What are the pros and cons of reducing CO2 vs other warming agents?

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That is the question I’ve been pondering earlier this year and which’ pontifications you can now read on Planet3.

The difference is mainly in the timescale: CO2 lasts a lot longer in the atmosphere than most of the other warming agents (e.g. black carbon, ozone, methane). This means that the temperature will decrease faster when the emission of shortlived compounds is decreased, as compared to that of a longlived compound such as CO2.

The other side of the coin is that for long term warming, the cumulative emissions of CO2 are dominant, even if in the short term changes in its emission are relatively ineffectual. Other important aspects in this discussion are health effects from air pollution (e.g. soot and ozone) and political practicability (gridlock in global climate negotiations).

So the question is: Are you more concerned about the short term or the long term effects of climate change? Which is a similar question that is often implicitly present in climate debates: Weighing the right of this generation to economic wellbeing (through cheap fossil energy) with the right of future generations to a pleasant planet to live on (through us not using too much cheap fossil energy). Strangely enough, that central and deeply ethical question is usually embodied in the discount rate (as used in economics when comparing investments with the expected rate of return).

My conclusion:

It’s clear that for long term climate stabilization, cumulative CO2 reductions are paramount, and that for the short term, reducing other forcings can offer faster results and offer other benefits as well. So the answer to the question “what should we focus on” is “all of the above”. I would applaud more attention to the non-CO2 forcings in the International policy arena. However, let’s not forget that there’s a hefty price and/or climate tag to pay in the end for delaying CO2 emission reductions.

You can read the whole thing over at P3.

 
Planet3 is a community new(s) blog, aptly described by main driving force Michael Tobis (in an interview with Andy Revkin) as
opinionated yet skeptical, informed yet passionate
 
Conflict of interest statement: I live on the planet in question.
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99 Responses to “What are the pros and cons of reducing CO2 vs other warming agents?”

  1. Tom Says:

    Hiya Bart

    I won’t be visiting P3 after Tobis played his usual games with my comments, so I’ll just say here that:

    We know that there are more than one problems that require abatement, or at least mitigation, including (but not limited) to those you mention.

    We know a portfolio of solutions will be required. We will need more than one source of renewable energy–heck we’ll need all of them and in spades.

    We know that both the problems and the investment required to implement the solutions are in serious competition with other problems and areas requiring investment.

    In the past, successful solutions to this type of ‘wicked’ problem have started with small successes, pilot programs, geographically targeted packages.

    The model for success, in my opinion, exists and is called the Millenium Development Goals.

    Funny that nobody’s looking at it for inspiration.

  2. Paul Kelly Says:

    Only a fool wouldn’t do both. The question is how much time, effort, and money do we and our institutions spend on each. Logic suggests a 50/50 split is optimal. What a great benefit would come to the climate if such a split were in place today. The radiative properties of CO2 are constant. It is these other short term forcings that determine the dangerous sensitivities.

    Now, to keep everybody happy, everyone advocating concerted emphasis on other forcings and feedbacks should clearly stipulate that they in now way mean to diminish the importance of reducing CO2 emissions. I do so here.

    The case has been made for attacking black soot as a vital first step in climate mitigation. The mechanisms for doing it are in place. The costs are manageable. It can be accomplished with minimum governmental and political involvement.

  3. Bart Says:

    Tom,

    Agreed that a portfolio of options is needed to mitigate climate change. Every serious study comes to the conclusion that there is no silver bullet, nor that hoping/waiting for one to suddenly appear will get us there.

    The issue of competition is complicated: If there’s a (perceived) competition between CO2 mitigation and methane/soot mitigation (or between mitigation and adaptation), than why wouldn’t there be a competition between, say, climate mitigation and poverty alleviation? I think (part of) the answer is that competition between problems and solutions is strongest the more they overlap in scope. For only partially overlapping issues, the competition is perhaps not very strong. One could walys say, insetad of taking the resources away from A, why not take it away from B instead? Where B is often something that the person in question puts less priority in (e.g. military or social spending, to name some convenient and often heard left-right choices).

  4. Bart Says:

    Paul,

    I magree with doing both, but there’s nothing intrinsically logical to a 50/50 split. As I wrote, it comes down to the goal that one wants to achieve and most of all to weighing the present w.r.t. the future. It’s to a large extent subjective ethics rather than logic.

    If anything, ‘dangerous anthropogenic interference’ depends much more strongly on cumulative CO2 emissions than on temporaneous black carbon, ozone or methane emissions. So the last sentence of your first paragraph doesn’t sound right (dependent on how you mean it perhaps).

  5. Paul Kelly Says:

    Bart,

    What, then, is a reasonable split? Should it be 60/40 or 70/30 one way or the other? I’d settle for 10% of the time, money, and effort now spent on merely forming an argument on climate policy to be spent on actually and immediately reducing the other forcings and feedbacks.

    Having just read the full post at planet3.0, I’ll read the comments there , then come back here.

  6. Paul Kelly Says:

    Bart.

    I didn’t see the hat tip in your post until I read the comments. Thanks. It was very nice of you.

  7. Bart Says:

    Paul,

    The optimal split depends on the goal one wants to achieve. It’s a fallacy to think that 50/50 is somehow the most optimal split of resources.

    But the whole idea of a split assumes a fixed budget to deal with climate change. Ideally, the resources to mitigate shortlived forcings don’t come at the expense of doing something about CO2. That’s a matter of political priorities of course.

    See also my reply to mdenison at P3, who wrote:

    “By taking early action on CH4 (and BC) instead of CO2 we are gambling that we can de-carbonize quick enough later.”

    Indeed. That’s a huge problem.

    OTOH, the many benefits of e.g. BC mitigation (climate, health, relative costs) and the relative standstil in doing anything meaningful about CO2 mean that to not do anything about BC either (besides not doing anything about CO2) is a lose-lose option.

    It’s a massive catch-22.

  8. Jeff Id Says:

    The biggest con for reduction of CO2 is that it isn’t feasible without economic strife or nuclear power. I write that as another wasted pile of cash was dumped into a local windfarm. My guess though is that if we got China (home of the brown sky) to put some soot scrubbers on their stacks we might see an effect on ice.

    All that soot in the air is falling somewhere.

  9. Marlowe Johnson Says:

    There are lots of trade-offs that aren’t immediately clear until you get down into the weeds.

    Consider black carbon from on-road freight. The traditional way that you deal with it (assuming you have ultra low sulphur diesel) is by installing particulate filter traps, which are essentially large vacuum cleaners that collect the soot. Straight win-win right?

    Not so fast. All that soot adds up (in weight) and can get to be over 300 lbs pretty quickly. So now you have to add a fuel economy penalty into the net benefit calculation. From the industry perspective, that additional weight also represents an opportunity cost since they’re limited by law wrt how much weight they’re allowed to put on each axle. So PFT = lower cargo capacity = lost revenue.

