With our second “500 year” storm in three weeks gathering off the coast of Florida, it’s time to accept the reality of climate change, finally hold the GOP accountable for their lies, and take decisive action

As I write this, there are three hurricanes working their way westward across the Atlantic. They are; Katia, Irma, and Jose. Irma, the one that appears to be the most deadly of the three at the moment, has maintained a sustained windspeed of 185 miles an hour for over 24 hours now, breaking all known records. While the eye of the Category-5 hurricane narrowly missed Puerto Rico, both St. Martin and Barbuda have, according to press reports, been decimated. And it looks as though the Turks and Caicos Islands are next, as the hurricane makes its way toward the Florida coast, where, according to some projections, it could do over $300 billion in damage.

While the destructive power of the hurricane may diminish before it hits Florida, I think it’s fair to say that, at least historically speaking, we shouldn’t be talking about a Category-5 hurricane hitting our coast just a few weeks after having a Category-4 hurricane hitting the same coast. I mean, if they were regular events, they wouldn’t call them “500 year” storms, right? But here we are, in the span of just three weeks, preparing for Hurricane Irma to pick up in Florida where Hurricane Harvey left off in Texas.

One would think, at some point, even in deep red states like Texas and Florida, people might begin to wonder why it is that, in spite of what climate change deniers might tell us, the oceans just keep getting warmer, and these once-in-a-generation weather events keep happening one after the other. I mean, the temperature in San Francisco just hit 106-degrees, forest fires are consuming Oregon, and here we are, preparing to see yet another American coastal city washed out to sea. You would think, at some point, people… especially those losing their homes… might stop worrying about the future of Confederate of monuments and begin to worry instead about the futures of their families. At some point, you would think, these people would have to start turning on those politicians like Senator Mitch McConnell, who, in spite of the evidence, has said, “For everybody who thinks it’s warming, I can find somebody who thinks it isn’t,” and Donald Trump, who has claimed that climate change was nothing more than a “Chinese hoax.”

But, it would appear, we’re still not yet at the tipping point… One just wonders how many people have to die before we get there.

Trump, apparently not feeling any pressure from his supporters, just named Oklahoma Congressman Jim Bridenstine, a man who once demanded on the floor of the House that President Obama “apologize” to the American people for funding research into climate change, to be the head of NASA. And, today, of all places, he headed to North Dakota to stand in front of an oil refinery and tell those assembled before him that the drought they’ve been experiencing will simply go away. “We’re working hard on it, and it will disappear, it will all go away,” he told his assembles supporters, as the refinery behind him belched out smoke. In better times, I would have found the irony hilarious.

In a sane world, the whole lot of them – all the Republicans who have continued to lie about the science of climate change because it serves them politically – would be run out of D.C. on a rail, but here we are, clapping for our pussy-grabber-in-chief at an oil refinery as yet another hurricane prepares to hit out coast.

I think I’ve probably said it here before, but every climate denier should be held personally accountable for what happened a few weeks ago in Houston, what is likely going to happen tomorrow in Florida, and whatever happens next. They knew damn well what was happening, and they not only chose to do nothing, but they lied, and told people that there was nothing to worry about. They should not only be driven from office, but every one of them should be the subject of a class action suit… Every family who lost a loved one, or a home, should go after these men for damages, as they knowingly perpetuated a lie to serve the financial interests of their campaign donors.

I’m pretty sure I’ve told you this before, but I first became aware of climate change back in ’87, when I lived in Washington, DC. I remember distinctly attending a public event where scientists, politicians and lobbyists weighed in on the subject. (I remember that the lobbyist on the panel said that, even if global warming were true, we’d be able to invent our way out of it. “We’ll make bigger, better air conditioners,” he said, as thought that would somehow make everything alright.) That was 30 years ago, and the scientific evidence was already pretty clear. And who knows how much progress we could have made toward limiting our carbon output if we’d acted decisively back then. Instead, though, we kept propping up the oil and gas industry with subsidies, while fighting against renewables.

But, instead, we’re staring into the eye of Irma, waiting to find out just how many lives are forever ruined.

Paul Ryan said yesterday, “We’ve got another hurricane right now headed to our shores and it’s critical that we act immediately.” Of course, when he said it, he wasn’t referring to the root cause. He wasn’t talking about cutting carbon emissions, of passing a gas tax to encourage a shift to renewables, or an ambitious infrastructure initiative to public a state-of-the-art wind and solar grid across the United States. No, by “act immediately,” he meant “try to dodge the waves and flying debris.” And that’s what passes for leadership in the United States right now… Something has to change, and it has to happen quickly, if humanity is to survive.

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77 Comments

  1. wobblie
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 4:07 am | Permalink

    We have become one of the most scientific illiterate people on the planet. Most knowledgeable scientist know that they have been “understating” the extent of global warming. The ocean is in the mid to high 80’s. That is what is driving these monster hurricanes. The Arctic has become darker and darker with a corresponding increase in temperature. Warming up 5 to 10 times faster than the rest of the planet. The jet streams in the Northern hemisphere have been breaking down and slowing as the temperature difference between the Arctic shrinks. Instead of storms moving from west to east, they become more circular and stationary.
    We have so fucked our children and grand children. The rich are pathological. They think because god has “blessed them” with riches they can avoid the consequences.
    I expect that soon the deniers to soon shift to the blaimers–“Why didn’t you scientist tell us the truth about how bad it is”

  2. Eel
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    This will all be over soon enough. Once the prehistoric viruses are released from the thawing arctic tundra are set free, this whole human nightmare will be behind us and the earth can move on.

