Alarm about alarmism

by Judith Curry

The climate change debate has entered what we might call the “Campfire Phase”, in which the goal is to tell the scariest story. – Oren Cass (twitter)

David Wallace-Wells has a recent cover story in NYMagazine:  The Uninhabitable Earth.  Subtitle: Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak — sooner than you think.  The article has generated a firestorm of controversy and debate.

In terms of what is technically wrong with the NYMag article, Andy Revkin pretty much sums it up perfectly with this tweet:

Scariest stuff isn’t worst-case science; it’s bad fit of @deepuncertainty & time scales with indiv. & collective human risk/response traits.

Apart from the predictable takedowns by the AGW ‘unconvinced,’ there has been substantial resistance to the NYMag article from elements of what is usually regarded as the ‘alarmed’ contingent:

  • Mann et al. in WaPo: and ECOWatch: Such rhetoric is in many ways as pernicious as outright climate change denial, for it leads us down the same path of inaction.
  • Climate Feedback: Sixteen scientists analyzed the article and estimated its overall scientific credibility to be ‘low’.  A majority of reviewers tagged the article as: Alarmist, Imprecise/Unclear, Misleading.
  • Chris Mooney in WaPo: Scientists challenge story about ‘uninhabitable Earth’
  • Ars TechnicaIn both the popular and academic press, scientists argue against worst cases

If this reaction seems surprising to you, you are not the only ones surprised:

Ryan Maue (twitter): Privately more than one journalist told me they were afraid to push back against the NY Mag climate horrors piece.

IMO, the most interesting articles are those that defend development and discussion of worst case scenarios:

A few other articles with interesting points:

Fabius Maximus: After 30 years of failure to gain support of the US public for massive public policy measures to fight climate change, climate activists now double down on the tactics that have failed them for so long. This post explains why it will not work. Nor should it. Instead they should trust the IPCC and science, showing both the good and bad news.

SF Chronicle: If you honestly believe that climate change will end all life on Earth (it won’t) or lead to some dystopian hell, what policies wouldn’t you endorse to stop it?

Consensus enforcement in the Age of Trump

So, what is going with Mann et al. in trashing the alarming NYMag article?

I saw many such ‘alarmed’ articles (perhaps not as comprehensive) in the Age of Obama, spouting alarmist predictions and concerns.  Further, the White House seemed to encourage this, as evidenced by the web site and the statements of Science Advisor John Holdren.  I never saw any push-back on this from the consensus-enforcing scientific establishment.

In the Age of Trump, alarmism clearly doesn’t influence the policy makers; the best that consensus-enforcing scientific establishment can hope for is to enforce the not very scary IPCC consensus.

And why does this matter to them? Surely this consensus enforcement is antithetical to the scientific process and progress.   It seems to be all about ‘action’ — presumably as defined by the Paris Agreement.  According to Mann et al., too much alarm makes people give up on attempting ‘action.’  Never mind that the proposed actions will have a small impact on the climate (even if you believe the climate models) during the 21st century.

Others disagree, such as Weizmann and Wagner (e.g. Climate Shock), who push the alarming ‘fat tail’ argument as the rationale for ‘action’ (greater uncertainty increases the urgency for action).

Well, I suspect that neither approach will spur ‘action’ — what is needed are new technologies.  Until then, people, corporations and nations will pursue their short-term economic well being.

Deep Uncertainty

In understanding climate change risk, and deciding on the ‘if’ and ‘what’ of ‘action’,  we need to acknowledge that we don’t know how the climate of the 21st century will play out (Deep Uncertainty, folks).  Four possibilities:

  1. It is possible that human-caused climate change will be swamped by much larger natural climate variability.
  2. It is possible/plausible  that the sensitivity of the climate is on the low end of the IPCC envelope (1.0-1.5C), with a slow creep of warming superimposed on much larger natural variability.
  3. It is possible/plausible that the IPCC projections are actually correct (right for the wrong reasons; too much wrong with the climate models for much credibility, IMO).
  4. It is possible that AGW and natural variability could conspire to cause catastrophic outcomes

We can’t put probabilities on these possible scenarios, the uncertainties are too deep.  We can speculate as to the relative likelihoods of these scenarios, but we don’t know, and there will be widespread disagreement.  The negotiated IPCC consensus notwithstanding, I don’t regard #3 as any more likely than #2.  There are some that regard #1 as the most likely outcome.  Apart from advocacy groups hyping alarm, there has not been much serious attention paid to #4.

The IPCC consensus enforcers focus on #3.  #2 is the lukewarm position.  Michael Mann seems to regard consideration of #1, #2, #4 as ‘pernicious.’

I regard consideration of #1, #2, #4 as absolutely essential for both furthering scientific understanding and for understanding the risks from climate change. #2 gets a fair amount of play from the lukewarmer community (see especially Pat Michael’s book).

#1 and #4 are arguably the most interesting from the perspective of science, and also in terms of understanding the risks.   Elements of natural climate variability are active areas of research; what is missing is a synthesis and assessment (something I’ve proposed for red team).

That leaves #4 as not having any serious scientific focus, beyond dystopian articles by journalists and cli-fi novels (and fat tail speculations by economists).  #4 deserves some serious scientific attention.

A few additional tweets from Joseph Makjut:

  • This isnt about scaring people into action or not but thinking hard about what climate change might look like and who it might hurt.
  • Likewise, we should interrogate the scenarios where climate change is rather benign. What-up lukewarmers!?!
  • Keeping multiple versions of the future world in your head is hard, but wisdom comes from considering them all.

Back to ‘action.’  The Weitzmann fat tail argument says greater uncertainty increases the urgency of ‘action’ (Taleb is a fan of this argument).  I’ve discussed the problems with this argument previously:

The point is this.  Climate variability and change (whatever the direction or cause) has socioeconomic impacts, and it is useful to ponder the possibilities, independently of ‘action’ on CO2 emissions.

Read the rest at Climate Etc.

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July 17, 2017 1:05 am

Climate scare story’s are keeping me awake at night.

Reply to  TD
July 17, 2017 1:09 am

Ecologist Guy McPherson —a doomist cult hero who insists that exponential climate change likely will render human beings and all other species extinct within 10 years.

Reply to  TD
July 17, 2017 3:04 am

Guy McPherson, July 16, 2017.

I’ll briefly mention that I gave up everything — including all money, prestige, and relationships — to try to stop the omnicidal heat engine of civilization

I’m glad he did. I would not be happy if a man with such a misled passion would have explosives, ammunition, or guns. A pen is too much.
The MSM’s willingness to tout catastrophic greenhouse gas warming is leading us to a situation where we may end up with a series of crazy unabombers attacking the society which they think is too republican.

Reply to  TD
July 17, 2017 3:31 am

“I’ll briefly mention that I gave up everything — including all money, prestige, and relationships :”
And his SANITY !!

Reply to  TD
July 17, 2017 2:41 pm

Is it right that G. McPherson gave all that up in June 2007?
And yet we’re here?
Just asking.

Reply to  TD
July 17, 2017 2:44 pm

“Ecologist” Guy McPherson is a fool.
All life will be extinct in eight years.
Only a fool like him would claim 10 years.
There’s a big difference between 8 years and 10 years.
Two years.
Where do those leftists come up with their numbers?
From a phone book?

Reply to  TD
July 20, 2017 5:17 am

All these cultish, outlandish horror stories might be designed to make the mere liars and lunatics seem middle of the road.

Schrodinger's Cat
Reply to  TD
July 17, 2017 1:09 am

Climate scare stories put me to sleep.

Reply to  Schrodinger's Cat
July 17, 2017 3:57 am

Climate scare stories make me laugh.

Reply to  Schrodinger's Cat
July 17, 2017 5:16 am

I don’t even bother reading climate scare stories.
Come on, admit it – you didn’t either

Reply to  Schrodinger's Cat
July 17, 2017 5:33 am

Ok I’ll admit it, I usually don’t read them much anymore. There does not seem to be anything new in them, it’s the same ol’ same ol’. Glaciers are melting, polar bears are swimming, Florida is flooding, methane is rising, yada, yada..
What’s fun though is the usual flurry of scare stories that appear in the MSM just prior to an IPCC climate meeting somewhere. It’s like clockwork.

Reply to  Schrodinger's Cat
July 17, 2017 2:42 pm

Light bedtime reading, so the little kiddies go to sleep.
No more.
No less.

Craig Moore
Reply to  TD
July 17, 2017 5:52 am

Switch to decaf coffee rub for your grilled steak.

