What is a non-mood-affiliated way to get up to speed on climate change issues?

by on February 7, 2018 at 6:49 pm in Science | Permalink

That query was messaged to me, so I thought I would pass it along to all of you for your non-mood-affiliated feedback.  I thank you all in advance.  Do note this is for a person of very high IQ and objectivity.

1 BenK February 7, 2018 at 6:55 pm

I’ll take NT Wright’s method of very skeptical exegesis.

Gather writings from both sides. Cross out anything that fails to contradict and disfavor the argument of the author. What you are left with is undeniably true, or else the author would not have said it.

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2 clockwork_prior February 8, 2018 at 2:27 am

Why bother with ‘both sides’?

Reading a monthly summary using real/near real time data of what is going on with polar sea ice at the NSDIC’s Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis allows one to avoid caring about sides, for example. http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

Go for empirical data, that is publicly available. For example, something like this – ‘The estimated community-level index in the most recent 25 years was 2.2–12.7 days earlier than any other consecutive 25-year period since 1760. The index was closely correlated with February–April mean Central England Temperature, with flowering 5.0 days earlier for every 1°C increase in temperature. The index was relatively sensitive to the number of species, not records per species, included in the model. Our results demonstrate how multi-species, multiple-site phenological events can be integrated to obtain indices showing trends for each species and across species.’ http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2010/04/01/rspb.2010.0291

And keep in mind that the climate always changes – anyone arguing against understanding its effects (or dismissing them completely) obviously does not care about trying to use empirical data to plan for the future. The best example of this being the Dutch and their long term concerns about sea level, who seemingly do not feel that passing a law like this to handle what Florida apparently calls ‘nuisance flooding’ is a good strategy – ‘In 2012, North Carolina passed legislation banning the state from basing coastal policies on the latest predictions of sea level rise, ABC News reported. Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue allowed the bill, known as House Bill 819, to become law by not taking action against it.’ https://www.livescience.com/50085-states-outlaw-climate-change.html

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3 JWatts February 8, 2018 at 9:14 am

“Why bother with ‘both sides’?”

You don’t need to listen to both sides, if you aren’t interested in objectivity.

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4 Tyler Cowen February 7, 2018 at 6:58 pm

By the way, one person recommends this book: https://www.amazon.com/Mathematics-Climate-Hans-Kaper/dp/1611972604

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5 stephan February 7, 2018 at 10:48 pm

I don’t know the book mentioned. I like ” The Physics of atmospheres” by John Houghton ( former prof at Oxford). There’s only one chapter entirely dedicated to climate change but it lays out fairly well the physical basis required to understand it (i.e radiative equilibrium, thermodynamics and treats radiation transfer in great detail). It also mentions that feedback from clouds is not well understood which is what makes the models disagree and often overshoot the actual warming.

https://www.amazon.com/Physics-Atmospheres-John-Houghton/dp/0521011221/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1518061244&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=yhr+physics+of+atmospheres

Climate change is fraught with partisan positions. One has to navigate between those who say it’s not happening or that it includes a large component of natural variation and those who say its catastrophically happening. Even when one agrees on the magnitude of the problem , there is disagreement as to how best to tackle it, whether to counter it aggressively or leave it alone and along with that what are the costs associated with each option.

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6 jim February 8, 2018 at 9:34 am

IMO the climate debate also suffers from being characterized as 2D – “not” vs “so” – when its really a multidimensional debate with a wide array of positions on various aspects of the problem and an extreme degree of misrepresentation in the press.

Even as a skeptic, though, the IPCC summary is the place to start bcz its the closest approximation to what is generally held true, rightly or not. Moreover, even the IPCC wont directly state an obvious falsehood, and every word is chosen with extreme care. The holes it leaves, however subtle, are therefor a reason and are much larger than commonly acknowledged.

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7 Joël February 8, 2018 at 12:58 pm

Looks interesting, but I notice the book is from 1977. Doesn’t that mean of the information relating climate change is somewhat outdated? Or is there a newer edition?

Meanwhile, the book recommended by Tyler seems great. I ordered it from my library…

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8 stephan February 8, 2018 at 3:37 pm

@Joel The 3rd edition is from 2002

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9 Tony February 7, 2018 at 7:02 pm

What’s wrong with reading the IPCC report? Just the summary for policymakers should be sufficient, and it’s very clarifying. Most confusion on the subject, IMHO, stems from not having read that document.

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10 Willitts February 7, 2018 at 7:15 pm

The IPCC report has to be the most biased, self serving, and unauthoritative report there is. The report literally contains reports of glacial retreat from hikers. The report also sanctions a massive redistribution of wealth from developed to developing countries. That alone is sufficient to call into question its objectivity.

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11 Tony February 7, 2018 at 7:42 pm

Case in point, you haven’t read it either.

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12 Kitty February 8, 2018 at 9:34 am

Are you saying those things aren’t in there?

Seems like this is easily settled.

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13 Tony February 8, 2018 at 10:48 am

I’d say that no sane person would read the report and come back with “contains reports from hikers” as a meaningful critique. I mean, whether it’s literally true or not beside the point – why wouldn’t you include such data? I dont personally recall it being there, likely because it was overshadowed by the mountains of other data on glaciers, and is not a significant part of the document no matter how you slice it. Rather, it’s just the sort of random talking point that they hand to menial workers in troll farms so as to make their posts seem less repetitive, one of the thousand chunks of poo they throw against the wall while not really caring if it sticks or not.

If he did read the report and that’s the most substantial argument he can come up with, it’s rather desperate, don’t you think? Even I could come up with more damning criticism.

14 Thomas February 8, 2018 at 2:10 pm

” why wouldn’t you include such data?”

Because anecdotes are not data, inclusion is certain biased, and it is an emotive appeal containing zero information relevant to science?

15 Dan February 7, 2018 at 7:22 pm

Agreed, the IPCC report is where I’d start.

After that, I’d also want to read some things by people who think that the IPCC is too alarmist, and some things by people who think that it’s insufficiently alarmist. Not sure what specific things, I do have some general ideas of what to look for. From the “IPCC is too alarmist” side I’d especially want things about how prediction is hard, and how much can we trust science that relies so heavily on modeling rather than making simple inferences from the data. From the “IPCC is insufficiently alarmist” side I’d especially want things from the point of view that much of the expected costs of climate change come from tail – the worst 5% of possibilities – which look into what really bad scenarios might have a >1% chance of happening.

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16 Anonymous February 7, 2018 at 7:33 pm

Good answers, but I think “limits to modeling” should not really be on the “too alarmist” side. “Limits to modeling” means that the fundamental effect is out there affecting, but we may be over or under guessing.

For some of us that may be a caution, rather than a reassurance.

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17 Dude February 7, 2018 at 8:26 pm

For those of us who have read similar alarmist things (such as Limits to Growth), we believe the errors are usually on the side of being too alarmist b/c they don’t seem to take into consideration (enough) negative feedback loops and changing human behavior.

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18 Anonymous February 7, 2018 at 9:09 pm

That is fraught logic, grouping a risk with “alarmist things.”

19 Dude February 7, 2018 at 10:32 pm

Fraught logic? Go back and re-read Meadows “Limits to Growth”. Anyone with an historical perspective on this subject, having read numerous times in the past few decades about the end of humanity as we know it, would be cautious in the claims made by climate models. If you think “limits to modeling” is not biased to one side, I’m not sure what to tell you. I guess you’re just going to have to live through it to learn how these things go.

20 Anonymous February 7, 2018 at 10:52 pm

Limits to growth was not climate.

And that is the point. Why do unrelated questions of science get grouped and called “alarmist?”

It sounds to me like an unscientific canard. Something not drawn from the data. Something not drawn from a model. It is an emotional response.

21 Anonymous February 7, 2018 at 10:56 pm

Note that in the worst case people get trapped in an “all science is wrong” position, following “all risks are overblown” down the rabbit hole.

22 Thomas February 8, 2018 at 2:13 pm

The proponents motivated by ideology are nearly identical groups – anti-marketers and gaia worshippers and people who want reduced human population for its own sake.

23 Anonymous February 8, 2018 at 4:04 pm

While some people do have greater susceptibility to perceived environmental risks, we are talking about working from the science, not from the popular culture.

And, when risks prove realistic from that perspective, you could say they fell into the “susceptibles” laps.

24 Dan February 7, 2018 at 8:02 pm

At the risk of pushing an agenda, I’ll add that one place to look for writing on the tail risk from climate change is in work that looks at global catastrophic risks more generally. That work considers the risks from climate change alongside other high-downside risks from nuclear weapons, pandemics, asteroids, etc. The Wikipedia page on “global catastrophic risk” is an obvious starting point.

(Disclosure: I’m pretty alarmed by non-climate-change global catastrophic risks.)

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25 Mark Bahner February 8, 2018 at 12:02 am

“That work considers the risks from climate change alongside other high-downside risks from nuclear weapons, pandemics, asteroids, etc. The Wikipedia page on “global catastrophic risk” is an obvious starting point.

(Disclosure: I’m pretty alarmed by non-climate-change global catastrophic risks.)”

Yes, it’s frighteningly easy for me to picture a nuclear exchange in which tens or even hundreds of millions of people are killed.

And there are only a few decades left before computers are considerably smarter than we are. That has both huge upside benefits and downside risks.

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26 Laura February 7, 2018 at 8:31 pm

The summary for policy makers is a mood affiliated document.

The WG1 report is a summary of the latest literature but it’s clear certain papers are slipped into the literature near the cutoff to provide citable, mood affiliated content. The consideration deadline makes sure that responses or criticisms of those papers aren’t published in time for inclusion in the assessment and old by the next five year AR cycle.

WG2 and 3 are of lesser quality.

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27 Mark Bahner February 7, 2018 at 9:13 pm

I think most confusion stems from the fact that the IPCC has committed the blatantly unscientific and fraudulent tactic of characterizing the “business as usual” scenario as the RCP 8.5 scenario. (The RCP 8.5 scenario should instead be labeled the “Here’s How We Fool the Ignorant Public” scenario.)

Why does the IPCC do this? Because if they honestly attempted to project what CO2 emissions will be in the 21st century, the projected CO2 emissions and warming would be significantly lower than with RCP 8.5. Funding would get cut significantly.

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28 Nick_L February 8, 2018 at 10:18 am

RCP 8.5 is becoming more likely by the day – all it will take is for India and Nigeria to be unable to meaningfully control emissions to put us within range of that scenario. Trust me, the scientists involved wish it *wasn’t* in the report, because it freaks them out.

In any event, the model inaccuracies (and picking the median of the ensemble) are the bigger caveat.

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29 Mark Bahner February 8, 2018 at 12:07 pm

“RCP 8.5 is becoming more likely by the day – all it will take is for India and Nigeria to be unable to meaningfully control emissions to put us within range of that scenario.”

No, Nick, you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. Here’s an analysis by someone who does know what he’s talking about:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166516210002144

From the abstract: “This estimate for total production is somewhat less than the current reserves plus cumulative production, 1163 Gt, and very much less than the amount of coal that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, assumes is available for its scenarios. The maximum cumulative coal production through 2100 in an IPCC scenario is 3500 Gt.”

What this means is that Dave Rutledge of CalTech calculated that, based on historical amounts of consumption (in countries like England and Germany, and states like Appalachian states in the U.S.) relative to coal reserves, the world will likely produce total coal of 1163 Gt. In contrast, the IPCC 8.5 scenario involves using 3500 Gt through 2100. (And even more after that!) That is simply not credible. In fact, any unbiased person can see it’s not credible simply from doing the math, as I have:

https://daviddfriedman.blogspot.com/2014/04/is-ipcc-high-emissions-scenario.html#c680100055961152615

Here was the world production of coal in thousands of short tons in the year 2000:
China 1,514,054
United States 1,073,612
India 370,018
Australia 338,103
Russia 264,912
South Africa 248,935
Germany 226,048
Poland 179,247
Kazakhstan 85,367
Indonesia 84,469
Rest of world 742,401
Total world 5,127,166

Note that India was a *distant* third to China and the U.S. in terms of coal production, and Nigeria was not even in the *top 10* of coal production. Now, in the year 2100, the IPCC says that under the RCP 8.5 Scenario, the world will be producing 44 billion short tons (44,000,000 thousand short tons). That’s a factor of 8.6 more coal each year than was produced in the year 2000.

I will send you $40 if you can provide a plausible country-by-country coal production for the top 10 countries in the world, and the rest of the world, that leads to coal production in the year 2100 increasing to 44 billion short tons. For example, the U.S. in 2000 produced 1.073612 billion short tons (that is, 1,073,612 thousand short tons). If the IPCC 8.5 scenario is believable, either the U.S. production in 2100 will have to be 8.6 times that amount (9.26 billion short tons)…or the deficit will have to be made up by some *other* countries. Similarly, China in 2000 produced 1.51 billion short tons of coal. So in 2100, they will have to be producing 8.6 times that much, equal to approximately 13 billion short tons, or the difference will have to be made up from some other countries.

