Sickness or Salvation at the CRU?

Last week, the Independent Climate Change Email Review panel headed by Sir Muir Russell released its report on the Climategate affair at the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU). Reason's Ronald Bailey summarized the findings as follows: "All right, people. Move along. Nothing to see here."

Since its release, many critics have begun attacking the credibility of the committee charged with investigating the scandal. But was the report itself a whitewash or are global warming skeptics trying to push an agenda?

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Cato Institute scholar Patrick Michaels questions the commission's independence:

Mr. Russell took pains to present his committee, which consisted of four other academics, as independent. He told the Times of London that "Given the nature of the allegations it is right that someone who has no links to either the university or the climate science community looks at the evidence and makes recommendations based on what they find."

No links? One of the panel's four members, Prof. Geoffrey Boulton, was on the faculty of East Anglia's School of Environmental Sciences for 18 years. At the beginning of his tenure, the Climatic Research Unit (CRU)—the source of the Climategate emails—was established in Mr. Boulton's school at East Anglia. Last December, Mr. Boulton signed a petition declaring that the scientists who established the global climate records at East Anglia "adhere to the highest levels of professional integrity."

Likewise, at least one British Member of Parliament (MP) feels that parliamentarians were misled about the university's ability to investigate itself. According to The Register:

Parliament was misled and needs to re-examine the Climategate affair thoroughly after the failure of the Russell report, a leading backbench MP told us today.

"It's not a whitewash, but it is inadequate," is Labour MP Graham Stringer's summary of the Russell inquiry report. Stringer is the only member of the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology with scientific qualifications—he holds a PhD in Chemistry.

Not only did Russell fail to deal with the issues of malpractice raised in the emails, Stringer told us, but he confirmed the feeling that MPs had been misled by the University of East Anglia when conducting their own inquiry. Parliament only had time for a brief examination of the CRU files before the election, but made recommendations. This is a serious charge.…

For Stringer, policy needs to be justified by the evidence.

"Vast amounts of money are going to be spent on climate change policy, it's billions and eventually could be trillions. Knowing what is accurate and what is inaccurate is important."

And this is precisely the point. During the 2008 presidential election, Sarah Palin was quoted as saying that regardless of "the reason for climate change," she felt it was necessary to "do something about it." This statement makes no sense. If greenhouse gases are not contributing to climate change, then there's no reason to curb emissions. We need to be very clear about the science if the solution is going to make any sense at all.

The problem is that most of the ideas on how to fix man-made global warming are antithetical to liberty. Governments hand-pick and subsidize green technologies that would otherwise not be profitable, while at the same time making the abundant sources of energy we currently use more expensive. Furthermore, most people do not want to change the way they live and governments around the world have engaged in massive social engineering campaigns to try and force them to change.

The solution to global warming may very well be worse than the problem itself and, considering the stakes, the public needs to feel confident that climate scientists are acting in an open, transparent, and accountable manner. In this regard, the Russell report leaves much to be desired.

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  • Lowdog||

    But the science is settled!!!

    :)

  • Al Gore||

    Too bad my johnson isn't.

  • ||

    They can whitewash, or whatever, all they want. Their credibility has taken a lethal blow, and no one that isn't a total hack will risk taking them seriously ever again, because even if they do take them seriously, someone else won't take you seriously for taking them seriously.

    It's actually quite beautiful, how lying got them poisoned for life.

  • No Guns Please||

    And yet Obama is trying to pass cap and trade. Are you calling Obama a hack?

  • Neu Mejican||

    [sarcasm] and being declared a hack by Episiarch is such a blow to the average human that they will be forced to live out their life in isolation lamenting their fate [/sarcasm]

    A more severe case of confirmation bias I have never seen.

  • ||

    Getting under your skin like this is just too delicious. You probably wanted the Netherlands to win too.

  • Neu Mejican||

    That's right epi...keep telling yourself people care what you think. If you repeat it enough times you might stop that nagging sense that they don't.

  • ||

    It's so good. I don't think you understand how good it is.

  • dave c||

    Neu, who cares what you think?

  • Neu Mejican||

    dave c,
    Hard to tell...but I do find it amusing to see how much episiarch invests himself in the idea that he's getting under anyone's skin with his resent attempts to pronounce various topics decided and beyond discussion.

    I mean, hey, I like content free wit as much as anyone else...but epi's been off his game of late and it is amusing to see how much he's invested in convincing himself that he's still got it.