Reply to  TD
July 17, 2017 2:39 pm

If n o t /Sarc [probably you are /SARC, but not sure] . . . .
May I recommend a modicum of red wine?
No keeping awake at nights thereafter!
Maybe not solving the ‘problem’ (as perceived by some) – but you get some sleep.
Modicum = enough so you will sleep.
c1.5 litres. For some.
Enjoy one you like, and sleep well!

Reply to  Auto
July 17, 2017 2:46 pm

Auto: Sounds like you’ve been doing some “testing”.

Reply to  Auto
July 20, 2017 12:18 am

You been spying on me?

July 17, 2017 1:13 am

The fact that Deep Uncertainty is a thing today is itself a strong condemnation of the lack of progress by warmists.
They constantly tell us their field goes back 150 years. If they can’t deliver anything better than Deep Uncertainty after that very long period of study, they are either grossly incompetent or studying a fundamentally flawed belief or both.
Their mantra seems to be ‘We must act now because based on the glacial pace of progress thus far we simply don’t have time to wait around for any substantive discoveries.’

Ed Zuiderwijk
July 17, 2017 1:26 am

The science was already bad. Now the scare story has become bad as well. The end is neigh. Of both, I mean.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
July 17, 2017 3:32 am

“The end is neigh”
neigh ????
What’s horses got to do with it ? 😉

Reply to  AndyG55
July 17, 2017 5:22 am

It’s explained here:

Reply to  AndyG55
July 17, 2017 2:55 pm

To Andy G:
Those steaming piles of horse and other farm animal digestive waste products
are obviously the primary cause of global warming,
along with the white water vapor from chimneys at power plants
that you always see at the start of climate change doom stories on TV.
They only show the chimneys because steaming horse
hockey pucks are not very appealing on TV.
Even skeptics sort of agree with this theory.
When they read climate change doom articles
I always hear them repeatedly mumbling bullshirt,
which, of course, is a cause of global warming.
You could look this up.

Mariano Marini
July 17, 2017 1:38 am

Every epoch has his “Earth’s End” prophets: Lately we had “2012 Maya end of Time”.
No wonder that many people believe in it.
PS: Don’t compare with the Christian “End of the World”, because in this case “World” is not “Earth” but “wickedness”.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Mariano Marini
July 18, 2017 7:53 pm

No, they use the equally stupid phrase “end times”, with nothing to support it besides fairy tales.

July 17, 2017 1:42 am

“greater uncertainty increases the urgency of ‘action’”
I don’t know about you, but greater uncertainty tends to make me act more cautiously. It slows down my desire to take urgent action until more facts are known. How is it even possible to determine what actions to take when you are uncertain that your actions won’t make things worse? I just don’t see how anyone could feel an urgency to act unless they are reasonably confident that their actions will do some good. Greater uncertainty should never result in greater confidence. Maybe that’s why Gore, DiCaprio, and other global-warming preachers only talk about taking urgent action and do nothing to reduce their own carbon footprints. They don’t want to put their own lifestyles at risk. They want you to do that. So in my experience, greater uncertainty does not increase the urgency of ‘action’. It only increases the urgency of preaching.

Reply to  Louis
July 17, 2017 3:22 am

Amen Louis!

Reply to  Louis
July 17, 2017 3:26 am

The Weitzmann fat tail argument says greater uncertainty increases the urgency of ‘action’

So once the science was settled, they needed to unsettle it. Maybe ECS is 6K? 8K? Then we need to jump to action? Right?
The problem is uncertainty means uncertainty in many directions. It means uncertainty on
* how much the policy will cost – and not only in money but lives,
* how much difference will that policy make, and
* how much ROI you’d get – again in money and lives.
If we could say there is an uncertainty on ECS between 5K and 200K (a Stephen Hawking’esque “the Earth is going to change to Venus-like” argument), THEN you’d act to put CO2 down as much as possible, but EVEN then, you’d need to take the best solution money can buy.
So there is never urgency for action before analysing what is efficient. Incidentally, many of the policies suggested by CAGW-ppl are putting pressure on urgency over efficiency. To put it bluntly, they want to use much money almost anywhere instead of using money efficiently to deal with the problem – which appears not necessarily to be much of a problem.
In the meantime, they cause huge (yuuge) collateral damage by action before estimating the consequences. Like, shut down nuclear and use solar, which is turn basically just increases coal use. Or use wind, at the cost of clearing down forests and using more coal to keep the grid up.

Reply to  Louis
July 17, 2017 4:54 am

The end game of urgency always seems to be something involving reducing the human population to 1B or less. So if we need to get rid of 6B through extreme austerity, absolute control of human activity etc, we might as well live it up instead and risk the final 1B.

Reply to  Louis
July 17, 2017 5:59 am

Ditto that ‘Amen”! I particularly liked: “Greater uncertainty should never result in greater confidence.” We live in a world where the obvious becomes a sublime revelation!

Reply to  Louis
July 17, 2017 9:57 am

The less we know, the more we want to do stuff…………like shorten the time to the next ice age……

Reply to  Louis
July 17, 2017 12:45 pm

Deep Uncertainty => Precautionary Principle =>
“Don’t just stand there, do something” => Lemmings

Eyal Porat
July 17, 2017 1:42 am

Nat. Geo, Discovery have many apocalyptic stories like that all the time too.
When will we have the rebound?

Leo Smith
July 17, 2017 1:46 am

The scariest thing is the extent to which the ruling classes everywhere have leapt to endorse what is at best convenient possibility and at worst a convenient lie.
The illusion that they are perhaps a little vain and incompetent, and self serving, but underneath basically mindful of their duty to the electorates has been smashed in the last 30 years.
What emerges is a political class ruled by incompetence, greed, vanity, and corruption who will stop at nothing – not even all out war – to advance whatever narrow interests they have using whatever ideological justification is most convenient.
This is a class that not only has no idea what the truth is, but doesn’t actually care, either. In politics truth is whatever people can be persuaded to believe it is, and all that matters is plausible deniability and the emotional narrative.
And even intelligent people who should no better have fallen for the philosophic trap of equating ‘truth is relative to culture’ to mean ‘truth is whatever our culture says it is’ hence the massive dependence on magic thinking and double think that pervades the whole Left ideosphere.
Society may be changed by what people believe, and for sure it is being changed as one more piece of politically correct crapology becomes the latest Thing We Must Not Challenge for fear of upsetting some precious minority or other.
Oddly enough climate change itself offers the solution. Despite what we may believe, the climate is likely to be whatever it will be.
The Green Cnuts may sit there commanding the tides to remain as they will, but they will ebb and flow regardless.

Reply to  Leo Smith
July 17, 2017 2:20 am

The ruling classes want to bathe in the limelight of ‘saving the world’. It makes them look virtuous and caring, and it garnishes votes. They will only stop jumping on the climate bandwagon, when doing so results in derision from the majority of the proletariat, and a loss of votes.
This video is a remake of the successful ’90s BBC comedy series ‘Yes Minister’, which poked fun at the establishment. But the BBC cancelled the new series, when they saw that it might poke fun at the climate lobby. The BBC can and will poke fun at anything and everything, except:… a. Climate. b. lsIam.

Reply to  ralfellis
July 17, 2017 2:33 am

For our American cousins – when the ‘prime minister’ adopts a deep and guttral voice, that is an immitation of Winston Churchill.

Reply to  ralfellis
July 17, 2017 5:23 am

Was this particular episode ever aired in the UK ? If so, what year would that have been ?
Thanks in advance. I’ll be using it whatever.

Reply to  Leo Smith
July 17, 2017 9:11 am

And even intelligent people who should no better have fallen for the philosophic trap of equating ‘truth is relative to culture’ to mean ‘truth is whatever our culture says it is’ hence the massive dependence on magic thinking and double think that pervades the whole Left ideosphere.

Where we are at is described by Thomas Frank in Listen Liberal! We have a Democrat elite who will believe any crap spouted by any other of their ilk, because they are experts doncha know.
The reason these folks are willing to believe incomprehensible mumbo jumbo is that they were trained to do so by the postmodern ‘scholars’ (sic) who infest our academies of higher learning. link
This infestation is a result of the long march through the institutions. It was deliberate. In a way it’s our own fault because we were warned about the effects of excessive liberalism.

Reply to  commieBob
July 17, 2017 11:24 am

The infestation also redefined the concept of “critical thinking”. Now you think critically if you think the “correct” thoughts and come to the “correct” conclusions. Reflection, analysis and criticism are for what the bad people think.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 17, 2017 11:59 am

Green Cnuts (? ) spelling?

Reply to  Gary Pearse
July 17, 2017 2:03 pm

Cnut the Great … when I was a puppy we referred to him as King Canute.

Reply to  Leo Smith
July 17, 2017 3:03 pm

Leon Smith:
Socialists have over promised entitlements and government bureaucrat pensions,
which are more like legal Ponzi schemes, depending on continuing population growth to
keep the schemes going.
The population growth slowdown in US, Europe, China and especially Japan,
is making it very hard to finance all the promises.
One new source of government revenues might be new taxes
on private sector / corporate energy use.
The new taxes would be claimed to be needed to “save the earth”
(but are really needed to bail out entitlement programs and underfunded
government pensions)

July 17, 2017 1:53 am

So we now have 97% agreement that we have Deep Uncertainty?

July 17, 2017 2:11 am

Yet this alarmism ignores that fact that the biosphere was much more productive during the Jurassic, when CO2 concentrations were 2,000 ppm. And as Co2 declined throughout the Cretaceous, so the size if the fauna also declined. It is entirely possible that the huge size of the dinosaurs was achieved and sustained by high CO2 concentrations, which allowed for much greater flora (food) production.
Thus history demonstrates that high CO2 concentrations are good for the Earth and its biosphere, and that these foam-at-the-mouth alarmists are completely deluded and wrong. And yet these charIatans still try to claim the moral high ground with their baseless alarmism.

Ray in SC
Reply to  ralfellis
July 17, 2017 6:44 am

“It is entirely possible that the huge size of the dinosaurs was achieved and sustained by high CO2 concentrations”
So we are going to have a rising sea level AND dinosaurs?!?!
It is worse than we thought!!

Reply to  Ray in SC
July 17, 2017 12:20 pm

You know what’s even worse than dinosaurs and sea level rise? Dinosaurs in fighter jets!

Aynsley Kellow
July 17, 2017 2:54 am

Interesting that suggestions of a looming Grand Solar Minimum are starting to receive press coverage. See:
Interesting that the response is that it will not overwhelm CAGW, despite the fact that a decline of ‘a fraction of 1%’ caused the Maunder Minimum. Yet current anthropogenic forcing is ‘a fraction of 1%’ – about one sixth of the solar constant. Doesn’t seem plausible.

Reply to  Aynsley Kellow
July 17, 2017 3:07 am

Did you notice the very large sunspot? Sunspots were few but very large during the Maunder Minimum.

Reply to  pochas94
July 17, 2017 4:13 am

The astrophys guys have been working on models of solar physics for decades so surely they can tell us precisely what old Sol is going to do by now. They might even have a shot at that but what they won’t be doing is hurling hysterical quasi-religious invective at anyone who doesn’t automatically accept the output from their modelling efforts as gospel.

Reply to  Aynsley Kellow
July 17, 2017 3:51 am

I think the 1%, or 0.1% is not the important part. The important part is probably a change in the cloud cover, which is possible after the shielding effect of solar wind weakens giving more high-energy cosmic radiation into low atmosphere. Some people did try to laugh Svensmark under the table, but it appears he is not totally wrong. The most energetic cosmic rays have a lot of energy so they can cause showers of ionization in the atmosphere. IPCC could make a model of them, and prove this theory is not inconsistent with the climate change. Snark.

July 17, 2017 3:04 am

First, induce fear. Then comes the shakedown.

July 17, 2017 3:13 am

Don’t fall for the trick guys. Four years is nothing and they reckon Trump will be outed (and I think he will unless he gets the runs on the board – and of course that is part of the incredible obstructionism we see) and then they can ramp the fear up again.
I am nearly seventy and I can tell you the thirties and below belief this tripe. They will have to be shown that it is carp (can’t get me there mod). Unfortunately if we do cool the death toll will educate them.
Sad but true – there is a long row to hoe!!!

Reply to  nankerphelge
July 17, 2017 3:54 am

I am nearly seventy and I can tell you the thirties and below belief this tripe.

If you don’t believe it in your thirties, you have no heart. If you still believe it in your fourties, you have no brain. Who said this originally, no idea, but it holds well on leftism. The CAGW will only die when climate cools enough. May take a while.

Reply to  Hugs
July 17, 2017 4:20 am

It won’t die then either. The Australians have been in a state of near mental implosion while clutching their pearls and passing round the smelling salts over their perceived imminent complete death of the barrier reef for as long as I can recall.
If it cools then the climate crazies will simply transition that to carbon dioxide caused via a simple sign change and on it will go. They are like the Nazgûl. They won’t ever stop and are incredibly difficult to bring down.

Reply to  Hugs
July 17, 2017 4:51 am

These quotes make for good storytelling but popular myth has falsely attributed them to Winston Churchill
Conservative by the Time You’re 35
‘If you’re not a liberal when you’re 25, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative by the time you’re 35, you have no brain.’

Reply to  Hugs
July 17, 2017 6:03 am

A bit like everyone should be a Socialist at 19 (and I sort of was – now that is commitment!)) and no one should be at 40, or whatever the quote correctly attributed is..
I am just saying that I have been slapped down as silly and irrelevant from the younger generations as I know I did as well. My Father was one of the most stupid people I have ever met – until I started saying the same things some decades later.
You are right Hugs “it may take a while”. I just hope Trump and Brexit get on with it and the rest will follow. The “rest” can’t afford to be in this card game without the good old USA and GB.. Merkel sure as hell can’t afford it any more.

July 17, 2017 3:56 am

After living through “Snowball Earth” and “Nuclear Winter” scare the public into submission stories of the 70’s, I remember them all being wrong. If you believe the bible, this has been going on for 6500 years. This BS has to stop.

Steve B
July 17, 2017 3:59 am

Who remembers when scientists said that cars going faster than 60mph will kill the occupents?

Mike McMillan
July 17, 2017 4:03 am

SF Chronicle: If you honestly believe that climate change will end all life on Earth (it won’t) or lead to some dystopian hell, what policies wouldn’t you endorse to stop it?
Easy answer. I wouldn’t endorse policies that harm people and haven’t a snowballs chance in dystopian hell of working.

Bruce Cobb
July 17, 2017 4:17 am

Climate Alarmism, despite the virtue signalling by the likes of Mann, and Revkin does serve a useful function for the Climatist narrative, by making their sober by comparison claims seem reasonable. It is all part and parcel to “communicating climate change” to the masses. We have seen this apparent pulling away from Alarmism before. It is all a ruse to lull people. The end goal is always convincing the masses to “take action” on climate.

July 17, 2017 4:18 am

Once more my input, it is the best I can come up with so far
With no Paris agreement, will death rates increase?
From an Issue paper by Juanita Constible, Natural Resources Defense Council:
Is this claim true?
I am a climate realist, that means I look at the totality of what is happening to the climate with increasing CO2 levels, and what it means for our future.
Climate alarmists and IPCC believe that the thermal response to increasing CO2 is a feedback gain from increasing water vapor that results from higher temperatures, leading to much higher temperatures. Current climate model averages indicate a temperature rise of 4.7 C by 2100 if nothing is done, 4.65 C if U.S keeps all its Paris commitments and 4.53 C if all countries keep their part of the agreement. In all cases, with or without Paris agreement we are headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.
As the chart indicates, implementing all of the Paris agreement will delay the end of mankind as we know it by at most 4 years.
Myself and quite a few scientists, meteorologists, but mostly engineers believe the feedback loop in nature is far more complicated than that, in fact, there is a large negative feedback in the system, preventing a temperature runaway, and we have the observations to prove it. The negative feedback manifests itself in 2 ways: Inorganic feedback and organic feedback:

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  lenbilen
July 17, 2017 5:57 am

You ask a good question.
If the temperature rises everywhere (which is not the case for the USA over the past 100 years) there will be two sorts of ‘attributions’ claimable using the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) numbers. One is that the number of premature deaths statistically attributable to an increase in temperature (heat wave) will increase and second, the number of premature deaths statistically attributable to a cold snap will decrease. In every case you can find, heat wave deaths are exceeded by cold snap deaths, but this should not be the focus of our attention. The bigger story is that chronic underheating is responsible for far more premature deaths than the two other combined. Many millions will be positively affected by a reduction in this risk.
Anyone living in a continental or ‘moderate’ climate country has a problem of heating living spaces for part of the year. The young, elderly and ill are at disproportionate risk from chronic underheating. It is important to remember that the ‘deaths’ spoken of in the piece are ‘premature deaths’ and are ‘attributed’ on the basis of the GBD assessment process. They are not speaking of ‘actual’ deaths or deaths avoided.
Further, it is not a statistically valid step to take a risk assessed for a population cohort that is already dead and project it onto a different, future cohort living in a different age. In other words, any claim for avoiding future deaths is not valid if it was based on the GBD numbers. Because something is statistically ‘attributable’ in an arguably valid manner does not automatically mean it is ‘avoidable’ for a different, future population. There are too many confounding factors and too little data to sustain such a claim.
Remember this when anyone tells you how many climate-related deaths can be avoided by….. They are pulling your leg while talking through their hat. Repeat after me: attributable does not mean avoidable.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
July 17, 2017 6:28 am

It’s not the absolute temperature of the heat wave that kills people, but the magnitude of change from the norm.
Getting in the mid-90’s in the northeast, constitutes a heat wave that kills people in the northeast.
Yet in the southwest, they don’t start taking off the jackets till the temperatures get to the mid-80’s.
It’s all what you are used to.
Even if the CO2 scare stories were accurate, both the “normal” temperature and the “heat wave” temperatures are going to increase.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
July 17, 2017 11:40 am

19th century Antarctic expeditions would stay in the area for years at a time (usually forced to when their ships became icebound). According to the account in South, the men of the Endurance expedition got so used to the climate that they often worked shirtless in “summer” temperatures of around 0F.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
July 17, 2017 3:12 pm

Crisper in Waterloo
CO2 is invisible to sunlight and has little effect on daytime high temperatures
CO2 may slow nighttime cooling enough to make the night time low temperature somewhat warmer
That may add up to a slightly higher average temperature, from slightly warmer nights
Or maybe the effect of CO2 is really too small to measure or notice.
CO2 greens the earth and accelerate growth of C3 plants that people and animals eat.
That has to be good news for people who don’t get enough to eat now.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
July 18, 2017 9:11 am

@ drednicolson It’s the humidity or lack thereof. In Colorado if one is being physically active, a tee shirt in the 20°’s (F) is plenty.

Reply to  lenbilen
July 17, 2017 8:17 am

Well-said Crispin
Joe d’Aleo and I had written a paper on Excess Winter Mortality based on other evidence when the major Lancet study was published, so we revised our paper to include that excellent study. Our summary reads:
“Cold weather kills. Throughout history and in modern times, many more people succumb to cold exposure than to hot weather, as evidenced in a wide range of cold and warm climates.
Evidence is provided from a study of 74 million deaths in thirteen cold and warm countries including Thailand and Brazil, and studies of the United Kingdom, Europe, the USA, Australia and Canada.
Contrary to popular belief, Earth is colder-than-optimum for human survival. A warmer world, such as was experienced during the Roman Warm Period and the Medieval Warm Period, is expected to lower winter deaths and a colder world like the Little Ice Age will increase winter mortality, absent adaptive measures.
These conclusions have been known for many decades, based on national mortality statistics.”
Cold Weather Kills 20 Times as Many People as Hot Weather September 4, 2015
by Joseph D’Aleo and Allan MacRae

Steve Ta
July 17, 2017 4:26 am

At one point, that ridiculous article says that by 2100 sea level may rise by 4 foot, and then says that 600 million people live within 10 metres of sea level. Are we not supposed to notice the absurdity of that comparison?

Reply to  Steve Ta
July 17, 2017 11:51 am

For those who may not be up to speed on their Imperial/metric conversion, 10 meters is a couple inches short of 33 feet.

July 17, 2017 4:26 am

So the alternative with the most data to support it is:
Not much bad will happen from so called “climate change”.
Yet this scenario is attacked when it is not ignored.
By the way Mann getting away with pretending he has not been a fear monger is so funny.

Reply to  hunter
July 17, 2017 3:14 pm

There are no data to support ANY prediction of the future climate.
It will get warmer, colder, or stay the same.
We’ve had 30 years of climate predictions to teach us
that humans can’t predict the climate,
or anything else.

July 17, 2017 4:43 am

Earthquake of 6.6 degrees on Bering Island.
Strong shock in Montana.
There is a strong geomagnetic storm.

July 17, 2017 5:00 am

Please Help! Trying to find a ‘safe-room’. All resources confirm ‘NO VACANCY’.
P.S. Also running low on crayons.

Reply to  BruceC
July 17, 2017 5:32 am

Can’t send crayons over the net, but hope this helps:comment image

Reply to  philincalifornia
July 17, 2017 6:07 am

For some reason, I found this hysterically funny! I as still laughing every time I glance at the label on the x-axis!

Reply to  philincalifornia
July 17, 2017 6:32 am

I like your chart, phil. 🙂

R Taylor
Reply to  philincalifornia
July 17, 2017 8:41 am

Thanks for the perfectly named HELPFUL CHART. By the way, the roman numerals at the end of the Yes, Prime Minister clip show that the episode was produced in 2013. I’m not sure it ever aired, and the series was killed quickly.

J Mac
Reply to  philincalifornia
July 17, 2017 9:08 am

The Helpful Chart Ensemble!

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  philincalifornia
July 17, 2017 10:10 am

Thank you phil. Based on your chart, I see that we’re getting better agreement among the CMIP model ensembles now. Good to know. 😉

Reply to  philincalifornia
July 17, 2017 11:11 am

Can one can average all the outputs, like they do for failed climate models?

paul courtney
Reply to  philincalifornia
July 17, 2017 11:31 am

If Heller shows us the pre-adjustment “helpful chart”, will Mr. Stokes determine that Phil’s chart is the one to rely on? I’d mention Mosher, but he would only drive by.

Reply to  philincalifornia
July 17, 2017 3:15 pm

Helpful chart
Proof that no one knows what they are talking about
when they predict the future climate !

July 17, 2017 5:07 am

I’d like to see worst case analysis of wind and solar electricity. How big a battery will be needed?

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  M Simon
July 17, 2017 10:25 am

If you have to ask, you can’t afford it. All in, IIRC it’s about $2/W-hr. For grins and giggles, calculate the cost to store 1 hours output from a 1,000 MW power plant.

Reply to  M Simon
July 17, 2017 11:10 am

Bigger than a bread-box.
Much much bigger.

Reply to  M Simon
July 17, 2017 12:28 pm

If you have to build a battery too big to carry, you’re defeating the purpose of a battery. (The advantage of batteries is portability, not storage.)

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  drednicolson
July 17, 2017 1:47 pm

I think M Simon was thinking specifically about grid-scale storage.

July 17, 2017 5:28 am

Of the four scenarios of “Deep Uncertainty”, only number 4 requires immediate, drastic action. The others give time frames of decades to forever to provide solutions. Only a few, mostly uninformed, crisis mongers actually even believe number four. That gives most rational people decades to solve the problem, if it even exists.
There are already plausible (though fraught with costs and unintended consequences) solutions to numbers 3 and 4. A short list includes carbon sequestration, altering earth’s albedo in dozens of different ways, dramatic economic disruption, and more. With decades to find non disruptive solutions, I have no doubt that the ingenuity of mankind can find them, if necessary. I happen to believe they’re not necessary, but there is no doubt in my mind that a wait and see position is best, for now. There are too many scientific facts known today that make the “Chicken Little” approach unfounded.

LOL in Oregon
July 17, 2017 5:29 am

Repent and be saved, you sinner!
(and send $$$ to the collection plate against Gorebal Warming!,
..the leaders/bishops/priests/ego-builders need cash)

July 17, 2017 5:36 am

Extract of David Wallace-Wells from the NYMagazine
Indeed, absent a significant adjustment to how billions of humans conduct their lives, parts of the Earth will likely become close to uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable, as soon as the end of this century.
Horrifically inhospitable?comment image

Reply to  jaakkokateenkorva
July 17, 2017 6:12 am

Last I checked, large parts of the Earth are already ‘horrifically inhospitable’, generally because they are way too cold.

Reply to  jclarke341
July 17, 2017 6:31 am

The deep oceans are horrifically inhospitable. However neither global warming or global cooling is going to do anything about that.

Reply to  jclarke341
July 17, 2017 7:28 am

The worst manmade environmental catastrophe ever, Chernobyl, is full of surprises in that domain

Reply to  jclarke341
July 17, 2017 12:30 pm

There’s even colonies of rad-resistant bacteria growing inside the reactor itself.

July 17, 2017 5:44 am

Four possibilities:

Five Possibilities:
5. Any warming and additional atmospheric CO2 turns out to be net beneficial.

Reply to  TimTheToolMan
July 17, 2017 6:32 am

Any change, if caused by man, is by definition bad.
Or at least that’s what the environmentalists that I know keep telling me.

Reply to  TimTheToolMan
July 17, 2017 11:15 am

Who says they are the best minds?
Warmists are scoundrels or imbeciles (or both).

Reply to  TimTheToolMan
July 17, 2017 3:19 pm

Your (5) is a possibility
how about my (6) CO2 greens the Earth and has no measurable effect on average temperature?
and how about a hundred other possibilities?

Reply to  TimTheToolMan
July 17, 2017 4:20 pm

Dr. Curry was late to the skeptic camp and would not be described as a warmist – but maybe a luke-warmist.
Early skeptics and better minds would include:
Richard Lindzen, Pat Michaels, Sallie Baliunas, Tim Patterson, Tim Ball, Fred Singer, Roy Spencer, John Christy, Joe d’Aleo, Joe Bastardi, John Coleman, Anthony Watts, Madhav Khandekar, …. and many more.

July 17, 2017 5:49 am

I simply cannot understand Judy Curry. She is saying really nothing at all here — she takes no position but treats all alternatives as valid; preference is assigned only based on their support by others, not on any kind of scientific plausibility. This might be appropriate for a TV talk show host, but is this really the best we can expect of a career climate scientist?
Ms. Curry has said repeatedly that prior to 2009 she was simply accepting the IPCC “consensus” on good faith, and it was only the bad behaviour evident in the Climategate emails that changed her mind. Nothing wrong with detesting the ethics of those gentlemen — but what took her so long? How about the evidence of the missing temperature rise and of the missing tropical hot spot? The only conclusion I can make is that Ms. Curry either distrusts her own scientific judgement or lacks it altogether.

Reply to  Michael Palmer
July 17, 2017 6:06 am

Your questions on missing temperature rise and missing hot spot are only answered after 2009, if I remember correctly.
It is equally unscientific to toss a theory because it looks like it has problems, but you cannot yet identify those problems. Many people seem to think one problem arises and it’s all over for the theory. Theories can be modified. Some people want to be sure before they make a call of “failure” on a widely accepted theory. (Also, hindsight is 20/20.)

Reply to  Sheri
July 17, 2017 6:31 am

“Theories can be modified.” While this statement is obviously true, it is currently a crime to even suggest that the AGW theory is a candidate for modification. The science is settled, they say. Frankly, I believe the theory was falsified seconds after it was proposed, by the simple fact that it is not compatible with historical climate, not to mention that the essential positive feedbacks in the theory are derived from a huge leap of speculation that is apparently derived from ‘agenda’, and not scientific observation.

Reply to  Michael Palmer
July 17, 2017 6:19 am

If you look at the movie “The Great Global Warming Swindle” of 2007, you will see the arguments about the missing temperature rise and the missing hot spot are clearly spelled out. Satellite data sets already covered a time span of almost 30 years by then. Christy, Lindzen, and others clearly stated the scientific implications.
A theory that has been “modified” to fit the data is really a new one. But either way, I have not seen a new and/or improved global warming theory that does not require the missing tropical hot spot. What your argument amounts to is nothing but a generic “but we could still be wrong.” I’m sure at least 97% of all sceptics would support that.

Reply to  Michael Palmer
July 17, 2017 6:46 am

“I simply cannot understand Judy Curry. She is saying really nothing at all here — she takes no position but treats all alternatives as valid;”
I think she is being very measured. She is essentially saying we don’t have enough information to say which one of the scenarios is valid. She’s right.
Although I would qualify that by saying we can probably eliminate #4, the worst-case scenario, since each new estimate of ECS is lower than the last, and there is no historic evidence of any runaway greenhouse effect in Earth’s history even though CO2 levels in the atmosphere have been much higher in the past than they are today or will ever get with human help, even if we burned every hydrocarbon on the planet.

Reply to  TA
July 17, 2017 7:23 am

It is not about “scenarios” but theories. We may not have enough information to say which theory is right, but we do have enough information to say which theory is wrong, which happens to be the currently dominant one. Since the theory of CAGW is wrong, and no concerning trends are present in the data, there simply is no good reason to worry about the whole issue. There are many more pressing problems to worry about than this whole climate change nonsense.

Reply to  TA
July 17, 2017 4:14 pm

Curry contradicted herself.
She is a typical lukewarmer.
They are worse than CO2 is Evil Cult members.
Lukewarmers say the future climate is unknown
and then say they know CO2 is important
but not dangerous. So they obviously know?
(1) Curry said the 21st century climate is unknown and called it Deep Uncertainty.
Do you agree with the Curry who said that?
(2) Her next few sentences were listing four possibilities of the future climate!
Do you agree with the Curry who said that?
You can’t agree with both (1) and (2) — that would be a contradiction.
If the 21st century climate is really “Deep Uncertainty”,
then no one knows how many possibilities there are for the 21st century,
and no one know what all the possibilities are …
beyond saying there’s no way to predict whether more CO2
will be associated with future cooling, future warming
or a steady temperature
in the past from 1940 to 2015,
as CO2 was in a rising trend:
In the “era of manmade CO2” since 1940, we had:
(a) Negative correlation of CO2 and temperature from 1940 to 1975,
(b) Positive correlation of CO2 and temperature from 1975 to 2000, and
(c) No correlation of CO2 and temperature from 2000 to 2015
No conclusions are possible from (a), (b) and (c) beyond saying the future
climate is unknown, and unknowable until we understand exactly what causes
climate change … and even then the future climate may not be predictable.

Reply to  Michael Palmer
July 17, 2017 7:45 am

I am with you, Mr. Palmer. I do not understand her defense of worst case scenario discussions in the context of climate change.
Sometimes it is appropriate.
At a National Hurricane Conference in New Orleans (I believe the year was 2003), the emergency management planners for the host city gave a presentation of a worst case hurricane scenario for the city of New Orleans. Of course it would be a powerful major hurricane, but they emphasized that the track of the storm would be more important. They presented a path that would bring some wind damage first, but the real damage would occur when the storm moved north. They said the winds would be diminishing when Lake Pontchartrain would breach the levies and much of the city would flood. Two years later, Katrina was not as powerful as their worst case scenario storm, but it took the worst case scenario path, and things unfolded much like they predicted.
In the case of hurricanes, worst case scenarios have value, largely because our concept of a hurricane is well defined. We know what they are. We have lots of evidence of what they can do. We know the limits of wind, rain and water associated with hurricanes. We do not speculate about category 9 hurricanes, or storm surges of 87 feet, or rainfall amounts of 200 inches, or a widespread outbreak of sharknados. Based on what we know about hurricanes, we can make good policy choices to deal with them. (It doesn’t mean we do, but we could!)
AGW has far deeper uncertainty. We have no history of it. Heck, we don’t even know if will be generally bad, good or if it will happen at all! In such a situation, worst case scenarios have no limit! They could be everything from Venus-like temperatures with sulfuric acid rain to…well…sharknados! Consequently, there is no legitimate value in discussing worst case scenarios, outside of some late-night, post nerd party entertainment. Worst case scenarios are certainly not something to talk about with the public or around politicians. They are worse than worthless in developing policy. They are dangerous!
With such uncertainty, the cost/benefit of planning for worst case scenarios goes infinite on the cost side very quickly, while the benefit side remains little more than speculation. The prudent thing to do would be to determine the most likely scenario based on real world observations, then slowly ramp up policy adjustments based on that determination. It has taken almost 30 years to make those observations, but it is becoming more obvious day by day that the most likely scenario for AGW is ‘not much’ and ‘mostly beneficial’. Now that is some solid information for building useful policy!

Reply to  jclarke341
July 17, 2017 9:00 am

The hurricane comparison is spot on. This kind of reality-based worst-case planning can be very successful — see for example the Dutch Delta works, which were designed to withstand a once-in-a-thousand-years storm surge.
There are other problems that one might address in the same manner. For example, history knows of several major volcanic eruptions that caused global crop failures. How can we prepare to keep the world’s population fed through such an episode? That would make a lot more sense than the charade of the Paris treaty, which will reward third world dictators who pretend to “fight climate change” with gilded toilet seats.

Reply to  jclarke341
July 17, 2017 3:26 pm

To JClerk:
New Orleans flooded once before, I believe in 1927, due to a massive rainfall in the region.
The same below sea level areas of the city flooded then … that flooded again in 2005.
In the decades before 2005 there were several efforts to shore up the levees that were blocked
by environmentalists.I read about that in 2005 but don’t remember much more.
The obvious problem is building on land below sea level that is so close to the sea!
The second problem is rebuilding everything after you’ve learned your lesson (in 1927)

July 17, 2017 5:50 am

Came across a great and perhaps relevant quote the other day:
“In fact, most of what passes today for liberal progressivism is not reality-based. The modern progressive occupies what Walter Lippmann called a pseudo-environment, a fictionalised version of reality, to which the all-pervasiveness of social media and the internet directly contribute. That’s why when the real world intrudes – the election of Donald Trump or Brexit – they react so violently and irrationally.”
These are people in live in bubbles separated from what most people experience – areas such as academia and government for example – where you live on taxes or on payments once or twice or more removed from actual value-creation, where extremely unimportant concerns of a tiny number of people (say which bathroom a person can use when they us a public bathroom) assume huge importance, and huge significance. These bubbles filled almost entirely with like-minded individuals and are self-policing in terms of what can be said and what can be thought.

July 17, 2017 6:08 am

“…These are people in live in bubbles separated from what most people experience – areas such as academia and government for example…”
These people actually think they know what is best for the rest of us. Mostly they are unelected and sit in Ivory Towers so remote from the public that it is almost inconceivable.
Drain the swamp please and do it quickly!!!!

Reply to  nankerphelge
July 17, 2017 12:43 pm

The tower of Isengard surrounded by what Merry Brandybuck described as “a dreary mess” comes to mind. Heck, those chapters of Two Towers are basically a fantasy-version of “failed progressivist projects 101”. Complete with the chief architect indignantly playing the victim at the end.

July 17, 2017 6:15 am

How are 1 and 2 different? Size of ECS? Probability?

Reply to  bunji
July 17, 2017 1:33 pm

bunji wrote: “How are 1 and 2 different? Size of ECS?”
bunji: “Probability?”
About equal for #1 and #2, imo.

I Came I Saw I Left
July 17, 2017 6:16 am

David Wallace-Wells just did a feverish CYA on twitter after some notable climate scientists poo-pooed his science fantasy piece. Reading it’s like watching water boil, but it’s kind of worth it to see how butt hurt he got. I guess one of those at the top of his twitter is him..

I Came I Saw I Left
Reply to  I Came I Saw I Left
July 17, 2017 6:17 am

I did not mean for that large screen grab to happen – I just posted the link.

Reply to  I Came I Saw I Left
July 17, 2017 9:47 am

No need to apologize. I don’t think I’m alone in preferring the screen grab.

paul courtney
Reply to  I Came I Saw I Left
July 17, 2017 12:29 pm

Thank you for all of it. I saw this article posted on MSN homepage, read it and LOL. The comment string was encouraging (I don’t know if it was msn or New York Mag) because 2/3ds of them were critical. Didn’t need my comment, most readers saw through this nonsense on stilts. To see the twit above saying it was thrown together at last minute but 6 mos research? You can’t get this far from reality in a mere 6 mos. I also looked for it the next day, could not find it on msn home page, thought it might have been taken down by msn after recognizing how this stuff boomerangs back at the cause.

Reply to  I Came I Saw I Left
July 17, 2017 4:08 pm

I wonder if the Wallace-Wells piece was a straw man, purposely exaggerating the threat in order to allow the “regular” climate apocalypse crowd an opportunity to deny it and appear reasonable. I would not put it past this crowd. At the same time, it works to spin up the fear in the gullible and is marvelous “click bait”. Clever. There’s a (self-serving) poll out from the Yale “Program on Climate Change Communication” that finds 39 percent of people in the US believe that humans will go extinct due to climate change! Such ignorance. The fear mongering is working. It’s very sad to watch the effect on young people.
Oh, Wallace-Wells has now annotated his piece based on additional information in interviews with climate clingers like the Michaels (Mann and Oppenheimer). It’s become quite a nice cottage industry.
Infuriating. An embarrassment to a once noble enterprise.

July 17, 2017 6:17 am

So growing from a small group learning about the wonders of radiative physics we now have a world wide social mania, a growing black hole of money and policy, the destruction of critical thinking, politicians and other openly talking about how to enslave and drastically limit freedom and reduce populations.
And nothing special is happening in the climate.
People jumping on Hawking or that silly bit of fiction dressed up as “journalism”.
Where were these people when Hansen got away with claiming Earth would turn into Venus…he started that delusional tripe years ago.
Where were people standing up to Mann when he was pushing his ridiculous hockey stick?
Where were people condemning Santer for calling for violence against skeptics?
What about at least pointing out that the calls for “crimes against humanity” trials for skeptics was a wee bit over the top?
Now suddenly the climate profiteers and scammers are jumping on a stage prop in a wheel chair with a machine voice repeating Hansen’s spew and a magazine article no worse than what National Geographic has put on their front cover?
Strange days indeed.

July 17, 2017 6:19 am

Whatever the impact of CO2 on climate, you can’t beat the carbon cycle. You may fight against it, but you can’t win. Since it’s powered by the sun (via photosynthesis), it’s the only ultimate power source that is sustainable in the long run. The CO2 that it releases into the atmosphere is a requirement for all plant life on earth, and hence all life on earth. The high-energy-density fossil fuels that it creates are the only practical power sources capable of sustaining advanced modern societies powerful enough to do anything significant in the world. If you oppose the carbon cycle, you will eventually become irrelevant and die off. If you embrace the carbon cycle, you can develop technologies that feed the world, cure diseases, explore earth and outer space, and lead meaningful lives. The choice is yours.

Reply to  MikeW
July 17, 2017 7:06 am

Well put, MikeW.

July 17, 2017 7:05 am

“The point is this. Climate variability and change (whatever the direction or cause) has socioeconomic impacts, and it is useful to ponder the possibilities, independently of ‘action’ on CO2 emissions.”
no, the point is this:
Having dropped the context you make an illogical statement which can neither be proven nor falsified.
To correct this deficiency, first answer these questions:
‘Useful’? To whom?
‘Useful’? For what purpose?
Answer those and you got the filling and the secret sauce for a nothingburger with man mayo.
If you manage to winkle anything out of that, then answer this one: ‘At whose expense?’
Why not just cut to the last page of the fiction and spare the rest of the sales pitch?

July 17, 2017 7:11 am

I think the “Deep Uncertainty” is entering the picture from the alarmist side. All their predictions are falling apart. Their subterfuges are becoming apparent. They are being exposed. And there’s only more bad news to come in the future for them as the temperatures do not cooperate with their speculation.
The futures of the alarmist CAGW promoters is looking Deeply Uncertain.

July 17, 2017 7:11 am

Every bit as stupid as the fears are the warmist’s proposed solutions. If they had spent 1% of their time outlining a rational technological pathway to lower carbon emissions, they might actually achieve something. One would say, considering their apparent disbelief in the practicality of electric cars (they need “massive subsidies” – total BS) , and their seeming total ignorance of the revolutionary smaller, modular, boringly safe and very cheap, molten salt reactors, then they
would see no need for demanding “action”, which amounts to nothing more than errecting ugly wind turbines and installing solar panels, both unreliable power sources quite capable of toxifying the grid. Of course the solar roof owners expect their non-solar neighbors to pay most of their installation expenses, as well as paying top dollar to those same neighbors when they dump their unused solar power onto the grid, causing an increase in per unit costs of the power not produced by renewables, by lowering their capacity. We need policies used by some states that forbid dumping power onto the grid unless it can be put under the control of the grid and can produce power “on demand” At the very least, payments of that unwanted power should reflect the low quality of that power.

Richard M
July 17, 2017 7:26 am

I suspect some of this alarmism is intentional to make it appear current alarmists are more conservative. It is getting harder and harder to deny the lack of warming seen in UAH satellite data and now CFSR data is showing no bump up in temperatures after the recent El Nino even though Nino 3.4 is showing weak El Nino conditions.
Now they will claim the “scientists” were never alarmist but action is still needed because the results are still devastating even though not an extinction event. It is so easy to see through these propaganda events with just a little thought.

July 17, 2017 8:21 am

The Alarmists should take a page from Game of Thrones, and like Ned Stark, constantly remind people that “Summer is Coming”. Or, Drought is Coming; better yet, Desertification is Coming.

Jim Zott
July 17, 2017 8:35 am

I am sorry but i thought the David Wallace-Wells written article was anti-science propaganda. We are entering into an era as scientists and engineers where the speculators and instigators are turning people’s thoughts against science. Misstating facts in the manner Mr. Wallace-Wells does to prove that “Alarmist” are not “Scientists” is almost criminal… but will be excused by the far left who might just include people who are devotees of the an organization dedicated to removing “humanocentric” damage from the universe.

July 17, 2017 8:43 am

What does this mean for National Review and Mark Stein? In light of this post and, what is Mann doing? Does this back peddling not dramatically weaken his legal case against Stein and NR? Stein and NR essentially accused him of exaggerating the warming. Now, he’s moving toward the same position?

Sandy In Limousin
July 17, 2017 9:06 am

This is really scary planet 10’C warmer than now with higher levels of CO2 than now.
At the beginning of the Eocene, the high temperatures and warm oceans created a moist, balmy environment, with forests spreading throughout the Earth from pole to pole. Apart from the driest deserts, Earth must have been entirely covered in forests.
Polar forests were quite extensive. Fossils and even preserved remains of trees such as swamp cypress and dawn redwood from the Eocene have been found on Ellesmere Island in the Arctic. Even at that time, Ellesmere Island was only a few degrees in latitude further south than it is today. Fossils of subtropical and even tropical trees and plants from the Eocene have also been found in Greenland and Alaska. Tropical rainforests grew as far north as northern North America and Europe.
Palm trees were growing as far north as Alaska and northern Europe during the early Eocene, although they became less abundant as the climate cooled. Dawn redwoods were far more extensive as well.

July 17, 2017 9:36 am

Extreme Weather happens. There’s no evidence there’s more Extreme Weather in the past century or more intense Extreme Weather. One would think there should be consensus to build protective infrastructure under any conditions.
However, the Climate Hysterics are especially indifferent to infrastructure— dams, dykes, reservoirs and water management, sea walls etc… Their main mission is to shut down industry and pauperize the population.

I Came I Saw I Left
Reply to  sarastro92
July 17, 2017 9:55 am

“There’s no evidence there’s more Extreme Weather in the past century or more intense Extreme Weather”
Actually there is during the 19th and 20th centuries in the US . Hotter weather (1930s), extreme flooding (eg, Great Flood of 1862) …

Reply to  I Came I Saw I Left
July 17, 2017 10:56 am

Send your complaints to the IPCC… AR5 WG-1 (ch2) and SREX explicitly state there is no compelling evidence of an increase in hurricanes, floods, droughts etc over the past century.

July 17, 2017 9:44 am

Dr. Curry, I think your ordering, 1 to 4, also matches the likelihood. A human-induced factor small enough to be swamped by natural variability is the only possibility so far demonstrated by hard evidence. Everything else is theory.
#2, moderate warming caused by humans, is 2nd most likely mostly because it is the closest one to #1. And it’s the only other plausible scenario on the list.
As usual, these discussions dance around the “why should we care” question. There is plenty of reason to think that moderate warming is a good thing. There is plenty of reason to believe that mitigation activities will be both more effective and more economical than any effort to actually control the climate. And this approach minimizes the ill effects while embracing the positive.
“Greater uncertainty argues for greater action” is literally insane. No one could live their life as though that is true, no society could survive acting as though that is true.

Tom Halla
July 17, 2017 10:07 am

A very measured review by Dr Curry. Where I would quibble is that the green movement has had a strong strain of “campfire story” ever since “Silent Spring”–i.e. very near the beginning. There has been a general reluctance to report on the testing of various scary models that proved to be very unlikely, as with most of Rachel Carson’s excercise in conciousness raising.

South River Independent
July 17, 2017 10:15 am

I have my own theory of climate change, taking uncertainty into account. (Note: taxpayer money was used to develop this hypothesis – I am retired receiving civil service and military pensions, as well as Social Security – but none will be needed to test it.)
According to Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, there are limits to what can be measured accurately and that the observer affects the outcome by measuring it. In addition, according to Quantum Physics experiments, the world becomes “real” only when you try to measure what is going on. My hypothesis is that humans cause climate change by attempting to measure it. Test this hypothesis by stopping all efforts to determine what climate change is occurring. If I am right, everything will be fine and we will save enormous amounts of tax dollars (and private money) that can be used to address real problems. As I am pretty old, I assume my Nobel Prize will be awarded long after I am dead.

Dave Fair
Reply to  South River Independent
July 17, 2017 11:46 am

A Triple Dipper, SRI?!?

South River Independent
Reply to  Dave Fair
July 18, 2017 8:23 am

Actually quadruple. I get a small pension from a defense contractor from which I retired after working on government contracts.

Reply to  South River Independent
July 17, 2017 2:40 pm

To: South Rhubarb Independent:
“My hypothesis is that humans cause climate change by attempting to measure it.”
You may be on to something.
Humans ignored climate change for centuries
and look at all the progress and prosperity
and improvements in our health and longevity
when we had no climate change boogeymen to distract us.
Half the so-called “warming” could easily be attributed to humans (excluding CO2).
Maybe more “human causes” of climate change than natural causes?
… considering all the human “adjustments” to the data,
and the wild guess “infilling”,
and the urban heat island effect,
and 1880s thermometers that tended to read low,
and almost no southern hemisphere data for many decades,
and measuring oceans with buckets, drunk sailors, and thermometers?
and the government bureaucrat desire to have more warming,
so their predictions will be “proven” right,
and who can stop them there bureaucrats rom cooking the books
when they “own” all the actuals?
And whose to say that “average temperature”
is really a good measurement of the climate?
And anyone who gets a goobermint pension,
a military pension, and Social Security,
should be investigated,
or asked for a loan.

South River Independent
Reply to  Richard Greene
July 18, 2017 8:42 am

As I have always held a security clearance since I was sworn into the Navy as a plebe at the Naval Academy, I have been investigated, every five years. And yes, my education was paid for by taxpayers, even my two master’s degrees, which were obtained under the GI Bill.
My wife and I are planning an addition for our home, so we are not able to provide any loans at this time.
On the other hand, I am educated enough and smart enough to see what is really going on.

Michael Jankowski
July 17, 2017 10:24 am

Stephen Schneider said scientists needed to invent scary scenarios to get attention. Yet to see a single warmista say he was wrong.

Reply to  Michael Jankowski
July 17, 2017 10:58 am

Correct Michael.. and that’s why there’s no need for Red Team- Blue Team… the majority of headline Climate Science is outright data fraud and manipulation. Just fire the High Priests and make an attempt at fact-based science research.

July 17, 2017 10:25 am

“It is possible/plausible that the sensitivity of the climate is on the low end of the IPCC envelope (1.0-1.5C),”
Correction. It is CERTAIN that the sensitivity of the climate is below the low end of the IPCC envelope.
The sensitivity of an ideal BB at 255K is about 0.3C per W/m^2 and already below the IPCC lower limit of 0.4C per W/m^2. This is given EXACTLY by the slope of the SB relationship 1/(4eoT^3) (e emissivity == 1 and o is SB the constant = 5.67E-8 W/m^2 per K^4).
Rather than the 240 W/m^2 that would be emitted by an ideal BB receiving an average of 240 W/m^2 from the Sun, the Earth surface in direct equilibrium with the SUN emits on average about 390 W/m^2 or about 1.6 W/m^2 of emissions per W/m^2 of input from the Sun. Owing to the T^4 relationship between emissions and temperature, each degree of warmth requires exponentially more incident power to sustain, thus the sensitivity to incremental input energy is necessarily less than that of an ideal BB receiving the same amount of incident energy. QED

Michael Jankowski
July 17, 2017 10:27 am

…Mann et al. in WaPo: and ECOWatch: Such rhetoric is in many ways as pernicious as outright climate change denial, for it leads us down the same path of inaction…
So ignore the issue of whether something is realistic/true or not…the issue is that it doesn’t incite action. From an alleged scientist.

