Man-Made Global Warming "Unequivocal"—What Next?

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Over the weekend, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the Synthesis Report of its Fourth Assessment Report (4AR). The report is being published in advance of the upcoming 13th Conference of the Parties (COP-13) to the U.N Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bali. At the COP-13, negotiators will try to hammer out a new international treaty to deal with the man-made emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) that are contributing to global warming. Any new treaty would replace the Kyoto Protocol which terminates in 2012. The Kyoto Protocol set a goal of reducing GHG emissions by an average of 5 percent below the level that signatory countries emitted in 1990. In October, the scientific journal Nature published a commentary that declared,

"…as an instrument for achieving emissions reductions, [the Kyoto Protocol] has failed. It has produced no demonstrable reductions in emissions or even in anticipated emissions growth."

Among other things, the Synthesis Report concludes:

Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level…

Most of the observed increase in globally-averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic GHG concentrations.7 It is likely there has been significant anthropogenic warming over the past 50 years averaged over each continent (except Antarctica)…

The Synthesis Report further notes:

Determining what constitutes "dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system" in relation to Article 2 of the UNFCCC involves value judgements. Science can support informed decisions on this issue,…

The negotiations in Bali will be over these value judgements and how to balance higher energy costs with the benefits of a cooler climate.

Impacts of climate change are very likely to impose net annual costs which will increase over time as global temperatures increase. Peer-reviewed estimates of the social cost of carbon23 in 2005 average US$12 per tonne of CO2, but the range from 100 estimates is large (-$3 to $95/tCO2). This is due in large part to differences in assumptions regarding climate sensitivity, response lags, the treatment of risk and equity, economic and noneconomic impacts, the inclusion of potentially catastrophic losses, and discount rates. Aggregate estimates of costs mask significant differences in impacts across sectors, regions and populations and very likely underestimate damage costs because they cannot include many non-quantifiable impacts.

Limited and early analytical results from integrated analyses of the costs and benefits of mitigation indicate that they are broadly comparable in magnitude, but do not as yet permit an unambiguous determination of an emissions pathway or stabilisation level where benefits exceed costs.

Climate sensitivity is a key uncertainty for mitigation scenarios for specific temperature levels.

Choices about the scale and timing of GHG mitigation involve balancing the economic costs of more rapid emission reductions now against the corresponding medium-term and long-term climate risks of delay.

Summary of Synthesis Report here.

Heads up: I will be posting daily dispatches from Bali covering the final week of the COP-13 climate change negotiations (Dec. 10-14).

NEXT: Move Over, Jesus, Eris, and Bob

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  1. Man made global warming is bullshit. The earth has warmed and cooled throughout the ages. Some assholes are now trying to figure out a way to get rich off of this by fooling the ignorati. See here http://www.abd.org.uk/green_myths.htm and here
    http://www.junkscience.com/Greenhouse/index.html

  2. In before joe.

  3. Those quotes only state that the warming is “unequivocal”, they still use “likely” when referring to human impact. Do they connect the dots more definitively elsewhere, or are they still playing semantic games?

  4. We just need more pirates. That should be easy enough.

  5. Sorry to roil Junk Science Lunk, but the Nature editorial marks a milestone in the evolution of the debate- the Kyoto EcoEconomists, A. Gore , Ex-Spokesman General, have been given the bum’s rush by the science establishment.

    This opens the door to a whole new policy debate, but those still preoccupied with denying the 19th century literature on radiative forcing are unlikely to have much say in managing the consequences of technical civilization in the 21st.

  6. “…as an instrument for achieving emissions reductions, [the Kyoto Protocol] has failed. It has produced no demonstrable reductions in emissions or even in anticipated emissions growth.”

    !NO!
    But I thought the United States hated the environment and was evil for not going along with the Kyoto Protocol! It did so much good for the environment and the United States is the only world superpower that still pollutes a lot!

  7. COP-13: Generating unreadably long tree-killing reports at distant tropical resorts…

    so in the future you can be coerced into staying home to avoid paying carbon taxes imposed on airline tickets…

    while you buy emissions offsets (to plant trees, no doubt) against heating your home!

  8. “Man-made Global Warming ‘Unequivocal’: What Next?”

    I’ll tell you. Science becomes a matter of consensus rather than proof for the benefit of public welfare, and the official body of scholarly discourse effectively becomes a government bureaucracy. Now that science has become the sovereign of the State, reason and liberty begin to slip away as the laws of nature and physics become means to ends of ruling intellectuals and politicians to twist and bend to their interest.

  9. to hammer out a new international treaty to deal with the man-made emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) that are contributing to global warming. Any new treaty would replace the Kyoto Protocol which terminates in 2012.

    Why, according to the articles I’m reading, the effects of Global Warming are now irreversible. So we’re done, right?

    “…as an instrument for achieving emissions reductions, [the Kyoto Protocol] has failed. It has produced no demonstrable reductions in emissions or even in anticipated emissions growth.”

    Yeah, no duh. Oh, wait, I know the argument that’s coming “It would have worked if it hadn’t been for those meddling skeptics”.

  10. Oh, I don’t have anything to say–I just didn’t want to be left out.

  11. FUCK IT–LET’S MOVE UNDERGROUND AND RELY ON GLOBAL AIR CONDITIONING.

  12. Peer-reviewed estimates of the social cost of carbon23 in 2005 average US$12 per tonne of CO2, but the range from 100 estimates is large (-$3 to $95/tCO2).

    Just to make clear exactly how much social cost they are talking about, $12 per tonne of CO2 amounts to 10.5 cents per gallon of gasoline.

    The present tax on gasoline in the several United States is more than three times that: Simply put the word “Pigouvian” in front of the present transportation tax, and users of automobiles are already paying their share of the social cost of global warming.

    Furthermore, since even the highest estimate of social cost is well below the multi-dollar per gallon carbon tax many global warming activists want to see, I trust the Synthesis Report will put calls for expensive new carbon taxes to rest.

  13. Yeah, um, the argument about whether or not global warming is bullshit, that’s a real interesting one, uh, really, I’m sure. Somebody wake me up when it’s over, mkay?

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    “Determining what constitutes “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system” in relation to Article 2 of the UNFCCC involves value judgements. Science can support informed decisions on this issue,…”

    Meanwhile, assuming that we’re going to deal with this via public policy and that I’m reading the above properly, they’re saying that what it’s going to take to have a significant impact on emissions is also going to be devastating to our economy. …that’s our jobs, standard of living, poverty rate, level of violent crime, etc., etc.

    So, I’m going to insist that whatever public policy prescriptions we adopt to deal with greenhouse gas emissions absolutely must, must, must include a gigantic stimulus package, or at the very least, we’ll need a stimu one as powerful as the “mitigation” is costly.

    Indeed, if the mitigation is so god awful costly, then we need to start doing some really big things now, like eliminating the capital gains tax and slashing corporate taxes and eliminating the income tax entirely, and, of course, we need to cut our spending as well, both foreign and domestic–especially in the area of defense. Sorry, but if what they’re saying is true, there’s just no way we’re going to be able to afford an empire anymore.

  14. What next?

    Wholesale slaughter of humans in industrialized nations, and a return to an agrarian matriarchal tribalist society, as intended by GAIA of course.

    I advise the use of nuclear weapons for the “wholesale slaughter” part of the plan; the resultant nuclear winter will provide a much needed acceleration of the return to “natural” temp levels, and remove pesky reminders of the depths to which the human mind can sink.

  15. Deluded tools.

  16. Sorry, but if what they’re saying is true, there’s just no way we’re going to be able to afford an empire anymore.

    How much CO2 mitigation could we claim if we eliminate government?

  17. Ever wonder how a place covered with ice got the name Greenland? Maybe it’s because it wasn’t always covered with ice. Maybe since it was named the climate, what’s the word I’m looking for, oh yeah – changed. Must of been all those Vikings burning fossil fuels.

  18. Ever wonder how a place covered with ice got the name Greenland? Maybe it’s because it wasn’t always covered with ice. Maybe since it was named the climate, what’s the word I’m looking for, oh yeah – changed. Must of been all those Vikings burning fossil fuels.

    wha?

  19. Maybe it’s because it wasn’t always covered with ice.

    Maybe it’s because Iceland was already taken.

  20. Unequivocal”–What Next?”

    Everybody should now voluntarily switch to alternative fueled hybrids, just like me, of course!

    You know, if you were really serious about this issue and all.

  21. The United Nations’ Nobel Prize-winning panel on climate change approved the final installment of its landmark report on global warming Friday, concluding that even the best efforts at reducing carbon-dioxide levels will not be enough.

    First off, is anyone else getting tired of prefacing Al Gore or the IPCC as “Nobel Prize-winning”?

    It’s like ‘Oh, they won a nobel prize, I guess it’s true and good, now’.

    Second, “even the best efforts won’t be enough.”

    I mean, come on, this logically has two ways it can go.

    1. It’s true, then we can’t stop it. I have to assume that if we really did our “best effort”, then there is no possible “better effort”. I further conclude that if we reduced our CO2 output to pre 1900 levels, that that still wouldn’t be good enough?

    2. It’s not true, which calls into question these summary reports this organization puts out. They’re simply making the dire predictions that some policy makers want to see so as to wrest more control over the populace.

    Third, we keep getting told with every report “it’s worse than we thought”. Wow, ten years ago, it was already supposed to be much worse than it is now. When do their ‘worse than we thought’ predictions eventually circle around on themselves?

    concluded the delegates, who have been meeting in Valencia, Spain.

    Fourth, I wanna go to Valencia, Spain, too. It must be nice to fly all over the world to exotic locales, and talk about how much CO2 we’re putting into the air.

    It would be like me getting out on my kayak every day to count the number of kayakers, and writing a report of how too many people are out on the water kayaking.

    “The importance of adaptation has been growing in the IPCC reports.”

    Advocating for adaptation once was viewed as defeatism, especially among environmentalists.

    So, are we defeated? Help me out, here.

  22. AGW is the new abortion.

  23. “very likely due” is not unequivocal.

    It said “warming” is unequivocal. And just about everyone accepts that the climate is warming and has been warming for a very long time.

    The question remains: Has warming led or followed the CO2 increase? What does the data show?

  24. I always thought they named it Greenland to trick people into colonizing it.

  25. Being a libertarian doesn’t mean you have to be a dick.

  26. Via Wikipedia – So take with a grain of salted herring.

    Data obtained from ice cores indicate that between AD 800 and 1300 the regions around the fjords of the southern part of the island experienced a relatively mild climate similar to today. Trees and herbaceous plants grew in the south of the island and the prevailing climate initially permitted farming of domestic livestock species as farmed in Norway.

  27. The warming must be natural, because natural warming occured in the past.

    Similarly, the people who died of anthrax exposure in late 2001 must have caught it from sheep, because people died of sheep-borne anthrax in the past.

    When will the pinko-veterinarian conspiracy be exposed?

  28. Has warming led or followed the CO2 increase? What does the data show?

    In my opinion, that’s part of the problem. We keep looking at warming without context to other environmental factors. It’s all warming/co2 all the time.

    According to scientists, Mars is experiencing a notable global warming. Is it possible… just possible that there could be a solar system-wide phenomenon occurring due to the solar activity cycle? I fear that the co2 theory alone has gained so much steam (!) that any good evidence of even a modest merging of both natural and human factors can’t be discussed without being labeled a ‘low-down dirty denier’.

  29. A follow up question:

    If warming causes the oceans to outgas CO2, would that not account for anthropogenic CO2 ‘backing up’ in the atmosphere?

  30. After all the handwaving and dire warnings are exhuasted, we will be living in a much warmer world and I think the scientists need to accept that. No amount of concern about the environment and government action will stop it. If we regulate the CO2 emissions to the point of choking industry, we’ll simply shift the problem to other countrys that don’t regulate so much. If you impose an artificial cost on the population, you will increase the amount of inefficiency and lead to even more warming. You can’t stop global trends. The best you can do is come up with ways to mitigate the effects through use of the market.

    Stop worrying about global warming and decide what you want to do to make it more livable. 🙂

  31. Paul,

    Genius!!!!

    Move all the CO2 to Mars and kill two birds with one stone.

  32. Paul,

    That just means that we need to send hybrid space probes to Mars, instead of the fossile-fueled ones we have been sending. It is always our fault, you see.

    Also, for those Mars probes that were shot down crashed, we can not blame Martian life, as it is innocent and merely reacting to USian aggression.

    Must we send you to room 101 so that you can be educated like Winston Smith?

  33. We keep looking at warming without context to other environmental factors. It’s all warming/co2 all the time.

    Maybe you do, Paul.

    The IPCC looked at the question of solar forcing and found that it cannot explain the warming trend over the past several decades.

  34. After all the handwaving and dire warnings are exhuasted, we will be living in a much warmer world and I think the scientists need to accept that.

    They do. That’s why the IPCC reports that irreversable warming has already occured.

    Don’t worry, prophets of adaptation, even if we discovered the technology that eliminated GHG emissions tomorrow, we have already done damage that will require us to adapt.

  35. “Science becomes a matter of consensus rather than proof for the benefit of public welfare, and the official body of scholarly discourse effectively becomes a government bureaucracy. Now that science has become the sovereign of the State, reason and liberty begin to slip away as the laws of nature and physics become means to ends of ruling intellectuals and politicians to twist and bend to their interest.”

    um.

  36. joe,

    Would you support deep cuts in federal spending and taxes, if you had to, in order to get something that significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions?

  37. I’m still waiting for someone to explain the naturally occurring climactic cycles.

    Until they can explain baseline variations, I don’t see how they can possibly identify, much less explain, off-baseline variations.

  38. Maybe you do, Paul.

    Actually joe, I was making a criticism of skeptics who continue to look at one-dimensional issues such as warming following or preceding a co2 concentration. I think it’s myopic.

    FWIW, I think much new information about solar forcing will come to the fore.

    Don’t worry, prophets of adaptation, even if we discovered the technology that eliminated GHG emissions tomorrow, we have already done damage that will require us to adapt.

    Hmm, I disagree. If humans can warm the planet, could we not also cool it? If “above normal” levels of CO2 cause a warming, what about below normal levels?

  39. When the State controls the discourse of scientific inquiry, i.e. what is and isn’t scientific fact, the most unimaginable atrocities can be implemented by mode of public policy. Well … maybe not completely unimaginable (See Germany, 1938).

    Oh and Guy,

    “Everybody should now voluntarily switch to alternative fueled hybrids, just like me, of course!”

    Not everybody will VOLUNTARILY do this. So any government action to force us to take these measures is the kind of coercion I’d think is against libertarian principles. Now, I’ve stated before, the only government body with sovereign rights to the air itself is the FAA, which has yet to express any position either way regarding climate change. They are the only one I would accept regulations from in terms of this issue since it is technically their property allegedly being violated.

  40. RC:

    They can’t and most likely, they won’t.

  41. Oh and Peter,

    “Everybody should now voluntarily switch to alternative fueled hybrids, just like me, of course!”

    Not everybody will VOLUNTARILY do this. So any government action to force us to take these measures is the kind of coercion I’d think is against libertarian principles. Now, I’ve stated before, the only government body with sovereign rights to the air itself is the FAA, which has yet to express any position either way regarding climate change. They are the only one I would accept regulations from in terms of this issue since it is technically their property allegedly being violated.

    If they don’t it just means that they don’t love the earth as much as me. Perhaps they deserve to be run over by one of my most exquisite hybrids, but that is a different debate.

    Not sure why you come across as such a hater. It feels so much nicer to love.

  42. joe,

    How is the fact it’s getting hotter now is any different from the times it’s gotten hotter (or cooler) in the past? It took a heck of a lot of global warming to melt the ice sheets that covered most of North America. What caused that? When exactly was the Earth the perfect temperature?

    Based on our geologic history, it seems to me you’d have about as good of a chance of controlling the tides as you do controlling the Earth’s climate cycle.

  43. Oh Peter,

    The FAA has domain over airspace, not over what is put into the air. That would be EPA and some others, perhaps OSHA can be dreamed into that one? But not the FAA, not even the NTSB.

  44. Maybe. Maybe not.

    Any issue the left gets this excited over is automatically suspect in my book.

  45. Ken Shultz,

    Would you support deep cuts in federal spending and taxes, if you had to, in order to get something that significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions?

    Absolutely. We’ve gotta do what we’ve gotta do.

    Vastly reducing the travel budgets of government offices so they use teleconferenceing, for example. The problem is, there haven’t been very many plausible proposals for reducing carbon emissions through lower federal spending. Perhaps this is because the low-tax people have spent so much time in denial of the problem that they haven’t put much thought into solutions, but it’s probably a result of the problem not being one that can solved through tax and spending cuts.

  46. Matt J,

    How is the fact it’s getting hotter now is any different from the times it’s gotten hotter (or cooler) in the past? “The fact that it’s getting hotter now” is not different from other periods of warming. It got hotter then, and it’s getting hotter now. Changes beyond a certain point caused massive environmental disruption and extinctions then, and it’s causing them now. The consequences of climate change aren’t any different.

    It took a heck of a lot of global warming to melt the ice sheets that covered most of North America. What caused that? Natural processes, still being researched.

    When exactly was the Earth the perfect temperature? There is no perfect temperature. It’s not about the absolute temperature, it’s the change that’s the bitch.

  47. Any issue the left gets this excited over is automatically suspect in my book.

    Few state it so honestly.

  48. Are we not men? I know I am; as such I have confidence that my large-brained brethren will face whatever comes our way with grace, courage, and the odd witch hunt.

  49. The problem is, there haven’t been very many plausible proposals for reducing carbon emissions through lower federal spending. Perhaps this is because the low-tax people have spent so much time in denial of the problem that they haven’t put much thought into solutions,

    Forgive me for sounding flip, here, but high tax people have repeatedly told us that massive…nay any noticable cuts in federal spending will cause the economy to fail, and eventually collapse. A shrinking economy will result in lower carbon emissions, due to the decrease of economic activity, since pretty much everyone agrees that with our current practices, increased economic activity leads to higher carbon emissions.

  50. Would you support deep cuts in federal spending and taxes, if you had to, in order to get something that significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions?

    The main problem with this is that the productivity improvements due to reducing the burden of government would raise the carbon consumption in the economy as a whole.

  51. MikeP,

    Would that be canceled out by the efficiency improvements of not having to fill out 200 forms to 5 levels of government to obtain the correct permits for sewage disposal?

    I think emissions are a wash in reduction of government, but our ability to get more done for the same cost improves dramatically.

  52. Lost_In_Translation,

    It is exactly those efficiency improvements that will cause more energy to be consumed by the economy and more CO2 to be generated. If you spend less time filling out paperwork, you spend more time being productive. As Paul notes above, productivity in today’s world implies higher carbon emissions.

  53. “The problem is, there haven’t been very many plausible proposals for reducing carbon emissions through lower federal spending.”

    It isn’t the lower spending that’s going to cut carbon emissions. It’s the lower emissions we’re going to have because we start taxing emissions rather than revenue and income.

    Seeing people and businesses avoid emitting greenhouse gases the way they avoid paying taxes now–that’s what the greens out there want, right? I would be willing to support a huge tax on greenhouse emissions–the ONLY thing short of technological breakthroughs that’s going to have an impact on the problem… IF I don’t think it’s going to totally devastate our economy. …and the only way I can think of that our economy will be absorb to absorb the shock of a real solution would be to eliminate federal taxes on just about everything else except pollution.

    As a libertarian, I’d rather tax pollution than effort and efficiency and profit and ingenuity anyway. …and I’m willing to make a trade.

    When people hear about taxing pollution, all they think about is a huge tax on top of all the other taxes they pay. They just aren’t willing to sacrifice their standard of living for posterity. They just aren’t. …and it’s a good thing we don’t have to.

    “Perhaps this is because the low-tax people have spent so much time in denial of the problem that they haven’t put much thought into solutions, but it’s probably a result of the problem not being one that can solved through tax and spending cuts.”

    I’m a low-tax guy, obviously, and I think you’re absolutely right about this. …and if you’ll work on getting greens to think about how they’re going to mitigate for all the economic damage the solution is going to cause, I’ll work on getting low tax people to think about how much better off they’d be if they only paid federal taxes on how much pollution they created.

  54. The issue of the imprecision in the estimates of GHG costs/ton is one that will resolve itself, because any solution is going to take a generation or two to implement anyway.

    We start with the low-hanging fruit (we start walking to the farmers market to buy it – heh) and work our way up from there over the next few years and decades, taking progressively more costly steps along the way. Over this timefram, we will then see the consequences of global warming as well as develop better technologies and practices for understanding it.

    This will mean that, before we go from the $5/ton solutions to the $10/ton solutions, we will at least be able to limit the range of estimates from $-3 to $95 to, say, between $15 and $60.

  55. MikeP,

    It depends on the energy cost of filling out paperwork vs. producing an additional X amount of widgets/improving on widget design/ shatting on the internet about the next best widget.

    I still think that government soaks up alot more energy (at poor efficiency) than it needs to function and therefore elimination of it, even with associated productivity increase, would decrease emissions.

    Of course then joe would be out of a job, and therefore spend more time posting here and using up more of our time arguing with him…hmmm, I think this requires alot more study.

  56. Ken,

    Ah, I see. Yes, I am very much supportive of the idea of using carbon taxes to replace payroll taxes. But you wrote before about cutting taxes and spending.

    Also, don’t take a static-technology view of things. Such taxes would not only cause people to reduce their emissions using existing technologies and practices, but provide a powerful incentive for further development.

    As for convincing greens about the cost, the smart ones are already on board. It’s called “Sustainable Development” – the idea that environmental progress simply will not happen in the real world without economic progress.

  57. What we NEED is the outlaw incandescent light bulbs. That will fix it.

  58. My only issue with taxing carbon emissions is that in my opinion, our current calculations for carbon emissions are way off. At minimum, they’re extremely rough and based mostly on statistical averages and guesswork. Basically, we’re just playing with numbers. Sure, we can see what the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is, but we can’t say exactly where it’s coming from? Some of it is coming from natural sources, some of it (obviously) comes from automobiles, fuel-oil fires and consumption etc, some from coal-fired power plants. The problem is, two people consume (burning) the same amount of energy may be putting out two considerably different carbon footprints.

    For instance, I went to that new-fangled site that all the young people visit to calculate your carbon footprint (zerofootprint.net or some such thing). Anyway, I plugged in all of my data, I put in my gas guzzling SUV, all the meat and potatoes I eat. I calculated I ate very little local or “organic” produce. I was brutally honest as to how much I drove, how much electricity and how I never biked to work. My carbon footprint was way below the average emission profile.

    Another example is that I live in an area which generates a lot of electricity on hydro power. Yes, there’s definitely an environmental footprint (that big concretey thing in the middle of the river) but compared to fuel or coal-fired plants, it’s got to be miniscule.

    Regardless, if they start taxing carbon emissions, I’m going to want to know exactly what and how they’re taxing me. I don’t want to be factored in by statistical sampling and averaging averages.

  59. Paul,

    The calculation of carbon tax on energy production is trivial. You simply tax all fossil fuels somewhere between the ground and where they are burned based on the amount of carbon in them. All the carbon you burn and all the carbon burned to provide you everything you buy in the store would have the carbon energy taxes already built in. There’s no guesswork here.

    The issue with taxing carbon gets complicated only when assessing carbon emissions outside the carbon-fuel energy realm. What do you charge for petroleum going into plastics, some of which will get burned and some of which won’t? What do you charge for hydropower that has significant outgassing of CH4 and CO2 from detritus at the bottom of the reservoir? What do you charge for deforestation?

  60. And just about everyone accepts that the climate is warming and has been warming for a very long time.

    If by a “very long time” you mean “since the 70s”. Less than an eyeblink by geological standards. The Earth was getting COLDER from the 30s to the 70s, despite increasing CO2 levels. With the warming, we’re about back to the local peak reached in the 30s.

    The average temperature of the Earth is about 57.5 degrees F right now. During the Medieval Warm Period, which, climatewise, was considered a good time for agriculture and humanity in general, average temps were about 60 degrees F. During the following Little Ice Age, which was a really sucky era climatewise, the average temps plunged to 55 degrees F.

    So, currently we’re halfway between a better, warmer time and a worse, colder time, and ostensibly rational people are concluding we need to make the Earth cooler? Talk about a lack of perspective.

  61. The problem is Al Gore is smart enough to want to get rich using bad science and the ignorati will believe anything that’s on the “news” and I want even get into how bad science reporting is in the MSM. Global warming is a natural phenomenon. The earth has heated and cooled throughout it’s existence. Remember the ice age. I cannot believe that people believe this shit. Learn something about science before you drink the government Kool-Aide.

    So, greenhouse is all about carbon dioxide, right?
    Wrong. The most important players on the greenhouse stage are water vapor and clouds. Carbon dioxide has been increased to about 0.038% of the atmosphere (possibly from about 0.028% pre-Industrial Revolution) while water in its various forms ranges from 0% to 4% of the atmosphere and its properties vary by what form it is in and even at what altitude it is found in the atmosphere.

    In simple terms the bulk of Earth’s greenhouse effect is due to water vapor by virtue of its abundance. Water accounts for about 90% of the Earth’s greenhouse effect — perhaps 70% is due to water vapor and about 20% due to clouds (mostly water droplets), some estimates put water as high as 95% of Earth’s total tropospheric greenhouse effect (e.g., Freidenreich and Ramaswamy, “Solar Radiation Absorption by Carbon Dioxide, Overlap with Water, and a Parameterization for General Circulation Models,” Journal of Geophysical Research 98 (1993):7255-7264).

    The remaining portion comes from carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, ozone and miscellaneous other “minor greenhouse gases.” As an example of the relative importance of water it should be noted that changes in the relative humidity on the order of 1.3-4% are equivalent to the effect of doubling CO2.

  62. The second paragraph on down is from the JunkScience article The Real Inconvenient Truth.

  63. The problem is, there haven’t been very many plausible proposals for reducing carbon emissions through lower federal spending.

    DoD.

  64. All the carbon you burn and all the carbon burned to provide you everything you buy in the store would have the carbon energy taxes already built in.

    If it actually worked that way, that would be great. Somehow, given the history of taxation in this country, I don’t see it working that way. Especially when taxation is more often thatn not about policy rather than revenue.

    How does that address imported products where a carbon tax may not be applied the same way, or at all. If I buy an imported stereo, it’s assumed that there are petroleum based products therein, but I’m buying the stereo, not the petrolum products used to manufacture it. And, the country I bought it from may not have a carbon tax. So now I start wanting to buy imported products from countries which don’t have carbon taxes.

  65. Ken and joe mankind caused global warming is a fraud. I support preventing people who don’t know shit about science from making documentaries geared to alarming the ignorati

  66. Especially when taxation is more often thatn not about policy rather than revenue.

    No, taxation is almost always about raising more revenue, under the guise of implementing a policy that allegedly helps society.

    In Hawaii, the politicians tacked on a hefty cell phone tax to help out on 911 call service. They’ve built all the stuff the tax was supposed to finance, using just one-fourth of the money collected so far, and now the politicians are refusing to refund the surplus millions collected or even to remove the tax. They want to build up money from the tax so they can raid the special fund and go buy some more votes with it.

  67. How does that address imported products where a carbon tax may not be applied the same way, or at all.

    By the magic words “global harmonized carbon tax.”

    I said that calculating the tax was trivial. I didn’t say that applying it was trivial.

  68. Global warming is a natural phenomenon look at the history of the planet we have had ice ages and periods where the planet was hot. All of this during periods when mankind either was not around or was very primitive. Why is anyone discussing any kind of taxes to try and stop this. Chicken Littles the sky is not falling.

  69. “Ken and joe mankind caused global warming is a fraud.”

    Even if it is, james, would you rather pay taxes on pollution or income?

  70. Even if it is, james, would you rather pay taxes on pollution or income?

    Can I choose none of the above?

  71. Would you rather have a progressive tax on income or a flat tax? Would you rather have a flat tax or a sales tax? Would you rather have a sales tax or a tax on carbon emissions?

    …the farther I go down that list, the more I like it. …and we’ve got an example of at least one progressive Democrat (You don’t mind if I call you that, do you joe?) who seems like he’d go for it.

    James! You won’t get in the way of what could be the only chance we’ll ever have to get rid of the income tax, will you?!

  72. that’s funny.

    James linked to junkscience citation that had the “Journal of Geophysical Research”, which is published by the American Geophysical Union.

    Science Magazine:

    The American Meteorological Society (6), the American Geophysical Union (7), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) all have issued statements in recent years concluding that the evidence for human modification of climate is compelling (8).

    from hier.

    “Water accounts for about 90% of the Earth’s greenhouse effect”

    that is doubtful.
    hier

    IANACS, but why should junk science and its agenda somehow be more convincing than these chaps?

    The AGU, whose journal is cited, has thoughts on water vapor. (“Thus an understanding of the mechanisms distributing water vapor through the atmosphere and of water vapor’s effects on atmospheric radiation and circulation is vital to estimating long-term changes in climate.”)

    even if James’s assertion were true, is there climate change? Is it changing at a faster rate than earlier? If so, what are potential consequences (good and bad), and since there will be change, what is a portfolio of behaviors you’d engage in to take advantage of the goods and the bads?

  73. How about no taxes for either? Go RP abolish the government sanctioned theft bureacracy called the IRS.

  74. krap. that was moi.

    sorry.

  75. I didn’t include the entire article for obvious reasons. Read it and then you will understand it better. You can join the global warming hucksters if you want to just don’t expect me to pay for it.

  76. You know, it’s your charming mannerisms that really motivate me to listen to you.

    And how you immediately rush to throwing all non strict believers into the other camp.

    Nearly as attractive as wsdave’s intellectual curiosity and DUNDEROOOOOOs silliness.

  77. See here http://www.abd.org.uk/green_myths.htm and here
    http://www.junkscience.com/Greenhouse/index.html

    james

    The page your first link goes to was Last updated 2002-10-27. Many of its questions have since been satisfied.

    junkscience.com likewise tends to use outdated info which is fairly easily countered with citations from other sources.

    These are hardly good sources to use to debunk AGW.

    I tend to find the whole AGW idea faintly preposterous and have a notion that a lot of folks will find themselves slightly embarrassed in twenty years or so that they took such strident positions on the subject today.

    But I’m certainly not going to get involved in any pissing contests over it either.

    Because I don’t know any more about the subject than joe does and hence can give no more qualified an opinion in the matter.

  78. The page your first link goes to was Last updated 2002-10-27. Many of its questions have since been satisfied.

    junkscience.com likewise tends to use outdated info which is fairly easily countered with citations from other sources.

    These are hardly good sources to use to debunk AGW.

    Isaac said it better. /kicks pebble.

  79. Prolefeed:

    No, taxation is almost always about raising more revenue, under the guise of implementing a policy that allegedly helps society.

    Let me rephrase: national tax policy is about policy, not so much about revenue.

    Yes, local tax policy is always about jacking the consumer “for the children” and claiming it’s not about the money.

    The feds admitted that the tax code was about policy and not about revenue several years back. Sorry, I’m lazy and as such I have no link. It was an interview on CSPAN some years ago during the Clinton administration.

    Ken Shultz

    Even if it is, james, would you rather pay taxes on pollution or income?

    If I may answer for the token liberal: Yes

    James! You won’t get in the way of what could be the only chance we’ll ever have to get rid of the income tax, will you?!

    Ken, your hearts in the right place, but it ain’t gonna happen. You’ll get both. Trust me on this.

  80. Even if it is, james, would you rather pay taxes on pollution or income?

    If CO2 is not causing global warming then it is not a pollution….it is plant food.

  81. “Ken, your hearts in the right place, but it ain’t gonna happen. You’ll get both. Trust me on this.”

    I saw deep cuts in marginal tax rates with my very own eyes in my very own lifetime.

    Grand coalition. It could happen. Nixon went to China–anything can happen. Especially if it makes sense.

  82. Am I going to have to intellectually smack joe around AGAIN? Gah…

    1. Does anyone else find it odd that so many people who bitched about the “hoax” the other day and who were calling for Reason to fire Ron Bailey (*Joe*) now seem to be ok with him reporting on the IPCC recommendations? Man I sure do… I guess it’s ok if he reports on this topic provided that the information he’s reporting is supporting their view.

    and now, for the important part:

    2. The InterGOVERNMENTAL Panel on Climate Change is made up of *shock* POLITICIANS!! It’s not a panel of scientists and according to the IPCC guidelines, they are allowed to edit the submitted material in order to more closely match the (bureaucrat-written) summary. The summary, it must be noted, is often written in advance of the individual chapters or any section written by the scientists – who are only there for expert testimony. Do not for one instant be fooled into thinking this paper (it is NOT a study!) is in anyway scientific.

    So let’s try to keep that in mind and have some better context applied to this whole damn issue right from the start. Make no mistake here, the IPCC is a government body and it’s ultimate purpose is to make POLICY decisions – its purpose is not, and simply couldn’t be, scientifically controlled climate research.

    For government officials, this isn’t really a science issue so much as a “what shall we do about it!?” public-policy issue. And since that is the case, we all have to realize that they’re already operating under two basic assumptions:

    A. Global Warming is happening to such a degree that something MUST be done (i.e. IPCC’s 90% likely major catastrophe claims)

    and
    B. That we (humanity) actually has the power to do something – which is one of several reasons why the idea that global warming is human-caused because of nasty CO2 “pollution” is so appealing to them! ***(CO2 is rather important to such processes as photosynthesis, so I find it hard to call a commonly occurring natural compound, ‘pollution’)***

    IF Global Warming is actually just a natural phenomenon, which a very large group of highly respected scientists believe and regularly publish peer-reviewed studies about (though which are much less frequently reported by famed science journalist Leonardo DiCaprio among others…) THEN an Intergovernmental Panel’s sweeping public-policy changes would be a waste of time and resources.

    Go with me on a little thought experiment and see if we can’t follow the money trail & personal incentives…

    …Senator “Bob” knows that an election is coming up next year and he’d like to be senator another term. Over the past 2 years, Bob hasn’t really done very much that’s particularly visible and he voted for the war in Iraq which isn’t very popular now and is worried about his constituents who might not think he’s working in their interests anymore… This is bad for Senator Bob. Unfortunately, it’s too late to do much about the war, besides, at this point it’s easier to back-pedal and blame the President for that whole mess (better to distance oneself), so he probably won’t win many votes talking about militaristic defense. But wait a minute! Global Warming is a big issue, and everyone’s talking about it a lot now so some of Bob’s constituents are getting rather worried.

    Of course, Bob doesn’t know anything about the science – he got a law degree 30 years ago after all. However, Bob does know that there are two sides to this issue – on one side, some scientists believe that there are highly complex causes that are as of yet, pretty unknown and that because warming and cooling periods occur regularly on a dynamic planet such as Earth, there’s probably nothing to worry about. On the other side, there are computer models, shiny graphs and shocking anecdotes about ice-caps melting, animal species dying out and warnings of a major global catastrophe to occur “soon”. And, because it’s all wrapped up in a nice little package, this catastrophe will be mankind’s fault for driving cars – just like in a science fiction movie!

    Senator Bob weighs his options:

    1. Say to his constituents, “the Earth appears to be warming, but there are no conclusive causes to be found and it’s probably going to be fine – I guess you’ll have to judge me on the other issues you care about like my poor war record.”
    2. Say to his constituents, “The Earth is heading for eminent disaster and if you re-elect me, *I* can avert a major catastrophe! I also care deeply about your family and the environment.”

    Now – depending on what political ideology Bob has, choice number 2 has even more benefits. He might get kickbacks from an energy lobby and car manufacturers trying to manipulate the impending legislation, or perhaps he’ll rake it in from environmental groups, journalists & the screen actors guild. On top of all that, he’s also got a license to raise taxes and write new laws – because of course, he can’t do anything about the immediate devastation that is sure to visit his constituents without a larger staff, a raise for himself and the authority to sponsor a bunch of new agencies and programs… all those need funding too.

    And the best part of all!? Bob’s previous record is all but ignored!

    Ok.

    So does that little scenario seem plausible to you? The bottom line is, catastrophes sell, will get politicians elected/re-elected, give license for reduction of freedom (which is always the trade off when we make new laws) and to raise taxes to fund new programs created by an expanding government and word of them travels much faster than word of non-events.

    You put a nut up against a sensible person on TV, the nut wins. Every time.

    Don’t let these nuts use the federal government in further unconstitutional and ridiculously imprudent ways.

  83. Peer-reviewed estimates of the social cost of carbon23 in 2005 average US$12 per tonne of CO2, but the range from 100 estimates is large (-$3 to $95/tCO2).

    Excuse me, but how would one calculate a Cost outside a Market? I smell a Calculation Problem here…

    Peer-reviewed… what? What was the subject? Economic analysis of CO2 emissions? Despite what some may think, scientists do not necessarily make good economists. The idea that you can calculate a “cost” outside the realm of the marketplace indicates immediately that the person doing the calculation is not applying economics, just his or her opinion.

  84. Excuse me, but how would one calculate a Cost outside a Market?

    If I go to your house and break a window that costs you $100 to replace, the social cost of my action is $100. Similarly, if I emit a tonne of CO2 that causes damages of $12, the social cost of that tonne of CO2 is $12.

    The idea that you can calculate a “cost” outside the realm of the marketplace indicates immediately that the person doing the calculation is not applying economics, just his or her opinion.

    These papers are written not by climate scientists or Nobel Prize winning proselytizers, but by economists specifically studying the environment. William Nordhaus at Yale is the gold standard here.

  85. How do you calculate that one tonne of CO2 causes $12 worth of damage though? And damage to what?

    Isn’t that whole concept just a tad bit premature since there is no clear understanding of what the result of increases in CO2 really is?

  86. How do you calculate that one tonne of CO2 causes $12 worth of damage though? And damage to what?

    It’s hard to do, and it is quite fair to be skeptical of their numbers. Note that a range of $3 to $95 means they are pretty skeptical with each other. But the people who try to figure these costs out are not morons, nor are they deluded or lying. They are simply endeavoring to put economic costs on the damages implied by climatological predictions in order to determine the lowest cost way to deal with global warming.

    Nordhaus finds that the best strategy to deal with global warming is to charge a global harmonized carbon tax equal to the social cost of CO2 — about a dime per gallon of gasoline today. The second best strategy? Do nothing but research the issue more.

  87. Similarly, if I emit a tonne of CO2 that causes damages of $12, the social cost of that tonne of CO2 is $12.

    Of course, it cannot be forgotten that that tonne of CO2 in the atmosphere with the social cost of $12 is a collateral effect of — in the case of, say, gasoline — a social benefit approaching $350.

    Global warming proselytizers forget this all the time, acting as though people burn carbon just for yucks.

  88. Pity I had to work today.

    Anyway, James. Quiz time.

    What is the half-life of an imbalance water vapor in the Earth’s atmosphere?

    What is the half-life of an imbalance of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere?

    What is the minimum time period looked at by climatologists (as opposed to Meteorologists)?

  89. The feds admitted that the tax code was about policy and not about revenue several years back.

    HAHAHA! Yeah, those politicians and bureaucrats would sure love to convince you of that. The details of the tax code are politicized, sure, and about “policy”, if you define that as “penalizing opponents and rewarding supporters”. But all levels of government are trying to steal as much of your money as they can get their grubby paws on.

  90. HAHAHA! Yeah, those politicians and bureaucrats would sure love to convince you of that.

    Considering they used to deny it, I thought it was remarkable progress. Finally, I thought, they’re beginning to admit it.

    Yes, of course they’re trying to get my money. But we have this new fangled thing called “deductions” which allow the government to set all kinds of policy by rewarding the good (giveth) and punishing the bad (taketh away) behavior.

  91. proselytizers forget this all the time, acting as though people burn carbon just for yucks.

    Excellent point, Mikep. Methinks the people flying all over the place to locales exotique to yak about GW probably think their burning carbon is having some value.

    Sean Malone:

    thank you for bringing the discussion back to what the IPCC really is. Even I forget sometimes.

    ***(CO2 is rather important to such processes as photosynthesis, so I find it hard to call a commonly occurring natural compound, ‘pollution’)***

    Thank you again. I cringe everytime I hear some wack-job on NPR glibly refer to CO2 as “pollution”. Like it’s some kind of toxic particulate matter being spewed into the atmosphere by a moustache-twirling top-hatted industrialist who owns some smokestack industry using child labor.

  92. The calculation of carbon tax on energy production is trivial. You simply tax all fossil fuels somewhere between the ground and where they are burned based on the amount of carbon in them.

    Excuse me, MY carbon is organic and beneficial, plus I drive alternative fueled vehicles. So I should be getting a $0.40/gal. refund for all the carbon taxes you people should be paying.

    Plus I should have HOV access no matter how many people are in my vehicle. Free reserved organic hydrocarbon hybrid vehicles downtown too please.

    thank you

  93. Sean Malone,

    Can you think of a distinction that can be drawn between the IPCC report and the hoax story other than whose political agenda their conclusions support?

    I can: one of them is true and based on sound science, and the other is false and based on wishful thinking.

    :You’re putting the cart before the horse. Look for the truth, and let the politics follow from that.

  94. Is anyone familiar with the Paranoid Style of American Politics?

    Those elitists are just trying to put one over on us for their nefarious purposes. The scope of the consensus that has emerged among scientists studying the issue just goes how far this thing goes, man.

  95. “Thank you again. I cringe everytime I hear some wack-job on NPR glibly refer to CO2 as “pollution”. Like it’s some kind of toxic particulate matter being spewed into the atmosphere by a moustache-twirling top-hatted industrialist who owns some smokestack industry using child labor.”

    Paul,
    Lead, Mercury, Arsenic, Light, Noise are all naturally occuring things in nature. We call them pollution when we want to. It’s a collectively subjective definition, dependent only only on the property of quantity. If we collectively feel there is too much CO2, then *POOF* Voila! it iz Pollution!

  96. Excuse me, MY carbon is organic and beneficial, plus I drive alternative fueled vehicles. So I should be getting a $0.40/gal. refund for all the carbon taxes you people should be paying. Guy Montag

    Ah, and enlightened imperialist! Way to pick up the white man’s burden, Guy!

    May all our future wars of choice be waged with hybrids!

  97. Correction:

    Plus I should have HOV access no matter how many people are in my vehicle. Free reserved organic hydrocarbon hybrid vehicles downtown too please.

    Should read:

    Plus I should have HOV access no matter how many people are in my vehicle. Free reserved PARKING for organic hydrocarbon hybrid vehicles downtown too please.

    Sorry, free vehicles to all rubs my sensibilities the wrong way.

  98. May all our future wars of choice be waged with hybrids!

    Actually, many of the US Army vehicles are multi-fuel capable already. The sad thing these days is that the press is always a couple of wars behind on their information, while accusing the Army of always fighting the previous war, of course.

    Also, if waterboarding was so lethal we could be running the diesel vehicles on solyent diesel if the silly ‘humanitarians’ would stop mucking up the works.

  99. libertree,

    Guy is a joker. And a pretty good at that.

    For example, one of his solutions to our petroleum problem is to advocate for the use of free-range, organic, cetacean biodiesel.

    Give it a minute to sink in. That’s some funny right there.

  100. How broad is the scientific consensus on the understanding of the natural processes that affect global climate absent human activity?

  101. “Can you think of a distinction that can be drawn between the IPCC report and the hoax story other than whose political agenda their conclusions support?

    I can: one of them is true and based on sound science, and the other is false and based on wishful thinking.”

    Do you not even bother to read what I write Joe? The IPCC is a panel of GOVERNMENT officials. “Based on sound science” my aching ass! It’s based on the assumption that international governmental policy is the most significant factor affecting the environment – and then finding scientists who will agree with that position! Considering the alternative makes politicians around the world seem a lot less useful, we should all be rather skeptical of whether or not the IPCC has any valid motives what-so-ever.

    And I’m not writing about the “hoax” anymore, you’re way off base with everything and if anyone wants to read why, I already pwned you on the other board. I’m not interested in continually providing reason to someone who doesn’t even bother to read what I’ve written, much less even bother to read actual studies. Especially when I link to them directly to make it easy!

    And to Skoal:

    I covered the issue of “consensus” in my earlier discussion with Joe – according to a recent (extremely comprehensive) study by Dr. Klaus-Martin Schulte, only 7% of peer-reviewed, published climatologists explicitly believe humanity is “at least somewhat” responsible for global warming trends. Only 45% have *implicitly* agreed with that position.

    Like the term “theory”, the word consensus does not have the same meaning in science that it has colloquially. It refers not to a majority opinion, but to the current prevailing hypothesis.

    A hypothesis, as anyone who had high-school science should remember, is almost at the very bottom of the scientific method. There is nothing particularly robust about a hypothesis, nor is it remotely confirmed with research, and that’s where the cause of global warming is right now.

    When scientists start using terms like “theory of CO2 emissions” or “Gore’s law of global warming”, then we can assume that some significant research and evidence has been done on the topic. Prior to that time however, if we listen to people like the IPCC we’re letting government hijack reason and run away with more rights and more money because they scare us.

    What I’m saying here is:

    If you look at this issue from a scientific perspective, there’s simply not enough evidence or understanding to make sweeping conclusions – and the debate is raging among climatologists. So, it makes no sense to be talking about carbon-taxes, caps on emissions, banning SUVs, or whatever else. Yet.

    If you look at it from a political perspective however, it makes PERFECT sense to talk about all that stuff! Politicians get elected based on what they *promise* to do… Global Warming is one of the best things that’s ever happened to them – nebulous science, results that won’t manifest themselves for dozens of years at the earliest…

    This is great for them! Politicians everywhere can say “We’re all going to die unless you elect me, and allow me to raise taxes and start programs”, then when they get elected they have a blank check to fix this (and add to the budgets for said programs whatever pork they might like) and THEN at the end of it all, if nothing comes of Global Warming and no catastrophes are reported, they’ll either be dead or get to say “see, my policies worked! re-elect me!” and if something DOES come of it (which it won’t), then they get to say “Damn (insert opposing politician here), if it weren’t for those deniers we’d all be fine now.”

    It is WIN-WIN to take a position like the IPCC – IF YOU’RE A POLITICIAN. If however, you have some intellectual integrity and don’t have anything to profit from just the idea of worldwide disasters, the issue becomes a lot more complex.

  102. Sean W. Malone,

    A man who has it all figured out.

    Follow his lead and ye shall be free.

    Don’t be hoodwinked by the lesser minds that may doubt the veracity of his conclusions.

    Dude, you have a huge chip on that shoulder.
    What, did the IPCC pick on you in gym class?

    Re: Dr. Klaus-Martin Schulte http://www.desmogblog.com/schultes-analysis-not-published-not-going-to-be
    http://climatepatrol.blogspot.com/2007/09/consensus-and-sea-ice-record-tandem.html
    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/fastsearch?order=date&IncludeBlogs=15&search=Schulte

  103. Let’s do something to help. Are you familiar with the ground floor movement to take solar to the masses by a company called Citizenre? They are trying market solar with an approach similar to satelite TV, cellular telephones, and alarm systems. That is to provide the customer a complete solar system with no upfront charges and make money from a service contract. In this case the service contract would be a rent agreement. They intend to put a complete solar system on a clients home. When the system produces electricity, it will lower the bill from the current utility provider. In most cases the savings from the lower bill will more than cover the rent fee that the company intends to charge. The company currently has no product available but intends to deploy in the middle of 2008. They are currently taking reservations and have over 25,500 takers so far. I have written several articles on this company in my blog and even have a couple of vidoes that I have recorded at wwwsolarjoules.com. Feel free to take a look. I welcome comments. As in any start up business, a chance exists that they may never get off the ground and fulfill any preorders, but if this is the case – the potential client has not lost anything. If you cannot afford the upfront cost of solar today, this may turn out to be a great alternative. If you would like information on the company go to http://www.jointhesolution.com/razmataz

  104. “When scientists start using terms like “theory of CO2 emissions” or “Gore’s law of global warming”, ”

    Lessee, Svante Arrhenus in 1896 with the first theoretical model of CO2 as a greenhouse gas.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svante_Arrhenius

  105. Nothing against the IPCC specifically… though I suppose I have something against the Nobel Peace Prize bestowed upon them (explain to me again how a government panel which has so far only reported on individual scientist findings on environmental issues constitutes a contribution to world peace?), but that’s not a huge deal considering that particular prize barely means anything if it’s given to dictators and ineffectual presidents as well…

    I do have a thing against government in general though, and specifically government using the language of science to scare people into giving away more rights and writing a blank check to politicians who have a track-record of abusing blank checks. Especially considering the scientific language is being used in absolute terms when the science itself is not absolute.

    Oh… and I read the blogs you linked to, and I’ll just say two things.

    1. Regardless of what Oreskes might have to say about Schulte’s study or her ad hominem attacks about him being a medical researcher, her study still constitutes data that’s at least 3 years old and upwards of 15 in many cases. Besides, debate is to be expected when one person’s findings differ significantly than someone else’s… Admittedly, I am slightly inclined to give Schulte the benefit of some doubt precisely because I’ve observed how much hyperbole is on the pro AGW side and because his study takes into account more recent data. With all due respect to Oreskes, in the past 3-4 years the whole issue has seen a lot more press than it has in the past 20 so it doesn’t seem terribly unlikely to me that more scientists are taking another look. Either way, there does seem to be a pretty severe tendency for people who support AGW to spend more effort trying to shut people up and using ad hominems than discussing the issues openly and honestly.

    2. I’m really just a layman trying to apply some common sense to this issue. Other people have their blogs, I have mine… And I can link to blogs which support my ideas too… For example, one that talks about flaws in the original Oreskes study:

    http://motls.blogspot.com/2005/05/oreskes-study-errata.html

    However, none of this proves much of anything – so for future reference, I’d rather be linked to actual studies if at all possible instead of other people’s blogs.

    As far as it goes, I think the whole issue is blown out of proportion by everyone in the media. As Christopher Hitchens & Michael Shermer like to point out, we are a species that likes to find patterns – even if we don’t have enough information for those patterns to mean anything. This planet is at best guess 4 billion years old. We’ve been collecting data consistently for about 100 years… It doesn’t take much of a mathematician to realize that we know barely anything at all about large scale patterns in weather. A few degrees warmer or colder regardless of the cause isn’t going to kill off all life, and if people aren’t fit enough to adapt to such a moderate change then we’ve got much bigger problems than whether or not we have put too much CO2 into the air.

    Personally, my bullshit meter is through the roof on this issue and I would simply pose that the people who benefit the most from a pro-AGW position are politicians and subsequently scientists with government grants. And not-so-shockingly, that’s who’s making the biggest noise about it. As someone who is passionately pro-liberty, pro-free markets and pro-science, I can’t help but be a bit miffed at the sweeping, international regulations that are clearly on the horizon, the tax increases that are bound to come and myriad of new bureaucracies which are on the verge of being created to deal with something that is in all likelihood, not going to be that big of a deal. There are always people, quite often in government, ready to tell us the sky is falling. It’s not.

    And by the way – Reggie: If that company is able to make solar power rentals cheaper than the up-front cost and actually make solar energy worth paying for, THAT would be exactly how to solve any energy problem! Government solutions are going to be freedom-crippling, inefficient and uselessly slow (as always). I wish that company much luck and success. Hopefully they aren’t regulated out of existence by politicians who “know what’s best.” A free market’s ability to reward innovative thinkers is the answer here.

  106. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svante_Arrhenius

    Funny that this article mentions Knut Angstrom and his 1908 paper on how human emissions of CO2 would help keep the planet warmer and that that would be a good thing in order to feed growing populations.

    This is something else that is simply not being discussed. I mean no one seems to disagree that the earth’s overall temperature is increasing – but so many are so quick to rush in saying that it’s catastrophic. Why!?

    Does evolution not apply anymore? Do animals and plants not have the ability to adapt to shifts in climate? Don’t we??

    Even if humans are 100% responsible, which seems virtually impossible, why is this the end of the world?

  107. Some levity:
    http://tinyurl.com/2xvhmt

    “This is something else that is simply not being discussed. I mean no one seems to disagree that the earth’s overall temperature is increasing – but so many are so quick to rush in saying that it’s catastrophic. Why!?”

    I disagree it is being addressed by the ‘global warmers’. Short story is the rapidity of the disruption could exceed our ability to adapt. Mitigate CO2 and that rapidity is lessened.

    Long story:
    http://www.sci-tech-today.com/story.xhtml?story_id=11000661N4A0

    “Does evolution not apply anymore? Do animals and plants not have the ability to adapt to shifts in climate? Don’t we??”

    Adaptation takes time. If we don’t have time…Make time by mitigating the stressors. (or die out)

    “Even if humans are 100% responsible, which seems virtually impossible, why is this the end of the world?”

    This is more about the challenge to our civilization to evolve from our current Level Zero Civ to a Level One Civ; which is defined in part by control of the climate and energy system of the planet.

    Or devolve into savages.

  108. “Either way, there does seem to be a pretty severe tendency for people who support AGW to spend more effort trying to shut people up and using ad hominems than discussing the issues openly and honestly.”

    funny I kinda thought it as being the other way round. I mean look at the way Al Gore is treated. Most of the folks who complain about him resort to ad homenims instead of looking seriously at the same things he is looking at. But why bother doing homework when one can point and laugh at the big fat hipocritical Goracle. Similar situation wiht Mann and Hansen. The critics are mostly hyperbole and little homework.

  109. Perhaps people make fun of Al Gore because he has no background in science and a lengthy history of saying idiotic things and contradicting himself. And as far as I’ve really seen, Gore is the only one anyone ever does ad homs about… and in either case – Gore seems to be doing ok, so let’s not cry about the poor treatment of the guy who got an academy award and a nobel prize for his speeches.

    Furthermore, several papers have run articles about critics of AGW being smeared – For example, the UK Telegraph on 11/03/2007 wrote:

    Timothy Ball, a former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg in Canada, has received five deaths threats by email since raising concerns about the degree to which man was affecting climate change.

    One of the emails warned that, if he continued to speak out, he would not live to see further
    global warming.

    “Western governments have pumped billions of dollars into careers and institutes and they feel threatened,” said the professor. “I can tolerate being called a sceptic because all scientists should be sceptics, but then they started calling us deniers, with all the connotations of the Holocaust. That is an obscenity. It has got really nasty and personal.”

    Last week, Professor Ball appeared in The Great Global Warming Swindle, a Channel 4 documentary in which several scientists claimed the theory of manmade global warming had become a “religion”, forcing alternative explanations to be ignored.

    Richard Lindzen, the professor of Atmospheric Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology who also appeared on the documentary recently claimed: “Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves labelled as industry stooges.”

  110. Oh… and…

    “devolve into savages” !?

    Geeeeeeesh… I’m getting to be somewhat shocked by the level of crazy that passes for mainstream thought on this topic anymore. Honestly, if you think that “catastrophe” or “Holy god, we’re all going to die MAJOR catastrophe” passes for legitimate debate on the subject of whether or not global warming is even that big of an issue in it’s worst case scenario, then we’re really not doing well.

    I’m getting a little frustrated that I find myself taking the “nut” position on this issue and that as a “nut”, I’m the one suggesting that we’re NOT all going to die. Unfortunately the joke will be on me because even when it’s quite clear that it’s not a big deal and 50 years go by with no major catastrophe due to climate change, I will very likely be stuck with the bill for governments dumbassery. Goooooooooooood deal.

  111. Sean W. Malone,

    I’d rather be linked to actual studies if at all possible instead of other people’s blogs.

    That is all well and good, but you should notice that the Schulte “study” you referenced is not an “actual study” anymore than the two studies I linked to…

    Schulte’s study was submitted to a peer reviewed journal which has said it would not be published due to lack of rigor (“too patchy” – update me if this has changed).

    Your willingness to use it as a point to defend your position while requiring the other side to produce evidence of a higher quality (which you then ignore) makes me think you are not being objective about the issue.

    A skeptical attitude is important in science.
    Attention to possible sources of bias are important in science.

    The IPCC report, if you read it, does a lot of work to highlight the degree of certainty, the degree of uncertainty, the potential range of outcomes, and the hypothetical consequences of different decisions. It is not an alarmist document by any means.

  112. “”Geeeeeeesh… I’m getting to be somewhat shocked by the level of crazy that passes for mainstream thought on this topic anymore. Honestly, if you think that “catastrophe” or “Holy god, we’re all going to die MAJOR catastrophe” passes for legitimate debate on the subject of whether or not global warming is even that big of an issue in it’s worst case scenario, then we’re really not doing well.”

    Sean Malone,
    I never used the words ‘Catastrophe’, or ‘we’re all gonna die!’. This is what I hate about these discussions the so called climate skeptic side keeps ignoring the actual science and keeps misquoting or taking out of context the words of the ‘global warmers’. I am optimistic that we can pursue the path to a Level 1 Civilization, but getting you guys to see that path is like pulling teeth.

    “I’m getting a little frustrated that I find myself taking the “nut” position on this issue and that as a “nut”, I’m the one suggesting that we’re NOT all going to die. Unfortunately the joke will be on me because even when it’s quite clear that it’s not a big deal and 50 years go by with no major catastrophe due to climate change, I will very likely be stuck with the bill for governments dumbassery. Goooooooooooood deal.”

    I never said suggested that doing nothing path means ‘we’re all going to die’. Humanity will survive this the question is, will we survive with our civilization intact.

    If you don’t want to see a big government ‘dumbassery’, then you need to stop around with climate cranks (who are just there to waste critical time) and start coming up with minimal / non-governmental solutions based on what works, like I have repeatedly here on Hit n’ Run. Here it is again:


    I don’t like too many regulations, as the climate change future will require flexibility with which to adapt to the coming changes. Regulations get in the way.??The best start is to stop providing corporate welfare to the fossil fuel companies. In the U.S. this is peanuts at $15 billion a year in various monies and protections, but even doing away with that is an important signal to industry. Elsewhere, this would be harder, as fuels are often directly subsidized.??Next end subsidies and many regulations in the agricultural industries; not all, but these things prevent the freemarket development of biofuels. And the subsidies do hurt the development of other developing nations; and if they don’t develop, we may likely get pulled into nasty expensive wars that would otherwise be avoided; this would be due to panic response to climate change s they did not/could not prepare for. On that note, helping to end corruption in foreign lands would help them be willing to prepare.??Third, don’t require consumers/producers to be more efficient/use renewables etc.; but do require that our governments to be effectively carbon-neutral. We need is real leadership with a critical mass of demand and supply. The purchasing power of our governments can provide this.??Lastly, it is more or less the right of governments to control their borders. So simply require that all persons, products, and possibly services crossing borders be effectively carbon neutral via a carbon-tariff. This will boost local economies, at the expense of the global. But it will not destroy civilization.??All the above is not anti-capitalist at all, and provides a balanced solution to our near term climate issues. (it could use some improving though)

  113. Sean W. Malone,

    I’m really just a layman trying to apply some common sense to this issue.

    And yet, as a layman, you make statements like this…

    “according to a recent (extremely comprehensive) study by Dr. Klaus-Martin Schulte”

    What training in meta-analysis do you have to judge the quality of this not yet published study?

    “Do not for one instant be fooled into thinking this paper (it is NOT a study!) is in anyway scientific. ”

    Again, do you are making a claim of scientific validity. Do you understand the term “scientific” well enough to know what you are claiming here. It is not “experimental,” sure, but “not scientific?” There is a transparent methods section, rigorous definitions of all the terms “likely” “confident” etc. used throughout the report, it would meet most standards for a review paper that would be required by peer-reviewed journals in many fields of science.

    “***(CO2 is rather important to such processes as photosynthesis, so I find it hard to call a commonly occurring natural compound, ‘pollution’)***”

    Again, as a layman, you show that you have little understanding of the technical terminology. Your gut feeling that a natural compound can’t be a pollutant is only a gut feeling. Let us think of a couple common pollutants: Lead, mercury…quick, are they naturally occurring?

    “This planet is at best guess 4 billion years old. We’ve been collecting data consistently for about 100 years… It doesn’t take much of a mathematician to realize that we know barely anything at all about large scale patterns in weather. A few degrees warmer or colder regardless of the cause isn’t going to kill off all life, and if people aren’t fit enough to adapt to such a moderate change then we’ve got much bigger problems than whether or not we have put too much CO2 into the air.”

    Again, this statement just shows your ignorance of the scientific process. How do we know the planet is around 4 billion years old if we haven’t been around to measure it?

    So as a layman, you might do better to concentrate on the policy proposals than the science. That is the real issue for you anyway. Talk about why you don’t like the specific policy proposals. Discuss the reason government should stay out of it. When you discuss this in terms of debunking the “biased science,” it just highlights your lack of knowledge and makes you look like a crank.

    Specific policy proposal: stop taxing labor, stop taxing income, stop subsidizing carbon inefficient energy and manufacturing processes, instead tax material throughput including carbon and other greenhouse gases to move these externalities into the market.

    I would argue this proposal (similar to Al Gore’s) has the potential to reduce the tax burden on our economy, increase liberty in your terms.

    Your layman’s opinion on this is appreciated.

  114. First:

    “Schulte’s study was submitted to a peer reviewed journal which has said it would not be published due to lack of rigor (“too patchy” – update me if this has changed).”

    You provided one blog to say that, which contained a personal opinion of an editor of one magazine. As for rigor, he claims, and I haven’t been able to find anything that actually disputes this, that he used the same search criterion Oreskes did with the original one – which gets quoted endlessly.

    I reference Schulte simply to suggest that there IS debate. Which is true. I don’t even have to reference Schulte if you’d like because I could simply point out Dr(s). Tim Ball, William Gray, Reid Bryson, or dozens of other legitimate scientists who don’t take the consensus opinion.

    A skeptical attitude is important in science. Attention to possible sources of bias are important in science.

    Yes, like what I pointed out in an earlier comment regarding the extremely high level of incentives and personal biases that already surround this issue. Or possibly recognizing that the IPCC is a panel of politicians looking for policy solutions (which, again, already makes a number of assumptions about humanity’s role in this which may or may not be true). I admitted my biases above – why don’t you check yours at the door.

    The best start is to stop providing corporate welfare to the fossil fuel companies. In the U.S. this is peanuts at $15 billion a year in various monies and protections, but even doing away with that is an important signal to industry.

    YES! This would be a fabulous start, and it would likely reduce fossil fuels and provide a number of incentives for people at a market level to innovate new sources of energy. Besides which, it would simply be the right thing to do from a moral standpoint. I like the nature of your capitalist solutions, and would support them for many reasons besides fears over climate change (which I don’t really have).

    However… It’s not what’s going to happen.

    Going back to the whole thing about political incentives to make a big issue out of this, AGW is a cash cow for politicians and whatever businesses can leech off of them in epic proportions. Even now, if you put “Organic”, “Sustainably Grown”, or “All Natural” on food products, one can charge twice as much – regardless of whether those labels really mean anything is more healthy (said labels can be found on jars of homeopathic pills for example which are nothing more than placebos). The difference is – I can shop wherever I want. If government decides to go on a crusade, I go with them no matter what.

    The trouble here is, that $15 Billion in corporate subsidies that you’re talking about keep business people placated and donating large sums of money to political campaigns. The government “solutions” to AGW are all going to be socialistic ones. This means: inefficient, costly, require a lot of force, top-down, and slow to adapt.

    So I have two big issues here, the first is simply that AGW has a lot of holes and a lot of serious people who disagree – and instead of pushing for immediate action, perhaps taking a longer view is a good idea.

    The second is that while you certainly offer a find market alternative, you fail to take into account the reality of governmental politics and the symbiotic relationship some businesses have with regulatory bodies. If you think politicians are simply going to give up power and money because a non-governmental solution would be more effective… well, at the risk of saying something derogatory, go read your history books. Free market solutions offer no benefit to politicians in power or money, and they don’t get publicity or advance their campaigns. If you’re going to offer solutions, which is great, then you’ll need to actually take into account the reality of the role personal incentives play out with the politicians and others hard-charging this issue.

    On another note, when you say “devolve into savages” as the alternative, that is by definition MAJOR catastrophe talk. So I’m not misinterpreting you or misrepresenting your view.

    Civilization is not going to end in 20 years, nor are we going to devolve into “savages”, and we will progress more – and faster – to your fabulous Level One (though I think you meant Level Two, if you were referring to the Kardashev Scale) Civilization IF we maintain individual freedom and free market solutions.

    …I’m still not really sure how you guys claim “optimism”.

  115. As a layman, I am a science enthusiast and hobbyist, and have a masters degree from New York University, where (along with my undergrad) I have quite written dozens of comprehensive (mostly aesthetics based) research papers and have taken a fairly significant amount of course-work in biology, cognitive neuroscience and even some statistics. In addition, I spend quite a bit of time on average reading up on these issues.

    So…

    1. I do have a pretty solid understanding of the science and it’s terminology and feel comfortable discussing it at least to the degree which I’ve done so.

    2. “according to a recent (extremely comprehensive) study by Dr. Klaus-Martin Schulte” = The ISI Web Database of science, which was surveyed is quite comprehesnive, and if Schulte’s work is what it says, it used the same criterion as the original Oreskes, which is widely quoted now and covered entire database over the past 4-5 years. And I can certainly turn the question around – what training in Meta-analysis do YOU have to tell me why the Oreskes study is accurate?

    3. It is not “experimental,” sure, but “not scientific?” There is a transparent methods section, rigorous definitions of all the terms “likely” “confident” etc. used throughout the report, it would meet most standards for a review paper that would be required by peer-reviewed journals in many fields of science.

    Except that it’s SUMMARY is written by politicians who are allowed to selectively pick and choose which of the internal reports they use or quote from. I am not saying that the papers within the IPCC report are non-scientific, I’m saying the results of the report itself are.

    4. I wouldn’t call mercury a pollutant EITHER. Anything in the right doses is dangerous and some things, like mercury, are extremely dangerous. Cessium and Francium are extremely dangerous too… do we call them pollutants? No. I felt it worth pointing out that as far as it goes, CO2 as a compound is rather benign and quite useful. And if the criterion for “pollutant” in this case is greenhouse gasses then maybe we should be worrying more about water vapor – of course… that wouldn’t be a pollutant where as carbon dioxide is?

    Come on buddy, try harder.

    5. How do we know the planet is around 4 billion years old if we haven’t been around to measure it?

    Perhaps I should have been more specific. We’ve been collecting CLIMATE data consistently for 100 years or so. If that.

    6. When you discuss this in terms of debunking the “biased science,” it just highlights your lack of knowledge and makes you look like a crank.

    Except… I’ve owned up to any of my biases and admitted my level of knowledge… and as a layperson, am not quoting myself but rather pulling from other (non-layperson) sources. And how exactly is that different from any of you!? People are here linking me to the BLOGS of other people…

    Yes Mejican, I do understand the scientific process well enough to comment. It’s precisely why I am here pointing out that AGW is one of a few competing hypotheses which are all in the testing phase, and we simply don’t have enough observational data to justify the 100% certainty that exists in the politically motivated AGW community.

    …and see above for my comments on policy – or… wait… I’m not a politician and the one course I took in college on political science annoyed me so much that I didn’t take any more, so I guess I’m a layman on that topic too. Gosh… I guess I’m not qualified for that either.

  116. sam-hec,

    Lastly, it is more or less the right of governments to control their borders. So simply require that all persons, products, and possibly services crossing borders be effectively carbon neutral via a carbon-tariff. This will boost local economies, at the expense of the global.

    No, it won’t.

    You can argue that a tariff may be required to treat all producers equally, or that it may be necessary to stave off global warming, but you can’t argue that it will boost local economies. It won’t.

  117. Sean W. Malone,

    Like I said.
    The more you talk about the science, the more you look like a crank.

    a personal opinion of an editor of one magazine.

    That “magazine” is the peer-reviewed journal to which Schulte submitted his paper. Her opinion is very important since she is the editor that decides (based on the peer-review and her own training) whether or not it meets the level of rigor needed to get published in her “magazine.”

    and if Schulte’s work is what it says, it used the same criterion as the original Oreskes,

    An unknown. This should come out during the peer-review process. Yet you are willing to cite its results prematurely to make your case, while claiming bias in the claims of the IPCC, which has undergone an open peer review process, has transparent methods, etc…

    And I can certainly turn the question around – what training in Meta-analysis do YOU have to tell me why the Oreskes study is accurate?

    As part of my dissertation work I have taken quite a bit of course-work on meta-analysis, evidence-based practice, and scientific validity. I don’t, currently, have time or interest in reviewing Oreske’s paper. As a result, I have made no claims about it’s validity (see the difference?).

    I wouldn’t call mercury a pollutant EITHER.

    Well, there ya go.

    A quick definition:
    pollutant (p?-lt’nt)
    A substance or condition that contaminates air, water, or soil. Pollutants can be artificial substances, such as pesticides and PCBs, or naturally occurring substances, such as oil or carbon dioxide, that occur in harmful concentrations in a given environment. Heat transmitted to natural waterways through warm-water discharge from power plants and uncontained radioactivity from nuclear wastes are also considered pollutants.

    The American Heritage? Science Dictionary

    Try harder buddy.

    We’ve been collecting CLIMATE data consistently for 100 years or so. If that.

    Again, the amount of TIME collecting the data is not important here. It is the TYPE of data collected that allows us to talk about climate in the past at time frames that stretch all the way back to that 4 billion year ago mark. It is possible to talk with a fair amount of certainty about events that occurred in the past. (c.f., our claims about the age of the earth).

    I am not saying that the papers within the IPCC report are non-scientific, I’m saying the results of the report itself are.

    So you are saying that the executive summary of the scientific report is not a scientific report. Got it. You should be more clear in your claims.

    You do seem to claim, however, that the scientific reports in the IPCC report are biased. You say this based on the fact that some of the scientists get government funding. A pretty flimsy case for demonstrating the bias of hard working individuals who quite likely have a very high standard of ethics and integrity (something that is directly tested in the scientific process on a regular basis, and this is more true of those getting government money than those who don’t, as government money comes with lots of strings attached).

    I’m not a politician and the one course I took in college on political science annoyed me so much that I didn’t take any more, so I guess I’m a layman on that topic too. Gosh… I guess I’m not qualified for that either.

    The political process is a process of laymen. You are as qualified as anyone else. Where’d that confidence go?

    Short version of all this.
    Dial it back a bit and avoid “the science is wrong” talk (it just makes you look ignorant), and maybe serious people might take your legitimate points into consideration.

  118. The last point, because I think it is important…

    Sean says:
    I reference Schulte simply to suggest that there IS debate. Which is true. I don’t even have to reference Schulte if you’d like because I could simply point out Dr(s). Tim Ball, William Gray, Reid Bryson, or dozens of other legitimate scientists who don’t take the consensus opinion.

    There is always a debate in science. It is important, however, to highlight the scope of that debate, and to understand what is being debated.

    The existence of serious researchers who disagree with the mainstream view is an important element in scientific progress, but it should not be confused with the degree of validity of the mainstream view.

    The IPCC report, for instance, did a careful job of quantifying the degree of certainty for each claim it makes. That quantification takes into account the opposing views you are citing with a rigorous process to evaluate the validity of the claims. Taking into account the opposing views, the level of certainty varies depending upon the specific claim. It never reaches 100%. So if “it is not 100% certain” is an important degree of uncertainty to you, feel free to highlight that. But don’t pretend the existence of a debate was not considered and accounted for by the IPCC. It was.

  119. “You do seem to claim, however, that the scientific reports in the IPCC report are biased. You say this based on the fact that some of the scientists get government funding. A pretty flimsy case for demonstrating the bias of hard working individuals who quite likely have a very high standard of ethics and integrity (something that is directly tested in the scientific process on a regular basis, and this is more true of those getting government money than those who don’t, as government money comes with lots of strings attached).”

    First off, I never said that.

    So don’t put words into my mouth. I have said, and will continue to say that the IPCC report is quite likely biased due to the nature of who’s actually writing it (politicians). Furthermore, there are many scientists who have already come out and suggested that their submissions to the IPCC report were not represented correctly to one degree or another within the executive summary. And though I’m sure you’d do a fine job analyzing the Oreskes study – you are already operating from the assumption that it is correct.

    And I’d appreciate not having words or ideas placed into my mouth and then being called a “crank”. I believe that’s what is called a “straw-man” argumentative fallacy… perhaps you’ve heard of it.

    Similarly, the Schulte study was mentioned only because it opens up the possibility that perhaps this issue isn’t quite as one sided as everyone wants to think it is. And as I said the last time – I can provide dozens of examples of peer-reviewed climatologists who have been forthright in their dissent, so even if the Schulte survey is completely and utterly debunked, there are more than enough dissenting opinions which have been published to make the case anecdotally. And, I think we can find more than enough cases where scientists with dissenting views have been beaten around, fired or insulted for holding them (if “deniers” isn’t an ad hom, I’m not sure what is) that we should be a little suspicious.

    Thanks for quoting the American Heritage Dictionary by the way, but I know what the definition of pollution is. You might want to go back and check my original statement that set off this bit of nonsense… It was nothing other than my personal opinion to begin with – which you might have noted by the fact that it was in parentheses and was prefaced with me stating that it was my own ***opinion***. Either way, I’m not interested in a semantic argument, I know what the definition of the word is, and I don’t have to necessarily agree that CO2 should be included as an example if the levels of CO2 being discussed aren’t at a point that’s immediately toxic, but rather contributing with a number of factors to the greenhouse effect. If we consider all greenhouse gases to be pollutants then steam is one of the biggest pollutants known to man. Does that really seem reasonable?

    Plus, if we go down THAT road, I’d have to point out that the greenhouse effect itself is what keeps us from freezing to death every night… so then we get into the issue of what is even “harmful” and quantifying danger of a global increase in temperature due to greenhouse gases versus the benefit of having a temperate planet. I’m pretty sure the not freezing thing wins out…

    Now, if we were talking about an atmosphere of all carbon dioxide and people were choking to death, or if it were even less and there were immediate health concerns then I think the pollution definition can really apply. That’s where I draw the line though… you can debate the line if you wish, but don’t insult my intelligence.

    You want discussion and science? Then debate it openly. If you want to call me names or try to convince people I don’t know anything through straw-men and semantic disagreements, then I have no time for you.

    As for everything else… well… yes, actually the amount of time that we’ve gotten accurate data DOES play a role in how much we know about large scale patterns. It may be possible to determine the general temperature of the earth millions of years ago, but the farther back you go the greater the margin of error is likely to be, and it becomes harder and harder to determine likely causes. For example, we don’t have data on solar flares from the paleolithic era… and there’s no way to get that information. The less information we have and the less consistently it was recorded, the poorer our models are going to be… GIGO, as they say.

    And for the record, I’m NOT saying that the mainstream view doesn’t have any validity because there are others who disagree. I’m saying, and have consistently said this, that it’s way too early to make such a big deal out of this. And I personally look at the source and underlying philosophy that would guide a report like the one the IPCC put out and see a lot of normal human motivations that make me think the politicians’ “consideration of the existence of a debate” was significantly downplayed.

    If you start from the position that elected officials necessarily start from, you are going to downplay anything that makes you look less effective, or in some ways, even the possibility that your aims aren’t that worth while. When I look at this issue, I see:

    1. A multitude of viewpoints expressed within the scientific community at large and papers and opinions flying about with a variety of ideas (in other words, scientific debate).
    2. Media & government portraying only one set of those viewpoints and operating from a position of certainty that said viewpoint is correct.
    3. Name calling and people who disagree with the majority position being fired and/or harassed.

    As I add up 1-3, I can’t help but noticing something suspicious… and something that makes perfect sense if I’m right about the underlying political motivations of people & organizations like the IPCC.

  120. Sean W. Malone,

    I have said, and will continue to say that the IPCC report is quite likely biased due to the nature of who’s actually writing it (politicians)

    The process any IPCC report goes through:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/index.htm

    To say that it is the “politicians” who write these reports is at best a distortion. But I was referencing statements of yours like this:
    I would simply pose that the people who benefit the most from a pro-AGW position are politicians and subsequently scientists with government grants. And not-so-shockingly, that’s who’s making the biggest noise about it.

    This seems to go beyond criticizing the political reports and makes an accusation against the scientists studying the issue.

    you are already operating from the assumption that it is correct.

    Something was said about putting words in other people’s mouths. I have not stated an opinion on its validity.

    I’m saying, and have consistently said this, that it’s way too early to make such a big deal out of this.

    If we consider all greenhouse gases to be pollutants then steam is one of the biggest pollutants known to man. Does that really seem reasonable?

    Is this an example of debating the science openly?

    The reasons for CO2 being the center of this debate are due to modeling that takes into account other gases (and water vapor), their sources, their persistence in the environment, etc…

    Plus, if we go down THAT road, I’d have to point out that the greenhouse effect itself is what keeps us from freezing to death every night… so then we get into the issue of what is even “harmful” and quantifying danger of a global increase in temperature due to greenhouse gases versus the benefit of having a temperate planet. I’m pretty sure the not freezing thing wins out…

    And you accuse me of using “strawmen?”

    1. A multitude of viewpoints expressed within the scientific community at large and papers and opinions flying about with a variety of ideas (in other words, scientific debate).

    There is, however, a clear trend in that debate, which the IPCC quantifies when it summarizes the debate. You, however, don’t even try to look at it objectively. You just go with your gut that the existence of a debate means it is too early to come to any conclusions, at all.

    2. Media & government portraying only one set of those viewpoints and operating from a position of certainty that said viewpoint is correct.

    In the case of the IPCC, all sides are presented with a rigorous process to validate various claims and quantify the degree of certainty about those claims. The media takes a less nuanced view, sure, but the media is very bad at reporting on science.

    3. Name calling and people who disagree with the majority position being fired and/or harassed.

    I am sure this has occurred.
    It is not, however, restricted to those that disagree with the mainstream view. You, yourself, have spent a good amount of effort here accusing scientists of biasing their results to secure government funding. That is a pretty serious attack on a working scientist, whether your recognize it or not.

  121. Ok, seriously…

    1. As I’ve already discussed, it is the SUMMARY that I am referring to primarily with respect to the IPCC report. This is written by politicians and what is most widely reported (thus what affects public opinion the most).

    2. You do implicitly accept the Oreskes findings because they are in line with the position of a majority of scientists conforming to the defined consensus opinion. I am not putting words into your mouth by exposing the assumption you are operating on, I don’t presume to know why or even to say that you agree with all of the Oreskes’ results, simply that you are operating under the same premise as the results which that survey support. This isn’t even a bad thing, I have no reason to doubt that survey – but your position agrees with it, i.e. you operate under the assumption that it is correct.

    3. Is this an example of debating the science openly?

    Considering it was a rebuttal… absolutely yes. Based on your definitions, we would have to include water vapor as a pollutant – pointing that out certainly qualifies as a legitimate point.

    and And you accuse me of using “strawmen?”

    Yes… Yes I do. Making a point in response to yours and providing a hypothetical example of the problems inherent in the discussion itself and taking an argument to a logical extension hardly qualifies as a straw-man. The difference is, I’m not pretending you’re saying something you didn’t say and then knocking down that argument… you are.

    Speaking of which:

    4. That is a pretty serious attack on a working scientist, whether you recognize it or not.

    If only I had actually made such an attack, then you could knock me around all you want.

    However, I have not once said scientists bias their results to secure government funding.

    I might be willing to suggest that some government officials would provide more funding towards those scientists who apply for grants which would add support to their existing biases, or more accurately, that politicians might on some level be interested in supporting ideas that will benefit them more directly as opposed to ideas which won’t.

    I don’t think I’m exactly saying something shocking about the motivations of people with respect to being in an elected position of authority.

    The existence of debate, coupled with my understanding of the incentives, and the observation of aspects of said debate being stifled is what gives me a gut feeling that it’s too early to tell. I think I’ve been pretty explicit about that so far, but I suppose it never hurts to clarify yet again. It’s not just the existence of debate that’s the issue. It’s also the understanding of the underlying premise that politicians need votes to keep their jobs and their own personal status quo and need to appear like they are “doing something” to accomplish that. From there, it’s also the understanding that in our current system politicians have a lot of free-reign in terms of providing money and other types of support (including added legitimacy) to other people who are providing views or evidence that they agree with.

    Taking ALL of that into consideration, I have developed some serious doubts about the severity, and yes, even the authenticity of some of the findings.

    To make myself crystal clear here, I am not, and have not accused scientists of producing false reports (though it’s certainly possible some have), or biasing their conclusions or abstracts to get government funding. Quite the opposite…

    So… yeah. Again with the putting words in my mouth sir. I’m really not interested in continuing this if this is how you’re going to be.

  122. And to get into a bit more detail about the IPCC report process, from their own site (which you so kindly linked me to):

    Step 1: IPCC Approves Outline

    IPCC = politicians in an intergovernmental panel, approve the basic idea of what they want the report to discuss. This in and of itself is hardly an unbiased step. This is the part where the politicians on the panel get to decide what they want to say through the basic premises on which they construct the outline.

    Such an outline would be radically different depending on which premise is held by the majority of politicians writing the outline. For example, if the basic premise of the outline were say, “Let’s try to find out what’s causing global warming” the whole nature of the report would be of an entirely different nature than if it were, “Let’s find out what to do about global warming.”

    So, ok, that’s step one – notably, not step one in the scientific method where you observe data first, come up with some hypotheses, test it, and then offer and only then create an outline to report your findings. Imagine if I were doing a double blind study of a new cancer treatment and I’d written my outline in advance then went on to step two…

    Step 2: Governments, Organizations Nominate Experts

    Now that we know what we want to say this is the part where the government officials on the IPCC get to decide which scientists they will be using to make their case. Also… a great opportunity for bias to influence the overall results. We do this all the time as ordinary individuals of course, and I’m fine with that in general, but I don’t have the power to force someone else to agree with me whereas the IPCC ultimately will in many ways. So… good times here as well.

    Step 3: Bureaucrats pick the specific authors

    So – NOW that we’ve already chosen the group of scientists we’d like to use to support the outline we already wrote for the report, now we should choose the specific scientists we’d like to have author the report itself.

    Does anyone else not see a bit of a pattern here? Government officials – non-scientists – have an amazingly large amount of control over the way this report comes out simply by being in control of the level of diversity of opinion represented.

  123. Sean,

    I am done with this:

    taking an argument to a logical extension hardly qualifies as a straw-man…

    Taking an argument to a logical extension is not what you did when you said: so then we get into the issue of what is even “harmful” and quantifying danger of a global increase in temperature due to greenhouse gases versus the benefit of having a temperate planet. I’m pretty sure the not freezing thing wins out…

    What you did was build a strawman and present it as if it was relevant to the discussion.

    The same as you did with the water vapor example.

    The same as you did with the Schulte citation.

    The same as you did accusing the IPCC Summary Reports of being written by politicians.

    The same as you did when you accused scientists of inflating the significance of their results to (“making the biggest noise”) to gain funding.

    When called on all of these you have rolled back your accusations a bit.

    “Taking ALL of that into consideration, I have developed some serious doubts about the severity, and yes, even the authenticity of some of the findings.”

    This is a direct accusation against the scientists conducting these studies. If you are going to make such a serious charge, I think you should be more specific and not disparage the work of a whole field of scientific inquiry.

  124. Skipping ahead a bit, we find that after one round of purely expert (peer) review – we get a 2nd Draft written by the selected authors…

    Step 7: Government & Experts Review Draft

    Out of curiosity – why exactly would the governments represented by the IPCC need to verify a scientific report?

    Perhaps they need to make sure it conforms to their original outline… Just a thought.

    Now, this goes through a few other government review steps, and that’s all well and good, but then the government officials on the panel get to write the Policy Summary…

    This is what (as I’m sure many have noticed) really chaps my ass. Because at this point, the politicians can monolithically make sweeping recommendations about what new laws to write, new programs to invent and new tariffs & taxes to pay for it.

    So, just to review:

    1. The policy makers write an outline.
    2. The policy makers nominate scientists to write a report based on said outline.
    3. The policy makers pick the specific scientists from their pre-selected pool to write the actual text of the sections of the report again based on said outline.
    4-5. Draft 1, peer-reviewed (GOOD!)
    6-7. Draft 2, government (and peer) reviewed… what!?
    8-9. Final draft, government reviewed… what1?X10
    10. Panel approves the report and publishes to the world.

    And bonus step 11: IPCC gets to make authoritative recommendations of policy.

    Anyone ever heard the term “selection bias”? For some strange reason, it keeps popping up in my mind.

    No, I don’t think the scientists are purposefully doing bad research! I think people who need backing for policy positions are put in a very easy position to generate reports and authority through selecting the people who are likely to represent their views. And just to be sure, they get to write the outline in advance.

  125. Man, that’s absolute crap… and I’m sure deep down you know it. I have not made any straw-men, sir. You are the one who set up the line of reasoning. It is absolutely a logical extension to say that if CO2 as a greenhouse gas counts as a pollutant, then water vapor (which accounts for a higher percentage of greenhouse gases) also should count as a pollutant.

    That’s the line of reasoning we’re in here – and I didn’t bring it up for the sole purpose of knocking it down (as you did on numerous occasions i.e. saying I’ve accused scientists of something which I have not in order to discredit my view). I brought it up as an analogous case – which it is.

    Really man, quit projecting.

  126. Sean,

    IPCC = politicians in an intergovernmental panel

    This is not correct.
    The IPCC is made up largely of scientists, although non-scientists also participate.

  127. Sean,

    1. The policy makers write an outline.
    no, they write an agenda.

    2. The policy makers nominate scientists to write a report based on said outline.

    again, the IPCC includes scientists and experts, who find people qualified to address the agenda.

    3. The policy makers pick the specific scientists from their pre-selected pool to write the actual text of the sections of the report again based on said outline.
    Again, the IPCC includes scientists and experts who contribute to the discussion of who is most qualified to write each section of the report.

    4-5. Draft 1, peer-reviewed (GOOD!)
    6-7. Draft 2, government (and peer) reviewed… what!?

    Government reviews draft to assure it addresses the issues in the agenda, perhaps.

    8-9. Final draft, government reviewed… what1?X10
    Well, given that it is a government document, I am not sure you should be so surprised here. But more importantly, the process is open and you can track how the report was generated. The amount of supporting data that goes along with the report, the amount of peer-review by scientists and the open nature of the process mitigate your concerns here, or at least they should.

    10. Panel approves the report and publishes to the world.

  128. Outline was the IPCC’s term, not mine.

  129. Sean,

    Yes, the “outline” is the term they used.

    You confuse it with a predetermined outcome.

    An outline of a report essentially sets an agenda for what the report is to cover.

  130. Seriously man… you don’t see how the whole process leaves holes the size of Australia for selection bias to occur?

  131. Sean,

    The very fact that there is a danger of selection bias is the reason that the IPCC makes all of its work so transparent. The scientific community has access to all the data used to generate the reports. They actively scrutinize it. The IPCC is not operating in a vacuum, they are operating out in the open, following acceptable methods, giving access to their data, reports, methods, charts, software, etc…

    They meet reasonable standards for avoiding bias in their findings. The exceed the requirements that would be placed on most review studies published in peer-reviewed journals.

    And I need to emphasize this: The IPCC is made of BOTH policy makers and scientist who COLLABORATE on the published reports. Experts review all of the reports, including the summary reports to assure that they are consistent with the facts in the larger report. The facts in the larger report are open for review by the larger scientific community.

    What more do you want?

  132. “The IPCC is a scientific intergovernmental body set up by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Its constituency is made of :

    * The governments: the IPCC is open to all member countries of WMO and UNEP. Governments participate in plenary Sessions of the IPCC where main decisions about the IPCC workprogramme are taken and reports are accepted, adopted and approved. They also participate the review of IPCC Reports.
    * The scientists: hundreds of scientists all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC as authors, contributors and reviewers.
    * The people: as United Nations body, the IPCC work aims at the promotion of the United Nations human development goals”

    http://www.ipcc.ch/about/index.htm

  133. Sean,

    Yes, governments (representatives) participate and so do scientists. Scientists contribute as authors, contributors, and reviewers.

    That is what I meant when I said they collaborate.

    Look back at the report process.
    No report goes to press without being reviewed for accuracy by the scientific arm of the IPCC.

  134. Are you reading

    “Governments participate” as
    “Only governments participate?”

    odd.

  135. The data and facts in the report are of course open to public scrutiny – but the Public Policy Assessment doesn’t work that way!

    Such recommendations aren’t simply a matter of statistical observations or fact-checking, they’re a matter of governmental philosophy and basic, fundamental premises about the role of government – and the whole process is moving fast enough, that by the time other scientists are able to review the data (assuming they even do find anything wrong), that might very well be too late to alter policies changed and informed by the IPCC – furthermore, there isn’t an inherent linkage to the scientific aspects of the reports and the policy decisions or conclusions that the policy makers will come to from the report.

    If selection bias does occur, the IPCC has “legitimacy” and weight to it by being the product of an “intergovernmental panel” and a major world-wide organization like the United Nations – so even if some people find that their process was tainted, it would take a great deal of opposing gravitas to outweigh the panel itself in terms of public opinion. One can’t expect most of the public to look too closely at this stuff, much less even really be concerned about selection bias.

    The way this is presented is: IPCC is a good, smart government approved panel telling us what scientists think in terms we can all understand and presenting policy change recommendations based on research.

    I’m really not convinced that’s an accurate portrayal.

  136. Are you reading;

    “hundreds of scientists all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC as authors, contributors and reviewers.”

    as

    “hundreds of scientists all over the world contribute to the plenary process”?

    It seems like it’s spelled out pretty clearly.

  137. Sean,

    Given that “plenary” typically means something along the lines of “attended by all members,” then yes, I think that the IPCC scientists contribute to the plenary process (some more than others, of course).

    To a couple of your earlier points.

    First, your sense of the direction of bias that governments bring to this process.

    Given that many of the influential governments involved in the process have a stake in the outcomes supporting a “do nothing, the status quo is fine” policy (c.f., the US, China, India, and a host of others), it seems that your read of the direction the government bias would tilt the reports is unwarranted. In fact, iirc, the IPCC had to weather a good bit of “bias” accusation saying it was just going to rubber stamp a “do nothing” policy when it first formed. That early criticism is part of the reason they have an open process now.

    And to be fair, I accused you of “strawmen” when it would probably be more accurate to characterize what you are doing as “throwing up red herrings.”

    and to end my part in this discussion:

    furthermore, there isn’t an inherent linkage to the scientific aspects of the reports and the policy decisions or conclusions that the policy makers will come to from the report.

    This is why you, who seem not to have reviewed the science in much depth, would be taken more seriously if you kept your discussion of the issue at the level where the rubber meets the road. From what I can tell of your main policy point, they are likely to be valid, to a degree, no matter the level of evidence the IPCC brings forth.

    And despite your hatred of blog links, some climate scientist keep one here that has a discussion quite germane to our discussion.

    The process of finalising the SPM (which is well described here and here) is something that can seem a little odd. Government representatives from all participating nations take the draft summary (as written by the lead authors of the individual chapters) and discuss whether the text truly reflects the underlying science in the main report. The key here is to note that what the lead authors originally came up with is not necessarily the clearest or least ambiguous language, and so the governments (for whom the report is being written) are perfectly entitled to insist that the language be modified so that the conclusions are correctly understood by them and the scientists. It is also key to note that the scientists have to be happy that the final language that is agreed conforms with the underlying science in the technical chapters. The advantage of this process is that everyone involved is absolutely clear what is meant by each sentence. Recall after the National Academies report on surface temperature reconstructions there was much discussion about the definition of ‘plausible’. That kind of thing shouldn’t happen with AR4.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/02/the-ipcc-fourth-assessment-summary-for-policy-makers/

  138. The United States is hardly taking a “do-nothing” position – states across the country have elevated emissions standards, carbon taxes, incentives for purchasing hybrid vehicles and incentives for building “green”. We subsidize ethanol, we have state and federal parks, and the EPA – and now, more important than all of that, there is serious public pressure from Hollywood to academia to “do-something”.

    I think the whole idea that the United States is opposed to the research is silly if you put it into context. Even if the Bush administration isn’t particularly interested in the whole issue (which I imagine it probably is of interest to them as well), he’d be in the minority. Global Warming is going to be a key issue in electoral politics for the next several years – I would say that that’s pretty powerful motivation. A

    As for blog links… I don’t hate them, they just don’t particularly prove anything regarding the science itself.

    And thanks for the (unasked for) advice, but people can make up their own minds whether or not they agree with my reasoning regarding the science itself being valid. I’ve made it perfectly clear that I’m no climatologist nor am I a hard-scientist of any kind. That doesn’t mean I don’t understand the scientific process or have highly developed critical thinking and reasoning skills. I have written dozens of research papers as well and understand the research process – even if my area of study isn’t in climate change. One might also note that I haven’t tried to present myself as any sort of authority on the science. Unfortunately the topics on which I more of a credentialed authority don’t tend to be covered in Reason (I’m trying to change that).

    So why don’t you let whoever reads this make up their own mind instead of insinuating that I’m not capable of discussing the science – my posts speak for themselves…

    If you think that my views are misrepresenting the research, go ahead and challenge them, I’ve certainly read enough to know that I’m not a lone voice in this debate. I don’t need you to tell me what issues people will or will not “take me seriously” on, and if you ask me, your incessant desire to give me that advice says a lot about more your desire to shut people up than anything else.

  139. “No, it won’t.

    You can argue that a tariff may be required to treat all producers equally, or that it may be necessary to stave off global warming, but you can’t argue that it will boost local economies. It won’t.”

    MikeP,
    Can you explain to me why?

    My reasoning has been that this will necessarily make many imported products somewhat more expensive relative to domestic products. This in my mind /should/ promote domestic production. Though it is at the ‘cost’ of increased energy consumption domestically,and thus some CO2 increase.

    The other reasoning is that the Tariff structure was /supposed/ to be the one of the few Federal sources of revenue, back in the good ‘ol days before the income tax.

    “The government “solutions” to AGW are all going to be socialistic ones. This means: inefficient, costly, require a lot of force, top-down, and slow to adapt.”

    I don’t see why ALL government action to control greenhouse gasses must be socialistic. Nor monopolistic. I do see that they can at least take the role of minimizing their own CO2, that’s not socialistic. Gov’t can purchase Certified Carbon Credits to cover what it can’t minimize; that’s not socialistic. Gov’t can provide standards and measures, oversight, and where needed minimal regulations, so that NGOs and private individuals can honestly gauge how they are doing; that’s not socialism. I also don’t consider it to be socialism to provide the funding for science observations and modeling of the climate. Our government has a mandate going back to the Declaration of Independence to ‘Provide for the Common Defense, and to Promote the General welfare’. The government actions I am looking for fall under this category; not under the categories of ‘Ignore the Common Defense and Provide for the Common Welfare’.

    “So I have two big issues here, the first is simply that AGW has a lot of holes and a lot of serious people who disagree – and instead of pushing for immediate action, perhaps taking a longer view is a good idea. “

    AGW as observation and model, has fewer and fewer holes in it as time has passed, and it was pretty good even back when the IPCC was formed. Ah ‘consensus’ again…AFAIK, there was only one peer reviewed paper which actually presented a challenge to AGW theory in recent times; that was Lindzen’s Iris Hypothesis, which so far hasn’t gone anywhere productive. That’s it. All those ‘serious people who disagree’ come across to me as either attention-whores or fossil industry hacks & tools; even the few scientists who can be said to ‘disagree’ aren’t active in science, but in making noise; and when cornered in a written debate, tend to agree with the main points of AGW anyway.

    “If you’re going to offer solutions, which is great, then you’ll need to actually take into account the reality of the role personal incentives play out with the politicians and others hard-charging this issue.”

    well, assuming that CO2 is actually a threat to our ascent to Level 1 Civ status, do you have any Libertarian ideas on how to leap over the hurdles you mention, and expand upon and/or improve my suggestions? I am trying hard to stay solution focused, I think we all should.

    “On another note, when you say “devolve into savages” as the alternative, that is by definition MAJOR catastrophe talk. So I’m not misinterpreting you or misrepresenting your view. “

    Civilizations have fallen slowly and sometimes in the blink of an eye. There are no guarantees. I used the word ‘devolve’ to suggest something slow, and thus not catastrophic; where if I had I would use the phrase ‘Collapse into Savagery’. Sorry if I wasn’t clear or something….I am tired and stuff.

    The Kardeshev Scale starts at Level 1, but assumes a significant amount of command and control of the energies of a planet, which we don’t seem to have yet. We are merely borrowing the energy stored as fossil fuels, leaving much of the planet’s actual current energies unharnessed. So I regard us as a Level 0 Civ. A Level 1 need not be a One World Government btw, and even if it were, it need not be anti-libertarian.

  140. p.s.
    Gristmill takes a look at the ‘lots of serious people who disagree with AGW’ meme:
    http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2007/11/21/11591/198

  141. my posts speak for themselves…

    Why yes, indeed, they do.

  142. Sean,

    So why don’t you let whoever reads this make up their own mind instead of insinuating that I’m not capable of discussing the science – my posts speak for themselves…

    How would I stop them.
    I am one person reading your posts.
    I have made up my own mind and concluded that you do not know what you are talking about, and beyond that, you are willing to present distortions of the basic facts to bolster your position.

    I have not insinuated that you are not capable of discussing the science. I have stated that you don’t know the science well enough to be taken seriously. That is a different charge. I did not accuse of you lacking critical thinking skills. I accused you of being ignorant/uninformed/misinformed on the topic.

    But keep digging that hole.
    It’s your shovel.

  143. sam-hec,

    Can you explain to me why?

    My reasoning has been that this will necessarily make many imported products somewhat more expensive relative to domestic products. This in my mind /should/ promote domestic production.

    Basic economics: supply goes down, and cost goes up. Any benefit to domestic production from a tariff comes at the expense of domestic consumption. And, except for rare and precise corner cases, the cost to consumers always exceeds the benefit to the producers.

    Like I said, you can come up with a reason for tariffs, and it may even be a good one, but the tariff qua tariff imposes a penalty on your economy.

  144. Haha…. keep those ad homs coming Mejican 😉 I can take em. Perhaps you’d be so kind as to enlighten me on your esteemed credentials in climatology?

  145. …assuming that CO2 is actually a threat to our ascent to Level 1 Civ status, do you have any Libertarian ideas on how to leap over the hurdles you mention, and expand upon and/or improve my suggestions? I am trying hard to stay solution focused, I think we all should.

    Assuming that it is a threat, which obviously I don’t particularly agree with to begin with, there are a number of non-government or libertarian solutions.

    First and foremost – I don’t particularly see the need to do much legislation at all right from the start since the concern for AGW already has enormous support in the market.

    For example:
    http://directory.greenbuilder.com/search.gbpro
    (listing of Green and LEED certified builders and developers – of which my brother is actually one)

    Speaking of land developers, both Smart Growth supporters (who tend to be a bit too ready to use government force for my liking) and the New Urbanists embrace sustainable development and green/LEED practices – and both are gaining very serious traction in the development community again, without government force involved.

    Many companies are already (without any legislation at all) going for more environmentally friendly practices, REI, Burgerville, Johnson & Johnson, Nike… to name a couple off the top of my head. And because there is market pressure for environmentally conscious business practices, it’s become a point of competition for many companies to show how much they care. Take a moment or two to turn on your television and observe the number of advertisements which specifically tout their company’s commitment to environmental issues, sustainability, etc. Sometimes this gets annoying to me personally – NBC Universal’s Green week or whatever drives me nuts for the sheer hypocrisy of it all. In addition, virtually every major car manufacturer is developing new vehicles based around alternative energy systems, the most interesting I’ve personally seen so far is the hydrogen-cell powered ones. Dodge in particular is doing some neat things I think. Also increases in other technology are making cars more efficient… Drive-by-wire for example means fewer gears, less overall weight and faster, more responsive steering control. Government, again, is not involved and doesn’t need to be. (I suppose there are probably some subsidies going Dodge’s way, but that has nothing special to do with AGW).

    Point being: Government really isn’t needed to drive real progress in the environmentally friendly living department – capitalism can and is doing it better already.

    The trouble with environmental concern as a competitive issue at the moment though is that a lot of this stuff is absolute horseshit. As I mentioned earlier, homeopathic medicines are being sold at places like Whole Foods or Wild Oats (if you’re not familiar with homeopathy, I suggest you-tubing James Randi for enlightening and hilarious explanations) – people are always going to be around to take advantage of those who want to be health or environmentally conscious. If you put the words “all natural” on a product, people assume that it’s better than something that doesn’t have that label and that’s not always the case of course. Government’s place, as always, should be to ensure that fraud doesn’t take place.

    There was a poster earlier on here who mentioned (I forgot who now, sorry about that) a company that was trying to provide a rental system for solar power. I don’t know if that will work, all I’ve ever read about solar power is that it’s far too efficient to be cost effective… in most cases, people are able to power their own homes off the grid, but at an up-front cost that more than makes up for the amount they’d have spent paying the electric company. Though of course, if you can afford the expense, solar certainly has less ecological baggage.

    Speaking of energy – Nuclear Power. That’s something that government (at this point) would have to do. I don’t really agree with government being responsible for energy needs, especially with how shitty a job their forced monopolies do as it is – BUT – since they are already doing that, replacing coal burning power plants with nuclear ones would be an enormous benefit to the environment and to the state of our energy supply.

    Ok, so what else? Well, a few people have mentioned that cutting back on government would be a great way to reduce CO2 emissions, and that’s absolutely brilliant I think – kill two birds with one stone that way. And Sam, you’re absolutely right: Not all government solutions are socialist. Of course, that’s provided that the government solutions are shrinking the size of government and regulating itself. Which I would fully support. Federal, state, and local governments absolutely should impose rules on themselves regarding environmentally sound practices. Perhaps starting with getting congressmen to fly commercial (which they should be doing anyway).

    Purchasing carbon-offsets I tend to think is rather dumb because it really doesn’t do anything to reduce CO2 emissions, it just transfers it to another location (most likely a 3rd world country). So if reducing CO2 is the stated goal, then offsets aren’t particularly likely to accomplish that… but whatever.

    I think I’ve made my point in general… There are hundreds of things already being done through capitalist markets, and the more free the market is, the more debate we encourage on the topic (i.e. the better informed the public really is), is just going to mean that innovative people figure out solutions and implement them faster.

    Government’s best role here is to reduce itself, limit its own (i.e. taxpayer funded) environmental destruction and make the market as free as is possible so that innovative technologies can emerge naturally.

    Ooh… and stop subsidizing oil production – an enormous spike in prices (up to what it actually costs) will be a huge benefit in the long run. People will complain (a lot!) at first, but as they say, necessity is the mother of invention… I’m sure within just a few years, cheaper and more effective alternatives to fossil fuels will crop up.

  146. Unfortunately…

    All of what I just wrote isn’t how it’s all going to work.

    As I’ve mentioned half a dozen times on here already, for politicians to be electable, they need to “do something”. And reducing government never seems to be their answer. In part because reductions in government, taking laws off the books, and shrinking the overall size of the bureaucracy won’t make any headlines or impress anyone. And, in part because shrinking the powers or physical presence of government is hardly personally beneficial to politicians. Both major parties in the United States operate on big-government ideologies as it is… this kind of issue is exactly what they need to go for another power grab.

    I know this sounds rather pessimistic, but the reality of the system and the precedents set over the last 100 years or so aren’t really working on the side of freedom.

    Humanity has what I believe to be a very odd tendency. We start out with freedom, and steadily move towards more control and giving away our freedom. Then we violently revolt and get more freedom than we had the last time… then we give it away… and then we revolt again… ad infinitum. The constitution of the United States, as it was written should have guaranteed a pretty amazing amount of liberty. Yet somehow, our governments over the years have managed to suck up more and more authority – much of which is explicitly forbidden by the constitution… much of what the federal government does every day violates the 10th amendment. Federal regulations on school systems for example. Regardless, it’s the more vague statements like “provide for the common welfare” which have given the more unscrupulous and less well-read (at least on the writings of our founding fathers) of our politicians license to do just about anything they want in the name of defense or the “greater good”.

    AGW is, more than anything else, going to be a license for an enormous expansion in government.

  147. Sean,

    See, when you stay away from attempts to debunk the science, you have quite a bit to contribute.

    Nice job.

    =/;^)

  148. Sean,

    If you haven’t read it, you may find this book interesting.

    http://www.natcap.org/sitepages/pid5.php

    The ideas you express harmonize with its main points.

  149. AGW is, more than anything else, going to be a license for an enormous expansion in government.

    This is a possible outcome.

    If you want to avoid this outcome, more energy should be spent on demonstrating that even if AGW is a problem, government solutions are not the most effective approach.

    From the looks of the science, you are going to lose a battle based on

    “it’s way too early to make such a big deal out of this,”

    If you wait, those who disagree will take the initiative

    or

    “the IPCC isn’t telling the truth because they are controlled by politicians”

    Untrue.

    or
    “there isn’t a consensus among the scientists on this”

    Not supported by the evidence.

  150. As I’ve mentioned half a dozen times on here already, for politicians to be electable, they need to “do something”. And reducing government never seems to be their answer.

    c.f., Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, both ran on the meme of shrinking government/making government more efficient.

  151. Regardless Mejican, I still don’t buy into the basic premise that AGW is a very pressing problem. Partly because I am skeptical of the IPCC and get a little sick of seeing its report as the only one anyone ever talks about, and I don’t think you can flat out say “untrue” about selection bias and the politics of the governmentally appointed members influencing it. As I described earlier, the process itself has 5 or 6 steps where it would be the easiest thing in the world to bias the studies simply by finding the “right” people or couching the initial language in terminology that will get the desired result (as I said, a la Frank Luntz). But mostly, my feeling on this is because we see this kind of crisis a few times a generation and it never amounts to anything. It’s just another chunk of Malthusian fear-mongering. People constantly make doom-and-gloom predictions and they are (almost) always wrong. Y2K? Didn’t die. Running out of Landfills? Not even close. Cellphones give you brain cancer? Nope. We’re headed into an ice-age? Boy was that wrong. Nuclear power plants are unsafe and environmentally dangerous? Way safer than mining coal and no environmental problems (in the US – Chernobyl doesn’t really count as it was a piece of crap run by failing communists).

    You can piss and moan all you want about me being “ignorant” about global warming, but I respectfully disagree. I’ve read a lot on the topic and I’m more than capable of understanding it – I’ve also read thousands of pages of history, and the whole issue gives me de ja vu.

    People spend so much time looking at computer or mathematical models to predict the future of this and that and they don’t bother to look at the bigger picture or put it into a context of things we’ve seen in the past historically. They miss the forest for the trees as it were. And I think they are here.

    BUT… you’re absolutely right about one thing…

    If you want to avoid this outcome, more energy should be spent on demonstrating that even if AGW is a problem, government solutions are not the most effective approach.

    Even if in the long run I will win (and I will) the argument over whether or not we should have made a big deal out of this… people are making it a big deal and it’s obviously too late to change that. And since I’m obviously not going to be able to convince you or millions of other people that it’s not a problem – convincing you that there are better, non-government solutions is admittedly a better use of my time.

    Either way, it’d be nice to see fewer people make a big deal out of it all… A toned down, less hysterical culture surrounding the topic will make the job of convincing people not to give up their rights or accept tax increases or tariffs or anything else governments of the world have cooked up much, MUCH easier.

  152. If shrinking the size of government were not a political popular idea, there wouldn’t be a Republican party.

    Now, Republicans have not been particularly effective at shrinking government due to their love of executive power/corporate money, but a politician that actually followed through with the promise of shrinking government (particularly in terms of tax burden) is not likely to face devastating political consequences.

  153. That’s the beauty of politicians though isn’t it? They run on the platform of limited government and fiscal responsibility, because that’s what people want to hear. Then when they get into office they have to show how much they’ve done for their constituents… at this point, there’s far too large a population of people who live by FDR styled entitlement and socialism.

    On a more optimistic note however, I do believe that the majority of people in the US are more libertarian than anything – everyone wants government out of their lives for the most part and everyone complains about taxes and overspending. As Penn Jillette likes to say; if we can get the liberals to be ok with guns, and conservatives to be ok with drugs and sex, we’ll all be ok.

  154. Sean,

    and I don’t think you can flat out say “untrue” about selection bias and the politics of the governmentally appointed members influencing it. As I described earlier, the process itself has 5 or 6 steps where it would be the easiest thing in the world to bias the studies simply by finding the “right” people or couching the initial language in terminology that will get the desired result

    Yes you described these dangers, but in the context of distorting(misunderstanding?) the actual process used to write these reports/do the studies.

    If you look at the history of IPCC reports, you will find that they are put out, making predictions, their claims are tested by independent scientists while they work on their next report. So far, the independent research has confirmed the IPCC results (actually indicating, as would be expected based on the process in place, that the IPCC is conservative rather than liberal with their interpretation of the degree of certainty and the danger).

    The IPCC then incorporates this independent research and its own scientific work to update the reports. The process has cycled 4 times now. Each time, the trend has been in the same directions: the IPCC is more cautious and conservative than the independent scientists (the influence of the political/government representatives, perhaps, or the nature of meta-analysis with strict guidelines for evidence, more likely), but their predictions have been confirmed in every case where they are tested by independent scientists.

    In every cycle through this process the certainty that GW is driven primarily by anthropogenic causes has increase. In every cycle, the estimated rate of warming has been shown to low-ball the actual warming.

    You see this as a result of bias in the IPCC process. I find that to be Pynchonian level of paranoia and lack of faith in the scientific process of which the IPCC is a small part.

    Pointing to cases without solid scientific basis where people have been unreasonably concerned, does not provide a refutation of the mountain of evidence for AGW. If it were an untested proposition, you might have a case. Untested propositions fall to the kind scrutiny that AGW has been given quite quickly.

    A recent analogous case: the “vaccines cause Autism” hypothesis. Seemed like a reasonable conjecture, had some basic science that could describe a mechanism for it to occur. Because of its widespread implications, a concerted effort was put into testing it out. Results, it didn’t hold up to the scrutiny. Why would you expect a different outcome with AGW?

  155. I agree that people would love it in general if their taxes went down and their freedom went up, but there’s a lot working against that.

    Just looking at incentives, and not really even getting into the psychology of what motivates people to become politicians to begin with, you’ll find that in a mixed or socialist economy, all the incentives are weighted towards bigger government for politicians. Not only because they get more power and more control (which would be the psychology), but financially and politically as well. Corporate/lobbyist benefits & kickbacks exist simply because government has the power to make or break businesses and they will do anything they can to stay on the “make” side of that equation, and who wouldn’t? Politically, they get to spend on social programs that make people feel cared for; parks, bridges, toll roads, libraries, etc. with their names on them; and program after program to make people feel safe and secure. Spending other people’s money is fun anyway…

    And even if politicians had no incentive to increase government (regardless of their platform), there would be dozens of socialist groups lobbying for more government anyway.

    And all this doesn’t really take into account the added bonus of many politicians simply wanting as much power as they can get over the largest number of people.

    One solution I’d favor for this is for people to stop voting pragmatically or “because they should”. If there is no candidate worth voting for, abstaining from voting – or even better, registering to vote, going to the polling office and simply not selecting a candidate is perfectly viable! If you go, they will count you as there but they won’t have a vote to match… they might see it as a mistake for just one person, but if millions did it, it would be an interesting political statement: ie. “We’re here, but there’s nothing worth supporting.”

    Voting for the person you think has the best chance of winning is a pretty human thing to do if you read up on game theory, but it’s a terrible, terrible idea in the political process. The lesser of two evils is, after all, still evil.

    So, while we’re on a major political discussion, how do you get people to change their voting habits on a large scale?

    …and don’t say “Vote or Die”.

  156. Sean,

    If there is no candidate worth voting for, abstaining from voting – or even better, registering to vote, going to the polling office and simply not selecting a candidate is perfectly viable!

    The second option seems reasonable, the first is politically ineffective. Those who vote decide.

  157. Well, actually either option is ineffective in small doses.

    But so is voting libertarian. The fact is, most people vote their party line, and don’t spend too much time thinking about it. If I vote for the person who most closely reflects my personal philosophies on government, I tend to vote libertarian, but I know I’m not going to be in the majority. Unfortunately, far more people vote for the “most electable” candidate. This is a pretty terrible way to vote… and we see the results of it all the time.

    But I think more and more we’re getting into a position where people are fed up with both of the major parties. What this means I’m not really sure… In my ideal world it would mean we abandon the idea of a party-based system entirely and everyone votes as individuals according to candidates which represent their views.

    I think George Washington said it best (as always);

    One of the expedients of party to acquire influence, within particular districts, is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heart-burnings, which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those, who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection.

    Not paying attention to his warning has been pretty costly, mostly to the freedoms he endeavored to secure.

  158. Sean,

    So, what of forming a coalition among minor parties around issue you can agree on.

    Greens and libertarians (the two largest minor parties), for instance, both agree on the need to decentralize, end the war on drugs, and reduce the level of collaboration between government and corporations. If they could put aside their differences on other issues, then you would have a voting block that could swing elections by requiring the major parties to take notice.

  159. Yeah, except greens are for social welfare and massive governmental involvement in environmental issues.

    Other than the libertarians, virtually every other ideology promotes the use of government in the initiation of force as a means to various ends.

    Practically speaking, anyone who wants to accomplish major changes is going to have to make some alliances with groups that have differing ideologies, but if I’m going to do that, I’d rather go after moderate republicans who aren’t particularly religious (or at least not concerned with the imposition of religion on other people) and moderate democrats who are interested in social freedom and who also aren’t necessarily for expansion of government programs. There are lots and lots of both categories.

    John Edwards’ “two Americas” thing is complete bullshit and all that idea has done in the past 4 years or so is divide people into blue and red categories. I’ve lived in Lincoln, Nebraska and New York City and in both cases, most people just want to be able to live their lives however they want. I think if libertarians got their act together and started putting more effort into legitimizing and popularizing their philosophies through cultural mediums like film and television, and started directly appealing to the vast swath of people who don’t identify with neo-conservative, religiously hi-jacked big government or liberal, socialist/communist hi-jacked big government, i think that one might find a number of people quite receptive to libertarian ideas.

    I would also suggest not calling it libertarianism. Don’t label it at all… just talk about ideas. Talk about freedom, quote Jefferson, Adams, Washington, Paine, Smith, Voltaire… talk about economics, talk about deficit spending.

    There’s plenty to agree on. Three quarters of the country is opposed to the war in Iraq, and the only serious candidate right now saying he’d immediately withdraw troops is basically libertarian. I’m sure I’ve not read exact polling data on this particular topic, but I bet it’s safe to say that anyone who knows the federal government is planning to over-spend their budget by 400 billion dollars this year alone would be dismayed and with for more fiscal responsibility. I’m sure most people, if asked, would agree with the statements that freedom is important, the bill of rights is important (even when they don’t know what it is exactly) and politicians should have to follow the laws just like everyone else.

    So yeah, I mean, the greens are going to be pushing for an end to corporate welfare, but without also reducing the government agencies regulating products, consumer end subsidies and social welfare programs all that we’d accomplish is making the country even less desirable for businesses to operate within our borders…

    Look at it this way:
    Current Incentives for Business
    Possibly lucrative government contracts
    Possible government granted monopoly status (utilities, etc.)
    Tax breaks at certain levels
    Tax breaks for certain products
    Tax breaks for selling in certain markets
    Current deterrents
    Products regulated and controlled by various government agencies with lengthy and expensive approval processes
    Court system with precedents for major payouts on certain industries
    Government controlled guidelines for hiring, firing, and wages
    Required expenses on health-care and other benefits, depending on industry

    (Obviously these are both very short versions of the full picture)

    The point is though, if the greens (and many democrats) had their way then all of the incentives to incorporate in the US would be removed, but none of the deterrents. Let’s not forget that we have the Green party’s most well-sung hero Ralph Nader to thank for the expansion of government into many areas of personal choice (seatbelt laws for example).

    On the flip side of course, we can’t give out publicly funded incentives to corporations and then not regulate the products they create and sell.

    Mixed economies as I’m concerned are pretty half-assed. They’re markets for people who are afraid of freedom but can’t quite stomach socialism… makes sense for America I guess, but as a system itself tends to blow my mind with over-complicated nonsense.

    We simply need to start encouraging people who don’t know what they believe or are socially liberal/fiscally conservative on both the left and the right to start realizing that they have way more in common than they have disagreements. If we didn’t have dumbasses like John Edwards and everyone else out there presenting the political landscape like a battleground of tribal warlords, it’d be a lot easier to do.

    So yeah, screw the Greens (unless there are some moderate ones who are interested in freedom) – go after the major parties. Their members hate them anyway.

  160. Sean,

    Makes sense.
    I think, perhaps, you assign to much unity to the position of the Green’s on economic issues.

    For the most part people become Green’s because environmental issues are their main concern. As a result, they are looking for pragmatic solutions to those problems and looking to change government policy to maximize environmental outcomes. For most, at the moment, this involves quite a bit of regulation reduction (regulations make the environmental choice difficult in everything from housing to new technology development) as well as removing subsidy to corporations.

    It would be inaccurate,however, to say the Greens only want to get rid of incentives for corporations while maintaining the deterrents. In fact, most Greens seem to advocate for increased incentives for environmentally friendly activities, with deterrents for environmentally unfriendly activities. A change in priorities to the current system rather than a shift in modality. This means support for a mixed economy for sure, but with a healthy respect for decentralized solutions that require a good dose of free market to pull off. As a result, many could be quite easily swayed towards market-based solutions to the issues that are at the forefront of their world view. All a libertarian/free marketer need do is demonstrate the better environmental results and you will have Greens on you side.

    Ralph Nadar and his career is not, btw, a good barometer for the positions of most US Greens.

    Now, of course, as a moderate independent myself, I think that you are correct that forming a coalitions from the dissatisfied middle may have the biggest bang for your buck.

  161. Sean,

    the only serious candidate right now saying he’d immediately withdraw troops is basically libertarian.

    I didn’t realize you considered Bill Richardson a libertarian.

    =/;^)

    Or maybe you don’t consider him a “serious candidate” even though he polls with about the same support as Ron Paul.

  162. My experience with environmentalists (even the more moderate Green party types) leaves me with the distinct impression that nothing will ever be enough for them and that in general they harbor such a mistrust of business (which I think is actually reflects a lack of understanding of the problems inherent in mixed and socialist economies) that it would be virtually impossible to convince most of them that there even could be capitalist solutions to environmental problems – even if you can easily show them in action already.

    That’s just been my experience though. I’m sure there are several Green party members out there who aren’t that extreme, but I don’t think they’re a large enough group to warrant focusing too much effort on.

    When I was a kid, I identified with environmentalist positions on almost everything, I even wrote little picture books about saving the rainforests and whales and whatever else, and I was a member of the WWF and other such organizations. As I got older though, I started to see inconsistencies in environmentalist positions and across the board a certain moral flexibility towards stretching the facts if a little exaggeration made their case stronger. I don’t think I’m alone in that observation… Silent Spring comes to mind.

    Anyway, I started to realize what many people now understand – environmentalist positions rely on the premise that humanity is unnatural and evil, so anything that benefits humanity comes at the expense of “nature”. Thus leading many to be anti-human and anti-technology much more than anything else. This is, I think, an egregiously over-simplified conception of the world and technological development.

    At this point, I’ve simply seen far too many instances of environmentalists blindly supporting big government because much of their philosophical position stems from the idea that humanity is evil and must be forced (a la Hobbes) to not be evil. Freedom would be the epitome of evil unleashed on earth. Again, I’m sure many people who lean “green” don’t share all of those views, but when groups like that are lead by Nader and associate with people like Ingrid Newkirk who’s come through with many ever-popular ideas, such as:

    “Probably everything we do is a publicity stunt … we are not here to gather members, to please, to placate, to make friends. We’re here to hold the radical line.”

    or

    “Even if animal tests produced a cure for AIDS, we’d be against it.”

    Newkirk is an extremist radical, but her following, and that of PETA is inexplicably strong with people who have megaphones… Make no mistake about people like that being interested in “progress”, if it were up to her, I’m sure a mass human extinction would be preferred.

    Disturbing…

  163. Sean,

    This is just not an accurate statement

    environmentalist positions rely on the premise that humanity is unnatural and evil, so anything that benefits humanity comes at the expense of “nature”. Thus leading many to be anti-human and anti-technology much more than anything else. This is, I think, an egregiously over-simplified conception of the world and technological development.

    Environmentalist positions rely on the premise that humanity is part of a larger system and as such depends upon the health of that system for our well being. Anything which benefits that system will, therefore, benefit us. This leads many to embrace newer more environmentally friendly technologies, a more sophisticated systems-based world view and helps them avoid an egregiously over-simplified conception of the world common in the econo-centric views of many on the right hand side of the political spectrum.

    Don’t confuse ALF and ELF with the environmental movement writ large and I won’t confuse Objectivism and Anarchy with libertarianism.

  164. Sean,

    I am off.
    After a rough start, this has become an interesting dialog.

    I still find your paranoid, conspiratorial view of the world unwarranted, but I think when you discuss specific actions and policies to address the concerns you have about the world, you have well thought-out positions.

    If you want to convince the environmentalists that freedom is the way to solve their problems, start from the premise that they are looking to solutions to environmental problems, and are not interested in restricting your freedom. They, for the most part, aren’t. Because of the very nature of their priorities being about outcomes, pragmatic arguments tend to be very effective.

    I’ll again reference the book “Natural Capitalism,” for you and suggest you look at the Rocky Mountain Institutes Webpage.

    http://www.rmi.org/

    This is a group which has had a huge influence on the environmental movement. The policy positions they advocate are very market friendly and are increasingly the ones being pushed by the big players in the environmental movement.

    As a moderate, I find their approach to be the right one.

  165. Richardson-Paul ’08

  166. My experience with environmentalists (even the more moderate Green party types) leaves me with the distinct impression that nothing will ever be enough for them and that in general they harbor such a mistrust of business (which I think is actually reflects a lack of understanding of the problems inherent in mixed and socialist economies) that it would be virtually impossible to convince most of them that there even could be capitalist solutions to environmental problems – even if you can easily show them in action already.

    That’s just been my experience though. I’m sure there are several Green party members out there who aren’t that extreme, but I don’t think they’re a large enough group to warrant focusing too much effort on.

    When I was a kid, I identified with environmentalist positions on almost everything, I even wrote little picture books about saving the rainforests and whales and whatever else, and I was a member of the WWF and other such organizations. As I got older though, I started to see inconsistencies in environmentalist positions and across the board a certain moral flexibility towards stretching the facts if a little exaggeration made their case stronger. I don’t think I’m alone in that observation… Silent Spring comes to mind.

    Anyway, I started to realize what many people now understand – environmentalist positions rely on the premise that humanity is unnatural and evil, so anything that benefits humanity comes at the expense of “nature”. Thus leading many to be anti-human and anti-technology much more than anything else. This is, I think, an egregiously over-simplified conception of the world and technological development.

    At this point, I’ve simply seen far too many instances of environmentalists blindly supporting big government because much of their philosophical position stems from the idea that humanity is evil and must be forced (a la Hobbes) to not be evil. Freedom would be the epitome of evil unleashed on earth. Again, I’m sure many people who lean “green” don’t share all of those views, but when groups like that are lead by Nader and associate with people like Ingrid Newkirk who’s come through with many ever-popular ideas, such as:

    “Probably everything we do is a publicity stunt … we are not here to gather members, to please, to placate, to make friends. We’re here to hold the radical line.”

    or

    “Even if animal tests produced a cure for AIDS, we’d be against it.”

    Newkirk is an extremist radical, but her following, and that of PETA is inexplicably strong with people who have megaphones… Make no mistake about people like that being interested in “progress”, if it were up to her, I’m sure a mass human extinction would be preferred.

    Disturbing…

  167. Sean W. Malone has actually run out of words.

    At least he recycles.

    :p

  168. Ooh… sorry, I didn’t see that last comment go through the first time, I’ve had some internet-hiccups today.

    And as for running out of words… hardly. 😛

    You’re (both) right, Bill Richardson is another serious option as far as bringing troops home from Iraq. And I guess if I weren’t concerned with how or why he was doing that, or if I didn’t care about any other issues at all, he’d be a fine choice. But I do. Richardson’s website says that Iraq costs us $10 billion a month – and that if president, he would immediately withdraw troops, and then re-appropriate that $10B to social programs in education, health care and energy/climate change.

    This isn’t a constitutional position… the federal government has no more of a constitutional mandate to fund health care or control education than they do going to war without a declaration of war ratified by congress. So, I don’t see how Richardson is going to be an improvement… besides which, his policy positions are basically a giant poster for what I’ve been talking about this whole time regarding politicians who believe that government should be used to force social and economic changes.

    Richardson might find a large base of people who agree with him, but I won’t count myself in that camp because I don’t see military-industrial big government as significantly different from social welfare big government ideologies. If you understand the US Constitution and Bill of Rights as written, neither position is supported – and for very good reason.

    As for: I still find your paranoid, conspiratorial view of the world unwarranted, but I think when you discuss specific actions and policies to address the concerns you have about the world, you have well thought-out positions.

    My positions are as far from being “paranoid” or “conspiratorial” as you can get. Quite frankly, I am not convinced large scale conspiracies are even possible. All I’m talking about is observing people’s fundamental philosophies and working through to their logical extensions as a means of understanding what the future is going to be. I make two assumptions here:
    1. People’s core beliefs are reflected in their actions & speech
    2. People operate fairly pragmatically based on their own interests.

    Incorporating those assumptions into any discussion of policy is not only, not, “paranoid” or “conspiratorial” it’s absolutely essential to constructing an accurate picture of future behavior.

    Of course there are going to be environmentalists who don’t think humanity is evil or unnatural, but many of their leaders do. Ingrid Newkirk is the president of PETA, notALF or ELF (though she supports both verbally and financially) so I can assure you, I’m not confusing the two. PETA billboards can be found prominently displayed in major cities all over the world. In fact, until about a year ago there was one hanging in Times Square. I don’t think it’s an especially paranoid position to suggest that PETA actually does have some influence in the environmentalist community, or to gauge on her core beliefs from her consistent pattern of action and speeches. And Newkirk is not alone. She wouldn’t be president of the organization if she didn’t represent their 1.8+ million members’ beliefs. It’s not like she hi-jacked PETA and then started taking it in a direction against its stated mission, she helped found the organization after all!

    So, If you’re not going to pay attention to the larger implications of people’s philosophies and actions, that’s up to you, but to do so is hardly paranoid and as you might be able to tell, I kind of resent that implication as being both poorly reasoned and condescending. If you want to keep the dialog interesting, it might behoove you to stop trying to insult me and to stop acting like you have some sort of intrinsic superiority.

    That aspect of this is just getting annoying, and I would think is beneath someone who claims to have written a dissertation. Unfortunately it’s becoming quite the pattern with you.

    If I were actually paranoid or viewed the world through an irrationally dark conspiratorial lens, I wouldn’t be capable of having reasonable or well thought-out policy positions, would I?

  169. Sean,

    If you want to keep the dialog interesting, it might behoove you to stop trying to insult me and to stop acting like you have some sort of intrinsic superiority.

    Yeah, I come across as a condescending prick a lot of the time…part of who I am. I don’t, however, think of myself as somehow superior here, at least not anymore than you do when you take a didactic tone on this issue. Look back at your own posts and you will see that they are dripping with a superior, “I understand the truth better than you tone.” I am not offended by that. A thick skin in this kind of internet exchange is a pretty handy trait.

    Don’t take things so personally.

    Maybe I should use the term “cynical” instead of “paranoid,” but you have spent many many words on this thread explaining to me how those politicians involved in the IPCC process are using that process not to find and disseminate the truth, but, instead, to advance their own agenda without regard for finding or sharing the truth about AGW. As part of your premise you assume that the motivation of those politicians is to use the issue to grab more power.(%) This is cynical. While there are certainly power hungry fools involved in politics, many, if not most, people involved in public service go into it with a desire to bring about positive outcomes for their constituents. The process can thwart best intentions, but I am not cynical enough to assume that the IPCC isn’t, for the most part, trying to faithfully carry out their mission. The evidence of their performance, btw, speaks to that being the case.

    You describe your assessment as logical at its root, I describe it as paranoid. I am not, in doing that, attempting to insult you. I am attempting to draw a distinction between how you are viewing the situation and how I am.

    I think your assessment lacks objectivity due to your view of government(#). That biases your conclusions (I am basing that conclusion on, basically, the same two assumptions you claim to be using in your analysis, your words reflect your beliefs). You are looking for evidence to support a conclusion, rather than looking at evidence and coming to a conclusion. A natural human trait that takes work to overcome.

    Same goes for your characterization of “environmentalists” who you view as “anti-human.” Your words tell me that you are unwarrantedly cynical about the environmental movement. That bias skews your assessment of the motivations of the movement, which are not anti-human. But since you have concluded ahead of time that they are anti-human, you go looking for evidence. PETA, as an example, is NOT an environmental group. They are an animals rights organization…much different thing. Using them as an example of extremism in the environmental movement is inapt at best, and another red herring. But, given your predetermined conclusion that environmentalism is anti-human, they become a nice piece of confirmatory evidence to bolster your case, or at least, given your words, you believe they bolster your position.

    I am not, unaware, that there are people in the environmental movement that fit your description. They are not, however, the mainstream of the movement. There are even well known groups that fit your description, to an extent, on certain issues (greenpeace comes to mind as being uninformed regarding technology). But even if all the supporters of those groups held these views, they would not constitute the bulk of individuals who consider themselves environmentalists.

    So let’s go to your two working assumptions

    1. People’s core beliefs are reflected in their actions & speech

    I’ll agree with that. Now show me what words or actions by specific IPCC members support your conclusion that they are trying to bias the process as part of a power grab.(*)

    2. People operate fairly pragmatically based on their own interests.

    What is more pragmatic for those involved in the IPCC, working to distort the findings, or having accurate, truthful data? Clearly, the pragmatic choice is to work to make the process as accurate as possible. Pragmatic policy makers want accurate empirical data.

    #YOUR WORDS I do have a thing against government in general though

    * YOUR WORDS It’s based on the assumption that international governmental policy is the most significant factor affecting the environment – and then finding scientists who will agree with that position! Considering the alternative makes politicians around the world seem a lot less useful, we should all be rather skeptical of whether or not the IPCC has any valid motives what-so-ever.

    % YOUR WORDS And all this doesn’t really take into account the added bonus of many politicians simply wanting as much power as they can get over the largest number of people.

    Cynical, paranoid, tomato, tomahto…

  170. Words from Sean W. Malone:

    1)”The summary, it must be noted, is often written in advance of the individual chapters or any section written by the scientists – who are only there for expert testimony.”

    Is this misunderstanding, or deliberate distortion? I’ll go with misunderstanding.

    2)”IF Global Warming is actually just a natural phenomenon, which a very large group of highly respected scientists believe and regularly publish peer-reviewed studies about”

    Again, untrue. Misunderstanding or deliberate distortion? I am going to guess it is the result of confirmation bias. He wants it to be true, and has found some sources that will tell him it is true. (c.f., Schulte’s unpublished study, which he was willing to cite as an authoritative source).

    3) “Make no mistake here, the IPCC is a government body and it’s ultimate purpose is to make POLICY decisions – its purpose is not, and simply couldn’t be, scientifically controlled climate research.”

    Actually, its purpose is to provide a scientific summary to policy makers. Deliberate distortion or misunderstanding? I, again, go with misunderstanding.

    4) “Especially considering the scientific language is being used in absolute terms when the science itself is not absolute.”

    Actually, the language used by the IPCC is very careful to be precise regarding the level of certainty. I am going to assume Sean hadn’t read the IPCC reports when he wrote that.

    5) “Except that it’s SUMMARY is written by politicians who are allowed to selectively pick and choose which of the internal reports they use or quote from.”

    Inaccurate, as discussed above. Hopefully Sean now understands the process better.

  171. My main purpose here, Sean, has been to counter the common approach taken to issues of this kind.

    Group A identifies X as a problem and calls for a solution.

    Group B (libertarians, say) are afraid the solution will involve something they oppose (government action, say).

    Rather than saying, “government action is not required to solve X” group B, instead, attempts “X is not a problem.”

    This is ineffective.
    Why?

    Often because X really is a problem.

    Since Group A is already convinced of the problem, they go ahead with their plan to solve it. Group B is left behind.

    A better approach.

    Group A identifies X as a problem and calls for a solution.

    Group B (libertarians, say) say “if X is a problem, these are some solutions that would be ineffective, here are some that may work better.”

    A better use of B’s energy, imho.

  172. Mejican;

    You said,
    As part of your premise you assume that the motivation of those politicians is to use the issue to grab more power.(%) This is cynical. While there are certainly power hungry fools involved in politics, many, if not most, people involved in public service go into it with a desire to bring about positive outcomes for their constituents.

    You misunderstand sir. Even after I’ve explained all this… The very nature of using government force to “bring about positive outcomes for their constituents” results in the expansion of government and the inherent loss of liberty. There is nothing cynical about that statement, it is simply the trade off we make by establishing government. The more power we give to the state, the less we have as individuals.

    You’re reading cynicism, paranoia and conspiratorial when I am explicitly saying It’s the unavoidable consequence of the system.

    I’m not even suggesting that most people involved have some sort of dark motives! I’ve been absolutely clear about that. The power-grab is simply the result of using force (which is government) to “do good”. And it might surprise you to know that I used to work in a public-policy office and know firsthand that most people who go into public service have good intentions. Of course they do! Again, you’re reading conspiracy when I’m telling you that that’s not what I’m talking about. Good intentions forced on other people is a result of the underlying premise that it is *sometimes* moral to use coercion to get people to act the way you want them to, and I think that can be historically shown to fail miserably.

    Like I said, there’s always a tradeoff of liberty, and sometimes that’s fine – you don’t murder me, I won’t murder you. This is a trade off where we each refrain from acting in a certain way because the alternative would violate each of our rights to exist as we wish. There is a distinct difference between using the threat of force to ensure that people don’t violate eachother’s rights and using the same kind of backing of force to make people do something with which they may or may not agree.

    And by the way, I’m not going to be very accepting of any arguments that say “everything we do affects everyone, therefore if someone puts X amount of CO2 into the atmosphere, he’s violating everyone’s rights.” Unless, of course, you could show that some people actually died or were made sick from a specific instance of CO2 poisoning.

    What is more pragmatic for those involved in the IPCC, working to distort the findings, or having accurate, truthful data? Clearly, the pragmatic choice is to work to make the process as accurate as possible. Pragmatic policy makers want accurate empirical data.

    Again, you are missing the point. I’m not, and haven’t ever been, suggesting that the data is wrong. I’m suggesting that they are in a position to find those people who would be willing to support their conclusions – which is a matter entirely separate from the data itself. Correlation is not causation, but it is easy for people to be misled by correlated data. So, while it is pragmatic for the IPCC as a body to have accurate data (since obviously people will be checking), it is also pragmatic of them to find people interested in writing the summaries and even perhaps the reports with the assumption that government will and should be used to “fix” the problems of AGW.

    It’s a government panel man! They wouldn’t even bother writing a report if they didn’t think government was going to be used to do something about it. There would be no point at all, and there’s nothing pragmatic about that.

    Now… as to your point by point nonsense…

    1)”The summary, it must be noted, is often written in advance of the individual chapters or any section written by the scientists – who are only there for expert testimony.”

    Is this misunderstanding, or deliberate distortion? I’ll go with misunderstanding.

    It is neither, and you keep acting like you have some insight into their process that I don’t have – but I’ve read the same things you have it would seem as I’ve taken my information directly from the IPCC site which even you linked me to. Besides which, what you consistently seem to forget is that the IPCC is a governmental body with an expressed mission to find policy solutions to issues they believe are problems of global scale. POLICY SOLUTIONS. Every government committee formed to address policy issues does so with certain pre-conceived notions about how they will be handling the problem and by the way, already assume that a problem exists before they bother to hire people to test that it’s a problem, and even then – they don’t wind up testing the premise, they test to what extent the problem is serious.

    This is the point I was making. The policy summaries ARE often written in advance because that’s how this process works. And the fact that they also write an OUTLINE (which yes, has a different connotation that “agenda” in this context – but is the IPCC’s term!) prior to collecting reports is a prime opportunity for this to play out.

    So, you keep saying that the IPCC is just there to provide scientific understanding to policy-makers, but because you refuse to understand that the fundamental premise under which the IPCC works is from a policy stand point, you seem to be unable to grasp that the whole panel is ultimately about policy and not science. Likewise, in any field, science is rarely really just about pure understanding of a subject, it’s about the technology provided from such study – the technology in this case is governmental policy. The panel is using people who use the process of science to analyze climate change in order to determine policy.

    I am arguing, as would many libertarians, that the basic premise of using governmental policy to force social changes is a flawed one. And any conclusions based on a flawed starting point, are going to be wrong. And the likelihood that basing one’s reports on the same flawed premise is possible to provide faulty conclusions – regardless of the accuracy of the data collection.

    Then you continued and said
    2)Again, untrue. Misunderstanding or deliberate distortion? I am going to guess it is the result of confirmation bias. He wants it to be true, and has found some sources that will tell him it is true. (c.f., Schulte’s unpublished study, which he was willing to cite as an authoritative source).

    I’m willing to cite Schulte in among dozens of other people if you like. As I said earlier, if you’d like to take out the Schulte survey entirely, I still have more than enough articles and supporting opinions to achieve a reasonable doubt. As my point is, and has always been, that there is no consensus and that there is still legitimate debate on the topic of Global Warming, I think accusing me of confirmation bias might be a little asinine. We’ve all been living in a world in which we are regularly told that there is no debate. Knowing, as I did, that there is ALWAYS some debate, the kinds of claims being presented started seeming like bullshit to me – so as I looked into it as any naturally curious person might do, I started finding (and eventually collecting) contrarian articles and opinions. As I continued on, I started to find more and more scientists being ostracized, more and more claiming foul play with respect to grants and financing, losing their jobs… And no matter how you’d like to discredit them, they aren’t just random nuts. Schulte even is a fairly well respected medical researcher and also a published scientist (even if one journal editor didn’t want to even look at his survey – which is what the personal letter detailed in the blog you linked me to said by the way… that’s important to note I think. The editor did not review the material and decide it lacked credibility, but instead said that it was of no interest. Oh and by the way, the IPCC report is ALSO unpublished, or had you forgotten?).

    But as I said, throw out Schulte, and you’re still left with:

    Dr. Edward Wegman: professor at the Center for Computational Statistics at George Mason University, chair of the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics, and board member of the American Statistical Association.
    Dr. Christopher Landsea: Atlantic Oceanographic & Meteorological Laboratory. IPCC 1995 Contributor. Former chair of the American Meteorological Society’s committee on tropical meteorology and tropical cyclones and a recipient of the American Meteorological Society’s Banner I. Miller Award for the “best contribution to the science of hurricane and tropical weather forecasting.”
    Dr. William Gray: Professor of Meteorology – Colorado State University. pioneered the concept of “seasonal” hurricane forecasting-predicting months in advance the severity of the coming hurricane season. (From wiki) “Gray’s prognostications, issued since 1983, are used by insurance companies to calculate premiums.”
    Dr. Reid Bryson: Godfather of climatology. The first chairman of the Department of Meteorology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. First director of the Institute for Environmental Studies. Written more than 230 articles and five books.
    Duncan Wingham: Professor of Climate Physics at University College London and Director of the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling. Member of the National Environmental Research Council’s Science and Technology Board and Earth Observation Experts Group.
    Dr. Richard Lindzen: Professor of meteorology in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT. Member of the National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the National Research Council Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate.

    Ok look, I could go on for a while about this, but I think already I have enough to push us into the realm of reasonable doubt. The idea that there is a consensus is bullshit – regardless of whether or not Schulte’s study gets published in the Energy and Environment journal. Eventually (I would hope) you’re going to run out of ad homs with which to denigrate the number of people who doubt AGW, but damn it if the short list of people I put above don’t have way better credentials on the topic than you do. (What are your credentials again by the way? I mean… I owned up to my level of expertise… strange that I have repeatedly asked you to own up to yours and you still haven’t.)

    By the way, part of the asshole condescending tone is not what you say to me but because you say it in the 3rd person as if telling other people about me. If you’re talking to me, then talk to me – and don’t make comments directed at me while using “he” as your pronoun. My skin is plenty thick, and I’m not taking any of this particularly personally – that doesn’t mean you get to be a dick and not be called on it.

    3) “Make no mistake here, the IPCC is a government body and it’s ultimate purpose is to make POLICY decisions – its purpose is not, and simply couldn’t be, scientifically controlled climate research.”

    Actually, its purpose is to provide a scientific summary to policy makers. Deliberate distortion or misunderstanding? I, again, go with misunderstanding.

    I, again, go with: condescending bullshit that totally misses the point.

    4) “Especially considering the scientific language is being used in absolute terms when the science itself is not absolute.”

