Three nuclear science deniers express their concerns about climate science denial
A major reason that climate change skepticism has captured a strong foothold in the United States is that many of climate activists are illogical and inconsistent.
They profess grave concern about climate change and call it one of the greatest threats to human civilization on Earth. They adamantly refuse to critically consider the usefulness of nuclear science and technology to serve as major tools in the struggle to slow CO2 emissions.
They plug their collective ears when nuclear specialists try to explain that costs and schedules are not fixed, but fixable with practice, experience and enabling regulatory treatment.
For practical minded Americans, anyone who cries “Wolf” while repeatedly refusing an offered shotgun cannot be very worried about the wolf.
Here is the first clip in a series from the Tuesday November 15 episode of Democracy Now!
The story features three of the most visible climate change activists in the world. Conversation participants include Daniel Kammen from the University of California Berkeley and a science envoy for the US State Department, Amy Goodman, the lead journalist at Democracy Now!, and Asad Rehman from Friends of the Earth International.
Here is the line up of the remainder of the clips that portray President-elect Trump as a climate change denier.
The transcripts of the discussion do not include a single use of the word “nuclear.” The climate change advocates, who frequently accuse others of denying science, are overlooking the fact that Trump’s inner circle of advisors include several who know that it is within the power of the President to take actions that can enable nuclear energy to contribute to a hugely effective CO2 and air pollution reduction program.
These visible and deeply concerned advocates are worried about the long term effects of a Trump Administration, but if the newly elected President lowers the barriers that have been created during the past four decades with the quietly stated purpose of slowing nuclear energy development, it could help him lead the most successful administration in history at reducing both air pollution and the carbon dioxide intensity of US energy production. It’s not necessary to be a believer to be an achiever.
As the US succeeds as a nuclear technology and services developer, there is little doubt that the products created will be marketed around the world. That marketing effort will help others achieve similar emissions and pollution reductions.
One of the “greens” commented that that purpose of wind power is to “kill nuclear”. I believe that I read the comment on the master resourse website. That may or may not be a typical attitude of wind power supporters. Intermittently was expected to help kill nuclear along with preferential treatment by governments.
Bill…is this what you are referring to?
Your comment interests me. I hope you can nail it down to who said it, and when.
BTW, on the last thread, you asked a question. You answer can be found here…
Well, there’s this report by the famous NASA climate scientist James Hansen (one of the main figures responsible raising the alarm about global warming, and starting the movement to do something about it, i.e., someone who genuinely cares about the issue):
If you look at the bottom of page 11, he makes the following statement:
“The asymmetry finally hit me over the head when a renewable energy advocate told me that the main purpose of renewable portfolio standards (RPS) was to “kill nuclear”.”
If you read the rest, around that page, you will see how these “environmentalists” knew that renewables’ very intermittency would make them even more effective at attacking nuclear plant economics, and that the result would be nuclear’s replacement with a combination of gas and renewables (as opposed to renewables only).
It all makes clear that their hatred of nuclear trumps all else. It is clear that given a choice between fossil and nuclear, they will happily opt for fossil. As much as they blather about global warming and how serious it is (e.g., “the biggest environmental problem we face”), their actions make clear that they consider nuclear’s “problems” far MORE serious than global warming, not to mention the air pollution from fossil generation that kills several hundred thousand people every year.
See…thats what bugs me about the assertion. The statement seems to be attributed to “them”, rather than, “….on sept 8th, during a conversation with Carlyle Clampanpoof, he said….”
I strongly distrust assertions attributed to “them”, “whathisname”, and “soandso”. Particularly from a community that should be particularly mindful of solid evidence and sourcing when making assertions, accusations, and historical accounts. “Soandso said…yadayadayada…” just doesn’t cut it.
Agreed. “Us” vs “Them” hasn’t gotten either them or us very far. One positive advantage of careful attribution, is it allows one of “us” — perhaps years later — to interview a specifically identified one of “them” along the lines “Seventeen years ago you stated “[blank]”. In light of complete and utter lack of progress since then, and the historically demonstrated efficacy of nuclear power to reduce power emissions to the required levels, is there any part of your earlier remark you might now, with the benefit of hindsight, like to re-visit?”
Gives “them” a chance to exert common leadership if they so desire, rather than hide behind complacent anonymity.
Can this desire to “kill” nuclear power be the reason that Greens appear to have no interest in Enhanced Geothermal Power which is not intermittent?
