Tuesday, September 17, 2019



I’m a psychotherapist – here’s what I’ve learned from listening to children talk about climate change September 15, 2019 6.18am EDT

‘Fridays for Future’ demonstration in Berlin, March 29 2019. FELIPE TRUEBA/EPA-EFE

Eco-anxiety is likely to affect more and more people as the climate destabilises... Some of that emotional turmoil must stem from confusion – why aren’t adults doing more to stop climate change?
Talking with children gives a fresh perspective on the absurdity of doing so little about climate change, but it also exposes a troubling disconnect between what we say and what we do...
Perhaps young people are simply less cynical and more capable of seeing clearly how irrational these decisions are. When I interviewed teenagers in the Maldives, one said:
We saw online that people in Iceland held a funeral for a glacier today, but who is going to do that for us? Don’t they see that we will be underwater soon and our country will be gone? No one cares. How can you grieve for ice and ignore us? 
Because of sea level rise, people in the low-lying Maldives have more to fear from climate change than most. The sense of injustice that young people felt here was palpable. 
Climate change is like Thanos, wiping out half the world so the rest can survive … we are being sacrificed.

There’s moral clarity in the things young people say about climate change, but even at their age, there’s a weariness. After all, young people use social media and are bombarded with bad environmental news as much as adults. Some may begin to normalise the mass extinctions they read about. A 10-year-old in the UK told me
It’s normal for us now to grow up in a world where there will be no polar bears, that’s just how it is for us now, it’s different than it was for you.
My dilemma was in trying talk to children about climate change without upsetting them even more. But I also wanted to know how they really felt, subconsciously. Rather than hearing them repeat what they’re told in school or hear from adults, I wanted to hear what this generation – people who have never known a world without the looming threat of climate catastrophe – thought about what’s happening to the planet and their futures.

Healing the generational rift

I asked the children to personify climate change – to see it as an animal and give it a voice. If climate change could talk, what would it say? I hoped that by externalising that voice, they could talk more honestly than they otherwise would. Even so, I wasn’t fully prepared for their responses.
You created me, and now you must face the consequences… You spoilt the planet for the children and animals, now I’m going to spoil it for you… Adults have made the world a worse place, so now I’m here for revenge. 
Anger was the most common emotion that surfaced with this technique... One said:
Climate change is like the bug spray of nature, and people are the bugs.
I believe children are bearing the emotional burden of climate change more courageously than adults, but we owe it to them to share it. Listen to your children when they talk about climate change, you’ll learn more about how we should take responsibility for the mess, say sorry, and start to act.

This article is part of The Covering Climate Now series
This is a concerted effort among news organisations to put the climate crisis at the forefront of our coverage.

Monday, September 16, 2019


Propagation of Error and the Reliability of Global Air Temperature Projections, Mark II.

Propagation of nonsense – part II

I thought I would look again at Pat Frank’s paper that we discussed in the previous post. Essentially Pat Frank argues that the surface temperature evolution under a change in forcing can be described as 
\Delta T(K) = f_{CO2} \times 33K \times \left[ \left( F_o + \sum_i \Delta F_i\right) / F_o \right] + a,
where f_{CO2} = 0.42 is an enhancement factor that amplifies the GHG-driven warming, F_o = 33.946 W m^{-2} is the total greenhouse gas forcing, \Delta F_i is the incremental change in forcing, and a is the unperturbed temperature (which I’ve taken to be 0).
Pat Frank then assumes that there is an uncertainty, \pm u_i, that can be propagated in the following way
u_i = f_{CO2} \times 33K \times 4 Wm^{-2}/F_o,
which assumes an uncertainty in each time step of 4 Wm^{-2} and leads to an overall uncertainty that grows with time, reaching very large values within a few decades.
Since I’m just a simple computational physicist (who is clearly has nothing better to do than work through silly papers) I thought I would code this up. That way I can simply run the simulation many times to try and determine the uncertainty. Since it’s not quite clear which term the uncertainty applies to, I thought I would start by assuming that it applies to F_o. However, F_ois constant in each simulation, so I simply randomly varied F_o by \pm 4 Wm^{-2}, assuming that this variation was normally distributed. I also assumed that the change in forcing at every step was \Delta F_i = 0.04 Wm^{-2}.
The result is shown in the figure on the upper right. I ran a total of 300 simulations, and there is clearly a range that increases with time, but it’s nothing like what is presented in Pat Frank’s paper. This range is also really a consequence of the variation in F_o ultimately being a variation in climate sensitivity. 
The next thing I can do is assume that the \pm 4 Wm^{-2} applies to \Delta F_i. So, I repeated the simulations, but added an uncertainty to \Delta F_i at every step by randomly drawing from a normal distribution with a standard deviation of 4 Wm^{-2}. The result is shown on the left and is much more like what Pat Frank presented; an ever growing envelope of uncertainty that produces a spread with a range of \sim 40 K after 100 years.
Given that in any realistic scenario, the annual change in radiative forcing is going to be much less than 1 Wm^{-2}, Pat Frank is essentially assuming that the uncertainty in this term is much larger than the term itself. I also extracted 3 of the simulation results, which I plot on the right. Remember, that in each of these simulations the radiative forcing is increasing by 0.04 Wm^{-2} per year. However, according to Pat Frank’s analysis, the uncertainty is large enough that even if the radiative forcing increases by 4 Wm^{-2} in a century, the surface temperature could go down substantially. 
Pat Frank’s analysis essentially suggests that adding energy to the system could lead to cooling. I’m pretty sure that this is physically impossible. Anyway, I think we all probably know that Pat Frank’s analysis is nonsense. Hopefully this makes that a little more obvious. 
Posted in Climate sensitivityClimateBallphysicistsResearchSatireScientists| Tagged | 72 Comments

Thursday, September 12, 2019


Scientists and academics support the youth climate movement’s call to strike: add your name
The youth climate movement is calling for a global general strike. We, the undersigned scientists and academics, support them wholeheartedly...
As scientists, we confirm that the youth movement’s concerns are well-founded and rest on solid, incontrovertible evidence...
Democratic decision-making, including youth, through citizen assemblies and juries, is necessary. This must accompany unprecedented rapid and ambitious action, including... altering our patterns of nutrition, mobility, and consumption.
Only if we act quickly and consistently can we limit global warming, halt the mass extinction of animal and plant species, preserve the natural basis for life and create a future worth living for..
Note: This statement has been published (both in English and German) in a scientific publication in GAIA and is available here. It includes a list of facts (also available here) and has as a supplement the complete lists of initial and final signatories attached. All scientific references can be found here. 
G. Hagedorn, T. Loew, S. I. Seneviratne, W. Lucht, M.-L. Beck, J. Hesse, R. Knutti, V. Quaschning, J.-H. Schleimer, L. Mattauch, C. Breyer, H. Hübener, G. Kirchengast, A. Chodura, J. Clausen, F. Creutzig, M. Darbi, C.-H. Daub, F. Ekardt, M. Göpel, J. N. Hardt, J. Hertin, T. Hickler, A. Köhncke, S. Köster, J. Krohmer, H. Kromp-Kolb, R. Leinfelder, L. Mederake, M. Neuhaus, S. Rahmstorf, C. Schmidt, C. Schneider, G. Schneider, R. Seppelt, U. Spindler, M. Springmann, K. Staab, T. F. Stocker, K. Steininger, E. von Hirschhausen, S. Winter, M. Wittau, J. Zens 2019

Find your nearest strike:
UK: https://ukscn.org/
Australia: https://www.schoolstrike4climate.com/sept20
Ireland: https://www.foe.ie/blog/2019/09/03/global-climate-strike-september-20th/
New Zealand: http://www.schoolstrike4climatenz.com/ (on September 27th)
Canada: https://climatestrikecanada.org/september (on September 27th).
For other locations, or to start your own local strike, visit https://www.fridaysforfuture.org/ or https://globalclimatestrike.net/

The statement above is based on a German-speaking letter by Gregor Hagerdorn, https://www.scientists4future.org/stellungnahme/statement-text/

                                  THE RED TEAM BLUES

Climate skeptic on  National Security Council
leaving Trump administration
BY JUSTIN WISE - 09/11/19 02:50 PM EDT
William Happer, an outspoken skeptic of climate change, is leaving his position as a senior director on the National Security Council later this week, according to E&E News
The news of his departure comes just a day after Trump announced that national security adviser John Bolton was leaving his administration. Bolton's spokesperson is also reportedly exiting. 
Happer's decision to leave comes after he failed to persuade President Trumpto conduct an "adversarial" review of research on climate change. His effort to challenge the government's position on climate change was scuttled earlier this year after facing obstacles from officials in the White House, according to E&E. 
William Happer, an outspoken skeptic of climate change, is leaving his position as a senior director on the National Security Council later this week, according to E&E News
The news of his departure comes just a day after Trump announced that national security adviser John Bolton was leaving his administration. Bolton's spokesperson is also reportedly exiting. 
Happer's decision to leave comes after he failed to persuade President Trump to conduct an "adversarial" review of research on climate change. His effort to challenge the government's position on climate change was scuttled earlier this year after facing obstacles from officials in the White House, according to E&E. 
Happer, a prominent atomic physics professor at Princeton University, has repeatedly questioned the effect of human activity on climate change. Despite having no formal training in climate science, Happer entered the Trump administration in September 2018 with well-known positions that pushed back against the scientific community's understanding of global warming. 
He asked the American Physical Society more than a decade ago to change its position on climate change to one that raised doubts about it. The request was rejected. He also wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed in 2013 arguing that carbon dioxide production was "a boon to plant life."
He asserted that CO2 levels had "little correlation with global temperature."
In addition, Happer has argued that the world is in a carbon dioxide "drought" and that burning more fossil fuels will make the Earth more habitable, E&E reported. 
The news outlet noted that Happer earlier this year played a role in blocking a State Department official from giving written testimony to Congress warning that climate change posed a national security threat.  
"After distinguished public service on the National Security Council staff for the past year, Dr. William Happer is returning to academia. We wish him well and thank him for his tireless efforts to ensure that the Trump Administration’s policies and decision-making were based on transparent and defensible science," 
a National Security Council spokesman said in a statement to The Hill.


Header Image

Assistant Professor of Geotechnical Uncertainty 

(Tenure Track)

Delft University of Technology - Faculty Civil Engineering and Geosciences

Job description
Would you like to be our new Assistant Professor of Geotechnical Uncertainty?
Level: Doctorate
Working hours: 36-40 hours weekly
The Department of Geoscience and Engineering encompasses 5 sections: Applied Geology, Applied Geophysics and Petrophysics, Geo-Engineering, Resource Engineering, and Petroleum Engineering. Within the department there is considerable scope and encouragement for inter-disciplinary research.
There is an increasing need to quantify the performance of geotechnical structures and infrastructure within a reliability-based framework, so that risks can be explicitly quantified for guiding effective mitigation measures... 
The position is proposed to investigate soil mechanical material behaviour accounting for uncertainties relating to, for example, measurements, statistics, transformation from measured to derived properties, and external (including environmental) loadings. It takes into consideration the random, spatial and systematic components of uncertainty, as well as uncertainties relating to the cross-correlations of material properties and multi-physical couplings, and develops new solutions to better control and reduce the geotechnical uncertainty and risk in geotechnical assessments and construction processes.


Of the things I care least about, AGW is near the bottom. But because, as George W. Bush put it, either you’re with us or you’re against them, I think I’d rather be interestingly wrong than politically correct. Accordingly I rehearse what I take to be the case for AGW denial, masquerading – so as to continue to get dinner invitations – as tongue in cheek.
I think I was only about six or seven, but I remember it quite clearly. We were sitting at the dinner table and my sister, who was a few years older than me, asked my parents whether we Jews believe in an afterlife. I don’t remember their answer, but I do remember thinking how strange it is to ask someone else to tell me what I believe. And yet that’s precisely what I’m about to do...
one might decide, for reasons having nothing to do with what she believes, that it would be ‘cool’ to be, say, a Buddhist, or a Flat-Earther, or a white supremacist, or whatever, and only then enquire into what one needs to believe in order to count as such. Maybe it’s how they dress, or the music they listen to. Or just that anti-racists, for example, are so priggishly holier than thou. When it comes to identity politics, cool is cool. Rationale counts for naught. It’s all about image.
In any event, I decided – and I decided this sight unseen – that it would be cool to be a denialist, because for a philosopher, even bad press is better than what we typically get, which is no press at all. Of course I don’t mean I want to be a denialist tout court. I want to be selective. I want to deny something that would earn me a level of vilification that would make me cool, but not so vile that I’d never get another dinner invitation in this town. That’s why, tempting as it was, the Holocaust just wasn’t an option.
I toyed for a while with the Warren Report, and then the moon landing. But none of my students would remember the Kennedy assassination. And claiming that that “one small step for mankind” was in an airplane hanger out in the desert somewhere would just make me one of those crazies. Having met some, I’ve decided crazy isn’t cool. Cool requires at least plausible deniability.
And so …? And so that’s why I’ve settled on anthropogenic global warming (AGW). One might have to be ignorant to be an AGW denier, but not necessarily crazy. And unlike defending pedophilia, AGW denial isn’t quite cringe-worthy enough that no one would want to have anything to do with me.
The only problem, as already noted, is that since I don’t know anything about AGW, I don’t know what I’m required to not believe about it...
I’m told that a denialist is someone who espouses a view that flies in the face of a recognized scientific consensus. First question: Why do I need to espouse my denial to qualify? Answer: Because denialism is now being cited as a hate crime...
Second question: A consensus recognized by whom? It can’t be those who subscribe to that consensus, because then anyone who denies what the Creation Scientists are telling us would count as a denialist. After all, they too see eye to eye with each other.
One could argue that Creation Science is a misnomer, because for them their Scripture trumps their otherwise being faithful to the so-called ‘scientific method’. But I’m not sure this will do. We all rely on a chain of doxastic trust. And presumably that reliance is a function of track record. Imagine someone who predicts the future with 100% accuracy, but no one can figure out how. You could stick to your principles and refuse to consult him. But that would just make you an idiot.
Soliloquy goes on for another 3,612 words.

Dr. Viminitz , who describes himself  as 
"Canada's foremost philosopher of war"
is the author of  A Defense Of Terrorism

Wednesday, September 11, 2019


Apart from an open door policy for screeds by fossil fuel lobbyists and climate cranks, what do  American Greatness, FrontPage Magazine,  The Spectator,  The American Spectator,  The Federalist,  and American Thinker  ( 174  unedited essays by S. Fred Singer alone.) have in common ? Two things, it appears. 

Long lists of published articles by Professor John Anthony Glynn, Doctor of Clinical Psychology from the University of Hertfordshire, Head of Behavioral Science, Xavier University School of Medicine, Professor of Psychology, American University of Bahrain, Lecturer in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Webster University, and Senior Lecturer at Kolej Yayasan Selagor ,  plus a sad dearth of science editors.

Writing for American Spectator, he attacked climate  alarmism. Writing for the “pro-science” Center for Inquiry, he attacked those who attack climate-change . He praised China for its “wisdom, education, and scientific advancement” in The South China Morning Post, and denounced the Chinese as “evil” and “wicked” organ-harvesting murderers in Front Page Magazine.

The common denominator of this bipartisan polymath's credentials, which were good enough to get him gigs all over the hipster  spectrum, from The Globe and Mail, Huffington Post,  Skeptic Magazine, and Spiked,  to the Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences, Psych Central,  Quillette,  Journal of Nutritional Health & Food Engineering, Standpoint,  Arts and Social Sciences Journal, Last Word on Sports, and I Am Hip-Hop. is that he made them all up.

Glynn  calculated correctly that no one would drop by the universities at which he claimed to teach, as they are respectively located in Aruba, Bahrein Thailand and Malaysia.

Hell hath no fury like a skeptic fleeced, and after a good long run,  Glynn has been rumbled by none other than Skeptic and sometime Scientific American Editor Michael Shermer:



But not in  Calgary 
 For Friends of Science there 
Prefer to err on another fur:

Polar bear books for kids and young adults are the perfect antidote for climate anxiety


Dr. Susan Crockford, zoologist, has written a few books to make the science of polar bears accessible and interesting for adults and kids. Her adult thriller "Eaten" is about the possibility of polar bears turning to remote communities in Canada to hunt humans for food. Polar bears are vicious predators, despite their charming looks.

Same author 1 month ago :

Media and USGS biologist sensationalize recent report of a polar bear encounter in Alaska
Posted on August 12, 2019 

It’s been a slow summer for polar bear news to hype, so we shouldn’t be surprised that a local report that polar bears this summer have descended on the town of Kaktovik, Alaska one week earlier than 2017 has morphed into an international story that makes a 2016 research report sound like this year’s news, with headlines trumpeting: “polar bear encounters are increasing” due to a longer open water period. Nevertheless, it was reported just two weeks ago that Alaska has not had a polar bear attack since 1993.