Nov. 30, 2021

My Second Conversation with Judith Curry


In January, I released my conversation with Judith Curry. To-date, it is the most downloaded and listened to Podcast I've ever produced. This is my follow-up conversation.

Message me at www.thestrongandfreepodcast.com and let me know what you think!

My first conversation with Judith Curry: https://www.thestrongandfreepodcast.com/climate-change-a-different-perspective-with-professor-judith-curry/

Judith Curry: https://judithcurry.com


Transcript

Christopher Balkaran (02:59):

Judith, thank you so much for joining me here. I'm so excited for our second followup and that you've made the time for me.

 

Judith Curry (03:31):

Well, thank you. I appreciate the opportunity.

 

Christopher Balkaran (03:34):

So, as we talked about over email, there's been a lot of feedback from our first conversation and I wanted to dive right in, because I think that's what a lot of people want to know more about. Now I will say the vast majority of people who reached out were very positive. But the folks that were very, not negative, but very critical raised some very compelling arguments that I'd love for you to discuss. And the first was about climate modelling when it comes to climate change. And I know in the past, people have asked you about why you're so critical about of climate change modelling in particular. And some of your critics say, well, there's so much robust data out there. It's been tested time and time again, and it kind of flies in the face of being critical of climate change modelling. What are your thoughts about that?

 

Judith Curry (04:37):

Okay, well, the IPCC AR 6 recently published a report last August, and I have to say they joined me in a lot of the criticisms. In fact, for the first time, their projections to 2021, they provide, they show all the models,the big envelope of all the models. And then they talk about constrained projections,that they pick the ones that they like, which happened to be on the lower end. So, and also there's a growing movement not to use these big global climate models for policy purposes, but just to use simple climate emulators,that just input some very basic things about which emissions scenario, which climate sensitivity and off you go. The other thing that the IPCC had to say, which joins me, is that these climate models do not simulate extreme weather events. Their resolution is to course.

 

Judith Curry (05:47):

So any projections about future hurricanes, rainfall rates, whateverare made are semi empirical,based on observations, they're not directly spit out by the climate models. And then the third factor is with regards to regional climate change, the IPCC AR 6 thoroughly acknowledges that global climate models cannot simulate the Kettle regional climate variability with any kind of skill because they don't get the, the magnitude and the timing of the major modes natural climate variability, which have a dominant role in regional climates. In fact, the IPCC spent like three chapters devoted to regional climate change. And at first I was really excited. I said, good. Do they have a recipe for how we should do this? And they didn't, you just have to distill multiple lines of evidence,models, historical data, paleo climate data, process models, physical reasoning,there's no simple answer, but just sure as heck can't just use what the global climate models spit out.

 

Judith Curry (07:18):

So the things that I've been saying for a long time are fairly widely accepted by climate modellers, at least some people who use climate models the EPCC it, it's notthe, the Kwanzaa educated public says, well,they've simulated a warming and,since about 1970 well, great. I mean, I would just the latest post on my blogs show some papers where they can show that solar variability can explain pretty much the whole thing. So we don't know they're still, and, and neither one of those analyses properly takes into account the multi-decadal variations and the ocean circulation patterns. So you can have models that get the right answer or something close to the right answer for the wrong reason. And that's not very helpful.

 

Christopher Balkaran (08:29):

That's very fascinating. Two follow-up questions on that. Judith. What were some of the reasons why the IPC kind of walked back from alarmist reports from the past, which,mentioned high levels of global warming that would happen in the very near future if drastic action hadn't been done?

 

Judith Curry (09:00):

Two things they've backed off quite a bit from the emissions scenario, the really high emissions scenario. It used to be called business as usual. It's not business as usual. It's some crazy extreme scenario that is highly implausible, if not impossible. So they backed off on that one. Okay. The other thing is that the latest generation of climate models in the so-called c-MET six simulation series, about a half of them were running way too hot with equilibrium climate sensitivities of over five degrees, which,seems way, way too high. And they don't do a good job of reproducing 20th century temperature history. So,like what happened, those models, well that they included some new cloud feedback processes,sort of arcane details about how clouds interact with aerosols on one level, it's improving the physics, but on another level they didn't include countervailing negative feedbacks that would have, that were needed to really make that make sense. So, I mean, the models were just running way too hot. And so they sort of danced around it and then did this sort of constrained selection, if you will have much more moderate temperature projections.

