Staff Reviews

Some Really Inconvenient Truths

Bjørn Lomborg fights the forces of climate hysteria in the new documentary Cool It.

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The world is not coming to an end. I know: shocker! And yet there are still people who feel otherwise. These climate alarmists—whose tribe has somewhat dwindled of late—believe the seas will all too soon rise 20 feet and submerge our cities; that the noble polar bear is on the very cusp of extinction; that our planet, in sum, is hurtling toward a fiery doom.

The Danish environmentalist Bjørn Lomborg is not one of these people. True, he does believe that global warming exists, that human beings are at least partly responsible for it, and that something must be done. But in his two contrarian books, The Skeptical Enviromentalist (published in English in 2001) and Cool It (2007), Lomborg argues that the strategies employed over the last two decades—the speculative ecological horror stories, the vast siphonings of money into the cause—are outdated and ineffectual. Like the late free-market environmentalist Julian Simon, whose theories launched his own journey away from alarmism, Lomborg believes that human ingenuity is the key to planetary improvement. And now, in Ondi Timoner's provocative new documentary, also called Cool It, Lomborg travels the world to make that case in a most persuasive way.

The alarmist community's objections to Lomborg—apart from his sunny, upbeat plausibility, which must surely rankle—often concern his academic bona fides. Although his focus is on economics, statistics and cost-benefit analyses, his Ph.D., they point out, is actually in political science. So, like, what could he know? In fact, Danish scientists were so angered by The Skeptical Environmentalist that they complained to the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (paging Mr. Galileo!), which ruled that the book's conclusions were in fact "dishonest," but that, in effect, Lomborg was too ignorant to realize it. (This decision was subsequently dismissed, rather curtly, by higher Danish scientific authorities.)

In the film, Lomborg deals with this episode forthrightly. He also allows a generous amount of screen time to Stanford University environmental biologist Stephen Schneider, one of his most hostile antagonists. ("This guy needs to be taken down," Schneider says.) And he does this without bringing up Schneider's role in helping to trigger the long-building backlash against ecological alarmism with his famous remark in a 1989 magazine interview that "we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have"—a foreshadowing of last year's "Climategate" email leaks.

In addition, Lomborg credits An Inconvenient Truth, the Al Gore movie, with helping to raise awareness of global warming, although through often-dubious assertions. For example, the polar bear population, Lomborg says, has actually increased since the 1960s, and is now most endangered by Arctic hunters, who shoot between 300 and 500 of the animals every year. Gore's prediction of a 20-foot rise in sea levels was wildly overwrought; but in any case, Lomborg observes, "Sea levels in the last century rose one foot—did anyone notice?" He also says that, while global warming is a serious concern, we should bear in mind that human beings manage to thrive both on the equator and at the frozen poles: "People can adapt to climate, which is always changing."

Lomborg believes that the world climate summits held in Rio, Kyoto, and Copenhagen over the last 18 years have been futile, because no country—especially such rising powerhouses as China and India, just now emerging into prosperity—will agree to cold-cock its economy in order to join the wispy Western global-warming crusade. And he claims that since the $250 billion the European Union spends every year to combat warming will ultimately reduce temperatures by only one-tenth of one percent, that money would be better channeled into worldwide battles against malaria and AIDS—diseases that are killing people right now—and into funding new climate technology.

Traveling through Europe, the U.S., and Africa, Lomborg consults with several eminent scientists (like theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson, who says that the computer climate-simulation models upon which so much ecological alarmism relies "do not begin to describe the real world we live in"); and he points out the promise of wave power, sea-borne windmills, algae-based fuel, and a prospective nuclear technology that could lead to the creation of nuclear reactors that run on nuclear waste. He also brings in Benjamin Franklin, whose observation that an Icelandic volcano eruption in 1783 had caused an abnormally severe winter in Europe suggests, Lomborg says, that artificial volcanoes could be employed to cool the Earth today.

A significant part of Lomborg's appeal lies in his lack of dogmatic certitude. In his search for concrete solutions, he never presents himself as an infallible authority, and he appears to welcome detractors. When the pugnacious Professor Schneider died last summer, before the picture's completion, Lomborg must have felt the loss of a useful critic—Cool It is dedicated to Schneider's memory.

Kurt Loder is a writer, among other things, embedded in New York.

NEXT: Garfield: Radical Nose-Thumbing Pacifism, Or Sheer Ignorant Bad Timing?

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  1. Where is the empirical evidence for AGW????

      1. And I still don’t care.

        Still do not believe it is human-induced.

      2. That is not empirical evidence.

        1. Your mom is not empirical evidence.

            1. You don’t have to PROVE AGW. There just needs to be a reasonable risk associated with it. Which me not being a scienist, I’m willing to accept that a SMALL part of income should be used to reduce the risks assocaited with global warming.

              IE, take out some insurance JUST in case all those scientists prove to be right.

              As I’m stated previosly, I think a net zero carbon tax is probably the best way to do so.

              1. But I thought you said a small cost. A net zero carbon tax isn’t going to be small. It’ll be disastrous.

              2. ” I’m willing to accept that a SMALL part of income should be used to reduce the risks assocaited with global warming.”
                But I’m not so go for it, send a contribution and leave me and the other people who are intelligent alone.

              3. That’s hardly a “small part of income.”

                You remind me of the old standard for carcinogens- absolute bans on any substance which could, if force fed in insane quantities of lab rats, just might correlate with a tumor.

      3. Everyone thinks that anyone with a brain must agree with them–liberals, conservatives, libertarian–you name it.

        They are all equally convinced that anyone who disagrees with them is a worthless excuse for a human being.

        Any participation on my part won’t change the political system in any way or how others choose to participate.

        Why should I care about politics at all?

        1. Speak for yourself. Everyone with a brain knows that otherwise intelligent people may disagree with you. If you claim otherwise, you’re a worthless excuse for a human being!

          1. Everyone thinks that anyone with a brain must agree with them–liberals, conservatives, libertarian–you name it.

            They are all equally convinced that anyone who disagrees with them is a worthless excuse for a human being.

            Any participation on my part won’t change the political system in any way or how others choose to participate.

            Why should I care about politics at all?

      4. 650 000 years ago the planet was uninhabitable?

      5. No causation proved. Please try again.

      6. No causation proved. Try again please.

    1. Sea levels have been rising due to the slightly larger volume slightly warmer water needs.

      What explanation other that slowly rising temperatures of the water in the oceans do you offer for the rising sea levels?

      1. Since the satellite data shows that the planet has been generally COOLING since 1998, how do YOU explain the rising sea levels?

        Note: You can argue that the recent cooling trend is just a brief blip in a longer-term warming trend, but the fact remains that the planet is colder right now than it was 10 years ago. So you tell me, Rrabbit, why ARE the sea levels up?

        1. Well, since water expands as it freezes, that might have something to do with it.

          1. Unlikely. Floating ice displaces the same volume of water as it would occupy when in liquid form. Overall sea level remains unaffected, unless this ice were forcefully submerged. It’s possible that water is currently freezing and becoming trapped below sea level along the coast of antarctica or some other landmass, but I doubt this would happen to a detectable degree.

            I’d like to suggest tectonic activity/erosion and regression to the mean as a potential hypothesis. If of late the earth were somewhat less perfectly spherical than average (higher mountains, deeper trenches, etc) you would expect a regression to the mean. The result of this would be rising ocean levels.

        2. Since the satellite data shows that the planet has been generally COOLING since 1998

          1998 was a big El Nino year with
          significant impact on temperatures.
          Compare to an ordinary year like 1996. Or 2000.
          Oh, and don’t forget that the oceans are not located in the lower stratosphere, where temperatures indeed dropped a bit over the last 10 years.

      2. What explanation other that slowly rising temperatures of the water in the oceans do you offer for the rising sea levels?

        No one is arguing that the temperatures are not warmer today then they were 30 years ago.

        That being said Sea levels have been rising for the past 10,000 years since the end of the last ice age and at a steady rate….this is despite colder and warmer periods then today that have occurred after the last ice age.

    2. Everyone thinks that anyone with a brain must agree with them–liberals, conservatives, libertarian–you name it.

      They are all equally convinced that anyone who disagrees with them is a worthless excuse for a human being.

      Any participation on my part won’t change the political system in any way or how others choose to participate.

      Why should I care about politics at all?

    3. Re: Realist,

      Where is the empirical evidence for AGW????

      I have a better question: Where’s the evidence it is a bad thing?

      So far, the priests have assumed that the anger of the Volcano God is a bad thing so they can argue in favor of throwing virgins into the cauldron. Is it really?

      1. A waste of perfectly good virgins.

        1. They all go to heaven and wait for terrorists… Maybe if we stop sacrificing virgins, we can better fight terrorism.

          1. Fool! Clearly we have to devirginize virgins if we want to fight terrorism!

            1. Sign me up!

    4. Why should anyone care if any warming is anthropogenic or not?

      1. Because if it is the dumb fuck libs can shit on modern society as they are want to do!

  2. “Instead, he believes that human ingenuity is the key to planetary improvement.”

    Well, that’s just crazy talk!

    “These climate alarmists?whose tribe has somewhat dwindled of late…”

    Actually, I think a lot of that tribe dwindling lately has been reality setting in. …it’s one thing to use alarmist environmentalism as convenient cover for bashing the greedy capitalist aesthetic–quite another to argue against your own standard of living.

    Nothing settles an argument like reality setting in.

    “…his Ph.D., they point out, is actually in political science. So, like, what does he know?”

    Climate change stopped being about the science a long time ago.

    Just as one example…

    The question of how much society should be willing to sacrifice to protect endangered species just isn’t a scientific question–regardless of what your friendly neighborhood Ecologist, PhD says.

    How much should coal miners in West Virginia be willing to sacrifice in order to save the polar bear? Everybody who thinks that’s a scientific question needs to go back and study more.

    Climate change questions addressed by a political scientist?!

    …what could be more appropriate?

    1. “Instead, he believes that human ingenuity is the key to planetary improvement.”

      You know, one of the biggest obstacles to getting human ingenuity involved in this is the fact that…the people in the general public who are really concerned about climate change, etc., are stuck in awe mode of a president who doesn’t know the first thing about human ingenuity.

      He doesn’t know that human ingenuity solves our problems, and he doesn’t know what makes human ingenuity more likely to solve our problems faster!

      That’s two strikes.

      He may not realize it, but judging by his actions, Obama’s been consistently hostile to the idea of human ingenuity as a solution to pretty much everything.

      His rhetoric doesn’t match that–but that’s why it’s safe to assume he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

      1. Witness the typical progressive’s hostility to entrepreneurship.

        1. Part of the solution built within ObamaCare is to entice healthcare providers to spend less money on new technology and new research and more money on things on standard procedures.

          Part of the solution to the financial regulation was to make investment banks innovate less, be less creative and to take as few risks as possible.

          Everything he’s done has been about being less innovative–unless it’s part of a government program. He seems to think innovation is going to come from Government Motors churning out green cars…

          He seems to think “human ingenuity” is something that happens at the DMV.

    2. Global warming makes a good example for government inefficiencies.
      Works like this:

      Step 1: a big problem is observed
      Step 2: the government puts a huge amount of money on the table, because big problems have to be resolved by huge amounts of taxpayers’ money
      Step 3: everybody who gets to sit at the table grabs as much money as they can.
      Step 4: that money is gone, but it was not spent to address the big problem, or at least not in any efficient way
      Step 5: the big problem still exists, and possibly got worse because nothing effective was actually done. Back to step 1 for another round.

      1. Step 1: a possible problem is spun into a looming catastrophe.
        Step 2: activists use the spin to create programs that expand government, because big problems should not be wasted as engines of progressive policy.
        Step 3: everybody who gets to sit at the table grabs as much power as they can.
        Step 4: the big problem actually goes without being addressed, or at least not in any way that will reduce it’s effectiveness as a power and money creating device.
        Step 5: the big problem starts to collapse as it’s revealed that it was, at best, an indicator of something that might become a problem, if all assumptions are absolutely correct, in a few centuries. The power securing progressive policies remain as public interest fades. Back to step 1 to create a new crisis for another round.

      2. Step 1: a big problem is observed

        No big problem has been observed. Big problems have been speculated upon that could happen 100 years from now if the world warms 3 to 6 degrees. Of course the current rate of warming for the past 30 has been only 1.4 degrees per century. Well below what the scenarios claim will cause problems and well below what IPCC models have predicted. Incidentally sea level rise is below predictions of the IPCC as well….also IPCC predictions of sea level rise are not larger then the sea level rise seen over the past 100 years. A sea level rise that no one seemed to notice caused no problems and we adjusted to with a lower level of technology then we have today or will have over the next 100 years.

    3. Everyone thinks that anyone with a brain must agree with them–liberals, conservatives, libertarian–you name it.

      They are all equally convinced that anyone who disagrees with them is a worthless excuse for a human being.

      Any participation on my part won’t change the political system in any way or how others choose to participate.

      Why should I care about politics at all?

      1. In order to attain access to like-minded pussee?

        1. “Everyone thinks that anyone with a brain must agree with them–liberals, conservatives, libertarian–you name it.

          They are all equally convinced that anyone who disagrees with them is a worthless excuse for a human being.

          Any participation on my part won’t change the political system in any way or how others choose to participate.

          Why should I care about politics at all?”

      2. Wow, you’re getting to be about as annoying as THE COMMANDER.

        Though more succinct and grammatically correct, I must admit.

        1. “Everyone thinks that anyone with a brain must agree with them–liberals, conservatives, libertarian–you name it.

          They are all equally convinced that anyone who disagrees with them is a worthless excuse for a human being.

          Any participation on my part won’t change the political system in any way or how others choose to participate.

          Why should I care about politics at all?”

      3. “Any participation on my part won’t change the political system in any way or how others choose to participate.”

        I think it’s one thing to be engaged in the kind of politics that makes people on MSNBC and Fox News shout at each other.

        There’s another kind of politics where people talk to each other about what they care about and why. It happens over the dinner table and in the lunch room at the office.

        The people yelling at each other on TV about what lawmakers should do–that’s the tail. Sometimes it seems like they’re the tail wagging the dog, but it’s really the other way around. The lawmakers are reacting to what people are saying to each other around the water cooler.

        It was that latter group I was talking about. What coal miners are saying to each other about global warming is way more important at this point than what any scientist says about climate change.

        What we should do and what kinds of sacrifices we should be willing to make, that just isn’t a scientific question. That’s a political question in the general sense. I wasn’t trying to say it’s a decision our politicians should make for us–I was trying to say it’s a question we have to answer for ourselves.

        It was just one example, but it’s a good one. Whether polar bears will disappear if we don’t make big sacrifices is a scientific question. How much I should be willing to sacrifice to save polar bears is not a scientific question–at all.

        Most political change doesn’t come from politicians and political parties anyway. Legal change comes as a result of changes in the attitudes of people like you and me. Abolition was a result of people’s attitudes changing–the politicians getting on board was the last thing that happened, not the first. Politicians didn’t get rid of segregation until enough ordinary people found segregation unacceptable.

        That’s one of the reasons why I’m libertarian. …’cause I don’t see the politicians in Washington as the agents of change. When we talk to each other about how things should change, that’s what I meant when I was talking about politics.

        If you care about how things are and how they should change–and you tell other people about it? Then you care about that kind of politics. The screaming heads and political parties can all go screw themselves, but if I’m telling people what I think and why? I’m engaging in politics.

        1. “Everyone thinks that anyone with a brain must agree with them–liberals, conservatives, libertarian–you name it.

          They are all equally convinced that anyone who disagrees with them is a worthless excuse for a human being.

          Any participation on my part won’t change the political system in any way or how others choose to participate.

          Why should I care about politics at all?”

      4. That’s not really true: a rather facile “everybody’s an equal sinner’ attitude that doesn’t square with empirical observation.

        In actual fact, the smug assumption that one’s views are so self-evidently Correct that anyone who disagrees must be stupid (or evil) is far, far more a standard attribute of the Left than the Right.

  3. Technology has gotten us out of more trouble than it’s gotten us into. We’d be extinct by now without it, and it’s given a good percentage of the world an unprecedented standard of living over the last century. How about we stop trying to beat nature at her own game and do what we usually do? Adapt.

  4. This is ridiculous.

    What other strategies could be more effective at reducing AGW than national or global government bureaucracies?

    Next you’re going to tell me that there’s a more efficient way of sending packages than the government postal service.

    1. You take that back!

    2. for those of use who aren’t sure if your being sarcastic, how about FedEx,UPS & DHL many parts of the world that have government run postal service suggest using the others because there own system is so corrupt.

  5. …repeat.

    1. What am I, chopped liver?

      1. Mmmm, chopped liver.

  6. Bj?rn Lomborg is a witch, may we burn him?

  7. Bj?rn Lomborg is a witch, may we burn him?

    1. I’m not a witch, I’m not a witch!

      1. Er,…but you have ideas that differ from mine.

        1. Ahh!! and he spells his name with a zero!

          1. He turned me into a newt!

            .. I got better ..

            Burn the witch!

          2. Thats an empty set, even worse.

            1. You may not burn him…not yet. Tie a concrete block to his ankle and drop him in a lake. If he floats to the top, he is a witch and you may burn him. If he sinks and drowns to death, he was not a witch.

        2. Al Gore (30, then 20, then 10 years ago): stop using fossil fuels, they’re bad for the environment.

          Everyone else: fuck off

          Al Gore (five years ago) : Stop using fossil fuels or you’re all going to die!

          MSM: Save us Al Gore!

          1. Al Gore (one year ago): Quit fucking up my plans, I’m about to make billions.

            1. Tipper Gore: You didn’t make billions, and you’re morbidly obese, I’m leaving!

      2. How will your ideas force consumers to replace their old cars with our new green models?

        1. I’m stuck in a ditch and I can’t get out!

          1. Would you like some of my slurpee?

  8. Holy shit has the AGW discussion become tedious beyond belief. I can’t wait for this fucking fad to die.

    1. You’d think libertarianism could never run out of ideas–we humans being imperfect bastards and all that–but there seem to be only about a couple dozen, cleverly shuffled and endlessly recycled.

      1. Ah, yes… because Reason magazine is the end-all be-all of libertarianism, right?

      2. I like this idea of constant revolution…tell me more.

        1. Yes yes we need constant experimentation until we get the right one!!

          We need to keep changing the rules to get us out of this damn depression!!

    2. But I’m sure THIS time if we argue the same points over and over again we’ll finally fix what’s wrong with the planet.

      The poor, poor planet. SHE NEEDS US!!!! WE MUST SAVE HER!!!!

    3. It’s not going to die any time soon. Even after we’re no longer using fossil fuels, it will continue on and on. Next it’s going to be about cows or over-population.

      The only way I see this dying is if the world starts to cool, but when is that going to happen? Looks like never.

      I grew up with this crap and by now we were all supposed to go outside wearing gas masks and covered from head to toe to avoid the sun on our patch of desert. The words have changed, but the gist is the same: mindless panic based on little evidence and absolute judgment about how the Earth SHOULD be.

      1. Hey! What ever happened to the Ozone Hole?? I mean, it was a boon to sunblock manufacturers, until stupid humans started cutting off their necessary UV-B radiation and their vitamin D production diminished, causing all kinds of unintended health consequences including heart disease and, ironically, certain cancers. Thanks, world climate alarmists!

        1. We altered the chemicals we were putting into the air (Montreal Protocol). It took a couple of decades, but the ozone hole is returning to levels that were back in the ’70s.

          1. I just came across a story about who ‘the ozone hole’ is causing sunburns in whales & could become a ‘crisis’.

        2. Hey! What ever happened to the Ozone Hole??

          it is still there…and they studied it and found this:

          Thus, the above facts (1)?(5) force one to conclude that the CR[Cosmic Ray]-driven electron-induced reaction is the dominant mechanism for causing the polar O3 hole.

          http://www.science.uwaterloo.ca/~qblu/Lu-2009PRL.pdf

          Warning link to PDF

          Apparently the EPA should have outlawed cosmic rays rather then CFCs

          1. JC –
            “This Letter reports reliable satellite data in the period of 1980?2007 covering two full 11-yr cosmic ray
            (CR) cycles, clearly showing the correlation between CRs and ozone depletion, especially the polar ozone
            loss (hole) over Antarctica. The results provide strong evidence of the physical mechanism that the CRdriven
            electron-induced reaction of halogenated molecules plays the dominant role in causing the ozone
            hole. Moreover, this mechanism predicts one of the severest ozone losses in 2008?2009 and probably
            another large hole around 2019?2020, according to the 11-yr CR cycle”

            Those halogenated molecules are what the Montreal Protocol banned. Without those the cosmic rays are less effective. So the banning of CFC’s was quite important in reducing the o-hole (not to be comfused with President o-hole)

    4. Agreed. I’m an earth science PhD student, I could actually discuss this with people, but I just don’t give a shit. Government will never fix the problem.

      1. “Everyone thinks that anyone with a brain must agree with them–liberals, conservatives, libertarian–you name it.

        They are all equally convinced that anyone who disagrees with them is a worthless excuse for a human being.

        Any participation on my part won’t change the political system in any way or how others choose to participate.

        Why should I care about politics at all?”

      2. Who do you plan on working for when you graduate? University research labs are largely funded by government, unless you work on something of direct and easily applied interest to an industry such as pharma or petrochemicals. USGS, NASA, etc would be out for you, of course. Consulting firms take a load of government money from all levels. You are going to be one lonely PhD level earth scientist.

    5. The liberals ended the “Global Warming” discussion by calling it “Climate Change”… Be careful what you wish for…

  9. The SF Chron did a review of the movie recently, wherein the (obviously biased) reviewer attempted a comparison between Lomborg and Gore, dancing, waving arms but never seeming to get around to the fact that Lomborg is a scientist who has engaged in scientific study of the matter, while Gore is a propagandist picking cherries for his P-P presentation.

    And an aside: “”Hardly anyone had used the term “climatologist” before the current controversy….”
    linked most recently from Jacques Delacroix (Facts Matter) and he from others.
    October 15, 2010 at the bottom:
    http://factsmatter.wordpress.com/page/2/

  10. Is the climate changing? Yes.
    Is it warming? Yes.
    Is it caused by humanity? At least little bit is.

    To this point we have general scientific consensus. The following questions not so much, and are my layman’s take on the issues, informed by various articles and podcasts.

    Is it all caused by humanity? No.
    Is it all caused by CO2? No.
    Is there a correlation between CO2 and GW? Yes.
    Is increase in warming subsequent to the increase in CO2? Dunno, I’ve seen claims of both.
    Will the ocean levels rise 18 meters? No!
    Will they rise 18 feet? No.
    Will they rise 18 centimeters. Maybe.
    Are some glaciers receding? Yes.
    Are all glaciers receding? No.
    Are the Himalayas melting? Don’t be stupid!
    Will we all die? Yes, eventually.
    Because of climate change? No.

    And finally, the most important question of all:

    Is temperature change part of a negative feedback loop? The climate models say it is, but a negative feedback loop makes no sense historically. Negative feedback means that climate change would be a runaway process, that a little bit of warming will cause massive warming, greening of Greenland, melting of Antarctica, etc., while a little bit of cooling cause ice sheets to roll across Kansas. A positive feedback loop sounds much more plausible. The climate seeks an equilibrium.

    1. You’ve mistaken negative feedback (resisting change, i.e. good for gaia-stasis) for positive feedback (promoting runaway change, i.e. We’re all gonna DIE!!!).

      Also the model suggest a complicated situation with some loops that have local (in the climate phase space) positive feedback, and others (possibly dominating on the “big picture” scale) which have negative feedback.

    2. “The climate seeks equilibrium”

      While this is certainly not scientific evidence, it is a bit counter intuitive to say that the climate is such a fickle thing that a little bit of anything goes such a long way. Nearly everything in nature is elastic. When one part of the brain is damaged, it is possible for other parts of the brain to pick up the slack. When markets (free ones) recede below their natural price point, they return to their equilibrium point. In fact, I would challenge anyone to tell me of any natural complex system that does not seek equilibrium. In all of these systems, there are two opposing forces. In markets, there is supply and demand. In the brain, there are neural patterns that need to associate and there are regions of the brain that suddenly find the reinforcement from these displaced patterns now that they are not able to reinforced the damaged region. In the climate there are many such forces, including the basic water cycle. If we have more water in the atmosphere, we tend to get more clouds and clouds tend to have a cooling effect on the climate, this is essentially two reflective mechanisms fighting one another. Green house gasses work to reflect the heat back to the surface while clouds and other reflective surfaces seek to reflect it back into space.

      Of course there are the solar cycles which have much more of an impact on out temperature due to how these cycles effect how cosmic rays (particles left over from the big bang) seed clouds.

      To be sure, there are feedback loops, but there are competing feedback loops in the atmosphere and when one goes too far, it triggers the other to pull back.

      1. There are a variety of attractor states in all of the complex systems you discuss. Some are maladaptive. One equilibrium point is not equal to all others. Some are desirable, some are not.

        1. This is true, but in many complex systems, there is a dynamic interaction of these forces and while some of these forces are not desirable in and of themselves, their absence in the system may well be equally undesirable.

          Extremely hot weather may not be desirable, but this is the kind of weather that allows for the kind of evaporation needed to produce heavy rain clouds and while some hate the rain, I can assure you we would starve to death quickly if it never rained.

          Even in the free markets, we often associate growth as a positive thing and recession as a negative and for some really good reasons, but a recession is just another way of deflating prices that have been over inflated (read as bubble). Going back to the climate, if we try to control for negative climate conditions and we are actually successful,we may well enhance the opposing attractor or, equally as bad, stifle it.

          I do not believe that humanity (at our current level of technology)are capable of influencing the climate in any significant way. When climatologists talk about how much CO2 we are putting into the atmosphere, they are using very large numbers like “millions of tons” and this sounds like a lot, but when you put it in perspective, the atmosphere is huge. The Earth itself puts out the majority of CO2, but if the atmosphere were a football field, CO2 would represent one end zone and CO2 added by humans would be the white line at the edge of the end zone.

          1. Whooops. Try “Super Freakonomics” chapter 5 (with or w/o hot sauce).
            Tasty!

        2. Excellent point. Case in point, as the alarmists do point out occasionally: Venus. IMO, this is the only real reason to worry about AGW. That is, there’s the possibility that our understanding is wrong enough that we’re closer to the edge of the basin of attraction for a new (very undesirable) equilibrium than we think.

          1. Stupid threading. The comment on Venus was in response to Neu Mejican.

          2. I fail to see how Venus is anything at all like Earth in terms of climate. First of all, it is much closer to the sun so it is considerably hotter. Also, Venus has almost no axial tilt so there is little variation in regional or seasonal climate which is one way the Earth maintains a balanced climate. Finally, the atmosphere of Venus has 90 times more mass than Earths and the atmospheric pressure is about 92 times Earth’s.

            The only reason why people ever point to Venus is because it is an example of an extreme greenhouse effect and because people have speculated that Venus once had water. Look, there is a reason why Venus is the way it is and it has nothing at all to do with CO2 and has everything to do with its proximity to the sun and the density of its atmosphere. If Venus was ever like Earth, it is because of radical changes in solar output, a natural aspect of the solar lifecycle. As the sun continues to warm, the Earth will quite likely become like Venus, not because of people adding CO2, but because the sun will get gradually warmer over the next 5 – 6 billion years.

            I think we will have to adapt, but we have some time to figure out how to adapt… several billion years at least.

      2. This is the first I’ve ever heard of cosmic rays seeding clouds. I lol’ed, went to find evidence to attack this crazy claim and found that the Germans have pretty much proven it, go figure.

        Quote of the day in an article I saw checking up on this though, “many solar scientists believe the star’s indirect influence on Earth’s global climate has been underestimated.”

        If the sun’s “indirect” influence on the Earth’s weather is being underestimated, climatologists need to pick a new profession.

        1. It is understandable to laugh, I dislike the term “cosmic rays,” because it sounds like something from a bad SciFi movie.

          I think that the reason climatologists do not think too much about the sun’s effect is because climatologists study Earths climate and often regard the sun as some sort of slightly wobbly constant that they throw into the equation, they are not solar scientists and so this is somewhat understandable.

          I think that people need to realize that the Earth is in the sun’s atmosphere. The sun is not a trivial object in the sky, but because it seems to be so consistent when observed casually, it is not something people tend to consider when looking at climate especially when there are more obvious factors right in front of them like hurricanes, floods and clouds etc…

          1. Now if I could have a moment of your time, I would like to discuss the important issue of the Sharktapuss. The sharktapuss is a killer, it strangles its victims with its giant tentacles while it bites their heads off as if it were eating an ice cream cone.

          2. I dislike the term “cosmic rays,” because it sounds like something from a bad SciFi movie.

            How does “interstellar charged particles” sound?

            1. (though, the majority are from our star….plenty still come from more distant sources.)

            2. A bit long, but at least it wont wind up on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

    3. “Is the climate changing? Yes.
      Is it warming? Yes.”

      “And finally, the most important question of all:
      Is temperature change part of a negative feedback loop?”

      The feedback loop is that pivot here; absent that, the temp slowly increases, humans move/adapt, and human inventiveness continues to take better advantage of what we’re dealt.
      For the sake of argument, let’s assume the loop does exist. What then?
      Either:
      1) The whackos get their way, human population drops by, oh, 50% and the remaining population is under very strict control.
      2) The whackos don’t get their way, human population drops by, oh, 50%, and the remaining population *isn’t* under very strict control.
      It sure seems that regardless of the actual climate mechanisms in process, the whackos need to take a hike.

      1. EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy|11.11.10 @ 7:44PM|#

        You’ve mistaken negative feedback (resisting change, i.e. good for gaia-stasis) for positive feedback (promoting runaway change, i.e. We’re all gonna DIE!!!).

    4. Will they rise 18 feet? No.
      Will they rise 18 centimeters. Maybe.

      Not correct. Sea levels have been rising by 0.3 millimeters per year. There currently is little reason to assume that this will stop any time soon.

      A small sea level rise of a mere 18 centimeters over the next century is pretty much a sure thing.

      A sea level rise of 18 feet over two or three centuries is possible.

      1. .3 milimeters per year X 100 years = 30 milimeters or 3 cm.

        That’s not very much.

    5. Is it caused by humanity? At least little bit is.

      Wrong.

      This is unknown and currently unknowable.

      There is nothing unprecedented about a .14 degree per decade increase over the past 30 years. There is nothing to indicate that the current warming is any different then past warmings.

  11. Why would you use technology to maintain climate stasis or adapt when you could use it so much more effectively to create an ever more powerful police state? Where the state can force people to consume less or simply get rid of them when they become pesky?

    The climate debate really is a proxy ‘Cold War’ over enforcement regimes.

    1. +1

    2. This. While the scientists touting the alarm invariably insist upon ‘more money for further study’, the politicians pounding the table almost invariably are of the top down, central command and control stripe, and both camps see it as a win-win for their interests, fuck ours.

      Pointing out instances of both groups outright lying, or at the least mangling the facts, along with a concerted denigration of any ideas, or their messengers that run contrary to their claims requires almost no effort, at all. And if they’re right, why the need to lie?

      Further, any explanation that does not lend itself to leveraging more control over human activities is simply unacceptable to this crowd of rent and control seekers.

  12. Why do we even want to do ANYTHING at all about climate change. Who are we to decide what the right temperature is. Maybe it would be a little better for MOST people on the planet if it were just a tad warmer here. And those few people that may not benefit, we can help with technology and charity.

    Al Gore wants to douse a candle with a fucking fire hose. I hope he knows that this will only cause his entire living room to get completely soaked.

    1. The “right temperature” is somewhere close to what we’ve known the entire time our species has been in existence. Wouldn’t you say? Because we’re not talking about local temperature that might give you a less annoying winter, but average global temperature, changes in which can have devastating effects.

      1. I agree that humanity’s contribution to global warming is a problem…

        …you gotta at least meet us halfway and admit that humanity adapts to all kinds of climate change.

        In the last two years, I’ve lived in the year round heat and the humidity tropics, I’ve been in Las Vegas; I’ve been to Canada…

        You know it’s cold up there?

        People can live regular lives with a whole hell of a lotta variation in climate. That’s a legitimate point–whether you think climate change is a problem or not.

        1. The danger comes from pushing the climate beyond the adaptation limits of other species, it seems.

          1. Neu Mejican|11.11.10 @ 8:33PM|#
            “The danger comes from pushing the climate beyond the adaptation limits of other species, it seems.”

            That’s the danger, but what are the alternative actions?

          2. I said it’s a problem.

            I agree. It’s a problem.

            There’s a legitimate concern that we may squander more trying to fix the problem than fixing the problem is worth.

            That happens all the time.

            You got your climate enthusiasts (who won’t admit the cost of the fix may be too high) over here—->

            You got your climate deniers (who won’t admit there’s a problem) over there—->

            The world would be a better place if both those groups of rat-fuckers would just set themselves on fire.

            1. I reject that it is a ‘problem’. Insofar as human activity being a cause, or even a significant factor of the ‘problem’. Climatic cycling is nature, in and of itself, which the alarmist camp either fails, or more likely refuses to understand, as they clamor to ‘do something’.
              The entire gist of the AGW hypothesis (A standing for Anthropogenic) ignores all possibilities over which man has no effect, nor can exert any realistic control, focusing instead on the one equivocal issue that can, and is used as a blunt object to bludgeon their fellow humans over the head with. If the cause is the sun, or cosmic rays, or shifting albedo due to cloud coverage, how can that be used to say others are bad, and should change their ways to do what someone says?

              That is the transparently ludicrous aspect to the entire situation.

              1. I’m a fan of the global warming panic in one sense…

                I think it presents a unique opportunity to get rid of the income tax.

                Taxing the hell out of carbon emissions is okay with me–IF and only IF–they get rid of the income tax, the capital gains tax, etc. at the same time.

                Taxing carbon heavily enough to have any impact on the problem (as they see it) will take a tremendous toll on our economy–that’s why people are resistant to doing anything about it. So, if they want to do something serious about the problem (as they see it), then those costs are going to need to be offset by policies that stimulate growth anyway…

                And getting rid of the income tax would be big enough to offset some of the things they’re talking about. In fact, as a supply sider from way back, I’d be thrilled if they just wanted to get rid of the income tax and replace it with a sales tax! I’ve been dreaming about that since I was a kid and Ronald Reagan was president!

                Now, all of a sudden, if we have a whole slew of Democrats who may be willing to do precisely that in the name of environmentalism, then why would I stand in their way?

                You want to introduce a sales tax tax on carbon emissions big enough to fix climate change? They’re gonna have to get rid of the income tax!

                And if they want to do that? I don’t care whether climate change is real or not! All my life I’ve been looking for a way to get rid of the income tax–if I can get Democrats to help me do that by makin’ ’em think it’s the only way to save the polar bears…?

                Then let’s save the god damn polar bear!

                1. I’d put it to ’em this way…

                  How can a problem be so big that solving is worth crippling our economy–but not bad enough to merit getting rid of the income tax?!

        2. I’ve lived in the year round heat and the humidity tropics, I’ve been in Las Vegas; I’ve been to Canada…

          And you’re still alive?! :-O

          1. I know.

            Central America in Spring.

            Las Vegas in Summer.

            Canada in Winter.

            There were people–living and breathing–in all three places.

            They acted like it was no big deal.

            1. Even Canada?

      2. Tony|11.11.10 @ 8:17PM|#
        “The “right temperature” is somewhere close to what we’ve known the entire time our species has been in existence. Wouldn’t you say?”

        Maybe, in that most of our existence was spent trying to warm ourselves by grabbing the skins off of fur-bearing animals. We are certainly well more prepared to deal with extremes than we ever have been.
        And this is a result of a quicky search, but it looks like even mouse-hair coats have deal with more than is predicted here:
        http://longrangeweather.com/images/GTEMPS.gif
        Looks like 1100 BC beats even the ‘hockey stick’ fantasy.

        1. That’s a fascinating chart. Put’s things in perpective.

        2. Yes, interesting chart (though the swings look so extreme because the vertical scale covers only 6-7 degrees).

      3. The “right temperature” is somewhere close to what we’ve known the entire time our species has been in existence. Wouldn’t you say?

        Apparently, Tony, the AGW crowd has identified the “right temperature” as the climate they hazily recall from their childhood, which happened to be at the very tag end of a cold period.

        1. Of when they were skating on the frozen lake in winter.

          1. When they were screaming,”Ice-age, Ice-age, we’re all gonna die!”

        2. “the very tag end of a cold period”

          That’s disgusting.

      4. There is no “right temperature” for all of human history, the temperature has been all over the map. We have lived in extreme cold and extreme heat. While I have serious doubts about the validity of most AGW studies, the “consensus” represents a net change in less than four degrees over 100 years. I seriously doubt that we are going to have a hard time adapting to this, when the Asians that are now the Native Americans crossed an icy land bridge on foot and many sub tropical civilizations thrived without air conditioning.

        Even if there were an “ideal temperature” we cant control something as relatively simple as the stock market, what makes you think we can control the climate?

      5. The “right temperature” is somewhere close to what we’ve known the entire time our species has been in existence.

        If I recall correctly, the bulk of human existence has been during ice ages. No wonder you think it’s too warm.

      6. The “right temperature” is somewhere close to what we’ve known the entire time our species has been in existence.

        Our species is a about 1 million years old…

        The past million years have been a series of 50 to 100 thousand year long Ice ages punctuated by short 10 to 20 thousand year long “warm” periods.

        You would have to be an idiot to want that “right” temperature.

        1. And I suppose you’d have to be a genius to want the ice caps melted.

          1. And I suppose you’d have to be a genius to want the ice caps melted.

            It does not take many brain cells to not want ice caps that are are over a kilometer think and extending as far south as Oregon.

            But if you are implying that today’s ice caps will melt over the next 100 years because of a 1.4 degree increase then perhaps you do not have the brain power to understand what an ice age is.

  13. On the last AGW thread, much discussion about “adapting” to the change rather than trying to stop it was discussed.

    I find that line of reasoning interesting. Particularly because one adaptation to the information that behavior is causing a problem is to find ways to reduce or replace that behavior.

    Ingenuity can involve both ways to deal with the change we can’t avoid and ways to reduce the degree to which we are bringing about that change.

    It seem most likely that effective adaptations will involve some technological ingenuity, some political ingenuity, and, mostly, behavioral and attitudinal changes based on the new information.

    yadda yadda.

    I wonder why Epi feels the need to say he is bored with this topic on EVERY thread about it.

    1. Neu Mejican|11.11.10 @ 8:28PM|#
      On the last AGW thread, much discussion about “adapting” to the change rather than trying to stop it was discussed.”
      Probably a result of the verb “stop”.
      Most of us feel that individual action, expressed ‘globally’ through the market is the most effective method of adapting, and that adaptive behavior will be both reducing the causes and exploiting the result. Both alternatives are “adapting” to the change; neither presumes we can “stop” it.

      “I find that line of reasoning interesting. Particularly because one adaptation to the information that behavior is causing a problem is to find ways to reduce or replace that behavior.
      Ingenuity can involve both ways to deal with the change we can’t avoid and ways to reduce the degree to which we are bringing about that change”
      So I don’t think you’ll find opposition to this POV.

      “It seem most likely that effective adaptations will involve some technological ingenuity, some political ingenuity, and, mostly, behavioral and attitudinal changes based on the new information.”
      All of that is currently in action; but “technological ingenuity, behavioral and attitudinal changes” are likely to be seen as the most effective approach.
      Your other alternative “political ingenuity” probably isn’t going to get a lot of traction; it’s an oxymoron for starters, and political “solutions” tend not to be solutions to anything; merely extensions of political turf holdings, resulting in further restrictions of human liberty. And when they are found to be counter-productive, the result is an increase in the agency involved.

    2. Good point. When is the adaptation supposed to begin? It’s not like waiting longer will require less government action.

      1. Tony|11.11.10 @ 9:37PM|#
        “Good point. When is the adaptation supposed to begin? It’s not like waiting longer will require less government action.”

        If you acted like an adult, it’d be easier all around. It takes practically zero time to insult you, since you make statements like this, but even then I’d rather not waste the time.
        1) In case you haven’t noticed, the adaptation is in process; check ‘energy/output’ figures
        2) What government requirement?
        Let’s use a brain-dead comment to make it clear to you. This is a comment about how Cuba (after the commies collapse) will have to return to mechanized farming:
        “General farming will “most likely” move away from organic methods says Wilkinson. Farming on a large scale after all, he says, has seen a reduction in pesticide and fertiliser use mainly due to “financial constraints, not choice”.”
        Test: If you don’t see the stupidity of that statement, you probably will remain an adolescent forever arrested in your development.

    3. Instead of stopping change, I think we are actively changing the world to meet our needs. It is too fucking cold and that must end.

  14. his lack of dogmatic certitude. In his search for concrete solutions, he never presents himself as an infallible authority, and he appears to welcome detractors

    This is all I’m asking for in any proponent (or opponent). Must be a lot to ask, since most people don’t feel that way.

    1. While this may be true…he puts more faith than seems warranted in his own cost-benefit analysis techniques.

      1. Neu Mejican|11.11.10 @ 8:32PM|#
        “While this may be true…he puts more faith than seems warranted in his own cost-benefit analysis techniques.”

        Fine. Got any that argue otherwise?

      2. Re: Neu Mejican,

        While this may be true…he puts more faith than seems warranted in his own cost-benefit analysis techniques.

        Not that East Anglia mountebanks and the IPCC’s shaggy Indian place too much faith on THEIR shoddy analytical procedures, mind you…

        1. The changes in climate are an order of magnitude easier to predict than the consequences of those changes on the environment, which are an order of magnitude easier to predict than the consequences on human society.

  15. Who cares about GW? Even if 99% of the human race dies from GW that still leaves 60,000,000. You’d have to kill 99.9999999% (60 people) before the human race would be in jeopardy.

    1. Yes, as long as the human species has a slim chance of continuing with a few hundred people, nothing is ever a problem.

      1. Not when the alarmists are proclaiming it’s “THE END OF THE WORLD!!!!!!”.

        1. i wanna be a gatherer with darryl hannah as my hunter

  16. To be honest, I didn’t know anything about this documentary, so I watched the trailer. Looks interesting.

    I have a habit when watching youtube vids. of kinda getting lost in the other related links. I found this one, and decided he’s one very smart guy.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dtbn9zBfJSs

    1. I was bothered that most of the things he advocated fixing first were things that would also come with their own problems. E.g. If you deal with malaria, suddenly you have a bunch of people not dying of malaria, which makes other problems (like food, sanitation infrastructure) even more difficult. “Gee, thanks for curing my malaria so I can starve to death.”

      Unless we help these people to help themselves, are we really doing good?

      1. When people are cured from disease, or never are infected, they are healthier and more able to deal with the problems they are faced with.

        He was basically talking about the cost effectiveness and prioritizing a list of major problems facing humanity. Where would we get more “bang for the buck” from a macroeconomics standpoint.

        I thought it was interesting that the top three were #3-opening world markets to free trade #2-addressing malnutrition by providing micro-nutrients and #1-AIDS prevention.

        1. I liked what he had to say and I agree with the gist of it. I just want to see more detailed analysis of the aftermath of the help.

          1. Yea, he was constrained by time, and frankly, had that been a 2 hour lecture I wouldn’t have watched all of it!

            IMO, the most striking thing he said was that if you have a limited amount of money to deal with all of these problems, you don’t ask the experts in each field which one should be tackled first…you ask an economist.

            1. I agree with this sentiment, but I sometimes worry that politicians often think they are economists.

              The only efficient thing politicians do is find the absolute most inefficient use of a dollar.

    2. E.g. If you deal with malaria, suddenly you have a bunch of people not dying of malaria, which makes other problems (like food, sanitation infrastructure) even more difficult. “Gee, thanks for curing my malaria so I can starve to death.”

      Better to let them die of malaria, than leave them alive to figure out how to survive.

      “OMG! I’m not dead! I’m hungry! I’d rather be dead, than feed myself.”

      1. Not a day passes, where I am waiting in line at McDonalds, my stomach is growling like a rabid dog and I havent eaten anything all day except a bowl of cereal, and a Turkey Bacon Cheddar Flatbread and I wish a mosquito would just bite me so I can die from Malaria.

      2. My point is, if people are dying of disease and we also can’t feed the people we have, helping people to survive a disease should not be proiritized over helping them eat, since they are going to die of starvation anyway. It’s wasteful of resources.

        It’s better than we have now, certainly, but I’m not convinced it’s the best we can do. It’s not “the best possible good” to cure people of a disease if they are going to starve to death!

        Yes, they are then better able to try to feed themselves, but there are already people not suffering from a deadly disease that are dying from starvation (or diseases caused by starvation).

        So I don’t think it’s as simple as saying “Well, we can save .2 people for every dollar we spend on malaria and only .19 people from every dollar we spend on starvation.”

        If you spend a billion dollars on malaria, you’ve saved 200,000 people, but if then 10,000 of those people die of starvation, you’d have been just as well off working on starvation.

        These numbers are made up of course, but I didn’t see evidence that they considered the systems as a whole in the video, which was my point.

        1. You don’t get what people are saying. One of the biggest reasons Africa constantly fails to thrive is its malaria problem. Studies point to upwards of 1 point of GDP each year in Africa is lost to the disease.

          Malaria results in upwards of a month that a person is unable to participate in economic activities which would feed that person and his/her dependents. If that person dies, the dependents are SOL.

          Cure Malaria and all that growth comes back. All that productivity comes back. People will feed themselves.

          (Of course this isn’t panacea, there are other problems, but Malaria is one of the largest.)

          1. No, I do get it. The whole malaria/starvation issue was just an example (apparently a bad one) to show what I felt was missing from the video.

            He did talk about the positive results (help people with X and they are more able to deal with Y), but it wasn’t clear from the video if the people he had looking into each issue really considered all the consequences or just looked at the positives.

            1. There are no negatives to people living. None.

              1. But people are killing the planet! The planet! Don’t you see? We all need to die for Mother Earth!

                1. Pray for war, pray for plague, pray for famine.

                  1. Yes, because wondering how someone who is trying to do the best good is going about considering how to do the best good is tantamount to wishing people dead.

              2. There are no negatives to people living. None.

                Yes, that’s wonderful, but not really helpful.

                Saving one person means you can’t save someone else. That was the entire point of the video. If you want to do the most good how do you go about doing that? Who do you help?

                Imagine two people hanging off a cliff. You can only save one. Do you save the one who can then turn around and save the second person, or do you save the one too weak to help?

                1. Saving one person means you can’t save someone else.

                  No, it doesn’t.

          2. Malaria has several cures:

            Cure 1: Quinine…

            Cure 2: Killing Mosquitos with DDT

            Cure 3: Economic Prosperity. Why are their little or no cases of Malaria in the US or other developed countries? It is not a climate issue, Mosquitos just dont breed as much in developed areas because there is not as much standing water or other such breeding zones.

            1. You’ve never been to Minnesota in the summer, I see.

              1. LOL…

        2. It has been my observation that starvation is far more likely the cause of regulations, and government (especially Communist) interference, than it is that a few more people live.

          There is plenty of food to go around. If government would just get out of the way, there wouldn’t be so much starvation!

  17. Is the climate changing? yes, it always has, and it always will. Just like everything else changes. yaaaaaawwwwwn. I’m going back to bed. Wake me up when some real fucking news occurs.

  18. But it’s only because of government that we even HAVE ingenuity!

    1. Stump Speech of the first ever politician named Uggo:

      I, Uggo, your humble leader will lead us out of the cold and dark by harnessing fire. This will not be an easy task, so I have proposed a 5 step plan. First, I will establish a blue ribbon panel……

  19. Wow, nested comment fial. This was supposed to be a response to…meh…nevermind. Carry on.

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  25. Everyone thinks that anyone with a brain must agree with them–liberals, conservatives, libertarian–you name it.

    They are all equally convinced that anyone who disagrees with them is a worthless excuse for a human being.

    Any participation on my part won’t change the political system in any way or how others choose to participate.

    Why should I care about politics at all?

    1. You’ve posted this dumbass comment at least four times. Why should I care whether you participate at all?

      1. Everyone thinks that anyone with a brain must agree with them–liberals, conservatives, libertarian–you name it.

        They are all equally convinced that anyone who disagrees with them is a worthless excuse for a human being.

        Any participation on my part won’t change the political system in any way or how others choose to participate.

        Why should I care about politics at all?

        1. God, I hate you.

    2. Those who do not participate will never be heard.

      Frankly, I would prefer it if the apathetic and lazy did not participate.

      1. People who don’t have anything to say… should just shut up.

  26. These are wonderful! Thank you for sharing

  27. Natural phenomenon has been going on all over the world. I believe global warming has gone up to a higher level, and we can only blame ourselves for this. Let us all be responsible adults, for our children’s children future. http://www.pathtoasia.com/jobs/

    1. Fuck that. I raked them leaves and I intend to burn ’em.

  28. He also says that, while global warming is a serious concern, we should bear in mind that human beings manage to thrive both on the equator and at the frozen poles: “People can adapt to climate, which is always changing.”

    No we can’t – we need massive, economy-hobbling expenditures to curb emissions because people can’t really adapt to new conditions and we will all die if we try to. I know this because Tony told me so.

    1. We don’t need to adapt much, even if the climate gets warmer by three degrees celsius.

      But, and please hold on to something, there are non-Western people in this world and they are worth just as much as us even though none of them have read The Fountainhead.

      When you talk about the scary mega-expensive super-fascist death-programs that will be needed to keep temperatures from rising, you are only thinking about our economies.

      But we actually have to enter the economies of other nations into the equation, because our actions affect them. Greenhouse gases are a shared externality.

      Drop the drama-queen act, OM. I didn’t grow up as a member of the church of anti-government bigotry, so don’t expect me to respect your hate towards Al Gore (who, BTW, has not said a single thing that I rely on to advocate government measures to reduce emissions).

      1. “But, and please hold on to something, there are non-Western people in this world and they are worth just as much as us even though none of them have read The Fountainhead.”

        You stop the drama queen act. What are you doing for these non-western people now? You are using their projected misery in 100 years. What about the people there now that are dying?

        Stop the fake compassion.

        1. “You are using their projected misery in 100 years.”

          Heh, no. They are in trouble as we speak. They a sort of canary in the gold mine, and since we won’t stop until we have found every gram of gold, they are pretty much screwed until people like me makes government force us to shape up.

          “Stop the fake compassion.”

          Compassion? Did you just suggest I am compassionate, like some common Christian? That is revoltingly insulting to me. What I care about is that the Western world doesn’t descend further into degeneracy and squalor, and one way to do that is to reject the notion that we can consume and produce whatever we want even if this produces an externality that hurts other people.

    2. I was already to protest your comment, but then I found out it was confirmed by Tony…

  29. When the pugnacious Professor Schneider died last summer, before the picture’s completion, Lomborg must have felt the loss of a useful critic?Cool It is dedicated to Schneider’s memory.

    Which shows you that Lomborg is a far classier guy than the East Anglia mountebanks.

    1. “Which shows you that Lomborg is a far classier guy than the East Anglia mountebanks.”

      What have they done again? You “skeptics” started shrieking and drooling about what a scandal Climategate since day one, never waiting for the judgment of the House of Commons etc.

      One of the “nasty” climate scientists said in the hacked e-mails that they couldn’t trust their critics because they will manipulate and warp words more skillfully than any communist communications department chief.

      Dilettantes like the people I see on libertarian websites continuously prove that person right.

      1. Yes, I am sure someone took the time to carefully craft all of those e-mails and files.

        I actually downloaded the whole thing and read them myself (not all of them, but many of them ranging from damaging to mundane).

        Even the mundane e-mails often have an undertone to them that suggests a very skewed outlook and approach to science.

        1. “Even the mundane e-mails often have an undertone to them that suggests a very skewed outlook and approach to science.”

          Oh ho! Here comes the sleuth with his gut feeling.

          But would the sleuth take his time to falsify anything? To find some actual inconsistency rather than hold out his antennae and talk about his gut feeling?

          No, because he is a dilettante and another example of why humanity is not ready to cast government away just yet.

          1. Okay, so it helps to ACTUALLY READ some of those e-mails before telling me that I am too retarded to discern that some of them reveal a rather unscientific attitude.

            Here is a sample:

            From: gjjenkins@xxxxxxxxx.xxx
            To: m.hulme@xxxxxxxxx.xxx
            Subject: RE: WGI emissions/scenarios conference
            Date: Wed, 16 Sep 1998 09:15 +0000 (GMT)

            Mike

            I think the problem is the same one as in 1988 and 1994. In order to answer the
            question: “what is IPCC’s best estimate of climate change over the next hundred
            years, and the uncertainties?” we need a single best estimate of emissions (plus
            a range of uncertainty). In the same way as modellres say “here is our best
            estimate of climate sensitivity plus a range” then the SRES group should do the
            same thing. Of course they can make all the usual disclaimers and talk about
            surprises just as the climate modellers do. But NOT to come up with an estimate
            for a Business as Usual emissions scenario (plus a range, of 6GtC to 30GtC at
            2100) seems to be ducking responsibilities. “Getting away from single number
            answers” is very laudable scientifically, but it presents policymakers (for
            whome the whole IPCC exercise is undertaken) with a problem. As long as there is
            a central estimate and a range, the surely both communities could be happy, as
            they ultimately were with BaU in 1990 and IS92a in 1995?

            Geoff

            Do you think the following excerpt suggests that these people are acting in a purely scientific manner or is it political?

            “Getting away from single number
            answers” is very laudable scientifically, but it presents policymakers (for
            whome the whole IPCC exercise is undertaken) with a problem.

            I agree that an investigation is needed, but its like a murder scene, we can tell there was some kind of violence and we know someone is dead, but we just dont know if it was on purpose or by accident and we do not know who were the real bad actors and who were just caught in the crossfire. We also need to investigate so that we can find out what caused this sort of activity to happen.

            PS. This is one of the MUNDANE e-mails, there are far more damning e-mails out there.

  30. AGW does happen, and I’m glad it does. I want my winters with temperatures above freezing!

    The Maldives might object to my line of thinking, though.

    BTW, the Earth had several times as much CO2 in the atmosphere during the Cretaceous, and the dinosaurs were quite comfy until that asteroid hit.

    1. “BTW, the Earth had several times as much CO2 in the atmosphere during the Cretaceous, and the dinosaurs were quite comfy until that asteroid hit.”

      So you are saying that if a reptilian species could thrive in a type of environment, then third-world people who are already having minimal margins would survive a transition to that environment?

      Are you ready to make that bet just because you want cheap gas and nicer winters?

      I thought libertarians were supposed to respect the tenet that you can do whatever you want until you start mucking about with other people’s rights and private affairs.

      Seems to me that libertarians are much much much much more fearful of the idea that they will have to give up ideological and material obsessions in order to live up to that tenet than the idea that they will be wrong about climate science and will inadvertently kill millions of innocent third-world people.

      If climate scientists are wrong, we make investments with a negative NPV.

      If they are right and you libertarians are wrong, millions will die AND the global economy will take a hit so savage you would think we had elected Che Guevara to be in charge of our economies.

      Yet many of you would describe me and the climate scientists as anti-human, disrespectful of universal rights and economically careless maniacs. Fricking psychopaths.

      1. You have no idea what you’re talking about, do you?

        1. I am only applying libertarian philosophy to our current situation, together with a cost-benefit perspective.

          I know more about both the science, the economics and the ethics of the situation than you do, but I don’t mean to say that makes me smart or educated – it’s just difficult to not be superior when I visit this website.

          I suspect you are the libertarian equivalent of a hipster with a CHE t-shirt, and you will probably go on trying to insult me than prove me wrong.

          Go watch South Park or whatever it is you interchangeable libertarians-at-play do.

          1. You have got things so backward that it’s difficult to believe it’s done unwittingly.

            The best way to help third world countries adapt is to improve their standard of living, something that could be done with hydro-electric power (which has time and again been stopped by the climate alarmist crowd), coal-fired power plants (see previous paranthesis), and GM crops (see previous paranthesis).

            As far as the hypothesis that devastating the economies of first world countries will benefit the world’s poor, that’s also ridiculous. It’s the ‘rising tide lifts all boats’ principle. When Americans are prosperous, we can afford to export manufacturing to other countries, which gives the populations who receive that employment an immediate boost to their standard of living. You ruin our economy (leading to less demand for products and resulting closures of factories, as well as a weaker dollar that discourages businesses from expanding into other locations) and the third world countries have it worse. The best thing we can do for the people whose welfare you are pretending to be motivated by is restore our free market and export more capitolism.

  31. People should acknowledge the fact that attempts to improve the state of our environment, or to avoid its destruction, are ultimately attempts to protect the human standard of living. “We live and rely on this planet, so if we hurt the planet we hurt ourselves”.
    But with overbearing regulation and environmental policy, we are literally forcing the problem we are trying to prevent.
    Loder is correct. Voluntary, non-coerced technological advancement to improve energy efficiency is our only salvation.

  32. The slight rise in sea levels, melting glaciers and other environmental changes are the consequence of a climate changes, whether it be warming or cooling, they are not evidence as to the cause of those climate changes. The AGW proponents are engaging in a logical fallacy by using the conclusion to prove the propositions. Example: If A (manmade CO2) is the cause of B (climate change) and B is the cause of C (environmental changes) then A is the cause C. They then use C as evidence to prove A. In fact the only scientific evidence for manmade CO2 having an effect upon the climate is predictive computer models, which have been wrong in their predictions more than they have been correct.

  33. And what if us awesome Westerners and our entrepreneurial betters and benefactors can’t manage to reduce our emissions through (whisper it, sexually) “innovation and ingenuity)?

    Shall we tell the Bangladeshis to go eff themselves?

    How’s that for putting a lot of faith in the elites and relying on predictions?

    We’ll either have the governments force us to do the right thing or we will build our economies on the blood and suffering of third-world people.

    1. “Shall we tell the Bangladeshis to go eff themselves?”

      You care about Balgladesh? There are people dying there all the time.

      You don’t need to help them 100 years in the future. You can help then now…

    2. What makes you so confident that Governments will even figure out the right thing? What’s to keep them from doing something that not only screws the economies of the world (including those third-world ones) but even the climate itself?

      The climate is a chaotic system–which means we don’t know what would happen if we tinkered with it–and you are proposing that we tinker with it using another chaotic system, that of Law and Society.

      I’ll put my trust in “innovation and ingenuity”, thank you very much!

  34. “In fact the only scientific evidence for manmade CO2 having an effect upon the climate is predictive computer models, which have been wrong in their predictions more than they have been correct”

    Actually, they use physics to suss out what CO2 does and their models actually manage to explain today’s climate and also fit with that of the past.

    I keep on forgetting that libertarians only approve of ambitious, studious and intelligent people when they don’t tell us the market has failed to act in an economically sane way.

  35. http://climateprogress.org/200…..al-warmin/

    A science advisor tells us that: “The ‘geo-engineering’ approaches considered so far appear to be afflicted with some combination of high costs, low leverage, and a high likelihood of serious side effects.”

    You libertarians are so bigoted against government you would gladly call geo-engineering your salvation and Lomborg the carrier of the tablets, despite the fact that this means an abandonment of the economical acuity and sensibility you say embody your movement.

    Good grief, what a bunch of coquettish girls you are…

    1. Just for the record, you’re on a libertarian website with a libertarian science writer who’s been arguing for solutions to climate change–on this site–for years.

      All it would have taken was for you to go to the wiki on Reason…

      “But in 2005, Reason magazine’s science writer Ronald Bailey wrote a column declaring that climate change is both real and man-made. He wrote, “Anyone still holding onto the idea that there is no global warming ought to hang it up. All data sets?satellite, surface, and balloon?have been pointing to rising global temperatures.”[11]

      In 2006, Bailey wrote an article titled “Confessions of an Alleged ExxonMobil Whore: Actually no one paid me to be wrong about global warming. Or anything else.”[12] In the article Bailey explains how and why he changed his mind on climate change.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R…..al_warming

      …so, please, stop making a fool of yourself. You’re worse than troll. You’re embarrassing to watch.

      1. Yeah, but you and Bailey aren’t the ones I am addressing.

        Loder did. And he wrote:

        “The world is not coming to an end. I know: shocker! And yet there are still people who feel otherwise. These climate alarmists?whose tribe has somewhat dwindled of late?believe the seas will all too soon rise 20 feet and submerge our cities; that the noble polar bear is on the very cusp of extinction; that our planet, in sum, is hurtling toward a fiery doom.”

        My screen is vibrating with the intellectual force and rigor of his mind!

        So go be huffy somewhere else, or stop letting people like Loder speak for Reason. We all have to deal with who we join up with or let join up with us. You think I am glad blunt dunces like Gore have taken up my causes?

        In short, I don’t trust Reason.com. You’ve been disappointing me for years and have concern-trolled people like me since day one.

      2. Ronald Bailey wrote a column declaring that climate change is both real and man-made. He wrote, “Anyone still holding onto the idea that there is no global warming ought to hang it up. All data sets?satellite, surface, and balloon?have been pointing to rising global temperatures.

        If I have not said it yet i will say it now

        FUCK YOU RON BAILEY!!

        A 0.14 degree per decade increase in global temperatures over the past 30 years is not unprecedented and is not proof of a linkage with human activity.

    2. Proud Statistofascist|11.12.10 @ 1:33PM|#
      “You libertarians are so bigoted against government…”

      A view drawn from historical fact /= bigotry.

      1. No, my dear historian, *always* applying a quality to something because of its superficial nature is equivalent to bigotry.

        There is of course a case for creating a model delineating why government is flawed, but if you allow for this then you should also create a model that shows situations where the logic of Homo Economicus and the market will not lead to a just, balanced and moral relationship between men.

        For example. In Bangladesh and the Maldives the people there will suffer directly because of our actions. Our suffering will begin later, and thus the market won’t start to kick in until the innocents in the third world and elsewhere have already begun suffering, because of us.

        Now, a basic foundation to libertarian thought is that you can do whatever you want as long as you don’t cause any obstruction to another person’s endeavors. Are we allowed to produce and consume if this causes economic damage to someone else? No. Will our markets force us to do the right thing? No. Can the government do that? Yes.

        There is only one thing that can save our dignity and honor and force us to act in accordance with libertarian, enlightened philosophy. And it’s gubbyment. We are breaking the law, and need to be policed – that is one of the areas where even hard-core libertarians think the government should step in.

        For example, what would happen if your neighbor started dumping his trash on your lawn? Heck yes you would bring in the police. Well, we are doing the exact same thing.

        1. Proud Statistofascist|11.12.10 @ 5:45PM|#
          “No, my dear historian, *always* applying a quality to something because of its superficial nature…”

          No, my dear pedant, “superficial” it ain’t. Government is, structurally, a historical failure.

          1. How can it be a historical failure when it has been around for so long? It is not an aberration but a natural extension of human nature, and thus it is naturally “flawed”, at least when looking from an infantile Anglo-Saxon perspective.

            There is nothing “metaphysical” about mankind that government is a slight against.

            We have always needed government, and looking at the quality of the people who demand that we cast government away, I would say we don’t have much of an alternative.

            Our government will stop fathering and mothering us when we stop acting like children. Government is us and we are the government – there is a degree of separation and sovereignty (and therefore antagonism) between the people and the government but it is not very large. Your romanticism and Judeo-Christian abstraction of man’s “nature” is nauseating.

        2. “We are breaking the law, and need to be policed – that is one of the areas where even hard-core libertarians think the government should step in.”

          What law? The law you just made up? The one that is going to make someone just slightly better off in a hundred years while countless are made worse off today? We have solutions for what is currently killing many in Bangladesh and the Maldives, but you would rather spend the money coming up with a solution for the damage that some black-box, closed-source computer model says will happen in 80 years to the non-existent offspring of those suffering in those countries? And employ “gubbyment” FORCE in the process??

          Tell me, do you work for the man, or do you just plan to get rich off of our gullibility?

          1. “The one that is going to make someone just slightly better off in a hundred years while countless are made worse off today?”

            Hundred years? Bangladesh is disappearing as we speak. Their water is being contaminated with rising seawater.

            “We have solutions for what is currently killing many in Bangladesh and the Maldives”

            Ah, the holy technocrats and engineers come to bless us.

            But this is what John Holdren has to say about your panacea: “The ‘geo-engineering’ approaches considered so far appear to be afflicted with some combination of high costs, low leverage, and a high likelihood of serious side effects.”

            http://climateprogress.org/200…..al-warmin/

            “you would rather spend the money coming up with a solution for the damage that some black-box, closed-source computer model says will happen”

            Closed-source? Ah, the sheep bray savagely…

            ” And employ “gubbyment” FORCE in the process??”

            There is no alternative. The market forces in our countries can solve our problems but it’s not going to voluntarily sacrifice profits just because more profits would mean killing innocent people that can’t make legal claims against the damage done.

            Like I said: libertarians are more scared of the idea that they will have to abandon ideological and material crutches in order to live up to libertarian philosophy, than they are scared of the idea that they are wrong and will condemn innocent, hard-working third-world people to destruction and death.

            1. If we were to implement your solutions to fight global warming, we will be doing more to condemn innocent, hard-working third-world people to destruction and death than we would if we were to just let global warming continue.

              Or are you one of those people who will give a pass to third-world countries on CO2 output, and try to limit United States output? This, of course, will do almost nothing to the world’s CO2 levels–or even increase them, as the US imports carbon-footprint-intensive materials from other countries, rather than produce them in-country.

  36. A little common sense is needed in this debate. I don’t think that anybody is in favor of pollution. Put all that money into developing viable alternatives to the fuels we are using now. I say again “VIABLE”
    Once it is developed, who wouldn’t want to use them. I would love to stop paying nearly $3.00 a gal for gas. I would love to be disconnected from the grid.

    We are decades away from a solution.

  37. I remember him from Bullshit. He looks like a blonde Ewan McGregor, so by all counts he should be way more famous than Al Gore and all of the washed up global warming freaks in Hollywood combined. I don’t understand it.

  38. Warming is a Marxist scam to control the rank and vile(that’s you and me)…population bombs, cooling,famine,disease, nukes…they didn’t do the trick..warmists are lying through their teeth…at least the ones at the top…the rest of the belivers are dopes.

    1. You are educating people about a complicated issue involving physics and economics and you don’t know how to use commas, ellipses, parentheses or upper case.

      How old are you? And is English your first language? If so, where did you go to school?

      1. It may be poorly written and hyperbolic, but there are some valid points in there.

        Marxists have always sought to control population because top down economic controls require it to satisfy demand for resources that have to be distributed from a central authority.

        The history of the Global Warming movement and the environmental movement in general has been intertwined with various socialist, communist and other such movements in the US and Europe since the 70’s precisely because of its potential to create a government control mechanism for natural resources.

        Also, the CRU e-mails show that there is a level of scientific dishonesty in the upper echelons of the AGW research world to warrant skepticism. That said, Science in and of itself IS skepticism and these scientists were and still are fighting skeptics with vile personal attacks rather than facts because they do not have much of the latter working in their favor.

        The next time you attack someone, please try to do so on the facts presented rather than picking on their grammar.

        I hate grammar Nazis.

        1. “The history of the Global Warming movement and the environmental movement in general has been intertwined with various socialist, communist and other such movements in the US and Europe since the 70’s precisely because of its potential to create a government control mechanism for natural resources.”

          That is not my problem even if it is true. I don’t care whose silly world-views would be vindicated or antagonized by curbing emissions to prevent a moral and economic catastrophe. I don’t care about your obsession with gubbyment.

          I don’t care about the feelings of socialists, I don’t care about the feelings of libertarians and I don’t care about my own feelings. We are not allowed to harm other people with CO2 and it is readily obvious that market forces will kick in too late. So it’s government time, deal with it.

          Basically, to you libertarians less government is always the answer. You see it as an end of itself. I think you are morons.

          I see government as something that must be used when necessary. Because I am not a moron.

          “Also, the CRU e-mails show that there is a level of scientific dishonesty in the upper echelons of the AGW research world to warrant skepticism.”

          Actually, the e-mails only showed that scientists are capable of emoting. There is no evidence that they skirted the scientific process. They didn’t hide the decline, the tree ring data was not fabricated (nor is it a major hinge on which the position of the scientists rely) and the trick was no more of a trick than, say, dividing by ten and taking that by half again to figure out a 15 % tip.

          The fact that you libertarians still try to use “Climategate” is proof that you don’t argue in good faith and can’t be trusted.

          “these scientists were and still are fighting skeptics with vile personal attacks rather than facts because they do not have much of the latter working in their favor.”

          Non-anecdotal examples? Because while US congressmen are regularly demanding new crusades and hearings against climate scientists, no democrat congressmen are demanding hearings on skeptics like Lomborg.

          1. The interesting thing is that this conversation has shifted, especially Lomborg’s contribution. It doesn’t matter how much government intervention is required, that’s no longer the question. Paint Los Angeles white? Ocean jet sprays? Other fanciful technological solutions… all require big government.

            The one common denominator in all of Lomborgian and libertarian climate change rhetoric is leaving the petro/coal status quo in place. Let’s attach rockets to earth and move it away from the sun… just as long as we keep burning oil. Curious.

          2. “There is no evidence that they skirted the scientific process.”

            Return to the index page | Earlier Emails | Later Emails

            From: Phil Jones
            To: “Michael E. Mann”
            Subject: HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL
            Date: Thu Jul 8 16:30:16 2004

            Mike,
            Only have it in the pdf form. FYI ONLY – don’t pass on. Relevant paras are the last
            2 in section 4 on p13. As I said it is worded carefully due to Adrian knowing Eugenia
            for years. He knows the’re wrong, but he succumbed to her almost pleading with him
            to tone it down as it might affect her proposals in the future !
            I didn’t say any of this, so be careful how you use it – if at all. Keep quiet also
            that you have the pdf.
            The attachment is a very good paper – I’ve been pushing Adrian over the last weeks
            to get it submitted to JGR or J. Climate. The main results are great for CRU and also
            for ERA-40. The basic message is clear – you have to put enough surface and sonde
            obs into a model to produce Reanalyses. The jumps when the data input change stand
            out so clearly. NCEP does many odd things also around sea ice and over snow and ice.
            The other paper by MM is just garbage – as you knew. De Freitas again. Pielke is also
            losing all credibility as well by replying to the mad Finn as well – frequently as I see
            it.
            I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep
            them
            out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is !
            Cheers
            Phil

            Here is another (excerpt obviously):

            PS I’m getting hassled by a couple of people to release the CRU station temperature data.
            Don’t any of you three tell anybody that the UK has a Freedom of Information Act !

            And another:

            From: Phil Jones
            To: mann@xxxxxxxxx.xxx
            Subject: Fwd: CCNet: DEBUNKING THE “DANGEROUS CLIMATE CHANGE” SCARE
            Date: Wed Apr 27 09:06:53 2005

            Mike,
            Presumably you’ve seen all this – the forwarded email from Tim. I got this email from
            McIntyre a few days ago. As far as I’m concerned he has the data – sent ages ago. I’ll
            tell him this, but that’s all – no code. If I can find it, it is likely to be hundreds of
            lines of
            uncommented fortran ! I recall the program did a lot more that just average the series.
            I know why he can’t replicate the results early on – it is because there was a variance
            correction for fewer series.
            See you in Bern.
            Cheers
            Phil
            Dear Phil,

            This was concerning the raw tree ring data in question, that others were trying to study. They do not want to show their raw data because they have tortured it with statistical and mathematical corrections. This is in itself is not wrong as there are valid reasons to correct for errors etc… but other scientists should be allowed to view the raw data so they can test the methods used to prepare the data and then analyze it themselves. A scientists is a human and yes, they are prone to being emotional, but they should also RESPECT the scientific process. The scientific process should not involve a FOIA request.

            Also, consider this:

            I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps
            to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from
            1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.

            The “Decline” in this case refers to recent drop in global temperatures so they use different sets of data to diffuse the recent measured declines in temperature. The “trick” was originally used by Mann to hide the Medieval Warm Period by adding differing sets of proxy and instrumental data and then applying specific error correction to the results. Eliminating the Medieval Warm Period is important to making current temps look alarming on a graph.

            “Non-anecdotal examples?”

            So nobody has ever been called a “flat earther” or has been compared to a holocaust denier? Scientists have had their jobs and lives threatened by AGW acolytes, like Timothy Ball and Richard Lindzen.

            Read the e-mails yourself, but I dont even need climategate to argue against AGW, but climategate is just one more example of the poor science and skewed approach to the whole topic.

            1. CLARIFICATION: Timothy Ball and Richard Lindzen have had their jobs and funding threatened by AGW acolytes… sorry for the poorly written sentence.

  39. “Sea levels in the last century rose one foot?did anyone notice?”

    It should be noted that current sea level rise is about 3.1 mm/yr

    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/

    A 3.1mm rise per year over a hundred year period is….

    3.1mm X 100years X 0.0032808399feet/mm =

    drum roll….

    1.017 feet

    We are fucking doomed!!!!!

  40. Global warming is the biggest hoax of all time.
    http://thetruthpeddler.wordpre…..rrelation/

    1. It would have to be wouldn’t it?

  41. How about we replace 100% of federal revenue with a petroleum tax – which would raise the price of gasoline just a little over what Europeans pay today?

    According to the US Energy Information Agency, our country currently consumes 19,498,000 barrels of petroleum a day, which is the equivalent of 298,904,340,000 gallons of petroleum a year.

    All federal revenues for fiscal year 2010 are projected to be about $2,165,000,000,000. That includes all individual income tax, corporate income tax, investment taxes, social security tax, disability insurance, hospital insurance, unemployment insurance, excise taxes, fees, energy and transportation taxes, and every other form of federal government revenue other than debt.

    So doing the math, if we were to replace every single source of government revenue with a tax on petroleum, that tax would only be $7.24 per gallon. And if you add in the full recent cost of gasoline of about $2.60 a gallon nationally, not even discounting for the federal and state taxes already built into that price, the total price on gasoline and other petroleum based fuels would be $9.84 a gallon.

    According to the US Energy Information Agency, that isn’t significantly more than average European gas prices in March of this year: Belgium-$7.18, France-$6.98, Germany-$7.12, Italy-$7.06, Netherlands-$7.68. And those countries are burdened with massive taxes on top of high energy prices.

    Most sensible people would jump at the opportunity to trade a European level of energy prices in exchange for no IRS, no income taxes, no payroll taxes, no business taxes, no inheritance taxes, no government fees and no government interference with our business revenues and personal income.

    http://emergingconsensus.wordpress.com/2010/08/08/1234/

    1. How about we replace 100% of federal revenue with a petroleum tax – which would raise the price of gasoline just a little over what Europeans pay today?

      Because it would be a regressive tax.

      But yeah i think you could get more support for a say a $1 a gallon tax that cuts all other taxes.

    2. Fred,

      Good idea in principle, but you’ve neglected to consider the demand curve for petroleum.

      You might consider expanding the tax to all non-renewable energy resources (coal, gas, uranium, etc.) to reduce both the magnitude of the tax, and the substitution effect.

  42. Geez, people are still debating this crap? It’s a fraud. Let’s get busy arguing the next catastrophe, OK?

    Global Cooling
    Overpopulation/world famine
    Overfilled landfills
    Hole in the Ozone
    Killer Bees
    Killer Ants
    Asteroid Impact
    Y2K (my favorite!)
    bird flu
    swine flu
    Global Warming/Climate Change

    I think the next topic should be liberalism.

  43. It’s good to see common sense coming into this argument. This was an excellent article.

  44. Because it would be a regressive tax.

  45. People? Even the infamaous Dr Phil Jones admits there has been no warming at all for fifteen years. These climate alarmists don’t have the first clue what drives climate and that is why they cook the tempurature records to create the lie of warming. See Darwin One

  46. re: AGW.
    My Balls Are Hairy

  47. Previously they were not!

  48. Something MUST be done.

  49. We could raise the minmum wage to $250/hour then everyone could afford to pay for less warmness.

  50. If humans disappeared today CO2 emissions would be reduced by 4%!
    Let’s Go!
    Mabal Zarhairi, II

  51. oops, 3.99999999999999999%
    I just farted.

    Mabal Zarhairi, II

  52. “late free-market environmentalist Julian Simon”

    Julian Simon wasn’t an environmentalist.

    1. See the 1994 “Scarcity or Abundance? A Debate on the Environment,” a transcript of a debate between Simon and the environmental alarmist Norman Myers.

      1. He still wasn’t an environmentalist and to call him as such is misleading.

  53. Does the artificial volcano solution sound daffy to anyone else? How much baking soda would that require?

    Also, this:

    Although his focus is on economics, statistics and cost-benefit analyses, his Ph.D., they point out, is actually in political science. So, like, what could he know?

    It’s all about the bona fides, baby! You could have all the practical knowledge and experience in the world, but if you don’t have that piece of paper, you don’t know squat.

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