Elon Musk Does Al Gore

May 31, 2016

10 years after An Inconvenient Truth, climate science, which has been mainstream since the 1950s, has finally become indispensable background knowledge for anyone that wants to be taken seriously by grownups, and, even better, succeed in the greatest industrial revolution since the invention of fire.

Evidence? See Elon Musk’s eloquent and simple explainer on “The Dumbest Experiment in History”, above.
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19 Responses to “Elon Musk Does Al Gore”

  1. metzomagic Says:

    Well, absolutely brilliant in most respects (he’s not exactly the most engaging speaker), except… why oh why does he have the current atmospheric CO2 concentration at ~475ppm when it is actually at 400ppm? That is a red rag to a bull with regard to AGW deniers. They can use it to discredit his whole otherwise excellent presentation 😦

    • Gingerbaker Says:

      You interpreted the graph incorrectly. 2015 level was not the vertical line, that was just a pointer down to the graph to identify three possible pathways from this time forward. You have to take the intercept of that vertical line and read it on the left border – and it is the correct value of 400 ppm.

      Of course, 400ppm is only [CO2]. The real Greenhouse forcing is all the greenhouse gases put together – the [CO2]-equivalent total or [CO2]-e. Which, ironically enough, IS ~ 500ppm.

      • metzomagic Says:

        No, I didn’t interpret the chart(s) incorrectly. The first chart (at 1:38) covers the period 1960 – 2015, and correctly shows the 2015 concentration at ~400ppm. But the second one (at 1:46), in an effort to better illustrate how quickly the atmospheric CO2 concentration has risen just since the start of the industrial revolution, goes from 1000 – 2015, and has a big freakin’ pointer to ‘TODAY’ (2015) with a concentration of ~480ppm. And it says ‘ATMOSPHERIC CO2 (PPM)’, not CO2 equivalent.

        It’s that kind of avoidable sloppiness that does harm. although I agree it was inadvertent harm, to the scientific side of the AGW ‘argument’.

        • Magma Says:

          I agree. The value is around 480 ppm, which is what we might expect by 2050 if current trends continue unchanged, or 2040 or earlier if we continue to screw up.

          And the spacing of the years on the X axis is inconsistent… based on the 250 year intervals and measuring from a screen cap, the label reading ‘2015’ is where 2090 should be, more or less.

          Just careless and sloppy. There’s no excuse for that with such a speaker and his available resources.

        • Gingerbaker Says:

          Ok, sorry – I missed that chart at 1:48 which you are correct about. I thought you meant chart at 10:44.

        • metzomagic Says:

          Great guys, thanks. Thought I was losing it there for a while 😉

        • pendantry Says:

          … but since it’s already been ascertained that [CO2]-e ~500ppm, it’s not wrong.

    • redskylite Says:

      I agree the signage is a bad mistake that you wouldn’t expect, and if it means CO2 equivalent it should say so, and a further explanation would be necessary.

      However who cares a damn what bloody deniers think, they only read what they want to see anyway. Usually they don’t even notice detail. They just see red at the mention of Michael E. Mann’s hockey stick, Climate Gate, NASA Goddard GISS stats, LIA, MWP etc etc.


  2. Reblogged this on Aware & Fair and commented:
    Elon Musk makes a brilliant argument to stop fossil fuel subsidies and to enforce the carbon tax…

  3. mboli Says:

    This talk seems like a perfunctory reiteration of the same-old. What was the audience? What was the communicative intent?
    An Inconvenient Truth was a book and a feature-length film designed to move the public discourse. It was marketed to the general public, it had richness of detail, persuasive techniques, narrative structure, and production values. It provided evidence and argument, it raised objections and answered them, it employed images and argumentative and emotional techniques. It was designed to sway public opinion.
    I don’t see the comparison between An Inconvenient Truth and this talk.
    The point of this talk isn’t clear. Is it supposed to be teaching something to a class? Is supposed to be persuading an unconvinced audience? Is it integrated with some public service ad campaign, using a famous name as an attractive hook? Is it Elon Musk’s way of showing some people that he “gets it” about global warming?
    The exact same talk, with the same graphics and the same delivery, could be given by a pretty good student to a college class and nobody would think it was noteworthy.


    • While it might not matter to you or me, the identity of a speaker makes a big difference to many audiences.

      Most college students aren’t capable of doing this.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      it is precisely because of who he is, that this is important and worth knowing about.
      there are a lot of people who will never, never, take exactly the same information from Al Gore, who find it less easy to dismiss someone like Mr. Musk.

  4. stephengn1 Says:

    The current level of CO2 is 407 at Mauna Loa
    https://www.co2.earth
    It hit the 400 ppm milestone about this time last year.
    http://www.climatecentral.org/news/co2-400-ppm-global-record-18965
    At this rate of advance it will be at 480 in about the year 2026


  5. Musk is brilliant, yes, and he stammers, quite a bit. But then again so did Moses, and he led the Israelites out of Egypt to the promised land. Then again, it took them forty years of wandering and bickering to get there, and Moses never actually made it himself…

    All the same I appreciate the climate sensitivity perspective – this nuanced idea is rarely presented to a MSM that can’t get the basics right or won’t even try. Still, it is useful and helpful when considering the urgency with which we must act.

    • Gingerbaker Says:

      Like the analogy!

      Altho, Moses is now considered to be a nonhistorical figure. He may have stammered, but he is a fictional character in a fictional story about fictional Jewish slavery and fictional flight in the desert.

      Elon Musk may stammer, but his part in the story of our exodus from fossil fuels is genuine as well as inspirational.


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