The Inevitable Failure of a Climate Change Message

Not long ago my wife and I went out to dinner at a restaurant with another couple, who, like us, have two boys. The conversation inevitably turned to our kids, school, family stuff. Their older son made the transition this year to junior high school. I asked how this was going. Pretty well, the mother said, except he had recently become anxious and wasn’t sleeping well. “He’s worried about climate change,” she said. “It’s keeping him up at night.”

Shortly after that outing, my wife and I had dinner with another couple. Again, the conversation revolved around our kids. (They have a 13-year old son and an 11-year old daughter). Their teenage boy, I learned, was also having anxiety and sleep issues. “He’s become obsessed with climate change,” the father told me. “He thinks the world is doomed.”

Now I admit these are anecdotal stories. Not every 13-year old kid is worried about global warming. Generally speaking, most fret about grades, being cool, etc. When I was that age, I cared about mundane things, like boxscores and comic books. My world didn’t widen until I reached high school and college.

If kids today have a greater awareness at a younger age of environmental issues, it’s probably because many schools have made earth science a part of the educational curriculum in earlier grades. For example, the fourth grade students in my son’s Brooklyn public school just performed in a recital called, “A musical journey through four environments: The arctic, the forest, the ocean, the city.” That’s a terrific way to teach young minds about ecosystems. (They also learn about the environment in their science class.)

I’m not sure how climate change is taught to students when they reach 6th or 7th grade, so I have no idea what might have triggered the sudden anxiousness experienced by the two aforementioned boys. It’s also worth pointing out that my social circle is made up of politically progressive, socially-conscious well-to-do families.  (Yeah, the kind of people that unfortunately, also worry about being poisoned by GMOs.) In this case, however, I know that the parents of the two boys don’t have strong feelings about climate change, so I don’t think the trigger was at home.

Nor would I argue that these two examples of teenage anxiety about climate change reflect the typical fears of American youth. Still, for kids who are dialed into global concerns, there’s no doubt they are exposed to a climate discourse that is heavy on  apocalyptic warnings. It is the dominant tenor of the conversation that takes place in the media and in environmental circles.

So it doesn’t surprise me that a 13-year old researching a class project on climate change becomes anxious after reading about a future careening toward unavoidable climate catastrophe. Look it up for yourself: Doomsday is all but assured, we are constantly told. I was flipping through a recent issue of Utne magazine when I came across this re-publication of a 2012 essay by Chris Hedges. He writes:

Catastrophic climate change is inevitable. Arctic ice is in terminal decline. There will soon be so much heat trapped in the atmosphere that any attempt to scale back carbon emissions will make no difference. Droughts. Floods. Heat waves. Killer hurricanes and tornados. Power outages. Freak weather. Rising sea levels. Crop destruction. Food shortages. Plagues.

Incredibly, there are some who think this message is not repeated enough. It would be an interesting societal experiment if the predicted climate apocalypse and ultimate collapse of civilization seeped into every pore of popular culture. I suspect there would be virtually no opposition to the use of medical marijuana.

None of this is to say that we should gloss over the risks of climate change if carbon emissions aren’t meaningfully reduced in the near future. If my two elementary school age boys were in college today and they were deeply concerned about climate change, I wouldn’t object if they chained themselves to the White House fence to make a statement. It’s not my form of expression about climate change, but I was 18 years old once and I remember what it was like to awaken to political issues of my youth.

My own call to action was the nuclear freeze movement in the 1980s. Yes, I remember worrying about nuclear annihilation in high school, especially after seeing The Day After. But I wasn’t overcome with feelings of fear or futility;  I wasn’t paralyzed by a sense of hopelessness. I channeled my existential concerns through the college newspaper and protest marches.

Global warming isn’t the immediate existential threat that nuclear war seemed to my coming-of-age generation three decades ago. But certainly climate change poses a legitimate (albeit less clear) threat for the future my two young children will inherit. I suppose it’s possible that endless doomsday imagery and rhetoric will eventually turn climate change into a galvanizing issue for millions around the world.

Then again, I don’t remember activists in the nuclear freeze movement (or media articles at the time) saying that nuclear war was inevitable.

139 Responses to “The Inevitable Failure of a Climate Change Message”

  1. JonFrum says:

    “My own call to action was the nuclear freeze movement in the 1980s. Yes, I remember worrying about nuclear annihilation in high school, especially after seeing The Day After.”
    In that case, maybe you aren’t quite old enough to remember the identical kind of ‘my young children are afraid of dying in a nuclear war’ articles that were so common during those years. Identical. it’s a thing. Now you’ve started it all over again. Nothing new under the sun, especially in environmentalism.

  2. Buddy199 says:

    Well, I guess child abuse is justified if it promotes awareness of climate change.

  3. Buddy199 says:

    I remember a lot of lefties (Jane Fonda, et. al) flat out saying nuclear war was inevitable if Reagan was elected president. But that hyperbole goes back to the Goldwater / Daisy ad in 1964.

  4. windy2 says:

    John Kerry says CO2 is worse than WMDs/nuclear weapons and recently I’ve noticed that I suffer Mann-ic depression when I watch hockey.

  5. 4TimesAYear says:

    ‘None of this is to say that we should gloss over the risks of climate
    change if carbon emissions aren’t meaningfully reduced in the near
    Cart before the horse. Warming causes more CO2 to be released, not the other way around. CO2 has also continued to rise while temps have stagnated which further implies it has little, if anything, to do with it – and it’s certainly not “global” when some areas are actually getting colder.

  6. Brian G Valentine says:

    Tell him to keep a gun by his bed to fend off global warming if it attacks him.

  7. Jon R Salmi says: I remember as a 3rd-grader in 50-51 going through a number of duck-and-cover drills where we cowered under our desks. I also remember a common cartoon theme of the 50s & 60s where the robed and bearded old man carried a sign “The End of the World is nigh”, and he was not talking about global warming. I also remember the bomb shelters so many built. Plenty of people were scared silly. The government and the cooperative media did their best to feed into those fears.

  8. Keith Kloor says:

    Yes, I’m aware of the “duck and cover” drills from that era, which no doubt scared many senseless.

    But I was essentially comparing the message of two political movements.

  9. bobito says:

    I recall an article in Rolling Stone about Hurricane Sandy. It pulled no punches about blaming the destruction on Global Warming. When I was a kid I assumed everything in that magazine was real…

    I also wonder about indoctrination during grade school. I think it’s indisputable that teachers lean liberal (admittedly it is up to debate on exactly how liberal). I think most students get a one sided view from their teachers on the larger political issues of the day.

  10. windy2 says:

    Looks like NSF and NASA are pitching in to do their part to promote a message of world collapse. It’s only a matter of time until people are accused of being deniers for sleeping soundly.
    NASA-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for ‘irreversible collapse’?

  11. J M says:

    I think everybody was extremely worried about nuclear weapons during the cold war. Also those building up deterrent in the form of more nuclear weapons. A different reaction, you know…

    Everything from spy novels to James Bond movies referred to it. Loads of Hollywood movies, too. Let alone science fiction.

    The message was the same whatever the political affiliation.

  12. Leslie Graham says:

    “…Catastrophic climate change is inevitable. Arctic ice is in terminal decline. There will soon be so much heat trapped in the atmosphere that any attempt to scale back carbon emissions will make no difference. Droughts. Floods. Heat waves. Killer hurricanes and tornados. Power outages. Freak weather. Rising sea levels. Crop destruction. Food shortages. Plagues…”
    So would the author care to point out what part of the above statement he considers to be factualy inaccurate and provide his peer-reviewed evidence for same.
    The boys, and their entire generation, absolutely should be ‘worried’ about climate change. It is going to be the defining feature of their tough lives.
    We are heading towards at least 3C rise by the end of the century – possibly 6C rise. If you don’t know what that means for life on Earth it’s about time you found out.

  13. Buddy199 says:
    This illustrates the difference between actual global warming measurements vs. climate catastrophism that these kids are abusively exposed to.

  14. CelticKind says:

    Science isn’t “hippy liberal bs” as you and your type seem to think it is!

  15. bobito says:

    I agree, science is commonly at odds with “hippy liberal BS”.

    Also curious as to what you think “my type” is? Both my statements were pretty bland by blog standards…

  16. Bafazane says:

    50-51. You should have been scared right after 2 world wars.

  17. Bafazane says:

    The threat of nuclear war was very real and still is as long as the bombs exist.

  18. Jay Currie says:

    Well, these kids should drop by my homeschooled kids and discover that there has been no statistically significant warming since before they were born, the Arctic ice has been varying for coon’s ages, the polar bears are doing great and then, just for fun, look at why the models all run warm as a study in crappy model building. Plus, just for fun, they can learn about the 11 places the heat is hiding and how to suspend the Laws of Thermodynamics to get warm water to sink and then to get cold water to rise. Plus, they can hear about how much the IPCC thinks CO2 contributes to extreme weather events. (Not very.) For AP they get to study the psychology of motivated reasoning as it applies to “science” and discuss whether, as a public figure, Michael Mann is likely to win his litigation against Mark Steyn.

    And that is just dinner table conversation.

  19. Bafazane says:

    That’s pretty insulting to the scientific professionals who are as well trained as any. Including NASA, EPA, NOAA and many others who are at the top of their fields. Do you even know how complicated it would have been to deliver the Curiosity rover to mars. Same people are on about climate change. NASA. You might want to listen. And NOAA guides all those oil tankers around the world, accuracy is important to the bottom line.

  20. Buddy199 says:

    I’m not following, sorry.

  21. Skip Nordenholz says:


  22. Skip Nordenholz says:

    The reason there hasn’t been significant warming since they where born is because there hasn’t been an el nio year since they where born, this is cherry picking motivated reasoning reasoning on your behalf.

  23. powers2be says:

    If the public schools, run by our government, where teaching relevant political science and real science in school today your children will be exponentially more concern about nuclear annihilation as a current and future threat than Climate change which has been naturally occurring since before man (let alone before man discovered fossil fuel consumption).

  24. JH says:

    I wasn’t aware that 6°C was the new consensus. I confess I find it a little hard to buy, what with most predictions failing: too much melting in the arctic, not enough heat in the tropics, too much ice in the antarctic, a lack of significant warming for at least15 years and no trend in any kind of “extreme” events.

  25. JH says:

    Well, dear readers, it would be cruel to help your kids through the devastating emotional impacts of discovering world-ending climate change. As climate change fades, a new The-World-Is-About-To-End meme is forming to ensure that you and your children will continue to live in fear and guilt about destroying everything: Fragility.

    Yes, that’s right dear readers. When it’s once again clear that Mother Earth won’t collapse and explode and wipe humanity from its surface, doubt and fear can still be propagated: humanity’s own inventions could, in effect, overload themselves and wipe the unprepared mass humanity from the face of the planet.

    There will never be any shortage of End-of-the-World / Social Collapse memes, as long as people are willing to believe them.

  26. Gary Hemminger says:

    Anyone worried about climate change ending the world should have their heads examined. Or at least click on this link to see how the media has used this scare tactic for over 100 years. Anyone looking at this and not realizing they have been told a lie is an idiot.

    Let’s recap…

    1900s – We are all going to die from an ice age
    1930s – we are all going to die from global warming
    1960s – we are all going to die from an ice age
    1980 – we are all going to die from global warming

    Around 2020 we are going to be told again that ice age is going to kill us all. It is hard to believe there are people stupid enough to believe in this crap.

  27. Chris White says:

    I tell you is wrong. People with knowledge of our impending future, failed to make it clear to the public, that we are going to die because of this, if it isnt prevented that is.

  28. Jay Currie says:

    Which was, of course Skip, predicted by the models…right? Oh wait, not a single model predicted the pause. And, Skip, for extra marks, go ahead and drop 98…it is still statistically insignificant and certainly not worth losing sleep over.

  29. Jay Currie says:

    And while I am here…there were El Nino years in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2009…there was not a super El Nino event such as was seen in 1997/1998.

    What there also was was a reversal of the PDO and a potential change in the NAO.

    Mind you, you would fail at my dinner table because there is no obvious physical link between El Nino events or the PDO reversal which implicates scary CO2 in any way. There is really nothing which humans can do (or stop doing) which would have any effect on such things.

  30. Buddy199 says:

    Forget 100 or even 20 years. If somebody can predict with great accuracy what will happen in 5 years I’ll seriously listen to what they have to say. So far, I can’t think of anyone who’s even gotten that right.