 

Christopher Balkaran (10:36):

The second follow-up to that - the comments I received back from our first conversation was,Judith Curry is basing this on her own modeling and discounting the vast data that's out there. 

 

Judith Curry (10:58):

I don't run a model. I don't have a new climate model. Okay. I interpret the results from other climate models. I rely much more heavily on observations, including a longer historical record. And I also look at paleo climate observations in my analysis. I do not have my own climate model.

 

Judith Curry (11:23):

Other than a very, very, I use simple energy balanced climate models and,things like that, but I do not have my own climate model.

 

Christopher Balkaran (11:35):

There are many individuals who have reached out with very detailed data and are very passionate about this topic. And it seems like if you're not “on the right side” you're lambasted instead of having a nuanced conversation, it's definitely you're either an unbeliever. You're a believer. And I'd love to know from your perspective, being someone who's been in that space and has been in many ways, accosted for your views.. What do you believe are some of the underpinning reasons for that to be, which is specific to the climate change space?

 

Judith Curry (12:21):

Okay. A couple of things. Well, first of all, this whole issue is a big part of tribal political identity. Okay. So,somebody who's in the right tribe can publish something that's moderately critical or skeptical and they get away with it. Somebody who's not in the right tribe, who does the same thing and can't get away with it. It either gets ignored or people try to squash it. The other thing is there are certain aspects of climate science that are fairly basic, there's a lot of data out there based on basic physics and thermodynamics. And so a lot of people say, oh, okay, well, I can, I can look at that problem or I can try to analyze this. And so there's a lot of passionate armchair scientists out there cranking through,a lot of it's quick-ology,just proving the second law of thermodynamics, but some people have genuinely made really good contributions who are not,PhD educated climate scientists.

 

Judith Curry (13:36):

My colleague, Nick Lewis is a case in point he's, he's a financier. He has degrees in physics and math from Oxford, but not like a PhD or anything like that. And he's very good at statistics and he's taken on the climate sensitivity problem and has published maybe a dozen papers,in reputable journals and even co-authored with a number of distinguished mainstream scientists.so that's an example of somebody who started off in this armchair mode, but actually ended up,being sufficiently credible and taking it to the next level to actually get this published another example, a paper posted on my latest blog posts who's been doing a lot of data analysis and whatever analysis of cycles, statistics and whatever. And she just got her paper published and journal published by the American geophysical union.

 

Judith Curry (14:46):

So that's a,a reasonably prestigious publication. So, some people are getting,these armchair scientists, but there's a lot of people,analyzing some little piece of data or,telling me that this,something's wrong with basic physics and there's a whole lot of bad out there. So the challenge is to separate the wheat from the chaff, but it's really good for the populous to be engaged and thinking about the problem and looking at the data and all this kind of stuff. I mean, it does make for,a certain amount of crank ology, but overall, I think it's a good thing, but the intolerance of, of,a lot of people having trouble getting their papers published in what I would call mainstream climate journals, but the minute they go a little farther, a field and publish in astronomy and space physics or some,environmental engineering or something like that, where there's, it's not quite so religious, then they get it published. Okay. So,it's not a good situation, but, but this whole tribalism thing has polluted the science and it's editor, journal editors, and a lot of journals do a lot of gate-keeping. That's very unfortunate for,promoting,reasons, scientific debate and dialogue.

Christopher Balkaran (16:19):

Yeah. I think that warrants a separate discussion on what journal articles are getting approved and funded and, and how that shapes public opinion. I wanted to talk to you because people said, “Christopher, you agreed too much with Judith Curry on your podcast!” So you need to challenge her.

 

One thing that some mentioned was that in your articles, you talk a lot about wastewater management focusing on food security, water and energy. And it kind of is divorced from the emissions discussion. And so I wanted to know from you, because here in Canada, we're experiencing really severe weather patterns in the west coast and British Columbia right now. And as I was reading those, I was thinking exactly about what you said, which is why don't we focus on our wastewater management. It seems that when we talk about climate change, that's muddled into the emissions discussion. And reducing emissions seems to be the number one priority, because that is the number one factor we should consider when it comes to climate change. Why do you think it's important that we separate the two and respond to each kind of differently?

