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Discussion > What would convice you to be alarmed at Climate Change?

So BYJ asks, "What would convice you to be alarmed at Climate Change? Well let's first agree that "climate change" is an amorphous word as malleable as anything Lewis Carroll could have written: ,
"'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less.'
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/l/lewis_carroll.html#VJZz7h4jCVZzZKls.99
Is BYJ alarmed? Do we understand why BYJ is alarmed?
Is the climate doing alarming things in someone's closet or under their bed or breaking things in the china cabinet?
Are the predictions of no Arctic sea ice that have failed alarming for their accuracy, or alarming to the true believers who must explain the failure away?
Were the predictions of disappearing Tibetan Glaciers so alarming they had to be rescinded, or was it alarming they were so utterly wrong?
And this "climate change"- are the climate obsessed telling us they have to a way to stop the world climate from changing? This would be a multi-billion year first for Earth, and its lack of change would certainly be human caused.
Or should we be alarmed that when honest people review the ~100 year stats on flooding, droughts, storms and calm the changes are trivial at worst?
Perhaps we should be alarmed over the solemn predictions of the climate consensus? The ones that predict more storms and less, more floods and less, more droughts and less, more snow and less and so on?
Or perhaps we should alarmed that something on the order of a trillion dollars has been spent on climate evidence that does not hold up, climate policies that do not work, vicious and vile climate consensus promoters and enforcers, vastly expensive climate meetings that accomplish nothing and disruptions to good engineering and science by climate fanatics who produce nothing and are not accountable for the failed claims, predictions, demands and solutions they impose.

Dec 17, 2015 at 11:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Well, there is one interesting statistic that I have recently seen: apparently, when Al Gore was born, there were 130,000 glaciers in the world. Since then, the advent of global warming has ensured that there are now only 130,000 glaciers left!

What should be alarming as that anyone should find this alarming.

Dec 17, 2015 at 11:45 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

BigYin, you might be better commenting over at ATTP. Although perhaps you'd have a harder time finding people to disagree with...

Dec 18, 2015 at 12:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

...and you wouldn't have to pretend some kinship with those who make idiotic comments like Ratty's 11:45 PM.

Dec 18, 2015 at 12:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

Raff's advice to BYJ, translated to plain English:
"Run away! The skeptics are not buying your bullsh!t"

Dec 18, 2015 at 3:50 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Rad Rodent,
But the anomalies are massive! Unprecedented! Shaped like a hockey stick! Tipping point! There is a tipping point coming! We are all going to warm!
The whole globe! And the climate will change! Really! Or warm! or Something!
I want to believe!

Dec 18, 2015 at 3:53 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

I have to say I am disappointed with the irrationality of most of the replies. For a position which attempts to sell itself as 'realism' the replies to this thread belie this. What is so scary about looking at the basis of your scepticism? If there are things which don't convince you, that's fine, but you have to give a shape and size to that doubt, or else it's just superstition.

As to RRs attempt at humour (I think), no I'm not alarmed at the moment, there's still enough going on to keep a weather eye on the situation, but I haven't been alarmed for some time, and if the trends continue to improve as they have been I will be less and less alarmed as time goes on. But I base that on the actual evidence, not some sort of ritual mocking of the excesses of the other side. Just because some of them are stupid doesn't make me right.

We have nuts on our side, and because of the nuts we have a credibility problem when we raise legitimate concerns with the establishment. When Mann and Hansen et al speak about the deniers, they are talking about the nuts, but they tar a spectrum of opinion with the same brush. It is important that a science has critics to hold it to rigorous account, but the power of that criticism is being drowned out by a torrent of abject rubbish being spewed out. Like a government with no serious opposition, a science without constructive critics is free to pursue damaging paths. In some ways, the nutty side of scepticism has created the monster that is climate science.

They point at our nuts as examples of the type, and we in turn point at their nuts as examples of the type. Both are wrong. There is much overlap in the sensible ends of that spectrum, but all you hear is the nuts shouting at each other. There are a lot of mainstream establishment scientists who have a lot of sympathy with the sceptic side but who can't say so because the nuts polarise the argument. There are a lot of sceptics (like me) who consider themselves aligned with mainstream science, despite its problems at the moment. I don't want science to fail, I want it to fix itself. And if you have studied the history of science, it always does, eventually.

If I have a sort-of mission, it is to make scepticism sensible. I've been trying to do it here for years, with varying success. I don't want to go to ATTP, and have more people agree with me, here is where the effort is required.

We need to stop using some of the stupidity they come out with as justification for our own stupidity.

Dec 18, 2015 at 9:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

TheBigYinJames
From what you say I think, without wanting to pit words in your mouth, that we're in general agreement that it is difficult to assign an event or even a series of events to ACC.AGW/CACC/CAGW. Where we might differ is knowing when a series of events is a symptom. My stand point is that, in the words of Sir Patrick Moore (the one with the monocle), we just don't know. If you include the current climate regime we're unlikely to know in the future whether something is unprecedented.

With regard to nuts, it was a CCC panicker that convinced me that there is a serious problem with all this Last Chance to Save The World nonsense. I guess it must have been shortly after the Kyoto agreement I was listening to a phone-in on the radio whilst driving to Milton Keynes for a meeting. A young man on the line was obviously expecting disaster within a couple of months. So there may be "nuts" who are sceptical but people like than young man are equally detrimental to the warming side of the argument.

The secrecy behind the modelling and adjustments in Climate Change Science (for want of a better word) leaves me very suspicious of the whole thing. Willard Duncan Vandiver,and Missouri got it right for science, Show me. Whether the theory is right or wrong the workings out must be visible, otherwise it's fisherman's tales.

Dec 18, 2015 at 9:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

From what you say I think, without wanting to pit words in your mouth, that we're in general agreement that it is difficult to assign an event or even a series of events to ACC.AGW/CACC/CAGW. Where we might differ is knowing when a series of events is a symptom. My stand point is that, in the words of Sir Patrick Moore (the one with the monocle), we just don't know. If you include the current climate regime we're unlikely to know in the future whether something is unprecedented.

All you can look at is the frequency, properly collated statistically over time. Single events mean nothing. And at the moment, climate science is unable to find a trend, even though they are REALLY TRYING. This is good news, there doesn't appear to be any detectable rise in climate extremes due to recent temperature rises. We can stop being alarmed at it, for now.

The word unprecedented feeds into that idea that a climate shift would produce NEW and UNSEEN phenomenon. This is going to be impossible on a planet which has had a stable atmosphere as long as ours. Newspapers and numpty Harrabins et al love the word because novelty is a big selling point when it comes to news. Nobody wants to hear that we have had another storm, it has to be novel in some way, so they have invented this word 'unprecedented' which is factually a lie, to describe just about any weather event which busts a previous record on our woefully short history of weather. ('since recording began' is another term which sounds grand and scary but which sometimes means as little as 20 years)

Just don't react to it, The Harrabins of this world are producing tomorrows televisual fish supper papers.

Dec 18, 2015 at 10:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

TBYJ: you really go out of your way not to endear yourself to me, don’t you? How sweet! The point I was trying to make was that, for all the fear that has been broadcast about the changes that are threatening us, not a lot has changed. I suppose, having accepted the story initially, until I began to investigate what it was about, you could argue that being a convert means that I am more entrenched in my views.

I have entered into the spirit of your question and given answers – indeed, it seems that I am one of the few respondents to have done that. That it will take several years for those points to become apparent means that it will be, well, several years yet before I would become alarmed sort of takes the punch out of my responses.

SandyS encapsulates most of my personal reluctance to accept the meme of cAGW; it is the secrecy surrounding the hysteria, as well as the obvious political forcing that would make any evidence required to convince me to be strong to the point of extreme – for an extreme theory, extreme evidence is required. To date, none has been presented.

Dec 18, 2015 at 11:44 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

TBYJ: you really go out of your way not to endear yourself to me, don’t you?

Admit it, you love me.

The point I was trying to make was that, for all the fear that has been broadcast about the changes that are threatening us, not a lot has changed.

Which is true. In fact, it's almost encapsulated in the silent preface to the very question I am asking. [Given that there has been no real compelling evidence of change] what would you need to see to become alarmed? The fact that it hasn't happened yet is implied by the question.

It wasn't a trick question, I have no idea why it's inspired so much fear and loathing.

Dec 18, 2015 at 11:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

So…

…er….

….we now know that we are in agreement…

….Erm….

…. now what…?

Dec 18, 2015 at 12:10 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

We wait.

And then we either become alarmed at some point, or we don't.

I know which my fiver is on.

Dec 18, 2015 at 12:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

I don't want to go to ATTP, and have more people agree with me, here is where the effort is required.
Nah, here is a amusing sideshow; a freak show if you will, albeit with some nice people (you, Martin, Sandy). People here are beyond conversion by you, me or anyone else. Where real skepticism (which you often, but not always, offer) is needed is in tempering the extremes in the warmist side from within the mainstream not throwing stones from outside. All the sort of dishonest "skepticism" typified by BH or WUWT achieves is to polarize the subject, delay progress and make sure that both "skeptics" and real skeptics have no seat at the table in what counts: the real business of reducing carbon emissions. Because that is going to happen and it would be better to be inside the tent than outside.

Dec 18, 2015 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

TheBigYinJames
I love the Anglo-Saxon chronicle, it has so many unprecedenteds in this case

as no man could remember
that it must have been written by a forebears of Harrabin, Shukman and MacGrath, on the distaff side judging by the family names.

Dec 18, 2015 at 2:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

My non serious answer is I'm rapidly approaching zero interest. However -

There are three things that would kick my concern off. The most obvious would be a significant lurch upward. That would need something like we saw in 1979-2000. I’m not worried about a 2°C long term rise. I suspect we could work around it, so long as it wasn’t the start of worse but a rapid and sustained warming could indicate more to come. I’m not worried about increasingly wild weather. We can engineer our way round almost anything that is currently predicted and that would probably be the cheapest option. I don’t even rule out engineered cooling but I’d want to know we understood climate a hell of a lot better before we attempted it.

That brings me to point 2. I might accept the findings of climate scientists if they went a long way towards professionalising their science. I’d want to see decent auditing that culls the crap and makes the announcements about what the public need to pay attention to. They’d need to go back to basics, determining how much accuracy is really possible. Eg given the amount thermometer readings and global totals have been adjusted, means I have almost no confidence in paleo estimates. For all I know, global temperature may have been much colder and much warmer than the current estimates (including the last few hundred thousand years). Why then would we worry if we saw the same swings now? There are loads that could be done to raise the game but climate scientists are terrible at admitting they need to change.

Finally I’d need to know that what we do about AGW is going to work. I don’t believe in throwing money away just to feel like I’m doing something.

If AGW is really that bad then nuclear is the only current option. While ‘experts’ dither * or reject nuclear, it’s clear that they aren’t worried about CO2 either. Other options need to be made on evidence not crossed fingers. Eg It might not be palatable but it may be that relocating islanders or Cumbrians is the more effective solution than trying to reduce CO2. eg worrying about the impact of AGW on the black rhino is madness if the poor beasts will go extinct in the next few years due to poaching. Similarly, convincing a people suffering from war and famine that their woes are caused by Americans driving SUVs they’ll never do what they need to do to improve their lives.

Since none of these three is on the horizon, I refuse to be worried about AGW. Instead I worry about the return of our old religious ways where wide eyed loonies get to determine policy just because they predict our DOOM.


* They need to be aiming for all heating and power from cheap electricity ASAP with like for like electric boilers to swap out gas ones. Ground source heating just isn't practical for existing houses.

Dec 18, 2015 at 2:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

As for your desire to make scepticism sensible, give up. No sphere I've ever been in is sensible once more than a few freelance people are involved. It's not much different for organisations. We're also too tired of the issue to reply equably. Only Gaia knows the truth anyway and I suspect she reads the press releases and does the bloody opposite. If she can be silly, why can't we?

The media don't care about sensible, the politicians only care about how they'll look and the warmists are unionised and bound by oath to rubbish anything sceptics say.

Dec 18, 2015 at 3:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Merry Christmas to you too!

Dec 18, 2015 at 4:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Not once has BYJ or his arse licking mini-me's stated what would change their feeble minds to doubt their faith.
If you c annot allow that your apocalyptic bullshit could be falsified, you are peddling cheap faith like some sort of pre-1975 Jehovah's Witness.
Admit it: you needed some apocalyptic clap trap but feel too sophisticated to go the God punishment route.
You fools think you are going to "convert people" who are asking the reasonable questions with your narrative in lieu of evidence.
Raff, your conspiracy addled irrational tripe of an excuse for your failure in converting skeptics- that we want to delay action in order to maximize pain and suffering- is at odds with your cowardly dodge where you asserted there is no actual crisis on the way. Besides attributing skeptics with motives to destroy Earth because of our Koch Brothers payoff.
You and BYJ, at the end of the day, are simply blinded by your cheap faith until your wits are no more than a sack of rocks.

Dec 18, 2015 at 4:54 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

For a position which attempts to sell itself as 'realism' the replies to this thread belie this. What is so scary about looking at the basis of your scepticism? If there are things which don't convince you, that's fine, but you have to give a shape and size to that doubt, or else it's just superstition.

Come off it BY.

That's pretty much the CAGW line:

"Unless you write that up and publish it in a peer-reviewed climate journal your view does not count".

Or EM commenting here that because you have not come up with some theory that better explains some aspect of climate, then the flaky theory that he believes in must be valid. [I think there is a name for that fallacy but I can't remember it.]

One of the things that CAGW believers just don't get is that it's not a symmetric situation, with one belief (CAGW) being countered by an opposite belief (scepticism). The reality is that it's a belief on one side and a lack of belief on the other.

If somebody tells you something preposterous, it's not superstition to find it ludicrous. And if somebody tells you something plausible but without credible evidence (and with some reasons to suspect their motives), it's not superstition not to believe what they say.

If a high pressure salesman comes to the door, I am under no compunction to play his game by explaining to him why the crap he is flogging is of no interest to me and telling him if he can produce evidence that it will be all I ever dreamed of then I'll be convinced.

I don't believe in the Sky Fairy. Full stop. That's all there is to it. I don't have to give a "shape and size" to every Jehovah's witness that rings the doorbell. And it's not superstition to not believe in it.

Dec 18, 2015 at 5:32 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

hunter

Not once has BYJ or his arse licking mini-me's stated what would change their feeble minds to doubt their faith.

You cannot even keep track of who and who isn't a sceptic.

Dec 18, 2015 at 6:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Oh, you are Brandon S then: a skeptic just "trying to help".
lol

Dec 18, 2015 at 6:13 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Come off it BY

Well, it's a far point, so I retract it. Nobody should feel forced to quantify their rejection of something they think it wrong just to validate it to some random internet person. Some things aren't worth the heartbeats. If you can't be bothered doing it then you don't need to answer, and that's fine, your credibility is intact. It wasn't a compulsory question, ,and I regret making it seem like a prerequisite. That was a reaction to the hostility from some quarters, and I'm sorry.

At the same time I personally find it a useful exercise, especially when something is defined in terms of more subtle arguments about measurements and quantities. Obviously the JW round the door telling you religious things doesn't require a detailed rebuttal. But the climate change argument is one of degree, so is not so amenable to such an instant dismissal.

Think about it. You once said that you believed, then something tipped you off there was something dodgy, so you educated yourself to find the defects. That doesn't sound like the sort of instant rejection you do when you close the door on a god-botherer. At that time it required you to quantify in your mind where it was wrong. If you don't need to revisit it, or examine the edges of it more carefully, then that's fine.

I do. I always like to check that I've not drifted from my original conclusions, and that the data hasn't drifted away from them either.

This thread seems to have descended into the usual ad-homs, so I'm happy to leave it there.

Dec 18, 2015 at 6:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

hunter, I have been coming here a very long time, I don't need to justify myself to you. If you imagine your puerile name-calling changes any of the facts of the universe, then you are one of the nuts I was talking about.

Dec 18, 2015 at 6:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

You once said that you believed, then something tipped you off there was something dodgy, so you educated yourself to find the defects. That doesn't sound like the sort of instant rejection you do when you close the door on a god-botherer.

I decided to educate myself not to find the defects but simply to understand what it was all about. I had no reason to think that it was anything other than rock solid applied science.

The difficulty of tracking down a clear explanation from first principles - the sort of thing that you used to get in Scientific American - was the first thing that struck me as odd. The obvious bollocks of 'the ground is heated by the back radiation' was another pointer. Then at some point, still searching for the clear explanation that I assumed should be there, it dawned on me.... ... this global warming stuff is just a theory (or, as EM would insist, just a hypothesis).

After downloading the climategate files from the Russian server and seeing the full horror of HARRY_READ_ME.txt everything dropped into place. Getting to that point had taken maybe even years. But after that point, I no longer entertained CO2 botherers at the front door.

Dec 18, 2015 at 10:31 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A