  31. CarbonFooledYa says:

    I didn’t realise it was possible to have knowledge of the future. Can you give me knowledge of next week’s lottery numbers — it would really help me out?

  32. chadke says:

    Peer reviewed crystal ball gazing does not equate to measurement. The hysterical behaviour of alarmists such as yourself have not helped your cause.

  33. David Skurnick says:

    “None of this is to say that we should gloss over the risks of climate
    change if carbon emissions aren’t meaningfully reduced in the near

    Get real, There’s no hope that carbon emissions will be meaningfully reduced in the near future. No matter what the US does, given the attitudes of various other countries, these emissions will continue to increase.
    I don’t believe that we’re in imminent danger. But, if we are, only two avenues offer possible salvation:

    1. Replacing current energy sources with widespread nuclear or with some yet-to-be-discovered source of enormous amounts of cheap energy.

    2, Geo-engineering via some yet-to-be-discovered technique.

  34. CRUZaderDEETZ says:

    Well, communist agitprop is designed to make people uptight and anxious.


  35. Skip Nordenholz says:

    Nobody claimed to predict the el nino cycle, just as the don’t predict volcanic activity, which has an effect climate, does that count as a failure in there model, if it isn’t the el nino cycle that is the cause of the Pacific decadal oscillation, so what? There is a period short term cycle of heat movement from the deep ocean to the atmosphere, that effect short term climate which is not part of there model. The fact that there are things that effect short term climate not effect by CO2 says nothing about the effect on CO2 on climate. Simply say drop 98 is silly, are you say each years climate is completely independent of the previous year? The upper atmosphere is warmer than the lower atmosphere which also contradicts a simple application of the law of thermal dynamics. You can make a stair case flat pick if you choose the right range, saying going back as far as there was no statistically significant warming there has been no statistically significant warming is cherry picking you have to justify your chosen range. You haven’t done so.

  36. Matt B says:

    I agree 100% with Chris While, albeit with the following edit to his statement: ” People with knowledge of our impending future….. tmake it clear to the public, that we are going to die”……

    Here indeed is common ground that we can all agree to…….

  37. John Paily says:

    The problem is that we think earth is heating [unwinding]. The reality is that it is heating and cooling and both these forces are peaking and falling in accelerated manner – we can expect great fire/wind bound destruction by unwinding force, We can also expect huge flash floods and snows. The winding force would create chains of earth quakes and volcanic eruption – this is predicted and is happening – we can survive
    provided we awaken to the principle and design on which earth functions to sustain its temperature. We need to manage energy of the environment. It is matter of world awakening to truth

  38. blight14 says:

    And just think, these cretins drive, vote and reproduce!

  39. Jack Weber says:

    This is precisely why “global warming” is a misnomer. “Climate change,” on the other hand, precisely indicates extremes: some areas colder, some warmer, some drought, some flooded. So, to say that the logic is false due to your reasoning that some areas are getting colder is not to understand climate change…and the three who liked your comment apparently don’t understand this either.

    And CO2 released does increase temperature. It’s called a negative feedback loop; carbon emissions increase temps (on average, globally), increased temps trigger more CO2 and methane release. It’s both, not either/or.

  40. Jack Weber says:

    yeah….huh, bafazane?

  41. Jack Weber says:

    David, correct on no hope for carbon emissions being reduced, but i think incorrect on our not being in imminent danger.

  42. Jack Weber says:

    CArbon, the lottery does not operate along the lines of what science can reasonably predict about climate change. Poor analogy.

  43. Stu says:

    I think this is kindof sad. I mean, it’s nothing new for people to worry about things which are speculative, which in hindsight turn out to have not been the nightmare they were supposed to have been. I wish there was a way for our species to get work done without the supposedly necessary motivations of ‘terrorists!’, or ‘catastrophic climate change!’ driving us forwards. Somewhere, we should be ashamed at ourselves for continuing in this way. For the paranoids and the politicos, it’s just business as usual.

  44. Stu says:

    Inconvenient graphs are embarrassing to scientific professionals. That’s why they don’t like talking about them. Just call whomever presented it a ‘denier’ and keep on truckin’..

  45. Stu says:

    Oh yeah, and heaven’s forbid a child sees this graph…

  46. Stu says:

    Oh yeah, and heaven forbid a child sees this graph…

  47. Buddy199 says:

    A tad rough, ya think?

  48. CarbonFooledYa says:

    You know, you might have something there, if it wasn’t for the fact that the 16 year warming pause wasn’t predicted. Sea level rise acceleration was predicted: didn’t happen. Frigid winter not predicted. Quiet hurricane season not predicted. It’s almost as though every prediction based on the idea that CO2 is a dangerous warmer is doomed to failure, as though CO2 is insignificant.

    As for lottery numbers: have you predictive technolometry? It’s in the library right next to the climate science and astrology books.

  49. Buddy199 says:

    see foot note

  50. WestHoustonGeo says:

    Not that carbon emissions matter, but the US CO2 emissions are now 13% below 2000 levels. The Kyoto “goal” ( that we never accepted) was 7%. No other nation met their goal.
    Why? Cheap Natural Gas!

  51. WestHoustonGeo says:

    “Duck and Cover” continued into the 60’s. In drills we’d either hide under our desks or huddle in the windowless hallways.
    Remember that meteor in Russia, recently? There was one old teacher who saw the flash of light and ordered her kids to hide under their desks. When the sonic boom shattered all the windows the kids were spared serious injury.
    “Duck and Cover” training pays off, a half century later.

  52. Stu says:

    Hey Bafazane, you know what gives some climate scientists nightmares? Hint: it’s not catastrophic climate change.

    It’s being wrong.

  53. authemis says:

    This is a sad case of indoctrination and brain washing. I would happily love to point out to this child all the opposition research and evidence against AGW. But if course, I’m sure they would just scream denier and continue the indoctrination.

  54. daisykmt says:

    There are scientists on both sides of the aisle. It would be interesting to see the credentials of scientists who deny climate change / global warming. They, too, are smart, but don’t know if they are affiliated with the govt. I heard that several years ago, The Weather Channel’s meteorologists were denying global warming, but that NBC bought them out in order to change their position on it.

  55. Stu Stone says:

    One way to combat and fight back against the brainwashing is to continue to tell the truth about the climate. We currently live in a CO2 deprived period. CO2 does not drive the climate. There are spans of time of tens of millions of years where CO2 is high and temperatures are low. The dynamics showing the two variables moving in opposite directions for spans of time you cannot truly comprehend.

    CO2 is not a pollutant and certainly the climate cannot change so dramatically that you will have to worry about the world your grand kids or great grand kids or great, great grand kids etc., will inherit regarding earth’s temperature.

    It’s foolish to think we need to try to define and then solve the problems as we perceive them today, for people five hundred or a thousand or ten thousand years into the future. No man will ever see the climate change.

    This level of fear mongering in the context of the fraud that was exposed at the IPCC, is criminal.

  56. Stu Stone says:

    It’s not mystery, it’s called schizophrenia.

  57. Stu Stone says:

    And that usual business is $$$.

  58. Uncle Al says:

    Do you want doom? I’ll give you doom! YOU CAN’T HANDLE DOOM.

  59. Stu Stone says:

    In our current atmosphere CO2 is very low. It is insignificant.

  60. David Skurnick says:

    This is precisely why “global warming” is a misnomer. “Climate change,” on the other hand, precisely indicates extremes: some areas colder, some warmer, some drought, some flooded.
    Global warming is real. The globe has warmed. Scientists understand the mechanism by which CO2 warms the planet. What’s not known is the rate,</I. of warming. Fortunately, the rate of warming has been moderate so far.
    Climate change as described above is bogus. There's no scientific consensus on a mechanism by which CO2 would cause all kinds of extreme events. There's been no increase in extreme events (except for heat waves.) BTW cold waves do more harm than heat waves, so global warming has been a net benefit so far.

  61. Morva Ádám says:

    So, an educated person would look into the science of these claims and would realize that climate change is a real and serious threat. How come you are not smart enough to do so?

  62. Stu Stone says:

    Is this the peer review process you were referring to?:

    In another correspondence about AR4 labeled HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL, Jones contacted Mann regarding research critical of their global warming platform. “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report,” wrote Jones. “Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

  63. whe3 says:

    That’s part of the reason. However, the other reason is that we exported many manufacturing jobs to China, where the emissions and safety standards are lower.

  64. Stu Stone says:

    AGW is hippy liberal bs.

    Difficult to know what you mean.

  65. Stu Stone says:

    CO2 does not warm the planet. We are CO2 deprived. Tens of Millions of years at a time have temperature and CO2 moving in opposite directions.

  66. Stu Stone says:

    Climate changes suddenly over periods of thousands of years. Should the Pharaohs of Egypt have been concerned about the “little ice age?”

    You will only ever deal with weather.

  67. JBGIV says:

    “He thinks the world is doomed.” Well, he is right after all. Then you point out that we are all doomed and then give him some good existentialist novels to read.

  68. Dengis says:

    You’re correct that there have been El Ninos but they have been weak and outweighed by the El Ninas, along with other factors which you may not care to look into, given that Skip is correct about your cherry picking of this limited recent period.

    I think your dinner party is safe from being bothered by people who understand climate science. Nobody need confuse your beliefs by giving you explanations of how oceanic heat transfers occur. 🙂

  69. Dengis says:

    You appear to misunderstand what the models are for. That they don’t predict the near future (eg. ENSO in the coming years) doesn’t mean that they don’t predict the trend (it’s getting warm on average and mighty warm in certain areas and at certain times).

    Another problem with dismissal of the models is that it encourages you to be lazy and assume that they aren’t improving every year.

  70. Dengis says:

    More have nightmares about knowing that they’re right. 😉

  71. Dengis says:

    You still aren’t. Leslie said “We are heading towards at least 3C rise by the end of the century – possibly 6C rise”.

    How did you turn “possibly” into “consensus”? However you did it, it was a neat trick! 🙂 Do you use that trick on all things that you don’t like about climate change?

    About that lack of significant warming … you do know that there’s an ocean on this planet that’s taking up the vast bulk of the heat, don’t you? It’s not cooling. It’s not pausing. It’s warming,. Year after year after year. Atmospheric pause, atmospheric schmause.

  72. Dengis says:

    “One way to combat and fight back against the brainwashing is to continue to tell the truth about the climate”

    But Stu, people are doing that all the time and you just don’t listen. Your brainwashing has been too successful! 😉

  73. Dengis says:

    You’ll feel fine if you fall off a cliff then. Blissful ignorance about your future but impending death.

  74. Dengis says:

    That’s so true. Yet so is the concentration of cyanide that’s required to kill you.

    What other useless facts have you up your sleeve?

  75. Dengis says:

    “16 year warming pause wasn’t predicted” – Wasn’t predicted because the models weren’t created to predict it. They do predict pauses within the trend, but they’re not designed to foretell the year by year future.

    But you know this. You’re just pretending to be ignorant, right?

    “Frigid winter not predicted” – Same thing. Frigid winters are predicted within the trend by the climate models. For next winters’ weather talk to the weather men, not the climate scientists.

    You do know that they are different, don’t you? Weather is not climate and all that?

    “Sea level rise acceleration was predicted: didn’t happen” – Happened. Happened worse than predicted.

    “It’s almost as though every prediction based on the idea that CO2 is a
    dangerous warmer is doomed to failure, as though CO2 is insignificant”

    I guess you’re not pretending. You’ve been fooled by carbon! It’s much more significant than it’s led you to believe. It’s doomed your understanding to repeated failure. Mean ol’ carbon’s done the dirty on your brain!

  76. Dengis says:

    Who’s paying you or are you a hobbyist denier?

  77. Jack Weber says:

    West…..that’s fine, but we’re still in danger!

  78. WestHoustonGeo says:

    What is the danger, pray tell?

  79. WestHoustonGeo says:

    I’ll grant you that. Still, I would think that what I will call the “George Mitchell Miracle” is the major cause.

  80. Stu says:

    I wouldn’t discount that. I just thought Bafazane’s post needed addressing since it’s so bizarre. ‘Insulting’ scientists via data which might (or might not) prove them wrong is a bizarre idea. Real scientists would welcome any data which might prove their theories wrong, in fact they’d embrace it. In a perfect world they’d all be trying their best to prove their own ideas wrong by themselves… Sadly, Bafazane’s concern for the fragility of the egos of scientists illustrates (to me anyway) a kind of problem about the public’s relationship and expectations of science in general, and perhaps even scientists perception of science and other scientists. This defensiveness, wagon circling etc, needs to stop.

    It’s OK to be wrong. In real science, you would get points for being wrong because you’d have learned something. In climate science, it’s never ok to be wrong. And there are various reasons for that.

  81. Stu Stone says:

    Gosh darn those evil geology departments in all those universities and colleges around the world.

  82. Stu Stone says:

    Why you trollin’?

  83. Stu Stone says:

    All of your posts are personal attacks. It is your side that keeps using the word consensus and settled science.

  84. Stu Stone says:

    cyanide and CO2 are two very different things. Our current atmosphere is deprived of CO2 compared to what is usually there.

    Your analogy makes no sense.

  85. Jack Weber says:

    Uh, gee, maybe google it….here’s a start. I’m not really interested in discussing climate change with deniers.

  86. WestHoustonGeo says:

    I am not really interested in discussing MAN-MADE climate change with cult-like “believers”.
    Trust me, I am an Earth Scientist of 35 years experience. There is no man-made climate change.

  87. Jack Wolf says:

    Er, Mr. Keith… It is inevitable. Sorry to break it to you this way. And, it’s happening now.
    That’s why they are concerned. They know what’s up. You haven’t.

  88. Jack Weber says:

    Well, 97-98% of your professional colleagues seem to think otherwise; I think I’ll go with the majority on this one.

  89. Jack Weber says:

    It’s often strong religious affiliations that obscure rationality in these instances.

  90. WestHoustonGeo says:

    That 97% is based on the assumption that anyone who expresses NO OPINION agrees with the man-made global warming BS.
    When the criterion is who ACTUALLY says that man-made global warming is real your 97% falls to a TINY ZERO POINT THREE PERCENT(0.3%)
    I’m going with the REAL majority on this one!

  91. Jack Weber says:

    wrong logic.

    even if “no opinions” were counted, the major scientists who attribute climate change to man-made factors far outweighs those who say it is not man-made.

    Your “real majority” is non-existent.

  92. WestHoustonGeo says:

    So, how many were those?

  93. WestHoustonGeo says:

    CO2 makes life on Earth possible.
    It is currently 4 PERCENT of ONE PERCENT of the atmosphere.

  94. Tom Scharf says:

    Nuclear war a REAL threat in the Cold War days. Everyone was worried that the regional war du jour would escalate out of control, and things were very tense many times. Mutually assured destruction kept everyone’s fingers off the triggers.

    I wouldn’t really worry that much about kid’s being stressed out about it. Everyone growing up went through their own version of “the world is coming to an end” when they started to read and watch the news. The climate doom and gloom types are hardly the first people to announce apocalypse is imminent unless we follow their social agenda.

    Nuclear war.
    Population Bomb.
    Peak Oil.
    Cascading extinctions caused by a gap in the food chain (my first).
    Nuclear meltdowns.
    Everything causes cancer.
    Planet killing asteroids.

    Which leads me to my theory of why the older types who have lived through all of the above tend to be less likely to buy into climate doom:

    Been there….Done that…..Not buying it.

    To a certain degree it is part of growing up to learn that the world is not a safe place, that the secure nest your parents provide is susceptible to outside influences beyond their control.

    Just wait until they realize that their generation will actually be running the entire world in several decades. That’s a scary thought. Their peers will definitely botch that job (as have ours).

  95. Tom Scharf says:

    Progressives believing they are the smartest people in the room is hardly surprising. There is quite a positive feedback system in place when they get in groups.

    “I would rather be governed by the first 2000 names in the Boston phone book than by the 2000 members of the faculty of Harvard University.”

    William F. Buckley Jr.

  96. Tom Scharf says:

    The models can’t predict timing of ENSO. It’s too hard.

    The models can’t predict Antarctica ice. Too hard.

    The models can’t tell us where and when floods, droughts, heat waves will occur. Too hard.

    The models can’t make regional projections. Too hard.

    The models always assumed that any heat transfer worth noting would occur in the upper ocean. They’ve changed their minds.

    The models have missed badly in the magnitude of tropical troposphere heating which they projected would be a warming fingerprint.

    The longest pause in any IPCC model run (of 100’s) was 21 years. We are currently in a plateau situation in which only 2% of models projected could happen.

    The models are running hot en masse. And we are only 10 years in to a 100 year projection.

    The climate sensitivity estimates derived from models have not been narrowed in the last 10 years.

    You cannot sweep this abysmal performance under the rug. Pretending all these flaws are not meaningful because they are “short term” is equivocating.

    We shall see what happens in the next 10 years, but if the plateau continues the modelers will be forced to admit these models have major problems.

  97. Tom Scharf says:

    Are we talking about 3C in the 21st century alone? That is incorrect. The IPCC estimate is for the time period starting from 1850. This is a slight of hand many people miss.

    We already have about 0.8C in the the 20th century. So the IPCC says it only expects 2.2C in the 21st century. Only alarmists believe numbers over 4.5C (since 1850) are likely. They quote worst case for propaganda purposes.

    Warming since 2000 has obviously been minimal. In order to reach the 3C number, warming will have to increase to ~0.3C degrees per decade for the rest of this century. Even the 1990’s runup was only about 0.2C/decade.

    Even though CO2 emissions have continued on as BAU, there is no sign of an accelerating temperature or sea level trend.

    It should be pointed out that the 0.8C rise in the 20th century hardly resulted in catastrophe, in fact no-one noticed. Will the next 0.8C cause catastrophe? The next? You need to believe in speculative tipping points.

    I have found that those lecturing deniers on “what the science says” rarely know what it actually says.

    The IPCC has not concluded catastrophe is probable, in fact most scientists believe it is a low probability event.

    Certainly there is some risk, the future is uncertain. But believing the science has concluded catastrophe is certain is overplaying your hand and will only hurt your credibility in the long run.

  98. Tom Scharf says:

    You know what? This really doesn’t bother me that much. It is the environmentalist movement that should be worrying here.


    What happens to the movement if in the next 30 years this doom prediction turns out to be false? They have definitely gone “all in” on this meme. It’s going to kill their credibility for an entire generation. Nobody, nobody, will listen to them.

    There’s a clear precedent: Global warming = population bomb.

    Population is still a real issue, especially in developing countries. Africa is projected to have a larger population than China by 2030.

