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Mother Jones: 5 Terrifying Facts From the Leaked UN Climate Report

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by The Wrong Guy, Aug 28, 2014.

  1. The Wrong Guy Member

    5 Terrifying Facts From the Leaked UN Climate Report | Mother Jones

    By James West, August 28, 2014

    This week, a big report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was leaked before publication, and it confirmed, yet again, the grim — dire, frightful — reality the we face if we don't slash our global greenhouse gas emissions, and slash them fast.

    This "Synthesis Report," to be released in November following a UN conference in Copenhagen, is still subject to revision. It is intended to summarize three previous UN climate publications and to "provide an integrated view" to the world's governments of the risks they face from runaway carbon pollution, along with possible policy solutions.

    As expected, the document contains a lot of what had already been reported after the three underpinning reports were released at global summits over the past year. It's a long list of problems: sea level rise resulting in coastal flooding, crippling heat waves and multidecade droughts, torrential downpours, widespread food shortages, species extinction, pest outbreaks, economic damage, and exacerbated civil conflicts and poverty.

    But in general, the 127-page leaked report provides starker language than the previous three, framing the crisis as a series of "irreversible" ecological and economic catastrophes that will occur if swift action is not taken.

    Here are five particularly grim — depressing, distressing, upsetting, worrying, unpleasant — takeaways from the report.

    Here are the titles of the sections that follow. Quote:

    1. Our efforts to combat climate change have been grossly inadequate.

    2. Keeping global warming below the internationally agreed upon 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (above preindustrial levels) is going to be very hard.

    3. We'll probably see nearly ice-free summers in the Arctic Ocean before mid-century.

    4. Dangerous sea level rise will very likely impact 70 percent of the world's coastlines by the end of the century.

    5. Even if we act now, there's a real risk of "abrupt and irreversible" changes.

    The full article, with open comments, is here:
    http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2014/08/un-ipcc-climate-change-synthesis-report
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  2. Hugh Bris Member

    Oh dear, "abrupt and irreversible" changes. Guess I'd better start worrying...OK, I worried enough, time to get on with life.
  3. The Internet Member

    Worry is not going to help. What we need are people to rally behind potential solutions, like thorium reactors. And a wider diversity of energy extraction from the sun.

    But everybody needs to get on board with the problem because it is serious, fer reals. The black PR against scientists to buy time for the carbon fuel mega corporations has to stop.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Hugh Bris Member

    IOW, we should have the market developing as many different solutions as possible. Good idea.But that would require the government to do nothing, which isn't where you are going with this.

    So you want me to get on board, but what is the train carrying (to extend the metaphor). All I see from the progs is alarm and Chicken Little posturing, telling us to give over our time and money to your cause, or face disaster. But even the IPCC report isn't as bad as Mother Jones makes it out to be. As near as I can tell (I have not read the IPCC report, just read about it in various publications) there are a range of temp increases, and the Mother Jones article ignores the less dire predictions in favor of the dire ones. That is cherry picking your facts to get the results you want.

    As for the "everyone needs to get on board" that is simply laughable. Most people understand that the whole issue has become political, not science. You will not get people on board unless you throw them on the train and tie them down.

    IIRC you have quoted that "97% of climate scientists agree" meme. I wonder if you have ever traced down where that came from? If so, could you tell me what sort of study it was, how many surveys were sent out, how many responded, how many answered affirmatively.

    And as far as Black PR, the progs are quite capable of that. Think "climate change denier." That is the finest black PR I've come across in one short phrase. Anyone who uses that term seriously is engaging in the worst sort of black PR.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Random guy Member

    I rest confident that over a geologic time scale, things will work out.

    With or withhold humans.
  6. The Internet Member

    I found about three literature reviews that queried peer reviewed research with key words “climate change” or “global warming.” Abstracts from thousands of papers that met certain criteria were read and categorized as accepting or rejecting the hypothesis that human CO2 production is contributing to global warming. This resulted in over 97% of the papers on one side and less than 3% on the other. I put the references in a big thread on global warming that I could try to find if you want.

    The bad scenarios result from positive feedback cycles that would be expected if global temperatures cross a threshold. Greenhouse gases are locked down in the permafrost, for example. As that melts, those gases will be released causing greater warming.

    People who deny that a firm scientific consensus exists for global warming are deniers of the facts. Because there can be no dispute that the scientific literature for several decades is overwhelmingly on one side of this debate.

    Don’t take it personally that you are misinformed. Most Americans have been misinformed on global warming and that is another topic I wish people would think about. Big misinformation is a sign some people do not give a fuck about us and they just want to herd us. For example, Mr. Putin and the Kochs.

    Mother Jones does have a reputation for cherry picking and it is good to look for corroboration. But I already looked into the matter of the scientific consensus so I don’t need to rely upon Mother Jones.

    Last point: there can be no free market where the public are not appropriately informed about the facts relevant to their economic decisions.
  7. Hugh Bris Member

    "Men go and come, but earth abides."
  8. Hugh Bris Member


    Data do not speak for themselves. They are interpreted by people. I am asking if you did enough research to know how they developed the 97% figure and if you agree with their methodology. I did do the research and I found their methodology to be at best suspect. When they get 75 of 3000 saying "Yes, man is the problem" and turn that into 97% consensus, then you'll pardon me if I remain skeptical.

    I came away with the Mark Twain quote in my head. "There are lies, damn lies and statistics."
  9. The Internet Member

    Not surveys. Published, peer reviewed articles.

    Obviously you did not do your research if you imagine a scientific consensus is some survey.

    “Data do not speak for themselves.” Uhh.... either there is a strong scientific consensus or there is not.

    Dude, give it up. Within the past year the Koch think tanks have shifted their memes to concede that the scientific consensus for global warming is real. The present spin memes are: “I am not a scientist *shrug not my fault I lied*” and “Don’t worry be happy."

    Maybe Mother Jones is hitting the “terrifying” meme to counter the “don’t worry” meme. I really wish we could stop with the over generalized polarized politics which is not helping our country at all.

    Facts are not political and people should not seek out partisan sources of factual information. The politics needs to get pushed back into a smaller category of “not really facts; opinions and guesses and stuff like that."
  10. Hugh Bris Member

    Sorry, I am not making my point.

    There were a bunch of studies, and someone did a meta analysis of the data. It wasn't a case of 9700 studies said "Climate change is man made" and 300 studies "No it isn't"

    Someone or some group did that meta analysis, where they review other people's studies, and then using their own methods of defining the terminology, they use statistical analysis to reach conclusions. Those conclusions are only as good as the assumptions made, those terms and definitions. There is nothing inherently wrong with doing this, except I objected to their definitions and terminology. They used "Climate scientist" as a term to exclude other equally pertinent scientific specialties to maybe massage the results.

    According to their meta analysis, they determined that 75 climate scientists, of 77 reporting, agreed. This is where that 97% number came from. There were 3000 samples, so my problem is it looks like they excluded people who do not call themselves "climate scientists."

    That would include people like atmospheric physicists which would skew the results.

    Now, unless you have an answer to that objection, nothing you say will matter much. But if you have a cogent response to that, explaining how they did their methodology to account for that, I'm all ears.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. cuedude Member

    stats stats and more stats lies dam lies and statistical lies people don't go outside enough to notice natures proof with their own eyes.in fifty years I never saw a freeze after the lilacs bloom until now I never had a frost kill my garden after the oak leaves were as big as a mouse ear these are planting guide lines native americans used for thousands of years. if crops failed they starved we just bitch that a loaf of bread costs more. I have noticed myself that we have a more northern trend to our prevailing wind (called local t.v. weatherman and he looked into it and said I was right) I noticed that over the last 5 or 6 years our falls are wetter spring is drier but I work outside doing construction and an avid gardener. this is a fact the univ. of Rochester n.y. has been studing lilacs for over sixty years and lilacs are blooming 2 days earlier in the last ten years sounds like nothing but in the time scale of the earth it is an incredable change it is something to worry about. go to wunderground weather for some fairly unbiased reporting on climate change. just facts without the dooms dayers or the big business deniers. crap get out side and take a walk look around and vote get all these smucks out of there
  12. The Internet Member

    I think you read something I did not read. Link?
  13. The Internet Member

    Climate is the average temperature of the planet over a year. What you are talking about is weather, which is different.
  14. Hugh Bris Member

    If you were to google "Where did the 97% consensus come from" you will get all the links you need. But find the actual study, and read how they decided to group things, how they defined their terms, and think about what effect that would have on the outcome.

    But it distresses me that you haven't thought to do this before. Accepting a stat as true without checking it out is pretty lazy, the opposite of due diligence.

    Pro tip, all stats are generated by some person. And we know that whenever people are involved, biases are there too. We also know that the data don't speak for themselves. People interpret the data.

    Someone had to divide 75 by 77 to generate that 97% figure. So the question is, how did they come up with those numbers? What assumptions were made? What was excluded, what was included, and why? I can go on, but you get the point. Skepticism is a virtue here.
  15. DeathHamster Member

    How about if the government just does less for Big Oil & Coal, and let the market forces sort it out?
  16. DeathHamster Member

    Some things never change.
  17. Hugh Bris Member

    I'm all for the government getting rid of all subsidies, all corporate welfare.
  18. Hugh Bris Member

    Nice find. And he should know, he was a statistician, among other things
  19. The Internet Member

    I need dox on the bit in bold concerning 75 climate scientists, of 77 reporting.
  20. Hugh Bris Member

    That's nice. Why tell me....oh, you want me to do your research.

    Fuck me, I had a whole post written out to tell you to do your own research, here it is. It took me three minutes, BTW.
    http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf

    And if you still think that science isn't done by surveys, then you'll love this.

    I was wrong. I was thinking it had been a meta study (that was probably the Skeptical Science one, which was laughably biased, and is quoted at 98% consensus). But nope, that 97% comes from a survey.

    To find those figures, look at the right bottom of the first page
    And to find the questions asked, look at the top right.
  21. Hugh Bris Member

  22. The Internet Member

    You were the person who made this claim about the scientific consensus for global warming:
    So it is your job to provide the dox upon which you base your claim. Which you did when you shared this link, so thanks for that: http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf

    However, this is not the basis for the claim regarding the scientific consensus on global warming. A scientific consensus is a summary of the published evidence relevant to some question. This article describes a survey of expert opinions as compared to public opinion.

    I never said “science isn’t done by surveys.” I said that a scientific consensus is a summary of the evidence, not an opinion poll. This is a basic point that you are struggling with. I hope you are starting to catch on though.

    I think the word, “consensus” is the problem. It has two meanings: summary of expert opinions, summary of the published peer reviewed evidence. We go to experts to give us the scientific consensus, or a summary of the scientific evidence. But maybe our expert is crazy, eh? So we check with another expert. Maybe we check another. If we check a bunch and they all tell us the same thing about the scientific consensus, then that would be a consensus on the scientific consensus.

    Here is the summary of the paper you cited:

    Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 10.35.58 PM.png
    • Like Like x 1
  23. Hugh Bris Member

    I have to ask. Have you ever done any college level stats and scientific studies? Cause the way you talk leads me to believe you haven't. In fact, I get the feeling that math may not be a subject you're comfortable with. I could be wrong, probably am. But that's what I think when I read your posts about science.
    I found this.
    What you are talking about is a meta analysis. I did one of those for a class. And it's also obvious that you don't know how the scientists add all those bits together. But the thing is, I do, so whatever you say about it is filtered through the fact that I have done studies, and added all those little bits together, and I'm pretty sure you have never done this before. IOW, my experience trumps your inexperience.

    I tried to show you how they came up with that 97% and you are utterly rejecting it, and I just cannot for the life of me figure out what your objection is. All those words you wrote sort of miss the point. You are very clever, but cleverness is not what's called for here. Humility is.

    So, to reiterate, someone sent out 10,257 questionnaires, with 3146 responses, asking the following questions:
    1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?
    2. Do you think human activity is a significent contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?
    The second question is where we get the 97%.
    Some one person decided that 77 of those people were 'climate scientists' (they may have been self identified as such, iirc) and had expressed an opinion on the subject. Which means that the 97% is one man's OPINION about the state of the consensus. It all depends on the assumptions made by this one man, or group of men. (Or women). Which is where my skepticism comes in. Data do not interpret themselves. Which means that people do, which means we have all the problems humans bring to the issue.
    To make it clear, what happened to those other earth scientists in the survey? Why were they excluded from the consensus figures? Are we talking literally about self identified climate scientists, as opposed to the broader range of specialties, such as atmospheric physics? If so, what was the reason for excluding all but this one sub specialty of earth scientists?

    And understand I did NOT 'cite' that study. I was not offering it in proof of anything. I was linking it to show where YOUR 97% figure came from. It appalls me that you have no idea where the number came from, and yet have been citing it (in the Retard Thread, for instance) as evidence. That is pretty lazy, to quote something without knowing the provenance. You accepted this number on faith. That is the antithesis of the scientific method.
  24. The Internet Member

    But I never said, “97% of scientists” and I never read this study before you brought it to my attention. I read three literature reviews, which I shared in that other thread. Thanks for linking to that thread.

    Here is the first, the “Oreskes review": http://www.sciencemag.org/content/306/5702/1686.full
  25. The Internet Member

    Here is the second, the “Powell review”: http://www.desmogblog.com/2012/11/15/why-climate-deniers-have-no-credibility-science-one-pie-chart
    • Like Like x 1
  26. The Internet Member

    Here is the third, the “Cook review”:
    http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/2/024024/article
    Phase 2 of this study, which found 97.2% of scientific papers as pro-AGW when rated by their authors, is the source for the “97%” figure that became part of a public education graphic that I brought up in that earlier thread. So we are still talking about papers, evidence, primarily and not just the opinions of scientists.

    The reason the authors were queried was simply to check if the methods for sorting the abstracts matched the author’s intended conclusions. Pretty close match, with 97.1% for phase 1 and 97.2% for phase 2.

    The survey you linked to described percentages of different groups responding “yes” or “no” to some questions. 97.4% (75 of 77) of climate scientists said “yes” to question 2 about human activity causing warming. But there were other percentages discussed as well. Interesting, but not the same category of evidence as the literature reviews.

    It does get confusing, keeping straight whether we mean “percent of people” or “percent of papers.” I had to fix some sentences in these recent posts because I myself was not clear. So I do not blame anyone for being confoosed.

    It does not help that the deniers go out of their way to confuse the issue more.
  27. The Internet Member

    Here is a graphic from that earlier thread:
    52percent_ams-vs-97percent_sks-4.jpg

    The left side is hard to read because “X.” It says, “97% of climate PAPERS stating a position on human caused global warming agree global warming is happening and we are the cause. This graphic appeared on a public ed web site, theconsensusproject.com

    On the right it says, “52% agree global warming is happening and we are the cause.” This graphic appeared on theamericanmeteorologicalsociety but that does not seem like a complete web site address. Hmm.

    Hopefully, Hugh Bris, you can see that this is an apples-to-oranges comparison. Actually, it is an apples-to-idunno comparison, because they don’t clarify if people or papers are agreeing.

    Obvious weaselly shenanigans are obvious. Not a good look for the deniers.

    Big money misinformation like this that actually works to deceive people undermines our democracy and our freedom. Makes me mad. Probably best not to get me started on those Koch assholes and their several efforts to dismantle America with KGB style “active measures.”
  28. Random guy Member

    Now, I happen to work in a branch of science. I haven't done any meta-analysis myself (I'm in ground research), though I read my fair share. Meta-analyses have some inherited methodological problems, which is why we have pair review.

    Yes, some man or woman have to sit down and decide what data is relevant is and what is not. However, the people who did this analysis have had lots of others looking them over their shoulder, making sure they did not cherry-pick data. This article has passed the muster of pair review, which means it is a bit more to it than an opinion.

    Now, pair review isn't fail-proof. Scepticism is healthy, and I would share your scepticism if this was the only study showing a near universal agreement among climate scientists. It is not however. There are quite a few surveys and meta studies saying more or less the same thing.

    You can find quite a few of them in the reference list here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change
  29. Hugh Bris Member

    Random Guy, my problem is that term "Climate scientist." It seems to be self selecting, That is, people who already agree with AGW call themselves "climate scientists." If so, that destroys the credibility of any stats generated by them. GIGO, you know.

    I am also aware that we probably agree on most of the facts. Earth has been warming. Humans have put a lot of CO2 into the air. What we are disagreeing on is what to do about it.

    And I am not making any great claims for being a scientist. I have 12 units in experimental psych and stats and I tutored them for a year after taking the classes. That was a good way to pound the data into my thick skull.
    That was some time ago, but the verities remain.

    @TI
    I am still not buying into the consensus, nor the need for action. I find the whole issue has become politicized to the point that science takes a back seat. I was hoping to point out good reasons to be skeptical of extraordinary claims, but I feel the point still escapes you. I pointed out to RG one of my main concerns as to the consensus. Namely, the term 'climate scientist' seems to be self selecting. If so, that is enough reason to be highly suspect of the claims, since they are excluding other, equally qualified people who do not self identify as 'climate scientist.'

    In any case, the Chicken Little nature of the claims are enough to sound my alarms. That MJ article was over the top. It denies its own credibility.
  30. The Internet Member

    I posted reviews of the published, peer reviewed evidence. I did not post any surveys of “climate scientists."

    Why do you keep doing this, bro?
  31. Random guy Member

  32. Hugh Bris Member

    AS I said, we probably agree on a lot of the issues, but we won't agree on what to do. You see, I think the proper thing to do is...nothing.

    And you still don't get my point, in fact you are pointedly ignoring it ("Why do you keep doing this, bro"), so I will leave you to your thoughts.
  33. Random guy Member

    The people we pay to spend years and years to study this thing and recommend what to do says that is a really bad idea.

    Big multinational corporations with economic interest in fossil fuel agree with you.

    Whom you want to believe is entirely up to you of course.
  34. Hugh Bris Member

    You are being very imprecise. I do not pay anyone to study this problem. Other people take money I give in good faith to run the government and use it for activities I am opposed to, such as giving scientist money. That is not the function of government.
    Then take a look at this.
    http://reason.com/archives/2014/08/29/climate-change-costs-by-2100

    You are better than this, RG. This is an ugly way to argue. The Oil companies have nothing to do with what I think. The fact that you and TI keep bringing this up is really tiresome. You are assuming I am too stupid or naive to make up my own mind, that I will be misled into thinking the wrong thing. This is such an absurd, elitist argument that no one can possibly take it seriously, and yet here it is...


    Well thanks for that, but it is not 'whom' I believe, it's what the evidence shows.

    Here's one aspect of the problem as I see. None of you have even the most passing acquaintance with Public Choice Theory. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_choice
    And there's this...
    http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/unicorn-governance
    You seem to think that governments can be objective, I find that to be naive. Please have a look at public school economics for good reasons not to trust government to be anything other than a flawed institution, but with guns and the authority to kill.
  35. Random guy Member

    You bay with the dogs, you'll going to be seen as one.

    Am I to understand that because states aren't perfect (and political rationality being overrated), we shouldn't listen to any research financed by tax money? Really? Do you think people who spend their day weighing up evidence wouldn't eventually discover if their entire subject was an irrational belief?

    I don't know if you are familiar with the term Academic Freedom? I have worked with privately sponsored academics work, and the more traditional state-sponsored kind. While academic freedom is kind of an obtainable Platonian Ideal, the tax-financed kind is a heck of a lot closer than the privately sponsored work. If there are anyone going to serve us inconvenient knowledge, it's the relatively free state sponsored scientists.

    I see the world looks very, very different from here in unicorn-land Scandinavia.
  36. DeathHamster Member

    Who on Earth says that, except for Randoid freeloaders who want to sponge off the common good?

    Hey, our planet didn't come with an operator's manual. Shouldn't we send a little money to find out why it's overheating, the gas gauge is down and the oil light came on?
    • Like Like x 1
  37. Random guy Member

    I may be off, but I think the point is he doesn't trust governments to to be competent enough to do sciency things, it should be left to the far more trustworthy private initiative.
  38. Hugh Bris Member

    You are the only ones equating a thoughtful position on a scientific issue as political. I have explained my concerns, and neither you nor TI have addressed them in any manner. All you've done is to tell me what other people think about the subject. I do not care what Al Gore thinks about AGW. I do not care what the Big Oil companies think. If you feel that because I might agree with some portion of the "Big Oil" position that taints me morally, you are more messed up than I realized.

    Nope, not really. Some research is undoubtedly valuable. But it's a matter of incentives, which are explained by Public Choice Theory. I am saying that overall, the longer a government funds a program, the more likely it will be captured by special interests with an agenda that is not the same as when the funding started. This is simply how political institutions develop. Regulatory capture is something progs ignore, and yet it is real.

    I certainly don't agree with your position. Inconvenient truths and governments do not mix.Governments will suppress inconvenient truths as deep as their shovel will dig.

    I understand that ALL research is done by humans, and that is reason for the scientific method, to rid ourselves of our biases. As for academic freedom what about my freedom not to fund research that I don't value. If I am forced to fund this 'academic freedom', does that mean it's not free?

    And, I've seen some of the 'research' the government has funded. google "stupid government research" and find out how stupid the government can be funding research. If they are that bad how do I know any government funded research has merit? And don't tell me peer review, since Public Choice can explain that aspect too. If the people reviewing the papers have the same incentives, they will pass the papers they agree with and stop the papers they don't. This is just human nature.

    There is no way around this. As long as you have govt funding, you will have this problem. Spending OPM is inherently inefficient.

    And even if we were next door neighbors, we'd see the world differently. That's the wonder of being human: we are all unique even while sharing many commonalities.

    see here: http://www.arnoldkling.com/blog/it-is-sometimes-appropriate/
    I expect snark, rudeness and condescension from TI. I thought you were a bit better than that. Oh well

    If you do not understand my position, then say so, don't make snarky comments about what you cannot state accurately. You ignore the whole matter of incentives. Always, because as soon as you acknowledged them, you'd realize there is merit in my position.
  39. commisiar Member

    any program that isn't funded by the Gov would also get captured. What your doing is trying to spread seeds of doubt for everyone here to try and get us to not fully trust them just like a Koch Tactic no offense.

    The system isn't perfect but it's sure as hell better then most.
  40. The Internet Member

    You brought up this paper: http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf

    But that is the wrong paper. I guess you thought it was the right paper because it had a “97%” someplace in it.

    The “97% of climate papers agree” comes from this: http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/2/024024/article

    Now that you understand that you were talking about the wrong paper, maybe you will understand why discussing that paper is not going to help us.
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