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Monday, November 30, 2015

Is this what you want, Matt Ridley?

Sou | 12:38 PM Go to the first of 83 comments. Add a comment
It's not just deniers who have sunk to a new low. Scientific American has too. The magazine made something of a mockery of a collection of in-depth articles about climate change by including an article from science disinformer Matt Ridley. I'm told Matt's article is only in the online edition, not the print edition, but it shouldn't have been in either. Matt claimed (despite all evidence that already we are seeing extreme weather disasters from global warming) that "Climate Change Will Not Be Dangerous for a Long Time".

The misleading headline is really bad and something I'd never expected to see at the once admired magazine. Matt Ridley's article is full of the sort of nonsense you'd expect to read on climate conspiracy blogs. It starts with:
The climate change debate has been polarized into a simple dichotomy. Either global warming is “real, man-made and dangerous,” as Pres. Barack Obama thinks, or it’s a “hoax,” as Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe thinks. But there is a third possibility: that it is real, man-made and not dangerous, at least not for a long time.

Matt Ridley's Big If


Matt then elaborates on why he thinks that there won't be any danger for a long time, despite the fact that it's already dangerous. He wrote:
If sensitivity is low and climate change continues at the same rate as it has over the past 50 years, then dangerous warming—usually defined as starting at 2 degrees C above preindustrial levels—is about a century away.  So we do not need to rush into subsidizing inefficient and land-hungry technologies, such as wind and solar or risk depriving poor people access to the beneficial effects of cheap electricity via fossil fuels.

Given that Matt already acknowledged that CO2 alone, without any feedbacks, will raise surface temperature by 1 °C when doubled, then his "low sensitivity" is likely to be in excess of 1.5 °C. It's more likely to be between 2 °C and 4.5 °C, with 2 °C as the "low sensitivity". If that's the case, then without action to reduce emissions and depending on how much CO2 is left in the atmosphere, the global mean surface temperature will be 2 °C above the pre-industrial before the end of this century.  If sensitivity is 2.6 °C or more, then with no action other than the pledges in Paris, the global mean surface temperature will be around 3.5 °C above pre-industrial by 2100, and rising.


That's not all. Climate change depends on the amount of CO2 in the air, and it's continuing to accumulate. It's already hit 400 ppmv. If Matt wants climate change to "continue at the same rate as it has over the past 50 years" then he'll have to reduce the rate of emissions sufficient to keep it at that rate. But Matt doesn't want to do that. He wants to increase emissions.

Matt wants to give "poor people access to the beneficial effects of cheap electricity via fossil fuels".  That means that he wants to increase emissions a whole lot more.


Extending Matt Ridley's "What If"


Here's an "if" for Matt Ridley. What happens if he is so successful in getting people all over to take up (or switch) to fossil fuels that by 2050 everyone in the world emits the same amount of CO2  as the average currently emitted by each person in the USA?

What if the population of the world increased to the expected 9.7 billion people by 2050 and by 2050, everyone consumed the same amount of fossil fuel energy as is currently consumed by people living in the USA?

Here are the assumptions, some being very conservative*:
  • World population increases as projected in the UN 2015 World Population Projections to reach 9.7 billion people in 2050
  • By 2015, on average, every person on earth emits the same as the average per capita in the USA at present - 17 tonnes of CO2 (via World Bank)
  • The annual total emissions would rise from 32 gigatonnes of CO2 in 2014 to an annual amount of 164.9 gigatonnes in 2050, an increase of 515%
  • *Approximately half the CO2 emissions continue to be taken up at the surface by oceans, inland waterways, plants and micro-organisms, and this proportion doesn't decline (conservative assumption)
  • *Atmospheric CO2 therefore increases by the same proportion, 515%, by 2050, going from 400 ppm to 2061 ppm (conservative assumption)
  • *There is no massive increase in other greenhouse gases such as methane from melting permafrost or other sources (conservative assumption)
  • *Climate sensitivity is low - there is only a 2 °C rise in temperature from a doubling of CO2 (conservative assumption)
  • There is no lag in the rise in surface temperature.

Is this what you want Matt Ridley?


Even at Matt's "low sensitivity" of, say, 2 °C rise in temperature from a doubling of CO2, this increase would result in an increase of 14.7 6 °C over pre-industrial. [Corrected: I realised that I didn't properly account for doubling, and just divided by 280 ppm. If climate sensitivity is 4 °C then the temperature would rise to 12 °C  - Sou 11:19 pm] Here's a crude chart showing what will happen if Matt Ridley is successful in getting everyone in the world to emit the same amount of CO2 as is currently emitted per capita in the USA.

Data source to 2015 GISS NASA


Wishes have consequences


14.7 6 °C rise in global mean surface temperature means that much of the land surface becomes uninhabitable, because it's too hot and humid for homeotherms like mammals (including humans). [Note: all this would still apply at 6 °C for many areas.] Sea level will continue to rise as the ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica collapse. Because so much of the planet is uninhabitable, society disintegrates. In fact, civilisation disintegrates. Therefore there won't be much more burning of fossil fuels.

There may be pockets of functioning or partly functioning societies, but they cannot easily communicate with each other because of general societal breakdown plus the collapse of communications infrastructure. That's not to say that some bright sparks won't try to geo-engineer their way out of the catastrophe. These efforts will have unknown consequences. It could be that they are too successful and plunge the world into a premature ice age, hastening the demise of humanity.

Is that what you want, Matt Ridley?

PS for everyone who thinks this is unrealistic, of course it is for all sorts of reasons. It is no less realistic than the crass obstruction to progress from Matt Ridley, Judith Curry and all the other obstructionists and climate disinformers.


A version of this article was published at DeSmog Blog.

83 comments:

  1. Second comment on ATTP was from Neven wondering if SA didn't have standards. All I could do was echo the sentiment.

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  2. In future I will prefer the New Scientist over Scientific American. If there is one think I value in a science magazine it is accurate science.

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  3. Coal fired Matt says If sensitivity is low and climate change continues at the same rate as it has over the past 50 years, then dangerous warming—usually defined as starting at 2 degrees C above preindustrial levels—is about a century away.

    As the rate of warming has been approximately 0.165 C decade over the last fifty years and we already have over 1.2 C since preindustrial times his numbers dont stand up.
    We will blow past 2C in less than 50 years by his own criteria.
    I can not believe that scientific America allowed such obviously wrong garbage to be published under its name.

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    1. GISTemp from 1966 to 2015 (inclusive year to date) is even higher - 0.171 °C per decade. So yes, even at the same rate of warming we'll be hitting 2 °C within 50 years, and that's without his rapid increase in emissions.

      The challenge ahead is not just to stay under 2 °C, it's to stay under 4 °C this century. Something that Matt Ridley (and people like Judith Curry, Pat Michaels, Nigel Lawson, Christopher Monckton and others) don't want to do. They will be lucky to go down in history as a footnote list of climate criminals condemned by the World Climate Court of 2035.

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  4. Bankers like Matt Ridley have always had the future of the poor at the forefront of their minds. Too bad it involves stealing their resources in exchange for loans that disappear into the pockets of the crony capitalists.

    At least you desert folk are safe unless you have oil.

    Would you trust a man who lost a bank due to his incompetent projections and thus bank policy to even begin to know how to run Planet Earth and its systems.

    The man is at best delusional and at worst sociopathic. He will deny his incompetence to the end. In fact he is doubling up by telling the rest of us how to deal with Global Warming. Something he does not even think is real! Bert

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  5. Ridley was featured on a BBC radio documentary on climate change a couple of weeks back. His position is not just that global warming isn't "dangerous" till it gets to 2 degrees, but that it's a net benefit up to this point. He cited, without evidence: increased plant growth due to higher CO2 leading to, IIRC, 10% more plant biomass now than at the turn of the century; fewer deaths from cold, neglecting that people also die from heat. So, his thesis is that 2 degrees is the point at which the harm starts to outweigh the benefit.

    Despite claiming to be "within the "IPCC consensus" on the grounds that he thinks climate sensitivity is right at the bottom end of the 1.5 to 4.5 degree range he's actually adopting a highly contrarian position.

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    1. I thought the BBC was supposed to have given up on its false balance broadcasts a couple of years ago. Something about integrity. Has that gone out the window?

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    2. They all want to recreate the all time best headline. "Headless man found in topless bar."

      Most journalists have no clue about any science. The ones that do, do not make headlines. Bert

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    3. Sou, Yes, I was surprised at the group of "experts" chosen for this.Apart from Ridley there was Richard Tol, Tamsin Edwards and Tim Lenton, so that is looking like a case of false balance.

      At the beginning of the programme the narrator intorduced it by suggesting that denial is on the decline, and that now the "debate" is between activists and "lukewarmers", both of whom accept the "basic science". So being a "lukewarmer" seems to be a way to get round the BBC policy.

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  6. "If sensitivity is low... ...So we do not need to rush "

    And if bullets are harmless then its perfectly fine to shoot yourself in the head.

    It is wonderful what circular logic allows you to conclude. I seem to recall a denier paper which assumed that climate is stable and found therefore that climate is stable.

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    1. You know, of course, that CO2 is not the real climate driver in CAGW theory. Theeories posit that CO2 will trigger increases in water vapor. That is the real driver of the warming that is part of CAGW theory.

      C - Catastrophic.
      A - Anthropomorphic.
      G - Global.
      W - Warming.

      Skeptics like me will grant the A G W. I believe, as do all of the scientists you ad-hominemly dismiss, that humans are having *some* effect on global temperature.

      What we don't grant is the C. The key thing is the equilibrium climate sensitivity number. In the IPCC TAR (3rd) report, they were talking 3.5 to 7.0 C, with 4.5 being the center of the probability range. In AR4, the range changed to 2.0 to 4.5, with 3.0 the center of the probability range. 2.0C is the very low end of the range that brings us to "catastrophic", and even then there is a lot of doubt.

      Now in AR5 they have changed it again, to 1.5 to 3.0. (Yes, I know the language says 2.0 to 4.5, but they have worded it differently in AR5, no doubt to stop getting below 4 and below 2 at the ends of the ranges.) Actual warming and measured numbers are showing numbers below 1.5, with many scientists thinking the number is below 1.0. The number being below 1.2 is big, because that means we have negative, not positive, feedback to the Arrhenius number. If feedback is negative, then we are definitely safe from CAGW.

      We no longer have the C in CAGW. Yet you wouldn't know it frome the superheated rhetoric of the climate alarmists, with their fevered yells of "denier" to try and associate climate skeptics with holocaust denial.

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    2. Why is it that science deniers spout so much nonsense, never check facts, and cite stuff they have clearly never ever read for themselves? Have they been reading too much rubbish from James Delingpole or WUWT?

      This is a quote from Working Group 1 report of the third assessment report TAR (2001), about which Con Reeder made up some numbers:

      Climate sensitivity is likely to be in the range of 1.5 to 4.5°C. This estimate is unchanged from the first IPCC Assessment Report in 1990 and the SAR.

      The only people who refer to human-caused global warming as "CAGW" are science deniers. That's, as Con Reeder explains above, to give them an excuse to reject climate science because they cannot imagine a tropical cyclone like Haiyan hitting close to their home, or floods like the massive floods of 2011 or the Texas and Colorado floods being exacerbated by global warming, much less a heat wave like that in Europe in 2003 which killed tens of thousands of people.

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    3. A link to TAR for anyone who is interested in checking:

      http://www.grida.no/publications/other/ipcc_tar/

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    4. This isn't a brain-dead denier blog, Con Reeder, and blatant lies don't go unchallenged. Readers here know their facts, and check references.

      From the IPCC TAR:
      "Climate sensitivity is likely to be in the range of 1.5 to 4.5°C. This estimate is unchanged from the first IPCC Assessment Report in 1990 and the SAR."

      From AR5: "Equilibrium climate sensitivity is likely in the range 1.5°C to 4.5°C (high confidence), extremely unlikely less than 1°C (high confidence), and very unlikely greater than 6°C (medium confidence)."

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    5. "no doubt to stop getting below 4 and below 2 at the ends of the ranges" - no doubt at all? What motives do you imagine lie behind that?

      "Catastrophic" was introduced by deniers so that they can always claim that whatever happens, however disastrous, falls short of catastrophe so nothing to see here, move along.

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    6. BTW the global mean surface temperature is already one degree Celsius above pre-industrial, and CO2 hasn't yet increased by 50%, let alone doubled. Which only goes to show that deniers are as numerically challenged as they are scientifically challenged.

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    7. You know, of course, the real movement driver of my bicycle is the tires. Theories posit that moving my legs will trigger rotation of the tires. That is the real driver.

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    8. Many climate science deniers (like Con Reeder) don't understand the difference between forcing and feedback, even after years of commenting on climate blogs.

      http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2015/08/on-forcing-and-feedback-with-willis.html

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    9. It must be COP21 - Dunningly-Krugered scientific illiterates like "Con Reeder" are out in force.

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    10. "We no longer have the C in CAGW."

      Climatic changes already are estimated to cause over 150,000 deaths annually.

      I wonder how appallingly high the body count has to get before climate change deniers will consider it to be a slight problem?

      Perhaps it would be best not to think about that and just wonder how long it will be before such sociopaths are brought before the criminal justice system.

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    11. "BTW the global mean surface temperature is already one degree Celsius above pre-industrial, and CO2 hasn't yet increased by 50%, let alone doubled. Which only goes to show that deniers are as numerically challenged as they are scientifically challenged."

      Right, we have increased by approximately 120 ppm and still have 160 to go to double CO2.

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    12. I always get a chuckle when goobs like Con Reeder use the term "anthropomorphic" climate change. I get a picture in my head of a CO2 molecule with the 2 o's as eyes. hehe.

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    13. As deniers often intimate, CO2 has feelings. It doesn't like being called a pollutant for one thing :)

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    14. I've seen this quite a few times where commenters confuse climate sensitivity with expected temperature rise.

      CO2 levels will not automatically stop rising once they reach double the previous rate unless emissions are drastically reduced.

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    15. Con Reeder:

      "A - Anthropomorphic"
      Hilarious.

      "Skeptics like me will grant the A G W."
      So magnanimous of you. Climate scientists around the globe rejoice.

      "We no longer have the C in CAGW."
      "We" never did. You added it.

      But now that with increasing evidence is getting harder and harder to be a denier (if you don't like 'denier', replace it with 'gainsayer'), you can take the C out and feed it to the uncertainty monster with the hope that it'll remain loyal to you.

      It's a big gamble, though -- monsters are unpredictable. Even (or more so), 'anthropomorphic' ones.

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    16. Just to make things clearer for Con: The "catastrophic" aspect of AGW is a function of what actions we take in response to the science of climate change.

      If we do nothing – if we continue on a business-as-usual emissions pathway – then almost certainly the next generation will see catastrophic climate change.

      At this point, even if we take dramatic action now, coming generations are going to spend a lot of money adapting to the problems we created, but the effects will be far less than if we do nothing.

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    17. Millicent,

      "I wonder how appallingly high the body count has to get before climate change deniers will consider it to be a slight problem?"

      I read in a comment section of a Belgian newspaper a denier actually stating about the UNISRD report (The human cost of weather-related disasters 1995-2015) and their 600 000 deaths figure that this figure was "ridiculously low" compared to the annual number of deaths in the World! So I reckon it won't be before long.

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    18. The "catastrophic" aspect of AGW is a function of what actions we take in response to the science of climate change.

      So what are you saying, Rob?

      This?

      'It's not currently classified as potentially catastrophic, because we fully intend to do something about it.
      However, if we don't act in time, then it certainly will be catastrophic.'

      That would seem to be a pretty good case for labeling it as catastrophic.

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    19. Millicent December 1, 2015 at 1:15 AM


      Climatic changes already are estimated to cause over 150,000 deaths annually.

      I wonder how appallingly high the body count has to get before climate change deniers will consider it to be a slight problem?


      Slight problems which also require action:


      Around 3 billion people cook and heat their homes using open fires and simple stoves burning biomass (wood, animal dung and crop waste) and coal.

      Over 4 million people die prematurely from illness attributable to the household air pollution from cooking with solid fuels.

      More than 50% of premature deaths among children under 5 are due to pneumonia caused by particulate matter (soot) inhaled from household air pollution.

      3.8 million premature deaths annually from noncommunicable diseases including stroke, ischaemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer are attributed to exposure to household air pollution.


      http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs292/en/

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    20. Thanks for the QED on Raoul's comment, anonymous denier. God knows why we waste time and resources charging people with murder when there's just so much death about...

      And as the planet gets ever warmer? Are you an actual idiot, or do you just play one on the internet?

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    21. Bill,
      You don't see the dilemma there?

      As stated above, one cause of death is due to rapid economic development and an abundance of cheap energy.

      The other cause of death is due to a lack of cheap energy and lack of economic development.

      The usual approach is to give priority to the largest problem and the easiest solution.

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    22. False dichotomy. Utterly boring. Next.

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    23. By far the largest problem is global warming. Another large problem is pollution from dirty energy (coal and oil). The best solution for both problems involves switching to clean renewable energy.

      Anonymous' "solution" is to heat the world to six degrees or more in a matter of decades and make more smog. It's like saying the easiest solution to a burning house problem is to douse the flames with kerosene.

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    24. Anonymous' "solution" is to heat the world to six degrees or more in a matter of decades and make more smog''

      ...But, is it just possible there is some middle ground?

      Replacing polluting, inefficient, smoky, primitive systems with high technology, high efficiency, modern coal plants may be the sensible approach. At least in the interim, until the alternatives become both cheap and reliable.

      China, Germany and others would appear to think so.

      Is seems odd they see coal as the most practical and economical solution for their own immediate energy needs, but we still explain to the smaller developing countries why they should not do it that way.

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    25. Either the Paris talks are disturbing the winged monkeys in their roosts, or we have a comedian working on some material for his stand up.

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    26. "The other cause of death [of humanity] is due to a lack of cheap energy and lack of economic development."

      This is a claim that deserves an entire book in which it might be deconstructed.

      But lets go with a back-cover teaser... how many species in the evolution of life on Earth have died due to a lack of "economic development", and indeed for how long in humanity's evolution was a lack of "economic development" an issue in their mortality?

      I'll give you a clue: there's quite a large logical fallacy in your claim... And I rather suspect that you are completely oblivious to it...

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    27. What's that garbage about German coal plants? https://www.destatis.de/EN/FactsFigures/EconomicSectors/Energy/Production/Tables/GrossElectricityProduction.html

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    28. Bernard. Surely it is not a question of species extinction, at least not at this stage. Populations are thriving.

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/global-population-will-soar-to-112bn-by-2100-with-africa-accounting-for-much-of-the-growth-says-un-10448880.html

      An advantage of economic development is the subsequent curbing of that growth.

      You may wish to argue that the high mortality rate due to indoor smoke is doing its part, but that argument could equally be applied to the global warming issue.

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    29. Turbo. My error. You are correct that Germany is recently reducing its coal based power generation, in spite of earlier fears it was increasing:

      One of the main concerns about Germany’s energy transition is the role of coal power. In the first half of 2013, the share of German coal power in total supply increased by five percentage points to 52 percent, leading to extensive media coverage on an alleged coal boom. However, in 2014, electricity production from hard coal was reduced by almost 11 percent compared to 2013, whereas lignite power went down by 3 percent.

      The recent reports of new coal plants going online have also drawn a lot of attention. As Germany phases out its nuclear plants up to 2022, more space will indeed be created on the power grid for coal plants, which would otherwise be squeezed out by renewables. At present, renewable electricity primarily offsets power from natural gas, which is currently more expensive than coal power. Natural gas combustion emits only about half as much CO2 as the burning of coal.

      Though it would be better for the climate, a switch from coal power to natural gas will be a tough sell politically. Germany imports almost all of its gas, 40% of it from Russia, and is the world’s largest brown coal producer.

      http://energytransition.de/2013/11/r-is-germany-undergoing-a-coal-renaissance/



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  7. "Something that Matt Ridley (and people like Judith Curry, Pat Michaels, Nigel Lawson, Christopher Monckton and others) don't want to do.They will be lucky to go down in history as a footnote list of climate criminals condemned by the World Climate Court of 2035."

    That's a distinct possibilty - that some of these disinformers may face legal repercussions in the future. Monckton, if still alive, would probably skate on the grounds of insanity. Judith Curry is probably early stage Alzheimer's, but many of the others will have no legal loophole to escape justice.

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    1. Ah yes, you pray for the arrival of the thought police.

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    2. One wonders about denier bloggers too, clearly some of those are deranged but most appear to be serial liars. It's hard to believe that those deniers all suffer from anterograde amnesia.

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    3. You can think anything you like, Con. You happen to be under the delusion that what you're thinking has any basis in reality.

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    4. Rob Painting,

      I think this bears repeating:

      "That's a distinct possibilty - that some of these disinformers may face legal repercussions in the future. Monckton, if still alive, would probably skate on the grounds of insanity. Judith Curry is probably early stage Alzheimer's, but many of the others will have no legal loophole to escape justice."

      Its accuracy may make deniers uncomfortable...

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    5. Why do you think it bears repeating?

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    6. Does anyone seriously imagine there aren't going to be court cases?

      At some stage this century a lot of people are belatedly going to work out that by listening to the do-nothing brigade they've lost $billions*. It's got nothing to do with 'thoughtcrime' or show trials; do you really imagine this much money's gonna go down the drain and those that denied the problem - institutions and individuals - aren't going to be looked to to pay?

      *Not to mention poisoned their posterity, but since that's fairly hard to price it's all just 'sh*t happens', eh?

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    7. Luvly, ain't it.
      Put up an open and shut case, all would be good.

      Can't quite do that?: Then blame those who are unconvinced, and threaten them with 'the law'.

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    8. Bill, personally I'd prefer to put energy into other things. However it's human to want to blame people and to seek retribution (or justice) and so yes, I won't be surprised if there are court cases or even a World Climate Court at some time in the not too distant future. It's human nature to want someone to pay, especially if one has personally lost a great deal as a result of the actions of disinformers.

      Anonymous, "the law" as you call it, is more likely to be used against disinfomers, not the dumb ignorant (wilful or otherwise).That is, the professionals and semi-professionals who have profited from spreading disinformation with the intention of delaying or stopping climate change mitigation. They will have to prove that they did so in ignorance, which will be hard given they will have to explain why they rejected or downplayed 97% of science in favour of one or more 0.01% of "hypotheses". (The other 3% isn't an alternative theory, it's a grab bag of miscellaneous silliness.)

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    9. I doubt there'll be personal lawsuits. More likely, some corporations will face consequences. A corporation doesn't have beliefs, and there's invariably internal communications.

      The money from tobacco settlements helped, belatedly, internalize the previously externalized costs. I'm hopeful the same will happen to major private fossil fuel miners. Unfortunately, the majority of fossil fuel production companies are nationalized, so they'll be immune to the legal consequences.

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    10. Anonymous - is that a poor attempt at a drive-by strawman, or you really just can't do contextual reading?

      Ironically the 'unconvinced' - i.e. those for whom reality was a little too inconvenient, so they decided to hide behind the loumouth disinformers and pretend there really was a debate and maybe they'd be able to get away with an unaltered affluenza lifestyle - are going to be among those keenest on seeking reparations from the deniocratic elite.

      Because it certainly won't have been their own fault they got themselves mired in an unsolveable mess. They're gonna be angry!...

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    11. You could be right, numerobis. It will depend on the amount of damage in the future (from climate change) and how well societies hold it together.

      If societies stay as they are today (more or less) then there may just be corporations sued - or not.

      If the damage is greater, then I could see local trials (almost kangaroo courts) in different places, and maybe an international court within a few decades, In that case, then I could envisage individuals having to answer for their actions. (A lot of the same people are involved in various different anti-environment groups around the world, especially the networks that span USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand - but with links also between the UK and Europe.)

      Hopefully it won't come to that.

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    12. Anonymous - "Can't quite do that?: Then blame those who are unconvinced, and threaten them with 'the law'.

      Perhaps the nearest comparison we have at this moment in time is in medicine - where delusional parents or caregivers refuse live-saving medical treatment for seriously ill children on the basis that they're 'not convinced'.

      I agree that legal repercussions at an individual level are a very remote possibility, but repercussions might come at a more local level as things start to unravel. People get nasty when they're desperate and will want someone to blame.

      A far better case can be made against corporations and policymakers though. It will depend on how bad things get I suppose.

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    13. I agree that individuals only need be concerned if we actually start sliding back into barbarism (then again, given the egregiously toxic, bone-headed rubbish the likes of Trump currently spouts - to astonishing public acclaim - that's possibly a moot point!...)

      But certain corporations, thinktanks, PR firms, major political parties: all fair game to my mind. And if the figureheads thereof pass much of their time in their declining years making regular appearances in the role of 'the defendant', who could possibly argue it was unjust?

      Seriously.

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    14. The suits that I would like to see are those that prosecute politicians and corporations for their wilful damage of the planet, and that are conducted with sufficient alacrity that there is sufficient time for beneficial effect

      The courts I fear are the kangaroo ones mentioned above, which will only lead to social disruption and further harm to many innocent bystanders.

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    15. I expect legal action in the next decade or two. The NY attorney general has already started formally investigating, others will follow.

      I don't a general breakdown in that time span. Much longer and the responsible parties will be dead anyway.

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    16. Con Reeder, is this the though police you had in mind?

      http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/12/how-gop-thought-police-enforce-science-denial.html

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  8. Even the IPCC says there is no increase in extreme weather disasters.

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    1. Did you read that on a denier blog somewhere, Will? If you believe this is true, then you need to back it up. What IPCC report and what page or section? A direct quote will do the job.

      It doesn't say that in the 2011 SREX report, nor in the AR5 report. If you're talking about an older report, then which one?

      You might also be interested in the following BAMS supplements:

      Extreme events of 2013

      Extreme events of 2014

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    2. Citation please Mr Benson.

      Here is some help: http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg1/#.Ukrx0H9JZ8G

      Download and search on: 'no increase in extreme weather disasters'. What turns up?

      Also study SPM.1 page 7,

      and Note this: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/apr/27/extreme-weather-already-on-increase-due-to-climate-change-study-finds

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    3. And Will: while you are searching out that link, why is it "Even the IPCC says" and not "The IPCC says"? What particular flavour of Lewandowsky fodder are we dealing with here?

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    4. Maybe I should have been more specific: Also study 'Table SPM.1 on page 7,'

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    5. Lionel, that attribution study that the Guardian article discusses is quite worrying. If there is already a detectable 5-fold increase in heat and precipitation events...

      I'd like to see some other studies by different teams of researchers backing it up though. Then we'd have something to beat the lukewarmers over the head with. Figuratively speaking, of course ;-)

      Delete
    6. "Of course, the conclusions are not stated that simply"

      I checked with the SREX summary for policymakers. Those are not the conclusions at all.

      I find myself wondering is "no increase" a distortion of we can't tell yet because rare events don't happen frequently enough for statistical significance to be obtained in the time period available for study.

      So its not all in the SREX report. At least not as the winged monkeys would have it.

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete
  10. Ridley also has an opinion piece in "The Times" today entitled "The doom-mongers should look at the science".
    This with the paper publishing a screed of (good) stuff earlier in it's pages with graphs showing the rise of temp, CO2 and SL.
    Ironic eh? ... if only deniers did "look at the science" - and not just the bits they like (or the bits they hate least).
    Didn't read it - I find him nauseating.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Great Barrier Reef has seen over 50% of it's coral die-off over the last 27 years, over 40% of coral reefs have been wiped out globally and we are in the throes of only the 3rd global bleaching ever observed. Coral mortality in the next year could be enormous. Given the outsized and pivotal role coral reefs provide for global marine life (over a quarter of all fish live on coral reefs) the consequences for humanity will be profound.

      That's looking at the science. It seems rather gloomy and doomy.

      Delete
    2. Rob I hope you don't mind my pitching in with mention of Professor Callum Roberts' excellent books on marine degradation:

      'The Unnatural History of the Sea' and

      'The Ocean of Life: The Fate of Man and the Sea'


      The vital function of a coral reef being a nursery for the juvenile stages of much oceanic life should not be forgotten. Trophic levels in the ocean must be a foreign topic to Ol' King Cole Ridley.


      Delete
    3. "That's looking at the science. It seems rather gloomy and doomy."

      Exactly.

      There's not a single ecologist or other clued-in scientist that I know who doubts that we have initiated an ecologically catastrophic shift in the biosphere. Any of the deniers who say otherwise are simply demonstrating that they know nothing about heat physiology, bioclimatic envelopes, or interspecies/inter-ecosystem interactions.

      For mine, if Paris fails to produce a firm target of below two degrees C over pre-Industrial, I'll be concentrating my energies on preparing my family, friends, and local community as best as possible for the future generations to deal with a world that is orders of magnitude less forgiving of Western socio-econiomic folly than it it today. A generation or so is not much time to learn to deal with the sequelæ of the warming we've started - it's a slow motion train wreck with the Denialati ostriches still saying "what brick wall?".

      Delete
    4. I'll second Lionel's books by Callum Roberts. Also, a couple of Carl Safina's books, Voyage of the Turtle, and Song for the Blue Ocean.

      I think it might have been a book recommendation on this blog that led me to Safina's books. Whoever that was, thank you! Thoroughly enjoyed those two books, and have Eye of the Albatross lined up to read next.

      Delete
    5. Dan, thanks for the prompt about Carl Safina's books I'll check out those two and will also, if I find those OK, follow up with:

      "Eye of the Albatross: Visions of Hope and Survival"

      "A Sea in Flames: The Deepwater Horizon Oil Blowout"

      Matt Ridley with a BA and DPhil in zoology should be able to understand these issues. But I guess when you have tons of coal under your estate selling that takes preference.

      Delete
    6. Dan Andrews

      I am about 2/3rds through Safina's 'Song for the Blue Ocean' right now, 'Voyage of the Turtle' has arrived and I may then go for 'Eye of the Albatross'.

      The narrative style reminds me very much of Jonathan Raban's 'Passage to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meanings' which is a sort of travelogue-history-social commentary about the sea and landscape travelled through on a sailing boat out of Seattle. I found it an enthralling read - but then I have done sea time in vessels from 900 feet to 14 feet long under steam and sail.

      Delete
  11. "PS for everyone who thinks this is unrealistic..."

    Yes, it is WAY too optimistic. Your conservative assumptions cut Ridley & his fellow deniers way too much slack.

    But seriously, your article is just another of your excellent efforts.
    :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Matt blithely ignores the fact that even if he's right and it takes 80 years to be "dangerous", the time to make it "safe" would have been 80 years ago. Which means we have to act NOW.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Matt blithely ignores the fact that even if he's right and it takes 80 years to be "dangerous", the time to make it "safe" would have been 80 years ago. Which means we have to act NOW.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Replies
    1. There's a danger in expressing the information as "90% of disasters are now weather-related"...

      If the number of weather-related disasters doubles and the number of non-weather-related disaters remains constant, then the new figure would be 94.7%. If the number of weather-related disasters doubles again, the figure would be 97.3%, and if it doubled again it would be 98.6%...

      So the headline could be "The proportion of weather-related disasters increased by 7.3% of total disasters since 2015" rather than "weather-related disasters quadruple since 2015"...

      Delete
  15. Sou...off topic, but no "SkepticalScience" link on the blogroll? What's up with that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry about that CC I played with the blogroll the other day and it must have dropped off. I've added it back again.

      You can also see the latest three SkS items listed here in the sidebar (which has been there for a while).

      Delete
  16. Sorry about going all 'open thread', but have you seen this?: Surreal storm portraits to highlight climate change

    Perhaps this is the ABC's contribution? ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amazing photos. Thanks, Bill.

      Delete
    2. I'd really like to see a photo done with someone's head buried in a field, with the caption "Climate change doesn't care if you don't believe in it"...

      Delete

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