Climate confusion from “Popular Science”

Popular Science magazine has a new “news” video and transcript out that truly qualifies as what is now called climate fiction or cli-fi for short.

The catchy title is:

What happens if Earth gets 2°C warmer?

And why are we trying to avoid it?

The chilling answer, given in the very first words of the video:

If the world gets warmer by two degrees Celsius, we’re screwed.

Alarmist hype doesn’t get any better than this.

What is going on here is what I call 1.5 degrees of climate madness and describe here. It is all about the so-called UN Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which the US is wisely bailing out of. The false assumption is that humans are causing dangerous global warming, so all the countries in the world are supposed to try to stop it.

This raises the policy question — “What is our target??” For decades the answer has been 2 degrees Celsius, but not from now, rather from mythical pre-industrial times. The alarmists claim that there has already been one degree of human caused warming so that just leaves one degree left in the target.

But when the Paris Agreement was struck a bunch of the developing countries inserted the secondary tighter target of 1.5 degrees. That is the target is now the fuzzy 2 degrees for sure but as close to 1.5 degrees as possible, or something like that. UN treaties are notoriously vague, so different parties can confidently make conflicting claims about what they say.

Given the one degree of supposed warming already in place, this tighter target is really just one-half a degree of future warming. That is so tight that many of the hot climate models say it is impossible, but politics does not care about possibility.

Central to the Paris Agreement is the idea that the developed countries are going to pay the developing countries whatever it takes to meet the target. The tighter the target the more it will cost, so the more money the developing countries expect to get.

This is why the Popular Science video begins by telling us that at 2 degrees we are screwed. Not screwed by the Paris agreement (which is true), but screwed by global warming (which is not true). This “news” video is actually a big pitch for the 1.5 degree target.

The article itself is nothing but the usual compendium of computer model scare stories. Hurricane Harvey even gets honorable mention. They do make some mistakes, like saying the world will get drier, when it is actually projected to get wetter. But given that there are supposed to be more droughts in this mythical wetter word, this is an easy mistake to make. Some of the stuff is pretty incoherent, but so is climate change alarmism.

Toward the end however, they seem to lose track of their message. They start talking about the feasibility of meeting the 2 degree target and urging us to do that. But they started off telling us that at 2 degrees we are screwed.

That is the problem with pushing two different targets. If one is better than the other has to be worse. If 1.5 degrees is good then 2 degrees can’t be so good, but we should shoot for at least it, anyway. Anybody capable of critical thinking should read this article and react skeptically. But then this article is clearly written for alarmists, by alarmists.

If you wonder what this article has to do with science, the answer is nothing. That is not what Popular Science publishes. Popular Pseudoscience would be a better name.


About the Author: David Wojick, Ph.D.

David Wojick is a journalist and policy analyst. He holds a doctorate in epistemology, specializing in the field of Mathematical Logic and Conceptual Analysis.

  1. Immortal600

    Ah yes, another doom and gloom article from the AGW zealots (popular science). One wonders if they really have an understanding of Thermodynamics and how it is a fallacy to think that adding 120ppm of CO2 causes much of anything to happen. That minuscule amount of CO2 is not reflecting enough energy to raise temperature one bit! They constantly interchange energy with heat which is not necessarily true! Energy is conserved, heat is NOT. How hard is that to understand? Heat DISSIPATES, Energy does not. Whatever heat CO2 captures dissipates in the surrounding molecules as if it is gone in the wind. LITERALLY.

  2. pkwz

    Show me the data! Where are the so-called effects of this alleged global warming? Nobody can do that–they won’t even show us the RAW data of all of temperatures used in constructing their fantasy models.

    And if they did show us the raw data, what were the criteria for adjusting temperatures from back then to now? In 1900 Los Angeles, temperatures were measured with different instruments located in different places than they are today. Los Angeles was nothing but a wide spot in the road with very little concrete, asphalt and buildings. No freeways or endless miles of roads. Today it’s one big heat sink.

    It’s all bogus with no transparency because that would expose that they don’t have anything, it’s all based on models.

    • RealOldOne2

      “A rather more reasoned approach…”
      No, the article you cite is false propaganda, making dishonest statements such as “In reality, the issues of clouds and solar intensity they cite have been studied for decades and debunked”.

      As I’ve shown you numerous times and you have been unable to refute, those natural climate forcings are ~10 times more significant than CO2 forcing, 85% of which is natural anyway. There isn’t a single peer reviewed paper in existence that empirically shows that anthropogenic CO2 has been the primary cause of the late 20th century warming. But there are several which show climate change is still overwhelmingly natural.

      When are you ever going to face reality and admit that your CatastrophicAGW-by-CO2 climate cult religion is false pseudoscience?

      • Robert

        You can publish …..
        Or you can try to argue basic science on a political opinion blog.

        You’ve chosen the later.

        That says a bunch about your science.

        Here is a non obscured url list of resources discussing the science
        Instead of your who knows where you got it screed, here is a list of resources that accurately discuss science:

        “The likely range of the human contribution to the global mean temperature increase over the period 1951–2010 is 1.1° to 1.4°F (0.6° to 0.8°C), and the central estimate of the observed warming of 1.2°F (0.65°C) lies within this range (high confidence). This translates to a likely human contribution of 92%–123% of the observed 1951–2010 change. The likely contributions of natural forcing and internal variability to global temperature change over that period are minor (high confidence). (Ch. 3; Fig. ES.2)”
        USGCRP, 2017: Climate Science Special Report: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume I [Wuebbles, D.J., D.W. Fahey, K.A. Hibbard, D.J. Dokken, B.C. Stewart, and T.K. Maycock (eds.)]. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, USA, 470 pp., doi: 10.7930/J0J964J6

        WHAT WE KNOW

        The overwhelming evidence of human-caused climate change documents both current impacts with significant costs and extraordinary future risks to society and natural systems. The scientific community has convened conferences, published reports, spoken out at forums and proclaimed, through statements by virtually every national scientific academy and relevant major scientific organization — including the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) — that climate change puts the well-being of people of all nations at risk.

        What’s Really Warming the World? Climate deniers blame natural factors; NASA data proves otherwise

        What is climate change?

        Environment and Climate Change Canada

        European Climate Adaptation Platform (CLIMATE-ADAPT)

        Cornell Climate Change

        republicEn: Engaging Conservatives

        George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication

        EARTH Institute

        And the science condensed :

        D.3 Detection and Attribution of Climate Change

        Human influence has been detected in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, in changes in the global water cycle, in reductions in snow and ice, in global mean sea level rise, and in changes in some climate extremes (see Figure SPM.6 and Table SPM.1). This evidence for human influence has grown since AR4. It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. {10.3–10.6, 10.9}

        • It is extremely likely that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together. The best estimate of the human-induced contribution to warming is similar to the observed warming over this period. {10.3}

        • Greenhouse gases contributed a global mean surface warming likely to be in the range of 0.5°C to 1.3°C over the period 1951 to 2010, with the contributions from other anthropogenic forcings, including the cooling effect of aerosols, likely to be in the range of −0.6°C to 0.1°C. The contribution from natural forcings is likely to be in the range of −0.1°C to 0.1°C, and from natural internal variability is likely to be in the range of −0.1°C to 0.1°C. Together these assessed contributions are consistent with the observed warming of approximately 0.6°C to 0.7°C over this period. {10.3}

        • Over every continental region except Antarctica, anthropogenic forcings have likely made a substantial contribution to surface temperature increases since the mid-20th century (see Figure SPM.6). For Antarctica, large observational uncertainties result in low confidence that anthropogenic forcings have contributed to the observed warming averaged over available stations. It is likely that there has been an anthropogenic contribution to the very substantial Arctic warming since the mid-20th century. {2.4, 10.3}

        • It is very likely that anthropogenic influence, particularly greenhouse gases and stratospheric ozone depletion, has led to a detectable observed pattern of tropospheric warming and a corresponding cooling in the lower stratosphere since 1961. {2.4, 9.4, 10.3}

        • It is very likely that anthropogenic forcings have made a substantial contribution to increases in global upper ocean heat content (0–700 m) observed since the 1970s (see Figure SPM.6). There is evidence for human influence in some individual ocean basins. {3.2, 10.4}

        • It is likely that anthropogenic influences have affected the global water cycle since 1960. Anthropogenic influences have contributed to observed increases in atmospheric moisture content in the atmosphere (medium confidence), to global scale changes in precipitation patterns over land (medium confidence), to intensification of heavy precipitation over land regions where data are sufficient (medium confidence), and to changes in surface and sub-surface ocean salinity (very likely). {2.5, 2.6, 3.3, 7.6, 10.3, 10.4}
        SPM WG1 AR5

        • RealOldOne2

          Nope. ZERO empirical evidence for human causation of climate warming there.

          You STILL have provided no peer reviewed empirical science to support your CatastrophicAGW-by-CO2 climate cult religion. Only baseless, empirical evidence free claims.

          Poor Robert, duped into believing your climate cult religious pseudoscience. So sad.

  3. Immortal600

    Pay no attention to the KOOK article by Alan Northcutt in the Waco Tribune. He doesn’t understand that his “accepted science” is a fraud masquerading as fact. A joke is more like it.

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