Peak Oil is You

Donate Bitcoins ;-) or Paypal :-)

Page added on January 19, 2018

Bookmark and Share

How to convince the public of the danger of anthropogenic global warming


Last year, the vagaries of life led me to chair a commission charged with examining the candidates for the admission to the Italian Chemists Association. It was a rather formal exam that was supposed to provide the successful applicants with the legal status necessary, for instance, for certifying chemical analyses. Overall, the applicants did poorly, but one of them, a young lady, did much better than the others. So much that I thought I could encourage her to do even better. So, let me tell you about a question I asked her during the examination.

Me. Dear candidate, I would like to conclude this exam with a question that may be a little outside your area of expertise, but which I think will give you a chance to show your understanding of some basic concepts of chemistry. The question is: can you propose an experimental test that would prove that human-generated greenhouse gases are warming the Earth?


Me. It is not such a difficult question. I am only asking you to apply to the problem what you know of chemistry and of spectroscopy.


Me. Let me help you. Maybe you can start by telling me something about the thermal effects occurring when you expose an infrared active gas to infrared radiation.


Me. I am sure that you heard about global warming. Can you tell me what is the mechanism of the so-called “greenhouse effect”?


Me. Well, I guess that it is time for the commission to retire to examine your application. You did well with the other questions, so don’t worry.


Now some comments:

– The question of the “proof” that humans are causing the observed warming is not an easy one to answer and indeed is a favorite question by anti-science trolls. For instance, this recent post on “Carbon brief” claims to bring this proof but if you examine it carefully, you’ll note that it only proves the existence of a correlation between the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere and the temperature. Which is a strong indication in favor of the current interpretation of global warming but, strictly speaking, not a proof. Correlation, as it is well known, doesn’t mean causation. Conversely, you can find a good discussion on the empirical evidence of anthropogenic global warming in this post on skeptical science. This is what I hoped the candidate would have been able to devise by herself. But she failed utterly.

–  The students that come out of our classes are persons who know so much about so little that, if the trend continues, soon they’ll know everything about nothing. The young lady I had been telling you about went through five years of training in chemistry at a high-level university (at least in terms of Italian standards). Yet, she had learned strictly nothing about climate change, an issue that involves the physical survival of humankind (and of that young lady as well). It is a qualitative consideration of mine, but it is confirmed by almost everyone I know who is involved with what we call “higher education,” and not just in Italy. How it has happened that universities transformed themselves from enlightening institutes into brain-dumbing machines is beyond me to understand. But I think it is, mostly, because our society doesn’t reward people for being smart (unless it is Putin’s fault – as usual).

–  Climate science is difficult. The basic principles of climate science are not so difficult, but their implementation in the real world is devilishly complicated. Try to answer the question of why the stratosphere cools when the troposphere warms and you’ll see what I mean. Devilish, indeed. So, when I read someone proposing to educate the public in order that they may understand climate science, well, it is a laudable idea, but so difficult to be impossible. There are some valiant efforts, such as the “climate kids” site created by NASA, but, really, most of the well-intentioned people who are convinced that anthropogenic global warming is real do so because they trust the scientists. It is mostly a question of trust, not of data.

– Our strategic plan seems to have been, so far

1. We educate the public in science and in Climate Science in particular.
2. A majority of people understand that Anthropogenic Climate Change is real and dangerous.
3. They elect wise and enlightened leaders.
4. The world leaders act swiftly and effectively against Climate Change.
5. The problem is solved.

Well . . . .


Cassandra’s legacy by Ugo Bardi

31 Comments on "How to convince the public of the danger of anthropogenic global warming"

  1. Shortend on Fri, 19th Jan 2018 1:01 pm 

    Well now, Dr James Hansen stated,in his book we humans need to get population levels under control…. Billion added humans later since his book answers that…BTW…90% plus of our food we eat is produced by Fossil Fuels..
    Suppose I am convinced

  2. Davy on Fri, 19th Jan 2018 1:07 pm 

    The best education of all is experience. Once everyone goes through bad storms, floods, droughts, fires, heat, and cold all in one year then maybe we will be educated. This is what we have had here in Missouri. Two weeks ago we had sub zero weather then 60’s then sub zero now 60’s again. They are calling for possibility of severe storms Sunday. We had this stuff when I was younger but not all at once and all mixed up together.

