Saturday, February 4, 2017

#14c Debating GOP Disconnect AGW - PG_Antioch takes EM to task for misrepresenting Gore’s AIT

An internet pal, PG_Antioch, took the time to read EM's opening statement back at "#3 EM has his say. Debating the Republican Disconnect from Earth's realities."  He was so appalled at EM's transparent gullibility and the silliness of EM's statements that he took the time to write a number of specific responses pointing out why EM is so terribly mistaken.  I found his critique to be spot-on and am making it a stand alone guest post and an example of directly confronting the contrarian nonsense.  Ignoring it only reinforces their smug deliberate unhinging from down to Earth realities.

PGA included a number of excellent links to support his various claims (a normal convention among folks trying to inform each other) and I've added a few more.  I also took the liberty of highlighting various passages, but I leave PGA's words as they were.


PG_Antioch wrote...

I saw your links on HotWhopper & felt the need to answer EM. Before I knew it, I'd written an overlong post - sorry!

EM is profoundly, desperately wrong in case after case after case. He is in the service of the psychotic, sociopathic, idiotic, venal, duplicitous, dangerous, evil, murderous, fascist denialists. (Sorry about the name-calling! See below.)

He has an obsession with models (as do many denialists), which are much less important than the major factors: the laws of physics, the facts of the paleoclimate & the current condition of the Earth. He just gives lip service to the fact of ACC {Anthropogenic Climate Change, driven by manmade global warming}

EM: "...a basic understanding of economics and government’s role in society."

PGA: Yes, an understanding of economics is essential to enacting public policy. But one's ideology about government's role in society is PROFOUNDLY IRRELEVANT to climate science. It's just the catchphrase of right wingers who hallucinate that scientists are "leftists" whose motivation is to impose a larger government on society. Nope.

This is an incredibly destructive idea. Ideology has NOTHING to do with climate science. It has ONLY to do with the remedies for it.

EM: "...who doesn’t believe that government market intervention is the way to solve the issue..."

PGA: More utter cluelessness from a dedicated denier. It's very important to realize that the lack of a stiff carbon tax (or other price/fee) is a PROFOUND distortion of the free market. Everyone who opposes a carbon tax (or other fee, etc) is anti-free market.

Believing that it's "free" & "harmless" to emit carbon into the atmosphere without restraint are profoundly psychotic delusions. It will be unfathomably (to deniers) expensive & destructive in the future. Until reality (the costs of "externalities") is included in the price of fossil fuels, we'll never have a free market for energy.

EM: "When there is money to be made, as with any issue, it becomes highly [politicized]."

PGA: True. ACC is a nearly existential threat to the largest, wealthiest, most powerful industry in the history of the world, the oil industry. Currently we use ~3% of oil for chemical synthesis; the rest is burned. Barring 100% CCS (carbon capture & storage), the future size of the oil industry will be ~3% of its current size. The people who run the oil companies wouldn't be very happy with that, would they? Rex Tillerson is already embarrassed about turning over Exxon in worse shape than when he began as CEO.

EM: "It’s truly a travesty that our two-party system turned this issue into a political one instead of a humanitarian one... republicans/conservative[s] and all of these AGW deniers have played a huge role in the polarization of the issue."

PGA: True.

EM: " has the other-side."

PGA: That is incorrect. There is no "other side" in science. There is reality & denial of reality.

EM: "...a progressive agenda..."

PGA: There is no "progressive agenda"!!!!! 

Look, President Obama was capable of perceiving reality; Trump is not. Period. 

Obama's actions were ENTIRELY due to the intransigence of the Party of No, the Republican Party. They met on 2009 Jan 20th & decided to oppose, en masse, EVERYTHING Obama proposed. They ALWAYS put partisan politics ahead of the interests of the country. It was ALWAYS more important to try to damage Obama than it was to help the country.
Robert Draper Book: GOP’s Anti-Obama Campaign Started Night Of Inauguration, by Sam Stein 
Frank Luntz: How the “21st-Century Republicans” Changed Washington, by AZMAT KHAN
Leaving aside that that is borderline treasonous behavior, Obama's actions on the climate were FORCED on him by a Republican Congress that refused to recognize reality & act on the issue. Look, there is NO doubt that regulations are an inferior way to address the problem. But the R's wouldn't let go of their market distortion.

There ARE Republicans who can perceive reality: Bob Inglis was a conservative Congressman from South South Carolina who DEIGNED to mention that ACC might be real. The fascist, sociopathic, duplicitous, murderous, anti-competitive wing of the party, mainly in the form of Koch brothers' money, turned on him & forced him out of office. He now lobbies for a carbon tax & other truly free market solutions to the climate problem.
I believe there are other Republicans, in & out of government, who are capable of perceiving reality. But those in government are terrified of being Bob-Inglis-ized, thrown out of office by a primary challenge from the right, financed by the Koch brothers & other fossil fuel money.

EM: "I don’t think this minority of 'outlier scientists' supported by free market think tanks should come as any surprise to anyone. An entire industry is being threatened and so is a lot of wealth."

PGA: True.

EM: "...the livelihood of many, many Americans (approximately 170,000) is threatened by regulations on the oil and gas industry..."

PGA: Wrong, wrong & wrong. There are now twice as many jobs in solar power generation as in coal, oil & gas combined when used for power generation. And more jobs in solar than in extraction for all uses of oil & gas. Obama was right: "green" jobs are the future. The fact that the new administration is trying to hallucinate the future in the rear-view mirror is not going to help them, & is not going to change reality.

And oil & gas are NOT being threatened by "regulations"!!!!! They're being threatened by the REALITY of climate change. Sorry, their ideological delusions & enormous (at least for now...) caches of money do not change the laws of physics.

EM: "...the market intervention thinkers..."

PGA: Again, the "market intervention thinkers" are the ones who desperately want to continue the lack of a carbon tax now. They're forcing their psychotic delusions not only on all life on Earth today, but all life for many millennia into the future, maybe forever.

EM: "...the federal government has largely consisted of these thinkers..."

PGA: Again, WRONG.

EM: "...The Atlantic and The Economist, which... offer much more substance than MSM outlets..."

PGA: He's right again there.

EM: "I pride myself on knowing what both sides are saying about issues."

PGA: There are no "both sides" to the laws of physics. The science is true. Only the politics have "both sides" (& more).

EM: "How do we, as the United States of America, drastically reduce global greenhouse gas emissions? What is your plan of action?"

PGA: Really? Emissions have been falling since 2007. Emissions per unit economic output have been falling since the 1990s. We're already doing it. We just need more help to speed up the transition, which is what the laws of physics, the facts of the paleoclimate & the current state of the Earth make unavoidable.

Remember, a stiff, rising, revenue-neutral carbon tax means a government that is SMALLER AND LESS INTRUSIVE than our current one!!!!! The need for regulations, standards, etc, all go away or are dramatically reduced. If we'd done it 25-30 years ago, when we knew we needed it, we wouldn't be in the pickle we're in today.

Unfortunately, the absolutely undeniable necessity to extract carbon from the atmosphere, &/or perform other heroic, risky maneuvers, will mean a more intrusive government. Sorry. Deniers' actions mean that their progeny will face the kind of draconian government measures they fear most. They could reduce this risk if they were willing to be reasonable now. But they're not. They desperately cling to their delusions.

EM: "...the science is not wrong, it is incomplete."

PGA: Science is always incomplete. But we know plenty enough now to act. It's like a battlefield: if you wait for absolute certainty about the enemy, you're dead. You have to act on your best available information.

EM is like Admiral Nagumo at Midway: he appears to WANT to dawdle. What we need are people like Admirals Fletcher, Nimitz & Spruance, who launched their attacks when the Japanese carriers were barely in range. They knew the most important thing was time. The attack was chaotic & disorganized, but the dive bombers basically settled the Pacific war in 5 minutes when the Kaga, Akagi & Soryu were rendered into blazing hulks. Japan had NO chance after that.

EM: "...don’t see it as a personal attack on you."

PGA: I admit that my name-calling may not be productive with deniers. But I can't avoid the fact that their thinking is so distorted, so biased, they have no hope of perceiving reality.

EM: "...outlandish claims from Al Gore in 'An Inconvenient Truth'."

PGA: WHAT "outlandish claims"?!?!?!?!? Gore said a bunch of things at the time for which the evidence was weak, but since then, GORE HAS BEEN PROVEN RIGHT in case after case!

What did he say about Katrina? He said very warm water in the Gulf contributed to its strength. There is no doubt that this was true. He may have implied this would happen more in a warmer future, but he did not say it.

Many argue that storms are already stronger; Kerry Emanuel of MIT certainly does. We've recently had record numbers of cat 4 & 5 tropical cyclones in the Pacific, & the strongest cyclone ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere. Extratropical cyclones are probably increasing in number & strength. There is very little doubt that extreme weather of all kinds is increasing.  {Not to mention increased torrential flood inducing downpour events, which are guaranteed to continue increasing.}
“Tropical cyclones on track to grow more intense as temperatures rise”
Feb. 29, 2016 — A new study finds hazardous tropical cyclones in the Philippines are increasing in intensity causing widespread damage and loss of life, which may be due to rising sea-surface ... read more
May 18, 2015 — Climate change may be the driving force behind fewer, yet more powerful hurricanes and tropical storms, says a geography ... read more
Mar. 17, 2015 — The size of tropical cyclones is controlled by their underlying sea-surface temperatures (SST) relative to the conditions of the mean SST within the surrounding tropical zone of the storms, ... read more
Jan. 15, 2014 — The intensity of tropical cyclones hitting East Asia has significantly increased over the past 30 years, according to a new ... read more 
Research Papers - Kerry Emanuel, Professor of Atmospheric Science 
New Report Says Science Can Estimate Influence of Climate Change on Some Types of Extreme Events
EM: " [A]rctic [ice] left by 2013..."

PGA: EM evidently needs to repeat 3rd grade English. Does he know the difference between "could be" & "will be"?!?  Would remedial English help? Shall we actually LISTEN to what Gore said? This was in 2009:

Flashback 2009: Gore says Arctic could be 'completely ice free within the next 5 to 7 years’

What he SAID was that Arctic sea ice may be gone in summer in 2030, a typical projection then & now. Then he referred to Dr Wieslaw Maslowski of the Naval Postgraduate School & said it COULD be gone sooner, according to SOME of the models. Gore, NEVER, EVER, EVER said it "would go away by 2013"!!!!!!!!!

Dr Maslowski gave an interview in 2007 (a prediction which he later backed off of) that there was a 75% chance that the Arctic would be ice-free in Sep (minimum) in 2016, +/- 3 years. And what he meant by "ice-free" was "ice volume down to 20% or less of the 1979-2000 mean" by his model. We almost made it in 2012, when it was ~25%, which would have been ahead of schedule.

Of course DENIERS ALWAYS LIE about what Gore said. Always, always, ALWAYS. EM is perpetuating a lie. Is he just gullible? He claims not to be a denier, but he's perpetuating their bald-faced lies. 

I recently reviewed the criticisms leveled by Judge Michael Burton on Gore's film in 2007. It turns out that although the evidence was weak at the time, Gore was right!!!!!
Judge Burton: "Mr Gore claims that a sea-level rise of up to 20 feet would be caused by melting of either West Antarctica or Greenland 'in the near future'."

PGA: No, he doesn't specify when the rise would occur. But it's the JUDGE who's wrong:

     "...if Greenland melted it would release this amount of water – 'but only after, and over,     millennia'..." 

PGA: WRONG! That was the old assumption, but plenty of science since then has shown that much faster break-up of ice sheets is possible. This has been shown by modeling AND by careful study of the paleoclimate.

Ice sheet collapse following a prolonged period of stable sea level during the last interglacial
Local destabilization can cause complete loss of West Antarctica’s ice masses 
Contribution of Antarctica to past and future sea-level rise
Judge Burton: "The film claims that low-lying inhabited Pacific atolls 'are being inundated because of anthropogenic global warming' but the judge ruled there was no evidence of any evacuation having yet happened."

PGA: There is now! Sea level rise has swallowed multiple Pacific islands, & the inhabitants of several are making permanent evacuation plans.

Judge Burton: "The documentary speaks of global warming 'shutting down the Ocean Conveyor'... the judge said that it was 'very unlikely' that the... Meridional Overturning Circulation would shut down in the future, though it might slow down."

PGA: Actually, there's been a lot of evidence since then that it's slowing already, & the possibility of a complete shutdown is considered much more likely now.

Judge Burton: "Mr Gore claims that two graphs, one plotting a rise in C02 and the other the rise in temperature over a period of 650,000 years, showed 'an exact fit'. The judge said that, although there was general scientific agreement that there was a connection, 'the two graphs do not establish what Mr Gore asserts'."

PGA: Well, we could disagree about the definition of "exact" but the correlation is ~95-99%. Is that not enough to be "exact"?

For a more detailed look at the interplay of factors:
Kaser, Hardy, Mölg, Bradley, Hyera - Int. J. Climatol. 24: 329–339 (2004)

Judge Burton: "Mr Gore says the disappearance of snow on Mt Kilimanjaro was directly attributable to global warming, but the judge ruled that scientists have not established that the recession of snow on Mt Kilimanjaro is primarily attributable to human-induced climate change."

PGA: Ding ding ding! The judge got one right; well, half-right. The disappearing snow on Mt Kilimanjaro isn't due to anthropogenic warming, it's due to anthropogenic deforestation. {and changes in air currents, that are AGW related.}

Judge Burton: "The film contends that the drying up of Lake Chad is a prime example of a catastrophic result of global warming but the judge said there was insufficient evidence..."

PGA: Further work has shown that climate change was indeed a major factor in the disappearance of the lake.

Lake Chad: almost gone

Judge Burton: "Mr Gore cites a scientific study that shows, for the first time, that polar bears were being found after drowning..." [etc]

PGA: The evidence may have been thin at the time, but it isn't thin any more. There's lots of evidence that polar bears are in trouble. We don't have adequate data for many areas, but there are more areas with losses than areas with gains.
Judge Burton: "Mr Gore said that coral reefs all over the world were being bleached because of global warming and other factors..." [etc]

PGA: Once AGAIN, subsequent evidence has shown terrible coral reef losses due to warming & acidification, both the result of excessive atmospheric CO2.

PGA: So what we have, in case after case after case, is that Gore overstated the evidence at the time of the movie, but since then, he's been shown to be RIGHT!!! We should pay MORE attention to Gore & less to his doubters, including Judge Burton.

Back to EM: "...the bureaucratic nature of the funding process and the lack of accountability that follows this funding."

PGA: He's obviously clueless about how science works. There are very rigorous standards in how grants are awarded. In the publish-or-perish world of research, there is constant pressure to do the most comprehensive, best science.

EM: "...measurable goals..."

PGA: Well, no. Technological research, where there is a near-term profitable goal in sight, can be financed in the private sector, with easily measurable goals. But scientific research, acquiring knowledge for its own sake, is better financed by government. 

Most of the time, we only gain knowledge with this. But every once in a while, an enormous, civilization-altering invention is made while pursuing "pure" science. Lasers, computers, satellites, biotech, the internet & countless other technologies were supported by government literally for decades before people figured out how to make money from them. In point of fact, you need both technological & scientific research, with both private & governmental funding.

EM: "How about... we also give some funding to these evil coal, oil and gas companies to research waas of cleaning up their own emissions?"

PGA: More technological research that could be financed privately. But I wouldn't object to governmental contributions. There isn't always a bright dividing line between the two.

EM: "...our impact on our climate is a huge, global issue that... will require us to address AGW on a global scale..."

PGA: True.

EM: "The AGW problem is just that, a problem, but we will get nowhere if concessions can't be [made] by either side of the [debate]."

PGA: The laws of physics aren't negotiable; they don't make concessions. 

Sorry. A stiff, rising, revenue-neutral carbon tax would restore reality to our thinking, making sure the true costs of fossil fuels are included in their prices. This would make markets free & influence behavior in a way that reflects reality instead of our hallucinations & wishful thinking.

EM: "...Trump will undo Obama..."

PGA: Well, no. Psychotic, sociopathic, murderous, fascist ideology doesn't change the laws of physics. Some of our responses might change, but warming will continue. And there are plenty of people who actually CAN perceive reality & will continue to reduce emissions no matter how destructive the new administration tries to be.

EM: "I... consider myself to be a student of science..."

PGA: OK, so read it. Start here:
The Discovery of Global Warming 
Climate change: How do we know?
EM: "...I'm not trying to forward any type of agenda into the climate-change argument [there IS NO "ARGUMENT" about ACC science; the ONLY arguments are over what to do about it]..."

PGA: Of course I disagree. He very much is trying to force an ideology onto the science. Sorry, it won't work.

EM: "...I have no idea which direction the world is going in and the scale of the damage that we will cause."

PGA: Then study the paleoclimate, the laws of physics & the current state of the Earth. 

The damage will be almost incomprehensible. And I could be 80% wrong & it'd still be catastrophic. The data suggest (among other things) ~10 meters of sea level rise per ~1° C warming. And the only important number in a warming world, Earth system sensitivity, is ~6° C for doubled CO2.

Recently, Jim White, an expert in paleoclimate, glaciology & sea level from the Univ of Colo Boulder, gave a talk that said that overall, when you consider the depths of the ice ages & pre-Antarctic ice sheet sea level, it's ~20 meters of SLR per ~1C warming if you wait long enough.

EM: "...the... drastic rise in emissions rates... [in] China and India..."

PGA: Actually, China's emissions appear to have peaked in 2013, & they have made a major commitment to address ACC. They lead the world in manufacture & installation of renewable energy. The IDIOTS in the new US administration are ceding the future to China.
India has also made progress.
The countries with far fewer resources than the US are making WAY more progress. Meanwhile, we have IDIOTS in charge.

EM: "I believe denial stems from pessimism regarding what we can really do..."

PGA: Then watch Joe Romm from late last year (but skip the intro, LOL):
Climate Change Solutions : What you thought you knew is obsolete. Joe Romm

Again, sorry about the length. I guess I need my own blog so I can sound off, LOL.

It would be awesome seeing you start your own blog!  
I find your observations spot on.
Rationality and scientists need more proactive citizens confronting the firehose of disinformation that malicious interests are propagating at breakneck speed.

Until that time I would be proud to host another review/critique from you. 

Best Wishes and thank you for sharing this !


PG_Antioch said...

I sometimes emphasize sea level rise because it's unavoidable & extremely destructive. It's also virtually permanent on human time scales. That's because while ice she break-up is a wet, chaotic, potentially rapid process, ice sheet rebuilding is much slower, since it depends on slow accumulation of snow on Antarctica & Greenland, which gradually becomes ice.

The other issue is that sea level rise is a "lagging indicator" of warming, one of the last things to happen. The droughts, storms, floods & agricultural collapse occur first. There is more uncertainty in projecting future changes in these, but they WILL happen. We'll be devastated by these changes first, then by sea level rise.

Again, the costs & harm of excessive CO2 emissions will be almost unfathomably enormous. It's urgent that we include these costs in the prices of fossil fuels.

And thanks for posting this!!

citizenschallenge said...

Thank you for commenting PG. I wish more would appreciate what you understand.

best regards