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Sunday, 10 December 2017

2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #49

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... SkS Spotlights... Video of the Week... Reports of Note... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... 97 Hours of Consensus...

Story of the Week...

A Spectacle At The Coliseum — US To Hold Public Climate Change Debate As Soon As January, EPA Head Says

 Roman Coliseum


Much of modern politics amounts to nothing more than spectacle and entertainment at this point. Getting people to actually think about anything, rather than to stare blankly while taking part in whatever scapegoating or lynching frenzy is in effect at the moment, is essentially a lost cause. It’s so much easier, after all, to just assume that one knows everything, that one’s peers speak the unvarnished truth, and that everything that goes wrong is someone else’s doing/fault than it is to live in the highly nuanced and unpredictable world that everything actually resides in. And anyway, someone has to be wrong, and it’s not you, right?

With that background haze firmly in mind, the new head of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scott Pruitt, has announced that the EPA may launch a “public climate debate” as soon as January. In other words, rather than dealing with the issue in any real way, the idea is that some monkeys can get together on TV and yell past one another — and that can substitute for an actual discussion of the civilization-wrecking issues now facing the world.

A return to the coliseum, in other words. Though, observing the nonsensical but gore-filled visual noise that passes for entertainment nowadays, it appears that the coliseum has been with us for quite a while now. To the credit of the Romans, though, at least the violence of the coliseum was real in its way and made some kind of sense (even if it was essentially intended as tribute to the foreign Carthaginian god Ammon, established as part of the evocatio preceding the Punic Wars). The depictions of violence seen in popular culture nowadays have about as much to do with reality as a child’s make believe does. 

A Spectacle At The Coliseum — US To Hold Public Climate Change Debate As Soon As January, EPA Head Says by James Ayre, Clean Technica, Dec 8, 2017

Also see: Scott Pruitt’s terrible plan to “objectively” assess climate science by David Roberts, Energy & Environment, Vox, Dec 7, 2017

Toon of the Week...

2017 Toon 49 

Quote of the Week...

Top US firms including Walmart and Ford oppose Trump on climate change

Several of the country’s corporate giants, including Walmart, General Motors, Ford and Mars, appeared this week at the second annual Companies v Climate Change conference in Miami to showcase their progress and reinforce their belief that sustainability and other green targets can be achieved irrespective of the policies and purpose of the White House.

“We were disappointed [the] US pulled out of Paris, but what’s so great is what companies can do to make a difference,” said Zach Freeze, senior director for strategic initiatives in sustainability at Walmart, the first retailer to announce science-based targets for emissions reductions and a key signatory to the We Are Still In declaration that followed Trump’s Paris withdrawal.

“We all have a lot we can do and should do, it’s becoming more and more of an imperative. We’ve been working on this for a long time, prior to this administration [and] we’re thinking about 10 years from now where we’re going to be. Regardless of what’s happening, this is something we believe in. If we do it the right way we will see progress.”

Top US firms including Walmart and Ford oppose Trump on climate change by Richard Luscombe, Guardian, Dec 1, 2017 

SkS Spotlights...

 UPF&SI Logo

Faith and science are two of the most influential forces in global society. The United Planet Faith & Science Initiative (UPFSI) unites prominent religious figures and leading scientists to speak out together and mobilize action for ecological sustainability.

The UPFSI is a project that holds low-impact, web-based meetings of eminent scientists and faith leaders from across the globe.  These meetings are edited into short, powerful videos and disseminated through social media and news outlets to promote public awareness, political will, policy, and action. The UPFSI also holds public events featuring presentations by these leaders.  Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu and prominent climatologist Dr. James Hansen are among the founding members of this Initiative. (Click here for a full list of founding members.)

The UPFSI also reaches out to the world’s youth as they are at greatest risk from the ecological crisis. The Initiative uses social media to help replace the unsustainable paradigm that has created many of our environmental problems with new inspiration, intention, and action.

UPFSI aims to shift the consciousness of humanity and the momentum of global society in a more sustainable direction in such critical areas as climate change, environmental protection, and biodiversity. The Initiative is an outgrowth of the Interfaith Declaration on Climate Change (IDCC), which was seminal in coalescing the interfaith ‘constituency’ within the UN FCCC process in 2009.

Coming Soon on SkS...

  • From the eMail Bag: Carbon Isotopes - Part 1 - The Basics (David Kirtley)
  • Guest Post (John Abraham)
  • Analysis: How developing nations are driving record growth in solar power (Zeke)
  • New research this week (Ari)
  • 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #50 (John Hartz)
  • 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Waming Digest #50 (John Hartz)

Poster of the Week...

2017 Poster 49 

Climate Feedback Reviews...

