Skeptical Environmentalist's Response to Gore Plan

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C-SPAN radio broadcast former V-P Al Gore's Congressional testimony earlier today and I blogged his ten point plan to address the "climate crisis." A vote came up and the committee delayed Copenhagen Consensus Center director Bjorn Lomborg's response to Gore's testimony. C-SPAN radio is now broadcasting hearings about issuing subpoenas to White House in the U.S. attorney general firing matter.

So, I am providing below a selection from Lomborg's press release and directions to link to his formal testimony (pdf 25 pages).

Lomborg…

cited the issues of heat deaths, sea level rise, hurricanes and malaria as outstanding examples of Gore's exaggerated and incorrect claims.

"We need to know just how many more heat deaths we can expect compared with how many fewer cold deaths," Lomborg said. He cited statistics that showed that each year about 1.5 million people die from excessive cold in Europe, more than seven times the heat deaths. "That we so easily forget these deaths and so easily embrace the exclusive worry about global warming tells us of a breakdown inour sense of proportion," Lomborg said.

On the issue of sea level change, Lomborg asked, "How is it possible that one of today's strongest voices on climate change can say something so dramatically different from the est science (provided by the IPCC)?" He added, "IPCC estimates a foot, Gore tops them 20 times."

Gore's prediction that if Greenland melted or broke up and slipped into the sea or if half of Greenland and half of Antarctica id the same thing, sea levels worldwide would increase between 18 and 20 feet, Lomborg said, is "simply positing a hypothetical and then in full graphic and gory detail showing us what – hypothetically – would happen to Miami, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Beijing, Shanghai, Dhaka and then New York."

Lomborg said stronger and more frequent hurricanes have been cited as a calamity of global warming, yet the most reputable scientific sources have drawn no firm conclusions. "When Al Gore tells us that there is a 'scientific consensus' that global warming is making hurricanes more powerful and more destructive, it is incorrect."

The recent increase in human suffering and economic impact as a result of tropical cyclones "has largely been caused by rising concentrations of population and infrastructure in coastal regions," Lomborg said. "There are many more people, residing in much more vulnerable areas, with many more assets to lose," he said. "In the U.S. today, the two coastal South Florida counties, Dade and Broward, are home to more people than the number of people who lived in 1930 in all 109 coastal counties stretching from Texas through irginia, along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts."

Gore's assertions that malaria has increased as a result of global warming are similarly flawed, Lomborg said. "Like most stories, there is at core some truth to the claim that malaria will increase with temperature, but it is a small part compared to richness and health infrastructure," he said. "Even if we could entirely stop global warming today…we would only change malaria risk in 2085 by 3.2 percent." Even with a "stringent climate policy" Lomborg said studies show "there is little clear effect by the 2080s."

"Compare this to current expectations that we can cut malaria incidence to about half to three?fourths by 2015 for about $3 billion annually – or 2 percent of the cost of Kyoto," Lomborg said.

Lomborg's whole press release and his complete formal testimony can be downloaded from the Copenhagen Consensus Center.

NEXT: Barr v. Bush

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  1. Draft Gore 2008!

    Stop malaria by freezing in the dark instead of evil DDT!

  2. Ah, are we back to pushing the DDT myth again?

    I see John Stossel has lied his way into another impressionable mind.

  3. Wow, what a dishonest hack Lomborg is.

    “”That we so easily forget these deaths and so easily embrace the exclusive worry about global warming tells us of a breakdown inour sense of proportion,” Lomborg said.”

    Uh, no, that we suspect there will be more weather-related deaths when people are living in climates their habits and settlements aren’t prepared for, due to rapid change, tells us that we have somewhat of a clue about how human beings operate.

    ” “How is it possible that one of today’s strongest voices on climate change can say something so dramatically different from the est science (provided by the IPCC)?” He added, “IPCC estimates a foot, Gore tops them 20 times.”

    Gore’s prediction that if Greenland melted or broke up and slipped into the sea or if half of Greenland and half of Antarctica id the same thing…” Uh, no, the figures Gore gives for what would happen IF THE ICE SHEETS MELT are completely in line with what the IPCC says would happen IF THE ICE SHEETS MELT. The lower figure Lomborg cites is from the part of the report that excludes the contribution of ice sheet melting, and says so in very clear language. Mr. Gore is not being dishonest by citing a section of the report that Mr. Lomborg would prefer didn’t exist.

    I’m sure “climate change skeptics” are going to approach Lomborg’s claims will all the gullibility we’ve come to expect form them.

  4. Al Gore and Environmentalism are distractions. As the mass media creates ‘climate’ illusions, Big Brother clamps down by opening our mail, suspending habeas corpus, stealing private lands, banning books like “America Deceived” from Wiki, rigging elections, conducting warrantless wiretaps and starting wars based on blatant lies. Soon, the sinking of an Aircraft Carrier(by Mossad) will occur and the US will ‘retaliate’ against Iran. Which AIPAC-lobbying country benefit’s from that? How much will the environment matter after a Nuke attack on Iran? Not much. Stop Iraq, Prevent Iran then work on the environment.
    Last link (before Google Books bends to gov’t Will and drops the title):
    America Deceived (sample chps)

  5. Heresy. Off with his head!

  6. joe,

    Do you have any evidence that Lomborg is actually “dishonest?”

  7. Don’t forget the killer bees! You guys keep letting this AGW crap get in the way of the killer bee problem. Well, unless they are related . . .

  8. joe,

    And of course Lomborg didn’t claim as far as I can tell (at least in the language we see above) that Gore was being dishonest.

    Anyway, since you are apparently well versed on the IPCC report why don’t you link to the relevant sections so we can read them?

  9. joe:

    Did you hear the bit on NPR this morning about consensus scientific discomfort with the extreme nature of Gore’s presentation? I’m not talking Lomborg (who is not really dishonest here, I don’t thing) or whassname from MIT, but an NPR science correspondent talking about IPCC scientist concerns with Gore’s presentation.

    The argument was basically that he takes the extreme data point of possibility and presents as though it were a mid range estimate or a most likely outcome. He also was accused of overstating certainty. In other words, the charge is that he’s doing exactly what he accused the other side of doing, just in the opposite direction.

  10. Let’s see, who should we believe:
    Al, former vice president and jounalism professor from Columbia University. Making believe there should be a “free” market on air, or

    Bjorn, decades as an environmental scientist, whose book, “The Skeptical Environmentalist,” is an absolute breath of fresh air. Bjorn actually looks at the facts to tell us things are better than we are being told and even pushes for a somewhat libertarian (sometimes not) philosophy.

    Did I miss the last 20 years or have we not spent billions of dollars already on energy star appliancnces, replacing our windows with thermal plane glass, insulating our homes, tripled the gas mileage on our cars and spent thousands of hours sorting out our trash.

    Just not good enough for Al and his cohorts.
    Joe, you really are missing the boat on this one.

  11. Grotius,

    You mean besides the two rather flagrant misrepresentations I pointed out?

  12. Normally I don’t take too much stock in something from National Review, but this paragraph really put the screws to Gore:

    http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZjczMzczMWRkZGM5Yzc5MzA0NjVhNWY4MDc4ZDNlNDA=

    “The biggest blow to the climate catastrophists is not any scientific problem, but the hypocrisy of Gore and his Hollywood cheering section, whose profligate energy use cannot be mitigated in the popular mind through “carbon offsets,” even if such offsets worked as advertised. Liberals in the 1960s and 1970s never comprehended how damaging “limousine liberalism” was to their cause. They seem even more oblivious to the self-inflicted wounds of “Gulfstream liberalism.” Whatever the intricacies of climate science, middle-class citizens understand that Gore wants them to use less energy and pay more for it, while he and his Hollywood pals use as much as they want and buy their way out of guilt, like a medieval indulgence. In the companion book to An Inconvenient Truth, Gore writes that “a good way to reduce the amount of energy you use is simply to buy less. Before making a purchase, ask yourself if you really need it.” Gore decided that he does need it – for all four of his homes and his pool house.”

    Ouch. Put your peanut butter on that!

  13. Joe, I don’t know that all of the facts are in on AGW. Not sure I believe it.

  14. BAILEY:

    What, no disclaimer??

    joe:

    Oh, come on… “Rapid change?” This shit takes 100years to happen. It’s no “Day After Tomorrow”.

    The guy (lombord), on par, is more ‘honest’, not being a freaking self-serving politician. That much should be obvious…even to a true believer like you

  15. joe,

    Are you suggesting that we’re simply supposed to take your claims at face value?

  16. joe, who said anything about change so rapid we couldn’t adapt? I thought we were talking change over decades here. I mean, all we have to do to forestall “heat deaths” is install some insulation and airconditioning.

    And why shouldn’t we factor in reduced deaths due to cold while we are totalling up increased deaths due to heat?

    What “dishonesty” or a “misrepresentation” did Lomborg commit in pointing out a fact about relative heat v. cold deaths now, and asking what the net death toll under global warming would be?

  17. joe,

    Anyway, say you are right and that Lomborg’s analysis is in error. That says very little about Lomborg’s actual state of mind. People are often both honest and wrong at the same time in other words.

  18. Uh, yeah, National Review’s campaign advice to Democrats is always such a font of wisdom.

    It’s funny, you see conservatives raise four complaints about environmentalist reforms:

    1. They’re coercive, not voluntary.

    2. They’re one-size-fits-all, not tailored to individual situations.

    3. They harm the economy.

    4. They don’t utilize the profit motive to create a market for the changes they’d like to see.

    So Gore starts taking money out of his own pocket to subsidize a clean energy project in Europe – a voluntary measure, tailored to his own situation, that doesn’t harm the economy in any way whatwsoever, and that serves to create a market for clean power – and he’s accused for hypocrisy for not adopting positions that National Review is just sure all environmentalists really support.

    You know what I think? I think National Review is just looking to bash Democrats and environmentalists, and any connection to a legitimate, principled, fact-based argument is purely coincidental.

  19. Lomborg, I only got one thing to say to you. And it goes a little somthin’ like this. A one, a two, a one two three…

    Have I been sleeping?
    I’ve been so still
    Afraid of crumbling
    Have I been careless?
    Dismissing all the distant rumblings
    Take me where I am supposed to be
    To comprehend the things that I can’t see

    Cause I need to move
    I need to wake up
    I need to change
    I need to shake up
    I need to speak out
    Something’s got to break up
    I’ve been asleep
    And I need to wake up
    Now

    And as a child
    I danced like it was 1999
    My dreams were wild
    The promise of this new world
    Would be mine
    Now I am throwing off the carelessness of youth
    To listen to an inconvenient truth

    That I need to move
    I need to wake up
    I need to change
    [ Lyrics found on http://www.metrolyrics.com ]

    I need to shake up
    I need to speak out
    Something’s got to break up
    I’ve been asleep
    And I need to wake up
    Now

    I am not an island
    I am not alone
    I am my intentions
    Trapped here in this flesh and bone

    And I need to move
    I need to wake up
    I need to change
    I need to shake up
    I need to speak out
    Something’s got to break up
    I’ve been asleep
    And I need to wake up
    Now

    I want to change
    I need to shake up
    I need to speak out
    Oh, Something’s got to break up
    I’ve been asleep
    And I need to wake up
    Now

  20. A change of five degrees in less than a century is rapid. Read up on the vikings in Greenland.

  21. “You know what I think? I think National Review is just looking to bash Democrats and environmentalists, and any connection to a legitimate, principled, fact-based argument is purely coincidental.”

    Joe, I have to disagree. National Review has a long history of supporting conservation and ecology.

  22. when people are living in climates their habits and settlements aren’t prepared for, due to rapid change

    joe, you’re a friggin’ idiot. Yep, these people will wake up one morning with ocean waves lapping at their doors. Sheesh.

  23. No one knows and no one can wholely accurately predict what sort of rise in temperature we will see over the next fifty to hundred years. Indeed, that seems to be the primary argument amongst climate scientists these days.

  24. all purposeful distractions from the fact that the USA is in receivership, heading towards bankruptcy.

    the next great global depression is heading here much faster than global warming is….and being ignored much more.

  25. ed, you tool, the peak levels of extreme events getting higher and higher is exactly how a gradual change first manifests itself.

    Cripes, haven’t you ever visited a beach?

    idiot

  26. “No one knows and no one can wholely accurately predict what sort of rise in temperature we will see over the next fifty to hundred years. Indeed, that seems to be the primary argument amongst climate scientists these days.”

    And yet the vast majority can agree on a range, and the extent of that range keeps shrinking as their level of knowledge increases.

    What does that suggest to you?

  27. Dude , joe is like totally gay for this Gore guy.

  28. Quibble about the details, joe, but surely you’ll concede that Al Gore is engaging is some seriously fabulous fear mongering?

    It’s like listening to some Bush Administration propagandist talking about how Al Qaeda’s going to ruin the American way of life.

    …if we don’t invade Iraq. …if we aren’t sufficiently scared. …if we don’t let Bush’s people fiddle with our constitutional rights…

    I’m not saying that Al Qaeda isn’t a threat, and I’m not saying that global warming isn’t a problem. I think Gore must have stolen a page from some Chaney speech about how our children’s children will feel about us after what’s sure to happen next. …unless we do what we’re told!

    It’s the same freakin’ pitch.

    If we don’t wreck the economy, it’s going to wreck the economy? …that’s the pitch–and we’re quibbling about the details?

  29. Anyway, there is obviously a range of predictions in the IPCC statement. Now some areas of the range are more apparently “likely” than others (according to what climate scientists have so far discovered), but the fact at a range exists should elicit caution at the very least.

  30. Ken Shultz,

    That’s an interesting comparison.

  31. “I think Gore must have stolen a page from some Chaney speech about how our children’s children will feel about us after what’s sure to happen next. …unless we do what we’re told!”

    I suppose I should actually credit Harold Hill.

    “Our children’s children gonna have trouble, trouble, trouble…”

  32. Maybe I ought to buy Lomborg’s book now.

  33. What I don’t understand is how Lomborg’s lack of acknowledging the most dire predictions in his press release somehow equates to his being a complete liar.

    Seems a bit of a leap one can only make from a tremendously partisan platform.

  34. Uh, no, that we suspect there will be more weather-related deaths when people are living in climates their habits and settlements aren’t prepared for, due to rapid change, tells us that we have somewhat of a clue about how human beings operate.

    Aha! That explains why, unlike most other species, human being are incapable of adapting to hot or cold climates which is why we all live in San Diego.

  35. Joe, it seems to me you missed this part:

    sea levels worldwide would increase between 18 and 20 feet, Lomborg said, is “simply positing a hypothetical and then in full graphic and gory detail showing us what – hypothetically – would happen to Miami, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Beijing, Shanghai, Dhaka and then New York.”

    Lumborg isn’t saying that Gore is wrong about what would happen in the case of a catastrophic melt off, he’s saying is is misguided to present that as a likely scenario when it is really a worst case scenario.

    You tell us that the IPCC information is in line with Gore on the magnitude of sea level change given an ice sheet melt off, but does the IPCC give a similar impression of the likelyhood of that occuring?

    Lumborg’s claim boils down to “Gore offers a 20 foot sea level rise as the likely scenario, whereas the IPCC suggests 1/20th of that as the likely scenario”.

    I don’t know if he is right or wrong, as I haven’t read the reports myself and I don’t have time to at the moment.

    I do know that you haven’t refuted that claim, or backed your claim that Lumborg is a hack. What you have done is claimed (without evidence) that Gore’s hypothetical is in line with a hypothetical put forward by the IPCC, and in so doing you’ve missed the issue.

  36. Al, former vice president and jounalism professor from Columbia University. Making believe there should be a “free” market on air

    Don’t leave out the rest of the resume:
    Flunked out of Georgetown Law and Vanderbilt Divinity, gave us the “V” chip (after he invented the internet in Vietnam), gave his wife a platform for record censorship with the PMRC, and helped defeat Kyoto while he was for it.

  37. I’ll take Lomborg’s point about the cold deaths in so far as it points out that there will likely be pros and cons to climate change the pros will to some degree mitigate the cons.

    BUT, I’m very skeptical about the notion that the pros could outweigh the cons or are likely to mitigate them to any significant degree.

    As a metaphor, consider that central planners may sometimes come up with a plan better than voluntary players in a free market and that lay people can sometimes come up with a better prediction than experts. Neither, however, is what we would ever expect to happen. Likewise, while it’s possible that humans may have mal-adapted to the world in such a way that a random and fairly large and quick change may improve things for us, the better bet is that the change will make things worse. And a large and quick change could make things much worse.

    Of course, further adaptation will mitigate the potentially harmful effects (as compared to a static model) as well, at least to some degree, at least for many of us….

  38. DA,

    What is it about the term “rapid” that confuses you? Ever look at the mortality rates of Europeans in America during the first five decades of their occupation? Yikes!

    mediageek,

    What makes Lomborg dishonest is his statement that Gore is contradicting the IPCC report. No, he is not – his statement about what will happen if ice sheets melt is right in line with the IPCC Report’s statement about what will happen if the ice sheets melt, and Lomborg – you kmow, a guy called to testify before the Senate on climate change because of his expertise on the issue – knows damn well about that the lower figures he cites were arrived at by ignoring the effects of ice sheets melting.

  39. Guy, don’t forget that whole bit where Gore publicly cried over losing his father to smoking, while still owning and profiting from a tobacco farm.

  40. Am I the only one who thinks it’s kind of funny to hear a Scandanavian talk about deaths from cold?

    As somebody who was born and raised in a cold climate where many people of Scandanavian stock live (Wisconsin), I thought it was a matter of pride to talk about how “We can take anything.”

    Yeah, yeah, extreme cold weather can indeed be deadly. Still, being from a cold climate he’s supposed to pretend that cold weather is harmless. It’s a matter of pride.

  41. I’d wager that full gory and graphic detail of only the worst case scenario counts as a bit disingenuous. Joe didn’t you criticize the claim that the economy would suffer from requiring seat belts? This is a bit like that, no? A gross exaggeration. Fear mongering, if you will?

  42. T-

    He’s just getting his concern on for those of less hearty stock.

  43. Fear will keep them in line. Fear of this battlestation/global warming/WMDs/drugs/poverty/godless commies/heartless Christians.

  44. Brian Terrell,

    ‘Lumborg’s claim boils down to “Gore offers a 20 foot sea level rise as the likely scenario, whereas the IPCC suggests 1/20th of that as the likely scenario”.’

    The IPCC doesn’t suggest a 1 foot rise as the likely scenario. It suggests a 1 foot rise excluding the effects of ice sheet melting. It then acknowledges that this figure is too low, because there will be ice sheet melting, and goes on to give ranges of how much more sea level rise needs to be added onto that one foot because of said melting.

    When Lomborg states that the IPCC report suggests a one foot rise, he is incorrectly reporting the contents of the study, and I have enough respect for his reading comprehension to conclude that he knows it.

  45. What is it about the term “rapid” that confuses you?

    Probably the way you use it, joe.

  46. Bailey and Lomborg are tools of Big Lightbulb!

  47. ” . . . each year about 1.5 million people die from excessive cold in Europe . . . ?” Really?

    Europe’s estimated population is about 730 million. That’s one out of 350 of them every year dying of cold.

    I’m not saying it can’t be true, but on the face of it, it’s as bizarre a claim as any that Gore is making. Can anyone offer any substantiation?

  48. thoreau,

    Lomborg is from Denmark, not from Lapland. The minimum average temperature in a city like Copenhagen is in the 30s (F).

  49. Hmmm, people move from Detroit to Atlanta all the time and don’t die from the rapid climate change involved there.

    Humans are a pretty adaptable species I guess.

  50. Ever look at the mortality rates of Europeans in America during the first five decades of their occupation? Yikes!

    100%, just like today?

  51. You guys stop picking on joe. His religious beliefs are his own business. You don’t taunt nuns to their face, do you?*

    *Actually, I’ve always wondered about the whole “Bride of Christ” thing. If they are all brides of Christ, doesn’t that make Jesus a massive polygamist?

  52. thoreau,

    In the winter that is.

  53. Jim Henley,

    I suspect that Lomborg is including, for example, people who have heart attacks shoveling snow. Deaths attributable to cold-weather events. Still, it would be good to see where he gets this figure.

  54. Joe;

    A few years ago, I moved from the Canadian prairies to the shores of the Gulf of Arabia. But I’m yet to perish from this rather drastic and very rapid climate change.

    Am I an anomoly? Or are humans actually adaptable?

  55. the Danish are all a bunch of right wing nut-bags. We know this already, this should come as no suprise.

  56. Joe, but does he have a requirement to address the worst case scenario, or is it better if he just addresses the most likely one?

  57. I’ve had a lot of respect for Lomborg ever since I read his book. He’s a big government, environmentalist, so I shouldn’t really be sympathetic to him. But he actually looks at environmental issues by looking at the facts, and not distorting them. Then he proposes solutions, many of which I disagree with. But at least I get the impression that he has some integrity, and that I can comfortably rely on him not to be deliberately deceiving me or the public. If there was an environmental group or movement with his integrity, I, along with many libertarians and conservatives, would support them; instead we get the Gore/fearmongers.

  58. Joe:

    Good to know, that certainly paint’s Mr. Lumborg in an unfavorable light.

    Would you be so kind as to provide a link to this report re: ice sheets melting or perhaps the title so i can look it up later?

  59. BrianTerrel,

    Hey, I asked first! Wait your turn! 😉

  60. matth,

    “Hmmm, people move from Detroit to Atlanta all the time and don’t die from the rapid climate change involved there.”

    And when they move to Atlanta, they move into housing built for the climate in Atlanta, in a city with infrastructure and services designed for the prevailing conditions in Atlanta.

    Should the climate in Atlanta become like the climate in Ecuador, it will still have housing, infrastructure, etc. designed for the conditions of present-day Atlanta.

  61. I suspect that Lomborg is including, for example, people who have heart attacks shoveling snow. Deaths attributable to cold-weather events. Still, it would be good to see where he gets this figure.

    So like, car crashes on the ice and suchlike? Okay, I can sort of see it if I squint. Will we start attributing heart attacks while gardening the the heat, though? (I realize the anti-gardening lobby must already do this . . . )

  62. joe,

    What part of Ecuador? Ecuador’s climate is pretty variable depending on where one is in the country.

  63. D.A.,

    “100%, just like today?” Are we supposed to conclude that your stance towards threats to human life is “We’re all going to die sometime,” or are you just giving up?

  64. Jim Henley,

    Consider how many cases of pneumonia and like illnesses are exacerbated by cold weather.

  65. Joe,

    The Vikings in Greenland died because things got too cold, not too warm. Warmth is great for life (witness tropical jungles, now more commonly known as “the rainforest”), not bad for it, while cold kills. One can argue that a gradual rise of 5 degrees in temperature over the course of a century is sudden, but only when taking a very long term framework. From the point of view of adjustment to temperature change, this is by no means too sudden to adjust to. Additionally it is a well advertised threat so people have an awfully long heads up warning that perhaps they ought to buy an airconditioner.

    Finally, in case you haven’t noticed, technology is much better suited to mitigating temperature changes today that it was a couple hundred years ago for the new American settlers, let alone for the Vikings in Greenland who died because of global cooling, not global warming. I am not aware of any society dying out because of global warming before.

    I’m not saying that global warming is not something to be blase about, merely that the alarmism that you and Gore are engaged in hasn’t been substantiated by either of you.

  66. Fellas, typing “IPCC Report” into google isn’t that hard.

    What am I, your executive assistant?

  67. i>Hmmm, people move from Detroit to Atlanta all the time and don’t die from the rapid climate change involved there.

    Don’t forget those WWII bomber crews in un-pressurized aircraft. They went from hot to cold and back daily while defeating National Socialism.

  68. joe,

    The IPCC is a fairly large report as I recall. You’ve read it and thus can point us to the appropriate subheading presumably.

  69. When we’re talking about adaptability, though, we’re really talking about how some very poor people in already hot and marginal low-lying areas will handle warming, no? The issue isn’t really how French or American middle classes living inland will “adapt.”

    Here’s where the non-denialist argument that it’s more important to allow the poor of the world to get richer – through trade and industrialization – than to try to mitigate temperature rises in ways that will tend to keep people poor, is strongest, IMHO. It at least hasn’t been refuted yet.

  70. Should the climate in Atlanta become like the climate in Ecuador, it will still have housing, infrastructure, etc. designed for the conditions of present-day Atlanta.

    And this will happen “rapidly” (practically overnight!) and none of the people will be able or permitted to leave and there’s no possibility of installing insulation or air conditioning or heating systems into any of those houses and they’re all going to die, die, DIE!

    Are we supposed to conclude that your stance towards threats to human life is “We’re all going to die sometime,” or are you just giving up?

    Well, you can if you want. A more reasonable interpretation of my response would be (1) the comment I was responding to was poorly worded and I enjoy making fun of you when you do that and (2) pulling mortality rates from the 1600s is just a tad disingenuous because, sheesh, see above.

  71. happyjuggler,

    “The Vikings in Greenland died because things got too cold, not too warm.”

    No, the Viking colony in Greenlhand died out because things changed too rapidly. As others have pointed out (though failing to grasp the implication), people can live in widely divergent climate conditions. People continued to live in Greenland after there were no more Vikings – people whose socieites had millenia of experience in living in those conditions, and who were subsequently prepared, in their physical culture and practices, to thrive in that climate.

  72. Will we start attributing heart attacks while gardening the the heat, though? (I realize the anti-gardening lobby must already do this . . . )

    I heard of a drummer expiring from a freak gardening accident. It was in a Rob Ryner documentry I think.

  73. Ah, I see. We have the technology to painlessly adapt to changing climate, but the idea that technology can reduce our greenhouse gas output without causing us all to DIE DIE DIE and “freeze in the dark” is crazy talk.

    ‘Kay.

  74. And when they move to Atlanta, they move into housing built for the climate in Atlanta, in a city with infrastructure and services designed for the prevailing conditions in Atlanta.

    Should the climate in Atlanta become like the climate in Ecuador, it will still have housing, infrastructure, etc. designed for the conditions of present-day Atlanta.

    I would guess, based on my experience, that it’s easier to adapt buildings infrastructure to a warmer climate that to a colder climate. Freezing temperature can do serious damage to structures that aren’t designed to withstand continuous cold weather. A change to a warmer climate shouldn’t be as difficult to deal with.

  75. Consider how many cases of pneumonia and like illnesses are exacerbated by cold weather.

    Sure. Then I’ll also consider how pest-borne diseases like malaria and sleeping sickness are exacerbated by warm weather. Or let’s say 50 years from now water mocassins have taken to the streams of Pennsylvania and New York and there are scorpions in Poland. There will be a marginal increase in “deaths due to heat” from that too.

    If we get creative about it, we can attribute all kinds of death’s to cold weather. Fair’s fair. But I’m not sure that Lomborg is being equally creative on both sides of the excess deaths ledger.

  76. Joe, this arguement of yours is frankly dishonest, the top end, worst case scenario for sea level rise in the 4th assesment is 10-23 inches. The IPCC does not include ice sheet melting in the estimate because “Understanding of these processes is limited and there is no consensus on their magnitude.” The Third assesment, which did include ice sheets in the models gives a top end of only 3 feet. So Gore is off the reservation scientifically at 20 and your recourse to the IPCC is either based in ignorance or mendacity as even a quick wiki search can confirm.

  77. joe,

    The basic problem with the Greenland colony is that had very little to offer the outside world. Even when the climate made the region comparatively warm it was a backwater. That and there were technological issues associated with trade between Greenland and Europe – mainly that the ships involved were small and didn’t have more accurate navigational equipment (indeed, if you read the sagas you’ll note that it was common for sailors to get lost for days or more and often never to return).

  78. “And this will happen “rapidly” (practically overnight!) and none of the people will be able or permitted to leave and there’s no possibility of installing insulation or air conditioning or heating systems into any of those houses and they’re all going to die, die, DIE!”

    They have therapies and medication for panic attacks these days.

  79. So Gore is off the reservation

    So, now we are back to the Columbus thread? ACK!

  80. Jim Henley,

    These are exactly the sort of factors that epidemiologists look at. Lomborg isn’t doing something unusual or unique.

  81. Crap, and the vikings too! Sorry about that.

  82. Regarding the 1.5 million winter-related deaths in Europe:

    I suppose that in addition to those who froze to death and deaths from snow shoveling and other obvious winter-related deaths we could look at diseases that have some sort of seasonal correlation or are exacerbated during winter.

    e.g. Cold and flu season can be deadly for elderly folks. And it wouldn’t shock me if having to stay inside for a few months due to cold and ice and frail bones exacerbates certain diseases of the elderly.

    But while milder winters might somewhat alleviate the worst of the flu season, I doubt the effect will be big. For instance, even southern California has a winter flu season (trust me, I lived there), albeit not as bad as, say, Maine or Alaska. So talking about 1.5 million winter-related deaths seems a bit misleading. Especially since there’s no way that global warming will turn Oslo into Athens.

    Also, it doesn’t seem particularly helpful to compare on the one hand tropical diseases and floods and whatnot (things that can have significant effects on all age brackets) and on the other hand a slight reduction in illnesses that predominantly afflict the elderly. When you start talking about life years lost and economic impact (things that sound cold and cruel to those with grandparents, but are nonetheless difficult and pertinent realities). you have to be careful with what you’re comparing.

    Mind you, I’m not here to offer any particular estimates of deaths from floods or tropical diseases or whatever else. But when some guy steps forward to act as the voice of reason, to counter what he claims is fear mongering, and then tosses out a horrifying number that is missing a lot of context, I’m not going to be impressed. The best response that he can hope for is a Cathy Young-esque “Well, looks like both sides have their fear mongers.” (That’s the best response. The worst response, at least from his perspective, is that I might take the other side more seriously.)

    In other words, guys, if you want to call Al Gore a fear-monger, well, fine. But don’t swallow everything said by those who disagree with him. That number on winter-related deaths stinks like a corpse floating in a malaria-infested swamp.

  83. Shorter version:

    What Jim Henley said.

  84. joe,

    BTW, if you ever get a chance to read them the Icelandic and Norse sagas are great yarns.

  85. thoreau,

    Or not.

    But when some guy steps forward to act as the voice of reason, to counter what he claims is fear mongering, and then tosses out a horrifying number that is missing a lot of context, I’m not going to be impressed.

    Wouldn’t the context presumably be in his written report?

  86. thoreau,

    In other words, read this:

    Lomborg’s whole press release and his complete formal testimony can be downloaded from the Copenhagen Consensus Center.

  87. What am I, your executive assistant?

    Well, you do seem to have plenty of spare time today.

  88. your recourse to the IPCC is either based in ignorance or mendacity as even a quick wiki search can confirm

    This is standard practice for joe.

    Refer to content outside the thread.

    Refuse to provide summaries of the arguments made in this outside content.

    Refuse to provide links, and tell people you use Google.

    This is joe’s way of lying without having the guts to actually type false statements.

    There is little point in discussing any topic with joe because of his penchant for such dishonesty.

  89. Here’s where the non-denialist argument that it’s more important to allow the poor of the world to get richer – through trade and industrialization – than to try to mitigate temperature rises in ways that will tend to keep people poor, is strongest, IMHO. It at least hasn’t been refuted yet.

    Ah, but that sort of argument requires careful reasoning and a willingness to deal with the complexities of the real world.

    Denialist arguments are so much more fun! “Hey, look: I did some creative death accounting on one side of the ledger and applied some really stubborn and selective skepticism on the other side, and I came up with numbers that contradict somebody who said something worrisome. Whoo-hoo!”

  90. I don’t know why all you people let Joe get to you.

    Like Gore, he’s not an authority on global warming or anything else – he’s just a liberal.

  91. We’ve already got Jim kicking ass in this thread, with me offering long-winded but weak support. All we need is for Mona to join us and none shall be able to withstand our Unqualified Postings!

    🙂

  92. I doubt anyone here objects to using technology to make our use of energy more efficient, to reduce the pollution caused by energy production, or to otherwise mitigate any effects that human populations have on the environment. However, Gore and others like him are using many extreme examples to advocate rather radical changes imposed by government. That’s a problem, not just because some of us see the government as a bogey man, but because its ability to anticipate new technologies and adapt to change is horrifically bad.

    Furthermore, what if technological solutions don’t end up supplying us that 90% reduction? What then? Zod’s solution? I’m a technology optimist and think that things in the West are going in the right direction without Gore or any other politician’s help, but I fear mandates of this kind. And there is absolutely no one who can say for sure that this warming trend will continue at the same level. I’d prefer a little more certainty before we issue any absolute and mandated solutions. Until such time, why not use technology to improve things? That’s fine, and there are a multitude of reasons to pursue more efficient and cleaner energy alternatives. And maybe letting the rest of the world catch up to the West’s standard of living would do even more to improve things.

    thoreau,

    I, too, miss some of the old posters, crazy or otherwise. Things have changed, man, with all of these Hit & Run whippersnappers.

  93. Anyway, I’ll be reading the entirity of Lomborg’s statement now.

  94. Yes, PL, but the Unqualified Offerings alliance between me, Jim, and Mona is of fairly recent vintage. We kick ass!

  95. thoreau:

    I don’t like the exaggeration, but there is a bit of hypocrisy to its current form.

    The guy asking us to spend bazillions necessarily has a higher bar. You can’t mount a crusade about selective use of data by your opponents, then throw out selective data of your own. This cuts both ways, but only one of the two camps is reaching into your wallet.

  96. The guy asking us to spend bazillions necessarily has a higher bar.

    Which makes it all the more crucial that his critics argue honestly, so that he isn’t able to score easy points.

  97. JasonL,

    Lomborg isn’t being selective from what I can tell.

  98. In other words, I believe that if a case is worth making then it’s worth making right. You don’t get to say “But look how important this is!” or “Look how dangerous the other guy’s ideas are!” as an excuse to ignore sloppiness by the enemy of your enemy. My response will be “OK, you claim it’s crucial that this guy’s arguments be refuted, but it’s not crucial enough to do it honestly?”

    The same might be said in certain other contexts: “But we had to do something!” is never an excuse for incompetence, dishonesty, and such.

  99. thoreau,

    Have you read Lomborg’s full report?

  100. thoreau,

    Until you have, you really need to get off the particular high horse you are sitting on right now.

  101. grotius:

    My read is that the use of cold weather deaths is at least questionable. I don’t find the rest of his report exaggerated in the same way joe does.

  102. hunter,

    From the February 2 IPCC release:

    “Global average sea level in the last interglacial period (about 125,000 years ago) was likely 4 to 6 m higher than during the 20th century, mainly due to the retreat of polar ice. Ice core data indicate that average polartemperatures at that time were 3 to 5?C higher than present, because of differences in the Earth’s orbit. The Greenland ice sheet and other Arctic ice fields likely contributed no more than 4 m of the observed sea level
    rise. There may also have been a contribution from Antarctica.”

    Keeping in mind that a 3-5 degree increase in temperature is within the range of plausible temperature increases according to the report.

  103. Thoreau, Lomborg is not a denialist. He
    1) believes human CO2 output is causing global warming
    2) believes some cutting of CO2 production would be beneficial to humanity without harming humanity more by hurting the development and economic growth which might save untold millions
    3) proposes best-practice guidance gor environmental spending
    4) thinks scare-mongering hurts the environment and humanity by emphasising catastrophic outcomes on all fronts, making rational choice of action impossible.

  104. JasonL,

    Then that is a bad read. I took a course that and epi component once and in my experience that sort of thing doesn’t seem outside the bounds of we talked about in class (though we never discussed this particular issue).

  105. jake,

    Oooooooh, that quote I posted has got to hurt!
    I believe “pwned” is the term the kids are using these days, asshat.

    But I like Gilbert Martin’s comment best: “I don’t know why all you people let Joe get to you. bLike Gore, he’s not an authority on global warming or anything else – he’s just a liberal.”

    Pretty much sums up the denialist argument.

  106. Memnon,

    Anyone who read Lomborg’s full report could pretty easily grasp that Lomborg doesn’t denial anthropogenic climate change. Especially since on pg. 2 he clearly states in a subject heading (in bold) that:

    Global warming is real and man-made

  107. And all this time AL GORE is telling us to save energy he himself is using up all that to go all over the world and blabber about this global warming fruad i mean this whole thing its the biggest fruad ever and the fact is school text books are also spreading this same lie about global warming and even this rant against the INTERNAL COMBUTION ENGINE and now that liar gare wants to inact tese same greenhouse junk science on us all. AL GORE IS ADANGEROUS RADICAL ZELOT AS RADICAL AS ANY AL QUEDA FANATIC HE WOULD MAKE BIN LADEN LOOK MILD IN COMPAASON

  108. I think David Friedman’s point is salient here. It is insane to try to draw a picture of human life on Earth one century from now.

    Really. Look back at 1907 and try to have this same discussion about any feature of life at the time by projecting forward in a “if we don’t change our ways” manner.

  109. Oooooooh, that quote I posted has got to hurt!

    First time I’ve ever seen you do that in direct response to a request to provide the content you are referencing.

    I suppose people should point out your dishonesty on a regular basis.

  110. Yes, Grotius, I read the relevant section of the report. Footnote 12 says that numbers from reference 10 were extrapolated to the rest of Europe using the methods of footnote 11. That sort of extrapolation, for a geography-sensitive phenomenon seems questionable, but we’ll leave that aside for now. Reference 10 is a BBC synopsis of a government report, and does not give any guidance on the extent to which winter-related deaths would be alleviated by global climate change (since there will still be a winter flu season, even if a less nasty one).

    When one person predicts a certain number of additional fatalities, the way to refute it is to either challenge the basis of the prediction (e.g. the underlying climate model and estimates from it) or talk about an offsetting phenomenon. Talking about 1.5 million winter deaths currently, without offering a prediction for the extent to which those numbers will change as a result of warming, does not provide any basis for comparing predicted body counts.

    The report also implies that most of those winter fatalities occur among the elderly. As I alluded to in my post earlier, we need to consider the distribution of deaths and number of years lost. Dying of pneumonia at age 85 instead of age 86 is not the same as dying 40 years prematurely in a flood. So not only does he not address the change in winter fatalities as a result of warming, he doesn’t address the number of life years lost (which may sound like a cold-blooded thing to talk about, but when talking about social and economic impacts it is very relevant.)

    So yes, I did read the report, and my horse is no higher than the one you mount with your air of never worrying about anything.

  111. Lomborg’s discussion of heat and cold deaths is on pg. 3-4 of his report. It isn’t on its face an unreasonable discussion of the issue.

  112. I’m not here to persuade anybody to believe in anthropogenic global warming or embrace any proposed solution or anything like that. I’m here as a scientist to say that some of Lomborg’s statements strike me as fishy.

    If you think somebody’s ideas are dangerous and costly, make damn sure that you counter them with good arguments that leave no room for the opposition to score cheap points. Otherwise you might as well take aim at your own foot and squeeze the trigger.

    BTW, the stuff about marginal deaths involves the sort of “on the margin” thinking that microeconomists are famous for. I thought that we libertarians fancy ourselves experts on microeconomics.

    One other thing: I stand corrected on the word “denialist.” Lomborg does not deny the basic phenomenon, he only questions the effects. Fair enough, but I still think his arguments about the effects are fishy.

  113. jake, it is not dishonest to provide accurate information and tell your opponents to do their own research. Just lazy.

  114. It’s not haiku day
    But each global warming thread
    Should have at least one

  115. Yes, I read pages 3 and 4. I even checked out the footnotes and skimmed a reference.

    Next!

  116. Really. Look back at 1907 and try to have this same discussion about any feature of life at the time by projecting forward in a “if we don’t change our ways” manner.

    Global warming alarmists were treated quite differently in 1907.

    http://divisionoflabour.com/archives/003505.php

    HT: divisionoflabour.com

  117. “Global average sea level in the last interglacial period (about 125,000 years ago) was likely 4 to 6 m higher than during the 20th century, mainly due to the retreat of polar ice. Ice core data indicate that average polartemperatures at that time were 3 to 5?C higher than present, because of differences in the Earth’s orbit. The Greenland ice sheet and other Arctic ice fields likely contributed no more than 4 m of the observed sea level
    rise. There may also have been a contribution from Antarctica.”

    So now please explain how this past warming event occurred before mankind had the ability to artificially raise the average temperature of the atmosphere.

    Please explain how we know that the current warming trend is actually caused by human intervention as opposed to another iteration of the last naturally occurring hot spell.

    Please explain how we can reverse the current warming trend without destroying the economies of all the developed world if we really are the cause of the current trend.

    Please prove that the consequences of letting the warming trend continue are actually worse for mankind that the consequences of trying to reverse the trend.

  118. joe,

    Using the Greenland colony as an argument is wrong. The colony was marginal at the best of times; probably the only thing that made European colonization possible was the medieval warm period, and when the climate changed back that was the end for the colony. To compare a marginal settlement that was just scraping by at the best of times to modern Europe is just silly. Using European colonies in North America is just as wrong. Again, you’re comparing people who were just scraping by at the best of times for half a century or so to modern societies who have wealth to throw around on jetting celebrities around the world. We can adapt. It might not be the best thing to do, but we can adapt.

    You also cite a climate change figure of five degrees (I’m guessing Celsius) over the next century. That is near the top end of the projected change. Three degrees is the actual most likely projection. If you read the IPCC report, you’ll see that.

    The whole controversy now is over what to do about global warming. You keep on insisting that there is no discussion on this topic, which is I think dishonest. Maybe that’s the way you feel, but there are many issues to be decided here. Firstly, if you want to defer to experts, defer to economists here. Scaremongering that preventing climate change through emissions reduction is certainly wrong; saying that emissions reduction isn’t the most cost-effective way may be wrong, but it’s something to be discussed. Maybe emissions reduction is the only thing that will work. Maybe a mixture of emissions reduction and adaptation to higher temperatures will work better. Maybe it would be better to do nothing (though I doubt it).

    To be honest, I think that it would be alright if we did nothing. The earth would warm (more than the deniers think, less than the doomsayers think), and we would adapt. Carbon-based fuel technology is probably already on its way out, for various reasons. By 2050, we’d have enough wealth and technical know-how to better address global warming in an intelligent way. If we want to be conservative, maybe it’s best to start doing something about it now. But overreacting might do as much harm as underreacting. The earth can wait for five years while we look at the best evidence. It could probably wait for longer, but I wouldn’t want the doomsayers to piss their pants waiting. Rather than jump into anything, why don’t we make an intelligent, informed decision?

    As an aside, I’m guessing that not much is going to be done about this. The “do nothing” scenario is likely to be tested; look at how much Europe is doing to comply with Kyoto, and Europe is the heart of the Green movement! Don’t worry, though; the sky won’t fall.

  119. I’m not saying that Al Qaeda isn’t a threat, and I’m not saying that global warming isn’t a problem. I think Gore must have stolen a page from some Chaney speech about how our children’s children will feel about us after what’s sure to happen next. …unless we do what we’re told!

    It’s the same freakin’ pitch.

    I agree completely. There’s a clear parallel between environmentalist arguments and warmonger arguments. Both try to create the perception that it’s better to accept a certain disaster in the present than the possibility of a (worse) disaster in the distant future.

  120. Dr.T: microeconomics only inasmuch as taught in Econ 79 (DEMAND KURV!)

    but like the lingo you use, “back off, man. I’m a scientist”

    oh yeah! 🙂

    Jake how about this (grin):

    man made warm cold warm
    cold warm cold warm cold warm cold
    warmer you moron!

  121. “Pretty much sums up the denialist argument.”

    Nope.

    I don’t need an “argument”.

    The burden of proof is on those proposing the existence of something (global warnming or anything else).

    I don’t have to prove a negative.

    And despite all the yakking about “consensus” -there is no proof. It is all theory and speculation.

    So until the eco-chicken littles can prove cause and effect with the exact same degree of certainty that it can be proven that gasoline is a flammable substance, I don’t need to pay them any heed.

  122. thoreau,

    Yes, Grotius, I read the relevant section of the report.

    Before or after I asked you?

    …with your air of never worrying about anything.

    On what is this based exactly?

    That sort of extrapolation, for a geography-sensitive phenomenon seems questionable, but we’ll leave that aside for now.

    He merely calls it a “reasonable estimate.”

    So not only does he not address the change in winter fatalities as a result of warming, he doesn’t address the number of life years lost (which may sound like a cold-blooded thing to talk about, but when talking about social and economic impacts it is very relevant.)

    Well, Lomborg is clearly not trying to do a full-scale analysis of the issue (indeed, he never claims that is the case). What he is trying to do is ask people to step back and start to figure out just how bad climate change might be.

  123. jake,

    No.

    No.

    No.

    No.

    The first two of your questions are answered in the IPCC Report, and that last two are unlikely to lead to productive conversation, given your obvious bias.

  124. thoreau,

    I stand corrected on the word “denialist.” Lomborg does not deny the basic phenomenon, he only questions the effects. Fair enough, but I still think his arguments about the effects are fishy.

    Since you made an erroneous claim with regard to the “denialist” claim, why should we put much stock in your other claims?

  125. VM-

    I thought that “on the margin” analysis was also important in more advanced economics courses as well. I remember marginal analysis in my senior-level econ classes as well as freshman classes, but I never took any grad econ.

  126. thoreau,

    …make damn sure that you counter them with good arguments…

    In light of your denialist claim this statement is filled with some degree of irony.

  127. No.

    No.

    No.

    No.

    The first two of your questions are answered in the IPCC Report, and that last two are unlikely to lead to productive conversation, given your obvious bias.

    It is unfortunate then that the rest of the readers of the thread will be deprived of the benefit your research and analytical skills.

    do cvidaniye joe

  128. grylliade,

    Were I predicting outcomes in modern European cities comparable to the extinction of the Greenland Norse and the death rates of the original Jamestown settlements, your criticisms would be valid. But I am not, so they are not.

    There would certainly be a quantitative difference between those events and the likely effects of global warming on modern western cities, but that wasn’t the question I was answering. Several commenters made the statement that climate change over several decades would be unlikely to have an effect, and I pointed out some real-world examples that proved different.

    For the record, except for cities currently at or below sea level, I am not predicting suffering as serious as those faced by the Vikings in Greenland or the Jamestown colonists.

    “You also cite a climate change figure of five degrees…” No, 3-5 degrees.

    “The whole controversy now is over what to do about global warming.” I wish that was true, but the comments on the thread simply do not back that up. If a single Senate seat was Republican instead of Democrat, the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works would be chaired by a man who says that global warming is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on mankind.” We’re talking about a party which commands the loyalty of about 50% of Americans.

    The American public needs to have the reality of global warming driven home to them. At a certain point, a critical mass of people will understand the truth, the denialists will retire to the nice houses they’ve bought, and a useful discussion of policy can begin.

  129. joe:

    Shoot straight here. Do you not feel Gore is being alarmist to make his pill easier (possible?) to swallow? Is it possible you are giving him a pass on the same tactics you’ve criticized others for employing?

  130. joe,

    I think we can all agree that the experiences of the Vikings at Greenland is a poor analogy at best.

  131. Grotius,

    You’ve been interesting and decent lately, but your behavior on this thread towards thoreau is reminding me of the old days.

  132. “Global average sea level in the last interglacial period (about 125,000 years ago) was likely 4 to 6 m higher than during the 20th century, mainly due to the retreat of polar ice. Ice core data indicate that average polartemperatures at that time were 3 to 5?C higher than present, because of differences in the Earth’s orbit. The Greenland ice sheet and other Arctic ice fields likely contributed no more than 4 m of the observed sea level
    rise. There may also have been a contribution from Antarctica.”

    Keeping in mind that a 3-5 degree increase in temperature is within the range of plausible temperature increases according to the report.

    Yes, but joe, that’s not the whole story. Ice takes time to melt. The Greenland ice sheet would take a few centuries to completely melt. The Antarctic ice sheet, which is about ten times as large as the Greenland ice sheet, would take a few millennia. According to the IPCC, if Greenland warmed by 3? by the end of the century, it would raise sea level by about a meter over the next millennium. Of course, that was the 2001 report, and maybe things have changed in the intervening time. But to suggest that sea level might rise 3 m over the next century due to ice sheet melting, when the IPCC suggests that ice sheet melting will contribute 1 m over the next millennium, is pretty dishonest.

  133. JasonL,

    Gore is a politican arguing a position, and behaving like one. Still, he is adhering closer to the facts than his opponents.

    And, most importantly, he is not deliberately and significantly misrepresenting his opponents’ statements in an effort to discredit him, while they most certainly are doing so to him.

  134. joe,

    My behavior towards thoreau? Heh.

    You call people liars constantly, and my behavior is bad? You need to look in the mirror before you say anything about the behavior anyone else.

  135. Still, he is adhering closer to the facts than his opponents.

    That is your opinion. Even in NPR, on an interview this morning, a scientist was worried that Al Gore might be exaggerating things a tad too much. Even that timid statement indicates that Mr. Gore is NOT closer to the facts.

  136. grylliade,

    “According to the IPCC, if Greenland warmed by 3? by the end of the century, it would raise sea level by about a meter over the next millennium.”

    You’re misreading the report here. If the globe warmed by 3 deg (how did you get the degree sign to show?), it would raise sea levels by 1 meter of the next centure, EXCLUDING THE EFFECTS OF ICE SHEET MELTING. The report (or, rather, the summary report issued on 2/2) is quite clear on that point.

    They did not analyze the effect of a 3 degree localized increase on Greenland (warming temperatures would not be evenly spread throughout the world), and they did not incorporate the effect of melting caused by a 3 degree temperature increase in Greenland.

  137. One other thing: I stand corrected on the word “denialist.” Lomborg does not deny the basic phenomenon, he only questions the effects. Fair enough, but I still think his arguments about the effects are fishy.

    AND, Mr. Gore’s are NOT.

    Right?

  138. thereau, joe, henley, any other and all reasonable – whatever that means – folk….

    I can see clearly now that the rain is gone, that Lomborg made a hack argument (a few?) about the utility of warm vs. cold deaths, and so on.

    The IPCC report is long. I have not seen An Inconvenient Truth yet. This debate makes one stuck in no mans land want to build a fort out of blankets and hide until the lava turns back into carpet again.

    *gasp*

    So?.

    Can anyone tell me what, if any, exaggerations were made in the film? Is there any credit to this “rebuttal”?

  139. Grotius,

    I’m not interested in your feelings about my posting. I’m giving you a warning: it got awful quiet here for you a little while ago, and nobody wants to see a repeat of that.

    Don’t bother to argue with me any more about this, because it’s my last word on the subject.

  140. “And, most importantly, he is not deliberately and significantly misrepresenting his opponents’ statements in an effort to discredit him, while they most certainly are doing so to him.”

    Eh. I think there is quite a bit of that in the movie. The oil industry shill angle is a tar and feather job.

  141. Setting aside who is more right and who is more wrong, it stands to reason that Gore et al. would be more likely to persuade Americans (and others) to change their behaviors using more reasonable forecasts and proposed solutions to the potential problems reflected in those forecasts than in making extreme statements. I’m disturbed by the absolutist position taken by even some scientists on this issue, especially considering the uncertainties associated with climatology.

    thoreau, whether you are in love with the statements that Lomborg has made, I think that his position is certainly more reasonable and plausible than Gore’s. To be fair, he is in the position of having to refute extrapolations and assumptions. Not an easy task and certainly one subject to error.

    Whatever we conclude in this august setting, little will be done about global warming that involves rolling back economic growth. We all know that, whether we like it or not. Technology will probably save the day, but not because of any mandates. Again, everything looks to be moving in the right direction, and, to the extent that we may pay the piper for our excesses, I think that we’ll be able to adapt and to endure. If things look really bad at some point, more radical measures may become more acceptable to the people at large.

  142. Dr T:

    you’re all good!

    “”on the margin” analysis ” is important – as you know, that’s where all the fun stuff happens!

    I liked your answer and was ripping some others – unfortunately, I don’t see any of them here now, but was ripping them and supporting you.

    Apparently in my wonderful zeal for premature articulation, the attempt at humor was, to quote Klingon Commander Kruge, “unfortunate”.

    /kicks baby seal who’s broken off on an ice drift. it ends up gagging on the exhaust of my pimped out SUV

    jake – what does, “do cvidaniye joe” mean?

  143. JasonL,

    The important part of my statement was “misrepresenting his opponents’ statements.”

  144. Somebody remind Gunnels to take his goddamned mood medication, for Christ’s sake.

  145. whether you are in love with the statements that Lomborg has made, I think that his position is certainly more reasonable and plausible than Gore’s. To be fair, he is in the position of having to refute extrapolations and assumptions. Not an easy task and certainly one subject to error.

    Which makes it all the more important that he not do sloppy things. A few good arguments might take as much time as a bunch of weak arguments, but they’ll be more persuasive.

    “We have to do something!” is not an excuse for sloppiness.

    Gamito-

    I never said that Gore’s arguments were strong. If I’m going to spend time trying to root out bad arguments, I’m more likely to try to root out those arguments from the pro-market camp (i.e. the camp I’m sympathetic to).

  146. joe,

    I think at this point I’ll do what a lot of people and simply put you in the filter.

  147. joe:

    Purely an opinion, but I think Lomborg addressed the case Gore intended to convey. If a 20 foot scenario isn’t likely, why spend your whole presentation talking about it?

    I don’t think there was malicious misrepresentation.

  148. Jennifer,

    Who is he now? I’ve lost track.

  149. I think at this point I’ll do what a lot of people and simply put you in the filter.

    Pot of water from melted glaciers, meet kettle of water from flood plain.

  150. do cvidaniye

    transliteration of the cyrillic characters in the Russian word for good-bye into roman characters

  151. jake – what does, “do cvidaniye joe” mean?

    VM:

    I’m not that “jake”, but I think I recognize the song to which he refers:

    If it hadn’t been for cvidaniye joe
    I’d been married long time ago
    Where did you come from, where did you go
    Where did you come from cvidaniye joe

    I think it’s by the band “Rednyechs.”

  152. thoreau,

    Pot of water from melted glaciers, meet kettle of water from flood plain.

    You and Jennifer would be amazed at what folks say behind your back to me. 😉

  153. I was watching the teevee the other night, and one of those Wentworth(?) ads came on; the one where the guy says he wants to buy your “structured settlement” so you can have your money Right Now.

    And it occurred to me: “I bet they have some big fun explaining discount rates and the present value of a dollar to some hillbilly who thinks five hundred dollars per month for twenty years is the same as $120k today.”

    I don’t know why skipping around the comments in this thread made me think of that.

  154. but I think I recognize the song to which he refers

    I’m not that bright, but I am that jake.

  155. thoreau,

    I could post it all, but I ain’t involed that sort of long term animosity.

    You jumped to apparently a number of ill-concieved conclusions about Lomborg’s arguments, etc. And now you are now falling back on stuff that has nothing to do with with the argument at hand.

  156. Thanks Jake and Jake Boon!

    I really like JB’s translation, too! That’s hilarious!

    (sounded it out with that prompt, and get it! woo hoo! “dos ve danya”)

    LOL!

    for all of those using the filter – it’s really fun to put yourself in the filter. I found it’s particularly good for ignoring any posts that embarrass myself further! I recommend that (as well as the shorn scrotum, of course)

    P Brooks – JG Wentworth. Thank Cthulu for mute!

  157. But thoreau, that applies triple to what Gore is saying. Look, I’d prefer to have Jesus come and tell me the exact truth of what’s going on here and what we should do, but that’s not going to happen. Barring omniscient advice, why is Gore’s flagrant errorosity any worse than Lomborg’s? Who is making the extraordinary claims and requiring the greatest actions on our part? If you’re expressing disappointment in Lomborg as a scientist and holding him to a higher standard, well, I don’t have a problem with that. But as far as truth-seeking goes, I’m not happy with the guy who is getting all of the attention. And Lomborg isn’t a potential candidate for the White House, either.

  158. RAAAAH GLOBAL WARMENING RAAAH FACK YOU

    Jesus. I’m starting to really hate every single one of you limp-dick intarweb warriors. STFU & GTBW.

  159. Because you all asked for my opinion:

    If everyone would stop arguing from assumed motives by the opposition, the world would be a better place.

    “Lefties blah blah blah…”
    “Denialists blah blah …”
    “Chickenhawks blah …”
    “Alarmists always ….”

    If these people are making arguments, at a place called Reason, we should address those arguments. If they are themselves making sloppy generalizations, we should probably ignore them for the duration of the time they employ that tactic.

    If someone catches me doing this, please burn me for it.

    That was me on a high horse. I apologize.

  160. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4520665474899458831&q=swindle&hl=en

    Thoreau,

    Please watch this video and blog about it. As someone that is constantly questioning global warming skeptics based on science, I’d like to know how you’re going to attack the scientists in this video.

  161. Anyway, for the sort of argument that Lomborg is making his clearly non-definitive assessment of heat and cold deaths seems reasonable.

  162. You jumped to apparently a number of ill-concieved conclusions about Lomborg’s arguments, etc.

    I used the adjective “denialist” as a general description. His arguments certainly have that flavor, although he himself is not a denialist.

    Still, I admitted my errors there.

    For my more specific criticisms, I referred specifically to the report, the footnotes, and references. So I’d say I was quite reasonable there. You can’t counter “X number of additional deaths will happen” with “1.5 million deaths are happening right now.” You have to be able to say “Yes, but Y number of those 1.5 million winter-related deaths will be avoided.”

    PL-

    I’m not saying that the other side should be held to a lower standard. I’m saying that the best way to counter bad arguments is with good arguments. If people that I generally sympathize with are casting their lot with a guy using sloppy arguments, I’m going to say “Whoah, careful!” I’m not going to say “Eh, whatever, the other side is worse.”

  163. Jason-

    If everyone would stop arguing from assumed motives by the opposition, the world would be a better place.

    I may have used an adjective that makes implications about motives, but I also made specific criticisms of his arguments, and suggested that he isn’t actually refuting anything, he’s merely sounding like he’s refuting anything.

    TPG-

    Like I said, I’m more interested in persuading the people that I’m generally sympathetic to that they need to find the best possible arguments for their side.

  164. thoreau,

    For the sake of eternal peace between us, if I was really interested in a personal flame war with you I have a ton of ammunition I could use that I don’t use because in a personal flame with you. I am sure that is also the case with you.

    Anyway…

    His arguments certainly have that flavor…

    See, I don’t think that they do. They sound like a lot of what I see of what “moderate” climate change folks think.

    Still, I admitted my errors there.

    And that was really shiny of you to do so.

    For my more specific criticisms, I referred specifically to the report, the footnotes, and references. So I’d say I was quite reasonable there. You can’t counter “X number of additional deaths will happen” with “1.5 million deaths are happening right now.” You have to be able to say “Yes, but Y number of those 1.5 million winter-related deaths will be avoided.”

    Yes, but he merely stated that was a “reasonable estimate” and that must be read in the context of the whole report. So yes, if you read that statement in isolation it may whacked, but it doesn’t seem whacked in light of the full report and its overall theme.

  165. Several commenters made the statement that climate change over several decades would be unlikely to have an effect

    I’ve looked (briefly) for them. Who? Which comments.

    Okay, taking a break from joe-baiting for a minute here, I see thoreau’s point and generally agree; but — deep cleansing breath — both Gore and Lomborg in this particular case are doing roughly the same thing; to wit, one says “Hey, look at this!” and the other goes “Yeah, but look at that!”

    Gore’s a true believer, by which I mean I think he is absolutely sincere in his beliefs about global warming (a hypocrite in his lifestyle as a result, but that’s a different rant). Lomborg? Seems to me he’s not so much a true believer as, in general, a guy with some actual scientific training who has come to the conclusion that many of the public arguments being advanced by Gore and others (but not necessarily every global warming activist or believer) are exaggerated and deserving of criticism. So, are some of his arguments equally deserving of criticism? Sure. We might expect him to be all the more careful but, hell, we might expect the same of Gore.

    joe likes to throw the word “deniers” a lot. I know a few people who fit that category (and they are true believers, too), but I don’t hear that nearly as much here as I hear what I take to be fairly healthy skepticism. Perhaps that skepticism is less and less reasonable as far as the scientific part of the debate is concerned (hence Mr. Bailey’s about-face), but I have yet to hear a good argument as to why continued skepticism on the political / policy side of the argument isn’t merited, especially when it seems to me that it is invariably in those policy arguments that both sides whip out their best case / worst case scenarios to beat each other over the head and sway the undecided with. (JasonL’s 4:57 comment is on the money in that regard.)

  166. Yes, but he merely stated that was a “reasonable estimate” and that must be read in the context of the whole report.

    In the context of the report it becomes clear that he says nothing about the extent to which the 1.5 million number would change, and hence offers nothing to refute body count predictions from those talking about floods, tropical diseases, etc. It’s a number that sounds scary but in the context of the report does not actually refute anything.

    I hope that the people that I sympathize with will stay away from such arguments.

  167. more on Lomborg’s career

    Dr. T has spoken about this in other threads, too. He clearly has stated in the past that there are some good arguments and some bad ones. Whenever there’s a bad one, he talks about the idea, regardless of the team.

    Remember the SUV vs Electric car controversy?

    It’s about making a good argument. Sure we play fast and loose with the rhetoric, cuz it’s a board, but there are those times when an argument for the good guys is based on the “moon = green chaez (sic)” premise.

    That does not do any favors. Media does this when gun arguments are brought up.

    It’s cool. Gro was probing and challenging. Again, it’s all good.

    c’mon…. Group hug!

    no?

    group yiffing?

    /kicks pebble

  168. Like I said, I’m more interested in persuading the people that I’m generally sympathetic to that they need to find the best possible arguments for their side.

    Watch the damned video.

  169. JasonL,

    If everyone would stop arguing from assumed motives by the opposition, the world would be a better place.

    Yes, I agree, on the money.

  170. both Gore and Lomborg in this particular case are doing roughly the same thing; to wit, one says “Hey, look at this!” and the other goes “Yeah, but look at that!”

    Symbolic logic:

    If Gore’s tactics = Lomborg’s tactics

    and

    Gore’s tactics = weak

    What does that say about Lomborg’s tactics?

    What does that say about the wisdom of citing Lomborg as a useful refutation?

  171. thoreau,

    In the context of the report it becomes clear that he says nothing about the extent to which the 1.5 million number would change, and hence offers nothing to refute body count predictions from those talking about floods, tropical diseases, etc. It’s a number that sounds scary but in the context of the report does not actually refute anything.

    I don’t that it was supposed to definitively refute anything, except for perhaps alarmism. Which it does.

  172. thoreau,

    Lomborg’s main deal appears to be reign to in alarmism. It isn’t to come up with definitive solutions, conclusions, etc. So in light of what I see as the nature of the report his again seems reasonable.

  173. VM,

    Remember, when I’m probing and such I’m clearly off my meds. 😉

  174. I really don’t see the big problem with Lomborg’s statements. He simply says that global warming is a real and man-made problem, but it’s not going to kill everyone.

    Further, if it is human life we are worried about saving, then we can save many more lives for a lot less money by focusing on other issues. Cutting carbon emissions ala Kyoto, by comparison, will cost a lot and do very, very little.

    While we’re busy mitigating diseases, improving the economies of 3rd world countries, improving sanitation and feeding people, we can also be researching better methods of checking AGW. That way, in 50-100 years, after saving millions and millions of lives we will be able to focus our attention on AGW… and have the technology to implement a rational and cost-effective solution.

    Sorry, but that doesn’t sound crazy to me at all. That sounds downright practical.

  175. Please somebody call somebody else Hitler so we can end this thing!

  176. Stretch,

    In the interviews I’ve seen of him he appears to favor a cost-benefit analysis approach to environmental issues.

  177. Grotius is Hister. 😉

  178. Oh Nostradamus….I can’t give you partial credit for your tortured historical pronunciation…so close though!

  179. fish,

    Yeah, this conversation has definately Petered out. 😉

  180. “Grotius | March 21, 2007, 5:29pm | #
    VM,
    Remember, when I’m probing and such I’m clearly off my meds. ;)”

    Understood! I’d let you borrow some of mine, but I seemed to have thrown them away! You’ll be happy (right?) that Auburn repeated NCAA swimming title! Amazing!

    Hey Nostradamus – you do know what you’re saying, right? That Grotius is the River Danube??? Not the same thing. Not fair. hrumph.

    HUMPERDINK!

    HUMPERDINK HUMPERDINK HUMPERDINK!!!

  181. joe-

    So, you’re saying, that while the ippc authors decided not to include putative ice sheet contributions due to limited understanding or a lack of consensus on the magnitude, Al “none of this is controversial, the science is in” Gore extrapolated future sea levels from historic polar temperatures and sea levels? Brilliant. And it gets better. These historic sea levels were still lower than the 20 feet increase he’s fond of. This is some very, very lame stuff joe.

    I’m going to give him the benefit and assume he just hasn’t updated his talking points from the TAR. Which I’m still plowing through trying to find his justification for the 20 feet business.

  182. D.A.R.,

    No, I don’t feel like going back through the comment thread for you, and I don’t feel like an exchange parsing the term “no effect.” I think it’s pretty clear who I’m talking about, and what they were saying, to a reasonably intelligent reader, and I’ll not waste my time with fools.

    “but I have yet to hear a good argument as to why continued skepticism on the political / policy side of the argument isn’t merited”

    I haven’t heard a single argument, good bad or indifferent, as to why skepticism on the political/policy side of the argument isn’t merited. By all means, let’s have a vigorous debate about the best way to solve this real, serious, manmade, dangerous problem.

  183. thoreau:

    A snippy reply would start with a critique of your, um, symbolic logic, but I don’t want to play. The non-snippy answer is, sure, Lomborg is a less than ideal source and yadda, yadda. But this isn’t purely a matter of science, let alone of logic and (1) it’s foolish to expect Lomborg (let alone Gore) to play by your preferred rules in this particular context and (2) neither of them have to do so in order for their claims to have some probative value.

    No one (except God, and He isn’t playing) can say for sure what the weather will be like in 2107, as you well know; so we’re left with a hodge-podge of overlapping and conflicting predictions and we’re trying to figure out which claim is credible and just how credible it is and what might make it more or less credible, which claim is dubious and how dubious it is, etc., etc.

    Look, if all you want to contend is that no one should take Lombord as the final word on these questions, fine. You’re right. If you want to say “Hey, look at this… his assertion doesn’t seem to be satisfactorily substantiated for this reason or that,” that’s fine, too. Hell, e-mail the guy and pose your concerns. (My guess is you might even get a fairly well reasoned reply.)

    But my earlier statement that in some respects both Gore and Lombord are engaged in the same sort of (non-scientific) process here does not permit the inference that they are therefore equally credible or equally lacking in credibility. All sorts of other factors go into that determination.

  184. VM,

    So Hister is another term for the River Danube? Hmm, didn’t know that.

  185. I have not read the IPCC report thoroughly, but see page 17. It says that, with complete melting of ice in Greenland, sea levels could go up an additional 7 m (22 feet) over MILLENIA! That gives us a little time to figure this thing out.

    http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/docs/WG1AR4_SPM_Approved_05Feb.pdf

    VM and Grotius:
    War Eagle! By the way, Auburn repeated as National Champions in both men’s and women’s swimming.

  186. “If everyone would stop arguing from assumed motives by the opposition, the world would be a better place.”

    Here here.

  187. DAR got at some of the things I was getting at but far more eloquently.

  188. thoreau,

    Point taken, and I generally agree. Using a good argument to attack a bad one is certainly better than using a weak one. It’s like attacking Creationism because everyone knows that God was out of town that week.

  189. Kent,

    Florida mocks you, and mocks you well. Feel the mockery flowing through you and the rest of the SEC. Ah, glory.

    I hope this last a while longer.

  190. VM,

    Oh, I see, “Ister.” Hmm, never made the connection before.

  191. Hi Gro!

    IIRC it’s the lower Danube (Romania/Bulgaria??? area)

    Kent! wow – I didn’t know Auburn also won the women’s title! Amazing! And in D3, Kenyon women didn’t win! amazing news all around!

    ProL: yeah – cuz your team might do the Football/Hoops double! Would be hilarious against OSU a second time!

  192. VM,

    Although internal SEC chest-thumping is enjoyable, the schadenfreude associated with Ohio State is even better 🙂

    We’ll get ours soon enough, of course. Too many opportunities to stumble to expect any repeats, but I’d love to see it. I do think UF’s basketball team is still the nation’s best, but the best has lost Tournament before.

  193. Pro Libertate,

    I have the Ducks and Georgetown in the final.

  194. Pro Libertate,

    I hope you are talking about basketball, which no self-respecting Alabaman even knows about. If you are talking about football: Auburn 27, National Champions 17! Do you think maybe UF was a beneficiary of BCS regret for having chosen Oklahoma over Auburn in 2004?

    As much as UF humbled OSU, and USC humbled UM, I saw where some Michigan fans STILL thought the NC game should have been an OSU/UM rematch. Go figure.

    Grotius,

    I spent a week in Iceland a couple of years ago and was inspired to read the sagas. I was amazed at how advanced Icelandic culture (legal system, e.g.) was and the volume of literature put out by a tiny settlement in the middle of nowhere 7-800 years ago.

  195. “I haven’t heard a single argument, good bad or indifferent, as to why skepticism on the political/policy side of the argument isn’t merited. By all means, let’s have a vigorous debate about the best way to solve this real, serious, manmade, dangerous problem.”

    I’d position that a bit differently. If the problem is defined as the net negative outcomes that we know will result from global warming, and we hold ourselves to that standard, I don’t think there is a lot of disagreement.

    My concerns are:

    1) Carbon control is not temperature control. If drastic carbon control is proposed as a solution to a problem, I want to know the costs and benefits. The costs to the whole Gore plan are really high. I have no idea if I’m buying even a degree reduction in average temperature in a hundred years. Even a true believer would be nuts to take that deal.

    2) We can’t overlook opportunity costs. At some level of cost, we’d be much better off investing in living on a warmer planet. Also, and this is important, it doesn’t matter if warming was man made or not. All we should care about is the outcome.

    3) Projections 100 years out are pure fantasy due to the variables involved. I don’t think you can legitimately make an urgency claim this far in advance.

  196. joe-

    What I found in the TAR …

    “This range is higher than the 0.7-3.5°C of the SAR because of higher levels of radiative forcing in the SRES scenarios than in the IS92a-f scenarios?primarily as a result of lower sulfate aerosol emissions, especially after 2050. The equivalent range of estimates of global sea-level rise (for this range of global temperature change in combination with a range of ice melt sensitivities) to 2100 is 9-88 cm (compared to 15-95 cm in the SAR). [3.2.4.1, 3.4.4, 3.8.1, 3.8.2]” Working Group II, section 3.5 of the technical summary

    So, including ice melt we’re talking 1/3 to 3 feet. I’m still looking for that outside projection of 20 feet. Want to help me out?

  197. Kent,

    I’ve wanted to go Iceland for a while now. Looks like a fun place to visit.

  198. I’ve been swamped with a new job and impending marriage, so I skipped the picks this year. I recall having a weird SEC moment and thinking it might be Vandy-UF, but I’m not enough of a homer to pick that one. I think UF might be able to do it, but I don’t blame anyone for doubting that they’ll roll all sevens again.

    Kent,

    Oh, sure, but an SEC championship and national glory erase such defeats. That was a weird game, but you won, nonetheless. As for people who think the Big Ten should’ve had any representation in the BCS bowl games. . .ha! It’s Big Ten homerism that gets us these absurdly high rankings for clearly inferior teams (I speak of the present–the Big 10 has had its moments, of course).

  199. JasonL,

    Those are reasonable points. Let me take them one by one.

    1. On carbon reduction, everyone realizes there will need to be a certain period of ramp-up before we’re getting into serious cuts. We start now with what we can do, and we work towards practices and technologies that would require greater reductions later. Both our knowledge of the problem and of possible solutions will only expand with time. It’s an interesting theoretical debate to discuss whether a dramatic cut right now would be a net gain or loss, but it’s a moot argument.

    2. Well put. And since we’re going to have to start our responses and adaptations to climate change regardless of what we do, and since they, too, would take time, this is an iterative process, just like carbon reduction efforts.

    3. That depends on the projections. Obviously, they can only be made a certain degree of specificity. But if your only point here is that we shouldn’t take action immediately necessary to ward off what is projected 100 years from now, don’t worry. Once again, we’re talking about a ramp-up.

  200. pigwiggle,

    Stop looking at the six-year-old TAR and look at the month and a half old fourth report – or, actually, the executive summary that’s been released.

    Hope that was helpful.

  201. joe-

    Don’t be ignorant. Gore didn’t get his 20 feet figure from the newest executive summary. He’s been running that thing since Inconvenient Truth. And if you insist, well, I refer you to my 5:43 post. That quote you pulled is all but worthless.

  202. joe:

    So, you’d agree to a public policy stamp on policies that are not expensive or substantially harmful to economic growth, holding out on more expensive/drastic measures until we know they are worth doing?

    You could call this a ‘ramp up’ phase to appease your sense that we are taking steps but more will be required. I can call it a cheap compromise creates some bureaucracy and regulation, but by definition doesn’t cause a lot of pain.

    If so, all we have to do is define ‘expensive’ in a mutually agreeable way. I’m sure that won’t be contentious …

  203. “He’s been running that thing since Inconvenient Truth.”

    Apparently, he’s been following the research and the state of the science closer than you or I.

    I understand he’s rather committed to the issue.

  204. JasonL,

    No, I think we should make the commitment to major steps right now. Not the steps right now, the commitment.

    First we do A, then we do B, then we do C, and on and on, each step more substantial than the last.

    At the level of philosophy, this is quite different than what you suggest, but at the level of practice, we aren’t going to diverge until B or C or D, at which point one or both of us is going to have moved closer to the other’s position.

  205. TPG-

    I misunderstood you. I thought that you were asking me to be even-handed and go after scientists pushing bad arguments for reducing CO2 emissions. Now I see that you’re asking me whether I’ll agree with what the scientists in that video say, since those scientists argue against reducing CO2 emissions.

    For all I know the scientists in that video may be right, and they may be putting forth very good arguments for their side. Fair enough. At some point I’ll watch it and comment.

    I haven’t said much in favor of reducing CO2 emissions. Mostly what I’ve said is that if libertarians are interested in arguing against climate scientists they should either make good scientific arguments or stick to areas where they have some useful insights to offer. Libertarians, as a group, have a lot of insights to offer on matters of policy. But while some individual libertarians may have useful insights and detailed knowledge concerning climate science, the libertarian movement as a whole (including its think-tanks) doesn’t have an especial advantage on matters of heat transport, fluid flow, and whatnot. Yet a movement without especial expertise in that area nonetheless features a great many people who until recently argued quite strongly that the science was weak.

    It seems a poor allocation of intellectual resources.

    FWIW, many of my fellow scientists are shockingly ignorant on matters of economics and naive on unintended consequences and human consequences in policy. Libertarians have much to teach them.

  206. I understand he’s rather committed to the issue.

    Just not committed enough to, say, live in just one house, with less than 20x what his neighbors use in energy. Or to stop flying everywhere by private jet. I know, hypocrisy doesn’t mean he’s wrong — but it does suggest he’s not as committed as he claims.

    (I assume zinc strip-mines do not contribute to global warming.)

  207. “No, I think we should make the commitment to major steps right now. Not the steps right now, the commitment.”

    Hmm. I don’t know what ‘commitment to major steps’ means. If it means I have to write a check in the absence of knowing what I’m buying, or if it means that I’m constraining myself to a certain course of action because of a fuzzy picture of what human activity in 100 years will look like, I’m not on board.

    I’m willing to pay a little to buy some carbon reduction even though I don’t know what objective benefit (i.e. the impact to temperature) might be. As the cost of my commitment to carbon reduction goes up, I have to eventually ask “Why do I care about carbon instead of outcomes again?”

  208. If thoreau’s suggesting that if we’re going to rent a room from a guy that throws a lot of rocks, that we’d better make sure the house isn’t made of glass, then the point’s well taken.

    …’cause these days, I’m probably too quick to congratulate just about anybody who’s denouncing fear mongering.

  209. Grotius,

    Iceland is a very interesting place, from the fact that people are listed in the (and it is “the”) phonebook by first names to all the weird geological stuff.

    Pro Libertate,

    Auburn won its only NC in football (or any major sport, for that matter) the year before I was born. I don’t think they will win another before I die no matter how good they are. They always seem to be on the wrong side of the argument:
    BYU won a NC in football because they were the only undefeated team. Auburn was the only undefeated team in the nation in 1993, but they finished fourth in the final poll because their schedule was supposedly weak. Weaker than BYU’s??
    However, Auburn had perhaps the toughest schedule in the nation in 1983 (Having played 4 of the final top eight teams.) and had a record as good as anyone in the nation. They finished third behind Miami (Which lost handily to UF, Auburn and Miami’s only common oppoent, while AU beat UF.) and Nebraska (Which only played one of the final top 25 teams!). Go figure.

    Of course, the 2004 snub is fresh in every collge football fans’ memory.

  210. joe-

    I see. You just want to dodge the question. Someone calls your bluff and digs into the ipcc, and you get shifty. That’s fine. Lame, but fine with me.

  211. Ah, Shelby, you need to keep up on your talking points. Otherwise, you end up easily dismissed through a simple cut and paste job.

    Like so:

    “It’s funny, you see conservatives raise five complaints about environmentalist reforms:

    1. They’re coercive, not voluntary.

    2. They’re one-size-fits-all, not tailored to individual situations.

    3. They harm the economy.

    4. They don’t utilize the profit motive to create a market for the changes they’d like to see.

    5. They insist on drastic steps that would harm “our way of life.”

    So Gore starts taking money out of his own pocket to subsidize a clean energy project in Europe – a voluntary measure, tailored to his own situation, that doesn’t harm the economy in any way whatwsoever, that serves to create a market for clean power, and that makes barely a dent in his way of life – and he’s accused for hypocrisy for not adopting positions that Shelby is just sure all environmentalists really support.”

  212. JasonL,

    “Hmm. I don’t know what ‘commitment to major steps’ means.”

    It means you get engaged before you get married.

    It means you call in your pledge to PBS, work the donation into your budget, and send the check a few weeks later.

    Let’s keep in mind that the initial steps – such as those called for under Kyoto – may have a low cost/benefit analysis, but they will pave the way for future advances that will have a much more attractive ratio.

  213. Whatever, pigwiggle. You want to ask where Al Gore gets his data, ask Al Gore. If you want to discuss global warming, do so.

  214. “It means you get engaged before you get married.”

    Somehow, this doesn’t clarify. 😉

    Is it like being engaged for 20 years to a girl I met in the club last weekend, buying a new and more expensive ring every year?

  215. Global Warming is a scam cooked up by the Clintons, Gore, and some other leading Dems. They have formed a syndicate that has been buying large tracts of land in Upstate New York dirt-cheap. How they are telling people that the earth is warming and the oceans rising – so where would the best place to invest your money? That’s right, Buffalo and Syracuse New York. In a couple of years the Queen City and Salt City will be the new South Beach. They are telling people that they have a once in a lifetime chance to get in on the ground floor (at a 400% mark-up).

    How do I know? I cooked up the scheme sold it to the syndicate and then sold them large tracts of land at a 300% mark-up.

  216. JasonL,

    That wouldn’t be a good comparison, because additional rings don’t make you any more engaged.

  217. Should the climate in Atlanta become like the climate in Ecuador, it will still have housing, infrastructure, etc. designed for the conditions of present-day Atlanta.

    This, on its face, is deceptive joe. On the one hand, one could say that Atlanta wouldn’t still have the infrastructure of modern day Atlanta should the effects of GW become apparent. Unless of course the climate changed to that of Ecuador in a three month period. That won’t happen. It simply won’t. The next issue wrong with this is you make grand assumptions about the range of climate change that may affect a city like Atlanta. Will the climate of Atlanta be more like Ecuador, or a little hotter or a little dryer than Atlanta is now? Or will it be a little hotter and a little more moist? Or, joe, will the climate in Atlanta become cooler? Y’see, the problem with this here climate change debate as presented by the Global Warming Industrial Complex is that often times the argument for what changes will occur are wildly different depending on the location. Some places get more rain, some less. Some places get warmer, some cooler. Some places see floods, some see droughts. Even if we take the prognostications from the Global Warming Industrial Compex at face value, some places with the infrastructure built to deal with whatever localized weather affects the area is used to could actually see the stresses on that infrastructure diminish. Let me be more clear: Not every effect of GW will be a net negative. There will be mixes of poistives and negatives, and few people- including but not limited to the IPCC can say what, where, or how much that effect will be.

    Lomborg is not being dishonest here at all. Not at all. He’s merely alluding to the issue that along with the negative effects there are also positive effects which may balance eachother out.

  218. Ken-

    Pretty much. If environmentalist proposals are the greatest threat facing continued economic growth, then a guy whose arguments smell funny is not the champion I’m looking for to avert this threat.

  219. joe-

    Whatever, pigwiggle. You want to ask where Al Gore gets his data, ask Al Gore. If you want to discuss global warming, do so.

    You said it …”Uh, no, the figures Gore gives for what would happen IF THE ICE SHEETS MELT are completely in line with what the IPCC says would happen IF THE ICE SHEETS MELT.” … and I say you are full of shit. That’s all.

    I even went digging to find where the ipcc (including the tar and sar) says if the ice sheets melt the sea will rise 20 feet. It doesn’t. The tar and sar do include estimates based on ice melt. They are in the range of 1/3 to 3 feet. But apparently the ice melt models are too flakey to include and they were set aside for the fourth assessment. Sack up; admit you were talking out your ass.

  220. hey!

    thoreau, gunnels!

    i thought i told you two to cut this out. you’re arguing again, but i have yet to get one laugh out of it.

    if you two can’t bitch at each other without making one witty cultural reference, posting a picture of a crazy owl, or some other variety of fun i have yet to countenance, maybe you’d best not bitch at all.

    don’t make me demonstrate on mr. moose’s noam chomsky doll.

    “where did the man touch you. show us on the doll”

    you have our… ingratitude.

  221. Joe,

    I’m afraid you didn’t actually address my point. It IS hypocritical of him, regardless of his European projects. He’s still emitting the excessive amounts of carbon and other warming gasses in the US, while lecturing everyone about the need to reduce emissions of same.

    Second, I AM an environmentalist (as well as a libertarian), so I don’t know what you think you accomplish by projecting your anti-environmentalist stereotype about libertarians onto me.

    Next time, stay away from the cut-and-paste; it may just stay stuck on you.

  222. “We can’t overlook opportunity costs. At some level of cost, we’d be much better off investing in living on a warmer planet. Also, and this is important, it doesn’t matter if warming was man made or not. All we should care about is the outcome.”

    Just a small point about the “worst-case scenario.”

    Gore does not present the worst case scenario.The worst case scenario has to do with oceanic anoxia resulting from global warming…

    “A model put forward by Lee Kump, Alexander Pavlov and Michael Arthur in 2005 suggests that oceanic anoxic events may have been characterized by upwelling of water rich in highly toxic hydrogen sulfide gas which was then injected into the atmosphere. This phenomenon would likely have poisoned plants and animals and caused mass extinctions. Furthermore, it has been proposed that the hydrogen sulfide rose to the upper atmosphere and attacked the ozone layer, which normally blocks the deadly ultraviolet radiation of the Sun. The increased UV radiation caused by this ozone depletion would have amplified the destruction of plant and animal life. Fossil spores from strata recording the Permian extinction show deformities consistent with UV radiation. This evidence, combined with fossil biomarkers of green sulfur bacteria, indicates that this process could have played a role in that mass extinction event, and possibly other extinction events. The trigger for these mass extinctions appears to be a warming of the ocean caused by a rise of carbon dioxide levels to about 1000 parts per million.”

    IIRC that level of carbon dioxide will be reached in roughly 200 years at the current rate of acceleration. The numbers on species extinction are in the low 90%.

    This would be much more difficult to adapt to than coastal flooding. We have much longer to deal with the worst case scenario, but Gore does not present the worst case scenario.

    What I don’t understand in the debate is the attitude that says, essentially, “just ignore the problem and the market and technology will take care of it.” When, in fact, the market and technology will only respond to the problem if we don’t ignore it and set goals (such as reducing CO2 by 90% in 43 years). Setting a goals of 90% reduction does not by itself do anything to harm the economy. Requiring the market to adapt to new goals doesn’t, in itself, do any harm to the economy. The predictions on the impact of certain solutions on both the climate and the economy have a great degree of uncertainty. People should be skeptical about both the climate effects and the economic effects… but ignoring the problem or taking a business as usual approach seems unwise.

    Given the worst case scenario we would want to avoid.

  223. pigwiggle,

    You want the quote again? OK.

    “Global average sea level in the last interglacial period (about 125,000 years ago) was likely 4 to 6 m higher
    than during the 20th century, mainly due to the retreat of polar ice. Ice core data indicate that average polar
    temperatures at that time were 3 to 5?C higher than present, because of differences in the Earth’s orbit. The
    Greenland ice sheet and other Arctic ice fields likely contributed no more than 4 m of the observed sea level
    rise. There may also have been a contribution from Antarctica.”

    Neither I, nor Gore, are talking out of our asses. There’s one possible source for the claim, right there, in the fourth report. As I already told you.

  224. Shelby,

    Why is this so confusing?

    “He’s still emitting the excessive amounts of carbon and other warming gasses in the US, while lecturing everyone about the need to reduce emissions of same.”

    He’s both reducing his carbon output in the short term, and contributing to transformational efforts to reduce it in the long term. Gee, he’s not living in a mud hut? He didn’t say we need to live in mud huts. He said we need to start making changes in our own lives, as well as work collectively for transformation solutions.

  225. Never mind, Joe. You seem unwilling to see my point. Rest assured that, more broadly and aside from Mr. Gore, I agree with you on the potential problems of global warming. I’m less confident that it’s manmade and that it’s very predictable, but it nonetheless needs to be taken seriously and addressed by changes in human behavior, including but not limited to energy generation and usage.

  226. Shelby,

    I see your point, and if Gore was one of those “deep ecologists” arguing that only a return to pre-industrial levels of technology could solve the problem, it would be a good one.

    Frankly, there are a lot of Chicken Littles running around and wailing that environmentalists like Gore want exactly that. It’s probably a good thing that he’s demonstrating otherwise.

  227. “Setting a goals of 90% reduction does not by itself do anything to harm the economy.”

    A goal proposed over 43 years doesn’t seem to have an impact, but what are the yearly targets? What are the consequences for not meeting those targets? What are the costs of meeting them? What else would that money have been spent on? On the surface you would at least be talking about an increased cost for all meaningful energy production. That is an additional cost for every action taken by every individual and every company.

  228. Pigwiggle,

    I posted this earlier:

    http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/docs/WG1AR4_SPM_Approved_05Feb.pdf

    Page 17 refers to the ocean levels possibly rising 7 m (23 feet) in MILLENIA due to melting of Greenland’s ice cap. I’ll let someone 50 generations or so from now start worrying about it rather than getting worked up about it myself.

  229. I’ve never thought Gore needs to live in a mud hut to demonstrate his seriousness. Flying commercial (first class if he pleases) and limiting his heating bill to, say, five times the average for his city would be a start. His lifestyle is blatantly at odds with his rhetoric; that undercuts the rhetoric. If he understood that better, he might be president now.

  230. More on the Oceanic Anoxia thing…From SciAm Online October 2006…

    “Today with CO2 around 385 ppm, it seems we are still safe. But with atmospheric carbon climbing at an annual rate of 2 ppm and expected to accelerate to 3 ppm, levels could approach 900 ppm by the end of the next century, and conditions that bring about the beginnings of ocean anoxia may be in place.”

    JasonL.
    Those are indeed the questions to ask when a specific policy proposal is made. I don’t think Gore’s proposal is detailed enough to probe at that level yet.

  231. “On the surface you would at least be talking about an increased cost for all meaningful energy production. That is an additional cost for every action taken by every individual and every company.”

    This, I believe, is not accurate.
    It means that since energy costs more, you choose the most energy efficient way to take that action. No need to choose to use the same amount of energy to get that task done. It means a shift in the means and methods for meeting goals, but it does not lead, automatically, to increased cost for each goal to be met.

    If you are actually interested in a more detailed look at the issues from a market friendly perspective, I would suggest this book.

    http://www.natcap.org/

  232. Shelby,

    I’ll give you “could be setting a better example,” but not “hypocrite.”

  233. Why so many words wasted on Gore’s character?

  234. I’m not well educated enough to have a strong opinion about various theories and counter-theories related to climate change. I am well educated enough to say categorically that when a guy lives in three houses, and flys on a private jet, while advocating (and let’s be clear what the guy had advocated) that people do all that they can to reduce their carbon footprint PRIOR to purchasing carbon offsets, because human civilization rests in the balance, he is a deeply silly man, or thinks everybody else is a dunce.

    Before the ridiculous argument is put forth that “do all that you can” is synonymous with an individually tailored “as much as you can handle”, as was done in this forum a few weeks ago, let it be noted that a guy who can only handle living in three homes and flying by private jet should just shut up rather than advise other people regarding their living habits.

  235. Will, read my previous post.

  236. Neu, Gore explicitly casts his argument in moral terms, in regards to the implications of carbon consumption. As such, it is perfectly reasonable to examine his behavior as an indicator of whether he is sincere in his beliefs. No, hypocrisy is not the worst of all human behaviors, but it is something to consider when examining arguments pertaining to morality.

  237. A couple of companies that have just decided to make money based on a market for green solutions to peoples problems…

    http://www.flexcar.com/
    http://www.interfaceinc.com/

    More of this kind of innovation will go farther to reduce government solutions to the problem than any amount of complaining about Gore’s rhetoric.

  238. Will.
    Still wasting those words.
    At least they are carbon neutral.

  239. Neu, serial adulterers aren’t listened to when they talk about the value of fidelity. People who have a 30% body fat percentage are not listened to if they talk about gluttony as bad behavior. O.J. Simpson isn’t listened to if he talks about the evils of domestic abuse.

    This is wholly unsurprising.

  240. Neu, how is repeating Gore’s words wasting words? Do the words he emits mean something? Maybe he should hold up a red flag when he is saying words which are meant to be wasted?

  241. Will.

    You are not repeating Gore’s words.
    You are wasting many of your owns on a pointless debate about his character. Move past it to see if the ideas he promotes have any merit. The value of those ideas will have nothing to do with his character.

  242. Er, shouldn’t Gore’s arguments be considered on their merits?

  243. Joe,

    Yes, and Bill Clinton’s ideas regarding fidelity to one’s spouse should be considered on their own merits. But if you don’t live up to your own rhetoric, people start to tune you out even if your ideas make sense.

  244. Joe,

    Yes.

    And that is why you should spend less time fueling debates about his character.

  245. Sorry, Neu, when one casts one words in explicitly moral terms, as Gore has chosen to do (why do you object so much when others attempt to take Gore’s moral pronouncements at face value?), then, no, one’s character simply is not going to be ignored. That is how the world works.

    Gore should either be smart enough to grasp this, or Gore should shut up, because listening to stupid politicians is a negative externality also.

  246. Shelby, Will,

    I haven’t noticed Mr. Gore having a great deal of trouble getting his message out. Nor have I noticed the growing awareness and concern about global warming slowing. Quite the opposite, as a matter of fact.

    N.M.,

    Right you are. I shouldn’t let these people drag me down to their level. I guess I have an emotional response to the sight of bullies and heathers picking on the smart kid, but I should be more careful about being drawn in, and letting them change the subject.

  247. Mr. Steven Crane,

    What, you didn’t like my “Petered out” line to fish? Come on man, the apostles were supposed to be fishers of men! Peter was an apostle… 😉

  248. none of you are funny.

    guy montag is funnier than you are, and he has a crap sense of humor. his jokes about carbon credits are the equivalent of gallagher smashing a watermelon.

  249. joe, at what level is one, when one notes that when a speaker advocates x as a moral imperative, an observation is almost always made as to whether the speaker is adhering to his own advocacy? Not for the first time today, joe, it has to be noted that you are writing some very, very, odd statements.

    Lemme know when Gulfstream Al starts convincing large numbers of people to, in his words, “reduce their carbon footprint as much as possible” prior to purchasing offsets. I’m sure his sterling example will be inspirational.

  250. didn’t see that, grotius. but then again my eyes are still burning from the formula 409 spray.

  251. Do tell, joe. What is “smart” about trying to convince a substantial percentage of the population that behavior x is a moral imperative, while openly deciding to not pursue behavior x oneself?

    Al Gore. So smart. Indeed.

  252. Fuck you, Craney.

  253. Small minds talk about people.

    Mediocre minds talk about things.

    Great minds talk about ideas.

    Nicknames, Will? Nicknames?

  254. Mr. Steven Crane,

    That’s ok. Be careful of those household cleaning products.

  255. Ah, c’mon joe. Have you ever castigated anyone for using an unflattering nickname for a Republican president? Your transparency is showing.

    Now, explain, once and for all, what a “smart kid” Gore is being when he lives in the manner he does, while engaging in the moral advocacy he pursues.

  256. “The planet has a fever. If your baby has a fever, you go to the doctor. If the doctor says, ‘You have to intervene here,’ you don’t say, ‘Well, I read a science fiction novel that says this isn’t important.’ ”

    — Al Gore, responding to criticism today in D.C. from environmental science skeptic Joe Barton, a GOP Congressman from Texas.

  257. If you want to use an unflattering nickname while making substantive criticisms of Gore’s words and policies, have at.

    Using unflattering nicknames while making the point that Al gore is a poopyhead, not so much.

  258. Will Allen,

    Gore isn’t really all that important in the grand scheme of things. He doesn’t set policy, he is no longer in government, etc.

  259. “Now, explain, once and for all, what a “smart kid” Gore is being when he lives in the manner he does, while engaging in the moral advocacy he pursues.”

    No. Can I explain what a transparent partisan you’re being when you try to turn discussion of global warming into strings of ad homenims aimed at Al Gore, instead?

  260. I haven’t said much in favor of reducing CO2 emissions. Mostly what I’ve said is that if libertarians are interested in arguing against climate scientists they should either make good scientific arguments or stick to areas where they have some useful insights to offer.

    Let us know when you watch the video.

  261. Please explain, joe. How is noting that a speaker is fundamentally unserious when he refuses to adhere to behavior which he asserts is a moral imperative, and indeed makes no attempt to adhere to, the equivalent of saying that the speaker is a “poopyhead”?

  262. TPG,

    So, what’s the video about exactly?

  263. According to a group of scientists brought together by documentary-maker Martin Durkin, if the planet is heating up, it isn’t your fault … all ? and there’s nothing you can do about it.

    We’ve almost begun to take it for granted that climate change is a man-made phenomenon. But just as the environmental lobby think they’ve got our attention, a group of naysayers have emerged to slay the whole premise of global warming.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4520665474899458831&q=swindle&hl=en

  264. PL,

    I do think UF’s basketball team is still the nation’s best, but the best has lost Tournament before.

    Nicely done. Even if OSU does beat UF, you’ve already staked your claim that UF is the best basketball team anyway, win or lose.

    What size trophy do they get for that?

  265. Joe, your use of the English language is either dishonest or ignorant. What is ad hominem about noting that an advocate of behavior x as a moral imperative makes no effort to puruse such behavior himself?

  266. joe:

    “Small minds talk about people.

    Mediocre minds talk about things.

    Great minds talk about ideas.

    Nicknames, Will? Nicknames?”

    2:32 pm: “Wow, what a dishonest hack Lomborg is.”

    2:57 pm: “I think National Review is just looking to bash Democrats and environmentalists, and any connection to a legitimate, principled, fact-based argument is purely coincidental.”

    3:04 pm: “ed, you tool”

    3:19 pm: “What makes Lomborg dishonest is his statement that Gore is contradicting the IPCC report.”

    3:24 pm: “When Lomborg states that the IPCC report suggests a one foot rise, he is incorrectly reporting the contents of the study, and I have enough respect for his reading comprehension to conclude that he knows it.”

    3:44 pm: “They have therapies and medication for panic attacks these days.”

    4:12 pm: “I believe “pwned” is the term the kids are using these days, asshat.”

    4:30 pm: “given your obvious bias.”

    4:40 pm: “If a single Senate seat was Republican instead of Democrat, the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works would be chaired by a man who says that global warming is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on mankind.” We’re talking about a party which commands the loyalty of about 50% of Americans.”

    “At a certain point, a critical mass of people will understand the truth, the denialists will retire to the nice houses they’ve bought, and a useful discussion of policy can begin.”

    4:45 pm: “And, most importantly, he is not deliberately and significantly misrepresenting his opponents’ statements in an effort to discredit him, while they most certainly are doing so to him.”

    7:56 pm: “Frankly, there are a lot of Chicken Littles running around and wailing that environmentalists like Gore want exactly that.”

    9:22 pm: “I shouldn’t let these people drag me down to their level. I guess I have an emotional response to the sight of bullies and heathers picking on the smart kid, but I should be more careful about being drawn in, and letting them change the subject.”

    9:57 pm: “environmental science skeptic Joe Barton, a GOP Congressman from Texas.”

  267. Well, Grotius, I were convinced that Gore would never again run for office, I would be in more agreement as to his importance. You are likely correct, however. I just find it striking, as I did the Rush Limbaugh affair, for instance, when a person develops a large following based upon what he himself characterizes as moral advocacy, while blatantly engaging in behavior which contradicts the advocacy.

    What is more interesting regarding Gore’s moral advocacy of reducing one’s carbon footprint as much as possible, as opposed to Limbaugh’s railing against drug use, however, is that Gore makes very little attempt to conceal the fact that he has no intention of adhering to his moral advocacy. What is also interesting is that people like joe, and he certainly isn’t alone, will stop at nothing in defending a moral advocate who makes no attempt to adhere to his own advocacy.

    Would it really be so psychologically painful for the Gore followers to simply say that Gore’s refusal to adhere to his own moral advocacy is harmful to their cause, but it does not have an impact on the scientific argument? Instead, they puruse a dogged defense of hypocrisy. Like I stated above, I don’t even think hypocrisy is all that horrible of a human failing in the grand scheme of things; I just think it odd to see it defended so zealously.

  268. TPG-

    I watched a few minutes of it, just to see what it’s about. I’ll watch it in full at some point. Let’s say that these scientists are completely correct. Does that mean that it was wise for people in various threads to make the weak arguments that they’ve made when they could have been citing the excellent data put forth by these scientists?

    I still stand by my contention that weak arguments should be avoided. Especially if there’s excellent data out there that could be cited and discussed in refutation of the anti-CO2 activists.

  269. “Gallagher | March 21, 2007, 9:47pm | #
    Fuck you, Craney.”

    mein Gott. We have a tough guy in our midst.

    And one who is probably a regular but is posting under the guise of some Showtime Entertainer. So he’s real (sic) brave, too! Almost as tough as a meletary lawyer!

    hmmmm.

    “Craney”? Mymy. You stretched the little gray cells for that one, didntcha?

    wow. An intellectual tough guy.

    Gil will be by to take a stool sample. From the long way around.

    You’re the linguistic equivalent to cheetos, my man! good job!

  270. “Global average sea level in the last interglacial period (about 125,000 years ago) was likely 4 to 6 m higher
    than during the 20th century, mainly due to the retreat of polar ice. Ice core data indicate that average polar
    temperatures at that time were 3 to 5?C higher than present, because of differences in the Earth’s orbit.

    To misuse a phrase, this begs the question of whether or not we are living in an interglacial period. Looking outside, considering I live at the border of the last glacial epoch, I think it’s safe to say no, we aren’t, so the fact that our average sea level is 4 to 6m lower than the last time doesn’t exactly strike fear into my heart.

    As far as the 3 to 5?C higher temperatures, while they may be well withing the IPCC projections, I think you have conflated global averages with average polar temperatures. I will openly admit I haven’t read the data, but it looks like a mixing of data to me.

  271. “You’re the linguistic equivalent to cheetos, my man!”

    So that would make you…stale cheetos?

  272. thoreau,

    We can all agree that weak arguments, etc. should be avoided (no matter what the subject matter).

  273. A much needed reality check is provided at the blog linked to below.

    if we look at the geological record, we see that the climate changes of the last 1000 years — both warmer and colder, wetter and drier — are more radical than most anything the global warming alarmists are predicting. Look at the last 15,000 years and you’ve got an ice age with a mile-deep sheet of ice covering most of North America north of the 40th parallel, and a millenium-long drought that had open blowing sand extending from western Wyoming to central Nebraska. None of that climate change can be realistically attributed to anthropogenic causes.

    Tremendous climate changes happened long before humans arrived on the scene. The wise response to the possibility of man made climate change is to learn how to adapt to it. That way we will be able to respond when the next episode of natural climate change occurs. It would also allow us to better respond to other potential disasters like asteroid impacts, climate changing volcanic eruption, or disease pandemics.

  274. Dern,
    I came to hear a debate and it descended into a pissing contest.

    joe, I’m actually interested in your arguments but if you make a claim, you do need to cite where it is you found it. Is not even a simple quote of the 20 foot estimate so hard to do? Page number, etc.? Sure, I could say, “Go read ‘War and Peace’ for yourself where Tolstoy says blah blah blah” but it might be a stronger argument to at least say, “On page 693 where he says….”

  275. And joe, I don’t know if you’re dishonest or not, but an unwillingness to cite page numbers to back up your claims, makes you “look” dishonest.

  276. TJIT,

    No “global warming alarmists” with even half a clue are arguing that more dramatic climate change hasn’t occurred in the past (although in that quote of yours, the 15,000 year claim is certainly true, but the 1,000 year claim is a little sketchy). So congratulations – you’ve managed to beat the holy living shit out of a strawman.

    The problem is that those changes generally took place on a scale of millenia, while the current changes are taking place on a scale of _decades_. And it seems to me that an even wiser response to man made climate change, rather than just learning to adapt to it, would be to take measures to stop or at least slow it down, since the consequences are difficult to predict but certainly expensive and potentially catastrophic.

    I’m also a little skeptical of the rationality of an argument that goes something like “natural climate cycles periodically make the earth very difficult for humans to inhabit; so what’s wrong with us doing the same thing ourselves?” We’re talking about glacial cycles with roughly 100,000 year periodicity – on the order of magnitude of the age of our species – vs. temperature increases on the scale of decades. That’s a little different situation in terms of our ability to adapt or our need to consider the consequences.

  277. I still stand by my contention that weak arguments should be avoided. Especially if there’s excellent data out there that could be cited and discussed in refutation of the anti-CO2 activists.

    If there was an honest debate about the issues, I would agree with you. But there is no debate, there is screeching and irrationality.

  278. I’m terribly concerned with what Lomberg says. After all, he’s a former senator, has been espousing these views for a couple of decades, ran for US president, and has a great deal of popularity and influence partly due to the successful documentary he was involved with. When he suggests that we need to be forced to massively reconfigure our economy…

    What, that’s the other guy? Lomberg is some guy from another country – a statistician who runs a think tank – and is about roughly as influential in American politics as Ron Paul? And he’s not demanding huge changes to American society? Oh.

    Sorry, then I don’t much care at all what Lomberg says, or whether an argument he made might have involved a claim that didn’t stand up.

    I’m not defending him, nor am I excusing any mistake or misrepresentation he may have made. To use a device Thoreau’s fond of, please reread that last sentence as many times as you find it necessary to understand it. I’m not defending him, nor am I excusing any mistake or misrepresentation he may have made.

    I don’t know whether he’s wrong or not. I don’t give a damn because he doesn’t matter. If folks feel a moral imperative to hack on – or pay attention to – that academic while leaving alone the politician actually trying to steamroller us, that’s cool.

    To be completely fair, it’s not like who we go after in whatever proportion matters. We’re libertarians – nobody gives a damn what we think. It may do no harm at all for us to scowl at and kneecap anyone arguing against Gore & Co. while his supporters cast out anyone who even mildly criticizes his presentation as a “denialist”. I don’t know that doing such will accomplish any good, but it apparently pleases some people to do so, and who are we of all people to discourage that?

  279. So, if we’re just supposed to give Gore a pass on his voracious carbon-rich consumption, can all the Bailey haters around here be expected to STFU about the fact that half a percent of the Reason Foundation’s budget comes from Exxon? I mean, it’s all about the ideas, right?

    Although I’m starting to enjoy Ron’s snarky disclosures on every H&R post ….

  280. While Eric the .5b may not be defending Lomberg, I am.

  281. dang…

    not one but three (*^$#&^&!!~!! threads of climate change in one day and I missed the start of them all…sorta.

  282. http://www.draftgore.com
    “He won it once. He can win it again. Help us draft Gore in 2008.”

    Albert Gore, Jr. is the most influential and greatest thinker in the Democrat party, next to Dennis Kucinich http://kucinich.us !

    If you don’t believe me, just go to the video archive and watch the big sloppy verbal sex act Nanci Pelosi performed on VP Gore for his appearance before the committee!

    Gore ’08

    Disclosure: I will probably vote against any candidate that party nominates, but am glad to help them pick who I am voting against.

  283. Eric-

    If you don’t want to cite Lomborg as a source to argue against Gore, that’s fair enough. I won’t accuse you of citing Lomborg as a source when you argue against Gore, nor will I suggest that you need to find a stronger ally/source/whatever. You’ve made it quite clear that you don’t consider Lomborg relevant.

    So why am I going after some of Lomborg’s testimony? Well, judging from the attention it got here, including the fact that a staff writer for this magazine considered it worthy of quoting for a post, and the fact that some people early in the thread seemed to like what he said, it seems clear that some people do consider him an interesting source or ally or whatever for arguing against Gore’s dangerous proposals. And I’m saying that there’s some reason to be cautious here.

    In arguing against Gore’s proposals it will be necessary to find sources of data as well as arguments, and some of the information and ideas put forth by Lomborg seem dubious. Yet some of the people inclined to argue against Gore seem interested in what Lomborg has to say. (I know, you don’t, you’ve made it clear. Fair enough.) So I’d say that cautioning against the use of Lomborg’s ideas and arguments is reasonable.

    If I posted something arguing “Here’s why it’s a bad idea to vote for Candidate X” in a place where at least some of the posters seem inclined to vote for Candidate X, would you say “Stop bugging me, I’m voting for Y”?

    Likewise, if I gave a talk to my colleagues about “Here’s why the data in such-and-such widely-cited paper is unreliable” nobody would say “Why are you focusing your efforts on this paper when what really matters is cancer?” No, they’d realize that I’m trying to find the best way to tackle the problem, and part of it comes from ruling out unproductive avenues of research.

  284. Steven Crane-

    Come on, I gave you guys “Pot of water from melted glaciers, meet kettle of water from flood plain.” I thought that was a funny turn of phrase.

    No? Not even a little.

    Well, I tried.

    Anyway, most of the argument was about footnotes, which I considered a perfectly intelligent and non-personal thing to argue about.

    I promise not to get personal again until I have something funnier.

  285. Eric on Lomborg

    I don’t know whether he’s wrong or not. I don’t give a damn because he doesn’t matter. If folks feel a moral imperative to hack on – or pay attention to – that academic while leaving alone the politician actually trying to steamroller us, that’s cool.

    You’re wrong about Lomborg. He’s had tremendous influence on many thoughtful people who ARE interested in environmental issues, but not in the socialist agenda and fearmongering typical of the “movement” and Gore himself.

    The absolutely hysterical reaction to both his book, and almost any comments he makes, shows that those in the “movement” recognize him as a dangerous adversary (even though he’s largely on their side).

    He reminds me of Milton Friedman, one of my heroes.

  286. I listened to some of Gore’s testimony. What annoyed me was his taking the authority of scientific consensus from the first of the following statements and acting like it applies equally to the subsequent ideas:

    Global warming is real and in significant part man made according to overwhelming scientific consensus.

    If we don’t act now, we know there will be dire consequences.

    Drastic reduction in carbon emmissions will make a meaningful difference in average global temperature.

    We have to act now.

    There is consensus only on the first statement. Not a single person said “Uh, Mr. Gore, how do you feel about error bars on seal level that range from 2″ to 20′? Is the 20′ scenario the one scientific consensus is talking about? If we had greater confidence that we would be closer to 2”, would your proposals be justified?

  287. Oops, I doubled ‘we have to act now’. Sorry ’bout that.

  288. thoreau,

    And I’m saying that there’s some reason to be cautious here.

    You implied that the fellow was a denialist when he clearly isn’t one. So why shouldn’t we be careful about what you are saying about Lomborg?

  289. I am worried about the delicate balance on Mars being disrupted by global warming. What is Gore proposing for Mars!

  290. Nice editing job, Kent. If Maureen Dows is ever looking for an assistant, you should totally send in your resume.

    “So, if we’re just supposed to give Gore a pass on his voracious carbon-rich consumption, can all the Bailey haters around here be expected to STFU about the fact that half a percent of the Reason Foundation’s budget comes from Exxon?”

    Gore’s ownership of more than house doesn’t imply any interest one way or the other on the issue of global warming. Reason’s economic relationship with Exxon, and Exxon’s economic interest in seeing one side of the debate win, implies a clear economic interest on Reason’s part to push that side of the debate.

  291. JasonL,

    We didn’t listen! 😉

  292. We didn’t listen!

  293. Nice editing job, Kent. If Maureen Dows is ever looking for an assistant, you should totally send in your resume.

    It’s just a jump to the left
    And then a step to the right
    With your hands on your hips
    You bring your knees in tight
    But it’s the pelvic thrust that really drives you insane,
    Let’s do the Time Warp again!

  294. Thanks, joe. I’d love to work with Maureen Dows – whoever she is.

    Sorry, but I forgot that pointing out hypocrisy is off-limits in this thread.

  295. ” I’d love to work with Maureen Dows – whoever she is.”

    She’s married to that guy from “Leave it to Beaver.”
    Right?

  296. Sparky (from more than 20 “Lomborg’s a deliar!” “No he’s not!” posts ago),

    “The problem is that those changes generally took place on a scale of millenia, while the current changes are taking place on a scale of _decades_.”

    There’s plenty of recent evidence, presented externally to the AGW debate, that there have been many drastic temperature changes on the order of decades, betwixt the longer-term glacial-interglacial trends.

    Kind of like the recent science on the swapping of the poles.

  297. “Reason’s economic relationship with Exxon, and Exxon’s economic interest in seeing one side of the debate win, implies a clear economic interest on Reason’s part to push that side of the debate.”

    No more so than the clear implications of economic interests on the part of various government and foundation scientists who jump on the global warming bandwagon to get more research grant money to study and find solutions to the “problem”.

    And no more so that the clear implications of economic interests of other nations with less robust economic systems than ours to carp about the US not signing the Kyoto protocol because they want us to kneecap ourselves and throw away the competitive advantages we have in the global marketplace.

  298. Sparky,

    You built a strawman not me. If you had bothered to follow the link you would have read the following.
    It appears that some climate changes in the past occurred rather abruptly, for reasons we’re only barely beginning to understand. Those climate changes destroyed civilizations that were living a lot closer to the earth, with a lot smaller population than we have now. The author also wrote

    Yes, we should limit burning of fossil fuels as much as possible, if only for quality of life reasons (my eyes are smarting at the very thought of heading back up the Colorado Front Range next week) and because hydrocarbons are too valuable for manufacturing in the long-term to burn them in the short-term (although there’s a lot more oil and gas out there than most people think). However, we shouldn’t delude ourselves that we can somehow stabilize the earth’s ever-changing climate by driving a Prius and buying carbon offsets.

    Emphasis was put in the quote by me.

  299. No discussions about alternative plans yet?

    Disappointing.

    Not even any substantive criticism of what is wrong with Gore’s plan. Props for some accurate criticism of minutia in his presentation of the dangers, & some criticism of his misrepresentation of the scientific consensus, or lack thereof, for a plan to reduce AGM, but no direct substance on his plan.

    Disappointing.

    Eric1/2B chimes in with another “no one cares what we say” rant (not recognizing that many people listen to Cato & Co., which has a far bigger influence on policy than libertarian voting numbers would indicate).

    Disappointing.

    But I guess it is really just about the personalities of the policy makers. That is what matters.

    Disappointing.

    Disappointing.

  300. Three points.

    1. Their has been massive natural climate change in the past

    2. We are told the way to respond to modeled global warming is to reduce CO2 emissions.

    3. India and China are going to create a lot of CO2 raising their standard of living to first world standards. Their increasing CO2 output is likely to swamp whatever reductions in CO2 the first world manages to obtain.

    So the wise thing to do would be to learn to adapt to climate change. This has the added benefit of having a system in place that will help society adapt and respond to the next episode of natural climate change.

  301. TJIT,

    It would be wise to both develop methods to adapt to natural climate change & avoid exacerbation of the problem by human activity (see up thread comments regarding the extreme consequences of high CO2 levels, no matter the source). They are not mutually exclusive goals.

    Thanks for talking about substance.

  302. “India and China are going to create a lot of CO2 raising their standard of living to first world standards. Their increasing CO2 output is likely to swamp whatever reductions in CO2 the first world manages to obtain.”

    Not sure the point of this point, but there is no reason that a global effort can’t avoid this. Assisting India and China to develop smarter strategies than the 1st world used (distributed clean power generation, more efficient manufactoring designs, etc…) can reduce their growing contributions to atmospheric CO2 without stiffling their growing economies.

  303. Here is a link to a company that is actually putting into practice a business model designed to reduce their waste & energy footprint.

    http://www.interfacesustainability.com/metrics.html

    “The cumulative avoided costs from waste elimination activities since 1995 have totaled over $336 million.”

  304. I don’t think it’s practically possible for the developing world to follow the West’s trajectory to “developed” status exactly. There’s simply been too much technological advance that is cheap and available.

    I think there’s too much assumption that China and India will commit the same “mistakes” but on a bigger scale. At least that’s the impression I get. It seems that both sides argue different aspects of this assumption, and it’s always bothered me.

    There’s quite a lot of built-in mitigation of future problems in lessons learned.

  305. TJIT,

    Your logic includes two very questionable assumptions: that economic growth will be as energy-intensive in the 21st and 22nd centuries as it was in the 19th and 20th?

    And that energy production will be as carbon-intensive in the 21st and 22nd centuries as it was in the 19th and 20th.

    Aren’t we having a debate right about whether to pursue efforts to advance energy conservation and cleaner energy production?

  306. Seed Magazine has a nifty short article on the impact of environmental changes on societies.

    http://www.seedmagazine.com/news/2007/03/the_vanishing_act.php

    “More people are being displaced by environmental causes than by wars today,” Oliver-Smith said. “It’s a problem we’re just starting to see the beginnings of.”

  307. A business model that reduces carbon…

    http://www.flexcar.com/default.aspx?tabid=122

    * Reduced Congestion: With thousands of members, Flexcar has effectively taken more than 10,000 vehicles off the roads.
    * More Open Space: Assuming that there are on average three parking spots needed per car (home, work, shopping area), that means Flexcar has removed the need for 30,000 parking spots. With each spot requiring three and a half tons of concrete, the need for 105,000 tons of concrete has been removed.
    * Less Pollution: Assuming each car taken off the road averages 25 mpg, and the owner drove 12,000 miles per year (US average), Flexcar has removed 96 million pounds, or 144,000 tons of carbon from the air.

  308. Not even any substantive criticism of what is wrong with Gore’s plan.

    You must have missed the other thread.

    Okay, here’s one criticism…

    Gore proposes taxing carbon to price its environmental damage in the market. Since the optimal present-day tax, applied to gasoline, would be less than 20 cents per gallon, how will federal and state transportation funds deal with the lower receipts from decreasing the gas tax to that level?

    Think of European nations. How will those governments replace the massive revenue loss after their extremely high gas tax drops to a euro-nickel per litre?

  309. MikeP,

    Please expand.
    Where are you getting your figures for “optimal?”
    Why do you assume that we are talking about lowering these taxes on energy?

    The primary tax proposal, as I understand it, is to shift taxes away from labor and toward resources. Not a shift in overall tax, but a shift in the sectors of the economy to which it is applied.

    Change the incentives, not the overall revenue stream.

    And do I understand you correctly that you have a problem with reducing taxes?

  310. And yes, I saw the other thread.
    More substance (although still a bit thin).

  311. jf,

    Assuming that OSU gets to play UF, it would be rude of me to point out UF’s massacre of Ohio State–I mean the one in basketball–that occurred earlier this year.

    Oops 🙂

  312. Neu Mejican,

    My figures for optimal come from William Nordhaus’s models of environmental economics and global warming. The “optimal” tax is the tax that maximizes the benefits while minimizing the costs.

    In his 2000 book, he arrives at an optimal tax whose rate rises through the century, but which starts around 6 cents per gallon. In his response [PDF] to the silly economics of the Stern Review, he uses Stern’s assumptions and comes up with an optimal tax around 17 cents per gallon. I would guess that the Stern Review’s costs of environmental damage are greater than the IPCC 4AR, but I don’t know for sure.

    And do I understand you correctly that you have a problem with reducing taxes?

    No. I am simply being facetious in pointing out that those people who are calling for high taxes on carbon don’t have a clue what the actual optimal tax level would be.

    Furthermore, I am making the point that nothing in the theory of Pigouvian taxes says what is to be done with the revenues. So this tax should not be tacked on after gas taxes designed to pay for transportation: The transportation tax is already Pigouvian, and is already higher than the optimal Pigouvian tax.

    A multi-dollar punitive tax on a gallon of gas would simply cost more than it would benefit.

  313. MikeP,

    Thanks for the links.
    I looked briefly the pdf.

    A comment on “optimal.” The carbon tax rate would be added to the current price, that would include any taxation for other purposes already imposed. So there is no reason to wonder about lost revenue.

    As for the whole discussion of social discounting, I think he misses the point.

    From my perspective, the point of the carbon tax would be to spur technological and methodological changes in the current market to drive innovations that target a specific goal… finding a different way to power the work we do in our society. In the long run, this is not going to be a drag on the economy, but a boon. Given that, optimal becomes based on the level at which the tax spurs behavior changes in the desired direction. Not one that is dependent upon sketchy forcasts of the impact on the economy.

    Like I said upstream. People need to be just as skeptical of the economists as they are of the climate scientists. Both are using similar tools to make their predictions. Policy proposals should be aimed at effects that are as measurable as possible. The clean air act is a recent example that the government can use to see what the impact of regulation is on industry practices and the economic costs and benefits.

    For a very different view from a very different economics, look into the work of Herman Daly.

    http://dieoff.org/page88.htm

    Has a quick summary of some of his thinking.

  314. PL,

    Florida shot in excess of 60%. For ANY college team over an entire game, that is absolutely mind-blowingly unconscious, unless they’re playing Sisters of the Blind.

    OSU shot around 35% from the field. That rarely happens.

    Both teams had statistical outliers in FG% that day in opposite directions. It happens sometimes.

    That, and OSU was getting used to Oden. They’re a much better team now than they were then. They also didn’t choke away 3 games in a row at the end of the season (and I’m sorry, but how in the WORLD did Florida get the overall #1 for the tourney after aforementioned loss-problem?)

  315. From my perspective, the point of the carbon tax would be to spur technological and methodological changes in the current market to drive innovations that target a specific goal… finding a different way to power the work we do in our society.

    I fail to understand why you think innovation cannot happen without government mandate, tax, or subsidy. If, as you believe, there are solutions to today’s and tomorrow’s energy problems which are more efficient than current technologies and methods, then they will be discovered and adopted absent government social engineering!

    In the meantime, such mandates, taxes, and subsidies misdirect the society’s wealth and efforts from more productive uses.

    Why is your pet project worth the social engineering while someone else’s is not?

    People need to be just as skeptical of the economists as they are of the climate scientists.

    Um. In case you haven’t been paying attention… The climate scientists have God’s and Gore’s mantle of unquestioned scientific consensus. The economists are utterly ignored. No one in policy or the media is asking the questions the economists are only now starting to answer.

  316. I don’t think OSU matches up well against UF and expect a similar game if we do end up with a rematch. OSU is a good team, though–I was just being obnoxious earlier (I’m a UF alumnus, but I used to work at OSU–I told them they’d lose to us if we ever played each other in football, the fools).

    UF had a similar bump last season, then never lost again. I think the SEC tournament performance on top of not seeming to have lost any steps from last year made the difference. It beats giving the top seed to Duke, which seems to get it for no other reason than its name, some years. I think Florida is clearly the team to beat. . .which doesn’t mean that they can’t be beaten, of course. I hope they do repeat, because we’ll lose everyone after this season, anyway. Love that Billy Donovan!

  317. Given that, optimal becomes based on the level at which the tax spurs behavior changes in the desired direction.

    To put it another way…

    Per the IPCC 4AR, if atmospheric CO2 levels were somehow frozen at today’s level, the warming experienced by 2100 would be an insignificant 1?F. It is not we in 2007 who are creating dramatic warming for 2100. It is those bastards in 2050 piling their CO2 into an already CO2-full atmosphere.

    So why should we impoverish ourselves to solve their problem? Why don’t we leave the problem to them? They will be three to four times wealthier than we. They will have four decades more understanding of the environment and innovation into all sorts of technologies and methods. They should figure out how to use their resources to solve global warming for their future — or decide with their better knowledge that it still costs more to seriously address global warming than not to and that their wealth and efforts can be put to better uses.

  318. PL,

    Hell, I’m worried about tonight, and we’ve already beaten Tennessee (and it has nothing to do with the close call last weekend).

    It’s the old, ingrained Northeast Ohio sports fan mentality: your team, no matter how good they are, will ALWAYS let you down.

    That said, the Xavier game probably did serve as a major wake-up call. There are too many weapons on offense and when they really get after it, their defense is absolutely incredible (and it that’s before it comes down to Oden altering a shot).

  319. Timon19,

    Good luck, in any event. Tennessee is very tough this year, so it’s certainly not a gimme. Still, it is blowing through a major challenge that usually helps a team make a serious run for the title.

  320. The problem with government solutions and mandates is they tend to produce rent seeking policies that are environmentally destructive, provide negative energy returns, and do more harm then good. Ethanol is a good example of this.

  321. MIkeP

    “Why is your pet project worth the social engineering while someone else’s is not?”

    It is not my pet project. It would be something the society at large needs to consider and decide. That is why there is advocacy and political processes actively advocating various sides of any issue. Why stop the debate before it gets to the point of well-formed, or well-developed proposals. Progress is an iterative process of small changes that move, in general in a positive directions (this is why your future people that you are so fond of will be wealthier). Why try to stop that process?

    “I fail to understand why you think innovation cannot happen without government mandate, tax, or subsidy.”

    I fail to see why you think I believe that.
    If the topic is what government action should look like, then we talk about possible government actions. I don’t think you noticed that I posted several examples of private approaches to the issue that are both successful and profitable. Look up thread. I also stated explicitly that the best way to minimize government imposed solutions is to begin working on market-driven private solutions.

    However, I fail to see why you think that government action can’t have an impact on innovation since there is much historical evidence that government action has supported and accelerated innovations when properly implemented.

    “The economists are utterly ignored. No one in policy or the media is asking the questions the economists are only now starting to answer.”

    I don’t think that is an accurate statement. Bush et al used the economic arguments to bow out of Kyoto, fur example.

    “Why don’t we leave the problem to them? They will be three to four times wealthier than we. They will have four decades more understanding of the environment and innovation into all sorts of technologies and methods.”

    I will still be around in 2050, so you are just asking me to procrastinate.

    TJIT
    “The problem with government solutions and mandates is they tend to…”

    That is why you want a healthy debate about what the government action should or shouldn’t be… helps to avoid this tendency.

  322. And MikeP,

    Don’t confuse statements such as
    “the point of the carbon tax would be to spur technological and methodological changes in the current market to drive innovations that target a specific goal…” with me advocating that tax. I am just trying to explain what I see the rationale to be. I am not convinced it is the right approach. It is, however, what Gore proposed & what you brought up in your criticism of his plan.

    I was trying to discuss the shape and implications of that proposal and your alternate proposal that involved lower energy taxes to some “optimal” level based on projections from an economist. I don’t (yet) buy Nordhaus’s models of environmental economics (I’ll read more and see if he convinces me), so I don’t buy his reasoning for the “optimal” level for a carbon tax.

  323. Eric1/2B chimes in with another “no one cares what we say” rant (not recognizing that many people listen to Cato & Co., which has a far bigger influence on policy than libertarian voting numbers would indicate).

    Disappointing.

    I’m terribly sorry to have disappointed you…

    Actually, that’s not entirely true.

  324. Holy shit!

    PL, THAT is why the Buckeyes are #1! I’m just thankful that I couldn’t see the first half due to my indoor soccer game. I probably would have committed hari-kari in a particularly grotesque fashion.

    Down 20! Fucking hell!

    P.S. I’d LOVE to know how they could possibly have tagged both Oden AND Hunter with that many fouls that early. It’s not like the Vols were getting fouled all that much in the 2nd half.

  325. “Hinode, the newest solar observatory on the space scene, has obtained never-before-seen images showing that the sun’s magnetic field is much more turbulent and dynamic than previously known.” – European Space Agency, from a press release makred “Hinode sees the dynamic and violent sun as sharply as never before”

    http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.rss.html?pid=22175

    Surely we already knew enough to determine that solar activity has far less to do with global temperature than things like Bubba firing up his Ford F-150 four-wheel-drive pickup truck to go “mudding” and Muffy firing up her Mercedes-Benz SUV to shuttle her kids to and from soccer practice, right? Right?

    In other news, a remarkable article on Al Gore’s Brain, “Brain-damaged people give insights into morality”:

    “It’s wartime, and an enemy doctor is conducting painful and inevitably fatal experiments on children. You have two kids, ages 8 and 5. You can surrender one of them within 24 hours or the doctor will kill both. What is the right thing to do?

    For most people, this scenario based on one in William Styron’s novel “Sophie’s Choice” is almost an impossible dilemma. But for a group of people with damage in a part of the brain’s frontal lobe that helps govern emotions, the decision was far more clear. They would choose one child for death.”

    I’m not saying the guy is actually brain-damaged, but it does seem eerily similar to the sort of decision that Gore proposes:

    Sacrificing Capitalism (the child of Freedom and Liberty) for Global Warming (the child of Environmentalism and Socialism) is obviously the sort of choice that Gore is not only comfortable with but one he believes is necessary.

  326. MikeP,
    I read some more of Nordhaus.

    I think we can dismiss his optimal tax rate. His model is pretty flimsy. My primary problem is his assumption that all actions taken to curb CO2 will have a negative economic impact. Doesn’t seem to be a reasonable assumption and would seriously skew his numbers.

    My impression are backed up by some others with more expertise in the area. This one is worth a read, particularly if you are going to use Nordhaus as your source on the issue.

    http://www.cooperativeindividualism.org/ayers_robert_economists_misjudged_global_warming.html

    Eric.5bee –
    I am disappointed that you aren’t disappointed. Really, I had hoped your mission in life was to impress me ;^) — but really the “poor libertarians, we are such ignored outsiders” schtick gets old.

    Rob,
    You miss read the article on morality and the brain. Those with the brain damage have an easier time making the more utilitarian choice. They think like Spock and sacrifice the needs of the few or the one for the needs of the many. Are you claiming Gore is able to see past the emotional response and find the most rationale and utilitarian solution?

  327. ANd I miss type…

    “misread”

  328. And Rob,

    Please explain how you think the better understanding of the magnetic field on the sun changes the calculations of its contribution to heating on the Earth. A cool piece of science, but you have to really squint to make it seem related to global climate.

  329. Neu Mejican,

    I skimmed that article, especially his three point dismissal of Nordhaus and essentially all of microeconomics:

    1. Market theories are bogus, but government social engineering works.
    2. Market theories are bogus, but government social engineering works.
    3. Market theories are bogus, but government social engineering works.

    To pick on the attempted most damning paragraph…

    If the choices available to entrepreneurs are not fixed once and for all, then there is no way they could possibly make optimal choices for the indefinite future, since they do not know now (or ever) what possibilities will be generated by scientific progress in the future. It follows that the entire Nordhaus theory of decreased option space has no basis. The Emperor has no clothes. In short, the intellectual argument underlying the Bush Administration’s opposition to the Kyoto Protocol is completely fallacious.

    Entrepreneurs (rather dismissive of investors and workers) do not make optimal choices for the indefinite future. They make optimal choices for a future discounted by how indefinite it is. These choices are constantly being reconsidered — creative destruction and all that — and will be altered as innovations bring better choices to bear. It is not Nordhaus that is presuming a static model — it is this author who is presuming that people won’t innovate or use innovation without government direction.

  330. Which leads to…

    My primary problem is his assumption that all actions taken to curb CO2 will have a negative economic impact.

    Those actions taken to curb CO2 that will have a positive impact do not need government mandate, tax, or subsidy!

    Almost by definition those that do need government mandate, tax, or subsidy cost more than they gain. The only issue is whether hidden costs are taken into consideration. In this case the hidden costs of predicted global warming are what yield Nordhaus’s optimal carbon tax.

    Asking for a higher tax based on subsidizing imagined future innovations is both wishful thinking on the anticipated innovations and wishful thinking on the ability of government to actually direct the revenues to achieve those innovations.

    This is a libertarian forum. This point of view should not be surprising…

  331. MIkeP,

    “Those actions taken to curb CO2 that will have a positive impact do not need government mandate, tax, or subsidy!”

    This does not mean that certain government actions would have a positive impact. You use a false exclusion in your logic here.

    “1. Market theories are bogus, but government social engineering works.
    2. Market theories are bogus, but government social engineering works.
    3. Market theories are bogus, but government social engineering works.”

    Again, when discussing government actions, you are in the realm of what, if anything, government should do. If you want to advocate Nordhaus’s carbon tax plan I would expect you to consider more seriously the fact that his numbers are based on dubious assumptions. You, of course, are actually advocating the do-nothing course.

    I think you misread Ayres quite substantially.
    (read his older work here http://www.unu.edu/unupress/unupbooks/80841e/80841E00.htm)

    I think you misread me quite substantially.
    But, yes, I am not convinced that all government actions result in negative outcomes (empirically, it is just not true).

    I am not surprised by your point of view…

    I am a bit surprised by your visceral reaction to suggestions that Nordhaus’s ivory tower model is flawed (better than Stern, but come on).

    Government action will be a piece of the global reaction to the issue. It should be shaped on the best thinking available. Nordhaus’s work falls far short of that standard.

    For what it is worth, I think eliminating subsidy to endeavors with high CO2 output is a better first step than a carbon tax. Moving money back into R&D on the issue would also be a reasonable government action. Changing zoning laws that encourage CO2 inefficient development patterns also makes sense. Carbon taxes make more sense than carbon markets, but given the international nature of the problem, I am not sure how a tax scheme would provide the outcomes desired. The real solutions will come from local governments and local businesses working together. An internation framework for encouraging that local behavior would need to be minimalistic.

  332. Oops…
    “This does not mean that certain government actions would have a positive impact. ”

    Make that “would not have a positive impact.”

  333. For a look at Ayres proposal (old).
    http://www.unu.edu/unupress/unupbooks/uu24ee/uu24ee0v.htm#economic%20policy%20instruments%20and%20mechanisms

    “The emerging norms are being translated into a series of institutional mechanisms to facilitate market mechanisms to internalize social environmental costs. They include among others:

    – public pricing of previously free goods (e.g. waste disposal services);

    – national and corporate accounting systems that incorporate social environmental costs in budget forecasts;

    – an eco-labelling system that encourages a shift in consumers’ preferences towards environment-friendly products;

    – a civil liability system that punishes environment- and health unfriendly products and practices;

    – a mandated requirement for manufacturers to be responsible for resource preservation over the full life cycle of their products;

    – institutionalization of environmental assessment that discourages environmentally unfriendly regional development projects.

    Added to these is a more general proposition that includes:

    – a reform of national tax systems that is “incentive compatible,” with taxes and charges on the use of non-renewable resources rather than on incomes and profits; and

    – value-oriented science, technology, and education programmes that enhance the general public’s awareness of the requisites of planetary governance, and stimulate research and development for generating new seeds of technology that are of value as (both national and global) public goods.

    In order to make the market itself self-correcting, with self regulation and self-reporting on the part of industry, a great deal of institutional innovation will be needed so that the state, consumers, and workers can intervene effectively to prompt the internalization of environmental and natural resource costs into market prices. In both Olsonian and Stiglerian situations, reconciliation and, still better, coalition formation between public environmental interests and private self-interests may be a requisite for climbing up the ever-steeper hill toward the long-term goal of eco-development. There is still a lot of room for further research on the art of designing incentive compatible regulatory systems that are efficient, fair, and welfare enhancing.”

  334. Government action will be a piece of the global reaction to the issue. It should be shaped on the best thinking available. Nordhaus’s work falls far short of that standard.

    And yet it’s the best available. Why, pray tell, are the documentary producers, British PMs and shadow PMs, and other environmental experts of the world demanding immediate action without understanding the economic implications?

    I must take your word for it that you are for private solutions and public solutions that eliminate subsidies in general. Much of what you recommend would be unqualified improvements. And most of what you recommend would be far better than what Gore, et al., are suggesting.

  335. “And yet it’s the best available. ”

    That is what I am contesting.
    Nordhaus’s is NOT the best thinking on the issue.
    Nordhaus should not be the basis for policy, since he is NOT the best available thinking on the issue.

    Not that Ayres is.

    The most influential work to shape my thinking on the issue comes from this book

    http://www.natcap.org/

    They are too enthusiastic about hydrogen, but otherwise they make a strong case.

  336. If you want to advocate Nordhaus’s carbon tax plan…

    As you note, I don’t advocate his carbon tax plan. The economic results of the optimal carbon tax are just too small to warrant giving the governments of the world the authority to tax it.

    …I would expect you to consider more seriously the fact that his numbers are based on dubious assumptions.

    Economic growth is exponential. Global warming is not. The fact that economic modeling shows that expensive means to address global warming have high costs over a century simply does not surprise me.

    Consider the IPCC SRES scenarios. A1 is a high-growth free market. B1 is an eco-conscious market oriented world such as Ayres seems to suggest. According to the IPCC estimates, in the year 2100 the per capita GDP in the A1 world will be $30,000 higher than in the B1 world.

    It is plainly difficult for economic models to avoid the inevitable gains of wealth with time. Global warming damages have to play catch-up the whole way.

  337. “in the year 2100 the per capita GDP in the A1 world will be $30,000 higher than in the B1 world.”

    This, however, has the inherent flaw of spreading the effect across groups that will not be equally impacted by the effects of economic growth or climate change. Impacts will be highly variable across region, and yet the negative impacts are not caused by local CO2 output.

    The US, for instance, is the primary pollution source, but due to geographic variables, will be disproportionately spared the impacts of climate change in the near term (2-500 years).

    Given the US status in the global economy, this will skew the impact of both per captia GDP and the real costs of the climate changes.

  338. This, however, has the inherent flaw of spreading the effect across groups that will not be equally impacted by the effects of economic growth or climate change.

    Frankly, it looks to me that a world where governments impose restrictions to reduce CO2 emissions will have greater inequality than one developing freely.

    In effect, poor countries will be prevented from using the cheapest means (e.g., coal) to increase their own wealth and forced instead to purchase more expensive high-tech innovations from the rich countries. And in the rich countries, this is seen as a boon!

    The corporate welfare mentality that is starting to permeate the US over global warming is stomach churning…

  339. “In effect, poor countries will be prevented from using the cheapest means (e.g., coal) to increase their own wealth and forced instead to purchase more expensive high-tech innovations from the rich countries.”

    Well, there seems to be an assumption in this that the more high-tech innovations are somehow more expensive than the lower-tech solutions. This is not the case unless you ignore the externalities, and even then is not clearly warranted.

    For instance, proper high-tech building design can remove the need for active heating and cooling, and distributed power generation can be both more carbon efficient and cheaper to implement than centralized power generation.

    Developing countries have no reason to adopt the older technologies and methods that we used even 30 years ago. With the pace of technological change, old tech is only a few years old, and can provide affordable solutions that are energy efficient without increasing CO2 emissions beyond projected targets.

    Think of it as a graph were the developing world’s CO2 output increases while the developed world’s decreases… at the point where standard of living for the developing world approaches that of the developed world, the C02 emissions are lower for both. Standard of living isn’t gonna be a victim here.

    That it would be is the real unwarranted doomsday message that gets bandied about.

  340. This point was previously made (more eloquently, perhaps) by Timon19 up thread…

    https://www.reason.com/blog/show/119265.html#664319

  341. Well, there seems to be an assumption in this that the more high-tech innovations are somehow more expensive than the lower-tech solutions. This is not the case unless you ignore the externalities, and even then is not clearly warranted.

    And it comes back to my main point: If it is cheaper to be more carbon efficient, then a free society will be more carbon efficient. No government mandates needed. No hand-wringing Congressional testimony demanding immediate action needed.

    Get rid of the (overstated) subsidies of fossil fuels. Get rid of the (understated) subsidies of alternative energy sources. Let the market find the higher efficiency, lower carbon solutions that are out there. And watch the predicted catastrophic results of global warming become a minor annoyance to our far far wealthier and more efficient progeny.

  342. “And it comes back to my main point: If it is cheaper to be more carbon efficient, then a free society will be more carbon efficient. No government mandates needed.”

    And yet you suggest…

    “Get rid of the (overstated) subsidies of fossil fuels. Get rid of the (understated) subsidies of alternative energy sources. Let the market find the higher efficiency, lower carbon solutions that are out there. And watch the predicted catastrophic results of global warming become a minor annoyance to our far far wealthier and more efficient progeny.”

    This will require…

    “hand-wringing Congressional testimony demanding immediate action needed.” (you simple disagree with Gore on the shape of that action).

    Good to know you are not really in the do-nothing camp. The status quo is sub-optimal whether you are an anarcho-capitalist or an anarcho-syndacalist or anything in between. But change won’t happen without advocacy for change.

  343. “Rob, You miss read the article on morality and the brain.” – NM

    I definitely did not mis-read the article. It’s pretty clear that Gore is willing to sacrifice the few who have freedom, functioning societies, and strong economies for the many who don’t.

    “Those with the brain damage have an easier time making the more utilitarian choice. They think like Spock and sacrifice the needs of the few or the one for the needs of the many.” – NM

    You clearly see this as a bug in human nature, while I see it as a redeeming feature.

    “Are you claiming Gore is able to see past the emotional response and find the most rationale and utilitarian solution?” – NM

    Yep. I’m claiming that Gore’s approach is similar to the brain-damaged people in the article. Sometimes the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many, and most human beings have a real problem with sacrificing the few for the many. It’s one of the things that make people HUMAN, rather than cold, calculating, inhuman “Vulcans.”

    Here’s the best bit that shows this pretty clearly:

    “The scenarios weighed immediate harm or death to one person against certain future harm or death to many. These brain-damaged people regularly showed a willingness to bring harm to an individual, an act others may find repugnant.
    ‘They are perfectly capable of endorsing the kind of extreme high-conflict dilemma in which indeed you would produce harm to someone because there would be greater good coming to a larger group,’ said study co-author Antonio Damasio, director of the University of Southern California’s Brain and Creativity Institute. ‘And this is something that human beings in general reject.'”

    Also, on the subject of the other article?

    “Please explain how you think the better understanding of the magnetic field on the sun changes the calculations of its contribution to heating on the Earth. A cool piece of science, but you have to really squint to make it seem related to global climate.” – NM

    You really think the giant, fiery ball of thermo-nuclear reaction in the sky has nothing to do with global temperature? Also, the 3d paragraph reads:

    “‘For the first time, we are now able to make out tiny granules of hot gas that rise and fall in the sun’s magnified atmosphere,” said Dick Fisher, director of NASA’s Heliophysics Division. “These images will open up a new era of study on some of the sun’s processes that effect Earth, astronauts, orbiting satellites and the solar system.'”

    That last sentence seems to imply a less-than-perfect understanding of the Sun’s effects on the Earth… Maybe that is surprising to some folks who have already accepted that greenhouse gasses are somehow more powerful than the Sun…

  344. Gotta go.
    Nice talking to ya Mike

    Juan Carlos

  345. Sorry Rob,
    No time to deconstruct all of that.

    I was mainly just teasing you.

    FYI, the sun is already taken into consideration in the climate models. This new information will not change the amount of energy the sun puts into the system in aggregate. Like I said, you have to squint real hard to see it as related to climate.

  346. “FYI, the sun is already taken into consideration in the climate models. This new information will not change the amount of energy the sun puts into the system in aggregate. Like I said, you have to squint real hard to see it as related to climate.” – NM

    I think it’s awfully hard to make a sweeping statement like “the sun is already taken into consideration in the climate models.” On face it’s true, sure. But I think that the idea that it is done with a low enough error rate, when the sun’s effect is not fully understood (this is clearly a true statement), is a bit off the reservation.

  347. Rob,
    What you are missing is that the nifty science you cite is not about radiant heat coming from the sun… it is about the magnetic fields. The thing this will allow us to do will be to study the sun’s magnetic fields at a higher resolution in both time and space (shorter time/shorter distances). Climate effects work at much slower rates. This will not have a measurable impact on the climate models due to the difference in time scales. Maybe you were mislead by the term “space weather.” Certainly this has nothing to do with the global warming issue and the impact of solar output on the climate models.

    Don’t accuse me of being “off the reservation” on this. You were the one bringing a tangential piece of science in to justify your skepticism.

  348. Maybe that is surprising to some folks who have already accepted that greenhouse gasses are somehow more powerful than the Sun…

    What? Human beings lead by Dick Cheney are not the most distructive force in the history of the universe!?! Stop the presses!

    Yes, these guys are really out there.

  349. Hmmm… You’ve got a point about the differences between solar energy and magnetic effects… But it still seems odd to believe that the effect of the sun on the Earth’s global temperatures is sufficiently understood to be able to point to “greenhouse gasses” as a primary causal factor in global climate.

  350. Rob,

    Human contribution to the CO2 levels in the atmosphere is considered against a background of natural processes. Given that background, the human contribution can be scientifically analyzed and has been found to contribute a real and significant effect on the dynamics of the complex system. Human activity is a powerful enough force in the overall system to change the direction of its development. This is what is meant by humans causing global warming. The sun is, of course, the primary source of energy driving the system, but it is part of the background of natural processes. The energy it puts into the system is fairly well understood on the time scales that are important for climate modeling.

  351. Astrophysist Willie Soon created two graphs to compare the effects of solar activity and CO2 on Artic temperature back to 1880. He found that solar activity coincided much more closer than the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere showing solar activity to be a much greater driver of temperature than CO2.

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