Steven Novella’s Junk Science About Climate Change Acceleration

Guest smack-down by David Middleton

There was a time that I had a fair bit of respect for Dr. Novella.

Climate Change Is Accelerating
Published by Steven Novella under General Science

Have you ever traveled with a large group of friends? When a group gets beyond a certain “critical mass” it becomes geometrically more difficult to make decisions. Even going to a restaurant or a movie become laborious. Decision making seems to break down in large groups, especially if there isn’t an established hierarchy or process in place. That’s why the “by committee” cliche exists – group decision making can be a highly flawed and problematic process.

I can’t escape the nagging sensation that the world is having this problem. We seem to be politically frozen and unable to take decisive timely action. We are metaphorically driving toward a cliff, and we can’t even take our foot off the accelerator, let alone apply the brakes.

I am talking, of course, about climate change. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) compiled data in preparation for a UN summit on climate change in New York (which the US will not, ironically, be attending). They found:

*2014-2019 are the hottest 5 years on record

*Global temperature have risen by 1.1 C since 1850, but  0.2 C between 2011-2015.

*CO2 release between 2014-2019 was 20% higher than the previous 5 years

*Sea level rise has been 3.2 mm per year on average since 1993, but is 5mm per year averaged over the last five years.

*Ice loss is accelerating. For example – “The amount of ice lost annually from the Antarctic ice sheet increased at least six-fold, from 40 Gt per year in 1979-1990 to 252 Gt per year in 2009-2017.”

*Heatwaves, wild fires, and extreme weather events are increasing and causing increasing damage and costs.


NeuroLogica Blog

“2014-2019 are the hottest 5 years on record”

Figure 1. UAH v6.0 (°C), 12-month running average, Wood for Trees

“Sea level rise has been 3.2 mm per year on average since 1993, but is 5mm per year averaged over the last five years”

More like 3.0 and 3.4 mm/yr.

Figure 2. Sea Level – NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. The y-axis is sea level variation (mm), “with respect to 20-year TOPEX/Jason collinear mean reference”. In the data download, NASA includes the standard deviation. I had no idea it was that large.

A couple of degrees warmer than the coldest climate of the entire Holocene Epoch (The Little Ice Age) is a good thing. If not for the warming allegedly caused by CO2, it would be colder than “The Ice Age Cometh“…

Figure 3. Modified after IPCC AR4

“CO2 release between 2014-2019 was 20% higher than the previous 5 years”

There are no data for 2019, the year isn’t over yet. And 2014-2019 would be 6 years. According to the 2019 BP Statistical Review of World Energy carbon dioxide emissions for the five year period (2014-2018) were 5% greater than the prior five year period (2009-2013):

  • 2009-2013 157,872 million tonnes
  • 2014-2018 165,696 million tonnes
  • 165,696/157,872 = 1.04956


Figure 4. Global carbon dioxide emissions (BP Statistical Review of World Energy)

Red China is not an OECD nation. Dr. Novella needs to learn how to speak Mandarin, so he can hector the source of the problem.

Figure 5. Global carbon dioxide emissions (BP Statistical Review of World Energy)

“Ice loss is accelerating. For example – “The amount of ice lost annually from the Antarctic ice sheet increased at least six-fold, from 40 Gt per year in 1979-1990 to 252 Gt per year in 2009-2017”

The asserted ice loss over the satellite era works out to about 3 trillion tonnes. The total mass of the Antarctic Ice Sheet is about 27,601,654 BILLION metric tons… 27,602 TRILLION metric tons… 3 is 0.011% of 27,602.  Zero-point-zero-one-one percent is indistinguishable from Mr. Blutarski’s grade point average…

99.989% of the Antarctic Ice Sheet didn’t melt. If ice loss is accelerating, why don’t we see it in the sea level data? The missing sea level rise is the primary reason they tack 0.2 mm/yr onto SLR and call it a glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA).

Figure 6. Sea level reconstruction from tide gauge data (Jevrejeva et al., 2014). Note rock pick added for scale.
Figure 7. J14 exhibits alternating periods of fast (~3 mm/yr) and slow (~1 mm/yr) of sea level rise.

Sea level is not doing anything that is wasn’t already doing.

Figure 8. GSL since Younger Dryas. Note the error bar is ±12 meters. (The Holocene Sea Level Highstand)

Are Warmunists allergic to context?

Let’s look at the much more “vulnerable” Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS). According to Kjeldsen et al., 2015, the GrIS lost over 9,900 km3 of ice from 1900-2010 and an article in The Economist asserted that the GrIS lost 375 Gt/yr (409 km3/yr) from 2011-2014.

Is that a lot of ice? According to U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1386–A (2012), the volume of the GrIS is 2,600,000 km3. The USGS cites a 1954 reference for this number and also cites Bamber et al., 2011, which puts the volume at 2,900,000 km3Bamber has subsequently upped his estimate to 2,960,000 km3.  This is funny.  Either the GrIS added 360,000 km3 of ice from 1954-2013 at a time when NASA said the GrIS was losing 4,089 km3 or the uncertainty of the volume of the GrIS is about 1,000 times the annual ice loss that is asserted with such precision by Amazing GRACE.

