Barbara Boxer

Ah, What the Hell! Let's Throw Some More Op/Ed Fuel on the Global Warming Opinion Fire

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Columnist George Will weighs in on the economics of climate change:

Climate Cassandras say the facts are clear and the case is closed. (Sen. Barbara Boxer: "We're not going to take a lot of time debating this anymore.") The consensus catechism about global warming has six tenets: 1. Global warming is happening. 2. It is our (humanity's, but especially America's) fault. 3. It will continue unless we mend our ways. 4. If it continues we are in grave danger. 5. We know how to slow or even reverse the warming. 6. The benefits from doing that will far exceed the costs.

Only the first tenet is clearly true, and only in the sense that the Earth warmed about 0.7 degrees Celsius in the 20th century. We do not know the extent to which human activity caused this. The activity is economic growth, the wealth-creation that makes possible improved well-being—better nutrition, medicine, education, etc. How much reduction of such social goods are we willing to accept by slowing economic activity in order to (try to) regulate the planet's climate?

Whole Will column here.

And in his column, my friend Jonah Goldberg looks at trading off wealth against warming and decides on wealth: 

Earth got about 0.7 degrees Celsius warmer in the 20th century while it increased its GDP by 1,800 percent, by one estimate. How much of that 0.7 degrees can be laid at the feet of that 1,800 percent is unknowable, but let's stipulate that all of the warming was the result of our prosperity and that this warming is in fact indisputably bad (which is hardly obvious). That's still an amazing bargain. Life expectancies in the United States increased from about 47 years to about 77 years. Literacy, medicine, leisure and even, in many respects, the environment have improved mightily over the course of the 20th century, at least in the prosperous West.

Given the option of getting another 1,800 percent richer in exchange for another 0.7 degrees warmer, I'd take the heat in a heartbeat.

Jonah's column here.

Now discuss, hector, posture, call people names, whatever.  

NEXT: Praise for Radicals for Capitalism in the Wall Street Journal

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  1. Given the option of getting another 1,800 percent richer in exchange for another 0.7 degrees warmer, I’d take the heat in a heartbeat.

    I would, too. So let’s turn off the heat now.

    Oh…that’s right

  2. Typing at a computer contributes to global warming — significantly less than Nancy Pelosi’s jet — but some nevertheless.

    Agree with my views, damnit! Slow global warming by not typing a response.

  3. Blow me.

  4. Uh, never mind my last post, I misunderstood what Goldberg was saying.

    What he was saying was actually stupider than what I thought, considering the whole problem is that the earth is warming much faster now than what it did on the whole of the last century.

  5. Nancy Pelosi reminds me of Ilsa, the Bitch of Buchenwald. There is already a Democratic Socialist Caucus in the US House. Perhaps she should start a National Socialist Caucus

  6. What were the odds that a thread beginning with:

    Now discuss, hector, posture, call people names, whatever.

    would quickly attract a Godwin response?

  7. since we don’t know all the costs yet (or the benefits), Goldberg’s conclusion is tentative at best

  8. What I’d like to see is the creation and dispersion of technology that would make life livable in the event of whatever runaway-heating/farting effect we may undergo, since that is the real worry here.

    Specifically, biodomes and oxygen generaters.
    We should probably also create a database of all the various DNA layouts of animals and plants, in the event of a planet-wiping catastrophe. I thought a few activities were already taking place in the form of time capsules, but maybe we should make a few copies and store some on the moon.

    Also, Dan is a different sexual persuasion blah blah blah.

  9. Given the option of getting another 1,800 percent richer in exchange for another 0.7 degrees warmer, I’d take the heat in a heartbeat.

    Cuz it really is a simple tradeoff, just like the world renowned Climatologist J. Goldberg says it is.

    Wonder what the folks who actually stand to lose something in this bargain would choose, say, the residents of the Maldives. Wonder how much wealth they have? I bet theyve made a little in tourism. Wonder how much CO2 their activities create? Think anyone will ask them? Dr. Goldberg?

    Disclosure: I have never been to the Maldives, nor am I married to one. But it did look nice in a magazine* picture I saw.

    * made from 100% post recycled materials.

  10. I do think the issue of climate changes does tend to be treated in an alarmist
    fashion (maybe that’s necessary to get
    people’s attention), but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a real issue worth addressing.

    Global warming is probably a real, man-made phenomenon. It will have some positive effects, some neutral effects, and plenty of negative effects that will cause concerns. While there are some conservationist measures that can be taken to mitigate some of the effects of global warming, there probably isn’t very much we can do about it for the
    time being.

    As Will points out, Greenhouse Gases = Wealth
    Creation. Europe and the USA (more so in the U.S., because we are more wasteful) can manage a marginal reduction in greenhouse gas output through efficiency and conservation, but this won’t really tackle the problem. Further, the developing world’s emission of greenhouse gases is increasingly very rapidly (China is already number 2 in the world after the U.S., and will soon be number 1). Countries emit more as they
    get richer, and since most of the world’s people are in poor countries, I just don’t see any way around increased emissions.

    Without increasing emissions, at least for the time being, developing countries would not be able to lift their people out of extreme poverty, and the rich world would not have the
    resources to pursue technological innovation to
    improve people’s lives. Ultimately, the solution has to lie in technology. In 50
    years or so, we should see renewable fuel cells that will be able to power everyday life the way fossil fuels do now.

    Until then, we will just have to put up with global warming (granting, of course, reasonable efforts to slow it down). Luckily, it should be manageable. We are looking at a couple of degrees average temperature
    increase over the next hundred years, not the
    extinction of the human race. Yet very poor countries will likely fare the worst (I can think of Bangladesh), so I do think the rich world has a moral obligation to contribute to alleviate the suffering of those harmed by global warming (Particularly if further evidence develops of direct human causality).

    Still, we can expect a lot of posturing on this issue, beginning with Kyoto, a treaty which promises both too much and too little. Too
    much, because the goals are too unrealistic and will be unmet. Not even by Europe. Too little, because (as is widely accepted) even if Kyoto’s targets were met in full, global warming would continue unabated because the developing world (which accounts for most of
    the growth in emissions) is not included in the
    treaty.

  11. Hecktor? Hell, I fucktor!

  12. I like to procrastinate. Everyone should follow my lead and do nothing about global warming until we absolutely, positively have to do something.

  13. I’m kind of puzzled why we “ought” to do anything –

    1) Climate change is going to occur whether we try to influence it or not.

    2) Most of the “problems” really amount to changes in the utility of land: land that was good for farming maple trees will now be too hot for maple trees, but suitable for growing corn etc. Land that made a good port will become inundated (converting other inland areas to good port land) etc.

    As the utility of the land changes, there will be profit opportunities for entrepenaurs to take advantage of the changing conditions. So let’s say that the traditional maple tree habitat starts to lose maple trees. The scarcity will prompt prices to go up. The higher prices will encourage some bright fellow to start planting maple saplings in what was former tundra. Meantime some other fellow starts planting banana trees in southern Vermont.

    The “cures” promoted by politicans for the “ills” of gloabl warming strike me as curing a chest-cold by blowing a guy’s lungs out of his chest with a howitzer. The real comedy is that the Earth’s climate is probably not controllable, and so our efforts to freeze things in their current state will probably be wholly ineffectual.

  14. Come to think of it, given the usual audience for Will and Goldberg, the takeaway point of both columns probably is supposed to be “0.7 degrees! That doesn’t sound like much, what are we so worried about?”

  15. Dan T.,

    Why do you think that the Earth cooled so quickly between 1940 and 1970?

  16. As the NAS report and the article in Newsweek both indicate, scientific knowledge regarding climate change was more uncertain than it is today. At the time that Rasool and Schneider wrote their 1971 paper, climatologists had not yet recognized the significance of greenhouse gases other than water vapor and carbon dioxide, such as methane, nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons.[28] Early in that decade, carbon dioxide was the only widely studied human-influenced greenhouse gas. The attention drawn to atmospheric gases in the 1970s stimulated many discoveries in future decades. As the temperature pattern changed, global cooling was of waning interest by 1979

  17. Great point, Matt! Let’s fuck our economy to save the Maldives. What an ingenious policy!

  18. laricot,

    I don’t think that “greenhouse gasses = wealth” so much as “a certain state of economic development = greenhouse gasses”. My concern is that attempting to address the problem by arresting economic development will worsen the problem and will prevent the economic progression that will result in an enduring solution. I consider the overpopulation scare to be a comparable analogy.

  19. Matt: Yeah, that part really jumped out at me, too. What Goldberg seems to imply is that all the purported calamities associated with global warming are just a matter of people not wanting to change into short sleeves.

    It reminds me of the scene in This is Spinal Tap when they’re fielding criticism of a sexist album cover: “What’s wrong with being sexy?”

    p.s. I have no strong opinions about Global Warming. I’m just fascinated by idiots.

  20. Dan T.,

    So, was there cooling or not? If you’re saying not because the science wasn’t up to accurate measuring, how can we reliably say that temperatures have risen if we can’t say accurately what they were?

    I may have misunderstood you.

  21. Sure it’s better to be warmer and 1800% richer, but that’s on average. When you get down to particulars, in this instance maybe a lot of people get richer, but a lot of people also get f*cked. By like drowning or being killed in hurricanes or seeing their property destroyed. Sure those of us on the wealthy end are probably more likely to win out (as is kinda typical) but does that make the debate so obviously stupid or one-sided?

  22. we should be glad this is where the know-nothing consensus on global warming is inevitably going to go (“maybe it’s not bad, maybe we shouldn’t try to stop it if it’s expensive, (insert false choice here)”).

    kind of like how they finally acknowledged that the US tortures people (“but we need to! ticking bomb!”)

    now if we could get them to accept evolution (“but that doesn’t mean God doesn’t exist!”). maybe even that emergency contraception is the same as the pill (“ban them both!”)

    at least then the facts are resolved and the ideas can be vetted

  23. In the history of science have climate predictions of 100 years out, or even 30 years out, or for that matter have any consensus predictions covering more than a few decades ever been accurate? Does anybody have an example?

    That being said, I don’t understand the insistence that a response has to slow the economy. If a tax on consumption of buried carbon was implemented & replaced some other tax, like income tax, how would the economy suffer? There would be the same amount of drag on the economy, but now there would be disincentives on fossil fuel use in place of some of the disincentives we have now on every productive activity. I don’t see how, in total, there would be any more economic drag than there is now.

    Sure, most of the solutions thrown around would cause economic costs, but it seems to me that there is a very simple solution that would not.

    Somebody please let me know where I’m wrong here.

  24. Rick H.-

    I know global warming is real because last summer I had to turn my air conditioner all the way to 11. If we Americans don’t do something about this, it will be a black mark on our historical record. It’s so black you could ask “How much more black could it be?” and the answer is “None more black.”

  25. Come on people, you’re not even trying!

    Ron throws out a post like that and you can’t even make 30 comments in the first half hour.

    Geez. Slackers.

    Just to keep the pot boiling, I’ll suggest our alternatives are: Allow the temperatures to rise until a technical solution is found or cut the world population to around 100 Million. Tomorrow. Any volunteers?

  26. How did this post miss Fareed Zakaria’s column, “Global Warming: Get Used to It”?
    Seems pretty relevant to the topic, and he’s probably the only other Newsweek columnist ever worth reading.

  27. Ron, you should disclose if you own any part of George Will.

  28. Let’s make this real simple for you rocket scientists (Matt, Dan & Krys)out there:
    Warm (As in a degree) = Good
    Cold(as in ice age) = Bad

    We are told that those behind this hysteria, such as the European Union, are basing their actions on the “science,” if that is true then why are they against every other “scientific” intervention that would improve people’s lives, such as DDT, GM foods, modern healthcare (had to add that in).

    If you think that carbon trading is anything other than a socialist wetdream then you are dommed to a life of serfdom.

  29. The warming here is pretty mild compared to Pluto

    :http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2002/pluto.html

    There is other evidence suggesting that global warming is occurring on other planets as well.

    If this is so, then perhaps the man-made causes are pretty insubstantial, i.e. no matter how “green” we become, warming will continue.

    There is also “tree ring” evidence of very marked warmings and coolings going back several hundred years.

  30. That’s doomed I say.

  31. Maybe Jonah Goldberg would like to stake a $1000 bet that he’s not clueless.

    Oh wait, that didn’t work so well with Iraq either.

  32. Wonder what the folks who actually stand to lose something in this bargain would choose, say, the residents of the Maldives.

    Move.

  33. Matt,

    Thanks for not conflating unrelated issues. I really appreciate that.

    kebko,

    A carbon tax would raise the cost of energy which would raise the cost of everything, slowing economic growth due to general price inflation. Unfortunately, since the income from the carbon tax would very likely be targeted as a subsidy to other less economically efficient nonnuclear energy sources, there wouldn’t be any money left over to remove other taxes. Since the noncarbon nonnuclear energy sources are less economically efficient, they would likely not have much of a downward effect on energy prices, even after subsidies.

    Carbon taxes will also make nuclear energy much more economically attractive, for better or worse. Heavy investment in nuclear energy probably will drive energy prices back down, but it will also make nonnuclear noncarbon sources appear to be even more of a money pit than before. Not a big loss unless you don’t like nuclear waste.

  34. aspendougy,

    That’s just crazy talk. Haven’t you heard, EVERYONE knows what is causing this, and no other possible explanations will be heard.

    Frankly, I’d listen to the human-caused global warming brigade more closely if they did a better job of having intelligent people speak for them instead of the “DENIERS ARE NAZIS” contingent.

  35. TPG,

    Bailey was Will’s punk in Chino. Will owns Bailey’s ass, not vice versa.

    BTW, Will doesn’t even have the common decency to offer a reach around.

    Goldberg was everybody’s bitch.

  36. “If a tax on consumption of buried carbon was implemented & replaced some other tax, like income tax, how would the economy suffer?”

    LOL

    Do you really think that is what would happen?

    Since when has any government ever replaced any major tax collection system with another one? Any carbon tax would most likely be a new tax on top of all the existing one’s we have already.

  37. Remember when Hit & Run used to link to spiked often? Recently, they had a nice column on what I just posted about.

  38. “If a tax on consumption of buried carbon was implemented & replaced some other tax, like income tax, how would the economy suffer?”

    You honestly think they’d replace one tax with another?

  39. Bailey was Will’s punk in Chino. Will owns Bailey’s ass, not vice versa.

    We need full disclosure on this. If we don’t have it, the planet is going to melt. All Maldivians will die.

  40. jf,

    Ack!! Brendan O’Neill!! I’ll admit that that Spiked article is better than most of what he wrote for Reason at least, even if it is way too long.

  41. “Global warming is probably a real, man-made phenomenon.”

    No doubt the very reason the ice-caps are also melting on Mars.

    – EZORB7

    PS BTW we Martians are the center of the universe and damn proud of it!

  42. Getting back to Goldberg for a moment, I think he may be in error when he declares that there is a direct ratio between global warming and economic growth. It’s more likely that you run into the law of diminishing returns: the first 900 percent of economic growth might only raise the temperature .1 degree. So the real question is: would you trade half the growth in global warming for a ten percent reduction in global GDP if that were the option? What would be the total cost comparison between the two?

    Rimfax: a general trend over a long period is generally more significant than fluctuations within that period. Using your logic, the fact that GDP declined between 1929 and 1932 is proof somehow that it hasn’t truly risen at all over the last hundred years.

  43. Another recent article on Spiked comes to mind:

    http://tinyurl.com/2lubpf

    “This essay questions the views of African development implicit in the ‘adaptation agenda’ and suggests that its implementation will institutionalise African poverty and dependency. Those who suggest that this agenda is empowering are not only patronising African people but also seeking to exploit African poverty to reinforce climate change advocacy in the West itself.”

  44. To more directly answer Rimfax’s question: S02 was likely the cause of global cooling in that period. We’ve greatly reduced S02 emmissions, as it reduced air quality and was associated with acid rain. Yes, some people have suggested releasing significant amounts of S02 to combat global warming in a last ditch effort should the need ever arise. I believe we had a thread on this some weeks or months ago.

  45. James,

    So, if man made CO2 causes global warming, the modestly rapid cooling over a 30 year period well into the industrial age, after 50 years of minimal warming, is analogous to 10 years of disastrous economic policy? Can you help me out a bit with that analogy?

  46. I am going to re-post my Slashdot (http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=221960&cid=17983626) post here (edited for “grammer” and clarity):

    “One of the great insanities of the modern age is the fact that environmental problems get treated like sins, for which humanity (Western civilization in particular) is expected to pay penance and sacrifice exactly the essense of the society that we worked so hard to built in the first place. What is sorely needed – and what I push in my class – is a rational look at things that would treat environmental issues as engineering problems: what (if anything) can be done at the price the clients are willing to pay? And, no, “humanity” is not the client here; those who push for action on climate change, whatever their reasons might be, are.

    On the last subject here, I would have taken climate change alarmists a whole lot more seriously if they, expecting the rest of the world to make sacrifices, were willing to make some sacrifices themselves. No, giving up cars on their part wouldn’t cut it, as they already regard cars as evil – it has to be something of a value. Let’s see… I value personal transportation (that they want me to give up), they value… let’s say, old-growth forests. As old-growth forests are essentially carbon-neutral, and tree farms remove carbon from the atmosphere, are climate change action proponents willing to sacrifice some of those forests to mitigate global warming? Until I hear an honest “yes” from the “global change is bad” camp, I’ll remain unconvinced as to the severety of the problem and opposed to any action that diminished my quality of life.”

    The response by one “drix” was pretty indicative, too.

  47. I wish smart people like Will wouldn’t use the term “Cassandra” incorrectly. Cassandra did not just predict bad things, she predicted bad things AND WAS RIGHT.

  48. I do think the issue of climate changes does tend to be treated in an alarmist fashion (maybe that’s necessary to get people’s attention), but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a real issue worth addressing.

    Wow, laricot, you actually have reasonable, balanced views about global warming.

  49. Chris S.,

    That makes a lot of sense. However, why did the cooling begin over 30 years after the peak of the coal era and long after lower sulfur and lower particulate fuels had taken over the economy? Most industrialized cities had significantly reduced sulfur dioxide and particulates by 1940.

    Thanks for responding constructively.

  50. aspendougy: man-made causes ARE pretty insubstantial, at least in regard to CO2. We (humanity) emit less than 4 whooping percent of the total release into the atmosphere. Bottom line – small tweaks of natural sinks would do a lot more good than huge (including complete destruction of the Western lifestyle) changes in human-associated sources.

  51. Rimfax,

    Yeah, it was pretty long, and in fact I was only about halfway through when I posted it (I thought I was farther through and the rest of the page was comments, shows what I know).

    I don’t remember him writing for reason. I guess I’ll have to look through the archives now.

  52. Regarding question (2) posed by George Will, I don’t see why this elicits so much sarcasm and rage by so many people. Look, the notion of a “greenhouse effect” on the whole has never really been challenged. We are certain that some molecules absorb more infared radiation than they reflect in other wavelenghts. The absorbed radiation warms the planet via convection, and if molecules in our atmosphere absorb more energy than they reflect, they should raise the heat loss/gain equilibrium. Without these molecules, the planet would be about 30c cooler.

    We also know that CO2 (as well as H2O, CH4, O3 and a host of others) fits this general description — it absorbs IR radiation and reflects relatively little light in other wavelenghts.

    I understand that this paints an extremely simple picture of climate change, but people have to understand that some degree of global warming resultant from increased levels of CO2 is the expected outcome. Empirical data confirms at least a correlation between increased temperature and CO2 emmission, and we have every reason to believe — based on the CO2 light absorption profile discussed above — that we have causation as well. No, it’s not 100% percent certain, and we can’t confirm this in a laboratory or match global climate change with simple models — the actual atmosphere is too complex for such certainty.

    Question (6), IMO, is the most complicated question posed by Will, and I honestly doubt that anything short of a major technological innovation will make the benefits worth the costs. But just a little effort on the CO2 reduction front may buy us some time here. It’s at least worth thinking about.

  53. Rimfax,

    I don’t know the answer to your second question, but yeah, that’s a fair question. I’d seach around google if I had more time tonight.

  54. jf,

    O’Neill had two or three articles that elicited more groans than Weigel and Young combined from their particular detractors. Not that they were anti-libertarian or anything, but that they missed any useful mark by such a wide margin.

    The only one that I can recall at the moment was an article on PETA that was so flip and dismissive of that often vile organization that I almost wanted to send them a donation as penance for reading it.

    I just remembered his name after reading the second awful article. He did have one excellent article, as well. I remember being shocked that he wrote it.

  55. James K

    You missed the part that Cassandra was also cursed by Apollo: He decreed that no one would ever beleive her prophecies.

    That, of course, can be spun any way one chooses.

  56. Socialism is what causes global warming. If the governments of the world would stop slowing progress through regulation and taxation we would develop clean technologies that make this whole debate moot.

  57. Chris S.,

    Thanks. I’ve searched before and I haven’t found any good answers regarding the offsets of pollution trends and warming/cooling trends. Perhaps there is a causal link in there, since, as you note, the understood behavior of the compounds in controlled conditions says there should be. Maybe some complexity of the atmosphere creates a multi-decade delayed response, such that even the historical delayed correlation between temperature and CO2 really is a sign of causality rather than one of simple correlation, as the CO2 delay implies. The trouble is that the historical behavior of the global climate does not very closely follow any of our models. We’ve declared the greenhouse gas model to be close enough without really establishing any confidence that it is any better model for prediction than astrology when it comes to climate change causality.

    Unfortunately, I fear that I am getting biased by the ideology of so many of the global warming believers. I can accept that mankind may be ruining this planet, but I am reflexively skeptical whenever this is alleged followed immediately by recommendations for Ludditism or Marxism.

  58. “Those who suggest that this agenda is empowering are not only patronising African people but also seeking to exploit African poverty to reinforce climate change advocacy in the West itself.”

    Another aspect of this, seen in California today, is the notion that California will economically gain by being at the forefront in the technologies that will allow the developing world to advance in a carbon neutral way.

    In other words, the very richest people on earth are guiding the political will to restrict carbon emissions of all humanity, including the poorest, with direct economic benefit back to themselves.

    It’s rather sickening.

  59. Well, I suggested that a carbon tax wouldn’t be any more damaging to the economy than most other taxes & asked to be corrected. The only responses I got were 2 strawmen:

    1) The new carbon tax wouldn’t be matched by a tax cut.

    and

    2) The revenue from the tax would be wasted on a bunch of subsidies.

    Unfortunately, those weren’t answers to my question. I still have not heard a direct disagreement with my proposal. A new carbon tax as a replacement for a comparable amount of income tax would address the carbon problem without dragging on the economy.
    I have never heard a direct rebuttal to this, yet I frequently hear the issue addressed as if there is no way to address the problem without dragging down the economy.
    Anybody can think of ways in which things won’t work, but if this is a simple way for policy to work, then we should be advocating for it. Otherwise, we’re being dishonest.

    And the solution isn’t unreasonable:

    1) Deals are done all the time where one tax is traded for another.

    2) The last major change in income tax policy was a tax cut – and that was without a matching tax increase.

    3) Energy prices have tripled in the last couple of years with very little effect on the economy. There’s nothing magic about energy that makes taxes on it somehow more damaging than taxes against anything else. If taxes were implemented that simply kept oil prices near their current level, so that investments in long term alternatives could be made without the risk of oil going back to $25/barrel, we would have investment in alternatives like crazy right now. Nobody’s investing without subsidies now because the oil companies are out drilling like crazy for new oil that is $25/barrel or less, and the price of oil will eventually fall. You’d be nuts to invest in alternatives now. But the price floor on oil would make many alternatives viable without the need for subsidies.

  60. >It’s rather sickening.

    Yes, rather. But most Californians would respond to your argument by saying “if we destroy the planet we’ll destroy Africa too, stupid.” And you’d never get beyond that point.

    I live in CA. I figure, if my town decides to start picking through my garbage to see if I’m compliant with its recycling and composting demands I’ll probably just start taking my trash to the dump myself (it’s not far away). But if the state actually does mandate fluorescent lightbulbs, I’m leaving.

  61. Regarding “global cooling” in the middle decades of the 20th century, I don’t think there is a consensus any more than there is consensus about exactly what percent of the current warming is non-cyclical (80%? 120%?). We’d need to understand the world a lot better than we do.

    The candidates, considering what we know are (as mentioned previously) SO2 and particulate matter emitted both by humans in large uantities and by volcanoes in abnormally large quantities during the decades in question. In hindsight the magnitude of the cooling was mild compared to the warming trend.

    For rimfax to consider, increased radiative forcing has to warm the Earth’s water before it can warm its land. And what with the high specific heat of water (and the huge quantity of it), that takes a long time and leads to significant lags between emissions and warming.

  62. kebko,

    Not only do I agree with your take on carbon taxes, but I’m willing to admit I’m a simpleton if someone can refute the arguments you have made. I see no harm in enacting a revenue-neutral carbon tax; indeed, as a tax on producers which would be directly passed on to the largest users, I see a benefit. Far better to penalize people who drive the hated gas-guzzling SUVs, or have mansions with huge heating bills, than to give tax credits to oil companies and have a social-engineering income tax.

  63. kebko,

    Sure, most of the solutions thrown around would cause economic costs, but it seems to me that there is a very simple solution that would not.

    The problem is, you’ll never ever get the politicians to just do a one-up tax trade off. They’ll end up keeping too much of the old, while imposing all of the new. Like G.M. said.

    Besides, you misunderstand the intent of the hard left greenies. They want to hurt Western economics. West = BAD. You now, like white men are there and they run everything, and all that crap that has to be stopped.

    Nonetheless, if you really could do a one-up tax trade, it might do something towards creating incentives to get away from carbon. But see comments above about nukes, because lots more nukes is a very probable outcome of your proposal.

    You should consider what impact the melt down of a single large nuke plant might have on the environment, including the atmosphere.

    I for one am not convinced nukes are really a smarter alternative. Maybe they are, but it would take decades and many dollars to find out — and by then, we wouldn’t be in a position to back up and go the other way again.

  64. kebko,

    You have a point. You weren’t asking about the political likelihoods and that’s very fair.

    So, if I understand your question correctly, what if carbon taxes were placed on the importation or extraction of carbon releasing fuels and other taxes, such as income, were reduced to offset that?

    It would raise the price of energy and subsequently other goods that take energy to produce, but income net would increase as well, probably offsetting each other. The net effect would likely be somewhat regressive by socialist standards since the rich would be able to afford energy saving technologies that the poor would not, but the economy would eventually catch up and start scaling energy saving technologies for mass purchase at Walmart and Target.

    Overall, it would probably not be a bad bit of social engineering, even aside from any global warming or carbon emission concerns. If it could simplify the tax code, it could save even more, though it would put a lot of tax preparers out of work.

    Basically, I like the idea as a tax improvement measure and I’m mildly enthused about it as an environmental measure.

    Thanks for sticking with it for us.

  65. Matt,

    Yes, that is a very likely mechanism for the apparent extended delay. I’d like to see some scientific backing for it. I won’t be surprised if that proves to be true.

    However, it would also suggest that our current warming is due to emissions released 30 years ago. For all we know, the reduction in CFC emissions has already started a correction that we won’t see for another ten years or so.

  66. You missed the part that Cassandra was also cursed by Apollo: He decreed that no one would ever beleive her prophecies.

    That, of course, can be spun any way one chooses.

    Global warming deniers are in the pocket of Big Apollo.

  67. Hey guys (in the midwest gender-neutral sense), thanks for reconsidering & responding to my suggestion.

    I think the regressive issue is probably what would kill that proposal with the Democrats. It would be a legitimate concern. But, the income tax has been made so progressive that any reduction in it is going to be extremely weighted to the wealthy. Nobody with less than median income has a stake in that tax, which I consider a real political problem. So, I think the issue is that the income tax is too progressive.
    Except for the very richest people, I don’t know that energy cost as a percentage of total cost of living is that different among most citizens. I’m not convinced that it’s that regressive. I suppose the working poor spend more on gasoline, but, as has been stated here, energy costs would find their way into practically everything we spend money on.

    If we’re really worried about regressive taxes, we could stop taking 12% of every persons income away from potential retirement savings in order to fund “retirement savings”. But, that’s another topic.

  68. Dan T. and joe,

    Have an afternoon to help me out with that six-pack for my 1972 Dodge Charger hybrid?

    joe, when are you going to do some cut and paste work here? I missed it if you did already.

  69. Guy,

    Go with throttle body fuel injection and an engine computer.Actually if you have the 318
    save your pennies for a crate motor.

  70. “The problem is, you’ll never ever get the politicians to just do a one-up tax trade off. They’ll end up keeping too much of the old, while imposing all of the new.”

    They wouldn’t get rid of ANY of the old – just impose the new on top of it.

    The whole purpose of the politician’s chicken little routine on global warming in the first place is to convince individuals and businesses that THEY need to sacrifice more money and freedom to “solve” the “problem”.

    You can be sure that there is to be no sacrifice by the policitians in giving up any power that they have now.

    The federal income tax is a vehicle for massive wealth redistribution and social engineering for any and every purpose under the sun.

    That enormous power begats campaign contributions, fawning lobbyists, etc for the politicians.

    There is no way they are going to give that up in exchange for a single-purpose carbon tax.

  71. A new carbon tax as a replacement for a comparable amount of income tax would address the carbon problem without dragging on the economy.

    Perhaps. However, I still have a concern that any tax that is ostensibly meant to discourage some human activity soon becomes a stream of income that the government depends upon. It won’t escape the attention of some political players that reducing our greenhouse gas emissions would shrink that income stream.

  72. HOUSE HEARING ON ‘WARMING OF THE PLANET’ CANCELED AFTER ICE STORM
    HEARING NOTICE
    Tue Feb 13 2007 19:31:25 ET

    The Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality hearing scheduled for Wednesday, February 14, 2007, at 10:00 a.m. in room 2123 Rayburn House Office Building has been postponed due to inclement weather. The hearing is entitled “Climate Change: Are Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Human Activities Contributing to a Warming of the Planet?”

    The hearing will be rescheduled to a date and time to be announced later.

    DC WEATHER REPORT:

    Wednesday: Freezing rain in the morning. Total ice accumulation between one half to three quarters of an inch. Brisk with highs in the mid 30s. North winds 10 to 15 mph…increasing to northwest 20 to 25 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation near 100 percent.

    Wednesday Night: Partly cloudy. Lows around 18. Northwest winds around 20 mph.

  73. The idea that any warming is a result of human activity is challenged by strong evidence to the contrary that includes a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters in January that found that: “the rate of sea level change was found to be larger in the early part of last century.” In the first half of the 20th century sea level rose by about 2 millimeters per year, while averaging about 1.5 millimeters per year in the second half even though there was far more green house gas emissions is the second half of the century.

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2007/2006GL028492.shtml

    Now this is just the opposite of what has been predicted if warming is engendered by green house gases rather than solar cycle activity. Sea level change should respond more readily to greenhouse gas emissions cuz the polar caps will melt more as a result of the greenhouse gases carrying the heat to the poles via convection as opposed to solar radiation cuz it’s less direct on the poles. But during the last half of the 20th century when there was a big jump in greenhouse gases, there was less sea level rise(caps melting) compared to the first half when thee was far less green house gas production.

  74. Rick,

    I don’t think anyone expects a clear 1:1 correlation between global warming and sea levels. Remember that warmer temperatures also increase evaporation. Additionally, to the extent that melting ice caps decrease water salinity at the poles, this also increases evaporation. I don’t know the net effect of these various opposing forces, but I doubt this is the “opposite” of our earlier predictions, and even if it proves that earlier models were incorrect, that doesn’t mean much.

  75. Mr. Will: you need to look up the term “Cassandra.” You just characterized those who recognize the reality of global warming as accurate prophets, ignored in their own time.

    Mr. Goldberg: North Korea had advanced its nuclear program from posessing raw uranium ore to having a near-functional warhead, without harming a single American. During that period, our economy has grown quite a bit. Ergo, we have nothing to worry about if their nuclear program continues.

  76. I’m all for efficiencies and technological improvements, but that doesn’t get us anywhere near a reduction in actual temperature, or even slow down the rate of increase much. People are talking about the impact to human societies over a century in the future, which is absurd because you have no idea what human society will look like in a hundred years.

    I am on board with any policy any environmentalist wants to propose that won’t hurt growth. That is my concession to the idea that ‘we should be doing something’. Can I get agreement from that camp that growth of economies is the greatest engine of improvement to the human condition ever to exist, and that they won’t hurt billions of people by advocating policies that are harmful to that engine for no obvious gain?

  77. I think pro-environmentalist are doing themselves an injustice by attaching their anti-pollution stance to global warming. This gives the pro-pollution crowd ample space to argue against it since it’s really difficult to prove, being that the planet has a history of its own climate swings which the environmentalist do not like to address.

    It seems to me, if the pro-environmental crowd stuck with the empirical science and made the case that pollution is bad for people, (opposed to the planet), and we should limit pollution because we deserve cleaner, healther air, they would advance their case.

    Many Republicans are jumping on the “you can’t smoke because it pollutes your lungs, and everyone’s lungs around you”. The anti-pollution crowd could exploit that and gain extra support from the global warming skeptics. Smoking is a form of pollution so is car exhaust.

    I think the evironmentalist would get more support and make better gains if they widely framed the issue as opposed to making it a global warming issue.

  78. Go with throttle body fuel injection and an engine computer.Actually if you have the 318
    save your pennies for a crate motor.

    I am sticking close to stock on this one.

    Maybe when I find a b-body 1970 or older I might do something like that. Lots of cool new active suspension stuff for them too.

  79. I don’t think anyone expects a clear 1:1 correlation between global warming and sea levels. Remember that warmer temperatures also increase evaporation. Additionally, to the extent that melting ice caps decrease water salinity at the poles, this also increases evaporation. I don’t know the net effect of these various opposing forces, but I doubt this is the “opposite” of our earlier predictions, and even if it proves that earlier models were incorrect, that doesn’t mean much.

    Also, don’t forget that when floating ice melts the water level decreases.

  80. Also, don’t forget that when floating ice melts the water level decreases.

    Will I look like a rube if I ask whether you are joking?

  81. Will I look like a rube if I ask whether you are joking?

    Not sure what the proper, polite, term would be if you are simply unaware of this basic scientific fact.

    It can be obesrved easily by noticing that solid water (ice) floats in the same water it was made from. That whole density thing. If you freeze a volume of water, it takes up more room than when it was liquid.

    A more obvious example is placing ice in a container and then filling the container with liquid water, marking the water level and watching that level drop as the ice melts.

    It does not matter if it is a floating ice cube or a floating ice cap. When the ice melts it takes up less space than when it was solid.

  82. It does not matter if it is a floating ice cube or a floating ice cap. When the ice melts it takes up less space than when it was solid.

    That is true. But note that the ice makes up for this higher volume by sticking up out of the water.

    When something floats in water, the volume of water that it displaces has a weight equal to its own weight. Since the solid water of floating ice weighs exactly as much as itself melted, ice as it melts does not raise the water level at all.

    In fact, in real life if the ice is less saline than the sea, the melting ice will slightly raise the sea level because it had been displacing less volume of the denser salt water that the volume the fresh ice has once it melts.

  83. Let’s try this experiment, Fill your ice cube tray with water, when the water freezes did the volume of water shrink, stay the same, or get bigger? Of course don’t expect big gains or losses.

    “”But note that the ice makes up for this higher volume by sticking up out of the water.””

    If that statment is true then the ice cube will be bigger than the volume of water. Right?

    Or fill a glass with ice, then with water to the top, and observe the water level as the ice melts.

  84. Sorry Mike P I meant to include the above line too. It should have been being that my comment was more directed to water level.

    “”It does not matter if it is a floating ice cube or a floating ice cap. When the ice melts it takes up less space than when it was solid.

    That is true. But note that the ice makes up for this higher volume by sticking up out of the water”””

    If that statment is true then the ice cube will be bigger than the volume of water. Right?

  85. Okay, now I know you all are pulling my leg. “Ha ha,” you all are saying. “Look at the rube who actually thinks we don’t know that melting ice has no effect on the level of water it’s floating in. What a rube.”

  86. If that statment is true then the ice cube will be bigger than the volume of water. Right?

    Yes, it is bigger. It is bigger by the volume sticking out of the water, since the part in the water displaces exactly the whole cube’s weight of water.

    Or fill a glass with ice, then with water to the top, and observe the water level as the ice melts.

    If the ice is supported by the bottom of the glass — thus supporting a volume of ice above the water so that the volume of ice in the water is smaller than that of the water displaced by the weight of the ice — then the glass will overflow as the ice melts.

    If, on the other hand, the ice is floating in the glass — supported entirely by the water — the level will remain at the top of the glass as and until the ice melts.

  87. MikeP and TrickyVic, you’ve got to consider the salinity of the water compared to the salinity of the ice in order to fully answer the question. They aren’t equal and it turns out to have a small effect on whether sea levels rise or fall, comparable in size to the thermal expansion of liquid water.

    From Sea Level, Ice and Greenhouses FAQ, at http://www.radix.net/~bobg/faqs/sea.level.faq.html
    “Sea ice is much fresher than sea water (5 parts per thousand instead of about 35). When the ice melts (pretend for the moment that it does so instantly and retains its shape), the resultant melt water is still slightly less dense than the original sea water. So the meltwater still ‘stands’ a little higher than the local sea level. The amount of extra height
    depends on the salinity difference between ice and ocean, and corresponds to about 2% of the thickness of the original ice floe. For 30 million square kilometers of ice (global maximum extent) and average thickness of 2 meters (the Arctic ice is about 3 meters, the Antarctic is about 1), the corresponding change in global sea level would be 2 (meters) * 0.02 (salinity effect) * 0.10 (fraction of ocean covered by ice), or 4 mm. Not a large figure, but not zero either.”

  88. and made the case that pollution is bad for people

    Except that gases like carbon dioxide aren’t normally considered pollution. Most folks already accept that pollution is bad for people. The case to be made is that excess levels of a gas that is otherwise harmless should be considered pollution.

    Not getting that not-all-that-subtle point, or pretending not to get it, is what made the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s “Carbon Dioxide is Life” ads so embarassing and counterproductive for more legitimate global warming skeptics.

  89. you’ve got to consider the salinity of the water compared to the salinity of the ice in order to fully answer the question.

    Yes. I made that point in my comment of 11:58am.

    “…For 30 million square kilometers of ice (global maximum extent)…”

    Why “global maximum extent”? It should be average extent. When the average freezes to the maximum, it lowers the sea level via the same effect.

  90. Aack. Missed that point, sorry for the redundancy.

    The ‘global maximum extent’ was within a quote, and I’m not the author, but I think he picked that figure to maximize the total magnitude of the rise from a melting ice cap, in order to show how very small the effect is. But yeah, when comparing average sea levels you should use the average amount of ice coverage.

    What will be so horrible about a 2-3 degree C rise in temperature by 2100? Seriously. The sea level rise they mention in the FAQ I cited above is quite small, on the order of 2m, I think. Rough for the Maldives, some Pacific atolls and maybe the Netherlands, but who else? Won’t a 2-3 degree rise help increase growing seasons in much of the world? The weather will worsen that much more with a 2-3 degree rise? Does that mean the weather was that much more equitable 50-75 years ago?

    I’m genuinely confused as to why AGW is supposed to be a total catastrophe, and the IPCC report is not helping my confusion.

  91. Can I get agreement from that camp that growth of economies is the greatest engine of improvement to the human condition ever to exist, and that they won’t hurt billions of people by advocating policies that are harmful to that engine for no obvious gain?

    No, no you can’t.

  92. The sea level rise they mention in the FAQ I cited above is quite small, on the order of 2m, I think.

    The sea wasn’t that much higher during recent warm periods, so why should it be that much higher if it gets warm again?

  93. It would raise the price of energy and subsequently other goods that take energy to produce, but income net would increase as well, probably offsetting each other.

    I’m not sure how raising taxes and input costs via a carbon tax will raise net income, seeing as higher input and deadweight costs usually lowers net income.

  94. Gray Ghost,
    best estimates (BE) from the IPCC are scenario dependent.

    The Scenario we seem to be on (A1b) suggests a BE of 2.8 degrees C by 2100. This means a minimal reduction in CO2. This is still an additional four times the difference in temperature we have already seen since preindustrial times.

    The B1 scenario, a ‘reasonable growth scenario’, gets a BE of 1.8 degrees C by 2100. This means we reduce CO2 output by some 80% by 2050. Gristmill comments on how to make this possible:
    http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2007/2/16/104655/313

    In both those cases, after 2100 temperatures are expected to continue to rise at around +0.5 degrees C before levelling off.

    Sea level rises are a bigger unknown at this point. The IPCC removed estimates of sea level rise due to rapid glacial melting due to incresed uncertanties in this department. So far we have seen about 7 inches of mean global sea level rise. PaleoClimate studies suggest that if temperatures stablizize at +3-4 degrees celcius, then we may ‘eventually’ see about 3 more feet of sea level increase. It should be stressed that there is greater uncertainty in this area thanthere was in the last IPCC report.

  95. Rick Barton Wrote:
    “The idea that any warming is a result of human activity is challenged by strong evidence to the contrary that includes a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters in January that found that…”>/b>

    Rick, nowhere in the astract you linked to does it claim, much less show, that humans are not responsible for the current warming. It only claims to show that sea level rise so far has been unexceptional.

  96. Sam-Hec,

    The results of that research published in Geophysical Research Letters most certainly is evidence that the warming is not the result of human green house gas production. The prevailing paradigm in global warming theory has been that sea level change will respond more quickly and directly to green house gas emissions for the reasons that I explained.

    Based on this, the UN IPCC report, forecasts sea level increase have an over 90% chance of being observable at 8 year intervals, but here we have data that shows less sea level rise during the last half of the 20th century (as opposed to the first half) just when the theory predicts more of it. Cuz of this and other research, the idea that anthropogenic warming is significant is in deep trouble. The IPCC doing bad science in their meta study and cherry picking the data won’t save the paradigm. I hate it when science is compromised for political reasons. But this is to be expected in this case since some global warming scientist-activists and activists have advocated lying about the global warming question.

  97. Chris S.:

    I don’t think anyone expects a clear 1:1 correlation between global warming and sea levels.

    The UN IPCC report, forecasts sea level increase have an over 90% chance of being observable at 8 year intervals. Of course they might well have done biased scientific reading to derive that forcast.

  98. University of Colorado climatologist Roger Pielke, Sr., thinks that some of the claims made in the Policymakers Summary issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change earlier this month are unsupported by the data.

    “In even an overview of the section in the 2007 IPCC Statement For Policymakers on “Direct Observations of Recent Climate Change” there are errors, or at best selective information, in their findings.”

    http://tinyurl.com/2y5vp8

  99. Rick,
    Nowhere in the abstract does it say that the current sea level rise isn’t anthropogenic in origin. Only that it is unexceptional wrt past sea level rises.

    Is well established that there was a notable increase in solar activity the first half of the 20th century There should have been sea level rise of some sort then without a preponderance of greenhouse gasses. Now there is a greater amount of greenhouse gasses…but no relatively significant solar increases in radiation.

    “but here we have data that shows less sea level rise during the last half of the 20th century (as opposed to the first half)”

    This statement of yours is somewhat at odds with what the abstract actually says:
    “The rate of sea level change was found to be larger in the early part of last century (2.03 ? 0.35 mm/yr 1904-1953), in comparison with the latter part (1.45 ? 0.34 mm/yr 1954-2003). The highest decadal rate of rise occurred in the decade centred on 1980 (5.31 mm/yr) with the lowest rate of rise occurring in the decade centred on 1964 (?1.49 mm/yr). Over the entire century the mean rate of change was 1.74 ? 0.16 mm/yr.”

    It never says that the later half of the 20th century sea level rise wasn’t anthropogenic. All that can be infered based on what we see from the abstract is (probably) that the total warming influences on the seas’ level was overall less during the second half than during the first half; it should be noted that the strongest sea level rise occurance centered on 1980, during the second half. (It should also be noted that the second half was less steady in how much the sea level rose.)

    This really just means that there was a stronger warming trend during the first half…nothing is mentioned as to why there was a stronger warming trend. There are a variety of forces at work, some wax some wane, some stay put; Man’s influence is only one of those forces, and during the second half of 20th century, our CO2 signal simply wasn’t stronger than the preceding half’s more natural warming signal. That doesn’t that future CO2 signal isn’t a problem

    You speculate about what the IPCC says and/or has a paradigm about, but you don’t show anything. As of now, however, sea level estimates by the IPCC are up in the air, as they work to refigure rapid glacial melt models. Speculations about 20+feet of sea level rise anytime soon is just that, speculation by politicians and pundits; it is not the ‘paradigm’ or working climatologists.

    btw:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/SPM2feb07.pdf

  100. Sam:

    Nowhere in the abstract does it say that the current sea level rise isn’t anthropogenic in origin. Only that it is unexceptional wrt past sea level rises.

    The salient point is that it shows a leveling off of sea level rise when the theory predicts that there should be an acceleration.

    Is well established that there was a notable increase in solar activity the first half of the 20th century.

    Could you please supply a link giving evidence that solar activity was greater in the 1st half of the 20th century vs the 2bd half? But what ever, Sea level rise in response to solar engendered warming is not supposed to be as time responsive as green house gas engendered warming cuz the solar radiation warming is a “direct hit” phenomena and it falls less directly on the poles. Green house gases would engender warming via a different dynamic.

    This statement of yours is somewhat at odds with what the abstract actually says:

    Breaking down my observation of two half century time frames into smaller time frames does not negate the observations.

    Given the lack of intellectual honesty displayed in the IPCC report, It should not be surprising that they are de-stressing sea level increase since it is not corroborating anthropogenic warming.

    Thank you for the link. I already have the IPCC report (at least what they’ve released so far.) I hear that they’re going to make sure that the rest of what they release supports their conclusion before they release it. That doesn’t sound good if your into honest inquiry.

    BYW:

    Shattered Consensus: The True State of Global Warming

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0742549232/associatizer-20/

    http://www.marshall.org/article.php?id=366

  101. “The salient point is that it shows a leveling off of sea level rise when the theory predicts that there should be an acceleration.”

    We arenot dicsussing ‘theory’ we are discussing observations. Following the graph on page 6 of the IPCC report I linked to, the first of the of the 20th shows about 50mm of sea level rise, followed by the second half wiht about 100mm of sea level changes. Based off that, the expectation of acceleration is confirming.

    All aspects of the IPCC paper must be reviewed and unanimously agreed upon by all participating scientists and nations. In short, its one huge Peer Review. Contoversial or significantly uncertain aspects of climatology will by it’s very nature not get into the Report.

    The AGU abstract you linked to likely did not receive nearly as much review. Why did it’s results not get included in the final Report? Perhaps it was in error and the error was caught, and the paper dropped accordingly; or maybe it was late in the game (other worthy things didn’t get included…it takes time for all these reviews to happen); m,aybe it was too controversial.

    “Could you please supply a link giving evidence that solar activity was greater in the 1st half of the 20th century vs the 2bd half?”

    Semantically, I am looking at the change in solar energy during the first half, as technically there was less overall solar energy on average during hte first half. It is the changes that are important:
    http://www.mps.mpg.de/images/projekte/sun-climate/climate.gif

    “Given the lack of intellectual honesty displayed in the IPCC report, It should not be surprising that they are de-stressing sea level increase since it is not corroborating anthropogenic warming.”

    I reemphasise that your AGU paper is just one paper, from one guy, who likely received only a small Peer Review (which sometimes aren’t very good.). Apparantly the IPCC rejected it for errors, controversy or uncertainty (or tardiness); that one paper while it seems to contradict the IPCC, it does not by itself disprove past observations as stated in the IPCC report. Whom are destressing ‘future’ sea level changes due to increased uncertainty in glacial melting…not past ovservations.

  102. All aspects of the IPCC paper must be reviewed and unanimously agreed upon by all participating scientists and nations

    There are many scientists listed in the IPCC paper who do not agree with all of its conclusions. I just saw two of em interviewed on “Book Notes”.

    Apparantly the IPCC rejected it for errors, controversy or uncertainty (or tardiness)

    That paper was just published, but as this link shows, there is evidence of bias on the part of the IPCC:

    University of Colorado climatologist Roger Pielke, Sr., thinks that some of the claims made in the Policymakers Summary issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change earlier this month are unsupported by the data.

    In even an overview of the section in the 2007 IPCC Statement For Policymakers on “Direct Observations of Recent Climate Change” there are errors, or at best selective information, in their findings.

    http://tinyurl.com/2y5vp8

  103. Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years

    http://tinyurl.com/2yfyg5

  104. rick,
    any idea where I can find those booknotes episodes on the Web? BookNotes website itself seems to be down.

    I amthinking R. Pielke Sr. is making a number of errors in his criticsms, some of which he gets challenged on in the comments section…but it is late for me now…I go sleep.

  105. Sam,

    I’vr never been to the BN site. I catch it sometimes on Cspan2. I really dig it.

    I’ll go back to the Pielk thread. Forgive me if I don’t trust your assessment. You seem a tad biased. 🙂

  106. I don’t have cable or sattelite or such, so I either have to rent, borrow a recording, or find it on the internets.

    WRT Pielke Sr.
    the first item cuahg tmy Attentions:
    “1. The IPCC SPM writes on page 7

    “? snow cover have declined on average in both hemispheres.”

    The Rutgers University Global Snow Lab Northern Hemisphere Snow Cover Anomalies plot through January 2007, however, shows that the areal coverage in the Northern Hemisphere has actually slightly increased since the later 1980s!

    Since the inference from the IPCC SPM is that global warming is the reason for these changes, this is at best a clear example of selecting a time period that conforms to their conclusion rather than presenting an up-to-date description of snow cover trends.”

    However, the sentence from the IPCC actually says:
    ” Mountain glaciers and snow cover have declined on average in both hemispheres.”

    R. Pielke ommited the mention of Mountain Glaciers. Then he shows a graph of just snow cover patterns…and no mention of the glaciers which were a part of the IPCC sentence. Additionally the graph linked to shows not ‘average snow cover’, but ‘snow cover anomalies’. These are not quite the same things; and even then, staring at the whole graph lead sme to think that there is an overall declining trend in snow cover…even if we start the the 80’s as Pielke suggests; if we start from 1988, then it looks like there is an increase in cover…but that is classic cherry picking.

  107. p.s.
    if you look on page six of the IPCC report you will see a very similar graph which goes back to the 1920s. Overall it looks like less snow cover, no mentoiomn of if it includes glacier cover as well.

    I have no idea what Pielke means by ‘areal’ perhaps it deservs a {sic] next to it.

  108. Perhaps glacier data are included in his graph of snow cover patterns even though he does not mention them. I’m going to see if I can get Prof. Pielke to come on this thread and explain. Perhaps I have do some standing to do so since I’m a CU alum and a Colorado taxpayer. 😉

  109. …Shoulda been: Perhaps I do have some standing to do so since I’m a CU alum and a Colorado taxpayer. 😉

  110. a likely place to try is at the same article he posted in the comments section…assuming it is still possible

  111. I’m gonna call him.

  112. Sam,

    Your idea to ask him in his comments section is good too. Still, I’m gonna call him and ssk if he’ll come on the H&R thread(s).

  113. I think he’d be happier joining the discussion about his article…not George Will’s…not that they are much at odds or anything.

  114. FWIW, I went and posed the question on his article’s comment section.

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