Seven Ways Climate Reparations Are Absurd

Dan Hannan explains at Washington Examiner Demands for ‘climate reparations’ are laughable Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The demands for climate reparations from wealthy countries are so absurd, so unscientific, and so offensive to natural justice that it is difficult to know where the criticism should begin.

The argument is that, since countries that industrialized earlier produced a lot of carbon a hundred years ago, they now owe a debt to poorer states. Naturally, this argument appeals to assorted Marxists, anti-colonialists, and shakedown artists, and COP27 has been dominated by insolent demands for well-run states to pony up.

Some, including Austria, Belgium, and Denmark, have capitulated. No doubt others will follow. These days, once something is framed as poor-versus-rich or darker-skinned-versus-lighter-skinned or ex-colony-versus-ex-colonizer, the pressure becomes irresistible. Nevertheless, it is worth running through the absurdities in play.

First, the claims are rooted in indignation rather than science. For example, Pakistan, which leads the G-77 group of poorer states and is leading the campaign, claims that its floods are a product of climate change. But might Pakistan look a little closer to home? Although Europe and North America have seen significant reforestation over the past half-century, Pakistan has gone in the other direction. A third of its landmass was forest when it became independent in 1947. Now, it is one-twentieth, and the rains run straight off the mountains into silted-up reservoirs that then overflow, whence the floods.

But never mind all that — blame the colonialists, eh?

Second, there is the utter refusal to acknowledge what wealthier countries are already doing. I don’t just mean in terms of making direct monetary transfers — though, sticking with Pakistan for a moment, Britain has been borrowing around $400 million a year to give to that country, which pleads poverty while funding a nuclear weapons program. No, I mean in terms of impoverishing themselves through drastic action on carbon emissions. Britain has cut its carbon dioxide production by nearly half since 1990, largely by closing down its coal mines. Pakistan has more than 100 coal mines in operation.

But, again, blame the colonialists, eh?

Third, there is the ingratitude. One of the things I used to resent about the European Parliament was the entitled and hectoring way in which representatives of poorer countries (they were usually very rich people) would call for bigger transfers. “This is unacceptable,” they would say of whatever offer the Brits, the Dutch, or the Germans put on the table. Fine, I’d think, don’t accept it, then. Yet the numbers only ever got bigger. Look, I’m sorry to be blunt about this, but a 2-degree rise in temperature is far less menacing for Britain or Canada than it is for most countries.

The least-threatened countries are doing the heaviest lifting by far.
But don’t expect any gratitude.

Fourth, there is the implication that industrialization, the miracle that released our species from 10,000 years of backbreaking labor, is regrettable. In truth, as well as giving us longer, healthier, and freer lives, the wealth released over the past 200 years of specialization and exchange is cleaning up the environment. The air and water are purer in London than in Lahore because GDP is higher. For the same reason, natural disasters have become far less lethal. The 1950 floods in Pakistan killed many more people than this year’s, because they hit a poorer country.

Fifth, there is the related assumption that rich countries owe their wealth to exploitation, that one nation’s gain must mean another’s loss. This is palpable nonsense. The enrichment of a country, other things being equal, is good news for all of its trading partners. And countries get wealthy not by conquering others (a process that is always expensive) but by pursuing the right policies, such as secure property rights, low taxes, independent courts, light regulations, and free trade.

If you tax successful countries to pay unsuccessful ones, you will end up with
fewer of the former and more of the latter.

Sixth, and most preposterously, there is the ugly collectivism that lurks behind every shakedown attempt, from the return of artworks to slavery reparations. Our criminal justice system, like every Abrahamic religion, is based on the idea that we are individually responsible for our actions. But when it comes to these scams, we are all suddenly defined by ancestry or skin color.

It is precisely because Western nations broke out of that dispensation that they became rich in the first place. And it was by copying their individualist outlook that other countries were able to catch them up. Far from complaining about industrialization, the rest of the world should thank us for having developed capitalism, and they should seek to emulate it.

Postscript: Absurdity Seven

Climate reparations are a legal quagmire.  From Hulme et al. (2011):

At the heart of the loss and damage (L&D) agenda is the idea of attribution—that specific losses and damages in developing countries can be “associated with the impacts of climate change,” where “climate change” means human-caused alterations to climate. It is therefore not just any L&D that qualify for financial assistance under the Convention; it is L&D attributable to or “associated with” a very specific causal pathway.

Developing countries face some serious difficulties—at best, ambiguities—
with this approach to directing climate adaptation finance.

Investment in climate adaptation, they claim, is most needed “… where vulnerability to meteorological hazard is high, not where meteorological hazards are most attributable to human influence”. Extreme weather attribution says nothing about how damages are attributable to meteorological hazard as opposed to exposure to risk; it says nothing about the complex political, social and economic structures which mediate physical hazards.

And separating weather into two categories — ‘human-caused’ weather and ‘tough-luck’ weather – raises practical and ethical concerns about any subsequent investment allocation guidelines which excluded the victims of ‘tough-luck weather’ from benefiting from adaptation funds.

Contrary to the claims of some weather attribution scientists, the loss and damage agenda of the UNFCCC, as it is currently emerging, makes no distinction between ‘human-caused’ and ‘tough-luck’ weather. “Loss and damage impacts fall along a continuum, ranging from ‘events’ associated with variability around current climatic norms (e.g., weather-related natural hazards) to [slow-onset] ‘processes’ associated with future anticipated changes in climatic norms” (Warner et al., 2012:21). Although definitions and protocols have not yet been formally ratified, it seems unlikely that there will be a role for the sort of forensic science being offered by extreme weather attribution science.

See also: Climate Loss and Damage, Legal House of Cards

 

 

Climatists, Spare Us Your Guilt Trip!

An example of climate hysteria comes from the usual suspects published at the usual venue, Inside Climate News. Polar Ice Is Disappearing, Setting Off Climate Alarms

Excerpts below with my bolds: The short-term consequences of Arctic (and Antarctic) warming may already be felt in other latitudes. The long-term threat to coastlines is becoming even more dire.

“When you’re taking out 30, 40, almost 50 percent of the ice cover, that’s a big change in the environment,” Meier said. “Whether we’re seeing it yet, there’s still some debate, but whether there will be an effect as we continue to lose ice, I think that’s pretty obvious.”

“There’s no evidence that anything is recovering here,” said Mark Serreze, the director of the NSIDC. “What we’ve seen historically is a downward trend in ice extent in all months. Superimposed on that are the ups and downs of natural variability. We’re going to continue to head downward.

“We are looking at an ice-free Arctic Ocean sometime in the 2040s,” said Serreze. “There’s no evidence that we’ve seen anything like this before.”

Ted Scambos, lead scientist with the National Snow and Ice Data Center, said that while the current pace of melting is not alarming, a series of papers “has led to a realization that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet may already be in an irreversible retreat.

Greenland is melting, too—for now, it’s the biggest threat. “Greenland has become Loserville,” said Jason Box, who tracks ice for the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland.

“New observations from many different sources confirm that ice-sheet loss is accelerating,” the United States Global Change Research Program said in its comprehensive special report on climate science. “Up to 8.5 feet of global sea level rise is possible by 2100” in a worst-case emissions scenario. That’s almost 2 feet more than scientists expected just a few years ago.

“So we’re guaranteed significant sea level rise no matter what we do, even under the optimistic Paris scenario,” Box said. “We had better prepare.”

These warnings of wolves are starting to sound the same: “It never happened before, is not happening now, but it will surely destroy us in the future if we don’t do something.”

