The Policy Blessing of Climategate

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Yesterday I wrote about the scientific tragedy of Climategate. Why a tragedy? Because the Climategate shenanigans have made it much more difficult for us to know how bad man-made global warming might really be. And it undermines public and policymaker trust in the honesty and probity of scientists.

That being said, Climategate could be a real political and economic blessing in that it may slow the adoption of really bad policies aimed at trying to forestall climate change. What policies? Just for instance, I explained in my column, "Energy Price Deceit," how the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade scheme must raise energy prices. Otherwise it won't work as designed to get consumers to cut back on using fossil fuels:

So in an attempt to ward off voter displeasure over higher energy prices brought about by Congressionally-mandated carbon rationing, the denizens on Capitol Hill have tacked on a number of Rube Goldbergesque policy obfuscations designed the mask the price increases. These include subsidies and tax breaks for retrofitting buildings to use less energy, setting energy conservation appliance standards, subsidies for higher mileage automobiles, and imposing a renewable fuel standard on utility companies, among many other things.

The chief technique that Congress is using to hide the mandated price increase in electricity and natural gas from voters is giving away free emissions permits to local electricity and gas distribution companies. In the ACES bill, some 30 percent of emissions permits are allocated free to local distribution companies who are supposed to sell the permits and then pass along the money to consumers as a lump sum rebate to offset their higher utility bills. Why a lump sum?

As Harvard University environmental economist Robert Stavins explains in his article on "The Wonderful Politics of Cap-and-Trade," the hope is that such rebates will compensate "consumers for increases in electricity prices, but without reducing incentives for energy conservation." Even if they are getting a rebate, higher monthly electric bills will still likely annoy voters. But let's assume that this scheme actually works as intended and blunts household displeasure about paying more for electricity and natural gas.

There's one big problem: The proposal merely shifts the price paid by consumers for energy from local utilities to other products and services. For example, Resources for the Future economists Rich Sweeney and Dallas Burtraw calculate that auctioning all of the carbon emissions permits would result in a price of $20.91 per metric ton. However, allocating 30 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions permits free to local utilities as proposed under the ACES bill would mean lower electricity prices, and lower prices would mean more consumption. The result is that there would 24 percent fewer emissions reductions in the electricity sector than would have been the case had all permits been auctioned.

The higher emissions in the electricity sector make it harder for other sectors of the economy—automobiles, construction, steel, cement, food processing, retail, agriculture—to stay below the national cap on carbon dioxide emissions. And this pushes up the demand for the remaining permits, which boosts their prices. Sweeney and Burtraw calculate that the requirement for increased emissions reductions in other sectors under a national cap would raise the allowance price to $26.90 per metric ton. The result, according to Sweeney and Burtraw, is that "this raises the costs of goods and services from these sectors."

So this plan to allocate "free" permits could well end up costing consumers even more than they "save" on their household electricity and natural gas bills. Fearing the electoral consequences of honesty, Congress is trying to hide the fact that they are increasing energy prices by distracting the American people with a torrent of rebates, subsidies, and tax incentives, along with plenty of happy talk about renewable energy and creating "green jobs." The result is that Congress has devised a complicated and inefficient scheme where distributing a "free" commodity actually makes products and services more expensive than it would otherwise have to be. That's truly "wonderful politics"!

See also my column in which I ask, "Is Government Action Worse Than Global Warming?"  In case you're wondering, the answer is, yes. So it would be a blessing indeed if the fallout from Climategate slows the Copenhagen and Waxman-Markey juggernauts.

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  1. the Climategate shenanigans have made it much more difficult for us to know how bad man-made global warming might really be.

    Like Lew Rockwell wrote:

    “And all you AGW deniers thought the exposure of vast corporate-state lies, and the slowing of an impoverishing, anti-freedom juggernaut, was a good thing.”

  2. “know how bad man-made global warming might really be.”

    And Bailey claims to be a “scientist.”

    Lose all credibility much?

    1. When has Bailey claimed to be a scientist?

      1. When has Bailey claimed to be a scientist?

        That would be… never. I am a journalist who reports on the intersection between science and policy. For more details see my brief bio at reason.com.

        1. For more details see my brief bio at reason.com.

          What a shameless self-promoter. 😉

    2. So, LibertyMike, care to share with us YOUR impressive credentials as a scientist. I mean, if Bailey as a nonscientist can’t hold a meaningful opinion on the matter, then it follows that only scientists can, right.

      Please be specific, and include links.

      1. 1. I am not a rent seeker.
        2. I am not a proponent of the proposition that double blind studies represent the apogee of “evidence.”
        3. I am not a socialist.
        4. I am not an affirmative action beneficiary,
        5. I recognize that “The Big Bang” is the atheist’s version of Santa Claus.

        1. In other words, you’re not a scientist, got called out on your bullshit, and responded with a bunch of non-sequiturs.

          1. Tonio, it is not about being a “scientist.” Its not about credentials. Its about exercising one’s mind.

            1. Bullshit. On 12.2.09 @ 1:21PM you wrote:

              And Bailey claims to be a “scientist.”

              Lose all credibility much?

              Sounds like a credentials challenge to me.

              Bailey then soundly refuted your bullshit contention that he claimed to be a scientist.

              I then questioned whether you yourself were a scientist, and challenged you to document your credentials, which you completely blew off, responding with a bizarre list of non-sequiturs.

              The only sense I can make of that list, what with the “socialist” reference, is that you were confusing me with Tony.

              Then you backpedalled on the credentials thing @4:57 PM.

              So, in your own words: Lose all credibility much?

        2. The big bang…is…what the hell? I believe even the Vatican itself is hedging its bets as to the nature of “Creation.”

    3. The graceful thing to do, Libertymike, would be to apologize.

  3. Yeah, and high fructose corn syrup is good for you!

    1. Dave, you really shouldn’t use other people’s handles.

      1. Epi-

        No, its me. Hey, we anarcho-free enterprise-individualists do part company on some things as I suspect, somewhat recall, you being in the pro HFCS crowd.