“Trust me, the scientists involved wish it *wasn’t* in the report,…”

In my life, I’ve found it very useful to follow the, “Trust, but verify” 😉 philosophy. What are the names of “the scientists involved” to whom you’re referring?

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30 The Lunatic February 7, 2018 at 9:46 pm

What’s wrong with reading the IPCC report?

Because it’s obviously a bureaucratic-political document, not a scientific one?

Back in 1979, in the original NAS report on climate change, an estimate of climate sensitivity to CO2 was given. The range it reported was done by taking the estimate of one scientific team and subtracting 0.5 degrees from it, and then taking another team’s estimate and adding 0.5 degrees to it, and using those two numbers as the bottom and top of the estimated range.

Now, that’s perfectly reasonable for a first report ever. But what are the odds that, after twenty-five years of intensive scientific research, the scientifically-best estimate of climate sensitivity would still be that exact same range given in that first report? That a real, objective, rational analysis of more than two decades of research would produce the exact same conclusions as a first guess?

I mean, c’mon. All the data from improved measurements of solar flux, from ice cores, from tree rings, from 25 years of more surface temperature readings and CO2 concentration measurements, and the best estimate is the same range as the initial estimate? Not overlapping, not narrowed, but the very same? The “Intergovernmental Panel” is clearly a bureaucratic-political committee that keeps perpetuating the same 1.5 to 4.5 degrees per doubling of CO2 range, without regard to the actual scientific evidence.

So given that the report is driven by group politics on the key scientific question — how much CO2 causes how much warming — then why would you believe it to be any less driven by politics in the section that deliberately addresses policy-makers?

That’s what’s wrong with starting with the IPCC report.

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31 Tony February 8, 2018 at 12:22 am

“But what are the odds that, after twenty-five years of intensive scientific research, the scientifically-best estimate of climate sensitivity would still be that exact same range given in that first report? ”

It wasn’t the first estimate. Svante Arrhenius calculated climate sensitivity in 1896:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svante_Arrhenius#Greenhouse_effect

There was plenty of time to get a good estimate, and it’s absolutely unsurprising that that estimate didn’t change much between ’79 and now.

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32 The Lunatic February 8, 2018 at 6:15 pm

There was plenty of time to get a good estimate

If you are going to pretend that there was a lot of serious, relevant research between 1896 and the people who were predicting a new ice age in the early 1970s, you then have to explain why all that serious, relevant research suddenly was overturned, and then didn’t change since. What was the landmark 1975-or-so discovery?

The truth is that however much time there was, that time saw very little relevant research; the people predicting global cooling were just blindly projecting recent temperature trends, combined with the knowledge that ice ages had been periodic in Earth’s recent past. But you can’t use that explanation for the early 1970s predictions of global cooling being nonsense if you’re also claiming the published 1979 estimate of CO2 sensitivity was the result of a long accumulation of solid research.

and it’s absolutely unsurprising that that estimate didn’t change much between ’79 and now.

It “didn’t change much”? It didn’t change at all. Despite the addition of literal millennia of data from ice cores and tree rings, a 20% revision in mean solar flux, vastly expanded surface measurements, the addition of satellite monitoring giving us the first real global temperature measurements, et cetera, et cetera, the range hasn’t moved, widened, or narrowed. Despite that 1979 range being determined by taking two 100%-divergent estimates and adding a seat-of-the-pants error margin.

Now, knowing that the IPCC numbers are determined by political rather than scientific means doesn’t tell you what the scientific range is. It could be higher, lower, narrower, or even just wider than the IPCC range. But it does tell you that the IPCC report is not a scientific document. If you start from the IPCC report, you are starting not from the climate science, but from the climate political bullshit.

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33 Tony February 9, 2018 at 2:30 pm

What a load of rubbish. Please point me to the scientific publications that predicted an ice age. Hint: there aren’t any.

34 The Lunatic February 9, 2018 at 11:41 pm

What a load of rubbish. Please point me to the scientific publications that predicted an ice age. Hint: there aren’t any.

Not any? So the Rasool and Schneider paper in Science, 09 Jul 1971, Vol. 173, Issue 3992, pp. 138-141, which has the following abstract:

Effects on the global temperature of large increases in carbon dioxide and aerosol densities in the atmosphere of Earth have been computed. It is found that, although the addition of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere does increase the surface temperature, the rate of temperature increase diminishes with increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. For aerosols, however, the net effect of increase in density is to reduce the surface temperature of Earth. Because of the exponential dependence of the backscattering, the rate of temperature decrease is augmented with increasing aerosol content. An increase by only a factor of 4 in global aerosol background concentration may be sufficient to reduce the surface temperature by as much as 3.5 ° K. If sustained over a period of several years, such a temperature decrease over the whole globe is believed to be sufficient to trigger an ice age.

…that paper doesn’t exist?

Weird. It’s in the archives of one of the world’s foremost scientific journals.

Seriously, Tony, the problem here is that you are far too uninformed to talk about actual climate science. Mainstream climate scientists know about that paper I mentioned (indeed, one of the co-authors was a major contributor to the mainstream consensus), and how refuting its errors and correcting its bad assumptions, in fact, helped form the modern consensus. They’ve even seen that particular paper cited so many times by ignorant skeptics that they would expect it to be thrown in their faces if they tried to claim there were no such papers. Just like they wouldn’t try to assert that the 1979 NAS climate sensitivity number was a long and carefully established. They know about the 1975 NAS report that said “we do not have a good quantitative understanding of our climate machine and what determines its course. Without the fundamental understanding, it does not seem possible to predict climate”, and that accordingly the 1979 NAS paper was in the infancy of consensus on basic issues like mean climate sensitivity.

So, even the climate scientists who would be happy to have people read the IPCC summary for policymakers and take it as gospel? They wouldn’t even try to defend it the way you have, because unlike you, they aren’t so painfully ignorant that they’d consider spouting such blatant nonsense.

35 Tony February 10, 2018 at 11:50 am

That paper, which I was well aware of, did NOT predict an ice age. It said that a 4x increase in aerosol concentrations COULD cause one, which is probably true. There has not been such an increase. Nor did the paper predict one. So you’re basiclly lying.

36 Careless February 7, 2018 at 10:36 pm

If you’re dumb enough to think that global warming could effectively melt the glaciers at 25,000 feet in the next 20 years, well, you’re not worth listening to.

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37 carlospln February 7, 2018 at 11:43 pm

Thanks for that, Doctor Careless

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38 Careless February 8, 2018 at 12:20 am

No problem. Apparently many, many people were too stupid to pass that test, unfortunately.

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39 clockwork_prior February 8, 2018 at 2:35 am

How about 10,000 feet and maybe 50 or 75 years? ‘Swiss glaciers have lost three percent of their volume in the past year, say experts, the third biggest loss in any one year since the beginning of records a century ago.

In total 1.5 billion cubic metres of ice was lost from the 20 Swiss glaciers measured during the period October 2016 to September 2017, said the Swiss Academy of Natural Sciences in a statement on Monday.

The calculation is the difference between the volume accumulated due to snow and the amount lost due to melting.

“Glacier melt was extreme during summer 2017 – at a national level glaciers lost more ice than they did during the heatwave of summer 2015 and nearly as much as in 2011,” the Academy said.’ https://www.thelocal.ch/20171031/swiss-glaciers-lost-three-percent-of-their-mass-in-the-past-year

Always go for longer term empirical data in places that actually have an interest in ensuring the accuracy of those measurements.

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40 Anonymous February 8, 2018 at 7:23 am

The choice of 25,000 feet is pretty funny. In greater North America, only Denali exceeds 6000 meters (19,685 feet).

Good to know all those 25,000 foot glaciers will be preserved.

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41 JWatts February 8, 2018 at 3:23 pm

What are all the comments about 25,000 glaciers melting referring too?

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42 Josh Sacks February 10, 2018 at 2:55 pm

This is a fairly good (if long) post on some problems with IPCC. https://judithcurry.com/2018/01/03/manufacturing-consensus-the-early-history-of-the-ipcc/

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43 Ann Ominous February 7, 2018 at 7:03 pm

There is no single neutral source on climate change issues. But “Why Scientists Disagree about Global Warming” by Carter et. al. at least explains why no such neutral source exists.

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44 clockwork_prior February 8, 2018 at 2:36 am

Strangely though, there is plenty of empirical data available.

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45 Alistair February 8, 2018 at 10:07 am

The wonderful thing is that the empirical data gets better every year. If you don’t like the numbers, just wait a bit and they will be adjusted.

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46 carpenter February 7, 2018 at 7:04 pm

Go to the blog The Science of Doom for a great deal of science presented with as little edge as I have seen.
Climate Etc is the gold standard but has plenty of mood, mostly from commenters. If you read awhile you’ll get the signal in the noise.

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47 Jeremy February 7, 2018 at 7:05 pm

Check out https://www.climateunplugged.com/ It’s pretty clear, brief, and level-headed

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48 Erik Nelson February 8, 2018 at 8:12 am

I second this recommendation.

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49 Kitty February 8, 2018 at 9:37 am

And I dispute it.

Niskanen is a fake libertarian organization that should be sued for using the word, and Jerry Taylor, like all converts to a cult, is now a raving lefty trying to make up for past sins vs Gaia. But hey, other than that, spot on.

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50 Jeff R February 8, 2018 at 10:16 am

I clicked on one link over there and it was very poorly written:

It is important to note that over the early 21st century, global warming—energy accumulation in the atmosphere and oceans—continued. It is also hard to argue that surface temperature did not increase in the early 21st century. Over the last few years, a substantial body of research has helped scientists understand why real world temperature departed from what the models suggest should have been the case. At this point, there is little evidence that the warming slowdown should lessen projections of future warming.

It is important to note that over the early 21st century, global warming—energy accumulation in the atmosphere and oceans—continued. Satellite and ocean temperature measurements show that warming of the climate system, as a whole, has continued. However, these measurements cannot resolve confidently if heat accumulation has increased as a result of higher levels of CO2, that is to say, if the greenhouse effect is increasing.

It is also hard to argue that surface temperature did not increase in the early 21st century.

https://www.climateunplugged.com/articles/has-global-warming-stopped-paused-or-slowed-down/

Yes, they keep repeating the same sentences in subsequent paragraphs.

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51 Barrett Tenbarge February 7, 2018 at 7:08 pm

I would highly recommend the academic papers and presentations done by Profs. Michael Vandenbergh and Jonathan Gilligan at Vanderbilt. They are easy to read and very accessible–designed for the lay reader–but provide a strong foundation in the science and policy implications of climate change.

https://law.vanderbilt.edu/bio/michael-vandenbergh

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bXNcEQ6QX0&feature=youtu.be

https://www.vanderbilt.edu/ees/people/faculty/JonathanGilligan.php

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52 Joshua A. Miller February 7, 2018 at 7:46 pm

Seconded.

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53 Jacob February 7, 2018 at 7:09 pm

While trying to avoid mood affiliation is noble, I would keep in mind the conceptual graphic here:
https://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2010/01/ok-getting-serious-again.html

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54 Mark Bahner February 7, 2018 at 9:35 pm

Ah, there’s some good science. A “conceptual graphic” with no scale on the X axis! 😉

Here’s an analysis with some actual numbers:

https://niskanencenter.org/blog/will-climate-change-destroy-global-economy/

The comments contain some links to more realistic numbers, e.g.:

http://markbahner.typepad.com/random_thoughts/2017/07/gdps-with-and-without-climate-change.html

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55 Jacob February 8, 2018 at 9:36 am

The Niskanen Center does good work.

Three points on your blog post:
1) The means of 1.8 and 3.7 degrees are relative to 1986-2005 average, not pre-industrial. This shouldn’t materially change the analysis, but comparing 2.4 and 4.3 instead gives you a ratio of slightly more than a half in expected temperature.
2) A big part of the problem is that there is a difference between “damage at the expected temperature” and “expected damage.” If we project damage to be convex in temperature (which seems to be widely held), then expected damage > damage at expected temp.
3) Both of those notwithstanding, I would consider something like RCP4.5 a success.

I’m not sure whether the original link is helpful. I included it because of my impression that many readers of this blog give credence to arguments from the right that are in fact quite poor.

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56 Chip February 7, 2018 at 7:35 pm

Judith Curry is a leading climate scientist who moved from warming to skeptic:

https://judithcurry.com

Though he doesn’t post much anymore, the most compelling blog on climate for me was Climate Audit, where Canadian mathematician Steve McCintyre drily dismantled study after study, including Mann’s hockey stock that once graced the front page of an IPCC report.

https://climateaudit.org

I was with the mainstream narrative on climate until I came across CA. The release of the Climategate emails was an eye opener too. For example:

From: Phil Jones. To: Many. Nov 16, 1999
“I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature [the science journal] trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie, from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”

From Phil Jones To: Michael Mann (Pennsylvania State University). July 8, 2004
“I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

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57 Chip February 7, 2018 at 7:41 pm
58 Chip February 7, 2018 at 7:48 pm

Lastly, to really puncture your faith in a political science, read NASA’s announcement last year that 2016 was the warmest year since 1880, replete with maps showing the earth bathed in bright red colors.

https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-noaa-data-show-2016-warmest-year-on-record-globally

You have to dig for this but the purported increase in 2015 was 0.04 degree. The margin of error was between 0.10 and 0.25 degree.

