Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Browser-based climate change simulation (climateinteractive.org)
231 points by hendler on Dec 17, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 267 comments



Interesting tool. It basically says you can:

- Tax coal, oil, natural gas, bioenergy

- Subsidize renewables, nuclear, new technology

- Increase efficiency and electrification of transports, buildings, and industry

- Reduce population growth

- Reduce economic growth

- Reduce deforestation

- Increase afforestation

For an effect that puts us at +2.1C by 2100 https://en-roads.climateinteractive.org/scenario.html?p1=120...

OR you can do these three things:

- Set a high price on carbon

- Reduce emissions of methane and other gases

- Increase usage carbon removal technologies

for a similar effect of +2.1C by 2100 https://en-roads.climateinteractive.org/scenario.html?p39=25...

All optimistic actions combined puts us at +1.0C by 2100 https://en-roads.climateinteractive.org/scenario.html?p1=120...


There comes a point where the model no longer accepts any progress beyond a +1.0C increase. No matter how many additional actions taken, the floor is +1.0C. It seems the immediate extinction of the human race would still result in an increase in temperature. Is there research that backs this up?


Remember this is relative to temperature at the start of the graph (2000) not 2020.

But yes, there is a delay between "stop producing emissions" and "temperature starts going down". CO2 is already high, simply stopping additional output doesn't make the current amount go away overnight and there is still plenty of ice to melt over the seasons in the meantime.


Specifically there's a delay of 10 to 30 years between releasing CO2 and getting the full temperature increase from it, just like there's a delay between turning on a stove burner and boiling water in a pot.

On top of that simple heating time, there are feedback effects like melting permafrost releasing additional greenhouse gases, and (as you mentioned) melting ice reducing the planetary albedo.


The anomaly is already approximately 1 degree C.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f8/Gl...


Its basic physics. We have more heat trapping gasses literally all around us, in our very air. This will cause less snow and ice cover, meaning less reflectivity, meaning more warming where there used to be ice.

The polar regions will be decimated even if we manage to save ourselves.


It has a ~10x growth on energy usage until 2080 backed in, you can increase it to ~15x or decrease it to ~8x, but nothing else. The only way to reasonably decrease it is growing energy efficiency, the population and GDP growth settings do not change enough to make a difference.

The ramp-up and total of renewables have an unrealistic low ceiling. No matter what, one can not get a clean exponential growth until they dominate the electricity generation, and the only way to make them actually dominate the generation is to destroy every fossil fuel capacity (that last one is highly not realistic).

Fossil fuels are assumed to be available on unlimited amounts. One can simulate their limits, but it takes a lot of care about the integral of the curves. Honestly, I think that the idea that we can double the production of any one that is not coal highly unrealistic.

Technological carbon capture is hilariously underpowered. For a slide that represents "stuff people may invent", it looks like they do not accept anything that wasn't invented yet.

On the other side, they completely ignored all of the huge natural methane reserves around the Earth. If you imagined you could simulate the ocean methane hydrates volatilizing on some rate, well, tough luck.

Overall, it's a restricted simulator around the "business as usual" analysis people do on climate. It is highly unreasonable to expect business to stay as usual for a century, but analysis is tippicaly done that way because there is no better baseline to use. A simulator does not have this restriction, so imposing it by parameter limits is unsettling.


We're already well into the anthropocene: https://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/...


There is research that found the massive local population extinction after America conquest was linked to the planet cooling in that period, so I'm quite sure reducing human population either literally (by limiting growth) or virtually (by reducing consumerism/consumption, which is the key for limiting pollution) or both! will help a lot

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-47063973


Genociding multiple continents isn't exactly a model I want to follow. "Population control" will continue to be Nazi-speak as long as it applies primarily to post-colonial countries, which while having high birth rates, also contributed minimally to CO2 emissions.


birth-control should be globally enforced nowadays (don't know how, but it just must be since the vast majority of people have an environmental footprint way too big), as the state of environmental problems is serious. Along with other levers to ease this climate crisis


The immediate extinction of the human race would result in a significant temperature increase; we've already baked that in, today, and it would have to play out. Probably a full degree C over what we have now (which is +0.84C).

The maximum model settings are for something better: the human race stays around but contributes very little additional CO2 and instead starts making real efforts to remove the CO2 we've already added.


There's a lot of CO2 already released into the atmosphere. Barring the invention and immediate global-scale deployment of as-yet nonexistent carbon capture technologies, there's a certain amount of temperature rise that we've already baked in.


guess what. all other climate changes in earth‘s history happened w/o humans. plants need at least 150ppm co2. they flourish with more. we‘re pumping co2 into green houses to make shit grow. we are at around 400ppm and had 1200ppm in the past, no problem. now these folks run around headless wanting to lower it further. complete mindlessness.

global average temperature is a joke. the earth‘s climate consists of many, many little subclimates making it so that everywhere you need a different weather forecast that often doesn‘t even hold up. it‘s a system nobody can actually simulate.

the other question is how do you deal with measurement errors today — and back in the day when they used quicksilver? quicksilver deviates by at least 1 degree. have the scales been correct? was the person reading the temperature looking at the thermometer correctly?

it‘s all bullcrap based on error prone data, nicely „normalized“ and „corrected“ every year because their whishful predictions don‘t work out.

climate „scientists“ are gonna tell you they cannot explain the entire climate system, yet they give you nice animations scaring the heck out of you. and that‘s all there is: scare. you‘ll happily pay ridiculous prices for ridiculous co2 certificates and that revenue goes into private pockets.

i whish everybody would scale back and throw themselves into the topic. but everybody i talk to just shuts down and elects to follow their church.

water and co2 are the most important ingredients for life. nobody is going to die because of it. don‘t let yourselves be fooled.

disclaimer: yeah, i‘m receiving millions from the oil and coal industries. BILLIONS even!



The tooltip on top of the Image is just genius. "[After setting your car on fire] Listen, your car's temperature has changed before."


xkcd. what a great and representative resource... for the sheepish alarmist hn crowd.

it‘s the same hockey stick bull crap that gore used to make you cry.

all the models normalize the raw data into oblivion and all the models are not properly adjusted to preindustrialization fluctuation of the climate. also, the models being used have been developed to understand current data and co2-influences — not to extrapulate predictions.


It makes sense, setting a high price on carbon is like lowering one end of the teeter totter vs raising the other for everything listed - the same thing just spelled out different ways.


We are at a very warm part of a very long cold trend. The idea that human increases in CO2 is a bad thing is completely divorced from historical observation.

The earth has been much hotter than it is now and at the hot parts was peak life here on the Earth. Additionally, the climate models by the IPCC omit the effect of the Solar wind's effect on the thermosphere. If this was included, then many of the climate models would be saying the following: "the Sun got hotter, the Earth and all the planets in the solar system followed."

Conversely, the sun has entered into an unusually cold period, signified by a lack of solar spots these last few years. NASA confirmed this in 2017 when they announced that the Sun had entered into a Solar minima and would continue.

The Farmers Almanac also confirmed this with predictions that there would be extensive rain that would destroy crops. This prediction panned out and for a great summary of the crop failures going on around the world you can follow "Ice Age Farmer" on YouTube. Ice Age farmer was calling out extensive cold a year ago and now it's happening.

Given the full history of the Earth's temperature, it would make sense for world leaders to come to an agreement to dig up as much locked up carbon in the ground as possible, remove the impurities and then clean burn it - simply to get the CO2 back into the atmosphere where it belongs so that we avert a future DEVASTATING ICE AGE.

Hopefully one day the "Global Warming" hysteria will be taught in schools as an example of how a mass of people can be deceived. Much in the same way that "flat-earth" was commonly accepted as reality in Spain prior to 1492, and peak oil was pushed in the 1970's and beyond.


All of my climate researcher friends have stopped reading "The Farmers Almanac" and have flocked to "The Old Farmers Almanac", which has a much more rigorous peer review process, and better impact factor. (/s)


You can do anything, as long as it is not much different from what we do today.


We should set the economic growth to less than zero but odly it only can be set between 1.7% and 3.7%.

Sadly we can image the end of the world but not the end of capitalism


This is great and all, but what can we do about the people that don't believe this data? That's where the real issue is.

I have a bunch of coworkers that think scientists are making up this data and skewing results because their jobs depend on it and they want to continue to get funding. "Follow the money" is a common thing they say in regards to this, but also conveniently disregarded and deny that big oil/coal have more to lose.

It's very difficult to fight ignorance, especially when they don't believe facts. This is the main issue with climate change deniers, not the inability to visualize the data.


I'm inclined to believe this data because I trust MIT and believe that climate change is a very serious problem.

But this app alone doesn't do a good job of convincing anyone of anything. For starters, it's just a bunch of graphs. I doubt most people who deny climate change are going to understand what they're looking at.

But most importantly, there's no straightforward way for anyone to verify this data on their own, and it seems like this app is kind of bullshitting the numbers. For example, how could they possibly know that "highly subsidized" bioenergy will result in exactly 0.1F increase in global temperatures 80 years from now?

> I have a bunch of coworkers that think scientists are making up this data and skewing results

Can't you see their reasoning after using this app?

I'm not saying this app is useless or full of lies. Not at all. But I think it can only really work as part of an education session or presentation, where someone can actually explain the reasoning behind that graph, where the data comes from, how they arrived at the conclusions, etc, instead of just throwing it on the internet and hoping it reaches republican farmers on Facebook.


> But this app alone doesn't do a good job of convincing anyone of anything.

I don't believe it's meant to. This is not targeted at convincing climate denialists.

This is aimed at policy makers, and people who talk to policy makers, and people who vote on policies and policy-makers.


I think your attitude is a great example as to why many people remain unconvinced.

The idea that people who have doubts about climate science are generally too stupid to understand simple graph is ridiculous. It is possible and highly likely that they fully understand what the graphs are suggesting and still don’t agree with it.


It’s interesting how you described that as exactly 0.1F.

I have a very different way of looking at data. When I see a single significant digit I assume minimal precision. So, 0.1 is something like 95% chance of 0.1 +\- 0.05 would be optimistic, and 0.01 to 1 is pessimistic.

I suspect this is a common issue with both scientific and technological reporting for a general audience.


Increasing precision here doesn't increase confidence in these estimates.

The phrase "highly subsidized" says basically nothing, yet it's enough to estimate global temperatures 80 years from now with a margin of error of 0.05?


Click the three vertical dots to see what "highly subsidized" means -- it's a specific level of subsidy, which you can actually modify in greater detail in the "detail" view.

I absolutely agree that this thing needs a margin of error on the visual output!


>I'm inclined to believe this data because I trust MIT

Really? After the missile defense fraud cover-up at MIT Lincoln Laboratory that was exposed by Prof. Ted Postol or the deliberate "anonymization" of donations from convicted child rapist Jeffrey Epstein (both at the direction of President Rafael Reif) ... or how about the former deputy dean of the Sloan School of Management, Gabriel Bitran, who ran a $500 million hedge fund scam for which he's just finishing up his prison time in a federal penitentiary down in Philadelphia (after narrowly escaping charges that he sexually assaulted one of his secretaries a decade earlier). The Sloan School is the same MIT institution that bestowed a prestigious entrepreneurship prize on Brandon Wade, who has recently spoke on campus about what it's like to start one of the largest and most successful online prostitution businesses in the world, on which some MIT girls apparently advertise their services (supposedly to help cover the sky-high tuition that funds the bloated MIT administration).

Trust MIT? Really?


Wonder if all of the downvotes are from people who work for MIT.

If so, bring them on!


Some thoughts for your consideration, delivered with collaborative intent:

> I have a bunch of coworkers that think scientists are making up this data and skewing results because their jobs depend on it and they want to continue to get funding.

FWIW, I also happen to harbor this suspicion. How might one actually know whether there is an element of truth to it?

> "Follow the money" is a common thing they say in regards to this, but also conveniently disregarded and deny that big oil/coal have more to lose.

Whether big oil/coal have more to lose seems orthogonal to the question of whether bias is involved in climate science. If so, this sort of approach to debate seems counter-productive to me.

> It's very difficult to fight ignorance, especially when they don't believe facts.

I will confess, referring to climate models that are literally estimated projections of future temperatures as "facts", very much rubs me the wrong way. It doesn't put me in a very cooperative mood. To me, whether this reaction is "illogical" or not seems irrelevant, whereas the reaction itself seems extremely relevant, and completely overlooked in the analysis of the situation. I wonder, am I the only one that has this sort of reaction? Have we seen similar behavior in similar scenarios?

> This is the main issue with climate change deniers, not the inability to visualize the data.

I proclaim that you are speculating about what "the main issue" is with climate change deniers. You think you know (your perception of this appears clear as day), and you may even be right (by chance), but you do not know. I have a feeling that guessing wrong on such things might be far more impactful than we realize.


It seems you misunderstand what scientists are saying and forming an incorrect opinion from that.

> I will confess, referring to climate models that are literally estimated projections of future temperatures as "facts", very much rubs me the wrong way.

The projections are statistical models. They have a range of values and probabilities associated with them. Without major change, the probabilities of catastrophic climate change are very, very high.

Are they certain? Not mathematically, no.

Would I take that bet? Any day of the week and you should too.


> It seems you misunderstand what scientists are saying and forming an incorrect opinion from that.

I feel highly confident that I don't actually misunderstand what scientists are saying, but rather you have misunderstood (misinterpreted due to heuristic modification during interpretation) what I have said.

Would you be willing to quote particular statements I've made that you consider to be mistaken?

> The projections are statistical models. They have a range of values and probabilities associated with them. Without major change, the probabilities of catastrophic climate change are very, very high.

I agree.

> Are they certain? Not mathematically, no.

I agree. It is that they are commonly presented as if they are certain that I am complaining about. It is clearly incorrect/dishonest. It is claimed to be "science". Actual science does not say things it knows to not be true, but people that believe they are discussing matters purely on "the science" are regularly guilty of this.

But try and get people (who well know this is true) to acknowledge this simple fact, and observe the amazing complexity of human psychology in its natural form.

> Would I take that bet? Any day of the week and you should too.

I do. And I suggest you consider being more open minded about what might be preventing us from making progress on this issue. Specifically: resist the natural urge to classify a lack of total agreement as opposition to your cause. Perhaps what appears to be opposition is anything but, and is actually new ideas that you've never considered before.


Case in point, I believe in climate change... that it's man-made (so to speak), that it results from higher than normal levels of carbon, that it will cause sea level rise, etc.

But I disagree on some core orthodoxies. I think the root cause is deforestation / removal of carbon sinks, and a even lower-level root cause is simple human overpopulation. The amount of missing biomass from trees over the last few hundred years tracks very neatly with CO2 levels, as does of course human population levels.

I also know for a fact that other countries are much worse offenders when it comes to Carbon emissions and pollution in general, compared to the US or any other Western nation. Therefore, I don't understand nor support most US policy changes to "combat" climate change... I think these are at best a farce, and at worst cynical money grabs by professional fleecers.

How exactly is any US policy going to stop a poor farmer in Brazil from cutting down trees to make money to support his family? How will any US policy prevent the other 4 Billion or so impoverished people who are doing similar things?

As far as stopping China from polluting, we probably can't do much better than the effect Trump's tariffs have had, and are continuing to have... but Heaven forbid you tell anyone that who proclaims to care about the environment.


> But I disagree on some core orthodoxies. I think the root cause is deforestation / removal of carbon sinks, and a even lower-level root cause is simple human overpopulation. The amount of missing biomass from trees over the last few hundred years tracks very neatly with CO2 levels, as does of course human population levels.

Burned fossil fuels has well understood isotope signatures and can also be measured via satellite. We've got a LOT of data that human emissions of CO2 via burning fossil fuels accounts for the bulk of CO2 increase we measure in the atmosphere.


Sure, but the carbon sinks are now gone to re-balance it.


I won't comment on your other points, which need citations to be discussed properly, but ...

> I also know for a fact that other countries are much worse offenders when it comes to Carbon emissions and pollution in general, compared to the US or any other Western nation.

The problem is that this is a tragedy of the commons situation. For every individual actor, taking action is detrimental because the cost is paid by the individual but the benefit is broadly distributed over all actors. Tragedy of the commons type situations can be overcome by some sort of binding legal framework. This is why no one is proposing for any single country to solve the problem alone, but rather to coordinate internationally.

As a side point, morally speaking western nations have a particular responsibility because they are the ones who caused most of the increase in CO2 levels since industrialization. True, China is the biggest emitter now, but that is a fairly recent development.


Also, the US still has fairly high emissions per capita--something like 2x China, 6.7x Brazil, and 8.5x India (though I think these numbers also leave something to be desired in terms of how they consider other factors the GP notes like deforestation, as well as what emission fractions are going to activities like producing and shipping exports elsewhere).


> FWIW, I also happen to harbor this suspicion. How might one actually know whether there is an element of truth to it?

I do not harbor this same suspicion, however, I'm determined to learn whatever is necessary to understand it. Not because I can argue a point to completion for someone who doesn't share epistemological solidarity with me, but because it might allow me to aid in whatever needs posterity has in solving the problems we are creating today. In that interest, I will eventually complete the following course:

https://www.coursera.org/learn/global-warming

Or something like it, especially some atmospheric chemistry courses. I feel as if you should do so as well, as it's the only way to understand the scientific position, if all you are going to do otherwise is attack them with conspiracy theory (which should be easily provable - there will be documented cases of people lying to get their data published... just look at Andrew Wakefield) or using ad-hominem ('they are just trying to make money').

> I will confess, referring to climate models that are literally estimated projections of future temperatures as "facts", very much rubs me the wrong way.

There are also classes that teach you how to climate model and the science behind them. In order to do most statistics classes, they recommend completing multivariable calculus. All of these courses are available for free.

Further, you want to disabuse others of speculation, but you haven't taken the work to do so yourself.

Now, you could go ahead and do all the work above for every scientific point of view that you want to challenge. I myself am currently taking several classes to understand this and the challenges in ML/AI at a deeper level.... OR you can note that 95%+ (and probably well higher than that) of climate scientists recognize that human cause climate science is fact, and appeal to expertise, which is distinct from appeal to authority.

Climate change is real, it's going to be awful, it's changing our ocean chemistry already, and there are more pollution related ecological events to come that will reduce the carrying capacity of our home drastically. If you disagree, do the science, but definitely realize that _you_ are the one speculating.


"OR you can note that 95%+ (and probably well higher than that) of climate scientists recognize that human cause climate science is fact"

You realize that those "x% of scientists agree" claims are yet again based on models that are sometimes questionable? I've looked into the 97% claim (I think by "Cook"), which is based on manual estimates of summaries of papers. One problem is, how are the papers selected. Another problem is the human bias in categorizing the summaries (where does the human doing the categorizing draw the line for "supports man made global warming"). The biggest issue, however, in my opinion, is that even if most papers consent that humans affect the climate, that doesn't mean they all agree to the same level of influence.

Meaning assuming it is true, the study found 97% of papers/scientists agree that humans affect the climate. That doesn't imply 97% agree with the dramatic doomsday scenarios.

I can say that I sympathized with your approach, like taking the Coursera course. Although I fear it won't really help, because you can not be sure that they will teach you all the facts you need to know. It may be just a course designed to convince you that global warming exists.

But anyway - trying to understand the science is obviously a good idea, if you have the spare time.

But then you lost me completely with the 95% consensus claim. It's just a flag that goes up that says "you are one of those people", making me tend to ignore all your further arguments, or at least assign them a low likelihood of truth.


The "X% of scientists agree" point is of course not a scientific argument, and I understand how it could be taken the wrong way, either as an appeal to authority or as a cheap regurgitation of canned talking points.

But go ahead and read the full discussion here. I think a lack of patience with the dishonest discussion tactics used by poorly informed people arguing against the scientific state of the art is totally understandable. On an emotional level I can totally understand why you would like to just say "shut up and listen to 97% of the scientists".

I've been told repeatedly in this discussion section to listen properly to people holding alternative points of view, instead of just assuming that they're uninformed. Yet as soon as you dig, the "scientific arguments" evaporate. For a beautiful example of this, see the comment I just wrote at <https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21820189>.


> The "X% of scientists agree" point is of course not a scientific argument

But it's presented as such. Is this, and similar examples, a "big deal"?

Another way of asking that is: is trust a big deal? And the answer is: we do not know - but guessing at such things doesn't seem like a terribly prudent strategy when the stakes are this high.

> and I understand how it could be taken the wrong way

Can, and is, regularly....and as a representation of the degree of ignorance of those who "don't buy into" (or so it is perceived) climate change. "97% percent of scientists agree, but these denier idiots think they're smarter than 97% of scientists!!! lolololllll".

The problem is, that 97% meme isn't factual. I'm not sure how many "deniers" actually know it isn't, but I know it isn't, and the complete lack of concern for actual facts (as opposed to factoids) by the pro camp in this debate kind of disgusts me, and leaves me with an illogical urge for non-cooperative-behavior. I wonder if I'm the only one that feels this way. I also wonder if I'm the only one that thinks about the significance of how people's feelings affects their behavior, because it sure seems that way.

> I think a lack of patience with the dishonest discussion tactics used by poorly informed people arguing against the scientific state of the art is totally understandable.

I wonder though, how often "dishonest discussion tactics used by poorly informed people..." is actually a less-than-entirely accurate characterization of what's really going on. I've been accused of all sorts of horrible beliefs and intentions, all without a shred of supporting evidence in my actual words. People are arguing with their imagination of me, not the actual me. I point this out, and no one cares. Their interest evaporates. Never underestimate the power of the imagination within the human mind, or the unwillingness of it to allow self-inspection.

