Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Real Climate Debate

The real climate debate is not between "believers" and "deniers".

And not between Republicans and Democrats.

The real debate is certainly not over whether global warming, spurred by increasing greenhouse gases, is a serious problem that must be addressed.  Both sides of the real climate debate agree on that.

The real rebate is between two groups:

1.   A confident, non-political group that believes technology, informed investments, rational decision making, and the use of the best scientific information will lead to a solution of the global warming issue.  An optimistic group that sees global warming as a technical problem with technical solutions.  I will refer to these folks as the ACT group (Apolitical/Confident/Technical)

2.  A group, mainly on the political left, that is highly partisan, anxious and often despairing, self-righteous, big on blame and social justice, and willing to attack those that disagree with them.  They often distort the truth when it serves their interests.  They also see social change as necessary for dealing with global warming, requiring the very reorganization of society.  I call these folks the ASP group (Anxious, Social-Justice, Partisan).

There is no better way to see the profound difference between these two groups than to watch a video of the testimony of young activists at the recent House Hearing on Climate Change, which included Greta Thunberg, Jamie Margolin, Vic Barrett, and Benji Backer.


Jamie Margolin of Seattle talked about an apocalyptic future, with "corporations making billions" while they destroy the future of her generation.  Of feeling fear and despair.  Of a planet where the natural environment is undergoing collapse, where only a few years are left before we pass the point of no return, and where only a massive political shift can fix things, including the Green New Deal.  Watch her testimony to see what I mean.

Compare Ms. Margolin's testimony to that of University of Washington senior Benji Backer. 

Mr. Backer, leader of the American Conservation Coalition, a conservative/moderate group of young people supporting action to protect the environment, approaches the problem in a radically different way.  Instead of despair, there is optimism, recommending more scientific and technical research, a bipartisan attack on the problem, a rejection of an apocalyptic future, the building of new energy industries with potential benefits for the American economy, and a dedication to follow the science and not political expediency.  His testimony is here.

Both Ms. Margolin and Mr. Backer care deeply about the environment and want effective measures to deal with global warming.  Both their approaches and attitudes could not be more different.

We see the difference between the optimistic ACT group and the despairing ASP folks here in Seattle.

On one hand, there is the Clean Tech Alliance, which brings together technology companies, university researchers, and the business community to develop and apply the technologies that will produce the carbon-free future we look for.  Headed by Tom Ranken, the Alliance does a lot, including a highly informative breakfast series where you can learn about fusion power, new battery technologies, the future of solid waste recycling, and much more.  Non-political, optimistic, and exciting.  These are clearly members of the ACT group.

In contrast, there is Seattle's 350.org group.  They are into climate strikes, staging protests (like their recent blockade of a branch of Seattle Chase Bank), trying to muzzle climate scientists they don't like, advocating political solutions to greenhouse warming (Green New Deal), pushing divestment of energy companies, and even a Pledge of Resistance to stop energy exports by whatever means necessary.  Their "science" page has all kinds of extreme (and unfounded) claims regarding global warming impacts, like a sea level rise of 10 feet in as little as 50 years.  ASP group all the way.


I should note that the Seattle 350.org group and their "allies" oppose the Tacoma Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) Facility that will help replace the extraordinarily dirty "bunker fuel" used in ships traversing Puget Sound. LNG will also reduce carbon emissions. Scientists and regulators at the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency support the LNG facility.  But facts and protection of the health of Puget Sound residents are not priorities for highly politicized groups like 350.org.

A good example of the differences between the ACT and ASP folks is found in Washington State's recent carbon initiatives.

Initiative 732 was backed by Carbon Washington, a non-political group whose bi-partisan proposal would have increased the price of carbon fuels but was revenue neutral, giving all the funds collected back to the citizens of the State.  Carefully designed and impactful.  The work of the ACT group all the way.

But the ASP folks were unhappy.  There was no money for their climate justice and political initiatives, so they opposed it, and were joined by Governor Inslee and the environmental left.  Unforgivable, nasty attacks were made on Carbon Washington leadership by the ASP folks.   732 lost.

The ASP collective decided it was their turn, so they created a Frankenstein carbon initiative (1631), with a lowered (less effective) carbon fee, but one in which climate justice groups and political allies on the left would have control, and were hardwired for much of the funds.   The main advertising line of the 1631 ads:  catastrophe was around the corner and the big oil companies were to blame.  1631 was an election day disaster, losing by 13 points, and the ASP folks have probably killed any hope for an effective carbon tax/fee in our state.



What about the media?  Which side are they on?  ASP or ACT or neither?

Much of the "mainstream" media parrots the message of  the ASP side.  The Seattle Times is a great case in point, with headlines of massive heat related deaths (750 die per event!) and catastrophic wildfire seasons that have no basis in good science.  But there are plenty of others, such as the LA Times and the NY Times.    There are some major media outlets that are more balanced (such as the Wall Street Journal).   A major issue for the media is the hollowing out of science reporting, with most climate stories being handled by general reporters with neither the time, background, or inclination to get beyond parroting the press releases of activist groups or evaluating the claims of speculative research papers.  It has gotten so bad that a recent headline story in the Seattle Times kept on talking about the WRONG GAS (carbon monoxide instead of carbon dioxide).



A Religious Movement

In many ways, the ASP group appears to be a religious movement, not unlike the many millennialist movements of the past.  As other groups in the past, they predict an apocalyptic future (including fire and brimstone!) and that one must "believe" in their viewpoint or be rejected as a "denier."  The ASP folks have a holy viewpoint that comes from authority (they claim based on the views of 97% of scientists).  There is no debate allowed, the science is "settled."   Sounds like religious dogma.

The ASP movement describes a world that is teetering on the edge, with mankind's days numbers (10 or 12 years according to several of their leading prophets) unless immediate steps are taken.  They constantly repeat that the threat is existential.

They believe it is ok to distort the truth to get folks "to do the right thing."   The ASP group has well defined "enemies" that represent true evil (Trump, Republicans, Big Oil, Koch Brothers) and they support attacking and silencing those they disagree with (my past blog gives you some documented examples of such behavior).  ASP has their priests (Al Gore, Bill McKibben, Michael Mann) and even young saints (Greta Thunberg).  As in many such movements, members are guided to act in approved and enlightened ways, but the leadership does not need to follow the rules (e.g., many ASP "leaders"  have huge carbon footprints from flying).  Importantly, ASP sees their work going much further than a technical fix for technical problem, but as a "social justice" movement that will change the very organization of society.

Disturbingly, the ASP folks are against key technologies that could really make a difference, such as nuclear power, and are relatively uninterested in working on adaptation and resilience to climate change.   Many do not support dealing with our forests in a rational way (e.g., restoration with thinning and prescribed burning) but would rather blame it all on global warming.



By pushing a highly political agenda the ASP movement is undermining bipartisan efforts--and nothing important will be done unless both sides of the aisle are involved.  ASP folks love to say that the Republicans are unwilling to deal with climate change, a totally unfair claim.  I have talked personally to leading WA Republicans, like Bill Bryant and Rob McKenna.   They acknowledge the seriousness of global warming and the need to act.  In my talks in highly Republican eastern Washington, growers and others accept the problem and want to work on solutions.   Under a Republican U.S. Congress, funding for climate research has been protected and increased.  But partisan attacks by the ASP group is seen as a way to promote group cohesion and the "evil" of the other side.  Calling others names is not an effective way to secure their cooperation.

A problem for the ASP group is that their message is so dark, pessimistic and depressing that it tends to turn others off.   And it has a terrible psychological effects on its adherents and those that listen.  Fear, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, despair, and rage.  There are even classes on dealing with eco-anxiety and climate grief.  Greta Thunberg said that the worry ruined her childhood.



And yes, there is President Trump.   Much of what he says on climate change is simply nonsensical, and quite frankly he is not part of the debate.  Republicans in Congress do not follow his lead.  But he is a convenient foil for the ASP folks, who use him for their own purposes.


The Bottom Line

Progress on climate change is being undermined by the efforts of the highly vocal, partisan, and ineffective ASP group.  They are standing in the way of bipartisan action on climate change, efforts to fix our forests, and the use of essential technologies.   They are a big part of the problem, not the solution.

In contrast to the ASP folks, the ACT group generally tries to stay out of the public eye, quietly completing the work  needed to develop the technologies and infrastructure that will allow us to mitigate and adapt to climate change.  In the end, they will save us.  That is, if the ASP folks don't get in their way.

208 comments:

  1. I couldn't agree more--and I'm a "leftist" politically.

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  2. You nailed the dichotomy Cliff. What a clear description of reality, not only on global warming but many issues today. It's fascinating but Sequim has these same two groups on a proposed clinic, sometimes called the Sequim Methadone Clinic. I have been thinking hard lately about what makes people behave the way they do when they are fighting for extreme liberal causes, reflecting on the psychology. They are not happy people. They are demanding, arrogant, offensive, self-righteous, stay awake at night scheming, do not believe in polite disagreement but instead seek to personally destroy anyone who opposes them. They are name callers, attack good reputations with slander, call honest people liars when they are the liars, and it goes on. They love chaos, and they hate facts. They hate the truth, and they love thrive on dissension. In other words, these self-righteous people are actually evil. That's what we're up against--evil.

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    1. Chuck...not sure if anyone is evil here. But human beings have emotional weaknesses, and the ASP folks are playing on major ones. ..cliff

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    2. No matter which side of this debate you are on--you are not getting out of this place alive--consider yourself lucky to get past your three score and ten.

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    3. Evil? I've encountered a lot of the same from people on the other side, and I don't consider them evil. Don't be so quick to judge, and quick to classify. For someone who claims to be against that, you certainly seem to be eating out of their hands with that classification.

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    4. Extremes on either side of the argument are the problem.

      An this situation is entirely the result of the poor leadership- on both sides, media who attempts to tell the truth and is discredited. My husband is well read, has a PhD in a STEM field. His frustration: statistics do not lie. Some scientists do, and eventually are blackballed when submitting research to CREDIBLE journals.

      Scientific research is reviewed by anonymous colleagues all over the US. Those reviewers decide if the paper is credible.

      It bothers me people take sides when honestly we all want the same thing.

      Leadership starts at the top. We have a POTUS who thrives and hate, division, uses hateful, damaging rhetoric. It is no surprise the anger has simmered to the top. It is the current example set by our questionable leaders. (should we call them leaders?)

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  3. Dr. Mass.
    This post is an excellent summary of the current climate debate. It needs to be disseminated as widely as possible. We need science based solutions; not the emotional, irrational utterances of so many, particularly those from media sources and our own governor.

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  4. I'm not convinced. A lot of the ACT activity appears to be "let's look like we are doing something as long as it doesn't impact any of our current business practices." I'm glad the ASP's are in there shaking things up

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    1. The ACT folks are working on the technologies that will solve the problem in the long term. The "shaking things up" by the ASP folks have destroyed the possibility of a bipartisan carbon tax and bipartisan action.

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    2. Why are you so optimistic that the problem will be solved? You seem confident that real economic growth is still possible without using fossil fuels (or while sequestering their emissions on a grand scale), but that's a feat that's never been accomplished. Instead, we have millennia of human history with barely any progress, followed by a two-century spurt of progress during which our use of fossil fuels increased dramatically. There's every possibility that without the boost of fossil energy, we return to a pattern of effectively zero-growth.

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    3. I would argue the fact that if Texas were a country, it would be the 5th largest producer of wind energy. This is Tecas mind you, the Mecca for domestic oil production. If that isn't a feat (that no one seems aware of, or doesn't bother discussing) what is? As much as the want to, the cannot build wind mills fast enough for Texas. If this kind of energy upheaval can happen in a GOP stronghold like that, I consider this nothing but optimism.

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  5. I work for a local airline in the weather industry and I deal with people, the general public, on a daily basis that DO NOT believe/accept climate change. Ignoring this uninformed group that elects leaders such as Donald Trump, is extremely dangerous. Also to claim that Donald Trump is simply not part of the debate is swinging way to far "the other way" in this debate. He is the most powerful position on the planet and republicans are most often in the same camp politically. Republicans in fact are the only major party left on the planet that still does NOT accept the science behind AGW. Yes, the extreme left wing often goes overboard, but this is mostly in part because we are still electing leaders that openly DO NOT accept AGW/climate change as being a real threat. Solve that problem and the vocal minority extreme left is quickly weakened.

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    1. Michael.... I talk to Republican groups all the time...and Republican leadership. The acknowledge the problem and want to deal with it. Trump may be President but Congress has not followed his lead in many area--including funding of scientific/technology research. Trump will be gone soon, I suspect. And keep in mind, that the Democrats, when in power, have not been particularly effective on this issue. For example, Governor Inslee has not taken vigorous action to fix our forests and our mass transportation system is still inadequate, with light rail in the Puget Sound sector going in at a glacial pace.

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    2. 2019 Recent Vote-
      Banning Offshore Drilling in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans:

      Votes For banning:238
      Votes Against banning:189

      Every single vote to allow off-shore drilling was a Republican vote. All down the voting record this is shown to be the case in these environmental issues. It is a sharp and partisan divide.

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    3. Michael, that's not what Dr. Mass is talking about. Because we are still transitioning our energy supply, off-shore drilling is a marine protection matter, not directly a climate change matter. We will continue to get our liquid fuels somewhere in the meantime, whether the Middle East, fracking hard deposits, offshore, tar sands, or coal to liquid.

      Those last two are the ones we want to avoid as much as possible with respect to climate change. Offshore oil is at the better end of the spectrum for carbon intensity.

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  6. "Under a Republican U.S. Congress, funding for climate research has been protected and increased."

    Could you elaborate more on this topic? Might be an interesting future post.

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    1. I could...it is public record. And a NEW climate model is being developed by DOE with large funding.