  3. Sad
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    There is nothing an individual can do. All the vacations and driving I’ve done since I first learned about climate change haven’t contributed to the problem. The government should do something.

  4. SeaEagle
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    I don’t mean to undermine the need to take huge measures to help correct/slow global warming because that’s maybe the most important topic on the planet right now, but…

    Using 2 hurricanes as proof of global warming is equivalent to using the record cold winters of 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 as proof of global cooling. Coincidences happen. Also, these aren’t 500-year storms. In fact, they’re probably not even 25-year storms since Katrina and Andrew were both in the last 25 years. I, personally, have no doubt that the likelihood of big cyclones has increased due to global warming (even though the scientific community appears to be unsure), but claiming this particular pairing of storms is directly caused by global warming is inaccurate at best and feels like the same kind of grandstanding the Trump government uses to “prove” their views.

  5. Dan
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    SeaEagle,

    The notation of X-year storm is simply statistics. If you were to put every storm on record into order of magnitude (some metric, say rainfall) you would end up with a “curve” that defines the probability of a storm with Y amount of rainfall. So a “100-year” storm simply means that the amount of rainfall in that storm statistically should only happen once every 100 years. it does not mean that it cant happen 2 weeks in a row.

    The fact that they are happening every decade or less now, is very strong proof that the existing “probability curve” is no longer valid, and the historical record does not represent what is happening now. In other words, the climate has changed.

    Additionally, it is not just purely statistics that is indicating a changing climate. Warmer air has a higher water vapor capacity, and therefore can hold more moisture. This is one of the underlying principals of climate model predictions: as we warm the atmosphere, there will be more moisture in the air and therefore more intense storm events. This is what we are experiencing now. That’s not conjecture or “grandstanding,” it’s science. It’s undeniable that the atmosphere today holds more water than it did a few decades ago.

  6. M
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    SeaEagle, it’s not only these two storms. The scientific analysis draws on a hundred years of data. If you’re truly interested in learning more, I’d suggest the site Skeptical Science, which addresses these issues head on.

    https://www.skepticalscience.com/

    Best of luck.

  7. Dan
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    I would also point out that the “500 year” storm in Texas and the “500 year” storm in Florida are not part of the same system. They are certainly correlated, but the historical record of storms are different in each region

    Basically, we have created an environment where every region on Earth can expect to break their own record of extreme weather events, be it hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, etc. There is no greater proof of a changing climate than for the existing statistics to no longer work.

  8. Lynne
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    What is frustrating to me is that facts dont matter to a lot of people. I dont know how to change that. Also, fwiw, like it or not, the rich are better able to adjust to the change in climate so they really do have less of an incentive to do anything about it especially if they are still making money in a fossil fuel dependent economy. Not sure what to do about that either.

    The best we can do is to vote and to vote for people willing to accept the facts. And since so many are willing to vote for those who deny climate change, we may need to learn to unite over even imperfect candidates. I mean, can you imagine how much things would be different if Al Gore had become President in 2000? The far left has blood on their hands too

  9. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Reforestation is probably the best thing we can do but that is not profitable like a carbon tax; not to the tax collector. When the trees are gone the land dries leading to floods when it does rain. This whole state was covered in pine trees not that long ago. Where is the movement to reforest our land?

  10. Dan
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Do you know what IS profitable? Sustainable energy. There are trillions to be made in emerging energy markets. millions of high paying jobs. Why are we ignoring that? Why are we subsidizing oil companies (which make billions in profits) why is the president trying to prop up dying industries like coal, which has no market? Why arent we taking the lead on solar, wind and tidal energy? I know the answers to those semi-rhetorical questions, but why are we allowing it?

    http://www.businessinsider.com/solar-energy-job-growth-2017-1

  11. SeaEagle
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Dan, I should have been more clear. What I should have said was that “500-year storms” doesn’t really mean “a storm that happens once in 500 years.” The US averages well over one of these each year and has for decades. I was mostly responding to Mark’s statement, “if they were regular events, they wouldn’t call them “500 year” storms, right?” Yes, they would, and they are reasonably regular events, and a more accurate layman’s term for these might be something like “25-year” storm, or even “10-year” storm.

    The rest of my comment remains true – although global warming is likely contributing to the severity and frequency of these storms, it is mostly coincidence that we had 2 within a month (in the same way that it’s coincidence that we had 2 record cold winters recently), and using them to “prove” global warming is a misappropriation of facts. And honestly, people who are capable of ignoring the tons of non-anecdotal data proving the earth is warming at an alarming rate are not going to be swayed by two storms that will likely soon be forgotten – in the same way most people have forgotten the 500-year floods that happened to Houston in 2015 and 2016 and the 500-year Matthew last year.

  12. Iron lung
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    All we need is UBI.

    All other issues are irrelevant.

  13. XXX
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Who in their right mind goes to an oil refinery during a hurricane and proceeds to discuss weather that is clearly influenced by global climate change? That’s absolutely insane.

