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How do you approach people who doesn't have trust in science? It feels so surreal that the science is settled, but some people still don't believe climate change is real.



Increasingly, I don't. There comes a point where it's clear the best ROI is on organizing and rallying the people who do listen to science instead of trying to convert those who aren't interested.

For instance, which sounds more feasible - a compagin to convince a climate denying politician of the error of their ways and to change how they do things, or a campaign to just vote them out by ensuring the highest possible turnout among people who already agree with you?


Agree. With one little caveat - voting is not gonna help. We need a radical cultural and socioeconomic change, and historically these kind of changes were never initiated by the parliament. Think about suffragette, civil rights movement, anti war movement, gay rights etc. We need direct action.


True, thus XR. Or maybe running for office. This is also why individual action is a bit of a red herring - it's all well and good to limit your footprint but as they say, the avalanche has already started, it is too late for the pebbles to vote.


I think most people agree with climate change, they just don't think it will affect us in the current century.

In the Netherlands we cut the construction of new buildings in half, the livestock is about to get cut in half, the speedlimit is cut by 25%, gas prices for heating homes is going up significantly, flights are cut, a new airport is at the risk of never opening. Those are actions that impact people significantly. We are about to lose hundreds of thousands of jobs and a lot of people are going on welfare, will have to trade their paid-for home for small social rental housing and will not have money left for anything besides food and maybe going to a cinema twice a year.

The actions mentioned above are necessary but I don't blame people for resisting those changes. If you are not seeing any chance in the climate but the government is pushing for you to lose your job over it, I can understand that you will get angry.

27.000 people in construction are about to lose their job[1]. Many of them are contractors who are not eligible for welfare, and many of them are too poor for unemployment insurance, so they will probably end up homeless.

[1] https://nos.nl/artikel/2306987-stikstofcrisis-raakt-veel-mee...


This situation is all about nitrogen emissions, not carbon emissions. It has been caused by mismanagement, particularly of the dairy industry.

As for the airport: as someone who lives under the flight route I really do hope that it isn't going to be opened. These planes are going to be flying really low and adding to the already bad air pollution. All so someone can fly short haul with a budget airline.


That's a shame that they're going to lose their job but arguably they were going to eventually anyway from automation. That the Netherlands is doing this early just means we all get to benefit from learning through observation when the "what do we do with our citizens when we can't find work for them to do" crisis hits our countries.


> the science is settled, but some people still don't believe

The science of basic probability math is settled for a few hundred years now but people still buying lottery tickets and playing roulette.

What is so surprising about that?


People can perfectly understand the math and still feel like spending ten bucks on a lottery ticket is a good investment, because hope and excitement with a tiny chance of winning something is worth ten bucks to them. It' much harder to justify dooming future generations to a much harsher life so that you can life a little bit more comfortably today.


> It feels so surreal that the science is settled, but some people still don't believe climate change is real.

If you're genuinely curious, I'll give you some insight into the mind of a natural skeptic. I am very suspicious of movements based on expressions like "the science is settled" - in this context, what does "the science" and "is settled" even mean, precisely? No doubt, you and many others can provide a reasonable and plausible answer to that question, but do the explanations match up, and is this science?

I personally believe climate change is real, but based on a wide variety of reasons I am not convinced all players in this movement are informed and acting completely in good faith. When large masses of humans seem to start thinking the same, without really thinking (their opinions being based on propaganda, not science - signs of this already showing up in this page), I get nervous. YMMV

I also perceive that being downvoted every single time I honestly express this genuine sentiment, or dare to point out uncomfortable facts, further strengthens the resolve of my resistant attitude, and based on an extensive reading of forum discussions on these and other contentious topics I suspect I'm not the only one who feels this way. Human psychology is a hell of a drug - ignore it at your peril, social engineers.


"When large masses of humans seem to start thinking the same, without really thinking"

So, the thousands of scientists the world over who have studied this extensively and produced some of the largest bodies of research for a field on a specific topic aren't really thinking? And when they communicate that to the public, the public should what, doubt literally everything this relatively unempowered group has to say while oil companies spend far more money and influence keeping this argument alive to ensure nothing is done?

What degree of confidence are you looking for, and is the IPCC not good enough for you? Why do you feel like all the people you disagree with "aren't thinking"?


> So, the thousands of scientists the world over who have studied this extensively and produced some of the largest bodies of research for a field on a specific topic aren't really thinking?