> Yet as soon as you dig, the "scientific arguments" evaporate.

Agreed, sometimes if not usually, this is indeed the case. However, this phenomenon sometimes works in the other direction as well, you being a pleasant exception obviously.


"is trust a big deal? And the answer is: we do not know"

Trust is a very big deal. The biggest deal. As long as you are not a specialist on climate science yourself, all you can do is trust. That is true for all scientific endeavors. We pick people we trust and more or less believe in their stance on things.


> Trust is a very big deal. The biggest deal.

100% agree. And yet, observe the lack of concern in the "pro" camp (some of it on display here) where there is clear evidence for reasonable lack of trust.

I'm not asking that you adopt my beliefs, but if you stop and think about this discrete (lack of concern over at least partially justified distrust) point, does it not seem to be potentially a big deal as well (in that it might actually be driving human behavior)?

> As long as you are not a specialist on climate science yourself, all you can do is trust.

I disagree. Just two of many alternative actions:

- do your own research, to try to get a feel for how trustworthy the message is (for example, are there any clear mistruths being peddled)

- do not assume the message is necessarily correct, and repeat it as if it is absolute fact. History has taught us this lesson.

> We pick people we trust and more or less believe in their stance on things.

Some people do, others do not.

Considering a political consensus needs to be reached, it seems to me that it might be worthwhile expending some additional mental horsepower on the lower level details of why we seem to be incapable of achieving this, rather than just guessing at why people won't get on board. It's rather disappointing that this notion seems to be considered dumb in a normally rational community such as HN, and that it does seem to be considered dumb among the intelligent is to me an extremely interesting and counter-intuitive phenomenon in itself, that also may warrant some investigation.


"Yet as soon as you dig, the "scientific arguments" evaporate. For a beautiful example of this, see the comment I just wrote at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21820189 . "

The opposing side has just the same experience with the arguments and papers from your side - there are many articles and papers questioning and criticizing papers from the doomsday side. You are just cherry picking and practicing confirmation bias (see, another paper refuted, so my side must be right). In fact the "95% of scientists agree" is just such an example - if you look into it, the number becomes very questionable. And once people see one of your arguments is shoddy, why should they give your other arguments the benefit of the doubt?

And your answer, as well as the comment you were replying to: it might as well all just be gibberish, for someone who isn't a climate scientist.

And in the end your refutation boils down to "we know that CO2 traps heat and warms the earth" - which is presumably true, but people don't seem to agree on the extent of it. And other factors seem to affect it, too.

Why do you even believe the "CO2 traps heat" thing? I tend to believe it, too. But that is because I was taught it does back in high school, 35 years ago. Maybe it actually was bullshit already back then, but as a teenager, I didn't know that what teachers said could be questioned.

I don't think any of us has done an actual experiment trapping heat with CO2...


> there are many articles and papers questioning and criticizing papers from the doomsday side

Name a few please.

> Why do you even believe the "CO2 traps heat" thing?

Same reason why we believe radiation is bad for people. Nobody of us has done any actual experiments on splitting atoms. But some people do. They published the results. They can be verified and reproduced. It's called science.


"Name a few please."

I already mentioned the Cook paper that gave us the "97% consensus" number.

(Edit: for completeness sake, here is an article debunking the number. I haven't read it and don't know if it has any merit, it is just the first Google result. https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2014/02/debunking_the_9... - the point stands, though, that you can find articles refuting pretty much anything you want, these days).

Other than that, I didn't keep track, and I only encounter such discussions randomly every now and then.

I would wager a guess, that you could find a counter reaction for most important climate science papers. Just google for them.

"But some people do. They published the results. They can be verified and reproduced. It's called science. "

In principle, yes, but your idea of science is highly idealized. In reality, most things are not as established and as verified as you believe them to be. Politics, egos, all sorts of things play a part. If you look back in history, there are many cases where people believed wrong things until their main representatives died, for example.

Also one problem with climate science is presumably that you can not simply do experiments to verify its claims. That might a huge part of the problem.

Again it mostly boils down to trust - trusting the scientists who do the verifying, trusting the institutions who employ and endorse the scientists.

What you and climate doomsayers don't seem to understand is that a lot of people don't trust the institutions anymore. And rightfully so.

I suspect a lot of the rage is actually about this: people who can't stand the thought that the institutions they trust can't be trusted, so fighting any challenges to their world view with tooth and nails.

And people who feel betrayed by the institutions they used to trust.

That doesn't mean all science is false. But it makes it harder to find the truth.


Yes, part of it boils down to trust. Another part of it boils down to common sense. You could argue that common sense is: "Human behavior too insignificant to have any impact". Or you could argue that common sense is: "If you take too many shits in your environment, they'll come and bite you back sooner or later." I actually think the latter is more reasonable. It's quite tangible.

Do you even realize how exchangeable your last 4 paragraphs are? See:

What you and climate change deniers don't seem to understand is that a lot of people don't trust the institutions anymore. And rightfully so.

I suspect a lot of the rage is actually about this: people who can't stand the thought that the institutions they trust can't be trusted, so fighting any challenges to their world view [that they are actually responsible for pollution] with tooth and nails.

And people who feel betrayed by the institutions they used to trust [so they pick obscure papers, obscure individuals and claim that they are right and climate change is not a real thing, or at least not caused by humans].

> But it makes it harder to find the truth.

For sure, but as an individual, you don't need to find the absolute truth. There is a very simple idea in protecting the environment: If you try to be resourceful and protect your environment, it probably has more benefits than exploiting the environment and polluting it. It simply doesn't matter whether climate science is right or not. Reducing pollution is always something worth fighting for, no matter if it has any effects on the global climate.


I'm actually on your side with the "actions have consequences" logic. That still doesn't imply the consequences are "extinction of the human race".

I'm also all for handling in ecologically responsible and sustainable ways.

However, what is being proposed is adoption of unproven technology on a massive scale, at an enormous price. That is where the logic falls apart. Many times before, it has turned out that such forced technology changes were actually damaging to the environment.

If the new technology was actually better, in most cases it would be adopted without government pressure.

The extremism is the problem.


Who claims "extinction of the human race"? I don’t think this is what is claimed by serious scientists.

> However, what is being proposed is adoption of unproven technology on a massive scale, at an enormous price.

Which one are you talking about? The simulator website that this HN thread links to actually names taxes/subsidies and renewable energies that are already around as the most effective levers to keep temperature below 2 degrees Celsius.

> If the new technology was actually better, in most cases it would be adopted without government pressure.

Doesn’t explain why existing technology is still subsidized and renewable energy is not. Doesn’t explain why meat production and livestock factories are subsidized, or at least not taxed more. Eating less meat is one lever. Achievable by taxes. No side effects, no unproven technologies.

For example, in Germany, meat is taxed at 7%. Why? Why not 19%? This has nothing to do with being extreme. It’s a reasonable thing to implement.

So, please name the extreme things that you are afraid of.


> The opposing side has just the same experience with the arguments and papers from your side - there are many articles and papers questioning and criticizing papers from the doomsday side. You are just cherry picking and practicing confirmation bias

I was doing the literal opposite of cherry-picking, I was digging into the arguments as they were presented to me. So far nothing has held up. If you can give me an argument with a proper source I'll happily look into that as well.

> In fact the "95% of scientists agree" is just such an example - if you look into it, the number becomes very questionable.

A very poor example on many levels. 1) This statement is fundamentally irrelevant to the (scientific) discussion, because it does not contain a scientific argument. It could be 0%, it could be a 100%, that wouldn't change the validity of any of the scientific arguments presented. Truth isn't measured in mass appeal. 2) Yet, for someone who isn't well informed about a field, putting some trust in the subject matter experts is an OK strategy, and the point that a consensus broadly exists in climate science is correct, and there is support for the precise number of 97%. [0]

> And your answer, as well as the comment you were replying to: it might as well all just be gibberish, for someone who isn't a climate scientist.

High energy particle physics is mostly gibberish to me, yet I don't go around lecturing people on how it's all wrong.

But your point is also wrong: I am not a climate scientist, and the whole discussion can be followed with a bit of high school physics, chemistry and biology, plus Wikipedia to fill in the gaps. Your next point shows that you were unwilling to put in that effort, but it isn't actually that hard ...

> And in the end your refutation boils down to "we know that CO2 traps heat and warms the earth"

It absolutely does not, I was addressing a very specific point about how historic CO2 levels are measured.

> Why do you even believe the "CO2 traps heat" thing?

Because you too can do things like look up the absorption spectrum for CO2 [1] or even do an experiment like [2] yourself.

[0] https://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_effect#/media/File:...

[2] https://aapt.scitation.org/doi/10.1119/1.1987255


>> In fact the "95% of scientists agree" is just such an example - if you look into it, the number becomes very questionable. And once people see one of your arguments is shoddy, why should they give your other arguments the benefit of the doubt?

> In fact the "95% of scientists agree" is just such an example - if you look into it, the number becomes very questionable. <-------------

> A very poor example on many levels.

I'd like to draw your attention to something. Notice how you've dropped a key idea that @adventskalender pointed out: "And once people see one of your arguments is shoddy, why should they give your other arguments the benefit of the doubt?"

I think this type of behavior is interesting, common, and potentially consequential.

> 1) This statement is fundamentally irrelevant to the (scientific) discussion, because it does not contain a scientific argument.

And yet, it is commonly repeated on a regular basis in the "scientific" discussion, despite not being technically true.

> It could be 0%, it could be a 100%, that wouldn't change the validity of any of the scientific arguments presented.

It changes the rhetorical/persuasive value of it though.

> Truth isn't measured in mass appeal.

Perception of truth is.

> the point that a consensus broadly exists in climate science is correct

Then say that, rather then falsely report the statistically tortured "97%".

> and there is support for the precise number of 97%. [0]

I see only more rhetorical support for the number, not mathematical support. Not that it matters really, just sayin'.

> But your point is also wrong: I am not a climate scientist, and the whole discussion can be followed with a bit of high school physics, chemistry and biology, plus Wikipedia to fill in the gaps. Your next point shows that you were unwilling to put in that effort, but it isn't actually that hard ...

It may not be hard to "follow it", but what does that expression mean, and what does it not mean. I'm fairly certain it doesn't mean understood at a level sufficient to form epistemically sound conclusions. Again, high marks for persuasiveness, but I don't find this line of reasoning convincing. But that's me.

To be clear: I say this not in dispute of the actual science of climate change, the axe I am grinding is related to the nature of the conversation around it. I am hoping some people might become more willing to consider the possible detrimental consequences of the way this topic is discussed.


I feel like I have to address this "97% of scientists" point now, since this is coming up again and again.

I did not do this so far because it's ultimately beside the point. Climate science studies the climate, and not climate scientists, and I don't find the exact percentage of climate scientists agreeing or disagreeing with something at all interesting or relevant. Worse, harping on about that point makes it sound as if this was ultimately about some sort of popularity contest.

Well this is not a popularity contest, it's a scientific issue where there is a well-known method for making progress: You present logical arguments and counter-arguments, based on facts from credible sources (or original experiments). That's the only thing I'm interested in, and the he said / she said style of arguing that may get you points on reddit and twitter is super boring to me.

I've tried to make this point in various ways already, but it seems to be, possibly willfully, misunderstood, so I'm going to actually comment in detail on "refutations" of the Cook et al. 2013 paper [1].

The criticisms that I could find in the discussion section are that

1. paper abstracts are manually interpreted

2. there might be selection bias

3. while scientists might agree, they might disagree on the degree to which warming is occuring or to which it is a problem

Regarding 1.: Partly correct, misleading. Manual interpretation is a perfectly fine way to deal with natural language data. However, Cook et al. did not rely on this method alone. They also asked authors to self-assess. They compare their manual abstract rating to the self-assessment, and find the self-assessment to lead to substantially less "No position" ratings and more "Endorsment" ratings, while barely changing the "Reject" ratings.

Regarding 2.: Obviously correct. This is a potential issue in any empirical sociological study. In this case, however, the issue is limited, since 1) the total pool of climate scientists is limited, 2) the sample of papers (11944) and of scientists asked to self-assess (8547 asked, 1200 responses) is high and 3) the result is consistent with that of other similar studies [2].

Regarding 3.: While I agree that this would be more interesting than just distinguishing between rejection / endorsment / no position, it simply wasn't the question that Cook et al. were looking at.

Importantly, none of these points are particularly insightful, yet they were presented as if they constituted some sort of hidden knowledge uncovering a vast conspiracy. Points 1 and 2 are discussed by Cook et al. in their Discussion section, right there in the original paper. Point 3 isn't discussed because it's outside the scope of the paper.

So sure, you can now go and say "they used a sampling strategy, so there is the potential issue of sampling bias" and that is technically the truth. It is also incredibly disingenuous, since every single scientific work ever published has limitations. These limitations are understood and discussed by the scientific community. As long as no major flaw is found that invalidates the findings, the result stands.

This is just how science works. What else are you asking for? A mandatory self-assessment by every climate scientist in the world? Taking a sample and reporting statistics on the sample (while discussing any potential limitations to your sampling strategy) is the correct way to do it. It is therefore totally fine to say that 97% of scientists agree with artificial global warming, based on the study by Cook et al.

Depending on how exactly you ask the question, who you ask, and when you ask, you may get other results than 97% (Cook et al. have reviewed this in detail in [2]). That is not a contradiction, it is totally expected.

[1] https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/8/2/024...

[2] This is reviewed in Cook et al. 2016, https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/11/4/04...


> I feel like I have to address this "97% of scientists" point now, since this is coming up again and again.

It does come up again and again - in this conversation, but also in mainstream and social media, as a representation of the overwhelming consensus of scientific agreement, which may plausibly affect the opinions of average citizens.

Considering this, I think it's fair to questions whether the "97% of scientists" claim is actually true, or whether it may be the result of some fancy footwork.

> I did not do this so far because it's ultimately beside the point.

Beside "a" point, but beside "the" point? Depends on the topic of discussion I suppose. In this thread, we have a prior comment:

> In fact the "95% of scientists agree" is just such an example - if you look into it, the number becomes very questionable.

So no, it isn't actually "beside the point".

> Climate science studies the climate, and not climate scientists, and I don't find the exact percentage of climate scientists agreeing or disagreeing with something at all interesting or relevant.

Me neither, but I doubt the same applies to the general public, and I know it doesn't apply to large numbers of people on social media (where I see the statistic quoted as some sort of proof, regularly), and I also know it doesn't matter to actual deniers, conspiracy theorists, and right wing media talking heads (Fox news, bloggers, YouTube celebrities, T_D members, etc) who will look for any weakness in your game and exploit it to it's maximum potential. Don't underestimate this last group - meme magic is real.

> Well this is not a popularity contest

Public support of climate change initiatives is very much a popularity contest, of sorts. The public discussion certainly doesn't consist of qualified discussion of the science.

> it's a scientific issue where there is a well-known method for making progress: You present logical arguments and counter-arguments, based on facts from credible sources (or original experiments). That's the only thing I'm interested in, and the he said / she said style of arguing that may get you points on reddit and twitter is super boring to me.

Your relative interest is interesting, but beside the point. The topic of this sub-thread is very clearly about trustworthiness of claims, so please stop complaining about the topic. If you are not interested, please don't reply.

> This is just how science works. What else are you asking for?

I wouldn't mind hearing your thoughts on the perspective below, with respect to whether it is truthful or necessary to describe the actual facts below incorrectly, as: "97% of scientists agree...", especially considering scientists numbers weren't included in the initial report.

(Note that I put a few qualifying comments below the stats part, you might want to skim those before starting a reply. Also note that we're obviously talking past each other at this point to a large degree, and I fully appreciate that this criticism is ~ridiculous to some degree (I'm not a complete idiot), but as I willingly concede that, might you willingly concede that there very much is a propaganda war going on in parallel to the actual science? Whether you personally care about that is orthogonal to the fact of its existence.)

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

https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/8/2/024...

> We analyze the evolution of the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming (AGW) in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, examining 11 944 climate abstracts from 1991–2011 matching the topics 'global climate change' or 'global warming'. We find that 66.4% of abstracts expressed no position on AGW, 32.6% endorsed AGW, 0.7% rejected AGW and 0.3% were uncertain about the cause of global warming. Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming. In a second phase of this study, we invited authors to rate their own papers. Compared to abstract ratings, a smaller percentage of self-rated papers expressed no position on AGW (35.5%). Among self-rated papers expressing a position on AGW, 97.2% endorsed the consensus. For both abstract ratings and authors' self-ratings, the percentage of endorsements among papers expressing a position on AGW marginally increased over time. Our analysis indicates that the number of papers rejecting the consensus on AGW is a vanishingly small proportion of the published research.

Popular claim: 97% of scientists agree with the consensus on anthropogenic global warming.

Actual Facts:

Within the subset of climate change abstracts that mention the topics 'global climate change' or 'global warming':

66.4% of abstracts expressed no opinion on AGW

32.6% of abstracts endorsed AGW

0.7% of abstracts rejected AGW

0.3% of abstracts were uncertain

Within the subset of these abstracts that expressed an opinion on AGW, 97.2% endorsed AGW

Percentage of scientists who endorse AGW: NOT STATED

Percentage of scientists who have expressed an opinion on AGW, who endorse AGW: NOT STATED

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

Please note, my question is not in any way about whether this anomaly should be considered a reasonable and valid debunking of AGW science itself (it isn't, of course), it is strictly about the truthfulness (or propaganda, depending on how one's boat floats) aspect of it.

Also note that I have no idea if this is article is based on the most up to data, or if a newer study is available that fixes the shortcomings below. If there is, fantastic, perhaps I'll read it. But again, this is not my complaint: my complaint is the "97% of scientists...." memes that were deployed into the public arena of perception. I do not like this approach for several reasons, one of which is it is susceptible to justified attack by deniers and conspiracy theorists.


Because absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, abstracts expressing no position can not be included in the 97% number. Finding many abstracts that fall into this category is expected and does not detract from the 97% finding, because there are so many aspects of climate science that you can study that have no direct bearing on the question of whether anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is real or not.

You phrase it as ...

> Within the subset of these abstracts that expressed an opinion on AGW, 97.2% endorsed AGW

... which is a misleading way of framing this, because opinion does not play a role in this. Expressing an opinion in a scientific abstract would be highly frowned upon. The question is whether the abstract contains information relevant to the question of whether AGW is happening or not. These are the only abstracts that you want to consider when the question is whether the science agrees or disagrees with AGW.

Your point that going from "97% of abstracts" to "97% of scientists" is not strictly correct is fine (and this is not done in the Cook et al. paper), but this simplification in the media is not worrying to me at all, since you'd expect those to be very highly correlated.

> might you willingly concede that there very much is a propaganda war going on in parallel to the actual science?

Well, based on this comments section that seems rather self-evident. The scientists, however, are not fighting a propaganda war. That's a political or media phenomenon. Everything written in this comments section so far for me has reinforced the picture that this "war" is very one sided, since the anti-science arguments either just disappear or boil down to inconsequential pedantry as soon as you shine some light on them.


(NOTE: This discussion is getting a bit long in the tooth, I'm happy to argue indefinitely because this topic happens to be my hobby horse, but I'm more than happy to declare a truce of sorts so you can gracefully exit and get on with more interesting things. I very much thank you for arguing though, I've found it helpful in clarifying my thinking on some items.)

> Because absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, abstracts expressing no position can not be included in the 97% number.

This seems reasonable, but once again you're overlooking the actual claim that's being made: "97% of climate scientists...."

Now of course, from a pure scientific perspective, it's a moot point, and our entire argument is a waste of time. But this particular discussion, and the comprehensive issue of climate change itself, is not purely a scientific issue.

> You phrase it as ...

>> Within the subset of these abstracts that expressed an opinion on AGW, 97.2% endorsed AGW

> ... which is a misleading way of framing this, because opinion does not play a role in this.

At first glance, this seems rather surreal. I am stating it accurately (this wording more accurately resembles what was actually studied), but your mind perceives this more accurate statement as "a misleading way of framing this". So what's going on here?

Well, there are (at least) two differences here that I can see:

- we are using two different verbs: stating, and framing

- we are evaluating the truthiness of the different ways of stating it from (at least) two different/composite perspectives: I am looking at it from the perspectives of pedantic accuracy (how closely the description of the study matches the actual study) and with respect to vulnerability to propagandic exploitation (full disclosure: I imagine there's some motivated reasoning going on), whereas you are looking at it more from the perspective of ~"what is the most concise way these results can be stated in order to communicate the scientific facts"

So if we look at it this way, it seems to me we're both right. I don't disagree with your framing, as it relates to the science only, and I suspect (based on your prior comments) that you don't disagree with my framing, but only as it relates to pedantic accuracy of describing what the study actually did, with the intention of minimizing the attack surface to propagandists. (Do I suspect correctly?)

> but this simplification in the media is not worrying to me at all, since you'd expect those to be very highly correlated

> The scientists, however, are not fighting a propaganda war. That's a political or media phenomenon. Everything written in this comments section so far for me has reinforced the picture that this "war" is very one sided, since the anti-science arguments either just disappear or boil down to inconsequential pedantry as soon as you shine some light on them.

And here is where I wish you could try (I don't think you are) to understand what I am trying to get through to you: your focus on only the pure science aspect of the issue, and your side "winning" that war in the online culture war, is detrimental to your cause. You can have the science and technical solutions all figured out (and it is, well enough), but if you are unable to assemble adequate public consensus & support, the entire initiative may fail, not unlike a typical IT project with strong technical people but terrible analysts and project managers. If the topic of the original article was running successful IT projects, I can't imagine what I am saying right now (bad management team >> strong technical team) would receive noteworthy resistance on HN, because we've all seen it many times. But change the topic to something in the culture war category, and people's thinking changes.