@Jimes Richard Tyrer
Greens also fight against large scale, reservoir-based hydroelectricity. It is also reliable, on-demand power that displaces the need to burn fossil fuel as long as there is adequate precipitation.
“Run of the river” systems harken back to the early days of water wheel driven mills, before the engineers supporting millers figured out that mill ponds were a useful addition to their productive ability.
Here’s an interesting historical tidbit that has some modern parallels. Licenses or concessions to use the creeks, streams and rivers to power mills were tightly controlled by the hereditary aristocracy. That authority helped lords & barons sustain their control over the peasant farmers that needed their wheat to be ground before it could be of any real use to the final customers.
I believe that it was about two years ago that I read the statement. I wish that I had bookmarked it at the time but I didn’t.
I’m pretty sure the article Jim posted is the one the I saw previously. It referred to rps rather than wind specifally as designed to “kill nuclear”.
I think that nuclear has a bad rap largely because of the weapons issue.
I think that it’s unfortunate that fission was discovered right before ww2 rather than a peaceful period.
On another issue I agree with your criticism of Israel. The attack on the USS Liberty was certainly criminal. To their credit some pilots refused to take part in the attack if what I read is true.
POA, we may disagree on the issue of renewables but I agree with you that Israel should be investigated for war crimes. They have certainly gotten a free ride with regard to the attack on the USS Liberty (among other things). Iran has just as much right to nuclear energy as any other country. I hope that Trump is more even handed than his campaign rhetoric indicates that he will be.
“For practical minded Americans, anyone who cries “Wolf” while repeatedly refusing an offered shotgun cannot be very worried about the wolf”
For about the sixth time, I’ve read this essay Rod offers, and keep coming back to the same conclusion. Basically, what I believe Rod is saying….
John Q has a disbelief of climate change because those climate change activists are not saying “nuclear energy is a solution”.
Well, such a premise, it seems to me, is specious at best. For Rod’s assertion to be true, two implausable assumptions must be made. First, that John Q views NE favorably, and second, due to this favorable sentiment, John Q actually considers NE as a solution to climate change. Ergo, John Q sees that the climate change activists are not stating the obvious when offering their arguments.
Far more likely, if one assumes that John Q is skeptical of man made climate change, such a mindset has been implanted by their media exposure, which really has kept NE out of the debate, and narrative.
But, has it been established that John Q is skeptical of man made climate change, in the first place? I don’t think so. Rather than “climate change skepticism has captured a strong foothold in the United States”, as Rod proposes, I would opine that the political narrative, given voice by right wing media, is expressing skepticism to forward an energy agenda favorable to fossil fuel. Whether or not John Q is swallowing it, is debatable.
Apparently, by a very slight margin, the John Q skeptics in the United States are in the minority.
However, making the assumption that these skeptics have become skeptical because they view NE as a solution being ignored by activists, is a real stretch.
Do you really believe that the public, including the more educated have carefully examined the evidence for and against global warming and through rigorous application of logic and scientific reasoning have accepted the GW hypothesis? Or have they simply accepted what they have heard?
And who trusts polls anymore?
“Do you really believe that the public, including the more educated have carefully examined the evidence for and against global warming and through rigorous application of logic and scientific reasoning have accepted the GW hypothesis?”
Absolutely not. And a couple of times, on this blog, I have stated such. For the overwhelming majority of us John Qs, our opinion of climate change is based on media exposure, and political bias. And political bias also, I believe, shapes our politician’s stated opinions on climate change. I doubt whether they believe in man made climate change, or not, has anything to do with what they actually say to the public about it. It is a matter of political standing, rather than science based opinion.
So, for myself, a number of very unscientific factors shape my belief in climate change, and global warming. First, common sense tells me you can’t pollute the atmosphere in a bubble, and not expect a negative effect. Oversimplistic?? Well, sometimes the simple thought is the correct one. Secondly, I believe, (perhaps without foundation, because it is an opinion formed entirely by my media exposure), that the majority of climatologists accept climate change, and global warming, as fact. Given the choice between politicians and global corporate fossil fuel naysayers, versus climatologists, in my opinion it doesn’t require a doctorate degree to know who to believe. And, perhaps the biggest reason a belief in global warming seems the right choice for me, is my firm conviction, that for my daughter’s sake, and generations to come, we have a responsibility to err on the side of caution when it comes to our planet’s health and well being.
