Like some unprecedented mass shooting, it’s the kind of record-breaking news one tends to think twice about discussing at the breakfast table.

As reported by Popular Science, among many other media outlets, late last week the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii measured carbon levels in the atmosphere at 415 parts per million. That’s more than 100 ppm higher than any point in almost 1 million years’ worth of atmospheric data available.

For nearly a million years, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have maintained an average of about 280 ppm, not going above 300 ppm or below 160 ppm…the latest human-caused warming event is occurring over just a couple of centuries, which is so quick in comparison that the trend line appears vertical as it approaches today.

Do we actually still need to wonder why this is happening?

“Not only does the upward trend directly correlate with the start of the Industrial Revolution, but based on tracked data on human emissions and our understanding of the rate at which nature absorbs some of those emissions…, there’s an increasing amount of leftover carbon dioxide in the air that only our activities can account for.”

And much of that experienced in cities, limiting human connection to the natural environment which gave us the very resources on which we so depend, and which is now poisoned, sick, and beginning to reject our continued advances.

Then, there’s the natural follow-up question — could we not have allowed it to get this far along?

Perhaps at this point it could be helpful to dwell just a bit on the shortsightedness, even willful blindness, of the Cold War-era global leaders who received and read the warnings of pioneers of the environmental science movement (like Syukuro Manabe, Paul Ehrlich, John Sawyer, and countless others), but failed to act in any meaningful way for two subsequent generations.

“…when the Mauna Loa Observatory began observing greenhouse gas levels directly from the atmosphere 60 years ago, the concentration was already at 315 ppm. In 2013, these levels exceeded 400 ppm for the first time in human history.”

That from yesterday’s Washington Post, which, in addition to showing a slightly different (but somehow more alarming) visualization of the CO2 rise, also reported on the climate change canaries dropping off their spring-time perches across the planet’s northern regions:

  • 84-87 degrees Fahrenheit (29-31 Celsius) recorded in northern Russia
  • 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 Celsius) recorded in Finland
  • A 1-month early ice sheet melt in Greenland
  • Unseasonably early winter ice break-up in several Alaskan rivers

So then, what about today? Are we moving on this as fast as we possibly can?

A cursory Google News search shows many cities and nations are indeed taking it seriously. (If you want action, look no further than Vancouver’s approved “Big Moves” response to the climate emergency, and tell me if you’ve seen a more aggressive plan in North America.)

Others…not so much. Using the federal carbon tax as a straw man for political posturing and a blatantly populist appeal to the nearsighted concerns of their base, Doug Ford’s PC government in Ontario is trying to focus voters’ attention on a different number — 648.

The PCs’ new ad claims that the carbon tax will cost the average Ontario family some $648 per year by 2022.

They say that their own plan — which includes a fund of public money to help incentivize big polluters to reduce emissions and a focus on decreasing waste and litter — will fight climate change without costing taxpayers.

That’s a great idea. Solve one of the planet’s — and our species’ — greatest challenge by promising people they won’t have to change any of the behaviours that exacerbated our problems in the first place.

Or, as George W. Bush once famously put it, in the face of an epic clash of cultures and global terror, let’s all go shopping.

Comments

  1. As long as China, US, India, Germany and a host of other large nations continue pumping out coal based CO2 anything we do in Canada – or certainly here in fresh air BC – is utterly meaningless, ie virtue signalling and pretense.

    Even if Canada ceased to exist tomorrow, it would make zero difference on a global scale due to our small size.

    Yet we oppose even LNG which would vastly reduce CO2 output in China and India if they replaced coal with LNG. Why?

    Worldwide oil demand is also INdependent of Canada’s supply of oil. If we shut off pipelines, or the allegedly evil tarsands, or any oil extraction it too would do NOTHING as oil would be replaced by other nations. This benefits Canada how, besides more virtue signalling?

    Furthermore, warming per se is not necessarily bad, as it has been far FAR warmer on this planet many centuries or millennia ago, with lusher vegetation, greener forests and less ice. Specifically for Canada it has many benefits: more ice free ports, lower heating bills, longer growing seasons and less death by freezing.

    Also, UNdiscussed are the costs vs benefit of spending 100s of billions or even trillions to reduce CO2 – and maybe the temperatures a little bit, rather than looking what else could (or should) be done with this vast money, for example climate mitigation ie higher dykes, better A/C systems, irrigation in desert climates or different crop , or education, access to clean water, removal of ocean plastics, fish farms on a larger scale, air quality improvements, less congested cities, drug research, cancer reduction, reduction of domestic or worldwide violence due to drugs or alcohol abuse etc .. as only wealthy nations can tackle these issues not poorer ones that by far have the most violence, the worst air and the shortest life spans.

    Rather than taxing CO2 why don’t we tax SOx, NOx, methane, coal dust or diesel soot – namely true pollutants rather than calling a harmless gas a pollutant ?

    Who teaches this (inconvenient?) truth these days in Canada ?

    1. Who teaches truth? Not Beyer. He propagates fossil industry propaganda. The new phrase that Beyer eats up along with the rest of the denial industry is “virtue signalling”. Don’t choke on it Beyer.

      Every point Beyer makes is dead wrong!

      Canada can stand proud and say, we only account for a minute amount of emissions. The Chinese and Indians can stand much prouder and say Canadians emit many more times more CO2 than we do. And we all accomplish nothing as a result. As among the worst emitters, Canadians (and Americans, Australians and Middle Easterners) must take leading roles as we’re all rich enough to do so. But waiting for clowns like Trump serves nobody. We have no time for foolish games and we must live by example as if it matters. Because our lives depend on it.

      Clowns like Beyer do not help. He has this mental deficiency that leads him to believe he knows more than the scientists do. And if you look at the commentary of those who still deny the science they sound like cranky children who are up past their bed time.

      It absolutely does help when the worst forms of fossil fuels are taken out of the market whether Beyer says so or not. Canadians are not alone in pressuring governments and industry to abandon the worst first. And fracked gas has been determined to be as bad as coal in many cases. We all need to push harder to reduce supply as well as demand. Because our lives depend on it.

      Fossil propaganda, perpetuated by clowns like Beyer, always talks about the high cost of fighting climate change. They never talk about the savings. Just ask EV owners in BC if they’re concerned about rising gas prices. Ask those who’ve arranged their lives to depend much less on gasoline. We’ve all had a quarter century to make adjustments to do so. Meanwhile solar and wind now compete economically with coal for power generation in many parts of the globe. Lower priced batteries and other storage mechanisms are set to make wind and solar viable as base-load systems and are already doing so in small but growing projects globally. But fossil industries capture naive fools like Beyer to perpetuate their message.

      Of course we should tax and otherwise discourage all pollutants. What’s your point Beyer !

      Poop is not a pollutant. But lots of poop most certainly is. Beyer shows his complete lack of understanding of the looming catastrophe of climate change because he chooses to align his views with propaganda rather than science. Several degrees of warming is not a “little bit”. It is the difference between our current climate and the last ice age. The fool should not be allowed to spread misinformation.

      The countries that are doing the most to combat climate change are not suffering economically as fools like Beyer would have you believe. The laggards are not positioning themselves well for our quickly changing economic circumstances and will suffer as a result. Only an idiot would keep on smoking because, y’know, there’s always chemo.

      Beyer is absolutely dead wrong on this topic as usual.

    2. I hate to use words like fool and clown to describe foolish clowns like Beyer. But they are so succinct in describing behaviour that would require paragraphs of explanation to avoid using. So, yes, calling people names isn’t a great strategy. But I could avoid it only by posting something that would be three times as long.

  2. In the linked video, I am sure Thomas will recognize the grain of propaganda around which the false pearl he flogs has been manufactured by vested interests regarding the D3 Progression: Deny, then Doubt and now Delaying action on climate change.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9suO4jrwfDE

    On a levelled per-capita basis, Canadians joined the club table with the most obese carbon gluttons of the world. It’s even worse when one includes the embodied emission in our fossil fuel exports and imports manufactured with fossil fuels. With “only” 1/50th of world emissions originating from our domestic economy (ignoring, of course, embodied emissions), but with 1/200th of the world population …. you can see how the math does not work in our favour. To ignore the math is immoral and unprincipled. To lecture others to continue expanding emissions and the expansion of fossil fuel extraction as some kind of economic imperative is dangerous and hits the wall of physics and geology head on. Genuine climate scientists probably have a long list of F-words to describe such individuals and organizations, starting with Fool.

    One of my prior favourite Beyer chestnuts (wisely avoided this time in his comment above) is how CO2 is so vital for plants, and by extension a Garden of Eden will pop up when CO2 is increased by a massively imbalanced 50% over the decades planet-wide, won’t it? Of course, the additional heat stress, evaporation and constraints on the available water that will cost the plants and the soil that supports them will be dutifully ignored by oil industry pundits pushing anti-virtuous talking points and propaganda through several of their registered fronts posing as tax-deductible charitable private institutions.

    There are even more vital inputs, like water and nitrogen. Why don’t we increase those by 50% too, first under lab conditions, then in the real world in a Grande Experiment and see what happens?

    As for warming up to supposedly luxurious, paradisiacal standards in our temperate slice of the world, my partner is really looking forward to the effects of another summer of record poor air quality caused by the smoke of 400 forest fires burning all at once on her asthma. Her respirologist reports a huge increase in patients just in the last few years, dovetailing perfectly with the increase of smoke from forest fires.

    Thomas talks about building dykes to mitigate sea level rise. Sure. What does he know about the geotechnical conditions of the alluvial soils that underly larger dykes with vastly increased weight? Won’t sections of the expanded dyking resting on soils with the consistency of stiff porridge sink and put 350,000 people in low-lying parts of Richmond, Delta, Vancouver, Surrey and New Westminster at great risk during mid-century storm surges at much higher king tide elevations? A single section suddenly bursting open will place hundreds of thousands at risk very quickly. And what about the salt water now infiltrating from below the ground in these same parts, and which will surely become more than problematic in future? Let’s see some engineering studies conducted on actual Lower Mainland conditions, Thomas.

    Prior to 2010 Dr. Schindler, a hydrologist from Alberta, teamed with glaciologists and conducted measurements of the extensive glacial retreat in the Alberta and BC Rockies over the last century and calculated that the glacier-fed Prairie rivers will lose about 50% of their volume by mid-century. Glacial studies conducted since the have only discovered that the rate of melting has increased in many spots, and the implications for BC Hydro will be very problematic without back up renewables like geothermal, wind, solar and tidal. (At least we now have Horgan’s half-assed Clean BC Climate Plan in place, but the lad had better boot up the end date by a decade to 2030.) The implications on Prairie cities and agriculture — not to mention the oil sands which drain extremely large amounts of water from the Athabasca River — will also be profound. Sure, the Prairies are supposed to receive more overall rainfall, but that will likely punctuate periods of severe drought with severe flooding more often as time slips by.

    Were you climbing the peaks and doing the math in the lab with them, Thomas? Just what makes you an authority on climate change anyway?

    Coal-fired electricity is incrementally leaving the Canadian economy because: (i) it’s climate impact is tops and legislation is taking effect; and (ii) it is being outcompeted by renewables on price, and unfortunately by gas where gas is available. Alberta recently achieved a record low 3.4 cents per kWh in a wind power auction, outcompeting even coal. Trudeau is a hypocrite on the climate change file when pushing pipelines and corporate welfare to the Alberta oil industry, by transferring the risk to BC and therein sacrificing the South Coast marine ecology, $140B economy and 3.3 million residents for Alberta’s interests on the Trans Mountain issue, and by allowing thermal coal, much of it from the US, to be trans-shipped through BC.

    BC’s Metallurgical coal makes steel, a pretty handy material even for infrastructure related to renewable energy. In an ideal world, they would find a way to make low-emission steel in BC using electric arc blast furnaces powered by base load geothermal with the carbon (anthracite coal) embedded chemically.

    LNG is no panacea. Noted geoscientist David Hughes punctured the shale balloon years ago in his analysis of industry production data and the geological constraints, and found serious antidotes to the hype: Very high depletion rates; and the high debt loads carried by drillers. All five US shale plays are expected to be in rapid decline by the mid-20s, and therein the world price of oil will climb, making producers like Alberta rejoice while consumers wail and gnash their teeth. NE BC shale gas plays are no different. There will be a sudden drop in production sooner than the proponents admit. Ultimately, consumers will follow the standard economic pattern: Prices go up, demand goes down. This time alternatives like EVs, renewables, high-efficiency scalable liquid and solid metal electrical storage batteries, public transit and hopefully more efficacious, meaningful and human-scale urbanism are waiting on the sidelines.

    Deny. Doubt. Delay. These are easy and cheap. But the cost of inaction on dealing with fossil fuels will outweigh them all in the end. And we’ll miss intelligent discussions on building a low carbon, more diversified economy.

  3. “Big Moves”. Good moves. Moving fast enough? No.

    Atmospheric CO2 continues to rise. As a result, we are observing ecosystem collapses and species extinctions all over the planet due to rising temperatures, due to ocean acidification, due to sea level rise and salt water flooding. It’s not hard to see that humans will take themselves and their overburdened urban life styles over the brink.

    Future generations will inherit a different world than the one we inherited. An impoverished biosphere with historical photographs of an unspoiled paradise. Does it matter? After all you never miss what you never knew in the first place.

    There in lies the rub for the good steward because the moral life does matter, one’s individual life does matter. That is why there are countless volunteer organizations engaged in the effort to protect and maintain the environment for human habitation. We each should do what we can to reduce emissions, collectively it is already a very big project, an emerging economy in Canada and around the world.

    Going over the brink, can we soften the landing on the other side? How soon can we complete our technological transformation without causing further environmental damage?

  4. World-wide oil and gas demand is growing, whether Canada’s likes it or not, or does anything about it or not. If we don;t monetize our oil and gas, some other country will.

    Pipelines transport oil cleaner and safer than railways or trucks.

    Canada is so wealthy as it is one of the world’s top 6 oil producers.

    There is no 97% consensus that CO2 causes “climate change”. Many scientists oppose the CO2 cult.

    Much of the projected warming has been false, excessive or outright manipulated.

    There is no climate crisis. 300, 400, 500 or 1000 parts of CO2 part in the air PER MILLION make no difference to the climate. It’s socialism, coated green, as opposed to communist red. Ocean rise within norms and minimal.

    1. Can you please provide evidence that there is any serious doubt about AGW among climate scientists? Can you point us to peer reviewed evidence that warming is false, excessive or outright manipulated? Without it you are just wallowing in the delusion that the fossil propaganda industry wants you to be. They certainly have found “scientists” who will do their bidding. They pay very very well.

      You want us to believe that there’s a global conspiracy among thousands of climate scientists from dozens of countries, cultures, languages and religious (or not) beliefs to fool us into weaning ourselves off of fossil fuels. For what? If you actually believe it yourself then “fool” is far too kind of a word.

      How about I serve you a drink with 400 parts PER MILLION of fentanyl? You seem perfectly willing to drink Jim Jones’ kool-aid and take us all down with you.

      1. Update of IPCC by Nobel laureate in climate econ, Nordhaus here https://www.nber.org/reporter/2017number3/nordhaus.html .. figure 4, for example .. minor damage with temp increases ..

        Video here that Paris Agreement does NOT work ie is far too expensive for the results it aims for ie where is a $ or a billion $ best spent? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4UhbUNMQgc with Bjorn Lomborg .. specifically GREEN ENERGY has to be made far cheaper then it will be automatically used as opposed to make everyone poorer with more taxes .. more research needed to allocate $s best !

        Sea level rise well within normal norms here https://judithcurry.com/2018/11/27/special-report-on-sea-level-rise/

        So one needs to assess cost today with impact 50-100 years out ..

        1. “There is no climate crisis. 300, 400, 500 or 1000 parts of CO2 part in the air PER MILLION make no difference to the climate. ”

          Beyer you fool! Your first link completely disagrees with your statement! So does the second! The third is based on IPCC predictions of AGW!

          So Beyer, you’re zero for three even when you got to choose the sources. Pretty pathetic!

          Meanwhile Lomborg puts a price on the Paris accord where non exists. The agreement is about reducing emissions, not about how, nor how much it will cost. That is provided by fossil propaganda. He (instead?) suggests investing hundreds of $billions in alternative energy research to make it cheap enough to get off of fossil fuels. Nothing wrong with that. It’s just confusing that he presents himself as contrary. Also, he fully agrees that this is not something that can be done at the individual level but one that needs massive involvement at the societal level. That supports the idea of government involvement and intervention.

          Sustainable energy is already competing with fossil fuels on cost.

          In both those cases the focus is on economics, not on the environmental. Fair enough, but if ecosystems collapse there will be no economy.

          The third link is not peer reviewed… just a blog. No time for that. However, she does not dispute significant sea level rise and only disputes the higher end of the range. She’s entitled to her opinion. But it doesn’t help your case. I’ll go with the scientific consensus just as I do about the earth orbiting the sun.

    2. Will the cries from deniers like Beyer just become ever more shrill as their numbers dwindle? Given that they are a small and shrinking minority they sure are loud. Even in one of the most denialist countries, the US, only 32% think that global warming is a natural occurrence. You’d never know it from the volume of misinformation and manipulation of media, social or otherwise.

      Even the Bank of Canada is now going public about the economic threats of major devaluations of carbon-intensive industry and the potential for fire-sale dumping of stocks. Ooooh… it must be that scientific conspiracy! They’ve fooled everyone except Beyer and his shriveling cohort.

      Leaders of the entire world agreed to begin the process of dramatic cuts to carbon emissions. How many things have they ever all agreed on? They must all be really really stupid. I’m sure glad Beyer is here to save the day !

      1. There are MANY scientists that don;t buy into the hype and there are MANY benefits of warming, too, esp for Canada. CO2 is a harmless gas, great for vegetation. The benefits of warming widely understated. It is getting warmer. So ?

        I tried to link 3 above (as the is the maximum here on pricetags I believe .. awaiting moderation as of course a free debate might shock too many young minds) .. there are MANY more, of course

        The reality is that global warming will be a MINOR problem, but NOT end-of-world, equivalent to losing 2-4% of average income by 2100, when each person will be 300-1,000% richer. So the idea of a “crisis” is utter BS !

        1. Define “MANY”. Hint: it’s not MORE because you type it in capitals.

          It’s clear that there are a few but if you Wikipedia you’ll find that most are not climate scientists. I wouldn’t go to a dentist to get advice on brain surgery. Would you?

          It’s been scientifically determined that the climate stress (heat/drought/flooding) on vegetation will vastly outweigh any benefit of increased CO2. Furthermore, as vegetation has evolved within a relatively stable range of CO2 the off-the-charts CO2 we now have is itself putting stress on many species and disrupting the delicate balance required for photosynthesis. If it keeps getting higher that stress will translate to extinction. I recommend and excellent book called “Eating the Sun”.

          You clearly do not grasp climate change. While Canada may see a longer growing season and other benefits in the short term, it will equally see many downsides including *cough* *cough*…. ^%%$%^$ing hell *cough* and flooding among others. That includes devastating economic consequences with forestry, one of our larger resource industries. But the worst in the near-to-mid term is going to be the massive waves of climate refugees fleeing the increasing uninhabitable and war-torn southern regions who’s populations are going to completely overwhelm us. We won’t be able to stop them, nor should we.

          So your idea of utter BS is utter BS.

          1. Wars and starvation have NOTHING to do with climate. It is policies, belief systems, dictatorships or terror.

            CO2 is beneficial for plant growth. That’s why it is injected into greenhouses. The claim that rising CO2 will make food crops less nutritious is pure propaganda. As long as they are given sufficient nutrients they will produce more food and it will be nutritious. The doomsday “climate crisis” crowd will tell any lie to make CO2 look bad.

            Warming has the following benefits for Canada:
            – longer growing seasons
            – more ice free ports
            – lower heating bills
            – less death by freezing

            Peer-Reviewed Studies
            a) Illustrating that CO2 Lags Temperature and
            b) Dispelling the CO2 Drives Extreme Weather Myth and
            c) Dispelling the Climate Alarm Myths on Flooding, Wildfires and Cyclones
            d) Challenging the Theory that CO2 Driving Climate

            https://realworldclimatescience.blogspot.com/

            Don’t buy into the alarmist hype to extract even more tax $s and globalist bigger governments !

          2. No one denies it’s warming, Ron. As to what % of that is man made, and the future forecast of it’s increase, the opinion, or science differ. And the opinions about what to do about it, at what cost, differ even more.

            If we truly believed in a “climate emergency” we’d ban all imports from China or India, stop mining coal, shut down all airports and ban most cars. The worst polluters of air are coal burning plants without filters, manly SE Asia based, not here. Why doesn’t EcoJustice or Tide protest there? We don’t ban oil import from dictator states into Quebec or E Canada along St Lawrence but want to shut down oil exports from Alberta, or liquified gas exports from BC, by banning tankers and pipelines. Doesn’t that sound hypocritical to you ?

            Canada is a cold country, outside of balmy Lower Mainland or S V Island. Houses need heating, cheapest and proven with gas. Now we want to make that really really expensive, in a country with vast gas resources, to virtue signal our clean intent with zero impact on the climate while China and India pump out coal plant after coal plant to lift their own living standards. It makes no sense !

          3. Acknowledging that the earth is warming is not a useful contribution to this conversation. If you want to form you grand delusion on the basis if a minuscule sliver of contrarian evidence then you should accept that you will be seen as a complete fool.

            I posted on another thread that the progressives always win. You are a shining example of why that is so. Progressives seek the truth and visualize a better future. Conservatives pine for the past and will unearth any desperate argument that inhibits progress. Unfortunately we may run out of time to have a functioning civilization in which progressives will have been seen to have won on this one.

  5. No point in even engaging with deniers anymore. About as useful as arguing with a Flat Earther. Since site rules prohibit the sort of sharp-tongued, why suffer fools response they deserve, we’ll have to settle for video proof of ignorance.

    “The doomsday “climate crisis” crowd will tell any lie to make CO2 look bad.”

    Have some honour sir. Be specific about who you are calling a liar.

    1. There are many MANY scientific doubters or “deniers” as you call them. Many peer reviewed studies that dispel the climate hype that is totally off the charts: We all gonna die soon. Refugees by the millions due to dry deserts. Floods. Hurricanes. Climate crisis. Climate emergency. Climate break down. Shriking polar ice caps (they are growing). No more polar bears (we have more of them) What an utter hoax. I heard this first in the 1970s .. the end of growth .. the end of oil .. world hunger .. starvation .. mass death .. its all BS ..

      Dozens of peer-reviewed studies here https://realworldclimatescience.blogspot.com/ .. comment anyone ? or all BS because “your” scientist is better than “my” scientist with more PhDs ?

      Science is about FACTS. It is far too politicized.

      Of course, everyone wants clean air and water. Who wants an oil spill on Kits beach ?

      Many energy systems not scalable for 8B+ people and soon 2B vehicles. Of course we will get more EVs organically as it makes a lot of sense to have cleaner air in cities, with less noise at hopefully lower cost. What about long distance or cold weather though where battery deterioration is a true issue ?

      What about trucks, tractors, ships, combines or planes though that are used by the thousands daily to power the movement of 8B humans and their dietary needs ?

      Close down YVR and BC Ferries ?

      How do the BC Green movement, centered around warm weather, never-snow Southern Vancouver and Gulf Islands get to and fro the islands ? By row boat ? By sail boat ? By e-kayak?

      1. Again, define “MANY”.

        https://www.desmogblog.com/2012/11/15/why-climate-deniers-have-no-credibility-science-one-pie-chart

        Beyer: “Don’t buy into the alarmist hype to extract even more tax $s and globalist bigger governments !”

        Tell that to Bjorn Lomborg who clearly thinks we need grand intervention. It’s pretty clear from your statement that you don’t believe in the problem because you can’t stand the solution. That’s not the way science works. It’s not the way any policy should work. But it’s the way conservatives work. The climate doesn’t care about what you believe.

      2. CO2 does lag warming in ice-core analysis.

        So far, I have not jumped into the science itself since having an overwhelming consensus among the actual experts should be good enough for sane people. However, I will undermine one crutch of Beyer’s insane delusion: the conclusion in research he has linked that CO2 lags warming in analysis of ice-core samples.

        I make no claim to be an expert but I have done a lot of reading on this including books by climate scientists and by skeptics. For what it’s worth:

        The finding that CO2 lags warming in those studies is absolutely true. Unfortunately for Beyer, it does not undermine the science of anthropogenic global warming. It is well understood by climate scientists and is, in fact, embedded in the climate models. It has to be to make the models accurate.

        This is because CO2 (and methane) is both a cause and a consequence of a warming planet. It is a feedback that accelerates warming even as the warming creates more of it. Note the increasing forest conflagrations around the planet.

        A look at the ice-core record of historic temperature shows a very clear repeating pattern of warming and cooling periods. The reason is a repeating complex feature of earth’s slightly elliptical orbit which varies the amount of solar energy absorbed by the planet. (I could get into a lot more detail because it more complicated than merely the distance to the sun.)

        These variations over thousands of years are the driving force of the changing climate and are not going to go away because of human activity. AGW is overlaid onto this pattern. While GHGs play a role in the heating and cooling due to the elliptical orbit they are not strong enough to counteract that force. As the planet warms, more CO2 is released and as such it lags the warming. As the orbit moves into a cooling period the CO2 remains in the atmosphere slowing the cooling but ultimately losing out to the orbital influence. As the planet cools the CO2 is again absorbed into the biosphere and then, often, trapped into the expanding ice. This is consistent with rises and falls in CO2 concentrations that follow the warming and cooling planet. But just because they lag it does not mean they don’t have a big influence.

        In our current situation CO2 is way off the charts of any of those cycles. The influence of this super-high concentration may not be enough to counteract a looming ice age, but in a period of relative global climate stability it is certainly enough to heat and destabilize our climate and wipe a lot of life off the face of the earth. Including a whole lot of humans.

        It begs the question of whether we could temper the climate when heading into another ice age, but that is an ethical dilemma for another discussion.

  6. Either side could be right, or wrong. The spectacle of non scientists judging scientists, picking their favorite studies and references is pointless. Let’s make an intelligent decision.

    What is the downside if we choose the wrong scientists? If we pick the man made climate change is real scientists, and it turns out they were wrong we have green energy that costs us some money. If we pick the man made climate change is false scientists, and it turns out they were wrong, we fry the planet and lots of people die. So we should probably go to work on some green energy solutions, suck up the costs in case they’re right.

    The problem with climate change is real scientists, is that more than once they have predicted catastrophe, which has failed to materialize. They have damaged their credibility. I still think we should take care of the downside, and I am willing to pay the costs.

    1. I completely agree with the first part. The beginning of the last paragraph can only be false. Nobody has predicted anything catastrophic that would have been absolutely evident by now. Actually, many things are worse than predicted.

    2. This requires further comment. I have not been arguing the science but rather making it abundantly clear that there is near 100% consensus from a broad spectrum of climate scientists from all over the world. One need not be a scientist, nor even have an understanding of the science, to make a logical conclusion that the science is understood well enough to make reasonably accurate forecasts of what is to come. And, so far, the evidence shows that they’ve been correct.

      On the other hand, if you’re going to take the contrarian view with any credibility you better damned well be a climate scientist!

  7. One of the smartest things Jordan Peterson said is that Trump has not started any wars.

    Is there anyone who would deny that war is bad for the climate?

    Say what you will about Trump, would it hurt to encourage him in this regard? If he could be known as the president who didn’t start any wars, that would be a great thing; worthy of respect.

    During the Edo Period in Japan, there were over 250 years of internal peace. How has it been during the American Empire, or the British Empire, or the French Empire, German, Mongol …

    If any world leader can keep the chicken hawks and corporate military industrial complex under control, they deserve respect. Please, no more war.

    I think it was David Frum who said that if Trump told his voters to vote for Putin, they would. Maybe he should. He’s good at shaking things up.

  8. Cheap energy has MANY benefits. It is THE #1 requirement of a prosperous economy. The more prosperous a society (or a person) is the more energy she/he uses. Make energy more expensive, and that money is now not available for other spending, on housing, food, clothing, or taxation for gov services.

    Brainwashed kids holding up signs yelling “climate emergency” have no idea how much life costs, i.e. expect a standard of living regardless of energy costs.

    Bjorn Lomborg is right: we need to get green energy costs down to make it viable. Solar on roof tops makes sense already where it is mainly sunny, but other alternatives need to be developed for colder/cloudy climates. Electric cars make sense if one ignores purchase price, range or mining impact.

    The issue with a fast ramp up of EV manufacturing to maybe 33% of new cares being electric is the business case for manufacturers as they do not make money on it, or not enough, even Tesla who has been dong it for 10 years, and now VW at scale but not nearly a Tesla killer as they could be either. Main reason? Biz case weak. https://cleantechnica.com/2019/05/12/another-tesla-killer-missing-in-action-vw-group-falls-short-charts/

    Oil and gas is used because it has many benefits, such as price for heating or transportation of goods or people, primarily because the pixie dust with equal energy density to transport and make food for billions daily does not exist. Where are all the eShips, eTrucks, eCombines, eTractors powering the global food chain daily for billions ? Planes will likely never be electric unless very small and very expensive.

    It’s all fine to shut down coal plants or oil burning plants to heat water, or promote EVs in dense cities more, but the idea or political proposals that a “New Green Deal” gets us off fossil fuel in a decade or 2 is just plain silly, misleading or fraud at worst ! It will essentially create food shortages and/or far FAR higher food prices thus starvation as weaning ourselves off fossil fuel burning machines will take at least as long as getting to the 2040 oil peak, ie 100-120+ years !

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