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Source: (consider it) Thread: Weather Weirding 2017
Gramps49
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Some time ago I brought up this topic before, but it is a new Winter (at least for us Northerners) and I just was interested in how this Chinese hoax (at least according to the Orange One) is affecting you. After all, here in the states we barely hear how the European weather is progressing. I did see an El Nino is now developing off the Australian coast.

Here in my neck of the woods, we were slammed with snow in December and middle of January. It is letting up some now for us, but just to the north of me, some areas got as much as three feet of snow in 24 hours. To the south of me, Boise, ID, has had its heaviest total accumulation of snow in recorded history. Whole warehouse sheds are collapsing because of the snow down there. And I am planning on heading back down that way in about ten days.

The there is the story of two AmTrak trains, one going east and the other going west, getting standed because there is too much snow on a mountain pass outside Glacier National Park. They are now backing both trains back off the pass and will reroute them around the pass.

So, what has it been like in your area?

Of course, as I noted, the Orange One says Climate Change is a Chinese hoax and half of Americans believe him, or at least do not believe in the science behind it. And they point to these freakish storms to prove their point. How have Europeans figured this out by us Yankees refuse to see it It just seems we are beating our heads against the wall of reality.

[ 08. February 2017, 07:13: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Ian Climacus

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[shouldn't it be "weirding"?]

quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
I did see an El Nino is now developing off the Australian coast.

It is an alt-fact. According to our weather bureau:
quote:
The ENSO Outlook is currently INACTIVE. This means there is little sign of El Niño or La Niña developing in the coming months.
That said, it has been rather warm here. Northern South Australia could sweat through a run of 14 40C+ days. We have had a run of warm weather, 35C+, but I'm not sure how usual it is as I have not lived here long. We did have a lot of rainfall last year, and from what I hear we are having more days of extended heat, as well as more severe storms, across the country.

We seem to have a load of deniers here. I hoped our PM would do something serious but he seems hostage to the sceptics in his coalition. Clearly we, and Trump, are right to be wary of those socialist Europeans and Chinese and their fake reports, all done merely to destroy our way our life.

[ 08. February 2017, 05:50: Message edited by: Ian Climacus ]

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Eutychus
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I think this is an area in which a lot of work needs to be done to distinguish between our subjective impressions and the actual data.

As I understand it, it's very difficult to establish any meaningful link between climate change and weather.

Examining weather patterns seriously also involves sitting down and looking at data, not simply thinking "when I was young winters were properly cold with snow and it didn't rain in summer". Very often our selective memories are not supported by the facts, or at least, the picture is much more complicated.

In addition, other factors such as urbanisation need to be taken into account.

My day job translating constantly makes me aware just how complicated a place the world is, how complicated our modern society is, and how many counter-intuitive aspects there are involved. Globalisation and the internet exposes us to all this complexity more than ever before.

I think one of the reasons for the rise of populism is the appeal of simplicity. The world has got too complicated to understand; problems are magnified to levels our forebears never had to deal with; we feel powerless as a result; it's tempting to allow a strongman figure to both think and act on our behalf.

[ETA I corrected the typo in the title]

[ 08. February 2017, 07:13: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Baptist Trainfan
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This piece of news has been widely reported in the last few days.
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Penny S
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Which sent me here because of the appeal to climate change by someone denying it. And then I found the comments. Enjoy!

[ 08. February 2017, 08:25: Message edited by: Penny S ]

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Baptist Trainfan
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You couldn't make it up, could you! Wonderful.
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Enoch
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Not the only thing that's weird.

Until very recently the Chinese were accused of not taking climate change seriously. Now they are accused of inventing the idea?!

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

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Alan Cresswell

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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Not the only thing that's weird.

Until very recently the Chinese were accused of not taking climate change seriously. Now they are accused of inventing the idea?!

Different groups of people doing the accusations.