No. You have formed an incorrect conclusion of my beliefs.

> And when they communicate that to the public, the public should what, doubt literally everything this relatively unempowered group has to say while oil companies spend far more money and influence keeping this argument alive to ensure nothing is done?

No. You have formed an incorrect conclusion of my beliefs.

> What degree of confidence are you looking for, and is the IPCC not good enough for you?

I've said nothing to criticize the IPCC.

> Why do you feel like all the people you disagree with "aren't thinking"?

Your comment is an excellent example of what I'm talking about. Observe how significant of a role your imagination (heuristics) played in your interpretation of what I was saying. Here I will daringly speculate a bit.....observe, right now, if there is an emotional reaction in your body right now as you are reading these words. Also observe if the magnitude of that reaction intensified while reading that last sentence.

Observe the downvotes (as of the time of writing) on my comment here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21482841 Offers of advice to learn from forum discussion like this and improve the delivery and persuasive value of the "pro" message is literally downvoted! Is this thinking, or is something more complex going on here?

Based on all of the conversations I've read on this topic, I perceive an authoritarian streak in this movement (the science is settled, the discussion is over - assimilate or gtfo) that puts a bad taste in my mouth.

But that's fine, all of this is nothing more than my personal opinion (and you know what they say about opinions) - I'm not demanding you behave a certain way or not. You and your teammates will reap what you sow, I consider myself mostly just an outspoken observer - my interest is not so much in climate change itself, I am interested in the psychology of the discussion. To me, this is the interesting part, and I also speculate that this is where the solution to the current impasse lies (and not just wrt to climate change). But, this idea seems to an extremely unpopular, worthy of nothing other than scorn, and certainly not of consideration. Although.....I do now see there are others showing up in this thread that recognize the very same problem I see. Might others be waking up and seeing what is right in front of their eyes?

I shall leave you to your current approach. There's an extremely strong sense of self-confidence in your team, maybe completely ignoring psychology and merely repeating "the science" over and over, while insulting and downvoting anyone who dares disagree in any way (or offer sincere advice from a different perspective), is the optimal approach after all. Time will tell if the "chosen" tactics will bear fruit, for the sake of all of us let's hope you guessed correctly.

Another way of stating this is: it may be in your best interests to consider the possibility that your dispute is not with me, but with reality itself, and if you find that idea offensive, be careful that you have your heuristics on a short leash.

EDIT: Well how about that, a quick downvote. I certainly didn't expect that.


I didn't downvote (don't have the karme for it).

But you won't engage with the science. You're just probing at basic problems of epistemology and hand-wringing. Literally no one can argue against that and it isn't productive. What about the science do you want to discuss?


> But you won't engage with the science.

Your heuristics need more tuning. I've engaged with the science, and I will do so again in the future.

> You're just probing at basic problems of epistemology and hand-wringing.

Incorrect. I was pointing out some reasons for my skepticism. I literally said that.

> Literally no one can argue against that and it isn't productive.

If climate change enthusiasts choose to ignore those who explain why they're not jumping on board the train, and therefore fail to gain anything useful from the conversation, the fault is not mine. If you prefer to carry on with your same approach rather than constantly improve it, be my guest.

> What about the science do you want to discuss?

I'm not particularly interested in the science, it seems clear enough to me to justify action, at the very least from a risk perspective. I'm more interested in what the underlying cause is of the inability for the cheerleaders to accomplish anything beyond attracting attention. If this problem is real, at some point you're going to have to figure out how to get people to take action. If you can't figure that out, perhaps you should be open to new ideas, particularly if they are coming from someone who is not responsive to your current techniques but willing to explain why.


"I'm more interested in what the underlying cause is of the inability for the cheerleaders to accomplish anything beyond attracting attention. If this problem is real, at some point you're going to have to figure out how to get people to take action. "

The problem isn't with the "cheerleaders" as you put it.

It is with groups and parties with interests aligned with oil and carbon producers that are degrading all efforts.

Why is it the "cheerleaders" fault, rather than the largest entities fighting against it, the hordes of people online "just asking questions" (but really question begging, hand-wriging, and engaging in long but useless discussions about whether or not to trust authorities), people who actively spread disinformation, and people who repeat the same defeated anti-AGW talking points everywhere they go?

I find it baffling you think the failure is here, and not with Trump, the GOP, Dems backed by oil/coal/heavy industry, etc. The issue isn't the science (as you suggest), the issue isn't with the technology or economics (though to some degree it is).

