Environmentalists Have Lost the Climate Change Debate

Admitting that executive power is the only way to move (tepidly) forward on climate change policy is basically admitting defeat.

Bruce Haynie/National Weather ServiceBruce Haynie/National Weather ServiceThe bloodcurdling National Climate Assessment is here, and it portends catastrophe; floods, clouds and other assorted weather events are imminent! But, says the report, "there is still time to act to limit the amount of climate change and the extent of damaging impacts."

Have you noticed that we're always at the cusp of a cataclysm yet the deadline to act always moves to a politically convenient not-too-distant future? I guess that when the time to act runs out—it will at some point, right?—we can begin thinking about defunding all these panels and reinvesting in something more productive, such as figuring out how we can adapt to the future.

For now, though, the congressionally mandated report claims we're no longer merely dealing with impending disaster. The United States, it asserts, has already incurred billions of dollars in damages from severe weather-related disruptions because of climate change. The political hope is that some of this ugly weather will generate more urgency to do something. President Barack Obama will use the report to bolster his case for unilaterally enacting carbon dioxide regulations, neglecting, one imagines, to mention that though there is consensus regarding anthropogenic climate change, there isn't much agreement on whether severe weather has actually gotten worse over the past years or, if it has, that climate change is the cause.
Nevertheless.

"We're committed to moving forward with those rules," White House counselor John Podesta said in a bit of an anti-democratic rant the other day. "We're committed to maintaining the authority and the president's authority to ensure that the Clean Air Act is fully implemented." Don't worry, though. Podesta says this is "actionable science," so separation of powers and consent of the governed and other trifling concerns are no longer applicable.

But really, after all these years, admitting that executive power is the only way to move (tepidly) forward on climate change policy is basically admitting defeat. Has there ever been a movement that's spent as much time, energy, and treasure and gotten so little in return? I suspect there are three reasons for this failure: 1) It's difficult to fight basic economics. 2) On energy, Americans, despite what they say, have no desire to try (nor should they). 3) It's getting more difficult, not less, to believe environmental doom and gloom.

"There will always be people in this country who say that we've got to choose between clean air, clean water, and growing the economy, between doing right by the environment and putting people back to work," Obama said a couple of years ago. "I'm here to tell you that is a false choice." Well, actually, we already have cleaner air and water, and we (typically) have a growing economy. The thing is there is consensus among economists that regulations do have a cost. Sometimes the price tag is worth it. Oftentimes it's not.

We already have a test case for Obama's proposition in California, the state with the most aggressive renewables portfolio standard. A mandated 33 percent of its power must be renewable energy by 2020. According to the Energy Department, residential electricity prices have already spiked 30 percent between 2006 and 2012 (when adjusted for inflation), and studies show that the cost of electricity is likely to jump 47 percent over the next 16 years. Those are real-world costs that every Californian has to divert from health care or groceries or education or investments to pay for artificially inflated energy prices.

The truth is that even if Americans believed that scientists have seer-like abilities and the models are accurate, they would still be hesitant to embrace 19th-century technology, because they simply can't afford it. Though I suspect that most people instinctively understand that the environment has gotten better by almost every measure over the past 40 years, climate change activists ignore the massive benefits of carbon-emitting fuels and technology that helps us become more productive and increasingly efficient.
Now, you can try to guilt trip everyone into compliance. You can batter people with distressing hypothetical scenarios. You can "educate" them on the issue from kindergarten onward. You can mainstream an array of Luddite ideas. You can browbeat society so no one ever utters a word of skepticism. But we still want to drive our cars everywhere.

Yes, when asked, Americans perfunctorily tell pollsters that climate change matters to them. A recent Pew Research Center poll found that 40 percent of Americans believe that climate change is a major threat. A Gallup poll survey found that about a third of Americans personally worry about climate change. But when they're not asked specifically about global warming, voters never bring the topic up. Their most important concerns are the economy, jobs, and debt. There is always strong support for the abstract idea of environmental regulation and "clean energy," but when it comes to some concrete policy, it is nearly always unpopular. Few people want to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. Few people support new emissions regulations. And I doubt that another scaremongery study will change that reality.

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  • Hyperion||

    Coldest year so far, in the USA, in recorded history. Fuck this climate change. Where is the warming that they promised me? I'm a victim, I didn't get my warming that they promised me. I just need a victim check for a few million, and I'll feel a little better.

  • Almanian!||

    I was SO glad I finally bought a snow blower last spring (on sale closeout, natch).

    I thought sure we'd have 10 years of no snow after that. Hah! For once an advance purchase that TOTALLY paid off.

    Best $500 I spent in a long time - I forget how many feet of snow we got in my area of MI, but it was a RECORD. And it was damned cold, too.

    So, yeah - a check would help me recover from it faster...

  • Hyperion||

    I remember the post Y2K sale. I didn't cash in nearly as much as some of my friends, but I did get a nice home generator and a few other things at garage sale prices.

  • Almanian!||

    All I got was a rock....

    /Charlie Brown

  • some guy||

    The only good thing about shovelling snow is that it keeps you warm through the cold snap following the storm.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    I was SO glad I finally bought a snow blower last spring

    Wasn't there a study a few years back claiming our children wouldn't know what snow was?

  • nailzer||

    In 2000 snowfall was a thing of the past.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/e.....24017.html

    Now global warming causes more snowfall.

    If global warming doesn't happen change the story.

  • ||

    I'm told we had such a cold winter because global warming somehow caused the jet stream to park itself at a lower latitude.

    See you can blame BOTH heat waves AND cold snaps on global warming!

  • Redmanfms||

    Yeah that was one of the more amusing things that came out of watching Bill Nye on Maher a couple months ago. Right after getting done explaining why Ted Cruz was such a dumby-dumbkins for pointing out record cold and snowfall, Nye goes on to explain that the polar vortex is caused by *gasp* GLOBAL WARMINGZZZZ!!!11!1!!1!!1!