    The same sort of trade-offs exist with NOx, SOx and VOC controls where catalytic and/or thermal processes are used to reduce pollutants, at the expense of making the production process more energy intensive. From a mitigation perspective the only time this doesn’t really matter is when your energy source is low carbon (e.g. hydro/nuclear) or you’re pumping all your exhaust into the ground (CCS).

  10. dhogaza Says:

    The biggest con for reduction of CO2 is that it isn’t feasible without economic strife or nuclear power. I write that as another wasted pile of cash was dumped into a local wind farm.

    Yeah, nuclear power plants are so cheap-like that investors are falling all over themselves eager to invest in new ones …

    Power too cheap to meter, feel the excitement!

  11. Jeff Id Says:

    “Yeah, nuclear power plants are so cheap-like that investors are falling all over themselves eager to invest in new ones …”

    Dhog,

    Are you saying you don’t want to pay to save the planet? You are wrong though. People would invest if the eco-nazi’s would let them. Still I’d rather burn coal than build nukes, but that isn’t the topic here.

  12. willard Says:

    > All that soot in the air is falling somewhere.

    Do we have an engineer-level derivation of that proposition?

  13. dhogaza Says:

    JeffID:

    Are you saying you don’t want to pay to save the planet?

    I think nuclear power is part of the solution.

    You are wrong though. People would invest if the eco-nazi’s would let them.

    Nope. Fukishima did more to scare investors and power companies than anything so-called eco-nazis have done over the last two decades.

    Commercial nuclear power plants have had a long, long history of cost overruns during construction, higher than planned maintenance costs, and lower on-line availability than planned which has turned off the money people.

    Still I’d rather burn coal than build nukes, but that isn’t the topic here.

    And presumably without smokestack scrubbers and without the need to reclaim mines as well.

  14. adelady Says:

    Jeff ” People would invest if the eco-nazi’s would let them ”

    Maybe the people who control substantial investments who’ve never taken the least notice of environmental concerns before are suddenly intimidated into total paralysis on this one and only issue? Doubtful.

    My reading of such investors is that they’re far more concerned with financial considerations – like insurance premiums or pay-back period or the like – than with the opinions of people they don’t respect (or actively dislike) in the first place.

  15. Paul Kelly Says:

    Bart,

    The goal of both is preventing a dangerous increase in averaged global temperature. Logic or ethics are not the only criteria. Consider also practicality, conductibility, effectiveness, cost and scientific certainty.

    Fixed budgets, at least on an annual basis, are the core of all governmental allocations and expenditures of resources. The whole idea of a split goes way beyond government and politics.

    “By taking early action on CH4 (and BC) instead of CO2 we are gambling that we can de-carbonize quick enough later.” presents a false choice and has, IMO, no basis in physical or social science.

  16. Bart Says:

    Paul,

    The quote I gave (from P3) is in a similar vein as what you write about fixed budgets: If the total budget for climate mitigation is fixed, then taking action on CH4 and BC means less action on CO2, which means that for the same long term warming threshold (~trillion ton of CO2 cumulative emissions) CO2 emissions will have to be reduced quicker later. For peak warming the effect may be less, since shortlived forcings potentially contribute substantially to that. Again, timescales.

  17. Tom Fuller Says:

    On the other hand, I spend many years working with high technology clients whose mantra was ‘start small, succeed quickly, scale rapidly.’ To the extent that this saying was both valid and relevant to this arena, that would argue for going after BC and CH4, don’t you think?

  18. Paul Kelly Says:

    “If the total budget for climate mitigation is fixed,”

    Only if you incorrectly assume that all the time, effort and money is spent by government.

    “taking action on CH4 and BC means less action on CO2″

    The flip question would be what action on CO2 is there to be less of. By action you mean some kind of global CO2 pricing or suppression scheme. Taking action on CH4 and BC would in no way slow those efforts. I’m still wondering what you would consider a proper split. I’ve gone a low as 10/90 short lived forcings/ CO2. Is that too much?

  19. Paul Kelly Says:

    Reading the comments at Planet3.0, I think we’re not that far apart. It seems clear, no matter how great the desired emphasis on CO2, physical and social science indicates that successful mitigation requires concerted attention on both short and long lived forcings. Interested individuals, groups and institutions really must devote some time, effort, and money to each.

  20. Tom Fuller Says:

    One point I think is consistently overlooked is the use of individual action as a signalling device.

    Each purchase of an electric car does a lot more than save a few tons of CO2 from emission. It also tells car manufacturers, battery manufacturers, charging station builders, regulators, politicians and large energy companies deciding which direction to move in that another consumer has voted with her/his pocketbook.

    That really matters.

  21. Paul Kelly Says:

    What might be called Other Things Simultaneously is firmly based on physical science. How to allocate time, effort and money is the only issue in dispute. It is not sufficient to merely acknowledge the necessity of OTS. One must actively participate in it. This means a required change in thought and action by a lot of people, including myself. Here’s something on black soot.

  22. Eli Rabett Says:

    Yes, clearly the place to start is to eliminate mercury emissions.

    -Yr local eco fascist

  23. dhogaza Says:

    On the other hand, I spend many years working with high technology clients whose mantra was ‘start small, succeed quickly, scale rapidly.’

    Ahhh, but VCs don’t fund high tech startups whose ambitions are only to grab the low-hanging fruit. They fund those who swing for the fences, and would rather strike out than drag-bunt for a single.

    To the extent that this saying was both valid and relevant to this arena, that would argue for going after BC and CH4, don’t you think?

    It’s much more relevant to the funding we see in companies trying to hit a home run in the solar power arena … and this is directly related to the need to shift from fossil fuels to alternative sources of energy.

  24. Jeff Id Says:

    Bart,

    “CO2 emissions will have to be reduced quicker later.”

    I don’t think it is necessary to worry about CO2 emission. The breakthroughs in energy production will come whether we ask for them or not. Forcing the issue ahead of its time just causes pain to the impoverished.

  25. willard Says:

    > Forcing the issue ahead of its time just causes pain to the impoverished.

    The Public crave for an engineer-level derivation of that claim.

  26. Bart Says:

    Jeff,

    “Never schedule breakthroughs”

    Not sure who said it, but it’s a quote nevertheless. You can not count on things automatically and drastically improving in just the right way at just the right time. Ain’t gonna happen, even though breakthroughs happen all the time.

  27. Tom Says:

    But Bart (Merry Xmas), we don’t need breakthroughs in terms of science. If we agreed that we needed to completely change the fuel portfolio we use we could do so very quickly without inventing anything new. Nuclear, hydro, wind and solar. Just build it out.

    If we decided to fight black soot, we could do so very quickly and again without new technology. We know how to fit scrubbers onto plants.

    It’s the deciding part that’s tough. The consensus side is reluctant to embrace nuclear and hydro (and face it, they are the work horses of clean energy) and the skeptics are reluctant to abandon sunk investment in fossil fuel.

    That used to be called a rich environment for horse trading.

  28. Jeff Id Says:

    “abandon sunk investment in fossil fuel.”

    Unfortunately (or fortunately) there is plenty of fossil fuel. There is also 1 working alternative to what many call global doom. Between doom and trouble, why not chose trouble?

