Bad, bad, tactics by Extinction Rebellion

This anti-climate change protest by Extinction Rebellion was extraordinarily foolish:

Let us count the ways:

  • It was poorly targetted. Who was disrupted? Commuters in the East End of London. Not wealthy people, not decision makers. Ordinary people trying to get by.
  • It had no thematic connection. The disruption targetted public transport. The net effect was to encourage people to DRIVE to work.
  • It was arrogant and alienating. It elevated the concerns of the protestors over the concerns of people who the protest should aim to persuade. That makes the protestors concerns look insular, out of touch and arrogant. It makes action on climate change politically less likely and easier for politicians to demonise.
  • It wasn’t direct action. Direct action is where people directly intervene for moral reasons against the thing they are protesting against. For example, disrupting the building of coal-fired power plant. The ethics of direct action are a thing in themselves but they very much depend on whether it is justified to directly stop a thing happening. This protest has the theatre of direct action but isn’t. There’s no ethical imperative here to stop people travelling by train.

There’s a moral equation between an extreme situation and extreme action. It is one that gets debated left and right, and within and outside of governments. However, just like war and revolution, that moral equation isn’t a carte blanche. There has to be a plausible connection between the action taken and some reasonable (and proportionate) chance of preventing, ameliorating or limiting the extreme situation.

There’s no moral justification for obviously bad tactics.

September Satellite Temps

As we were discussing global warming again the other day and certain sections of the internet announced that they wanted to hear from scientists rather than teenagers, here is the global average lower tropospheric temperature (LT) anomaly for September.

As always, I cite this temperature record not because it is necessarily the best or most representative but because it is the one that is global warming deniers/sceptics were consistent they would believe (they don’t of course).

This month’s temperature is a balmy “that can’t be right, seriously, good grief”. Doubly alarming as currently we don’t have strong El Niño conditions.

Using My Time Machine to Fix Right Wing Views on Climate

Ha! Tricked you all! This is a post about Larry Correia again! Larry has suddenly decided that he is really into more literary science-fiction and is making an assertive defence of Dan Simmons.

Simmons (an author whose books I do actively seek out) went off an a bit of anti-Greta Thunberg thung on Facebook. Many people objected. There was a post at File 770 about it:

Larry, who has made a point of stating how he nor very few other people read File 770 apparently read the post and was unhappy with people being unhappy with Simmons and discovered that he is a big fan of Simmons. Is it their mutual love of John Keats or the their shared interest in Proust? Larry doesn’t say. He does claim that File 770’s post critical of Simmons led to Simmon’s novel Hyperion being “number one” on Amazon.

However, I want to focus on a particular criticism of Greta Thunberg that I’ve seen from Simmons, Correia, and other right wing science fiction writers:

“Oh yeah, and it’s the ultimate Motte and Bailey play, because they can put an uneducated teenager with no scientific creds at all in front of one of the biggest government bodies in the world to demand socialism now or else, and when you go LOL WUT they switch to We Just Want A Clean Environment Why Do You Hate Children. It’s total bullshit.”

OK, there’s a germ of a point there – after all Greta Thunberg isn’t a climate scientist. How about instead of a school kid they got the most relevant and credentialed scientists up there instead! [Yes, we will ignore that Thunberg was speaking at a youth conference with multiple amazing young people trying to make their world a better place ]

OK but I can fix that with my time machine. Clearly what these authors need to see is not kids but scientists. Show them authoritative people, who know their stuff and the whole “no scientific creds” issue is dealt with. Yet, it’s no good doing it now when the warming is already substantial. I need to CHANGE THE PAST! Instead of scolding these guys they want hard science and reason and they need it years ago!

OK – to my time machine! I’ll be right back!

[weird groaning noises as if a Tardis is dematerialising and then rematerialising which are then revealed to be a fat cat snoring…]

Phew! Fixed it! I’ve changed the timeline! I went all the way back to 1988! Hopefully enough time to change everybody’s mind! Instead of scolding people I changed the past so the UN got together an international panel on climate change with experts from around the world! If you check Wikipedia you can now see in our new timeline an entry on the IPCC:

What’s that you say? My new amazing timeline with the UN promoting highly credentialed scientists to explain the detailed science of climate change for the past 30 odd years is EXACTLY the same? But, but, that’s not possible! For that to be true it would almost have to be that these conservatives never gave two shits about the science and where just moaning about credentials because Greta Thunberg was actually making a difference and got climate change and global warming back into the headlines!

July global temperatures

The usual caveat: I use this data set just to cut through one layer of disingenuous counter-argument from the right. It’s isn’t necessarily the best or most representative, not that it matters. It is getting warmer, we’ve known that for years and we’ve known why for years. I’d challenge anybody to point out a major area of modern political policy where the underlying facts and evidence are this strong. Not crime, not economics, not foreign policy, not taxation, not even healthcare have the same level and quality of evidence behind the policy debate. If you think we don’t have enough evidence yet to take action on this topic but claim the facts back you up in some other policy area you are frankly talking bullshit.

A not-actually-a-paper has the Right excited about global warming denial again

One of my favourite topics is the methodical destruction of our planet’s climatic status-quo by our fun habit of burning the deep past for larks aka Global Warming. As a reminder, global warming currently looks like this*:

UAH satellite temps – not because they are the best record but just because they avoid two thoughtless arguments

The 1990s argument of ‘we need more research is dead, the 2000s ‘pause’ argument is dead. It’s getting hotter and anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are definitely the cause.

One lingering hypothesis is Henrik Svensmark’s comsic-rays versus cloud cover theory ( ). It doesn’t work and the evidence is against it but the mills of denial keep coming back to it because cloud cover is hard to model. So there’s always some mileage to obstuficate the question by waving your hands at clouds.

Enter a new ‘paper’ with the clickbait title “No experimental evidence for the significant anthropogenic climate change”. The paper isn’t about experiments or experimental data and doesn’t back up that title. Instead it is an unreviewed discussion of some modelling that’s available on the open access

The paper points to a relationship between temperature and cloud cover (fewer clouds ~ warmer temperatures) asserts that it is the changes in clouds cover that is driving changes in temperature (rather than vice versa or a complex mix of both) and that if clouds change temperature following their model then they can account for all the increase in warmth.

Except, that then leaves a massive hole in why the anthropogenic gases aren’t leading to warming as well, never mind why cloud cover should be changing in this way.

It would be uninteresting, except the usual suspects have got very excited about it because it looks sciencey. Russia Today published this article: and from there the story was picked up by braniacs such Paul Joseph Watson, Stefan Molyneux and, of course, our old pal Vox Day.

It’s a cold day here today but global warming is still warming

Satellite temperature record with May 2019:

Just as a reminder: I cite the UAH satellite temperatures not because it is the best data set but because it cuts through a lot of disinformation. It’s maintained by a “climate sceptic” and doesn’t depend on land based surface stations.

In the 1980s, last May’s temperatures would have been a record breaking month. It is getting hotter, noticeably within our lifetime.

How hot was April?

I haven’t posted satellite temperatures for awhile, here is April:

As always, I’m using the UAH record because its the one that the deniers should have the least argument against.

According to the Australian Bureau of Metrology, there’s a 70% chance of El Niño conditions this year but likely a short lived set:

The magical cooling that is supposed to occur according to those who say warming is just solar cycles or just some other cycles, remains invisible.