    Must be nice having a theory that encompasses events that would seemingly disprove its very existence supported by modeling that has not one single fucking time been predictive, even in the short term.

  • Moogle||

    String theory is much the same. You set the many dials, observe something different, and just twiddle the dials again. Rinse and repeat, declare we are two dimensional arrays of information and that the third dimension is an illusion.

    Mathematical Hijinks != Science.

  • Almanian!||

    David Harsanyi on the Climate Change Debate

    Jesus, titty-fucking CHRIST. "Debate". "Debate" WHAT?

    The. Science. Is. SETTLED!

  • some guy||

    It's become a debate about who is most enthusiastic about ruining the economy.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    The Global Climate Model clique feedback loop
    ...AND who has the time and indirect support etc, gets funded? Who reviews the grants?

    Why, the very people you would be competing with, who all have a number of vested interests in there being an emergency, because without an emergency the US government might fund two or even three distinct efforts to write a functioning climate model, but they’d never fund forty or fifty such efforts. It is in nobody’s best interests in this group to admit outsiders — all of those groups have grad students they need to place, jobs they need to have materialize for the ones that won’t continue in research, and themselves depend on not antagonizing their friends and colleagues....

  • wareagle||

    can we stop pretending that there is some debate over the science and just look at it for what it is - the largest freedom-grab of this generation. I don't much care if man IS the cause of whatever change is going on; the idea that govt Top Men can do something about it should scare the hell out of anyone who does not need four agencies and 17 bureaucrats dictating how many squares of toilet paper should be used to wipe his own ass.

  • ||

    The problem is so many people, even some commenters here, have been bombarded with false claims and propaganda. No matter how many times the AGW cult is proven wrong, they keep on repeating their tired old bullshit knowing people will eventually will buy into it.
    All this shit started with a solution, not a premise. It isn't science.

  • Marshall Gill||

    You leave Ken alone!

  • ||

    I'm kind of pleased that Obama has decided to make this his latest legacy boner. Because he's fucked every other thing up so badly that it's comical. I look forward to him damaging the climate change cult, because he inevitably will. These morons don't realize that having an extremely powerful but stupid and graceless megalomaniac on their side is not something they want.

  • Hyperion||

    Were they looking for an improvement over ManBearPig?

  • Carolynp||

    "These morons don't realize that having an extremely powerful but stupid and graceless megalomaniac on their side is not something they want." He said to the people who used an adult in footie pajamas to advertise healthcare...

  • buybuydandavis||

    Adult?

  • Moogle||

    Numerically speaking, for certain values of adult.

  • ||

    Well, he did promise that the oceans would recede at his coming.

  • fish_remote||

    Has there ever been a movement that's spent as much time, energy, and treasure and gotten so little in return?

    What the fuck did you expect....it's the Obama administration?

    I suspect there are three reasons for this failure:

    No there's one....it's the Obama administration.

    PS: NEEDZMOARCHRISTFAG

  • Hyperion||

    PS: NEEDZMOARCHRISTFAG

    The only working ButtPlug bait is 'Benghazi' or 'IRS'.

  • fish_remote||

    The only working ButtPlug bait is 'Benghazi' or 'IRS'.

    No shit? He's even stopped nibbling about how Obamacare is to healthcare as letting a retarded child take the controls a helicopter while in flight is to aviation?

    Whassamatter shreeky those Soros checks stop clearing?

  • some guy||

    Another sad thing about the politicization of climate change is the damage it has done to the actual science of understanding the climate. It will take decades for the field to recover from the damage done by the alarmists and the knee-jerk denialists. 50 years from now, students of that field will look back on this time and hang their heads in sorrow. Two generations of potentially good research down the drain.

  • ~Knarf Yenrab~||

    Reminiscent of economics or religion. There's been so much written, spent, and emotionally invested that passions are high all around and the ideological battle lines might as well be trenches. That's a terrible environment for serious investigation of any sort to take place, much less something that can't be easily investigated with the usual methods of science.

  • Carolynp||

    Introduce me to a scientist who scorns skepticism, and I'll be talking to a marketing guy who calls himself a scientist.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Winner!

    Government employee would have been an acceptable answer as well.

  • BigT||

    Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.

    Feynman

  • ||

    50 years from now, students of that field will look back on this time and hang their heads in sorrow. Two generations of potentially good research down the drain.

    I had the same thought this morning. My boys have had the AGW myth shoveled on them since kindergarten... AND THEY DON'T CARE!

    Even the ones that are paying attention will be paying attention in 20-30 yrs. from now.

    Science-wise, it couldn't be worse if they had sentenced all the dissenters to the Gulag.

  • Christophe||

    The political process poisons everything it touches. Environmentalists often can make little miracles happen when they can't get the government involved, and instead have to convince everyone else to play ball.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Government isn't Great
    Why Coercion Poisons Everything

  • ElevenOnly||

    +1 Hitchens

  • keyboard||

    I've held a similar view for some time, and it's so frustrating to have an actual discussion with anyone, especially in scientific fields, about it. Politics really do wreck everything.

  • ~Knarf Yenrab~||

    I don't remember before Clinton, but when did all this cult-of-the-president chatter about legacies begin? Might as well be opining about the legacies of the pharaohs for all the ass-kissing and preening this business entails.

    Guessing that this is a relatively old practice in the US and, like most old, bad practices, originated with Narcissus Roosevelt and has only grown worse since then.

  • Pathogen||

    Ted Roosevelt→ (Wilson, and a couple of other jerkoffs)→ Frank Roosevelt...nobody important....some old white dudes.. John Kennedy → Teddy KennedyBobby Kennedy.....Assholes... Billy Clinton→ Hillary Clinton ♥Chicago Jesus!♥.. Hillary Clinton!

  • Tommy_Grand||

    At a dinner party, a dude was pimping global warming. I asked him, on a scale of 1-10, how dire is the emergency, with 1 = no disaster likely in the next 50 years & 10 = so dangerous that the govt must order all scientist to work 24/7 on the solution without pay? i said I was conditionally ok with using bayonets to force meterological scientists to work day and night to solve this terrifying problem, but only if doing so is necessary to prevent a global human extinction. He said things were not yet that dire.

  • Thea||

    " -though there is consensus regarding anthropogenic climate change, "

    There is? Data reference? Please?

  • Brick iBama||

    Consensus just means that a majority of the mouth-breathing climate science idealogues are collectively clutching at the AGW/ACC turd despite overwhelming scientific evidence to support their claims. Geographers worldwide could form a consensus opinion tomorrow that the Earth is shaped like Palin's Buttplug.

  • Brick iBama||

    without. not despite. Shit.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    All Science Is Wrong, Concludes Esteemed Fox News Panel

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelli.....ience.html

    I thought you Peanuts might agree with Fox News "experts" again.

  • prolefeed||

    Unless that is an Onion link, why would anyone here click on that link?

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Not that you or nymag understand real science, but here's some:

    "It is misleading, and just plain incorrect, to claim that disasters associated with hurricanes,tornadoes, floods or droughts have increased on climate timescales either in the United States or globally. It is further incorrect to associate the increasing costs of disasters with the emission of greenhouse gases."

    http://www.epw.senate.gov/publ.....669df48b15

    And it's nymag that doesn't understand the claims of Krauthammer and Will. In the gross oversimplification of nymag, all science IS wrong. More importantly science is not a democracy (probably explains why it has worked so well for so long). The number of people who subscribe to a hypothesis or even a theory is irrelevant to its validity. A century ago the consensus view was that plate tectonics was a delusion. A century ago physics knew that there was an invisible ether affecting the propagation of light. The fact that nymag and you can't understand the implications of that reflects quite poorly on your reasoning skills. But that's not news.

  • ||

    Really? I think that aether was pretty much a dead issue in 1914.

  • Edwin||

    oh OK Mr. technical, it JUST became a century ago.

    Some of grew up in the 90's and are used to speaking as such. pfff.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    129 years ago not accounting for day, month and hour. Gee, those extra 29 years really made a difference in my point, didn't they?

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    Actually, something like the aether theory has made a comeback, as we have realized that a vacuum really ISN'T empty, but that space itself appears to be made up of an energy field/subatomic particle soup, from which matter seems to appear "out of nothing" and disappear "into nothing" on a continuous basis. "Empty space" is always roiling in a process of creation and destruction. This medium doesn't have the same properties as the aether we once sought, but light and other forms of EM energy do propagate through it, or so our scientists now allege.

    (continued in reply comment)

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    Scientific ideas have gone in and out of fashion for millennia. Democritus spoke of "atoms" in ancient Greece. He had no way of seeing these things, proving that they existed, or exploring their natures and properties. Subsequently, huge crowds of people believed that the earth and universe were made up of all kinds of things: earth, air, fire, and water were among the most popular. But one day, the atomic idea was taken up again, and we were able to prove its validity. Later, exploring the nature and properties of atoms, we discovered that they weren't the indivisible essences of matter that we and Democritus believed, but had parts of their own; even later, we realized that those parts had parts, and so on. Now, we are coming around to the belief that all of those "parts," all the way down, are merely nodes in interference patterns within the energy field that IS "empty space." Everytime we make sense of the world at a particular level, we seem to learn that there is yet another level to explore and understand: no "truth" in science is ever the absolutely last word!

    (continued in reply comment)

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    We are so close to the surface with climate science, that I think it will be a long while before we can use it, honestly and effectively, as the basis of public policy. Until then, I think that we are wise to treat climate science as the analog of the western medical "theory of humours" or the eastern medical "theory of chakras." They are interesting, even provocative ideas that might help lead us closer to truth one day, but which, in the meantime, may also be (have been) debunked and fall into disfavor, possibly for long intervals. Western medicine eschews both ideas, but itself was not much more powerful, accurate, or effective until the advent of microbiology and germ theory, or DNA and genetic therapy. Perhaps a revision of either or both of the "humour" or "chakra" theories will prove necessary to explain phenomena in mainstream medicine someday, just as therapeutic bleeding has made a serious comeback in modern medicine, after inadvertently killing thousands, including George Washington, in earlier centuries, when used in accordance with the "humour" theory of the era.

  • fish_remote||

    I thought you Peanuths might agree with Fox Newth "experths" again.

    Really shreeky at this point what difference does it make?

  • wadair||

    Have you read Thomas Kuhn?

  • ~Knarf Yenrab~||

    When will professional hard science reach a Kuhnian crisis? The political CAGWers are working hard to find additional fingers to plug the dam, but you can't ignore actual temperatures and failed models forever. Creepy how the political movement has taken on a life of its own even while the data crumbles.

  • prolefeed||

    The thing is there is consensus among economists that regulations do have a cost.

    Yep.

    Sometimes the price tag is worth it.

    Citation needed.

  • Edwin||

    the only way for the earth to be as stable as it is negative-feedback mechanisms. Which means that if CO2 increases, there must be a negative feedback effect.

    If the global-warming alarmists' positive feedback claims were valid, the earth would already be burning hot and would have been ever since it was around.

    Not to mention the whole CO2 accounts for only a fraction of global warming thing. For fuck's sake, there's more ARGON in the atmosphere, and that's a noble gas! A noble gas is completely unreactive, so it's unlikely to form ever, which is why it makes up such a small amount of the atmospher, and the CO2 on earth is even LESS than that amount!

  • LynchPin1477||

    Earth has so little CO2 in its atmosphere because it has been absorbed by plants and largely been locked away in rocks. The ocean also absorbs lots of CO2. To a certain degree, yes, it is self regulating. But plants and other CO2-using organisms need to be able to keep up with the rate of increase in CO2. And the oceans have a saturation point.

    The fact that CO2 is a trace gas is irrelevant, because it and other greenhouse gases have a high opacity to IR radiation, and even in trace amounts can cause significant warming. Without the trace amounts of greenhouse gases that we currently have, the Earth would be significantly colder on average, probably too cold to sustain life as we know it.

  • Edwin||

    //The fact that CO2 is a trace gas is irrelevant, because it and other greenhouse gases have a high opacity to IR radiation, and even in trace amounts can cause significant warming.

    Yeah, I've heard the theory. It just sounds stupid. It's like complaining about the one special colored prize jelly bean in a bag of other-colored jelly beans.

    Then again, from what I understand science does say that those trace elements can significantly affect how radiation passes through, like for example, you can tan through a window just because of trace amounts of lead that are in it (blocks the UV light)

  • ||

    Run an absorption spectrum on an IR spectrometer without ambient air purge. That trace amount of CO2 will be blastingly high.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    No, it'll be about 400ppm. Oh wait, did you mean the effect will be blastingly high?

    Isn't being a pedant fun?

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    Extremely small bits of poison can lead to effects that kill a large organism. It is quite possible for trace amounts of CO2 or other GHGs to have disproportionately large effects on the atmospheric/climate system as a whole. I can understand this. But my problem with it is that this implies that, relatively speaking, humanity was already born at a "tipping point," teetering on a tightrope. The apparent sensitivity of Earth's climate to increases or decreases in CO2 and other GHGs is so great that we as a species have little room to maneuver, without causing big changes that may or may not be in our favor. If we don't live in energy austerity and population stagnation under strict control of our wise rulers, terrible things will happen! For me, that's so close to the religious concept of "original sin," as to be repugnant. Our intelligence, imagination, and dexterity allow us to survive and thrive in a broad variety of environments, both benign and extremely hostile. We have as much of a right as any other species to secure our own existence. If we are constrained from doing so by the planet's sensitivity to the effects of our vital efforts, then we might as well just lay down and die right now. I'm not ready to do that.

    (continued in reply comment)

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    Even if we live like monks who have taken a vow of poverty, there is still no guarantee (and, indeed, a significant chance!) that Mother Nature will not allow us to survive. If we are going to lose, better to go down fighting as we always have -- shaping our environment when we can, but otherwise, adapting to thrive as we so often do. When our contribution to the coming catastrophe is literally a trace of a trace, and that is enough to tip us over the edge, I think the wiser course is not to live in a straitjacket, but figure out how to flourish without it.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    And the oceans have a saturation point.

    Ehhh, not really. The amount of CO2 in solution is a direct function of the pCO2 in the atmosphere above it. The ocean can absorb far more CO2 in the future than it already has. The whole "we're running out of sinks!!!!" cry has largely vanished. Thankfully. For the foreseeable future the same carbon sink mechanisms will continue to remove CO2 from the atmosphere in about the same ratio they always have.

    Of course the latest chicken little is screaming about ocean ACIDIFICATION!!!!! But this too shall pass.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Much of the argon in the atmosphere came/comes from radioactive decay. The precise amount isn't relevant. What is relevant is that a doubling of CO2 results in ~1.5C increase in global temps ASSUMING no negative feedbacks (and no positive feedbacks). Recent work would indicate that's a bad assumption and as you point out if the Earth were truly prone to positive feedbacks it was have gone of the rails hundreds of millions if not billions of years ago.

  • LynchPin1477||

    There is evidence that the Earth has gone through periods of temperature extremes, both warm and cold (e.g., the snowball Earth). It is possible to exist in a semi-stable equilibrium before reaching a runaway point that pushes you towards one or the other extreme, at which point you can settle in to a different semi-stable equilibrium with gradual change until moving again. The evidence is that it cycles (on long timescales), but that a few cycles have occurred. Apparently, clouds probably play a crucial role, though I don't think anyone claims to fully understand the processes at work.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    You can have metastable states. You can have local minima which the Earth hops between. The problem is that the catastrophists are claiming massive positive feedback from relatively small changes to a single GHG, CO2. We know in relatively recent Earth history (last 100million years) global CO2 concentrations were not 2x pre-industrial levels, but 50-100X. Clearly the climate did not run away to an uncontrolled greenhouse state.

    Arrenius' revised ECS is about 1.5C/doubling. IPCC's models, trained during a cyclic warming spell, assume massive positive feedback from water vapor. That would be all fine and good except that the OLWR and the utter lack of skill of the models means that they are wrong. It's now just a question of degree.

  • Edwin||

    /// It is possible to exist in a semi-stable equilibrium before reaching a runaway point that pushes you towards one or the other extreme, at which point you can settle in to a different semi-stable equilibrium with gradual change until moving again.

    ehhhhhh.... yeah, kinda. Maybe. It's sort of unlikely for stable systems though. And even granted what you're saying, it's still kinda the opposite from what the global warming people are saying, where there is just a positive feedback loop.
    Assuming there are different stability states, and fast change periods transitioning from one to other, that would mean that the exacerbating factors would first change faster than the mitigating factors, but then as the exarcbating variable is higher, the mitigating factor starts to accelerate because of that, and then does so faster than the exacerbating factor, at which point you reach equilibrium again. But that idea is kinda contrary to a positive feedback. The positive feedback is positive, but then suddenly not so at an even HIGHER level? The only factor I could think of that would allow for this weird cat and mouse wld be the cloud cover, which could change quickly as the earth warms and then help to block the sun's heat.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Actually, cloud cover is thought to be one of the most important (and most poorly understood) regulators of global climate. At least from what I understand.

  • Edwin||

    if global warming is such a problem, why not swtich to nuclear? And give it to China and India for that matter. Why don't we see a massive push to federally outlaw zoning laws and building restrictions so people are encouraged to live closer together?

    Or how about we flood all the area below sea level, like Africa's rift valley. It would make the world warmer, but also mediate temperatures, and increase precipitation

    You never see these more serious solutions advanced

  • ||

    Because Edwin, switching to nuclear won't force us to change our greedy capitalist ways.

    How are we supposed to defeat global capitalism, if global capitalism still has an energy supply?

  • Edwin||

    that the environmentalists think they can hamstring our electricity and not get themselves killed in huge riots is what's crazy

    We should let them in charge, just so they prove themselves the loon they are that much faster

  • ||

    I agree. As long as the environmentalists keep opposing nuclear power, they are doomed.

    Not only is it technically impossible to supply enough energy purely through "renewables", or to get people to give up all the energy-consuming appliances they have grown accustomed to, but it also exposes their real motives. if they really cared about climate change, they would be screaming for the instant construction of thousands of nuclear plants. But they are not. They are either scientifically illiterate fools, or they are lying about their agenda.

  • Edwin||

    Not only would it be impossible to provide energy through "renewables", huge batteries of solar and wind installations, if attempted, would wind up causing huge maintenance and administrative problems, and would end up not working. It's an endeavour that's literally humanly impossible

  • Cytotoxic||

    I am obliged to point out that nuclear is every bit as uneconomical as 'renewables'. And no, it's not the excessive regulation. France has more reasonable regulations and nuclear electricity costs just as much there. Nuclear has a ways to go. NatGas is already reducing CO2 emissions.

  • ||

    It's France, cyto, which means the nuclear energy is run by a government entity. That's why it's inefficient.

    If we internalized all risks for nuclear, coal, gas, and all the renewables, nuclear would win in a landslide.

    The reason coal and gas are cheaper is because they don't have to pay for the costs created by pollution, but nuclear has to pay for imaginary risks.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Nope. Nuclear is still grossly uneconomical. It NEVER works out.

    http://www.cato.org/publicatio.....y-business

    the Areva/Siemens nuclear power plant being built for TVO in Finland-the first nuclear power plant to be built in a relatively free energy market in decades-once scheduled to be operational within 54 months, is now two years behind schedule and 60% over budget. Nor have these construction delays had anything to do with regulatory obstruction or organized public opposition.

    Nuclear supporters often counter that construction costs would be a lot lower if regulators didn’t impose insanely demanding safety standards, byzantine and time-consuming permitting processes, or endless public hearings...the industry in the early 1990s asked for-and got-exactly the sort of safety regulations, permit review process, and public comment regime now in place.

    If we internalized all risks for nuclear, coal, gas, and all the renewables, nuclear would win in a landslide.

    WHAT? That is completely wrong. Coal and gas kick nuclear's ass.

  • LynchPin1477||

    That environmentalists continue to shun nuclear is pretty definitive proof that they aren't actually very concerned with the environment.

    Or how about we flood all the area below sea level, like Africa's rift valley.

    Property rights, for starters.

  • Edwin||

    The rift valley is largely empty waste space (desert)

    either way it would be a boon to arid northeast africa. Actually, it's funny, ehtiopia, for all its infamy as a place of famine, actually has a lot of water resources I read once, it's just they don't have the centralized economy to build the infrastructure from it (don't get me wrong, part of the problem is it is arid, it's just there are areas with large water reservoirs. Most other countries develop canals, pipelines, etc. from those resources)

  • ||

    Energy production and distribution is almost completely provided through government. When Parts of it are private they are largely legacy divisions that operate in the same overall environment as they always have. Nuclear is geared towards weaponry, coal,oil and gas are subsidized and regulated hand in hand. Its a mess.

    Get government and their cronies out of it.

  • Edwin||

    And while we're at it, just so everyone knows, petroleum, coal, and natgas are terragenic, not biogenic. They come from the earth itself. When you drill for oil in a lot of places, and finish the oil, it comes back up after a decade or so.

    The biogenic theory is initially reasonable when you hear about it and you're used to science and the somewhat weird way it works. But when you double-take on the thought you might realize it's kind of stupid.

    carbonaceous fuels come from the interaction of water and carbonate-containing rock deep in the earth's crust under heat and pressure. The process has been demonstrated.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    The isotopic breakdown of fossil fuels doesn't fit with the abiogenic hypothesis. They're mostly dead plants and a few dinosaurs.

  • Edwin||

    I was just reading the wikipedia article and it states that for various reasons the isotope situation that would normally exist for previously-living organisms doesn't exist with carbon fuels, because of the nature of both theories and the timescale claimed

  • Cytotoxic||

    I've heard that they are finding oil in rock layers that are just too old for biogenesis. I want to hear more research.

  • Illocust||

    Huh, you got a link to that? I'm sincerely curious.

  • Edwin||

    Kim du Toit posted it on his blog once, specifically the wells re-filling thing.

    Wikipedia link is here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenic_theory

    One of my things, though, is that this whole thing and the worry about reserves running out is EXACTLY the sort of stupid thing people would believe that people in the future would look at in hindsight and be all like "wow, people were stupid back then". OMG this is SO that kind of thing, isn't it? Admit it. If there's one thing you can count on, it isn't the science on any one issue at any one time, it's that people are stupid and will get huge issues wrong, like the malaria thing in the turn of the century or the earlier pregnancy thing disease thing (can't remember which disease it was)

    But either way honestly there isn't hugely much data to either theory. The molecules they keep calling "biomarkers" would be just as predictable with terragenic petroleum as it would be with degraded-organic- matter petroleum.

  • ||

    Personally, I think that opponents of the environmentalists policies would do better to acknowledge that some degree of anthropomorphic global warming is occurring, but debate whether the consequences would really be so dire or whether the costs of trying to stop it are worthwhile.

    The continual arguing about where AGW is real or not just allows the left to sieze total control of the discussion about what to do about it.

  • Edwin||

    who said we aren't?

    Did it ever occur to you that the question as to whether it's happening at all and the question of whether it will be so catastrophic are the same question? Because that's how science works. Neither is a "lesser" proposition; just because you propose that maybe it's happening but it won't be so bad, doesn't mean you're making less of a scientific proposal.

    What we keep trying to explain is that science is rigorous, and you better be damned sure about something if you want to back it up scientifically. There's an equal dearth of evidence for any version of global warming claims. Not that there's NO evidence, it's just FAR from what is usually considered "conclusive" in science. We hardly even understand how the climate works. Not to mention all the data and "models" are severely tainted by serious issues.

  • LynchPin1477||

    This. Other areas of debate are how much confidence we can really have in our ability to accurately model the climate many decades from now, and what alternatives there are to mitigating climate change that might be more firmly rooted in decentralization, deregulations, and/or property rights.

  • Tony||

    How about let's not bother with testing proposals with ideological fixations. Goal: preserve what we can of the environment the human species is best adapted to. Solution: whatever it takes. Free market fairy tales have, to date, yet to accomplish anything remotely useful, so let's not concern ourselves with them. How about?

  • Edwin||

    so just assume you're correct and go from there, regardless of the actual data? got it

  • Tony||

    All I'm asking is for people to consult the actual data. Don't listen to me, I'm a socialist troll.

  • ||

    I get actual data every day I go to work and am NOT killed in a global-warming induced flood.

    Do you honestly expect me to give up automobiles and air conditioners and thousands of dollars a year in income in order to avoid the theoretical possibility of a rainier than usual summer?

    Prove to me that the entire route of the Mississippi river will change course and that New York will be under water in 10 years. Cause OMG the heat waves will get slightly hotter just isn't cutting it for me.

  • Edwin||

    we did, and it's hardly CONCLUSIVE. The data that does exist has serious issues behind it (the urbanising environment around monitoring stations, the speciousness of using ONLY tree rings or ice samples as a way to VERY ACCURATELY determine previous CO2 levels, the refusal of the scientists to reveal their climate models (i.e. the computer code/programming), the claims of positive feedback when that would mean the earth would have gone haywire long ago, and the basic understanding that stable systems have NEGATIVE feedback mechanisms. The basic chaotic nature of the weather (look up the three-particle problem theorem) , there's probably more)

  • R C Dean||

    All I'm asking is for people to consult the actual data.

    We have. There hasn't been any warming in more than a decade.

  • Sevo||

    "There hasn't been any warming in more than a decade."

    Not THAT data! The voices Tony hears in his head; THAT data.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    OK, here's real data:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/342/6158/617

    We used high-resolution proxy records from sediment cores to extend these observations in the Pacific 10,000 years beyond the instrumental record. We show that water masses linked to North Pacific and Antarctic intermediate waters were warmer by 2.1 ± 0.4°C and 1.5 ± 0.4°C, respectively, during the middle Holocene Thermal Maximum than over the past century. Both water masses were ~0.9°C warmer during the Medieval Warm period than during the Little Ice Age and ~0.65° warmer than in recent decades.
  • Edwin||

    More data "from the past"? Even if this disproves AGW, I still don't trust it. How the hell can you measure any dimension accurately from shit from the past with any CERTAINTY? It's all stupid. Why can't scientists just admit they don't know that much. They did the same thing with ice core samples and tree rings. How the hell does anyone know for sure if that shit corresponds accureately with whatever they're measuring? Don't they think there are other factors at work in changing those things? You know for sure that with tree growth there sure as hell is. There very well could be for ice cores; the ice freezes and melts all the time, couldn't that effect the makeup of the air smushed within?

  • Cytotoxic||

    The cost-benefit analysis is clear: adapting to warming costs far less than futile efforts to stop it.

  • ||

    "Solution: Whatever it takes" is generally not a good approach to deciding what to do about ANYTHING.

  • LynchPin1477||

    whatever it takes

    If you honestly care about advancing your cause, you'd be well advised to shut up.

  • Cytotoxic||

    His desperation makes me happy.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Humans are a tropical species. Are you really sure you want an Earth optimized for us? Think before answering.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    You mean like Lucia?

  • Cytotoxic||

    Agreed. I think Muller demonstrated that Anthro CO2 is causing some warming. There is NO evidence of any positive feed-back loop fed by water vapor.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Muller didn't do shit but regurgitate the same GISS/NCDC/HadCRUT data sets. I'm still waiting for Nemesis too.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Pretty sure Muller tied those datasets in very well with the CO2 levels to demonstrate a causal relationship but I can be persuaded.

    ...Nemesis? Is this the evil Koch-funded climatology data project?

  • Eggs Benedict Cumberbund||

    Those data sets are severely tainted by homogenization "adjustments".

  • Carnival||

    List of scientific bodies that affirm human-caused global climate change.
    *Academy of Sciences Malaysia.
    *Academy of Science of South Africa.
    *American Association for the Advancement of Science.
    *American Astronomical Society.
    *American Chemical Society.
    *American Geophysical Union.
    *American Institute of Physics.
    *American Meteorological Society.
    *American Physical Society.
    *American Quaternary Association.
    *Australian Academy of Science.
    *Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society.
    *Brazilian Academy of Sciences.
    *Canadian Federation of Earth Sciences.
    *Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences.
    *Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society.
    *Caribbean Academy of Sciences.
    *Chinese Academy of Sciences.
    *European Academy of Sciences and Arts.
    *European Geosciences Union.
    *European Science Foundation.
    *French Academy of Sciences.
    *German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina.
    *Geological Society of America.
    *Geological Society of London-Stratigraphy Commission.
    *Indian National Science Academy.
    *Indonesian Academy of Sciences.
    *InterAcademy Council

  • Carnival||

    Cont.

    *International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences.
    *International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics.
    *International Union for Quaternary Research.
    *Mexican Academy of Sciences.
    *Network of African Science Academies.
    *Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences and the Arts.
    *Royal Irish Academy.
    *Royal Society of Canada.
    *Royal Society of New Zealand.
    *Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
    *Russian Academy of Sciences.
    *Science Council of Japan."

    List of scientific bodies that dispute human-caused global climate change.
    *None.

    Now, I understand that consensus doesn't make it true, but I'm better that most of the people in most of these organizations are a lot more educated and informed than your average Reason dweller, so I don't think I'm at fault for going with what they say over what you say.

  • Sevo||

    "Now, I understand that consensus doesn't make it true, but I'm better that most of the people in most of these organizations are a lot more educated and informed than your average Reason dweller, so I don't think I'm at fault for going with what they say over what you say."

    About 35 years ago, I thought exactly that about the 'population explosion'.

  • Eggs Benedict Cumberbund||

    That's cause Paul Ehrlich is one of the "wrongest" people that have ever lived. Almost every prediction he ever made has turned out to be crap.

  • Sevo||

    "That's cause Paul Ehrlich is one of the "wrongest" people that have ever lived."

    Mann may yet end up giving him competition.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    " It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong."

    -Richard P. Feynman

    http://www.nature.com/nclimate.....ATE-201309

    Ridley sums it up best though.

    Understand that point and you understand real science. Or you can continue to post RealScience talking points...

  • Jordan||

    And yet, not one of those orgs anticipated the current pause in warming, or has managed to explain it. Furthermore, the IPCC has had to revise its estimates downward. So every one of those orgs was wrong.

  • I. B. McGinty||

    "Now, I understand that consensus doesn't make it true, but I'm better that most of the people in most of these organizations are a lot more educated and informed than your average Reason dweller, so I don't think I'm at fault for going with what they say over what you say."

    Me: B.S in Atmospheric Science, 14 years experience in the field.

    You should try coming to your own conclusions based on your own data analysis. I did.

  • Kevin47||

    Consensus doesn't make it true, but your appeal to authority does? Did you think snow would be a thing of the past when you started in the field? If you didn't, did you go on the record calling BS, what with your B.S.? What did you predict would happen?

  • Kevin47||

    And I totally misread your comment as quoting yourself, and now understand you were responding to consensus guy.

    Welp, mea culpa.

  • I. B. McGinty||

    No sweat. My phone can't do italics so my quoting is limited to quotation marks.

  • wadair||

    I've already asked PB this, but I'll put it to you as well: have you read Thomas Kuhn's classic book "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions"?

    If you had, you would understand that EVERY scientist and technologist KNOWS a scientific paradigm is true until it is (and they almost always are) overturned by a new theory.

    As an engineer I am very familiar with both the usefulness and the limitations of scientific theory when it runs headlong into the real world. Newton's laws of motion are some of the most important and useful theories but we still employ a safety factor. I have a lot of respect for science as an industry, but experience and common sense are important, too. AGW doesn't pass the smell test.

  • R C Dean||

    List of scientific bodies that benefit financially and otherwise by claiming to affirm human-caused global climate change.

  • LynchPin1477||

    I've never found this line of reasoning convincing, for several reasons, not least of which is that there is a multi-billion dollar a year global industry with a vested interest in continuing to extract and burn fossil fuels, that could easily support dissenting studies and build up an equally long list of agencies that refute AGW. Maybe they've done so, but if that is the case, they should probably set aside a little bit extra for advertising.

  • Sevo||

    I don't see it as a strong argument, but not because of a lack of opposing PR efforts.
    The same is true of the ethanol debacle; the people who profit are a specific group who can easily organize, while those who pay are wide-spread and the individual cost is not high enough to make them organize.

  • Edwin||

    yeah but the AGW people use that all the time, and it's nice to throw it back in their face.

    Frankly I think the colleges have more of a vested interest, financially. The oil companies spend most of their time and money, you know, extracting oil, and they're already the "bad guys" and sure as hell aren't going to get free government money, and even if they did, it wouldn't be much to them (because of the size of the industry).

    College people on the other hand directly get huge juicy grants (read: giant piles of money they can use for WHATEVER THEY WANT with little oversight, and merely a cursory promise that it be used for scientific ends), which is a lot of money to a professor, and they have all the time in the world to make claims here and there and attend "conferences" to make their claims, hence why they can even keep advertising the whole AGW thing

  • LynchPin1477||

    giant piles of money they can use for WHATEVER THEY WANT with little oversight, and merely a cursory promise that it be used for scientific ends

    I've filled out expense reports and this is just plain wrong.

  • OneOut||

    "I've filled out expense reports and this is just plain wrong."

    That's only because if you are having to fill out expense reports you are not high enough up the food chain to use it for whatever you want.

    CEO level people, who determine "what they want" don't fill out expense reports like what you are taking about. You're reporting to him as to what you did toward his goal with the amount of money he allocated to you.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Do you believe in the Military Industrial Complex?

    " Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

    In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

    Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

    The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present

    and is gravely to be regarded.

    Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientifictechnological elite. " -Dwight Eisenhower

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    cont.

    The fact is that funding for most of this research comes from the government and only in the current levels because of the "crisis." The fossil fuel industry loses either way. Either they spend money to just keep doing what they're doing, or they get crimped by the government prodded by econuts. It's a lose-lose. And any money they do spend immediately gets cast as buying lies, so it's really lose-lose-lose.

  • Sevo||

    Pretty sure it was earlier this week; a link to the newest catastrophists' paper.
    According to that, the "worst case scenario" has the cost of the rising sea level at $235Bn over the next 75 years, $180 of that for Florida.
    OK, the "worst case" has yet to be shown anywhere; not even the mid-level predictions have come about.
    And nowhere was there any comment regarding the costs of the proposed catastrophists' solutions.
    If that is the result of the efforts of all those scientific organizations, someone should be ashamed. That's not "science"; that's propaganda.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Procedures were not followed:

    http://www.epw.senate.gov/publ.....19921798ef

  • Sevo||

    I like to think that most people working in the field are not actively malicious, but that's blatant enough to make me wonder if it was intentional.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Hey Sevo, did you notice the massive butthurt Tesla got this week? FCF negative for the rest of the year, baby!

    I haz a happy.

  • Sevo||

    Caught it; actually posted a link when the loss was announced very late in the day.
    What I don't know yet is whether they are still scamming the taxpayers for that 'quick refuel' credit.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    They're scamming you, but the window is closing. CA gave them extra ZEV's for the rapid recharge. We (at least I) don't know exactly how many. We need to fix our states, dude.

  • LynchPin1477||

    $235Bn over the next 75 years, $180 of that for Florida

    $235 billion?? Over 75 years? Are you sure it wasn't trillion or someting? Because we spent more than that in one year on the "stimulus". If that is honestly the worst case scenario, it isn't very frightening.

  • Sevo||

    "$235 billion?? Over 75 years? Are you sure it wasn't trillion or someting?"

    That was the number. I did a double-take, too and for comparison, linked the amount currently unfunded for S/S.
    That 'horrible, worst-case scenario!' is a rounding error.

  • Sevo||

    LP,
    Shame on me.
    I usually link on any numbers and it the case of the $235Bn and the S/S liabilities, I got lazy and didn't link. Now I can't find the specific article quoting the paper.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    For reference, here is High Priest of Carbontology Gavin Schmidt at his best shilling for his cult:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrJJxn-gCdo

    Pretty videos and Powerpoint (KeyNote probably) stack? Check.
    Giggling about all the outdated Fortran without mentioning why they use it? Check.
    Mysterious (wow they must be smart!) computer code and equations? Check.

    All the bells and whistles, plus a captive trendy crowd, no numbers, and no predictions past the pretty graphics (red = BAD!). The most important thing in Schmidt's selling style is he believes in it completely - like any other scientist wedded to his propositions. String theory guys get pretty nasty with each other having sacred cows challenged, but there are no politicians picking preferred String Narratives.

    Folks like Gavin Schmidt do not see that difference, but find validation in it instead. Creepy culty-shit with a validating feedback loop all it's own on display here. Enjoy.

  • ||

    For reference, here is High Priest of Carbontology Gavin Schmidt at his best shilling for his cult:

    The video doesn't load for me, I assume it's his Ted Talk.

    Giggling about all the outdated Fortran without mentioning why they use it? Check.

    There are several reasons for this and they belie the greater issues with (climate science) research; First, tenure and pedagogy, the lab's PI did something in Fortran and wrote a paper on it, everything subsequent builds off of that. Second, tenure and economics, models could be written more productively, efficiently, and accurately in more 'modern' languages and if there were competition, they'd win, but science is suddenly about consensus rather than competition. Lastly, tenure and cult, you can't be brainwashed into the cult without a torturous arcane indoctrination process.

    Folks like Gavin Schmidt do not see that difference, but find validation in it instead.

    As you point out, this method of brainwashing is common in large swaths of the collegiate education system. Your PI is your parent, your mentor, your guide. You profess and apostate in front of him/her. You do the work he/she requires. You do it for little pay. Most importantly, you do it for his/her permission to write an article to gain their respect. Gain enough respect, and believe hard enough, and in 4-6 yrs. you can be one of the devout too.

  • Mmsndobson||

    Groupthink of Environmental Scientists, I believe, is preventing a more alarming question? Why do so many educated people not trust our science and research? If the public believed the science then there wouldn't be this debate. Calling the public stupid and ill informed is a cop out. The whole point of the scientific process is to propose a question and convince the reader to believe the findings through a solid experimental set up? Some how that integrity has been lost in the eyes of many.

  • Eric Bana||

    There is always strong support for the abstract idea of environmental regulation and "clean energy," but when it comes to some concrete policy, it is nearly always unpopular.

    I'd say that's about the best we could hope for, everybody. Enjoy it.

  • enviro414||

    Discovering that CO2 change and therefore human activity does not cause global warming is a first step.

    But this leaves the question of what actually does drive average global temperature change.

    Two primary drivers of average global temperature have been identified. They very accurately explain the reported up and down measurements since before 1900 with R20.9 (correlation coefficient = 0.95) and provide credible estimates back to the low temperatures of the Little Ice Age (1610).

    The drivers are given at

    http://agwunveiled.blogspot.com/

    Once the climate drivers are discovered it is obvious why the warming ended.

    Carbon dioxide is an odorless, transparent gas that is absolutely mandatory for all life on earth and change to its level has no significant effect on climate. Calling it pollution is scientific incompetence. Calling it carbon makes it sound more ominous and distracts from attending to real atmospheric pollutants such as particulates, mercury, NOX and sulfur (as the Chinese are discovering).

  • Sevo||

    Strange dynamic here.
    This subject was addressed under 24/7 several days ago, and there were few objectors to Jackand Ace's continuing bullshit, most of which s/he ignored.
    Why is it that most of you find it very difficult to click on that headline? A regular commenter posted a question regarding why the subject was under 24/7 and promptly disappeared, as if posting there were unclean!
    What am I missing? Is 24/7 the mark of the beast? Is it somehow not available to the browsers the cool kids use? Do you lose vid game points/star-trek reference points/TV show reference points/fantasy sports team points if you post there?
    What goes on?

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