Global Warming's Terrifying New Math

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scott seward, Friday, 20 July 2012 13:08 (seven years ago) link

just starting to read it now, but it's by bill mckibben, so it's going to be a good read. the man is truly a hero.

your friend, (Z S), Friday, 20 July 2012 13:15 (seven years ago) link

i would say its scary but its way beyond that. kind of an r.i.p. earth dispatch really.

scott seward, Friday, 20 July 2012 13:19 (seven years ago) link

"In early June, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton traveled on a Norwegian research trawler to see firsthand the growing damage from climate change. "Many of the predictions about warming in the Arctic are being surpassed by the actual data," she said, describing the sight as "sobering." But the discussions she traveled to Scandinavia to have with other foreign ministers were mostly about how to make sure Western nations get their share of the estimated $9 trillion in oil (that's more than 90 billion barrels, or 37 gigatons of carbon) that will become accessible as the Arctic ice melts. Last month, the Obama administration indicated that it would give Shell permission to start drilling in sections of the Arctic."

scott seward, Friday, 20 July 2012 13:21 (seven years ago) link

well that's good news, at least

frogbs, Friday, 20 July 2012 13:24 (seven years ago) link

we're fucked

Tartar Mouantcheoux (Noodle Vague), Friday, 20 July 2012 13:26 (seven years ago) link

all that pesky arctic ice was hiding all the oil!

scott seward, Friday, 20 July 2012 13:28 (seven years ago) link

it's why if you talk to people who work on climate change (people at environmental nonprofits, climate scientists, think tanks), everyone has this attitude that's beyond fatalistic. like, you almost have to laugh at the situation a little bit to keep yourself from going insane. i guess the article talks about that a bit:

We're in the same position we've been in for a quarter-century: scientific warning followed by political inaction. Among scientists speaking off the record, disgusted candor is the rule. One senior scientist told me, "You know those new cigarette packs, where governments make them put a picture of someone with a hole in their throats? Gas pumps should have something like that."

your friend, (Z S), Friday, 20 July 2012 13:33 (seven years ago) link

but yeah, it's absurd. in 2010, my dad told me "you know who Obama should appoint for secretary of energy? Sarah Palin. i don't agree with her about a lot of stuff, but she has really good ideas about energy." my dad's kind of an outlier i guess, because he's a super fundamentalist who believes the earth is 8000 years old and doesn't believe that climate change could happen because god promised not to flood the earth again, and even if environmental catastrophe did occur, he'd be raptured out of it (the "pre-wrath rapture" theory") before the shit hit the fan. but man, there are a toooooooon of really ignorant people out there that don't want to hear anything that's bad news.

your friend, (Z S), Friday, 20 July 2012 13:36 (seven years ago) link

it really is up to the governments of the world. all of them. the average person is too far gone to really change things. i'm too far gone! he mentions that moral outrage over the loss of a city due to climate-related storms would change opinion, although there has already been mass devastation to cities due to super storms and it hasn't changed anyone's mind about anything. plus, for some reason people don't want to make the connection. major damage due to warming doesn't make people hate the oil companies.

scott seward, Friday, 20 July 2012 13:45 (seven years ago) link

this is increasingly all I think about and it leaves me in a heavy depression. I try to be fatalistic about it and tell myself that the universe will go on regardless, but that's not comfort since I guess one day it will be a dark grey cold mass of atoms.

lou reed scott walker monks niagra (chinavision!), Friday, 20 July 2012 13:45 (seven years ago) link

i find it near-impossible to imagine a government stepping in to take the necessary action against oil companies in liberal socialist Europe, there's absolutely no chance in hell it wd happen in the US or China

Tartar Mouantcheoux (Noodle Vague), Friday, 20 July 2012 13:47 (seven years ago) link

all the news stories here about the drought are about how you might be paying more at the pump in the future! that is the number one concern. oh and food prices are gonna go up. that takes second place.

scott seward, Friday, 20 July 2012 13:47 (seven years ago) link

thats really the frustrating part; it really seems like as a planet we could buckle down and fix things, we just won't

frogbs, Friday, 20 July 2012 13:47 (seven years ago) link

whenever I hear the phrase "the price at the pump" it makes me insane. was looking at various political parties' platforms, and of course in the energy section for the democrats' paper there is little mention of climate change, and instead just talk about energy security, independence, and yes, the "price at the pump."

lou reed scott walker monks niagra (chinavision!), Friday, 20 July 2012 13:50 (seven years ago) link

It sounds like it may be coming to a head in the US soon if next year's corn harvest may be fucked.