  14. Dave
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    The forest fires out here in the Northwest are getting pretty bad. We have had only 2 days of rain this summer, and both were just a light drizzle. There are noticeable numbers of trees dying from drought stress in the city. In July, we were blanketed in smoke from the forest fires in British Columbia for nearly 2 weeks. There was over a million acres of forest burning up there, primarily due to trees killed by Pine Bark Beetles whose population exploded due to a longer period of warm days there. The Jolly Mountain fire is currently burning east of us, and has filled the air with smoke and ash over the last 4 days now. The ash is at times coming down like snow flurries.

    Last year, I was up in the North Cascades at Diablo Dam / New Halem and there were large areas of mountainside that were just dead trees and charring from a fire the year before. These trees are 150/200 + year old trees.

    2 years ago, we drove through eastern washington in August to Priest Lake in Idaho. Eastern Washington was covered in smoke from Ellensburg to Spokane. The effect was like smoking half a pack of clove cigarettes. ( Current conditions in Seattle are more like half a pack of marlboro lights ). On our second night at Priest Lake, a fire broke out on the other side of the mountains on the west side of the lake. The sky turned a dark orange grey and large ash and cinders were raining down. Pretty scary stuff.

    The fires out here are part of a natural cycle, but the size and intensity are increasing and they are pushing into some areas that don’t appear to be part of the normal cycle – based on the age and density of the trees at these locations.

  15. Jcp2
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    With regards to forest fires, I’m under the impression that our desire to control naturally occurring fires has also lead up to the decades long accumulation of fuel that is being consumed in larger single fires as opposed to multiple smaller fires. Part of that may be asthetic, and part of that may be protecting developments within and adjacent to these forests.

  16. Dave
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Although agreement on a climate change / carbon emissions problem statement, policy changes and full compliance would be ideal, it is pretty clear we are not headed in that direction.

    There is a book written and illustrated by Peter Spier called “On Dykes and Windmills”. It looks at the history of the polders in the Netherlands. The polders were(are) below sea level and it took the efforts and attentiveness of every citizen of a polder to keep it from returning to the sea. Their survival depended on maintaining the dykes and windmills and they were acutely aware of this at all times. This may be a model of how coastal cities are rebuilt for a future that will continue to challenge their existence. An active participant population who are all dedicated to their preservation rather than a passive population relying on policies to be made by people too far removed physically and ideologically to be effective.

  17. Dave
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Jcp2 –

    This is definitely a part of the problem. There was/ is a belief that wildfires should be controlled rather than the natural brush clearing that occurs from the regular fires. The fact that people keep building homes and communities in areas that have a history of “natural disasters” makes the need for fighting them even more pressing , as human life and property is now at stake. So we are in a bit of a pickle.

    In ” A Natural History of Western Trees” by Donald Peattie, the entry on Lodge Pole Pines illustrates the need for forest fires. Theses pine forests require a fire every 100 years because the cones will not open to release the seeds until the temperature is at the level of a fire. The older trees are cleared out and the new seedlings are given more sunlight. Other trees require the fires to provide nutrients in the soil, like the pacific madrone.

  18. EOS
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a scientist who has studied the ocean temperatures for over 50 years. He’s a climate change denier. But what does he know about science that the UN with their globalist agenda doesn’t know better?

    http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/articles/ocean.html

  19. Posted September 7, 2017 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    EOS, the scientist you’re suggesting that we all look at died nearly two decades ago, in 2001.

    https://scripps.ucsd.edu/news/2728

    Is there a credible living scientist you can point to who has actually studied the last 16 years of data?

  20. Iron lung
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    Don’t worry, the earth is 4000 years old.

  21. Iron lung
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    UBI will solve the problem of climate change

  22. EOS
    Posted September 8, 2017 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/425232/97-percent-solution-ian-tuttle

    You have to understand science in order to realize that the media are distorting the facts.

  23. EOS
    Posted September 8, 2017 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    http://www.businessinsider.com/the-ten-most-important-climate-change-skeptics-2009-7#myron-ebell-3

  24. Dave
    Posted September 8, 2017 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-5aceb360-8bc3-4741-99f0-2e4f76ca02bb

    We would need to agree on what the facts are and how they are established before making and accepting claims that the media is distorting them. Some articles do present their sources, so it seems reasonable that if there were doubts about representation that those sources could be consulted to correct the accounts.

    Do you accept the data that is collected by organizations like NOAA? If so, do you think the data is being misinterpreted? By what line of reasoning? What is the rebuttal to, say, NOAA methodology of collecting average annual temperature readings that would justify doubt?

    Aside from data collection, models, methodology, and interpretations – do you deny that there are changes occurring at a global scale? Like ocean acidification, permafrost melting, more intense weather? Or do you accept these phenomena but not accept that we are somehow, through human activity, contributing to these changes in weather and environment? That we somehow are separate from Nature?

    I make no claim to understanding the science behind this. There is a degree of blind trust on my part that the scientific community has a model of what is going on that we should pay attention to. And it is good science to always check and challenge other scientists models and methodologies, but a successful scientific challenge would replace the model with a more successful explanation of the phenomena…. and I just don’t see that happening. That is my measure for whether to trust the model here. What I see is a scientific model explaining a phenomena that, in just the human aspect, threatens to cause mass displacement / economic instability. Some of our policy makers in the US are holding up “alternative” models that do not successfully challenge the current model, and are using the challenge as a justification for not starting a deliberative process to avoid and / or anticipate and plan for the causal chain and its consequences that the model predicts. That is one hell of a gamble and if it only affected them I would not care, but it doesn’t.

    It seems very imprudent to not, at a minimum, plan and prepare for the worse. Even more imprudent to ignore the phenomena to preserve a more pleasant notion of how Nature works and our relationship to it. Nature unfolds by Necessity, not by our beliefs. A basic understanding of science understands this and accepts the best explanation that fits the phenomena while doing their best to disprove it. That is not a policy maker’s job. Their job is to anticipate change and deliberate on a best course of action to preserve peace and prosperity.

  25. EOS
    Posted September 8, 2017 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Excellent post Dave. What facts are indisputable?

    Is there Global Warming? Maybe. The NOAA data/graphs were altered in the past to support a Global Warming agenda and the alterations were made public. The worldwide recording of accurate temperatures was not widespread until recently.

    Let’s assume the NOAA data is correct and the temperatures have risen some in the last 100 years. Has it been caused by man? Possibly, but it is unable to be determined at this point. The largest increase in temperatures in the past 100 years occurred prior to 1940 while the greatest amount of CO2 release has been in the last 20 years where temperatures have been steady or falling. The models predict a much larger increase in temperatures in recent times that has just not occurred. There is no correlation at the present time for CO2 concentrations and temperature increases, although the models predict this.

    Let’s assume that it is man’s impact that has caused the temperatures to rise. Is there any experimental data that shows that any intervention at this point could impact global temperatures? No, no one knows.

    Should we impose restrictions that would have a devastating impact on our economies and drastically reduce the standard of living based on a theory that global temperatures are rising to our detriment, using procedures that have not been tested to be effective?

    Could climate change be cyclical? Could the ocean’s that cover such an enormous amount of space be an effective sink for any excess CO2, thereby making CO2’s impact on temperature to be negligible?

    Should we encourage others to not use anecdotal incidences of a few major weather events to be conclusive evidence that global warming exists?

    I think the important thing to remember is that no matter how many times the media reports that all of science agrees that this phenomena is occurring- it is just not true.

  26. Lynne
    Posted September 8, 2017 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Just some fact checking

    “I think the important thing to remember is that no matter how many times the media reports that all of science agrees that this phenomena is occurring- it is just not true.”

    Another EOS lie. No one has ever said that ALL of science agrees with climate change. They have said an overwhelming majority of scientists agree that global warming is both real and man made. Usually you see 97% as the number. The issue is that there are some quibbles about the methodology of the study which came up with that 97% number. Valid perhaps but those quibbles don’t disprove the number. I don’t even care about the exact number. The point is that there isn’t a lot of argument among scientists about this anymore and there is about as close to a consensus as one is likely to get.

  27. Dave
    Posted September 8, 2017 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    EOS

    Speaking for myself, I admit ignorance of many of the details regarding climate change and that I put a large amount of unquestioned trust in the scientific community. I also admit that I am put off at times by what seems like arrogance from scientists, and more generally from the professional class. But when the dentist tells me to floss and brush to protect my teeth from periodontal disease or my doctor tells me to quit smoking to prevent cardio pulmonary problems, I don’t feel the need to educate myself on a detailed causal explanation of the relationship between plaque and gum recession or the relationship between fine smoke particles and the damage to lung cells, etc so that I can argue with them. At some point, the teeth start loosening as the gum line recedes and the persistent cough starts to produce specks of blood. At that point, all arguing with the professionals about the virtues of not flossing and smoking a pack a day are pointless.

    Similarly, when I decide that my 20 year roof can actually get 25 years and I start noticing at 22 years that my interior walls are swelling and black spots are forming around the baseboard, did I know better than the ASTM or UL who set the life expectancy? Or when a neighbor takes the initiative to try getting 60% support to create a Local Improvement District to self assess a tax to fix the cracked street pads and 75% tell him to go blow because they don’t want government intruding in their lives, do they still feel that way in 10 years when the neighborhood roads are pitted out and their property values have dropped by a greater amount than the LID tax would have cost them?

    Ok, so I’m being a bit of a smart ass. But hopefully you understand where I’m coming from here. The world is not static. It is dynamic and we are served best by being prepared for the curveballs it will throw us. We can argue here about whether NOAA fudged the numbers, whether there is a correlation between CO2 and rising temperatures, etc. but I am not a scientist and I don’t think I have the time and / or intellectual capacity to figure it out. But when the doc tells me to brush and floss, I do it.

    It is interesting to me that there are plenty of other scientific models that legislators don’t argue about. None of them seem to have a problem with thermodynamics, optics, mechanics, and other basic physics ( evolution being a notable exception due to its clash with social convention models that make us static and most important ). All of those in no way impede the pursuit of prosperity, at least in terms of Technology rather than Nature. But the climate model suggests that we show moderation in our seeking of prosperity and that does not sit well with our gospel of prosperity.

    There is a notion that a man made system set in motion and maintained by the proper amount of capital will generate wealth and prosperity that more than offsets the costs, so we are in the habit now of ignoring these costs because it would cause the pleasures brought by prosperity to be shadowed by a troubled conscience, or worse.

  28. EOS
    Posted September 8, 2017 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Lynne,

    I guess you didn’t read or understand the link to the national review article. 97% is the often repeated lie. Try to use reasoning skills before you default to your name-calling mode.