I responded, Fermi, politely. Anyone’s guess whether my comment will appear.
“PRINCETON, N.J. — Americans are taking global warming more seriously than at any time in the past eight years, according to several measures in Gallup’s annual environment poll. Most emblematic is the rise in their stated concern about the issue. Sixty-four percent of U.S. adults say they are worried a “great deal” or “fair amount” about global warming, up from 55% at this time last year and the highest reading since 2008.”
In other news, President-Elect Hillary Clinton announced….
I get the point of your sarcasm, Fermi. But you being a skeptic, and a nuclear energy advocate, I think that your gloating is premature. Frankly, as the administration gathers momentum, I think the least of our worries is going to be climate change, or if NE is boosted or ignored by the Trump administration. There will be far more disastrous, and immediate, emergencies for us to worry about.
“In other news, President-Elect Hillary Clinton announced….”
Do you really believe that Myron Ebell, a longtime fossil fuel industry insider, whose degree is in economics, has no science credentials, and is a rabid global warming denialist, has carefully examined the evidence for and against global warming and through rigorous application of logic and scientific reasoning?
At least the economic aspects. Which is more than I can say for most in the discussion. I have to admit he’s no Leonardo DiCaprio.
And so far, global warming been “berry, berry good to” the fossil fuel industry (natural gas).
Just a general question that I think is relevant to the topic at hand:
For those that accept the hypothesis that human activities that increase greenhouse gases have been responsible for global warming and that these activities will lead to catastrophic global warming in the future unless curtailed, what would it take to conclude otherwise? Is it even possible for you to conclude otherwise?
I believe it would be useful for both skeptics and those with an open mind to consider Dr. Evan’s work concerning climate models: http://sciencespeak.com/climate-basic.html
There are short summaries available, and also a very detailed and long series of posts showing how Dr. Evan’s has concluded their are built-in errors in EVERYBODY’s model… and the fixes that he believes should be made.
Evan’s has posited his own fix to the model and used it to make very different predictions. These predictions will either validate or falsify his model and this should occur in the next couple of years.
Wherever you fall in the climate spectrum, I think this is worth visiting. I like that he has made falsifiable predictions that will occur in the short term. And as a side note – he has submitted his work for publication and has stated he expects it to be published.
Thanks. I’ll check it out.
My problems with the models is that:
They are benchmarked “tuned” to replicate climate data that is increasingly uncertain the farther back in time one goes.
There can’t be any controlled experiments such as the LOFT or SemiScale tests for nuclear power plant design codes. There is only one climate data history.
The models are continuously improved to reduce biases and errors apparent in comparisons between model results and the real world data since the models went “live”. However, when this is done, should the comparison be reset to begin with the present? Otherwise we are retaking the test after seeing the answer key.
Some climate phenomena operate in cycles that take decades to complete. How can a climate model provide results exclusive to CO2 increase without accounting for variances in natural cycles?
Which partly is why climatologists prefer (or insist) upon something like 10-year sliding window averages when looking at temperature trends.
My problem with models is that most of us try to defend them against those who don’t believe them.
Defend them exclusively, I mean.
By 1905 Svante Arrhenius had shown that any increase in ghg would of necessity result in global warming, had deduced the logarithmic nature, and estimated a 4C/doubling climate sensitivity.
By 1965 — a scant sixty years — there was enough modeling and empirical evidence to convince most climatologists that not only was Arrhenius right, it was actually happening.
Note the “empirical evidence”. Dr. Hansen got his start (and his name) modeling planetary atmospheres. Yet it was the paleoclimatic record, at the time mainly Oxygen isotope ratio proxies from ice cores, that validated his models and prompted his 1986 testimony before Congress.
Where he stressed the Keeling data and the paleoclimatic record, not the models.
If, by 1965 most climatologists thought that global warming was real, what accounts for the concern about global cooling in the 1970’s?
Q: “what accounts for the concern about global cooling in the 1970’s?”
A: Natural variation. Amongst scientists.
It never amounted to much, about 10% of the publications over a period that saw 62% predicting warming.
