DiCaprio's The 11th Hour: We are the Most Important Generation in History

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Millenarianism has a venerable history in the West traced back to early Christians who anxiously anticipated an imminent Last Judgment and the advent of a "new heaven and a new earth" (Rev. 21:1).

This Western predisposition to millenarianism spawned various sects including the Anabaptists and the Hussites in Central Europe, the Rappites and the Millerites in 19th century America, and more recently the Jehovah's Witnesses. The Millerites of upstate New York were one fairly typical millenarian sect. In 1818, William Miller, the group's founder, calculated that Christ's Second Coming would take place during the next 25 years. Spectacular meteor showers and a huge comet were taken as unmistakable portents of impending disaster. After several missed dates, Miller finally predicted that the end would definitely come on October 22, 1844. One the appointed day many believers, dressed in white robes, climbed nearby hilltops to await the apocalypse. "The Great Disappointment" is how the Seventh Day Adventists, the modern successors of the Millerites, characterize Miller's prophetic failure.

In the 19th century, millenarian aspirations, originally spiritual and religious in character, became secularized and were incorporated into the doctrines of radical and utopian politics. The greatest millenarian political faith is Marxism. Like the religious millenarians who preceded him, Marx believed that a corrupt society–in his case, capitalism–would collapse in a massive crisis ushering in a golden age of egalitarian harmony. But instead of sin, according orthodox Marxist eschatology, the internal class contradictions of capitalist production doom that hateful (sinful?) form of society to inevitable destruction.

That hasn't happened, but the millenarian impulse did not die out in the West. For many modern leftists the "global environmental crisis" became the new agent of history that will eventually destroy capitalism. In the reinterpreted radical vision, capitalism, instead of strangling itself to death on its class contradictions, will choke to death on its own wastes.

Just a couple of examples–In his 1990 book, Remaking Society: Pathways to a Green Future, self-described social ecologist Murray Bookchin argued that we must change our repressive industrial capitalist society into "an ecological society based on non-hierarchial relationships, decentralized democratic communities, and eco-technologies like solar power, organic gardening and humanly scaled industries." Earth First! founder David Foreman asserted in the 1991 book, Defending the Earth, that Western society is "rotten to the core" and said that he planned to build "an egalitarian, decentralized, ecologically sound" society that would "emerge out of the ashes of the old industrialized empire" after the ecological apocalypse.

I am NOT saying that these people were orthodox Marxists, but that they (and many others) were the intellectual heirs to that form of secular millenarianism's deep antipathy to capitalism and industrial society. As the Institute for Social Ecology notes of Bookchin:

"During the 1950s and '60s, Bookchin built upon the legacies of utopian social philosophy and critical theory, challenging the primacy of Marxism on the left and linking contemporary ecological and urban crises to problems of capital and social hierarchy in general."

So why am I going on about this? Intellectual tendencies bleed over unconsciously into the popular culture. Prius-driving Hollyward star Leonardo DiCaprio will release his feature length documentary, The 11th Hour, this weekend. The 11th Hour is a popularization of early 21st century ecological millenarianism. From the press release:

The 11th Hour documents the grave problems facing the planet's life systems. Global warming, deforestation, mass species extinction, and depletion of the oceans' habitats are all addressed, and their causes rooted in human activity. The combination of these crises call into question the very future not of the planet, but of humanity.

And like most millenarian visions, DiCaprio's offers a way out for the faithful. In this case, by calling "for restorative action through a reshaping of human activity." But what I find fascinating about millenarian thinking is that the end always going to arrive for this crucial generation. Consider these soundbites from The 11th Hour's trailer:

Will our pivotal generation create a sustainable world in time?

Five hundred years out, people look back at this time: This was our finest hour.

What a great time to be born! what a great time to be alive! Because this generation gets to completely change the world.

This kind of generational moral self-flattering has always been thus.

For example, environmentalist Bill McKibben wrote in his 1989 book, The End of Nature:

"We just happen to be living at the moment of when carbon dioxide has increased to an intolerable level. We just happen to be alive at the moment when if nothing is done before we die the world's tropical rain forests will become a brown girdle that will last for millennia."

Canadian uber-environmentalist David Suzuki in 1992, declared,

"We are the last generation on Earth that can save the planet."

So why do so many people in the developed world believe in apocalyptic environmentalism? The attraction of apocalyptic thinking is strong. One self-described survivor of millenarian environmentalism, novelist Eric Zencey, recalled in his 1988 essay, "Apocalypse and Ecology":

"There is seduction in apocalyptic thinking. If one lives in the Last Days, one's actions, one's very life, take on historical meaning and no small measure of poignance … Apocalypticism fulfills a desire to escape the flow of real and ordinary time, to fix the flow of history into a single moment of overwhelming importance."

Daniel Cohen, author of the 1973 Waiting for the Apocalypse, believes that every generation grows up convinced that it is the last generation in history. However, the method by which the end brought about changes. For Cohen's generation nuclear war was the agent of the apocalypse.

"We believed passionately that there would be such a war, and like the early Christians we were sure that this Judgment Day would come within our lifetimes."

Interestingly, unlike the Millerites, when prophesies of environmental doom fail, ecological millenarians do not experience a "Great Disappointment." As Daniel Cohen noted,

"One clearly wrong prophecy, or even a whole string of them, rarely discredits the prophet in the eyes of those who believe in prophecy."

As DiCaprio's new film shows, a lot people still want to think of themselves as living at the hinge of history in which their lives will make all the heroic difference for all the time to come.

But the truth is that our ancestors bequeathed to our generation a world that is immeasurably richer, cleaner and healthier than the one they lived in. I haven't seen The 11th Hour yet, but I suspect that it is not going to recommend those policies that have in fact improved the state of humanity for the last two centuries. Of course, it must be admitted that along the way there were some mostly unavoidable side effects on the natural world that arose as hundreds of millions of people clawed their way out of poverty. That being said, I will be happily surprised if The 11th Hour comes out in favor of strengthened property rights, expanding globalization, increasing urbanization, and spreading modern farming techniques. It is exactly those trends abetted by democratic capitalism that are improving humanity's estate and will help preserve nature.

So finally, I, too, may be something of a millenarian. Why? Because I believe that the future of humanity and the natural world is very bright. The 21st century will be the century in which the Great Ecological Restoration begins as the technological progress fostered by capitalism enables humanity to increasingly dematerialize our economy, allowing us to restore and withdraw from nature.

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  1. Isn’t an unclosed italics tag one of the signs of the coming apocalypse?

  2. Abdul: Refresh your browser. The ease of fixing the problem is a sign of hope. πŸ™‚

  3. Whoo! That contribution I dashed off to the sierra club must’ve worked.

  4. What ever happened to the “More” link that hides maybe the last 6 paragraphs ?

  5. Full disclosure: I will not see this movie. But I did see Transformers. And it sucked.

  6. I think you should note for accuracy’s sake that you are not denying that we face serious environmental problems.

    I think the millenarianism, however, is what leads people to make the jump from “we might see food prices increase as a result of droughts in some areas, and coastal erosion rates might increase, particularly in vulnerable areas like Florida or Bangladesh” to “All humanity is doomed”.

  7. Jebus Ron. Are you sure all those word were necessary? I really think you could have cut a few… hundred.

  8. I’ve always liked how Kim Newman put it:

    I think the appeal is getting rid of all the boring people in the world. One of the few films that plays with the actual wish-fulfillment fantasy of the end of the world as we know it is the much-misunderstood Red Dawn, which expresses precisely that strange survivalist mix of preparedness and eager anticipation that characterizes popular images of the apocalypse. Except for a few gloomy nuke dramas, not many end of the world stories involve imagining oneself among the many, many dead. In a sense, end of the world dramas are the ultimate Reggie Perrin fantasy, doing away with the old life and starting over again. Also, There’s an aesthetic pleasure in ruins (at its most extreme, see the bucolic apocalypse of After London) and a Peter Pan-like joy to playing pirates. There’s the selfish fact that we all envy posterity. When we die, we miss the end of the story and that can be infuriating. There’s a sense that if we have to go, we’d rather the board were swept clean with us.

    -Kim Newman, Apocalypse Movies: End of the World Cinema

  9. Don’t forget that Al Gore thinks we only have 10 years to do anything about Global Warming.

  10. I give up.

  11. joe, thoughts? Please put that evil Mr. Bailey in his place like you always do.

  12. The 21st Century will be one of environmental restoration, largely because we will ignore the people shrieking about environmentalists being Marxists and Millenarians, and change the way our economy functions in order to fix the problems we’ve created and avoid further damage.

    And the single-digit percentage of environmentalists who were hoping it would take an abandonment of capitalism, rather than a reform in order to do so will be sorely disappointed.

  13. Always happy to oblige.

  14. For more evidence for this line of thinking, also check out The World With Out Us by Alan Weisman, a semi-pornographic environmentalist’s daydream of how awesome it would be if all humans dropped dead.

    His policy proposal at the end of the book is to limit “every human female capable of bearing children to one” with no discussion or seeming distaste to how this would be accomplished.

  15. joe,

    No, no it won’t.

    Thanks everyone for visiting. The positions have been stated, the thread is over.

    No, really, go home.

  16. Ha!

    Your precious environment will mean nothing when the apes evolve, the robots revolt, and the zombies rise from the grave to feed on the living.

  17. Ah, zombies.

    Or as we call them, “recycled humans, 100% post-consumer content.”

  18. “When there’s no more room in Hell, the recycled will walk the Earth!”

    Anyone else read Anthony Burgress’ population bomb novel The Wanting Seed? Literal recycling of humans. You got a chit for turning in your dead so the government could process out the phosphorus for fertilizer. It also features canned human meat.

  19. “Burgess” Damn you, sausage fingers!

  20. I’ve got an ecological disaster for you. An asteroid hits the Earth wiping out 95% of ALL species because instead of ratchetting up technology to expand into the solar system and establish extensive space based industry that could deal with the threat, we were sitting around in our organic, biodegradable hemp robes eating sprouts and singing folk songs. Personally, I’d rather lose the snail darters and polar bears than almost all life on Earth.

  21. Mmm…Sausage fingers.

  22. Damn.

    I remembered the robots, the apes, and the zombies, but I always forget the asteroids.

    Probably because I’ve repressed my memories of seeing Armageddon.

  23. Wow, Alex really stuck it to the people who think we should sit around in hemp robes eating sprouts.

    Too bad they’re all made of straw.

  24. I remembered the robots, the apes, and the zombies, but I always forget the asteroids.

    Don’t forget the pandemics and chemical infertitlity!

    And joe, fudging the numbers won’t help. I wish I could remember the last time I spoke to a enviro-lefty that didn’t mention how wonderful it would be if everyone else were swept from the planet or prevented from having more than the optimal number of children.

    They would get mad at me when my crocodile tears stained their camembert.

  25. I sense hyperbole fatigue.

  26. JW,

    Maybe the people who jump out at you as “enviro-lefties” don’t actually represent the 70% of the American public who think we need to take action on global warming.

    You know, I can’t remember the last time I talked to right wing gun nut who didn’t threaten to shoot federal agents. The difference between our two comments being, I’m intellectually honest enough to admit that those people are just a tiny fraction of gun owners.

  27. While we’re talking about millenarians and political movements, shall we get into the hoarding of gold, firearms, and canned food recommended by a certain segment of “small government conservatives?”

  28. joe,

    Not entirely. If we bite down hard on the environmentalist bullet, there are certainly segments in the movement that are anti-technology and anti-free market. If they rise to preeminence, well, maybe United Communes of America is a real possibility.

    This is the problem I have with the panic-mongering on the global warming front. For the right wing, I have the same problem with the terrorism bogey man.

  29. No, it is hyperbole syndrome, sure to wipe out all rational discourse forever.

    😐

  30. In a sense, end of the world dramas are the ultimate Reggie Perrin fantasy, doing away with the old life and starting over again. Also, There’s an aesthetic pleasure in ruins (at its most extreme, see the bucolic apocalypse of After London) and a Peter Pan-like joy to playing pirates.

    Well, the first apocalypse movie *I* saw was The Omega Man (with good old Charlton “cold dead hands” Heston).

    It definitely didn’t make me yearn for the meaningfulness of the apocalypse. I thought during the movie–and still think now–that if I were in the situation the Omega Man was in, I’d rig my gun ala Bugs Bunny…to shoot in a u-turn.

    I’d let the wascawy wabbit mutants have the earth. There’s no way I’d want to be the only un-mutated person left.

  31. All we have to do is leave the economy alone. Technological progress will solve most environmental problems as long as we don’t go mucking about with capitalism. Messing with complex systems is almost always a disaster. Soil erosion in the South? No problem! Japan has this wonderful vine called kudzu. It’ll be the perfect fix.

  32. Although I wanted to talk about millenarian tendencies as such, I will now throw a few anti-human quotes onto the bonfire.

    Earth Firster, David Foreman (1988): “Man is no more important than any other species.”

    Foreman (1990): “We are a cancer on nature.”

    Eco-theologian Thomas Berry (1991): “We are an affliction on the world, its demonic presence. We are the violation of the Earth’s most sacred aspects.”

  33. Alex D. Tuckerville,

    Technological progress will solve most environmental problems

    I agree, based on the premise that the problems are recognized by the populace creating a market for those technologies.

    Those problems can be highlighted by restructuring the existing intrusions into the economy (which tax income and labor) and, instead, tax material throughput.

    Of course if you don’t believe government should be able to fund itself, then you would not agree.

  34. Ron Bailey.

    What is the point of your last comment?

    It is like you are trying to prove joe right about how you approach this issue.

  35. Japan has this wonderful vine called kudzu.

    Yeah, kudzu. That’s the best.

    Wait, is that the same kudzu that is growing uncontrollably (as do most non-native species introduced into and ecosystem) and choking thousands of native plants in the piedmont region of the Carolinas?

    Yeah, great fucking idea. Next…

  36. the 70% of the American public who think we need to take action on global warming.

    That would be the 70% who think someone else needs to do something about the problem, but who aren’t willing to do a goddam thing themselves. Judging by their actions to date.

  37. While we’re talking about millenarians and political movements, shall we get into the hoarding of gold, firearms, and canned food recommended by a certain segment of “small government conservatives?”

    All of which is done without bothering anyone else, unlike the eco-nutzoids, who are proposing massive schemes of social control.

  38. Eco-theologian Thomas Berry (1991): “We are an affliction on the world, its demonic presence. We are the violation of the Earth’s most sacred aspects.”

    Why aren’t we seeing a booming business in eco-extremist suicide cults? I swear, if this were the 1970s, these people would be drinking Kool-Aid and dropping dead all over the place.

  39. It really took this long a post to make the point that you can find extremists if you’re really, really determined to find them?

    What’s an “enviro-theologian,” anyway? Think he uses colloidal silver?

    “Global Warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on mankind” – Senator (note that term – it is neither “enviro-theologian” nor “Earth Firster”) James Inhofe.

  40. RC,

    That would be the 70% who think someone else needs to do something about the problem, but who aren’t willing to do a goddam thing themselves. Judging by their actions to date.

    I’m sorry, shouldn’t you be bitching about how the purchase of hybrid cars and other efforts that private citizens make to reduce their carbon footprints is just so much snobbishness?

    All of which is done without bothering anyone else, unlike the eco-nutzoids, who are proposing massive schemes of social control. If I was trying to defend the position that only loonies believe in global warming, I’d try to change the subject, too.

  41. Franklin, I would think that would be obvious.

    Radical environmentalism has never really shed the psychological baggage of its Romantic origins. The Arcadian dream isn’t self-destructive, it’s other-destructive – it can’t stop dreaming of how picturesque the world would be if EVERYONE ELSE drank some Jonestown Kool-Aid. Why bring back nature unless you’re going to be around to contemplate it?

  42. Maybe the people who jump out at you as “enviro-lefties” don’t actually represent the 70% of the American public who think we need to take action on global warming.

    You mean there is a difference? Does everyone think we should do the same thing or just “something”, as in “gosh, that sounds awlful, why doesn’t someone do something”?

    Don’t you know joe? It’s always someone else who should be doing the sacrificin’. No, they can’t be the problem. They recycle, send their kiddies to progressive, envoironmentally sound schools and buy carbon offsets. And the glares they shoot SUV drivers in the parking lot at the supermarket!

    You’re the problem. They’re the solution.

  43. I think a better explanation is that any movement that wants people to start taking notice has to be alarmist. That’s what they think moves people. What are they supposed to say, “this will cause incremental and for the most part modest and impreceptible changes to your life and probably even your kids lives, but when your great grandkids hit the scene, watch out!” And of course it will tend to focus on the importance of “this” generation, since they are the audience. That’s just the logic of effective political rhetoric. Can you imagine preaching “what really needs to be done, is for our great-grandsons and daughters to save the day, so write this down and have them read it 100 years hence.” Actually, as I wrote that it occurred to me that many an alarmist, especially on the environment, actually do tend to write off our generation and say “our sons and daughters will look back on this and wonder how we were so ignorant, they will fix our messes” (call it the Gene Roddenberry approach).
    But I think this long post sadly may be more to discredit global warming advocates for being ideological nutjobs and extremists (as joe pointed out of course some will be, which movement doesn’t have those?). No offense Ron, but it wasn’t the man-influenced global warming proponents who were wrong about the science but oddly in line with their ideology all these years, it was you and many other “free market” pundits (and still quite a many; once you start telling ideologues everything scientists tell them is a vast conspiracy or ideological driven mass delusion then you can certainly never convince them otherwise, satellite data or Divine Intervention). I don’t fault you: you’ve shown great courage in saying what you have on the issue. But certainly if you started writing that, say, major market restrictions are certainly necessary to win the fight against global warming I’d imagine you’d get invited to quite a lot less free market think tank mixers and may have to start looking for work with the Nation. I mean, there would always be Michael Moynihan to write whatever needed to be ideologically correct.

  44. Taktix?

    I think that was Tuckerville’s point.

    Kudzu was brought to the country and planted to contain soil erosion. A well-meaning effort gone awry.

    I am far from opposed to modifying nature. But you need to identify the problem correctly and evaluate your solution. Otherwise you might find yourself smothered in kudzu.

    Sidenote. Apparently the FSU Ag Dept has aflock of sheep that is taken around various properties in and around Tallahassee. They make short work of kudzu. It seems the little lambies love the stuff above all other greenery. Of course it grows back so it’s unlikely they’ll ever go hungry. But they do really seem to be effective at containing the pest.

  45. JW,

    You mean there is a difference? I don’t know. Is there difference between “David Duke Republicans” and Republicans in general?

    Does everyone think we should do the same thing or just “something”, as in “gosh, that sounds awlful, why doesn’t someone do something”? I don’t know. Why don’t you do a little research and find out what different environmental groups want to do. They haven’t been terribly shy about sharing their recommendations.

  46. Why don’t you do a little research and find out what different environmental groups want to do.

    Funny, they always seem to end on the same note: “You can do your part [insert the self-depriving here] but it’s not enough. (Is it ever?) Contact your congresscritter.”

    I thought we were talking about the 70 percenters, not groups claiming to represent them.

    I’ll cut to the chase for you, old boy. If these groups could come up with a way that is completely based on voluntary efforts and education to accomplish their goals, I’d get behind them 100%. Problem is, they just can’t help themsleves. They always need you to be volunteered to do their sacfrificin’.

    Find me one group that hasn’t demanded population controls, consumption taxes on supposed rich-boys-toys, SUV penalties, soylant growthing, bans on [insert distastefully un-green activity or product here], etc, etc. and I’ll join up without hesitation.

    I’d wait, but you may be a while.

  47. “… the technological progress fostered by capitalism enables humanity to increasingly dematerialize our economy, allowing us to restore and withdraw from nature.”

    And, hopefully, smoke lots and lots of dope.

  48. Quote me one libertarian influential enough to have a non-self-published book and is embraced by the libertarian movement in the manner that Foreman is by the environmentalists that advocates the reduction of the human race by 50% in order to obtain his policy goals.

    Just one.

    No one here defends the Smurf-guy the way you defend these genocide-wannabes, joe. Please stop acting as if they are some remote fringe. They are the hard core of the movement; the true believers. They are like the nut-job 25% of the public that think Bush is doing an awesome job in Iraq. Apologizing for them is just pathetic.

    Here’s one horribly unscientific measure “environment? ‘population reduction'” on Google gets 92,000 hits, but you’d expect that of a “fringe idea,” right?

  49. JW,

    What if a problem can’t be solved through volunteerism?

    During WW2, should we have funded the military through volunteerism?

    Excuse me, please, but would everybody be so good as to not commit acts of espionage and sabotage on behalf of the Germans? No pressure, just asking…

  50. Genocide-wannabes? Because they believe in having fewer kids?

    People don’t descend to SugarFree’s level of dishonesty and hysteria unless they know they’ve lost the argument.

    Genocide. Fuck you, SugarFree.

  51. Gosh joe, what if it can? Oh wait, we’ll never find out because the greens keep sneaking a look at the last page and know how everything turns out. We lose. Now get back to the environmental salt mines.

    WWII? This is the best you can come up with?

    That’s slacking for someone like you, joe, just plain slacking.

  52. Ron,

    Millenarianism pre-dates Christian thought in the “West.”*

    *Of course how one defines this term is nearly always problematic.

  53. Was there supposed to be an argument in there, JW?

    I must have missed it.

    Oh, wait, environmentalists want you to work in the salt mines. Gee, that’s terrific.

  54. Ron,

    Also, John of Patmos’ Revelation is more properly called millennialist, that is a specific type of millenarianism. Indeed, millennialism has played a significant role in the Christian religion over its history, be it Augustianian amillenialism or some sort of pre-millennialism or post-millennialist approach.

  55. Mr. Nice Guy: I’m not sure that this is responsive to your comments, but it turns out that the ideological environmentalists were scientifically and economically wrong about a whole list of alleged other catastrophes which I have listed ad nauseum. For one version, see my congressional testimony here.

    The essential feature of nearly all environmental problems is that they occur in open access commons. That includes everything from the Pleistocene kill-off of the megafauna to global warming today.