  29. EOS
    Posted September 8, 2017 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Dave,

    Few are scientists and those few are counting on the fact that most people don’t have the time and / or intellectual capacity to figure it out. But studies have shown that scientists are no more likely to have integrity than the population at large. Climate scientists are motivated to get more money to fund further studies in their area of interest.

  30. Dave
    Posted September 8, 2017 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    EOS

    I would think there would have to be a majority of climate scientists who are lacking in integrity for the climate model to be a total fabrication designed to generate income. The findings are supposed to be peer reviewed. It seems like your level of skepticism would find that level of lack of integrity difficult to believe.

    By your reasoning, the same integrity problem would extend to lawmakers. They could knowingly be lead to wrong conclusions in the interest of getting more money as well, suggesting that in this instance they would ignore the peer reviewed scientific model in favor of their self interest ( and their financial supporters. )

    Back to the NOAA data and the assertion made from it… that the average global temperature is rising. Are you skeptical of the assertion, the data supporting it, or both? It sounds like you are more skeptical of the method of collecting the data than the assertion… that you don’t reject the conclusion, just the supporting data due to an event that put it into question in your mind. Correct?

    Also along those lines, you appear to accept the idea that CO2 levels are going up, but are skeptical of a CO2 connected to rising temperatures, correct? You seem to contradict this position when you suggest that the oceans could absorb the excess CO2 “making CO2’s impact on temperature to be negligible”.

    It appears from your post that you are concerned about the impact that policies directed at reducing carbon emissions would have on our standard of living and our economy. That is a real fear that needs to be acknowledged for sure, and it seems as if those who are already benefitting from the new economy would not be the ones suffering. But there are changes coming in many forms that will challenge our standard of living.

    I am trying to take a more practical approach to the whole thing. As I said, I don’t fully understand the climate model but from a practical standpoint I accept it. The end I am focused on is my daughter’s future… a world that is not in constant crisis mode- in this case as a result of mass displacement and resource destruction due to increasing temperatures.

  31. EOS
    Posted September 8, 2017 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/09/a-scientific-look-at-bad-science/399371/

  32. Dave
    Posted September 8, 2017 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    So, I read the business insider link. No one there appears to be disagreeing that the temperature is rising. They are just disagreeing with the predictive model and the solution suggested by it ( carbon reduction. ) The important takeaway is that regardless of the model, the temperature is rising. That seems to be unchallenged.

    So, at that point you either believe we can collectively mitigate this trend by carbon reduction or that the climate is just doing its own thing. But we still have to deal with the issues related to the warming.

    And regardless of whether CO2 is a large contributor to the increase, it is being absorbed by the oceans and the acidity is in creasing – creating yet another large scale incremental change with effects that will cascade as well…. like the crabs that are not able to take in the calcium they need to form their shells due to the slight change in ph.

  33. EOS
    Posted September 8, 2017 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Dave,

    We have reasonable temperature records for the past 100 years. The temperature was rising in the first half of the 20th century and then stabilized some and then increased for a time. Overall it is slightly higher according to our records. The question is whether this is an unstoppable linear trend toward higher temperatures or a natural cyclical process of variation that has always been occurring. Many knowledgeable people have started referring to “Global Warming” as “Climate Change” because the most recent data shows cooling rather than increased temperatures.

    The actual rise in temperature is rather small. Additionally many believe higher levels of CO2 will be absorbed by growing trees and plants and aid in their growth. The predictive model indicates the temperatures should be significantly higher than what we are experiencing today. Science uses models for their predictive value. When the model can’t explain current phenomena, there is even less value in relying on the model to predict future events.

    Is it documented that the ocean acidity is increasing? I haven’t seen any papers that indicate this is true, merely speculation as to how dangerous this would be if it occurred.

    The bottom line is that we haven’t proven conclusively that increased CO2 levels will result in large scale warming and don’t have the slightest definitive proof that reducing CO2 would have any impact on climate.

  34. EOS
    Posted September 8, 2017 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Should have written “and then decreased for a time”

  35. EOS
    Posted September 8, 2017 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    “I would think there would have to be a majority of climate scientists who are lacking in integrity for the climate model to be a total fabrication designed to generate income”

    No, not really. Scientists can do research only when they are successful in getting funding. They submit a grant application to a small panel of established scientists who then review all the submissions and rank the degree to which they think the proposal is worthy of funding. If a majority of the panel have established their careers in the field of “Global Warming” then it is highly likely that they would prefer other researchers continue to perform experiments to confirm their previous conclusions. To do so means that they are likely to be cited in future publications which would lead to increased recognition of their life’s work. Their belief that their research is significant is the bias that compels them to rate proposals that would confirm their work at a higher level. So those who propose to do research that confirms this bias are far more likely to get funding.

    At the time when papers are submitted for publication, this same “peer review” process is a driving force to disproportionately accept papers that support the established scientist’s hypothesis who comprise the editorial boards of journals.

    To evaluate this bias, one only needs to look at all the projects that have been funded in the past 10 – 20 years and consider if there is an equal distribution of projects whose hypothesis is that CO2 does not contribute to Global Warming as there are funded projects whose hypothesis is that CO2 does contribute to Global Warming. It’s not even close. And no wonder that there seems to be a consensus of opinion when one looks at published articles in peer-reviewed journals.

  36. Dave
    Posted September 8, 2017 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    EOS

    I don’t know what to say about the peer review process. It appears you have more depth of experience with this process than I do.

    Regarding temperature data, what is the data set that you are referring to and putting your faith in over NOAAs?

    Regarding ocean acidification, I am nowhere near well informed enough to argue whether it is a problem or not. My direct experience on Puget Sound is that something is not right. The herring populations that the larger fish feed on are dropping. The sea stars here a few years ago died off en masse from some disease that caused them to dissolve. The salmon and steelhead are not making it back to their spawning grounds due to hotter water. Dead zones out along the pacific coast are killing off sea life. The “media” representing the thoughts and research of scientists say that CO2 is the suspected culprit. They suggest that it will get worse.

    It seems to come down to how you view the cost /benefit analysis of burning fossil fuels. If you see reductions as having negative economic impact in general and a loss of living standards specifically, then there would likely be a bias toward marginalizing the costs. And if you lay value on preserving the environment, there would potentially be a harsh bias toward industry. The important thing seems to be to remove the bias and to focus on how Nature unfolds ( with us as a part rather than removed. )

    For what it is worth, here is an article from the Seattle Times about ocean acidification….

    http://apps.seattletimes.com/reports/sea-change/2013/sep/11/pacific-ocean-perilous-turn-overview/

  37. Dave
    Posted September 8, 2017 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    EOS

    Of note – Freeman Dyson, the first person on the list of Climate Change deniers, should be regarded with a bit of caution. He has a brilliant mind, but some of his projects over the years lead one to believe he is somewhat amiss. He started his career with the Royal Airforce during WWII doing calculations to figure out how to create firestorms, which directly lead to the fire bombing of Dresden. In the 50’s, he was tasked with heading Project Orion to look at the feasibility of using nuclear propulsion to launch spaceships. He completely discounted the amount of destruction his system would have on the environment. His later interests have been in colonizing asteroids, creating Dyson spheres, and making biological modifications to plants and animals – again with no regards to the environmental consequences.

    He, and many other brilliant minds like him, shine best when they limit their focus. His comments about the simplicity of the climate model should be considered in light of his method and his madness.

  38. EOS
    Posted September 8, 2017 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/27/the-ocean-is-not-getting-acidified/

    The oceans are enormous and contain huge amounts of naturally occurring buffering compounds. There are no shortage of stories that attribute terrible consequences to CO2 in the atmosphere, but few longitudinal widescale measurements. When slight changes are found, people magnify the small change over long durations of time and assume it will always trend in the same direction as the first observable change. It’s not that I prefer a different data set, I just wish there were much more recorded observations. I don’t doubt that you see changes in your local environment, but I question your conclusion that any negative change you see is directly related to CO2 in the atmosphere. The changes could be attributable to a myriad of other causes which have not been excluded as possibilities.

  39. Jean Henry
    Posted September 8, 2017 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    It doesn’t matter what the cause of climate change is or how long it will take to have widespread catastrophic consequences, we still must address it as soon as possible by means within our control– which is the green house gases we emit. Risk mitigation is simply good business strategy. Embrace change, EOS.

  40. wobblie
    Posted September 9, 2017 at 4:12 am | Permalink

    People such as EOS live in a fantasy world. Magical thinking guides their response. If it is gods will, then us humans are not at fault and as such can do nothing about it. For over 30 years the scientific establishment has been predicting exactly what is currently occurring. In Biblical days we would call people like Hansen, Prophets.
    Magical folks are enthralled by the rich and powerful, of which many such as the Kochs are pathological about wealth and power.
    Ecological sustained energy production threatens their control and profits. Until we limit their ability to sustain the fantasy worlds of folks like EOS, (through propaganda, misinformation, lies, and pie in the sky hope) we will continue to watch our world slip away from our children and grandchildren.
    For all you liberals, we are well past the point of “risk mitigation”, 20 or 30 years ago that strategy could have worked. We are rapidly approaching the all or nothing point. We have got to turn off the carbon generators today if we are to have any hope of a reasonable future.

  41. EOS
    Posted September 9, 2017 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/what-the-climate-wars-did-to-science.aspx

  42. Dave Morris
    Posted September 9, 2017 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Well, if we can’t agree on some level of objectivity and where it can be found, then it just comes down to a wager. I am not willing to accept the risk that would accompany the extreme skepticism you are embracing. I am experiencing changes first hand out here and I don’t think the PNW is unique in this respect. I don’t see the downside of trying to curb our consumption. I do see the downside of ecosystems crashing due to what appears to be human causes.

    This extreme skepticism erodes the belief that there is an immutable Truth… something analogous to moral relativism but eroding agreement on the observations of Nature rather than the social norms underpinning civility. Science is dependent on this notion that there are Truths about nature that are incontrovertible, and that from these first principles explanations can provided, which in turn allow us to make predictions of events based on these principles. While weather is a complex system, it still follows the rules of Nature. And the magnitude of our human activities relative to this closed system cannot be ignored as a factor.

    To say we don’t know for sure seems like healthy skepticism, but to bring it to the level of skepticism that ignores the obvious creates a dangerous disbelief that leads to unacceptable inaction. Even Rush had enough sense to abandon his extreme skepticism and evacuate.

    I see this morning that the “predictive model” that you say science is not particularly good at is predicting Tampa to be in the path of the hurricane. The predictive model that planners there have been using has assumed that a large hurricane would not hit them, whereas just the simple historic meteorological data would indicate otherwise – regardless of the climate change model. It seems really unwise to not plan for the future using a worse case scenario predictive model. The alternative is living blissfully ignorant in the moment or the always out of reach, never ending sunshine model promoted by the American Dream salesmen.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/health/environment/tampa-bay-climate-change/

  43. Jean Henry
    Posted September 9, 2017 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Wobblie– duh. I was making a rhetorical argument. Also you don’t understand what risk mitigation is.Big corporations have had climate action plans for years. Neo-liberal funding of sustainable technological solutions has been going on for decades and just might be able to move us off of carbon in time to avoid worst outcomes. All the progressive efforts at radically changing human behavior DID NOT WORK. We buried our heads in the sand, while business figured out how to make money preparing to address a looming crisis. There are many who have a kind of rapture fantasy where humanity will be punished for this hubris and they’ll survive in communes carding wool somewhere off the grid. That’s the future they are planning for. It’s closer to religious belief than science. The transition towns movement tried to move people to embrace that future and failed. Because it’s an unappealing and regressive view of the future. Things are ugly and getting uglier. But humans are also finally starting to reduce consumption. It’s not all bad. Societal change requires impetus. With impetus we have been known to transition economically very fast (see WW2). Harvey and Irma seem like some decent warning shots across the bow. Maybe we will be moved to change in time.

  44. Jean Henry
    Posted September 9, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    For EOS:
    https://qz.com/1069298/the-3-of-scientific-papers-that-deny-climate-change-are-all-flawed/

    you are correct that climate science is imperfect, the numbers are wonky and accurate prediction almost impossible. We will never prove man-made global warming, just as we will never prove gravity. But we must act. You can live in denial as long as you want. The entire world is waking up to this crisis. Go bury your head in the bible and wait for the rapture. I kind of hope it happens as, by my reading of the bible, I think you’d be in for an unpleasant surprise.

  45. wobblie
    Posted September 9, 2017 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCr546o7ImhGM57qoY0hHvkA

  46. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted September 10, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    For the real science lovers: we are still in the Pleistocene era which is characterized by pendulum-like swings between glacial and interglacial periods. The current Holocene Epoch interglacial period began 15,000 years ago. Unless the pattern changes there will be another glacial period. Can you imagine the scale of geological change as continent-spanning glaciers advance and retreat?

    http://www.atmo.arizona.edu/students/courselinks/fall12/atmo336/lectures/sec5/pleistocene.html

  47. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted September 10, 2017 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    The Great Lakes were only formed some 14,000 years ago during the Holocene. That’s a blink of an eye. Interglacial periods last about 10,000 to 30,ooo years so as a species we need to be able to survive global cooling. That is probably a more destructive threat than warming.

  48. Jean Henry
    Posted September 10, 2017 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    I prefer scientists, especially climate scientists, to science lovers, HW. Not interested in science shepticism from someone named after a warrior in an imaginary prehistoric Civilization. Keep your fantasies to yourself. They are not science. You are easily manipulated

  49. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted September 10, 2017 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    You couldn’t be any stupider, could you? There’s no fuckin’ way.

  50. Jean Henry
    Posted September 10, 2017 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    It’s “more stupid,” HW.

  51. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted September 10, 2017 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    You could go to Jupiter
    And get more stupider

  52. Jean Henry
    Posted September 10, 2017 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    We are not going to make it to the next ice age at this point. 85,000 years from now does not concern me. You should try to work out your theories with EOS, who believes the earth is only a few thousand years old. You are both very certain that science backs you up, despite the overwhelming scientific concurrence to the contrary with precisely zero to gain from that analysis. Both of you will twist reality to unbelievable lengths to support your narrative fallacies. And, yes, everyone does that to some degree, but the matter of degree is critical… Let’s not even get into false equivalences. You use every technique in the Sagan’s Baloney detection handbook. You should study it so you have a frame of reference for your modes of argument. http://www.inf.fu-berlin.de/lehre/pmo/eng/Sagan-Baloney.pdf

  53. Jean Henry
    Posted September 10, 2017 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    https://www.vox.com/2016/9/12/12891814/climate-change-xkcd-graphic

  54. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted September 10, 2017 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    As I already posted and you failed to register interglacial periods have lasted 10-30,000 years for a while and we are some 14-15,000 years into one right now.

  55. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted September 10, 2017 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    That fact belies allll that bullshit you just said, jean.

  56. EOS
    Posted September 10, 2017 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    Political Science depends on concurrence. Real science is dependent on controlled experimentation that generates reproducible results. But your know it all attitude backed up by your ignorant posts of what you feel is right is nauseating. There was a glimmer of hope when Dave started posting that there could still be intelligent discussion on this blog. And then you, Pete and Wobblie stepped in to ruin it once again. Your assumptions are baseless and your reasoning skills deficient. And please, respond to this post with some more name-calling and false accusations. We wouldn’t want to break the pattern about what makes this blog so great… Not.

  57. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted September 11, 2017 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    So nice to hear the sound of crickets in Ypsilanti…during the day!

  58. Jean Henry
    Posted September 11, 2017 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    EOS– Dave did a great job. I also appreciated his voice here. Ad hominem attacks were present on all sides of this debate, excepting Dave. He has a lot of patience. He also has not been round the block with you as many times as the rest of us. Re: nauseation– you should have that checked out. Aversion is a disease whose source is located within the self; it’s not caused by another.