 

Judith Curry (17:47):

Okay. The whole issue, climate change adaptation of a doubting to manmade climate change. It's really taken second or third seat behind emissions. But a lot of that we need to adapt sea-level rise, not just the part that's caused by global warming, but also the part that's caused by sinking from too much groundwater withdrawal and on and on it goes we have to, even if we do manage to fix the emissions problem, you're still going to get crazy floods and storms in British Columbia. I mean, they're not going to go away. You can say, well, global warming makes it,3% worse - maybe it does, but it's not like these storms still aren't going to occur. So the whole issue of reducing vulnerability and adapting to weather and climate extremes sort of transcends the global warming debate.

 

Judith Curry (18:52):

It's something that everybody needs to do. We need to reduce our vulnerability to these weather and climate extremes. I mean it’s either having too much water, too little water, even in the same region during different seasons. So, the challenge is to better the reservoirs and sewage systems and on and on, it goes, you need to figure out how to manage your water. So you can buffer against the extreme wet and the extreme dry.. I mean, that's just a common sense thing. And building in floodplains and all this kind of stuff just causes problems. I mean, these are soluble and they don't have any necessarily they're impacted,at a few percent level by man-made global warming. But even if we fix man-made global warming, these problems don't go away.

 

Judith Curry (19:48):

So, that’s why I emphasize these as solutions that support wellbeing, minimize losses and so forth and so on. And food is another issue. I mean, we produce enough food. The challenge is getting it distributed in the right places. And also helping places make more sense in the developing world,decisions about their agriculture. My company just got funded for a new project to develop an agricultural forecast system for one of the states in Pakistan. Okay. We're working with an NGO and agronomists who are on the ground in Pakistan. We provide the forecast information so they can make better choices about which seeds they plant for a given season. They can time their planting based on monsoon onsets.

 

Judith Curry (21:02):

And they can maximize irrigation based on understanding when the monsoon break periods will come along, they use information about severe convective storms and wind gusts to make sure they pick their crops before they all get flattened by the wind and on and on. So there's a lot of little things like that that do not cost a heck of a lot of money where you can use information to optimize your yield to the extent that countries can grow their own food. I mean, it really makes our food supply much more secure. Okay. A lot of little things like that that you can do, and that's not to mention all the new hybrids and GMOs and whatever that improve the hardiness of the crops and the nutrition of the crops.

 

Judith Curry (22:00):

Sothis is good, even in Afghanistan their main crop is Poppy's okay for cocaine, but if there's going to be a season, when it looks like you're going to have enough rain, they can make the choice to plant other things, which would help secure their food supply. It may not be as lucrative as growing poppy, but whatever, but there's a lot that can be done. And then if you go to energy security, I mean, what is the point of all this? If we destroy the energy security of the planet, by having stuff that's intermittent, unreliable and too expensive, that's not helpful to anyone. So, I mean, there's a real reckoning that's going on. And, people thought you could run industrial economies on wind and solar, you can’t!

 

Judith Curry (23:02):

So all of it just within the last few months, all of a sudden everybody's saying, okay, nuclear is the answer. Well, yeah, it sort of is, but, why are you just realizing this now? I think it's because in Europe that they've just seen like England in the North Sea, they have all these offshore wind turbines and whatever. And in 2020 it produced 25% of their power, which is fabulous. But in the first 10 months of 2021, it produced 7% of the power. Okay. So then they're scrambling, having to pay too much money and then with all the problems with and Belarus, and the pipeline and gas supply from Russia, I mean,their energy, their natural gas supply is vulnerable to geopolitical stuff. So,being able to produce your energy from within your country has a lot of appeal.

 

Judith Curry (24:05):

Yes. And, or your neighboring countries,importing,the U S importing hydro power from Canada or something, but,then Canada can always decide, they're not going to do that at some point. So those sources aren't always very reliable. So the one advantage of solar and wind as it gave some local autonomy to the countries, but it's not enough to run an industrial economy off of. And nuclear power gives you the best of both worlds. And also if the countries were, where to frack, I mean, there are many, many more countries with natural gas that could be fracked than are actually fracking. So that's another energy source that could be more local. So I think apart from,clean and CO2 emissions, this whole issue of energy security,so it's reliable, you're not held hostage to other countries or crazy price spikes.

 

Judith Curry (25:11):

I mean, that that's very much desired. Okay. And then the wind and solar, we're talking about huge, big transmission lines over very extensive areas and vulnerable to being disrupted by severe storms, to being hacked and on and on. So to me, that doesn't seem like a very stable solution either. So we need to get real about it. I have no problem with going to cleaner energy sources. Everybody would prefer clean over dirty energy. Okay. But we have to, energy security has to be first and foremost, we have to have reliable, affordable energy. Otherwise, none of this makes sense.

 

Christopher Balkaran (25:54):

And,I think that I'm so glad you raised energy security. Cause that was one thing I wanted to talk to you about. It’s so complex and you raise a lot of really important points that are politics being one of them, for sure. Canada, we are a naturally wealthy country and,shipping natural gas to China helping them lower their CO2 emissions is great. But that requires a lot of pipeline development here in Canada. There's a lot of environmental regulations working with Indigenous communities and organizations. So it's very challenging sometimes and often it's people see the short term, the pipeline development and how that'll affect the local ecosystems and not potentially the long term, which is potentially lower CO2 emissions. And the biggest polluter in the world’s emissions will go down and that's a good thing.

 

Christopher Balkaran (26:46):

But I do think that most people see the real cost with introducing new technologies, like wind and solar to replace entire energy systems because energy security is the critical point here. Why do you think that there's this push specifically for wind and solar for governments to adopt, despite the fact that its inefficiencies are so evident and, and the costs being so high?I see this consistent narrative that with more investments, those costs will come down. It will be more affordable for developed nations to use as a viable solution. Caveat to that too, is I think if we do use solar on a large scale amount doesn't, it require a lot of land mass?

 

Judith Curry (27:40):

Oh, well wind also. Okay. It requires a huge amount of land use. There are ecosystem disruptions. I mean, the worst example is Raptors being killed by wind turbines. I mean, that just makes me sick. I mean, in the old days,the narrative was you couldn't disrupt their little habitat, but now it's okay to wholesale kill Raptors with wind turbines. What happened to the traditional environmental values and concerns? They've all been thrown out the window because of global warming. The other issue is see the waste, the end of life we can do with all this toxic stuff,especially from the solar panels and the wind turbines, there needs to be a lot of recycling and reuse, and the circular economy for that to make any kind of sounds right now, these massive, massive wind turbine.

 

Judith Curry (28:43):

Because they’re just going to landfills. I mean, like, this is just nuts beyond nuts. So until we solve that, then there's the issue of mining,all these batteries and the solar,cobalt, lithium copper on, on it goes, and this is going to be,in the seventies and eighties, it was all in the middle east and all the wars were there because of oil. Now, it's going to be,in the countries that are natural, are you rich in terms of these minerals?this is where the next geopolitical conflicts are going to be. Again, if we go nuclear with authorial we bypass all this. I mean, that stuff that could be recycled is very friendly. And it's all about the combination of following the money. And I even,if you go back to like the 80s, when people were first talking about, oh, we need to stop,this whole CO2 thing, there were two groups that jumped on this.

 

Judith Curry (29:56):

It was the petroleum people and the nuclear people. I mean, they wanted to squeeze out coal. Oh, great. This is how we can squeeze out coal. Okay. the oil and gas people ended up being ascendant as people,the anti-nuclear,sentiments took over. So the oil and gas became ascendant. And then when there was,any other better solution, which people started pushing,renewable solar and wind as renewable, but what really irks me is like burning wood pellets,cutting down for this burning wood,making them into Woodhill,in North Carolina, making wood pellets out of them and then putting on a ship and having them burnt in the UK. Okay. And this is a big part of the UK’s claim to sourcing renewable energy - does this make any environmental sense?

 

Judith Curry (31:00):

Not at all.so, so this gives birth to a whole lot of nonsensical policies and the next generation nuclear,seems to be far and away the best solution. I mean, people are just starting to roll out,these plans. I think China's active. And I think Georgia has one in development and stuff like that, though. They're just starting to be rolled out. But at times on the scale of 10 years, they should be very common. There may be other better sources that come down the pike. I don't want to roll these out, but it takes a certain amount of time to do,you have the idea and you even have prototypes, but,scaling up and taking it to market and the infrastructure and whatever all takes time.so I think in the near term,the, the small modular nuclear reactors are,it's the best solution, but even going to natural gas, converting from coal to natural gas, I think is, is a fairly significant help. So yeah,

 

Christopher Balkaran (32:16):

When I look at wind and solar if I were an investor or a leader of a country - the value proposition just isn't there yet. And it doesn't mean that it can't get there at some point. But right now, if I'm struggling with energy security, those forms of energy like wind or hydroelectricity, or have good sun exposure - coal makes sense. But I want it to follow up with that because again, and I don't want to say that these folks who emailed me are fringe, but there were individuals who said, “Judith Curry is connected to the fossil fuel industry. And she’s a renegade that’s been disproven!” (sorry!)