  • Neu Mejican||

    resent = recent...funny typo...or Freudian...damned...maybe he IS getting to me. Scary.

  • ||

    I wanted Dutch preeminence, you, you BASTARD!

  • ||

    And I wanted Spain to win. And look: they did.

    Iniesta was totally off sides, though, if not on that play then the one before.

  • ||

    Of course, it bothers me that we have to have proxy teams in the final. Fucking no-defense (other than goal) Americans!

  • BakedPenguin||

    Fucking no-defense (other than goal) Americans!

    I thought it was our attacking that was sad - they can't seem to finish chances. Still, they have advanced by an order of magnitude from the team I watched in 1994, who only advanced when Columbia played like utter shit, scoring one goal - in their own net. We've proven we're in the top tier.

    Don't forget, we beat World Cup champions Spain a couple months ago.

  • dfd||

    I wasn't routing for Spain but he was not offsides, whether or not he was in an offside position before the first attempt or not. Not even close. Under no scenario covered in the Laws of the Game and FIFA's published interpretations of those laws would that have warranted an offside call.

    It should be obvious it wasn't even close to an offsides because no commentator, nor even the Dutch team in their bashing of the referee, is arguing that point. In a match of such magnitude if it was even remotely questionable there would be a firestorm of protest. Even more so given the number of bad calls and the attention they have gotten all tournament. Do you think everyone that knows soccer suddenly just fell asleep on this one?

  • Neu Mejican||

    Yeah, not offsides. Epi's high.

    Funny thing to brag about picking Spain to win...weren't odds about 3 or 4 to one in their favor going in?

  • ||

    Actually, he wasn't. I thought he was too (on the initial pass that was cut out), but he was perfectly level. My DVR angers me that it was so, but alas...

  • ||

    The baseless assumptions you've made are quite beautiful too.

  • ||

    How's your climate religion working out for you, buddy? Did it hurt you when the mean men lied to you? You want to get a Happy Meal? Maybe an ice cream?

  • ||

    Climate religion? It's funny that you guys don't know the difference between skepticism and contrarianism.

  • Sleepy man||

    Yawn . . . scratches nuts.

    Well what ya know the world isn't going to end tomorrow. Fucking religious kooks are all alike.

  • ||

    Sorry, strike one. Guess again.

  • Sleepy man||

    Shouldn't you be giving a lecture to teens on abstinence only education or something, religio-man?

  • ||

    Sleepy man, you don't know what my opinions are, so I suggest you stop making yourself look like a fool.

  • Sleepy man||

    Yeah, that classicist duality evident in every other post of yours isn't a dead give away, Aquinas.

  • ||

    Rejecting global warming because you think it creates a problem for libertarianism is much closer to a reasonless religious fundamentalism, then actual skepticism. A libertarian should be immediately skeptical of any environmental political policy, but one needs an actual reason to oppose the scientific consensus. The fact is that global warming science is not the same thing as global warming policy. It really saddens me that fellow libertarians have conflated the two arbitrarily.

  • Sleepy Man||

    It isn't the sixth century, heller where you declare something scientific by edict of the strongest contemperaneous political forces

  • ||

    You continue to miss the point, sleepy man. It is perfectly fine to reject the scientific consensus if you have a legitimate reason for doing so. Since opposing environmental policy has nothing to do with the merits of climate science, you're position is baseless and arbitrary from the start.

  • ||

    Your position is arbitrary for the same Creationism is arbitrary. Instead of arguing on scientific merits, you are rejecting global warming because of a preconceived idea.

  • Sleepy Man||

    I'll put it in a manner more to the understanding your time and people -- missionaries have chopped down your Great Oak. You Druids need to find something else to worship.

  • ||

    I'm not an environmentalist, you ignorant twat.

  • ||

    I couldn't care less about the environment or ecosystem. What I do care about is property being damaged without payment to the owner.

  • Still A Sleepy Man||

    I bet you care. That is why you advocate a tithe to Leviathan where the sacrifice is somehow transformed into 'compensation to property owners' like wine is transmuted into the blood of Christ. It is all magical thinking, except you don't get to eat your deity, your deity eats you.

    The battle for souls is lost for your side so there is no need to write your eschatology in a quasi-libertarian language to gain converts to your cult. It isn't going to happen.

  • ||

    "I bet you care. That is why you advocate a tithe to Leviathan where the sacrifice is somehow transformed into 'compensation to property owners' like wine is transmuted into the blood of Christ."