    HW– your own link suggested a timeline of 85,000 years to the next ice age.

  59. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted September 11, 2017 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Only because of Industrial Age Co2 levels.

  60. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted September 11, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    What you said isn’t true anyways. 85.000 years is how long till the PEAK glaciation of the next ice age. The ice ages last some 100,000 years with shorter interglacial periods.

  61. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted September 11, 2017 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    It goes on to say some scientists predict our interglacial period could last longer than usual if current Co2 levels are maintained.

  62. Jean Henry
    Posted September 11, 2017 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Why I’m not terribly interested in indulging anything more than general dialogue re climate denialism:
    “Several studies have shown the potential for motivated reasoning to be one of the biggest drivers of climate-change beliefs (and other nonclimate beliefs), such that experts and individuals with the highest cognitive abilities may be the most prone to seeking out and/or “manipulating” information (whether consciously or not) such that it favors their prior values and beliefs. Although these results appear at first disheartening, the evidence also suggests that various presentation methods of risks may increase beliefs across political and cultural groups; however, many of these methods may be short-term fixes. More research is needed to fully understand how to de-politicize climate-change understanding and beliefs.”

    Please see section on “Motivated Reasoning.” http://climatescience.oxfordre.com/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228620.001.0001/acrefore-9780190228620-e-305

    PS As Iunderstand it, predictive science relies on models based on accrued historical data. The facts serve the prediction. A prediction can not be proven until it is confirmed over time. Standard experimentation can only confirm pieces of something as complex as our climate. This is why it’s all theory, but theory with an increasing body of confirming data and largely held consensus. Just because it’s a theory does not make it untrue. It does make it susceptible to motivated reasoning.

    Skepticism that confirms one’s beliefs is not skepticism; it’s confirmation bias.

    Speaking of motivation, what do you imagine is the motivation of scientists who study and confirm climate change? Are the economic and belief system drivers larger than those of climate denialists? If so, what are they?

  63. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted September 11, 2017 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    What does that have to do with the reality of living in a Pleistocene interglacial period? All that stuff you blab on about applies to you, not me. You are one of those people who are 180 degrees from the truth at all times. It causes a cognitive dissonance so strong you are constantly moved to project what you do onto others.

  64. Iron Lung
    Posted September 12, 2017 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    UBI will solve everything. It may delay the next ice age by more than 1 million years.

  65. Jean Henry
    Posted September 12, 2017 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    HW I was responding to EOS. But you reasoning is certainly motivated as well. It’s ok because Pete’s right, the robot future and UBI will save us all.
    Did not mean to confuse or alarm you HW.

  66. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted September 12, 2017 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    smug but ignorant ^^^

  67. Jcp2
    Posted September 12, 2017 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Are those carats self referential, because they point back to your MM handle.

  68. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted September 12, 2017 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Obviously it’s at Jean Henry and you and anyone else who thinks it is a good idea to talk mad shit but say nothing.

    Nice lil bite sized piece for you to chew on…

    http://joannenova.com.au/2010/02/the-big-picture-65-million-years-of-temperature-swings/

    “…our planet has a dynamic temperature history, and over the last three million years, we have had a continuous series of ice ages (now about 90,000 years each) and interglacial warm periods (about 10,000 years each). There are 13 (count ‘em) ice ages on a 100,000 year cycle (from 1.25 million years ago to the present, and 33 ice ages on a 41,000 year cycle (between 2.6 million and 1.25 million years ago). Since Earth is on a multi-million-year cooling trend, we are currently lucky to be living during an interglacial warm period, but we are at the end of our normal 10,000 year warm interglacial period.”

  69. Dave
    Posted September 12, 2017 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    There was someone on this blog years ago by the name of Doug Skinner that said something that has stuck with me ever since, and I am grateful for the patience and wisdom he shared with this enterprise. The set of comments he made sought to clarify the difference between what we know and what we believe. It is a very simple distinction on the surface, but ungodly complex when you start trying to make the division. I miss Doug’s contributions.

  70. Dave
    Posted September 12, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    ….and the civility he exhibited.

  71. Jcp2
    Posted September 12, 2017 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Margaret Atwood has an interesting take:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2017/09/margaret_atwood_on_the_handmaid_s_tale_prophecy_and_the_role_of_sci_fi.html

  72. site admin
    Posted September 12, 2017 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Very nice words about Mr. Skinner. I will forward them on. With any luck, he will return.

  73. Dave
    Posted September 12, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Here is a link to David Foster Wallace’s “This is Water” speech. It really hits the nail on the head for me.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CrOL-ydFMI

  74. wobblie
    Posted September 13, 2017 at 4:16 am | Permalink

    https://www.juancole.com/2017/09/antarctica-trigger-heating.html

  75. Jean Henry
    Posted September 13, 2017 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    “I hope you know a lot more than you’re believing” Gram Parsons

  76. maryd
    Posted September 14, 2017 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    For the climate deniers…http://www.iflscience.com/environment/atmosphere-scientist-slams-climate-change-deniers-in-brilliant-viral-post/

  77. Lynne
    Posted September 14, 2017 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    I think Pete is just mad because HRC has been talking about a UBI lately. LOL.

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