Where does the claim that we only have ten years left come from?

“We have about ten years before we get into a irreversible situation”, said Nic Balthazar (see previous post). Just as in an earlier interview at the end of December 2018, he based his claim on the IPCC SR15 report that was “clearer than ever”. But then, I read the SR15 report before and I didn’t find anything that suggests that there would be tipping points at a 1.5 °C temperature increase.

As far as I know, the SR15 report was commissioned at the 2015 Paris conference and the question back then was: which are the effects of the threshold of 1.5 °C (proposed at the conference) compared to the 2 °C threshold that was valid until that conference?

That is what I also see in the SR15 report: how do the two thresholds compare. So how on earth does he come to the conclusion that the SR15 report shows that there will be a tipping point within ten years and it will be game over for our society in twenty years?

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(Another) ten years to prevent disaster?

Today is the 11 year anniversary of a four minute, super alarmist, clip called the The Big Ask (Dutch ahead). It was produced as an incentive for our politicians to “act now” on climate change. Central point of the clip is the tipping point when reaching a 2°C temperature increase threshold (translated from Dutch, my emphasis):

The Big Ask 20191126: two degrees

If the temperature keeps rising, two degrees warmer at a certain moment, then it happens: then the planet starts to warm itself up, faster and faster and faster. That’s what they call the tipping point. Then we can not do anything anymore. Then it is totally out of our hands, say the professors. But they also say this: we now have between four and ten years to ensure that we do not reach that turning point.

The mathematically gifted among us will be able to confirm that 2008 + 10 = 2018, bringing the deadline that the problem could be fixed to (November) 2018. Meaning, already behind us.

The director of that clip appeared in a current affairs program of December 16, 2018, just beyond that deadline and, remarkably, this is what he said about the tipping point (translated from Dutch):

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Imagine that 11,000 doctors tell you that you are dying of cancer…

When I looked at the stats of my previous post a couple days ago, I noticed that there were quite some visits coming from Twitter. However, when I looked at the tweet linking to my post on my own twitter account, I didn’t see that many views and hardly any engagements, so only few clicked the link. These stat views definitely didn’t come via my own tweet. This prompted me to search for the distribution of the link to my previous post on twitter.

I quickly found some twitter accounts that picked up the link to my previous post. Two of them were interesting, these are both replies on tweets about (alarmist) articles from the Guardian and the Independent.

This is the tweet that originated from the Independent:

The tweet stated that a sane person would not need more convincing than the 11,000 scientists backing up the “report” (it is actually a viewpoint). He took the list of 11,000 “scientists” as a confirmation that we are in a climate emergency (and maybe even are too late already). I am pretty sure that the tweep didn’t look at that list…

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The “vetting process” of the climate emergency petition

There was quite some fuss in the media about a paper claiming there is a climate emergency, supported by a list of 11,000 signatures of scientists. I didn’t had much time back then, so I just downloaded the list of signatories to look at it later.

The petition was held at the site of the Alliance of World Scientists and it links to the article World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency (where the list of signatories is downloadable). There are five authors and at the Alliance of World Scientists web page, the petition list is put right behind the authors. suggested that all those signatories are scientists on par with the authors:

Climate emergency petition: condenced message on Alliance of World Scientists website

The number of signatories is not shown anymore because there was an issue with, ahem, “invalid signatures”. That is a nice way to say that some crazy input were found in that list. In the meanwhile I also read a CBC news article in which the lead author was asked about the inclusion of a certain “Micky Mouse” as one of the signatories. This was his answer:

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Given the same evidence, why do some people become concerned while others deny it?

Previous post was on the question whether the political left is more science-minded than the political right, based on a Conversation article by David Hall. In that post, there was a link to another Conversation article titled “Climate explained: Why are climate change skeptics often right-wing conservatives?. It is written by three authors in the field of Psychology. Their article start with this paragraph (my emphasis):

The scientific evidence for climate change is unequivocal: 97 per cent of actively publishing climate scientists agree that human activities are causing global warming. Given the same evidence, why do some people become concerned about human-caused climate change while others deny it? In particular, why are people who remain skeptical about climate change often identified as right-wing conservatives?

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Is the political left more science-minded than the political right?

In the article “Why some people still think climate change isn’t real“, the author stated that political ideology is the strongest predictor for denial and conservative voters are more likely to discount climate change. The focus is on conservatives that are said to be ideologically biased and therefor can’t accept the facts of climate science.

I heard many times before that the political right tend to deny the science. In the article itself, there was a link to another “Climate explained” article titled “Why are climate change skeptics often right-wing conservatives“. This was also explained in several papers authored by John Cook and it was therefor no surprise that this claim also appeared in the consensus handbook (in the chapter “The role of politics and information”):

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Impartially weighing up all the evidence or post hoc rationalisations?

climate explained header

The Conversation has a “Climate explained” series with articles centered around a (climate change related) question that get answered by an “expert”. The question of the article that is the subject of this post is “Why some people still think climate change isn’t real” and the expert who answers this question is David Hall, a Senior Researcher in, ahem, Politics.

He tries to explain in the article what drives the “deniers” and how to “undo” their denial.

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