Tuesday, November 14, 2017

An Earth-Centrist's Observations On Communicating Climate Reality


November 9th Dr. Trenberth visited our local Fort Lewis College for an afternoon Climate Change Symposium that included four other scientists and a talk on ‘Climate Communication and Engagement” by Heidi Steltzer, along with a panel discussion. 

The event spurred me into another exercise in trying to refine my observations on what’s closing in on a half century of active personal interest and engagement with learning about Earth Sciences and Climate Sciences along with the developing dysfunctional public conversation, in a concise manner.  I hope some of it resonates with some of you and that it's of some little use.


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Introduction

I began high school in 1969 where I learned the fundamentals of climate science understanding.  It was straightforward, clear cut, internally consistent and very fascinating plus a bit scary.  Much was understood, even if many details were logical rational assumptions, if based on limited observations.  Those assumptions were rooted in an exquisite understanding of Earth’s fundamentals physics, which haven’t changed.

In the half century since, climate science has blossomed. The details have been filled in by an amazing global community of scientists, technicians, students and their array of instrumentation for Earth Observations along with super computers for processing the flood of data.  

These scientists have been reporting back to We The People and our leaders with overwhelming evidence of manmade warming of our biosphere, and our changing climate with its cascading consequences that are catching those experts by surprise with their speed.  Yet, …  

Over the decades much has been learned, countless refinements, a number of unexpected discoveries and surprises.  Through it all the fundamental story remains identical, only the details got slightly rearranged into better focus.

Then, why are we collectively, as a people, and even worse, our leaders, more deluded about climate science and its implications than back in the '70s?  


Why?

I don’t pretend to have any answers, but I have been witnessing and wrestling with this problem for decades and would like to share some neglected observations that deserve more consideration.  

I’ve tried to keep it concise.
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Uncertainties vs. known Physical Certainties

Is it a service or disservice to constantly allow trivial uncertainties to become the focal point of the public discussion?

In real life when we get mired or overwhelmed by increasingly complex situations, we stop, back off a little, get reoriented with the big picture, reacquaint ourselves with what we do know for certain, then move forward again.  

I’m not saying ignore uncertainties!  I’m saying keep reminding us of the overriding fundamental certainties!  Thus putting contrarian trivial pursuits into real world perspective.
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Map vs. Territory Problem

Scientists are Cartographers mapping out the geophysical realities of our planet, the Territory if you will.  They do the best they can with the data they have available.

Too often we get trapped into assuming that until our scientists can define all aspects with statistical certainty, we should assume it doesn’t exist.  Getting lost on the Map and forgetting we exist within the Territory.  Not wise.
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Sloppy usage of “Natural Variability”

Every component and aspect of our Global Heat and Moisture Distribution Engine is warming and energizing.  All of Earth’s historic Natural Variabilities are embedded within this warming matrix.

Yet too often ‘natural variability’ gets used as a sort of defense against acknowledging the obvious.  Weather systems are not caused by manmade global warming, but every last one of them is certainly impacted by it.  

We have left our historic climate regime.  Comparisons to yesteryears offer little guidance for understanding this brave new 400 PPM CO2 + + world we have created for ourselves and children.
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“Seepage”

Allowing dishonest shrill voices to force scientists into following the contrarian script rather than focusing on conveying our physical reality to the public.

As Prof. Stephen Lewandowsky put it: “...even when scientists are rebutting contrarian talking points, they often do so within a framing and within a linguistic landscape created by denial, and often in a manner that reinforces the contrarian claim. This ‘‘seepage’’ has arguably contributed to a widespread tendency to understate the severity of the climate problem.

Check out his paper:

1 the scientific community has adopted assumptions or language from discourse that originated outside the scientific community or from a small set of dissenting scientific voices. 
2 those assumptions depart from those commonly held by the scientific community.

Also see:   
Seepage: Climate change denial and its effect on the scientific community
Greg Laden - May 15, 2015

On Seeps and SCAMS Part I: Lessons for Climate Scientists - May 14, 2015

On Seeps and SCAMS Part II: Pat'n Chip'n David Fake a Debate.

Seeps and SCAMS Part III: Richard Betts misunderstands (and misrepresents) a paper

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“Global Warming” vs “Climate Change”  

Climate change is a result, not a cause! 

Give credit where credit is due.
It’s the atmospheric insulation driving these changes!

Be clear Anthropogenic Global Warming is the cause and driver 
of the increasingly intense cascading Climate Changes we are witnessing.  

Cascading Consequences?

More greenhouse gases in the atmosphere;
more infrared radiation bouncing around within the atmosphere;
more heat and energy accumulating within that atmosphere;
more moisture that atmosphere holds;
more heat, moisture and energy being moved around by weather systems;
more intense and destructive weather events.

One thing leads to another.

It's deniable, but unavoidable, physics.
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Responsibilities of Scientists vs
Responsibilities of Citizens and Students

Scientists are dedicated to their work, given their education and accumulated knowledge, their time is very precious and we need them focusing on their respective tasks.  

They are not the ones to fight for the recognition that their work is rational, objective, factually, and morally authoritative.  They’ve done the difficult task of accumulating, digesting, reporting, and filing the substantive evidence. 

Who’s to defend them? 
  
A HEALTHY DEMOCRACY DEMANDS AN INFORMED AND ENGAGED CITIZENRY.
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Define the Debate, A to Z

A Constructive Argument based on real facts, with the ultimate goal being a collective better understanding of the  issue at hand.  

Such as a Scientific Debate where honestly representing your opponent’s position is required.  Striving to understand your opponent’s position well enough to reject or modify it on the merits of your own facts.  

If we fail, it means something.  It may hurt, but it’s a learning experience for the intellectually honest.  Mistakes have always been necessary learning opportunities for the stout.

Z Lawyerly Debate, winning is all that matters, facts are irrelevant obstacles to hurdle.  Being skilled in rhetorical trickery is a prerequisite.  Objective learning is not the object.

Amorality, misdirection and theatre are its hallmarks.
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Intellectual Confrontation

The fact is, climate science awareness is being actively stifled by ruthless individuals with bottomless bank accounts and octopus news outlets to do their bidding.  They have sold a lazy public a pack of lies that have become the comfort zone of all too many today.

How can the misinformation this juggernaut force feeds the public be neutralized without direct intellectual confrontation by masses of informed, concerned, engaged students, and citizens, everywhere it pops up?

It’s not about attacking people, it’s about attacking the maliciously deceptive words, the lies and stupidity they spew.   It’s about teaching them how our physical planet operates!

A good resource for factual jump starts: 

Focus.  Expose the dishonesty in their words and educate them.
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Call out False Claims & Lies

When someone makes a malicious false claim, relentlessly demand evidence for said attacks - shame and expose those who refuse to produce evidence for their malicious claims.  Examine and expose the props substituted for substance.

Dissect and confront their tactics rather than being played by them! 
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Better than Skepticism ===>  Critical Thinking Skills

The term “Skeptics” has been poisoned by theatre and the grotesque double standard of the GOP.

Critical Thinking Skills is a clear descriptive that explains the process itself. 

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Confront Trash Talk with Rhetorical Jujutsu

Contrarians depend on personal attacks to distract the discussion from their bankrupt “science”.  Learn to recognize the game, turn it to your favor, be prepared to point out the juvenility of the tactic, while forcing the discussion back to the real world facts your contrarian opponent won’t have.

      fyi, studies in the contrarian mindscape: 

LandscapesAndCycles, Jim Steele’s malicious deception.
A contrarian shouts: “Science, science, science.”
google Jujutsu”   ~  Food for Thought, turn the conversation into an exploration of the tactics of avoidance, evasion and lying.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Where appropriate, why not point out Calumny in action?  
Be ready to define it:  https://dictionary.thelaw.com/calumny/

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Faith-based Thinking - consider the source

Possessing the hubris to fancy that we petty, jealous, fearful, prideful humans can access and understand the real God of Light and Time, Life and Love, leads to a profound disconnect from our planet’s physical reality, and an immoral absolutism.  

It's one thing to believe in an unknowable god, quite another to mistake one’s own hyper-inflated EGO for God. Unhinged from reality is not too harsh a descriptive.
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The pain of our brave new world

Face it, or not, we are like children being inextricably torn from our mother for all time.  Our brave new world is arriving, it will be traumatic, but we can’t wish it away.  Delusional thinking and disregard for scientific understanding and rational constructive dialogue will only make the coming decades that much worse.  Why are you all still allowing it?
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WE THE PEOPLE,

have the right to demand honesty when hearing what real experts are trying to convey, without being flooded with the constant deceptive and fraudulent cross-screaming of the propaganda machine of unhinged self-obsessed oligarchs and their astro-turfing thugs.
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About me and why this flier

By nature, I’ve always been fascinated by, and actively learning, about our Earth in all her marvelous aspects - along with the humans she created and the evolving society Earth enabled and nurtured. 

Shared science has enriched me and made me feel a member of this world and this moment in the time that I find myself experiencing.  It’s this feeling of connectedness that drives me to share these thoughts in return.    

Best wishes, Peter Miesler

http://WhatsUpWithThatWatts.blogspot.com

Message to interested readers, I'm just an outside life long observer and my writing is done in fits and starts with constant short and long interrupts, thus it never surpasses the 'grandma moses' level.  But, my information is solid and my reasoning is solid and I welcome anyone with more time and focus, to take anything at WUWTW and use it as a starting point for better efforts that reach more people.  

Of course, if anyone were interested in helping me focus more on this, my obvious passion, to see what I could accomplish with the luxury of full-time focus on my side, please do let me.  


Citizenschallenge - P.O.Box 56 - Durango, Colorado, 81302 - citizenschallenge at gmail

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