That’s the short answer. Yet there are those who latch onto those 10% with the same tenacity as they latch onto today’s 3. The fascinating question (to me) is
Please see Skeptical Science Myth 11: Ice Age Predicted in the 70s and
The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus
2008 T.C. Peterson (NOAA), W.M. Connolley (British Antarctic Survey), and John Fleck (Albuquerque Journal).
John Fleck’s contribution must be appreciated: Myth of the Consensus is refreshingly brief and readable. Connolley maintains the album version here.
Four days ago, I asked what possible evidence would convince you that the “consensus” on global warming is incorrect or at least exaggerated. I was not looking for actual evidence that the consensus is wrong but was interested if it was even possible to falsify the consensus.
Apparently, it is impossible to conceive of any hypothetical evidence that would disprove the global warming hypothesis. Which is why it has taken on a religious, cult-like aspect including using the term “denier” for the unconvinced.
For me, if several physics-based climate models were able to replicate the future climate for 50 years without any tuning other than to adjust for actual human emissions of CO2, I would have to accept the hypothesis. Until that happens, it is a hypothesis. There would still remain the question of the consequences.
There are several excellent reasons to support nuclear power and reduce reliance on fossil fuels including safety, environmental quality, reliability, diversity of energy sources and economics.
You obviously ignored my response to you.
Dr. Evans article is just total nonsense, starting from a false premise and leading to a pre-conceived — and utterly incorrect — conclusion.
Please. Water vapor was identified as the principle green house gas by John Tyndall in 1860. It has played a central role in every single climate discussion and model ever since. Including Svante Arrhenius in 1896.
For Dr. Evans to claim otherwise is either irresponsible, or incompetent. His choice.
My go-to reference is AIP historian Spencer Weart’s The Discovery of Global Warming. I highly recommend it to anyone who desires an appreciation of just how complex the topic is, and just how mind-boggling competent the individuals who have contributed actually are.
My understanding is that Evans does agree with water vapor as a greenhouse gas, nowhere does he say differently, but he is saying that the water vapor rises higher due to the greater retained heat, and thus gets to the altitude where the heat is radiated out to space. Hence, it is a “pipeline” for heat to escape the atmosphere versus being retained. Or at least that is what I recall.
@ Jim L.
Dr. Evans’ does indeed agree water vapor is a greenhouse gas, I didn’t intend to impugn otherwise. My objection is that Dr. Evans seems to think he has some penetrating new insight that has been totally lost on all climate scientists since 1905. This is simply not the case.
I’ve neither time nor inclination to investigate Dr. Evans’ every claim. His introductory “Main Messages” section reads as one massive non-sequitur, and suggests that for 111 years climate scientist have overlooked properties of water vapor that in fact they have not.
“Crucial observations from the last few decades indicate that the heat radiated to space from water vapor has been increasing slightly, suggesting that the effect of rerouting (which lowers the water vapor emission layer) was outweighed by the effect of water vapor amplification due to the surface warming (which raises it).”
No. Just plain no. The altitude of the water vapor emission layer determines the tropopause, the nominal boundary between the moist troposphere and the bone-dry stratosphere.
As we all witness, tropospheric temperature decreases with altitude. But in the stratosphere temperature increases.with height. The tropopause is the inflection point. And it has been steadily falling, not rising. See Figure 5.
This lowering of the tropopause is such a key indicator that global warming is being driven by CO2 increase — not solar insolation increase or albedo decrease or lack of vulcanism or too many magic mushrooms — that Fred Singer and his collaborators launched a highly personal attack on Ben Santer for measuring it.
(Oreskes and Conway, Merchants of Doubt pp 200-215.)
But I digress. Dr. Evans is not claiming that global warming is not happening, nor that CO2 drives it. Only that climate sensitivity to CO2 increase far smaller than what the GCM models predict.
Which ignores that what GCM models predict is, in fact, largely irrelevant. We can predict climate sensitivity entirely from the paleoclimatic record, and first principles of ghg thermodynamics.
And we can then make that prediction, using data from a single glacial-interglacial transition, across the entire pleistocene: see James Hansen, Storms of my Grandchildren, pages 44 – 47, beginning with
“Fortunately, Earth’s history allows precise evaluation of climate sensitivity without using climate models. This approach is suggested by the fact that some feedback processes occur much more rapidly than others.”
If you haven’t a copy, by all means get one. Meantime illustrations are available online: see Figure 4,
which uses an empirically observed 3 C sensitivity for doubling of CO2. This is pure observation: all water vapor effects are included over the time scales involved, whatever their actual physical mechanism.