>> ... which is a misleading way of framing this, because opinion does not play a role in this.

>At first glance, this seems rather surreal. I am stating it accurately

You may have slightly misunderstood what I was trying to say here, I was referring only to your use of "no opinion" versus the paper's "no position." It's not a hugely important point so I'm only going to comment on the following ...

> You can have the science and technical solutions all figured out (and it is, well enough), but if you are unable to assemble adequate public consensus & support, the entire initiative may fail, [...]

If this was all you'd been saying, we'd be in full agreement. I agree there's room for improvement in popular science reporting. I disagree that there is anything majorly wrong with it, though. [0] If you have any specific recommendations for improvements that could be interesting.

However, I feel you are holding popular science journalism to an unrealistic standard here - a standard that is applied to no other subject.

If journalists were forced to use the highly technical, precise and nuanced language of peer-reviewed scientific publications in their popular reporting, that just wouldn't work for the vast majority of their readers. It would leave the field wide open to dishonest sound-bite style reporting by people unconstrained by truth. Therefore, simplifications are to some degree necessary, as long as they don't deform the underlying science. People are still free to dig deeper into the literature if they are that interested, just as we've been doing here. I don't think that's too much to ask - or, put differently, if this is too much to ask, then the problem is a much deeper one: a lack of critical thinking, a lack of curiosity, a pathological preoccupation with just the most superficial aspects of a topic.

Or, putting this a bit more practically: I feel like I have done a fine job of showing why quoting the 97% number is not particularly misleading. What form could this argument take that would fit in less than a couple of paragraphs? Because there aren't very many places outside of HN where that would fly...

[0] I don't know if this applies to places where people people mostly argue in meme format. It may not, but that would be a general cultural problem and not one of scientists and / or science journalists.


> I disagree that there is anything majorly wrong with it, though.

From each of the two distinct perspectives I mentioned?

> However, I feel you are holding popular science journalism to an unrealistic standard here - a standard that is applied to no other subject.

Telling the truth? Although you have a fair point, hardly anyone bothers themself with the truth nowadays.

Personally, if I was a scientist, I'd get a bit upset with the media misrepresenting things I say, especially if I believed there was chance that it could cause harm. But then, I seem to be about the only person concerned about throwing fat pitches to anti-AGW propagandists, so maybe I'm wrong.

> Or, putting this a bit more practically: I feel like I have done a fine job of showing why quoting the 97% number is not particularly misleading.

You also did a fine job at completely overlooking the two perspectives part I pointed out, that explained fairly precisely what my concern was.

Just as an experiment, I am going to copy paste that part in here to see if you will ignore it again. While this is disrespectful, I've performed this experiment many times on reddit and people will continue to pretend they don't see a point being made. Sometimes I even add over the top bolding and all sorts of other nonsense to make the spectacle as absurd as possible, to see to what lengths people will go.

But I digress.....here is the point I am curious whether you are able to address:

(HOWEVER: I already said in my prior comment for you to feel free to not respond, so I will not consider a lack of response to this comment as any kind of an internet victory. That said, I really would like to hear your response, because I'm not joking, I really do consider this perspective important, and if you truly find it (the propagandic exploitation angle) utterly unconcerning, I would very much like to know that.)

My prior point, on multiple perspectives:

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

So what's going on here?

Well, there are (at least) two differences here that I can see:

- we are using two different verbs: stating, and framing

- we are evaluating the truthiness of the different ways of stating it from (at least) two different/composite perspectives: I am looking at it from the perspectives of pedantic accuracy (how closely the description of the study matches the actual study) and with respect to vulnerability to propagandic exploitation (full disclosure: I imagine there's some motivated reasoning going on), whereas you are looking at it more from the perspective of ~"what is the most concise way these results can be stated in order to communicate the scientific facts"

So if we look at it this way, it seems to me we're both right. I don't disagree with your framing, as it relates to the science only, and I suspect (based on your prior comments) that you don't disagree with my framing, but only as it relates to pedantic accuracy of describing what the study actually did, with the intention of minimizing the attack surface to propagandists. (Do I suspect correctly?)


"I was doing the literal opposite of cherry-picking, I was digging into the arguments as they were presented to me. So far nothing has held up. If you can give me an argument with a proper source I'll happily look into that as well."

Again, that is exactly how your opponents feel.

" there is support for the precise number of 97%. [0]"

You are merely appealing to authority. I already told you why I think the number is questionable, yet you keep at it. All your reference tells me is that the NASA is not an honest player in the debate and can't be trusted. Since I already looked into the papers that produced the consensus numbers, yet NASA chooses to use the numbers anyway. Since I have to assume NASA has the capacity to understand those papers, I have to assume they choose to selectively quote them out of political motivation. So they don't count as honest scientists anymore. (Honest Scientist = people who are dedicated to finding the truth, not just in validating their beliefs).

And it very much contains a scientific argument, by proxy - since we can only trust the scientists, not verify their claims, if you claim the scientists support your arguments, you are making the claim that your arguments are backed by science. It is very relevant.

It may also be one of the most cited claims in the whole debate.

"High energy particle physics is mostly gibberish to me, yet I don't go around lecturing people on how it's all wrong."

But you also don't go around and educate people on particle physics. There are no stakes for most of us (unless you count the cost in tax payer money for building particle accelerators). Not the same with CO2.

"> And in the end your refutation boils down to "we know that CO2 traps heat and warms the earth"

It absolutely does not, I was addressing a very specific point about how historic CO2 levels are measured."

Yes you did, all you said is "we know how CO2 works", "we know" was your entire argument:

"Importantly, of course, none of this is really that relevant to the discussion of anthropogenic global warming, since we know that we are putting CO2 into the atmosphere, and that CO2 in the atmosphere traps heat."

"the whole discussion can be followed with a bit of high school physics, chemistry and biology, plus Wikipedia to fill in the gaps. Your next point shows that you were unwilling to put in that effort, but it isn't actually that hard"

Oh so you claim the authority of a climate scientist now, because it is oh such a simple subject? You took some high school physics, Wikipedia, and now you are an expert on climate?

I don't think anybody doubts that CO2 can trap heat in principle. But going from that to a doomsday scenario is a little bit more complex.


This comment is so intellectually dishonest that I have to conclude that you're trolling. I don't want to continue polluting this comments section with a detailed response.

If you are genuinely interested in discussing this, I'm leaving my e-mail in my profile for a while.


"intellectually dishonest" - seriously, what the fuck?

You give no reason why you think so, and I don't see why I should have to disprove your belief.

(edit: presumably you refer to the lines where I say you claim to be an expert on climate science now? Maybe the rhetoric was a bit harsh. But that was only a part of the whole comment. And I stand by the point, that nobody can claim to be an expert just by reading some Wikipedia and highschool books. The issue is that most arguments boil down to appeals to authority.)


> This comment is so intellectually dishonest that I have to conclude that you're trolling.

This seems like an evasive rhetorical technique.

How about this idea, to try to reestablish a productive conversation, choose the weakest (most intellectually dishonest) point, and criticize it?

If you are unwilling to do that, please explain why (keeping in mind your reference to intellectual honesty).


Pointing out that 95% (or more) climate scientists say that climate change is happening is not appeal to authority, but appeal to expertise. The former is a logical fallacy. The latter is not.


> Pointing out that 95% (or more) climate scientists say that climate change is happening is not appeal to authority, but appeal to expertise.

If the statistic was actually true it would.

Not sure if there's a formal logical fallacy to refer to this situation, but I think it would be useful to have one.


What do you mean? Authority is a synonym on expertise, in that context. You claim certain people or institutions have the expertise on the subject to make the right call, so you appeal to their authority on the subject.


Disclaimer: the style in which I write this reply is highly likely to be considered highly antagonistic, provocative, and non-constructive. Indeed, it may very well be this in many ways. But please consider the possibility that the actual underlying intent is other than what you might presume it to be...that there may be a method to my madness.

> I do not harbor this same suspicion, however, I'm determined to learn whatever is necessary to understand it.

Let's find out.

> Not because I can argue a point to completion for someone who doesn't share epistemological solidarity with me...

I doubt we differ much in actual epistemological beliefs, but rather my epistemological beliefs are much more pedantically stringent than yours, and that my stance on climate change is much less ~identity-related (for lack of a better term) than yours. But, I'm very pleased that you introduced epistemology into the discussion, as I believe it is one of the more important issues in play.

> ...but because it might allow me to aid in whatever needs posterity has in solving the problems we are creating today.

Here we are in strong agreement.

> In that interest, I will eventually complete the following course:

> https://www.coursera.org/learn/global-warming

Here is where our respective analyses of the problem diverge, although I didn't happen to touch too terribly strongly on this aspect of my beliefs in the comment to which you are replying, but I will do so now (and, see my other comments in this thread).

Essentially, my belief is that "the" problem of climate change is not one of science, but one of psychology. It seems to me that the manner in which the issue is being framed/discussed, is roughly:

1. figure out the "the science"

2. figure out the technical solutions

3. implementation

This seems generally logical/reasonable to me, and is typically an effective approach in the field of engineering - well, if you don't look too closely that is. I believe that 1 and 2 are complete (or more accurately, complete enough), and we should now as a society be moving on to step 3. But this is where the wheels are coming off the wagon, is it not?

Implementation, in the real world, has the following dependencies: [Public Consensus] --> [Politics] --> [Human Psychology] (note: I wrote this in a different order in a prior comment, but I think this order is more correct). Public Consensus is (largely) achieved via Politics, and Politics requires interacting with and persuading people - as they are, not as they "should" be (Human Psychology).

So let's look at some examples of human psychology in action....

> I feel as if you should do so as well, as it's the only way to understand the scientific position, if [all you are going to do otherwise] is [attack them with conspiracy theory]

> Further, you want to disabuse others of speculation, but [you haven't taken the work to do so yourself].

> Now, you could go ahead and do all the work above [for every scientific point of view that you want to challenge].

Here I will urge you to consider this in the most open-minded, least self-defensive manner possible. Please try to be acutely aware of System-1 vs System-2 thinking [0], and do your best to disable System-1. In order to assist you in that endeavor, I will openly admit that my line of reasoning has the appearance of arguing in bad faith, gas lighting, non-constructive pedantry, you name it. My behavior is clearly suspicious.

1. Remember this discussion is taking place within a context of epistemic humility (what we know is true, as opposed to what we "reasonably think" is true, but do not actually know for sure)

2. Note that I have added [brackets] to several phrases

So here is my challenge to you: re-read what I actually wrote, and answer the question:

From where did the ideas come from, that:

a) I am going to act in a particular manner

b) my beliefs (or, rhetorical techniques) are (or will be) based on conspiracy theories

c) I accuse others of speculation, but imply I am not doing the same

d) what I am doing is "challenging scientific points of view"

Is it possible that your mind has formed a highly detailed internal model of who I am and what I'm all about, based not entirely on factual observations, but rather based on subconscious heuristic judgements? I hope you can realize and acknowledge this, because it is the essence of my entire theory. And to assist you in this endeavor, I will explicitly note that this behavior isn't "stupid" or unusual - this behavior exists, and is so highly tuned that it takes place entirely without our conscious knowledge, because it evolved this way. It is an extremely useful capability of the human mind, but while it delivers tremendous advantages under most conditions, it also brings dangerous disadvantages in certain situations, such as when 100% pure, disciplined, rational thinking and analysis is required to solve a problem (say, analyzing and predicting human behavior with respect to a specific complicated situation).

So, it "shouldn't" be too hard to recognize that this is true in an individual scenario such as this conversation. But consider this: what if the entire public discussion on climate change is failing due to a mass manifestation of this well-known human behavior (combined with bad actors in politics and industry, general human stupidity, etc). What if this whole thing is little more than one big misunderstanding?

I think this is an extremely interesting and novel way of looking at this problem. The issue is, how might one get a feel for how true this is? I have a few ideas (but not being the sharpest knife in the drawer, I could use some help):

- observe the nature of discussions/arguments on climate change - We very much like to think we are discussing "pure facts" (after all, to our mind is appears in crystal clear resolution that this is what we're doing, doesn't it!), but is this really the case? For each statement in a discussion, does it have any epistemic flaws? (And, if you present these flaws to the author of the comment, observe the response - not only of the author, but also of moderators of the platform you are on!)

- how many of the "facts" we use aren't actually facts, but rather factoids (ie: "97% of scientists agree....")

- do humans sometimes literally say things that they don't literally actually believe (something you can determine by engaging in controlled, deep collaborative discussions)

- do humans sometimes behave in obviously illogical, counter-productive ways, "cutting off their nose to spite their face", "scorching the earth", voting "against their interests" (that one could actually go in the factoid category as well)

So what's the point of this long, schizophrenic rant? My point is, I think a perfectly plausible, evidence-based case can be made that what is primarily preventing us from moving forward on this problem is not a misunderstanding of the science (which there definitely is, on both sides), but a misunderstanding of the importance of human psychology. And, I will provocatively (but speculatively) assert that a recurring refusal to even acknowledge this as a valid possibility, is in fact evidence that supports the very theory. My suspicion on why this behavior exists, is that on ~identity-related issues, it is simply human nature to blame one's opponent while absolving oneself of all guilt [1].

I am worried that once again, my effort at articulating this theory will be completely not understood, or completely ignored (again, behavior that I would assert is suggestive of the very theory), as if my comment didn't even exist. But hey, as I provocatively challenged you at the very start when you claimed you were "determined to understand": "Let's find out.". So, let's, shall we?

Nonetheless, I personally believe that this is actually the problem, so I will continue to beat this dead horse in hopes that eventually someone will actually consider the idea. Under the circumstances, this seems like the right thing to do, although I highly doubt my approach is optimal.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thinking,_Fast_and_Slow#Summar...

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_attribution_error


> Is it possible that your mind has formed a highly detailed internal model of who I am and what I'm all about, based not entirely on factual observations, but rather based on subconscious heuristic judgements?

This appears to be the only important statement in everything that you wrote requiring some kind of response. I can say, quite certainly, that this is not the case, but that it is slowly happening, based on other responses I'm seeing.

You made a statement about the following:

> > I have a bunch of coworkers that think scientists are making up this data and skewing results because their jobs depend on it and they want to continue to get funding.

> FWIW, I also happen to harbor this suspicion. How might one actually know whether there is an element of truth to it?

This is, quite literally, creating a conspiracy from thin air without proof. Climate science is so unnecessarily controversial at this point, that if any evidence existed that scientists were lying to make more money, business leaders would be touting it at every turn. However, there is plenty of evidence that scientists that deny climate change are in it for the money:

https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/climate-denial-ma...

> As a Washington Post article explains, “in the 1990s, oil companies, fossil fuel industry trade groups and their respective PR firms began positioning contrarian scientists such as Willie Soon, William Happer and David Legates as experts whose opinions on climate change should be considered equal and opposite to that of climate scientists.”

> The contrarian voice of these funded-skeptics hides the fact that basically the entire scientific community agrees the crisis is real and caused by humans, promoting the myth of disagreement.

Do you hold the same opinion of scientists that deny climate change? Offered evidence, will you change that opinion? This article might not be definitive proof, but proof of these actions by the fossil fuel industry is widely available. With this information, my theory of epistemology can treat scientists who suggest that Climate Change is happening and human caused is fact, and that those that deny it are most likely disingenuous. If you don't agree, then it is likely that we cannot share epistimological solidarity. It's not an emotional statement, just a statement of fact. You might suggest that I am reaching my conclusion illogically. It might even be true. It doesn't change the fact that our epistemologies differ.

IOW, I responded primarily to a statement that is a widespread conspiracy theory, and therefore propaganda, by calling it what it was, not by making assumptions about who you are, and how you think. I simply made a reply based on what you wrote. I, on the other hand, can present a real conspiracy (not propaganda) by pointing out how various industries have disingenuously used media (and thus human emotion and failing human intuition) to argue against human caused climate change. That actually exists, and is a statement of fact, unless you differ from me in epistemology.

Further, you reference the book "Thinking Fast and Slow", while defending a statement of intuition:

> I also happen to harbor this suspicion

In response, I gave you the ultimate 'slow thinking' path that I follow myself: education. Until I have that education, then I must fall back on the expertise of others.

Further, I'm extremely aware of the fact that we need the public to buy in, and that we need political will to deal with Climate Change. Extremely, frustratingly, aware.


> This appears to be the only important statement in everything that you wrote requiring some kind of response.

Not that I'm surprised, but....really?

How about this: "My point is, I think a perfectly plausible, evidence-based case can be made that what is primarily preventing us from moving forward on this problem is not a misunderstanding of the science (which there definitely is, on both sides), but a misunderstanding of the importance of human psychology."

Are you willing to state an opinion on that (taking into consideration the supporting ideas in my comment)?

> I can say, quite certainly, that this is not the case, but that it is slowly happening, based on other responses I'm seeing.

Here I'm not sure what you're saying exactly.

"that this is not the case" - ok, well if that's the case, could you please answer the question I posed: "From where did the ideas come from, that:"

"but that it is slowly happening, based on other responses I'm seeing" - I'm not sure what this refers to. Could you clarify?

>>> I have a bunch of coworkers that think scientists are making up this data and skewing results because their jobs depend on it and they want to continue to get funding.

>> FWIW, I also happen to harbor this suspicion. How might one actually know whether there is an element of truth to it?

> This is, quite literally, creating a conspiracy from thin air without proof.

No, it is not. You're the one that added the notion of epistemology into the discussion (and kudos for that), but it seems now, you've forgotten that.

I'm not "creating a conspiracy" (I imagine this rhetorical technique has a name, but I know not what it might be), I am asking a question. You seem to believe you are above epistemic soundness. I challenge you to address this.

> Climate science is so unnecessarily controversial at this point, that if any evidence existed that scientists were lying to make more money, business leaders would be touting it at every turn.

Sure, and nothing I said directly contradicts this, I am merely pointing out that we do not have evidence either way that it is "wise career advice" to pursue climate change only from a particular angle, or that there might be a kind of "overton window" in play, to some degree. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Again, I am not saying this is the case, I am simply saying:

a) the conclusive, absolute truth on these matters is unknown

b) a behavior can be observed where climate change advocates seem extremely unwilling to simply acknowledge that some things are unknown

> However, there is plenty of evidence that scientists that deny climate change are in it for the money: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/climate-denial-ma.... > As a Washington Post article explains, “in the 1990s, oil companies, fossil fuel industry trade groups and their respective PR firms began positioning contrarian scientists such as Willie Soon, William Happer and David Legates as experts whose opinions on climate change should be considered equal and opposite to that of climate scientists.” > The contrarian voice of these funded-skeptics hides the fact that basically the entire scientific community agrees the crisis is real and caused by humans, promoting the myth of disagreement.

> Do you hold the same opinion of scientists that deny climate change?

I do not subscribe to the beliefs of climate change denying scientists, and not a single thing I wrote suggested that I believe this in the slightest. And yet, here you are concentrating on this, while simultaneously ignoring most everything else I actually wrote.

I will remind you of something else I wrote:

> My point is, I think a perfectly plausible, evidence-based case can be made that what is primarily preventing us from moving forward on this problem is not a misunderstanding of the science (which there definitely is, on both sides), but a misunderstanding of the importance of human psychology. And, I will provocatively (but speculatively) assert that a recurring refusal to even acknowledge this as a valid possibility, is in fact evidence that supports the very theory. My suspicion on why this behavior exists, is that on ~identity-related issues, it is simply human nature to blame one's opponent while absolving oneself of all guilt [1].

> I am worried that once again, my effort at articulating this theory will be completely not understood, or completely ignored (again, behavior that I would assert is suggestive of the very theory), as if my comment didn't even exist. But hey, as I provocatively challenged you at the very start when you claimed you were "determined to understand": "Let's find out.". So, let's, shall we?

Taking those words into consideration, notice what the theme/theory of the actual content of my post was, and notice what the content of your reply was. You ignored most everything I said, and certainly ignored the main idea, even though I clearly pointed out that this is the very behavior I was pointing out. What happened to your "determination to understand"?

As I've already stated: to me, this is extremely interesting. I think something important is going on here.

> Offered evidence, will you change that opinion?

My opinions are always open to change. I am rare in that I will stand and defend my beliefs, and answer any question posed to me without changing the subject. Can you say the same?

> This article might not be definitive proof, but proof of these actions by the fossil fuel industry is widely available. With this information, my theory of epistemology can treat scientists who suggest that Climate Change is happening and human caused is fact, and that those that deny it are most likely disingenuous.

Are you suggesting that untruth on the part of climate-denying scientists is somehow epistemically sound proof that pro-climate-change scientist's science is fact? This seems illogical to me.

> If you don't agree, then it is likely that we cannot share epistimological solidarity.

I don't disagree on that, but I don't think we share epistimological solidarity, because I am extremely concerned with what is known to be true regardless of whose theories it supports, and your concerns seem to be biased.

> IOW, I responded primarily to a statement that is a widespread conspiracy theory, and therefore propaganda, by calling it what it was...

...and also suggesting that because it is "a conspiracy theory" then therefore it is false, with a demonstrated lack of concern for whether such a conclusion is actually known, or knowable.

> not by making assumptions about who you are, and how you think.

I challenge you again to address my question: "From where did the ideas come from, that:"

> I simply made a reply based on what you wrote.

You missed the part where you ignored the majority of my comment, despite me predicting that.

> I, on the other hand, can present a real conspiracy (not propaganda) by pointing out how various industries have disingenuously used media (and thus human emotion and failing human intuition) to argue against human caused climate change.

Once again, which I've never disputed. Why you seem focused on something I've literally not mentioned, while ignoring that which I did mention, is the very behavior I noted in my comment that I find unusual.

> Further, you reference the book "Thinking Fast and Slow", while defending a statement of intuition:

> I also happen to harbor this suspicion

> In response, I gave you the ultimate 'slow thinking' path that I follow myself: education. Until I have that education, then I must fall back on the expertise of others.

Your education didn't contain any proof of my conclusion, but at least you seem to realize that your proof is an appeal to authority.

> Further, I'm extremely aware of the fact that we need the public to buy in, and that we need political will to deal with Climate Change. Extremely, frustratingly, aware.

Are you frustrated enough to actually consider the content of what I wrote in my comment? Because from what you've written here, it seems almost as if you didn't even read it.


I started responding to your GP comment, but I moved it here (and lightly edited/expanded it) to let you know that I see you (though your pivot from "suspicion" and "bias" to "psychology" and "identity" makes me leery).

Without specific cited examples I'm not sure if you're talking primarily about actual research papers, broader research summaries/reports, coverage in dedicated science publications, coverage in the general news outlets, political/interest group reports or talking points, discussion with random science-citing people online, etc. (I get the impression you're talking more about latter than the former examples, but I'm not confident enough to tailor the response in either direction):

In general, people are not great at thinking (even in system 2) or communicating precisely.

Unjustified thinking and bias are hard to tease apart. (I'll stick to Hanlon's razor and avoid focusing on bias--the term tends to impute even though bias can be unconscious.)

Our primary tool for communicating, human language, didn't develop to meet complex communication needs (be they scientific, technical, philosophical, etc). Some concepts are hard or impossible or tedious to communicate in language. Worse, these can get folded into nuanced domain-specific terminology or unstated shared context among practitioners.

Small portions of people are pretty good at thinking, though this is often domain-specific.

Small portions of people are pretty good at communicating, though this can also be both domain and audience specific.

To the point (roughly):

I've seen frustrating examples at each of these levels. It is (roughly) everywhere. (I won't impute, but if you see this in climate science and not everywhere--do investigate why.) Not that I would know where the Overton window is, here--but I get the impression from how you frame this that you think you are further outside of it than I think you are. I wonder if you're seeing (something like?) Dunning-Kruger here--many (but not all) of the people left arguing on the internet about facts and gigatons and global cooling and ivory tower conspiracies may just be identifying at each other.

I assume most people who see through this avoid engaging. I occasionally engage, but rarely head-on. My goal investigate to obliquely+gently give someone who appears to be thoughtful a chance to realize they are in a trench.

In any case, I'm unsure what practical application this realization has (beyond the obvious--lobbing fact-grenades into the other trench doesn't accomplish much). Do you see applicable lessons, here? One lesson can be that the message should come from someone with a lot of identity overlap. I think it's useful, but it takes a while to scale well (for example, you need people willing to risk ostracism and exclusion from groups that are core parts of their identity; people most knowledgable about the science don't have a lot of identity overlap).

Katharine Hayhoe is a decent case study, here. She stays busy, but I don't have a good sense of how readily she can move the needle with skeptics. Either way, her identity doesn't seem to defuse the regular conspiratorial comments on posts/videos about her.

I find the discussion of memes in The Selfish Gene useful here. It's worth a read if you haven't. Considering the "fitness" of individual memes, fellow travellers, and memeplexes as a whole (i.e., their virality, whether they fit in well with or oppose other common memes, how resisitant they are to displacement, etc.) is a good place to start with evaluating how climate change denial slots into people's broader belief systems. Unfortunately, it also underscores that a number of its frequent fellow travellers are fairly "fit" memes.


First, I will add some caveats:

a) Please forgive my annoying point-by-point communication style. My belief is that it adds clarity and precision, but I realize it's also annoying.

b) Everything I should should be read in the spirit of "in my opinion"...I see this as an exploratory conversation about unqualified armchair theories, not a statement of facts.

> I started responding to your GP comment, but I moved it here (and lightly edited/expanded it) to let you know that I see you

Sincere thanks.

> (though your pivot from "suspicion" and "bias" to "psychology" and "identity" makes me leery).

Suspicion, bias, identity, and a whole schwack of other things, all fall under the domain of psychology. But I don't ask that you accept anything I say at face value, I will address any questions you have, and consider all criticism.

> Without specific cited examples I'm not sure if you're talking primarily about

It's like 90% armchair psychology, based on non-acedemic education, and a fairly long period of close observation of human interactions. I claim no authority on the subject, I only ask that people think, and be honest (or at least try). That said, the possibility remains that I may not be entirely incorrect, even out of sheer chance.

> Our primary tool for communicating, human language, didn't develop to meet complex communication needs (be they scientific, technical, philosophical, etc). Some concepts are hard or impossible or tedious to communicate in language. Worse, these can get folded into nuanced domain-specific terminology or unstated shared context among practitioners.

Exactly. And this isn't news to anyone, but what I think might be somewhat of a novel/underinvestigated idea, is how these things manifest in day to day interactions, and in turn affect subsequent behavior, such as the influencing of peers, voting patterns, etc. Has there been any academic study into this? Should there be (are the stakes high enough that out of the box thinking might be warranted, or are staus quo ideas getting the job done to an acceptable degree)?

> I won't impute, but if you see this in climate science and not everywhere--do investigate why.

It appears on any culture war topic, which is why culture war topics are often banned from being discussed in multiple communities. But again, what I find interesting, is the unwillingness for people to discuss the specifics of why they are banned.

> Not that I would know where the Overton window is, here--but I get the impression from how you frame this that you think you are further outside of it than I think you are.

This is an ever-present risk, and it's undoubtedly a motivating factor in my choice of when to wade into discussions, but I think(!) I've managed to become fairly disciplined in actually discussing things in an honest, mostly emotionally detached manner.

My framing of it is certainly not a comprehensive overview of the subject, and I have tried to go to great lengths to acknowledge that. My intent is to not discredit or derail the climate change initiative, but rather to introduce the idea, for consideration, that perhaps our perceptions of the nature of "resistance" or "disagreement" may not be accurate, and in turn our solutions/response to that may be suboptimal. Maybe I've done a less than perfect job of communicating this idea, but I see little evidence that others are making any effort to understand. Rather, it seems that my lack of complete agreement is immediately considered to be disagreement, and therefore dealt with accordingly. Any pushback seems to invoke an authoritarian, tribal response.

> I wonder if you're seeing (something like?) Dunning-Kruger here--many (but not all) of the people left arguing on the internet about facts and gigatons and global cooling and ivory tower conspiracies may just be identifying at each other.

Of course. But again, this isn't so much what I am pointing out, which is the amazingly widespread inability and unwillingness among intelligent people to step out of this mode of thinking, or acknowledge clear signs of it.

> In any case, I'm unsure what practical application this realization has (beyond the obvious--lobbing fact-grenades into the other trench doesn't accomplish much). Do you see applicable lessons, here?

At this point, I think there is some potential value in investigating how true some of these theories are. Is the fact that climate change is (has become) a culture war topic interfering with people's ability to discuss or think clearly about the matter, or does group identity trump everything (System-1 overpowers System-2, ~without exception, even among the intelligent). I believe some clear patterns can be observed. If so, what to do with this knowledge?

> One lesson can be that the message should come from someone with a lot of identity overlap.

Yes indeed! If the requirement is mass persuasion (and it very much is), and the topic is identity-related (causing the human brain to malfunction, resorting to tribal, System-1 thinking), then adopting an approach where the message is delivered via influential figures in various sub-communities seems like a very logical approach.

Which raises the question: do we see any of this happening?

> I think it's useful, but it takes a while to scale well (for example, you need people willing to risk ostracism and exclusion from groups that are core parts of their identity; people most knowledgable about the science don't have a lot of identity overlap).

Agreed. Assuming this theory is sound, scaling is a big problem. Perhaps some people who are smarter than me in the HN community have some related expertise in the field, or just some good old-fashioned smart ideas to consider. But how one might persuade them to think about the problem from this perspective seems like a difficult nut to crack. I will continue doing my best (as you can see I am not deterred by ostracism and exclusion, and @dang seems content to let me go about my business), but if you have any good ideas, I'd love to hear them.

Even if we could get everyone's sentiments pointed in the right direction, there are a lot of other seemingly unrelated issues that may need to be taken into consideration, but if a higher frame of enlightenment (willingness to cooperate, MAYBE) could be established, perhaps we could fix several problems at once. Dare to dream, eh?

> Katharine Hayhoe is a decent case study, here. She stays busy, but I don't have a good sense of how readily she can move the needle with skeptics. Either way, her identity doesn't seem to defuse the regular conspiratorial comments on posts/videos about her.

To me, sending a climate scientist to deal with skeptics is like bringing a knife to a gun fight, or trying to put out a grease fire with a bucket of water. You need a lunatic to deal with lunatics, because you need to understand how they think. Authorities and rationalists have high-resolution perceptions of how deniers and conspiracy theorists think, but they are only perceptions, almost completely manufactured by their minds. No wonder no one can make any progress with them.

> I find the discussion of memes in The Selfish Gene useful here. It's worth a read if you haven't. Considering the "fitness" of individual memes, fellow travellers, and memeplexes as a whole (i.e., their virality, whether they fit in well with or oppose other common memes, how resistant they are to displacement, etc.) is a good place to start with evaluating how climate change denial slots into people's broader belief systems.

150% agree, the propagation of "knowledge" via memes is fundamental to this problem, but it is key to realize that it is not only "deniers" who are thinking in memes (as opposed to reasoned logic) - this is how everyone is thinking, if to varying degrees. This is well known in the fields of psychology and neuroscience, and few here would dispute it within a thread on that specific topic. But try raising the notion in an unrelated topic, particularly a culture war topic, and watch people's logic exit the room instantaneously (yourself being an obvious exception).

Many thanks for the conversation, any criticism of anything I've said is appreciated.


> Suspicion, bias, identity, and a whole schwack of other things, all fall under the domain of psychology.

For sure. I just mean the act of pivoting and re-framing. It's hard to imagine the contiguous core motive that brought you to say both that you harbor suspicion that climate scientists are cooking the books and that you wonder if psychological misunderstanding is the reason we can't move forward. It seems like you laid out one kind of bait, caught about what I'd expect, and then wished you'd caught something else.

> It's like 90% armchair psychology...

Sorry--this was probably obfuscated by moving my reply here. My interest is in where (along the scale from actual researchers down to general nonscientists communicating in public fora) people are saying things that rub you the wrong way. I certainly see issues up and down the scale, but they're different.

> ... but what I think might be somewhat of a novel/underinvestigated idea, is how these things manifest in day to day interactions, and in turn affect subsequent behavior... Has there been any academic study into this?

I have hunches, but not much hard knowledge from which to reason about how well recognized/investigated this is. It's something I have and continue to actively reflect on a lot. I'm not aware of a big body of empirical work here, but the world is vast and I am not. It seems inevitable that there's research (knowingly or not) pulling on threads of this from multiple vantage points. My gut says there are chicken/egg problems here, but I'd have to take some time out to survey a good random sample of real research to know how well-tuned that is.

> It appears on any culture war topic

I think these are pervasive hermeneutic/epistemic problems, though I suppose conflict does highlight them.

> ... perhaps our perceptions of the nature of "resistance" or "disagreement" may not be accurate, and in turn our solutions/response to that may be suboptimal.

It certainly seems this way. I don't know how to cash this realization out once people are in the trench, though.

> ... I see little evidence that others are making any effort to understand. Rather, it seems that my lack of complete agreement ... seems to invoke an authoritarian, tribal response.

>...the amazingly widespread inability and unwillingness among intelligent people to step out of this mode of thinking, or acknowledge clear signs of it.

Mostly just acknowledging these. I don't have a single clear response. I can imagine a lot of different things going on here. Maybe it helps to imagine the people who aren't responding, and reflect on how the medium, forum, topic, discussion, subthread, your own post, and the very act of clicking the "reply" button to a long post may all act as filters that skew your sample.

> Is the fact that climate change is (has become) a culture war topic interfering with people's ability to discuss or think clearly about the matter

> or does group identity trump everything (System-1 overpowers System-2, ~without exception, even among the intelligent)

> If the requirement is mass persuasion (and it very much is), and the topic is identity-related (causing the human brain to malfunction, resorting to tribal, System-1 thinking)...

> Even if we could get everyone's sentiments pointed in the right direction, there are a lot of other seemingly unrelated issues that may need to be taken into consideration, but if a higher frame of enlightenment (willingness to cooperate, MAYBE) could be established, perhaps we could fix several problems at once.

I'm not sure there's a meaningful direct way to address what skeptics think. I assume they can be clustered in at least a few ways, but I haven't looked for studies breaking it down. I imagine the broadly "conspiratorial" cluster (people who are interpreting climate in light of a conspiratorial outlook), however big it is, is largely unreachable. The strictly "identitarian" cluster (people who would have no opinion if not for some group/ideology commitment) is probably a little (but not much) more reachable in the sense that some event could shake their ideological/group commitment and leave them open to revision. There are obviously other clusters (and overlap/grey zones), but the technical nature of the topic informs how prevalent I assume they are.

I guess it's trite (and maybe useless), but I feel like pointing out how thoroughly this dance is structured by the ~invisible idea that average people should have any opinion--let alone one we insist must be founded on cold, hard, rock-solid rational logic--about a mountain of published research (itself built on many vast datasets, quite a few complex models, and projections) that collectively draws on, synthesizes, and spans many disciplines. Perhaps the first reaction is that, well, this is how democracy works. But step back, and realize that this pattern demands epistemic hubris. And I think we get it.

In that light, I think we have too many opinions (regardless of how well-founded they are). I have wondered for a while now how much room there is to cultivate epistemic humility and whether we'd be better off if most of us were able to resist dropping anchor on things we don't need to have an opinion on. Perhaps it'd just be a different hellscape.


(NOTE COPYPASTA: This discussion is getting a bit long in the tooth, I'm happy to argue indefinitely because this topic happens to be my hobby horse, but feel free to drop off if you'd like - actually, I don't think you and I are even disagreeing on anything noteworthy, which is great.)

>>> (though your pivot from "suspicion" and "bias" to "psychology" and "identity" makes me leery).

>> Suspicion, bias, identity, and a whole schwack of other things, all fall under the domain of psychology.

> For sure. I just mean the act of pivoting and re-framing. It's hard to imagine the contiguous core motive that brought you to say both that you harbor suspicion that climate scientists are cooking the books and that you wonder if psychological misunderstanding is the reason we can't move forward.

A few comments (again, please pardon my writing style):

a) my overall motive is to start a new style of discussing climate change, a different perspective on how to accomplish the goals

b) "you harbor suspicion [I do - suspicion is common human nature] that climate scientists are cooking the books [I didn't say that - that you interpreted it that way may be worth thinking about]"

c) "you wonder if psychological misunderstanding is the reason we can't move forward" - I do. Do you consider this idea silly or controversial?

d) "to say [both] that..." - I'm not seeing a contradiction here. Perhaps you're referring to your perception (not based on my words) that I believe that scientists are(!) cooking the books is inconsistent with my ~claim that others are ~misunderstanding? I hope I've clarified enough here, but am happy to dig deeper if you'd like.

> It seems like you laid out one kind of bait, caught about what I'd expect, and then wished you'd caught something else.

I don't understand what you mean by this, but if you think I'm missing something important, I'd appreciate a reply.

> Sorry--this was probably obfuscated by moving my reply here. My interest is in where (along the scale from actual researchers down to general nonscientists communicating in public fora) people are saying things that rub you the wrong way.

Oh, all over the place. I don't want to overemphasize the importance of my reactions - my point is, be very careful underestimating the importance about rubbing the general public the wrong way, particularly various groupings of people. I assume you know how motivationally powerful group identity and tribalism are. See: https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/18/politics/impeachment-polling-...

>> It appears on any culture war topic

> I think these are pervasive hermeneutic/epistemic problems, though I suppose conflict does highlight them.

This is how I see it too. And I propose, for your consideration, that conflict largely derives from the topic of discussion. I propose that conflict magnitude (and in turn cognitive degradation) is proportional to the magnitude of how an individual ~"ideologically identifies" with a topic. Who knows if there's any truth to this, it's just a theory.

> It certainly seems this way. I don't know how to cash this realization out once people are in the trench, though.

To me, job #1 is getting more people than just you and me to realize (or even open up to consider) that this is actually the situation, and potentially a non-trivial part of the problem. It seems to be a very unpopular idea.

> Maybe it helps to imagine the people who aren't responding, and reflect on how the medium, forum, topic, discussion, subthread, your own post, and the very act of clicking the "reply" button to a long post may all act as filters that skew your sample.

True. When no one will discuss a topic, one inevitably starts to speculate about opinions.

> I'm not sure there's a meaningful direct way to address what skeptics think.

It may sound naive, but asking them some questions might be a good way to start. As it is, everyone is forming opinions based on comically inaccurate proxy models.

As for the reach-ability of the various groups, again, better to not form judgements based on speculation. Mankind has dealt with group disagreements for thousands of years, why everyone seems to have such a strong "we've tried nothing and we're all out of ideas" attitude towards this instance is odd. Just more of the same thing we've been discussing I imagine. Nonetheless, something needs to be done about it.

> I guess it's trite (and maybe useless), but I feel like pointing out how thoroughly this dance is structured by the ~invisible idea that average people should have any opinion--let alone one we insist must be founded on cold, hard, rock-solid rational logic--about a mountain of published research (itself built on many vast datasets, quite a few complex models, and projections) that collectively draws on, synthesizes, and spans many disciplines. Perhaps the first reaction is that, well, this is how democracy works. But step back, and realize that this pattern demands epistemic hubris. And I think we get it.

100% agree, particularly the "epistemic hubris" - this is a massive component of this general sub-problem, and we have it in spades, on all sides. So, what to do about it?

Thanks for the fantastic conversation, very much appreciated!


I'm content with the ground we've covered, but I still wanted to address your specific request for a reply--I'll try to winnow a bit.

> b) "you harbor suspicion [I do - suspicion is common human nature] that climate scientists are cooking the books [I didn't say that - that you interpreted it that way may be worth thinking about]"

I did take metaphorical liberty in how I phrased this, but I don't see this much room, here. You quoted, and responded:

> > I have a bunch of coworkers that think scientists are making up this data and skewing results because their jobs depend on it and they want to continue to get funding. > FWIW, I also happen to harbor this suspicion...

Regardless of what you thought, or suspected, or meant to say, you said you harbor the same suspicion as the poster's coworkers--and the poster said their coworkers think the scientists are making up the data because their jobs depend on it. Where do you see enough daylight--between the initial poster's assertion, your statement, and my "cooking the books" metaphor--to assert that my interpretation is inconsistent with what you said?

> ...I don't understand what you mean by this...

You expressed skepticism (to be clear, as I said previously, I have no intrinsic objection to skepticism) of the scientists and their data, but also separately expressed interest in how we move forward from the misunderstanding. If your skepticism of the scientists and the data is serious, it's not clear to me why you're motivated to figure out how we move forward from the misunderstanding. It seems like one of a few things has to be true:

- Your skepticism of the scientists/data isn't serious. This seems to be undercut by your statement that you "harbor this suspicion" (that the scientists are making up the data and skewing their results because their jobs depend on it). If you suspect they're making up the data, I don't see why you'd be you'd also have genuine interest in moving forward to address conclusions identitariains have drawn from the data/results you suspect are made up/skewed. - Your interest in moving forward isn't serious. This seems to be undercut by your subsequent posts to others and myself.

To close the circle: You baited the trap by agreeing you suspect that the scientists are making up the data and skewing results because their jobs depend on it (I suspect this assertion is ~unfalsifiable in our moment; how would the scientists tarred by this assertion refute it? could you support it in any way that isn't vulnerable to the same assertion? And, to be clear, it would not surprise me if there are some scientists doing this--but this is not what you or the poster you quoted asserted). Your agreement with an unqualified assertion that they're making data up and skewing their results attracted about the same kind of responses I'd expect. You seem open-minded and nuanced, but the bait you left out wasn't.

> I propose, for your consideration, that conflict largely derives from the topic of discussion... the magnitude of how an individual ~"ideologically identifies" with a topic

I'm not sure. The conflict is inevitably shaped by the topic (and there are inevitably some people who care about one topic and not another), but a lot of it feels like on Wednesdays we wear pink and on Thursdays we boycott/buy something the other side loves/hates.

> To me, job #1 is getting more people than just you and me to realize (or even open up to consider) that this is actually the situation, and potentially a non-trivial part of the problem. It seems to be a very unpopular idea.

I don't know enough local/global political-party history to have a sense of whether it's like this always/everywhere, but (similar to not feeling compelled to have opinions) I've wondered for a while if it would help if we cultivated different norms around party identification (i.e., that it's unseemly for anyone who isn't a candidate or party official to "identify" as <party>).

> ...asking them some questions might be a good way to start... why everyone seems to have such a strong "we've tried nothing and we're all out of ideas" attitude towards this instance is odd ... something needs to be done

Fair. My own approach has been bending towards some playful socratic prodding over the past several years (I guess this is analogous to "street epistemology"). But I'll admit to feeling ground down by watching peoples beliefs/opinions do the Borg thing if you undermine anything they previously claimed was load-bearing. That's why I've been wondering if cultivating abstract norms/virtues is the real answer (but, of course, many people regularly prove that they're willing to discard abstract virtues for expedience). In a memetic frame, my curiosity is about whether we can cultivate more of an immune system to resist polarizing/gridlocking memes.


> I'm content with the ground we've covered, but I still wanted to address your specific request for a reply--I'll try to winnow a bit.

I'm extremely glad you did, for reasons revealed below.

> Regardless of what you thought, or suspected, or meant to say, you said you harbor the same suspicion as the poster's coworkers--and the poster said their coworkers think the scientists are making up the data because their jobs depend on it. Where do you see enough daylight--between the initial poster's assertion, your statement, and my "cooking the books" metaphor--to assert that my interpretation is inconsistent with what you said?

Ok, this is extremely interesting, to me.

--- My initial (incorrect) response to that question ---

Well that's easy.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/suspicion

Definition of suspicion

1a : the act or an instance of suspecting something wrong without proof or on slight evidence : mistrust

b : a state of mental uneasiness and uncertainty : doubt

--- My updated (less incorrect) response to that question ---

I got to thinking....here I am talking to a person who is clearly (I suspect) intelligent, articulate, and intellectually honest - not unlike how I imagine myself to be. And yet, we've somehow come to completely opposite conclusions on a matter that is somewhat complicated, but not all that complicated. Being curious about how you came to this misunderstanding (or so I thought!), I reviewed the conversation and came across this previous exchange:

>> I have a bunch of coworkers that think scientists are making up this data and skewing results because their jobs depend on it and they want to continue to get funding.

> (ME): FWIW, I also happen to harbor this suspicion. How might one actually know whether there is an element of truth to it?

Here is where the "contamination of the conversation" (and subsequent misunderstanding, on matters specifically related to this point) occurred, and it is 100% my fault. Due due to lack of disciplined preciseness, my literal words unmistakably convey something I don't actually believe (well, to be completely honest, my mind is open to the possibility, but I internally assign this a very low certainty/likelihood/magnitude score): that scientists are making up this data and skewing results.

I literally said that I am suspicious (consider it possible) that scientists are making up this data and skewing results. So NO WONDER you've been replying to me as if I hold "high level" conspiratorial beliefs, because I said just that!

FWIW, to add some color, my actual beliefs were more accurately communicated in a subsequent comment:

>> Climate science is so unnecessarily controversial at this point, that if any evidence existed that scientists were lying to make more money, business leaders would be touting it at every turn.

> (ME):Sure, and nothing I said directly contradicts this, I am merely pointing out that we do not have evidence either way that it is "wise career advice" to pursue climate change only from a particular angle, or that there might be a kind of "overton window" in play, to some degree. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

> Again, I am not saying this is the case, I am simply saying:

> a) the conclusive, absolute truth on these matters is unknown

> b) a behavior can be observed where climate change advocates seem extremely unwilling to simply acknowledge that some things are unknown

[...that there might be a kind of "overton window" in play, to some degree...] is something that I assign a much higher certainty/likelihood/magnitude score, but (obviously) an espistemic status of [Unknown - Incomplete Data].

If I had an infinite amount of time, I'd go back through the entire conversation thread and try to determine how much of that which I found completely baffling might be explained away by this one mistake - it would be funny if the whole thing might have been one giant misunderstanding due to an unintentional, seemingly minor error on the part of one well-intentioned person - a core idea in my overall theory-in-progress on the underlying causes of societal disharmony and polarization, by the way.

I wonder....is this the first time such a thing has occurred within [HN] > [The Internet] > [Planet Earth] > [The History of Mankind]?

I suspect not. And if not, I then wonder....how often might this sort of thing occur, and with what consequences (if one takes into the consideration the nature of human beings, including current knowledge on how they perceive reality based on (~recursive) interpretation of new input, that is modified based on infinitely complicated mental models of reality built from previously consumed (and interpreted) input)?

But I digress. I think this likely takes care of most of the rest of your comment, except for:

>>...I don't understand what you mean by this...

> You expressed skepticism (to be clear, as I said previously, I have no intrinsic objection to skepticism) of the scientists and their data, but also separately expressed interest in how we move forward from the misunderstanding. If your skepticism of the scientists and the data is serious, it's not clear to me why you're motivated to figure out how we move forward from the misunderstanding.

Ok, this is mostly covered by the above, but not completely: I think this in particular was mostly just plain old no-fault communication error/confusion. I was (imprecisely) referring to one kind of of misunderstanding (that of people interacting on HN, this conversation being one such example, except here we're both acting in good faith), and you took it as another (people "not understanding" (or so it seems), science).

This exchange will easily make the top 5 of my "Most Enlightening Internet Arguments of 2019", so thanks for your persistence.

Two final questions, just for fun:

1. Within this overall ridiculous conversation, do you get any sense of a kind of a ~"general theme, loosely related set of ideas" that drives my curiosity?

2. On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being highest confidence), how crazy do you think I am?

EDIT: I also just realized I owe at least two people some sort of an apology.


> I wonder ... how often might this sort of thing occur, and with what consequences ...?

I started trying to answer this directly but I wonder if it's more helpful to go meta here. I haven't tried to check this against past posts to see how parallel it is, but the feeling of trying to answer this sequence (does it happen, how often, and to what effect) reminds me of something I've noticed several times when thinking about questions in your comments (to me and others).

It starts off with a question that seems (to me) to have an obvious answer. I can't figure out, in context, whether to read them as purely rhetorical but tend to give the benefit of the doubt. Then I have trouble charting a course to an answer that feels charitable. The tack-on questions tend to balloon to something quite relevant, but seemingly unanswerable without hubris or a mountain of research that I suspect doesn't exist.

This leads me back around to indecision between taking the whole chain rhetorically and whether it's possible to answer charitably. By the end, I end up a bit frustrated.

On this chain of questions: These things happen all the time (see my earlier amorphous notes on how hard I think both precise thinking and communication are). I can't imagine a meaningful answer about the consequences, but I do agree it's a meaningful exercise for the reader to imagine what the consequences may be.

Whether you're hoping for this kind of conclusion or hoping for an answer that actually tries to imagine the frequency and consequences, I suspect you can wring a little more luck out of your approach by narrowing the scope of some questions (probably by making them more local/personal), factoring some of them out into direct statements, or even adding a disclaimer.

1. I can't pretend to have tried to nail this down up to now. Projecting this hard also makes me uncomfortable, but I guess I can make a post hoc effort.

It seems like you're trying to make sense of the absurdist conflict rituals you see playing out. I think you're trying to call attention to the ritual (and its absurdity) as a means of making sense of it (finding other people who agree, prompting new people trying to do the same, testing ideas, getting opinions). I think you see the ritual turning more on psychology than logic, and want to understand the psychology (and promote understanding of the psychology) to light a path forward.

If this isn't too far off base, I have a few closing thoughts:

- I expressed this before in different terms, but I do feel like you're looking for conscientious objectors in the middle of a battlefield. There's nothing wrong with that. You will find a few of us here. And you'll find a few people who are open to persuasion. But you'll mostly find people who are trained to shoot at anything on the wrong horizon.

- I have a pet theory about how to model people who seem irrational: I suspect most people make approximately rational decisions if you know/understand the inputs (values, perceptions, experience) and how they weight them. This doesn't mean you (or they!) can know all of their inputs, but it does imply a few things that I find more productive/tractable than just perceiving them as irrational agents: a) there's value in trying to imagine what inputs could justify someone's decision/behavior; b) it's humbling to assume you might decide/behave the same way with the same inputs; c) if they are a willing, self-reflective participant, the processes of mutually teasing out and challenging inputs and weightings is less inherently fraught/adversarial/condescending than the process of figuring out why they are irrational/illogical.

2. I regularly ask people in my life for scales, but always with a twist. I might rephrase this like "On a scale from 1 to crazy, how am I?" or "How would you rate me on a scale from tall to crazy?" I do this for fun, but also because I'm very leery of dichotomies (especially ranked dichotomy scales) and what they do to our thinking. I haven't thought of you as crazy.


> It starts off with a question that seems (to me) to have an obvious answer. I can't figure out, in context, whether to read them as purely rhetorical but tend to give the benefit of the doubt. Then I have trouble charting a course to an answer that feels charitable. The tack-on questions tend to balloon to something quite relevant, but seemingly unanswerable without hubris or a mountain of research that I suspect doesn't exist.

Could you possibly give an example? Or perhaps you're simply noticing exactly what I'm doing, which is asking obviously rhetorical questions, in order to get someone to think.

Or, if you're referring to "I wonder ... how often might this sort of thing occurs"...

The whole quote:

> I suspect not. And if not, I then wonder....how often might this sort of thing occur, and with what consequences (if one takes into the consideration the nature of human beings, including current knowledge on how they perceive reality based on (~recursive) interpretation of new input, that is modified based on infinitely complicated mental models of reality built from previously consumed (and interpreted) input)?

...where "this sort of thing" = ~"unintentional misspeaking, differences in interpretation of words, unrealized differences in axioms (or unawareness of the existence of axioms, or the human ego), pure erroneous thinking, lying, silly (epistemically unsound) ideas, simple misunderstanding, etc".

What I was getting at is.....of all the things people fight about, how much of it might be a misunderstanding (throughout whatever means), which then sets off a self-reinforcing negative feedback loop of retaliation and revenge. This sort of thing happens between couples all the time, could something similar not also be happening at the societal and global level?

> It seems like you're trying to make sense of the absurdist conflict rituals you see playing out. I think you're trying to call attention to the ritual (and its absurdity) as a means of making sense of it (finding other people who agree, prompting new people trying to do the same, testing ideas, getting opinions). I think you see the ritual turning more on psychology than logic, and want to understand the psychology (and promote understanding of the psychology) to light a path forward.

> If this isn't too far off base

Pretty much bang on.

> But you'll mostly find people who are trained to shoot at anything on the wrong horizon.

Yes, this is basically my overwhelming (95%++) experience. Granted, maybe I'm not going about this perfectly, but on a website with an average IQ as high as HN, surely you'd think you could find someone who's willing and able to defend the things they believe, or someone that might realize they aren't able to?

> b) it's humbling to assume you might decide/behave the same way with the same inputs;

Oh yes, I'm very well aware that I have many similar imperfections.

> c) if they are a willing, self-reflective participant, the processes of mutually teasing out and challenging inputs and weightings is less inherently fraught/adversarial/condescending than the process of figuring out why they are irrational/illogical.

Oh, I don't disagree, but I think there's another way of thinking about it. My goal isn't really achieving rational conversation on the object level, I'm more interested in the general behavior from an abstract perspective, and finding out if a way can (or can not) be found to make people realize it, in realtime. It sounds like a weird idea, and maybe it actually is, but I'm fairly obsessed with it for now.

> I haven't thought of you as crazy.

Well thank you. I'm not so sure I agree, but you seem very reasonable so I'll take your word for it! :)

Thanks for the chat.


> FWIW, I also happen to harbor this suspicion. How might one actually know whether there is an element of truth to it?

It's probably good to have some baseline level of cynicism, since individual people do often act in egotistical ways.

However, what you're proposing seems to imply that either (1) there is a vast conspiracy of climate scientists, who are engaging in that conspiracy for ultimately very little gain or (2) climate scientists are incredibly stupid, and keep repeating incorrect things as fact to each other while being blind to other evidence.

I'm a working scientist myself (in a totally different field), and my own cynical view of science is quite incompatible with these possibilities: There's nothing scientists love more than attacking each other's interpretations of data, to prove that they're smarter than the next guy.


> However, what you're proposing seems to imply that either (1) there is a vast conspiracy of climate scientists, who are engaging in that conspiracy for ultimately very little gain or (2) climate scientists are incredibly stupid, and keep repeating incorrect things as fact to each other while being blind to other evidence.

It may seem this way to you, but you have formed an incorrect conclusion (a behavior which I argue is the very core of the problem). Please see my other comments in this thread for clarification.

> There's nothing scientists love more than attacking each other's interpretations of data, to prove that they're smarter than the next guy.

Agreed, but this does not logically preclude my concerns that it is possible that this competitive behavior takes place within an overall "overton window" of acceptable discourse and study. To be clear, I am not asserting that this is in fact what is happening, but I am very much asserting that if you are saying something along the lines of "this is not happening, at all, and I know it", then my reaction is suspicion due to an obvious lack of epistemic humility.

I am also not recommending my beliefs to others, I am simply trying to provide some insight into how I think, and that the underlying reasons for my non-compliance are other than those you and others presume. What I will recommend though, is to observe how willing yourself and others are to even consider the possibility that us "deniers" (yet another comically simplistic belief) are not actually motivated by sheer stupidity. Disagreement with the proposal isn't even attempted, but rather the response will almost always be silence.

I proclaim that something very interesting is going here.


You are saying a lot of different, seemingly subtle things, while heavily hedging everything, which makes it super hard to have a meaningful discussion. I am honestly not entirely sure what you are trying to say with things like

> Agreed, but this does not logically preclude my concerns that it is possible that [...]

I mean, if you're talking philosophy here, I obviously agree that this is a logical possibility, but how does that move the conversation forward? What we need to see is evidence one way or the other.

I would suggest to focus on specific points of contention and cite sources. This forces everyone in the discussion to actually go researching those sources in the first place, which should improve the level of dialog.


> You are saying a lot of different, seemingly subtle things, while heavily hedging everything, which makes it super hard to have a meaningful discussion.

"While heavily hedging everything", I suspect, is my unusual writing style, where I explicitly qualify that which is speculative, as being speculative, as opposed to the more common practice of presenting estimates and speculation as cold hard facts. It's a bit concerning that the precise use of language seems to be (here I am speculating, and open to correction) considered somehow inappropriate in a discussion where people are complaining about the discussion not being based on facts.

I would counter that having a meaningful discussion is difficult when people claim to be arguing in good faith, and accuse others of not doing so, but then proceed to completely ignore the core arguments the supposedly poor-faith person makes. (To be clear, you are not one of those people.)

>> Agreed, but this does not logically preclude my concerns that it is possible that [...]

> I mean, if you're talking philosophy here, I obviously agree that this is a logical possibility, but how does that move the conversation forward?

Well, I would say it moves the conversation forward in that:

a) I seem to have been successful in clearing up your speculation that my beliefs are grounded not in conspiracy theory, but in sound logic and epistemology: reality as it actually is, which includes things that are unknown, as opposed to how people like to pretend it is, where there are no unknowns

b) Perhaps now you may be open to consider that "deniers" are not all conspiracy theorists, but may rather be reacting with suspicion to an incredibly complex situation, which then might facilitate you opening up to my larger core idea, that it may be possible that the current gridlock in forming consensus that we are experiencing may be caused not entirely by people misunderstanding or not believing "the science", but due to complex, unseen psychological behaviors (tribalism, revenge, etc) that we all know exist, but seem amazingly reluctant to admit to acknowledging within the context of this and similar discussions

c) I may have been successful for the first time in getting someone to acknowledge that what I say is not false

> What we need to see is evidence one way or the other.

I hope you now see what I am saying: that perhaps this is not true. That a lack of scientific evidence is not what we need (we have overwhelming amounts already), but rather, we need to stop fighting.

> I would suggest to focus on specific points of contention and cite sources. This forces everyone in the discussion to actually go researching those sources in the first place, which should improve the level of dialog.

My point of contention is that people are unwilling to acknowledge the possibility that the core problem is not a misunderstanding of climate science, but a misunderstanding of human psychology, and how to get along. As evidence, I offer interactions in this and prior threads: repeated evidence of no one (prior to you) being willing to address what I actually say, usually via refusal to have a discussion, but when they do reply, addressing not what I say, but instead manufactured strawmen.

I'll post one of my favorite videos of all time:

Why Trump Will Win - Michael Moore Explains https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMm5HfxNXY4

Can you see any possible parallels between the seemingly illogical behavior displayed by people voting for Trump ("against their interests") and the seemingly illogical behavior displayed by people opposing climate change initiatives (also against their interests)? I have a strong feeling that there might be something important here we're missing, but I am not sure. You're welcome to your own opinion on the matter, but the key points I'd like to draw your attention toward are:

- Are you sure? How would you even know (particularly considering no one has studied the matter)?

- What if you're wrong?


> What if you're wrong?

This is the right question and there is an easy answer: If all climate models are wrong, it still makes sense to reduce emissions, waste, garbage, cruelty to animals etc. Worst case would be that we "wasted" money on stuff that makes no difference to the climate.

But did you answer the question from the other side? What if you're wrong and there IS man-made climate change? Well, then we simply can't afford to burn more fossil fuels etc.

Edit: Just watched your video. Yeah, human psychology. But how do you solve this if one part of humans think that the only thing that's left is a "giant middle finger to the system"?


A bit off your conversation, wasted money means lives lost. A direct example is, building, vehicle, and work safety tends to increase as people are more able to afford the extra costs of safety features. Those things are both cheaper and less safe in poorer countries. Another example is the 2008 world food price crisis which killed people and is partly attributed to biofuel subsidies causing food crops to be replaced with biofuel crops. There are surely much bigger and more indirect causes of loss of life like reduced future technology due to reduced research and industry as people can't afford fancy ambitious stuff.


>> What if you're wrong?

> This is the right question and there is an easy answer: If all climate models are wrong, it still makes sense to reduce emissions, waste, garbage, cruelty to animals etc. Worst case would be that we "wasted" money on stuff that makes no difference to the climate.

See, this behavior is exactly what I find so fascinating. My comments were clearly not about the trustworthiness of climate models, but rather the conversation around climate models, and the potential impacts of misunderstanding people's underlying reasoning/motives for "not supporting" the climate change initiative.

I posted a link to a specific video that does a good job of explaining this type of behavior, with respect to the last election, following that up with questions that were clearly ("Can you see any possible parallels between the seemingly illogical behavior...") about the video itself, and the applicability of the ideas contained within, to the climate change debate.

And here you are, responding as if you didn't read a single thing I wrote, as if you are working from some completely different text, with distinctly different content.

What is causing this behavior? How does no one notice this? It's like a textbook perfect example of the elephant in the room.

> But did you answer the question from the other side? What if you're wrong and there IS man-made climate change? Well, then we simply can't afford to burn more fossil fuels etc.

I've answered this many times. I am not not opposed to, or in denial of (in any noteworthy way at least), the climate change science.

My concerns and interests are regarding:

a) the nature of the debate

b) the effectiveness of the current approach

c) the lack of willingness of people to discuss the topic in any form other than complete, blind wholesale acceptance - no criticism allowed, even if offered in the spirit of improvement

> Yeah, human psychology.

Yeah, "no biggie". Totally inconsequential.

> But how do you solve this if one part of humans think that the only thing that's left is a "giant middle finger to the system"?

As always, I recommend exploiting the massive computational power of the human brain, while being acutely aware of its sibling: the human ego.

A good place to start would be putting a little effort into determining whether "one part of humans think that the only thing that's left is a "giant middle finger to the system"" is an accurate (from a pragmatic policy perspective) representation of what is actually happening, and what the possible consequences if it assumed to be accurate, but is actually not.


> And here you are, responding as if you didn't read a single thing I wrote

I did, I just don’t think this is the discussion I want to have. It’s a strawman in a way. It’s like this argument "what harm is in asking questions" as if asking a question wasn’t a way to frame a conversation.

IMHO, you make the conversation a lot more difficult. For sure, we can talk about human psychology and ego in terms of climate change. But maybe it makes sense to have this conversation goal-oriented.

Your points a-c:

a) It’s interesting to you, it’s boring for others.

b) This includes a) and makes a) goal-oriented. Yes, we can talk about how effective the current approach is to deal with climate change. We can also talk on how to optimize this conversation. Part of this might be to understand the deniers to some extend. But this has its limits. It’s hard to be goal-oriented with people that are merely destructive. It’s like talking to Nazis. At some point, this is pointless, because hate is all that comes out of their mouths.

c) Criticism is allowed. Derailing the conversation however is ineffective. Talking about conspiracy stuff that doesn’t hold up to scrutiny is ineffective. But it’s done all the time by deniers. And people who think climate change is real got a little tired by all the BS.

Your last two paragraphs are cryptic. Please add some actionable ideas to this discussion. Because simply asking me to think about stuff you are unable to point out exactly is lazy.

I have a hard time extracting any actionable and useful information from your posts that deal with either climate change itself or with the discussion around it.

All you keep repeating is that psychology and ego should be added to the discussion or the human brain should be exploited. Like how exactly? What’s your plan? What’s the goal you wanna achieve?


> I did, I just don’t think this is the discussion I want to have.

So, you replied to something in which you are not interest, with words related to content in which you are interested? This is something I haven't seen before.

> It’s a strawman in a way. It’s like this argument "what harm is in asking questions" as if asking a question wasn’t a way to frame a conversation.

Things are sometimes like that, but this isn't one of those times.

I challenge you to choose some words I'm saying that you believe are guilty of that. And please don't frame it as if the actual conversation is about the topic you are interested in ("If all climate models are wrong, it still makes sense to..."), and it is I who changed the subject.

> IMHO, you make the conversation a lot more difficult. For sure, we can talk about human psychology and ego in terms of climate change.

I'm way ahead of you, this is what I was already discussing. My comment is right there for you and others to review, what you hope to achieve by feigning surprise is beyond me.

> Your points a-c:

My questions were written as a response to @svara's question: "How does that move the conversation forward?"

> a) It’s interesting to you, it’s boring for others.

Ok. May I ask: why did you reply?

> b) This includes a) and makes a) goal-oriented. Yes, we can talk about how effective the current approach is to deal with climate change. We can also talk on how to optimize this conversation. Part of this might be to understand the deniers to some extend. But this has its limits.

Does it? Upon what do you base this assertion?

> It’s hard to be goal-oriented with people that are merely destructive.