Here’s a graphical depiction of this projected up to 2017:

Figure 9. 99.58% of the Greenland Ice Sheet has not melted since 1900. (A Geological Perspective of the Greenland Ice Sheet)

For a little more perspective, let’s convert this to ice cubes.

Figure 10. Based on the asserted loss of ice since 1900, the GrIS has lost the equivalent of a Lake Superior-sized ice cube. However the GrIs remained larger than the Gulf of Mexico (by volume) despite losing a Lake Superior. The Gulf of Mexico has a volume of about 2.5 million km3. If the GrIS melted, the volume of water would be about 2.71 million km3. Before losing Lake Superior, the water volume was 2.72 million km3.

If you were to spread that Lake Superior-sized ice cube across the surface of the GrIS, it would only be about 2 meters thick.

Figure 11. The top panel is zoomed in on the box in the lower panel.  Each square on the graph paper image represents 5 vertical meters. (Alarmists Gone Wild: Greenland losing 400 cubic km ice cubes per year!!!)

2 meters is basically a Dean Wormer thickness.  Vinther et al., 2009 reconstructed the elevations of four ice core sites over the Holocene.  There has been very little change in elevation of the two interior ice core sites (NGRIP and GRIP), while the two outboard sites (Camp Century and DYE3) have lost 546 and 342 m of ice respectively.

Figure 12. Most of the melting since the beginning of the Holocene has occurred on the outboard, lower elevation portions of the GrIS – Same as it ever was. X-axis is in calendar years AD(BC). Elevation reconstruction data from Vinther et al., 2009. Map from Weißbach et al., 2015.

Here are elevation profiles for the end of the Pleistocene and 2000 AD.

Figure 13. Elevation profiles: End Pleistocene and 2000 AD.

Dr. Novella’s solutions

Even if everyone agrees we should do something, there is disagreement over what the best something is. Some people want to see an action movie, while others want to see a drama. Unfortunately for the global warming controversy – there is only one planet. We have to watch this same movie together no matter what. But this is not the main limiting factor. There are some obvious steps we all know we should take. Stop building coal-fired plants. Invest in zero-carbon energy. Stop subsidizing fossil fuel, and instead subsidize renewable energy. Improve the mileage of cars, and start switching to hybrids and electric vehicles. Prioritize energy efficiency. Plant trees.

NeuroLogica Blog

“Stop subsidizing fossil fuel, and instead subsidize renewable energy”???

The U.S. government spent next to nothing on fossil fuel subsidies in FY2016 (the most recent report).

Figure 14. $489 million is next to nothing. (Direct Federal Financial Interventions and Subsidies in Energy in Fiscal Year 2016)

The expenses involved in extracting a depleting resource have to be written off as the resource is produced (depletion allowance). Some capital expenditures are allowed to be written off as expenses, rather than capitalized over time. When we drill wells, tangible drilling expenditures (items with salvage value) have to be capitalized. Intangible drilling expenditures (services and materials with no salvage value) can written off as expenses. According to the most recent EIA analysis of energy subsidies, fossil fuels received almost no net subsidies…

Figure 15. Click to enlarge.

The FY2016 numbers actually reflect a negative subsidy for natural gas and petroleum liquids. They also indicate that the solar subsidy has “fallen” to $4.19/mmBtu. The subsidy for solar power is about 1/3 higher than the wellhead price for natural gas.

Figure 16. Solar is subsidized more than it would cost to purchase natural gas.

Dr. Novella earns a Geico Caveman Award

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Joel O'Bryan
September 26, 2019 11:12 am

Aren’t Figs 4 and 5 identical?

Reply to  David Middleton
September 26, 2019 3:58 pm

Damn. I was playing spot the differences and couldn’t find any. I’m terrible.

Thomas Bourke
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
September 26, 2019 11:55 am

No. Go back to the charts and read what they represent on the bottom of the chart.

Charles Higley
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
September 26, 2019 8:46 pm

Better yet, the graphic lines in the third figure are backwards. It show that observations are that temperature is escalating and that the models are showing level or cooling. This is just wrong.

Reply to  David Middleton
September 27, 2019 8:17 am

You guys STILL keep thinking this is all about “the Science.” It’s NOT, and hasn’t been for a very long time. It’s a PROPAGANDA war. AGW is being used as a boogeyman to scare the crap out of the population (especially youth) to force the socialist agenda’s foot in the door. And it’s working, unfortunately, a little too well! More than a third of Millennials now poll as believing a socialist state would be a positive change. That should scare you a LOT more than global warming.

Instead of graphs and charts splitting hairs over tenths of a degree over decades, we need a short, sharp, concise, sound-bite response to this tidal wave of indoctrination–one that can, in an instant, show the smoke-and-mirrors man behind the (iron) curtain for what he is.

One problem is that “educated” urbanites these days see the weather and human events almost entirely through their phones; they do not experience nature, flora and fauna, or weather directly and personally, so they’ll easily believe anything they’re told. Perhaps its time the Heritage Foundation or similar hire some writers capable of breaching this mental wall of misinformation and social contagion.

Reply to  Goldrider
October 1, 2019 11:04 am

Great point, Goldrider. It’s why I stopped following WUWT closely.

There’s too much of wanting to be part of the “in crowd.” Too much nibbling and nitpicking about “scientific” details, and hoping the PC-Prog crowd in control of the journals will recognize the superior logic and publish one of their critiques, and then “science” will applaud and accept the Realist point of view.

The AGW push to destroy the American economy is just one prong of a multi-faceted attack on Normal America.

It’s waged hourly and daily in classrooms, editorial rooms, and movie production meetings. “Science” is just a veneer of respectability that they gloss onto their myriad destruction operations.

There are solutions to counter this massive effort, but they would not be pretty.

Mark S.
Reply to  Goldrider
October 3, 2019 8:10 am

Socialist agenda or really a Capitalist addenda? Oil corporations are sponsoring a tiny fraction of climate research compared to government bodies like the USA. Climate research has become a huge business employing a huge number of scientists world wide. Carbon trading is a huge business for global brokers like Goldman Sachs. Carbon will be the biggest commodity market on earth, moving trillions of dollars, yearly, between banks thereby further delaying the inevitable collapse of a debt/fiat money based economic system. Poor nations in e.g. Africa may not be able to burn coal and oil to create cost-effective energy but instead will leave their share to the wealthier nations – those that can afford to pay for the “license”. The US so far does not even need a license. Poor nations may need to buy solar panels and wind generators from China, Europe and the US instead of using and benefiting from their own resources.

September 26, 2019 11:29 am

May I pick a small hole in the sea level rise “response”?

The study that came out last month from “Nature Climate Change”, shows that the rate of sea level rise IS increasing. It’s paywalled but there’s an abstract –

The study’s also been referenced in a couple of other sites. There’s one that contains the interesting graphs;

If you look at the second graph – that shows how the rate of increase has slowed or speeded up and it’s most definitely varied a lot in the last century. We are currently in a speeding up period and it started in the 1960s. So, it does look like there IS an increase in the rate of sea level rise. “Carbon brief” has mentioned the same thing – the rate’s increasing. It didn’t give a full explanation, just that “ocean heat uptake” was the cause.

However, you have to actually look at the Nature website for an explanation that was missing from Carbon Brief . It clearly states that about 76% of that increase is down to changes in wind direction. (It’s allowed more water to get warmed up and expand). It’s clearly happened before as there’s too much variability in that second graph to have any other explanation – unless everyone stopped breathing before the 1960s).

So, I think there has been and IS an acceleration in sea level rise. It’s localised in the western Pacific and Atlantic by virtue of a change of wind direction. This localised and unique phenomenon has been added to the natural rise in global gmsl to give a gmsl that is increasing. It should have been excluded…

As for the 24% or so that ISN’T down to those wind direction changes – how many smaller ones have taken place that aren’t accounted for?

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Teddz
September 26, 2019 12:44 pm


The idea that the oceans are heating up is mistaken so it is unlikely to be “the cause”.

The study published in Nature claiming t have quantified heat gained by the oceans has been withdrawn thanks to the efforts of Nic Lewis.

Reply to  Teddz
September 26, 2019 12:56 pm

I am just a casual observer and every few months I pull the NOAA data and graph it for a few random tidal stations. I just don’t see an acceleration. What am I missing? I know I am not splicing in Satellite data onto the tidal gauge charts.

Reply to  LexingtonGreen
September 26, 2019 2:16 pm

How dare you look at real data?

Komrade Kuma
Reply to  LexingtonGreen
September 26, 2019 4:44 pm

It is clear that the sea level record has a short term periodic compenent and to take a 5 year ‘sample’ has the problem, as indicated in Figure 2, of starting on a ‘trough’ and ending on a crest or the trend line. This wavelength selection factor creates the additional uptrend. If you took a sample say from 2006 to 2001 say you would get a zero or even slightly negative trend.

I have seen an even more bizarre version of this sort of utter incompetence in a paper reporing on sea level rise on the east coast of Australia where the trend was almost entirely due to the gormless use of a data set affected by the PDO which was almost sinusoidal and started on a trough and finished on an obvious crest.

This sort of mathematical incompetence or fraud is way to common in climate science and says a lot about the underlying integrity of the body of work purporting to evidence global warming/climate change.

Why would anyone with half a brain or more not be a skeptic let alone a ‘denier’.

Clarky of Oz
Reply to  LexingtonGreen
September 26, 2019 6:58 pm

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology has a page dedicated to sea levels in the pacific area. Fiji Tuvalu etc.

I look at this occasionally (well every time our PM cops a blast from one of the regional leaders) and can see nothing significant. Some ups some downs.

Robert W Turner
Reply to  Teddz
September 26, 2019 1:07 pm

Scientifically speaking, sea level is at stand still. Zero sea level rise.

Reply to  Robert W Turner
September 26, 2019 11:29 pm

wow, what data are you using to back that up?

AGW is not Science
Reply to  Dean
September 27, 2019 9:40 am

Not a psychic or anything, but what I think he is alluding to is that the errors in the “data” (not to mention dubious “adjustments,” again) are big enough that any actual sea level rise would be indistinguishable from the errors in said “data.”

Reply to  Teddz
September 26, 2019 1:30 pm

Interesting graphs. Pity the paper is paywalled.

The 2cd graph, acceleration, shows almost identical slope for 1910-1930 and 1955-1975 (aprox). The first coincides with the positive phase of the PDO & AMO but the second was during the negaitve phase. Not what I would expect.

1965-2000 is a plateau. The top graph (rise) goes to present but the second (acceleration) ends shortly after 2000. I wish they would keep them in sync time wise.

Reply to  Teddz
September 26, 2019 3:16 pm

We are currently in a speeding up period and it started in the 1960s.

Not any more.
No, it is not thermal expansion. No, it is not prevailing winds, or ENSO, or anything else.
You have a sine wave of 74.4 years, impressed on a purely linear SLR.
This is due to the Nodal Precession of the orbit of the moon. You see it in tide gauges in mid-latitude areas. I watch Boston, and it is very clear.
The Global Warming crowd has been trying forever to start graphs at around ~1965 to ~1975, see the upward swing of the precession, and Point-And-Shout Global Warming!
It works right until the moment you show the whole graph, and see that it is a cyclical phenomena.
The portion of maximum rise is over, and the curve is starting to peak out and enter a flat section.

Hey Everybody: Let’s All Have Fun With Sea Level Rise!
Go to figure 2, the SLR graph.
The caption looks like this. It is a clickable link!
Figure 2. Sea Level – NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
Go ahead, click on it and get taken to the NASA web page.
What you will find:
1) The Satellite graph David Middleton used in this post. Note that SLR = ~3.0 mm/yr. and NO appreciable acceleration.

2) A graph of Tide Gauges. This graph shows ~1.5 mm/yr from 1880-1980. Just about Half of what the Sat. data shows. Bonus: This graph also shows a slight but noticeable acceleration in the last few decades which is not present in the first graph.

All on the same page. Your tax dollars at work!

Reply to  TonyL
September 26, 2019 8:31 pm

That is most illuminating. I’d have never thought to take the moon into account.

Sky King
Reply to  Teddz
September 27, 2019 2:02 am

If I could post a picture I would. A late friend of mine beached his WWII surplus submarine chaser on Playa Cacao, Golfito, Costa Rica 65 years ago. The keel and twin diesel engines are all that remain of it where he beached it – the balance of it went to the construction of his nearby house. At low tide the water laps 150 ft away. At high tide the engines are inundated. Nothing has changed in 65 years. You might even find it on Google Earth.

Sea level rise – phhhhhttt!

Joel O'Bryan
September 26, 2019 11:35 am

I see the difference now between Figs 4 and Fig 5. No bad.

Here’s what they really mean when they say “subsidizing fossil fuels.”

Banning oil and gas production from ALL public lands and offshore. is their code word to what they really mean by “subsidy.” Despite the fact companies pay royalties to the land mineral rights holder, they still see extactions on public lands as “subsidy.” Or at least that is/will be their claims if they can grab the political power to do so.
So it is the Democrat’s set-up to invoke a US Government ban on oil and gas production on all federal lands and in the waters beyond 3 miles.

The opening of ANWR really set them off on this path. They are devising strategies and laying out their PR campaigns to reverse the ANWR legislation… but they won’t stop there. As both Pocahontas and Comrade Bernie have said, they will use the force of Executive Orders to attempt a stop on all further drilling and exploration on all federally controlled lands. And by extension it what their GreenSlime Masters need if their wind and solar investments are to pay-off in their pursuit to destroy the middle class’s affluence.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
September 26, 2019 3:06 pm

Most leftists believe that any tax rate that is less than 100% is a subsidy.

Mark Broderick
September 26, 2019 11:46 am

As an American living in Northern Canada, I would prefer that ALL of the ice keep on receding north…Getting beer under a mile of ice would be a little problematic….(Canadians may be forced to drink (gasp) American beer !) lol

Mike McHenry
September 26, 2019 11:51 am

What is the glacial isostatic adjustment?

Mike McHenry
Reply to  David Middleton
September 26, 2019 1:07 pm


Mike McMillan
Reply to  David Middleton
September 26, 2019 6:17 pm

They tack on 0.3 mm/yr GIA, not 0.2 mm/yr.

Because the ocean basin is getting bigger. Riiiight.

The number they come up with then is not actual sea level rise. It’s something else. I don’t know what.

AGW is not Science
Reply to  David Middleton
September 27, 2019 9:58 am

ROTFLMAO – +/-90mm, and they’re telling us the SLR is 3.2mm – 5mm per year.

That’s as useful as telling me the fuel in the tank of my airplane will take me another 320-500 miles, plus or minus 9,000 miles.

AGW is not Science
Reply to  David Middleton
September 27, 2019 9:52 am

Not only that, but there should be no GIA applied because it is relative sea level rise (relative to land height, that is) that matters – nobody’s beach house will be swamped by seal level rise if the land is rising as fast as the water, so who cares about what the relative sea level rise would be IF there were no “uplift of land masses?!”

September 26, 2019 11:52 am

Looking at the facts is the antidote but one that’s very difficult to get through an overriding narrative. Hard to blame citizens when they are propagandized non stop from all sides. On Climate and energy information only North Korea fits as a comparison. The propagandists have even come up with a deeply flawed person to put a human face on their torrent of falsehoods. Kim Jong Greta.

Phillip Bratby
September 26, 2019 12:05 pm

And there was I thinking climate was at least 30 years, so any shorter period is just weather change, driven by short term weather events.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
September 26, 2019 2:40 pm

About that 30 years thing:
Back in the mid-1930s, meteorologists got together and decided the average adult could relate to a limited prior weather history. How long? They thought 30 years. Before modern computers. Calculating things was laborious.
Thus, they came up with “Climate Normals” of 30 years.

Thus, like the numbers 350, 1.5, and others, 30 is just a number with no scientific justification.

Gunga Din
Reply to  John F. Hultquist
September 26, 2019 3:30 pm

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought a big part of the “standard average” becoming based on 30 years back then was because that was about as far back as most commonly reliable instrument data went?
We could switch to 60 years for reporting what is “average” now? And 60 years would be more accurate?

Curious George
September 26, 2019 12:06 pm

They just lie. Business as usual.

Bruce Cobb
September 26, 2019 12:10 pm

“I can’t escape the nagging sensation that the world is having this problem.”
Yeah, I know what he means.
Insert sarcastic rant here.
End sarcastic rant.

Mumble McGurick
September 26, 2019 12:32 pm

Some people want to see an action movie, while others want to see a drama.

Instead we get a farce. People running around in a panic while there is no problem. Those in the know sit back and enjoy their popcorn.

September 26, 2019 12:33 pm

…and stop manufacturing agenda terminology like the term “fossil fuel subsidy”

Crispin in Waterloo
September 26, 2019 12:40 pm

The demolition of Junk Science! Thanks.

Are y’all aware that Nic Lewis has been victorious?

“London, 26 September: A major scientific paper, which claimed to have found rapid warming in the oceans as a result of manmade global warming, has been withdrawn after an amateur climate scientist found major errors in its statistical methodology.”

“The paper, from a team led by Laure Resplandy of Princeton University, had received widespread uncritical publicity in the mainstream media when it was published because of its apparently alarming implications for the planet. However, within days of its publication in October 2018, independent scientist Nic Lewis found several serious flaws.”

September 26, 2019 12:41 pm

Thanks for another article, sir.

“Sea level is not doing anything that is wasn’t already doing.”

September 26, 2019 12:45 pm

It’s true that rising temperatures and CO2 concentrations will present some challenges, but cooling temps and falling CO2 levels would have been far, far worse.

Tom in Florida
September 26, 2019 12:49 pm

“There are some obvious steps we all know we should take. ”

Not so fast Kemosabe. Your self appointment as decision maker as to what we should do is udder nonsense.
(for Griff et al, yes pun intended)

September 26, 2019 1:06 pm

You are correct that the end goal is always the re-establishment of the royalty at the expense of the middle class, and the only thing to be determined is who gets to be royalty.

Robert W Turner
September 26, 2019 1:20 pm

Sounds like another call for socialist fascism.

September 26, 2019 1:36 pm

Are the Trace Labels reversed in Figure 3??
Observations vs Models

September 26, 2019 2:12 pm

Have you ever traveled with a large group of friends? When a group gets beyond a certain “critical mass” it becomes geometrically more difficult to make decisions.

And what-the-fricking-frack does that have to do with weather?

Craig from Oz
Reply to  beng135
September 26, 2019 5:01 pm

Yeap – and here was me thinking the ‘Wisdom of Crowds’ was the new black.

If we dig deeper we might get some insight into the Leftie/Conservative mindset. The author is clearly disappointed with the fact the group refuses to form consensus, or more importantly form a consensus that confirms with his world view. Lefties either believe that ‘They know best’, or failing that, find someone who does ‘know best’ and latch onto them by aligning their world views with them. This gives their lives structure and removes uncertainty. Anything that runs counter to this world view is rejected – in many cases hostilely – because the cognitive dissidence is too painful to overcome.

In many cases they simply cannot understand how someone could disagree. Consensus is good. Dissent is bad. If everyone agrees then everyone would be happy as there will be no argument.

(actually the desire for everyone to be happy isn’t intrinsically bad. Just because you are Left doesn’t automatically make you evil… well… completely evil…)

Conservatives don’t feel the need to fully understand and/or control EVERYTHING. Conservatives, and lets be honest with ourselves, can be selfish in many ways. Compassion is first for the immediate family/friends social circle. Extended compassion does exist, but is usually tempered by pragmatism. People are being oppressed in ExampleLand, but what do you expect me to do about it?

The observation that conservatives don’t feel the need to control everything allows them to be more open minded and flexible with ideas. Ideas don’t drive their world view in a binding way because the conservative priority is to be left alone by the outside world long enough to ensure their family and friends social circles are successful and happy. Facts and understanding are interesting, not controlling. Happiness is the immediate circle, not the greater crowd. They don’t need to ALL go to the same movie, they need to go and do something they enjoy with people who also enjoy it. A conservative will go watch utter trash with another friend who also likes utter trash because they both enjoy it. They won’t however let this be a dividing wedge with their other mutual friends because they will find another binding interest, or, failing that, simply accept they don’t catch up with those people much any longer because ‘We don’t have a lot in common’.

Conservatives understand that people are different and get over it.

Lefties can’t understand why you are not into the same thing.

September 26, 2019 2:18 pm

“We seem to be politically frozen and unable to take decisive timely action. We are metaphorically driving toward a cliff, and we can’t even take our foot off the accelerator, let alone apply the brakes.”

Okay, I read that treacle-laden twaddle and here is my solution: STOP OBSESSING ABOUT IT!! STOP!! JUST STOP, YOU OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DORKWAD!!!! STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP IT!!!!!!

Find a new hobby, something productive like making ham and broccoli hotpockets at home. Make ice wine with raisins and frozen grapes. Read some good fiction like Heinlein, Walt Scott, Louisa May Alcott, or Dickens. Geezo Pete, try to solve Agatha Chritie’s murder mysteries that don’t involve Inspector Poirot!

Put that confounded piece of electronic junk in the trash where it belongs and use pen and paper to do things. Your freaking brain is fried beyond belief!!!

Do you know how small a frog is when it leaves the tadpole stage? Do you? It’s the size of your little fingernail, but you don’t know that because all you do is look at charts and graphs and have fits over them! You have a mind that has been glued shut!!!! Get off that confounded electronic junk for good. You’re addicted to it and it’s worse than snorting cocaine!!!! Throw that piece of junk away and embrace the real world!!!!

Sorry, Mods, I got a little carried away, I know, but the frustration I feel about these closet addicts (they are, believe me, they ARE addicts) is expressed when I vent like that.

Please go on posting their nonsense and pay no heed to my occasional rants. Thanks for your patience!

I feel much better now. 🙂

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Sara
September 26, 2019 8:56 pm

“Do you know how small a frog is when it leaves the tadpole stage? Do you? It’s the size of your little fingernail”

Actually I’ve seen plenty of tadpoles this size of my whole thumb. Guess it depends on the species.

Reply to  Sara
September 27, 2019 4:19 am

Yes, the species does decide the size of the tadpole and immature frog. The members of the gray treefrog complex average one and one-fourth to two inches in length as adults. Cope’s gray treefrog and the gray treefrog are two separate species, but they appear identical externally. The little guy I came across and photographed was so tiny he could hide in a sidewalk crack for safety.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Sara
September 27, 2019 6:20 am

I guess my experience is with Bullfrogs as big as your fist.

Reply to  Sara
September 27, 2019 6:17 pm

Hey, that’s okay!

A while back, I saw a dragonfly I couldn’t identify, and when I finally did track it down, it wasn’t supposed to be in MY area. It was only supposed to be in Indiana and Ohio. That was an eye-opener, never mind having to ID a wild honeybee with a metallic green thorax and eyes. Life in the wild is a serious trip!

September 26, 2019 2:34 pm

The true crisis is the complete mental breakdown of all liberals on this subject. They aren’t even engaging in any actual action that would lead to change, just screaming about the climate at every possible opportunity. I made some happy well wishing post on facebook today and someone turned it into and opportunity to hope that within a set amount of years we would be living on a sustainable space station elsewhere since we are doomed here. I couldn’t even come up with a response to that. What do you even say?

Reply to  JS
September 26, 2019 3:32 pm

JS, read what I posted above your post. These people are — well, just read it. I felt much better after blowing off all that steam.

Sometimes, being nice and positive just doesn’t pay off.

September 26, 2019 2:35 pm

Here in New Zealand our foremost earth and sea level scientist Willem de Lange says that the sea levels are rising at 1.5 mm per year and there is no sign of acceleration. He can find no proof that the rise is 3 mm as the satellites are reading .
We then have James Renwick ,our high chief of global warming .stating that from 2020 till 2050 the see level will rise by 30 centimeters a 7 fold jump from the 4.5 centimeter that may happen.
Who would you believe ?
This nonsense is published daily in our main stream news papers and TV news .
There is a climate march on today here in NZ and thousands of children are going to leave their class rooms and have a day protesting the climate , and then their mums all come and pick up their spoilt kids because it is too hard on them to walk home .
Then the TV news stated that thousands of business were going to close for the march .
Really did thousands of people tell them that ?
Gretta is now a saint here in NZ .
Crazy times .

michael hart
September 26, 2019 2:47 pm

When so much is supposed to be accelerating due to global warming, it ought to strike an honest alarmist as strange that so many accelerations only seem to come from ‘adjustments’ to the data.

That would ring very loud alarm bells in most truly scientific fields.

September 26, 2019 3:04 pm

“Are Warmunists allergic to context?”

Context is fatal to the fables they are trying to preach.
Rather than allegies, Kryptonite might be a better analogy.

Mike Maguire
September 26, 2019 3:10 pm

Thank you David Middleton for applying a needed reality check to the junk science!

On the sea level rise and a few other items, you can get some comprehensive, authentic data and interpretations from the discussion below. You will need to do a great of downward scrolling.

September 26, 2019 3:19 pm

The entire benefit from battery vehicles is that the local air pollution is relocated to somewhere that is (hopefully) in compliance with the air quality standards, like the Four Corners. For global climate change and global emissions, it doesn’t matter where the ele tricity is generated, just how. 40% or so in the US is still coal.

September 26, 2019 3:51 pm

Dr. Novella’s remediation plan would cause significant economic effects BUT global average temperatures by 2100 would not be altered by a measurable amount. He has no clue what he’s talking about. It’s 4th grade arithmetic no rocket science.

The Climate Problem invented by the Warmunustic Alarmists IS TOO BIG A PROBLEM TO FIX…without creating a bigger catastrophe.

A Centralized International Totalitarian Global Authority could not pull it off. Unless that Authority started building 2 – 3 Gigawatt Nuclear Power plants every day until 2050…


Unless the Totalitarian Authority was willing to allow around half the world’s population to parish….perishing not from Climate Events…perishing from the execution of Carbon Emission Reduction Actions.

They are telling us that global emissions must draw down to zero by 2050 or human extinction is assured. That cannot be done. They need to change their story to be believable.

Johnathan Birks
September 26, 2019 3:53 pm

I too once respected Novella, and was a regular listener of Skeptics Guide to the Universe. Then a few years back he dropped his objection to “denier” and gave his podcast over to the SJW agenda.

Reply to  Johnathan Birks
September 27, 2019 6:31 am

I think what’s happened is that he started to look at himself as a “science communicator”, which is different in an essential way than being a skeptic. Now he just cites the “consensus” very unskeptically and cites fossil fuel companies and politics as the cause of “denialism”. If you point out any problems with the science he just says those are uncertainties already subsumed into the consensus.

He talks a lot about publication bias and the problems with the current culture of science, but never connects that to the billions of dollars going yearly to climate change research as a possible cause of secondary gain issues with the science.

Alan Tomlin
Reply to  Johnathan Birks
September 27, 2019 12:57 pm

That’s about when I gave up on Novella’s podcast too (“there are none so blind as those who will not see”); somewhere along the line he drank the CAGW kool-aid, and seems incapable of applying his critical skills to observational data. He would do better if he just followed the money that supports the CAGW fantasy. Now we have large fleets of working and aspiring scientists (grad students and post-docs) drawn into the margins (eg. biology, marine sciences) of climate science by the ready availability of vast amounts of $$ that go to feed the grants, salaries, and mortgages of these people. It becomes a positive feedback loop that at some point will become unsustainable.

September 26, 2019 4:07 pm

*2014-2019 are the hottest 5 years on record

*Global temperature have risen by 1.1 C since 1850, but 0.2 C between 2011-2015.

*CO2 release between 2014-2019 was 20% higher than the previous 5 years

*Sea level rise has been 3.2 mm per year on average since 1993, but is 5mm per year averaged over the last five years.

*Ice loss is accelerating. For example – “The amount of ice lost annually from the Antarctic ice sheet increased at least six-fold, from 40 Gt per year in 1979-1990 to 252 Gt per year in 2009-2017.”

*Heatwaves, wild fires, and extreme weather events are increasing and causing increasing damage and costs.

The problem is that even if they were all true (they aren’t), he fails to show the evidence that the increase in CO2 is responsible for all that. There is no evidence, just a shaky line of reasoning and computer models that have been programmed to give that answer. Most people are convinced without evidence, I won’t.

It is unreasonable to demand steep sacrifices when there is no evidence that they will produce a noticeable effect. It is akin to sacrifice people to appease angry gods. If it rains the gods are pleased. If it doesn’t the gods are still angry, bring more people to sacrifice.

September 26, 2019 4:25 pm

Technically, depletion allowance and tax breaks aren’t subsidies anyway. Subsidies are “money given by a government….“. No one is “giving” you a thing with a tax break-it was yours to begin with. Renewables receive subsidies, fossil fuels mostly do not. The media erroneously combines tax breaks and subsidies under the banner of “subsidies”, so they can say “look, fossil fuels receive subsidies, too.”

September 26, 2019 4:27 pm

Many observations demonstrate that CO2 does not now, never has, and never will have a significant effect on climate. (Section 2, of my blog/analysis at

Since it has been fairly accurately measured worldwide, Jan, 1988, water vapor has increased about 4.3% or about 1.54% per decade. (Section 8, Figure 3)

The water vapor increase is about twice expected from temperature increase alone. (Section 8)

Most (about 86%) of the extra water vapor increase is from irrigation increase. (Section 9)

Both CO2 and water vapor have been fairly accurately measured worldwide since 1988. Over that period, about 5 water vapor molecules have been added for each added CO2 molecule. (Section 2, #9 of my b/a)

Hitran, using Quantum Mechanics, demonstrates that a water vapor molecule is about 5 times more effective than a CO2 molecule at absorb/emit of electromagnetic radiation in the wavelength range associated with earth temperatures. (Section 2, #8 of my b/a)

The increased number of CO2 molecules above the tropopause provides more radiation to space which apparently compensates for the slight increase in absorbers at ground level. (2nd paragraph after Figure 1)

The human contribution to Global Warming is from water vapor increase, not CO2 increase. Water vapor increase is self-limiting; therefore, Global Warming is self-limiting.

September 26, 2019 5:56 pm

And how did these so-called scary temperatures affect this writers’s life negatively in on observable way? NONE! He’s a foolish, dangerous mass hysteria inciter.

Clyde Spencer
September 26, 2019 6:24 pm

The quantity of ‘news’ articles recently, scaring the bejeebers out of children and other logic-challenged members of the public, reminds me of the way that naval artillery softens up beach heads before an amphibious assault.

Has anyone besides me noticed that the Yahoo US news section is dominated by British news sources such as the Guardian and Reuters? House representatives and American liberal Media have been making an issue of Russia supposedly trying to influence the 2016 election. Yet, the British Media sources are openly spinning the news with liberal viewpoints, including stories about impending climate catastrophes. It seems that there are two journalistic ‘standards;” one for those who support Trump, and another for those who hate Trump.

