Between tribalism and trust

by Judith Curry

By addressing the symptoms (lack of information and communication) rather than the underlying causes (lack of public accountability and transparency), the IPCC leadership is failing to adequately address the problem of restoring expert credibility. By using its communication strategy as a means of “gatekeeping,” the IPCC is exacerbating rather than solving the problem of public trust caused by the authoritarian and exclusive performance of the “establishment.” – Silke Beck

Over the past year, I’ve been reading a lot of social science papers that discuss climate change.  I think it is important for climate scientists to understand the social and political contexts, so we can avoid situations such as described by Michael Mann.  I haven’t been very impressed with most of this articles I’ve read, but this new article by Silke Beck gets it right, IMO.

Between Tribalism and Trust:  The IPCC Under the “Public Microscope”

Silke Beck

Abstract: This article explores how the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has dealt with growing public scrutiny of its workings. It reviews recent initiatives set up to respond to the Climategate controversy. An independent review of the IPCC undertaken by an international scientific umbrella body—InterAcademy Council—can be shown to have triggered one of the turning points in the debate, placing the focus of attention on the IPCC’s transparency and accountability. However, the council’s recommendations have been implemented by the IPCC in such a way that the issue of public trust is treated as one of effective communication. The article then explains how IPCC’s responses to Climategate can be traced back to the linear model of expertise. The article concludes with a discussion why the challenge of producing policy-relevant knowledge under conditions of heightened public scrutiny also requires new forms of scientific appraisal aimed at wider publics.

Link to abstract [here].  An earlier version of the entire paper (different title) can be found [here].

Some excerpts:

On Display: Tribalism

According to Mike Hulme and Jerome Ravetz (2009), the stolen e-mails may indicate that some areas of climate science “have becomes sclerotic, that its scientific practices have become too partisan, that its funding—whether from private or public sectors—has compromised scientists.” Recent disclosures have brought up “a host of concerns about the IPCC that had been festering in the background: involvement of IPCC scientists in explicit climate policy advocacy; tribalism that excluded skeptics; hubris of scientists with regards to a noble (Nobel) cause; alarmism; and inadequate attention to the statistics of uncertainty and the complexity of alternative interpretations” (Curry 2010).

JC comment: (!!!)  Interesting to see some of my blog posts and interviews quoted here.

According to Curry (2010), the content of e-mails also reveals larger concerns “has a combination of groupthink, political advocacy and a noble cause syndrome stifled scientific debate, slowed down scientific progress and corrupted the assessment process?” A 2010 editorial in the Guardian covered the Climategate story as “Climate Science: Truth and Tribalism.” At a first glance, the term “tribalism” indicates that climate skeptics’ arguments and voices have been kept “out of the debate.” At the same time, the term “tribalism” is used in different ways and remains fuzzy. It appears as if it had become the catchy metaphor for all the “sins” that are attributed to the IPCC.

It remains open who is actually being blamed. Ravetz, for instance, talks of “some individuals who dominate the IPCC” (2012: 25). He also claims that they perform the role of “self-appointed gatekeepers” in response to two decades under attack. When it comes to the group that dominates both the IPCC assessment processes and the peer review processes, Christy calls it the “establishment” and claims that it is “less than transparent” and “subject to bias” (Christy 2010, 2011). It seems as if this opaqueness in terms of persons and groups involved is part of the whole Climategate story. Tribalism is also connected to a “bunker mentality” (Pearce 2009). According to the Guardian, “tribalism” manifests itself in “sins such as partial peer-reviewing and overly zealous defense of one’s own research.”

JC comment:  interesting to see an academic analysis of the climate tribalism issue.  I think I was the first person to use this (at least after Climategate), in my climate audit essay.

Different commentators point to a common strategy of this group: the establishment has also exposed a highly elitist, gatekeeping approach to defining what is sound information, what is junk or biased information, and what are appropriate and useful interpretations. In the eyes of some commentators, the leaked e-mails revealed the establishment’s efforts to control their message by ignoring, marginalizing or suppressing alternative views and dissenting scientific papers, thus making it extremely difficult for alternative evidence to even be published (Christy 2010). The stolen e-mails raised awkward questions about the effectiveness of peer review—the supposed gold standard—and the extent to which the operation of the IPCC depends on this practice (Pearce 2010). These harsh comments are often picked up by the media and seed stories for the mainstream media.

Finally, the events surrounding Climategate indicate that there is a growing gap between the IPCC leadership and the expectations expressed by some blogging scientists and others within the global public sphere (see Ravetz, this volume) who are demanding greater accountability and transparency in climate research and in the assessment reports. The latter are calling for open and accountable forms ofknowledge production rather than the IPCC’s “authoritarian” and “exclusive” ones (Hulme and Ravetz 2009).

JC comment:  good to see the blogosphere getting some credit!

The “Voodoo” Response

As a result of the challenges to its authority, the IPCC leadership has been faced with serious credibility problems. What was arguably so disquieting was not the occurrence of a mistake but the subsequent reaction of the IPCC chairman, Dr. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri. The IPCC leadership was reluctant to admit to errors such as overstating the rate of Himalayan glacial melting and positing a higher percentage of land lying below sea level in the Netherlands than is actually the case. The IPCC chairman also characterized the Indian government report, whose disaster predictions were measured in centuries rather than decades, as “voodoo science” (Ritson 2011). It was only after one month’s delay—and under pressure—that the panel conceded that these minor errors had slipped through the system and had subsequently been corrected (Ritson 2011).

This pattern of response demonstrates the “complacency” of the IPCC leadership. Pachauri’s comments suggest that he harbors no self-doubt or self-critique: the quality of the IPCC and its performance will triumph over doubts. As Pachauri puts it: “[B]ased on the performance that we show to the whole world and the leadership that I provide to the IPCC, these opinions by a few motivated individuals will be washed away. I have no doubt about it at all” (Bagla 2010: 510–511).

This statement also reveals that Pachauri does not make any difference between the leadership that he provides to the IPCC and the IPCC leadership. He also acts as the appropriate authority to speak in the name of the panel. He thus claims to represent the IPCC. As also indicated in his statement, Pachauri still uses the gatekeeping approach and continues to blame widespread skepticism and the lack of public trust on the “few motivated individuals” funded by big oil, thereby ignoring significant distinctions within the broad-brush label “skeptics” (or “deniers”) (Bagla 2010). In his eyes, doubts are caused not by errors made by IPCC scientists but are rather manufactured bya “few motivated individuals” from outside science, acting on behalf of the financial interests of their corporate sponsors.

The response of the IPCC chairman, however, indicates that he has taken no account of the changes that have occurred in the broader political environment over the last several years. A new movement is emerging in the blogosphere, initiated by Steve McIntyre and referred to collectively by Curry as the “climate auditors” (Curry 2010). They describe themselves as largely independent of industry influence and as playing a watchdog role rather than being part of the “denial machine” referred to by Pachauri; this enhances their credibility among the general public.

It is not clear, however, what different blogs (such as Dot Earth, Roger Pielke Jr.’s blog, Klimazwiebel, and Climate Etc.) have in common, other than a focus on climate change and the willingness to ask uncomfortable questions that have long been a taboo. Wattsup with that? and Climate Audit seemed to fill a gap where there was previously little opportunity to question authority (e.g., Real Climate, Nature, Science). These voices in the blogosphere, despite pursuing different approaches and having a different focus and audience, have contributed toward opening up sites in which issues that have been excluded by the IPCC leadership can be discussed.

Pachauri’s attempt to intimidate the critics effectively mimics the strategy of the “merchants of doubt” (Oreskes and Conway 2010): it attacks the critics rather than dealing directly with the content and reliability of their message. In describing the IPCC’s critics as “politically motivated,” Pachauri portrays the panel as untainted, distinct from politics, and as a provider of neutral, sound scientific expertise. At the same time, he points “the guns outward in an attempt to discredit misinformation” (Curry, cited in Pearce 2009). He starts to use the same strategies as the critics and develops “a form of social organization that is now all too familiar in some sections of business and government” (Hulme and Ravetz 2009). These forms of social organization are also brought into relation with “tribalism,” the term is used to indicate the ignorance or lack of reflexivity. As Curry observes, the self-appointed gatekeepers use the same, non-scientific strategies as their critics even though they decry them as being merely political (Curry, cited in Pearce 2009).

In pursuing the same strategy as his critics, however, it has become clear that Pachauri is merely adding fuel to the fire: polarizing the debate and politicizing climate change science. Science is thus reduced to a spectacle of assessments competing against one another for supremacy—a kind of “contact sport,” as Stephen Schneider (2009) has termed it. This trend is exaggerated by the preference of the media to focus on dueling scientists and extreme, outlier opinions.

JC comment:  this is the most devastating take down of Pachauri that I’ve seen.

Between Tribalism and Trust

The chairman’s reluctance to recognize trust as essential to its leadership reveals something akin to what the Guardian’s editor describes as a tribalist position (“Climate Science” 2010), namely, of having an awareness of the existence of the “public microscope” while at the same time ignoring it. It allows the IPCC leadership to act in an overtly political manner while simultaneously claiming to be disengaged from politics. This self-understanding may explain why reflections on the IPCC’s political and public role are excluded in the current IPCC reform debate. The IAC, however, also tried to open up discussion about the sustainability of the IPCC assessment model and to propose an alternative process, because controversies following Climategate raised “issues ranging from the proper role of science [and scientists] in policymaking to the dangers of “group think” or consensus building as a general proposition”. Although the IAC and IPCC reform efforts focus on questions of governance, the IPCC leadership is reluctant to openly address questions of democratic representation such as who is authorized to speak on behalf of the panel, who is authorized to evaluate information, and to whom the panel is accountable.

The controversies surrounding Climategate demonstrate that, even though—or rather, precisely because—the IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, its authority and public trust cannot be taken for granted but is open to challenge. As the IPCC chairman’s “voodoo” and “muzzle” reaction indicated, public trust in experts is also related to the performance and persuasive power of the people and institutions who speak for science. The reaction of the IPCC chairman and its poor performance contributed toward exacerbating the problem of trust, even though the scientific quality of the IPCC reports was not seriously challenged. As the IPCC chairman’s reactions show, he continues to attempt to close himself off from the “public microscope.”

JC comment:  the entire paper is worth reading.  It was refreshing to read this; most of the climate science studies papers I’ve read talk about ‘deniers.’  I think Beck’s paper is right on target.

557 responses to “Between tribalism and trust

  1. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    In the case of cancer risk from tobacco, no formal detente was ever reached between consensus medical science and pro-tobacco interests.

    In light of subsequent legal discovery, we now appreciate that no good-faith detente was feasible, between medical science on the one hand, and lying industrial racketeers on the other hand.

    By what reasonable review process, therefore, can the IPCC identify lying racketeers, and protect its process from their denialist attacks?

    This is a tough problem, that to be addressed, must first be honestly acknowledged.

    It is irrational to assert: “Yes, denialist racketeering attacks on science have happened before, but they cannot happen again.”

    Perhaps the IPCC should study the process — the long, slow, still-ongoing process — by which medical science overcame denialist tobacco-industry racketeering?

    • The IPCC is the wrong venue for such a study.
      It lacks regulatory or investigative teeth, police powers, the authority to reach into the sovereign domains of national jurisdictions, and frankly would be no better at this than the Keystone Kops running the show in Kalamazoo, who let Enbridge off the hook for years with not so much as a finger wag.

      http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/article/20120710/NEWS01/307100014/Water-loving-residents-react-oil-spill-hearing?

      Even now, the paltry $3.7 million dollar fine for the world’s third largest inland oil spill — and by far the costliest to innocent victims — amounts to a mere one half of one percent of what Enbridge claims it’s spending on the clean-up.. which again will be too little by 400% to return Calhoun County to its original condition before the spill.

      This company and its twin sister, TransCanada Pipeline are the ones pressing to multiply the amount of pipeline through the heart of the USA by an order of magnitude.

      See, I’m a minarchist, a pro-Capitalist, pro-Market believer in smaller government who has worked at the headquarters of some of the world’s largest corporations, and proud of it, and even I don’t fall for the fossil crap.

      If they’re my tribe, I hang my head in shame.

      If they’re yours, how do you get up in the morning?

      • Cutting Through Gobbledygook Distractions, . . . because society is collapsing and even world leaders are now frightened

        A + B + C => D + E . . . . .Equation (1)

        Input:
        A = Government models of Reality, Truth, God, etc.
        B = Abundant public funds to research & confirm A
        C = Anonymous reviews of proposals & manuscripts

        Output:
        D = Fear, confusion, depression, addiction in society
        E = Mental illness, unrest, instability of governments

        Proof: Since 1945 collusion between world leaders and leaders of the scientific community have generated the fear, confusion, depression, addiction, mental illness, and social unrest that threatens the lives of all of us on planet Earth today in 2012 – including world leaders and leaders of the scientific community.

        http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-284

      • As Mike notes below, Gobbledygook Distractions are coming fast and furious now, as more and more “public servants” realize that they too may soon join the long lines of the unemployed.

        “Oh what a tangled web we weave,
        When first we practise to deceive!”

        – Sir Walter Scott (1771 – 1832)

      • > The city of Southampton spends more than twice as much each year on street cleaning – £8m – than the world does on the IPCC – £3.6m.

        http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/381845045

      • The fine to Enbridge for the Kalamazoo spill – after five years of persistent violation of safety standards, flaunting regulations, knowing their corroded and cracked pipelines were ready to fall apart, and then purposely pumping _more_ synthetic tar through their system for over 17 hours rather than shutting down when the alarms went off (a sign that their priority in dealing with small leaks is to keep the pressure up and the $$$’s flowing, not stopping damage), was only half of what it takes to fund the IPCC for a year.

        Enbridge’s insurance company is said to have to pay out five hundred times that fine — two hundred and fifty years worth of total IPCC funding — just to complete the slap-dash haphazard minimal ‘clean-up’ required by the same regulatory agencies who didn’t even finger wag at Enbridge while it was so flagrantly racing down the path to disaster.

        And that’s just the spare change of a single fossil fuel company in a single incident. You really think the money trail makes the IPCC tribe the spendy one? If only anyone who knew the least thing about accounting or auditing were associated with the ‘skeptic'(?!) tribe, they could educate folks a bit about how really backwards the claims are.

      • Here is a 2008 budget on which the assertion might be based.

        http://www.ipcc.ch/meetings/session30/doc3.pdf.

        From this, it is clear that the “labor” cost of pulling together the assessments are not funded by the IPCC. My guess is that this is contributed labor and related travel costs would be the largest cost element if this was all on-budget..

        Also, a number of items that would be in a normal budget such as human resources, facilities, accounting etc. are missing. This link claims that these support functions are provided by the UN, but the reference link it cites is not active today. http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090310165433AA60wOc.

        So I would class the assertion as a fail. The formal IPCC budget is small, but the world spends far more on the IPCC than is shown in those budget numbers. I suspect the total is unknowable.

        The United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) is a large organization. I could not find an executive summary of its finances. They provide this finance portal: https://unfccc.int/pls/apex/f?p=116:1:527909993607403. You can get an impression of the size of the organization by looking at its vacancies: https://unfccc.int/secretariat/employment/recruitment.

        Another climate related UN body is the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification also headquartered in Bonn. http://www.unccd.int/en/Pages/default.aspx.

        The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is under UN Auspices.

      • I forgot to point out that there appears to be no salaries component in the IPCC budget – it is mostly travel.

      • > The formal IPCC budget is small, but the world spends far more on the IPCC than is shown in those budget numbers. I suspect the total is unknowable.

        Accounting externalities is a double-edge sword.

        God exists. I suspect this fact is unknowable.

      • http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada/shell-canadas-oilsands-carbon-capture-storage-project-conditionally-approved-162077815.html

        An example of $865 million spent on AGW. All going from the pockets of taxpayers (not US taxpayers in this case, mind) to an oil company.

        Much more accounting of “IPCC Funding” like this, and they’ll let the Enron guys out of jail early for comparative good behavior.

      • Luke Whormer

        The funding underpinning the IPCC must include all the money on climate science, almost all of which is focussed on alarmism. Probably something of the order of tens of $billions per annum, outranking all other spending on climate science by a factor of some thousands (hence the “consensus”)..
        (Hard to see the connection between oil spillages and CAGW though, I guess some people just love to hate oil companies no matter what).

      • My guess is that
        if this was
        I suspect
        unknowable
        could not find
        an impression
        Underpinning
        Probably
        Something of the order of
        by a factor of some

        This is the phraseology of unsubstantiated and spurious accounting. Which means it’s worthless to anyone.

        Also, I’ve noticed that a fair amount of the undocumented labor in IPCC report involves people who by no means could be called AGW advocates, acting in the role of reviewer. I’ve noted that Canada, China, India and the USA for example, send representations to international climate summits and meetings, and must conclude the people they contribute to the IPCC and the UN in general all row in the same direction on orders from their governments, to fight against any action on AGW energetically and with all stops pulled out. So this loosey-goosey “every dollar is an evil dollar my enemies get” is just so much nonsense.

      • Luke Whormer

        The only nonsense is yours. It is quite plain that the bulk of climate money over the last 20 odd years has been used to foment the alarmist “consensus”.
        The figleaf of objectivity and integrity is now long gone, sacrificed to the ‘greater’ good of political correctness. What we need now is some means of rectifying this, as there may actually be a problem. Step 1 would be to simply ignore blatant advocacy groups like the IPCC, which will doubtless prove highly resistant to any anti-corruption initiative.

      • Probably every department of our government is now pouring public funds into the AGW scam !

        Why? World leaders and leaders of the scientific community are losing the debate and have only public funds – no scientific reasoning – to support their obviously failed policies.

        United world-wide deceit worked well for sixty-three years (2009-1946 = 63 yrs) and momentum kept it going for three more years, (2012-1946 = 66 yrs). But now the time of reckoning is at hand.

        http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-284

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

        http://www.omatumr.com

    • The longer world leaders, editors of formerly respected research journals, like Nature, Science, PNAS, MNRS, JGR, etc. and leaders of the UN’s IPCC, the US NAS, the UK’s RS, and other National Academies of Science cover-up or ignore manipulation of global temperature data, . .

      The more certain is a crash landing for pompous public servants!

      For the sake of all concerned, including society as a whole, I recommended today that we eliminate the word “blame” from our dictionary and focus on undoing the damages caused by six decades of deceit, before finally culminating in Climategate in November 2009:

      http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-284

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

      http://www.omatumr.com

    • fan,

      Your comment is a real curiosity, fan. I mean, like, there was the warp-speed alacrity with which you worked-up and posted your comment. And, then, there is the utter disconnect, content-wise, between Dr. Curry’s post and your comment that rather suggests you never even read the post before dispatching your comment.

      My guess, fan: Despite your considerable limitations, fan, the hive, nevertheless, has a continuing requirement for your services. That is, the CAGW scam’s lingering, undignified, sore-loser death throes have prompted its former, opportunistic, whipper-snapper trolls to abandon it in search of fresher, more promising, lefty cons. And so, the hive makes do with what it has left. Like you, fan.

      My further guess, fan: In view of your known limitations, fan, I’d say your hive handlers have decided to provide you with some much needed help in the form of a bunch of pre-fab, indexed, eco-zingers.

      My final guess, fan: So I’m, like, thinkin’, fan, that when you (or one of your controllers commenting in your “name”) spotted Dr. Curry’s new post, above, you just punched in some vague search terms like “IPCC criticism denier” into your little comment-generator program and–voila!–our spat your above comment–all super-fast and sure to post as the first comment in the thread with the right “spin”. Might have worked, too, if the comment had been even a little bit on-topic.

      You know what gave the game away, fan? No smiley faces! That’s right, no smiley faces, fan! That, and the comment, itself, reads like one of Robert’s “Idiot”, hive-bozo rants

    • If this was a major issue, it would have been exposed long before now. But it hasn’t been. There is no indication of the massive self interest funding alleged by the defenders of the CAGW faith. It seems the self interests is predominantly on the side of the Alarmists, but a factor of 1000 to 1 (based on funding).

    • Fan,

      Ignore my previous comment. I neglected to post the sentence I was responding to. Here is the comment reposted.

      By what reasonable review process, therefore, can the IPCC identify lying racketeers, and protect its process from their denialist attacks?

      If this was a major issue, it would have been exposed long before now. But it hasn’t been. There is no indication of the massive self interest funding alleged by the defenders of the CAGW faith. It seems the self interests is predominantly on the side of the Alarmists, but a factor of 1000 to 1 (based on funding).

    • - and no accomodation can be made with ecogreen, socialist, AGW space cadet scumbag nonsense. Let me suggest something new – get over it.

    • Yes, it seem clear that there will never be detente between genuine science and the lying political racketeers of the IPCC who form the ‘consensus’.

    • A fan of *MORE* discord

      And with his first comment, he’s already off into the weeds. Johnny. Focus. They say nicotine helps people focus. Maybe you should take up smoking.

    • Clouds, snow and ice change in a changing world. Night and day – the seasons – ocean and atmosphere circulation – abruptly and qualitatively. A cool SH winter and a warm NH summer. Interesting warm area on the east American coast. Cool Pacific conditions – very little heat in the western, southern and northern Pacific surface waters. A three year La Nina is looking possible in the SH spring.

      http://www.die.net/earth/

    • Danged scientists don’t have no danged credibility. What we really need is cheap and abundant energy. :cool: :cool: :cool: :cool: :cool:

      Best regards
      Captain (Robbo) Kangaroo

      http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/articles/spring01/reactors.html

    • I’m not sure you’re following the discussion. To me at least, it was to be expected that the tobacco companies would try to obfuscate the link between smoking and cancer because people could suddenly stop smoking an put them out of business. “Big Oil” has no such challenge we can’t, because we can’t stop using their products any time soon. Alternative forms of energy will be decades in development, while “Big Oil” has already found a lower carbon energy source to exploit.

      We have seen three consecutive gala meetings in Copenhagen, Cancun and Rio, without a single “sceptical” voice on hand to stop the politicians making far reaching decisions to decarbonise and de-industrialise the global economies, and none have come anywhere near agreement.

      It’s not “Big Oil” you’re fighting it’s “Big Praciticalities”.

  2. My conversion to skepticism began with an answer given by Dr. Pachauri at a Nobel Conference regarding water at Gustavus College in October of 2009.The question (approximately) : what role does water vapor play in global warming and the greenhouse effect? The answer: What is important is soil degradation!!?? I would have accepted an answer of ‘that is not my area of expertise’ and a possible referral, I did not accept avoidance. (he understood the question) Everything I have learned since then has, on balance, pointed me in the same direction and has been very disappointing. The five fallacies in the previous thread are, I think, quite obvious.

  3. First time to comment here, although I have appreciated reading (irregularly) a lot of the posts here these past few months. I think a really striking example of unfortunate tribalism right now in the Pachauri vein is the book review which David Karoly just published on Michael Mann’s book. The surprise is not that Karoly vehemently defends Mann but that he cannot even discuss-to-refute a single criticism or question about any of Mann’s claims in the book. Meanwhile he smacks Steve McIntyre under the label “Commentators with no scientific expertise” and dismisses Bob Carter as driven by “vested interests.” Whatever one thinks about the merits of any specific issue, the Karoly/Mann approach is no benefit to science communication in democratic societies.

    Also, the meme of a so-called “Serengeti strategy” which Karoly embraces uncritically from Mann is an incoherent idea when talking about McIntyre, McKittrick, et al criticizing Mann: in what sense was Mann or his work on the “edge” of the herd (of climate scientists presumably) – any vulnerability was about the work itself, because Mann and his papers have been central and staunchly protected by “the herd” to this day as evidenced by the nature of the Karoly review:

    David Karoly’s review of Michael Mann’s “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars”

    “Commentators with no scientific expertise, ranging from politicians such as Republican congressman Joe Barton from Texas, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, or Republican Senator James Inhofe from Oklahoma, to blog writers Stephen McIntyre and Marc Morano, have repeatedly promulgated misinformation …”

    “…the Climate Wars have heated up [in Australia], with coordinated misinformation campaigns from politicians, from media commentators such as Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt, and from geologists with vested interests such as Ian Plimer and Bob Carter….”

    • skiphil,
      Great comment.
      The AGW climatocracy at the end of the day demonstrates their motives by their actions: petty, deceitful, bigoted, uninformed, unreliable, secretive, insular, and most of all incorrect.
      Lacis comes here and elsewhere to claim he is all about science, when his actions prove otherwise. And he is not unusual in his peer group.

    • Milesworthy,

      Your comment is all about ‘the science’, not about policy or about the consequences of warming.

      I think you may have missed the point I tried to make in the comment you responded to.

      You say the science has improved and we have a better understanding. But I ask “so what?” if the uncertainty is so large that it cannot inform policy? The point is that the best studies that have been done so far (such as by Nordhaus) suggest that the IPCC’s distribution of estimates of climate sensitivity is not scary, not catastrophic, and no big deal. Some analyses suggest there is net benefit up to about 2 C.

      The understanding of the complexities has grown, though sadly nothing much has come out of the woodwork to magically counteract the warming effects of the CO2 rise.

      I don’t know what the climate sensitivity is. I suspect it is probably lower than the IPCC estimates because a) the IPCC has tended to be alarmist throughout most of its history and exaggerated and overplayed nearly everything it’s stated so far and b) most of the studies are based on modelling and simulations and likely to be biased by groupthink. The few studies based on empirical data seem to be pointing to lower climate sensitivity. There seems to be a trend towards lower climate sensitivity in recent studies (see recent JC post).

      However, I think the climate sensitivity is not the most important issue now. The most important issue is the damage function. Nordhaus shows that the damage function is the parameter that causes the greatest uncertainty in the estimated costs and benefits of warming. So this is where future research should focus – i.e. on engineering, cost estimating, cost-benefit analyses and economics.

      In that sense finding the specific number (2C or 4.5C say) will perhaps just set a longer or shorter timescale to the place we seem inevitably to be going.

      I am not persuaded that is true. I suspect we can act relatively quickly if we have to. It will require that the Left stop preventing progress. They will have to stop blocking pragmatic, economically rational policies.

      It seems though that Andy Lacis is stating the common frustration of people with a science outlook: that many wishing to avoid the policy implications are avoiding the discussion with baseless challenges to the science.

      This may be the frustration of the scientists. But scientists are not the only group with an important input to good policy. Scientists commonly have little understanding of or background in finance, business, engineering and economics. Despite their lack of knowledge of these disciplines they still advocate policies they believe in. They commonly advocate ideologically Left policies. This is consistent with their role as government paid scientists paid for on the public purse. The majority of people who are paid from the public purse are of ideologically left persuasion. In short, they advocate for Left policies, which are irrational and impracticable (like the Kyoto Protocol and world government). They have seriously damaged their credibility by talking way outside their area of expertise – e.g. on finance, cost benefits analyses, policy prescriptions (such as renewable energy) and more.

      In short, many other people have become frustrated with the scientists. Chris Colose’s post further down this thread is an example of why. He is a physicists. In comments on other threads he has bemoaned people not accepting the hard science. Yet, when he starts talking about impacts of warming he changes his tune completely and uses entirely emotional language. He avoids the economics and, instead, advocates value judgements – his value judgements. His comment is emotive guesswork, belief and hand waving. He talks about returning to the Pliocene (implies a time period of 100 years and implies Pliocene climate would be bad). But he gives no justification for his beliefs. They are just beliefs. Chris is a physicist. Yet this is how he deals with the areas outside his area of expertise. Many other scientists do also. James Hansen is a prolific exaggerator and activist. Given all this, is it any wonder that cautious people are being more careful about accepting the word of scientists?

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Peter Lang,

        But I ask “so what?” if the uncertainty is so large that it cannot inform policy?

        Nordhaus shows that the damage function is the parameter that causes the greatest uncertainty in the estimated costs and benefits of warming

        I guess its up to the policy makers to decide whether the uncertainty is too large. Certainly there is more of a research focus on impacts, regional down-scaling and near term projections. Surely these are the sorts of input you need to estimate the “damage function”?

        I don’t know what the climate sensitivity is. I suspect it is probably lower than the IPCC estimates because…

        The IPCC estimate is based on a very large number of estimates that are publicly available in the peer reviewed literature. While some of the assessments based on the mid-range might not look scary for our generation, there is still an unknown upper range risk which presumably brings forward the point when the costs outweigh the benefits.

      • Steve Milesworthy,

        I guess its up to the policy makers to decide whether the uncertainty is too large.

        True, but how can they make good decisions when they are being badly advised. Scientists are exaggerating and talking about doom and gloom scenarios: “It’s catastrophic, it’s dangerous, life won’t survive, the oceans will evaporate, the oceans will turn acidic, there’ll be bush fires and hurricanes and floods. But almost no discussion of the benefits of warming.

        Surely these are the sorts of input you need to estimate the “damage function”?

        Have you actually read and understood the cost benefit analyses such as by Nordhaus, Tol and other objective researchers in this area:

        http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf

        The IPCC estimate is based on a very large number of estimates that are publicly available in the peer reviewed literature.

        Are you referring to climate sensitivity or damage function?

        IPCC AR4 has some 5800 citations to grey literature. But the discussion about costs and benefits depends on the impacts. These are in WG2. WG2, is a scaremongering document written by advocates for a cause demonstrating group think and strongly influenced by so called ‘environmental NGOs’.

        While some of the assessments based on the mid-range might not look scary for our generation, there is still an unknown upper range risk which presumably brings forward the point when the costs outweigh the benefits.

        This has been addressed in Nordhaus (2012)Economic policy in the face of severe tail events

        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9779.2011.01544.x/full

        Hid you read it. He titled his conclusions: “Not So Dismal Conclusions” and states:

        However, we conclude that no loaded gun of strong tail dominance has been uncovered to date.

        Could he be any clearer? Did you read the links I gave?

      • “Scientists are exaggerating and talking about doom and gloom scenarios”

        Worst case scenarios are important to mention. If anything this isn’t being done enough. People just think the world will be slightly warmer. The potential impact on ecosystems and weather isn’t being conveyed.

        Nordhaus’s conclusion is based on a set of assumptions. I thought climate skeptics tell us to ignore conclusions based on assumptions?

      • Lolwot

        Worst case scenarios are important to mention.

        Yes, they are, as you say, important to mention. But it is not wise to spend all our wealth on something with a very low probability of occurrence, if by doing so we do a lot of certain harm and also are unable to deal with much more likely risks.

        Therefore, the type of analysis Nordhaus does (well written up here: http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf ) looks at all risks (all consequences and all probabilities) and concludes what is the likely damage cost if no mitigation (and the probability distribution) and estimates the optimum carbon price. However, the optimum carbon price analysis is a theoretical construct that depends on theoretical but totally impracticable assumptions. Therefore, I believe it is not a viable option. If we need to cut GHG emissions fast, we’ll give the job to the engineers and we’ll chase the Left out of the way – give them free land in Antarctica tro enjoy the cold and live off the land (with no imports of fossil fuels).

      • “something with a very low probability of occurrence”

        There are a lot of different worst case scenarios so we’d have to talk about the chance of any of them occurring. A problem is we don’t know the probability of occurrence for individual cases.

      • “If we need to cut GHG emissions fast, we’ll give the job to the engineers”

        Engineers wouldn’t be fast enough. It would be dream land stuff that is always “decades away”. Some things in nature are just too big/risky for human engineering. People overestimate our abilities and technology. We don’t rely on engineers to solve overfishing for example.

        The only effective solution is to put a cap on fossil fuel extraction. Hey Saudis, you are only allowed to extract N tons a year of oil. Hey Chinese you are only allowed to extract N tons a year of coal. That’s the only surefire way to cut GHG emissions fast.

      • “The only effective solution is to put a cap on fossil fuel extraction. Hey Saudis, you are only allowed to extract N tons a year of oil. Hey Chinese you are only allowed to extract N tons a year of coal. That’s the only surefire way to cut GHG emissions fast.”

        No doubt your message will be speedily relayed to the Saudi King and the rulers of China.
        Or would you prefer Mrs Clinton deliver your message in person?

      • Steve Milesworthy

        I missed the last bit of your comment because it was in italics so I thought it was my comment cut and pasted.

        I think your characterisation of WG2 as being all about catastrophe is incorrect (that’s not to say that WG2 structures may make it a recipe for people adding in their shopping list of risks in relation to which country they are from).

        I think you are correct in saying many scientists will point to the much stronger WG1 and say “stop disputing the evidence” but don’t have the skills to give the best answer.

        That said, I don’t think you can point to an economic model and claim that their modelling indicates that it isn’t doom and gloom because economic modelling is always working out of scope of where it was tested (vastly more so than climate science).

        Could he be any clearer? Did you read the links I gave?

        Well I think a sentence that includes jargon with a highly technical definition could not be described as being clear. As far as I can see, he is saying that while climate-related disasters will happen, they won’t completely derail the world economy, and while there is a chance of very high climate sensitivity it is incorrect to say we can put a figure on what this is. But:

        it seems dubious that we can at present estimate the shape of the tails of the TSC [temperature sensitivity coefficient] distribution function.

        which harks back to my comment that the climate sensitivity is still important to know – though maybe for slightly different reasons.

      • Steve Milesworthy,

        IMO, WG2 is clearly a scaremongering document. The adjectives throughout exaggerate the disadvantages (downside consequences) of warming and dismiss or downplay the advantages (benefits). It is clearly not objective or balanced. It’s not hard to identify the influence of the so called ‘environmental NGOs’.

        Yes, keep doing some work on climate sensitivity, but not at the expense of doing more and better research to reduce the uncertainty of the damage function. What has been done on the damages costs so far suggests the damage costs of warming are trivial when put in the context of world GDP over 50m and 90 years and the damages that the proposed mitigations strategies would do. Therefore, it is the damage function that needs to be the focus of future work. It is clear that research is spending huge funds on trying to improve the estimates and reduce the uncertainty of the climate sensitivity, but making negligible progress. Therefore, we should divert our efforts to more useful work.

        Regarding the shape of the tails of the TSC, this is a bit misleading. As I understand it (perhaps misunderstand) the real TSC would not have a distribution or a tail at all. It would be a discrete number for a specific set of conditions (such as equilibrium or transient, areal extent of ice sheets, orbital parameters, etc). The distributions and tail that Nordhaus refers to is the distribution of our estimates of TSC. The real distribution is very poorly known and we are making negligible progress on refining our knowledge of it. [This may be because scientists these days are stuck behind computer screens instead of being out in the field collecting good data and analysing it properly.]

        The cost benefit analysis is essential for good policy decisions. We can not make good policy decisions about where we should allocate our limited resources without proper cost benefit analyses. We cannot decide whether to adapt or mitigate. We cannot decide whether to spend on mitigating climate change, reducing the risk of epidemics, or development and use of weapons of mass destruction. Therefore, the cost benefit analyses are essential. Scary words may be enough to motivate some, but they will be strongly resisted by rational people – and so they should. If you didn’t see this before, it explains what I am trying to say:

        http://www.tnr.com/blog/critics/75757/why-the-decision-tackle-climate-change-isn%E2%80%99t-simple-al-gore-says

      • Steve Milesworthy

        The distributions and tail that Nordhaus refers to is the distribution of our estimates of TSC. The real distribution is very poorly known and we are making negligible progress on refining our knowledge of it.

        I think your first sentence is correct. I believe that many scientists would dispute your second sentence. Probably it has only seriously been thought about for a few years in part because of the difficulties of accurately observing and modelling those feedbacks that are plausible causes of high sensitivity.

      • Steve Milesworthy,

        IPCC has been reporting the central estimate of climate sensitivity at about 3 C in all four reports. The central figure and the range have hardly changed.

        First IPCC Assessment (1990)
        Paleoanalogue method gives “a sensitivity of 3.0 deg C for a doubling of CO2″ (p.83)
        Modelling indicates climate sensitivity is uncertain but “unlikely to lie outside the range of 1.5 to 4.5 deg C. There is no compelling evidence to suggest in what part of this range the correct value is likely to lie” [p. 139].

        Second IPCC Assessment (1995)
        The various coupled models had sensitivities ranging from 2.1 to 4.6 deg C (p.300).

        Third IPCC Assessment (2001)
        “Climate sensitivity is likely to be in the range of 1.5 to 4.5°C” (WG1 Technical Summary p. 67).

        Fourth IPCC Assessment (2007)
        “‘equilibrium climate sensitivity’, is likely to lie in the range 2°C to 4.5°C, with a most likely value of about 3°C. Equilibrium climate sensitivity is very likely larger than 1.5°C.” ( Ch. 6, Box 6.2).
        This box also notes that for the previous assessments “….equilibrium climate sensitivities simulated by atmospheric GCMs coupled to non-dynamic slab oceans…..were:
        3.8°C ± 0.78°C in the SAR (17 models),
        3.5°C ± 0.92°C in the TAR (15 models) and, in this assessment,
        3.26°C ± 0.69°C (18 models).”

      • Steve Milesworthy

        I thought we were talking about the more extreme ends of climate sensitivity estimates, not the central estimates. The following figure summarises much of the researth that happened between the third and fourth reports.

        http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/box-10-2-figure-1.html

      • Steve Milesworthy

        I thought we were discussing your comment at July 12, 2012 at 12:54 pm and specifically your last paragraph:

        @ July 12, 2012 at 12:54 pm

        which harks back to my comment that the climate sensitivity is still important to know – though maybe for slightly different reasons.

        This is how we got to there:

        @ July 11, 2012 at 8:01 am I said:

        You say the science has improved and we have a better understanding. But I ask “so what?” if the uncertainty is so large that it cannot inform policy? The point is that the best studies that have been done so far (such as by Nordhaus) suggest that the IPCC’s distribution of estimates of climate sensitivity is not scary, not catastrophic, and no big deal.

        However, I think the climate sensitivity is not the most important issue now. The most important issue is the damage function. Nordhaus shows that the damage function is the parameter that causes the greatest uncertainty in the estimated costs and benefits of warming. So this is where future research should focus

        @ July 12, 2012 at 12:54 pm you said:

        which harks back to my comment that the climate sensitivity is still important to know – though maybe for slightly different reasons.

        @ July 12, 2012 at 9:41 pm I said

        The real [TSC] distribution is very poorly known and we are making negligible progress on refining our knowledge of it.

        @ July 13, 2012 at 5:39 am you said

        I believe that many scientists would dispute [this]. Probably it has only seriously been thought about for a few years

        @ July 13, 2012 at 8:30 am I said

        IPCC has been reporting the central estimate of climate sensitivity at about 3 C in all four reports. The central figure and the range have hardly changed.

        I listed the IPCC estimates and the ‘likely’ range from the first, second, third and fourth IPCC reports.

        @ July 14, 2012 at 7:24 am you said:

        I thought we were talking about the more extreme ends of climate sensitivity estimates, not the central estimates. The following figure summarises much of the researth that happened between the third and fourth reports.

        The cost-benefit analyses are based on the whole distribution. The climate sensitivity is just one of many input parameter distributions used in the DICE and RICE models. Nordhaus did his analyses on the whole distribution. He used the distribution information provided to AR4 in his analyses.

        To address the specific concern you and many other have raised about severe tail events, he looked in detail at the tail and concluded there is no evidence (yet) of any significant risk with catastrophic consequences (this work was published in 2012). We cannot justify spending enormous amounts on mitigation to avoid extremely low probability events. There are other much higher risks that we need to maintain the capacity to manage if their likelihood increases or if they occur.

        Regarding your point that the information about the climate sensitivity distributions improved between TAR and AR4, Nordhaus used the AR4 information to produce his cost-benefit analyses using DICE and the 2012 analyses of tail events.

        In conclusion, I repeat my point:

        I think the climate sensitivity is not the most important issue now. The most important issue is the damage function. Nordhaus shows that the damage function is the parameter that causes the greatest uncertainty in the estimated costs and benefits of warming. So this is where future research should focus.

      • Guess who wrote that:

        > [I]f I had a big policy job, in my capacity as an office holder, I would be guided by the reports of institutions such as IPCC rather than any personal views (a point I’ve made on a number of occasions); and that I believed that policy decisions could be made without requiring “statistical significance” (such decisions are made in business all the time, and, in all my years in business, I never heard the words “statistical.

        http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/549098033

      • Steve McIntyre wrote it and Steve McIntyre has the mathematical chops to know when he’s being handed a political pig dressed up in a mathematical monkey suit. He also asked why there has never been an engineering grade report (he estimated that it should run about 1200 pages in length) on the basic proposition that human combustion of fossil fuels is causing dangerous and damaging global warming.

      • JT,

        I believe Steve “simply” asked for a formal derivation of 3C per doubling of CO2. See for yourself:

        http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/tagged/EngineerilyDeriving

        Do you have an example of an engineereing grade report such as the one you said?

        In fact, could you provide an example of such a report that seems to be asking Steve since 2007, but has not yet found the time to provide an example? See for instance his discussion with Robert Grumbine:

        http://climateaudit.org/2011/04/17/the-smug-loop/#comment-264199

        Many thanks!

      • Earle Williams

        I’m guessing it was the guy who said he would also task the IPCC with doing it’s job properly.

        “… my recommendation has consistently been that people who are worried about the impact of increased CO2 need to provide an “engineering quality” exposition of how doubled CO2 leads to (say) 3 degree C and thence to problems. More cerebral, rather than less cerebral.

        Such an exposition would probably be 1200 or 2000 pages, not 10 pages. Some of it would be material available in textbooks e.g. description of the infrared bands that are affected by additional CO2 – information that is not in dispute, but which any engineer would include in a comprehensive exposition. The main area of scientific uncertainty is in cloud feedbacks. In an engineering quality report, there might be several hundred pages on this topic, describing precisely what is known and what is not known and how the scientific uncertainties might be reduced. In AR4, this important topic was covered in less than two pages.”

        http://climateaudit.org/2011/04/17/the-smug-loop/

      • Steven Mosher

        If skeptics belonged to a tribe they would take steve to the woodshed. and big oil would cut off the funds

      • It wasn’t a really swift move to try to make Steve out to be the devil incarnate, was it?

      • Steven Mosher

        the sad thing is I ordered willard to read all of climate audit and he complied. Now what he failed to realize is that I’ve ordered many other people to read the whole blog and they also complied. Some people were wise enough to read it all on there own. So many of us are familiar with all of steve’s writings. Willard either
        1. thought he was different
        2. didnt think people would or could use google
        3. thought one step ahead
        ‘who said?” or “have you read” is a silly game. especially on the internet where 99% of the time someone smarter than you is on the thread.

      • > the sad thing is I ordered willard […]

        I thought Bending Bender Rodriguez did.

        ***

        Najdorf players usually hit a wall when facing people who know what to do with space, time, and material to give.

      • Steven Mosher

        yes willard bender ordered me to as i told you when i ordered you to. what pronoun is confusing you today

      • I thought you agreed with the auditor that ad hominems were a waste of time, Moshpit.

        In fact, such defensiveness might very well a sign of tribalism.

        Or perhaps just noble cause corruption.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Peter Lang asserts: “James Hansen is a prolific exaggerator and activist.”

        Peter Lang, upon reviewing the institutional affiliations and research records of Hansen et al.: “Scientific Case for Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change to Protect Young People and Nature“, I find no evidence to support your claim.

        Instead I find an extraordinarily broad team of nineteen authors, including both scientists and policy analysists, who have crafted a well-reasoned, thoroughly referenced analysis.

        In what respects may your appreciation of the climate-change research community be further augmented, Peter Lang?   :)   :)   :)

      • A fan of *MORE* discord

        He forgot puppies. He’s trying to protect puppies from the smoothie blender of AGW.

  4. Thanks for posting this, Dr. Curry. There are a few quibbles I might have, but I shall read the whole thing, as you wisely suggest!

    In the meantime … on the subject of “trust” and how it gets “undermined” … I came across an article today which I believe is relevant to the issues raised.

    While it focuses on the “scientists” (rather than the IPCC, which the writer refers to as “United Nations’ authoritative report on climate change”), they all mistakenly think that “communication” is the panacea that will save their bacon (if not their credibility) and engender trust (a school of thought naively followed by Bain, in his recent disaster of a paper).

    Jon Krosnick is a professor of communication and psychology at Stanford who, according to the article by Paul Voosen, E&E reporter for Greenwire, “has been studying the public’s belief in climate change for 15 years.” A few brief excerpts (emphases added -hro):

    Scientists struggle with limits — and risks — of advocacy

    As Krosnick has watched climate scientists call for government action, he began pondering a recent small dip in the public’s belief. And he wondered: Could researchers’ move into the political world be undermining their scientific message?

    “What if a message involves two different topics, one trustworthy and one not trustworthy?” said Krosnick, a communication and psychology professor at Stanford University. “Can the general public detect crossing that line?”

    His results, not yet published, would seem to say they can.

    […]

    Krosnick’s work began with a simple, hypothetical scene: NASA’s Hansen, whose scientific work on climate change is widely respected, walks into the Oval Office.

    As he has since the 1980s, Hansen rattles off the inconvertible, ever-increasing evidence of human-caused climate change. It’s a stunning litany, authoritative in scope, and one the fictional president — be it a Bush or an Obama — must judge against Hansen’s scientific credentials, backed by publications and institutions of the highest order. If Hansen stops there, one might think, the case is made.

    But he doesn’t stop. Hansen continues, arguing, as a citizen, for an immediate carbon tax.

    “Whoa, there!” Krosnick’s president might think. “He’s crossed into my domain, and he’s out of touch with how policy works.” And if Hansen is willing to offer opinions where he lacks expertise, the president starts to wonder: “Can I trust any of his work?”

    • ursus augustus

      hro001 takes us to the nub of all this to my mind which is what the lawyers refer to as the credit of a witness. I do the odd expert report / witness thing and have a lawyer sister whose partner is a very senior judge so I know full well that there is a line between things figuratively being in my office with me behind my desk giving my expert opinion and when things move into the lawyers office and what is at issue is their province.

      Climate science is a classic case of post modernist deconstructionism morphing with a science discipline to form an extension of the humanities and being in its own mind the expert on both the problem and the policy solution. i.e. it is a joke. A joke along the lines of the mouse raping the elephant meets the young bull and the old bull. Young mouse sees herd of elephants and says to old mouse, lets race down there and ravish a few of those elephants. Old mouse replies, steady son, lets walk down there and ravish the lot and give them all babies. Crude humour I know but then we are talking about the crudest intellectual putsch I can recall in my 40 odd years as an adult.

    • A fan of *MORE* discord

      Here, Johnny! Come and defend the honor of your rock star, Johnny! She’s taking the name of Jim Hansen in vain, Johnny!

  5. Pachauri Jones, you’d better…watch your speed.
    ======================

  6. ”At a first glance, the term “tribalism” indicates that climate skeptics’ arguments and voices have been kept “out of the debate”

    Well, well, many of the ”Skeptic’s blogs” are excluding vigorously if something doesn’t fit their daydreaming. Therefore – their insecure attitude ”tribalism” justifies the treatment they get from the bias media – they are doing the same as what IPCC, BBC, ABC and many other ”researcher’s” TRIBAL camps are doing; BECAUSE THEY ALL DON’T BELIEVE IN WHAT THEY ARE SAYING. Only healthy debate is science – tribalism = admission of being scared from truth. Until my formulas, proofs and facts are taken in consideration – both sides will leave in fear; when will their lies be exposed. HAPPY SLEEPLESS NIGHTS, TO BOTH TRIBES!!!

  7. Bravo. I had not considered the anthropological perspective on truth, but now must. The contribution to ‘truth’ that can be made by simple critical thinking as on this site is enormous. Please continue.

  8. interesting to see an academic analysis of the climate tribalism issue.

    Just curious – how does one conduct an “academic analysis of the climate tribalism issue” without examining the tribalism on both sides?

    It’s quite a trick, that. I’m wondering how it could be done.

    • well first you have to find out who the skeptics report to. charlie koch, maybe?

      • Bill –

        All one needs to do is read any “skeptic” climate blog and you’ll see plenty of tribalism from their camp.

        Judith’s statement reflects the inconsistency in her approach.

        Sometimes, apparently, in her view tribalism from the “skeptical” side of the debate just seems to conveniently disappear (to the extent that she ever does see it).

        Beck’s article is just not an “academic analysis of the climate tribalism issue.” Anything matching that description would, necessarily, have to examine tribalism on both sides.

    • “tribalism on both sides”

      Bearing in mind that the alarmist side has 99.999′ % of the funding.

      • Bearing in mind that the alarmist side has 99.999′ % of the funding.

        This statement is based on a very simplistic definition – one that only serves to serve self-interest and confirm biases. In other words, it is a very nice example of tribalism. Thanks for the contribution – it helps to make my point.

    • Steven Mosher

      There is no skeptic tribe. they fight under many flags or no flag.
      you cant get kicked out of the skeptic tribe.

      What your talking about is related to tribalism, but I’d say you better first understand what it means to be a tribe. feature number 1: the ability to impose sanctions on a member who strays. feature number 2: having two rhetorics: one for internal consumption ( group regulation) and one for external consumption ( the public message ).

      until you understand that the skeptics are defined only in opposition to the climate tribe, you havent got a chance of understanding the problem.
      You want to approach the problem ( your tribal bent) as a binary opposition.
      wrong from the start. Its the exact mistake that Mann made. the mistake that led to climategate

      • There is no skeptic tribe.

        Still with the straw men, eh?

        Tribalism, of a variety of sorts, exists among “skeptics.” It has to. Tribalism is a basic attribute of human nature.

        The rest of your post is based on your faulty presumption – so there’s no point in responding to the rest.

      • Let me reply with the best I could find on this thread in opposition to your point Joshua. It is by someone by the name of Joshua:

        This statement is based on a very simplistic definition – one that only serves to serve self-interest and confirm biases. In other words, it is a very nice example of tribalism. Thanks for the contribution – it helps to make my point.

      • > There is no [contrarian] tribe.

        This statement is based on a very simplistic definition – one that only serves to serve self-interest and confirm biases.

        Thanks for your &c.

      • John –

        When I wrote of a simplistic definition – I was referring to the comment saying that the “alarmist side” of the tribalism had 99.999% of the funding. Presumably, to reach such a conclusion you would absolutely need to discount any funding for research that “skeptics” believe support their arguments, in fact, any funding for any research on climate change at all (since the presumption is that any such funding is on the the “warmist side” of the tribalism, as well as discount any funding that supports political advocates who promote climate “skepticism.”

        What simplistic definition contained implied by my comment were you referring to? If you could point it out to me, I’d like to offer a correction.

      • As a followup to the comment below. Perhaps this is nitpicking Josuha, but I agree with Mosher, but not how he said it. There is no(t) one skeptic tribe. There may be no skeptic tribe, because there is not enough organization to meet the definition. That people share a variety of similar conceptions or even misconceptions does not necessarily mean they perfom tribal functions. I would agree that there is empirical evidence to support anything from tribes to conspiracies, yet Mosher’s point I think should be part of the discussion wrt relevance. A similar thought was once proposed and was vaguely true for a time that african americans could not discriminate since they did not have the power to be effective. I do see the tribe as has been outlined by Climategate. I do not see such a tribe wrt skeptics. I see more of a confederacy of ideas centered in opposition rather than a defining theme with consumerate abilities, say, the ability to prevent or slow funding or publishing. Or in particular to place persons on the IPCC. It may be a matter of degree, but I think that degree is important to consider. In this respect, this is what Mosher was discussing, and I agree. I also think he used mental shorrthand when he wrote his comment, as you did with your reply.

      • john –

        Thanks for the follow-up. There is some stuff there I can engage with more.

        I agree that there is no one “skeptic” tribe, and I agree that as partially seen with “Climategate” we could more easily point to a singularly influential “tribe” on the “realist” side of the debate.

        I agree that it is useful to point out that many “realists” make an inaccurate assumption about the monolithic nature of what they call “deniers.” However, on the other hand I have often seen that some “skeptics” often fall into the same trap; they selectively speak of “skeptics” in monolithic terms when it serves their purposes even as they chastise “realists” for considering “skeptics” to be monolithic. The inconsistency of how many “skeptics” view that issue is of relevance also.

        As an aside, the problem with mosher making that response to me was that he wrongly assumed that I was treating “skeptics” as one monolithic tribe – and that’s why it was a straw man and why the rest of his response to me was irrelevant to the point of my post – which, again, is that tribalism exists on both sides of the debate (and that fact is not mutually exclusive with the question of whether “skepticism” is monolithic).

        I see more of a confederacy of ideas centered in opposition rather than a defining theme with consumerate abilities, say, the ability to prevent or slow funding or publishing.

        Here is where I’ll disagree. I see that characterization as inaccurately dismissive of the tribalism as it exists among “skeptics.” It is as if to say that since there is no one, monolithic tribe, no tribalism exists among that group, and all “skeptics” are motivated by pure scientific and objective opposition to tribalism on the other side. The confederacy of ideas notion, I see as overly-romantic and, again, not particularly consistent with what we know about how humans reason, particularly on highly charged issues that touch on such fundamental aspects of how people self-identify, and particularly among people who are so highly motivated.

      • They are a tribe singing from the same hymn books. Eg the oft repeated false claim that Phil Jones says global warming stopped in 1995. Or the false claim that warming stopped in 1998. Skeptics certainly aren’t challenging the science independently, they are copying and parroting false arguments off each other.

        Effective, yet dishonest arguments.

      • To the point above, I do not or have not claimed that all the skeptics are are motivated by pure scientific and objective opposition to tribalism on the other side. Also, your idea of confederacy being “romantic” would indicate, for example, that Climategaters are involved in a conspiracy rather than a self re-inforcing approach, less reasoned, and more of a comfort zone. I do not subscribe that Climategate revealed an intential conspiracy, but perhaps you could convince me otherwise. But group think and similarities of training, approach, funding, and a search for an explanation that matched these are more in play. This at least meets a minimal definition of confederacy.

        And more to the point if confederacy is romantic, you have the data to say for the skeptic side that it is funded in a conspiritorial or organized manner. But then I would question your 99.999% statements, not about necessarily the correct percentage, but rather is your defintion so soft that nothing concrete can actually be determined or demonstrated. That the term is naive, as in without much explanatory power.

      • Oh, come now, Mosher. Our paychecks all say Koch Industries on them. Or was is ExxonMobil?

      • It’s always interesting when smart people fall into obvious logical fallacies.

        Is it your argument that it isn’t possible for a “skeptic” to both not be on the payroll of Koch and/or Exxon Mobile, and also display tribalistic tendencies (and in particular, tribalistic tendencies w/r/t to the “climate tribalism issue?”)

        ‘Cause if that’s your argument, I’d say that you are being illogical.

      • johnfpittman

        Since we ran out of nests, I will post here. Mosher made a discernment of differences, you reply was of the same inane simplification that you rightly pointed out with your 99.999% response. He defined what he meant as “no skeptic tribe.” He explained it was not monotonic. You admit in your response that tribalism of a variety of sorts exits in skeptics. Your respone to variety “Tribalism is a basic attribute of human nature. ” I cannot decide if this argument of yours is a non sequitar or a strawman. However, it is easy to conclude that your argument is that you can simplify the human condition in such a manner. The reason it is so simplistic is that you must show, as in your 99.9999% example, that we all fall into one camp or the other on the skeptic issue. But some people in this world literally do not even know of our debate of skeptics, and climate change. So good luck on that!

        Futher you reduced his discernment to a data mined sentence “There is no skeptic tribe.” He had a lot more to say. If you think I have done the same, I have you to thank, because I do like learning from the best. ;)

      • john –

        mosher’s response to me was based on a straw man.

        However, it is easy to conclude that your argument is that you can simplify the human condition in such a manner.

        That’s a misunderstanding. I’m not “simplifying the human condition in such a manner.” However, there is a strong empirical basis for recognizing a role for “motivated reasoning,” “tribalism,” “partisanship,” etc., in how we all reason – in particular w/r/t highly charged issues that touch on significant cultural, political, and social identifications – and in particular among highly motivated analysts – as we undoubtedly find in the comments sections of climate blogs.

        The reason it is so simplistic is that you must show, as in your 99.9999% example, that we all fall into one camp or the other on the skeptic issue.

        I’m confused here. Part of my point (relating to why mosher’s comment was based on a straw man) is that I don’t think that there are only two tribes. Such a definition of the tribes is simplistic – to the point of being of little use other than to confirm biases. That wouldn’t matter who is utilizing such a simplistic definition.

        “There is no skeptic tribe.” He had a lot more to say.

        Everything else he said followed from that mistaken foundation – a foundation made out of straw. It’s kind of a habit with him. The next time he engages me in good faith debate will be the first. However, don’t interpret that to mean that I’m not open to him doing so. It might actually be interesting if he changed his ways to actually discuss an issue rather than just fling more jello mold.

      • Seriously, these are the same people who can’t grasp the concept that not everybody opposed to Obama is a Republican.

      • Seriously, these are the same people who can’t grasp the concept that not everybody opposed to Obama is a Republican.

        Seeing as how this comment is lower in the hierarchy of a nest created by my comment – I’m guess that you include me among “the same people?”

        If so, you are mistaken.

        And just for my enlightenment – would you mind elaborating on who thinks that you have to be a Republican if you are in opposition to Obama? Could you maybe provide a link to something that gives an example of someone who has that misconception?

  9. “First let me say that in general, as my own opinion, I feel rather uncomfortable about using not only unpublished but also un reviewed material as the backbone of our conclusions (or any conclusions).
    I realize that chapter 9 is including SRES stuff, and thus we can and need to do that too, but the fact is that in doing so the rules of IPCC have been softened to the point that in this way the IPCC is not any more an assessment of published science (which is its proclaimed goal) but production of results.

    The softened condition that the models themselves have to be published does not even apply because the Japanese model for example is very different from the published one which gave results not even close to the actual outlier version (in the old dataset the CCC model was the outlier). Essentially, I feel that at this point there are very little rules and almost anything goes. I think this will set a dangerous precedent which might mine the IPCC credibility, and I am a bit uncomfortable that now nearly everybody seems to think that it is just ok to do this.

    Anyways, this is only my opinion for what it is worth.”

    http://bit.ly/p5pWWs

  10. The refusal of the IPCC to answer or even brook any criticism of its science contains the seeds of its distrust. But the problem starts at the top. The UN is is constitutionally unable to run such a large and difficult scientific research project. This project is about as difficult as science can imagine. Hansen and his team tried and failed to produce a convincing model. The Hadley/Oxford model crashed when they tried to include the oceans. None of the attempts at modelling have been transparent enough for outside experts to provide useful input. Too much of the physics is not well enough understood, like the modelling of the Nino phenomena. Indeed in Australia, Nino has been a better guide to climate than the IPCC and CO2. There are certainly random processes at work which may never be predictable, but if they are reasonably stationary can be included in models. IMO the UN should have called tenders and wrote contracts for the modelling, rather than doing it themselves.

  11. Why get so distracted by all sorts of peripheral controversies?

    We need first to focus out attention on the basic physics of global warming, and not be distracted by secondary side issues. The basic physics of global warming is most compelling, fully authenticated, and scrutable enough for anyone with a basic grasp of physics to understand.

    It is the non-condensing greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, N2O, O3, CFCs, of which CO2 is the principal contributor) that control the strength of the terrestrial greenhouse effect, with water vapor and clouds (being temperature dependent feedback effects) providing radiative magnification. This is what lets the global mean surface temperature of the Earth be 33 °C warmer than it would be without the benefit of the greenhouse effect.

    As I have stated before, (1) there is no credible uncertainty identifying atmospheric CO2 as the principal control knob that governs the strengths of the terrestrial greenhouse effect; (2) there is no credible uncertainty identifying atmospheric water vapor and clouds as the temperature dependent feedback effects whose distribution in the atmosphere is governed by the Clausius-Clapeyron relation; (3) there is no credible uncertainty as to identifying the ongoing anthropogenic increase of atmospheric CO2 as the principal cause for the ongoing global warming.

    For relevant perspective, recall that the atmospheric CO2 amount was about 180 ppmv during the depth of the last ice age. Ice core records show that the typical atmospheric CO2 amount during the warm interglacial periods is about 280 ppmv. The current atmospheric CO2 level of 395.77 ppmv should give us pause as to what global mean surface temperature this excessive amount of atmospheric CO2 might correspond to. Fortuitously, we haven’t hit anything catastrophic yet because to the very large heat capacity of the ocean.

    If we were to understand these basic points of global warming, all the distracting side issues will cease to be so contentious.

    • We need first to focus out attention on the basic physics of global warming,

      Spoken by a physicist. It displays self interest.

      Your advocacy for more research in your area of interest is not balanced or rational. More research in your area of interest would no be a good investment for providing the information that is most needed for informing policy.

      I’ve asked you repeatedly on previous threads to answer questions about policy implications of, for example, climate sensitivity and projections of global temperature. However, you have repeatedly avoided the questions or obfuscated.

      We’ve been working on climate sensitivity for decades. The uncertainty has hardly changed in over 20 years. There is little sign of that situation changing.

      The US alone has spent some $100 billion on climate policies and the World has spent much more. But still we don’t have a well constrained understanding of climate sensitivity.

      Therefore, we can keep bashing our head against a wall, or take another tack. If you want to keep bashing your head against a wall, please don’t ask or expect us to implement high cost, economically damaging mitigation policies on the basis of your beliefs and unfounded confidence in your beliefs.

      The other tack is to do the ‘what if’ analyses. What are the consequences if climate sensitivity (2xCO2) is 2 to 4.5 C?

      Luckily, Nordhaus has done just this with his DICE and RICE models, and his 2012 paper: “Economic Policy in the face of severe tail events

      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9779.2011.01544.x/full

      In the latter he titled his conclusions: “Not so dismal consequences” and states:

      However, we conclude that no loaded gun of strong tail dominance has been uncovered to date.

      It seems that warming is not so bad after all. If you want to change that, then the work needs to be done on the damage function.

      Furthermore, if you want a solution to cut GHG emissions, it is absolutely clear from Nordhaus’s work, and others, we need to develop a cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels.

      The major component of the solution is clear – remove the impediments to nuclear power that have been imposed by 50 years of anti-nuclear activism. This has caused nuclear to be at least four times more expensive than it should be, to be in a much earlier stage of development than it would have been if not for the constraints on development, and not as safe now as it would have been if development had been allowed to continue as with other technologies. Furthermore, global CO2 emissions would be 10% to 20% lower now than they are, and we’d be on a much faster trajectory to reduce emissions. This is what the anti-nuclear activists have done to us.

      So, my suggestion is to stop pushing your own barrow and, instead. agitate to get the information needed to inform good policy.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        We’ve been working on climate sensitivity for decades. The uncertainty has hardly changed in over 20 years. There is little sign of that situation changing.

        That may be true, but not because there have been no advances of science. The understanding of the complexities has grown, though sadly nothing much has come out of the woodwork to magically counteract the warming effects of the CO2 rise.

        Further, we are better (though still not that well) placed now, than 20 years ago, to understand the impacts of a given amount of warming. In that sense finding the specific number (2C or 4.5C say) will perhaps just set a longer or shorter timescale to the place we seem inevitably to be going.

        It seems though that Andy Lacis is stating the common frustration of people with a science outlook: that many wishing to avoid the policy implications are avoiding the discussion with baseless challenges to the science.

      • BatedBreath

        The problem is not baseless challenges to the science, but baseless claims of attribution certainty in it – typified by Lacis comments.

      • BatedBreath

        Bart
        So this is an improved source of solar energy. Very nice. But to establish whether is viable, or just a joke like previous solar technology, we need to see if without subsidies or other political compulsion, energy companies voluntarily adopt it.

        So what is the news on that front? Is this a economic breakthrough, or just less ridiculous than its predecessors?

      • “It seems though that Andy Lacis is stating the common frustration of people with a science outlook: that many wishing to avoid the policy implications are avoiding the discussion with baseless challenges to the science.”

        Policy implications?
        It seems the policy of Statist solutions have been thoroughly rejected.
        All which has discussed by the greens, is wealth retribution to poorer vastly corrupt and evil states, which the vastly corrupt states have thought is a swell idea, but other than parties wanting hand outs, has had no had any takers. And then got schemes to increase taxes, and give money to UN, which also hasn’t gotten anywhere.
        The only viable near term solution is to increase use of nuclear energy, but this isn’t even considered, instead Germany decide to end it’s nuclear energy production.
        So the policy has been decades of failure, and seems will continue failing until no more holidays are offered in some resort town and once that happens, then there is nothing left to discuss.
        What is policy that has mentioned by the global warming religion, which worth consideration?

      • Dave Springer

        Nuclear is no panacea. Once the capital costs are fully amortized with operating cost it’s questionable whether they can operate in the black. The only thing that has made them profitable so far is that they were built when oil was $15/bbl or less and now they sell their product into an energy market where the price/BTU is conditioned by oil at $75/bbl or more. Even a fourfold reduction in fully amortized cost, which I don’t believe for a New York minute is remotely possible, isn’t enough to bring the cost of energy back to where it was in the hayday of global economic expansion. And in any case electricity isn’t really that much of a problem. Transporation fuel is the problem and there huge intractible problems with converting the global transportation fleet to electric propulsion beginning with the fact there isn’t enough neodymium in the world to make all the magnets for all the wheel motors and ending with the fact that energy-density constraints prohibits electricity from ever powering practical transportation aircraft. A host of other problems from heavy metal pollution in battery manufacture to stringing more transmission lines to supply more electricity to more places must be addressed as well. Topping it all off is that natural gas power plants, already less than half the cost of nuclear power plants, is getting cheaper due to advances in finding and recovering natural gas.

        So forget nuclear. No smart money is going to be invested in it. Things might be different if this was 1960 and oil was $100/bbl and synthetic biology hadn’t been invented. Before any nuclear power plant built today could amortize the capital cost to yield a profit it’ll be renderend non-competitive by synthetic fuels where the chemical energy in them comes directly from extant sunlight. No one but a government would throw money at something with such a poor chance of realizing any return on it.

      • Doug Badgero

        Dave Springer,

        Nuclear costs and oil costs have been unrelated for decades and I see no reason to believe that will change for decades more. However, it is the amortization of up front capital costs that is nuclear’s biggest advantage against coal and nat gas. You are building tomorrow’s capacity with today’s dollars. This is playing out now with plant’s built in the 1970s and will play out for plants built today over the coming decades. The only risk to this is a lack of nat gas and coal inflation for the life of the nuclear plant.

      • Nuclear is no panacea. Once the capital costs are fully amortized with operating cost it’s questionable whether they can operate in the black.

        Peter Lang provided this link. I agree with it:

        http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/chapter9.html

        So, nuclear isn’t the problem, China and India could make nuclear power plants so competitive with coal. Though does require good quality control and such skilled workforce could in short supply. China and India can make cheap nuclear powerplants, because they don’t the poor process the US has which is related to making nuclear powerplants in US.

        Nuclear is a panacea because it as vast amount supply of energy.
        And nuclear power could done better than how US built them in 1970’s, so it’s conceivable nuclear power could be fractions of cost of coal.

        If you don’t want nuclear energy, and you want unlimited power [Or you simply want an even cheaper and more abundant supply of energy, than I suggest that Space exploration and development human settlement in space could be another path to unlimited energy.

        “Even a fourfold reduction in fully amortized cost, which I don’t believe for a New York minute is remotely possible, isn’t enough to bring the cost of energy back to where it was in the hayday of global economic expansion.”
        For unlimited expansion, I recommend opening the space frontier.

        “And in any case electricity isn’t really that much of a problem. Transporation fuel is the problem and there huge intractible problems with converting the global transportation fleet to electric propulsion beginning with the fact there isn’t enough neodymium in the world to make all the magnets for all the wheel motors and ending with the fact that energy-density constraints prohibits electricity from ever powering practical transportation aircraft.”

        Electricity is the problem in terms of CO2. Burning coal for electricity is only reason China emitted twice the CO2 as US does. And replacing coal with nuclear energy will significantly lower US emission.
        As it is market forces could end much coal use in US, because large supply of natural gas. It’s been predicted that because of boom in natural gas, US emission will dip to 1990 levels of CO2 this year.
        Maybe get lower, like maybe 1970 levels within a few years.
        And that is just because natural gas emits far less CO2 per energy produced as compared to Coal. And of course there is some limit to natural gas and nuclear power emits no CO2, rather less CO2.

        Transportation has never been much of problem in terms of CO2 emission, and there are huge amount oil available- so maybe +100 years. But with cheap electrical power, one can do other things other then electrical battery powered cars. Or also use fuel cells rather than batteries.
        But as general solution to passenger transport is using less massive [but as safe] vehicles. There many possible technologies and systems that could significantly lower energy cost of transportation.
        I would main short term problem related to transportation is political in nature.

      • Dave Springer

        You say electricity is a problem for CO2. I don’t consider CO2 a problem therefore nuclear eletricity generation solves no problem unless it can operate at lower cost than natural gas fired plants, which it cannot. So what do you think is going to happen 100 gillion internal combustion engines are going to be replaced by electric vehicles. Nuclear powered aircraft?

        Nuclear power has been around for over 50 years. There’s a reason it’s still a marginalized source of electricity. Actually a number of reasons. Wishing those reasons away won’t make it happen. Nuclear energy is NOT our future. Solar energy is the futur including but not limited to solar energy stored as hydrocarbon chemical bonds (i.e. liquid transportation fuels) but it requires certain aspects of nanotechnology to make it cost effective. The remaining challenges in the required nanotechnology are tractible reverse engineering problems that will fall soon, long before we run out of fossil fuels. The reason we know nanotechnology is the answer and that it’s possible and practical is because nature already did it for nature’s own purposes. We simply have to reverse engineer what nature has already designed and produced and coopt that technology for our own purposes.

      • “You say electricity is a problem for CO2. I don’t consider CO2 a problem therefore nuclear electricity generation solves no problem unless it can operate at lower cost than natural gas fired plants, which it cannot. So what do you think is going to happen 100 gillion internal combustion engines are going to be replaced by electric vehicles. Nuclear powered aircraft? ”

        I don’t regard CO2 emission as a problem in the near and predictable future- less than 50 years.
        No one should regard as a problem within 50 years. Or there would zero harm and perhaps much good if 100 ppm were add to global CO2 level.
        But people are worried if CO2 emission continues that it “somehow” leads to world with much higher CO2 level then merely added 100 ppm.

        Or probably within the last 100 year or so we have had increase in CO2 by 100 ppm. This has caused zero harm. And probably has caused 10 to 20% [or more] in increase of plant growth. Or we less land area is needed to grow same amount of crops- which is a good thing.

        If another 100 ppm of CO2 increase in global CO2, it should continue to increase the ability of plants to grow. And no one thinks an increase of 100 ppm would cause much or any warming.

        So the increase of 100 ppm of CO2 has been safe, another 100 ppm should also be safe, higher levels such 200 to 500 ppm could reasonably be said to be a problem. I think it’s unlikely that within 100 year there would an increase of 200 ppm. But some people think it’s possible and worried about 100 or 20o or 1000 years in the future and I regard this as fairly foolish.
        But at the moment we spending a lot money on the problem of reducing CO2- that is the reality.
        So in this context I believe we should do thing which actually reduce CO2 and all things [other than nuclear- or more use of natural gas] have not reduced CO2. The focus in the cause of reducing CO2 have been many really foolish things. Billions of dollars have been spend on hybrid cars, and people think this really good idea, and it’s not a good idea.
        The amount money squandered related to reducing CO2 has been a extraordinary amount of money which has even be properly accounted for, no doubt in the future, we get around to counting all this wasted resources and time.

        Another aspect of nuclear energy is it’s impossible to get to “peak nuclear fuel” within say 1000 years. Much time and money has wasted
        worried about running out of energy.
        Another aspect is nuclear energy is safer then any other way to get energy.

      • Would that state-backed ‘solutions’ really were thoroughly rejected.

        The governments of Canada and Alberta are pouring $865 million into Shell Oil in a ‘climate science’ shell game to pay Shell to ‘sequester’ CO2 by using it to force fluids out of tarsands.

        Some state tribes apparently are more acceptable to some denizens than are others.

        Simply, the tar sands ‘solutions’ are all more expensive, and bound to get more expensive with time, than the currently available solar (see the slightly dated observations in http://www.spectrolab.com/pv/support/Cotal_III_V_multijunction_photovoltaics.pdf) and some of the best of the cutting-edge wind, geothermal (http://www.earthtimes.org/energy/tapping-volcanoes-superefficient-geothermal-energy/296/ — and there are a dozen sites like the Icelandic example between Alaska and California) and ocean solutions.

        All of the expropriation of US soil to permit Chinese, Canadian and Russian-backed tar sand carrying pipes are much more expensive than just dedicating the same amount of land to solar; if you’re going to ruin a coastline far better to ‘ruin’ it with for example http://www.makanipower.com/ tethered to towers, with the free benefit of being able to use them as coastal observation stations.

        The Market is failing to achieve economic efficiency due to the power of large players in Energy to sway government and throw up barriers to innovation and barriers to entry. That’s the game fossil’s been playing.

      • BatedBreath

        Bart is just doing his usual silly anti-fossil rant. The $billion or so the Canadian government is allegedly putting into tar technology is not the reason the technologies of wind and solar are not being followed there. The problem is wind and solar are just a joke in terms of cost and practicality.

      • “Bart is just doing his usual silly anti-fossil rant. The $billion or so the Canadian government is allegedly putting into tar technology is not the reason the technologies of wind and solar are not being followed there. The problem is wind and solar are just a joke in terms of cost and practicality.”

        Solar power production in Canada.
        LOL

      • BatedBreath | July 12, 2012 at 4:49 pm |

        ..The $billion or so the Canadian government is allegedly putting into tar technology is not the reason the technologies of wind and solar are not being followed there.

        What gave you the impression I care about the Canadian market?

        It’s the USA that’s having its innovation curtailed by Canadian government subsidies to its tar industry. We used to call that sort of dumping an unfair trade practice, tampering with internal industries, and a hostile act by a foreign power using its economic might to influence American business.

        Given that this is a joint Chinese/Russian/Canadian enterprise (in order of the size of investors, all with government backing).. why wouldn’t the USA be suspicious of these Greeks bearing gifts?

        Especially when it’s the gift of Enbridge to Kalamazoo.

      • BatedBreath

        Bart R | July 15, 2012 at 12:13 am |

        Canada’s tar subsidies.
        What gave you the impression I care about the Canadian market? It’s the USA that’s having its innovation curtailed by Canadian government subsidies to its tar industry.

        What gave me that impression, is that you only mentioned Canada. It’s only now that you’ve added the US in an attempt to save face in response to gbailkie’s comment about solar in Canada.

        And it’s more than a bit laughable to say this subsidy is “curtailing” US investment in solar. Even where there is plenty of sun, solar energy is still a joke economically speaking. And if Canada is dumb enough to export its subsidized products, it makes sense for other countries to buy them.

      • BatedBreath | July 15, 2012 at 3:07 am |

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4izFzVCzx6A&feature=related

        Tell me that joke of yours again?

    • Andy,

      Which actions are justifiable and which are not is not a peripheral issue.

      I agree with most of your statements concerning what is known well, but I don’t see, how that would be enough for answering the question on justifiable action. To answer that question we need to know better how harmful or risky the warming is.

      That depends crucially on the strength of the warming, i.e. on the estimate of climate sensitivity. The consensus view is that this value is not known with good or even satisfactory accuracy.

      That depends on estimates on the further physical consequences of warming. There is a huge uncertainty on that.

      That depends on the power of adaptation, both of the nature and of human societies.

      That depends on the available mitigation options. whose real power and side effects are actually very poorly known.

      That depends on ethical attitudes which have a wide legitimate range.

      That depends on the political processes and on the possibilities of influencing then, and on the potentially unwanted features of the new political processes.

      I could have included many more points to this list. The idea that the understanding of basic physical processes of warming can by itself give right answers is unfortunately a fallacy. The other points are not any less relevant.

      The standard argument is that the risk is huge and therefore we must act promptly and powerfully would have more value if we would know, which actions are powerful in reducing the risks, but not as powerful in their potential of causing even more damage through some unwanted side effects.

      Climate scientists are specialists in one part of the problem. They are as guilty in picking among other experts those who happen to support their conclusions. Thus many of them may pick Stern review as support from economists while that report is highly contested by other economists. They may pick Weitzmann in spite of the fact that he has misinterpreted very badly the climate science part of estimating climate sensitivity (unfortunately many climate scientists are also so poorly trained in statistics that they may not see, how severer the error of interpretation is).

      • Michael Larkin

        Pekka:

        “To answer that question we need to know better how harmful or risky the warming is.

        “That depends crucially on the strength of the warming, i.e. on the estimate of climate sensitivity. The consensus view is that this value is not known with good or even satisfactory accuracy.”

        This is something many sceptics can agree with, including me. And yet, I don’t feel it is the “concensus” opinion that is actually projected.

        If it really is true that it’s the concensus, all the IPCC needs to do is to proclaim it from the rooftops; to have it as the centrepiece of advice to policy makers. If it did, a real dialogue could ensue.

        Have I missed this? Is it actually being done? That’s a genuine and open question, by the way.

      • Michael,

        I’m not talking for any consensus. I have some minor involvement in the IPCC activities in Finland, but I’m certainly more critical than many others on much that IPCC has done.

        Part of my identity is being a physicist both by education and by first 10 years as research scientist. For that part I’m not very critical as most of physics is sound. By that I don’t mean that all models would be correct or that every climate scientist would appreciate fully the importance of remaining weaknesses but basically that part of the science is sound. Reading carefully the WG1 report most caveats are mentioned and recognized. There are, however, several places where this correct information is hidden and less careful reading is likely to give a wrong impression on the level of knowledge.

        Another part of my identity is that of an engineer with many close colleges working in fields as diverse as nuclear engineering, wind power, cogeneration, biofuels, residential heating, etc. From that perspective I see, how direct business interests are allowed to influence the discussion of renewable energy technologies in WG3 report and the special report SRREN.

        My professional activities include also working as a systems (or OR) scientist with some economics added to that. Here again I find that the conclusions presented by IPCC are weak. Some conclusions are highly controversial, but more importantly very little is really concluded at all.

        I add a quote from Kahneman*s book “Thinking, Fast and Slow”:

        The idea of substitution came up early in my work with Amos, and it was the core of what became the heuristics and biases approach. We asked ourselves how people manage to make judgments of probability without knowing precisely what probability is. We concluded that people must somehow simplify that impossible task, and we set out to find how they do it. Our answer was that when called upon to judge probability, people actually judge something else and believe they have judged probability. [..]

        Substituting one question for another can be a good strategy for solving difficult problems, and George Pólya included substitution his classic ‘How to Solve It: “If you can’t solve a problem, then there is an easier problem you can solve: find it.”‘ [..]

        [..] There is a heuristic alternative to careful reasoning, which sometimes works fairly well and sometimes leads to serious errors.

        My view is that many climate scientists have chosen to answer the difficult question of what should be done by the easier question of basics of global warming. That kind if reasoning “sometimes works fairly well and sometimes leads to serious errors”.

        (Many skeptics do the same, but their answer is of course totally opposite. That tells, how reliable the method is.)

      • Michael Larkin

        Thank you for your reply, Pekka. The take-home seems to be that climate scientists, in your view, hold the moderate consensus view that you stated, and upon which fruitful discussion could be based. However, you say:

        My view is that many climate scientists have chosen to answer the difficult question of what should be done by the easier question of basics of global warming.

        I respect you, Pekka, and this makes your answer valuable to me. Hence this is in no way a criticism of you, but can’t you see how FUBAR this is? It’s no wonder that many non-experts like myself view global warming sceptically, even cynically.

      • Dave Springer

        If the “physics” were that sound then why were the projections of global average temperature made 25 years ago so badly wrong today? We’ve progressed along the worst case “business-as-usual” CO2 emission growth path yet the global average temperature is below the best case halt CO2 emission path. We didn’t even get the global warming that was supposed to be “in the pipeline”.

        The physics might be sound in the fundamentals but the system is not well enough characterized and only one small error is enough to reverse the predictions. Just a tiny mistake in cloud feedback is enough to change 5C per doubling into 0.5C per doubling. The former might be something to be concerned about while the latter is reason for dancing in the streets.

        The climate science crowd and sycophants has so much emotional energy tied up in man-made climate catastrophe I believe they’ve become quite incapable of rational assessment or acceptance of facts. Hence we’ve Hansen now out peddling his Faustian bargain reasoning saying that aerosol emissions from fossil fuels are halting most global warming and then as soon as we stop burning them the warming will catch up with a vengeance. Can you say flip-flop? How did the “physics” miss those pesky aerosol effects?

        The physics may indeed be sound, Pekka, but the conclusions are unsound. It’s like saying that because the physics of hydrogen fusion are sound we can predict solar activity from that. It doesn’t work that way. There’s a long deep divide from knowing the underlying principles and applying those fully and correctly to complex real world systems. Duh. I question the intellect of anyone who doesn’t understand that divide. You don’t seem to understand it otherwise you’d not be so confident.

      • Dave,

        I have written really many messages where I have explained what can in my view be concluded from solid physics knowledge alone and what requires more than that. I have also noticed that the limits of uncertainty stated by IPCC in AR4 (or any of the earlier reports) allow for very much uncertainty. (Presenting 68% certainty for a range 1.4 – 4 tells about very much uncertainty).

        For me it’s difficult to understand, why so many skeptics continue to argue against the solid knowledge rather than concentrate on points where the uncertainty is acknowledged. Arguing against solid knowledge has only the consequence that the person in question loses immediately all credibility among those who understand the basics.

        Knowing which physics results are really solid knowledge and which are not is, of course, not trivial without strong physics education that has led not only passing the exam but also real understanding of the issues, but it should not be as difficult to judge from the discussion where the limits are.

      • Pekka,

        I don’t think Andy’s statement concerning what is known well is there to answer the question of justifiable action. I believe his statement is here to remind us that we got to do something else than nothing. We got to agree on that proposition, a proposition so central that everything else is on its periphery.

        I don’t think your claim that we need to know better how harmful or risky the warming is has been justified. All depends on the way better is being defined, and since it has not been defined yet, it’s just an ad hoc criterion. Scientific results can always be better, scientific results ought to always be better.

        I value the ideal of perfection. But it’s just an ideal. Anyone who lived with a perfectionnist knows that it’s not an ideal trait.

      • NeverEnding : Lacis’s statement is here to remind us that we got to do something else than nothing.

        Since whether or not we need to do anything is precisely what we do not, his ‘reminding’ us is just ignorance and devious political advocacy dressed up as science.

      • Tomcat,

        Here’s what we know, paraphrasing Allen:

        > CO2 keeps inserting itself everywhere we look. If you leave CO2 out nothing makes sense. If you put CO2 in a whole lot of it makes sense. And then you can put the other pieces into the puzzle and make it work. CO2 keeps being the only explanation for a lot of what happened which is validated, that works.

        This should not be controversial.

        If you have something better than this, please go to

        http://scienceofdoom.com

        and bring on a better explanation.

      • oops….

        Since whether or not we need to do anything, is precisely what we do not *know*, …

      • neverending,
        You seem to be saying that since we don’t know if there is problem from AGW we must impose AGW promoted policies, with no consideration for cost, benefit or consequence.
        That of course would be nuts.
        Can you please clarify your point?

      • Dear hunter,

        I fail to see how I can convey that impression:

        > You seem to be saying that since we don’t know if there is problem from AGW[…]

        Andy’s point is exactly that there **is** a problem with dumping CO2 the way we do into the atmosphere.

        ***

        This also misreads what has been said:

        > [W]e must impose AGW promoted policies, with no consideration for cost, benefit or consequence.

        I never said that. What I said is that something might be needed to be done before one’s ad hoc criteria can be satisfied. Even the Auditor agrees that we make policy decisions in face of uncertainty all the time:

        http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/549098033

        ***

        All in all, dear Hunter, you’re simply using the Procrustes trick:

        http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/tagged/Procrustes

        To claim that we know nothing if we don’t know everything would be a fallacy. This fallacy should have been included in the Top 5 list, since it’s the common ploy in so many public health issues.

        Thank you for your concerns.

        PS: Since WordPress changed his login policy, and that another WP commenter is named willard, I had to change my signature.

      • neverendingaudit,
        Thanks for the reply.
        So cost/benefits can be used to determine AGW mitigatio policies?

      • Dear hunter,

        Rope-a-dope needs more finesse.

      • neverendingaudit,

        It’s pointless to do something until we know what to do. That is a real problem in Europe while it may not be so much a problem in U.S. There are too many people who wish to feel better by doing something although all their ideas on what to do lack all real justification.

        This is a real dilemma as I don’t want to argue that nothing should be done until perfect knowledge exists. I do agree that imperfect knowledge may serve as basis for action. While I agree on all that I do still insist that there must be significant evidence on the net positive expected effect on any major action before it is implemented.

      • The late political scientist Ed Banfield, an expert on urban policy, coined the phrase, “Don’t just do something, sit there!” in response to a long series of counterproductive government policies in the 1950s-1970s.

      • Pekka,

        Please call me willard.

        I’d like to see an example of “what significant evidence on the net positive expected effect on any major action” would be for you.

        Many thanks!

      • As I wrote this is a real dilemma. Thus I have only partial answers.

        I can make a list of several things that do not satisfy the requirement including use of biofuels whose production causes significantly larger CO2 emissions than equivalent fuels based on oil, or implementing solar panels on significant scale in conditions of Finland and other comparable areas. There are also more general policy actions that may be totally worthless.

        A sufficiently low carbon tax would certainly have an influence in the right direction as there are negative externalities related to the use of fossil fuels but a carbon tax high enough to have a real influence may turn out to have a negative net effect.

        It’s true that precise benefit-cost comparisons are not possible, but that’s not a valid excuse for leaving undone all careful analyses of the likely and possible benefits and costs of policies to be implemented on a sizeable scale or of accepting unjustified wishful thinking as a replacement for the best and most objective estimates that can be made.

      • Pekka, agree again, also with stevepostrel’s reply. steve, one of the biggest problems I found as a government economic policy adviser was the politicians need to “do something” (or to be seen to be doing something), even when do-nothing was a much superior option and the “something” would clearly be against the public interest (though often serving a narrow vested interest). Whatever the truth of AGW science, the “catastrophic” nature has not been demonstrated, and appropriate policies do not fall out of the science per se but must be developed in a much broader context. In passing, IMHO the greatest asset of humans is our adaptability and innovativeness, neither of which is promoted by “big government” so-called “solutions.”

      • Pekka,

        As long as we can agree beforehand about what would count as a “careful analyses of the likely and possible benefits and costs of policies”, I would be in violent agreement with you.

        I’m sure Andy would be too.

      • Pekka Pirilla

        Excellent point:

        I do agree that imperfect knowledge may serve as basis for action. While I agree on all that I do still insist that there must be significant evidence on the net positive expected effect on any major action before it is implemented.

        On that basis, what is the evidence that a CO2 tax will change the climate or sea levels?

        This a serious question, not a rhetorical question. If we are going to implement polices that will cost trillions of dollars we should have high confidence they will achieve the outcomes thy are intended to achieve.

        We know the damage the CO2 tax will do to people’s well-being, health and life expectancy. But we haven’t a clue what effect it will have on the climate or sea levels.

        The Australian CO2 tax and ETS will cost $10 for every projected $1 benefit. But the benefits will not be achieved (for the reasons explained here: http://jennifermarohasy.com/2012/06/what-the-carbon-tax-and-ets-will-really-cost-peter-lang/ )

        The Australian government policy does not comply with your clear statement (with which I totally agree):

        there must be significant evidence on the net positive expected effect on any major action before it is implemented.

        I’d argue that the EU ETS, the US EPA regulations and the mandatory renewable energy targets and other government interventions in many developed countries – which are justified on the basis of saving the climate – also breach your clear statement.

      • Pekka Pirila

        A sufficiently low carbon tax would certainly have an influence in the right direction

        Have you considered what the compliance cost would be for a carbon pricing mechanism that meets the assumptions that underpin the carbon price modelling? The assumptions that underpin the modelling are:

        • Negligible leakage (of emissions between countries)

        • All emission sources are included (all countries and all emissions in each country)

        • Negligible compliance cost

        • Negligible fraud

        • An optimal carbon price

        • The whole world implements the optimal carbon price in unison

        • The whole world acts in unison to increase the optimal carbon price periodically

        • The whole world continues to maintain the carbon price at the optimal level for all of this century (and thereafter).

        If these assumptions are not met, the net benefits estimated by Nordhaus cannot be achieved. As Nordhaus says, p198 http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf :

        Moreover, the results here incorporate an estimate of the importance of participation for economic efficiency. Complete participation is important because the cost function for abatement appears to be highly convex. We preliminarily estimate that a participation rate of 50 percent instead of 100 percent will impose a cost penalty on abatement of 250 percent.

        In other words, if only 50% of emissions are captured in the carbon pricing scheme, the cost penalty for the participants would be 250%. The 50% participation could be achieved by, for example, 100% of countries participating in the scheme but only 50% of the emissions in total from within the countries are caught, or 50% of countries participate and 100% of the emissions within those countries are caught in the scheme (i.e. taxed or traded).

        Given the above, we can see that the assumptions are theoretical and totally impracticable. To recognize this, try to imagine how we could capture 100% of emissions from 100% of emitters in Australia (every cow, sheep, goat) in the CO2 pricing scheme, let alone expecting the same to be done across the whole world; e.g. China, India, Eretria, Ethiopia, Mogadishu and Somalia.

        So, what will be the cost of complying with the requirements when they are fully implemented to the standard that will eventually be required?

        I have done some estimates. This will give you some leads, but I haven’t actually stated my estimates. It may prompt some thinking.

        http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=13578&page=0

      • By carbon tax I mean a very simple fuel tax, similar to those taxes that have been in wide uses in numerous countries for years. The cost of the implementation is negligible, fraud is totally negligible.

        The reason that I referred to sufficiently low carbon tax is precisely the fact that we don’t know the optimal level. Use of fossil fuels causes external costs for several reasons, not only their contribution to AGW. Some modest level is low enough to make the expectation value of the net effect positive. Such levels represent no-regret or low-regret policies.

        The difficulties in getting wide enough international acceptance remains a problem, but even that increases non-linearly with very small effect at low levels of carbon tax.

        The problem is that a level of taxation that is essentially a no-regret solution is so low that it’s influence on the emissions and on the rate of depletion of fossil fuels is weak. When the level of taxation is high enough to have a major influence it may already be so far above the optimal one that the net effect for human well-being may turn to negative. That’s even more true because of the problems of global implementation.

        The dilemma that I have mentioned in several messages can be expressed as:

        No level of carbon tax is both effective in influencing CO2 emissions and certain to have a positive net effect when all costs and benefits are taken into account.

        Lowest levels have almost certainly a positive net effect, but they are not effective. Extremely high levels are effective but have almost certainly a negative net effect. A similar dilemma applies to other approaches of mitigation as well. Making wise policy is difficult.

      • Pekka Pirila,

        By carbon tax I mean a very simple fuel tax, similar to those taxes that have been in wide uses in numerous countries for years.

        We already have taxes totalling around 100% on petroleum fuels. What difference would adding a “low” make? The answer is none. All the researchers like Nordhaus, Stern, Garnaut, McKibbin for example have said that for the CO2 price to be effective it must be applied to all GHG emissions from all sources, be of an equal amount on all sources, and a lot of other assumptions as well. If not it is useless, just like Australia’s CO2 tax and ETS is useless (except as a method to redistribute wealth to traditional Labor and Green voters).

        If it is not applied to all sources, it cannot be efficient. It introduces more distortions in the markets. It can’t survive. It would have to be fiddled with incessantly. Eventually it will be dumped or moved towards a fully compliant system. Then you have the full compliance cost I’ve referred you to in several comments on this and previous threads.

        There is serious problem with taxing the raw fuel (crude oil or coal). This is then an input tax to business. It erodes efficiency and competitiveness. Australia set out to replace input taxes with a consumption tax at final consumption. This is considered to be an efficient tax. But input taxes are not.

        It’s not as if what you are suggesting hasn’t been thought of. Economists have been working on this for 20 years (e.g. ABARE (1993) Research Report 93.5 “Tradeable Emission Permit Scheme”). They’ve discarded the other suggestions for one reason or another.

        However, it is now becoming very clear it is totally impracticable.

        But don’t fear. There is a good solution. It is to remove the distortions our governments have imposed on energy markets over the past 50 years or so (to the extent practicable and beneficial). As part of this, remove the impediments to low cost nuclear energy. Then you’ll have the solution with no more government imposed distortions. We’ll all be healthy, wealthy, wise and happy for evermore. 

      • Pekka Pirila,

        Further to the compliance cost, I paste below an example that is reported in today’s The Australian newspaper. This is just one example in many. It is the tip of the iceberg. More and more impacts are being revealed all time. This one may seem small, but it will have consequences. All of them have costs. The compliance costs have not been considered or estimated by treasury, apart from the cost to run the department for three years. The costs to business have not been considered. All requests to the economists who advocate the scheme, like Professor John Quiggin, dismiss the compliance costs as trivial. But they haven’t looked into it. My questions to John Quiggin about this over several months show he has not even considered it and doesn’t want to. Some of his answers to my questions have been really silly.

        Because this article is behind a pay-wall, I hope I can post the first few paragraphs

        THE top executives of companies hit by the carbon tax have to pass criminal checks before being allowed to deal in emissions permits.

        The carbon-cop role of the Australian Federal Police in the Gillard government’s tax has started to take shape, with executive officers of affected companies now required to clear an AFP criminal check before gaining access to the Australian National Registry of Emissions Units.

        The need for an AFP clearance has ruffled feathers. The chairman of one company required to apply for clearance said it was staggering that the government was imposing a tax and then running criminal checks on senior management of companies required to pay it.

        The man, who asked not to be named for fear of “complicating” registration with the ANREU, said it was also galling that the big emitting companies had to pay for independent audits of their emissions by accounting firms before the July 1 start to the carbon tax.

        “It’s hard enough that we are being saddled with the carbon tax. Now we are being told we can’t be trusted,” he said.

        ANREU is an electronic platform that tracks the location and ownership of emission units. Companies with an emissions liability that want to transfer, cancel or surrender units are required to have an ANREU account, as are trade-exposed companies receiving a level of protection from the carbon tax via the issue of free permits.

        ANREU is administered by the Clean Energy Regulator, a new statutory authority launched in April.

        Read more:

        http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/carbon-tax/exec-rage-at-carbon-crime-check/story-fndttws1-1226423866789

      • Pekka,

        Thank you for your explanation. I understand better now what you mean by dilemma. We should beware that dilemmas are not of our own making.

        Readers like Andrew Dessler can spot self-created dilemmas:

        I have a hypothesis that might explain this disagreement. Roger has a book coming out in which he decomposes the Kaya Identity and concludes that it is technology that will allow us to reduce emissions, not conservation. Unfortunately for Roger, this is conventional wisdom. I even wrote that in the book I published in 2006.

        Thus, Roger needs to generate some opposition to his thesis, otherwise he won’t look like an “iconoclast” and a “skeptical heretic.” So when Roger reads Krugman’s article, Roger finds an opportunity to manufacture some dissent and makes the claims that Krugman doesn’t understand the role of technology.

        Of course, anyone who reads the article can see that that claim is absurd. Krugman, along with everybody else who has a brain cell, understands that it is technology that is going to bail us out of the climate change problem.

        The fundamental debate is over what kind of policy to enact that most effectively leads to the development and deployment of this new technology.

        http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.ca/2010/04/does-paul-krugman-advocate-energy.html

        I tend to agree with Dessler as to what is the fundamental debate. My only nit would be that we have to get more empirical than that, since we’ll never know which policy is the most efficient.

        We got to try something. Politicians should present empirical platforms, as Ben Goldacre suggest in that talk:

        Speaking of low hanging fruits, cutting any kind of carbon subsidies seems to be easier than a carbon tax.

      • Peter,

        It seems that Australian lawmakers have succeeded in making a simple thing difficult. Very little, if anything can be gained by complex bookkeeping of emissions, when simple bookkeeping of fuels would do essentially the same thing.

        Motor fuels are an interesting case. They are taxed much more heavily than even rather high proposals for carbon tax. The high taxes have certainly had some influence on fuel consumption in Europe and elsewhere where the tax levels are similarly high, but it’s difficult to estimate, how large that effect is. It’s certainly true that a significant additional effect would require a very high carbon tax. The carbon tax would have more influence on the use of coal, but even there the long term influence may well be less than many expect.

      • Pekka,

        The number and length of comments at level four is getting too difficult to follow and to reply to the level three, so I’ve posted a reply to your last comment at the bottom of the thread.

      • Good post. In response to Andy’s recent article, I said that, even if fully accepting the science as presented by him, this did not provide a basis for assuming that drastic and costly anti-emissions policies were optimal. I have never seen the case effectively made, the costs and benefits which justify anti-emissions policies via alternative use of resources which address problems many would see as more pressing, have not been demonstrated. The best analysis is perhaps that of Lomborg’s Copenhagen group, which ranks emissions reduction low on the CBA scale.

    • OMG, here’s the KNOB again.

      By the way, I agree that we need to focus on the basic physics of heat transfer.

    • “As I have stated before, (1) there is no credible uncertainty identifying atmospheric CO2 as the principal control knob that governs the strengths of the terrestrial greenhouse effect; ”

      Well there may be not uncertainly in identifying atmospheric CO2 as the principal control knob.
      But does this mean one knows how much global warming has been
      caused by CO2?
      Would agree that within say last 200 years Global CO2 level have probably risen by about 50%. Or do you believe CO2 level prior to 1959 are not known well enough to accurately include them in any analysis?
      Can it be said [within a decade of accuracy] when humans first began having any effect upon Global CO2 levels? Say, Cumulatively added 1 ppm?

    • Andy Lacis

      You write:

      (1) there is no credible uncertainty identifying atmospheric CO2 as the principal control knob that governs the strengths of the terrestrial greenhouse effect; (2) there is no credible uncertainty identifying atmospheric water vapor and clouds as the temperature dependent feedback effects whose distribution in the atmosphere is governed by the Clausius-Clapeyron relation; (3) there is no credible uncertainty as to identifying the ongoing anthropogenic increase of atmospheric CO2 as the principal cause for the ongoing global warming.

      Unfortunately, what you have written is not 100% correct.

      There may be no clearly defined and attributed credible “uncertainty”…(etc.), but there is definitely a credible “uncertainty” in view of the many unknowns regarding our planet;s climate and what makes it behave as it does (our host here has elaborated on this “uncertainty monster”here and elsewhere, as have other climate scientists).

      As for the notion that our planet’s relative and specific humidity march in lockstep with Claudius Clapeyron, there is “credible uncertainty” that this is the case in practice (NOAA data going back to 1948).

      Your final statement is pure speculation. There is , indeed, a lot of uncertainty regarding CO2 as the principal cause of the ongoing global warming (which, incidentally, stopped 15 years ago, statistically, in any case – despite unabated CO2 emissions and record atmospheric CO2 levels).

      Max

      .

      • Max,
        No matter how many times you say it, warming did not stop 15 years ago, and the trend for that last 15 years is positive, and does not exclude the “about 0.2 C per decade trend” published by the IPCC, and is not statisitically significant.

        http://www.skepticalscience.com/trend.php

        Learn some statistics for crying out loud.

    • “It is the non-condensing greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, N2O, O3, CFCs, of which CO2 is the principal contributor) that control the strength of the terrestrial greenhouse effect, with water vapor and clouds (being temperature dependent feedback effects) providing radiative magnification.”

      Are you saying that there is a correlation between water vapour concentration (and clouds) and CO2 concentration?

      • AGW consensus depends on increasing CO2 causing water vapor to increase and then magnify the heat further, trapping more heat, which releases more CO2 which raises H2O further,etc. Lacis’ colleague, Hansen, claims this eventually turns Earth into Venus. That is why Lacis likes to call CO2 a control knob.

      • correction:

        CO2 causing warming. Warming causing water vapor to increase. Extra water vapor causing warming. This much is fact.

        Nothing about Earth turning into Venus

    • Andy, I am still stuck on your comment that horizontal heat transport must equal zero. I assume that you are basing this from the law of the conservation of energy. Can you state way it is safe to ignore that the Earth is not a system in isolation?

      • Just to clarify a little, if it can affect albedo it can affect vertical heat transport. I understand why limiting it to strictly horizontal transport doesn’t affect the balance. I don’t understand how you can state it doesn’t affect vertical transport and thus affect the balance indirectly.

    • BatedBreath

      The science is settled folks, and CO2 is the control knob.
      A Lacis says so.

    • I do not believe that the assertion that non-condensing GHG’s are the main driver’s of the greenhouse effect is based on basic physics. I believe it is a conclusion based on models. I do not believe that photons care if they are trapped by water vapor, water, or ice, or non-condensing GHG’s
      The CO2 control knob can be asserted all day long, but clouds of water and ice do not listen very much, even to highly paid activists like Andy Lacis.
      AGW promoters more and more come across as eugenics promoters, dressing up their bigotry and prejudice as science.
      The fact that we have not seen useful predictions of weather extremes, slr, OA, or an actual AGW signal after all of these years has led people like Lacis to reverse the null hypothesis and then sit smugly claiming, no matter how normal the weather is that is confirmation of their predictions.
      Is it rent seeking? Is it group think run amok? Is it, since Lacis keeps attributing political motives to those who question him, projection of his political motives on to others? Who cares, really? His group has cost the world billions of dollars in direct and opportunity costs chasing their snark at our expense.
      We have seen Lacis and others like him rationalize Gleick’s fraud, pretend climategate meant nothing, support their peers who call for ending democratic rule over climate, criminalization of climate skepticism, support of destruction of the world’s industries, support hiding data, and defend work that has been shown to deficient at best.
      He hopes to come here and elsewhere wearing his science hat and make grand conclusions and for everyone to just go away, in some sort of ex cathedra voice. Yet if the curtain is pulled back, we see something closer to the Wizard of Oz.

      • “I do not believe that the assertion that non-condensing GHG’s are the main driver’s of the greenhouse effect is based on basic physics.”

        So you are in denial then

      • … all of which tends to make sceptics of those who start with an interested and open mind. A point which warmists seem not to have grasped.

    • It should be clear to any analytical thinker that a CO2 “Insulating blanket” can integrate temperature changes but contributes nothing to an average temperature. The alleged 33C of GHG warming comes from wishful thinking and bad physics. There’s a reason the purveyors of conventional climate wisdom immediately flatten the Earth into a disk and average the insolation across this disk…though this process has nothing to do with the way modulated solar energy contributes to heating and cooling in our planetary system.

      • The GHG warming is shown even if Earth isn’t “flattened into a disk”

        It’s shown if you use 1D, 2D, or 3D models. hard to deny.

    • Dave Springer

      Andy, the next big thing in technology will come from synthetic biology. This entails the reverse engineering of bacteria and artificial construction of prokaryote genomes. The effort is nearing fruition. Fully artificial genomes for functional bacteria are being crafted on engineering workstations, assembled by automated synthesizers from mail-order DNA snippets, and the new artificial genome inserted into an empty bacterial shell and brought to life. The J. Craig Venter institute is the leader in this field and has recently done a spinoff in partnership with Exon-Mobil to develop artificial organisms to produce synthetic liquid hydrocarbon fuels. It’s only a matter of time.

      You may at this point wonder what this has to do with global warming aside from having a carbon-neutral replacement for fossil fuels in the foreseeable future. Well sir, it has to do with carbon being perhaps the most flexible building block there is for all sorts of useful materials aside from energy storage in the form of chemical bonds in hydrocarbon fuels. Look at all the different kinds of wood and durable goods made from wood. Or carbon-composites used to make everything from body armor to vehicular frames and bodies.

      Once we begin to exploit the use of synthetic microbes to manufacture durable goods to specification we’re going to need a source of carbon for all that stuff we want. We’ll be building goods on-site wherever the site has the fundamental building blocks required which, in addition to air, are pretty much just water and sunlight. The CO2 in the atmosphere will become a critical raw material for us just like it is for a tree. In the not too distant future when building things out of carbon compounds is cheap and ubiquitous we’ll need laws that restrict how much CO2 can be removed from the atmosphere rather than laws about how much can be added lest we build so many cheap (not just cheap but essentially free) durable goods that atmospheric CO2 is reduced to dangerously low levels.

      This technological revolution unfolding before our eyes will certainly be here long before global warming due to CO2 becomes a problem. Even the IPCC acknowledges that before 2050 any negative effects from global warming will be more than countered by the positive effects of longer growing seasons, faster crop growth, and reduced irrigation needs. The effect on the biosphere from atmospheric fertilization is far more well known than potential negative effects like ocean acidification, rising sea level, and more frequent extreme weather events.

      As far as I’m concerned your advocacy for reduction of atmospheric CO2 is counter-productive in light of technological progress which will find very good use for a handy supply of carbon in the air where more is better.

      • Dave Springer

        Oh, I meant to point out that the Venter/Exon partnership isn’t small potatoes. Exon committed six hundred million dollars to the spinoff and has already delivered three hundred million.

      • And in La Jolla! http://www.jcvi.org/ Biotechnology is the foundation of my “so what” approach to the notion of CAGW. The carbon cycle is primarily biological.

      • Dave Springer

        You bet. I’ve been closely watching progress in synthetic biology since 1987 when I first read “Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology” by K. Eric Drexler. The biological “assembler” marks the real and earliest transition into the coming era. Progress has been steady and each of the predictions and milestones marked in that tome have come to pass. The best is of course yet to come but it is approaching rapidly. Synthetic biology is advancing at a pace that reminds me of nothing so much as Moore’s Law of semi-conductors. JVCI was right on time with the announcement of the first synthetic organism. I shan’t be long now. Venter I’m sure plans to live to see his dream come to pass and he’s sixty-something now so that means he’s got a decade or two at most to see it through.

      • DS @ 7.05: Ventner’s “sixty-something now so that means he’s got a decade or two at most to see it through.” Come on, my grandparents, born in the 1880s, died at 62-68, my mother and six siblings at 86-92, so at 70 I expect another 30 years. My neighbour, now 100, lived alone and gardened daily until almost 99, and is still sprightly. And Ventner might even find something to delay the ageing process.

      • Dave Springer

        I’m just going by the statistical expectations. A white male 65 years old today in the United States can expect to live 17.3 more years. I stand by my statement that Venter can expect 10-20 more years of life. Those aren’t guaranteed to be healthy productive years which I didn’t bother mentioning. Of course there are medical advances possible but Steve Jobs still died at 56 despite the best medical care that money could buy and an uber-healthy lifestyle before he was diagnosed with cancer. Jobs was a health food fanatic and not an ounce overweight. So much for health food and lanky frames.

        http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0107.xls

        Of course there may be things about Venter that are predictive of much longer life. Probably foremost among those is longevity of parents. I have no idea what Venter’s parentage would predict but unless you’ve information that they were or are above or below the average then I must still stand by the number I used based on most recent census longevity data for the broad demographic to which Venter belongs.

    • A Lacis refers to “peripheral controversies”, meaning of course the wholesale and unrepentant sabotaging of the science process in climatology.
      Trust us, we know more than you, we’re doctors. Even though we have only contempt for good medical practice.
      Truly breathtaking.

  12. Beth Cooper

    ‘Peripheral controversies, Andy Lacis? Ahemm … well yer would say that wouldn’t yer? What with things gettin’ lost in space or other places.

    • Beth,
      Andy seems to be relying a version of the famous, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” scam.

  13. Beth Cooper

    Came across this ode to the IPCc on an earlier thread at Climate Etc by Max Manicker (Feb 19) It’s acrostic )

    Behind the tipping point prediction
    Unswayed by those who question it
    Lies the greenhouse warming fiction
    Loved by those who benefit.

    Straightforward are the ones who teach it
    High and true are their ideals
    Inciting panic as they preach it
    To one and all their creed appeals.

    Let’s not forget the IPCC mission statement to seek and find.
    Janus 2 sided mask :-) :-(

  14. Two thought experiments suggest just how fraught policy choices would be even with zero uncertainty about the relationship between forcing factors and climate:

    1) If the world’s temperature were cooling by the same absolute value as the warming predicted by alarmists, but the cause of the change was a natural forcing, would climate scientists insist on a massive human intervention campaign (burn more coal or oil, say) to maintain the climate near its current condition? Would environmental groups support such actions?

    My answers: No and no.

    2) If there were a world thermostat installed in the UN building that could control the average surface temperature of the globe with a mere twist of the dial, would its setting be readily agreed by the nations of the world?

    My answer: No.

    The zeal with which most strong activists promote CO2 mitigation policies seems to me not to be based on consequentialism, even though it is justified on that basis. Rather, deep moral and aesthetic revulsion about our materialist and consumerist society seems to be the emotional force. Talented rhetoricians such as Bill McKibben express these feelings very well in terms of humans having metaphysically destroyed nature by their very power to decide what kind of environment the world will have.

    Radiative physics or economic analysis is not going to deal with these value conflicts.

    • And, could the world agree to an “optimum” CO2 level if the UN had a CO2 knob?

      • I was trying to cut out the uncertainty in the link between CO2 and temperature by proposing a direct thermostat in the thought experiment. If the reason to control CO2 is to control temperature, let’s just cut out the middleman and see if the whole endeavor makes a lot of sense. (Actually, if warming does turn out to be a problem, I’d be surprised to see any solution other than injection of particulates into the stratosphere actually implemented.)

        The first thought experiment (about responding to natural forcings) is probably the more telling one as to tribal motivation. People like me are happy to consider mobilizing to deflect natural catastrophes and distrustful of mobilizing to avoid the negative byproducts of prosperity. People of a more green or more technocratic persuasion have the opposite proclivities.

    • “2) If there were a world thermostat installed in the UN building that could control the average surface temperature of the globe with a mere twist of the dial, would its setting be readily agreed by the nations of the world?”

      This is a common skeptic misconception about climate science

      The issue is not about setting some optimal temperature. It’s about preventing a dangerously large and fast change in temperature (and ocean acidity and other stuff)

      • Steve’s point is that many would welcome warming, they would not see it as a “dangerously large and fast” change. Many middle-class and wealthy people from industrialised countries have chosen to move to much warmer climes, and Siberians et al would surely welcome several degrees of warming.

      • “Steve’s point is that many would welcome warming, they would not see it as a “dangerously large and fast” change.”

        Just as many would welcome overfishing (more/cheaper fish!). If they just think climate change is like moving to a warmer region, or that overfishing just creates more/cheaper fish then they don’t grasp the actual problem and as in the case of overfishing they might end up finding the result is not what they expected.

      • My point is that integrating both the rate of change and final level, no international agreement would be had. Lots of people would favor some change in order to move toward their favored level. A rapid increase in Northern Hemisphere growing seasons, for example could lead to much lower food prices worldwide, something that would be very much in the interests of food importers all over the world.

  15. Dr. Pachauri leads the IPCC further and further away from being any sort of ‘scientific’ organisation. We now have grey literature, green pronuncimentos, gender politics, ‘fair global representation’ of participants, perversion of mission statements, and naked advocacy by Pachauri himself.

    File AR5 next to ‘Chariots of the Gods’ and ‘Worlds in Collision’, and re-title it ‘The Kookie Kontrol Knob’.

  16. I am glad to see that there is growing interest in what to do about climate change, rather than on things like arguing whether or not a greenhouse effect exists. I suppose this is progress (and for Judith, I think more progress would be made in this direction, as opposed to highlighting the psychology, social science, and philosophy of climategate and other such “peripheral controversies.” All this does little except to stir people up and re-enforce conclusions people have already come to on these sort of side topics).

    That said, there is already a substantial literature on things like sea level rise, food security, agriculture, ecosystem changes, changes in storminess, heat waves and droughts, etc. There are physical uncertainties attached with these problems, however the largest complication that arises in talking about such topics is that there is no objective framework for classifying which of those items are “important,” nor is there an objective criteria as to how much we should allow changes to occur to various biogeochemical subsystems until we call the problem “catastrophic” or “important” or “worthy of attention.” Even if there was zero physical uncertainty on all of these topics, there would still be disagreement as to what we should do about it.

    These are all value judgments. Some people may not care if the climate system went back to a Cretaceous-like state and the entire Greenland ice shelf were to melt away. There is no all-encompassing model that allows us to preserve the interests of economists, ecologists, ethicists, farmers, insurance companies, the military, future generations, etc. Simple analyses that highlight the differences in cost and benefit from a $ perspective are only really interrogating the best choice to make under one particular value system. Another value system might suggest that not wiping out coral reefs and other ecosystems at rates an order of magnitude faster than natural extinction rates should be more important.

    I am sympathetic with the responses to Andy’s comment that it is not useful to simply think of climate change as a physics problem. However, physics (and physical impacts) is the only objective tool that is available in any aspect of the climate change problem. The information obtained from physical considerations, ranging from radiative transfer to biological stress limits, must be used to inform other socio-economic based components of the climate change problem. Within a given value system, physical considerations must be used to guide action/inaction.

    There is, however, no credible scientific basis for not thinking the following:

    1) By the end of this century, the global climate will be unlike anything that human civilization has ever witnessed. There has been no widespread agriculture, no 7+ billion people, and no significant coastal infrastructure that has ever existed in a world several degrees C warmer than present. Thus, when it comes to the intersection of climate and civilization, we are headed into territory that has never occurred in 4.6 billion years. From just a climate perspective, we are headed into territory not seen since at least the Pliocene, several million years ago, and on timescales of a couple centuries it is easily plausible to return to an Eocene or Cretaceous state (this, to me, is good enough reason to pay significant attention to the climate problem and demand substantial attention to the physical responses).

    2) Committed global warming goes up roughly linearly proportional to cumulative CO2 emitted. At mid-range sensitivity, the response is ~2 C per trillion tonnes of carbon emitted. This defines a precise and tractable measure for policymakers on commitment targets. Furthermore, that response has a lifetime on the order of many millennium, implying that whatever global warming we choose to “halt at” will be the climate we should expect to stick with for many generations, unless dramatic advances in geo-engineering take place.

    3) Other variables, such as Arctic sea ice loss, sea level rise, and several hydrological impacts scale pretty well with the global mean temperature response. Thus, for instance, for a larger committed warming, you’d expect monotonically decreasing (or eventually zero) summer sea ice, more sea level rise, and so forth. This also applies to things like agricultural sensitivity to shifting climate zones, where larger changes are seen as you move progressively further away from the current climate.

    • maksimovich

      Do you think the step like change in the Southern ocean Co2 sink will increase further?,a runaway sink would of course be catastrophic having a potential of around a third of the industrial ff increase.

    • “1) By the end of this century, the global climate will be unlike anything that human civilization has ever witnessed.”

      And one say that about every day for last 10,000 years.

      “There has been no widespread agriculture, no 7+ billion people, and no significant coastal infrastructure that has ever existed in a world several degrees C warmer than present. ”

      Several meaning, meaning more than 2 or 3, unlikely. And not even supported by IPCC report.

      “2) Committed global warming goes up roughly linearly proportional to cumulative CO2 emitted. At mid-range sensitivity, the response is ~2 C per trillion tonnes of carbon emitted. This defines a precise and tractable measure for policymakers on commitment targets. ”

      No one can say how much 2 trillion tonnes of human emission will cause in terms of CO2 rise.
      Depending who numbers you take, human may already cause 2 trillion tonnes to be emitted. If stick to just counting just fossil fuels CO2 emission,
      we probably add 2 trillion tonnes starting now, within 50 years And Global warming will not be 2 C warmer in 50 years. And if instead one to count all CO2 emission from human burning of fossil fuel [don’t count the 1 billion from natural coal burning] for last 150, one reach this point much sooner than 50 years. Roughly, 10 billion per year1960 to 1980- 200 billion. 1980 to 2000, say 20 billion per year- 400 billion. And 2000 to 2012, say 30, 360 billion. So, roughly 760. 1240 divide by 40 is 31 years. Or 2043.
      But as said if you include everything, human breathing, cement making, dogs and cats plus all domesticated animals, land change- added and net lost from lack of trees, and the natural coal fires, burning gas flares, and whatever else you find, then probably according to some have already exceeded it assuming you also think CO2 has large [200 year] lifetime in atmosphere, and therefore count everything for last 150 years.

      But as said, need number that global CO2 would rise, particularly if you mean from this present one add 2 trillion tonnes, as there is no agreement or no one given any estimate of how much it actually adds to global CO2 levels

    • See response below. I mistakenly posted on the main branch

    • Chris Colose,

      My reaction to your comments is it is just silly. I view it as scare mongering of the worst kind. I am sure you believe it, but I really don’t know why. I’ve asked you on previous threads to comment on the realistic rate of change over a century. You did not answer. Here is what I think is possible:

      1. CO2 concentrations will peak at around 560 ppm this century.

      2. The industrial countries will produce and supply small nuclear power plants to replace fossil fuels. These will provide electricity cheaper than fossil fuels and will be rolled out across the world. They’ll run for a decade or more on one fuel load, then be returned to the factory for refuelling.

      3. AGW will cause a temperature rise of around 2 C above what the temperature would otherwise have been (by 2100).

      4. AGW is found to be more beneficial than detrimental.

      5. There will be no international CO2 tax or ETS.

      6. Climate policies will be rational and pragmatic.

      7. Renewable energy make only a small contribution to energy supply (less than 10%).

      8. Life will go on.

      9. The planet will be a far better place in 2100 than it is now.

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

        A great deal of certainty in your comments Peter Lang. Not much room for true skepticism.

      • Wasn’t intended to come acroiss that way. But sometimes when writing blog comments, you just have to stop writing all the caveats in every sentence.

        However, it is interesting that your comment is what the skeptics have been saying about the CAGW Alarmists’ and IPCC’s confident exaggerations and over statements.

      • Rob Starkey

        #2 seems highly unlikely Imo

      • Rob Starkey,

        I believe it is inevitable. see my reasons in this comment here: http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2012/06/05/conservatives-who-think-seriously-about-the-planet/#comment-111744

      • You have only 9 points, I feel you are missing 1000s more.

        What will the seasonal behavior of arctic sea ice be in this warmer world? what impact will the warmth have on ocean currents (flow rate and position) and regional weather? The jet stream – will that behave roughly the same in such a warmer world? How much faster will species migrate towards the poles? What will be the consequences of that rush for the poles? Etc etc

        The thing is any changes that happen are going to be largely irreversible. They are bigger than us. We can’t “reposition” ecosystems back to their original states, we can’t force the jetstream or ocean currents to move per the old ways if the new ways cause problems.

      • lolwot,

        Have you read up on and understood the cost-benefit analyses? If not, what is the point of making comments like this?

        Furthermore, your comments suggest you think that by imposing a CO2 price, or what ever mitigation policy you advocate, you’ll control the ocean currents and sea ice. Dream on!

        And, you seem to think a warmer world is bad. Yet, life thrived in warmer times and struggled in colder times. Deserts shrink in warmer times and expand when colder. There is more carbon tied up in the biosphere when warmer less when colder (meaning life loves it warmer). Coral reefs expand and thrive when warmer and shrink when colder. The climate is much more stable when warmer (when there is less or no ice at the poles).

        So, instead of the emotive scaremongering about how bad change would be, what objective and quantitative information do you have to provide to improve the damage function?

      • You say “life thrived in warmer times and struggled in colder times” but that’s not the issue. The issue is one of rapid change. Things on Earth today (including us) are highly adapted to today’s climate. Things back when the earth was much warmer were adapted to that warmer climate. It is a mistake to think that the existence of adapted entities for both climate states means that either can simply stroll into the other with no problems.

        Here’s some points to convey the scale and complexity of the threat.

        1) Ecosystems will shift as species head polewards, at different speeds, as the climate warms. Aside from the question of whether species can move fast enough, there is going to be a “world war” in the plant and animal kingdom as countless species that haven’t typically crossed paths suddenly find themselves competing. Winners and losers, but due to the speed of the changes nature doesn’t stand a chance of generating biodiversity fast enough to replace losses.

        2) Typical weather patterns and systems associated and expected in our climate today won’t necessarily hold in a much warmer climate. They could even be dramatically different. How will a much warmer arctic ocean with seasonal ice cover impact weather patterns in the northern hemisphere? What about reduced snow cover over north america and europe? Could completely alter weather systems from what is known today. We could easily find ourselves marveling at how different weather patterns a change in a non-linear complex climate system can produce. Any such changes will impact ecosystems mentioned in #1, stressing them even more.

        3) Plant fertilization. Yes from the rising CO2. Different plants will benefit from more CO2 in different ways. This is yet another factor of “mixing up nature” that will bear on the “world war” if plants in competition with each other fare dramatically differently with more CO2. What happens to the loser? And insects that depend on the loser species? Again this impacts #1.

        3) Ocean currents. Can we guarantee nothing major will shift? If this happens it could impact #2, and #1. All these things are interconnected.

        This is all only touching the surface. I haven’t mentioned ocean acidification or sea level rise. All this stuff happening at once in a very short period of time.

        “So, instead of the emotive scaremongering about how bad change would be, what objective and quantitative information do you have to provide to improve the damage function?”

        Hows this for emotive scaremongering: all damage functions are phony. The scale of the changes we are inducing defy any attempt to calculate damages. No-one knows how weather systems, ocean currents and ecosystems will react to the unprecedented changes man is performing in order to estimate damages sufficiently. The climate and ecosystems are a complex, non-linear system that has fallen into place by happenstance. We’ve adapted to this mess. There are no reassurances for what happens when we kick away supports. Good luck.

      • Lolowot,

        You say “life thrived in warmer times and struggled in colder times” but that’s not the issue. The issue is one of rapid change. Things on Earth today (including us) are highly adapted to today’s climate.

        But, is it scaremongering or can it be substantiated? What is the evidence that warming is bad, or rapid warming is bad?

        I’ll give you some evidence that says it’s good, or at least no problem. First we need to recognise that life responds to local climate changes not to the global average. The rapid warmings in Greenland at various times, saw it turn green. Life thrived. Life loved it. Man even went there to live and survived until it turned cold again.

        Man did well in past warm times during the Holocene, but struggled in cold times.

        Large areas of the Sahara Desert were grasslands in warmer times

        We had a rapid warming in 2007 to 2008 and life didn’t suffer. It thrived.

        The Greenland ice core data shows rates of warming of up to 0.2C per year over multi-decade periods. Life thrived. That is far faster than anything experienced in the past century.

        Therefore, I ask you where is the objective evidence to support your contention?

      • lolowot,

        The sentence in my previous comment should have said

        “We had a rapid warming in 1997 to 1998 and life didn’t suffer. It thrived.”

      • “What is the evidence that warming is bad, or rapid warming is bad?”

        I’ve already provided it. The rapid change is going to mix things up. Things are already adapted for the current situation. It’ll take work to adapt to new conditions. Not everything is likely to win that war.

        “The Greenland ice core data shows rates of warming of up to 0.2C per year over multi-decade periods. Life thrived. That is far faster than anything experienced in the past century.”

        The greenland ice core does not show global temperature. Global temperature changes are less than central greenland temperature changes.

        For the distant changes you mention, no-one was there to record how life reacted to record whether “life thrived” or faltered. Neither was anyone there to see how weather patterns changed. Look at the extreme weather events happening in recent years, floods, heatwaves, fires, freezing. Perhaps this is typical of a warmer world, perhaps the jet stream slows down and blocking events become common. Yet historically if that had happened in a warmer world humans and animals would have just roughed it. The fact they lived through it doesn’t mean it’s a “thriving” thing.

        Actually humans have never existed on a world as warm as we’ll probably take it. Rising GHGs threaten to rapidly take temperature outside and above the “interglacial zone” to conditions alien to the planet for millions of years. A lot of things are going to need to reconfigure very quickly.

    • Michael Larkin

      When it comes to the intersection between human civilisation and practically any natural phenomenon, whether or not the latter changes, it will be unprecedented. Civilisation has always changed and continues to change; and its rate of change has been accelerating.

      I’m reminded of when my grandma, then in her eighties, on observing the state of the world, told my sister: “It’s because of all this sex, you know”. As if sex hadn’t always been around, just as climate change has.

      As long as civilisation has been around, we’ve always had to have bogeymen. Witchfinders general see witches behind every bush, and only one way to deal with them.

      Boo!

    • cc,
      You are the last person who should be involved with what people do to deal with our climate.
      And your list is laughable.

      • andrew adams

        It’s a shame that you’re too busy laughing to provide some actual arguments against it.

      • aa,
        How about,
        cc has no way to know what the climate will be in a century.
        cc has no way to know that we will be unable to adapt.
        cc is relying on alarmist bs
        cc is ignoring anything that might mitigate dramatic climate change
        cc is falsely implying he or anyone knows the climate well enough to make useful predictions.
        cc is attributing motives, but seems to be projecting.

      • andrew adams

        hunter,

        Well none of us has a time machine but we can make certain projections based on what we do know. And we know that if we keep pumping GHGs into the atmosphere at the rate we are doing now, or even faster, it will get warmer. Much warmer.
        He is not ignoring possible mitigation efforts, we is talking about what will happen in the absence of such efforts. Which people like you are doing your damnedest to prevent.
        I don’t doubt we will be able to adapt to certain aspects of climate change, at a price. It seems to me to be wishful thinking to put it mildly to think we can easily adapt to everything. We get plenty of extreme weather events at the moment which cause a great deal of human suffering and misery, we don’t seem to be very well adapted to them.
        As for your assertion of “alarmist bs” well it’s just that an assertion. Ultimately your argument is just another take on the “we don’t know everything so we know nothing” schtick.

      • aa,
        We really don’t know that to what extent it will get ‘much warmer’.
        And we certainly don’t need non-engineers and non-biologists like Hansen or Lacis telling us what to do with what they assert is going to happen, even if they finally start making accurate predictions. Lacis has not an idea in his head except what he pulls out of his rear end about what will happen to Earth’s systems.
        It is alarmist bs.

    • Chris Close
      You spread fear and conclusions that are unsupported based on available facts.
      You write- “ there is already a substantial literature on things like sea level rise, food security, agriculture, ecosystem changes, changes in storminess, heat waves and droughts, etc.”

      Chris- there is literature as in fiction or unproven hypothesis, but certainly not valid science on sea level rise, food security, agriculture, ecosystem changes, Etc, Etc.
      The projections of changes to future conditions in specific places around the world were based upon the output of GCMs that have failed to produce reliable results. How can anyone claim to know the net positive vs. negative results of a gradually warming climate to any specific location around the globe without more accurate models? For you to claim that food security will be reduced or many of the other points are simple fear mongering without valid science to support your position.

      • William Kininmonth, a highly reputable meteorologist, has had a few comments on sea-level rise lately, in response to a CRC report claiming that Australia’s east coast faces massively increased flood risk because of global warming.

        [e-mail] The Co-operative Research Centre is one of the about 50 CRCs in Australian universities that receive special government funding for an area of research that is supposed to have particular significance and importance to Australia and its economy. Each CRC receives initial funding from government and an outside organisation(s) as seed money for a few years after which they should be self-supporting from industry grants. From what I can see most are established with a fanfare, often the ‘outside organisation’ is another government agency or CSIRO and the CRC folds once the government funding is withdrawn.
        I saw mention of the report elsewhere but had not registered the essential low projected rise that would give such ‘flooding’. My response continues to be that the historical rate of sea level rise is less than 2mm per year giving an elevation of 20cm over the next century; we coped with that in the past and likely will cope in the future. There is no evidence that sea level rise is accelerating.

        [letter in The Australian] John Hunter’s assertion (Letters 6/7) that his predicted 2000-fold increase in coastal flooding is ‘based on observations, not models’ invites a question. What instruments are used to observe these future floods?

      • Rob Starkey

        Chris Close with tell us that “he knows” that the rate of sea level rise will accelerate greatly from the current rate. Unfortunately, he and others can’t seem to tell us when this change will occur or specifically why the rate of change will evolve.

    • Chris, you are a smart guy and you know a lot. Thank you for continuing to participate. You are as committed to your knowledge as I was committed to mine when I was your age. As I close in on 60, I have learned that I “know” a lot less than I thought I did and that a lot of my “knowledge” is informed opinion. If you treat most who participate here as smart guys deserving of intellectual respect your wisdom will grow through your participation.

      That JC brings articles like this one on tribalism and the one on cognitive processes into the discussion is incredibly refreshing to me.

      I was really hoping that I would read interesting and introspective comments about tribal dynamics from all of the smart folk who contribute to this thread.

    • In the next century, we are headed in a climate that will have temperatures in the same range as the past ten thousand years. Watch the data as it comes in.

    • chris,
      +1

  17. Chris Colose,

    That said, there is already a substantial literature on things like sea level rise, food security, agriculture, ecosystem changes, changes in storminess, heat waves and droughts, etc.

    You made a similar statement on a previous thread and I responded to it then pointing out that: most of the “substantial literature” you refer to does not deal with the damage costs, is selective and biased towards high damage and does not help much for economic analysis. As Nordhaus points out, p24 http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Accom_Notes_100507.pdf

    The major issue at this stage is that the database for impact studies continues to be relatively small.

    Furthermore, sea level rise – which is usually used by CAGW alarmists as the greatest scare – is not such a major cost item. Tol’s estimate of the damage cost, discounted over the century, is about 0.1% of world GDP. In other words it is negligible.

    Nordhaus (2008) Figure 7-5, p145, http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf shows that only 1% of world population and 1% of output is below 1 m elevation. Again, not catastrophic, just an adaption issue over a century.

    • Scientists aren’t tasked to analyze all possible scenarios, they are specifically asked to provide policymakers with descriptions and probabilities of worst-case situations. That’s why the literature on the effects of climate change can be scientific AND alarmist at the same time. And I’m afraid it’s only worth in political, not scientific terms, because it is useful to stir and guide political consensus, but useless as a way to understand the way the world works.

      there is simply zero grants given to investigate what is politically irrelevant, such as ‘more of the same’ and ‘not much of a change’

      • shows that only 1% of world population and 1% of output is below 1 m elevation. Again, not catastrophic, just an adaption issue over a century. ..

        This a major underestimation of what would happen by 2100 if one meter by 2100 is a correct prediction.

      • JCH,

        The comment refers to just the one item – sea level rise – included in the damage function. I suggest you read up the references I’ve given because your comment shows you have no understanding ofd this important matter.

    • Peter,
      CC just repeats crap he hears and writes in a way to practice sounding all sciencey and academic. God help his future students.

    • Only 1% of world population is 70 million people.

      0.1% of world GDP is 60 billion dollars, 1% is 600 billion.

      That is if we manage to stop SLR at 1 meter.

      • Bob Droege,

        I’d suggest you need to put these costs in perspective. They need to be inperspective of a 100 year time frame and total world GDP. You also need to look at all the benefits and all the damages. That is what Nordhaus has done:

        http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf

        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9779.2011.01544.x/full

        Of course there are many other studies (with various degrees of partisan advocacy). Nordhaus seems to be one of the most objective.

        Can I urge you to consider 70 million people moving a few streets in 90 years. Put that in perspective with how many people move that amount anyway. Nordhaus, Tol and others have estimated the costs. It’s all included in their analyses (although I suspect all the estimates are on the high side, but that’s another story).

        0.1% of world GDP is 60 billion dollars, 1% is 600 billion.

        No it is not. That’s a basic error. You have not discounted the figure. On that basis world GDP over the period totals $35,000 trillion. So $600 billion is trivial.

      • Imagine a neighborhood made up of 1st Ave, 2nd Ave, 3rd Ave, 4th Ave, 5th Ave, and 6th Ave. Agree that SLR by 2100 will be one meter, and it will permanently flood 1st Ave, 2nd Ave, and 3rd Ave.

        How many streets full of people will move by 2100?

      • JCH,

        Firstly, I’d suggest you read up on the work done by Tol, Nordhaus and others on damage costs of sea level rise. You need to get an understanding of the big picture as a first step. I agree with you we do need proper cost estimates, by competent estimators of damage costs, but properly allowing for the rate of change, our proven ability to adapt and the rate that infrastructure is turned over anyway.

        Secondly, I’d start with the IPCC central estimate, say 50 cm. After you';ve looked at the central estimate, then its time to start looking at the tail events (low probability but higher costs). Of course this has already been done (but with estimates that I expect are likely to be too high; see my comment here: http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2012/06/05/conservatives-who-think-seriously-about-the-planet/#comment-112290 )

      • I’ve read it. Imo they suffer from what I call 2100 syndrome. I think they’re way off.

        Assuming one meter is a correct prediction, that will become assimilated by the marketplace sometime during the 21st Century – starting say in 2050. And then people will begin asking about by 2105, 2110, 2120, etc.. Because if one meter by 2100 is correct, the next meter will be on top of them much much faster than the first meter.

        So nice little estimates of how many structures and how many people will be within one meter by 2100, they’re as useless and stinky as used toilet paper. That woefully underestimates the stuff that could hit the fan well before 2100.

  18. The four letters IPCC refer to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The Panel is not a scientific body, it’s formed of government representatives who are mostly not scientists. It makes it’s decisions as all such bodies do, i.e. influenced by real and perceived national interests. It may be more important that Pachauri is from India than any other attribute applicable to him. That he wished to continue and that he was allowed to continue is most certainly linked to this observation. The chairman for such a body is commonly selected more based on what he represents than what kind of virtues he has personally.

    While the panel is more Intergovernmental than anything else, most of the other people involved in the IPCC activities are scientists. That’s true for the Bureau although not all of its members are scientists, and it’s true for a great majority of the authors. The international nature of IPCC has certainly led to inclusion of many less qualified authors to reach a more equal global coverage increasing often the workload – and influence – of the most competent among the list of authors.

    To understand why IPCC is as it is one should know well all the political and other compromises that have been done in the decision making process. These compromises may in many cases lessen the quality of the reports to some extent, but it’s difficult to avoid such problems in any international activity. The wider coverage has certainly also it’s advantages both in bringing up some important issues and in making the outcome more acceptable to many governments.

    • Pekka,

      The wider coverage has certainly also it’s advantages both in bringing up some important issues and in making the outcome more acceptable to many governments.

      Your statement suggests CAGW advocacy is good by whatever means it takes. The facts, and good sound policy, are not important as long as “the cause” is progressed.

    • “It may be more important that Pachauri is from India than any other attribute applicable to him.”

      Uh, no. The most important attribute of Pachauri is that he is a dishonest demagogue. His being from India has nothing to do with his lack of character.

      Oh, and it is always entertaining to see the rise of alarmist chestnuts from the dead again like Bela Lugosi in a black and white Dracula film.

      “Some people may not care if the climate system went back to a Cretaceous-like state and the entire Greenland ice shelf were to melt away.”

      The disappearing Greenland ice sheet indeed.

      “The reconstructed 120-year-long calving record from Helheim Glacier shows calving maxima and minima lasting 2–5 years and often bundled into longer episodes of 5–10 years. Two pronounced calving maxima are observed: one during the past 10 years, the other in the late 1930s/early 1940s. The long-term calving increase is probably due to a shift from the Little Ice Age conditions, which were characterized by low air temperatures and strong polar-water influence in the Denmark Strait region and ended after AD 1900 here.”

      http://theresilientearth.com/?q=content/greenland-glacier-cycle-found

      Let’s hear again about how the Himalayan glaciers are going to be gone by 2035 too.

    • PP,
      The problem, is until the curtain was pulled back (by skeptics) on the IPCC the standard believer position on the IPCC was that it was the “gold standard” of climate science.
      The inability of the AGW community to honestly deal with issues like the IPCC makes even you, who are a pretty nice guy, look a lot less than sincere.

    • BatedBreath

      The IPCC is the gold standard of climate science ??
      Another brownish substance springs to mind.

      • BB,
        Donna Laframboise documented in her book that your observation is much closer to the reality than the years of believer claims about gold.

        The corrosive impact of AGW is that this book, written by a journalist and extremely well documented and very specific, was basically ignored by our alleged guardians in the media. If I recall, Peter Gleick condemned the book in a review that was obviously written without actually reading it. Sort of emblematic of the AGW believer/promoter approach to criticism in general.

    • Dave Springer

      Pekka Pirilä | July 11, 2012 at 5:04 am | Reply

      The four letters IPCC refer to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The Panel is not a scientific body, it’s formed of government representatives who are mostly not scientists. It makes it’s decisions as all such bodies do, i.e. influenced by real and perceived national interests. It may be more important that Pachauri is from India than any other attribute applicable to him. That he wished to continue and that he was allowed to continue is most certainly linked to this observation. The chairman for such a body is commonly selected more based on what he represents than what kind of virtues he has personally.

      This one of the few things you’ve written that makes sense to me. Pachauri is from India. He represents cow worshippers. He peddles bullsh!t. Yes, yes… very logical. Score one for Pekka “The Weasel” Pirali. That makes your total score to date: 1.

    • Actually, IPCC stands for I Panhandle Cash and Change.

  19. Here’s a kind of inverted way of looking at it: are the IPCC’s goals and procedures compatible with public awareness and transparency?

    Such procedures as preparing the WG3 report before WG2 and WG1 have finished suggest not.

  20. I was going to save these thoughts until the next Week in Review, but maybe they belong here. Recently we had a statement form the scientists at CERN labs with respect ot the HIggs boson, namely

    “CMS presented an actual mass measurement: MH=125.3±0.6 GeV.”

    This is the sort of statement that warms the cockles of the hearts of true physicists. It is beautiful. It is simple. It is elegant. It is clear and understandable. There is no garbage of uncertainty monsters and post-normal science.

    One can speculate what might have happened had it not been possible to measure the mass of the Higgs boson. Then we might have had a statement something like “We have collected a lot of data, but we have been unable to measure the mass of the Higgs boson . So we cannot know whether this particle actually exists”

    Would it not be refreshing if the proponents of CAGW, including our hostess, were to make one of two statements. They should either state

    “We have mesaured the climate sensitivity for a doubling of CO2 and it is x +/- y degrees Celsius”

    or

    “We have been unable to detect a CO2 signal in any temperature/time graph, so we have been unable to measure the climate sensitivity for a doubling of CO2. As a result we cannot be certain that CAGW exists”

    I am not holding my breath.

    • Jim,

      What has really been done at CERN is not to identify Higgs particles and measure their mass. That cannot be done at present, whether it will be possible at some moment in the future is an open question and also a matter of defining the concept of “identifying a particle”.

      What has been done is to observe that something special occurs at the mass of 125.3 GeV. As the search was for a Higgs particle and as nothing in the observations is in contradiction with the idea that the phenomenon at 125.3 GeV is due to the Higgs particle the present preliminary conclusion is that the Higgs particle has been found.

      Short lived particles like the Higgs particle can never be isolated, they manifest themselves only as peaks in distributions of the mass of a multiparticle system whose all particles are either observed or whose mass is calculated as the mass of something missing from an observed system of particles.

      • PP,You sort of missed his point.

      • Yes, we always miss the point of naive scientific poseurs like yourself and Cripwell. Big whoop as your opinions mean zilch.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        PP’s counterpoint is that just because it looks simple doesn’t mean it is. There is no “Higgs boson” equivalent in climate science – meaning one big experimental challeng that everyone is prepared to rally around – because the problem is more convoluted.

        (I think Hawking said it looks like he *may* have to pay up).

      • Pekka, you write “What has really been done at CERN is not to identify Higgs particles and measure their mass.”

        I am sure you are correct. However, I seem to be in good company. Apparently Stephen Hawking has a 100 GBP bet the the Higgs boson would never be detected, and he has agreed that he has lost the bet.

      • Jim,
        Web is already punishing Hawking. Stephen Hawking is obviously a poseur, in the world view of our self-appointed science referee.
        Taht your point was that the physicists at CERN were using actual science to make their point, in contrast to the Lacis, et al reliance on ex cathedra/ Wizard of Oz treatment the AGW crowd relies on went right over Web and Pekka’s heads.
        Perhaps AGW true belief is going to turn out to correlate to perception or learning dysfunctions?
        .

      • Dave Springer

        Hawking lost ANOTHER bet?

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorne%E2%80%93Hawking%E2%80%93Preskill_bet

        I suppose as long as he holds it down to one bet lost per decade he won’t lose his shirt anytime soon.

    • Not fully understanding what actually happens at CERN, but in a layman’s terms, it would be great if we could take the planet deep into the earth, toss it down a circular tunnel, and smash it while collecting data.

    • Cripwell, what an idiot you are. There is still uncertainty whether the boson exists. They released their findings when the sigma uncertainty level reached a specific number. The energy is meaningless unless it exists. The boson’s existence is still inferred from a statistical signal, a bump in a probability density function.

      You understand zero about science, and you could not use a worse analogy than the Higgs boson to show how to measure a direct signal.

      • Joe's World

        WebHub,

        I sort of have to agree with you.
        Scientists seem to have blinders on focusing on a single path and seem to ignore many contributing factors.
        Slamming molecules together when you have not actually studied the many different differences in the make up is wasting more funding.

      • There you have an example of someone missing the point and driving 1000 miles past it. Joe is the typical climate skeptic, at the same level as Latimer and his gang.

      • Joe's World

        WebHub,

        That is EXACTLY the point!
        You cannot focus on one single point in science without including many other contributers.
        And that is EXACTLY what current scientists have done with “observed science”.
        Ignore EVERYTHING not observed.

        Case in point : A glass of water.
        Do scientists include that it under atmospheric pressure?
        Do they include that it has different levels of pressures?
        Do they include that it is on a rotating planet and it has different velocities?
        Do they include the difference of centrifugal force?
        Etc., etc., etc.

      • WHT, you write “Cripwell, what an idiot you are.”

        Fair enough. I always knew that I am never correct all the time. I tried to use the analogy of the Higgs because it is current. However, as Hunter points out, you have missed the point of what I am writing about with respect to CAGW. Maybe the analogy with the Higgs boson is inappropiate, but the principle which I am addressing, as it applies to CAGW, you have ignored. Maybe you would care to cmment.

        When we can actually measure something, and put a +/- on the number, we have facts with which we can test hypotheses. With no measured facts we cannot test the hypothesis of CAGW. What I am trying to point ou is that whithout a speciifc mesasurement of climate sensitivity, we will never know whether CAGW is right or wrong. Do you agree with me on this position, and if not, why not?

      • Jim,
        Webbie relies on missing the point and then pontificating on the missed point, while ignoring the actual issue. It is his specialty.
        Now he will probably start droning on about peak oil again.

      • hunter you write “Webbie relies on missing the point”

        I understand, but it is frustrating when our hostess has provided a forum where we can have proper scientific discussions. He calls me an idiot, and then when I try to turn to the science that matters, he just seems ot disappear. I notice this happens quite frequently by people who hide behind a cowardly pseudonym under which to post.

      • Rob Starkey

        Doesn’t the data suggest that there is a better than a 99% probability that they have found evidence of the particle?

      • Joe's World

        Past history has shown that 99% in many cases is NOT absolute fact!

      • Steven Mosher

        Dont confuse him. he thinks they actually observed the particle. cause they used numbers and because hawking agreed to pay off a bet.

      • Dave Springer

        Yes, in actuality all they observed was tracks in a bubble chamber which can, by the shape and size, determine what made them. That would be like the tracks in your shorts, Mosher, which would presumably reveal what made them was a giant ass, a tiny prick, and no balls.

      • Manchurian Candidate

        WebHub is the kinest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.

    • Rob Starkey

      Jim
      You offer two potential statements: They should either state
      1. “We have measured the climate sensitivity for a doubling of CO2 and it is x +/- y degrees Celsius”
      or
      2. “We have been unable to detect a CO2 signal in any temperature/time graph, so we have been unable to measure the climate sensitivity for a doubling of CO2. As a result we cannot be certain that CAGW exists”

      I suggest a potential 3rd option which is valid. It could be something along the lines of: Although we currently cannot determine the precise sensitivity of the climate to a doubling of CO2; the best available information today shows that it will result in a temperature increase of approximately 1.8 C +/- .3 C

      Webby/Paul Pukite
      Does your limited technical background as a reliability engineer somehow give you special expertise on this issue?

      • Rob you write “I suggest a potential 3rd option which is valid. It could be something along the lines of: Although we currently cannot determine the precise sensitivity of the climate to a doubling of CO2; the best available information today shows that it will result in a temperature increase of approximately 1.8 C +/- .3 C”

        Here we disagree. Unless the “best available information” is MEASURED data it should not be used as evidence for something so important as CAGW. If we are dealing with an issue measured in trillions of mine and you taxpayer dollars, then I require measured data. Particularly as the 1.8C +/- 0.3 C is based almost exclusively on the output of non-validated models. I have yet to see this sort of number derived in a straightforward manner, with no unjustified assumptions, and a clear and complete derivation presented in one paper.

      • The Viscount Aardvark Q. Trebuchet-Oxymoron, the 1th

      • Dave Springer

        I live on the shore of a wide deep lake and have often thought about building a trebuchet on the shore capable of flinging up to 250 pounds of playload (yes pLayload) out into the lake. I’ll show those wakeboarders how to get some REAL air… but hopefully not how to do a real face plant. LOL

        Sorry, just had to “throw that out there” when I read your name.

      • Jim
        I suggest to you that most of the hype regarding AGW is based upon the fear regarding the rate of temperature increase. The reason to add the “c” to AGW is due to this feared rapid increase in temperature rise and the rapid change in conditions that impact humans’ lives that would result. If the rate of rise is less than 2 C for a doubling of CO2 there is much less to fear regarding rapid climate change and therefore no “c” to be added to AGW.

        This does not mean that it necessarily makes sense to continue ignoring how much CO2 humans pump into the atmosphere. What it does mean, is that humans should address the issue intelligently over the long term.

      • Rob, you have lost me, I thought we were talking alternative statements on climate sensitivity. But you write “This does not mean that it necessarily makes sense to continue ignoring how much CO2 humans pump into the atmosphere. What it does mean, is that humans should address the issue intelligently over the long term.”

        I disagree completely. The empirical data we have strongly suggests that adding CO2 to the atmopshere has absolutely no discernable effects of global temperatures. The proponents of CAGW have also treid to start other scare stories, such as ocean “acidification”; none of which stand up to scientific scrutiny. On the other hand, we know that CO2 is plant food, and the earth is greening as we add more and more to the atmosphere. If we are going to feed an increasing world population, then the more CO2 we add to the atmsophere the better. We are nowhere near peak oil, and even further away from peak hydrocarbons. If we succeed in minig methane hydrates from the sea floor, we will be in a complete hydrocarbon overload. And if we succeed in working out to recycle CO2, the situation for almost unlimited energy available looks very likely.

        So I want to see us pump as much CO2 as we can into the atmosphere. It gives us the energy we need to run our economies at the sort of level where I can thoroughly enjoy my life, and it only does good, with no harm whatsoever.

      • Rob Starkey

        Jim-
        You asked what I meant regarding- What it does mean that humans should address the issue intelligently over the long term?

        Imo it means that we realize that there is the potential that additional CO2 might negatively impact the environment for humans and that this should be taken into consideration in decision making. This would mean that in practical matters that we need to continue to raise the efficiency of automobiles, that when we consider building new or overhauling power plants that CO2 emissions should be considered as a factor in deciding the fuel to use in powering the plant (although it should not be the most important factor). It means taking cost effective steps that would make sense for accomplishing multiple goals.

        One particularly obvious point would be the construction of proper infrastructure to help protect societies from harm from weather. (again, in a cost effective way) This is probably the single most important issue regarding protecting people from the potential damage from bad weather. It is also an issue where the construction must be prioritized by those ruling individual nations. Much of the world does not build proper infrastructure for their society. That is NOT a problem related to AGW and there is no reasonable case to be made that it is an issue that rich nations need to resolve for poorer nations.

      • Jim

        Jim
        I suggest to you that most of the hype regarding AGW is based upon the fear regarding the rate of temperature increase. The reason to add the “c” to AGW is due to this feared rapid increase in temperature rise and the rapid change in conditions that impact humans’ lives that would result. If the rate of rise is less than 2 C for a doubling of CO2 there is much less to fear regarding rapid climate change and therefore no “c” to be added to AGW.

        This does not mean that it necessarily makes sense to continue ignoring how much CO2 humans pump into the atmosphere. What it does mean, is that humans should address the issue intelligently over the long term.

      • apologies for the double post

      • . If the rate of rise is less than 2 C for a doubling of CO2 there is much less to fear regarding rapid climate change and therefore no “c” to be added to AGW. …

        Is the above the above perfectly comforting?

      • Steven Mosher

        You can estimate the sensitivity from the relaxation response after volcanos. So you are wrong. That estimate has uncertainty of course.
        You can estimate the sensitivity by looking at the difference in temperature between 1850 and today and by estimating the total forcing.
        That number also has uncertainty

        MODELS play no significant role in the ESTIMATION of sensitivity.
        even hansen says this. they can confirm what we inferr from observation.
        But If any model had a sensitivity less than 1C it wouldnt work and wouldnt be used because it would be inconsistent with the estimates of sensitivity made from observations.

      • The Viscount Aardvark Q. Trebuchet-Oxymoron, the 2th

        Steve:

        What you say may be true – But so what? On this site, you are dealing with climate scientists that have read almost the whole internet.

        We would all do well to remember that “climate senistivity” is a meaningless term concocted by tax-the-economy-back-to-the-stone-age narco-warmistas. It also doesn’t sound very manly.

        Look – all these “scientists” with their hundred-plus-years-worth of “measurements” and “research” can’t possibly all be right – Therefore they are all wrong. Thank goodness that this is all being studied and rejected on teh blogs! Blog-science rulz!

        Study // Year // deltaT per CO2 x 2

        Arrhenius 1896 5.5
        Hulbert 1931 4.0
        Callendar 1938 2.0
        Plass 1956 3.8
        Muller 1963 9.6
        Manabe and Wetherald 1967 2.36
        Manabe 1971 1.9
        Rasool and Schneider 1971 0.8
        Sellers 1973 0.1
        Sellers 1974 1.32
        Weare and Snell 1974 0.7
        Manabe 1975 2.3
        Manabe and Wetherald 1975 2.93
        Ramanathan 1975 1.5
        Temkin and Snell 1976 1.7
        Augustsson and Ramanathan 1977 1.9
        Ohring and Adler 1978 0.78
        Manabe and Stouffer 1979 4.0
        Manabe and Wetherald 1980 3.0
        Idso 1980 0.26
        Ramanathan 1981 2.25
        Chou et al. 1982 2.29
        Hall and Cacuci 1982 2.42
        Nicoli and Visconti 1982 2.30
        Gilliland and Schneider 1984 1.6
        Hansen et al. 1984 4.2
        Washington and Meehl 1984 3.5
        Wetherald and Manabe 1986 4.0
        Wilson and Mitchell 1987 5.2
        Mitchell et al. 1989 3.5
        Noda and Tokoika 1989 4.3
        Schlesinger et al. 1989 4.3
        Washington and Meehl 1989 4.0
        Wetherald and Manabe 1989 4.0
        Oglesby and Saltzman 1990 4.0
        McAvaney et al. 1991 2.1
        Boer et al. 1992 3.5
        Hoffert and Covey 1992 2.3
        Mahfouf et al. 1993 1.4
        Manabe and Stouffer 1993 3.5
        Lambert 1995 3.5
        Thompson and Pollard 1995 2.1
        Chen and Ramaswamy 1996 2.5
        Gordon and O’Farrell 1997 4.3
        Hegerl et al. 1997 3.2
        MacKay et al. 1997 2.6
        Schlesinger et al. 1997 3.378
        Bertrand 1998 2.5
        Delworth et al. 1999 3.4
        Roeckner et al. 1999 2.6
        Wolbarst 1999 1.28
        Boer et al. 2000 3.5
        Washington et al. 2000 2.1
        Dai et al. 2001 2.1
        Wetherald et al. 2001 4.5
        Boer and Yu 2003 3.50
        Shaviv and Veizer 2003 0.75
        Stern 2005 4.4
        Sumi 2005 2.8
        Goosse et al. 2006 1.8
        Hegerl et al. 2006 2.5

        (from: http://bartonpaullevenson.com/ClimateSensitivity.html)

        There’s also:
        Annan and Hargreaves (2006)
        Forster and Gregory (2006)
        Royer, et al. (2007)

        – but, since these are more recent studies, they have yet to be exposed as completely fraudulent by Anthony Watts.

      • Steven Mosher, you write “MODELS play no significant role in the ESTIMATION of sensitivity.”

        I have read your reply several times, and I failed to find the word MEASURED anywhere. And that is my issue. There is no measured data to support any numerical value of climate sensitivity. As long as there is no empirical data, no measured data to support any value of climate sensitivity, then we have no idea what the numerical value is. That is the issue. And that issue you do not address.

        With respect to the quote I used, I thought radiaitve transfer models were used to estimate radiativie forcing for a doubling of CO2. Is that what you call “no significant”? And as I pointed out to Pekka, no-one has shown that radiaitve transfer models are suitable to estimate radiaitve forcing anyway.

      • I should have added. How are feedbacks estimated? I thopught this was done by the use of the normal climate models. And you cannot estimate total climate sensitivity without estimating the feedbacks.

      • Dave Springer

        If any model employed negative feedback from clouds it would work like a champ at senstivities less than 1.

        Read this, pinhead, it’s a recent discovery about how clouds reflect more light than classical physics knew about and that quantum physics was too complex to predict ahead of the fact:

        The Science of the Glory [Preview]

        One of the most beautiful phenomena in meteorology has a surprisingly subtle explanation. Its study also helps to predict the role that clouds will play in climate change

        http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-science-of-the-glory

      • Steven Mosher

        JIm.

        I say estimated because nothing is measured. all measurement is estimation based on theory.

        Do you know how much the moon weighs?

        did you weigh it?

      • Steven Mosher

        “And you cannot estimate total climate sensitivity without estimating the feedbacks.”

        wrong. read a few papers on estimating ( measuring with uncertainty) the climate sensitivity from the relaxation response after negative forcing from a volcanic eruption. You dont need to estimate feedbacks. The total forcing is all you need to estimate and feedbacks fall out.

        If you have every tried to characterize a system dynamics by only having inputs and outputs you would know this. For example, deducing the control system inside a system when you only have external data. hard to do, but it’s doable. hmm. see system identification. I think even wikipedia knows more than you.

      • Steven Mosher

        The forcing for a doubling of C02 is 3.7Watts. Theoretically estimated ( like the weight of the moon) and confirmed and validated by measurements. The theory is used to build radars, your cell phone, stealth aircraft.. many things that work.

        So we know ( like an engineer knows) that doubling c02 will increase forcing by 3.7watts. pretty simple. Lindzen even knows this. as do spencer and christy. In fact, spencer USES this theory to compute his UHA temperatures. Yup. the temperatures calculated for UHA REQUIRE the use of physics models ( shudder) .. and those models predict a forcing of 3.7W for a doubling of C02. are those models correct? yup. measured, validated, and used by skeptics every day

      • The forcing for a doubling of C02 is 3.7Watts. Theoretically estimated ( like the weight of the moon) and confirmed and validated by measurements. The theory is used to build radars, your cell phone, stealth aircraft.. many things that work.”

        So let begin by looking location. Say 5 location. North pole, 400 miles due east of Washington monument, 400 west of it [on ocean surface].
        Summit of Mt Everest, and South Beach, Florida.

        Suppose one had such as thing as constant or unchanging average temperature.
        CO2 levels at 200 ppm, and get average temperatures over 100 years at those 5 location.
        Now double the CO2 so have 400 ppm and get average temperature for 100 years. Getting this 3.7Watts of forcing.
        So does that mean average air temperature goes by some amount such 1.2 C?
        Does whatever number [such as 1.2 C] be the same amount of air temperature increase for all locations. Does the ground temperature increase by certain amount?
        If air temperature increase by certain amount does every hour of the day have same amount warming. Or are daytime high temperature higher. Or are night time lows warmer.

        OR does it increase the model’s average temperature, and one needs to runs a program that somehow gives the answer for each of the 5 location. Or in other words no one knows.

        Or is like increasing the solar constant by 3.7Watts. Similar having earth be closer to the Sun.
        Or does make the averaged blackbody [computer model of Earth] radiate into space 3.7Watts per square meter of entire surface area of earth [similar to above where one need to run a compter model to have any hope getting a specific temperature sometime somewhere so even more clueless to what is actually warming but it’s the end result is increased radiation to space.

        Or other?

      • steven mosher, you write “The forcing for a doubling of C02 is 3.7Watts. Theoretically estimated ( like the weight of the moon) and confirmed and validated by measurements. ”

        First, the moon has no weight. It has mass. But you say that the 3.7 Wm-2 has been “validated by measurements”. I have never been able to find this validation. Where is it in the peer reviewed literature? And, please not some vague reference. the reference, page, paragraph, and a little text please. I have seen such data which cliams it is consistent with the 3.7, but never measurements which validate this number.
        You also write “measured, validated, and used by skeptics every day”
        Not quite. As I have pointed out to Pekka, it is true that the radiative transfer models have been validated to perform the tasks they were designed to perform. These models were never designed to estimate radiative forcing. Myhre et al 1998 merely assumed that they can be used for this purpose. Where, in the peer reviewed literature, has anyone proved that radiative transfer models are suitable to estimate radiative forcing?

      • Jim,

        I’m sorry. The only thing you have pointed out is your lacking understanding of physics.

      • Dave Springer

        Pekka “The Weasel” Pirila weasels out again. Jim specifically asked for the observational data confirming the 3.7W forcing from a CO2 doubling. Pekka responsed with “you don’t understand the physics”.

        Maybe Pekka doesn’t understand english. Perhaps Jim needs to translate his question into Finnish so the weasel might understand it was a request for empirical data.

        :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)

        Conversational condoms above. I’m going to need a bunch of them.

      • Dave, you write ““The Weasel” Pirila weasels out again.”

        Thanks Dave. This whole buainess of how the 1.8 C (or whatever) for a doubling of CO2 is derived is as loose as a goose. It is completely unscientific. And when one tries to nail it down, all one gets is the sort of comment I got from Pekka.

        I wish there was a single reference where someone starts from first principles and shows, clearly, how any specific number for the climate sesnitivity is actually derived. A step by step clear, scienfic paper, with all the references gathered together. But there isn’t. I can see all the sloppiness, but I dont know how important it is. And that is my problem. And, to me, there is still the unresolved sloppiness as to whether a change in lapse rate is a feedback or not, and how it’s effect is put into any final number.

        All numbers claimed to be valid measures of climate sensitivity are derived by “science” that rings like a cracked bell.

      • Maybe Pekka doesn’t understand english.

        if you would understand physics you would understand why my comment was on the point.

      • The Viscount Aardvark Q. Trebuchet-Oxymoron, the 3th

        Jim Cripwell:

        Wouldn’t it be just spiffy if some organization of qualified scientists were to summarize the state of our knowledge of various parameters of climate science for those skeptics who, like yourself, are curious enough to engage the scientific lierature?

        http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch8s8-6.html

        Now, if you will kindly excuse me, I must re-fill my bowl of popcorn in anticipation of another productive day of blog-science.

      • Viscount, you write “Wouldn’t it be just spiffy if some organization of qualified scientists were to summarize the state of our knowledge of various parameters of climate science for those skeptics who, like yourself, are curious enough to engage the scientific lierature?”

        I am fully aware of everything that is in the AR4. It is very easy for you to claim that the AR4 answers my questions, but it does not. For example, where in the AR4 dioe it explain why radiaitve transfer models are suitable to estimate radiative forcing? Please provide page number, paragraph, and a few worlds from the text.

        Sorry, Viscount, you are completely out of your depth. As is Pekka.

      • Viscount, that will increase popcorn consumption :)

        ” It is broadly defined as the equilibrium global mean surface temperature change following a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration.” Right from the start it eliminates all of the questionable variables. So ,per your link it is all CO2. That Broad definition is the heart of the issue.

        “To assess the reliability of model estimates of climate sensitivity, the ability of climate models to reproduce different climate changes induced by specific forcings may be evaluated.” Unforced variability?

        For over 30 years there appears to be no trend in the ENSO regions. Perhaps the relative humidity knob requires and 11 to turn to :) The models are not all that skillful in the tropics and the Antarctic. That could indicate a problem with with a lack of “understanding of the role of key radiative feedback processes associated with water vapour and lapse rate, clouds, snow and sea ice in climate sensitivity”

      • The Viscount Aardvark Q. Trebuchet-Oxymoron, the 4st

        Jim Cripwell:

        I am fully aware of everything that is in the AR4.

        Then why, sir, do your comments strongly suggest near-complete ingorance of the contents?


        It is very easy for you to claim that the AR4 answers my questions, but it does not. For example, where in the AR4 dioe it explain why radiaitve transfer models are suitable to estimate radiative forcing? Please provide page number, paragraph, and a few worlds from the text.

        Here:

        http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch2s2-8.html

        Quote:

        The TAR and other assessments have concluded that RF is a useful tool for estimating, to a first order, the relative global climate impacts of differing climate change mechanisms (Ramaswamy et al., 2001; Jacob et al., 2005). In particular, RF can be used to estimate the relative equilibrium globally averaged surface temperature change due to different forcing agents.

        Go read Ramaswamy and Jacob.

        It is very easy for you of claim that your questions have not been answered by other commenters on a blog. Only a True Skeptic would base their opinions of published science on such croud-sourced ‘evidence’.

        Scientific research into climate sensitivity has not suddenly ground to a
        halt simply because you fail to understand it.

      • Viscount, you write “The TAR and other assessments have concluded that RF is a useful tool for estimating, to a first order, the relative global climate impacts of differing climate change mechanisms (Ramaswamy et al., 2001; Jacob et al., 2005). ”

        Thank you. Now I can go and do my homework. I have been asking this question for some time, and you are the first person who has answered it. So again, tahnk you.

      • Thank you, Viscount, for the references, and I have started my hime work. I came across

        https://sites.google.com/site/globalwarmingquestions/ar4beef

        I am not sure who wrote this, but apparently I am not alone in my suspicions. I quote from what I found, though I am unclear who the author is.

        “The ‘simple formulae’ in Ramaswamy et al (the TAR) can be seen in Table 6.2 of the TAR, in section 6.3.5. This table has three different formulae, that give different answers for the RF due to doubling of CO2. The simplest one is RF = 5.35 ln (C/C0), and it is probably this one that is used in AR4, but this is not made clear. This is a further example of the astonishingly sloppy and careless work of the IPCC on this crucial issue. ”

        Also, from the paper I find
        “Note that Ramaswamy et al. (2001) is not a scientific paper – it is the previous IPCC report (the TAR)! Astonishingly, all the IPCC can come up with to justify the key step in its argument is the blunt statement that its previous formulas are valid”

        Maybe my idea that the derivation for climate sensitivity is based on sloppy scienc e is a lot closer to the mark than I thought.

      • The Viscount Aardvark Q. Trebuchet-Oxymoron, the 5rd

        Jim:

        Since I was “completely out of my depth” earlier today, I will accept your “thank you” under advisement and with a small grain of ironic satisfaction.

        But wait:

        Maybe my idea that the derivation for climate sensitivity is based on sloppy scienc e is a lot closer to the mark than I thought.

        I see that it has taken you all of 15 minutes (!) to study the AR4, to read Ramaswamy and Jacob, and go on to derive satisfactory confirmation of your suspicions of scientific substandardness by finding an anonymous web-site with some AR4 “beefs”.

        I applaud you, sir. Standing ovation.

        Simply. Amazing.

      • So here we go again.

        For 15 minutes Jim was pretending willingness to learn something.

      • Jim Cripwell

        As it was with Pekka, the Viscount is unable to come up with a scientific study, based on actual physical observations or reproducible experimentation, to validate the (2xCO2) RF estimate used by IPCC.

        This piece of scientific evidence remains as elusive as the will-o’-the-wisp.

        Yet the civilized world is being asked to drastically curtail its standard of living based on this imaginary figure.

        Truly amazing!

        Max

      • Aw, c’mon, Pekka – Jim (Cripwell) is “willing to learn”.

        It’s just that you’re “unable to teach”.

        Max

      • The Viscount Aardvark Q. Trebuchet-Oxymoron, the 6nd

        Max:

        As it was with Pekka, the Viscount is unable to come up with a scientific study, based on actual physical observations or reproducible experimentation, to validate the (2xCO2) RF estimate used by IPCC.

        Sigh. Confession: I never have been very good at spoon-feeding hungry denialists. Mea cupla.

        And since two whole blog-commenters have failed to convince two whole other blog commenters on this matter – it must be the case that climate sensitivity is “imaginary” and therefore that all of climate science is a hoax. Blog-science saves us from fascism-communism again. Yay!

        Note to self: Get a bigger bowl for popcorn.

      • Viscount

        You humor is witty.

        Your logic is fuzzy, however,

        “Spoon-feeding” requires that you have some “food” to “spoon feed”.

        You don’t.

        Just “hot air”

        Max

      • Max,

        Do you really believe that Jim was willing to learn?

        Should I believe that you are willing to learn?

        By now there’s a lot of evidence on both these questions and all that evidence points to the same direction.

        It just cannot be so difficult to get some – even remote – understanding on what scientific knowledge is and how scientific publications should be used for learning. Both you and Jim keep on claiming that no relevant publications exist and when such publication are listed an absolute denial mode is applied to dismiss those papers.

        The most likely explanation is a purposeful attempt to mislead those supposed readers of this site who might still be influenced by that. I don’t know whether my suspicion is correct but that’s most certainly how it seems to be.

      • The Viscount Aardvark Q. Trebuchet-Oxymoron, the 8nd

        Pekka:

        Please try not to upset Max and Jim.

        They really seem to genuinely believe that the comment boards on blogs like Climate Etc. have some connection with scientific research. (Maybe it’s because eveyone here is obviously a more qualified expert than eveyone else. I dunno.)

        Anyhow – If you disjoin this belief from them, then they might realize that actual homework – (with textbooks, articles, and data analysis, even!!) – is sometimes required for leaning about science. This sort of science homework often requires more than 15 minutes! Heads will explode.

      • Pekka and Viscount

        Having read through IPCC AR4 WG1 plus many of the cited references, I have been unable to find the empirical scientific evidence I (as a rational skeptic) had hoped to find to substantiate the IPCC’s CAGW premise.

        I was “willing to learn” (as Pekka puts it), but it just wasn’t there.

        It appears that Jim Cripwell has had the same problem.

        While proclaiming that such evidence does indeed exist, you two have also been unable to cite the specific documents, which would provide this evidence, preferring instead to waffle using scientific-sounding double-talk (Pekka) and juvenile gibberish (Viscount).

        Alas.

        Max

      • The Viscount Aardvark Q. Trebuchet-Oxymoron, the 9st
      • Dave Springer

        Yet over the history of the earth the sun has increased its power output to the earth by 10% and this, with the sun today the strongest it’s ever been, the earth has been in an ice for the past several million years.

        To a rational person this reveals something, Steven. It informs the rational mind that power increases on the margins don’t necessarily result in temperature increases. If solar constant increased 10% (some 160 Watts) and the result is an ice age then what can we deduce that a 3.5W increase from manmade greenhouse gases will do? Judging by history it will make things colder.

        A senior scientist I happen to know told me once, “Springer, hypotheses have to make sense. Facts don’t.” The facts don’t make sense, Mosher, but they remain facts. That’s why they call it the faint sun *paradox*.

        This concludes your history lesson for today.

  21. Joe's World

    Judith,

    NASA as well has taken the IPCC approach of ignoring anyone who has not followed the same path as the rest of scientists and locked out anyone who may contribute to our knowledge base.

    The temperature data approach of science IGNORES ALL areas that contributes to creating temperature.
    Here is a simple list of areas NOT included:
    Planetary tilting.
    Atmospheric pressure(Not pressure on water).
    Pressure study.
    Atmospheric density differences.
    Solar ray distribution.
    Sun’s activities.
    Velocity differences.
    Planetary shape.
    Oceans density difference.
    Ocean salinity.
    The make up of space particles.
    Density differences of material.
    Density reaction to heat and cold.
    Water loss to space.

    It takes many factors to generate our current temperature.

  22. Considerate thinker

    Congratulations for an excellent topic and for the help of the two original posted comments in and their probably unintended role in critically focussing responses rather than trying to later divert and obscure as they usually do. That conditioning, starkly outlined the later statement from Andy Lakis revealing, his infallible belief that underpins the problem under discussion and the inability to even hint at any doubt or concession to lack of knowledge.

    Thank you to those that pointed out the obvious frailty of that position, and challenging, where challenging is required. This leadership may encourage other scientists to simarly speak up without being branded as either anti science, or worse still deniers. I admire you all.

    So thanks Dr Curry for providing a crystallizing rather than polarizing subject, for something, that must be addressed in order science regains the respect it deserves.

  23. The simplified English version . . .

    “The IPCC is corrupt.”

  24. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Peter Lang shows us denialism-in-action:

    “By what reasonable review process, therefore, can the IPCC identify lying racketeers, and protect its process from their denialist attacks?”

    Peter Lang denies If this was a major issue, it would have been exposed long before now. But it hasn’t been.

    Peter Lang, thank you for your vivid example of denialism in action!   :)   :)   :)

    Haven’t numerous recent books and articles thoroughly documented racketeering attacks on climate-change science; attacks that take precisely the same form as racketeering attacks on tobacco science? To cite just the books named in David Karoly’s recent Australian Book Review:

    • Michael Mann’s The Hockey Stick And The Climate Wars: Dispatches From the Front Lines,

    • Naomi Oreskes’ Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming,

    • Stephen H. Schneider’s Science as a Contact Sport: Inside the Battle to Save Earth’s Climate,

    • Guy Pearse’s High and Dry: John Howard, Climate Change and the Selling of Australia’s Future, and

    • Clive Hamilton’s Scorcher: The Dirty Politics of Climate Change.

    Peter Lang, your post’s breathtaking denial of even the existence, of all of the factual material in all of these works, has provided Climate Etc. readers with an outstanding example of the willful ignorance that is so characteristic of polemic denialism. For which example, thank you Peter Lang!   :)   :)   :)

    THE EXAMPLE OF THE SURGEON GENERAL

    The role of IPCC reports is not the Sinclair Lewis-style muckraking of the above books, but rather the role of US Surgeon General Luther Terry’s report “Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States” (1964, a Google search finds it).

    The job of Dr. Terry’s “Smoking and Health” was simple:

    • Summarize the science, and

    • Summarize the policy implications of that science.

    Simple … yet as history thoroughly documents, and legal prosecution affirmed, tobacco industry racketeers vehemently attacked the science, for precisely the reason that Steve Milesworthy admirably summarized in his Climate Etc. post:

    “Many wishing to avoid the policy implications are avoiding the discussion with baseless challenges to the science.”

    WHAT CAN BE DONE

    What can be done in a positive sense? A positive role model for science in general, and the IPCC in particular, is provided by the aggregate body of James Hansen’s work, which is usefully summarized, and available to all citizens free-as-in-freedom, on the web page James Hansen’s articles on arXiv. These articles include:

    Scientific Case for Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change to Protect Young People and Nature

    Earth’s Energy Imbalance and Implications

    Paleoclimate Implications for Human-Made Climate Change

    Target atmospheric CO2: Where should humanity aim?

    Implications of “peak oil” for atmospheric CO2 and climate

    How Can We Avert Dangerous Climate Change?

    Viewed as a (most impressive!) whole, these articles ask all right questions, and seek the answers diligently, and face-up to the policy implications bravely (and this is precisely the proper role of the IPCC too).

    As happened in the tobacco wars, racketeering denialists (and their dupes!) will abuse and deny and threaten and deny and obfuscate and deny and litigate and deny … and the racketeering denialists will never stop … because denialism is all that they know. But in the long run, who cares?   :)   :)   :)

    The best response for climate-change scientists is to do what medical scientists did: relentlessly produce better-and-better science, with greater-and-greater transparency, and thereby slowly overcome feebler-and-feebler, flabbier-and-flabbier, denialism.

    For which, good on `yah, science!   :)   :)   :)

    • BatedBreath

      Fan shows us racketeering alarmism-in-action. Despite overwhelming evidence of the inherently politicized and corrupt nature of the IPCC cadre, he still urges unquestioning acceptance.

      He does though half-stumble on a truth : that climate science urgently needs to relentlessly produce better-and-better science, with greater-and-greater transparency, and thereby slowly overcome feebler-and-feebler, flabbier-and-flabbier, alarmism.

      • Dave Springer

        BatedBreath | July 11, 2012 at 9:59 am | Reply

        Fan (John Sidles of UW Medicine) shows us racketeering alarmism-in-action.

        He does though half-stumble on a truth :
        ————————————————————————————

        Even a blind squirrel wearing a stupid bow tie will find an acorn occasionally.

        My emphasis.

      • Dave Springer

        P.S. Here’s enough conversational condoms to cover my rudeness for this week.

        :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)

      • Dave Springer

        Every prick on the internet should use them.

      • lol, lol +

    • Fan,

      Too much corrupted areas of society WOULD have major effects and consequences, such as religion and the leaders that follow absolutely without question.
      We placed ABSOLUTE TRUST in our scientists to solve problems so that we may NOT have to do it ourselves.
      Unfortunately, they followed the paths of their own and NOT science!

      • …indeed, and often enough the weaklings tell private citizens that they should undertake the massive projects themselves on their own dime, instead of checking on the work done by the climate gangstas

    • Dude,
      Get more sleep.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      On behalf of all the rational skeptics and committed scientists in the world, please let me express this appreciation that all of us who post on Climate Etc. owe a great debt of gratitude to comments by Homer Simpson … uhhhh  … Lord Voldemort?  … uhhh  … anyway, comments that by their example help all of us to appreciate that rational skepticism and science are natural allies, in a partnership that stands opposed to abuse, demagoguery, ideology-driven denialism, willful ignorance.

      Thank you sincerely, whoever you are!   :)   :)   :)

  25. An experiment in tribalism and trust:

    Post a series of topics, half a ‘control’ group under the usual rules of commenting and the other half barring the use of any reference to specific people or identifiable groups (other than the minimum requirements to cite source material, such as published articles).

    No “I”, no “you”, no “they” or “them” or “we” or “us”, no adjectives describing people, either perjorative or praising (no “delinquent”, no “diligent”), no “team”, no “herd”.. Nothing about the tribes. Just about the ideas.

    And no links to articles hosted on cites that do not respect this focus on ideas over making it about personalities.

    Remove all the crutches of distrust, all the easy means to sow untruth and inject distractions. Get the people out of the middle of the discussion, for half the topics in the series.

    I predict a postcount of 5% in those impersonal topics compared to the insult-drenched, invective spewing tribal control group.

    Which tells us what?

      • Case in point. Compare:

        >The best tree ring proxy in the world has error bars two orders of magnitude larger than the error bars on a modern weather station thermometer.

        >The selection criteria for proxy tree rings is necessarily skewed by the extreme limitation on conditions for finding any tree at all more than a few hundred years old, and the practice of examining tree rings tells that the majority of such trees decline in value as proxies at some point in their development (never to resynchronize with actual temperatures) even if they originally grew in such a way to have ever been valid as temperature proxies, in locations representative of their weather basin, and weren’t warped, water-logged, frost damaged or otherwise distorted afterwards.

        >It would be surprising for credibility to be attached to the claims in the article.

        With:

        >>Only a real idiot believes anything in the British press, much less in the Daily Mail, a remarkably distortionate bunch of ragbenders. And let’s face it, the source of the study itself is a puny group of rabid Lomborgite apologists who dredged up any old crap lumber they could find and then made unwarranted claims without archiving or documenting, making public or available for audit, their data, their emails, their salaries or their children’s medical records; they’re socialists and facists!

      • Bart R,
        Yet Mann and Briffa’s work is rock solid.
        You are a maroon.

    • Steven Mosher

      95% of them are idiots.

      there are few places that come close to the place you describe.
      Lucias, held,..

      Actually Bart, that would be a good test.

      Lets rank blogs by proportion of comments that use triablistic words.
      I could write a script…

      • Rob Starkey

        In your opinion, what percentage of those who “know” that more CO2 will lead to a disaster in the future for humanity are idiots? 100%?

      • Steven Mosher

        You’d be closer to that mindset than I would be, so you figure it out

      • Dave Springer

        Steven Mosher | July 11, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Reply

        “I could write a script…”

        You could BE the script…

      • You know, of course, I’d rank bimodally on the extreme ends of the scale.

        I just can’t decide some days if I’d rather be right and clear, or smug and sneering.

        How do all you folks make the decision? The ones who’ve ever managed to be clear or right, I mean?

  26. It seems that any time the CAWG or IPCC apologists get backed into a corner, they start talking about tobacco. Unbelievable.

    • jim2,
      Have you not listened to the AGW believers at all?
      They have explained this rather clearly:
      Tobacco causes global warming.
      And creationists are pushing tobacco on children, so they can die sooner and go to heaven. And creationist tobacco farmers want to destroy the Earth so that people will smoke more to relieve the anxiety and suffering, plus die more quickly so the end of the world can come quietly, allowing Jesus to return and raise from the dead all of those who have died from creationist tobacco.
      And then we will all be raptured away to heaven, where we can smoke without fear and God does not allow global warming in heaven.
      NOW do you understand how our betters have come to their enlightenment?
      Fan, and lolwot and Robert and the rest have been trying to share this with us for quite a while.
      ;^)

    • Dave Springer

      Yabbut to be fair when the extreme skeptics get backed into a corner they start talking about DDT. DDT/tobacco samo samo in that context.

  27. So y’all deniers, you did read the post, about IPCC accountability and transparency?

    Did you not notice the conclusion that the “scientific quality of the IPCC reports was not seriously challenged.”?

    As you all seem so much in agreement with the conclusions on the weakness of accountability and transparency, presumably you also agree about the quality of the science of AGW?

    Or are you merely engaging in tribalism?

    • VTG,
      Since corruption excludes accuracy, and since the IPCC has been well documented to be corrupt and has made signifcant documented errors as well, I think the you are grasping at rhetorical excrement.
      Lacis’ opening line, “Why get so distracted by all sorts of peripheral controversies?”
      Is eerily similar to the line from the Wizard of Oz, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” in its intent: Don’t pay attention to our lying cheating and deception, we are scientists, we don’t make errors
      Lacis’ sort of cheap bluster seemsto have succeeded in detering you from thinking rather well.

      • Hunter,

        so you agree with the paper on governance, but disagree with the conclusions of the same paper on the quality of the science.

        Interesting.

        Could I suggest that your use of the words “corrupt”, “excrement”, “lying”, “cheating” and “deception” aren’t compatible with a civilised debate?

        Also that they are excellent examples of engaging in tribal behaviour?

      • No, follow this if you can: the IPCC problem has been noted by many skeptics for years, and very well doumented.
        this paper, in attempting to pretend that a corrupt process will lead to good science, is worthless.
        You are simply flinging poo at the wall and hoping it sticks.
        You are the tribal one, pretending that your paper is somehow the definitive paper onthe topic.
        Cvilized debate? What is civilized about people who condone what Gleick did, call skeptics ‘deniers’ specifically in reference to holocaust deniers, and call for criminalization of cliamte dissent?
        Get back to me when you clean your clogged up septic tank and then we can chitchat about civilized behavior.

      • Hunter,

        To be clear, when I use denier, I mean in the usual sense, ie the grief/change curve as defined by Kubler-Ross. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%BCbler-Ross_model

        “Denial can be conscious or unconscious refusal to accept facts, information, or the reality of the situation”

        You come across as very angry. Interestingly that’s the next stage, “Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy”

        Does the cap fit?

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        To be fair, “Viscount”, it is true that nowadays many climate-change denialists are evolving rapidly toward “acceptance”!   :)   :)   :)

      • mike –

        Actually, hunter has on many an occasion insulted me personally. I couldn’t care less, as I see no particular reason to value his opinion about me personally (he’s never met me and obviously sometimes formulates his opinion without having any valid data).

        I’m not going to sign on to VTG’s theory as to the basis for hunter being a “denier” (if, in fact he is one), but there’s no doubt that hunter comes across as quite angry, often. What would be your alternative explanation to that given by VTG?

      • Josh,

        I’m so grief-stricken at the loss of yet another of my comments– two in one day!–that I’m in no condition to discuss much of anything. Let me get back to you. O. K. Josh?

      • mike,

        If you want them published, send them to me.

        willard

      • willard,

        Thanks for the offer, willard, but I didn’t keep any copies. I don’t know how it’s done, but if this blog’s moderator would be so kind as to forward my “rejects” to willard, I would appreciate it. And, I am honored, willard, that you would take an interest in my poor, no-longer-with-us comments.

      • So let’s grant that we skeptics are simply in Kubler Ross (although I would suggest that believers are demonstrating Kubler Ross much more) grief processes: would you go up to a stranger dealing with their deep loss or facing death and say, “you are illigitmate in your views because you are just dealig with a loss/imminent death?
        But setting that aside, since plenty of your fellow believers had no intention or even inkling of Kublier Ross when they decided to use ‘denier’ as a perjorative for skeptics of AGW consensus, and specifically chose the term to equate skeptics with holocaust deniers, your point really does nothing in your favor either way: You are either a crude rude person for rubbing a person’s face in the loss you pperceive, or you are trying to parse yourself from the bulk of believers whom you have every reason to know are just being nasty little minded bigots.

      • verytallguy

        Hunter,

        It seems a trifle inconsistent to label me as “crude” or “rude” when you’ve already used “corrupt”, “excrement”, “lying”, “cheating” and “deception” and now follow that up with “nasty little minded bigots”.

        “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye”

        Could I gently suggest searching for a little more understanding and a using a little less condemnation?

      • VTG,
        Because your phony manners are annoying.

    • Rob Starkey

      VTG- when you start out with a stuipd statement calling people deniers, how can a reasonable discourse continue? What is a denier as related to AGW in your opinion?

      • verytallguy

        Rob,

        “sceptics”, “contrarians”, “deniers”, call them what you will.

        The point I was trying to make is that the paper, which these folk are lauding on the thread, actually *supports* the science of global warming, which they almost universally vehemently deny the simple facts of.

        The response is overwhelmingly tribal in repeating the usual articles of faith of the IPPC being “corrupt” etc etc. Everyone blithely ignores the reality they don’t like – that the science is sound.

      • You seem to be arguing that if people agree they must be wrong! In any case the science is not sound. We just agree that the IPCC is hopelessly corrupt.

      • verytallguy

        On denial…

        Personally I don’t think denier is a stupid term. As I pointed out in later posts, it fits perfectly. The presumed response to AGW, worldwide government action, threatens the values system of people. The natural response is to deny the facts. Which we see on every thread here. Textbook denial.

        Offence IMHO taken is merely a convenient retreat into victimhood.

      • I agree it fits the projection perfectly, especially climate change denier, which warmists fit even more perfectly.

      • Edim,
        +1

      • FWIW –

        I’d say that the term does fit some indeterminable % of the “skeptical” community – and doesn’t fit others.

        I do find the politically correct “outrage” about the term rather amusing, however, especially from those “skeptics” who regularly bemoan political correctness and spend countless hours on blogs insulting people they disagree with, endlessly discussing conspiracies whereby “environazis” turn a blind eye to the starvation of millions as they pursue their nefarious statist goals, etc.

      • I would say that term defines those who use it rather than those it’s used against.

      • I would say that term defines those who use it rather than those it’s used against.

        I’d say that the term “defines” no one. No one is in reality defined by an adjective that someone else uses to describe them.

        The question is whether it is an accurate descriptor. I’d guess that some who use the term are in “denial” and some aren’t, just as it accurately describes some of the people they label with the term, and is inaccurate for others.

        But again, for me the most amusing aspect of the kerfuffle over the term is the faux (politically correct) outrage about its usage – in particular from those who regularly decry political correctness and who regularly use similar terms with the specific intent of degrading those they disagree with.

      • Personally, it doesn’t bother me.
        But the term does have baggage attached. It’s not, as you try to make out, just an ordinary adjective. One can deny something, one can even be in denial over something, but calling someone a denier doesn’t accurately describe their act or state of denial, and the term is irrevocably associated with those who deny the holocaust.
        Those who use the term know this, as do those it’s used against, so any attempt to describe it as an ordinary adjective simply doesn’t wash.
        Why do you try to defend the indefensible?
        And why is it so important that you do?

      • It’s not, as you try to make out, just an ordinary adjective.

        You are mistaken: I don’t think it’s “just an ordinary adjective.” Clearly, the term has become a political football.

        and the term is irrevocably associated with those who deny the holocaust.

        I disagree. I’d say that the majority of the time, the term is not used to imply direct association with holocaust denial. What I do find interesting, however, is the claims that the association is as “irrevocable” as you state – particularly when some of those making the claim: (1) regularly and without qualification or specificity, regularly denigrate those with them disagree w/r/t climate change, often in very harsh ways (such as the oft’ found assertion that “realists” are indifferent to the deaths of millions who lack access to cheap energy, and (2) regularly decry “political correctness.”

        As I see it, those who most strongly make the association are, ironically, those who find the term so “outrageous.” I do think that the comment about victimhood is very much on point. Many folks on both sides of this debate strongly identify as “victims” of the other side – and the debate about the term “denier” falls right in line with the proclivity towards victimhood.

        FWIW, I do think that the term is fairly accurate for describing some % of “skeptics” who are overtly driven by tribalism/partisan analysis/political ideology/motivated reasoning, etc. The problem is that it is impossible to distinguish those for whom it is accurate from those for whom it isn’t – and it is overused with detrimental effect. I prefer to use the term “skeptic” (as the counterpart to “realist”) and to speak of how motivated reasoning influences the debate on both sides.

        Why do you try to defend the indefensible?

        First of all, I’m not “defending” anything. I think using the term is pretty stupid – because as I see it, it only has a negative impact on the debate in balance.

        Secondly, sorry, but I find it laughable to call the use of the term “defenseless.” It’s a freakin’ term, for god’s sake. If you think it says more about the person who uses the term than those he/she uses it to describe, so be it. But on the one hand you say that use of the term is “defenseless” and on the other hand you say that it doesn’t bother you????????????

      • Just to add, in addition to many “skeptics,” there are “realists” that I’ve seen who make a strong association to holocaust denial. I’m not saying that they don’t exist – just that the prevalence is often vastly overstated.

      • “Personally, it doesn’t bother me.”

        It doesn’t bother me personally either, but if was a Jew, and particularly
        if I had family in Germany, I think it would bother me, personally.
        And since this what I think, it bothers me because it diminishes
        the Holocaust and trivializes pain of those directly involved in it.
        And Holocaust is to me far more important than the emotional trauma,
        rather it was important event. It a lesson in what people can do, and needs taken as warning as to what any people can do in the future.
        [and to some extent what has been done recently and is being done now.]

      • Judging from the length of your last comment, I’d hate to see your posting about something which you do actually feel passionately about

      • Judging from the length of your last comment, I’d hate to see your posting about something which you do actually feel passionately about

        You seem to be mistaken. Again.

        I find the discussion over the use of the term “denier” to be quite interesting – as it is a very good subject for peeling back the layers of motivated reasoning (tribalism) related to the climate debate.

      • And since this what I think, it bothers me because it diminishes the Holocaust and trivializes pain of those directly involved in it.

        Perhaps some Jews might feel that way, but I’d guess it would be contingent on their orientation in the climate debate – in other words, the product of motivated reasoning.

        I’m Jewish – and I couldn’t care less. I can’t think of one Jew that I know who is the least bit concerned that the use of the term “climate denier” will diminish the importance of recognizing holocaust denial or trivialize the pain of holocaust survivors of their descendants.

        And I cannot think of one Jewish person I know who in the least thinks that the “outrage” over the term somehow protects the importance of recognizing holocaust denial or keeps the pain from the holocaust from being trivialized.

        One of the interesting aspects of the “outrage” about the use of the term “denier” is that I have yet to see one “skeptic” voice concern about when a prominent Jewish climate scientist, who lost family in the holocaust, was accused of “scientific cleansing” (Judith hasn’t responded on that point – I have no idea why – although I’ve asked her about it repeatedly.) Personally, I don’t find that “outrageous” either, although I think that said scientist did find it offensive.

      • “Perhaps some Jews might feel that way, but I’d guess it would be contingent on their orientation in the climate debate – in other words, the product of motivated reasoning.”

        I don’t think it would have anything to do with their “orientation in the climate debate”. Rather I think it’s diminishing the meaning.

        If the debate was about whether American went to the Moon, I think the term “denier” works as a term. Denying that event known by billions of people as though it is untrue, is exactly what Holocaust denier are doing. The motivations may or may be the same.
        The Holocaust occurred is important- I would say [as someone not of a religion] even holy. And landing on the Moon was also holy.
        Some people might get upset, as to how using the term holy. But as I said I not of a religion, and perhaps I don’t understand what holy is.
        And I certainly don’t mean the Holocaust was “good” or had to be, destiny, or Jews deserve it, or anything like that. I mainly mean it’s important to humans.

      • Rather I think it’s diminishing the meaning.

        I think I understand your reasoning. I respectfully suggest that your views on the degree to which the use of the term “climate denier” diminishes the importance of recognizing holocaust denial, or “trivializes” the pain of survivors or their descendants is likely influenced by your orientation in the climate debate.

        Again, I don’t know of one Jew who shares your view, or is in the least bit concerned about the use of the term having the effect you’re theorizing about. I doubt that very many people at all who aren’t heavily linked into the climate debate cares about the use of the term very much. The question of the use of the term is just another table in the junior high school cafeteria food fight that is the climate change debate.

        I don’t think it would have anything to do with their “orientation in the climate debate”.

        Once again, I disagree. I don’t know of a single Jewish person who is particularly concerned one way or the other about the use of the term – let alone one who feels strongly about the term irrespective of their orientation to the larger debate. My guess is that to the degree that there are Jews who feel strongly one way or the other, their reaction could be predicted with a high level of accuracy based on their orientation towards the larger climate debate. Of course, there may be some exceptions.

        Interesting, however, is that there’s that one physicist who is a survivor who insists the term is accurate specifically as it references holocaust denial.

      • Steven Mosher

        Joshua, you dont speak for all of us. You might be interested that the person who complained about your post about lindzen was Jewish. and yes, I believe he takes offense at the use of the term denier. I don’t, but I find it counter productive and stupid.

    • Did you not notice the conclusion that the “scientific quality of the IPCC reports was not seriously challenged.”?

      Well, I for one, certainly did notice this. But what I also noticed is that an examination of the “scientific quality” was not part of the IAC’s remit. You may not be aware that the mandate of Shapiro’s IAC committee was an examination of the “processes and procedures” of the IPCC.

      However, there were certainly some elements of the report that one might consider as contributing to the “scientific quality” that the IAC did examine (e.g. characterization of uncertainty) which the IAC determined required improvement.

      If a “conclusion” is not examined – and in fact was acknowledged as being specifically excluded – during the course of an investigation, why should one expect either a “challenge” – or a confirmation – in a report?!

      Nonetheless, it is indisputable that on the accountability and transparency fronts the IPCC has failed.

      This failure has been compounded by the IPCC’s subsequent failure to address in any substantive way the criticisms and recommendations of the IAC’s report. Well, except for a rather bureaucratic and bloated adoption of the “communcations strategy” panacea that seems to be so prevalent these days in the many circles of AGW advocacy.

      But speaking of the IPCC, Pachauri and “communications” deficiencies … it is worth noting that when articulating his July 2009 “vision” for AR5, Pachauri had declared:

      AR5 is being taken in hand at a time when awareness on climate change issues has reached a level unanticipated in the past. Much of this change can be attributed to the findings of the AR4 which have been disseminated actively through a conscious effort by the IPCC, its partners and most importantly the media. [emphasis added -hro]

      Indeed, in the light of such … uh … certainty, one might wonder when this July 2009 “assessment” became … uh … non-operative!

      • VeryTallGuy

        No, I wasn’t aware of the remit of the report.

        And FWIW I’d agree that transparency, openness and generally operating in a way more consistent with the digital age would be good.

        But I don’t think any of these things would make any significant difference to either the scientific content of whatever the output consisted of, or how it was received by “sceptics”

        Why? Because there is no significant scientific disagreement on the main threads of the AGW hypothesis.

        And because the “sceptics” simply deny the reality of any data that threatens their world view, regardless of its provenance.

        Whinging about the IPPC, moaning about what “denier” implies, insulting climate scientists – its all just part of a refusal to engage with the facts. Of being in denial, in fact.

      • Yes, well, you may (or may not) be a VeryTallGuy, but your response (such as it was) tells me that you are not a VeryWellInformedGuy when it comes to the IAC, the IPCC and the views of skeptics.

        In fact, your little moving of the goal posts recitation suggests very strongly that you may well be as ill-informed regarding the views of skeptics as Paul Bain appeared to be in his pathetic defense of his “paper”.

        I would also note that while you have neglected to articulate what you perceive to be the “main threads of the AGW hypothesis”, I will give you credit for acknowledging that it is merely an hypothesis.

        And despite 20+ years of effort – and Gaia alone knows how many dollars expended – it still remains merely an hypothesis.

        Despite 20+ years of effort – and Gaia alone knows how many scary stories splashed across the front pages by activist-advocates pretending to be “journalists” – not a single one of these thousands of wunderkinds has been able to provide any empirical evidence in support of the claim that human generated carbon dioxide is the primary “cause” of any warming that may (or may not) be occurring.

        So, if you and other advocates and activists want to make a giant leap of faith on the strength of a mere hypothesis, by all means be my guest. But don’t expect me (or an increasing number of the general public who prefer to think for themselves and make their own choices) to follow you over the cliff like lemmings.

      • Nicely put. Skeptics engage with the factual claims of the warmists in great detail, here and elsewhere. Claiming we do not is factually stupid.

      • Dave Springer

        Calling it a hypothesis gives it too much credibility. It’s a failed hypothesis. A prediction was made 25 years in AR1 that following certain CO2 emission scenarios would result in certain global average temperature increases. We subsequently followed the worst case, most damaging emission path yet the global average temperature increase was below the least damaging emission path. In the normal world of science such a monumental failure of the hypothetical prediction is called falsification and you start over with a new hypothesis and new predictions. In post-normal science you rebrand the hypothesis (global warming to climate change) and then make the same predictions all over again based on the same hypothesis. That’s not science it’s a religious cult and that’s not a hypothesis it’s dogma. This is not at all unlike predicting the second coming of Christ in the year XXXX and when he fails to arrive you just make a new prediction and pretend you never made the first prediction. That’s how cults deal with errors not how science deals with them. The science in Climate Science, like Elvis, has left the building.

      • Dave Springer

        Calling it a hypothesis gives it too much credibility. It’s a failed hypothesis. A prediction was made 25 years ago in AR1 that following certain CO2 emission scenarios would result in certain global average temperature increases. We subsequently followed the worst case, most damaging emission path yet the global average temperature increase was below the least damaging emission path. In the normal world of science such a monumental failure of the hypothetical prediction is called falsification and you start over with a new hypothesis and new predictions. In post-normal science you rebrand the hypothesis (global warming to climate change) and then make the same predictions all over again based on the same hypothesis. That’s not science it’s a religious cult and that’s not a hypothesis it’s dogma. This is not at all unlike predicting the second coming of Jesus in the year XXXX and when he fails to arrive you just make a new prediction and pretend you never made the first prediction. That’s how cults deal with errors not how science deals with them. The science in Climate Science, like Elvis, has left the building.

      • Dave Springer

        Sorry for double posting. First one appeared to have been rejected for blacklisted words so I changed a couple words and tried again.

      • VeryTallGuy

        So, there immediately we have denial of reality from HR, and Dave W

        HR: “not a single one of these thousands of wunderkinds has been able to provide any empirical evidence in support of the claim that human generated carbon dioxide is the primary “cause” of any warming that may (or may not) be occurring.”

        You may or may not agree with the evidence for attribution, but to claim it does not exist is, put simply, denial.

        Dave S claims that predictions don’t match the reality of temperature increase and dismisses the science out of hand as a “religious cult”

        The views of actual climate scientists on this point are instructive:

        “a projection from 1981 for rising temperatures in a major science journal… has been found to agree well with the observations since then… a nice example of a statement based on theory that could be falsified and up to now has withstood the test.”

        http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/04/evaluating-a-1981-temperature-projection/

        Again, whether or not you agree with this analysis, it’s a serious piece of work, well in line with the mainstream view and done by people with far more expertise than you have. To call this a “religious cult” is again, put simply, denial.

      • VTG, the problem with your quote is that the satellites show no warming whatever from 1981 until 1997. So that is a fact we can discuss, contradicting your ridiculous claim the skeptics ignore facts.

      • Environmentalism is the cult, not climate science.

      • verytallguy

        David W
        “the problem with your quote is that the satellites show no warming whatever from 1981 until 1997. So that is a fact we can discuss, contradicting your ridiculous claim the skeptics ignore facts.”
        It doesn’t seem like such a ridiculous claim seeing as the first two skeptics did exactly that.
        And now you follow up with what is an absolutely typical non-sequiteur.
        Are you trying to assert that the earth isn’t warming? That would for sure be a denial of reality.
        Or that satellite data is fundamentally inconsistent with the surface record? That would also be denial, again.
        Please, clarify

      • David Wojick

        The satellite record is certainly inconsistent with the surface statistical models, the latter being falsified thereby. The surface models are very bad, statistically speaking. They are a convenience sample of questionable data, averaged using an area averaging method that has no basis in statistical sampling theory. I can explain this at length, having studied it at length. Skeptics do a lot of work.

        In contrast, the satellites are scientific instruments designed for the job. Yes it is warming, but the only warming shown by the satellites is a single step up, coincident with the 1998-2000 ENSO cycle. There was no warming from 1978 to 1997, and there has been no warming since 2001. These are the scientific facts.

      • David W,

        I just love this stuff. Reading it is addictive.

        “The satellite record is certainly inconsistent with the surface statistical models, the latter being falsified thereby.”

        Great way to disregard inconvenient data. There’s a mass of independent analyses of surface data that contradict you which you blithely dismiss.

        “the only warming shown by the satellites is a single step up, coincident with the 1998-2000 ENSO cycle. There was no warming from 1978 to 1997, and there has been no warming since 2001. These are the scientific facts.”

        A wonderful assertion without recourse to alternative explanations or an actual cite of the work. Differentiating between step changes and a rising trend aint easy on a short, noisy dataset.

        In the surface record area there have been years of “sceptics” attempting to discredit the science only to fail again and again. From satellite v surface to UHI to BEST, the mainstream scientists were proved right. It’s really difficult to take a mere assertion that all this is wrong from someone not even publishing in the area.

        In fact, it’s damn hard to characterise making such an assertion without even acknowledging the other evidence as anything other than outright denial.

      • verytallguy

        The world is comprised of many different microclimates which are not all trending in the same direction at the same time, and whether they are seen to be warming or cooling at any one time will depend on what phase of their cycle they are in, plus many others factors such as urbanisation and station move.

        Here is the most famous temperature data base in the world

        .http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcet/

        We have been cooling for around 10 years. Many other places show a similar cooling signal as BEST observed and we wrote about here;

        http://diggingintheclay.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/in-search-of-cooling-trends/

        At present the warming signal outweighs the cooling one, but as happened in in the past that will switch at some point so most (but not all) will be cooling. Its called climate change but its not global.
        tonyb

      • Climatereason,

        “We [CET] have been cooling for around 10 years. Many other places show a similar cooling signal”

        Maybe, but in what way is this interesting or different to mainstream thinking?

        “At present the warming signal outweighs the cooling one, but as happened in the past that will switch at some point so most (but not all) will be cooling”

        An assertion without evidence. What’s your hypothesis as to when this will happen and why? What is the evidence that supports or contradicts your hypothesis?

      • very tall guy

        According to the IPCC and the Met office the only places that are cooling are southern greenland and a few places in the tropics. It is not mainstream to say that many places are cooling.
        Where is your evidence to substantiate tihs comment bearing in mind that both the bodies quoted are preeminent>

        ‘Maybe, but in what way is this interesting or different to mainstream thinking?’

        tonyb

      • Very Tall Guy

        To my knowledge, the scientific “evidence” supporting the premise that human GHGs were the principal cause for the warming of the second half of the 20th century “does not exist”. The “uncertainty” regarding other factors is simply too great to draw any definite conclusions, as our host here has stated.

        By “evidence” I refer to the the definition according to the scientific method, i.e. “empirical data based on actual physical observations or reproducible experimentation”.

        Such empirical “evidence” apparently exists to show a) that CO2 is a GHG, b) which absorbs and re-radiates IR radiation under laboratory conditions.

        However the empirical “evidence” appears to be lacking, which would show that c) this effect would also occur in our atmosphere and d) that it would result in some perceptible and measurable net warming of our planet, e) which is not compensated by some a natural effect, the cause of which is as yet unknown..

        I have not seen such “evidence” in any case. Have you?

        Max

      • The Viscount Aardvark Q. Trebuchet-Oxymoron, the 7rd


        Such empirical “evidence” apparently exists to show a) that CO2 is a GHG, b) which absorbs and re-radiates IR radiation under laboratory conditions.
        I have not seen such “evidence” in any case. Have you?

        I just love the way that you put quotes around “evidence”.

        Reminds me of the non-commital way that Dr Curry puts (?) after everything.

        What more “evidence” could anyone need that the “evidence” cannot possibly exist?

      • David Wojick

        VTG, I am not disregarding inconvenient data, The surface statistical model results are not data, they are modelling results, which are contradicted by actual satellite measurements.

        As for the rest, you are just arguing from authority, an authority I do not respect. The fact is that the only instrument we have shows no warming except a step up coincident with the big ENSO. Oscillation is not noise, by the way. If you have an explanation as to how the CO2 buildup could possibly have caused this one-step pattern, then I would love to hear it. In the meantime the main point is that your vacuous claim that skeptics are ignoring the facts is, well, vacuous.

  28. The IPCC is nothing more than a tool for the UN. They are looking for a crisis that gives them a measure of control and a revenue stream. It could be financial or climate but the underlying solution will be a global body that all other governments are subservient to and contribute a revenue stream to. As such, don’t expect the IPCC to suddently reform itself. It’s purpose is not to present the best science possible because a conclusion that does not forsee a crisis requiring global action is not an acceptable outcome for the UN.

    • Luke Whormer

      Being part of the UN, the IPCC’s brief is just is to sell CAGW, thereby paving the way for the UN to advance world government. It has never wavered in this, and never will. We need to look elsewhere for some objectivity.

  29. We normal folks are very much alike in the way we think. We all know the difference between “could and may” and no matter how seemingly unlikely some event may be, out of politeness if not political correctness there are many circumstances when any of us will concede that “anything is possible” if that is all it takes to help relieve the foreboding of another when there is absolutely no other positive act we are capable of providing that will help relieve suffering. But, a charlatan will use our penchant for good will against us and that is what global warming alarmism is all about: it’s a charlatan’s game.

  30. I want to start a sub-thread on interesting tribal dynamics. I have a few ideas and I’ll start with this notion of skeptic and believer tribes. Of course, there are more.

    One of the things I find fascinating is that Steve McIntyre is perhaps the iconic member of the skeptic tribe and is demonized by (at least the paleo clan of the) believer tribe. Yet he believes in AGW and, IIRC, believes some CO2 abatement is prudent. His “sin” appears to be that he encourages the believer scientists to be more rigorous in their use of statistics and to be more transparent with their data.

    • What are the tribes? How about the clans?
      Tribes:
      -Denier
      -Skeptic
      -Believer
      -Green (more in the world government sense here).

      From a skeptic perspective we have to be careful to distinguish between the believers in AGW and the Greens for which AGW is a means to an end.

      • robert

        Yu need to define what makes each of these groups tick
        tonyb

      • I was hoping we would talk about it. I have lots of thoughts – what are yours?

      • Robert

        I wrote this a couple of years ago in reply to someone on another blog so you need to see it in that context which may be slightly different to your one;

        ————
        xxx said
        “My theory would be that nearly all sceptics, and I can’t see any exceptions on this blog, start off being sceptical, usually for political reasons, and any science they later bring into the argument is done to try to bolster their preconceived position.”

        Surely this is completely contrary to what yyyy said? Most people start off believing the party line-that there is AGW-and only after looking at it properly do a proportion then realise all is not what it seems.
        They have looked at the facts and changed their minds, so how is that bolstering their pre conceived position?

        I think what you have failed to appreciate is that there are two main types of disbelievers of AGW.

        The first are ’sceptics’ who have thought deeply about it, read the papers and often changed their original position from a believer based on actual facts and observations. This group tend to have a limited interest in politics or may be drawn from a variety of political colours-they just want the truth.

        The second group are ‘deniers’ (lower case and non pejorative) who hate the govt, hate authority, believe they should be able to do whatever they want. AGW is just one of many things they automatically disbelieve because they think it is a govt attempt to control them. There is a political element here, but equally very many hate govt of any complexion.

        The latter would go on denying until their last breath- no matter the proof, whilst sceptics are perfectly rational people and would look at the evidence presented to them, but based on the past performance of some of those involved in promoting AGW-and the exaggerated claims made-would want to delve behind the headlines before accepting anything as factual.

        When there are so many question marks about the reliability of data-sea level rise, arctic ice variation through the centuries, global temperatures to 1850, Ocean temperatures, Co2 levels, and so many unknown facets- such as the real effect of the sun etc, it is rather arrogant of anyone to believe that the science is settled.

        Your group (warmists) also has similar schisms. The quote you are trotting out about ‘puke gore’ is replicated in numerous green blogs where the green believer has as much made up their mind as the ‘denier’. There was a prime example of that this morning from the latest climate group interviewed on the BBC who said they ‘just know’ that man is wrecking the planet.

        ——–
        Hope you can sort out the context and that there is a fundamemtal diiferece betwen these two sides of apparently the same coin-those who don’t believe in AGW

        tonyb

      • Thanks! How about:
        Denier: the departure from natural variability is not proven.
        Skeptic: The departure from natural variability is not significant (and may not be proven).
        Believer: The departure from natural variability is significant.
        Green: The departure from natural variability does not matter.

        I think the first three groups can talk. If you view Dr. Lindzen’s video linked below, he spends a fair amount of time discussing the impact of the Greens on the climate discourse.

      • Robert

        I think they are more nuanced amd differentiated than this.

        The denier would add-perhaps under his breath (and I wouldnt believe any evidence you showed me anyway)

        the skeptic is likely to add -I have looked at the available evidence and any signiicant departure from natural variabilty needs to be proven.

        I would agree that a believer and sceptic could talk. The denier and green probably could not be reasoned with as their views are too ideological/political/dogmatic

        tonyb.

      • climatereason | July 11, 2012 at 2:40 pm said: ”The denier would add-perhaps under his breath (and I wouldnt believe any evidence you showed me anyway”

        Denier denies that is any GLOBAL warming, and we can prove it, with REAL proofs; scientifically. Denier NEVER denies that are big / small climatic changes – climatic changes have NOTHING to do with your phony GLOBAL warmings. Therefore, you are misleading again – in a campaign; to discredit ”deniers” – people on the street are realizing gradually, that was all concocted lie. Your proofs are a Paganistic mythology – not believing in lies is not stubbornness, but living in reality. All my proofs are substantiated; can be replicated in controlled environment = that is science!

        It’s same as: if you are in misleading campaign; to ridicule if somebody ”denies” that England is in the southern hemisphere” Yes, you can prove that many towns in Australia have English town’s names and any other trick; but denier will categorically deny that England is in the S/H. Is that English enough for you and Mosher?

        I have challenged you, Mosher and any other activist: to prove me wrong, on many occasions. Do you think that Mosher would have run away constantly; if he can discredit my proofs, formulas and facts; if he was able?! It’s difficult to argue against REAL proofs. The truth will win. HAPPY SLEEPLESS NIGHTS, to you Mosher and the Telescope; time is against the phony GLOBAL warmings.
        . http://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com/open-pandoras-box/skeptics/

      • Robertin AZ,
        Good start.

      • Michael Hart

        Agreed, though some of us suspect that natural variability is not yet sufficiently well understood or described.

      • Michael,
        Since heavy glaciation and temps warmer than today all occurred pre-human tech, I can only agree.

    • What would the skeptics do without the IPCC? Consider how the greens, IMHO, elevated the stature of a relatively minor libertarian advocacy group for which climate change is a small portion of its overall work to demonic status.

      What if the skeptics had no “enemy”.

      • Steven Mosher

        This has been discussed, skeptics are defined by having a common enemy. The best thing we could do as believers in AGW is publish a paper with steve mcintyre as a co author. that’s right, Mann should mann up and offer to do a paper with Steve. want to see the climate wars get really interesting… co opt a few skeptics.

      • I’ve had a recurring fantasy along those lines….

      • The skeptics are the Washington Generals to the Harlem Globetrotters.
        It’s not as much fun watching the talented climate scientists do their thing unless they can pummel their adversaries.

        The skeptics are outmatched and the result is watching an exhibition sport. I have no problems with that, but for some reason most people want their sports with some competitive balance.

      • The skeptics are the Washington Generals to the Harlem Globetrotters.
        It’s not as much fun watching the talented climate scientists do their thing unless they can pummel their adversaries.

        The skeptics are outmatched and the result is watching an exhibition sport. I have no problems with that, but for some reason most people want their sports with some competitive balance.

        Awesome! Comment of the day!

      • That would require Mann to almost as smart as Judith, never happen, he would need a brain transplant.

      • Never going to happen Lukewarmer. Anything that Mann wanted to publish would not only be wrong itself, it would be wrong by Sir McIntyre’s exacting standards. Lukewarmer son and solo CO2 guru, do you know of any of Mann’s past work that Sir Mac would put his name on?

      • Steven,
        We seem to be doing better co-opting believers.

      • A fantasy Lukermarmer-san. Do you know of any of Mann’s past work that Sir Mac would put his name on?

      • Dave Springer

        You bet we’re doing a better job. That’s what they hate the most. We’re winning and they can’t how that’s possible because they’re so much smarter than we are. Hilarious.

      • Robert Austin

        Mann is a diva and would commit ritual sepeku rather than share the limelight with his arch enemy, Steven McIntyre. I am sure that there are other less “alpha” team members who would collaborate with McIntyre but for the fear of being savaged by the other tribe members. Collaboration amongst the tribes is but an “I had a dream” reverie.

      • Dave Springer

        I was crucified for referring to harakiri here not long ago. I’m surprised no one tried to cut your nuts off over it yet. I wonder if now they’ll be on my ass about referring to crucifixtion and castration…

        :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)

        You can never be TOO safe with conversational condoms.

    • Dr Richard Lindzen is perhaps the iconic denier. A label he proudly embraces. IIRC, it was at the end of this video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwM_B4-5gaE.

      His fundamental point is that, looking at long term temperature trends, the null hypothesis is not disproven. He has some other work that is more debatable. However, his central point remains powerful.

      • I’m going to pull climatereason’s comment down here:
        “The denier would add-perhaps under his breath (and I wouldnt believe any evidence you showed me anyway)”
        Based on comments I read here and elsewhere – this comment is very true.

        OTOH, look at the graph of temperature estimates through the Holocene, and the natural variability question should be addressed. To the casual observer unaware of the warming debate, it looks like we are heading into another ice age. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Holocene_Temperature_Variations.png. Once the believers address the Holocene temperature record, they need to address the Eamian. Sea levels were significantly higher then.

        To get beyond the null hypothesis requires a bit reasoning. IMHO, almost each element of the reasoning chain remains open to honest debate: attribution most of all. Given a long term perspective on temperature and sea level, the denier might be saying under his breath: “So what? Been there done that.”

      • Dave Springer

        “Denier” coming out of the mouth of a NASA scientist is ironic. NASA’s core science cadre was originally caged from Germany at the end of WWII. Russia and the US both wanted the scientists and engineers who’d given Hitler the V2 rocket.. The US snagged them all easily as given a choice between Russia and America as their new home they naturally all took the road more travelled. NASA gave them their old jobs, nice new homes, steady pay, great retirement benefits, and made these NAZI scientists into American heroes who beat Russia in putting a man on the moon, in outright public denial of the fact that these scientists readily participated in the worst atrocities of the Holocaust. The only thing NASA didn’t give these guys that Germany gave them was slave labor and human subjects whom they could test to destruction and I’m not 100% sure about they were denied even that much.

        Now the progeny of those NAZI scientists have the gall to call people outside their agency “deniers”. That’s the epitomy of irony given NASA was founded on real Holocaust denialism.

        The not so surprising thing is NASA went to sh*t as soon as the race to the moon ended and the NAZI scientists who won the race retired or died.

    • Upthread, Steve Mosher proses a definition of a tribe as:
      “What your talking about is related to tribalism, but I’d say you better first understand what it means to be a tribe. feature number 1: the ability to impose sanctions on a member who strays. feature number 2: having two rhetorics: one for internal consumption ( group regulation) and one for external consumption ( the public message ).”

      Here is another: http://outthinkgroup.com/insights/what-is-a-tribe
      “A tribe is a group of people connected to an idea, connected to a leader and connected to each other.”

      I would submit that by these definitions, there are no real tribes in the climate discourse – only tribal behaviors demonstrated by a changing cast of characters with loose affiliations.

      So much for my hopes for an interesting and convivial discussion on the interpersonal and group dynamics of the climate discourse.

      • Steven Mosher

        yes. Ive pointed this out many times. However, the climate tribe does have power over some of its members. the power to publish.

        That is why I push for open science. no greenwalls. no gatekeeping.
        Its one of the few things that the institutions of science can use to exert power over members.

        Why do skeptics have no tribal structure? cause nobody pays them.
        ( except the stupid ones who take industry money). Nobody pays willis. Nobody pays Mc. they say what they want to say, whenever they want to, using whatever words they want to. There are no internal memos saying
        “Willis, please be careful, change this word.. ect”

      • Mosh said

        ‘Why do skeptics have no tribal structure? cause nobody pays them.’

        Very true but I think another prime reason is that we are all so individualistic and don’t naturally have things in common apart from our scepticism.. Sometimes I feel like Groucho Marx who once said ‘I dont want to belong to a club that would have me as a member.’
        tonyb

      • Kent Draper

        I belong to that club :)

      • climatereason | July 11, 2012 at 3:27 pm said: ” ‘I dont want to belong to a club that would have me as a member.’’

        And you are not a skeptic Tony, don’t worry, you believe, sorry, you promote more phony GLOBAL warmings, than any honest Warmist. Trying to muddy the truth – only delays it; doesn’t change the reality. The stench of your skeletons in your closet increases – time is against you

        http://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com/open-pandoras-box/skeptics/

      • Stefan The Denier

        Hello my dear friend. My word what jokes we have together.

        Look forward to reading your edited and revised blog so I can more fully understand and answer the questions you put to me

        tonyb

      • Stefan the Denier

        I have just read your highly entertaining piece on the Little Ice Age. Can I respectufully suggest you would benefit from reading Professor Brian Fagan’s excellent book ‘The Little ice Age.’ How about I send it you as an early Christmas present?

        As I have said to you many times I do not believe in ‘global’ cooling any more than I believe in ‘Global’ warming. There are tens of thousands of micro climates on earth which all seem to be doing their own thing, as myself and a colleague wrote here.

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/09/04/in-search-of-cooling-trends/

        Sometimes this may mean that most of the places in the NH or most of the places in the SH may be cooling or warming for long periods, but there are always places not conforming to this trend because theiy are out of sync.

        Sometimes the phases between the hemispheres themselves may coincide for one reason or another, so that most of the NH or most of the SH are warmimg or cooling together. This possibly happened for parts of the 17th and 19th century as regards notable coooling, and perhaps between the 10th-13th century and during the modern period as regards warming, but generally the phases are not in sync and there will always be places/regions that buck the trend.

        The extent of the current warming trend is confused by uhi and changes in station location, as stations move to different micro climates-say from parkland to an airport- or their original location is urbanised. Mosh would have a lot more to say on that.

        I have specfically said to you, I do not believe we can know a ‘global’ temperature, let alone one accurate to fractions of a degree. The further back in time we go the more difficult that becomes. Consequently I believe it is counter productive to base future Govt policy on a highy flawed historic land surface temperature record and an even more flawed historic SST record, especially as nothing out of the ordnary seems to be happening when you look at the wide range of historic evidence.

        As Hubert Lamb said as regards temperatures ‘ we can know the tendancy but not the precision.’
        tonyb

      • @@ climatereason | July 12, 2012 at 2:47 am
        G’day Tony, from down under… Regarding proofreading my posts; Tony, English is not my first, not even second language. B] I’m a grandpa, learning new, is not as quick as it used to be. C] If there are misspellings – it reflects on you sods that can speak English brilliantly. Proofread it in your own Oxford English, or don’t complain. I wish I can do it better; you could have figured that one out. Few misspellings, doesn’t cloud or change the meanings – others can understand the lot.

        Regarding somebody’s book about a ”little ice age” … Tony, if somebody recognizes that; extra warming of the whole planet is impossible / recognizes the laws of physics / recognizes that oxygen + nitrogen REGULATE the temp – I will read anything… but, if somebody, on the most skillful way tries to present that: because was some ice covering the Thames = the whole planet was colder – is same as somebody on the most poetic way is explaining how the universe is spinning around the earth. When starting point is wrong… reading it.. life is too short, Tony. I’m looking forward; when somebody is going to write about the ”sensitivity in expanding / shirking of oxygen + nitrogen, in change of temperature.

        otherwise, variation in GLOBAL temps charts, LIA… Tony, if you read the page there {WARMER=MORE ICE} You will see that the last big ice age wasn’t global. b] on somebody’s blog somebody just asked me: do I know about all the documented ”glaciations”? Well, when was glaciers in Canada – the opposite end should be somewhere in south pacific. I can’t go below 5km of water and prove that is no glacial imprints there – but, if you read on my homepage and other few posts that are there – it proofs that: when was glaciers in Canada – must have being colder than now – the air above shrinks – creates vacuum -> from other places air goes there = those other places end up with less air.

        Do you find something that I’m making up; no. Well, the temp on the moon at day time goes to 105C; because is no air there – which means: LESS air – that place gets warmer days, not colder. Unfortunately, some people, by instinct; start comparing my proofs with the lies that thy have being told that: past extreme climatic changes were GLOBAL warmings / or GLOBAL coolings. The laws of physics support me; but I cannot in 1-3 paragraphs disprove the wrong done for the past 160years. Bottom line, if grammar or some misspelling bothers you; write that post in your English words – but don’t use it as excuse, for you using the ”ostrich tactics” believing that the truth will disappear, or, the truth will change.

      • Stefan

        Your English is far better than my understanding of your native language. However your use of the language it does make your site difficult to read and interpret, especially as you tend to put your thoughts down in a stream of consiousness.

        However, my main point-if I understand you correctly-is that you appear to randomly insult me without actually reading my work. I do not say those things you attribute to me. I keep telling you this but you never seem to read the replies.

        For example, nobody is sayng that if there was ice on the Thames for a few months the Whole wotrld was cold for hundreds of years. Or that a heatwave in London meant the whole world was burning up.I dont believe the LIA or MWP were global for hundreds of years, perhapsthe NH and SH were in phase for short periods, but we have lots of micro climates and they are each at different stages of their warming/cooling cycles.

        I keep telling you this. Please reread my post above, I cant be any clearer. Please do not persist in misrepresenting what I say.

        PS you seem to have some sort of theory, but its difficult to tell if it has any credence as everything you write is so unstructured.

        Why dont you try to write the core of your theory in no more than 5000 words then if you want I will have a look at it and see if I can edit is so your thoughts are more structured?

        Tonyb.

        .

      • Dave Springer

        Speaking of Willis I wish you’d write another article for Watt’s Up With That so Willis can come along to expound on the great many ways he believes you screwed up.

        That was SO entertaining last time. It was like the watching the northern end of a southbound horse arguing with the southern end of northbound pony. You’re the pony of course since Willis has higher administrative privileges on that blog so you basically have to eat whatever horsesht comes out of him. ROFL

      • Steven Mosher

        We have the same priviledges. I dont abuse mine.

      • Dave Springer

        No you don’t have the same privileges. Willis can publish his own articles under his own name. Beginning 2011 you have not been able to do that.

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/author/weschenbach/

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/author/stevemosher/

        Do not argue with the sensei, Mosher.

      • Not all payments are monetary.
        Kudos is a rather powerful motivator and nothing wipes out Kudos more than being wrong.
        I actually think the biggest difference between the two groups is based on a key technological change; computers.
        If you run a mathematical model on a computer is the output an experimental result or not?
        In your car you have an odeometer and a fuel gauge. Knowing that the efficiency of an internal combustion engine increases with the water vapor content of the atmosphere you could record DeltaDis/DeltaGas daily and estimate the level of atmospheric water.
        The degree of faith you have in the estimate is a good indicator of which camp you fall into.

      • climatereason | July 12, 2012 at 2:47 am said:”so that most of the NH or most of the SH are warmimg or cooling together.’

        Tony, my dear friend; I know what the non-believers in the ”laws of physics” promote. Many times when I prove on the street something – argument follows: ”but there was ice ages, Holocene, Eocene, Crapocene, Miocene”!!! As if I have fallen yesterday from the sky – Tony, I know about all the crap accumulated for the last 150years – by COMPLETELY disregarding the laws of physics.

        The laws of physics don’t compromise! They are the most reliable, consistent and always accurate 100%; same laws were 151y ago, 5BC, 1234AD, as they are today. If I say that England is in the northern hemisphere – you say that is next to Tasmania – then we negotiate and put England halfway, somewhere in Africa… That would be a sandpit job. If the ice on Arctic is realty melting – Europe, USA will have more extreme coldness, soon, that’s what the laws of physics say – people on the street will not tolerate for much longer the Warmist & Fakes ”possibles”’ Time is against you. You should learn about those laws on my homepage, or should try to abolish them, legally – in the parliament and in UN..

        Tony, if you believe in your own eyes, do an experiment: put 998999 coins on one side of an old scale / to represent oxygen + nitrogen – on the other side put 380 coins; see which side has the control. To proof to your bedfellows Smarties; what it means ” doubling of CO2” – take 400 coins from the 998999 side and put them on the side where were 380 coins – see if is going to be any movement of the scale. Your friends the Warmist are cunning, they are disowning the phony ”proxy GLOBAL warmings” and are putting them in the Fake’s closed; because they know that are all crappy fairy-tales; for children and fanatics; with ”closed parashoot brains”.

        Bottom line: whatever the laws of physics don’t approve; is a Paganistic fairy-tale. Those laws say: ”both hemispheres cannot be warmer simultaneously for more than 8-9 minutes!” (Icarus didn’t fly close to the sun – for real reasons) If you read the real proofs there – you will know why I’m 100% correct. I believe and am guided by those laws – they don’t work ”only sometimes” The ”indoctrination” with the treads you are promoting, are never taking in consideration of the ”LAWS OF PHYSICS” (I know that Icarus did fly close to the sun; by using feathers, stuck by wax – but, promoting it, to support the Warmist theology; is immature and dishonest) Those swindlers should be in jail. Mixing facts with fiction for profit, is a crime. Few of my misspellings will not confuse you, other people understand; don’t put yourself down. Wasting your time on what you already know – you will not learn anything. But my 8-9 posts there, will turn the lights on for you. Don’t chicken out. I’m never stubborn, I always try to learn something new; but, those GLOBAL warming charts, are the mother of all con / the biggest smoking gun.

      • “Regarding somebody’s book about a ”little ice age” … Tony, if somebody recognizes that; extra warming of the whole planet is impossible / recognizes the laws of physics / recognizes that oxygen + nitrogen REGULATE the temp ”

        There was very, very large volcanic eruptions during little ice age.
        Meaning eruptions dwarfing the largest eruption in 20th century by factor more than 10.

        We have measured cooling on globally from volcanic eruption.

        Wouldn’t such large eruptions cause a much larger affect than much smaller volcanos which occurred recently?

      • climatereason | July 13, 2012 at 5:50 am |

        Tony, sorry for delay in replaying to you (have visitors from oversea) I hope my replay will find you, when you are in a good mood. (if you are competing in any sport in the Olympics; I will support you) HAPPY OLYMPICS, anyway!

        Because of the noisy visitors; I just had time to remove your name from that post; but I have a post for you / taking your offer; please have a look at: http://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/water-vapor/

        I’m sure that I’m correct; can prove everything. But, Tony, it’s impossible in few words to prove wrong; what was mislead for the last 20y. This post should give you a clear picture that: when I state something; I can prove it; on many different ways. ”Water vapor bad for the climate” is one of their three Pillars – I can demolish any of their pillars, with the hands behind my back.. only if can be assisted in ”English / English” … even, my computer recognizes the word as ”vapour” – others as ”vapor” maybe have two different meanings… but CO2 + CH4 i can recognize… maybe even smell them. Please Tony, help.

  31. Dern, Hunter, i was jest about to go ter bed, and now I hafta stay up and watch yr Wizard of Oz tracks. Remember the lion’s ‘If I was king..?
    and Ray Bolger’s +1 dancing..Thx Hunter and yes, there’s some analogies yr can draw re Climate *Science*

  32. David Wojick

    Ironically, most of these psycho-analysts are basing their analysis on their beliefs about CAGW. Categorizing, or even explaining, people, has no bearing on the debate. In fact it tends to be a subtle form of demonization, making it worse than useless. I am sure psychologists and social scientists could find all sorts of interesting reasons for why I believe what I do. So what? Everyone has a personality. Everyone is a person. Live with it.

  33. EXCERPT . . .

    Now, after some independent analysis it seems that all scientists could possibly be misled on some of their issues. Both the National Academy of Sciences and Dr. Wegman’s committee analyzed the hockey stick report by Dr. Mann that has become the poster child for proof of global warming. The committees came to the conclusion that Dr. Mann’s hockey stick report failed verification tests and did not employ proper statistical methods.

    Also, it appears that Dr. Mann is part of a social network . . . of climate scientists who almost always use the same data sets and review each other’s works. There is a contention that they would dismiss critics who had legitimate concerns, rarely used statistical experts for the data they used in their reports, and make it very difficult for reviewers to obtain background data and analysis.

    These revelations point to the lack of independent peer review and how it is practically impossible to replicate or verify Dr. Mann’s work by those not affiliated with the network of scientists, so we are looking forward to hearing about that work today. Could it be that this particular work violates the principles of the scientific method and should be dismissed until it meets the basic qualifications?

    Could that have been some of what happened to the Ice Age return theory of the 1960s?

    (Excerpt from the prepared statement of Tammy Baldwin, Committee on Energy and Commerce, 109th Congress Hearings, Second Session, July 19 and July 27, 2006)

  34. In using the word Tribalism the inference is that we are talking about something that is not a net gain for humanity; and, a net loss is more likely. For example, according to Dr. Freeman Dyson, environmentalism has replaced socialism as the leading secular religion. With global warming alarmism we can see how environmentalism has been transmogrified into a liberal fascism. No net gain there. And, perhaps the Left’s anti-Americanism will replace its anti-Semitism. Does anyone see a net gain for humanity when the very place that symbolizes respect for individual liberty takes that kind of hit?

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Wagathon, please let me help you with the rest of the quote:

      Freeman Dyson “Environmentalism has replaced socialism as the leading secular religion. And the ethics of environmentalism are fundamentally sound. Scientists and economists can agree with Buddhist monks and Christian activists that ruthless destruction of natural habitats is evil and careful preservation of birds and butterflies is good. The worldwide community of environmentalists—most of whom are not scientists—holds the moral high ground, and is guiding human societies toward a hopeful future. Environmentalism, as a religion of hope and respect for nature, is here to stay.”

      It appears we are rapidly converging toward a world in which Freeman Dyson is right on the ethics, and James Hansen is right on the science.

      Most folks will this appreciate this as a morally good, scientifically honest, economically responsible world to live in, eh Wagathon?   :)   :)   :)

      Various denialist consortia will disagree, of course!   :)   :)   :)

      • David Wojick

        I agree emphatically with the secular religion part, but not the sound ethics part. Wanting us to live like Buddhist monks is not ethically sound. We do not need a religion that denies human progress, in the name of a respect for nature. My hopeful future protects birds and butterflies using available energy and human progress. There is no sense of this in Green dogma.

        As for your dream of rapid convergence, thankfully not.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        David Wojick asserts “My hopeful future protects birds and butterflies using available energy and human progress. There is no sense of this in Green dogma.”

        David Wojick, you have much to learn. Try Ed Wilson’s Anthill: a Novel for a beginning.

        How may you be helped to learn more, David Wojick?   :)   :)   :)

      • A fan of *MORE* discord

        Johnny, for gawd’s sake, why don’t you actually read and understand what people write for a change?

      • The Buddha, of course, did not teach only monks, nor teach lay people that they should become monks. Most of those he taught were lay people, getting on with their daily lives. (Nor, of course, did he found an organised religion, Buddhism emerged about 500 years after his death.) My teacher, S N Goenka, was an extremely wealthy industrialist and trader (with the emphasis on trade after the Burmese military confiscated his industries in 1962), and he teaches predominantly lay people. There is nothing in the teaching of the Buddha that is anti-thetical to human progress; on the contrary, a country where people lived in accordance with his teachings is most likely to prosper.

        The Buddha’s teaching is pragmatic; he teaches not to kill, because killing requires an unharmonious mind, which can not be at peace. But we will inevitably kill things as, for example, we till the soil, you do what you must but not with harmful volition. Goenka says that faced with, say, a cockroach infestation at a meditation centre, the well-being of the students must come first.

        I maintain the moral code taught by the Buddha, which gives me a better life, and I support free-market democratic capitalism because, pragmatically, it gives the best results in human well-being and freedom. No contradiction. The Buddha’s teaching is based on scientific study of the cause of suffering, not on a belief system or pre-determined code.

      • I agree, but i would also add that it’s also based on ‘religious experience’, which is a very important part.

      • Fan,
        You miss the point: Dyson is pointing out that Hansen’s science is wrong.
        BTW, as a person who is seemingly going to be involved with patient care you might want to carefully reflect on the meaning of ‘right’ irt to what Hansen is pushing. His ‘right’ in the medical world would leave a substantial body count.

      • Belief in AGW has become nothing more than the studied ignoring of facts. Anything that conflicts with their beliefs is simply ignored.

        “There are two other reasons why people believe in human-caused global warming despite strong evidence against it. Global warming is like a religion. In ‘Distinguishing Reality from Fantasy, Truth from Propaganda,’ a lecture given to the Commonwealth Club in September 2003, Michael Crichton identifies environmentalism as ‘the religion of choice for urban atheists.’ Gaia, the living planet, is its Mother Goddess. In this religion’s canon, industrial civilization (to paraphrase Merlin Stone, author of When God Was a Woman) is acne on her face. Crichton notes how environmentalism mimics Judeo-Christian beliefs: ‘There’s an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there’s a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all. We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability.’ The Kyoto Protocol is it’s articles of faith. What about the fact no change in satellite and balloon-measured temperatures has occurred over the last 25 years despite rising CO2 levels? No problem. Adherents of this religion ignore facts like this and recite their catechism of apocalyptic computer climate models.”

      • Other than obsession with computer video games, there is nothing new about the global warming religion. Which is annoying.
        If you going to have religion, one should expend some creative energy, instead it’s mindless poor copy which discards anything useful and focuses on the stupid.

      • In Australia, the Green left are mainly inner-city elites who despise the peasantry and who, according to the latest Census details, are more likely to be atheists. The ALP has just realised that in pandering to the Greens, it will never win over this group but is losing its core constituency: “One source said Labor needed to remind itself that governing was about the middle ground of politics and the art of compromise. “The Greens don’t have that,” the source told The Australian. “For them it is all or nothing. We can’t try to out-Left them. We are a party of government. We want to win the middle.”

        The Labor sources said a pre-occupation with the threat of the Greens from the Left ignored the fact that workers, tradespeople, subcontractors and battlers had different policy concerns and often strongly opposed Greens liberal social policies such as support for same-sex marriage.” (The Australian, 12/7)

      • Dave Springer

        A fan of *MORE* discourse John Sidles @ UW Medicine | July 11, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Reply

        “It appears we are rapidly converging toward a world in which Freeman Dyson is right on the ethics, and James Hansen is right on the science.”

        Hansen is a 1960’s libtard who petered out long ago at NASA in an administrative position whereas Dyson is a world renowned physicist of the highest regard.

        Far more likely that Dyson is right on both counts.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        David Springer speaks with assurance …

        Dave Springer asserts: “Hansen is a 1960′s libtard who petered out long ago at NASA in an administrative position whereas Dyson is a world renowned physicist of the highest regard.”

        …   the assurance that comes from … uhhh … Doh!

      • Actually, Hansen is one of the pioneers of climate science. Do a Google Scholar search on him and look at the citation counts on his papers. They are impressive.

  35. The Viscount Aardvark Q. Trebuchet-Oxymoron, the 3th

    mike,

    Excellent post, sir.

    I don’t like them Lefty anti-individulist your-money-my-pocket choo-choo trains either.

    It’s science like this that will save the world from facts.

    • Aard,

      Thanks much for the kind words. Alas, it appears the moderator’s heartless scythe has cut down my comment in its full-flower.

      So, Aard, your comment must serve as the epitaph for my unworthy, humble comment that didn’t even last five-minutes before it was yanked.

    • M’Lord Viscount III,
      You seem to be operating in a vacuum of facts.
      Thank you for leading the way.

  36. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2171973/Tree-ring-study-proves-climate-WARMER-Roman-Medieval-times-modern-industrial-age.html

    Well, IF I believed that tree rings were an accurate proxy for temperature; and IF I believed that rings from just one area of the globe were proxies for a global average temperature; and IF I thought that any temperature proxy could be used to discern temperature changes with precision of tenths of a degree; and IF I thought we could even calculate a global average temperature from surface air temperatures, THEN I might have found this article interesting.

    But I don’t, so I didn’t.

    But I bet it will stir some of the CAGW hornets to a frenzy, so I thought I’d post it anyway.

    • Din’t you know? According to Mann, the California bristlecone pines are located in the “sweet spot” of the earth, and are uniquely teleconnected to the rest of the world in such a way as to represent the average of the surface of the earth forever and always. One proxy works for the whole world, but it has to be Mann’s Chosen Proxy.

      Yes, he really said that.

  37. It is clear that AGW True Believers – whatever their motives may be – are not going to be talked down from their faith. We shouldn’t even want to try (see Michael Crichton below).

    Like the fall of the dead and dying states of Old Europe and California cities falling down like one by one like Dominoes – driven into bankruptcy by their cash-for-clunkers Leftist stonkernomics (government workers will now be a $7.50 /hr. minimum wage in Scranton, PA) — the Warmongers (those who have not headed to the UN exits by now) will go down to the end choking on their ‘hockey stick’ science like so much bad meat.

    There is no sense trying to change their minds: reason and logic will never work. Arguing is futile: it is their greed that gives wings to the global warming hoax and scare tactics that they use rob the productive. The Warmongers will never address their delusions and self-defeating nihilism so long as we are paying them to live in ignorance. If they refuse to provide no other service to society that export their hypocrisy then they should learn to live within the means according to the value of the goods they want to deliver to those who are willing to pay for them.

    “Eden, the fall of man, the loss of grace, the coming doomsday—these are deeply held mythic structures. They are profoundly conservative beliefs. They may even be hard-wired in the brain, for all I know. I certainly don’t want to talk anybody out of them, as I don’t want to talk anybody out of a belief that Jesus Christ is the son of God who rose from the dead. But the reason I don’t want to talk anybody out of these beliefs is that I know that I can’t talk anybody out of them. These are not facts that can be argued. These are issues of faith.” ~Crichton

    • Wagathon –

      Just out of curiosity – do you object to the term “denier?”

    • Yeah –

      Scranton PA. Last I checked, that is the center of the universe for leftist
      “stonkermonics” (whatever that is).

      • The facts are simple to understand. The secular education industry, which is insulated from reality, morality and purpose and fascist to the core, has failed humanity. Ridiculous AGW-pontificating schoolteachers have lost the ability to survive on their own merit and can only live off the frosty teet of their government Sugar Daddy.

      • Yeah – all those AGW-pontificating school teachers in Scranton, PA. They caused the economic difficulties they’re experiencing.

        Have you ever been to Scranton, Wagathon?

        And would you mind answering my earlier question? Do you object to the term “denier?”

      • The Minoan, Roman and Medieval Warm Periods have one thing in common: it was warmer then than it is today. Moreover, the latest research shows that the Roman period was even warmer than previously known. The Earth has been warming since the last Ice Age; and, there has been a cooling trend over the last 2,000 years.

      • A fan of *MORE* P.E.E

        “The Minoan, Roman and Medieval Warm Periods have one thing in common: it was warmer then than it is today.”

        I disagree. It’s more accurate to say late 20th century temperatures were roughly equivalent to the medieval warm period and possibly global temperatures have now surpassed it.

        The minoan and roman warm periods are largely speculation.

      • AGW True Belivers are either engaged in unverifiable speculation or simple-minded astrology.

        (The IPCC ascribes the positive change since 1975, for the most part, to CO2 and the Greenhouse Effect.) This quasi-periodic cycle fluctuates 0.1 degrees C per 10 years, short term (on the order of 50 years). This quasi-periodic cycle’s amplitude is extremely pronounced in the Arctic Circle , so it is easy to understand. The previous quasi-periodic cycle was positive from 1910 to 1940 and negative from 1940 to 1975 (despite CO2 emissions rapid increase after 1946)…

        It seems that global warming and the halting of the temperature rise are related to solar activity. Currently, the sun is “hibernating”. The end of Sunspot Cycle 23 is already two years late: the cycle should have started in 2007, yet in January 2008 only one sunspot appeared in the sun’s northern hemisphere, after that, they vanished completely (new sunspots have now begun to appear in the northern hemisphere). At the current time, it can clearly be seen there are no spots in the photosphere. Lately, solar winds are at their lowest levels in 50 years. Cycle 24 is overdue, and this is is worrisome.

        So, have there been other historical periods with an absence of sunspots? As a matter of fact, from 1650 to 1700 approximately, there were almost no sunspots. This time period has been named for the renown English astronomer Maunder, and is called the Maunder Minimum.
        There is a relationship between transported energy and the light emissions from the photosphere and sunspots. It was thought that times of few sunspots are times of lower energy. Satellites were launched in 1980 to research this, and results were contrary to expectations. It became clear that these times were more energetic than periods of high sunspots. Periods of low sunspots have vigorous solar activity. The total change during sunspot cycles is usually .0.1%, from the Maunder Minimum to today the increase is .05%. The Maunder Minimum fell in the middle of the period of 1400-1800, the Little Ice Age, and it was theorized that this was due to a cut in solar emissions. The theory is that solar activity began to increase after that, and from 1800 global warming increased and recovery from the Little Ice Age began…

        Excerpt: Japan’s boffins: Global warming isn’t man-made — Climate science is ‘ancient astrology’, claims report (andrew.orlowski@theregister.co.uk)

      • “It seems that global warming and the halting of the temperature rise are related to solar activity.”

        CO2 is a better fit:

      • Good, then you won’t crap your pants if the Earth actually does return to the conditions that existed during the LIA.

      • It won’t

      • Then you must believe that human-produced CO2 will save humans from another ice age. Follow the logic.

      • The Mayor and the City Commissioners are all of the same political persuasion, or at least, same party. The Mayor won an award from a convention of mayors for his efforts in the preservation of Scranton’s tree canopy.
        ================

    • Dave Springer

      +1

      Great rant.

    • When life throws you a heat wave, make global warming.
      When life throws you a flood, make global warming.
      When life throws you a blizzard, make climate disruption.
      Etc.

  38. Considerate thinker

    Gee did I congratulate too soon, the thread rather went downhill when a certain periscope/telecope raised itself from under the bridge,to be soon joined by the rest of the diversionary denial circus, but humour has the day, thanks Beth!

  39. Well,
    I am done, at least for awhile.
    Best wishes to all.
    Dr. Curry, best wishes in maintaining your integrity while working in a field caught up in a social mania. Thank you for your patient hospitality and fascinating insights.
    To the skeptics, keep on demanding rational ethical behavior.
    Cheers,
    hunter

    • Hunter,

      There appears to be something of a recent “tweaking” of the e-salon formula at Climate etc. And I have to think it is well advised, since I’ve seen nothing yet that calls into question Dr. Curry’s proven genius as a blog-hostess. And, in that regard, it is somewhat obvious that the season for bad-boy, zits-‘n-boogers scamps, like myself, has passed at Climate etc.

      So, hunter, I’ll join you in your retirement from Climate, etc. And let me, in departing, say that over the last couple of years, I’ve greatly valued this blog’s good-sport, rough-and-tumble, food-fight buddy camaraderie. But, most of all, I treasure and truly appreciate the opportunity I’ve had to learn from “the best” through the scintillating discussions that are the heart of this blog.

      Dr. Curry, thank you for tolerating and dealing so gently with me–“problematic” guest that I have been at your sumptuous, daily feast. I will remain a faithful lurker, in the future, if you do not mind, and will continue in my unfettered admiration for your courage, integrity, and professionalism. I’m a pretty old dog to be learning new tricks, Dr. Curry, but, for what it’s worth, I intend to study your shining example for improvements to my own dubious “act.”

      • Hey Mike, your booger infested comments is one of the reasons I lurk here and I’m certain I’m not alone. Please reconsider!
        Jim

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Although hunter and mike have often heaped scorn upon me (among many), their farewell posts *are* mighty classy Well done, gentlemen (click here for special “smiley”) … and somehow I think you won’t be gone long.

  40. You never see “A fan of *MORE* discord” and P.E in the same room

    just sayin

  41. Dave Springer

    bob droege | July 11, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Reply

    Only 1% of world population is 70 million people.

    0.1% of world GDP is 60 billion dollars, 1% is 600 billion.

    That is if we manage to stop SLR at 1 meter.

    This presumes, mon, that pot-smoking Rastafarians living near sea-level in Jamaica have as many good job that contribute to global GDC as the coal miner in Virginia living far above sea level.

    Ya see the problem with your assertion now, mon?

  42. Beth Cooper

    Oh No! Hunter and Mike, jest take a liitle time out and return to Climate Etc.
    Yer posts are my prescribed reading and enliven the debate. They reveal tres perceptive, witty characters behind the words that yr glad to associate with.
    I wish yer both the very best and keep up the fight fer an open society and honest science… and come back. :-) :-)

  43. Jim Cripwell


    When we can actually measure something, and put a +/- on the number, we have facts with which we can test hypotheses. With no measured facts we cannot test the hypothesis of CAGW.

    Prediction has been made by the IPCC:

    Since IPCC’s first report in 1990, assessed projections have suggested global average temperature increases between about 0.15°C and 0.3°C per decade for 1990 to 2005. This can now be compared with observed values of about 0.2°C per decade, strengthening confidence in near-term projections

    Observation: http://bit.ly/S90kaV

    The observation show:
    1990 to 2005 => 0.24 deg C/ decade warming (the above IPCC statement is correct)
    1997 to 2012 => 0.01 deg C/ decade warming.

    However, IPCC’s projection is wrong.

    AGW is dismissed as it is not supported by the observation.

  44. Steve McIntyre

    A longer version is online here, http://lund2012.earthsystemgovernance.org/LC2012-paper222.pdf

    It cites many blog posts including our host here, but conspicuously makes no citation of anything from Climate Audit, though I’m mentioned as part of the blogosphere.

    Nor does he mention Donna Laframboise, whose analysis of the links between IPCC and the large NGOs, especially WWF and Greenpeace, is something that should give real concern to supporters of the IPCC project.

    • .. though not in a way any real accountant would take seriously, of course, as it follows no generally accepted standard of accounting principles.

      Indeed, any diligent numbers man would call for an detailed audit of the claims.

      Unless he was rooting for his tribe.

    • Yes, these were the “quibbles” I had mentally noted in my first impression which were (disappointingly) reinforced by my reading of the whole paper.

      If one didn’t know better (and come to think of it even if one does!), one might be inclined to conclude that Beck (perhaps unknowingly, due to a failure to examine his/her own bias?) was reluctant to open the window(s) to the full extent of the IPCC’s failures and deficiencies.

      • reluctant to open the window(s) to the full extent of the IPCC’s failures and deficiencies.

        Or, so untrained, unprepared, unequipped and incompetent to the task, could not tell if there were anything but imaginings, buggaboos and snarks to be had?

        We just don’t know. We do know there’s plenty of baseless and unfounded claims of impropriety and wrongdoing, we’ve many times caught people making accusations without cause.

        And there are so many things actually wrong, really that ought to be addressed, that would be on the mark if they were actually looked into, like why the transparency is so poor in so much of science, why the management of data and records, why the culture of shared knowledge is so backwards as to lead to baloney-slicing, observation-hoarding backwaters and empire-building.

        Why the IPCC standard isn’t open data and methods from cradle to grave, reproducibility, planning to achieve better collection of information for less money (just by pointing out where the easily-obtainable and valuable information could be collected but isn’t, for example).

        And why hasn’t someone just banned Canada from international environmental or scientific events completely for their scandalous clampdown and censorship of their scientists?

      • And why hasn’t someone just banned Canada from international environmental or scientific events completely for their scandalous clampdown and censorship of their scientists?

        If you want to put any credence in the whinging whines of the ideologically dedicated and driven modeller, Andrew Weaver (as quoted by Gleick-fan-in-chief, Suzanne Goldenberg, in the greenest of ‘em all Guardian) and/or in the advocacy tainted “reports” of the CBC – whose reputation for over-hyping anything and everything that accords with their view of the world is equivalent to that of the notoriously biased BBC – by all means, be my guest.

        But perhaps it would help your “argument” (if it can be called such) if you could relate your complaint – or theirs – to the topic of this thread, which (just to remind you, since you seem to have forgotten) is the lack of accountability and transparency on the part of the IPCC.

        Along with Climategate – as well as other factors not mentioned by Beck in the paper excerpted in Dr. Curry’s post – this has resulted in a highly pronounced deterioration of trust in (and credibility of) the IPCC and its reports.

      • This CBC? http://www.cbc.ca/news/yourcommunity/2012/07/canadians-grieve-death-of-scientific-evidence.html

        The one that highlights the less than 7% of commenters on its blogs who agree with your position, rather than running with the 88% who have the opposite view to yours and agree with Andrew Weaver?

        Do you really need to be reminded that the CBC is paid for and directly controlled by the Canadian government, the same people as pay $865 million of taxpayers’ money to Shell Oil for tar sands research and call it ‘climate science’?

        Because the CBC coverage is a far cry from the coverage of others: http://news.mongabay.com/2012/0711-hance-scientist-rally-canada.html for example seems a bit different from the reportage of the propaganda arm of the Harper government.

        It’s time for the CBC to be privatized; it’s long since run off the rails of its original mandate to provide radio to remote hinterland residents north of the 49th parallel. It’s work is being done better and cheaper by private sources, like http://www.marcaccicomms.com/news/energy-and-environment-news-roundup-7-10-12/.

        So am I going to let tribalism color my view of the reports from scientists that they have been barred from disclosing to the public their concerns raised by research into everything from pharmaceuticals (where Canada has yet to ban drugs long since pulled from sale in the USA for being ineffective and dangerous) to fracking to population statistics? Or am I going to doubt the word of an ideologically-driven tax-and-spend group of lobbyist-chummy con men who have the power to hire and fire the people who investigate them and their friends? http://www.theprovince.com/news/Elections+Canada+quits+amid+robocall+probe/6823944/story.html

        Which am I more likely to be skeptical and suspicious of? The scientist tribe, or the politician tribe? http://www.care2.com/causes/the-republican-fight-for-dirtier-air.html Gee, which tribe is known for standing up and lying to get what they want?

        I keep hearing here that many Denizens think it’s the scientists. I keep seeing with my own eyes that it’s the politicians.

      • I keep hearing here that many Denizens think it’s the scientists. I keep seeing with my own eyes that it’s the politicians.

        Perhaps so. But all I’ve ever seen and/or heard from you is non-responsive diversion from the topic at hand. This observation of yours – along with those that preceded it – being no exception.

        I don’t know where you get your supposed “facts” from, but as a resident of Canada (as opposed to a sometime former neighbour, which is how you once described yourself, IIRC), I can assure you that you are quite mistaken in your assertion that the CBC is “directly controlled by the Canadian government”.

        Believe me, if it were “directly controlled by Canadian government” there would be far more balance – and far less brainwashing – in its “news”: coverage (and not just of “climate change”).

        But I see you’ve chosen not to demonstrate how this particular diversion of yours relates to the topic of this thread: the lack of accountability and transparency on the part of the IPCC.

      • hro001 | July 12, 2012 at 6:35 pm |

        Challenge accepted!

        The CBC vs. the IPCC, which is more transparent, balanced, fair, accurate, truthful and independent of political control?

        Oh. Wait. You’re still one of those stuck-in-the-1960’s Canucks who think your government’s propaganda arm is biased Left?

        Pfft. I guess you’ve never heard of Rex Murphy’s pro-tarsands, pro-robocall shows? Or of Ideas pseudolibertarian pro-coal two-parter? Of the CBC shows about Economics that come straight out of the Fraser Institute playbook? Unbalanced? The CBC absolutely is. It’s the Con-Servicing Broadcasting Corporation. Which I’m not entirely against, except that it’s a pro-tax&spend statist regime pulling the strings, which makes me lament for the USA’s northern neighbor about as much as for when it leaned more to the left.. Forty years ago.

      • Bart R | July 15, 2012 at 12:08 am

        Challenge accepted!

        Unfortunately for you, there’s absolutely nothing in your simplistic diversions – including this latest – in this sub-thread that would even remotely suggest that it has!

        Let me refresh your (obviously failing) memory:

        The issues under discussion are the IPCC’s failures and deficiencies, as demonstrated by (for example) the whinging whines of the ideologically dedicated and driven modeller, Andrew Weaver (as quoted by Gleick-fan-in-chief, Suzanne Goldenberg, in the greenest of ‘em all Guardian) and/or in the advocacy tainted “reports” of the CBC [emphasis added -hro]

        These failures and deficiencies of transparency and accountability on the part of the IPCC have resulted in (as I mentioned earlier) a highly pronounced deterioration of trust in (and credibility of) the IPCC and its reports.

        Ergo, your valiantly attempted – and ideologically driven – diversion fails. As usual.

      • hro001 | July 15, 2012 at 1:54 am |

        Sorry, I thought this particular sub-thread was about Steve McIntyre whinging that his blog and his pal Donna’s book aren’t getting enough publicity for his liking..

        Let me look back at the post that .. yup. McIntyre whinging. Nothing about the IPCC’s failings per se at all.

        Are you sure you’re following the thread?

      • Sorry, I thought this particular sub-thread was about Steve McIntyre […]

        Well, there’s your problem right there, Bart! You really weren’t “thinking” at all! Having unsuccessfully wandered all over your diversionary rhetorical map, you now decide to return to your misperceptions of the matter at hand.

        So once again, the subject of this thread (and sub-thread) is the full extent of the IPCC’s failures and deficiencies – many of which have been documented by McIntyre and/or Laframboise, amongst others; but (as anyone who is actually familiar with their respective work would know) the examples they have documented of the IPCC’s lack of accountability and transparency are not mentioned in Beck’s paper.

        A succinct and simple statement of fact on McIntyre’s part. This is a far cry from both your ideologically driven diversionary wanderings and your knee-jerk warped misperceptions and/or deliberate mischaracterizations. As usual.

      • hro001 | July 15, 2012 at 11:01 pm |

        It looks we have some pretty good first hand demonstration of the Canuckistan tribe out in full force here. Donna, Steve, HR, all rooting for the position that happens to coincide with the Canuck government in power, the position that is put out by the Canuck propaganda machine, the position the Canucks take to international negotiations and play to the hilt. No wonder no one trusts Canucks.

        Though really, that’s not so much a ‘tribal’ thing. Clearly, Canadian aboriginal peoples have stated often and loudly their opposition to the Canuck stance.

        We need a new word for ‘tribal’, I think. Perhaps ‘conspiratorial’? Nah. Too paranoid. Maybe ‘profiteer’? Opportunist? Leech? Parasite swarm?

      • I don’t believe anyone has ever accused Bart R. of bringing an educated, informed – or even, Gaia forbid, “on topic” – perspective to the discussions here.

        His performances in this particular sub-thread – in which (not unlike IPCC-nik, the activist, Andrew Weaver*** whom he seems to hold in high esteem) Bart R. appears to have let his imagination run wild – provide some very telling reasons why.

        *** When speaking of the release of AR 4, Weaver declared that it would show climate change to be “a barrage of intergalactic ballistic missiles”. [See Andrew Weaver’s intergalactic ballistic boomerang]

      • Sorry, what you said seems garbled.

        http://www.ottawacitizen.com/technology/Environment+Canada+snow+that+wasn+there/6942497/story.html

        Could you find your original data and repeat it? Because Environment Canada can’t.

      • Oh, for Gaia’s sake, Bart, the only one garbling msgs here is you. But here’s a recent article that is sure to warm the cockles of your heart (if, unlike the very predictable robot you appear to be, you actually have one!)

        With most of Europe trapped in a bleak cycle of economic deterioration and despair, Stephen Harper’s assertion that Canada is “a great nation rising” has a special resonance here today.

        “Canada is number one,” the editor of France’s L’Express magazine gushed in a special edition this month that encouraged its readers to emigrate not only to Quebec but to every corner of the country.

        Source

        P.S. Anytime you’d like to return to the topic of this thread and sub-thread (i.e. the full extent of the IPCC’s failures and deficiencies) be sure to let me know.

        Until then …as they say in Kyoto … Sayonara, kiddo!

  45. The thread-jacking j-troll had (as is his wont) pontificated:

    Again, I don’t know of one Jew who shares your view, or is in the least bit concerned about the use of the term having the effect you’re theorizing about.
    […]
    But again, for me the most amusing aspect of the kerfuffle over the term is the faux (politically correct) outrage about its usage – in particular from those who regularly decry political correctness and who regularly use similar terms with the specific intent of degrading those they disagree with.

    Perceptive readers will notice that – as usual – the thread-jacking j-troll has presented no evidence in support of this appeal to (his own, of course!) authority.

    Apart from the fact that one does not have to be Jewish to object to the inference of the label, the thread-jacking j-troll completely ignores, for example, Tom Yulsman’s response to syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman’s Feb. 2007 disgraceful exhortation.

    Goodman had declared:

    “Let’s just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future,”

    To which Yulsman responded:

    Excuse me, but being skeptical about the scientific basis for global warming is nowhere near on a par with Holocaust denial. That is an utterly offensive statement — one that seems to comes up more and more in liberal discourse about climate change. If this is reframing the issue, count me out. I’ll take run-of-the-mill catastrophism, thank you very much.

    Links to sources (and more) can be found at Of labels, libels and language launderers

    • From http://climatechangefork.blog.brooklyn.edu/2012/04/22/first-post/

      “As a professor, a scientist, a Holocaust survivor and someone who has just written a book on climate change, I think I am uniquely positioned to tell the climate change story. ”

      “We are now painfully aware that the Holocaust deniers were dead wrong and that there was a planned systematic genocide. But what about climate change deniers? Can we really compare the two, the Holocaust and climate change? Does this have anything to do with science?”

      I suggest folks read his blog to better understand his position

      • @@Louise | July 12, 2012 at 8:03 am

        Louise, shalom. Those Desperadoes from your Warmist camp that are trying to make the word ”denier” as 4 letter word; are proving that they are running out of inspirations for new lies. If one denies that is a bank-robber, or a pedophile – is he wrong for denying it, does that makes him a Holocaust denier? God forbid, if somebody with mustaches starts talking about the climate. Louise, you need some truth and reality, also; it’s on my website, waiting for you. To compare and see how wrong your book is

    • I must say, hro001 (did I spell that right?), I always appreciate it when you take time out from your busy day to post a comment noting how it’s my fault that you feel so moved by my comments to post a comment in response.

      It’s flattering. I thank you. It means so much to me.

  46. Cross-pollination between Silke Beck and e.g. Roger Pielke Jr., Susan Cozzens, and Aaron Levine, has been occurring openly and publicly in Academe and the blogosphere for the past three years. I find it somewhat unlikely that Ms. Curry is only recently refreshed by this.

    Anyway, it is easy to see that Ms. Beck and Ms. Curry may share some observations; however it is also possible to see that the details of their arguments are not so similar and their concerns and visions for the future may not be so similar, either.

    From late 2010:
    One of the most compelling dangers, Curry says, is the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which could raise sea levels 19 feet if it slips into the ocean. She calls that a looming catastrophe that could happen in the next few generations but has been overshadowed by the U.N.
    (Note: potential collapse of the ice sheet was not modelled in AR4 since changes in the Antarctic due to climate change are occuring so quickly that the science has not been able to create good models to estimate the upper bound for sea level rise related to Ms. Curry’s concern.)

    The U.N. has failed, she said, because by seeking a global solution, it has depended on agreement among nations with conflicting needs. And that guarantees that the effort won’t work.
    (Note: Silke does not argue in the above or related articles that it is a ‘guaranteed failure’: she leaves it open in relation to the IPCC’s ability to demonstrate the necessary adaptability and speculates on the different cultural views of leadership and credible processes. )

    “The underdeveloped nations see climate change accords as a chance to grab resources from the West,” Curry said, referring to demands by poorer nations for billions of dollars to implement emissions controls and other measures.
    (Note: It is easier to appreciate the features of Ms. Curry’s political attitudes that attract the majority of her denizens, when she chooses to make these statements.)

    “Then there are states like Russia, China and Canada that look to be big winners in climate change. The process is going nowhere.”
    (Note: I might be more interested in her statements about her own country.)

    She recommended that the first steps should be taken by the developed G-8 or G-20 nations, and then the process could work outward once they reach a consensus.
    (Note: IMO that is a good recommendation but Silke’s work tends to recommend continued efforts to make the IPCC (a global framework) more transparent and accountable in ways that tend to be expected by the U.K. and the U.S., specifically.)
    Full article:

    http://www.cos.gatech.edu/newsletter/dec10/inthenews.htm

    and follow the linto Fox.

  47. Entertaining as always, though not too much on tribalism and trust. You can trust me: I’m open and honest, and the only tribe I belong to is Newcastle United supporters (yes, I know that’s masochistic). My nature is to trust others; if I find that they are not trustworthy, not honest, won’t respond with self-correction when caught out, then I can neither trust them nor have a basis for dialogue. There is no way back, the IPCC should be disbanded, and I wouldn’t object if it took the UN with it.

    The 2014 G20 will be down the street from me (Brisbane Convention Centre), and I doubt if CAGW will be a prominent concern.

  48. Beth Cooper

    Tribal behavior ever threatens democratic open societies, yeah, I know we all err, but collectivists err more.. nearly smiled then but yer can’t laugh, I’m not laughing, when control freaks never give up encroaching on individual freedom, and they’re so good at it.

    I ‘ve posted before on Australia’s enquiry into the media, including the internet, free speech is under threat, here in Oz, home of the brave, home ot the brave.. Walked a whole tributary of the Yarra today but it didn’t cheer me up, thinkin’ about “The Control Freak Brain.” (

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/silencing-critics-in-seven-illiberal-steps/story-e6frg7bo-1226422877759

  49. CO2 remaining in the atmosphere for millennia? Yeah – right. :cool; :cool: :cool: :cool: :cool:

  50. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Quite a number of recent Climate Etc. posts have asserted that the word “denialist” trivializes the Holocaust. For example:

    gbaikie posts “[the word ‘denial’] doesn’t bother me personally either, but if was a Jew, and particularly if I had family in Germany, I think it would bother me, personally. And since this what I think, it bothers me because it diminishes the Holocaust and trivializes pain of those directly involved in it.”

    Be of good cheer, gbaike. A search of the Anti-Defamation League website finds no complaints regarding climate-change “denialism,” and a search of the Jewish Climate Change Initiative finds ample instances to the contrary, for example:

    “Taking an informed view on climate change requires a basic acquaintance with the science. Fortunately there’s lots of clear, accessible material out there. Our view is that the climate change denial arguments have been effectively refuted. … Climate change denial emanating from air-conditioned think tanks and newspaper offices in the US and UK starts to look rather quaint. Israel has joined the Arctic, the Himalayas, Russia, Pakistan ,the Sahel, and a host of other spots in the world where the daily evidence of dangerous climate change is before your eyes.”

    With Judaic concerns allayed, perhaps instead of worrying about the phrase “climate-change denial,” we might better concern ourselves with the sobering scientific reality of climate change, and the unsavory polemic methods of those who would deny that change?

    • andrew adams

      In the UK people who object to the government’s economic policies have been called “deficit deniers”, and that would include me. I certainly think the term is unfair because we are not denying that the deficit needs to be addressed, we just think the govt’s policies will either make no difference or make it worse, but I don’t think it’s outside the realms of reasonable debate.
      So it may be perfectly reasonable for people to object to being called climate change deniers if they think the label doesn’t apply to them (just as many on my side do not consider ourselves to be alarmists) – after all no-one is pretending it is a compliment. That doean’t mean it has the connotations which some people are claiming.
      Also, it occurs to me that word “denier” is said to be inextricably linked with the Holocaust but if I were to say to people “David Irving is a denier” then I doubt anyone who didn’t already know who he is would know what I meant, or they might even assume I was talking about climate change.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Yes, the general definition “Denialism is skepticism that is uninformed by rationality; commonly expressed abusively and/or polemically.” seems to fit.

      • Imo it depends upon the specifics.

        If discussing the rate of temperature change as a function of increased CO2 I am skeptical that we understand the rate with and acceptably tight margin of error.

        If discussing the implementation of things like carbon trading as a means to help prevent harm to the environment- I would disagree or deny that the concept makes sense from either and economic or environmental perspective.

        I agree that sensiable actions should be taken to reduce CO2 emissions

        What am I to be classified as???

        Generalizations are frequently inaccurate.

  51. Australia’s ABC probably constitutes a tribe. Here’s a sample:

    Naughty sceptics! Under the heading “Climate change scepticism could wipe out rural towns,” the ABC reports that many Australian inland towns could cease to exist through scepticism leading to failure to adapt to climate change. Quote:
    The report was commissioned by the Federal Government’s National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility. Author Professor Andrew Beer says climate change and market forces will de-populate entire towns. “It’s impossible to predict because between now and 2050 is a very long time,” he told The World Today. “But you could easily see the loss of 10 per cent. So 160 country towns across Australia could be gone within 20 years and a further 10 per cent by 2050 – simply because of climate change and the failure to adapt to it. “So, many people living in a small place right now will discover that their town won’t be there in 40 years’ time.”
    … it’s “impossible to predict,” but hey, we’ll scare people anyway.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-07-12/climate-change-scepticism-could-wipe-out-rural-towns/4126718

  52. What a tortuous polemic. Lucky we can extract CO2 from air and it doesn’t matter – if it ever did. :cool: :cool: :cool: :cool: :cool:

  53. “Quite a number of recent Climate Etc. posts have asserted that the word “denialist” trivializes the Holocaust.”

    I”m Jewish, and a skeptic, and I’ve never thought the term does anything to trivialize the holocaust. In my opinion the word is offensive because it’s a cynical lie. I’m not denying anything, nor are most skeptics I know.

    • ‘Denier’ is a Tribal Chant. It goes along with the other Tribal Chants: ‘Evolution’, ‘Pro-Choice’, ‘Sustainability’, etc…

      I’m sure Dr. Curry has chanted all of them at one point or another.

      Andrew

  54. JUst to add, there’s no quicker way for someone to lose my respect than to use that vicious, lying, cowardly word. You ought to know better fan, and in fact you must. YOu’re clearly an insightful, educated guy. Which just makes your usage all the more scurrilous.

  55. Thanks, pokerguy. I’m a skeptic, a nuclear chemist, a former Principal Investigator for NASA’s Apollo program, an Emeritus Professor, and a liberal environmentalist with BS, MS, PhD and postdoctoral research experience,

    Sciences and religions teach us to be “denialists” of those fighting “Truth, Reality, God, What Is, The Law of Nature, Sattva,” etc.

    World leaders and paid proponents of AGW dogma are losing the battle because they do not grasp the law (“sattva”) of warfare.

    As David said to Goliath on the battlefield (~1000 B.C.): “Who is this that defies Truth, Reality, God, What Is, The Law of Nature, Sattva ?” (Bible, I Samuel 17)

    As the Goliath of AGW dogma collapses – the conclusion is already written – it is even more important that we act appropriately.

    The Bhagavad Gita describes the “sattva”, and also warns that the message cannot be perceived when the mind is agitated.

    E.g., this quote from the late Eknath Easwaran’s commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2.45:

    “Though there is a vital need for hard work, we should take care in our fast-paced modern world to see that we do not get caught in work.”

    “The characteristics of the man established in sattva are calmness, compassion and complete fearlessness.

    ” When the mind is agitated, judgement is likely to be clouded; therefore the Gita says we should not undertake any action when angry or afraid. Such action is not likely to be correct or effective.”

    ” Any time our mind is agitated, the repetition of the mantram is a great help in calming our agitation, and when the mind is calm, judgement is clear.”

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel

    http://www.omatumr.com

  56. “The characteristics of the man established in sattva are calmness, compassion and complete fearlessness.”

    Boy, could I use some of that. I’m fully aware that much of my hostility toward the more arrogant, cynical of the warmists should and could be in better control. I have all the admiration in the world for skeptics like Hunter, and wmar from Revkin’s blog, who have the patience and the emotional wherewithal to mix it up day after day, often many times a day. It’s good and valuable work. Me, I’d soon pop a blood vessel. There’s only so much I can take, and that ain’t much.

  57. Let us start a new part on the thread for this issue. I have been asking Steven Mosher, Pekka, a someone who calls him/herself Viscount for a reference which shows that radiative transfer models are suitable for assessng radiative forcing. So far, no-one has given me such a reference. I am perfectly willing to learn if someone will give me something to study.

    Viscount gave me (Ramaswamy et al., 2001; Jacob et al., 2005). I have googled Jacob and found absolutely nothing. It would be nice if the reference given referred to an actual paper. I googled Ramaswamy, and found this was not a scientific paper at all. It was merely a reference to the TAR. So all the IPCC was doing was referring back to an unsubstantiated statement it had made earlier. Not much of a scientific reference.

    So to date, no-one has given me a reference that I can read and study which shows that radiative transfer models are suitable to assess radiative forcing. Am I willing to learn? Of course I am. All I ask is that someone gives me a peer reviewed scientific paper that I can study. So far, all I have is zilch.

      • Thank you Judith. I went to that thread, and found you wrote “And finally, for calculations of the direct radiative forcing associated with doubling CO2, atmospheric radiative transfer models are more than capable of addressing this issue (this will be the topic of the next greenhouse post).”

        Presumably what I am looking for should be found in this follow up thread; the “next greenhouse post”.. Did you ever broach this tropic, and if so what is the reference?

    • AR4 is written to tell about new development since TAR not about all relevant papers whatever their age. Whenever the knowledge has not changed much since TAR a reference to TAR is given without much further comments. That means only that TAR can be used to find original papers. Sometimes it may be necessary to continue to SAR, but I think that it’s not necessary to go as far as FAR to find important references.

      The original publications are the place to look for the evidence but they are not the easiest place to learn about the issues. They have been written for other scientists of the same field and may therefore miss much information to help understanding of the issues. Textbooks are usually much better for learning. When that’s done it may be a better moment to go back and check the original publications.

      It’s often possible to find textbook level material also from the net, but unfortunately I don’t know any such sources of high quality.

      A further problem is that realistic radiative transfer calculations of the real atmosphere get complicated when all details are included. It’s relatively easy to calculate the fluxes of a one-dimensional model atmosphere using a band model of absorption and emission, but taking into account the angular distribution of radiation as well as all inhomogeneities of the real atmosphere requires computer codes and a lot of input data. Myhre and others worked for years to reach reasonable accuracy and good confidence in their results. The same complexities remain and make the task too complex to replicate in full by amateurs. Several research groups have, however, done the analysis independently and reached results that agree with each other as well as they expected.

      What i have had most difficulties in accepting is that you dismiss TAR as the source for original papers on the issue and the papers that you have found through TAR or by other means. Some random critical blog comment is not valid evidence against these papers. It’s likely that all important papers can be found from the IPCC reports. I.e. nothing essential is missing and the papers either contain directly or link further to all evidence that’s needed to accept the conclusions.

      But. as I wrote already, the issues are not simple when more is wished than a semi-quantitative outline. The chapters 3 and 4 of Pierrehumbert’s book on Planetary Climate (about 180 pages that require some physics background) are one good intermediary level presentation of the theory. There are some issues that I missed also in this book, but it’s a good place to study. Perhaps someone can propose even better texts or free texts of comparable quality. Whichever choice one picks the effort is significant even for someone with good general physics background and much worse if that background is not good.

      • I have seen some parts of that material before. Based on that and the short sample chapter on green house gases, it does not really answer the questions Jim has presented at the level he seems to insist. It’s certainly possible that going through those courses would change the attitude on climate science and thus solve the problem indirectly.

        While I have known some parts of the theory for long I decided to search for better understanding of the whole some two or three years ago. For quite a while a felt that one essential piece was missing and that turned out to be understanding of the physical nature of the tropopause. What are the conditions that determine its altitude and temperature and how that controls the global temperature. This is a point that is insufficiently discussed even in the book of Pierrehumbert. It’s there but not with sufficient and realistic enough detail.

      • Pekka, the tropopause is very interesting. I started by comparing the surface to the TOA and then the surface to the tropopause. You can actually, get a pretty good estimate, ~1.5C at 240K degrees for 3.7Wm-2 of forcing. But just like that forcing reduce the tropopause temperature it would also reduce the Antarctic and Arctic when their temperatures are below 240K degrees. You can’t get uniform surface warming greater than 0.8C without including water vapor feed back which is not uniform either. In fact you get the deep convection blow through like in the Arctic now and in the tropics during stronger El Nino’s.

        i know you don’t believe that, but atmospheric pressure and density do limit that maximum heat that can be contained. That is the only reasonable explanation for the stratospheric water vapor and Arctic mixed phase clouds, which technically are at the stratosphere.

      • First. It’s clear that polar regions are very different at least in winter. The typical temperature profile is enough to prove that, but that’s only a small fraction of the Earth surface. There are many complicating factors everywhere. The simple descriptions of the atmosphere are only that, i.e. simple descriptions, but they do certainly help very much in learning and they allow also for the derivation of many valid results.

        Concerning your points on the role of atmospheric pressure and density I still miss completely an explanation of the physics that you see there. Perhaps you have somewhere an explanation that where the concepts are defined accurately enough for writing formulas based on physical principles. Even if you have such an explanation another issues remains. That theory must be linked consistently with other valid physical descriptions of the atmosphere and it must be shown that the effects you propose remain valid in this more comprehensive setting.

      • Pekka, other than the obvious, relative humidity cannot be greater than 100% and that rate of condensation is dependent on the rate of cooling, both depending on the pressure and density of the atmosphere, I got nothing. That is so brutally obvious to me I am at a complete loss how to explain it any further, there is no 11 on the relative humidity knob.

        Mauna Loa versus UAH

        There is a cute little graph. The land temperature change matches the 5.35ln(Cf/Ci) rather nicely, note that is the mid troposphere not the lower troposphere, so CO2 does appear to have some impact though that was not adjusted for the other GHGs.

        That is the the lower troposphere and the mean sea level rise with the ugly monthly values. That is a pretty fair correlation and note that does not jive all that well with 5.35ln(Cf/Ci).

        This is a lovely little plot of the ENSO waters. Note they do not match 5.35ln(Cf/Ci) all that well.

        Not being a true scientist I can be wrong, but that kinda indicates that water vapor is not a very positive feed back.

        Our resident sceptic R Gates has posted a few lovely graphs of what appears to be massive amounts of energy blowing through to the stratosphere.

        Armed with nothing more than the simplistic redneck philosophy that a bag can hold only so much stuff and steam engines tend to blow if not allowed to relieve pressure, the physical limit of how much moisture moist air can hold just leaped into my mind :)

      • Sorry, my lovely ENSO waters missed the boat :)

        Since I am here,

        Since I am a bit more focused on the SST and equatorial energy situation I plotted this,

        I believe that includes a glacial period. If Ms Tierney is correct, that is not a huge range of temperature change. Almost like there is a physical limit of some kind producing a bi-stable climate, water, water, every where.

      • Capt.Dallas

        What you state as the basic phenomena is exactly what determines the moist lapse rate at saturation. Thus that’s an important part of the standard theory and should result in the standard results.

        I still am unable to see, how that would lead to the descriptions that you give.

      • Pekka, first is that the standard lapse rate is not a neat uniform layer that raises or lowers as required. I used the moist air envelope specifically because of that. That envelope of moist air would move north or south with the seasons and since the warming is not uniform, it would expand non-uniformly to release the energy. So instead of a neat and tidy lapse rate there is a lava lamp of chaotic convection which overshoots the typical lapse rate description of negative feed back. When the energy and moisture reach the limit locally, there is an event, which produces longer term negative feed back, ozone depletion.

      • Thank you Pekka, for your long postings. Let me see if I have understood you correctly. What you seem to be saying is that the subject of radiative transfer models is extremely complex, and only the real experts can understand all the problems that are associated with the use of radiative transfer models. I am completely willing to accept this as being true. I cannot expect to ever understand this subject, and never as well as you do.

        But then I have my usual problem. No-one seems to have gone out of their way to explain this. There seems to be the usual “Trust us. We are the experts”. That is where I have the problem. I dont trust anyone. I want to know for myself. That, it would seem, is going to be impossible, and I will have to live with it. Clearly, I am never going to understand all there is to know about the uses of radiative transfer models.

        But I remain suspicious. There is no empirical evidence to support any value of climate sensitivity that anyone has ever quoted, not matter how much the “experts” agree that they are correct. When I see the evidence in the temperature/time graphs, I will be a believer. Not before.

      • Jim,

        What I’m trying to tell is that the physical phenomena are rather simple and very well studied by laboratory measurements and theoretical quantum mechanical models of molecules.

        Based on that knowledge it’s rather easy to do calculations for a simplified model atmosphere, whose properties may be more or less average for the real atmosphere.

        Doing the full calculation that gives the specific value of 3.7 W/m^2 or some of the other slightly different values that different research groups have obtained is more complex because there are so many details. None of the details is particularly difficult, but there are many of them.

        The whole process is straightforward enough that I believe that I can follow the full logic and that I could repeat it putting enough effort into that and without the need to learn much that I don’t already know. Thus I have great trust that the scientists who have done the full effort have been able to do it correctly ant to estimate the accuracy of their results.

        When the physics and the process of doing the calculation are as straightforward as they are in case of the climate forcing the indirect empirical evidence from laboratory measurements is strong. There are also measurements from the real atmosphere of quantities calculated by the same models from the same input data adding empirical evidence also for the climate sensitivity. Some of the radiation measurements are actually very closely related to the calculation of the climate sensitivity and thus almost direct evidence for that.

        To contrast that case with a different lets look at the situation of GCM type models. For those I’m not at all as certain that all major errors have been avoided, because the problem is inherently much more difficult. In particular I have rather little trust in the estimates on the accuracy of the models. In case of GCM’s weather forecasting has provided evidence for the validity of the models in describing the short term initial value problem needed for the forecasts, but that alone does not prove much about their value in climate analysis. There are more direct tests for that from hindcasting, but the whole issue remains much less understood than the basic atmospheric physics.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Pekka Pirilä, you reminded me of something:

        Doing the full calculation that gives the specific value of 3.7 W/m^2 or some of the other slightly different values that different research groups have obtained is more complex because there are so many details. None of the details is particularly difficult, but there are many of them.

        I’m used to seeing 3.7 W/m^2, and I’ve read enough (especially at Science of Doom) that I take no issue with it. However, I’ve also noticed Jim Hansen use the value, 4.1 W/m^2 quite a few times. Do you happen to know of any good sources to read discussing the difference? I’m primarily curious because I never see error margins listed on either, so I have no idea if an estimation of say, 3.3 W/m^2 is possible, or if perhaps 3.7 is the lowest, and 4.1 the highest.

        And quite frankly, I have no idea where to start when it comes to looking at how the differences arise.

    • Sorry to jump into this thread late, but if I had issues with the basic theory of how radiative transfer leads to radiative forcing, I would read everything this guy wrote as it appears to be his life work.

      http://sourcedb.cas.cn/sourcedb_iap_cas/en/people/Scientist/200908/t20090805_2330360.html

  58. Jim Cripwell (and Judith Curry)

    The “scienceofdoom” series on “CO2 a trace GHG” (as well as the Q+A blogs) give a good background of how the RF estimates for 2xCO2 were calculated.

    These would indicate that a doubling of CO2 from today’s 392 ppmv to a future level of 784 ppmv would result in a theoretical global warming of around 1 degC above today’s temperature, and an increase to 1,030 ppmv (which is the maximum level that could be reached from combustion of all optimistically estimated fossil fuels remaining on our planet today) would get us to around 1.5 degC above today’s temperature (which, itself, is “just fine, thank you”).

    These do NOT, however, provide any empirical scientific support for the CAGW premise of IPCC, namely a) that human GHGs have been the principal cause of the observed global warming since 1950 and b) that this represents a serious potential threat to humanity and our environment unless actions are undertaken now to drastically curtail human CO2 emissions.

    There are lots of model simulations out there with hypothetical positive feedback estimates cited by IPCC in AR4, a few more recent satellite observations (Spencer+ Braswell 2006, Lindzen+Choi 2009,2011) showing net negative feedbacks, but neither Pekka nor anyone else has been unable to cite any references to empirical evidence in order to substantiate the IPCC CAGW postulation.

    And this is the basic problem.

    Max

    PS I believe we are going to have to live with this problem until someone attempts to refute S+B or the modified L+C study with actual physical observations.

    • Max said, “PS I believe we are going to have to live with this problem until someone attempts to refute S+B or the modified L+C study with actual physical observations.” I think the problem will resolve itself fairly soon. The biggest issue is what should be the “average” to base sensitivity on? With about 0.8 C since pre-industrial and pretty good evidence building that at least half of that 0.8C is not due to CO2, there should be a realistic estimate as soon as more people realize that relative humidity doesn’t have an 11 setting on its control knob :)

      60,000 years and +/-1.25C change

      • captdallas

        Yes. If half of the observed warming since 1850 can be attributed to factors other than CO2, we have a calculated 2xCO2 temperature response of around 0.8 degC. If we make the giant leap of faith that there is still some GH warming “hidden in the pipeline”, we might arrive at somewhere around 1.2 to 1.4 deg C.

        This would mean that all the CO2 from all the optimistically estimated fossil fuels still remaining on our planet (1,030 ppmv) would get us to around 2 deg C warmer than today some day in the far distant future when they are all used up.

        That’s it, folks.

        This does not incite any feelings of panic in me.

        Max

      • Max, if that reconstruction is half way valid, we are at the upper bi-stable limit.

        I even showed Raypierre this graph which does look like a reasonably stable SST plateau. I looks like the oceans are at their interglacial normal.

      • we might arrive at somewhere around 1.2 to 1.4 deg C.

        I agree with that estimate.

        My empirical calculations give an estimate of 1.3 deg C for climate sensitivity.

    • Max,

      Jim has repeatedly brought up estimating the radiative forcing and other basic issues that are not dependent on feedbacks or GCM type models. These are issues on which Spencer, Lindzen and other skeptical climate scientists are in full agreement with mains stream as far as I know. These are issues that I understand well as a physicist and based on that feel also capable of judging the correctness of scientific papers without the need of auditing the details.

      Those are the issues we have argued on, when you have entered as a judge. You have also previously jumped then to these different issues which are too complex and involve too much climate science expert knowledge for me to judge as I can judge the basics. I have always admitted that. Some of the papers may contain weaknesses that I can identify as crucial, but mostly I just read what the experts write considering some views more convincing than some others but leaving the final judgement undone until something decisive is brought up or until the balance of multiple evidence appears convincing.

      • Pekka

        I stand corrected.

        Jim Cripwell has questioned the physical evidence supporting the 2xCO2 climate sensitivity before any feedbacks.

        The “scienceofdoom” series on “CO2 a trace GHG” (as well as the Q+A blogs), which JC has cited, provide the calculation basis for this estimate. These seem logical and well-founded.

        Spencer, Lindzen et al. accept these basic calculations as essentially correct, as you write. Let’s assume one accepts fully that this is all correct. Let’s also assume that they can be substantiated by empirical data. Although I have not seen such empirical data, I have no reason to believe otherwise.

        This still leaves the issue open on what the real-life 2xCO2 climate sensitivity really is.

        Here Spencer, Lindzen et al. do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that the net impact of all feedbacks is strongly positive, resulting in a 2xCO2 climate sensitivity, which is over 3 times the theoretical warming, which would occur from a doubling of CO2 alone. In fact, they have presented CERES and ERBE satellite data, which show net negative feedbacks instead

        You have also stated that, in your opinion, the 2xCO2 climate sensitivity estimates of IPCC are very doubtful.

        So the unanswered question remains “what would happen to global temperature in real life if atmospheric CO2 were to double from today’s value as a result of human CO2 emissions?”

        A second unanswered question remains, “how high are atmospheric CO2 levels likely to ever rise as a result of human CO2 emissions?”

        This leads to the third question, “what is the maximum global warming that is likely to ever occur from all human emissions of CO2 from fossil fuel combustion?”

        Which leads to a final fourth question, “would the net impact of this warming be beneficial or harmful to humanity and our environment, as IPCC postulates?”

        These 4 questions remain unanswered today.

        This is the problem – not the mathematics of the theoretical radiative forcing from a doubling of CO2.

        Whether or not Jim Cripwell agrees I do not know, but I hope this clarifies my position.

        Max

      • Max, you write “Whether or not Jim Cripwell agrees I do not know, but I hope this clarifies my position.”

        I agree with you completely. I think the whole way climate sensitivity is estimated is a load of garbage. But I was dealing with one isssue at a time. I am sure this issue will come up again, but when it does I will understand better about the radiative forcing.

      • Max,

        You may understand why I was a bit surprised by some of your comments as I have earlier noticed that our views differ more on the issues that we both admit as judgemental than on issues either one of us considers practically certain.

        The specific point on which I don’t agree with IPCC conclusions concerns the high end of the possible climate sensitivities. In my view (which seems to agree with the views of some main stream scientists like Annan and Hargreaves) the conclusion that values significantly higher than 4.5 C cannot be excluded with certainty of 5% is based on a very questionable prior. The empirical data presented in the report does actually tell that the likelihood of any such a value is reduced by at least a factor of 10 from the prior probability and the still higher end by a much larger factor. How can they then conclude that the likelihood remains above 5%. The reason is that such priors have been used that give a probability of at least 50% for the very high values, implicitly even a much higher prior probability up to almost 100%. Starting from that the rather strong evidence against the high values leaves the probability above 5%.

        Looking at the issue a bit more carefully my own conclusion from the same data is that the probability of a well defined climate sensitivity significantly above 4.5 is very low – but one worry remains at a somewhat more likely level: that of a tipping point where the whole concept of CS breaks down as the phenomenon becomes highly non-linear. I would not judge the likelihood of that to be even close to 5% but I would say that it’s many times larger than the likelihood of a well defined CS well above 4.5 (which might be interpreted as more than 6.0).

  59. The kerfuffle over the use of the term “denier” reminds me of the situation with Lebron James after he left Cleveland.

    Once he left, all of a sudden, millions of Americans were “concerned” about the poor people of Cleveland, whom Lebron had treated so badly when he left.

    I mean seriously, prior to Lebron leaving, how many non-Clevelanders (Clevelandians?) ever had any “concern” for people living in Cleveland for even one second?

    Sorry – all this “concern” about diminishing the seriousness of holocaust denial or trivializing the pain and suffering of survivors and/or their decedents – coincidentally coming from hardcore climate change combatants – just doesn’t pass the smell test. I’m not saying that such folks are complacent about the holocaust – but that it seems to me that their “concern” over this issue is just a tad too convenient. For those seriously concerned, my apologies – but from where I sit, the operating assumption is that the “concern” is faux; and just another table in the junior high school cafeteria food fight that is the climate change debate.

    • Yes the real issue over “denier” is the widespread intentional deception of alarmists who use it (to misdescribe skeptics).

      • That, at least, seems like a somewhat legitimate gripe.

        The term is probably a fairly accurate description of some “skeptics,” and not an accurate description of others. So it is probably widely over-used.

        Using it probably counterproductive in the long run: It only further deepens the claims of “victimization” of “skeptics” (not that they really need any help), and I can’t see how it could have any benefit. All it does is further entrench the battle lines – not something that is productive.

        Still, I find the faux “concern” to be rather amusing.

    • BatedBreath

      Any faux concern about trivializing the holocaust is as nothing compared to the faux concern over the fate of one’s grandchildren.

      • I’m not sure that moral equivocation about faux concerns makes much sense.

        One doesn’t justify the other. Faux is faux.

  60. neverendingaudit
    @ July 12, 2012 at 8:50 am

    http://judithcurry.com/2012/07/10/between-tribalism-and-trust/#comment-217932

    Thank you for your comment.

    Roger [Pielke Jr.] has a book coming out in which he decomposes the Kaya Identity and concludes that it is technology that will allow us to reduce emissions, not conservation. Unfortunately for Roger, this is conventional wisdom.

    I disagree. I think Roger Pileke Jr is spot on with this matter.

    Focusing on energy efficiency instead of on technology to replace fossil fuels is the wrong approach. Energy efficiency can make only a small difference. World energy consumption will grow this century much faster then energy efficiency can modify the growth in demand. Therefore, unless we provide a cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels – and especially for the developing and underdeveloped countries, they will use fossil fuels to power their development. CO2 emissions will grow enormously. Therefore, the focus need to be on cost competitive replacement of fossil fuels for all countries- even the poorest, in fact especially the poorest.

    Roger Pielke showed clearly why we cannot improve the energy efficiency across the economy very fast (This is well worth reading; see this short summary, or follow the link to the full paper to understand it: http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com.au/2011/02/reality-check.html).

    McKinsey studies (e.g. Exhibit 4 here: http://www.gbca.org.au/docs/McKinsey-Australian_Cost_Curve_for_GHG_Reduction%5B1%5D.pdf ) and many others preach that energy efficiency is the ‘low hanging fruit’ for reducing CO2 emissions. But it is not. In most cases it is not cost competitive to retrofit energy efficiency improvements to existing buildings and equipment. As a personal example, I’ve just had quotes to upgrade the insulation in the ceiling of my (very average) house from R3 to R6 insulation rating. The payback period on the investment is about 30 years. It would have to be about 3 years, or no more than 5 years, for it to be worthwhile. I’ll be way ahead to keep the money in term deposits and pay the gas bills – even if there is a real price increase. This is an example of the real costs in an existing house. Not all will be as bad as this, but it an indication that the advocates have not properly estimated the real costs and benefits. For a more general example, I worked in energy auditing of commercial buildings for an energy retailer for a short time in the mid 1990s. We found then that although large savings in energy consumption could be made, the costs of doing the work made it not viable in the majority of cases.

    Whereas, energy efficiency can make a small difference, we need to replace fossil fuels to make major cuts. And the alternative has to be cost competitive or it will not be adopted.

    The Australian Treasury’s modelling of how Australia will achieve the reductions in CO2 emissions that are required by government commitments, assumes that 75% of our electricity will be supplied by technologies that are not commercially proven and probably never will be: solar thermal, wind, geothermal (engineered geothermal systems, because Australia has no volcanic areas) and carbon capture and storage. Nuclear is not an option because is it banned by government policy.

    Nordhaus Table 5-3, shows that by far the least cost way to reduce emissions is with a cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels (Low-cost backstop technology). Compared with the ‘Optimal’ carbon price policy, the ‘Low-cost backstop’ has 16 times greater benefit-cost ratio, five times lower abatement cost and three times greater benefits. Actually, these figures grossly understate the difference (i.e, how much better the technology option is). As I’ve pointed out in other comments, the carbon pricing policy will cost far more achieve negligible benefits than is being stated by the modellers http://jennifermarohasy.com/2012/06/what-the-carbon-tax-and-ets-will-really-cost-peter-lang/

    What might the low cost alternative to fossil fuels look like? Answer, small modular nuclear power plants, manufactured in factories, shipped to site, run without refuelling for a life time or returned to factory for refuelling say one a decade. Here are some example that are currently going through the nuclear regulatory approvals process:

    http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/advanced/hyperion.html

    http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/advanced.html

    How fast could they be rolled out across the world? There are limits to how fast we could roll them out, but its amazing what we can do when we set our mind to it.

    USA was producing aircraft carriers in 100 days by the end of WWI. That was from first work on laying the keel to a fully equipped aircraft carrier with all planes and all ammunition on board and ready to go. USA produced 130,000 and Russia 100,000 army tanks in WWII. http://users.swing.be/tanks/edito/usa.htm These productions were about as complex relative to the capability of the times 70 years ago as the small nuclear plants would be now. So they provide some insight as to how quickly the industrial countries could produce replacements for fossil fuels for electricity generation if we wanted to. Once we have cheap clean electricity it will replace gas for heating and progressively replace fossil fuels for transport (either as electric vehicles or with liquid or other energy carriers produce from electricity.

    I’ve pointed out elsewhere, a golf ball sized piece of uranium contains enough recoverable energy to provide all the energy consumed by an average American throughout their whole life. That includes all the energy embedded in all the products and services a person uses throughout their whole life.

    I hope this may answer some questions on what we can do if we want to.

    I hoep a few will read this comment (buried in the thread).

    • Peter,

      The city of Palo Alto (CA) was a bit concerned about the estimate used for EE savings as noted here-

      http://www.energy.ca.gov/2011_energypolicy/documents/2011-08-11_workshop/comments/City_of_Palo_Alto_Utilities_Comments_TN-61893.pdf

      “Comments on the Draft Staff Report “Achieving Cost-Effective Energy

      Efficiency for California 2011-2020” (Docket number 11-IEP-1F)

      City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) appreciates the opportunity to comment on the CEC Draft Staff Report “Achieving Cost-Effective Energy Efficiency for California 2011-2010” (July 2011). Specially, CPAU would like to comment on the following three areas:

      (i) Cost of energy efficiency (EE) has steadily increased in the past few years.

      (ii) The question of whether to adopt net EE goals versus total market gross goals needs to be addressed within the next six months prior to the next round of EE target setting for POUs.

      (iii) Assistance to POUs on the use of the selected EE potential model for the next round of EE target setting.

      At the August 11 workshop, NRDC repeatedly quoted the cost of EE at 2¢/kWh. This is a misleading number. Based on the SB 1037 reports submitted by CPAU in the past three years, the levelized cost of EE, as expressed by the total utility cost divided by present value of net lifecycle EE savings, has increased steadily, from 2.9¢/kWh in 2008 to 6.4¢/kWh in 2010. Looking forward, as new lighting standards take effect and other
      low-cost efficiency measures reach saturation, the cost of EE will continue to increase.

      While CPAU expects EE to remain a cost-effective alternative compared to other supplyside resources, it is no longer the case that EE only costs 2¢/kWh. ………

      • Kakatoa,

        Thank you for that. Very interesting. To help me understand convert them to a rough Australian equivalent, could you say what is the average bus-bar price for the same period as the EE figures quoted?

        I’d also make the point for other readers, that I expect these figures apply for relatively small amounts of EE savings – not for reducing energy use by the amount that would be needed to refute Roger Pielke Jr’s point (which was what neverendingaudit’s comment was about that I replied to.

    • Peter;
      “Nordhaus Table 5-3, shows that by far the least cost way to reduce emissions is with a cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels (Low-cost backstop technology).”
      A possible candidate exists, and should establish its bona fides this year, next at the latest: LPPhysics.com .

      It uses a form of Dense Plasma Focus fusion, in a tiny rig (for this method, the smaller the better). If successful, within 5 yrs licenses will be issued to all comers, world-wide, for mass manufacture. The actual rig is a 5MW generator, that would fit in a shipping container. Cost/W is ~5-6¢, and output would be priced (with reasonable profit margins) at <½¢/kwh. Dispatchable, distributed, and with unlimited fuel sources (boron).

      If it comes thru, Nordhaus' projections of its benefits will be found to be extremely conservative.

      • P.S.
        One consequence is a motto I toss around here and there: “Conservation (EE) is nice; surplus is nicer.”

  61. Pekka Pirila,
    @ July 12, 2012 at 9:30 am

    http://judithcurry.com/2012/07/10/between-tribalism-and-trust/#comment-218004

    Thank you for your comment

    It seems that Australian lawmakers have succeeded in making a simple thing difficult. Very little, if anything can be gained by complex bookkeeping of emissions, when simple bookkeeping of fuels would do essentially the same thing.

    I agree the Australian CO2 tax and ETS is s total dud. As is the EU ETS and the USA’s EPA regulatory approach. And as was the Kyoto Protoicol. All these ideas are a complete dud.

    Your replies seem to be missing some of the important points I am trying to make. In short:

    1. all the alternatives to ETS and CO2 taxes have been debated for 20 years. The many “simple alternatives’ you and others frequently suggest have been investigated and are either not practicable, too costly, not effective or would cause unwanted effects.

    2. A tax on fossil fuels at source (i.e. on coal or crude oil) is an input tax to business, rather than a consumption tax. It is, therefore, very inefficient and frowned upon by economists.

    3. A tax on fuels to the end user is extremely complicated and riddled with distortions and inefficiencies.

    4. Even a tax on CO2 produced at the source of emissions is a dud. If we are going put a price on CO2 emissions it should be at the point of consumption – i.e. on the embodied emissions in the products and services procured by end users. However, we’d need a carbon accounting system as complex as our financial accounting system throughout the whole economy – just think of what that would mean, two parallel accounting systems, one for money and one for carbon dioxide equivalent emissions caused by man.

    5. A tax on fuels needs to be levelled across the twenty Kyoto gasses (greenhouses gasses) in proportion to their damage potential. If this is not done than there will be massive distortions.

    It’s interesting to note the sort of nonsense that various countries have imposed. Germany has an extra tax or levy on nuclear because it is too cheap and too efficient. It pays a subsidy to brown coal to support jobs in home industries. Brown coal is the most emissions intensive of all electricity generation technologies.

    Any way you look at it the CO2 pricing idea is a dud. It is impracticable because the assumptions which underpin it cannot be achieved. Just to remind you, they are:

    • Negligible leakage (of emissions between countries)

    • All emission sources are included (all countries and all emissions in each country)

    • Negligible compliance cost

    • Negligible fraud

    • An optimal carbon price

    • The whole world implements the optimal carbon price in unison

    • The whole world acts in unison to increase the optimal carbon price periodically

    • The whole world continues to maintain the carbon price at the optimal level for all of this century (and thereafter)

    If these assumptions are not met, the net benefits estimated by Nordhaus cannot be achieved. As Nordhaus says, p198:

    “Moreover, the results here incorporate an estimate of the importance of participation for economic efficiency. Complete participation is important because the cost function for abatement appears to be highly convex. We preliminarily estimate that a participation rate of 50 percent instead of 100 percent will impose a cost penalty on abatement of 250 percent.”

    In other words, if only 50% of emissions are captured in the carbon pricing scheme, the cost penalty for the participants is 250%. The 50% participation could be achieved by, for example, 100% of countries participating in the scheme but only 50% of the emissions in total from within the countries are caught, or 50% of countries participate and 100% of the emissions within those countries are caught in the scheme (i.e. taxed or traded).

    Given the above, we can see that the assumptions are theoretical and totally impracticable. To recognize this, try to imagine how we could capture 100% of emissions from 100% of emitters in Australia (every cow, sheep, goat) in the CO2 pricing scheme, let alone expecting the same to be done across the whole world; e.g. China, India, Eretria, Ethiopia, Mogadishu and Somalia.

    So, what will be the cost of complying with the requirements when they are fully implemented to the standard that will eventually be required?

    • Peter,

      Fuel taxation which is close enough to carbon tax have been applied to all fossil fuels for years in many countries. The implementation costs are negligible and there are no technical difficulties in implementing that. It’s effectively a consumption tax, because it is transferred totally to the consumer. That is not just theory but well established practice.

      The main complication is related to the industries where the energy costs are significant and international competitiveness is affected by energy costs. The normal practice has been that those industries get a tax rebate or some other compensation to improve their competitiveness. This is a complication, but not difficult to implement.

      Here in Finland and also in several other European countries we have the worst possible combination of both carbon based energy taxes with rebates and ETS. In this combination the implementation costs of the energy taxes are negligible. This combination is against all theories and really stupid but can survive even that.

      It’s certainly true that every alternative has its faults, but the faults tend to get the worse the more complicated the implementation gets. Therefore a straightforward carbon tax would be the best. Rebates may be needed for some industries as long as no better alternatives have been accepted for the international trade. For the products of these industries some product taxes may be added, but even that’s easy because the need applies only to a few bulk products.

      The real problems are not due to difficulties of implementation, they are due to politics and the way various private interested are taken into account. The lobbyist try to reach the best possible outcome for the industries they represent. That’s natural and right but reaching a fair enough solution is not really so difficult if political will is there.

      As I have stated before, all the above should be easy as long as the taxes are not high. The higher they get the more serious are the problems, and solving them properly is prevented by the lack of knowledge.

      • Pekka
        Since we have no reliable grasp of carbon’s real effect on climate, nor therefore of the likely costs thereof, how do we go about calculating a “low” carbon tax?

        And if it’s “low”, it must also be ineffective (which seems to be it’s only saving grace).

        And should this be a revenue-neutral tax, or a thin veil for more coercive wealth redistribution (socialism) ?

        Overall, your political approach seems to be that political will/correctness should boldly go where good sense fears to tread. A case of a scientist abandoning the principles of science to become an advocate?

      • Pekka Pirila,

        I think we are restating the same thing over an over again. I’ve explained several times why what you are saying is not correct.

        Fuel taxation which is close enough to carbon tax have been applied to all fossil fuels for years in many countries.

        Wrong, for several reasons.

        It is not applied equally to all fuels and not applied equivalently on the carbon content. Therefore, it breaches several of the key assumptions of the CO2 price modelling. Nordhaus and others have shown how the cost must increase very significantly if the assumptions are not met.

        Whereas tax on petroleum products is high (e.g. 100%) but very variable between products and between uses, the effective tax on coal is frequently zero or negative (e.g. Germany now). Taxes on coal near zero in Australia. This seriously breaches the assumptions.

        Petroleum has already a very high tax, but it hasn’t stopped us using it. And the price demand elasticity is low.

        It’s effectively a consumption tax, because it is transferred totally to the consumer.

        It is most definitely not a consumption tax as we mean by a consumption tax. It is a tax on business inputs. Businesses have to pay it and most do not get rebated. So it is an input tax not a consumption tax. It distorts and makes exports less competitive. Australia went through a major reform to replace inefficient taxes like you are suggesting (but not all of them) and replacing them with the Goods and Services Tax (a consumption tax).

        Here in Finland and also in several other European countries we have the worst possible combination of both carbon based energy taxes with rebates and ETS.

        Same here. We are all stuffed up with many decades of bad policies stacked on top of more bad policies.

        In this combination the implementation costs of the energy taxes are negligible.

        Throughout, I have been talking about the compliance cost of the carbon pricing system that will ultimately be required if we go down the carbon pricing route. It will inevitably expand bit by bit to cover all emissions and the measurement of emissions will be required, just as is required by US legislation but EPA has avoided it fore now. It is inevitable if the world has to move to a carbon pricing scheme we will have to move in the direction I’ve outlined.

        It’s certainly true that every alternative has its faults, but the faults tend to get the worse the more complicated the implementation gets.

        I agree. So why not seriously consider the alternative I’ve proposed; i.e. remove the impediments that are making nuclear far more expensive than it could and should be. Don’t just think of the status quo. Think about the cost it would inherently be if it had been treated in an unbiased way. You’ll need to be objective (leave the nuclear phobia at the door). No need to come back with all the problems you can think of based on the status quo – I’ve had the usual suspects repeating that stuff at me for about 30 years, so already know all their arguments.

        Therefore a straightforward carbon tax would be the best.

        No, for the reasons I’ve stated several times in the previous comments. The CO2 pricing will not work. It will be no more effective than Kyoto and it is clear now the world is not going that route. And neither it should.

        Rebates may be needed for some industries as long as no better alternatives have been accepted for the international trade. For the products of these industries some product taxes may be added, but even that’s easy because the need applies only to a few bulk products. The real problems are not due to difficulties of implementation, they are due to politics and the way various private interested are taken into account. The lobbyist try to reach the best possible outcome for the industries they represent. That’s natural and right but reaching a fair enough solution is not really so difficult if political will is there.

        This demonstrates governments will be fiddling with it forever. It is another disaster waiting to happen.

        As I have stated before, all the above should be easy as long as the taxes are not high.

        If they are not high they will have no effect. So we stuff up the economy for no gain. It makes no sense.

        An interesting and excellent paper was published yesterday: http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/4/7/1525

        From this I get the abatement cost of residential insulation program for Melbourne Australia. I also draw on figures I’ve calculated previously:

        Comparison of CO2 abatement costs ($/tonne CO2)

        Australian Government Household Insulation Program (HIP) = $238/t/CO2 91]

        100% Renewable electric NEM = $290/t CO2 [2]

        27% gas & 73% Renewable electric NEM = $301/t CO2 [2]

        73% nuclear, 15% gas, 12% renewable NEM = $86/t CO2 [3]

        [1] Graham Palmer (2012) “Does Energy Efficiency Reduce Emissions and Peak Demand? – A Case Study of 50 Years of Space Heating in Melbourne”

        [2] Peter Lang (2012) ”Renewable electricity for Australia – the cost”

        http://bravenewclimate.com/2012/02/09/100-renewable-electricity-for-australia-the-cost/

        [3] Peter Lang (2012) unpublished analysis

        The Australian Carbon tax starting price is $23/t CO2. This is nowhere near enough to have any significant effect. However, it is far too high (over twice the current cost of the EU price). Yet, if it is reduced to a low price as you suggest it will have even less effect.

        Putting together all I’ve said in this and previous comments, I suggest it is very obvious that this is the WRONG WAY!. STOP!. RETHINK!

        I’ve outlined the obvious solution.

      • Peter,

        I think we are victims of a common problem. When no valid solutions are available for a problem it’s possible to look at the issue from many points of view. Each of these approaches comes to the conclusion that we don’t have a solution, but each of the approaches finds a different reason for that. If we have five constraints and any single one can be satisfied and perhaps most pairs and some sets of three constraints but never all of them then there is a freedom in choosing which of the constraints is the most problematic.

        Our points of view are not opposite, but they are different enough for formulating the outcome differently.

      • Pekka Pirila

        Thank you for that comment. That’s a good summary of the position. And excellent diplomacy. You Finns are great at that (I have some close and good Finnish friends, and have been on trips through Finland looking at major underground excavations).

        However ….

        I still reckon, I have a pragmatic solution. I am, admittedly, more interested in the numbers (energy, emissions, cost, time scale for roll out of replacement for fossil fuels), than in the issues of how to turn around the very entrenched opposition to nuclear power in the developed countries.

        However, I reckon I have the solution for that bit too. It’s education.

        Education needs to start by educating the academics (they are the instigators of all the left wing propaganda and beliefs that infect our societies). Next, the teachers and the students. Following that, the media may, hopefully, catch on. Then the general public. And, lastly, the politicians. But the politicians need to get it started by properly funding the education revolution.

        My suggested solution is for developed countries’ governments to fund the implementation of education and research facilities in major universities and research organisations. The main objective of the research is to determine how to implement cost-competitive alternatives to fossil fuels. Therefore, I envisage much of the research will be focused on the soft issues Judith Curry has been talking about for AGW. The research I envisage will be largely on how to get the message out. Put another way it is to educate the population to get past radiation phobia and nuclear phobia.

        In parallel, but starting slowly and building up as popular support grows, will be the total revamping of the nuclear regulatory commission’s objectives, methods policies, procedures for Gen IV and future generations of nuclear power. They need to start with a clean sheet of paper. The objective is to get to low-cost nuclear power suitable for all economies and generation sizes. The main focus is lowest possible cost with adequate safety. Adequate safety means the equivalent of what level of safety we accept for other industries. We should not be demanding 10 to 100 times higher levels of safety for nuclear compared with the fossil fuel generators. Because, by doing so we preclude low-cost nuclear and, therefore, preclude us getting the many benefits of a far safer and cleaner source of energy.

        Thank you again for your fair summary of why we mostly agree but disagree on the the best way forward.

      • Peter,

        On nuclear power you are welcome to speak for it. People who do that are needed, I’m not opposed to that, I just wanted to say that it’s unrealistic to hope for rapid progress on scale that would essentially change the future from those activities. The most immediate impediments are related to political opposition and excessive fears, but there are also difficult real issues.

        Part of the fight for the better future for nuclear is improving the safety culture so that incidents like Fukushima are made much, much less likely. As a recent report also concluded the accident had not been nearly as severe if the safety culture would have been on the best existing level.

      • The exchanges between Pekka and Peter Lang have raised some interesting points. I’ll weigh in on a few.

        In summary I agree with Pekka that a simple “carbon tax” is a reasonably efficient means of taxation very similar to fuel taxes already implemented in much of the world.

        Implementation of such a tax essentially has two objectives.
        1. Efficiently raise net government revenues (the idea of net revenue increase is important here. The tax will initially raise revenue, but it will also have a negative revenue impact by reducing discretionary spending by consumers in the markets where it is implemented)
        2. Reduce consumption of the specified product (in this case fossil fuel)

        In the case of a “carbon tax” Peter in mostly correct in highlighting that the key to the effectiveness in meeting goal #2 is the relative elasticity of the product to which the tax is being applied in the specific market in which it is being applied. A couple of important points should be raised here.

        1. The relative inelasticity (effectiveness) of any proposed fuel tax will NOT be uniform. How much it will reduce demand will vary greatly in different countries/regions. In many places such an additional tax will do virtually nothing to reduce demand for the targeted fossil fuel. In most places such a proposed tax will have a much lower impact on reducing consumption of fossil fuel than would an increase in efficiency. So the point is it may be an efficient means to raise revenue, but if it does not do much to meet goal #2 do we want to implement the idea?
        2. Nuclear power can be Imo a potential very efficient mean to generate electricity, but even if we built as many new, modern facilities as I believe we should it would not impact the largest single area where fossil fuels are consumed (personal transportation systems).

        Unless or until battery/capacitor technology improves to the point where personal transportation is overwhelmingly powered by electricity, it is highly probable that worldwide consumption of fossil fuels will continue to rise. Imo this will continue to be the case for at least a couple of decades.

      • Rob Starkey,

        Thank you for weighing in. It’s great to get more discussion going on policy as opposed to just focusing on “the Science”, because it is policy that must be effective to make changes.

        I take issue with some of your points. Many, I’ve covered in previous comments, so no point in repeating those. So here are a few more points.

        In summary I agree with Pekka that a simple “carbon tax” is a reasonably efficient means of taxation very similar to fuel taxes already implemented in much of the world.

        What Pekkka is talking about is a fuel tax it is not a carbon tax. It is also not a consumption tax in the way that GST and VAT is a consumption tax. Fuel taxes are highly distorting. It will not do the job of a carbon tax which must be international. This is made very clear in all the work by Nordhaus, Stern Garnaut. You can’t just dismiss what these guys argue, [However, I do dismiss their conclusions because they seem to have forgotten that for their taxes to work their assumptions have to be met. Their assumptions are theoretical and totally impracticable.]

        In the case of a “carbon tax” Peter in mostly correct in highlighting that the key to the effectiveness in meeting goal #2 [Reduce consumption of the specified product (in this case fossil fuel)] is the relative elasticity of the product to which the tax is being applied in the specific market in which it is being applied.

        Thank you for “mostly correct”, however … The elasticity assumes a substitute is available. It is not, unless there is substitute for fossil fuels. Therefore, very little emissions reduction can take place other than by reducing economic growth. Roger Pielke Jr. explains it very well here: http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com.au/2011/02/reality-check.html (go to the full paper)

        Kaya Identity:
        CO2 Emissions = Population × (GDP/Population) × (Energy/GDP) × (CO2 /Energy)

        The first two terms on the right side of the equation are not addressed by CO2 emissions policies. So, to cut emissions, policies must be aimed at the third and fourth terms: Energy/GDP and CO2/Energy.

        However, we can only cut Energy/GDP slowly. An interesting paper just published http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/4/7/1525 shows, in short, that energy efficiency improvements in residences will deliver negligible long term savings in CO2 emissions. That’s the reality. That means, in reality, little will be achieved by polices designed to address energy efficiency in residential premises. The economy as a whole is reducing Energy/GDP but only slowly. In some sectors of the economy Energy/GDP is reducing and in some it is increasing. For example in Australia’s mining industry and LNG export industry it is increasing substantially.

        Therefore, to be effective, policies to cut CO2 emissions must be aimed at the fourth term: CO2/Energy. This means we need fuel substitution. We need low emissions energy to replace fossil fuel energy.

        Realistically, the only way we will achieve that, especially globally, is to have a cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels. Therefore, we need to focus on the technology and on the impediments to the technology.

        For many reasons I’ve outlined in previous comments on the last few threads, the CO2 tax idea is a dud. It is just as bad as the Kyoto Protocol and the EU ETS. But it will do far more damage to the world economy.

        The relative inelasticity (effectiveness) of any proposed fuel tax will NOT be uniform. How much it will reduce demand will vary greatly in different countries/regions.

        True. And that is not consistent with the assumptions that must be met for a CO2 pricing system to be effective in reducing global emissions. Please re read the assumptions. I’ve posted them about six times so far.

        2. Nuclear power can be Imo a potential very efficient mean to generate electricity, but even if we built as many new, modern facilities as I believe we should it would not impact the largest single area where fossil fuels are consumed (personal transportation systems).

        Firstly, I am not talking about the existing monstrous nuclear power plants I am talking about small modular nuclear plants, manufactured in factories and shipped to site.

        Secondly, low cost nuclear generated electricity could replace about 50% of emissions before we even start on transport. It replaces the emissions from electricity generation, gas used in much of heating, fugitive emissions and some land transport. By the time we’ve done all this, electricity can be much cheaper than now. We have no idea what energy carriers will be available for transport by ten.

        If we can’t address this with technologies that provide low cost clean energy, what chance do we have by adding more complicated market distortions to the mass of distortions we’ve already added?

      • BatedBreath

        So the point is [a carbon tax] may be an efficient means to raise revenue, but if it does not do much to meet goal #2 do we want to implement the idea?

        Introducing more socialism under the banner of solving a climate problem. Devilish cunning.

        As a former Canadian government environment minister once commented, it really doesn’t matter if cagw science is complete and utter tosh, what matters is that it serves to justify more taxes – an outburst of honesty that probably captures the sentiment of the greater majority of those who favor political action on the climate.

      • To clarify my view on the issue of carbon tax vs. fuel tax.

        What I have been proposing as the (relatively) easily administered tax is certainly a fuel tax implemented choosing the tax basis to be the carbon content of the fuels. Not expecting that the very high taxes on motor fuels would be lowered it would apply mainly to coal and gas (also such uses of oil where the taxes are low at present). It’s mostly a good proxy for a real carbon tax, because the share of carbon released in combustion is practically always close enough to 100% to make the amounts almost linearly related.

        I’m fully aware that there are many complicating issues with that, but up to now I haven’t seen any good arguments for the need of measuring releases rather than applying a fuel tax. The alternatives based on the actual releases are not better in any significant way but they are much worse in many ways. Wherever some additional consideration is important it can as easily be added to the fuel tax than be handled as part of carbon tax. The solution may not be elegant but it’s practical and it gets rid of all major costs of implementation.

        BatedBreath raised the point of additional taxes and their fiscal role. It’s a standard argument against any new form of tax that it will increase the overall tax rate. That’s often true in the short term because new types of taxes are often introduced in situations of acute severe deficit. I don’t believe that the same is true in longer term. In longer term the political mechanisms regulate the overall government expenditure and overall tax rate. Thus any structural change in taxation will become almost revenue neutral in longer term. If the taxation keeps on rising it would do it without the structural change, if not then some other taxes will be lower in the future than they would be in absence of the new source of revenue for the government. (This development requires that part of the population insists that taxes must be lower but I’m sure we’ll always here those views.)

      • Pekka Pirila,

        Thank you again. First, I’d lie to clarify that I have understood what you are proposing all along. It is what you are proposing that I disagree with. I’ll clearly have to come down to a much more basic level to get my point across.

        1. We agree it is a fuel tax.

        2. You say: “Not expecting that the very high taxes on motor fuels would be lowered it would apply mainly to coal and gas”. You are proposing no change to the taxes on petroleum products, but you are proposing raising the tax on coal and gas to the same level per unit of C. So you propose the policy should make no change to the amount of oil used and no change to driving habits. However, you propose to greatly increase the cost of coal and gas. This will make these more costly relative to oil, so there will be a move in consumption away from coal and gas towards more oil consumption. Imagine what this means: we’ll be travelling back in time a few decades and replacing our gas heaters with oil heaters. We’’’ be replacing gas and coal with oil for electricity generation (as Japan is doing now to replace the nuclear plants that have been shut down).

        3. Let’s focus on coal. Following are some of the issues that I hope you may respond to point by point.

        4. If you don’t measure emissions from the exhaust stack (as USA EPA requires), there are two alternative methods: 1) you use models of the power output and heat rate of the plant to calculate emissions. This is how EU countries do it. It is not accurate enough to avoid the opportunity for significant fraud. It will not survive international arguments over who is cheating; 2) You measure the mass and C content of the fuel entering the boiler. How do you measure the mass of coal entering the boilers? This is not a trivial question. Many power plants have no measure of coal mass entering the boiler. Some weigh the coal being transferred by train, truck or conveyor to stockpiles, but not entering the boiler. So using this method, we have little idea about the quantity of coal being burnt at any time and for any given output of the plant or the efficiency losses when the plant is cycling up and down to follow load changes. The uncertainties amount to millions of dollars available for fraud and cheating per plant per year. You can envisage what this will lead to when more and more money is involved, companies are getting into financial difficulties for whatever reason, banks refuse to extend credit, and more and more countries have to participate: “My country / my business wouldn’t cheat but I am damned sure your country and all my competitors are cheating. My shareholders are being ripped off by other cheats. I am being held to account by my shareholders. I have the evidence and I am going to litigate. Also, I am going to make enough fuss (along with my pals Greenpeace, WWF and FoE) until my country takes your country to the international World Trade Organisation, because I know your country is cheating.”

        5. For your proposal to work, the whole world must act in unison and have the same price on C. If not there is carbon leakage from one country to another. For example, if Finland, or EU, or Australia applies a higher level of tax than say China and India then industries will move to China and India. EU and USA have been driving their manufacturing capability to transfer to Asian countries by applying excessive regulation on business for decades. The C price if applied differential between countries will do that. And we need to recognise this will go on for decades, perhaps all of this century. During this century all of Africa will emerge from poverty and become developed. So, the industrialisation we see going on now in China and India and most of Asia – and previously in Germany, Japan and Korea – will continue through all the poorest countries. That is what differential application of the C tax will do. It is why one of the main assumptions in the C price modelling is that everyone has to be in together and it has to apply across all GHG emissions.

        6. Think about how this is going to be applied in Eretria, Ethiopia, Mogadishu and Somalia.

        7. More points I could make, but this is a start.

      • Just to clarify,

        in 4. I should have referred to measuring the amount of fuel (coal) used. I should not have mentioned emissions. Sorry for the confusion.

        In point 5. I should have said: For your proposal to work, the whole world must act in unison and have the same amount of tax applied to the same fuels.

      • Peter,

        I don’t propose that the present tax level of motor fuels would be the correct one for coal. Those taxes are extremely high in comparison with most proposals for carbon tax or anticipated price levels in emission trading. I have no plans to start discussing whether there are other valid reasons to justify so high motor fuel taxes.

      • I don’t propose that the present tax level of motor fuels would be the correct one for coal. Those taxes are extremely high

        Well what level of tax do you propose? How high are the fuel taxes on petroleum if converted to tax on C? What level of tax do you propose to put on coal? Give us some numbers so we can understand what you are proposing.

        Do you not see that any tax increase on coal and gas without an increase on petroleum products will move consumption from coal and gas to oil? That is increase oil consumption at the expense of coal and gas.

        Have you thought any of this through?

      • Peter,

        Harmonization of taxation is certainly a major problem. As I wrote earlier, it’s not too bad when the tax level is low, but it certainly is at high levels of taxation. That’s true for all forms of tax as well as for cap and trade solutions.

      • Pekka,

        You seem to be missing the main points I am making. The tax on fuels has to be standardised/harmonised across the world.

        What is happening now with the EU trying to impose a tax on air travellers arriving from countries that do not have a carbon price is an example of what will happen if carbon prices are not standardised across the world. EU has said it is going to charge a tax on passengers arriving from countries that do not have a carbon price aligned with the EU carbon price. China and India have told them to go jump and are retaliating. This is the tip of the iceberg.

        Can you not see where your scheme would lead? Can you not see that it cannot possibly work? Can you recognise that that is why it is not being seriously considered by any country? Can you not see that if it was simple, as you say, it would have been implemented?

  62. There is no symmetry in the climate debate when it comes to tribalism. While tribalism can arise organically in some part of any large group of people, progressives preach tribalism as part of their core belief system.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303740704577520890454878330.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_MIDDLETopOpinion

    I have long argued that default progressives, “moderates”, and “independents,” have been trained since preschool to avoid sources of conservative ideas. But now it is common to blatantly teach that one should avoid even thinking about conservative ideas.

    You can’t make this stuff up.

  63. My brother recommended I might like this web site. He used to be
    entirely right. This publish truly made my day. You cann’t consider simply how much time I had spent for this information! Thank you!

  64. I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your sites really nice,
    keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back down the road. Many thanks

    • Judith

      I have noticed a distinct increase in recent weeks of links by commercial sites such as the one above There are three on the board as I type.

      Have you changed your firewalls or done something else to the site recently, or is CE just being targeted as it becomes better known?
      tonyb

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Actually, I believe it’s neither. Spam bots seem to have become more successful on climate blogs recently. They could be getting better at dodging spam filters, or they may just be being more aggressive. Whatever the reason, I think it involves a change in the spammers, not this site.

        (Emphasis on think. I could easily be wrong.)

  65. Excellent beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your site, how can i subscribe for a blog site?
    The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been tiny bit acquainted
    of this your broadcast offered bright clear concept