 

Judith Curry (33:23):

Okay. My company has some clients in the energy sector. Okay. I make forecasts for, of hurricanes, for electricity providers in Florida along the Atlantic coast. So they can figure out when something's coming so they can prepare and, and do their best to bring electricity back up quickly. I have my oldest client in the energy sector is a petroleum company. And my involvement with them is for natural gas trading. Okay. So in order that this was introduced,like 15 years to go to help stabilize natural gas prices,following hurricane Katrina and all that mess in the Gulf of Mexico and,the natural gas prices skyrocketed. So in an attempt to stabilize this there's natural gas trading. Okay. So I provide temperature forecasts for them to make natural, but the biggest, the growing part of the natural gas trading is wind power.

 

Judith Curry (34:38):

And to a lesser extent, solar power, because they're so intermittent knowing when the wind is going to blow or the sun isn't going to shine makes a big difference in how much money you're going to have, how much electricity you're going to generate, and then how much backup, natural gas you need to buy. So all of this supports having adequate natural gas supply in the face of these intermittences and keeping the price stabilized. So how is that evil? I'm not exactly sure. Has anybody funded me to do research that any energy companies funded me to do research that I then publish, say global warming? Isn't that an issue? No.like Willie soon has his research has been supported by fossil fuel company. My research is not supported by fossil fuel. What's supported their paying clients for my weather forecast. So how this puts me in bed with, with fossil fuel companies, I don't know anybody, any weather company or meteorologists in the private sector by definition is dealing with energy companies. They're the biggest single consumer of weather information. Okay. So anybody who is in the private sector, weather, forecasting business is dealing with energy companies. If they're not, they're probably not making very much money. So that is my involvement with energy companies.

 

Judith Curry (36:26):

And I know that was a way to smear me way back when, because I did have one client who was a petroleum company and one person in my department at Georgia tech who knew this, who shouldn't know it sent it to certain really bad people, so they could smear me. So,I don't make the name of my clients public, but that single client was used to smear me as being, and I was making hurricane forecasts for this client.

 

Christopher Balkaran (36:57):

And that's the very disgusting part of the climate science space. It's that, that smearing, that divisiveness takes us away from the real, like you said, food security water management issues. And then you see the ramifications of not focusing on that.not making the connection that somehow governments are looking at this and not thinking about infrastructure development, because I'm sure they are. But if there was as much focus on that than there are on emissions reductions, you just wonder...

 

Judith Curry (37:30):

All the money and effort that we've spent putting up windmills and whatever could have been used to strengthen the grid,and improve the electricity grid, but actually try to reduce our vulnerability to extreme weather events, which are going to happen anyways. Right,

 

Christopher Balkaran (37:58):

Exactly. I also have this idea,I was talking to a friend of mine who's big on electric vehicles. And I said to that person, I said, wouldn't it be kinda neat if we just kept focusing on making the gas powered engine way more efficient getting a thousand kilometers out of a single tank of gas instead of just jumping into an electric vehicle where we still don't really know all the risks with the technology as yet? Whereas with the gas powered engine, we've got a hundred plus years. Why don't we just make that more efficient? I mean, doesn't it produce more heat than anything else,I don't know.

 

Judith Curry (38:36):

Well, I don't know how much more efficient they can be made, but I like hybrid vehicles because the batteries are simpler.so I think the hybrid vehicles are a much better intermediate solution. And the other issue too, everybody gets excited about electric vehicles is going to be like double, triple, quadruple,our need for electricity and windmills aren't going to cut it. Okay. That's just another reason for, ya know, saying wind and solar, aren't going to cut it because we need much, much more electricity Bitcoin and all these things and who knows what other things will come up with. I mean, like electricity is key to innovation and prosperity, so we want as much of it as we can get.

 

Christopher Balkaran (39:36):

What are your thoughts on COP26 and is the outcome what you anticipated? So for me, looking at it, making a global climate change agreement is exceptionally challenging and it lends itself to nothing too specific. What are your thoughts about just global climate change agreements all together? Do you think that they're kind of they're that they're, I wouldn't say pointless. But that it just shows a commitment from the global community towards climate change?