  4. People like Bjorn Lomborg and others have been making a fair and well researched point that the idea behind “saving the planet from Global Warming” completely disregards the fact that there are already millions of people suffering and dying from malnutrition and unsanitary conditions right now. Lomborg has a weekly column in the WSJ for the last few weeks where he has interviewed these unfortunate folks to ask them about global warming, and the results are predictable. To a man they all state “yeah, that’s great you guys want to save your million dollar beach houses, but how about getting me a fucking working toilet so we don’t have to shit in the backyard every day first?”.

    For a fraction of the proposed costs for things like Cap and trade we could easily alleviate immense amounts of suffering for these individuals. What the Global Warming alarmists fail to realize is that this should be the priority; things like eradicating malaria, or getting clean water and sanitation to third world areas. Let’s fix the things we can fix first before we argue over whether we should cripple our economy for a .002% reduction in global temperatures.

    1. It’s a religion.

      You have to factor that in to everything you consider about it. Rationality is not something you can use here.

    2. Most people in this religion tend to also decry our ‘unsustainable population’. While they would never say it out loud (or perhaps even to themselves), they most likely dislike all efforts to save people’s lives. Unless Bono gives it a thumbs-up, that is.

      1. Re Chris,

        You make a good point. I have always entertained the idea that leftists are actually closet racists, since they talk very easily about “excess populations”. Which populations are “excessive” in their number? I can only speculate what they mean, but I am willing to bet they do not include THEMSELVES as the “excess.”

        I don’t care if there are more Asians or Blacks or Hispanics alive and kicking – the more, the merrier. I don’t care that they (myself included) have lots of children – the more, the merrier. Saying that these people (myself included) do not deserve to be alive just because of someone’s idea of how the world should look like strikes me as not only a misanthropic position, but an utterly racist one.

        It was the recalcitrant racists that made the bulk of the Progressive movement. My opinion is that this has not changed a bit.

        Want proof? Planned Parenthood has aimed their efforts and proselitism at the minority communities of the inner cities; the greatest number of aborted babies per race in the US is within the Black community. This tells you of a systematic effort to control THAT population. Planned Parenthood has not made very many strided within the Latino community, because Latinos (myself included) are very family oriented, but the Black family was already destroyed by the utter racist LBJ and his minions during the 1960’s. he did this by co-opting the Civil Rights movement with his Great Society, basically bribing Blacks to forgo their values. The results are still felt today.

        1. “Planned Parenthood has not made many strides within the Latino community…”

          There. Fixed it.

        2. I don’t care if there are more Asians or Blacks or Hispanics alive and kicking – the more, the merrier. I don’t care that they (myself included) have lots of children – the more, the merrier. Saying that these people (myself included) do not deserve to be alive just because of someone’s idea of how the world should look like strikes me as not only a misanthropic position, but an utterly racist one.

          Old, I know you like to type a lot, and I like to read a lot of what you have to say, especially when you’re raining fire on the AGW flim-flam-ers, but when you type stuff like the above, you sound like a dumb breeder.

        3. Check out Maafa21 and see how Black Genocide thru Planned Parenthood is going on today ! Shocking! (Short preview here: http://www.maafa21.com)

    3. Tman,

      Bjorn Lomborg is a well-meaning lefty that at least has been honest enough about environmentalism to recognize that much that has been said about the environment is not true.

      He tries to make a case for direct aid to poverty-stricken populations as a much cheaper alternative to other economically crippling plans, but unfortunately, direct aid does not really help people get out of poverty – investment in production does.

      1. direct aid does not really help people get out of poverty – investment in production does.

        I agree that ultimately the old saw about give a man a fish/teach a man to fish is true, and yes we should help investment in production for the most efficient resolutions through things like micro-lending and free trade. What bothers me is that without the basics such as food and water all the libertarian policies in the world won’t matter one bit. And it annoys the piss out of me that leftists continue to overlook basic solutions such as DDT spraying to eradicate malaria whilst they preach from the Altar of Warmenism.

      2. One could argue that infrastrucure for sanitation and transportation are necessary for, or at least conducive to, investment in production.

        For example, I recall reading somewhere that the incomes of African farmers could be substantially increased if they had good roads to get their produce to market on.

        As for sanitation and clean water supplies these do not so much get people out of poverty as get them to a level where they can simply survive.

        Frankly, if any of my tax money is going to get taken for aid transfers I’d at least like to see it improve common people’s lives than end up enriching some entrenched clique.

        Besides, the kinds of sanitation and water projects that can lift up a population are quiet well handled on a small to medium scale by private charities. There is no real need to be relying on governments doing anything here, except for them to get out of the way, that is.

        I note that I have also overlooked electrification as a huge factor in improving lives.

        1. You can’t really underestimate the effects on income real transportation infrastructure would provide. Before the railroads, American farmers were engaged in subsistence farming unless they lived on a major river. After the railroads came in, they basically had profitable businesses overnight.

      3. Lomborg is kind of a hack. But he’s a hack in the right field to give him a lot of exposure.

        This is the entire reason the emails discussed suppressing denier research. Usually it would just be bad science that goes away. But those with economic, political, or ideological interests in climate change denialism tend to take any published scraps of research that confirms their beliefs or agenda and make it into something much bigger than it deserves for its quality.

        1. Keep trying, Chony.

  5. Is there ANYBODY in the US Congress that is trying to repeal that most uber-stupid of climate change regulation that we burn food (corn syrup –> ethanol) for energy?

    1. No. But, but I wish someone would prove me wrong.

  6. Because the Climategate shenanigans have made it much more difficult for us to know how bad whether man-made global warming might really be occurring.