I am curious what the thinking inside China is - I oddly expect more of them than the US, partly because I don't associate them with "Oh God won't let that happen".

Andrew Farrell, Friday, 20 July 2012 13:51 (seven years ago) link

I remember having my huge bout of paralyzed fear about the environment in early 1992 -- still always associate the Church's stellar Priest = Aura with that, probably why that album has lingered with me for so long. I don't see myself returning to that state anymore because it's almost like...well, I went through it, and my fears never went away. I just became inured, and so I'll just live my life as low impact as possible and...wait.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 20 July 2012 13:53 (seven years ago) link

xpost but it's up to people to force their governments to act.

what i'm dreading even more than the world that we'll have to live in for the rest of our lives - where the new normal is weeks on end of 100+ degrees, droughts, Katrinas, oceanic foodchains ruined by acidification, climate refugees struggling to move to the remaining pockets of the world where agriculture isn't wrecked - is the geoengineering "solutions" that will inevitably arise. it's so obvious that that's where we're headed. and no doubt, geoengineering efforts will probably be pushed by exxon-mobil and the like.

your friend, (Z S), Friday, 20 July 2012 13:54 (seven years ago) link

what is the true percentage of people in the US that believe god is protecting us though? I feel that there are many who just don't want to admit the truth because it is terrifying, or are just susceptible to listening to whichever account of events is least traumatizing. I figure it's quite a minority who really believe that God Himself will prevent any ecological disaster, even if a majority of Americans identify as religious.

xxpost

lou reed scott walker monks niagra (chinavision!), Friday, 20 July 2012 13:54 (seven years ago) link

like most Americans are religious, but not thaaaaat religious, right? I mean most people just like to say they believe in god and attend church once in a while. right guys??

lou reed scott walker monks niagra (chinavision!), Friday, 20 July 2012 13:56 (seven years ago) link

now I think I'm fooling myself maybe

lou reed scott walker monks niagra (chinavision!), Friday, 20 July 2012 13:57 (seven years ago) link

i need a drink after reading this

Spectrum, Friday, 20 July 2012 13:57 (seven years ago) link

I get the impression that it works on a lower/earlier level, like as long as there's FUD about climate change, people can react to it as "one story is this, and one story is that, but God would not put us in the situation where Story 1 happens so it must be Story 2"

Andrew Farrell, Friday, 20 July 2012 13:59 (seven years ago) link

I am curious what the thinking inside China is - I oddly expect more of them than the US, partly because I don't associate them with "Oh God won't let that happen".

also because their leadership would actually have the ability to unilaterally "force" action on the issue. don't know if they'd actually do it, but at least it's possible.

your friend, (Z S), Friday, 20 July 2012 14:00 (seven years ago) link

there was a nyer stat about 26% (iirc) of americans defining themselves as evangelicals, recently (xxxp)

hey Z S, sorry to use you as a lazy wikipedia substitute, BUT, is it correct that the limited action that was taken by governments after the discovery of the hole in the o-zone layer was actually effective? that stat always seemed slightly reassuring to me, because i couldn't believe that anyone did a lot, but the idea that some modest action was effective seemed promising.