July 17, 2017 10:31 am

Ms. Curry wrote:
“In understanding climate change risk, and deciding on the ‘if’ and ‘what’ of ‘action’,
we need to acknowledge that we don’t know how the climate of the 21st century will play out
(Deep Uncertainty, folks). Four possibilities:”
Ms. Curry is not very bright.
She correctly states “we don’t know how the climate of the 21st century will play out”
Then she offers us “four possibilities”.
Huh? That’s a non sequitur.
“we don’t know”, but she’s got it narrowed down to only “four possibilities”.
If “we don’t know” is true, then we also don’t know how many possibilities there are!
Ms. Curry s obviously not very bright.
She apparently believed the IPCC until about eight years ago.
That’s not very bright.
She takes a lot of heat from smarmy leftists.
That’s one point in her favor.
I hope she stays away from colleges and universities
and starts being more of a skeptic about EVERYTHING
that people claim they know about climate science,
especially the “lukewarmers”.
Climate science is a mystery with lots of questions and few answers
— that’s why we get so many grossly inaccurate “it’s different this time”
predictions of the future climate, that bear no resemblance
to what actually happened since 1940,
and nearly always turn out to be wrong:
In the “era of manmade CO2” since 1940, we had:
(a) Negative correlation of CO2 and temperature
from 1940 to 1975,
(b) Positive correlation of CO2 and temperature
from 1975 to 2000, and
(c) No correlation of CO2 and temperature
from 2000 to 2015.
The lukewarmers believe (b) is correct for the future.
Why they don’t pick (a) or (c) I don’t know.
Lukewarmers imply they “know” CO2 controls the climate,
but unlike the CO2 is Evil Cult, they say CO2 is not dangerous.
Some may say there are natural causes of climate change too,
but CO2 is still important.
To be bright in the field of climate science you have to say
you don’t know what causes climate change, and you have
no idea if lab experiments with CO2 tell us much about the
effect of CO2, including feedbacks, in real life.
To be bright in the field of climate science you have to say
adding CO2 to the air is greening the Earth and accelerating
growth of C3 plants used as food by animal and humans.
And putting less CO2 in the air would slow that good news!
That good news from CO2 is supported by satellite data and hundreds,
if not thousands, of conclusive lab experiments on plant growth.
If there is any bad news from adding CO2 to the air,
please offer proof right now — — nothing unusual
has happened to the climate since 1940
— in fact the second half of the twentieth century
was very much like the first half of the twentieth century.
To be bright in the field of climate science you have to observe
what the government bureaucrat scientists are really saying,
and tell people their explanations of climate change are hard to believe:
(a) Natural climate change for 4.5 billion years,
(b) 1940: Natural climate change “dies”,
(c) 1940: Man made aerosols take over as “the climate controller”,
(d) 1975: Man made aerosols “die”,
(e) 1975: Man made CO2 takes over as “the climate controller”,
(f) 2000: Man made CO2 “falls asleep”
(g) 2015 / 2016: ENSO “El Nino” takes over as “the climate controller”
To be really bright about the climate, you need no science degrees,
but you do need to at least observe the “local” climate where you live over time.
Did anyone notice, simply by going outside, that the present climate is wonderful,
and did anyone notice its been getting better for many decades?
So when smarmy leftists claim a climate catastrophe has been in progress since 1975,
your personal experiences should tell you they have no idea what they are talking about,
and are just making wild guesses about the future that are very likely to be wrong.

July 17, 2017 11:47 am

Been here, done that one, as I posted in another WUWT blog article about a week or so ago, but, hey, now that Judith Curry ‘s got my back, allow me a redux:comment image?raw=1

July 17, 2017 11:49 am

The focus on a worst-case climate scenario doesn’t pass the logic test. The fat tail analysis addresses only one possible extreme outcome. Probability distribution functions have two tails. In the case of climate change, the tails would represent out-of-control warming on one end and an ice age on the other. To debate one extreme outcome and to ignore the other is to make the same mistake that got the U.S. into the first Iraq war, the one-percent solution. Ask Cheney about it.
If climate data portend small possibilities for a too hot or too cold earth sometime in future, beyond the lifetimes of everyone living today, the most logical action is to do nothing until the science is right. Environmental policies that might be appropriate for the warming case would be diametrically opposite to those appropriate for the cooling case, which I would conclude nullifies any argument to act based on either small possibility of an extreme outcome.
The best estimate pdf is a rectangular distribution. The mode is unknown but lies between the extreme values. The scientific goal should be to narrow the range of uncertainty with better data and models until policies can be developed consistent with the range of possible outcomes. (See “An Analysis of the Mean Global Temperature in 2031” for more details. (

Gary Pearse
July 17, 2017 11:52 am

Judith’s 1&4 are both ‘large variability’. If this is the case, then the earth is unlikely to be in any trouble that we can prevent with policy. The cases aren’t exclusive, if we have large variability and low climate sensitivity, then emissions prevention is mathematically idiotic.
So far this latter combo scenario best fits the real data. Here we would look to have a strong civil defence re hurricanes, tornadoes and for floods, engineering (not political) decisions re dredging, floodway works, combined with water storage – manmade or groundwater recharge structures as appropriate. Although not weather, hardened defences re tsunamis, earthquake structural design, etc. These things are not new ideas and without anymore said, we WILL have these things in the future but we have to wait until sanity can be restored.
There is a big #5 that is ignored here and on all sides of the debate generally and that is the earth is not a passive actor being shoved around by CO2 or even by climate variability. It’s the virtually certain idea that it’s systems react to shifts in conditions to try to restore itself back. Le Chatelier’s Principle that works on all systems not just chemical reactions. Climate sensitivity that might be determined in a lab experiment (the oft clarioned linear thinker’s:’it’s physics’ ) is irrelevant to climate change if the earth largely resists the change, say, a la Willis Eschenbach. A wonderful case in point is the unexpectedly virulent greening of the planet that alarmists, knowing that it both flattens the atmospheric carbon dioxide accumulation and is an endothermic (cooling) reaction (maybe even a bigger sequestration and cooling in plankton in the world’s oceans.)
Finally, we should start the research by revisiting Bertrand Russell’s orbiting tea pot.
because we should recall dangerous anthropo warming was given its real birth by Maurice STRONG, a communist high school drop out, who created UNFCCC, IPCC, the Stockholm Accord, Kyoto, and Agenda 21 and who said it was our duty to bring down western civilization!

Reply to  Gary Pearse
July 17, 2017 12:53 pm

“a communist high school drop out”
Maurice Strong was a high school drop out.
He was a socialist too.
He was also a businessman
in many private sector executive positions
and serving on boards
That strongly suggests he was not a communist,
nor did he go to a “communist high school”
I’m glad he’s dead, however,
he left behind counterproductive
UN environmental organizations

July 17, 2017 12:04 pm

A thought just occurred to me: Playing the uncertainty angle would seem to offer many funding opportunities — as many funding opportunities as claiming … humans are definitely the cause of catastrophic climate change and here are more funded research results to back up that claim.
So, all is not lost funding wise, dear alarmists. Just get LESS alarmed and more uncertain, and the funding gravy train will continue. Oh, and a most unanticipated result might ensue — you actually get closer to the truth.

Joel Snider
July 17, 2017 12:19 pm

‘The climate change debate has entered what we might call the “Campfire Phase”, in which the goal is to tell the scariest story.’
Actually, I think it started there, because that’s already the standard methodology used by those who push it.
The specific subject doesn’t matter.

Reply to  Joel Snider
July 17, 2017 12:42 pm

The “Campfire Phase” was started by Al “The Blimp” Bore in the mid-1990s
His fairy tales were bigger and better than the mainstream CO2 fear mongers.
He made a lot of money.
Good thing — a hot air blimp like Mr. Bore needs lots of gas.

July 17, 2017 2:58 pm

By denying that CO2 is the problem, we are putting this gas out of focus, which marginalizes a minority gas.
Skepticism in the area of current climate science, then, is akin to racism. Such discrimination cannot continue in an enlightened society, lest we further fertilize the seeds of injustice that will grow into the tangled vines of abuse of our children’s children. There, … there is MY campfire story to add to the lot.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
July 17, 2017 3:38 pm

You should not have said that.
It’s only a matter of time before climate skeptics are being called racists,
since “science deniers” is not a powerful enough character attack.
My theory:
Any white person who disagrees with a leftist for long enough,
on any subject, will eventually be called a racist

Gunga Din
July 17, 2017 3:20 pm

The climate change debate has entered what we might call the “Campfire Phase”, in which the goal is to tell the scariest story. – Oren Cass (twitter)

Ever watch “The Storm Channel” (formerly, and actually, “The Weather Channel”)?
Years ago I could watch it and have an idea of what the weather my friends in other parts of the country might expect. The “Local Weather on the 8’s” included the record high and low for the day.
Not anymore. Now they only seem to focus on storms. On there rare day when there are no storms, then we hear about the deadly drizzle that could devastate Dallas.
They only seem to want to leave the impression of danger rather than just give us a weather forecast.
PS Their local forecast for a couple of days or more out stink.

Reply to  Gunga Din
July 17, 2017 3:45 pm

The Weather Channel even names the storms.
The storms have teams to name them and publicize them
(the storms have producers, business managers, publicists, hairdressers,
make up artists and novice reporters who have to go outside and stand
in the horrible weather while reporting on the storms, like you wouldn’t
believe there really was a storm if they sat in a dry TV truck
and aimed the camera out the windshield)
Storms are big time entertainment now

July 19, 2017 10:14 am

“The Weitzmann fat tail argument says greater uncertainty increases the urgency of ‘action’”
Yes. This is the classic “don’t just stand there, do something!” argument popular amongst alarmists. Get off you fuzzy butt and move! Go do something! Run in circles and shout!
It’s a truly worthless approach to problem solving but we’ve proven it burns calories and reduces visceral fat.

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