Skeptical Environmentalist - Still Skeptical of Carbon Rationing - Never Skeptical of Warming

Yesterday, the Guardian ran a puzzling article claiming that Bjorn Lomborg, the self-described Skeptical Environmentalist, has now accepted that man-made global warming is a problem. The subtext being that if this prominent climate change skeptic has come over to the side of alarmism, then surely everyone else must too.

The Guardian (a newspaper that is always careful to make sure the facts never get in the way of a good story) is misleading its readers. Even in his first book, Lomborg clearly acknowledged that man-made global warming is a problem. But Lomborg concluded that other more immediate problems loomed larger for humanity than climate change, i.e., problems like hunger, disease, sanitation, high infant mortality rates, etc. Evidently, Lomborg tried to make this point to the Guardian which does report:

Lomborg denies he has performed a volte face, pointing out that even in his first book he accepted the existence of man-made global warming. "The point I've always been making is it's not the end of the world," he told the Guardian. "That's why we should be measuring up to what everybody else says, which is we should be spending our money well."

Just so. Since the publication of The Skeptical Environmentalist, Lomborg has organized a series of Copenhagen Consensus Conferences that aimed to prioritize spending on important global problems. Basically, Lomborg's new book (Disclosure: I blurbed it) is reporting the conclusions reached by the economists and other researchers who particpated in the most recent conference which focused on climate change.

The panelist's top two picks for addressing global warming were: (1) spend money to research geoengineering, specifically a project that would whiten marine clouds to reduce warming by reflecting sunlight, and (2) spend money on researching technologies to produce low-carbon energy cheaply. As Reason TV viewers know, Lomborg said all this last year: 

So from where did Lomborg get his $100 billion per year on energy R&D figure? From two McGill University economists, Isabel Galiana and Christopher Green, who outlined that proposal in a paper commissioned by Lomborg for his Copenhagen Consensus conference last year. To give you a flavor of the proposal, let me quote at length my reporting on it from my article, "What's the Best Way to Handle Future Climate Change," from last year:

Climate change is a technological problem. After all, the goal of all carbon rationing schemes—limiting permits or imposing taxes—is to encourage the development of low-carbon and no-carbon energy technologies as substitutes for fossil fuel energy technologies. So why not aim directly at fostering the development of advanced energy technologies? In a fascinating recent report, two McGill University economists, Isabel Galiana and Christopher Green, look at the benefits and costs that an energy technology research and development push might yield.

In the report done at the behest of the Danish think, the Copenhagen Consensus Center, Galiana and Green argue that climate change negotiations are engaged in what they call "brute force" mitigation strategies (e.g., carbon markets and/or taxes), and that those strategies have already proven to be losing propositions. "Attempts to directly control global carbon emissions will not work, and certainly not in the absence of ready-to-deploy, scalable, and transferable carbon emission-free energy technologies," assert the authors. "The technology requirements cannot be wished, priced, assumed, or targeted away."

Why won't brute force mitigation strategies like carbon markets and taxes work? Galiana and Green point out that current proposed emission targets imply vastly faster rates of reduction than have been the case in past decades. Consider a global emission reduction target of 80 percent by 2100. That would require carbon emissions to fall by 1.8 percent per year. But say economic growth averages 2.2 percent between now and 2100: That implies a 4 percent average annual decline in the amount of carbon-based fuels used to produce goods and services.

To date, Galiana and Green note, the annual global average rate of decarbonization, the amount of carbon that is emitted per unit of goods and services produced, has been 1.3 percent. To illustrate the economic consequences of trying to boost the rate of decarbonization through brute force mitigation, they generously assume that the decarbonization rate could rise to 3.6 percent annually. But this would still entail a cut in global economic growth from 2.2 percent annually to 1.8 percent. Such a reduction in economic growth would cost an undiscounted $86 trillion in 2100 alone and add up to an undiscounted $2,280 trillion over the next 90 years. And without new low-carbon energy technologies, the authors argue that the assumption of 3.6 percent rate of annual decarbonization is just a fantasy. So the likely economic damages will be even larger. "Climate change is a technology problem," Galiana and Green conclude, "and the size of the problem is huge."

Their solution is spending $100 billion per year on energy research and development financed through a $5 per ton tax on carbon dioxide emissions that would be funneled into Clean Energy Trust Funds. The tax would be scheduled to double every ten years as a way to give a forward price signal to encourage the deployment of the new low-carbon energy technologies that they hope will emerge from the labs. They calculate that every dollar spent on new low carbon energy R&D would avoid $11 in climate damages.

"It is much easier to spend on R&D than assure the monies are well spent," Galiana and Green admit. They also acknowledge that much current government R&D funding is politically directed and largely wasted. Robert Fri, a former deputy administrator of both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Energy Research and Development Administration, told Chemical & Engineering News: "The government is very good at starting energy projects that it believes will solve energy problems, but it is not very good at generating the intended results."

To overcome this problem, Galiana and Green somewhat naively suggest creating a system of research competition overseen by a panel of independent experts. Oddly, they do not consider deregulating energy markets so as to provide greater incentives for private R&D and investment in new energy production and improvements in efficiency. In any case, Galiana and Green make a very strong case that current energy technologies cannot meet the ambitious emissions reductions goals being advocated by the Obama Administration in the U.S. and by the United Nations bureaucrats at the Copenhagen climate change conference without clobbering the global economy.

So to recap: Lomborg has always thought man-made global warming is a problem, but not the biggest problem facing humanity in this century. Lomborg is still against the ruinous carbon rationing schemes of the sort embodied in the UN's Kyoto Protocol. Instead he is advocating that the world spend $100 billion per year on energy R&D which would add up to $9 trillion by the end of the century. Contrast this amount to the more than $2,000 trillion that Galiana and Green calculate that carbon rationing would cost.

But acknowledging and reporting all this would have spoiled the Guardian's sexed up global warming heretic converts to climate change believer storyline.

Many commentators were misled by the Guardian's reporting, but Jonathan Adler over at the Volokh Conspiracy was not among them.

Disclosure: The Copenhagen Consensus Center has paid my travel expenses to cover one of its conferences. The Center exercised no editorial control over my reporting. Also, I personally like Bjorn.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Oh, please. It's obvious this guy is simply your garden variety contrarian. No one believes in AGW anymore, so now he must.

  • Max||

    I can see why Reason latched on to this idiot, but why the Guardian gives a flying fuck what he thinks is a real mystery.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    No hop-ons.

  • Attorney||

    I'll call off the hit, then.

  • ||

    I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter.

  • SF||

    There are only two ballparks left with artificial turf - no need for laws. The market is doing just fine!

  • ||

    A constitutional amendment outlawing baseball would be way better.

    The only thing "good" about Baseball is that someone had to have really worked really hard to invent a sport more tedious then soccer.

  • SFC B||

    "2,000 trillion"

    What the hell comes after a trillion?

  • ||

    Mozillion.

  • Joe M||

    Quadrillion. I hope to never see that number near a dollar sign.

  • ||

    You're making that up. After mozillion is hozillion, followed by sextillion.

  • ||

    Cotilion? You know, what you went to when you were a young lady, ProL?

  • Joe M||

    According to Uncyclopedia:

    In mathematics, the mozillion is defined to be the least non-infinite natural number k that has no intermediate successor k+1.

    So I think mozillion comes later on.

  • ||

    That's the British system. After sextillion is exceptillion.

  • Joe M||

    I think I tried calculating the world's GDP once. It was, I believe, around $200 quadrillion.

  • Joe M||

    Oops, sorry, not GDP, but actual net worth.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    Were you, like, really bored that day, or what?

  • ||

    I thought spitzerillion came after sextillion. Oh wait, that comes before.

  • ||

    There's also 10^10^100 aka a googolsex.

  • ||

    Wait until my budget for FY 2017.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Because surely the only entity large enough to have a dollar figure that large is government.

  • kinnath||

    A Brazilian

  • ||

    "Their solution is spending $100 billion per year on energy research and development financed through a $5 per ton tax on carbon dioxide emissions that would be funneled into Clean Energy Trust Funds. The tax would be scheduled to double every ten years as a way to give a forward price signal to encourage the deployment of the new low-carbon energy technologies that they hope will emerge from the labs. They calculate that every dollar spent on new low carbon energy R&D would avoid $11 in climate damages."

    Like no one is going to loot or misuse that fund. And like that tax would ever end even if the "problem" of global warming ever did.

    Lomburg is still a fool. Sorry I am not giving the UN a hundred dollar trust fund to play with let alone this.

  • Pip||

    Who wrote this?

  • Anonymous||

    Yes, who is this "I"?

  • Tman||

    It's pretty sad that Lomborg's point about global warming -It's real, and a problem, but it's not even close to as big and untractable a problem as say malaria or decent sanitation and clean water in third world countries- has consistently ignored despite his repeated attempts to further clarify his position.

  • ||

    That's because those problems are ones you can quantify. And how can you keep up the 'crisis' if you see actual numbers improving? AGW is great because it will never be 'fixed' because of the natural variations of Earth's climate.

  • ||

    It's a fucking religion, dude. People don't get rational when it comes to religion, so Lomborg's rational points are ignored.

  • ||

    Here's my question to you, Episiarch: Is Gaea a thin or fat god?

  • ||

    Thin. Gia is free range organic and doesn't take hormones or steroids.

  • ||

    She's also STD free and puts out.

  • alum||

    Pretty sure she went to University of Colorado at Boulder.

  • BakedPenguin||

    John, remember, she only eats carbs. Also, if she was thinner than the women who believe in her, imagine how they'd feel.

  • ||

    True. Maybe she is Rubinesque.

  • ||

    Her hot (literally hot) organic body is why Al dumped Tipper. He's fucking a pile of regolith somewheres in Tennessee like some Ostrich that got confused about which head to hide.

  • ||

    Just to explain why I'm asking, I noted in a previous thread that thin gods tend to have a rough time of it.

  • ||

    Is Gaea a thin or fat god?

    Greek titan...

    Yeah she is a big girl.

  • ||

    i always liked Nyx myself

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi.....ouguereau_(1825-1905)_-_La_Nuit_(1883).jpg

  • ||

    And it affects people who should know better. Yesterday on the IPCC corruption scandal thread Ron Bailey, and otherwise intelligent reasonable person, informed me that despite the corruption scientists had convinced him the global warming was man made, real and a problem. In Ron's view the IPCC just used fabricated and exaggerated evidence when such convincing evidence was available for fun I suppose. It has become such dogma among the chattering and educated classes, that I think people like Ron just can't help themselves but to go along with it.

  • MNG||

    Maybe he looked at the evidence involved in the IPCC and saw that it was from many, many sources?

    I mean, what kind of logic concludes "hey, a few researchers did a bad thing, therefore all research that reaches the same conclusion is discredited!"

  • ||

    The IPCC corruption was systematic and permeated the entire process. Even Ron admits the report is worthless. He is just convinced that there is all this other work out there that shows his point. To believe that, you have to believe that the IPCC lied when it didn't have to. And that simply does not make any sense. They lied because their case isn't very strong. They suppressed and conspired against research that didn't fit their narrative because that research was very problematic. They did what every other human institution does, acted in their own self interest. If the IPCC related to any other subject you would see the obvious. But you can't see the obvious here because you so desperately want what they are saying to be true. Part of being in a cult is not knowing you are in one.

  • MNG||

    You've never looked at the report, eh John?

    Because anyone who had would not have said such a dumbass thing.

  • MNG||

    I imagine John is googling it now. Imagine when he finds it.

    "Holy shit, there is an entire section just on evidence from snow and ice and frozen ground changes! And sea levels! And all kinds of other shit that had nothing to do with what Hannity et al have told me! Why would they not tell me about this? WHHHHHHHHY?"

  • ||

    http://www.worldclimatereport......ted-by-50/

    Then of course there was the famous Himalayan glacier statistic that was taken from a footnote based on observations of a few mountaineers with so scientific basis whatsoever. On top of that we have the climategate e-mails where Mann and company conspire to keep research relating local warming caused by increased cities out of the report. Just google problems with the IPCC report and you will find a whole host of links detailing the problems with the report. The problems are numerous and significant. So numerous and significant that the entire process cannot be trusted. If this many mistakes got through, how can anything they say be trusted?

    MNG you are not stupid. You are just profoundly ignorant. And you really seem to actually want to be ignorant. The problems with the IPCC are well known and so undeniable even Baily admits to them. Yet, you claim to know nothing of them. It is really sad. You are the most purposefully ignorant person I have ever seen.

  • MNG||

    It's OK to admit you have not looked at the report John...

  • ||

    I looked at and read the political summary in the AR4 Summary of it when it came out. I haven't the whole thing. It is huge. But I bet I have read more of it than you have. But hey, most Christians haven't read the Bible.

  • MNG||

    So you admit you have read little of it, but you are convinced it is riddled with errors.

    That says so very much about John I think I need say little more...

  • ||

    Given the Himalayan glaciers-gone-by-2035 schtick in the IPCC report, and not being noticed by anyone for two fucking years after it was published...I think you can say about the IPCC report the same thing you can say about the Cap N' Trade bills or the Obamacare bill:

    Whether you're a supporter or a opponent of those things, no one actually reads this shit. Which also tells me the main political actors on these issues had their minds made up before the report was even written.

  • MNG||

    "If this many mistakes got through, how can anything they say be trusted?"

    Nobody who spells as bad as you do should write that John...

  • ||

    Shorter MNG, "I can make no intelligent response to your argument, so instead I will insult your spelling and hope no one notices."

  • ||

    I noticed...

  • MNG||

    Poor sage, what is John's "argument?" That the report he acknowledges he has not read, much less understood, is so replete with errors and chicanery as to not be trusted in full?

  • ||

    and uses improper grammar WHILE insulting MNG's spelling:

    "spells as bad as you do..."

    should be "spells as badly"

  • MNG||

    "I haven't the whole thing."

    lol, ol' reliable John...

  • ||

    No one has read the whole thing you idiot. Anyone who is not a climate scientists or a pretty serious hobbyist in this who claims they have is lying. And the fact that you don't even know what the thing looks like and how long and technical the actual report is, just shows more of your ignorance. You really do seem to enjoy being stupid.

  • MNG||

  • ||

    spells as badLY.

    if you are going to criticize somebody's spelling, it helps to use proper grammar.

    hth

  • Neu Mejican||

    joe'z law prevents this from working.

  • ||

    If it were only spelling errors in the climate-gate shenanigans, no one would care and it would never have been a story.

  • Neu Mejican||

    John,

    You have demonstrated repeatedly that you do not even know the basic facts on this issue. You don't know the basic arguments for or against AGW. You don't understand the basic logic, what the scientific questions are, where the scientific uncertainty is, or [fill in the blank]. What you do know is the political spin, talking points from one side of the political argument, and where to links to find out of context quotes that don't mean what you think they mean.

    Disingenuous does not even begin to describe your posts on this issue.

  • MNG||

    +100
    But it is fun to watch him thrash about so!

  • ||

    Yeah MNG, I am thrashing around with links and specific points about the problems with the IPCC. You in contrast are scoring great points about spelling.

  • ||

    Neu Mexican,

    You can always tell you are winning an argument when the other side accuses you of "being disingenuous" but never gives any specific examples of you being so or explains how you are being so. You just wrote and entire paragraph of unsupported assertions about my arguments without one reference to any actual point or argument I have made.

    That is an admission on your part that you can't win the argument. If you could, you would make an argument rather than a bunch of unsubstantiated assertions.

  • Neu Mejican||

    John,

    As this is part of a much longer discourse across many posts, I will just refer you back to specific responses to your specific claims in previous posts.

  • ||

    "As this is part of a much longer discourse across many posts, I will just refer you back to specific responses to your specific claims in previous posts."

    Which you don't like to or bother to make. No wonder you believe the IPCC. They told you "we have shown you before how all of the Himalayan glaciers will be gone by 2035" and you just nodded I guess.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Which you don't like to or bother to make.

    Not true.

  • Neu Mejican||

    [sigh]

  • Neu Mejican||

    You can start with the last post on this subject where you claim that the AGW case lives or dies on the argument made by Mann's hockey stick. A claim which shows a profound misunderstanding of the topic (and of scientific process in general).

  • ||

    I do detect a great deal of Closed Ended Question problems in AGW. Most people are not contemplating the issue, but contemplating the politics of the issue, and conflating the two.

  • MNG||

    John
    You really have no argument other than "I can cite these errors in this report therefore AGW does not exist." That argument is fundamentally fallacious, a gross case of overgeneralization.

    It certainly doesn't help that you admit that you have not read the document which has the "errors" either.

  • ||

    "You really have no argument other than "I can cite these errors in this report therefore AGW does not exist." That argument is fundamentally fallacious, a gross case of overgeneralization."

    You are just too stupid to understand the argument. The IPCC was compromised and corrupt. Why is that? If you believe as Ron does that there is all this uncorrupted proof out there beyond the IPCC report, then you have to believe that the IPCC ignored good evidence and took bad evidence when the good evidence proved their point? Why would they have done that? That makes no sense. The only plausible explanation is that they lied because the good work didn't make the case they wanted to make. That is why the failure of the IPCC throws the entire field into question. And no amount of unsubstantiated assertions made by you and Ron Bailey that all this great work exists, changes that fact.

    As far as the hockey stick goes. One, it was a lie and fabrication. If they fabricated this, what else has been fabricated? Two, the fact is that CO2 levels are very high right now. If global warming is valid, then those levels ought to be causing warming right now which is out of line with the historic norms. Without the hockey stick there is no evidence that the current warming is anything out of the norm. And therefore there is no way to tell if this warming is caused by CO2 or by some other natural factor.

    Again, they didn't fake the hockey stick because it wasn't needed to make their case. They faked the hockey stick because it is crucial to their case.

  • ||

    I would have to disagree that the IPCC guys - or even the CRU retards for that matter - consciously lie and so forth. The problems in the IPCC report demonstrate a common problem in this cottage industry: Lots and lots of managerial incompetence at running large projects with lots of disparate parts.

    If you think there's some kind of conspiracy going on with the IPCC report, you give its authors too much credit in assuming they know what the fuck they're doing. Don't give credit where credit isn't due.

  • ||

    "If you think there's some kind of conspiracy going on with the IPCC report, you give its authors too much credit in assuming they know what the fuck they're doing. Don't give credit where credit isn't due."

    If the evidence was that clear, they wouldn't even have to know what they are doing to get it right. The evidence is not clear and they don't know. But they are a political organization so they cherry picked and lied to make their point.

  • ||

    I can see the angle there, and obviously there is somewhat of a marketing effort going on there, but not a bona fide conspiracy involving conscious lying and so forth. Like the Himalayan glacier flap demonstrates, they don't even read their own shit very well. Neither do their critics, if it took two years and the Climategate mess to actually motivate people to read and not merely cite the IPCC horseshit. If you were consciously lying and such, you would at least make the lies and such plausible, right?

    Oh, and I almost forgot. This manifesto from Warmer-Con managed to get a Nobel Prize, thus demonstrating the Nobel Committee (the fake one in Oslo) doesn't read this shit either. Does it work like Heismans and Reggie Bush, where they can take it back a couple years after handing it out?

  • Neu Mejican||

    If you think there's some kind of conspiracy going on with the IPCC report

    See, the thing is, John can see into the hearts of evil-doers...he knows their motivations and their plans based on some extra-sensory perception he gets from communing with his AM radio. It allows him to see into the hearts of the IPCC and those rascally mosque builders in lower Manhattan. Those of us that lack this ability doubt his assertions because we don't have access to his special brand of knowledge.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Without the hockey stick there is no evidence that the current warming is anything out of the norm. And therefore there is no way to tell if this warming is caused by CO2 or by some other natural factor.

    Talk about helping me make my point.

    The case of AGW is based on multiple lines of evidence. There is no need for the current warming to be out of the norm to be attributable to human co2. Let me repeat...NO NEED for the current warming to be out of the norm to attribute it to human co2.

    As far as the hockey stick goes. One, it was a lie and fabrication. If they fabricated this, what else has been fabricated?

    I have never seen credible evidence presented that Mann's work was a "fabrication." The harshest criticisms have come from quibbles about the details of the statistical analysis. The jury is still out on these as to whether they are fatal to his case.

    Two, the fact is that CO2 levels are very high right now.

    Are you basing this on the same proxies you claim man fabricated? Why do you trust this particular detail more than the other information?