It bears repeating: those who whine about climate models and uncertainties in their sensitivities prediction are dragging a red herring. Yes, details can be important and over decadal and century time scales GCM predictions can be useful inputs to Integrated Assessment Models. But they do not predict our fate. That is sealed by measurements and simple physics.
I read most of Dr Evans’ series of posts a year or so back ( note, he’s a doctor in electrcical engineering, not climate physics )
I don’t have a doctorate in anything, but I know that the glaciers here are retreating pretty fast, just over my lifetime. I’m pretty sure the ski seasons have changed too.
Evans has a number of bets with Professor Brian Schmidt, head of Australian National University and American-born Nobel laureate, against the earth warming by more than 0.15 C per decade, over various time scales, as judged by Gistemp. ( I think it’s Evan’s $6,000 versus Schmidt’s $9,000. ) The ten-year wager is due to mature in 2017.
That is actually part of the problem. High clouds are cold clouds which radiate poorly and block IR in windows which otherwise allow radiation to space. Low clouds are warm, radiate well and reflect more energy than they trap.
That is not what Figure 5 indicates. It indicates falling stratospheric temperatures, not tropopause altitude. The heavier the GHG inventory, the more the atmosphere must thin out before the IR windows to space open up (thicker convective layer) and the HIGHER the tropopause will be.
Damn. (Eyeballs simple back-of-envelope sketch). You’re right of course. From simple geometric consideration alone. Stratosphere temperature increases with height. Troposphere decreases. Increased water vapor heats the troposphere. If stratosphere were constant, that would raise tropopause, both elevation and temperature.
But increased CO2 cools stratosphere. Were troposphere constant, that would also raise tropopause altitude, but at lower temperature.
Either singly or in combination, water and/or CO2 ghg increase raises tropopause. In combination the actual tropopause temperature isn’t so clear. Nor as important.
You’re welcome. Just one of those things, but the clearer our thinking and understanding on all of this is, the better off we’ll ALL be.
And that includes me when I make a thinko.
I’m going to dispute “will lead to”. Even a significant likelihood would require preventive action.
To change my position would require:
1. A demonstration that increasing GHGs does not increase the surface-level downwelling IR from the atmosphere. (Can’t demonstrate it, because it does.)
2. A demonstration that increases in downwelling IR are offset by other effects which mantain the net energy balance. (Seems very far-fetched.)
3. Proof positive that increasing the Earth’s temperature beyond what it would normally be at this point in the climate cycle will have no untoward effects. Given that we are seeing unprecedented migration of the viable climactic zones for many important ecosystems, the rapid disappearance of Arctic sea ice, several major Antarctic ice shelves already gone (when the cycles suggest they should be growing) and the beginnings of the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet already visible, that doesn’t even pass the laugh test.
This does not include direct effects from CO2, such as the dissolution of corals in the Florida Keys from acidification.
Maybe you can come up with weightier evidence than the evidence I just laid out. I don’t see how, though.
The amount of heat radiated by a black body increases in proportion to the fourth power of the absolute temperature. Latent heat from condensation resultes in convection. Once virtually all of the water has condensed you have reached the upper limit ofthe troposphere. Although the atmosphere is not a black body it might approximate a fourth power law.
Have you ever read “Defeating the Son of Andrew“? I once thought that this would be a good idea, but after learning more about cloud effects and understanding that convection towers would dump massive amounts of warm, saturated air into sub-freezing levels some 4-5 miles up, I started to wonder about the indirect radiative effects and if they might trap more heat than the towers dump.
This is way beyond my pay grade. Maybe somebody with a good convective/radiative model could take a stab at it.
Back on-topic, there have been numerous statistical studies comparing various ways to frame the issue of anthropogenic global warming, and the effects of the different frames upon various social groups’ acceptance of the underlying science. A stunning visual is afforded in an overview and compendium the Breakthrough Institute made a few years back: The Psychology of Climate Change.
Scroll down to (the somewhat ambiguously titled) “Nuclear Power As Climate Solution Increases Concern for Global Warming” and cogitate upon the mirrored “V” curves of the 2nd Risk Perception graphic… 🙂
I agree. However I would like to see a carbon tax which would not pick winners and losers among non carbon energy sources. The revenue might be used to help people with medical problems pay their utility bills.
My post was misplaced. Is was in response to “glad Trump doesn’t like wind”by Mark Pawelek.
Glad to read Trump does not like wind. Here is a tweet he made on Apr 25, 2014, to Alex Salmond, then leader of the Scottish National Party:
“Isn’t it ironic that China is going all in nuclear for energy while at the same time making wind turbines for others. @alexsalmond”
More Trump tweets here, mostly on Scotland & hated wind power. http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/donald-trump-reveals-opinion-of-scotland-through-twitter-1-4291039
I changed my mind. I side with climate change skeptics now. That does not mean I think CO2 has no effect. It means I suspect CO2 climate sensitivity is between 0.5 and 1. I expect no ‘amplification’ effect at all. Economically: detrimental effects of sea level rise will be more than balanced by a massive global greening. The other worrying issue is “ocean acidification”.
Stopping, or slowing, ocean acidification is the only pro-nuclear environment argument I would try using with Trump’s administration. Nuclear power also gives excellent supply security because USA can get uranium from Canada, and can store stockpiles.
Republicans have not supported public investment in advanced nuclear power for a long time. More republicans voted to defund the IFR in 1994 than Dems. Still, it’s not as if advanced nuclear is lavishly funded by Dems. I think you should try to convince the Trump administration of keep support for new nuclear power. Modular and advanced reactors. Deregulate. Drop Federal tax credits or other support for actual generation. Let states help with generation if they want to.
Just wondering – Let’s suppose al those scientists are wrong and global warming / climate change aren’t real.
Has that number of scientists from their many different specialties been wrong about anything else of this magnitude? They all seem to agree. What examples are there? When does it go from scientific theory to scientific fact? How much empirical evidence does one need?
“How much empirical evidence does one need?”
Enough to render political denial and BS, (such as Ebell and the Trump Administration is going to feed us, in league with “big oil”), no longer a feasable strategy with which to hoodwink the masses.
In order for Trump to prostitute himself to the fossil fuel industry, on the scale he has promised…
He MUST deny global warming, and, do his best to convince YOU that the premise of global warming is a hoax and a conspiracy. He will probably leave a legacy of a disastrous foreign policy, perhaps colored by an unecessary and major war of his own making. But in terms of a legacy that has the potential to be historical and epic, slamming shut a window of opportunity, (in regards to our climate and our planet’s health), may well be the one he is most remembered and loathed for.
The reason reasonable people are skeptical is that’s a good approach to science theory. Show me your theory? Oh, it’s a very complex computer model of everything. No one person could possibly understand. Show me your accurate predictions matching data from controlled experiments? We can’t do big enough controlled experiments, but we’ve run thousands of global simulations, and some match limited past data over selected time periods, … hem and haw… We have dozens of future predictions, and some may match future results. If they don’t, we can adjust assumptions so at least a couple will, retroactively. But everyone can see we’re getting warmer, on average and *almost* everywhere, by a tiny amount.
This interpreted data shows CO2 clearly lagging temperature change, before man:
( http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/globalwarming/temperature-change.html )
I’m willing to listen to anyone, but have you noticed the people who urge fear and policy action are usually not actually “climate scientists,” but are usually policy and economics specialists, or other more “arts” types?
The scientists, if we ever hear them, couch statements behind “confidence” feelings, the possibility of bad outcomes, and always a need for more funding to refine models.
We cannot even agree on a “good” model, based on data and science, to accurately predict the effects of increased exposures to low level radiation doses. How can global climate science possibly be anywhere near “settled” as many people repeat like a mantra?
Anyway, what’s so bad about longer growing seasons, milder winters, more rain, and less building along coasts and waterways? Fukushima and Fort Calhoun would’ve been a lot better off if they’d been built higher and drier. Chernobyl, not so much, but at least it displaced some CO2 emissions, for a while.
Again, this is wrong. Just plain wrong. While being factually correct, that during the Pleistocene glaciations CO2 increase lagged temperature rise is another red herring. It does not tell the complete story. Orbital cycles did trigger glaciation cycles – in both directions – during this time and this continent configuration and this particular CO2 range or biosphere content. Doesn’t help us any today. Please see Skeptical Science Myth 12: CO2 lags temperature.
Comparing biological effects of low-level radiation to climate change science is just classic false equivalence, a complete non-sequitur.
I’ve previously commented upon unwarranted model fixation here. Climate models are very useful, and help project for instance the short term (decadal, century) climate effects of various Representative Concentration Pathways, whose results in turn feed back into Integrated (economic) Assessment Models to provide insight into the future effects of various economic and policy choices.
To this end it is very important that climate models be able to track historical climate trends from historical data, and there is indeed a whole sub-science of tuning variously poorly established parameters to ensure they do. There are also extremely good reasons why we do not choose (or agree) to use any one particular model. Climate is just too complex. No one model can capture the Whole Thing. We obtain projections from large ensembles of different models, each run at many different physically reasonable sets of parameter values within physically realistic error bars.
Then look at the ensemble results, and compare the hindcast results with the historical record. If they reasonably match, we figure our forecasts are on the right track. If not, there are calls for further introspection.
See Real Climate’s Unforced variations: Aug 2016 for graphical illustration. And The art and science of climate model tuning (pre-publication draft) for an expert critique of the sausage factory.
Above all, please do not dismiss models as the entire story. They are not. Climate science is observational as well, and it is observational data that fix the overall short-term climate sensitivity at about 3 C / per doubling CO2, and determine our fate. Not the models.
“Comparing biological effects of low-level radiation to climate change science is just classic false equivalence, a complete non-sequitur.”
It’s not, or you misunderstand the intent of the comparison. Rod recently compared LNT estimates of harm from NOX emissions with LNT estimates of harm from radiation doses. It’s a comparison of approach and method, and complexity, and pointing out the difficulty of making more accurate estimates. We agree they’re different phenomena, but one is a much easier problem, and it is still beyond our capability as a species. The other is more difficult, and farther beyond our capability. It’s not equivalence, it’s judgment.
“… it is observational data that fix the overall short-term climate sensitivity at about 3 C / per doubling CO2…”
Short-term thumbrules fail because unexpected long-term feedbacks or other unexpected factors have impacts. This rate may be true assuming particulates from China are below some amount; assuming China, Russia, the US, or others do not take action to engineer climate changes; assuming less than X major volcano eruptions; assuming no nuclear wars (remember nuclear winter); assuming no huge, uncontrolled fires; and on and on.
In the short-term, prompt-critical nuclear assemblies increase temperature at a high rate per short time. In the long-term, something stops them. Most natural phenomena do eventually.
Your later link to “psychology” is appropriate. Discussing climate change and what to do about it, is more like discussing population growth, abortions, and what to do about it. It really comes down to how people feel about them and politics, not some mathematical or scientific proof. You want to use the “underlying science” to advocate your preferred technology, but no matter how much you repeat the mantra, the science is not really settled yet. People have much bigger problems, like poverty and wars, and associated migrations.
Because in the natural regime, the Milankovic cycles start the temperature changes which amplify via CO2 (and perhaps other) feedbacks. We are not in the natural regime any more, we are in the Anthropocene. Adding man-made GHGs is a different driver but has the same effect.
Most scientists don’t want to get involved in politics.
Have you bothered to distinguish them by the kind of policy action they’re pushing? Global redistribution of wealth, massive migrant flows… that is the international socialist wagon that the same clowns have been trying to hitch to every horse for the last century.
Ignore those people (if you can’t jail them). Hansen, Environmental Progress, Breakthrough Institute… all are pushing nuclear power.
When they move the climactic zone that your present ecosystem evolved for beyond anyplace it actually exists, resulting in massive dieoffs. Also when your growing season allows more-tropical pest species to move in, like the Aedes mosquito which now carries the Zika virus.
When it’s not cold enough to kill off pine bark beetles, you lose entire forests.
IF you get it. Warmer air also evaporates raindrops as they fall, so more clouds don’t water the ground at all and what rain does arrive is in heavier storms which cause erosion and flooding. Louisiana just got dumped on like that, and it was all due to warmer air that carried more moisture.
Historic landmarks and villages are already disappearing under rising seas, and some of this is happening where post-glacial rebound ought to have the water in retreat.
If you think losing harbors and port cities is A-OK, I can only SMH.
“We are not in the natural regime any more, we are in the Anthropocene.”
That may be of great significance to you; however, a forest cut down by “stupid” men to make furniture or homes is similar to a forest cut down by “pine bark beetles” from a remote perspective, say from Mars. The etymology of “natural” is interesting.
“Historic landmarks and villages are already disappearing under rising seas”
Name 1 or 2 dozen which are truly *disappearing* from “rising seas” and not other things like “natural” erosion, or predicted to eventually disappear if nothing is done? Average water level increases, measured from space, at rates maybe an inch or so per year, give PLENTY of time for migrations with less urgency than from war zones.
No it isn’t. It is one thing to remove trees and let them re-grow. It is a completely different thing to change the climate so that trees cannot survive.
I’m anything but a specialist so I don’t keep comprehensive lists, but here’s a few to keep you busy.
USA, Louisiana: [http://grist.org/climate-energy/louisiana-is-drowning-quickly/}
USA, Alaska: [http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/08/alaska-village-climate-change/402604/]
USA, Florida: [http://grist.org/cities/miami-sea-level-rise-climate-change]
USA, 8 of 10 top coastal cities: [http://www.terradaily.com/reports/NOAA_Nuisance_flooding_an_increasing_problem_as_coastal_sea_levels_rise_999.html]
Village of Fairbourne in Wales going under: [http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3442264/Welsh-village-decommissioned-warnings-lost-sea.html]
Much of the Welsh coastline in similar straits: [http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/wales-major-coastal-towns-cities-10496070]
5 of the Solomon Islands already disappeared under the Pacific: [https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/sea-level-rise-swallows-5-whole-pacific-islands/]
River deltas are some of the most fertile land on the planet. When they go underwater, they are GONE on the timescale of civilizations. Everything they once produced, whether crops or timber, is lost. Upland acreage is already occupied and far less productive.
You can ignore this reality, but you cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring it.
“It is one thing to remove trees and let them re-grow. It is a completely different thing to change the climate so that trees cannot survive.”
Like you know for certain that forests lost to pine beetles can *never* return. If you’ve ever seen what remains after massive de-foresting, many years later, you might think differently about the comparison. Yes, it is technically two different things; however, we have done the former on a massive scale, and similar forests with similar environment have not returned.
“but here’s a few to keep you busy.”
Not for long. Your first example supports my position more than yours. That is, the current problems in Louisiana are from unintended consequences of shorter term development, and not from longer term climate change. Did you even read more than the headline? I recognized the last item on your list – it blames disappearing islands on erosion. No need to waste any more time.
“When they go underwater, they are GONE on the timescale of civilizations.”
Except people have a long history of reclaiming land from water, for many purposes. It’s a question of return on investment or cost/benefit.
You’ve probably heard of the relatively recent Chinese extensions to the Spratly Islands that are causing fears of confrontations and possibly nuclear war.
Let me return the link favor, and suggest you might be interested in the many, many similar land reclamation projects in history, including for agriculture purposes:
How do you re-grow a forest, when changes in rainfall and climate killed all the trees that used to be there?
But if you run goats you’ll never have trees again. The emerald ash borer has killed almost every ash tree in my county. There are a handful of saplings still alive, but they’ll only last until their bark gets thick enough to allow the bugs to dig in. When those are gone, that’s it for the species.
The only societies with enough social capital to do this are in Western Europe and the far East. The West isn’t going to be able to do that much longer with the massive inflow of people from low-trust societies; the teamwork required to keep dikes maintained and polders pumped dry will cease to exist.
As always there is a mix of factors. By including the ash borer, you’ve made reference to a problem blamed on imports. Invasive species are a classic problem. Man’s changing of cycles of forest fires also has an impact on the spread of these insects. But, your xenophobic conclusion – while faulty and biased – agrees with my position: short-term and political problems are clearly real and higher priority.
Back to the original point, Rod Adams several weeks ago pointed out that Fiends of the Earth, misspelling intentional, was established primarily as an anti-nuclear advocacy organization.
Exactly. I feel like many of us, despite the diverse backgrounds, paths taken and beliefs have come to be on the same page here. I completely agree and acknowledge EPs post above as well.
Rod I dont think we have seen the complete Trump position on climate change. I dont even think that the package deal the term “climate change” has become is accepted as uniform across scientific and political lines. Obviously “environmentalism” has become in addition at least two rather different movements beyond the simple previous definition of the term. Just there under that term we have both ideas relevant to basic conservation of current diversity in the natural world and a complete and well developed anti human/anti technology political philosophy.
I wish I could contribute something more positive to the conversation here but I am past hope when it comes to reconciling the political differences that have crept into various venues.
Fortunately I feel we have received a reset and possibly the motivation to use this opportunity to redefine the basics in a more clear and reasonable manner.
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