    Bart,

    “You can not count on things automatically and drastically improving in just the right way at just the right time. ”

    There is simply too much potential $$ for a long term energy source. It will come. I think solar will happen as will drastic improvements in storage over the next 50 years, but ultimately we’re nuts not to use the power of nuclear energy. Whether it be fission, fusion or whatever. It can be done cleanly, people just need to let it do its thing. In the meantime, lets not kill the food (global economy) which powers the development.

  29. Tom Says:

    I am in violent agreement with you, Jeff. If you measure the improvements to the human condition over the past century or so, it leads to the conclusion that we’ve done something spectacularly right.

    (And for folks on the other side, that statement does include the obvious recognition that many things went wrong and that we made a mess that we’re still cleaning up.)

    The world will spend about $5.5 trillion a year on energy for the next few years–and that amount will increase about 3% annually. It’s quite a market, and its potential explains some of the rhetoric we see from people with dogs in the fight.

    But that shouldn’t obscure the fact that we live in an age of miracles, as miracles would have been defined by all previous ages. Let’s just not waste them…

  30. Bart Says:

    “Let’s just not waste them (miracles)…”

    Sounds like a good newyears’ wish, Tom!

  31. Tom Says:

    I do in fact wish you and your other readers a happy new year, Bart. How do you say that in Dutch?

  32. Bart Says:

    As the pope would say:

    Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!

  33. Tom Says:

    Is that any different to what the Dutch would say? I’m not sure I would trust very old Germans who wear a dress and choose to live in Italy… ;)

  34. Bart Says:

    That’s indeed what we say in Holland.

  35. J Bowers Says:

    “In the meantime, lets not kill the food (global economy) which powers the development.”

    When a bomb technician sprints past you with wide eyed fear on his face, there really is nothing dumb about trying to overtake him.

    “But that shouldn’t obscure the fact that we live in an age of miracles, as miracles would have been defined by all previous ages.”

    I can’t think of a single invention attributed to supernatural intervention. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

  36. Tom Says:

    But when a panicked mob runs past you with wide-eyed fear on their faces and they’re heading for a cliff, that does not mean you should join them.

    Remember–the IPCC projects warming between 1.5 and 4 degrees C. The economic impacts as calculated by Stern in 2005 (and using rather generous estimates of population growth and certainly not downplaying potential impacts of climate change) provide a worst case scenario of 5% of GDP. The IPCC estimate of sea level rise is now at something between 8 inches and three feet, if I recall correctly.

    That’s a problem, not a disaster.

    Remember–the images trotted before us are specifically designed by the marketing gurus at NGOs to scare us, not educate us. Polar bears, Himalayan glaciers, flooded cities, hurricane-like tornados–these were commissioned and produced by our friends at Greenpeace and the WWF to stimulate concern, political support and donations.

    There is no bomb. Just an additional set of problems that join the panoply of issues we have to deal with in a crowded world.

  37. J Bowers Says:

    “But when a panicked mob runs past you with wide-eyed fear on their faces and they’re heading for a cliff, that does not mean you should join them.”

    But when an entire unit of expert bomb technicians go legging it past you…

    “Remember–the IPCC projects warming between 1.5 and 4 degrees C….That’s a problem, not a disaster.”

    What does a global mean increase of 4C translate to at the poles, Tom?

  38. J Bowers Says:

    “Polar bears,…”

    What the Experts Say

    “Himalayan glaciers,…”

    Caught on Video: A Himalayan Glacier Deflates
    “Interior lakes drain and refill with melting ice in mere days”

    “flooded cities,…”

    You must be in a different America to the one I know of.

    “hurricane-like tornados”

    Tornadoes of 2011

  39. dhogaza Says:

    J Bowers:

    What does a global mean increase of 4C translate to at the poles, Tom?

    Or even the interior wheat producing portions of North America and Eurasia?

    (hint: about twice 4C)

    Oh, yeah, we’ll just shift to growing wheat in what’s now tundra and boreal forest because, you know, both are known for their amazingly rich soil …

  40. Bob Brand Says:

    Tom> “Remember–the IPCC projects warming between 1.5 and 4 degrees C….That’s a problem, not a disaster.

    JB> What does a global mean increase of 4C translate to at the poles, Tom?

    Actually these figures are incorrect. Please have a look at AR4 WG1 SPM Table SPM.3, you’ll find the likely ranges for 2100:

    A1FI scenario 2.4 – 6.2
    A1B scenario 1.7 – 4.4

    Since A1FI is more or less Business As Usual, if Tom is arguing in favor of BAU it would be more appropriate for him to say: “the IPCC projects warming between 2.4 and 6.2 degrees“. A1B does contain considerable efforts towards mitigation, so it is not correct to use that range unless you’re arguing for the same. Even then, it projects warming between 1.7 and 4.4 degrees.

    We’re currently on (or above) the A1FI emission path. If you would want to keep any decisions about mitigation up in the air, it might be reasonable to use the merged range: 1.7 to 6.2 degrees

    Figure SPM.6 answers the question by J.Bowers: what does it translate to at the poles.

    A1B would mean +6 to +7 degrees Arctic, and + 4 to +5 degrees at the Antarctic.

    A1FI is actually not listed, but A2 is halfway between A1B and A1FI and shows +7 to +8 degrees Arctic, and + 4.5 to +5.5 degrees at the Antarctic.

    It’s here: http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-spm.pdf

  41. Tom Says:

    J Bowers,

    I suppose we could close the year with a ‘greatest hits’ of myths that have been debunked.

    From the site you linked to on polar bears: “Some Native communities in Canada are reporting an increase in the numbers of polar bears on land. Traditional hunters believe this means an increase in population. Others attribute it to bears being driven to land by lack of ice. We need data to understand the change.”

    From Pachauri’s declaration this month on Himalayan Glaciers (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/8939801/IPCCs-Dr-Rajendra-Pachauri-Himalayan-glaciers-are-undoubtedly-melting.html) “While it revealed that there are 54,000 glaciers, covering 60,000 square kilometres, just 10 have been studied regularly enough to determine net gain or loss.”

    Your comment about flooded cities is vague enough to make any rational response impossible.

    As for your link to Wikipedia’s article on tornados in 2011, I offer in response a link to NOAA (http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/csi/events/2011/tornadoes/climatechange.html) where it says, “So far, we have not been able to link any of the major causes of the tornado outbreak to global warming.”

    Notice the link between the three stories. A need for more data to establish any type of connection to climate change. Not a nail in a coffin, not the case closer–any type of link.

    When we quit killing 1,000 polar bears a year through hunting, let’s resume the conversation about polar bears.

    When Pachauri resigns over his unethical behaviour regarding Himalayan glaciers, let’s resume the conversation about Himalayan glaciers.

    When you can correctly identify the author of the following statement, let’s talk about this again: “Long-term trends in economic disaster losses adjusted for wealth and population increases have not been attributed to climate change, but a role for climate change has not been excluded.”

  42. Tom Says:

    Sorry, Mr. Brand. I don’t advocate business as usual.

  43. Bob Brand Says:

    In addition, one needs to keep in mind:

    * those figures are for 2100, warming will continue after that;

    * also if emissions peak before 2100 and GHG’s stabilize between 2100 and 2150.

    The AR4 Synthesis Report (Chapter 5) contains a detailed look at the longer term perspective. It uses the emission scenarios to project the long-term equilibrium global average temperature anomaly on the basis of the ‘best estimate’ climate sensitivity of +3 °C/2xCO2. Please have a look at Table 5.1 in particular.

    A1FI would correspond to the category VI stabilisation scenario (actually A1FI or BAU would be higher in emissions). It shows:

    * +4.9 to +6.1 degrees at equilibrium

    * equilibrium sea level rise of 1.0 – 3.7 meters (thermal expansion only)

    Please note that these are global average temperature anomalies. Temperature rise above the oceans (70%) will be somewhat less, above land (30%) it will be higher (a factor 1.5 or more).

  44. dhogaza Says:

    Here’s the context for Fuller’s cherry-picked “debunking” quote. It’s classic Fuller:

    Results from long-term studies show:

    Canada’s Western Hudson Bay population: 22% decline since the early 1980s, directly related to earlier ice break-up on Hudson Bay.
    Southern Beaufort Sea population along the northern coast of Alaska and western Canada: decline in cub survival rates and in the weight and skull size of adult males; similar observations made in Western Hudson Bay prior to its population drop.
    Baffin Bay population, shared by Greenland and Canada: at risk from both significant sea ice loss and substantial over-harvesting.
    Chukchi Sea population, shared by Russia and the United States: declining due to illegal harvest in Russia and one of the highest rates of sea ice loss in the Arctic.

    But some people are seeing more bears!

    Some Native communities in Canada are reporting an increase in the numbers of polar bears on land. Traditional hunters believe this means an increase in population. Others attribute it to bears being driven to land by lack of ice. We need data to understand the change.

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service states, “. . . extensive scientific studies have indicated that the increased observation of bears on land is a result of changing distribution patterns and a result of changes in the accessibility of sea ice habitat.”

    There are very good reasons for the USF&W under the Bush administration having listed the US population under the ESA. These things are not done lightly. They are driven by science, unlike Fuller.

  45. dhogaza Says:

    Fuller:

    I suppose we could close the year with a ‘greatest hits’ of myths that have been debunked.

    Sorry, Mr. Brand. I don’t advocate business as usual.

  46. Bob Brand Says:

    Lol

  47. Bob Brand Says:

    Tom> “I don’t advocate business as usual

    That’s truly excellent!

    If so, you may want to avoid emissions path A1FI and opt for something like A1B.

    SRES emission scenario A1B is described as “a balance across all sources” – Balanced is defined as not relying too heavily on one particular energy source, on the assumption that similar improvement rates apply to all energy supply and end use technologies. This might contain a lot of diversification into both nuclear and renewables (as well as CCS).

    It mainly starts to pay off from 2050 onwards, in terms of reduced GHG emissions.

    A1B peaks CO2 emissions around 2050 at almost 2 times current levels, then drops quickly. Cumulative emissions are 1100-1450 GtC. Even so, this corresponds to:

    * 1.7 – 4.4 °C in 2100 (global averages)

    * A1B would mean +6 to +7 °C Arctic, and + 4 to +5 °C Antarctic (see figure SPM.6)

    This corresponds to Cat. V in the AR4 Synthesis report, for the following equilibrium conditions at ‘best estimate’ climate sensitivity:

    * Cat. V: + 4.0 to 4.9 degrees

    * Equilibrium sea level rise of 0.8 – 2.9 meters (from thermal expansion only)

    In any case, you might quote the IPCC more correctly with: 1.7 – 4.4 °C in 2100, mentioning an A1B mitigation scenario.

  48. Tom Says:

    Mr. Brand, when you’ve finished laughing out loud, you can have a look at what I do advocate instead of making inferences from the SRES (you do realize that the IPCC does not pick any of them as more likely than any other, don’t you?)

    http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2010/10/21/moving-the-debate-forward-tom-fullers-league-of-2-5/

  49. Bob Brand Says:

    Dear Mr.Tom,

    Of course the IPCC does not pick any of them as more likely than any other.

    They are scenario’s, not projections. Which scenario *we* are going to pick is up to us.

    Scenario’s are alternative policy options, they don’t have likelihoods since it is an act of free will (or collective free will in a democracy) to choose between them.

    It is as if your mother would ask: “Here, Tom, you can have either an apple, a banana or an orange”, and you would say: “Can you please also state how likely it is which choice I am going to make on the basis of my freedom of the will?”.

    Once you pick a particular scenario, projections can be made which have likelihoods attached to them, such as:

    Given A1B, there’s < 5% likelihood of a less than +1.7°C temperature rise.

  50. Bob Brand Says:

    Hmm…

    Had a quick read of your proposition, which you provided the URL for. My response would be as follows:

    1) “I nominate 2.5C as a ..

    Disagree, for multiple reasons:

    a) IF we were to ‘choose’ one value for climate sensitivity, it would be rational to accept the best estimate offered by the climate scientists who are tasked with exactly that assessment: the IPCC. Right now this is +3 °C/2xCO2eq. No offense, but I prefer their professional and informed judgment over yours (or mine). It does not have to be a static number, if IPCC 2013 offers a somewhat different range we can re-calculate our options.

    b) This is risk management. In that case you weigh probabilities and their associated cost, over the probability distribution: if there’s 5% likelihood of 4.5 °C/2xCO2eq I would want to know what our exposure is.

    c) I would insist the full range 2 – 4.5 degrees climate sensitivity (and their relative likelihood) is considered for risk management. But it would be acceptable to me (!) to exclude very unlikely risks such as a 0.01% likelihood of > 6 degrees (or < 1.5 °C).

    … more after the break :)

  51. Paul Kelly Says:

    That J Bowers, dhogaza and Bob Brand have no real interest in actually mitigating the possible effects of CO2 is amply demonstrated in this thread. Get some focus, boys.

  52. Tom Says:

    Well, I tried…

  53. dhogaza Says:

    PK:

    That J Bowers, dhogaza and Bob Brand have no real interest in actually mitigating the possible effects of CO2 is amply demonstrated in this thread. Get some focus, boys.

    Bullshit.

    But effective mitigation won’t happen if people ostrich their heads into the sands, as Tom Fuller does. Well, that’s not quite right, Fuller’s simply dishonest, as his cherry-picked polar bear misrepresentation makes clear.

    Before you can solve a problem, you must understand and scope the problem. Insisting that this be done is not a demonstration that “there’s no interest in actually mitigating the possible effects of CO2″.

    Denying that there *is* a problem, as TF does (and to a lesser extent, Paul Kelly), obviously makes “mitigation” easier, though just as obviously, insufficient.

  54. dhogaza Says:

    I also love this from Fuller, which I’m sure Paul Kelly endorses:

    From Pachauri’s declaration this month on Himalayan Glaciers (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/8939801/IPCCs-Dr-Rajendra-Pachauri-Himalayan-glaciers-are-undoubtedly-melting.html) “While it revealed that there are 54,000 glaciers, covering 60,000 square kilometres, just 10 have been studied regularly enough to determine net gain or loss.”

    Fuller’s implication is that since there’s inadequate monitoring, obviously nothing bad can be happening.

    The absence of data shows that everything’s rosy.

    Just as the failure to be screened for breast cancer says that the woman who fails to undergo such screening obviously doesn’t have breast cancer …

    Stupid.

  55. J Bowers Says:

    “Notice the link between the three stories. A need for more data to establish any type of connection to climate change. Not a nail in a coffin, not the case closer–any type of link.”

    Tom, if you want to play a game of chicken with nature and the physical universe be my guest, but it would help if you could do it on a different planet. The model runs of what could likely happen on this planet tend to demonstrate that you will lose that game, there’s no way of calling in the builders to fix a climate switch from Holocene to Eocene, and I’m personally getting a bit bored of your role models and other neoliberal ideologues trying to drag me and mine along for the ride.

  56. Bart Says:

    Keep the fireworks in check, please.

    And in the meantime: Best new year’s wishes to you all!

  57. J Bowers Says:

    Heel erg bedankt, Bart. Voor jou en iedereen ook.

  58. Tom Says:

    J Bowers, it is you and your heroes trying to take us for a ride.

    The IPCC does not project a climate switch from Holocene to Eocene. Not now, not at all. The impacts of climate change will be serious and we should work to avoid them or address them. Creating hysterical boogey-man futures based on your faulty interpretation of GCM outputs that are themselves admittedly imperfect representations of reality does nobody any good–least of all yourselves.

    Bart, I hope you’re happy with the company you keep. While I wish you a happy new year (again) I would point out to you that when dhogaza slimes me (again) you eventually make general comments about keeping the fireworks down. If I respond in any way, you admonish me immediately and personally.

    Your blog, your rules and I’m happy to play by them. But I don’t think that man is helping you–I think he helps Morano and Monckton.

  59. Paul Kelly Says:

    dhogaza,

    If your focus was on actual mitigation rather than on winning an argument about the uncertainties of climate science, your only question for Tom would be: Do you think it necessary to as quickly as possible end our reliance on fossil fuels? On that, you two are in agreement. That one sees a serious threat and the other sees an existential threat is irrelevant.

  60. Bart Says:

    Paul makes a good point that it is often more fruitful to focus on areas of agreement rather than on areas of disagreement, esp when the former are much more important than the latter.

    Could we make that a newyear’s resolution?

  61. dhogaza Says:

    Could we make that a newyear’s resolution?

    How about this for a New Year’s resolution: when Tom starts telling the truth, I’ll take him seriously.

    [edit. keep the accusations down. BV]

    Paul’s claim that Tom “thinks it necessary to as quickly as possible end our reliance on fossil fuels” is not really Tom’s position, as Tom makes clear over and over again by insisting, for instance, that various climate change impacts are “myth”, etc etc.

    Paul’s own foundation is a bit jelly-like, since he a priori rejects partial solutions to the puzzle that he finds politically unacceptable. He is not focused solely on mitigation.

  62. Tom Says:

    Happy New Year dhogaza

    As this will be the only time I address you in 2012, I hope you pay attention.

    Your statements about me are inaccurate, as can be seen quickly and easily by searching on this weblog (and others, such as CaS) using my name.

    If you do so, you will see that while I am both proposing concrete policy actions and supporting proposals from others to lessen climate change and its impacts, you are just doing what you have always done–throw insults at any who disagree with you in a Pavlovian, knee-jerk response. It’s clear to regular readers that it would not matter at all what any of your targets actually write, think or believe.

    I personally think you are foolish and doing your ’cause’ no good at all. You have been banned from commenting at numerous venues, serious comment threads just bounce over your contributions, and the fact that your entry often closes a thread should be a clue to you–that you’re a threadkiller.

    Progressive liberal thought has always been attacked, and often successfully, from the left. Doctrinaire dogmatists have done more harm to true liberalism than any efforts from the right.

    You seem intent on replicating the experience in the realm of environmental policy. You are your own worst enemy and are far more dangerous to the causes you espouse than are Marc Morano and Viscount Monckton.

    Happy New Year, dhogaza. The new year is often an opportunity to bring change into our lives. Perhaps you will find this an occasion to be the change you seek to introduce.

  63. sharper00 Says:

    Focusing on agreement is good. There are many areas of legitimate disagreement where one can accept the other is knowledgeable, honest and genuinely shares your goals.

    Compromising basic principles for the sake of agreement is not good. I will not focus on agreement with people that make blatant counter-factual claims again and again, then run a mile when challenged. Even if that person claims to share my goals I have no desire to align myself with them regardless of whether they are even genuine in that claim.

    My agreement with people cannot be found in the broad conclusions they reach. What matters is how and why they reach those conclusions. More often than not (well actually overwhelmingly so) people using methods of enquiry compatible with mine will reach broadly similar conclusions.

    In the software world there is the concept of code having a bad smell

    “A code smell is a hint that something has gone wrong somewhere in your code. Use the smell to track down the problem. KentBeck (with inspiration from the nose of MassimoArnoldi) seems to have coined the phrase in the “OnceAndOnlyOnce” page, where he also said that code “wants to be simple”. Bad Smells in Code was an essay by KentBeck and MartinFowler, published as Chapter 3 of RefactoringImprovingTheDesignOfExistingCode.”

    “Highly experienced and knowledgeable developers have a “feel” for good design. Having reached a state of “UnconsciousCompetence,” where they routinely practice good design without thinking about it too much, they find that they can look at a design or the code and immediately get a “feel” for its quality, without getting bogged down in extensive “logically detailed arguments”.”

    “Note that a CodeSmell is a hint that something might be wrong, not a certainty. A perfectly good idiom may be considered a CodeSmell because it’s often misused, or because there’s a simpler alternative that works in most cases. Calling something a CodeSmell is not an attack; it’s simply a sign that a closer look is warranted. so CodeSmell is more instinctive that intuitive? — S”

    I believe the same concept applies more generally – some types of arguments and conclusions have a “bad smell” associated with them. In biology arguments about the complexity of the eye and whether Charles Darwin believed this or that have a bad smell. In medicine arguments about trace elements in vaccines have a bad smell.

    Of course examples in the climate blogosphere abound but they include arguments about Michael Mann, the hockey stick, polar bear populations and Himalayan glaciers. They have a bad smell because they reveal the sources of information the claimant utilises and trusts and those sources are not scientific in nature.

  64. Tom Says:

    Sharper00, happy new year to you, too. Funnily enough we agree on the examples you bring to bear as odoriferous. Sadly, I doubt if we agree about the origins of the odor.

  65. sharper00 Says:

    No doubt Tom but as above people that find mainstream scientific positions odorous are coming from a perspective that is incompatible with mine.