    C’mon, Ron, time to admit that, with the core data set rendered scientifically unusable with undocumented edits and destroyed originals, and a computer model that is, apparently, a piece of junk, its time to back the truck all the way up.

    Everything that used, or relied upon, CRU data or modelling cannot be relied upon as real, serious science. Their work cannot be tested or duplicated, therefore it is not science.

    How much of the work on AGW did not rely on CRU data or modelling, I couldn’t say, but that is the place to start.

    1. RC- There are other datasets besides that from CRU, and they all show a warming trend. It is certainly the overwhelming majority opinion that some part of that warming is anthropogenic. True, there’s a chance that science is wrong here (just as there’s a chance that science is wrong about evolution) but it’s fairly accurate to phrase the actual scientific debate as one of how bad man-made global warming might really be.

      1. Actually, I think they all show a cooling trend (last 10 years).

        1. My bad… Over the last ten years it’s sort of a wash. The cool thing is that GISS stuck its neck out and predicted record temps over the next couple years. It’s sort of a put-up-or-shut-up moment for some of these climate modelers.

          1. Well, it is even worse than that. From Bailey’s latest article.

            https://reason.com/archives/200…..dy-of-clim

            While it is true that the scientific groups are independent, as University of Colorado climatologist Roger Pielke Sr. (father of Pielke Jr.) observes, the temperature data sets are not all that independent. Pielke cites the 2006 U.S. Climate Change Science Program report, which noted, “Since the three chosen data sets utilize many of the same raw observations, there is a degree of interdependence.” The report further observed, “While there are fundamental differences in the methodology used to create the surface data sets, the differing techniques with the same data produce almost the same results.” In 2007, Pielke and his colleagues reported, “The raw surface temperature data from which all of the different global surface temperature trend analyses are derived are essentially the same. The best estimate that has been reported is that 90?95 percent of the raw data in each of the analyses is the same (P. Jones, personal communication, 2003). That the analyses produce similar trends should therefore come as no surprise.”

            One of the leaked emails from CRU’s Phil Jones appears to confirm this data interdependence: “Almost all the data we have in the CRU archive is exactly the same as in the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) archive used by the NOAA National Climatic Data Center.” Given this interdependence, Jones’ appeal to correlation with other data sets to support the validity of the CRU data is less convincing than one would hope. To the contrary, the fact that the three data sets correlate so well may instead provoke concerns about the validity of all three.

  7. People like Bjorn Lomborg and others have been making a fair and well researched point that the idea behind “saving the planet from Global Warming”

    They don’t mean saving people from the alleged consequences of the alleged Global Warming, they mean saving other species.

    You can’t save the planet itself, because there isn’t anything people can do to obliterate this chunk of dirt and rocks. About the worst we can do is slightly rearrange the thin crust of the ecosystem so that most but not all of humanity dies.

    1. You can’t save the planet itself,

      You know, the funniest thing that I hear in regards to global warming is when people say things like “you can’t argue the facts about climate change”.

      No shit stupid, because the climate is and always has been changing. They act like the current climate is the way the Earth is supposed to be. It isn’t “supposed to be” anything, it’s a fucking planet in a very uncaring and dangerous universe that would shake us off like a bad case of fleas in a heart beat if something strong enough came along.

      Maybe I just hate hippies.

      1. You’re not debating anyone but yourself and your own misapprehension about the motives behind environmental activism.

        It’s not about saving the planet. The planet, as you rightly note, will be just fine and couldn’t give a shit either way.

        The entire fucking point is to maintain the climate that has allowed for human civilization. That is, it’s about people, not the ball of rock they live on.

        1. If that was true, then why aren’t these people more concerned with alleviating the entirely fixable problems that 50% of the world currently deals with? DDT spraying could help solve the malaria problems in much of the third world. Micro-lending has been proven to lift poor villages up and provide a monetary base to begin contructing business infrastructure. Very inexpensive sanitation and clean water supplies could be provided to many of the people mentioned. But instead these assholes want to go fellate Al Gore and Bono once a year at these million dollar conferences, fly around the world lecturing us how we are evil carbon polluters who need to reduced to bicycles and solar-provided electricity. As Lomborg has shown, if these people really gave a fuck about other suffering people they would be fixing these problems instead of whining about polar bears.

          1. Which people are you referring to?

        2. You’re joking, right?

          That is the biggest load of twaddle you have ever managed and considering the bullshit you’ve peddle that is no mean accomplishment.

          1. That was to Chony, not Tman.

            Jesus, Tony, I long since stopped taking you seriously, but that tops any piece of crap you ever writen here.

            1. I cant decide what’s stupider, that Tony believes we can “control the climate” of the planet for human civilization, or that environmentalists actually give a fuck about poor people.

              Tough call.

              1. They care a fuck ton more about them than libertarians, unless it’s convenient to use them as props in an argument.

            2. Do you have ANYTHING to add?

              All I said was that it was dishonest to say environmentalists care about the planet qua planet. The point is protecting the conditions of humanity’s native environment to minimize climate related hardship… for humans.

              Yes some people care about polar bears and other endangered species. But only a crackpot–and I would call him that–would believe in protecting them before protecting people.

              In other words, it’s a strawman accusation.

              1. In other words, it’s a strawman accusation.

                The easiest example I can give you is the retarded push for ethanol from corn to replace gas in our cars. Due to environmentalists pushing for “greener gas” the US govt subsidizes ungodly amounts of corn production, which has in turn distorted the corn market, which in turn made it more difficult for poorer people of the world to get corn that they depend on for food. Ask a hippie about that and they’ll say some shit like “sacrifices have to be made”.

                I don’t know what bubble you live in Chony, but it is not even close to a straw man argument.

                Try starting with http://www.mineyourownbusiness.org/ and then get back to me.

                1. Every informed liberal I know is totally aware of the ethanol scam and is against subsidizing corn production for fuel.

                  1. Informed liberal?

                    You’re hilarious.

        3. The entire fucking point is to maintain the climate that has allowed for human civilization.

          Bullshit. Humans can adjust. We can build air conditioners. Bubble domes. Whatever is necessary.

          If the Earth gets too warm for our liking, we can pump sulfur(?) into the air (or whatever the recent proposal was that enviros were freaking out over).

          1. We can build bubble domes… or we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Why is that not an option for you?

    2. A warmer climate has generally coincided with greater life populating the planet with wider diversity as well. This is just an anti-human (other than themselves) religion. Most people I know who are believers, know zero about science, but feel deeply that we are bad animals who need to be knocked down a peg. It’s kind of like hating the Yankees, America, or any other anti-underdogs.

      1. It’s a sort of nature worship made popular primarily by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. It grew alongside Industrialism as a counterpoint to it. It only became mainstream when the benefits of industrialisation were around long enough to be taken for granted. The problem with the whole thing, in my opinion, is that it is based on a flawed definition of nature, as if we weren’t a part of it. They believe in getting ‘back to nature’, which is nonsense. The universe evolves. The earth evolves. We evolve, and not just physically. Culturally and technologically we are not the same species we were. There is no going back unless it’s in the wake of some cataclysm or other which, as Roland Emmerich has demonstrated time and again, is really at the base of that mindset’s desires.

    3. You got people like this around you? Country is full of them now! People walking around all day long, every minute of the day ? worried about EVERYTHING! Worried about the air, worried about the water, worried about the soil. Worried about insecticides, pesticides, food additives, carcinogens; worried about radon gas; worried about asbestos. Worried about saving endangered species.

      Let me tell you about endangered species, all right? Saving endangered species is just one more arrogant attempt by humans to control Nature! It’s arrogant meddling! It’s what got us into trouble in the first place! Doesn’t anybody understand that? Interfering with Nature! Over 90 percent.. over… way over 90 percent of all the species that have ever lived ? EVER LIVED ? on this planet are gone. Whissshht! They are extinct!

      We didn’t kill them all.

      They just… disappeared! That’s what Nature does! They disappear these days at the rate of 25 a day, and I mean regardless of our behavior. Irrespective of how we act on this planet, 25 species that were here today, will be gone tomorrow! Let them go… gracefully! Leave Nature alone! Haven’t we done enough?

      We’re so self-important. So self-important! Everybody’s going to save something now. “Save the trees; save the bees; save the whales; save those snails.” And the greatest arrogance of all, “Save the planet.” WHAT? Are these fucking people kidding me? Save the planet? We don’t even know how to take care of ourselves yet. We haven’t learned how to care for one another, we’re gonna save the fucking planet?

      I’m getting tired of that shit. Tired of that shit. Tired! I’m tired of fucking Earth Day! I’m tired of these self-righteous environmentalists; these white, bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is there aren’t enough bicycle paths. People trying to make the world safe for their Volvos. Besides, environmentalists don’t give a shit about the planet. They don’t care about the planet. Not in the abstract they don’t. Not in the abstract they don’t. You know what they’re interested in? A clean place to live. Their own habitat. They’re worried that some day in the future, they might be personally inconvenienced. Narrow, unenlightened self-interest doesn’t impress me.

      Besides, there is nothing wrong with the planet. Nothing wrong with the planet. The planet is fine. The PEOPLE are fucked. Difference. Difference! The planet is fine. Compared to the people, the planet is doing great. Been here four and a half billion years. Did you ever think about the arithmetic? The planet has been here four and a half billion years. We’ve been here, what? A hundred thousand? Maybe two hundred thousand? And we’ve only been engaged in heavy industry for a little over two hundred years. Two hundred years versus four and a half billion. And we have the CONCEIT to think that somehow we’re a threat? That somehow we’re gonna put in jeopardy this beautiful little blue-green ball that’s just a-floatin’ around the sun?

      The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through all kinds of things worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles; hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors; worlwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages… And we think some plastic bags, and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet… the planet… the planet isn’t going anywhere. WE ARE!

      We’re going away. Pack your shit, folks. We’re going away. And we won’t leave much of a trace, either. Thank God for that. Maybe a little styrofoam. Maybe. A little styrofoam. The planet will be here and we’ll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet will shake us off like a bad case of fleas. A surface nuisance.

      You wanna know how the planet is doing? Ask those people at Pompeii, who are frozen into position from volcanic ash, “How the planet’s doing?” You wanna know if the planet’s all right, ask those people in Mexico City or Armenia or a hundred other places buried under thousands of tons of earthquake rubble, if they feel like a threat to the planet this week. Or how about those people in Kilowaia, Hawaii, who built their homes right next to an active volcano, and then wonder why they have lava in the living room.

      The planet will be here for a long, long ? LONG ? time after we’re gone, and it will heal itself; it will cleanse itself, because that’s what it does. It’s a self-correcting system. The air and the water will recover; the earth will be renewed; and, if it’s true that plastic is not degradable, well, the planet will simply incorporate plastic into a new pardigm: the Earth plus plastic! The Earth doesn’t share our prejudice towards plastic. Plastic came out of the Earth. The Earth probably sees plastic as just another one of its children. Could be the only reason the Earth allowed us to be spawned from it in the first place. It wanted plastic for itself. Didn’t know how to make it. Needed us. Could be the answer to our age-old philosophical question, “Why are we here?” “Plastic! Assholes.”

      So! So, the plastic is here, our job is done, we can be phased out now. And I think that it has already started already, don’t you? I think, to be fair, the planet probably sees us as a mild threat. Something to be dealt with. And I am sure the planet will defend itself in the manner of a large organism, like a beehive or an ant colony, and muster a defense. I am sure the planet will think of something. What would you do if you were the planet trying to defend against this pesky, troublesome species? “Let’s see… What might… Hmm.. Viruses! Viruses might be good. They seem vulnerable to viruses. And, uh…viruses are tricky, always mutating and forming new strains whenever a vaccine is developed. Perhaps, this first virus could be one that compromises the immune system of these creatures. Perhaps a human immunodeficiency virus, making them vulnerable to all sorts of other diseases and infections that might come along. And maybe it could be spread sexually, making them a little reluctant to engage in the act of reproduction.”

      Well, that’s a poetic note. And it’s a start. And I can dream, can’t I? See I don’t worry about the little things: bees, trees, whales, snails. I think we’re part of a greater wisdom than we will ever understand. A higher order. Call it what you want. Know what I call it? The Big Electron.” The Big Electron…whoooa. Whoooa. Whoooa. It doesn’t punish; it doesn’t reward; it doesn’t judge at all. It just is. And so are we. For a little while.

      Thanks for being here with me for a little while tonight!

      Thank you!

      1. Wow! He seems to touch on nearly all aspects of this thread. We lost a great thinker.

        1. It truly is. It’s worth being chided for walls of text. Keep in mind he wrote/performed this in 1992. My god, how prescient.

          1. Is that George Carlin? I am blocked from youtube.

              1. He was great. Very smart guy.

      2. “Over 90 percent.. over… way over 90 percent of all the species that have ever lived ? EVER LIVED ? on this planet are gone. Whissshht! They are extinct! “

        They’re not dead – they’re just resting.

      3. Carlin was great, but this shtick was comedic nihilism. Do you think governments should operate without any concern whatsoever for the welfare of human beings?

        1. Shut the fuck up Tony.

        2. Rim much?

        3. No, they shouldn’t. Once you give them that responsibility, it’s all over. Government shouldn’t be DOING anything, for that matter.

          1. Statists just want us all under the same roof so they can tell mommy on people they don’t like and have daddy spank them.

          2. Do you really think anarchy is workable in a world with nuclear weapons?

            1. Do you really think anarchy is workable in a world with nuclear weapons?

              It has so far – the current governments are accountable to no one (which is practically anarchy of the States), yet no nuclear weapons have been unleashed among themselves.

              1. well, except twice.

              2. Except for all of those international treaties regarding nuclear weapons proliferation. Not exactly anarchy.

            2. The funding and production of which were and are supplied by States. The threat of use of which are made from between or at least against states.

              1. So you agree that now that they exist it would be pretty fucking stupid to advocate anarchy as you did above, right?

                1. No, and I don’t see how that was implied. The thing about anarchy is that it can’t be implemented without negating its own implementation due to the fact that a group would be implementing it, using force upon the populace. It is just something that happens. As for my own personal theory about how anarchy would come about, this is hardly the thread. And I don’t see how nukes in the hands of a bunch of idiot bureaucrats are any less dangerous than in the hands of non-bureaucratic idiots. In the end, nukes aren’t weapons, they’re bargaining chips. History has proved me right on this one. Except twice. Anyway, Old Mexican had a good point about states themselves existing in anarchy (not counting the circle-jerk that is the UN). You’re right, too. Treaties were made. But treaties would be made between people and groups of people. It isn’t solely the capability of governments to negotiate and make agreements.

            3. Because we aren’t a world full of angels, I don’t think absolute anarchy will ever be “workable.” It doesn’t really matter what the weapons are.

              As far as the government concern for the welfare of human beings…

              Governments don’t make moral decisions. Neither does capitalism or Mother Nature. I’d rather be subject to the whim of Mother Nature or marker forces, than subject to the whim of a committee.

              It’s hard to bribe Mother Nature.

              1. Word. But one thing: “Workable” is contextual. It works in Somalia to a surprising degree. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somalia)Sure, it’s not perfect, but neither is what we have. Nothing will ever be. If the argument against lawlessness is that people will kill each other, I have to point out that people kill each other anyway, regardless of the law. Would it be more under an anarchy? I doubt it if you consider how many people have been killed in the name of some State or other.

            4. Also, Tony, anarchy isn’t implied by governemnts not doing anything. You happened to guess that I’m sympathetic to the idea, but that was a bit of a stretch. If there’s to be government, how about a government of laws instead of a government of legislators?

        4. Tony, we’re not the ones proposing to wreck the economy and destroy what ever chance poor people have of lifting themselves out of poverty.

          Makes one wonder who it is that really hates poor people.

          Drink!!! 😮

  8. “…Climategate shenanigans have made it much more difficult for us to know how bad man-made global warming might really be.”

    They were not fudging the temperatures down, so it can only be less bad in reality. So put the kool-aid down now already.

  9. THIS is pretty fucking amusing.

    Apparently, Fritz Henderson’s little girl is rather put out that the Board defenestrated her daddy.

    It really deserves its very own post.

    1. Does she have a sex tape? She’s kind of cute.

    2. “WHITACRE IS A SELFISH PIECE OF SHIFT.”

      A piece of shift, eh? I would’ve thought GM’s chairman would be available in an automatic by now. No wonder they’re failing.

      1. She was trying to watch her language. 🙂

  10. Whoever’s idea it was to turn libertarianism from a philosophy of government to an apologetic veneer for cost-benefit technocracy was a goddamn genius. He found the softest spot in his useful idiots, and he went balls deep in it.

    I salute you, nameless statist machinator. Epic win.

  11. The last vestage of Enron

    Almost two decades before President Barack Obama made “cap-and-trade” for carbon dioxide emissions a household term, an obscure company called Enron ? a natural-gas pipeline company that had become a big-time trader in energy commodities ? had figured out how to make millions in a cap-and-trade program for sulphur dioxide emissions, thanks to changes in the U.S. government’s Clean Air Act. To the delight of shareholders, Enron’s stock price rose rapidly as it became the major trader in the U.S. government’s $20-billion a year emissions commodity market.
    Enron Chairman Kenneth Lay, keen to engineer an encore, saw his opportunity when Bill Clinton and Al Gore were inaugurated as president and vice-president in 1993. To capitalize on Al Gore’s interest in global warming, Enron immediately embarked on a massive lobbying effort to develop a trading system for carbon dioxide, working both the Clinton administration and Congress. Political contributions and Enron-funded analyses flowed freely, all geared to demonstrating a looming global catastrophe if carbon dioxide emissions weren’t curbed. An Enron-funded study that dismissed the notion that calamity could come of global warming, meanwhile, was quietly buried.

    1. CRU is the Enron of science.

      1. They’re doing God’s work in some of the toughest climates in the world.

        1. All we need now is hidden camera video of CRU ‘scientists’ offering to reduce your previous count of underage Central American prostitutes, and increase your current count.

  12. This comment fits way better on this thread:
    Funds that go to climate science need to be redirected to sciences that are less dangerous to mankind. Any and all discoveries, real or imagined will be used to further control us. Better to not spend a penny on it, lest we eventually do get something like Cap and Trade. Don’t you people realize how close they came to succeeding?

  13. Ron, I really feel for you, and take back some (all?) of the snark I directed against you in the past for your failure to accept that AGW might be happening. You remained skeptical for an incredibly long time, and finally caved in the face of what seemed (at the time) to be good evidence. Then the evidence turned out to have been doctored. Worst timing ever, dude.

    To all those who criticize Bailey (and Sullivan) for changing their minds in the face of new evidence (changing events), I say to you that YOU are the kool-aid drinking true believers, and that people like Bailey and Sullivan are honest and rational thinkers.

    1. Rational thinkers recognize who is buttering the bread of the “scientists.” Rational thinkers also recognize that, although the “findings” of a scientist who is funded by the state or some wretched rent seeking organization may not necessarily be false just because the scientist is bought and paid for by the state or some wrethced rent seeking organization, as a matter of logic and common sense, such “findings” should be presumtpively discarded with such presumption overcome only by irrefutable, undeniable, absolute and unanimous agreement that such “findings” are, indeed, fact.

    2. Stop with the love fest.

  14. I would never accuse Ron of being dishonest. But rational thinking would have to include the realization that the statists go by the waste no crisis philosophy. Ron himself finally realized the cure was going to be worse than the sickness, this time. Hopefully he’ll feel that way next time, but I’m not so sure.

    1. James Ard: Been on the enviro crisis beat for nigh onto 20 years. First book: Eco-Scam: The False Prophets of Ecological Apocalypse. It traces the rise of millenarian ideological environmentalism and dealt with overpopulation, non-renewable resource depletion, pesticide cancer epidemics, a depleting ozone layer, and global warming “crises”. Admittedly the book is a bit dated.

      However, it did identify the usual format for an enviro crisis: “science” says that if you don’t do what ideological environmentalists tell you to do, then you will all die. And what they are always telling you is that you have to let them completely reorganize society and the economy in a collectivist fashion. So yes, I think I can say that I’m pretty aware of the ideological motivations of the environmental movement.

      The problem is that just because they were wrong in the past or abused science in the past with regard to any specific new scientific claim, I must still try not to let my own ideological biases get in the way of dispassionately evaluating and reporting it. Each instance must be evaluated on a case by case basis if one is to be honest.

      If you’re interested, you might consider reading my long column, “Confessions of an Alleged ExxonMobil Whore.”

      1. Here’s the working link (not working for me in Safari):
        https://reason.com/archives/200…..leged-exxo

  15. http://www.nature.com/nature/j…..2545a.html

    Worth a read?
    For you to decide, I guess.

    1. In the end, what the UEA e-mails really show is that scientists are human beings ? and that unrelenting opposition to their work can goad them to the limits of tolerance, and tempt them to act in ways that undermine scientific values

      Oh, no! The pressure of having to back up their claims! Sounds like sportscasters when they trying to explain away the QBs DUI.

      The editorial proves nothing accept an ability to rationalize away anything their side did wrong. Calling AGW skeptics “denialist” to link them with the Holocaust-didn’t-happen dipshits calls any sort of objectivity the author might have into question.

      Call these guys frauds and demand they produce the original data sets so they can go through blind numbers analysis. That’s how the Goreans work their way out of this. Anything else is just butthurt pouting.

    2. And by the way, as always, I want to point out that it’s not the AGW being real I doubt. More than likely CO2 could raise global temperatures.

      What I object to is the chain:

      1. Global warming is real!
      2.
      3.
      4.
      5.
      6.
      7. OMG! We’re all gonna die unless we adopt vastly less efficient fuel sources!

      AGW does not imply the popular solutions. Objecting to the popular solutions on that basis is not a rejection of the already shaky and shady field of climate science.

      1. Sugarfree,

        And yet many here think the only way to debate 7 is to deny 1.

        I wonder if any of the “this proves the science is worthless” crowd will attempt to refute the substance in the Nature article (see e.g., “Earth’s cryosphere is changing”).

        1. Well, NM, some us base our continued skepticism of the first premise (“[AGW] is real!”) on the following:

          (1) The mismatch between the rate of ACO2 production and global temperature increases.

          (2) The historical mismatch between high CO2 levels and higher temperatures. If anything, CO2 lags, not leads, temperature increases.

          (3) The saturation effect of CO2 as a greenhouse gas – above a certain (fairly low) level, it doesn’t increase temperatures.

          (4) The continuing lack of any explanation for historic temperature cycles, without which its hard to say that a marginal increase in a marginal greenhouse gas will have perceptible effects.

          1. RC Dean – this list is does not seem to include questions that are without answers in the literature.

        2. Re: Neu Mejican,

          And yet many here think the only way to debate 7 is to deny 1.

          No, Neu – there was never a problem with climate scientists finding out the Earth is heating up a bit. The problem is that they played a con game just to have sweeping, anti-freedom policies to shackle us up for the rest of our lives. For such a thing, the burden of proof should have gone much, MUCH higher than it was.

          Instead, the standards were lowered to the floor just so social engineers and petty tyrants could finally get to play with all of our lives.

    3. Re: Neu Mejican,

      From the link above:

      If there are benefits to the e-mail theft, one is to highlight yet again the harassment that denialists inflict on some climate-change researchers, often in the form of endless, time-consuming demands for information under the US and UK Freedom of Information Acts. Governments and institutions need to provide tangible assistance for researchers facing such a burden.

      This falls under the category of “Oh, you poor baby!”

      Tell me, with all honesty, Neu: Is it harrasment to ask for the information you are purportedly using to sustain your allegations?

      But for much crucial information the reality is very different. Researchers are barred from publicly releasing meteorological data from many countries owing to contractual restrictions.

      Which would automatically mean to any ETHICALLY-MINDED researcher that the data should not be used AT ALL as evidence for your findings. You can easily tell the purveyors of such data to go jump in a lake and then obtain your own data, or shut down your research for its impracticability.

      In the end, what the UEA e-mails really show is that scientists are human beings ? and that unrelenting opposition to their work can goad them to the limits of tolerance, and tempt them to act in ways that undermine scientific values.

      “Our lack of scientific and procedural standards and ethics is really the fault of those miserable, pesky deniers!”

      Gee, doesn’t Nature show real journalistic scruples here? I’m impressed, Neu.

      1. Why the hate for contractual obligations?

        1. Re: Neu,

          Why the hate for contractual obligations?

          Because then you could not hear the audio in Youtube posts…

          I mean, talking about missing the point – science is not supposed to be done with IP in mind (we can discuss the validity of IP later.) If you cannot DISCLOSE your evidence due to a contractual agreement, then your research is ipso facto bunk

          “Santa Claus exists! I have proof!”
          “Hey, great! Let us see it!”
          “I can’t, I am under a ‘contractual agreement’ not to disclose”
          “Then how can we validate your assertion”
          “Because I have proof!”
          “But we cannot see it as you said. So what gives?”
          “Yes, but the proof exists! You have to take my word for it”
          “Fuck you!”
          “You’re a D-E-N-I-E-R”

          1. I have to agree with OM here, if the data is not visible to all scientists, then it should not be used as proof of anything.

            1. The computer models, etc the scientists use to obtain their “proof” would also be considered IP, so no one else would know how to replicate the experiment, and possible replicate the “proof.”

          2. I am not sure it is that clear cut.

            Data is protected all the time. IRB approvals for human research wall-off huge amounts of data from scrutiny.

            The data that is open to public scrutiny should be the data that is needed to evaluate the study/research. I don’t see any clear argument that the validity of these models can’t be evaluated using the normalized data. Again, if the results of the studies are valid, independent data should be able to replicate the findings. The obsession with doing a reliability check using their raw data seems way off mark.

            1. An important point here…the publications based on the normalized data include a description of how that data was normalized. That method can be judged on its own merit. Either the methods used to normalize the data are valid or not. No need to look at the actual numbers to make that judgment.

              For instance, if I say I am going to adjust number from location X by Y degrees because the station was moved to a higher altitude…the validity of the adjustment can be evaluated without knowing what the readings at that station were.

              The loss of the raw data does not render the study worthless as its worth is determined by replication. Someone commented that this process is somewhat different in observational science as opposed to experimental science…which is true. That said, the types of claims being made in support of AGW, it seems to me, are of a type that should be invariant to specific observations and amendable to replication with different observational data sets.

              If the global temperature is really rising, any reasonably representative sampling of global temperatures should show that rise.

    4. I read as far as the first use of the word “denialist” to describe the skeptics. At that point, it may as well have been written by MoveOn.org, so not worth my time.

      1. I actually read the whole piece – then puked at the end. No easy task to hold it on while reading it…

        Really, it boils my blood that a *serious* scietific journal would stoop to the level of leftist street thugs and resort to name-calling to describe people that are skeptical for very good reasons.

        1. I forget which mathematician this was, but a journal once questioned his wife’s fidelity due to a bitter disagreement over some proof or other. Lack of trees doesn’t mean we made it out of the jungle.

    5. Neu: Thanks very much for the link. Cynics would note that the editors at Nature have long been supportive of the hypothesis that man-made global warming is likely to be catastrophic. Why? Maybe they are right, but perhaps as I suggested yesterday in my column:

      The more benign interpretation of what has been going on in climate change science is that as the man-made global warming narrative took hold among climatologists, research that confirmed the dominant paradigm had a much easier time getting through the peer review process. Meanwhile research that contradicted the paradigm was subject to much greater scrutiny and thus had a harder time making it through the peer review sieve. Scientists are human too and not free from confirmation bias.

      1. Confirmation/publication bias is indeed a danger that any field needs to stay vigilant against.

        Your suggesting that it is occurring, however, does not mean it is happening. It seems, in fact, with several journals available that have a clear tilt the other way (Energy and Environment, for instance) that danger is somewhat reduced. A quality study that refuted AGW should have no trouble finding a home.

        The problem, of course, is that with publications that are more about advocacy than science (I don’t think I would call Nature an example. Others here might disagree)…the consumer of the research needs to be a bit more vigilant in their reading of the peer-reviewed literature.

  16. Oh, no! The pressure of having to back up their claims!

    The problem, it seems, is that typically the process of backing up your claims involves valid counter claims from others who know something about the field. When the majority of the requests are base-less quibbles from non-experts, this slows down the science. It is a legitimate concern.

    1. Re: Neu,

      The problem, it seems, is that typically the process of backing up your claims involves valid counter claims from others who know something about the field.

      This is pure sophistry. It is up to the person that makes the assertion to prove, not for the skeptics to provide counterarguments.

      If these flim-flam artists are basically asserting something akin to the moon being made of green cheese, it is not up to me or even you to provide a counterargument IN EXCHANGE of evidence to their claims – they have to provide the evidence REGARDLESS of what we could provide as skeptics.

    2. NM sticks to the nice, tight tautology that valid scientific challenges come only from “real scientists”, and that the test for being a “real scientist” is support for AGW.

    3. The words “Deal with it!” come to mind.
      These scientists willfully got into what is probably the most politically polluted field. What did they expect?!

    4. Re: Neu,
      But some of those non-experts these guys complain about actually have experience in related fields. For example a statistician should be able to look at the statistical methods they use and figure out if they are using a valid method for what they are doing and if they are using the method correctly. Another example who be someone who is expert in instrumentation should be able to look at the instrumentation package and see if it is being used correctly and if the corrections they are using are valid. Some of these “non-experts” they get upset about really know what they are talking about.

      1. Okay guys, this is getting silly.
        I did not say that all the requests were illegitimate. I said that, unlike the norm in other fields, these guys have to deal with a disproportionate number of baseless challenges, trivial requests, and crack-pots. What that does is make it harder for them to respond to the legitimate challenges, legitimate requests, and help to move the science forward.

        RC Dean – you used to have better reading skills.

  17. Rational thinkers understand and accept that rent seeking scientists are not to be trusted. Period.

  18. Besides, the kinds of sanitation and water projects that can lift up a population are quiet well handled on a small to medium scale by private charities. There is no real need to be relying on governments doing anything here, except for them to get out of the way, that is.

    Yep, my charity of choice works in this area. One of the things I like is that they train in sanitation techniques and also teach well-digging. While they bring in some machinery, much of the well work has to be done by the locals and they often train/require them to do the work for the next village too.

  19. The science is settled! Nature said so: These scientists were simply misunderstood, overburdened human being! The deniers are irrational bastards for asking for evidence! Peer review is the key! Many scientists agree, so that must mean it is true! Don’t look at the obvious non-sequitur – lookie here, lookie here! Temperatures are rising! Bushes have bursted into flames! Cats and dogs are living together! Crisis! We must do something NOW! NOW! NOW!

    [All this said while dragging NM to meet his friends in the cozy, padded room]

  20. Anyway, google “climategate” and you’ll get almost 22 million returns.
    This can only be a good thing.

    1. But Joshua Corning accounts for 11 million, so you have to adjust your numbers to hide the incline.

      (insert smiling wink face here)

      ;^)

  21. “If there are benefits to the e-mail theft, one is to highlight yet again the harassment that denialists inflict on some climate-change researchers, often in the form of endless, time-consuming demands for information under the US and UK Freedom of Information Acts. Governments and institutions need to provide tangible assistance for researchers facing such a burden.”

    If there are that many people asking for the data, why don’t they just post the raw data they gather on the internet and let anyone download it?

    That’s five minutes out of their busy schedule.

    ” The problem, it seems, is that typically the process of backing up your claims involves valid counter claims from others who know something about the field. When the majority of the requests are base-less quibbles from non-experts, this slows down the science. It is a legitimate concern.”

    Neu, this goes back to way the emails show the climate scientists were trying to manipulate the peer review system. If you don’t consider anyone who disagrees with you an expert, then the peer review process doesn’t carry any weight.

    This article from a meteorologist at MIT was quite enlightening…http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703939404574567423917025400.html?mod=WSJ_hp_mostpop_read

    Is HE an expert?

    1. If there are that many people asking for the data, why don’t they just post the raw data they gather on the internet and let anyone download it?

      Because it would have exposed the fraud before the policies were implemented and everybody was bounded with shackles. Darn it, it was exposed anyway… Now we will never form the UN Bureau of Proper and Correct Science To Be Followed By All You Serfs.

    2. Lindzen is one of the peoplr that AGW promoters frequently find the need to oppose. I would say a professor of meteorology at MIT is an authority but it seems he’s not in the club, somehow.

    3. But he’s not part of the Consensus, man!

      1. If there are that many people asking for the data, why don’t they just post the raw data they gather on the internet and let anyone download it?

        They have…
        http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/data-sources/

        Really.

  22. Is there a creative soul left in the universe that can dub a scandal anything other that somethinggate. I understand the liberals use it to conjure up Nixon, but can’t anyone beat them to the punch just once with a catchy name.

    1. Consensusbate?

      Yes, the “b” is intentional.

  23. O for two on question marks.

  24. I am about to have to give in on the thread protest. Libertymike upstages me on the rational thinker response and ProL’s comments wind up just ahead of me both when he chaets and threads or even if his left column comment comes a minute after mine.

    1. I know. And I’m a Threaded Comments Hater!

      And no, I’m not getting used to them. We hatess them, we hatess them forever!

  25. Is there really an argument for the cap and trade bills that claims they will not raise energy prices? I mean that’s the whole point isn’t it, to drive up cost for energy industries which release lots of carbon waste and thus make cleaner energy (in terms of carbon) more competitive on the market?

  26. Re: Ron Bailey,

    Cynics would note that the editors at Nature have long been supportive of the hypothesis that man-made global warming is likely to be catastrophic. Why? Maybe they are right[…]

    Couldn’t it be more likely that they were indulging in QUESTION BEGGING?

    What’s catastrophic? Compared to what? According to whom? They are applying circular thinking.

  27. Basically global warming is the ascent of the earth’s surface temperature due to chemicals in the atmosphere. The threats that global warming brings along with it includes: affecting the climate of the Earth and even the health of the people. This also includes altering of crop seasons. Global warming also affects the way organisms survive on the planet.

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