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    2. The current Congress, that provides funding, the House, is Democrat. If you don't even know the basic party layout of Congress, why are you commenting on politics again, Cliff? You basing your defense of the GOP and your ATTACK on the left based on your ignorance. The GOP was ACTIVELY passing laws and derelict in their duty to hold Trump accountable for the changes he and his cohorts are making to various agencies. How can you be in this much denial of the facts? I don't know what to say Cliff. That you actually believe what they say VERSUS WHAT THEY DO, is alarming.

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    3. DOE as in "Department of Energy" or DOE as in ECY ...WA Dept of Ecology? Where-who can we look to for objectivity and scientific rigor?

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  7. Dr. Mass
    Thank you so much. As always, a balanced, fact based approach to problem solving using a well recognized problem solving approach: STP (Situation-Target-Proposal). This piece is primarily about the Situation which is very important. Without understanding where we are it is difficult to move forward with action-oriented objectives. In this and other posts you have identified targets and proposals to move beyond the current impasse. As a scientist (MPH), I see myself as a 'bell-curve theorist'. I am mostly left of center and this piece is an excellent view of the dichotomy we are facing in a world view of the 'bell-curve tail ends of the climate' debate. In these situations I tend to be action-oriented, to be done talking about it and pointing fingers to identifying one solution at-a-time and implementing that solution. I am not well enough connected to know who/which group to align with that is of a similar ilk. Maybe in one of your next blogs you can provide some of your insights of the 'who' you know of that are action-oriented and proposals/solutions they are working to implement. This problem is an 'elephant' that will be solved taking one step at a time.

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  8. Until nuclear power supporters clearly explain what will happen to spent fuel and decommissioned nuclear plants, it will not get wide public support. And, saying science will come up with a solution in the future is not a plan. That has been the line for 60+ years and we still don't have any plan.

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    1. There have long been excellent options for taking care of spent fuel: underground salt cavities (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK208696/). There is no essential problem in doing so.

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    2. Professor,
      You are siting a report from 1955. I agree with the science for safe storage, although this report could be updated. My greater concern is the archaic technology used by the nuclear industry. We have not learned anything from the disaster at Fukishima--the plant used a bad design--we can't get the rods out--we don't know what to do with the waste water--etc. Until these problems are resolved nuclear energy is suspect at best.

      It gives me some hope that you are satisfied with the efforts of the government to improve our energy strategy. Sadly, I am not convinced.

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  9. Be careful Cliff... you are in dire danger of being declared apostate by the Church of Global Warming...

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    1. Too late. I am already an apostate to some...and NO ONE is hated more than an apostate, and particularly a high priest that appears to have abandoned "the word."

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  10. I wonder whether it is possible to quantify what percentage of global warming is due to human activity and what percentage is due to a natural cycle. It is documented that a little ice age occurred between the 13th and the 19th century and it is likely that we are still recovering from it:

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

    According to this, global warming cannot be due entirely to human activity. Differentiating the human from the natural contribution is necessary in order to have a realistic estimate how much temperatures will increase even if we managed to reduce or eliminate CO2 emissions. We may still have to deal with global warming even if we eliminate the human contribution.

    I remember that a while ago Cliff had a blog explaining that the melting of glaciated surfaces can be directly linked to the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere while other effects of CO2 emissions may not become evident until a few decades from now. I think that is a good place to start in differentiating what is due to human activity and what is due to a natural cycle.

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    1. The data show CO2 concentration in the atmosphere ranging between 200 - 300 ppm in natural cycles. The data also show that around the 1700s the natural cycles being overwhelmed, to the point where we're now >400 ppm. What do you think started happening in the 1700s to cause this rapid rise in CO2 concentration?

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    2. "What do you think started happening in the 1700s to cause this rapid rise in CO2 concentration?"

      Volcanic activity is one of the things that has been correlated with the little ice age. Volcanoes emit CO2, although they emit also other particles that lead to cooling of the atmosphere. Other than that, I am not sure what else could have caused the increase in CO2 in the 1700s.

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  11. In general, I agree with your description of the issues and the associated political positions. However, we need a combination of public policy changes AND technical solutions. That's why most economists agree that a carbon tax would be the most effective in reducing emissions, because it is the government setting rules to force the market to appropriately set the price of carbon. The structure of initiative 1631 was a disaster, a regressive tax sending millions of dollars to an un-elected board to right all of societies wrongs. I wonder how many people actually read the text. Even the ASP folks should be glad it didn't pass, because it would have been a massive failure. BUT we need to get real on the technical alternatives. Fusion would be wonderful, but where is the evidence that it is just around the corner? Oh, right, it's always 10 years away. And what about direct air capture? It's pretty clear that is going to be needed in addition to many other tools. How is that technically feasible at scale? https://www.wri.org/blog/2018/09/6-ways-remove-carbon-pollution-sky
    Disaster may not be tomorrow, but there is a window to turn things around, and we may not have the time or capability to wait on technology to save us.

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  12. Cliff you're amusing, You start out by saying the real debate isn't left v right, then proceed to say conservatives are the reasonable ones and progressives are out of bounds. Is the north pole melting or isn't it? Is Greenland melting or isn't it? Is Antartica melting or isn't it? Are sea levels rising? Are ocean currents changing as they never have in recorded history? Does Miami Beach already have sea water seeping up through the ground? Are molecules buried in ice for thousands or millions of years going to be exposed to the atmosphere causing who knows what? Are thousands of species facing extinction? And all you seem to desire is nothing interfere with the inexorable force of unfettered capitalism no matter the cost to people like you, me, and your students. We are currently in the end stages of junkie capitalism. Junkie capitalism because like junkies, capitalists don't care who they hurt as long as they get their profit fix. You are one of their enablers. Capitalism isn't real, it isn't a force of nature, no matter how its advocates try and make it one. It is a fiction. Capitalism doesn't have to be only for profit, it could be for the public good. Nobody needs to be as rich as Bezos or Gates. Why should the rest of suffer so they can be? You are great at explaining why weather phenomena takes place the way it does from a meteorological point of view. Please don't be a right wing "capitalism is the best humans are capable of" which is also to say that your students lives are worthless except to pay off their debt working at increasingly demoralizing jobs for the rest of their ives and serving their masters. So sad. We can do better. And I'm not talking about Marx. Look around the world at which countries are living well with their populations protected, who are doing something serious about climate change. Their capitalism is well regulated, not unfettered explosive greed and to hell with human habitat. Capitalism and the less than 1% getting insanely wealthy isn't their priority. Why is it yours?

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    1. Mike...you are clearly one of the ASP folks. This is not about the big bad capitalist folks...it is about developing the technologies to deal with a relatively simple technical problem...too much a a certain gas. We can fix this without trying to rev up class warfare. Gates and Bezos can be part of the solution.

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    2. Mike, you clearly are a climate justice warrior who has a bizarre view of capitalism.
      The contrary, socialism, is precisely what you see as capitalism.
      "working at increasingly demoralizing jobs for the rest of their ives and serving their masters." The elites on top of the social justice experiment you yearn for
      will live lavishly with socialism, the Big Lie of the Twentieth century, promised prosperity, equality, and security, can only deliver poverty, misery, and tyranny. Equality was achieved only in the sense that everyone was equal in his or her misery.

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    3. It isn't healthy to be insanely wealthy, but some seem to have a need for greed.

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    4. Mike, you're employing logical fallacy that apparently solicits rebuttals bearing logical fallacies. This "discussion" in most conversations I find myself in, and that I see displayed prominently here in Cliff's blog, is littered with logical error that works in high school debates, but sabotages constructive criticism. Look at your post, and, as just an example, Cliff's response. Generalization reasoning from specific to general and general to specific, emotional appeal in use of weighted adjectives and catch phrases, emotion triggers, non sequitur, appeal to authority... It's no wonder that establishing common ground is so difficult for frequently even apparently otherwise reasonable people. There should be a discourse referee or we'll get nowhere.

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    5. Mike,

      I saw your point so I did not post similarly. It seems discussing carbon based climate changing weather is out of bounds but ad hominem attacks are "in season" (awesome climate pun?! or levity not allowed - too busy doing science to fix the problem that the good guys on BOTH side caused?).
      Point I really want to make is . . .

      The Green New Deal is NECESSARY and will the Republicans approve it after the MIC democrat's are finally won over?
      Until WE unite ASP & ACT folk we don't stand a chance against money power.

      So Cliff . . . you plainly cast your position, thank you for your honesty.

      Now let's get to work electing people that will work for people not profit.

      We really can fix this but only if we use human agency wisely and productively rather than attacking one another.

      Love

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    6. Mike, I dont think Cliff was talking about all progressives being "out or bounds". But on this issue there are some that certainly are. One argument I have had with progressives has been about the false media reports that exageratted tropical storm size, strength and also cause. Hurricanes and typhoons are not caused by climate change let alone AGW. The belief that theyre getting more intense and more frequent is debatable. Dr Mass has had several blogs that have debunked the media's false narrative when it comes to the real effects of climate change. In other words, climate change is real and it's happening but the media is either exaggerating or they are just way off base. In order to sell newspapers, subscriptions, online memberships etc the media needs to push the narrative that the sky is falling. And Dr Mass says not necessarily here are some scientific facts proving otherwise. The problem is SOME of those progressives than attack him. That IS being OUT OF BOUNDS. Furthermore i don't know if I would use Bezos and Gates as an example of capitalist greed. Thanks to these geniuses the World is undoubtedly a better place and people around the world have improved and live more fulfilled lives as a result of their innovation. Not to mention the millions of good jobs their companies provide. Plus they donate some of their massive fortune to philanthropical causes. The ability for the talented and ambitious to follow their dreams and make them a reality as well as to maintain some degree of control over their own innovations and be greatly rewarded for it is part of what makes this nation great. Unlike in a socialist state where incentive for individuals to have ambition and to innovate has been stymied by massive goverment control and collectivism. In a socialist state run by tyranny it's the goverment that often drives innovation ( they say for the good of the people but it's often used to control the people or even used to kill people (ballistic missiles in USSR during the cold war and more recently North Korea, rockets, weaponry for example).

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  13. Assuming that you are one of the ACT folks, can you provide concrete examples of emerging technologies that will solve the problem in the long term?

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    1. Of course. We start with improving photovoltaics. But nuclear energy will be very important...starting with fission and then fusion. With sufficient energy we can begin sequestration, pulling the CO2 out of the air. We can do much for resilience and adaptation, such as thinning the forests and bringing back fire. A lot more...but you get the idea.

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    2. Isn't "thinning the forests" going to eliminate a natural way to sequester CO2 from the atmosphere?

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    3. EuropeanMan
      Thinning the forests is going to preserve their ability to continue sequestering CO2 because they aren't all burned up in a massive forest fire.

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    4. Small fires to prevent the big fire.

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    5. Where, Cliff, do you plan on storing all the nuclear waste? Unless we magically move everything in the US to newer tech, which isn't going to happen, we're going to have to deal with lots and lots of waste. Waste that no one wants to store near them, and certainly not Yucca, which has been tied up in legislation for decades.

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  14. I keep seeing evidence that Republican who think climate change needs addressing lose elections. Just about every one. Romney who thought so, had to deny it just to get the nomination to run for president. None of my Republican friends or relatives who support the President think that climate change is happening. Perhaps you are meeting 'deep state'. The priests of the ASP sound to me like out of power activists. The priests on the other side are powerful senators and representatives, Supreme Court justices, and one of them is even President.

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  15. "Both Ms. Margolin and Mr. Backer care deeply about the environment"

    I wonder what a good psychiatrist would say about what is actually motivating these kids. I'll bet is has absolutely nothing to do with the environment.

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    1. Mr. Backer does care deeply about the environment, and free markets. He sees his generation migrating towards the former at the expense of the latter, and he is trying to bridge the gap.

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  16. I’m a long-time reader of this blog and a university faculty member and scientist who, among other things, teaches courses about climate science to non-science students. You are right—there is little debate in the student community that about the need for change. The debate I hope to facilitate in class (after presenting scientific fundamentals) is about technological pathways forward. On that issue, I see where ASP group can make a strong argument that the ACT group’s approach is too incremental. Sure, it is possible that a disruptive technology could prevent the worst impacts, but it’s also quite likely that it cannot be scaled up fast enough without the support of law, which means we need these laws soon. In my mind, the advocacy movements, while sometimes messy, are necessary for enabling this change. Furthermore, decarbonization will be socially impactful even if enabled by a disruptive technology, so we should be talking about social systems.

    Yes, it’s unfortunate that we haven’t been able to pass a carbon tax in Washington. However, the debate has produced legislation such as the Clean Energy Transformation Act. The mandate-based approach in CETA seems to be where many states are going, so perhaps it’s worth considering how this approach can be made to work.

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    1. Wes...is there ANY evidence that government mandated change has had any real impact? The big change recently came from fracking, which resulted from a technological advance in drilling. Improved and cheap photovoltaics came out of China--not any government mandate. Government CAN held immensely by supporting research, but mandating energy technologies has no real track record for significant contributions.....

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    2. Of course mandates shouldn't be the only approach, but they seem to have political support in certain regions of the U.S. right now, even where nothing else can pass. Clearly they will need to be supplemented with other approaches, but I think they can create markets that support low emissions investment, and this is a positive thing.

      With respect to successful mandate-based approaches to pollution, what about technological mandates regarding air quality in Southern California, rules regarding particulate pollution from wood stove emissions here in Washington, or even much of the Clean Water Act? None of these have been perfectly effective, but they do show that mandates can play a useful role.

      Like it or not, the ACT-oriented folks have to work with ASP-oriented groups--so we should be talking about how to find common ground. In general, your blog is quite helpful in this endeavor, by the way, but like a few of the other commenters, I worry that this particular post is more divisive than necessary. The committed leaders of the ASP groups are rightly asking for political action to occur right away. Even partial measures help move the needle.