, Blogger (schlump), Friday, 20 July 2012 14:02 (seven years ago) link

these are some of the people in power in the united states. just so we are clear:

In 2009, for the first time, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce surpassed both the Republican and Democratic National Committees on political spending; the following year, more than 90 percent of the Chamber's cash went to GOP candidates, many of whom deny the existence of global warming. Not long ago, the Chamber even filed a brief with the EPA urging the agency not to regulate carbon – should the world's scientists turn out to be right and the planet heats up, the Chamber advised, "populations can acclimatize to warmer climates via a range of behavioral, physiological and technological adaptations." As radical goes, demanding that we change our physiology seems right up there.

scott seward, Friday, 20 July 2012 14:02 (seven years ago) link

U.S. Chamber of Commerce is horrible for many reasons, not least of which is that they fool people into thinking they're an actual gov't agency!

lou reed scott walker monks niagra (chinavision!), Friday, 20 July 2012 14:05 (seven years ago) link

Not long ago, the Chamber even filed a brief with the EPA urging the agency not to regulate carbon – should the world's scientists turn out to be right and the planet heats up, the Chamber advised, "populations can acclimatize to warmer climates via a range of behavioral, physiological and technological adaptations." As radical goes, demanding that we change our physiology seems right up there.

as cynical as i am about the intelligence of our conservative political leaders, i think that many of them really do understand the implications of climate change. as time goes on and denying climate change becomes more and more absurd - think about the first warnings about cigarettes and cancer in the late 50s, the loooooooong conservative battle against those scientists who were trying to save lives, and then the gradual, quiet acceptance of the facts in the following decades - the rhetoric will quickly shift to geoengineering "solutions", since by then it will be too late to actually effectively mitigate climate change by reducing CO2 emissions. hell, it's probably already too late NOW, when you take into account tipping points/feedback loops. anyway, they'll be happy to move straight to geoengineering, because that's a pro-business attitude that doesn't involve changing your own lifestyle.

your friend, (Z S), Friday, 20 July 2012 14:08 (seven years ago) link

http://adsoftheworld.com/files/sony.start_.new_.tunnel20.jpg

scott seward, Friday, 20 July 2012 14:15 (seven years ago) link

wait did ned just say that he made his peace with the destruction of the planet via an australian college rock band from the 80's?

scott seward, Friday, 20 July 2012 14:22 (seven years ago) link

sounds about right

mississippi joan hart (crüt), Friday, 20 July 2012 14:23 (seven years ago) link

You gotta start somewhere.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 20 July 2012 14:25 (seven years ago) link

hey Z S, sorry to use you as a lazy wikipedia substitute, BUT, is it correct that the limited action that was taken by governments after the discovery of the hole in the o-zone layer was actually effective? that stat always seemed slightly reassuring to me, because i couldn't believe that anyone did a lot, but the idea that some modest action was effective seemed promising.

yes, the actions taken were relatively effective! but the experience is - cue negative nancy alert - unfortunately not very applicable to the problem of climate change. ozone depletion is primarily caused by the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Banning the use of CFCs in things like spray cans and refrigerators was relatively easy to accomplish, since there are chemical substitutes that could be used at a similar cost. and it was regulation that could be implemented quickly, from the top down, on industry.

climate change, on the other hand, is driven by the emission of greenhouse gases, primarily from burning coal and using oil. but the key is that the infrastructure required to deliver energy and car-centered transportation to the people is enormous. you can't change it overnight, and you can't do it in a way that consumers barely notice (like phasing out CFCs in spray cans). there are cleaner substitutes for coal and oil, of course, but the substitutes tend to be more expensive and will take a long time to replace to replace the existing infrastructure.

and also, there's just the sheer usefulness of fossil fuels. think about what a gallon of gasoline provides for you - it enables a weak, feeble human being to move a one ton automobile for 30 miles or so! imagine pushing that car! all from a gallon of fossilized ancient dead organisms! it's seriously amazing. and so incredibly cheap. $3 for access to superhuman powers. it's like playing videogames on god mode. people in underdeveloped countries understandably want access to oil and coal. again, all of this in contrast to CFCs, which could be eliminated without negatively impacting the prospects of a better life for anyone else.

