Please support this Forum and Neven's Blog

Author Topic: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"  (Read 8111 times)

vigilius

  • ASIF Citizen
  • Posts: 121
    • View Profile
"climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« on: July 11, 2017, 08:46:42 AM »
I expect most of you have seen the kerfuffle over this already. I didn't see an existing thread for this, and thought to start a new one in the "Science" category though I suppose "Policy" would have done as well.

At any rate there is a new article out pointing out some possible climate risks:
http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-too-hot-for-humans.html

Which led to Michael Mann pushing back, saying the "doomist" framing is unhelpful to climate action:
https://www.facebook.com/MichaelMannScientist/posts/1470539096335621

But the original article is attracting defenders, see:
http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2017/07/we_are_not_alarmed_enough_about_climate_change.html

What do members of the ASIF have to say?

vigilius

  • ASIF Citizen
  • Posts: 121
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2017, 09:04:10 AM »

jai mitchell

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1732
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2017, 09:26:21 AM »
This may be the best article on Climate Change in the public record.

I say this because it allows for a plausible scenario based on unrestricted fossil fuel burning (though the author caveats that it is likely that catastrophe would prevent that from happening if we continue BAU through the middle of next century).  I have also stated as much in this forum and it should be seen as pretty obvious.

but that isn't what makes it (potentially) the greatest piece on the reality of climate change.  What it does is synthesize the multiple impact points and integrates them with each other to produce a body of work.  Yes, a 4C world is very likely and under this massive areas of the middle east and southewestern desert states may become uninhabitable.  Food shortages and sea level rise will produce (hundreds of?) millions of refugees.  These shortages and pressures will drive global conflict

and the permafrost and soil carbon feedbacks are not included in the RCP emission pathways with some variance between those earth system models that are as large as the difference between RCP 2.6 and RCP 8.5 anthropogenic emissions.  In other words, under RCP 8.5 some models show a DOUBLING of total emissions (anthropogenic + carbon cycle) that was is CURRENTLY being projected under RCP 8.5 by the IPCC.

the pushback from the climate scientists who want to moderate the discussion is very telling.
Haiku of Past Futures
My "burning embers"
are not tri-color bar graphs
+3C today

vigilius

  • ASIF Citizen
  • Posts: 121
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2017, 11:11:05 AM »
I like Kevin Drum's comment: "What would we do if we discovered aliens who were 50 years from earth and were going to destroy us?"
At any rate, it seems the whole internet is abuzz with talk of Wallace-Wells' essay, which makes it a big success in my book. For your convenience, here are more links with discussion pieces:
https://grist.org/climate-energy/stop-scaring-people-about-climate-change-it-doesnt-work/
http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/07/our-approach-to-climate-change-isnt-working-lets-try-something-else/
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/07/is-the-earth-really-that-doomed/533112/

6roucho

  • ASIF Citizen
  • Posts: 286
  • Finance geek
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2017, 11:40:54 AM »
I think this is perhaps the most chilling [sic] assertion:

But the many sober-minded scientists I interviewed over the past several months — the most credentialed and tenured in the field, few of them inclined to alarmism and many advisers to the IPCC who nevertheless criticize its conservatism — have quietly reached an apocalyptic conclusion, too: No plausible program of emissions reductions alone can prevent climate disaster.

It's chilling because it's so plausibly true. Where does that leave us? With geoengineering, and let's be honest here: our inability to coordinate on emissions bodes badly for our ability to coordinate on geoengineering, which is a project that carries vast risks, and must be done with the greatest respect for unintended consequences.

What happens if [for example] a maverick national government makes a purely political decision to go it alone, based on half-baked science or no science at all?

Imagine if a Scott Pruitt or a Myron Ebell were tasked with delivering a geoengineering solution. The project would be run for the short-term advantage of corporations, based on "science" made up for the purpose, and we'd conceivably be worse off, in convenient preparation for another, even-more-profitable geoengineering project.

It's enough to make one believe that there really is a cosmic filter for civilizations. Pass this test, and you're allowed to proceed.

P-maker

  • ASIF Citizen
  • Posts: 167
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2017, 01:12:21 PM »
Jai,

I agree that this is one of the better essays written. I really like his way of mixing global concerns with family trivialties.

However, I may have seen a way out of all this misery, so I will stick with his final summary:

we will also find a way to make it livable."

Darvince

  • ASIF Citizen
  • Posts: 197
    • View Profile
    • NSIDC Daily
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2017, 03:57:24 PM »
When I first started reading this article, I thought it might have been a good article with a reasonable answer, but it immediately takes a nosedive into endless misconceptions and dangerous exaggerations, as well as many proclamations of doom. I would have to agree with Michael Mann here, but I would go even further than him in criticizing the article, refuting all its misconceptions, both dangerous and benign, point by point.

First, David should've checked his own mental state before writing an infectious doom prophecy for humanity:
Of course, heat stress promises to pummel us in places other than our kidneys, too. As I type that sentence, in the California desert in mid-June, it is 121 degrees outside my door. It is not a record high.
I say this because I was in that same heat wave, albeit in Arizona instead, and suffered a similar, albeit much more severe delirium during that week that ended with me in the hospital. I'm unsure how much of that had to do with the high levels of ozone and how much of that had to do with my intense fear of climate change, I suspect they were at least equal if not favoring the second one.

It's also peppered with misconceptions and pure falsehoods that Mann doesn't address. In fact the first one that made me go from "this may be a good article" to "this is likely a bad article" was this little bit of widely shared misinformation:
This past winter, a string of days 60 and 70 degrees warmer than normal baked the North Pole, melting the permafrost that encased Norway’s Svalbard seed vault — a global food bank nicknamed “Doomsday,” designed to ensure that our agriculture survives any catastrophe, and which appeared to have been flooded by climate change less than ten years after being built.
This makes it sound like on a day in January it was 60F in Svalbard and that permafrost "melts" or "freezes" with single days' temperatures, and that it never gets above freezing in Svalbard because if several days of these temperatures did that, then surely it must have never been above freezing in Svalbard before!

The reality of what happened in Svalbard at the seed vault is that some time in May it reached consistently above freezing again and the snow and topmost ice in the permafrost all melted in a rush leading to minor flooding in the front tunnel of the seed vault, which cannot reach the seed vault due to the architecture of the entrance. The entrance is very, very long so that the vault is buried deep inside the mountain where the ambient temperature of the soil can only shift by minute amounts each year (think less than 0.1C). All of the water also reached the part of the tunnel where it starts ascending again and froze there, forming a slick layer of black ice inside the tunnel that was then removed easily. The perpetual stream of low pressures bringing high temperatures to the eastern Arctic from October to February did not cause this event to occur.

Until recently, permafrost was not a major concern of climate scientists, because, as the name suggests, it was soil that stayed permanently frozen.
This woefully underestimates the ingenuity and intelligence of climate scientists, implying that they didn't realize permafrost, which is determined by temperature, would melt in a world of increasing temperature. What has been lacking, however, is complex enough models to properly assess the additional warming that melting permafrost could bring.

The next bit of the article is a complete fearmongering disaster with absolutely nothing to back it up, just some words that could be straight out of the mouth of arctic-news.blogspot.com, but without the numbers to make it laughable. Unlike some other feedbacks, permafrost melting is one of the slow ones, as the deeper you go the longer it takes for changes to affect the temperature as a rule.

