Watching the World Go Bye

Eliot Jacobson's Collapse of Everything Blog

Climate Change

There aren’t enough f&%ks in my vocabulary

Earlier today I posted this Tweet:

There aren’t enough f&%ks in my vocabulary to express how I feel today about pretty much everything humans are doing to each other, to every living thing, and to this once and future remarkable planet.

I am just exhausted by pretty much everything humans do that is f&%ked. And just about everything humans do is f&%ked.


My bad mood started small about two months ago, when I read the quote below from our local Santa Barbara “Community Environmental Council,” (CEC) as it appeared in a letter to the editor in our local paper, The Independent:

“In the wake of the hottest July ever documented, the urgency of addressing extreme heat is real. And the alarming reality of climate change is hitting closer than ever to home, as Ventura County recently ranked as the fastest warming county in the contiguous U.S., closely trailed by Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.”

The CEC then re-posted their letter here and here.

I’m someone who values facts, and this just didn’t look right. Ventura ranked as the fastest warming county in the contiguous U.S.?  No way! I did a bit of Google “research” and found an article published in the Washington Post that seemed like it might be their source. On August 28th, I emailed their CEO, Sigrid Wright, and asked. I got back the following response:

Eliot – the source is this Washington Post article written by Scott Wilson. The Washington Post team won a Pulitzer Prize for this series of climate articles.

Here’s the quote from the 2018 Washington Post article above that was referenced by Sigrid and the CEC as the basis for their claim:

Since 1895, the average temperature in Santa Barbara County has warmed by 2.3 degrees Celsius (4.1 degrees Fahrenheit), according to The Post’s analysis. Neighboring Ventura County has heated up even more rapidly. With an average temperature increase of 2.6 degrees Celsius (4.7 degrees Fahrenheit) since preindustrial times, Ventura ranks as the fastest-warming county in the Lower 48 states.

I hope you can see right through CEC’s misuse. From 1895 to 2018, Ventura warmed the most of any county. This says absolutely nothing about Ventura County being the fastest warming at the moment. It doesn’t say when the bulk of the warming took place or anything else about the timing of the warming. It is not a statement about what’s going on right now with current warming in the second half of 2023 or over some recent span of years. It is a one-off statement about total warming over a cherry picked period of time.

I wrote back to Sigrid explaining the errors as follows:

First, the article references the single year 1895. As you know, the IPCC uses the 50-year baseline 1850-1900 for measuring temperatures. Going forward, they always use 30-year averages to measure current climate. Right now we are using the 1991-2020 baseline. It is important to use a multi-year baseline because single-year temperature anomalies may skew results dramatically. 

Because this article uses the single year 1895 as its baseline, it is impossible to take this result as definitive. That may have been a particularly cold year for Ventura county due to a La Nina (for example), making the long term average look abnormally high. Or it could have just been a freakishly cold year for any other reason and the conclusion about long term warming is void.

Regardless, no climate science I am aware of uses a single-year baseline for anything having to do with measuring long-term warming.

Next, the sentence gives the sense that this is the current state of things, that Ventura county is warming fastest right now. But that’s not at all the conclusion you can draw from that WaPo article.  Total warming since 1895 has very little to do with instantaneous warming now.  I don’t know which county is warming fastest right now (or in the last 30 years), but the article certainly does not say it is Ventura.

Third, this article is up to 2018. A lot has changed on the planet in the last 5 years as far as the climate. Just look at this year with record global temperatures, record global sea surface temperatures, record low Antarctic sea ice, etc. There is not much about the climate up to 2018 that I would confidently extrapolate to 2023, especially a statement about the current warming rate of a particular county.

The response? Crickets.


So I did a deep dive, and I found the data source that the WaPo used in their article. It’s a fantastic tool from NOAA that lets anyone research the total warming by county. Check it out here:

As you can see from the image below, Ventura county has nothing like the fastest warming over the last 5 years:

I then went on a deeper deep dive and downloaded their CSV data. This showed the warming by county over the last 5 years (October, 2018 – September, 2023) compared against the 1900-2000 baseline. That’s exactly how it should be done — compare the average of a recent span of years against a long-term baseline.

Here is a screen shot of the top 20 counties in the U.S., after I sorted by “anomaly.”

Not only is Ventura county not in the top spot, but no county in California is even in the top 20. In fact, with respect to the recent 2018-2023 temperature gain against the 1901-2000 baseline, Ventura county is tied with Santa Barbara county for the 301-st fastest warming county in the contiguous United States, having warmed 2.6°F over the 1901-2000 baseline.


Here is the data in an Excel spreadsheet if you want to look at it for yourself:

Now lets look at the top 10 warming counties in California in this data:

From this we see it’s not even the case that Ventura or Santa Barbara rank 1-st in the state, or 1-st along the coast. Nothing.


Anyway, I sent a few images and the link to the NOAA site above in an email to Sigrid explaining again that the claim was not valid. No response.


But then a few weeks later there it was again. This time the CEC used this fictitious claim in a fundraising letter, sent out September 28th:

Our region is at the nexus of the climate crisis, a unique intersection of biodiversity, coastal habitats, agriculture, wildfires, droughts, extreme heat, and natural disasters. In recent years, we have grappled with unprecedented extreme weather events, from record-breaking heat waves to storms, flooding, and wildfires. Scientists predict that 2023 will be the hottest year on record globally. Ventura County is warming faster than any other county in the United States, while Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties are not far behind. Climate change is unfolding faster and more intensely than previously anticipated, demanding immediate action. 


And  just yesterday there was a town hall featuring a local politician, who, according to a friend who attended the meeting, repeated this error.


So, for the last 3 weeks I’ve been sitting on this. Our local Community Environmental Council is misstating facts to raise money for their cause. Other well-meaning individuals have been taking CEC’s misstatement as truth and repeating it. And I’ve been obsessing over the moral question of whether this was okay to do.

And no, it is not okay. It is a f&%ked thing to do to raise money by misrepresenting that our little tri-county area is the fastest warming in the United States. This is not okay. Sigrid, stop it!  Em, stop it! David, stop it! CEC, stop it! Stop it! Everyone, stop it! This is what tobacco did. This is what Fossil Fuel companies do. And at this point I’ll call it what it is, pure 100% f&%kery. People claiming they want to save the planet should do better than this.

And so, yeah, this is one of things that is in my long list of f&%ks — but at least it’s one I can write about, and writing helps my very sad state of mind much more than saying f&%kf&%kf&%kf&%kf&%k.

End note (added 10/20/2023). To be complete, linked here is a projection for future US warming. It is one example of many that shows the Central and Southern US as warming fastest in the future.

Eliot Jacobson, Ph.D.

Retired professor of mathematics and computer science, retired casino consultant, now a full time volunteer, husband and grandfather. Know-it-all doomer. Born in the year 316 ppm CO2.

18 thoughts on “There aren’t enough f&%ks in my vocabulary

  • Patricia Pouncey

    Dear Professor Jacobson,

    I was very sorry to read your article. I have been following you for a while now. It is obvious you care very much about your subject and you are always very patient, precise and frank. I have been concerned about human environmental damage for a long time, but I have no scientific knowledge about it. I have always appreciated your patience when you do your very best to explain complex ideas about the environment to the likes of me.
    It must be very disappointing indeed that some dishonest people have been giving false information to make a profit. I hope something can be done to recoup some of the stolen money. But, in the meantime, for your sake and the sake of your grandchildren, I do hope you continue with your excellent unpaid work. We do need honest and sincere people, like yourself, more than ever in our current times.
    Wishing you the very best.

    • Robert Stewart

      It is not to make a profit it is to win an argument. The fact that this lie is attached to fund raising allows Oil to derail every project and have a very simple example of how the numbers can change. The insurance companies and institutions that require funding will get a really big funding boost if we run oil another decade. Oils not playing to win they are playing to keep their winnings.

      Even on a ten year model we are inversely affecting climate in exchange for profits based on an old rule set. Governments should have started the transition in 1980. The problem in large global structures are not viable without oil: even this perspective is untrue as we have 250 years of suppressed technologies. A large part of quantitative easing is holding back technologies that would save us individually but doom an industry. The failure in government to apply simple accounting rules and simple resource allocation is totally fu@#ed by politics of power. The looming world war which is due entirely to domestic policy hijacked by NATO for the oil barons they serve.

      Anyway on a lighter note. I think there is a reasonable chance if we work with what we have. With only modest investment smallholdings can regenerate parcels of underutilised land. This combined with long term planning of domestic food chain and land use. Essentially I am describing the good bits of the great reset but “we own everything” – clearly we have thousands of years of tipping the scales lying and cheating: most of this objection is expressed through the banks who allow the dark hearts of their capital to remain behind structures like the Pandora papers. I can recommend the real news network currently but I would like them to cover climate responsibly- Paul has done great work combining models and explaining tipping points – folk really hardly grasp life is a standard deviation from not being. When they do grasp it they believe it unmanageable just as the oil money wants – all news is currently a smoke screen for the largest robbery in history. Pay attention is all I can say because right now; plague and war seems to be the policy.

  • Jim Bourgeois

    Fight on. Thank you for the tireless work you do. Your wisdom and credibility are essential for all people willing to listen.

  • Helen Knight

    The reality is absurdly heavy to bear, but thank you for being the catalyst that opened my eyes.

  • Cheryl

    Doomers expect 100% f&%kery in the end times of civilization.

  • Brian R Smith

    Eliot, thanks for this report debunking intentionally false information. Similar story:

    My mission to challenge the f&%kery of influential climate journalists & enviro/climate NGOs pushing the “100% clean energy future with renewables” narrative… is not going well.
    I’ve written to Bill McKibben, Sammy Roth (LA Times) and leaders at 350. Org, Greenpeace, Sunrise, Climate Mobilization, NRDC, Climate Reality Project and others – offering multiple lines of evidence that so-called renewables are not renewable, currently supply only 0.04% of total primary energy, cannot “replace fossil fuels” with electricity or reduce total GHG emissions, and so on. I was nice about it! I gave references! Environmental context! I was generously long winded!

    Not one reply. I will go for another round & perhaps have better luck, but investment in the lie runs deep. In the case of NGOs with $M budgets, Upton Sinclair’s adage is fair to invoke. Foundation climate funders and little guy donors want to keep wind & solar hopium alive; they don’t want to hear climate orgs saying – you know, actually we are F&%ked six ways to Sunday & staring at collapse, but we still need the money so we can pivot to mass adaptation while keeping our salaries.
    Flying monkeys everywhere.

    • Brian R Smith

      I meant to say 4% (0.04)

  • 2

    “People trying to save the planet should by default be better than this.”

    But are they, though? Trying, I mean?
    You invoke the ‘Bright Green Lies’ term for corporate ‘greeners’ (not so much), who were exposed so hard in the docu of the same name, but even more in the one before that, ‘The Planet of the Humans’. I’m not a psychologist, so I won’t try to accurately remote-diagnose Sigrid or her ilk. But a carelessness for facts, and quote-harvesting untruthful claims like that, suggests that their urge to collect more money is stronger than their will to save anything (present asses excluded).

    What is quite remarkable, is how corporations and polluticians are the same in this manner. The world’s a stage, and all that matters is how you perform on that stage. Or in other words: How you appear. Can Ventura even imaginably fix climate and prevent a terminal disaster for the county?

    No, they can’t. But on the other hand: Are they able to lie to their citizens and their donors? Doable!

  • Mark Bevis

    Hi Eliot, more sh*tf*ckery indeed! Disaster capitalism at its best.
    Given though, the general apathy of the CFMs to climate change, and their individual fear/outrage at loss of privilege, have the CEC actually raised any funds?

    I see from the links what they intend to spend the money (not bunkers or anti-refugee minefield apparently)
    More grid hardening
    Local solar and battery installations
    Solar microgrids at priority community-serving facilities
    Bidirectional electric vehicle batteries
    Virtual power plants
    Demand response capabilities

    In other words, do everything to maintain their existing standard of living, and do nothing to actually make the community more resilient in the face of #collapse.

    Little do they know there will be no children after 2080 anywhere in the world, even without #collapse:
    The infertility death spiral: [link removed]

  • Michael Campi

    Hey Eliot,
    It’s Michael Campi and if you need them I’ve always got a few extra f**ks lying around. I stocked up during COVID.

      • Michael Campi

        They’re on the way.
        You can track your package HERE (or not)

  • 3

    WOW! So much for the 1.2 degC WORLD AVERAGE temp increase, with 1.5 as the goal to avoid, when so many regions, as you so brilliantly have illustrated, are way beyond those “goals” already. However, I wish that you would point your wonderful intellect and analytical mathematical mind at the really frightening global ice melt (1.2 trillion tons/yr.), without which we’d already be Venus 2.0. Europe experienced a 1.5 deg C temp increase in just the past 30 yrs. Sorry for the lack of ref’s., but I’m a retired physician (78) and going through prostate cancer tx., including hormonal castration and cast my net far and wide, if not deep, as you are. My contribution to this unfolding existential endgame is my free online e-book PDF, [title redacted], which focuses on our growing illness/death burden paralleling overpopulation and overconsumption. The geophysicists and climatologists tell us we have only 77-110 yrs. before ALL of the ice melts and the AC is turned off, although slick corporatist sycophants paint a hopium distraction to the contrary. Our progeny, unfortunate enough to be alive then, will simply burn-up and our once glorious planet will become Venus 2.0. Thanks, again, for your courageous and valuable efforts!

  • 1

    For years now, ever since we dumped 1750 as baseline, I have kept in mind that everyone plays with the numbers to suit whatever agenda they have at the moment. If the whole thing looks to be far fetched, then I go back and check the numbers. Eliot, everybody lies and it really hurts us that are too honest for our own good. I’ve tried to grow a thick skin, it can’t be done. So I try to take it in stride that everybody lies. 2 things never lie, Mother Nature and instrumental music. I recommend Jeff Oster and his magic trumpet.

  • Paul R Chace

    How much stock do you put in the work of Andrew glickson?

  • Tennessee Jed

    It’s hard to give a f&¢k these daze. Thanks Eliot for chasing down the numbers.


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