For that matter, the entire world has committed to CO2 reduction. So it seems clear that the effort of "cheerleaders" is turning to action. Subsidies are going to solar, wind, etc. Car companies producing electric vehicles are getting subsidies. We have had cap-and-trade on the worst GHG in the 90s and it worked. We banned freon in the atmosphere from creating a large hole in the Antarctic.

I don't see the issue you insist on.


> The problem isn't with the "cheerleaders" as you put it. It is with groups and parties with interests aligned with oil and carbon producers that are degrading all efforts.

Ok, this is reasonably fair disagreement. I hope we can agree that THE indisputable problem is, despite the science being conclusive enough to justify action on a prudent risk management basis (the stakes are so high, erring on the side of caution is the way to go), no consequential actions are being taken despite this issue having significant attention for many years now.

My claim, "I'm more interested in what the underlying cause is of the inability for the cheerleaders to accomplish anything beyond attracting attention.", is true, in that they are not accomplishing anything despite expending a lot of energy and successfully drawing a lot of attention and public mindshare (kudos for that), yet nothing consequential on an actually implemented policy basis has been achieved. But, despite this being true (potentially useful point), it is by no means a comprehensive summary of the overall problem (so, imperfect).

Your claim: "It is with groups and parties with interests aligned with oil and carbon producers that are degrading all efforts."

I'm quite the anti-corporate conspiracy theory enthusiast, and I have no problem accepting that this is at least partially true, but I find it hard to believe that oil companies are largely controlling worldwide governments, almost without exception. And even if they did have such control, is it sufficient to defeat a proper, near-unanimous grassroots campaign for change? Who knows, but the current situation today is that a significant portion of the public continues to support non-environmentally friendly candidates in many countries. It should be noted, that they do this does not guarantee that all of these voters support the "anti-environmental" portion of the overall platform (an extremely common logical error that can be regularly observed in forums and the media). Despite this uncertainty, I think it's pretty safe to assume there are significant numbers of people who, regardless of what their true, unemotional beliefs are on climate change, are not willing to align with advocates. That this may involve incredibly illogical thinking might make one angry, but I propose it is something that should be studied very, very carefully. Stubborn donkey "deniers" may be ultimately cutting off their noses to spite their face, but so are authoritarians who refuse to exert any effort to understand why they behave like this, and whether this behavior can be changed. This common attitude is what I am criticizing.

> Why is it the "cheerleaders" fault

Thinking of it in terms of "fault" is irresistibly attractive, but counter productive.

> ...the hordes of people online "just asking questions" (but really question begging, hand-wriging, and engaging in long but useless discussions about whether or not to trust authorities), people who actively spread disinformation, and people who repeat the same defeated anti-AGW talking points everywhere they go?

I am regularly accused of being on of these people, despite there being little if any content in what I write that actually suggests this. The heuristic behavior seems to be something the along the lines of "if you are not with us, you are against us". I see myself as belonging to a small third camp: those who are actually paying attention to details, where it matters: psychology, epistemology, propaganda, etc.

Also: it would be in your best interest to realize the degree to which what you say above is based on an interpretation of reality, not reality itself. Capturing an accurate measurement of the reality of human beliefs is extremely difficult at best, and it's especially difficult when we're not even trying. Ask yourself this: why has no politician floated the idea of performing some extremely detailed polling to try to suss out what people's beliefs really are....to see whether our strawman assumptions about the others are really accurate? Or, any new approaches to try and break this logjam? Is it because they're stupid? Personally, I don't think so. I don't know if what they're up to is malicious, but I do not write this off as incompetence.

> I find it baffling you think the failure is here, and not with Trump, the GOP, Dems backed by oil/coal/heavy industry, etc.

There is failure all over the place! Fault with Trump and Republicans is glaringly obvious, but how many zealots are willing to even consider that the Democrats (in their actions, not their words) are little more than two sides of the same coin?

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum....” - Noam Chomsky, The Common Good

> The issue isn't the science (as you suggest)

This seems like a rather delusional statement.

> For that matter, the entire world has committed to CO2 reduction. So it seems clear that the effort of "cheerleaders" is turning to action.

Promises of action, to be more precise. I committed to eating healthy and going to the gym six months ago. Nothing has changed.

> I don't see the issue you insist on.