Climate Feedback Daily-Caller_Michael-Bastasch_Global-Warming

Climate Feedback asked its network of scientists to review the article, "STUDY: Satellites Show No Acceleration In Global Warming For 23 Years" by Michael Bastasch, The Daily Caller, Nov 29, 2017. 

Five scientists analyzed the article and estimate its overall scientific credibility to be 'low'.  

A majority of reviewers tagged the article as: .

Review Summary

This article in The Daily Caller describes a recent study published on the University of Alabama at Huntsville satellite temperature dataset. The study claims that, after removing the cooling influence of two large volcanic eruptions in 1982 and 1991, the rate of warming is slower than simulated by climate models.

While The Daily Caller story accurately describes the study, it fails to include comments from other scientists in the field or to provide necessary context for readers, as the scientists who reviewed the story explained. For example, the study fails to account for more recent volcanic activity, and does not support its conclusion that climate models are overly sensitive to CO2.

In addition, the story’s headline emphasizes that the study shows “no acceleration in global warming for 23 years” and this is presented as a challenge to model simulations. This is misleading, as no acceleration of the warming rate is expected to be seen in such a short timeframe.

See all the scientists’ annotations in context

Daily Caller uncritically reports poorly supported conclusion of satellite temperature study, Climate Feedback, Dec 4, 2017 

SkS Week in Review... 

97 Hours of Consensus...

97 Hours: Richard_Somerville 


Richard Somerville's bio page and Quote source

High resolution JPEG (1024 pixels wide)

from Skeptical Science

Saturday, 9 December 2017

2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #49

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook page during the past week. 

Editor's Pick

Climate Science On Trial Again

Our Childrens Trust

On Monday, before a panel of three federal judges, a group of young Americans will argue that they should be able to take the government to trial next February for failing to take adequate action against global climate change. A Justice Department attorney will argue against them.

Kids across America would be smart to send their good vibes to California this weekend. More specifically, they should focus on San Francisco and even more specifically on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

While that may be a strange place for kids to think about, the quality of their lives in the years ahead is hanging in the balance. Another bunch of kids and young adults will battle a lawyer from the federal government in front of the Court’s three-judge panel Monday to argue that President Trump must do something about global climate change. The kids went to court because young people, present and future, will suffer most from the dangerous impacts of global warming, much worse than the wildfires, floods, hurricanes, droughts and rising seas we see today.

The stakes are big. In their lawsuit, Juliana v. United States, the youngsters charge that the government is contributing to climate change by doing things like allowing coal and oil to be produced on public lands. They argue that a climate system capable of sustaining human life must be protected by the government as a public trust. But their most important argument – one that could take their case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court – is that the federal government’s failure to do enough about global warming will damage the planet so profoundly that it violates children’s constitutional rights to life and liberty. 

Climate Science On Trial Again by William S Becker, HuffPost, Dec 8, 2017 

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from Skeptical Science

The ‘Dead Vagina Syndrome’ (DVS) and its herbal cure

Who could resist reading an article entitled “Is Dead Vagina Syndrome Real? Plus, 4 Ways To Boost Your Libido“? Well I couldn’t, particularly as it came from a site promisingly called ‘ALTERNATIVE DAILY’! And I did not regret it. Here are some excerpts: …“Dead vagina syndrome” or DVS is used to describe a woman’s over-sensitized […]

Read the rest here: The ‘Dead Vagina Syndrome’ (DVS) and its herbal cure

Thursday, 7 December 2017

A new, comprehensive review of acupuncture turns out to be an orgy in wishful thinking

A comprehensive review of the evidence relating to acupuncture entitled “The Acupuncture Evidence Project: A Comparative Literature Review” has just been published. The document aims to provide “an updated review of the literature with greater rigour than was possible in the past.” That sounds great! Let’s see just how rigorous the assessment is. The review […]

Read the rest here: A new, comprehensive review of acupuncture turns out to be an orgy in wishful thinking

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

The horrific Schuessler Salt experiments during the Third Reich

Sorry, but something I stated in my last post was not entirely correct! I wrote that “I could not find a single study on Schuessler Salts“. Yet, I do know of a ‘study’ of Schuessler Salts after all; I hesitate to write about it because it is an exceedingly ugly story that goes back to […]

Read the rest here: The horrific Schuessler Salt experiments during the Third Reich

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Schuessler Salts: “Any expenditure on the purchase of these salts will be money wasted”

When I started this blog, I promised to discuss all major alternative modalities. This is a big task, and I am not nearly there yet. For instance, I have so far written hardly anything about ‘Schuessler Salts’, a derivative of homeopathy that is hugely popular in Germany and is slowly spreading also to other countries. According […]

Read the rest here: Schuessler Salts: “Any expenditure on the purchase of these salts will be money wasted”

Saturday, 2 December 2017

2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #48

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook page during the past week. 

