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Author Topic: The balanced opinions of a highly reputed intellectual about AGW (and more)  (Read 29074 times)

seattlerocks

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I was going to elaborate some ideas about my (moderate) point of view with respect to AGW. But then I remembered reading Freeman Dyson's opinions before. He is a man of no little intellectual stature, sure many here already heard of him. His opinions on AGW spare me from having to write a lot. I just start by reading his opinions about AGW from Wikipedia,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freeman_Dyson#Global_warming

If the reader doesn't know who this guy is, maybe read the whole article, it is very good!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freeman_Dyson

His opinions just reading the article (I assume it is an accurate article):
- GW is evident, and, with almost all probability, is mainly caused by CO2 from burning fossil fuels
- Existing numerical models are very limited in describing clouds, dust, farms, forests, turbulence. Chemical models and sensitivities must also be adjusted in order to reproduce measurements. This makes impossible the development of a substantial scientific theory.
- He perceives that scientists not following mainstream paradigm are being ostracised. "[H]eretics who question the dogmas are needed ... I am proud to be a heretic. The world always needs heretics to challenge the prevailing orthodoxies."
- "[m]y objections to the global warming propaganda are not so much over the technical facts, about which I do not know much, but it’s rather against the way those people behave and the kind of intolerance to criticism that a lot of them have."
He also stated about Hansen: "The person who is really responsible for this overestimate of global warming is Jim Hansen. He consistently exaggerates all the dangers... Hansen has turned his science into ideology." (that comes in Hansen's wikipedia entry and many other sites, it is a pretty famous opinion).

Well, I don't have to add much more. Obviously one doesn't have to agree a bit with this professor, or with me.

I take the chance to give an answer to someone from the melting season forum: I am not a troll

Now I also abuse, go OT, and take the chance to talk about my personal experience reading Neven's blog and this forum:
I enjoy so very much reading posts of the Forum and of Neven's page. I have visited a couple of times WUWT page and alike, and find them disgusting and abhorring, full of people shouting without absolutely no valid arguments whatsoever. I like Friv posts, those are real data no matter what way these are expressed, Allen moderate comments giving a lot of cohesion, Chris Reynolds is really rigorous and I like that very much, BornFromTheVoid also brings facts in a moderate way, Jim Hunt huge efforts to come with real facts, Pettit, and Wipneus oh my god. Then Neven for putting all together and for his excellent posts, and many more people.
Only negative,  I get nervous when I find irrationality that goes too far. Let's avoid what the WUWT guys do. Yeah I understand people get sometimes carried away by their convictions.

This is a fun community 

NeilT

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seattlerocks.

I'll respond and see if you can see my point of view on what Freeman Dyson is doing.

There is categoric evidence that CO2 is causing warming of the planet.  Warming to a point which is destroying the liveable habitat for humans at the level of population we have today.

OK he agrees that CO2 is causing warming.  Great.  Then he starts to split hairs with things we don't know. 

OK Clouds.  It was a big issue till the scientists wrapped it into the models. But, the net effect of clouds is more warming.  Not less. So clouds are out.

OK the dust.  Perhaps important, but to the scale of 200 years of pumping out atmospheric warming gasses at an ever increasing rate?  If you go to realclimate they will tell you it is not a significant factor.  Locally, maybe, but globally?  No.

Chemistry and biology of fields, farms and forests.

So Fields.  Land use and field changes gain a net increase of CO2.  Known but not fully quantified
Farms.  Animal husbandry has increased methane emissions greatly, increasing CO2.  Known but not fully quantified
Forests.  Deforestation and the fires which have resulted from the land burn off have simultaneously reduced the annual CO2 absorption and created a one time boost to CO2 in the atmosphere.  Known but not fully quantified.

I note he does not mention Oceans, ocean acidification and Ocean saturation point of CO2.  This is another unknown. But it is a massive unknown which could massively increase the CO2 balance in the atmosphere should the Oceans stop absorbing CO2.  As is being observed in local areas.  Missing this unknown is cherry picking to make a point.

If you put this all together, what you see is that Dyson is creating a supposed "doubt" about factors which can only make human emissions and climate change worse.

That is a political position, not a scientific position.  OK if he wants to know, to the last dot and comma, what the actual situation is in terms of warming and cooling, then get in the lab, shut up and work it out.  When he comes back with categoric figures which define what the mitigation of any of these factors are (if any), then come back and state them.  In short, the burning of billions of tonnes of fossil fuels annually is a greater impact than any he has mentioned.

Now he says that scientists are harsh with him.  OK then let's analyse this at a logical level.  I stated that greenhouse gas emissions from humans is

Quote
Warming to a point which is destroying the liveable habitat for humans at the level of population we have today

Let's look at that.  The population continues to grow.  Only our machines allow us to keep up with that growth and produce food which we can transport around the world to keep people alive.

Yet; those very machines which produce and transport the food are impacting the climate and making it harder to grow that food.

There is only one possible outcome of this.  Eventually we won't be able to grow enough food for everyone no matter how many machines we use and the more machines we try to use the less likely the habitat of the planet will produce the food we need.  It's a losing game.

Then again, it's not a game.  The stark reality, the stark terror, is that, eventually, we won't be able to feed people.  Then they will begin to go hungry.   Then they will start moving across our artificial border lines to places where they may be able to get food.  Then the wars will begin.

What this all means is that anyone who splits hairs, in order to cause doubt, which will stop action to curb more CO2 production, which will allow more warming and more destruction of our liveable habitat. 

Is a mass murderer.

You think that's a bold statement.  Think it through.

Now you tell me.  If you think someone is a mass murderer, would you be polite to their opinions?  Would you be nice and gentlemanly?  Or would you, from time to time, blow up and call them for what they are?

Think about it.
Being right too soon is socially unacceptable.

Robert A. Heinlein

notjonathon

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I enjoy so very much reading posts of the Forum and of Neven's page. I have visited a couple of times WUWT page and alike, and find them disgusting and abhorring, full of people shouting without absolutely no valid arguments whatsoever.

Then why do you parrot the points of a lukewarmist (denialist in sheep's clothing) like Dyson? He belongs in that small group of "well, yes, global warming may be happening, but we don't know how much, so we really shouldn't do anything about it--perhaps someday, when we know more." See Judith Curry and her Italian flag simile.

The idea that James Hanson is more powerful than Charles Koch, that he single-handedly created the idea of global warming to enrich himself, is laughable on its face. The opponents of action against global warming include big oil (Exxon, BP) The Heritage Foundation, the appropriately named Joe Bastardi, the Koch brothers. Don't expect to see a press release from the Walton Foundation announcing a fifty million dollar campaign to elect candidates dedicated to fighting global warming.

seattlerocks

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Neil

Well, I think he also explains other problems that he believes are more urgent to take care other than cutting emissions and reverting GW. But that is very debatable.

Ok, the reason why I started all this was because people accuse unjustifably scientists of being slow and not taking side. And I said, no mixing ideology with science. As much as I can, I do respect your cause, but hard working bulk of technicians and scientists are doing their job. Behind Nevens graphs page there is the work, rigorous work, of thousands of scientists. NOAA, NASA, Colorado, UIUC, DMI people must do their job, review their baselines, without regard to denialists and alarmists whatsoever. Otherwise those data we observe so eagerly will cease to be accurate in no time. I really understand your position ( not to the extreme of calling him or me mass murderer, man...), but why that obsession in pushing scientists toward that cause. Keep both things separated.
Anyway, those are big deals you are talking about, apply to scientists and not scientists alike.
The funny thing is that after 25 years of awareness about reducing dependence on fossil fuel, there have been great advances even in the US (unfortunately only in the first world; emerging economies tell another story). But that is a positive view, as well as the fact that oil has its days counted. I hope for the well being of my children that this positive trend continues, and that the sensitivity of climate on CO2 is much less than predicted, and that negative feedbacks kick up to balance GW, and that the 150 years or so of extremely anomalous CO2 pass by with relatively minor consequences.
No mass murders. For instance, those terrible central africa famines are caused by climate change as much as they are by overpopulation, terrible mismanage of tribal politics, mass exiles due to war, and very low levels of education. Dont you think those could be causes more urgent than AGW?
 But what can I do but rasing my children as best as possible? That is also very positive.

seattlerocks

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Quote
I enjoy so very much reading posts of the Forum and of Neven's page. I have visited a couple of times WUWT page and alike, and find them disgusting and abhorring, full of people shouting without absolutely no valid arguments whatsoever.

Then why do you parrot the points of a lukewarmist (denialist in sheep's clothing) like Dyson? He belongs in that small group of "well, yes, global warming may be happening, but we don't know how much, so we really shouldn't do anything about it--perhaps someday, when we know more." See Judith Curry and her Italian flag simile.

The idea that James Hanson is more powerful than Charles Koch, that he single-handedly created the idea of global warming to enrich himself, is laughable on its face. The opponents of action against global warming include big oil (Exxon, BP) The Heritage Foundation, the appropriately named Joe Bastardi, the Koch brothers. Don't expect to see a press release from the Walton Foundation announcing a fifty million dollar campaign to elect candidates dedicated to fighting global warming.


I dont think Dyson is a denialist is sheep clothing. I may be. But not him. He is brutally explicit, doesnt speak as a sheep, at all.

I parrot him because I find his arguments convincing.

About Hansen, to be honest, I don't like the guy, and I cannot demonstrate that he is ammasing a fortune, so I was a bit out of line. But really, as soon as he became activist (first covered under the blanket of doing science, then once retired, openly) he lose some of his scientific reputation. Then to add insult to injury, he lately entered in another wars, the nuclear vs renewables and whatnot. Ok, yes it's just that, I don't like the guy

Edit: I may be in sheep clothes, to keep diplomacy. I am not a denialist hehe, dont misunderstand me
« Last Edit: August 07, 2014, 02:49:37 AM by seattlerocks »

notjonathon

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In one of your posts that started all this, you said that scientists shouldn't believe in global warming (I'm too lazy to go back and find it). Well, I agree with you. Actually, the reason that climate scientists overwhelmingly agree with the idea of global warming is that they are convinced by the overwhelming evidence that global warming is happening. They are also convinced by the physics, which tells them that the effects of global warming that are already being felt are caused by increases in greenhouse gases, CO2 in particular.

wili

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Neven, do we have an ignore list option, so I can put sr on it? I haven't wanted to do so with any other poster here, but I would appreciate the ability to do so with this jokester. Thanks, and sorry to bother you with this sad situation.
"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."

Bruce Steele

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Seattlerocks, I just wanted to say I do Like Hansen for what that's worth. He was taking heat for being vocal a long time ago when maybe it would have mattered. Shooting the messenger is the easy part.
Well thanks for dragging this conversation off the melting page anyhow.
Thinking this through one more time I think what Hansen has done with his life defines what being
"Proactive" means and the fact fewer people listened carefully is a shame. I needed to say that and I am glad Neven has patience with us.   

ccgwebmaster

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Thinking this through one more time I think what Hansen has done with his life defines what being
"Proactive" means and the fact fewer people listened carefully is a shame. I needed to say that and I am glad Neven has patience with us.