  3. MASTERMIND on Fri, 19th Jan 2018 2:01 pm 


    James Hansen is a total nutter who has been arrested several times. He is an alarmist and not even a real climate scientist. He is an astrophysicist like the black science man.

  4. Volcatorus on Fri, 19th Jan 2018 2:47 pm 

    Communicating results of global warming and climate change based purely on mechanistic causation not correlation is the way to convince the public on any scientific-based phenomenon. This done by a new eBook on this subject:

    This eBook shows that anthropogenic climate change is almost nonexistent, and anthropogenic global warming is a maximum of 45% attribution to anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. The eBook is based on a quantitative scientific analysis that is very transparent in its writing approach. It speaks for itself.

  5. Boat on Fri, 19th Jan 2018 3:37 pm 

    Well Volcat, now that you have solved global warming messaging how do we rid the world of several billion people?

  6. Duncan Idaho on Fri, 19th Jan 2018 4:22 pm 

    Well Volcat, now that you have solved global warming messaging how do we rid the world of several billion people?

    It is obviously a seamless solution.

  7. Plantagenet on Fri, 19th Jan 2018 4:40 pm 

    2017 was the third warmest year on record. The last four years are the four warmest years in the instrumental record. That doesn’t happen just by chance.

    The chances of getting the four warmest years—one after the other— in the last four years in an instrumental record lasting over a hundred years are infinitesimal without global warming.



  8. Cloggie on Fri, 19th Jan 2018 4:43 pm 

    James Hansen is a total nutter who has been arrested several times. He is an alarmist and not even a real climate scientist. He is an astrophysicist like the black science man.


  9. onlooker on Fri, 19th Jan 2018 5:14 pm
    Perhaps you guys should try demeaning someone other than one of the preeminent Scientists on the planet

  10. Theedrich on Fri, 19th Jan 2018 6:28 pm 

    The Demonic Party + RINOs = Dr. Strangelove.  Anthropogenic global warming?  How about Anthropogenic global freezing, as in nuclear winter?  When your garden-variety Jew reads of the carpet-bombing of German civilians in WW II or wish-dreams of how to exterminate Germany altogether, he begins quivering in orgasmic ecstasy at the prospect.  (After all, the core and quintessence of Yiddism is paranoia.)  As if that were not enough, vast numbers of Bible-deranged, genosuicidal American Whites, propagandized into believing that in 1942-45 Captain America was fighting the supernatural forces of Hell itself, approve of Yankeeland’s slaughters of civilians in Germany, along with those of civilians in Japan.  It was such fun, just made for the propaganda shows that Hollywood Yids present to the mindless masses for their entertainment and suppression of guilt for such horrors.

    As General Curtis LeMay, head of the Strategic Air Command and later head of the JCS, once told historian Michael Sherry, “There are no innocent civilians.  It is their government and you are fighting a people, you are not trying to fight an armed force anymore.  So it doesn’t bother me so much to be killing the innocent bystanders.”  (In The Rise of American Air Power:  The Creation of Armageddon, p. 287, from an interview with LeMay on 1981 June 29).  This approach has been the thinking, the policy and the practice of the British and American high commands (including prime ministers and presidents) since the beginning of World War II.

    Moreover, using the threat of doomsday to “get a better bargaining position” is tantamount to suicidal insanity (even if the “threat” is strictly a bluff, as during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962).  Even “jokes” about planeticide are dangerous, because nuke-armed adversaries, with different languages, cultures and histories, may not have the same sense of humor as the joker.