your friend, (Z S), Friday, 20 July 2012 14:26 (seven years ago) link

xpost -- Said album was more of a vehicle and a lens, in that it builds up to a pretty harrowing ending. I don't know whether it matched my mood or enabled it, but I find it pretty inextricable in reflecting back, and anytime I encounter stories or concerns like this it's part of the soundtrack in my head.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 20 July 2012 14:27 (seven years ago) link

If global warming is real, then why is it cold in winter? Huh? Fuck you, science.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 20 July 2012 14:29 (seven years ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4MCRrsmzYU

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 20 July 2012 14:29 (seven years ago) link

The first six months of 2012 were the hottest on record. Deke Arndt, chief of the climate monitoring branch of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, takes a look at record warm temperatures across the county and the world and their connections to global warming.

http://www.wnyc.org/shows/bl/2012/jul/11/weather/

scott seward, Friday, 20 July 2012 14:47 (seven years ago) link

The 'Dark Knight' shootings are terrifying and ppl will rightly be appalled by them but somehow climate change lacks the immediacy that would rightly make it that much more terrifying.

sive gallus et mulier (Michael White), Friday, 20 July 2012 15:52 (seven years ago) link

it's because what's predicted to happen has never happened before in human memory and so people just ignore it.

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Friday, 20 July 2012 15:58 (seven years ago) link

if you can scarcely conceptualize a threat then it's hard to motivate yourself to give up deeply ingrained habits and privileges to stop it.

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Friday, 20 July 2012 15:59 (seven years ago) link

i do wonder what sort of world the rest of my life will be spent in. will my neighbors and myself experience widespread privation? or will life in america just become marginally more difficult, with our wealth and technology insulating ourselves from the worst of it? will my diet change thanks to rolling food shortages? will we all simply die of malnutrition in 40 years?

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Friday, 20 July 2012 16:01 (seven years ago) link

3.7 x 10-99, a number considerably larger than the number of stars in the universe.

he sorta blows his math cred in the second sentence. that number is almost zero.

Thus Sang Freud, Friday, 20 July 2012 16:03 (seven years ago) link

odds are expressed as a fraction of 1 iirc

Tartar Mouantcheoux (Noodle Vague), Friday, 20 July 2012 16:08 (seven years ago) link

agree. the odds are small, not large. an editor should have picked that up.

Thus Sang Freud, Friday, 20 July 2012 16:11 (seven years ago) link

Dodgy formatting imo, should it be 3.7 x 10^99:1? Or 3.7 x 10:99? Or what?

mod night at the oasis (NickB), Friday, 20 July 2012 16:12 (seven years ago) link

more proof that this is all a hoax

your friend, (Z S), Friday, 20 July 2012 16:16 (seven years ago) link

Sorry, I've got my stupid head on and didn't read the sentence properly. Yes, it makes no sense as he has written it.

mod night at the oasis (NickB), Friday, 20 July 2012 16:26 (seven years ago) link

it makes sense it's just inaccurate. he shd've used odds against if he wanted to draw the stars comparison.

Tartar Mouantcheoux (Noodle Vague), Friday, 20 July 2012 16:27 (seven years ago) link

i mean, i knew what he meant, so it makes sense, and i squinted at the -99 index when i read it

Tartar Mouantcheoux (Noodle Vague), Friday, 20 July 2012 16:28 (seven years ago) link

i will stop you all

Karl Malone, Wednesday, 28 August 2019 03:53 (one month ago) link

those who can afford to be fine will be fine, and in the meantime ought to prefer that people think of what's happening in terms of an indiscriminate doom coming for a whole guilty species

difficult listening hour, Wednesday, 28 August 2019 04:14 (one month ago) link

earth, for some period of time, ceases to be an "earth-like planet" in terms of climate?

During the 350 million years or so that the Earth has had relatively complex terrestrial vertebrates, Earth has experienced some pretty wide extremes of climate and I can't think of one reason why these should not be called "earth-like", since they spontaneously occurred on earth. And complex vertebrate life persisted through it all.

In the past 50,000 years humans have adapted to every climate from the equatorial tropics to Tierra del Fuego and the shores of the Arctic Ocean, so we seem to be one of the most adaptable large life forms around and no type of climate has stopped us yet.

That doesn't mean there couldn't be a human die-off of massive proportions and the complete disintegration of 'high' civilization to the point where human existence in the year 2500 has retreated to subsistence living in scattered villages and life expectancy has halved or worse.

But everyone gets to have their own ideas of the future and if your version includes human extinction, no one can prove you're wrong.

A is for (Aimless), Wednesday, 28 August 2019 04:21 (one month ago) link

that’s true we’re all gonna die before we find out what really happens

Vape Store (crüt), Wednesday, 28 August 2019 07:10 (one month ago) link

Still, it was all worth it, hedge funds will live forever

michael schenker group is no laughing matter (Matt #2), Wednesday, 28 August 2019 08:36 (one month ago) link

those who can afford to be fine will be fine, and in the meantime ought to prefer that people think of what's happening in terms of an indiscriminate doom coming for a whole guilty species

― difficult listening hour

do you see it in terms of individual guilt? obviously some people are more guilty than others but imo we as a species do suffer a collective guilt. i'm not a good or moral person and i have more than my share of responsibility for what's happening, but i also have a hard time seeing anybody around me as a good or moral person. it doesn't matter what we believe, it doesn't matter what we've done, none of it has been enough. we've all failed, and those of us with more power have, in general, failed harder.

can i afford to be "fine"? right now, yeah, sure, i'm "fine", i get to see the people around me committing genocide in the course of the holy pursuit of "i got mine". at the same time i don't expect the people they're/we're killing to go quietly, i don't expect a number in a bank account to protect me. if people start coming for the ones most responsible, i support that; i don't think anybody deserves to be safe or that, in the long run, safety is something they/we can really buy.

aimless you do make a pretty good argument thank you that helps. i guess it's maybe a matter of my wondering if our will to be live can be broken as a species the way my will to live has been broken as an individual, if the self-destructive tendencies i've seen in myself do exist on a phylogenic level or if that's just me projecting, ontogeny i well know doesn't recapitulate phylogeny

Abigail, Wife of Preserved Fish (rushomancy), Wednesday, 28 August 2019 09:57 (one month ago) link

History is a graveyard of once prosperous civilizations. Most were felled by smaller stressors than 3-4 °C.

I'm not in the human extinction camp: we're more adaptable than rats or cockroaches. There's no question that knowledge can be preserved if there's a will. What's more in question is whether the complex chains of production embodied in my computer, my phone, etc can be maintained should global human carrying capacity fall markedly (wouldn't be surprised if the bottleneck was around 2 billion), most occupied with subsistence, and the raw materials are exhausted or only accessible in uninhabitable parts of the globe.

hedonic treadmill class action (Sanpaku), Wednesday, 28 August 2019 17:26 (one month ago) link

I don't think we are more adaptable than rats (50-odd million years and counting) or cockroaches (300-odd million years), actually. Our sheer mass and energy requirements as individuals are against us there.

Think of the ecological range. Humans have lived in places that were inhospitable to either rats or cockroaches (whether tundra or desert).

hedonic treadmill class action (Sanpaku), Thursday, 29 August 2019 02:18 (one month ago) link

Or, y’know, in orbit

El Tomboto, Thursday, 29 August 2019 02:44 (one month ago) link

Greta Thunberg is such an amazing orator.

Yerac, Thursday, 29 August 2019 13:19 (one month ago) link

History is a graveyard of once prosperous civilizations. Most were felled by smaller stressors than 3-4 °C.

Is this true? Honest question cos I'm certainly no expert, but weren't most civilizations bought down after coming up against other civilizations. I know some smaller ones might have been felled by calamitous ecological events.

Ned Trifle X, Thursday, 29 August 2019 13:34 (one month ago) link

Or, like, a combination of those things?

Ned Trifle X, Thursday, 29 August 2019 13:38 (one month ago) link

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is set to announce on Thursday that it intends to sharply curtail the regulation of methane emissions, a major contributor to climate change, according to an industry official with knowledge of the plan.

The Environmental Protection Agency, in a proposed rule, will aim to eliminate federal requirements that oil and gas companies install technology to inspect for and fix methane leaks from wells, pipelines and storage facilities.

The proposed rollback is particularly notable because several major energy companies have, in fact, opposed it — just as other industrial giants have opposed previous administration initiatives to dismantle climate-change and environmental rules. Some of the world’s largest auto companies have opposed Mr. Trump’s plans to let vehicles pollute more, and a number of electric utilities have opposed the relaxation of restrictions on toxic mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants.

...Over all, carbon dioxide is the most significant greenhouse gas, but methane is a close second. It lingers in the atmosphere for a shorter period of time but packs a bigger punch while it lasts. By some estimates, methane has 80 times the heating-trapping power of carbon dioxide in the first 20 years in the atmosphere.

Methane currently makes up nearly 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. A significant portion of that comes from the oil and gas sector.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/29/climate/epa-methane-greenhouse-gas.html

i am also larry mullen jr (Karl Malone), Thursday, 29 August 2019 14:27 (one month ago) link

amazing when even the corporations who stand to profit massively from this look back and say "uhhh this might not be a great idea"

frogbs, Thursday, 29 August 2019 14:42 (one month ago) link

Not that there was any question about it, but that's pure one-dimensional villainy.

Melon Musk (Leee), Thursday, 29 August 2019 18:19 (one month ago) link

btw, not that I’m doing my part or anything, that’s for sure, but the failure of any sort of mass protest to materialize against all of this is sad. There was some nice energy during the first few weeks of the trump administration, I guess.
What can be done, though? Even the fucking oil companies are against this. Obviously the trump admin doesn’t care what anyone thinks, it’s just about doing the opposite of whatever Obama would want.

i am also larry mullen jr (Karl Malone), Thursday, 29 August 2019 18:27 (one month ago) link

History is a graveyard of once prosperous civilizations.

From what I can see, the whole notion of a 'civilization' is somewhat nebulous to begin with, but even though it is a common approach it is probably not a good idea to conflate civilizations with empire. Empires generally bring prosperity through conquest and can in their turn be conquered from the outside or lost through attrition.

Having a civilization seems to require at least maintaining some cities, along with a certain amount of specialization, complexity, and social and economic integration that comes with city life. A civilization that has reached the higher levels of complexity can become badly eroded, but once the rudimentary levels of city life are attained they are rarely lost entirely.

A is for (Aimless), Thursday, 29 August 2019 18:30 (one month ago) link

I’ve def got locked into “this will be caught up in the courts for months to years” syndrome xp

Clay, Thursday, 29 August 2019 18:32 (one month ago) link

xp: Don't know why the power point presentation didn't link, so here's another try.

Even on low output old wells, $250 is a drop in the bucket. On modern fracking sites, where 2-16 horizontal wells are drilled from the same pad, its less than the cost of a single technician visit. Presumably reuseable as old non-productive wells are capped.

hedonic treadmill class action (Sanpaku), Thursday, 29 August 2019 18:36 (one month ago) link

https://i.imgur.com/0568GBG.png

f Rod Barclay or other firefighters get the call that a house is ablaze in the north-western NSW town of Warren, chances are they won't bother to put it out.

"Our priority is to save lives first, save water second," Barclay says on Thursday outside Warren's two-tanker fire station.

Should one of the town's typical three-bedroom weatherboard homes ignite, Fire and Rescue NSW crews will only turn their hoses on the fire if they have to rescue anyone inside. Otherwise it will be sacrificed and water used merely to spray neighbouring homes if flames threaten to spread.

