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On MichaelCrow’s Analysis of Climate Sensitivity


I’ve been arguing with MichaelCrow on Twitter around climate sensitivity and thought I’d put together a more detailed rebuttal using an analogy.

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Fair Climate Infographic

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Fair Climate Infographic

Fair Climate Infographic

Fair Climate is a certification that can be applied to goods and services. To get certified you need to contribute money to climate change adaptation projects based on your GHG emissions. Various certification levels are available such as the “Gold Level” which is $30 per ton CO2 emitted. I thought an infographic might be an interesting way to conceptualize it so here it is.

There is also a pdf version.

If 97% of planes believe 3% of terrorists are experts…


Andrew Dessler recently posted a video that is intended to describe the decision making process with respect to climate change solutions. It uses a few different examples of decision making to compare with those involved with climate change. These include a jury trial, a potential terrorist attack and a potential plane crash. I believe that none of these examples are comparable to the decisions forced by climate change and that they offer no helpful information in making those decisions.

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The D-word

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I posted this over at wottsupwiththatblog and thought I’d add it here as well.

Update: There is a good conversation going on there so just go there instead 🙂


One of my problems with “denier” is that it is often used with reference to policy instead of science. We might agree on the observational data, the theory of GHGs and maybe even the impacts, but not on the solutions. I don’t think people who advocate for adaptation over mitigation can be considered a denier.

In fact I don’t think anyone who has a good deal of knowledge about climate science can be called a denier. Some just have different interpretations of the data. Is Nicola Scafetta a denier? I don’t think so.

Technical speaking, in my opinion, there are many climate science deniers. They are the Joe six-packs who reject the science because “that’s what you do as a conservative” – “climate science is just propaganda for the liberal elite”, etc. If you are unwilling to learn about climate science and reject it out of hand, then yes, you are a denier. This definition, which I believe to be the most accurate, doesn’t include any significant actors in the climasphere.

Unfortunately when “denier” is used, it is almost always a form of reification. “Denier”, “Sceptic”, “Warmist”, “Alarmist” are ambiguous terms that cannot be used to form a statement (i.e.: “alarmists are exaggerating” or “deniers can’t think”) without it being fallacious. Scientists, of all people, should avoid reification in their discourse as it shows a lack of critical thinking.

I avoid using all these words. I think it is much easier to say “people who advocate for mitigation”, “people who don’t think action on climate change is necessary” or whatever the context requires. It may take more words but it is clear, follows logic and maybe best of all – it’s polite!

There’s no need for a climate policy


The efforts to slow climate change through a policy of emission reductions are not working. Some climate advocacy is directed elsewhere, such as Forecast the Facts or divestment of fossil fuel holdings, but the majority seems to involve mitigation efforts requiring national or international implementation. While some governments have implemented climate-related policies, either they aren’t directly related to emissions (such as alternative energy policies), or they fail to work (Kyoto). It’s no surprise this approach involves a great deal of frustration and disillusionment.

A significant barrier to action is the combination of the commons dilemma – “if China and India won’t reduce their emissions why should we?” – and the sentiment that energy costs should not increase for poor people (which is shared throughout the climate debate and evident in climate negotiations). Still, a dominant paradigm in climate advocacy says “we can’t wait for other countries to act, we need to act now”. In this I agree, but what kind of action is possible if your government is deadlocked and public concern isn’t strong enough to free it?

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Thoughts on the Climate Debate

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If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way.

–Bertrand Russell

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Latest Letter to Councillor Luton

Hi John,

I appreciate the back and forth we have had but it hasn’t settled my opinion.

The one thing I believe to be true is that the blue bridge needs work. The assertion that the bridge needs to be seismically upgraded doesn’t seem based on a concrete legal and economic basis but rather on less-than-expert opinion and anecdotal comparisons. I think you may very well be right in your assumptions of economic liability but I would like to hear from those with more experience and training in that field.

This isn’t meant to diminish your analysis which has been detailed and nuanced but to encourage additional time and resources to answer the fundamental economic questions surrounding the issue.


John Luton’s Fourth Letter

Thanks again.

My enthusiasm has worked well enough to advance many of the cycling projects around the Capital Region and it has been the most successful strategy for any transportation mode supported by public funds.

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Second Response to Councillor Luton


Thanks again for your responses. Your comments on cycling integration are very informative. I appreciate your enthusiasm.

You mention Point Hope Shipyards as an example of a business being affected should the Johnson Street Bridge fail. I believe there are a number of questions to be addressed for this to be a valid point. Is the proposed bridge guaranteed to fully function after a large magnitude earthquake? Does the city have a contract with Point Hope Shipyards guaranteeing an earthquake-proof bridge? I could see the shipyards having a case against the city if the current bridge failed to rise again due to lack of mechanical maintenance but it’s not clear an earthquake would result in the same liability.

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John Luton’s Third Letter

[John Luton’s response to my letter to the Times Colonist. Can’t wait to reply been really busy]

Hi again Saren,

Just wanted to follow up on your letter to the editor.  I did some further checking into city hall and much of it has seismic reinforcement, including the newer section (the western, modernist piece), and around doorways.  Some more work is ongoing and as I noted, planning for further work is also in progress.  The third floor of the old city hall has been emptied (it used to house lots of heavy archival material) and can’t be occupied until it is seismically upgraded.

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