    Actually, the language used by the IPCC is very careful to be precise regarding the level of certainty. I am going to assume Sean hadn’t read the IPCC reports when he wrote that.

    You’re right! He hadn’t read the report… it’s not been published yet.

    I have however read their topical and handy press statements – for example:

    “Experts to warn global warming likely to continue spurring more outbreaks of intense hurricane activity.” (Shockingly untrue according to Contributing Author, Dr. Landsea)

    or

    “90% likely” catastrophic climate change…

    Ok… you got me Mejican… Claiming 90% certainty isn’t quite “absolute”… Damn close though.

    5) “Except that it’s SUMMARY is written by politicians who are allowed to selectively pick and choose which of the internal reports they use or quote from.”

    Inaccurate, as discussed above. Hopefully Sean now understands the process better.

    Au contraire mon ami… Quite accurate, and I hope you (note the pronoun) understand the process better sir!

    As to the “best approach”. Practically speaking, you might very well be right to suggest that it does one no good to polarize people with ridiculous talk of how the A of AGW isn’t particularly well confirmed, or how the ice-caps just might not really be melting into oblivion, or that there is no data to show an increase in hurricanes or tropical storms, not to mention that the Michael Mann graph just might have some egregious statistical flaws… hell, why should we ever try that approach? People don’t seem to want to hear it… you clearly don’t.

    Remember when I said that coming to conclusions based on false premises leads to wrong action?

    PART of the point here is precisely to show that there is legitimate reason to doubt the gung-ho rush into global treaties, and major policy shifts – legitimate reason to doubt that there even is significant Anthropogenic global warming.

    According to you, Mejican, all I should be doing is accepting your premise – which I believe to be flawed – and then arguing on how best to deal with it. Well, that’s crap. As a thought experiment, I’m more than happy to say that even if the AGW premise is 100% accurate there are fabulous ways of dealing with it in ways that completely harmonize with my goal of the greatest freedom for the greatest number of people through highly limited government. But if that’s ALL that I do, then I belie the truth: I don’t buy into your fundamental argument.

  173. Sean,

    An inaccuracy.

    the IPCC report is ALSO unpublished

    Not true the AR4 is available (as is the synthesis report-the whole point of Ron’s post, I believe).

    because you say it in the 3rd person as if telling other people about me.

    This is done when I am addressing the larger forum. You recognize, of course, that this is a forum, not a series of personal emails. Right? I am comfortable in my prickishness. Are you comfortable with yours?

    We’ve all been living in a world in which we are regularly told that there is no debate.

    A strawman here. There is always a debate in science. We’ve gone over this. You are, however, exaggerating the scope of the debate and misrepresenting what the debate is about. E.g., “90% certain” indicates the degree of debate for a particular aspect of the science. This, btw, indicates that you should be able to find well respected scientists who have contributed to that 10% uncertainty. You, however, act like that 10% sheds significant doubt on the whole project. It is the balance between certain and uncertain that is important.

    Au contraire mon ami… Quite accurate, and I hope you (note the pronoun) understand the process better sir!

    Okay, so you don’t understand the process.The summary/synthesis reports do not contain a single word that is not endorsed by the scientific members of the IPCC.

    Now to your main argument:

    Again, you are missing the point. I’m not, and haven’t ever been, suggesting that the data is wrong. I’m suggesting that they are in a position to find those people who would be willing to support their conclusions – which is a matter entirely separate from the data itself.

    You are, indeed, suggesting that the data is wrong when you suggest that only people willing to support a predetermined conclusion are chosen to look at the issue. Beyond that your very own words–

    I have developed some serious doubts about the severity, and yes, even the authenticity of some of the findings.

    When I read that you have doubts about the “authenticity” of the findings, I can’t help but conclude that you feel the data presented by the IPCC is wrong. When I read that you have doubts about the severity of the findings, I can’t help but conclude that you feel the findings are exaggerations.

    Which position do I believe?
    Do you think the IPCC reports are essentially accurate? Or do you believe that they are exaggerations at best, if not outright inaccuracies?

    Besides which, what you consistently seem to forget is that the IPCC is a governmental body with an expressed mission to find policy solutions to issues they believe are problems of global scale. POLICY SOLUTIONS. Every government committee formed to address policy issues does so with certain pre-conceived notions about how they will be handling the problem and by the way, already assume that a problem exists before they bother to hire people to test that it’s a problem, and even then – they don’t wind up testing the premise, they test to what extent the problem is serious.

    As a general statement about government panels, there is a degree of truth to this description (if you lose the “every” and drop the assumption that there is always preconceived policy solution…sometimes panels are formed because people have no idea what to do).

    However, we are talking about the IPCC, not some non-specific. In this case, there are two distinct camps acting within the panel that have conflicting agendas. Some of the participant countries have (and always have had) specific interest in demonstrating that AGW was either not true or insignificant. Others on the panel had the opposite agenda. The balance across this issue within the panel makes you underlying premise untenable. The pressures you talk about exist, but the push both for and against action and both for and against finding that AGW is a serious problem.

    You’re reading cynicism, paranoia and conspiratorial when I am explicitly saying It’s the unavoidable consequence of the system.

    That, in my book, is the essence of your paranoia/cynicism.

    You misunderstand sir. Even after I’ve explained all this… The very nature of using government force to “bring about positive outcomes for their constituents” results in the expansion of government and the inherent loss of liberty. There is nothing cynical about that statement [we have different understanding of what “cynical” means then], it is simply the trade off we make by establishing government. The more power we give to the state, the less we have as individuals.

    This assumes that there is no valence to policy decisions (and that it is a zero sum game). But that is not true. Policy decisions can “remove” or “reduce” or “deregulate” just as readily as they can expand government power. For an example, Al Gore, everyone’s favorite on this topic, is calling for reduced regulation to help spur technological changes. For example, the main tax proposal on the table in regards to this issue involves eliminating income and labor taxes, replacing them with carbon taxes, without increasing the overall level of taxation.

    it does one no good to polarize people with ridiculous talk of how the A of AGW isn’t particularly well confirmed… hell, why should we ever try that approach? People don’t seem to want to hear it… you clearly don’t.

    You assume that you are providing people with new information. Worse, you assume that the tidbits you provide shift the overall picture significantly. It is not that people don’t want to hear it. It is that they have heard it before, looked into it, and found the information you are providing insufficient.

    As a thought experiment, I’m more than happy to say that even if the AGW premise is 100% accurate there are fabulous ways of dealing with it in ways that completely harmonize with my goal of the greatest freedom for the greatest number of people through highly limited government.

    Which, tactically and strategically, is the better course for you to take.

    But if that’s ALL that I do, then I belie the truth: I don’t buy into your fundamental argument.

    So preface your discussion with “I don’t buy into your fundamental argument.”

    When you, in particular, try to build a case against that underlying premise, however, you undermine your credibility. The best you’ve been able to come up with is an appeal to authority argument with a very short list of authorities. In this argument, the appeal to authority arguments go to the side with the longer list, and the bigger names (which includes the IPCC). Mix in a few red herrings and you will find that people don’t want to listen to you. Why, because they have heard it all before.

    You don’t accept the underlying premise. I get that. You, however, are in the minority. The majority will act without your consent. If you want to contribute to the shape of that action, then you are wasting energy trying to convince the majority that there is no problem. Your policy proposals, however, are not that far off from those that are pushing for action.

    Libertarians need to recognize (as I have seen a couple here at H&R point out), that AGW may be a perfect opportunity to fundamentally change certain government policies in the direction of more freedom. Given your cynical worldview, you should embrace the tactic and use this issue to advance your agenda.

  174. edit

    The pressures you talk about exist, but they push both for and against action and both for and against finding that AGW is a serious problem.

  175. I couldn’t resist this side-track:

    LONDON (AFP) – More than four times the number of natural disasters are occurring now than did two decades ago, British charity Oxfam said in a study Sunday that largely blamed global warming.

    “Oxfam… says that rising green house gas emissions are the major cause of weather-related disasters and must be tackled,” the organisation said, adding that the world’s poorest people were being hit the hardest.

    This, for Sean, is an example either or poor reporting, or an unsupported claim made to bolster a political position.

    The world suffered about 120 natural disasters per year in the early 1980s, which compared with the current figure of about 500 per year, according to the report.

    “This year we have seen floods in South Asia, across the breadth of Africa and Mexico that have affected more than 250 million people,” noted Oxfam director Barbara Stocking.

    “This is no freak year. It follows a pattern of more frequent, more erratic, more unpredictable and more extreme weather events that are affecting more people.”

    The number of people affected by extreme natural disasters, meanwhile, has surged by almost 70 percent, from 174 million a year between 1985 to 1994, to 254 million people a year between 1995 to 2004, Oxfam said.

    Floods and wind-storms have increased from 60 events in 1980 to 240 last year, with flooding itself up six-fold.

    But the number of geothermal events, such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, has barely changed.

    Verrrry Interesting piece of data. Why would these remain constant while weather related events have increased so dramatically?

    Oxfam urged Western governments to push hard for a deal on climate change at a key international meeting that runs December 3-14 on the Indonesian island of Bali.

    Does this discredit the findings, or simply explain the timing of the reports release to the press?

    Rich Western nations and the United Nations must act to “make humanitarian aid faster, fairer and more flexible and to improve ways to prepare for and reduce the risk of disasters,” it said.

    Given that Oxfam has tied this to AGW, this is a direct recognition that some governments have a stake in the “do nothing” approach. Those nations with the most to gain from the status quo (e.g., The US) will have the most motivation to downplay the severity of the issues.

  176. Clarification:

    the world’s poorest people were being hit the hardest.

    This is supported by careful study. And predictive models agree that it will only get worse.

    What was unsupported in the above statement was that AGW could be directly blamed for the increasing number of weather related natural disasters. This seems plausible, but has yet to be conclusively demonstrated. The steady rate of non-weather-related disasters in the face of increasing weather-related disasters is an interesting piece of data to add into the debate, however.

  177. For an interesting look at some of the claims made by prominent scientists who disagree with the IPCC’s conclusions by some scientist that do agree with the IPCC’s conclusions.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/11/les-chevaliers-de-lordre-de-la-terre-plate-part-i-allgre-and-courtillot/#more-501

  178. Landsea in a debate about hurricane’s and AGW,

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/weather/july-dec05/science_10-18.html

    I’ll note that both sides acknowledge the human contribution, and that both sides note that there is a lot of uncertainty around this issue.

  179. Sean,

    You should note the charge about politics surrounding the IPCC process. The charge made in that blog post, and the one’s made by Landsea, have to do not with the content of the report, but with the reporting/statements made by people outside of the report itself.

    Landsea resigned, for instance, because he felt that some people were going to the media with statements not supported by the science. He did not, it seems criticize the actual content of the IPCC report which gives the hurricane/AGW link a “more likely than not” = > 50% chance.

    Inaccurate statements/reports that this meant the IPCC was endorsing the hypothesis are not supported by the content of the report. And, as far as I can tell, it was activities outside of the IPCC procedures that motivated Landsea to resign.

  180. Cynical: contemptuously distrustful of human nature and motives

    I am thankfully quite trusting of human nature. I just also recognize that part of human nature is inherently self-interested. (I am not only ok with that, I highly support it philosophically)

    To quote Landsea himself on the hurricane link:

    “Where is the science, the refereed publications, that substantiate these pronouncements? What studies are being alluded to that have shown a connection between observed warming trends on the earth and long-term trends in tropical cyclone activity? As far as I know, there are none.”

    I’m getting a bit tired of this though to be honest Mejican, your continual attempts to discredit me by painting me as ignorant is as irritating as it is stupid. As far as you’ve shown so far, you have absolutely no more credentials than I have on this topic and though I’ve repeatedly suggested that you should share your background openly as I have, you seem incapable of doing so. That’s fine… you don’t want to, that’s your business, but your holier than thou bullshit is tiresome and I don’t think I’m going to participate anymore.

    Cheers.

  181. con?sen?sus [kuhn-sen-suhs] Pronunciation Key – Show IPA Pronunciation
    -noun, plural -sus?es.
    1. majority of opinion: The consensus of the group was that they should meet twice a month.
    2. general agreement or concord; harmony.

    We don’t need 100% agreement among the climate related sciences to say that a consensus on a matter exists. The dozen or so whom climate cranks report as being in opposition to AGW do not erase the consensus among the thousands of others who are in accord. That accord is backed by the much larger proportion of peer reviewed papers which clearly support AGW, vs the those one or two which clearly express doubt (not including the ones misquoted).

    Sean,
    I would be more interested in your version of Libertarian solutions to controlling global CO2 levels.

  182. Sean,

    but your holier than thou bullshit is tiresome and I don’t think I’m going to participate anymore.

    After you wrote only 100,000 words?

    I expected more stamina from 5000 word per post-man. ;^)

    Landsea’s letter regarding his resignation is here.

    http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=16806

    I note, again, that he resigned due to the actions of another IPCC member and not due to inaccuracies in the published IPCC reports, particularly the AR4.

    And I, again, point out, that the AR4 ends up in harmony with Landsea’s position. Almost like the open process, rules of evidence, and peer-review in place during the writing of the AR4 worked to scrub bias not supported by the evidence.

    What you see as holier than thou bullshit, I see as calling your bullshit out. You started this diatribe with these words…

    Am I going to have to intellectually smack joe around AGAIN?

    Then proceeded to bring out a series of appeals to (questionable) authority, a handful of predictable red herrings, and unsupported charges of bias based on an inaccurate understanding of the IPCC report process, publication status, and no apparent knowledge of their content.

    Like I said at the start of this. The more you try to debunk the science, the more you sound like a crank.

    When you discuss the, very rational, idea that “even if AGW is a problem” non-governmental mechanisms will be more effective to address these concerns, you sound like someone whose opinion should be considered.

    Note that Sam-hec, who I will defer to as far more knowledgeable in this area than I, is interested in hearing your policy proposals regrading c02.

    Here is your chance…don’t lose it because you think I am a prick…everyone ’round these parts knows I am a prick. Writing it down in a post doesn’t really further the discussion.

  183. A last definition or two:

    cyn?ic /?s?n?k/ Pronunciation Key – [sin-ik] -noun
    1. a person who believes that only selfishness motivates human actions and who disbelieves in or minimizes selfless acts or disinterested points of view.

    Merriam-Webster’s Medical Dictionary – Cite This Source – Share This

    para?noia
    noun

    2 : a tendency on the part of an individual or group toward excessive or irrational suspiciousness and distrustfulness of others.

    Cynically paranoid view of the IPCC:

    The IPCC is a panel of GOVERNMENT officials. “Based on sound science” my aching ass! It’s based on the assumption that international governmental policy is the most significant factor affecting the environment – and then finding scientists who will agree with that position! Considering the alternative makes politicians around the world seem a lot less useful, we should all be rather skeptical of whether or not the IPCC has any valid motives what-so-ever.

  184. The consensus of which you speak is literally only that humans have some affect on climate change. And you’re right, most people seem to agree with that. Even the “deniers”. However, even the Oreskes survey only found that 75% of published papers endorsed the consensus viewpoint (which by the way, in science has a different definition than the colloquial usage which you so uselessly copy-and-pasted above and actually refers to an specific position taken on a given hypothesis for the purpose of delineating responses). Furthermore, that 75% is only when the explicit and implied endorsements are counted together. In fact, she only found 1% to explicitly endorse the consensus (13 papers total) in the first place! And THAT is coming from the most widely used and reported study on the topic. So… yeah, if there are literally thousands (why not for the sake of discussion say 7,500? That’s a nice easy figure.) who agree with the consensus view, that would leave another 25%, or 2,500 – according to Oreskes herself – who don’t accept it… If there are thousands who agree, then by the accepted numbers thousands must also disagree. Not to mention that there are several other scientists who have questioned Oreskes research methods, for example her search terms used “global climate change” which narrows her overall sample pool by at least one order of magnitude from the pool she might have gotten had she used “climate change” as her basic parameter. Oh yeah, and as I’ve already mentioned, much of that data is 15 years old, so there’s a reasonably good chance that the numbers have even changed since.

    Beyond that, the “cranks”, as you call them, are some of the leaders in climatology and related sciences. We’re talking about hundreds of years combined experience, hundreds of published peer-reviewed papers, thousands of hours of research and testing. Countless years of study and enough Ph.D’s to warrant it’s own mensa convention.

    …Though I’m sure with your multiple doctorates in meteorology, geology and astrophysics you certainly have earned the right to mock anyone with a opinion different than your own, huh?

    Science isn’t a democracy Mejican… extreme claims need to be accompanied by extreme evidence and there are simply far too many mitigating factors and astronomical events which play into our climate system that boiling it down to one singular cause like CO2, blaming humanity (who don’t even contribute a majority of CO2 emissions) and then trying to use world government to force changes seems like the very definition of solipsism and some bizarre form of hubris to me. If just one of the “cranks” has evidence that there are more factors in play than CO2 (and there are more than dozens who do by the way), then that’s all it takes to make this issue something less than case closed.

    As interested as you might be about more libertarian solutions to controlling CO2 levels, I’ve reached my limit for this discussion. Part of the process for libertarian solutions to be accepted by the public at large is to quit using exaggerated claims of imminent danger and fear mongering and start scaling back the polemic discussion to something more sensible. I don’t get the impression that you are at all interested in toning down the discussion and dealing more rationally with these issues. That,and I’m honestly just tired of you presenting your apparent revulsion to even considering that other, legitimate members of the research community might have some other valid points to make as an intelligent way to debate. To you it’s all a foregone conclusion, and that makes you precisely the kind of person who I am getting quite sick of in the media at large; cramming this crap down everyone’s throat and acting like there are no other possibilities to consider. You do everyone a disservice and on the whole, calling people “deniers”, claiming that anyone who has a dissenting view has oil-industry ties and however else you want to attack people is just getting disturbing. Climate scientists don’t even have a clear grasp on cloud formation for god’s sake. Have some humility and drop the overzealous certainty schtick. It’s really not cool anymore.

  185. “Don’t lose your chance”? What, like writing to you on this one forum is my only shot at having anyone important read my ideas on policy? Give me a break.

    Sam-hec, if you’re interested in a policy discussion, I’ll be happy to have one with you – or anyone else who’s not a dick or an condescending idiot.

  186. Just to nitpik, 100% total papers -75% who agree explicitly or implicity != 25% who disagree, but rather 25% who’s opinions can’t be seen as agreeing implicitly or explicitly. Neutral is not the same as disagreeable. That 25% has some number who do disagree implicitly or explicitly and are not neutral. What is needed is a measure between the known agrees and the known disagrees. What percentage implicitly disagree? (as opposed to being neutral, and it IIRC Oreskes didn’t find any which explicitly disagreed with the notion of AGCC)

    Again I am waiting for your helpful Libertarian solutions controling global CO2 levels. I will try to rewrite mine for the next ManBearPig thread that comes up here.

  187. p.s.
    “which by the way, in science has a different definition than the colloquial usage which you so uselessly copy-and-pasted above and actually refers to an specific position taken on a given hypothesis for the purpose of delineating responses”

    for the past 20 years or so there has been this argument over whether there is a ‘consensus’ about the science of AGCC. I have never heard of the colloquial discussion requiring a different scientific non-colloquial definition. Until shown otherwise I think I will stick with the colloquial definition.

    And I am curious as to what the scientific definition of consensus definitively is.

  188. Sean,

    Read back through this thread and show me where I made an ad hom attack against any scientist.

    Read back through the thread and show me where I demonstrated “revulsion to even considering that other, legitimate members of the research community might have some other valid points to make.”

    Read back through the thread and show me where I was “calling people “deniers”, claiming that anyone who has a dissenting view has oil-industry ties.”

    I have said throughout this discussion that there is scientific debate regarding many aspects of AGW. I have said throughout this discussion that, in fact, the level of uncertainty has been carefully quantified and presented in the IPCC reports. I have explicitly included at least one example (hurricane/GW links) where the IPCC report shows that there is no consensus (more likely than not =>50% chance means there is significant uncertainty).

    I think your statements demonstrate that you have looked at this issue through the lens of your political views. You say people are making too big a deal out of this and exaggerating the danger. Some people are and they often spread misinformation. But you also accuse the IPCC of doing the same. They, in my view, are clearly not. Unless I read you wrong, you have not read the AR4. If you had, you might feel more comfortable with the IPCC’s work.

    Do you recognize that there are people that are, as is true with any issue, trying to downplay the issue as well? This is often done by spreading misinformation. You seem, based on what you have written, to be the perfect target audience for that kind of misinformation. Because it fits nicely into your political frame, you appear to be receptive to its message.

    Sam-Hec:
    I have never seen any serious philosopher of science discuss scientific consensus as a term somehow having a separate meaning from its colloquial usage. The only attempt at a definition I have seen is from Wikipedia, which just takes the colloquial meaning and applies it to the topic of science.

    Scientific consensus is the collective judgment, position, and opinion of the community of scientists in a particular field of science at a particular time. Scientific consensus is not, by itself, a scientific argument, and is not part of the scientific method; however, the content of the consensus may itself be based on both scientific arguments and the scientific method.

    Thomas Kuhn’s work is the best attempt to incorporate the underlying idea into a philosophy of science. If you haven’t read him (you probably have), his stuff is important stuff.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Structure_of_Scientific_Revolutions

  189. Sam-hec,

    What I see in Sean’s description of Climate research is a failure to recognize that the science has undergone a major paradigm shift in the last couple of decades. From what I have read, it seems there was a point when human activity was considered insignificant on a global scale and incapable of having important effects on global climate. Evidence that it did have an impact went against this “consensus” view. The paradigm shifted, as Kuhn would predict, when the weight of the empirical evidence grew too great for the old paradigm to sustain itself. This is a recent shift. As is always the case in scientific paradigm shifts, there is an group that will defend the old paradigm despite the shift in the rest of the community.

    If anything, the structure of the IPCC makes it likely to be very conservative in its assessments. As a result, it was slow to move towards the new paradigm that human activity was having an impact on global climate. And, as a result, it was accused by those who had accepted the new paradigm of being too conservative.

    In my view, now that it has made that shift, it has played a role in accelerating the acceptance of the new paradigm. As such, it becomes a target of criticism from those that defend the older paradigm. The fact that it has been attacked from both ends of the spectrum on the issue speaks, to me, that it has done a reasonable job staying objective.

  190. Fine.

    The colloquial definition isn’t accurate simply because consensus in that usage implies a lack of debate and also doesn’t portray the deeper understanding that (as your wiki article mentioned) the very nature of a consensus is a non-scientific idea. The term consensus used in a scientific context is not proof or disproof of anything and has to be carefully defined as the rejection or acceptance of a specific hypothesis based on the current prevailing opinion. Using it without that caveat is a way to paint in broad strokes and doesn’t truthfully represent the way the process really works.

    Sam-hec, you are right that 25% according to Oreskes were neutral – although I’d also have to point out that since Oreskes definition of the consensus view was merely that humans have “some” effect on environmental factors, that doesn’t really say all that much about this issue. The more I think about that particular subject, the more I’ve started to realize that it’s all kind of a red-herring anyway. Many scientists who have published papers discuss mitigating factors even when they are affirming that humans also have an effect. Oreskes survey has no data on whether or not the scientists, having accepted the basic premise, believe that humans are the most important factor.

    That’s something that Oreskes or any other similar study hasn’t accounted, in part I’d imagine because they only analyze the abstracts.

    Regardless, as I said, I’m starting to think of the whole thing as kind of a red herring because it doesn’t matter what consensus is. As Marcus Aurelius said, “The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.”

    What we know is this:
    Mars is also warming – yet no human activity on Mars.
    We have astronomical data to show increased solar activity and even that of other stars playing a role in our weather formation and overall trends.
    We also know from geological data that volcanic activity and other aspects of plate movement play a large role.

    I don’t think the paradigm shift is nearly as complete as you seem to think Mejican. And yes, “crank” is an ad hominem. You need to have some humility and as I said before, drop this idea that it’s a done deal. It’s not.

    So again, with respect to libertarian solutions to this whole mess, PART of the problem that needs to be addressed is the hyperbole used to make this seem like a bigger, more immediate, and more certain threat than it is. The IPCC reports might not internally overstate the case, but the IPCC press releases certainly do. Practically speaking, it’s the press releases that are going to be discussed and quoted from anyway – not the internal reports.

    The minute we leave the science debate and move into a policy debate, we have are no longer addressing the report but addressing how that report is being presented and packaged. (The packaging by the way, is precisely what the governmental parts get to do).

    So… to Sam-hec, CO2 reduction is a remarkably easy one to accomplish with capitalism.

    I think I could even do it through a few practical, easy to manage steps. Let’s see, shall we?

    Step 1: Gradually phase out all subsidies to oil producers, shipping and transportation industries over a 5 year period.

    New technology is already being developed by Dodge, Honda, Mercedes, GM and others on the transportation end – it seems the main move is towards hydrogen, but if government stays out of the way and competition is allowed, I’m sure we’ll see an explosion of competitive options. British Petroleum is also a current leader in alternative fuels, so that’s a good thing too.

    Step 1a: Phase out subsidies for Ethanol and other fuel replacements. Any government sponsorship of one technology over another is bound to reduce competition and ultimately slow the progress of finding a legitimate successor to gasoline.

    Step 2: Governments can start reducing tax rates for businesses and private citizens across the board as the subsidy burden decreases. Start by removing all taxes that are earmarked directly to certain subsidies – some of those come in the form of DMV fees and property taxes for example.

    Start by removing the tax burden from any business which sells and maintains technology which would allow citizens driving older model cars to more fuel efficient systems. (Then continue removing the tax burden from everyone else!)

    Step 3: Encourage teleconferencing and the adoption of new, more efficient technologies throughout government. This means also reducing the quintuplet paper copies of every form imaginable. The reliance on paper as governments main means of record keeping and communication is extremely inefficient and costly since all of that paper needs to be stored in large warehouses, and moved by trucks and other vehicles. Note that I’m not suggesting all paper records be destroyed, simply start by removing the excessive duplication of all forms, and start using paper as a hard-copy backup of important data – like voting records and such.

    Step 4: Provide compensation packages for government employees who must be laid off as a result of the move to increase efficiency.

    There will be some painful shifts no matter what because the old industrial age technologies should be replaced by new computer age technologies which do equivalent tasks. This will mean government employees will be laid off and workers who make their livelihood in come papermills, oil refineries, etc. are going to need new positions. I would hope that by phasing the shift in over a period of 5 years, those individuals will have time to find new employment or develop new skills.

    Some government employees will have to be fired immediately, so many should receive severance packages.

    Step 5: Though I would prefer complete deregulation and privatization of utilities, I think it’s probably unreasonable to ask for that to happen within 5 years (or maybe at all at this point), but we can use government to take all of the tax-revenue currently earmarked for energy spending and move it away from subsidizing mining and oil and move it towards nuclear facilities.

    Better yet, phase out federal funding of energy systems and instead allow local governments to determine what’s best for their power needs like the 10th Amendment actually says. I would personally support nuclear power, though I’m quite sure many towns and cities across the country wouldn’t necessarily agree and they should have the right to choose which type of power they use. Given the inefficiencies of coal and other fossil fuel burning power plants (and the social stigma of releasing dreaded CO2 into the air), most local governments are sure to choose nuclear anyway.

    Getting government out of the energy market would be a major step in the right direction.

    So ok, what would we have accomplished so far?

    1. Reduction of subsidies will result in true fossil fuel costs being passed on to consumers – who will feel a very pressing need to demand new technologies.
    2. Allowing competition for new technology will ensure that what people get will not only be of their choice, rather than what is forced on them by government, but it will also mean that better technologies are constantly emerging.
    3. Reducing the tax burden in subsidies, subsidy offices, government inefficiency and other areas will result in a massive surplus each year which during the 5 year period could partly even be used to pay down the national debt – but should mostly be given back to taxpayers (and then of course, not taken from them the next year) for moral reasons – it is their money after all – and also in order to spur economic growth. After 5 years, the cost of oil-based fuels will be ridiculously high and there would be considerable demand for alternatives and cheap, effective modifications to improve energy efficiency in cars.
    4. Reduction of tax burden on businesses (starting with those related to energy efficiency and then moving on to all businesses) should help some growth of technology that will help people save money of fuel by up-converting their cars – there are already hydrogen powered modifications being adapted for consumer use by some people.
    5. Higher energy costs due to the removal of subsidies and increased competition through free-markets would also spur growth and philosophical shifts in other areas. Land development might very likely move towards a much more new-urbanist approach – which emphasizes walkable, live/work communities of medium density. This is actually an old principle, but is coming back in a big way right now. The idea being you live in an apartment above (or within walking distance) your office. This obviously won’t be for everyone, but it’s certainly got advantages which many people – especially those (like me) whose businesses are being radically changed by internet technology – will want to be a part of.
    6. The 5 year gradual shift should help prepare people for coming changes and the increased freedom in conjunction with a significant tax reduction will allow people to find more options and have some money to pursue those options. Businesses being allowed to compete in the energy market would produce a myriad of important technologies – almost none of which I or anyone else would predict.

    This is all a matter of incentives – and for the past 100 years, government has artificially given incentives to use fossil fuels, to make cars, to use the highways (after taxes were used to build the highways!), use airplanes, etc. What many greens and other world-government environmentalists are suggesting is to keep providing artificial incentives – just to those who they support. The subsidies are what removed competition and made people think they were safe and secure by providing energy on the cheap. Artificial incentives need to be abolished entirely – competition needs to be allowed – and this can all be accomplished in a few years by creating a gradual plan of action which will negatively affect the least number of people.

    Oh yeah, one more thing. Because your taxes don’t just go to subsidizing the various industries related to this issue, but also go to the government offices, employees, transportation of said employees, and the inefficient, expensive, slow, paper-based systems of filing any and all information related to those offices, removing the taxes that support those subsidies will more than cover temporarily increased cost of fuel in a free market system.

    Have I forgotten anything crucial?

  191. GAH!!

    Sean dat’s too long for my lunch break!

  192. Sean,

    I don’t think the paradigm shift is nearly as complete as you seem to think Mejican. And yes, “crank” is an ad hominem. You need to have some humility and as I said before, drop this idea that it’s a done deal. It’s not.

    Yes Sean, it is true, “crank” is an ad hominem against a scientist.

    I have not, however, called anyone a crank in this discussion. I have said you “sound like a crank” when you talk about the science. I have not called any of the scientists you referenced “cranks.” (I believe you conflate me with Sam-Hec on this one).

    You need to have some humility and as I said before, drop this idea that it’s a done deal. It’s not.

    I have never said it was a done deal. but…

    Mars is also warming – yet no human activity on Mars.

    Realclimate has a short review of the science. Bottom line, this is a red herring.
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/10/global-warming-on-mars/

    We have astronomical data to show increased solar activity and even that of other stars playing a role in our weather formation and overall trends.

    A reference or two would be nice here.
    You might read this pdf…from EOS for a quick review of the science on solar forcing hypthoses.
    http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Publications/PDF_Papers/DamonLaut2004.pdf

    We also know from geological data that volcanic activity and other aspects of plate movement play a large role.

    For anything short of a super-volcano, human activity swamps the release of CO2 and other GHG by volcanoes. iirc, human output is on the order of 100-200 times that of volcanoes in any given year. Again, some citations would be nice here so I can respond more directly to your claims.

    The IPCC reports might not internally overstate the case, but the IPCC press releases certainly do. Practically speaking, it’s the press releases that are going to be discussed and quoted from anyway – not the internal reports.

    Specific examples please.
    By the time you get to the press room, it is possible that you have a case to make here. I would need to see specifics to judge the validity of your accusation.

  193. ‘crank’ is me and is my diplomatic way of not saying ‘Climate Septic”

  194. oops press submit too soon.

    Re: Mars. Being a space nut this objection by the climate change contrarians makes me rather annoyed. Mars as a globe is warming but it has to do with albedo changes brought on by dust storms not by the sun. The initial reports of warming on mars were of observations around 1998-2001 of rapid deicing of Mars’s south pole…but this happens all the time on Mars, especially when Mars is at its closest perihelion in a loooong time and right during a solar max (1998); Mars also tends to re-ice quickly. These observations only covered the south pole not all of Mars as general entity.

    Re: Changes in solar energy. A picture says alot, this says enough for me:
    http://www.mps.mpg.de/images/projekte/sun-climate/climate.gif

    regarding policies, esp. libertarian ones, the following seems to be where mainstream greenies are at:
    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/11/policies_to_cha.php

  195. Regarding the treehugger.com article, I agree with many of it’s main points – though it seems wayyyyy more libertarian than any of the mainstream greens I’ve ever heard talk about policy. Much of it is certainly not what I’m hearing on a day to day basis.

    However, I will pull from the article;

    For example, business needs policy frameworks that create predictable future demand for new technologies and reward innovation; and, governments can provide them through stable and transparent regulations.

    This is absolutely correct, however, I don’t believe government can or should be used to force these changes. This is actually one of the main problems I see with using government to force shifts like this (and yes, I consider caps on emissions through government force a negative thing as well). The major factor I see as contributing to a risky atmosphere for investing in new energy technologies is that government (in the US and around the world) has routinely been selective about which technologies to support through tax-funded subsidies. This means that any investment in the selected technology – ethanol for example – is going to be a stable, lower risk activity and because of government sponsorship, profits are virtually guaranteed unless the laws change.

    By the way (Mejican), is it cynical for me to point out that the ethanol subsidy is primarily a result of agriculture lobbies and senators from the Midwest (like my old senator Ben Nelson, who has nearly singlehandedly gotten Nebraska the right to sell corn to Cuba when no private business is allowed to do that)?

    Anyway, the point is, there’s a big difference in the result when we use policy to control the influence of government versus when we use policy to control the actions of private citizens. I honestly think the most important thing we could possibly do at this point is remove government’s anti-competitive tendency to sponsor technologies in the name of the greater good. What’s going to make the biggest difference in creating an environment where companies will be willing to invest in new energy technology is if 1. they have legitimate incentive to do so, and 2. investors can be assured that they will have a legitimate opportunity to compete with their products on an even playing field. This means, government can’t pick “tomorrow’s next alternative fuel” and funnel tax money into it because anyone who might have been interested in developing competing technology will lose.

    Imagine if FedEx had billions of dollars in research to do before even buying their first truck while competing with the bottomless pit of the USPS’ funding source? Why bother?

    Less government, less regulation, more rule of law and fraud protection will create a safe, low-risk investing environment where companies are guaranteed the ability to freely compete. Any energy efficient technology that does everything people need it to do will by definition be a cheaper, and easily marketable alternative.

    I think I’ve made this point already though – what I asked was, did I miss something? Like, is there some concern that my policy solution didn’t address – I’d love to have a complete system thought out so I’d love to know if there’s something wrong with the way I’d do things.

  196. As to the science issue:

    First, a picture can also be highly misleading – look at some of Gore’s lecture graphs in an Inconvenient Truth for that actually; by manipulating the scale it’s easy to make two graphs look exactly the same. And in either case, correlation is not proof of causation.

    Hell, if it was, then here’s an interesting chunk of correlation for you:

    http://www.dsri.dk/~hsv/9700001.pdf

    This is a paper written by Henrik Svensmark and Eigil Friis-Christensen on the link they’ve found between solar activity and cloud production – which affects overall climate.