Meanwhile the facts on the ground are not alarming: For example September minimums:

More details at 16 yr. Plateau September Arctic Ice 2022

And the refreezing is faster than unusual:


These outrageous appeals by alarmists in the face of contrary facts remind me of the story defining the term “chutzpuh.” A young man is convicted of killing his parents, and later appears before the judge for sentencing. Asked to give any last words, he replies: “Go easy on me, your Honor, I’m an orphan.”
alcoholics-anonymous-logo-e1497443623248

Fortunately, there is help for climate alarmists. They can join or start a chapter of Alarmists Anonymous. By following the Twelve Step Program, it is possible to recover and unite in service to the real world and humanity.

Step One: Fully concede (admit) to our innermost selves that we were addicted to climate fear mongering.

Step Two: Come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves causes weather and climate, restoring us to sanity.

Step Three: Make a decision to study and understand how the natural world works.

Step Four: Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves, our need to frighten others and how we have personally benefited by expressing alarms about the climate.

Step Five: Admit to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our exaggerations and false claims.

Step Six: Become ready to set aside these notions and actions we now recognize as objectionable and groundless.

Step Seven: Seek help to remove every single defect of character that produced fear in us and led us to make others afraid.

Step Eight: Make a list of all persons we have harmed and called “deniers”, and become willing to make amends to them all.

Step Nine: Apologize to people we have frightened or denigrated and explain the errors of our ways.

Step Ten: Continue to take personal inventory and when new illusions creep into our thinking, promptly renounce them.

Step Eleven: Dedicate ourselves to gain knowledge of natural climate factors and to deepen our understanding of nature’s powers and ways of working.

Step Twelve: Having awakened to our delusion of climate alarm, we try to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Summary:

With a New Year a month away, let us hope that many climate alarmists take the opportunity to turn the page by resolving a return to sanity. It is not too late to get right with reality before the cooling comes in earnest.

This is your brain on climate alarm.  Just say No!

Climate Change Chumps 2022

Definition “chump”: A foolish or easily deceived person.

Update March 21, 2022

In this overheated time of school kids in the streets and elected “adults” declaring emergencies without any understanding of what is or is not happening, it may help to know how we got here.

Why are so many people taken in by climate alarms? The question is often on my mind, especially when tens of thousands attend UN conferences like Glasgow, or when hearing the caterwauling in the media over the climate scare of the week. Recently while watching a football game, my escape from the issue was interrupted by a commercial break that included a flaming earth on the screen for a few seconds. It was an ad for Discovery Channel including the image above.

[Old joke:  I don’t know if they are using subliminal advertising, but yesterday I went and bought a tractor.]

And in a flash I realized how several factors are driving warming suckers into a fearful frenzy.

Firstly, The power of images over words and thinking.
A picture is worth a thousand words. (Sometimes attributed to Chinese)


The Asian attribution is doubtful, but Confucius did say something similar:

Second, We are immersed in imaging technology, entrancing the public. I have no interest in post modern philosophers, but in this sense they are onto something perverse: We are mistaking images for realities.

Third, Pied Pipers are using the media to put us under their spell.
A key point in the fable is the piper’s ability to put a spell on the children, and thereby rob the village of their future.  And he did this to get leverage over the council when they refused to pay for exterminating the rats. Our children have been brainwashed with environmental activism since preschool, and educators have taken Confucius to heart:  The process goes beyond preaching, to videos, posters and projects.

Fourth, Our embrace of mass and social media makes us suckers for fake news, including climate claims.

Note that the majority are not confident to discern fake from real news.  Even worse, today’s “fact checkers” operate out of spin rooms.

Fifth, Social proof is now all that matters.

Climate lemmings rushing over the cliff.

Finally, the drumbeat of climate alarms imprints ever more deeply a false assumption.

It doesn’t matter if any particular climate claim is false or exaggerated, the communications continuously reinforce the underlying myth of the Garden of Eden:  Nature is perfect and eternal so long as humans don’t mess it up.

The reality is more subtle and complex.  Humans are also a force of nature, and with our self-awareness we have the ability and responsibility to add order and purpose to the rest of nature.  Go to Kyoto and watch the landscapers labor for hours to fashion an exquisite Japanese garden, the fruition of collaboration between humans, plants, water and rocks.  Humans can and do improve on nature by taming destructive natural forces to preserve and enhance living structures.

The UN IPCC process is a blind alley, a path to nowhere.  It plays upon fears and guilt feelings.  Worse, it distracts from rational programs of actual environmental stewardship.  I fear it will only get worse in the next 12  10  8 years:

See also Brits Run Con Game at Glasgow COP

Doomsday was predicted but failed to happen at midnight.

Facebook Censors BMJ Under Guise of “Fact-checking”

BMJ (British Medical Journal) publishes more than 70 medical and allied journals.  They report unwarranted censorship by Facebook in an article Facebook urged to act over incompetent “fact check” of BMJ investigation.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

Editors ask Mark Zuckerberg to correct errors relating to The BMJ’s Pfizer vaccine trial investigation

Editors at The BMJ are urging Facebook to correct a “fact check” of a recent investigation that they say is “inaccurate, incompetent and irresponsible.”

In an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg, Fiona Godlee, outgoing editor in chief, and Kamran Abbasi, incoming editor in chief, say this matter “should be of concern to anyone who values and relies on sources such as The BMJ for reliable medical information.”

They also urge parent company Meta to reconsider its investment in and approach to fact checking overall following other examples of incompetence.

On 2 November, The BMJ published an investigation into poor clinical trial research practices at Ventavia, a contract research company helping carry out the main Pfizer covid-19 vaccine trial.

It was based on dozens of internal company documents, photos, audio recordings, and emails provided to The BMJ by a former employee of Ventavia, and it raised serious concerns about data integrity and patient safety.

The article went through The BMJ’s usual high level legal and editorial oversight and peer review.

But beginning on November 10, readers began reporting a variety of problems when trying to share the article and were directed to a “fact check” performed by a Facebook contractor named Lead Stories.

Godlee and Abbasi say they find the “fact check” performed by Lead Stories to be “inaccurate, incompetent and irresponsible.”

For example, it fails to provide any assertions of fact that The BMJ article got wrong, it contains a screenshot of the article with a stamp over it stating “Flaws Reviewed,” despite the Lead Stories article not identifying anything false or untrue in The BMJ article, and it published the story on its website under a URL that contains the phrase “hoax-alert.”

Cochrane, the international provider of high quality systematic reviews of the medical evidence, has experienced similar treatment by Instagram (also owned by Meta).

The BMJ complained to Lead Stories, “but they refused to change anything about their article or actions that have led to Facebook flagging our article.”

The BMJ has also complained to Facebook, requesting that Facebook immediately remove the “fact checking” label and any link to the Lead Stories article, “thereby allowing our readers to freely share the article on your platform.”

The editors say they hope Facebook will “act swiftly” to correct the error relating to The BMJ’s article and to review the processes that led to the error. They added a general call for parent company Meta to reconsider its investment in and approach to fact checking overall.

“Rather than investing a proportion of Meta’s substantial profits to help ensure the accuracy of medical information shared through social media, you have apparently delegated responsibility to people incompetent in carrying out this crucial task.”

 

Why The Left Cancels Any Climate Questioning

(KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)

Daniel Turner writes at The Spectator Big Tech is censoring the climate change debate.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, 1922

Wittgenstein wrote that as an ontological and epistemological foundation for his larger belief in freedom of speech. He who controls the language also controls reality, something that today’s left understands brilliantly, even devilishly. America historically has not limited freedom of thought and speech, and the resulting clash of ideas has improved our national discourse. The language police makes us weaker intellectually by limiting the world in which we live.

The language around climate change and the green movement is one more area the left wants to control, especially given that trillions of dollars in spending are on the line. Big tech is now doing its part to protect the Green New Deal and radical green ideology from dissenting views.