That's fine, I try to the best of my ability to point out what I believe people are missing, but it seems I'm not a great communicator of ideas. If you are satisfied with the current rate of progress, no need for more thinking or improvement, carry on as you are and reap the benefits.

Personally, I think we are on a very dangerous path - I believe we need to stop mistaking our heuristic-powered, simplistic fantasies about others' beliefs for reality, and start studying what is really going on, both for individuals as well as politicians. The climate science work is complete enough, the task now at hand is communication and consensus building. Authoritarianism, propaganda, and shaming doesn't seem to be getting the job done, perhaps it's time to try something else.


I agree with you. However, tell me how you are not making the the appeal to authority argument, and/or confirmation bias.


What is wrong with appeal to authority? Fallacies don't mean your argument is instantly wrong. It just means your argument isn't perfectly sound: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_fallacy

And you presume that I am arguing on behalf of authority, as opposed to giving an example of a "large mass of humans who believe the same thing". You haven't discredited them, you have only mocked me for choosing to believe in an expert body. That is fine, and we should always question authorities and their methods.

But flippantly saying "How is this not making an appeal to authority" is frustrating. Yea, so what? Are the authorities wrong? Unless you can answer that essential question your needling on this point is irrelevant.


>What degree of confidence are you looking for, and is the IPCC not good enough for you?

>And you presume that I am arguing on behalf of authority

I mean.... yes?

I'm sorry you find the question frustrating to answer. But your post revolves around trusting the IPCC because they are an authority.

I think that's a weak argument because if a guy doesn't know what the letters IPCC mean, you're not going to win them over. I think it's more effective to be open to the idea that maybe we're all wrong, and work from that instead of the opposite. You know, healthy skepticism, science. If you approach it like that, you can still work towards all the same goals without being divisive.

The way we're all just supposed to never question the authorities or sacred texts is how this has become a wedge issue.


You're free to read the original papers, collect your own data and write a refutation. I'm pretty sure you can get it published with high impact if your data is sound. There are billions of people who would like to hear that they don't have to change their way of life.


We are discussing climate science. If the person I was trying to convince was so ignorant of the subject to not even know what IPCC was, I would point them to the body, its website, and NASA for summarized data.

If someone who wants to drag out useless arguments online without addressing real datapoints wants to pretend like "IPCC Is so foreign", then you are just wasting time.

You know what the IPCC is. You can find reports from NASA. You know the body of research out there. Why aren't you engaging with it? You decry the lack of discussion, but you won't even engage with the highest quality of research available on the topic.

Calling out a fallacy without substantiating further is just arguing for the sake of arguing. Either engage usefully or stop question begging.


I didn't say to blindly trust the authorities. I read some of the reports myself. You can, too.

If you mean you only want to trust primary research you do yourself, then this discussion is impossible.


The problem is that if you want to understand the issue fully you'll have to at least read and understand a couple of physics books.

Ain't nobody got time for that, so these kind of arguments are all that's left. Unless you want some recommendations?

But basically, increasing CO2 will increase the energy input into the system, that is teenager level science. Where the energy goes and what the consequences are are increasingly more complicated and less understood the more processes are involved.


Yup, the fact that if you dare to study the science objectively and ask, e.g. how much of the warming we’re seeing right now is attributable to humans? You’ll get effectively socially ostracized, meanwhile that’s literally the most important question in the whole climate debate.


This question has been thoroughly studied: https://climate.nasa.gov/causes/

"The industrial activities that our modern civilization depends upon have raised atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from 280 parts per million to 400 parts per million in the last 150 years. The panel also concluded there's a better than 95 percent probability that human-produced greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have caused much of the observed increase in Earth's temperatures over the past 50 years."

Feel free to read the summary for policy makers: https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/02/ipcc_wg3_ar5...

You can ask whatever questions you like. Those of us who aren't dismissive of climate science have been able to get answers like yours without problem.


Meanwhile, those of us who understand that it is very difficult to tease out natural from man-made warming are very skeptical of the increasing politicization of science.

We're coming out of an ice age after all; I see nothing in the current warming that points to an aberration from what could be natural, asides from the much hysteria about greenhouse gases.


Collect some data that shows that the current warming is nothing to be concerned about and publish a paper. You'll be famous.


Show me some evidence that suggests the current warming is something to be concerned about. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. And AGW is an extraordinary claim.


The IPCC reports contain sources with the relevant evidence. Please refute those first before asking for more evidence.


so, I'll take that as a no then... Even the IPCC reports suggest that warming isn't as bad as many claim, even though it is overly confident on attributing the warming to humans.

Unfortunately, evidence is all too often what's lacking in any discussion of climate science, and faux scientists tossing away skepticism for politics.


What kind of evidence would convince you if the evidence provided by the IPCC doesn't? What do you expect random commenters on the Internet to do?


Ideally, random commenters on the internet would back up their claims with more digested evidence rather than linking to a multi-hundred page report that often doesn't say what people think it says.


Why do you think this is the most important question?


Because it's entirely plausible that most of the warming is natural and not anthropogenically forced. If that's the case, then we're doing real harm to the poorest people in the world by needlessly raising the price of energy.


Why do you think that is plausible? What natural drivers are there that would be able to do that?


We're coming out of an ice age, so it's to be expected that temperatures should be warming naturally and without any human intervention. In fact, it would be very worrying if that weren't the case.

The question though is how much of the current temperature increase is natural or human-caused (e.g. via greenhouse gas released from human activity). Trying to figure out what percent of the warming we're seeing is natural or man-made is a reallly tough question, of course.

In regards to natural drivers, it's tough to pinpoint specifics, but of course ocean cycles, solar cycles, etc. But the reality is we're really not sure what caused the previous ice age we're coming out, nor are we sure (despite what people will say) what are the primary drivers of current temperature changes.

The fact is that climate science is a very difficult undertaking. It's entirely possible that natural temperature increase has flatlined and all the warming is caused by greenhouse gases released by humans, but I find that to be wholly unrealistic. It's significantly more likely that the warming is part natural and part human-caused. Which brings me back to the question of: How much of the warming is attributable to humans vs. natural factors.

I know that didn't fully answer your question of what natural drivers could be resposible, but that's part of the ongoing (not settled) research.


There are people who are misinformed (for whatever reason) and then there are people who don't want to be informed

As I grow older, I am more and more convinced that the second category of people (most anti vaxxers, hard core religious types etc) cannot be convinced of anything, and that includes usage of hard facts and science. Even if they could be, the amount of time and effort would be enormous, so we are better off talking to the first category of people instead.

The problem though - the people who tend to close their eyes and ears to anything other than what they already believe in, also usually tend to be the loudest :(


Stuff like this. Although there's an argument you don't have to, you just have to convince a relatively small number of politicians.

I think sites like this help. Quite a poor job has been done of pushing the data to the front and keeping publishing it without changing the metrics or methodology and I'd imagine most people will respect that eventually. You can't win everyone.

That said, I'd have been crucified in school for starting a graph from a number other than zero (CO2 PPM) because of the impression it creates, I'd probably have got away with the route round that the difference graphs employ though.


What science in regards to climate change is settled?


I think what helps is to keep two things strictly seperated: observation and explaination.

Our observation is, that in the last 200 years the earth warmed faster than ever in its history. The fastest warming cycle before that took 4000 years for the same temperature.

So what really is settled is that there is scary fast warming that coincides with population growth and industrialization. This is not a theory, this is measurements.

Because a temperature rise this fast is kinda scary and we might wanna stop it if there is even the tiniest chance it is our own fault, scientists started to create models that try to explain the climate ever more acurrately.

Because they are models of a (in the true sense of the word) global system that is inherently chaotic in nature deriving very accurate predictions is hard, but the measurements are warming while we are at it and most predictions haven’t been that far off.

People who argue against men made climate change honestly just have no idea about the climate usually and often not even about the consequences. This is why you will get xenophobes arguing against climate change although they should be against it, if they are afraid of big amounts of foreign people fleeing their countries.

In the end the question is: if you are not sure whether climate change is manmade — how much of a chance would you take? Or is it that these people don’t want it to be real?


> we might wanna stop it if there is even the tiniest chance it is our own fault,

We might want to stop it even if it's not our fault!


The greenhouse effect, for one. It's essentially the blackbody effect along with spectral properties of constituent atmospheric gases.


This is a straight up mathematical measurement and would account for ~.2C warming per decade and is regarded as an uninteresting question in climate science. The actual questions being asked are what feedbacks are there that would drastically increase/decrease this number.


Uninteresting... settled... tomayto... tomahto...

If you dismiss anything uninteresting as no longer being climate science, then we end up in a no-true-Scotsman loop. I was responding to the question "what climate change science is settled", not "what are active research topics".


I wasn't really disagreeing with you, only pointing out that CO2 energy absorption has been settled science of over a hundred years and really isn't considered climate science. It's just basic physics.


Probably the same way you approach people who don't trust every claim of "soft" sciences, like human psychology. You do the best you can with what you have, and continually work to improve the science.


Who doesn't think climate change is happening? Even the hardest skeptic acknowledges natural longer term climate change. Others acknowledge recent history as shown in these graphs but doubt the causation. Causation is very difficult to prove without a controlled experiment, so that's a reasonable doubt. Others accept the causation but doubt the predicted future changes, which absolutely are not settled, so they're right to doubt. Others accept predictions but doubt the cost to society will be great enough to warrant some expensive measures proposed to reduce it. That's absolutely not settled either.


> It feels so surreal that the science is settled

????????

Is the global mean temp for the earth hotter:

1. Right now

2. During the Bronze Age

?

What parts of the entire field of psychology from the last 50 years have not failed to replicate?

What parts of nutrition science from the last 50 years are useful, or at least predictive?

What assumptions were we certain about in anthropology and history 50 years ago that we now know are completely wrong?

It feels so surreal that people think science is something you settle, at all. I cannot imagine the confusion that would lead an educated person into in thinking that.


This is not a discussion about nutrition, or psychology, or anthropology. It's a discussion about two very concrete questions:

1. Is global warming happening right now?

2. Are humans responsible for it?

The answer to those two questions is absolutely unreservedly settled: it's "yes". It's as settled as any question in science can be, it's as settled as the fact that electrons exist.


The point is that how is a layperson to know which sciences are trustworthy and which are not? The media and school treat all sciences as equally trustworthy, and then it has turned out that some of them are pretty bogus. (Half of all published research findings are false, John Ioannidis, etc) So the layperson should be excused for being suspicious of all sciences, in fact it's a reasonable stance to take if one doesn't have the time or interest to examine each science closely.

Of course I have a mental ranking of which sciences are to be trusted and how much, but we can't expect the general public to take such an interest. It's just all science lumped into one big bucket, and it's not pretty.


Doesn't matter. People would be more willing to take it on trust if it weren't for 1) motivated denialists 2) ex-"tobacco not harmful" mercenaries 3) useful idiots who are willing to consider [edit] the possibility they have a valid "point of view": they don't.


That's an interesting point. I guess it's on us (scientists I mean) to hold ourselves to a higher standard?


And a third: Is global warming bad?

The answer to all three is "yes", but "yes" isn't a useful answer. "How much?" has a lot less consensus (and if history is any guide, a lot less confidence).


Yes, and the fourth: "What should be done?"

The problem becomes when people roar in about 1 and 2 and then make somewhat outrageous demands for 4, without justifying 4, or often 3.

This is what upsets most people, I think, even if they are not clever enough to articulate what's going on. There's a motte of defensible science that pushes for a much less defensible list of adjacent social causes, and then any pushback on the conclusions is easily painted as being "anti-science."


I've had this exact concern for the past decade and a half. Climate change activists really aren't using logic because they completely neglect 3 and just pull an answer to 4 out of a hat. Then when people instinctively feel their answer is unreasonable, they mock them for not believing in 1 and 2.

If you have no estimate of the cost of climate change, then you also have no business proposing costly preventative measures.


If you're saying humans are responsible for 100% of climate change, it is "absolutely unreservedly" a no.

We don't know how fast the Earth is warming and we don't know how much of that warming is anthropogenic. The best "thermometers" we have are the UAH and RSS data sets, and they disagree by nearly 50% and historical data is constantly adjusted.

The only science actually settled is: the Earth is warming, disconcertingly fast, and humans are a large part of the process. Anything else even slightly more in depth is definitely not settled.


>The only science actually settled is: the Earth is warming, disconcertingly fast, and humans are a large part of the process.

This is exactly what I said. In 2., not that humans are 100% all the cause of global warming, but definitely the dominating factor.


It's not a binary question. Here are some alternative questions:

1. At what rate is global warming happening?

2. How do current temperature trends compare to historical data?

3. What is the list of causes that may contribute to current trends, and how much influence does each cause have?

4. What are the implications if the current trend continues for 100 years?

5. What are the possible responses, how much does each cost, and how how many degrees temperature reduction do we estimate for each?


We may have a pretty good idea that CO2 is driving some degree of change, the nature of the change, impact etc. is not remotely settled.

Case and point: the Met graph time scales are all cherry picked to maximise the 'visible trend' for a given activity - a rather unscientific and propagandistic approach, however good their intentions might be. In short - the charts are 'Bad Science'.

Ironically whenever I see such cherry-picking, or serious people asking 16 year old Swedish girls about 'what we should do about Nuclear Energy' - I can only be made skeptical.

We have to balance the needs of truth and actual science with the need to communicate this information into the commons.


> the Met graph time scales are all cherry picked to

Any evidence for this?


I think they simply show the period for which the data is reliable, but I'd like to know if that assumption is wrong.


If they showed data for a period where it was unreliable then I'm sure it would be hedged around with strong caveats and error bars.

As you assume it is for reliable for the period, perhaps it's good data. It does seem to be within the last century (earliest 1940s from what I can see) where decent scientific measurements would be valid and direct, rather than from centuries past where it would be necessarily indirect and inferred.


There's nothing "settled" about question #2. The extent to which humans are responsible for climate change, comparative to external factors (such as the sun heading towards the end of its hydrogen-burning life), is very much debatable.

You can use adverbs like "absolutely" and "unreservedly" but that doesn't make your statement greater than an opinion.


You know, people use that as some kind of defense, but I would find it even scarier if humans were not responsible for it.

Being responsible for about all of it makes it possible for us to be in control. Not being responsible would make the situation akin to being hit by a meteorite.

Some people might find that preferable, since they do not have to change, but I find it far scarier.


And there you find why people make up ridiculous claims and become "skeptics" when they are not that way about any other facts of their life: because if they acknowledge the truth, then they commit themselves to doing something about it.

And when you have decades of fabricated political identity that says that we can't switch from fossil fuels and we can't change any aspect of our life that threatens the profits of a few very wealthy corporations, acknowledging these facts also means going against one's own identity.

The very same propagandists that let tobacco companies persist with false claims about smoking and cancer came back for fossil fuel companies' defense with a highly honed bag of tricks.

That's why we see massive anti-science responses in these comments, just like every media mention of climate change brings out hoards of denialist a to barrage the media outlet and scientists that show up: people perceive it as a personal attack on them and act accordingly.


Seriously? Of all the possible external factors (which, by the way, have all been shown to be relatively insignificant) you pick the one that’s seven to eight orders of magnitude slower than the change we’re seeing right now?


"such as the sun heading towards the end of its hydrogen-burning life"

Yes, that event will cause the sun to start burning helium instead, and will swell to a red giant approximately the radius of the orbit of Mars.

In about 4-5 billion years.


Yes and in the meantime it's burning steadily hotter.


Completely irrelevant on the timescale of all human history, and delusional on the 100 year time scale of clear anthropogenic climate change.


Anthropogenic? People keep throwing out terms like "clear" and "settled" and when asked to elaborate give responses like "it's in the science." So what specific conclusion in the science is now beyond questioning? Citation needed.


Have you read or consulted parts of the IPCC report? That links to nearly all relevant science on this topic, and is so well understood by everyone talking about this topic, that when they say "the science" that is at least what they are referring to.


Please see the citations at the bottom:

https://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/


Also, the actual questions are not just "Has Earth's average surface temperature increased 0.8 degree Celsius since 1880?" but:

* What is humanity's effect on global warming?

* What meteorological and ecological effects does global warming have?

* What is the magnitude of impact of hypothetical changes to human behavior?


1. Lots 2. Very 3. Extensive

I know this is flippant, but the answers are all generally pretty well-known


Within orders of magnitude perhaps.

In 2008, computer models from Naval Postgraduate School, NASA, Institute of Oceanology, and Polish Academy of Science predicted ice-free Artic summers by 2013. [1] The study was prominently cited in Al Gore's acceptance of the Noble Prize, which was awarded for his dedicated advocacy of climate change science.

In 2013, the US Dept of Energy and US Navy predicted it would be gone before 2019. [2].

For more ice-free Artic science, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arctic_sea_ice_decline#Ice-fre...

Complicated systems are complicated. Science knows as much about climate change as it does about cholesterol.

[1] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7139797.stm

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2013/d...


You've taken a quote from a study that talked about the lower bound of the range of estimates (earliest possible ice free date) and specifically mentioned the high range of uncertainty (even in the news story pull quote), and you've decided that was a firm prediction which has been invalidated. This is your bad science at best, your deceitfulness at worst.

"We predict X will happen sometime between 10 and 50 years from now, sorry about the high range of uncertainty"

"Welp, it has been ten years and one day and X didn't happen, THOSE SCIENTISTS WERE ALL LIARS, DON'T BELIEVE THE SCIENCE"

Just dishonest.


The first instance was a requote from Al Gore's Nobel Prize speech. I'm not sure what the bounds were in the source material; it is possible that Gore (dishonestly?) cited only the lower bound. What was the upper bound?

The second instance used the upper bound (2016 ± 3 years).

I never said "THOSE SCIENTISTS WERE ALL LIARS, DON'T BELIEVE THE SCIENCE"; I said those scientists cannot yet predict accurately years ahead the effects in such a complex system.


This answer is more flippant than you can imagine.

#3 Is the worst - if we have learnt anything in the past century, it is that our attempts at behavioural changes rarely work[i], and even when they do they often result in the opposite effect[ii].

[i] - My favourite book that points this out is Behavioural Adaptation and Road Safety. Well worth a read. Examples are many, such as in the case of criminalising texting while driving, which results in "crotching" (texting from a phone on your lap) and has resulted in increased accidents.

[ii] - Plenty of examples of this already on the environmental scene:

    - let's use plastic bags to save trees! oh no plastic bags are worse!

    - let's use diesel rather than petrol! Here, have subsidies! Oh no, it's making everything worse

    - let's improve energy efficiency! oh no, now more energy is used! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jevons_paradox


Are they? Then provide a source eberyone in the thread is asking for. I think this is the issue. Both sides declared themselves so correct that they see no need to 'show their work'. Clearly there is a progressive warming, there is a strong correlation with co2, the greenhouse model seems mostly confirmed, but what else? I am not contesting your assertion, but seeking understanding. Being flippnt is how we got in this mess.


If you accept that humans pump a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere, I'm not sure why you're asking for a specific citation; if you're looking for papers that answer the spefific question of whether humans are contributing to global warming, and the consensus among scientists in all disciplines concerned, there are several:

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/306/5702/1686.summary

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/292/5515/270

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.800...


The poster should not ask such silly questions, just trust the science!


Exactly - and I would add another 2:

* What are the confidence intervals around the answers to the above? I.e., what are the probabilities of the ranges of answers to the above.

* Assuming that such probabilistic models have been running, unchanged, for at least a decade - how have these probabilities held up, where it is possible to measure the actual outcomes?


One extremely humorous IPCC report mentioned that cloud cover changes are poorly understood, could massively increase or decrease warming feedbacks likely drowning out all other signals, but for the sake of the report would be ignored.

So much science-y science you just can't stand it.


We won't like the results of the updates on accuracy that have been made, say the rumors. Still some time off until publication though, who knows what'll happen until then.

edit: One morbidly humorous plot is this one:

https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/sites/2/2019/02/SPM3...

P1, P2 and P3 are just.. kind of ridiculous with that emission drop. It's the kind of thing where you go 'haha sure' and then drown your thoughts in beer.


It is nearly impossible to construct randomized control trials in Nutritional science and Psychology. Both are about average impact of specific things many entities, and even measurement itself is a nightmare (self reporting, placebo)

On the other hand, climate science has a control, which is climate measurements from all the years when humans were not polluting. Additionally, the measurements are actual mathematical levels of atmospheric properties or compound concentrations. The statistics here is a lot more solid. Philosophy, Anthropology and History are unfortunately not sciences in the rigorous sense.

Additionally, as looked down upon as anecdotes are, there are way too many of them to ignore. This year it has continued raining my home town into November. In my 25 years alive, it had never rained past Sept there. As much as anomalies do happen, these micro-level trends have only helped strengthen the case for climate change.

Sure, no science is ever settled. There is always a non-zero chance of even the most settled science being false. All of modern medicine can be bogus and homeopathy can be the real solution. Yes, there is a non-zero probability of that.

Skepticism is healthy, but when the odds of the contrary stance are so low, it helps to ask if deserves to be the level of questioning when the opposite stance offers almost zero evidence of the contrary. (apologies for weird sentence constructions. It sounded right in my head)


Yeah, but climate change rests upon radiation absorption, thermodynamics, and a bunch of other 19th century science that was largely unaffected by the 20th century's upheavals in physics.




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