    Today we live in a state of constant military “readiness,” which means that the authority to start nuclear war has ALREADY been delegated to many levels below the top.  Not only that, but a primary element in this readiness is so-called “launch on warning” (LOW), which is to say that, with modern computers and electronics, missiles could be launched by electronic machinery, BYPASSING ANY HUMAN INTERVENTION, simply when various radars, satellites, etc. detected an enemy launch of missiles and their trajectories and calculated that the U.S. was their target.  The average citizen has no idea of the threat that his nation and the world may end at any moment.  He is told that there are all kinds of “protections” against such a thing happening.  Yes.  like the “protections” preventing the catastrophes of Chernobyl, Fukushima and even 3-Mile Island.

  11. Sissyfuss on Fri, 19th Jan 2018 6:37 pm 

    We argue like Sunnis and Shias over the science of climate change. And religious wars are the worst of all situations. Extremists will kill each other before they will agree with each other.

  12. MASTERMIND on Fri, 19th Jan 2018 6:37 pm 


    Are you the life of every party and family get together?

  13. JuanP on Fri, 19th Jan 2018 8:11 pm 

    We will never convince the public of the danger of AGW. Most people won’t understand what happened even after the fact. After a full day of weeding with a flame weeder and a Stihl weed wacker and burning piles of fronds and deadfall, I come here and I see I haven’t missed much. I don’t care for weeding, but it had been a few months and the weeds were out of control.

  14. Bloomer on Sat, 20th Jan 2018 12:00 am 

    Yes Theed to err is definitely human. We are hooked on fossil fuel and everyday we drive to the gas station to get our rush. Who wants to ride in the loser cruiser when one can sit in the comfort of leather seats with 550 hp under the hood.

    Oh the climate scientist, the Debbie Downers they want to take it all away. Save the planet say you.

    Seriously folks when it comes to dealing with atropogenic global warming,mankind is not going to join hands and sing we are the world. Some will try to make a difference and good on them. Me, I will leave just a small footprint on this green earth. You will never even know I was here. And that’s ok.

  15. GregT on Sat, 20th Jan 2018 12:41 am 

    “Are you the life of every party and family get together?”

    ‘Theo’ is likely the most intelligent poster on this site. Judging from your constant ignorance, and childish stupidity, my guess would be that his IQ is at least three times what yours is.

  16. Go Speed Racer on Sat, 20th Jan 2018 3:43 am 

    Hi JuanP,
    Wow you are really into weed.

    So much you chop it down with a Stihl weed wacker.

    I hope you wont smoke all that weed all at once.

  17. Go Speed Racer on Sat, 20th Jan 2018 3:52 am 

    Hi GregT, naaah I am definitely the best
    poster on the Peak Oil website.

    I have put close to a dozen links up,
    about burning sofa’s and tires for a
    sustainable energy future.

  18. Cloggie on Sat, 20th Jan 2018 3:59 am 

    ‘Theo’ is likely the most intelligent poster on this site.

    Hear, hear.

    The planetary time bomb can only be defused if a large chunk of the European-American population will be separated from Washington, so that the (((latter))) no longer has a stick to hit the world with.

    Voltaire on “neocons”:

    ”They are, all of them, born with raging fanaticism in their hearts, just as the Bretons and the Germans are born with blond hair. I would not be in the least bit surprised if these people would not some day become deadly to the human race.”

    They can be defeated.

    It will be the purpose of WW3.

  19. Shortend on Sat, 20th Jan 2018 4:06 am 

    Like Cloggie and the other fella dig on Dr James Hansen…Best shut up and not reveal how ignorant you really are gentlemen!
    Never mind you could classify him as one of the First climate scientists!
    Career Edit
    After graduate school, Hansen continued his work with radiative transfer models, attempting to understand the Venusian atmosphere. Later he applied and refined these models to understand the Earth’s atmosphere, in particular, the effects that aerosols and trace gases have on Earth’s climate. Hansen’s development and use of global climate models has contributed to the further understanding of the Earth’s climate. In 2009 his first book, Storms of My Grandchildren, was published.[12] In 2012 he presented a 2012 TED Talk: Why I must speak out about climate change.[13]

    From 1981 to 2013, he was the head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, a part of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

    As of 2014, Hansen directs the Program on Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions at Columbia University’s Earth Institute.[14] The program is working to continue to “connect the dots” from advancing basic climate science to promoting public awareness to advocating policy actions.