Google and YouTube’s recent announcement that they now prohibit “climate deniers” to monetize their platforms would have caused Wittgenstein to ask a clarifying question: what is a climate denier?

“This includes content referring to climate change as a hoax or a scam,” the announcement answers. And surely there is no hoax about the climate: data shows that since the 1880s the global temperature has risen one degree Fahrenheit. But what else can we measure? In that same period, the world population increased sevenfold and food production increased even more. Remarkably the number of people not living in extreme poverty increased at the same rate. The infant mortality rate decreased from 165 per 100,000 to 7. In 1880, more than 80 percent of the global population was illiterate. Today, that number is around 13 percent.

The question is: why? The answer is simple: fossil fuels. Inexpensive, abundant, reliable fossil fuels have turned 10,000 years of stagnant human existence into flourishing and prosperity. Illnesses that took the lives of kings and peasants alike are nearly eradicated thanks to medicine and refrigeration and electricity.

All of this growth for one degree of temperature increase. That’s quite the bargain.

Without fossil fuels humanity would still be mired in misery and darkness. Do we really want to ban that miracle? Do we want to “keep it in the ground” as the green movements cry? That’s a conversation we need to have.

The reader might argue that I’m wrong. My claims are just conjecture, he might say, and not based on science or data. Yet what if thousands of thinkers and philosophers agree with me? Is that enough to engage in this debate? It is thus curious that Google in its announcement calls denying the “scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change” reason enough to get deplatformed. The evidence of the causes of climate change are far weaker than the evidence of fossil fuels causing the past 200 years of human flourishing, but neither is scientific fact. Could there be any intellectual framework less scientific than “consensus”?

This discussion now cannot take place on the platforms of the big tech thought police, and we are all worse for it.

Google also says that “claims denying that long-term trends show the global climate is warming” will not be allowed. Who is making that claim? The data once again show that the earth’s temperature indeed warming, but Wittgenstein might ask for a clarification on “long-term.” One hundred years is not a very long time, not even for America which is one of the world’s youngest nations. If you look at the last 500 million years, the current trend still has us in a very cool period. The earth spent millions of years 30 to 40 degrees warmer than the current average temperature, and that doesn’t come close to covering the earth’s entire 4.5 billion years of age.

The question is: why? Why did the earth heat and cool so dramatically when there were no humans to cause the warming? After all, the tech language police tell of “unequivocal” evidence showing that human emissions of greenhouse gases are causing global warming. Because Google cannot answer that question, they have shown they have no idea what the word “unequivocal” means in philosophical or even philological discourse.

Darn. Now I’m the language police.

Stifling speech does not make us a better nation. It does not make any truths truer or any falsehoods falser. It does eliminate competing or unwanted ideas from the conversation, which is the real goal here.

The current administration is looking to spend nearly $5 trillion to combat “climate change.” Some are going to benefit immensely from that spending. Yet before we open up the nation’s wallet (who am I kidding, before we put the nation’s grandchildren further into debt), there are some larger questions we should be asking. Eliminating those questions from our national conversation doesn’t make the conversation stronger.

Those afraid of language are not looking for a better world. Wittgenstein understood that. Let’s hope America does, too, before the left and the big tech thought police determine the world they want us to live in.

Daniel Turner is the founder and executive director of Power The Future, a national nonprofit organization that advocates for American energy jobs.

Footnote: 

A positive development: Injunction Ruling Against YouTube/Google Censorship! Removal Of Lockdown-Critical Videos “Illegal”.  Excerpt in italics with my bolds.

Yesterday we reported here how YouTube had removed videos posted by prominent German actors who criticized the German government in what appeared to targeted censorship of legitimate views. But the prominent group of actors and artists refused to stand silent and took legal action against YouTube, a platform owned by mighty Google.

“The Cologne Regional Court issued an injunction, ruling that YouTube’s deletion of the videos was illegal,” reported Bild, which has a copy of the court order. “According to the court, the deletion of the videos in which the artists interviewed Leipzig mathematics professor Stephan Luckhaus (68) and neurobiologist Gerald Hüther (70) was ‘unjustified’.”

The court found that YouTube citing the content “violate our guidelines on medical misinformation” is an adequate basis for deletion and that the platform must be more specific.

See also:  Why the Leftist Backlash Against Ivermectin

Liberals have no monopoly on gullibility or lazy journalism, but the biased coverage of ivermectin springs from one of the worst pathologies of liberal discourse in particular: conflation of respect for science with fealty to established scientific institutions. A “pro-science” disposition has long been integral to American liberals’ self-conception (a ubiquitous yard sign reads, in part, “In this house, we believe science is real”); it grew especially strong during the George W. Bush years as a reaction to the administration’s stance on global warming and alliance with the religious Right.

But most Americans are scientists neither by training nor by temperament, and “pro-science” politics usually calcifies into blind trust in a few politically congenial authorities—such as universities and government health agencies, which have enjoyed high levels of liberal confidence throughout the pandemic despite such actions as reversing longstanding advice on face masks based on a dubious judgment call.

Bogus Talk about Climate Tipping Points

Tallbloke’s Talkshop helpfully posted on a new study Climate change tipping points may be too simple a concept, say researchers.  This is welcome to hear, but as I will discuss below, the authors do not go nearly far enough to let the air out of this exaggerated rhetoric.  The study itself is Evasion of tipping in complex systems through spatial pattern formation.  The title already suggests a questionable paradigm, which is stated up front in the abstract:

In the Anthropocene, there is a need to better understand the catastrophic effects that climate and land-use change may have on ecosystems, Earth system components, and the whole Earth system. The concept of critical transitions, or tipping from one state to another, contributes to this understanding.

The above diagram from the study shows the tipping point paradigm accepted by the authors as a foundation for discovering how ecosystems are sometimes able to evade tipping over from a present state.  It is heartening that the authors refer to the resilience of ecosystems and say that observed ecological disturbances are in fact evidence of natural stability, not fragility.

However, they are applying a theory of “tipping points” that pertains to sociology not natural science, while also assuming, of course, the environmental mythological Garden of Eden that would be eternal and unchanging except for human evil activity.

The whole paradigm is a corruption of hard physical science by soft sociological fuzzy thinking, a specialty of environmentalism.

Firstly, the popularity of the “tipping points” notion comes from pop sociology, and there are many good reasons not to bring it into earth sciences, unless the intent is to politicize the science. A reprinted post below provides this discussion.

Background from previous post Tipping Points Confuse Social and Earth Science

In the drive to push public opinion over the top regarding global warming/climate change, the media is increasingly filled with references to climate “tipping points.”  For example, some months ago an IPCC spokesperson claimed a climate disaster is now happening each and every week.  And the media abounds with reports to press home the point. Here are some of the current disasters caused by climate change, ripped (as they say) from the headlines.

Birds are shrinking as the climate warms

Climate change-related deaths and damage on the rise

Europe Could Face Annual Extreme Heat Waves Due to Climate Change

Food Prices Expected To Jump Next Year Due To Climate Change

Climate change taking serious toll on human health: WHO report

Climate Crisis Causing Hunger for Millions of Africans

How climate change is causing more premature births

Et cetera, et cetera. (A complete list would provide more than one disaster for every week of the year.)

IOW, as Pys.org reported, all this hype may make this year the tipping point: The year the world woke up to the climate emergency.

Background on the Use of “Tipping Points”

The context for understanding the rise of the “tipping point” notion is provided by a 2018 paper in Environmental Research Letters Defining tipping points for social-ecological systems scholarship—an interdisciplinary literature review. As the title suggests the researchers are not studying the earth, but rather people’s perceptions about the earth. This growing field of environmental psychology confirms how “climate change” muddles social and physical sciences. Excerpts in italics with my bolds

Abstract

The term tipping point has experienced explosive popularity across multiple disciplines over the last decade. Research on social-ecological systems (SES) has contributed to the growth and diversity of the term’s use. The diverse uses of the term obscure potential differences between tipping behavior in natural and social systems, and issues of causality across natural and social system components in SES. This paper aims to create the foundation for a discussion within the SES research community about the appropriate use of the term tipping point, especially the relatively novel term ‘social tipping point.’

We review existing literature on tipping points and similar concepts (e.g. regime shifts, critical transitions) across all spheres of science published between 1960 and 2016 with a special focus on a recent and still small body of work on social tipping points. We combine quantitative and qualitative analyses in a bibliometric approach, rooted in an expert elicitation process.

Historical Analysis and Concerns

We find that the term tipping point became popular after the year 2000—long after the terms regime shift and critical transition—across all spheres of science. We identify 23 distinct features of tipping point definitions and their prevalence across disciplines, but find no clear taxonomy of discipline-specific definitions. Building on the most frequently used features, we propose definitions for tipping points in general and social tipping points in SES in particular.

Being located at the intersection between the social and natural sciences, SES researchers need to tread carefully when borrowing concepts from other disciplines. Such a move often involves the crossing of ontological boundaries, where the metaphorical use of a concept can mask important differences between two objects of study. The two phenomena included in the analogy should be similar in the sense that they can be characterized by common laws or principles. The success of the analogy depends on whether attributes of tipping points in the target domain can be tested and assessed similar to the one in the source domain (Daniel 1955, Gentner 1983). However, SES research pays little attention to whether the presumed observation of tipping behavior in a social system is conceptually equal or (partly) different than tipping processes in an ecological system. It remains unknown whether tipping points in natural systems, such as a lake or the climate, display the same underlying mechanisms as tipping points in social systems, such as in financial markets or political institutions.

The tipping point concept traces its origins back to scientific papers in chemistry (Hoadley 1884) and mathematics (Poincare´ 1885), which refer to a qualitative change in a system described mathematically as a bifurcation. Bifurcation theory is still used today in mathematics, physics, complex systems science, and related fields.

In the social sciences, tipping points originated much later to address neighborhood dynamics of racial segregation in political science (Grodzins 1957), sociology/urban planning (Wolf 1963), and economics (Schelling 1978). Social scientists began to develop similar concepts of social change without the tipping point language. For example, sociologist Mark Granovetter (1978) uses the term threshold to understand the differences in individuals’ decisions to engage in a collective behavior, such as rioting.

Whether or not it can be attributed to Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point (2000), starting around 2005, the term was widely adopted among climate scientists (Russill and Nyssa 2009, Kopp et al 2016) to describe rapid, non-linear change in parts of the climate system. Previously this phenomenon had been referred to with different terminology, such as critical points, but now climate scientists embraced tipping point language, with three papers using tipping point terminology to focus on ice sheet dynamics in the Arctic (Holland et al 2006, Lindsay and Zhang 2005, Winton 2006). A 2008 paper introduced the idea of tipping elements in the climate system, defined as subsystems of the climate system that can experience abrupt change,‘triggering a transition to a new state.’

The historical account of the movement of the concept from its origins in mathematics and chemistry to the social sciences, popular discourse and back to mathematical modeling in the climate sciences raises important scientific questions.

The increasingly frequent use of the concept of tipping points in both the natural and social sciences could be scientifically questionable: sociological and political tipping points might be very different phenomena than climatic tipping points, even if both natural and social systems may be subject to rapid qualitative change. If institutional tipping and ecosystem tipping are different ‘things in nature’— different ontological entities—scientific language should not treat them as the same. Scientific language should clarify rather than veil potential differences between tipping points in different fields.

Phenomena in nature—the objects of tipping point research Different fields of science deploy tipping point terminology to study vastly different real-world phenomena. In the natural sciences (Ecology, Climate and Earth System Science), scholars are primarily interested in the tipping of ecological systems, e.g. the eutrophication of lakes, and of larger Earth System components, also called climate tipping elements (e.g. Arctic ice sheets). This research crosses multiple scales of interest, but focuses on a shared mechanism of change: positive, self-reinforcing feedbacks moving a system into a different stability domain. Key research challenges include the limited reversibility of a system to its previous state and significant predictive challenges related to tipping points.

Conclusions

To conclude, we have proposed a unifying definition for tipping points, building on the most frequent themes identified in our analysis: a tipping point is a threshold at which small quantitative changes in the system trigger a non-linear change process that is driven by system-internal feedback mechanisms and inevitably leads to a qualitatively different state of the system, which is often irreversible.  This definition establishes a minimum set of four constitutive features of tipping points that apply across disciplines:

    • multiple stable states;
    • non-linear change;
    • feedbacks as driving mechanism; 
    • limited reversibility. 

If these four essential characteristics are given, the use of the term tipping point is justified.  However, whether it is possible to apply these tools to social and social-ecological change phenomena remains unclear and is a subject that requires future research.

Our research found that the tipping point concept is applied to a vast array of change processes, ranging from ice sheet dynamics to societal transformations, which might mask ontological differences between these diverse phenomena. Concerned about the pattern of terminological replacement—the use of tipping point language instead of previously existing terms—and its potential effects on the quality of science, we encourage researchers to critically assess their terminological choices and avoid ‘conceptual amnesia’.

My Comment

Besides the issue of confusing natural and social processes, the paper only touched tangentially on three related problems applying this terminology to global warming/climate change.  Firstly, in the natural world there are shifts between multiple stable states, in some cases reversing back and forth in cyclical patterns.  For example, paleoclimatologists have mapped the earth’s oscillations between “hot house” and “ice house.”

Secondly, headlines like those above always portray change as negative and destructive.  In both natural and social tipping points there can be desirable, transformative shifts, not just adverse, gloomy results.
Thirdly, as Brothers Judd warn, there is less than meets the eye in claims of tipping points.  From their review of Gladwell’s book:

As a general matter Gladwell’s Tipping Point idea, like Darwin’s idea of Evolution, is grounded more in literary metaphor than in science. If you ask, as Gladwell does, why Hush Puppies suddenly became fashionable again after years of declining or stagnant sales, the answer must be that they hit a Tipping Point. If you ask why they stayed unpopular for so long, the answer must be there were no Tipping Points during that time. Why did the book Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood become a best seller, while Rebecca Wells’s previous books hadn’t, or other (better) novels didn’t ? One hit a Tipping Point, the others didn’t. But this doesn’t really add anything to our understanding of the human behavior and desires that fueled the crazes nor does it help us to determine how to tip other products and processes in the future. Gladwell’s argument, like all pseudoscience, is a closed loop–if something tips then it hit a Tipping Point; if it doesn’t, then it didn’t. Rather than explaining what happened, the metaphor, once accepted, stifles intelligent analysis. The fact that something happened comes to seem a sufficient explanation and a justification for saying that the process occurred; the actual elements of this theoretical process need never be demonstrated, nor tested; it’s as if the circular beauty of the metaphor precludes questioning its validity.

Daniel B. Botkin is Professor Emeritus, University of California, Santa Barbara, in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology.

Secondly, the notion of a static climate system, absent human impacts, is backward thinking, superseded by Dynamic Ecology, a more contemporary and realistic understanding.

For a more realistic view of nature and biological processes see writings by Daniel Botkin, who led the shift in paradigm to Dynamic Ecology, especially in his influential book: Discordant Harmonies: a New Ecology for the Twenty-first Century. 1990 Oxford University Press, New York. In 2014 he shared his view of the climate change issue in Testimony to the House Subcommittee on Science,Space and Technology. The whole document is enlightening, and included point-by-point critique of IPCC statements. Transcript is: Testimony to the House Subcommittee on Science,Space and Technology.

His main points are highlighted below, while details and examples are in the full text.

1.I want to state up front that we have been living through a warming trend driven by a variety of influences. However, it is my view that this is not unusual, and contrary to the characterizations by the IPCC and the National Climate Assessment, these environmental changes are not apocalyptic nor irreversible.

2.My biggest concern is that both the reports present a number of speculative, and sometimes incomplete, conclusions embedded in language that gives them more scientific heft than they deserve. The reports are “scientific-sounding” rather than based on clearly settled facts or admitting their lack. Established facts about the global environment exist less often in science than laymen usually think.

3.HAS IT BEEN WARMING? Yes, we have been living through a warming trend, no doubt about that. The rate of change we are experiencing is also not unprecedented, and the “mystery” of the warming “plateau” simply indicates the inherent complexity of our global biosphere. Change is normal, life on Earth is inherently risky; it always has been. The two reports, however, makes it seem that environmental change is apocalyptic and irreversible. It is not.

4.IS CLIMATE CHANGE VERY UNUSUAL? No, it has always undergone changes.

5.ARE GREENHOUSE GASES INCREASING? Yes, CO2 rapidly.

6.IS THERE GOOD SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH ON CLIMATE CHANGE? Yes, a great deal of it.

7.ARE THERE GOOD SCIENTISTS INVOLVED IN THE IPCC 2014 REPORT? Yes, the lead author of the Terrestrial (land) Ecosystem Report is Richard Betts, a coauthor of one my scientific papers about forecasting effects of global warming on biodiversity.

8. ARE THERE SCIENTIFICALLY ACCURATE STATEMENTS AT PLACES IN THE REPORT? Yes, there are.

9. What I sought to learn was the overall take-away that the reports leave with a reader. I regret to say that I was left with the impression that the reports overestimate the danger from human-induced climate change and do not contribute to our ability to solve major environmental problems. I am afraid that an “agenda” permeates the reports, an implication that humans and our activity are necessarily bad and ought to be curtailed.

10. ARE THERE MAJOR PROBLEMS WITH THE REPORTS? Yes, in assumptions, use of data, and conclusions.

11. My biggest concern about the reports is that they present a number of speculative, and sometimes incomplete, conclusions embedded in language that gives them more scientific heft than they deserve. The reports, in other words, are “scientific-sounding,” rather than clearly settled and based on indisputable facts. Established facts about the global environment exist less often in science than laymen usually think.

12. The two reports assume and/or argue that the climate warming forecast by the global climate models is happening and will continue to happen and grow worse. Currently these predictions are way off the reality (Figure 1). Models, like all scientific theory, have to be tested against real-world observations. Experts in model validation say that the climate models frequently cited in the IPCC report are little if any validated. This means that as theory they are fundamentally scientifically unproven.

13. The reports suffer from using the term “climate change” with two meanings: natural and human-induced. These are both given as definitions in the IPCC report and are not distinguished in the text and therefore confuse a reader. (The Climate Change Assessment uses the term throughout including its title, but never defines it.) There are places in the reports where only the second meaning—human induced—makes sense, so that meaning has to be assumed. There are other places where either meaning could be applied.

14. Some of the report conclusions are the opposite of those given in articles cited in defense of those conclusions.

15. Some conclusions contradict and are ignorant of the best statistically valid observations.

16. The report for policy makers on Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability repeats the assertion of previous IPCC reports that “large fraction of species” face “increase extinction risks” (p15). Overwhelming evidence contradicts this assertion. And it has been clearly shown that models used to make these forecasts, such as climate envelope models and species-area curve models, make incorrect assumptions that lead to erroneous conclusions, over-estimating extinction risks. Surprisingly few species became extinct during the past 2.5 million years, a period encompassing several ice ages and warm periods.

17. THE REPORT GIVES THE IMPRESSION THAT LIVING THINGS ARE FRAGILE AND RIGID, unable to deal with change. The opposite is to case. Life is persistent, adaptable, adjustable.

18. STEADY-STATE ASSUMPTION: There is an overall assumption in the IPCC 2014 report and the Climate Change Assessment that all change is negative and undesirable; that it is ecologically and evolutionarily unnatural, bad for populations, species, ecosystems, for all life on planet Earth, including people. This is the opposite of the reality.

19. The summary for policy makers on Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability makes repeated use of the term “irreversible” changes. A species going extinct is irreversible, but little else about the environment is irreversible.

20. The extreme overemphasis on human-induced global warming has taken our attention away from many environmental issues that used to be front and center but have been pretty much ignored in the 21st century.

21. Do the problems with these reports mean that we can or should abandon any concerns about global warming or abandon any research about it? Certainly not, but we need to put this issue within an appropriate priority with other major here-and-now environmental issues that are having immediate effects.

22. The concerns I have mentioned with the IPCC apply as well to the White House’s National Climate Assessment.

Summary

Finally, as the critique shows, tipping points are like climate change itself:  Applying labels to something that has already happened, with no predictive utility.

 

 

No One is Safe from Climate Alarm

Prominent environmentalist Michael Shellenberger deplores the doomster messaging ahead of the Glasgow COP.   In an interview with EpochTV’s “American Thought Leaders,” Shellenberger noted that while climate change is a very “real” thing, the slogan that no one is safe is “misleading” to the general public.  Excerpts in italics below from zerohedge article IPCC’s “No One Is Safe” Slogan Is Deeply Misleading.

The IPCC published a report in August stating that human-caused climate change is accelerating and that radical changes to human behavior are needed to avert disaster.

Following the findings, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said of the report that the “alarm bells are deafening” and the situation is a “code red for humanity.”

Meanwhile, Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said the findings showed that “nobody is safe. And it is getting worse faster.”

However, Shellenberger, who is the founder and president of the nonprofit Environmental Progress and the author of “Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All,” disagrees with this sentiment.

“Climate change is real. The world is getting warmer, it’s gotten about one degree Celsius warmer since the pre-industrial period. But on so many other environmental metrics, things are going in the right direction,” Shellenberger said.

“The hottest the period of worst heat waves, for example, was in the 1930s. It has been a hot decade, but the 1930s remained the highest magnitude of heat waves. The chance of dying from an extreme weather event has declined over 99 percent for the average human being.

“Deaths from natural disasters overall are 90 percent down, we produce 25 percent more food than we need. There’s no estimate of running out of food.”

Sea level rise is something that we’ve done a very good job adapting to and we’ll continue to do a good job adapting to. The Netherlands is a country where many parts of it are seven meters below sea level. The median estimate for sea level rise by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is about a half a meter,” he continued.

“So what I object to is the painting of humans as sort of fragile or super vulnerable. We’ve never been more brilliant, we’ve never been less vulnerable, at least at a physical level. I think we’re seeing some rising anxiety and depression, particularly [among] young people, probably due to social media. But physically humans are safer than ever.

“But I think the the message that people need to hear that they’re not hearing is that the vast majority of environmental trends are going in the right direction, including on climate change.”

“The communications from the United Nations have been irresponsible. The slogan that they published the day of the IPCC reports publication was ‘no one is safe’ … It’s deeply misleading in that we’re safer than ever,” he said.

“So it’s really in the public relations that the distortions are occurring. However, in this most recent report, there was some bad behavior in the actual scenarios they constructed,” the author continued.

“So about half of the scenarios assume much higher levels of emissions, and therefore higher levels of warming in the future, than really any mainstream expert believes is possible,” he added.

“We just look around us [to see] we have a built infrastructure, go on YouTube and look at what life was like in 1800 or 1900, we were just much more vulnerable to weather events back then.”

The longtime environmental activist said that the public fails to be informed about other aspects that protect them from climate change, such as large increases in food surpluses and incredible flood management systems.

“So we see in all these problems, whether it’s forest fires, or floods, or hurricanes, that what humans do on the ground massively outweighs any increase in wind speed or precipitation or air temperatures,” he explained.

Shellenberger noted that while the natural science reviewed by the IPCC is accurate, “the vast majority of the distortions and the pessimism regarding climate change appears in the summary in the statements by those who helped assemble the report.

 

Fortunately, there is help for climate alarmists. They can join or start a chapter of Alarmists Anonymous. By following the Twelve Step Program, it is possible to recover and unite in service to the real world and humanity.

Step One: Fully concede (admit) to our innermost selves that we were addicted to climate fear mongering.

Step Two: Come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves causes weather and climate, restoring us to sanity.

Step Three: Make a decision to study and understand how the natural world works.

Step Four: Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves, our need to frighten others and how we have personally benefited by expressing alarms about the climate.

Step Five: Admit to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our exaggerations and false claims.

Step Six: Become ready to set aside these notions and actions we now recognize as objectionable and groundless.

Step Seven: Seek help to remove every single defect of character that produced fear in us and led us to make others afraid.

Step Eight: Make a list of all persons we have harmed and called “deniers”, and become willing to make amends to them all.

Step Nine: Apologize to people we have frightened or denigrated and explain the errors of our ways.

Step Ten: Continue to take personal inventory and when new illusions creep into our thinking, promptly renounce them.

Step Eleven: Dedicate ourselves to extend our knowledge of natural climate factors and to deepen our understanding of nature’s powers and ways of working.

Step Twelve: Having awakened to our delusion of climate alarm, we try to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Footnote:  For a detailed discussion of unfounded climate fears, see:
                 Climate Problem? Data say no.

Summary:

As the summer heat wanes, let us hope that many climate alarmists take the opportunity to turn the page by resolving a return to sanity. It is not too late to get right with reality before the cooling comes in earnest.

This is your brain on climate alarm.  Just say No!

 

Whiplash from Climate News

Studio Shot Of Masn In pain Wearing Neck Brace

Warning:  Reading media reports about global warming/climate change can cause serious whiplash, far beyond the danger in watching a professional tennis match.  Take today, for example (all excerpts in italics with my bolds)

‘May already be too late to reverse global warming’ at hthk.hk.

The tipping point for irreversible global warming may have already been triggered, the scientist who led the biggest-ever expedition to the Arctic warned on Tuesday.

“The disappearance of summer sea ice in the Arctic is one of the first landmines in this minefield, one of the tipping points that we set off first when we push warming too far,” said Markus Rex.

“And one can essentially ask if we haven’t already stepped on this mine and already set off the beginning of the explosion.”

Rex led the world’s biggest mission to the North Pole, an expedition involving 300 scientists from 20 countries.

Summarising their first findings, Rex said scientists found that the Arctic sea ice had retreated “faster in the spring of 2020 than since the beginning of records” and that “the spread of the sea ice in the summer was only half as large as decades ago”. [Really?]

Arctic ice Sept Ave 2020

“Only evaluation in the coming years will allow us to determine if we can still save the year-round Arctic sea ice through forceful climate protection or whether we have already passed this important tipping point in the climate system,” Rex added, urging rapid action to halt warming.

Stefanie Arndt, who specialises in sea ice physics, said it was “painful to know that we are possibly the last generation who can experience an Arctic which still has a sea ice cover in the summer”.

“This sea ice cover is gradually shrinking and it is an important living space for polar bears,” said Arndt, while recounting observations of seals and other animals in the polar habitat. [What about this?]

when-al-gore-was-born-there-were-7000-polar-bears

Comment:  I agree it’s high time to stop trying to cut emissions, and commit to adapting to whatever nature brings: whether warming, or the greater threat, cooling.

Climate change to blame for ‘catastrophic’ French frost: analysis at Daily Sabah

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As temperatures fall below zero degrees celsius during the night, anti-frost candles burn through sunrise in the Chablis vineyards near Chablis, Burgundy, France, April 7, 2021. (AFP Photo)

Scientists said Tuesday that climate change had sharply increased the odds of devastating events such as the frost that wiped out a third of French wine production at a cost of around 2 billion euros ($2.42 billion) in the space of a few nights in April. The frost blanketed the country’s most well-known and prestigious wine-producing regions in what minister Julien Denormandie called “probably the greatest agricultural catastrophe of the beginning of the 21st century.”

Scientists warned that climate change would raise the risk of such events even further in the future.

28239_cartoon_main

Greta Thunberg calls out hypocrisy of world leaders for eating steak and lobster at climate summit.  at VegNews

vegnews.gretathunbergborisjohnson

This week, vegan climate activist Greta Thunberg expressed her disappointment with world leaders making empty promises about climate action during the G7 (Group of Seven) summit at the luxury Carbis Bay Hotel in Cornwall, England. Led by United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson and attended by United States President Joe Biden, the purpose of the three-day event was for the group to meet prior to this year’s United Nations conferences to discuss a variety of global issues, including their collaborative effort to tackle the climate crisis.

Throughout the weekend, event attendees were treated to a variety of meals, including a five-course dinner which included turbot fish, a selection of Cornish cheeses, and dairy-based desserts on Friday; and a lavish beach barbecue on Saturday which included seafood appetizers made with scallops, mackerel, and crab claws, and a traditional surf-and-turf entrée that featured sirloin steak and lobsters. The meals were marketed as sustainable and “carbon neutral” because animals such as lamb and crab were sourced locally.

Greta sees

Wildfire Ashes Dumped on Pelosi’s Porch as Youth Climate Activists Descend on US Lawmakers’ CA Homes at Sputnik News.

Last month, the Sunrise Movement, a youth-led political movement against climate change, kicked off a series of ‘Generation on Fire’ marches in California and the Gulf Coast. Since then, members of the group have marched hundreds of miles and held a demonstration in Paradise, California, the site of a 2018 fire that displaced nearly 50,000 people.

The San Francisco, California, homes of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and longtime Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) became the sites of protest as over 100 young activists of the Sunrise Movement ended a 266-mile march on Monday.

The climate change activists could be overheard chanting, among many things, “Whose future? Our future!” as they marched across the Golden Gate Bridge to get to Pelosi’s Normandie Terrace home and Feinstein’s mansion.

reality-check-30-yrs.-of-climate-policy

Big Four beancounter PwC to hire 100,000 employees world-wide as it expands consultancy services at This Is Money.

44264489-9689735-image-a-1_1623781755632

Big Four accountant PwC plans to hire 100,000 employees world-wide as it expands lucrative consultancy services in areas such as climate change.

The hiring spree over the next five years will take its global headcount to nearly 384,000.

It is part of a £8.5billion investment to take advantage of huge demand from businesses for advice on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.

PwC is investing in recruitment, training and technology to foster expertise on subjects ranging from how firms can cut carbon emissions, to ‘hybrid’ working practices after the pandemic and how to hire executives from a mix of backgrounds.

Florida skies to turn orange as dust storm travels over from Sahara at The Independent.

photojoiner_photo2028929

Florida’s skies are set to be turned orange this week by a giant Saharan dust storm that has traveled across the Atlantic.

The dust is part of 60 million tons of sand and mineral particles that are annually swept up off the African desert floor and pushed westwards across the ocean by winds.

Weather experts predict that the cloud of dust is due to arrive in the Gulf of Mexico this week and will likely hit Florida on Wednesday.

Should we pay a carbon tax to our own government or to someone else’s? at WA Today.

Despite Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s popular determination to tackle climate change with “technology not taxes”, the decision might not long remain in Australian hands if the G7 leaders’ statement from the weekend meeting in Cornwall is anything to go by.

Soon we might have to decide if we want to pay a carbon tax to our own government, or one to someone else’s.

151214paris-climate

Lord Monckton Fires Back at Climatist Hit Job

Monckton emblem

The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley

H/T to Climate Depot for reporting that Lord Monckton has issued an extensive rebuttal as well as threatening legal action against a libelous article calling him a “liar” multiple times. The entire document is enjoyable to read, given his English fluency and writing style. In this post I will focus on several substantial points regarding climate science, whereby consensus suppositions are falsified in the response.
The rebuttal is Letter before claim in libel

Overview

From Monckton to the defendants’ editor: (in italics with my bolds)

Sir, – I have received two offensive emails – dated 3 April and 27 May 2021 – from one S. Bishop, who says he is writing an article, inferentially about global warming and my research interest therein. Bishop appears intent on seeking to maintain that I have changed my position from skepticism of global warming to acceptance of it, even though I have expressly told that it is the other way about.

The tactic of falsely alleging that those who had disagreed with the orthodoxy have come to agree with it after all (when in my case precisely the reverse is true) is one that I have seen before. The last time this happened, a silly article was published in a national newspaper. I complained. The “journalist” in question – actually a far-Left activist – was deservedly dismissed.

Therefore, I thought it fair to alert you at once to Bishop’s dishonest attempt to deploy the same technique of artful but wilful misrepresentation, inferentially as part of a doomed attempt to convey the false impression that there is no legitimate scientific debate about the extent of the anthropogenic contribution to global warming, or about the expected impacts of warmer weather worldwide.

Discussion

There follows description of instances where S. Bishop made statements that misrepresent what he himself knew contrary to what he wrote. Then Monckton copies his response to S. Bishop’s memo:

One of the nasty tactics used by climate Communists is the attempt to suggest that skeptics have changed their stance from skepticism to acceptance of the Party Line. I once had to have a journalist fired from a national newspaper for writing a silly piece suggesting what you are now unpleasantly and inaccurately suggesting.

In my case, it is precisely the other way about. At first I went along with the Party Line: but then, in 2006, the CEO of a boutique hedge-fund in London asked me to investigate the global warming question. When I did so, I found that the world had been misled. I reported accordingly, and a summary of my 80-page report eventually appeared in a national newspaper, drawing hundreds of thousands of hits in just two hours (after which the newspaper’s website crashed). That report, and all subsequent articles, papers and speeches by me, acknowledged what is self-evident – namely, that returning to the atmosphere some of the CO2 that was formerly present there (7000 ppmv in the Neoproterozoic, 420 ppmv today) might be expected to cause some warming, if one waited long enough. The question is not whether or not there has been or will be warming: there has been, and there will be. The question is how much – or, rather, how little.

Monckton then dismisses item by item the assertions of lies. Many of them are rhetorical tricks, such as taking statements out of the historical context, or hiding remarks made to audiences; some so-called “lies” involve changing the wording of what Monckton wrote or said.

The Essential Dichotomies: Facts on the Ground which Climatists Deny

Polar Bears Are Thriving

In 2016 Monckton had told a Montana audience: ‘So you don’t have to worry about the cuddly polar bears. They are going to be just fine.”

Monckton2

Monckton2aI had made my remarks in the context of Al Gore’s movie, in which he had said polar bears were drowning due to loss of ice in the Beaufort Sea. However, in the period immediately before he began making his movie – the period during which he said polar bears had died – sea-ice concentration in the Beaufort Sea had increased (above).

Greenland Ice Sheet is Not Melting

In New Zealand, Monckton claimed: “In Greenland, the ice did not melt 8000 years ago and it isn’t melting today.”

Monckton3a

From 1991-2003, above 1500 the ice in Greenland had thickened by 2 feet. There had been little change below 1500 m (above).

Monckton3b

Over the past 8000 years, temperature at the summit of the Greenland ice sheet has fallen by 1.5 degrees, notwithstanding CO2 concentration increasing from 260 ppmv to 420 ppmv today. Once again the defendants have sought to use evidence, from one side of the debate only, some of it unavailable at the time when I spoke.

Temperature Trends Have Been Inflated by Adjustments to the Terrestrial Temperature Dataset

Monckton4

The above graph shows how many times the GISS global mean surface temperature anomaly for January 1910 and January 2000 were altered between May 2008 and May 2021, with the overall effect of making it appear that the warming between the two dates was close to 50% greater than the original measurements had suggested.

Great Barrier Reef Not Threatened by Global Warming

Monckton7

The graph above shows the sea surface temperatures in the Great Barrier Reef. It shows no trend for almost 30 years – the period before I made the speech in question. I cannot fairly be accused of lying about trends that may have occurred after I spoke.

Extreme Heat Was a Problem Back in the 1920s and 30s

Monckton8

Hansen Wildly Exaggerated Future Warming in His 1988 US Senate Testimony

Monckton5

Hansen’s graph was indeed exaggerated (see above). In 1988, in now-notorious testimony before the U.S. Senate, he predicted global warming at a rate equivalent to 3.2 C° per century (broadly equivalent to equilibrium sensitivity to doubled CO2) on a business-as-usual emissions scenario (and it is the business-as-usual emissions scenario that has happened since). However, anthropogenic warming has proven to be little more than a third of his predicted business-as-usual rate (red curve and trend above). Indeed, it is below even the unrealized scenario (green) in which the world was supposed to cease all emissions of CO2 from 2000 onwards (it did no such thing). The trend in observed warming is overlaid on Hansen’s red, yellow and green scenarios in blue. The anthropogenic 70% fraction (Wu et al., 2019) of the observed warming is shown in purple.

Today is Not Warmer than Medieval Times

Monckton6

Temperatures in the mediaeval climate optimum were at least as warm as, and usually warmer than, the present. The fact that grapes now grow in very small quantities in lowland Scotland and in the Hebrides, influenced by the Gulf Stream, merely emphasize that temperatures are beginning to recover towards those attained in the mediaeval climate optimum, when grapes were even grown in the Great Glen, a part of the Highlands where it would be very difficult to grow grapes in today’s colder conditions.

Globe No Longer Warming

There has now been no global warming for about six years. The short bursts of warming that occur every five and a half years or so are associated with the naturally-occurring positive cycles of the el Nino Southern Oscillation, which appears to be driven chiefly by crustal deformation in the tropical Eastern Pacific, where the tectonic subduction rate is noticeably greater than anywhere else. The deformation is caused by local solar-system celestial mechanics, and the resultant warming comes from below, through subocean volcanism along the subduction line. It is then distributed worldwide via the thermohaline circulation, which, contrary to some silly reports, cannot cease to operate while the wind blows and the Earth rotates.

My image and comment:

gmt-warming-events

The animation is an update of a previous analysis from Dr. Murry Salby. These graphs use Hadcrut4 and include the 2016 El Nino warming event. The exhibit shows since 1947 GMT warmed by 0.8 C, from 13.9 to 14.7, as estimated by Hadcrut4. This resulted from three natural warming events involving ocean cycles. The most recent rise 2013-16 lifted temperatures by 0.2C. Previously the 1997-98 El Nino produced a plateau increase of 0.4C. Before that, a rise from 1977-81 added 0.2C to start the warming since 1947.

Importantly, the theory of human-caused global warming asserts that increasing CO2 in the atmosphere changes the baseline and causes systemic warming in our climate. On the contrary, all of the warming since 1947 was episodic, coming from three brief events associated with oceanic cycles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stress Testing for Media Bias

I was recently reminded (H/T pHil R) about Michael Crichton’s insight into our vulnerability to media bias.  He called it the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect, named after his friend, physicist Gell-Mann. 

“Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.”

Howard Wetsman MD takes it from there in his article A New Corollary to the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect, suggesting how to approach media reports with critical intelligence. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The corollary came to me the other day when I was reading an email string on Addiction Medicine. A couple of fathers of the field had written an article in one of those non-peer reviewed clinical newspapers that each specialty has and shared it with the group. They were showered with praise, so I started reading what they wrote. I was struck that the assumptions they made in their article directly contradicted several of the working assumptions of the group, yet the group expressed nearly universal approval with the conclusions of the article.

So the Hunt Assumption Amnesia Corollary is when experts start reading a paper, note that they disagree with some basic assumptions of the work, but keep reading and accept the conclusions, forgetting they had rejected the assumptions. This effect is rife in Addiction Medicine, and, I suspect, much of academia.

When I first learned to read a scientific paper, I was taught to go through the various sections to understand the limitations of the conclusions I’d read at the end. Did they select the subjects correctly? Did they use the right test for the question? Did they have enough subjects to power the study sufficiently? And many other important questions.

But I’ve come to find in the fullness of time that there are really only two questions I need to know when reading a paper. Were the authors aware that their assumptions are assumptions, and are they questioning them?

I want to pose my own testable hypothesis about how this corollary effect occurs. I think, if I’m right, that we’ll see it in all media.

First, the assumption is stated as fact, but in a muted way so that it slides past the readers assumption filter rather than slamming headlong into it. Then data is piled up to bolster the writer’s thesis by generalizing findings in particular situations to all situations. So, by the end of the piece any disagreement with the assumption is forgotten under the weight of “the evidence.”

A previous post is reprinted below showing how a journalism professor prepares his students to read critically media reports concerning climate change/global warming.

Decoding Climate News

Journalism professor David Blackall provides a professional context for investigative reporting I’ve been doing on this blog, along with other bloggers interested in science and climate change/global warming. His peer reviewed paper is Environmental Reporting in a Post Truth World. The excerpts below show his advice is good not only for journalists but for readers.  h/t GWPF, Pierre Gosselin

Overview: The Grand Transnational Narrative

The dominance of a ‘grand transnational narrative’ in environmental discourse (Mittal, 2012) over other human impacts, like deforestation, is problematic and is partly due to the complexities and overspecialization of climate modelling. A strategy for learning, therefore, is to instead focus on the news media: it is easily researched and it tends to act ‘as one driving force’, providing citizens with ‘piecemeal information’, making it impossible to arrive at an informed position about science, society and politics (Marisa Dispensa et al., 2003). After locating problematic news narratives, Google Scholar can then be employed to locate recent scientific papers that examine, verify or refute news media discourse.

The science publication Nature Climate Change this year, published a study demonstrating Earth this century warmed substantially less than computer-generated climate models predict.

Unfortunately for public knowledge, such findings don’t appear in the news. Sea levels too have not been obeying the ‘grand transnational narrative’ of catastrophic global warming. Sea levels around Australia 2011–2012 were measured with the most significant drops in sea levels since measurements began. . .The 2015–2016 El-Niño, a natural phenomenon, drove sea levels around Indonesia to low levels such that coral reefs were bleaching. The echo chamber of news repeatedly fails to report such phenomena and yet many studies continue to contradict mainstream news discourse.

facebook2bnew2blike2bbuttons2bfinal-970-80I will be arguing that a number of narratives need correction, and while I accept that the views I am about to express are not universally held, I believe that the scientific evidence does support them.

The Global Warming/Climate Change Narrative

The primary narrative in need of correction is that global warming alone (Lewis, 2016), which induces climate change (climate disruption), is due to the increase in global surface temperatures caused by atmospheric greenhouse gases. Instead, there are many factors arising from human land use (Pielke et al., 2016), which it could be argued are responsible for climate change, and some of these practices can be mitigated through direct public action.

Global warming is calculated by measuring average surface temperatures over time. While it is easy to argue that temperatures are increasing, it cannot be argued, as some models contend, that the increases are uniform throughout the global surface and atmosphere. Climate science is further problematized by its own scientists, in that computer modelling, as one component of this multi-faceted science, is privileged over other disciplines, like geology.

Scientific uncertainty arises from ‘simulations’ of climate because computer models are failing to match the actual climate. This means that computer models are unreliable in making predictions.

Published in the eminent journal Nature (Ma, et. al., 2017), ‘Theory of chaotic orbital variations confirmed by Cretaceous geological evidence’, provides excellent stimulus material for student news writing. The paper discusses the severe wobbles in planetary orbits, and these affect climate. The wobbles are reflected in geological records and show that the theoretical climate models are not rigorously confirmed by these radioisotopically calibrated and anchored geological data sets. Yet popular discourse presents Earth as harmonious: temperatures, sea levels and orbital patterns all naturally balanced until global warming affects them, a mythical construct. Instead, the reality is natural variability, the interactions of which are yet to be measured or discovered (Berger, 2013).

In such a (media) climate, it is difficult for the assertion to be made that there might be other sources, than a nontoxic greenhouse gas called carbon dioxide (CO2), that could be responsible for ‘climate disruption’. A healthy scientific process would allow such a proposition. Contrary to warming theory, CO2 levels have increased, but global average temperatures remain steady. The global average temperature increased from 1983 to 1998; then, it flat-lined for nearly 20 years. James Hansen’s Hockey Stick graph, with soaring and catastrophic temperatures, simply did not materialize.

As Keenan et al. (2016) found through using global carbon budget estimates, ground, atmospheric and satellite observations, and multiple global vegetation models that there is also now a pause in the growth rate of atmospheric CO2. They attribute this to increases in terrestrial sinks over the last decade, where forests consume the rising atmospheric CO2 and rapidly grow—the net effect being a slowing in the rate of warming from global respiration.

Contrary to public understanding, higher temperatures in cities are due to a phenomenon known as the ‘urban heat effect’ (Taha, 1997; Yuan & Bauer, 2007). Engines, air conditioners, heaters and heat absorbing surfaces like bitumen radiate heat energy in urban areas, but this is not due to the greenhouse effect. Problematic too are data sets like ocean heat temperatures, sea-ice thickness and glaciers: all of which are varied, some have not been measured or there are insignificant measurement time spans for the data to be reliable.

Contrary to news media reports, some glaciers throughout the world (Norway [Chinn et al., 2005] and New Zealand [Purdie et al., 2008]) are growing, while others shrink (Paul et al., 2007).

Conclusion

This is clearly a contentious topic. There are many agendas at play, with careers at stake. My view represents one side of the debate: it is one I strongly believe in, and is, I contend, supported by the science around deforestation, on the ground, rather than focusing almost entirely on atmosphere. However, as a journalism educator, I also recognize that my view, along with others, must be open to challenge, both within the scientific community and in the court of public opinion.

As a journalism educator, it is my responsibility to provide my students with the research skills they need to question—and test—the arguments put forward by the key players in any debate. Given the complexity of the climate warming debate, and the contested nature of the science that underpins both sides, this will provide challenges well into the future. It is a challenge our students should relish, particularly in an era when they are constantly being bombarded with ‘fake news’ and so-called ‘alternative facts’.

To do so, they need to understand the science. If they don’t, they need to at least understand the key players in the debate and what is motivating them. They need to be prepared to question these people and to look beyond their arguments to the agendas that may be driving them. If they don’t, we must be reconciled to a future in which ‘fake news’ becomes the norm.

Examples of my investigative reports are in Data Vs. Models posts listed at Climate Whack-a-Mole

See also Yellow Climate Journalism

Some suggestions for reading critically National Climate Assessment reports is at Impaired Climate Vision