2010-11-06 16:22:43Advanced 139: It's too hard
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
71.137.148.215
I drafted up the advanced rebuttal to "it's too hard".  I'll edit it down to basic and intermediate versions tomorrow.  Feedback would be appreciated.
2010-11-06 18:44:22
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.121.120

It looks good.

As a further project: Perhaps a series of short articles, one for each wedge, to help the reader see clearly what it would be like. The more concrete and visualizable it seems, the more realistic.

2010-11-07 03:55:07good idea
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
71.137.148.215
I like that idea.  I would have liked to go into more details about each wedge, but it was already getting too long and there are just so many.  Doing a series of wedge articles is a really good idea.
2010-11-08 11:32:32Thumbs up
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.186.160.198
Looks good to me. I'd run with the advanced version as your blog post as it's not really more technical than the easier versions, just longer with more details. Very readable. I'd be happy to go with these now but let me know if you want to wait to get more feedback before publishing. Once we decide to publish, I'll do a "brace for impact" post then shortly afterwards we'll run the 'it's too hard' post.
2010-11-08 17:06:29all set
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
71.137.148.215
I think it's good to go.  The only comment I've gotten is to change the 'skin a cat' idiom.  If you want to do the 'brace for impact' post today, I can publish the "it's too hard" blog post tomorrow morning (my time).  Or we can wait a bit longer if you'd prefer.
2010-11-08 18:57:29go
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
194.78.22.122
for it
2010-11-08 21:04:18Brace for impact post published
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.186.160.198

Dana, you're ready to embark on the new frontier. So from this moment on, feel free to post your blog post - the "It's too hard" argument is ready to be linked to.

Wondering what the impact will be with SkS jumping deep into issues of solutions and policy. Will I wake up to my website being a post-apocalyptic wasteland? :-)

2010-11-09 04:27:21not quite so bad
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
38.223.231.252
A couple of commenters on your 'brace for impact' post have suggested setting up a sister site, like 'Skeptical Solutions'.  I don't think that's necessary though.  As long as we stick to the science and evaluating specific claims and studies without advocating any particular solution, it should just be a logical expansion of SkS.  The same 'skeptics' who make annoying comments to climate science posts will doubtless make annoying comments on climate solutions posts.  It will be interesting to see if this attracts a new crop of 'skeptics' though.
2010-11-09 09:25:27
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.92.83.129
Dana, guess some of the posters may have a point, I've seen discussions on alternatives like nuclear bore the pants off people on other climate blogs. See Peter Lang's efforts here for instance. Depends on how the majority of readers navigate this site. Is it going to create too much noise, and dilute our message?. Dunno. 
2010-11-09 09:27:29
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.92.83.129
Nice work, by the way. 
2010-11-09 14:28:22Comment
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
134.153.163.105
I know John is going to hate me for saying this but I agree. Skeptical Solutions might be the way to go... I don't think that we should mix the science with the solutions as much as we have. Maybe just enter a different section of the website... I think people appreciate they can come here for scientific answers to just the science...

I do by any means think we should avoid the topic but i'm not a big fan of having it front and center...
2010-11-09 17:52:18org
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
71.137.148.215

Well it's John's call.  I could see breaking up the site into climate science and climate solutions sections.  But I don't have an objection to interspersing the two together.  There's not that much difference between discussing the scientific validity of an atmospheric physics study vs. discussing the scientific validity of a study on the scalability of wind power, for example.  They're different areas, but they're both science and both related to the climate.  And one (climate solutions) is a natural extension of the other (climate science).

The comments on "it's too hard" have been very benign so far, by the way.  Even moreso than I expected.  Pretty much all rational comments discussing the viability of the various stabilization wedges.  I think that's an extension of the article.  If we stick to the science in the article, the comments should follow suit.

2010-11-10 04:13:08
Riccardo

riccardoreitano@tiscali...
192.84.150.209
It's going to be a significant change for SkepticalScience, the same differece as between a lab experiment and the large production of a device, from physics to engineering. Different skills, different people, different, and some times incompatible, communities. Different public, also. I don't mean that SkS should not explore this new path, I'm only warning to not undervalue the reach of this change.
Unless John's will is to shift to new topics, splitting the site in two sections or creating a new one I think may help.

2010-11-10 09:57:29Splitting the site
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.186.160.198

I've been in several minds re the solutions direction, even after we took it. Is it distracting too much from the science? But then two developments have happened just over the last few days which have reminded me of what's important and clarified the issue in my mind.

The UK Guardian have asked if SkS would be part of their environment network which means they would use the content from our rebuttals on their site, getting it out to a much broader audience. And a climate NGO (from the UK also, btw) have offered to help create a SkS search engine, the purpose being to make the content much more accessible to the general public.

To me, SkS is all about the rebuttal database. It's the backbone of the site and all the blog posts feed into it. The content from the database goes into the iPhone app, Firefox plugin, Android app, Nokia app and soon, these other outlets. The need for the rebuttals is paramount, as evidenced by all these people offering to help get the information out more broadly. And the disinformation in the climate debate is just as bad re solutions as it is re the climate science. So it's imperative we need to provide rebuttals to disinformation about solutions.

So those thoughts clarified for me whether we should even be doing solutions or not. Another issue I've been agonising over is this. Just giving people the science is not enough. In fact, hitting people with lots of science of the doom and gloom of global warming can even push them into denialism - a psychological self-defence reflex (it's not all just about ideology and oil-money). So communicating the science is not enough. Any global warming message needs to have several elements - communicate the danger of global warming but also point to solutions and provide positive messages about what's already being done. An all-negative message will not be effective. A message that finely balances the positives and negatives so that people are aware of the danger but also see a way out can have an impact.

So that was another factor in the decision to talk solutions. But it also means I'm still not sure how we should be presenting the message. I'm not yet convinced that we should split the site into two areas. Perhaps the science and solutions need to go hand in hand together. I don't know. The issue of communicating climate change is incredibly complex - the social science makes the physical science look easy in comparison. It's much easier to predict how a CO2 molecule will react than predict how a human will react.

So to cut a long story short, what I'm saying to the "should we split SkS?" is I don't know yet. I still struggle with the best way to present the climate change message. I would welcome further discussion on this - in particular, suggestions on specific ways to implement it (perhaps start a new thread rather than languish down at the bottom of this thread). For now, we should be careful to keep the solution posts sticking as close to peer-reviewed science as possible so they still strike the same tone as the science posts.

2010-11-10 10:36:33cool stuff
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
38.223.231.252

That's really cool about the Guardian and SkS search engine.

Regarding the splitting, maybe you should start a topic in the Authors forum about it.  I think it makes sense to keep everything on the same site, but I could see having one rebuttal list for climate science and a seperate list for climate solutions.  But as you know, I agree with you on the need to start doing some solutions rebuttals.  People need to see that solutions are plausible in addition to understanding that the scientific evidence requires them.