This next one is the only one that Mann addressed, but in terms of pure facts, perhaps the most important one to address in the article:
there are alarming stories every day, like last month’s satellite data showing the globe warming, since 1998, more than twice as fast as scientists had thought.
The misconception here is thinking that the only temperature set that scientists used was RSS, when in fact, satellite temperature records are held in lower regard than surface-based temperature measurements because of how enormous biases can creep in over time when satellites measure global temperature.

The next bit is more misconceptions about the (possibly) future calving from the Larsen C ice shelf. Firstly, he is thinking that ice shelves drop icebergs into the sea rather than the iceberg region accelerating due to stress between the berg and the shelf once it reaches a critical length. Before reaching that critical length, the crack(s) will grow from melting from below from the ocean. And as such, ice shelves calve bergs quite non-dramatically, with only a final loud crack! heard once the berg separates from the shelf.

jai mitchell

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1732
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2017, 04:35:35 PM »
Jai,

I agree that this is one of the better essays written. I really like his way of mixing global concerns with family trivialties.

However, I may have seen a way out of all this misery, so I will stick with his final summary:

we will also find a way to make it livable."

yes.  I have also seen it as well.  It won't be easy, it will be AMAZING.
Haiku of Past Futures
My "burning embers"
are not tri-color bar graphs
+3C today

wili

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1988
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2017, 04:43:20 PM »
Well, Dar, it's journalism, not a scientific paper. Any journalistic piece straying into the scientific realm is going to say some things that a scientist or specialist in the field would want to add specificity to, at least. But if the journalist really added everything that would make the scientist or specialist feel comfortable, it would probably end up not really being journalism, but rather some version of an abstract for a scientific paper.

Now whether this article consistently went way beyond that line, I'm not sure. It does seem that the author could have run some of his prose by one or two of the scientists he says that he has been in such close contact with. I'm just still hesitant to condemn the whole thing because of a few inaccuracies, but maybe I should look more carefully.

It is certainly true, though, that most models did not include permafrost feedback till fairly recently. I think he makes that important point, even if he might have chosen his words a bit more carefully in doing so.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

jai mitchell

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1732
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2017, 05:01:43 PM »
Darvince,

I think that your understanding of the "misconceptions" in the article is similar to criticisms I have seen from others so far. 

They mostly rely on strawman arguments and an objection to tone.

for example:  the article clearly said it was 60 degrees warmer than normal not 60 degrees.  To assert the latter is a strawman argument, on its face, whether or not you misunderstood the statement or you simply didn't like what he was saying.

Your criticism on the seed vault episode is valid (I believe) that the permafrost melt did not cause the flooding.  However, it was widely reported that it was permafrost that caused the flooding and I cannot blame the author for this.  Indeed, it is impossible to assert that the surface permafrost did not melt (though your explanation is more correct I feel).  For example:  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/19/arctic-stronghold-of-worlds-seeds-flooded-after-permafrost-melts  Arctic stronghold of world’s seeds flooded after permafrost melts

Whether or not the flooding was caused by permafrost or the warming that was not expected by the climate change models isn't really the issue here though.  The assertion that thing are changing much more rapidly than the current body of climate science expects is what is important.  The assertion that the emissions from permafrost are not included in these models is paramount.  We have already locked in much more than 2C warming and will likely see more than 3.5C in the absence of geoengineering.  This needs to be stated and restated with the likely impacts clearly explained.  Anything else is a disservice to the public interest.

It should be noted that within the IPCC AR4, the only mention of carbon cycle feedbacks from melting permafrost was the following statement. 

Changes in soil seasonal freeze-thaw processes have a strong influence on spatial patterns, seasonal to interannual variability, and long-term trends in terrestrial carbon budgets and surface-atmosphere trace gas exchange
  https://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch4s4-7.html

And in 2010 a published study meant to update the IPCC AR4 said the following:

the amount of carbon stored in permafrost areas appears much (two times) larger than previously thought
  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3357713/

Under RCP 8.5 and on a 200 year+ timeline, most, if not all, of the permafrost will melt.  This is not alarmist.  It is physical reality.


Haiku of Past Futures
My "burning embers"
are not tri-color bar graphs
+3C today

AbruptSLR

  • ASIF Emperor
  • Posts: 12744
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2017, 05:04:29 PM »
The linked reference presents research confirming that we indeed have entered an era of the ongoing anthropogenically driven Sixth Mass Extinction.  I think that we should open our eyes and see that biologically the calamity has already begun:

Gerardo Ceballos, Paul R. Ehrlich, and Rodolfo Dirzo (2017), "Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction signaled by vertebrate population losses and declines", PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1704949114

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/07/05/1704949114

Significance: "The strong focus on species extinctions, a critical aspect of the contemporary pulse of biological extinction, leads to a common misimpression that Earth’s biota is not immediately threatened, just slowly entering an episode of major biodiversity loss. This view overlooks the current trends of population declines and extinctions. Using a sample of 27,600 terrestrial vertebrate species, and a more detailed analysis of 177 mammal species, we show the extremely high degree of population decay in vertebrates, even in common “species of low concern.” Dwindling population sizes and range shrinkages amount to a massive anthropogenic erosion of biodiversity and of the ecosystem services essential to civilization. This “biological annihilation” underlines the seriousness for humanity of Earth’s ongoing sixth mass extinction event."

Abstract: "The population extinction pulse we describe here shows, from a quantitative viewpoint, that Earth’s sixth mass extinction is more severe than perceived when looking exclusively at species extinctions. Therefore, humanity needs to address anthropogenic population extirpation and decimation immediately. That conclusion is based on analyses of the numbers and degrees of range contraction (indicative of population shrinkage and/or population extinctions according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature) using a sample of 27,600 vertebrate species, and on a more detailed analysis documenting the population extinctions between 1900 and 2015 in 177 mammal species. We find that the rate of population loss in terrestrial vertebrates is extremely high—even in “species of low concern.” In our sample, comprising nearly half of known vertebrate species, 32% (8,851/27,600) are decreasing; that is, they have decreased in population size and range. In the 177 mammals for which we have detailed data, all have lost 30% or more of their geographic ranges and more than 40% of the species have experienced severe population declines (>80% range shrinkage). Our data indicate that beyond global species extinctions Earth is experiencing a huge episode of population declines and extirpations, which will have negative cascading consequences on ecosystem functioning and services vital to sustaining civilization. We describe this as a “biological annihilation” to highlight the current magnitude of Earth’s ongoing sixth major extinction event."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

TerryM

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1937
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2017, 07:09:44 PM »
I admit to having mixed feelings about the article. Dr. Mann is a hero of mine, he went through more than anyone else had to because his hockey stick graph played so prominently in Al Gore's movie. Someone needs to make a movie about what the deniers put him through.


His criticisms are all valid, yet I do believe that opening a new Overton Window might be just what we need at this time.


An Inconvenient Truth opened a lot of peoples eyes to what was happening, yet over the passing decades the shine has worn off. Perhaps we now need to move the argument from between, "climate change is a hoax, or climate change is very bad" to, "we'll all be dead in 100 years, or we'll all be dead in 500 years," if we don't change our ways.