Editor's Pick

Climate Change Panel Talks ‘Hope and Despair’

Harvard Panel 

David Wallace-Wells, Cam Webb, Nancy Knowlton, and Nikhil Advani speak Wednesday evening at a panel discussion hosted by the Harvard University Center for the Environment. AMY Y. LI

Climate change researchers, professors, and journalists debated how best to present the severity of climate change to the public Wednesday evening at an event hosted by the Harvard University Center for the Environment.

The discussion, titled “Hope and Despair: Communicating an Uncertain Future,” was held in the Geological Lecture Hall. Elizabeth M. Wolkovich, an assistant professor in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, moderated a discussion about how to best motivate the public to take action on climate change.

David Wallace-Wells, who is the deputy editor of the New York Magazine and wrote the article “The Uninhabitable Earth” this year, advocated the use of fear about the planet’s future as a way to inspire more people to become “climate agents.”

“I think that there is real value in scaring people,” Wallace-Wells said. “When I talk to colleagues it just seems so obvious to me that when you think about the relatively well-off Western world, that complacency about climate is just a much bigger problem than fatalism about climate.”/em>

Nancy Knowlton, chair for Marine Science at the Smithsonian Institution, said she thinks it is more effective to be optimistic about humanity’s ability to stave off disaster.

“I’ve had many, many students come up to me after talks about optimism or the Earth Optimism Summit that we ran in Washington saying ‘you know, this was incredibly empowering, I now really want to go out and work on solving this problem. I almost left the field of conservation because I thought there was nothing I could do,’” Knowlton said. “I do feel that it is absolutely essential to talk about what’s working, why it’s working, in addition to providing this very scary context.”

Climate Change Panel Talks ‘Hope and Despair’ by Yasmin Luthra & Aidan F Ryan, The Harvard Crimson, Nov 30, 2017 

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from Skeptical Science

Friday, 1 December 2017

New acupuncture study smells of scientific misconduct

A new acupuncture study puzzles me a great deal. It is a “randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot trial” evaluating acupuncture for cancer-related fatigue (CRF) in lung cancer patients. Twenty-eight patients presenting with CRF were randomly assigned to active acupuncture or placebo acupuncture groups to receive acupoint stimulation at LI-4, Ren-6, St-36, KI-3, and Sp-6 twice weekly […]

Read the rest here: New acupuncture study smells of scientific misconduct

Thursday, 30 November 2017


This is a fascinating new review of upper neck manipulation. It raises many concerns that we, on this blog, have been struggling with for years. I take the liberty of quoting a few passages which I feel are important and encourage everyone to study the report in full: The Minister of Health, Seniors and Active […]


Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Chiropractic: a ‘golbal overview’

Chiropractic is hugely popular, we are often told. The fallacious implication is, of course, that popularity can serve as a surrogate measure for effectiveness. In the United States, chiropractors provided 18.6 million clinical services under Medicare in 2015, and overall spending for chiropractic services was estimated at USD $12.5 billion. Elsewhere, chiropractic seems to be […]

Read the rest here: Chiropractic: a ‘golbal overview’

Monday, 27 November 2017

German association of doctor-homeopaths receive prestigious award

Yes, I did promise to report on my participation in the ‘Goldenes Brett’ award which took place in Vienna and Hamburg on 23/11/2017. I had been asked to come to Vienna and do the laudation for the life-time achievement in producing ridiculous nonsense. This year, the award went to the ‘DEUTSCHER ZENTRALVEREIN HOMOEOPATHISCHER AERZTE’ (DZVhÄ), […]

Read the rest here: German association of doctor-homeopaths receive prestigious award

Saturday, 25 November 2017

2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #47

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook page during the past week. 

Editor's Pick

Should a healthy environment be a human right? These Norwegians think so 

Norwegians Portest Arctic Drilling 

Greenpeace and the environmental group Youth and Nature are suing the Norwegian Government for granting Arctic oil drilling licenses.

Their argument is based on an article in the Norwegian constitution protecting the right to an environment that’s healthy and that long-term consideration be given to digging up natural resources.

Greenpeace Norway head Truls Gulowsen told Hack it all comes down to climate change and oil licenses.

"We had challenged the Norwegian state for handing out new licenses for drilling in the arctic in spite of the fact that they have signed the Paris Agreement," he said on his way to court.

"They acknowledge climate change is a problem, and they know that the world has already found more carbon, fossil carbon, than we can ever afford to burn."

He said Norway's constitution gives future generations the right to a healthy environment.

"[That] puts duties on the state to guarantee and safeguard those rights."

Brendan Sydes, lawyer and CEO of Environmental Justice Australia, says the strategy used by Greenpeace goes to a country’s legal foundation, instead of working with a country's environmental regulations.

Should a healthy environment be a human right? These Norwegians think so by Courtney Carthy, ABC News (Australia), Nov 23, 2017

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from Skeptical Science