  66. Tom Says:

    Mine, as well.

  67. Tom Says:

    Of course the definition of who is mainstream probably differs, but I think this survey of active climate scientists in 2008 is both instructive and neglected.

    It was probably neglected because it was conducted by Dennis Bray and Hans Von Storch, who is viewed with suspicion by some of the elect. However, the findings are here: http://coast.gkss.de/staff/storch/pdf/GKSS_2010_9.CLISCI.pdf

    The survey was conducted in 2008 with 379 climate scientists who had published papers or were employed in climate research institutes and dealt with their confidence in models, the IPCC and a variety of other topics.

    One question read, “Some scientists present extreme accounts of catastrophic impacts related to climate change in a popular format with the claim that it is their task to alert the public. How much do you agree with this practice?”

    Less than 5% agreed strongly or very strongly with this practice. Actually 56% disagreed strongly or very strongly.

    There are areas of climate science that some people want to claim is settled, but where scientists don’t agree.

    Only 12% agree or strongly agree that data availability for climate change analysis is adequate. More than 21% disagree or strongly disagree.

    Only 25% agree or strongly agree that “Data collection efforts are currently adequate,” while 16% disagree or strongly disagree.

    Perhaps most importantly, only 17.75% agree or strongly agree with the statement, “The state of theoretical understanding of climate change phenomena is adequate.” And equal percentage disagreed or strongly disagreed.

  68. J Bowers Says:

    “There are areas of climate science that some people want to claim is settled, but where scientists don’t agree.”

    Which specific areas?

  69. Paul Kelly Says:

    J Bowers,

    You darn well know that almost everything in climate science beyond the radiative properties of CO2 is up for grabs. Basic things like sensitivity cannot be called settled when the 95% confidence range is 3C wide and the latest science on the the most probable sensitivity midpoint changes every day. How about tipping points and the methane bubble?

  70. Paul Kelly Says:

    Here’s some focus. I started with a chart showing energy usage over the next 75 years and reasonable, if optimistic, one, five, 10, 20, etc, year goals for fossil fuel replacement. Measuring success by fossil fuel replacement rather than CO2 emissions treats the disease rather than a symptom. I’ve had a lifelong interest in energy transformation. It is great to see the development of technologies with which we can begin the journey of accomplishment.

    I recognized early on that the number of people who desired energy transformation was far greater than the number of climate concerned. I promoted and hosted a 21st Century energy forum with speakers on architecture, city planning, and alternative energy installation. There was a decent sized crowd about evenly divided in their reasons for replacing fossil fuels among climate, environment, economics, security and the march of human progress.

  71. Marco Says:

    Tom, the Von Storch/Bray survey is an excellent example of what is wrong with surveys in general: it is very easily abused when you cannot explain (or are not asked to explain) your answer. Add cherrypicking, and you easily achieve the desired goal: casting doubt.

    Do the same type of survey amongst evolutionary scientists, and creationists would jump of joy, because you’d have similarly easily cherrypicked answers. The same goes for HIV/AIDS. In fact, you’d be able to do this in about any scientific field, but in most other cases we don’t have an active and large denial industry.

    Take your examples:
    1. In essence the question can be interpreted as “is it OK to exaggerate?” There will be some who interpret it otherwise, but that’s how I myself first interpreted that question. Gee, few scientists agree with that, how surprising.
    2. Adequate. Hmmm, interesting word. Adequate for what? Without an explanation of the word, it is bound to be interpreted in vastly different ways amongst people. But few scientists are ever likely to consider it fully adequate.
    3 and 4 also contain that nice misty word “adequate”. As a result of the failure to provide an explanation, we have no idea how the word is interpreted. Again, I would not be surprised if people in the field of HIV/AIDS research would give similar answers. I have little doubt that if they showed a similar ‘doubt’ on data collection and sharing, the HIV/AIDS deniers would use it in full force to cast doubt on the link between HIV and AIDS: “see, they themselves consider their knowledge and data inadequate! Ergo, no evidence that there is a link!”

    What the survey actually does make clear if you include answers to other questions is that climate scientists believe the knowledge is adequate to state CO2 causes warming, and that mitigation efforts should be taken, because it will have dangerous unwanted impacts in the future (see answers to questions 20-23, also 26b and several others). Without taking those answers into the equation, it is easy to use your examples and claim that the science is not settled in the sense that scientists apparently do not agree that there is a significant societal problem in the near future due to ongoing CO2 emissions. Tell me, Tom, why did you leave that out?

  72. Tom Says:

    Actually, Marco, I do surveys for a living and this survey isn’t bad at all. I would be able to recommend using it for making decisions, which is better than I have often been able to do in the past. You have adequate sample size, consistent questioning and what appears to be even-handed administration. Likert scales are perfectly appropriate to achieve the goals of the project. What’s not to like? Be specific, please.

    When I originally published on the survey I went into greater detail and did mention that most scientists agree with global warming. Why? Do you think I’m trying to hide that? If so, why did I link to it?

    You miss the point, however. As Paul Kelly notes, their agreement extends only to the point of CO2 causing warming.

    Doesn’t it concern you that only 12% agree that data availability is adequate?

  73. Marco Says:

    Tom, as I noted, it is the same with just about any survey: it really is not hard to cherry pick, especially when you leave certain aspects out and make some answers into a problem without even explaining why it is a problem.

    You may have gone in depth earlier, but then I do wonder why you still claim the scientists only agree that CO2 causes warming. Read the answers to questions 20-23 and 26b. It is clear the vast majority are in agreement in what direction the climate is going: towards significant trouble for humanity. So, the question becomes, and I repeat, why did you leave that out?

    And in what sense should it concern me that only 12% agree that data availability is adequate? You do not explain how “adequate” is to be understood, and thus we have no way of knowing in what sense it is inadequate. You can at best take into account the other questions and hypothesize how the scientists possibly understood “adequate”. If I do that, my concern is that we know too little to adapt to climate change, but know enough to strongly recommend mitigation.

  74. Tom Fuller Says:

    Great, Marco–if you’re offering opinions on surveys, I’d be interested in hearing what you think of the monstrosity that produced the phony finding that 97% of scientists are on board with the exaggerated claims made by the consensus.

    If you can nitpick on this survey, your blanket condemnation of the other survey should surely be savage…

  75. Marco Says:

    Tom, as I noted, all surveys can be abused, so why ask me a question I already answered before you posed it? The way YOU appear to use that survey to cast doubt in places where there hardly is any doubt is my evidence that surveys can be abused by cherry picking questions and usage of words that are not defined.

    So once more my request to explain to me how we should interpret “adequate” such that the reply by the climate scientists should be a concern to me.

    Even more interesting you claim ‘the consensus’ makes “exaggerated claims”. Care to provide evidence for that claim? Do make sure you explain what you mean with ‘the consensus’, and how you have determined the claims they made are “exaggerated”.

  76. sharper00 Says:

    “the phony finding that 97% of scientists are on board with the exaggerated claims made by the consensus.”

    There’s that bad smell again.

