Unsettled: Climate and Science | Dr. Steven Koonin

Jordan B Peterson

Dr Jordan B Peterson and Dr. Steven Koonin discuss the IPCC reports – the globally sourced research on climate change – and how policymakers take summaries of summaries from these to justify their green agenda, despite what the reports actually suggest. They also discuss starvation, obesity, green economics, and nuclear futures.

Dr. Steven Koonin, a University Professor at NYU, has served as the Department of Energy’s Under Secretary for Science, as Chief Scientist for BP, and as professor and Provost at Caltech. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Governor of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a senior fellow of Stanford’s Hoover Institution, and a Trustee of the Institute for Defense Analyses. Koonin holds a BS in physics from Caltech and a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from MIT. He wrote the recent bestseller “Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters.”

Dr Peterson’s extensive catalog is available now on DailyWire+: https://utm.io/ueSXh

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  • Links –

For Dr. Steven Koonin:

Dr. Koonin’s online material can be found here: https://steven-koonin.medium.com/

Andrew Dessler debates Dr. Steven Koonin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gICW…

More of Dr. Steven Koonin’s debates: https://www.steamboatinstitute.org/th…

  • Chapters –

(1:16) Intro
(4:00) Areas of focus
(8:30) Caltech, the best fifth of MIT
(10:30) BP’s chief scientist for 5 years
(12:50) Why every scientist should work in the private sector
(15:25) 4 percent of the world uses 20 percent of the power
(20:25) Promising future beyond petroleum
(22:30) Biofuels, competition of farmland for fuel or food
(25:00) Instability in Europe, the problem with renewables
(27:00) Reliable, affordable, clean
(29:00) Parallel power?
(31:00) Cobalt and cost
(32:50) The perfect storm in Germany
(34:10) Polling terror and pandering
(35:20) Techno-economic realities
(37:00) 6.5 billion need fossil fuels
(39:00) The argument for mass suffering
(41:38) Malthus, population, and extinction
(45:30) IPCC Reports, the summary, and the summary of the summary
(49:20) 97 percent of scientists agree?
(51:20) Devil’s advocate, since 1980 the world has greened 40 percent
(55:00) Suspicious predictions, climate, and the stock market
(57:45) Climate models: assumptions, averages, and vertical movement
(1:03:40) Nuclear power, economics, and genuine emissions reduction
(1:08:25) The politicians scream apocalypse, the science whispers optimism
(1:12:45) Attention to loss over gains
(1:15:39) Sustained imagination, America’s obsession with short-term results
(1:19:18) Obesity is a bigger threat than starvation
(1:21:40) Credible advocates in the political sphere
(1:23:10) Cowardice in the face of cancellation
(1:26:30) The issue with the term “climate scientist”
(1:29:20) Depressing and demoralizing the next generation
(1:32:20) Public opinion, ignorant discourse
(1:34:00) Telling young people that political activism is a means of morality
(1:35:25) Critical thinking and a basis of respect

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January 17, 2023 10:28 pm

I’ve watched the Dr. Jordan Peterson and Prof Richard Lindzen discussion.

Realities spoken LARGE!

So I’m certainly looking forward to watching this Peterson / Koonin discussion.

Reply to  Mr.
January 17, 2023 11:11 pm

Quite an interesting interview. Lindzen’s long career allowed him to observe the gradual corruption of academia and scientific research. His observations were very trenchant and incisive.

Reply to  Mr.
January 17, 2023 11:18 pm

I’m reading Dr. Steven Koonin’s book Unsettled. I’ve been using WUWT and other sources long enough that it doesn’t say much that I don’t know already. But the way it says it all is terrific – very quietly and clearly, and above all very thoroughly, so that when the people who misguide misuse and misrepresent the science end up skewered it is done so completely that the reader has no line of thought that can rescue them. I expect that any rusted-on green would just stop reading very early in the book – if they ever started – but this book may do a lot of good out in the real world. Recommended.

Reply to  Mike Jonas
January 18, 2023 2:07 am

Indeed we know how the game is played but us shouting it of the roof wont change a thing. Steven Koonin doing it may have a little more butterfly effect. Certainly if a channel has 6,24 M subscribers. You just wonder how many of the Climate Jugend and Green Shirts indoctrinated during all of their life will ever listen to this. And Puppet politicians and media just do as they are told by their master.

Last edited 18 days ago by Robertvd
Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Robertvd
January 18, 2023 4:54 am

Here in Wokeachusetts, virtually everyone in the media, academia and state government is singing the climate catastrophe song. Of course the average guy on the street doesn’t agree but the honchos that run the state don’t care what the average guy thinks. You will almost never see anyone in the media, academia or state government even suggest that this mythological catastrophe isn’t imminent. No more than if you were in Mecca you’d hear anyone joke about Mohamed. It’s not done. I find it disgusting. I don’t know what the ultimate truth is on this subject but the fact that it’s not discussed objectively is a great disservice to the public. Ironically, almost all businesses including the power companies here are also singing the song.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
January 18, 2023 5:15 am

I work in the People’s Republik of Boulder where climate change is paying us a visit, and it’s white.

Paul S
Reply to  Scissor
January 18, 2023 10:05 am

potentially 12″ of white when done….

Reply to  Scissor
January 18, 2023 11:04 am

snow, along with math, is racist.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Mr.
January 19, 2023 7:57 am

He has a whole series of interviews with various people on the topic of climate change.
He seems to be fully aware that the warmista narrative is closely intertwined with leftist ideology, and the basic corruption and abandonment of the scientific method.

Stuart Baeriswyl
January 17, 2023 11:22 pm

I just finished watching half of this excellent J. Peterson interviews with Dr. Koonin; so many good and solid talking points discussed – but I got to go to bed…

I’m planning to send this interview along to some friends and family, and watch the rest of it tomorrow or the next day👍🏻

January 18, 2023 1:41 am

Both bring up highly valid points on the thermal response of the oceans after the 61 minute mark.

I will add that the assumption that ANY deep ocean heating is caused by CO2 within the last 100 years is worse than ridiculous.

Last edited 18 days ago by RickWill
Reply to  RickWill
January 18, 2023 2:47 am

RickWill, speaking of ocean heat, you reminded me of a post I created back in 2019 that presented ocean warming to depths of 2000 meters in deg C, not the alarmist’s preferred way in zettajoules.
Deep Ocean Warming in Degrees C – Watts Up With That?

Here’s an example for the global oceans:
figure-1-4.png (640×423) (wordpress.com)


Reply to  Bob Tisdale
January 18, 2023 1:51 pm

The main point with regard ocean heat content is that it is assumed all related to CO2 forcing. Few people realise that the ToA energy balance is calibrated using the ocean heat content. This requires the WILD assumption that only CO2 causes the ocean to heat at depth.

Anyone with more than much for brains realises it is impossible to heat deep water from surface heating in a matter of decades. Increasing surface heat input increases evaporation and the resulting upwelling is replenished with chilled water so the column actually cools down. Ocean heat retention is the result of reduced evaporation not surface heat input.

There is a recent paper that goes into detail on deep currents and surface exposure of water. The periods are up to 2000 years:

The mean surface-to-interior transit times Γ and mean interior-to-surface transit times Γ, averaged over a given interior zone, are mapped out in Fig. 3g–j. The mean transit times Γfrom the North Atlantic surface into the PSZ are about 1700 years, roughly 300 years older than the mean transit time from the North Atlantic into the PAZ, which underscores the fact that (as quantified below) roughly half the water last ventilated in the North Atlantic that enters the PSZ does so by diffusing up into the PSZ while traversing the PAZ. By the same token, the mean transit time from the Antarctic margin, where AABW forms, to the PAZ is around 1100 years, but to the PSZ it is 1400–1500 years.

Climate models are based on numerous silly assumptions but as, Koonin points out, lack of knowledge on the physics of heat transport in deep oceans is a key issue. Models assume there was some magic energy balance in 1850 and all ocean heat retention since then has been due to CO2. This is seriously flawed understanding of climate. None of the early modelling that started all this nonsense on climate change even considered the oceans. They only came into play when CO2 did not do what it was supposed to do. No ocean heat is the boogey monster that will emerge to destroy the planet. Thank God (AKA John Kerry) is saving the planet for us.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  RickWill
January 19, 2023 7:40 am

The main point with regard ocean heat content is that it is assumed all related to CO2 forcing. Few people realise that the ToA energy balance is calibrated using the ocean heat content. This requires the WILD assumption that only CO2 causes the ocean to heat at depth.”

It is even worse than that: The ocean heat content is calibrated using the ToA measured imbalance. So if what you say here is true, they are using two data sets to calibrate each other, making both 100% meaningless.
The ARGOS floats actually showed the ocean was not warming but cooling. Instead of verifying if the probes were working properly, it was simply assumed they were not showing what was actually occurring, and they were adjusted according to the warmista dogma.
See here:
Correcting Ocean Cooling (nasa.gov)

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
January 19, 2023 7:45 am

Note the reaction to the finding that the ocean was cooling: It was taken to be a disaster! Any information that shows that there is no reason for everyone to be freaking out, is the most unwelcome news imaginable for a warmista.

Why should anyone pay attention to people who warn of disaster, but hate worse than death any news to the effect that there is nothing to worry about after all?
If warming is bad, news of cooling ought to be good, and welcomed with relief.

The truth is, their ideology is so backwards that what they warn us will be awful is exactly what we should all be hoping for: Higher CO2, a warmer and wetter planet, and shrinking polar wastelands.

Last edited 17 days ago by Nicholas McGinley
Michael in Dublin
January 18, 2023 4:03 am

While both of these men made a number of very important points that discredit climate alarmism, I find it disappointing that they appear to accept that carbon or rather levels of CO2 is something that we need to address. They recognize how CO2 contributes to greening of the world but do not go the whole way to question the fundamental flaws of the CO2 narrative. I wish they would interact with some of the CLINTEL ambassadors and their World Climate Declaration and discuss these.

Reply to  Michael in Dublin
January 18, 2023 2:18 pm

I doubt Koonin has the time to really get into climate modelling and understand the key flaws. “greenhouse theory” has serious traction as a key player in earth’s energy balance.

If have found very few people understand how orbital precession alters the solar intensity across the globe. I have not found any published paper that shows how the level of free convection forms to enable convective instability. This is the key factor that limits ocean surface temperature to 30C. There is a strong belief that glaciation requires the planet to cool down when the opposite is required – cooling follows the widespread accumulation of ice over the land but snowfall needs warm ocean water. Most people believe Earth’s orbit is centred on the sun when it actually orbits the barycentre. Very few people appreciate that oceans cannot get heat from the surface below 1000m in decades.

Climate models are parameterised junk. They are real physics free zones. They are reflective of a belief rather than sound science – Kooning knows that but he does not know the fundamentals of climate changing. If he did he would reject any notion that CO2 influences the energy balance in a measurable way. Assuming ALL ocean heat content over the past 70 years is due to CO2 is trite, unphysical nonsense. Deep ocean heat retention over decades can only be caused by changes in net evaporation.

Joseph Zorzin
January 18, 2023 5:05 am

Unfortunately, the video starts off with a minute of religion.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
January 18, 2023 11:23 am

Look at it again. It’s more about the widespread ability of reading the printed word than it is about religion.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
January 19, 2023 7:54 am

It is more about how people need something to believe in.

Besides for that, do you really believe that there is something scientific about the notion that the Universe sprang up one fine day from nothing and nowhere, for no particular reason?
Or that life just occurred spontaneously, that inanimate mud just somehow spontaneously transformed itself into what we see covering the Earth today?

January 18, 2023 5:23 am

Thaxton recounts a session with about 25 professors and graduate students during which scientists in different disciplines objected to his critique, each by calling upon another scientist in another field. As each man in turn unexpectedly affirmed the correctness of Thaxton’s points, it became clear that the scientists had relied on what they believed to be true outside of their own areas of expertise to shore up their own theories, where they recognized weaknesses. These scientists needed an interdisciplinary view of evolutionary theory to see its true state.

January 18, 2023 10:15 am

Interesting, YouTube is censoring, steering the publication. These are your opinions. These are the facts.

It doesnot add up
January 18, 2023 1:51 pm

I see YouTube is now spamming:

Climate change
Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns, mainly caused by human activities, especially the burning of fossil fuels.

United Nations

Why am I seeing this?

Alastair Brickell
January 18, 2023 4:44 pm

Another great Peterson interview…Koonin makes some very good points. I especially appreciated his take on the effect of this nonsense on our youth from about 1:29.

Nicholas McGinley
January 19, 2023 7:55 am

Has Peterson ever commented here, as far as anyone knows?

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