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    3. I'm curious: in your classes, do you cover the methodology used by NASA, NOAA, HadCRUT, etc., in their calculations of the average global anomaly? It's a fascinating exercise, and one I strongly recommend for a university level course. NOAA makes all of their data easily available on public servers, and the data sets have records for tens of thousands of stations.

      You can get daily records or monthly summaries for each station, and with a little R familiarity, its easy to look at trends for individual stations ir entire regions. If you enjoy data mining and finding little nuggets of unexpected learning, it can't be beat.

      Delete
  17. Your point about the role of the MSM is salient. Unfortunately, the actions and message of ASP leadership just make for better "news" than those of the ACT people. The dissemination of a hand-wringing, teeth-gnashing narrative by the most visible, widely consumed and (formerly) trusted periodicals has a pernicious effect which can hardly be overstated. Publications like NYT seem to be guilty of what has been termed "scientism", or the use of legitimate science in order to push a political and decidedly un-scientific agenda, which couches facts and the hard work of rigorous science in loaded language calculated to sow doubt and despair in even well-educated readers with an inclination toward nuanced thinking and critical reflection. The politicization of the media is as much to blame for the damage which has occurred to our ability to focus on substantive solutions and reasonable compromises as any of the shenanigans by Trump/Republicans/Koch brothers, etc. It will be increasingly difficult to bridge the widening partisan gap without reasonably honest, fair, fact-based and unbiased reporting.

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  18. I feel like this post is more divisive than necessary. Are there people with extreme positions on both sides of this issue? Yes. Are the approaches and mindsets different? Yes. But the way this blog post is written makes it appear very partisan, with the left as bad and the right as good. I really appreciate the comment left by Wes- your "ACT" group is important and invaluable, but there really is a lack of awareness and urgency by too large of a swath of the American public, perhaps due to the "quiet" nature of the ACT group. I don't agree with the "ASP" group if they are exaggerating or using misleading numbers/data and the consequences for when that approach backfires, but I think Wes makes a good point that their advocacy and voice around promoting any climate change initiatives is extremely relevant and necessary given the current American administration and the complacency of the US public for the past x decades. It is also well documented that climate change affects those in lower SES groups more than most, so discussing social systems is relevant. But developing solutions to climate change and making sure everyone is on board with addressing the issues are both necessary, and the ACT and ASP groups could work together on this perhaps, if we don't label them as enemies as your post seems to. This should not be a partisan issue. I don't think the ASP group is trying to make it partisan except for the fact that the leading Republican figure in our country continues to deny climate change. It's a struggle to imagine how they should respond when they see their future at risk and if they don't have the political or financial ability to do much else about it other than use their voices as loudly as they can. The ACT group perhaps could become more vocal and propose more solutions that are not so long-term perhaps?

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  19. The missing piece of the puzzle is that really that we don't understand how energy flows within the star system (or a galaxy for that matter). I'm not convinced that science understands such a key concept. I expect that stars are not packed with energy and then die, but that they are more closely akin to a hurricane. Until we understand how energy is transferred at a star level, i.e. that there is a true ecology within planetary, star and galactic systems, we won't be able to grasp how energy fluctuates at a planetary level, and thus not understand climate very well.

    The second elephant in the room is mere existence of fossil fuels. The Earth's crust and the oil within is a finite system. Um, Hubbert is correct. A hundred years from now when we are living more simply because fossil fuel resources have become scarce, people will think: "Wow, society really goes nuts once in a while. Glad things calmed down."

    The issue really is simply that when civilization becomes complex (in this case it paralleled fossil fuels from the Industrial Rev forward), the people within it go a wee bit nut-so.

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  20. Professor Mass consistently denies the role of the energy industry in deliberately undermining public understanding of climate science and of others on the right who oppose science in general. It’s his peculiar and consistent blind spot. I’ve been enjoying reading this blog for many years, along with his book and radio talks, but Cliff’s occasional forays into politics and sociology clearly demonstrate that atmospheric science is where is considerable intellect is strongest.

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    1. DMcl.... I really don't buy the energy industry meme. Virtually everyone has known about the global warming threat since the 1980s. The media talks about it all the time. The energy industry is surely doing a very bad job in suppressing this knowledge. No one is forcing you to use a gas car or fly on a jet plane. Everyone one is responsible for their use of fossil fuels...and blaming it all on the energy companies is really without support.

      Delete
    2. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7592485/Father-eight-invents-electric-car-battery-drivers-1-500-miles-without-charging-it.html

      Delete
  21. Cliff, you will surely "burn in hell" for such heresy, as the Greta Thunberg's of the world have collection plates to fill, and your sinful sermons are not helping. With that said, many thanks to you for your reasoned approach over the years... it is greatly supported and appreciated.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks...I am planning to take an air conditioner with me to the afterlife....

      Delete
  22. Dear Cliff,

    I see that you are into denying your fellow scientists who object to climate hysteria. That makes you almost as radical as those you despise at the University of Washington.

    I am one of the five hundred scientists who signed the "World Declaration" against climate hysteria. A competing petition from alarmists gathered far fewer signatures.

    But of course, science comes down to logic and evidence only. I have offered to discuss the science with you many times, but you always find some way to duck.

    What are you afraid of?


    Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics)
    Corbett, Oregon USA

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    1. Gordon....I am certainly against climate hysteria. Read my blog...that is one of my central points!. You are welcome to stop in at the UW and talk to me about climate science..cliff

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    2. Dear Cliff,

      Thanks for the invitation, but how could a discussion with you make any progress?

      You here dismiss out of hand all skeptical arguments. Isn't that exactly what the extremists at UW are doing to you, dismissing your arguments out of hand? We could of course do the same to you, but that is completely non-productive.

      I did write to you some time ago, suggesting that we might talk after your presentation to the Oregon AMS this Saturday. And you never responded.

      At this point the ball is certainly in your court to show some good faith. Blog post such as this one certainly DO NOT HELP.

      Gordon

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  23. You are wrong Cliff. The real debate is over how much warming doubling CO2 from 300 to 600 PPM will bring. Estimates (yes ESTIMATES, not hard numbers) range from 0.7C to 1.5C and unless there is a positive feedback with water vapor (the most powerful and plentiful GHG) that is it and it will be positive.

    What do you do when you can't follow the science in detail? This applies to all sciences not just climate but I'll focus on climate science.

    Do we "believe" one group or another? No, belief is for religion not science. Do we go with whatever the majority of scientists say? No, consensus is for politics not science.

    So what do we follow? Predictions! The scientific method requires them. If you are not making predictions that can be tested you are NOT doing science. See this 1 minute clip for an explanation:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7YcimsISUk

    Get PREDICTIONS with DATES and temperatures attached to them from both the natural cycles and CO2 groups. Then check up to see if their predictions happen. It is easy for anyone to do and kind of fun. Always copy the URL so you can check the wayback machine if they "clean up" their mistakes.

    As far as global warming goes, we are at a great juncture, a true fork in the road. The IPCC projects 0.5-1.0 C increase and the natural cycles scientists predict 0.25-1.0 C decrease over the next 20 years. Obviously they can't both be correct but they both could be wrong.

    I will make only one prediction. CO2 will continue to increase by 1-2 PPM yearly over the next 20 years. China and India have said so and that is where it is determined.

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    1. Dear Unknown,

      I am generally with you until the last paragraph. Yes, China and India are the culprits, if CO2 is bad (which it is not). But the 'Chinese Experiment,' among other logic and evidence, proved that they not to blame.

      When the Chinese tripled the rate of rise of human CO2 emissions, starting in 2002, what do you suppose happened to the observed rise on Mauna Loa? NOTHING! That is right. NOTHING! The Chinese tried to drive up atmospheric CO2 by building a great many new coal-fired power plants, and Mother Nature took no notice.

      This means, along with a good deal more evidence, that the UN IPCC's supposition that humans are entirely responsible for the observed rise in atmospheric CO2 is wrong. Humans emit about 10 GtC/year, while Mother Nature emits about 200 GtC. That makes the human concentration about 5% or about 20 ppmv of the present 410 ppmv.

      If you are interested in more details, I suggest reading this paper from Dr. Ed Berry:

      http://www.sciencepublishinggroup.com/journal/paperinfo?journalid=298&doi=10.11648/j.ijaos.20190301.13

      You can also look up the lectures by Professor Murry Salby on YouTube. They are excellent.

      Gordon J. Fulks, PhD
      Corbett, Oregon USA

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    2. Gordon,
      What you are saying is imply not true. C02 is not only increasing but the rate of increase is increasing. Totally consistent with the Chinese emitting more CO2...cliff

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    3. Cliff, Gordon is right.
      https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/8/1/011006/meta

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    4. Thanks Edim,

      Cliff has obviously not read the latest work on this topic. What you found from Hansen, actually fits with some of what we are saying: humans are not a big factor in global CO2. But Hansen does not realize the implications, as do Berry, Harde, Salby, and others.

      I'm surprised that Cliff has not kept up on this.

      Delete
  24. I enjoy your weather blog, not so much your poorly reasoned and very slanted social commentary.

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  25. This is a great post Cliff. For those who still blame the evildoers (usually Republicans or oil companies) one has only to look at Europe. In Britain for example global warming in widely thought to be serious by conservatives. Yet rather radical actions have only been able to reduce emissions a small amount. The consequences are also pretty grim in some ways such as very high electricity prices that cause a certain number of pensioner deaths each winter.

    The real problem here is that effective actions are not popular if they might require sacrifices that even the most radical activists are unwilling to make in their own lives. Never in human history have doctrines of scarcity ever worked. Technology and better energy systems are the only way out of this situation.

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  26. Debates are fine, and necessary. Thankfully there are views between the two you name, both of which are extreme. There is no easy answer here, and no solution will be perfect. We should know that by now, as there are always unintended consequences. (Think DDT and Monsanto, among many others, regarding corporate solutions.) Probably the worst solution now is "more of the same" and the blame game.

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  27. CLiff,
    I am sorry to say this and I mean you not harm. Your latest blog post about the two forces in the Global CLimate Change debate is reactive. I understand you are under attack from the Left at your job and I entirely support you in that struggle BUT you are overreacting (or disingenuous.) At the very least a social scientist would ( like myself PSYD) would posit three groups LEFT, RIGHT and SCIENCE at the MIDDLE. Then start collecting data. You have a poorly designed model.

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  28. Cliff, Have you ever talked with your UW colleague Peter Ward about CO2 events during prior geological epochs? It seems there's a lot of data there helpful to understanding our current "event" either with regard to perception or even possibly augmenting current climate modeling.

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  29. Thank you so much for not being afraid to state things the way they obviously are. I'll keep reading your blog and recommending it to others for many years to come. We need more reasonable scientists like you.

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  30. More examples of just how republicans vote against anything that holds fossil fuel companies accountable. EVERY SINGLE REPUBLICAN VOTED AGAINST holding fossil fuel companies accountable on this following issue:

    Representative Bill Huizenga (R-MI) sponsored H.J. Res. 41, the Congressional Review Act “Resolution of Disapproval” of the Security and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) rule requiring fossil fuel companies to publicly disclose payments to governments in exchange for oil, gas, and minerals. This rule helped bring transparency to the flow of money between fossil fuel companies on the U.S. stock exchanges and U.S. and foreign governments, deterring corruption and mismanagement among all parties. This use of the Congressional Review Act, an extreme legislative tool, would not only overturn the current rule, but would prohibit the SEC from ever issuing "substantially similar" regulations in the future.

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  31. All Senate Republicans voted to allow the drilling.
    Where are these examples of republicans fighting for the environment?

    Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) sponsored an amendment to H.Con.Res. 71, the Budget Resolution. This amendment would remove the budget reconciliation instructions that paved the way for drilling in the pristine and sacred Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The indigenous Gwich’in people call the Arctic Refuge’s coastal plain “the sacred place where life begins,” reflecting the importance and the need to protect this special place. These reconciliation instructions for Arctic drilling were included in the Budget Resolution as an attempt to generate $1 billion in government revenue to somehow justify $1.5 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthy, but multiple analyses show that it is unlikely to raise anywhere close to even that amount. On October 19, the Senate rejected the Cantwell amendment by a vote of 48-52 (Senate roll call vote 243).

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  32. Again republicans voted against the consideration of the economic costs of climate change.

    Representative Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) offered an amendment to H.R. 6147, the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2019, which would prevent the federal government from considering the economic costs of climate change.
    On July 18, the House approved the Mullin amendment by a vote of 215-199 (House roll call vote 347). NO IS THE PRO-ENVIRONMENT VOTE. The House passed H.R. 6147 on July 19 and the Senate passed its version of the bill on August 1.

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    1. Michael...in the end, the only thing that matters is technological and scientific advances. As long as the Republican don't muck those element up, they are not doing much damage. Remember that even when Democrats were in control, there weren't any real advances...cliff

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    2. You are correct about scientific advances, but there are huge amounts of changes by the Trump administration that have wiped out previous administration's efforts to keep fossil fuels in the ground. Trump has reversed or attempted to reverse every single environmental protection that Obama inacted, and Republicans have voted for and promoted these changes at every step. Most importantly you can predict who will vote for environmental protection based on party alone and you will be accurate about 95% of the time. It's extremely partisan on every single vote that goes to the house or senate.

      Delete
    3. Michael...under which administration did fracking increase exponentially and China build a large number of coal-fired power plants? The Obama administration. Yes, congressional Republicans have voted against restrictions on coal....but that was really just meaningless show--coal is being killed by cheap fracking gas. Do you think the Democrats will stop fracking? I really doubt it. Will the Democrats stop what is happening in China, India, and elsewhere? No way. The only way out of this problem is technology...and that can be bipartisan. That is my point. I could be wrong. But that is my point.

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    4. Bravo Cliff. Whether one believes in a climate crisis or not is irrelevant to the future. The future is technology. And that future, and the only hope for those who wish to abandon fossil fuels for any reason, is thorium nuclear.

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    5. After WW2 the future was technology and we got; plastics, DDT, increased untested chemical compounds in our water cycle, a throw away culture, fast food, etc. The idea that technology is the solution is short-sighted in my book. We need to lower our carbon footprint on this planet and change our attitude with our earth away from unlimited growth.

      Delete
  33. Simply too many people. Stop having kids. Adopt. Be kind.

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    1. Jarv has it right. At todays world birth rate of @ 233,000 new souls per day or 3 per second who want every polluting invention you've got or use, how can one expect to realistically affect climate change when the volume of our reproductive processes is fouling our own nest.

      Delete
  34. In science, a hypothesis can not be proven, but it can be disproven by one experiment (for example if water boils at 99 deg c instead of 100 deg C). The best you can hope for is to fail to reject the null hypothesis.
    So we have 50+ years of hundreds, if not thousands, of computer model experiments postulating increases in carbon dioxide leading to warming. The test of these experiments is to compare them with measured temperatures. What does this show? Are not the majority of the models, predicting moderate to extreme temperature increases, disproven by measured temperatures? If so, we have established that the null hypothesis of carbon causing warming must be rejected. The idea cannot stand on it's own. As they say: "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence", which seems to be lacking...
    Cliff, please comment.

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  35. 2018 US Energy & Natural Resources lobbying spending: $326B (OpenSecrets.org)
    2018 US Energy & Natural Resources R&D: $29B (iea.org)
    There's the real problem. ACT/ASP, right/left, up/down doesn't matter. More than 10 times the revenue is spent to influence the law than to do research.

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  36. Agenda 21 and the plan to use chaos to create control. I am not a steak on the table nor a beast of burden.

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  37. Dr. Mass,

    I have enjoyed your blog for years but I disagree with many points you make above. Not necessarily in order of importance:
    1. Claiming that nuclear fission will help reduce greenhouse gasses while ignoring that the half life of spent fuel is around 6000 years. Then the other half for another 6000 years. One can argue that human civilization is less than 6000 years old, and burying spent fuel in salt caverns only shifts the problem of what to do with deadly radioactive waste on countless future generations.
    2. Because some Republicans in the progressive state of Washington want to address Climate change does not mean that Republicans in the other 49 states will do so. Look how many Republicans have not only put up with, but defended indefensible behavior by our Commander -in-chief.
    3. You say we can't blame energy companies, we need to focus on technological solutions, then you say that we all need to monitor our own behavior and take responsibility for it. You are a scientist. Surly you are familiar with Thomas Malthus and his theories about human population growth. I've seen countless examples of people gleefully ignoring their contribution to atmospheric carbon. What is the answer? Do we need to care about how our actions effect climate or should we believe that science is our salvation? Mike has a good point about unfettered, uncaring Capitalism.
    4. There is more than the left, right and middle. There are many shades in between them all. Being a bit emotional merely means that one cares, and I believe we need to care about a problem before we can find solutions.

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    1. You are wrong on fission. Do some research on thorium reactors. They are passively safe, can burn up the spent fuel rods of the pressurized light water reactors of the last 50 years, provide isotopes needed for medical use, and can't be used to make weapons grade fissionable products. Thorium is the future of nearly safe, pollution free and nearly limitless energy. The US built such a reactor in the 1970s are the brilliant direction of Dr. Alvin Weinberg at Oakridge National Lab and then abandoned the concept for the nukes needed for cold war weapons. But many are working to bring this great technology back to life. http://energyfromthorium.com

      Delete
  38. Cliff, you've created a straw man argument by acting as though there are only 2 groups. There are far more. And if you're trying to get people to see reason, you've got to acknowledge that and not use the straw man argument.

    I'm neither on the ACT nor the ASP side.

    I definitely agree with you that the science of global warming is very uncertain as far as causes and solutions go. That reality does not favor either the ACT or the ASP side. I definitely appreciate that you're trying to bring a voice of reason to the current debate ... but the straw man argument just doesn't do all that much.

    Given the uncertainty about the cause of global warming, I do feel humans should be conservative. The amount of human-caused pollution (of all sorts) that is affecting this planet has exponentially grown in the last few centuries. The reasons for addressing this problem go well beyond the issue of global warming. The negative effects caused by this pollution on the planet (to humans, other animals, plants) are huge and well-established scientifically in areas beyond that of global warming.

    I do not believe that technology is going to solve all the problems if humans themselves don't change their behavior and become more aware of the effect our actions are having on the planet, each other, other living animals, and plants.

    Additionally, some resources like petroleum, coal, natural gas are not unlimited. They will run out at some point. Humans would be better served by finding alternatives (=technology) to them in as many areas as possible. Doing this has the added benefit of reducing the chance of war in oil-rich areas and make the rest of the world less dependent on those areas - huge benefit of their own. How much have the wars in these areas already cost the US in terms of money, life, distraction of resources away from other things? Using renewable energy sources like wind and solar, to the extent that they can be used, (as a side-effect), reduces the amount of carbon humans release into the atmosphere.

    If we don't take steps to reduce our petroleum, coal, natural gas consumption, it will run out faster ... and we will do a lot of environmental damage trying to find more sources. We should be developing alternatives where we can, to make these resources last as long as possible. There will likely be some areas where it's quite difficult to find alternatives to them - and by slowing our consumption, we retain resources for those areas.

    The example of running out of petroleum, coal, natural gas is similar to that of destroying old growth forests in the US.
    An example of idiocy is that seen from the people who want to continue to chop down old growth forests. We've destroyed almost all the original forests in the US. A tiny percentage remain. The irony here is that if there hadn't been environmental concern to preserve them, they'd all be gone - and we wouldn't be having that argument. People who had jobs as loggers in the past would still have been out of jobs once those trees were gone. What remains are managed forests - which provide us with a certain wood and paper products. But those managed forests, although better than nothing, are a shadow of what we once had, from an environmental & ecological perspective.

    The planet Earth is the place we have to live. We need to be conservative in how we treat it. I don't support the ASP approach, but I also don't support the ACT approach. Both sides lie and manipulate the science. Lying and manipulating science is never acceptable -- the main problem here is the vast majority of people are not educated well enough to understand deeply the scientific method. The idiocy that comes out of the mouths of many is unbelievable - from people in Congress to Deans at the UW.

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    1. Best comment! not a fan of the straw man approach, disappointed to see such a lazy train of thought.

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    2. Za Zha,
      Our forests are not all gone and peak oil is a tired myth.
      Twenty-five years ago, the Northwest Forest Plan was put in place. It protected more than 24 million acres of old-growth forest in northern California, Oregon and Washington.

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  39. You are totally right about the leftist paranoia around climate change, but your claims about the Republicans being the reasonable ones in this debate is bizarre. You yourself seem to be becoming too politically and personally influenced by this debate. I understand you are being personally and professionally attacked by lunatic leftists. But it seems to be getting to you and making you align yourself with the malignant faction on the other side. I simply can't believe you can honestly say the Republicans are being reasonable and optimistic and leading on solutions to climate change when their policies and rhetoric shows precisely the opposite. They want to increase consumption of heavily subsidized fossil fuels and prevent subsidies of the alternatives. Please elaborate on how the oil companies that you seem to now be friends with want to undermine their own industry, that would be very interesting to learn more about.

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    1. Absolutely agreed. I also think that, in no small part, the vehemence and fear of the far left on climate has been augmented greatly by Republican intransigence on climate. Where were the reasonable conservatives lining up to vote for Waxman-Markey?

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    2. "Too politically and personally influenced". Yes. Please step back and catch your breath, Cliff. If it's one thing we don't need in this country it's more division, more disunion.

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  40. I agree with you that some of the rhetoric and tactics of those you describe as ASP are not productive. The known threat of AGW is bad enough and needs no exaggeration. I think there are two problems though.

    1 - the ACT approach cannot be apolitical. You acknowledge this by referring to the carbon tax initiatives which are political by definition. Although a carbon tax would ostensibly drive people to adopt new technologies (fitting the ACT approach), you cannot ignore the economic, political and social effects surrounding this policy.

    2 - You cannot ignore the AGW deniers, and the related issue of lack of education and public understanding of the science surrounding AGW. It is the combination of ASP and deniers that puts the ACT group in the minority. If the only people opposing Initiative 732 where those in the ASP camp, it would have passed easily. Instead, it was opposed by both the ASP camp and deniers, who together defeated it.

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  41. Wow! What a fantastic airing of points of view, Cliff.

    I value the scientific perspective, but would like to see those in the left and right who are less entrenched with their parties join the scientists. It might result in more technical progress, fewer detractors in the media and show the most extreme left and right as the progress detractors they are in reality.

    I must say, your air conditioner and afterlife comment was certain quick wit!

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  42. Dear Professor Mass, I enjoyed your weather 101 class several years ago and still look at the UW computer models. Thank you for your excellent dissemination of meteorological knowledge.
    You have a strong argument here in this post, but you are overly optimistic with regards to the Republican Party outside of our state (and among some in our state as well). Are you going to argue that President Bush’s 8 years in power saw great progress on this issue?
    Your point is somewhat valid - as a similar example I took issue with the farther left in 2016 for not putting their differences aside and voting for the better candidate. In my opinion they showed they were a Bernie cult by not putting the issues they supposedly cared about first and voting to keep Trump out of office. However - your dismissal of the many climate deniers, Trump, and others is disengenuous and not a reflection of the serious issues this group brings to progress on climate change.

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  43. Human population is the issue- too much consumption, not enough natural resources, which are FINITE. Believing in an exponential growth economy is madness, and we're perpetuating it with our technology drive, assuming computers will save us. Technology has no self-preservation drive. We have to look up from our screens and start "saving" ourselves through mindful living, which means culling our consumption addictions and becoming producers of our own basic needs.

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  44. The climate debate isn't between those who think we can do something to slow down the emission of carbon dioxide and those who think we can do something to slow down the emission of carbon dioxide. It is between those who think humans have caused global warming - and thus can control the climate and those who realize that we can't and thus cannot stop warming through our actions. This isn't to say that nuclear energy is the best future energy solution for the earth. Nuclear is the answer. It remains to be seen whether that will be through thorium molten salt or fusion reactors. Solar, wind and biofuel energy sources are ridiculous and will never work.

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  45. There's way more than two sides. You can't deny that this mostly bipartisan, then it's broken down into your subcategories. We have a huge number of our species that operate more on feel than by fact and they are spread out through both sides. The irrational left and the irrational right. These people are the real problem.

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  46. Mr. Mass:
    I wish you would stick to meteorology, where you do a good job, and stay away from the "climate change non-debate".

    There are not the 'two sides' in the "debate" that you mention in your third sentence:

    "The real debate is certainly not over whether global warming, spurred by increasing greenhouse gases, is a serious problem that must be addressed. Both sides of the real climate debate agree on that."

    Mr. Mass, congratulations -- you went wrong in sentence three -- it was immediately obvious the rest of your piece should not be read, but I read it any way.

    I challenge you to write a piece about the damage caused by the global warming in the past three hundred years (none).

    If you prefer, focus on the years since 1950, when large amounts of CO2 were added to the atmosphere, accompanied by intermittent mild global warming.

    This planet has almost 69 years (since 1950) of rising CO2 and overall rising global average temperature.

    Although the CO2 level - global average temperature correlation has switched from negative (1940 to 1975), to positive (1975 to 2005), to no correlation (2005 to 2015, before the late 2015 El Nino).

    You immediately conclude, Mr. Mass, with no evidence beyond speculation, that "global warming ... is a serious problem that must be addressed. Both sides of the real climate debate agree on that."

    Both sides do NOT agree on that.

    If you want to speculate about the future climate, go ahead.

    Don't pretend there is a "serious problem" when there is no evidence of a problem at all.

    There were no serious problems from adding CO2 to the atmosphere since 1950, even if you assume ALL the warming was caused by man made CO2 (the IPCC only guesses "over half")

    If 69 years of adding CO2 to the air caused no serious problems, or even minor problems, there is no justification for assuming adding CO2 to the air in the future is a "serious problem", especially the CO2 added by burning fossil fuels with modern pollution controls.

    Sorry, Mr. Mass, your speculation about CO2 has no relationship to actual past experience with CO2, so it is just speculation, and it would remain speculation even if 99% of scientist on this planet claimed rising CO2 is a "serious problem".

    Real science does not make wild guess speculations about the future climate, especially after 100% of the prior predictions were wrong.

    Real science does not claim a "serious problem" with no evidence of a problem at all.

    Are you frightened by the possibility that ten years from now the temperature where you live might be +0.1 degree C. warmer (or cooler) than this year?

    Or maybe +0.2 degrees C. warmer (or cooler)?

    How miserable would your life be, if ten years from now, every day was +0.1 to +0.2 degrees warmer than today?

    Would that really be a "serious problem", or have you been brainwashed by decades of climate scaremongering?

    Adding CO2 to the air is not something new.

    What harm has it done in the past 69 years?

    Correct Answer: None

    What will the climate be like in 100 years?

    Correct answer: No one knows.

    My climate science blog, with over 45,000 page views, where I refute climate scaremongers ... like you: www.elOnionBloggle.Blogspot.com

    Richard Greene
    Bingham Farms, Michigan

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  48. Are you familiar with the book "The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow's World?" Its parallels to what you describe (and the climate debate in general) are quite apt. It contrasts the history and approach of Norman Borlaug (who used hard work and technology to develop dramatic increases in agriculture production) with William Vogt (who was directed by a "Cut back!" and reshape society approach).

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  49. You present two groups who are on one side of this. No one disputes your athropogenic global warming hypothesis. Cliff Mass, you're just as arrogant as the Seattle Times, etc.

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  50. Placeholder....my title is about the "Real Debate". Saying there is absolutely no impact of CO2 on the atmosphere is simply not part of the "real" debate. That is one of my points. The science is clear that there will be impact on the radiative balance of the atmosphere. This is not arrogance....it is what physical laws tell us. ..cliff

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    1. Complete agreement with you here, as should everyone be. I just caution others on underestimating the amount of people who hold the same views as placeholder and vote for a certain political party.

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    2. I just caution others about the amount of smug, arrogant Seattle "progressives" who think they are better and smarter than everyone else, and are "democratic socialists," i.e. slow-motion communists who have taken over the Democratic Party.

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  51. You lost me from the beginning. The notion that the two sides are the "far left" and the "apolitical" is utter nonsense. Nothing, and no one, is apolitical.

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  52. Sorry Cliff,
    I prefer facts, science & optimism that don't serve the narratives of the privatize profits, socialize costs conservative/industry tribe.
    You are wonderful at making the climate/weather intricacies of the PNW clear to average people. Too bad you decided to carry such tainted partisan water for the factions who stand to benefit from fanning the flames of climate instability. Your objectivity is null, as is my patience for your devolution into judas horse.

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  53. in the current political climate at both state and federal level - achieving bipartisan commitment to addressing climate change is a fool's errand. it will never be accomplished unless there is a catastrophe of epic proportions. we aren't focusing at all on this issue as a country - we are mesmerized by the Clown Show that operates on a daily basis in DC. Why bag on a group that has reached their own limits with what they see? It's pretty easy to take pot shots at those who aren't as 'educated' as you are, isn't it. why not promote action forward instead of waiting for the absolute perfect solution - which will never materialize?

    Love your weather analysis, but your politcal wadings come off as righteous.

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  54. I see 2 sides - Moderate and ignorant.

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  55. Sorry, Cliff, while I very strongly support your right to free speech and academic freedom, it's a fact that your side's predictions lie in ruins. If the scientific method were deployed, the AGW hypothesis would have been discarded a long time ago. CO2 is a so-called "greenhouse gas" in controlled laboratory conditions, and of course in greenhouses, but it simply has not done in the atmosphere anything close to what you and other AGW believers have claimed it would do.

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  56. Cliff, good to see you injecting some sanity in to the debate where the Progressive Left has taken over in a thinly disguised faux crisis as a vehicle for their socialist ends. But you are wrong on the science. Not only is there no climate emergency, but climate fluctuations are not primarily caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions. You can read about why the CAGW Hypothesis and the GCMs are failures at http://wattsupwiththat.com

    It's also good to see you weighing in on nuclear. Although there is no climate crisis, we could solve many other large scale problems, reduce pollution and vastly reduce the price of energy in an economic boon for all of humanity and particularly the third world if we embraced thorium reactors.

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  57. The leader of the free world (and yes, he's a republican) has said climate change is a hoax and a farse. I think you're slighlty delusional when you say there are only 2 groups...

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  58. Strongly disagree with this dichotomy, although there's some truth to it for sure. Particularly it seems very ideologically convenient, which is unfortunate given a tone of trying to convey the truth of the matter.

    A better model has maybe these four groups:

    1. your group of progress-oriented technocrats, who think the main issues are economic- and scientific-. In my observation this is primarily left-leaning people, but more moderate ones, plus the occasional person who identifies as conservative.

    2. and also your group of freaked-out people who blame corporations and elites for being corrupt and evil. They're not wrong, of course, but it's not a particularly effective or responsible way to handle the situation and tends to drive other people away from their cause. Primarily very politically left, and of the particularly loud and alienating genre that you know well.

    3. a group of depressed people, who have roughly the same opinions as group (2) but a different emotional timbre about it. They're also not wrong, but they're the type of sigh and shake their heads and wonder what to do. Also primarily left-leaning, but more moderate than (2) because their also the types to not shout people down that they disagree with.

    4. a group of literal deniers, mostly right-identifying plus a few confusing loonies, mostly denying because they have been bizarrely brainwashed by fringe media and Trump & friends and passionately believe whatever they are told.

    -----

    The differentiation into (1), (2), and (3) -- all of which acknowledge climate change -- has to do with a bunch of other aspects of personality and ideology. Loud annoying people, or those extremely aggrieved by the world (often rightfully) are (2)s. People who aren't really the type to change the world and mostly go about their business are (3)s. People who fancy themselves as movers and shakers and being generally ethical and motivated are (1)s.

    Critically, none of these groups are getting much of anything done, but (1)s and (2)s are probably doing the most. (1)s because they're actually kinda right -- technological progress will help (and a smug rich person buying a Tesla has the actually useful side effect of improving the economics of electric vehicles which actually is a miniscule benefit overall). (2)s because, despite being mostly toxic they keep the Overton Window pulled in the anti-corporation direction, which is important because...

    ... because the reason that none of these get anything done is because the truth of the matter is that everyone's comparatively living pretty rich and comfortable, and nothing really changes in jumps while everyone is rich and comfortable, as Americans mostly are (even poor Americans have iPhones...).

    Political willpower pretty much only comes from strife or money. There's no money in _really_ fixing climate change (well -- not enough!), but there's plenty of money in convincing people to buy things that feel like they're helping. There's a vague sense of strife but it's not that important because the economy's good. So nothing really happens. And it won't until a political party manages to really go to war with corporations and get widespread policy changes done of magnitude comparable to, say, the New Deal.

    No rush. It will happen itself when things get bad enough, and it won't happen until then, so why hurry?

    ^ just my model, but, I think it's a lot more accurate and less ideologically-tinted.

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  59. Thank you to the many (not all) people who managed to avoid rudeness in their comments. It made both the blog AND the comments useful reading.

    May I suggest that we all consider one additional stylistic step. Most of the commenters tend to ascribe both motive and/or intent to those on the other side. Just because you write it down does not make it so. I only know what another person says or does. I cannot know why they feel or write what they do. And it is irrelevant. This whole debate needs to stay as factual as possible. Dispute the facts of another person but please stop the rudeness and stop justifying your position by telling me how rotten the other person is inside.

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  60. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-zaQWAaPAg

    Tony Heller is a scientist who knows the history as is Dr. Patrick Moore. 400ppm does not cause climate change, nor does 7000 ppm. Real charts from the past history of the earth, via the ice core data and other proxies, show this. Water vapor is the thing that traps heat and it has been this way for a long long time. Look who is behind the "global warming scam."

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    1. Candis from Nor Cal
      You are correct that ice core samples from Greenland show gases other than just CO2 have a greater effect on atmospheric temperature. CO2 is increasing, but what about all the unrecyclable trash we are dumping on the earth and in the oceans.
      8 million tons of unrecyclable plastics dumped into our oceans each year and 429 shipping containers are shipped per day from the U.S. to countries that can't manage that flow of waste--mainly Asia.

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  61. I think you are living in the Seattle bubble and don't understand the larger context. Yes, ASP is a problem in Seattle and people crying the sky is falling get a lot of press attention. No, that is not what is stopping action on Climate Change.

    84% of Democrats want action on Climate Change, but only 27% of Republicans do. To acknowledge Climate Change as a Republican has become a litmus test that marks you as "anti-Trump" and the Koch brothers will shovel vast sums of money to get you kicked out of office. The polls from PEW
    https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/08/28/u-s-concern-about-climate-change-is-rising-but-mainly-among-democrats/

    Your view that Republicans in congress are working on this issue separate from Trump is really groundless. Almost all Republicans willing to work on the issue with Democrats have been primaried out of the party or voted out in favor of Democrats in recent elections. The bipartisan working group on Climate Change in congress has evaporated because no Republicans are willing to take part in it anymore:
    https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/11/midterms-2018-now-nobody-has-perfect-climate-strategy/575422/AC

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    1. Eric, You have this backwards. The problem here is that without some Republican support, nothing can happen at the Federal level. This issue has become anathema to Republicans largely as a reaction to the endless lies, scares, and exaggerations from some scientists and the massive industrial green activist media complex. They have concluded that they can't trust anything these people say and they are right.

      Blaming Republicans and skeptics is just hunting witches. Activists must be honest and scientifically accurate if they want to be taken seriously. This is not just a practical issue but a moral one. I for one believe that all predictions of impending doom have turned out to be badly wrong. The Green movement is responsible for many of them. Climate change will have consequences, but so far nowhere as serious as activists have claimed. And I believe that the changes will be manageable. It's not an existential threat.

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  62. Cliff - I love your weather blogs but this one I tend to disagree with for the following reason. IT is absolutely right that we will need technical innovation to solve the crisis we are in today. But if you look at market economics, the market does not favor some company for doing the right thing - they only favor companies that get the best money for investment. Without Govt intervention - either regulation or incentives , it is impossible for these upstarts from getting competitive enough to make a difference. The support that some of these alternate energy sector got earlier in the last administration helped them enough that they are a credible successor in Texas, Nevada etc. But without the public awareness and govt intervention this is not going to succeed.

    History has taught us that without the public awakening to the crisis of smog in LA, the clean air act would have never been passed. There is no incentive for Chrysler or Ford to have installed catalytic convertors to fix it - if they did, their stock would have tanked - govt intervention because of public uprising was a critical factor (

    See https://time.com/5681661/climate-change-ozone-history/)

    Similarly the real worry about skin cancer and ozone depletion helped raise the awareness to create the Montreal treaty that actually showed we can win with the technology changes. But as is now - it was a hard battle - See http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/sites/default/files/resources/globalwarming/skeptics-vs-ozone-hole.pdf - there was enough disinformation campaign going around to discredit the ozone hole etc. The reason it all flipped was when Dupont realized they can make more money with their new invention and hence it all changed.

    My only ask to you is to be neutral here - while I am supportive of you pushing back against alarmists on the left, I am dissapointed that I dont see the same reaction in your blogs to the other side which is discrediting all scientific reasoning and leading people (many of them in this blog) to think that adding so much of carbon dioxide and methane etc. are just fine.

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  63. I have been thinking that the issue goes deeper, to the meaning of "being a human". The thinking isn't fully formed, but here's a draft summary of a draft.

    There are at least two existential orientations, if you will.

    One is that of man expanding beyond all bounds, transforming environment to be more suitable to him. This expansion and transformation is legitimate and moral. Of course the welfare of other life may be part of the "suitability of the environment". From this orientation springs the technocratic environmentalism, supportive of technologies like nuclear power which empowers humans without unduly burdening the environment.

    The other orientation is towards unity with nature as it exists. Those on this side of this spectrum seek melding into nature, spiritually and physically. The way the nature has been is just, right and healthy. Thus oriented people suspect or abhor expansion. From these teleological foundations seeps the belief that technologies like GMO and nuclear are in some sense a perversion of nature.

    There is no right or wrong -- it's a value judgment -- but the sides will never agree because each argues towards a different goal. We should come to agreement on whether the technological civilization we enjoy is in fact the goal.

    We need agreement on the discount rate -- how many steps into the future do we think. In the 100 year run, if technical civilization is the goal, then engineering is the method, and nuclearization/electrification of the economy is clearly the way to preserve a livable climate. But to think with Amory Lovins, if the goal is harmonizing our lives with our inner nature over 1000s of years, will we do well and good with that power?

    It's an inchoate hypothesis, and I am no psychologist. There are testable predictions here, about correlations of support for various technologies, (big-five) personality traits, voting behavior, ACT vs ASP, and lifestyle choices.

    But in my conversations, I find it useful to first find out where the interlocutor stands on this spectrum. It helps avoid unproductive arguments about means when goals are unclear.

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    1. Dear Singliar,

      I appreciate your thoughtful perspective. Please consider this quote from Aldo Leopold. He said something to the effect: "The intelligent tinkerer saves all the parts." We as humans are not separate from nature yet we have, for thousands of years, been extirpating countless species at an extreme rate. You say there is no right or wrong. I maintain that preserving diversity of life is the "right way" because in diversity there is stability which will benefit humans as well as th erest of the planet. Thanks for listening.

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    2. Paul - thanks for a civil response.

      That "no right or wrong" wording comment is perhaps not as careful as it should be. Though I am more an engineer in favor of expanding humanity's powers, I definitely recognize that the human race connect to the biosphere in a myriad different ways. The well being of all life is important.

      My post intends to stimulate thinking about whether integrity of all life is the primary value, or (the most) important means to the well being of mankind. I think understanding the basic values of others will more often than not clear up and sweeten the discussion about environmental preservation.

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  64. I am curious as to the results of the ACT groups scientific research on how to combat global warming. The ASP side of the debate has numerous sites that seem to dominate the argument. Where is the research? Where is the think tank that is going to save us?

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  65. Hi Cliff,

    Thanks for your contributions to this dialogue. I very much appreciate and enjoy them and I've learned a lot not only here, but in your weekly interviews on NPR. But... taking your comments here at face value (particularly your classification of groups) it would follow directly that;

    1) Cleantech Alliance and 350-Seattle alone, respectively, comprise a robust and entirely representative sample of the thoughts, values, and mindsets of virtually every member of the human race who holds any right or left-leaning views on any climate-related topic--to the total and complete exclusion of any other examples, and without a single exception of any conceivable kind whatsoever.

    2) There's no such thing as climate denial or climate astroturfing, and at no time in recorded human history has anyone on the political right ever supported, endorsed, funded, or contributed to either in any conceivable way whatsoever.

    3) There's no such thing as a conservative with any sort of political agenda, or whose views are any more than *slightly* to the right of center.

    4) There's no such thing as a conservative who's views are influenced by fear, self-interest, disinformation, or virtually any conceivable motive whatsoever other than science, reason, hope, and selfless altruism.

    Likewise,

    5) No one on the "political left" has ever ever endorsed, supported, funded, or contributed to any constructive climate mitigation proposal in any conceivable way whatsoever at any time in recorded human history.

    6) There's no such thing as climate-related disinformation or resistance to constructive mitigation proposals that isn't due entirely to the "political left."

    7) There's no such thing as a person with left-leaning views whose motivated by virtually anything *other* than hysteria, self-righteousness, and scientific illiteracy.

    8) Per 7), the IPCC is an extreme leftist/anarchist propaganda front, not a scientific community. No scientist has ever participated in any of its efforts, and peer-reviewed science has never informed any Working Group I, II, or III reports, policymaker summaries, or proposals in any conceivable way whatsoever.

    With all due respect, it's one thing to suggest that many on the political left are being more a part of the problem than the solution. I imagine most folks would agree with that to some extent, me included. But beyond that, are you seriously asking us to accept any of the above eight claims, much less all of them?

    [To wit per claim 2), read the comment immediately preceeding this one, and the one by Placeholder half a dozen or so back...]

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    1. Cliff, by the time my comment above was approved, other comments had posted. The post I referred to as immediately preceding mine was the one by Candis from Nor Call (October 21, 2019 at 11:10 AM).

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  66. The way I see it, emotions help raise raise awareness, but it's data that drives solutions.

    We've got an emotionally charged side and a data driven side. They should be working together, not working against each other.

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  67. As long as the ACT folks attract the research funding, the other guys can attract all the attention.

    Even if fossil fuel use was not altering the environment, its still a finite resource that we need to move past as a logical next step in evolution. We all need to get real that no matter how loud the zealots are, things are not changing much any time soon . The HARD truths about what will slow climate change on a human level are things that are non-starters.

    1) Have less babies.
    2) Don't take vacations or if you do, don't use air travel for leisure.
    3) No meat, especially red meat.
    4) No driving. Even hybrids and electrics have ugly amounts of embodied energy.
    5) Significantly less usage of steel and concrete (as in almost none).
    6) And of course switch to clean energy while using far less energy in general.

    So basically curbing population, emissions, not building anything and anything that has embodied energy that is unsatisfactory needs to go. Then it MIGHT just prevent a perceived apocalypse.

    Yup. Wish all the luck on that. That doesn't mean we can't push new tech and be cognizant of how our social economical status quo might impact future generations. Its going to be best to figure out how to deal with the consequences of our actions as a species as opposed to denying them or muddling them in emotional baggage.

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    1. "1) Have less babies."

      In my opinion, that makes no sense. People in the past used to have huge families and yet nobody talked of impending doom. Does anybody see the contradiction? Socialism is based on young people going to work to support social programs and the elderly. Now, the same people who support socialism and raising taxes to pay for social programs advocate to reduce the young population. That is not sustainable!

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  68. Extreme air conditioning needed and supplied: fact or extremist waily-waily leftie alarm ? https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/world/climate-environment/climate-change-qatar-air-conditioning-outdoors/?utm_source=pocket-newtab

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  69. Interesting to see the lines of attack from both sides in this thread. Cliff is parrying attacks from pretty much all sides, so I guess he's offended everyone equally, which is as close to objective in today's political "climate" as you're going to get!

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    1. When you stand in the middle of the road, as a "lukewarmer", you get run over by traffic from both sides !

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  70. Cliff Mass, this is not the "real debate". I know Bill Bryant and Benji Backer, I like them both and can vouch that they are sincere environmentalists, but they do not represent the alternative side of the climate debate at all. They are on the green fringe of the republican party, and are not driving this dialogue at the state or national level. The real debate in Congress, Olympia or the Board rooms of the major corporations or utilities that define energy policy in this state and country is whether to do some significant things now to curb global warming versus don't do significant things. In your rehashing 732 (you lost) versus 1631 (they lost) you seem to miss the fact that there is a super well-funded international effort underway to thwart any action on reducing fossil fuel consumption, and that effort is completely tangled up with right wing talking points and positions on a number of hot button issues, and that effort is being advanced by entities from major U.S. and international energy companies to FOX News to the Russian, Saudi and UAE governments. These interests were no more interested in seeing I732 passed than they were interested in seeing I1631 pass here in Washington state, and would have spent ANY AMOUNT of money to see them fail. The point of the ongoing global campaign to rescue fossil fuels from efforts to move away from them here in the US is to pollute the public discourse on climate and conflate the issue with abortion, gun control, immigration and other deeply polarizing issues. There is a very good reason why the advocates for action on climate change are so desperate. It because we keep not doing anything significant about it. At the federal level, the Obama administration put their thumb on the scale in favor of alternative energy development, and it had a huge positive impact in lowering costs. The current administration has unwound all of those efforts as fast as they can, and opened the flood gates to unbridled fossil fuel production and even export. The issue is urgent, and we as a state, country and global community need to start acting like it.

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    1. Isn't it funny how most don't want to talk about the Millions of dollars paid out by Oil companies to fight any reduction in the use of fossil fuels? This is why change isn't happening, not because of some "debate" between scientists and 16 year olds asking for change.
      Like you said, it right wing talking points, as we see in these comments and huge amounts of effort by huge industries.

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    2. Michael.... that was 20 years ago. Anyway, I don't think they had much impact. Can you imagine how ineffective they were? All that money and pretty much everyone has known about the serious nature of global warming for 30 years. The media has been talking about it for decades. These all companies clearly are no good at suppressing information..cliff

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    3. "All that money and pretty much everyone has known about the serious nature of global warming for 30 years."

      TRANSLATION

      "All those research grants and all those group-thinking academics have 'known' because it is in their interest to 'know' ... "

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  71. If Republicans really cared about climate, they would have called out President Trump on Paris and California emissions. Just sayin'.

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    1. The Paris agreement was phony baloney. Signed by 'scientists' who didn't know squat about climate. They were geologists,animal specialists,plant specialists.etc all agreed and the press called it "Science settled". No it's NOT settled!

      In Portland and later the rest of Oregon they tried to make it so you would be taxed on how far you drive and you pay more at the pump if you drove more then 3 miles. They had measurement systems in place that for vehicles newer then 2005 the blackbox would record and send an infrared signal to these cameras that would bill you.

      Portland has these installed but not switched on due to no approval which is why they have tried to revive the bill again and again they did it last year and the truckers and eventually most of the politicians and state troopers walked off their jobs and went to Washington to hide out. Even under threat of lawsuits. It created some controversy of walk outs and if that was the appropriate response or not.

      I think for what Kate Brown was doing they had no other choice she wouldn't listen and threatened martial law and the use of force to drag these people back. She is such a well I can't say it on here or the comment won't get approved.

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  72. Cliff, you da man!
    I read the whole comments while looking out at soggy Haro strait. Weather sucks but conversations very good from everyone. Thanks

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  73. Until the voting public is asked to make serious personal and economic sacrifice in the name of fighting climate change, public debate over the validity of today's mainstream climate science will not reach a critical mass -- especially the public debate over predictions of disastrous consequences should our GHG emissions not be quickly reduced.

    Repeating what I've been saying for some time now here on Cliff's blog, America's carbon emissions can't be reduced nearly as quickly as climate activists demand except through the coercive power of strictly enforced government regulation -- up to and including government imposed rationing of all carbon fuels.

    The steep GHG reductions climate activists now demand can be achieved only if the federal government creates an artificial shortage of carbon fuels by imposing a state of Virtual Peak Oil on the economy. That is to say, by artificially making all carbon fuels as scarce and expensive today as they will be in a hundred years time.

    If current polls are to be believed, it is likely Donald Trump will be defeated in the 2020 election and control of the Senate will pass into the hands of the Democrats. What actions will the Democrats be taking on climate change issues once they are back in full control of the federal government?

    If past history is any guide, it is unlikely the Democrats in Congress will enact a stiff tax on carbon, even one that is revenue neutral. It is just as unlikely the Congress will acknowledge the need for a government-enforced carbon fuel rationing program if their massive spending on Green New Deal programs isn't achieving their carbon reduction targets.

    So the question arises, is new legislation from the Congress needed to pursue a highly aggressive, nationally-enforced anti-carbon policy based on strict enforcement of the Clean Air Act, combined with a provisional plan for carbon fuel rationing should carbon pricing not prove effective?

    The answer to that questions is no. Not another word of new legislation is needed from Congress to begin the process of greatly reducing America's GHG emissions as far and as fast as climate change activists claim is necessary. All the authorities needed to move quickly forward are already vested in the Executive Branch through the Clean Air Act and through existing national security legislation.

    The EPA has full authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate all sources of America's carbon emissions, not just those associated with coal.

    Furthermore, the Supreme Court has ruled that the process used by the EPA in 2009 to determine that CO2 is a pollutant was properly followed. The legal foundation needed to impose aggressive across-the-board regulation of all major sources of America’s carbon emissions remains in place awaiting the appearance of a president willing to use it.

    And if carbon pricing, combined with massive new spending on green energy projects, doesn't prove to be fully effective, a provisional system for imposing direct government control over the production and distribution of all carbon fuels will be necessary.

    This topic is discussed in further detail in a previous comment made on another thread:

    https://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2019/10/the-university-of-washington-should-not.html?showComment=1570049715325#c2624458247004961952

    A detailed action plan and schedule for reducing America’s carbon emissions 80% by 2050, the Supply Side Carbon Emission Control Plan (SSCECP), is presented here:

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/09/26/bloomberg-climate-funny-lets-hope-china-will-follow-the-moral-example-of-the-u-s/#comment-2806817

    The action plan and schedule assume that a Democrat is elected president in 2020 and then moves forward with all deliberate speed in early 2021 pushing an aggressive GHG reduction policy for the country.

    -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

    Full Disclosure: I post as 'Beta Blocker' on WUWT and on Judith Curry's blog. I work in the nuclear industry.

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  74. Anthropogenic global warming or not, we need to find alternative sources of energy because sooner or later we will run out of fossil fuels. And this is likely to happen this or next century. What is the alternative? Wind, solar, thorium? Innovation is key.

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  75. IPCC says humans have 12 years to act. Scientists have known about the CO2 problem for over 40 years. 2018 humans dumped a record amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. While I agree that we should look to sane, evidence based solutions, these truths about the dismal effort to curb this problem makes people very nervous. Especially those of us who work with the generations who will need to tackle this problem. Short-sighted article. Climate change is a huge problem and so far we have done very little about it. I'm thankful for those who have called attention to this issue finally.

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    1. Which IPCC report says this? I have read a fair bit of these and don't know where the 12 year time frame comes from.

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  76. Cliff, this straw man you've constructed here is disappointing and wouldn't pass muster in a 9th grade forensics class. I like it better when you write about the rain and the wind. Also, beware the technological solution. It is not the acquisition of energy and technology that is the problem, but the dissipation of the wastes associated with that acquisition.

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    1. A liberal 9th grade class that's rigged. You bet your bottom dollar! Cliff did a good job! He finally broke the mold. If you don't like it don't read! Go back to Reddit and scream about Trump. I think they are missing ya!

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    2. When you are driving an electric truck someday and there are still salmon in our waters to catch and eat, you will look back and wonder why you cared so much about making this point.

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    3. Say Jacques? I drive an electric car. What do you drive?

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  77. The "debate" reminds me of Reagan's famous quip that "sometimes the right hand doesn't know what the far-right hand is doing." In substance, I see little underlying difference between the leftists "solutions" proposed by Cliff and those proposed by his far-left opponents: They both want to raise the cost of energy, and the working middle class be damned.

    The difference is stylistic. Like Reagan, Cliff wants to slap a smiley-face sticker on the agenda. His far-left hand wants to do it with a puritanical scowl. But the goals are the same.

    If the scientific method were at play, the AGW (anthropogenic global warming) hypothesis would have been discarded a long time ago for failure to meet its own predictive tests about the effect of rising CO2 levels on global temperatures. Instead, we see an increasingly desperate clinging to the favored hypothesis, even though it's not valid on its face.

    The Original Sin here was to disregard T.C. Chamberlin's Masterwork, "A Method of Multiple Working Hypotheses." The academic establishment coalesced around AGW too quickly, and has backed itself into a corner in its defense. Research grants and academic sinecures are at stake; the consequences of an admission of error would be too great.

    http://www.gly.uga.edu/railsback/railsback_chamberlin.html

    The statistical basis for the IPCC's reports was utterly demolished several years back by Douglas Keenan, the prominent and peer-reviewed statistician who, among other things, blew the whistle on the conspiracy to manipulate the world's benchmark interest rate, the London Interbank Offering Rate. As a consequence, banks had to cough up billions in ill-gotten gains, and executives went to prison.

    https://www.informath.org/AR5stat.pdf

    The AGW "consensus" of 97%? Disproven a long time ago, yet still repeated.

    http://fabiusmaximus.com/2015/07/29/new-study-undercuts-ipcc-keynote-finding-87796/

    And what about "consensus" anyway? Right here in Washington State, we have the answer in the form of Harlan Bretz, the lone geologist who shattered the prior consensus behind "uniformitarianism," the idea that all major geological features on the planet were formed over millions of years. Bretz, fighting a lonely battle for decades, eventually prevailed in his belief that the scablands of Eastern Washington were formed by a series of catastrophic floods at the end of the last Ice Age.

    Bretz's struggle should be a cautionary example that a "consensus" is not infallible, and that academia has a strong pull toward groupthink. It's not the only example. Others would include the fallacy that dietary fat causes obesity and heart disease, and that ocean waves taller than 65 feet occur only once every 10,000 years. Those beliefs, the former which is still widespread, have been responsible for all kinds of mayhem and loss.

    http://www.detectingdesign.com/harlenbretz.html

    I have vociferously defended Cliff Mass in his battle against the Red Guards at his university, but not his adherence to the invalid AGW hypothesis. Because he's not a drooling nutcase, and out of respect for his preeminence in his chosen field, I'd be interested in any book he'd write about AGW. I would expect it to display the same combination of rigor and readability that made his masterwork, "The Weather of the Pacific Northwest," the UW's best-selling book of any kind.

    What will it take for Cliff and others to re-examine the basis of the failed AGW hypothesis? I give him credit for refraining from the insults flung by that far left-hand, but that credit only goes so far. He needs to forthrightly, and in detail, take a fresh look at the AGW hypothesis that holds him and the academic, media, and political establishment in thrall to a failed idea.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When you add a greenhouse gas to the atmosphere, it traps heat. It's basic physics.

      Delete
    2. Dear Placeholder, You are very energetic in your collection of contrary tidbits. That does not however validate any of your opinions in the context of the volumes of data collected and papers published on the subject of Human-caused increases in green house gases and their inevitable contribution to a significantly hotter earth. Your essay above misses entirely how modern science works. Every single oceanographer, climate modeler, meteorologist, geologist and zoologist I know understand the basic physics of human induced climate change and can game out in various levels of detail the ecological consequences of those changes. For example, a hotter and more acidic Pacific ocean equals no more Pacific salmon. Similarly, the publications I have read on numerous subjects related to the topic of climate change in peer refereed technical journals are consistent with the concept that increased CO2, methane and other greenhouse in the atmosphere and ocean will heat the planet and have major ecological consequences, including affecting things important to people, like crop nutritional content and yield.

      Your reference to Fabius Maximus website completely and conveniently sidesteps the real point of the 97% number. 97% of the science community agrees that human produced green hose gases WILL result in significant climate change, not that it HAS already resulted in measurable changes to the climate. In fact, if the group in the Netherlands were to repeat their 2012 study you cite in 2020, given what has happened in terms of global temperature and climate anomalies just in the last decade, I would wager you that the percentage of the international science community that report belief that human induced climate change has ALREADY resulted in measurable increases in global temperature, reductions in Arctic ice retreat, and disrupted weather patterns would be much higher than in the original study.

      Before putting out such extraordinarily contrary claims to the science mainstream and expecting people to take you seriously, you might consider at least posting under your real name.

      Delete
    3. From MIT: How Earth Sheds heat and why there can't be a "Green House Effect" until much higher temperatures. Bottom line, the simplistic view of a Greenhouse at human scale is not sophisticated enough to encapsulate all the climate effects of a 26,000 mi circumference planet with an atmosphere like Earth.

      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/09/24/mit-climate-tipping-point-busted-globe-needs-to-reach-152f-before-runaway-greenhouse-effect-kicks-in/

      An Empirical review of the latest data on temperature and CO2. Bottom line, empirically the Greenhouse hypothesis does not match the increase in CO2 emissions.
      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/11/08/an-empirical-review-of-recent-trends-in-the-greenhouse-effect/

      97 Articles refuting the 97% Consensus.
      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/12/19/97-articles-refuting-the-97-consensus-on-global-warming/

      Delete
    4. Jacque Whites says... A hotter and more acidic ocean...hmmmm what is the cause of acidity in the ocean? If it's carbon dioxide in the carbonate equilibrium, there will be less dissolved gas as the temperature rises, right?

      Delete
    5. Jeff B- Dead wrong buddy. There Greenhouse effect was in effect long before humans got here. Without Co2 in our atmosphere the temp would be much lower. Add more CO2 and the temp goes up even more. Again this is basic science.

      Delete
    6. Michael - Read the links buddy. Yes, there is a greenhouse effect. But it is primarily driven by water vapor, and has not accelerated as predicted by GCMs, even as CO2 has risen with increased industrialization, and is not a danger to humans. Humans are far better off with a warmer climate than a cooler one.

      Delete
    7. JeffB -

      The first article: The venus assumption. The argument the article makes assumes that "tipping point" hypotheses are associated with a "runaway greenhouse effect" due to water vapor accumulation. The positive feedback loops associated with climate change are a different phenomena associated with albedo, methane release, ect, that make reversing climate change very difficult.

      The second link: The argument is entirely based on the assumption that no warming has occurred since 1997. This is false. https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/201907

      The third: 97 "articles." There are not 97 articles cited, there are 3, the first 2 are the same article, which is refuted here:
      (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421514003747). Here is the accused response to the 3rd article. https://skepticalscience.com/New-paper-agnotology-scientific-consensus.html.

      Blogs are bad at science, and Watts is a blogger with no scientific credentials and a clear ax to grind.

      The science is very clear. Global climate change is occuring, and it has a significant anthropogenic component.

      Delete
    8. So now you and your co-religionists say "the science is clear." I guess even your kind figured out that "the science is settled" was a lie too far.

      Delete
    9. Colin,
      Looks like 97 to me. Maybe your method of counting is different? https://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/12/19/97-articles-refuting-the-97-consensus-on-global-warming/

      Just because information is on a blog does not have any relevance at all. Most organizations have blogs. Why do you distrust blogs? The other site you quote is also a blog, so doesn't that make it also "bad at science?" In fact, you are reading this on Cliff Mass's blog right now. Maybe it would help you if you stopped coming to this site since you distrust blogs. Then you wouldn't have to come across something with which you disagree.

      Also on WUWT, there are a large number of credentialed scientists who post there regularly. Do you only trust scientists with whom you agree? That's not how science works.

      Delete
    10. That's right: When you're a religious fanatic, any source that disputes your doctrine has "no credentials." The reasoning, such as it is, winds up being circular. To be a Seattle "progressive" is to have your mind snapped shut.

      Delete
    11. JeffB,
      The blog post says "97 articles." There are not 97 articles cited. There are 97 instances of "coverage," including many posts from the biased blog that cites them. There are precisely 3 peer reviewed journal articles. Peer reviewed publications are the foundation of scientific knowledge, they can be wrong, and controversial, which is why they are public, and peer reviewed. They are also countered at the links I provided.

      Source is very relevant. Do you really think a blog post that isnt peer reviewed has the same scientific authority as a peer reviewed scientific publication in a journal? That is absurd.

      One of the sources I cite is a blog, and it was written by the author of the journal article that was criticized in two of the three actual journal articles cited in your blog. It provides a more accessible explanation than a journal article thats behind a pay wall.

      Delete
    12. WUWT is not peer reviewed. I am very skeptical of science that isnt peer reviewed.

      Delete
  78. This blog post and commentary is fascinating. How can anyone believe the science is irrefutable? That the consensus is iron-clad? There are as many opinions as there are people who comment. Hopefully people will recognize that and quit beating the hell out of each other on the way to better science and technology to reduce man's contribution to air pollution and development of long-term alternative energy technologies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is no such thing as irrefutable science. There is no such thing as scientific consensus.
      https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/09/the_tyranny_of_consensus_.html

      Delete
  79. You Americans can keep debating your guns and climate.

    The by default leader of the free world ( Canada ) just renewed our commitment to a national Carbon Tax from sea to shining sea.

    Any time you guys want to take the title back, just show it

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You've got your Trudeau and we got you Trumped










      You've got your Trudeau and we've got you Trumped!



      Delete
    2. I view Trudeau as a glorified state governor. It makes him easier to take, given how many nutcases have held governorships in the United States. If we looked hard enough, we'd probably even find a few ex-ski bums with famous names. LOL.

      Delete
  80. Cliff, you parrot a neutral scientific approach, yet you use divisive and dismissive and hypocritical language; you're sensationalizing a viewpoint you disagree with by cherrypicking a few misguided and extreme perspectives.

    There IS an existential threat to society as we know it. Probably not to humanity; our resilience is such that some humans will find a way to eek out a living somewhere, but that doesnt mean there isnt an existential threat to our way of life.

    Do I think that mankind is doomed in 12 years? NO, of COURSE not. That is ridiculous, and I dont know anybody who believes that despite being emotionally invested in this cause, and I know A LOT of people who are. You're wrong. There IS very real scientifically defensible threat of positive feedback loops that could throw the global climate into disarray with very real very major consequences for ecosystems, fisheries, agriculture, and major climate crises, with millions of displaced people, wars, economic collapse. Some of these consequences may be happening already, like the collapse of salmon populations. Can we prove this is due to climate change? No. There isnt enough data, and too many confounding variables. BUT, we do know that if it isnt happening now it WILL if things dont change. Do we need 20 years of data to show that it is? What if those 20 years are vital to reversing what we already know what needs to be done, but we are just too "optimistic" to do anything before the data is available?

    You're certainly very optimistic, but you have not provided a very convincing argument as to why, and certainly no data. You have a lot of faith in future technologies that havent been discovered yet. As an aging boomer in the evening of your life, perhaps you can afford to be so optimistic, but with the unhinged exploitative economy I've exclusively witnessed in my life, I have very little optimism that the oligarchy will do whats necessary to stave off a disaster for most of us, let alone the millions of inevitable climate refugees in less fortunate parts of the world.

    I respect a lot of what you have to say about climate change, and I appreciate your attempts at scientific objectivity on the subject, but this is a very poor example of one.

    ReplyDelete
  81. If we here in the USA do everything perfectly, will it make a difference?

    If not, if China and Africa and India are going to take us down the path, should we focus on technology that adapts to the changed climate, rather than attempting to stop the inevitable? This is an important question because if we cannot stop this (due to other humans, or because it is not just humans, but cyclical), then we must focus on adapting, not stopping the tsunami.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We can stop it. We can reverse it. It might be difficult to persuade other countries to do so, but it will be completely impossible if we dont. More than any nation on Earth, the United States has more influence do make changes than any other, if we lead, and if we use our influence to persuade changes in others.

      We must focus on both. Mitigating and adapting. Its not one or the other. We are already past the point where impacts are inevitable.

      Delete
    2. We cannot stop other countries from dumping their plastic and toxic waste. Name one country that we got to stop violating human rights...just one...Iraq? That took an invasion.

      Unless you are willing to go to war and have troops all across the earth, you will not influence 90% of the people. You may HOPE...but HOPE is NOT A PLAN. It is not completely impossible. It seems more likely to me that we will be able to adapt (we are good a that), than us controlling all the people on earth (we are historically really bad at that).

      Delete
    3. We actually can. We influence other countries decisions all the time, and we dont need military power. We have a lot of soft power to drive foreign policy, thats why there is a State Department. I also dont know why you're using human rights as an example. If theres one thing that the United States doesnt utilize it's influence for its human rights. The invasion of Iraq, despite what the Bush administration said, had nothing to do with human rights.

      I think there can be a plan. I'm not a diplomat or expert on foreign policy and the utilization of economic and soft power, but as the climate changes, and as more effects are felt, and as economic systems encourage mitigation, it can happen.

      The idea that someone else is doing it so there's no reason for us to change is a horrible way to make policy.

      Adapt, but do our best to pursue more effective solutions.

      Delete
  82. A few more questions:

    Do we know for certain that global warming will be detrimental to mankind as a whole? Certainly it will be detrimental to some, especially the rich along the coasts, but when we look at mankind as a whole, do we really know? We assume that change is bad, we all want it to stay the same, but our life spans are myopic in the face of global epochs.

    Assuming global warming is man made, detrimental, and that we can make changes to stop or slow the warming, are those changes worse than doing nothing?

    To simply assume, "We must make any change possible!" Shows a lack of intellectual honesty and analytical thinking. The cure must be better than the disease. When we are discussing with religious fanatics like the ASP folks, they won't even engage in economic thinking.

    The follow up question is whether to proceed with the changes if the cure is worse than the disease. I get the sense that the ASP crowd would choose a degree of temperature over a billion people. I mean, it is the judgement of their religion, so it must be just?


    I WANT to have a real and honest discussion about this, but it is hard to have that conversation with people ruled by fear and religious fervor about climate change.

    ReplyDelete
  83. Jacques White, the only reason I used Fabius Maximus is because the WSJ article that debunked the 97% lie is behind a paywall.

    There is no evidence that human activity has increased global temperatures. But you NEED to believe, so you will deny facts of any kind -- including the fact that your religion's predictions have not come true. If this was actually about science, your faith-based doctrine would have been tossed on the scrap heap a long time ago.

    You don't "take me seriously" because you are an irrational believer. If there was evidence for human activity having a material effect on global climate, I'd accept it because -- unlike you -- I look at facts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jacques White and others, what's the harm in reading? You might learn something new.

      97 Articles refuting the 97% Consensus.
      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/12/19/97-articles-refuting-the-97-consensus-on-global-warming/

      Delete
    2. “Placeholder”. I am not a “believer”. I was trained as a biological oceanographer and have carried out research projects on all three U.S. coasts and in the Pacific Ocean in both the northern and southern hemispheres tracking carbon into and out of the ocean surface to calibrate climate models. This work was funded by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy under both Republican and Democratic administrations. I now work on an international research project between the U.S. and Canada to understand why salmon and steelhead are dying at high rates in our shared marine waters.

      I have reviewed a lot of scientific findings over the last 30 years and all of it points to a deeply altered climate as the result of anthropogenic CO2 release if it continues unabated. Exxon scientists in the 1970s came to the very same conclusion and brought it to their managers. The societal problems associated with historic and continued release will accelerate in coming decades. For salmon, we are already seeing impacts on productivity from a changing climate. Higher freshwater and marine temperatures, altered freshwater flows, changes in seasonality and composition of plankton and forage fish. This presents a significant challenge for effort to recover these resources and support fisheries in the future.

      If you were on a train headed downhill with no brakes and no off ramp and you knew there was a cliff waiting for you three miles ahead, you would either empty the bar and party like it is the end, or you would asses the situation and come up with plan B. We need a plan B on global energy use and CO2 release right now.

      Delete
    3. Jacques, what is the optimal freshwater temperature? Optimal Salmon flow? Optimal plankton bloom? How do we know it is optimal as opposed to some point in the more distant past or future? That's a big problem with Climate Alarmism, assumptions about optimal temperatures and conditions. Even though we know the only constant is change.

      Delete
    4. Ah, an oceanographer. Your "consensus" prior to the late 1990s was that ocean waves taller than 65 feet were a once in 10,000 year phenomenon. This disregarded centuries worth of physical evidence and reliable reports. Only after the QE2 pulled into Boston Harbor in 1996 with damage from a 96-foot wave were you people forced to acknowledge the truth.

      So you will forgive me if I am less than awed by your stated background. Yes, Jacques, you are a believer. There is a mountain of evidence against your latest doctrine, AGW. You and your co-religionists refuse to acknowledge it because to do so would be to disrupt your groupthink and the research grants and sinecures that depend on it.

      Delete
    5. From Jacque, a biological oceanographer,

      F"example, a hotter and more acidic Pacific ocean equals no more Pacific salmon."

      Please explain how a hotter ocean is going to be more acidic?
      Thank you.

      Delete
    6. Here is the AAAS statement on climate change. I suggest others look at this and decide for yourselves who you trust, “Placeholder” who cannot bring themselves to post here under their own name, or the American Academy for the Advancement of Science. https://www.aaas.org/resources/aaas-reaffirms-statement-climate-change

      Delete
    7. Hi Jacque, there is no date on that statement.
      Would you please answer my query on the reasons for a hotter ocean being more acidic?
      Thank you.

      Delete
    8. Hi Caroline, the statement is from the AAAS website and kept up to date. You can consider the effective date from the Association’s perspective as the day you click on the link and read it.

      On ocean acidification, it goes hand in hand with increased atmospheric CO2 concentration and resulting increases in global temperatures. Here is an excellent overview of ocean acidification which is measurable and unfortunately already underway.

      https://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/What+is+Ocean+Acidification%3F

      Delete
    9. So Jaccques, have you gone after your co-religionists who don't publish their full names? Of course not. So that's not the issue here. The issue is that you cannot come up with an actual reply to me, so you resort to deflections and personal attacks. Very Seattle, and so "progressive."

      Delete
    10. “Placeholder”, it is an issue of credibility. You are making claims that are way, way outside of the scientific mainstream in order to cast doubt on scientific findings and models of future climate conditions that are extremely inconvenient for the fossil fuel industry. If you have as much integrity as you claim for the science you are advancing, then own it. Otherwise we can just consider you a phony troll for oil and gas.

      Delete
    11. Jacques, you don't have any real standards. You whine about my having a pseudonym, but not about your co-fanatics having pseudonyms. You call me a "phony troll for oil and gas," even though I drive an electric car. You claim that you are a "biological oceanographer," but cannot rationally discuss the failure of oceanographic consensus regarding rogue waves.

      If you are looking for a phony, find the nearest mirror.

      Delete
    12. Jacques, so post using a computer assembled by happy Chinese slaves and shipped here on a diesel-powered boat. For the moment, I assume that you drive a gas- or diesel-powered vehicle, and take airplane rides. How do you heat your dwelling?

      Have you given up products and food that are mined, manufactured, mechanically cultivated and harvested, delivered by air, truck, ship, or rail, and cooked, preserved, or refrigerated? Have you abandoned your appliances?

      No? Well then please tell all of us about being a "phony troll for oil and gas." The combination of self-righteousness, hypocrisy, and hostility emanating from the prototypical Seattle "progressive" is a thing to behold.

      Delete
  84. Whether or not climate change is real (and I certainly believe it is) no one, whether on the side of the technocrats or that of the ASPs, seems to talk about another vital factor - population control. With world population moving rapidly toward 9 billion, more and more CO2 will be spewed into the air and oceans. Conservatives in the U.S. are still trying to ban legal abortion, and conservative Catholics would like to do away with birth control, and a drier globe cannot feed everyone.
    While Dr. Mass postulates "a relatively simple solution", I don't see policy makers and politicians funding solutions, except in the Scandinavian countries. I see no reason not to embrace both sides; the ASPs aren't hindering technocrats from creating solutions, as far as I can see. But windmills aren't being manufactured fast enough for the rapid increase in population. One physicist has postulated that humans surviving past 2100 will be a 50/50 chance. One way or another, Mother Earth will regain her equilibrium, even if only cockroaches are left.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And population control rears its ugly, nasty head again. I always wonder about people for population control...they want people to not exist, but those people are always not their families or themselves. Population control is inherently racist and nationalistic. Always.

      Delete
  85. What about using algae to sequester CO2 and produce carbon fibers?

    https://phys.org/news/2018-11-algae-sustainably-carbon-dioxide-atmosphere.html

    ReplyDelete
  86. In a reply to my long post above concerning how an 80% reduction in America's carbon emissions can be achieved by 2050 using a program I label as the Supply Side Carbon Emission Control Plan (SSCECP), Jacques White says simply: "Carbon Tax."

    The inconvenient truth about carbon fuels is that they are highly convenient. They mobilize an American society which depends on everyone being highly mobile for their personal happiness and continued economic success.

    A good way to gain an appreciation for just how convenient carbon fuels are for the average American consumer is to spend an afternoon driving around the streets, the highways, and the byways located in a two-mile radius around Sea-Tac Airport.

    What you will see on that afternoon drive are jet airliners landing and taking off every other minute or so. On congested air traffic days, you may see other jet airliners flying around in a holding pattern waiting for clearance to land.

    You will see big box stores, motels, and shopping malls in every direction. Each with a big parking lot. You will see many thousands of cars and trucks -- most with only the driver aboard -- headed east, west, south, and north on I-5, Highway 518, and I-405. You will see lots of medium and small shops and stores which depend on easy access by automobile to remain in business.

    If the goal is to achieve an 80% reduction in America's carbon emissions by 2050, some combination of carbon pricing, the Green New Deal, and technology advancement won't get us there. Probably not even close.

    Strictly-enforced energy conservation measures will become necessary, including almost universal acceptance of the significant life style changes which will be part and parcel of those conservation measures.

    Assuming a Democrat is elected president in 2020 and in early 2021 commits America to reaching an 80% reduction in our GHG emissions by 2050, then at some point in the early to mid-2030's, it will become necessary to begin placing increasingly more restrictions on the import, production, and distribution of all carbon fuels.

    To put it bluntly, it must be a program of government enforced fuel rationing.

    Rather than nationalizing the oil and gas industry, the better approach is to enlist private sector energy corporations as contracted agents in managing the government's energy rationing and conservation programs. Guarantees of a steady and healthy rate of return from the sale of all carbon fuels produced by those private corporations will be necessary, thus incentivizing their participation in the government's energy rationing scheme.

    Spend all the money you want to on the Green New Deal, it won't deliver. Artificially-imposed high prices for all carbon fuels, plus an artificially produced scarcity of supply, are the most effective means by far we have for accelerating development of alternative energy resources and for incentivizing the strictly-enforced energy conservation measures needed to reach that 80% by 2050 target goal.

    ------------

    Full Disclosure: I post as 'Beta Blocker' on the WUWT and Judith Curry blogs. I've spent thirty-five years in nuclear construction and operations. The bulk of my lifetime occupational exposure has come from beta-gamma sources of radiation, hence the choice of Beta Blocker as my internet handle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "To put it bluntly, it must be a program of government enforced fuel rationing."

      If you care, that statement is the obvious truth of all the rhetoric and posturing. This guy tells the truth. In that one sentence he has described how the entire debate essentially comes down to a religious type argument.

      The very nature of our society is at stake. The rich will always have their lifestyles. They have had comfort and freedom of movement since the Pharaohs. The question is what sort of freedoms are left for the masses? The innovation of the twentieth century was the end of serfdom and other forms of slavery that tied people to a certain piece of land and occupation. The high point was celebrated in the somewhat derisive term YUPPY. Young Upwardly mobile Professional. The key part is that they were mobile. Mobile in geography, economics, social status, everything.

      The price paid by the revolutionaries of the late 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries grew fruit in Europe and America and parts of Asia in the form of people that could make choices and live like the kings of old, yet they were normal people.

      The previous system, which demanded fealty to a King or a Lord to secure your food and shelter and survival, created slaves in fact (if not in name). If that is the choice, if the choice is slavery or survival, then I am like Patrick Henry, "Give me Liberty or Give me Death."

      I say this not to change anyone's mind, but because it is important that people on both sides of this issue see the perspective of the other. The reason that everyone thinks the other side is crazy or stupid is because we are arguing two different values. This is a core difference between what has so crassly been termed right and left in America. The left argues that not dying is most important because if you are dead, you have no freedoms, while the right has tended to "Give me Liberty!" This was highlighted in the arms races of the Cold War. "Better Red than Dead?" This question very much defined the differences at that time. That isn't to say that if you fought against nuclear war that you were a communist, it just meant that your view of how to best approach the issue was based on different perspectives.

      So, one side says, "Better Green than Dead." The other side says, "Give me Liberty or give me Death." Neither is wrong, neither loves their kids any less, but there is a deep seated difference in values and perspective.

      Delete
    2. David H Myhill says: "So, one side says, "Better Green than Dead." The other side says, "Give me Liberty or give me Death." Neither is wrong, neither loves their kids any less, but there is a deep seated difference in values and perspective."

      That is the basic truth of the situation. However, another key facet of the divide is that climate activists for the most part refuse to acknowledge what kinds of sacrifices will be necessary to achieve their low-carbon future within the short timeframes they say are necessary.

      For myself, on the science side, I am a lukewarmer. My opinion after much reading is that at least 2C of warming above pre-industrial is now locked into the climate system and that nothing anyone can do in the next thirty years can stop it.

      But what about +3C or +4C of warming?

      IMHO, predictions of warming significantly higher than +2C are far less certain. If the debate over what to do about climate change ever reaches a critical mass in United States, climate scientists will be obliged to defend their higher estimates to a degree they've never had to do before.

      If we are to greatly reduce America's carbon emissions within a thirty-year timeframe beginning in 2020 with the election of a climate activist president, the only means for assuring that outcome is to use the power of government in forcing the desired reductions.

      If an 80% reduction in our GHG emissions is to be achieved by 2050, mandatory energy conservation measures must play a central role in the government's anti-carbon policies.

      Too many people on both sides of the question view this developing issue as an academic abstraction. It isn't real to them. It's a mere polemical exercise done for purposes of ideological prognosticating. This situation is about to change.

      Just for one example, here in the US Northwest, power planners are facing the prospect that 20 gigawatts of coal-fired capacity built in the 1970's and 1980's will be retiring within the next decade.

      Where will the replacement power come from?

      Politicians in Oregon and Washington, where the bulk of the Northwest's population lives, want the replacement power to come exclusively from wind and solar. Not from natural gas, which is the cheapest and most reliable replacement for coal. See this Forbes article here:

      Natural Gas And Renewables Will Rule America’s Electricity Future

      The Northwest’s power planners know right now that wind and solar can't come close to covering that 20 gigawatt shortfall. Hydro has reached its practical limits. A revival of nuclear construction in the US depends upon successful development and initial deployment of the small modular reactors (SMRs). But not enough of these Generation IV reactors will be available by the end of the 2020’s to make any real difference.

      NuScale out of Portland, Oregon, is well down the road towards putting the very first practical SMR into commercial operation. But their first units aren't scheduled to come on line in eastern Idaho until late 2026 or early 2027.

      So it will be some time before the SMRs can make a useful contribution, assuming politicians in either Oregon or Washington would even allow them to be built.

      When serious power shortages begin to be experienced here in the Northwest beginning in the late 2020's, energy conservation measures driven in part by higher prices for electricity will be our primary option for dealing with those shortfalls.

      And we will all have to get used to working with less cheap and easily available energy in our day-to-day personal and business activities.

      Delete
    3. The reason nuclear isn't viable is regulations, courts, and politics. There is a mothballed reactor sitting in WA right now, unused. It was completely paid for and could be producing energy, but the idiots decided to not let it function. It would have taken BILLIONS to move it past the new goal posts and new regulations and lawsuits and politics. So, we keep burning coal.

      Delete
  87. The two parties outlined by Cliff have the same goals, which could be most easily implemented through coordinated government effort. Increased fuel efficiency, coal stack pollution reductions, market wide energy efficiency improvements have mainly been government mandates. The real debate is really between denialists and everyone else. They are controlling the terms of the debate through limiting concerted -political action. What is the market incentive for sequestering carbon on a global scale? Who is working on this or funding this relatively simple technical feat?

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  88. Thumbs up, Myhill. You nailed it.

    ReplyDelete
  89. Cliff,

    "In contrast to the ASP folks, the ACT group generally tries to stay out of the public eye, quietly completing the work  needed to develop the technologies and infrastructure that will allow us to mitigate and adapt to climate change.  In the end, they will save us.  That is, if the ASP folks don't get in their way"

    If the ACT group "tries to stay out of the public eye", Imo, they are making a mistake. More of this type of work needs to make it to the MSM.

    How that can be accomplished, I have no idea.

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  90. ... and the "betah blocker priests" are coming for your kitchen range and living room fireplace... good heavens.

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/10/25/no-more-cooking-with-gas-environmental-activists-going-after-the-appliances-consumers-love/

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  91. Although I live about as far from Seattle as one can get in this country, Bar Harbor, Maine, I enjoy your blog. Your view on climate change is somewhat similar to mine, but I am not a scientist. The climate is getting warmer. Back here in Maine our local offshore waters are warming at a very rapid rate with a dire outcome for our fisheries industry unless they adapt. Trump and his ilk are no help. They just deny it is happening. Unfortunately the media conflate the deniers with the ACT folks. It is important for scientists like you to speak up so that we can get to solutions before it is too late.

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    1. Please provide credible evidence for your claim, including historical data. Thanks.

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