Video: US Admiral, formerly a “hard-core climate skeptic”, on why he changed his mind

In this video, US Admiral Titley, formerly “a pretty hard-core skeptic on climate change” talks about how he came to think that it is in fact one of the preeminent challenges of our world today.

The talk is very engaging, but if people don’t have 23 minutes to spare, he starts going into climate change at about 8:00. Here are some of the best passages:

People talk about 1 or 2 degrees. Well, shoot, you go up and down 30 degrees in a day, how much can that be?

They are talking about all these computer models. I’ve lived and died by those weather models – more died. So how are you gonna tell me how this forecast of a hundred years, you know, how can you do that?

But the evidence kept mounting. I saw that science had really progressed, that computer models had progressed. And I started to understand the difference between the weather, which is forced by what you start with, the fancy term would be the initial conditions, and the climate, which is forced by those long-term things, like what the sun is doing, what the ocean is doing, and you could call that the boundary conditions. And you shouldn’t just because you have some issues with the one on the short term, that doesn’t mean you can’t figure out the one on the long term.

And then you look at the evidence, the changes, especially up in the Atlantic. Somehow you had to convince yourself, if there wasn’t something going on, then how did you explain all the changes that were being observed. Not just forecast, but actually being observed.

The first and the most obvious thing to look at is the sun. Is the sun changing? The sun hasn’t been appreciably changing.

You look at volcanoes. But you look at the last 150 years, it has been nothing out of the ordinary.

So that sort of gets you down into greenhouse gases. And what’s the one that has been changing? It’s been carbon dioxide. Well, is it natural or man-made? We can actually tell because because there are these things that are called isotopes that decay at different rates. And we know that the ones from the dinosaurs (…) when you put that back in the atmosphere it’s a different chemical composition. And we can measure that. It’s old carbon we are putting back into the air.

But it’s just a small, small, small amount. It’s a trace. (…) Let me give you another example of something that is really small. This lady and gent on my right, how much fun does it look they’re having? I would call that a blood alcohol of 0%. Now let’s change that here and let’s look at what .04% looks like. Guess what, it just turns out that .04 is like 390, 380 parts per million. Which is exactly where we are today with CO2. Now, do those folks look like they’re having fun?

CO2 just a trace

He also goes into some climate impacts, such as the impact of sea level rise – probably substantially underestimated by the IPCC – is going to have on coastal infrastructure.

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