"Warren is the first location in which we're undertaking this new strategy," says Gary Barber, the Dubbo-based Fire & Rescue commander. "We could easily waste a couple of thousand litres on a house that's going to be lost," he says. "That water can certainly be used much better elsewhere in the community."

https://www.smh.com.au/environment/sustainability/we-ll-be-bathing-in-salt-water-at-the-epicentre-of-australia-s-big-drought-20190828-p52lsx.html

i am also larry mullen jr (Karl Malone), Saturday, 31 August 2019 03:45 (one month ago) link

the bad and hated franzen essay in the new yorker mentioned a newish book by naomi oreskes (co-author of merchants of doubt, about the half-century long global warming disinformation campaign) and michael oppenheimer (climate policy guru). it's called Discerning Experts, and i'm excited to read it. there's a short bloggins about it at scientific american (https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/scientists-have-been-underestimating-the-pace-of-climate-change/), but this seems to sum it up:

In our new book, Discerning Experts, we explored the workings of scientific assessments for policy, with particular attention to their internal dynamics, as we attempted to illuminate how the scientists working in assessments make the judgments they do. Among other things, we wanted to know how scientists respond to the pressures—sometimes subtle, sometimes overt—that arise when they know that their conclusions will be disseminated beyond the research community—in short, when they know that the world is watching. The view that scientific evidence should guide public policy presumes that the evidence is of high quality, and that scientists’ interpretations of it are broadly correct. But, until now, those assumptions have rarely been closely examined.

We found little reason to doubt the results of scientific assessments, overall. We found no evidence of fraud, malfeasance or deliberate deception or manipulation. Nor did we find any reason to doubt that scientific assessments accurately reflect the views of their expert communities. But we did find that scientists tend to underestimate the severity of threats and the rapidity with which they might unfold.

Among the factors that appear to contribute to underestimation is the perceived need for consensus, or what we label univocality: the felt need to speak in a single voice. Many scientists worry that if disagreement is publicly aired, government officials will conflate differences of opinion with ignorance and use this as justification for inaction. Others worry that even if policy makers want to act, they will find it difficult to do so if scientists fail to send an unambiguous message. Therefore, they will actively seek to find their common ground and focus on areas of agreement; in some cases, they will only put forward conclusions on which they can all agree.

How does this lead to underestimation? Consider a case in which most scientists think that the correct answer to a question is in the range 1–10, but some believe that it could be as high as 100. In such a case, everyone will agree that it is at least 1–10, but not everyone will agree that it could be as high as 100. Therefore, the area of agreement is 1–10, and this is reported as the consensus view. Wherever there is a range of possible outcomes that includes a long, high-end tail of probability, the area of overlap will necessarily lie at or near the low end. Error bars can be (and generally are) used to express the range of possible outcomes, but it may be difficult to achieve consensus on the high end of the error estimate.

The push toward agreement may also be driven by a mental model that sees facts as matters about which all reasonable people should be able to agree versus differences of opinion or judgment that are potentially irresolvable. If the conclusions of an assessment report are not univocal, then (it may be thought that) they will be viewed as opinions rather than facts and dismissed not only by hostile critics but even by friendly forces. The drive toward consensus may therefore be an attempt to present the findings of the assessment as matters of fact rather than judgment.

I am also Harl (Karl Malone), Sunday, 8 September 2019 16:57 (one month ago) link

last week the Washington Post ran this really interesting piece based on county-level temperature change data for the Lower 48 over the past 120+ years: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/national/climate-environment/climate-change-america/.

Their map shows that a little slice of SW Virginia, East KY, East TN and West Virginia is one of the exceptions to the heating-up rule that has smothered most of the rest of the country. In fact, it’s the northern-most concentrated band of cooling in the U.S. Among other counties Wise, Lee, Letcher and Harlan all got cooler between 1895 and 2018. Do any of you know why that is???

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Wednesday, 11 September 2019 08:31 (one month ago) link

i don't know the specifics but i'd imagine it's related to the terrain?