Yep, the increase was just a bit of noise within the margin of error, and NASA had no issue making a sweeping statement about the hottest year ever.

It’s really appalling. They would face jail for doing this with drug studies.

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59 Chip February 7, 2018 at 7:48 pm

“Lastly, to really puncture your faith in a political science”

In climate science

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60 anon February 7, 2018 at 11:21 pm

I’m confused… what does 2015 have to do with 2016?

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61 Aaron Luchko February 8, 2018 at 1:12 am

To really puncture your faith in Chip, read the politifact summary.

Not only was 2015 the warmest year ever (probably outside the margin of error, the article isn’t clear), but 2016 beat 2015 by more than the margin of error.

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62 TMC February 8, 2018 at 10:49 am

The warming from 2015 to 2016 was .07 degrees. If Chip’s margin of error is correct, then it should not claim the title.

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63 Aaron Luchko February 8, 2018 at 11:38 am

I don’t know the margin of error but 2016 was given a 96% probability of being the warmest day ever. That’s better than a 95% confidence interval.

And even if it were inside the margin of error it doesn’t really matter, it’s still estimated to be the warmest day ever, it just wouldn’t meet the cutoff to be a statistically confident result.

64 TMC February 8, 2018 at 11:56 am

“And even if it were inside the margin of error it doesn’t really matter, it’s still estimated to be the warmest day ever, it just wouldn’t meet the cutoff to be a statistically confident result.”

You have a climate scientists knack for statistics.

65 Mark Thorson February 7, 2018 at 8:06 pm

Agreed that Judith Curry is good. Here is one her best pages:

https://judithcurry.com/2016/11/12/climate-models-for-lawyers/

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66 Curt F. February 7, 2018 at 8:07 pm

I second Curry. She’s great and is a very good communicator of the issues. She hasn’t moved from “warming”, I think it’d be fair to call her a “lukewarmer” — it’s real and happening, but magnitude of the warming and more importantly the economic impact is essentially still unknown. I don’t think climateaudit is the place to go for the big picture. You will find lots of deconstruction of poorly written and executed climate studies, but almost no discussion of the good ones. climateaudit would be good if you were studying bias among scientists but not if you are interested in the big picture of climate change.

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67 Eric H February 8, 2018 at 9:09 pm

Third Curry. Also, this Pielke video is self-recommending on this topic (it is about how to have a non-mood-affiliated discussion on AGW): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iene_nipRXM

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68 Paul February 7, 2018 at 7:38 pm

This is a very interesting and free book: http://www.withouthotair.com/

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69 Ryan T February 7, 2018 at 7:41 pm

XKCD on Earth’s average temperature is useful for putting “two degrees warmer” into perspective. https://xkcd.com/1732/

“Drawdown” was a good overview, I thought, and I think it has a website. I believe it’s from 2017.

I like David Roberts at Vox. I believe he just posted something about basic disagreements about the energy grid.

The CWT with Charles C Mann might be a useful introduction on how elites are discussing responses to climate change. I haven’t read his new book yet, but I have high hopes.

I found Diamond’s “Collapse” useful for understanding how addressing one problem can often exacerbate another. It’s a decade old now, I think, but the section I’m thinking of is just about Montana — I think it’s the introduction.

McKay’s “Sustainability Without the Hot Air” was useful when I first read it, but it’s no longer new. It does seem like a lot of the discussion has moved into the sort of calculation/ accounting that he does in this book, however.

I’m afraid this may not be up to speed in the same sense that a climate scientist is up to speed, but I’m not a climate scientist and of the stuff I’ve read, these are the books that I often recall as being useful. Good luck.

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70 Ryan T February 7, 2018 at 9:12 pm

One further thought. Of the travel destinations that this person might consider, the Antarctic and the Arctic seem like good choices. I’ve met people who do voluntourism in Nicaragua b/c people have lost their homes to rising waters. After that, Bangladesh, Israel (water management as a proxy for managing the atmosphere), and the Netherlands (land reclamation) come to mind as possible destinations. I’m not sure one could go there very efficiently, but I suspect there are climate scientists in many of those locations and probably just one would do. Sometimes that sort of immersion is better than a study, or even a book.

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71 Heatmiser February 7, 2018 at 9:15 pm

For a bit of clarification, those books are a useful step in helping you to identify the hard left mood affiliated position. Once you have done this, you can move to identify the hard right position. This should help to establish a middle ground.

These sources are all good and useful. I do think the OP should read them. But this comment is akin to someone asking for a non-mood affiliated reference to US politics and being offered “What Happened”

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72 Ryan T February 8, 2018 at 5:21 pm

It’s possible that I do not fully understand mood affiliation, but I’d create a different set of books for what I think of as hard left mood affiliation.

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73 Mark Bahner February 7, 2018 at 11:40 pm

“XKCD on Earth’s average temperature is useful for putting “two degrees warmer” into perspective.”

How it is that useful for putting “two degrees warmer” into perspective? I can see how it’s useful for putting three degrees cooler into perspective. Or even 2 degrees cooler…

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74 rpenm February 8, 2018 at 1:06 am

“How is that useful…”
The abrupt rate of present climate change is drawn into stark relief. 2 degrees over 100 years is unprecedented in the 12,000 years of human civilization, if the data is accurate. Agriculture still forms the foundation of our civilization.

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75 Alistair February 8, 2018 at 9:18 am

That was the graph that ruined my faith in xkcd. There are some very bad things you do not do with time series that he does with that comic. Then he got prissy when called on it rather than a simple acknowledge the issue with a smile.

Shame. I didn’t want to lower him in status.

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76 Viking February 8, 2018 at 11:15 am

What are the bad things you should not do with a time series? (This is coming from a climate skeptic)

I am guessing that the indirect temperature measurements for pre 1800 data may contain more smoothing than the recent satellite measurements, and thermometer based measurements before satellites.

77 Alistair February 8, 2018 at 1:16 pm

Broadly:

Firstly, his historical measures have much greater measurement errors
Secondly, his historical measures are irregularly and sparsely distributed in distance and time; extrapolating these to a global historical temperature introduces more error.
Thirdly, he splices different temperature proxies together, tree rings and ice cores etc. It’s not clear he used the appropriate controls here.
Fourthly, he smooths the low-frequency data to make it appear high frequency. This is a big no-no.
Fifthly, I don’t know where the projections come from, but you really shouldn’t put them on this kind of graph as they are based on a different methodology. The current path one looks like it might be the notorious RCP 8.5…

The overall effect is to make the distant past look much, much, less variable than the recent past. There are semi-legit ways to do this sort of thing; this isn’t one of them. But what got antagonised me was not the mistakes but xkcd’s response where he basically ignored valid statistical criticisms and berated the critics.

78 Viking February 8, 2018 at 5:59 pm

I agree, I think the past had much more variability in temperatures than what the xkcd graph showed.

Thanks for explaining.

79 Mark Bahner February 8, 2018 at 4:47 pm

“The abrupt rate of present climate change is drawn into stark relief. 2 degrees over 100 years is unprecedented in the 12,000 years of human civilization, if the data is accurate.”

OK, let’s assume that curve is accurate, and 2 degrees warming over 100 years is unprecedented. Here are some other things that are also unprecedented over the last 100 years:

1) Average global life expectancy at birth has climbed from approximately 33 years to approximately 72 years…an increase of almost 40 years. To give you an idea how dramatic that is, global life expectancy at birth had not climbed even 10 years in the entire 12,000 years of human civilization.

2) Global per-capita GDP has increased by more than a factor of 15 (PPP, constant dollars). To give you an idea how dramatic that is, global per-capita GDP had perhaps increased by a factor of 10 in the entire 12,000 years prior to 1900 AD. So GDP increase more in the last 100 years than in the previous 12,000 years.

And virtually every year, humanity is setting new records for global life expectancy at birth and global per-capita GDP. Why do news outlets go on an on about global average temperature records, but don’t have a peep about global life expectancy at birth and global per-capita GDP records?

The point here is that people seem to be using the “unprecedented” as though it conveys some meaning on which we clearly must act. But maybe “unprecendented” is good. Aren’t the “unprecedented” increases in human life expectancy and human wealth good?

Similarly, isn’t the world as a whole better off due to the unprecedented warming out of the Little Ice Age? If the Little Ice Age was still going on right now, wouldn’t we be worse off?

“Agriculture still forms the foundation of our civilization.”

I don’t agree that “agriculture still forms the foundation to our civilization.” It’s a pretty small fraction of global GDP. Also even if it was true, I think the evidence is mixed about whether the CO2 and global average temperature increases that are most likely by 2100 (somewhere between RCP 4.5 and RCP 2.6 scenarios) will benefit or harm agriculture. That’s especially considering that it should be possible to genetically engineer seeds to do almost whatever humans want by the end of this century.

Finally (stop the cheering! please! it’s very rude!)….let’s say agriculture is tremendously harmed, and the inflation-adjusted global price of food doubles, triples, or quadruples relative to what it is today by 2100. Can’t we expect at least a quadrupling of inflation-adjusted per-capita GDP by the end of this century? So wouldn’t that mean that on average people in 2100 would be spending the same or a smaller percentage of their total income on food by 2100?

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80 Kitty February 8, 2018 at 9:41 am

That graphic is ridiculous.

It’s like he said “Let’s make Mann’s hockey stick cute and only go back to 20,000 BC, a geological nanosecond.”

Irresponsible.

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81 Aladin February 8, 2018 at 10:25 am

And he drew a very straight line from his 20,000 years of detailed satellite measurements

ridiculous

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82 Ryan T February 8, 2018 at 5:20 pm

Good question. When I’d read that a two degree global increase in temperature would have large effects, I’d find myself thinking “I can’t even distinguish a two degree increase in temperature without a thermometer, who cares.” Two degrees has usually meant very little to me, perhaps because most of the ways that I intuitively think about the words people use when discussing climate change have almost entirely different immediately connotations when used in daily discussions. Perhaps I alone have needed this reminder of the difference between weather and climate. Hope this helps, Mark.

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83 Thomas Sewell February 8, 2018 at 3:15 am

The XKCD comic you’ve cited isn’t very useful. It’s not just inaccurate, it actually contradicts itself. It’s not even internally consistent.

The 0 degree center line is labeled the “1961-1990 average”, then when you look at the 1961 – 1990 time period at the bottom of the comic, it’s completely below the 0 degree center line. It’s mathematically impossible for a set of numbers to be completely below its own average.

If you get your science from internet comics, let’s just say you aren’t searching very hard for an in-depth source.

Your other sources are also very, let’s say, mood-affiliated in one direction.

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84 Sam Taylor February 8, 2018 at 4:50 am

“The 0 degree center line is labeled the “1961-1990 average”, then when you look at the 1961 – 1990 time period at the bottom of the comic, it’s completely below the 0 degree center line”

It’s smoothed you moron.

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85 Alistair February 8, 2018 at 9:24 am

> “It’s smoothed you moron.”

I don’t think that riposte was quite as clever as you thought it was.

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86 JWatts February 8, 2018 at 9:45 am

Yes, I actually wondered if that response wasn’t a parody of all the things wrong with the “official” view of global warming.

87 djw February 8, 2018 at 9:55 am

“The 0 degree center line is labeled the “1961-1990 average”, then when you look at the 1961 – 1990 time period at the bottom of the comic, it’s completely below the 0 degree center line. It’s mathematically impossible for a set of numbers to be completely below its own average.”

Ummm, did you misread the comic? Or am I misreading it? In the comic, the line appears to cross from the left to the right of the 0 degree center line around 1975 or so. So the average from 1961 to 1990 seems as close to 0 as one could hope for given the imprecision of the hand-drawn style.

I find it weird to throw an incorrect criticism at the comic when there are many better and correct criticisms one could use. Of course one should not look at an internet comic for real science.

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88 Thomas Sewell February 10, 2018 at 7:23 pm

I went back to blow up the image and double-check and you may be counting from the 2016 line, because if I use that I get closer to 1975.

The line itself is about 9 years thick, so I suppose the extent depends on exactly where you count it as having crossed over. After blowing it up and measuring, it’s not as bad as it looked eye-balling it at normal resolution, but 1961-1990 is still off in order to enhance the directional effect and still contradicts the center line, although it does manage to get to the right of the center line by the last 4-5 years of the 30.

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89 dearieme February 7, 2018 at 7:45 pm

When I got interested I read some of the early papers. Not Arrhenius early, I mean early in the current fandango; after the 1970s scare of “we are all going to freeze”. You need a suitable maths/science background to do that of course. My first impression was how obvious it was that by the usual standards of physical scientists these people were rather dim and incompetent. In some parts of the “science” technical standards have not got a lot better: for example the amount of cack-handed improvisation of poor statistical techniques is striking.

But at least the early work seemed reasonably honest. It went downhill from there, perhaps because only dishonesty could be used to defend the results of the early work. In some ways it’s odd: I find it easy to believe that temperatures are rather milder than they were in my parent’s childhood, for instance. But I’ve little idea how much milder because the record has been “adjusted” so much that it’s hopelessly polluted. One of the many guffaws I let loose as I read the Climategate e-mails occurred when one of the chaps admitted that they’d adjusted the records so often, and had been so careless in their documentation of the changes they’d made, that they no longer knew what the original data had been.

Another impression was that the climate system is just far too complex, and knowledge of its component parts far too thin, to be modelled to useful accuracy.

I remember a friend, a pure mathematician of quiet demeanour, once exploding into a bitter denunciation of a bunch of mathematical physicists with whom he and his colleagues had been made to share their building. He denounced the interlopers as sharp-elbowed careerists, little acquainted with truthfulness or even good manners. I sometimes wonder whether the standards by which I came to judge the Climate “Scientists” are also rather antiquated: maybe expecting basic honesty from scientists is hopelessly naive.

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90 Evans_KY February 7, 2018 at 7:47 pm
91 Mark Bahner February 7, 2018 at 9:45 pm

Anyone who reads “Real Climate” should be aware that they censor comments that are too inconveniently true for them. That is, they don’t post the comment ***and*** don’t even acknowledge they’ve received the comment they haven’t posted. To me, that is absolutely disgraceful behavior for anyone who claims to be a scientist.

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92 Viking February 8, 2018 at 11:17 am

Sounds like a snowflake scientist.

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93 Mark Bahner February 8, 2018 at 1:50 pm

No scientist who runs a blog should ever refuse to publish an entire comment without *at minimum* an acknowledgement that the comment was received, and an explanation for why the comment was not published. That’s the absolute minimum. A better treatment of comments that are not Viagra ads, but are somehow deemed beyond the pale with respect to abusive language or whatever, is to publish the comments in a separate location on the blog, like “Comments that don’t meet the standards of this blog.”

Roger Pielke Jr. did something like the latter. I don’t recall the name of the location on his blog that he published the comments, but he would at least publish them.

Every single scientist should be dedicated to the truth. To not publish comments, *and* not even acknowledge that they were received, is profoundly dishonest. It is the exact opposite of what every scientist should be about.

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94 Evans_KY February 8, 2018 at 3:33 pm

Getting up to speed on a subject for a person of higher IQ requires one to consult climate scientists first, not trolls in the comment section.

Science is not a democratic endeavor and those who shout the loudest are oftentimes the least informed.

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95 Mark Bahner February 8, 2018 at 7:45 pm

“Getting up to speed on a subject for a person of higher IQ requires one to consult climate scientists first, not trolls in the comment section.”

It does not speak well for you that, confronted with dishonesty on the part of the scientists on the site you recommended, you dismiss it as unimportant.

“Science is not a democratic endeavor and those who shout the loudest are oftentimes the least informed.”

Yes, and sometimes the best informed are lying. That should never happen for a scientist, but it is happening for scientists in the climate change community. Including those at “Real Climate.”

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96 krishnan chittur February 7, 2018 at 8:05 pm

1) Climate changes.
2) Climate has always changed.
3) It was cold, it was warm, it may get cold, it may get warm.
4) Humans have and will contribute to climate change
5) There are lots of factors other than humans to “cause” climate change.
6) Examine the incentives of those that lecture others on “climate change” (i.e. see how they live)
7) Developing countries should ignore what the developed world says about how humans cause “climate change”
8) Read papers/position papers by Lindzen (MIT), Christy (UAH), Curry (Ga Tech)
9) Read papers/position papers on “Climate Change” by Warren Meyer, Matt Ridley – Opinions by Ivar Giaver.
10) In science, nothing is “settled” – and one person can be correct while everyone else is wrong. Ignore the “97% scientists” agree statement (meaningless)

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97 Hopaulius February 7, 2018 at 8:46 pm

When most of the funding of climate science comes from government; when government-funded climate scientists claim that all who disagree are funded by big oil; when all solutions proposed diminish individual freedom and vastly increase government control and power: I become suspicious.

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98 AlanW February 7, 2018 at 10:30 pm

But anyone who disputes climate change is guaranteed a lifetime of speaking engagements on National Review cruises. This idea on the right that government funding has magical abilities to influence bad science is maddening. Examine your own biases, then look at others. Or be quiet – that would be fine, too.

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99 XVO February 8, 2018 at 12:47 am

Should I believe you and the millions of people that agree with you? Or should I believe them and the millions of people that agree with them?

I’m a naturally skeptical sort, especially when someone is trying to tell me what to do. There’s too much dishonesty for anyone to easily figure out what’s going on.

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100 TMC February 8, 2018 at 8:41 am

“This idea on the right that government funding has magical abilities to influence bad science is maddening.”

Billions of dollars would never influence anyone’s behaviour, would it?
This is the level of dishonesty on the warmist side that should make you a skeptic. That, and being a skeptic is the default position of a scientist.

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101 Ray Lopez February 8, 2018 at 12:59 am

@Hopaulius – right you are. Lindzen is a fraud who once proposed the *hypothesis* of a negative feedback “earth eye lens/ iris’ that opens to let excessive heat escape to outer space as a ‘solution’ to global warming. That’s about as much wishful thinking as saying “God will not allow human mass extinctions”.

One point I’ve concluded that’s not making news: abating AGW (man made global warming) is indirectly a way of conserving oil, and Big Oil, if they had foresight, should be in favor of it (ExxonMobil in fact has come out in favor of some AGW abatement). This is because science says stopping AGW will be more difficult than imagined; better to simply try and slow AGW down rather than stop AGW, and in the process conserve more fossil fuels (and transition out of coal, which is running out faster than people realize anyway).

Bonus trivia: England actually imports more coal than it produces. Last I saw, they were actually “carrying coal to Newcastle”!

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102 Alistair February 8, 2018 at 9:49 am

Why is this better than Hotelling’s rule?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotelling%27s_rule

You did know about that, right?

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103 Alistair February 8, 2018 at 9:50 am

Also, England has been importing coal for decades. It’s abundant but deep and quite expensive to dig out around here.

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104 Aaron Luchko February 8, 2018 at 1:20 am

1/2 Disputed by no one, what is in dispute is rate of change, cause of change, and consequences of change.
5 None that are consistent with current climate patterns
6 Everybody has incentives, but tenure positively correlates with supporting climate change, and there’s a strong history of significant surreptitious funding from Oil co’s for climate skeptics.
7 Huh?
8/9 So just read the skeptics?
10 Einstein disproved the theory of gravity, though gravity is still mostly correct. And the 97% is highly meaningful, and historical incidences of the scientific establishment being wrong don’t correlate with climate change, and even did the existence of lottery winners does not make a lottery ticket a wise investment.

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105 David Walker February 8, 2018 at 9:46 pm

“In science, nothing is “settled” – and one person can be correct while everyone else is wrong. Ignore the “97% scientists” agree statement (meaningless)”

I’m a bit over this. Yes, a key tenet of science is that findings are always provisional.

But we arrive at those provisional findings – what we loosely call “scientific truth” – through intensely social means. Someone puts up an idea; everyone else tries to knock it down; if it stays up, everyone goes, “that seems right then, at least until we get some disconfirming evidence”. Einstein’s relativity work didn’t get to be the agreed way things work because a force of history decreed so. It got to be the agreed way things work because all the other scientists looked at his work and the testing of it and went “Oh, that’s all pretty convincing”. If he was the only person to believe his theories, he would have lived out his days as a nobody.

This isn’t wishy-washy postmodernism. It’s Karl Popper’s critical rationalism.

And yes, one or two scientists can occasionally have a better theory that most of their colleagues don’t believe for a few years. But it’s rare. And when a whole lot of scientists embrace an idea, it’s generally because it’s the best hypothesis available. Even aether was the best explanation around until Einstein came along. It was the same thing for Wegener. Acceptance of his theory stalled because he had some details wrong, but as soon as evidence popped up that provided strong evidence for a version of his theory (seafloor spreading, palaeomagnetism, Marie Tharp’s maps), everyone in the field came around pretty quickly.

I’m happy to listen to arguments that 97% is the wrong number. But if 97% of relevant scientists think a recent scientific hypothesis is right, you should have a really, really convincing story about why they’re wrong. And that story has to be more than a sort of giant conspiracy driven by a desire for grant money.

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106 msgkings February 7, 2018 at 8:07 pm

I’m surprised (many of? most of?) the skeptics are still claiming the planet isn’t actually warming. I thought the skepticism had moved to not thinking it’s man made, or not thinking it will be too terrible. I’m generally in the latter camp, but if you are out there saying that ‘warming is a hoax, there is no warming’, that seems really stupid. Way too much evidence of it.

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107 krishnan chittur February 7, 2018 at 8:31 pm

There is warming – as there was warming – and as there was cooling. The problem is that “climate science” has morphed into “climate religion” where questioning is considered to be blasphemy. Matt Ridley has written very well about this – as are many others. For the most part, “climate science” has become a way for some to keep getting money to keep doing the same thing. It is really sad because understanding what is happening to our climate will be very helpful indeed.

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108 steve February 7, 2018 at 10:49 pm

Ridley is completely biased and not objective at all. Also, he is a science writer and not a scientist. If you are bright, read the science directly. Read Nature and/or other higher level journals.

Steve

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109 Jeff R February 8, 2018 at 10:36 am

How do we know it is Ridley and not you that is completely biased and not objective at all?

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110 Todd K February 8, 2018 at 6:30 pm

Matt Ridley has a DPhil in zoology, which is a step up from a DPhil in entomology and botony even if not as cool as a DPhil in cosmology.

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111 Ann Ominous February 7, 2018 at 9:40 pm

There is a colorable argument that we don’t know whether the planet has warmed. It runs something like “The claimed warming is about one degree. The margin of error on temperature measurements was also about one degree. Therefore, there’s a chance the measured warming isn’t a real effect but a result of various errors.”

The argument and its counter-arguments get more sophisticated, with the warming camp saying things like “we can correct for that” and the skeptical camp finding new types of error.

The strongest version of the total skeptic argument that I can express concisely is a general statistical principle, “never treat statistics on a convenience sample as representative of the overall population”. In other words, measuring temperature at thermometers doesn’t give us a good enough idea of what the temperature is where we don’t have thermometers to estimate the global average within a few degrees.

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112 Mark Bahner February 7, 2018 at 9:54 pm

“There is a colorable argument that we don’t know whether the planet has warmed.”

I don’t agree. There’s no good scientific argument that the planet hasn’t warmed since the late 1800s.

“It runs something like ‘The claimed warming is about one degree. The margin of error on temperature measurements was also about one degree. Therefore, there’s a chance the measured warming isn’t a real effect but a result of various errors.’”

This is not a legitimate argument to support that the world hasn’t warmed at all. Satellite, surface temperature, and radiosonde measurements all agree that the world has warmed even since 1979. And there’s absolutely zero evidence that 1979 was cooler than the 1800s by a larger amount than the warming from 1979 to 2017.

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113 JWatts February 8, 2018 at 9:22 am

” There’s no good scientific argument that the planet hasn’t warmed since the late 1800s.”

+1

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114 Ann Ominous February 8, 2018 at 11:30 am

“And there’s absolutely zero evidence that 1979 was cooler than the 1800s by a larger amount than the warming from 1979 to 2017.”

The total skeptic argument is that there’s insufficient evidence either way prior to the satellite era so is little evidence that the world as a whole did not cool off between 1850 and 1978.

In other words, the climate evidence has failed to reject the null hypothesis over the industrial period as a whole.

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115 Mark Bahner February 8, 2018 at 6:03 pm

“The total skeptic argument is that there’s insufficient evidence either way prior to the satellite era so is little evidence that the world as a whole did not cool off between 1850 and 1978.”

Yes, and the total skeptic argument is simply not credible. There is an *overwhelming* preponderance evidence that 1978 was not cooler than 1850 by a greater amount than the warming from 1978 to 2017, which satellite measurements, surface temperature measurements, and radiosonde (balloon) measurements all agree was substantial. (Your mileage may vary, but let’s call the global warming from 1978 to 2017, based on the average of all measurements, maybe 9.7 degrees Celsius.)

There’s simply no way anyone can reasonably produce a global *cooling* of more than 0.7 degrees Celsius from 1880 to 1978. In fact, the globe unquestionably warmed in that period. The surface temperature measurements in the period show that. The retreat of glaciers around the world show that. The earlier springs show that.Etc., etc., etc.

“In other words, the climate evidence has failed to reject the null hypothesis over the industrial period as a whole.”

Absolute nonsense. Climate evidence overwhelmingly refutes the null hypothesis that there has been no global warming over the period from the late 1800s to the present. It really detracts from the ability to have meaningful conversations when people repeat such obviously false assertions.

116 Mark Bahner February 8, 2018 at 6:37 pm

*******D-OH!!!!****

Let’s call the warming from 1978 to 2017, based on the average of all satellite, surface and radiosonde measurements, 0.7 degrees Celsius. (Not “9.7 degrees Celsius”!)

117 nb February 7, 2018 at 8:24 pm

Judith Curry is the gold standard.

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118 Heatmiser February 7, 2018 at 9:17 pm

Fo consistency following my comment above, Judith Curry is clearly mood affiliated.

Another great source that should be read, but not neutral.

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119 Matthew Young February 7, 2018 at 8:28 pm

The long view is that we set the planet temperature by choice.

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120 JWatts February 8, 2018 at 1:16 pm

+100 years of no winter, can we get on with Global Warming. I was promised Global Warming and I’m starting to feel cheated.

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121 IVV February 8, 2018 at 1:41 pm

Global Warming: It’s not just ecological disaster, it’s a good idea.

(Really, if all this climate science leads us to understand terraforming, it’s totally worth it.)

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122 David Walker February 8, 2018 at 9:52 pm

Try coming to Australia. We start from a different base.

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123 Thepearlgargle February 7, 2018 at 8:33 pm

My friends, family etc seem to consider that my argument that the evidence on dangerous man-made warming is consistent with the null-hypothesis IS mood-affiliated. I can’t really blame them: the preponderance of literature, as far as I can see — especially that from the IPCC — is determined to find some effect or other. Confirmation bias, repeating the outcome of small studies, seems to be at least as strong in the climate-change literature as anywhere else. The incentives, too, bend uniformly in that direction.”Getting up to speed” is a long route with little prospect of a satisfying destination.

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124 Ray Lopez February 7, 2018 at 11:52 pm

I tried and failed to become a AGW (man-made global warming) skeptic, try as I could. For years I would take the stance of a skeptic at the Usenet group on AGW, and am familiar with all the skeptics except Judith above. What you have to keep in mind, with the medieval warming aside, and city heat island effects discounted (and disproved by the Chicago et al windy city study), is that we do have massive global warming, and ever since human civilization has expanded (including the medieval ages btw, when many forests were cleared), you’ve had global warming. The Precautionary Principle should take care of the rest (i.e., this warming could be human in origin and it could become runaway, once Greenland/Antarctica/Siberian permafrost melts). The fact that some IPCC scientists are zealots doesn’t diminish this fact.

Bonus trivia: TC said: “Do note this is for a person of very high IQ and objectivity” – and I started wondering, ‘When did I last send TC something on AGW?’

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125 Thomas February 8, 2018 at 2:35 pm

The Precautionary Principle should take care of the rest.

Let that be the case, but the same principle suggests that a global communist regime, which is the ultimate goal of most climate ideologues, is also a 100% disaster. This leads me to feel that climate skepticism with begrudging market based legislative solutions is the path that threads the needle between climate and anti-capitalist disasters.

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126 Vijay February 7, 2018 at 8:38 pm

Isn’t the answer obvious: The air chapter and appendix in Mann’s new book

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127 SDB February 7, 2018 at 8:39 pm

I too second Judith Curry as a reliable source. I think it is a misnomer to label her a climate skeptic though.

I also recommend Richard Muller’s writing on this topic. He strikes me as a very fair interpreter in what we know about climate, the effects of climate change, and the impact of proposed mitigation strategies. What I have read by him has been nontechnical.

Finally, Jim Manzi is worth looking into. It has been quite some time since I have read anything by him, so I don’t know if he is active or how (if) his thinking has evolved.

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128 Daniel Weber February 9, 2018 at 10:57 am

Picking someone who moved from supporter to skeptic and someone else who moved from skeptic to supporter seems the best balance.

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129 Dan Lavatan February 7, 2018 at 8:40 pm

> What is a non-mood-affiliated way to get up to speed on climate change issues?
You could try going outside.

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130 Mark Bahner February 7, 2018 at 10:00 pm

“What is a non-mood-affiliated way to get up to speed on climate change issues? You could try going outside.”

But you’d have to wait there for many decades, and keep a perfect memory of what all the days were like, and be able to average them in your head. Plus, you’d also have to go all around the earth, if you were trying to assess global climate change. This seems a bit impractical. 🙂

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131 Ray Lopez February 8, 2018 at 1:05 am

@Mark Bahner – don’t know where you live, but unless you are pretty dense or have a bad memory or are very young (under 20 yrs old), pretty much everywhere in the world has experienced ‘weird weather’ in the last generation (25 years). Even here in the Philippines it has rained longer than usual, and the ‘summer’ (dry months) have gotten shorter, affecting the rice crop.

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132 Alistair February 8, 2018 at 9:56 am

Weird weather? Really? Compared to what, the previous 25 years? The previous 200? How many units of weirdness have you measured?

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133 JWatts February 8, 2018 at 10:34 am

This is a perfect example of location bias. The US SouthEast had extraordinary extreme weather during the 1970’s. Both hot and cold. Many of the hot day records from that period still stand. Also, many of the record snows are from that period. Since that time, the weather has been less extreme.

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134 Alistair February 8, 2018 at 1:20 pm

Oh yeah? Well, well, you told me the trains were mostly empty too, but my carriage is always full! 🙂

135 Mark Bahner February 8, 2018 at 2:26 pm

“@Mark Bahner – don’t know where you live,…” –>Durham, NC.

“but unless you are pretty dense” –> Certainly no more than you. Especially about climate change.

“or have a bad memory”–>Probably better than most.

“or are very young (under 20 yrs old),”–>My guess would be that I’m slightly further from 20 than you are.

“pretty much everywhere in the world has experienced ‘weird weather’ in the last generation (25 years).” –> Yes, Ray, pretty much everywhere in the world has experienced ‘weird weather’ for the last 10,000+ years. Weather at a single location has essentially nothing to do with global climate change. That was my point. Here in Durham, in January we experienced the longest period of below-freezing temperatures since modern records at Raleigh-Durham airport have been kept:

http://www.wral.com/raleigh-breaks-record-for-most-consecutive-hours-of-freezing-temps/17238393/

So if I’d gone outside in that period–which I did–I would have said, “&^*%, it’s cold!” (Which I did.) And if I’d confused weather with climate (like you apparently do) and confused local with global, I would have said there must be some massive global climate cooling going on. But *I* know that climate is weather averaged over *decades*, and that therefore climate *change* must be evaluated over even *more* decades. And I know that local is not global. And even countrywide is not global. And even continent-wide is not global.

A person cannot “get up to speed” on global climate change by walking outside and observing the local weather. If you don’t know that, you need to read much, much more on the subject.

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136 QullGordon February 7, 2018 at 8:58 pm

Go around your house and measure the temperature in different places. It’s probably like 2-3 degrees F. Thats the kind of change people are saying will destroy the planet, with most of that change coming in colder regions. Does that make sense to you? The actual change over the past 100 yrs is more like 2F.

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137 Ray Lopez February 8, 2018 at 1:08 am

@QullGordon – You’re not that stupid are you? That 2-3F degrees means a lot, on average. Do you realize an average change in sea level of about 12 inches will take out most of the expensive real estate on the Atlantic seaboard, unless you, as taxpayer, steps in to subsidize the rich folk who have their summer cottage there? You willing to do that?

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138 Alistair February 8, 2018 at 10:00 am

> You’re not that stupid are you? That 2-3F degrees means a lot, on average.

Of which the majority will fall into northern longitude winters (if you believe *cough* the models).

>Do you realize an average change in sea level of about 12 inches will take out most of the expensive real estate on the Atlantic seaboard

Really? I guess the Netherlands is boned then. 30% of their country is ALREADY below MSL and we all know what a complete dystopian hell-hole Holland is. Clearly no civilisation can withstand such a calamitous rise in sea levels without terrible, civilisation-wrenching disruption and pain.

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139 Alistair February 8, 2018 at 10:01 am

“latitude” not “longitude”, obviously. I need more coffee.

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140 JWatts February 8, 2018 at 10:35 am

“you you realize an average change in sea level of about 12 inches will take out most of the expensive real estate on the Atlantic seaboard”

That’s just a ridiculous statement.

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141 Alistair February 8, 2018 at 10:58 am

Yeah. I know. But it was too good not to draw comparison to how civilisations already deal comfortably with much higher sea levels.

Or we could just let the weirdness stand. Maybe he thinks 12 inches will flood Manhattan, or something?

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142 Mark Bahner February 8, 2018 at 5:26 pm

“Do you realize an average change in sea level of about 12 inches will take out most of the expensive real estate on the Atlantic seaboard,…”

Why should he “realize” something that’s manifestly false? Here is an analysis for homes in the 10 metro areas most at risk from a 6-foot sea level rise:

https://www.zillow.com/research/climate-change-underwater-homes-2-16928/

The average value for the 10 cities most at risk for a 6-foot sea level rise is far less than 50%. In fact, only one city of the ten has a value above 50%. Again, that’s for a 6-foot sea level rise in the 10 metro areas “most at risk.”

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143 Dave Barnes February 7, 2018 at 9:02 pm

Focusing on “climate change” is a waste of time.
Focus on “pollution”.
Everyone wants clean air and water. Deliver those and climate change is a non-issue.

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144 Todd Kreider February 8, 2018 at 12:17 am

+1 a ratonalist!

(sort of strange that he is posting on MR)

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145 Mark Bahner February 8, 2018 at 12:52 am

Yes, I forgot to “+1” this.

Replace coal plants because of their real pollution…air pollution in the form of particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury…plus pollution from mining the coal and disposing of the coal combustion byproducts.

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146 Alistair February 8, 2018 at 9:30 am

Careful; the choice isn’t always coal or gas. Sometime the choice is coal or domestic biomass. Coal wins that one.

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147 Mark Bahner February 8, 2018 at 2:33 pm

“Careful; the choice isn’t always coal or gas. Sometime the choice is coal or domestic. Coal wins that one.”

In what sense? Not for particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, mercury and other heavy metals air pollution. Not for mining environmental destruction. Not for disposal of solid combustion byproducts (e.g fly ash, bottom ash, flue gas desulfurization sludge).

148 Ray Lopez February 8, 2018 at 1:11 am

@Dave Barnes- where do you live? Most of the USA except some small towns have clean air and water. Unless you live in Manila or Beijing or most of China or Sao Paulo and so on, most people have clean air and water these days. The larger issues are Peak Oil, man-made Global Warming, nuclear war, a worldwide pandemic, and, vastly underrated, a bolide strike.

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149 Alistair February 8, 2018 at 5:44 am

Oooh! Ooh! You missed out global pandemics, malignant AI, super-volcanoes, rogue nanotech and biohacking, resurgent authoritarianism, CERN disasters, alien invasion, false vacuum collapse, fiet currency and the financialisation of sovereign debt!

I love how easy it is to create unknowable existential risks. I mean seriously, bolide strikes? We know the frequency of those!

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150 Ray Lopez February 8, 2018 at 7:37 am

@Alistair – once every 10 years or so we have a foreign body pass close to the earth. I first started noticing this about 30 years ago. Do you realize the Shoemaker-Levy comet struck Jupiter with almost no notice? About five years later another one struck the same way. By Jove! And no, Jupiter is NOT a ‘comet collector’ that protects the earth. Also I did mention “global pandemics” in my OP.

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151 Alistair February 8, 2018 at 9:37 am

Ray,

Yes, a super-bolide is obviously an existential risk. But we have a good distribution energy-frequency for the arrival such objects. We know the risk. The chances of a Extinction-class impact arriving in the next ~1,000 years before we either migrate off-planet or push it out of our way is slight. It should not keep you awake at night.

The other risks on your (my) list have much greater uncertainties with them. We don’t know how close to the fire we are there. Worry may (may not) be justified there.

Point on Global Pandemics.

152 Alistair February 9, 2018 at 5:21 am

PS: I thought that Jupiter, if not a comet collector, had conceivably flushed a lot of long-period comets out from having a perihelion within the inner solar system?

153 Thomas February 8, 2018 at 2:38 pm

This doesn’t provide the results that the “environmental movement” wants. Climate change is an attack vector on market capitalism.

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154 jorod February 7, 2018 at 9:09 pm

Read “Cool It” By Bjorn Lomborg

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155 Sam Taylor February 8, 2018 at 5:01 am

Don’t, though.

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156 TMC February 8, 2018 at 8:53 am

+1 on Lomborg.

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157 Morgan February 7, 2018 at 9:10 pm

I’d start with a survey of what’s being debated, because there are probably at least a few dozen topics.

Most fall into three buckets (some of these observations will themselves be debatable).

1. How much influence on atmospheric temperature will a given increase in CO2 (sometimes methane gets thrown in here, too)? All kinds of questions fall under that – do we trust the models or prefer empirical estimates? If so, which ones? Is an ensemble of models really more trustworthy? Should we compare against satellite temperatures or ground-based series? What has caused observed divergence from models? Is the divergence over? Clouds! Volcanoes (and other aerosols)!

2. What are the impacts likely to be from a given increase in temperature? Here you get into questions like “how will flora and fauna be impacted?”, “how much faster will sea levels rise with a given increase?”, “what are the implications for, and of, ocean acidification?” “How much more temperate rise will occur in polar regions than in tropical ones?” Ignore anyone who says “there’s no warming” as well as those who warn that Earth will soon be like Venus.

3. Entangled with 1 and 2 are the “what should we do about it?” Economists like these questions. What are the trade-offs between the harm prevented by emissions reductions and the harm caused by them? How much impact would proposed policies have? Is mitigation more efficient than prevention?

The IPCC report is a good place to start, but I’d recommend quickly skipping past the summary for policy makers. There’s real science inside the report itself (even if there is some history of some of the less “policy-motivating” pieces being buried). The summary makes fun reading after you have a good sense of how many pieces are still being debated and how great the uncertainty is, because then you can better see which way the politics leans. Unsurprisingly, it leans toward the “politicians have a major role to play” side.

There are a number of good blogs and a lot of bad ones; the ones that take a measured approach are better than the “attack blogs”. Prevalence of ad hominem seems strongly negatively related to quality.

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158 Alistair February 8, 2018 at 5:45 am

+1. Avoid ad hominem sites like the plague.

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159 Dave Tufte February 7, 2018 at 9:17 pm

It’s not a reading, but you can learn a lot by plotting carbon dioxide concentration on the Y axis and temperature on the X axis.

When economists think of elasticity, they’re thinking of what percentage change in Y is associated with what percentage change in X.

When you look at such a plot it immediately jumps out at you that temperature is very inelastic with respect to carbon dioxide changes. Like more inelastic than the demand of smokers for cigarettes, and quite a bit more at that.

If you do the same thing, but put carbon dioxide on the X axis and some measure of the global economy on the Y-axis, you again see a lot of inelasticity.

When I see this, it doesn’t matter whether or not I “believe” in climate change: there just doesn’t seem to be much relationship from human activity to carbon dioxide to temperature. This is not hard: just because you can measure an effect does not make it meaningful.

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160 HA2HA2 February 7, 2018 at 10:45 pm

In general, I think “take something that’s been the topic of research for 30 years. Make one single plot and the answer will be obvious” is a great way to get an answer that fits with what you want the answer to be and your current political leanings, regardless of what they are or what the topic is.

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161 Thomas February 8, 2018 at 2:46 pm

Is the research anything other than that graph + feedback, which is hard to measure/model, as well as a total disregard for the human well-being which results from capitalism and C02 emissions?

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162 XVO February 8, 2018 at 12:51 am

Did you go back to prehistoric times?

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163 Sam Taylor February 8, 2018 at 5:06 am

Elasticity is a fairly poor mental model to go at it with. You’ve got quite a lot of delays, feedbacks and non-linearities all mixed up. The temperature response to CO2 definitely has a lag of a few decades, and more likely than not the response also goes non linear at higher concentrations.

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164 JWatts February 8, 2018 at 11:28 am

The CO2 heating function is definitely non-linear. It’s a declining log function. Hence, the feedback is always referred to in “doubling of CO2” terms.

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165 AL February 7, 2018 at 9:22 pm

Study the glaciers.

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166 Heatmiser February 7, 2018 at 9:28 pm

I would suggest disaggregating the analysis and starting with terminology that is more meaningful than the horrible “Climate Change” and “Global Warming” that we use now. Both of these refer at various times to both a natural phenomena and a sub-category of humanity’s role.

I would ask a set of questions along these lines:

1) Is the global climate changing (and warming)? I don’t think anyone disagrees with this
2) How much of this is caused by humans? It seems to me that there is a real consensus that some is, but less around how much
3) What can we do about it? How much efforts should go into reduction versus mitigation? Is it right to focus almost entirely on electricity generation? Is it right to basically treat development of renewable energy and a direct proxy for climate action? What about agriculture, etc.

I personally have come to accept that my ability to understand this issue and really know the facts is limited. I have to look to sources i trust as proxies and acknowledge that I have very little certainty.

My base case belief is that humans are a significant contributor to climate change and that creates a danger that should be responded to.

However, IPCC approach has been highly politicised and hijacked by groups that use it to further the own interests. The Paris deal is a complete mess and should be abandoned. The starting point of letting the largest and fastest growing emitter off the hook, then trying to get the US to agree to self-inflict wounds is clearly, in my view, designed for a purpose other than addressing climate change!

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167 AlanW February 7, 2018 at 10:43 pm

“I don’t think anyone disagrees with this.” An astonishing percentage of the American public disagrees with this. The President of the United States, as far as can be determined, disagrees with this. It’s monumentally damaging to our ability to have a serious discussion about what’s actually happening, what the impacts are, and what the best responses would be. I’m somewhat open to the Bjorn Lomborg argument that “the impacts aren’t worth the costs of fighting it,” but we can’t even begin to have that conversation when so many people ferverently believe it is literally a liberal plot. Some of the people making that argument are likely doing so in bad faith, but it doesn’t matter in policy terms – how can you negotiate with people who utterly reject your reality?

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168 Heatmiser February 8, 2018 at 12:50 am

I maintain my claim that few few people really believes that the earth’s climate is fixed. There is no real argument about change and even Trump and Pruitt have accepted this. I know it is tempting to paint your enemies as people who think the earth is flat, but it just isn’t true.

The reality is that the vast majority of people enter the climate debate through and ideological window. If you are on the left, all your friends believe man-made climate change is a existential crisis and that the UN is trying to fix it – so you believe that. If you are on the right, all your friends believe man-made climate change is hyped and that the UN is using it to further their existing objectives – so you believe that.

I tend to think the left is closer to the truth on the physical cause and the right is closer to the truth on the political motives.

But 95% of Americans (and everyone else) are really just believing what they have been told and what is most comfortable for them to believe. No moral high ground.

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169 JWatts February 8, 2018 at 11:31 am

+1, that’s a good, succinct analysis of the basic politics

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170 Thomas February 8, 2018 at 2:48 pm

“It’s monumentally damaging to our ability to have a serious discussion about what’s actually happening”

Blame your green politics which were: exaggerate as much as possible what is happening, blame it on people and institutions you don’t like, and threaten those people with serious harm and domination.

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171 Tristan February 7, 2018 at 9:36 pm

This whole comment section is mood affiliated.

I would start with Nordhaus/Weitzman for the economics and Stavins for the policy. Their reference sections will be legit.

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172 Kate February 7, 2018 at 9:56 pm

The UN has a online e-learning course for just this purpose! https://unccelearn.org/

This course provides “everything you need to know” about the basics of climate change, from climate change science to governance.
It contains 6 modules with each module taking about 2 hours to complete. You need to pass a quiz after each module to receive your certificate from UNITAR.

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173 Kate February 7, 2018 at 10:08 pm

Oh, and Australia’s Science Research Or also has e-learnings on understanding climate data and modeling: https://www.climatechangeinaustralia.gov.au/en/climate-campus/online-training/

Also Joseph Romm’s Climate Change: What everyone needs to know is a good overview: https://www.amazon.com/Climate-Change-Everyone-Needs-Know%C2%AE/dp/0190250178

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174 Heatmiser February 7, 2018 at 10:55 pm

No. The UN has an e-learning course for the opposite reason – to indoctrinate readers with a mood affiliated position.

I wonder if you read the original post

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175 Kate February 8, 2018 at 1:09 am

I did. I wonder if you took the e-learning?

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176 Heatmiser February 8, 2018 at 2:10 am

Touche! I did not.

Enlighten me. Would a non-biased reader view the course as non mood affiliated? Or does it just push a UN approach that so far been a horrible failure?

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177 Kate February 8, 2018 at 4:50 am

Depends whether learning things like the difference between, say, radiative forcings and ENSO, or between climate prediction vs emissions scenario, or between impact forecasts in LATAM vs Asia puts you in some kind of a mood. I didn’t find it so myself, unless ‘curious’ counts.

178 stasi February 8, 2018 at 12:18 pm

Kate is so curious, though she has never wondered why people don’t agree with her beliefs on climate change. Why, she wonders, don’t they just go to the UN website and learn about radiative forcings. There might be a reason, but Kate isn’t curious enough to think about that.

179 wwebd discussing Hippocratean insights February 7, 2018 at 9:58 pm

If your questioner is actually very high IQ in the sense that he seeks to understand the world better than it has ever been understood, and has experience in learning accurate things about the world:

volcanoes

biodiversity

extraplanetary atmospheres.

Once he is confident about the level of reliability of the more widely available sources on these three subjects, then it might be time to wade into the world of climate change controversies, where statistics is a foreign language that almost nobody has learned.

Good luck to him! There is much low-hanging fruit in the world!

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180 blah February 7, 2018 at 11:25 pm

How mood-affiliated is it to say: “I will start taking it seriously when those who say it is serious act like it is serious”.

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181 Careless February 8, 2018 at 12:19 am

second-degree mood affiliation, I suppose

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182 Anonymous February 8, 2018 at 8:04 am

I already bought my Prius. Your turn.

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183 JWatts February 8, 2018 at 11:35 am

LOL, I drive a 2005 Toyota Camry, which is far superior to a Prius in terms of environmental impact.

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184 Anonymous February 8, 2018 at 4:07 pm

Is it? I had gotten to 185,000 miles when I handed it off to a poor relation. I don’t think the calculations thrown around 10 years ago really accepted that possibility.

I now get 29.5 mpg over the 6k life of my Subaru, which I feel a bit guilty about, but it is better for getting out there and enjoying the environment we are all incrementally degrading.

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185 JWatts February 8, 2018 at 11:39 am

“I will start taking it seriously when those who say it is serious act like it is serious”.

When a majority of environmental scientists start pushing for a broad role out of nuclear power, that will make me realize the issue is serious.

Currently, I know the risk of nuclear power (to a rough degree) and the revealed preference tells me that the majority of environmental scientists don’t believe Climate Change to be a greater risk.

If they did think that Climate Change was much worst than nuclear power then they would push for using nuclear power as a replacement for base load power plants. There’s no such push. So, it’s indicative of their preferences.

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186 Anonymous February 8, 2018 at 6:28 pm

I bet you can find a pro-nuclear environmentalist in under 2 minutes.

But will it change your mood affiliation?

Of course not.

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187 JWatts February 8, 2018 at 9:11 pm

I support nuclear power and a build out of nuclear power would do far more than current plans will. If 80% of the world’s electricity were produced with nuclear power, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

“But will it change your mood affiliation?”

WTF difference would it make. If 80% of the world’s electricity were produced with nuclear power, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

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188 Alistair February 9, 2018 at 5:15 am

Indeed, there are a handful of pro-nuclear environmentalists. IMHO they tend to be the most logically rigorous and numerate ones.

Funnily enough, these are the one’s I take seriously, having proved themselves by an argument against their own mood affiliation. Even if I reject their specific argument they will always get a coffee and a fair hearing.

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189 Daniel Weber February 9, 2018 at 11:06 am

I know a bunch of pro-nuclear environmentalists. But they don’t seem to spend much of their time trying to convince their anti-nuclear friends. They shrug their shoulders and think there is nothing to do, simultaneous to thinking they can convince the people who want to do nothing about global warming to change their minds.

It’s no secret that the anti-nuclear lobby is very strong on the left. If someone like Obama, while he was President, told people in his own camp to support nuclear or GTFO, I refuse to believe that that would not have had a significant improvement on attitudes.

190 stasi February 8, 2018 at 12:27 pm

blah has nailed it.

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191 Mr Winston February 7, 2018 at 11:26 pm

I like the data and anomaly chart provided by Roy Spencer.

http://www.drroyspencer.com

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192 stephan February 8, 2018 at 12:38 am

It’s one of the climate datasets ( The UAH dataset). If you do the least square fit on his lower troposphere data (given from Dec 1978 onwards – 479 data points altogether-), you get 1.29 Deg per century. That’s not huge . The other datasets show higher warming.

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193 Christian Hansen February 8, 2018 at 2:01 am

1.29c per century is terrifying if the line is straight. My purely heuristic and totally not scientific view is that we don’t hit a solid 1.5c by 2100. It is highly unlikely I will be alive by then so I can’t really place a bet.

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194 stephan February 8, 2018 at 2:57 am

You’re kidding right when you say it’s terrifying?

The IPCC in the business as usual scenario ( ( continuing the same increase in CO2 over time as today ) projects a 3.7 C to 4.8 C rise by 2100. That’s a much greater increase. I don’t believe it but that’s what they say.

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195 Wallace February 7, 2018 at 11:41 pm

A good starting point is the Encyclopedia Britannica article on climate change.

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196 jdm February 7, 2018 at 11:59 pm
197 Heatmiser February 8, 2018 at 12:57 am

I think we have overlooked one very unique and powerful insight that would look past all of the politics and help form a non-mood affiliated conclusion: what does China really think?

China is not only the biggest and fastest growing emitter of GHGs, but has a massive population that it struggles to feed. The rubber hits the road there a lot faster than in the US or Germany.

I don’t think the answer, however, is that easy to discern. China has gone along with Paris, but perhaps because Paris appears to further their goals of avoiding any penalties but forcing the on the US. If China had to pay a price, but was still supporting, that would be powerful.

I also don’t see that China commits much research to climate or contributes much to the science. They seem to be focussing on AI and other BAU efforts.

Finally, I know that climate advocates like to make China out to be a global hero for reductions of coal use and implementation of renewable energy. But the low single digit of energy produced by RE in China and shit down of old dirty coal plants can be completely explained by other things.

Does anyone else have any window into China’s thinking and if they are doing anything beyond not arguing with the UN?

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198 Ashby February 8, 2018 at 1:28 am

Your friend will have a great deal of trouble finding non mood affiliated sources.

The climate has cooled in the past. The climate appears to currently be warming. How much of the recent warming is caused by man vs. random walk (poorly characterized with a short window of accurate measurements), difficult to say. I don’t think we’ve even accurately characterized all the sources and sinks of CO2 (underwater volcanoes and rainforests etc.). I had hopes when NASA’s OCO-2 was launched, supposedly suitable for providing near real time direct monitoring of atmospheric CO2 levels, but when the data came back showing the major sources appeared to be far away from industrial sites, the reporting got very quiet.

Physics of the Atmosphere and Climate by Professor Murray Salby was mainstream and used as the undergrad textbook at Cal Tech, but Salby is apparently now a skeptic who thinks temperature drives CO2 levels and may be a crank. Good luck.

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199 ashby February 8, 2018 at 8:24 am

Turns out NASA has some interesting recent results based on OCO-2 data:

https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-pinpoints-cause-of-earth-s-recent-record-carbon-dioxide-spike

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200 Reactionary February 8, 2018 at 2:47 am

Avoid books that say things like “My next EPA grant will get my kid thru Harvard …”, “the hot chicks in the quad really like hockey stick reconstructions”, “I’m gunning for the Nobel Prize with this one baby ….” etc, in the preface.

Unfortunately most academics lack the honesty, objectivity, or self-awareness to seriously challenge their own assumptions and motivations.

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201 Judah Benjamin Hur February 8, 2018 at 3:04 am

Next, Tyler asks, “What is a non-mood-affiliated way to get up to speed on the Arab-Israeli conflict?”

Seriously, isn’t Tyler’s climate change question borderline heresy?

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202 Alistair February 8, 2018 at 5:17 am

Tyler’s respondent could learn from Tyler’s own good behaviour. Find a source with a fair amount of intellectual humility which engages but doesn’t feel the need to traduce or insult it’s opponents.

I don’t know who is winning the climate wars, but I know my faith in science and the behaviour of the academy has been the loser.

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203 Anonymous February 8, 2018 at 8:53 am

The total, aggregate, world consensus is for at least “lukewarming.”

How does the academy lose in that? It is within their modeled outcomes.

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204 TMC February 8, 2018 at 9:20 am

They lose because in academics the term ‘lukewarmer’ is an insult and cause for attack.

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205 Anonymous February 8, 2018 at 9:33 am

Link?

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206 Anonymous February 8, 2018 at 9:46 am

By the way, I might be in some sense a lukewarmer, in that I think 100 year changes will most likely be moderate, but with a small but real tail risk for worse.

I would still disagree strongly though with “skeptics” gloming onto lukewarming and treating it as “no problem then.” I think I see some of that on this page.

The problem for “no problem” lukewarmers is that change is not static, or linear. Every year that we net-add more GHGs to the atmosphere we accelerate change.

No change in this context means ever more.

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207 Alistair February 8, 2018 at 10:04 am

> No change in this context means ever more.

The system saturates, Anonymous. Returns to additional CO2 diminish and there’s a long term equilibrium achieved under most models. It doesn’t go up forever.

Tail risk is a more interesting bit.

208 Anonymous February 8, 2018 at 10:12 am

I guess I could hear more on this saturation. That isn’t intuitive with ppm concentrations.

I thought the models all flattened based on various “woke” points for public response. That is no known natural system suddenly kicks in to reduce atmospheric co2.

209 Anonymous February 8, 2018 at 10:17 am
210 Alistair February 8, 2018 at 10:50 am

Anon

The link was considerably below my technical education. And wrong. The page is a horrible strawman.

My statement: “The system saturates”
SS strawman: “The system is not (remotely) saturated”

Every time I go to sceptical science I find such evidence of bad faith.

211 stephan February 8, 2018 at 10:58 am

The response is logarithmic. It’s often expressed as the climate sensitivity per CO2 doubling. Regarding sea level the rate of increase hasn’t changed since 1840, about 3.1 mmm per year despite a massive increase of CO2 in the atmosphere.

212 Alistair February 8, 2018 at 11:11 am

Anon,

The blocking of outgoing radiation isn’t linear. Every additional unit of CO2 blocks less and less radiation per unit time. Rather obviously really as you can’t block the same photon in two different locations.

If I may extend the SS page analogy properly the adding C02 restricts the “outflow pipe”, the water level rises, but then increased water pressure increases the outflow rate until a new equilibrium is achieved. That’s why scientists talk about long-term and transitory equilibrium sensitivity for a CO2 doubling. No one thinks adding x amount of CO2 to the atmosphere results in a continuous rise in temperature ad infinitum.

213 TMC February 8, 2018 at 11:33 am

Anonymous, my position is close to yours, but going to skepticalscience.com for info will kill your understanding of anything. They don’t even seem to understand what they are debunking.

214 Anonymous February 8, 2018 at 4:13 pm

“No one thinks adding x amount of CO2 to the atmosphere results in a continuous rise in temperature ad infinitum”

Isn’t that conflating two things? I remain skeptical that co2 emissions will lose sensitivity in this century, but that isn’t the main point. The main point is that co2 continues to be produced far beyond physical and biological means to absorb it (back to steady state) and will be over that century.

I mean, gosh, I know we are talking about “a doubling” but don’t glibly throw around “doublings” which are very much worse scenarios.

215 JWatts February 8, 2018 at 5:37 pm

“I remain skeptical that co2 emissions will lose sensitivity in this century, but that isn’t the main point.”

Then you don’t understand the science. CO2 is linked to rises in temperature on a declining log function. There’s a question as to the exact magnitude, but steadily rising temperatures assume rapidly rising amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere. It’s doubtful if India, China & Africa will build out thousands of additional coal plants, but if they did, then we might see temperature gains of 4.5+ C.

If the world were to switch primarily to nuclear power over the next 50 years then there’s little chance will see anything like that level of temperature gain.

216 Anonymous February 8, 2018 at 6:25 pm

Wow, another conflated argument, this time assuming we are near great losses in co2 sensitivity *and* near some natural limit of developing nation co2 emission.

I hope you have never also said “prediction is hard.”

Links to reputable sources welcome, of course.

217 Anonymous February 8, 2018 at 8:58 am

To be clear, I know there are alarmists, but it is false logic on any front to say “there are alarmists, so there is no problem.”

There are alarmists on sugar, that doesn’t mean eat as much as you want. Eat it with milk on top.

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218 Alistair February 8, 2018 at 9:44 am

Too much bad behaviour and bad faith from an academy I expected better of.

Yeah, doesn’t mean there is not a problem. But it does mean my faith in believing a random scientist in the future is now lower. That’s a loss to me.

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219 jb February 8, 2018 at 5:28 am

First, a general point: Global warming might or might not be happening. The behavior of all people involved is consistent with both possibilities. So no amount of thinking about people is going to get you anywhere. The only way to come to a conclusion with any confidence is by actually looking at the particulars, i.e. the data. (Amazing how that works!) If you’re not doing your own statistical analyses on the raw data, then you’ll be reduced to little more than parroting the people who are, or the people who in turn parrot them, and you’ll be stuck in a combined he-said-she-said mood affiliation trap.

If you aren’t going to do the analyses yourself, then the best alternative is to only read the people who do do it. If you go a level beyond that, then you’re way into Chinese Whispers territory. If someone you know acts like they know what they’re talking about, ask them which data sets they’re basing their opinions on and which statistical tests they’ve used.

For these reasons, I always meant to read the work of Richard Muller (physics professor at Berkeley) who, I understand, started as something of a skeptic and then went through all the raw data on his own. He came to the conclusion that climate change of the Inconvenient Truth variety *is* largely BS, with the exception of… (i) global warming and (ii) its cause— atmospheric CO_2.

I’ve found him believable because of his initial skepticism, patience with GW deniers, and excellent scientific chops as demonstrated in other areas. But to be fair, I haven’t gotten beyond what he writes on quora.com (highly recommended, though!) and the occasional youtube video, say this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9QscsnuM2I

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220 Anonymous February 8, 2018 at 8:40 am

“If you aren’t going to do the analyses yourself, then the best alternative is to only read the people who do do it.”

Ok, I pick National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. And the National Science Foundation. And the British Royal Society. And the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

Why do you choose “one guy” instead?

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221 Alistair February 8, 2018 at 5:49 am

One selection criteria no one else seems to have suggested;

Avoid Specialists.

By which I mean to say, avoid Hedgehogs and prefer Foxes even more than usual. This is a cross-disciplinary area where having a wide range of education seems to pay off (It also promotes epistemic humility, which is in short supply). A lot of the specialists seem obsessed that their particular expertise explains everything and build over-confident models (mental and computer) on that basis.

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222 Ray Lopez February 8, 2018 at 7:45 am

@Alistair – nonsense about avoiding specialists and not trusting in models. So the people who model airplanes, which were only invented about 120 years ago, are specialists? So do you trust in the Navier-Stokes equations behind flight, or just trust God meant man to fly and wing it?

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223 krishnan chittur February 8, 2018 at 7:57 am

Irrelevant – I am not aware of any skeptic who does not believe in the Navier/Stokes equations – OR believe in modeling as necessary to understand and design – What skeptics (include me in this) want is for the climate “scientist” to be scientists and not political animals who advance theories to advance their own agendas. In fact it is attacks like this – claiming that those that are skeptics do not believe in science – is what is really sad – because the attackers seem unaware of the problems with those advancing political agendas. Data is data – what modelers do is different. And predicting what may happen decades from now using data in the past is as most everyone knows fraught with uncertainty. And to claim that models PREDICT what WILL happen 100 years or so from now is totally irresponsible AND totally unscientific

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224 Anonymous February 8, 2018 at 8:32 am

Dude. Every scientific/economic study names their scenario and their uncertainty. It is a complete straw man to say that anyone has one answer about what “will” happen.

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225 Alistair February 8, 2018 at 9:08 am

Ruy,

I fear you don’t understand the objection. All models are wrong. Some models are useful, OK?

In a cross-disciplinary field, the models of specialists tend to be under-scoped and over-confident. This is a notably cross disciplinary field. Hence we should prefer Foxes to Hedgehogs, just as we might prefer Hedgehogs if the field was narrowly technical like your aerodynamics example.

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226 kimock February 8, 2018 at 5:50 am

I work in climate change policy, and consider myself to not be an ideologue. TC did not say what he means by “issues”. Here are some thoughts.

For the scientific basis, the IPCC reports are solid, although I recognize shortcomings. The summaries for policymakers are handy but the governments have editing input. Try the AR5 Synthesis.

Roger Pielke’s The Climate Fix and Mike Hulme’s Why We Disagree About Climate Change remain the two best books on on politics.

Economics is essential. Nordhaus’s The Climate Casino is a good start. After that, it is to the articles. Read him, Richard Tol (especially on cost estimates, inc. his recent review), and Martin Weitzman (esp. on long tails) for some contrasting views.

Geoengineering is underrated, as TC would say. Don’t miss Oliver Morton’s The Planet Remade.

Avoid daily news and individual scientific articles. That’s the noise. The above are the signals.

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227 David Blakelock February 8, 2018 at 7:50 am

Judith Curry formerly of Georgia Tech writes a very even handed blog looking at all of the news and research of the day. It is called “Climate Etc” and can be found at:
https://judithcurry.com

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228 Anonymous February 8, 2018 at 7:53 am

It is an admirable thing that Tyler’s correspondent seeks to dive into the deep science of climate change. Kimock’s list just above looks good. Most of us seek just enough information to categorize the risk, or in worst cases to rationalize existing moods or lifestyle choices. You can always find a crank to justify your beliefs. Call him a rebel and go to sleep happy, I guess.

I don’t think one needs to read terribly deeply to see that we should do “more” and that we can do much more without significant pain or sacrifice. You could probably get my buy-in for that and a bit more.

Sadly, we are stuck at pretty basic levels of (mis)understanding:

Our most recent nationally representative survey finds that More than half of Americans (58%) believe climate change is mostly human caused. That’s the highest level measured since our surveys began in 2008. By contrast, only 30% say it is due mostly to natural changes in the environment, matching the lowest level measured in our November 2016 survey.

Four in ten Americans (39%) think the odds that global warming will cause humans to become extinct are 50% or higher. Most Americans (58%) think the odds of human extinction from global warming are less than 50%.

One in four Americans (24%) say providing a better life for our children and grandchildren is the most important reason, for them, to reduce global warming. More than one in ten Americans said preventing the destruction of most life on the planet (16%) or protecting God’s creation (13%) was the most important reason.

I personally think “extinction” was a silly question, and quality of life for our children and grandchildren is the right one.

The western American bark beetle invasion is climate related. That is affecting our summer campouts already.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/ccrc/topics/bark-beetles-and-climate-change-united-states

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229 bruce cleaver February 8, 2018 at 8:21 am

Your high IQ friend could do worse than listening to another high IQ person opine on the subject:

http://daviddfriedman.blogspot.com/2011/09/what-is-wrong-with-global-warming.html

David avoids much of the minutiae of albedoes, aerosols, etc. and focuses somewhat more on the metaphysics and assumptions.

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230 Anonymous February 8, 2018 at 8:28 am

That was horrible. It had no direct science on only strawmanned “catastrophes” to oppose “large and expensive efforts.”

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231 TMC February 8, 2018 at 11:41 am

He put the case forward that we don’t know how climate change will affect us (true), that we’re not counting the good effects (true) and that it might be easier to adjust to it than to stop it (also true). What’s horrible about this? I don’t even know how you can argue with this.

People get so buried in the details of this, as it is quite complex, that they can use a little perspective.

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232 Eric February 8, 2018 at 8:48 am

“Climate change issues” – Well, first we need to know, what are the issues? On that I once heard on the internet to analyze these four questions and that always stuck with me:

1. Is it happening?
2. Is it caused by man?
3. Can we do anything about it?
4. Should we do anything about it?

Too many people still want to fight about #1 and #2. Even if you’re skeptical on 1 and 2, just concede that the answer is yes (accept the “consensus”) and focus and 3 and 4 which are far more interesting and difficult questions (and for which I don’t think there is any “consensus”).

And remember you can’t destroy Earth, only people.

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233 Alistair February 8, 2018 at 9:11 am

>And remember you can’t destroy Earth, only people.

Well, that sounds like a challenge…

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234 FredR February 8, 2018 at 8:54 am

Steve Koonin ran a workshop that brought together scientists on both sides of the issue for an in-depth discussion of major areas of controversy in the climate science world. I found this pretty informative: http://www.aps.org/policy/statements/upload/climate-seminar-transcript.pdf

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235 Anonymous February 8, 2018 at 9:15 am

This is good.

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236 rorty February 8, 2018 at 9:32 am

I’m surprised Nordhaus’s The Climate Casino is only mentioned once so far in 142 comments. That and the IPCC reports are a good start.

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237 Kitty February 8, 2018 at 9:41 am

When I want objectivity I usually go to Michael Mann’s tweets.

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238 Alistair February 8, 2018 at 10:06 am

And when I want sobriety, I go to a bar.

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239 TMC February 8, 2018 at 11:48 am

I assume Kitt’s comment was sarcasm, but this is interesting:

The Penn State University climate scientist known for his “hockey stick” computer model and hair-trigger litigiousness has suffered a stiff check within the Canadian court arena. According to a story on the educational website Principia Scientific International, Dr. Michael Mann is defying court instructions to turn over data used in creating the model, whose upward-pointing blade is supposed to prove the reality of global warming. The effect is produced using cherry-picked data, the article says.

Mann’s refusal came during a libel trial he brought against Dr. Tim Ball, a climatologist based in Canada. Though Ball is the defendant, the fact that Mann is defying the court means Ball has the right to pursue punitive sanctions against Mann for (among other things) acting with criminal intent when using public money to commit climate-data fraud.

https://www.aier.org/research/%E2%80%98hockey-stick%E2%80%99-climate-change-enforcer-checked-hard-canadian-case

I’m glad he’s getting the abuse he deserves for his hockey-stick hoax.

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240 Bill February 8, 2018 at 10:44 am

I haven’t gone through all the comments yet, so pardon me if I’m repeating someone else’s recommendation. Warren Meyer has put together useful materials on this topic:

http://www.climate-skeptic.com/2007/09/table-of-conten.html

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241 GJW February 8, 2018 at 10:45 am

I’m not sure how much background the requestor has, but if it is limited, a Coursera course on the subject might be in order. A course entitled “Global Warming I: The Science and Modeling of Climate Change” begins February 19. I took this course a couple years back, and the title is a good description of its content. Professor David Archer from the University of Chicago is the instructor.

Coursera courses are generally high quality courses taught by qualified instructors. Although you will be encouraged to sign up and pay for a certificate, there is likely a no charge option that may have some restrictions (i.e., not being able to take all the tests). This is how other Coursera courses are now working. If you are only interested in the information, the no charge option is probably the route to go. The website is http://www.coursera.org. Search for global warming.

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242 edgar February 8, 2018 at 11:02 am

One more shout out for Judith Curry.

“Climate Models for the Layman” (https://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2017/02/Curry-2017.pdf ) (only 19 pages and free) would fit the bill nicely.

Starts with the basics. Then summarizes the IPCC reports and how they have evolved. Critiques of the paper tend to increase one’s confidence that it is getting close to the painful truth. See for example: https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2017/02/21/judith-curry-confuses-laypeople-about-climate-models/

Curry is no longer an academic but actually doing climatology for paying clients. Market discipline thus might explain her measured, objective approach to these topics.

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243 CM February 8, 2018 at 12:28 pm

Isn’t the answer obvious:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change

Once you digest the main articles and the various linked articles, you will understand the consensus view, the basic terminology, the main criticisms of the consensus view, the main responses to those criticisms, and have access to a massive bibliography. You should always take wikipedia with a grain of salt but the heavily contested and edited portions of wikipedia – such as its climate change section – are generally reliable.

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244 J Scheppers February 8, 2018 at 12:42 pm

Technical Climate Science go to IPCC reports. Balance that with Judith Curry.

Economics is where it is at, though. GHG raise temperatures, not worth arguing about. Efficient business plans to deliver more benefits than costs to earths inhabitants, optimizing trade-offs that is where the value would be. I know few of those that exist. Mckinsey has a list of remedies all with market value cost listing many revenue (value?) positive solutions. The other bad new is that value is subjective and highly correlated with mood affiliation.

Nordhaus and Tol provide effective assessments of current remedies, but do not provide efficient business plan. I suggest that you doubt any assessments where core value propositions cannot be explained in a manner you can understand. (Example EPA’s social cost of Carbon). Nordhaus get’s close to this unexplained veil, but best available.

Example of why we need skepticism, Life on earth is full of punctuated equilibriums. Spending resources to smooth our rich life out now may weaken us to survive the next punctuation. We should not recklessly raise temperatures, but we should not assume that proper total value proposition does not in market setting balance the trade-offs.

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245 Donald Pretari February 8, 2018 at 1:22 pm

I’m amazed at how many people feel competent to have any detailed opinion on this. That you can bone up on this subject reading one or two books seems fanciful. Robert Nozick wrote that, as he got older, he felt less compelled to have a position on every issue. I feel the same way. This issue seems to be drowning in bullshit.

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246 Dallas Weaver Ph.D. February 8, 2018 at 2:38 pm

The climate system, like the economic system, requires understanding dynamic factors, not just static equilibriums. There is a time lag between when the governments print extra money and when you see inflation in the economy. There are time delays between plans and reality that business must include in their decision making.

What makes most pundits on all sides of this discussion talk as though a year or even a decade is the appropriate conceptual time to consider climate? It is an ocean/atmosphere coupled system where the heat storage capacity of the oceans is a thousand times greater than heat storage capacity on land or the atmosphere. The dynamic times of the ocean are measured in centuries.

However, storing heat in the oceans has no way out except through the atmosphere. It is like when the government prints a lot of excesses money, the way out is always though the economy screwing debt holders with inflation which is a huge price to pay for future generations.

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247 Stoic Knight February 8, 2018 at 3:13 pm

Don’t think there is such a thing as non-mood affiliated as well seen in the comments.

The issue, at least for me, remains the impact on humanity. We all know how LOLLERSKATES economic forecasts 5 years out can be. Imagine applying that to a possibly changing earth temperature decades or hundreds of years from now.

As for me, when I learned the Earth once had 8000 ppm CO2 and didn’t reach a tipping point, Earth has historically been warmer, humans seem more than capable of adjusting to warmer temperatures (I live in Las Vegas after all), and how many people are still struggling with energy provided by burning wood or dung indoors, I thought taking big measures to prevent CO2 and greenhouse gas rises and the precautionary principle became absurd (do those who believe in precautionary principle for global warming action ever ride in a car or truck?).

Intuitively, it seems getting the couple billion people at the bottom “on-line” with modernity as fast as possible and what they might then innovate as well as the current industrialized world getting more prosperous and having more time and resources to innovate justifies massive fossil fuel, “aged solar”, usage in the present for a positive NPV.

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248 Ryan T February 8, 2018 at 5:30 pm

I didn’t think this experiment would work, but I was wrong. It looks like one might start by asking questions. Next, study papers, panels, textbooks, and books in order to learn more about climate, modeling, and measurement. Travel to do direct observation. Next, study papers, panels, textbooks, and books on policy. (See above for specific examples and areas of focus.)

I hope I’m not the only person who is leaving this thread with a few more texts ordered from the library.

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249 zztop February 8, 2018 at 8:07 pm

Though not a book, the related Britannica article is a good place to start:

https://www.britannica.com/science/global-warming

Follow this up with reviewing issues on the Skeptical Science site.

https://www.skepticalscience.com/

Enjoy!

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250 blanche February 10, 2018 at 5:19 pm

Re: “Enjoy!”

Moodless, not?

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251 Eric H February 8, 2018 at 9:16 pm

If your friend was interested in the cutting edge of climate change, this is very good. It is an exploration of where the uncertainties lay.

http://www.aps.org/policy/statements/upload/climate-seminar-transcript.pdf

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252 Daniel Weber February 9, 2018 at 4:25 pm

Tyler, do you think you got your answer?

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253 Thurston February 9, 2018 at 6:48 pm

I recommend Scott Adams’ very outsider take on the problems of “climate change”/anthropogenic global warning science and public policy:

http://blog.dilbert.com/2016/12/05/the-non-expert-problem-and-climate-change-science/

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254 Ano February 10, 2018 at 12:32 am

It’s really hard to study all of it. You have to start by deciding which part interests you before you go deep, unless you have “read the whole Silmarillion before the Lord of the Rings series” level patience.

The candidates for where to start are:
1. The undisputed stuff. Stuff like “in a test tube, greenhouse effect of different gasses can be demonstrated” and “there is more CO2 in the atmosphere now than there has been for a really long time”. Important, true, kind of boring.

2. The data definition and measurement stuff, like “what is global average temperature, exactly?”, and all the stuff about overlapping lines of evidence on the historical temperature record.

3. The climate models. The greenhouse effect for CO2 in a test tube doesn’t get you much predicted “global average temperature” change on its own. To get really worried about big temperature changes, you need to think about feedback loops that amplify the effect of GHG concentrations rising. You need climate models. How much do you care that we don’t know exactly how much temperature rise will happen at a given GHG level? Start digging in to the models to find out!

4. The economic consequences. What will actually happen if these climate changes come to pass? What should we be willing to spend to prevent that? Who should spend it? (See item 5.)

5. The moral philosophy. What’s the right discount rate to balance present and future costs, especially between generations of people? What is my obligation to someone whose island might be swallowed by the sea?

6. The public policy. What can be done? What should be done? Use markets or use regulations or both? Innovate our way out with science and engineering research, or make immediate lifestyle changes?

7. The politics. Why won’t anyone do anything? How can we make them do something / stop anyone from making me do something?

8. The culture. Wow, look at all these smug hypocrites! Wow, look at all these selfish barbarians! I know, let’s turn every aspect of this into a status game!

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255 webpage February 11, 2018 at 3:54 am
256 Alrenous February 13, 2018 at 9:36 am

Getting up to speed is very simple right now.

In science, when a model makes false predictions, it is called ‘falsified’ and you throw it out.

Every published model has been falsified.

There is no science you need to catch up on. There are no issues with empirical grounds, and thus no concrete issues to study.

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257 Ano February 21, 2018 at 12:51 am

“There are no issues with empirical grounds, and thus no concrete issues to study.”

This is not true.

The heat-trapping nature of greenhouse gasses is hard science. Theory verified by empiricism.

The increase in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has been established by multiple independent lines of empirical evidence.

That the global average temperature is higher than it was for a long time before humanity started releasing all that CO2 has been empirically established.

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258 nobody February 15, 2018 at 7:32 am

I don’t know, but a piece of the answer is to read this paper.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2906879/

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