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Then why the use of the (fabricated) hockey stick to prove their point if the evidence is numerous and clear? Or why use any of the bad/tainted/manipulated/whatever evidence they have used if there are piles and piles of evidence from multiple sources?

    This is a simple question John is asking, and it is being avoided at all costs.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Then why the use of the (fabricated)[SIC] hockey stick to prove their point if the evidence is numerous and clear?

    1) Why would additional lines of evidence be ignored? Many lines of evidence converging on the same conclusion is an important clue towards the validity of a hypothesis.

    2) The premise that it is fabricated is one of the things in dispute here. Parsimony would say that it was include because the IPCC saw the evidence as both credible and useful.

    Or why use any of the bad/tainted/manipulated/whatever evidence they have used if there are piles and piles of evidence from multiple sources? This is a simple question John is asking, and it is being avoided at all costs.

    It is not a simple question. It is a disingenuous accusation with no basis in reality. The response, which John will reject is

    BECAUSE IT IS NOT FABRICATED AND IT PROVIDES ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FOR THEIR HYPOTHESIS.

  • Neu Mejican||

    And MLG,

    This response to John's question holds even if, in the end, Mann's work ends up being shown as incorrect. It was included because it was seen as both valid and supportive of the general hypothesis.

    Now, as to why it is the point that has taken the most political heat...well, my guess is that because the question of "unprecedented warming" is important in a different question...whether our actions are going to push the climate system in ways that have not been seen in the geological record, which would be (potentially) very bad. In other words, it is a more important piece of evidence for the "the Sky is Falling" argument than it is for the "we are causing this" argument.

    One of the ways John demonstrates his lack of understanding of this issue is his inability to see the distinction between those two arguments.

    So, if you want to go down conspiracy lane, IF it was fabricated and IF it was included knowing that it was fabricated, the reason would be that it helps THE GOAL of the conspiracy (global domination or whatever crazy shit someone wants to attribute to these scientists).

    TheZietgeist covers this "it's a conspiracy" thinking well enough above

  • Neu Mejican||

    BTW, I predict that John will have no specific responses to these points.

  • ||

    "In other words, it is a more important piece of evidence for the "the Sky is Falling" argument than it is for the "we are causing this" argument."

    If what we are "causing" isn't out of the norm in geological history, it is not important enough to justify the kind of action people like you are advocating. Global warming becomes true but unimportant. You just gave away your own argument. Thanks.

  • Neu Mejican||

    If what we are "causing" isn't out of the norm in geological history, it is not important enough to justify the kind of action people like you are advocating.

    Well, geological history has thrown out some conditions that we would likely want to avoid if possible...and certainly some conditions we would not want to hasten through our own actions. Just sticking with co2 related events, think of the effect that the Siberian Traps had on the environment (look up their role in the Permian-Triassic extinction event).

    Global warming becomes true but unimportant.

    It's importance (in the sense you imply) is not a scientific question. But we need to start with our best understanding of the facts in order to make decisions moving forward.

    You just gave away your own argument. Thanks.

    No. My argument was that you don't know what you are talking about. I think we continue to see that on display with this response from you.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Here is an example of how bad things can get as a result of global warming within the geological norm.

    Michael J. Benton, Richard J. Twitchett, How to kill (almost) all life: the end-Permian extinction event, Trends in Ecology & Evolution, Volume 18, Issue 7, July 2003, Pages 358-365, ISSN 0169-5347, DOI: 10.1016/S0169-5347(03)00093-4.
    (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VJ1-48HY72J-1/2/85cc4af37c609e5746982edf102d63f9)

    It is important to note that newer studies have questioned some of the details here and we, of course, do not know for sure the cause of this particular extinction event. But many rapid global warming events have been associated with pretty tough results for the species living through them.

  • ||

    Hey John, don't forget Piltdown Man.

  • Fire Tiger||

    Actually it makes perfect sense. Malaria or decent sanitation and clean water are issues that do not give people in non-third world countries control over their neighbors and most people want to control the way their neighbors live.

  • kilroy||

    The link in

    my article, "What's the Best Way to Handle Future Climate Change," from last year:

    goes to a Ronald Bailey piece.

    A by-line would have been appropriate though.

  • ||

    Whoever wrote this article is wrong, perhaps that is why there is no byline.

    I know, from the scientists that post on these here boards, that if you consider AGW to be true it is impossible to not call for massive government interference in energy policy. The two are inexorably linked.

  • SIV||

    Some armed environmentalist just took over the Discovery Channel building

  • SIV||

    Fucking liberals:

    A note posted online July 18 issues a list of demands to the Discovery Channel, saying the station "MUST broadcast to the world their commitment to save the planet." It lists 11 demands about airing shows that would promote curbing the plant's population growth, finding solutions for global warming and dismantling "the dangerous US world economy."

    "All programs on Discovery Health-TLC must stop encouraging the birth of any more parasitic human infants and the false heroics behind those actions," it reads. "In those programs' places, programs encouraging human sterilization and infertility must be pushed. All former pro-birth programs must now push in the direction of stopping human birth, not encouraging it."

  • ||

    That is the kind of sick shit they put out. Not surprising some nut would start acting on it.

  • MNG||

    "All former pro-birth programs must now push in the direction of stopping human birth"

    Oh, so he's a Birther, of course...

  • Ragin Cajun||

  • ||

    Heard this particular piece of shit got executed. I didn't cry too much.

  • MNG||

    Doesn't he know nutjobs are supposed to shoot up Unitarian Churches? Stupid liberals!

  • SIV||

    He went after the "right wing media".
    I'd expect more "progressive violence" leading up to, and after the elections.They're really sore losers.

  • ||

    If this guy were a right winger you would be on here accusing everyone of abetting murder MNG. Since he is a fellow gia worshiper, all you can do is make stupid jokes.

  • MNG||

    I'm a gaia worshiper now? Interesting.

  • ||

    No, Gia worshiper.

  • ||

    Noticed you didn't deny the "stupid jokes" part...

  • Sean W. Malone||

    It's just John, dude... Shrug it off :P

  • Fire Tiger||

    Of course he has a TV show he wants to sell.

  • ||

    Threadjack, sorta.

    Environmental whackjob takes hostages at Discovery Channel building in Silver Spring.

    My first thought was wondering which kind of nutjob he was. Could have gone either way.

    My commute home is going to be such a bitch.

  • ||

    And that's what I get for talking to everyone on the phone. Thanks SIV.

  • Fire Tiger||

    Lee threw thousands of dollars of cash into the air, some of it still in shrink-wrapped packages, police said at the time. (Lee was found not guilty of littering.)
    Sorry but this just struck me as funny.

  • Colin||

    What's worse, this story was all over the front page of Yahoo! yesterday as well.

  • Old Mexican||

    So the Guardian (and Media Matters, I jsut heard) suddenly realizes this guy believes that AGW is a fact. What gave the paper (and Media Matters, for that matter) the idea he was skeptical of AGW before?

  • ||

    He thought/thinks Cap N' Rape is a bad idea that is fundamentally ineffective at addressing rising carbon output. Its not that he disagrees with the problem, its that he sees the pointlessness of the Solution. He recommends un-fun physical solutions stuff, like math and engineering. Not fun political stuff like Enron-esque carbon futures trading and being able to tell people what kind of washing machine they can own. Or being able to create a weird new fiat-fiat currency called "carbon credits" to play political favors with for REAL fiat currency (Kafka himself would be confused by that concept).

    Therefore, he must deny the problem. Or something like that.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: TheZeitgeist,

    Got it. I just find it laughable that these assholes, who treated this guy like trash, would suddenly have this "Ah-Ha!" moment about his belief in AGW (which he has never hidden, ever.)

  • Tony||

    If you people applied the same standards of integrity to Lomborg that you claim to apply to, say, the IPCC, you would not listen to a damn word he says.

    He is neither a scientist nor a policy expert, and the only reason people listen to him is because he is a contrarian.

  • ||

    I don't listen to much Lomborg says, or anyone else whose Decided on some Settled Science for or against AGW, or long-term climate in general at this point.

    But I'm obviously not alone if The Guardian or Media Matters thinks he's "changed" on this issue in some way. They just are looking for more political talismans, proving that they themselves stopped thinking about the issue objectively at least a couple of years ago.

    And just for the record, "Settled Science" is an oxymoron.

  • Tony||

    And having a high school level appreciation of the ever-changing nature of science doesn't give you license to dismiss facts and believe whatever you want to believe.

  • Fire Tiger||

    and believe whatever you want to believe

    And when are you opening the reeducation camps?

  • Tony||

    As soon as the death panels have finished their work.

  • ||

    I don't think I'm too out-of-the-loop on the technical aspects of global warming, or the General Circulation Model, the physics behind it, or the code that runs it, or the data sets that populate the code and how they are derived.

    I would be interested in seeing you demonstrate some "fact" I've dismissed perhaps?

  • ||

    "And just for the record, "Settled Science" is an oxymoron."

    +100

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    If you people[...]

    "What do you mean "you people"?

    "What do YOU mean 'what do you mean you people'"?

    I just loved Tropic Thunder.

    Excuse me, Tony, you were saying?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    If you people applied the same standards of integrity to Lomborg that you claim to apply to, say, the IPCC, you would not listen to a damn word he says.

    Yet the Guardian thought his apparent change of heart was important enough to report it, yet you say nobody should listen to him? Go tell the Guardian.com.uk

  • Tony||

    Didn't say nobody listens to him. Too many people do. My point is that his methods have come under far more serious criticism than anything the IPCC did.

  • Neu Mejican||

    the only reason people listen to him is because he is a contrarian.

    Lomberg, from my reading of him, is a sincere and interested individual. His cost-benefit analyses are not particularly useful, but he discusses environmental interventions in a serious and reasonable fashion. He has made many wise suggestions about how to tackle the problem of AGW, despite his argument that efforts are better spent elsewhere.

    My sense is that he gets misused and abused as much by the contrarian crowd as he does by the more zealous people advocating for immediate action on AGW.

  • Tman||

    His cost-benefit analyses are not particularly useful

    Says you. In the real world this is all that matters. The folks who want to deal with AGW with capntax, or carbon tax, or whatever the current term is are trying to make a cost analysis without actually factoring in specific benefits. Lomborg has made a very insightful point that if we spent even a fraction of what people are proposing to spend to deal with AGW we could save literally millions of lives TODAY from malaria and other diseases.

    To say that "cost-benefit analysis isn't particularly useful" means you have no idea how to put any of your solutions in to action.

  • Tony||

    There is no rigorous way to do a cost-benefit analysis for mitigating global warming. As so many of you remind us, the future is uncertain, and the costs are likely to be far beyond anything we can calculate (what is the price of a species?).

  • Tman||

    There is no rigorous way to do a cost-benefit analysis for mitigating global warming.

    Then why are people proposing mitigation solutions BASED ON A COST ANALYSIS????

    As so many of you remind us, the future is uncertain, and the costs are likely to be far beyond anything we can calculate (what is the price of a species?).

    Do you ever read what you write before you post? Because think about what you just said.

    a.) We can't effectively measure the costs of mitigating AGW.

    b.) But it will probably be well beyond our wildest calculations.

    I'm trying to be civil here, but son, you stuck on stupid. Don't be stuck on stupid.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Tman,

    My view on this is very close to that of N Taleb's


    Climate Change. I am hyper-conservative ecologically (meaning super-Green). My position on the climate is to avoid releasing pollutants in the atmosphere, on the basis of ignorance, regardless of current expert opinion (climate experts, like banking risk managers, have failed us in the past in foreseeing long term damages and I cannot accept certainty in a certain class of nonlinear models). This is an extension of my general idea that one does not need rationalization with the use of complicated models (by fallible experts) to the edict: "do not disturb a complex system" since we do not know the consequences of our actions owing to complicated causal webs. (Incidentally, this ideas also makes me anti-war). I explicitly explained the need to "leave the planet the way we got it" .

    More
    http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/

  • Tman||

    I have heard of Mr. Taleb before but never really looked much in to him. I'll check it out.

    Since you put yours out there, here's the views that most closely reflect mine.

    John McCarthy-Professor Emeritus of Computer Science at Stanford University.

    PROGRESS AND ITS SUSTAINABILITY

    http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/

    This Web page and its satellites are aimed at showing that human material progress is desirable and sustainable. People have worried about many problems. These pages discuss energy in general, nuclear energy, solar energy, food supply, population, fresh water supply, forests and wood supply, global engineering, pollution, biodiversity, various menaces to human survival, the role of ideology in discussing these matters, useful references. Other problems are discussed in the main text including minerals and pollution....Having done my best to show that material progress is sustainable, I can justifiably turn my attention to the future and present ideas about what progress people will want and what can be achieved. The emphasis is on opportunities rather than on inevitabilities.

    Most of the contentions of these pages are supported by simple calculations based on readily available numbers. Here's an illustration. Slogan: He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense.
  • Neu Mejican||

    Tman,

    The concept to pay attention in Taleb is the idea of "Extremistan" or "The Fourth Quandrant."

    While I have no problem with the bolded quote...it is important to recognize where arithmetic is useful and where it is not. Relying on an inappropriate risk model is far worse than having no risk model at all. It is like using a map of Sweden while you are in Colorado because it is the only topographical map in your pack.

  • ||

    ...it is important to recognize where arithmetic is useful and where it is not. Relying on an inappropriate risk model is far worse than having no risk model at all. It is like using a map of Sweden while you are in Colorado because it is the only topographical map in your pack.

    That quote kind of sums up why the current politicized perception of AGW and by consequence the resulting "answer" with cap n' trade is nonsense.

  • cynical||

    '"do not disturb a complex system" since we do not know the consequences of our actions owing to complicated causal webs.'

    So he's steadfastly opposed to government intervention in the economy?

  • Neu Mejican||

    cynical.
    Why yes. That would be a fair summary of his position.

    I believe the exact quote is that governments should not be given toys they don't understand...something like that.

  • Neu Mejican||

    The main issue is that we CAN predict that a certain activity (introducing huge amounts of co2 is risky for well understood reasons) but we CAN'T predict how bad it will be. Just as we can predict that getting into a war is going to have negative consequences, but just CAN'T predict how bad those consequences are going to be.

    It is the attempt to optimize the cost-benefit calculation in this context to argue for one or the other option that is foolhardy. The risks are potentially huge. Reasonable investment now to avoid them is wise.

  • Neu Mejican||

    For clarity:
    The main issue is that we CAN predict that a certain activity (introducing huge amounts of co2) is risky (for well understood reasons)

  • cynical||

    I don't know many people that are both brilliant climate scientists along with policy analysts and macroeconomists and masters of a wide range of fields of engineering.

  • ||

    Serious question:

    Is Lomborg on the record as saying that he thinks that the science that global warming is driven by human activities is rock-solid, or is he conceding this point for the sake of argument?

  • Neu Mejican||

    Here's a discussion.

    http://www.lenntech.com/greenh.....ussion.htm

    From my read he's always been making more of a "it is real, but overblown" argument than a "it is false" argument. He makes other more troubling assertions related to species extinction and such, but I don't think he is just conceding the point.

  • ||

    Is Lomborg on the record as saying that he thinks that the science that global warming is driven by human activities is rock-solid, or is he conceding this point for the sake of argument?

    Read his book "The Skeptical Environmentalist". In it he explains his views on AGW.

    Yes he thinks AGW is real....and he always has.

  • ||

    Mr. Bailey,

    One question about decarbonization. You mention that decarbonization is the amount of carbon that is emitted per unit of goods and services produced. You go on to say that

    "To illustrate the economic consequences of trying to boost the rate of decarbonization through brute force mitigation, they generously assume that the decarbonization rate could rise to 3.6 percent annually. But this would still entail a cut in global economic growth from 2.2 percent annually to 1.8 percent."

    To reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere don't we have to decrease the rate of decarbonization instead of boosting it?

  • cynical||

    Presumably it was a typo, and he meant to say that decarbonization is the reduction in the amount of carbon blah blah blah.

  • SF||

    I will readily admit that I don't understand the science behind AGW. I also believe this is true of most people, including our policy makers.

    I also don't see anyone, alarmists or deniers, actually acting as it this is an emergency.

    Just saying...

  • Tommy Jefferson||

    One undeniable fact is that man always has his own self interest at heart which is why marxist ideology always fails to meet its end goal. Marx diabolically left human nature out of the equation.

    1. Al Gore = the carbon market
    2. Government funded scientist = job secuirty via grants etc..
    3. UN and world governments & bodies within = control over their populations, taxes, wealth redistribution -taxing the air we exhale is not far off from the old joke about taxing the air we breath.
    4. Shell and BP = natural gas burning power plants.
    5. WWF and other environmental groups - malthusian wackos

    AGW is Big oil vs coal industry and a long term strategy employed by BP and Shell have been funding CRU almost from the beginning.

    Follow the money! Start here:

    From the CRU:
    This list is not fully exhaustive, but we would like to acknowledge the support of the following funders (in alphabetical order):

    British Council, British Petroleum, Broom's Barn Sugar Beet Research Centre, Central Electricity Generating Board, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), Commercial Union, Commission of European Communities (CEC, often referred to now as EU), Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (CCLRC), Department of Energy, Department of the Environment (DETR, now DEFRA), Department of Health, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Eastern Electricity, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Environment Agency, Forestry Commission, Greenpeace International, International Institute of Environmental Development (IIED), Irish Electricity Supply Board, KFA Germany, Leverhulme Trust, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF), National Power, National Rivers Authority, Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC), Norwich Union, Nuclear Installations Inspectorate, Overseas Development Administration (ODA), Reinsurance Underwriters and Syndicates, Royal Society, Scientific Consultants, Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC), Scottish and Northern Ireland Forum for Environmental Research, Shell, Stockholm Environment Agency, Sultanate of Oman, Tate and Lyle, UK Met. Office, UK Nirex Ltd., United Nations Environment Plan (UNEP), United States Department of Energy, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Wolfson Foundation and the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF).

    One has to be awefully naive to believe governments and individuals like Al Gore don't really want to get rich taxing the fuck out of us, redistrubuting wealth and controlling our behavior but they're only doing it to save the planet.

    FDR said it best as Gov of NY before he became a master mind himself:

    The doctrine of regulation and legislation by "master minds," in whose judgment and will all the people may gladly and quietly acquiesce, has been too glaringly apparent at Washington during these last ten years. Were it possible to find "master minds" so unselfish, so willing to decide unhesitatingly against their own personal interests or private prejudices, men almost god-like in their ability to hold the scales of Justice with an even hand, such a government might be to the interest of the country, but there are none such on our political horizon, and we cannot expect a complete reversal of all the teachings of history.

    And Herbert Hoover laid it out in James T. Flynn's book titled The Roosevelt Myth:
    In every single case before the rise of totalitarian governments there had been a period dominated by economic planners. Each of these nations had an era under starry-eyed men who believed that they could plan and force the economic life of the people. They believed that was the way to correct abuse or to meet emergencies in systems of free enterprise. They exalted the state as the solver of all economic problems.

    These men thought they were liberals. But they also thought they could have economic dictatorship by bureaucracy and at the same time preserve free speech, orderly justice, and free government.

    These men are not Communists or Fascists. But they mixed these ideas into free systems. It is true that Communists and Fascists were round about. They formed popular fronts and gave the applause. These men shifted the relation of government to free enterprise from that of umpire to controller.

  • ||

    Who wants to predict the year when Ron flip flops again on AGW.

    My guess is November 2012.

    Anyone else want in on the dead pool?

  • trueofvoice||

    You really are a one-trick poney, Ronald.

    You've completely mischaracterized the Guardian story, apparently you couldn't be bothered to spare sufficient energy to report it properly.

    Lomborg's position now is a flip-flop, whether you like it or not. He has spent the last decade arguing that global warming just isn't much of a problem, that resources should be devoted to other areas instead. The Guardian quotes him as now saying that global warming is "undoubtedly one of the chief concerns facing the world today" and "a challenge humanity must confront". He has never before said anything remotely like this. Why didn't you post this quote in your column? Did you think no one would bother reading the Guardian story for themselves?

    This is almost a complete reversal from his previous position. Yet to avoid reporting this fact, you post a quote of monstrous and inappropriate length about his $100 billion "R&D fund" idea. I can only assume you didn't want to spend too much time actually writing original material.

    I've said it before: You don't check your facts, you don't thoroughly read the material, and you can barely be said to conduct research.

  • Nike Dunk Shoes||

    thanks

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