September 26, 2019 8:33 pm

Of course Steven Novella would get this wrong. He’s a science cheerleader, more than he is a scientist. I thought he was an actual skeptic.

Jeff Alberts
September 26, 2019 8:51 pm

To put things into an even greater perspective: How much ice was lost at the end of the last glacial, leading into the Holocene?

September 27, 2019 12:09 am

” If ice loss is accelerating, why don’t we see it in the sea level data?”
I keep saying the same thing and no-one gets it yet. You won’t necessarily see sea level rise in direct proportion to increasing volume because of increasing surface area. Tide gages will not reflect this.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Mike
September 27, 2019 6:18 am

How do you get increased area without rising?

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
September 27, 2019 4:54 pm

The Ocean basin does not have straight sides. Think of adding a little water to a glass – the level rises. It must. Add the same amount of water to a puddle of the same volume. It doesn’t rise in level, it spreads out. Greater surface area without level rise. There you have it. That’s how we can see inundation of low lying areas with a very gradual slope and almost no difference after 100 years at other sites like Sydney harbour.

Mark S.
September 27, 2019 8:23 am

Put the link to this page on Novella’s site. See what his response is. He’s an MD so he is out of his element commenting on climate science.

September 27, 2019 8:40 am

Our beloved contributor Willis Eschenbach taught me something awhile ago.

1 gallon of Gas has a lower value of $5000 / gallon at a labor rate of $15/hour.
1 kWh of Electricity is worth $150.

Those subsidies that total $0 out of the pocket of the US Government (and you and I) comes back to me EVERY TIME I pump my car full of gas. $4997 / gallon. I put 17 gallons in my minivan yesterday. I was given an $85000 subsidy to drive my car around.

I waste my subsidy on getting my kids to soccer, picking them up from baseball practice, getting them to guitar lessons, getting groceries.

Other people take that subsidy and turn it into more money. The landscapers put it in their lawn blowers and get people to pay them $40/hour to clean up their yards. Line workers use the energy to get buckets up to the power lines to fix them so I can pay $0.10 / kWh so I can watch LOST for the 5th time.

Think I am full of it for thinking a gallon of gas is worth $5000. Empty your vehicle of gasoline. Put 1 gallon in it. Drive away from your house until you run out. PUSH YOUR CAR BACK TO YOUR HOUSE. How long does it take you to get it there. My minivan will go about 19 miles on 1 gallon. To get that car back to my house having driven 19 miles would border on impossible without lots of extra help. Anyone who has every tried to push their car up any sort of incline knows why. Got 10 people, maybe you have a chance, but you are now incurring 10x the expense. That $5000/gallon is not an unreasonable estimate of its lower value.

Thank You Willis for teaching me that.

September 27, 2019 8:51 am

Opinion of Dr. Novella,

I admire his work at NESS mostly. He slips sideways on a couple of subjects. Climate Change is one of them. Even Brian Dunning slipped the same way. The skeptics have a consensus challenge. They believe in science. Sometimes that belief starts to slip into religious fervor. A lot of skeptics are also atheists. There is a god hole. Scientism sometimes slips into that hole. That god hole (a bucket that someone made up that is completely wrong, but does a reasonable job of describing a behavior) can only be addressed by the individual themselves. They either recognize the behavior or they don’t. You cannot tell someone that they are showing the behavior.

Brian Dunning, Dr. Robert Muller (of UC Berkeley and BEST), Phil Plait, and Dr Novella have all demonstrated when poked on this subject triggered behavior. Phil Plait gave his “Don’t be a dick speech” and then a couple weeks later starts calling Roy Spencer names. Novella, Dunning and Muller have all snapped back at me when I point at information that is counter to their claims. Push people in the wrong part of their model and they push back hard. I admire all of these people. I am just careful about being direct when it comes to many many subjects.

September 27, 2019 6:28 pm

Here’s a real-world question, and before anyone answers it, give your response a very real-world thought.

Erta Ale is an active volcano that sits right on a rift zone in Ethiopia, in the Afar region. When I first ran across references to this volcano, it had a 60 to 70 foot drop to the lava pool at the bottom of the caldera. The area in which it sits will, some day, split because that area is a triple plate boundary and it is pulling apart. Now the Erta Ale caldera is full to the brim – took less than 9 years to get there – and the entire Afar region is nearly uninhabitable. It is below sea level, so when the Earth does split open there (off in the future), there is no going back. It is also one of the most poisonous place on Earth, because the outgassing volume has increased exponentially over that last nine years to extremely dangerous levels. It sits at the very head of the split that will eventually separate Eastern Africa from the rest of that continent.

So when this split starts, the Red Sea will try to fill it and the changes will be violent. It’s unlikely that the extreme splitting will occur in our lifetimes, but it will occur, and the entire world will change. So, does anyone want to guess which way the climate will go on this?

Just asking, because Mt. Erebus and its line of volcanoes also sit on a rift zone, buried under the Antarctic ice.

September 28, 2019 6:04 am

‘Climate Change Is Accelerating’

In what units is ‘climate change’ measured?

“The direction of the climate change is unpredictable.”

What is climate change? And how can it have an attribute of “direction?”

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