Climate change is real, the “realists” are wrong and we can solve this problem (if we try)

Approximately 64% of Americans do not think climate change is a threat to their way of life. That 64% will be made up of climate change deniers as well as people who call themselves climate change “realists”. This is a hugely concerning problem; democracy demands that people are aware of the problem before action can be taken. To solve a problem the people are unaware of, or in active denial of is a serious problem to democracy. It involves spending their tax money in a way that isn’t representative, and from my history lessons I understand that Americans are strongly against taxation without representation.

The question is about how we go on to address this issue of awareness. Awareness is an absolute cornerstone of democracy. And my very first bit of advice would be to change the rhetoric the media uses, or at least produce media that uses more accurate rhetoric. Equating climate change to “longer and hotter summers” is simply not accurate. We are not talking about being able to wear shorts and a vest in February. We are talking about weather that is, on average, warmer as a result of extreme weather events. We are talking about fatally dangerous heat waves that will kill the vulnerable (old, young and people with particular illnesses). We are talking about storm events that will flood more places, more severely.

We are talking about climate stability changing, making agriculture less reliable. That reduces our access to food. We are talking about damage to infrastructure that will reduce the reliability of energy supply which will reduce access to healthcare. We are talking about droughts that will reduce access to water. We are talking about a fundamental diminishment of the vital needs of our population.

That so-called ‘climate realists’ deny this is a problem; pretending that climate change is just a warmer summer is dangerous. Quibbling about the exact relationship between storm strength and climate change is simply tweaking details, but distracts from the actual direction of change: droughts in one season, floods in another, fatalities from heat waves and the destruction of the infrastructure that delivers our energy, food and water. Maybe hurricanes won’t become more powerful, but that is a minor discussion distracting from a major theme. (But they will become more powerful; but that’s not the point.)

I think there are two basic ways of dealing with climate change. That 64% of American don’t think it’s a risk indicates there is a third option―deny it―but I’m not going to advocate that; it’s based on bad science (when it’s based on anything at all). The two options worthy of mention are: reducing carbon output by regulation and investment in ‘green’ energy technologies, perhaps with comparatively modest investments in technologies to increase the resilience of our infrastructure to climate change; or very heavy investment in technologies to increase our resilience to climate change.

The latter one is something few people are familiar with, so I’ll take a moment to explain it. Climate change is not the problem. The effects of climate change are the problem. But, if we can invest in near-zero energy costs, local solar-energy production, flood-proofed buildings, GMO crops that can grow through a drought, desalination plants to provide water and relocating people away from flooded areas, then we have solved the (anthropocentric) problem. Part of this solution is to charitably invest in vulnerable and poor places. I don’t just mean New Orleans, either. I mean Mozambique and Bangladesh.

There are downsides to the investment solution to the effects of climate change. One is that investment will be focused on human settlements and not ecosystems; climate change will still affect biodiversity in a big way. More concerning is that there is a time limit on this. We must be able to produce the knowledge, technology and investment at an affordable rate before climate change affects our economies so severely we just can’t keep up with changing needs. We need to have made reasonable headway with this solution before climate change cripples our economies. We also need to choose to defend Bangladesh, even if it isn’t profitable. We need political infrastructures in place that allow us to relocate people if we can’t defend Holland and Bangladesh before rising sea levels submerge them entirely.

As a result, I think we should probably also be investing in buying ourselves some more time. This will involve some levels of regulation, green energy production, carbon capture and, I think most productively, greening the deserts. A ‘greened’ desert is a carbon storage with the possibility of food production and even an ecosystem that stores water; it is a negative-carbon idea that supports biodiversity.

There is this idea that it is unfair for me to dismiss the ‘climate realists’ overly calm approach to downplaying the severity of climate change. And to that I respond that it is dangerous to start talking about science as if it should be a democracy open to the uninformed, and that it is dangerous to focus on comparatively minor disagreements―like storm intensity―until we have some sort of policy in place to deal with climate change in general. I’m all for a discussion that includes dissenting voices, but it has to be a rational discussion that cares what the evidence is and is willing to prioritise. Once we are solving the problem of vulnerability to heat waves and droughts and floods, we can talk about whether we need to increase resilience to more powerful storms. But we should not forego all action so that we can discuss a minor detail.

I don’t really care how we choose to combat climate change, regulation or investment in technology, or both. What I care about is that we start now, and we make sure we carry the developing countries and vulnerable people with us.

50 thoughts on “Climate change is real, the “realists” are wrong and we can solve this problem (if we try)”

  1. We need another name change. Originally we were talking about “global warming” which was too alarming for conservatives who suggested “climate change.” A better name would be “climate chaos” as that is what we are in for. A focus on how even small changes in climate affect our ability to grow crops would be a nice thing, also, as that will have an immediate impact on food prices (already being felt) and everyone I know needs food. Such links are necessary to establish we are all in this together.

  2. There is no more pressing issue humanity faces today than climate change and what we’re going to do about it.

    As Hansen outlines (15 minute video here), we’re in it no matter what we do in the same way we’ve been alerted to the fact that our house is on fire. This is fact, as unquestionable as receiving energy from the sun. The only question is to what extent can we mitigate its potentially catastrophic effects.

    Now, denying it is happening or pretending it is reasonable to have any element of doubt whatsoever that it is happening, that we are causing it, is now equivalent to batshit crazy and such people – no matter how well schooled, no matter how erudite they may sound, no matter how reasonable they may seem to be – simply have no credibility. None. The flames are already here… whether people want to deny it or not, do nothing or do something.

    And anyone allowing their attention to be diverted to these delusional and/or ignorant people and taking no action are very much part of the problem when it comes to raising the political capital needed to .respond appropriately to this global crisis – knowing we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions as near to zero as we can as fast as we can… in the same way that responding to having part of your house on fire with action rather than talk is a rather important factor in containing the scope and extent of the damage. Not doing anything while considering a million and one diversions is very much an important part of allowing the problem to grow and become catastrophic.
    This kind of incremental approach believing that we can take our time and slowly bring about change in a cost-effective and timely manner might not be very smart as the flames continue to grow and spread into a conflagration where no amount of words are going to produce any desired effect to mitigate the very real problem. And it’s not like we can step aside. We’re trapped in this house.

  3. Is the climate changing? Unquestionably. How much is due to humanity’s actions and effects, and how much is part of a natural cycle? That is where the real debate should focus, and investigation be done. And the investigation needs to be perceived as “reliable”; having people/groups being caught “fudging” their data to “prove” their point does the discussion more harm than good.

    As to “fixing” the problem, that is quite problematical. Let me suggest that any part of climate change which is due to a natural cycle probably cannot be fixed. And any part which is due to Man will require significant sacrifice and worldwide cooperation – not areas were we tend to excel – to fix.

    Some of the proposed fixes are laughable. I remember one discussion of a way to reduce carbon emissions which would have cut our lifestyles in half, and was projected to reduce the rate of increase in temperature by a few tenths of a degree over 10 years. Really poor ROI (Return On Investment). And attempts to advance green technology have been unimpressive, perhaps more from human greed than technological limitations.

    So what is the solution? People are not going to give up comforts they have become accustomed to, and they are not going to quit having more kids than can be supported, and they will never willingly do something unpleasant, especially when “those people over there aren’t doing it”.

    Frankly, I don’t see it likely that any significant reduction in human contributions to climate change will be successful. Too much opportunity for passive (and even active) resistance; too much opportunity for the greedy to profit, resulting in failure or ineffectiveness. Small, slow and accumulative improvements are probably the best we can manage. Getting ever further behind.

    So that leaves improving technology to deal with the change in climate. This needs to be done in an “incentive” methodology. Not the “here is money, get it done” approach which has so far shown to be ineffective. Not the “do it or else” approach. But “if you do this, you get that” and “while you are doing this, you don’t have do to that” approaches. We also have to couple it with a “if we catch you suppressing something we need for your own profit, we will hurt you badly” approach. It also requires us to be “hard-hearted”. We can’t “save the world”, so we have to focus on helping the parts of the world which are doing “their part”.

    And frankly, I don’t see that being overly likely either. Completely unacceptable to the Politically Correct viewpoint.

  4. Well, when you have a senator bring a snowball onto the senate floor as “proof” climate change is a fraud, you… Oh, I don’t know what to say about that.

  5. Any discussion on science that begins, “Approximately 64% of Americans do not think climate change is a threat to their way of life,” is propaganda not science.

    Further proof that this type of discussion is pure propaganda is illustrated by the initiation of word games.

    First it was global warming, than after it turned out there was no warming, the name got changed to climate change.

    Now that everyone realizes that “change” is what climate does by its very nature, the search for a less obviously stupid term is in the works.

    Here’s a news flash: the term climate chaos is even more stupid than climate change.

    “Global warming” was the name of the phenomenon in question until a hacker broke into the email of the lead climate hoaxers at Penn State University, USA and Cambridge University, UK (Michael Mann and Phil Jones) and demonstrated that they had cooked up the climate data that they were feeding into their computer model.

    You see, global warming has only been demonstrated in computer models. There is absolutely no evidence of global warming in the real world.

    So after Mann and Jones had been exposed as frauds, all the billions and billions of dollars that global warming guru and huckster Al Gore had attracted to the new financial market place that traded carbon, simply evaporated.

    Not to worry, memory is short. Enter the new term meant only for morons, climate change.

    Okay, so making people feel like morons isn’t a good way to part them from their money (that’s what global warming and climate change is all about).

    So now it’s climate chaos.

    The left never gives up peddling stupid to stupid people.

    1. That the climate has changed in my lifetime is inarguable. What can be contested is how much of this is due to man’s behavior and how much is natural. Admittedly much of the actual or proposed attempts to “fix” the problem seem to excessively benefit certain people, organizations or companies, which certainly causes me to wonder how much is a realistic attempt to fix an actual problem, and how much is an attempt to separate us from our wealth in the name of “solving” a natural condition.

      1. This kind of response nibbles at the edge of reasonableness but is not. It is straight up denialism in that it pretends to have some honest questions that remain unanswered when, in fact, we know with a very high level of confidence that human activity is driving climate change and fast approaching self-sustaining forcings and negative feedbacks. This understanding is already fully evidenced. Pretending it isn’t is classical denialism.

        There is no ‘fix’ for this problem: human caused climate change is here. It is now. It is getting worse. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions – this fully understood driver of this rapid climate change we are already experiencing – is a mitigating factor only.

        The denier then pretends that addressing in a meaningful way the very real problem of creating too much greenhouse gases above a neutral level is really a conspiracy to benefit the few at the expense of the many. This is pandering to the producers of greenhouse causing fuels – the few – who have and already benefited tremendously at the expense of the many. So that argument as if the denier is concerned about creating some inequity is a steaming pile of utter bullshit. The denier cares not one whit for anyone but these uber-rich few who wish to maintain the business-as-usual model.

        Equippedcat is exactly the kind of dupe denialism requires to keep peddling conspiracy bullshit and intentional ignorance and manufactured uncertainty in place of available knowledge… an approach that attempts to steal from humanity the time and political capital required to bring about fundamental changes to our energy production so that we don’t turn the world into another Venus.

      2. Maybe you “know with a very high level of confidence that human activity is *driving* climate change” but I certainly don’t. I have not seen valid/reliable evidence that humanity is the PRIMARY cause. I’m not pretending this is not the case; it is that what indications shown to me so far are inconclusive or of questionable reliability. Sorry, you saying it does not automatically make it so.

        Is the “denier” supposed to be me? I pretend nothing. I have SEEN how some attempts to overcome greenhouse gases have failed AND profited a few. You don’t pay attention to news, even the mass media? I have SEEN how easily some proposed solutions could be perverted by people, including those who have perverted well intentioned things for their own benefit in the past. So my concern is reasonable, and your lack of concern is what steams and smells. Oh, and being very much not uber-rich, I care not a whit about any of them continuing to profit excessively at our expense.

        Tildeb is the kind of dupe which makes the whole “climate change” concept so questionable. A priest of the climate change religion rather than a proponent of climate change science.

      3. Maybe you “know with a very high level of confidence that human activity is *driving* climate change” but I certainly don’t.

        Unless you live in a very deep hole with no access to outside information (not the case because you comment here), this is patently untrue. This statement denies multiple IPCC reports, denies every statement by every major scientific organization in the world regarding climate change, as well as denies ongoing multi-decade topical science shows on radio, television, and cable network. This is blatantly untrue that it boggles the mind that a literate person could utter such nonsense.

        I have not seen valid/reliable evidence that humanity is the PRIMARY cause. I’m not pretending this is not the case; it is that what indications shown to me so far are inconclusive or of questionable reliability.

        If true, then the cause is fully your own: you’re not paying attention. In fact, you have to deny ever looking because the evidence is overwhelming (just today, look at the historic fire going on in Kansas and Oklahoma). Ask anyone living in Miami about whether there is any ‘valid’ evidence for sea level rise. Look at the significant weather pattern changes going on globally (like the changes in the Jet Stream or the slow down in the North Atlantic currents or the decline in salination levels or the retreat of glaciers or the melting of the polar ice cap or…. I mean, seriously, all of this is well known and all of it has been successfully modeled on rapid climate change caused by human activity.)

        It’s not a secret. It’s not a conspiracy. It’s real. It’s here. It’s ongoing. It is unquestionable because all natural factors have been eliminated. All. Indisputably, the historic rapid rise in global temperature over the past ten years (an astounding 1.5C in the last year alone) is not open to some kind of reasonable debate. That debate has been finished for several years. Perhaps you’ve just returned from the outer galaxy and so missed the global conferences on this very issue where every major scientific organization in the world is firmly on board. Everyone, that is, but those dupes who think their ignorant skepticism like yours elevates their intelligence to be much higher and magically superior to thousands of working climate scientists engaged in their profession. I don’t think you’re the smartest guy in the room and I know I’m not. But unlike you, I do allow reality to arbitrate my beliefs about it. You should try this for a change and be astounded at just how ignorant someone has to be to utter such nonsense as you’ve done here.

        Of course you’re going to try to smear my character because you’ve got nothing else to back up your ignorance except your own determination to be a denier. Me taking you to task for this preventable intellectual failure on your part and the necessary duplicity to try to pretend your ignorance is reasonable is not the problem here. It’s you. So let me help you be honest here: you are a AGW climate change denier. There. fixed that for you.

      4. You seem to confuse the fact that the climate is changing (which I agree with completely, both from scientific reports and my own personal experience) with the “Man is the sole cause of climate change” religion, which is highly suspect. Climate changes occurred before man was capable of having any impact on climate. To say that climate can no longer change without Man causing it is delusional. “All natural factors have been eliminated”? Really? In actuality or in theory; or is it that natural causes cannot account for ALL the actual changes in climate which have been reliably measured? Modeled you say? Models may approach reality, but they are not guaranteed to be reality.

        I don’t intend to smear your character as a debate tactic (and could never be as good at it as you seem to be). But when you are nasty or insulting to people, don’t be surprised if some might return the favor.

        OK, my position is that

        1) The climate has changed and is continuing to change and that the changes are not positive for Humanity.

        2) It is highly likely that Humanity has and is having some effect on the climate.

        3) It is highly unlikely that Humanity has been and is the sole cause of the change in climate; that change in climate is to some degree a natural planetary function.

        If that is the true definition of an “AGW climate change denier”, than I thank you for pointing that out.

      5. I think there are two important points here:
        The climate has never changed at the rate it is currently changing or predicted to change over the coming century.
        Let’s play Devil’s Advocate and assume you are right about there being no evidence climate change is human driven (despite us pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and that carbon interacts with climatic function is demonstrable): what’s your point? Should we not try to stop it, to stop our economic and social infrastructures falling apart? Are natural disasters deemed unsolvable? Do we drive head-on into it, feigning ignorance because a few people (who refuse to look at the academic literature) can convince themselves humanity is not to blame? That doesn’t seem to follow.

      6. Yes, the greater RATE of climate change is almost certainly the result of humanity and their activities.

        Significant reductions in the RATE of climate change should be our goal. The trick is to do so in a way which is “fair” and effective. And difficult to subvert for personal gain, with serious penalties for doing so. And universal; what good to do for country A to cut their contribution in half, when country C doubles theirs?

        Ok, let’s consider CO2. How can we reduce production and increase usage (hint – plant life)?

      7. Significant reductions in the RATE of climate change should be our goal.

        Ya think?

        Well, golly gee whiz, Batman, but climate scientists have been screaming about this for 30 fricken years… to be met with, “No, let’s study it some more,” and “It is a left wing conspiracy to bring in greater taxation on everything,” and so on and so forth. That’s where people like you come into it and pretend your denialism is actually reasonable when it’s anything but. It is irrational.

        Before any human induced problem can be tackled, one has to first admit there is a problem related to human activity. That’s where the manufacturers of doubt work tirelessly trying to convince people there is some measure of scientific doubt great enough to hold off doing anything. This is straight out of the tobacco industry game plan and bought by oil producers to sell to the public (ever heard of the Heartland Institute?)… assuming all of us are idiots.

        Well, enough of us are to buy into the doubt… in enough numbers to emasculate any officials brave enough to speak truth to power. Yes, enough are idiots.


        If today’s AGW climate change is really caused by ‘natural’ mechanisms, then by gum and by jeez what’s a doubter to do? Oo! I know… let’s do as little as possible and continue growing our dependency on fossil fuels!

        Bingo! That’s what we’ve doing for those 30 years. How’s that working out for you flood victims, you people fleeing huge fires, those who own beach proprty annually rearranged by historical high tides and backward moving hurricanes?

        This line of reasoning is a dead end before we even begin doing what you now suggest would be a good idea: affect the RATE of climate change. The problem you’re not addressing is that by denying all the compelling evidence that we as humans are responsible for this massive increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas mess, you are effectively suggesting that we do actions that by the greatest of coincidences just so happen to leave the burning of fossil fuels alone while we tsk tsk the evil volcanoes and the sun while we fly to a foreign land to vacation and perhaps spend a bucks for the locals to plant a few more trees… and then pretend we’ve actually done something about changing this rate. That’s lunacy.

        The deniers never use information like, oh I don’t know, what reinsurers have to say, what the US Armed Forces have to say. what NASA and NOMA have to say, what all the big university oceanic and atmospheric departments have to say, what the UN panels have to say, what about 97% of climate scientists have to say – you know, the same ones that brought us the imaginary problems of ozone deletion and acid rain (obviously left wing extremists and fanatics one and all). No, the deniers have to pretend their actually interested in finding out more without,you know, actually finding out anything more. And certainly not changing one’s mind, admitting to being duped, and realizing that denialism in all its forms is actually a despicable failure of reasoning that adds to human suffering out of hubris, avarice, and greed.

        I can’t help but imagine how people like you can look into the eyes of your great grand children and explain to them why you not only didn’t do anything to stop this ever-expanding rate of greenhouse gas emissions that is going to wreak such havoc on the world’s population but actually did your bit to try to convince others from taking any action to stop this mechanism while we had a good chance to mitigate these disastrous effects when we could… that you thought it more reasonable to sell manufactured lies and deceit.

        Good luck with that.

      8. Aww… poor baby. You peddle your denialism as if reasonable. All I’m doing is pointing out your lack of intellectual integrity and intentional deceitfulness. If that hurts your feelings, too bad. You deserve it. What you’re doing is unconscionable not just for its knuckle dragging stupidity but for its accumulated deleterious effects on everyone. Your shame should be deeply felt because it is deeply earned.

      9. There you go. Something which should not get too many people in opposition. Just one problem – the water required.

        Here’s an idea. How about banning carbonated beverages? They are generally considered to be unhealthy anyway, and contain CO2.

      10. There is a massive water demand at the start. And several (probably billions of) tonnes of soils will need to be added. And the land is ‘owned’ in some sense, either by cultural history (like nomads) or actually part of a state. It’s not easy.
        And who would fund it? The developed world is very sensitive about being seen as colonising Africa again.
        We’d have to give the indigenous people sustainable logging rights for this to work, which means the country that does it makes no special profit off of it (everyone makes the climate-change-mitigating ‘profit’, but the actual financier doesn’t get any special benefit). Unless we go cap-and-trade and other countries by the newly created carbon credits — but that very much defeats the purpose.

        So, it’s not easy.

      11. What don’t you understand by: “The Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states: it is a greater than a 90 percent certainty that emissions of heat-trapping gases from human activities have caused “most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century”?

        What ‘additional’ information do you have at your disposal that the panel made up and supported by every major scientific organization in the world failed to consider? Are you really that good… or maybe – just maybe – it might be you who is failing to grasp something here?

        Of course climate changes over time. No one – not I – is disputing this. One would have to be a blithering idiot to think climate only changes by human activity. I’m not a blithering idiot. As a student, I worked on ice core samples from the Antarctic and so I’m rather well acquainted with how climate changes over time and by what methods we use to figure out the historical record.

        That is not and never has been the topic here. That’s a stupid diversion you’re attempting to make. The issue is about human caused climate change and for this hypothesis we have overwhelming evidence that we – humanity – is the cause of the drastic changes in both frequency and amplitude of this change. (You pretend you’re not sure if this is the actual driver for the rapid climate change we are experiencing when there’s no if, and, or buts about it). That’s why it’s called AGW climate changeanthropogenic global warming causing rapid climate change we are experiencing today. That’s the issue and the one you’re trying to deny behind the facade of reasonableness that is anything but reasonable. IT’s not. It’s pure denialism.

      12. Let me suggest that your insistence on using negative terms to describe me because I don’t agree with you encourages me to be less receptive to your viewpoint rather than more receptive…

        The work of the IPCC is impressive. (There is a fifth report now). But it is not unquestionable. It is an “inter-governmental” managed group, which does not do the science themselves, but collects it from others. Various governments can and often do have conflicting agendas, and whenever government is involved, the potential to do what is best for the government rather than what is best for the governed is always a possibility. This does not mean they must be completely or even partially wrong, but it also does not guarantee they are completely right.

        Since we do agree the climate is changing and that if it continues will be very bad, what do YOU think we as individuals, a country and a world should do about it? If “67 percent” of people are “deniers”, then continuing to “preach” climate change is not likely to save us. Real, feasible actions are what is needed.

      13. I use negative terms to describe someone who doesn’t wish for whatever reasons to deny reality. This practice comes with a cost for all, a cost that is paid for by all. What you are doing is worthy of condemnation. The fluff you use to rationalize your denialism is intentional and it is a pathetic attempt to continue diverting criticism away from your denialism of reality with some hand waving towards some global conspiracy. This is not rational. Warping the IPCC’s reports to be about the nefarious agendas of governments over the concerns of the governed rather than what they are – summations of real world data that even using the most conservative of baseline agreements still reveals scientific consensus over the global threat of AGW climate change – is not a difference of opinion; it demonstrates your commitment to deny reality while you continue to try to present your denialism as if reasonable. It’s not. It’s delusional and deserves to be confronted and exposed for the repackaged denialism it is.

        What should we do about AGW climate change? The very first step is admitting the truth: that humanity is responsible for this ever-increasing heating of the planet by using the atmosphere as a free dumping ground for our emissions. A necessary first step – one you are unwilling to make – is understanding the problem. You deny that this problem is directly and indisputably causally linked to human activity. That’s why you’re a denialist. You need to wake up, stop being duplicitous, and become part of the solution rather than continue being part of the problem.

      14. So the only possible first step is for “everybody” to accept something which a majority of people don’t accept? That bodes ill, because that has been tried for years and so far has failed. And even if it someday succeeds, then we would then have to start from scratch to do something about the problem. Perhaps an alternate plan (which could actually have an effect in the meantime) would be a good idea.

      15. Well, if science were based on a popularity contest, we’d be in much deeper trouble than we already are. Fortunately for us, science is a method and not a poll.

        Yes, the failure to convince a majority of the US population is a victory for you and your ilk: reality deniers. This is exactly what the merchants of doubt peddle and the purpose is exactly what has been achieved: to paralyze meaningful action. That’s why your reasons for your support of the denialist camp here are deplorable. Your major ‘question’ has been answered almost a decade ago and is no longer open to any legitimate debate. AGW is the major driver of today;s rapid climate change.

        Unquestionably… to anyone who respects the method of science and is willing to allow reality to arbitrate beliefs about it.

        But you don;t change your talking point. You pretend it’s still an open question. It’s not. You just refuse to admit it.

        Now why might that be?

        What you conveniently gloss over is that there’s a very real cost in the form of real human suffering to this widespread doubt you are continuing to support, continuing to maintain, continuing to spread. That allallt thinks you’re actually being reasonable is a testament to the malicious and seductive power of this denialist tactic perfected by S. Fred Singer that you continue to employ. That’s why this kind of approach to support your denialism of reality speaks directly to the quality of your character. You do this on purpose and it’s not to be reasonable. It’s to be an active member in the merchandising of doubt about AGW climate change. Your position is not just dishonest and intentionally so; it is execrable to pretend otherwise and plays with credulity of reasonable people like allallt.

        You are a denialist and you are peddling lies and deceit here and then blaming me for daring to be honest enough to call a spade a spade and point it out your role in doing so. Yes, how very rude of me.

        Good grief.

      16. Still no ideas on how the real problem (climate change) could be addressed. Based on your vitriol, I’ll bet you think we should return to horses and candles (ignoring that they produce CO2 too). If you think of anything besides getting people to agree with you.

      17. There are many and varied paths to mitigating AGW climate change. But before we can even begin, we need to recognize the root problem: human activity. This is what the deniers focus on and they care not one whit about meaningful mitigation strategies but refuse to admit the source of the root problem. This denialism is the number one problem in mitigating AGW climate change. This is the primary hurdle to overcome. This is where the most energy needs to be expended before we can even <i.start to implement mitigation policies. That’s why I address you… because I was where you now are more than a dozen years ago even though I had a lot of climate courses at university. My argument was like yours… that we didn’t have the data to indisputably link AGW to rapid climate change.

        I was taken to task for this and so I educated myself. The rates of change in frequency and amplitude of weather events demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that the causal link was greenhouse gas emissions. Indisputably. And so I changed my opinion instantly to align with reality. In the intervening years, the model for AGW is supported by all avenues of inquiry. All. The only way to hold an opinion contrary to this model is to deny reality itself. And when the denialism stops governments from instituting timely and relatively benign mitigation strategies to the point where only drastic policies can keep us below 2C by 2100, then we’re at the tipping point of forcings and negative feedbacks that will be beyond all mitigation policies no matter how drastic.

        Think on that fact for moment.

        We stand at the very brink of climate catastrophe. We live in First world countries that control the vast majority of these emissions. If we don;t act and act now, then we doom future generations to a world ever more inhospitable to human life.

        Think on that for a moment.

        Now consider the importance of polite tone when encountering someone who wishes to do as little as possible citing global conspiracies and pretending there are legitimate counter arguments that rely solely on vast scientific ignorance that disputes for trivial reasons and recycled yet long addressed contrary arguments that are factually wrong, and knowably wrong as if reasonable. They’re not. They are batshit crazy when compared to the cost of doing as little as possible.

        The travesty of denialism is that you can afford to do nothing and live out the remainder of your life with some level of inconvenience but only at the mounting expense of every human generation that follows. Every single generation and the billions that constitute them. All for you to do as little as possible.

        Think on the selfishness and stupidity required to think this is reasonable.

        The data is easily available to answer your charges. That you don’t honestly inquire, ask honest questions, offer honest consideration, recognize the scope of your error, admit the depth of shame for being part of this growing problem, instigate an honest change of opinion to align your beliefs with reality, accept responsibility as a human being to those who will follow, do what you can to mitigate the root source of the global problem, demonstrates the extent of your dishonesty when pretending your denialism is reasonable. Again, it’s not. Not because I say so but because reality has arbitrated your beliefs to be factually wrong. And we’ve known this for quite a while. You no longer have any reasonable excuse for your denialism.

        Once you accept responsibility for your small part of humanity’s climate change problem, only then can we begin to mitigate to the best of our abilities in hundred thousand different ways I’ll be glad to discuss. But we have to be on the same team and right now you’re refusing to admit there is only one team that matters, one team that is prepared to actually work to mitigate drastic climate change for our progeny to face. Until you admit that, you’re part of the problem and I’m doing my best to expose you for choosing to be just that.

      18. Well, clearly we are at an impasse. Your only goal is for me (and everyone else) to agree with your views. My goal is to find workable solutions which can actually help. I doubt I’ll ever agree that the most important facet is getting everyone to agree, cause that’s NEVER going to happen. I don’t think you could get EVERYONE to agree that the sun rises in the east. A majority agreeing to something would be the best which could be hoped for.

      19. It’s not a question of agreeing with my views; it’s agreeing to respect reality. When you refuse to do this, no amount of … but let’s talk about strategies… is going to work. This is the insurmountable problem deniers manufacture to NOT do anything and pretend this is reasonable. It’s not. It’s batshit crazy and worthy of contempt and derision.

      20. I think there’s a democratic and apolitical way of doing it: industry will make green energy and technology cheaper. It’s happening at a phenomenal rate. Eventually, it will be economically viable for people to put solar panels on their houses (or even replace their windows with see-through solar panels — they’re real things). They will become cheaper.
        As oil, in theory, should be getting more and more expensive and it becomes more and more difficult to extract.
        This is what Bjorn Lomborg advocates. But, Bjorn Lomborg has the problem of massively downplaying the severity of climate change and of having a rather biased reading of the science (

      21. Technology is a key all right. And I don’t have a problem with encouraging it. But not the way it has been tried. There have been several cases where big “loans” have been provided to companies to develop technology, and they went bankrupt and did not produce anything except better lifestyles for the top people involved. Perhaps a more effective support would be “There is this huge reward for accomplishing xxx” and/or “while making progress on yyy, you don’t have to do this annoying thing”. Payment for results.

      22. Oh, by the way, I don’t mean to imply that there is no benefit to educating people about the problem. In a way which is not perceived as “jihadism”. Just that by itself it is only part of the solution to the problem. What say you convince someone and they say “OMG, that is horrible. What can we do about it?”, You don’t want to be stuck with “Well, go and convince 5 of your friends and relatives”, or “I don’t know” or “Well, trash your car and get a bicycle for transportation, plus give 3/4 of your income to Amalgamated Products who claim they can design and build more efficient solar panels which you won’t be able to afford if they ever manage it”.

      23. Equippedcat, you seem to miss the irony here when you say,

        Oh, by the way, I don’t mean to imply that there is no benefit to educating people about the problem.

        According to you, what problem? There is no problem. There is only natural climate change, right?

        See how duplicitous you are?

      24. Yep, I’m completely and utterly and irretrievably duplicitous. All the times where I said that man does have an effect on climate change, that his effect on the rate of change is significant, and that the stuff we put into the air is a key component of that were sneaked in by my good twin. Don’t worry, I’ve got him chained back up in the basement. Do you know I actually caught him going through the trash attempting to recycle? I knew he was loose when I saw the thermostat set down to 65.

        Here’s a thought. Partial agreement is not equal to complete disagreement…

      25. Oddly, I think I’ve got a post about the idea of extreme eco-philosophies (previous post) and I’m not in favour of that either.

      26. I didn’t say EquippedCat is being reasonable. I said I think he’s got a lot of the correct facts available to him, but they’ve been steeped in rhetoric, and our goal should be to encourage people to look introspectively at their ideas and rhetoric to look for things like cognitive bias and dissonance.

        I’m doing an Environmental Mangement MSc, I have access to the science. But one of my modules is Creative Communications (or something like that) and in it we have to deal with the simple fact that the ‘media’ is Truth to many people.

      27. That first sentence in my 12:37 comment of mine should read, “I use negative terms to describe someone who doesn’t wish for whatever reasons to accept reality.”

      28. I think we need to consider, for a moment, the very real possibility that EquippedCat is not being duplicitous, but has, in fact, been duped himself.
        Yes, the climate is changing (he agrees here).
        Yes, the climate is changing at a rate unprecedented in climatic history (I’m not sure whether he agrees here).
        Yes, the chemicals we dump in the atmosphere (ultimately*) demonstrably change the way atmosphere works in terms of thermodynamics (he didn’t object to this when I said it).
        So, it’s quite possible that EquippedCat could be receptive to these ideas, by simply piecing together the bits he’s already honestly contemplating. But attacking is only going to make him double down on his position. When an idea you hold is under attack, you bias yourself towards your own view (subconsciously).
        Also, it would just be nicer if you were nicer. I understand that it’s infuriating, and very much is a complacent position that is only possible in the secure setting of a developed country. But, the point is you want to encourage him to enter into an open discussion not just here, but with his friends and at work.

      29. Ah. The tone argument. I hear you, Allallt, but I think you’re exactly wrong.

        Is there any substantive difference between being nice or truthfully blunt to parents who, say, think to withhold medical treatment to their children and substitute prayer or alternative ‘medicine’? Is there any reason to be nice to denialists who threaten the future of all our children? Is it really a question of gently convincing someone of the harm they are protecting/promoting by practicing well-worn denialist talking points while real people in real life are caused suffering for the effects of this intentional dithering? Is the denialist’s willingness to avoid identifying the root problem that we know causes harm something worth coddling? At what point – in the climate ‘debate’ we’re well past 30 years of such ‘gentle’ voicing of concerns to the avail of… what… reaching a very real tipping point? – do we stop coddling those who have demonstrated no wish to admit that reality has already and convincingly arbitrated their beliefs to be factually wrong? Do we allow denialism another 30 years to keep us from effectively addressing the root problem by pretending we just don’t know when, in fact, we unquestionably do?

        Yes, I could be far, far nicer but I think it is more honest and convincing at least to the silent readers to denigrate and shame those who continue to pretend – for that is what it is… pretending – that their contrarian view to reality is somehow reasonable and so should be treated reasonably. They’re not reasonable. That horse has already left the barn. Talking about the horse as if it’s still in the barn or might be in the barn or could be in the barn or should be in the barn is nothing more than a diversion from what is the case and a tactic to avoid going forth to find the horse.

        That is why I began this exchange by claiming such contrarian views are neither reasonable nor rational. Such views are batshit crazy and I think it’s about time more denialists and those who coddle denialists receive the blunt end of reality-based evidence-adduced push-back about being tonally ‘correct’ when criticizing their batshit crazy views and be honest about what such contrarian views have to say about their intellectual honesty: it’s utterly lacking.

        So I think coddling denialists serves only to promote/protect their globe-threatening rationalizations that directly threaten all of us. Either get on board reality or get out of the way and stop being part of the problem.

        I would no more think it wise to coddle and be nice to an ebola carrier who wished to argue that their views to live freely among us without at the very least being targeted for pointed criticism (for their willingness to expose others to a deadly disease they really do carry, that really does cause harm) is really a question of tone to sway their opinion to stop threatening others. The same is true for this condition of intellectual bankruptcy to continue to pretend AGW causing rapid climate change is somehow uncertain or open to more debate. It’s not. The denialism itself is the equivalent of being an ebola carrier except its pernicious effect is to create a world that exacerbate just such problems many factors worse than this disease itself.

        The time for debate, for coddling and being gentle to reality deniers, is now past. The threat is real, it’s here, it’s now, and it requires a very great response. Anyone who threatens this course of action now by using typical denialist bullshit should be treated with utter disdain.

        Look, when one allows the ‘natural’ climate change argument to hold any influence whatsoever (when all natural factors have been accounted for and we’re left with indisuputable evidence of AGW), one is in fact disallowing AGW as the prime driver. That’s what equippedcat is trying to pull here and it’s pure denialism. It’s not an indication of reasonableness any more than a creationist admitting to microevolution is an indication of reasonableness towards evolution properly understood. The fact that he denies reality is what matters here in the same way that someone who accepts creationism denies the very basis of evolutionary biology. And both are in effect batshit crazy for such entrenched contrarian evidence-denying delusional thinking. The difference is that AGW is going to radically alter the world as we know it and not in a good way. We are the last line of defense here. We’ve already reached the point of threatening every coastal city in the world, of radically reducing arable land on a global scale. We’ve already reached the point of interfering with the ocean’s ability to sustain currents necessary for the sustainable extraction of food stocks. All of this is going to (and in some places already has) lead to massive social and political upheaval as well as carry a huge financial burden all of us will have to pay regardless of our personal opinions. That’s already a done deal. The horse really has left the barn.

        What isn’t a done deal is to what extent we can mitigate these fundamental changes. That’s where this kind of pretend-it’s-reasonable denialism becomes both toxic, dangerous,and irrational and I think more of us need to treat denialists who do this as they have earned to be treated. And the very least, this treatment should begin by a change of tone away from politeness and being gentle and into honest and sustained harsh criticism for this ongoing and pernicious denialism.

      30. Okay, but you’re accusing EquippedCat of being duplicitous. I’m saying he actually seems to have all the facts, he just hasn’t been led through piecing them together. And he won’t with the tone you’re taking. And so he won’t then help his friends piece together the same facts or realisation of urgency.
        I worry that all you’ll achieve is EquippedCat going back to the echo chamber he accumulated these facts in, and telling the people there that the people on the side of reason are actually bat-shit crazy. It re-enforces their denialist position.
        But what does that achieve? Another denialist says to their friends that the scientists ‘own’ the data and are making the decisions without oversight.
        I know this, my uncle is one of them. (Only one I know, mind you. His kids think he’s mad.)

      31. I don’t know that I’ve been duped. Yes, I can state as an absolute fact that the climate is changing. I’ve SEEN it. In my lifetime. I’m willing to accept that the rate is greater than at any time since we were capable of recording it. That is unlikely to have been falsified and if there is any falsification, it is recent. So if that is what the records say, it is almost certainly the case. And of course the stuff we dump into the air has an effect, as does us paving over the place, filling the electromagnetic spectrum and killing off many of the plants. Man as A cause of climate change? Certainly. Man as primary cause of the increased rate? Probably. Man as the complete cause of all climate change? Anyone who states or give the impression that is so is not someone who can be given serious consideration.

        Nobody has convinced me that the “climate change” movement is bunk; it is some of the people who are into it which give me pause. People like Tildeb, who seem to be more a priest of a religion than a purveyor of truth. Not that they are necessarily wrong, but their methodology is not that of one with facts, but those techniques used by those with nothing to back up their viewpoint except bluster. And then there are the people who seem to profit from the movement, either by using it to increase their power, or their profits. And of course, those who have been caught “fudging” the data to support their hypothesis.

      32. I accept that any sufficiently fervent believer gives many people pause for thought, in all domains. I don’t like the ‘pot kettle black’ retort, but I’ve had and read conversations with you where you do the same thing.
        And I understand your passion about your religion (not that I ever quite figured out what you religion is) and you have to accept Tildeb has very good reasons for his passion too. Downplaying the urgency of climate change is likely to be one of the worst humanitarian crises that ever happen. Or, being too relaxed about it because you think it’s largely natural — that’s the same thing. Tildeb, like me (and I suspect like you, too) cares passionately about humanitarian crises. I think his passion is justified, even if it does cloud the way he communicates a little.
        (For the record, I don’t like being a mediator — it means pissing off both sides.)
        Whether it’s entirely human caused is debatable. But there’s good reasons to believe it is. For one, other cycles we believe might influence the climate (like solar flares) are not elevated. There’s one particular scientist called Ruddiman who believes the natural cycle is trying to send us into ice age, which means not only are humans entirely to blame, but we’ve caused even more damage still. It’s complicated.

      33. I don’t intend to be extreme on anything, but if it comes across that way, intent bows to interpretation.

        Nothing wrong with passion, as long as one realizes that not everybody shares it, and few can be browbeaten into sharing it.

        Perhaps the problem with sharing the urgency of climate change is the “blame”. Could it be that many more people do or can believe the climate is changing than “it’s all Man’s fault”? Nobody likes to be blamed for stuff, even if they are guilty of it. And nobody likes “punishment”, especially if they can convince themselves that they are not responsible.

        What if the concentration was on the ill effects? Show ROI – return on investment. Show the long drop with rocks at the bottom, not point out how stupid it is to lean over the cliff to pick that flower.

      34. Again, the idea that we can fix the problem of greenhouse gas emissions is false. All we can do is try to mitigate what’s already going to drive up global temperatures. That’s why countries are asked to find ways to reduce emissions by percentage, to make commitments to do so, to set timetables and be able to demonstrate how the reductions are being done. Pie in the sky ideas are no longer welcome. Real action is required and real practices necessary to make the attempt to keep the climate change from reaching a tipping point after which no one mitigate. That’s a very real problem and puts a timetable in place that no human can alter by any action whatsoever. Best estimates are about 450ppm of CO2. Today we stand at 403ppm and this is going up by about 1.5 per year. Do the math and see why large scale changes to energy production and use are an immediate concern.

        How to proceed?

        Well, no one is advocating that all emissions be stopped. That’s just not going to happen even if all government s agreed to do this. So what are the attainable alternatives (again, keep in mind the timeline)?

        Renewables are the means to accomplish this switch and we have the technology to implement them in the time frame. Costs per kilowatt hour are now equivalent to fossil fuels but with the emissions. It is the switchover that is expensive but paltry compared to the cost of yearly climate change damage.

        China has already peaked and is now reducing emissions far ahead of schedule. They can do this because they have central planning. Western democracies rely on their populations to give political capital to implement these kinds of changes. This has happened in many European countries where already companies that can produce goods with clean energy out-compete companies that have to rely on fossil fuels. Already many European economies are directly benefiting from their green technologies, employ hundreds of thousands of people, avoiding expensive taxes on carbon, and approaching sustainability (meaning their carbon footprint is cancelled out by carbond sinks within their borders).

        So when people advocate no action, or little action, or as little action as possible while presenting a let’s-take-more-time-and-study-it, or a but-it’s-too-expensive-to-make-necessary-changes-with-today’s-technologies position, or a golly-gee-whiz-I-wish-something-could-be-done-but-there-are-too-many-unknowns position, or a yes,let’s-implement-changes-but-not-any-of-the-present-ones position, we know we’re dealing with people who have their collective heads firmly planted up their collective asses because these issues have ALREADY been handled. That’s why such people’s obvious ignorance needs to treated with the disdain and contempt these knowledge-empty opinions deserve.

        If we wish to have a hospitable planet to human life in 100 years, we have no choice but to act today. Not tomorrow… we’ve run out of time.

        The turn of the century will be at an increased global temperature; today’s actions determines how much higher and the global view is to try for no more than 2C. This will have a profound negative impact and I think we’ve already passed this threshold. I think we can still achieve 2.5 – 3C. Greenland will be five islands and ice free (already happening), The Antarctic Ross Sea ice shelf will be gone (already happening). West Antarctic will lose its major glaciers (already happening). Oceans are heating up (already happening) and expanding. Salination is decreasing (already happening) and so deep ocean currents are slowing down (already happening). Because of these factors, sea level will be I think at least 3 meters higher in 2100 than today. All in less that a hundred years. Then economic cost for this climate induced rate of change will be tens of trillions of dollars already. That’s what putting off mitigation policies – supposedly too expensive but a tiny fraction in total of this cost – have already cost us.

        At 4C, just to be clear about its effect, going outside in Florida during the day for more than 20 minutes will kill you. That’s why we equate AGW climate change deniers as carriers of a deadly disease… their intransigence to lift the veil of their self-induced ignorance is inexcusable because it endangers all humanity. That’s not a ‘passionate’ position: that’s a reasonable equivalency of the danger such people are promoting and supporting. Coddling it amounts to aiding and abetting.

        Renewables are the future. We have no choice but to implement these changes on the time scale we have left if we want to have a hospitable planet for our grandchildren. It’s just that simple and the science is just that plain. This no longer open to debate. This is happening now. We don’t have time to dither, don’t have time to put off implementing incremental and scheduled changes right away. Wind and solar are the major means of doing exactly this – whether on land or sea. We have to build the infrastructure to implement them. (In the US, this a doable now). Remember, we need to get to at the very least sustainable levels and be willing to allow prior emissions to raise the temperature significantly and then adapt to this new and much hotter world in the 2100s. If we wish to reduce that temperature so that the change is less, then we have to get below sustainable levels (ideally zero). I don;t think that’s possible. But what we can do is replace almost all fossil fuel burning today with renewables. That takes political capital and it’s our job to grant it. A good first step is to never, ever, vote for someone who denies climate change or who thinks we have the luxury of time to put off significant changes now. That means actively supporting governments willing to take action now even if we don’t agree with particular policies. That’s our job now. Either get on board or get out of the way.

    2. SOM, you’re delusional and dishonest and this labels you as a full fledged member of being a climate change denier. But you don’t have to remain so.

      You and your ignorance are threatening untold billions of people with additional suffering that you can do something about. This kind of change starts with you and your beliefs and you can be transformed out of ignorance by educating yourself before spewing this kind of nonsense. You don;t have to go down on the denialists and swallowing whatever they produce. You’re at least allowed to spit.

  6. No need to try, human are too greedy and never learn from mistake. Even they know the problem, it cant solve it. What engineering do now, just to delay the process, not eliminate it.

    Are we expecting human to STOP using natural gases to cook, coal burned electricity, stop using server (server required a lot of energy), stop using pressurized water piping. All this now require power and all fueled by coal, etc. Even, solar panel manufacturing are using mass energy to produce and a huge amount of chemical to produce it.

    It dangerous, but nothing much human can do…..

  7. The energy lost through too large windows in buildings is significant. Does the US Home Energy Rating System (HERS) have an incentive to persuade us to only use moderately sized windows? From an energy lost point of view the window needs only to be big enough to let sufficient light in.

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