Those who accept the clear scientific evidence recognise that China is one of the largest producers of greenhouse gases (although, not so large on a per capita basis) and one of the countries with the most rapid growth in greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, any scheme to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has to include the Chinese to have any chance of working - and, the Chinese have prioritised industrial growth ahead of a low carbon economy. I don't think that prioritisation necessarily means the Chinese government rejects the findings of climate science, just that they consider the gains of industrialisation to outweigh the costs to the climate.

Apart from Trump, and those who simply echo his tweets, I'm not sure who are putting forward the idea that climate change is a Chinese invention. The suggestion that it's an EU invention has been around for a while, which at least has the benefit of the EU being a strong advocate of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and European nations among those most forcefully seeking international deals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (plus, some big European companies developing and selling low carbon technology such as wind turbines and solar panels).

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Adeodatus
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The problem with climate change is that you can't really get a handle on it by asking "how's the weather doing?" The effects of climate change are expected to show themselves typically over a timescale of decades, and people's memories simply aren't that good. That's why it's easy for those with an economic interest to convince significant numbers of people that it's all a big hoax designed to eat up their tax dollars/pounds/euros.

For me, the bottom line is this: I was a (very very junior) climatologist in the 80s. The best mathematical models we had back then were predicting a global average temperature rise of 2-5K by 2100. No reputable source I've seen since has made me think there's any need to modify that prediction.

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"What is broken, repair with gold."

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Boogie

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In my area it's rain, rain and too much rain.

I live in Manchester UK - we are used to rain, but this is ridiculous!

🌧🌧🌧

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Hedgehog

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In my area, we are expecting temps of 60(Fahrenheit, 16 Celsius) today...and then snow tomorrow morning.

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"We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it."--Pope Francis, Laudato Si'

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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We had 3 bouts of melting in Jan. Unheard of. Presently it's back to seasonal -25 day and -35 overnight. We need 6 weeks of -30s to kill invasive insects like the pine bark beetle which is set on destroying the northen boreal forests. Turns them red and dead.

Ice roads were 2-3 weeks late. Need 4 ft or so of lake ice for highways and trucks.

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

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Pangolin Guerre
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The thing that I've noticed is that this winter has been relentlessly dismal - days upon days of unbroken cloud cover unusual even for southern Ontario. I'll try to find the link to Environment Canada's page on this, but they back me up. It makes me very nostalgic for my northern homeland - fewer hours of daylight and friggin' cold, but you see a lot of blue.
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Gramps49
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Temperatures got to 0 F (-18) during the coldest part of the winter, this week it will be around 40 F (4) this week which is around the 40-year average this time of the year.

True, you cannot collate current weather with long-term climate change with the exception of saying the weather will get weirder (that is why I used the title)

To bad about the cricket fields. Typical American, when I first saw the comment about the cricket field, I began to wonder why I should be concerned aboout insects.

However, California did experience one of its longest droughts over the past five years. This year, though, the snowpack in California is now over 178% of average, which will mean the reservoirs will be completely full and then some this next year.

It has gotten so bad in many places that they have had to close ski resorts because there has been too much snow--the ski lifts were completely covered.

Overall though, there have been some trends people are beginning to notice. Certain fish populations have been moving North. Some species that would be found near the equator are showing up off the Oregon coast. The growing seasons have been gradually lengthening. Birds are migrating further north. But there is also the problem of species that have no where else to go are suffering. Polar bears are dwindling because the ice cap is breaking up an they cannot get to their food sources.

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BabyWombat
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Here in New England we had an unusual 8 inches of snow come quickly in mid-November. Not a big deal for those of us who grew up here, but quite a surprise for the young man from South Caroline parked next to me in the town lot.

December was mild, with no snow. January cold, with little snowfalls that were more of a temporary nuisance then anything else. Both months unusual.

Yesterday we had 5 inches of snow topped by overnight rain causing a thick ice crust. Shoveling was difficult, needing to first break through the ice and then deal with the heavy wet snow. This is more usual for mid-March than early February. More of the same forecast for tomorrow. Dug out our walks, then those of our disabled neighbor. Then dug out the car, and that of an older woman who’d slipped while cleaning her car off and was flat on her back in the slush. Got her up with the help of another passing stranger and walked her home.

So the weather pattern different from what I think of as “usual” – but it does give one the chance to chat with neighbors!

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Let us, with a gladsome mind…..

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Brenda Clough
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Here in the mid-Atlantic it is record-breaking warm. I cycled to work today, passing people in tee shirts and shorts. This is very unusual in February, which is better known for monster snowstorms.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Pigwidgeon

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quote:
Originally posted by Penny S:
Which sent me here because of the appeal to climate change by someone denying it. And then I found the comments. Enjoy!

I love this one!
quote:
It's funny. A slug thwarted by a snail.


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HCH
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In northern Illinois, we have had much less snow than usual, more or less a drought.
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Eutychus
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Is anyone actually going to discuss any issues here, or is this just going to turn into a long list of what the weather's like with you at the moment? [brick wall]

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One has to take part. Scary as it is. - Martin60
Jerusalem is a city without walls

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Alan Cresswell

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There are soe overlapping terms that it might be of benefit to unwrap a little, before trying to reassemble them into a larger picture.

1. Weather. This is what is happening at a particular time and place. As in "I just looked outside, and it's raining".

2. Weather patterns. This is an attempt to form an underlying picture of the weather in a given place. As in "it rains a lot in Manchester". A systematisation of multiple observations of the weather.

3. Climate. This is the system that gives rise to weather patterns. It is the interaction between land, sea and atmosphere, and resulting behaviour in the atmosphere and oceans. The input data for understanding the climate include weather patterns - "it's raining today" isn't very helpful, but "it rains a lot in Manchester" is because we can then start to examine the causes of that pattern (a combination of prevailing winds from the Gulf-stream warmed Atlantic, which are relatively warm and moist, meeting the rising ground of the Pennines).

4. Changes in weather patterns. This is the observation that over time weather patterns have changed - there is more rain now than 20 years ago. Though, weather is variable, and so it's preferable to define the patterns, and changes therein, over time scales that are significantly longer than the inherent variability. Which will be more than a year (so "this year's very wet compared to what I expect" is not very useful, "this decade is very wet" generally is). Anecdotes like those presented here are useful data, but even more so when they are repeated over many years (and, even more so again when they're quantified and well documented).

5. Climate change. Changes in weather patterns over extended periods indicate changes in the climate - if rainfall has increased significantly above normal variations then the climate that's driving that rainfall has changed. It is possible for local effects to change the climate in that area (changes in land use being the most obvious in the short term - deforestation reduces the humidity of air down wind of the former forest and hence rainfall, for example). But, the climate is a global system and ultimately any change in one place could have global consequences. And, many of the changes we have introduced are global in scope - we have cut down forests practically everywhere, we have concreted over large areas of land practically everywhere, we have altered the chemical composition of the atmosphere everywhere.

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Don't Brexit if you haven't a scooby how to fix it.

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Og, King of Bashan

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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
Is anyone actually going to discuss any issues here, or is this just going to turn into a long list of what the weather's like with you at the moment? [brick wall]

I've long been on your side re: people claiming to see evidence of climate change (which I do not deny, btw) in every instance of less than ideal weather. But it's a fairly thankless position to take, I'm afraid, as people love to kvetch about the weather, and prove their pro-Science bona fides at the same time.

What really gets me is when you have a random nice day in the middle of February (as we tend to get around here) and you attempt to make small talk about how nice it is outside. Rather than saying "why yes, it is lovely," more often than not it seems that the response has become "Scary, isn't it?"

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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Eutychus
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Yes, that's a whole other subtopic. It's a culture of fear. Sure, we face challenges, just as other generations did. But we are not supposed to fear.