If one considers the amount of time he's been banging on this drum - the conflict it's brought him - and the fact he's put his money where his mouth is (including being arrested, testifying at the trial of the Kingsnorth protestors in the UK, etc), I think one has to respect those efforts. There are few enough people prepared to do more than talk (and plenty not prepared to do even that, save to deny the issues).

seattlerocks

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Right, clearly talking about Hansen was a bad idea. His activism may be encomiable,but the way he did the transition, I don't know.

I meant that science is doing a good job even when many climate scientists are a bit biased toward the alarmist side, and some are extremely biased.

There is overwhelming evidence of GW and overwhelming indication that is greenhouse effect due to CO2. That is enough to become activist. But a phd student starting research now with a parallelized code that has a complex atmospheric model should ask him/herself: what are these parameters is the equations? Ok, I get viscosity, latent heats. These others? And why they take currently these values? Might these model be wrong in one direction or the other? Chances are that the student wont have the time to understand all this in detail since there are thousands of runs to be done for the particular cases of what the phd is about. Later, unfortunately, the person once graduated will be taking things for granted instead of asking himself/herself fundamental questions.
This happens all the time in any scientific discipline. The scientist becomes mainstream from the very beginning, and may never leave that stream. Still he/she will do great career to be fond of, because the exercise of science is tough but morally rewarding

Wili, what you propose of seeing only what you want to see is really cool.

notjonathon

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Quote
I meant that science is doing a good job even when many climate scientists are a bit biased toward the alarmist side, and some are extremely biased.

True colors. Lukewarmism redux.

Actually, we're beginning to enter move the goalpost, even Gish gallop territory.

As one who earned his Ph.D in literature during the early high phase of postmodernism, I understand full well the question of reliance on reigning paradigms, but this argument preserves no ice in this issue. Scientists who study the evidence, who understand the simple physics, are alarmed. They call for swift action not because they "believe" in AGW, but because the evidence clearly demonstrates that AGW is happening. No child born after April 1985 has experienced a single month that was colder than the previous average. The world just had its hottest May and hottest June ever. The hottest years on record have been 1998 and every year since 2002.

This is not the result of scientists being unable to escape the framework of a paradigm. This is the result of runaway industrial capitalism. And I'm not even a Marxist.

seattlerocks

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Notjonathon,

I dont know what is lukewarm redux, goalpost or Gish gallop territory. My English has its limitations. If you mean I have a goal, yes, to express my views. We all have goals, don't we?

I agree with almost all of what you say nothonathon, honestly, except that the word "belief" still applies. Scientists believed that the Higgs Boson existed, because several unproved physical theories relied on it. And they surely feel there is nothing wrong with the word "belief". Then the particle was observed, theories were validated, and the word belief no longer applies.

Let us think about the "theory" behind AGW. The theory, unfortunately, can only be proved via computer simulations because of the complex mechanisms it involves. There is the basic concept of greenhouse effect, but you wish it was as simple as that. Because of the complexities, several ad-hoc parameters have to be adjusted. And a theory that requires many ad-hoc parameters is, being benign, a very weak theory. Actually, it is a theory that cannot be validated. It is as if gravitation theory had to include 30 constants instead of a single one. And every time an orbit was observed with better resolution, the constants must be slightly accommodated so that the simulated trajectory is adjusted to the new observed orbit. That may be a theory, but a very weak one and difficult to be proved (well, that happened with the mainstream theory to explain the orbiting of all celestial bodies around the Earth, before Copernicus and Galileo started to push heretical concepts).

Something I did not discussed: should a scientist, whose evaluation and expert opinion is being requested, alarm politicians based on what it is observed? With all good reasons, from my point of view. But then, back to rigorous science.

OK, I don't deny anything. Why don't I summarize what my point fundamentally is? Keep scientists away from activism and ideology, they'll do a better job. But not the other way around, or the activist that dismisses science ends up like Goddard, unsupported by real evidence. 

I'll try not go further away into any territory other than that from now on.

SCYetti

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According to your post, Seattlerocks, Mr. Dyson admits to not knowing a whole lot about the subject but he objects to the outspokenness and stridency of many who do. I believe the problem is that many who make a full-time study of AGW soon come to an "OMG WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!" moment. At that point a more subdued and balanced approach you advocate seems totally inappropriate. Much of their sensitivity to criticism might be due to the nature of much of the criticism. Global warming has been called the greatest hoax ever perpetrated in the history of the world by members of the US Congress. Some consider scientists as nothing more than con-men looking to enrich themselves with government study grants. It's enough to make one overly defensive.

NeilT

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Seattlerocks, you need to think about what you are saying, not what you are trying to prove.

What happens if the theory of the higgs bosonic is correct? Essentially nothing but extended knowledge.   Ditto gravity.

If climate science is correct, billions die. Are you truly willing to gamble your descendents lives on hair splitting science to put money in industrialists pockets?

Nobody else here is.
Being right too soon is socially unacceptable.

Robert A. Heinlein

domen_

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Quote
If climate science is correct, billions die. Are you truly willing to gamble your descendents lives on hair splitting science to put money in industrialists pockets?

Nobody else here is.
I agree. From a risk management point of view it doesn't make sense to gamble on this.

Even further: uncertainty implies we should be even more careful, not less. But many people don't understand that.

SteveMDFP

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Let us think about the "theory" behind AGW. The theory, unfortunately, can only be proved via computer simulations because of the complex mechanisms it involves.   


Complete and utter bullshit.  The idea that rapid rises in greenhouse gases are likely to cause catastrophic changes for humanity does not require computer models at all.  They're useful and important, but they're only one piece of the mosaic of analysis. 

More important, in my view, are paleo reconstructions of past great extinction events.    The end-Permian Extinction Event, in particular appears to be an illuminating precedent.  It's a picture of a nearly-dead world, a world in which human survival as a species would be doubtful, let alone human civilzation.   We would appear to be re-creating that environment, but at a pace about FOUR ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE FASTER.

No, no cause for scientists to become politically active on that account.

But set aside paleontology and the remote record of catastrophe.  We can instead just look at measurements since 1970 or so.  In particular, ocean heating, sea level rise, ocean acidification, ocean hypoxia.  Lets also look at increasing deforestation and desertification.  Can we identify causes, to a reasonable level of certainty?  Yes, obviously.  Can we reasonably conclude that these trends are likely to continue, to worsen, for a few more decades?  Yes.  Are there any apparent countervaling factors which would substantially alter the extrapolation and implications for human suffering?  No, not really.  Most feedback effects appear to be positive ones that just make horrors more likely, not less.

The big picture doesn't require computer modeling at all.  Your lynchpin of argument is a straw man.

Quote

Keep scientists away from activism and ideology, they'll do a better job. But not the other way around, or the activist that dismisses science ends up like Goddard, unsupported by real evidence. 
 ,,,

So, with highly plausible projections of unimaginable human suffering and death in the next very few generations, what's really important is to make sure scientists DON'T speak up about impending disaster?


seattlerocks

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Steve,

You are talking about observations that confirm accelerated rise of global temperatures. There is overwhelming evidence. Agreed
About C02 continuous unnatural rise since 1800's, and subsequent greenhouse effect, cannot be more certain.
About greenhouse effect being the cause of most of or all the observed warming, overwhelming support from the above observations.

But theories behind AGW, and the results and projections derived from them, are yet weak from a scientific point of view. No BS, man, almost all physical phenomena included in numerical simulations, which predict the outcomes that we read in the newspapers, require modeling, with adjustable parameters. In other words, they cannot be simulated directly, but approximately, the degree of approximation many times unknown. Ask a climate scientist! I´ll look a reference as soon as I can.

Think of atmospheric and oceanic flow patterns, stratified turbulence, albedo, water vapor, condensation, dust, carbon trapping by trees, CO2 buried in oceans and then released, same with heat release/absortion by oceans. Then, many positive or negative feedback mechanisms that you can imagine, need to be added, with coefficients to be adjusted: methane release, cloud formation and type of cloud, I dunno, aircraft contrails which is positive during nights and negative during days.

People, I am not denying anything! I am saying let science follow its course with the scientific method that Galileo established.

I don't know what a straw man argument is.

seattlerocks

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Neil,

That is a very powerful position, Neil. And I admire it if you hold it with congruence. I used to think that way in the nineties, even thinking of best places in Spain to live when the worst was to come. A flat valley, 600m+ altitude, mild weather North should do (for instance El Bierzo in the way to Santiago, or some valleys in Asturias). But know what, based on the first model predictions Spain should have been suffering 10+ years of drought as all Mediterranean Basin. Quite the contrary, the worst Arctic years coincide with abundant rains and mild temps in Spain since 2007, every single year. Las Azores high weakened, -AO -NAO. Most probably due to climate change. But the results of the models? Sucked.

Edit: hair splitting is fundamental in Science.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2014, 03:29:23 PM by seattlerocks »

SteveMDFP

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So I point out that complex computer modeling is only part of the mosaic of analysis about climate change and plausible outcomes, and you respond by talking about the limitations of computer models. 

Let me make it a tad clearer.  All life on earth almost went extinct 250 million years ago.  The conditions that led to that situation seem to be being recreated, but far, far faster.  No computer models needed at all.

Maybe you are just trolling. 

A "straw man" argument refers to mis-representing an opposing viewpoint, and pointing out the flaws in that misrepresented version.   The result, to an unprepared audience, can seem convincing.  The reality is that the arguer is either being stupid about the argument, or lying.

seattlerocks

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Steve,

Ok I got it. Sorry yes I understood your post all the way around.
Funny the straw man thing, I don't know what to think. But really I am not trolling, that is why I opened this thread apart from the rest. I am exposing broad points of view about science and climate change activism, and theories behind AGW. I started talking about Freeman Dyson (hence the unfortunate name of the thread, could this be changed?)

But listen, anyway, I stop here, if somebody posts later, don't think I am ignoring. I just don't want to be considered a troll, I already shared what I wanted to share. I see it is very touchy and sensitive matter (explosive I would say) and maybe it is distracting the forum.

notjonathon

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I was willing to leave off, myself, sr, but is it really your considered opinion that we have to wait until all the models are in agreement concerning the rain in Spain (which may or may not fall mainly on the plain) before we can act? There is only one answer:
There is no time!
In fact, it's probably too late already to avoid bad outcomes,and maybe even very bad outcomes, but there may still be a small window of time, if enough effort is put into reversing the addition of CO2 into the air (and sea), to avoid catastrophic outcomes.

That's why everyone here thinks you're trolling.

Chuck Yokota

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But theories behind AGW, and the results and projections derived from them, are yet weak from a scientific point of view.


You are completely wrong about global warming theory.  I am not a climate scientist, but I recently took a course in global warming science from a prominent and respected climate scientist, Dr. Kerry Emmanuel, in an online course that covered the same material as in the MIT undergraduate course in global warming science which he teaches.  Global warming theory does not depend upon adjustable parameteres and computer simulations.  It rests upon simple measurable physical phenomena. 
1. Energy comes to the Earth from the sun, mainly in the the visible spectrum of electromagnetic radiation.
2. A portion of this is reflected away, while the remainder is absorbed.
3. All bodies re-radiate energy away, depending upon their temperature.  At the temperature of the Earth's surface, this is in the longwave infrared spectrum.
4. Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere absorb the longwave radiation coming up from the surface, and re-radiate it in all directions.  The amount of energy re-radiated back downward is observable and measurable, as is the energy that escapes from the top of the atmosphere.
5. The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is increasing, at a rate consistent with the amount of those gases being released by fossil fuel burning and other human activities, and the Earth being able to absorb a fraction of them.
6. The difference between the amount of solar energy absorbed and the net longwave energy radiated from the Earth is the amount by which the Earth is gaining energy, resulting in warming.

No complex computer simulations needed, in fact no computers needed.  Over a century ago, a generation before the invention of computers, the Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius calculated by hand the amount of warming that would result from a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere at about 4 degrees Celsius, a number which falls within the range of modern computer-assisted calculations.

DoomInTheUK

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Seattle,

Might I hazzard a guess that you are accidentally confusing two scientific aspects as one?
The data gathering and formulating of the science behind it all does have some areas of uncertanty, but it's usually quite well understood and generally accepted by all.

The second related, but essentailly unconnected scientific area is the combining of lots of this carefully gathered data and producing some form of prediction from it.

This second area is where most of the uncertainty lies due to the complex nature of combining lots of different data sets. The output of these ensemble runs seems to uniformly show things getting worse, but sadly they can't be fine grained enough to give you enough detail to warrant making a life choice with.

The term Troll is used far too often, and usually a tad too quickly, for my liking. Any powerful subject with such drastic consequences will often tend to polarise views, especially against someone who may not be as well immersed in the subject. It's taken most people many years of groping with the subject from many angles and that weight of findings is very compelling.

We all have that 'Oh bugger' moment at some point, and as much as we'd like it not to be true, we just have to get used to it and hope that we have some chance of minimising the total effect.

NeilT

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I'm no longer sure this is accidental.

If you had spent any time listening to and talking with, climate scientists, even to the very restricted audience and time of RealClimate, you would know, without a shadow of a doubt; that there is not one single climate model which predicts weather, or even climate, occurrences in any ONE country.

You would know this for a fact.  Because it is said so regularly that it is impossible for anyone to miss it.  Also you would know that the models predict on decadal to century timespans.  So talking about individual years or even half decades, or individual countries, is very much a straw man hypotheses.

So I'm not going to make any more comments on here.  Every time one of your points is whacked, the mole pops up another hole with another false argument to prove that the models are not working, because the science is not known.

The only areas in which the models do not work is in tipping impacts which cause sudden state changes or massive weather events which are not repeated.  Like sudden collapses in the Arctic ice.

In fact every time the models are proved to be missing something, it is because the impacts are WAY, WAY, WORSE than the models predict.  Or are happening on an accelerated timescale.

So, please, either spend some time educating yourself about what the models are or stop pushing these invalid and incorrect issues.  Go to realclimate and do some searching.  It's all there, over and over and over again.

For me to notice this with my pitiful level of maths and science is bad enough.  For those who really know what they are talking about this must be torture.
Being right too soon is socially unacceptable.

Robert A. Heinlein

seattlerocks

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Notjonahton,

Please no need to call me sir, I am not so old 8) Couldn't restrain myself from answering   :)

I don't believe everyone here thinks I am trolling. I am not distracting, bothering, or disrupting. I took this stuff out of the other thread as soon as I saw it was explosive, and opened this discussion here about Freeman Dyson, science, activism and AGW with reasoned arguments. I also took back my opinions about a public figure that must be respected nevertheless.

Some people here insist on going to the same arena: we need to act now, period.
I admit I have not been willing to discuss that because I don't have a clear settled view on that.

If that is being a troll, well, ok

seattlerocks

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I'm no longer sure this is accidental.

If you had spent any time listening to and talking with, climate scientists, even to the very restricted audience and time of RealClimate, you would know, without a shadow of a doubt; that there is not one single climate model which predicts weather, or even climate, occurrences in any ONE country.


Yeah the thing about Spain is not a valid argument from my part, it is true that this has happened, for sure because of climate change, and impossible to predict by models as they are. It is unfair from my part.

seattlerocks

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Seattle,

Might I hazzard a guess that you are accidentally confusing two scientific aspects as one?
The data gathering and formulating of the science behind it all does have some areas of uncertanty, but it's usually quite well understood and generally accepted by all.

The second related, but essentailly unconnected scientific area is the combining of lots of this carefully gathered data and producing some form of prediction from it.

This second area is where most of the uncertainty lies due to the complex nature of combining lots of different data sets. The output of these ensemble runs seems to uniformly show things getting worse, but sadly they can't be fine grained enough to give you enough detail to warrant making a life choice with.

The term Troll is used far too often, and usually a tad too quickly, for my liking. Any powerful subject with such drastic consequences will often tend to polarise views, especially against someone who may not be as well immersed in the subject. It's taken most people many years of groping with the subject from many angles and that weight of findings is very compelling.

We all have that 'Oh bugger' moment at some point, and as much as we'd like it not to be true, we just have to get used to it and hope that we have some chance of minimising the total effect.

Thanks for your comment. Yes I might have been confusing thing and being confusing too. If I understand your first point is, lets say, the governing equations of many different phenomena, and the second, the numerical approach, the necessary modelling of many small-scale phenomena (that is, take the governing equations, average out, and give closure to the equations introducing ad-hoc parameters), the discretisation that cannot resolve finely in space and time, etc. and finally the run and the results. I was putting all that in the same bag, yes. Obviously the governing equations are derived from accepted theories (generally), like the equations of motion of a flow, the evaporation process, transport and mixing, radiation. All those phenomena have their own accepted, closed theories let's say. But when you go to point 2, you have to simplify, model, introduce assumptions, also in order to make the problem computationally affordable, and there is when the thing becomes tricky, let's say.

But I don't want to enter in this again. Thanks though for the kind post.

seattlerocks

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Some may be interested in knowing the details of a global climate model, the formulation and the simulation characteristics:

http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/JCLI3629.1

It is an open article for all, not just the abstract. This is the model (or one model) that was used to simulate evolution of climate and obtain predictions for IPCC assessment report 2006.

I'll be reading the paper eagerly and maybe will add some comments here. Previously I was arguing without bringing real information over the table, and some people pointed that out. Well, let us learn about these models directly from the authors themselves.

 

wili

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"Wili, what you propose of seeing only what you want to see is really cool."

You have not shown anything worth seeing. I prefer not to waste my time reading pure idiocy (and that's the optimistic view of what your bloviations are here.)

Good idea to leave the thread, though.
"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."

seattlerocks

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I just added a link to a worth seeing paper
didn't you see it or was already blocked?

Anne

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I could - almost - understand if you were arguing Tamsin Edwards's position that climate scientists shouldn't advocate particular policies. I think her position is ivory towered and irresponsible but I can understand why she might hesitate between advocating the efficacy of one policy against another. But you don't seem to be doing even that. I'm at a loss to understand what your problem is with the urgency we are faced with.

Neven

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Simple, Seattlerocks is touting the old argument that scientists should be robots. As soon as they say there is a problem or might be a problem, they have de facto become activists, and thus it has become impossible for them to stick to the scientific method. This is fine when it's just a couple of scientists, but when the tribe comprises every scientific organisation/academy in the world, it means that it is impossible for dissenting voices to be heard. And thus AGW is a money making hoax, and the possibility that AGW could pose problems is 0.0%.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2014, 11:54:20 PM by Neven »
Il faut comparer, comparer, comparer, et cultiver notre jardin

seattlerocks

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Yes, certain submission to rigour comes with the job, that is why it is hard to be a true scientist (or engineer, or doctor,...), fighting with "hair splitting" problems without giving up to easy, shortcutting solutions. Just look at the number of co-authors of that paper.

Call it robotic if you want.
 
Passion is also an essential ingredient. Passion for truth, not for preconceived ideologies.

Then at home I have my own opinions.

I am tired, I think I have written too many words in one day  :-X.

Edit: I didn't see your edit. I don't understand you

seattlerocks

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Simple, Seattlerocks is touting the old argument that scientists should be robots. As soon as they say there is a problem or might be a problem, they have de facto become activists, and thus it has become impossible for them to stick to the scientific method. ...

Neven,

I start to understand the second part of your post, but it is a bit complicated.
You write those admirable blog entries, well founded on real scientific data. How come you cannot recognise that a scientist, small or big, climate science star or a hidden scientist working on relatively obscure dust dispersion model, should avoid waving flags, and that this avoidance is not irresponsible? Then who is going to keep their intellectual energies to develop better measurement devices, ice evolution models, and so, that we see in your Graphs page? Man, it looks so crystal clear to me.

Even if you disagree, you also show a very open-minded attitude. I hope you don't believe all this troll accusations (which I am just discovering what it really means), or at least give me the benefit of doubt.

I am on fire, 1am and still obsessed with this. Argh. I should have not blown out yesterday by that simple comment that NSIDC should keep baselines untouched to avoid feeding the joy of deniers.

David

notjonathon

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seattlerocks--

Quote
How come you cannot recognise that a scientist, small or big, climate science star or a hidden scientist working on relatively obscure dust dispersion model, should avoid waving flags, and that this avoidance is not irresponsible? Then who is going to keep their intellectual energies to develop better measurement devices, ice evolution models, and so, that we see in your Graphs page? Man, it looks so crystal clear to me.

That doesn't make sense.

And as hard as I've tried to avoid ad hominem attacks, I have to say that's not seattlerocks, that's dumbasrocks.

seattlerocks

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seattlerocks--

That doesn't make sense.

And as hard as I've tried to avoid ad hominem attacks, I have to say that's not seattlerocks, that's dumbasrocks.


No argument and one insult. I don't need to tell you what you are because you just defined yourself

DoomInTheUK

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Maybe it's a framing issue. AGW has built up a lot of baggage that gets dragged along with it which may be clouding the issue.

Taking another topical issue, how would your argument stack up for scientists working on Ebola? There's an issue with a fair number of scientific knowns and unknowns, as well as having potential dire consequences for a given population. No-one seems to argue when presented with the 'to the best of our knowledge' arguments from those scientists.

seattlerocks

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Maybe it's a framing issue. AGW has built up a lot of baggage that gets dragged along with it which may be clouding the issue.

Taking another topical issue, how would your argument stack up for scientists working on Ebola? There's an issue with a fair number of scientific knowns and unknowns, as well as having potential dire consequences for a given population. No-one seems to argue when presented with the 'to the best of our knowledge' arguments from those scientists.


DoomITUK,
It is a very good point.  It is very dramatic, and yes it requires extremely fast measures. Then you may feel the same (or similar) goes with climate change, correct?

My position: I said in a previous post that if a stellar climate scientist is asked his expert opinion, he has all good reasons to be alarmist if he feels so based on overwhelming evidence. This has been done in the past, and it has had very positive consequences. In fact, there is a lot more awareness in society, and environmentalist policies are way more appealing now, for the citizen and for the politician, than they were in the 80's.
 
But the scientist cannot keep doing that in a continuous mass-media manner while (s)he keeps writing and reviewing papers. Once back in the department, then back to rigor.  Also for responsibility and respect to colleagues, collaborators, students, post-docs, (s)he should not be using the work of all this people included in the climate model to pull own ideas and opinions in a systematic way (so my answer to Anne is, I believe the responsible thing is, stay in the marble tower unless you are called).

But following your example, people working on vaccines, quarantines, probably they are taking their time to do it well, regardless (to some extent) of how fast the illness spreads, otherwise the remedy may end up being worse than the illness itself. 
This is only a example of needing to concentrate to do scientific work well, I am not deflecting.


seattlerocks

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I could - almost - understand if you were arguing Tamsin Edwards's position that climate scientists shouldn't advocate particular policies. I think her position is ivory towered and irresponsible but I can understand why she might hesitate between advocating the efficacy of one policy against another. But you don't seem to be doing even that. I'm at a loss to understand what your problem is with the urgency we are faced with.

Anne, I didn't know about this article, sorry yesterday I missed it. I cannot agree more with Tamsin Edwards. I think I have been parroting her without knowing, after all

seattlerocks

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"But I care more about restoring trust in science than about calling people to action; more about improving public understanding of science so society can make better-informed decisions, than about making people's decisions for them. Science doesn't tell us the answer to our problems. Neither should scientists."

Wow, that article is a gold mine, Anne. Thank you so much for the link

Edit: the best of all is that she is a self-declared mainstream climate scientist. So no suspicious of serving to 'obscure evil forces'.
I've been looking at Thompson's and she being young has already an impressive impact level based on peer-reviewed publications by now.

She has a pretty interesting blog too. Lol, she's is systematically insulted by deniers. I wonder what treatment would she receive here.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2014, 01:13:07 PM by seattlerocks »

DoomInTheUK

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Seattle,

Are we saying then that we're really just discussing a balancing act? Torn between the forces of broadcasting the findings and the pursuit of the findings. Neither extreeme will be in everyone's best interest.

I suspect there is never a 'good' balance that will suit everyone, even the scientists involved. Some would prefer the balance swung one way, others would prefer the opposite.

All we can hope for is access to as much of the data as we can get and apply our own balancing act with it.

seattlerocks

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DITUK, Yes I think we are sort of discussing that.

All we can hope for is access to as much of the data as we can get and apply our own balancing act with it.

I completely agree with that

Seattle,
I suspect there is never a 'good' balance that will suit everyone, even the scientists involved. Some would prefer the balance swung one way, others would prefer the opposite.

And that is where I have a strong conviction that the balance for scientists involved has to incline in the direction of avoiding activism while in the exercise of their profession. By now, I know that many of you guys strongly disagree with that.

wili

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DITU wrote:  "Taking another topical issue, how would your argument stack up for scientists working on Ebola?" Good point. By the way, WHO just went to the medical equivalent of DEFCON 1 on this.
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ebola-outbreak-international-public-health-emergency-who/

Further on your main point, this comment by Michael Mann:

If You See Something, Say Something

Quote
...being a scientist-advocate is not an oxymoron. Just because we are scientists does not mean that we should check our citizenship at the door of a public meeting...


http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/19/opinion/sunday/if-you-see-something-say-something.html?_r=0

In other words, knowing something comes with a responsibility for letting people know about it if it is a threat to they're well being. How such a fundamental ethical principle could be missed by some people escapes me. (Of course, it may not have escaped them--they may just like taking any opportunity to bash climatologists, no matter how absurd the pretext.)

Similarly from Gavin Schmidt: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/12/agu-talk-on-science-and-advocacy/

Well worth a watch, that one.

So we have Hansen, Schmidt, Mann, Kevin Anderson and other top climatologists on one side, and Curry, Revkin, an anonymous blogger (jokers, all), and some climatologist I, at least, had never heard of on the other.

I'll stick with the first set, especially since logic and basic decency is on their side--if you see a crowded theater starting to burn, your responsibility is not just to measure the rate of conflagration, but also to warn people that they are in imminent danger of immolation.
"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."

Tor Bejnar

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Quote
...--if you see a crowded theater starting to burn, your responsibility is not just to measure the rate of conflagration, but also to warn people that they are in imminent danger of immolation.
Spending too much time measuring the conflagration may prevent adequate information sharing.  We each, as individuals and as groups, discern (and often re-discern) the 'best' proportion of each task.  Obviously, both tasks are important.

I think I decide another person has a "balanced opinion" about something when the opinion matches my own (especially when the articulation it better than what I could do).  My (superficial) reading in psychology (insert here a plug for the thread http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,912.0.html!) tells me I am strongly influenced by my ‘culture’ and that I am rarely aware of how strongly I am influenced by it.
Arctic ice is healthy for children and other living things.

seattlerocks

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Wili,

I am glad we are talking, sorry for my previous sarcasm.

I read Michael Mann's article from top to bottom. As a scientist, should he say the danger he sees? Absolutely. And that is what the IPCC, for instance, is about. Panel of experts.  I wrote this before, I am not flipping.
Should he make a cause of it and become advocate or activist? My opinion, no. He is the "director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University" (bottom of article) and it is not admissible that a first-tier highly reputed scientist with such responsibility becomes activist of anything in the name of science.

Mann writes:  "If scientists choose not to engage in the public debate, we leave a vacuum that will be filled by those whose agenda is one of short-term self-interest." That is not true. Consider the arrogance of thinking that only scientists like him can fill that position and handle those "whose agenda ... ".

"How will history judge us if we watch the threat unfold before our eyes, but fail to communicate the urgency of acting to avert potential disaster? How would I explain to the future children of my 8-year-old daughter that their grandfather saw the threat, but didn’t speak up in time?" But he already spoke, crystal clear! He has done a huge research to show overwhelming evidence. He has done more than any of us that contribute here (probably). Now, does he want to continuously take the role of a superhero that saves the world? Is this arrogance?

... How such a fundamental ethical principle could be missed by some people escapes me. (Of course, it may not have escaped them--they may just like taking any opportunity to bash climatologists, no matter how absurd the pretext.)

I just talked about the article of a mainstream climate scientist that Anne posted above, and I happen to have similar opinions to that scientist. I believe she is not bashing herself, and I don't think she is missing a fundamental ethical principle. She states her ethics: "I care more about restoring trust in science than about calling people to action"

DoomInTheUK

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Seattle,

Can we turn this on it's head and ask "What's the problem with scientists becoming activists"?

I would suggest that it would only be a problem if the activism is to the detriment of the science. Even then, if the scientist feels that activism is a better use of their time, then so be it.

I'm not qualified enough to suggest that a scientists work has been affected, I leave that to the peer review system.

Personally, I don't feel comfortable in pigeonholing people into roles. It's just the same as saying that an actor isn't allowed to be an Member of Parliament or that an astronaught can't be a singer.

I do however tend to lend greater weight to the word of someone who is obviously deeply involved in the subject, so to that end I would suggest scientists have a better head start in the communication arena than any Joe Blogger.

seattlerocks

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DITUK,

I dont know, at the end it is what we feel right or not. I am putting an example of what I feel:

Consider the following, Michael Mann and his team, in 2018, run some extremely advanced simulations that project that global temperatures are likely to fall below pre-industrial levels. Because solar radiation falls below certain threshold and these simulations are precise enough to capture several negative feedbacks that kick in, which will lead to the beginning of an Ice Age.

I know what some are thinking. I am not saying anything remotely close to that idiocy that AGW has been good in order to prevent a glaciation.
This is just an illustrative example.

Don't you think Michael Mann's life of activism could represent an obstacle for him to speak out and say what he sees (in a scientific paper)?

I think there could be tremendous personal conflicts for him. Loss of friends, professional ostracism, discredit, disbelief.

That might lead to bad science.

« Last Edit: August 08, 2014, 05:00:11 PM by seattlerocks »

DoomInTheUK

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Seattle,

A nice thought expirement. I would imagine that he would indeed feel conflicted being in the middle of that problem. The science though would still be peer reviewed. It would need to be overwhelming evidence on it's own to sway the prevailing consensus view.

Exactly the same problem was found by every scientist claiming something out-of-the-ordinary since the invention of the scientific process. It's only once an overwhelming weight of evidence is found that the scientific consensus moves that way. This is a good thing for rigour, but maybe not that good thing for quickly changing issues.

Regardless of how loud the scientist shouts, if his work fails the peer review then his standing in the scientific community takes a major hit. Just look at the fiasco that surrounded the anouncement of cold fusion.

The scientific process should weed out the bad science. Careers and social standing is mearly a problem for the scientist involved.

Xulonn

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"I care more about restoring trust in science than about calling people to action"[/i]

Quote frankly, that is a call for inhumanity.  Not advocating for mitigation of the reversible dangers that scientific your research uncovers borders on the criminal.  If you are a climate scientist with good communication skills, to be aware of an existential threat the survival of human civilization and not actively work to promote true, deep awareness of the urgent need for mitigation of that threat, is a de facto indicator that you are facilitating the destruction of our children's future. 

To suggest that scientists should go to their graves smiling about how they maintained some weird set of irrational ethics while millions of people were harmed is just plain weird to me.  Your argument is purely philosophical, with no basis in common sense related to the dangers we humans face.

The huge, highly profitable FF companies who are earning their obscene profits at the expense of "lesser" humans are not held to such high "standards."  Independent scientists, university scientists, and government scientists around the world reveal the evidence - and then the transnational corporations - particularly the FF (fossil-fuel) industry -  spends hundreds of millions of dollars on propaganda and lies to dispute or ridicule that evidence. 

Yet you claim that scientists must be pure and untainted to pursue their priestly work.  Wouldn't the FF companies be delighted if your wishes were granted and they could continue to profit as they accelerate toward the cliff of self-destruction - without those pesky scientists tripping them up. 

I think that your perspective is immoral and invalid from a humanistic perspective.  Your arguments make you a perfect and witting tool of the FF monsters who are destroying us.  All intelligent, educated persons - including scientists - who are aware of a situation that could destroy human civilization in less than a century should be active in calling for mitigation.  A truly passionate scientist who is aware of the danger of AGW/CC, if he or she has any sense of morals and ethics, should feel obligated to double their efforts in both their pursuit of science, and to counter the lies of the multimillion dollar AGW/CC denialist "industry." 

The Heartland Institute - the organization that spent millions lying and trying to convince the public that smoking tobacco was not harmful, and that climate change is not happening - or if it is, it's good thing -  couldn't find a better spokesperson for silencing the AGW/CC science community than you.  Your perspective supports the agenda of those I consider to be the representatives of unbridled and unregulated capitalism.

Sorry for the harshness, but I consider activism against causing the future unwarranted deaths of millions and the likely destruction of civilization to be more important than shoving scientists into ivory towers and locking the doors.  The peer review system, the natural skepticism of scientists, and the competitiveness of the scientific community combine to make fraud and bad science very difficult to promote.  Your proposition that activism by scientists promotes bad science is pure speculation and mental games, and has no evidence to support it. 

 

Tor Bejnar

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There are lots of ways to achieve "Loss of friends, professional ostracism, discredit, disbelief" from others, including
  • take a public stand based on your principles
  • don't take a public stand on your privately stated principles
  • change your opinion about what 'facts' are really facts, based on new evidence
  • doggedly hold that new evidence 'must' be flawed
  • continue working past age 70/80/90
  • retire 'prematurely'
One 'problem' (challenge) is, some people will object to one behavior and others will object to the functionally opposite behavior.  Scientists, just like everybody else, deal with it, and get critized by some and honored by others.  One person likes what Tamsin Edwards writes, another likes how Michael Mann behaves.  "Careers and social standing is mearly a problem for the scientist involved."
Arctic ice is healthy for children and other living things.