Upon what is your assertion that they are "merely destructive" based?

> It’s like talking to Nazis. At some point, this is pointless, because hate is all that comes out of their mouths.

This is an absurdly broad generalization, and it kind of sounds like the kind of thing someone on the internet would just make up. Once again, upon what do you base this assertion?

> c) Criticism is allowed. Derailing the conversation however is ineffective.

I'm not derailing the conversation. I introduced a new topic, and a conversation ensued based upon that new topic. You entered that discussion, and attempted to redirect the topic of conversation, and now you are giving me advice on how to conduct myself?

> Talking about conspiracy stuff that doesn’t hold up to scrutiny is ineffective.

Really? Lots of people believe conspiracy theorists and deniers actually spread their ideas.

> But it’s done all the time by deniers. And people who think climate change is real got a little tired by all the BS.

Sorry to hear that.

> Your last two paragraphs are cryptic.

You asked: "But how do you solve this if one part of humans think that the only thing that's left is a "giant middle finger to the system"?", and I replied telling you to essentially think. This is cryptic advice?

> Please add some actionable ideas to this discussion. Because simply asking me to think about stuff you are unable to point out exactly is lazy.

Entering a conversation, changing the topic, and then refusing to think is.....I dunno, absurd?

> All you keep repeating is that psychology and ego should be added to the discussion or the human brain should be exploited. Like how exactly? What’s your plan? What’s the goal you wanna achieve?

All of this is very clearly contained within the text of the discussion. I'm not sure if your ignorance is feigned or genuine, but I don't have the energy to find out. Not to say that I'm not curious though, this is one of the more interesting permutations of unusual behavior I've encountered yet.


> why did you reply?

Because I find the idea of taking human psychology into account interesting, as long as it is goal-oriented. I had hoped I'd learn something from this thread and from you on how to deal with others who either think climate change isn't a thing or who think that we could improve how we deal with this. This is what you're all about, right?

You claimed repeatedly that people who think climate chance is a thing are too absolute, too certain and that they should listen to the sceptics, or at least try to understand the sceptics and how they work and influence this discussion. Then, you state that the very absolutes are the problem, because they are exploited through memes and whatnot.

This entire discussion has one problem: It's asymmetric. Like with everything where conspiracy theories come up easily. One weak study that shows different results, or results taken out of context and boom, you have the cannon fodder to attack everything around "climate science". Thing is: The counter side sometimes even uses lies as their weapons.

There is no easy solution to that. It's the problem of many complex and invididually unverifiable topics. Whether it's climate science, vaccines, homeopathy or the moon landing.

And now you claim that the scientific community needs to be open to the arguments of the naysayers or at least take into account how the discussion can be made more productively? Please, I still challenge you: Enlighten us with a clear path on how to handle this discussion, if one side isn't willing to educate itself at least somewhat? Because you make it sound as if you've found a way to "exploit the human brain".


(NOTE COPYPASTA: This discussion is getting a bit long in the tooth, I'm happy to argue indefinitely because this topic happens to be my hobby horse, but I'm more than happy to declare a truce of sorts so you can gracefully exit and get on with more interesting things. I very much thank you for arguing though, I've found it helpful in clarifying my thinking on some items.)

> Because I find the idea of taking human psychology into account interesting

Ok good, because this is mostly my point, so it's nice to have found one person who can see it as worthwhile to consider

> as long as it is goal-oriented. I had hoped I'd learn something from this thread and from you on how to deal with others who either think climate change isn't a thing or who think that we could improve how we deal with this. This is what you're all about, right?

Well, so far I'm primarily trying to discover if it is even possible to get people to consider whether human psychology is a relevant variable in the problem. I would say this thread was the first time I've had some success. But you're right, I haven't even attempted to shock and amaze anyone with my brilliant theoretical solutions to how to deal with the anti-AGW camp, you might be the first person who's actually expressed any interest (will have to review the discussions).

> You claimed repeatedly that people who think climate chance is a thing are too absolute, too certain and that they should listen to the sceptics, or at least try to understand the sceptics and how they work and influence this discussion. Then, you state that the very absolutes are the problem, because they are exploited through memes and whatnot.

Pretty much, but I get the sense you see this as somehow contradictory? If so, could you explain?

> This entire discussion has one problem: It's asymmetric. Like with everything where conspiracy theories come up easily. One weak study that shows different results, or results taken out of context and boom, you have the cannon fodder to attack everything around "climate science". Thing is: The counter side sometimes even uses lies as their weapons.

I agree, it is an unfortunate truth that people are not rational actors, on both sides (but mostly the anti-AGW of course).

> There is no easy solution to that. It's the problem of many complex and invididually unverifiable topics. Whether it's climate science, vaccines, homeopathy or the moon landing.

Correct. So, what shall we do about this situation? Nothing, except more of the same? Is it working, within the time constraints nature seems to be forcing upon us? My gut tells me no.

> And now you claim that the scientific community needs to be open to the arguments of the naysayers or at least take into account how the discussion can be made more productively? Please, I still challenge you: Enlighten us with a clear path on how to handle this discussion, if one side isn't willing to educate itself at least somewhat?

For fun, ask yourself this: if it is a fact (for the sake of argument) that I do not have a clear path to a solution, does it then logically follow that the problem does not exist? Sorry, couldn't resist. :)

Joking aside, you treat it like any other project: analyze the requirements, come up with plausible solutions, test and iterate. If your response is that we're already doing that, here is just a few ways in which I would disagree:

a) Not only have I seen no initiative (to understand the true anti-AGW mindset) in the public sphere, I've seen none of it even in smaller, intelligent communities like HN. Perhaps no one have thought of this before, which is fine if true, but when the notion is raised (look through the entirety of this thread and judge for yourself), the response seems to be either null, wilfully ignorant (refusal to discuss the idea via changing of the subject), or ~hostile.

b) When I encounter discussions (in the media, or online) about people in the anti-AGW camp, it is like there is some sort of mass delusion going on. The entirety of the anti-AGW camp is described as if they are mouth-breathing idiots (which shouldn't be too surprising really, at least if you've done any reading on how perceptions of reality work).

> Because you make it sound as if you've found a way to "exploit the human brain".

Well, I've managed to get at least three people on HN to engage in conversation on this topic. So yes, I believe I may actually be acquiring skills in the field, but it's too early to form any strong opinions.

I'll ask you a similar question: you make it sound like you know something about climate change. Is it true, do you actually believe that? If so, care to explain how you think you accomplished that?


An Australian scientist was fired for saying controversial things about the health of the Great Barrier Reef which he'd been studying for decades. There was also a case in psychology where a researcher admitted writing the wrong conclusion to his paper out of fear of negative reaction from his peers. Now imagine all the researchers who are clinging onto their jobs by their fingernails and what kinds of career-ending risks they're prepared to take. It's not going to be an organized conspiracy, but there certainly are pressures pushing scientists into conformity with any politically sensitive topics.


I don't think climate change denialists are the target audience for this, though.

I think this chart is extremely useful as a way to show people which approaches are more effective at mitigating temperature increase. For example, in my experience in this types of discussions, some people like to claim that "population control" should be a top priority. However, this page shows that the effect of it would actually be rather small compared to other approaches like carbon pricing or reducing methane emissions.


Are there really that many people who think climate change isn't happening or isn't caused by those factors? That sounds like a strawman.


I'm willing to pretend, if that it what it takes to stop the "fixes" from being applied. I'm not a fan of destroying the economy, especially if other countries get a less-restricted situation that lets them climb past us in the GDP-per-capita ranking. We will learn to deal with any climate changes that may happen.


There are definitely a lot. If you haven't experienced this personally then you must live in a heavily liberal area.


I'm sure there are some extreme people. But when I look at right-wing TV and journalism, I don't see climate change denial, nor human-causing-it denial. Instead, I see denial of the severity of the uncertain effects, criticism of the exaggerations of activists and criticism of the proposed policies around it. I've met people who would likely be called deniers because they say things like "it's not going to affect me or my kids, so I don't care". I think this attitude of accepting it but not being worried about it is extremely common and also commonly confused with denialism.


It's not about climate it's about political control. It's a political boogeyman. Left wing politicians have successfully brainwashed a generation to believe they’re gonna die in 12 years unless socialists and communists control our planet and the lives of everyone on it. I was a huge believer in Climate Change as a youth. I wanted to save the environment. Then I caught one lie. Then two. Then three. Then I read the current data. Then I realized they’ve been exaggerating & fear-mongering headlines for decades. No climate apocalyptic predictions with due dates as of today have come true to date.

Nature retracted their very alarmist paper, 10 months after publishing https://retractionwatch.com/category/by-journal/nature-retra...

Whenever there is an extreme weather event, such as a flood or drought, people ask whether that event was caused by global warming. Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to this question. Weather is highly variable and extreme weather events have always happened.

I’ve worked with global temperature data, and know that you can produce any shaped global temperature graph you want by picking the right set of stations. There are grossly inadequate amounts of both historical and current data to produce a meaningful long term temperature graph for the earth. Much of the data is fake – by their own admission. https://realclimatescience.com/overwhelming-evidence-of-coll...

Climate scientists openly discussed getting rid of the 1940s warmth in the temperature data without understanding the anomaly. An email unveiled by a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request said: “It would be good to remove at least part of the 1940s blip, but we are still left with why the blip”. http://di2.nu/foia/1254108338.txt

One can download the original and altered data directly from the NOAA. ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ushcn/v2.5 You can see and construct the graphs yourself, first hand, with the data pre-plotted in a Google sheet https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1mWanx8ojmOkcazzRhDao... on the “Graphs” tab.

Patrick Moore, Greenpeace co-founder has said: “I can adjust the data to show any trend I like.”

Moore left Greenpeace because he felt they were pushing fear-mongering instead of science and logic. More background on the spat between Mr. Moore and Greenpeace can be found at https://thelibertarianrepublic.com/greenpeace-co-founder-pat...

According to the Toronto Sun, Canada’s Department of the Environment just purged 100 years of data on climate change. Patrick Moore said: “I don’t care why they scrapped the data, that is simply wrong. They could make note of why they don’t trust it but to destroy it is a crime against science and history.” https://twitter.com/EcoSenseNow/status/1174909654297538560 This seems suspicious as no data set should ever be purged, for posterity. This dataset could have simply been deprecated.

Since the NOAA sensors have been unreliable the US has been building a new network higher-quality sensors called the US Climate Reference Network (USCRN) starting in year 2004. The vision of the USCRN program is to maintain a high-quality climate observation network.

It is an error to mis-attribute warming to increased CO2 when many other known causal factors exist. Those other factors are the reason the USCRN was developed, funded, and put in place. The non-CO2 causal factors include increased population density in cities, increased energy use per capita, reduced atmospheric pollution, increased local humidity from human activities (lawn watering, industrial cooling towers), changed site conditions from rural to urban, long-term drought, and wind shadows from buildings in cities. https://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2017/03/us-air-temperatu...

The new USCRN data has shown no significant warming trend in the USA in 12 years: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/11/08/the-uscrn-revisited/

The USCRN data is rarely mentioned in NOAA’s monthly and annual “State of the Climate” reports to the U.S. public, instead buried in the depths of the NCDC website, one can get access to the data and have it plotted.

The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) doesn’t do original research but reports on others’ research, which they call Assessment Reports. There have been 5 thus far.

A scientist working with the IPCC said the IPCC is above Freedom of Information Acts: “One way to cover yourself and all those working in AR5 [Assessment Report 5] would be to delete all emails at the end of the process. … Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we get – and has to be well hidden.”

“I’ve discussed this with the main funder (U.S. Dept of Energy) in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data.” https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2011/11/23/climateg...

Scientists with NOAA view global warming as a political cause rather than a balanced scientific inquiry and much of the science is weak and dependent on deliberate manipulation of facts and data. https://observer.com/2017/02/noaa-fake-global-warming-data-p...

The IPCC report relies upon six long-term surface temperature datasets to come up with the 0.2°C per decade rate of increase. The report does not cite the two global temperature datasets derived from satellites: the University of Alabama in Huntsville reports that global average temperatures are rising at a rate of 0.13°C per decade, and Remote Sensing Systems reports the rate of increase at 0.18°C per decade. At the UAH rate of warming, the 1.5°C threshold would not be exceeded until around 2070. https://reason.com/2018/10/11/how-big-of-a-deal-is-half-of-a...

The myth of an almost-unanimous climate-change consensus is pervasive. It’s often said that 97% of scientists agree with the anthropogenic climate-change thesis. However, a 2012 poll of American Meteorological Society members also reported a diversity of opinion. 11% attributed the phenomenon to human activity and natural causes in about equal measure, while 23% said enough is not yet known to make any determination.

Source: https://www.nationalreview.com/2015/10/climate-change-no-its...

The UN has been making the same claim that we only have twelve years to save the planet from global warming, for the past 30 years.

The 12-year deadline is a talking point for politicians. However the IPCC said there is not some “magic global mean temperature or total emissions that separate 'fine' from 'catastrophic’”

Source: https://www.axios.com/climate-change-scientists-comment-ocas... , https://dailycaller.com/2019/03/15/children-strike-school-cl...

Someone at Reason read the UN/IPCC report, said there is no doomsday in it. https://reason.com/2018/10/11/how-big-of-a-deal-is-half-of-a...

No climate apocalyptic predictions have come true to date, despite 50 years of such predictions.

https://cei.org/blog/wrong-again-50-years-failed-eco-pocalyp...


So your big point is that it's all a big "maybe."

Aren't you missing a rather larger point that we're also currently polluting the planet in the process, smog, water tables, rivers, ocean trash, deforestation, excess meat consumption linked to chronic disease?


Exactly this. It doesn't matter if climate models are all wrong. Polluting the environment we require to live in is a dumb idea generally speaking. It's as if your house wouldn't have a toilet and you, your family and all guests just take a dump in the living room. It's just a matter of time until smell and diseases spread around your house and make you sick.


That we are polluting is beyond doubt. Deforestation, mining, nuclear accidents... all these are real problems that need no additional backing science or guvernamental panels, yet they hardly get the spotlight in mass media compared with Co2 levels. Co2 is reported as the worst problem by politicians to scare us, make us feel guilty and pay.

The degree of overconsumism rooted in our system is hardly environmentally friendly. Yet we want to be environmentally friendly by consuming a new generation of Co2 friendly products, which polluted the planet to be manufactured.

Consuming is the problem, not the solution, but who is going to say in a capitalist system backed by fiat money that is only sustainable by an ever increasing debt that we need to have negative growth and lose some comfort to decrease our footprint?


One other interesting point to add to the list. If you look at plots of historic CO2 estimates derived from the Vostok ice core [1], you'll notice that we are presently at the very peak (in time) of a climate cycle that aligns almost perfectly with four other cycles from the last ≈400k years. Now two points here:

1. It is extremely unlikely that anthropogenic emissions would align so conveniently with the tip of a natural climate cycle. There must be some other factor underlying the correlation, and/or the influence of human emissions is overstated.

2. The argument is that there is an alarming discrepancy between current measured CO2 and historic data derived from cores. However, core data is an estimate based on a number of assumptions regarding capture and diffusion of gasses during and post ice formation, and I have not come across any literature which questions whether ice core derived CO2 values may underestimate historic CO2 levels. Indeed, there are hints from plant data that this may be the case, but publishing such a conclusion would probably be career suicide in the current politicized academic climate.

The first point alone indicates that some natural degree of warming is to be expected at this point in natural climate variations, something which is never mentioned by proponents of climate change. The second point, if true, would mean that the effects of human activity on global climate are over stated and the current evolution of the system is normal, beyond our control, and/or has happened in the past almost exactly as it is happening now.

1. http://www.antarcticglaciers.org/glaciers-and-climate/ice-co...


You're probably confused by the fact that (1) they are plotting ice core based CO2 concentrations as years before 1950 and (2) the time resolution of the ancient ice core data is quite low, while all the anthropogenic action happened in the last 150 y or so (and about 50% of the CO2 addition happened in the last 50).

Look at [0] for a more authoritative source and specifically compare the 800 and 400 ky data to the 2000-year (Law Dome, Antarctica) data. This will show you that we are indeed at the top of a very slow CO2 cycle, but that we added about 100 ppm on top of that in the past ~100 y! This is more than the amplitude of the underlying cycles.

[0] https://cdiac.ess-dive.lbl.gov/trends/co2/ice_core_co2.html


What I'm saying is that all of our historic CO2 data comes from cores, which are a proxy for paleo-CO2 levels. The theory is that bubbles of atmospheric gas are trapped in ice as it forms over thousands of years. What I'm saying is that there's the possibility that this trapping is imperfect, and ratios of atmospheric gassed may change after being sequestered, such that past ppm values are underestimated, and the currently measured values are not unusual in history, and are rather consistent with the peak that historic core data shows us to be at.

In fact, here [1] is a well sourced article which highlights at least one indication that this is the case - historic CO2 estimates derived from plant stomata are much higher and closer to contemporary measured levels than ice core data. Then there is the idea of time averaging smoothing out peaks, and we can only speculate/model the loss of resolution.

It's very easy for a well intentioned group of researchers to reason themselves into a corner, particularly when things like institutional momentum, political biases, and understandable doomsday concerns influence the kinds of questions scientists ask and the paths they are willing to take to find answers. Because this research has broad effects on economic, social, and corporate policy, it is dangerous to close off one side of questioning behind an apparent consensus, not to mention it's simply bad science.

>the time resolution of the ancient ice core data is quite low, while all the anthropogenic action happened in the last 150 y or so

All the more reason to be open to questioning.

1. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/12/26/co2-ice-cores-vs-plan...


The blog post you cited seemed pretty dodgy to me, so I went ahead and looked closely at the work they base many of their conclusions on, a PhD thesis from 2004 by Kouwenberg [0]. Specifically the data in Fig. 5.4 (p. 57) is what they base much of their argument on.

Kouwenberg herself however doesn't believe the crazy 300-700 AD CO2 excursion to around 400 ppm and spends a lot of time looking at alternative explanations, finally concluding on p. 65:

"""

The extremely low number of stomata per mm needle length in the Tsuga heterophylla record at Jay Bath between 300 and 700 AD does not appear to result from extremely high atmospheric CO2 levels at the time, but coincides with the establishment of the species during a period of major disturbance at the site. The open, exposed setting after this disturbance probably provided highly stressed growth conditions for pioneering, early-successional T. heterophylla trees.

"""

Of that, there is of course no mention in the blog post you cited.

Importantly, of course, none of this is really that relevant to the discussion of anthropogenic global warming, since we know that we are putting CO2 into the atmosphere, and that CO2 in the atmosphere traps heat.

I'm really starting to see a pattern here, where facts that contain some grain of truth are used out of context to sow doubt, and everything just evaporates as soon as you look more closely (and then the next tangentially relevant fact is brought up)... It's probably quite effective - I mean, who is going to read that blog post you linked and then do what I just did and actually dig into the sources? I did that because I took the "advice" I got in this comment section to heart and wanted to give my "opponents" the benefit of the doubt.

[0] PDF available at https://dspace.library.uu.nl/bitstream/handle/1874/243/full....


> What I'm saying is that there's the possibility that this trapping is imperfect, and ratios of atmospheric gassed may change after being sequestered..

Do you seriously think that we don't consider these things? Seriously?


There's also evidence that CO2 lags temperature increase historically, meaning CO2 was not the causative agent for temperature increase, rising CO2 might be an artifact of increase temperatures.


At that point you're questioning pretty basic physics. What part of the influence of CO2 concentration on the infrared transmittance of the atmosphere are you questioning [0]? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_effect#Mechanism


The "basic physics" contradicts the data. Your error is approaching this enormously complex question with the assumption that climate science is unquestionably correct. This lag is a glaring discrepancy that begs resolution. No, it doesn't mean climate science is totally wrong, but this attitude of unquestionability is absolutely pervasive in both society at large and academia, and gives deniers a justifiable reason for suspicion.

And I'm not some snot nosed programmer looking in from outside. I'm a former geoscientist and I saw this pressure firsthand, even at a relatively conservative University.


It is of course totally possible and consistent with mainstream climate science for CO2 levels to trail temperature under some conditions, for example when the temperature is driven by Milankovich cycles. [0]

I was attacking the implied invalid conclusion that rising CO2 levels would therefore not drive temperature.

But, to address the point in more detail, look at the data in [1]. CO2 typically does not lag temperature. If you cherry-pick points in time at the beginning of a Milankovich-induced temperature increase it may, and this is adequately explained by outgassing of CO2 from the oceans, driven by the sun. [2]

> [...] this attitude of unquestionability is absolutely pervasive in both society at large and academia, and gives deniers a justifiable reason for suspicion.

I try to find citations for what I write here, and address specific points, both to teach myself the science and to keep the discussion honest. If everybody here did this there would certainly be no "attitude of unquestionability".

I agree that it can probably seem that way on cursory look. I personally find it hard to always keep cool when faced with a barrage of pseudo-scientific points that don't hold up to scrutiny. More importantly, I find the implicit arrogance really hard to stomach, i.e. thinking that a huge field of scientists is too stupid to understand some "obvious fault" that someone posted on their blog. Maybe that makes me unfair to some participants who are just trying to understand the issue better and / or have an honest discussion. I'm sorry if that was the case.

[0] Lorius et al. 1990, https://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abs/lo03000u.html

[1] Petit et al., 1999, Fig. 3, available from https://escholarship.org/uc/item/7rx4413n

[2] https://skepticalscience.com/co2-lags-temperature-intermedia...


It's not me questioning physics. CO2 levels lagged historic temperature increases. It's up to the CO2-causes-warming people to explain it.


I don't get it. Climate change critics try to find one flaw in some straw man argument and then denounce the whole field as a lie. CO2 isn't the only thing that causes warming and no, scientists are not stupid enough to not account for these things. I mean this statement is trivial to disprove because methane and tons of other things also act as greenhouse gases or amplify heating. It doesn't change the threat caused by higher temperatures. 4°C are 4°C and we can bet on going way beyond that tiny puny number if no ones gives a damn.


It's one flaw of many. First, nobody really trusts the temperature data. Second, the earth was much hotter before. Third, there was an ice age, now there isn't, planet was already warming. Fourth, water vapor is recognized as the most powerful greenhouse gas. Fifth, we don't believe solar energy is being adequately accounted for.

We have a what we consider a lot of holes, big import holes, in the theory. These issues are immediately dismissed. The fact that people can say with a straight face that water vapor increases global warming, yet is not the primary cause, even though it's the strongest greenhouse gas, is beyond believe. It defies comprehension, I will never, ever take the CO2 theory serious, and I'll be here encouraging others to think for themselves as well.


The problem is propaganda. Climate change is the victim. Even staples of modern life, like vaccines, can be sullied by the private interests of the ultra wealthy/politically affluent.


Goes both ways. The alarmists using "carbon" as a synonym for carbon dioxide is a form of propaganda. https://www.cfact.org/2019/04/25/carbon-is-not-a-synonym-for...


It's less than half as many syllables. That's just how people are.


I don’t even think that’s the primary problem. I think the average person doesn’t give a shit about stuff like this, at least not to the point where they have to make personal sacrifices.

It’s very very easy to live your daily life and not see any real world consequences outside of some sometimes shrill activists who aren’t the most persuasive people to the average lowest common denominator people.

For one thing these sorts of people won’t be hanging out on an MIT website called EN-ROADS.

Indifference is the biggest enemy, not some big orchestrated conspiracy (although there is some of that too, but that doesn’t explain why even most liberals aren’t doing anything about it).


They don't give a shit because the news they read, the entertainment they watch all tell them not to. The narrative has been set by private interests for decades - perhaps hundreds of years. So now these opinions look like they are coming from the grass roots.


>They don't give a shit because the news they read, the entertainment they watch all tell them not to

No, they don't give a shit because they don't need to. It doesn't affect their daily lives.


I live in Canada where the media is constantly harping on climate change so I’m not convinced it’s that powerful.


I agree. The biggest problem the world is facing is the ability to buy opinion with money. Money buys you propoganda. We need to totally abandon the free market model in the information sphere.


I too think that people that refuse to believe are a problem, but honestly, they are nowhere near the primary problem. The primary problem is that people will greedily hold onto a broken status quo if fixing it means they might be held accountable. There is always someone else that is the problem, never yourself.

In Seattle, almost everybody agrees with the scientific consensus on global warming. But if you ask them how to fix it, they'll tell you to go after the oil companies. Or corporations in general. Or China. Or India. But a carbon tax? One that raises my gas bill? No way! Everybody else is the problem, never me.


Playing with the linked web app shows pretty clearly that a carbon tax, or taxes on oil and natural gas, will in fact do very little. The conclusion I'm forced to draw after playing with all the dials is that it's literally impossible to "austerity" our way out of this. We're going to have to invent and develop our way out of it. Don't trust me; play with the sliders yourself.


A carbon tax is significant. By itself it shows 1C reduction potential. Sure that's not enough, but there are no silver bullets...not even new technology can do it on its own.


I wonder what the version of this web app and knobs would have looked like to address the threat of mountains of horse manure piling up in NYC, prior to the advent of the ICE which innovated the problem away.


It is clearly made up data, as for example they predict the outcome of policies like carbon costs.

Afaik even economists don't agree on the results of such policies.

They are just making an assumption and the whole app is merely advertising for their preferred type of policy.


You’re right, the climate data is likely to be solid but the economic modelling dubious.


I think you are being mistaken for saying the climate data they are using is made up, but your point is more subtle- they don’t show their work to tell you what the biofuel subsidies, for example, will do to CO2 levels.


I don't know about their climate data, I just think their claims of the impact of carbon costs are pure speculation. If they had a calculator for determining temperature increase depending on carbon output, it would be more credible.

They are piping two complex system into each other - economic and climate. At least economics are not understood well enough to really make such predictions. And if the output of the economic model is unreliable, so is the result of the climate model.


I'm firmly in the camp that CO2 has little to nothing to do with the temperature of the planet.

Fact 1: The earth has been warming since the last ice age.

Fact 2: Solar output has increased recently

Fact 3: Water vapor accounts for almost all of the greenhouse effect. A planet that was already warming is going to continue to warm unless the energy input is changed.

Speculative: Some people believe the data has been manipulated intentionally to show a larger increase in temperature than what is actually taking place. This was 'climate gate'.

Finally, CO2 is the least of our worries. The real problem is toxic chemical pollution. Industrialized society is polluting our water and our food with toxic chemicals, slowly killing us all.


> Fact 1: The earth has been warming since the last ice age.

The Milankovitch cycles have crested since that warming. Without the CO2 we would be cooling.

> Fact 2: Solar output has increased recently

Citation needed. Furthermore, if you can explain how an increase in the solar output woudl warm the arctic more than the tropics, there's a Nobel waiting for you.

> Fact 3: Water vapor accounts for almost all of the greenhouse effect.

Water vapor has a habit of coming down as rain.

> Speculative: Some people believe the data has been manipulated

I challenge you to find a single temperature reading, longitude, lattitude, altitude and timestamp, and tell me when it was manipulated.


> > Fact 3: Water vapor accounts for almost all of the greenhouse effect.

> Water vapor has a habit of coming down as rain.

The GP is using a non-sequitur, taking a correct fact to support a falsehood. That water vapor comes down as rain does not make it any less important as a greenhouse gas.

What the GP does not say is that the amount of water vapor on the atmosphere is roughly proportional to the temperature, so it's only participation is in increasing the effects of the other gasses we emit directly.


> so it's only participation is in increasing the effects of the other gasses we emit directly

This is the falsehood perpetuated by the CO2-based warming position. The earth was already warming. The earth has continue to warm since the end of the last ice age. This created increased water vapor, the most impactful greenhouse gas. If there is a positive feedback cycle due to greenhouse gases, it's assuredly due to water vapor.


The earth has both warmed and cooled since the end of the ice age 10,000 years. You don't give a mechanism for this warming you seem to just chalk it up to the natural cycles that drive ice age related warming and cooling. It's just we know what causes those and we've ruled it out. Milankovitch cycles. The periodic variability in earth's orbit should have us cooling ever so slightly. Instead we are warming rapidly. Your claim that this is the same warming as what brought us out of the ice age is false and has been known to be false for a long time


> The earth has both warmed and cooled since the end of the ice age 10,000 years.

No, it has only warmed, otherwise we'd be in another ice age.

> The periodic variability in earth's orbit should have us cooling ever so slightly

That is only a single input. The other input is solar activity, which has increased. Also, if there is indeed a positive feedback loop, after the earth reaches X degrees, then water vapor will continue to increase the earth's temperature absent a reduction in solar input large enough to stop the loop.

> same warming as what brought us out of the ice age is false and has been known to be false for a long time

It's not known to be false, that's just nonsense.

Look how hot it used to be: (from [1])

> Geologists and paleontologists think that during much of the Paleocene and early Eocene, the poles were free of ice caps, and palm trees and crocodiles lived above the Arctic Circle. The transition between the two epochs around 56 million years ago was marked by a rapid spike in global temperature.

Crocodiles above the Arctic Circle!

But keep telling me how CO2 is going to cause the planet to combust.

1: https://www.climate.gov/news-features/climate-qa/whats-hotte...


Also, if there is indeed a positive feedback loop, after the earth reaches X degrees, then water vapor will continue to increase the earth's temperature absent a reduction in solar input large enough to stop the loop.

> same warming as

>It's not known to be false, that's just nonsense.

Yes it is. Milankovitch cycles are in cooling mode and they don't work at these speeds. Nobody besides internet crackpots are blaming milankovitch cycles.

> Geologists and paleontologists think that during much of the Paleocene and early Eocene, the poles were free of ice caps, and palm trees and crocodiles lived above the Arctic Circle. The transition between the two epochs around 56 million years ago was marked by a rapid spike in global temperature.

Crocodiles above the Arctic Circle!

What was the co2 concentrations back then?

>But keep telling me how CO2 is going to cause the planet to combust.

Nobodys saying the planet is going to combust, but thTs a nice strawman.


>No, it has only warmed, otherwise we'd be in another ice age.

Theres no sources that support that, but ok.

> The periodic variability in earth's orbit should have us cooling ever so slightly

>That is only a single input. The other input is solar activity, which has increased.

Solar activity has been declining for 40 years exactly at the same time as the planet has been warming to record high temps. Solar has been ruled out not only through direct observation, but also through the nature of the warming. The lower levels of the atmosphere are warming fast while the upper reaches like the stratosphere are cooling. This is because the heat is being trapped at lower levels by the increasing greenhouse effect. Also night time temps are increasing faster than day time temps. Both of these are fingerprints of greenhouse warming and not solar.


> > Fact 2: Solar output has increased recently

> Citation needed.

Maybe they meant 'recently' as in geologic time and not "since 2000"?

I think it's interesting that solar energy and magnetic fields and cosmic energy fluctuates from year to year. I think these primary inputs to the system not staying constant would make it impossible to model climate such that the model could be an accurate predictive tool.

This particular tool seems rigged to show a certain outcome, and I feel bad for folks here who are frustrated by its +1C floor on temperature rise by the end of the simulation. That (crude) part of the design was probably meant to frustrate and/or panic people into taking action.

I'm happy to see such obvious rigging of the game on display here and that folks are thinking about that.


The sun varys from year to year, but its variability is a lot smaller than you imply and solar irradience has been directly measured to be decreasing for the last 40 or so years while global average temps have climbed to levels not seen in 130,000 years.

Along with direct observation of decreasing solar output solar has been ruled out because the stratosphere is cooling while the troposphere is warming. This is consistent with greenhouse gasses not allowing heat to escape to the upper reaches of our atmosphere. Solar forcing would warm all levels of the atmosphere not just the bottom.

Also night time temps are increasing faster than day time temps. This is the opposite of what you would get with solar forcing.

Basically bringing up solar as an alternative hypothesis betrays that you do not have the requisite understanding to attempt overturning an entire field of science. Don't feel bad most of us don't.


I'm not hypothesizing anything, solar energy is the primary input to the system by nature of the fact that removing the sun would leave Earth a lifeless rock.

I do find all of the catastrophising of nature very fascinating. The switcheroo from "global warming" to "climate change" was pretty slick. The attempt to step the message up to "climate crisis" is going to be barrels of fun.

And, yes, I do feel for those people who are frustrated or living in fear by climate alarmists. "It's already too late ..." is full-on revolutionary agitprop. I can only hope people burn out on this whole thing, exhausted by it all, rather than have a psychotic break.


Solar energy is the primary input to the system, but it isn't driving warming. There is no evidence that it is. Literally everything else you said here is just politics.


There's literally evidence of the end of the last ice age, and how we've been warming ever since. To say there's no evidence that the sun is causing warming is just disconnected with reality.


There is actually multiple lines of evidence that the sun is not causing the global warming the Earth is experiencing.

Direct observation of declining solar irradience.

Night time temps warming faster than daytime temps.

Troposphere warming rapidly as the stratosphere cools.

None of these are consistent with solar forced warming. All are consistent with greenhouse gas forced warming.


> isn't driving warming

I never said anything about warming, that’s your line. I said, "I think these primary inputs to the system not staying constant would make it impossible to model climate such that the model could be an accurate predictive tool." Also, we’ve long moved onto “Climate Change”, even though all the models still predict warming.

> Solar energy is the primary input to the system, but it isn't driving warming.

You seem so sure, and that has me questioning my position. People seem to like to quote Wikipedia here, so I DDG'd for a few seconds with the !wiki thing. Here's what came up. I may need to throw some bucks in the Wikipedia fundraising kettle:

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

Says here after all of the prehistoric climate change hypothesized to be tied to solar output:

> The link between recent solar activity and climate has been quantified and is not a major driver of the warming that has occurred since early in the twentieth century.

Maybe you’re right! Let’s keep reading.

> Human-induced forcings are needed to reproduce the late-20th century warming.

I thought I was busted, except in the very next sentence …

> Some studies associate solar cycle-driven irradiation increases with part of twentieth century warming.

So solar cycle-driven irradiation CAN correlate with temperature change. And in fact, if you read the whole article you can see regular admissions there’s a lot we don’t understand and the sun is a contributing factor in varying temperatures.


I didn't say that it can't correlate. It just doesn't right now and hasn't correlated with global temps for a long time. Solar irradience has been declining for 40+ years while temps have jumped to levels not seen in 130,000 years

Beyond that the warming we have is characteristic of greenhouse gas driven warming and not solar forcing.

Nighttime temps are going up faster than daytime temps. The opposite of what solar forcing would do.

The troposphere is warming rapidly while the upper reaches of the atmosphere like the stratosphere are cooling. Because greenhouse gasses are trapping heat at lower levels. Solar forcing would cause all levels of the atmosphere to warm. Not just the troposphere.


> 130,000 years

This has got to be measurement error or lies, damn lies, and statistics. Temperatures have swung so drastically over the last 130000 years, I just can't believe that's true.


Well if your gut says so then I'll tell the scientists they can throw away their ice cores, tree rings, sediment samples, fossilized coral and pollen, etc. You literally give zero reason for disbelief. It just sounds unknowable to you therefore it is.


Not JUST my gut, friend! There was "7 °C (13 °F) of warming in just a few years" during the Younger Dryas (around 12,900 to 11,700 years BP). That is in your 130k year range.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Younger_Dryas

If you've got tree rings from that time that say otherwise, then by all means share. I'll tell my scientists to standby and wait for your scientists' call.


About halfway through the warming at the end of the last ice age there was a return to cooling followed by a rebound to previous warming conditions. It was most pronounced in northwest Europe, Greenland, and northeast north America. That's where you see the rapid 7C warming. Other parts of the planet were doing the opposite in a see saw fashion. The younger dryas is visible in the global temperature record, but it isn't as pronounced as proxies in those local areas.

It looks like a small hiccup in the middle of the warming. After the warming at the end of the younger dryas the planet was basically at the temperatures it would be for the entire 10,000 year holocene period. Which we are now above.


>This particular tool seems rigged to show a certain outcome, and I feel bad for folks here who are frustrated by its +1C floor on temperature rise by the end of the simulation. That (crude) part of the design was probably meant to frustrate and/or panic people into taking action.

What? No it makes you feel like the whole thing is pointless because people aren't even willing to take moderate action. If we drop everything and only focus on climate change we won't drop the temperature that much. 25% of the predicted warming has already been locked in. That's a massive loss and it won't be possible to do anything about it.


Argh, does this web app really engender such feelings of hopelessness in you or is this an act? I'm sorry either way.

Don't believe the hype! The +1C is a lie, propaganda. ;(


Solar activity may be rising (but I think it's falling actually?), and yes has had an impact in the past, and yes we don't know how large exactly. Does this mean we cannot make any valid predictions until we know it to the last digit? This of course depends on how large the uncertainty of its effect is, compared to other effects.

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


You cite a lot of uncertainty about Solar activity!

Sure, you can use models to make predictions for a date in the future. Then, you wait to see if you reach that date and the predictions come true. Then you can make qualitative assertions about the accuracy of the model, its shortcomings, and whatnot. Do we have evidence of past climate models making accurate future predictions? (I really don’t know, now you have me curious.)


Surely we have historical data to validate models with?! I'm no expert, but this all sounds very plausible to me. Some parts are even basic physics, like reflection and black-body radiation, which I'm pretty sure we have nailed down exactly by now. Other parts are uncertain: simplifications of topology, chaotic processes, methane content of melting grounds, etc.

The model allows to answer "what-if" questions, and the uncertainty of the answer also depends on the question. Would the temperature rise if earth's atmosphere suddenly had the composition on Venus? Hell yes, we can predict that with high confidence, without ever trying it for real. Can we predict the gusts of wind caused by this, the global heat distribution, the exact timing? Probably not, at least it's not plausible to me that we could model every effect that matters for such a detailed prediction.

But does it sound so unbelievable that we have a model accurate enough to predict the rough effect of additional CO2 on global temperature? Or would you argue that it is more plausible that most scientists are corrupt and follow someone's agenda, and have discarded the idea of doing honest science which they must have had when starting?


> does it sound so unbelievable that we have a model accurate enough to predict the rough effect of additional CO2 on global temperature?

Yes, it does sound unbelievable because CO2 is a tiny fraction of the atmosphere, and water vapor is approximately 2.5% of the atmosphere while also being the strong greenhouse gas.

It's a giant fraud used a political tool for the brainwashed masses.


You can make hypotheses and test them with models, that is science and it can shed light on how processes work. But these models have input variables that have some randomness and some which are currently unknown to us.

It's putting the cart before the horse to consider these models to be simulations, which is how we treat them politically. The only appropriate reaction to how we frame the climate in politics is skepticism.

There is clearly a push to amp the climate rhetoric up to crisis levels right now. It's easier every day to be a skeptic.


> Water vapor has a habit of coming down as rain.

Not sure what you mean by this. Are you saying water vapor is not a significant greenhouse gas? https://climate.nasa.gov/causes lists it as the most abundant greenhouse gas.


It has a residence time in the atmosphere of 72 hours. Water vapor only works as a feedback. It isn't a prime mover of climate change.


The sun is the prime mover of climate change, literally everything else is feedback. If increased temperature creates increased water vapor, and increased water vapor causes increased solar radiation retention due to greenhouse effect (resulting in further temperature increases), that's a positive feedback cycle.

Water vapor is undisputed as the the #1 greenhouse gas.


The sun has been ruled out already.


> The Milankovitch cycles have crested since that warming. Without the CO2 we would be cooling.

This is not a fact, this is a theory. This is common in 'science' that scientists believing something 'should be happening' and then attempt to pencil in details after-the-fact to explain something that doesn't fit their preconceived model.

> Citation needed.

From [1]:

> Since 1750, the average amount of energy coming from the Sun either remained constant or increased slightly.

If you heat something, it's going to get gradually hotter. If you increase the amount of energy you use to heat it, it's going to get hotter still. If the average temperature goes about X naturally, which in turn causes increased water vapor, which in turn increases the greenhouse effect, then we have a positive feedback loop that was started by natural forces.

> if you can explain how an increase in the solar output woudl warm the arctic more than the tropics

How does one even make such a measurement? Are we talking about just the atmosphere? Or just the ocean? Or the ice masses? Or the land masses? In any case, imagine a space heater in a room. The heater will be hot, the rest of the room relatively cooler. The cooler parts of the room are going to accept the heat faster than the warmer parts of the room. Why should the planet be any different?

> Water vapor has a habit of coming down as rain.

Show me the historic atmospheric H2O levels. You can't dismiss water vapor without data showing that it was less in the past.

You can see NASA wants to talk about water vapor at [2]. Unfortunately, they still make the climate-leap-of-faith that CO2 causes the original warming, rather than the obvious fact that the increase of water vapor itself causes the warming. You can remove CO2 entirely from the equation, increased water vapor will create positive feedback.

> I challenge you to find a single temperature reading, longitude, lattitude, altitude and timestamp, and tell me when it was manipulated.

See [3]. If agencies are going revising past temperatures in new data sets, one can argue that's manipulation. Some will argue that this 'adjustment' is prudent and necessary. Others argue that it's not. There's an abundance of evidence on both sides of this particular issue. Now, you probably won't like the source of that information, and I'm sure it's all been 'debunked,' but the other side can say the exact same thing.

1: https://climate.nasa.gov/causes/

2: https://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/vapor_warming.htm...

3: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/06/04/noaancdcs-new-pause-b...


> This is not a fact, this is a theory. This is common in 'science' that scientists believing something 'should be happening' and then attempt to pencil in details after-the-fact to explain something that doesn't fit their preconceived model.

This is exactly how science works: if something doesn't fit your theory, you adapt it so that it does or replace it with a new one. Everything in science is a "theory".

> If you heat something, it's going to get gradually hotter. If you increase the amount of energy you use to heat it, it's going to get hotter still.

> The cooler parts of the room are going to accept the heat faster than the warmer parts of the room. Why should the planet be any different?

Unlike your room, the planet can radiate heat away. Actually, that's precisely what the greenhouse gas effect prevents.


> Now, you probably won't like the source of that information, and I'm sure it's all been 'debunked,' but the other side can say the exact same thing.

I don't like that source of information because it redirected to an ad that tried to make me download malware and filled my history with junk. Couldn't even read it, literally, because they were too eager to exploit me.

Follow the money, indeed.


Don't you use adblock? You could say the same about NYT & WaPo too.


I do not, and I’ve never visited a page on the NYT or WaPo and literally been redirected to a malware site that adds 20 items to my history so I can’t hit back, and hits me with every dark pattern trying to get me to download said malware.

So, no, I can’t say the same thing about NYT and WaPo.


By what mechanism is water vapor increasing to be the primary driver of the warming? We know why co2 is going up. What can cause water vapor to go up and stay up when it only has a residence time of 72 hour and do you have any peer reviewed work supporting this idea that h2o can be a primary driver of climate?


I don't really understand how these things are compatible with a 4°C+ change within 100 years. Previous temperature changes happened over tens of thousands of years. Where is that sudden temperature increase going to come from? Why does it coincide with massive population growth and the invention of modern technology. By the way the 4°C numbers are still conservative because they completely ignore unpredictable mechanisms such as feedback loops and only model the direct impact of human activity.


The authors don't include some extremely nasty feedback loops the appear to currently be happening. For example, methane release from permafrost melt.

As a result, the simulation appears to be misleadingly optimistic.

- This tool is based on climate interactive's previous one, C-Road.

- in the C-Road simulation when you click on parameters -> assumptions to add parameters about methane release through permafrost melting and human activities. By default, it's set to zero, but even their maximum values don't seem as impactful as I would expect.

- in EN-Road simulation (this one) the methane release parameters are removed! So, no possibility to add any positive feedback loops. It feels like the relation between CO2 and temperature is a simple linear equation, or close to it.


While negative feedback loops are big in the media, they are not well understood and difficult to model.

Also, other feedback mechanisms seem to get little attention. Are we only looking to model the feedback mechanisms that reinforce a narrative of cataclysm?

Don't other feedback mechanisms exist that lessen CO2 concentrations, or temperature dissipation?


No. They aren't "only looking at feedback mechanisms that reinforce cataclysm." Modelers include every feedback that they can quantify well enough to include and the ones they don't understand well enough are studied carefully to be able to work out what the uncertainties are.

Scientists 50 years ago predicted that we would be at around 1C (1.8F) of warming by 2020 with a 40% over preindustrial co2 level. That's exactly what we have now. They predicted almost perfectly today's climate decades before it came to pass. That may not seem like a big deal until you understand that global temperatures haven't been this high in 130,000 years.

It isn't being recognized properly yet in the media, but the stunning accuracy of predictions by climate modelers is one of the greatest achievements in the history Earth sciences.


This sounds like you're saying that 50 years ago there was a single climate model, upon which significant consensus among scientists had been reached, that predicted a 1C temperature rise. I've read quite a few articles and discussions on this topic but have never heard this before.

Am I misunderstanding you? If not, do you have a link that discusses this?


"Evaluating the performance of past climate model projections"

https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/2019...

"We found that climate models – even those published back in the 1970s – did remarkably well, with 14 out of the 17 projections statistically indistinguishable from what actually occurred."


Yes, I read that report and participated in the subsequent discussion [0] where I raised a number of concerns with the study, but wasn't able to find anyone who would seriously and objectively address them.

Frustrated by the unwillingness of anyone to engage in rigorous discussion in that thread, I also contacted the authors to see if they were willing to address some of the concerns. Unfortunately, I did not hear back.

I must confess, this strange combination of group declaration that "the science is in", combined with complete refusal to discuss "the science", leaves me feeling a bit suspicious about the degree to which anyone has actually read the science, or is thinking critically on this matter.

If you could address some of the concerns I raised in [0], I would be delighted.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21708936


> I raised a number of concerns with the study, but wasn't able to find anyone who would seriously and objectively address them.

This is an inaccurate summary of that thread, in which you raised a simple accusation that the article cherry-picked the models, were swatted down with a citation from the article referenced in the OP, and then retreated into a maze of long, twisty replies that failed to raise any other specific points.

Your comments in this thread have had the same flavor. Consider brevity and specificity.


> This is an inaccurate summary of that thread, in which you raised a simple accusation that the article cherry-picked the models

Ironically, or not, your summary of my summary of that thread is inaccurate.

> "you raised a simple accusation that the article cherry-picked the models" is not what I did. What I did do is ask for an explanation of how we know no cherry picking occurred. Their methodology for article selection was not published, so therefore it cannot be reproduced. I emailed the authors asking for clarification, and they did not reply.

> were swatted down with a citation from the article referenced in the OP

"swatted down", but didn't address my actual question, rather re-reffering to the original ambiguous wording that I was complaining about.

A reproducible methodology could clear up the uncertainty (and please note, my claim is that there is uncertainty not that there is wrongdoing), yet no methodology was offered in the original paper, and the authors did not reply to the request.

In such situations, I adopt a position of "Unknown - more information is required", but obviously others have a much more flexible approach to what they're willing to believe. Although, I wonder if this approach varies depending on the subject - would be interesting to read up on.

> and then retreated into a maze of long, twisty replies that failed to raise any other specific points

"Mazes of long, twisty replies", and failures to "raise any other specific points" are a common consequences when one party in a discussion is unwilling to directly address questions as asked, and the other party's response to that is re-asking the same question.

> Your comments in this thread have had the same flavor.

Indeed they do, as do the replies: unwillingness to directly address questions as asked.

> Consider brevity and specificity.

I will do so.

In return, please consider honesty, epistemic humility, your willingness to acknowledge that ambiguity often exists in written language, and whether a lack of 100% agreement should be interpreted as opposition, as opposed to curiosity and strictness. Sometimes those who appear to be your enemy may actually be some of your best friends.

EDIT: Here's another way to look at it (a better description of my main intent): "conspiracy theorists" and "deniers" are a problem, to some degree, in broad acceptance of climate change messaging, agreed? Might it be a good idea to consider whether there are some flaws in the messaging that could be improved, that would result in reducing the material they have to work with in any influence campaigns?


Your question was answered in the comment underneath it -- the answer is taken from the article in the discussion:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21709446

Basically: selection criterion was, any published model that had the inputs ("forcings") and outputs (temperature) needed.

Then, incredibly, the paper author chimed in with this offer:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21709010

And you couldn't respond constructively. If he didn't include a model, point it out.

Instead, you've come to another thread complaining that you had concerns and "wasn't able to find anyone who would seriously and objectively address them".


Pardon the delay in replying, I didn't see this until now.

> Your question was answered in the comment underneath it -- the answer is taken from the article in the discussion:

> https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21709446

Well, shit. This is kind one of those timing error, at the time I wrote that the thread was quite young, so I presumed my more substantive complaint (which is immediately under my comment) would have been seen. That'll teach me for being trite, hopefully.

Anyways, here is that comment (and I imagine you won't like my pedantry, but I did note it as such, and I'm not forcing anyone to answer - if they'd like to allow ambiguity/uncertainty to remain, be my guest):

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

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21708936

> As noted in TFA, they looked at 17 forecasts from 14 models

Pardon a little pedantry:

>> The researchers compared annual average surface temperatures across the globe to the surface temperatures predicted in 17 forecasts. Those predictions were drawn from 14 separate computer models released between 1970 and 2001. In some cases, the studies and their computer codes were so old that the team had to extract data published in papers, using special software to gauge the exact numbers represented by points on a printed graph.

They compared annual average surface temperatures across the globe to 17 forecasts, from 14 separate models.

But....how many models did they look at, before choosing those particular 14 models?

TFA doesn't say.

Articles written in this style provide rich fodder for conspiracy theorists, particularly because there is no shortage of examples in the past where authoritative, trustworthy organizations have gotten caught in lies. Rare is the climate change article I've read that can't easily have similar holes poked in it.

What's the real truth here? Based on the literal content of this article, no one knows. It is speculation vs speculation.

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

> Then, incredibly, the paper author chimed in with this offer:

> https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21709010

> And you couldn't respond constructively. If he didn't include a model, point it out.

An obvious lack of thoroughness and reasonableness on my part - it would have been wiser to restate my above question in it's entirety rather than expecting him ti find it. So I'll take the reputation hit on that one.

But then on the other hand, I did email one of the authors directly (after looking through the github repo to see if my questions were answered there), with a much more detailed question, in polite terms, and with mention of the possibility that this sort of ambiguity is open to exploitation by propagandists, but didn't hear back, so far anyways.

UPDATE:

To the author's credit, they did address a question posed to them here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21709249

Also, his reply to another comment is suggestive that all available models (that fit his criteria) were in fact used: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21708782

I get a fairly trustworthy feel from him after reading those, although I still prefer that these things were written using more defensive wording.



Surely there was one model that happened to come up with the right prediction, I would assume there were multiple. But my questions is whether there was one model with consensus support (which seems to be the claim), which would be necessary to rule out survivorship bias.


> Surely there was one model that happened to come up with the right prediction

What does that mean? This "model" is someone sitting down and, using what we know of physics, calculating how something will warm up when you add some extra energy (in this case, the earth). You surely don't think that physics works by people randomly guessing answers and then one of them "happened" to be correct?

You don't, do you?!


When a thousand hedge funds hire mathematicians and economists to create models of the global economy so that they can predict whether individual stocks will move up or down over different timescales, their task is similar to predicting the weather. Some will beat the market, many won't. Are they guessing?

Maybe that's a bad analogy, but my point is that climate is a chaotic system, and detailed models might be right and might be wrong. It's not that the scientists are guessing, of course the science is methodical - but the performance of the model might not be better than guessing, hence the speculation of survivorship bias. There were lots of climate models over the last century, was there consensus around a paper that is now proven correct? Or were there a hundred models that were off and one that, yes, happened to be correct. I don't know the answer.


I think an individual stock in this analogy would be "Will it rain in Duluth". Climate predictions, to use your economic model, would be more along the lines of "Will stocks continue to rise on the whole over the next 100 years?"


> What does that mean?

It means that if you are dealing with a complex multivariate system where the behavior of individual variables is not perfectly understood, let alone the behavior in an interactive system, and you are building multiple systems to model the environment and output a prediction between 1 and 10, undoubtedly some of the models will be correct (since you are predicting within such a small range), but there is no good way of knowing whether the correct prediction is due to proper modeling, to chance, or to some combination of the two.

> You surely don't think that physics works by people randomly guessing answers...

No, I do not think this.

> ...and then one of them "happened" to be correct?

Yes, in that I am suggesting that this is a possibility.

> You don't, do you?!

Rereading my comment, I see no actual content that suggests I believe this.

I wonder, if you were to reread my comment while keeping in mind the theory of System1/System2 thinking [1], do you still reach the same conclusion?

And for clarity, while this may seem (again, see [1]) that I am antagonizing you, I am actually and sincerely trying to make what I consider to be an incredibly important and overlooked point: the manner in which human beings think, on particular (culture war, identity related) topics, is a core problem that is preventing forward progress on not only climate change, but a wide variety of issues.

I am completely open to the idea that this theory is incorrect, but it seems almost no one who is even willing to acknowledge the possibility that it may be correct - an observable phenomenon which I proclaim further supports the theory.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thinking,_Fast_and_Slow#Summar...


Even zero and one dimensional ultra simplified energy balance models come pretty close to approximating how much warming we've had based on the amount of co2 we've released.

Global average temperatures are governed simply by the need for incoming energy to be balanced by outgoing energy.

You're confusing the complexity of weather with the complexity of climate. A lot of the value of increasingly large scale, complex, supercomputer based climate models is the spacial resolution to be able to tell people of particular regions how their local climate might be affected. For instance a lot of work is going into understanding how the monsoon season will be affected.


From the 1975 US National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council Report

...we do not have a good quantitative understanding of our climate machine and what determines its course. Without the fundamental understanding, it does not seem possible to predict climate... [0]

The point is that there were a lot of climate models done in the 70's, and only a few of them were accurate. No one was randomly guessing, but the model you gave was not the consensus.

[0] https://skepticalscience.com/ice-age-predictions-in-1970s-in...


If they did exist, we would take their effects as baseline assumptions and just ratchet down our opinion about the crisis, if that makes sense. To the extent there are buffers, we just assume their effects, and we'll be unpleasantly surprised when the buffers run out.

Examples: in the 70s we had a great deal of particulate smog, which effectively reduced some of the radiation hitting the Earth and camouflaged the effects of global warming. But instead of saying "hey, global warming must be a big problem since we're noticing X amount of warming EVEN WITH PARTICULATE SMOG", it just let us ignore global warming for longer.

Example: the deep oceans have been an effective heat sink and some amount of the global heat has gone into them. Again, instead of saying "global warming must be a big problem since we're noticing X amount of land warming EVEN THOUGH THERE'S A GIANT HEAT SINK", it just let us ignore global warming for longer.

So, to the extent that there are any buffers, we'll just build them into our baseline of "how bad the problem is", and therefore ALL of our surprises and feedback effects will be seen to be negative.


"While negative feedback loops are big in the media"

You mean positive, right? As in self-reinforcing? Negative would mean the opposite, and there are a few of them (greater plant growth etc.) but they seem to be more than cancelled out by the positive (bad) feedback loops.


High taxation of fossil energy together with rolling-out of new energy/carbon-removal technology seem to be a real way out of this catastrophe.

Does anyone have a list of startups and established companies actively working on any of those crucial solutions?

Only found this through a quick Github search:

https://github.com/flamato/awesome-climate-change-ressources...


Don't solutions already exist?

There is a lot to do with engine size and vehicle size and weight, especially in the US.

Nuclear energy and trains are possible, even if they require electrifying the railroads.

Drastically reduce beef consumption is also a thing to do.

Not sure about those "carbon removal" techs. A lot of the CO2 tends to go in the atmosphere.

The biggest problem is a political one: You can't fight unemployment and inequality and try to reduce emissions. I can see ideology being a big problem when dealing with climate change. Although fighting climate change can also be an opportunity to steer away from an ideology of competition and go back to cooperation, because politically it WILL BE a nightmare. Things can also derail into complete anarchy where it becomes everyone for himself, where poor people will have to bear high temperatures.


> The biggest problem is a political one: You can't fight unemployment and inequality and try to reduce emissions.

Why do you believe this is true? It seems to me like many efforts to reduce emissions are also likely to reduce inequality, some also increase employment. For instance:

* Make public transport free and increased capacity, good on all three counts

* CO2 tax on big emitters will reduce profits of these companies, which are usually high margin industries with few unskilled/low-pay workers

* Higher taxes on air travel affect poor people less than rich people

* Current trends point towards rich countries committing to subsidise emissions reductions in poor countries


> Nuclear energy and trains are possible, even if they require electrifying the railroads.

Note: this is not a great idea; trains release less than a third as much co2 as a truck and electrifying cross country rail would be very expensive. You need extremely high voltage for long distance transmission, which is incompatible with pantographs (the metal things that power trains/buses from overhead).

You'd essentially need to build dedicated HVDC lines alongside all trunk routes, with regular substations (which are immensely expensive for HVDC) to inject power into the lines. Cross country HVDC would be really great for the grid, but it would be better to build a dedicated solution and forget about the trains. For context, the transmission losses for electricity cause ~2x more CO2 than all trains.

There are just better things to spend money on. Even if we put cold war levels on investment into reducing CO2 theres still better things to do, like dealing with landfill emissions, land use, rehabilitating environments etc.

> Not sure about those "carbon removal" techs. A lot of the CO2 tends to go in the atmosphere.

One way of looking at it: exhaust gases are 29% CO2 (from oxygen being burnt). Air is .4% CO2. Removing CO2 from air is, bare minimum, 75x more complex than preventing it.

> You can't fight unemployment and inequality and try to reduce emissions. I can see ideology being a big problem when dealing with climate change.

IMO that is a profoundly unhelpful way of looking at it. The money spent on the Iraq war would be enough to buy enough batteries to store ALL US ELECTRICITY for full two days. People didn't think twice about sprinting into war. Renewable energy is a largely trivial cost. People need to be convinced to throw scraps at it before we scare them with real changes.


> IMO that is a profoundly unhelpful way of looking at it.

Agreed.

> The money spent on the Iraq war [& Afghanistan, etc.] would be enough to buy enough batteries to store ALL US ELECTRICITY for full two days.

Or, a base-version Tesla Model 3 for every driving-age resident of the US. Given that they're manufactured in the US, you'd be reducing emissions and hiring however many tens? (hundreds?) of thousands of people in the manufacturing sector.

We don't even need to be that creative to feed two birds with one scone.


Fighting environmentalv issues with extra consumption may not be a good idea. Manufacturing a vehicle pollutes a lot. Up to 50% of the enviromental costs of a vehicle seem to happen at manufacturing time.

https://archive.attn.com/stories/13637/hidden-environmental-...


> Fighting environmental issues

I’m not talking about fighting “environmental issues” — I’m explicitly talking about a) global climate change, which has little to do with ~75% of the environmental impacts of an electric vehicle, and b) not spending $trillions fighting wars due to Western society’s unslakable thirst for oil. [1]

Let’s not goalpost this — mining & refining metals (etc.) is dirty business, and we should clean it up, but to be clear: it has a very limited impact on climate change.

> extra consumption

Extra consumption? I proposed taking the trillions of dollars spent on military equipment, plus fuel for planes, aircraft carriers, and other ships, tanks, etc., not to mention the deaths of thousands of people — war is “consumption” to an absurd degree — and replacing all that with domestic EVs.

Don’t tell me that’s “extra consumption”. If anything it’s a dramatic reduction in consumption.

[1] Whether you believe the war in Iraq was fought for oil or not, oil is a causative factor: without the presence of oil in the Middle East, and the riches its trade brings to the states in the area, it’s unlikely we’d be fighting there.


> Note: this is not a great idea; trains release less than a third as much co2 as a truck and electrifying cross country rail would be very expensive. You need extremely high voltage for long distance transmission, which is incompatible with pantographs (the metal things that power trains/buses from overhead).

> You'd essentially need to build dedicated HVDC lines alongside all trunk routes, with regular substations (which are immensely expensive for HVDC) to inject power into the lines. Cross country HVDC would be really great for the grid, but it would be better to build a dedicated solution and forget about the trains. For context, the transmission losses for electricity cause ~2x more CO2 than all trains.

You're not wrong that electrification has a significant upfront cost associated with it, but using DC for it is absolutely not the preferred method for good reasons. Most rail electrification across the world uses 25kV AC overheads, which needs feeder stations typically only every ~50Km. Newer installations are moving to an autotransformer system, where transmission is at 50 kV AC but the trains still receive 25 kV AC, which reduces losses even further and increases the distance between feeder stations to every ~100Km.

Additionally, electrification means that the benefits of moving generation towards less environmentally impacting sources has an immediate benefit on the trains, rather than waiting until the train is replaced. In the UK, over the last year CO2 emissions per passenger per mile have dropped by 10% in just the last year [0] due to a combination of electricity generation moving towards more renewable sources and newly electrified routes.

[0]: https://dataportal.orr.gov.uk/media/1531/rail-emissions-2018...


I was talking specifically about using nuclear to electrify transcontinental lines in the US. Those routes have sections hundreds of kilometers long that are basically desolate.


I've read easily over 100 articles and forum discussions on this topic, and it's rare to encounter someone who believes the main problem we have is political.

I too believe this overlooked dimension is the most important, and have some ideas for your consideration that I hope may strengthen this perspective.

1. "...You can't fight unemployment and inequality and try to reduce emissions" - I would argue that this is an obvious complication, but I don't believe that it is an impossibility, under current conditions. It seems to me that the net amount of productivity and wealth on the planet is overwhelmingly sufficient to satisfy this issue on a material basis, but the problem is more so distribution of wealth and technology (and all the obvious complications that come along with that, of course). If this wasn't the case, then I would agree that your "can't" assertion would be correct, but luckily this seems to not be the case.

2. It is true that the problem is political, but I would argue that there are lower levels of abstraction that more accurately communicate the essence of the problem:

2a. Politics inherently derives from public consensus, even in authoritarian states (if to a lesser degree). From anything I've seen, there is nothing remotely approaching public consensus on climate change, both what to do about it, or even whether it's a real thing. It seems to me that the science is conclusive enough that consensus should be much higher than it is, so what might explain this anomaly?

2c. Public consensus inherently derives from human psychology, and I see very little evidence that humans think primarily in a logical manner, in groups or on an individual basis. In fact, there is ample evidence, both anecdotal and clinical, suggesting they do the very opposite of that.

[Politics] --> [Public Concensus] --> [Human Psychology]

I believe (speculatively, of course) that these ideas better describe the reality of the situation we find ourselves in, but I see next to no discussion on it. I'd very much like for these ideas to get into the mainstream for discussion, but other than beating them like a dead horse on HN and elsewhere, I'm not sure how this can be accomplished.

It's encouraging to encounter someone else who seems to notice this aspect of the problem, so at the very least it may be useful to try to discuss and improve the overall idea, in hopes that the message might eventually become strong enough to get some traction in the zeitgeist.

EDIT:

Two academics I've found who work most closely in this domain are Jonathan Haidt [1] and Daniel Kahneman [2], any suggestions of others to look into are appreciated.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Haidt

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Kahneman


There's a tech group https://techimpactmakers.com/ with a couple startups in the slack workspace.


These are both big projects not well suited to startups.

Taxation needs to be agreed upon at the international level.

CO2 has an atmospheric half-lifetime on the order of decades. If we would just switch to zero emission energy, like nuclear power, we could get through the next century and survive.


How is Climeworks not on the list?


If you drag all of the bars to their ideal position (lowest on the bad things, highest on the good things) the temperature still goes up by more than a degree.


It is calculating from 2000, from 2020 (which is already at +1.3C) it will be like -0.3C, more important part is trend.


It helps to show that we're screwed. But the degree to how screwed we are can vary a bit.


We're not screwed if it's limited to just a degree. Things start getting dicy at 2 degrees, more severe at 3, and so on. To what extent society can adapt and mitigate is a guess. The climate modes are about the climate, not how human civilization handles it.


We are are already screwed at the current temperature the 2 degrees is just the point that the politicians thought they could sell to each other.


There is some disagreement that 1.5C might be where the diceyness kicks in although there is a fair amount of it happening now.


I wonder what it helps to show, except that we're screwed, because I believe to have already presumed that.


I'm fairly sure it's representing the fact that if we all died tomorrow, we're still in for a 1 degree increase due to all the CO2 we've already dumped into the atmosphere.


There is warming that we are committed to at this point even if we could magically turn off the tap and stop emitting greenhouse gasses all of the sudden.


Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: