes and values and politics.”

  123. russellseitz says:

    Jon, the above was directed not at your nuanced view, but Dark Greens are always with us.

  124. Jon Kirwan says:

    russellseitz
    “Jon, the above was directed not at your nuanced view, but Dark Greens are always with us.”

    Got it. I guess I’m still struggling to understand what a Dark Green is. That’s my ignorance, though. Not yours. I’m still a bit dated.

    [Yeah. I’m still simmering over the fact that VP George Bush met daily with Elliot Abrams (his senior advisor) to discuss Felix Rodriguez’s work bringing cocaine into the US to help pay for arms into Central America, using the self-same planes transporting arms one direction and cocaine the other (sometimes at the Mina airport in Arkansas.) I need to get over that, someday.]

    I suppose part of what is under my bonnet is the lack of the ability for most to juggle a few balls at the same time. Almost all of the public discussions I’m exposed to are one-note. No one seems to be able to carry so much as a basic melody, let alone any harmonies.

    Unfortunately, the solutions needed amount to the coordination of a full orchestra, perhaps at the level of Ravel’s version of Pictures at an Exhibition, if we are going to survive this well. And that just does not happen through the happenstance of uncoordinated squawks from those in the hinter regions of the second balcony.

    If it turns out that the solution has only one note, then it can only be the final whimper.

    Not a solution I prefer.

  125. Swenson says:

    You wrote –

    “I have sympathy with the frustration, but I think the basic argument is simply wrong. I don’t think the general description of the social contract is quite right. As Andrew Dessler pointed out, the social contract is simply that [t]hey pay us to do research and we provide them with the results. There is no obligation that policy makers take the results and make decisions that the researchers agree with.”

    Agreed.

  126. David B Benson says:

    Whatever, it would be a good idea to do something:
    https://cleantechnica.com/2022/01/26/climate-change-how-much-will-it-cost-mckinsey-has-the-answer/
    since the $$ is much less than doing nothing.

  127. Pingback: 2022 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #3 - Globally News

  128. Jon Kirwan says:

    I’ve finally had a few more moments to think about this topic at a higher abstraction level. Partly, because of this recent article re-started me thinking about it:

    I guess I feel that some work needs to continue while also embracing the idea that a work-stoppage also makes sense at this time, too.

    Some of climate science knowledge has been sufficiently advanced that further contributions are into 2nd and 3rd order nuances. (I’ll leave it to those who know better than I what exactly fits this meaning.) If a statement is to be made by a collection of climate scientists who feel so motivated, then those working more in these areas should consider work-stoppage to make a statement.

    However, there are areas where we are still finding very important effects and where further work promises to yet find still more, all of which can have significant 1st order impacts on our understanding. And I’d probably want to recommend that scientists working in these areas exempt themselves from joining. Some work still needs to proceed apace.

    But I do now see why some do feel strongly about the need to make a statement. This is highly unusual, of course. But it wouldn’t be the first time for such. The development of nuclear weapons many decades ago comes immediately to mind, for example.

    I’m on board now with some climate scientists forming a work-stoppage protest. I just don’t know where better to draw the lines. That’s for those doing the work to decide.

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 )

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.