  77. Tom Fuller Says:

    Von Storch’s survey was good. You can always raise questions about any survey, as Marcos has here. The questions are legitimate, but are basically nitpicking.

    The two-question monstrosity that generated the 97% figure is an insult to everyone’s intelligence and to market research in particular.

    As for an exaggerated claim, we can start with the headline figure in the previous sentence: “97% of climate scientists…”

    And I don’t care how it smells, sharper00–it should smell like truth, but maybe you have a cold or something…

  78. Nathan Says:

    Tom

    why do you leave out information? Why do you only focus on perceived negatives surrounding climate science.

    One would think you’re an advocate… An Anti- climate science advocate.

  79. Tom Fuller Says:

    One would be incorrect, if one thought that.

    And I didn’t leave out information. I focused on the information I wanted to highlight. I linked to the report–how is that leaving stuff out?

    Here’s what I wrote when I originally published the story:

    The survey’s question read, “Some scientists present extreme accounts of catastrophic impacts related to climate change in a popular format with the claim that it is their task to alert the public. How much do you agree with this practice?”

    Less than 5% agreed strongly or very strongly with this practice. Actually 56% disagreed strongly or very strongly. Joe Romm, Tim Lambert, Michael Tobis–are you listening? The scientists don’t like what you are doing.

    And not because they are skeptics–these scientists are very mainstream in their opinions about climate science and are strong supporters of the IPCC. Fifty-nine percent (59%) agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “The IPCC reports are of great use to the advancement of climate science.” Only 6% disagreed. And 86.5% agreed or strongly agreed that “climate change is occurring now” and 66.5% agreed or strongly agreed that future climate “will be a result of anthropogenic causes.”

    Even so, there are areas of climate science that some people want to claim is settled, but where scientists don’t agree.

    Only 12% agree or strongly agree that data availability for climate change analysis is adequate. More than 21% disagree or strongly disagree.

    Only 25% agree or strongly agree that “Data collection efforts are currently adequate,” while 16% disagree or strongly disagree.

    Perhaps most importantly, only 17.75% agree or strongly agree with the statement, “The state of theoretical understanding of climate change phenomena is adequate.” And equal percentage disagreed or strongly disagreed.

    Only 22% think atmospheric models deal with hydrodynamics in a manner that is adequate or very adequate. Thirty percent (30%) feel that way about atmospheric models’ treatment of radiation, and only 9% feel that atmospheric models are adequate in their treatment of water vapor–and not one respondent felt that they were ‘very adequate.’

    And only 1% felt that atmospheric models dealt well with clouds, while 46% felt they were inadequate or very inadequate. Only 2% felt the models dealt adequately with precipitation, and 3.5% felt that way about modeled treatment of atmospheric convection.

    For ocean models, the lack of consensus continued. Only 20% felt ocean models dealt well with hydrodynamics, 11% felt that way about modeled treatment of heat transport in the ocean, 6.5% felt that way about oceanic convection, and only 12% felt that there exists an adequate ability to couple atmospheric and ocean models.

    Only 7% agree or strongly agree that “The current state of scientific knowledge is developed well enough to allow for a reasonable assessment of the effects of turbulence,” and only 26% felt that way about surface albedo. Only 8% felt that way about land surface processes, and only 11% about sea ice.

    And another shocker–only 32% agreed or strongly agreed that the current state of scientific knowledge is developed well enough to allow for a reasonable assessment of the effects of greenhouse gases emitted from anthropogenic sources.

  80. sharper00 Says:

    “And I don’t care how it smells, sharper00–it should smell like truth”

    Someone telling me Charles Darwin recanted on his death bed would say the same.

    Maybe it should smell like truth but instead the stink is of a trust network that doesn’t reliably intersect with scientific publications.

    When you manage to figure out why statements like “the exaggerated claims made by the consensus.” are offensive to fact oriented people and force them to discount you as a reliable source of information you can start to understand why people like dhogaza (and let’s be honest here, you have many similar interactions with others that I’ve observed) react the way they do.

    “but maybe you have a cold or something…”

    I routinely consider that my individual ability to analyse a problem like the entirety of climate science is grossly inadequate. As such I need to be very careful about the conclusions I reach and how certain I am of those conclusions.

    For example, if I had formed an opinion on the science surrounding Himalayan glaciers based on an unnamed Telegraph journalist I’d probably step back from that and decide I didn’t actually know anything about it at all.

    Even now while you’re apparently waiting for more data to confirm if there’s melting or not are you also ready to accept the argument the melting (which may not be happening) is caused by soot, not greenhouse gasses?

  81. J Bowers Says:

    “Only 22% think atmospheric models deal with hydrodynamics in a manner that is adequate or very adequate.”

    12a. [How well do you think atmospheric models can deal with] hydrodynamics:
    Mean: 4.303279 (where 1 is very inadequate and 7 is very adequate).

    13a. [How well do you think ocean models can deal with] hydrodynamics:
    Mean: 4.360335 (where 1 is very inadequate and 7 is very adequate).

    76. General comments concerning the survey of climate scientists
    19. I found this difficult. Many questions are poorly posed: what is hydrodynamics (do you mean dynamics or the water cycle?) what is value neutral (do you mean objective, and if so, from what starting point of knowledge)…

    “The two-question monstrosity that generated the 97% figure is an insult to everyone’s intelligence and to market research in particular.”

    There are three independent such monstrosities arriving at the same 97% figure, including one by Pielke Sr. and Annan.

  82. J Bowers Says:

    When you consider GALLUP generally canvass 1,000 to 3,000 people as being representative of the entire US population of 350,000,000, I suspect a response from 3,146 of the scientists is a pretty good result.

    Zimmerman’s full 141 page thesis, ‘The consensus on the consensus’, can be purchased for £12.92 HERE.

  83. Tom Fuller Says:

    J Bowers, you’re asking the wrong question. But that’s okay, so did that survey. Monckton and Morano would have agreed with it as phrased.

    Sharper00, if you’ve had a memory wipe or just don’t believe the consensus has made exaggerated claims, fine. We disagree. I think claims about polar bears, Himalayan glaciers, African drought, the spread of malaria, etc., etc., are exaggerated.

    So did the published, active climate scientists that von Storch surveyed.

  84. sharper00 Says:

    “We disagree. I think claims about polar bears, Himalayan glaciers, African drought, the spread of malaria, etc., etc., are exaggerated.”

    “So did the published, active climate scientists that von Storch surveyed.”

    No Tom they don’t.

    You think “claims about polar bears, Himalayan glaciers, African drought, the spread of malaria, etc., etc., are exaggerated.”

    They think it’s not acceptable to “present extreme accounts of catastrophic impacts related to climate change in a popular format with the claim that it is their task to alert the public”

    While I’m quite sure that one follows the other naturally in your mind there’s no link at all between what you think is an exaggeration and what they do.

    If you surveyed the question

    “Some scientists murder their partners in order to make a new life with a younger one. Do you agree with this practise?”