    Hansen is representing his granddaughter as well as “future generations” as plaintiffs in the Juliana v. US lawsuit, which is suing the United States government and some of its executive branch’s positions for not protecting a stable climate system.

    Research and publications Edit
    As a college student at the University of Iowa, Hansen was attracted to science and the research done by James Van Allen’s space science program in the physics and astronomy department. A decade later, his focus shifted to planetary research that involved trying to understand the climate change on earth that will result from anthropogenic changes of the atmospheric composition.

    Hansen has stated that one of his research interests is radiative transfer in planetary atmospheres, especially the interpretation of remote sensing of the Earth’s atmosphere and surface from satellites. Because of the ability of satellites to monitor the entire globe, they may be one of the most effective ways to monitor and study global change. His other interests include the development of global circulation models to help understand the observed climate trends, and diagnosing human impacts on climate.[15]

    Oh, want to go further?

  20. Mad Kat on Sat, 20th Jan 2018 4:31 am 

    “2017 saw the US scorched by record-breaking wildfires in California, record-breaking rainfall events like Hurricane Harvey in Houston (just one of the three most expensive hurricanes to ever hit the US, which all occurred in 2017), damaging hail events, tornadoes, and extreme droughts that wiped out crops.

    These extreme weather events, most of which were fueled at least in part by anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD), cost the US nearly a third of a trillion dollars ($306 billion) over the past year.”

    America, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

  21. Davy on Sat, 20th Jan 2018 5:32 am 

    “America, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”

    mad kat, you are near the top of the list for exposure to climate change where does that put you. LOL. I puts you screwed.

  22. Davy on Sat, 20th Jan 2018 6:05 am 

    I agree Hansen’s climate credentials and academic achievements are above reproach. I will also say he is one of the first climate alarmist that got me to lift an eyebrow. This came when he took his climate alarmism that IMA is completely appropriate and then he applied solutions to that alarmism. These solutions were frankly economic fantasy.

    Most of us who are honest with the science realize we likely can’t reduce CO2 enough with civilization configured as is to achieve a solution. The best we can do is reduce it enough to slow the process and that is only a weak maybe. I am hoping renewables will help with this process but it will require much more than energy technology it will be behavior and economics as well.

    The problem I have with the solution side of the equation is the efforts needed to reduce CO2 is that they are so economically draconian that it will cause systematic collapse. To get CO2 declines down to where it needs to be to effectively slow this whole process down would require eliminating all activity except the CO2 given off by global agriculture. That is how bad the economic engineering is and that is only to slow things down because there are already natural feedback loops that have been tipped. Really the natural feedbacks may have ended any hope.

    Hansen near the start of his alarmism was gaining ground with 350 dot org was saying some wild things for solutions. One of them I remember is we pay people to stay home. We are kind of doing that a little in the rich west with welfare but Hansen was talking some economically outrageous plans. This is where I have the disconnect with the climate alarmist. Scribber over at Robert Scribbler dot com is another who is fantastic with the climate science and dumb on the actual reality of what that means economically.

    What I find with really smart people many times is they are specialist. They get highly specialized in one field with all the recognitions that come with that. They then let that go to their head. They for some reason think they can talk about other specialties as specialist. Not many intellectually gifted people can be really smart in more than a few related subjects. I bet Hansen and Scribber are good with all the various related sciences of climate science but man they are dumb when it comes to applying that to the business of running a civilization.

    This of course works the other way. I have seen so many people personally that are very successful with business that start talking science and I am like “what”? This is part of the problem with modernism today and that is specialization. It is the reason we have robust system as long as the system holds its complexity and energy. Once the system becomes dysfunctional these specializations will not reverse scale well. We will need well rounded individuals when decline starts and the abandonment and dysfunction begin. What we are going to have is a bunch of smart dumbasses that can’t figure out a wet paper bag.