Non stop chantar (crüt), Thursday, 12 September 2019 03:59 (one month ago) link

i don't think that's knowable at this point

apparently ~gaia~ is suggesting i move back to pittsburgh tho

mookieproof, Thursday, 12 September 2019 04:04 (one month ago) link

that's like a corner of the Appalachian plateaus that borders the Ridge-and-Valley province

Non stop chantar (crüt), Thursday, 12 September 2019 04:06 (one month ago) link

It's a golden age for comic PSAs:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lPpUj9Sx9k

hedonic treadmill class action (Sanpaku), Thursday, 19 September 2019 17:16 (one month ago) link

climate strike seemed pretty massive today at least in nyc

american bradass (BradNelson), Friday, 20 September 2019 18:23 (one month ago) link

Thoughts on Greta Thunberg's tour of the US? I feel like today's screenshot of her at the UN looking furious and crying is not helping.

akm, Monday, 23 September 2019 17:41 (one month ago) link

I hope it inspires homegrown youth to be the face of activism.

Anyone under 50 should be furious, and elderly deniers should feel our wrath.

hedonic treadmill class action (Sanpaku), Monday, 23 September 2019 17:46 (one month ago) link

Making a teenager carry the weight of speaking for the future of the planet seems like an undue burden for her to carry. She's doing as well as anyone else her age could do.

A is for (Aimless), Monday, 23 September 2019 17:48 (one month ago) link

yeah, she's not the problem by any stretch

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Monday, 23 September 2019 17:51 (one month ago) link

I thought that speech was on fire.

Yerac, Monday, 23 September 2019 17:51 (one month ago) link

Since the 'politely ask for moderate progress in reducing emissions' tactic has been a complete failure she/we may as well go for broke now. I get the feeling the next 2-3 decades are going to be like watching the walls crumbling in on a condemned building in environmental terms, and you wonder when those responsible are going to realise how much wealth they ultimately stand to lose. That, if nothing else, will bring it home.

funnel spider ESA (Matt #2), Monday, 23 September 2019 17:52 (one month ago) link

I also don't care if people shed tears while angry. xpost

Yerac, Monday, 23 September 2019 17:52 (one month ago) link

And yes her speech was A++, as always.

funnel spider ESA (Matt #2), Monday, 23 September 2019 17:53 (one month ago) link

Thoughts on Greta Thunberg's tour of the US? I feel like today's screenshot of her at the UN looking furious and crying is not helping.

― akm, Monday, September 23, 2019 10:41 AM (eighteen minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

what is helping

american bradass (BradNelson), Monday, 23 September 2019 18:01 (one month ago) link

message board post

imago, Monday, 23 September 2019 18:04 (one month ago) link

This was the line that just completely sums it all up.

We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth.

Yerac, Monday, 23 September 2019 18:13 (one month ago) link

yup

sleeve, Monday, 23 September 2019 18:15 (one month ago) link

"growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell" - Edward Abbey

sleeve, Monday, 23 September 2019 18:16 (one month ago) link

and yet, you can't be taken seriously in public life unless you subscribe to the idea of endless economic growth

Sally Jessy (Karl Malone), Monday, 23 September 2019 18:18 (one month ago) link

all this endless economic growth is leveraged on the cryogenically frozen bodies of corrupt men.

Yerac, Monday, 23 September 2019 18:21 (one month ago) link

I feel like economic growth might be misunderstood here but I agree with her sentiment.

Van Horn Street, Monday, 23 September 2019 23:20 (one month ago) link

what do you mean?

Like for example, I don’t think raising literacy rates around the world is hurting the environment.

Van Horn Street, Monday, 23 September 2019 23:22 (one month ago) link

...

cheese canopy (map), Monday, 23 September 2019 23:22 (one month ago) link

1) I think its past time time for this thread to retired. Maybe to be replaced by two threads "Climate crisis: the politics" and "Climate crisis: the science".

2)

Greta Thunberg @GretaThunberg · 22h
I have moved on from this climate thing... From now on I will be doing death metal only!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLxpgRqxtEA

hedonic treadmill class action (Sanpaku), Sunday, 29 September 2019 15:56 (three weeks ago) link


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