If the argument moves from saying that climate change doesn't exist, to saying that climate change exists, but it won't be as bad as the NYT says it will be, this could be seen as progress.


Terry

AbruptSLR

  • ASIF Emperor
  • Posts: 12744
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2017, 11:34:03 PM »
Perhaps we now need to move the argument from between, "climate change is a hoax, or climate change is very bad" to, "we'll all be dead in 100 years, or we'll all be dead in 500 years," if we don't change our ways.


If by "we" you mean multiple billions of people, then your timescale of off by a factor of from two to ten.

The linked reference indicates that corrected recent observations indicate that the most likely value of ECS may be as high as 4.6C (see attached plot of the time dependent curve):

Kyle C. Armour  (27 June 2016), "Projection and prediction: Climate sensitivity on the rise", Nature Climate Change, doi:10.1038/nclimate3079

http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate3079.html
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

TerryM

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1937
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2017, 01:24:07 AM »
ASLR


The 500 year piece was meant to denote a position that those denying the NYT article might take. It's unreasonable, but not as unreasonable as saying that climate change is a hoax. Hence a new Overton Window has been opened, which may jolt us forward.


Sorry if my phrasing was unclear.
Terry

Darvince

  • ASIF Citizen
  • Posts: 197
    • View Profile
    • NSIDC Daily
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2017, 02:59:01 AM »
You're right in that I don't particularly like the tone of the article. However, to me there was also a poor choice of which things to present to the reader. For example, we know pretty solidly the temperatures of the world for the past 20 years and therefore how fast it has been warming. A better choice would have been the study that revealed that ocean heat content has been accumulating 13% faster than we thought. Or instead of talking about the crack in the Larsen C ice shelf which may possibly be largely natural, talking about the ice shelves that have disintegrated since 2000, such as Larsen B or Wilkins. Or placing the high heat in the Arctic last winter in its proper context of the horrifically low volumes we observed this spring and early summer.

It's not so much an issue of specificity, as an issue of choosing the wrong events, and in some cases making up events, to present to the public. Journalists need to follow certain standards where they ensure that they are reporting facts, rather than writing whatever they want to write and simply adding their desired emotion.

that those denying the NYT article might take.

BTW, Terry, this article was not published by NYT, but rather by NYMag. NYMag is a magazine founded on the principle of creating compelling stories to read rather than "dryly" reporting facts about issues.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_%28magazine%29
« Last Edit: July 12, 2017, 03:24:39 AM by Darvince »

vigilius

  • ASIF Citizen
  • Posts: 121
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2017, 03:08:40 AM »
Well, David Roberts at Vox finally weighed in on this today-
"Did that New York magazine climate story freak you out? Good."
See:
https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/7/11/15950966/climate-change-doom-journalism

AbruptSLR

  • ASIF Emperor
  • Posts: 12744
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2017, 04:10:20 AM »
Take a word of advice from the Union of Concerned Scientists, and get a sense of urgency:

“Understanding the Urgency of Climate Change”

http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science_and_impacts/impacts/understanding-urgency-climate-change.html#.WWWBmYjyuUk

Extract: “When it comes to climate change, the urgency of the problem may not seem so obvious, since it doesn't sound an alarm or poke us in the eye. The consequences appear to be far away. And we find it hard to comprehend the significant risks posed by global warming, such as the rapid accumulation of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere or the impending rise in sea levels, because we can't, at the moment, see them with the naked eye. Yet if we fail to reduce heat-trapping emissions, we will cross a threshold, and the changes in our world will be irreversible.

Releasing carbon into the atmosphere is sort of like filling a water balloon from an outdoor faucet. If the water is merely trickling in, you can easily remove the balloon from the spout and have room to tie the knot. But if the spigot is gushing and the balloon is swollen with water, you have to act quickly and forcefully to remove it before it bursts.”
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

  • ASIF Emperor
  • Posts: 12744
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2017, 04:52:49 AM »
If you are wondering why scientists are concerned about the spigot gushing, just consider that per the linked reference, & associated article, methane radiative forcing is about 25% higher than previously estimated in AR5 for shortwave forcing:

M. Etminan et al. Radiative forcing of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide: A significant revision of the methane radiative forcing, Geophysical Research Letters (2016). DOI: 10.1002/2016GL071930 

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2016GL071930/abstract;jsessionid=4BD7EE5DBE1525CC15B5806E5EBEC6F4.f03t01

Abstract: “New calculations of the radiative forcing (RF) are presented for the three main well-mixed greenhouse gases, methane, nitrous oxide, and carbon dioxide. Methane's RF is particularly impacted because of the inclusion of the shortwave forcing; the 1750–2011 RF is about 25% higher (increasing from 0.48 W m−2 to 0.61 W m−2) compared to the value in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2013 assessment; the 100 year global warming potential is 14% higher than the IPCC value. We present new simplified expressions to calculate RF. Unlike previous expressions used by IPCC, the new ones include the overlap between CO2 and N2O; for N2O forcing, the CO2 overlap can be as important as the CH4 overlap. The 1750–2011 CO2 RF is within 1% of IPCC's value but is about 10% higher when CO2 amounts reach 2000 ppm, a value projected to be possible under the extended RCP8.5 scenario.”

“Plain Language Summary
“Radiative forcing” is an important method to assess the importance of different climate change mechanisms, and is used, for example, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Increased concentrations of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, are the major component of the human activity that led the IPCC, in its 2013 Assessment, to conclude that “it is extremely likely that human influence is the dominant cause of warming since the mid-20th century.” In this letter, we report new and detailed calculations that aimed to update the simpler methods of computing the radiative forcing that have been used in IPCC assessments, and elsewhere. The major result is that radiative forcing due to methane is around 20-25% higher than that found using the previous simpler methods. The main reason for this is the inclusion of the absorption of solar radiation by methane, a mechanism that had not been included in earlier calculations. We examine the mechanisms by which this solar absorption causes this radiative forcing.The work has significance for assessments of the climate impacts of methane emissions due to human activity, and for the way methane is included in international climate agreements.”

See also:

https://phys.org/news/2017-01-effect-methane-climate-greater-thought.html

Extract: “Research led by the University of Reading indicates that emissions of methane due to human activity have, to date, caused a warming effect which is about one-third of the warming effect due to carbon dioxide emissions – this methane contribution is 25% higher than previous estimates."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

vigilius

  • ASIF Citizen
  • Posts: 121
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #18 on: July 12, 2017, 08:55:20 AM »
Also Joe Romm weighed in today, and I sure go with what he said:

The first point to be made is that if you aren’t hair-on-fire alarmed about climate change and America’s suicidal GOP-driven climate and energy policies, then you are uninformed (or misinformed).
see:
https://thinkprogress.org/climate-change-doomsday-scenario-80d28affef2e

So, in short, I have tried up until now to lend a sympathetic ear to those who counseled that strong statements like this weren't good communication strategies, that as a practical matter we needed to take a more measured tone. No longer. Nowadays I am all up with what Vox's David Roberts said in his piece on this:

the worst-case scenario is treated by the very few people who understand it as a kind of forbidden occult knowledge to which ordinary people cannot survive exposure. Nobody can talk about it without getting scolded by the hope police.

Andreas T

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1076
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #19 on: July 12, 2017, 10:09:10 AM »
What Darvince has pointed out quite well is that this isn't a "strong" article if it is full of poorly chosen statements which are easily brushed aside because they are demonstrably not supporting what they are supposed to. The seed vault story is just a silly distortion of the facts.
To people who are disinclined (understatement) to listen to the message that strong action is needed to avoid the worst of climate change, giving them excuses to dismiss that message is just what they are looking for.
The "hope police" (what feeble whinging) doesn't shut down the debate, but people who value their reputation (like Michael Mann) are entitled to distance themselves from such poor spread and point out where there are discrepancies to what they know.
Scientists have to be more critical of themselves than most people are used to. That is how they come up with stuff that stands up to the more severe "test of time".
People are free to have opinions and voice them, if you don't like to look bad later check you have sound arguments which don't fall apart when corroboration is required.
I always considered it a sign of the weakness of the "denier's" arguments that they generally accept any statement uncritically as long as it supports their view. The strength of the view that anthropogenic climate change is alarming is that you can brush away the hype and there still is a strong argument in favour of action.


vigilius

  • ASIF Citizen
  • Posts: 121
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #20 on: July 12, 2017, 10:23:34 AM »
What Darvince has pointed out quite well is that this isn't a "strong" article if it is full of poorly chosen statements...   ...The strength of the view that anthropogenic climate change is alarming is that you can brush away the hype and there still is a strong argument in favour of action.

Andreas, your point is well taken- and if the weaknesses in the article give the deniers some ammunition that really is a point against it (some commenters think the flaws are not so bad) but the overall tone and the ability of the writer to stir up so much attention were all in its favor.

Meanwhile others are taking up the struggle: in the Atlantic there is another approach, you may like this one better:
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/07/a-road-trip-to-the-end-of-the-world/532914/

AbruptSLR

  • ASIF Emperor
  • Posts: 12744
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #21 on: July 12, 2017, 04:42:14 PM »
Hopefully engaging the arts can help people appreciate the importance of fighting climate change:

Hawkins Harriet, Kanngieser Anja. Artful climate change communication: overcoming abstractions, insensibilities, and distances. WIREs Clim Change 2017. doi: 10.1002/wcc.472

http://wires.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WiresArticle/articles.html?doi=10.1002%2Fwcc.472

Abstract: "This article considers how visual and sonic art creates encounters through which audiences can experience climate change. Building on reviews published in WIREs Climate Change on images, films, drama, climate science fiction, and other literary forms, we examine how audio and visual art addresses the enduring problems of climate change communication. We begin with three of these problems: climate change's often abstract nature, the distances in time and space between those who cause climate change and the places its effects are felt, and forms of human–environmental relations that shape how climate is understood. We reflect on how, through a combination of vision and sound, art creates sensory experiences that tackle these challenges. In querying how our artistic examples bring about environmental engagements, we combine an analysis of the representations and narratives of these works with an appreciation of their aesthetic form—in short, how these art pieces activate emotional and experiential responses. While we recognize the limits of what art can do, especially the gallery‐based forms of work we study here, we argue that spending time exploring the encounters that art creates helps us to understand what it brings to the communication of climate change. It also demonstrates how lessons learnt about sensory experience, affect, and emotions might be more widely applied to the analysis of cultural forms—from literature to films—and their role in climate change communication."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

jai mitchell

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1732
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #22 on: July 12, 2017, 05:17:21 PM »
(like Michael Mann) are entitled to distance themselves from such poor spread and point out where there are discrepancies to what they know.

I have yet to see a valid critique of the science.  Even Mann panned it and was more on tone.  He mentioned permafrost but mischaracterized the article's statements. 

There is no substitution for reality.  Reality is much worse than the current science narrative, this has been true since the 1970s.  Reality will NEVER be an argument against strong action.  The more dire the reality, the stronger the necessary response.
Haiku of Past Futures
My "burning embers"
are not tri-color bar graphs
+3C today

jai mitchell

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1732
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #23 on: July 12, 2017, 05:27:18 PM »
So I think your observation is correct. There has been a tendency to understate risk

Dr. Michael Mann, June 2017


http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/07/scientist-michael-mann-on-climate-scenarios.html
Haiku of Past Futures
My "burning embers"
are not tri-color bar graphs
+3C today

Bruce Steele

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1045
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #24 on: July 12, 2017, 06:27:18 PM »
I read the critiques first and the David Wallace-Wells article afterward. Most of us here on the ASIF can follow the scenarios closely enough to at least offer some kind of critique. That is we have followed these issues in detail here and we probably even know who of our members will fall on one side or the other on the "too alarmist or not " spectrum. 
 Talking about whether one indulged in psychedelics is I suppose also kinda taboo
but there are little bits of wisdom that can be garnered from hanging out with people willing to voluntarily unhinge themselves from reality. One of them is that it is a very scary experience for some people and once is definitely one time too many for some even though they thought it would be fun before they went there. Most people , I suppose, have enough good sense to realize knocking the stilts  
out from under yourself is something to fight very hard to avoid and that is because most people create constructs about what is real or not real and anything that might break that construct is to be avoided. They know this innately. To some degree looking into the depths of climate change is likewise an adventure in insanity. A collective insanity instead of an individual one but a situation that challenges reality or sanity itself.  
 I have a time or two broken the construct and forced myself to rebuild the broken pieces. As crazy as it sounds and as unlikely the chances such advice would ever be
followed society needs to break the construct of the security it provides, and rebuild itself in some other form. We will reach this place whether we like it or not because we already collectively  ate the red pill.
 So as an individual I try to envision what the future may look like and make attempts at living in that future world. Yes it is a scary place from a distance but living in that world and getting to know it by degree is my personal challenge. 
Society is still stuck in the "too afraid" too experiment mode. Society would much prefer to tweak things a bit and maintain BAU as long as possible. Some us us need to go look on the other side , maybe it's just our nature, but most people are gonna avoid ever looking at what is obviously to them "craziness"
                

AbruptSLR

  • ASIF Emperor
  • Posts: 12744
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #25 on: July 12, 2017, 11:45:23 PM »
To some degree looking into the depths of climate change is likewise an adventure in insanity. A collective insanity instead of an individual one but a situation that challenges reality or sanity itself. 


So as not to disrupt the flow of this thread, I note that I provide many posts on the topic of the insanity of climate change risks in the "Human Stupidity (Human Mental Illness)", thread:
http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,1548.0.html

For those who may not be familiar with my thinking on this matter.
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

Bruce Steele

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1045
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #26 on: July 13, 2017, 12:25:11 AM »
ASLR, I do not think what I had to say was OT. You are a fan of the Matrix and the red pill ,blue pill choice seems appropriate to me. Why the push back to the Wallace-Wells article? 
 I have taken my share of media training but there is just too much rebel in me to take the blue pill advice.
 Civilization made the choice that it wanted the truth, the red pill and science , a long time ago but apparently the argument is still alive for a great majority of the human race.

AbruptSLR

  • ASIF Emperor
  • Posts: 12744
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #27 on: July 13, 2017, 12:39:24 AM »
ASLR, I do not think what I had to say was OT.

Bruce,

I concur that your post was on topic.

My post was only meant to provide a link to another related thread where I provide some scientific evidence for the case that society is "not alarmed enough", together with some color commentary on "Human Mental Illness" and climate change risk.

Best,
ASLR

Edit: And talking about science, attached is a plot of Mauna Loa Atmospheric Methane Concentration going back to 2005, and I note that the 25% increase [see M. Etminan et al. (2016), cited in Reply #17] in methane radiative forcing as compared to that recognized, applies to all of the methane in the atmosphere and only to new emissions.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2017, 01:00:44 AM by AbruptSLR »
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

StopTheApocalypse

  • ASIF Lurker
  • Posts: 27
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #28 on: July 13, 2017, 02:01:10 AM »
https://climatefeedback.org/evaluation/scientists-explain-what-new-york-magazine-article-on-the-uninhabitable-earth-gets-wrong-david-wallace-wells/

The comments in this article strike me as unbelievably cowardly. Scientists all admit we do not talk enough about tail risks, but if you try and do that you get shot down by scientists. The author has said he literally sent out the text of many paragraphs to experts, but the article still got a score of "low" credibility. This is profoundly disappointing.

pileus

  • ASIF Citizen
  • Posts: 337
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #29 on: July 13, 2017, 04:35:25 AM »
https://climatefeedback.org/evaluation/scientists-explain-what-new-york-magazine-article-on-the-uninhabitable-earth-gets-wrong-david-wallace-wells/

The comments in this article strike me as unbelievably cowardly. Scientists all admit we do not talk enough about tail risks, but if you try and do that you get shot down by scientists. The author has said he literally sent out the text of many paragraphs to experts, but the article still got a score of "low" credibility. This is profoundly disappointing.

What a wonderful collection of expert opinions, but yes I too developed a sinking feeling whilst reading deeper through the various reactions and pieces of input.  I'm afraid it will inevitably be used by deniers and the current crop of US politicians in the majority party to damage the case against action and urgency to move away from fossil fuels.  That is not at all what the contributors intend, but it will be exploited and trumpeted as an example of scientists saying "the science isn't settled", and "look, even these so called experts can't agree!"  This is exactly what will happen. 

jai mitchell

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1732
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #30 on: July 13, 2017, 04:56:17 AM »
My response to the Climate Feedback Article points:  https://climatefeedback.org/evaluation/scientists-explain-what-new-york-magazine-article-on-the-uninhabitable-earth-gets-wrong-david-wallace-wells/

Take Aways

“The Uninhabitable Earth”

While the title states that the Earth may be uninhabitable, the body of the text of the article assigns this to specific regions.  The comments in the article assert that, within these boundaries, the current body of climate science states this as unequivocal.  This is especially true in the context of the +6-8C warming scenario as outlined in the article.  Regions of the Sub-Sahara Africa, as well as much of the tropics, will achieve heat-humidity impacts that would make human habitation impossible.  In addition, long-term sea level rise would greatly impact South-East Asian low-level rice cultivar valleys and much of Bangladesh making it uninhabitable.  The combined impacts of sea level rise and increased hurricane intensity would also compound this impact making life extremely difficult, if not 'uninhabitable', in many coastal regions.

“there are alarming stories every day, like last month’s satellite data showing the globe warming, since 1998, more than twice as fast as scientists had thought”

As asserted in the comments of the article, this is very true, when taken in the context of the article that is only looking at the period of revision by RSS.  They stated a previously very low warming rate and 'doubled' that rate.  A doubling of a low rate is still fairly low, however the context and reference are accurate in the article.  See Carl Mears' statement.  He asserts it is 'misleading' for these reasons, though the statement is factually correct.

“and we will need to have invented technologies to extract, annually, twice as much carbon from the atmosphere as the entire planet’s plants now do”

Charles Koven asserts that only 2-3 PG of carbon per year would be necessary to reduce atmospheric CO2 levels to 'safe' values.  This is approximate to the total amount of additional Carbon Cycle emissions projected through 2050 in the Crowther et. al (Nov. 2016) at only 1C of globally averaged warming.  (see image below)



note: this graphic above does not include carbon cycle feedbacks from peat, tropical and boreal forest conflagration under this scenario.  It should be noted here that the total C emissions from Indonesian peat forests during the 1997/1998 El Nino were equal to the total U.S. emissions profile for that year.

In my estimation this is the crux of the entire problem.  An isolated viewpoint taken as an 'authority' who has been so heavily indoctrinated that (s)he lives in a false reality.  Taken in context of the article (+6-8C of warming) the Carbon Cycle and Anthropogenic Emissions of Carbon will require over 1,000 Pg of C removed from the Earth's atmosphere.

“This past winter, a string of days 60 and 70 degrees warmer than normal baked the North Pole”

This is a factual statement and including a comment on it in the article is extreme hubris.  In addition, the comment attributed the warming to 'areas of open water' which, when we look back at the record, the areas of open water in the Kara and Bearing Seas were comparable with 2011.  We did not have such extreme heat in 2011, so attribution to 'open seas' is not confirmed by the available data.

“a constant swarm of out-of-control typhoons and tornadoes and floods and droughts”
“The strongest hurricanes will come more often”
“tornadoes will grow longer and wider”
“hail rocks will quadruple in size”

Comments on these statements are in general agreement, with the exception that they simply have no idea what the eventual result of a +6-8C world will look like.

“In other words, we have, trapped in Arctic permafrost, twice as much carbon as is currently wrecking the atmosphere of the planet, all of it scheduled to be released at a date that keeps getting moved up, partially in the form of a gas that multiplies its warming power 86 times over.”

Charles Koven says, "It isn't releasing (much) methane from old permafrost now" - this is irrelevant to the context of the 6-8C scenario in the article.
Vasilii Petrenko says, This is incorrect" and then says, "older permafrost did not release 11,600 years ago (when the earth was at +1.8C above pre-industrial) - The article says, "Partially in the form of. . ."  Again, I cite Crowther et al (and there are many many others) that indicate a +6-8C warmer world will melt ALL permafrost completely (over a 2-300 year timeline).
Peter Neff says, "he author’s facts about methane are generally accurate."  (note this is in conflice with Dr. Petrenko's comment above) -- He then goes on to incorrectly apply the statement to Deep-Sea Hydrates which is not what the statement was referring to.  Either a Strawman or simply misunderstanding (certainly a mischaracterization).

The IPCC reports also don’t fully account for the albedo effect (less ice means less reflected and more absorbed sunlight, hence more warming); more cloud cover (which traps heat); or the dieback of forests and other flora (which extract carbon from the atmosphere). Each of these promises to accelerate warming”

The comments here assert that the IPCC models do account for the albedo impact, however, most models suggest an ice-free Sept. Arctic in the 2040-2060 range and this is severely understating the physical reality.  By 2065 under a RCP 6.0 emissions scenario, and in the absence of aerosols which work to cool the Arctic much more than mid-latitudes, we will see a June 21st ice free state with an additional +60-70 Watts/Meter-Squared albedo impact to the Arctic Ocean during that year. 

The models also do not include the recent developments that indicate Amazon and Indonesian forest loss as well as impacts to boreal and mid-latitude forests under changing precipitation and (for the tropic and boreal region) heat impacts.  So this statement is absolutely correct.   The commenters show that they have absolutely no idea what the current body of research is indicating with regard to these forest impacts.

Amazon impacts due to permanent +IPO:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5015046/
Anthropogenic Emission impacts to PDO and their reduction leading to (permanent) +IPO:  http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v6/n10/full/nclimate3058.html
+4C will lead to an Amazon 'tipping point" as will 40% loss of forest.  +6-8C will lead to 100% loss.
http://www.pnas.org/content/113/39/10759.full
Temperature and Water stress on boreal forest already observed:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.13121/full
Thawing forest producing rapid changes in carbon flux already observed
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/313034808_Direct_and_indirect_climate_change_effects_on_carbon_dioxide_fluxes_in_a_thawing_boreal_forest-wetland_landscape
Middle Pliocene (~400ppmvc) had boreal forest temperatures at +8C above today's values (note this scenario is looking at closer to +14-20C above today's values in this region - accounting for albedo impacts in addition to current observed 2X polar amplification)
https://www.geo.umass.edu/climate/papers2/BrighamGrette_Science2013.pdf

“the basic rule for staple cereal crops grown at optimal temperature is that for every degree of warming, yields decline by 10 percent. Some estimates run as high as 15 or even 17 percent. Which means that if the planet is five degrees warmer at the end of the century, we may have as many as 50 percent more people to feed and 50 percent less grain to give them.”

and

“as the pathbreaking work by Rosamond Naylor and David Battisti has shown, the tropics are already too hot to efficiently grow grain, and those places where grain is produced today are already at optimal growing temperature — which means even a small warming will push them down the slope of declining productivity.”

Scientist comments here attributed this to a global pattern scenario using the RCP 8.5 mid-estimate values, again they did not consider the 6-8C potential warming scenario (are you starting to see a pattern here???)  They then looked at global impacts but did not look at the context of the article which clearly states, " those places where grain is produced today".

In essence the comments are taken out of context for whatever reason, possibly intentionally but likely, just in objection to the tone of the article.  Even the map presented in the comment clearly shows increased drought  and heat in grain belts all over the globe.

offhand comment that we 'won't have the 50% increase in population if we are going toward 50% reduction in crops' basically asserting the thesis of the article, while downplaying the 'tone', a very interesting mental pretzel that one. . .

Enough,  for whatever reason *some* of these comments are simply off base technically and should be retracted, others are in cautious support or are in contradiction with other commenters for the same topic and the objection to tone is the primary driver that is being done for either selfish reasons or (apparently) because of extreme indoctrination of a few scientists to overly patronize the public, protecting us from fear of the greatest existential threat that Humanity has faced (at least since Toba).

In my book the scientific response to the article is 10,000 times more devastating to my mental well being than the actual article itself.








« Last Edit: July 13, 2017, 10:53:51 PM by jai mitchell »
Haiku of Past Futures
My "burning embers"
are not tri-color bar graphs
+3C today

AbruptSLR

  • ASIF Emperor
  • Posts: 12744
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #31 on: July 13, 2017, 10:26:00 AM »
In my book the scientific response to the article is 10,000 times more devastating to my mental well being than the actual article itself.


jai,

Thank you for the effort that you took in putting together Reply #30, and for those who do not know, the linked thread entitled: "Conservative Scientists & its Consequences" adds a lot more discussion on both why mainstream consensus climate science errs on the side of least drama, ESLD, and the consequences of such ESLDs.

http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,1053.0.html

As I have observed that large parts of the public are not willing to consider the true scientific complexities and risks of continued climate change, I will make only one simple point in this post.
At the following 2016 EGU press conference DeConto said that his work implied a tipping point for the collapse of much of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, WAIS, somewhere between 2 and 2.7C GMSTA above pre-industrial.

http://client.cntv.at/egu2016/press-conference-8 (DeConto starts about 22:10) "

We are already at a GMSTA of about 1.1C above pre-industrial, so we may ready somewhere between 2 and 2.7C GMSTA sometime in the next twenty to thirty years (assuming ECS is between 4 and 4.5C, as indicated by Reply #12).  Such a collapse of the WAIS would then trigger Hansen's ice-climate feedback, which would likely push the effective ECS this century up into the range of 6C (see the attached images).

Best,
ASLR
« Last Edit: July 13, 2017, 10:57:04 AM by AbruptSLR »
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

  • ASIF Emperor
  • Posts: 12744
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #32 on: July 13, 2017, 10:38:48 AM »
One implication of my last post is that if/when we pass the tipping point for the collapse of the WAIS, the PDF shifts as indicated by the attached image showing a possible shift in the PDF of sea level rise for California from 2070 to 2100 assuming that we follow RCP 8.5 for a few more decades (due to a combination of anthropogenic GHG emissions and the additional positive feedbacks above those assumed by AR5).
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

TerryM

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1937
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #33 on: July 13, 2017, 01:02:53 PM »
Jai


Thanks for the detailed response to the article, I couldn't even get the name of the publication right.


Contritely
Terry

Sigmetnow

  • ASIF Royalty
  • Posts: 9050
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #34 on: July 13, 2017, 03:22:39 PM »
https://climatefeedback.org/evaluation/scientists-explain-what-new-york-magazine-article-on-the-uninhabitable-earth-gets-wrong-david-wallace-wells/

The comments in this article strike me as unbelievably cowardly. Scientists all admit we do not talk enough about tail risks, but if you try and do that you get shot down by scientists. The author has said he literally sent out the text of many paragraphs to experts, but the article still got a score of "low" credibility. This is profoundly disappointing.

What a wonderful collection of expert opinions, but yes I too developed a sinking feeling whilst reading deeper through the various reactions and pieces of input.  I'm afraid it will inevitably be used by deniers and the current crop of US politicians in the majority party to damage the case against action and urgency to move away from fossil fuels.  That is not at all what the contributors intend, but it will be exploited and trumpeted as an example of scientists saying "the science isn't settled", and "look, even these so called experts can't agree!"  This is exactly what will happen.

Ryan Maue:  Privately more than one journalist told me they were afraid to push back against the NY Mag climate horrors piece.

Eric Holthaus:  Curious, what was the reasons they gave for not wanting to push back?

Ryan Maue:  Afraid of giving ammunition to deniers, skeptics.  Being first.
Mann's FB post was the "coast is clear" to criticize.

https://twitter.com/ryanmaue/status/885311425870262272
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

Sigmetnow

  • ASIF Royalty
  • Posts: 9050
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #35 on: July 13, 2017, 03:32:16 PM »
"If you present something in a very detached way, it's not going to evoke the kind of response you need the populace to hear," said van Susteren. "Teaching scientists how to speak with passion, while sticking to the facts is imperative to move people. It's essential to communicate with emotion when they interface with the public."

Climate Change Is Giving Us 'Pre-Traumatic Stress'
https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/vvzzam/climate-change-is-giving-us-pre-traumatic-stress
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

AbruptSLR

  • ASIF Emperor
  • Posts: 12744
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #36 on: July 13, 2017, 06:01:43 PM »
As a comment to the following The Guardian article, I point-out that not only is the '… fat end of the risk profile from climate change – where things go really bad – is really very fat indeed'; but as we continue anthropogenic global warming the entire risk PDF is shifting to the right so assurances that moderate scientists give the public today can turn into an 'I told you so' in the future if we collectively do not act now:

Title: "Turning the climate crisis into a TV love child of Jerry Springer and Judge Judy"

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/planet-oz/2017/jul/13/turning-the-climate-crisis-into-a-tv-love-child-of-jerry-springer-and-judge-judy

Extract: "As a Trump appointee pushes for televised slanging match, a New York magazine cover story sparks a different debate – should we talk about how bad global warming could actually get?