 

Judith Curry (40:29):

Well, I think Greta nailed it with her blah, blah, blah. There've been a lot of these things. It's mostly hot air. And the thing that really irks me is all these people flying in on their private jets and their gas-fired big limos and whatever, excuse me, can you walk the talk at least in some superficial way? I mean, because it was just this big opulent blow out,and, and here they're telling,all these developing countries, we're not going to give you any energy kind of thing - that was, to me, it was hypocrisy, but all of these promises are really political games. A way of stature in the global community, in a way of negotiating other things and on and on it goes - so much hot air, even when they go back to their countries and actually try to nail out,these agreements at the end of the day, very few countries are going to sacrifice their own economic wellbeing over this issue.

 

Judith Curry (41:49):

A few European countries seem inclined to, but most of the others don't no matter what they say. The US is an interesting microcosm because in the absence of a very stringent federal policy, you have the different states going in different directions. Okay. On one hand you have, California is pretty extreme. They're going full force to wind and solar to shut down their last nuclear power plant. And,the prices are sky high and outages and on and on, it goes, that's no end of problems. And people are leaving California in droves. We're seeing a few states that are in, in the sort of Northeast you are poised or trying to follow in California's footsteps. New Jersey is one of them and just implementing some big rather draconian plans. And then you have other states that,anything goes,a couple of them, we just want to keep burning coalWest Virginia, cause there's a lot of coal there.

 

Judith Curry (43:01):

And then in Northern Minnesota where they do all the iron ore smelting and all the really big, big, heavy industry stuff, I mean, coal is really the best fuel for that. And,for the cooking and everything. So it's hard to get them off coal also.so there's so many different things, but at the end of the day, it's wrong for the UN to ask countries to stop,burning fossil fuels when there aren't any obvious alternatives for them, or if they don't have enough electricity already, it's just, it's just not right. So at the end of the day,to me, the alarm has dropped a lot. We used to hear five degrees, centigrade, four degrees, centigrade,crazy, horrible, scary stuff. Okay. Now with the AR six, with the medium emissions scenario, they said their best estimate was 2.9 degrees centigrade.

 

Judith Curry (44:09):

And this is 2.9 degrees since pre-industrial times. So it's really, we've already warmed 1.2. So we're already halfway there w w with no particularly dire results. And then actually according to the international energy agencies, our emissions are coming in lower than the IPC medium emission scenario. Okay. So it's even lower than that. The estimates are now like maybe 2.6 is the business as usual. And then if you put in everybody's promises, that goes down to 2.2 and then net zero for the more developed countries,then it's down to 1.8,unlike, okay. We're pretty much there, but these numbers are just sort of how meaningful are they? They totally ignore natural climate variability. I'll have a blog post coming out in a couple of weeks that shows if it looks like all the modes of natural climate variability are tilted towards cooling over the next three decades.

 

Judith Curry (45:26):

It looks like we're heading towards a solar minimum. Any volcanic eruptions by definition are negative. And we expect the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation to shift to the cold phase on the timescale of about a decade. So all of these things, point to cooling in the coming decades, which would push off,these years that we're going to pass these deadline,by decades. Okay. And this buys us a lot of time to figure out what we're going to do. But when people even here like 2.9 degrees, they don't realize that that, that already is not 2.9 degrees more than now. It's 2.9 degrees since sometime in the 19th century. And we've already warmed by 1.2 degrees. So we're talking about,order of another degree or much less, it doesn't sound so scary when you put it that way. Yeah.

 

Christopher Balkaran (46:28):

What are your thoughts on environment and corporate social governance? If ESG is this new term that's floating out there especially in the financial circles about companies and individuals directing their investments to companies that already have some type of environment or social governance policy or platform to their line of work. Now just as an individual, I'm concerned about that because I always think, well, there's no real way to audit a company on their environment or environmental, social governance. And I worry that a lot of money is going into this space now, similar to,sole sourcing windmill development to one company and signing up large government contracts. And what I saw at COP26 was there's a lot of money on the table that's dedicated to this. And again, as a layman investor, I would say, well, show me your assets, show me your liabilities. And I can tell you if you're profitable or not, I'm concerned about this. Cause it could kind of in a way, inflate an entire sector without really looking at its profitability?

 

Judith Curry (47:49):

I mean, those people might very well end up losing money because those might not necessarily be the smartest decisions,on the timescale of a decade. There's a lot of greenwashing going on. The companies engage PR companies to help them up. People have contacted my company, they, okay, what are my environmental enterprise risk and what should I be doing and what makes sense. It's not really part of their greenwashing,like what are our vulnerabilities?I help them there. I don't help with the greenwashing or the PR part of it. But At the end of the day, those might not be the best financial decisions. And so,people who are voting with their politics and their green conscience are people who are voting with their wallet,we'll, we'll see, we'll see who wins, but the same thing's going on with like property along the coast,in the us,sea level rise crazy,and then, then President Obama just bought a big mansion at Martha’s Vineyard, right on the coast.

 

Judith Curry (49:13):

Like, how worried are you about sea level rise? But the pointer,there will be a Republic in the U S politics.there'll be Republican and Democrat neighborhoods.the Democrats won't buy houses on the coast and the Republicans or the climate deniers will. And so who's going to make money out of that deal. We'll see. Okay.so, so people voting with their pocket books as part of how this plays out. So people are really, in my mind, overinflated by the financial risk of all this. I mean, at the end of the day, even the people who prepared the emissions,the socioeconomic pathways and the emission scenarios agreed that,by 2100, everyone will be better off than they are now, at least on average. Sure. Some people will die in a hurricane or something, but I can not, people will be better off in 2100 than they are now, even with the extreme emission scenarios.

Judith Curry (50:19):

Huh. So why are we,we're doing all this now,our grandchildren who will be better off than we are. And even then we,have a fairly naive understanding of the risks we're actually facing in the 21st century. I mean, climate could end up being,I've used this analogy before,this could end up being like treating a head code with chemotherapy all the while when the real medical problem is something very different.that's what we could end up doing. And by putting so much resources into a, an ineffective solution for climate change, we use up all,this is the same insurance money that we have for all our threats.we could overall end up more vulnerable as a result of this exercise.

Christopher Balkaran (51:18):

Yeah. And due to the,the, the political capital is very real. And I think about everything that we've talked about, and I think aboutelections in the United States and around the world and this Canada went through its own election here in September. And it seems like there's this blind adoption of, we must do something for climate change. And,we're going to sign on to every international agreement and we're going to commit Canada and the United States to these record low emissions levels, but it's less sexier to talk about, well, guess what, we also built up our water waste management in,  Northern Alberta,or parts of Canada United States. And so I wonder, is it too far gone? Can we elect politicians now and leaders of countries that want to revert back to evidence-based discussions and less on the political platitude?

 

Judith Curry (52:15):

Oh, but the science is settled. I mean, they've been so brainwashed with that,and the only thing that's going to change it, if I'm right about natural variability having sort of a cooling effect in the coming decades, this will be the one piece of evidence that people go, huh.they'll have to pay attention to that. Okay. If that transpires, I would say that would be the single most effective thing at bringing this dialogue back to some level of rationality, but how much confidence do I have in that prediction? Well, I have some,how much money am I going to bet on that?I don't know, but it's a very plausible scenario that we could,that natural variability could land to cooling in the coming decades,at least at the magnitude of the emission of space warming. So we'll see if that transpires, if that does, to me, that would be the single most effective thing at bringing the dialogue back to normal in some sensible way, what people look at this problem more broadly, we don't have the answers,how can we manage this risk in a sensible way that leaves our countries stronger and less vulnerable to whatever my transpire in the future.

 

Christopher Balkaran (53:43):

And I think voices like yourself and those that are advocating for more sensibility when it comes to energy security too,it's, it's very, very appealing to talk about wind and solar. It's less appealing to say coal is not a choice. It's a necessity for some countries in some regions and it's not that these regions don't want cleaner energy. It's just, we haven't gotten to that point yet for that area. And so I think that's why I'm so thankful that you've agreed to come back on here and talk for a second time. I know you're super busy.

 

Judith Curry (54:17):

Oh yeah. But I very much enjoy our conversations and you asked really good questions and it's an opportunity for me to address some topics I don't normally get to. And I look forward to a continued dialogue on all these topics.

 

Christopher Balkaran (54:37):

I'm sure that I'll get more feedback on this conversation both good and bad, but that's fine. And again, I'm just thankful that you are very open to answering any of the questions. And this is not our last conversation.

 

Judith Curry (54:59):

Okay. Well, thank you, Christopher. This was fun.