  23. Mad Kat on Sat, 20th Jan 2018 7:33 am 

    Davy, you wish! LOL Climate change here is negligible. It is obvious in the US more and more. The $305+B tells the story. One year’s worth. Soon it will hit $1T/year and then $2T/year and then …

    Meanwhile, I live where the weather is still the same. No wild-ass swings in temps like in the US. No ‘water bomb’ storms. No thousands of square miles of forest burning. Not even a significant typhoon last year. Eventually there will be noticeable effects here, but that will be long after the US is ruined.

    I live in a climate that people pay big money to vacation in. Over 500,000 tourists visited the Ps last year. I don’t live where you are freezing your ass off as I type. 86F here today and sunny. lol

  24. Davy on Sat, 20th Jan 2018 7:55 am 

    “Davy, you wish! LOL Climate change here is negligible.”
    Your future looks very bleak mad kat. The Pacific Ocean is going to hammer you with monster typhoons and LMFAO, what do you want to do but more to your fantasy farm to the Pacific coast. BTW, how is the 100 tons of construction material doing these days? Why aren’t you there at the fantasy farm being useful? Maybe your westernized lazy retirement life at your cheap condo in Makati is too much to leave.

    “Eventually there will be noticeable effects here, but that will be long after the US is ruined.”
    More anti-science nonsense. Multiple accredited reports say otherwise denialist.

    “I live in a climate that people pay big money to vacation in. Over 500,000 tourists visited the Ps last year.”
    Just what an overpopulated Island of 100MIL needs is more people. LOL.

    “I don’t live where you are freezing your ass off as I type. 86F here today and sunny. Lol”
    I am not a pussy mad kat I can take the cold. The cold temps are invigorating. You just lay around and do little like a typical worn out geriatric.

  25. Davy on Sat, 20th Jan 2018 8:04 am 

    “How Climate Change is Fueling Iran’s Political Instability”

    “Drought. Year after year after year for the past 15 years, it’s been the reality for Iran. As with recent severe droughts in places like Syria, Nigeria, India and in other parts of the world, Iran’s drought impacts have forced farmers to abandon fields and move to the cities. It has enhanced economic and physical desperation — swelling the ranks of the poor and displaced. It has produced both food and water insecurity with many families now living from hand and cup to mouth. And it has served as a catalyst for political unrest, protest, and revolt.”

    “Perhaps the most visible sign of this drought’s epic severity is the drying up of the 5,200 square mile expanse of Lake Urmia. The sixth largest salt water lake in the world and the largest lake in the Middle East, Urmia is now a desiccated shadow of its historical range. Just 10 percent of its former size, it is the casualty of both the drought and the dams that have been built to divert water to Iran’s struggling farmers. But it’s not just the lake that’s drying up. In the interior, individual provinces have seen as many as 1,100, or approximately 1/3 of its springs, run out of water.”

    “Iran is on the eastern fringe of the worst drought to hit parts of the Middle East in 900 years. Ninety six percent of the country has been afflicted by escalating drought conditions over the past seven years. A drought so long and deep-running that it has been triggering unrest since at least 2014. A kind of climate change enhanced instability that has been intensifying over recent years.”

    “Moreover, a recent MIT study from 2015 found that major cities in the Persian Gulf region may be driven past the tipping point for human survivability under business as usual fossil fuel burning (Wet Bulb of 35 C +) by climate change before the end of this Century (see video above). This means that during the worst heatwaves under this scenario, it would be impossible for human beings to retain an internal temperature cool enough to support key body functions while outdoors for even moderate periods. This would result in higher incidences of heat injury and heat mortality than we see even during present enhanced heatwaves.”

  26. twocats on Sat, 20th Jan 2018 9:03 am 

    witness and despair:

    trying to “convince” a “public” in the face of all the tools and conditions available to convince a significant minority of the opposite is a fool’s errand.

  27. rockman on Sat, 20th Jan 2018 10:53 am 

    Mad Kat – “…most of which were fueled at least in part by anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD)…” Had you lived with Hurricane Harvey hour by hour as the Rockman did you would understand it did not represent any proof of “anthropogenic climate disruption”. And remember this is coming from someone who understood the potential of “ACD” (as you call it) and wrote a couple of reports on it in the early 70’s. This is where true believers like us run the risk of losing credibility by trying to tag every bad WEATHER event to AGW.

    I doubt you’ll agree. Probably because you don’t understand that the center of Harvey didn’t come within 100 miles of west Houston which was one the worst damaged areas in terms of financial loss. Essentially there was no meaningful wind damage in Houston by one of the most powerful hurricanes to hit the Gulf Coast in many decades. Unlike Rockport being wiped out where Harvey came ashore.

    Same problem many have: confusing weather with climate. Same approach deniers used to take when arguing that unusually cold WEATHER proved that warming CLIMATE change was not happening. Which is part of the reason some believers switched from global warming (the actual dynamic underway) to such terms as “ACD”. Using such a term allows using any bad WEATHER event as proof of AGW whether there’s any provable connection or not.

    We have enough proof of AGW without having to latch on to every costly WEATHER event IMHO. The Texas coast was hit with a much more destructive hurricane in the early 1900’s which killed 8,000+ when AGW could not have been a factor. That’s part of the “proof” that deniers could use against your assertion.

    Those that don’t accept the proof we already have for AGW are not going to change their opinions by trying to blame every bit of bad WEATHER on AGW.

  28. Dredd on Sat, 20th Jan 2018 11:15 am 

    1. We educate the public in science and in Climate Science in particular.
    2. A majority of people understand that Anthropogenic Climate Change is real and dangerous.
    3. They elect wise and enlightened leaders.
    4. The world leaders act swiftly and effectively against Climate Change.
    5. The problem is solved

    That is a reasonable scenario.

    That problem was “solved” by Business Backslider by going straight to number 5 (Questionable “Scientific” Papers – 16).

  29. kanon on Sat, 20th Jan 2018 3:50 pm 

    Davy” “The problem I have with the solution side of the equation is the efforts needed to reduce CO2 is that they are so economically draconian that it will cause systematic collapse.”

    The inference is not reducing CO2 emissions will avoid an economic collapse. I suppose it is a fantasy that the economy is independent of the environment, just as it is a fantasy to think we can somehow reduce fossil fuel use by 90%. Seems we are reality challenged. Which leads to the conclusion that people will not be convinced of something if they don’t want to be.

  30. Davy on Sat, 20th Jan 2018 6:30 pm 

    My inference is choices. Choices of ending now or ending later with much worse consequences for the planet. This becomes a value statement. Do you value a habitable planet longer term of people’s lives shorter term? We should put a value on living as is for as long as we can. We are likely in the terminal phase of civilization. People in a terminal illness are grateful for any days left. This is really how we modern humans should be. We should be giving thanks each and every day for another day. If modern civilization ends maybe some sort of climate normality can be salvaged. That is the choices I see. Ending modern civilization is apocalyptic. Continuing civilization as-is will destroy the planet.

    I am not sold on a renewable civilization as our solution. Renewables are still dirty and the physics is still not clear if such a civilization could even be constructed. IMO, there are far too many people to make such a civilization work. Behaviors are not right for such a civilization. Fake greens want to think we can have the best of both worlds. They think we can have prosperity and clean carbon free living. It is a hoax and science denial. These fake greens are all over the climate science but then they do the science denial with the fantasy civilization they are dreaming up. Their solutions do not scale in size, performance and economically. I hope I am wrong but this is what I am seeing after 5 years on this board. We have had some great discussions on many of the points that have gone into my thinking on this subject. I am all for renewables as an extender but they appear to be no solution.

  31. MASTERMIND on Sat, 20th Jan 2018 6:54 pm 

    Who gives a flying fuck about the climate or weather. That is not going to cause our collapse. Its going to be income inequality and resource scarcity. Climate change has done a great fucking job at distracting the sheeple…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *