The Narrative Vacuum

The collapse of U.S. cap and trade legislation and the irrelevance of global climate talks means there’s a narrative vacuum that needs to be filled. That would be the Where Do We Go From Here narrative.

Make no mistake: there will be a bloggy blood bath over who gets to shape this narrative. And it will be largely internecine, between liberal and climate-concerned bloggers.

This dynamic was foreshadowed last week, when some critics wasted little time in shooting down a proposed paradigm shift floated in a bipartisan white paper. This week brings the WaPo’s Dana Milbank suggestion that geoengineering be pondered as a “plan B for climate change.” Before anyone in the Climate Progress posse gets too riled up, they should continue reading what Milbank says:

None of this means giving up on carbon reduction, which remains the only sure way to prevent man-made climate change. But as the failure in Congress to reach consensus slows progress toward an international agreement, the wasted time could be used to create a fallback plan.

What’s the rationale?

This would prevent other nations from gaining a lead in geoengineering technologies (while perhaps providing some focus to our aimless space program) and at the same time put some cap-and-trade foes on the spot. Those who profess to care about global warming but balk at putting a price on carbon would have no justification for opposing geoengineering.

According to Milbank,

Makings of a cross-ideological coalition have emerged. At the conservative American Enterprise Institute, Samuel Thernstrom wrote this year that “ignoring geoengineering is potentially dangerous and irresponsible.” At the liberal Center for American Progress, Andrew Light tells me that because “research is already starting in some parts of the world, we would be foolhardy not to be looking into it.”

I suspect that Andrew Light is going to take issue with his quote being conflated with what appears to be an argument for geoengineering. I also suspect that this guy is going to take issue with the whole Milbank column.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the coming weeks and months will turn out to be a fertile intellectual period, in which various ideas for a new direction in climate policy and politics will be allowed some sunlight. Time will tell.

184 Responses to “The Narrative Vacuum”

  1. thingsbreak says:

    Geoengineering research is no longer optional. It is necessary. As is aggressive clean energy technology funding. As is adaptation funding.
     
    None of those things, separately or together, are sufficient without emissions reductions.
     
    The problem arises when people frame these as alternatives to emissions reductions, plain and simple.
     
    The press is certainly desperate for a “new direction” narrative and will be attracted to claims of “bipartisanship”, “a middle ground”, and the like. None of the aforementioned strategies actually fit those labels. As for geoengineering specifically, many of us reached this position over a year ago, before the “death” of cap and trade.

  2. Tom Fuller says:

    Time certainly will tell. Help frame the issue correctly.
     
    Why is research into geo-engineering resisted by anyone? I certainly understand resistance to implementing it on the fly, but what is the reason some people don’t even want to study it?
     
    Expect discussion along the lines of ‘if we have geoengineering on the shelf we will think of it as a get out of jail free card.’ That will be a motto on the flag for some.
     
    Expect the reappearance (finally) of other externalities related to development. We will rediscover pollution! Aquifer depletion! Maybe even Roger Pielke Sr….
     
    But it will all sound so artificial, and for that reason alone, will not be accepted.
     
    Geoengineering, on the other hand, will be warmly embraced by skeptics, as it feeds into the proud concept of ‘technology can assist us in solving our problems’ (and yes, we can continue our old ways…)
     
    So the battle lines won’t change, and neither will the tendency to grab onto a concept and try to shape it to fit what we already believe.
     
    Of course we should study geoengineering. And of course we should study in parallel its effects. Let’s see who embraces both…

  3. Brian Angliss says:

    Studies are ongoing, as well they should be.  And they’re finding that geoengineering is probably going to be as thorny a political problem as climate disruption itself is.

    Let’s look at sulfur dioxide – adding as much SO2 to the stratosphere as would be required to offset the heating of the CO2 already there would delay the temperature increases by about 7-10 years.  Not bad, really.
    But without CO2 reduction, we’ll have to not only continuously pump SO2 into the stratosphere, we’ll have to gradually increase the amount we pump to offset the increasing effects of CO2.  And when climate scientists modeled that up recently, they find that temperature stayed pretty constant under this geoengineering method, but that precipitation varied widely.  The result was that different regions of the world had different “optimal” amounts of SO2 in the stratosphere, with the northern hemisphere generally wanting more and the southern hemisphere generally wanting less.  Furthermore, the Middle East and India wanted less than Europe, China, and the United States did.

    Furthermore, there are a host of people who tout geoengineering as the solution who don’t realize that their position may not be consistent.  In order for geoengineering to be a viable alternative, we have to use climate models to predict the outcomes of the various technologies and methods.  However, that means using the very same climate models that are accused of being grossly inaccurate.  If they’re grossly inaccurate for projecting the effects of climate disruption, then they’ll be grossly inaccurate for projecting the effects of geoengineering.  Similarly, if they’re good enough to project the effects of geoengineering, then they’re good enough to project the effects of climate disruption.

    And to date, the models indicate a) climate disruption is happening and b) we’re primarily responsible.
    None of this should be taken as an indictment of geoengineering research in any way – research is critical.  But we shouldn’t assume that geoengineering will be politically possible as a Plan B.

  4. Keith Kloor says:

    I wrote this post because it touches on a theme that is a constant on this blog: can we have a debate on something without it being reflexively dismissed? I think there’s enough caveats in Milbank’s column for the serious reader to get that he’s not proposing geoengineering as a “magic bullet” (his words).

    What I’m saying–or predicting–is that some climate concerned folks will interpret Milbank’s column as an unnecessary distraction at best, or as Tom Fuller says, an endorsement for a “get out of jail free card,” at worst.

    Over at the post that Things Break links to, there’s a nice discussion in the thread that Robert Grumbine is an active participant in, and at one juncture he writes:

    “I’m a believer in bashing around on ideas.”

    Me too.

  5. There are two very different types of proposition being floated as geoengineering: 1) pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere and 2) adding deliberate modifications in the hope of cancelling out the inadvertent modifications.
     
    The first may turn out to be necessary. In my opinion, the second is unlikely to work. Discussions which fail to make the distinction are just further muddying the waters.
     
    What’s more, they make different assumptions about the efficacy of climate science. The first assumes that climate science is roughly correct but has been ignored anyway. The second presumes a very high level of precision and sophistication in climate science.
    You can’t believe climate science is both so clumsy that predictions of imminent disruption are wrong and so subtle that if disruption happens it can be artificially reversed by additional inputs. These beliefs are inconsistent.
     
    People who think climate modeling is in its infancy but who also support research into the second type of geoengineering are exactly the sort who should be summarily dismissed from consideration as lacking basic substantive understanding.
     
    Millbank, though his focus is on the second class of geoengineering only, is not in that class. He doesn’t assert much about the state of knowledge in the article.
     
    But the implicit overestimation of climate science by advocates of these approaches is almost as exasperating as the explicit underestimation by those who advocate business as usual. The problem is that neither idea is in close contact with reality.
     
    Here’s an analogy. The people who came up with Star Trek invented the iPad concept, but Apple did the hard work. That is great. Should we demand that Apple build us a transporter beam next? It would sure solve our traffic problems.
     
    It’s maddening to hear talk of climate engineering at the same time that there is all this talk that there is hardly such a thing as climate science. It’s as if reality had nothing to do with politics at all.
     
     

  6. kdk33 says:

    “Geoengineering, on the other hand, will be warmly embraced by skeptics”

    Say again.  If there is no anthropogenic CO2 problem, why would spending money on geoengineering make sense? 

    Why not invest in asteriod collision avoidance systems?

  7. Shub says:

    I agree with kdk3 and Michael.

    If a skeptic were to present Tobis’ argument – there wont be any listeners.

  8. thingsbreak says:

    I wrote this post because it touches on a theme that is a constant on this blog: can we have a debate on something without it being reflexively dismissed?
     
    Alternatively, this late in the game, are there any “somethings” that can be reflexively dismissed? If yes, should we be debating things that can be reflexively dismissed?
     
    I’d move that people presenting adaptation as a competing, explicit alternative to emissions reductions, people claiming that climate modeling is both worthless and sophisticated enough to justify solar radiation geoengineering, people claiming that there is no anthropogenic warming, people who claim that a clean energy fund is sufficient without explaining how that keeps coal in the ground, etc. are all worth reflexively dismissing IF they present nothing new that makes these “somethings” worth debating.
     
    If there is nothing that cannot be reflexively dismissed, then we’re screwed, as we’ll have to indulge fantasists and cranks while CO2 exceeds 800 ppm. If there are things that can be reflexively dismissed, it seems to be a profound waste of resources to debate them anyway, just because they’ve caught the eye of a beltway think tank or reporter.
     
    I don’t think that geoengineering falls into this category. I’m just dissenting from the proposition that all ideas, no matter how absurd or old, should be given an equal amount of consideration.

  9. Keith Kloor says:

    TB, you’re “dissenting” from a “proposition” I never made, namely “that all ideas, no matter how absurd or old, should be given an equal amount of consideration.”

    I’ve been pretty specific about the ideas/proposals that I think worthy of debate. Here’s one of them, which we disagree, based on a thread from last week. Would you say that the editors of Yale Environment 360 have wasted their time and resources in posting this particular essay today?

    I’d also be interested in hearing Michael’s opinion on this.

  10. I have to say in all honesty that I followed the link, saw the smiling picture of the author of the article, and entirely reflexively closed the window. Then I realized what I had just done and laughed.
     
    I may try again later, but past experience is not encouraging.
     
     
     

  11. Pascvaks says:

    “…Make no mistake: there will be a bloggy blood bath over who gets to shape this narrative. And it will be largely internecine, between liberal and climate-concerned bloggers.”..

    Totally agree.  There will be a period of, shall we say, ‘turmoil’ during which the Old Turks will be, eventually, pushed to the side and the Young Turks will gradually emerge.  One can hope that the new flag bearers will be somewhat more attuned to the dynamics of international politics and be more adept at working within the systems of their respective governments and countries.  Today’s outgoing leadership would have turned the world on its head and invented a brand new order.  That unfortunate fact, true or not, had much to do with their demise; it did not fit the facts of life and the reality of the present.  The UN is NOT the last word in anything, it’s only value to the present reality is as a pressure release valve for hot headed political leaders and issues; a means to delay –not achieve.  I assure any who might doubt the obvious, that the delema of the 21st Century is not about climate anything, it is about integrating China, India, and Brazil into the new world order.  Getting the Super Powers to cooperate on meaningful ‘anything’ is not going to be easy.  CO2 reduction, and anything else in this vein, must be a common sense, technialogical,  non-issue, self-interest, national program –or it won’t happen.  Now, how to do that is going to be a problem in today’s world.

  12. Keith Kloor says:

    Michael (10):

    Your past experience refers presumably to direct exchanges you’ve have with RPJ. Perhaps you should limit yourself to just engaging the argument he makes in the essay.

    That is, after all, the advice people give me regards to Romm, right?

  13. Marlowe Johnson says:

    Keith,
    The first comment in the Yale 360 piece gets it right IMO and I think helps to explain why some people object to the RPJr/TBI framing of both the problem and the solution they’re trying to sell. So here it is in full:
     
    “My comment is on the lack of historical context here and inconsistencies in the condemnation of the cap and trade market based policy.

    The author notes: “But savvy politicians get the iron law of climate policy. Al Gore, for instance, advocated for U.S. climate legislation on the basis that it would cost the American household about “a postage stamp a day.” In an early 2009 debate over proposed cap-and-trade legislation, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi argued that “there should be no cost to the consumer.” ”

    These points are noted in the middle of a rejection of cap and trade policies and the author asserts such policies will cost money. The only politicians cited are ones who support the measure and claim it will be inexpensive. I found no support for the repeated assertions of the ‘high cost = polictical savvy to reject’ conclusion.

    My first issue is the inane focus on what happened in the U.S. sentate where more than 50 senators supported the bill. Also the House of Representatives had already approved the bill by a good margin. Obama also tacitly supported the bill. The reason for its failure is more closely linked to climate change denialists in the senate who use antidemocratic procedural measures to block the bill on grounds of…I have no idea what these people are thinking, but they do it for the campaign money from oil companies.

    I find it disengenous to cite ‘savvy politicians’ who have some reasonable opposition to cap and trade.

    My second point deals with the historical use of cap and trade policies. Most notably the use of cap and trade in the elimination of leaded gasoline usage in the US. I find the arguments presented here as a bit obstrucitonist to green goals with the constant pushing of the idea that there will be ‘uncomfortable short term sacrifices’ and this is the reason and justification for a global trend of political inaction and finger pointing between the unreasonable global north and the willing to pollute global south.

    If cost is an issue, then the method is nearly irrelevant. Cap and trade can be made as cheap as a carbon tax, the magnitude of immediate effect is unrelated to the method in my mind and so too is the usage of any funds collected.”
     
    I keep asking but no one ever responds: why is the R&D centric approach more likely to succeed politically?  More importantly does it have any realistic hope of actually solving the problem it purports to address?  Or does it amount to ‘this is the best we can manage’ sort of thing?
     
    Coming back to the central issue of cost of cliamte policy, it would be nice if people actually referenced the economic impact analyses of the various bills in their discussions.  then we could actually frame the discussion with actual numbers.  like the fact that permit prices under waxman market weren’t expected to exceed $25/ton in 2020.  Is this really about fine tuning our understanding of the public’s willingness to pay? $5/ton in 2010 is fillibuster proof but$25/ton in 2020 is politically naive (as opposed to savvy)?
     
    The issues here, IMO have more to do with governance (fillibuster), scientific literacy among the public (or lack thereof) than they do with the mechanics of various climate proposals.
     
     

  14. Keith Kloor says:

    Marlowe:

    For my money, this part of Roger’s essay is what I would like to see rebutted:

    “Given the death of climate legislation in the U.S. Senate, the failure of the Copenhagen climate conference last December, and the feeble efforts to reconvene a climate conference later this year in Cancun, Mexico, it is remarkable that anyone continues to advocate climate policies that to succeed depend upon a reduction in economic growth. The course that the world has been on for climate policy has created the conditions for policy failure. For some, the lesson is to reload and try again with the same strategies that have gotten us to where we are today. To me, that seems like insanity.”

    If we agree that this “course” seems headed for a dead end for the appreciable future, then, I have to ask you a question in response to this question from you:

    “I keep asking but no one ever responds: why is the R&D centric approach more likely to succeed politically?  More importantly does it have any realistic hope of actually solving the problem it purports to address? “

    So let me ask: wouldn’t you try a new path if you had two decades of proof that the old one wasn’t getting you anywhere? Can we at least agree on that much?

  15. Marlowe Johnson says:

    Sure we can.  Let’s let the EPA set performance standards and go through 10+ years of litigation 🙂
     
    But I’d object to characterizing the last 20 years as “not getting you anywhere”.  There’s been lots of progress (e.g. RGGI, WCI, UK Climate Trust & carbon tax, B.C., Quebec, coal closure in Ontario, etc.).  It’s just that in the federal and international arenas we’ve seen less progress.  But even federally there are some good news stories (e.g. new cafe rules).  It’s not an all or nothing thing.  And while the failure of C&T is discouraging, it doesn’t mean that a publicly-funded R&D strategy in the U.S. has any more chance of success, particularly when governments are faced with record deficits for the foreseeable future:
     
    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/17/why-have-deficits-exploded/
     
    And I would add that if the same legislation had been introduced before fillibuster became standard OP, we’d be having a very different discussion right now.

  16. Pielke Jnr’s observations are valid insomuch as the climate policies are doomed to fail but he still misses that the reason for their abject failure is not merely the inevitable effect of purposefully introducing economic hardship but also the new, broad, complete and utter lack of (trust in) climate science with regard to any causative relationship between CO2 and temperature.
     
    Backing the CO2 horse that fell in the last race is a silly idea, though it is perhaps inevitable that those who are in denial about the change in direction of climate-related public opinion will put their money on that old mare.
     
    Over at Judith Curry’s blog, Willis Eschenbach has pretty much laid the current situation bare. Perhaps it’s because many sceptics engage on many of the subtleties and issues in climate sciences that we consequently allow the illusion to pervade that we are accepting of elements of the current state of the science.
     
    The truth is, as Willis clearly sets out, we sceptics – and by extension, those to whom we disseminate information – will ultimately dismiss CO2 mitigation/countering policies that a) cost anything, b) are based on the current state of the science, and c) are being proposed/promoted by the climate science community.
     
    R&D into mechanisms which are specifically for the purpose of CO2 mitigation, or will not as a by-product result in cheapening energy costs, will inevitably fail.

  17. PDA says:

    <i> The truth is, as Willis clearly sets out, we sceptics ““ and by extension, those to whom we disseminate information ““ will ultimately dismiss CO2 mitigation/countering policies that a) cost anything, b) are based on the current state of the science, and c) are being proposed/promoted by the climate science community.</i>
    This, IMO, is exactly the attitude that makes me agree with McKibben’s suggestion that any action on climate is dead for a generation. It is not a fringe position, but rather one that sits right at the heart of US political discourse.
    In such an environment, what sort of geo-engineering could possibly proceed? What would be its aim, and what would be its metrics for success?

  18. PDA says:

    (sorry, I forgot -again- that tags aren’t used here)

  19. Keith Kloor says:

    Simon,

    I’m glad you get out of that echo chamber occasionally to come over here. You really believe what you wrote here?–

    “that the reason for their abject failure is not merely the inevitable effect of purposefully introducing economic hardship but also the new, broad, complete and utter lack of (trust in) climate science with regard to any causative relationship between CO2 and temperature.”

    What is your proof? Now, it is worth noting that Michael Tobis et al would also like to believe that climate skeptics have played a prominent role (helpfully aided by the press, right Michael?) in the failure of climate policy taking root.

    Simon, what you and Michael ignore is this key finding from that recent Yale survey I recently wrote about. From the executive summary: “despite the recent controversies over ‘climategate’ and the 2007 IPCC report, this study finds that Americans trust scientists and scientific organizations far more than any other source of information about global warming.”

    Michael and Simon would have us believe (for different reasons, of course), that American trust in climate science was seriously eroded by climategate and the the spate of stories about the IPCC  that followed. That is not borne out by the data in that Yale study.

     

     

     

  20. Keith Kloor says:

    Andy Revkin weighs in over at Dot Earth.

  21. Simon’s points out that “sceptics… will ultimately dismiss CO2 mitigation/countering policies that a) cost anything, b) are based on the current state of the science, and c) are being proposed/promoted by the climate science community.”
    The problem is that even geoengineering requires agreement on a common ground of facts that Simon and others like him reject.  The most fundamental fact that Simon and Willis and others deny is that CO2 affects climate.  And if we cannot reach agreement on such a simple thing, then how can we move forward?
    IMO, there are two answers.  The first is to push forward against the wishes of Simon’s small but very vocal minority.  The second is to figure out alternate ways to convince the so-called skeptics to agree on changes using something they value.
    I’m not convinced, however, that the second option can be effective.  As an example, energy independence as national security works to bring along some people who are skeptical of climate-based arguments.  But energy independence means more than just relying more on domestic oil, gas, and coal.  Would Simon et al agree to a massive energy R&D push into solar, for example, given that there is only so much coal, gas, and oil to be produced domestically and by our immediate neighbors?  Or would they tend to reject that R&D because those are based on the current science and cost something?

  22. Keith Kloor says:

    One other thing. While I gave Michael Tobis a soft jab in comment #19, I do want to say that I think his observations here on the geoengineering debate are spot on.

  23. Keith, let’s be very clear here: I do not need to prove that there is no causative relationship between CO2 and global temperature. Brian is partially correct when he says “The problem is that even geoengineering requires agreement on a common ground of facts that Simon and others like him reject.  The most fundamental fact that Simon and Willis and others deny is that CO2 affects climate.  And if we cannot reach agreement on such a simple thing, then how can we move forward?” He errs when he suggests this is “denial”. It’s not denial, it’s agnosticism in the absence of substantive evidence, period.


    Sceptics do not deny that CO2 affects climate, we challenge, with reason, the assertion that CO2 is the primary driver of global climate change/warming/variation in the 20th century. We therefore question the validity of CO2 mitigation, both as an expense and also as a preoccupation, in the absence of any substantial reason for the pursuit.
     
    Secondly, the burden of proof is NOT on sceptics to prove a negative (that CO2 is NOT the primary driver of climate change). Your implicit suggestion that it is, is very fundamentally anti-scientific. How the heck do you go so wrong, so quickly?
     
    The case (that CO2 IS the primary driver (…) is NOT made. Yes, sure, that CO2 is a greenhouse gas is demonstrable, and yes it’s likely that – even without Hansen’s and CRU’s hand-holding of the instrumental temperature record, station selection, homogenisation etc – global temperatures have likely increased over the last century. But these gross oversimplifications of an inconceivably complex and chaotic climate system – a system that we know we don’t sufficiently understand – do not amount to a robust CO2 AGW theory.
     
    There are many other scientific reasons for our suspicion and agnosticism, too. Among them, that paleo reconstructions are demonstrated to be untrustworthy, that climate scientists depend on climate models for their claim of an AGW theory, that climate models don’t even model clouds – a REALLY important aspect of climate temperature – and that recent historic natural variability is more profound (RWP to MWP to LIA, for example) than the recent warming trend is undeniable.
     
    Frankly, Keith, I’m appalled that after all this time you don’t know these fundamental things about the sceptics’ position. Surely this is not news to you!? Yet, for all the world, it’s like you’ve just heard something from me that is completely strange and entirely novel. Seriously, Keith, WTF?

  24. Keith, on the Yale study, with respect the last survey that Pielke Jnr linked to – purportedly as proof that scientists are popular and that AGW is “believed” – I took that survey. Yanno what? I came out as a firm believer in CAGW. But it was no surprise to me, Keith, because I worked my summers through university at a phone survey company and I know EXACTLY how these things work.
     
    So excuse me while I laugh. Loudly.

  25. Keith Kloor says:

    Simon, I liked to that study, not RPJ. Also, I was referring to your claim of  “broad, complete and utter lack of (trust in) climate science with regard to any causative relationship between CO2 and temperature.”

  26. Stu says:

    I also agree with Michael in #5, but lets have a look at both of his outlined approaches with regards to the facts that Brian is talking about above.
    So, lets say hypothetically that we have a geo-engineering goal of reducing the global average temperature by 1 degree C. Taking Michael’s first approach above, where CO2 is being pulled out of the atmosphere- how much CO2 would we need to sequester in order to reduce the temperature by that 1 deg C?
    Or lets go the second route, where we use a model to show us that injecting SO2 into the stratosphere gives us a cooling effect. Again, with the same goal of reducing global temperatures by 1 degree C, how much SO2 will we need to add in order to reach this goal? Not wanting to speak for Simon (I’m sure he fits in here as well), but I don’t know of many (any?) skeptics who refuse to acknowledge that CO2 affects climate. Where facts turn into assumptions is of course in how much. If you have the actual facts on this, then you should be able to answer both of the questions above. If you can’t answer these two questions, then we’re not really dealing in facts.
    We will need to keep in mind, that both of these approaches- if actually put into place, will cost an enormous amount of money, but just how certain can we be on the efficacy of either of these methods in obtaining the hypothetical goal set above? This is where it all gets tricky, and Simon and others are simply right to be skeptical. The last thing we need is a bunch of geo-engineers marching forward with their monumental ideas, unchallenged.

  27. Keith, I know you linked to that survey. I see the source of that survey. Do you see it? Do you trust its integrity? Perhaps yes, you do. Me? Not so much.
     
    Keith, nobody I hit the pub with, nor as far as I can ascertain anyone they know, still believes in CAGW and none of them regard climate science better than they regard “scientifically proven” diets today. True, most of them couldn’t give a sh*t any more about climate science, but that’s because it’s descended into a non-issue, yesterday’s news, no longer relevant to their day-to-day lives. And all of them, without exception, genuinely worried about the polar bears, worried about the melting ice-caps, worried about sea level rise and everything else, not one year ago.

  28. Stu says:

    PS, lets have a look at what a skeptic might make of a particular geo-engineering idea… in this case here’s Willis Eschenbach again on a proposal to release millions of tiny bubbles into sea water on the theory that they will act as tiny mirrors and reflect sunlight. Here’s the idea…
     
    “In an effort to curb global warming, scientists have proposed everything from launching sunlight-blocking dust into the stratosphere to boosting the number of carbon-sucking algae in the oceans. Now, a Harvard University physicist has come up with a new way to cool parts of the planet: pump vast swarms of tiny bubbles into the sea to increase its reflectivity and lower water temperatures. “Since water covers most of the earth, don’t dim the sun,” says the scientist, Russell Seitz, speaking from an international meeting on geoengineering research here. “Brighten the water.” Natural bubbles already brighten turbulent seas and provide a luster known as “undershine” below the ocean’s surface. But these bubbles only lightly brighten the planet, contributing less than one-tenth of 1% of Earth’s reflectivity, or albedo. What Seitz imagines is pumping even smaller bubbles, about one-five-hundredth of a millimeter in diameter, into the sea. Such “microbubbles” are essentially “mirrors made of air,” says Seitz, and they might be created off boats by using devices that mix water supercharged with compressed air into swirling jets of water.”
     
    And Willis’ thoughts-
     
    “Having worked as a commercial fisherman and done sailboat deliveries, I know that the ocean is “¦ well “¦ huge beyond belief. So, let’s do some back of the envelope calculations “¦
    Boat going 10 m/sec = 20 knots.
    Spreads bubbles in a swath 10 metres wide.
    We’ll say we have one hundred bubble boats.
    That’s 10,000 square metres bubbleized per second.
    Area of the world’s oceans is 360,000,000,000,000 square metres.
    Time to bubbleize say half of the oceans is 17,892,270,924 seconds, or
    298,204,515 minutes, or
    4,970,075 hours, or
    207,086 days, or only
    5,874 years.
    So a fleet of only a hundred thousand boats could get the job done in five point nine years. Of course, the bubbles will all disperse in say a month (probably more like a week or even a day, but I’m a generous man), so we’ll need 140 times that many boats to maintain the bubbles.
    So all we need is 14 million boats. And a thousand windmills. Oh, and the fuel for the boats. Let’s see, a boat going 20 knots might burn five gallons of fuel per hour, 14 million boats, that’s 70 million gallons of fuel an hour at a cost of three bucks a gallon, that’s a constant running cost of $210,000,000 per hour forever, or
    $5 billion dollars per day, or
    $1.8 trillion dollars per year in perpetuity.
    Ooops, forgot the crew’s wages, say four crewpersons per boat, that’s a work force of 52 million men and women. Say they’re each getting $40k per year because of the long hours and the time away from home. That’s another $2 trillion dollars per year. And not counting the cost of the boats. And not counting the maintenance on the boats and the machinery.

    Now we just need the grant money “¦”
     
    My thoughts?
    More skeptics like Willis, please.
     

  29. PDA says:

    And nobody I hit the pub with gives a sh*te about climategate, if they even know what it is. Self-selection bias for the win.

  30. KK #12: “past experience” could also refer to my reflexive responses.
     
    As for Simon, I can’t imagine why you are feeding your own trolls. It’s not a behavior I’ve seen before.
     

  31. intrepid_wanders says:

    Stu Says:
    “The last thing we need is a bunch of geo-engineers marching forward with their monumental ideas, unchallenged.”

    Exactly.  Another thing, that I must continue to bring up, is the abject fear that the Green NGOs have of anything NUCLEAR.  Whether it is fusion or fission, Greenpeace, WWF and the Union of Concerned Scientist it can not be on the table, even as a stop-gap.

    Nuclear plays by the CO2-Less rules, but never an option.  Yeah, that why engineers more often than not scoff at the whole game (And call it a SCAM).

    With a narrative like that, governments that play this game will go bankrupt and the governments that do not play will own the bankrupt ones.

  32. Stu – We’d need to sequester between 4 and 10 PgC (source) in order to offset the temperature trend by -1.0 degree C.  Reviewing the papers on SO2-based geoengineering I have readily-accessible, the information isn’t as solid when it comes to SO2, so I can’t say.  Of course, that strengthens the “do more research” argument.
    Skepticism of geoengineering is completely reasonable.  Skepticism of the connections between anthropogenic CO2 affecting climate is less so, given the sheer mass of different arguments that all point to the same conclusion.  Of course, I don’t expect to convince Simon of this.  That won”t prevent me from trying, however.
    We have to be able to agree upon a factual common ground in order to make progress on anything.  At this point, unless I can move folks like Simon with the weight of evidence (not likely) or unless he can move me by casting sufficient doubt on that evidence (also not likely), there is very little common ground from which to make progress.

  33. On the nuclear issue, nuclear isn’t “CO2-free” unless you neglect the fuel cycle (mining, refining, and waste processing).  Add in the energy used to construct the nuclear plant and the CO2 goes up, but then you have to compare nuclear+fuel+construction to turbines+construction to solar+construction in order to have a fair comparison.
    This has been looked at some, however – see here.

  34. mt, I’ve an immense amount of respect for Judy. In fact I think she’s ace. I can, at the same time, recognise the validity of the “end game” that Willis describes. He’s right to show indignation towards climate scientists who have, en masse, turned a blind eye to transgressions and, in some quarters, been complicit in a masquerade.
     
    Flippant dismissal of the revelations in Climategate has not served climate science well. The opportunity to clean house was pressing, but the way that science jumped the other way has done it incalculable harm. Judy, I’m absolutely sure, recognises this.
     
    I don’t actually even believe that Judy and Willis fundamentally disagree on the science, but I think there is a developing (or perhaps developed) personality clash there and it isn’t reasonable to expect Judy to lead the move to clean up the science. She’s doing great things in other ways, but she can’t take it all on. Willis needs to recognise that the hugely important thing he’s calling for is too huge a responsibility for one climate scientist alone.

  35. Stu says:

    Brian- thanks for the link.
    Personally, I would probably put geoengineering in last place in terms of the available options. I just imagine that anything we could conceive of that could actually work to offset and then reverse the effects brought on by the entirety of global industrialisation, that thing would need to be very big, and it would be very expensive. Unintended consequences is another phrase which comes to mind.  A carbon tax would probably be fairly painless in comparison here.
    I have to agree with intrepid_wanders above.  Nuclear just seems like the most practical solution in global terms. I have no real beef with geoengineering research, but I just think that if the goal is CO2 reduction, then let’s aim to stop it at the tap with a quest for better technology. All geoengineering seems like a stop gap to me, with costs which will be endless as long as we’re not tackling the source of emissions. Of course, I understand that most people already regard this as an absolute last ditch attempt if things do become too serious. Doesn’t hurt to have a plan Z, I guess.
     
     
     
     

  36. Ah, the ever-unspecified “Revelations in Climategate”. A year later and we still don’t know what those were, other than that surprisingly many people are not above celebrating crime when it can be used to embarrass their opposition.
     
    Keith, “climategate” (ptui!) has not had much effect on the public at large, but it sure has been taken to heart by the republican party and many other influential people trying to pass themselves off as “conservative”. They use the ever vague and nonspecific “Revelations of Climategate” in a way remeniscent of how other Revelations were used in the past. Nothing but a bombastic and vague feverish dream, presumed apocalyptic, is revealed, but vast consequences are inferred.
     

  37. grypo says:

    Willis needs to recognise that the hugely important thing he’s calling for is too huge a responsibility for one climate scientist alone.
    Interestingly enough, I’m attempting to get Willis to show the proof he is going to use to get this done over at WUWT in his ‘Kennedy’ thread, but I’m not having much luck.

  38. grypo says:

    I hit post too fast.
    I will add that the “revelations” are used as rallying point, not an area of scientific concern, like the concern trolls like to say, and I’m very skeptical when I hear so called skeptics proclaiming they want to clean up the science by getting rid of all the work done by, or people associated with climategate.  It’s pretty obvious what the point to that really is.

  39. mt, you make a very good point regarding “Revelations in Climategate”. There are two ways to regard Climategate. Firstly there’s the Climategate which was the sudden and wide aggregation of documentation in the blogosphere, which to varying but significant degrees introduced understanding of doubts about the robustness of climate science theory, and the scientific integrity of climate scientists, into popular conscience. In this respect, Climategate did indeed amount to a revelation, or a host of revelations, to those previously uninitiated. Most definitely the revelations were flavoured, certainly in the UK, with palpable disgust as MSM ignored the event for two weeks while the BBC and other channels were pushing the AGW agenda with supposed public information ads about dying polar bears and rising seas etc.
     
    But for those who already knew about tricks being used to hide the decline, about obfuscation over data access and illegal denials of FoI, about breaches of IPCC regulations to further an agenda and so on, then no. Really, not much (but some) of the Climategate event in November amounted to a revelation. Instead, to them what it provided was documentary evidence in support of sceptical suspicions and claims which had been long-made. Meanwhile, to the scientists implicated in the emails and documents, Climategate was damning.
     
    So sure, you can claim that Climategate was not a revelation but it’s merely denial to do so.

  40. grypo, please define “so called sceptic” and kindly juxtapose it with a “sceptic”.

  41. grypo says:

    In this context, I am discussing “so-called” skeptics posing as being skeptical about the science, but really just care about  shutting down all scientific conversation with wild conspiracies about nefarious, fraudulent science cons.

  42. Okay, thanks. Is that what you think I’m doing?

  43. Ian says:

    grypo
    Sceptics can be sceptical for whatever reason they choose, I don’t think “so-called” is a valid term.

  44. grypo says:

    No, it doesn’t really appear that way.  You seem genuinely concerned, just going by what I’ve read here, like a Judith Curry type.   It’s the people who want to start over and throw away all the science and jail scientists and their affiliates that are horrible for the process.  There can be no discussion if every scientist in HadCRT, NASA, NAS, all the publications, agencies, etc etc are all “in on it”.  If that meme continues, the discussion is over and real science has completely lost the middle.

  45. grypo says:

    Ian:
    —Sceptics can be sceptical for whatever reason they choose, I don’t think “so-called” is a valid term.—
    In pure definition, possible, but in science it takes on a real meaning, like if being skeptical of the greenhouse effect is based on a complete refusal to understand thermodynamics, and this continues, even after being shown by relevant people, why the physics are correct, and that person has no further argument as to why it is wrong, that  person has gone beyond being considered scientifically skeptical.

  46. Stu says:

    MT says:
    “Ah, the ever-unspecified “Revelations in Climategate”. A year later and we still don’t know what those were, other than that surprisingly many people are not above celebrating crime when it can be used to embarrass their opposition.”
    And yet, you proffer the revelations of ‘masheygate’ with such uncritical zeal…
    No bias there…
     
    PS, I don’t suppose you ever read the GWPF report on the thoroughness of the various climategate enquiries to date? I would be very surprised if you did… anyway, here it is anyway-
     
    http://www.thegwpf.org/images/stories/gwpf-reports/Climategate-Inquiries.pdf
     
    If one goes through the findings of this report one by one (in bold print), it’s becomes pretty apparent that the hard questions were simply never asked. In light of this, that the scientists were cleared of any wrong doing is therefore completely unsurprising, yet it is hardly adequate. Pretty lame… when the effect was supposed to be the restoration of the public trust in climate scientists and the involved universities. As it stands, I’m sure the complete opposite effect is dominant here- that being the further erosion of public confidence and trust. I could perhaps offer that you set yourself the challenge of taking the bolded findings in this report seriously and start to demand a followup to some of these questions- but again, I’m pretty sure you won’t. I’m not sure who’s loss this really is.
     

  47. Ian #43: The word “skeptic”, properly applied, refers to a person who is not easily convinced but can be persuaded only by evidence. The word “so-called skeptic” refers to people who believe and disbelieve whatever suits them but wish to make a false claim at rationality.
     
    A person who believes the entire scientific establishment has been bought off by the bottomless finances of a nefarious (and in some versions, a remarkably well-funded) socialist conspiracy, os doing so rather than believing that it is established that 2 < S. This seems rather disproportionate, but it’s obviously not uncommon on blogs.  It amounts to defending a disbelief in 2 < S  to an irrational, even superstitious extent, which hardly is what is normally menat my “skepticism”.
     
    Real skeptics do not place irrational disbelief in a different category than irrational belief, because a stubborn evidence-defying disbelief in proposition A is not different from a stubborn evidence-defying belief in proposition ~A.
     
    In fact, these people want us to bet the future of the entire world on the proposition that not only is 2 > S, but  2 > >  S , despite the advice to the contrary of essentially  every scientific body with any relevant expertise. Their irrational attachment to the 2 > > S proposition is something they choose to call “skepticism”, just as the fact that they are shown up in stolen emails as being held in low regard is regarded as scandalous.
     
    Irrational people wield words as weapons. This is not uncommon. But the rest of us are under no obligation to recognize the nomenclature of the deluded, nor their high claims for their motivations.
     

  48. Ahh,… the beginnings of another derailing brought on by Michael Tobis wondering aloud – “what is climategate?”

  49. kdk33 says:

    Suggestions for New Narrative (for save the world types):
    1)  Hunger
    2) Poverty
    3) Clean Drinking Water
    4) Preventable disease
    5) Access to low cost energy

    …for starters.

  50. kdk33 says:

    A person who believes the entire scientific establishment skeptics have been bought off by the bottomless finances of a nefarious (and in some versions, a remarkably well-funded) socialist conspiracy disinformation campaign.

  51. mt, seriously, until you properly address the valid concerns raised by Climategate – in fact, until you recognise the existence of valid concerns raised by Climategate – you are definitively the problem, or part thereof. It’s impossible to consider your POV as either realistic or relevant.
     
    Climate scepticism is not a choice one makes, it’s a state of being that forms as a direct result of both the evidence of questionable procedures (and even hints of scientific malfeasance) and also a lack of coherent evidence in support of the C/AGW hypotheses.
     
    You describe deniarrrrs when you define climate sceptics. Given that you cannot possibly be ineducable, one can only conclude that at this stage this is purposeful misdirection (which is less than appreciated). I might remind you that repeating ad infinitum that we were funded by Big Oil neither impressed us nor manifested swathes of oily-dirty money in our bank accounts. It’s just tired insult; a subtle but no less sulky, grudging and spiteful 10:10 stunt. But no mustard does it cut, mt.

  52. grypno, I suspect that your impression of climate sceptics is sourced in the misdirection of mt and the like. He does not describe me and neither does he describe the vast majority of other climate sceptics that frequent climate blogs. Those who share my view, or similar views, are very much the majority.
     
    There are “deniarrrs”. Their interest is political, not scientific. They enjoy the disorder in climate science because it suits them politically and, inevitably, they are supportive of the climate sceptical position. But they are not climate sceptics and they are very much in the minority; they engage in anti-Obama, anti-tax, anti-UN discourse but they do not engage in scientific discussion. Their motivations are different from climate sceptics and, though mt would like to group us all together, they are quite distinct. Climate scepticism is apolitical. It is specifically science-oriented.

  53. Stu says:

    PS, again on the skeptic destroying revelation that is ‘deepclimategate’, this post from Lucy Skywalker just now certainly raised my eyebrows…
     

    I like the bonus prize Steve caught by surprise while fishing for plagiarisms. Looks like Bradley lifts a whole chapter pretty much verbatim from Fritts. But where Fritts said

    Some of the most important external limiting factors are water, temperature, light, carbon dioxide, oxygen and soil minerals”¦

    Bradley omitted carbon dioxide“¦
    then Deep Climate criticised Wegman for reintroducing carbon dioxide”
     


    http://climateaudit.org/2010/10/18/bradley-copies-fritts/


    And welcome to the wonderful world that is… Climatology plagiarism!
     
    http://climatologyplagiarism.blogspot.com/
     
    You should definitely check it out, MT. Only a so-called skeptic wouldn’t.

  54. intrepid_wanders says:

    <blockquote>On the nuclear issue, nuclear isn’t “CO2-free” unless you neglect the fuel cycle (mining, refining, and waste processing).  Add in the energy used to construct the nuclear plant and the CO2 goes up, but then you have to compare nuclear+fuel+construction to turbines+construction to solar+construction in order to have a fair comparison.
    This has been looked at some, however ““ see here.</blockquote>

    Uh, yeah, that must be the quote for a 1st Generation Reactor, where you don’t have any Nuclear redundancy and one would be looking at 66 gC/kWh (Construction, Fuel Production, Operation and Demolition).  As apposed to Wind at 55 gC/kWh and Solar at 50 gC/kWh.  You would squabble a range of 16 gC/kWk (For more reliability) compared to the 950 gC/kWh for coal and 1150 gC/kWh for gas.

    As I said before, there is no discussion with that kind of logic.  Back to ridiculing CO2 Climate Disruption for me!

  55. grypno, Don Aitkin posts on Climate Etc with some very good reasons why climate sceptics are not (contrary to what you’ve either gathered or been told by.. someone, somewhere) out to remove climate scientists or climate science. We are not unsupportive of climate research. We’re just looking for higher standards, more transparency, less obfuscation and wagon-circling, and less self-protectionism at the expense of scientific integrity. Don’s post perhaps counters some of Willis’s agitation towards all climate scientists, setting out reasonable explanations for the apparent movement of the science to eradicate contaminants.

  56. Steve Bloom says:

    Keith, when would you say the time would have been for the abolition movement to throw in the towel and try something else?  Missouri Compromise? Kansas-Nebraska Act?  Those were serious setbacks, both courtesy of a recalcitrant Senate.
      
    Anybody with a good working knowledge of political history has to laugh at RP Jr.’s assertion that it’s time to try something else after just 20 years.  This is why he can’t get much respect from other political scientists. 

  57. Sorry, that should read “.. apparent LACK OF movement of the science…”

  58. Steve Bloom says:

    Michael, Keith encourages Simon because it makes it look like an equal debate.  It’s more or less the intended paradigm here, noting the blog title. 

  59. Keith Kloor says:

    Steve (56):

    Just when I think this debate (from either side) can’t get any wackier, you enter the fray with one of the most absurd apples and oranges comparisons I’ve ever heard.

    What I wonder is to what degree you represent the majority view of climate advocates. Do others in the climate concerned movement share that logic–that any alternative approaches to a common goal is akin to delaying the end of slavery.

    Holy cow.

  60. thingsbreak says:

    @kkloor:
    For my money, this part of Roger’s essay is what I would like to see rebutted:
     
    It’s all a matter of framing. You can frame the “death” of cap and trade in the Senate as the final nail in the coffin. Alternatively, the US for the first time in its history passed emissions legislation in the House. The House is a much better reflection of the will of the people vs. the Senate, which is more easily derailed by a unified minority and/or special interests lobbying. I’m not worried that we will never see a cap and trade or similar bill pass- I’m confident that one eventually will. I’d just like to see it happen in the most effective and least painful way, which for the next Congressional session (and likely until economic recovery) will be out of the question. Perhaps that’s for the best. A carbon tax might well be the more elegant solution in the long run, and there’s certainly precedent for Dems winning on previously Republican platforms for big, supposedly impossible, legislation.
     
     
    TB, you’re “dissenting” from a “proposition” I never made, namely “that all ideas, no matter how absurd or old, should be given an equal amount of consideration.”
     
    I’m glad to hear that. I didn’t claim it was your proposition, however. 😉


    I’ve been pretty specific about the ideas/proposals that I think worthy of debate. Here’s one of them, which we disagree, based on a thread from last week. Would you say that the editors of Yale Environment 360 have wasted their time and resources in posting this particular essay today?
     
     
    [It’s easy to imagine Roger penning a similar article about any legislation that was frustrated before eventually passing.]
     
     
    Personally, if someone submitted an article to me that said, “The ‘iron law’ thus presents a boundary condition on policy design that is every bit as limiting as is the second law of thermodynamics, and it holds everywhere around the world, in rich and poor countries alike. It says that even if people are willing to bear some costs to reduce emissions (and experience shows that they are), they are willing to go only so far.”
     
    I would return it with the suggestion that as impressive as it might be to embed a false equivalence inside a tautology, it’s not something I’d like to be seen as even tacitly endorsing as coherent, let alone logically sound.
     
    On the one hand, it’s tautologically true that people will take only so much until they won’t take anymore. That’s a completely meaningless statement. On the other, anyone willing to equate what a populace is willing to tolerate legislation-wise with the fundamental workings of the universe? That appears to me to be either a stunning example of why people (usually unfairly) laugh at poli sci, or else cynicism of the worst kind, not believing his words but hoping that others will in order to make them true. I won’t bother guessing the motivation for writing something like that, as I’m sure Roger will inevitably claim to have been misrepresented.
     
    Instead, I’ll just ask- how does clean energy funding, absent obscene governmental interference with the energy market, keep coal in the ground in US and China? If someone has managed to answer this question in the past few days, I confess to having missed it.

  61. Steve Bloom, if Keith encourages me at all, is it so bad that he encourages my call for greater transparency, higher integrity, less obfuscation and more robust scientific endeavour?
     
    I suppose, from your perspective, that’d all be a bad thing. I take your point.

  62. Intrepid_wanders said “You would squabble a range of 16 gC/kWk (For more reliability) compared to the 950 gC/kWh for coal and 1150 gC/kWh for gas.”
    Actually, no, I wouldn’t.  I’m generally pro-nuclear, but there are significant problems with nuclear, like the fact it’s not self-supporting economically.  And if we’re going to have to offer subsidies in order to get the world off of carbon-based fuels, I’d just as soon subsidize the cleanest fuels first.  But that’s a personal political decision rather than something based in hard science.
    Stu – I agree that it’s best to address CO2 directly, as it’s the option least likely to have major negative consequences.  But getting back to Keith’s point, how will you convince people like Simon to go that route when they won’t even admit there’s a problem that needs to be addressed?
    There’s certainly a move afoot to eliminate coal via indirect methods, and it’s having some success.  Those indirect methods tend to boil down to issues of public health – clean water in West Virginia, mercury reductions downwind of power plants in Colorado, treating coal ash as the radioactive and toxic waste it is instead of as a commodity for use in drywall and concrete.  So coal is probably on its way out, at least in the US.
    But oil and gas are much bigger deals.  Gas is lower carbon than coal, but hydraulic fracturing is causing all sorts of problems that are going to have to be dealt with soon.  And there just isn’t enough oil in the US to cover our consumption.  The only way to secure our energy supply is to transition off carbon-based fuels, and the research commitment isn’t there because there is no profit in it.
    (I’m ignoring the Green River shale oil deposit for a reason – there’s nowhere near enough water in the Colorado River basin to extract the oil directly via mining/washing or indirectly via power plants powering in-situ heating and pumping.)
    Lest you think I’m picking on fossil fuel companies, I’m not – basic research funding has suffered across the board in the US for several decades.  Only applied research has really held steady, and in the US energy sector, that means coal, natural gas, and oil, plus a little nuclear.

  63. thingsbreak says:

    @Brian Angliss
    So coal is probably on its way out, at least in the US.
     
    Until it’s worth more to leave it in the ground, it will just be exported or used to create synthetic gasoline, from what I’ve read. But I’m willing to be convinced otherwise.

  64. Steve Bloom says:

    You forget mom, apple pie and the American Way, Simon.

    Gee, Keith, however did you miss my point?  It seems almost intentional…

    Oddly enough, something like “Political lessons for today of the abolition struggle” wouldn’t be a very strange topic to find in a polisci course.  Large-scale political struggles over critical issues are indeed things we can compare and analyze.  A quick google finds this example from a leading Indian journalist/activist (seems to be an acceptable combo there), which also reminds me that the Indian struggle for independence is another good analogy.  I just thought abolition was a particularly apt example because it came to grief in the U.S. Senate on more than one occasion.  To be fair, it can be said that the abolitionists only got what they wanted (legal abolition) after what used to be delicately referred to in Southern society as “the late unpleasantness.”  But the analogy holds.      
      

  65. Tom K says:

    Shorter thingsbreak @60
    “I agree with Pielke but cannot bring myself to say so”

  66. Stu says:

    Brian #62
     
    “getting back to Keith’s point, how will you convince people like Simon to go that route when they won’t even admit there’s a problem that needs to be addressed?”
     
    This is probably a question much better directed towards Simon himself, but I’ll try to answer anyway as I’m probably fairly close to his position on this, although my final conclusions about what should be done might be a little different than his.
     
    Let’s look at the couple of suggestions you’ve already provided. Firstly, even if I didn’t feel that CO2 reduction was such a big concern personally, if the majority of society thought that this was a worthy pursuit, then I would simply respect the democratic decision making process and go along with the program of trying to cut down on CO2 emissions. If there really is only a ‘vocal minority’ as you say, then the democratic process should be able to deal with this and still move forwards to action on CO2.
     
    Where I think Simon is coming from with a couple of his statements here, it sounds as though he has simply lost confidence in climate science as a whole. Until meaningful steps can be taken which address this issue of fallen trust, it will be very hard to get people with similar concerns to accept any of the pronouncements coming out of the field, and therefore they will reject any actions based upon those pronouncements. Simon has outlined above the kinds of things he would like to see addressed, and he is certainly not alone in asking for these things. Surveys can give you one impression, but you will probably find that distrust in climate science is more widespread than indicated there, atleast among people who are paying attention. I personally think that some of this distrust is misplaced and some of it is spot on- I would also like to see more transparency and greater engagement with critics, less obfuscation, etc. Whatever else you may think is going on, these are the main points which need addressing.
     
    You say:
    “The second is to figure out alternate ways to convince the so-called skeptics to agree on changes using something they value.
    I’m not convinced, however, that the second option can be effective.  As an example, energy independence as national security works to bring along some people who are skeptical of climate-based arguments.  But energy independence means more than just relying more on domestic oil, gas, and coal.  Would Simon et al agree to a massive energy R&D push into solar, for example, given that there is only so much coal, gas, and oil to be produced domestically and by our immediate neighbors?  Or would they tend to reject that R&D because those are based on the current science and cost something?”
     
    Again, this needs to be put to Simon- but I feel that it’s possible that we may part ways here. Some people see no problem at all in regards to current energy solutions- Tom Fuller has a recent post on this over at WUWT (the 3 Chinas one), and you can see in the comments that there is both optimism and pessimism there from different people. I see myself as an optimist, but I also want to see much more done in the way of R&D on energy. I lack the alarm that some others feel which gives them this sense that we need new kinds of energy yesterday, for me, tomorrow or today will be good enough. I have no problems that we will get there eventually and I personally am not convinced by any of the CAGW arguments to date which say we have big problems regarding CO2. I am fairly agnostic on this though and I respect the opinion that there may indeed be a problem- I don’t want to close off that possibility. I have no illusions that my stance on this is the correct one- therefore I certainly support actions which seek to reduce CO2, but I would be happiest if the effects of these actions were doing more than simply reducing CO2, they should really have other practical benefits as well. This is probably the best way to reach anyone who’s skeptical or hostile to the idea that reducing CO2 is a good thing in itself. Show people the other benefits. If we’re going to spend all this money on one problem, lets work to clear up a bunch of other problems as well at the same time. That way, if the big problem we thought was a problem turns out to be a non problem, then we’ll still have made a positive difference somewhere.
     
    But lets be real about the risks, whatever we choose.

  67. Graham says:

    There is no empirical evidence linking CO2 emissions to global warming. None. Absolutely none. Conversely, there is empirical evidence aplenty that utterly dumps the hypothesis (temperature leads CO2, periods of cooling coinciding with CO2 increase, and the onset of warming post-LIA well before industrial emissions).  All we get, ad nauseam, from alarmists at all levels are compliant computer projections masquerading as “evidence”. The hypothesis is disproved, yet the scam trundles on, crushing all logic, reason and scientific integrity before it.

    No wonder Professor Harold Lewis described it as “the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life (67 years) as a physicist.”

    http://www.thegwpf.org/ipcc-news/1670-hal-lewis-my-resignation-from-the-american-physical-society.html

  68. Brian’s path through the minefield that is my concern about the veracity of the call for CO2 mitigation is to skip over it completely as if it were not there, with such casual arm-wavery as “there’s no convincing some people”, or words to that effect.
     
    If there is no more convincing evidence than that presented so far then I suspect Brian is correct. Pursuant to the scientific method, the evidence so far presented does not amount to compelling evidence supporting the AGW hypotheses. To form the argument in support of the AGW hypothesis requires a departure from the scientific method and the embrace of postnormalism – the realm of “2,500 scientists can’t be wrong”, “climate models demonstrate..” etc.
     
    If Brian believes that AGW is a problem, despite the absence of compelling traditional scientific evidence in support of that belief, I still feel that he’s entitled to that belief. While I was raised to respect the beliefs of others, as I have said before, I am not predisposed to faith-based systems. I’m an agnostic. Or, to use its scientific equivalence, I am a sceptic.
     
    What usually happens now is that the faithful point at me, screaming “heretic” or “deniarrr” (depending on whether we’re discussing religious Christian beliefs or religious AGW beliefs), and much is extrapolated through presumption to arrive at the conclusion that I’m “in league with the devil” or, again its equivalent, “funded by Big Oil” (mt’s old fave, IIRC).
     
    In anticipation of the usual Bodysnatchers-style finger-pointing, there’s little point in me reiterating my support of R&D into new energy solutions, specifically cost-beneficial, dependable, scalable solutions; solutions that don’t depend on sunny days to keep us warm and that don’t depend most heavily on wind in the presence of high atmospheric pressure systems, and I’m perfectly accepting of these new energy solutions if as a side benefit they don’t result in further CO2 emissions.
     
    But I don’t support CO2 mitigation for the sake of CO2 mitigation with no other benefit, because the argument for CO2 mitigation is itself not scientifically qualified and is therefore a tenuously prescriptive rather than goal-based solution.

  69. grypo says:

    Simon:
    We’re just looking for higher standards, more transparency, less obfuscation and wagon-circling, and less self-protectionism at the expense of scientific integrity. Don’s post perhaps counters some of Willis’s agitation towards all climate scientists, setting out reasonable explanations for the apparent movement of the science to eradicate contaminants.

    I was glad to see that post and that people like yourself have taken to it.  But where I run into problems is that most people sound like that, at first, concerned, but then it turns out they are much like political anti-science zealots that run rampant in the comment section at Watts, CA, etc.  So I have no idea what the percentage is, in fact, it’s difficult to find people like yourself who hold consistent messages about scientific openness and such.   But where does that leave us?  You say yourself that there is not a convincing enough argument to begin anti-mitigation policies, which I find are crucial to any energy policy.  Just R&D will increase the usage in this country of clean energy, yes.  But when?  Where is the infrastructure coming from?  How much does a few billion buy in a world where coal is still incredibly cheap?  And by reducing demand with the slow development of R&D, you are just, in the long run, cheapening the price of carbon based energy even more for someone else to burn it.  Or even worse, opening up new markets to get energy from tar sands and shale.  Without putting a price carbon at the source, most other options are simply fillers.  If these are the only ideas that are doable from the other side then I would say an acceptable deal isn’t worth the time trying to get past the current Republican Party and their extreme climate populism, who want nothing but to kill any government action whatsoever.

  70. thingsbreak says:

    @TomK
    Shorter thingsbreak @60
    “I agree with Pielke but cannot bring myself to say so”

     
    I agree with a lot of what Roger says, but those ideas aren’t particularly original to Roger (or myself). They’re common sense. I disagree with anyone, Roger or otherwise, who presents the “breakthrough” gambit as an alternative to emissions reductions through a cap or tax without explicitly articulating how a clean energy fund will keep coal in the ground absent obscene governmental intrusion into the energy market. Roger completely sidesteps this and handwaves about the problems with cap and trade:
     
    Critics of such an approach might complain that it offers no guarantees for emissions reductions by specific dates in the future. Of course, neither does the present approach to negotiations, but they do offer up the illusion of such certainty for those willing to suspend disbelief. Experience under the UN Climate Convention, its Kyoto Protocol, and various national programs should convince anyone that the only certainty that can be counted on in the conventional approach to emissions reductions is that emissions will continue to rise.

    The uncomfortable reality is that no one knows how the world might reduce its emissions by 80 percent or more in coming decades. But we do know enough to get started in that direction. Taking those first steps, however, will depend on our ability to create practical policies that are consistent with a narrative of promise and possibility focused on advancing human dignity.

     
    They don’t articulate how this is possible because they simply cannot. And this is why people dismiss it as “pixie dust”. You can say whatever you like about emissions trading, but it has been successfully implemented to reduce lead, sulfur dioxide, (in other countries) so-called Montreal gases, etc. That’s no *guarantee* that it will successfully reduce CO2, but at least there is a demonstrable, market-based mechanism for doing so.
     
    Where are the journalists pressing Roger and the Breakthrough Gang, Brookings, AEI, et al. on this? If Keith wants to know why people don’t seem to be falling all over themselves over this “new” proposal outside of a few beltway pundits, this is it. Articulate how it works, how it gets funded, how it does so in a manner that is not equally or more objectionable politically, and I’ll sing its praises from the rooftops.

  71. isaacschumann says:

    Keith,
    Speaking of narratives, I just stumbled across this:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/19/science/earth/19fossil.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=earth
    Its about the popularity of alternative energy and energy saving in conservative Kansas. Romm and Roberts HATE this kind of stuff. Let me get this straight, Nantucket (liberal, believes in climate change, ‘good guys’) can’t build 130 offshore (5.2 mi. minimum) turbines without a collective hissy fit; yet in Indiana, (conservative, doesn’t believe in climate change, ‘bad guys’) we’ve built literally hundreds of turbines all around us, with a whole other multi hundred turbine park in the works with no organized opposition. It seems to me that “people of different ideological and political backgrounds coming together to support clean energy and energy savings” would be an attractive narrative, but apparently not. Color me confused.

  72. intrepid_wanders says:

    “In anticipation of the usual Bodysnatchers-style finger-pointing, there’s little point in me reiterating my support of R&D into new energy solutions, specifically cost-beneficial, dependable, scalable solutions; solutions that don’t depend on sunny days to keep us warm and that don’t depend most heavily on wind in the presence of high atmospheric pressure systems, and I’m perfectly accepting of these new energy solutions if as a side benefit they don’t result in further CO2 emissions.”

    Gee, that is the kind of logic and sense that is bulldozing the “Green-Movement”.  Running around trying to find oil funding, tobacco funding or any other skeptic funding, yet it was all along just plain old inflexible narrative that did all the work.

    Solar and wind is laughably a toy.  What might be the next “narrative” be?  Wave power energy?  I like it, but I think it will be shot down for interfering with the greenie biodiversity and Living Planet Index propaganda.  It is always a circular argument, so why bother.

    Get your long-undies, it is going to be a cold one.

  73. Simon, my understanding that climate disruption is anthropogenic isn’t a question of faith as you imply.  It’s a question of overwhelming scientific evidence and logic.  Here’s a list of facts

    Climate sensitivity is most likely between 1.7 and 4.5 deg C/CO2 doubling (actually the energy retained by said doubling, making this an energy unit) and is most likely 3 deg C because observations and empirical data based on multiple paleoclimate reconstructions, the observed effects of volcanism on climate, as well as the modern observed temperatures.  None of these independent data sets require modeling.
    Atmospheric CO2 is increasing due to the combustion of formerly sequestered fossil fuels.  This is an empirical result based on the isotopic signatures of CO2 in the atmosphere and an accounting of where the observed increase in CO2 could be coming from.
    Atmospheric CO2 absorbs IR wavelengths and scatters it, changing the optical properties of the atmosphere as the concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere change.
    The jet streams have shifted poleward as predicted.
    The tropopause has increased in altitude as predicted.
    The stratosphere has cooled while the troposphere has warmed.  This is consistent with only one known source of tropospheric heating – greenhouse gases.  Unless the physics of thermodynamic heat transfer through the atmosphere is entirely wrong, the sun cannot be the source of this heating because in that case, the stratosphere would also be heating.  This has been measured using both satellites and radiosondes.

    All of these facts are so well understood that the burden of proof is no longer with the people proposing that these are facts, but rather with the people arguing that they are erroneous.  None of them can be simply rejected out of hand as being false, and none of them require any “belief” whatsoever.
    The only explanation that fits ALL the facts to date is that human-emitted CO2 is the predominant cause.
    Now, all that being said, research is ongoing into clouds, into so-called black carbon, into the effects of aerosols, and models are being refined with better spatial and temporal accuracy.  So the science continues to improve and should continue to be improved via research.  And there’s an outside possibility that something will turn up that turns all this on its head.
    But given the strength of the evidence, it’s unreasonable to reject making changes to the way we power and move our civilization.  I’m all for arguing over the best way to make those changes, but we’re years if not decades past the point where we should have stopped arguing about the necessity of those changes.

  74. Brian, I’m going to address your evidence. First, because you start by using it, please define the term “climate disruption” and give justification for its use.

  75. “Climate disruption” is a disruption in the current/recent climate, plain and simple.  Given the magnitude of the changes observed to date as well as the anticipated changes in the future, it’s my opinion that “disruption” is more accurate than “change.”
    Allow me to head off a possible criticism in advance – I’ve been using “climate disruption” since October, 2008.

  76. Keith Kloor says:

    Simon, over at Judith Curry’s blog, there’s a thread where Bart Verheggen has some excellent comments that, to my mind, nobody over there really counters, including Judith.

    Those comments are here, here, and here.

    Oh, and as an added bonus, the Willis tantrums at the end that thread are worth the price of admission alone.

  77. Keith Kloor says:

    isaacsshumann (71): I saw that story. You write:

    It seems to me that ‘people of different ideological and political backgrounds coming together to support clean energy and energy savings’ would be an attractive narrative, but apparently not.

    It means conceding your narrative, which I think some people have a hard time doing. Instead, they keep saying, well, how do you know that other one will work better? Well, you don’t until you try. But given the vacuum that I believe now exists, there is a window where other approaches will likely get a fresh (and yes, appropriately critical) look by people without a stake in which narrative does the trick: energy quest, as Andy Revkin identifies it, or moral imperative to avoid climate doom, as James Hansen identifies it.

    The reasonable question to ask: can you get a broader buy-in with the former than the latter?

  78. bigcitylib says:

    #76  Keith, A bit OT but Curry’s rambling on about scientific method with reference to Pierce is a bit depresseing.  One accomplishment of 20th Phil of Science is that it finally began to incorporate the actual history of science.  You might say that the result of this was the discovery that there is no scientific method.  Or, put another way, the kind of battling and mean girl behavior we see in Climate Science IS the scientific method.  CS really isn’t unusual in this respect, hardly more “post normal” than any other field.

  79. Kieth – I think that Revkin’s approach will probably get better buy in from certain groups of people.  It’s one of the approaches that I use myself when I’m talking climate with my fellow, mostly libertarian engineers.  Others include public health, the value of open spaces as recreation (for sportsmen), the value of education, losing the US’ position in the world.  I’ve even used greed a couple of times, although it’s not my strongest argument by a long shot.
    I’d love it if we could make a purely moral argument, but those arguments simply don’t work beyond a certain segment of the population.  But the projected impacts of climate disruption are so dramatic and touch on so much of human civilization that you can make at least a dozen arguments, at least one of which will resonate with whomever your target audience is.

  80. Keith, the issue with consensus, as Judith points out, is the illusionary nature of said consensus when presented to the public. Consensus, as Bart concedes, does not equate to any measure of certainty. As I’ve argued many times, neither the consensus nor the certainty is the reason for recent climate science trust issues, it’s specifically the popular discovery that the consensus – which doesn’t equate to certainty – has been purposely misrepresented to imply that it does thus equate. The “2,500 scientist” consensus claim is particularly specious.

  81. Brian, climate sensitivity is not well understood, and the implicit suggestion that it is, in your claim, is simply not substantiated. Paleoclimate reconstructions are not empirical evidence, having no statistical skill beyond a few short hundred years – specifically they are not useful back as far as the MWP. This is conceded, though quietly sequestered away, in Mann’s 08 Supplementary Information. But for AGW to be supported by empirical evidence, the paleoreconstructions need to be something they are not. And they are not, Brian, and you can kick and scream all you want, it won’t change the fact that the MWP and LIA cannot be spirited away and it won’t change the fact that, unless they can be, no amount of claims that paleoreconstructions represent empirical evidence will transform those claims into a reality. Let’s think about it, Brian, we KNOW there was a MWP and a LIA. It’s firmly in the literary historical record and always has been. A reconstruction that doesn’t show them can NOT be right.
     
     
    You devotedly attribute late 20th century warming to anthropogenic CO2 emissions, but have no explanation for early 20th century warming or late 19th century warming. Instead, these are attributed to “something else”. The lack of correlation between distinct warming phases in the 20th century during steady increases in CO2 emissions, and particularly the cooling period near-mid-century, is unexplained. This is worse than just inconvenient, it is empirical evidence of a lack of causative relationship between CO2 and global temperature.
     
    The increase in anthropogenic CO2 is not challenged by climate sceptics, neither is the isotopic signature of that anthropogenic CO2. You present this as if it defeats a climate sceptic argument, but it doesn’t. Jet stream and tropopause predictions are meaningless in the context of this discussion, and the only purpose in mentioning them is to present an illusion that GCMs are skilful in climate forecasting. This is bait and switch, and I can only imagine it is specifically for the purpose of deflecting attention from the fact that GCMs don’t even attempt to model cloud behaviour and don’t understand cloud feedback. And you must know, Brian, that a GCM that doesn’t address the overwhelming driver of climate feedbacks, cannot ever be described as skilful. That’s just a preposterous suggestion. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on Lindzen’s “iris” hypothesis which is much debated and which, if proven, would have profound ramifications for current GW hypotheses and GCMs.
     
    Last point for now, Brian, you appear to suggest that the sun is not the source of heating, and that CO2 is. You need to review your presentation. Nevertheless, I understand what you’re saying. But that the troposphere is warming and the stratosphere is cooling, during this warming phase, does not in any way add to the claim that recent warming is unnatural, unprecedented or even actually unequivocal. (I refer the honourable gentleman to the recent controversy over NZ’s NIWA.)
     
    As a footnote, this is ALL still up in the air. What there is not is overwhelming and conclusive evidence supporting the hypotheses of catastrophic effects of AGW. And there is absolutely nothing of value in the term “climate disruption”, which is positively the most ambiguous framing of the notion of AGW I’ve heard yet.

  82. Shub says:

    thingsbreak
    You are right about RPJr’s ‘armwaving’ and the fact that the so-called iron law of climate policy is nothing new really. Let me quote some specific examples, to wit, from the Yale 360 article, of what I thought were ‘arm-wavy’.

    Point 1:
    “Critical to driving this innovation will be government. Government must foster competition, pursue energy innovation using a public works model, and recognize the crucial role of demonstration projects”.

    Point 2:
    “Governments should also become a major consumer of innovative energy-technology products and systems.”

    Given that his background material consists mostly of painting a rosy picture (which is true in several respects) of India and China view energy, these two statements only show how hopelessly out-of-touch with reality, this aspect of RPJr’s understanding is. I cannot understand how RPJr expects governments to impose a tax, collect that money and invest that money by handing out porkies to ‘innovative energy’ by becoming a major consumer of that innovative energy. It is a formula and recipe for disaster, corruption and poverty.

    I hope RPJr realizes that, if this governmental tax monies are not ‘given back to the people’ in this fashion, and just invested in old-school research alone in its best institutions, things would be better off, and he probably realizes that the feet on which his strategy stands on is a government-mandated increase in energy ‘innovation expenditures’ to siphon/funnel/channel all the excess liquidity that he proposes be created.

    Those of use familiar with these roundabout schemes know only very well that they do not work. You collect taxes in emerging, third world economies and they get frittered away or swallowed by corruption. This is the ground rule with ‘good money’ – meant to be used for food, national defense and such. You can use your imagination, if you can at all, to think what would happen with funny money generated out of nowhere, i.e., imposing a tax on coal.

    It is for the same reason that Joe Romm and his NY buddy (that bearded guy, I forget his name) and their drum beating about China and its ‘alternative energy boom’ is meaningless.

    By the same token, I will side with RPJr in the end, because your plan is to actually choke out CO2 – the climate is more important than people for you – a perspective that is thankfully on the wane.

  83. thingsbreak says:

    @kkloor:
    It means conceding your narrative, which I think some people have a hard time doing.
     
    What narrative? That we need to curb emissions? Has that at all changed somehow that I’ve not been made aware of?
     
    Instead, they keep saying, well, how do you know that other one will work better? Well, you don’t until you try.
     
    This is ludicrous. If someone prescribes you an admittedly painful, but at least medicinally plausible, regimen to treat an illness you don’t abandon that course of action unless you have a good reason to believe that an alternative has a chance of working. In my analogy, I am not asking for anyone to prove that their alternative solution is even necessarily better. I’m just asking them to describe the mechanism by which it’s going to treat the malady rather than just being good for you in general. Diet and excercise are worthwhile health goals to pursue, but if you’ve got a diagnosis of cancer someone had better provide you with a sound medical basis of why you should feel free to skip chemo in favor of jogging and more servings of vegetables.
     
    Pursuing clean energy on its own isn’t going to keep coal in the ground. What is the proposed mechanism by which the “breakthrough” scheme accomplishes this? If they don’t have one, they should just explicitly acknowledge it. If they have a mechanism, they should articulate it, so that people like me will become evangelicals for them. I was incredibly skeptical about nuclear power, but Barry Brook and co. eventually won me over to the merits of IFRs as a potentially viable part of the long term low carbon energy portfolio. They didn’t do it with glib references to the laws of thermodynamics and think tank endorsements. They did it by contentious back and forths about the merits of their strategy vs. others’; they explained their vision of “how”.
     
    I’m ripe for conversion, Breakthrough people. Help me help you. How, absent a price on carbon or staggeringly distorive subsidies does a clean energy fund keep coal in the ground?

  84. Keith Kloor says:

    Simon,

    Sorry, but as Bart lays out in that thread, there’s an accumulation of data and observation across multiple lines evidence that is incumbent on skeptics to counter. Instead, skeptics continue to focus, as Judith points out in that same thread,  on the actions of one group within the climate science community. In one of her responses to Willis, she writes of “climategate”:

    “At the end of the day, the bad behavior and other shenanigans are a side show to the science, of sociological and political import and interest but of no lasting importance to the science..”

    The problem with you skeptics, as Willis illustrates in his fist-shaking rejoinders to Judith in that thread, is that you want/maintain that climategate is the main show. It’s not. There are those other lines of compelling evidence for global warming that are independent of anything revealed by the CRU emails. That’s been established.

    So on this, there’s not much daylight between me and Bart on what the consensus says on anthropogenic climate change.

    Where I depart–and what gets the Romm amen corner all riled up, is the projected impacts for climate doom. I have criticized the disaster fetish, where attribution is made for all manner of extreme weather to build a case for political action.

    And of course, I also get in trouble with the amen crowd because I oppose the tyranny of debate imposed by the likes of Romm. He seems to think he knows the best way to address climate change and he’s not giving an inch.

    Of course, as you’ve noticed, I think the extreme rhetoric on the other side of the ledger is just as toxic to constructive debate.

  85. thingsbreak says:

    @kkloor:
    Where I depart”“and what gets the Romm amen corner all riled up, is the projected impacts for climate doom. I have criticized the disaster fetish, where attribution is made for all manner of extreme weather to build a case for political action.
    And of course, I also get in trouble with the amen crowd because I oppose the tyranny of debate imposed by the likes of Romm. He seems to think he knows the best way to address climate change and he’s not giving an inch.
     
    Keith, in a different thread, could you explain what sort of mysterious power you believe Joe Romm to actually have on policy-making or even “narratives”? He gets cited occasionally by Thomas Friedman and Paul Krugman. Okay. And?
     
    Do you think that MT, Brian Angliss, or myself are somehow beholden to his views, let alone Waxman, Boxer, or the Obama administration?

    Please don’t mistake occasional objections to your continual false equivalency between him and conspiracy-mongering denialists with an agreement (lockstep or otherwise) with his policy prescriptions. I happen to think that he’s got a lot of the wedge solution stuff right, but that’s rather more to the credit of Pacala and Socolow than Romm.

  86. Stu says:

    Keith, you say:
    “The problem with you skeptics, as Willis illustrates in his fist-shaking rejoinders to Judith in that thread, is that you want/maintain that climategate is the main show. It’s not. There are those other lines of compelling evidence for global warming that are independent of anything revealed by the CRU emails. That’s been established.”
     
    I think that’s a fairly major disservice to the skeptic position, if I may say so, Keith. Skepticism was certainly alive and well long before climategate broke, and it will kick on long after climategate is long forgotten. Those events only really helped to focus and draw attention in a very public way to a few issues which had been bugging skeptics for years.

  87. Keith Kloor says:

    TB, no offense, but I don’t think your views count for much in this debate. (Neither do mine, if that’s any consolation.)

    But MT’s views do seem to matter, because as he says here:

    “I didn’t like plan A (if you mean Waxman Markey) at all. I didn’t campaign against it at the specific request of David Roberts, but I never liked it and was glad it failed.”

    As for Romm’s sway, you’re either being naive or disingenuous. I’m not going to rehash all the ways he tries to exert undue influence, and all the influentials who take his word as gospel. You can read all about it here.

  88. Shub says:

    There’s an accumulation of data and observation across multiple lines evidence that is incumbent on skeptics to counter.

    Not accurate.

    There is, and there will be ‘evidence’ that the globe is warming. There is little to no ‘evidence’, direct, concrete and irrefutable, that it is anthropogenic, dangerous and potentially catastrophic.

    A simple and honest love for policy wonkery does the world we live in no harm. All ideas that are tolerated in society are not valid, and the converse can be true too.

  89. Keith, you seem to think I’m “stuck” on Climategate, and so are all other climate sceptics. That’s not true at all. Willis is not a manifestation of every climate sceptic, just as Joe Romm is not a manifestation of all CAGW proponents. That I recognise Willis’s agitation does not mean I share his angst, but I’m nowhere near as knowledgeable as Willis and I’m less able to spot scientific transgressions than Willis, and so I don’t carry the anger like he does.
     
    The idea that global warming is occurring is not contrary to the climate sceptic position. What is not readily accepted is that the warming is due to anthropogenic CO2. So, apart from a bunch of straw men that Bart might assemble, to purportedly show that climate sceptics hold contrarian views without foundation, I’m not sure about what new scientific revelations sceptics are expected to counter. Is there a new paleo reconstruction that proves beyond doubt that the literary record of the MWP and LIA has been recently forged by individuals in the pay of big oil, perhaps?

  90. Marlowe Johnson says:

    Shub and Simon,
     
    What other explanation do you have that provides a coherent explanation for the magnitude and spacial patterns of the warming that we have seen in the 20th century? What evidence do you have that suggests that S <<1.7 ?

  91. Sashka says:

    Tom Fuller (2)

    The alarmists will resist geo-engineering simply because they will perceive it (perhaps correctly) as a threat to CO2 reduction.

    Brian Angliss (3)

    There is absolutely no reason to beleive anything that the models project about precipitation.

    The calculation of the necessary amount of SO2 to cancel out CO2 in terms of radiative forcing doesn’t really require notoriously unrealiable climate models.

    Michael Tobis (5)

    Is is not true that the second approach requires highly sophisticated climate modeling. For example, if we were to build a giant mirror to block a portion of incoming solar radiation, we could adjust its size as necessary to keep the temps stable. No modeling required.

  92. Keith Kloor says:

    Shub, it’s exhausting enough going back and forth between the two poles of the debate to have to respond to this.  I respectfully disagree. There is a preponderance of evidence that suggests a high likelihood that is indeed anthropogenic and also dangerous, if the carbon buildup continues unabated. As for potentially “catastrophic,” well that depends on how catastrophic is defined.

    At any rate, arguing along these lines of the debate seems counterproductive at this point. Hence, the thrust of this post, on whether a more broadly accepted narrative can get some oxygen, a narrative for policy action that a diverse group of stakeholders can buy into and which achieves decarbonization through a different path than the one the world is on now.

  93. Barry Woods says:

    But climategate is not the main show..

    Just confirmation of what a number of people hsd known had been going on for years..

    The disaster that is the IPCC and the disaster advovates, Gore, Romm, wwf, etc is the main show.  Plus in the EU, a green dash to inappropriate technologies.  (see Spain Germany backtracking on wind and solar now.)

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-10-18/spanish-solar-projects-on-brink-of-bankruptcy-as-subsidy-policies-founder.html

    http://thegwpf.org/energy-news/1715-green-subsidies-price-shock-for-german-electricity-customers.html

    Why lump all sceptics with Willis. I told Willis to get over himself, and be nice in that Judith Curry article…

    Or should I lump Keith Kloor with Romm, as a warmist.?

  94. thingsbreak says:

    @kkloor:
    I don’t think your views count for much in this debate.

     
    Is the point whether or not someone’s views count or Romm’s general alleged sway over “the narrative”? If the former rather than the latter, how has Romm exerted his sway over the policy choices of Waxman, Boxer, or the Obama administration?
     
    But MT’s views do seem to matter
     
    Why?
     
    because as he says here


    That’s not a reason why MT’s views matter. It’s an example of how David Robert’s views might matter, if it is first stipulated that MT’s views matter.
     
    As for Romm’s sway, you’re either being naive or disingenuous.
     
    I’ll cop to “ignorant”, I guess? Scientific study proceeds in complete indifferent to what Joe Romm thinks. It under-girds reports like the IPCC, NAS assessments, etc. which ultimately form the benchmark against which policy-makers are forced to shape their platforms (starting from their respective ideological positions, of course). The Jimmy Inhofes and Joe Bartons don’t give a fig about what Romm thinks, but have to proclaim the IPCC, NAS, et al. invalid. The Waxmans, Boxers, and Obamas don’t appear to pay Romm any more attention, and pay lip service to the IPCC, NAS, et al. If I’m wrong about Romm’s sway over US policy, I’ll happily revise my position.
     
    I’m not going to rehash all the ways he tries to exert undue influence, and all the influentials who take his word as gospel. You can read all about it here.


    I guess I’m “hard of reading”, but I’m not sure where I am supposed to be reading about “all the influentials who take his word as gospel” and/or why I am supposed to stipulate that if they do, that they “matter”.
     
    (This is probably better tackled in a separate thread or email?)
     
    I’ll continue to await the “breakthrough” scheme’s communication breakthrough in this one.

  95. Keith Kloor says:

    Well, Marlow beat me to it, but anyway, yeah, go ahead and take away the paleo reconstructions if you like. Plenty of other evidence there.

  96. grypo says:

    Simon:
    I know the science post was directed at Brian, but let me just point out something because it is an extension of “they-are-hiding-something” meme.
    —-Paleoclimate reconstructions are not empirical evidence, having no statistical skill beyond a few short hundred years ““ specifically they are not useful back as far as the MWP. This is conceded, though quietly sequestered away, in Mann’s 08 Supplementary Information.—-
    Here is what is stated in a section called NH temperature reconstructions:
    Although the details of the reconstructions produced for a given method and target (e.g., CPS NH land) showed some sensitivity to which proxy data sets are used, and precisely which instrumental series is used (e.g., CRU vs. ICRU), all of the individual reconstructions that pass validation fall within the uncertainties of the composite reconstruction, defined as the average of all individual reconstructions that pass validation. In other words, the various reconstructions are consistent within uncertainties. This also holds true for reconstructions resulting from the early and late calibration intervals used in validation experiments (see SI Text and Figs. S7″“S11). Nominally, the recent observed decadal warmth recorded in the instrumental observations exceeds the uncertainty range of the reconstructions over at least the past 1,600 years for NH land temperatures as reconstructed by CPS (Fig. S5) and the past 1,700 years forNHland plus ocean temperatures as reconstructed by EIV (Fig. S6). Because this conclusion extends to the past 1,300 years for EIV reconstructions withholding all tree-ring data, and because non-tree-ring proxy records are generally treated in the literature as being free of limitations in recording millennial scale variability.  (11), the conclusion that recent NH warmth likely** exceeds that of at least the past 1,300 years thus appears reasonably robust. For the CPS (EIV) reconstructions, the instrumental warmth breaches the upper 95% confidence limits of the reconstructions beginning with the decade centered at 1997 (2001). It is intriguing to note that the removal of tree-ring data from the proxy dataset yields less, rather than greater, peak cooling during the 16th”“19th centuries for both CPS and EIV methods (see Figs. S5a and S6b, respectively), contradicting the claim (33) that tree-ring data are prone to yielding a warm-biased “˜”˜Little Ice Age” relative to reconstructions using other high-resolution climate proxy indicators.
    Here is the next section, called Global temperature reconstructions:
    Conclusions for SH mean temperatures are somewhat weaker (Figs. S5 and S6), plausibly due to the relative paucity of proxy data in the SH (Fig. 1). Nominally, recent warmth appears anomalous in the context of the past 1,500 years from the CPS reconstructions, but skillful CPS reconstructions are not possible without tree-ring data before A.D. 1700, implying additional caveats as discussed above. Recent warmth exceeds that reconstructed for at least the past 1,800 years in the EIV reconstructions, and this conclusion extends back at least 1,500 years without using tree-ring data. However, the estimated uncertainties are compatible with the possibility that recent SH warmth might have been breached during brief periods in the past. Similarly, for global mean temperature, the CPS reconstruction suggests that recent warmth is anomalous for at least the past 1,500 years, but with the caveat that tree-ring data are required for a skillful long-term reconstruction. The EIV reconstruction indicates recent warmth that exceeds the reconstructed warmth (past 1,500 years with caveats related to the use of tree-ring data, and the past 1,300 years if tree-ring data are excluded), but like the SH, the uncertainties are compatible with the possibility of brief periods of similar warmth over the past 1,500 years. More confident statements about long-term temperature variations in the SH and globe on the whole must await additional proxy data collection.
    From the Conclusion:
    We find that the hemispheric-scale warmth of the past decade for the NH is likely anomalous in the context of not just the past 1,000 years, as suggested in previous work, but longer. This conclusion appears to hold for at least the past 1,300 years 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000 0 Northern Hemisphere Temperature Anomaly ( C) CPS land with uncertainties EIV land with uncertainties EIV land+ocn with uncertainties Mann and Jones (2003) Esper et al. (2002) Moberg et al. (2005) CRU Instrumental Record HAD Instrumental Record 1000 1100 1200 1300 1400 1500 1600 1700 1800 1900 2000 0 Temperature Anomaly ( C) CPS land with uncertainties EIV land with uncertainties EIV land+ocn with uncertainties Mann and Jones (2003) Esper et al. (2002) Moberg et al. (2005) CRU Instrumental Record HAD Instrumental Record CPS land+ocn with uncertainties Briffa et al. (2001) Crowley and Lowery (2000) Mann et al. (1999) Jones et al. (1998) Oerlemans (2005) Huang et al. (2000) Borehole Mann et al. (2003) Optimal Borehole Fig. 3. Composite CPS and EIV NH land and land plus ocean temperature reconstructions and estimated 95% confidence intervals. Shown for comparison are published NH reconstructions, centered to have the same mean as the overlapping segment of the CRU instrumental NH land surface temperature record 1850″“2006 that, with the exception of the borehole-based reconstructions, have been scaled to have the same decadal variance as the CRU series during the overlap interval (alternative scaling approaches for attempting to match the amplitude of signal in the reconstructed and instrumental series are examined in SI Text). All series have been smoothed with a 40-year low-pass filter as in ref 33. Confidence intervals have been reduced to account for smoothing. (consistent with the recent assessment by ref. 2) from reconstructions that do not use tree-ring proxies, and are therefore not subject to the associated additional caveats. This conclusion can be extended back to at least the past 1,700 years if tree-ring data are used, but with the additional strong caveats noted. When differences in scaling between previous studies are accounted for, the various current and previous estimates of NH mean surface temperature are largely consistent within uncertainties, despite the differences in methodology and mix of proxy data back to approximately A.D. 1000. The reconstructions appear increasingly more sensitive to method and data quality and quantity before A.D. 1600 and, particularly, before approximately A.D. 1000. Conclusions are less definitive for the SH and globe, which we attribute to larger uncertainties arising from the sparser available proxy data in the SH. Given the uncertainties, the SH and global reconstructions are compatible with the possibility of warmth similar to the most recent decade during brief intervals of the past 1,500 years. A targeted effort to recover additional high-quality, long paleoclimate proxy records from the SH could reduce these current existing uncertainties.
    I’m curious to know is being “conceled”.
    Paper:
    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2008/09/02/0805721105.full.pdf
    SI:
    http://www.pnas.org/content/suppl/2008/09/02/0805721105.DCSupplemental/0805721105SI.pdf#nameddest=STXT
     
     
     
     
     

  97. Sashka says:

    Keith (76)

    I’m afraid I’m missing context in which Bart’s comments were made. But on their own I didn’t find them anywhere near excellent, especially the first two. The third one is OK but rather trivial. The “big picture” on which everyone agrees consists of almost nothing.

  98. Keith Kloor says:

    Barry, lump me with whoever you want. Everyone else does it. Makes no difference to me.

    And what exactly was climategate confirmation of? That all of climate science got it wrong? That it’s all a big con? Well, that’s the dominant skeptic narrative (whether you personally agree with it or not), which is what gets bounced back and forth between Climate Depot and WUWT.

    You forget: I argue that WUWT and Climate Progress represent the opposite extremes of the debate. Over at WUWT, climate science is synonymous with con; over at CP, climate science points to hell and high and water.

    Those are the two dominant narratives of this debate.

    I further argue (and I am by no means alone) that it may be more productive to not let these two opposing narratives further define the policy debate.

  99. Sashka says:

    Keith (92)

    In turn, I respectfully disagree with you. We know next to nothing about likelihood of the observed warming being anthropogenic or the likelihood that it’s going to be dangerous (a loaded term which itself requires definition). I’m not even sure how does one come up with these notions other than from IPCC reports or Romm’s playbook.

    BTW I see no reason to conflate geo-engineering with decarbonization.

  100. Steve Bloom says:

    Joe is most definitely not in the narrative-originating business.  He’s basically a popularizer.  He gets quoted by the likes of Krugman and Friedman because he has the policy and technical chops to know what the hell he’s talking about.       

    Re the Breakthrough stuff and Revkin’s “energy quest,” if you read through the last month or so of the news aggregator posts at CP and pick out the sustainable energy-related items, the thought will come up that those folks are just trying to get to the head of a parade that’s been happening for a while.  In principle an extra $25 billion in funding for that stuff would be nice, but in the real world of this Congress such a bill passed in the near future would devote a huge amount of money on nuke subsidies, CCS etc., IOW be at a sharp tangent to the problem, which is why it’s pixie dust relative to the climate problem.

    Returning to my excellent abolition analogy, note the timing of what happened then:  Because of the need to fight a war (in which regard an obstructive Senate played no small role), the U.S. was pretty much last in the Western world to free its slaves.  Britain e.g. had done so about 30 years earlier.   History does seem to be repeating itself, only this time the consequences seem likely to be much worse.

    Similarly, the Simons of the world can be neatly analogized to southerners convinced that slavery is justified by the innate superiority of the white race.  Facts and rational argument aren’t going to move them. 

  101. Steve Bloom says:

    Still with the two opposing narratives with the truth in the middle, eh, Keith?  You’re a walking, talking violation of Okrent’s Law.

  102. Marlowe Johnson says:

    “We know next to nothing about likelihood of the observed warming being anthropogenic”
     
    From my POV this puts you in the tin foil hat club and makes it hard to have a rational discussion.  Do you feel the same about other branches of scientific knowledge (e.g. medicine) or just this one?

  103. Keith Kloor says:

    Steve, you’re just priceless. That’s all I can say.

  104. Steve Bloom says:

    Grypo, note that the big lessons are all in the deep-time stuff.  Our knowledge of that is why e.g. we can be absolutely certain that clouds don’t play the role that Lindzen and the denialists would like, and that increasing CO2 is the threat that it is.  Notice also that denialists pretty much ignore this material since they have no answer for it other than the usual claim that it’s all being made up.

    To expand slightly Wally Broecker’s analogy, the big rabid wolf has its slavering jaws spread wide and we are even now presenting our delicate collective tush to it.  I suppose there’s some uncertainty about whether it will in fact bite us. 

  105. Simon, let’s focus first on climate sensitivity.  Allow me to point you to a post today on Skeptical Science that discusses MWP/LIA vis-a-vis climate sensitivity.  The point, briefly stated, is that for the MWP and LIA to have occurred as you suggest, climate sensitivity would have to be between the usual range, not as low as Lindzen has calculated them to be.  Paleoclimate reconstructions go much farther back than just the last thousand years, Simon.  The study of ice age interglacials would fall into paleoclimatology, for example, and to date the data-based reconstructions require that climate sensitivity be in the usual ranges for the interglacials to respond as they did.  Studies of ice cores during the Last Glacial Maximum produce empirically-derived estimates of climate sensitivity of between 3 and 4.5 deg C, for example.  Data from fossil foraminifera have been used to estimate climate sensitivity as well, with results in the 3-6 deg C range, using plain and simple statistics.
    However, we could remove the recent paleoclimate issues entirely and focus exclusively on recent measurements to come to the same conclusion about climate sensitivity.  For example, the ERBE data shows climate sensitivity in the range of 1 to 4.1 K and global measurements taken following the eruption of Pinatubo show the range to be pretty much the same as the model-derived numbers.  Papers that have shown much lower numbers or negative sensitivity have been shown to be erroneous.  Lindzen’s 2009 paper using the ERBE data had enough errors that he essentially had to resubmit it in 2010 (although I haven’t read the resubmission or even know if it’s been published yet).

    Now, let’s focus on your comment about the 20th century, specifically that the lack of correlation across the entire century shows “empirical evidence of a lack of causative relationship between CO2 and global temperature.”  This might be true if there weren’t significantly longer periods of extremely high correlation between CO2 and global temperatures.  In fact, there is a great deal of correlation between CO2 and glacial transitions in the ice core record going back 800,000 years.  That correlation has been extended back to 20 million years by using fossil foraminfera to estimate pCO2 and correlate it to temperature proxies extracted from sea floor sediments.  Now, it’s true that correlation doesn’t prove causation, but neither does lack of correlation over a statistically short period of time (and in the presence of significant amounts of noise) prove lack of causation.

    My point with regard to mentioning the anthropogenic source of the CO2 was as backup information in support of the other points, especially the last one.  The same is true of the points about the jetstream and the tropopause.  However, the increasing elevation of the tropopause (which is an effect predicted by any increase in surface temperatures, not just those driven by GHGs) is fundamental atmospheric physics.  That it’s been observed serves as unequivocal evidence that the surface is warming – if it weren’t, then the lapse rate would not be driving the tropopause higher in altitude, alleged issues of individual weather stations notwithstanding.

    As far as models are concerned, the best estimate I’ve seen recently for cloud feedbacks is between 20 and 50% of the feedback, not the “overwhelming driver” you imply.  And it’s not that clouds are not modeled at all, but rather that they’re modeled using cell parameterizations instead of directly.  However, I’d be interested in reading more as the modeling issue is one I personally find fascinating.  I’ve built my own EE models and used others, and I can tell you from personal experience that the majority of the arguments made against climate models could also be made against the same EE models that are used to “prove” a circuit functions before it’s built and shipped.  Rather than going into excruciating detail, I’ll say instead that every model has necessary simplifications, and picking on climate models for doing what every modeler does is a serious inconsistency in the anti-modeling argument.

    You missed the logical step I made with the stratospheric cooling/tropospheric heating, so allow me to lay it out for you specifically.  Stratospheric cooling coupled with tropospheric heating is consistent only with increased global temperatures resulting from energy retention due to increasing GHG concentrations.  The source of increasing GHG concentrations has been measured several different ways to be human activity, most specifically but not exclusively the combustion of fossil fuels.  Therefore logic demands that human activity is the driver for the observed changes in the stratosphere and the troposphere.  You might have some wiggle room on this logic if there was any other known physical process that could cool the stratosphere while heating the troposphere, but there isn’t.

    Continuing the logical train, it’s my understanding that the observation that the troposphere has been warming is essentially equal to the observation that the tropopause has increased in altitude.  And the increase in tropopause is driven by an increase in surface temperatures and the lapse rate.  Therefore, if human activity is causing the warming troposphere, then it’s also causing the increase in tropopause altitude and is therefore causing the increase in surface temperatures.
    As I said, Simon, there’s no belief necessary for me.  It’s about the overwhelming scientific evidence.

  106. thingsbreak says:

    @kkloor:
    I argue that WUWT and Climate Progress represent the opposite extremes of the debate. Over at WUWT, climate science is synonymous with con; over at CP, climate science points to hell and high and water.
     
    Romm apparently defines “hell and high water” as the following, assuming we reach 830-1100 ppm:

    Staggeringly high temperature rise, especially over land “” some 10°F over much of the United States
    Sea level rise of 3 to 7 feet, rising some 6 to 12 inches (or more) each decade thereafter
    Dust Bowls over the U.S. SW and many other heavily populated regions around the globe
    Massive species loss on land and sea “” 50% or more of all life
    Unexpected impacts “” the fearsome “unknown unknowns”
    More severe hurricanes “” especially in the Gulf

     
    This is exactly the false equivalence bullsh|t that people object to. Reality doesn’t fall halfway between those two “extremes”, Keith. One of them decidedly is closer to where the balance of scientific evidence rests.
     
    I’m not really sure where the mirror image of Wattsian denialism lies, but if forced to pick, I think you could do worse than James Lovelock in this article:
    before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.
     
    As I’ve said WRT Freeman Dyson, Hal Lewis, and the others- Old Man Yells at Cloud.

  107. Shub says:

    KK,
    I’ll try to answer your point above, and maybe clarify and commit more, to what I meant.

    The skeptical position, contrary to what you seem to believe, is a nuanced one and not a crude one. (and it is not my personal position either).

    In other words, per the skeptics, attribution to anthropogenic influences, as understood in the IPCC frame of reference, is ‘weak, tentative and definitely inconclusive’. But its very existence is not questioned.

    The IPCC consensus position characterizes this attribution to be ‘highly likely’, ‘strong and conclusive’. Further question is sought to be precluded by the potential danger that would supposedly arise from such questioning.

    This is the state of affairs at the moment. There are no ‘multiple lines’ or anything like that. There are models and their interpretation, that is all. The climate changes all the time and there will be many things that change with it.

    To be able to say that the particular pattern of spatial global change is anthropogenic in origin (MJ’s point), is once again dependant on the same model output and the expectations that spring from them.

    Please see relevant thread by Dr C. http://judithcurry.com/2010/10/17/overconfidence-in-ipccs-detection-and-attribution-part-i/#more-631
    (as excellent as ever, and all credit to her and Dr Pielke Sr, my respect for climate scientists grows)

    I would also like to draw attention to how the medical field broke out of circular reasoning traps, viz, the Koch’s postulates. Experimentation and hard data are the only ways of breaking out of circular traps, and if climate scientists want to be pussyfooting around this problem in their field, because of concerns that “we have only one planet” etc, they richly deserve to be relegated to one side.

  108. Keith Kloor says:

    Steve (101):

    What can I say: I’m no match for a truth-teller like you.

    TB: You obviously don’t read Romm’s blog. Hell and High water is a constant theme, a logical extension of what climate science says. You’re entitled to believe this is what the science says, too.

    I stand by the contrast. One discounts the science, the other exaggerates it.

  109. Shub says:

    I am back on moderation again? I have a blog myself, and I know that cannot happen accidentally.

    This is amazing – I think I have contributed constructively on your blog…I just dont know what to say.

  110. Keith Kloor says:

    Shub, take a chill pill. Your last comment had a link that for some reason caused the comment to go into moderation. Earlier today, Bart emailed me about a comment he made that has three links that he correctly recognized went into the spam filter (and I still can’t find his comment).

    It happens. Don’t be so hypersensitive.

  111. Marlowe Johnson says:

    Keith,
     
    At the risk of turning this thread into yet another Rommian feast, what science does he exagerrate? I’ll be the first to say that he uses excessive language to describe individuals and motives, but for the most part he’s pretty accurate when it comes to the  science and the implications….
     
    Watts on the other hand is over the top on both in terms of facts and tone/rhetorical tricks etc.  This is the distinction that I think TB is trying to make.
     
    p.s. on what basis do you feel comfortable saying that it’s not doom and gloom? I’d have thought that this would be one of the areas where you’d have no opinion.  Remember there are lots of people who think that the IPCC is too conservative in its forecasts of impacts).
     
    Are you adopting the middle position reflexively :O or because of familiarity with the science?

  112. thingsbreak says:

    Yes, Shub, relax.
     
    You actually have to do something horrible- like saying something snarky about Judith Curry- before getting put on moderation for months.
     
    Remember- you can accuse hardworking men and women who’ve dedicated their lives to improving our knowledge of the climate system of widespread fraud and conspiracy. But don’t ever, ever make the mistake of tweaking JC’s habitual problem of making/repeating claims she can’t substantiate. 😉

  113. Steve Bloom says:

    Thanks for that exposition, Brian.  I think it’s worth adding that as a result of the warming the tropics have expanded not just up but poleward, and that this shift of the entire atmosphere circulation has affected not just the jets but the location of the critical sub-tropics (associated with the increasing drought trend) and the storm tracks.  In addition, the hydrological cycle has undergone major associated changes.  Finally, ocean circulation is changing, with early signs that it’s reverting to a Pliocene-like state (see this paper e.g.). 

  114. thingsbreak says:

    @kkloor:
    You obviously don’t read Romm’s blog.
     
    Not regularly. I’ve been trying to tell you as much for weeks now.
     
    Hell and High water is a constant theme, a logical extension of what climate science says.
     
    Are you claiming that his page defining that phrase with specific impacts is somehow not consistent with how he uses the phrase normally?
     
    You’re entitled to believe this is what the science says, too.
     
    As he defined the phrase, it’s a lot more in line with what the science says than “con”. There’s a world of difference between “emphasizes the higher end of what the science says” and “writes it off as a hoax.”
     
    I stand by the contrast.
     
    Of course you do. It’s a hard crutch to give up. Some day, maybe. Some day.

  115. Steve Bloom says:

    I’m really looking forward to Keith’s exposition of what science Romm exaggerates.  Pass the popcorn.

  116. Steve Bloom says:

    Re 108:  That’s good, Keith.  I suppose it’s possible that false modesty can be the first step on the road to actual modesty.

  117. Keith Kloor says:

    Please. Romm rarely passes up a chance to play up a weather related disasters as being climate-change related. He regularly slams the media when climate change is not part of the story, be it on Australian wildlfires or midwestern floods.

    TB (112):

    Damn straight. 🙂

    But hey, if you promise to be nice, I’ll let you out of purgatory.

  118. Steve Bloom says:

    From what ought to be today’s headlines, but certainly won’t be:

    ‘”We are facing the possibility of widespread drought in the coming decades, but this has yet to be fully recognized by both the public and the climate change research community,” Dai says. “If the projections in this study come even close to being realized, the consequences for society worldwide will be enormous.”
    ‘While regional climate projections are less certain than those for the globe as a whole, Dai’s study indicates that most of the western two-thirds of the United States will be significantly drier by the 2030s. Large parts of the nation may face an increasing risk of extreme drought during the century.
    ‘Other countries and continents that could face significant drying include:

    Much of Latin America, including large sections of Mexico and Brazil
    Regions bordering the Mediterranean Sea, which could become especially dry
    Large parts of Southwest Asia
    Most of Africa and Australia, with particularly dry conditions in regions of Africa
    Southeast Asia, including parts of China and neighboring countries

    ‘The study also finds that drought risk can be expected to decrease this century across much of Northern Europe, Russia, Canada, and Alaska, as well as some areas in the Southern Hemisphere. However, the globe’s land areas should be drier overall.
    ‘”The increased wetness over the northern, sparsely populated high latitudes can’t match the drying over the more densely populated temperate and tropical areas,” Dai says.
    ‘A climate change expert not associated with the study, Richard Seager of Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, adds:
    ‘”As Dai emphasizes here, vast swaths of the subtropics and the midlatitude continents face a future with drier soils and less surface water as a result of reducing rainfall and increasing evaporation driven by a warming atmosphere. The term ‘global warming’ does not do justice to the climatic changes the world will experience in coming decades.  Some of the worst disruptions we face will involve water, not just temperature.”’

    Oh, what was that, Southwest Asia?  From just a few days ago in the NYT, here’s a related slice of life.

    Chew thoroughly, Keith!

  119. Steve Bloom says:

    “Please. Romm rarely passes up a chance to play up a weather related disasters as being climate-change related. He regularly slams the media when climate change is not part of the story, be it on Australian wildlfires or midwestern floods.”

    That’s it?!  Seriously?  Oh, puh-leeze.

    Y’know, Keith, what with the entire ocean-atmosphere circulation shifting etc., there’s very little in the way of extreme events that climate change isn’t a factor in.  Has it occurred to you that Romm perhaps has contact with scientists like Dai and is thus perhaps a bit ahead of the publically-obvious curve on this stuff?  Just maybe.  Has your Romm v. Watts narrative become a kind of denial, where you avoid exposure to the science in order to avoid having to reconsider it?

  120. Keith Kloor says:

    Steve,

    That’s quite a study, and is indeed deserving of press coverage. Since the UCAR release only came out today, I don’t think its fair to expect instantaneous stories. But tomorrow is reasonable. I can promise you that I’ll look into it and do a related post, for what it’s worth (which isn’t much).

    But to my larger point, I don’t quibble with these kinds of projections; what I take issue with is when a specific drought or flood today is attributed to climate change.

  121. Keith Kloor says:

    When Romm puts on his reporter hat and is in contact with a scientist, he always lets us know in an “exclusive.”

  122. Sashka says:

    Marlowe (102)

    Your POV is of zero interest until and unless you demonstrate some familiarity with the issue at question.

    Since you asked a direct question I’ll answer. Climate science did accumulate a substantial body of knowledge. However estimation of likelihoods of remote future outcomes is not a part of it.

  123. Simon: much is extrapolated through presumption to arrive at the conclusion that I’m “in league with the devil” or, again its equivalent, “funded by Big Oil” (mt’s old fave, IIRC).
     
    ^%$#^%$#^!!!
    ^%$#^%$#^!!! ^%$#^%$#^!!! ^%$#^%$#^!!!
    ^%$ – #^% – $#^!!!
     
    I would be a very peculiar beast if I used that argument, as I myself have been funded by big oil on occasion and am not averse to being funded by them again. Indeed, I have always tried to avoid the question of who funds the denialism, and to defend the proposition that there are also serious, responsible people in the oil industry along with those willing to fund misinformation. I have tried to be careful to emphasize this even before I had any contact with the industry except at the fuel pump.
     
    I would greatly appreciate a retraction. I have no great interest in Simon’s rantings but he should get this right if he doesn’t want to demonstrate that he is uninterested in truth.
     

  124. Eli Rabett says:

    Oh goody, Eli is sure AEI will be cheering when China starts takes its geoengineering program global.

  125. Brian, the Skeptical Science graphic is a VERY poor representation of the Moberg et al 2005 reconstruction, and this despite a wide availability of amply good representations of the reconstruction. Error bars? Seriously, Brian.
     
    In response to my question about 20th century non-correlation, you say that there are “significantly longer periods of extremely high correlation between CO2 and global temperatures”. You don’t appear to acknowledge that, in the correlation – which you correctly point out is not equal to causation – CO2 rise lags behind temperature rise. Twentieth century comparisons are distinct for their higher resolution, courtesy of instrumental data, but you don’t address what must be an inexplicable failure by temperature to correlate with almost perfectly constant CO2 increases.
     
    Again you’re arguing as if climate sceptics are suggesting that global temperatures are not rising. It’s futile, except to knock down ghostly straw men. But your assertion that, because temperatures are increasing, “logic demands that human activity is the driver for the observed changes in the stratosphere and the troposphere” isn’t good logic. Additionally, your claim that “You might have some wiggle room on this logic if there was any other known physical process that could cool the stratosphere while heating the troposphere, but there isn’t.” is a logical fallacy. Few claim, as you do, to have a grasp on all of the influences on global climatic variation, but it is a prerequisite of your conclusion that the cause of climate variation must be anthropogenic, and you actually achieve this by presuming to know the effects of all possible physical processes contributing to climate changes in order to assert that there are no other possible explanations. Your position on this is untenable, because you don’t – and neither does anyone else – have a sufficiently rounded comprehension of the climate system.

  126. Barry Woods says:

    Keith please re-read what I said at 93#

    I was being rhetorical…. should I..?

    I DO NOT associate you with Romm, I’m barred from Climate Prgress, for defending the BBC (even though I feel they are CAGW advocates) when Romm tore into Richard Black (BBC) for not being quite warmist enough.

    I was a bit cross at your generalisation though…

    Keith at 84#

    “The problem with you skeptics, as Willis illustrates in his fist-shaking rejoinders to Judith in that thread, is that you want/maintain that climategate is the main show. It’s not.

    I also agreed not the mainshow, just that it showed a certain, key group of IPCC luminaries in a light, that had been though of for a number of years.

    I upto that point had no idea where you were at,  had thought that we were in agreement, on sceptical of catastrophic claims, linking every weather event with CAGW…

    😉 Please don’t tell me where you are at, It adds to the debbate not knowing 😉  I want to make no assumptions.

  127. mt, my apologies. I thought it was you. No doubt, whoever it was, his eyebrows meet in the middle! Retraction follows:
     
    I formally retract my prior suggestion that Michael Tobis has claimed that climate sceptics are funded by “Big Oil”. My suggestion was in error.


    Genuinely sorry, mt!

  128. Issues that have to be addressed when considering geoengineering (intentional cooling, which as mt sais is to be distinguished from air capture, which addresses the driving force of current climate change: atmospheric concentrations):
    “¢ Side effects
    “¢ Geopolitics
    “¢ Effect on mitigation efforts
    “¢ Rebound effect
     
    Caldeira (2008) writes: “Geoengineering schemes that have been proposed heretofore are
    unlikely to perfectly reverse both hydrological and temperature effects of greenhouse gases.
    However, initial simulations suggest that a high-CO2 world with geoengineering is likely to be
    closer to the pre-industrial world than a high-CO2 world without geoengineering. Of course, the
    Earth is much more complicated than our models, so if geoengineering schemes are
    implemented, we should expect some perhaps ugly surprises.”
     
    Also: “I hope I never need a parachute, but if my plane is going down in flames, I sure hope I have a parachute handy,” Caldeira said. “I hope we’ll never need geoengineering schemes, but if a climate catastrophe occurs, I sure hope we will have thought through our options carefully.”
     
    If mitigation efforts fail to keep the climate within safe limits, the risks of geoengineering should be compared to the risks of greenhouse gas-induced climate change that would otherwise continue un-masked.
     
    See also chapter 6 of this report, which gives an overview of geoengineering and air capture.

  129. Keith, #120: “what I take issue with is when a specific drought or flood today is attributed to climate change.”
     
    The term is “Climate Disruption”, Keith, and you’d better get used to it because everyone in the alarmist camp is now latching on to Brian’s phrase. It’s everywhere all of a sudden, and this is its purpose. Paint me cynical.

  130. Barry Woods says:

    Simon:

    It is ‘Global Climate Disruption’ – please keep up 😉

    George Monbiot (eco journalist – Guardian) has a new phrase as well…

    ‘Future Climate Breakdown’

    This phrase made perhaps it’s first tentative outing into the world today on the BBC 😉

    Then again Bob Watson getting an unexpected grilling on computer models being wrong, and a critical intro, (for the BBC) on the Daily Politics

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00vjdlx/The_Daily_Politics_19_10_2010/
    ( I don’t know if you will all be able to view it)

  131. Steve Bloom says:

    Keith, on the attribution stuff Joe is clearly following Trenberth’s lead.  Maybe you should explain what you think is wrong with the latter’s views on the subject, him being, you know, the world’s leading authority on it.

    Until this summer Trenberth had been a little reluctant to come all the way out of the closet on the subject, but recall the statement he provided to David Appell regarding the Pakistan/Russia event::

    ‘The “stalled jet stream” or really the so-called blocking pattern is merely a description of the atmospheric state or phenomenon, not a cause. The question is why is it like that? For that we seek to find systematic influences (what we call forcings) on the atmosphere that tends to lock it into one state. The main sources of such forcings are the mountains, land vs ocean, and the heating of the atmosphere. Only the latter changes. With El Nino or La Nina, the changes in sea surface temperatures change the areas where convection, thunderstorms, tropical storms etc, occur systematically. The heavy rains in those phenomena produce large heating of the atmosphere through the latent heat release: the release of the heat that went into evaporating the moisture in the first place is given up when the moisture condenses. It is that heating pattern that sets up unusual wave patterns and teleconnections in the atmosphere. It acts a bit like a rock in a stream of atmospheric air, with ripples up and downstream. In the case of the very active monsoon, there tends to be generally rising air and a lot of heat released in the rains, and some of that air was coming down over southern Russia. “What goes up, must come down”. We can demonstrate a direct link between the anticyclone over Russia and the monsoon rains over southeast Asia. This is in addition to the waves in the jet stream.

    ‘Under normal circumstances, it is not unusual for this pattern to develop over Russia, but it normally lasts only a week or so. What is unusual is the persistence and duration of this, so that it lasted 5 weeks or so. Weather systems tend to wax and wane but the anticyclones that move through stall and strengthen systematically in the same region because of the influence from SE Asia through the overturning monsoon circulation and the associated wave patterns.

    ‘In this way, we can assign blame for the atmospheric pattern to that of the sea surface temperatures, and the current La Nina. The latter determines the pattern. The elevated SSTs in the Indian Ocean and Indonesian region arise because of global warming and the effects of the last El Nino, and bolster the amount of water vapor available for all the storms, resulting in the excessive rains and flooding.

    ‘So there is a chain of events here, and several things have come together to make it record breaking. But it is not unexpected, even if it is not predictable more than a couple of weeks in advance.

    ‘Global warming plays a role by 1) elevating the SSTs in the Indian Ocean and Indonesian region, where it contributes to the excessive moisture and rains that gave the flooding over Pakistan, India and China; and 2) In Russia by adding to the heat and drying, making the drought more intense, longer lasting, and with stronger and record breaking heat waves. These events would not have happened without global warming.“‘ (emphasis added)

    The same logic applies to extreme events that we cannot say would have been impossible without global warming.  The are, on average, both stronger and more frequent as a result of global warming.  Obviously the messaging on this is quite difficult for many scientists and the media. 

  132. Bahh.. if there’s an opportunity to vote, I’m backing Brian’s “Global Climate Disruption”. Not just because I like him more than I do Monbiot, but “Future Climate Breakdown” in my mind requires an anthropomorphic personification before it can really, properly suffer a breakdown.
     
    Then we could all have a whip-around, I suppose and buy it some therapy. Perhaps we could even collectively pony up to fund a climatic regression hypnosis session to get to the bottom of its deep-set issues – infinitely more reliable and robust than a tree-ring paleoclimatic reconstruction, too! 😉

  133. Simon, thank you for bringing up the lagging CO2.  I’ll make an assumption (feel free to correct me if it’s wrong) that your bringing up the CO2 lag means that you feel this lag indicates that CO2 has no part of driving deglaciations.  The best available science today says that this is not the case.  Instead, the CO2 increase 800 years following the start of a deglaciation is understood to be the forcing factor that drives the remaining deglaciation.  The specific proposed method is that some forcing warms the Southern Ocean leading to degassing of CO2 from the ocean and partial melting of ice in the SH.  That CO2 then provides the feedback that deglaciates the NH.  This sequence of events is proposed because deglaciations take several thousand years while the CO2 lag is only 800.  And given that CO2 is a GHG, as you yourself have admitted, it would have to drive SOME additional warming.  It’s the data that indicates that the climate sensitivity is in the expected range.
    I do address the failure to correlate – internal variability manifesting as noise over a small logarithmic trend at the time.  The smaller the trend, the longer time you need to extract it from a particular amount of noise.  There’s a reason that it’s only been in the last 20 years or so that the CO2 trend has exited the noise – it’s only in the last 20 years or so that the trend has been large enough that the sample size was sufficiently long to extract the trend from the noise using statistics.
    You said “you’re arguing as if climate sceptics are suggesting that global temperatures are not rising. It’s futile, except to knock down ghostly straw men.”  Actually, you said that skeptics are arguing that global temperatures are not rising by writing “the troposphere is warming and the stratosphere is cooling, during this warming phase, does not in any way add to the claim that recent warming is unnatural, unprecedented or even actually unequivocal. (I refer the honourable gentleman to the recent controversy over NZ’s NIWA.)” in #81 above.  If the warming is not “actually unequivocal,” then that means that the warming may not actually exist.  Similarly, the NIWA problem you referred to is one of measured surface temperatures.  So addressing temperatures is not the straw man you claim, but rather countering an argument you made by insinuation.
    You claim that I’ve made a couple of logical fallacies, so I’d like to know what they were.  They’re pretty straightforward “if A is the only cause of B and is the only cause of C, then it logically follows that A is the ultimate cause of C” logic.  Feel free to prove me wrong, however.
    I lay no claim to understanding everything about climate, Simon.  I do, however, claim to understand that every known cause has been or is being investigated, and that the uncertainty in those causes is much smaller than the certainty.  Climate science has largely gone through the Sherlock Holmes approach to identifying the causes of modern climate disruption – eliminate everything that is impossible and whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.  At this point, unless something radical comes out that disproves some key laws of physics, human-caused climate disruption is the simplest theory that fits all the facts.
    There will no doubt be updates to climate science over the coming years, but they are exceedingly unlikely to totally turn all the science done to date.  Pinning your hopes on the rapidly dwindling areas where there is significant uncertainty and unknowns does not a strong argument make.

  134. rustneversleeps says:

    Michael Giberson summarizes my initial reaction to “Post-Partisan Power” here:

    “And if anything, “post-partisan” seems worse than partisan.  It is an attempt to sound high minded, in a “let’s rise above the fray” sort of way, but it signals a policy too weak to survive ordinary open political competition so they attempt to bypass the ugly business of politicking. THEM: “Let’s put aside our petty partisan bickering and just do it our way.” ME: “But why not put aside our petty partisan bickering and just do it my way?” THEM: “There you go again with your petty partisan bickering. Put that aside and let’s just do it our way.” ME: “???”
    Maybe I’m too wound up in the title. It’s just a title after all. Let’s go to the paper.
     
    First sentence: “American energy policy is at a standstill.”
     
    Wait, what? CAFE standards are rising, the EPA just issued new ethanol policies and some ethanol policies are set for (beneficial) expiration at the end of the year, Cash for Clunkers has come and gone, offshore oil and gas development regulations are changing, several states are exploring cap-and-trade policies on greenhouse gas emissions, many states have renewable power mandates, we have extensive Production Tax Credits for renewable power, and recently allowed Investment Tax Credits and cash grants in lieu of tax credits for renewable power, we still have a U.S. military presence in Iraq, and we haven’t finished implementing all of the energy policy programs contained in the first stimulus package passed in 2009. Heck, I suspect we haven’t finished implementing all of the programs in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
     
    I suspect they are using the term “standstill” to mean “so far our favored approach isn’t going anywhere.””

    And, as I think Marlowe also mentioned upthread, a bill made it through the house and another had more than 50 votes support in the Senate, and more is going on overseas.
    Sure. Go for it, Breakthrough guys! Knock yourselves out. Get support this and get it passed. Oh, and it comes with a price on carbon in the form of an enforceable and growing tax? The elimination of fossil fuel subsidies and an increase in royalty charges to producers? Goodie.

    But let’s not pretend that this by itself is sufficient relative to the scale and urgency of the challenging transition we face. We’re not going to indefinitely avoid having to face real decisions in a market that incorporates prices on externalities on fossil fuels that reasonably reflect their societal costs. Grown-up time.

  135. Also, Simon, if you’re dismissing the SkS post I pointed you to based on the fact that you don’t like the Moberg graph, then that’s technically a red herring logical fallacy.  After all, the specifics of the Moberg graph is irrelevant to the argument that a high climate sensitivity is required for the small changes in historical total solar irradiance to drive either the MWP or the LIA.

  136. Brian, that’s quite a wall of text. One thing I just need to pick off is this:
    “Actually, you said that skeptics are arguing that global temperatures are not rising by writing[..]  If the warming is not “actually unequivocal,” then that means that the warming may not actually exist.”
     
    There is obviously a need for me to be clear, here. That there are serious questions over the NIWA 7SS implies that there are issues with NIWA. That nobody will accept responsibility compounds the issue.
     
    But to extrapolate my acknowledgement of a problem in New Zealand with the NZ historical temperature record into an assertion that global temperature increases are all faked is far too great a leap, Brian, even though you have to admit it does look rather questionable in NZ and it does need looking into, and fully explaining, agreed?
     
    But, that said, it is also true to say that I have in the past expressed concerns over the potential for Hansen’s ideological perspective to manifest as advocacy, considering his control over GISS temperature records and adjustments, though expressing concern is not the same as suspecting or accusing of maladjustment, malfeasance, data fabrication or wotnot, it’s merely a concern, and I have expressed concern about Jones’ on-going secrecy with regard to station selection which, to me, is a really big, bright red flag. But I don’t think it’s unreasonable to feel somewhat disconcerted in the face of these points of note.
     
    But I am not suggesting that warming has not been happening globally, and I appreciate the opportunity to clarify this point, minor though it may be.
     
    Since I’m here, I might as well address this: “human-caused climate disruption is the simplest theory that fits all the facts.”
     
    I’m sure I do sound like a Doubting Thomas, but I make no apology for rejecting oversimplified explanations of incomprehensibly complex systems. Though there is debate about “ontic uncertainty”, owing to the chaotic nature of the climate, I’m at least enthusiastic about reducing those uncertainties where possible, provided the remaining uncertainties are appropriately bounded. Your oversimplified explanation of the climate system doesn’t fit with this approach and I’m afraid that I don’t, at this time, accept your assertion that climate certainties exceed climatic uncertainties by volume. Quite the contrary, actually.

  137. Brian, #135: Actually I’m dismissing Skeptical Science for other reasons than the graphic, which is just the latest misrepresentation I’ve seen on the site over the occasions I’ve visited. I’ve been many-times turned off by that site’s misrepresentations of sceptical positions in the past. Frankly I’ve no interest in political advocacy sites, and Skeptical Science is most definitely one of those. Put simply, I don’t have faith in its veracity or integrity.

  138. Steve Bloom says:

    Brian, don’t forget that the CO2 lag was predicted several years before it was measured.  If denialists ever thought about it, they would realize that for it to have been otherwise under natural conditions is an impossibility.  The CO2 can’t move itself, something has to push it. 

    But anyway, I’m quite confident that Simon has been exposed to this answer before (which you can even get on WUWT if you look for it) but just forgotten about it since it’s such a lovely talking point (for some).

  139. Shub says:

    Steve Bloom
    The attribution chain that you are deriving – linking SST to whatever else that goes on elsewhere – has been tried in the Amazon as well, for the ‘once-a-century’ 2005 drought, for example. Pretty weak stuff.

  140. I’m glad to hear that you don’t visit WUWT, CA, Bishop Hill, or tAV, GWPF, SEPP, or SPPI, given their political advocacy.
    BTW, you’re still refusing to engage on the climate sensitivity issue and still engaging in a SkS-based red herring over it.

  141. Brian, given our lack of understanding, let alone predictive capabilities, with regard to cloud formation, as a result of increased atmospheric water vapour, in response to increases in temperature, as a result of anthropogenic CO2 contributions, exactly what statement of knowledge is it that you intend to make stick with regard to climate sensitivity?

  142. Steve Bloom says:

    Shub, I know better than to try to persuade you with any model projection or paleo analog.  Even the current clear trend toward greater drought means nothing as far as you’re concerned, the future not having arrived yet.

  143. Shub says:

    S Bloom
    You must be talking about the greater drought in the Amazon that has been occurring… since about 1998 to 2005…?

  144. Steve Bloom says:

    Planet-wide, Shub.

  145. Well, Simon, let me ask you these questions.  How much do we need to know about cloud dynamics from 20 million years ago to estimate climate sensitivity in the 3 to 6 deg C range?  How much do we need to know about cloud dynamics from the ice ages to estimate climate sensitivity in the range from 1 to 4 deg C?  The answer is “very little,” because the time scales are so long that the variability in cloud dynamics is averaged out completely.
    So, if the climate sensitivity from periods when clouds are a non-issue is in the same range as climate sensitivity measured using modern measurements, then it’s unlikely that clouds have a massive effect that hasn’t already been accounted for.
    That said, climate sensitivity is an equilibrium value, so clouds could have a more significant effect on transition periods.  But even so, cloud effects would be in addition (subtraction) to or multiplied (divided) with the calculated climate sensitivity.

  146. Marlowe Johnson says:

    OT,
     
    Rust, while I agree with Michael  Giberson’s take on the problem with the frame around ‘post’ partisan, his earlier take on CAFE standards and plugins doesn’t exactly inspire confidence…

  147. Tom Fuller says:

    I’m looking at Mauna Loa concentrations, 1958-present. They show a rise from 315 ppm to 390 ppm (global shows 389). It has risen 19% in 52 years.  GISS shows a rise in temperatures of 0.5 C over the same period.
    Given what we know or don’t know about heat stored in the oceans, what would we infer atmospheric sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 concentrations to be from the above data?

  148. Gee, Tom, what a good question. (#146)
     
    Well, why not do a rough cut by ignoring all the complexities and extrapolating? Let’s round 19% to 20%, (causing the estimate to come down a tad) and then multiply 0.5 by 5 (i.e. 100/20). Then you get 2.5 C per doubling, right in line with consensus, maybe a hair on the low side.
     
    OK, the logarithmic nature of sensitivity makes that an overestimate, the ocean lag makes it an underestimate, and the aerosols also pull the number down, either slightly or a lot. (If aserosol sensitivity is small, the calculation isn’t too far wrong. If it’s high, aerosol is hiding a lot of CO2 warming.)
     
    For more details, you might want to, um, read up about this stuff a bit. It’s not a bad idea if you’re going to, um, write about it. IPCC AR 4 WG I, for instance, is a good place to start. It has references and stuff, too.


    Knutti and Hegerl 2008 is also good on this topic.
     

  149. Tom Fuller says:

    Gee, MT, thanks for cutting to the chase and making my point for me. Golly! What a wizard.

  150. Going into the logarithmic nature of the equation and assuming ocean lag isn’t dragging it down (which it is), I get 1.57 C/2xCO2.  However, it’s useful to point out that this calculation is highly sensitive to the endpoints.  If we used the CO2 concentration from 1998 instead of 2010, the calculation changes to 2.32 C/2xCO2, an significant increase.
    Adding ocean lag bumps both of those numbers up by between 15% and 78%.  That would mean 1.57 becomes somewhere between 1.81 (the lower IPCC AR4 WG1 is 1.7, IIRC) and 2.79 while 2.32 becomes between 2.67 and 4.13 (the upper IPCC AR4 WG1 number is 4.5, also IIRC).
    Math and physics are fun.  🙂

  151. Tom Fuller says:

    So I nominate 2.5C as a working definition of sensitivity until we get better data and start making plans accordingly. It’s higher than I would like and I’m sure it’s lower than others would like, but it’s based on modern, real data and is not subject to confounding by errors in other measurements.
     
    Is there a second? A move to adjourn?

  152. PDA says:

    Tom, I’m going to propose the radical idea of laying out your argument in a single post, rather than a series of leading questions.
    I’ll stipulate that what this approach lacks in theatricality will be more than made up for in clarity of thought and argument. Also: ‘cutting to the chase’ has often been seen to be of intrinsic value, and indeed has much to recommend it.

  153. Tom Fuller says:

    So does the motion fail for want of a second?

  154. Tom Fuller says:

    C’mon, folks–here’s your chance! If a coalition of hysterical alarmists and evile moustachioed denialists can agree on a mid-range level of sensitivity, we can carry the good news from Ghent to Aix and start drawing sea level lines, redrafting flood plain guidelines, computing energy portfolios and doing something that someday may be considered constructive. We could have Joe Romm walking hand in hand with Steve McIntyre carrying a torch (fueled by renewable energy) while small children strew flower petals in front of them.
     
    Consider the alternative–another year like 2010, anyone?

  155. PDA says:

    Is this a shtick, Tom, or a serious gambit to cut the Gordian knot by positing an arbitrary assessment of sensitivity and ignoring uncertainty, just plunging forward on the basis of a spitball estimate?
    If not, would it be painfully declassé of me to ask you to tip your hand a bit here?

  156. Tom Fuller says:

    Not a schtick. Since the minute we delve into the more esoteric subtleties of this arcane mystery we create both fury and fear, let’s use a rough and ready measurement that looks good with good data.
     
    Don’t worry–we can draw it up with pencils instead of pens.

  157. Tom,

    2.5 to 3 deg per doubling for clim sensitivity looks like the most likely ballpark indeed, though not for the reason you provide (as mt and Brian explained; most important is that the net forcing is not well constrained because of aerosols and that there still is an energy imbalance reflecting warming in the pipeline)

    So if the motion is, let’s go wih the 2.5 number and move the discussion to how we’re gonna deal with that, mitigation- and adaptation-wise then I’m all for it! (As I’ve said to you over a year ago already too, but I’m happy that you’re seconding my motion now finally!)

  158. PDA says:

    I admit to a Lucy-with-the-football reaction to the idea (if AR4 >66% probability doesn’t move people, why will a seemingly-arbitrary number?) but I certainly support moving the discussion out of the uncertainty weeds.

  159. Tom Fuller says:

    Circulate the petition…

  160. PDA says:

    You write it, and I’ll sign it after Bart. (He’s a better John Hancock than nameless me.)
    Seriously, if your idea has legs it’ll be because you give it legs. Such a petition coming from MT or even Lucia would likely be a dead letter…

  161. Tom Fuller says:

    So I put it up on WUWT. Head over and sign up for a ride on the peace train.

  162. Tom Fuller says:

    Whoops! I put it in the publishing queue. With Anthony offline, it may be a while before it sees daylight.

  163. […] mt over at CaS (slightly adapted): Real skeptics do not place irrational disbelief in a different category than irrational belief, because a stubborn evidence-defying disbelief in proposition A is not different from a stubborn evidence-defying belief in proposition A. […]

  164. I agree with Tom Fuller’s suggestion.
     
    2.5 C is close enough to the right ballpark that it should be enough to inform impacts and greatly improve strategies. It’s surely much better than the zero that is still the implicit basis for our current policies. And we can certainly make use of whatever simplifications we can agree on.
     

  165. Tom Fuller says:

    Thank you PDA and MT. I need a skeptic, really quickly. The danger is that skeptics will think they are giving up too much too easily, and that they are being asked to surrender in negotiations what could not be won on the field of battle.
     
    Gimme a skeptic, quick.

  166. It will surprise me if Watts runs Tom Fuller’s proposal.
     
    I just defined so-called-climate-skepticism as a tenaciously held prejudicial belief that S is much less than 2 (which is required if the present lack of carbon policy is argued to be remotely sane, i.e., it is at root a political, not a scientific judgment).
     
    If Tom gets any takers from climate science doubters, that will have the added bonus for them of tending to falsify my claim.
     

  167. Tom Fuller says:

    It’s up there now, and already has one endorsement from a skeptic, Hunter. Feel free to add your own.

  168. PDA says:

    Well. Nice try.

  169. Tom Fuller says:

    Actually, I look at the comments as fairly positive, in that I’m not getting savaged–some of my other guest posts have gotten criticism that was much tougher.

  170. PDA says:

    We have differing definitions of ‘savaged,’ then… I don’t especially see a difference in degree between that thread and – to take an example – threads at MT’s place where you were taking a lot of criticism (as one of the criticizers, of course I think the critique at MT’s was more on point, but that’s neither here nor there).

    A lot of it is personal and nasty, separate from the pseudoscientific ripostes and Willis chewing up the scenery. I don’t really like it, but if you’re OK with it I guess I have little grounds to be upset…

  171. Stu says:

    MT says:
    “It will surprise me if Watts runs Tom Fuller’s proposal.”
     
    It’s surprising to me that you would think that, MT. Keith also seems to have this idea that WUWT is all about staying on some supposed message. Firstly, I can detect no real unified skeptical view or message which needs to be defended to the point of censoring percieved corrupting, contrary views. From where I sit, WUWT has always offered the space for mainstream scientists to come in, lay out and defend their ideas. In fact, Anthony has been bending over backwards with invitations and appeals for clarity from climate scientists from ever since I can remember. To be able to host a Curry vs Shmidt debate at WUWT would probably be a dream come true for many of the readers there. Opening up debate has always been a primary goal.  Keith gets a lot of respect from me because he has been able to achieve this somewhat. But Anthony has been calling for this long before Keith got on the scene.

  172. […] Tom Fuller has an interesting proposition: I nominate 2.5C as a working definition of sensitivity until we get better data and start making plans accordingly. […]

  173. Well, Tom, the League Of 2.5 was an interesting idea. It doesn’t appear to have stuck. It appears, actually, to have been one of the most clear demonstrations of the dividing line between alarmists and deniarrrs, and possibly the most rapidly divisive experiment in the history of the debate so far.
     
    Where does the divide fall? The deniarrs want to have uncertainty properly treated and the alarmists want to ditch the uncertainty and move on, pretending that uncertainty either doesn’t exist or doesn’t matter.
     
    The alarmists wanted to move straight on to the policies – taking any positive value for S that’s on offer; some of them couldn’t wait to snatch the 2.5 figure out of your hand, if it meant that we could stop being delayed by the science and get on with changing the way society operates – and the deniarrrs remained doggedly determined to have the massive uncertainties, and the void of scientific knowledge, recognised for what it is and addressed appropriately before lunging into societal turmoil.
     
    So I think it was a useful exercise, Tom, and kudos to you for at least posturing the proposal (and kudos to Anthony for busting your WUWT post out of the queue – see it, Keith, for what that was; another reason for you to challenge your own “two sides of a coin” perception), but don’t think that it was a failure. Though the proposal to establish the League of 2.5 finished up with overwhelming alarmist support, as an experiment it was an immensely useful endeavour because of that.
     
    Remember, the result of the experiment was not bad data, or erroneous data, because data is data. It was merely inconvenient data, immensely instructive.

  174. Steve Bloom says:

    In 59 above Keith makes fun of me for raising the abolition analogy to the present climate policy crisis, saying it’s a “ridiculous apples and oranges” comparison. 

    So now it turns out that the noted DFH journalists Mark Hertsgaard and Adam Hochschild think abolition has meaningful lessons for climate. 

    Well, the fact is it’s an obvious and wholly unremarkable insight.

    This sort of thing is why I have a hard time marshalling respect for your views, Keith.  The way you use it, dismissiveness is just a dodge used to avoid ideas that leave you at a loss.

    Now make up for it by doing a post on the subject.
     

  175. Keith Kloor says:

    Steve (174):

    Honestly, I have to tell you that I’m not going to be losing any sleep over your lack of respect for my views. You’re a partisan who doesn’t like that I challenge the climate change orthodoxy or some of the cherished tenets of environmentalism. I have my biases too, as everyone does, but I try not to let them get the best of me.  I suspect that you’ll continue to show disdain towards my views and I’ll continue to be mostly dismissive to yours. Such as it is.

    Now, as to the issue at hand, I happen to have a great deal of respect for both Hertsgaard and Hothschild. And I’m more than happy to address this in a post. Meanwhile, let me say this: we can go back through the Congressional annals and find plenty of examples where historic legislation was decades in the making, be it the Wilderness Act or yes, Abolition. So the analogy holds in that sense. But I diverge after that with you and, apparently H & H, on any equivalent moral lessons. Slavery was front and center in everyone’s eyes back then. It’s heinous immorality was a collective stain on society.

    That’s not the case with climate change today. It a distant danger that people can only relate to an abstract sense. So there’s no equivalence to what was taking place then and today. As I recall, you make that moral equivalence. I’ll read H & H to see the argument they make and promise a fresh post on this early next week, maybe even Monday.

    Do I think there’s a chance some carbon pricing mechanism can make it through Congress in the next 6-10 years? Sure. I think it’s inevitable. So what? That doesn’t change my view that in the interim a more productive avenue could be opened up that get you to the same place you want to go, and perhaps address decarbonization in a more realistic manner.

  176. Steve Bloom says:

    But I didn’t propose a moral equivalence at all.  You entirely read that into my remarks, it appeared to me in order to quickly dismiss the argument.

    What they do have in common is the scale of the task and (to a lesser degree) the political process involved.  Abolition isn’t the only available historical analogy (as I mentioned, Indan independence is probably another, although it’s a bit less useful if we limit our focus to what’s happening in the U.S.), but other environmental comparisons fall short because of their lack of scale.  Suffragism is another obvious one,  and labor rights may be another, although its relatively diffuse goals make that trickier. 

    Now, as to your specific assumption about the moral equivalance argument you thought I was making, I thnk the question of whether slavery in the (then) present (although note that slavery is still with us to a lesser degree) was morally equivalent to an ongoing human-caused disaster that’s already taking lives and and damaging the ecology (an extra moral dimension there, yes?) and threatens to do much worse in the future, up to and including a Great Extinction (yeah, we’re already working on that by other means) and the death of billions, well, it’s a good philosophical question.  I don’t think the answer to it informs what we need to do, though.

    Re your final paragraph, to paraphrase (quote?) thingsbreak, you’ll have to show me the tons.  As to whether it will actually be easier to pass something like the Breakthrough proposal versus something like the recently-withdrawn c+t bill (conceding at the outset the deficiencies of the latter), I’ve seen no good evidence for that.  As Friedman pointed out, the fate of ARPA-E isn’t encouraging.  In addition, we have a good case study coming up in the lame duck session with the RES bill, although personally I don’t find it very encouraging that it’s already been sold out to ethanol in exchange for a modicum of bipartisanship.

    As I’ve said before, if you’re going to favor the Breakthrough proposal you need to be able to frame an argument for it.  So far you haven’t, and if your calls for help in doing so continue to go unanswered it looks like it’s entirely on your shoulders.  FWIW, I think there’s lesson implied by that lack of instant help.  Big bills need big constituencies and I’m not seeing one.

  177. Steve Bloom says:

    Just to note that salvery was an abstraction for most people in the North.  As semi-seriously noted by A. Lincoln, that’s why Harriet Beecher Stowe had to write the little book that instigated the war.  Also note that slavery wasn’t going to effect most northerners in the future.
     

  178. Ed Forbes says:

    2.5 d C when we double Co2?    Per the IPCC, double CO2 for a 1d change.

    Or are you “anti-science” and saying the IPCC is wrong ? 🙂

    At 1d change, there is no problem.

    …..as an albedo decrease of only 1%, bringing the Earth’s albedo from 30% to 29%, would cause an increase in the black-body radiative equilibrium temperature of about 1°C, which is the same amount a doubling of CO2 will give without the unproven feedbacks.
    “… the amplitude and even the sign of cloud feedbacks was noted in the TAR as highly uncertain…”

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch1s1-5-2.html

    “… the amplitude and even the sign of cloud feedbacks was noted in the TAR as highly uncertain, and this uncertainty was cited as one of the key factors explaining the spread in model simulations of future climate for a given emission scenario. This cannot be regarded as a surprise: that the sensitivity of the Earth’s climate to changing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations must depend strongly on cloud feedbacks can be illustrated on the simplest theoretical grounds, using data that have been available for a long time. Satellite measurements have indeed provided meaningful estimates of Earth’s radiation budget since the early 1970s (Vonder Haar and Suomi, 1971). Clouds, which cover about 60% of the Earth’s surface, are responsible for up to two-thirds of the planetary albedo, which is about 30%. An albedo decrease of only 1%, bringing the Earth’s albedo from 30% to 29%, would cause an increase in the black-body radiative equilibrium temperature of about 1°C, a highly significant value, roughly equivalent to the direct radiative effect of a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration. Simultaneously, clouds make an important contribution to the planetary greenhouse effect. …”
     

  179. Steve Bloom says:

    Unproven feedbacks => feedbacks Ed would prefer to pretend don’t exist.  And of course we don’t need to know anything about feedbacks to know that the Earth will be 2-3C warmer if CO2 levels remain as high as present.  Knowing about the feedbacks is mainly important for knowing how fast it will happen. 

  180. Ed Forbes says:

    Steve Bloom Says:
    October 22nd, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    Steve,

    The IPCC says the feedbacks are uncertain. You say thay are not.

    Far be it  from me to say the IPCC is right, but generaly when I say the IPCC is wrong, other tell me to “prove it”. So…what do you have to support?
    Ed

  181. Ed Forbes says:

    Steve,

    “..And of course we don’t need to know anything about feedbacks to know that the Earth will be 2-3C warmer if CO2 levels remain as high as present…”

    I do not think what you wrote is what you meant to say. Want to restate it?

  182. Steve Bloom says:

    Unproven or uncertain, Ed?  You seem confused.  Re my last statement, you only find it odd because you’re uninformed about the science. 

  183. Ed Forbes says:

    Steve,

    ummm….I give a specific section of the IPCC itself…you wave hands

    Ok..enough said

  184. […] be the cornerstone of a new energy/climate strategy, rather than carbon pricing. In floating this trial balloon, the authors of the proposal (representing three think tanks across the political spectrum) were in […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.