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One has to take part. Scary as it is. - Martin60
Jerusalem is a city without walls

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Stercus Tauri
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Interesting terminology. Not many years ago we were all talking about global warming, but the GW Bush administration in the USA officially refused to say that, and insisted on climate change. Strictly, I suppose they were right as far as the general scientific discussion goes, but nevertheless, isn't the issue at the root of the discussion really global warming? It's surely been a weird winter here so far for us - no familiar patterns at all.

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Thay haif said. Quhat say thay, Lat thame say (George Keith, 5th Earl Marischal)

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Og, King of Bashan

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Global Warming vs. Global Climate Change, per. NASA.

As you might expect, it's all a lot more complicated and nuanced than we non-scientists think.

You frequently see deniers claiming that blizzards, polar vortexes, and cold snaps are proof that global "warming" isn't happening (see? it's getting colder!), and that the people making this stuff up suddenly started talking about "climate change" to cover that up.

It must all be very frustrating to the people who use both terms as terms of art.

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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Alan Cresswell

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One of the conclusions that became obvious to climate scientists 30 years ago was that adding CO2 to the atmosphere was going to act like a greenhouse, and warm the planet. This was picked up by the media as "global warming", although "climate change" has always been prefered by scientists. Partly because increasing average temperatures is just one of the effects predicted (it's also relatively easy to measure, and the measurements have conclusively supported the models). Other effects include changes to global circulation patterns (atmosphere and ocean), with corresponding changes to prevailing wind directions and strength and associated precipitation. Also people assumed "global warming" meant it was going to get hotter everywhere, whereas there will be areas which could cool significantly (eg: NW Europe if the Gulf Stream shifts).

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Don't Brexit if you haven't a scooby how to fix it.

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Carex
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Here is some context of global temperature over time.

We have examples of climate changing over time, both from written history and the geologic record. The recent drought in California, for example, was actually more of a return closer to historic conditions, compared which the last couple hundred years have been cooler and wetter than normal.

An example on a smaller scale appears in the book [u]Two Years Before the Mast[/u] by Richard Henry Dana, about a Yankee ship trading with what was then Mexican "Alta California". They are on constant watch for fierce southwest gales that threaten to drive the ships onto the shore, but when the author visited the region again some years later he was told that they just didn't happen any more, making it easier to trade in some of the less protected harbors.

There are a lot of potential impacts to global climate change, particularly how it affects agriculture and sea levels. While the Earth has adapted to changes in the past, a more rapid change, combined with political ramifications, may make compensation and accommodation much more difficult.

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Gee D
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In the Middle Ages, many of the passes in Switzerland, now closed by snow for 4 or more months of the year, were always open. That sort of variation has always happened all around the world.

What we'e looking at here is change on a scale far more rapid than previously, and which we can attribute to human activity. That's the real issue.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Carex:
While the Earth has adapted to changes in the past, a more rapid change, combined with political ramifications, may make compensation and accommodation much more difficult.

The planet doesn't need to adapt, it simply is. Life is what must adapt, and there is the rub. It is almost guaranteed that earth will retain lifeforms through these changes, but we are not guaranteed to be one of them. At least not in our present numbers and level of civilisation.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Adeodatus
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# 4992

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This clip from the tv drama "The Newsroom" is actually pretty close to what some climatologists have been saying for years now. James Lovelock, who's been right about almost everything so far, was once asked, "So what advice would you give to people living near sea level?" He replied, "Move." The point of the tv clip and the Lovelock anecdote is that some climatologists think we're actually past the point of no return, and that there is nothing we can do to avoid global catastrophe.

Yes, the earth is a self-regulating system that constantly rebalances itself by means of climate change in response to various stimuli. But there are two main questions in the present situation. One, what will the rebalancing look like when it's in response to such a large, sudden stimulus as the industrial release of CO2? And two, will the rebalancing involve a mass extinction that includes the human race?

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"What is broken, repair with gold."

Posts: 9754 | From: Manchester | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged
no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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Two issues.

1. Creeping normalcy
Small changes are accepted because the changes year to year are small. We then see the following year as a small change yet again. Like growing older, we don't notice much. And we also don't know the history, which thankfully some have raised on this thread.

2. Disconnection from the natural world
People drive everywhere, spend more and more of their time indoors. We protect ourselves from the least bit of discomfort and we make ourselves removed from the world around us. I see the 'mindfulness' and yoga popularity as ways of trying to capture what once came naturally as we observed our footsteps on uneven ground, felt the rain, snow and wind on our faces.

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

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Hiro's Leap

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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
James Lovelock, who's been right about almost everything so far, was once asked, "So what advice would you give to people living near sea level?" He replied, "Move."

Lovelock's current views.
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Belle Ringer
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Used to be summers of 95 degrees with a week or two to 100. Now it's summers of 100 degrees with week or two at 105 or more.

Local news says our weather broke all-time high yesterday. And Christmas. And new years. Dipped for a bit of cold and back up.

One strange year, fine. But 3 years in a row? When do we point to the record and say "Something has changed"?

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Ian Climacus

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Not sure if you can read this subscriber article through this link. I read it today and thought of this thread.

The journalist, travelling in Montana, has this to say about the rise of climate denialism:
quote:
Because climate change science — pretty much all science — is now being enrolled in the great culture/class war that is consuming Western society, the brutal fight for recognition and position between the progressive-knowledge classes, and the working and middle classes, who now feel themselves to be excluded from the processes of power, wealth and legitimacy.

... We have moved past the post-WW II notion that science, having been applied to the defeat of fascism, could now be applied to the creation of the good society, creating interesting work, nice houses, curing disease and opening up opportunity for personal development. Knowledge workers were a small group, in service to a large society divided on traditional class lines.

Now knowledge workers are a ruling group, science and knowledge are an omnipresent discourse obscure to many; politics, and even economics, appear to have little role in shaping our society; and technology reconstructs our life world in a process of ceaseless revolution. Post-WW2, science was something curing TB, improving crop yields, and beating back drudgery. Now, the skeletal black-skivvied figures — Steve Jobs, Elon Musk — get up on stage to announce another revolution, and down the street another workplace closes down, the truck driver (the single most common occupation in the West) realises that driverless cars means driverless trucks, and so on and so on. Increasingly, the excluded classes see science as abstract, alien and oppressive. To counter this, they cleave to a form of knowledge that is concrete and mythical. In our era, that form of discourse is inevitably conspiratorial, turning impersonal and uncontrollable processes into known and authored ones.

He also gives 4 ideas climate science activists can deployed. The article expands on them, but in summary they are:
  • The most important thing any climate change activist can do right now, if they don’t know this science, is to drop everything and learn it.
  • Climate change activists, and organisations, need to study and learn more effectively, the strategies and tactics built up over a century of socialist and radical campaigning, the different modalities of it.
  • Activists and writers have to stop doing readable, luxurious evocative books, and start writing a few “flat ephemeral” pamphlets.
  • there is still no single volume that, chapter by chapter, takes apart the climate change denialists (if there is, and I’ve missed it, I’m welcome to be informed of it).

I find #1 quite challenging -- climate, as a science, is huge. How can we inform ourselves deeply so we can "answer any feeble objection simply, forthrightly and effectively"? Do I need to become as informed on climate science to debate my friends as I am with computer science, my career? Or do I rely on experts? I am not seen as an expert by denying acquaintances; their articles are and any I send are leftist scare propaganda. I do wonder how 1-on-1 debate can work here.

Posts: 7372 | From: Albury, Australia | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Hiro's Leap

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For the record, I'm a climate True Believer(TM). I think although the outcomes are far from certain, the bad possibilities will be devastating and not that unlikely. In the past that motivated me; now I feel cynical and tired.

The trouble is that for most people climate change is so boring.
  • The debates are boring. They're almost inevitably obscure and highly technical, and you need to do a huge amount of study to have an informed opinion.
  • The threat is long-term and boring. Even at worst, it's a gradual multi-generational catastrophe. The IPCC reports stop at 2100 which is hard enough to care about, but the worst outcomes could occur far beyond then. Our psychology prioritises immediate threats.
  • It's faceless, hence boring. It's just atmospheric physics. Everyone in the world is responsible to varying degrees, and people in developing countries aspire to become as guilty as us. There's no clear enemy, and enemies provide motivation.
  • The outcomes aren't certain. People can legitimately say "We don't know, it might be OK". It's an insane attitude to risk IMO, but they're right. That uncertainty saps enthusiasm.
  • News items come and go. It's almost impossible to keep people motivated about a single issue over such a long time scale.
  • The action needed is urgent, but the lags make it seem distant. There's a multi-decade lag between producing CO2 output and seeing the effects; there's another massive lag in investing in new infrastructure to reduce emissions. We respond to what we experience, and by the time the situation *feels* bad it'll probably be far too late to make changes.
  • The people who are most invested don't seem to be good mass communicators. We either come across as very dry or as frothing extremists. (I alternate between both.)
Forget skeptics and think about our side. Half of the US and most of Europe nominally accept climate change, but there's no real passion. It's just one item on a ticklist of vaguely left-wing beliefs.

Look at the Ship. There are occasional threads, mostly the same few people saying the same things (because the facts haven't changed) and these fizzle out by page two. My wealthier friends religiously recycle cans and paper but don't hesitate to fly off on 3+ long trips a year. We blame politicians but there's no grassroots pressure for change. Conservatives aren't to blame for this apathy.

As a society we can get motivated by Trump's pussy grabbing comment, by gun control, by BLM, by gay marriage, by health care, by Rolf Harris. Climate change dwarfs all of those in urgency and complexity, but it's just so dull.

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Penny S
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I heard today that the US has withdrawn from the Paris agreement. Is this true?

Presumably individuals and states can still do the necessary stuff.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Penny S:
I heard today that the US has withdrawn from the Paris agreement. Is this true?


Citation needed (although it could well happen).

quote:
Presumably individuals and states can still do the necessary stuff.
The problem is knowing what "do the necessary stuff" means.

I am finishing up the translation of a book on energy transition. While it doesn't solve all the issues, and leaves some things (like the environmental damage entailed in manufacturing solar panels and batteries) unsaid, it makes a compelling case for renewables as a factor in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Also, interestingly, it depicts renewable energy as being a way not just of producing electrical power, but also of distributing democratic power, as electricty is produced from a whole range of sources and not just a few facilites controlled by governments or huge private firms.

Incitative legislation across the EU has helped reduce energy use significantly and spur innovation, but is often thwarted by industry lobbies. Neither Brexit nor Trump are good news for climate change in my view.

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One has to take part. Scary as it is. - Martin60
Jerusalem is a city without walls

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Gramps49
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Technically the US has not officially withdrawn yet. I understand there would be consequences that would be very negative if the US would withdraw. Likely, Trump would just not comply with the agreement.
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Adeodatus
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quote:
Originally posted by Hiro's Leap:
quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
James Lovelock, who's been right about almost everything so far, was once asked, "So what advice would you give to people living near sea level?" He replied, "Move."

Lovelock's current views.
Well he never fails to surprise! I think what I mostly get from that article is that he's a bit bored with the whole climate prophecy business and wants to talk about other things. He's had his fingers burned a couple of times in the past - from people who misread his work on Gaia and thought he was saying the Earth was some sort of god; and from environmentalists, when he said renewable energy could never meet our wants, and we would have to embrace nuclear energy (FWIW I think he was exactly right on that). I wonder if he's seen data that I haven't? - I only really keep up to date by accident, reading stuff that I happen to come across. We've certainly passed the 400ppm of CO2 barrier, which is one of those slightly alarming round numbers that tend to get thrown around. I think, on balance, I'm sticking with my feeling that we've already passed a point of no return and are heading for the point of tits-up sometime around the end of this century.

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"What is broken, repair with gold."

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rolyn
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Just seen news pictures from Los Angeles. Have to say that looked pretty weird.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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