Dyke on Trump

Thanks to the Conversation, here’s another gem  which is crying out for lively discussion between sentient beings. This one is by James Dyke, “Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Sustainability Science at the University of Southampton.”

(He used to be a lecturer in the science of complex systems. What happened? Sounds like he’s been demoted from Expert in Life, the Universe, and Everything to manager of the Hampshire Recycling Centre.)

James is one of the most assiduous writers on things Climatic at the Monversation, and to give him his due, he has often replied to criticisms in the past, in a tone of hurt pride it’s true, but he’s replied. He is a real human being, and not a taxpayer-funded Uni-bot like many at the Conologue. “If you prick him, does he not bleed?”Indeed he does. He’s one of the most haemophiliac bleeders in the climatosphere. (“Lovely guy, lovely guy” as Our Leader would say.)

Foretaste: “It’s no exaggeration to say I spend most of my working day thinking about human’s impact on the Earth and what that could mean for our children, grandchildren and those that will come after.”

“Most of my working day…” This person is being paid by you, O British taxpayers, to educate your children, and he’s spending his working day thinking about their children and their children’s children.

Mind on the job, James, Mind on the job.

[Note: All links in the original article will be established in the near future]


I told my students to be optimistic about the climate – after Trump, I feel an utter fraud

November 15, 2016 10.17am GMT

Every year I teach an undergraduate class on climate change. In some respects this should be one of my easiest lectures. For the past few years I would have just needed to change the date  on the slide which says the current year is the warmest that humans have ever recorded. But this year was different. This year the class fell on a Thursday, one day after Donald Trump was confirmed as the next US president.

I had to begin by explaining how someone who has said that global warming is a hoax  and who wants to rip up the climate change agreement  achieved last year in Paris, was now the leader of the most powerful nation of Earth. A nation that while no longer the largest single emitter of carbon dioxide – that goes to China – is still the most influential on the international stage.

I had initially prepared some remarks for the beginning of the lecture to the effect that politics is complex and that not everything President-elect Donald Trump said when he was plain Mr Trump may have been entirely truthful. So when I came to consider how he would actually administer the country, I thought he may well row back on some of that rhetoric.

But then I learned that Trump had tipped Myron Ebell to head up the Environmental Protection Agency transition team. The EPA is the most important federal agency with regards to climate change and other pollutant controls. Ebell has been described as a “top climate sceptic”. “Denier” would be a better description, however, so profoundly at odds are his beliefs and statements with our understanding of how humans are affecting the climate.

So while my plan was to address these issues in the light of the latest round of climate change negations at COP22 in Marrakech and then get back to business I spectacularly failed. I largely lost the lesson plan and at times was at risk of losing my composure.

I began by trying to explain to my students the debt that was being accumulated to them – the costs older generations are passing to them as a consequence of their unwillingness to reduce carbon emissions. There are positive indicators that global emissions are levelling off – the fabled decoupling of growth from emissions. But we need large and sustained reductions right now and for the rest of the century if we are going to avoid the dangers that lurk around 2 warming above pre-industrial levels.

Trump’s election threatens to extinguish any hope of keeping warming below that level. But I had to tell my students that there is the risk that this lets others off the hook. Very few climate scientists would argue that capping warming at 2 was likely under current scenarios. The 1.5 aspiration that was a surprise outcome from Paris is even more implausible. In fact, almost all strategies to achieve either involve “negative emissions” technologies – ways in which excess amounts of carbon dioxide will be sucked out of the atmosphere.

While there are promising pilot projects that can capture carbon dioxide from the air and safely store this underground, these operate at nowhere near the required scale. And every year we delay making radical reductions in emissions, means even more reliance on them. This an example of the intergenerational debt that is being handed to my students. Climate change is going to be their problem. If they don’t find solutions to it, it is they who will suffer.

Every year of my students’ lives, they have been told that climate change is perhaps the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced. And every birthday they have celebrated, the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere was higher than it was the year before. Every birthday another confirmation that all talk about combating climate change is yet more hot air. The election of Trump will be a particularly large candle on their next cake, but it will join many others. It’s becoming increasingly harder to imagine how anyone would be able to blow them all out.

It’s no exaggeration to say I spend most of my working day thinking about human’s impact on the Earth and what that could mean for our children, grandchildren and those that will come after. And I also spare a thought for some of the millions of species that we share the Earth’s biosphere with. And I’m usually optimistic despite the sometimes very negative research I read.

But Thursday got the better of me. On Thursday I felt like an utter fraud. Or perhaps an open mouthed spectator of some awful spectacle. A spectacle that if I were to search my wallet, I, along with many of my generation, would find a paid ticket for.


  1. “I largely lost the lesson plan and at times was at risk of losing my composure.”

    Oh dear, poor snowflake.

    My heart bleeds purple piss!

    Has anyone sent him a box of tissues, a mug of hot chocolate and a video of puppies being cuddled?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. James Dyke:-

    But we need large and sustained reductions right now and for the rest of the century if we are going to avoid the dangers that lurk around 2℃ warming above pre-industrial levels.

    This is consistent with the UNIPCC. If you look up the AR5 Synthesis Report, Summary for Policy Makers, graphic SPM.11(a) – reproduced below – shows the large and sustained reductions to allegedly keep the planet lurking at around 2℃ warming. It is roughly the RCP2.6 Scenario. This needs to be contrasted with the RCP8.5 Non-Policy BAU (Business as Usual) line. RCP2.6 has emissions stable at about 48 until 2025 then falling steeply. Last year total GHG emissions were about 55, up from 49 in baseline year 2010. The real world is nearer the BAU scenario than the 2℃ warming path. The most likely cause of the undershoot is because RCP8.5 scenario is an exaggerated & unrealistic emissions forecast.

    James Dyke then states:-

    Trump’s election threatens to extinguish any hope of keeping warming below that level. But I had to tell my students that there is the risk that this lets others off the hook.

    This is a gross distortion, not because of any assumption about the warming effects of a doubling of CO2, but because most nations were never on the hook in the first place. The Rio Declaration of 1992 divided countries between Annex 1 (developed countries who signed up to reduce emissions – nearly all developed countries), Annex 1a (Former Communist States transitioning to Market Economies) and Annex 2 (Developing Countries with no obligation to reduce emissions in 1992 and still not).
    I took the Edgar estimated GHG Emissions data for 1990 to 2012, did some adjustments, and came up with the following graph.

    The key point of my notes is that all the GHG emissions growth for 1990 to 2012 comes from the developing countries that are exempt from any sort of obligation to reduce emissions. Global emissions will still go on climbing whoever whether President Donald Trump abandons all climate policy or has a Road to Damascus conversion and destroys the American economy by cutting emissions by 50% in the next four years.

    1. For more on the impact of the Rio Declaration try “IPCCREPORT Robin Guenier Notes on the Sands Lecture

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Thanks Catweazle and ManicBeanCounter for two comments informed by the latest science (especially Catweazle’s). Could someone please link this article at the Con? Alas I am banned from doing so myself. There are some interesting comments there, by Robin Guenier and James Dyke himself, among others. But they should feel free to comment here if they want to.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “Can anyone tell me why an effigy of Germaine Greer is being burned in Dyke’s title art?”

    She is a betrayer of the cause. Making remarks like “Just because you lop off your dick doesn’t make you a fucking woman” does not endear her to the SJWs and their psycophantic hangers-on in academia.

    The fact that Dyke (unfortunate name that, in context) uses that image in his title art tells you everything you need to know about him. As for “feeling a fraud”, well … why wouldn’t he? Self-knowledge breaks through at long last.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Can the Dyke,
    Or anyone else express in any scientific terms, just what a 2C temperature change may possibly mean, even if the whole planet does such? Can James G Dyke even express in technical, not fuzzy social, terms what the words temperature, or even ‘warming’ may possibly mean?


  6. “I feel an utter fraud”.

    Right sentiment, wrong reason.

    In answer to Barry’s question, Darrell Harb replies:

    “Dr Woods,

    does it help that the Chinese may still have an open mind on the causes of climate change? No, it harms. Greatly.

    I read a fascinating theory as to why Asian cultures still lag behind the West, per capita, in scientific achievement. Essentially the explanation was that countries like China, Korea and Japan have yet to fully embrace the importance of consensus (the scientific term for conformism), which is at the heart of both science and climate science.”

    Hmm, smacks a tad of white supremacist thinking to me, I must say. ‘Asians can’t do science as well as us Westerners because they lack the faculty to fully embrace consensus’. Which actually is saying, Asian science is superior because it does not place consensus at its heart, preferring instead to rely upon genuine and independent scientific enquiry.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Jaime,

    good catch. That is ugly stuff from Harb, recycling all the old Asians-as-independent-thinkers stereotypes.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. did you see this reply by Dr Dyke, essentially denying his interest in having a conversation? It is worthy of that horrible person Farb:

    “Frank, there is literally nothing I could say that would lead you to change your views. So I’m not going to try. I hope you don’t consider that impolite. I’m just tired walking around the same block.

    The task at hand right now is to engage with those willing to listen, and willing to act. That is what will lead to effective change. Before that I do think it’s important to be honest with essentially emotions and immediate responses to political events. Then we can move forward.”


  9. Interesting that Dr Dyke (or does he use his Assistant Professor moniker?) teaches a class (which would seem to be a single lecture) on climate change. Even without his partial breakdown over Trump, which must have used up a good bit of time available, a single lecture would appear to be rather small amount of time to devote to the multidisciplinary subject.
    Wonder if students can claim some of their university fees back for non-performance, or alternatively his students enjoyed the performance, full of remorse for what could have been both in Washington and Marrakech (Shakespearian?).


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