    Anybody getting any traction on population fear mongering? No. This meme has been discredited and nobody is listening.

    Anyone who believes environmental science won’t get seriously damaged if this doom and gloom doesn’t pan out is kidding themselves. And it is a self inflicted wound.

    The scientists could reign in much of the unwarranted media alarmism, but for the most part , they don’t. When they tell us later that they never really believed all the extremism, it will likely fall on deaf ears in the public.

  99. Tom Scharf says:

    That is called a “positive feedback loop”, not negative. The question is how big the positive feedback from carbon in the atmosphere is (i.e. climate sensitivity). This cannot be directly measured, and is only estimated by models. If this feedback is small, then the temperature increases will be smaller, and the effects will be smaller. We will probably need about 50 years of data to get a good handle on this. So far the models have been over-estimating this parameter (by a fairly large margin) when compared to observations.

    “some areas colder, some warmer, some drought, some flooded” — That sounds like business as usual climate. The question is whether these extremes are increasing in rate or magnitude. If you read the the latest IPCC AR5 or the IPCC SREX you will find that the global trend on most extreme weather has not changed. Maybe it will later, but those that profess it is already happening are off base. Read the reports, check the trends.

  100. Tom Scharf says:

    I doubt that the threat of a “global nuclear war” is anywhere near what it was during the cold war. An unlimited exchange between Russia and the US is very unlikely in today’s world.

    What is more likely is a limited exchange between regional players. Pakistan / India. Iran / Israel.

    These would be unlikely to cause global catastrophe (nuclear winter, etc.). There was a lot of above ground nuclear testing last century.

  101. Jack Weber says:

    I have never heard this position. Please show me a source for it. Meanwhile, every source I read says that surveys of major scitnists and papers concur on the average of 97%. Here is but one example. Are they all delusional? Please show me a report on your claim.

  102. Brian G Valentine says:

    Anybody buying into AGW nonsense ought to be ashamed of themselves for being so stupid and gullible.

  103. NikFromNYC says:

    Dude, it’s a scam, seen in a single glance:

  104. Jack Weber says:

    Yes, “positive,” thanks. I consider a negative, so I made the mistake. Anyway, I trust the majority of leading scientists and peer-reviewed papers on this, as well as some astute more fringe scientists who say it’s even worse than reported. I hear what you’re saying but I don;t know enough to evaluate it intelligently; it’s not my field. But thanks…night.

  105. CarbonFooledYa says:

    Thing is, the people who fall for the scam are the exact same people who are incapable of feeling such shame. Such people are known as leftards.

  106. WestHoustonGeo says:

    This would be a good place to start. It has quotes from some of the scientists who were lumped into “endorse” positions with which they THEMSELVES disagreed.

    Here is another similar article:

    Here is another critique:

    Of course, warming fanatics will poo-poo all of these.
    But, you seem like a smart fellow. Don’t believe me. Make your own research.

  107. WestHoustonGeo says:

    I speak as an educated person who accepted the “Global Warming” narrative, unexamined. A Geologist colleague challenged me to research the subject.
    I now know the whole thing to be a political fraud, propped up by alleged “Scientists” who sold their souls for research grants.
    How come you are not smart enough to do this?

  108. groweg says:

    I have seen the unsavory effects of environmentalist
    educators scare tactics on my three daughters. Fortunately, I know enough counter-arguments to global warming to disabuse them of their worries.

    You can tell your kids truthfully that CO2 levels were many times higher than the present during ice ages, that a tropospheric “hot spot” necessary for global warming theory to be true is not there, that CO2 increases by themselves cannot cause harmful warming (its only 4/10,000 of the atmosphere) and the required (for CO2 to cause harmful warming warming) effect on the major greenhouse gasses (i.e. water vapor) is not there, that solar effects really control climate, that global temperatures have not increased for more than 17 years, etc. No kids in school today have any direct experience with global warming. The last (solar driven) warming period was in the latter part of the 20th century. Due to the current solar situation, all kids in school today have experienced or will experience is flat to falling temperatures. Smarter, older kids can be directed to web posts/articles/books by Svensmark, Nir Shavev, Richard Lindzen, Judith Curry, Roy Spencer, John Christy and many others. Helping youths cope with global warming fears can be a positive experience teaching them not to accept foolish popular conceptions and to investigate what they hear and read.

  109. dljvjbsl says:

    Kieth Kloor writes:

    Then again, I don’t remember activists in the nuclear freeze movement (or media articles at the time) saying that nuclear war was inevitable.


    Well, in Canada of he 1980s, I can remember politicians trotting out children who said that they were having nightmares about nuclear war.

    It wasn’t a movie that made my high school experience of nuclear war. it was the Cuban and Berlin crises. it was the nuclear build up of the 1980s that ended this threat, at least for a time

  110. ClimateLearner says:

    There are many more reports of such frightened children here:
    All as a result of headstrong panic about a yet-to-be confirmed and inherently implausible speculation that a further rise in CO2 levels would be catastrophic. Thus giving that vital gas a role in the climate system which it has never seemed to have had before.

  111. 4TimesAYear says:

    Still nothing we can do about it. Our measly 4% isn’t what’s driving the thing and it’s really narrow-minded to focus solely on CO2. There are much greater forces at work.

  112. JH says:

    6°C is the foregone conclusion of the warm panic artists like Leslie. Most of the “feared” (well, really, treasured) impacts don’t occur without it, so most of the policy they want can’t happen unless they keep pushing it. That’s why they always push it, even though in truth it’s well outside the consensus and on the extreme end of unlikely.

    Prior to the stall in “atmospheric warming” (as you put it) it had never occurred to anyone that heat might “go into the ocean”? 🙂 Now you’re a comedian. The global average temperature by which we’re all supposed to judge the progress of warming is a measure of atmospheric warming. It’s not a measure of heat absorbed in the ocean.

  113. Richard_Arrett says:

    Keith Kloor says:

    “Then again, I don’t remember activists in the nuclear freeze movement (or media articles at the time) saying that nuclear war was inevitable.”

    I don’t know Keith. The doomsday clock got to 2 minutes before midnight in 1953. I would consider the group that ran the clock to be activists or at least advocates.

  114. donl says:

    Please write this again when your chin is in standing water in your yard..this of course is dependent on where you reside..but then that’s just the rising sea level must not forget the draughts,,the extreme cold..the extreme heat.and America is not the entire world!..I voluntarily taught interested adults at evening classes about GCC,,had my share of deniers but having taught college for numerous decades gave me the experience to deal w/ such…We’re all going to die at one time or other..I’m just hoping to outlive this threat which is all too true..believe as you will!..have a nice life…

  115. krell51 says:

    Climate change is political propaganda, used to frighten the public in order to gain more and more control while allowing certain elitist (Al Gore) to make billions.

  116. donl says:

    That’s funny one of my closest friends and once a colleage is a retired Geo-Scientist.currently living out in Colorado,,, firmly and through much work for many years beleave this not to be clap-trap but a true pronosis of events..perhaps we should get all scientists together to see who does beleave and who doesn’t!..thankfully he doesn’t run around shouting the sky is falling!…It’s good to fully know something..the best of luck with that!..I’d love it to be true for our future generations..btw I highly doubt it’ll end all survived the last ice age..etc!

  117. bigbad_42 says:

    I spent a lot of years in the scientific community and knew a number of scientists studying climate change. In the 80’s they were taking data and writing papers on how CO2 did not affect the climate. They were funded well for this (by the government fueled by income from oil and coal industries). Then the funding started coming from the government (influenced by environmental groups and the realization that the government could tax CO2 and get more revenue). So they reanalyzed the same data and declared that CO2 caused warming.

    I would like to point out that around 1000AD (long before there was a lot of man made CO2 emissions) Greenland was just that, green and heavily farmed. The glaciers were small and the climate a lot warmer than it is now.

    Yes climate change occurs. It has changed noticeably in my lifetime. The question is can we do anything about this natural phenomenon? My answer is no. Just prepare as best we can, and ride it out. I have been through enough doomsday predictions in my life to realize that man is incredibly resilient and once a problem becomes bad enough we will overcome it, sometimes in wholly unexpected ways.

  118. Gary Hemminger says:

    M althusian

  119. Heteromeles says:

    Speaking as an educated person who has actually read the IPCC5 report, I think the kids are perfectly right to be worried.

    Here are the problems:
    -fossil fueled civilization as we know it will end within a century, simply because we’re going to run out of things to burn. Whether we have to deal with climate change or not, civilization across the globe will look radically different 100 years from now. I’ll likely be dead by then, but these kids will live through most of the change. At best, it will be like the people who lived through WW1 and WW2. At worst, it will be like what people are going through in Syria right now. There will be a lot of change, regardless.
    –Rather more importantly, the narrative of the future is an inherently Christian narrative: apocalypse or paradise. Either the world ends, or else we all go through some sort of incredible dream of progressive apotheosis and become post-humans who no longer are vulnerable to climate change. This either/or logic is so embedded in our culture that most people don’t question it, even if they don’t consider themselves at all Christian?

    What about the middle? What happens if the worst climate change comes to pass and humans survive? It will take 50,000 to 400,000 years for the climate to return to its present state (see David Archer’s book the Long Thaw), and humans will have to deal with a world that looks like the Paleocene with no fossil fuels to ameliorate any problems, like, oh, repeatedly rebuilding every harbor in the world to cope with 70 meters of sea level rise spaced out in irregular surges over the next 500-1000 years. I’m sure our species will cope, but nobody’s talking about that narrative, that incredibly long future of continual change that we probably will face.

    Are there things we could do to improve the lives of our descendents in that future? Of course there are, but at the present, we have to help the kids work through their anxieties and start dealing with the idea that the world they know now will disappear, whatever happens. That’s a hard lesson to teach, because most of us are in denial about it too. The comments above and below offer a stark testimony to this particular fact.

  120. donl says:

    ism,..and isn’t it still in theory?..I’m 70 so I’ve heard a lot of the doomsdayers..most are religion related and being Atheist you’ve an idea of what I thought of that…as far as an ice age,,we’ve had numerous some even during the time man existed yet here we stand!!,,so I do believe it’s not BS,,but I don’t believe it’ll end us all..surely going to make one hell of a dent thouigh!…so if you choose to believe it’s some liberal plot which makes me laugh..they’re not that smart,,as are that other bunch!!…go green!!

  121. Gary Hemminger says:

    Since you are 70 it is surprising that you haven’t realized that doomsday scenarios are BS. How many years does it take before you realize doomsday scenarios don’t happen? 70, 80, 90, 100? I am 50 and I figured this out about 30 years ago. Never too late for you to figure it out either.

  122. donl says:

    I’ve taught several classes on the subject ,,who prey tell claims it to man-made? its natural but helped along a bit faster by man!!..I’ve read through the comments and found that you take things out of context! a FAUX NEWS shill? Tea Partier? I’m happy you’re an earth scientist..wish we lived close by youcould join our little clatch of retired Scientists and Profs. of…

    No man-made climate change? beg to differ what does man shoot into the air or seed clouids with to create rain??

  123. donl says:


  124. donl says:

    Man I can see you really can’t underand the written word..well anyway I refuse to argue about these things anymore,,when you’re standing in water up to your nose..well you get the rest…at 50 I’d figure you’d at least learned to read or at the very least put things in there proper perspective..instead of out of context like most conservatives do…go Green party if you love our country!!

  125. Gary Hemminger says:

    When I am standing in water up to my nose I will say you are correct. But I am not standing in water up to my nose. And by the way, maybe you should stop watching so much Waterworld. You have clearly got a screw loose.

  126. Although health-disturbing anxiety on a regular basis is going too far, these young people are on the right track, but apparently without moving on (at least not yet) to the underlying real reason for anxiety: climate change is a consequence of global over-population, as are near-future shortages of water, food, certain animal and mineral resources, and land.

  127. wangweilin says:

    Liberalism is a mental disorder. Liberals always worry about something. Holden, Ehrlich, etc. said the earth would lose billions of people by 2000. Here we are still going strong because of human creativity and imagination. The earth has been warmer and colder in the past and will likely cycle it’s temperature in the future. I say enjoy the ride and adapt.

  128. donl says:

    Waterworld can’t happen..saw it once,it was entertaining..,at 50 you’ve a good chance of standing in water up to your chin..but I’m only guessing..I live 30 miles or so west of Beach Haven NJ where Sandy hit the hardest..I figure if those storms continue Jerseys expensive as hell barrier island homes will be in water!!..if you read what I wrote..I placed religion as the #1 culprit behind doomsday scenarios followed by unsubstanciated info from the cultists..I lived during the cold war,,whole thing!! every day was a potential doomsday to us when we were young….when you were born I was in Vietnam..that to me and many others was as close to ‘our’ own doomsday as possible!…so please keep on thinking the way you are..this is getting humerous in a sick sorta way…Did you notice that I didn’t resort to things like ‘you have a screw lose’?!!..that puts you at child level….Go Green!!…I say that because it’s the only party that gives a damn!

  129. WestHoustonGeo says:

    Your nonsense does not require a response.

  130. donl says:

    Yet you create an opening for further discourse!..I won’t look it up..what preytell is an ‘Earth Scientist’

  131. Don McL says:

    Climate Change (Global Warming) has become a religion. Anyone who disagrees is branded a heritic and should be burned at the stake! ( on second thought that would contribute to the problem!) debate becomes dangerous when those who disagree with the accepted belief are discouraged

  132. WestHoustonGeo says:

    As before, your nonsense does not require a response.

  133. Richard Reiss says:

    Here’s an interesting video from Australia, with information that might be the kind of thing that keeps intelligent 13 year olds up at night.

    The Australian video leads to a suggestion — why not survey grad students around the world that are putting in the hours studying the subject and see what they think?

    I think the mood of smart young people may be pretty bleak because they don’t see much of a plan, or really many useful adults, and the comments attached here only underline the problem.

  134. Robert Edin says:

    The reason activists in the nuclear freeze movement didn’t say nuclear war was inevitable is that there was very little money to be made trying to make people think that.

  135. donl says:

    Yet once again you open the door!..It’s reallky best if you simply refrained,ie quit!…to deny makes life easier,,as ignorance is bliss makes life easier..I taught college students for years,,guess I enjoy a little banter in my life,,you on the other hand accept what you do and that’s that!!..You’re certainly not one who teaches what they learn..and teaching does not always mean students but those who don’t know..I’ve read what you’ve had to say and quite frankly in content???I’ll let you be !!

  136. donl says:

    Texas=dirt cheap wages to the average person..Gawn forbid you rethugs vote to raise the min.wage..funny I’ve been reading about how actual republicans across the Carolinas ,Georgia Va,WVA..have been up in arms about how they’re being screwed by those they vote into office,,taking a Liberal stance..better late then never I if they can just slide on over to being Independent!!!

  137. donl says:

    Can’t let you be going to hound you because you’re intelligent..Prominent American Scientists are saying ‘Wake up America’this is real..go to the AAAS you’ve got to know who they are!!..this nonsense does require a response!.and the accusations that man is more behind it is true,and it bothers me to no end as I wasn’t blaming man entirely…BP is back at it again in the Gulf thanks to that idiot in the white house,fractal mining is destroying our potable water..are you ‘that’ closed minded?

  138. AlainCo says:

    About doomers, they are doomed because of another non consensual science: Cold fusion.

    Cold fusion was never debunked. There was only 4 written papers (much talk, much theory, much confidence, manybooks without evidence, many errors, many insults, but 4 written papers on calorimetry) : Lewis, hansen,Morrison, Wilson.

    Wilson is the only competent, like any one having read F&P paper and knowing calorimetry he refuted Lewis and hansen (who were simply projecting their incompetence on F&P old experts). Wilson introduced correction, that were not enough to challenge the biggest observations .

    Morrisson mixed all simply and flee without supporting his claims.

    None of those papers are maintained , but none did admit they have no evidence…

    Lewis even visited McKubre labs and after investigating found nothing. he reported nothing, not even admitting there was nothing…

    Ir is another scientific fiasco where few clown have convinced Nobel price who just were to happy to read that they will not have to change their books, and who were to lazy to even read the critics…

    most critics were absurd even for a physicist who ais not competent (unlike chemist) in calorimetry…

    that story is well described in the detailed (many citation to check, many after 1989 unlike Taubes and Huizenga) book “Excess Heat” by Charles Beaudette

    About the unethical behaviors of some pretended scientists the Titanic article of jed Rothwell, beside explaining how false information is spread by news, explain how the scientific clowns were incompetent and convincing lazy Nobel.

    Huizenga is not better and that wikipravda censored article describe some of his anti-science motto

    by theway, cold fusion is getting industrial

    NASA/NARI (Doug wells) prepare technology for planes… after some lab work in NASA GRC (Fralick&al).
    DoD fund LENR research hidden as nanotechnology. Weapon conference host LENR scientist about energy for the battlefield. Navy work with SRI and ENE to replicate cold fusion experiments and understand better the sensible conditions of F&P cells…

    the silence of media is deafening:
    why not simply insult National instruments boss, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Elforsk (the Swedish DoE/EPRI), ENEA (teh Italian DoE), NASA, Cherokee fund, Sunrise securities, SRI, STMicroelectronics.
    It is absolutely not honest… It is cas of censorship by people that know that they cannot even criticize LENr as soon it will work… but currently the risk to be fired.

    The problem of climate/CO2 is solved, real or not.

    If you think I’m crazy, just dare to read the data and check yourself.
    Climate is not the only scientific consensus established in the 90s despite evidences, based only on theory and consensus by terror.

    If you need data on peer-review disfunction, in cold fusion, in other domains, in physics, health… I have gathered data.
    It is a general problems currently subject of many Nobelized articles who dare to challenge the lords of truth.

    AlainCo — the techwatcher of LENR-forum

  139. AlainCo says:

    to understand what is happening in academic

    world in many domaine, like in politics , economics, …

    the theory of Groupthink by Roland Beanbou is a reference

    For epistemology of scientific revolution, pathological consensus, you should read Thomas Kuhn and Nassim Nicholas taleb

    and Antifragile book (Lecturing birds how to fly, History written by the losers)

    about peer review tragedy

    case of pathetic peer review

    about how innovators were insulted

    how high-temperature superconductors were hiddend in footnote for long time in publications

    all people desiring to critic current situation should be aware that it is a general problems since long, and it is voluntarily ignored , denied, despite huge evidences.

    This denial is even explained bu Kuhn and Taleb, and modelized by Benabou.

    the problem is that this clear denial is used by pseudo scientists to make their pseudo science be accepted by naive people who will sure lose confidence in the scientific community in general…

    Hop this helps,

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