What Pruitt and his supporters are envisaging has echoes of the 1925 Scopes monkey trial. Then the state of Tennessee prosecuted a high school teacher, John Scopes, for teaching evolution (they had motion-picture cameras for that spectacle, too).

In Pruitt’s incarnation of the Scopes trial, one team would have scientists representing the central positions of all respected scientific institutions around the world. The other would have a thin sliver of contrarians.

This is a conversation not about whether human-caused climate change is real or risky (yes and yes is the overwhelming consensus on that) but rather just how bad on the catastrophe-scale things could actually get.

So in a world that does next to nothing to cut greenhouse gas emissions (an important caveat that you need to constantly remind yourself of as you read through the 7,200-word piece), Wallace-Wells looks around for climate studies that together paint a truly dystopian future.

The veteran climate writer Dave Roberts argues the inaccuracies are very few indeed (he only really counts two among the scores of points made) but says if the article induces fear then this is in any case a key emotion that people need in order to act.

As others have pointed out, it should not be the job of journalists to ignore or underplay aspects of climate change just because it might suck the living hope out of readers.

In reality, the fat end of the risk profile from climate change – where things go really bad – is really very fat indeed."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

jai mitchell

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1732
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #37 on: July 13, 2017, 06:49:48 PM »
Tweet your questions to David Wallace-Wells on his climate change cover story; he'll be tweeting answers here shortly #UninhabitableEarth  Starting at 1PM EST today.
Haiku of Past Futures
My "burning embers"
are not tri-color bar graphs
+3C today

Sigmetnow

  • ASIF Royalty
  • Posts: 9050
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #38 on: July 13, 2017, 08:09:09 PM »
Eric Holthaus has been tweeting extensively about the NYMag article.  Here he references an article he wrote in 2013, explaining the need for a climate revolution.

@fig_latin @NYMag @dwallacewells this is what i'm calling for:
https://qz.com/154196/the-only-way-to-stop-climate-change-now-may-be-revolution/
https://twitter.com/ericholthaus/status/885528561272193024
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

AbruptSLR

  • ASIF Emperor
  • Posts: 12744
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #39 on: July 13, 2017, 08:20:12 PM »
For what it worth, none of the fossil fuel crony capitalists (like the Koch Brothers) would ever dream of not conducting a risk assessment (including extreme risks and fragility assessments) of potential financial losses on their investments.  Nevertheless, they finance political tools like Lamar Smith and Mitch McConnell (not to mention Scott Pruitt and Rick Perry) to shout-down any discussion of extreme climate risk as such a discussion represents a risk to their fossil fuel investments.  Integrated Assessment Models, IAM, are used to measure climate change risks (probability of occurrence times consequences), and the truth of the matter is that currently IAM projections err so far on the side of least drama that they are practically worthless.  Nevertheless, I make a few obvious comments about climate risks below:

- Extreme local temperature events increase exponentially with increasing global mean surface temperature, so the probability of an extreme heat event doubles when GMSTA increases from 1.5C to 2C.

- Climate sensitivity is not a static number and it not only increases with increasing GMSTA but also dynamical effects can cause it to increase non-linearly over short periods of time.

- Much of societies developments have occurred in coastal and delta areas, and the impact of abrupt sea level rise this century would likely have a domino effect of other socio-economic systems include on banking and financing.

Examination of extreme climate risks is appropriate to balance the current assault from fossil fuel industry tools (including Donald Trump).
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

Archimid

  • ASIF Middle Class
  • Posts: 678
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #40 on: July 14, 2017, 02:47:23 PM »
From around 1976 to 2016 the Earth's temperature rose around 1C. With that 1 C rise glaciers disappeared, sea ice diminished, sea level rise accelerated, jet stream patterns changed, corals were devastated and both floods and drought became more extreme. At just 1C airplanes can't take off, heatwaves paralyzes cities, important infrastructure is burned, man made water barriers break, and the seasons lose their seasonality.


If that first 1C was merely sustained for the next 40 years all those things will get worse as natural patterns that existed for all human history degrade and break. But it is not likely to be sustained. It is likely to rise. The next 1C  will be different than the first 1C.  The irreversible changes that have already occurred at 1C will compound with the extra heat on the way to 2C to create even more irreversible change.


To me the paradise we live in is a result of billions of years worth of fortunate events. I believe life is  simply a way for a planet of our planet's composition and at our distance of the sun to lose energy into space. It is extremely unlikely that the events that lead to life on earth are repeated anywhere in the galaxy, perhaps the universe.


If life is iterated for 500 million years and the climate supports it, by pure dumb luck humans may emerge. If humans, like any other species, find themselves in a favorable environment the population grows until the environment is no longer favorable.


The beginning of the Holocene was a highly favorable environment for humans. The planet was warm enough to be mostly ice free, but not too hot as to contain too many uninhabitable zones. Humans had been around for hundreds of thousand of years, so they had accumulated some knowledge. The fact that the temperatures remained about the same for the next 10,000 years provided a favorable environment for long enough for humans to settle and grow into the dominant species of the planet. All a happy coincidence.


By taking energy stored in millions of years worth of ancient forests and dead dinosaurs and use it to grow our civilization we changed the chemistry and energy balance of our lucky utopia. We changed it haphazardly and thinking that we could change the Earth indefinitely. What will be the result of our changes? Chances heavily favor bad results.
I am an energy reservoir seemingly intent on lowering entropy for self preservation.

Archimid

  • ASIF Middle Class
  • Posts: 678
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #41 on: July 14, 2017, 04:03:10 PM »
The absolute best reward for someone sounding the alarm for climate change is that in 30 years the adaptation and mitigation of climate change was so good that it is no longer a problem.

Ideally, 50 years from now an uneducated 30 year old would read the W-W article and laugh, because climate as he knows it is a solved problem. He would read the predictions of doom and think us stupid. That is a total and complete success for a climate change alarmist. 

I am an energy reservoir seemingly intent on lowering entropy for self preservation.

AbruptSLR

  • ASIF Emperor
  • Posts: 12744
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #42 on: July 14, 2017, 05:17:46 PM »
One issue that has not yet been raised in this thread is that the titled: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"; has set-up this issue in terms of tribalism.  In this regards, I note that numerous psychological surveys have determined that people who would think of the subject article as "climate porn" would fully accept all of the extreme projected consequences if they thought that their tribe (e.g. Team Trump, etc.) could use climate change as a weapon against 'others' via geoengineering.  The article acknowledges that climate change will affect different regions of the Earth differently, so why couldn't selective geoengineering be used to damage selected regions say those dominated by Muslims near the equator (Indonesia, Nigeria, Yemen, Oman etc. etc.).  This way the "winners" could get jobs in the geoengineering industries and the 'losers' would be those people who aren't like the 'winners'.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2017, 05:56:57 PM by AbruptSLR »
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

  • ASIF Emperor
  • Posts: 12744
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #43 on: July 14, 2017, 05:57:16 PM »
The linked reference cites findings from an improved version of CESM that increases ESM from 4.1C to 5.6C.  If this is actually experienced this coming century, this is bad news for both people & the current biota:

William R. Frey & Jennifer E. Kay (2017), "The influence of extratropical cloud phase and amount feedbacks on climate sensitivity", Climate Dynamics; pp 1–20, doi:10.1007/s00382-017-3796-5

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00382-017-3796-5?utm_content=bufferfdbc0&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Abstract: "Global coupled climate models have large long-standing cloud and radiation biases, calling into question their ability to simulate climate and climate change. This study assesses the impact of reducing shortwave radiation biases on climate sensitivity within the Community Earth System Model (CESM). The model is modified by increasing supercooled cloud liquid to better match absorbed shortwave radiation observations over the Southern Ocean while tuning to reduce a compensating tropical shortwave bias. With a thermodynamic mixed-layer ocean, equilibrium warming in response to doubled CO2 increases from 4.1 K in the control to 5.6 K in the modified model. This 1.5 K increase in equilibrium climate sensitivity is caused by changes in two extratropical shortwave cloud feedbacks. First, reduced conversion of cloud ice to liquid at high southern latitudes decreases the magnitude of a negative cloud phase feedback. Second, warming is amplified in the mid-latitudes by a larger positive shortwave cloud feedback. The positive cloud feedback, usually associated with the subtropics, arises when sea surface warming increases the moisture gradient between the boundary layer and free troposphere. The increased moisture gradient enhances the effectiveness of mixing to dry the boundary layer, which decreases cloud amount and optical depth. When a full-depth ocean with dynamics and thermodynamics is included, ocean heat uptake preferentially cools the mid-latitude Southern Ocean, partially inhibiting the positive cloud feedback and slowing warming. Overall, the results highlight strong connections between Southern Ocean mixed-phase cloud partitioning, cloud feedbacks, and ocean heat uptake in a climate forced by greenhouse gas changes."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

Sigmetnow

  • ASIF Royalty
  • Posts: 9050
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #44 on: July 14, 2017, 09:48:03 PM »
Eric Holthaus:  After critiques by climate scientists, @NYMag just added 149 footnotes to this week's climate cover story.
Good for them.
https://twitter.com/ericholthaus/status/885935753011789824

David Wallace-Wells:  It has been a sprint to put this together, but here is the fully annotated and footnoted version of my climate story   
The Uninhabitable Earth, Annotated Edition
The facts, research, and science behind the climate-change article that explored our planet’s worst-case scenarios.
http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-too-hot-for-humans-annotated.html
https://twitter.com/dwallacewells/status/885923947925168135
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

oren

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1541
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #45 on: July 14, 2017, 11:21:31 PM »
So I finally managed to read the entire article and though it was very good, except the intro (Svalbard seed bank and Larsen C, both good recent headlines but quite irrelevant) and some of the esoteric stuff (prehistoric viruses etc.). But all in all I found it a good read and a good write-up, and I decided to share it with my "news" group, although no-one would bother to read it. I got just one response referring to the title - "so how soon indeed?" to which I replied "it's not accurate science but certainly your children and mine are screwed". So it served its purpose after a fashion.

gerontocrat

  • ASIF Middle Class
  • Posts: 610
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #46 on: July 15, 2017, 02:44:49 PM »
- "so how soon indeed?" to which I replied "it's not accurate science but certainly your children and mine are screwed". So it served its purpose after a fashion.
I rather think that anyone under 50 is going to have a lot of grief. After all, 25 years from now takes us (but not me, too old) into the 2040's. Large scale world-wide climate refugee problems, (sea level rise, droughts, floods, soil degradation, famine .......).

On bad days I think it is more likely that the 2030's may be the beginning of interesting times.
"Para a Causa do Povo a Luta Continua!"

Csnavywx

  • ASIF Citizen
  • Posts: 417
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #47 on: July 15, 2017, 02:55:50 PM »
What Darvince has pointed out quite well is that this isn't a "strong" article if it is full of poorly chosen statements which are easily brushed aside because they are demonstrably not supporting what they are supposed to. The seed vault story is just a silly distortion of the facts.
To people who are disinclined (understatement) to listen to the message that strong action is needed to avoid the worst of climate change, giving them excuses to dismiss that message is just what they are looking for.
The "hope police" (what feeble whinging) doesn't shut down the debate, but people who value their reputation (like Michael Mann) are entitled to distance themselves from such poor spread and point out where there are discrepancies to what they know.
Scientists have to be more critical of themselves than most people are used to. That is how they come up with stuff that stands up to the more severe "test of time".
People are free to have opinions and voice them, if you don't like to look bad later check you have sound arguments which don't fall apart when corroboration is required.
I always considered it a sign of the weakness of the "denier's" arguments that they generally accept any statement uncritically as long as it supports their view. The strength of the view that anthropogenic climate change is alarming is that you can brush away the hype and there still is a strong argument in favour of action.

Roberts touches on something deeper here, though. His comment on the "hope police" is warranted given broader context. Whenever, for instance, evidence is produced to suggest that 1.5 or 2C isn't feasible mathematically, it is often derided as "not helpful", "not optimistic", or some other simpering content-free reply. You could apply this to a number of bad news stories in the past few years. As Roberts points out, the relentless "must always be positive" push is getting to be bubble thinking. That's a bad thing. Ignoring tail risks or downplaying them doesn't make them go away.

gerontocrat

  • ASIF Middle Class
  • Posts: 610
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #48 on: July 15, 2017, 02:58:09 PM »
"Para a Causa do Povo a Luta Continua!"

AbruptSLR

  • ASIF Emperor
  • Posts: 12744
    • View Profile
Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« Reply #49 on: July 15, 2017, 05:25:48 PM »
Scribbler makes many good points in his linked article about the Wallace-Wells article.  It seems to me that Wallace-Wells is not fear mongering; and if you feel fear about the topic he addresses then you should take responsibility for your own reactions; as Wallace-Wells is promoting positive actions to fight climate change.

"Facing Down Climate Doom — Wallace-Wells’ Appropriate Alarm Earns Michael Mann’s Necessary Critiques"

https://robertscribbler.com/2017/07/13/facing-down-climate-doom-wallace-wells-appropriate-alarm-earn-michael-manns-necessary-critique/

Extract: "“Fear will NOT save us; however, fear is a prime motivator to promote new thinking and different action; to change an unsustainable status quo.” — unknown source.

“There are many things that motivate us. But the most powerful motivator of all is FEAR. “– Psychology Today.

“Both hope and fear are great motivators, and they both have the capacity to promote growth in us, but hope creates space in the mind and heart. Fear, more often than not, restricts it.” — Joyce McFadden.
******
When two parties seeking a good end passionately disagree over a crucial issue it is sometimes the case that one side is flat out right and the other side is dead wrong. But what is more often the case in an honest dialogue is that both sides are expressing a part of the truth and it is the duty of us, as observers, not to take sides, but to open our ears and learn as the necessary conflict unfolds.

In other words, Wallace-Wells is not our enemy here. He may have stepped on a number of his unqualified facts, but he’s gotten the overall message pretty much right. And if he’s gotten a bit carried away in being scared over bad climate outcomes, then he’s in good company ;). Moreover, he’s passionately advocating for exactly the kinds of climate solutions that are absolutely needed and that do provide us all with a good measure of hope — if we pursue them. In other words, Wells has talked about climate doom. But he doesn’t walk the path of doom itself."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson