Viewing entries tagged
Climate Change

On the Truth-Value of Techno-Optimism: the Case of US Farmers

The “truth-value” of a belief or proposition is the extent to which it is empirically justified, i.e., at least partly true. The “use-value” of a belief or proposition is the extent to which it serves a need or provides a benefit.

Behind The Headlines: The Journal Nature Retracts Ocean Warming Study

Original Study published in Nature on November 1, 2018:  “Our result—which relies on high-precision O2 measurements dating back to 1991 —suggests that ocean warming is at the high end of previous estimates…” … Nature issues an editor's note about the errors on November 19, 2018: : We would like to alert readers that the authors have informed us of errors in the paper. An implication of the errors is that the uncertainties in ocean heat content are substantially underestimated.” …Retraction published online in Nature on September 25, 2019….

A Possible Near-Future Climate: Like the Mid-Pliocene, But Different

The mid-Pliocene climate may be a decent proxy for the earth’s near-future climate, under the mid-range emissions scenario Representative Concentration Pathway 4.5, otherwise know as RCP4.5, The mid-Pliocene was around three million years ago. The global climate was wetter and 2-3 °C higher than today. Atmospheric CO2 and sea levels were also higher. There was much less ice in the northern hemisphere. Forests, woodland and savanna dominated the landscape.

Different Emissions Scenarios Generate Different Futures: Which Scenarios are the Most Likely?

Note the term “anomaly means a departure from a reference value or long-term average. The above graph starts at 1°C in 2005, because by then global mean temperatures had already increased by one Celsius degree since pre-industrial times (1850-1880). Unfortunately, the  rise in global temperatures has accelerated since 2005, but it’s too early to tell if the above RCP-generated warming trajectories will need to be modified. …How about future sea levels?

GM Crops, Climate Change and Protecting the Environment: The Latest Research

According to a recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) associated with land use account for somewhere between 21-37% of all anthropogenic emissions. Agriculture is the main culprit, both as a cause of deforestation and as a major emitter of GHGs, especially carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane. Agriculture is also destroying biodiversity and pushing all sorts to species to the brink of extinction.

Astrology, Political Attitudes and Party Affiliation

…twice as many Democrats as Republicans consider astrology “very” scientific and Republicans are more likely than Democrats to consider astrology “not at all” scientific. What’s going on here? Is there a solid scientific case for believing in astrology?

Truth-Telling and Persuasive Intent in Conversations about the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change, Part III: Separating the Wheat from the Chaff

Verheggen et al gets the final word:

“Different surveys are not directly comparable, due to different groups of people being asked different questions…. Different surveys typically use slightly different criteria to determine their survey sample and to define the consensus position, hampering a direct comparison. It is possible that our definition of “agreement” sets a higher standard than, for example, survey question[s] about whether human activity is ‘a significant contributing factor’.”

Truth-Telling and Persuasive Intent in Conversations about Climate Change, Part IIa: How was the Consensus Established?

The above graphic conveys two things: first, getting skeptics to accept the scientific consensus on climate change is essential to convincing them of the need for urgent action. Second, in order for skeptics to accept the consensus, you have to convince them that the consensus is overwhelming - not just most scientists, but the vast majority of scientists. So is that what the studies in this graphic show? Let’s find out.

Truth-Telling and Persuasive Intent in Conversations about Climate Change, Part I: What is the Scientific Consensus?

Rule # 1: If you’re going to have an honest conversation about climate change, don’t misrepresent what the scientific consensus actually is.

Rule # 2: If you’re going to have an honest conversation about climate change, be prepared to discuss the evidence for a scientific consensus.

Rule # 3: If you want to have an honest conversation about climate change, remember that conversation is a two-way street. That means it’s just as much about listening as speaking.

Rule # 4: If your goal is to persuade someone to agree with you, then your goal is not to have an honest conversation.

Environmental Issues to Engage Climate Change Skeptics

…For instance, in a recent survey, even though just 36% of Republican or Republican-Leaning Millennials endorsed “Earth is warming mostly due to human activity”, 83-87% of the same group supported expansion of renewables and 60% wanted the government to do more to protect animals and habitat (Pew Research 2019). So here are some environmental causes the skeptics might be interested in: …

Making Science Real: A Guide

The rest of us rely on mental shortcuts to arrive at our opinions on climate change - mostly to do with trust and perceived plausibility. In other words, how we feel/think about climate change depends in large part on whom we trust or don’t trust, as well as what information, explanations, and opinions fit with our understanding of how the world works. This is not an irrational way for non-scientists to approach a subject as complex as climate change. 

But we could do better. We could live the words “science is real”…