Congressional Hearing on EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulations

by Judith Curry

From the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power are holding a hearing today Tuesday, March 8, 2011, at 10:00 a.m. entitled, “Climate Science and EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulations.”

As per the committee’s web site:

Full Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep. Whitfield have joined Democratic leaders in the U.S. House in authoring the Energy Tax Prevention Act (H.R. 910), a bill to block EPA’s controversial backdoor climate change agenda that would further drive up the price of energy for American consumers and job creators at a time when gas prices are already spiking and job creation remains weak.

WITNESS LIST

Dr. John R. Christy
Director, Earth System Science Center
University of Alabama in Huntsville

Dr. Christopher Field
Director, Department of Global Ecology
Carnegie Institution of Washington
Stanford, CA

Dr. Knute Nadelhoffer
Director, University of Michigan Biological Station
University of Michigan

Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr.
Senior Research Scientist,
Cooperative Institute for Research in
Environmental Sciences
University of Colorado at Boulder

Dr. Donald Roberts
Professor Emeritus,
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Bethesda, MD

Dr. Richard Somerville
Distinguished Professor Emeritus,
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
University of California, San Diego

Dr. Francis W. Zwiers
Director, Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium
University of Victoria
Victoria, British Columbia

An interesting group of witnesses.  Opening statements, witness testimony, and a live webcast will be available online at http://energycommerce.house.gov.

In a post over at RealClimate, it is announced that Gavin Schmidt and Eli Kintisch will be live blogging here.

And Joe Romm tells us what everyone is going to say here.

The politics behind all this is summarized by the Hill’s E2-Wire.

338 responses to “Congressional Hearing on EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulations

  1. That’s great news! More information on the list of witnesses would be helpful.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel

    • Joe Romm’s ranting suggest that there will be some reliable testimony.

      No wonder he’s annoyed!

    • EPA has acted just like former President Eisenhower warned a government “scientific-technological elite” might one day behave:

      youtube.com/watch?v=GOLld5PR4ts

    • “Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

      Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 17 Jan 1961

      http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/ike.htm

    • It is my understanding that the previously united foundations of Climategate started to crumble today.

      Thank you Professor Curry for your persistence in this matter and for helping to expose the misuse of public funds.

      Please remember that the accused (to date) are just pawns.

      Those directing public research funds to generate government propaganda are much higher up the food chain, leaders of the “scientific -technological elite” that former President Eisenhower warned about in his 1961 farewell address:

      youtube.com/watch?v=GOLld5PR4ts

      With kind regards,
      Oliver K. Manuel
      Former NASA Principal
      Investigator for Apollo

  2. I’m not sure if I understand all that’s going on behind the scenes, but if I understand this correctly, this is just act 1. The congress can defund the EPA, but they can’t direct them. The bill will pass congress, maybe the senate, and will without any doubt be vetoed by the president. Then the fun part starts.

    This is just getting the pawns out on the fourth rank.

    • It depends what form the bill takes. If it is passed as a stand alone bill, it may be vetoed, at first. But remember, Obama was not willing to fall on his sword to get an agreement in Copenhagen, so he might sign it eventually anyway. On the other hand, if it is passed as part of an essential bill that Obama has to sign, it may just get signed right away.

      There are a lot of Democrats who are leery of what the EPA will do, so there is a real chance this could work. And yes, the hearing is theater to set the stage for the bill to come. But that’s what congressional hearing have always been for. It all depend on how serious the Republicans are, and what they are willing to risk to rein in the EPA.

    • Oh, and the Congress can certainly direct the EPA. The EPA is part of the executive branch, but it was created by an act of congress, and all its authority is subject to the statutes Congress passes. They can remove any or all of the EPA’s authority, subject of course to a veto.

      • Jeffrey Davis

        Ah, but we learned that during a time of war the only power that Congress has is impeachment. Just as Reagan showed that deficits don’t matter, Bush showed that Congress doesn’t matter. In time of war, the president can do what he wants.

      • The US is not at war. Hasn’t been since 1945.

      • Jeffrey Davis

        No. I’m afraid not. Bush wouldn’t have claimed all those powers if we hadn’t been. Would he?

      • Holly Stick

        What was Vietnam? A dream? Iraq?

      • Sure it has. A declaration of war is a Congressional authorization for the President to use military force. When Congress passes an authorization for the President to use military force, it’s a DoW, regardless of whether it says “Declaration of War” in the title.

        It’s a bit shameful that Congress tried to conceal the fact that it was declaring war in 2003 (or at least to give plausible deniability to those who want to deny it), but concealment or no, that’s what it did.

      • P.S. A little known trivia fact is that WWII didn’t officially end until 1990–1945 was just the date of the cease fire.

    • Marlowe Johnson

      yep. you pretty much nailed it. the real question is whether or not the Republicans have bit off more than they can chew as their offensive would appear to compromise traditional air pollutant regs as well (which enjoy quite a bit of public support)…

      • I think the polls are pretty clear. The public wants clean air, but not cap-and-trade. Take away whatever interpretation of their understanding of the distinction between pollutants and CO2 that you may.

        Remember also that this took a supreme court decision to establish that CO2 qualified as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. I think the public generally understands that the classification of CO2 as a pollutant is controversial, and not a straightforward interpretation of the statute.

  3. Interesting verbiage.

    Full Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep. Whitfield have joined Democratic leaders in the U.S. House in authoring the Energy Tax Prevention Act (H.R. 910),

    Stated and named, republican congressmen. Stated but unnamed, “democratic leaders”……….really?

    Dr. Curry, I’m aware that you are simply quoting a news release, but doesn’t that seem an odd way to send a message? Are there indeed democratics that helped this about? If so, why not name them with the republicans? If not, it would be inaccurate to state as much. I’m not directing this at you, but, rather using you as a platform for truth. I’m hoping you don’t mind.

    I’m perfectly happy to draw lines and delineate the differences between the parties. However, as a public with direct interest, we should demand names from both. What does it mean, “….joined Democratic leaders..” Oddly, I think this is something most of us can agree upon. I almost never find myself in such a position. But, I don’t like being played, and I don’t like my countrymen being played either. Let the chips lay where they fall, but let’s see whose doing the throwing.

    • suyts said, “Are there indeed democratics that helped this about? If so, why not name them with the republicans?

      It took me less than three minutes with my favorite search engine to locate the following …

      Introducing the bill are Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton ( R-MI ), Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson ( D-MN ), Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Nick Rahall ( D-WV ), and Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield ( R-KY ), in addition to others.

      http://media-newswire.com/release_1144758.html

      Judith is doing the heavy lifting by hosting and feeding this blog. Informative contributions are more useful than complaints.

    • “Are there indeed democratics that helped this about? If so, why not name them with the republicans? ”

      The names are public knowledge in the American press. Point and click. There is no need for basic Google to continue to elude you.

      “What does it mean, “….joined Democratic leaders..”

      It means four Democrats sponsored it. Try to understand the nature of a press release and learn to understand spin.

    • What part of “Dr. Curry, I’m aware that you are simply quoting a news release…” do you people not understand?

      I wasn’t complain about Dr. Curry, I was indeed complaining about the spin. Thanks for pointing that out Martha. For our slower readers, it wouldn’t be obvious about what I was stating.

      In the future, I’ll type slower so others may come to a better understanding about what I am showing. ;-)

      • suyts, your original comment stated, “Dr. Curry, I’m aware that you are simply quoting a news release, but doesn’t that seem an odd way to send a message?”

        Rearranging to make analysis clearer …
        You are quoting a press release. That seems an odd way to send a message.
        “That” refers to “quoting a press release,” which becomes,
        Quoting a press release seems [to be] an odd way to send a message.

      • True, if you were to rearrange words. Some of us, though, when writing sentences will express conditional thoughts prior to making an assertion. I could have been more clear, but it often doesn’t occur to me that people would automatically assume the worse of intentions before considering other possible meanings.

    • That suggests to me that they’re not sure exactly which Democrats are going to cross over. The Democrats from coal states and other directly impacted states are under a lot of pressure from their constituents, but I’m sure they’re also under intense pressure from party leadership. Wouldn’t want to be them. We may even see some more conversions to Republicans before this is all over.

      • Thought you might find this interesting (had trouble getting a post about it to get through the filter earlier for some reason):

        http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/147837-ethanol-a-problem-for-2012-gop-field-battling-for-iowa

        The article offers details about how the only Republican presidential candidates that are willing to stand up for science and fight the good fight against the evil enviro-Nazis attempt to kill millions through ethanol subsidies are Michelle Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul: two candidates who think the Earth is 6,000 years old and one economic expert who said that the flare up in conflict between North and South Korea might have been orchestrated to boost the dollar.

      • Not particularly. I don’t see the connection to the comment.

      • We discussed the relationship between party affiliation and positions on ethanol subsidies the other day.

        To repeat, the vast majority of Republican presidential candidates (at least as defined in that link) are either in favor of ethanol subsidies, or at least not strongly critical of them.

        That would call into question future direction in the Republican party WRT ethanol subsidies, I would think.

        Off topic but interestingly in an of itself: two of the three that are strongly critical of ethanol subsidies also reject one of the most foundational theories of modern science.

        The other is Ron Paul.

        Which just leads me to question why people who are particularly interested in science would vote Republican. Why they would vote Democratic is another interesting question.

  4. Each and every day dedicated skeptics – and the rest of us – kneel down before the God who has blessed skepticism and lukewarmishism with Joe Romm.

    You could not possibly invent such a grand argument for reason. Joe is brilliant. Basically, if the man belches its a wildly unjustified ad hom. A paragraph offers endless fodder for reasonable people to say, “Yo, Joe…could you rethink, or perhaps, think before you hit send?”

    He’s perfect. Noise without actual communication.

    Meanwhile Congress is going to hear some smart people on both sides of the issue. Some will bring science, some will bring doubt, some will bring hype: you guys, (I’m Canadian so don’t elect), have picked your people and now we see if they are bright enough to realize that the uncertainty militates towards “do nothing” unless and until the models and observations actually are certain. It is possible.

  5. I come to this with a bias of suspicion about the coddling of industry by government as corporate charity, and with special suspicion of politicians interceding to block the regulation of dangers by the experts in dangers, especially after all the very long history of this issue.

    When your government tells you, “don’t worry, it’ll be safe enough, and it’ll save our campaign contributors money!” I’m always more skeptical.

    This is not a group of lightweight experts, to try to anticipate exactly what they will say is pretty much a waste of time, though that didn’t stop me.

    For Democratic leaders, just append “from the auto industry,” and you should be fine at figuring out who is involved.

    Interesting mix of witnesses: climate experts and DDT expert vs. climate expert.

    DDT expert?

    One guesses the agenda is to deconstruct the history of DDT into a black eye for the EPA, and then try to weaken or discredit climate claims.

    Dr. Christy is very expert in satellite measures of temperature, somewhat convinced of human hand in climate change, and comes to the table on the record as completely convinced that measures to reduce GHGs will be meaningless and expensive. He has been an expert witness for industry.

    One can discern no expertise in his credentials on forming opinions about costs or economics.

    Dr. Field is a botany climate guy, and may contribute testimony on the trail of Christy to reflect the non-industrial-emission sources of climate change.

    Dr. Knute Nadelhoffer may be asked too about all the evils of non-industrial suspects in climate change, and/or its many benefits.

    I think most of the names are not so well known as Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr. among the readers of Climate Etc. We’ll call him the voice of balance .

    Dr. Donald Roberts (auth. Environmental Protection Groups Lied And Millions Died) does not much like the EPA, one may suppose. He tends to blame ‘environmental groups’ and the UN for tropical diseases. A lot. His argument appears mostly to be ‘DDT doesn’t poison humans’.

    Dr. Richard Somerville is all about communicating science issues, and has credentials as solid as any.

    We should recognize one of the authors of the Nature article attributing some extreme weather events to human activity in Dr. Francis Zwiers, who appears to be there on the hot seat.

    Zero participation from anyone qualified to speak to the Economics argument; a Ross McKitrick would have been good.

    Zero participation it appears from witnesses from the EPA.

    This should be fun for Libertarians and obfuscationists alike, and is there an election season coming, because one senses cash flow will follow.

  6. John Whitman

    Curious, and more curious-er ; )

    It is surprising that no EPA members will be giving testimony, yet the EPA is an essential topic to be discussed at the hearing to be held by U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power.

    The EPA leadership must be somewhat edgy about that. Maybe some are updating their resumes. I think a lot of Green NGOs will be getting an influx of budget priced greenish focused employees from NASA GISS, NOAA and now the EPA.

    NOTE: what impeccable timing by the BEST Project . . . . its efforts show congress that a better or at least equivalent GST time series analysis/product might be viable with drastically less gov’t cost. Timing is everything and the BEST Project has it.

    John

    • No EPA members, and no economists, too.

      Forgetting the science, as it’s clearly unimportant in all this, the economics of this committe is pretty much contrary to prevailing wisdom among economists.. except for the economies of political party coffers and regulation-shirking industry.

      • John Whitman

        Bart R,

        Great to see your comment.

        I think rather the hearings are all about diverging fundamental views of the USA government’s role in both the intervention in the economy and intervention in scientific research. Such discussion belongs at the heart of the USA’s dialog on the nature of our government. It always has been.

        John

      • John

        With respect, the past two big news stories featured on Climate Etc. from Congress appear to be the opposite of the very laudable objectives you espouse. I want to see what you say happen.

        I do see a corn-lobby ethanolist move to quash the people who are revealing what a waste of tax dollars ethanol is and a consortium of industry favorites bands together to defang the EPA and muddle process with stubs of ideas they have no intention to follow up later.

        Have we learned nothing from the banks of what happens when people who understand nothing of economics weaken regulations for ‘economic’ reasons? We’re still recovering from those losses, and weakened by them, and can afford no more ‘good ideas’ like this.

        While I’m not a huge fan of costly and backwards-seeming application of regulation as a goad to industry to do the right thing, wouldn’t it be great if the committee had, say, someone who wasn’t a DDT gadfly and instead replaced him with a qualified voice of economic reason? Or maybe one less botanist (though I’m a huge fan of botany) and one more person who can testify about alternatives to regulation or cap and trade?

        This deck seems stacked more to inflame Libertarian angst than speak to libertarian values, and to have little to do with its purported claims. It appears likely to have the effect of raising taxes in the long run by keeping America dependent on subsidized and inferior fossils.

        Certainly each of the witnesses alone is respectable, has done valuable work, and contributes immensely to scientific research. The people who strung them together to form this little adventure, however, appear less confidence-inspiring.

      • wow. Those must be an amazing pair of glasses.

      • The US Banking problems have much more to do with Goldman-Sachs running the US Treasury than they have to do with regulations. The US Banking problems have much more to do with the ownership of the US Federal Reserve than they have to do with regulations.

        Most US citizens believe that the US Federal Reserve is owned by the US government. It isn’t surprising they don’t know how the shell game was played. The US taxpayer and the rest of the world lost, and a number of big investors made out like bandits.

      • The US Banking problems are largely a result of letting Goldman Sachs run the US Treasury. Most people in the US actually believe the US Federal Reserve Bank is owned by the US Government. It isn’t. It is privately owned.

        So, when the US government spent $600 billion dollars it didn’t have to bail out the banking system, where did this money come from? The banks! The US government bailed out the banks using money that it borrowed from the banks, that will have to be paid back by taxpayers with interest.

        When the rules of the game are hidden it is easy for the other guy to win. Some very large investors made out like bandits and the US taxpayer and the rest of the world had their pockets picked.

      • John Whitman

        Bart R,

        Interesting views you have of USA’s political dynamo. I am an USA citizen.

        Still, in spite of the messiness, what the USA political process is driven by is on one hand controlling our government to what the constitution gives the government permission to do and on the other hand protecting the individual’s rights from the governmental power.

        Simple, but effective.

        John

      • John Whitman

        We agree in goal and in whole, but differ in one small part.

        You say simple and effective; I would believe effective if so many measures did not tell me how far short too often the actual has fallen in the past; I might believe simple were it not for the clouding of issues by carpetbagging and pettifogging.

        Of most public servants, by overwhelming margin, up to and including Congress and beyond, I believe well of the intentions and sentiments.

        I still argue for alert and vigilant attention to their actions, and to measure their words by starkest metric of skepticism.

        Actions that tend to replace the democracy of free markets with the prior subsidized judgement of any small group disappoint.

        This is what _this_ committee seeks: to pre-judge the public cost of CO2 emissions and to give a free ride to CO2 emitters.

      • Oops! You skipped a step. The part where you prove there is a “public cost of CO2 emissions”.

        Since the costs are actually negative (benefits), emissions should therefor be subsidized. Free coal-generated electricity between the hours of 6pm and midnight each day, perhaps?

      • Brian H

        Yeah, went over this at great length previously and recently.

        You skipped the step of reading and thinking for yourself.

        Your Argument from Ignorance to support antidemocratic actions by congressmen not endearing.

      • “prevailing wisdom among economists”

        Now there is an oxymoron. Ever wonder why economists aren’t billionaires? Even when I find an economist who is very very good based on past predictions, I still have to take his future work under advisement, and not act as if it represents some truth about the future.

      • David Ricardo was pretty much a self made billionare in today’s money. This doesn’t mean I think Economists are any good at making people money, though (or understanding how the economy works!!).

        http://mitigatingapathy.blogspot.com/

      • Ever wonder why economists aren’t billionaires?

        Ross Perot said words similar to that. I’ll be more specific though and ask (rhetorically) how well things have worked out with the best and brightest neo-Keynesians fixing things in this current recession. And then the people pushing carbon trading wonder why the public is skeptical when the best and brightest are in charge.

      • Bush, Cheney, Obama, Biden, McCain and Palin are the best and brightest neo-Keynesians?

        Weren’t they the ones who signed off on the debacle.. erm, fix?

      • Warren Buffet

    • John Whitman said, “It is surprising that no EPA members will be giving testimony … ”

      From a March 4, 2011 post at the EPA website:

      Administrator Jackson Testifies on the Budget
      This week, Administrator Lisa P. Jackson testified before both the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the U.S. House Appropriations Committee on EPA’s fiscal year 2012 budget.

      http://blog.epa.gov/administrator/

  7. Every jurisdiction that is acting to suppress CO2 production is taking an economic sh**-kicking, from Denmark to Spain to California and (soon, if they don’t pull back from the brink) Australia.

    Spain cost itself 2.2 jobs for every Green subsi-job; Denmark bettered that with 3.7:1 loss ratio. Carbon controls are economic anorexia, including the underlying delusionary psychological disorder.

    • Brian H

      “Every” is another of those words skeptics are .. skeptical of.

      You mention four jurisdictions, which is perhaps one sixth of the total of those acting to suppress CO2. Are all of them doing worse than anyone else?

      British Columbia introduced a Carbon Tax in 2008, before the recession, and came out of it better than any other jurisdiction in North America largely due to the revenues of the Carbon Tax going to the pockets of the people of that jurisdiction. Canada has two other CO2 regulating jurisdictions, and it was one of the top 3 economic performers through the recession (probably the best http://www.economywatch.com/economic-analysis/canada.html).

      Denmark’s problems are from CO2? That’s a bizarre claim.

      Spain is a socialist country that has a whole army of other problems with its economy.

      California is nearly bankrupt because it can’t reduce its appetite for spending while it can’t raise taxes or borrow; nothing to do with CO2.

      Australia is a disaster you’re claiming will happen in the future.

      What about Greece? It have CO2-caused problems, or socialism caused problems, because it sure doesn’t have CO2 regulations.

      Somalia?

      You cite numbers, but not sources, one notes. Please, provide links to something, y’know, that proves what you say has any basis but fantasy.

      • Marlowe Johnson

        +10 to Bart R

        Despite having a carbon tax that is set to increase to $20/tCO2e this July, the sky is not falling in B.C. The issue there, insofar as taxes are concerned, is the imposition of the harmonized sales tax (i.e. VAT for all the Brits out there). Carbon pricing can indeed ‘hurt’ economies if executed improperly (i.e. no revenue recycling, no clear gradual timetables), but experience shows that if anything, it is an economy’s dependence on foreign fossil fuels AND an export-driven economy that are the biggest risk factors.

        Oh and then of course there are special cases like California, which Bart already described nicely.

      • Yeah, everybody knows that making the cost of living more expensive is the best way to grow an economy. And a trillion spent on shovel ready projects will keep unemployment below 8%. And raising the minimum wage creates more jobs. And high speed rail is an enormous cost saver.

      • Jeffrey Davis

        Everybody knows … (right-wing litany)

        Clinton’s tax in ’93 presaged amazing growth
        Congress didn’t vote for the amount required for the stimulus. (They actually passed around 50%)
        Raising the minimum wage has almost no impact on the economy as a whole.

        All those things that the right-wing “knows” about the economy just aren’t true. And no matter how many times they’re shown to not be true, the right-wing never changes its mind.

        Even once deified economists get ignored and jettisoned. Like Milton Friedman and Hayek. Why, it’s almost as if there’s no actual intellectual foundation to the right wing. Just appetite.

      • Leftish governments always spend too much, national debt balloons and it always ends in boom and bust. It’s the same on both sides of the Atlantic….everyone knows that!

      • Marlowe,

        British Columbia gets 86% of it’s electricity from Hydro and another 9% from burning waste from it’s forest products industry.

        British Columbia has some of the lowest electric rates in North American as a result.

        A tax that will add 1 cent/KWh to the cost of 6% of the electricity isn’t going to make a substantial difference to anyone. For a household that uses 1,000 KWh/month it’ll only cost 60 cents more per month.

        In Wyoming that same tax ends up adding 2 cents per KWh(coal is double natural gas) to 91% of the bill. So it would cost a household that uses 1,000 KWh $18 extra per month.

        Most of the US doesn’t have substantial hydro resources or forest products industries that can provide the bulk of the power.

        East of the Mississippi there is almost no onshore wind resource and offshore wind costs 20 cents/KWh wholesale.

        If it was only going to cost an extra $1/month in residential electricity rates in the US then cap and trade would have passed with overwhelming margins.

        The US is not British Columbia. We don’t have the inexpensive green resources that British Columbia has. As a result the conversation is much more difficult.

      • I live in BC. BC’s economy did well because we were pumping billions of dollars into the economy in preparation for the Winter Olympics.

        The extra tax on fuel had no part in our prosperity. BC’s taxes are among the lowest in Canada. The BC government takes in more money from gambling than it does from personal income taxes.

        BC is the only place in Canada that has a relatively mild climate during the winter. When their are jobs, such as Olympic construction, people flock here driving up real estate prices, which gives the appearance of prosperity. Vancouver BC has the highest real estate prices in Canada, which is a significant problem.

      • British Columbia is up to their eyeballs in hydropower. They’re already essentially carbon neutral. It’s a no-cost proposition to them.

        BC can play this game to tremendous profit. They can be essentially 100% “renewable” on their generation, and then wheel their “renewable” power to California, and charge a premium for those electrons, because they’re “renewable” electrons.

      • harrywr2 and ChE

        These are interesting cherries.. er, I mean, points.

        They ignore that BC’s carbon tax is broad-based, and captures industry and transportation (including fuel for those Olympic tourists of ferd’s), not just home-heating (which appears to be where the 86%/9% figures come from).

        Also ignored, BC trades its hydro power with the price-making USA, so international market prices on hydro affect BC and through it BC energy prices.

        But yes, in many or most cases, ChE _is_ right.

        Carbon taxes for most (including most of the USA) are a no cost proposition. Indeed, for the USA, BC’s ratio of 70% per capita getting more back from Revenue Neutral Carbon Tax (ie Rent) than they spend on it will hold.

        When Wyoming, with its tiny population, produces over 2% of the CO2 in the USA directly, and almost 3% of the NOx, and has plentiful undertapped alternative energy resources (why does uranium-rich Wyoming have no nuclear power at all?!)

        That household in Wyoming that gets $18 a month free use of the CO2 budget is indulging wasteful practices on the backs of the rest of America. Where does the benefit go? Certainly not to the Wyoming resident, but only to the subsidized fossil fuel profiteer.

        Those people who don’t pay their fair share by paying for their CO2 emissions are distorting the market overall — not just in CO2 — and getting a benefit on the backs of others at no benefit to others.

        Free riders are bad for the economy.

        They’re thieves who pilfer from every pocket with an invisible hand.

        They’re gluttons who will use without limit because they don’t have to pay a fair price for the benefit they sell on down the line and line their own pockets with at the expense of all.

        They want something for nothing and get it from a nanny state that extols the virtues of the government knowing better than the democracy of the free market.

        They are carbon communists, who want endless subsidy from government, protection by government against their own inefficiency and excesses, and to dodge regulation under the cover of job creation when the only jobs they create are for laborers in backwards technologies the rest of the world will not want.

        Pay for what you use, and if you can’t pay, don’t use it.

        Simples.

      • So how do you price the rent?

      • ChE

        An interesting question, and my views on this are evolving.

        I expect the best way to price CO2 rent is to introduce it low, and gradually increase it (annually) until the aggregate price elasticity of demand of fossil fuels falls into a range similar to the elasticity of demand for other energy alternatives.

        This has certain difficulties (http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/bitstream/32440/1/04010099.pdf), which may be instructive in more ways than one.

        For any good to have a negative elasticity of demand, such as coal in some states, makes it technically an economic bad (obscure terminology from Theory of Bads), or makes it distort the larger market. The cure is to move the price up until the EOD is once again positive.

        Removes distortions from the market, removes state subsidies, returns power to the consumers, puts the money that people are owed for the benefit they surrender into their individual pockets, reduces regulations and state interference.

        How cool is that?

    • Well yeah, it is a commons problem. Everything is driven by energy, and coal happens to be the cheapest energy around, not counting external costs. It is in no one entity’s best interest to act unless the majority do likewise. I guess we’ll all go down together; thank you very much.

  8. German Prosecutor Confirms Tax-Fraud Damage

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703386704576186670707416038.html

    Europe: Massive carbon trading fraud

    http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/42996

    Allowance theft halts carbon trading

    http://www.financialdirector.co.uk/financial-director/analysis/2027277/allowance-theft-halts-carbon-trading

    Europol Arrests More Than 100 In Carbon Trading Fraud

    http://notrickszone.com/2010/12/28/europol-arrests-more-than-100-in-carbon-trading-fraud/

    The $7-billion carbon scam

    http://opinion.financialpost.com/2010/12/05/lawrence-solomon-the-7-billion-carbon-scam/

    New tax scam targets carbon trading

    http://www.bakermckenzie.com/FCVATfraud/

    Fraud and enforcement actions in Carbon Markets Mar 2007-Jul 2010

    http://www.docstoc.com/docs/48252667/Carbon-Trading-Fraud-v40

    Spanish nighttime solar energy fraud ‘unlikely in UK’

    http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_round_up/465409/spanish_nighttime_solar_energy_fraud_unlikely_in_uk.html

    Why the £250bn wind power industry could be the greatest scam of our age – and here are the three ‘lies’ that prove it

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1361316/250bn-wind-power-industry-greatest-scam-age.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

    • Yup

      See what happens when you let politicians decide how people spend their money, and do it with under-regulated measures?

      The practical solution would be for a Made-in-America CO2 rent to be paid by those who benefit from emitting CO2 to every American per capita.

      Then the democracy of the free market would make EPA regulations needless, reducing the costs of policing CO2 as perhaps the smallest of the many benefits of this CO2 rent plan.

      We already have our own scammers and subsidized industries fleecing us.

      • “See what happens when you let politicians decide how people spend their money, and do it with under-regulated measures?

        The practical solution would be for a Made-in-America CO2 rent to be paid by those who benefit from emitting CO2 to every American per capita.”

        Politicians shouldn’t tell people how to spend their money, but they should charge “rent” for “emitting carbon,” to get them to use less carbon based energy? Leave aside for now the fact that “rent” is a real word that has a real meaning that has nothing to do with that sentence. I wonder if some people read what they write before they post it.

        Combine that with “let politicians decide how people spend their money, and do it with under-regulated measures?” Followed by this proposed energy tax being called “the democracy of the free market.” First, politicians deciding how people spend their money is precisely what this paragraph proposes, and whatever that is, it is not a species of “under-regulation.” Second, taxing a commodity to restrict its use has nothing to do with a free market.

        You wouldn’t think it was possible to get so much cognitive dissonance in three little paragraphs.

      • Jeffrey Davis

        “You wouldn’t think it was possible to get so much cognitive dissonance in three little paragraphs.”

        Oh, I’ve seen more with less. Start with “unregulated derivatives” and “government caused the economic meltdown”.

        Fun with cognitive dissonance!

      • That’s not cognitive dissonance, those are both (more or less) true.

        Government created the whole subprime loan buble by forcing lenders to make unsound loans. The geniuses on Wall Street just made sure the infection spread throughout the global economy with their credit default swaps and other esoteric securities.

        Nothing wrong with derivatives, but when they are backed by garbage, they are just derivative garbage. Kinda like carbon trading schemes.

      • GaryM

        Myths and mistakes, easy to see where you go wrong when you start from such places.

        Jeffrey Davis has it right: no intellectual foundation, just appetite.

        I agree with you about the excesses of the carbon trading schemes of the EU. Anyone who leads their CO2 strategy with Cap & Trade is practicing a special sort of economic idiocy.

        Carbon Credit Trading ought be a clean-up tertiary measure, a minor component, and tightly regulated, to keep exactly the corruption predicted and now seen from happening.

        CO2 budget rent, or revenue neutral carbon taxes, are the obvious right approach. McKitrick clearly laid the carbon tax case out fifteen years ago, before McIntyre ever heard of him — and that was without the key revenue-neutral component.

        How do you call taking money from people who willingly pay to rent the CO2 budget and paying it to the owners of that budget, ie the owners of the air, all of us per capita, government deciding how to spend the money?

        It’s money in our pockets at the end of the day. We decide how we spend it on the free market.

        Cap & Trade does this badly even if not corrupt. EPA regulation does this not at all and makes things more expensive. EPA de-regulation does it worst of all, as it throws open doors for abuse without control, and we know that’s what caused the recession.

        Why are you such a cheerleader for this CO2 communism Congress is pursuing?

      • “How do you call taking money from people who willingly pay to rent the CO2 budget and paying it to the owners of that budget, ie the owners of the air, all of us per capita, government deciding how to spend the money?”

        I give up. Companies are going to “willingly” pay a tax imposed by government against their will? Well, I guess families of kidnapping victims willingly pay ransom rather than let their family member die.

        And no one “rents” a “budget.” Nor does it make any sense to talk of a “carbon budget” when CO2 is being treated as a pollutant. Nor does anyone “own” a “budget” related to the release of a “pollutant” into the atmosphere.

        “It’s money in our pockets” that we pay back in the price of higher goods and services beyond the energy sector through coercive taxes. More to the point, redistribution of wealth should only be countenanced when it benefits those who cannot help themselves. I don’t want the government taking your money to give it to me, any more than I want it to take mine and give it to you.

        Next, regulation of a carbon trading system is exactly what Europe tried. It failed miserably.

        And my new favorite, EPA regulation makes things more expensive, but changing those regulations will make things worse? Huh?

        Finally, your question: “How do you call taking money from people who willingly pay to rent the CO2 budget and paying it to the owners of that budget, ie the owners of the air, all of us per capita, government deciding how to spend the money?”

        I call it “the government telling people how to spend their money” because the entire purpose of such a loony scheme is to force people to use alternative energy. Unless ALL you really care about is the redistribution of wealth.

        I should just not respond to these. I’d rather read more about the iron sun. But the left is trying too hard to disguise their central planning schemes as capitalist, free market initiatives (ala Hansen), however poorly.

      • GaryM

        1. If a business doesn’t like the price of fossil, it can buy non-fossil alternatives. That is freedom of consumer choice.

        2. If a business is faced with government subsidized price of fossil vs non-subsidized price of non-fossile, that is the government deciding for the business what to do.

        The democracy of the market is viable in (1.) and extinguished in (2.)

        Free market capitalism is (1.); corporate communism is (2.)

        You assume the prices of goods and services will be higher under a revenue neutral carbon tax; such is simply more appetite defeating intellectual foundation: the opposite of your claim is the case. In less distorted markets, price drops.

        You have an apartment building with so many units before people must resort to unsafe and unpleasant alternatives, you have a budget of residential spaces. You rent an apartment, you deplete that budget by one space.

        If everyone who can rent does so, the landlord makes sustainable profit and either invests in other sustainable projects or inspires others to do so, and housing increases overall, though not necessarily in apartments, and certainly not in the same limited apartment building.

        If you have a government regulation telling people they can live in the building free of charge, no one will build additional residential spaces, and the landlord will go broke.

        See? Budget. Rent. Apply to CO2. Figure it out for yourself.

      • Bart,

        I won’t bother with most of your comment, it is a rehash of what I have criticized before. But I must say you have finally said something I agree with, and that makes sense (at least 2/3s of the sentence).

        “2. If a business is faced with government subsidized price of fossil vs non-subsidized price of non-fossile, that is the government deciding for the business what to do.”

        Absolutely. get rid of the subsidies for oil, gas, and coal. And by that I mean real subsidies, not whatever redefined notion most progressives mean by that word. (For instance, deductions for foreign taxes paid on income earned abroad are not a subsidy, and are given to all industries under current law, not just energy.)

        But as for “non-subsidized price of non-fossile (sic),” you’re kidding, right? Solar, wind, ethanol are not subsidized? Really?

        The government should get rid of all energy subsidies.

      • GaryMe

        Seee? We’ree moree alikee thane youe thoughte! ;)

        I’m all for getting rid of all energy subsidies. Especially ethanol, but sure also solar and wind, nuclear and tidal, fusion and whatever else.

        I tolerate the infant industry argument, but with such progressive and powerful engines of discovering and promoting true viable infants as Google and the like, see no special need for it in government.

        Just fairly charge for those unpriced goods like CO2 budget and NOx budget, until the aggregated demand curve for fossil has a downward slope, as is natural in a Free Market.

        Uphold valid Free Market conditions, and the democracy of the marketplace will find all optimal solutions.

      • There was another essential element. Everyone believed that push comes to shove, the gov would backstop the bad debt. Which they did.

      • Jeffrey Davis

        That’s not cognitive dissonance, those are both (more or less) true.

        “Unregulated” means that the government didn’t intrude.
        So, the government didn’t make the agencies create idiotic derivatives. N0r did the government make the lenders ignore sound lending practices.

        Your position is the definition of cognitive dissonance.

      • The government absolutely did force lenders to ignore sound lending practices. I worked with a vendor that helped implement those regulations.

        Banks had to prove their lending was colorblind while ignoring economics, rather than colorblind within the framework of good economics.

      • Nonsense. Congress passed the Community Reinvestment Act in 1977 to try to make mortgage lenders make mortgage loans in low income communities (ie. to people who could not pay them back).

        This had little impact on lending, as banks would not loan their money to people who were too great a credit risk. So in 1992, congress made “affordable housing” the “mission” of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They began aggressively purchasing mortgages, which lowered the lending standards.

        In ’94 Congress amended the CRA to require listing of each lender’s “ratings” under the Act. This gave the Jesse Jacksons and ACORNs of the U.S. a great list of whom to target for protests for not loaning money to people who could not pay it back. But this still didn’t force enough lenders to make risky loans.

        In ’95 banks were required to show they were making loans to “underserved communities.” And at approximately the same time, Fannie and Freddie substantially increased their purchases of outstanding mortgages.

        This is what ultimately caused the underlying housing bundles. Banks and other mortgage lenders did not have to worry about the quality of the underlying loan. They got their fees for the loan up front, then sold the loan to Fannie or Freddie. The loan underwriting was separated from the risk of loss on the loan. Otherwise, no amount of community pressure would have induced banks to lend their own money to people who could not pay it back.

        Derivatives were a way of spreading the risk further, with the results we saw of almost crashing the global banking system..

        So no, the government did not make Goldman Sachs create “idiotic derivatives,” but it did make banks and mortgage lenders make idiotic loans (ie. ignore sound lending practices”). That was the whole point of the CRA, its revisions, and changing Fannie and Freddie’s “mission.”

        And then of course the government repaid Goldman for its efforts in spreading the contagion by giving it 12.9 billion in the supposed bailout of AIG (after letting Lehman Brothers collapse).

        Yes, by all means, let’s let the same people run the energy sector.

      • Jeffrey Davis

        They began aggressively purchasing mortgages, which lowered the lending standards.

        1978? 1992? The bubble started to blow up in 2001.

        What caused the bubble was the invention of the CDO which industrialized the process of taking a shaky investment and cleaning it up by merging it with other mortgages into tranches of risk.

        The government most definitely did not tell investment bankers to do that.

      • Mortgage backed securities had nothing to do with creating the housing bubble. They only come into play after the lender had made the loan, and sold it to another financial institution, usually Fannie or Freddie. Multiple mortgages were then bundled, and then the securities were created. No credit default swap or other security is based on a single mortgage. The original lender neither knows nor cares what the purchaser of the mortgage does with it. That was the whole problem.

      • What the EPA has failed to consider is that by calling CO2 a pollutant, the biggest source of US CO2 air pollution is not the US. The biggest source of CO2 air pollution in the US is China!! What is the EPA doing about this?

        Much of the CO2 required to keep the US economy running is now produced in China. The products entering the US from China are not subject to EPA regulations, allowing them to undercut US producers. This provides an incentive for even more companies to move from the US to China, and simply ship their goods back to the US.

        China ends up shipping the CO2 and other pollution back to the US for free on the prevailing winds. Having driven industries to China to reduce US CO2 production, you end up getting the CO2 back anyways. What you don’t get back are the lost jobs. This is reflected in the US debt levels.

        The problem with all regulations is that they create loopholes. Those with resources to exploit the loophole make out big time, the rest of us pay the price. Creating a regulation to plug one loophole creates another loophole, and the cycle repeats, adding inefficiency.

        The classic example is the air pump added to cars to “reduce” pollution. The air pump was mandated by law, It reduced fuel economy 10-15%, and pumped fresh air into the exhaust pipe of cars, thereby reducing PPM of pollution at the tail pipe.

        By measuring PPM rather than total pollution, total pollution was increased and mileage was reduced. However, by exploiting a loophole, it gave the appearance that pollution was reduced.

        CO2 is much the same. The EPA regulations will give the appearance of reduced CO2 pollution. However, since Chinese power plants are in general less efficient than US plants, the net effect of the EPA regulations will be more CO2 pollution in the US, and greater Chinese control over the US economy.

      • I would agree that Chinese power plants more then 5 years old are less efficient then power plants in the US.

        Most Chinese power plants are newer then that.

      • It’s not that simple. It’s not just a question of technology, it’s a question of capital. The high-efficiency cycles involve a lot of expensive equipment, that they simply can’t afford, if they’re busy building these plants right left and center.

        And worse, they have no particulate or sulfur control. Both of them may have serious climate impact, especially particulates. While everybody’s barking up the CO2 tree, the effect of black soot on snow albedo remains understudied.

      • China is building super and ultra critical coal fired plants.

        The Waigaoqiao III Power Plant in Shanghai is ultra-super critical and operates as 46% thermal efficiency, well above the global average of 30% thermal efficiency.

        http://www.energy.siemens.com/co/pool/hq/energy-topics/living-energy/issue-2/LivingEnergy_Issue2_Cleaner_Coal_in_China.pdf

        I think if you follow Chinese coal consumption you will find that their coal fired plants are state of the art.

        What’s not state of the art in China are the steel, cement and various other industries that make up 1/3rd of China’s coal consumption.

        In 2009 China produced 1.6 Billion tonnes of cement compared to 90 Million tonnes in the US.
        It’s takes 1/2 ton of coal to make a ton of cement.
        So China burned 800 million tonnes of coal to make cement.

      • That’s also a very large plant near a major city. Scale plants can support all these ornaments. The Chinese also tend to build Potemkin plants for show. The Asian Brown Cloud is still there, though.

      • ferd berple

        http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/11/world/asia/11coal.html

        ” The average efficiency of American coal-fired plants is still higher than the average efficiency of Chinese power plants, because China built so many inefficient plants over the past decade…Another problem is that China has finally developed the ability to build high-technology power plants only at the end of a national binge of building lower-tech coal-fired plants. Construction is now slowing because of the economic slump.”

  9. Alexander K

    I popped over to read Joe Romm’s take on the selected witnesses. Wow! Joe reminds me of a labourer I employed many years ago who hated everyone more intelligent and better educated than himself, which was most of the world’s population, and could verbalise hate-filled nonsense non-stop for an entire working day. All of us who worked with him just tuned him out and regarded his utterances as background noise. Joe is a rather different case in that his education seems to have taught him nothing.

  10. Interesting group, what is more interesting is the link to Climate Progress you have above. Everyone who agrees with them is a genius, everyone who disgrees is the worst kind of human, not just wrong, but hate-able in their mind.

    This is the problem and issue, until we can have a discourse that is factual and logic based on this and other issues we are doomed to failure.

  11. I’m not sure the tack this hearing will be taking. If you compare the EPA’s use of evidence for it’s finding to the rules about using scientific evidence for findings, there are some disconnects. It doesn’t seem to me that this is what they’ll be looking into, but who knows?

    • Given the science witnesses it looks like they will be questioning the endangerment finding, probably on the basis of uncertainty, not looking at how the finding was made. The latter issue is before the Courts. EPA conducted no assessment of its own, but rather merely cited the IPCC and US CCSP/GCRP reports. This is unprecedented, so I expect the Court to remand the finding on procedural grounds, ordering EPA do do its own assessment. But that is a judicial crap shoot, as they say. (Interesting pun here if you think the IPCC reports are crap.)

  12. Democrats to the left of us, Republicans to the right. Full Steam Ahead! I have only just now begun to fight! Ours is not to wonder why, ours is but to run and lie.
    ======================

  13. Republican seat,
    Fingers on the thermostat;
    Turning up the heat.
    =======

  14. As usual, Judith Curry offers no context to assist understanding of her post.
    :-(

    There has been alot of public discussion of the EPA’s movement forward with GHG regulation in several areas, and why.

    Republicans and some Democrats have expressed concern that Congress should be the one to pass legislation to fight climate change, rather than using the EPA’s Clean Air Act. The Democrat concern is focused more on specifics of the regulatory plans, to reassure oil and gas producers they they will not be disadvantaged in the global economy.

    The nature of this concern is not new to anyone who understands both the political hype and the central underlying legislative issues – hijacked for Republican spin, but shared by some others, including not only a few Democrats concerned about market competitiveness, but also some NGO and environmental groups.

    Upton, Whitfield, and Inhofe argue the responsibility for climate and energy lies with congress, not the EPA. However, that is just one issue. Parallel to this, EPA has requested more funding to implement GHG regulations in the absence of Congressional legislation to curb emissions. The 2010 Republican effort to block the EPA failed. They are now attempting to move forward by making their demands a rider on other legislation that the Obama administration might feel needs to move forward. Political blackmail, if you will– as is often the nature of party politics.

    The Inhofe group has already heard from many witnesses. So far, the legal and scientific basis for EPA to act if congress does not, remains intact.

    Those who imagine there is not good general public confidence in the EPA that may translate into support for this EPA action may be wrong:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ac/20110217/pl_ac/7875916_public_support_overwhelming_for_epa_poll_says

    In the absence of Congressional action to pass new climate legislation, the existing Clean Air Act does provide a statutory framework under which EPA must begin to regulate the largest sources of GHGs. If this is blocked, it will fall on Congress to take responsibility for making climate legislation — which some NGO’s and environmental groups also strongly prefer. However, Republicans know that doing this by reducing the authority of the EPA will have negative impacts that they are not stating, that have nothing to do with GHG regulation.

    Today’s hearing is largely about political positioning but there will also be science.

    p.s. You can rest assured the list’s Canadian expert on climate modeling speaks out often and openly against ignorance and denial of climate change.

    • In the absence of Congressional action to pass new climate legislation, the existing Clean Air Act does provide a statutory framework under which EPA must begin to regulate the largest sources of GHGs. If this is blocked, it will fall on Congress to take responsibility for making climate legislation — which some NGO’s and environmental groups also strongly prefer.

      Everyone should prefer it. As Scalia stated, “everything from frisbees to flatulence” could potentially be considered a pollutant subject to EPA regulation under the current law. Congress should not have the ability to delegate their ability to make law (and any blame that goes along with it)

      • Jeffrey Davis

        As Scalia stated

        Scalia states so many things. That’s so that later he can pick and choose.

      • Easier to snark about the great right wing bugaboo than respond to the point?

      • Jeffrey Davis

        “bugaboo”?

        Are you under the impression that Scalia is imaginary?

        “Could potentially be considered” is too vague to have meaning.

      • “Could potentially be considered” is too vague to have meaning.

        I believe language that was “too vague to have meaning” was his point.

      • Jeffrey Davis

        His remarks could be applicable to anything. Congress routinely gives agencies regulatory power. Scalia is simply playing a game by paying selective attention.

        The way to lie in politics is to not tell the whole truth.

      • “Could potentially be considered”? Must be a climate science paper ;)

    • “Republicans and some Democrats have expressed concern that Congress should be the one to pass legislation to fight climate change, rather than using the EPA’s Clean Air Act. ”

      Or in this case, misusing it. The clean air act wasn’t contemplated to be used for something like this. There’s a big difference between dealing with proximal causes of health issues and chaining through a causal structure to project a distal cause of health issues.

      “They are now attempting to move forward by making their demands a rider on other legislation that the Obama administration might feel needs to move forward. Political blackmail, if you will– as is often the nature of party politics.”

      And non-party politics. I haven’t seen clean, focused substantive legislation come out of Washington ever. “political blackmail”, “held hostage”, etc are just emotional plea to reframe. No one in Congress loses one cent whether they vote for or against or abstain. And if they don’t get re-elected, they get a nice pension. Pretty tough to “blackmail” someone who wins no matter what happens.

      “Those who imagine there is not good general public confidence in the EPA that may translate into support for this EPA action may be wrong:
      http://news.yahoo.com/s/ac/20110217/pl_ac/7875916_public_support_overwhelming_for_epa_poll_says

      There was good public support for prohibition as well. “consensus”, “public support”, etc don’t change the actual facts. Science isn’t an opinion poll, even if you’re asking the opinion of scientists.

      ” the existing Clean Air Act does provide a statutory framework under which EPA must begin to regulate the largest sources of GHGs.”

      The EPA has no such legal obligation – there is no “must” or “shall” involved.

      ” Congress to take responsibility for making climate legislation”

      Congress has the authority and responsibility if they didn’t turn regulation authority over to some body. The clean air act didn’t say anything about regulating climate. The discussions at the time didn’t say anything about regulating climate. It isn’t a question of taking responsibility, they always had the responsibility.

    • “The Democrat concern is focused more on specifics of the regulatory plans, to reassure oil and gas producers they they will not be disadvantaged in the global economy.”

      Why do the most vocal proponents of government intrusion into the energy economy keep misrepresenting its purpose? Are we supposed to forget from one day to another?

      The whole point of EPA regulation of “carbon” is to get people to stop using it, ie. stop using fossil fuels. “Not disadvantage oil and gas producers?” What do you think “de-carbonization” means? It means to drive the oil and gas (and coal) producers out of business.

  15. Fascinating…..

    Looks like Ron Paul, Michelle Bachman, and Rick Santorum are going to the the Republican presidential candidates willing to step up an fight the good fight on behalf of skeptical scientists who are fearful about the disastrous policies developed under the boot of enviro-Nazis.

    Obviously, Bachman and Santorum are such devotees of science that they believe the Earth is 6,000 years old. Ron Paul thinks that the recent flare up on hostility between North and South Korea was orchestrated to boost the U.S. dollar.

    –snip–

    Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), a libertarian long-shot candidate who won the Conservative Political Action Conference’s (CPAC) straw poll earlier this year, also said he doesn’t support subsidies.

    “I don’t think we should subsidize anybody or encourage certain things,” Paul said last week on CNBC. “We shouldn’t interfere and say, ‘Grow corn and put it in ethanol.’ ”

    Most of this year’s GOP field has a history of supporting ethanol.

    Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) arguably has been the most vocal proponent, castigating “big-city attacks” on the ethanol industry in a January speech before the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit.

    Tim Pawlenty signed an increased ethanol mandate into law as governor of Minnesota, and lobbied for other states to do the same. He was the keynote speaker at the American Coalition for Ethanol conference in 2007.

    Both Huckabee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney voiced support for ethanol subsidies during the 2008 caucuses. And former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin talked up supporting alternative energy, especially ethanol, as McCain’s running mate in the 2008 general election.

    Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has said that no cuts to farm subsidies can be considered off limits, but talked up his state’s ethanol production in his 2010 state of the state address. (His 2011 speech made no mention of ethanol.) Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has presided over increased ethanol production in his state, too, though he’s regarded as one of the most fiscally hawkish among possible GOP candidates.

    Chuck Grassley, Iowa’s senior Republican senator, said he hasn’t seen any of the White House contenders “badmouthing” ethanol yet. Grassley said he thought a candidate could win the Iowa caucuses even while opposing ethanol subsidies, as long as the candidate is consistent and also supports cutting price supports for other commodities.

    “I think if someone sincerely comes in here and is intellectually honest and talking about being against subsidies for all energy, I think we’re going to have to accept him,” Grassley said.

    Some candidates have been willing to lash out at subsidies. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) also comes from a corn-heavy state, but she has called for a re-examination of ethanol subsidies. Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) often voted against ethanol supports during his time in Congress. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman has no record of public comment on the issue.

    –snip–

  16. Please excuse any multiple posts – but I seem to be having a hard time getting this through for some reason:

    Fascinating…

    It looks like it’s going to be left up to Republican presidential candidates Michelle Bachmann, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum to fight the good fight on behalf of skeptical science and to stand up against the disastrous economic impact of policies that environmentalist goons are trying to force onto the American public.

    Of course, Bachmann and Santorum are such believers in science that they think the Earth is 6,000 years old. Paul is such an economic genius that he has explained that the recent flare up between North and South Korea was orchestrated by the Fed to “boost the dollar.”

    –snip–

    Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), a libertarian long-shot candidate who won the Conservative Political Action Conference’s (CPAC) straw poll earlier this year, also said he doesn’t support subsidies.

    “I don’t think we should subsidize anybody or encourage certain things,” Paul said last week on CNBC. “We shouldn’t interfere and say, ‘Grow corn and put it in ethanol.’ ”

    Most of this year’s GOP field has a history of supporting ethanol.

    Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) arguably has been the most vocal proponent, castigating “big-city attacks” on the ethanol industry in a January speech before the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit.

    Tim Pawlenty signed an increased ethanol mandate into law as governor of Minnesota, and lobbied for other states to do the same. He was the keynote speaker at the American Coalition for Ethanol conference in 2007.

    Both Huckabee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney voiced support for ethanol subsidies during the 2008 caucuses. And former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin talked up supporting alternative energy, especially ethanol, as McCain’s running mate in the 2008 general election.

    Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has said that no cuts to farm subsidies can be considered off limits, but talked up his state’s ethanol production in his 2010 state of the state address. (His 2011 speech made no mention of ethanol.) Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has presided over increased ethanol production in his state, too, though he’s regarded as one of the most fiscally hawkish among possible GOP candidates.

    Chuck Grassley, Iowa’s senior Republican senator, said he hasn’t seen any of the White House contenders “badmouthing” ethanol yet. Grassley said he thought a candidate could win the Iowa caucuses even while opposing ethanol subsidies, as long as the candidate is consistent and also supports cutting price supports for other commodities.

    “I think if someone sincerely comes in here and is intellectually honest and talking about being against subsidies for all energy, I think we’re going to have to accept him,” Grassley said.

    Some candidates have been willing to lash out at subsidies. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) also comes from a corn-heavy state, but she has called for a re-examination of ethanol subsidies. Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) often voted against ethanol supports during his time in Congress. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman has no record of public comment on the issue.

    –snip–

  17. test

  18. Please excuse any multiple posts – but I seem to be having a hard time getting this through for some reason:

    Fascinating…

    It looks like it’s going to be left up to Republican presidential candidates Michelle Bachmann, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum to fight the good fight on behalf of skeptical science and to stand up against the disastrous economic impact of policies that environmentalist goons are trying to force onto the American public.

    Of course, Bachmann and Santorum are such believers in science that they think the Earth is 6,000 years old. Paul is such an economic genius that he has explained that the recent flare up between North and South Korea was orchestrated by the Fed to “boost the dollar.”

    –snip–

    Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), a libertarian long-shot candidate who won the Conservative Political Action Conference’s (CPAC) straw poll earlier this year, also said he doesn’t support subsidies.

    “I don’t think we should subsidize anybody or encourage certain things,” Paul said last week on CNBC. “We shouldn’t interfere and say, ‘Grow corn and put it in ethanol.’ ”

    Most of this year’s GOP field has a history of supporting ethanol.

    Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) arguably has been the most vocal proponent, castigating “big-city attacks” on the ethanol industry in a January speech before the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit.

    Tim Pawlenty signed an increased ethanol mandate into law as governor of Minnesota, and lobbied for other states to do the same. He was the keynote speaker at the American Coalition for Ethanol conference in 2007.

    Both Huckabee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney voiced support for ethanol subsidies during the 2008 caucuses. And former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin talked up supporting alternative energy, especially ethanol, as McCain’s running mate in the 2008 general election.

    Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has said that no cuts to farm subsidies can be considered off limits, but talked up his state’s ethanol production in his 2010 state of the state address. (His 2011 speech made no mention of ethanol.) Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has presided over increased ethanol production in his state, too, though he’s regarded as one of the most fiscally hawkish among possible GOP candidates.

    Chuck Grassley, Iowa’s senior Republican senator, said he hasn’t seen any of the White House contenders “badmouthing” ethanol yet. Grassley said he thought a candidate could win the Iowa caucuses even while opposing ethanol subsidies, as long as the candidate is consistent and also supports cutting price supports for other commodities.

    “I think if someone sincerely comes in here and is intellectually honest and talking about being against subsidies for all energy, I think we’re going to have to accept him,” Grassley said.

    Some candidates have been willing to lash out at subsidies. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) also comes from a corn-heavy state, but she has called for a re-examination of ethanol subsidies. Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) often voted against ethanol supports during his time in Congress.

    –snip–

  19. The opening statement and written testimony are now posted, I’m reading them now

    http://energycommerce.house.gov/hearings/hearingdetail.aspx?NewsID=8304

  20. Yes, an interesting list of witnesses. Of the 7, 3 are more or less skeptical in their statements.
    Christy says there’s no increase in extreme events like floods and record temps, and the climate models dont match the data very well.
    Pielke says focusing on Co2 is a too narrow view and talks about how he resigned from the CCSP due to its lack of balance and politicisation.
    Donald Roberts is the most scathing, talking of ‘messages of fear’ and an ‘ideological agenda’.

  21. Some quick reactions to the written testimony:

    Somerville’s testimony is an eloquent overview of the climate establishment position and gives a good background on the IPCC, the Copenhagen Diagnosis and the Copenhagen COP in Dec 2009. He discusses skeptics and contrarians. No use of “denier”, and the word “settled” is only used once.

    John Christy’s is the most provocative from a scientific perspective, IMO. He focuses on how we should interpret the recent extreme events. Zwiers also picks up on this theme from a different perspective, I will prepare a post discussing Christy’s and Zwiers’ testimonies.

    Donald Roberts focuses on disease and DDT, and addresses some interesting issues including unintended consequences, contributions of science to campaigns of fear (which is a very interesting section).

    • Lots of dubious claims and spin in Somerville’s evidence.
      Roberts seems the most scathing, though much of his testimony is off-topic, about DDT.

    • Spilt coffee on my keyboard a couple of times reading through Christy’s testimony!

      “The non-falsifiable hypotheses works this way, “whatever happens is consistent with my hypothesis.” In other words, there is no event that would “falsify” the hypothesis. As such, these assertions cannot be considered science or in anyway informative since the hypothesis’ fundamental prediction is “anything may happen.” In the example above if winters become milder or they become snowier, the hypothesis
      stands. This is not science. As noted above, there are innumerable types of events that can be defined as extreme events – so for the enterprising individual (unencumbered by the scientific method), weather statistics can supply an almost unlimited set of targets in which to discover a “useful” extreme event.

      • Thing about Christie is that he can say these things in such a deadpan manner. I think his previous life as a minister is a huge asset. He is head and shoulders above most scientists in the public speaking department.

      • He does quite well. But if one reads his statement, it is a blistering indictment of “consensus science”. And, IMHO, putting his testimony next to the others, makes the others look pretty silly.

      • Jeffrey Davis

        so for the enterprising individual (unencumbered by the scientific method), weather statistics can supply an almost unlimited set of targets in which to discover a “useful” extreme event.

        The same could be said of a large cache of emails, nicht wahr?

      • Um, no. The scientific method has nothing to do with the way we interpret human language. (Well, almost nothing. I have a sister who’s doing research into teaching machines how to understand natural languages.)

      • Jeffrey Davis

        There was a math study that demonstrated that in any sufficiently large text (War and Peace, Moby Dick, The Bible, Shakespeare) a dedicated “seeker” could find any message that he was predisposed to find.

      • This is the classic sort of misapplication of reductionist rigor that we laughed about when I was studying polsci (double major w/ physics). In order to apply the scientific method, you have to operationalize your definitions. But in the human realm, we don’t have or think in terms of operationalized definitions. (See, e.g., Witgenstein). Of course, here I’m criticizing about 90% of what goes on in the field of political science, since if you read the peer reviewed literature, it’s stuffed with nothing but such studies. But its silly, because when you step back and look at it from outside the reductionist perspective, it’s clear that its not accomplishing anything.

        For example, the doctoral thesis of a candidate professor at one universtiy I was at demonstrated that, for electoral candidates with unpopular positions, their probability of being elected is a function of how ambiguously they state their positions. Now, on the one hand, given the last Presidential election that might seem pretty topical. But the point is, who needs scientific rigor to recognize the truth of such a theory? On the other hand, the methodology doesn’t actually work on subject matter complex enough that it might benefit from quantitative analysis, because the act of operationalizing any more difficult subject matter (e.g. “justice”) ends up distorting beyond recognition what we really mean when we use such words.

        For a reductionist proof that the human mind solves non-algorithmic problems, see Roger Penrose, Emperor’s New Mind.

    • I suppose that you consider it outside your area of expertise, but I’d be curious to read some of your reactions to Roberts’ arguments about DDT.

      It certainly seems that you are suggesting that supposed “bans” on DDT were “contributions of science to campaigns of fear,” and as such, you seem to have weighed into the debate. If that is what you meant, I’d like to know on what basis you make such a suggestion. Certainly, it is germane to what you’ve discussed regarding unintended consequences of science’s contributions to campaigns of fear about global warming.

      Romm has some interesting links on the charges that campaigns of fear have caused millions to die from Malaria. I also posted a link above that I found interesting.

      • DDT is totally outside of my expertise, I am not weighing in on that subject. The comments of Roberts that interest me are specifically in the section entitled “Contributions of Science to Campaigns of Fear.” Specifically, the text on page 9, 10, which has implications and potential applicability well beyond the DDT issue.

      • You find his testimony about campaigns of fear on insecticides usage interesting, and find them potentially applicable to climate science or other areas, even though you feel unable to assess the veracity/validity of his claims?

        Yes, the concept of unintended consequences of scientific advocacy are very interesting indeed at a theoretical level, but when you talk about applicability, it would seem to me that you need to dig a bit into the underlying facts.

      • I find the statement interesting and the issues he raises worth reflecting on, in a general sense.

      • No doubt.

        Although certainly important and worth reflecting on, it seems to me the concept of unintended consequences of governmental policies is not particularly novel. When you talk about the implications of such a concept, however, it seems to me the devil is in the details.

        I was reading through the first of your “Uncertainty Monster” posts last night. Fascinating reading. One of the themes I found most interesting was the discussion of how uncertainty in the climate change debate is a sword that cuts both ways. Similarly, so can “campaigns of fear” cut both ways, as can “unintended consequences.”

        FWIW, I find your focus on campaigns of fear, unintended consequences, and political affiliations coming from the “warmists” is valid and valuable. What I continue to find curious is your lack of elaboration on the double-edged nature of those phenomena. Roberts is testifying on behalf of politicians who, arguably, are using the imprimatur of scientific expertise to further political goals. That is serious enough in and of itself, but if he is using flawed science to do so it becomes even more serious.

      • There’s an important question driving this that needs to be addressed; and that is, is it even possible to separate the politics from the policy from the science. I used to think you could. I’m beginning to have my doubts.

      • ChE.

        is it even possible to separate the politics from the policy from the science.

        I’m with you on that.

        Don’t know if you saw it above, but check out my post to you on the topic of Republican presidential candidates and ethanol subsidies.

        My feeling that trying to separate the politics and the science is impossible. Kudos to Dr. Curry for her focus on politics and “tribalism” (which just essentially a form of politics, is it not) on the “warmist” side. I think that it takes courage for her to do so.

        I’m deeply disappointed that she seems relatively unconcerned about the politics and “tribalism” on the “denialist” side. For me, it ultimately undermines her message and creates a poor bedrock for bridge building.

      • Hey, this is MY standard answer, if I don’t want to say anything at all ;-)

      • Jeffrey Davis

        You find his testimony about campaigns of fear on insecticides usage interesting, and find them potentially applicable to climate science or other areas, even though you feel unable to assess the veracity/validity of his claims?

        Ladies and germs, the state of science in America!

      • Holly Stick

        It appears that Roberts is not too good with numbers:

        http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/donald_roberts_scientific_frau.php

      • Joshua, the US not imposing its will on others?? Hello!

        Holly Stick, et al: I’ve been to Deltoid and other discussion places. The efforts, gyrations, handstands and tap dancing the DDT deniers go through to explain how the sun really rises in the south is quite entertaining.

      • The very notion that a regulatory body baning insecticide usage in the United States is responsible for death and disease among millions and millions of people in other countries is dubious at its very foundation.

        One could certainly argue that the EPA has influence beyond America’s borders, but even if we ignore conflicting evidence about the causal links between, (1) environmental concerns about DDT and reduced usage of it in other countries (i.e., there were other factors in its reduced usage), and (2) reduced usage of DDT as being the singular reason for increased deaths from malaria, Roberts is using science to promote the notion that governmental environmental regulation necessarily causes more harm than good, and thus his testimony is political by its very nature and not simply scientific.

        Not to make presumptions here about what anyone is or isn’t doing – but one absolutely needs to consider the full political context of his testimony. Pondering it in the abstract seems to be based on a false dichotomy and ultimately, tantamount to navel-gazing.

      • ferd berple

        From personal observations living for years in places like Fiji, PNG, PI, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, malaria is no joke. Where they spray, malaria and dengue are rarely a problem. Where they don’t, the problems are huge.

        It is a trade off. No one wants to see the tanker trucks driving down the streets spraying. It can’t be good for us, so we want it stopped. But then the mosquitoes come back, people start getting sick, and somehow we don’t make the connection. the problem is that the spray trucks are visible, while the mosquitoes are largely invisible. the spray trucks are man-made. the mosquitoes, malaria and dengue are natural. and natural things are good for us. that is what we are told. all natural products are the healthiest. mosquitoes, malaria and dengue are nature’s way of making the human race stronger and more resistant to disease. by killing off those that are not resistant, the young, the old, pregnant mothers. it is nature’s way. living in our first world cities we may forget this.

      • Jeffrey Davis

        and somehow we don’t make the connection

        Well, fortunately, we have fred berple to save the day. Nobody else but fred berple has ever noticed that insecticides kill a large number of insects.

      • ferd berple is my hero

    • Jeffrey Davis

      and the word “settled” is only used once.

      By Christopher Monckton?

  22. I just went to the live blogging of Gavin and Kintisch, pretty incomprehensible to me.

    • Holly Stick

      Not all that difficult, really. They made the point that Roberts talking about DDT was irrelevent to the hearing, even if he had been correct in the first place.

      • Actually, in terms of relevance to the topic of the hearing, I am struggling to see how any of the testimony was very relevant. The EPA endangerment ruling is a policy and legal issue. Obviously, if there is no danger from greenhouse warming, then the issue goes away. But if there is the possibility of danger (and there is certainly the possibility, although we can argue about the magnitude/likelihood; and I don’t see that any of the witnesses are denying the possibility), then the issues surrounding the endangerment ruling are policy, legal, political.

      • ‘the issues surrounding the endangerment ruling are policy, legal, political’
        That is correct, for the reasons I already explained for you in some detail; and it would be correct regardless of what was said.

      • The End is FAR

        In what way is the Earth’s atmosphere behaving like a greenhouse?

        Is it possible to describe ‘trapping’ or slowing the radiation rate without introducing a term that describes preventing or slowing convection?

      • The End is FAR

        Thanks Holly, there were 80 references to greenhouse in that piece of work. Greenhouses radiate, just as every object that has a temp above -273 C. ‘Trapping’ radiation does not prevent convection. So while IR absorbing gases slow the radiation rate creating a “physical barrier that blocks the flow of heat”, there is not a physical barrier preventing Convection.

        They did however use ‘back radiation’ which sounds awfully like a reduction in ‘emissitivity’.

        They also claim that the surface of the Earth receives more back radiation from from the atmosphere than it does from the Sun. This is wonderful news! Instead of Solar Cells, we should instead be inventing and improving ‘atmospheric back radiation cells’.

      • Jeffrey Davis

        “They also claim that the surface of the Earth receives more back radiation from from the atmosphere than it does from the Sun. This is wonderful news!”

        What back radiation were you expecting to receive from the Sun?

      • The End is FAR

        Jeffrey Davis,

        “The surface of the Earth actually receives in total more radiation from the atmosphere than it does from the Sun.”

        From the Skeptical Science blog. Skeptical of Science seems to be a more apt name.

        Sorry, I mis-paraphrased. The Earth gets more energy from our atmosphere than it does from the Sun. This complicates the hell out of the effects of volcanoes (aerosols) and the causes of Ice Ages, but it does provide an ‘alternative’ energy.

        Subsidies and taxes on our most plentiful and effective fuel sources are the obvious path.

      • The End is FAR

        Jeffrey Davis,

        “The surface of the Earth actually receives in total more radiation from the atmosphere than it does from the Sun.

        From the Skeptical Science blog. I mis-paraphrased.

        This complicates the effects of volcanic aerosols and the Milankovitch Cycles, but this certainly helps the AGW hypothesis.

      • TEiF,

        This thread is not the right place to go through all the basics of atmospheric physics.

        No need for basics, just explain where convection is a less efficient means of heat/energy transfer than radiation.

        There really is need for basics. Otherwise it is hopeless, as you seem to be missing so much that you need to understand the answers.

        I repeat only that radiation creates the temperature gradient. There would not be any strong temperature gradient without the radiative heat transfer processes of greenhouse effect.

        The convection is a strong mechanism of heat transfer and it acts to even out the temperature differences, not to create them. It makes the so called potential temperature constant, if the potential temperature would otherwise decrease with altitude. Constant potential temperature means that the normal temperature follows the adiabatic lapse rate. If the potential temperature increases with altitude (which means that the normal temperature does not decrease as fast as the adiabatic lapse rate) then the convection does not develop, but stops. Radiation creates the temperature differences, convection limits them. One could say, that radiation creates 150% of the temperature difference, and convection brings it back to 100%.

        It is really not possible to go through all the required physics in this thread. The only real way forward is that you stop insisting that your claims are correct and try to find out, where your knowledge is lacking.

        One set of lecture notes that contains all essentials is here

        http://mathsci.ucd.ie/met/msc/PhysMet/PhysMetLectNotes.pdf

        I suspect that these notes are not at the right level for you, but perhaps they help in realizing, how much there is to learn to have a good understanding of these issues. There are certainly many more accessible descriptions, but I do not have any list of links for those.

      • The right place for this comment is a bit lower. Following the order of comments has become too difficult.

      • The End is FAR

        Downloading the notes now.

      • The End is FAR

        To clarify, the action of back radiation behaves in no manner whatsoever like a greenhouse, it behaves much more like reducing the emissitivity of the surface. This brings up an interesting question. If emissitivity is reduced, then is the ability to absorb radiation also reduced?

        Seems if IR gases are ‘trapping’ an upward flow of radiation, then they would also ‘trap’ a downward flow with equal vigor.

        Secondly, the reduction in emissitivity caused by the IR absorbing gases only creates a “physical barrier that blocks the flow of” radiation, not convective heat flows, not ‘heat’ in general as the SS piece states. In fact, an increased in surface temps results in an increased convection rate, quite the opposite of the GHE.

        The point of this exercise is to describe IR blocking gases without introducing terms that represent blocking convection. Curiously when one does exclude the greenhouse misnomer or misrepresentation from the description, the ‘power’ of the IR gases diminishes rapidly.

        This, to me, is why Dr. Curry, nor any other AGW advocate, will address the so-called GHE in appropriate terms. Is this accurate? Shall we ever find out?

      • You know, just because you don’t understand what someone else is saying does not mean that they haven’t answered the question correctly.

        Yeah, we know that ‘greenhouse’ is not a very good term for the actual effect.

        Yeah, we understand that convection will increase (is increasing); else, why do the models predict an increase in the size of Hadley cells and why is that observed?

        How much power are you looking for? Is it so hard to comprehend that a doubling of GHG content can result in about a 1% increase in the earth’s temperature? (A 1% increase is about 3 K.)

      • Keep one thing in mind. Convection, for all practical purposes, stops at the tropopause. So yeah, it’s a big deal where most of the air is, but there’s a lot of distance where it isn’t.

        A better question to ask is, how well has this been accounted for? I don’t know, but I suspect Dr. Curry has a pretty good idea.

      • The End is FAR

        Chris G,

        Yeah, we know that ‘greenhouse’ is not a very good term for the actual effect.

        Not a very good term, a terrible and actually an anti-greenhouse effect.

        Yeah, we understand that convection will increase (is increasing)

        Convection is synonymous with cooling. This plainly is not understood by those that seek to explain the effect of the IR blocking gases.

        Is it so hard to comprehend that a doubling of GHG content can result in about a 1% increase in the earth’s temperature?

        Enormously when the cause does not include the increased rate of convection that occurs with an increased surface temp. The IPCC models state that convection accounts for 10% of the cooling of the Earth’s surface. This flies in the face of reality when convection is a more efficient means of energy transfer.

        Do you understand radiation to be a more efficient means of energy transfer than convection? If so, can you describe a scenario?

      • The End is FAR

        ChE,

        Convection, for all practical purposes, stops at the tropopause. So yeah, it’s a big deal where most of the air is, but there’s a lot of distance where it isn’t.

        Where the energy is in space and time is what is relevant. The air at the Earth’s surface is at ~15 C, at the Tropopause it is ~-56 C. The atmosphere cools at about 1 C per 100 meters. At the Equator however the surface temp is closer to 35 C and the Tropopause is closer to -80 C. Though the temp difference is greater, the altitude is also greater, keeping the lapse rate close to 1c/100m.

        Temp can be thought of as ‘energy pressure’ and the pressure/temp is much higher closer to the surface. This pressure is also altered by heat capacity which varies greatly with humidity. The higher the heat capacity, the more energy that can fit in the same volume, reducing the temp/pressure.

        Point is that the temp gradient, which alters the lapse rate, has more to do with convection processes, including evaporation, than radiative, which makes sense given that convection is a more efficient means to transfer energy.

        There are a great many ‘safety’ valves in nature to accommodate ‘trapped’ radiation. Heat capacity and the elasticity of the atmosphere are two. Oddly enough greenhouses are not elastic, they must be static in order for the temp/pressure to rise.

        The only case that I can think of that actually describes a greenhouse in nature is the effect of clouds that keep air currents somewhat trapped below them. This is temporary in all cases.

        I’m convinced that Dr. Curry is very intelligent, I’m not convinced that she has taken a detailed look at the role of convection and what causes it. If she does, I have confidence that she will find error in the AGW hypothesis along with the so-called GHE. Using terms that accurately describes the event, cause and effect, brings clarity.

      • Re: “Convection is synonymous with cooling. ”

        Hmm, convection is a movement of air. How much of the warmer air do you think is leaving the planet?

        If you can persuade everyone to use a better term, you would have my support, but the term used does not change the physics.

        Sure, between the tropopause, where convection stops, and the void of space, radiative energy transfer is nearly infinitely more efficient than convection.

        What makes you think that the developers of general circulation models (GCMs), are unaware of convection? Convection is, after all, a variety of circulation.

      • IsFar,
        So, if radiative energy loss through radiation is so low compared with convection, why does convection stop; why is there a tropopause?

        Re “IR gases are ‘trapping’ an upward flow of radiation, then they would also ‘trap’ a downward flow with equal vigor.”

        Please go review Planck’s Law and come back to us when you understand that the distribution of wavelengths emitted by the sun has very little overlap with that emitted by the earth. CO2 does cut a couple of small notches in the tail of the sun’s distribution; it cuts a big chunk out of the middle of the earth’s distribution. They are not anywhere close to being equal.

        Seriously, this stuff can be found easily. There’s little excuse for not bothering to learn it before arguing.

      • The End is FAR

        Chris G,

        Hmm, convection is a movement of air. How much of the warmer air do you think is leaving the planet?

        None, I never suggested that any air is leaving the planet’s gravity, just that between the surface and the Tropopause the temp drops on average ~71 C. This is far more an effect of convective and adiabatic cooling properties of an atmosphere, than a radiative cooling rate. Convection is transfer of heat using whatever fluid is available.

        If you can persuade everyone to use a better term, you would have my support, but the term used does not change the physics.

        No one should have to persuade a scientist to use the most appropriate terms available to describe/explain a phenomena. Using terms that describe completely different causes and effects only increases ambiguity, for both the presenter and the audience.

        Sure, between the tropopause, where convection stops, and the void of space, radiative energy transfer is nearly infinitely more efficient than convection.

        I would agree that it is much closer to infinity than not given that convection rarely if ever is a medium for heat transfer above the Tropopause. But again, if you look at temperature as energy pressure, you see that there is far more temp/pressure the closer you get to the surface and the pressure drops a tremendous amount within the convective zone and where water vapor is present it drops even faster than without.

        What makes you think that the developers of general circulation models (GCMs), are unaware of convection?

        Not saying that they are unaware as much as miscalculaing. The IPCC states that convection represents only 10% of the surface cooling. How can this be if convection is a more efficient medium for heat transfer than radiation?

        Convection is, after all, a variety of circulation.

        Incorrect, circulation is a variety of convection. Convection is the cause, circulation is the effect. This is important to recognize. All wind on planet Earth is a representation of convection and it takes a massive amount of energy to get 4,000 Trillion kg’s of air moving around. Any radiation ‘trapped’ will simply increase the convective cooling rate in the region that it is ‘trapped’, whether at the surface or in the atmosphere.

      • The End is FAR

        Chris G,

        So, if radiative energy loss through radiation is so low compared with convection, why does convection stop; why is there a tropopause?

        Because the Stratosphere heats top to bottom. It is around -3C at the top and around -56 C at the bottom. Heat moves from Hot to Cold so convection requires a temp of -57 C to continue beyond altitude where it is -56 C. Convection stops there.

        CO2 does cut a couple of small notches in the tail of the sun’s distribution; it cuts a big chunk out of the middle of the earth’s distribution. They are not anywhere close to being equal.

        You misunderstood me. The increase in emissitivity of the Earth’s atmosphere from increased IR blocking gases are not a reflection of ‘trapping’ the Sun’s incoming wavelengths, they are a reflection of trapping out going. The big chunk you refer is 3 bands that account for about 8% of the total going out.

        If you trap wavelengths going out, then you must expect those same emissions, when coming back to Earth, to meet an equal resistance. This is common property of absorption and emissitivity, the wavelengths coming back to Earth are not invisible to the CO2 that ‘trapped’ them going out. They will tend to move towards the area with less energy pressure (space) and they do it at the speed of light.

        Seriously, this stuff can be found easily. There’s little excuse for not bothering to learn it before arguing.

        Ditto.

      • TEiF,

        that between the surface and the Tropopause the temp drops on average ~71 C. This is far more an effect of convective and adiabatic cooling properties of an atmosphere, than a radiative cooling rate. Convection is transfer of heat using whatever fluid is available.

        I remind you that the large difference is totally due to radiation. The role of convection is to stop the temperature difference from being even larger. The convection does not contribute positively to the difference, its effect is to limit the temperature gradient to its adiabatic value, when the radiation alone would make it larger.

        This thread is not the right place to go through all the basics of atmospheric physics. If you really wish to learn, how the processes go, you should search for sites that specialize in explaining systematically these issues, or alternatively you could search for a book at a level suitable for your background.

      • The End is FAR

        Pekka,

        I remind you that the large difference is totally due to radiation.

        This makes little if no sense in nature. You are expressly stating that radiation is a more efficient means of heat transfer than convection. I believe that this has been proven wrong time and time again. In short order I will be able to discuss this freely. The fact that engineers use convective heat transfer to heat and cool large buildings is a testament to its efficiency, if radiation was greater, then it would be cheaper and in heavy practice.

        The role of convection is to stop the temperature difference from being even larger.

        Putting motivation aside, the role of convection is to transfer heat from a region of higher energy pressure (temp) to a region of lower pressure, as is radiation. You understand that radiation is more efficient, I understand the opposite. One of us is wrong.

        The convection does not contribute positively to the difference, its effect is to limit the temperature gradient to its adiabatic value, when the radiation alone would make it larger.

        How so? I immediately think of mirages where the temp gradient is quite large as compared to the lapse rate (2 to 5C/m as compared to .0098C/m), indicating a much faster cooling rate than an adiabatic rate would otherwise bear. The air pressure at 1 meter vs. 2 meters is identical. Convection does not limit the temp gradient, it increases it. The temp gradient is a reflection of the cooling rate.

        If the radiation rate where greater than the convection rate then there would be very little wind.

        I’ve asked before and shall again, “When in nature is the convection rate lower than the radiation rate?” The only case that I can think of is when you actually create a greenhouse that restricts, or prevents altogether, convection. Remove or open the greenhouse and the convection rate skyrockets past the radiation rate quickly cooling the region.

        You’ve stated that the adiabatic lapse rate must be equal to or less than the temp gradient in order for convection to cease. This makes sense. If this occurs then the radiation rate also ceases to exhibit cooling.

        This thread is not the right place to go through all the basics of atmospheric physics.

        No need for basics, just explain where convection is a less efficient means of heat/energy transfer than radiation.

        No need mistake my humility for overlooking the emissitivity of N2 and O2 as some misunderstanding of heat transfer. Gravity exhibits the same force on varying air masses whether they are heated by IR trapping gases or conduction via the surface. Convection exists wherever there is gravity and varying densities of a fluid no matter what caused the varying densities.

        I’ve purchased ‘Convection Heat Transfer’ by Dr. Adrian Bejan. http://www.amazon.com/Convection-Heat-Transfer-Adrian-Bejan/dp/0471271500

        Don’t worry, I’m not as daft as you imply, while I will reserve what I learn for a more appropriate thread, please be prepared to show how and where radiation is more efficient than convection within the same region of space, of course.

      • “I never suggested that any air is leaving the planet’s gravity”

        You said that convection has a cooling effect. Since we are talking about the planet, I guessed you were talking about a cooling effect for the planet. Would it be correct then to say that your position is that convection cools the surface, but does not remove energy from the planet?

        Around “Point is that the temp gradient…” I am having a hard time reconciling what you are saying with PV=nRT. Within the troposphere, the lapse rate is reasonably close to what is predicted with this law. That means that the energy content by mass is relatively close to constant within a column of the troposphere. That does jive well with what you are saying.

        The temperature gradient does not alter the lapse rate; it is the lapse rate.

        The stratosphere is indeed heated from the top down, but you haven’t responded to the question of how you think the energy from the earth’s surface leaves the troposphere, and eventually the earth itself. I’m sure you are aware of the laws regarding the conservation of matter and energy; the energy does not simply cease to exist. Unless, are you suggesting that an energized CO2 molecule will choose to not emit a photon until and unless it is near the tropopause? The mean emission altitude for radiation leaving the earth is around 5-6km; the tropopause varies a lot, but averages between 11 and 17km. Does that not tell you that radiative energy loss is a factor within the troposphere?

        “There are a great many ‘safety’ valves in nature to accommodate ‘trapped’ radiation.”

        Sure, Stefan-Boltzmann dominates all other factors so there is no danger of the earth going nova as a result of greenhouse gases. However, looking at the geologic record does not fill one with the sense that the earth’s climate is inherently stable, and radiation is by far the largest vector through which the planet receives and emits energy.

        “circulation is a variety of convection”
        Define it how you will. However, most people consider convection within the atmosphere to be a vertical movement of air, and circulation to be any movement of air.
        Again, you are hung up on arguing definitions of words rather than the physical world.

      • The End is FAR

        Chris G,

        Would it be correct then to say that your position is that convection cools the surface, but does not remove energy from the planet?

        Correct. From the Tropopause onwards, radiation is the only means for heat/energy transfer. Not saying that radiation does not cool the surface. Much of the IR the Earth emits, especially those wavelengths not absorbed by IR ‘trapping’ gases, escape directly to space. Saying that convection transfers far more energy to the Tropopause than does radiation.

        Within the troposphere, the lapse rate is reasonably close to what is predicted with this law.

        Is 6.5C/km reasonably close to 9.8C/km? You tell me. The 6.5C/km is what is observed, and the 9.8 is what is predicted. Humidity and varying pressure cells cause the variance.

        That means that the energy content by mass is relatively close to constant within a column of the troposphere.

        Without humidity and if you look at just how many columns of varying lapse rates exist at any given moment, you will see just how complex this system is and that constants are very rare.

        The lapse rate includes gravity which is a force on convection, radiation dismisses gravity altogether. To say that radiation causes the lapse rate as Pekka states, not describes, is in error. I can see how absorbed radiation influences the lapse rate close to Earth, but only to a small degree. Thunder storms, tornadoes, and hurricanes are reflections of convective heat transfers, not radiative unless these flows smash into the Tropopause and radiation then becomes the only means of transfer available. Anvil clouds represent this scenario quite nicely.

        The temperature gradient does not alter the lapse rate; it is the lapse rate.

        This is how I understood it until Pekka and Fred corrected me. I’m still catching up on the lapse rate and what causes its variability, so I will have to defer a detailed understanding for at least a couple of weeks. Which I will gladly be corrected on if I am in error.

        but you haven’t responded to the question of how you think the energy from the earth’s surface leaves the troposphere, and eventually the earth itself.

        I would agree that it is much closer to infinity than not given that convection rarely if ever is a medium for heat transfer above the Tropopause.

        To be more clear. Radiation is the only means for heat/energy transfer above the Tropopause.

        The mean emission altitude for radiation leaving the earth is around 5-6km; the tropopause varies a lot, but averages between 11 and 17km. Does that not tell you that radiative energy loss is a factor within the troposphere?

        A factor yes, but a decreasing factor the closer you get to the surface. The temp cools by 59 C or 39C depending upn whter one uses the Standard Dry Lapse Rate of the Environmental (observed) rate. That’s a great amount of volume for a few W/m^2 to significantly influence.

        However, looking at the geologic record does not fill one with the sense that the earth’s climate is inherently stable, and radiation is by far the largest vector through which the planet receives and emits energy.

        Certainly not stable, nor would one expect it to be, however, as temps rise the more energy it takes to raise the temp over the same period. An object at 300K cools at twice the rate as an object at 150K, this means that it takes twice as long to heat an object to 300K as it did to get it to 150K. Entropy dictates that matter more easily moves towards cooler temps than warmer, thus cooling is the natural direction for energy to travel in.

        As for ultimately radiation being the only means for the planet, including the atmosphere, to get/receive energy, no argument there. I am however arguing that from the Surface to the Tropopause, arguably somewhere just above 5-6km, convection and the lapse rate are the primary means for energy transfer and energy pressure to decrease. Radiation plays a role in the lapse rate, but only close the surface. How close? I will have to get back to you, but my conservative prediction is within 1 km, my gut feeling, within a couple hundred meters.

        Define it how you will. However, most people consider convection within the atmosphere to be a vertical movement of air, and circulation to be any movement of air.

        Cause and effect are no trivial matter. The lateral movements of air are a reflection of uneven heating and cooling. Hot air rising creates a low pressure area below it (cause) that is filled with a cooler air mass next to or near it (effect). A circulation is a pattern of reoccurring uneven heating and cooling.

        Again, you are hung up on arguing definitions of words rather than the physical world.

        Is a definition a vague or ambiguous understanding between two people or is it definitive? No need to argue meaning if there is little or no ambiguity. Is there? The physical world is not shaped by words, words are shaped by the physical world. Objectivity requires a common understanding.

      • TeiF – I probably won’ continue to visit this thread, but a couple of quick points. First, convection is an “efficient” (to use your term) heat transfer mechanism, but only comes into play on a large scale when the atmosphere is unstable enough for higher altitudes to exhibit temperatures too low for an adiabatic lapse rate. The latter is a function of temperature, which in turn, is determined by the radiative balance at the surface, which itself is determined by the greenhouse effect. In other words, radiative flux determines the extent to which convection intervenes to restore an adiabat.

        You might want to look up “adiabatic lapse rate” – Wikipedia has a reasonably good explanation. The dry adiabat is about 9.8 as you state, but the moist adiabat is closer to 5, because declining temperatures with altitude cause latent heat release from water vapor. The actual lapse rates in various regions are often closer to the moist than the dry adiabat.

      • The End is FAR

        Fred,

        I probably won’ continue to visit this thread, but a couple of quick points.

        Fair enough, if not I expect a new thread to be relevant in couple/few weeks after I have had time to study Dr. Bejan’s work.

        First, convection is an “efficient” (to use your term) heat transfer mechanism, but only comes into play on a large scale when the atmosphere is unstable enough for higher altitudes to exhibit temperatures too low for an adiabatic lapse rate.

        How are mirages explained? They are very close to Earth. Are the land sea breezes, that I experience on a small lake, not convection at work? While I reserve a detailed understanding after a few weeks, my gut tells me that it absolutely is and that convection is at play wherever their is a difference in temp, a fluid, and gravity. Where it is less efficient than radiation has yet to be observed, by me.

        In other words, radiative flux determines the extent to which convection intervenes to restore an adiabat.

        I think the radiative flux is a reflection, an effect, not the cause. I simply do not believe, nor have I observed otherwise, that it is not. You have yet to describe a scenario where convection is less efficient. This is not puzzling to me, it is expected. If you could describe such a scenario, then it would probably be puzzling at first, but then I would at least have something to test.

        The dry adiabat is about 9.8 as you state, but the moist adiabat is closer to 5,

        5 – 6.5, understood, more water vapor equals higher heat capacity equals lower lapse rate. I expect and appreciate the cherry picking going on to correct, what appears to be more than not, minor issues, but the larger issue of efficiency has primarily been avoided. You have corrected me once, so there is the possibility that the corrections are not minor. (worth recognizing)

        That said, I do wish to express my appreciation of your knowledge, while I tend to believe that the more I learn, the more I will disagree, that in no way reflects any kind of apathy towards you as our early conversation might have indicated. You have encouraged me to verify my understanding, which is certainly not complete, but is growing.

        On another note (pun intended) Took a moment to listen to some of your music. It’s good. If you’re ever in Atlanta, Northside Tavern and Blind Willies are very good Blues venues.

    • I find it intelligible. ;-)

  23. The paper from Donald Roberts is well worth reading. Among notable quotes:

    “Perhaps
some
in
this
room
may
not
know
the
EPA
actually
came
into
existence
as
a
vehicle
to enact
a
ban
on
DDT,
and
other
insecticides.”

    The cost of malaria and dengue resulting from insecticide bans is staggering. Neither disease has an effective vaccine and treatment options are limited. Fatalities are not uncommon and infection does not guarantee immunity.

    In effect, in large portions of the world, every mosquito is potentially a terrorist packed with explosives. Maybe they won’t get you, but they may well get your children.

    From Wikipedia:
    Each year, there are more than 225 million cases of malaria,[7] killing around 781,000 people each year according to the latest WHO Report

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaria

    The rate of infection has increased dramatically over the last 50 years, with around 50–100 million people being infected yearly

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dengue_fever

    • It is quite possible that the biggest mass murdered in human history was not stalin, not hitler, not pol pot, not mao. rather the epa administrator that banned ddt.

      From Donald Roberts:

      “To
achieve
a
ban,
the
EPA
Administrator
set
aside
the
scientific
evidence
from
months
of
scientific
hearings.

Likewise,
the
Administrator
set
aside
the
presiding
judge’s
carefully
considered
opinion
that,
based
on
sworn
scientific
testimony,
a
ban
was
not
warranted.

Two
months
later
the
Administrator
signed
the
ban.

The
ban
was
EPA’s
first
major
regulatory
action
and
the
decision
was
entirely
political.
To
this
day,
the
EPA
has
never
been
compelled
to
present
scientific
evidence
justifying
the
Administrator’s
decision.”

      • lol, ferd, he said all of that in one breath? Word spacing…..the oft ignore essential part of writing…….

        But, to the point being made, what’s a few million lives when a few birdies maybe could have possibly been at risk?

      • Rob Starkey

        You could argue the more birds and fewer humans would actually be better long term….but I won’t

      • ferd berple

        I’m all in favor or more birds and less humans. Human history shows us a long list of leaders that were all in favor of less humans, so long as their name was not on the list. Human sacrifice to improve the weather was for centuries quite a popular spectator sport, and it is increasingly coming back into favor. The big advantage of this system is that as we reduce the number of “other” humans, the land, gold, and other riches they might hold becomes ours to enjoy.

        I travelled quite a bit with an old helicopter pilot. As the saying goes there are old helicopter pilots and bold helicopter pilots, but no old, bold helicopter pilots. He passed along some words of wisdom that hold today. Whenever the mechanics told him the bird was ready to fly, he told them to hop in and come for a spin. Somehow, when someone points down a dark alleyway, and says “that’s the correct path, I’ll be right behind you”. That doesn’t really fill me with confidence.

      • Reminds me of a flight on British Airways out of Bucharest back in the Ceausescu days. The pilot had a small portable lab with him, and took a sample of the fuel before he’d let them load it.

        This must be why commercial pilots don’t have parachutes. :)

      • ferd
        Roberts may have previously falsified data in a presentation to Congress: http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/donald_roberts_false_testimony.php?utm_source=combinedfeed&utm_medium=rss
        :-(
        The DDT issue and Roberts’ competence or honesty aside, we can understand that death from malaria is caused by poverty and lack of access to clean water and medical treatment. Malaria and other water borne health threats are major killers and would increase as a result of flooding from extreme weather events related to climate change, and that is a significant and relevant concern.

        Roberts’ self-appointment as climate witness and his attempts to sell his books aside, he is irrelevant to the evidence of climate change and discussion and decision-making about rational responses to the scientific evidence, based on a range of policy options.

        Concern for death by corporate mistake is somehow not on his radar screen, only concern for death by environmental activism. Such apparently blatant selectivity is the opposite of objective or balanced analysis.

      • As I understand it, it was the overuse of DDT for agricultural purposes that led to the resistance among malaria-carrying mosquitoes that Carson described in her writing (which inspired the opposition to DDT usage).

        It seems very, er… convenient to focus in on the outcomes of decisions that were made in response to the overuse rather than to the overuse itself.

        Ya’ think there might be some political motivations for such truncated reasoning behind the cause and effect relationship between DDT usage and prevalence of malaria?

      • Also Carson herself was extremely clear that she was arguing against unregulated, widespread use in agriculture, and that one of her fears was that resistance would arise, making DDT less effective as an agent for vector control for malaria and related diseases.

        She supported responsible use for controlling disease vectors.

        The anti-environmental slur here is to equate responsible use for a specific purpose with unregulated use in agriculture (which the DDT crowd has said the EPA should have never regulated).

      • Indeed. In fact, from what I’ve read, resistant mosquitoes were already appearing before the reduction in DDT usage – something conveniently left out in the enviro-Nazi bashing. Also, I’ve read that increases in malaria prevalence predated reductions in DDT usage.

        No matter where you turn, the argument that enviro-Nazis killed millions and millions seems to fall apart. Sad indeed that unproven charges are given so much prominence on the national stage – in the name of “science,” no less.

      • ferd berple

        ” Malaria and other water borne health threats are major killers ”

        WHAT??? Malaria is not water borne, except that mosquitoes are BORN in water.

        The major problem with malaria is that it is like TB, leprosy and aids. You rarely get over it on your own. So, if there are mosquitoes where you live, and other people with malaria where you live, sooner or later you are probably going to get malaria.

        The problem with trying to combat malaria without going after the mosquitoes, is that you need to cure everyone at the same time, which is an impossible task. To get rid of malaria you need to get rid of the mosquitoes for as long as it takes to cure the people. Otherwise, even if only a few people have malaria, the mosquitoes will carry it to everyone else fairly quickly.

      • The World Health Organization defines Malaria as a “Water-related disease,” as it has a water-related vector. The current state-of-the-art in dealing with malaria is attacking the mosquito at the larval stage with malathion and using DDT nets and indoor residual spraying as a repellent. DDT is used today for this purpose.

      • Jeffrey Davis

        The EPA has no regulatory powers outside the US.

      • Which is one of the legal issues with the CO2 ruling. How can the US regulate a worldwide atmospheric component that moves freely from pole to pole, and is emitted on 6 continents never mind the exchange with the biosphere?

      • Jeffrey Davis

        It can’t. Nobody ever said it could.

      • So you’re saying that the Clean Air Act isn’t based on outcomes?

      • ferd berple

        1) impose import restrictions on goods from high CO2 emitters.
        2) reward UN and NGO bodies with aid if they support CO2 policies
        3) withdraw aid from governments that oppose CO2 policies
        4) reward foreign governments with aid if they pass CO2 policies
        5) destabilize the economies of countries that oppose you. access to credit. world bank, etc.
        6) destabilize the governments of countries that oppose you. covert support for opposition.

  24. Climate Central also has a live blog feed that is pretty good, including comments from Michael Tobis.

    http://www.climatecentral.org/blog/live-blogging-climate-science-and-epa-regulations-hearing/

    One person’s nomination for quote of the day:

    Inslee: “folks in the press report this like a divorce trial. He said she said.”

  25. From the information I’ve seen, one can conclude – tentatively – that the banning of DDT for agricultural use, while retaining its availability for use against vectors of human disease, is more likely to have saved lives worldwide than to have cost them, mainly because it delayed the development of DDT resistant mosquito strains. It will probably remain impossible for a completely accurate assessment, but I do find it reprehensible for anyone to claim that the EPA (which ultimately imposed the agricultural ban in the U.S. upon judicial order) has been responsible for murdering millions of humans throughout the world.

    Here is one assessment of the evidence. I don’t claim that other perspectives are necessarily wrong, but reckless and inflammatory claims of all kinds should be avoided – DDT

    • I should add that a few years ago, I evaluated epidemiologic evidence for the human carcinogenicity of DDT based on DDE residues and the widespread environmental exposure to DDT in previous eras. The data remain inconclusive, but at least a small role in carcinogenesis is plausible based on the available evidence and the nature of the chemical reactions that might involve DNA damage.

    • … but I do find it reprehensible for anyone to claim that the EPA (which ultimately imposed the agricultural ban in the U.S. upon judicial order) has been responsible for murdering millions of humans throughout the world.

      Indeed. Sounds a more than a bit like “Scientific Contribution to a Campaign of Fear. ”

      I wish Dr. Curry would see fit to comment on that possibility.

    • Curious Canuck

      All good points Fred, and another reason you’re so well respected here. Your points better make the case on how courts and the EPA have erred before on the science and policy nexus than I could have. It certainly does speak to unintended consequences of past and future initiatives and one hopes there’s a judge or two paying attention to the complexities you are getting at.

      It certainly seems to put the lie to both the accusations of ‘murder’ in addition to Gavin’s and Kintisch’s position, as related to us by Holly Stick.

      So yes Holly, you might understand that they are trying to nail diarrhea to a wall but that doesn’t equate with being comprehensible. It merely raises the question, “Why?’

      Thanks all!

      • Holly Stick

        Why don’t you go and read it yourself? They wrote many things, and I simply paraphrased one of their comments.

      • Curious Canuck

        Don’t sell yourself short, you were making sense of the ‘incomprehensible’ live blogs as best as you could.

        Fred Moolton hits two nails on the head in one swing – and as gracefully as Fred Moolton would, I might add.

        The rhetoric from some corners of the debate is well worth disavowing. Complying with a court order is not murder and to insist such in light of other factors is ignorant, in addition it highlights the role courts have played in the EPA’s past and present. At some point comparing numbers probably led to comparing people, an analogy that came to be used literally perhaps. It’s a disrespect to everyone and no more useful than accusations or comparsions of the behaviour of the unconvinced (in the case of two ‘respected’ scientists) to Nazis and Slave Owners and in the case of one ‘respected’ British columnist, to ‘child-abusers’.

        At the same time Fred raises some issues that the other side of the debate should be mindful of. After all these years of research nobody quite knows, but it looks like the full extent of the decision not use DDT may have cost lives.

        That being said, Fred put the facts on the table as he saw them and they just happened to raise questions that many of us would feel all ‘belligerents’, the media and law-makers take a strong think about.

        I’ll refrain from visiting but thank you for asking. I’ll stick with Fred Moolton, Dr. Curry and Climate Etc. and a few other old suspects for coverage for now. This thread is the best of the ones I have been following for information and insightful comments (like Fred’s) today though, hands down.

      • Curious Canuck

        And pardon me for repeatedly getting your name wrong Fred Moolten, with an E. :)

      • Not trying to go Godwin on you here, but you want to think twice about saying something like

        Complying with a court order is not murder

        that wouldn’t have gotten you very far at Nuremberg.

      • Curious Canuck

        Eh?
        Well, since you didn’t end with /irony off…

        I think I was abundantly clear on my position on comparing climate players and Nazis (mass murderers, war criminals, etc.).

        On the evidence and in comparison to what was actually being prosecuted at Nuremburg I’m rather certain any attempt to indict the EPA (were the prosecutions a permanent body) would come up short. Equating the US governance and policy system with that of Nazi Germany in such a way is impossible and highly disrespectful to numerous parties including the one making the comparison.

      • And all I was point out is that you have to be meticulous in how you phrase these things. I think that was a little sloppy in phrasing. I wasn’t suggesting anything more than that. In fact, complying with a court order has no bearing on whether something is right or wrong, and I simply used an extreme example to demonstrate why that’s true.

      • After all these years of research nobody quite knows, but it looks like the full extent of the decision not use DDT may have cost lives.

        I’m not sure how you got from what Fred wrote to that statement – except that your statement is highly conditional. The full extent of the decision to not use DDT may have saved lives as well.

        FWIW, apparently you aren’t into following links, but I will repost one I found informative.

        http://info-pollution.com/ddtban.htm

      • Curious Canuck

        “I’m not sure how you got from what Fred wrote to that statement – except that your statement is highly conditional.”

        Fred Moolten said ‘tentatively’ (I highlight again): “…the banning of DDT for agricultural use, while retaining its availability for use against vectors of human disease, is more likely to have saved lives worldwide than to have cost them…”

        “The full extent of the decision to not use DDT may have saved lives as well.”

        Yes, that’s precisely the point Fred made and what I said. Just that as yet, decades later, the facts still (ever so slightly) point in the other direction.

        Fred made another excellent point in the same vein on the questions surrounding the use of antibiotics in agriculture.

        I think certain parallels could be drawn with the social fear and taboo surrounding the use of hydrogen as an energy source or possibly other uses that never got considered following the Hindenburg’s burning.

        I’ve also heard a doctor or two mention this in regards to controversy surrounding the question of using Thalidomide in non-reproductive populations in order to treat (I think it was) dementia as well as other potential uses. Although, this aspect may be dragging the debate into the question of social taboos vs. regulation vs. societal well-being, whereas I was addressing the relevance of the points that Fred has raised to the present fact-finding exercise by law-makers.

    • I found the DDT analogy to be apples and oranges. Interesting but not relevant.

      Personally I would have found a description of how environmentalists killed the nuclear industry in the 70’s with anti-science rhetoric a more relevant topic. The irony is so thick you can cut it with a knife.

    • Gee, Fred. We should have banned penicillin early on, too. Just think of all the resistant bacterial strains we could have avoided….

      • Rod – The analogy is more apt than you might think. What the EPA did, and what appears to have happened elsewhere, was to ban DDT for agricultural use and some other purposes not related to prevention of serious mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria. By restricting its use to the necessary circumstances, the result was to delay the emergence of DDT resistance for those situations where it was most needed to protect human health.

        The use of penicillin and other antibiotics provides a compelling rationale for this approach. For years, antibiotics (although not penicillin) were routinely added to cattle feed to enhance the growth of the animals. As a result, resistant bacteria emerged that threatened the lives of patients infected with those bacteria. The same applied to the unnecessary human use to treat viral infections, which do not respond to antibiotics. Recognizing these dangers, the medical community in recent years has become much more scrupulous about reserving antibiotics for illness that requires their use. Even so, antibiotic resistance remains a serious threat, requiring the constant development of new antibiotics to remain ahead.

        For mosquitoes, new insecticides were found necessary to replace DDT in areas infested with DDT resistant mosquito strains, and unnecessary agricultural use contributed to this problem.

  26. Judith –

    I would appreciate it if you would remove my duplicate posts above. I didn’t realize that they would go through eventually, and tried to post the same comments multiple times with slight alterations to see if I could eliminate what was snagging on the blog’s filter.

    Ap0logies for gumming up the works.

  27. Rob Starkey

    It seems like this site had been visited lately by a much larger number of individuals that believe that additional atmospheric CO2 is a potential dire problem for humanity, but without anything meaningful to contribute on the topic. . Examples are posters like Holly Stick, and Jeffery Davis. They do not seem to have any scientific contribution to make, nor are they adding to any discussion of the pros and cons of potential governmental policies.

    It makes me wonder if they are at the site to generally lower the quality of the comments and thereby reduce overall interest in the site.

    • Rob…………:-|

      I understand what you are saying, but its wrong.

      Holly and Jeffery have a different perspective. And that’s perfectly ok. Climate science is a hugely diverse discipline. Well, I argue that it isn’t a discipline of science at all, but rather a confluence of almost all scientific disciplines. So, maybe they don’t have much to offer in way of expertise in the recent topics. I’d find it highly unlikely that they wouldn’t have some scholastic or professional insights for some future topic.

      But more importantly, it should be desired to interact with people you believe could benefit from your particular insights and perspectives. This is one of the reasons for my engagement. What a boring world it would be if discussion was limited to only people with whom we are in agreement. Or that we would never be able to show other people our perspectives. Holly and Jeff are not detriments to this blog, but rather opportunities and attributes.

      More over, the openness of this forum is one of the many distinguishing characteristics of Dr. Curry. It is one of the many reasons I hold her in higher esteem than some others. It would sadden me if she were to adopt others moderation techniques. Or habits of derisiveness that prevent such interactions.

      Anyway, what I’m trying to state without being disagreeable, is that sites such as these that allow the free flow of thoughts is what separates the wheat from the chaff in both science and the blogosphere. This is, of course, just my humble opinion.

      James

      • Rob Starkey

        James– I very much enjoy a discussion with those of different perspectives regarding climate change as I learn from the discussion process. IMO it appears as of late that there are a number of individuals posting here, who do not discuss the actual science (which is not unusual since a fairly small number have valid contributions to make on the science), but they also do not genuinely discuss the merits of their views on climate change as they relate to policies or anything else.

        There are real issues that could be discussed like:
        The merits of continued funding climate change work by the NOAA, or NASA
        The merits of cap and trade
        The merits of a carbon tax, or
        The duty of the USA to do things to help other countries adapt to climate change
        Merits or concerns about nuclear power, wind power, solar power, hydrogen etc

        but those are not discussed. When I have pointed out the relative merit Holly’s or Jeffery’s positions, they disappear and continue to post meaningless unrelated comments in great abundance.

      • I agree, Rob. It’s becoming very tedious and is reducing the quality of the blog….which is probably the objective. Judith might want to note.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      Rob Starkey,

      I was asked point blank several threads ago what policy I would recommend and it’s simple: put a price on carbon’s externalities.

      Once that agreement is reached we will have a mechanism in place that can respond directly once the level of impacts are determined. As things get worse (as I feel is inevitable), if we are still wrangling over rather obvious science, whatever impact AGW has will be made worse.

      To me, it’s amazing (and depressing) that this isn’t the conservative’s response as well. It’s pure, traditional conservative economics. Hence my complaint in this thread that modern conservatives have abandoned intellectual rigor for mere appetite.

      • Rob Starkey

        Jeffery- did you consider that such a tax approach (an example is putting additional taxes on gas for example) would negatively impact poorer consumers in the US than it would affect others. That is why such a tax system is rejected.

        Personally, I do not know what label you would assign to me (conservative, liberal, etc). I would support a large gas tax for example, but the US overall would reject such a proposal.

        What about nuclear Jeffery? Modern nuclear?

      • Jeffrey Davis

        I suppose if one never heard of tax refunds and tax credits that would be something to consider.

        As for nukes, they seems inevitable.

      • Carbon externalities? Meaning what exactly?

      • Holly Stick

        Make the polluters pay.

      • Rob Starkey

        So Holly–do you support a $2 per gallon gas tax in the US?

      • How did you determine that $2 was the damage caused to third parties by each gallon of gas consumed?

      • Rob Starkey

        I did not as it is not necessary. Initially a tax of this type should
        a. decrease consumption
        b. raise revenue

        This tax would do that but it would also negatively impact poorer US citizens and therefore would be unlikely to be acceptable to the US voting population imo

      • You’ve included in your assumptions that the tax would raise revenue. This is not a requirement to successfully internalize an externality. However, even if your assumption that the tax must raise revenue is accurate, there’s no reason why that revenue cannot be used to ameliorate the “poorer US citizens,” perhaps by giving all of said revenue to them, in cash.

        Further, my understanding of the econometric studies is that poorer persons produce less carbon per $ earned than richer persons, mainly due to the disproportionate effect of such luxury goods as central air conditioning, long distance travel and low capacity transportation.

      • Rob Starkey

        Except that in the real world there is a massive US budget deficit. Money can continually be given away that does not exsist. One of the major reasons to accept a tax would be to balance the budget.

      • You appear to be arguing that you lack the imagination to envision a scheme where producers of something bad are forced to compensate those they harm in situations where the government is running a deficit. Is that accurate? Why does the government running a deficit prohibit people who are exploiting an externality, resulting in a dead-weight loss, from compensating those that they are extracting economic rent from?

      • Rob Starkey

        No you are not accurate.

        I am not at all certain that CO2 is harmful for the US. I am sure that the US does have a deficit therefore any additional expenditures will be closely debated before being passed.

      • You are arguing, then, two totally disparate things – in the first, you disagree that CO2 is a danger, and the second, even if it were a danger, that mitigating it would be too expensive.

        I contend that you are mixing your arguments. If you’d like to argue about the cost of fixing things, then we can do that. If you’d like to argue about the risk of not fixing things, we can do that. If you’d like to probability weight the danger of not fixing things and then argue about the cost of fixing them, we can even do that.

        What we cannot do, however, is pretend to argue about the cost, but actually be arguing about the science. That’s what you’ve done here – and you’ve confused yourself. Internalizing the externality does not require that the government spend any monies at all, nor take in any revenue. Please review the Coase Theorem. Thanks!

      • Which part of “carbon externality,” did you find confusing?

      • Rob Starkey

        an example of a useless comment

      • an example of a useless comment

      • The part that leaves a vague and open-ended meaning.

      • Carbon, in this case, refers to atmospheric CO2.

        Externality, in this case , is an indirect effect that a consumption activity has on a utility function.

        In this case, carbon externality, refers to the uncompensated negative effect that a creator of atmospheric CO2 has on everyone except himself and the person that sold him the ability to create atmospheric CO2.

      • Rob Starkey

        Taxes are not created per such general terms. A tax would have to be enacted on each item.

      • Well, that’s just not true. If you’re saying that the only reason you can see fit not to internalize the carbon externality is that you lack the imagination to figure out a scheme, then all we need are smarter people – luckily, quite a few schemes have been proposed.

      • Rob Starkey

        In the United States? Perhaps you can envision such a tax but it seems highly unlikely. Can you point out an example where such a carbon tax has been implemented?

      • Sulfur dioxide.

      • It would seem an impossible task, but it would mean we could or would come to an agreement as to the negative effects.
        And Jeff Davis thinks this is traditional conservative economics? Yikes!

        But sure let’s tax our proxy for GDP. It would make sense if you want to continue to ruin our economy.

        BTW, thanks jbk, I was looking for more specifics on the negative externalities. But I don’t think they are forthcoming.

      • Let’s assume there is a non-zero chance that I am right, and that atmospheric CO2 may cost everyone a great deal of utility in the future.

        This means that when you put atmospheric CO2 into the air, you are costing me an amount of utility equal to the present value of the loss of utility I might get in the future discounted back to today at the risky-rate based on the chance that I’m right about the future costs of Global Warming. I cannot stop you from doing so – the “property right” to emit CO2 has not been allocated to an entity that can be negotiated with . This is an externality. Please read up on the Coase Theorem. Thanks.

      • Sigh jbk,
        I’m familiar, thanks. Extrapolate your line of thinking out. You have, nor does anyone, no idea about what utility may be gained or lost because of CO2 emissions. You can’t quantify it, therefore, any pricing to this ends would be unjust. Why would you increase a cost of something that has an overall positive effect for humanity?

      • jbk – FWIW – an observation.

        Asking libertarians to discuss externalities invariably leads to a dead end. In my experience, libertarian ideology (or at least the extremist version) necessitates the conviction that externalities do not exist or the inability to understand the concept.

      • It certainly appears that way.

      • Geez, nice, I ask for the specifics of what some consider to be externalities and I get this blathering?

        Here’s something for you economic wunderkinds, from a conservative libertarian…………. To everything, there is a cost, even if it isn’t obvious or immediately realized or intentional. Other parties are always effected. It doesn’t take an economist’s writings to realize this concept. It should become immediately obvious the first time you leave your mother’s basement. the first real world experience with economic transactions.

      • The problem is that there doesn’t seem to be any good reason to accept the premise of your argument, i.e. that the net externalities of CO2 production are negative. I understand that you FEEL that they are, and therefore, that things are going to get worse. But your feelings aren’t a sound basis for government intrusion into the market.

        Of course, the natural retort is that my feelings aren’t either. Fair enough. But there is a good reason why the default position is to take no action. Government intrusion into the market inevitably carries with it friction. Resources get spent on monitoring and enforcing regulation, and more resources get spent on compliance. So market distortion should only be undertaken only when there is clear evidence that an improvement so substantial that it outweighs those costs can be achieved.

      • A strong argument – that Carbon has no negative externalities. I can’t say for certain that you are right or wrong – you’ll insist it’s in the area of uncertainty. Let’s put some chances on it, ok?

        For the purposes of this calculation, I’ll assume that there’s a 2% chance that I’m right, and that in 20 years everyone will wake up and we’ll have to spend quadrillions of dollars or have billions die, or whatever. We’ll call this the “disaster.” The other 98% of the time, we’ll assume that you’re right, and that nothing about carbon has any effect.

        How much would you pay to make it so that the world doesn’t end if I’m right, even if it’s highly unlikely that I am right? Now, what do you think the fair %age accuracy is? How much does delay cost? Why shouldn’t that cost be assessed to producers of CO2?

      • Rob Starkey

        What possible way would millions die from climate change? What possible terrible future problem could not be mitagated if countries built proper infrastructure?

      • Rob Starkey

        No you are suggesting that potential climate change will cause problems that warrant actions such as increased taxes to try to prevent the potential rise in CO2.

        I am stating that regardless of US actions CO2 will rise. I am also stating that any of the almost inevitable changes will happen over a timespan of decades and by building proper infrastructure the potential harmful ipacts can be mitagated quite easily.

        That seems a more predunt course of action than say Hansen’s approach to close down all coal fired power plants in the US. That would cost $1.5 trillion and result in a .08C change in temp. That seems really dumb.

      • You are saying now that you lack the imagination to determine how the US could broker a global policy of internalizing the externality of atmospheric CO2. I do not lack that imagination.

        You further make the argument that because you lack the imagination to internalize the externality, the people who are negatively impacted by the externality should be forced to pay costs to mitigate the externality. Mainstream Economists would be revolted.

        Finally, you equate my discussion of externalities with “close down all coal fired power plants in the US.” Given that you have reached the point of hyperbole, I will merely state that, contrary to your earlier statements that people like me were dragging down the comment section of this erstwhile blog, you have reached the point of rudeness, and I will take my leave.

      • Jeffrey Davis

        What possible way would millions die from climate change?

        “Don’t put me on Mr. Nkrumah.”

        What possible terrible future problem could not be mitagated if countries built proper infrastructure?

        You mean like now?

      • You are arguing that I overstated the costs of my disaster scenario. An interesting argument. It seems that you have a great deal of imagination related to fixing a dramatic rise in temperature and ocean levels. I wonder, how much would the ocean need to rise to result in trillions of dollars of damage to, say, the Eastern Seabord of the US. How would you resolve this damage with “proper infrastructure,” without spending trillions of dollars? What is the total estimated property value of merely the Borough of Manhattan?

      • Rob Starkey

        Is that really your fear??? NY flooding due to a sea level rise???
        Over what timeframe do you see this as potentially happening? Over that timeframe wouldn’t it be very possible to build a sea wall to protect the affected specific locations? Isn’t that far far less expensive?

      • I presented a 2% chance of disaster over a long time horizon. If you’d like to discuss the costs of climate change and the time horizon of those costs, we can do that. However, that’s not what we were discussing (before you changed the subject, yet again). It seems that when people respond to your points, you rapidly change the topic – scattershot, at random, to “win.” Is your goal to score points off me, or to reach a better understanding of the issues?

      • That’s the Manhattenites’ problem isn’t it?

      • Sure. How could the manhattenites negotiate with the producers of atmospheric carbon to get them to stop producing carbon? I imagine that they would be willing to pay – but who can they pay?

      • Obviously, a quantitative analysis is useless when the numbers are all just conjured out of thin air. As I said a couple of threads ago, the argument reminds me of the undergraduate school arguments where the Christian kids tried to convince me I ought to convert based on a cost-benefit analysis in which I had a small chance of spending an eternity in torment.

        Still, I like to test the sincerity of those who advance this line or argument by advancing some other arguments according to the same formula. And I don’t need to belabor the issue by making up a bunch of fictitious (but non-falsifiable) theories about why you ought to, for example, give me all your money and join my cult. Just take the very real-world concern of Apophis is going to crash into the Earth, likely extinguishing multi-cellular life. Now, as castrophes go, this is much worse than even the most catastrophic climate change scenario. And the cost to develop countermeasures would be far less than those presently proposed for avoiding global warming. Ergo, anyone who’s persuaded by that line of argument ought not have any time to devote the climate change issue, because they should be devoting their lives to lobbying that we sink all that money into building space ships.

      • Hmmm…at the risk of double-posting…

        Firstly, a quantitative argument without highly reliable quantification does cut ice–especially when trying to multiply very high costs by very small probabilities.

        Secondly, for anyone who finds this line of argument persuasive ought not have any time to waste arguing about climate change, because there are far more pressing concerns. Perhaps the top of the list is the one championed by former NASA astronaut Rusty Schweickart–the danger that Apophis is going to crash into the Earth and extinguish all multi-cellular life. As catastrophes go, those consequences dwarf even the most dire climate change scenarios, and the costs of avoiding them are far less. So for someone looking to save the world, the choice of causes is a no-brainer.

      • Er, that should be “does NOT cut ice”…

      • Rob Starkey

        Holly

        In your 1st link the economics ignore inflation. So yes, costs have gone up over 40 years, there is ZERO evidence that the costs went up due to additional climate changes.

        Your 2nd link references that same source of information and additionally referenced a Scientific American article. Scientific American is as biased on the topic of potential climate change as Real Climate. It is not an unbiased source, but a source of non science and propaganda.

        Your 3rd link discusses energy related and potential climate related issues in the QDR. The QDR (which I am very familiar with) does not evaluate whether climate change will or will not happen, but explores potential scenarios and counteractions.

        Your 4th link is a study by ASU researchers (I actually have an undergrad from there) it is based on modeling which has not been demonstrated to be accurate and it assumes that there would be no crop changes over time to account for what actually grows well in specific areas. The last assumption is silly and completely different than the real world of farming.

      • “I was asked point blank several threads ago what policy I would recommend and it’s simple: put a price on carbon’s externalities.

        To me, it’s amazing (and depressing) that this isn’t the conservative’s response as well. It’s pure, traditional conservative economics. ”

        Yes, Hayek wrote extensively about the wonders of wealth redistribution based on “externalities” that had yet to be proved even exist. Particularly when discussing an activity in which every living human engages, the emission of CO2.

        To the extent conservatives embrace the concept of externalities, it is through nuisance law, where a plaintiff has to prove he individually was harmed by the activity of the defendant. Using the concept to excuse a redistributive tax is simply Orwellian nonsense.

        The one good thing about this attempt to usurp conservative economic theory and terminology by progressives is that it shows that they realize they can’t honestly argue their own beliefs. No one will vote for them any more.

      • Jeffrey Davis

        No one will vote for them any more.

        Get help.

      • Jeffrey Davis

        Hayek wrote about externalities. As did Milton Friedman.

        Don’t kid yourself: you’re asking for something for nothing.

  28. ferd berple

    What is reprehensible is the millions of women and children killed by malaria as a result of well meaning but misguided anti-insecticide programs. This staggering death toll continues today, at this very minute, and is getting worse.

    Where is the call to action? Where is the Copenhagen conference for Malaria, with all the world’s leaders gathered? We are spending billions over future worries, while a million die each year from malaria.

    The reality is that it isn’t about saving the world. It is about saving ourselves. Malaria and dengue are not a problem in the US. Worries about DDT and cancer are, so ban DDT.

    Well-meaning, self-interested people living in concrete and glass cities, banning products that might harm them, regardless of the cost to the rest of the world. We see similar programs in place in malarial countries that have banned DEET.

    CO2 is no different. Now that we have built our cities, tax CO2 worldwide and thereby price coal out of reach of the rest of the world. Deny the rest of the world the benefits of coal that we ourselves enjoyed.

    • Now that we have built our cities, tax CO2 worldwide and thereby price coal out of reach of the rest of the world. Deny the rest of the world the benefits of coal that we ourselves enjoyed.

      That’s essentially the Chinese argument. They argue that since they haven’t burnt that much carbon from the beginning of time, that they shouldn’t bear the burden now. You can expect every developing country to take that tack.

      • A coal miner in the Eastern US produces about 3 tons of coal per hour.
        A coal miner in China produces about one ton of coal in 3 hours.

        Steam Coal in Wyoming is $14/ton.
        Steam Coal in the Chinese port of Qinhuangdao is $120/ton.

        Bangladesh has 2 nuclear reactors on order, Vietnam has 4 nuclear reactors on order. Turkey has 12 reactors(3 plants) out to tender.
        China is planning on build 40 GW of nuclear reactor between now and 2015. South Africa has 10 GW of nuclear reactor out to tender.

        Burning coal is already more expensive then burning coal in the vast majority of the world.

        The reality of the nuclear energy industry is that if I call them up today and order a new reactor the construction crew won’t show up for at least 5 years.

        The coal fired power plant builders will show up tomorrow morning at nine. The developing world is burning coal because they can’t get anything else in their required time frame.

      • Steam Coal in Wyoming is $14/ton.
        Steam Coal in the Chinese port of Qinhuangdao is $120/ton.

        Most people are surprised to learn how small a percentage of their electric bill goes to power plant fuel. In the US, it’s typically 1/4 to 1/3. The mortgage and maintenance on the grid ain’t cheap. So the cost of the kWH at your meter isn’t as sensitive to the price/ton as you would think.

        This is why “free” wind and solar power is so expensive.

      • Holly Stick

        Coal gets big subsidies that clean power does not:

        “…That’s quite a claim about an industry that has collected government subsidies since 1932! In 2009, coal cost West Virginia some $97.5 million, according to an analysis by Downstream Strategies. And in 2008, as Governor, Manchin himself provided Appalachian Fuel $200 million in subsidies for a liquid coal plant. Moreover, Taxpayers for Common Sense released their Green Scissors report last July, identifying $19 billion in subsidies to the industry…”

        http://www.desmogblog.com/coal%E2%80%99s-main-manchin-washington

        http://www.desmogblog.com/dirty-energy-playing-full-contact-so-cleantech-ready-do-same

      • What precisely does that have to do with what I wrote?

      • Holly Stick

        It’s probably not as cheap as you think it is. How much of your taxes subsidize coal and other dirty energy?

      • Which has nothing to do with my comment.

      • Heh…and clean power gets subsidies that fossil fuels don’t. Like the $7,000 for buying a hybrid car.

        Look, very few businesses are above lobbying the government for competitive advantage. To the extent that your point is that we, the people, should demand our government not give in to such lobbying, I’m right there with you. But if you mean to suggest that fossil fuels aren’t really more efficient than the alternatives, you’ve got a tough row to hoe.

        I grew up believing the promises I heard on NOVA et al. about how solar power was the way of the future. But after 30 years or so, you begin to catch on to the fact that you’re being promised something that they can’t really deliver.

      • $20/ton for coal ends up being 1 cent/Kwh for fuel.

        Coal isn’t cheap everywhere in the US. Shipping is expensive.

        In the south east fuel costs on a coal fired plant are around 4 cents per KWh.

        For residential customers most of what we pay is for the capacity to turn on the heat on the coldest day of the year and turn on the air conditioning on the hottest day of the year.

        Industrial users pays slightly more then fuel costs because they have a 24/7/365 demand. Add $20/ton to the price of coal and watch the local aluminum smelter and steel mini-mill that uses an electric arc furnace run away overnight.

        Almost all of the ‘carbon savings’ the Japanese made was chasing off their aluminum industry. 12% of Australia’s total electricity consumption is Aluminum smelting.

      • Correct. And the reason why the US west coast has been able to grow demographically over the past 30 years without building any serious generating capacity is they they chased the Al mills (and chlor-alkali plants) out of the Northwest.

    • The reality is that it isn’t about saving the world. It is about saving ourselves. Malaria and dengue are not a problem in the US. Worries about DDT and cancer are, so ban DDT.

      Fred, just curious: do you have any information on when, if at all, DDT was banned in countries with high prevalence of malaria?

      • Holly Stick

        Deltoid has many excellent posts about the false claims that miooins died because of DDT bans.

        http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/ddt/

        For example, this one:

        http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/11/skeptoid_fact_check_part_2.php

      • Holly, didn’t you learn from the other day that Deltoid misleads people? Why are you continuing to quote an invalidated source?

      • Holly Stick

        From what? Evidence?

      • Holly Stick

        I’ve been reading Deltoid for years. It is a much better place to learn about the current science than this place.

        From what I have read there over the years, I judge it to be an excellent source. Why should I trust the judgment of someone at this blog which has so much bias and dimwittery in its comments?

      • Holly Stick,
        You reading Deltoid a lot would explain your inability to follow this topic.

      • Now I’m shocked! You didn’t read the links I provided that refuted Lambert’s assertions? Not only towards Willis, but also M&W?

        Further, it shouldn’t have passed your notice, that while Lambert addressed a critic of his in the same thread, he never addressed my statements.

        Start here, a comment from Martha and scroll down.

        http://judithcurry.com/2011/03/03/neverending-reflections-on-climategate/#comment-52520

      • I don’t see anything there beyond Lambert saying something, you mischaracterizing what he said, and then you linking to a wattsupwiththat article. If you believe that, if Lambert were wrong in one instance he is thus wholly unreliable, I’d have to question why you are willing to link to wattsupwiththat, which has been wrong at least once. Of course, Lambert disagrees with your preconceived notion of what is right, so you assume he’s always wrong – that’s your tribalism.

      • Holly Stick

        You would do much better to read the Deltoid post and the comments. You might learn something.

        But no, this does not discredit Deltoid or Lambert. To do that, you have to steal his emails and find some remark you can distort and take out of context, and then you can yelll that it disprove all of climate science forever. Sheesh.

      • Sigh, this really isn’t difficult to follow. But, I’ll be patient.

        Willis does a post at WUWT. (That was the link I provided. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/08/the-smoking-gun-at-darwin-zero/ )

        Lambert comments on Willis’ post. (That was the link Martha originally provided. http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/12/willis_eschenbach_caught_lying.php )

        Lambert headlines, “Willis Eschenbach caught lying about temperature trends”

        Now, you’ll actually have to read what Willis stated before you can come to an independent conclusion as to the veracity of Lambert’s characterization. And I’m assuming you won’t take my word for it, but Lambert’s accusation entirely baseless. I would invite you or anyone else to read Willis’ article on Darwin and find a lie. Lambert couldn’t, so he simply mischaracterizes what Willis stated.

      • In what manner did I mischaracterize what Lambert said? Specifically.

      • crickets chirping again……..that’s what I thought.

      • So Eschenbach accused other people of being dishonest and Lambert accused him of lying. Sorry, I find Lambert more credible, partly because I don’t see him inhabiting this kind of blog, where accusations of lying and dishonesty are thrown around like rice at a wedding. For instance Richard Wakefield claimed here that Zwiers was lying. Why didn’t you call him on that. The tone of this place is repugnant.

      • Here’s Wakefield’s post, in the next thread:

        http://judithcurry.com/2011/03/08/extreme-testimony/#comment-54152

        Wakefield makes several inaccurate statements; then apparently because he disagrees with what Zwiers told the committee, writes: “…Does this mean Zwiers lied? Looks like it.”

        I mean, who the hell is Wakefield to think he knows better, and to accuse a respected scientist of lying? But this is how you deniers behave all the time.

      • Here’s Wakefield who makes a bunch of inaccurate statements himself, then suggesting tat Zwiers is lying because he didn’t make the inaccurate statements Wakefield thinks he should have made.

        http://judithcurry.com/2011/03/08/extreme-testimony/#comment-54152

        And the rest of you deniers nod your silly heads and say “D’uh, yeah, he’s another evul-corrupt-scientist-member-of-THE TEAM.”

      • ferd berple

        The US had malaria. After DDT was used to eradicate malaria in the US, it was banned.

        And, according to the World Health Organization, it was instrumental in eliminating malaria from North America, Europe and parts of Asia in the 1950s and 60s.

        http://www.thenhf.com/old/articles/articles_591/articles_591.htm

        When the CDC was formed in 1946, its mission was to fight malaria. Known then as the Communicable Disease Center, its work centered on the control and eradication of malaria in the U.S. It helped launch the National Malaria Eradication Program, a cooperative undertaking by state and local health agencies of 13 Southeastern states and the CDC. According to the CDC, the program primarily featured applying DDT to the interior surfaces of rural homes or entire premises in counties where malaria was reported to have been prevalent in recent years. By the end of 1949, over 4,650,000 house spray applications had been made. In 1947, 15,000 malaria cases were reported. By 1950, only 2,000 cases were reported. By 1951, malaria was considered eradicated from the United States.

        http://www.malariapolicycenter.org/index.php/resources/a_history_of_malaria_in_the_united_states

      • ferd berple

        “After DDT was used to eradicate malaria in the US, it was banned.”

        note: it was DDT that was banned. malaria was not banned.

      • Fred – it was banned for agricultural usage in the U.S. (and most of Western Europe) – not for vector control.

        Now, would you mine giving your information on which countries with high prevalence of malaria banned DDT, and whether malaria prevalence was increasing prior to the bans in those countries.

        If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were ducking the questions.

  29. ferd berple

    Maybe I missed this in the testimony. One thing I find puzzling is that everyone appears to ignore the strategic impact of EPA co2 restrictions. by limiting co2 production, this will force a shift in US energy production from coal to oil and gas. this will further increase US dependence of foreign oil. this seems to be a wrongheaded policy as the US has huge coal deposits.

    Sort term it is good for Canada, as we are the biggest supplier, except that it is pushing the value of our dollar (the Loonie – go figure) through the roof. longer term it is probably going to be like Columbian cocaine, there will be so much money it will become a corrupting influence.

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/company_level_imports/current/import.html

    • A country like Canada really doesn’t want a too strong currency. It’ll kill your manufacturing, and eventually even your agriculture.

      • ferd berple

        funny thing is that when I was a kid, the cdn $ was worth $1.10 US and our economy was doing great. the national energy program came in, and the cdn $ went into the toilet and our economy struggled for 30 years. now that the $$ is heading back, we seem to be doing ok. reminds me of al gore, temperature and co2. what is the cause and what is the effect? does the $$ lead the economy or follow?

      • Here’s what’s different: the US government is spending like a drunk sailor right now. Significant inflation is in the pipeline. It’s going to happen. Nobody can stop it at the point, even if they balanced the budget tomorrow. That’s going to drive the loony way up. In a couple years, don’t be surprised if your loony buys US$1.50 or more.

        It’ll be great for you as a consumer, if you want to come down and shop, but it’s going to hurt your non-resource based manufacturing.

      • Fred – have you come up with that evidence regarding which countries with high prevalence of malaria banned DDT, and when, and whether malaria prevalence was increasing prior to the bans?

      • I’m not aware that it was banned anywhere for malaria eradication, although in areas where the mosquitoes had become DDT-resistant, other insecticides were substituted. There may be exceptions, but my information indicates that they would have been rare. See the article I cited earlier at DDT

      • Fred – the information I’ve seen from other sources is consistent with what you just wrote. From what I can tell, claims about “bans” of DDT for non-agricultural purposes (and even for agricultural purposes) seem to be highly overstated.

  30. I read all the papers.

    I once again am quite amazed that (almost) nobody talked about what the temperature has being doing the last 15 years. This would seem to be important.

    The one person who did, talked about how “successful” the predictions were by showing temperatures rising “between” 0.1 and 0.2C per decade since 1985. Last time I checked the math this is a much less threatening 1C to 2C per century increase (somebody please check me on this). And BTW, let’s start at 1970 instead. This doesn’t exactly add up to AGW proven.

    No signs of accelerating temperature increases for two decades with CO2 increasing full speed ahead.

    Just move along, nothing to see here. Let’s talk instead about how it rains more in some places and less in others, and how extended growing seasons are somehow bad.

    The failure to directly address computer modeling performance (or lack thereof), and to use lot of coded words (expected natural variability, normal fluctuations, etc.) is a tacit admission they know this is a weakness. In fact Field (?) went out of his way to state he was using observations, not simulations.

    The mind numbing exercise of hearing it is “worse than we thought” from Somerville was tedious, and then he went on to lecture us on pseudo science and effectively state anyone without a climate science degree and peer reviewed papers should be excluded from the debate. This is one ivory tower elitist who has definitely learned nothing in the last two years.

    Climate science…political theater…SSDD.

    • lol, you mean the flat line of temps in the last 10 years or so? The ones that no models predicted? If they did that, then it would be likely that it would occur to at least a couple of people that they’ve really nothing to talk about at all. Besides, as one of the papers stated, Global Warming is only a subset of Climate change. And considering there really hasn’t been any for the dozen years or so, what would they say except……oh, never mind.

      Now we’ve bigger fish to fry! Christy nailed it to the wall IMHO.

    • So, what you are saying is that

      …there is no need to have a basic understanding of statistics in order to meaningfully interpret noisy data.

      …there is no need to understand any chemistry in order to understand the carbon cycle or that atmospheric CO2 affects ocean pH.

      …there is no need to understand anything about thermodynamics in order to participate in a discussion about the earth’s energy budget.

      …anyone who tells you that CO2 has an effect on the energy budget can be proven wrong by you pointing out that there exist other factors. (Yeah, we know.)

      You might as well be saying, “I don’t like the conclusion; therefore, all those people telling me this must be evil idiots, and if they use terms that I don’t understand, that only proves my point.”

      • Chris G-

        You seem very knowledgeable.

        Do you happen to know where Dr Trenberth’s missing energy is? Or perhaps that pesky missing Tropical Tropospheric Hotspot?

        TIA

      • I see. So, what you are saying is that because there is a fraction of the energy that is unaccounted for, CO2 does not absorb and emit within the band that the earth emits, or more of it won’t absorb/emit more. Is that it?

        Perhaps you can describe what you think the hot spot means before we start discussing it. Are you trying to say that you would not expect a lapse rate change with any warming, anthropogenic or not, or are you saying you do not believe that the earth is gaining heat content?

      • Chris G,
        You are apparently confusing CO2 as a ghg with CO2 causing a global climate crisis.
        Perhaps you should read a bit more and condemn people a lot less?

      • hunter, perhaps you should read a bit more and condemn people a lot less. You are exposing your own ignorance all over the place.

      • Holly Stick-
        Does your response mean that you know where Dr Trenberth’s missing heat is?

        Or not?

      • I’m saying that the most important aspect of climate science is where it is going, not where it has been. Climate modeling results and determination of the CO2 forcing are critical to any of the alleged attributions.

        I’m saying results matter. Climate models have not predicted future temperatures with skill, the CO2 forcing is no closer to being known, so any attributions based on modeling are simply speculation, not science.

        I’m saying I don’t need to meet all of the listed requirements to compare modeling predictions (oops, scenarios) to actual measurements and determine they are lacking, and that not addressing this in this hearing borders on evasive and dishonest presentation, you know, the “whole truth”.

        I’m saying what matters is the math, not where it comes from. You do not need to meet all the listed qualifications in order to make meaningful comments.

        It’s fair to say that had climate science taken some of the statistical advice more seriously, even if it came from a lowly mining engineer, they would be in better shape today, scientifically and politically.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      “effectively state anyone without a climate science degree and peer reviewed papers should be excluded from the debate. ”

      Ooh. I smell a political agenda.

  31. Much better than some Deltoid ramblings:

    Facts versus fears: a review of the greatest unfounded heath scares of recent times. DTT is second on page 8 at http://www.acsh.org/docLib/20040928_fvf2004.pdf

    • Jeffrey Davis

      All the evidence that the complaint about DDT is completely unfounded isn’t going to change anything, is it?

      Why it reminds me EXACTLY of this (mockery of a ) debate.

      • Interesting that tmtisfree’s source quotes H.L. Mencken at the very beginning of the paper. Here’s some more interesting info on H.L. Mencken:

        Born in Baltimore, Mencken always considered himself a Southerner and from his father he had inherited a strong sympathy for the Confederacy. The Old Confederacy, Mencken felt, was a land “with men of delicate fancy, urbane instinct and aristocratic manner — in brief, superior men. It was there, above all, that some attention was given to the art of living — a certain noble spaciousness was in the ancient southern scheme of things.” … Mencken’s premise is that an aristocracy composed of patricians has a civilizing influence on the whole of society. In arriving at this conclusion, he makes a distinction between the gentry (the old South nobility) and plutocrats (industrialists with newly acquired wealth). In his words, the Union victory was “a victory of what we now call Babbitts over what used to be called gentlemen.” But Mencken makes this caveat; “I am not arguing here, of course, that the whole Confederate army was composed of gentlemen; on the contrary, it was chiefly made up, like the Federal army, of innocent and unwashed peasants, and not a few of them got into its corps of officers. But the impulse behind it, as everyone knows, was essentially aristocratic, and that aristocratic impulse would have fashioned the Confederacy if the fortunes of war had run the other way.”

        Ah yes, that “certain noble spaciousness” of the pre-Civil War slave-holders with their “delicate fancy, urbane instinct and aristocratic manner.”

      • What is interesting is the pattern. When one understands and then recognizes it, one is forced to dig deeper for information, and what one generally see is not pretty.

    • Interesting source. I wonder why it fails to mention:

      (1) bans against DDT were for agricultural usage, not for vector control.
      (2) Rachel Carson wrote about mosquitoes developing resistance to DDT – for some reason your source neglected to mention that even though it spends time talking about Carson’s writings about DDT.
      (3) the fact that prevalence rates for malaria were increasing again before DDT for agricultural usage was banned.

      Are the other “health scam” discussions in your source as poorly researched?
      (4) DDT had been overused for agricultural purposes – which is what was causing the mosquito resistance.
      (5) The EPA banned DDT for agricultural usage in the United States, where malaria had already been eradicated. The EPA does not regulate the usage of insecticide in countries where there was high prevalence of malaria.

      Must have been a simple oversight, I guess.

      • Your 5 points essentially reduce to 2:

        1/ EPA banned DDT for agricultural reason. It is not correct:
        “In 1972, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency held seven-months of hearings on DDT, producing a more than 9,000 pages of transcribed testimony. On April 25, 1972, EPA Hearing Examiner Edmund Sweeney issued a 113-page report, in which he concluded that DDT should not be banned. […] The EPA Administrator William Ruckelshaus ignored these hearings and banned DDT on June 14, 1972, for what he later said were “political reasons.”” (extracts of the 1972 report recommending not banning DDT).

        2/ About Carson: The Facts vs Fears paper is not the only one dealing with Carson’s flaws. This article by an environmentalist (The Lies of Rachel Carson) actually documents many of them. Worth a read.

        See also the analysis of the DDT case in DDT: A Case Study in Scientific Fraud [PDF].

        Some inconvenient facts, it seems.

  32. ChE: Kudos on a great run of posts in this topic! I appreciate your succinct, evenhanded writing and that you always come through with a clear point or two.

    I agree that these are opening moves — pawns to the fourth rank as you said.

    It’s hard for me to see the specifics for how this works out, but in the end I doubt that voters will stand for the EPA to regulate CO2. Not after the failure to pass cap-and-trade followed by the Democrats’ shellacking in the 2010 elections coupled with a dire economy where gas already very expensive.

    The harder the Democrats push for this backdoor EPA solution, the more likely IMO for a harder backlash against the EPA and the entire climate change agenda. In 2012 they could find themselves facing a Tea Party President with both the House and the Senate in his or her pocket, and that would not be pretty.

    I would suggest to climate change advocates, were they listening, that they work with the democratic process, i.e. convince American citizens that the climate change agenda is the best choice, instead of finding ways to force it upon the citizenry.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      “In 2012 they could find themselves facing a Tea Party President with both the House and the Senate in his or her pocket, and that would not be pretty.”

      Well, don’t vote for one, then.

      • JD: I meant that it would not be pretty from the Dem/ACC point of view. I have no problem with Rep-dominated 2012 myself.

        If climate change people want to change my opinion and that of others, I suggest they try different approaches than their current ones — especially regulating CO2 via the EPA.

        The EPA backdoor comes across as “We know best. We don’t care what you think.” Voters don’t like that. Most indications are that the country will swing further to the right in 2012.

        Your side doesn’t have the votes. You either find some way of working with the rest of us or you find some way of installing an authoritarian government with your side in charge.

      • The EPA backdoor comes across as “We know best. We don’t care what you think.” Voters don’t like that. Most indications are that the country will swing further to the right in 2012.

        Ruth Bader Ginsberg said something a few years ago that the climate activists would do well to contemplate. She said that the reason why the issue of abortion is still politically unsettled all these years after Roe was that by going to court, the litigants took the issue out of the political realm, and as you say, the public doesn’t respect that kind of resolution. She, a supporter of the outcome of Roe, thinks it was a strategic mistake.

        Same thing here, only more so. This is just going to anger the public as a matter of process, irrespective of the issue itself.

      • Since when do votes from the general population change the laws of physics?

      • Votes of the general public decide what policies should be enacted. At least in a Democracy. Sorry.

      • Interesting that you find this principle of democracy more important than the health and well-being of our children.

        I also note that, like most of the congressmen, you want to argue with the scientific conclusion, but aren’t interested in talking about the science.

      • “This principle of democracy” is what protects my children, and all the other children in this country, from wannabe despots and progressives so vain they think they are smart enough to plan an economy of 300 million people.

        As far as “talking about the science,” these last two threads are about the House hearings. “The laws of physics” (which was your comment that I responded to) aren’t the subject of those hearings. What policies should be adopted, why, and who should decide, are.

      • OK, so now you are saying that policies should be decided without regard for the physical reality in which we live. Is that it?

      • I can recommend a good textbook on reading comprehension if you would like.

      • Chris G: James Lovelock recommends suspending democracy for the cause of climate change so that the Right People can make the Right Decisions for all.

        Is that what you have in mind?

      • What I recommend is that people like you quit pretending that there exists a barrier between the realities of the physical world, which is where the science comes in, and the policies which we use to decide, as a group, how to make the most of it for ourselves and our progeny.

      • Chris G: Yes, it’s far easier to stuff thoughts into my head than to answer a straightforward, though difficult, question.

        Of course I know that “votes from the general population [don’t] change the laws of physics.”

        But if you want to change laws and use taxpayer money to suit your agenda based on your interpretation of scientific findings rather more complicated and controversial than the “laws of physics,” your side will have to persuade the rest of us to your cause.

        Getting all self-righteous as though you are the only one concerned about science, the environment, the future, and children is just preaching to your choir.

        We don’t agree with you on many points. What are you going to do?

      • Let me explain the principals of democracy so that you can understand them from a ‘science’ point.

        A government that has the ‘consent of the people’ needs and internal security force of 3-5 officials per 1,000 residents.

        A government that does not have the ‘consent of the people’ needs an internal security force of 20 officials per 1,000 residents.

        So even if climate science informs us there may be a societal benefit to ‘suspending democracy for the good of the planet’ military and police science tells us that we will incur massive societal costs in the process.

        Whether or not anyone likes the ‘tea partiers’ is irrelevant, if democracy were suspended they would turn into an armed militia of 10+ million strong overnight.

        The population of the US was 30 million in 1860. The US civil war killed 2% of the population.

        If there anything so serious about climate change that would be worth risking a civil war that could kill 2% of the population.

      • ChrisG,
        It is even more interesting that you put so much faith in the predictions of people who have gotten very good careers and much wealth off of predicting something that is not happening that you would sell out our democratic rule of law.

      • Chris G,
        Since when is AGW a physical law?
        There is no physical law that shows we are facing a global climate catastrophe. There is a model that some says we are at risk. If ou cannot tell the difference, perhaps you should look to yourself and ask why.
        You sound chillingly similar to those who were convinced that eugenics was proven settled science and so imposed the horrific eugenics laws of the last century.

    • Huxley,

      The progressives already tried to “convince American citizens that the climate change agenda is the best choice.” It worked, for a while. The problem came when the issues of the exorbitant cost of remediation and the questions of uncertainty surfaced. That was when they lost the battle (helped by the long period of no substantial rise in temperatures).

      The collapse of Copenhagen, during a progressive U.S. administration, was the death knell. If there was any doubt, the last election made that reality clear to them. That is why they are hanging their hopes on the EPA. It is also why they are adopting conservative theory and terminology to disguise their intent.

      • Gary,
        There will be costs associated with mitigating climate change.
        There will also be costs with business as usual.

        Are you prepared to say which is less in the long run?

        So, no rise in surface temperature for a few years means that the earth has established a new equilibrium temperature and will stay there even as the CO2 content continues to rise. That is a comforting thought. It also means that global warming ended around 1960, again around 1972, yet again around 1981 and 1988, and, thank God, finally, once and for all ended in 1998. Oh wait, last year tied with 1998; does that mean it’s over again or not?

        http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/

      • The CAGW advocates have failed to convince the voters of the risks/cost of their predictions, nor have they convinced them that the danger they forecast is sufficiently certain. Nor have the advocates ever suggested what the real costs of their proposals are let alone the supposed benefits.

        There is a “consensus” that adopting cap and trade, or cap and tax, or a redistributive carbon tax in the US , will not slow global warming by any noticeable degree without cooperation from Russia, China, India and others who have no intention of committing economic suicide.

        So sure, I have no problem “saying” that the certain harms of the central planning proposed by climate progressives, are outweighed by the speculative benefit of avoiding an armageddon that seems ever more unlikely the more I learn. And my conclusion will result in exactly one vote for a conservative politician who rejects the CAGW hypothesis. Each voter has to make the same judgment, and I suspect you will be unhappy with the result in about 20 months.

        Your last paragraph is gibberish unrelated to anything anyone has said. So I will ignore it.

      • Sorry, did you not say, “they lost the battle (helped by the long period of no substantial rise in temperatures”?

        I interpreted that to mean that you were, at least in part, basing your conclusion on the slowdown of the warming trend over the last decade compared to the larger, longer trend. Was that not what you meant?

      • I understood your “interpretation” the first time. That was why I called it gibberish. But since you ask in a polite manner (for a change), I will answer in a similar vein.

        My comment was a response to Huxley’s comment above about public opinion, and the failure of the consensus advocates to win the political battle. It was NOT an argument about whether “global warming has stopped” as you “interpreted.” Nor do I see any way to come to that interpretation logically.

        Your confusion is shown more clearly in this comment you made above:

        “What I recommend is that people like you quit pretending that there exists a barrier between the realities of the physical world, which is where the science comes in, and the policies which we use to decide, as a group, how to make the most of it for ourselves and our progeny.”

        There is no “barrier” between the real world and the “policies we use.” They are simply different aspects of the real world. I am skeptical of the consensus (to say the least), but let’s assume that it is correct in all regards. If the consensus advocates cannot convince the voters that they are correct, the policies the advocates want will not be implemented. That is the real world of democratic governance.

        The “burden of proof” in the realm of the IPCC and the peer reviewed literature is on skeptics. Not because it should be, but because those who control that part of the real world almost all accept the consensus. If you want to change their minds, you have to convince them to reject their prior conclusions.

        Conversely, in the world of electoral politics, where the consensus advocates are trying to convince the public to expend huge sums of their money (the issue huxley was discussing), the burden of proof is on those advocates. Again, not because it should be (“should” is frequently irrelevant in the real world), but because that is the way things are. Voters have the power to choose which politicians make the policy decisions. And like it or not, it is their money you are talking about taking in huge quantities.

        The real world includes both the lab, and elections. But their processes are different.

      • If the recent period of lower temperature increase was not important to you, why did you mention it?

        “burden of proof is on those advocates”
        Really?
        One side says that altering the composition of the atmosphere will affect the energy balance of the planet, and that there are likely going to be very negative impacts from that.
        The other side says that it won’t, or that it will, but the effects will be negligible.
        Why is it that only one side has to provide any evidence?

        The EPA is tasked by congress with regulating by-products of industry that are harmful to the environment in which we all must live. They have determined that CO2 is one of those by-products, and that it should be regulated. Now there are members of congress whose constituents will be negatively impacted by any regulations, and they are trying to take away the authority that was given to the EPA by the congress at large, but they are not willing and able to counter the finding of endangerment. According to you, it is all well and good that they should take away this authority rather than show where the finding was wrong.

        Lastly, I think you are giving too much credence to the people who are telling you it will cost too much. It might help to examine who they are and why they might believe this.

      • GaryM: I mostly agree, but it seems to me that progressives didn’t try so much to convince people that climate change was the best choice so much as convince them that their betters had already decided and that they should accept climate change as a fait accompli.

        But that’s over now. You’re right about that. The collapse of Copenhagen was the end of that era. Now ACC advocates must do the hard work of persuading us of their righteousness or lay back and hope that the climate goes so wonky that we concede that ACC is right.

        What I find interesting, though, is that the ACC movement appears to be clueless about this. They just want to bluster and bully us into assuming that the deal is already done and we have to get with the program.

        To me this is an intelligence test that the ACC movement flunks. And if they aren’t smart enough to figure that out, maybe they’re not smart enough to figure out the climate either.

      • huxley,

        I don’t see it as a lack of intelligence. People naturally assume things will keep going the way they have been. Progressives made a big step on their chosen path with Kyoto. The U.S. then elects the most radical progressive president in its history, and substantial majorities of Democrats in both house of congress, with a more progressive makeup than ever before. There is not s single truly conservative government in Europe, and the UN and IPCC were if anything more progressive than Obama. What could stop them?

        But the nagging lack of serious warming, the growing arguments about certainty and economic costs, and rising skepticism fed by climategate, led to their retreat at Copenhagen. This was like the captain of the Titanic trying to turn the ship when the lookout finally spotted the ice berg.

        The 2010 U.S. election was the equivalent of the long deep shudder the Titanic’s captain felt as the ice berg passed. Scary, but you don’t yet know how serious your problem is. The ship is continuing along, the band is playing, passengers are dancing, but below sea level the water is pouring in. It still seems huge, unsinkable, but the ship is doomed.

        I think that the brighter CAGWers are already aware of where they are headed, that accounts for their rage. But most are still in denial. It will only be when the CAGW ship noses over and starts to slip under the water that some will admit to themselves what has happened.

        But like the Titanic, it won’t matter because it is already too late.

        (Unless of course we get a couple years of extreme heat and unemployment falls below 6 percent…then they could refloat the damn thing in 2012.)

      • “People naturally assume things will keep going the way they have been.”

        Yes, there is that tendency. Let’s see how things are going:

        http://woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/mean:121/plot/esrl-co2/mean:12/normalise

  33. After DDT eradicaed malaria in the developed world, fear and faulty science was used to ban the product. Moral suasion and economic pressure was used to limit its use in poor malarial countries, resulting in tens of millions of deaths worldwide. There are many parallels with what happened with DDT and what is currently now with CO2. Those of us that were alive when DDT was banned will likely recall the near hysteria in the news about the scientific studies showing the dangers of DDT, which have since been largely refuted. Many of the myths about DDT persist even to this day.

    Malarial free, the developed world saw only the risks, not the benefits. This led to policies that did great harm in the least developed nations.

    Ferriman A. Attempts to ban DDT have had tragic consequences. Br Med J 322:1270 (2001).

    Pressures on poor countries to ban the insecticide DDT because of fears that its use would harm the environment have led to a resurgence of malaria in the world, yet the environmental impact of its use are “negligible,” a study published this week has said.

    The study shows that after malaria was eradicated in wealthy countries and DDT was banned in those places, poor countries were pressured by health and donor agencies and environmental groups to stop using DDT spraying programmes. The agencies feared that they would harm the environment and adversely affect human health.
    But these fears were unsubstantiated, the study’s authors believe. “No scientific peer reviewed study has ever replicated any case of negative human health impacts from DDT,” said Dr Roger Bate, media and development director for the International Policy Network and joint author of the study with Richard Tren, director of economic policy at the non-governmental organisation Africa Fighting Malaria. Both are fellows of the Institute of Economic Affairs.

    “Malaria is a human tragedy,” said Dr Bate. “The disease kills up to three million people every year and makes up to 500 million people sick.

    http://www.bmj.com/content/322/7297/1270.5.extract

  34. The three or so sensible people commenting on this blog should stop fueling the “discussion”. You’re arguing about evolution with die-hard creationists. It’s a complete waste of time. Just let this place degenerate into the pit of echo-chamber denialism it wants to be.

    • Latimer Alder

      Cut and paste is a wonderful thing. You have clearly mastered it with aplomb.

      Or you have an imitator/admirer who thinks exactly like you posting on another thread here.

      And its always good to read a reasoned and well-argued critique of the topic in hand.