    To pull a quote from the conclusion section of their paper;

    “We have presented a systematic variation in global cloud cover during a considerable part of the last solar cycle that seems to be caused by the varying solar activity through its 11yr modulation of the cosmic ray flux. As a result of the complexity of the coupled atmosphere-ocean system including the ocean’s thermal inertia, the effect on surface temperature during the 11yr solar cycle, is less direct, as observations also indicate. The existence of a physical mechanism which is sufficiently strong, indicates that the deduced inverse correlation between the solar cycle length and the long term variations in global temperature (Friis-Christensen and Lassen, 1991) may be related to long term variations in the solar modulation of cosmic ray flux.”

    They show a strong correlation, and some evidence for the mechanism by which solar activity plays a role in global climate. There are plenty of excellent graphs. Not to mention their laboratory experiments (which I believe are some of the only of their kind) that actually produced cloud formations through reproducing solar activity in a controlled environment.

    As to Mars, it might very well be dust and other factors. I would consider taking that off the list.

    I definitely think it’s pretty asinine to suggest that the sun and other external factors have no affect on the Earth’s climate – or even that GHG emissions play a role so large that any solar factors are negated. At some point, it would be nice to hear some people actually say (many scientists do, but none of the media or government people ever do) that climate on the Earth is exceedingly complex and really not very well understood. There are variables that are intrinsically difficult to quantify. There are other variables which are sure to be completely unknown as well.

    Mejican, you don’t “say” you’re 100% certain, but the positions you take and the way you present your arguments are based on that assumption.

    As for the IPCC, first, here’s another interesting link – a survey of IPCC contributing scientists found that 61% of them believe that there is no such thing as an “ideal climate” and only 14% believed that a cooler climate would be preferable. I can’t verify the accuracy of the study, but the article can be found here:

    http://prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/11-08-2007/0004701174&EDATE=

    Knowing some scientists, and knowing the scientific process, 61% saying something like “there is no ideal temperature” sounds to me like a reasonable statement though. Certainly would call into question the need for immediate, world-wide government action if it were true.

    Speaking of the IPCC – you asked for quotes/links from the pressroom (which again, is the important issue in reality since it’s that and not the science which the overwhelming majority of people around the world are going to be influenced by):

    “Climate change is “severe and so sweeping that only urgent, global action” can head it off, a United Nations scientific panel said…”

    “Scientists say up to an 85 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions is needed to head off potential catastrophic changes that could lead to more floods and famine.”
    http://edition.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/europe/11/17/spain.climate/index.html

    “The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) backed by a UN panel of scientists warned that climate change was “unequivocal” and could bring “abrupt and irreversible” impacts.”

    “Otherwise the consequences could be “disastrous,” according to IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri.”
    http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/news/newsbyid.asp?id=82538

    “The Earth’s temperature could rise under the impact of global warming to levels far higher than previously predicted, according to the United Nations’ team of climate experts.”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2006/feb/28/science.frontpagenews

    Junk Science article on children’s books. Interesting… psychologists have been reporting an increase in patients who suffer from anxiety related to fears over global warming.
    http://www.junkscience.com/ByTheJunkman/20070927.html

    Is that enough for now? The IPCC and media sources are releasing statements that fill people with enough fear to actually produce severe anxiety specifically over this issue. In 20 years though, we’ll all still be alive… though perhaps our economies and optimism will not be.

  197. Oh… here’s the actual survey that DemandDebate.org did:

    http://demanddebate.com/ipcc_survey.pdf

    Better than reading an article about it.

  198. “I think I’ve made this point already though – what I asked was, did I miss something? Like, is there some concern that my policy solution didn’t address – I’d love to have a complete system thought out so I’d love to know if there’s something wrong with the way I’d do things.”

    I need some weekend time (ie not sitting on a bus to and from work sleep etc.

    “I definitely think it’s pretty asinine to suggest that the sun and other external factors have no affect on the Earth’s climate”

    Dunno about Mejican, but the link I shared showed a graph of observations not suggestions. Solar Irradiance,the primary component of energy which keeps the earth’s climate warm, has been flat since the late 50’s; and the otherwise decent correlation between solar irradiance and global surface temperature split since 1970. This is are observations, not suggestions.

    Re; Svensmark, since you seem willing to consider evidence to the contrary, here is what some others say:

    http://tinyurl.com/yrrq2h

    I’d say more, but I have to dash to the bus.

  199. Did you even read the Svensmark paper? Their data, which I believe they regard as new and more accurate (due to acertainly dvances in satellite recording technology) definitely shows solar activity during the second half of the 20th Century. I believe the point that Svensmark is making has to do with the fluctuation in cosmic rays due to solar winds as being related.

    I’m starting to have a bit of trouble taking RealClimate entirely seriously by the way since the vast majority of articles I’ve read from there so far do more in the way of generic attacks and politicized opining than they do scientific analysis. And in the case of the article you linked me to as a rebuttal to Svensmark’s paper…

    To ignore aspects that don’t fit the hypothesis is definitely not science. Neither is adjusting data so to provide a good fit without a solid and convincing justification.

    Where’s the proof that Svensmark is “adjusting data” again? There are multiple references to that idea in the post, but that’s a pretty serious claim to make about a researcher.

    I also have to comment on this: Furthermore, it is only a lack of respect for the readers to publish an article that doesn’t provide all relevant sides to the story.

    There are many comment replies to that RealClimate article that talk about the Great Global Warming Swindle (and related articles). Many call it biased and not representative of “all sides”. However, how exactly is An Inconvenient Truth representative of all sides? Gore’s quote that “there is no serious debate” is widely reported as absolute fact… This whole notion that if someone disagrees with the mainstream on this (or any) issue they should have to present their findings in a watered down way so as to provide “balance”, but if an article, paper or documentary comes out that is in line with mainstream thinking, exaggeration and one-sidedness is perfectly fine is pretty ridiculous.

    I actually haven’t seen The Great Global Warming Swindle, so I started watching it on youtube last night in pieces. It’s actually fairly compelling so far (I’m not done watching it). I hesitate to comment on it’s points yet, but they do make a relatively big deal out of the Svensmark/Christensen stuff – as well as the problem with chronology when people try to use CO2 as a cause of warming trends. Both arguments I find compelling and have read before.

    I guess one of the points I feel I need to make here is in asking why precisely you are so willing to believe the set of graphs which give support to your opinions without question while dismissing any observed data to the contrary?

    A while ago Mejican accused me of making the claim that scientists were deliberately altering their data or doing bad science for political gain. Though I never accused anyone of that sort of thing, that is exactly what I hear from the pro-AGW side all the time! From the RealClimate article you just linked me to, to the constant insinuations of oil/fossil fuel industry ties (which I’ve heard/read people use with people like Lindzen, who works for MIT). The question hardly ever hears asked though is; if scientists should be dismissed because they are possibly funded by the oil industry (who spends billions on research every year out of necessity) why shouldn’t scientists also be dismissed for having funding from environmental groups whose causes would benefit greatly from AGW? It’s a very slippery slope we go down when we start throwing out accusations like that – and since the dissenting views are obviously not the mainstream, there have been pretty dire consequences for many scientists speaking out. People are ostracized, called names, lose their jobs, and publicly beaten up by media and politicians… does this seem in any way like an environment conducive to healthy debate?

  200. *due to advances in… (sorry about the typos by the way, when you write enormous comments in tiny boxes it’s hard to keep track!)

  201. Sean,

    Regarding Svensmark & Friis-Christensen. If you look at the DamonLaut2004 link I provided above, you will see that they look specifically at the article you linked to. It is a quick article with clear explanations.

    Where’s the proof that Svensmark is “adjusting data” again?

    I don’t know of anyone claiming that they are being dishonest, but Damon and Laut criticize some of the methodological decisions they made.

    “Other examples of unacceptable handling
    of observational data are presented by Svensmark and Friis-Christensen [1997] and Svensmark [1998].They, too, show a strikingly good agreement of solar and terrestrial data, in this case of the intensity of galactic cosmic radiation (representing solar activity) and total global cloud cover.Again,a close examination reveals a strange data selection.The agreement over a substantial part of the period investigated, i.e. over the last several years,has been obtained by employing data from the U.S. Defense Meteorological Satellite Program that actually do not represent total global cloud cover and therefore do not belong in the context of their analysis.An update with the correct data (from the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Program,ISCCP) shows that the development of total global cloud cover since 1992 has been in clear contradiction to the hypothesis proposed by the authors; that is, it is quite different from the development of the intensity of galactic cosmic radiation [Laut, 2003].”

    Another analysis:
    Laut,P. (2003), Solar activity and terrestrial climate: An analysis of some purported correlations,J.Atmos. Solar-Terr.Phys.,65, 801-812.

    You should note that this scientific debate sticks to narrow issues/claims. And that references are included to replies by those being criticized.

    My findings do not by any means rule out the existence of important links between solar activity and terrestrial climate. Such links have over the years been demonstrated by many authors. The sole objective of the present analysis is to draw attention to the fact that some of the widely publicized, apparent correlations do not properly reflect the underlying physical data.

    Now-
    By the way (Mejican), is it cynical for me to point out that the ethanol subsidy is primarily a result of agriculture lobbies and senators from the Midwest

    Cynical, maybe, accurate, certainly.

    Mejican, you don’t “say” you’re 100% certain, but the positions you take and the way you present your arguments are based on that assumption.

    That’s just you attempting to mind read and doing a poor job of it. I will note, however, that the specific objections to the overall premise of AGW that you bring up are poorly supported by the science (that is why I call them red herrings). You are confusing my dismissal of the specific claims you bring forth with a certainty about every possible hole in the AGW case. There are many aspects of the science (particularly climate sensitivity) that are not very well understood.

    The scientific debate (c.f. Damon & Laut) will remain about specific scientific claims, with narrow scope. Some of those claims are not supported by the data, some are, for some it is not clear yet. I can’t recommend a better source for learning about what is NOT understood than the IPCC, btw.

    a survey of IPCC contributing scientists found that 61% of them believe that there is no such thing as an “ideal climate”

    The entire premise of the AGW warnings has nothing to do with absolute/ideal temperatures (although there is certainly an ideal range for life, c.f. Venus)…the reason for concern has to do with the rate of change.

    Based on careful analysis of the paleoclimate, it seems that rapid temperature shifts can have quite dramatic effects and may have been the most common cause of mass extinctions in our planet’s history. Those worst case scenarios are easy to avoid because “rapid” in climate terms is not so rapid in human terms.

    So when a scientist claims…“Otherwise the consequences could be “disastrous,” according to IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri.” They are not, strictly, being inaccurate. But without including the timeframe/ or the specifics of what “disastrous” refers to, it is difficult to judge what this statement means(it is hard to judge without the context whether the specifics were given in this statement).

    For the layman, this kind of statement is not, necessarily very helpful. On this, we agree. The purpose of the IPCC is, in part, to provide a resource for the layman, policy maker, or scientist that includes the larger context so that rational discussions can occur.

    I actually haven’t seen The Great Global Warming Swindle,

    I have. It is a highly flawed piece of work.

    Some of the scientists whose work is presented in the film have come with serious accusations

    From wiki- which covers some of the inaccuracies in the film, Carl Wunsch:

    “In the part of The Great Climate Change Swindle where I am describing the fact that the ocean tends to expel carbon dioxide where it is warm, and to absorb it where it is cold, my intent was to explain that warming the ocean could be dangerous-because it is such a gigantic reservoir of carbon. By its placement in the film, it appears that I am saying that since carbon dioxide exists in the ocean in such large quantities, human influence must not be very important-diametrically opposite to the point I was making-which is that global warming is both real and threatening.”

    Eigel Friis-Christensen also has come out with a statement that his work was misused in the film.

    Dr. Eigil Friis-Christensen
    Director, Danish National Space Center
    efcspacecenter.dk

    Regarding: “The Great Global Warming Swindle”, broadcast in the UK on Channel 4 on March 8, 2007

    We have concerns regarding the use of a graph featured in the documentary titled ‘Temp & Solar Activity 400 Years’. Firstly, we have reason to believe that parts of the graph were made up of fabricated data that were presented as genuine. The inclusion of the artificial data is both misleading and pointless. Secondly, although the narrator commentary during the presentation of the graph is consistent with the conclusions of the paper from which the figure originates, it incorrectly rules out a contribution by anthropogenic greenhouse gases to 20th century global warming.

    http://folk.uio.no/nathan/web/statement.html

    I will note that they are discussing the same graph that is discussed by Damon & Laut.

  202. Sean,

    One last science point:

    as well as the problem with chronology when people try to use CO2 as a cause of warming trends.

    It is true that in the past, prior to human activity, C02 increases lagged behind warming. This does not negate CO2’s contribution to the warming in those previous episodes, since there is a feedback between the C02 and whatever the natural cause of the warming was. Earth warms, releases C02 with helps maintain and increase the warming, which leads to more C02, and so on…

    The current situation is different since the source of the C02 is, largely, human activity and is unprecedented in rapidity. In this case, the increase in C02 is not directly linked to a natural warming event, or a super-volcanoe, etc… as a result, the ordering of events is different than previous events. This ordering of events does not in any way weaken the AGW hypothesis.

  203. “with helps” should be “which helps”

  204. Press statements:

    The Earth’s temperature could rise under the impact of global warming to levels far higher than previously predicted, according to the United Nations’ team of climate experts.”

    Essentially accurate, given the IPCC reports’ conservative tone, each of their reports has understated the warming, as we have discussed.

    “The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) backed by a UN panel of scientists warned that climate change was “unequivocal” and could bring “abrupt and irreversible” impacts.

    This is placed in context in the article: if climate warms 2 degrees C. In this context, I don’t see this as a case of distortion. The article also mentions that we have seen a 0.7 degree increase in the last 100 years. Accurate enough and providing enough context to give readers the time-frame needed to interpret “abrupt.”

    http://edition.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/europe/11/17/spain.climate/index.html

    This one doesn’t seem to distort any of the findings. The lack of a time frame on when that 85% cut needs to occur is problematic.

    So far, you have presented press coverage, not IPCC press releases. I have already said the media is particularly poor at covering science.

    I will note that Ban Ki-moon’s statements are not IPCC statements.

  205. The ordering of the events absolutely weakens the AGW hypothesis – correlations are fine as a starting point for testing, but when one variable follows another, you can’t conclude that the first variable is caused by the second. I think you’d find a strong correlation between me reading the comments on here and opening my web-browser. It is crucial to note which allows me to do which though. Correlations don’t equal causation either way, but one thing we can be certain of, chronology matters.

    Beyond that – and I have seen many graphs which show t

  206. Sean,

    correlations are fine as a starting point for testing, but when one variable follows another, you can’t conclude that the first variable is caused by the second.

    True. An who has made such a claim? Certainly no one studying the carbon cycle.

  207. Feedback works like this.

    When the carbon sinks heat up, they have a harder time absorbing/storing carbon. At a certain temperature, they release the CO2 they have absorbed/stored.

    In natural warming cycles, then, the warming will precede the release of CO2. Once that CO2 has been released, however, the well understood greenhouse enhancement resulting from the CO2 raises the temperature more, which releases more CO2, which raises the temperature more.

    The ice-core data clearly shows this feedback (and also, I will not the methane gets involved once the temperature reaches warm enough temps to release it from the tundra).

    In the past, the warming initiated the CO2 release and started the feed-back cycle. In the current epic, human release of C02 has increased the levels in the atmosphere initiating a slowly ramping feedback cycle initiated by the greenhouse effect.

    The claim made by the GGWS is overly simplistic and, essentially, a strawman since it refutes a claim not made by the research on the C02 feedback cycle and its contribution to the current warming.

    The sensitivity of the climate to C02, however, is one of the area that needs the most study. The uncertainty in most of the projections has to do with the uncertainty in understanding of this issue.

  208. ack

    “I will not” = I will note

  209. Beyond that – and I have seen many graphs which show this – basic common sense would tell us that if CO2 levels were the major driving factor in climate change, when the post-war economic boom and international expansion in industrialization happened between 1950 and 1975 or so, temperature should have skyrocketed during that time as well. It went down during that period and has since gone back up. I might remind you of the days of global doom-and-gloom surrounding the impending ice-age, because of the downward moving climate. You can’t make the argument you’re making unless the data actually supported it, and it really doesn’t.

    Now, I’m not going to fall into the same trap and say that natural warming cycles produce CO2 increases, but at the very least, this would prove that CO2 isn’t the only factor in play here and quite likely not the most crucial. Also, given the widely recognized lag shown by ice-core data going back thousands of years – I might point out that this isn’t any kind of anomaly. It’s not; lag, lag, lag, lag, lag, lag, NO LAG! The natural processes shouldn’t be discounted and we shouldn’t get so arrogant that we think we understand it all already.

    It is a mistake to assume that just because two graphs look similar means that one causes the other. And, if any causal link is to be found, cause necessarily must come before effect so it’s an even more egregious mistake to ignore chronology.

  210. The GGWS, which I’m almost finished watching (as I said, I had to watch it in chunks), is responding mostly to the views on CO2 as presented to the public. In particular, it seems to be mostly a rebuttal to Al Gore’s film and to the IPCC, which is where most people have been directly exposed to the issues surrounding AGW. I have so far found it no less over-simplified than An Inconvenient Truth, and it certainly makes compelling arguments in other ways, I’d recommend you watch it if you haven’t. Obviously any film isn’t going to have the same complexity as a series of research papers – but the lay-public isn’t going to be interested, have the time, or understanding to sift through a bunch of science journals anyway.

    Be careful in your dismissals because they will come back to bite you in the ass… GGWS is oversimplified, so is An Inconvenient Truth – it’s an inherent part of the film-making process and unavoidable if you want to speak to a broad audience.

    Simplified discussion doesn’t necessarily mean misrepresentation of data though.

  211. True. An who has made such a claim? Certainly no one studying the carbon cycle.

    The IPCC, and innumerable reporters!

    The scientists who are actually on the ground on this issue are bound to be much more sensible and more moderate and avoid making ridiculous claims, but the government officials and media are not moderate.

    Here’s an interesting section:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpCNYbOmhVs&feature=related

  212. Sean,

    I need to clarify my last post.

    The importance of the C02 feedback has to do with the claims of “catastrophic” or “abrupt” global warming.

    The current rising temperatures have not, yet, initiated the release of CO2 stored in natural sinks (Oceans in particular, see Wunsch). The claims for abrupt changes, however, include these types of releases once warming reaches a tipping point. Current uncertainty about the sensitivity of the system make projections difficult, but the best estimates seem to indicate that we may reach the temperatures whereby the naturally stored carbon (and other GHG) will be released at the current rate of temperature increase by 2050 or so. It is once this feedback cycle begins that the warming becomes self-sustaining and leads to the more serious consequences. If the AGW hypothesis is correct, and we can reduce our CO2 emissions soon enough, we can avoid this worst case scenario. The current evidence points towards the truth of the AGW hypothesis involving CO2, and gives us a mechanism to avoid the worst case scenario. If the 2050 estimate is correct for that tipping point, it also provides us with a time-frame for action.

    The IPCC, and innumerable reporters!

    When, specifically, did the IPCC make this claim…more importantly, what was the specific claim that they made?

    cause necessarily must come before effect so it’s an even more egregious mistake to ignore chronology.

    Again, what claim are you refuting here? The claim is that once the C02 was released, you see increased warming. Not that there is no other factors involved in any particular warming cycle. The lag(s) indicate that there were other factors involved in previous warming cycles. They do not, however, refute the claim that the current temperature increase is being driven by the greenhouse effect of human C02 emissions. This is why the GGWS’s claim is a strawman.

    Be careful in your dismissals because they will come back to bite you in the ass… GGWS is oversimplified, so is An Inconvenient Truth

    I have not seen An Inconvenient Truth and have, therefore, made no claims based on it. What’s your point?

    Simplified discussion doesn’t necessarily mean misrepresentation of data though.

    True, which is why I highlighted the misrepresentations the GGWS has been accused of by the scientists whose work they are using.

    I will, again, highlight the fact that Friis-Chistensen, whose work you cite above does not see it in any way as a refutation of the contribution of anthropogenic greenhouse gases to 20th century global warming. The use of his work by the GGWS to refute that contribution is a misrepresentation, not an over-simplification.

  213. I might remind you of the days of global doom-and-gloom surrounding the impending ice-age, because of the downward moving climate.

    These days never existed.
    They are a fiction.
    You’ve been hoodwinked again.

  214. The greens claim that the 70s ice-age thing is just a myth because there was no IPCC or overwhelming “consensus” presented about it. That doesn’t make it fiction though. Many reporters ran stories on global cooling and problems associated with an impending ice-age. It’s a little hard to claim people have been “hoodwinked” when you can simply go to youtube and find copies of the newscasts!

    So… no. Wrong.

    By the way, I made that comment in order to point out that there was a widely recognized downturn in temperature for 30 years or so – conspicuously during the period of the fastest increase in CO2 emissions. That doesn’t fit the theory at all – though it might fit a more naturalistic perspective.

    And scroll up for IPCC/news alarmism! I mean really man – I took the time to compile a list with links because you’d asked for them the last time, the least you could do is go up and read them. I can find dozens more if you want or pull from my own stack of articles, but it actually takes a lot of time finding quote after quote. Besides, have you been living under a rock the last 10 years? You’re making me dig up quotes to prove something that is easily observed if you spend a couple hours watching CNN on almost any day of the week.

  215. And I’m not here to argue GGWS, or An Inconvenient Truth – both are have inaccuracies and both present their cases from their own viewpoints. The point I made about that was not about the broadcast, but that as far as an Inconvenient Truth and such things go, that’s where the average person gets the information on this topic they use to form their opinions. And it’s presented in a very one-sided way throughout the media.

  216. Sean,

    I took the time to compile a list with links because you’d asked for them the last time, the least you could do is go up and read them.

    I not only read them, I commented on them.
    https://www.reason.com/blog/show/123579.html#838952

    You don’t need to convince me that the media have a problem with reporting on science. I have already said as much. I do think, however, it is important to distinguish between the reporting, the statements by non-IPCC members of the UN, the IPCC press releases, and the IPCC reports.

    By the way, I made that comment in order to point out that there was a widely recognized downturn in temperature for 30 years or so – conspicuously during the period of the fastest increase in CO2 emissions. That doesn’t fit the theory at all – though it might fit a more naturalistic perspective.

    It is, in fact, one of the pieces of empirical evidence that has to be accounted for in any serious model of global warming. The current theories have no trouble accounting for this data (c.f.,sulfate aerosols/volcanic cooling). Why would you assume that they don’t?

  217. Sean,

    Many reporters ran stories on global cooling and problems associated with an impending ice-age. It’s a little hard to claim people have been “hoodwinked” when you can simply go to youtube and find copies of the newscasts!

    So… no. Wrong.

    “Many reporters ran stories” is much different than “the days of global doom-and-gloom.” I’ll stick with my statement that those days are a myth.

    Was there reporting on the possibility? Yes. Was it widely reported? maybe… (I certainly don’t recall much coverage). Was it taken seriously? Nope.

    Why do I point that out?
    Because you are making a comparison between apples and elephants. Do you really find that argument both germane and compelling? Really?

  218. I find the argument germane to the issue that it was addressing – which is that the global climate took a downturn in the 50s-70s and people recognized it to the extent that some postulated the possibility of an on coming ice-age. I’ll rescind the usage of “doom-and-gloom”, but you’re really just nitpicking at something that is entirely beyond the point.

    I’m not comparing apples to elephants because I’m not comparing the warnings of the ice-age in the 70s to global warming concerns today. I’m pointing out that the climate cooled when by all accounts it should have been warming with the industrial boom’s sharp increase in CO2 emissions. If CO2 is the direct cause of warmer climate then we should have seen 25 years of warming at a roughly comparable rate to the increase in emissions during that period. That didn’t happen. I mentioned the ice-age prediction because the cooling trend was significant enough for some people to get (needlessly) concerned about it.

    The trouble is, when you back yourself into a corner claiming that a particular hypothesis is extremely robust, then the data really needs to support it as such. It’s really quite simple, if CO2 is the driving force behind climate change, increases in CO2 should produce warming regardless of the mitigating factors. This is the essential argument of AGW after all – that human-produced CO2 causes so much more climate change than any other factor that solar and other factors aren’t even an issue.

    But there’s an inherent contradiction to that idea in the data if CO2 lags behind warming and if the climate can be shown to move inversely to the CO2 levels. Am I supposed to just throw that data out and assume a correlation anyway? From what I can tell, the record clearly has a significant lag and isn’t even that precisely fit in the first place given events like the 1950-1975 cooling. Even if as you said, the CO2 operates in a feedback cycle, that still doesn’t make it the cause of warming but at best a contributing factor and at worst just a by-product. If I were to shout into a microphone while standing in front of an amplified speaker, it wouldn’t be the speaker that caused the feed back loop. The cause is actually much more complex, originating with an action outside the system (me shouting) and continuing only as a by-product of the system itself. Feedback loops of any kind require a first-cause, and if the data showed the CO2 came first, then you’d have a case, but at least in the case of the ice-core data, it doesn’t. Besides which, entropy guarantees that in nature, any feedback loop eventually dies out. Humanity may be contributing to the CO2 and in a sense contributing to the overall energy of the loop (thus increasing the length of time it can cycle before dying out), but that isn’t the same thing as being the one to step up to the microphone. The equivalent analogy would be a rock singer blaming the power company for the obnoxious squeals coming out of the PA. Or more accurately (since humans don’t produce all of the CO2 in the atmosphere) blaming the executive management of the power company and no one else.

    If you take into account chronology of events and the recent cooling period in spite of the increase in CO2, then you simply can’t state that there is a causal relationship, much less even a very solid direct correlation.

    That I do find compelling.

  219. Sean,

    That was almost a scientific argument.

    It has a few flaws in it, however.

    If CO2 is the direct cause of warmer climate then we should have seen 25 years of warming at a roughly comparable rate to the increase in emissions during that period.

    This assumes a much less complex relationship between c02 and warming than that claimed in the AGW theory. No one claims that global climate is solely determined by c02.

    It’s really quite simple, if CO2 is the driving force behind climate change, increases in CO2 should produce warming regardless of the mitigating factors.

    To an extent you are correct here, except that you can have other forces, e.g., sulfate aerosols, that have a cooling effect. If the cooling effect is stronger than the warming effect you get an overall cooling. The increased c02 moderates the degree of cooling, but when you have two independent (or even interacting) factors which can vary in degree of influence, there is no logical reason to assume that one will dominate the other no matter what. The more complex and chaotic the system, the more this is true.

    This is the essential argument of AGW after all – that human-produced CO2 causes so much more climate change than any other factor that solar and other factors aren’t even an issue.

    This is a misrepresentation of the scientific claim. Are you being disingenuous, or do you really not know what the IPCC/ AGW science says?

    But there’s an inherent contradiction to that idea in the data if CO2 lags behind warming and if the climate can be shown to move inversely to the CO2 levels. Am I supposed to just throw that data out and assume a correlation anyway?

    No. You are supposed to look at the claim in more detail so you can understand what is being claimed.

    Let’s look at your microphone feedback claim.
    Your claim is that the singer is the “cause” of the feedback. Being a musician, I’ll take a bit of issue with that since it really has more to do with microphone/speaker placement, but we can say that the singer is the “source” of the sound, the energy source, that starts the feedback cycle going.

    In past events, some energy source (the singer in your analogy) triggered a warming cycle that started the feedback loop.

    But, try this some time, take a microphone, place it near the speakers without singing into it and turn up the amp. There will be feedback that is generated by inherent background noise/energy in the system. The current situation is closer to that. Human c02 emissions are increasing the background energy in the system (greenhouse effect, you acknowledge the greenhouse effect I assume, is the volume knob in the analogy). At some point in the future, as this background energy increases, it will reach a point where it triggers the feedback cycle.

    Besides which, entropy guarantees that in nature, any feedback loop eventually dies out.

    True. To sustain the feedback you would need to keep pumping c02 into the atmosphere. If we are the cause of the increased energy in the system, we can also be the energy source needed to sustain that feedback loop. The consequences of the massive warming in this worst case scenario, however, makes it unlikely that we would be able to sustain economic output at a level to sustain our current levels of input into the system, so it will solve itself. We can avoid this worst case scenario by reducing our input prior to reaching the feedback loop. Like a sound man turning down the volume on the amp to avoid the feedback.

    If you take into account chronology of events and the recent cooling period in spite of the increase in CO2, then you simply can’t state that there is a causal relationship, much less even a very solid direct correlation.

    You can if you understand the science of complex systems even a little.

    Regarding the treehugger.com article, I agree with many of it’s main points – though it seems wayyyyy more libertarian than any of the mainstream greens I’ve ever heard talk about policy.

    Treehugger.com is pretty representative of the main body of the environmental movement. I will say again that libertarians should see the environmental movement as a partner that shares many goals with them. Environmental issues can be the lever that helps the libertarian movement wrench back the increasing power of government. If libertarian solutions improve the environmental situation, they will be supported by greens. Greens are pragmatic and goal/outcome oriented.

    Higher energy costs due to the removal of subsidies and increased competition through free-markets would also spur growth and philosophical shifts in other areas.

    I agree with this to a degree, but I am not yet convinced that removal of the subsidies for fossil fuel will do enough to internalize the costs of fossil fuels in the market. It seems that our current markets place to value (negative) on waste, and as such, there is no pricing penalty for waste. How would you internalize the emissions into the market?

  220. Ack…

    make that

    It seems that our current markets fail to place to value (negative) on waste

  221. Being a musician, I’ll take a bit of issue with that since it really has more to do with microphone/speaker placement, but we can say that the singer is the “source” of the sound, the energy source, that starts the feedback cycle going.

    You’re entering my world man… so – being a professional musician, I can tell you that that is an apt analogy. As I said, it’s the system itself that produces the loop, but it still requires a first cause. It’s a mistake to say that the speakers cause the loop without an external cause – the speakers only act as an amplifying agent to whatever external sounds the microphones are picking up. Now, some speakers do produce enough electrical noise for a microphone (if close enough) to produce feedback, but again, the point is that it’s the external noise which precipitates the loop. The noise could be the electrical hum from the speakers or a singer or a rat crawling across the microphone cable shaking the mic stand enough for the mic to pick up some noise, but rest assured, noise is needed. I kind of like this analogy because it presupposes a highly complex system in play like the one being debated.

    The consequences of the massive warming in this worst case scenario, however, makes it unlikely that we would be able to sustain economic output at a level to sustain our current levels of input into the system,

    And you explain the Medieval Warming Periods boom in economic growth how exactly? When we’ve experienced warming in the past, we have some evidence to show that it was a very positive influence.

    You can if you understand the science of complex systems even a little.

    You still can’t – just because a system is complex doesn’t mean that there isn’t a required order for a causal link to be found. Furthermore, the whole idea that it’s a highly complex system was my entire point! AGW assumes that CO2 is the driving factor – so much so that all other factors are mitigated. In the feedback loop example, it assumes we’re dumping so much CO2 into the atmosphere that the feedback loop will grow on its own. That should have been true in the 60s. If CO2 increases haven’t produced a consistent increase in temperature (and indeed have within 50 years been associated with a downturn in global temperature) then we need to realize that CO2 can’t be driving the change. Of course CO2 can play a role as a significant greenhouse gas, but the chronology does matter.

    I’m not saying CO2 isn’t a factor, AGW people are however saying that CO2 is so much of a factor none of the other natural processes are significant anymore – hence “anthropogenic”.

    You have to see that the whole premise is flawed – obviously natural factors are still playing an important role. You recognize that it’s an inherently complex system yet you’re ok with accepting a hypothesis that is demonstrably incomplete. And here we are pushing major societal changes based on something that within even 50 years can be shown to not really fit the concept very well.

    I get that the system is complex, and I get that in incredibly complex systems, causes are sometimes hard to pinpoint because there are rarely (if ever) any singular causes to be found. That’s been my point about this whole issue though!

    AGW assumes, if not a singular cause, that one cause dominates all the other possibilities. I don’t think you can legitimately show that though.

    I think it’s far more likely that there is focus on the CO2 because that’s the thing that people seem to have the most control over. I think I mentioned this a while back, but science – and funding for science – is really about the technology that science gives us. No one is particularly going to be interested (scientists included in a lot of cases) in research that doesn’t contribute to the technology.

    I don’t really know how to convince you that this isn’t paranoid or cynical or conspiratorial in nature, but it’s not. It’s just how people are… And as far as I’m concerned that’s perfectly understandable. If scientists were out there saying (and some are) that climate is an amazingly complex system and there are tons of different causes to global warming. People’s reaction is going to be this: First, to ask “if the globe is warming, is that a problem?” The scientist then replies, “I believe it’s a problem” so the second question is, “What can we do about it?”

    That’s how it works. The alternative is going to be, no, global warming probably isn’t that big of a deal – to which the average person replies “Oh, that’s nice. How interesting.” or, global warming is a big problem but there’s probably nothing we can do about it – “Oh no!”

    People on the whole would much prefer to believe that they are in control of their existence – weather included.

    The way most people (non-scientists) understand and have been presented AGW is that if they reduce their CO2 emissions, the earth will cool. Most people have no understanding of the copmplexity of the system. I think they’re being misled to think that the system is overly simple and that first causes are clearly known – when the data just doesn’t support it.

    So… I think that was a few tangents more than I’d intended, but real quick, I’ll get to the economics of this:

    Correct me if I’m wrong but you seem to want negative incentives to be placed on waste because simply removing the positive incentives isn’t enough to get people to change, yes?

    Well… first of all, as pragmatic an argument as that would be, historically, policies to that effect only prove worse for everyone involved. I could pick on recycling for example, which in an effort to reduce “waste” has to be government sponsored – not because people don’t want to recycle on their own, but because it is actually an inefficient process which contributes more pollution to the environment (factoring in the transportation and processing of the materials) than it reduces. If it were an efficient process, companies would be in the business of capitalizing on recyclables – it would easily be an industry. In fact, some recycled materials are industrialized when more efficient – restaurant grease for example is purchased by many companies with which to make biodiesel.

    The main problem I see with the use of government to force changes like this by punishing people for doing certain (legal) activities – aside from the moral argument, which is much more compelling to me than the pragmatic ones actually – is that governments don’t have the direct knowledge, resources or even the ability to operate autonomously enough to act quickly and change as they need to.

    The recycling issue exemplifies how governments, in the name of doing something that’s in everyone’s best interest, actually can get it wrong in a big way. Then the real problem becomes, government is such a lumbering bureaucratic beast, and isn’t really affected by market forces (not directly anyway) that when it does something like that, it can’t backtrack very well.

    To a degree I think you have it actually 180 degrees backward. Capitalism as a system already punishes waste. Raw materials are expensive, space is expensive, transportation is expensive – no successful company is blind to those concerns. Companies aren’t interested in waste because they can’t afford to be. Especially manufacturing companies, but I’ve never not worked in an office where they don’t talk about making sure we don’t waste office supplies. And speaking for myself as a small-business owner, I am always mindful of buying things I don’t need.

    So first, the negative value is inherent to the free-market.

    Government’s however, which take their revenue by force, have no such immediate concerns. Sure, people can vote for the politicians they think will waste the least, or politicians can write policy that they think will help reduce waste – and department heads are always concerned about that kind of thing as good managers ought to be. But the bottom line is, when all is said and done, governments can simply raise taxes or borrow against the collective wealth of the country.

    Granting government more regulatory power in order to create a negative incentive against CO2 emissions is going to be great for government and expansion of powers, but (looking historically at governments) almost entirely useless for CO2 emissions.

    The incentives are there anyway. Gas is expensive, it would get significantly more expensive with no subsidies. It’s important to no be looking at this issue just through your own eyes based on how much you’re gas expenses would increase – instead look at it through the eyes of the shipping industry, or the airlines. If you think they’re going to just absorb the billions in extra expense, I think you’d be kidding yourself.

  222. …and I forgot to mention – environmental concerns are a factor in people’s purchasing decisions.

    So not only would people be reducing their dependence on fossil fuels due to sheerly bottom-line, economic concerns, if they believe that they’re helping the environment (which is an easy case to make), they feel better about themselves as well.

    Don’t discount the way people feel when they make decisions – without getting into the neuroscience (which I find particularly interesting), emotions play very role in establishing memories and habits. Ad agencies (who I periodically work for) know this very very well.

    We’re actually getting into my home-turf on this issue… neat.

    (The appearance of) Environmentalism is now a driving market force. People’s shopping decisions have always been tied into their values – now, environmentalism is a value that is easily at the forefront of most people’s minds. The key is, as I said earlier, to use government to make sure that people aren’t being duped by the more unscrupulous individuals who’d prey on people’s environmental concerns dishonestly.

    Oh, by the way – treehugger.com may very well be representative, but that particular article was, I maintain, much more libertarian than any environmentalist I have ever personally met or debated with. Perhaps my sample groups being largely from New York City and Portland, OR are skewed.

  223. I going to repeat some of what Sean W. Malone said above in a slightly different way.

    We have a global climate record from the mid-30’s to the mid-70’s that shows a marked cooling trend (that’s darn near 40 years!)

    We have atmospheric concentrations of CO2 from the mid-1800’s to present that, quite happily, cover the same time frame as the cooling trend.

    So, suppose it’s 1968 and you got a student deferment to study global cooling. What would you conclude? Quite right, you’d conclude, and have the data to support it, that rising CO2 concentrations caused global cooling.

    Now, fast forward to 1996, you’re working on your graduate degree (all those bong hits took a toll). You dust off your prior study, update it and… uh oh…

    How do you explain the warming trend that started after 1975?

    Do you conclude that:
    1) rises in CO2 levels cause global cooling until a threshold level is reached and above that level rises in CO2 levels cause global warming?
    2) rises in CO2 do cause global cooling but other factors caused the warming?
    3) you should return to the bong

    The manmade global warming crowd would have me believe that something else (like global dimming) caused the 40 year cool down but that rises in CO2 concentrations caused the majority of the warming after 1975. My question is why can’t other factors be in play if they were in play before? Why can’t we suggest that the cooling trend was caused by air pollution, which caused global dimming, and all of the efforts in the 60’s and 70’s to eliminate smog and other pollutants (my lungs thank you) and the cleaner air reflected less light back into space which resulted in global warming?

    Yeah, it’s far-fetched but if “other factors” explain away the cooling trend then why are those “other factors” so quickly dismissed in the warming trend and man-emitted CO2 identified as the single most likely cause? I know the IPCC claims to have investigated “other factors” but they’ve been fixated on CO2 from the start. And, if the other factor is the sun, the UN would have nothing to regulate and tax. I smell a conflict of interest… or, maybe that’s just my cynical nature.

  224. Thank you Curly! It’s nice to have some back up on here… I’ve thus far been labeled paranoid, cynical and conspiratorially minded for pointing out that the IPCC and other government agencies wouldn’t have anything to “do” without a man-made link though, so watch out!

  225. Sean, no problem. I’m old enough to remember coming ice age that never came but the global warming circus reminds me more of the Swine Flu non-epidemic in 1976. The excerpts from the following article show glaring similarities to the current “debate”. Note the consensus of the experts in the next to last paragraph.

    A Shot in the Dark: Swine Flu’s Vaccine Lessons

    By David Brown
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Monday, May 27, 2002; Page A09

    Twenty-six years ago, the United States government got word that a deadly virus nobody had seen for years – and which experts thought was gone forever – was possibly circulating again.

    There wasn’t any proof it was back, just a few worrisome hints. However, the microbe had killed millions of people earlier in the century, so even a small amount of evidence had to be taken seriously. So, at great effort and expense, the government launched a plan to vaccinate the American population against the virus.

    It seemed like a good idea at the time. But it turned into one of the biggest public health debacles in memory.

    According to various accounts, the idea that a swine flu epidemic was quite unlikely never received a full airing or a fair hearing, although numerous experts apparently held that view. Instead, the notion that an epidemic was likely enough to warrant population-wide vaccination grew from dominant opinion to unquestioned gospel.

    At the same time, the rhetoric of risk suffered steady inflation as the topic moved from the mouths of scientists to the mouths of government officials. In a memo prepared for his superiors at the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW), David Sencer, head of the CDC, talked about the “strong possibility” of a swine flu epidemic. Later, HEW’s general counsel commented that “the chances seem to be 1 in 2.” A memo from the HEW secretary to the head of the Office of Management and Budget noted that “the projections are that this virus will kill one million Americans in 1976.”

    [as Glenn would say, read the whole thing]

  226. Sean,

    Re: speaker hum.

    I don’t see how you can conclude that speaker hum is external to the microphone/speaker system.

    noise is needed

    And all systems contain some internal noise.

    When you increase the energy in the system, the noise increases (not typically a linear function, but it will increase). Don’t want to stretch the analogy too far (I do think it is a good one), but we are mainly arguing about the degree to which we have our hand on the volume knob.

    You still can’t – just because a system is complex doesn’t mean that there isn’t a required order for a causal link to be found.

    I never said that temporal order was not part of a causal link. The mistake in logic is to assume that because there was a primary cause for the warming that preceded the CO2 feedback loop (which leads to increased warming beyond that caused by the primary cause) , that THEREFORE, there must be a primary cause other than c02 in THIS warming cycle.

    The context has changed.
    In complex systems, context matters, A LOT.

    AGW assumes, if not a singular cause, that one cause dominates all the other possibilities. I don’t think you can legitimately show that though.

    Now we are getting closer to a realistic depiction of the claim. C02 is currently the primary warming agent driving the change in the system. There are many factors (some not well understood) that warm and cool the earth, but one of them, c02-a warming agent, has been increasing at unprecedented rates. Even though it is typically a weak warming agent, the changing balance of warming to cooling it causes is the primary driver of the current warming. This conclusion comes from careful consideration of all the other important factors. AGW has been put up against many risky tests that proposed other factors as the primary driver. It has withstood those tests.

    Why can’t we suggest that the cooling trend was caused by air pollution, which caused global dimming, and all of the efforts in the 60’s and 70’s to eliminate smog and other pollutants (my lungs thank you) and the cleaner air reflected less light back into space which resulted in global warming?

    That is not too far off from what the science shows. It just ignores the warming effect of the increasing c02 that was part of the system the whole time. BOTH this statement and the C02 claim are put forward at the same time. No one ever said it was simple.

    In the feedback loop example, it assumes we’re dumping so much CO2 into the atmosphere that the feedback loop will grow on its own.

    Temporal order does matter. We have not yet reached the temperatures that will start the c02 feedback loop. That is the “catastrophic warming” that the IPCC warns about. It has not happened yet.

    That should have been true in the 60s. If CO2 increases haven’t produced a consistent increase in temperature (and indeed have within 50 years been associated with a downturn in global temperature) then we need to realize that CO2 can’t be driving the change.

    Not “associated” in a strict sense. “Concurrent with,” “a moderating factor during,” something like that would be a more appropriate way to describe the empirical data. If properly characterized, there is not reason to erroneously conclude that “that CO2 can’t be driving the [current] change.”

    I’m not saying CO2 isn’t a factor, AGW people are however saying that CO2 is so much of a factor none of the other natural processes are significant anymore – hence “anthropogenic”.

    I think there is a subtlety missing here. No serious person says the natural processes are not significant anymore. In fact, it is the natural process and their likely reaction to human activity that are discussed as the source of the greatest danger. The warming caused by anthropogenic c02 is only dangerous because it may trigger much larger and more powerful natural forces that we can’t control. The degree of sensitivity in the system is the primary area of uncertainty, but the bulk of the evidence seems to indicate that, like most chaotic systems, the global climate is sensitive to small changes.

    No one is particularly going to be interested (scientists included in a lot of cases) in research that doesn’t contribute to the technology.

    As a working scientist in an applied field, I must disagree.

    You recognize that it’s an inherently complex system yet you’re ok with accepting a hypothesis that is demonstrably incomplete.

    All scientific theories are demonstrably incomplete. I am comfortable with that because that is how science works. It is not like the theory of AGW has not been put up against some risky tests. It has. It has moved from a plausible scenario to a theory with a large body of supporting evidence. Some of the specific hypotheses that support the theory are not “incomplete” at all. Some are. On the whole, however, the theory of AGW wins out against all alternatives so far presented.

    Now, onto policy…

    Correct me if I’m wrong but you seem to want negative incentives to be placed on waste because simply removing the positive incentives isn’t enough to get people to change, yes?

    It would be more accurate to say that I am skeptical about markets internalizing the cost of dumping c02 into the commons given that they never have in the past. In addition, I think you over-estimate the increased cost of fossil fuel that would result from removing subsidies. If markets won’t internalize the costs of dumping waste into the commons (they never have in the past), then this might be a place where governments can set up mechanisms to internalize those costs into markets.

    Look at the proposal in “Natural Capitalism” that I reference up thread. With a quibble or two, I think they’ve got the policy proposals about right. They are very market oriented.

    As for companies and their concern about waste. That is a company by company, industry by industry issue. Often companies don’t even recognize that there are more efficient ways to do things. You talk about neuroscience…precedence is a powerful force in the way people solve problems. If something has been done one way in the past, it often takes a pretty strong incentive to change, even if that change can be demonstrated to be beneficial.

    For an example of a company that has taken this to heart, look into interface carpets…
    http://www.interfaceinc.com/goals/sustainability_overview.html

    They are kicking the competition’s ass because they broke from precedence. As a result, they have moved their entire industry towards a more sustainable model.

    Other industries may need a nudge to get going in this direction. The more private groups (see the Rocky Mountain Institute) can work to get these kinds of changes going, the less government will be needed to provide that nudge.

    emotions play very role in establishing memories and habits.

    Read Antonio R. Damasio if you haven’t. He would agree.

    the idea that a swine flu epidemic was quite unlikely never received a full airing or a fair hearing, although numerous experts apparently held that view.

    This is where your story differs from the AGW debate. The contrarian views have been given a full airing. In fact, they used to be the dominate view. It was those proposing AGW that had to struggle to be heard at first. As evidence piled up, however…well you know the rest.

  227. Curly

    Yeah, it’s far-fetched but if “other factors” explain away the cooling trend then why are those “other factors” so quickly dismissed in the warming trend and man-emitted CO2 identified as the single most likely cause? I know the IPCC claims to have investigated “other factors” but they’ve been fixated on CO2 from the start. And, if the other factor is the sun, the UN would have nothing to regulate and tax. I smell a conflict of interest… or, maybe that’s just my cynical nature.

    I will, to please Sean, call you paranoid for holding this view.

    Many of the most powerful governments in the world have a direct interest in maintaining the status quo and avoiding regulatory solutions. The paranoid aspect of this view is the belief that governments are motivated by a desire to regulate. They are motivated to get or maintain advantage over other countries. The current leading polluters are very powerful players. To maintain their advantage, they actively work against regulatory solutions. They are members of the IPCC. It is the view that a body consisting of hundreds of countries would settle on a monolithic view as if all governments exist solely for the purpose of regulating that makes this view paranoid. The government members of the IPCC have conflicting interests in the outcomes in regards to whether we should “do something.”

    The IPCC gets criticized as a tool for government from both the “do something” and the “do nothing” crowd. In this environment, they have worked hard to keep the process open, rigorous, and scientific. On the whole they have been more successful than not in that attempt.

  228. Sean-

    Okay,

    One last elaboration of the Speaker, Amp, Microphone, Soundman analogy of AGW…

    As you know, when a soundman is actually guarding against feedback, it is not only the volume knob that he adjusts. Any quality PA will also have an EQ in the system. A soundman, recognizing the complexities involved, will adjust the EQ to find the configuration that avoids the feedback without sacrificing the quality of the output-optimizing gain may involve reducing gain at certain frequency bands below the baseline, while increasing others above the baseline.

    Policy proposals regarding AGW are analogous to this. Which elements need to be decreased, which increased, which held steady in order to optimize the output of the system (think economic output) without driving the system towards feedback.

    Usually, the soundman only needs to make large adjustments in one or two frequency bands. Other factors can be tweaked with very small adjustments.

    The current science supports making the largest adjustments in the “CO2” frequency band as other factors are relatively stable and don’t look to be driving the system towards feedback. Methane is a band that may need adjusting as well. Curly already brought up the impact that adjusting the smog band had…it improved the quality of the sound, but moved us closer to feedback. It is a complex problem, recognized as complex by any serious person, that will require an iterative process of small adjustments to find the optimal solution (again, think about how a good soundman works).

    There are usually many solutions the soundman can use to avoid feedback, but in any context, there are mandatory components of that solution (reducing gain at 8,000hz, say). In our current context, it seems that the c02 band is the mandatory adjustment that needs to be made. It will take time to find the appropriate configuration around that adjustment to optimize the solution.

    Why wait. The closer you are to the feedback, the harder it is to find that solution, particularly when you consider the time delay in any adjustment made in the context of global climate.

  229. Neu Mejican, you say:

    The paranoid aspect of this view is the belief that governments are motivated by a desire to regulate.

    The current leading polluters are very powerful players. To maintain their advantage, they actively work against regulatory solutions.

    So companies are working against regulatory standards that are set by governments who have no desire to regulate? How about that smoking ban? Trans-fat ban? Incandescent light bulb ban? Boutique fuels? Utilities – you know, regulated monopolies? I could continue listing all sorts of regulations that cover every aspect of life but I’d wear out my keyboard. The only thing that governments don’t regulate is the number of regulations.

    Governments exist to acquire and grow power and they accomplish the goals by various means. The United States is the only country that explicitly restricts the power of the central government (fat lot of good it’s done). Why would the founders have done that if the government was only “motivated to get or maintain advantage over other countries”?

    Take a look at the real world, forget the idealized utopia. Listen to the Presidential candidates as they talk about healthcare mandates. Wouldn’t you consider those regulations? Isn’t the tax code a massive pile of regulation?

  230. Oh, and one more thing Neu Mejican, companies really don’t care the cost of regulation because all of the compliance costs will be passed on to the consumer. They care about uneven regulation since that puts them at a competitive disadvantage. They will fight new regulations because they know they’ll be blamed for the additional costs the consumer will face, the politicians, and their new regulations, never take the blame. That doesn’t mean all regulation is bad, it just means that regulations carry a cost that the consumer, not the company, will pay.

  231. but we are mainly arguing about the degree to which we have our hand on the volume knob.

    We don’t have our hands on the volume knob at all, that’s the problem. At best, we only have our hands on a dimmer switch that can increase or decrease the amount of power to the speaker by a relatively small degree. We can’t even shut it off entirely.

    And assuming humanity has the power analogous to a soundman is saying that we have a vast amount of control over our environment – I doubt it’s possible to get any more solipsistic than that. And it’s a pretty poor analogy to boot.

    Sound engineers have the benefit of creating the system and the only thing they can’t control is what actually goes into the microphone. Humans have almost the exact opposite amount of control over the environment. IF we understand the CO2 relationship correctly, which is doubtful, then all we really have control over is the amount o amplifying power over the loop. We don’t create the system, we can’t set it in motion, we aren’t able to monitor the various links in the chain – hell, we don’t even know what all the links in the chain are! We don’t have our fingers hovering over the sliders of a cosmic mixing board. If you want to use this analogy, the best we could really do at all is reduce some of the power being sent to the speakers.

    Part of this comes down to the ridiculous idea that people are some how masters of the universe and what we do is the only thing that matters. It’s not. There are much more powerful forces out there than humanity.

    Many of the most powerful governments in the world have a direct interest in maintaining the status quo and avoiding regulatory solutions.

    No, actually every government in the world ALWAYS has a direct interest in regulatory solutions. Whether or not a government is directly interested in regulating CO2 and other environmental concerns may have something to do with which specific interests they are playing to, but governments exist solely to regulate.

    Hence: government.

    Now, you can keep blathering on about how most government out there are interested in maintaining the status quo on the environment but maybe you’d want to look up from your computer every so often and observe the world around you! Every government is talking about this issue. The INTERGOVERNMENTAL panel on climate change is making sweeping recommendations – and it’s been nearly 10 years since Kyoto.

    Governments are interested in regulation – and the United States is a very very rare breed of government which actually has some protections against the expansion of power. Other governments need far less than environmental fear mongering to shove their regulatory hands into other places.

    And since you continue to call me and others paranoid and cynical, perhaps it’s time I started calling you willfully ignorant of history and the governmental process. Look around you sir and take 9 seconds to understand the fundamental premises on which all governments derive their power. Then talk to me about “everyone wants to maintain the status quo”.

    The status quo can even be maintained for certain interested groups while simultaneously regulating the shit out of these sorts of things. It’s not like laws are applied across the board! Politicians can leave loopholes for major businesses just as easily as anything else. Go read some tax law for examples of this.

    The IPCC is going to be criticized by the “do-something” crowd because many people in that crowd are alarmists for whom nothing is going to be enough anyway! Many of these people (sometimes I think yourself included Mejican) seem to believe we’re on the verge of world disaster. If I thought that, I’d be screaming that no one was doing enough too.

    Now…
    As a working scientist in an applied field, I must disagree.

    And your funding comes from where exactly? A mystical money-tree no doubt disinterested in any of the products of your research? Perhaps a generous benefactor who just likes to know things for the sake of knowing?

    I think most people realize that science has to go through a number of steps before anything useful comes out of it, and that the expansion of human knowledge has beneficial results almost no matter what. But that doesn’t change the fact that more funds and more energy are expended towards the use of science to develop technology that people deem useful. People don’t study medicine just for the hell of it, they study it to find cures for diseases – to develop technology used to make people healthy.

    Federal funding even more-so is going to go to research that can be deemed “in the public interest”. This is not to say that many federally funded studies have been done on asinine topics – one I recall coming out last year for example studied the effectiveness of prayer on hospitalized patients. But anytime grants are given, investments made and paychecks doled out are for people doing work that is beneficial to humanity. That’s how this all works. You, as a scientist working in an applied field, might be interested in the research just because you enjoy the quest for new information.

    Miles Davis played with his back to the audience most of the time because he was only interested in his personal development. Miles Davis got paid because everybody else found joy from his personal development.

    Science for the sake of science is great, but you’re completely deluding yourself if you think anyone else gives a shit unless they can derive useful technology (or in rare cases, joy) from it.

    The contrarian views have been given a full airing. In fact, they used to be the dominate view.

    In what universe? Contrarian views are met with name-calling, one-sided and mis-representative scrutiny, and sneering opponents who immediately lash out at anyone who says anything against CO2.

    Actually a lot like this thread has gone in a lot of ways.

    Fortunately, living in America, I have a fine amount of freedom where you can call me names and I can say what I want to say and make the points I want to make without to much reprisal, but then, this is just a small forum read by a few dozen people at most.

    And I can’t be fired from my job for these views because the field I work in could care less what I think about it. Many people have lost their jobs over this issue though. Many people are regularly called “deniers” or “dissenters” or as you so charmingly put it “cranks”. And again, I will point out, Al Gore (who isn’t even any kind of scientist at all) has won awards worldwide for presenting the AGW case.

    So yeah… you’re absolutely right… pro AGW people have it so hard. Except, you know, within the past 15-20 years or so.

    It is not like the theory of AGW has not been put up against some risky tests.

    What “risky” tests? First off, risky? Secondly, nearly all I’ve ever seen are computer models.

    Finally, because I have to leave for meetings all day in a few minutes:

    I think you over-estimate the increased cost of fossil fuel that would result from removing subsidies.

    Without federal & state subsidies, the cost of gas in the US would be well over $15.00 per gallon according to the International Centre
    for Technology Assessment.

    If anything, I underestimate the cost.

    It would take me slightly longer than the time I have available at this moment to find estimates of the amount of fuel used by the shipping industry on a yearly basis, but if the cost of fuel without subsidies is 500% of what it is currently (as a low estimate assuming only $15.00 a gallon which is low & $3.00 with subsidies which is a bit high on average)…

    Multiply that 500% increase across the scale which the shipping industry alone uses and needs fuel and you’ll find some pretty powerful incentives to find a cheaper alternative. I also don’t know whether or not the $15.00 figure takes into consideration government expenses related to the procurement of oil in dangerous places and wars in the middle east which are at least in part related to the protection of oil as a resource.

    The free-market will do an immensely better job finding solutions to energy inefficiency. It would be nice if it had been allowed to function competitively for the past 80 years or so… my speculation is, if it had, technology would be a hell of a lot different now.

  232. Internet Hi-Five Curly!

    You:
    Governments exist to acquire and grow power and they accomplish the goals by various means. The United States is the only country that explicitly restricts the power of the central government (fat lot of good it’s done). Why would the founders have done that if the government was only “motivated to get or maintain advantage over other countries”?

    Me:
    “Governments are interested in regulation – and the United States is a very very rare breed of government which actually has some protections against the expansion of power. Other governments need far less than environmental fear mongering to shove their regulatory hands into other places.”

  233. Ooh… nice… quick statistics!

    As of 2005, Oil Industry data shows the US alone used 21,930,000 barrels of oil per day.

    About 20 gallons of gasoline per barrel

    =438,600,000 gallons of gasoline

    that figure at $3.00 per gallon:

    $1,315,800,000 per day

    at $15.00 per gallon:

    $6,579,000,000 per day

    yeah…. big difference as it turns out.

  234. Curly,

    Governments exist to acquire and grow power

    Like I said, paranoid…

    =;^)

    Sean,

    Some nitpicks.

    First, if your numbers are accurate, and I am skeptical of them, then removing subsidies should be sufficient. Are you actually lambasting me for being skeptical? Are you calling me a subsidy denier ;^)

    Part of this comes down to the ridiculous idea that people are some how masters of the universe and what we do is the only thing that matters. It’s not. There are much more powerful forces out there than humanity.

    I agree. Why would you assume I consider reality to be otherwise? Policy discussions are about the things we can control. In my analogy, the soundboard only has sliders for those things under human control. The FEEDBACK is the natural processes that we can’t control. It is, of course, an imperfect analogy, but better than some.

    So yeah… you’re absolutely right… pro AGW people have it so hard. Except, you know, within the past 15-20 years or so.

    I was taking a longer view of the topic. The shift in paradigm has happened over the last 20 years.

    What “risky” tests? First off, risky?

    This is a technical term. See the work of Paul Meehl for a discussion.

    you’re completely deluding yourself…it’s time I started calling you willfully ignorant of history and the governmental process…you’d want to look up from your computer every so often and observe the world around you!

    Temper, temper.
    The fact our views differ does not indicate that I am not paying attention. I didn’t quite get my history minor as an undergraduate (went for philosophy and music instead), but I was close. Most of my study has been in the history of imperialism, science/technology, and religion. My family works in scientific research, the stock market, and government (one sibling in the legislative branch, one in executive branch)…I even have a sibling that is a professional sound engineer who works for a multinational corporation. But that is second hand…Me? I have worked directly in public policy and science. I have real world experience with both government and science and their interface.

    Correct me if I am wrong on this one: weren’t you the one criticizing the AR4 prior to reading it…correct?

    I was making statements about it after having read it. You don’t even have to look up from your computer to do that.

  235. I took a quick look at a couple of the CTA reports.
    http://www.icta.org/doc/RPG%20security%20update.pdf
    and
    http://www.icta.org/doc/Real%20Price%20of%20Gasoline.pdf

    I am still skeptical, but I will note that part of their $15 figure is “environmental health.” This is the very issue I brought up. This is not a direct subsidy, but an indirect one that will need to be internalized into the markets for your plan to work. They put this as making up something like $8 of that $15 price.

    Are you, btw, holding the CTA up as a responsible source?

    If so, read this http://www.icta.org/doc/global%20warming%20rpg%20update.pdf

    The atmospheric accumulation of greenhouses gases released during the combustion of
    fossil fuels is a driving force behind climate change.

  236. Neu Mejican,

    Let’s go back to what you said earlier

    The paranoid aspect of this view is the belief that governments are motivated by a desire to regulate. They are motivated to get or maintain advantage over other countries.

    Consider North Korea, the current best example of the voracious appetite Communists have for power. Is their attention focused externally or internally? Do they regulate every waking moment of their citizens lives? Yes, and they’d control their sleep if the could. Consider the same questions for Communist China and the former Soviet Union. China and the Soviet Union are/were interested in expanding but not for some modest trade advantage over other countries, it was for the power of life and death over free people.

    Now, consider the UN. Who comprises the UN? Are they solely the representatives of the top 50 freest nations? Hardly. Have you even considered the vast amount of money and power the UN would derive from an CO2 emissions regulatory scheme? They are accountable to nobody and they take full advantage of it. Do you honestly think they’d be unbiased arbiters? Why on earth, warming or otherwise, would you want to give control over our economy and our lives to the most corrupt organization on the planet?

    Next, consider the EU Parliament… are they freely elected from their member states? Hardly. They’re appointed and they work in isolation from the general populace and pass legislation to increase the power of the Parliament at the expense of the member states. Europe is less free now than before the EU. You do keep up with events in Europe don’t you?

    Finally, think about the basis of Communism/Socialism… it’s the assumption that everybody should be ruled by the experts’ opinions. That might be fine for some very specific cases but experts are frequently disastrously wrong. And, in case you haven’t noticed, experts tend to opine on subjects in which they have absolutely no expertise. Not much of a surprise since the leader’s relatives tend to fill the expert slots. Again, consider the disaster that was the Soviet Union. And, while you’re at it, consider who’s filling the expert slots at the IPCC — the ones that actually write the reports, not the dweebs in a lab.

    Why is it paranoid to be concerned about an initiative that is aggressively sponsored by a demonstrably freedom hating organization, the UN if you’re unclear on my meaning, supported by the expert system that forms the basis of Communism/Socialism that will ultimately strip independence from free societies? What evidence have you seen that suggests the UN can be trusted with any power, much less the power of life and death over entire economies?

    You quickly dismissed the notion that AGW might be similar to the Swine Flu fiasco. Both are based on an “expert system” and both involved government, and NGOs, that pushed the initiative. Consider for just a nanosecond that the AGW folks are wrong and that such will be determined 5 years after the start of the regulatory scheme. Do you honestly think that the UN would give back the power that they accumulated? If so, name one example of a government freely returning power to the people.

    My reading of history and study of economics suggests that if the AGW folks are right then the results will be disastrous for the free nations of the world and, if the AGW folks are wrong then the results will be disastrous for the free nations of the world. On the other hand, some folks really do like Communism.

  237. Curly,

    demonstrably freedom hating organization, the UN

    I revise my opinion…you are very paranoid

    Yes, there are individual/groups who are corrupt and driven solely by power. Many have managed to get hold of the reigns of power throughout history. North Korea, Myanmar, Iran, Pakistan, are some sad current examples. Modern China is more complex, but I’ll give ya that one too (we can throw in any other examples you like). They are tangential examples to my point.

    Since my comment was meant to be circumscribed by the concept of how nations/governments are motivated regarding relative status/economic issues related to regulation of energy use/pollution, but was pretty ambiguous on that point, I’ll give you a break for pointing out that many governments/political groups are motivated by a desire to remain in power in their own country.

    How this applies to the IPCC, I am not quite sure…

    A couple of questions:

    From where does the UN derive its power?
    What powers does the UN hold?
    How would the UN enforce a mandate regarding AGW?
    How would the UN enrich itself by regulating AGW?
    What checks on UN power exist in the current set up?

    To some more specific cases…

    Why is China interested in expansion? What motivates that interest? Is it a desire to control more people, or to control more resources (does it view people as a resource to control)? How does that play into the issue of AGW?

    Finally, think about the basis of Communism/Socialism… it’s the assumption that everybody should be ruled by the experts’ opinions.

    That is not, strictly, accurate. Marx, of course, felt that there would be a need for a transitional dictatorship run by the proletariat(working class does not equal the experts, but whatever). Socialism was his term for this phase. Communism is a classless, stateless society with no government.

    Stalinism would be a more accurate term for what you are describing… but I don’t know that there are many Stalinists around these days (don’t bother with the list, it will be shorter than a non-Stalinist list many times over)…and I certainly would not describe them as the majority in the UN or the EU. Centrally planned economies are a far different animal than any of the policies I have seen proposed in regards to AGW.

    You quickly dismissed the notion that AGW might be similar to the Swine Flu fiasco. Both are based on an “expert system” and both involved government, and NGOs, that pushed the initiative.

    They differ in important ways.
    If you can name a few of these, we might be able to have a discussion.

    On the other hand, some folks really do like Communism.

    Yep, the anarchists.

  238. Temper, temper.
    The fact our views differ does not indicate that I am not paying attention.

    Hello Mr. Kettle.

    I gotta tell you Mejican, I’m nearly speechless at that remark (fortunately only nearly though). Most of what you’ve done is call me ignorant, paranoid, cynical, conspiratorial, a “crank” or associating myself with cranks…

    And NOW you have the fucking gall to say that when I finally suggest that you might be willfully ignorant and in need of a history lesson on government, you’re actually hypocritical enough to say that!?

    Wow.

    No… I mean… wow.

    Furthermore. You really are in need of a history lesson! You seem to equally require a lesson in civics, especially regarding the difference in governmental philosophies based on various premises.

    Curly asked you a legitimate question and you insulted him for it. Nice work Dr. Mejican… you know, I mentioned it before, but your ad homs are really just getting boring.

    The question was: What evidence have you seen that suggests the UN can be trusted with any power, much less the power of life and death over entire economies?

    The premise that the UN is freedom hating is I think a very legitimate point and is certainly worth debating as part of this discussion considering that it is the UN who is producing the main report and recommending a world-wide course of action.

    Consider this:

    The UN has no popularly elected members.
    Some anti-freedom member states include:
    Afghanistan
    Iraq
    Iran
    North Korea
    China
    Algeria
    Bosnia/Herzegovina
    Burundi
    Republic of Congo
    Central African Republic
    South Africa
    Nigeria
    Lybia
    Cuba
    Croatia
    Haiti
    Guyana
    Venezuela
    Mozambique
    Myanmar
    Pakistan
    Rwanda
    Yemen

    Where’s the Rwandan bill of rights? The Nigerian guarantee of human rights? Where’s the Chinese right to due process. The Iranian protection against unlawful search and seizure?

    How does this apply to the IPCC you ask?

    Well, considering the United Nations is a body which reflects the views of each of the member states – and the members who have a say in the voting procedures in the United Nations are appointed by their respective governments and not elected by the people, I think it’s quite pertinent to take into consideration the nations being represented.

    Furthermore, one only has to look at the history of the United Nations and their overall opinions and actions throughout the years.

    So yes, the idea of using global warming as leverage to increase their power as a global government (which again has no bill of rights and is comprised of unelected policy makers) is quite relevant to the discussion. Freedom-hating and power-hungry is as apt a description as I can think of for the United Nations and I can certainly cite a ton of evidence to support the claim… perhaps we could start by talking about the Treaty of the Sea which would grant the United Nations sole ownership of all of the oceanic water on earth…

    Communism is a classless, stateless society with no government.

    In what universe? If you are only referring to Marx’ terms, perhaps you should consult some history books for a more current definition.

    Anarchy and communism are virtually polar opposites. Perhaps next post I shall devote to providing you with an education in different types of government… it seems disturbingly necessary at this point.

    As for the CTA data, I grabbed some gas usage statistics from the nearest relatively reputable source I could. As I said, they were “quick” and I had to leave – I actually went relatively conservatively as well since their statistics seemed to be a couple years old and Price without subsidies I found was actually 15.14 and I only used 15..

    Regardless, I make no claims for the complete credibility of the CTA – I had intended to just find all the data from a shipping industry organization and from OPEC or oil producing data collection body… I didn’t relaly have time. The reality is not going to change too much though, the price without subsidies is likely to be around 500% higher. I’ll be happy to take the time to find up to the second data now though… give me a bit.

    This has been an interesting revelation about your biases though:

    You are skeptical of basic, relatively unquestioned raw numbers which are really very easy to fact-check; like price of oil per barrel, number of barrels used per day, amount per year spent on oil subsidies… No system involved in finding the data is particularly complex and much of the data can be found up-to-the-minute because of the nature of shifting prices.

    Yet, you are more than happy to write the UN a pass, completely ignoring it’s history, construction and clearly demonstrated ideologies. You’re fine calling people paranoid for pointing out that the incentives to regulate vastly outweigh the incentives to increase freedom in the people most vocal about AGW. And of course, you’re perfectly happy to accept a hypothesis as entirely true regardless of its inconsistencies and the remarkable complexity of the system it’s attempting to explain.

    Strangely – all of the things you are perfectly ok with accepting uncritically are philosophically linked.

    Revealing indeed…

  239. Sean,

    An interesting article on feedback, climate, and predictive uncertainty.

    http://bactra.org/weblog/543.html

    But on to the fireworks…

    And NOW you have the fucking gall to say that when I finally suggest that you might be willfully ignorant and in need of a history lesson on government, you’re actually hypocritical enough to say that!?

    Lighten up a bit.
    I didn’t take offense… I was teasing you.

    In what universe? If you are only referring to Marx’ terms

    I said as much

    , perhaps you should consult some history books for a more current definition ….Furthermore. … a history lesson! … a lesson in civics

    Again with the didactic tone. I was simply being pedantic. Communism, strictly, is a classless, stateless society…To my knowledge there has never been a large-scale communist society. Confusion between communism and the USSR, Mao’s China, North Korea, Cuba, and other states that have hung the communist label on their dictatorships is just sloppy thinking. It is inaccurate to say that communism is based on “the assumption that everybody should be ruled by the experts’ opinions.”

    Anarchy and communism are virtually polar opposites.

    You clearly have done less reading on the roots of anarchy and communism than I would expect from someone offering lessons on civics. (Anarchy and communism, btw, are two philosophies which share many common philosophical roots with modern libertarianism…c.f., Proudhon, Joseph D?jacque, William Godwin and other early anarchists. I’ve read them, have you?).

    You, perhaps, are confusing Anarcho-capitalism, the newest anarchy on the block, with Anarchy more generally.

    Re: CTA, gas subsidies, & prices. That was a nice attempt at a dodge, but it avoided my direct criticism of the price you posted in regards to your argument.

    CTA counts the very environmental costs that I said would not be internalized by markets an $8 share of the $15 dollars you quoted. What government mechanism are you identifying related to that specific subsidy that simply needs to be removed?

    You are skeptical of basic, relatively unquestioned raw numbers which are really very easy to fact-check; like price of oil per barrel, number of barrels used per day, amount per year spent on oil subsidies… No system involved in finding the data is particularly complex and much of the data can be found up-to-the-minute because of the nature of shifting prices.

    No. I am skeptical that the numbers you provided are accurate…I am skeptical of you as a source of information. You have done little on this thread to demonstrate that you are a reliable source of information.

    Please note that I went to the very source you cited, read it, and came away with the impression that it was arguing my side of the argument and not yours.

    And of course, you’re perfectly happy to accept a hypothesis as entirely true regardless of its inconsistencies and the remarkable complexity of the system it’s attempting to explain.

    Now I’ll just call you dishonest. After the number of words we have exchanged on this thread, you can’t possibly believe that I have characterized AGW as “entirely true?” I have pointed out that the specific “inconsistencies” you have brought up are either well explained by the theory, or irrelevant. I have stated multiple times that, like any scientific theory, there is debate about specific aspects of the theory. I have even given you a couple of examples where there is a large degree of uncertainty.Again, the IPCC is a good source for exactly what “holes” exist in the theory.

    Curly asked you a legitimate question and you insulted him for it.

    His question: What evidence have you seen that suggests the UN can be trusted with any power, much less the power of life and death over entire economies?

    My reply was in the form of a series of questions regarding power and the UN.

    To be explicit, the UN does not have this kind of power over economies, is not asking for it in any proposal I have seen related to AGW, and will not get it due to the structure/mechanisms of power it does have through the security council.

    The balance of veto powers on the security council, which includes the US, are a fairly powerful check against the fears Curly expressed.

    A reading assignment:
    Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

    Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

    Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

    Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

    Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

    Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

    Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

    Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

    Article 1.

    All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

    Article 2.

    Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

    Article 3.

    Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

    Article 4.

    No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

    Article 5.

    No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

    Article 6.

    Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

    Article 7.

    All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

    Article 8.

    Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

    Article 9.

    No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

    Article 10.

    Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

    Article 11.

    (1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.

    (2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

    Article 12.

    No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks….

    http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html

    Yeah, that freedom hating UN…damned them and there freedom hating ways. Damn them to hell…

  240. “Yeah, that freedom hating UN…damned them and there freedom hating ways. Damn them to hell…”

    “Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms”

    Yeah – I actually suggested that you find me some historical examples of the member nations abiding any of those things. The UN itself is an unelected body with a very large percentage of member nations which often radically oppose every single one of those chartered rights.

    It is also true that the UN has no legitimately granted government power, but while you conveniently skirted the Treaty of the Sea issue – it’s entirely representative of the organizations attempt to form a world-government (the Treaty of the Sea was first proposed 25 years ago, so this isn’t exactly a new thing).

    And the fact that the member nations contribute to UN actions and policy, their individual conduct reflects directly on the UN at large – I’m actually looking at how the UN really operates, not how they claim to operate…

    …Which actually has become a running theme in the difference between you and I.

    With communism, you rely on Marx’ definition which is absolutely 65 years out of date by this point – words change, keep up with them. Being pedantic in this case is completely useless because the colloquial terminology changed a long time ago. Sometimes, words are perjured when they get associated with vile regimes that killed hundreds of millions of people… Imagine that. Communism IS now synonymous to Stalinism in any general discussion.

    If you want to talk about Marx’ view of communism, fine, but that’s not what anyone was discussing – and you had to know that! So diverting the discussion to that form of Marxism is simply misdirection and avoidance. If you want, I’ll be fine calling what Curly was obviously referring to Statism (which has absolutely nothing to do with Anarchism on any fundamental level). Every nation that has considered itself to be communist has been totalitarian and statist.

    And at any rate, communism is primarily an economic system which, yes, Marx envisioned as leaderless – however the basic tenets of communism require compliance by all members to be functional. Of course that’s fine and applicable in a small enough group for everyone to agree and work together and solve problems through group discussion – but in large enough groups absolutely requires the use of force to function at all because conflicts aren’t among friends sharing a common goal or common ideology, but by people (as in Russia’s case) perhaps hundreds of miles away.

    Stalinism, I would argue, is a direct result of large-scale communism. When the products of individual labor are the property of the collective group – which IS what Marx envisioned, then the incentives to produce and to innovate are non-existent unless there is some other motivating factor. In a small group of course, you can be motivated by concern for your friends and family, and joy of their presence. In a large group, those incentives are simply not there? unless you think a general sense of patriotism is enough. (History lesson: It’s not.)

    Then of course, there will always be unequal levels of effort, innovation, intelligence, skill, etc. Unequal work distributed equally is degrading to everyone involved and is naturally a point of contention for the ones providing at no personal benefit. If the products of your labor are not yours to be proud of, enjoy, or trade for the products of another person’s labor fairly and openly – but rather are taken from you and distributed evenly among the group, all products become of “equal” value, regardless of whether or not the quality is equal. Naturally this causes resentment among those who make better shoes or better eyeglasses, grow more potatoes, etc? since when all is said and done, they get no benefit from having done quality work and they don’t even get to (necessarily) use what they made.

    AND THEN of course, there’s the problem of redistribution wealth itself – and this is where Marxist ideas lead directly into dictatorships actually? there needs to be some kind of government in place to do the actual redistribution. In a small group, it can be done by mutual consensus of course – in a large group, that’s obviously not going to work. There has to be a centralized bureaucracy in place to tabulate all of the goods that need redistribution – and to determine where the needs are for each good. While a capitalist system simply does this naturally as a product of free trade, communism actually requires an external entity to make those decisions.

    Suddenly we have a middleman who is able to control all the wealth through the bottleneck that is government – and though it might have been granted the initial power in order to properly provide for the needs of all the people, what really happens is that a small group who has just obtained power is now in a position to take what they want off the top and enjoy some benefits which had been previously unavailable.

    And yes, I am giving you a civics lesson sir. And yes, you do need it.

    The UN of course, is comprised of many nations which (while not always explicitly communist) are socialist in nature, and advocate the use of force to redistribute wealth and control various aspects of their citizens’ actions and lives. The UN as an organization is in essence an infant form of world government. Now – if said world government doesn’t reflect the principles of capitalism or individual liberty that result in a successful, free-as-possible, world, and if said world government isn’t even democratically elected and represents countries which reject freedom outright and if said world government attempts through subcommittees like the IPCC to create opportunities to establish international laws – I have a serious problem with that.

    And that’s exactly what is going on here.

    As for:
    “Proudhon, Joseph D?jacque, William Godwin and other early anarchists. I’ve read them, have you?”

    Proudhon yes, Godwin, marginally, and why is this significant? I also think both of them are quite wrong on a number of points. At any rate, anarchy is a pretty damn simple concept after-all. The roots of Marxism might be in anarchy, but the results of Marxism are as far from anarchy as you can get. Here again is your desire to operate in an ivory-tower world which ignores the reality of history in favor of reading the literature in its own abstract context.

    Though it might not surprise you, I’ve spent a good deal more time reading Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, John Locke, David Hume, Voltaire, Baron de Montesquieu… perhaps you should try reading some of those chaps as well. They actually valued freedom, rule of law, and the rights of individuals? some traits I certainly hope you start showing more of, Mejican.

    “That was a nice attempt at a dodge, but it avoided my direct criticism of the price you posted in regards to your argument.”

    How is saying: “I’ll be happy to take the time to find up to the second data now though… give me a bit.” a dodge? You’re just filled with bullshit tonight man?

    As I already said, I had all of 2 minutes before I had to leave today and happened to find some quick figures which seemed relevant? as it turns out, I’ve gotten more since – though I’m still looking for a “real cost of gas” that’s from 2007. As you might expect, there are a lot of different subsidies that play into the real cost and compiling them all takes time because I have to sift through various government budget pages and

    But before you get your panties all wadded up, here’s what I’ve found so far:

    20,385,000 gallons of gas per day as of September, 2007
    http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/pet_cons_psup_dc_nus_mbblpd_m.htm

    $3.097 average pump price in the US as of 11/26/2007
    http://www.eia.doe.gov/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/wrgp/mogas_home_page.html

    = $63,132,345.00 per day on gasoline in the US

    $6,000,000,000 in direct subsidies per year based on the 2005 Energy Act (perhaps inflated data based on website’s moderately anti-corporate bias but looks pretty reliable and links to the relevent sections of the Act – best I have found so far)
    http://www.citizen.org/cmep/energy_enviro_nuclear/electricity/energybill/2005/articles.cfm?ID=13980

    So that breaks down to $16,438,356.16 per day in additional costs which would be passed on to consumers.

    That means, factoring in the $6B subsidies per day, we spend $79,570,701.16 on gasoline per day in the United States.

    Now, I certainly haven’t factored in all the associated costs which aren’t accounted for directly by subsidies to the oil industry – since oil industries also require energy to produce their products, the associated billions in coal, nuclear and other energy subsidies must be factored in. There are a lot of other factors to consider as well, most notably the military cost of maintaining secure oil supplies in unstable regions and at the very least the social cost of being forced to deal with dictators and cartels. Without taking anything else into consideration, we’d see gas go to 150% of its current cost.

    Furthermore, if I use the ICTA figure (which is by now quite old but I haven’t found anything more recent yet), but discount the $8.00 for “environmental/social costs” because I am not personally worried about CO2 emission, we’re still talking about an increase of 233%.

    All of which will be passed on to consumers directly. While 3 dollars going to 4 dollars per gallon might not seem so terrible (again without any of the other costs factored in!) to a regular commuter who only uses their car a little bit – an increase of that magnitude is astronomical to the shipping industry. The average consumer will be hit with costs not only for their personal use of gasoline, but the costs of the businesses they support as well. Now, re-do these numbers for electric bills, natural gas, and all energy consumption. This is astronomical. Fortunately, it would also (ideally) mean that people are no longer paying the billions in taxes either so they won’t be entirely killed by the extremely high cost of energy?

    But yes, I feel pretty damn confident that merely removing the subsidies – starting perhaps with oil then moving to coal, then to nuclear and other energy sources – will be more than enough to spur growth into alternative energy sources and compel the vast majority of people to seek out more efficient, cheaper solutions. All without government force.

    Now quit being a dick and cut me some slack for not actually having time to do all this research at 10am.

    “CTA counts the very environmental costs that I said would not be internalized by markets an $8 share of the $15 dollars you quoted.”

    Yes, it does – I never vouched for the ICTA figure though did I? I said it was quick statistics and I said I’d go back and take a more careful look at it later (which I did). I happen to think the ICTA would be categorically wrong (and are already being proved to be so) in assuming that consumers don’t factor in environmental costs and they are not internalized to the market – however, because consumers also factor in environment, that added $8 is hardly necessary as an economic incentive.

    I will further defer to Steven Levitt for an explanation of why economic incentives are not always exclusively monetary. I’ve already tried to make that point though?

    Now – beyond all that, I don’t subscribe to a utilitarian, or pragmatic government. I believe that government systems must be based on moral principles securing the greatest amount of liberty for their citizens while providing avenues of recourse in the event that their liberty has been infringed in some way. This means, forcing people to do something you think is right is out of the question.

    You can convince them through the marketplace of ideas – like we’re supposedly doing right now. That’s how freedom works.

    And Curly’s point should have been well taken because it is the communist systems and totalitarian systems which place value on the collective above the individual and rely on talk of the “greater good” and experts to justify reductions in individual liberty.

    “I have pointed out that the specific “inconsistencies” you have brought up are either well explained by the theory, or irrelevant.”

    No actually… You repeated yourself and called me names, then (for the most part) referred to the same IPCC report that I find questionable. You then played down problems with chronology saying that it’s fine if the system is complex and that a feedback loop explains it, while ignoring that you’re still claiming the cause as occurring after the affect in AGW.

    THEN, you systematically ignore the complexity of the system when it doesn’t suit your point in order to make CO2 the one thing that matters most, when the data doesn’t clearly substantiate that.

    THENNNN… instead of actually discussing issues outright, like Curly’s Swine Flu thing (which I didn’t even know about), you dismiss it out of hand and mock him.

    If this is your concept of debate, then I’m really not sure any of this is much use. (Which I depressingly say as I write thousands of words? again.)

    “You have done little on this thread to demonstrate that you are a reliable source of information.”

    Yet another jab from someone who’s primarily linked me to the IPCC report which I find suspect for reasons which I think I’ve clearly explained so far and you’ve linked me to blogs – which have no more credibility than anything I’ve put forward. Nice… and weak.

    You see Mejican, when you’re an asshole and say shitty, stupid things about people and deride them instead of debating in a useful, productive way, the people you say them about get annoyed and think you’re a dumbass. So my advice (see how I’m talking directly to you while giving you advice) is to quit being a cock and people won’t respond in kind or have a “temper temper” when you’re “only teasing”.

  241. Neu Mejican,

    In response to my comment about who likes Communism, you write “Anarchists”.

    Well, the good news is that I now understand the basis for your comments; the bad news is that you have zero understanding of a major political ideology.

    You think anarchy, the absence of rules, is the same as Communism, an authoritative totalitarian system that is nothing but rules. You think absolute freedom is the same as slavery to the state. Free, not free, it’s all the same.

    Frankly, I don’t know whether to pity you or simply sit in stunned amazement at your overwhelming ignorance. I guess pity wins out so I’ll give you some advice… learn to think for yourself because when you’re no longer useful, simply being an idiot isn’t much of a fallback position. (“useful idiot” defined)

    Oh, and by the way, thanks for proving my point about “experts” opining in areas where they have absolutely no knowledge. But hey, they’re “experts”, so they must be right.

  242. Sean,

    First, I think the 233% figure sounds more reasonable. And it would have a significant impact. If’n you numbers are correct (I’ll check ’em out later), then there may be no need to a active mechanism. Devil’s always in the details.

    starting perhaps with oil then moving to coal, then to nuclear and other energy sources

    I would target coal first.

    I like Levitt’s book, a nice lite read.

    Since you seem to like them so much: back to the fireworks.

    Now quit being a dick and cut me some slack for not actually having time to do all this research at 10am.

    There is a difference between posting a number you are not sure of as if it is accurate, and saying… “I am not sure but I think that cutting subsidies would be sufficient…I’ll try and find some figures later.”

    And yes, I am giving you a civics lesson sir. And yes, you do need it.

    Yawn. You might have a case if you were providing me with new information.

    Proudhon yes, Godwin, marginally, and why is this significant?

    Just ivory tower. I always thought that lessons about the history and philosophy of political movements needed to start with the philosophers and historical figures that were important to the development of the idea. Of course it is important to see the consequences of people trying to implement those ideas. The nice thing about being a moderate, I get to extremists of all stripes…philosophically interesting doesn’t always lead to effective policy…it is more often than not a disaster when people try to impose their moral principles on others.

    Communism IS now synonymous to Stalinism

    Which is why I suggested “Stalinism” be used as the more accurate term. I am glad you agree.

    Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, John Locke, David Hume, Voltaire, Baron de Montesquieu…

    Of these chaps, I find Voltaire to have the best sense of humor, Jefferson to be the most passionate and eloquent, Paine to have best single piece of writing. I like Locke as much for his influence on Milton as anything, and Montesquieu to be the most derivative.

    while ignoring that you’re still claiming the cause as occurring after the affect in AGW….you systematically ignore the complexity of the system when it doesn’t suit your point in order to make CO2 the one thing that matters most, when the data doesn’t clearly substantiate that.

    I am beginning to question your ability to read. You haven’t provided evidence of a problem with chronology. You have simply demonstrated that you don’t understand the science.

    then (for the most part) referred to the same IPCC report that I find questionable.

    Actually, I have used other sources almost exclusively. I have suggested you READ the AR4 before criticizing it. I am assuming, since you haven’t corrected me yet, that you still haven’t done so, and are criticizing something based on rumor and prejudice.

    Curly,

    You think anarchy, the absence of rules, is the same as Communism, an authoritative totalitarian system that is nothing but rules. You think absolute freedom is the same as slavery to the state. Free, not free, it’s all the same.

    Whatever. There is a difference between communism, as an abstract philosophical system, and the Stalinist/Maoist attempts to implement it. Don’t accuse me of not knowing the difference when it is clear that you can’t make the distinction yourself.

    Suggest you read: The Communist Manifesto…
    http://www.anu.edu.au/polsci/marx/classics/manifesto.html

    So you can better understand your enemy.

    It is a deeply flawed piece of work, often mischaracterized by Marxists and anti-Marxists.

  243. I am beginning to question your ability to read. You haven’t provided evidence of a problem with chronology.

    Ice Core data.

    There is a difference between posting a number you are not sure of as if it is accurate, and saying…

    I didn’t post it as if it were accurate. I posted it with the disclaimer that they were quick statistics in the minutes before I had to leave. This is now the 5th time I’ve said this. Then, I followed up on them when I returned. Also, the ICTA seems to be relatively accurate anyway and, as you said, even supports your side more than mine. Your unreasonable expectations and failure to read my disclaimers aren’t my fault. Or my problem.

    I always thought that lessons about the history and philosophy of political movements needed to start with the philosophers and historical figures that were important to the development of the idea.

    I suppose the importance of doing that would really depend on whether or not it was actually useful to the discussion. Claiming communism and anarchy are similar philosophies because they have some similar roots – which diverged around 150 years ago really doesn’t do anything but misrepresent the basic principles of each being discussed. And as Curly said shows, “the bad news is that you have zero understanding of a major political ideology.”

    I’d add the word “useful” right after the word zero.

    When you talk about the current state of evolutionary science with people, do you find it pertinent and useful to reference Huxley over Dawkins?

    There is a difference between communism, as an abstract philosophical system

    NO ONE was talking about communism as an abstract philosophical system! No one is ever talking about it as that. Again, you had to know that. A little tip for the future if you didn’t though, when people talk about things outside of the classroom – they are usually talking about things as they actually are in the real world.

    And I might also point that if philosophy only functions as an abstract thought experiment it’s pretty damn bad philosophy since the point of philosophy would be to provide humanity with principles that help us make sense of the universe and operate within it to the best of our ability. Which makes communism piss poor in my book.

    read: The Communist Manifest

    Yeah… I did that in high school. Then I went to college, then I studied aesthetics and artistic philosophy (some of which many in academia derive from Marx as well) and read it again. Getting back to the topic at hand – for the last time – I have a reading assignment for you actually related to AGW and the policy that will result in scare mongering related to it… it has something valuable to say on the topic of federal & world governments:

    http://usinfo.state.gov/usa/infousa/facts/funddocs/billeng.htm

  244. Neu Mejican dredges forth this pearl of wisdom

    Whatever. There is a difference between communism, as an abstract philosophical system, and the Stalinist/Maoist attempts to implement it. Don’t accuse me of not knowing the difference when it is clear that you can’t make the distinction yourself.

    so it’s time to play a game of “Identify the Expert”.

    Who’s the expert on Communism
    – Neu Mejican, who’s read a book on the subject; or
    – Communist leaders of Communist Countries?

    Clearly, Neu Mejican is the expert as theory is always the best judge of reality.

    Who’s the expert on life under Communism
    – Neu Mejican, who’s spent many minutes contemplating the existential nature of man from his carbon neutral comfy chair; or
    – People that I know who had to endure the misery of life in the former Soviet Union?

    Again, and by a wide margin, the expert is Neu Mejican because he thinks deep thoughts.

    Coincidentally, I have a comprehensive list of freedoms enjoyed from the people that I know who lived in the Soviet Union. That list has exactly zero entries. On the other hand, the list of freedoms they did not enjoy is quite lengthy and includes such items as:
    – the freedom to be starved to death by the state
    – the freedom to snatched off the street by the state and imprisoned in the gulag for no reason
    – the freedom to live in fear that your neighbor, relative, or a complete stranger would accuse you of improper thoughts
    – the freedom to live in a Siberian work camp because you might have thought those improper thoughts
    – the freedom to work at your state appointed job
    – the freedom to enjoy shortages of all possible items except Communist propaganda

    You could rather easily visit former citizens of the Communist Utopia, there are enclaves in most major cities, or you could take a trip to Poland and ask “How ’bout that Communism!?” then, if you managed to escape the enraged mob, you could visit the Ukraine and, as I am reasonably certain that Stalin didn’t kill everybody, you could repeat the question.

    However, I should caution that actual knowledge will jeopardize your “expert” standing so learn at your own peril.

  245. But hey Curly – of course the UN version of world government wouldn’t wind up that way!

    History never repeats itself.

  246. Sean,

    But hey Curly – of course the UN version of
    world government wouldn’t wind up that way!

    Now you’re getting in the groove.
    Embrace the paranoia.

    Ice Core data.

    You don’t understand the Ice Core Data (spoken in my best Jack Nicholson from “A Few Good Men” voice)…

    …or its meaning. I can’t help you out any more, sorry. It is apparently beyond you. I find that surprising, but what can I do?

    A little tip for the future if you didn’t though, when people talk about things outside of the classroom – they are usually talking about things as they actually are in the real world.

    You think you’ve got me all figured out Sean.

    I mentioned that I work in applied science.

    I work in the field.

    In the world.

    Directly with people.

    People who are dealing with situations you, probably, can’t imagine.

    A large number of my clients (20% perhaps) in my career both prior to my life as a research and since have been refugees, both economic and political.

    A good number from totalitarian states that hung the promise of a future “communist” utopia in front of their people as a justification for their cruelty.

    Sorry, but I know more about the ugly side of life than your average joe…

    …and yet I find your cynicism unwarranted.

    The reading assignment was, I should point out, for Curly, I figured you had read the manifesto…you already mentioned the aesthetics, so I had to figure. Btw, I am sure your studies in aesthetics give you insight into the “real world” that eludes me with My Ivory Tower Life (available soon on DVD and Blue Ray).

    Curly,

    Nice rant.

    What does it have to do with what I said?

    The goal of communism is to eliminate the state. It ain’t to create a totalitarian state.

    Unfortunately, Marx felt it would be justified to implement a totalitarian state as a transition step towards his utopia. Much cruelty ensued.

    Gimme a break…

  247. Sean,

    Regarding the Bill of Rights link.

    Cute…

    I see now how the freedom hating UN that wants to take away the world’s freedoms. My eyes are clear.

    I have kept you tied up here long enough.
    I can’t do it no more.

    Go forth and spread your wisdom to others…

  248. Sean,

    This is a presentation by a high school student that debunks the AGW crowd. You’ll note that she successfully explains the anomalies that continue to baffle the “experts”. Of course the “experts” will say that it’s too simplistic and wrong while their convoluted hand-waving exercise is correct.

    Ponder The Maunder

    Her homepage has a few updates and can be found here:

    Homepage

  249. Neu Mejican, it’s convenient that you can separate the goal of Communism from the goal of Communists. Maybe the Communists didn’t get the memo…

  250. “CO2 may then serve as a temperature amplifier…”

    Sean,

    Find the flaw in this High School student’s argument regarding ice core data.

    Can ya do it?

  251. Curly,

    Maybe the Communists didn’t get the memo…

    Or maybe there are a lot of fools in the world.

    Power uses hope as a tool of oppression more effectively than any other in its arsenal…

  252. Mejican,

    So there are a lot of fools in the world who are willing to buy into Utopian-themed societies, and a lot of unscrupulous people willing to use the fools’ hope for a better tomorrow as a tool to gain power.

    Yet a massive world government wouldn’t do that?

    Again using the UN as an example, the establishment of regulatory control internationally would be fine:

    Because… it’s democratically elected?
    Because… it’s member nations all take freedom and human rights seriously?
    Because… it’s only interested in the “public good”?
    Because… it cares about the environment?
    Because… no one at the UN would benefit from more power or governmental control over the world (or perhaps, at first, it’s oceans?)
    Because… it has only shown itself to have the best of intentions?

    You are free to call me cynical or paranoid all you want though it really only exposes yourself as being willfully ignorant of history and strangely blind to the aims and motivations clearly expressed by dozens of member nations somewhat regularly, even the security council.

    Since you seem to enjoy playing with semantics, all I can conclude is that by cynical you mean – well-reasoned, and paranoid you mean – cautious given established history and the real-world results of the underlying philosophy.

    I am sure your studies in aesthetics give you insight into the “real world”

    No, my careful private study into history, freedom and philosophy combined with regular observations of world events did that.

    Academic studies – in aesthetics or anything else – don’t do a very good job of educating a person on the “real world”. Generally great job educating a person on theory and as you have shown, the stated beliefs of various people as represented by literature and literary/philosophical analysis, terrible job actually getting down to how those stated beliefs actually work outside of a person’s book or mind.

    By the way, considering the ridiculous number of questions and requests I’ve made of you thus far which are as yet unanswered – no, I’m not going to sift through the Maunder Minimum thing and find all the high school girl’s mistakes. I’m sure there are some – and I might be happy to deal with that after you’ve actually addressed even a fraction of the issues I’ve brought up.

    Such as the balance of (broadly defined) economic incentives for the IPCC or the United Nations at large. Of regulation and authority or freedom and limited power, which of these benefits the policy makers more directly?

    Can you provide any evidence that would give anyone any reason to believe that world government isn’t a goal. (And since there is plenty of evidence that suggest it IS, this isn’t asking you to prove any kind of negative…)

    Next, how you can honestly present positions that are contradictory without even acknowledging it or having the basic humility to recognize your own limited knowledge?

    i.e. AGW is based on such an incredibly complex system that CO2 creates spontaneous feedback loops even when the CO2 increases occur after the temperature increase – but yet the same system is simultaneously simple enough to establish CO2 as the only significant cause (at least as of the 20th Century) of warming.

    or

    There are plenty of unscrupulous people in the world who use promises of utopia to dupe the many “fools” of the world into giving away their rights – but that can’t be happening here.

    I suppose one should assume that you’re no fool and couldn’t be duped?

    OR

    Maybe you’d be kind enough to explain why your ad homs and other such name calling shouldn’t be called to the carpet? Every time I’ve done so thus far, you’ve accused me of over-reacting in one way or another and explained that you’re just “teasing”.

    Then if you wouldn’t mind explaining again why you feel so confident in your knowledge of everything to such a degree that you have no problem ignoring the contradictions and inconsistencies of your own positions – that would be great.

    No Mejican, I don’t think I’m going to play your game anymore. As much as I enjoy your particular brand of brash arrogance mixed with an apparent desire to avoid looking at any subject in a way that might in any way represent a more complete understanding of not only the science, but also the predictable human reactions to the way AGW has been presented… Wait… no, it’s not really that enjoyable.

    By the way, though I’m sure talking out of your ass is fun, I think if you’d stop and look historically at government systems, power uses fear much more effectively than hope overall – though I suppose that depends on how you look at it. Does it count as hope if it’s created by presenting “solutions” to problems only exacerbated by fear-mongering?

  253. Sean,

    high school girl’s mistakes.

    The point was, she makes the exact same one you make in regards to the ice core data…

    Not that I am comparing you to a high school girl or anything

    ;^)

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=Gn9fkAGwJcM
    A musical representation of this discussion…

  254. Neu Mejican,

    The ice core data isn’t a central component of the presentation and it plays no part in the conclusion that the sun is largely responsible for the climate. Instead of sniping around the margins, why don’t you address the substantive portions of her presentation?

  255. Curly,

    it plays no part in the conclusion that the sun is largely responsible for the climate

    That is an axiom, a truth, an obvious statement, and a red herring.

    The CENTRAL error in thinking is exemplified by the quote I pulled from the presentation.

    Figure out why and you will recognize that I wasn’t “sniping around the margins” but identifying the core flaw in reasoning.

  256. A nice talk.
    http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/104

    This guy is framing the issue how I think it needs to be framed.

  257. You’ve been asked many direct questions, questions that you deflect by saying the answer is too complex for us mere mortals. When challenged you revert to the Soviet style “Expert System” where one must simply accept what the “expert” decrees. Why am I not surprised?

    One mark of an expert is the ability to make the complex understandable. You claim expertise yet offer nothing which renders you a third-rate poseur.

    The most distressing part is that you’re entirely typical of the sophomoric AGW crowd. You keep saying that I can’t understand, but I understand you perfectly.

  258. Curly,

    I didn’t say you can’t understand.

    I just didn’t feel like repeating myself.

    I went over this several times with Sean already.

    Read up thread for lots of details.

    Read with this in mind…

    AGW’s claim is NOT that c02 is the driver of the climate…merely that it is a temperature amplifier.

    Pointing to the sun as the source of the signal being amplified, is not a refutation of C02’s status as a temperature amplifier.

  259. Curly,

    You claim expertise

    I never claimed expertise.

    One mark of an expert is the ability to make the complex understandable.

    I would say that is more the mark of an effective teacher, but why quibble.

    Effective teachers, however, also realize that “giving answers” is not as effective a teaching tool as “asking a good question.”

    That was all I was attempting.
    If you can find the central flaw in thinking in Ponder the Maunder’s presentation, you will have a better understanding of the issue.

    As an execise, assume she has made a logical error. Find it.

    Or ignore the suggestion and assume I am making fun of you.

    Don’t matter to me.

  260. Effective teachers, however, also realize that “giving answers” is not as effective a teaching tool as “asking a good question.”

    You arrogantly assume your questions are and have been “good”. They aren’t.

    But kudos to more avoidance techniques.

  261. AGW’s claim is NOT that c02 is the driver of the climate…merely that it is a temperature amplifier.

    …and though I was going to leave it at that, I just can’t.

    Anthropogenic: of, relating to, or resulting from the influence of human beings on nature

    In this case, human-produced CO2 is the influence.

    AGW inherently requires CO2 to be the main driver… If it were not, then it wouldn’t be Anthropogenic, would it!?

    Unless you think humans are causing all of the other complex contributing factors to global warming. If you think that, I must have missed it.

    As far as I can tell so far though, you don’t believe any other factors are significant and in some cases you have rejected that they even play a role at all.

    Because it is so easy to scroll up and look at the way you’ve framed your position, and the air of authority that you have written from this entire time, Mejican, I would personally have thought you’d be smarter than to try to re-shape your statements after the fact.

    Nice to know you can backtrack your way into accepting that CO2 is the amplifier – this means at least that you concede that it isn’t the cause. Now if we can only get you to realize that the .03% of the atmosphere is quite small indeed and that there are many legitimate (and much stronger) forces in play, we’ll be in business.

  262. As for the Carl Palmer clip… I’m actually not that impressed… there’s nothing in it that I wasn’t personally able to do as a sophomore in college.

    Also, his left-hand technique is stiff and a bit unmanaged.

    Not that it wasn’t relatively good as far as these things go, even though I almost exclusively play jazz – and have focused on vibraphone about 90% of the time for the past several years, I could probably recreate his snare performance in a week.

    Though I suppose my professional critiques are a bit off topic for this thread…

  263. Neu Mejican says “I never claimed expertise.”

    Let’s test that shall we:

    “As a working scientist in an applied field, I must disagree.” Neu Mejican | November 29, 2007, 11:51am

    “I mentioned that I work in applied science. I work in the field.” Neu Mejican | November 30, 2007, 7:51pm

    New Mejican, why do I remember what you wrote better that you?

    I suspect your supervisor will be in to speak with you shortly. He would have waited until your next performance evaluation but, as you freely and openly admit to having no expertise, he has no alternative but to sever your employment. Scientists without any expertise in their field just don’t have anything to offer. A career change will be good for you but I’d encourage you to take a few weeks, or months, to determine what skills you actually have. I’m sure you’ll be successful once you find your niche. Let us know how it turns out.

  264. Curly,

    That’s a cute “gotcha” and all, but I never claimed to be an expert in climate science.

    My expertise is in other areas of science.

    I keep up with the literature on climate, but make no claims to be an expert in climate science.

    The two quotes you pulled were in response to a comment about science in general as a social phenomena (made by a non-scientist).

    Context my boy, context (in my best Foghorn Leghorn voice).

  265. Sean,
    there’s nothing in it that I wasn’t personally able to do as a sophomore in college.

    Same here, but that was a long time ago for me … the point of the Carl Palmer clip, btw, was that despite some showy tricks, in the end it is pointless and boring.

    AGW inherently requires CO2 to be the main driver… If it were not, then it wouldn’t be Anthropogenic, would it!?

    You are still confusing the energy source (aka, the sun, primarily) and the amplifier(s) (system internal elements in the complex system- some partially controlled by human activity). AGW does not claim that C02 is the source of energy in the system (which is the sun, primarily, everyone agrees). That is the claim you are debunking with the ice core data, but it is not the one AGW theory makes.

    Again, in some of the previous warming periods, changes in the amount of energy in the system (sun as source, mostly) pushed the temperature past a certain tipping point which started feedback, temperature amplifiers including c02 took over and caused more warming than expected without them.

    The situation in the current warming cycle: soundman with hand on c02 slider is cranking up the temperature with a temperature amp, trying to keep the hum (the context provided by the sun and other energy sources[geothermal]) below the level where the feedback starts.

    Nice to know you can backtrack your way into accepting that CO2 is the amplifier

    No backtracking. That has been my claim the whole time. Remember the whole “volume knob” discussion?

    The “cause” claim in anthropogenic is that humans are the cause of the increased c02. We are turning up the volume on a temperature amplifier (in the context of a naturally varying system). The catastrophe claims are warnings that we might push the system into feedback mode.

    Don’t confuse “cause” of a warm earth (c.f., Pluto) with “cause” of the current warming trend. They operate on different levels of the argument.

  266. Broken down (with some T & A to keep your interest).

    Ice Core Data demonstrates that c02 is a temperature amplifier.

    So, given Energy (E), which come primarily from the sun and varies for a number of reasons (E represents the sum of all elements that increase energy), to find Temperature (T) we need to know the setting on the C02 Amp (A).

    T = E x A

    Anthropogenic C02 is increasing the value of A, making T larger than it would be without that C02.

    The formula for T, of course, is much more complex, with many other factors, some working to increase temperature (like A) and some working to cool. Showing that there are other factors in the system is not a refutation of A’s role as a temperature amplifier. Given an increasing A, T will be larger than it would be otherwise, no matter the changes in the rest of the system. Isolating those other elements is a complex task, but the basic relationship between T and A is well understood.

  267. To be clear,

    A > 1.0

  268. And Sean,

    The chronology “problem” you are so stuck on has to do with confusing E and A in the above formula.

    Increases in E can cause T to rise.
    E varies naturally (I am assuming E to be naturally varying with human influence on it negligible with out current technology).

    The chronology of increases in E preceding those in A (with an increasing E causing an increasing value of A after a certain tipping point), does not present problems for an argument based on increasing A.

  269. with our current technology…oops

  270. Wow man… you have some truly impressive powers of over-simplification.

    A = Amplification…. ok… gotcha.

    What is that amplification comprised of though?

    CO2? Sure.

    What else?

    water vapor & other greenhouse gasses, clouds, precipitation, urban heat island effects, cosmic rays, solar flares, geological activity… to name just a few. And quite likely dozens of factors of which we as a species are completely unaware.

    If this were a problem as simple as 2 X 4 = 8, then you’re right, I could flip it around and say 4 x 2 = 8 and order wouldn’t matter in the slightest… However, you’ve radically missed the point I think. Amplification isn’t just a matter of CO2, feedback loops aren’t linear equations and there are dozens of factors that work towards and against loops like that simultaneously.

    And when you start claiming cause or effect, then chronology absolutely matters.

    Your equations flaw is to say that while E & A are ok as variables to interchange, BOTH of them must have occurred before you find T.

    The reality here is, temperature increased and the CO2 levels lag behind that increase. Fairly consistently throughout recorded history I might add – and with most of the data, that lag is 400 years or so. So sure, you can include CO2 into the A part of your equation if you wish, but how big a part is it? Not even as big as steam… ok.

    See this is the thing though – while you call on me to go dig through the Ponder the Maunder thing, she made an effort to factor in the complexity of this issue. Naturally, when things are extremely complex, one person is likely to make a few mistakes. You however, grossly oversimplify and then assume clarity which you really don’t have.

    But I’ve got better things to do at this point and history will prove you wrong. If it doesn’t, feel free to email me in 20 years and gloat as much as you want.

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