    Whatever. There is no reason to continue this with someone who would rather argue with an imaginary opponent instead of responding to my actual points.

  • Still A Sleepy Man||

    What amuses me the most is your insistence that I define your viewpoint in terms that obfuscate the irrationality of your position. Not doing so make me, 'ignorant'; as if gnosis is in your favor or due! Lol! Yet, so weak and futile is that a retort, I'm merely amused, and not 'saddened' as you put it in your lame rhetorical flourish below.

  • ||

    "What amuses me the most is your insistence that I define your viewpoint in terms that obfuscate the irrationality of your position."

    Except that you haven't come close to defining my actual position in any terms. I could just parrot back what you've been saying to me and it would make just as much sense as a description of your own position. We both know which argument has actual substance and which one is a joke.

  • Jesse Kline||

    Rejecting global warming because you think it creates a problem for libertarianism is much closer to a reasonless religious fundamentalism, then actual skepticism.

    You are quite correct that policy is different from science. If you think the science is settled, however, then you really have been drinking the Kool Aid.

  • Neu Mejican||

    It is vapid phrases like "the science is settled" that make this topic difficult to discuss.

    There isn't a single question with a single answer. The scientific debate is about a cloud of narrow questions that, when put together, point to a larger understanding of the issue. Some of them have been answered with certainty, some are fairly settled, some aren't.

    When you point to the debate about those unsettled questions as evidence that the larger understanding is on shaking ground you reveal a tendency to enjoy a different brand of Kool Aid, but you don't, certainly, score points in a serious discussion.

  • ||

    I never said the science is settled.

  • Al Gore||

    My religion has science behind it.

  • ||

    Not to be off topic but..

    Jesse Jackson doing the only thing Jesse Jackson knows how to do...

    "Jesse Jackson criticized Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert on Sunday, saying Gilbert sees LeBron James as a 'runaway slave'"

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=5372266

  • ||

    Wow, I didn't think anyone was going to be able to top Gilbert's overreaction to LeBron's departure, but Jesse Jackson shows the outrage bar can never be set too high as long as he's around.

  • AA||

    Here is the best reaction to that:

    http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/s.....son-071210

  • johnl||

    In defense of Sarah Palin. You can doubt that CO2 is an important greenhouse gas but still think we should "do something" about revisiting flood maps, mitigating erosion.

  • ||

    Don't forget to buy those pacific islanders a plane ticket to Sydney.

  • ||

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  • Tman||

    Or you could include the whole quote which Jesse linked to-

    "I believe that man's activities certainly can be contributing to the issue of global warming, climate change. Here in Alaska, the only arctic state in our Union, of course, we see the effects of climate change more so than any other area with ice pack melting. Regardless though of the reason for climate change, whether it's entirely, wholly caused by man's activities or is part of the cyclical nature of our planet -- the warming and the cooling trends -- regardless of that, John McCain and I agree that we gotta do something about it and we have to make sure that we're doing all we can to cut down on pollution."

    But that would go against the media meme that she's a stupid snowbilly who eats too much moose.

    And clearly we cannot have THAT meme destroyed. Think of all the poor liberal columnists who will be out of work if they can't get paid to sling outrageous ad hominems and hyperbolic nonsense about the moose lady?

  • ||

    WTF are you talking about? Jesse didn't quote her out of context at all. She clearly is implying that CO2 = pollution.

  • Tman||

    She said -and I quote- "we have to make sure that we're doing all we can to cut down on pollution." I'm not sure how this means that she's implying that CO2= pollution.

    But maybe you're a psychic, and I'm just not as in touch with her as you are.

  • ||

    So you're saying at the end of her GW commentary she tossed in a general, non-GW related, call-out regarding pollution? How does that make any sense?

  • Tman||

    No, what I'm saying is she DID NOT say that CO2=global warming and therefore we should "do something about it". Again, she said "we have to make sure that we're doing all we can to cut down on pollution.", which is perfectly sensible.

  • Jerry||

    And even assuming just the context that Jesse provided, there’s nothing nonsensical about “regardless of the origin of the issue, we’re going to have to deal with it”. (Which I think was johnl’s point.)

  • ||

    The solution to global warming may very well be worse than the problem itself....

    Corexit?

  • ||

    "The problem is that most of the ideas on how to fix man-made global warming are antithetical to liberty."

    What is worse, the ideas boil down to "don't DO that!" with no reasonable guarantee that the prescription, if followed, will be effective in any significant way (if at all!).

    From where I sit, climate science appears to be in much the same position as medicine was back in the 1700s. Practitioners know a little, they might be able to detect and diagnose sickness well before most laymen would, but they still don't have the level of understanding necessary to pursue serious intervention with any success. Physicians of that era killed George Washington by overzealous application of leeches. Those who presume to cure sick Gaia's human-induced fever now recommend much the same treatment for our civilization as Washington got. They may be well-intended, but I think they are very misguided, and thus, very dangerous.

  • Neu Mejican||

    JAM,

    The problem I have with your post is that most of the technology needed is currently available and most of the things we should do are economically sound as well (increased energy efficiency makes good business/economic sense in most cases).

    The problem isn't one of the information not being available...it is a problem of people not being informed when they make the less energy efficient (hence greener) choice.

  • ||

    Energy Efficiency is not equal to Substantially Reduced Carbon Footprint. The efficiency movement does not even remotely approach the carbon removal goals sought by the GW bandwagon.

    I would submit that Energy Efficiency isn't even worth mentioning relative to GW carbon reduction goals, so I'm not clear at all why you bring it up.

  • Neu Mejican||

    MP...I don't know 40% to 60% reductions with current tech ain't nothing to sneeze at.

  • ||

    Neu Mejican,

    The problem I have with your post is that you're completely full of shit. Even the most optimistic projections of green energy technologies show that they won't be ready to support more than a tiny fraction of national (never mind global) energy requirements for decades, and if they were truly more economically sound they wouldn't require federal and state subsidies to the tune of tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars annually.

    The problem isn't one of people not being informed. Rather, it's that imbecilic Gaia-worshippers continue to lie their asses off.

  • Neu Mejican||

    BC,
    Check out Walmart's recent take on this issue. They are looking at reducing energy use by something like 30% in the next three years by implementing current tech with plans to improve that over the next decade.

    Plenty of other businesses doing similar or even more aggressive cost cutting via greener choices. Like I said, it ain't like we don't know how to do it...we just need to get the word out to the people that make the decisions on the ground.

  • ||

    Neu Mejican-

    The problem I have with the problem you have with my post is that you seem to be coming from a position of, "its not only OK but desirable to force people to behave in ways they would rather not, on the basis of prescriptions made by science, even though the likelihood of success of such prescriptions is very uncertain." I have NO problem with people VOLUNTARILY doing what they feel might be the right thing for the environment. But I have a BIG problem with passing a law to force everyone to do the same thing when nobody really knows whether that will be effective or not. Such an approach is like slaughtering a goat to appease the Gods. If science cannot say with some credible, clearly justified certainty, that the recommended actions will be effective, then we are unwise to force everyone to follow those recommendations by law. It's the difference between cutting fat in your diet because you heard news of a definitive study recommending that you should do so, and finding only low-fat foods in every supermarket you visit because some twit in your State capitol decided that banning higher-fat foods would lower the costs of health care to the State and be in "everybody's best interests."

    The fact of the matter is that, since the anti-GW movement began in earnest, we have learned many things that suggest the underlying models are incomplete and perhaps way off in their predictions of 1) the degree of warming we should expect; 2) the timeframe during which warming will occur; and 3) the climate changes we should expect from even the worst warming, should it occur. And THAT's even if we take at face value the basic proposition that more human-generated CO2 = more warming. I think we have a lot more to learn about the truth-value of that statement in the coming years, too.

    As someone said up-thread, "the world isn't going to end tomorrow." And if there is no urgency of imminent, runaway doom, then we can take the time to get the science right, to the point that we CAN predict the future with some accuracy and we CAN act in ways that will have the desired (beneficial) effect. In other words, to arrive at the equivalent of 20th century medicine, at very least, so that if we ultimately choose to use leeches (as modern doctors still do), we'll know what they are good for and why their use is indicated. We're not there yet.

  • Tony||

    Assume the certainties are there. (They're likely far more there than you'll admit to.) Then would you favor collective action?

  • ||

    No. I don't think "they're likely far more there."

    BUT, if we knew FOR CERTAIN (I am talking about at least the certainty that rocket scientists have when they aim a probe at one of our sister planets, or even the certainty that demolition experts have when they rig a large building to implode) that everyone doing X would cause some desirable climate change Y, nullifying deadly, undesirable climate change Z, which would occur with the same certainty if we made no changes in our behavior, then I think you would have the same case to make for intervention that is now made for vaccinating or quarantining the population against the spread of infectious disease. So, if you have one, MAKE THAT CASE and let's see what happens. What's happening now, unfortunately, is that politicians are assuming the case has already been made before sufficient evidence (of the efficacy of proposed action, for instance) is even available, much less has been properly vetted and studied.

    See, Tony, even if you can tell that someone has a fever, putting leeches on them when what they really need is a course of antibiotics is at best an ineffective treatment, and at worst causes iatrogenic mortality. We can argue about how close we are to a certain diagnosis of the problem, but we don't know enough to formulate an intervention plan that beats 18th century leeches or even civil war era amputations. For all its apparent sophistication, our modern climate science is barbaric, in comparison with other, more mature and reliable scientific disciplines. We are foolish to base societal policy on its prescriptions, although I applaud any individual who does his or her best to keep up with the subject and voluntarily act in accordance with our best findings so far.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Tony can foretell the future with 100% certainty, James. How dare you doubt him!

  • Neu Mejican||

    JAM...

    There's a couple of things about your post that need a response.

    1) My post essentially advocates spreading the word about better ways to do things in order to address the fact that people seem to think this is an issue that needs some fancy sci-fi breakthrough when, in fact, all it needs is for people to apply well known principles and technologies. Not sure how that is the same as forcing people to do anything.

    2) I think the current tax system includes incentives for people to make the worse energy choices. A restructuring of the system to wiser choices may seem like forcing people to do things from your perspective, but if it does not increase the degree of forcing but simply redirects that force to wiser choices it might seem worth considering.

  • ||

    If I misunderstood you, NM, it is perhaps because my position does not preclude either education or voluntary action. If the relevant technologies and approaches exist to combat anthropogenic global warming, then people are free to use or not use them as they individually decide. If this is all you advocate, as well, then it is hard to imagine why you have the "problem" with my posting, to which you alluded. Is this a case of us being in "vehement agreement," I wonder?

  • Neu Mejican||

    The disagreement, in my mind, was about the idea that you expressed quite strongly in a couple of posts that we don't know how to address the issue. But, it seems, there is a pretty solid understanding (scientifically) of what needs to be done. The political arena is still trying to find methods for moving society in the direction that the science says (with a fair amount of certainty) that it needs to go. That seems to be where we disagree.

    Finding ways to encourage others to use energy as responsibly as you report you and your family do is the first challenge. Convincing those like you that are already responsible that there are easy techniques to take your usage down another significant notch is the next.

    Like I've said frequently, I think the current best proposal for encouraging that behavior is to restructure the tax system and (with heller) make polluters pay the cost of their pollution through a carbon tax.

  • ||

    Yes, then, we do disagree. I do indeed believe that science doesn't yet know what to do about human-induced global warming, and I believe they have overestimated the human contribution to changes that they say are indicated by the data. Because of this, I do not believe that it is wise to use the force of government to, as you say, "moving society" in any particular "direction." You do, indeed seem to come from the place where it is OK to use such force, although you believe the reason is because "the science" is right. Are you a climate scientist, or a scientist of any kind, or even an engineer? Because unless you have been trained in a scientific or engineering discipline, and can explain what you believe to be settled and correct by direct argument, and not by appeal to "the experts," then I, as someone who WAS trained in science and engineering, and who have problems with the story we are being told, am not inclined to sacrifice my freedoms, or the freedoms of my neighbors, on your recommendation that we "trust" the authorities (whether they be scientific or political).

  • ||

    xxx "to, as you say, 'moving society'"

    should be "to, as you say BE 'moving society'"

  • ||

    "Convincing those like you that are already responsible that there are easy techniques to take your usage down another significant notch is the next."

    And here is another point of disagreement. The extremely low energy usage I cite below represents, to me, the "low hanging fruit" of what my family could do to conserve. Our level of conservation probably puts us in the top quartile or maybe even the top 10% of residential energy customers in the US -- a result that I found very surprising (but also gratifying, for the environmental side of me). You'll find it hard to convince me that there are "easy" techniques to reduce our usage even further, as I have been paying attention to this issue for some time and don't think they exist. If we want to conserve energy more than we already are, some noticeable pain will be involved.

    And why should we? We have been "doing our part" for years. I am not interested in martyring my family to serve as some kind of example for the nation. Let others catch up and then we can talk about going further, IF it is necessary and IF the gloom-and-doom predictions of GW Cassandras are confirmed through the normal process of scientific inquiry.

  • ||

    By the way, I have been using a spreadsheet to keep track of my home's electricity usage for the past decade or so. Californians tend to consume energy below the national averages (because they tend to hug the temperate coast, as do I), but I was rather amazed to see that, in my household, we have been consistently using only between 55% and 63% OF THE AVERAGE: That is to say, between 37% and 45% below the national average, for years. This is not a bachelor pad: it's for a family of three (not counting the menagerie of pets). And we're not a bunch of eco-hippies either, but we do try to be reasonably careful about our usage. Don't come whining to me about the need to cut to the bone in order to reduce carbon footprint and GHG emissions. If you want to combat global warming, better to get the DC politicians to quit blowing so much hot CO2.

  • ||

    Jesse, "Climategate" has nothing really to do with the reasons behind climate change. The data under question was supposed to show whether or not warming was occuring, not why it was occuring.

    Second, skeptics are always going to jump on these things and inflate them, just as proponents are going to try to deflate them. If we don't stop to look at the plain facts of the matter without assumptions, then any conclusions are basically meaningless.

  • Brett L||

    The plain facts of the matter are that nobody has enough data to know shit with statistical certainty. Period. End of topic.

  • ||

    I'm talking about the known facts pertaining to Climategate...

  • Jesse Kline||

    Jesse, "Climategate" has nothing really to do with the reasons behind climate change. The data under question was supposed to show whether or not warming was occuring, not why it was occuring.

    Well, if the world is not warming, then man cannot be causing global warming. And while the whole affair cannot disprove global warming theory, the fact that scientists were trying to manipulate data and hide information from the public does not bode well for a scientific field in which a consensus apparently exists.

  • ||

    "the fact that scientists were trying to manipulate data and hide information from the public does not bode well for a scientific field in which a consensus apparently exists."

    Is it a fact Jesse? Or is it an assumption on your part?

  • Urkobold™||

    THE URKOBOLD LIKES THE GLOBES WARMING THE RED BIKINI.

  • zoltan||

    You have a gift.

  • Urkobold™||

    YOU GIVE THE URKOBOLD TOO MUCH CREDIT. THERE IS A CONSENSUS THAT GLOBIAL WARMING IS REAL. AND YES, IT'S MAN-MADE.

  • Chad||

    The problem is that most of the ideas on how to fix man-made global warming are antithetical to liberty

    No, only childish, ignorant petty libertarian versions of "liberty", which for some insane reason, include the right to dump your garbage on everyone elses' property.

  • Joe||

    No.

  • ||

    It's a contradiction on the part of most libertartians, not an inherent flaw.

  • Chad||

    If by "most" you mean "99%", you have a point.

    Libertarians have no general solution to non-local pollution issues.

  • ||

    "Libertarians have no general solution to non-local pollution issues."

    Oh well, if you say so. You are the expert after all.

    Bullshit.

  • Tony||

    Enlighten us. Who has standing to sue for a polluted atmosphere?

  • ||

    Everyone that has property in a polluted atmosphere, but I wouldn't approach pollution from a civil direction. I think correcting the cost of pollution with a fine proportional to amount would be more efficient and equally justified. Ideally this fine would place the cost of pollution now carried by others solely to the polluter.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Also known as a carbon tax.

  • ||

    No, a carbon tax is a tax on carbon based fuel. I want a tax on pollution. Two companies can use the same amount of fuel, yet put out completely different amounts of pollution.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Ahhh...okay. That is much more difficult to implement...but it could be done.

    The easiest approach would be to have a carbon tax that includes credits for recapture. But you could, I suppose, try to monitor the pollution at every source with a technological solution. Would be more expensive, but, I guess it could be done.

  • Chad||

    I am SUCH a shallow, ego-centric prick, I can't bring myself to criticize The Cause.

  • Tony||

    The problem is that most of the ideas on how to fix man-made global warming are antithetical to liberty. Governments hand-pick and subsidize green technologies that would otherwise not be profitable, while at the same time making the abundant sources of energy we currently use more expensive. Furthermore, most people do not want to change the way they live and governments around the world have engaged in massive social engineering campaigns to try and force them to change.

    Because the status quo is the best of all possible worlds. Only if you're an oil company is that true. They spend a lot on their own shilling, I don't understand why libertarians do it for free. It's not as if they don't benefit from government favoritism.

  • Mike Laursen||

    What makes you think we're arguing for the status quo? In a vibrant free market economy, thriving with entrepreneurship, the status quo is disrupted continually, without any top-down directives from the government needed. That's not theoretical -- we see example after example in the computer industry, for example.

  • Tony||

    So why is the author arguing for the status quo? I don't see an argument to end government hand-picking oil and coal, just one not to do anything.

  • ||

    Tony, what do you think of the new Futurama episodes? They've been OK, a little stale, in my opinion. Though the eyePhone one was pretty good, mostly because it was brutal to Apple dorks. You're not an Apple dork, are you?

  • Tony||

    I like them and I'm glad to see it back. I work on an Apple but have PCs at home. I respect Apple more but Windows 7 is un-annoying enough to be worth the discount.

  • ||

    Why do you respect Apple more? Steve Jobs is as huge of a dipshit as Gates.

  • Tony||

    Actually I respect Gates more as a person, but Apple more as a product.

  • ||

    What about Warty? I know that you can't respect him as a "person", because he's not human, but can you respect him as a beast?

    I'll admit that I'm quite pleased with Windows 7. The new taskbar is great, it's stable, it's zippy, and it's a quick install. All wins.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    I'm using Ubuntu now. Taking some getting used to, but so far I prefer it over Bill Gates' blowsy, memory-hogging baubleware.

    Oh, noes! I'm depriving teh chil'rens of tax revenue by not BUYING software!

  • Random New Dealer||

    You're interfering in interstate commerce by depriving Microsoft and Apple for an operating system created by unregulated developers.

    New regulation is in order!

  • Mike Laursen||

    Hell if I know. Never seen this particular writer, Jesse Kline, before.

  • Jesse Kline||

    The author is not arguing for the status-quo. The author is arguing for a free market, in which traditional energy companies compete with new sources of energy and new technologies.

  • Jason||

    Who pays you to do their shilling, Tony?

  • Warty||

  • Holy Cow||

    Tony, Chad:

    Do you think if we promised not to torture AGW, if we promised that we'd redistribute temperature, if we promised to make greedy CO2 pay its fair share, do you think that then and only then AGW will be reformed?

    Why don't you smart and sciencey lefty guys get to building a giant fan or a planet-sized ice cube?

    Because those 2 solutions are just as viable as anything proposed by you, Al Gore, the IPCC, any politician living dead or in-between; or the cast of Friends.

    Bonus Question: What did Karl Marx do with the profits from Das Kapital?

  • Tony||

    Do you think if we promised not to torture AGW,

    We shouldn't torture. It's illegal. But you don't even seem to think we're at war.

    Because those 2 solutions are just as viable as anything proposed by you, Al Gore, the IPCC, any politician living dead or in-between; or the cast of Friends.

    The real solutions are not outlandish, they just require political spine.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Higher energy taxes are regressive, so why are you against poor people, Tony?

  • ||

    There is a very simple solution to the pollution problem that all libertarians should be in favor of: The cost of pollution should be carried solely by polluters.

  • Tony||

    Very good. Does that include people using cars?

  • ||

    Of course.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Sounds great! There's a few details to work out, though, don't you think?

  • ||

    Yes, the same can be said for any realistic political idea. The first step though, is accepting that this is the right direction to go in.

  • ||

    Interesting. Would you say the benefits of the activities that cause pollution should be given solely to polluters too?

    Just how do you handle all of the technological advances that are available to the developing world for free because of the two centuries of pollution the developed world went through to get them? Some sort of harmonized global royalty system?

  • Neu Mejican||

    MikeP,

    I wonder about the idea that the developed world went through the pollution but the "undeveloped" world somehow escaped that. Seems a bit at odds with the established narrative about resource exploitation.

  • ||

    Fair enough. Local pollution imposed on dominated peoples certainly should be paid for by the polluters or otherwise internalized on the terms of the polluted.

    My point was with regard to global pollution, i.e., GHG.

  • ||

    "Just how do you handle all of the technological advances that are available to the developing world for free because of the two centuries of pollution the developed world went through to get them? Some sort of harmonized global royalty system?"

    Are you asking me how to fix the mess that was caused by policies I disagreed with from the start? No, I don't have an answer. And if you think that's even close to a legitimate reason to maintain the status quo, I'd say you're wrong.

  • ||

    Mess? People all over the world enjoy vastly more life-years than they would have were it not for advances made by GHG-producing societies. Along with that staggering benefit come a number of improvements that raise the quality of those life-years immensely.

    Perhaps we can imagine that the damages due to global warming up to now and in the short or medium future might come somewhere close to balancing out those benefits. But are you willing to risk all the advances in the future that will be sacrificed on the altar of more expensive energy?

  • Neu Mejican||

    MikeP,

    If I follow your idea here, you are saying that, since GHG's negative effects are global, everyone shares their costs, BUT that the positive effects are also shared globally, so the polluting societies should be credited for those global benefits.

    But, of course, when costs of GHG's are looked at objectively, it seems the costs are born out of proportion by the countries with the lower GHG output and the benefits are certainly disproportionately found in the countries with higher GHG output.

  • ||

    That is likely true. But the operative metric when trying to balance global externalities is benefit minus cost per person or region, not benefit minus benefit between persons or regions.

  • ||

    "Mess? People all over the world enjoy vastly more life-years than they would have were it not for advances made by GHG-producing societies. Along with that staggering benefit come a number of improvements that raise the quality of those life-years immensely."

    I don't understand, is the problem you posed to me ("Just how do you handle all of the technological advances that are available to the developing world for free because of the two centuries of pollution the developed world went through to get them?") a problem or not? That was what I was refering to as a "mess." If it's not a problem and people are better off, then my answer is the same: do nothing about it.

    "But are you willing to risk all the advances in the future that will be sacrificed on the altar of more expensive energy?"

    Technically, energy won't be more expensive. The only difference will be that the expense incurred by energy will be taken on solely by the users. The important question isn't whether or not we should risk losing advances, but whether or not others should be forced to pay for those advances unjustly. Scientific and economic advances don't justify damaging someone else's property.

  • ||

    You don't get this whole "externality" thing, do you.

    Externalities can be both negative and positive. If you are gung ho about charging polluters for the negative externalities, then you should charge those who benefit from the public goods resulting from pollution for the positive externalities.

    It is not at all clear that for most people in most places the former exceeds the latter.

  • ||

    But you don't understand that the reason pollution should be payed for is not because it is a negative externality to some. There are plenty of negative externalities that are produced by people acting within their rights. Pollution must be payed for because it is not within the rights of polluters to damage the property of others. I don't care about negative and positive externalities.

  • ||

    What property is being harmed by burning carbon?

  • ||

    Pollutants are produced that are then dispersed through the air onto the property of others and into the bodies of others.

  • ||

    Some pollutants turn cloud vapor into acid rain, which then damages stone and other materials.

  • ||

    Not to mention pollution of public water, which I don't think should be allowed either.

  • ||

    I never said anything like "all negative externalities must be payed for by those who produce them," so jumping to "well then the same should be true for positive externalities" is meaningless to me.

  • ||

    You will forgive me, then, for assuming the pollutant you were talking about was CO2.

    Indeed, your other examples have cleaner solutions because either the polluter or the pollutee is point-identifiable and the harms are much more evident and quantifiable. Global warming, of course, does not admit such simple solutions.

  • Holy Cow||

    Maybe we can nuke the sun? That pesky bastard just will not quit.

    Plus, the sun is racist. It's rays do little for the black community.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Isn't it slightly more accurate to say that the sun is racist in favor of the black community, given their much reduced rates of melanoma compared to someone with my pastey Irish pallor?

  • ||

    Compared to an independent medical investigation, this was not really independent. If you have to look at what publishers in medical sciences sometimes have to go through, then this is clearly an in-tribe investigation.

  • Alan Vanneman||

    White chicks in bikinis. Yeah, this is "Reason".

  • Jordan||

    Hurrr durrr I'm a racist prick.

  • ||

    I DEMAND BLACK CHICKS AND ASIAN CHICKS AND HISPANIC CHICKS IN BIKINIS!!!

    GOD DAMN RACISTS, WHY CAN'T YOU JUST STOP FOCUSING ON RACE???

  • Joe M||

    Has anyone else noticed that Mr. Kline has a habit of using photos of attractive women in pretty much every blog post he writes? Well done.

  • zoltan||

    He needs to start putting some hot, barely clothed dudes in his articles for the Reason women.

  • ||

    You crack me up, zoltan.

    He needs to start putting some hot, barely clothed dudes in his articles for the Reason women woman.

  • ||

    "The problem is that most of the ideas on how to fix man-made global warming are antithetical to liberty. Governments hand-pick and subsidize green technologies that would otherwise not be profitable, while at the same time making the abundant sources of energy we currently use more expensive. "

    All those problems are solved by using a net zero carbon tax instead. You put a price on carbon, and lower the price on labor (ie income taxes)

    People would use energy more effiently, and probably work harder to boot.

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