    I would think the answer would be “No”. However this doesn’t support any argument you might want to make about whether a scientist has murdered their partner (it’s actually an assumption of the question) nor can you throw out random examples of people you want to accuse of murdering their partners and then say “They did murder them and these active scientists agree with me!”

    I find it curious the survey did not think to ask if those scientists thought this was the case and further to try and enumerate areas of study they may feel were exaggerated.

  85. willard Says:

    > Joe Romm, Tim Lambert, Michael Tobis–are you listening? The scientists don’t like what you are doing.

    I thought the scientists *disagreed*. Disagreeing is not the same as not liking. And here’s about what they disagreed:

    > Some scientists present extreme accounts of catastrophic impacts related to climate change in a popular format with the claim that it is their task to alert the public. How much do you agree with this practice?

    Setting aside the framing of the question, by “some scientists”, the scientists interviewed should have had in mind **scientists** like Joe Romm, Tim Lambert, and Michael Tobis. Of course.

    Incidentally, on another bat-channel, Tom Fuller implies he’s not into demonization:

    http://climateaudit.org/2011/12/28/evading-moshers-foi/#comment-319562

  86. Tom Says:

    I try not to demonize. But I am willing to call a willard a willard. Or a Tobis…

    Sharper00, you’ve done better in the past. Either I’m right or you’re tired. This reminds me of the tortured reasoning used to justify Prall et al, Mashey and Angliss.

    I’m not saying there isn’t a case to be made that supports your point of view on this. But I will venture to say that you haven’t made it.

  87. Marco Says:

    Tom, I see I am being ignored again. What is it, am I asking too difficult questions?

    Your longer story just makes it once again important to define “adequate”. Adequate for what?

    Also, it is nice to see you claim Tim Lambert and Michael Tobis are making exaggerated claims. I am sure you can substantiate that claim with direct evidence? Do be aware that you’ll have to show the claim to be *exaggerated* AND that this is the way the surveyed climate scientists understood the question. It appears to me you inject a LOT of personal beliefs in how these questions are to be interpreted and what the answers mean, and ignore potential alternative interpretations (which often follow from looking at the whole survey, rather than taking individual questions out and creating some kind of non-defined issue based on the answers. I really still do not know what, according to you, should be so troublesome with the fact that only 12% of climate scientists think data availability is adequate. It simply does not tell us what the urgency is, and where it is.

  88. Marco Says:

    Tom, you also state that
    “I think claims about polar bears, Himalayan glaciers, African drought, the spread of malaria, etc., etc., are exaggerated.

    So did the published, active climate scientists that von Storch surveyed.”

    So, I checked the survey and found not a single question that addressed the issues you claim are exaggerated. In other words, you are projecting your own beliefs on others without even the tiniest shred of evidence.

  89. Nathan Says:

    Tom,

    Your use of the survey and it’s questions is just dumb:
    “Some scientists present extreme accounts of catastrophic impacts related to climate change in a popular format with the claim that it is their task to alert the public. How much do you agree with this practice?”

    You are claiming you know what is ‘extreme accounts of catastrophic impacts related to climate change in a popular format’ – you claim that there are people you know who do this.

    “Less than 5% agreed strongly or very strongly with this practice. Actually 56% disagreed strongly or very strongly. Joe Romm, Tim Lambert, Michael Tobis–are you listening? The scientists don’t like what you are doing.”

    BUT you do not know if the people who disagreed with statement share your understanding. You are using the survey to promote your personal views. It’s simply dishonest on your part, because you don;t actually know if those scientists agree with Lambert, Romm, and Tobis. It’s just your spin.

    The rest of the stats are equally useless as they are not quantified. What does it mean to think the models don’t ‘adequately’ address hydrodynamics? Probably it just means they know there is more work to do. You are using this survey to promote your own personal agenda, and it is a vile and intellectually dishonest thing to do.

  90. Nathan Says:

    Tom

    “And another shocker–only 32% agreed or strongly agreed that the current state of scientific knowledge is developed well enough to allow for a reasonable assessment of the effects of greenhouse gases emitted from anthropogenic sources.”

    I note here you actually present no sense of understanding of what this means. On it’s own it is a useless statement. You simply wish to promote the idea that there is uncertainty and that things are not as bad as they could be. But that is a stupid position, you can’t take comfort from uncertainty.

    Again, intellectually dishonest and you present the data to best forward your own agenda. You are an advocate working against climate science.

  91. sharper00 Says:

    “Sharper00, you’ve done better in the past. Either I’m right or you’re tired. “

    Interesting dichotomy from the uncertainty monster tribe.

    Several people are making precisely the same point to you. Perhaps your understanding of surveys is superior however clearly everyone is having trouble seeing why a survey result of “Some people exaggerating is bad” supports either specific people you claim exaggerate or specific topics you feel have been exaggerated.

  92. Tom Says:

    I find it quite interesting that you all are willing to go to the wall to both defend a horrible survey–one that is really pathetic–and attack a far better survey, using truly contorted reasoning to do so.

    Just as bad science is accepted when it advances your political cause, so it is with bad market research.

    And Sharper00–I find your definition of ‘everyone’ to be a bit limited.

  93. sharper00 Says:

    “truly contorted reasoning”

    Tom I’d welcome an explanation for why the reasoning is contorted. You are using this survey result to support all types of specific claims and you appear completely unwilling to accept even the possibility that “exaggeration” means different things to different people.

    “And Sharper00–I find your definition of ‘everyone’ to be a bit limited.”

    As in “limited to the participants of this discussion”? That’s precisely what it’s supposed to mean.

  94. J Bowers Says:

    “I find it quite interesting that you all are willing to go to the wall to both defend a horrible survey–one that is really pathetic”

    Which one? There are three, all arriving at the same magic 97% figure.

  95. Marco Says:

    Tom, I commented on YOUR INTERPRETATION of the survey; in particular, your cherry-picking and unsubstantiated claims based on the survey.

    I did note that this was a typical problem of any survey: it’s open to abuse by people like you. There, I’ve said it, so go on and decline to ever answer me again for insulting you. In the meantime, you have insulted me by throwing false claims on this forum in reply to my questions.

  96. Bart Says:

    Folks,

    I have a favour to ask. This is an interesting discussion you’re having about climate survey’s. Could you please continue on the new thread particularly for that topic.

    As I outlined on my review post, I often try to condense interesting discussions from here or elsewhere. But this time I’d like to ask you to condense (or copy-paste) your own main points of what determines a good (or bad) survey. I’ll then follow up to condense your condensations in another post. Deal?

  97. Paul Kelly Says:

    Back to the top. What started out as a proposal for Other Things First has evolved to an ample agreement on Other Things Simultaneously. It is an improvement in the discussion as it moves from framing to approach.

  98. Paul Kelly Says:

    re: Lou Grinzo’s post at planet 3,0 where and invite has been requested.

    Grinzo would have done well to read this thread and it’s companion at P3. He argues against straw men and concludes with an absurdity “… the most accurate thing we can say about this study and the discussion it has triggered is that it doesn’t change anything.”

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