    The best technology humanity has ever invented for handling commons problems is privatization. that is, making people responsible for both the benefits and costs of an activity. See for example, herding versus just running around and killing off random deer and mammoths. A Pleistocene hunter couldn’t just leave a mammoth alone because the next guy might come along and kill it and then first guy would be out of luck. Of course, it turns out that herding without fences doesn’t work either as population grows, so then fence property to manage herds better and internalize costs. Modern fisheries are in the same state as the Pleistocene megafauna (a fisher can’t leave a fish in the sea because the next guy will get it). So if we want to save fisheries privatization (fencing them in and assigning property rights to the catch to specific owners) is the only way to go.

    Air pollution and water pollution are also commons problems–if you can’t privatize due to high transactions costs–then regulation is necessary, and depending on the characteristics of the particular pollutant markets (SO2) will work well or perhaps tech standards might be necessary (catalytic converters). In any case, you can be sure because market signals don’t exist for these unprivatized commons, the government regulators will rarely set the price of a pollutant at its true social cost. See most EPA regulations of alleged synthetic carcinogens as examples.

    Consider the case of water today–the main problem is that governments around the world are vastly subsidizing the waste of water and ignoring how privatization can get water to the poor and conserve it for nature.

    All right, I’ve bored you enough. Just remember all environmental problems occur in open access commons and private property is the first thing you should consider for solving that problem. Again, forests are regrowing in countries where private property rights are strongest.

    Neu Mejican: joe said there were extremists on both sides, so I quoted a couple enviro extremists as evidence.

  56. Yes, joe, it was in those word thingies. Stop trying to read between the lines that they’re in and you might see it.

    S’ok though, bud. You’ve earned a day off from that thinking stuff by now. You work hard all week. A man can’t be expected to perform 100% all the time.

  57. Notice that he ignores everything else to indulge in obscenity. This is what he does when he’s losing.

    Where am I hysterical? A few of them wish for plagues and natural disasters to accomplish it and others offer involuntary controls of reproduction. Voluntary childbirth reduction is fine, but will that reduce the population by 50% in 40 years, joe?

    Eric Pianka ring a bell? UT Austin professor who wish for a plague to wipe out 90% of humanity? Here’s what a student of his thought of the lecture, before he and his supporters started backpedaling when they got called out on it:

    Brenna McConnell

    Dr. Pianka’s talk at the TAS meeting was mostly of the problems humans are causing as we rapidly proliferate around the globe. While what he had to say is way too vast to remember it all, moreover to relay it here in this blog, the bulk of his talk was that he’s waiting for the virus that will eventually arise and kill off 90% of human population. In fact, his hope, if you can call it that, is that the ebola virus which attacks humans currently (but only through blood transmission) will mutate with the ebola virus that attacks monkeys airborne to create an airborne ebola virus that attacks humans. He’s a radical thinker, that one! I mean, he’s basically advocating for the death of all but 10% of the current population! And at the risk of sounding just as radical, I think he’s right.

  58. Megafauna would be a cool name for a rock group. Though it would have to be modified to read, M?ga?auna, if we’re talking metal.

  59. Pro Liberate,

    Well, I’ve never been convinced that humans alone lead to these mass extinctions. Diseases must have been as important (dominant?) a factor as they proved to be in the deadly plagues which rampaged through the indigenous human populations following the Columbian encounter.

  60. SugarFree – Pointing out that joe tends to lose it and go off into profanity and insults when he has no rational rejoinder to your points is only going to raise the ire of fair-minded folks like Neu Mejican, who will shortly be along to point out that you’re evil for baiting joe into losing it…

    Nah, I’m not bitter. I’m impressed by how many people joe has found to carry his water for him…

  61. Why are you hysterical? Um, you accused people of wanting to engage in genocide, and then accused well over 100 million of your fellow Americans of sharing their beliefs.

    I don’t know why you are hystrical, SugarFree. I just know that you are, and that people hurling around such slurs do not deserve to be treated as if they were respectable debaters.

  62. My my, what tender sensibilities you pretend to have when it suits you.

    Accusing innocent people of calling for genocide is a perfectly fine, acceptable, and rational position. Buy heaven forbid anyone should actually be angered by such a thing!

    Get me my smelling salts – that man I just called a mass murderer cursed at me!

  63. rob,

    For the record I only point out that you complain of joe’s use of insults in contexts where you have insulted him. Holding him to a higher standard than yourself just seems lame.

    I personally think a good insult adds spice to an online debate. Whining about it, not so much.

  64. And calling me “fair-minded” isn’t called for. My mind is exceptionally beautiful, not simply fair.

    πŸ˜‰

  65. Syloson of Samos,

    Actually, I tend to agree. In fact, I was under the impression that blaming humans for the extinction of megafauna was generally discredited these days.

    joe,

    One must always be prepared to deal with one’s fellow travelers and to carry their baggage for them, at times. Honestly, assuming for the sake of argument that catastrophic warming is on the horizon and we can do something about it, don’t you feel that the significant number of hysterical responses (again, not unlike the ones about 9/11) hinders the cause? It doesn’t change any facts, of course, but persuasion is what’s important, right?

    I say the same to Mr. Dondero in a different context, though with my eyes all squinty like.

  66. Pointing out that joe tends to lose it and go off into profanity and insults when he has no rational rejoinder to your points…Nah, I’m not bitter.

    I’m trying to recall an example of someone with rob’s alleged history of success who feel the need to describe how non-bitter they are.

    Not coming up with any.

  67. rob and joe:

    A one act play-

    rob: joe, you’re an idiot to think that.
    joe: fuck you.
    rob: insults are not arguments.

    Annnnnd scene.

  68. Pro Libertate,

    There are no “significant number of hysterical responses.” There is a tiny fringe that consists of people nobody has ever heard of, that those seeking to undermine the response to global warming seek out in order to wage guilt-by-association campaigns.

    I’m a pretty big political junkie, and an environmentalist. The only place I’ve ever seen any of the names provided by Ron Bailey is on threads by Ron Bailey.

  69. Ron Bailey,

    joe said there were extremists on both sides, so I quoted a couple enviro extremists as evidence.

    And by doing so you accomplished….what?

    Now if you had quoted a couple of extremists on both sides I would see your point, maybe.

  70. Sugarfree

    on Google gets 92,000 hits, but you’d expect that of a “fringe idea,” right?

    Anarcho-capitalism gets 214,000.
    White power tops 300 million.

    Do those count as fringe ideas?

  71. joe,

    I don’t think it’s a fringe as you think it is. Of course, I also don’t think that the majority of people concerned about environmental issues are nut cases. Heck, I’m concerned about some issues myself. It’s like libertarians–everyone seems to share some of our values πŸ™‚

  72. PL: Actually, the pendulum has swung the other way recently on megafauna extinction, but the debate goes on.

  73. Hey joe, how are you coming with finding that that non-coersive environmental group? I mean, there’s gotta be one, right?

    Just checking.

  74. Ron,

    Ack, I can’t keep up with the megafauna extinction blame game.

  75. Kudzu..Yeah, great fucking idea. Next…

    TakTix,
    That’s an illustration of why you should not tray to control complex systems, such as an economy.

  76. Neu Mejican,

    Do those count as fringe ideas?

    No, they really don’t. While the fine points maybe lost on most, the average person has a passing familiarity with the concepts (anarchy, at least.) I’m perfectly willing to admit I don’t really think that Pineka and Foreman represent the mainstream of environmentalism, but to say that their ideas aren’t floated around the movement, that there isn’t a measure of sympathy for them in the ideological core, is disingenuous at best. Environmentalists can purge themselves of this by denouncing these douchebags. joe was trying to deny they exist. I call him on that and he gets all pissy.

    Timeline: joe says no one on his side says this stuff, I show evidence they do, and he bursts out with “fuck you.” And then says my challenges aren’t worth responding to.

    New argument: joe’s a whiny little crybaby.

    My evidence: This thread.

    Feel free to try to refute me.

  77. People are assholes.
    Environmentalists are people.
    Anti-environmentalists are people.
    Therefore, both environmentalists and anti-environmentalists are assholes.

    Can we move on?

  78. Pro Libertate,

    Note that Bailey’s most recent link discusses a range of human impacts, not all of them hunting related. The old hypothesis was more of the tooth and claw variety as I recall it.

  79. Once again, it’s time for Joe to come up from the basement to tell his mom how many arguments he won today.

  80. Pro Libertate,

    Anyway, if disease was a major factor in these extinctions I’m not quite sure how privatization could be a good way to curb extinctions.

  81. joe,

    We don’t have to change anything in order to solve the global warming crises. We have had the technology to stop global warming since WWII.

    A switch to nuclear power is cheap (it will SAVE us money in the long run), it is tested on a very large scale (France), and it is extremly clean.

    Global warming? Problem solved! No reforms needed! No significant change in lifestyle needed! And in fact, there is no other workable option to maintain an industrial society, and reverse global warming, without nuclear power.

    You say, joe, that all enviornmentalists are not neo-Marxist crazies. I agree that it is probably true. My litmus test for determining if someone falls into the ideologically anti-capitalist enviornmentalism, or the “concerned about global warming” enviornmentalism, is their stance on nuclear power.

    You are an enviornmentalist and you won’t compromise on nuclear power? Then prepare for the climate to get a lot warmer, because no one is willingly going to vote for anything that lowers their standard of living. And you aren’t going to stop global warming through these small token lifestyle changes (banning plastic bags, and buying organic produce).

  82. JW,

    Hey joe, how are you coming with finding that that non-coersive environmental group? I mean, there’s gotta be one, right?

    Not sure what counts as a group for you, but the Rocky Mountain Institute would fit your description. They work with a coalition of other similar minded groups.

    http://www.rmi.org/

  83. Rex Rhino,

    There is not single bullet solution.

    Nuclear will play a role, but there are other technologies and processes (i.e,distributed power generation)that will end up playing a bigger role than nuclear. Nuclear, in the end, is just as non-renewable as oil. It doesn’t scale up to meet the challenge without increased efficiency and changes in the way electrical power is used.

  84. Sugarfree…

    Ok.

    By your criteria very few ideas that we can discuss are fringe…

    I don’t see any benefits of defining away the concept of a fringe positin.

  85. JW,

    I’m not even looking for a non-coercive environmental group, as I have no problem supporting government action to address threats to the well-being of the general public.

    Why you think you’re making a point against my argument with this yammering is not something I’m interested in wasting my time with.

  86. joe was trying to deny they exist.

    No, I wasn’t. U dont reed so gud, do you?

  87. Rex,

    Then I guess you now accept the IPCC and Al Gore as serious environmentalists worthy of your notice, since they have both discussed nuclear power.

    But it is very telling that you will only acknowledge one of the dozen or so carbon-neutral energy technologies as a potential replacement, and that it just happens to be the one that produces the most significant environmental harm. Not that you’re trying to stack the deck to convince yourself that only the people who already agree with you are acting in good faith.

  88. fair-minded folks like Neu Mejican, who will shortly be along to point out that you’re evil for baiting joe into losing it…

    Harder, rob! Suck up harder! It’s not working!

    Quick, you’d better call a racist and a homophobe!

    Or maybe try and write something relevant to the discussion for a change, instead of swooping in and trying to change the subject to what a terrible person I am.

  89. Nuclear is a good stop-gap source of energy, and I’d rather we used it than coal (so do the MIT Energy folks.) But it’s still got its own problems (waste, fuel, centralized distribution system, needs very careful maintenance ) and we should probably move beyond it into fusion.

    I see in the end, a mixture of fusion/biomass/solar/geothermal/wind as being something to work towards. Getting ourselves off the great big oil teat would be fantastic–hydrocarbons are far too lovely and important precursor molecules to waste them by burning them up.

    Even better would be more intelligent designing of our production systems, so the waste products from one production cycle could be used as the input products for another, and much higher energy efficiencies for anything we use.

    This is one thing that governments are good at doing–adding pressure to force further technological change in certain areas. Use of energy taxes, carbon taxes, public policy, etc. Never pick “the” correct technological path–simply state what your goal is, put the pressure on, and wait.

    The Japanese government has done this in Japan with energy, with the result that now Japanese appliance manufacturers have rapidly developed a huge portfolio of energy-sipping technologies which they can now turn around and sell to other Asian countries. A definite win for Japan.

  90. Nuclear is also very expensive when it comes to capital costs.

  91. Your comment was successfully posted.

    No, it wasn’t! (And I didn’t save it either! $#%&, I hate that!)

  92. rob and joe,

    that you’re evil for baiting joe into losing it

    I want to make it clear that I was not claiming rob was evil for baiting joe.

    I was claiming that rob was a pussy for baiting joe and then complaining about the reaction.

  93. joe, one the other hand, is a chump to be so easily baited.

  94. Ron-A movement so broad as “environmentalism” (everybody who what, cares about the environment? Shit, who doesn’t in some way) is easy pickings to find some way off predictions. But you are correct that some mainstream ones had some huge egg on the face (like the neo-Malthusians back in the 1970’s). However, the global warmers were right here and you and nearly every free market pundits were wrong. It seems bad taste to take a few nutty global warmers and say “look how nutty these guys are.” It strikes me you should be posting about how free market pundits got this so wrong, how to prevent that in the future, or yes, the really nutty free marketers who have incredibly bizarre views on global warming (like it’s a New World Order/UN/gaia religion take over ploy, or just that thousands of independent scientists have somehow just decided to hide massive truths from everybody).
    Now that you and some free market pundits are on board with global warming, it is helpful to acknowledge that property rights might be part of a solution (though property rights arguments on endangered species have been laughable, such as recent work pooh-poohing the sucess of the eagle comeback for NOT taking them off the list [and leaving them prey to private developers and owners] sooner: dammit all you guys did such a good job and now you won’t let us screw things up again!!!). But how do we, or you, know that this property rights approach is not just arguments in ideological blinders (like the “there is no global warming”, “there is no man made global warming” “it’s not as bad as you think”…reminds you of the tobacco “science”.

  95. Then I guess you now accept the IPCC and Al Gore as serious environmentalists worthy of your notice, since they have both discussed nuclear power.

    Al Gore is just trying to play both sides of the issue. He doesn’t want to piss off his hardcore enviornmentalist friends by endorcing nuclear power, but he doesn’t want to endanger some Democrat’s ability to get a pork nuclear reactor if Washington ever starts giving them out.

    If Al Gore came out and endorced large scale use of nuclear power, as a real energy solution, I *WOULD* accept Al Gore as a serious enviornmentalist.

    But it is very telling that you will only acknowledge one of the dozen or so carbon-neutral energy technologies as a potential replacement, and that it just happens to be the one that produces the most significant environmental harm. Not that you’re trying to stack the deck to convince yourself that only the people who already agree with you are acting in good faith.

    Nuclear power doesn’t produce significant enviornmental harm. It produces less toxic waste than solar and wind power. It produces so little waste that storage is not a problem (in places that have been water and air tight and geologically stable for millions of years, such as the Detroit salt mines).

    And yes, if someone is telling me that it is the end of the world if we don’t do something about global warming, and then they are not willing to compromise on nuclear power, that SHOULD suggest they are not acting in good faith.

  96. Anyone remember the Millenium Bug? The big computer crash of 2000 or whenever? There’s gold in them there scares.

  97. Wow, Alex really stuck it to the people who think we should sit around in hemp robes eating sprouts.

    Too bad they’re all made of straw.

    Clearly, joe has never visited Eugene, Oregon.

    Or else he got so stoned there that he remembers nada.

  98. You mean the problem that was averted because the governments and corporations that were threatended by it spent the money to avert it?

    Sure, I remember that.

    Al Gore is just trying to play both sides of the issue. He doesn’t want to piss off his hardcore enviornmentalist friends by endorcing nuclear power, but he doesn’t want to endanger some Democrat’s ability to get a pork nuclear reactor if Washington ever starts giving them out.

    Well, obviously, even when he does the right thing, he must be doing it for the wrong reason. I mean, the man was talking about global warming 20 years ago for God’s sake! Clearly, he can’t be acting in good faith. Have you seen which party he belongs to?

  99. I’m not even looking for a non-coercive environmental group

    And hence, your problem joe.

    Fucking christ on a stick, you are just that pitifully lame.

  100. I’m not even looking for a non-coercive environmental group, as I have no problem supporting government action to address threats to the well-being of the general public.

    Of course, if the biggest threat to the well-being of the individuals who compose the general public is coercive government action, how exactly do you propose solving that with coercive government action?

  101. Not sure what counts as a group for you, but the Rocky Mountain Institute would fit your description. They work with a coalition of other similar minded groups.

    Thanks Neu Mejican, I’ll check them out. Obviously, joe’s too busy beating the help to bother.

  102. “Always happy to oblige.”

    We are still waiting.

  103. “Anyway, if disease was a major factor in these extinctions I’m not quite sure how privatization could be a good way to curb extinctions.”

    I’m just trying to imagine a bunch of cave men attempting to fence in a herd of mammoths. “Just a few more sticks. . . There! That ought to do it.”

  104. OK, joe didn’t say they didn’t exist, he did say:

    joe | August 16, 2007, 1:28pm | #
    It really took this long a post to make the point that you can find extremists if you’re really, really determined to find them?

    What’s an “enviro-theologian,” anyway? Think he uses colloidal silver?

    I think I have shown they are not hard to find and certainly make up a set larger than one (Smurf-guy.)

    And, Neu Mejican, I wasn’t trying to say that genocide-lust is a common environmentalist idea, but, much like your example of anarcho-capitalism and the libertarian movement, population reduction and the more extreme ways to accomplish it can’t be that unfamiliar to the environmental movement. joe was trying to say it was a few lone wackos chattering to the empty sky, and that is clearly not true.

    U dont reed so gud, do you?

    Shall we parse your inability to grasp the “wannabe” portion of the phrase “genocide-wannabe” or would you like to continue to try to insult your way out of being so and often wrong?

  105. The world is coming to an end and people suck therefor we need a fascist state.

    Yup that about explains Environmentalism thought.

  106. So if we want to save fisheries privatization (fencing them in and assigning property rights to the catch to specific owners) is the only way to go.

    There is virtually never an “only way to go.”

    Your solution involves waiting for nature to produce the fish to harvest. Farmers/ranchers produce more than hunter-gatherers because they *plant* seeds and *breed* animals. Fish farmers do the same thing…they “plant” the catfish and salmon they later harvest.

    So one potential solution to the problem of fishery depletion is to encourage someone (anyone except God, who seems busy on things) to plant fish. You’re absolutely right that ownership rights to the planted fish are necessary. But we humans need to start planting fish in the ocean.

    This would be pretty straightforward, if the people who were harvesting the fish paid the people who planted the fish a portion of the proceeds from harvesting. This would require some means of identifying and remunerating the people who planted the fish. Identifying people who planted the fish should be pretty straightforward in this age of tiny RFID chips and genetic engineering.

    For example, apparently a fully grown bluefin tuna is worth $20,000. But there are apparently only about 30,000 left in the Atlantic…down 90 percent from 1970.

    economics of bluefin tuna

    So suppose injecting an RFID chip costs $1 per fish, and raising them to fingerling size costs $200 per fish. So people release 100,000 fingerlings with RFIDs each year year, and the harvesters pay them $2000 (10 percent of the value of the grown fish) for every grown fish they catch. Everybody wins.

  107. Well, JW, no one knows pitifully lame like a devoted libertarian.

  108. jh,

    WHEN the problem facting the public is government – the Bush administration’s torture and detentions policies, for example – I don’t propose to solve it with more government. I propose to solve is with less government.

    I just don’t pretend that every problem has the same cause, and the same solution.

  109. SugarFree,

    I”ll give you this: the size and influence of the people you’re talking about, on the larger environmental movement, is somewhat smaller than the size and influence of Objectivists on the Republican Party.

  110. “Global Warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on mankind” – Senator (note that term – it is neither “enviro-theologian” nor “Earth Firster”) James Inhofe.

    As I wrote on Nature’s Climate Feedback blog:

    In my opinion, the fact that ‘there are no predictions by the IPCC at all’ constitutes scientific fraud. Specifically, as I have written on my blog:

    “The IPCC Third Assessment Report’s (TAR’s) projections for methane atmospheric concentrations, carbon dioxide emissions and atmospheric concentrations, and resultant temperature increases constitute the greatest fraud in the history of environmental science.”

    Further, I would be happy to engage in a scientific debate with anyone who thinks otherwise.

    I would be happy to debate this matter here on Nature’s Climate Feedback blog (where presumably the writers and editors of Nature think otherwise), on Scientific American’s blog (where the writers and editors clearly think otherwise), at the Real Climate blog (where the authors presumably think otherwise), at the Prometheus blog (if they’re interested, and are not afraid of the consequences of the public seeing that the scientific emperor has no clothes), at my blog, or anywhere else.

    Still no takers, a month-and-a-half later.

  111. Mark B,

    Still no takers, a month-and-a-half later.

    Have you tried making specific comments on the realclimate blog? I rarely see serious comments left without a response?

    Given that you are a complete nobody, it is unlikely the debaters are going to come to you based on a vague challenge. You will need to make your specific case in a forum where there is some back and forth.

    The lack of response to your challenge says nothing about the validity of your point.

  112. Mr. Nice Guy: Is it possible that you may also wear “ideological blinkers”? After all, ideology is just a shorthand way of handling complex information–we’ve seen this sort of problem before and this technique worked. Of course, the problem is learning how to distinguish between problems than can be solved by one method and those that require a different one. Applying intellectual honesty and muddling through is the best we can do.

    However, with regard to the Endangered Species Act you may be overestimating its effectiveness. See a couple of my columns on the unintended consequences of the ESA here and here.

    BTW, it is possible that supporters of the ESA are ideologically blinkered?

  113. “For the record I only point out that you complain of joe’s use of insults in contexts where you have insulted him. Holding him to a higher standard than yourself just seems lame. I personally think a good insult adds spice to an online debate. Whining about it, not so much.” – NM

    I don’t think that it’s whining to point out that joe answers with profanity and insults rather than countering the points I actually made. That’s the lame part, not my pointing out – accurately – that his insults aren’t countering my points. Or, as you put it:

    A one act play-
    – AS EDITTED FOR GREATER ACCURACY –
    rob: joe, you’re an idiot to think that, and here are a bunch of rational arguments why.
    joe: fuck you.
    rob: insults are not arguments.

    Annnnnd scene.

    “I want to make it clear that I was not claiming rob was evil for baiting joe. I was claiming that rob was a pussy for baiting joe and then complaining about the reaction.” – NM

    Two thoughts…

    1.) It’s one helluva stretch to claim that I was baiting joe, but more importantly…

    2.) What’s the greater sin? The intellectual dishonesty of pretending that profanity and insults counter rational arguments, or pointing out the intellectual dishonesty joe engages in by pretending that he has countered those arguments?

  114. Sorry, Mark–your not getting arguments as proving the validity of your points sounds far too much like every single crank I’ve run across. And your belief that “lack of prediction means scientific fraud” is an incredible piece of gobbledy-gook. You might be able to shove that argument into a Philosophy of Science article, but it has piss-all to do with the validity of scientific data itself or the conclusions drawn from it. I could just as easily claim that “because this article hasn’t shown results consistant with proving the Bible true, the researcher has committed scientific fraud” and have just as much truth value.

    In short, no one’s going to listen to you. Why in the hell should anyone care as to what you think?

  115. Have you tried making specific comments on the realclimate blog? I rarely see serious comments left without a response?

    You mean questions like these? Why do you suppose the authors at Real Climate never got around to answering those questions? Why don’t you ask them, Neu Mejican? I’d be curious to learn their responses…even after 11 months.

    And you could also mention my offer of a scientific debate of this statement:

    “The IPCC Third Assessment Report’s (TAR’s) projections for methane atmospheric concentrations, carbon dioxide emissions and atmospheric concentrations, and resultant temperature increases constitute the greatest fraud in the history of environmental science.”

    If they don’t want to debate the TAR, tell them I’d be happy to substitute the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) in that previous sentence.

    Questions for “Real Climate” authors…not answered, 11 months later

    OK, how about some straightforward and basic scientific questions for the authors of Real Climate:

    1) Is it necessary for projections of future events (e.g. the IPCC TAR projections for methane atmospheric concentrations, CO2 emissions and atmospheric concentrations, and resultant temperature increases) to be falsifiable, in order for them to be scientific?

    2) Are the projections of methane atmospheric concentrations, CO2 emissions and atmospheric concentrations, and resultant temperature increases in the IPCC TAR falsifiable? Please consider especially the IPCC warning that:

    “Scenarios are images of the future or alternative futures. They are neither predictions nor forecasts.”

    http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc/emission/025.htm

    3) If the projections in the IPCC TAR *are* falsifiable, what hypothetical future events would falsify them?

    4) If your answer to #1 is “yes,” and your answer to #2 is “no,” have you ever pointed out (e.g., on Real Climate) that the projections in the IPCC TAR are not scientific? If not, why not?

    5) If your answer to #1 is yes, and #2 is no, have you ever seen any paper in Nature or Science that points out that the projections in the IPCC TAR are not scientific? If not, why do you think that is?

  116. rob,

    Sorry to stretch this out one more comment, but what the hell…

    Re: you edit to my perfectly honed minimalist piece of stage theatre…

    Your edit rob: joe, you’re an idiot to think that, and here are a bunch of rational arguments why.

    Fails to include the line previous:

    joe: here are a bunch of rational reasons why I think something.
    rob: you’re an idiot (and here is a 1000 word long rant that includes several other insults mixed among some rational responses to your points).
    joe: Fuck you.
    rob: insults are not arguments and you only resort to them because you are too intimidated by my rational arguments.

    I prefer the shorter version.

  117. Mark B,

    I am sorry you were not able to get a response to your questions from realclimate…

    Although I suspect it may be due to the way you approached them…

    “”Is the IPPC only concerned with warming?”

    No, the IPCC is only concerned with getting more funding. That’s why the IPCC Third Assessment Report’s “projections” were unfalsifiable pseudoscientific nonsense. And that’s why their Fourth Assessment Report’s “projections” will be the same.

    And why does no one in the “climate change community” (e.g. Real Climate) or scientific journals (e.g. “Science,” Nature?or the hilariously named “Scientific” American) call the IPCC on their pseudoscientific nonsense?”

    To which you did get a reply…

    “# Grant Says:
    10 September 2006 at 1:18 PM

    Re: #60

    No, the IPCC is only concerned with getting more funding.

    Your entire comment is ad hominem. Maybe that’ll be persuasive to the naive, but not to very many here.”

    Like I said.
    I rarely see a serious and specific set of questions go without a response. But that is based only on my occasional reading of realclimate.

    You might try being less confrontational about things.

  118. Mark B,

    I think I see a problem.

    You seem to have a problem with the IPCC scenarios not being scientific predictions. But that is not their purpose. They are thought experiments/toy models used to help plan policy. They are based on scientific understanding of the problems (painstakingly detailed in the report) but they are not, themselves, scientific predictions.

    So when you ask whether someone has pointed “out that the projections in the IPCC TAR are not scientific” you seem to be asking a non-sequitor. The IPCC itself points this out (as do you in your question).

    You seem to be a smart guy who wants to contribute to the debate. The way to do that is to do a serious piece of work. Put it up for peer review, get it published, and enter the debate formally.

    Or you can just post your opinions on blogs, and get an unsatisfying silence when you challenge those with more credentials to a debate. The realclimate guys debate bigger guns than you all the time. In a sense, they are following Lomborg’s advice and prioritizing.

  119. Neu – Of course you prefer the shorter version, you’re the guy who thinks accurately describing joe as an “armchair general” is a baiting insult that justifies a mindlessly profane response. In other words, if it doesn’t fit on a bumper sticker, it’s apparently too long and complicated for you to process.

    Yeah, don’t bother answering the question I asked, since it would reveal that you’re nowhere near as concerned with intellectual honesty as you are with carrying joe’s water for him…

    So, how DOES the water you carry for joe taste? I hope that it is at least as delicious to you as the toilet water was to our family dog.

  120. rob,

    Thanks for showing your true colors.

    Sorry about not answering your question.
    I must have assumed it was rhetorical…

    Do you mean this one?

    What’s the greater sin? The intellectual dishonesty of pretending that profanity and insults counter rational arguments, or pointing out the intellectual dishonesty joe engages in by pretending that he has countered those arguments?

    The greater sin is the intellectual dishonesty of pretending that your behavior is superior to joe’s in any of the little girl fights you guys get into…

    I am not defending joe.

    I am calling you out for your intellectual dishonesty…an insult is an insult whether it is questioning the validity of their opinion based on your view of their life experience (“arm chair general” is not an objective term without social color), or whether it is calling them a “prick.”

    Have a nice day.

  121. You seem to have a problem with the IPCC scenarios not being scientific predictions. But that is not their purpose. They are thought experiments/toy models used to help plan policy.

    That’s complete nonsense. The IPCC projections are pseudoscientific rubbish, meant to scare the public and policymakers into supporting reductions in CO2 emissions. They are exactly like the “Limits to Growth” series of scientific frauds.

    Beyond question–or perhaps you question this?–the most important question the IPCC can answer in order to “plan policy” is, “How much will the world warm if governments don’t intervene to reduce global warming agents?”

    Now go read the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report Summary for Policy Makers Table SPM-3:

    Table SPM-3

    And all the other junk in AR-4…

    http://www.ipcc.ch/pub/reports.htm

    …and answer these assertions about the warming in the absence of government intervention, in 2090-2099, relative to 1980-1999, with “yes,” “no,” or “don’t know”:

    1) The IPCC thinks there is more than a 1percent chance of warming more than 6.4 deg C.

    2) The IPCC thinks there is more than a 10 percent chance of warming more than 6.4 deg C.

    3) The IPCC thinks there is more than a 50 percent chance of warming more than 6.4 deg C.

    4) The IPCC thinks there is more than a 99 percent chance of warming more than 6.4 deg C.

    5) The IPCC thinks there is more than a 1percent chance of warming less 1.1deg C.

    6) The IPCC thinks there is more than a 10 percent chance of warming less than 1.1 deg C.

    7) The IPCC thinks there is more than a 50 percent chance of warming less than 1.1 deg C.

    8) The IPCC thinks there is more than a 99 percent chance of warming less than 1.1 deg C.

  122. I wonder if humans are innately required to fear some imminent doom. Right now I bet most Americans either fear environmental doom or terrorist doom. And both sides think the other fear is foolish.

  123. Mark B,

    You may be interested in this document from the IPCC…
    http://igitur-archive.library.uu.nl/chem/2007-0628-201926/NWS-E-2006-209.pdf

    To claim that these people are not involved in a serious scientific look at this issues seem disingenuous.

  124. rob,

    I shall quote you.

    When joe starts whinging on about the overall casualties from all sides, as though his faux-angst makes him a better (more “complete”) person, it makes him an armchair general by revealing him as the sort of person who not only shows a profound lack of understanding of the realities of WW2, but of human warfare throughout history.

    Like I said, my real problem is with people who (like joe) delusionally believe that wars can be fought without killing noncombatants (or that victory can be achieved with a minimum of noncombatant deaths). The reality of war is that there’s simply no way to avoid such horrors, and history bears this out repeatedly.

    Read this carefully and tell me that if I replaced the word “joe” with the word “rob” whether you would be pissed off at the clearly unflattering characterization of your position.

    Your problem is with joe’s position (you state it clearly), but you project that position into weakness of character in joe in all of your comments. This is both unwarranted (reasonable people can disagree), and intentional on your part. You want to bolster your argument using arguments that attack the character of those that disagree with you. You, however, see the same tactic as a weak rhetorical trick when others employ it against you.

    I disagree with you regarding both the implications of joe’s statements, and with your take on the implications of your own statements.

    Your lack of personal insight is impressive, but it does not make you more rational. Your tenacity in attacking joe’s clear arrogance is fueled by something other than disagreement with his positions. It is personal for you. Your unwillingness to admit this is a sign of personal weakness on your part. (That is why I freely call you a pussy for whining about the reaction to your insulting and baiting language). joe is a chump to get worked up over anything you say, but that is tangential to our discussion.

    I am, by the way, insulting you with this comment and many of the others I have made here.

    I am doing it deliberately because your overall tone in debates is, despite your lack of profanity, indistinguishable from joe’s…you both are arrogant and abusive, and quick to jump to a faux “victim” stance in a debate.

    Me. I am just arrogant and flip, and enjoy thinking about issues (including the social dynamics of opponents in blog comment threads) in an interactive environment. The discourse we have had on this topic has told you very little about my true personality. I don’t pretend I know anything about yours. I do know, however, that you are clearly unaware of many of the implications of the words you write on this blog.

    I hope I am more aware of the impression I give with my clearly pedantic, overly twaddleknockish discourse. I don’t take reactions to it personally. And I don’t fault people for getting angry at it.

    I have called you a disingenuous, self-deluded pussy in this thread a few times. I would hope that got some sort of rise out of you. I don’t pretend that it makes me better than you. It might even make you better than me.

    But who is more honest?

  125. Wow,

    Scotch and blogging.

    Sorry about that.

    rob. joe. you two are the best maaaannnn. I love you guysss…you’re the fucking besssst.

  126. Now here is proof me and Neu Mejican are not the same person: I would never Scotch and blog.
    Wine and blog or vodka and blog, but I simply don’t like the taste of scotch. Yuck!

    As to the attack joe thing, I think if someone had the time to do a content analysis of this site they would find that joe is attacked more and quicker than just about anyone, with the exception of some of the Little Green Football types who confusedly think libertarianism is associated with hoarding gold in your backyard to face the coming apocalypse wherein the New World Order will ship brown and black people into your neighborhoods to confiscate your property…Joe can be testy back, but he’s usually got good cause. The man disagrees with libertarians a lot, but has always been totally upfront about it and makes arguments, so I don’t think he’s a troll at all.

  127. Ron-I see your point. For my part I try to check my ideology as much as possible. I read those I disagree with quite a bit. I also get very wary if I find myself accepting what should be empirical positions just because they would support or lend comfort to normative positions I hold. For example, I loathe affirmative action and gun control for normative reasons. Yet I certainly think John Lott’s work, while interesting, has certainly not proven to me that firearms save lives overall. Or that arguments of black stigmatizing from affirmative action have been “proven.”
    I’m helped in this by my belief in the naturalistic fallacy: that my ideological values need not be threatened by this or that empirical finding. Even if liberalized firearm ownership results in more injuries I think freedom and autonomy are inherently important values.
    But back to my point: scientific consensus is certainly not immune to ideological pressures. But that a group, like libertarians, that is fearful of restrictions on the market were and are extremely unwilling to accept the scientific consensus on an empirical point that yes could and probably will be used to justify restrictions on the market strikes me as fishy. I mean, I understand your argument about waiting for the satellite data to make up one’s mind, but wasn’t it odd that most experts that did not have an ideological stake in the game did not need to wait that long, while many people whose ideological positions would be threatned needed to go that far (and for some that is not enough)? Think of it this way: don’t you think its fishy when so many leftist collectivists don’t accept the scientific consensus on the detrimental effects of the minimum wage? To paraphrase Aimee Mann “how are we different?”

  128. Mark B,

    You may be interested in this document from the IPCC…

    No, Neu Mejican, I’m not yet interested in that document from the IPCC. Not yet.

    I’m not interested in that document until you’ve first labeled each of the 8 assertions I made on August 17 at 9:47 pm as “Yes,” “No,” or “Don’t Know,” based on the material available to you in the Fourth Assessment Report.

    In short, I’m interested to see if you are capable of “serious…work” (to use your incredibly ironic words).

  129. Oops. Missed the ending blockquote.

    Mark B,

    You may be interested in this document from the IPCC…

    No, Neu Mejican, I’m not yet interested in that document from the IPCC. Not yet.

    I’m not interested in that document until you’ve first labeled each of the 8 assertions I made on August 17 at 9:47 pm as “Yes,” “No,” or “Don’t Know,” based on the material available to you in the Fourth Assessment Report.

    In short, I’m interested to see if you are capable of “serious…work” (to use your incredibly ironic words).

  130. Mark B.,

    I have never claimed expertise in the area.
    In terms of climate science, I am a moderately well read layman. I do my “serious work” in totally unrelated areas.

    You, however, claim a low level expertise in the area (a master’s degree in environmental engineering isn’t it?).

    Why not use your greater expertise to answer those questions for me. I would read your answers with interest.

    I will stick with my position that you are misreading the purpose of the IPCC scenarios. To quote: “Scenarios are images of the future or alternative futures. They are neither predictions nor forecasts.”

    The IPCC does not do science. It summarizes science and puts together policy documents. Or am I missing something?

    But your take on things, to quote:

    “In my opinion, the fact that ‘there are no predictions by the IPCC at all’ constitutes scientific fraud. Specifically, as I have written on my blog:

    “The IPCC Third Assessment Report’s (TAR’s) projections for methane atmospheric concentrations, carbon dioxide emissions and atmospheric concentrations, and resultant temperature increases constitute the greatest fraud in the history of environmental science.”

    Is clearly hyperbole and it would take a bit of serious work on your end to convince me that you have a serious point.

    Feel free to interpret my unwillingness to take up your challenge as validation of your position.

    Or maybe you could just make your case rather than issuing challenges. You might be surprised at how much better that works.

    For instance. I like your fish tagging idea. I worry about the potential impact on larger fish eating a bunch of radio tag chips, but that is a detail that can be studied and solved. Some genetic mark seems to avoid that, but makes it more difficult to collect fees.

  131. Mark b,

    Looking back at your questions.

    Use SPM3 and apply this criteria…

    When the IPCC says “likely,” they mean that there is greater than a 66% chance. It is stated clearly in their documentation.

  132. And Mark B,

    I am sure I am not telling you anything new… but this document, provides a detailed look at how the IPPC arrived at the numbers in SPM3.

    It provides everything you need to answer your 8 questions.

    http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Report/AR4WG1_Pub_Ch10.pdf

  133. I have never claimed expertise in the area.
    In terms of climate science, I am a moderately well read layman. I do my “serious work” in totally unrelated areas.

    Yes, I was already basically certain of that.

    Here’s a friendly bit of advice: If you’re writing about an area in which you’re a layman, don’t advise people who make their living in the area in question to go “do a serious piece of work.”

    It tends to make the person to whom you’re giving the advice think you’re an ignorant, arrogant jerk.

    Why not use your greater expertise to answer those questions for me?

    Heh, heh, heh! Use my “…low level expertise in the area (a master’s degree in environmental engineering isn’t it?)” that I “claim,” eh?

    Tell you what, Neu Mejican (anonymous comments…the best sign of true class on the Internet)…why don’t you go to people you respect for the answers, instead of someone you don’t?

    Why don’t you ask…well, the good folks at Real Climate? Here’s a nice place to start:

    http://www.realclimate.org/?comments_popup=463

    Why don’t you go there, tell them you’re a big admirer of theirs, and ask them if they could please label the following assertions as, “true,” “false,” or “don’t know,” based on the projections and supporting material in AR4:

    1) The IPCC thinks there is more than a 1percent chance of warming more than 6.4 deg C.

    2) The IPCC thinks there is more than a 10 percent chance of warming more than 6.4 deg C.

    3) The IPCC thinks there is more than a 50 percent chance of warming more than 6.4 deg C.

    4) The IPCC thinks there is more than a 99 percent chance of warming more than 6.4 deg C.

    5) The IPCC thinks there is more than a 1percent chance of warming less 1.1deg C.

    6) The IPCC thinks there is more than a 10 percent chance of warming less than 1.1 deg C.

    7) The IPCC thinks there is more than a 50 percent chance of warming less than 1.1 deg C.

    8) The IPCC thinks there is more than a 99 percent chance of warming less than 1.1 deg C.

    Or, you could go to the Nature Climate Feedback blog, and ask Dr. Trenberth, Dr. Heffernan, or anyone else with a climate science background to label the assertions as “true,” “false,” or “don’t know.”

    Somehow, even though they were asked to do so–twice! by different people!–neither Dr. Trenberth nor Dr. Heffernan has been able to label those simple assertions as “true,” “false,” or “don’t know.”

    A simple request, made July 12, 2007

  134. And Mark B,

    I am sure I am not telling you anything new… but this document, provides a detailed look at how the IPPC arrived at the numbers in SPM3.

    It provides everything you need to answer your 8 questions.

    No, Neu Mejican, it does not. I asked ***you*** to give ****your*** labels (“true,” “false,” or “don’t know”) to the assertions. I can not possibly answer those questions, because I don’t have the slightest idea what you think.

  135. Mark-you look like an assclown to pull a “I have a masters degree in this area so listen to me” when you are arguing for us not to listen to the conclusions of literally hundreds of folks who have Phd’s in the very fields you have your masters in. I don’t deny you probably know more about environmental engineering than someone without a masters, but by that same logic should you not defer to the consensus of the folks who have much more education and experise than you that say that you’re full of mushy shit on this subject?

  136. A little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing, worse than none at all…

  137. Mark B,

    Here’s a friendly bit of advice: If you’re writing about an area in which you’re a layman, don’t advise people who make their living in the area in question to go “do a serious piece of work.”

    Sorry dude. I do make my living doing serious science. I then publish that work in peer-reviewed journals so that others with similar levels of expertise can respond to it/use it in their own research. So when I recommended you engage in that process, I was giving you a compliment…saying that your work might be worthy of being part of that discourse in your own area of expertise.

    Your proclamations on blogs seem to imply that you think your work is worthy of serious consideration by those doing the serious work in your area. It won’t get that consideration until you are willing to put it through the first, pretty low, hurdle of getting it published in a peer reviewed journal.

    why don’t you go to people you respect for the answers, instead of someone you don’t?

    I thought, Mark, that it was clear from my statement that I respected your level of expertise enough that you might serve that purpose. Remember, you were the one that brought these specific questions up. I am not really that interested in them. If you were merely asking for my opinion on the likelihoods, I would just refer you to the IPCC graph you posted and point out that “likely” means 66% or greater chance. Oh wait. I already did that.

    Somehow, even though they were asked to do so–twice! by different people!–neither Dr. Trenberth nor Dr. Heffernan has been able to label those simple assertions as “true,” “false,” or “don’t know.”

    Again, they ignore you because you are a nobody who hasn’t done a piece of serious work for them to respond to. They even state in their response to Armstrong and Green that they will respond in more detail once the work has gone through peer review (see their response, Principle 5: Submit your paper to a reputable journal whose editors and peer reviewers will help improve your text and point out some of these subtle misconceptions.).

    As you yourself point out, Armstrong and Green are respected in their own field. But they don’t get to by-pass doing serious work and submitting to peer review anymore than anyone else. Your questions are not directly addressed by the IPCC, so any response to them would need to be based on some additional context that you provide… the serious work I eluded to earlier.

  138. To be clear… the principle 5 above is from Gavin A. Schmidt at realclimate.org, not Dr. Trenberth nor Dr. Heffernan.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/07/green-and-armstrongs-scientific-forecast

  139. Oh, brother. Dan Quayle was so right…what a waste it is to lose one’s mind.

    It’s sad to see people who seem otherwise intelligent (like you, “Neu Mejican”…if that really is your name ;-)) seemingly unable to grasp fundamental science when it comes to climate change.

    You tell me that:

    You seem to have a problem with the IPCC scenarios not being scientific predictions. But that is not their purpose. They are thought experiments/toy models used to help plan policy.

    But then you can’t even read the SPM (that’s SUMMARY for POLICYMAKERS) and label these 8 simple assertions as “true,” “false,” or “don’t know.”

    1) The IPCC thinks there is more than a 1percent chance of warming more than 6.4 deg C.

    2) The IPCC thinks there is more than a 10 percent chance of warming more than 6.4 deg C.

    3) The IPCC thinks there is more than a 50 percent chance of warming more than 6.4 deg C.

    4) The IPCC thinks there is more than a 99 percent chance of warming more than 6.4 deg C.

    5) The IPCC thinks there is more than a 1percent chance of warming less 1.1deg C.

    6) The IPCC thinks there is more than a 10 percent chance of warming less than 1.1 deg C.

    7) The IPCC thinks there is more than a 50 percent chance of warming less than 1.1 deg C.

    8) The IPCC thinks there is more than a 99 percent chance of warming less than 1.1 deg C.

    Sigh.

    Let me change my question then. Suppose that James Annan, a scientist specializing in climate prediction, said the answer to all those questions was “don’t know.”

    http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/

    In other words, James Annan, a scientist specializing in climate prediction, can read the entire Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), and he doesn’t know whether the IPCC thinks–absent government interventions to reduce climate change–that there’s a 99+% chance of warming LESS than 1.1 deg Celsius in the 21st century, or a 99+% chance of warming MORE than 6.4 degrees Celsius.

    Would you still say that the IPCC’s projections are “used to help/plan policy”? How are they useful to “help/plan policy” if the answer to every single question is “don’t know”?

  140. Mark B,

    You seem to be missing the larger point regarding your 8 questions…

    The numbers in the table SPM3 are presented as ranges with a specific likelihood attached (greater than 66%). You ask for the chances of the results falling outside that range. My response provides you with the answer.* Framing the question in terms of specific chances at specific values seems to indicate that you don’t even understand SPM3… but that can’t be true.

    Is SMP3 useful information for policy makers?

    I would say yes.

    *You do see that right?

  141. Mark B.

    Now that I have answered your question with very specific information… do I get to ask you one and get a straight answer?

    Have you read chapter 10 of the report?

    Do you have any thoughts regarding the methodology that the IPCC used to come up with the ranges expressed in SPM3?

  142. Mark B,

    For the sake of accuracy I will amend my above post…

    Instead of saying “You ask for the chances of the results falling outside that range.”

    I should have been more precise.

    You ask for the chances that the results will fall below the range for scenario B1 and above the range for scenario A1F1.

    Within the context of scenario B1, you can directly answer your questions 1-4 using the 66% likelihood given, within the context of scenario A1F1, you can answer your questions 5-8.

    I don’t care enough about the specific questions to see whether the numbers are available to come up with a combined likelihood of the results falling within a range that combines the various scenarios somehow. If you do, you should do it.

  143. Oh fuddle…

    Flip 1-4 and 5-8 above…

    πŸ˜‰

  144. Since Mark hasn’t replied…from chapter 10 of the latest IPCC report…

    Wigley and Raper (2001) interpret the warming range in probabilistic terms, accounting for uncertainties in emissions, the climate sensitivity, the carbon cycle, ocean mixing and aerosol forcing. They give a 90% probability interval for 1990 to 2100 warming of 1.7?C to 4?C. As pointed out by Wigley and Raper (2001), such results are only as realistic as the assumptions upon which they are based. Key assumptions in this study were that each SRES scenario was equally likely, that 1.5?C to 4.5?C corresponds to the 90% confidence interval for the climate sensitivity, and that carbon cycle feedback uncertainties can be characterised by the full uncertainty range of abundance in 2100 of 490 to 1,260 ppm given in the TAR. The aerosol probability density function (PDF) was based on the uncertainty estimates given in the TAR together with constraints based on fitting the SCM to observed global and hemispheric mean temperatures.

    The most controversial assumption in the Wigley and Raper (2001) probabilistic assessment was the assumption that each SRES scenario was equally likely.

    This seems to be the type of analysis Mark is implying should be done (as far as I can gather, correct me if I am wrong).

  145. I am, of course, assuming that Mark would figure out how to calculate the probability of each scenario, use the newer information, and come up with a projection.

    He would want to include some of his “super deluxe” economic growth projections and some “just around the corner” fusion technology to reduce the likely carbon emissions since we will all be riding in fusion powered robot cars by 2035 or so…

    Yadda yadda.

  146. You seem to be missing the larger point regarding your 8 questions…

    No, you’re missing the larger point. It doesn’t make an bit of difference what the ranges are for the individual scenarios, if one does not know the LIKELIHOOD of that scenario. If one don’t know the likelihood of each scenario–and even the likelihood of forcing above all scenarios and below all scenarios–one doesn’t know squat. (From the standpoint of actually making rational policy.)

    Here are the scenarios, with the IPCC’s “likely” (66 to 90 percent probability) warming range for each individual scenario, in degrees Celsius:

    B1 scenario = 1.1 – 2.9
    A1T scenario = 1.4 – 3.8
    B2 scenario = 1.4 – 3.8
    A1B scenario = 1.7 – 4.4
    A2 scenario = 2.0 – 5.4
    A1FI scenario = 2.4 – 6.4

    But you don’t know squat (from a rational policy-making standpoint) if you don’t know what the likelihood is for each scenario.

    For example, suppose there is a 100 percent certainty that the climate forcing will be LESS than the B1 scenario. Now suppose there is a 100 percent certainty that the climate forcing will be MORE than the A1F1 scenario. Wouldn’t you agree that there would be very different policy responses for those two situations?

    Remember that James Annan–a scientist who specializes in climate prediction–has written that his responses to all 8 assertions is “don’t know.” From reading all the information in the Table SPM-3, and all the supporting in the Fourth Assessment Report, he doesn’t know whether the IPCC thinks there is a greater than 99 percent chance of warming less than 1.1 deg C, or a greater than 99 percent chance warming more than 6.4 deg C.

    Forgive me, but I’ll skip to the end of your comments, as you finally start to see the big picture. You write:

    The most controversial assumption in the Wigley and Raper (2001) probabilistic assessment was the assumption that each SRES scenario was equally likely.

    You’re partially right. But it’s not “controversial,” Neu Mejican. It’s blatantly and elementally wrong. To see why, let’s look at methane concentrations (methane is thought to be second only to CO2 as a climate warming agent).

    Here are the methane atmospheric concentrations up to 2005:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Methane-global-average-2006.jpg

    Now, go to AR4 Figure 10.26 and tell me whether the methane atmospheric concentration you think will be measured in 2010 is likely to be closer to one scenario or another. Or whether you don’t have the slightest idea which scenario is going to be closer to the actual measurement 3 years from now.

    This seems to be the type of analysis Mark is implying should be done (as far as I can gather, correct me if I am wrong).

    You’re getting warmer. You’re actually pretty close.

    I am, of course, assuming that Mark would figure out how to calculate the probability of each scenario, use the newer information, and come up with a projection.

    No, you’re getting colder again. There is no scientifically valid reason to use scenarios at all. The most proper and scientifically valid method to produce climate forcings would be to develop probability density functions for emissions and atmospheric concentrations of each of the forcing agents *individually.* For example, on the warming side: CO2, methane, black carbon, etc. Develop probabilistic projections for each INDIVIDUALLY. Then do the same on the cooling side: for sulfur dioxide, organic carbon, and so on.

    Using scenarios is simply borrowing from the fraudulent Limits to Growth deception technique. The method (of the fraud) is to have a few (relatively unscary) scenarios that are realistic, and a much larger number of scary and unrealistic scenarios, and then dishonestly refuse to attempt to assign probabilities to the scenarios. Therefore, people who don’t know any better–e.g. policymakers, laypeople, and even some scientists who are not specifically knowledgeable about likely future emissions– pick a number somewhere in the middle, and assume the number near the middle is the most likely number.

    And without estimates of probability, people also tend to look at the scariest scenarios, and think in terms of “Boy, what if that happened?!”…because the scientists haven’t told them that the scariest scenarios have probabilities of happening that are 1-in-100, or even less.

    To summarize: Wigley and Raper’s 2001 paper is a definite improvement on the analysis in the 2001 Third Assessment Report. And it’s even an improvement on the analysis in the 2007 FOURTH Assessment Report! (A good sign of pathological science.) But Wigley and Raper were blatantly and elementally wrong to assume that all scenarios have equal probablity of occurrence. That’s like saying that the future is as unpredictable as a role of a die, or a future lottery number.

    The fact that there hasn’t been a subsequent follow-up improvement on the Wigley and Raper 2001 paper in Science (i.e., without the clearly wrong assumption of equal likelihood of all scenarios) indicates the deep pathology of the current state of climate science.

  147. I don’t have time today for any more of this, and may not have time for several more days, but one last thing:

    He would want to include some of his “super deluxe” economic growth projections and some “just around the corner” fusion technology to reduce the likely carbon emissions since we will all be riding in fusion powered robot cars by 2035 or so…

    Yadda yadda.

    Neu Mejican, you’re pathetic. Is that the best you can do? Throw out ridiculous and blatantly false characterizations of my positions?

    When have I ever said anything to the effect of “we will all be riding fusion powered robot cars by 2035”?

    In fact, I have specifically made a point that the U.S. government (or governments of other countries…I don’t know why Japan or other rich countries without native energy sources aren’t already doing this) should offer large technological prizes, in order for fusion to be developed. I have in no way implied that “fusion powered cars” will somehow magically appear by 2035. Or even that “fusion powered cars” will EVER exist.

    In fact, it seems much more likely to me that fusion would be used to generate electricity for plug-in hybrid cars. Or else fusion would be used to generate hydrogen (through electroysis of water) locally…avoiding the need for a nationwide hydrogen distribution system. For example, a few fusion plants could be located within a small city (population 200,000), and used to generate hydrogen for sale at local refueling stations. Similarly, a city like New York might have a hundred or more fusion plants located within the city limits. That’s the beauty of fusion…without the need for large amounts of hazardous fuel, or without the generation of significant air pollution, the plants can be located in very densely populated areas.

    P.S. I have said that completely computer-controlled cars will be common by 2035. But that could result in either less or MORE energy consumption. (Energy consumption could increase, because the traffic speed would be increased significantly. This would allow people to live farther from work, and still get to the work in a reasonable time.)

  148. Mark,

    Fusion power generating electricity would make electric cars the norm. These would be robot cars by your prediction from an earlier thread (put this together and you get fusion powered robot cars). To be fair, you never claimed, as far as I know, that fusion power would be widely available by 2035. But the brief look I took at your website, you do make predictions based on the assumption that there will be vast technological improvements that will reduce the use of fossil fuels. Fusion seems to be your technology of choice.

    Your predictions are based on a scenario that is different than any that are considered by the IPCC, but it is a scenario none the less, and one that seems exceedingly unlikely. It is my opinion that you overestimate the pace at which these technologies, both in autonomous computer controlled agents and fusion power will become widely available.

    You also make what can only be termed ridiculous assumptions regarding GDP in the next 100 years (80 quadrillion is a big number). And you do this based on an admitted lack of expertise in economic modeling.

    Now to be pedantic:

    You’re partially right. But it’s not “controversial,” Neu Mejican. It’s blatantly and elementally wrong. To see why, let’s look at methane concentrations (methane is thought to be second only to CO2 as a climate warming agent).

    You are responding to a sentence from Chapter 10 of AR4, not to me. Sorry about the sloppy posting. I am surprised you did not recognize it given your familiarity with the AR4 and its weaknesses.

    There is no scientifically valid reason to use scenarios at all.

    And yet there is, really, no other way to do things. Any model will be premised on a set of assumptions which when put together into a package are essentially just a “scenario” that provides a context for prediction. You don’t like the fact that the IPCC uses multiple models, but remember they are not doing the science, they are summarizing the science. The various scenarios considered are an attempt to synthesize the scientific work so that policy makers can make use of it.

    Please clarify this for me:
    The most proper and scientifically valid method to produce climate forcings would be to develop probability density functions for emissions and atmospheric concentrations of each of the forcing agents *individually.* For example, on the warming side: CO2, methane, black carbon, etc. Develop probabilistic projections for each INDIVIDUALLY. Then do the same on the cooling side: for sulfur dioxide, organic carbon, and so on.

    Are you proposing a reductionist approach here?
    Given the integrated nature of climate systems, why would a set of independent predictions be more useful than a set of predictions based on integrative models that vary systematically in terms of various important factors?

  149. In the end Mark,

    The IPCC predictions are, by the very nature of how the IPCC reports are put together, conservative estimates. You take the position that they are alarmist, but much of your criticism of the AR4 comes from the IPCC’s unwillingness to assign probabilities to various scenarios…a reluctance based, in point of fact, on the lack of available data to assign those probabilities in an evidence-based fashion.

    The models they use, and the projections this conservative process provide us with can be tested against developments going forward. So far the models seem to be underestimating rather than overestimating along many parameters.

    I again encourage you to submit your work to peer review. It will make it better work, and it you are right about the flawed methodology being used by those that are engaged in serious work and contributed to the IPCC, you will help to improve the chances that good policy is implemented in the future.

    Yelling from the fringes in the form of arrogant challenges and bets allows you to delude yourself that the lack of attention to your ideas somehow validates them. Entering the scientific discourse more formally has the risk of showing you how you are wrong, but if you are right, benefits everyone.

  150. A recent peer-reviewed assessment of the IPCC models.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/short/316/5825/709

    Recent Climate Observations Compared to Projections
    Stefan Rahmstorf,1 Anny Cazenave,2 John A. Church,3 James E. Hansen,4 Ralph F. Keeling,5 David E. Parker,6 Richard C. J. Somerville5

    We present recent observed climate trends for carbon dioxide concentration, global mean air temperature, and global sea level, and we compare these trends to previous model projections as summarized in the 2001 assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC scenarios and projections start in the year 1990, which is also the base year of the Kyoto protocol, in which almost all industrialized nations accepted a binding commitment to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The data available for the period since 1990 raise concerns that the climate system, in particular sea level, may be responding more quickly to climate change than our current generation of models indicates.

  151. oops, hit submit too soon.

    Here is the citation.

    Recent Climate Observations Compared to Projections
    Stefan Rahmstorf, Anny Cazenave, John A. Church, James E. Hansen, Ralph F. Keeling, David E. Parker, Richard C. J. Somerville

    Originally published in Science Express on 1 February 2007
    Science 4 May 2007:
    Vol. 316. no. 5825, p. 709

  152. Something from Realclimate that seems relevant…

    The sweet spot for climate predictability

    Between the difficulty of long-term weather forecasts and the impossibility of accurate predictions for economic conditions a century hence, there is a sweet spot for climate forecasts. This spot, maybe between 20 and 50 years out, is where the emissions scenarios don’t matter too much (given the inertia of the system) and where the trends start to be discernible over the noise of year to year weather. Cox and Stephenson have a good discussion of the point in this week’s Science and a great conceptual graphic of the issues.

    One could quibble with the details (we’d put the sweet spot a little earlier) but the underlying idea is sound, and in judging climate forecasts, it will be projections in that range that should be judged (i.e. the early Hansen projections).

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/07/friday-roundup/

    Check out the graph here discussing the sweet spot for climate predictions.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/07/friday-roundup/

    The science article is here if you have access…

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/317/5835/207

  153. 80,000,000,000,000,000 comments wasted?

    I hope you don’t think so Mark.

  154. Irrespective of the question of whether it is possible to assign probabilities to specific emissions scenarios, it is important to distinguish different sources of uncertainties in temperature projections up to 2100. Different emission scenarios arise because future greenhouse gas emissions are largely dependent on key socioeconomic drivers, technological development and political decisions. Clearly, one factor leading to different temperature projections is the choice of scenario. On the other hand, the ‘response uncertainty’ is defined as the range in projections for a particular emission scenario and arises from the limited knowledge of how the climate system will react to the anthropogenic perturbations. In the following, all given uncertainty ranges reflect the response uncertainty of the climate system and should therefore be seen as conditional on a specific emission scenario.

    pg 802, chapter 10 of AR4

  155. Once last comment here.

    Mark B has a problem with the IPCC approach that seems to center on the lack of probability assigned to the IPCC scenarios. He seems to feel (not to put words in his mouth) that this makes the scenarios useless for policy making.

    I have a different take on this.
    If you compare the 8 questions Mark posts with the table SPM3 you will notice that Mark is asking for 99% confidence that temperatures will be beyond a single value.

    But if we use a 99% confidence interval, then table SPM3 would look quite a bit difference (it uses a 66% CI).

    The result of demanding a 99% CI, given that it is the upper end of the projections that is more uncertain, is that each range for each scenario would include MUCH HIGHER projected values. In other words, it would be more likely to include “alarmist” values. A more common CI would be the 95% CI, but that too would include the more extreme values.

    Because the IPCC is putting out documents for policy makers, choosing the 66% CI is the conservative choice, because it provides a narrower, more conservative estimate of the upper values.

    Moving forward, it will be important to develop models with narrower 95% confidence intervals, but until that work is done, the IPCC would be irresponsible to use the intervals that include the alarmist values.

    The choices the IPCC make in regards to this issue directly refutes Mark’s charges, imho.

  156. “I am not defending joe.” – NM

    Funny, it just seemed like you were, I suppose. Maybe it’s because you think that calling someone out on their intellecutally bankrupt profanity is “the greater sin” because of what you perceive to be “the intellectual dishonesty of pretending that your behavior is superior.”

    Ah, its the air of superiority you feel I display when I point out joe’s intellectual bankruptcy that bothers you, not the intellectual bankruptcy – clearly not that you agree with joe and roll in to cover his six when he loses it.

    Ok. I’ll try not to (accurately) describe joe’s behavior, instead I will endeavor in future to ensure that any references I make are only to his arguments and not to him. Would that be suitably non-superior/non-confrontational for you? Will it ensure that I hold the moral high ground when joe starts sputtering profanities when he has no response – at least in your eyes?

  157. rob,

    The appropriate response to my accusations would be

    “Fuck you!”

    Instead you continue down the well-treaded faux-victim path…oh well.

  158. Once last comment here.

    Mark B has a problem with the IPCC approach that seems to center on the lack of probability assigned to the IPCC scenarios. He seems to feel (not to put words in his mouth) that this makes the scenarios useless for policy making.

    I have a different take on this.
    If you compare the 8 questions Mark posts with the table SPM3 you will notice that Mark is asking for 99% confidence that temperatures will be beyond a single value.

    Cold, cold! You’re ice cold, Neu Mejican!

    Let’s return to when you were very warm…the Wigley and Raper paper of 2001. The Wigley and Raper paper of 2001 DID have predictions.

    Specifically, here are the Wigley and Raper 5 percent, 50 percent, and 95 percent probabilities for temperature rise in 2100, relative to 1990, in deg C.

    5 percent probability = 1.68 deg C,

    50 percent probability = 3.06 deg C, and

    95 percent probability = 4.87 deg C.

    In other words, Wigley and Raper PREDICTED that there would only be a 5 percent chance of warming of less than 1.68 deg C by 2100, relative to 1990.

    That’s good. They made a PREDICTION. A falsifiable PREDICTION, rather than an unfalsifiable “projection.” But the Wigley and Raper predictions were based on equal probability of all scenarios.

    In contrast, the AR4 projections have absolutely no assessed probabilities for any of the scenarios. Therefore, the probability for the lowest scenario could be 100 percent, or the probability for the highest scenario could be 100 percent. Effectively, it is completely impossible to know what temperature increase the IPCC expects. The answers to all the questions are “don’t know.”

    The IPCC AR4 “projections” effectively say absolutely nothing. They are much worse than the Wigley and Raper paper…which was already pretty bad, since it assumed all scenarios were equally probable, and simple observation of present trends shows that all the scenarios aren’t equally probable.

  159. Mark,

    Cold, cold! You’re ice cold, Neu Mejican!

    Sorry. Just going with the words you write.

    To wit: Mark B has a problem with the IPCC approach that seems to center on the lack of probability assigned to the IPCC scenarios. from me…

    In contrast, the AR4 projections have absolutely no assessed probabilities for any of the scenarios. from you…

    How am I cold here?

    Like I said before. You seem to think the way the science is summarized in the AR4 is useless because they did not go beyond the available evidence and assign probabilities to each scenario. I, on the other hand, don’t see that as making their report either useless or dishonest.

  160. Remember Mark,

    Your accusation is that the IPCC is foisting a scientific fraud (yea, the greatest ever) on the public…a statement you have not refuted in ANY WAY.

    The IPCC is very transparent with their methodology for review and summary, makes conservative choices based on the gaps in the available science, provides context for interpretation of their conclusions, and suggests directions for future research to fill in the gaps in the present science.

    You on the other hand, make predictions without providing details of your methodology, and don’t even put your work through a basic peer review process.

    Who is engaged in pseudo-science?
    It is clearly not the IPCC.

  161. Like I said before. You seem to think the way the science is summarized in the AR4 is useless because they did not go beyond the available evidence and assign probabilities to each scenario.

    No, the science as summarized in the AR4 is useless because it’s NOT science. Wigley and Raper 2001 is at least science. That paper at least contains falsifiable predictions, even though the predictions are based on a premise that is already clearly false (i.e., that all scenarios have equal probability of occurring).

    If the IPCC had said in AR4 (2007), “We have nothing better than Wigley and Raper 2001, because we’ve sat on our keisters for the last six years, rather than doing the amount of technical analysis that a class of undergraduates should be able to do in a week.”…

    …at least they would have been presenting science. But they actually BACKTRACKED from Wigley and Raper 2001, presenting “projections,” rather than Wigley and Raper’s 2001 predictions. Those “projections” are unscientific, because they aren’t falsifiable. And they’re also completely useless from a policy standpoint.

    Look at Wigley and Raper, 2001. That paper says that there’s a 50 percent chance of warming greater than 3.06 degrees Celsius from 1990 to 2100. Now look at AR4. There is a 50 percent chance of warming greater than what temperature? The answer is, “Don’t know.”

    Now look at Wigley and Raper again. That paper says there’s a 95 percent chance warming will be greater than 1.68 degrees Celsius. Now look at AR4 again. There is a 95 percent chance of warming greater than what temperature? The answer is, “Don’t know.”

    The “projections” in AR4 are worthless, because they don’t even attempt to provide a scientifically valid answer to the question, “What will be the temperature change during the 21st century, in the absence of intervention by governments to reduce climate change?”

    Wigley and Raper (2001) at least answers that question. They say that there’s a 95 percent chance of warming greater than 1.68 deg C, a 50 percent chance of warming greater than 3.06 deg C, and a 5 percent chance of warming greater than 4.68 deg C. The only problem with their answer is that it’s based on a clearly false premise?that all the scenarios are equally probable.

    I, on the other hand, don’t see that as making their report either useless or dishonest.

    The IPCC has failed to provide an answer to the most fundamental STARTING question: “What will be the warming if governments do not intervene to reduce emissions?”

    How can the IPCC projections be useful if the answer to “What will the warming be?” is “don’t know”?

  162. “Prius-driving Hollyward star Leonardo DiCaprio will release his feature length documentary, The 11th Hour, this weekend.”

    Hollyward?

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