What’s the best climate question to debate?

by Judith Curry

Andy Revkin poses a good question . . .

Over at dotearth, in the context of the U.S. presidential debates, Andy Revkin poses the following question:

While persistent and deep uncertainty surrounds the most important potential impacts from and responses to greenhouse-driven global warming, the long-term picture of a profoundly changed Earth is clear. What do you see as the best mix of achievable policies to limit environmental and economic regrets?

This is  a very good question to ponder, its at the heart of the climate policy debate.  How would you answer this question? For the moment, accept that there is ‘some’ warming that is attributable to CO2 (i.e. lets not debate the fundamental science here, but uncertainty assessments are ok).   Please keep your responses on topic.

1,361 responses to “What’s the best climate question to debate?

  1. Joe's World(progressive evolution)

    Judith,

    The planet is ALWAYS changing…

  2. Keep on Truckin’.
    ===========

  3. Judy, I gave Andy all the answers back in 2008 when his site was known to the bitter as DotKim.
    ==============

  4. What’s the best climate question to debate?

    What is the empirical estimate for the climate sensitivity?

    Knowing its true value will make me very happy.

    • Joe's World(progressive evolution)

      Girma,

      There is no answer to that question.
      Every point on the planet has a different value at the same time and averaging to guestimate is a huge error.

  5. The Precautionary Principle says we should take no action until we are sure it will do no harm. Should we spend billions of dollars now potentially mitigating a hypothetical threat – and cause real harm to the poor, the old and the sick, OR should we apply the Precautionary Principle and wait until we know enough to balance tomorrow’s risks against today’s real harm?

    • Joe's World(progressive evolution)

      Who is to say that you cause more harm when ignorance can generate a response that REALLY could damage our currently comfortable climate.

    • The Precautionary Principle says we should take no action until we are sure it will do no harm.

      This is the kind of statement that renders skepticism, about basically any subject, essentially meaningless. It sets an impossible standard, and so becomes meaningless. It makes concerns about uncertainty meaningless.

      We can’t be sure that any action, of any type, to address any problem, won’t cause harm. The only purpose for such a statement is to confirm a bias.

      Should we spend billions of dollars now potentially mitigating a hypothetical threat – and cause real harm to the poor, the old and the sick,

      A similarly problematic statement, which renders “concern” about uncertainty meaningless.

      Skeptics need to start taking out the “skeptical” garbage.

      • Joshua, the PP deserves such a response. It is a rhetorical device. Humans have mechanisms in place already to address risk. As implemented, it is the UN version of risk management (PP) that needs to be ditched. It is used for personal or societial motivated reasoning, and causes conflagation of the real issues with potential climate change. Besides, it is institutional bias in apllication and in limits.

      • The Precautionary Principle is a Paean to Ignorance.
        ======================

      • John -

        The PP is easily polemicized by people on both sides of the debate to argue in favor of per-determined conclusions. In essence, it is a statement that caution in the face of potential risks is appropriate.

        More specifically, I see nothing wrong with the following as a general principle:

        “In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation

        The statement becomes complicated when we wade into the waters of uncertainty. That is to be expected.

        Demagogues on both sides seek to apply a binary mentality to interpret the PP – they seek to exploit complications rather than to deal with them. That isn’t a fault with the basic PP concept, but with how motivated reasoning undermines rational analysis. That fault plays out in many, many aspects of the debate, the PP being just one.

      • John,

        The Precautionary Principle is something I’m interested in:

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

        It might soon be retagged

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

        Please note Martin Perterson’s Nature article. It might very well be the best you could argue against the PP.

      • Thanks Willard. That is a good write -up by Peterson.

        Joshua, the problem is that serious and irreversible, as well as sustainability have not been defined concretely. As Peterson points out, the meaning differs as or according to the individual. In this case, that persons are using motivated reasoning, such a construct would be expected to give worse results, since each gets to argue or define as they wish. Peterson found some utility for it. However, as it was promulgated, or rather since it was promulgated, it does not pass the consistancy test and needs to be ditched, or rendered to “advisement” category. The difference is that an advisement is usable, the PP as stated is worse than useless in uncertainty. It is just wrongly inconsistant with rules of decision making and with risk management practices which Joe Plodinec illustrates by pointing to how it can be inconsistant.

      • Latimer Alder

        @joshua

        ‘Threat’ is a lovely word for alarmists. It means nothing at all. Like being ‘in danger’. Neither mean anything without qualification, so – on your PP – could be used to justify any action at all that wanted to take.

        Weasel words indeed……

      • “lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation”

        Lack of scientific knowledge is more than sufficient reason to not do something that will most likely turn out to be something really stupid.

        When you clearly don’t forecast anything correct for fifteen years, shut up and sit down and gather more data.

      • Latimer -

        ‘Threat’ is a lovely word for alarmists. It means nothing at all. Like being ‘in danger’. Neither mean anything without qualification, so – on your PP – could be used to justify any action at all that wanted to take.

        I agree that the details behind “threat” or “dangerous” are the meat of the discussion. Qualification is the nut to crack. But as a general statement, the use of PP as I quoted seems just fine. John Plodnick’s usage of the PP above is certainly less valid.

        http://judithcurry.com/2012/10/08/whats-the-best-climate-question-to-debate/#comment-250201

        Weasel words indeed……

        Reflexive demagoging any aspect of the debate, the PP included, will get us all nowhere fast.

      • John -

        Joshua, the problem is that serious and irreversible, as well as sustainability have not been defined concretely.

        I agree.

        In this case, that persons are using motivated reasoning, such a construct would be expected to give worse results, since each gets to argue or define as they wish.

        So what it boils down to is the intent of the discussant. If someone wants to demagogue the use of the PP, they will do so – just as we see with any aspect of what anyone says in the debate.

        The difference is that an advisement is usable, the PP as stated is worse than useless in uncertainty.

        I don’t think it’s particularly useful without clarification – but I don’t think that it is worse than useless until people demagogue it. I see it as a fine principle to use as a basic starting point – and from there it becomes more meaningful as qualification is added. But we can’t even start down that road when people are motivated to throw obstacles in the path by demagoging basic cautionary principles.

        It is just wrongly inconsistant with rules of decision making and with risk management practices which Joe Plodinec illustrates by pointing to how it can be inconsistant.

        I haven’t read the link – but it seems to me that as a general statement, of course it can be inconsistent. Why would anyone expect otherwise? Holding a general statement hostage to uniform consistency is pointless. The point is to burrow down to explore the concept of consistency in specific context. How do we do that if people are so focused on rejecting basic cautionary principles. Again, I will refer back to this post:

        http://judithcurry.com/2012/10/08/whats-the-best-climate-question-to-debate/#comment-250201

        Please read again my response to that post. With the attitude John Plodinec expresses, no one can get anywhere.

      • Joshua you say “but it seems to me that as a general statement, of course it can be inconsistent. Why would anyone expect otherwise? Holding a general statement hostage to uniform consistency is pointless” There appears to be a logical or procedural error here. Without concrete definitions, motivated reasons will surface and comprise most if not all the discussion. With the human tendency to engage in such reasoning, it is as I claim worse than useless. It will waste time, first fighting over what the definitions are and how the definitions are related within a mental construct, that then has to be argued as well. With the construct dependent on the underlying weak defintional relationship, the construct will soon be demolished by the participants as they use parsing to re-entrench their position. The merits of any consideration will be then subsumed by this fight to retrench. In fact this was linked by Willard, IIRC, over at Keith’s in an article discussing sustainability and how even those who wanted to support the concept had problems first communicating, then secondly coming to concrete decisions because of the lack of definition.

      • John -

        There appears to be a logical or procedural error here. Without concrete definitions, motivated reasons will surface and comprise most if not all the discussion.

        I see your point. It has merit. The article Willard linked (http://www.nature.com/embor/journal/v8/n4/full/7400947.html) is also quite interesting.

        The PP in and of itself does not create motivated reasoning, wasteful re-parsing, etc. Those phenomena are ubiquitous. Time-wasting is ubiquitous. The PP is just one arena where they surface. And so I object to anyone focusing on the PP as causal w/r/t creating problems. This is not entirely unlike previous discussions you and I have had about locating causation.

        I think that the PP can be useful as a starting point. Sure, a problem occurs if someone uses it as an end-point, as a reason to dismiss cost/benefit analysis (as described in the linked article). And on the other side, if someone seeks to use the PP as a way to dismiss earnest attempts to make caution appropriately contextualized, a problem occurs.

      • John -

        I should clarify:

        And on the other side, if someone seeks to use the PP as a way to dismiss earnest attempts to make caution appropriately contextualized, a problem occurs.

        By that I mean that if someone uses attacks on PP as a way to dismiss attempts to make caution appropriately contextualized (for which I think using the PP can be an appropriate starting point), a problem occurs.

      • JOshua, I agreee with your comments in general. In specific, I point out as Bart indicated it works unless someone games the system. My point is and has been the UN and through the IPCC are gaming the system. The UN with Rio Declaration and its version of PP that removes tools used in risk management; and the IPCC with its institutionalized biaas that precluded that climate change is real and a threat. By stating threat as they did, one cannot use conservation of capital or status quo, as a legitimate reason to avoid potential costs in an uncertain result. As stated it is either contridictory or it is biased. Neither is correct.

      • “precluded” is the wrong word substitute “predetermined.”

      • ‘pre-concluded’.
        ==========

      • Hansen said this himself in several of his Science papers. Do the things that it makes sense to do any way.

        Things like cutting down on emissions black soot from dirty coal help air pollution, reduce respiratory disease, and will not leave soot to absorb energy in the atmosphere or on snow/ice.

      • Are you kidding? That makes too much sense.

      • Didn’t dirty coal power plants in China paused the global warming?

      • Joshua, I have a house in France, actually it’s two houses, one built sometime in the 18th Century and the other earlier, but of unknown provenance. Mrs. Geronimo saw some dust that could have been wood on the kitchen table. Should I:

        1. Spend a couple of thousand Euros getting house treated for termites and woodworm immediately?
        2. Spend a couple of hundred Euros treat only the room we’ve seen the “wood” dust in?
        3. Wait to see if there are any other persistent signs of wood infestation?

        The world has warmed by approximatel 0.8C over the last 150 – 200 years, there are no signs at all that this has been detrimental, all the “signs” have transpired not to be true, like the 50 millions climate change refugees by 2010 on the UNEP site. ( Now eradicated).

        So I guess the question should be:

        “How much are you prepared to pay for mitigation of CAGW if the theory turns out to be wrong?”

      • The prevailing Alarmist Precautionary Principle is that unless we can be sure there isn’t CAGW, we should pour $billions into it and massively expand the state.

        Funny, I don’t recall Joshua, Web or any of the other alarmist crackpots on this site ever complaining about it.

      • John Plodinec is correct. From an expert on the Precautionary Principle:
        Sunstein, Cass R. “Throwing Precaution to the Wind: Why the ‘Safe’ Choice Can Be Dangerous.” Opinion. Boston.com – The Boston Globe, July 13, 2008. http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2008/07/13/throwing_precaution_to_the_wind

      • Pooh,

        Thank you for the OP-ed.

        Sunstein only attacks what he calls the stronger version . His reductio ad absurdum are limited to the stronger versions of the PP:

        > The most limited versions of the principle suggest, quite sensibly, that a lack of decisive evidence of harm should not be grounds for refusing to respond. Controls might be justified even if we cannot establish a definite connection between, for example, low-level exposures to humanly-introduced carcinogens and adverse effects on human health. Thus the 1992 Rio Declaration, setting out principles for sustainable development, states, “Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.”

        http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2008/07/13/throwing_precaution_to_the_wind/?page=full

        As an aside, the byline only states that Cass Sunstein is a law professor, so the article alone does not provide evidence that he’s an expert on the PP.

      • Willard. “…so the article alone does not provide evidence that he’s an expert on the PP. These might help:

        Sunstein, Cass. “21st-Century Regulation—An Update on the President’s Regulatory Reforms – WSJ.com.” Opinion. Wall Street Journal Online, May 25, 2011. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304066504576345230492613772.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

        Sunstein, Cass R., and Timur Kuran. “Availability Cascades and Risk Regulation.” Research. Social Science Research Network, October 7, 2007. http://www.law.uchicago.edu/files/files/364.pdf

        Sunstein, Cass R. Beyond The Precautionary Principle. Working Paper #38. Public Law and Legal Theory. University of Chicago, January 2003. http://www.law.uchicago.edu/files/files/38.crs_.precautionary.pl-lt.pdf

        ———. Laws of Fear: Beyond the Precautionary Principle. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005

        Sunstein, Cass R., and Eric A. Posner. “Global Warming and Social Justice.” Regulation (Spring 2008): 14 – 20. http://www.cato.org/pubs/regulation/regv31n1/v31n1-3.pdf

        Sunstein, Cass R. “The Paralyzing Principle.” Regulation 25, no. 4 (2002): 32–37. http://www.cato.org/pubs/regulation/regv25n4/v25n4-9.pdf

        ———. “Throwing Precaution to the Wind: Why the ‘Safe’ Choice Can Be Dangerous.” Opinion. Boston.com – The Boston Globe, July 13, 2008. http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2008/07/13/throwing_precaution_to_the_wind

        Sunstein, Cass R., and David Weisbach. Climate Change and Discounting the Future: A Guide for the Perplexed. Working Paper. Reg-Markets Center, AEI Center for Regulatory and Market Studies, August 2008. http://aei-brookings.org/admin/authorpdfs/redirect-safely.php?fname=../pdffiles/phpEK.pdf

      • Willard. The last link does not work anymore. Try this one; the paper can be downloaded from here:

        Weisbach, David A. and Sunstein, Cass R., Climate Change and Discounting the Future: A Guide for the Perplexed (August 12, 2008). Reg-Markets Center Working Paper No. 08-19; Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 08-20; Harvard Law School Program on Risk Regulation Research Paper No. 08-12. Available at SSRN:
        http://ssrn.com/abstract=1223448 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1223448

      • Pooh,

        Thank you for these references from WSJ, Cato, AEI, and his book collating his lectures on the topic.

      • Pooh,

        Thanks to your links, I believe I could provide some food for thought to John Pittman over there:

        http://judithcurry.com/2012/10/08/whats-the-best-climate-question-to-debate/#comment-253146

        Sustein looks like a remarkable character.

        Many thanks!

      • Willard sustainable is not well defined and as Peak oil SIF’s point out nothing is sustainable forever. Physcists point out the sun.

    • “The Precautionary Principle says we should take no action until we are sure it will do no harm.”

      Does that include not pumping gigatons of CO2 into the atmosphere until we are sure it will do no harm?

      • Louise,

        Got any evidence anyone’s been hurt by it yet, since it’s been happening for some time?

        Andrew

      • Are you SURE it has done no harm and can you be SURE it will do no harm in the future?

        If so, please demonstrate.

      • “Are you SURE it has done no harm and can you be SURE it will do no harm in the future?”

        Yes, I am. The demonstration has already occurred. You acknowledge as much in your initial claim. Gigatons of C02 and no harm.

        Andrew

      • This is a rather typical example of how demagogues exploit complications in the concept of the PP to serve a partisan goal.

        Even assuming that it can’t be “proven” that anyone has been “hurt by it” yet (which, btw, is absurd anyway – given that we all know, clearly, how ACO2 from a variety of sources has negative impact in addition to affecting the environment), the PP in the context of the climate debate refers specifically to the potential of future impact on the climate.

        Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation

        If you want to argue about whether there are threats, knock yourself out, but that is a different issue. Polemicists on one side want to use the PP to argue that climate change policy is a must, and polemicists on the other side want to use the PP to argue that climate change policy is completely unfounded. Neither group is actually arguing on the basis of the PP, but merely from their own biases.

      • BTW – Louise – just to be clear, my reference to demagogues was to BA.

      • Have a Peter Principle Party. Take precautions.
        =================

      • Latimer Alder

        @joshua

        ‘given that we all know, clearly, how ACO2 from a variety of sources has negative impact in addition to affecting the environment’

        I don’t think that we ‘all know’ this at all.

        On what basis? What evidence would you cite? What ‘negative impacts’ are there?

      • On what basis? What evidence would you cite? What ‘negative impacts’ are there?

        Sorry, Latimer. I see no reason to answer those questions. That ACO2 has harmful impact irrespective of any potentially harmful influence on climate change (and I’ll even throw in geo-political negative externalities as an exclusion for the sake of argument),is completely obvious are obvious to anyone who is serious about this issue and is even remotely interested in a good faith discussion. (Please note, someone not stuck in a binary mentality can see that the existence of negative impacts is not mutually exclusive with the existence of positive benefits).

        That you would even ask those questions serves my purpose sufficiently to point out the difference between “skepticism” and skepticism.

      • lurker, passing through laughing

        Louise defines rather clearly the frontiers of her analytical skills with this line of reasoning.

      • Peter principle, kim? Are you insinuating that climate science has risen above the level of its own competence? If so, I’ll agree. They did so 30 years ago.

      • Are you insinuating that climate science has risen above the level of its own competence? If so, I’ll agree.

        The unfortunate logic of a “skeptic.”

        You take a general principle and selectively apply it to those you disagree with.

        A skeptic avoids something that so obviously could be merely confirmation bias.

      • Latimer Alder

        @joshua

        I’ll take your unwillingness/inability to present any evidence beyond ‘its obvious’ as an admission that you haven’t got any, shall I?.

        Let’s remind ourselves of your ‘obvious’ proposition:

        ‘That ACO2 has harmful impact irrespective of any potentially harmful influence on climate change is completely obvious’

        It may be obvious to you, but not to me. Indeed it is a claim I haven’t really seen before. I ask you to document the harmful impact you cite. You refuse – with some form of lecture about my supposed motivations/intellect.

        It was a simple question. You did not answer it.

        Nuff said.

      • > I’ll take your unwillingness/inability to present any evidence beyond ‘its obvious’ as an admission that you haven’t got any, shall I?.

        Start here:

        http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/contents.html

      • Latimer Alder

        @willard

        Any particular piece of the large and dull tome you would wish to draw to my attention vis a vis the topic under discussion – the ‘obviousness’ of bad effects of ACO2 other than climate change.

        Or should I just put you in the same category as those many religious nuts whose answer to every question is ‘read the bible’ (or Koran or Talmud or whatever)? And who like to utter vacuous gnomic riddles?

        Since the supposed answer is ‘obvious’ you must surely be able to guide me at least to the chapter and paragraph that discusses it………

      • David Springer

        Joshua | October 8, 2012 at 11:16 am |

        Latimer: “On what basis? What evidence would you cite? What ‘negative impacts’ are there?”

        Joshua: “Sorry, Latimer. I see no reason to answer those questions.”

        ROFLMA – anonymous coward Joshua CAN’T answer it. The harm is imagined to be many decades in the future. Too funny. I see no reason… HAHAHAAHAHAHAAHAGHAHAAHAHAAHAH!!!!!!!!1111111

      • David Springer

        willard (@nevaudit) | October 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
        > I’ll take your unwillingness/inability to present any evidence beyond ‘its obvious’ as an admission that you haven’t got any, shall I?.

        Start here:

        http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/contents.html

        —————————————————————–

        Creepy Willard lamely tries the literature bluff, Latimer bitch slaps him for his trougle, and creepy Willard falls flat on his creepy face. Pass the popcorn.

      • David Springer,

        Once we establish the physical basis of what CO2 does, we could follow up by looking at its biogeochemistry, one of the chapter Latimer Adler might have glimpsed, if only because his alleged background in chemistry:

        http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch7.html

        Online bitch-slapping does not hurt much. In fact, I see no reason for you to motivate me to drop citation after citation of documents you’re supposed to have read. Quotes will soon follow.

        Meanwhile, please don’t choke on your Thanksgiving popcorn.

      • Latimer Alder

        @willard

        Chapter 7 of IPCC WG1 discusses very few linkages between ACO2 and bad things other than climate.

        Here is the executive summary

        ‘Emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and of reactive gases such as sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons, which lead to the formation of secondary pollutants including aerosol particles and tropospheric ozone, have increased substantially in response to human activities. As a result, biogeochemical cycles have been perturbed significantly’

        You will note that CO2 is lumped in there with every other unpleasant gas they can think of. I think (for example) that CO2 has almost no influence on tropospheric ozone.

        So – once again – where please are the ‘obvious’ parts of Joshua’s proposition?

        ‘That ACO2 has harmful impact irrespective of any potentially harmful influence on climate change is completely obvious’

      • Latimer Adler,

        There is no hurry to try to satisfy your request, if all you have is bitch-slapping. In fact, I see no reason to believe you ever were satisfied.

        From the introduction:

        > An important aspect of climate research is to identify potential feedbacks and assess if such feedbacks could produce large and undesired responses to perturbations resulting from human activities. Studies of past climate evolution on different time scales can elucidate mechanisms that could trigger nonlinear responses to external forcing. The purpose of this chapter is to identify the major biogeochemical feedbacks of significance to the climate system, and to assess current knowledge of their magnitudes and trends. Specifically, this chapter will examine the relationships between the physical climate system and the land surface, the carbon cycle, chemically reactive atmospheric gases and aerosol particles. It also presents the current state of knowledge on budgets of important trace gases.

        http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch7s7-1.html

        I hope you do not find the emphasized sentence too gnomic.

      • Louise,

        The burden of proof is on those claiming some harm. Otherwise mankind would be unable to ever make any change or introduce anything new.

      • Latimer

        you asked about impacts.

        http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg2/en/contents.html

        So, if your question is about the citations for the scientific basis for the effect C02 has that would be WG1 ( and skip chapter 7 there isnt much of interest there) If your question is about impacts, then WG2.

      • Joshua:
        Concerning your posts: Personal denigration is not discussion.

      • Latimer Alder

        Thanks Steven

        But the actual point I was trying to establish was whether Joshua could substantiate his assertion that

        CO2 has so many bad effects – in addition to climate change – that they are obvious (paraphrase).

        It was not a discussion about climate change. It was not a discussion about radiatve physics. It was a discussion about the effects *In addition* to these things. And the *obviousness* or otherwise thereof.

        Somewhere along the way various participants seemed to have lost track of the point of the discussion and wandered off into academic wordgames, philosophy, epistemiology and insults.

        It was a very simple, straightforward and reasonable question that could have been answered in a minute or two. But it seems to have caused much angst with a number of participants.

        En passant I wonder how many other environments there are where a participant/participants is/are so discumnockerated by being asked to justify an assertion that such events ensue.

        Is this an academe only thing? A climatology only thing? A US thing? Because in my experience in commerce is that it is entirely normal practice. Most discussions/presentations/meetings I have ever attended thrived on lively debate and discussion….One would be extremely ill-advised to make such an assertion without having the facts to back it up to hand. One can almost guarantee that somebody will want to examine it in public.

        I’ve never had direct dealings in the Far East, where seniority and ‘face’ are far more important than they are in Western culture. But as far as I can tell Joshua is not from an Eastern culture.

        So it is all very very mysterious,……

        Thanks for the link anyway.

      • Compare and contrast:

        1. Latimer Adler’s paraphrase:

        > CO2 has so many bad effects – in addition to climate change – that they are obvious.

        2. Joshua’s first claim:

        > Even assuming that it can’t be “proven” that anyone has been “hurt by it” yet (which, btw, is absurd anyway – given that we all know, clearly, how ACO2 from a variety of sources has negative impact in addition to affecting the environment), the PP in the context of the climate debate refers specifically to the potential of future impact on the climate.

        To better understand the “variety of sources” Joshua had in mind he suggested this:

        http://bit.ly/R0zt0q

        3. Latimer Adler’s total unresponsiveness for this suggestion, reiterated many times now.

        4. Latimer Adler’s response to Moshpit:

        > Thanks for the link anyway.

        Mysterious indeed.

      • CO2 makes green things grow better using less water. Pump as much as you can if you do want to feed billions of people and animals. Manmade CO2 is one molecule in ten thousand molecules of everything else. That tiny trace does likely have a trace effect.

      • David Springer

        +1*10^6

      • Lousie,
        It’s a principle, don’t abuse it.

      • @ Louise | October 8, 2012 at 10:11 am |

        “If so, please demonstrate.”
        Australia, 2008:

        “IT MAY be time to stop describing south-eastern Australia as gripped by drought and instead accept the extreme dry as permanent, one of the nation’s most senior weather experts warned yesterday.
        “Perhaps we should call it our new climate,” said the Bureau of Meteorology’s head of climate analysis, David Jones.”

        http://www.smh.com.au/news/environment/this-drought-may-never-break/2008/01/03/1198949986473.html

        Australia, 2012:
        It’s official: Australia no longer in drought

        http://www.theage.com.au/environment/weather/its-official-australia-no-longer-in-drought-20120427-1xpsp.html#ixzz1uE1VLOxL

        CO2 Levels Highest in Two Million Years

        http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/06/090618-co2-highest-carbon-dioxide.html

      • Louise. You may be unaware of the action you appear to endorse. Seventy percent of our energy sources (all industry) are supplied by fossil fuels. Zero percent is supplied by Solyndra, Abound Solar , et. al. Another 20% (nuclear) is highly regulated.
        Do you really want to put 90% of our energy under bureaucratic diktat?

        Associated Press. “EPA Moving Unilaterally to Limit Greenhouse Gases.” Text.Article. FOXNews.com, December 24, 2010. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/12/24/epa-moving-unilaterally-limit-greenhouse-gases/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+foxnews%2Fpolitics+%28Internal+-+Politics+-+Text%29&utm_content=My+Yahoo

        Carlin, Alan. “How EPA Seeks to Unilaterally Impose GHG Emission Regulations Using UN ‘Science’ Whether Anyone Likes It or Not.” Scientific Blog. Carlin Economics and Science, January 24, 2010. http://www.carlineconomics.com/archives/629

        Garrett, Major, and AP. “Administration Warns of ‘Command-and-Control’ Regulation Over Emissions.” News. FOXNews.com, December 9, 2009. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/12/09/administration-warns-command-control-regulation-emissions/

      • Louise: It is a complicated situation. The following may clarify.
        Sunstein, Cass R. “The Paralyzing Principle.” Regulation 25, no. 4 (2002): 32–37. http://www.cato.org/pubs/regulation/regv25n4/v25n4-9.pdf
        Page 2: Paralysis
        “The most serious problem with the Precautionary Principle is that it offers no guidance – not that it is wrong, but that it forbids all courses of action, including inaction.”
        Page 3: “If the burden of proof is on the proponent of the activity or processes in question, the Precautionary Principle would seem to impose a burden of proof that cannot be met.”
        Page 6: Conclusion
        “If the burden of proof is on the proponent of the activity or processes in question, the Precautionary Principle would seem to impose a burden of proof that cannot be met.”
        Bottom line:
        Sunstein, Cass R. “Throwing Precaution to the Wind: Why the ‘Safe’ Choice Can Be Dangerous.” Opinion. Boston.com – The Boston Globe, July 13, 2008. http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2008/07/13/throwing_precaution_to_the_wind
        “Precautions, in other words, themselves create risks – and hence the principle bans what it simultaneously requires.”

      • Drat! Page 6 Conclusion text duplicated quote from page 3. Page 6 text should have been:
        “We have seen that both regulation and nonregulation seem to be forbidden in cases involving nuclear power, arsenic, global warming, and genetic modification of food. The Precautionary Principle seems to offer guidance only because people blind themselves to certain aspects of the risk situation, focusing on a mere subset of the hazards that are at stake.”

      • Cass Sunstein is perhaps unmatched among Harvard lawyers; he’d have you not only eagerly throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but going out to look fanatically for babies to toss without wasting that troublesome middle bath step.

        The Precautionary Principle is always a tool of last resort; otherwise you end up caught on the horns of Sunstein’s many seeming dilemmas over and over again. Have sufficient knowledge to act? Then the Precautionary Principle doesn’t apply. Have sufficient knowledge to decide acting is less risky than inaction? Then the precautionary principle leading to inaction does not apply.

        Sunstein is wise to closely examine the principle and point up inappropriate applications of it case by case. We are unwise if we draw from Sunstein’s work that the principle (over a dozen distinct precautionary principles are extant, dependent on situation) is wrong, just because it can sometimes lead to wrong outcomes in situations where there is no good way to predict what action to take.

        Absent the precautionary principle, after all, we’d have a situation where every action, however ludicrous, should not just be allowed but pursued, and not just by individuals who choose to but by government enforcing actions by command and control, regardless of the reluctance of individuals.

      • BartR: You make an excellent case for preferring individual Adaptation over command-and-control Mitigation.

      • Pooh, Dixie | October 14, 2012 at 4:12 pm |

        You should see my case for privatization, and letting the democracy of the Market solve the problems caused by government interference.

      • BartR October 14, 2012 at 4:00pm: “over a dozen distinct precautionary principles are extant, dependent on situation”

        Let me suggest that one in particular guides the UN.
        UN. “Report of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Annex I)”. General Assembly, August 12, 1992. (RIO Declaration On Environment And Development)
        http://www.un.org/documents/ga/conf151/aconf15126-1annex1.htm

        Selected Principles
        Principle 1

        Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.

        Principle 15

        In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities.
        Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.

        Reading the cite, check out the mentions of “sustainable development”. You might note that “Global Warming” (aka “Climate Change”) has been subsumed within “Sustainability”.

    • It seems that perhaps the only thing that the Precautionary Principle is good at is deflecting discussion from legimate topics. The exception proving the rule: the very act of deflecting topics does promote discussion of the utility and limitation of the Precautionary Principle. Well, it should anyway.

      • It seems that perhaps the only thing that the Precautionary Principle is good at is deflecting discussion from legimate topics.

        That is contingent on the intent of the discussants. It seems a failure of personal responsibility to “blame” the PP for how people choose to demagogue a rather simple and important concept.

        When people have such intent, there is nothing that can’t be demagogued. And when people fail to hold demagogues to account, nothing will change.

        Same ol same ol.

      • “That is contingent on the intent of the discussants. ”

        How about ‘That is A RESULT OF the intentS of the discussants’ ?
        It is in part because of that aspect applies to discussants of all stripes and colors that the Precautionary Principle is potentially useless. You can not remove the people from the process. To me one can not use any tools, e.g., the PP, without trying to come to grips with it limitations in decision-making.

        “When people have such intent, there is nothing that can’t be demagogued (sic). And when people fail to hold demagogues to account, nothing will change. ”

        Concur with that.

    • Could I ask, which PP are specifically referring to?

      I’m acquainted with over a dozen distinct precautionary principles.

      You seem aware only of part of one.

      Are you sure you’re familiar enough with the topic to make such sweeping statements with such simulated authority?

    • My personal opinion is that any discussion where the PP is brought into play is one of people who suffer from another form of PP – peeing in their panties.

      You guys ever hear of any of the following phrases?

      Carpe Diem

      Who dares wins.

      Victory goes to the bold.

      • I don’t know. At Edson’s Ridge, of the two, who was the bolder; who took the bigger dare, the Japanese or the USMC?

      • Was trumped by another saying – “Adapt, Improvise, Overcome.”

      • timg56 | October 8, 2012 at 3:46 pm |

        Carpe Diem

        Who dares wins.

        Victory goes to the bold.

        All variations of the Precautionary Principle.

        The Precautionary Principle is a situational mathematical construct of Game Theory, applied to circumstances where a player seeks an optimal strategy in the absence of some information.

        Nothing in this thread so far has developed the theme of what information is missing, compared to decision needs, though Latimer and Joshua danced around the topic of ignorance and whether we can call information absent just because some choose to dodge it.

        I contend we have all the information we need to make many informed decisions about climate policy, so the Precautionary Principle does not apply except in a few detailed cases.

        We understand that the carbon cycle is exhibiting scarcity, that it is rivalrous, that we can exclude lucrative uses of it from the Market; for Capitalism that is all we need know to demand its privatization, as a merely technical economic question. Once we know this, failure to privatize is theft from the many by the few condoned by an ineffective government.

        We understand that there are Risks no one sought or consented to being imposed on the many by the few; while there may be some benefits — largely overblown used-car salesmanishly — that again no one sought or defined as benefits for themselves, we can never argue the benefits against the costs as there is no consent. A farmer who dumps a load of manure in the town well so he can sell water from his own well at a steep price does not get to argue how much greener the town square may be next year for the application of all that fertilizer. A load of poisonous BS remains a load of poisonous BS.

        Where might one or more of the various Precautionary Principles apply? Certainly we’d want to apply the Precautionary Principle against overuse of Cap & Trade or of increasing government revenues through new taxes or of expanding the command and control regulatory powers of the state.

        We expect Cap & Trade systems to be more easily exploited the more general their application, the wider they cast their nets: although there are some cases where Cap & Trade might be the most effective and efficient instrument of privatizing the carbon cycle in some industries, these are certainly the minority of the entire economy: when faced with the choice of Fee & Dividend vs. Cap & Trade, the Precautionary Principle thereby indicates we ought favor Fee & Dividend as it is likely the lesser drag on the Market.

        We expect, given the finding that Retail taxes produce less of a drag on the economy than Income taxes that if a government decides it must raise new taxes (perish the thought), then it ought by the Precautionary Principle do so by reducing the Income Tax rate so low as possible and raising the Retail Tax rate to meet the needs of the state — for instance to pay off debt accumulated by fighting foreign wars.

        Likewise, since we know committees and bureaus of experts tinkering with any large and complex enough system of exchanges lack enough good information and the response time to react to changing conditions when compared to the democracy of individual exchanges in an efficient and fair Market, the Precautionary Principle tells us to beware of creating command and control committees and bureaucracies when a Market mechanism can instead achieve the same results.

        The Precautionary Principle is the heart of the Capitalist system. Honi soit qui mal y pense.

      • johnfpittman

        Bart R stated correctly for a general construct, “The Precautionary Principle is a situational mathematical construct of Game Theory, applied to circumstances where a player seeks an optimal strategy in the absence of some information.” However, the PP as promulgated by the UN, chose an optimal solution for THEIR desires. That is the PP’s, in all its forms, weakness. Different persons, organizations bring different theories as to what should be optimized, different ideas as to how much to risk, not only when information is available, but especially when information is not available. Even the ratio of known to unknown will effect others differently. The problem with PP is that it allows “players” to try to change the rules for actualization. To actualize, one needs the capabilities, and the oppurtunity to do so. The PP tries to limit the capability when the oppurtunity is avavilable. The reason it fails is that is claiming an ability it does not have wrt knowledge and uncertainty. If one has knowledge, the solution is straightforward. If one has uncertainty, risk management has been the solution in the past. Now persons want to use the PP with conditions of uncertainty to trump the capability of a possible good outcome that they consider “risky” or preclude the use of capital conservation in an uncertain situation. But note the contradiction the UN PP has Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.” How can one in the face of actual uncertainty propose cost-effective measures? There will be intrinsic and extrinsic assumptions to be made that differ to the point that they appear 180 degrees opposite of each other; and yet each can claim to meet the PP within the set of assumptions made. The assumption of whether CO2 will be a net benefit or net loss and at what point it MIGHT reverse from one to the other.

      • willard continues to impress and surprise.

        Sen and Nussbaum is certainly a step up in the discourse, and could be six or seven topics for Dr. Curry’s salon, given the number of people who persist in making assertions about development economics and the lesser developed world, generally without foundation.

        Ampliative logic, likewise, and the other non-classic systems, don’t generally get much time from me in discussion, given that most people have trouble with simple predicate logic as it is, despite the delight I take in them. Sure, so long as you preface your logic with a notation indicating your logical system (though technically, it’s a form of reasoning, not of logic, to my way of thinking), I’m all for entertaining exchanges along those line.

        In case you haven’t noticed, I’m frequently ampliative myself.

      • See:
        http://judithcurry.com/2012/03/02/week-in-review-3212/#comment-180983 et seq.

        For a more complete analysis, links, quotes and citations, see:
        Precaution, Post Normal Science & Possible Cooling
        http://solarcycle24com.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=globalwarming&thread=1948&page=1

      • johnfpittman | October 9, 2012 at 9:25 am |

        “..as promulgated by the UN..” That’s just plain hooey.

        John Plodinec | October 8, 2012 at 9:03 am | isn’t the UN. It’s his application of the PP we’re discussing, not the UN’s.

        Could you show me a cite for the UN where it details its rationale for its specific application of the Precautionary Principle? It’s entirely possible the UN is as ignorant of how to apply this principle as anyone in this thread; but I think it more likely you’re makin’ stuff up.

        There is nothing in the construction of the principle that conforms to what you say about it.

        “However, the PP as promulgated by the UN, chose an optimal solution for THEIR desires.”

        If this is what the UN did, then it’s not the Precautionary Principle; reasoning from the conclusion to the premise is always an error of Logic, and the PP is a tool of Logic.

        “That is the PP’s, in all its forms, weakness. Different persons, organizations bring different theories as to what should be optimized, different ideas as to how much to risk, not only when information is available, but especially when information is not available.”

        Different parties bring different considerations to the table when they construct the situation they apply the Precautionary Principle to. This is true.

        “How much to risk,” has nothing to do with the Precautionary Principle, however. The principle is invariant to amount risked.

        Also, you simply can’t apply the Precautionary Principle when information sufficient to a decision is available; it’s a contradiction in terms.

        “Even the ratio of known to unknown will effect[sic] others differently.”

        Which is why there are Precautionary Principles – general precepts to mathematically determine correct decisions for given situations of knowns and unknowns. It would be the absence of an agreed on principle that would allow some to be affected differently than others.

        “The problem with PP is that it allows “players” to try to change the rules for actualization.”

        Uh.. No. You’re describing ‘gaming the system’ or ‘metagaming’, and not the Precautionary Principle.

        One example of gaming the system is to redefine terms to weaken their use when they disadvantage your play. Like people who hate the Precautionary Principle frequently do (for example in this thread) by makin’ stuff up about it that just ain’t true.

        “To actualize, one needs the capabilities, and the oppurtunity[sic] to do so.”

        Motivational speaking 101?

        The PP tries to limit the capability when the oppurtunity[sic] is avavilable.

        About half of all Precautionary Principles apply to situations where the mathematically correct outcome given Uncertainty is to restrict attempts to take advantage where there likeliest is none until such time as the non-perishing advantages may be correctly exploited.

        Oil in the ground keeps, for instance. A hundred years from today it will be more, not less, valuable than today (by all indications). It’s not a perishing resource. So Carpe Diem does not apply, except in the sense that the lifespan of some individuals who want money in their pockets from that oil is itself perishing and they have no regard for their descendents.

        The other half of Precautionary Principles by symmetry apply to situations where failure to take advantage of an opportunity results in likely loss. And guess what? They just don’t apply very much to the situations of Climate Change avoidance; inevitably over the longest term the Risks on both sides are so unbalanced as to make it ludicrous to propose boldly continuing to change the climate in ignorance.

        “The reason it fails is that is claiming an ability it does not have wrt knowledge and uncertainty.”

        Okay, now you’ve asserted the failure of an entire branch of mathematics without presenting a single mathematical argument, a single example of correct logic, or even a single true statement.

        “If one has knowledge, the solution is straightforward.”

        If one has knowledge, then the Precautionary Principle doesn’t apply.

        “If one has uncertainty, risk management has been the solution in the past.”

        Uh.. what?! Have you ever done the least reading on Risk Management as a distinct pursuit? The Precautionary Principle is one of the mainstay tools of Risk Management. Or do you mean ‘risk management’ in lowercase, by which you mean gambling and hoping you don’t have to resort to the social safety net, leeching off your family, getting government bailouts because you’re too big to fail, or going bankrupt and leaving your creditors in the lurch? Because it sounds like what you’re saying is it’s okay to make bad decisions by ignoring precautions because you can count on someone else to pay for your mistakes.

        “Now persons want to use the PP with conditions of uncertainty to trump the capability of a possible good outcome that they consider “risky” or preclude the use of capital conservation in an uncertain situation.”

        Is this even a sentence?

        Yes, it’s true, mathematically sometimes Uncertainty does mean the good outcomes some imagine aren’t real, and the Precautionary Principle recognizes this reality.

        Don’t want to accept reality? That’s fine. Just don’t do it on someone else’s dime. That’s simply begging for the charity of others to bail you out when your fantasy falls apart.

        Once the Precautionary Principle is applied, there remains plenty of room for Risk still, and plenty of opportunity for gain by taking risks; there remains plenty of rational exploitation of resources to do, and plenty of upside to see. The Precautionary Principle merely constrains the downside of uncertainty. It doesn’t even guarantee that all downside is avoided. It just guarantees that on the whole you haven’t made the downside inevitable so far as can be known.

        “But note the contradiction the UN PP has Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.”

        Aha. You do have a quote from some UN document somewhere. Title? Page? Date published? Would be nice if you provided enough information to confirm your quote. Or even quote marks around it.

        “How can one in the face of actual uncertainty propose cost-effective measures?”

        You mean cost-effective based on cost-benefit analysis compared to the serious damage; they appear to mean compared to the threats. Simple reading comprehension mistake. Anyone could make it. Of course, confirmation bias makes it more likely to succumb to.

        “There will be intrinsic and extrinsic assumptions to be made that differ to the point that they appear 180 degrees opposite of each other; and yet each can claim to meet the PP within the set of assumptions made.”

        Because there are symmetrical Precautionary Principles, and you appear to be acquainted (though barely) with part of only one.

        “The assumption of whether CO2 will be a net benefit or net loss and at what point it MIGHT reverse from one to the other.”

        Unsought benefits of CO2 (way overblown from what I can tell) don’t count in any Precautionary Principle. An unsought benefit is like unsought procreation. The attacker is the only one having any fun.

      • Bart,

        John might be referring to the 15th principle of the Rio declaration:

        > In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.

        http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?documentid=78&articleid=1163

        As formulated, it is more an anti-anti-precautionary-principle than the PP, but we’ll wait until the discussion gets more constructive (?) to note the difference.

        According to my rhetorical models, a flurry of appeals to ignorance might likely be forthcoming.

        ***

        In any case, it would be interesting to know if this 15th principle is referring to Sen’s capability approach:

        http://www.iep.utm.edu/sen-cap/

      • Summarized as : Don’t let the lack of facts ruin a good excuse for meddling.

      • Nice link Willard. Your linked work is a subset of the work done by biologists in the pursuit of explaining evolution. Perhaps even partly a superset since the work goes into the legal and moral dimensions from what I read.

        Bart R, I failed to realize you would not understand my point was from the perspective of the UN, since I stated so. I note you asked JOhn Plodinec, but I did not see an answer. HIs “Should we spend billions of dollars now potentially mitigating a hypothetical threat” wrt to the thread I inferred was about climate change and the UN sponsored mitigation efforts proposed; otherwise his comment does not make much sense to me. Bart I have been engaged in different types of risk management from the informal to the formal for 26 years as an engineer. In particular I agree with “perishing” or not resources. This is where I point out that the UN has defined it such that capital conservation or risk avoidance is trumped in their declaration. Yes, and I agree it is confirmation bias and motivated reasoning on their part. Yes, I was pointing out that the UN is gaming the system. It is not that I am unaware, but I have a question that may cut to some of the misunderstanding. I note you use PP in both singular and in plural. My question are you taking about the same PP I and others are, such as outlined in the UNESCO document “The Precautionary Principle” March 2005?

      • John,

        I suppose you mean this document:

        http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0013/001395/139578e.pdf

        Am I correct?

        At last, something to read!

      • If that’s the document, here’s the working definition from Box 2:

        When human activities may lead to morally unacceptable harm that is scientifically plausible but uncertain, actions shall be taken to avoid or diminish that harm. Morally unacceptable harm refers to harm to humans or the environment that is

        - threatening to human life or health, or
        - serious and effectively irreversible, or
        - inequitable to present or future generations, or
        - imposed without adequate consideration of the human rights of those affected.

        The judgement of plausibility should be grounded in scientific analysis. Analysis should be ongoing so that chosen actions are subject to review. Uncertainty may apply to, but need not be limited to, causality or the bounds of the possible harm.

        Actions are interventions that are undertaken before harm occurs that seek to avoid or diminish the harm. Actions should be chosen that are proportional to the seriousness of the potential harm, with consideration of their positive and negative consequences, and with an assessment of the moral implications of both action and inaction. The choice of action should be the result of a participatory process.

        I’m not sure this is the PP as BartR is used to regard it.

      • johnfpittman

        Yes Willard. It is one to read. Did you see my question about Sen wrt Nussbaum?

      • > [R]easoning from the conclusion to the premise is always an error of Logic, and the PP is a tool of Logic.

        To be fair, we must say that what BartR says applies to logics that are not ampliative:

        > Arguments that are deductively invalid are ampliative. Their conclusions contain information that is not present in their premises, they go beyond the information given in their premises. In some cases this is obvious. When we draw a conclusions about what all voters in Quebec prefer based on premises describing the preferences of a sample of Quebec voters our conclusion goes beyond the information in our premises (here to voters that we didn’t sample).

        http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/relativism/supplement3.html

        Ampliative logics have been developed to model what we can call creative forms of reasoning. One such instance is abductive reasoning:

        > For Charles Peirce, who coined the term “abduction” a century ago, the introduction of unifying conceptions was an important part of abduction [11, 25], and it would be unfortunate if our understanding of abduction were limited to more mundane cases where hypotheses are simply assembled. Abduction does not occur in the context of a fixed language, since the formation of new hypotheses often goes hand in hand with the development of new theoretical terms such as “atom,” “electron,” “quark,” “gene,” “neuron” and “AIDS.”

        http://cogsci.uwaterloo.ca/Articles/Pages/%7FAbductive.html

        This note is mostly an excuse to cite this classic of cognitive sciences. But there is also this intuition I can share: should we model the PP in an ampliative way or not? If we determine that precaution acts like an induction principle, we could build a reasoning system like the one with which BartR might be more familiar. On the other hand, it does not appear to be faithful (at least prima facie) with the Unesco or the UN formulation.

        Something to chew on, unless of course one prefers to simply whine or bitch slap.

        >

      • The UN Precautionary precept must be the weakest precautionary principle I’ve ever seen, restricting itself strictly to when “..human activities may lead to morally unacceptable harm that is scientifically plausible but uncertain,..” which anyone would have to call, once they worked out that it means only when scientifically there is likelihood of unacceptable moral harm but doubt of exactly where the likelihood begins due to the limits of science to predict that “..actions shall be taken to avoid or diminish that harm.”

        I mean, think about what that says: strapping babies to a rocket sled and firing them toward a solid barrier is perfectly acceptable, so long as there’s no doubt about exactly how long before they run into a concrete wall. Well, okay, we can be pretty sure the UN meant to capture absolute certainties. But it’s still a mathematically weak condition, what with the “or diminish,” and with the failure to refer to justice, blame, responsibility, payment, compensation, consent, or any other ordinary term or concept related to trespass. They certainly could go much farther, without even catching up with the common law or international trade law or even other declarations of the UN.

        Morally unacceptable harm refers to harm to humans or the environment..”

        – threatening to human life or health, or
        – serious and effectively irreversible, or
        – inequitable to present or future generations, or
        – imposed without adequate consideration of the human rights of those affected.

        If that’s the precaution you’re offended by, if you think it’s your entitlement to kill, hurt or otherwise trespass on the rights of others for no compelling and equitable reason, then you fulfill every definition of a psycopath..

      • “if you think it’s your entitlement to kill, hurt or otherwise trespass on the rights of others for no compelling and equitable reason, then you fulfill every definition of a psycopath”

        This is precisely what makes the UN/IPCC a psycopathic organization. It should be immediately culled before it does any more harm.

      • Bart, if your question “If that’s the precaution you’re offended by” is directed at me or my comments, or if you don’t mind me commenting, it is with the weakness of the UN PP construct that would instruct the UN and countries to engage in indirect harm that meets the four criteria you listed in the effort to prevent climate change or environmental harm, besides precluding a good precautionary principle of conserving in the face of real uncertainty, or conserving and solving the problems such that the indirect harm does not occur. As stated, this PP, I find logical or use inconsistant, if not outright contradictory if one assumes a situation that has more than two or three complications or is complex in nature, such as we know reconstructing our main energy use would be, or the results of climate change itself.

    • John Plodinec

      Willard:-

      You’re correct – the UNESCO formulation, which I sort of bowdlerized. I am decidedly not a fan of the PP for most of the reasons cited against it. However, as far as I can tell, it is the only basis for questioning what to do – if anything – about climate change at this point in time. Frankly, I think it would be silly to even talk about it in the debates given the real problems we have to solve today.

      • John Plodinec,

        No harm, no shame.

        My personal impression is that the PP has merits. As auditors are fond to say:

        > If 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 significance” pass anyone’s lips as a preamble to a business decision.

        http://climateaudit.org/2008/02/18/back-from-georgia-tech/

        See also:

        http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/559982829

        Common sense and prudence guide most decisions in life. It also helps win football championships. I surmise that this also applies to ClimateBall, where one big mistake can ruin one blogger’s reputation, more so if it’s a blogger with an attitude. (Hi Tamino.)

      • Yes, but one should not tie the hands of policy makers by setting standards that preclude useful tools for success as the UN has.

        On another note. Willard: I find the “group concept” better than the consequentialism (sp?) of that author. I agree with the critics on Philosophy Bites, IIRC, Consequentialism is too prone to taking shortcuts and using it as a tool for motivated reasoing. I will have to look into Nussbaum in detail. The snippets I read support the hatchet job I read. However, the critic presented no depth of contemplation that should be inherrent to the subjects and claims Nussbaum made, so I am pretty sure it was a hatchet job. However, take animal rights, context and situation define a lot of both actions and morals. I would have concerns that Nusbaum was projecting, after all a bear is a bear, and differnt cultures are different. Criteria or argument to make them better or worse, I tend to find suspect. This was a severe problem with early anthropological studies especially with “stone-age” modern cultures.

      • John,

        Reading back the thread for all the open loops.

        I’m not sure how a very general principle evoked by the UN could “tie the hands of policy makers by setting standards that preclude useful tools for success”. As far as I can tell, it tries to construct ethical principles out of actual conventions, upon which better standards could be discussed and contractual matters settled more fairly and squarely. Unless you can show that these principles could not lead to the settlement of successful contractual matters, I believe you are going a bridge too far.

        See for instance what is being said of the PP for international agreements:

        > The PP is frequently introduced in framework conventions. Although this strategy is widely used in international environmental law, it is merely a first step in elaborating more precise rules at the international level fleshing out that principle. Furthermore, in a number of international agreements, the PP is worded in such a way that it is
        deprived of immediate and autonomous applicability. Use of terms such as ‘form a basis for’, ‘inspire’, ‘endeavour’, etc. imply that the principle is merely intended to prepare States to implement their international obligations. Only the repeated use of State practice and consistent opinio juris are likely to transform precaution into a customary norm.

        http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0013/001395/139578e.pdf

        This document is not there to present a principle that has decision-theoretic power. This is mainly a conceptual analysis, followed by some issues for applied ethicians. And as BartR said, the definition has no real bite anyway.

      • Yes, the loops are tiresome.

        Your point of a “bridge too far” has merit. However, my POV is from the person designing to meet and implementing regulations. In that case, the exact reading is where to start and how to consider impact when discussing the most likely. Even though it does state that States can do this or that, that requires effort. What professionals have found is what is stated by the authoring group is what you get. In some cases, this is mandatory or must have more restrictive requirements. An example 20% opacity national standard where a state/province could implement 10%, but not 21%. This is most important for definitions and the goals. People, especially politicians are not going to want to re-invent the wheel. Worse, they know each and every item that is changed is a potential landmine from one SIF (single issue fanatic) or another or worse, BOTH! In particular, never ever assume that politicains will go back to rediscuss it, even if it is really bad implementation. An example of this was a rule thought to encourage reconsideration, which basically stated if a quantity in pounds is not formulated, the quantity for reporting is 1 pound. This meant that technically every busted or leaking raditor should have been called into the US National emergency system with resulting investigations, reports, and follow-ups. The emergency system is one of the best ideaas for low probability, dangerous/damaging events, yet was burdened with such a ridiculous requirement that came about trying to make sure problems were not swept under the rug by politicians trying to avoid landmines and SIF’s.

      • John,

        Indeed, it’s important to look at the way how principles get implemented.

        To that effect, I did argue at Lucia’s that the same argument applies to Wegman’s recommendations. Agreeing with these recommendations barely makes sense without agreeing on ways to implement them. My argument was not well-received. Let’s not wonder why.

        Perhaps the same criticism could be put forward the PP. Until we have an idea how to implement it, it has mostly a PR value. I’m not sure it would be as valid as W’s recommendations, for they’re principles. But those who develop an analysis of the PP should be able to warrant the development of more principled regulations.

        Perhaps a bit like constitutional principles. Just an example from the top of my hat: I am no constitutionalist. But I believe you get the idea: the PP serving as some kind of foundation for international rights and duties.

        Another limitation I see is that even if we do get principles and regulations running, we need to have interpretations. With the constitution, you have constitutionalists. Do we have the same kind of specialists for conventions like the Rio Declaration?

      • Willard

        An uncomplicated formula:

        PP = BS

      • Manacker,

        Nice hit and run.

      • Willard if it gets down to the level of implementation it will “have the same kind of specialists for conventions like” other regulations and they will be regulators. The reason I “read” it so strictly is that is what regulators do. They do not , cannot, interpret, that is for lawyers. The regulators read and force /encourage compliance. Judges have a little more leeway, but remember they read strictly as well; they ensure it does not conflict with other law or decisions, or intent of Congress. If it does not, the ruling will be as strict. Some do not know or realize that law as implemented in the US is technical in nature, according to the lawyers who train me.

      • John,

        Thanks to Pooh, I found something that might interest you:

        http://www.bsos.umd.edu/gvpt/lpbr/subpages/reviews/sunstein805.htm

        Perhaps you already know Cass R. Sunstein. I did not. His Wiki page notes that he were a lover of Martha Nussbaum.

        I would tend to trust Martha’s judgement. He seems to be somebody worth studying. And what he says does seem to agree with your own line of thinking. I find that this chapter seems to fit perfectly well our current topic:

        > Chapter Five, “Reconstructing the Precautionary [*638] Principle—and Managing Fear,” emphasizes the importance of identifying the “full universe of relevant risks” (p.122), although, of course, this notion is in tension with his earlier argument that everyone is subject to the biases revealed by cognitive psychology. It is also fair, I believe, to note that if one is at all attracted to chaos theory and “butterfly effects,” then it becomes a combination of utopian and bizarre to suggest that we can ever hope truly to be aware of every risk attached to any particular proposal. One is almost always—the “almost” is really an academic fudge—making important decisions under conditions of uncertainty, as Sunstein well recognizes.

        I’m not sure how one can bury the PP and reconstruct the PP in the same book, but it seems that Sunstein succeeds in doing so.

        All in all, the concept of deliberative democracy is a concept that deserves due diligence.

      • Willard October 12, 2012 at 9:47pm:
        Thank you for the link to the book review (Laws Of Fear….) by Levinson and the Garwoods. I had captured the papers, but not this succinct summary of the book. :-D

      • Thanks Willard. I think I read a brief write up of some of his work but it commented on the critic’s percieved weaknesses in Chs 4 and 6, elitism and the value of life. But that may have been about another author since the assumed valuation of these two properties are often criticized in AGW and environmental arguments. These were reported as “major” issues for the commentator. However, I think you are right, the work is one that would be more along the lines of training and expierence I have had. IIRC, Sunstein was taken to task by some for Bush bashing. I am only sorry I wasn’t the one with such clever and well thought out bashing. I believe it really struck some nerves. I also seem to remember that some of his work was part of the discussion of environmental justice where some UN?/NGO lawyers were claiming that they could make a good case for it legally wrt existing treaties. I can’t remember which way they used Sunstein, but IIRC they used it for support and that is why the critic was pumpng up the percieved weakness of Chs 4 and 6. It was about the time of climategate. Though at this rate of finding good things to read, I might have to give up a hobby or two.

    • John Plodinec

      PS. I’ve been on travel since right after I posted the original comment. I’m glad I’ve provided entertainment for so many, as well as the opportunity to feel superior!

  6. Based on the last hundred years’ experience, should we sit back and observe for another hundred years, or should we sit back and observe for two hundred years before getting our shorts in a twist?

    • I’d settle for 10-15 years with no one telling us we have to act immediately or we’re all dead.

      • Hi Bill,

        I initially agreed, and would still appreciate blessed silence from the alarmist loonies. However …

        It may be that the continuing alarmist blathering, “We’re all going to die”, may cause the public to become inured to the noise, rendering these screamers neutered.

      • and then we all die

      • lolwot,

        besides the simple fact of us all eventually dying, would you care to elaborate how climate is going to kill anyone?

      • lolwot,

        What Gary Turner says makes sense to me.

        Suppose there’s a fire alarm in your building: do you start to scream like a madman and panic?

        I guess not. At least hopefully. That’s the point.

        Cf. The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

      • Gary doesn’t think there’s a fire and hopes that the people screaming about a fire will eventually make everyone in the building stop taking the threat of fires seriously.

      • Latimer Alder

        @lolwot

        So where is the fire? Where’s the smoke and flames?

      • Gary assumes there can’t be a fire. Ever.

        Either that or he wants everyone to die.

      • Latimer Alder

        @lolwot

        Lots and lots and lots of things ‘could’ happen.

        But one is very very dumb to assume that they all ‘will’ happen. Better to use some rational judgement than simply follow the few fantasists who have already succumbed to mindless panic.

        Otherwise, I have this lovely bridge to sell you..only one careful owner.

      • If you talk to a fire marshall, people in a building where there is fire and smoke are usually inclined to ignore the alarm. The real problem is non-alarmism. They wait too long. Then they panic. Then they trample.

        Yelling fire in a theater is unlikely to cause a problem because people will just sit there. They’re enjoying the show. They do want to be bothered, and they want to appear to have cool heads. It’s when the burning curtains fall to the stage that they finally get up and crush one another.

      • Me too, Bill.

        Max

  7. The best question(s) to discuss/debate:
    1. What is the most likely change in average temperature going to be over the next 50 years

    2. What will be the likely change in conditions (positive and negative) in specific countries as a result of the conclusion reached in #1, and what is the evidence to support this conclusion?

    3. Based on the conclusions reached in #1 and # 2, what government policies are suggested for a specific country and why do these policies make sense

    • Latimer Alder

      + LOTS!

      • Thank you. I am starting to wonder if people posting here really like to having substantive exchanges or simply like to post meaningless dribble.

      • A bit of both, the ability to skim quickly through the dross is essential.

      • Rob Starkey,

        I agree. It’s disappointing that intelligent people can spend so much time writing such drivel.

      • Latimer Alder

        It’s both…just like real life.

        The upside is that the barriers to entry into the blogosphere are pretty much zero. This is great, because it allows those who are not full-time employed on climate matters as much of a say as the supposed ‘professionals’. And, for a problem (if it is indeed a problem) that supposedly affects us all, this can only be right. You do not need a DPhil to participate, nor to be affiliated to an institution. Anybody can write about it.

        The downside (if you are a full-time professional) is that your work gets examined in a whole host of different ways by people with a whole host of experiences. A far wider going over than traditional ‘peer-review’ which was well characterised by Phil Jones

        ‘I’ve never requested data/codes to do a review and I don’t think others should either. I do many of my reviews on travel. I have a feel for whether something is wrong – call it intuition’ (CG 2486)’ (*)

        and the discussions do not tart from the assumptions of the ‘climate science community’ that ‘its all going to be far worse then we expected’
        and that ‘more research is needed’

        The price you pay (if indeed it is a price) for this magnificent new tool is that some of the arguments are not presented in the manner of conventional academic discourse. If that offends you too much, then you are of course at liberty to withdraw. But I think you’d be throwing out the baby with the bathwater if you did so. There may be a lot of waste material in the blogosphere but there are also nuggets of gold.

        (*) En passant, am I alone in thinking that the alarmists have been strangely silent on the supposed virtues of ‘peer review’ recently? A couple of years ago they could hardly restrain themselves from shouting ‘Peer Review’ on every occasion as if it was some sort of magical academic talisman. Now, however, it is hardly heard. Perhaps the awful (in very sense) of Gergis et al (hubris in living form) has persuaded them that their golden shield is instead little better than base metal. They really are running out of ideas.

    • “1. What is the most likely change in average temperature going to be over the next 50 years”

      0.5C to 1C warming.

      “2. What will be the likely change in conditions (positive and negative) in specific countries as a result of the conclusion reached in #1, and what is the evidence to support this conclusion?”

      No-one knows.

      “3. Based on the conclusions reached in #1 and # 2, what government policies are suggested for a specific country and why do these policies make sense”

      Given the significance of the warming relative to past climate change coupled with the complexity of the climate system and the possibility of tipping points that cannot be ruled out, the reduction of emissions should be given high priority.

      Countries should come to an international agreement to lock large proportions of existing oil, coal and gas fields and to lock any new discovered ones entirely. Locked resources would be prohibited from being mined until eg 2100 where there would be a reassessment. This would limit carbon emissions and reduce climate change risk.

      • It’s interesting that you only expect 1-2 C of warming during the next 100 years. That’s very little and basically meaningless. I can’t see anything bad from that small an temperature increase. For sure, the warmer climate will definitely be a good thing for Finland, where I reside. It’d boost our agriculture and reduce our heating costs.

        When it comes to policy, it’s pretty much impossible to limit the amounts of oil, gas and coal used unless one comes up with a superior way of replacing them. If the technology is not there, you’ll just make it more expensive, which leads to poverty and environmental damage in poor countries. But when the technology is there, it’ll replace coal, gas and oil without any international agreements. Better technology has a tendency to replace worse ones.

      • You might notice I asked for a 50 year forecast and I did so intentionally because over that timescale infrastructure can be build and it is easier to measure whether or not anything is actually happening.

        Actually he/she only expected .5C to 1C in 50 years, but it would not be appropriate for you to forecast that will doulbe in 100 years. Many “climate scientists” would argue that the rate might change greatly after year 40 and lead to runaway warming in years 51 through 100 that will lead to great disaster for humanity if we do not implement what they think is correct.

      • lolwot,

        I have a hard time coming to the conclusion that we need to take dratic actions to deal with impacts we have no idea of. All you can offer is the concept of complex systems possibly having tipping points.

        Your being afraid of one possible future – and one with little evidence to date of being even remotely likely – is enough to justify condeming tens, if not hundreds of millions of people to death and a few billion to a harsh, difficult and likely short life? For that is exactly what will result if we follow your policy precription above. Sorry lolwot, I’m not biting.

      • Gradually locking up fossil fuel reserves isn’t drastic. It would be a calm and controlled process over decades, with plenty of time to settle in and adapt, even room to change the pace. It’s a scenario that governments can easily plan for.

        In comparison all the bad stuff you imagine from sudden cuts is actually more likely to happen in the event of a climate disaster. Aside from the direct impact, the aftermath of a climate disaster would likely see panic and very strong pressure for an international reduction in emissions.

        Lets say the population of Australia for example are slammed by some kind of climate disaster and suddenly emission reductions are the top priority of every voting Australian. When Australia comes to the international table asking for other countries to cut emissions how do you say no without that effectively being perceived as an act of war (we’ll keep doing what harms you)?

        If you want millions dead, either through war or a dash to cut emissions too quickly, the best plan is to keep blindly emitting as much CO2 as possible and risk climate disaster which will prompt those things.

      • lolwot,

        Since you are convinced that a “climate disaster” is inevitable, despite the fact that no known mechanism has been identified linking a warming climate with any singular weather event, nor even any correlating evidence showing an increase in storm numbers or intensities as we have been warming, what is the point of a rational discussion?

        You simply believe it, without any supporting evidence. That’s called faith and I’m not going to with someone about their religious beliefs, as I believe in freedom of religion.

      • Your very first founding sentence is wrong. I didn’t say a climate disaster was inevitable.

        I warned one is possible.

      • David Springer

        A vastly improved climate is also a possibility. A greater possibility IMO given we’re 10,000 years into an interglacial period where the average length of interglacial periods isn’t much more than 10,000 years. And given how poorly food crops grow in snow and ice and how many people can’t feed themselves by hunting woolly mammoths. You may hold a different opinion of couse but it would be an opinion that is ultimately misguided and harmful.

      • OK,

        I’ll stand corrected. Perhaps this is a better summary – it is inevitable unless we make dramatic (or significant, if you don’t agree with the term dramatic) changes to how we utilize current energy and natural resources.

      • “1. What is the most likely change in average temperature going to be over the next 50 years”

        0.5C to 1C warming.”

        I sort of agree with lolwot.
        I was going to say the most warming anyone could expect is 1 C.
        And mostly likely would be .5 C or less.

        ““2. What will be the likely change in conditions (positive and negative) in specific countries as a result of the conclusion reached in #1, and what is the evidence to support this conclusion?”

        No-one knows. ”
        This seems the whole point of question #1 and only thing of interest to policy makers- the entire relevance of everything and anything to do with studies of global climate [which is different than the subject of climate and/or weather].
        And once again, I sort of agree with lolwot: “No-one knows.”
        But the effect on humans to at least .5 C will be essentially continuation
        of the same effect on humans over the last century.
        And if it closely approaches 1 C in warming, the public will regard the CAGWer as having some merit to their expressed concern. The public and the pols could do something very stupid.
        To get to 1 C of warming within 50 years, will require some significant warming within the next 10 years. And so will allow most people see the possibility of 1 C in 50 year as likely. So it will not take 50 years before policy acts. Or if we continue roughlly at rate of present warming for next 10 years, then at some point towards the 50 year point we need an rate increasing which is even more severe. Or quite simply, we need to see more warming that occurred over last century within a period of 40 years.
        And if are right that we will see some cooling over next couple decade, basically temperature would need go straight up- and similar to Space Aliens showing up. Both of which are not very likely.
        So, to get to 1 C, we need significant warming in next 10 years.
        Though getting to the peak 1998 temperature within 50 year do not *require* much warming in the next 10 years, a couple decades of cooling could even result in peaking to this level in within 50 years. And that would .5 or less warming.

        The effect on the environment of 1 C rise in 50 years, will be about as unnoticeable as the warming of 20th century. No polar bears will die as a result. Though a 1 C rise in global temperature may not tell us anything about global climate- temperature is not really something which effect humans or life, whereas patterns rainfall, would be more relevant than average global temperature. But such continuation of warming should have more effect on frostline and tree lines. Trees may being to grow where once they couldn’t.

      • randomengineer

        Utter drivel. Unless there’s a plan to control global emissions (i.e. you can force the chinese and indians and such to comply) then emission control strategies are indistinguishable from penalising the western economic sphere with no gain possible.

        Even if such a plan could be implemented (it can’t) then even in the US there’s enough anti-governmental growth sentiment that such a plan would be politically impossible. Bear in mind that the purpose of the bill of rights is to protect the citizen from the government, and lots of Americans view government growth and socialist 5 year emissions plans very poorly.

        In what we like to call the real world, the one we all live in, what is likely the only reasonable solution involves harnessing solar from space (eminently do-able) to provide jobs and growth; this would be augmented with advanced nuclear technologies like thorium. Energy and wealth are the same thing. These things would happen for their own reasons and of their own accord; emissions reductions are simply a happy (for you) byproduct and not the goal.

        There is no goal of emission reduction that works or can or will work in this lifetime, and only overeducated putzes are stupid enough to think such a thing is even possible.

      • Dr. Curry, could you pass ‘randomengineer’ my home email address and ask him to contact me about this:

        “In what we like to call the real world, the one we all live in, what is likely the only reasonable solution involves harnessing solar from space (eminently do-able) to provide jobs and growth; this would be augmented with advanced nuclear technologies like thorium. Energy and wealth are the same thing. These things would happen for their own reasons and of their own accord; emissions reductions are simply a happy (for you) byproduct and not the goal.”

        and ask him if he would like to discuss it away from the Climate Change environment?

        If he is not interested, that is fine too.

        Thanks.

      • lolwot

        You have just contradicted yourself.

        You forecast 0.5C to 1.0C warming until 2050. This equals an average warming rate of between +0.123 to +0.246C per decade

        Then you write:

        Given the significance of the warming relative to past climate change coupled with the complexity of the climate system and the possibility of tipping points that cannot be ruled out, the reduction of emissions should be given high priority.

        No doubt the “climate system is complex”, but the warming you forecast is not at all unusual “relative to past climate change”. It is only sightly higher than the short-term warming rate of the 1990s.

        There is absolutely no logical indication of any anthropogenic “tipping points”, although sudden natural climate change can never be ruled out, as the Chief has reminded us (but, then again, there is nothing we can do about that).

        Therefore, there is no logical reason to “give high priority to the reduction of emissions”.

        Now let’s look at your assumed future warming rate.

        First of all, at +0.184C+/- 0.0.62C it is slightly lower on average than the IPCC forecast of +0.2C per decade (AR4), and even lower than the earlier (TAR) forecast of +0.225C+/-0.075C. So your trend appears to be in the right direction..

        The 21st century trend so far has been cooling at -0.063C per decade.

        The long-term underlying warming trend as we have emerged from the LIA has been around +0.05C per decade.

        I would guess that this long-term trend will continue and that you have exaggerated the future warming by three times on average, and that we will only see around 0.24C warming until 2050. (But that’s only my guess, which isn’t any better or worse than your guess.)

        At any rate, you have demonstrated that there is nothing that requires immediate action on emissions.

        Thanks. (I’m relieved.)

        Max

      • “lock large proportions of existing oil, coal and gas fields ”

        So, you beleive that modern life is possible without energy ?

      • lolwot: “0.5C to 1C warming” over 50 years? Then there is no problem.

        Back in late September, I gave you some examples of the effect of 1C increase. The differences in average temperature are:
        - For Boston, MA vs New York City the difference is 3F, or 1.7 times the 1C heating for low CO2 doubling and 2.5 times the 1.5 C heating for high CO2 doubling.
        - For Boston, MA vs Washington, DC the difference is 6F, or 3.3 times the 1C heating for low CO2 doubling and 2.5 times the 5 C heating for high CO2 doubling.
        - For New York City vs Miami, FL the difference is 21.8F, or 11.8 times the 1C heating for low CO2 doubling and 17.7 times the 1.5 C heating for high CO2 doubling.
        http://judithcurry.com/2012/09/27/effects-of-solar-variability-on-climate/#comment-245716

      • As reads the 5C case for Boston-Washington, amend to read 1.5 C. :-( sorry.

    • Rob Starkey,

      Excellent comment. Judith asked for a response to her question in the context of the US presidential election. I believe that is an important and relevant constrain on the question. So I interpret it as “what could the US President do to assist the world to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions? I have a suggestion, I’ll post at the end of the thread.

  8. I don’t think “some warming” has any meaning. “Some” may be unmeasurable. You can have “some” CO2 warming with a general cooling.

  9. What’s the best climate question to debate?

    IMHO:

    Is “climate change science” mature enough to get alarmed by his statements?

    • randomengineer

      I’d go with –

      “how do you force the chinese and the indians — 1/2 of the world’s population — to play the game you want them to play?”

      If you can’t get the planet on the same page it ain’t happening.

      • Random Engineer,

        You can’t force them. But you can make it to their benefit to reduce emissions. The way to do this is to give them a cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels. The USA could lead the way on that. I’ll post more in a separate comment at the end of this thread.

  10. Henri Masson

    Indeed Evoquing the Precautionary Principle is a good question. A beautiful example of the “boomerang effect” that even “non scientifically educated” political decision makers must understand. Another good one, addressed to manistream self procamed gourous scientists (?) could relate to the opportunity of using “spatio-temporal averaged temperature anomalies” for estimating possible slight changes in a very complex ENERGY system exhibiting a huge number of delayed negative feedbacks (Is this the right indicator to use?). Also the importance of (temperature) measurement errors on the long term predictibility of non linear time series (=temperature records and proxies) seems to be key to me for an eventual validation of any predicitve model. This last point, more mathematical, relates to the detection of a chaotic signature in time series, by calculating e;g. the corresponding Liapounov exponents or Hurst coefficients. This isa mathematical definitively strong argument, but however difficult to explain to non specialists. So, I make three propositions, according to who the audience would be.

  11. Fred from Canuckistan.

    Change is to climate as wet is to water.

    Have a nice life now y’all.

    • A fish out of water is like a climate modeler observing reality.
      =================

      • A Joshua defending a Louise is like a leopard defending his spots. ;)

        Andrew

      • Say ‘Cheese’. Want to catch that Cheshire grin before the spots fade.
        ========

      • Except I didn’t “defend” Louise — well, except in your animal fantasies.

        I criticized your comment – rather specifically. Do you have a response?

      • “Do you have a response?”

        I do. Global Warming is a hoax. An explanation from you on why you pretend otherwise, would be interesting to read.

        Andrew

      • I point at this, in answer to one of Joshua’s post:

        > Global Warming is a hoax. An explanation from you on why you pretend otherwise, would be interesting to read.

        And I point at this, from the same commenter as the first quote:

        > Are Warmers like Joshua, Webby, Robert, willard, etc… as anally fixated on Global Delusions in real life as they are on the internet? My God, give it a rest for 5 minutes, would ya?

        That is all.

  12. The best questions to get to the bottom of the UN’s deceptive IPCC reports and restore integrity to government research (and constitutional limits on government):

    1. “What is Earth’s heat source?”

    2. “Is the Sun a.) stormy and evolving, or b.) stable and steady?

    Measurements and observations on the Sun, the Earth, the Moon, other planets, meteorites and their oldest inclusions, atomic rest masses, and remote regions of the cosmos tell us clearly the correct answer are

    1. A pulsar [Nature 270, 159-160 (1977)]
    _ http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v270/n5633/abs/270159a0.html

    2. a.) Stormy and evolving [National Geographic (July 2004); LPSC XXIX, 1041 (March 2001)]
    _ http://magma.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0407/feature1/index.html
    _ http://www.omatumr.com/lpsc.prn.pdf

    Here’s the rest of the story of deceit and manipulation of observations and data after the United Nations was formed on 24 Oct 1945>: http://omanuel.wordpress.com/

    • David Springer

      Neutron stars are not possible with mass less than 1.38 solar masses due to insufficient gravitational force to overcome neutron repulsion. This is known as the The Chandrasekhar Limit. How would it then be possible for Sol to have a neutron star (pulsar) at its core when its mass is well below the Chandraskhar Limit?

      • David Springer

        They say silence is golden. It’s also revealing in cases like these. :-)

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

        It appears in the 30 years since I took Astronomy 101 in college the limit has been raised from the original 1.38 solar masses Chandresekhar proposed in 1930 to 1.44 solar masses today. My apologies. Of course that makes OManual’s problem in explaining a pulsar with <1.0 solar masses a little bit harder.

  13. My idea for the best subjec t to debate is

    Should the world commit economic suicide by reducing our consumption of cheap fossil fuels on the basis of the hypothesis of CAGW, when we know that there is absolutely no empirical data whatsoever to support this hypothesis?

    • I second Jim Cripwell’s suggestion. It appears to be the “question of the day”.

      Max

    • Mr Jim Cripwell, The answer is: no.

      • Tom, you write “Mr Jim Cripwell, The answer is: no.”

        You know that, I know that, and about half the denizens of Climate Ete. know that. But there are a lot of very important people who DONT seem to know that. Let me list a few

        1. Our hostess. Or at least she might know it, but she wont admit it.
        2. My MP, David McGuinty. He is a potemtial candidate for the leadership of our Liberal Party in Canada, and although it is a long shot, a future Prime Minister of Canada.
        3. The people in charge of most of the scientific learned societies all over the world; headed by the Royal Society, the American Physical Society, and the American Meteorological Society.
        4. The political leaders of most of the G8 countries, whose countries have a large proportion of the world’s wealth. Though is fairness, some of them, particularly in the UK, seem to be starting to realize the truth of the matter.

        I could go on, but I hope people, particularly our hostess, see what I am getting at. So, although the answer is clearly no, as you state, the issue is still wothwhile debating, so that we can prove beyond resonable dounbt, that the answer is no, and thereby convince some VIPs that the answer is no

      • Jim, with all the obvious problems there are with AGW record keeping…
        with all that Tony B. has shown as the recording methods used in the past 150 years…
        2035 et al…

        in truth what is there to debate. On first look. If it were anything else it would be;
        Bye-Bye.

    • How about: Are Warmers like Joshua, Webby, Robert, willard, etc… as anally fixated on Global Delusions in real life as they are on the internet? My God, give it a rest for 5 minutes, would ya?

      Andrew

    • Jim Cripwell This is the best subject to debate.

    • randomengineer

      Jim you forgot to mention the obvious alternative of all of us filling our cars with unicorn farts. Without a viable alternative in place there is no reason to even bother discussing climate crap. It’s moot.

    • Jim Cripwell,

      I agree. However, it is apparent that the ‘warmists’ do not appreciate the economic damage that their policies would do. The ‘warmists’ apparently do not appreciate the effect the mitigation policies would have on human well being. But I do not know how we can make contact with ‘warmists’ on this subject. They dismiss it and do not want to engage.

      Are there any warmists prepared to engage in seriously discussing the economic consequences of the carbon pricing and mandatory renewable energy policies they promote as the solution to ‘greenhouse driven global warming’?

      • Peter Lang,

        “Are there any warmists prepared to engage…” You probably would call me a warmist but ………..

        Anyway I’ll help out with a catchy name suggestion for your theory. How about:

        “A stitch in time costs nine” ?

      • “the economic consequences of the carbon pricing and mandatory renewable energy policies ”

        Forget the economic consequences. What will be the emission reductions acheived by such policies ? Nill.

    • Do some real systems analysis. Systems analysis is doing both climate science and fossil fuel projections. In simple terms, the system is the thing you draw the circle around. Some find the combination valuable ; however YMMV.

      Here are some recent analyses that shed light on the numbers being bandied about:

      http://oilpeakclimate.blogspot.com/2012/10/using-dispersive-diffusion-model-for.html

      http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2012/09/bakken-approaching-diffusion-limited.html

  14. Let me get off of this box…

    “What did Phil Jones have in the way of written weather records, where did they get dumped, and how?

    Someone here should have the answer. Please.

    • Cop: “So you admit you did it?”

      PJ: “Yes, I dumped the body and never told no-one about till I got caught… I never would ah, either.”

      Cop: “Where did you dump the body PJ!”

      This is the way they do things on TV.
      Not in the 6th dimension of science.

    • Steven Mosher

      he had nothing of relevance. basically a small number of records from NWS. As detailed in the mails he thought he could get the data again but that it would be a PITA. This is a NON issu

      • Steven, so really none of this is of any relevance then is it? Nothing from Governor Houses from around the world. HMS XXXXXX… all of that stuff and more would fit in a trunk you think? A big rock show will fill a dozen tractor trailers. All of this stuff was to be the bones of our world weather history. No relevance? Okay, let’s all go home now. So please tell us: what was there, where it is now, and how was it disposed of? If it is of no relevance then, what’s the big deal now?

      • Steven Mosher

        It is simply of no relevance. It’s of no relevance because

        1. The data still exists at NWS.
        2. Jones added no value to this data.
        3. You get the same answer without “his” data

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Steven Mosher | October 8, 2012 at 11:13 am

        he had nothing of relevance. basically a small number of records from NWS. As detailed in the mails he thought he could get the data again but that it would be a PITA. This is a NON issu[e].

        The big problem wasn’t that he had only a small number of records and had lost the rest … although assuredly the guardian of the records losing the records is indeed a problem.

        The larger problem was that he was (and still appears to be ) willing to lie and cheat to keep anyone from finding out that he had lost the records. Not only that, but his friends were willing to lie and cheat to cover up Jones’s sins of omission and commission.

        Finally, when it was all revealed, almost no mainstream climate scientists had the balls to comment on those transgressions. Instead they were all off pondering crucial questions like “How about those Yankees, you think they’ll win the pennant?”.

        And those, my dear Steven, are HUGE issues that have led to the deserved discrediting of an entire branch of science … a discrediting that will be extremely difficult to repair.

        In a speech at Clinton, Illinois on September 8, 1854, Abraham Lincoln said:

        If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem.

        So you might as well not bother telling us that the damage done by Jones and his actions were a NON issue, Lincoln saw that BS coming a century ago.

        w.

      • Willis, Do you know of some manifest that would show just what was received by CRU? There must be some document that would have logged the records sent to UEA/CRU. Even if the books have been burned; there should be an inventory still available. It would be a very interesting read.

      • …”although assuredly the guardian of the records losing the records is indeed a problem.”

        Willis, PJ threw the records out on purpose to ‘save space’. Even a bigger problem, to me.

      • Steven Mosher

        How do you know when Willis has no argument?
        He cites lincoln.

        1. Jones got 98% of his Monthly data from GHCN.
        2. The source data he got directly from NWS, was not kept after
        their “value added processing” but Jones thought he could
        reconstruct/re request this data if required.
        3. If you take all 36K+ temperature records and remove those that CRU uses, and compute the global average you get the same damn answer.

        He lost data that others gave him. Like So: I give you data, and you lose it. But I still have it, so the data is not “lost”. I might call you absent minded or sloppy if you lost data I gave you Willis, But I would not cite Lincoln.

        It’s Scientifically un interesting. Which explains why you must bloviate.

        Let’s put it in perspective. Lucia lost a hard drive and some mails. Nobody gives her grief. I’ve misplaced a bunch of papers and data over the last 5 years. Nobody gives me grief. Jones misplaced data or failed to preserve data that others gave to him. And you want to crucify him.

        There is a concept called proportionality. Your emotions are out of proportion to this situation so you are either grandstanding because you have no real argument and pounding your shoe on the lecturn or you are too attached to the Jones issue.

        He lost his copies of other peoples data. Nothing scientific changes. The data still exists. The same answer is derived with independent data. So, the reason why you are upset, must be you.

      • “he had nothing of relevance”

        Then, why did he lie about it?
        When asked for the data he should have replied “sorry chaps, I lost it” and that’s that.

        it might not be scientifically relevant, but it’s relevant from other aspects.

  15. “While persistent and deep uncertainty surrounds the most important potential impacts from and responses to greenhouse-driven global warming, the long-term picture of a profoundly changed Earth is clear.”

    Assuming that greenhouse-driven global warming is the most significant impact in the long term would require a definition of the long term.
    Over the past 300 years an area the size of the continent of South America has been converted to plowed land. In addition, twice the area of South America has been converted to “agricultural” land. “Peak” land use, which impacts the carbon cycle, occurred before the estimate “peak” oil and is a more pressing issue in the long term than peak CO2. CO2 could well be a “tracer” gas of issues instead of a cause of the issues in the long term.

    ” What do you see as the best mix of achievable policies to limit environmental and economic regrets?” Polices that deal with the largest number of potential issues in the long term.

  16. If you can’t explain “ordinary” in climate, how can you even ask the question?

  17. I do not think the West has the moral authority to withhold the economic and societal benefits offered by plentiful and cheap carbon-based fuels to the Third World. More affluent societies have lower birth rates which go a long way in reducing pollution, greenhouse gases, and the drain on natural resources. Therefore, I would not limit the use of carbon-based fuels in any way, other than to reduce particulate pollution and elemental pollution (but not with the intent to close down “unsuitable” carbon-based energy sources like coal, as this Administration is doing).

    • I agree 100%. If the rich countries what to help the world cut greenhouse emissions, the rich countries should develop a cost effective substitute for fossil fuels that is appropriate to be used all over the world.

    • Peter Lang,

      “….the rich countries should develop a cost effective substitute for fossil fuels

      Isn’t that the point of putting a price on carbon emissions? There are cheaper solutions if the cost of emissions is properly factored in.

  18. johnfpittman

    The best question “What would it take for humanity to address a real “failure of the commons?”” Until this is resolved satisfactorily, answering “”What do you see as the best mix of achievable policies to limit environmental and economic regrets?””
    is not answerable. This is based on the assumption that BAU will not work. If one assumes BAU will work, then there will be little or no oppurtunity to do better than is already likely to happen.

    • Johnfpittman,

      “What would it take for humanity to address a real “failure of the commons?””

      No, that is a pointless question. It has an underlying premise that is not accepted by many. The premise is that climate change is catastrophic. The evidence for that is weak.

      • I did not state that CC is catastrophic, nor is it necessary for such that a failure of the commons should be addressed. CAGW does not and I did not claim it was the only failure of the commons. Your conclusion of my premise is incorrect. But I will state in terms of CC, if true, one still needs a good way to addresss this failure.

      • Communism has been tried and failed – at every attempt.

      • Peter, I am not and have not been advocating communism. That is one of the reasons that a real conversation needs to occur. Otherwise, if only a communist government can comply, the likelihood of having an agreement by the US is unlikely and, besides, historically, the worst polluters have been autocratic states and the poor. A combination of both would be both a human and an environmental diaster based on autocratic government’s track record.

  19. What’s the best climate question to debate?

    Should politicians continue spending billions of tax payer dollars to subsidize a political movement disguised as science?

    Should we :

    Defund the IPCC;

    Defund the unending stream of “research” grant applications that seek to cash in on the current apocalyptic fad;

    Defund the EPA’s attempt to decarbonize the economy by fiat.

  20. Tomas Milanovic

    I have always had difficulty with questions which stealthily already contain the answer.

    For instance asking “What minimal (no regret etc) action must be done in order to …” implies without necessarily demonstrating it that the answer can’t possibly be “No specific action at all.”
    Symmetrically asking “What minimal observation (proof etc) must be done in order to contemplate actions to ….” implies without necessarily demonstrating it that the answer can’t possibly be “We should do X anyway”.

    That’s why the answer depends on the way the question is formulated and the debates about these formulations (which are made more obscure by the evocation of an even more obscure precaution “principle”) can and will go on forever.

    My personal position has always been the same for the last 10 years.
    First I ask when is predicted the next Ice Age .
    Second I ask whether a transitory during 1-2 centuries will cause the next Ice Age to occur rather sooner or rather later and if a translation, is predicted, by how much.
    As long as I have not a well argumented answer on these 2 questions, I consider the climate dynamics just as an academical and interesting exercice with few and far between well understood domains.

    That’s why there is no specific action for limiting CO2 that would interest me, especially then not if it should have a significant cost.
    Likely obvious for me is the fact that actions leading to energy and matter savings have always been important and interesting regardless whether their byproduct is decreasing CO2 (majority of cases) or increasing CO2 (minority of cases).

    • This reinforces my earlier reply that any question which states that “the long-term picture of a profoundly changed Earth is clear” is not worthy of a response.

  21. Judith Curry

    Andy Revkin tells us:

    While persistent and deep uncertainty surrounds the most important potential impacts from and responses to greenhouse-driven global warming, the long-term picture of a profoundly changed Earth is clear. What do you see as the best mix of achievable policies to limit environmental and economic regrets?

    The first phrase is undoubtedly correct, i.e. ”persistent and deep uncertainty surrounds the most important potential impacts from and responses to greenhouse-driven global warming”

    You have argued this point very effectively in the past. There is too much uncertainty in climate attribution to claim, as IPCC does, that most of the past warming was with 90+% likelihood caused by increased human GHG concentrations.

    From this uncertainty in the attribution of past warming it follows that the IPCC projections of future warming and its impacts are even more “uncertain”.

    The next phrase is purely presumptive on Revkin’s part, ”the long-term picture of a profoundly changed Earth is clear”.

    While it is highly likely that our climate will continue to change, as it has over past centuries, it is NOT at all clear that there will be a “profoundly changed Earth”; it is even LESS clear how this “profoundly changed Earth” will look. So Revkin has tossed out a strawman.

    The rest of his paragraph is based on the validity of his “profoundly changed Earth” strawman.

    It makes a further (unstated) leap of faith that we humans are causing this posited “profoundly changed Earth” and an even further one that we could do something about it if we wanted to.

    There is no “best mix of achievable policies to limit environmental and economic regrets”. [Maybe the best would be to abandon the IPCC?]

    Revkin should realize that it is silly to even talk about these until the “deep uncertainty” surrounding human attribution of past climate change can be cleared up enabling scientists to reliably forecast whether or not there will be significant human-caused future changes and how these will look.

    So what’s there to debate?

    NOT how to solve the imagined future problem as Revkin proposes.

    Instead we should debate whether or not we have a future problem at all.

    Max

  22. “While persistent and deep uncertainty surrounds the most important potential impacts from and responses to greenhouse-driven global warming, the long-term picture of a profoundly changed Earth is clear”

    How long are we going to put up with garbage like the above? “The long term picture of a profoundly changed Earth” is a nonsense. We’ve seen it all before, and will see it all again.

  23. “What’s the best climate question to debate?”

    When will climate scientists clean up their act?

  24. Further to my earlier post, it is apparent that Revkin wants to redefine (or by-pass) the global warming decision process.

    See
    http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5267/5695851735_713e9422ee_b.jpg

    • A gigantic baksheeshing the question. And we’re begged to come up with a question. It seems so backward, but ignorant we are.
      =============

  25. …What do you see as the best mix of achievable policies to limit environmental and economic regrets?

    Is that, speaking as an average New Yorker, American, Westerner, Hollywood personality, UN delegate, historian, George Obama and Joe the Plumber, an egalitarian communitarian or a scientific literate skilled in numeracy with respect for the teachings of the scientific method as a means of separating truth from fiction?

    • Wagathon,

      or a scientific literate skilled in numeracy with respect for the teachings of the scientific method as a means of separating truth from fiction?

      The scientists have a contribution to make. But they lack others skills that are needed for informing policy decisions. Their lack of understanding of the other essential skills has been demonstrated repeatedly by the alarmists (including the advocacy climate scientists) who post on Climate Etc.

      • Absent respect for the teachings of the scientific method all we’re left with is the casting of chicken bones and the ancient science of astrology to overcome superstition and ignorance through knowledge.

  26. I am not sure at this point how to word such a question, but some guidelines that I might work from in formulating the question include:

    1.) Clearly the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ to ask are informed by the context/forum in which the question is advanced. For example, the question may be more revealing in a setting such as the first debate and useful than in the upcoming town-meeting format which is probably going to draw out time-limited pre-canned answers.

    2.) If it is highly likely that the candidate will answer to a ‘constituency’, then the answer is worthless and there is no need for the question to begin with. (I regret that this is this is highly likely.)

    3.) Canned answers are useless. One objective I would have would be to phrase any question in a manner that reveals something about the ‘real’ state of the candidate thoughts. Can the question be devised to provoke a degree of spontaneity? (Probably not.)

    4.) I might consider something like the following: Given the current state of the climate change debate,and given that we can not jump into a time-machine machine and reset history, what are the present alternative approaches—no action, staged response alternatives, all out response, etc? What do you see as the upsides and downsides to each alternative? The preceding may be sloppy phrasing on my part, but the idea is to probe the candidates’ views and understanding of the overall problem incorporating the component political, technical, societal, and economic contexts. How well can the candidates’ define the problem without pandering to a constituency. In the question I would avoid explicit reference to the precautionary principle—it is too much of a pre-wrapped bias (as a crutch or as a club) to hand a candidate. If a response uses it fine—that may provide insight about the candidate. In asking the question I would also not explicitly ask for selection of an alternative—let the candidate reveal that if he is so inclined.

    • I can tell you right now. One candidate believes the science is settled and the policy course is clear. The other is less certain.
      =============

      • kim

        I could careless about what the candidates’ beliefs on the science are. That is only a component of what the question (if possible to formulate) would seek. I want to probe the candidates understanding of the BIG issue, to wit:

        “the idea is to probe the candidates’ views and understanding of the overall problem incorporating the component political, technical, societal, and economic contexts. “

  27. Climate question: Can we fuel economic growth and control climate?
    When mitigating anthropogenic global warming is projected to require greater than 80% lower fossil energy use, how do we provide the transport fuel and energy for rapid growth by developing countries while sustaining OECD economic growth when the Available Net Exports of crude oil – after China and India’s imports – have already declined 13% since 2005, and Saudi Arabia may need to import oil by 2030?

    Jeffrey Brown observes:

    We define available net exports (or ANE) as GNE less China and India’s combined net oil imports.  ANE fell from 40 mbpd in 2005 to 35 mbpd in 2011 as the developing countries, led by China and India, consumed an increasing share of a declining volume of GNE. 

    See graph at: An update on global net oil exports: Is it midnight on the Titanic?

    Gail Tvedberg at Our Finte World documents a very close connection between Energy consumption, employment and recession

    Since 1982, the number of people employed in the United States has tended to move in a similar pattern to the amount of energy consumed. When one increases (or decreases), the other tends to increase (or decrease). In numerical terms, R2 = .98.

    • lurker, passing through laughing

      David,
      That is an amazing question.
      What technologies do we have to control climate in the first place?

      • David Springer

        Aerosols from unfiltered coal-burning Chinese power plant smokestacks seems to be a smashingly good technology to battle global warming. At least the usual suspects think so since they’re blaming the lack of warming for the past 15 years on it as well as the lack of warming from 1940 to 1980. Unfortunately they haven’t come up with a good reason for the Little Ice Age yet since very few unfiltered coal-burning Chinese power plant smokestacks were extant circa 1650AD. :-)

      • It’s Columbus Day.

      • David L. Hagen

        lurker
        The primary issue is still how to we ensure growth and avoid economic collapse for failure to provide sufficient transport fuels.

        Re: technologies to “control climate”
        Numerous authors posit options
        First, should we mitigate or adapt?
        To date I have not seen a financially sane basis to “mitigate” global warming, only to “adapt”. cf Monckton “As they say on the London insurance market, ‘When the premium exceeds the cost of the risk, don’t insure.’”

        Is “climate control” possible?
        Chemical engineering expert Pierre R. Latour waxes eloquent
        Engineering Earth’s thermostat with CO2?
        Chemical engineer takes on global warming.
        To control a system, Latour notes it must be measurable, observable, controllable, stable and robust. He explores how conventional wisdom on controlling anthropogenic global warming does not meet any of these requirements, let alone all of them.

        Avoid glaciation
        I have seen very little discussion addressing the far greater problem of what we do to ensure that we do not descend into the next glaciation.

    • David L. Hagen

      Bigger question: Can we avoid another glaciation?
      See: Onset of the next glaciation

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

        Most optimistically we’ve simply forestalled the next glaciation.

        Most pessimistically, we put enough carbon into atmosphere to trigger a massive methane release set to begin any year now.

        The truth is somewhere between these two extremes. Finding it is what the game is all about.

      • David L. Hagen

        The Skeptical Warmist
        I am very skeptical that you are actually sufficiently skeptical!
        Your optimistic wish gives no evidence or validated models to rely on.
        Your pessimistic projection still gives no evidence that that will happen or that it will be enough.
        See Tsedakis et al. (2012) Can we predict the duration of an interglacial?
        But with published estimates of climate sensitivity varying by an order of magnitude, I don’t see how we can rely on their projections.
        We need verified and validated models backed by solid evidence, not wishful thinking.
        Advancing glaciers would very thoroughly erase Chicago while higher CO2 with warming would improve agricultural production in America’s breadbasket. That is a huge difference and we need clear valid methods to chart our way through.
        Restore the integrity of climate science as well as rhetoric!

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

        David,

        I don’t disagree. I merely pointed out that the truth lies somewhere between. The science is in determining where the most likely point is and the policy rests in responding to most likely scenarios.

  28. Judith Curry

    As you can see, there appears to be a flood of posts questioning the very basis of Revkin’s (loaded) question.

    You write:

    For the moment, accept that there is ‘some’ warming that is attributable to CO2 (i.e. lets not debate the fundamental science here, but uncertainty assessments are ok).

    Let’s follow your logic.

    “Some warming that is attributable to CO2″ can be roughly estimated based on the past record (from 1850).

    We see that this gets us to somewhere between 0.35 and 0.65 deg C for a CO2 increase from 290 to 390 ppmv, depending on whose estimate we accept for the % forcing from CO2 (IPCC at 93%, several independent solar studies at 50%, both based on the IPCC assumption that all other anthropogenic forcing factors cancelled one another out).

    This translates to a 2xCO2 temperature response based on physically observed data of between 0.8C and 1.5C or let’s say 1.15C+/-0.35C.

    On this basis (and with CO2 continuing to rise at the same exponential rate as now to 600 ppmv by 2100) we might see CO2-caused global warming of 0.5 to 1.0C above today’s temperature.

    This is certainly nothing to worry about, so there should be no argument about “what to do about it?”, but rather to reduce the “uncertainty: “could it be substantially more than 1.0C?” and “if so, how much more and on what scientific basis?”.

    IMO these would be the primary arguments.

    The secondary arguments to debate are those listed by Jim Cripwell.

    Just my opinion.

    Max

  29. Since we are limited to one question:
    What will be the effect upon our Liberty if we hand over the means of production (energy) to the “command and control” of unaccountable bureaucracies (EPA and U.N.)?

    Garrett, Major, and AP. “Administration Warns of ‘Command-and-Control’ Regulation Over Emissions.” News. FOXNews.com, December 9, 2009. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/12/09/administration-warns-command-control-regulation-emissions/
    Russell, George. “As the UN Opens Its General Assembly Session, It Is Already Thinking up New Global Taxes.” News. FOXNews.com, September 27, 2012. http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/09/27/as-un-opens-its-general-assembly-session-it-is-already-thinking-up-new-global/
    UN. “Agenda 21.” DSD :: Resources – Publications – Core Publications, n.d. http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21/

  30. How about this question: How many American jobs are you willing to sacrifice now in an attempt to prevent what is still an unknown amount of climate change in the future?

  31. Climate Weenie

    “the long-term picture of a profoundly changed Earth is clear.”
    “limit environmental and economic regrets?”

    The best question to debate is – Specifically what are we worried about?

    That is to say the ‘problem’ is not identified or bounded.

    “profoundly changed Earth” and “environmental and economic regrets” are not scientific terms, not quantifiable, and just fuzzy nonsense.

    The unquestioned assumption is that beyond the probability that GHGs will increase the heat content of earth, there is a net negative impact on humans and/or other ecosystems. But that negative impact is not specified!

    We know that there are benefits to fossil fuel use. Those benefits start with the energy use itself in a useful manner with developed infrastructure which supports it. Beyond that, plant growth and crop yield increase with increased CO2. There are no carbohydrates without carbon dioxide. Plant drought tolerance increases with increased CO2 because of stomatal response. These features are ubiquitous in the literature. We know that precipitation is nature’s desalinization plant and precipitation is modeled to increase with a warmer world. We know that increased growing season and the range of agriculture might be expected to increase. We know that home heating energy use exceeds home cooling energy use, on average, so a warmer world might mean decreased energy consumption. We know that many diseases are limited by heat – including influenza and a significant number of digestive diseases ( heat breaks down virus phospho-lipid shells ). That’s probably a big reason why human mortality peaks in the cold season and troughs in the warm season. We know that human civilization, at least as measured by the ‘cradle of civilization’ occurred during the warmth ( indeed longer, hotter summers and colder winters ) of the Holocene Climatic Optimum. Earlier than that, we know that human migration out of Africa and population were set back during glacials and advanced during stadials.

    These benefits are known, it is the detriments which are weakly identified.
    What -specifically- and measurably are we worried about? Sea level which is rising at about the same rate it has for more than a century? Slowly rising temperature which, given global economic trouble, will have a hard time sustaining?

    • David Springer

      +1.0*10^6

      • It’s good that climate scientists are using tax dollars to do research, as it keeps them off the streets!

        Points awarded for resigned rationalization over a negative outcome. See, even I can play that game!

        The rationalizations are endless and on the level of a 5-year-old saying that he doesn’t want to do something, just because!

        If it’s warming, that’s a good thing, because it’s good for plants!

        If it’s warming, even better, because it will protect us from an ice age!

        If the arctic sea ice is decreasing, lucky us, because now we can travel from Canada to Russia by a shortcut!

        If the arctic sea ice is decreasing, even better, because now we can start drilling for oil way up north!

        If CO2 is increasing, that’s OK because there is an upper limit to how much hydrocarbons that humans can burn! (but natural variability in temperature has no upper bound, apparently).

        OK, so fossil fuel resources are limited, but renewable energy sources such as wind turbines do not work, and will never work because the people that are interested in it are greens, but they are hypocrites, as wind turbines kill birds, make noise, shed ice, blot the landscape, and parts can fall off and land on somebody’s head!

        The climate scientists are wrong, and if they were right, it wouldn’t matter, because they write nasty emails!

        If the climate does change, that’s OK, because I will be long gone by then!

      • “If the climate does change…”

        It will change, 100% certain.

      • Climate Weenie

        So, you can’t answer specifically what the problem is either.

      • Nice rant WEB,

        You even got a couple of things right.

        Now, care to flip over the disk and play the other side? The one with the rationalizations for why we need to act now to combat climate change.

        Let me help you get started:

        As the climate changes we will be over run with refugees fleeing its impacts.

        As climate changes nations and populations will go to war.

        As the climate changes coastal cities will be swamped.

        If we don’t act now tropical dieseases will spread.

        If we don’t act now we will see extreme mega weather events.

        Climate change will turn the oceans to acid, make the birds fall from the skies, make frogs smaller, forests disappear and cause our teeth to rot and fall out.

        Care to point out one here that is not a rationalization?

    • +1.0*10^9

  32. lurker, passing through laughing

    The first question worth debating is whether or not there is a climate crisis that demands trillions of dollars and radical changes in industry.
    The second question worth debating is whether or not emphasizing on mitigation has any added value over emphasizing adaptation.
    Neither of these have been settled, no matter how much AGW proponents claim otherwise.

    • > The second question worth debating is [...]

      Judy disagrees:

      > This [What do you see as the best mix of achievable policies to limit environmental and economic regrets?] is a very good question to ponder, its at the heart of the climate policy debate.

      • lurker, passing through laughing

        willard,
        I am not so certain that I disagree with Dr. Curry. There will likely be a mixture of solutions. That does, however, beg the question: whatis the scope of the proplem, if there is one at all.
        Right now the AGW community is demanding we spend trillions on a problem that appears to be in the billions or less.
        And could be better addressed by way of focusing on cleaning up energy sources.
        Not one mitigation strategy apepars to be either feasible, potentially successfully and not even close to economically sensible.
        Wasting money is generally considered to be a high regrets policy.

      • Latimer Alder

        @lurker

        ‘Wasting money is generally considered to be a high regrets policy’

        Depends who is doing the considering. There appears to be a small but way too influential eco-zealot constituency for whom wasting other people’s money is an irrelevant concern, so long as they get somebody else to pay for their latest impractical, uneconomic and unworkable scheme.

      • lurker, passing through laughing,

        I believe that Judy’s asking for the lowest (?) fruits that are hanging.

        There’s no need to settle anything about any wicked (?) problem to do that.

        “No regrets” means no regrets.

        In other words, please channel your inner Lomborg.

      • David Springer

        Actually the title of the post is “What’s the best climate question to debate?” rather than “What’s the best answer to Revkin’s question?”. It appears our hostess had a bit of a brain fart there with the title not matching the contents. I’m going with the title question.

      • > I’m going with the title question.

        Of course you would.

        As if topicality prevented you from anything.

      • David Springer

        You got something right!

        But I have a question for you in regard to it. Is your response to me topical? If not that makes you a hypocrite. I already have to append creepy in front of your name. Don’t make me have to add hypocrite as well. Think of the bandwidth, man. If you’re really a man, that is.

      • David Springer,

        In reply to your “but I am in line with Judy’s title”, I said “as if you care”. Paraphrasing, of course. So my comment shares the topic of your comment.

        I don’t recall relying on any excuse to justify my excursii. Not that I agree with most of the ways to judge what is OT and what’s not. My teaching experience allows me to have my own ideas on the subject.

        As far as I can tell, you’re just playing an adolescent game. In fact, you look like a kid in a curmudgeon’s frame. Perhaps inside this kid there is still an angelic heart, a fact the fat of your spirit is fastening so much as to dislike Chief’s video on that subject the other day.

        Enjoy your coffee,

        w

  33. I will point at Judy’s:

    > How would you answer this question? For the moment, accept that there is ‘some’ warming that is attributable to CO2 (i.e. lets not debate the fundamental science here, but uncertainty assessments are ok). Please keep your responses on topic.

    And I will point at the over comment thread.

    That is all.

    • Latimer Alder

      @willard

      Still hoping that gnomic riddles will conceal the fact that you have nothing worthwhile to say?

      • Latimer Adler,

        My greenfieldism simply points to the obvious fact that most of the comments so far are OT. This thread, like most of the other threads at Judy’s, are free-for-alls, notwithstanding Judy’s explicit and repeated requests. If you want a perfect example of rhetorical anarchy, this is it.

        I’m truly sorry that my greefieldism was too gnomic for you.

      • Latimer Alder

        So why didn’t you say that the first time around?

        It seems odd that you complain about ‘rhetorical anarchy’ while deliberately adopting a writing style that is a major contributor to it.

      • Steven Mosher

        willard it is not rhetorical anarchy. It is an issue tree. err maybe issue, “shrubs.” Shrubbery is nice.

      • I don’t mind anarchy much, as long as we agree that this is what’s happening.

        Think of it as the International ice hockey rinks dimensions:

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

        More space to skate. No lines. No offsides.

        I believe I can skate on this kind of rink, at least figuratively speaking.

      • “Latimer Alder | October 8, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Reply

        @willard

        Still hoping that gnomic riddles will conceal the fact that you have nothing worthwhile to say?”

        Massive transference and projection.

      • Latimer Alder

        @web hub telescope

        Please provide examples of my ‘gnomic utterances’.

        I try to make my posts as clear and to the point as I can. If I have failed to do so in some places please show me where so that I can learn from them to write better in the future.

        Thanks.

      • Latie, No blog, no deep analysis. All you share is gnomic utterances on the ocean’s pH and your experiences in IT. Willard has some deep analysis on his blog. Therefore, you demonstrate massive transference and projection of your inadequacies onto someone else.

        The stuff boomerangs back at you. Get a mirror, buddy.

      • David Springer

        “Willard has some deep analysis on his blog.”

        ROFLMAO!

        Good one. Now I have to clean coffee of my laptop. Hope you’re happy.

      • His blog deconstructs other people’s analysis with attention to “epistemology, philosophy of science, informal logic, philosophy of language, communication theory, and fallacy theory”

        One can do worse. Like trying to defend Intelligent Design.

      • WebHubTelescope,

        Thank you for the kind words.

        There is a better suggestion than this:

        > Get a mirror, buddy.

        A tumblog would be cheaper and better:

        http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/33228390431

        I’m not sure he would find it obvious enough to satisfy himself. Speaking of which, here could be an anthem for his orations:

      • David Springer,

        Laughter is good for the soul, and laughter and coffee is good for the soil.

        I bet you’re a down-to-earth guy, David. Perhaps this would be more your cup of coffee:

        http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2012/10/08/more-use-and-abuse-of-ipcc-1990-fig-7-1c/

        An enigma:

        > Did McIntyre get the image directly from Daly’s website? Or via someone else?

        If you could help Steve jig his memory about the source of his image, that would be appreciated.

        Many thanks!

      • Latimer Alder

        @web hub telescope

        ‘Willard has some deep analysis on his blog. Therefore, you demonstrate massive transference and projection of your inadequacies onto someone else.’

        Care to explain the ‘therefore’ in your little rant? The two propositions you advance do not appear to have any relevance to each other, let alone ‘therefore’.

      • Latimer Alder

        @web hub telescope

        But I gave up on there being any logic to your posts a long time ago.

        PS : – you still haven’t given any instances of my supposed ‘gnomic utterances’. Just assertions without evidence. As usual.

      • WebHubTelescope,

        I’ve answered Latimer for you over there:

        http://judithcurry.com/2012/10/08/whats-the-best-climate-question-to-debate/#comment-251093

        Sorry to budge in and to mistake the propre “reply” button.

      • Latimer Adler,

        It might be a bit unfair to burden WebHubTelescope with the task of meeting your demands. He simply seems to say that I might not be as gnomic as you try to portray. Or that he can get most of what I’m trying to say. Or something like that. I don’t mind much to stand corrected on this: this interpretation satisfies me enough not to bother asking him.

        You have no idea how much understanding people can get from others’ words when they put their charity into it. Some cultural background can also help. For instance, by speaking of “charity”, I am gnomically referring to the principle of charity:

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

        Speaking of charity, here’s the link to the Concluding Remarks of the chapter you’re supposed to have read:

        > This chapter has assessed how processes related to vegetation dynamics, carbon exchanges, gas-phase chemistry and aerosol microphysics could affect the climate system. These processes, however, cannot be considered in isolation because of the potential interactions that exist between them. Air quality and climate change, for example, are intimately coupled (Dentener et al., 2006). Brasseur and Roeckner (2005) estimate that the hypothetical removal from the atmosphere of the entire burden of anthropogenic sulphate aerosol particles (in an effort to improve air quality) would produce a rather immediate increase of about 0.8°C in the globally averaged temperature, with geographical patterns that bear a resemblance to the temperature changes found in greenhouse gas scenario experiments (Figure 7.24). Thus, environmental strategies aimed at maintaining ‘global warming’ below a prescribed threshold must therefore account not only for CO2 emissions but also for measures implemented to improve air quality.

        The emphasized sentence seems to run across one of the desiderata you expressed elsewhere. No, I’m not quoting it for now. I want you to ask for it. As I’m not including the quotes related to models: you will have to go fish them out all by yourself.

        I have the impression you don’t realize that when I write a comment, I am entertaining how you could respond. That helps me leave you with some options.

        How do I do it, you may ask?

        By using the charity principle.

      • The emphasized sentence should be:

        > These processes, however, cannot be considered in isolation because of the potential interactions that exist between them.

      • Willard, should I also look at Nussbaum wrt Sen?

      • John,

        I have a friend who did his thesis on Nussbaum. A sexy lady, and truth is sexy. But this is only if you like morality. And even then, I get the feeling you’d rather prefer a consequentialist like Philip Pettit:

        http://www.princeton.edu/~ppettit/

        In any case, my advice would be that if you wish to read anything, first look first at Herbert Gintis’ Amazon Reviews:

        http://people.umass.edu/gintis/

        This is a serious guy. Way more than me. Here is his Amazon Review of Sen’s **The Idea of Justice**:

        http://www.amazon.com/review/RPXOKKWEEX5NS

        Beware that reading this kind of thing might induce the belief that what’s happening at Judy’s are more wood-pushers’ kibitzes than anything else.

      • Latimer Alder

        @willard

        Well, I dunno why I bother trying to write things here when the really clever follks like you and Webbie are making such edikkated interlectual points all the time. And managing to pay attention to

        ‘epistemology, philosophy of science, informal logic, philosophy of language, communication theory, and fallacy theory’ at the same time.

        I’ll just collect my cap from the Servant’s Hall and slink off back to my hovel while you drink the port and brandy. And I’ll tell my pals in the Dog and Duck that I’ve met some of the greatest intellectuals of the day..at least that’s what they’d like me to think.

        ‘So what were they like Lattie?’ one of my chums will ask.

        ‘Dunno – couldn’t understand a word they said. But they were ever so pleased with themselves about how clever they were in saying it’

        ‘Did they tell you why they think the world is going to end three weeks come next Michaelmas widdershins?’ says Joe Sixpack.

        ‘I don’t know….they might have, but they were so hard to follow I lost track. One of them with the silly name said something about getting oiled enough…I thought he just wanted another drink, but maybe he meant something else’

        ‘So they didn’t really tell you?’ chimes in Stirling English

        ‘Nope. You’d think that if they really had something to say they’d be able to do it clearly and simply. But they don’t. I think they just like playing intellectual games’

        ‘So what they say is all a load of old bollocks then?’ remarks Woody the Barman.

        ‘Seems like it. And I don’t think its worth wasting much more time on them. If we’re all threatened with going to die in Thermageddon, it’ll be better to talk to people who do know what they’re on about. This pair of chumps don’t’

      • Latimer Adler,

        I too wonder why you bother trying to write things when you simply rinse and repeat about the same apostrophes. But just as I might despair you come up with scintillating commiserations like this last one. Long live to Stirling and Joe!

        Not that this playing the victimized plebian has never been seen before. But your act has some zest and some gusto. Are you Scottish like Groundskeeper Willie, by any chance?

        I also wonder why I bother. Rest assured that my audit is nearing its end.

        You’ll be able to keep to your bitch-slapping soon enough.

        Patience, dear Stirling, dear Joe!

        ***

        So, for now, we have seen the Executive Summary, the Introduction, and the Concluding Remarks of Chapter 7: Couplings Between Changes in the Climate System and Biogeochemistry.

        Here is a quote from section 7.1., entitled Ocean Ecosystems and Climate

        > The functioning of ocean ecosystems depends strongly on climatic conditions including near-surface density stratification, ocean circulation, temperature, salinity, the wind field and sea ice cover. In turn, ocean ecosystems affect the chemical composition of the atmosphere (e.g. CO2, N2O, oxygen (O2), dimethyl sulphide (DMS) and sulphate aerosol). Most of these components are expected to change with a changing climate and high atmospheric CO2 conditions. Marine biota also influence the near-surface radiation budget through changes in the marine albedo and absorption of solar radiation (bio-optical heating). Feedbacks between marine ecosystems and climate change are complex because most involve the ocean’s physical responses and feedbacks to climate change. Increased surface temperatures and stratification should lead to increased photosynthetic fixation of CO2, but associated reductions in vertical mixing and overturning circulation may decrease the return of required nutrients to the surface ocean and alter the vertical export of carbon to the deeper ocean. The sign of the cumulative feedback to climate of all these processes is still unclear. Changes in the supply of micronutrients required for photosynthesis, in particular iron, through dust deposition to the ocean surface can modify marine biological production patterns. Ocean acidification due to uptake of anthropogenic CO2 may lead to shifts in ocean ecosystem structure and dynamics, which may alter the biological production and export from the surface ocean of organic carbon and calcium carbonate (CaCO3).

        http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch7s7-1-1.html

        To make sure we will get distracted from observing anything from the emphasized sentence, let’s foreshadow your rant about the word “acidification”.

        Queue in five, four, three, two, one.

      • johnfpittman

        I am not sure of a preference as much as familiarity. I read one of Gintis on Sen. It was a good read. From the link on Sen you had, it seems his nomenclature could be part of the problem such as having a dual use for utility. I will read others as time permits, but I expect like trying to understand something like “Free to Choose” it will require rereading and time. I hope to get to Nussbaum. The one I read had the feel of a hatchet job, the hatchet was used to make chopped liver of the work in order to give substance to a strawman was my take on it. Kibitzing has a good and honorable past, as does philosophy and scepticism.

      • John,

        Go ahead with Nussbaum. You won’t regret it. She writes clearly and beautifully, not like some commenters at Judy’s. And this will make you discover the Ancients, which is rarely a bad thing.

        Don’t worry, I meant kibitzing affectionately, like most chessplayers would. But they’re kibitzes, and even Grandmasters’ kibitzes are just that: kibitzes.

        I could have said Gremlins’ sounds, but I don’t know which verb should be used to express what Gremlins utter.

      • Latimer Alder

        @willard

        You are clearly using a different definition of ‘obvious’ than the rest of the world. If I need to read down to Chapter 7 of the IPCC report,, to look for some sentence that might be construed to be an expectation (not an observation) that there might be some small effects, then that is not ‘obvious’ by any rational criterion that I know. ‘Clear, self-evident or apparent’ it isn’t. ‘Obscure and speculative’ covers it well.

        You guys (yes, this time I am including the singular as well as the plural use of the word ‘you’) would be a lot more convincing if you didn’t consistently overstate your case. It’s too easy to find the holes when you do. And then we watch you just wriggling and squirming and giggling among yourselves. It seems that you have learnt nothing in the last five years.

      • Latimer Adler,

        Quite frankly, I could not care less about what you find obvious or not. I can’t say I’m that interested in Joshua’s claim either. It’s just some kibitin’.

        What interests me is to post snippets after snippets from a document on which, had you spent the tenth of the time you spent at Judy’s, you would be an international authority by now.

        You don’t seem to have read it. You might have. It’s just that nothing authorizes me to infer that you did, except your own personal testimony, which I find as authoritative as Stirling’s. (Yes, I used two Is: I prefer my Stirling stirred.)

        What matters to me is that I am quoting and citing the IPCC documents.

        For instance:

        > In many areas of the Earth, large amounts of SO4 particles are produced as a result of human activities (e.g., coal burning). With an elevated atmospheric aerosol load, principally in the Northern Hemisphere (NH), it is likely that the temperature increase during the last century has been smaller than the increase that would have resulted from radiative forcing by greenhouse gases alone. Other indirect effects of aerosols on climate include the evaporation of cloud particles through absorption of solar radiation by soot, which in this case provides a positive warming effect. Aerosols (i.e., dust) also deliver nitrogen (N), phosphorus and iron to the Earth’s surface; these nutrients could increase uptake of CO2 by marine and terrestrial ecosystems.

        This comes from section 7.1.3, entitled Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate

        Sooner or later, you will have to admit that all you have is your semantic quibble over “obvious”. Unless you would prefer to go watch the grass grow.

        That’s all you have left, I’m afraid. My pieces control all the board.

        You’re almost in zugzwang.

      • Latimer Alder

        @willard

        No. I am not Scottish like Groundskeeper Willy.

      • Latimer Alder

        @willard

        Somewhere along the way you have entirely lost your thread of this discussion. Which was about the ‘obviousness’ or otherwise of the remarks that Joshua made here

        http://judithcurry.com/2012/10/08/whats-the-best-climate-question-to-debate/#comment-250301

        If you feel that you have some how ‘won’ an argument with me about a different topic, then knock yourself out. I’m cool with it, You can sleep well tonight in that belief. But whatever it is you delude yourself that you have achieved, you have failed on the substantive point.

        Perhaps your Great Intellect meant that you spent so much time on the epistemological aspects, the informal logic and the fallacy theory that you actually forgot the main point?

        And your quote mining from the IPCC as if it is holy writ is reminding me more and more about the religious zealots I mentioned before,

        FWIW a quote from the IPCC that they expect something to happen or that something could happen is hardly conclusive proof of it, however much you might like to think it is.

      • Willard, As someone who played chess in tournaments and had a provisional rating until I had to give it up for studies, I appreciate kibitzing. Gremlin sounds would not register with me.

      • Latimer Adler,

        Here is the first sentence upon which I commented:

        > I’ll take your unwillingness/inability to present any evidence beyond ‘its obvious’ as an admission that you haven’t got any, shall I?.

        I believe that you’re not asking for “obvious” evidence, but for evidence beyond “it’s obvious”.

        I believe that the quotes I provided, especially the sentences underlined, point to some lines of evidence Joshua could invoke to meet your challenge. These lines of evidence are not to be obvious to meet your challenge: they only have to be evidence.

        It is you who changed the criterium on your next comment:

        > Any particular piece of the large and dull tome you would wish to draw to my attention vis a vis the topic under discussion – the ‘obviousness’ of bad effects of ACO2 other than climate change.

        I hope you do notice that asking for evidence about the bad effects of CO2 beyond “it’s obvious” is not the same as asking for obvious evidence.

        ***

        You know, Latimer, philosophy is a tough discipline. Philosophers have to learn to read, a skill that the climate debates convinced me is quite underestimated. Playing parsing games with philosophers needs careful preparation. You do not have the stuff yet to do so. If you want to see some examples, see:

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

        ***

        Notwithstanding all this, we can continue to quote chapter 7. Here’s an intriguing part on methane:

        > Atmospheric CH4 originates from both non-biogenic and biogenic sources. Non-biogenic CH4 includes emissions from fossil fuel mining and burning (natural gas, petroleum and coal), biomass burning, waste treatment and geological sources (fossil CH4 from natural gas seepage in sedimentary basins and geothermal/volcanic CH4). However, emissions from biogenic sources account for more than 70% of the global total. These sources include wetlands, rice agriculture, livestock, landfills, forests, oceans and termites. Emissions of CH4 from most of these sources involve ecosystem processes that result from complex sequences of events beginning with primary fermentation of organic macromolecules to acetic acid (CH3COOH), other carboxylic acids, alcohols, CO2 and hydrogen (H2), followed by secondary fermentation of the alcohols and carboxylic acids to acetate, H2 and CO2, which are finally converted to CH4 by the so-called methanogenic Archaea: CH3COOH → CH4 + CO2 and CO2 + 4H2 → CH4 + 2H2O (Conrad, 1996). Alternatively, CH4 sources can be divided into anthropogenic and natural. The anthropogenic sources include rice agriculture, livestock, landfills and waste treatment, some biomass burning, and fossil fuel combustion. Natural CH4 is emitted from sources such as wetlands, oceans, forests, fire, termites and geological sources.

        http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch7s7-4-1.html

        Thus it seems that methane output has something to do with CO2.

      • Latimer Alder

        @willard

        Despite all your havering, you have completely failed to establish the proposition. Realising that you find it hard to stick to the point, you will recall that I reminded you of it in a comment addressed directly to you here

        ‘http://judithcurry.com/2012/10/08/whats-the-best-climate-question-to-debate/#comment-250864

        ‘@willard4
        ………

        So – once again – where please are the ‘obvious’ parts of Joshua’s proposition?

        ‘That ACO2 has harmful impact irrespective of any potentially harmful influence on climate change is completely obvious’

        and all the clever-clever logic-chopping philosophy you can dream of won’t make it true. It is not obvious.

        The proposition falls.

      • Latimer Adler,

        I have not failed to establish that proposition, as I have not tried to establish it. You are now trying to burden me with a commitment I never take. In fact, you are backtracking to a point in the conversation I have not commented.

        In other words, brave, brave, brave Latimer is running away.

        Besides, nobody has any idea what you would find evidence. Nor have you set forth any criteria for what you would consider as evidence. Considering your utter lack of any kind of satisfaction in our auspices, nothing warrants that you’re not playing some kind of pea and thimble game right now.

        Take for instance the very concept of CO2. I don’t find the concept that obvious. There is at least one meaning of “obvious” that renders it trivially unobvious: it is completely invisible to the naked eye. The same reasoning applies to the concept of evidence.

        And all this while you have (say) ocean acidification right up under his nose. Go ahead, please tell us that ocean acidification is not evidence, or that it’s not obvious, or both, or “whatever”. As if I care, as if I was commited to that gruesome task of providing anything that you would find an obvious piece of evidence.

        ***

        Unless we have an idea of what would count as an obvious evidence, Latimer can always refuse to consider the evidence benevolently brought to him. And the he can always proclaim that he can’t get no satisfaction. No, no, no. Eh, eh, eh. That is what he says.

        Burdening a commenter with commitments he never took is a common trick. For instance, here’s a study where this has been done at Steve’s:

        > My sense was that my audience at Climate Audit had placed me on “one side” of what they saw as a “two sided debate,” and held me responsible for everything “my side” had ever said. That kind of refusal to allow a conversation partner to define the responsibilities she is willing to undertake is unlikely to lead to a productive discussion. In this particular case, I think the demands for to defend things we hadn’t said occluded possible areas of agreement about what we did say.

        http://scientistscitizens.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/debate-in-the-blogosphere-a-small-case-study/

        Of course, now that I’ve used the word “commitment”, Stirling and Joe will return and have a ball. The word commitment might not seem quite obvious to Latimer. At the very least, his last trick shows this quite clearly: he confuses my commitment (which was in reply to a specific sentence of his) and Joshua’s.

        ***

        Come what may, here’ are two quotes from chapter 7 of WG1, this time from 7.4.1.2, entitled Effects of Climate

        The first:

        > Changes in the hydrological cycle due to this CO2 doubling cause CH4 emissions from wetlands to increase by 78%.

        The second:

        > [A]ny change in climate that alters the amount and pattern of precipitation may significantly affect the CH4 oxidation capacity of soils. A process-based model simulation indicated that CH4 oxidation strongly depends on soil gas diffusivity, which is a function of soil bulk density and soil moisture content (Bogner et al., 2000; Del Grosso et al., 2000).

        http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch7s7-4-1-2.html

        And thus it seems that AGW leads to a modification of the chemistry of the soil and wetlands.

        That ought to raise no concern at all. Perhaps because it is not evidence. Or perhaps because it is not obvious. Who knows?

        Latimer, of course!

      • He said the sky is blue, but she said there’s white in it.
        =================

      • Willard:

        …he confuses my commitment (which was in reply to a specific sentence of his) and Joshua’s.

        Just as a point of clarification – I feel I have no “commitment” to Latimer. If he doesn’t think that harmful effects from burning fossil fuels – outside of impact on the climate – are obvious, so be it. I think such a viewpoint is absurd – and so it is obvious to me that there is no point in responding to his “challenge.” It’s clear that no matter what I would offer as evidence, he would claim it is invalid or isn’t obvious. He “challenge” is not in earnest. I’m content to simply state that anyone who is familiar with the evidence – as I have every reason to assume is true of Latimer – and thinks the effects of which I speak of aren’t obvious, is willing to believe in the absurd.

        I have encountered this type of situation with Latimer before – notably the first time over the use of the term “ocean acidification.” I won’t be chasing down any more of Latimer’s rabbit holes (h/t Keith). He’s entitled to think that I have a commitment that I haven’t fulfilled; It doesn’t bother me in the least.

      • Joshua,

        As I see it, you’re commited to your claims, not to Latimer’s judgement of what is obvious evidence to him. But you sure have the right to refuse to debate with Latimer, if only because he never seems to get no satisfaction.

        But please consider the other participants. You can’t tell them that your claim is obvious because, well, it is obvious. While Latimer’s request is not obviously made in good faith, it could be a good idea to still answer it by providing some lines of evidence.

        So, when you made this claim, what evidence did you have in mind?

      • Declining to answer, trying to say a question is not made in good faith as Willard wants to say, whatever that means …

        These are sure signs of intellectual bankruptcy. Best avoid them. Even the slippery Willard agrees.

      • Willard:

        But please consider the other participants. You can’t tell them that your claim is obvious because, well, it is obvious.

        If anyone, in good faith, asks for clarification, I’d be happy to do so. However, the evidence is abundant. Even a cursory investigation will turn up much. As simple an attempt as Googling “pollution from fossil fuels” will work for anyone interested. I’m not telling anyone it’s obvious because I say it’s obvious. I’m saying it’s obvious. If someone with an open mind doubts that, they will find that I’m correct. Given that the folks here are climate fanatics, I don’t see how anyone in these threads would have such questions in earnest.

        When Latimer invites me to enter his rabbit hole, I decline. If he wants to actually come out and make a point, he’s entitled to do so. If he thinks that air and water pollution from fossil fuels is not obvious, or don’t qualify as negative impact, he’s entitled.

      • Joshua has now clarified his position perfectly : he has no answer for Latimer, but is loathe to admit it.

      • Willard:

        Joshua has now clarified his position perfectly : he has no answer for Latimer, but is loathe to admit it.

        Do you not see my point? There is no reason to enter these rabbit holes. Let the rabbits amuse themselves. No one is harmed in the process.

      • Willard –

        A perfect illustration of what it’s like to enter those rabbit holes:

      • Tomcat,

        You claim that Joshua has no answer for Latimer.

        As far as I can tell, it seems that Joshua’s suggestion of making one’s own cursory investigation counts as an answer:

        > As simple an attempt as Googling “pollution from fossil fuels” will work for anyone interested.

        So I am not sure you have any ground for your claim.

        Would you care tell us how you reached that conclusion?

        ***

        That does not mean that it is an answer for Latimer, since he refuses to try play rabbit holes chases with him.

        That does not mean that it is an answer that could satisfy Latimer, for I have no reason to believe that it’s possible to “fire up” Latimer’s imagination enough to do so.

        Knowing what would count as a satisfying answer to Latimer is certainly an open problem I would like to solve. And I’m sure that Latimer tries to get satisfaction.

        And he tries.

        And he tries.

        And he tries.

        And he tries.

        But it doesn’t seem he can’t get no satisfaction.

        At the very least, that is what he constantly seems to say.

        If you know how Latimer can ever get some satisfaction, please tell us.

        Many thanks!

      • Joshua,

        Thank you for your reply and your video. Your commitment has been fulfilled satisfactorily enough.

        Now, please leave me to the chase. Your presence might distract the rabbits.

      • Joshua & Willard

        It’s really very simple. Either
        - you know what you’re talking about, and so can answer your questioner; or
        - you can’t answer, and make up all sorts of pathetic evasive excuses like the question lacks good faith, you don’t like rabbit holes, asking the person to go and find the evidence you claim, etc etc….. all of which indicate that you have no answer, but refuse to face up to that.

      • Tomcat,

        The claim that Latimer is underlining is this one:

        > Given that we all know, clearly, how ACO2 from a variety of sources has negative impact in addition to affecting the environment.

        I don’t think this is the same as the two-pronged claim you’re now underlining:

        > Either you can answer your questioner; or you can’t answer.

        which is trivially true, but only if we presume that the act of answering behaves like an on/off light switch with no dimmer.

        I believe that Joshua has just provided an answer: some keywords for a web search, keywords I admit finding quite obvious. Not that this means in any way that Latimer finds the expression “pollution from fossil fuels” obvious, mind you. As I said in an earlier request, a request you have yet to acknowledge, I have no idea what Latimer would find obvious.

        Would you like me to report what this web search gives me?

        ***

        Furthermore, I believe that Joshua’s answer contradicts this claim:

        > I’ll take your unwillingness/inability to present any evidence beyond ‘its obvious’ as an admission that you haven’t got any, shall I?

        Joshua has provided a justification for his refusal to go down Latimer’s hole. He also provided an answer. As far as I can tell, your alternative is been answered.

        If I can be frank with you, Tomcat, I believe that you’re using Joshua’s answer as a bait to switch the topic on Joshua’s person, which was not the topic of Joshua’s claim, nor Latimer’s.

        That does not look very slick, Tomcat.

        ***

        As promised to David Springer, who’s silence we can all hear after he tried to bully me yesterday, here’s a quote from section 7.1.5 of the WG1, entitled Coupling the Biogeochemical Cycles with the Climate System

        > It is well established that the level of atmospheric CO2, which directly influences the Earth’s temperature, depends critically on the rates of carbon uptake by the ocean and the land, which are also dependent on climate.

        http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch7s7-1-5.html

        Now, the emphasized expression is quite interesting. Would you say it is an expression that is similar to “it is obviously the case”?

        Many thanks!

      • Willard

        I hope you are finding amusement, intellectual nourishment even, in the rabbit hole. I might observe that a stoat would be more often seen in such a place, the creatures being partial to rabbits, but I don’t believe you to be ermine, and I fear the Stoat has, perhaps wisely, decided not to enagage in this particular warren chez Judy. But I digress.

        As promised to David Springer, who’s silence we can all hear after he tried to bully me yesterday

        A point of order. I have the unpleasant task of drawing your attention to an error in the above.

        It may or may not be obvious that Dave Springer engages in bullying. Some might even say that it is well established that he does, and could cite comments herein to provide evidence. However is not my point here to highlight the unpleasantness or otherwise of Dave’s interactions.

        Rather it is a more serious sin I have observed.

        As promised to David Springer, whose silence we can all hear after he tried to bully me yesterday

        The apostrophe is a cruel mistress.

        That is all.

        Carry on.

      • VeryTall,

        Thank you for your comment. I stand corrected. I will confide that I am quite ambivalent with all this.

        On the one hand, there is the feeling to do Philosophy the Old Skool way. This does not give me the impression to chase rabbits, but to play on the third or the fourth line of an hockey team:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Line_(ice_hockey)

        When it’s technical, I feel like I’m on the checking line. When it’s not, I feel like I’m on the energy line. I’d rather remain on the third line and to follow the path of Bob Gainey:

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

        But there is a need to stand in front ofl punks like Latimer Adler or thugs like David Springer when they jump on the ice. And there are lots of players like that. We might even rename Judy’s Denizens the Syracuse Bulldogs (sorry BBD):

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slap_Shot_(film)

        So one needs to learn to stand his ground. And so I have learned.

        On the other hand, this just feels empty. The Syracuse Bulldogs behave as if nothing ever happened. Where is the warrior way in a world void of honor?

        Thank you for the kind words,

        w

        PS: If you want the soiler (typo courtesy of JCH) for that film, click on the link above:

        http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/4003586377

      • VeryTall,

        The link below, not the link above.

      • Latimer Alder

        @willard, @joshua

        I’m flattered that while I was getting on with life in the real world (not ‘running away’, just busy elsewhere) untroubled by the KlimatAngst that seems to have so gripped you, you have found so much harmless amusement in analysing my question.

        And after all the to-ing and fro-ing and logic chopping and deep philosophical treatises it comes down to the conclusion that what is obvious to Joshua…is necessarily obvious to anyone else (me included). Very little evidence presented of such an effect and notably Joshua was not the one to provide it. It was left to Willard to spend three gos to eventually find an obscure sentence in an obscure part of the IPCC report to come up with something that even remotely supported the proposition. ‘Obvious’ it was not.

        Still, I guess ‘Care in the Community’ was always going to have teething problems :-(

        You ask ‘what would satisfy Latimer?’

        Simple.

        Observational evidence that all these bad things are happening. Not unfounded ‘predictions’ or ‘possibilities’ or ‘wouldve couldve shouldve mightve’ speculation from activists and especially not unproven models.

        If you come with real evidence, real data that can be shared and challenged and pored over from hundreds of different perspectives and confirmed by other researchers, then I’ll be satisfied. As to whether the theories built on that data are proven valid is another level of inquiry after that.

        We used to call this way of investigating things ‘science’.

        But it seems that you guys are more into philosophy, epistemiology and word game-playing than worrying about any such experimental/observational stuff.

      • Joshua & Willard

        Suggestion : if someone asks you a question, and you say the answer is obvious, and they then say don’t see this, *just tell them the answer*.

        If it really is obvious, they’ll probably kick themselves. If it it isn’t, you’ll both learn something. Win-win.

        Avoiding answering by bleating about rabbit holes etc just says you’re trying to hide your own militant ignorance.

      • Latimer Adler,

        First, you say:

        > I’m flattered that while I was getting on with life in the real world (not ‘running away’, just busy elsewhere

        My reference to Brave, Brave, Brave, Brave Latimer running away was meant to point at the fact that you have been backtracking to a point in the conversation with Joshua for which I had no commitment.

        You changed the question, accused me of having changed it, and burdened me with a question I had no commitment to fulfill.

        And now you’re just ignoring all this.

        ***

        Next you say that:

        > It comes down to the conclusion that what is obvious to Joshua…is necessarily obvious to anyone else (me included).

        I thought having forestalled this trick. Joshua already gave me an answer to this trick. What you find obvious or not does not appear to be any of his concern.

        Considering your distorsions, I can understand that.

        Next you say this about the evidence presented to you:

        > ‘Obvious’ it was not.

        As if this mattered in any way.

        ***

        Finally, you come up with this idea that deserves due diligence:

        > Observational evidence that all these bad things are happening.

        Not just evidence, but observational one. Of what? Something bad.

        Now, the observational evidence of something bad happening is an interesting concept. An obvious observational evidence of something bad happening is even more intriguing.

        I’m not sure I understand what you mean by that. I’m not sure I find that obvious. Perhaps you can give me an example. When was the last time you observed something what was obviously bad, Latimer?

        Could you observe the badness of that something?

        How was that badness came to be obvious to you?

        Just curious.

        ***

        Perhaps we can follow WG1 to see what’s inside. We still have more pages of chapter 7 to read. Then we could follow Moshpit’s advice and read WG2. What a spoil sport: there was no hurry.

        Here’s from 7.5.1.2, **Sea Salt**

        There is evidence of physiological adaptation to higher temperatures that would lead to a greater response for long-term temperature changes (Guenther et al., 1999). The response of biogenic secondary organic carbon aerosol production to a temperature change, however, could be considerably lower than the response of biogenic VOC emissions since aerosol yields can decrease with increasing temperature. A potentially important feedback among forest ecosystems, greenhouse gases, aerosols and climate exists through increased photosynthesis and forest growth due to increasing temperatures and CO2 fertilization (Kulmala et al., 2004). Increased forest biomass would increase VOC emissions and thereby organic aerosol production. This couples the climate effect of CO2 with that of aerosols.

        New evidence shows that the ocean also acts as a source of organic matter from biogenic origin [...] Surface-active organic matter of biogenic origin [...] enriched in the oceanic surface layer and transferred to the atmosphere by bubble-bursting processes, are the most likely candidates to contribute to the observed organic fraction in marine aerosol. Insoluble heat-resistant organic sub-micrometre particles (peaking at 40 to 50 nm in diameter), mostly combined into chains or aggregated balls of ‘marine microcolloids’ linked by an amorphous electron-transparent material with properties entirely consistent with exopolymer secretions (Decho, 1990; Verdugo et al., 2004), are found in near-surface water of lower-latitude oceans (Benner et al., 1992; Wells and Goldberg, 1994), in leads between ice floes (Bigg et al., 2004), above the arctic pack ice (Leck and Bigg, 2005a) and over lower-latitude oceans (Leck and Bigg, 2005b). This aerosol formation pathway may constitute an ice (microorganisms)-ocean-aerosol-cloud feedback.

        http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch7s7-5-1-2.html

        Interestingly, we can find the word “evidence”, but not the word “obvious”, nor the word “bad”.

        You should really wonder why, Latimer. .

      • Latimer Alder

        @willard

        Re your post

        http://judithcurry.com/2012/10/08/whats-the-best-climate-question-to-debate/#comment-252298

        I just wanted you to know that I am not ‘running away’ from it.

        I read it, tried to extract some substantive meaning from it, failed and gave up.

        So the reason you will not see a further reply is that I see no point on wasting my time on it. You can indulge your word games by yourself or with your little playmates

        But please leave the adults to get on with debating the ‘climate issue’ in peace.

      • Joshua,

        I believe that next time Latimer Adler shows up again to bug you with is ignorant pest act, you can always reply to him:

        > [T]he reason you will not see a further reply is that I see no point on wasting my time on it. You can indulge your word games by yourself or with your little playmates.

        Oh. Wait. Perhaps you already did!

        ***

        Now, what did Latimer inferred from such a refusal to respond?

      • Latimer Alder

        @Willard

        If I were ever to write such a content-free bunch of incomprehensible drivel as your post to which my remark specifically referred, then Joshua (or anybody else) would be fully entitled to make such a reply.

        But I try hard to avoid being unclear or unspecific. So I hope that that particular charge cannot often be laid at my door.

        Simple advice to any alarmist….while you may be able to get away with sweeping generalisations in your private discussions or in highly regulated cheerleader blogs, be prepared to justify them in public fora.

        And to Willard specifically….you do not gain extra brownie points for the esoteric and obscure nature of your posts. If you can’t say what you mean clearly and directly, then keep your powder dry.

  34. Folks, WE can debate these issues here, but it makes no sense whatsoever for US Presidential candidates to engage in a debate surrounding climate science or policy for a few reasons:

    - Neither candidate knows enough about the science to have come to any valid conclusions.

    - The science is NOT settled

    - There is nothing that a US President can do to change our planet’s climate

    - The issue itself is of such minor importance to US voters, that there is no use wasting time to debate it

    We are being presumptive to assume that this issue (which may be of great interest to us personally) is of any real interest to the US voters, in general, or the US presidential candidates.

    Better yet would be to debate an energy policy for the USA, including opening up exploratory oil and gas drilling including shale deposits, limiting the exponential growth of regulations currently stifling new exploration, ending the EPA regulatory war on coal, reactivating the Keystone pipeline, etc.; these issues have direct impact on American jobs and future energy independence, both of which are more important issues for US voters (and presidential candidates) than any “climate” debate.

    Max

    • I point to Manacker’s appeal to US politics, and I point to Judy’s last paragraph:

      > This is a very good question to ponder, its at the heart of the climate policy debate. How would you answer this question? For the moment, accept that there is ‘some’ warming that is attributable to CO2 (i.e. lets not debate the fundamental science here, but uncertainty assessments are ok). Please keep your responses on topic.

      That is all.

      • Apparently coming up with thoughts of your own is a bit challenging, huh willard?

      • timg56,

        You seem to presume that Manacker’s comments contain original thoughts. That presumption lacks evidence, to say the last. As far as I am concerned, Manacker rinses and repeats the same claptraps day in, day out, disregarding most of the discussions he had with the commenters, including me.

        Since you ask so gently, I could tell you that I think the most important policy should recreate the magic of washing machines:

        > And what’s the magic with them? My mother explained the magic with this machine the very, very first day. She said, “Now Hans, we have loaded the laundry. The machine will make the work. And now we can go to the library.” Because this is the magic: you load the laundry, and what do you get out of the machine? You get books out of the machines, children’s books. And mother got time to read for me. She loved this. I got the “ABC’s” — this is where I started my career as a professor, when my mother had time to read for me. And she also got books for herself. She managed to study English and learn that as a foreign language. And she read so many novels, so many different novels here. And we really, we really loved this machine.

        Considering the quality of the debate at Judy’s, I must admit that washing machines might not be enough.

        But that would be a good start.

      • A majority of people here, including myself, tend to repeat comments and opinions. I was commenting on you repeatedly responding with a quote from Dr Curry above. A tactic in response to other posters? Ok.

        As for the washing machine story – whatever. I recall the first washing machine my mon’s mom had. It was electric, open topped, with an agitator. You had to squeeze the water and suds out by hand, drain the machine and refill with water, then repeat the process. Both our stories have the same bearing on climate discussions.

      • > As for the washing machine story – whatever.

        Thank you for your comment.

    • Max
      I tend to disagree with your stated conclusion(s).

      You concluded: Neither candidate knows enough about the science to have come to any valid conclusions.

      I do not know this to be true and do not think you have any special knowledge about the relative knowledge of each of the candidates. Romney appears to know enough to believe that restricting CO2 emissions in the US may create more national harms than benefits. Obama seems to desire that CO2 emissions be limited, but it would be enlightening if he would be able to justify the reasoning behind the position for voters.

      You concluded: There is nothing that a US President can do to change our planet’s climate.
      I respectfully disagree. Policies supported by a US president could have a long term impact, but I agree that the climate impact will not be very large.

      You concluded: The issue itself is of such minor importance to US voters, that there is no use wasting time to debate it.

      I again respectfully disagree. Because the issue of CO2 emissions is tied closely to domestic energy production in the US over the next 20 to 30 years, there is a potential large impact in the USA on the domestic economy. If Romney was elected and if his policies were enacted, there could be a substantial increase in the development of US fossil fuels and a substantial intermediate positive impact on domestic employment and the availability of domestic capital. US voters would be more likely to support the development of these resources if they were better informed of the facts on the impacts on employment and capital availability and of the lack of clear scientific conclusions regarding the negative consequences to the USA.

      • > Romney appears to know enough to believe that restricting CO2 emissions in the US may create more national harms than benefits.

        WebHubTelescope has a nice serie on Romney’s view on energy issues. For instance:

        http://judithcurry.com/2012/09/07/climate-change-and-u-s-presidential-politics/#comment-236990

        The whole serie would make an interesting G Doc.

        Wink wink.

      • Some have pointed out that this book was likely ghost-written for Mitt Romney. There is a distinct possibility that Romney probably doesn’t even realize that he has labelled himself a peak oiler.

      • WebHubTelescope,

        Unless we could prove that Willard Romney has ideas of his own, I don’t see the problem with ghost writers. I might be biased.

      • WHT

        Who’s “ghost writing” your posts for you?

        [Whoever it is, you should fire the guy.]

        Max

      • Willard and Webby

        The quote from Mitt Romney’s (allegedly “ghostwritten”) book points to the conclusion that the USA should do more oil and gas exploration (“drill, baby, drill”) including shale deposits, to get more “energy independent” (combined, of course, with supporting basic research for new energy technologies).

        All makes sense to me – and it appears that this is the course Mitt Romney will take if he becomes the new US President.

        Max

      • Manacker,

        You jest while you have homework to do:

        http://judithcurry.com/2012/10/02/rs-workshop-on-handling-uncertainty-in-weather-climate-prediction-part-i/#comment-248950

        Also please provide a quote for what you claim: I have no reason to trust your reading skills.

        Many thanks!

      • Rob Starkey

        Whether Mitt Romney “knows more” about climate science than Barack Obama is possible but uncertain – that neither is an expert is fairly certain. (Both have had other things to worry about.)

        I agree with you that Romney probably has a slightly better understanding of industry than Obama, based on their backgrounds.

        But I believe that, apart from “giving a signal to the world”, there is not much either could do to change our planet’s future climate.

        Let’s say the new US President takes the bull by the horns and cuts 50% of the US CO2 emissions starting the day after he takes office (maybe not completely impossible but highly improbable).

        Wiki tells us that USA emits 5.5 GtCO2/year (2010) out of a global total of 33.5 GtCO2 (China emits 8.2 GtCO2).

        Without this drastic USA cutback, IPCC estimates that we will reach 600 ppmv CO2 by 2100 (average of cases B1 and A1T, both assuming no special “climate initiatives”, population growth rate slowing down reaching 10.5 billion by 2100, with medium and fast economic growth rate).

        The cutback will result in a cumulated CO2 reduction of 96.8 GtCO2, of which 50% will “remain” in the atmosphere.

        This will result in a calculated reduction of atmospheric CO2 of 6.2 ppmv.

        Using the logarithmic relation and IPCC’s model-derived 2xCO2 climate sensitivity of 3°C, we have a net reduction in global warming by 2100 of 0.045°C.

        If the new US President shuts down the present CO2 emissions completely today, we would have a net reduction in global warming of 0.09°C by 2100.

        Neither reduction could be measurable.

        IOW, there is not much the new US President can do to change our planet’s climate.

        And that was my point.

        Max

      • PS That “dratstically cutting back CO2″ versus “drill, baby, drill” would have severe economic consequences for the USA is another matter.

        It would, at least one candidate knows this, and (if he’s elected) it won’t happen.

        It is unlikely that the incumbent (if re-elected) will enjoy having Congress on his side, so any attempt to force a CO2 reduction through the EPA will get strong opposition. But it will still be a totally unproductive nuisance and the negative job impact of not doing “drill, baby, drill” will be significant.

        My opinion, as an outsider

        Max

  35. Hi Judy –

    I feel Andy has too narrowly posed the question. What should be asked is

    What are the major threats to local and regional water, food, energy, human health, and ecosystem function resources from extreme events including climate, of which added CO2 and other greenhouse gases are a part, but also from other social and environmental issues? After these threats are identified for each resource, then the relative risks can be compared with other risks in order to adopt optimal preferred mitigation/adaptation strategies.

    To focus on “greenhouse-driven global warming” is much too narrow, as we reported on in

    Pielke Sr., R., K. Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D. Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski, E. Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell, W. Rossow, J. Schaake, J. Smith, S. Sorooshian, and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases. Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) American Geophysical Union.
    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/files/2009/12/r-354.pdf

    Roger Sr.

    • I point to Judy’s last paragraph:

      > This is a very good question to ponder, its at the heart of the climate policy debate. How would you answer this question? For the moment, accept that there is ‘some’ warming that is attributable to CO2 (i.e. lets not debate the fundamental science here, but uncertainty assessments are ok). Please keep your responses on topic.

      And I point to the beginning of Roger Senior’s coatracking:

      > I feel Andy has too narrowly posed the question. What should be asked is [...]

      That is all.

      • willard,

        trying out for both parts of Dumb and Dumber, I see.

      • I’ve seen that link before. What were you saying about repeatedly posting the same “rinse and repeat” comments above?

      • Rinsing and repeating the same editorial comments is not the same thing as calling out over and over again the same silly tricks.

      • willard in this vein, please tell us your views on the well known Emot-O-cons being used by scientists today?

      • Tom,

        In a nutshell: so much and so little for the word “unprecendented”. This impression applies even more to all the hurly burlies surrounding them.

        ***

        I now have something like an hypothesis: it seems that we’re witnessing a paradigmatic clash between the Lambian Ol’ Skoll and the numerical guys:

        http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2012/10/08/more-use-and-abuse-of-ipcc-1990-fig-7-1c

        In that comment thread, I found back this old thread at Judy’s:

        http://judithcurry.com/2011/12/01/the-long-slow-thaw/

        ***

        This is the 20000 feet overview. Today’s debate centers around this comment by Tom Curtis:

        Steve, I have already answered precisely this question from you from another thread [...] As you responded to that comment, you are certainly aware of my opinion; so your raising the question again must be regarded as a deliberate red herring.

        Speaking of which, the issue raised by you in the OP was whether the IPCC 1990 graphic was used by climate scientists in the period 1992-1995 in a way that would rebut John Mashey’s claim that by 1992 it had been rejected as misrepresenting what really occurred. You suggest two putative counter-examples, and as I have clearly demonstrated, they are not actually counter-examples. Both were ammended significantly in ways that reduced the presumed MWP warmth, and the later (the only actually relevant one, as being post 1991) clearly only treats it as a regional proxy, not a global proxy (however qualified). As such you have no counter-example.

        I have noted since then that you and your friends have been piling on with points to debate, none of which are relevant to the main point. I am not here to debate all of climate science. Therefore I have no interest in being distracted by your various red herrings. Either defend your initial claim that IPCC 1990 Fig 7.1(c) was still considered an adequate estimate of global MWP warmth in the mid 1990s, or admit your error. Continued red herrings will only show me that you neither have the means to do the former, nor the integrity to do the later.

        INTEGRITY ™ — Defend of Admit

        ***

        Following up the breadcrumbs from the Deming Affair made me found back this concluding answer from Lee:

        > As an aside, I’ve left because I got the answer I was looking for (dont rely on the dendro reconstructions, at least not yet), and because I’ve decided that Steve is very bright and very good and I don’t trust his honesty.

        http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/33209686101

        Considering the recurrence of these repugnant (TM – Auditing Sciences) pea and thimble games at Steve’s and elsewhere, I nowadays believe that an opinion like this has merits.

      • willard, check.

      • Tom,

        An update. No reply to this comment I quoted, which I now cite:

        http://climateaudit.org/2012/10/09/the-afterlife-of-ipcc-1990-figure-7-1/#comment-362006

        The Auditor resurfaced this morning:

        > Unfortunately, Tom is just making stuff up here.

        http://climateaudit.org/2012/10/09/the-afterlife-of-ipcc-1990-figure-7-1/#comment-362237

        You will also note that this blog post does not contain any link to John Mashey’s post at William’s:

        http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2012/10/08/more-use-and-abuse-of-ipcc-1990-fig-7-1c/#comments

        So it seems that the auditing scientists are moving toward Zielinski’s work.

        Can you imagine that these are all brilliant grown ups?

      • “That is all.”

        We wish you actually meant this. :) ;) :P

        Andrew

      • willard,

        after seeing many of the subsequant comments by you I take back the Dumb and Dumber crack. It was a response to the early repeated referals back to Judith’s comments. My apologies.

  36. Dr Curry. I must ask: Are you going for a CE blog recording number of comments to a posting? This may be the one!

  37. Any question based on the premise that “the long-term picture of a profoundly changed Earth is clear” is not a good question, rather it is a question that ignores the debate. The line about minimizing regrets then nullifies this premise, regrets for what we ask, that the premise is false? How can it be both clear and possibly false? Thus the question is internally inconsistent, hence meaningless. Revkin at his best. He does this all the time.

    • Any question based on the premise that “the long-term picture of a profoundly changed Earth is clear” is not a good question,

      Strictly as a matter of logic, that is an entirely subjective determination. It may not be a “good question” from your perspective, but your perspective is not the only perspective.

      rather it is a question that ignores the debate.

      Again, subjective. There is no “the” debate. It makes a presumption about the debate that you want to have (that it is out of touch with reality), but it focuses on a debate that others are interested in.

      If you object that Revkin’s assumptions are not sufficiently inclusive, then perhaps you shouldn’t make similarly exclusive assumptions.

      How can it be both clear and possibly false?

      Again, you are assuming that your perspective is the only valid perspective. “It” is not possibly false from Revkin’s point of view.

      Thus the question is internally inconsistent, hence meaningless.

      No. It is inconsistent from your (external) perspective – not from the logic internal to his perspective.

      Revkin at his best. He does this all the time.

      Hmmmm.

      • David Wojick

        All we have are our beliefs Joshua, so your points are pointless.

      • My point wasn’t that everyone has beliefs, David.

        My point is that when people confuse belief with fact – as you did in your comment – we run into problems. That would apply to discussants no matter on which side of the debate they reside.

        You are certainly entitled to believe otherwise, but my belief is that confusion between fact and opinion renders the climate debate to be of relatively little value other than possibly as an object lesson (as are other proxy debates) in how motivated reasoning affects discourse and reasoning in controversial issues that overlap with political, social, cultural, and personal identifications.

        I will note, however, that you consider speaking to your confusion between fact and opinion as “pointless.”

      • David Wojick

        No Joshua, I did not say you said all we have are beliefs, your mistake is not knowing this. There is no confusion between facts and beliefs. All humans have are beliefs. If they correspond with the facts they are true, if not they are false. Facts and beliefs are fundamentally different things. By the same token, everything everyone believes is subjective, but that is no argument against it, and it is pointless to point it out as some sort of criticism. This is basic epistemology.

      • David -

        There is no confusion between facts and beliefs.

        Except that there is widespread confusion in that regard, and more specifically, it was apparent in your first post I responded to, You confused fact and belief. You stated your (subjective) belief as a fact (apparently, and ironically, in objection to what you felt was Revkin stating opinions as fact).

        By the same token, everything everyone believes is subjective, but that is no argument against it, and it is pointless to point it out as some sort of criticism.

        “It” has an ambiguous antecedent there – but I suspect you are mistaken. I am not criticizing subjectivity. Of course opinions are subjective. And opinions are perfectly valid.

        I am criticizing an failure to acknowledge subjectivity.

        I think my point has been rather clear. You have repeatedly misconstrued my point – It seems in a defensive way. I’ll leave it there.

  38. What’s the best climate question to debate?

    What percentage of the warming we have experienced since 1850 is due to the increase in CO2?

    • The prior question is how much warming have we experienced? This is far from clear.

      • This is far from clear.

        I thought that you have said that you are quite sure that there is no valid evidence that Earth has warmed. For that I gave you credit among “skeptics” for being internally consistent. Am I wrong or have you changed your mind?

      • I have said repeatedly that there is a step function warming in the satellite record, coincident with the big ENSO cycle. This is real warming but it looks natural. Other than that the satellite record says that the warming shown in the surface statistical models does not exist. It follows that we do not know that the post 1850 warming shown in the surface models actually exists.

      • How does one event (a big ENSO cycle) warm the Earth over time? Doesn’t it stand to reason that a “cycle” implies cyclical change, not a state change as in “the Earth has warmed?”

      • I will point at Judy’s:

        > For the moment, accept that there is ‘some’ warming that is attributable to CO2 (i.e. lets not debate the fundamental science here, but uncertainty assessments are ok).

        That is all.

      • The atmosphere is incapable of being permanently stepped up in temperature by a big ENSO. You are deceiving yourself. There is no way for it to retain it. It mostly all goes away in months. The sunlight comes every day. Every day the energy interacts with the atmosphere, which determines how much stays and how much goes. Because there is a growing enhanced GHE, GMT and OHC have gone up. As was predicted decades ago.

      • Joshua, “How does one event (a big ENSO cycle) warm the Earth over time? Doesn’t it stand to reason that a “cycle” implies cyclical change, not a state change as in “the Earth has warmed?””

        Over what time? 1976 to 1998 is 22 years, that is about 1/3 of an AMO cycle and 2/3 of a PDO cycle. There are also cyclic Bond events with ~1500 year periods that have 6 to 10 decay oscillations. That would be ~150 to 250 year pseudo cycles created by a roughly 1500 year recurrence. Those Bond Events appear to be recurrent pseudo cycles of a 4300 to 5500 year decay recurrences for a 23K year orbital cycle of perturbations. 22 years is about 0.1% of a long-term picture.

      • Cap’n -

        Near as I can tell, you’re speaking hypothetically whereas David is pointing to a specific ENSO cycle. Thus my question to him – how did “the big ENSO” in question lead to a state change?

        W/r/t your comment, should I assume that your comment means that you do not think that the “Earth has warmed?”

        Or do you think it has warmed to some extent, and to some extent of the extent due to ACO2? If that is the case, then how do you make that determination – as it would require that you distinguish that warming from the long-term cyclical patterns you describe?

      • Joshua, “W/r/t your comment, should I assume that your comment means that you do not think that the “Earth has warmed?” That would be evidence of your confirmation bias :)

        The Earth has warmed since 1976 after taking a break from warming in 1945 from warming that started in 1900. There has been a rather steady warming trend of 0.4 per decade in the tropics, 0.6 c per decade in the southern extra tropics and 0.8C per decade in the northern extratropics since 1900. CO2 may have added 30% to 50% to the warming since 1900. The 1998 Super El Nino was likely the bookend for the 1946 Super Duper La Nina :)

        http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2012/09/super-duper-la-nina.html

        Non-linear systems have non-linear occurrences, hence the name. Just like waves on the ocean, you can follow the oscillations back to the cause.

      • David Wojick

        Joshua, I am not claiming that the big ENSO caused the step warming, just pointing out the pattern. It seems likely the two are connected, possibly via an ocean circulation change along the lines of the standard theory of abrupt events, but that is merely a conjecture.

      • David,
        There’s probably a connection. That connection is that ENSO caused an illusion of step change while nothing like that really happened.

        When you have a gradual warming trend and add to that an exceptionally strong ENSO you get this illusion. That’s all.

      • David Wojick

        Pekka, the fact that there was no significant warming for the 20 years preceding the big ENSO is hardly an illusion. It was widely discussed at the time. Nor is the fact that there has been no warming since the ENSO (but the average temperature is a little higher than before). The pattern is too simple to be an illusion, not to mention that the term illusion has no place in data analysis. Try using mathematical language if you have an actual point to make.

      • JCH
        I have provided a fair answer for you on RC but Gavin removed it. The difference between RC and Climate etc and WUWT is more than obvous
        you can find it here:
        http://judithcurry.com/2012/10/08/whats-the-best-climate-question-to-debate/#comment-250505

      • ..that there was no significant warming for the 20 years preceding the big ENSO is hardly an illusion.

        But it’s not true either. The warming from 1978 to 1998 was very clear, actually exceptionally strong in comparison with any other period.

        That one satellite data set is inconclusive is irrelevant for the full picture. The interpretation that you have is not at all supportable by the data. It’s just your imagination. You have used the big ENSO as help for misleading cherry picking to create something from nothing.

      •  JCH | October 8, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
        “The atmosphere is incapable of being permanently stepped up in temperature by a big ENSO. You are deceiving yourself. There is no way for it to retain it. It mostly all goes away in months. The sunlight comes every day. Every day the energy interacts with the atmosphere, which determines how much stays and how much goes. Because there is a growing enhanced GHE, GMT and OHC have gone up. As was predicted decades ago.”
        ______
        Precisely. The oceans act as a buffer and storage of energy, releasing more or less to the atmosphere, depending on ENSO cycles, but resulting in a zero-sum long-term net gain to Earth’s energy system (i.e. ENSO does not create any new energy in Earth’s overall energy system). The Longer-term rate of ocean heat storage is modulated by the total amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere which ultimately alter the net overall thermal gradient between ocean heat and space.

      • R GATES : The Longer-term rate of ocean heat storage is modulated by the total amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere which ultimately alter the net overall thermal gradient between ocean heat and space.

        So if the thermal gradient is being reduced by the greenhouse gasses which raise the air temperature, the oceans should warm ?

      • Bated,
        A warming lower troposphere results from increased greenhouse gases in the troposphere, with differing effects on other regions of the overall atmosphere (cooling in the stratosphere and mesosphere for example). But it must always be remembered that net energy flow is always from ocean to atmosphere, thus, it is not the higher temperatures of the lower troposphere themselves that are somehow (against the laws of thermodynamics) imparting energy to the oceans, for the lower troposphere is almost always cooler than the ocean on average. Rather, the warming lower troposphere acts a governor or control valve, reducing the rate of net heat flux between ocean and atmosphere. This is a fortuitous thing, for if there was not this alteration of the energy flow, with the oceans absorbing more heat being the excellent heat sink they are, we’d have a much faster warming troposphere as greenhouse gases increase.
        Despite a modest level of uncertainty, we can see that the oceans have gained roughly about 25 x 10^22 Joules of energy down to about 2000m over the past 50 years. Arriving at this number involves looking at both hard data and extrapolations to consistent paleodata. The gain in ocean heat content has been remarkably consistent over this period, closely paralleling the rise in global greenhouse gases (we must not forget the rapid rise in both Methane and N2O as well).

        Finally, the fact that both the oceans and the atmosphere are at their all time highest temperatures over the past 10 year average from instrument record and through extrapolation to near-term paleodata, we can see a remarkable consistent effect of what increasing greenhouse gases do to overall alterations in Earth’s non-tectonic energy storage.

      • RGATES

        Your answer to my question
        “So if the thermal gradient is being reduced by the greenhouse gasses which raise the air temperature, the oceans should warm ?”
        seems to be
        “the warming lower troposphere acts a governor or control valve, reducing the rate of net heat flux between ocean and atmosphere”

        IOW, “Yes”. The result of a warming lower troposphere is a warming ocean. Is that your position ?

      • Bated,
        Yes, the net result of a warmer troposphere OVER THE LONG RUN is that more heat stays in the ocean, as the thermal gradient between ocean and space is altered. But you need to be very clear NOT to infer that it is the troposphere warming the ocean, as net heat always flows from ocean to atmosphere. A warmer atmosphere simply slows down the rate of heat flux from ocean to atmosphere. In very simple terms, it is not any different than you putting on a jacket on a cold winter day. No net energy is flowing from the jacket to your body, but your body stays warmer because the heat flow is reduced because the thermal gradient from body to the space outside the jacket is made less steep by the jacket. The only difference in this analogy and the way the ocean-atmosphere heat flux works is that your body is warmed through metabolism, with the source of that energy being the food you eat. The oceans are of course warmed primarily by the sun.

      • RGATES
        Yes your idea is mostly clear : Basically the oceans warm as a result of the atmosphere warming. Not because heat from the atmosphere warns the ocean, but because heat flow from ocean to atmosphere – which is the norm – is slowed down.

        The part that isn’t clear at all, is that you stress this is in the longer term only. Why only longer term?

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

        Bated,

        Over short periods of time natural variability such as from ENSO for example, can create short term effects that run contrary to the longer term trend of increasing ocean heat content and higher tropospheric temperatures. For example, at the end of a very intense El Niño, we might see ocean heat content dip a bit while tropospheric temperatures spike. The reason is simple– a huge amount of energy, well above the long term norm, is leaving the ocean and moving into the troposphere. Related to this is the fact that many people get confused about sea surface temperatures and ocean heat content, and understanding their fundamental difference, how they are measured, and what they are measuring is important. SST’s are often, but not always, better gauges for how much heat is leaving the ocean on the way to the atmosphere rather than how much remains at depth to be measured as ocean heat content. Thus, the higher SST’s during an El Niño are an excellent predictor for seeing higher tropospheric temperatures a few months later as those higher SSTs are energy on the way out of the ocean.

      • R GATES
        Yes, I can appreciate that sometimes the oceans may not be warming in line with the general longer trend.
        But in times when they ARE warming, your idea is that this is down to a warmer atmosphere slowing down the rate at which the oceans cool into the atmosphere ?

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

        Bated,

        There are only 2 things that can increase the longer-term ocean warming– more solar reaching them and/or less energy leaving them. Solar cycles, aerosols, cloud cover and greenhouse gas concentrations each play a roll, and in general, increasing CO2, methane, and N2O in the troposphere will serve to reduce the net flow of energy from oceans to space.

      • R GATES
        Yes that much was already clear from your earlier comments thanks. But you haven’t addressed my specific question from before though :

        In times when oceans ARE warming, your idea is that this is down to a warmer atmosphere slowing down the rate at which the oceans cool into the atmosphere ?

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

        Bated asks:

        “In times when oceans ARE warming, your idea is that this is down to a warmer atmosphere slowing down the rate at which the oceans cool into the atmosphere ?”

        ____
        Sorry, thought my answer was quite clear, but to be specific:

        In times when the oceans are warming, there could be several factors that influence this, each with varying contributions based on natural and/or anthropogenic variability:
        1) Greater solar output
        2) Less aerosols in the atmosphere
        3) Less cloudiness (especially of a certain type)
        4) Increased greenhouse gases

        So, for example, if we go through a period of relative higher solar output, and less volcanic activity, relatively less cloudiness, and higher greenhouse gas levels, these would all tend to increase ocean heat content. It takes actual research (much of which is ongoing related to these specific issues) to find out the relative contributions of each of these during any specific period.

        Is this clear enough?

      • RGATES
        Yes thanks, That much was already clear from your earlier comments though, and doesn’t relate to my question – which has I fear has itself become unclear due to my attempts to rephrase it… Anyway, so we understand that there can be factors other than greenhouses gasses warming the earth, but that’s not what I’m asking about.

        What I am asking about, is your point about the greenhouse effect warming the oceans, indirectly, by warming the atmosphere, thereby reducing the ocean-atmosphere temperature gradient, thereby slowing the rate the oceans cool into the atmosphere, resulting in warmer oceans

        The point here is, that the prerequisite and tell-tale sign of this particular ocean-warming process, is warming of the atmosphere. Agreed ?

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

        Bated,

        Filtering out all other factors and natural variability, yes, for the thermal gradient between ocean and space to change and the heat flux from ocean to atmosphere to be reduced, the atmosphere would have to warm over the diurnal period. That is, you would not have to see record daytime temperatures, but you would have to then see higher night time tempertures, such that the average diurnal temperature across the whole planet, at all latitudes would have to increase.

      • RGATES

        Yes, that is what I was trying to work out – that for ocean warming to be a consequence of atmospheric warming – albeit an indirect consequence as you aver – you would still need to see atmospheric warming. (Sounds kind of obvious, now that I put is that way).

        The problem I see though, is that for over a decade we have not really had atmospheric warming, and yet the oceans have been warming. Which suggests some factor other than atmospheric warming is behind ocean warming.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Yah think?

      • David Wojick October 8, 2012 at 12:40 pm: “I have said repeatedly that there is a step function warming in the satellite record, coincident with the big ENSO cycle. This is real warming but it looks natural. Other than that the satellite record says that the warming shown in the surface statistical models does not exist….”
        I totally agree. That is exactly what I said in my book “What Warming?” whose second edition has been out since 2010. Apparently the majority of climate scientists are too busy imagining what global warming will do to us to read that non peer-reviewed, non otherwise-reviewed, book that tells them what real climate is actually doing. The satellite model you refer to in fact tells us that actual global temperature from 1979 to 1997 showed only ENSO oscillations while global mean temperature at the same time stayed constant. The step warming itself was caused by the large amount of warm water carried across the ocean by the super El Nino of 1998. In four years it raised global temperature by a third of a degree Celsius and then stopped. This step warming and not any imaginary greenhouse effect was responsible for the record warm first decade of our century. It was also the only warming recorded in the satellite era which began with the year 1979. Various ecological changes – population movements for example – are due to this step warming and not to an imaginary “late twentieth century warming” found on many establishment temperature curves. That fake warming is found in the time slot of the eighties and nineties. It neatly blots out the absence of warming and hides the existence of the step warming. These manipulated temperature curves include Hansen’s Land-Ocean of GISS as well as Müller’s of BEST, but strangely enough not GISTEMP itself.

    • Yes, how much warming is the prior question – the 2010s may not be that much warmer than the ~1940s as the consensus global temperature indices show (~0.5 °C?). It could be less or practically zero, but even if it is, it’s not necessarily a gain in internal energy of the system.

      However, this is all somewhat irrelevant, since we’re trying to falsify the consensus (A)CO2(GHG)GW hypothesis. So, we don’t have to guess how much warming and how it is attributed. All the accepted global temperature indices and attributions are very similar so we can say that there is an official position and explanation. It can be represented by this for example:

      http://climate.uu-uno.org/files/103401_103500/103413/temp-vs-models-spm4.jpg

      Only further warming can save the warmists and I don’t see it coming, au contraire. Buy aerosols.

      • Yes, I agree that the consensus science doesn’t have a very good idea of how much warming is due to increased CO2, versus all the other potential causes versus natural variability. IMO, it’s all natural (non-anthropogenic), but I may be wrong. Some local warming (the so-called UHI etc) is for sure real and anthropogenic.

        However, there is an officially alleged AGW and it’s to falsified. It started in ~1960 and it’s about 0.7 °C. It’s more than 100% anthropogenic. It looks like this:
        http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/fig/figure-9-5.jpeg

      •  Edim | October 8, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Reply
        “Yes, how much warming is the prior question – the 2010s may not be that much warmer than the ~1940s as the consensus global temperature indices show (~0.5 °C?). It could be less or practically zero, but even if it is, it’s not necessarily a gain in internal energy of the system.”

        _____

        Looking at the larger (and more consistent high thermal inertia) energy storage of the Earth system- the oceans- shows much more energy in the overall system than the 1940’s. The atmosphere has far less thermal inertia and is far more subject to short-term natural noise in the system.

    • It really matters to making policy how much of the warming is from CO2, and how much is from methane, land use changes, urban island (asphalt, concrete, air conditioning, etc.), carbon black, solar changes (sun activity lower and heliosphere at low level), or the catch all – natural variability.

      If CO2 caused 50% of the .8C in warming, that has a very different policy implication than if CO2 caused 80% or 20%.

      Spending trillions to solve a fraction of a 20% problem may not make sense.

      Maybe it would to solve a fraction of a 80% problem?

      Before we can act, we have to define the problem, and good solid estimates of how much warming is caused by the increased CO2 since 1850 seems to be the very first step in defining the problem, and am important step in doing a cost benefit analysis.

      I don’t think we have a very good idea of how much warming is due to increased CO2, versus all the other potential causes versus natural variability.

      • RickA | October 8, 2012 at 1:24 pm |: “If CO2 caused 50% of the .8C in warming, that has a very different policy implication than if CO2 caused 80% or 20%.”
        Quite true. And if it caused 0% of that .8C warming it would be another game entirely. I say that because there are several reasons for thinking that 0 is the correct percentage. First, take a look at global temperature. There has been no warming at all since the beginning of our century. But IPCC AR4 predicted in 2007 that greenhouse warming of the twenty-first century shall proceed at the rate of 0.2 degrees Celsius per decade. We are now in the second decade of this century and there is no sign whatsoever of this predicted warming. In science, if a theory makes a prediction that is false the theory itself is considered false and must be abandoned. The greenhouse theory used by the IPCC to predict warming has made a false prediction and therefore it must be abandoned. But that is not the only reason to doubt it. Ferenc Miskolczi used the weather balloon database going back to 1948 and discovered that the infrared transmittance of the atmosphere had been constant for 61 years. At the same time the amount of carbon dioxide in the air increased by 21.6 percent. This means that addition of all this carbon dioxide to the atmosphere had no effect at all on the absorption of IR by the atmosphere. And no absorption means no greenhouse effect, case closed. Specifically, this means that the enhanced greenhouse effect, the one we are told is warming up the world, simply does not exist. And with it all predictions of warming based on the greenhouse effect are proven to be completely wrong.

  39. Judy,

    That is certainly a good question, but I sincerely believe that the second best question is this one:

    > All of a sudden, these normally gentle creatures are becoming agitated and making noises with their mouths! What is it, guys? Is Timmy stuck in a well?

    http://www.theonion.com/video/nations-climatologists-exhibiting-strange-behavior,21009/

  40. Don’t have time to provide proper support, but I can summarize in one word: REMEDIATION!

    That is, let fossil energy development continue without restraint, while concentrating on technology to independently remove CO2 from the atmosphere/ocean, or perhaps bicarbonate from the ocean.

    Several reasons:

    - We can’t be certain that atmospheric CO2 is really going to cause any substantial harm, but we can be reasonably sure that anything that raises the price of energy (e.g. mitigation, that is reducing emissions at the source) will impact improvements in lifestyle that most of the world wants. It will thus probably be politically infeasible.

    - New technology of this sort tends to follow an exponential growth curve, so that if properly managed it could become mature within a few decades, being then able to balance existing emissions and start a drawdown process that could quickly make up for the previous century’s emissions. This means CO2 could be returned to pre-industrial levels without impacting the continuous improvement in lifestyle most of the world wants.

    - We can’t be sure that dumping of fossil carbon into the atmosphere is the primary reason for increasing pCO2. Sure, the smart money will bet that way (I sure would), but there are a variety of human interferences with natural ecosystems that could plausibly be more important contributors. These include whaling and overfishing, swamp/wetland drainage, expansion of irrigated mechanized agriculture, deforestation, and a host of others I’m too busy to think through and list.

    - We can’t be sure, now that the CO2 is in the atmosphere/ocean, that stopping mitigation will cause natural processes to remove it. Active removal (remediation) will remove it regardless of the source or other processes. It could directly balance emissions, as well as drawing down natural sinks/sources that contribute to the high pCO2.

    - A variety of possible approaches to remediation exists. If active semi-original research is undertaken on all reasonable approaches, several of them will almost certainly become technically and economically feasible.

    - Regardless of whether any specific approach works out, all that original research will pay for itself in spin-off technology, even if it turns out, by hindsight, that CO2 remediation wasn’t necessary.

    - All that money spent on research will act as an economic stimulus, while supporting a larger base of literate, educated people.

    • lurker, passing through laughing

      AK,
      Interesting post.
      Can you give some examples of technology that developed the way you described?
      No snark or gotcha’s intended.

      • I don’t know whether you’re talking about directed development or spin-off, but the former would include the space program and much of the military technology developed during the Cold War, while the latter would include, at least, the Internet, which AFAIK developed from military technology envisioned as producing a redundant communications network for battlefield use (ARPANET).

        Note that I don’t have time to create a properly referenced position paper, this just summarizes my position in response to the question posed.

      • “We can’t be sure that dumping of fossil carbon into the atmosphere is the primary reason for increasing pCO2. ”

        Wrong, its likely the most certain of the metrics we have.

        “Still don’t have time for much research,”

        Well, that about explains it.

      • Wrong, its likely the most certain of the metrics we have.

        A very popular lie, but still a lie. We don’t have any metrics beyond a rough correlation between emissions and increasing pCO2. Unfortunately, the increasing emissions also represent a rough proxy for any sort of increasing industrial development, including “whaling and overfishing, swamp/wetland drainage, expansion of irrigated mechanized agriculture, deforestation, and a host of others I’m too busy to think through and list”.

        And please don’t quote isotope studies to me, those just indicate the proportion to current CO2 that comes from fossil sources, not the reason the rest of the system didn’t respond to increased pCO2 by increasing uptake. Obviously it did to some extent, since an amount representing under half of total emitted fossil carbon remains in the atmosphere, but why it didn’t take all, or why it took any, are lost in the details of the complex ecological interactions involved in the carbon cycle.

      • Still don’t have time for much research, but a quick Google turned up NASA spin-off technologies at Wiki.

    • Remediation introduces new external forcings.

      While a system with one large and many small external forcings is unstable, one with two large external forcings tuned to one another is disastrous.

      Ask your plumber about having two working pumps running at the same time in a recirculating flow system for an explanation of why. A competent hydrologist could also explain it.

      • Remediation introduces new external forcings.

        No it doesn’t. CO2 is CO2. It’s a well-mixed gas, and differences in location between emission and uptake make no difference to any “forcing”, either via the Greenhouse effect or any other.

        This is unlike dumping sulfur oxides or aerosols to produce a cooling to offset the proposed Greenhouse warming. That would be subject to the objection you’ve raised.

      • AK | October 9, 2012 at 2:37 pm |

        We’re not in total disagreement. Clearly, dumping contaminants to offset CO2 increase is a second external forcing.

        Clearly, remediating CO2 emission prior to well-mixing (at source, before emission), reduces the initial forcing without becoming a forcing itself.

        In atmosphere, post-emission remediation? I’m a natural skeptic, so I’m uncertain I buy entirely the argument that it is not in itself an external forcing. I’d need more convincing.

      • @Bart R | October 9, 2012 at 9:46 pm |

        OK, it seems obvious to me, the sort of thing I dismiss without wasting time on, but since you ask, I’ll try to make a clear intuitive argument.

        The natural ecosystem produces enormous positive and negative CO2 fluxes, to use the correct technical terminology, differing by location in time and space (over the year). Inter-annual variation (usually attributed to ENSO) can be as great as the overall annual increase in the decade-scale average. The human contribution is a small fraction (~3% IIRC) of the total positive flux from all sources. The total negative flux almost balances this. (I don’t have time to provide references, but the requisite articles have been discussed here in the past.)

        Variations during the year, and from one location to another, make only a very small difference in localized CO2 concentrations, thus to the Greenhouse effect as well as other forcings of the ecosystem. (I’m not convinced the “climate” threat is the most important potential risk of elevated pCP2. Nor ocean acidification. Direct effects on ecosystem balances IMO have a larger probability of causing significant harm to society.) I don’t have references to hand for this statement, but I researched it at one point when the subject came up.

        Given that the effect of human emission (positive flux) and remediation (negative flux) is distributed over the entire planet and multiple years, small differences in spacial location or time within the year will make no more difference than differences in the larger natural sources and sinks.

        Of course, this is entirely different from the delay I’m proposing between emissions (now) and mature remediation technology (2-3 decades). There would be an intervening period of higher pCO2 with increased Greenhouse effect and other (IMO more important) risks. (Relative to immediate drastic mitigation.) My point is that mitigation is politically and technically unfeasible in less than this time frame, and carries the risk that it might not fix the problem for the reasons I’ve mentioned.

        We’re looking at a 3-5 decade maturity for any proposed solution. IMO the one I’m proposing is far superior than one based on mitigation for the reasons described. It also removes any concern about “centuries long” increases in pCO2, and offers the continually improving life-style most of the world demands.

        And the risk is (IMO) smaller than trying to impose political solutions to drastically cut emissions at the source, which would almost certainly lead to higher energy prices, thus to reduced lifestyle and political instability. People just won’t stand for it, and shouldn’t have to.

      • AK | October 10, 2012 at 11:20 am |

        Fair enough, and thank you for indulging my ab initio mania.

        I’ll give it some thought, and let you know if I can find a hole in your reasoning, which thus far I can’t fault without seeking some hard data to confirm.

      • @Bart R | October 10, 2012 at 11:19 pm |

        You’re welcome. I may have gotten a little impatient and if so I apologize. I’d certainly be interested in any holes you think may exist in the logic, or data.

      • AK | October 11, 2012 at 7:47 pm |

        I’m always more interested in people’s written ideas than their written patience. Yours are notably interesting. I’ll probably make you impatient a lot. It’s the highest compliment I can pay.

  41. Speaking of climate catastrophe… are the laws to prevent it the real doom? Modern science stands on the shoulders of giants. Why can’t societies learn from the past? We all should take to heart the the lesson of the Tower of Babel.

    http://evilincandescentbulb.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/proverb.jpg?w=641

  42. MattStat/MatthewRMarler

    While persistent and deep uncertainty surrounds the most important potential impacts from and responses to greenhouse-driven global warming, the long-term picture of a profoundly changed Earth is clear.

    The first clause contradicts the second. If the first is true, then the long-term picture is unclear. The future will be as variable as the past.

    • lurker, passing through laughing

      Matt,
      +1. You hit nail on head of the basic problem of the AGW community. They do not know what they are claiming as truth is in fact true, but they know for sure that it will be very bad.

      • Latimer Alder

        @lurker

        You are absolutely right to say

        ‘They do not know what they are claiming as truth is in fact true, but they know for sure that it will be very bad.’

        but you forgot the qualifier

        ‘…and far worse than we thought. More research is needed’

    • The uncertainty is anything between 1C and 5C warming per doubling of CO2. We will more than double it. Either way that’s a profoundly changed Earth.

      • Profoundly changed Earth??? LOL- if a 1C change occured over the next 100 years would earth be profoundly changed? HOW????

      • Even 1 degree C may make the planet warmer than it has been for millions of years. But of course the warming won’t be limited to 1 degree C if we burn all the carbon.

      • lolwot,

        there were Hippos in the Thames in the Eemian. Their bones are found in London today. That is a lot more than 1 degree warmer, a lot less than a million years ago.

      • Yes higher latitudes were warmer in the Eemian, but see

        Paleoclimate Implications for Human-Made Climate Change
        James E. Hansen and Makiko Sato
        http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2011/20110118_MilankovicPaper.pdf

      • Further to Gareth’s and Lolwot’s posts: According to the British Geological Survey (BGS, a UK government agency) there were rhinos, elephants and leopards as well as hippos in the Thames basin during the Eemian period (130 to 117 thousand years ago). (BGS, Holiday Geology Guide to Trafalgar Square, 1996). There were humans in Africa at the time.

    • If the first is true, then the long-term picture is unclear.

      You left off a qualifier: “profoundly changed Earth.”

      It is possible to be uncertain about the “most important potential impacts” (say, level of sea rise) and responses (say, effectiveness of a carbon tax) and still be certain that a “profoundly changed Earth” will result – at some point in the future – from BAU w/r/t ACO2.

      If you don’t want to address his question, then don’t. If you don’t agree with his assumption that a “profoundly changed Earth,” is clear, so be it. Argue with that assumption.

      • Joshua

        It is possible to make any number of claims without any of them being factually correct. Does it matter if the claim is factually inaccurate or at a minimum not supported by observable evidence?

      • Rob -

        Does it matter if the claim is factually inaccurate or at a minimum not supported by observable evidence?

        Of course that matters. If you disagree with what he considers to be accurate, so be it – and argue that point if you want. But it is important to clearly distinguish the lines of disagreement, not base arguments on logical inconsistencies that don’t exist.

        If you don’t agree that a profoundly changed Earth is clear, then argue that point. But acknowledging uncertainties in itself does not disprove a belief that a profoundly changed Earth is inevitable. I consider making such arguments to be an invalid exploitation of legitimate expression of uncertainty. It seems invalid to me to on the one hand criticize a lack of acknowledgement of uncertainty at the same time as saying that acknowledgement of uncertainty contradicts concern about a clear profound change. This is one of the problems I have with “skeptics” (as opposed to skeptics) in their approach to “uncertainty.” That, along with a fairly ubiquitous mis-representation when climate scientists do acknowledge uncertainty (think of the bogus “they said the science is settled” meme).

      • Joshua

        Is making a claim that sea level will rise at a greater rate than it is currently, but being unable to state when or by how much a relavant claim or simply spreading unsupportable propaganda? Is writing that there will be “profound changes” but not describing exactly what these will be by when ore than spreading propaganda?

    • Steven Mosher

      “The first clause contradicts the second. If the first is true, then the long-term picture is unclear. The future will be as variable as the past.”

      Actually it doesnt.

      “While persistent and deep uncertainty surrounds the most important potential impacts from and responses to greenhouse-driven global warming, the long-term picture of a profoundly changed Earth is clear.”

      The first clause.

      1. There is deep and persistent uncertainty about the most important impacts.
      2. There is deep and persistent uncertainty about responses.

      Both of these statements are about the state of human knowledge WRT
      A) Impacts
      B) Responses.

      The second clause.
      the long term picture of a changed earth is clear.

      This is a statement about a projection of the state of the earth.It involves human knowledge. basically Revkin is saying that we know there will be pervasive changes, but the IMPACTS and our responses to those IMPACTS is uncertain.

      So, long term, given the best science we have today, we can predict a world that is warmer in the future. In fact, it is very likely that if we continue to dump C02 into the air that we will see a earth that is warmer than any other human has seen, clearly warmer than any modern civilized industrialized human has seen. That will be a profound change. which means the change will be pervasive and intense.

      What are the impacts of that pervasive change? lots of uncertainty there. Where will the warming happen? where will sea level rise be worst? what will be the impact on regions that are cold? what will happen to plant growth? the oceans? lots of uncertainty in these details. And the uncertainty of response is not even related LOGICALLY to the vision of profound change.

      When somebody thinks that two sentences are in contradiction, they usually are not thinking or reading logically. Reduce the sentences to their logical form. Then show the contradiction.

      • Sorry, increased CO2 does not necessarily imply ‘profound’ changes to anything. Nonetheless, the plant kingdom seems to have profoundly responded.
        ===========

      • You care more about plants than people. I like plants, but I like people better. I should say I like most plants and most people. I don’t like weeds. Some people are like weeds.

      • Classic Max,

        You like “people better”, except of course those people you consider to be weeds.

        Love like yours I can do without.

        At least you deserve kudos for reminding us what so many people advocating for action to address climate change truely are after – a world with less people. With the caveat that they are among those who get to stay.

      • I wasn’t implying kim is a weed. He just likes plants, including weeds.

      • Max,

        I did not make any claim of you implying kim is a weed. I simply pointed out the irony, and probable hypocracy, of your statement about liking people.

      • Steven, why all the thinkin & writing, when you just wrote this…

        he had nothing of relevance. basically a small number of records from NWS

        the guru had nothing, What, me worry. Got my two shoes too.

      • Steven Mosher

        Explaining ‘why’ all the thinking and writing is a far different question from explaining the facts of the actual case. Diversions into motives and speculations about internal states are entertaining but not instructive.

        Our suspicion and ONE OF THE REASONS we asked for the data was that we supposed that Jones did nothing of value with the data.

        Skeptics, of course, thought that Jones manipulated the data. baaad evil Jones. believers thought that jones performed some great feats of science with the data. Auditors suspected that he did very little with the data.

        Now of course Jones has taken OUR position. he does nothing to the source data. he collects it. he runs his code. he outputs the answer.

      • Steven,
        Will we ever know what the actual recorded data was, before being transferred to computer files for use once the written records had been compiled? How large was the budget to transfer all of this information? It must have been in the millions. What Reason, could Jones, have possibly had to just ‘dump’ (question yet to be asked it looks like) these records? It was a BIG decision and from what I read he did it on his own… adjusted numbers. House built on sand is more like it. Science is still trying to understand the trick but the magician ain’t talking. If obvious questions such as this aren’t asked and answered; there is nothing to debate. AGW science is irrelevant.

      • Phil Jones: wanted to ‘save space’…
        How much ‘space’ (in cubic feet, or meters) did he end up saving?
        He must have had some number in mind too.)

      • No, StevenI think the reason skeptics dislike Jones, and alarmists liked him, was because he hid the tax-funded data from skeptics and gave it to alarmists, in an attempt to suffocate science with politics.

      • Moser says

        “Now of course Jones has taken OUR position. he does nothing to the source data. he collects it. he runs his code. he outputs the answer.”

        Can you answer how to adjust/justify the shrinking/changing raw data set ?

      • You write a large amount of bologna.
        There is not reliable evidence that there will be pervasive changes to the environment or that the net changes will be negative overall over the long term. There is also no evidence that a world that is slightly warmer over the next 100 years will be profoundly different for humans. You write unsupportable propaganda.

      • Steven Mosher

        1. There can be no EVIDENCE that there will be pervasive change. There is only a prediction based on the best science we have. Evidence relates to the past. evidence of the past supports the science of the present whcih makes predictions about the future.

        2. I made no claim about the net NEGATIVE changes. the impacts are uncertain.

        3. If the prediction of 2C warming holds true, and there is NO Theory or science that suggests it is wrong, then the human species will see a climate that it has not experienced before. That change will be pervasive.
        will it be good for all? bad for all? net positive ? net negative? dunno. thats much less clear than the science that predicts the warming

      • Steve

        When you used the word “pervasive” you were indicating that there would be net negative consequences.
        The definition from Oxford:
        Pervasive- adjective
        (especially of an unwelcome influence or physical effect) spreading widely throughout an area or a group of people:

        Regarding the 2C of temperature rise that you believe is inevitable- over what timeframe to you believe this change inevitably will come about? There is most certainly differences of opinion within the science community.

      • As usual, Steven Mosher is right.

      • Chad Jessup |said on October 8, 2012 at 5:47 pm

        ” … people with an agricultural background point out that northern latitude areas that cannot grow certain temperature sensitive crops today, whereas in past years, such as the MWP, the same crops could be grown … ”
        ________

        I’m skeptical. What crops would those be?

      • Trees Max, and berries,grasses

      • Grapes

      • I laugh every time someone brings up the MWP being so warm grapes were grown in places grapes can’t grow now.

        Grapes aren’t very sensitive to cold. Grapes are grown in Upstate NY. Grapes are grown in Scotland. I doubt there every was a time in the past few thousand years that grapes wouldn’t grow in the NY and the UK.

        I don’t know what kinds of berries and trees you are talking about, but some trees (e.g., coconut palms) don’t grow in NY and the UK now, nor would they have in the MWP.

      • Are you saying temperatures will be higher than those experienced by people during the Roman Warm Period and the Medieval Warm Period? Not a rhetorical question. Just asking.

      • “Are you saying temperatures will be higher than those experienced by people during the Roman Warm Period and the Medieval Warm Period? Not a rhetorical question. Just asking.”

        They might already be higher.

      • lolwot – people with an agricultural background point out that northern latitude areas that cannot grow certain temperature sensitive crops today, whereas in past years, such as the MWP, the same crops could be grown in those areas disprove Mann’s hockey stick temperature reconstruction.

        Tony B has commented previously on that subject.

      • Steven Mosher

        Yes. Looking at the reconstructions i’d wager that at current temps there about a 50% chance that it was warmer in the periods you mention. Add, 2C to the temps we have today and we transgress a boundary that civilized humans have not seen. Our civilization is an adaptation to the environment. We will be changing the conditions of our existence.

        1. we should not do this without some due diligence.
        2. we should not react out of fear.

        But, admitting that we are in fact changing the conditions of our existence is the key to having a fruitful dialog

      • @Steven Mosher
        Can we “admit” that we are changing the conditions of our existence, when we don’t yet know it?

      • Steven Mosher

        When you mention human-induced future warming of 2C, you are making a leap of faith.

        Past warming has been 0.7C (since 1850), and a significant part of this has not been anthropogenic (IPCC, with an admitted “low level of scientific understanding of solar forcing, says 7%, other sources say 50%).

        From this and the CO2 levels in 1850 and today, we can calculate the CO2/temperature response for 2xCO2 at between 0.8C and 1.5C.

        It is unlikely that we will double atmospheric CO2 above today’s level (=784 ppmv) anytime before the next 150 years (figure it out), so this means we might see 0.8C to 1.5C warming over the next 150 years.

        And added CO2 concentration from human emissions is constrained by the availability of fossil fuels to an absolute maximum level of a bit over 1000 ppmv, when they are all gone.

        This means we could have an asymptotic absolute-maximum-ever AGW of 1C to 2C when all fossil fuels are gone..

        And, since this would not occur for at least 150 to 200 years, we’d have plenty of time to adapt.

        Max

      • TomCat

        You ask Mosher

        Can we “admit” that we are changing the conditions of our existence, when we don’t yet know it?

        To nitpick, we “change the conditions of our existence” simply by existing, breathing, getting older, etc. So, in a nitpicking sense, Mosher is right by definition..

        But the question is whether through the emission of GHGs (principally CO2) we are “changing the conditions of our existence” perceptibly, in a net negative or positive way and, if so, is this change likely to have dramatic results?

        Perceptibly: Probable but not validated by empirical data
        Net negative or positive (Judith’s “winners and losers”): Unknown, some general indication that higher CO2 levels and lightly higher temperatures will have a net beneficial impact on overall crop yields..
        Dramatic results: Unlikely, based on past CO2/temperature response and results

        Mosher may have an other assessment on this.

        Max

      • “When somebody thinks that two sentences are in contradiction, they usually are not thinking or reading logically.”

        It’s hard to be more wrong than that sentence, when taken as a general rule. And it’s not much better in this particular instance.

        Generally, there is a whole lot of bad writing and poor logic, and not just on this blog. It’s everywhere. Mosher himself frequently complains that comments here contain contradictory sentences. So stating it as a general rule is a non-starter.

        And in this particular case, I don’t think any of the comments, including Mosher’s, get the comparison right.

        The first clause is “While persistent and deep uncertainty surrounds the most important potential impacts from and responses to greenhouse-driven global warming….”

        The second, allegedly contradictory clause is: “…the long-term picture of a profoundly changed Earth is clear.”

        The uncertainty is to the “potential impacts and responses” to global warming, while the certainty is to the long-term picture of a profoundly changed Earth is clear.”

        Whether the two are contradictory depends on what Revkin meant in the second clause. If he meant merely that there would be profound changes in the Earth in the future, I don’t think that is contradictory, but it is also not terribly informative. Who doesn’t expect significant changes in the Earth over a long period of time, with or without CAGW.

        But his use of the word “picture” suggests some understanding of what those profound changes will be. And that they will be “profound” suggests they will be intense, ie. negative. That would contradict his first point regarding uncertainty of impacts and responses.

        On the whole, Revkin seems to be saying that we don’t really know what anthropogenic CO2 emissions will do to the Earth, or how mankind will respond, but the bet right now is that it will not turn out well. (Notice the last sentence of the quote “…to limit economic and environmental regrets.”) I just don’t think he said it very clearly.

      • Steven Mosher

        very simple gary. reduce the sentences to propositional logic and show the contradiction. You cannot. That is why you blather.

      • GaryM

        You are right and (this time) Steven Mosher is wrong.

        Revkin contradicted himself.

        No “blather” needed.

        Max

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

        Steven Mosher: So, long term, given the best science we have today, we can predict a world that is warmer in the future.

        I have argued that the best science we have today is full of inadequacies; we can predict a world that is warmer principally by ignoring complications, and we can not tell now that the ignored complications do not matter. The state of knowledge that we have right now does not exclude the possibility of cloud feedbacks that limit any warming that might occur. The only way you can read the sentence so that the first part does not contradict the second is to construe the first part in such a way as to ignore many of the uncertainties.

        Now that I have read the comments, I have construed that sentence in multiple ways. There is room for disagreement about what exactly the phrase ” uncertainty surrounds the most important potential impacts from and responses to” includes and excludes. However, if there is uncertainty over potential impacts, then it can’t be clear that profound change will be caused.

      • Steven Mosher

        1. the fact that the best science has problems is a near tautology.
        2. profound MEANS pervasive. Our best science tells us that if we change the atmosphere it will have PROFOUND, PERVASIVE consequences. what happens in vegas stays in vegas. what happens in the atmospher effects the entire system. GET IT. pervasive.

        Lets look at your last statement. If there is uncertainty over impacts, then it cant be clear that there will be profound change.

        lets take something simple. I tell you you are going to win 500 million in the lottery. That will be a profound change. But I have a great deal of uncertainty over the impacts. What will you do with the money? blow it all on nonsense? start a foundation? spend sme and save some. ruin your life? So I have uncertainty over the impacts, but its clear that there will be a profound change. lots of change.

        The best science is clear ( and imperfect BY DEFINITION) if we change the atmosphere the change will be profound. pervasive.
        However, we dont understand all the details and the impacts.

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

        Steven Mosher: lets take something simple.

        Let’s not. Let’s stick with things at least as complex as the climate, with uncertainties at least as great as climate uncertainties. Uncertainties in climate science are such that pervasive climate change may not occur; we may have a continuation of the fluctuations within the range of the last 2,000 years.

        It is not merely that there are uncertainties, as always with science, but that the uncertainties in climate science are of large enough magnitude that they can not be asserted to be too small to matter.

      • Steven Mosher

        You are falling into the logic trap of defending Revkin’s “picture of a profoundly changed Earth” by equating the GCM simulation outputs cited by IPCC with “best science”.

        Let’s go back to Feynman’s definition of “best science”.

        “Profound” means “deep” – in this case it means “having strong consequences”. And the implication is that these are “negative” (so the future US President has to consider taking actions to mitigate against them, rather than rejoice that they are happening).

        We (including you plus Revkin) have no earthly notion of whether or not human GHG emissions will result in profound negative consequences. It is pure conjecture. It is a counter-intuitive “best guess” (maybe), but not “best science”.

        I could posit that we will have an invasion by extraterrestrials, which will “profoundly” change the Earth (adding Revkin’s disclaimer clause that we really don’t know whether this is true or not) but “the long-term picture of a profoundly changed Earth is clear”, so the next US President should consider taking “no-regrets” actions to install anti-extraterrestrial invasion systems and devices (in the USA and possibly even all over the world).

        I could even say that “best science” tells me there has to be life on another planet somewhere, that statistically it is obvious that at least one planet has intelligent life that has been around longer than we humans, ergo an extraterrestrial invasion is certain and could well occur imminently.

        Just like the above argument, Revkin’s question was loaded (hence illogical) and contradictory. And the “best science” argument is weak.

        Max

        .

  43. Let me reword Revkin’s loaded presidential debate question slightly

    CNN Moderator Mr. President, Governor Romney, we don’t really know whether or not human activity has caused any substantial warming, but we do know from climate scientists that if whoever gets elected does not do something very drastic and costly about it we’ll all die a horrible death.

    So what do you two see as the best mix of achievable policies to limit environmental and economic regrets?

    Obama: I have always been in favor of an “all of the above” climate policy, including a carbon price with cap and trade, crippling EPA regulatory restrictions on the coal plus oil and gas industries, fewer incentives for exploratory drilling, no further drilling on government lands, no Keystone pipeline, more taxes on the rich, etc. The science is settled, as my science czar has advise me. Under MY administration, temperatures have, indeed, sunk, as have the rates of sea level rise; I assume full responsibility for these fortunate trends and will continue my policies, which have led to them, including MY Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare”. My opponent would lower taxes on multi-millionaires, even though this could have a dramatic impact on our nation’s budget and our war against climate change.

    [The prompter shows a flat approval line among undecided voters, with women voters scoring slightly higher than men voters. The line moves up slightly when the President describes how his policies have stopped climate change.]

    Romney I believe in an “all of the above” energy policy to ensure that Americans continue to enjoy reliable and readily available energy sources in the future. I do not know enough about climate science to make any real statements regarding my administration’s policy regarding climate. I do not believe that “the science is settled”, as my opponent does. I will not, in any case, raise taxes on anyone to fight against climate change, but if I am advised that there is a real and immediate danger to the welfare of US citizens from climate change or any other internal or external threat, I will look at all possible ways to avert this threat, using the means that are at my disposal as US President.

    [The prompter shows a flat approval line among undecided voters, with men voters scoring slightly higher than women voters. The line moves up decidedly when Romney states that he will not raise taxes.]

  44. An international agreement should be forged to place extraction caps on existing oil, gas and coal fields, to limit extraction. Also to mandate that any newly discovered oil, coal and gas fields shall be automatically locked until at least 2050, by which time there can be a reassessment.

    • lolwot

      What would be the reason that the nations with these resources would agree to such a treaty? LOL- Try to be realistic.

      • That would be part of negotiations. There could be compensation of some kind for example. Locking away the fossil fuels don’t mean it will never be used, it just means it will be used more slowly over time, which from a finite resources point of view is more sensible anyway in my opinion.

      • lolwot- so who is going to pay the USA for not developing our fossil fuel resources today to the maximum extent possible???

        Answer- nobody

        Again, try to address the real world as it is in reality and not as you may wish it existed in some fantasy

      • As Ottmar Edenhofer, head of IPCC WG3 said in an interview: “Basically it’s a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization. The climate summit in Cancun at the end of the month is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War. Why? Because we have 11,000 gigatons of carbon in the coal reserves in the soil under our feet – and we must emit only 400 gigatons in the atmosphere if we want to keep the 2-degree target. 11 000 to 400 – there is no getting around the fact that most of the fossil reserves must remain in the soil…..But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy. Obviously, the owners of coal and oil will not be enthusiastic about this. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole.”

      • lolwot, this guy?
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ottmar_Edenhofer

        Why would i believe what he says? The professorship of Economics of Climate Change at the Technical University of Berlin? At a technical university?

      • lolwot

        Again, you seem to be in some fantasy world. In the real world who cares what Ottmar Edenhofer wrote or said. In the real world it is a very, very small number who care about his opinion, yours or mine.

        Nations will not restrict the use or development of fossil fuels unless there is a clear cost effective alternative that can be adopted OR unless there is clear unambiguous evidence to demonstrate that the world is being harmed by the use of fossil fuel.

        There is no clear unambiguous evidence of this harm. There is fear of potential future harm, but nothing clear to demonstrate that science really understands the system. Look at the 3 questions I asked at 9:14 and try to honestly answer them. The fact that they can not by clearly answered is the problem with your position!

      • My proposal is realistic. A cap at source is the easiest and most efficient solution to reducing emissions. While negotiations would be difficult, they are by no means impossible. Nations have already in the past agreed not to extract from Antarctica and existing cap systems are already applied to resources such as fish.

        An international agreement to place caps on existing fossil fuel reserves and lock newly discovered ones is an agreement I am sure the world could largely come to, especially if done in stages. Starting off with a low cap, eg 10% and increasing it slowly in subsequent meetings.

        Even if some countries refused it would still be a useful to have widespread adoption. There could be further measures to sideline countries that disagree by placing restrictions on the purchase of fossil fuels from those countries.

      • lolwot

        Your idea in completely unrealistic because there is no source of funds to pay countries to not produce the fossil fuel resources they have and there is every motivation for those countries to exploit those same resources in order to gain a source of funds.

        It is much easier to gain an agreement to not exploit a place like the south pole where it is economically unprofitable to exploit the resources there anyway. Please lay out you case as to why Russia, the USA or even Mexico should produce less. Why do you think there was no agreement in Kyoto when people believed the information available at that time?

      • The compensation wouldn’t be “full”. It might even only be 5% of what the country would have got for not locking the resource. After-all the country still has the resource to use at a future date, eg post 2100.

        Compensation means giving certain countries something to get the negotiations to succeed. Perhaps some short-term financial incentive, or perhaps something else.

        “Please lay out you case as to why Russia, the USA or even Mexico should produce less.”

        To reduce the risk from climate change. Eventually there may happen to be an alignment of leaders of such countries who have the moral courage to reach an international agreement.

        Or more likely I expect this will all be prompted if or when a climate disaster happens. Going to be hard to do nothing about emissions if the population of somewhereistan consider foreign emissions an act of war.

      • lolwot

        Whether the compensation is partial or full, you have no source of funds to pay anyone anything. Try to be realistic and either determine where the funds will come from or give up on a failed concept. The amount of compensation required would be tremendous worldwide and there is no funds to pay for such an idea.

        You write that these countries should forego current sources of revenue so that they may “reduce the risk from climate change”. How would you suggest that they measure whether or not their sacrifices have been successful when you do not even know what the actual negative impacts of a warmer world will be?

      • Success is measured by the limitation of the CO2 rise.

        Compensation would be paid via a levy on all countries in the agreement.

      • lolwot

        Ok, so now we are taking a journey through lolwot’s Fantasyland. In Fantasyland independent countries who do not have all the resources they want for their citizens will agree to pay countries such as Russia, Iraq, the USA, etc. to not mine or pump fossil fuel reserves.

        It the real world, countries will continue to mine and pump their resources as long as someone is willing to pay more for them than it costs to get the resources to them. I would seriously prefer Fantasyland however. Life would be so much easier. We’d have unlimited money and could alway spend whatever we wanted.

      • lolwot

        RE “My proposal is realistic.”

        you peg the laugh meter with that one. Seriously, what do you do in real life? What makes you believe that anyone involved in the discovery and extraction of natural reasources is going to agree to just stop? And exactly how are you going to convince the average taxpayer in any of the developed nations to agree to a transfer of their wealth to someone else?

        I’m a taxpayer. Convince me.

      • Rob Starkey,

        “Your idea in completely unrealistic….”

        Well that’s just plain unfair. We aren’t talking about the real world here. We are talking about the world as it exists in the mind of whatever progressive in proposing whatever inane policy du jour happens to be most popular among them at the time.

        There is no difference to a progressive between the real world, and the world in their fevered brains.

        That is why “we can’t explain the warming without CAGW” is proof positive to them that CAGW is real. That is why Obama could say with a straight face that the day of his inauguration would be the day the seas began to recede. And Jerry Brown can by fiat make automobiles more fuel efficient in California by a date certain.

        Reality? We don’t need no stinkin’ reality!

      • of course none of you understand, you all blindly dismiss the threat of CAGW.

        World leaders however might think differently and therefore might come to an agreement to cap emissions.

      • lolwot and Rob Starkey

        I have been following your exchange with interest.

        Of course, the notion is hare-brained that any political leader of any nation would act against the immediate interest of its taxpaying citizens in order to do what a few egghead climatologists consider “the right thing to do to save humanity from a wholly imaginary long term threat”.

        This is especially true of countries like China and India, who have totally different priorities than worrying about a “rich white man’s” guilt-driven obsession with CO2.

        It ain’t gonna happen, lolwot, so stop dreaming.

        Fossil fuels will continue to be used to improve the overall welfare of mankind (as they have since the Industrial Revolution), until something more cost competitive comes along.

        Those nations with fossil fuel resources will extract and exploit these as long as this is the most economical thing to do.

        And, as a result of human ingenuity and the free market (which got us where we are today), new technologies will come along that will eventually replace fossil fuels for many of the lower added-value end uses, such as electrical power generation or transportation. This process will not even require lolwot’s hare-brained scheme.

        Max

        PS Politicians may try to implement taxes on fossil fuels or anything else they can think of to increase their spending ability and power, but that is another story entirely.

      • lolwot (stating the views of many CAGW alarmists says):

        of course none of you understand, you all blindly dismiss the threat of CAGW.

        Max (representing those people who understand how the real world works) says:

        Fossil fuels will continue to be used to improve the overall welfare of mankind (as they have since the Industrial Revolution), until something more cost competitive comes along.

        Max is absolutely correct. It is so obvious it shouldn’t be necessary to state it.

        If the CAGW alarmists are genuinely concerned about CAGW (as opposed to using it to push other ideological agendas), they need to enthusiastically advocate removing the barriers to cost-competitive, low-emissions energy. It is those of ‘Progressive’, Left, Green ideological persuasion that have caused the barriers to be implemented. Therefore, if they are so desperate to reduce emissions, they should be leading the charge to allow them to become cost competitive.

        Why can’t lolwot and those who share his views understand this?

    • lolwot,

      What a dumb and ignorant comment. It’s the sort of rubbish CAGW alarmist write all the time. It reveals how it would be stupid to take any notice of anything they say.

  45. antisesquipedalian

    warmer is better !! always has been, always will be (for man, that is). The earth could care less. don’t spend one dime of my money on Global Warming prevention.

  46. The cost of adaptation versus the cost of (unachievable) co2 reduction.

  47. All, the costs, that is. Not just financial but issues such as food security etc.

  48. What do you see as the best mix of achievable policies to limit environmental and economic regrets?

    The ‘best mix’ of achievable climate policies remain what they were before we began to consider climate issues, as policies flow from the general principle to the particular application of the precept.

    What are the best policies to limit enviornmental and economic regrets in general? I judge ‘best’ by what in general removes the most misery and produces the most satisfaction for the most people, an Economist’s definition; in no particular order: Democracy, Fair Market Capitalism, Education, Scientific Research valued for its own sake, Moral Leadership serving personal Freedom, Minimal Government to achieve the necessary functions of governance, Separation of Church (or other institution) and State.

    In particular but in no particular order, informed conservation of biological diversity, development of public taste for a thriving ecosystem, responsiveness of governments to the will of individual human beings not of corporate fictions, levelling the playing field by privatizing the carbon cycle, enlightened application of the principles (by which I mean from Newton’s Principia) of Science to questions of climate science, and payment for harms by those who cause them.

    When it is asserted by biologists that we may expect to see a loss of a substantial fraction of the biological diversity of the planet in the next quarter to half century, and the biologists present substantial evidence for this proposition, we ought recognize this to be a serious issue, regardless of our conclusions separately about climate. Moreso, as we must recognize that climate change for the next quarter to half century is already committed, and we can do nothing to climate to avert its influence within this event. Our concern ought be the next millennium after the next half century, and the subsequent question of stabilization of biodiversity. That is, if we care about things more than 50 years in the future. But whatever else, we can assign fault in this, and we can demand penalties be paid for the losses, under the precept of fundamental justice. Why? Because a world where the only animals living in the ocean are jellyfish is a pretty pathetic place compared to what we once had, and we’re entitled to extract a pound of flesh from those who make it so.

    When corporations or cults or foreign countries so overexploit a resource as to collapse it, invariably we know there were voices of individuals warning the world this was coming, and individuals making up the democratic majority expressing the will to avoid this collapse, and we see governments continue to listen to corporations or cults or their own inertia rather than immediately and democratically changing course. This failure of democracy, this demonstration that some governments are not so democratic as they claim, is an indictment, a finger pointing at the very incestuous relationship between institutions like churches and corporations and state. Even — and especially — religious people and businesspeople ought recognize there is no benefit ultimately in a government that has lost its democratic right to govern through serving too much a handful of religions or a handful of industries.

    When substantial subsidies (implicit, explicit, through direct expenditure or tax expenditure, infrastructure favoritism or procurement favoritism) side-by-side with failure to price a diminishing resource, the economy is running under false metrics, and will crash over and over again until it ultimately fails. The Carbon Cycle has the properties of scarcity, rivalry and excludability that demand it be privatized to profit market players and stabilize the resource, just as happened with bandwidth in mobile communications. Moreover, the revenues of this privatization must go to private individuals fairly, per capita, ideally through something like a payroll entry reducing income taxes.

    All of this can be achieved without additional command-and-control regulation; indeed, these measures would reduce the command power of the state and replace it with the democractic decisions of individuals. Would it not be best then to encourage the fullest possible information of individual players in the economy by the best possible factual and scientific education, with a sound grounding in logic and reasoning, mathematics and technology?

    I cannot help but believe that from such policies, we would see a desire for more just outcomes and better results than we see now. And even if the democratic outcome of a fully informed populace expressing its will in a well-balanced Market led to increase in CO2 levels and in AGW, and led even to catastrophe, then at least it would be by the democracy of all the people, not the greed of the few.

    • What do you mean by privatization Bart? It appears to be double speak for confiscation.

      • johnfpittman | October 9, 2012 at 11:23 am |

        I mean by privatization exactly what privatization means.

        Here’s the first two distinct Google hits for “privatization dictionary definition”:
        http://www.thefreedictionary.com/privatization
        http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/privatize

        The Taoist philosophy that the strongest government is virtually invisible, that so much function of an economy as possible remains in private hands, approaches the Capitalist ideal of the fair and open Market procuring maximum efficiency in allocation of scarce, rivalrous, excludable resources. This coincides with Minarchy, the ideal of minimal government for efficient conduct of state administration.

        In the particular case of the carbon cycle, the closest and best argued proposal for privatization I’ve seen is the Fee & Dividend system as proposed by the Citizen’s Climate Lobby (http://citizensclimatelobby.org/node/398).

        I should note, I don’t fully endorse all aspects of this particular proposal. It differs from how I would do it, as does the British Columbia Revenue Neutral Carbon Tax (successful and growing in popularity for 4 years now), the Australian Pricing Mechanism, or any of the Cap & Trade schemes or various carbon taxes that return nothing to the owners of the carbon cycle. For one thing, I’d let the price of CO2 emission float to maximize returns to owners of the carbon cycle: every citizen, per capita.

        In this sense, carbon cycle privatization ends the confiscation of the carbon cycle by the few who pay nothing for it from the many who own equal, undiluted and inalienable rights to it.

        See? Simple Capitalism; the Market in action.

      • Bart, thanks. I do see wrt to US laws, you are proposing confiscation and nationalization of resources, since many of the fossil fuels are owned by individuals who have leased their mineral rights to corporations. The US does the same for fossil fuels, as well as land use for renewables. Those with leases to the mineral rights have the rights, say EXXON, and it is theirs as well as the infrastructure they installed. Citizens can and do buy these stocks and thus own these corporations. Your proposal would be seen as a communist or socialist confiscation of property (personal) rights, confiscation of rights and properties by the corporations, not as privatization, but nationalization. That they would pay for the infrastucture, etc, after the fact, would still be considered nationalization and confiscation by denying them the rights to their property and lease.

        I will read the link when I get a chance to see if there is something I think merits consideration. But trying to redefine confiscation as privatization seems more than a stretch. It defies current definitions of property and property rights, at least for the US. I could see that if the US did it for unleased, and paid for the infrastructure and development, then did what they wanted; this could be done. However, this would be local change and not a world change. Thus it would accomplish little unless all subscribed to it. The concept of owning a carbon cycle is not one that is recognized that I know of, and does appear to be a method to re-define confiscation. That said, Citizen’s Climate Lobby may have a useful mechanism.

      • The problem with the British Columbia Neutral Carbon Tax (besides its inherent dishonesty, having as it does no chance in hell of remaining neutral), is what level to set it at. Which implies proper knowledge of the costs and benefits , which climate science is obviously not even close to giving us, mired as it is in alarmist propaganda efforts at the hand of governments, the IPCC etc. (This ignorance problem bedevils all approaches to “combating” climate change, not just this one).

        It is also not the case that the carbon cycle has been “confiscated” by the few at the expense of the many. The many use carbon, hence the many would bear the fresh brunt of a carbon tax. If say only fossil fuel companies had to pay the carbon tax, this would simply push up the price of fuel to the many.

      • Memphis | October 10, 2012 at 2:56 am |

        No chance?

        It has written into it a penalty clause that claws back a large part of the salary of the elected member responsible if it isn’t proven to be neutral in any one year, by a fixed date.

        And BC has — and uses successfully — a recall that allows voters to quash changes to taxes they don’t like.

        What’s your argument for ‘no chance’? That you don’t trust democracy? Or that you like the sound of the voices in your head?

        While I agree the level of the BC Revenue Neutral Carbon Tax is too low, and should be set by the Law of Supply and Demand (see, that depends on exactly two experts: the expert who is buying, and the expert who is selling, democratically, at the level of each individual transaction), and that the dividends are mis-directed and should go to every citizen per capita 100%, it’s not like I’m saying they’re there yet. I’m just pointing out there’s more than one viable proof of concept that deflates objections of blowhards who spout opinion out the seat of their pants with zero understanding, experience, or knowledge of such things.

        Also, how can you seriously claim the few don’t benefit disproportionately on the backs of the many from the current Commons treatment of the carbon cycle? How much CO2 do you emit personally on average for commercial enterprises? 70% of us emit less than half of what the other 30% emit in total. Two percent of us make money by emitting CO2, while 98% of us bear the cost. That’s confiscation without compensation. If the fossil fuel companies passed this cost on to the rest of us, we’d find the actual most economically efficient energy resource to use, or stop wasting so much, or conserve, or otherwise express our tastes economically.

        Trying to game the economy by hiding the cost of a scarce resource will inevitably lead to economic collapse. How is that good?

      • Bart R

        Revenue neutrality having no hope of holding up:

        Seizing the salary of an elected member will never be enough to put right revenue excesses. No chance. Government has an agenda of its own, and voting acts only as a minor governor of government. Once a new tax is established, is will slowly and surely creep up due to “necessity” the politicians will say. And no, I don’t trust the voices in your head.

        While I agree the level of the BC Revenue Neutral Carbon Tax is too low
        Agreeing with yourself ?

        and should be set by the Law of Supply and Demand (see, that depends on exactly two experts: the expert who is buying, and the expert who is selling, democratically, at the level of each individual transaction),
        So you are the “two experts” now, hence the agreement mentioned above ?

        The claim that there is is disproportionate gain by the few on the backs of the many from the current Commons treatment of the carbon cycle, is pure bogus. How much CO2 a corporation emits is beside the point; the customers share the benefits too, by virtue of lower costs of the corporation’s products, due to lower costs to the corporation.

        hiding the cost of a scarce resource will inevitably lead to economic collapse. How is that good?

        It isn’t. But in this case putting it into common (not the commons) ownership is not so simple, with government inevitably gaming the system to favor itself – to the approval of those with totalitarian ideals. This though is a valid point (unlike the notion above that corporation benefit disproportionally).

      • Memphis | October 10, 2012 at 12:12 pm |

        That’s an awful lot of assertion.

        You sound like Ned Beatty trapped in Deliverance for eternity, just resigned to taking whatever the government is going to do to you.

        The government isn’t the problem here. You are.

      • Bart
        So you have no answer then. OK.

      • Memphis | October 11, 2012 at 2:19 am |

        Ned Beatty was in therapy for years after playing the role of the victim in Deliverance.

        If you believe you’re always the victim of a corrupt government violating you at every turn, that’s a level of martyr complex beyond any blog commenter’s power to answer.

        Either man up, or seek professional help.

      • Right, so still no answer from Bart, who as a cretinous stalinist thinks governments do no harm. Talk about needing professional help…

      • Memphis | October 12, 2012 at 3:53 pm |

        I’m beginning to suspect a sockpuppet. Who is Memphis sockpuppeting for?

        I’m the one proposing measures to reduce government. You’re the one who rejects measures to cut government power because he’s so afraid of government power.

        Burt Reynolds is not coming to save you.

      • Bart R | October 12, 2012 at 10:55 pm |

        I’m the one proposing measures to reduce government.

        No, you’re not. You’re just masquerading as one. You know as well as anyone that revenue-neutral will soon lapse into revenue-positive. It’s just a ruse to lull voters into trust. And even in the period before it collapses into revenue-positive, what government does this government inference “reduce” ? C’mon Bart, just be up-front about your loony-left motivation (hatred of corporations etc), stop trying to dress up as a friend of freedom.

        You’re the one who rejects measures to cut government power because he’s so afraid of government power.

        The only measures I recall rejecting here are your abovementioned attempts to expand government by phony revenue-neutral stealth tax.

      • johnfpittman | October 10, 2012 at 12:12 pm |

        So now you’re an expert on US laws? Where did you go to law school? What state bar were you called to? Because you’re sounding awfully confident in using words you appear unqualified to utter.

        Nationalization and privatization are opposites. Were I proposing nationalization, I might be proposing confiscation. However, I’m proposing privatization, so I’m advocating a reduction of confiscation.

        Pricing the carbon cycle isn’t confiscating oil. Indeed, there are many uses of oil that don’t incur carbon cycle costs: manufacture of plastics or fertilizer, pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals are all profitable uses of petroleum resources utterly not affected by carbon cycle pricing. Further, those who own fossil fuel rights have never alienated the owners of the Commons — by definition of Commons — from shared rights in the carbon cycle. They can’t claim therefore that something’s being confiscated from them, any more than the owners of telephone lines can claim mobile bandwidth auctions confiscate their property. (Well, they can argue it, they did argue it, they went to court on it and were slapped down hard by judges at every level.)

        So you can stop displaying your ignorance in yet another field. Please.

      • I agree that I am not an expert on US laws, however, I do have training wrt to property and takings. I have read the Citizen’s Climate Lobby; it doesn’t have enough detail for me to comment except I note that even it recognizes that renewables need support because they are not economically efficient at this point.

        From a CEI write-up “The Supreme Court held in Armstrong v. United States that the Constitutional prohibition on uncompensated takings “was designed to bar government from forcing some people alone to bear public burdens which, in all fairness and justice, should be borne by the public as a whole.” Private individuals should not be forced to bear the costs of providing public goods desired by other people. Owning property should entitle the owner to the full use of that property, so long as the use of that property does not lead to the harming of other people or their properties. Ensuring compensation for regulatory takings will not only restore much-needed property protections, it also serves as the first step toward the development of a new generation of environmental protection.”

        You have stated a shared rights to the carbon cycle. Please, produce the legal decision where this was decided for the US. You appear to be treading on ground you are not an expert in.

        Otherwise, you are playing word games. You are proposing an unacknowledged right to the carbon cycle which you utilize carbon pricing that you are defining as privatization. I fail to see that a fee or tax, that is charged and then redistributed is anything other than just that a fee or tax redistributed.

        And point of fact, such use as production of fertilizers in most applications produce CO2, as do pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals. Not all of them, but many to most depending on the process and the chemical. Many of these facilities have quite extensive treatment systems, and many are biodegradable, all of which adds to the CO2 buden. Perhaps your expertise here is questionable. Or is it that your version of pricing is neither neutralnor transparent? Politically it would be advisable to avoid making enemies of the farmers and pharmaceutical companies, so that is understandable, but not if the carbon cycle is a right. In which case, this looks a bit like Animal Farm, some animals are more equal than others.

    • One absolutely massive problem listening to the biologists etc who warn of CO2-driven misery : they are all state stooges (as are climate scientists), and the state has vested interest in promoting alarmism.

      Bart’s noble suggestion that dealing with CO2 (ignoring whether this is actually justified) will not expand the state command-and-control, is sadly just pie-in-the-sky; mainstream politicians will shoot it on sight.

      • BatedBreath | October 9, 2012 at 11:39 am |

        Pfft. Noble.

        I’m for diminishing the size and power of the state. To do that, you privatize more to take it out of government hands. With command-and-control power over access to CO2 emission out of the government hands and in the hands of its rightful owners — every citizen, per capita — the power of the government, of bureaucrats, the invitation to corrupt them, is erased. All lucrative users of CO2 emission, of the carbon cycle, must pay the going rate demanded by the Market, and not some bribe to civil servants. This is the logical outcome of the Policy implicatons of what Science has observed and conclusively proven about Climate Change.

        If you believe mainstream politicians will shoot it on sight, you may be right; but then you’d be recognizing the mainstream politicians as corporate communists, corrupt, or tyrants, and it would be time to call for the watering of the Tree of Liberty. Is that what you’re saying has come to pass in the USA?

  49. The policy is just a bureaucratic verbiage. A VERY small reduction in human CO2 emissions might be possible, but the atmospheric accumulation is obviously governed by climatic factors so it will not result in a measurable reduction in atmospheric CO2. It’s no bang for plenty of buck. Why? Profiteering?

    • pretty sure it’s governed by human activity
      http://www.skepticalscience.com/graphics/CO2_history_1024.jpg

      • How pathetic. Splicing the highly questionable ice core records CO2 data with the ML instrumental measurements? No wonder you believe in CAGW.

      • Edim | October 8, 2012 at 2:35 pm |

        You’re coming across as someone who acquired his understanding of policy, science and writing from comic book villains.

        http://www.hark.com/clips/wlvkgqdbcs-how-pathetic

        We see in you no evidence of foundation for your assertion of how much reduction in CO2 emission may be possible, and if you can construct a valid model for how climate factors determine CO2 levels then you’ve gone farther than all of science — an astounding feat worthy of a comic book supervillain indeed. How highly questionable are the ice core records, exactly? Be specific. Be precise. Demonstrate your ability to quantify your opinion.

      • Edim | October 8, 2012 at 3:41 pm |

        And how do you quantify Kernodle’s fingoist opinion?

        We’re looking for your ability, not someone else’s, as you’re the one making assertions.

        How much doubt exactly, in what terms and in what ways, applied to what scales and for what spans, do you percolate out of all Kernodle’s disparate disparagements of the ice core record?

        And how do you then propose this doubt be used in context of the fundamental principle of Science that we hold as accurate or very nearly true the proposition that by parsimony, simplicity and and universality best fits the data until new observations require amendment?

        I see nothing in Kernodle’s objections that amounts to an unsettling of ice core science.

      • Bart, I agree with that article, no need to add anything. Of course you see nothing in Kernodle’s objections that amounts to an unsettling of ice core science. That would dilute the message of the unprecedented CO2 levels, caused by humans. The doubt should be used to ask questions.

      • Edim | October 8, 2012 at 6:42 pm |

        Nothing whatsoever?

        Which demonstrates to us you have no credible ability to express any opinion on these issues.

      • No, it demonstrates my agreement with the article.

      • Edim | October 8, 2012 at 7:10 pm |

        While dodging every question that sheds some light on your own understanding or the quality of your assertions. Which makes you out to be dodgy, of the dodgy sort who makes assertions then dodges.

  50. Daniel Suggs

    I didn’t read through all the comments to see if anyone else suggested the same question, but mine is:
    What does it take to falsify AGW theory? (Is it even possible?)

    • The question is what will the consensus accept as falsified. I think they will accept nothing as long as they can claim that it’s still warming. So, it will have to be global cooling, they will have to accept that.

    • With all due respect, most would believe that the basic theory of AGW is not subject to being refuted. The question is what the impact of the human component will be in the actual system over timescales of importance to the human population.

      To make it clearer, some/many believe that the earth is in a long term cooling trend that will have short term fluctuations that will result in warming. They believe that the additional CO2 may result in a change or lessening of the long term cooling trend. Systemic trends regarding the climate are poorly understood by todays science, but that does not stop people from providing often incorrect answers

      • In proper science, everything is subject to being refuted. It may be very unlikely, but if the observations disagree, it’s refuted.

      • Not true. Observations could show that the net impact to the temperature is a slowing of the rate of temperature decline. Since we were unsure of the initial rate of decline, our observations could lead us to a wrong scientific conclusion.

      • I agree, but in time we will have more observations and sooner or later it may be completely refuted. At least the CO2-the-knob hypothesis will be refuted after some significant cooling in the next decade.

      • or confirmed?

      • The real system works on timescales inconsistant with humans desires for immediate answers.

      • Rob, I agree with that. Still, I think warmists have made their bed in such a way, it will be impossible to lay in it pretty soon.

      • Edim

        You may be right, but it is also possible that we are both wrong. Personally I keep looking at the data and the thing I like to watch pretty closely is the rate of sea level rise. If we see a sustained trend of over 7mm per year my position will change.

    • How do you falsify the theory that the Earth orbits the Sun? (is it even possible?)

      • David Springer

        That’s not a theory. It’s a fact. Or at least a fact if you change that to the earth and sun orbit their common center of gravity (which happens to be inside the sun). Theories explain facts. The acceleration of gravity on the earth is 32feet/sec/sec. That’s a fact. We have no theory of gravity. Facts are independent of theory.

        Got it? Write that down!

    • What does it take to falsify AGW theory? (Is it even possible?)

      While I agree that there is a basic scientific importance to asking that question, I will point out that I have been told many, many times that “most” “skeptics” not only don’t refute the basic physics of AGW, they also don’t doubt that ACO2 is, to some extent, warming the planet (they only question how much). Judith has stated that she doesn’t listen to anyone who doesn’t accept those basic premises of AGW theory.

      Yet I often hear “skeptics” say that a theory isn’t valid if it can’t be falsified, and that AGW as a theory is invalid in that it can’t be falsified.

      So then, the question strikes me: Why do most “skeptics” accept an invalid theory?

      • I don’t accept it.

      • Have you been assigned your under-the-bus seat yet?

        My point was to highlight the illogic of how some “skeptics.” In no particular order they:

        Say that “skeptics” aren’t monolithic.

        Treat “skeptical” viewpoints as if they are monolithic (by claiming that almost no “skeptics” believe as you do despite abundant evidence to the contrary on the very same blogs where they comment.

        Say that AGW theory (or hypothesis, whichever makes you happy) cannot be falsified.

        Say that theories or hypotheses that can’t be falfisifed aren’t valid.

        Say that they don’t doubt that AGW theory/hypothesis is valid – they only question the extent to which ACO2 is warming the Earth.

      • don’t forget some of them claim it HAS been falsified

      • don’t forget some of them claim it HAS been falsified

        Yes, of course. Those “skeptics” are also speaking from under Judith’s bus (David W. being just one of many examples), but they certainly are out there.

        They are not, however, part of the (self-proclaimed) larger group who simultaneously say that AGW can’t be falsified even as they say that valid theories/hypotheses must be falsifiable even as they say that they don’t doubt that that the basic AGW theory/hypothesis is valid (they only doubt the magnitude of the sensitivity and/or negative feedback).

      • David Springer

        There is no AGW theory. There is an AGW hypothesis.

        Got it? Write that down!

      • David,

        You might want to tell your friends at Heartland, and Roy Spencer, and The American Thinker, and Conservapedia to stop calling it a theory then…
        http://heartland.org/policy-documents/7-theories-climate-change
        http://www.drroyspencer.com/global-warming-101/
        http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/04/the_last_days_of_global_warming_theory.html
        http://www.conservapedia.com/Anthropogenic_global_warming_theory

        But no doubt they won’t listen to you as in fact it is a full-fledged theory and the bottom line is David, you are in fact the one is incorrect in this matter.

        The Theory of Anthropogenic Climate Change (which is far more robust than just “global warming”) is far beyond the hypothesis stage.
        For a well reasoned and well stated explanation as to why it has long since progressed from hypothesis to theory, those who are reasonable themselves can read it at:
        http://www.roanoke.com/editorials/commentary/wb/313197

      • David Springer

        Calling something a theory doesn’t make it into one.

        If we google “Theory of Relativity” we get this for top hit:

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

        Farther down the list there is conservapedia, which you suddenly seem to respect since you cited it:

        http://conservapedia.com/Theory_of_relativity

        That’s a bona fide theory.

        Now google “theory of climate” and you get a hodge-podge of hits none of which are climate theories but which are in fact competing hypotheses of climate change.

        The word theory is abused enough by the unwashed masses. It’s inexcusable when those who know better do the same thing by promoting untested hypotheses like anthropogenic climate change into theories.

      • “There is an AGW hypothesis.”

        au contraire

        There is an AGW axiom.

        There, fixed it.

      • David L. Hagen

        Joshua
        Start by distinguishing between higher temperatures from higher CO2 (not as controversial – based on gas absorption/emission)
        versus the magnitude of amplification from water vapor feedback (very large range of values and highly controversial, depending on complex fluid dynamics etc.)
        The greatest uncertainty in models is with the impact of changes to clouds – where even the sign of the feedback is disputed.

        There is still a lot of physics to discover, model and validate. e.g., see:
        Counterintuitive, models wrong – rainfall more likely over drier soil

        But observations suggest otherwise: “We have analyzed data from different satellites measuring soil moisture and precipitation all over the globe, with a resolution of 50 to 100 kilometers. These data show that convective precipitation is more likely over drier soils”, says Wouter Dorigo.

        The new data contradicts established computer models. A conclusive explanation for this effect has yet to be found.

    • Hi Daniel. In the absence of changes to other climate forcings and assuming continued rise of CO2 AGW would be falsified by falling/static ocean heat content or falling/static global average temperature. Complications in assessing such are measurement issues, uncertainty re energy accumulation in the deep ocean, uncertain aerosol impact and natural variability masking the underlying trend. Currently the underlying trend is ~+0.16C/decade stable across the last three decades (Foster and Rahmstorf). Expect the same for the decade to come.

  51. If you for example show that the annual stellar parallax is not caused by the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, then it’s a start.

  52. The question should be: should government emphisis be on technological research or implementation? I’d say it should be research. I actually see evidence that there has been some success. While these two links are from Joe Romm’s propaganda site, they do help make the case:
    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/02/28/433434/envia-gm-doe-lithium-ion-batteries-cut-costs-in-half-triple-energy-density/
    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/09/24/896151/how-decades-of-federal-support-spurred-the-natural-gas-boom-most-companies-would-have-given-up/
    The implementation side is frought with typical top-down effects such as crony capitalism, subsidies for rich people, and environmentally dubious energy sources, such as flickering, bat lung exploding, wind turbines.

  53. Political Junkie

    Let’s for a moment get into a time machine and back up this conversation 100 years.

    Suppose the IPCC of the day had actually gotten the science right and was predicting a global warming of 0.8 degrees C for the next century – a prediction that had already been supported by a number of years of physical data.

    Who here would have been agreed that this was going to be a good thing for the vast majority of future generations and who would have been forecasting doom and gloom and the end of civilization as we know it?

    Who would have invoked the “precautionary principle” in support of more government spending and advocated for deindustrialization of the West?

    • So if I sticking my hand in a pot of luke warm water won’t hurt, and sticking my hand in a pot of warm water won’t hurt, sticking my hand in a pot of boiling water won’t hurt either.

      IEEEEEE ….. OW …. OW…. DAMN… wooooo !

    • Political Junkie,

      You make an excellent point. No one would have advocated wasting money on trying the prevent that warming would give future generations and did actually give us.

      Your point makes it clear just how stupid we would be to damage the global economy when there is no persuasive evidence that the proposed policies would make a significant difference to the climate.

  54. Quite obvious; a strong free market economy and a free people are clearly the most powerful tool of adaptation we know of.

    A whole continent can be tamed in a geologic blink of an eye. From the lost colony at Roanoke to the completion of the transcontinental railroad took less than 300 years.

    The entire geopolitical situation can be turned on it’s head; two world wars in the space of about 30 years. Destroyed the entire infrastucture of Europe. Twice.

    Yet free market economies continued to produce the necessary goods and services for people to live. In good times and bad; a free market economy is best capable of rationing scarce resources and ensuring ample supply. It strongly encourages innovation and discourages waste.

    Clearly communist dictatorships do nothing to protect the environment; time and again it is proven that ‘if everybody owns it, nobody owns it’. Private ownership provides the impetus for stewardship.

    The Earth will change. There is nothing we can do to stop it. We best maximize our ability to adapt to it.

    • I love the free market when I’m selling, but I would prefer not to have the free market when I’m selling.

      Everybody knows (or should know) the free market needs some regulation to work right. Unfortunately, individuals and firms acting in their own interests will sometimes do harm to society as a whole.

      Ironically, an entirely free market eventually will not be a free market at all. Think monopolies and oligopolies.

      • Make that — I love the free market when I’m buying, but not when I’m selling.

      • Only blithering idiots and progressive (oops that may be redundant) think anyone is arguing that a free market is one without any regulation.

        The absence of regulation is called anarchy.

        This is how Obama got his hat handed to him last week. He mistook his misrepresentation of what Romney had said for what Romney had actually said,

      • No GaryM, the absence of market regulation is called “laissez faire.” The absence of law is called “anarchy.”

        If you don’t know what words mean, don’t use ‘em.

        If you want to make up your own definitions of words, don’t expect intelligent people to take you seriously.

      • Laissez-faire (Listeni/ˌlɛseɪˈfɛər-/, French: [lɛsefɛʁ] ( listen)) is an economic environment in which transactions between private parties are free from tariffs, government subsidies, and enforced monopolies, with only enough government regulations sufficient to protect property rights against theft and aggression.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laissez-faire

        or this

        : a doctrine opposing governmental interference in economic affairs beyond the minimum necessary for the maintenance of peace and property rights
        http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/laissez-faire

        Get a dictionary.

      • I guess it’s now clear that Judith’s request that posts remain on-topic is pretty much a non-factor. Therefore, Gary, I will ask you, once again, this time in the most recent thread, to respond to the post I’ll link below.

        Given that you called me a liar and claimed deliberately deceptive editing on my part – it does seem rather curious that you have failed to respond to my pointing out how you were flat-out wrong, despite numerous requests on my part that you do so.

        http://judithcurry.com/2012/10/02/rs-workshop-on-handling-uncertainty-in-weather-climate-prediction-part-i/#comment-249251

        Do you not see that your claims are completely false? Do you think that you should show some accountability in acknowledging your error?

      • GaryM, the definitions of “laissez faire” you cited are consistent with how I defined the term in a few words (i.e., “the absence of market regulation”). Why you think otherwise needs an explanation.

      • Joshua,

        I had decided not to bother reading your comments or responding any more. But since I accused you of lying (again), I believe you are entitled to a response. (You did admit you had lied the last time I rightly accused you of it, so it is only fair that I respond here.

        The article you quoted, but did not link to, seems to be comparing reported BLS numbers for August to the estimates of Bloomberg’s poll of economists, not the initial jobs report to the BLS revision. So I assumed you were just being dishonest. But on further reading that paragraph could be read differently. The estimate by the economists could refer to the first clause of the first paragraph, not the second clause immediately preceding it. Which would be poor writing, but in a government news release…. So I am prepared to accept that you just read what you wanted to read in the article, so I will withdraw my claim of lying, and attribute it to your motivated reasoning. My apologies for calling you a liar in this instance.

        But the whole dust up began with my rightly accusing you of lying about me making claims of numerous conspiracies, rather than just noting widespread dishonesty among progressives manipulating statistics. And in that regard, I still consider you a liar.

        As to the underlying statistics, I went to the BLS website to determine the answer, and the results are less than satisfying. The BLS press release you have read about elsewhere says this: “The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for July was revised from +141,000 to +181,000, and the change for August was revised from +96,000 to +142,000.”

        The article I read stated: “The Department of Labor revised the change in the total nonfarm payroll employment numbers for June and July. The June numbers were revised down from +64,000 to +45,000. The July numbers were also revised down from +163,000 to +141,000.”

        But what did the original BLS release say about the jobs increase in July? “Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 163,000 in July….”
        http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/empsit_08032012.pdf

        So I suppose it is possible that, after revising the July figures down to 141,000 from 163,000, they could have revised them up to 181,000. But I remain…skeptical of when and how they did it.

        My apologies to anyone whose time was wasted reading this, but I thought I owed a response to Joshua. I won’t waste my, or anyone else’s, time doing so again.

      • Max_OK

        Because you said “No GaryM, the absence of market regulation is called ‘laissez faire.’” Which is wrong.

      • Oh, wait, do you need me to define absence for you? My bad.

      • Gary -

        As always, Gary, you amuse. Apparently you missed the sarcasm that went along with my admission of “lying” previously. Not exactly surprising.’

        At any rate – let’s just cut to the facts. I pointed out that your statement about downward revisions from the BLS was wrong. You claimed I was wrong. I gave you evidence of how you were wrong. You claimed I lied, and in one of your rather typical conspiratorial fantasies, dreamed up a scenario where I supposedly edited quotes from others with the intent to deceive. And then I proved you wrong once again – wrong not only in your original statement, but in your conspiratorial rant as well.

        But please, do continue to invent “non-conspiracies” to prove that you aren’t a conspiracy mongerer.

        As to the underlying statistics, I went to the BLS website to determine the answer, and the results are less than satisfying.

        Lol! Once again, you try to deflect from your sloppiness. I explained that you were wrong, and when you accused me of lying, I went on to once again show how a BLS statement directly contradicted your claim. “Less than satisfying.” Very amusing, Gary. Your did faulty and incomplete research to come to an incorrect conclusion.

        Lipstick, pig, Gary. Lipstick, pig.

        So I suppose it is possible that, after revising the July figures down to 141,000 from 163,000, they could have revised them up to 181,000. But I remain…skeptical of when and how they did it.

        Ah yes. Yet another “non-conspiracy.” You have an endless supply, don’t you? ‘

      • Good folks like the Koch Bros. just want enough control of the “free market” to guarantee them a handsom profit, market dominance, and no constraints from those darn environmental regulations. How do they buy this kind of control? Get your candidate elected! The merger big money with government sanctioned and guaranteed control of the market is the worst thing to happen to a democracy…and there’s a word for it. Mussolini coined it…or yeah…fascism.

        “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.” — Benito Mussolini

        If you don’t think the good old Koch Bros. want to expand their corporate power into the halls of Washington, you are quite mistaken.

      • Max,

        on another of your “Out to prove you are an idiot” rolls I see.

        Starting off with a demonstration of how little you understand the concept of markets, free or otherwise. Care to explain to the rest of us how a free market benefits only buyers and not sellers?

      • timg56, based on what I see as your lack of business sense, I wouldn’t trust you to run a lemonade stand.

        But I will use a lemonade stand as an example to explain a concept you have trouble grasping.

        If two lemonade stands are in a neighborhood, it’s good for lemonade buyers because the two sellers compete with each other by offering the buyers lower prices, better quality lemonade, or better service. On the other hand, if only one lemonade stand is in the neighborhood, it’s good for that lemonade seller, because he does not have to share the market with another seller, and therefore can make greater profits.

        Old John D. understood the importance of not having competition. He bought ‘em out or broke ‘em. But then the government came along and regulated his monopoly out of existence.

      • David Springer

        Max_OK | October 8, 2012 at 5:50 pm |

        “If two lemonade stands are in a neighborhood, it’s good for lemonade buyers because the two sellers compete with each other by offering the buyers lower prices, better quality lemonade, or better service. On the other hand, if only one lemonade stand is in the neighborhood, it’s good for that lemonade seller, because he does not have to share the market with another seller, and therefore can make greater profits.”

        If by “Lemonade Stand” you mean that as code for “Environmental Protection Agency” then I agree. It handily explains why consumers are getting shafted by its crappy products, huh?

        Old John D. understood the importance of not having competition. He bought ‘em out or broke ‘em. But then the government came along and regulated his monopoly out of existence.

      • Spinger, polluters are unanimous in their disapproval of the EPA. That’s not surprising.

        Good citizens are unanimous in their disapproval of polluters. That’s not surprising.

        Polluters need their own version of EPA, which could be called TEA for Trash the Environment Agency.

        I imagine it would be a hit with the Tea Party.

      • David Springer

        CO2 is plant food. Name a single health hazard that’s been demonstrated by 390ppm atmospheric CO2. Go ahead. Make my day.

      • Yes, Springer, if Oklahoma’s wilted crops had just been fed more of that CO2 plant food, the farmers would be thanking God for polluting spewing coal power. Except maybe those with mineral leases in natural gas areas, who think burning dirty coal instead of clean natural gas is stupid.

        I guess that “390ppm atmospheric CO2″ must be a health hazard for global warming deniers, including the phony ones who like to call themselves skeptics. They whine incessantly about the harm they imagine from mitigating CO2. These sniveling little weenies make chicken little look daring.

      • David Springer

        Max_OK,

        If you can’t demonstrate a health hazard from 390ppm CO2 then you should just man-up and say so.

        Every other pollutant targeted by the EPA from abestos to xylene has a known human health risk from exposure to it. There is no such risk for atmospheric CO2 at this time posed by emissions from power plants. Designation as a harmful pollutant was completely arbitrary and constitutes an end-run around the legitimate legislative process where such useless and expensive measures were not able to surmount the barriers to becoming law.

      • Max,

        While the technology based MBA I earned may not necessarily have made me a good “businessman”, it at least acquainted me with basic concepts. By which I can easily recognize your lack of understanding. Not to mention the fact your lemonade stand example doesn’t address the qustion I asked you – how to explain how only buyers and not sellers are benefited by a free market.

        Can you answer the question or do we get another “lemon” of a response?

      • timg56 said on October 9, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
        Max,

        While the technology based MBA I earned may not necessarily have made me a good “businessman”, it at least acquainted me with basic concepts. By which I can easily recognize your lack of understanding. Not to mention the fact your lemonade stand example doesn’t address the qustion I asked you – how to explain how only buyers and not sellers are benefited by a free market.

        Can you answer the question or do we get another “lemon” of a response?
        _____________

        You need a lemon up your kazoo for trying to pull a fast one on me by putting a question to a statement I never made. Didn’t your MBA cover ethics?

        Let’s review the conversation.

        I said: “I love the free market when I’m buying, but not when I’m selling.”

        In reply, your question was: “Care to explain to the rest of us how a free market benefits only buyers and not sellers?”

        My statement was from the standpoint of a seller(me), but your question refers to all sellers. My example, the lemonade stand, ignored your sneaky attempt to change the subject, and elaborated on my statement.

        I think you already know the answer to your question, but just in case you got a mail order MBA from some phony baloney school, I’ll answer it anyway.

        A free market is supposed to result in competition among buyers and sellers to the financial benefit of both groups, but an individual seller usually does not benefit from competing with other sellers, nor does an individual buyer usually benefit from competing with other buyers.

        John D. Rockefeller maximized profits for Standard Oil by driving his competition out of business. Ironically, he used the free market in oil (it was unregulated at the time) to kill the free market in oil.

        When old John D. was building his monoply imagine what his reaction if you had said “No, No, Mr. Rockefeller, you need more competitors, not fewer competitors. We must preserve the integrity of the free market.”

        I think Rockefeller would have laughed his butt off. If he were alive today, he might be amused as I by the naivete of the free marketers who post here.

      • So Max,

        Lets see if I am understanding your point. You say you like free markets as a buyer, because you benefit from the competition, but as a seller you don’t like a free market because you either don’t want to deal with competition or you simply want to monoplize the market and squeeze it for as much as you can.

        What I am still not getting is how this has any value in a discussion on economies and markets. Off hand I cannot think of any examples where markets operate freely in one direction but not in the other. There is also the part about how a market impacts all buyers and sellers. You don’t evaluate the benefits or faults of a particular system based on only one or the other, nor do you evaluate as it applies to a single buyer or seller.

        Your not wanting a free market system as a seller is a strong indication that you lack confidence in your ability to compete. Or maybe you are just lazy and don’t want to put forth the effort. Under those conditions you are 100% correct in wanting to stay away from a free market.

        The fact that you make a sloppily worded statement and then try to place after the fact restrictions on what you said – i.e. I was only talking about me as a single seller, not all sellers – has no bearing on my ethics. Starting with my parents and continuing on with some outstanding public school teachers, the Christian Brothers, my time in the service and more than one good parish priest, I have a well grounded foundation in ethical behavior. Take all the cheap shots you want Max.

      • Max_OK

        I love the free market when I’m BUYING.

        I have seen in the old USSR, Communist Czechoslovakia and former DDR how a state-run (i.e. non-free) market works for buyers.

        There is nothing to buy.

        Even when some articles exist, there is no alternate supplier.

        Viva el mercado libre!

        Max_not from OK

      • But then the Chinese came up with a better idea, State- directed capitalism in a world free-market, much to the chagrin of those who preach against State involvement in the national economy. I guess the Chinese figured State direction works for the military, so why not make it work for the economy.

      • I visited Czechoslovakia in the late 1970′s. Prague was dirty from burning coal. I didn’t do any shopping so I don’t know what goods were available. Restaurant menus were very limited and the food was worse than food in the UK, but the beer was excellent and inexpensive.

      • In the 1970s we had a terrible time finding good plywood for an aircraft product we were building. Jimmy Carter got some sort of deal with the commies and suddenly we had the best plywood ever seen on the face of the earth. 9-ply birch, not a knot or defect on either side. Sanded smooth as a baby’s butt. So for whatever reason, Ivan could make plywood.

        Years later, when the wall went down, the guitar shows were flooded with Russian vacuum tubes for guitar amplifiers. Amp heads overran those booths.

      • David Springer

        Spruce Goose?

      • Max_OK

        Yep.

        The Chinese have re-invented “communism” the new Chinese way – a mixture of free-market economics and totalitarian politics that works for them.

        But the pollution is still staggering compared to the USA and Europe. [Don't go to Xiamen, for example, if you have asthma.]

        Max_not from OK

      • manacker,

        There is nothing new about what the Chinese are doing. The Soviets called it perestroika. The German, Italians and Japanese had another name for it in the ’30s and ’40s. It didn’t turn out any better for them than it will for the Chinese paper economic tiger.

      • Doug Badgero

        I would not envy the Chinese version of capitalism. They still mis-allocate massive amounts of capital. They just have more capital to waste……………..for the time being.

      • Re manacker’s comment on October 8, 2012 at 7:32 pm

        I agree. China must pollute to replace the U.S. as the world’s #1 economic power, and I don’t doubt that’s China’s goal.

        What I don’t understand is the tacit approval of Chinese policy on the part of those here who call themselves global warming skeptics. While the skeptics don’t come right out and say it, they are implying it’s OK for China to surpass the U.S. because it fits with the skeptic notion that economic development is good and pollution in the name of development is OK.

      • Manacker,

        I have seen in the old USSR, Communist Czechoslovakia and former DDR how a state-run (i.e. non-free) market works for buyers.

        Another example is Zimbabwe. Most will recall seeing the empty shelves on the supermarkets after President Mugabe imposed a price control policy. Rhodesia was once a rich and prosperous country. Look at it now as a result of incessant government intervention in free markets.

      • GaryM said on October 8, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
        Oh, wait, do you need me to define absence for you? My bad.
        ——-
        Your bad is failing to answer my question.

    • Bob Kutz

      Your observation regarding the environment in communist dictatorships is spot on.

      I was in East Germany shortly after the “Wende” in 1990 and saw how the environment had been raped in places like Bitterfeld, where there were large, state-owned chemical plants.

      A real mess – even though “officially” East Germany had tighter environmental regulations on paper than West Germany before the re-unification.

      Max

      • Your observation regarding the environment in communist dictatorships is spot on.

        Yes, in the United States heroic right-wing environmentalists worked tirelessly to prevent just that sort of toxin spewing commie environmental disaster from happening here. Plaques and statues are in order.

      • When it comes to the environment, the right-wingers are as bad as the commies.

      • JCH

        The United States is an environmentalist’s paradise compared with what went on in the totalitarian communist countries before the fall of the Iron Curtain.

        Is this because they were “communist” or because they were “totalitarian”?

        Who knows?

        [Who cares?]

        Max

      • Max,

        I was stationed in Germany in ’91. I remember driving across the border, with the guard towers and much of the barbed wire still in place. Going from the autobahn to highways made of brick was a trip.

        The walls of the ugly industrial style apartment houses were stained black from whatever they were dumping into the air while still a socialist paradise.

        I later married a woman I met who lived her whole life in that world of East German “social justice.” I remember her telling me – “we knew it was terrible, but at least we were all in it together.” Then I showed her articles on the special shops available to the communist party apparatchiks, and pictures of the dachas enjoyed by their elite. She literally wept.

        Of course, those perks for the elite were nothing compared to the lavish lifestyle lived by UN (including IPCC) kleptocrats. Or say Tom Friedman or Al Gore. But still, her sense of betrayal was heart rending.

      • GaryM thanks for sharing that. Comments like that cut through.

    • Bob Kurtz said:

      “Quite obvious; a strong free market economy and a free people are clearly the most powerful tool of adaptation we know of.”

      ____
      Sure would be nice if such free market economy actually existed somewhere, wouldn’t it.

    • Excellent comment.

      Why don’t the ‘Progressives’ understand this?

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

        Because Progressives and Conservatives both feed at the trough of lobbyist money, and that money guarantees that the markets will never be free, but slanted so as to assist the biggest and richest to remain so.

  55. Given the lack of any effort to assure quality processes in science, what minimal quality control should we require of scientists before we pay any attention to their efforts to dictate policy?

    • Good question. We could also ask what minimal quality control should we require of skeptics before we pay any attention to their efforts to discredit scientists?

      • Not more than you require of warmists, for a start. That would be almost zero.

      • Can you site something specific or are you just throwing mud on me?

      • No one has to throw mud on you Max when you come running down the path at full speed and dive head first into the puddle.

      • Max,

        It’s called Show me. Ask a Missourian about the concept, if you don’t understand.

      • Well, people identifying themselves as skeptics don’t show me much. Indeed, some of them seem, as my old grandpa would say, “nutty as peach orchard boars.” But I’m not the one to impress. The skeptics can’t show the major scientific organizations, such as the NAS. Why do the skeptics fail to show?

      • timg56

        Max_OK didn’t understand your “show me” remark.

        I did.

        Max_not from OK

      • That’s because you think the same way as timg56, which is the wrong way. You two believe you can out-science the biggies, like NAS. What a joke ! If you were fleas, you would think you could trample elephants.

        I come here for entertainment. You and tmg56 seldom let me down.

      • The usual ‘sceptic’ twaddle.

        The facts are simple: there is no scientific case for this ‘scepticsim’. There is no large and growing body of published work demonstrating that ACO2 is not a climate forcing. There is no large and growing body of published studies demonstrating the existence and efficacy of ‘mystery forcings’ capable of explaining modern warming.

        There is just noise, mostly about the Mannean hockey stick, which is an irrelevance to the radiative physics underpinning the greenhouse effect.

        Despite the intensely competitive nature of science, a worldwide scientific consensus has emerged on AGW.

        Meanwhile, the ‘sceptics’ gibber away in blog comments.

      • manaker,

        seeing as you and I “officially” think the wrong way, we likely are among the group of people Max considers as “weeds”. Wonder if that also means we should be eradicated?

      • BBD,

        How about finishing your point? As in listing all of the evidence pointing to any sort of harmful impacts from a warming world?

        Can you even list one? One documented fact demonstrating warming is harmful?

        So far the best anyone can do is point to Arctic summer ice extent and say “Ooooh, look at that! Scary!” I have yet to see anyone demonstrate who or what is being harmed.

        You don’t have anything on rising sea levels.

        You don’t have anything on increasing storms or extreme weather effects.

        You don’t have your 50 million refugees.

        Still no extinct species due to climate change.

        Just one piece of evidence. Everytime I ask this question I get silence.

        This was what I was referring to with Max – Show Me. He appareently can’t grasp it.

      • timg56

        Making silly demands like ‘show me future damage before it has happened’ reveals a weak, confused mind.

      • BBD

        Telling people that they need to implement actions to avoid great harms, but being unable to tell them when the harm will happen, exactly what harm will happen, and to whom it will happen seems sensible to you does it????

        BBD– you need to send me 10% 0f you income each week or it is extremely likely that you will die a horrific death.

      • BBD,

        Quantifying risks and their probability is something that gets done in the real world all the time. Your response is a far better indicator of weak and confused.

        Also, please note that I asked not for examples of future damage or harmful impacts, but for any that have already shown themselves. Misrepresenting another’s statement intentionally or not being able to comprehend it in the first place is also one of those “weak and confused”.

        As an aside, I recall coming to your defense more than once over at BH when commentors would step over the line regarding civility. How is it you’ve become such a dick head? The way you are commenting over here has me reconsidering your name on my whom I’d drink scotch with.

      • JCH

        Sea level rise “might be less, might be more”.

        Duh!

        The tide gauge record since 1900 (Holgate 2007) shows:
        http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3206/3144596227_545227fbae_b.jpg

        - SL has been rising in decadal fits and spurts
        - the average rate of SL rise has been around 1.7 mm/year.
        - the decadal rate of SL rise has fluctuated dramatically (from a net SL decline to a rise of 5 mm/year)
        - there has been no increase in the rate of SL rise over the 20th century
        - the rate of SL rise was higher in the first half of the 20th century (around 2 mm/year) than in the second half (around 1.4 mm/year)
        - the most recent rate of SL rise has been around 1.6 mm/year

        Most recently, SL is also being measured by satellite altimetry. This method measures the level of the entire sea (except polar and coastal regions that cannot be measured by satellites), rather than selected coastlines.

        This method gives a higher value than the tide gauge record , i.e.3.1 mm/year (IPCC AR4) or 2.5 mm/year (Scharoo + Miller 2004) for the decade 1993-2003, compared to 1.6 mm/year (Wunsch et al. 2006).

        However, the accuracy of this method is under question by the NOAA scientists performing the measurement (Scharoo 2004) as well as others (Mörner 2003, Wunsch 2006).

        Most recently, it appears that the rate of SL rise is again declining, “the same type of variation that has been going on for at least 100 years.”
        http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2009/07/22/sea-level-rise-an-update-shows-a-slowdown/

        So, yes indeed, the rate of sea level rise “might be less, might be more”.

        (Always has been that way.)

        Max

      • Max, we can show that Mann’s work is garbage, Rahmstorf’s “worse than we thought” relied on pretend data, Monnett’s polar bear study is beyond stupid methodology, Briffa’s magic tree, Jones’ fake Chinese data, the SST wild ass guesses, the Steig Antarctic smear, the ‘quality’ underlying Harry’s Read Me, the repeated refusal by the hockey team to share data or engage in any transparency, and the underlying fraud of Climategate. And that’s just a start.

        The incompetence is staggering. No one with any pretense of concern for quality science can defend it.

      • You can show me Mann’s conclusions are wrong?

        OK, stan, I’ll bite. Which of Mann’s conclusions are wrong, how do you know these conclusions are wrong, and what are the right conclusions, and why is Mann’s work an issue with you?

        Also, why did Mann win that award for his science, and if you haven’t won awards for your science, why not?

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Max_OK, two quick examples. In both the original hockey stick (MBH) and the followup hockey stick ten years later (Mann 2008), Mann claimed his results were robust to the removal of tree ring data. In both cases, that was shown to be untrue. In fact, Mann has since admitted it was untrue for his original paper (I can find the page number he says so in his book if need be). He acknowledges he published results that were entirely dependent upon a small amount of tree ring data, something that directly contradicts his paper.

        And while he isn’t Michael Mann himself, Mann’s friend and frequent defender, Gavin Schmidt, acknowledged Mann’s 2008 hockey stick was in fact dependent upon tree ring data if you remove uncalibratable data which was used upside down, directly contradicting the paper’s claims.

        Unless you’re going to say Michael Mann and Gavin Schmidt unfairly criticized Mann’s work, there’s no denying his results were extremely sensitive to the presence of a small amount of data, something that directly contradicts what his papers claimed.

      • Results are not conclusions.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        No willard. One uses results to draw conclusions. Mann concluded his results were insensitive to the removal of tree ring data, but he was wrong.

      • Who cares about Mann? You have to pull down radiative physics.

        This is what is so pitiful about ‘sceptics’. They focus on all the wrong things because this handful of trivia is *all they’ve got*.

        It’s like a child throwing pebbles at the Hoover Dam and genuinely expecting to breach it.

      • Latimer Alder

        @bbd

        Are you throwing one-time poster boy and Nobel Prize Winner Mike Mann under a bus?

        Wise decision!

        But you should have done it at least five years ago, when it became apparent to us all that Mann and his deeply unpleasant coterie of homies and hoods bore a ‘name-only’ relationship to the practices of science and statistics.

        And the problem you face if you do so is that you lose access to that scary word ‘unprecedented’. And the essence of the scare lies in that word. ‘Unprecedented’ is supposed to frighten us – and that is why it is used. But if the radiative physics you so rely on shows only that the world will be warmer – but not by how much, then all the doomsday hand-wringing flies out of the window too. There are good historical contemporary records that show that climes were likely as warm – if not warmer – than today – at least in some parts. We survived…and many records suggest that we prospered in those times..especially in the MWP.

        It’d be very very difficult to ask people in the UK to make big sacrifices because if we don’t the climate will revert to that of the prosperous 13th century. Most would instead vote to bring it on ASAP.

        So chucking Mann and his ‘idiosyncratic’ methods under a bus – though an extremely wise, if somewhat tardy decision – gets you into a bigger pile of doodoo than you might imagine. And radiative physics ain’t going to get you out of it.

      • LA

        You understand so little.

        The unfalsified radiative physics, paleoclimate behaviour, observations of modern climate and modelled studies are enough to place ECS within a range of 2C – 4.5C for 2xCO2 with a most probable value of ~3C (AR4 WG1 ch 10).

        You don’t need Mann for this, just a brain and a general knowledge of the *basis* of the scientific consensus you reject on apparently emotional or political grounds. The *basis* of your rejection is clearly not scientific.

        I repeat: there is no scientific case supporting ‘scepticsm’. Why are you acting as if there was?

      • Latimer Alder

        @bbd

        ‘ there is no scientific case supporting ‘scepticsm’

        What form of scepticism do you imagine that I adhere to? Unless you can give a decent definition, your remark is pointless

      • LA

        Nobody cares what exact form your emotionally/politically motivated contrarianism takes. It is irrelevant. The point here is that there is no coherent body of work challenging the scientific consensus on AGW.

        Hence all the noise and gibbering but a complete absence of a large and growing body of published studies demonstrating that the scientific consensus (decades in emerging) is wrong.

        You ‘sceptics’ need to acknowledge the facts. Chief among which is that you have *nothing*.

      • BBD, I disagree. They have spatula chaos.

      • What skepticism has is that the politically-motivated and politically-funded alarmist ‘consensus’ favoring an increase in politics, and rooted in dishonest methods like hiding data, is no firm basis for the lurch into totalitarian is asks for.

        This is the nettle you need to grasp : government-funded climate scientists as a whole are not trustworthy.

      • BBD,

        Latimer Adler challenges you:

        > What form of scepticism do you imagine that I adhere to?

        Would you agree that his skeptikism (in his case, with two ks) seems to be based on his overall lack of satisfaction?

      • Re Brandon Shollenberger’s comments on | October 9, 2012 at 12:01 am

        Brandon, thanks for the reply, but you didn’t answer my questions. I’ll eliminate some of the questions and rephrase the others. Please focus on Mann’s conclusions.

        1.Which of Mann’s conclusions are wrong?

        2. How do you know these conclusions are wrong?

        3. What are the right conclusions?

        4. How do you know these conclusions are right?

      • willard

        No comment. Perhaps it’s a vocabulary thing ;-)

      • Latimer Alder

        @bbd

        The world has moved on a great deal since IPCC AR4 five years ago, but you are clearly unfamiliar with recent works by Lindzen & Choi, Gillett, Lewis and Asten. All of them place climate sensitivity well to the lower end of that scale,

        To a point indeed, where any putative changes struggle to pass the ‘so what’ test. I really cannot get my knickers in a twist if the temperature in 2100 is 1C more than it is today and if the sea level is two feet higher, These are trivial changes.

        Which is like much of ‘climate science’. Lots of brave over-inflated claims, but when a few harder questions are asked, much of it collapses into ‘so what’ stuff.

      • LA

        The problem with claims for a low CS is that it doesn’t actually fit with known climate behaviour.

        Even if ECS to 2xCO2 were ~2.5C, the global changes would be huge. As everybody bar denialist loons readily grasps. So the *intellectually honest* lukewarmer is never heard to make contradictory and foolish remarks like this:

        I really cannot get my knickers in a twist if the temperature in 2100 is 1C more than it is today and if the sea level is two feet higher, These are trivial changes.

        So you aren’t an intellectually honest lukewarmer. But then I’ve known that for a long time.

        It’s predictable that your pick of references includes junk like L&C, Nic Lewis’s mischief-making and Asten’s work which you don’t understand because you don’t know what Ol-1 is. To save you the bore of having to do any work, Ol-1 was when the Antarctic ice sheet formed ~34Ma. Asten explicitly acknowledges that different feedbacks likely play a major part in his estimate for CS right at this massive cooling event. Why? Because hugely increased ice albedo feedback from a brand new Antarctic ice sheet might be expected to offset CO2 forcing. But that was then, and this is now.

        Don’t get your paleoclimatology from Watts. He doesn’t have a clue but he does have an agenda, which is a nasty combination, as you so eloquently demonstrate yourself.

      • Yet more tenuous, agenda-driven pretentious insult-hurling from BBD. Gosh what a surprise.
        Do you actually have anything worthwhile to say? About anything at all – needn’t be climate.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Max_OK, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Your 1 and 2 are directly answered by my comment. Your 3 and 4 are just inversions, so they’re answered as well.

      • Latimer Alder

        @bbd

        You say that my remark of

        I really cannot get my knickers in a twist if the temperature in 2100 is 1C more than it is today and if the sea level is two feet higher, These are trivial changes.

        is ‘contradictory and foolish’.

        Please explain where you see the contradiction, and why you see it as
        foolish.

        We can return to the point of ‘intellectual honesty’ later if needed.

      • LA

        Why this is contradictory and foolish:

        I really cannot get my knickers in a twist if the temperature in 2100 is 1C more than it is today and if the sea level is two feet higher, These are trivial changes.

        Global average temperature during the Eemian interglacial (MIS5e) was ~1C higher than the late Holocene. Mean seal level was ~5m higher than the late Holocene.

        As if that were not contradictory and foolish enough, there’s the amplifying effect of storm surges on increased MSL. This will have knickers in a twist from London to the Netherlands to NYC to Bangladesh.

      • Brandon Shollenberger said on October 10, 2012 at 1:14 am

        “Max_OK, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Your 1 and 2 are directly answered by my comment. Your 3 and 4 are just inversions, so they’re answered as well.”
        __________

        Brandon, I asked you which of Mann’s CONCLUSIONS you thought were wrong, not what you thought about his methods. What do I mean by a conclusion? The same thing the NRC meant when it addressed Mann’s work. The same thing statistician Richard L. Smith meant when he spoke about Mann’s Hockey Stick at a Congressional briefing sponsored by the American Statistical Association. Neither the NRC or Smith said Mann’s conclusions were wrong (see excerpts below). So why do you think they are wrong?

        The basic conclusion of Mann et al. (1998, 1999) was that the late 20th century warmth in the Northern Hemisphere was unprecedented during at least the last 1,000 years. This conclusion has subsequently been supported by an array of evidence that includes both additional large-scale surface temperature reconstructions and pronounced changes in a variety of local proxy indicators, such as melting on ice caps and the retreat of glaciers around the world, which in many cases appear to be unprecedented during at least the last 2,000 years. Not all individual proxy records indicate that the recent warmth is unprecedented although a larger fraction of geographically diverse sites experienced exceptional warmth during the late 20th century than during any other extended period from A.D. 900 onward.

        Based on the analyses presented in the original papers by Mann et al. and this newer supporting evidence, the committee finds it plausible that the Northern Hemisphere was warmer during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period over the preceding millennium….”

        http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11676&page=4

        “Richard L. Smith of The University of North Carolina presented a statistician’s viewpoint during a May 11 congressional briefing, titled “Climate Science: Key Questions and Answers.” The briefing, sponsored by the ASA and 12 other science organizations, was organized to address questions raised recently on the science of climate change.”

        “Addressing the hockey stick controversy—a critique of the statistical methods in the 1998–1999 analysis of Michael Mann, Raymond Bradley, and Malcolm Hughes showing the temperature time series from tree ring proxy data having a hockey stick shape—Smith said subsequent authors showed the basic hockey stick shape to be valid. He illustrated this using the “principal components analysis,” in which the hockey stick shape emerges as one includes higher components, which are necessary for proper application of this technique.”

        http://magazine.amstat.org/blog/2010/07/01/congbriefingclim710/

      • Latimer Alder

        @bbd

        Lets take your propositions in reverse order.

        1. Storm surges.

        I work in London and live by the Thames a bit upstream. I’m delighted to say that I wasn’t alive when a dreadful storm surge hit the East of England and the Netherlands in 1953. Many people died.

        As a direct result, we built the Thames Barrier to protect London from just such an eventuality. You can read all about it here. or if your plane is landing to the west it will be directly underneath you as you turn on to the Heathrow landing approach.

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

        In 2009 a review concluded that the existing Barrier would suffice to protect London at least until 2070.

        http://londonist.com/2009/03/good_news_for_thames_barrier.php

        Maybe we’ll look again in about 2040, but that’s good enough for me already. My knickers remain untwisted. I know that in the Netherlands they suffered even worse fatalities in 1953 and are equally well prepared for the future.

        You also say ‘the amplifying effect of storm surges’. What effect might this be? I do not see that storm surges do any amplifying at all. If they add a few feet to the existing high tide, they do so whatever the level of the high.

        In other words a storm surge of height c on top of a high tide of height x produces an overall height of c+x. There is no ‘amplification’. A small effect on average MSL is not ‘amplified’ at all by storm surges. Your remark is wrong.

        2. Temperatures and Sea level.

        You state

        ‘Global average temperature during the Eemian interglacial (MIS5e) was ~1C higher than the late Holocene. Mean seal level was ~5m higher than the late Holocene’

        That may or may not be true. Since you have stated it merely as an assertion without providing a reference I cannot judge.

        But whether it is or not is irrelevant to the discussion of what will happen by 2010. AFAIK there is no proven function/relationship between global temperature and sea level. You cannot with confidence say ‘if we have global temperature x the sea level will be y’.

        It ain’t like that. At least in part because of the long delay in melting large chunks of glaciers and ice sheets. So brandishing your Eemian interglacial at me is a weak and ineffective argument.

        The IPCC predict 2 feet of sealevel rise by 2100. Since the current rate is 3 mm/annum (only half that of the IPCC) I’m cool on either. If I have to lay two bricks on my sea wall to protect me from a one foot rise, its just as easy to lay four and protect myself from two feet..or six and make it three feet/1 metre. It is still a pretty trivial exercise.

        Finally I note that to get to a rise of 5 metres by 2100, the sealevel would need to be rising at an average of 56 mm /annum. That is nearly twenty times the current rate. A change to such a regime would certainly be very noticeable very quickly, and we’d still have the best part of four generations to react.

        If and when it does, I’m happy to revisit this conversation. But until then, no twisted knickers, no damp underwear, no boyish screams to terror. Sorry.

        Now – what were you saying about my intellectual honesty? You teetered on the edge of accusing me of dishonesty last time. Which way you going to vote this time around?

      • In 2009 a review concluded that the existing Barrier would suffice to protect London at least until 2070.

        And then what? Will SLR just stop magically? What about the rest of the global coastline?

        By the way, you are aware that the SLR projection in AR4 WG1 is incomplete? It is based on thermal expansion; non-linear contribution from the WAIS and GIS is *not included*. This has considerable bearing on the likely rate of increase in MSL particularly later this century. To call the IPCC conservative on this point is a considerable understatement.

        You also say ‘the amplifying effect of storm surges’. What effect might this be? I do not see that storm surges do any amplifying at all. If they add a few feet to the existing high tide, they do so whatever the level of the high.

        So you do apparently see the amplifying effect of storm surges. In your own words, they add a few feet to the existing high tide. This is what makes storm surges so damaging. If you raise MSL by 3ft and then apply a storm surge, the low-lying coastal area subject to inundation is increased. This is the amplifying effect of storm surges on elevated MSL.

        There is no ‘amplification’. A small effect on average MSL is not ‘amplified’ at all by storm surges. Your remark is wrong.

        Only you think the change in MSL will be ‘small’: current best estimates are 2.5 – 6.5ft (0.8m – 2m) by 2100 and what I said is fine; the problem lies in your interpretation of it.

        That may or may not be true. Since you have stated it merely as an assertion without providing a reference I cannot judge.

        A fine demonstration of the ‘sceptic’ habit of pretending to great enough knowledge to dispute the scientific consensus on AGW while at the same time demonstrating poor topic knowledge and a flat refusal to do any work. Check, if it bothers you.

        AFAIK there is no proven function/relationship between global temperature and sea level. You cannot with confidence say ‘if we have global temperature x the sea level will be y’.

        So heat does not melt ice? Really? And global ice sheet volume does not affect MSL? MSL was not 120m lower during the LGM than the present (- 5C vs late Holocene)? Or 5m higher during the Eemian (+ 1C – 2C)? 20m higher during the Pliocene (+ 2C – 3C)? 70m higher during the Eocene (+ 4C – 10C)?

        At least in part because of the long delay in melting large chunks of glaciers and ice sheets.

        What do you know about this topic? I know that there is now widespread disquiet about the potential for rapid ice mass loss from the WAIS and the GIS (century scale). This is relatively new – complacency reigned until around 2005/6 – just too late for AR4, which is why AR4 rather misleadingly bases its SLR projections on thermal expansion. Why do I have such a strong feeling that you don’t know any of this? Could it be because you say things like this:

        The IPCC predict 2 feet of sealevel rise by 2100. Since the current rate is 3 mm/annum (only half that of the IPCC) I’m cool on either.

        Which informs highly revealing nonsense like this:

        If I have to lay two bricks on my sea wall to protect me from a one foot rise, its just as easy to lay four and protect myself from two feet..or six and make it three feet/1 metre. It is still a pretty trivial exercise.

        Trivial is it? Tell the population of Bangladesh next time you exit your solipsistic bubble.

      • And, sea level rise is not uniform. If there is 3 feet of SLR by 2070, that does not mean London’s little barrier has to deal with exactly 3 feet. It might be 3 feet; it might be less; it might be more.

      • Max_OK

        You have asked Brandon Shollenberger:

        1.Which of Mann’s conclusions are wrong?
        2. How do you know these conclusions are wrong?
        3. What are the right conclusions?
        4. How do you know these conclusions are right?

        Brandon has already answered your questions, but let me amplify.

        In addition to the basic errors in the methodology used by Mann et al., there are several independent studies from all over the world using different pale-climate methodologies, which all confirm that the MWP was slightly warmer than today, thereby falsifying Mann’s conclusion that the current warm period is unusual in at least the past 1,300 years.

        Several studies using different methods versus one study using an already discredited method gives me confidence that the conclusion of these many studies of a slightly warmer MWP is correct, and that of Mann’s study is wrong.

        Max not from OK

        PS If you would like links to the many studies, to which I refer, I’ll be glad to post them

      • Latimer Alder

        @bbd

        Wow

        Let’s start with ‘amplification’. Amplification is what the Sainted Keef uses at a Stones gig to turn the very small power output from his pickup into the stadium filling noise that we hear. It is not taking the original same power output and adding another small constant to it. Mathematically amplification is a multiplication sum, not an addition sum.

        I think what you were trying to say is that storm surges make things worse. But only by the amount of the underlying sea level rise. They do not amplify the effect.

        I’ve carefully read the rest of your petulant remarks. I can see little there other than ‘I think its worse than that’ or some snarky remarks about your supposedly superior knowledge of the literature (unreferenced). Childish in the extreme.

        And I note that your ‘scary’ stories are entirely based on unverified predictions. I am not a gambling man, so I’m not going to bet the farm (nor even wet my knickers) about any sort of ‘might be/could be/expected to/possibility of’ speculative narrative from professional alarmists.

        As I said before, I’m happy to revisit this conversation if and when there is tangible evidence of all the bad things happening that you are so scared about. But so far zip, zero, nada, rien, nichts.

        BTW Bangladesh is on a river delta. Like the Nile and the Mississippi – and coral reefs – geological processes (silt deposition) mean that the land stays pretty much just above sea level…whatever that level may be. The sealevel has changed mightily in that country since the last Ice Age, but people have somehow continued to live there. The silt deposition makes it a very fertile area, and this outweighs the disadvantages of regular flooding, I see no reason to believe that this risk/reward equation will change much in the future.

      • Klownherder Kloor gets my goat because he censors bad, bad kimrambam, but he did let one of my bleats through, just as Gavin gave up the ghost, er, I mean the Crook’d Hockey Stick’s preternaturally straitened shaft earlier than 1500 AD, back during his special, spectacular, Judy & Gavin Show.
        ====================

      • LA

        Let’s start with ‘amplification’.

        Pedantry and not worth the bother except to note that you can’t get round the fact that the negative effects of SLR are ‘accentuated’ by storm surges. Strike one.

        I see you have nothing at all to say about the IPCC *underestimate* of SLR. Strike two.

        As I said before, I’m happy to revisit this conversation if and when there is tangible evidence of all the bad things happening that you are so scared about.

        The usual silly argument: ‘show me the effects of things that haven’t happened yet and then I’ll believe we have a problem’. Strike three.

        *Ding!*

        But there’s more…

        BTW Bangladesh is on a river delta. Like the Nile and the Mississippi – and coral reefs – geological processes (silt deposition) mean that the land stays pretty much just above sea level…whatever that level may be.

        True during millennia of relatively stable MSL. Not at all true when SLR accelerates rapidly over the course of a century. Ding!

        I see no reason to believe that this risk/reward equation will change much in the future.

        That’s because you are a climate change denier who is also denying paleoclimate evidence and modern studies of accelerating ice mass loss from both the GIS and the WAIS. Which of course means that your opinion is worthless. Ding!

        What’s it all about Latimer? Why the denial? Is it politics, stupidity, fear or what? I used to do denial (I dressed it up as lukewarmerism) because of fear. What’s your story?

      • @bbd

        ‘That’s because you are a climate change denier who is also denying paleoclimate evidence and modern studies of accelerating ice mass loss from both the GIS and the WAIS. Which of course means that your opinion is worthless’

        Says it all about your ‘thought’ processes, BBD.

        Hugely helpful as an insight into the alarmist ‘mind’. I’m sure that within your own dwindling band such stuff plays well, but out of the kindergarten it just shows your intellectual immaturity. Losing an argument?…throw stones and call the other guy names. Pathetic,

        Luckily your (collective) influence is dwindling everywhere one looks (great news in the UK recently as sanity returns to our energy policy) so we can treat you as (mostly) harmless eccentrics rather than the dangerous ideologues that you almost became a few years back.

      • manacker said on October 10, 2012 at 9:05 am

        “Brandon has already answered your questions, but let me amplify.

        In addition to the basic errors in the methodology used by Mann et al., there are several independent studies from all over the world using different pale-climate methodologies, which all confirm that the MWP was slightly warmer than today, thereby falsifying Mann’s conclusion that the current warm period is unusual in at least the past 1,300 years.”
        _______

        Well, those studies are trumped by NRC and Smith. See my post on October 10, 2012 at 4:52 am for what NRC and Smith say about the Hockey Stick.

        No, Brandon did not answer my questions, but I appreciate that he tried. I’m afraid he didn’t understand what I meant by Mann’s “conclusions,” so posted again (October 10, 2012 at 4:52 am) and told him I meant the same thing NRC and Smith meant.

      • LA

        Losing an argument?…throw stones and call the other guy names. Pathetic,

        Lost an argument? Retreat still further into denial!

        ;-)

      • > Mann concluded his results were insensitive [...]

        Cherrypicking much among Mann’s conclusions.

      • > One uses results to draw conclusions.

        Indeed, but one can use other results to draw the same conclusions.

        Think penicillin

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Max_OK, Mann concluded a number of things in his papers. I gave you examples of conclusions that were wrong. The fact I discussed conclusions you may not be interested in doesn’t change the fact they are conclusions.

        This is what has happened. You asked for examples. I gave you examples. You rejected my examples because they weren’t examples you wanted. If you cannot admit even the most basic of points, points admitted by Mann himself and his close friend and supporter, Gavin Schmidt, you’re obviously never going to admit more complicated points.

        Here’s where we stand. You can admit what I said is true. You can admit I showed several of Mann’s conclusions were wrong (and perhaps ask for information about other conclusions). Or, you can refuse to admit I did exactly what you asked me to do, and was right about it, thus making yourself a denier.

        Honest discussion or close-minded idiocy. You get to choose which.

  56. In discussing the question: “What do you see as the best mix of achievable policies to limit environmental and economic regrets?”

    If you are serious, you have to know what it is you are facing in terms of “environmental and economic regrets”. How can you possibly discuss policies until you know what the range of those “regrets” might be, with associated probabilities attached to the different scenarios in that range. Policies must be driven by scenarios and related probabilities.

    The adjective “achievable” then becomes the true variable, as what one defines as “achievable” can have a great amount of flexibility depending on what the consequences may be if that policy is not achieved. Certainly a guiding principle is the Precautionary Principle in all cases. So to move forward, some consensus (true consensus) should be reached related to both potential scenarios and their likelihoods. From there, policies can be developed. It will take a balanced mix of scientists and policymakers to develop policies that both observe the Precautionary Principle, have the greatest likelihood of being successful, and expend the least resources and cause the least societal disruption.

  57. The total amount of carbonates stored in sedimentary rocks (about 0.75 x 10E24 g, correspond to a partial pressure of CO2 of about 60 bars. So the Earth did find ways of getting rid of this huge amount of CO2, as to leave us with a balance of about 350 ppm of CO2 in our contemporary air at 1 bar pressure. The problem is complex. It might be that the faint early Sun and the early (or late) heavy bombardment did rule this odd balance. In this case my conclusion would be irrelevant.

    • The rock-carbon cycle is actually quite interesting and very relevant to our high levels of CO2 today. The primary natural way the Earth removes carbon dioxide from the atmopshere is through rock weathering, which pulls the CO2 from the air and eventually sequesters it in limestone at the bottom of the ocean. The natural acceleration of the the hydrological cycle that occurs when CO2 levels rise, increases rock weathering and is the key to the negative feedback that eventually pulls the atmospheric CO2 levels back down. Problem being that the huge influx of anthropogenic CO2 has pretty much overwhelmed this negative feedback process as it occurs over thousands and tens of thousands of years, and we’ll have doubled CO2 in just a few hundred years.

  58. For Attention of JCH
    I have provided a fair answer for you on RC but Gavin removed it. The difference between RC and Climate etc and WUWT is more than obvous;

    I shall repeat it here, but I am still puzzled why Gavin would find it objectionable (both of us got degrees from the same university after all)

    I am clearly referring to the North Hemisphere’s natural variation, which you will find is different to the South Hemisphere’s and hence the global, although I would question validity of adding two. Here:
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/GSC1.htm
    you can see that red line peak in late the 1880s is at exactly same value as in 2005.
    NASA is hinting at something which I have worked out some time ago and in some detail, identifying the sources, providing numerical confirmation, details of viable mechanism will be shortly published.

    • vukevic – went to the borehole and read your response. I’ve seen you use CET, but there you say NH, so I assume that is other than CET.

      Can you expand a bit on Geo-Solar? In the NASA graph I assume solar is included in the red line.

      • NH data is available from both Hadley and GISS, and yes it is other than CET.
        If Gavin is to ask he would get all the relevant info, but that is not likely.

      • vukcevic – sorry for misspelling your name. I suppose because of the comment about professional climate scientists, but I don’t know.

        I would still like to know if Geo-Solar is a combination, or a subtraction, or whatever.

  59. What do you see as the best mix of achievable policies to limit environmental and economic regrets?

    A. do more climate research, starting with verifiable experimental physics
    B. encourage R&D in technologies to reduce man’s impact on the earth
    C. encourage R&D in technologies to reduce earth’s impact on man
    D. ignore long-term predictions, which are all wrong

    • OK, except A and D.

      Re A, I believe that’s been thought of, but if you can recommend something specific of merit, science would be grateful.

      Re D, you can’t in advance know all long-term predictions are wrong, nor can policy ignore predictions. A “do nothing policy” is predicated on a long-term prediction of no change.

      • A. have already suggested elsewhere experimental physics experiments eg: repeat Tyndall’s work including quantification of thermalization vs reemission/scattering vs “backradiation”; measure thermal effects of 3.7m thickness of 100% CO2 on IR absorption of sunlight in daytime; IR emission to night sky

        D. to clarify is not a “do nothing” policy, because B and C should be givens. But show me some historical long-term climate predictions which have turned out right…..

      • Hansen’s projections turned out closer to right than a no-change extrapolation.

      • Max_OK

        You keep shooting yourself in the foot with remarks like

        Hansen’s projections turned out closer to right than a no-change extrapolation.

        See:
        http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2537/5738998081_b3b3e55049_b.jpg

        Hansen’s “no further GHG” Case C came out almost exactly right (warming rate of 0.16C per decade).

        But “no further GHG” emissions is not what actually happened.

        Hansen’s “business as usual” Case A was off by a factor of 2:1 (warming rate of 0.32C per decade), despite the fact that the actual rate of CO2 emissions (the principal GHG) was slightly higher than Hansen’s estimate.

        So your statement is wrong.

        Hansen’s projection was exaggerated by a factor of 2, because his models used a 2xCO2 climate sensitivity that was exaggerated by a factor of 2.

        Quite simple, actually.

        Max (not from OK)

      • Re manacker’s comment on October 10, 2012 at 9:21 am

        manacker, your problem is you don’t know what good is.

        If forecasted rises in the prices of three stocks were as accurate as Hansen’s three temperature projections have been, you would have made money investing in these stocks. That’s what you call “good.”

        Suppose, instead, you had confidence in a forecast of no change in the prices of those three stocks, so didn’t invest in them, and therefore lost out on money you could have made. That’s what you call “not good.”

      • When I say historical long-term predictions, I am talking about predictions hopeully for more than one climate cycle. One climate cycle is 30 years of statistics. Two should be 60 years of statistics. So I want to see someone who predicted what the result would be 30-60 years before the fact. The real problem is we are talking about verifying the predictions of people who are probably dead so nobody even knows they made a prediction in the first place.

        Beyond that, I can’t even say I’ve been shown a proper description of what a global mean/average/whatever temperature is. (G&T say it’s a nonsensical concept and I am inclined to agree). The best idea would be a global heat energy content distributed through the thermal mass of the earth/atmosphere. So averaging thermometer mins and max’s doesn’t really cut it.

      • If climate is defined as 30 years of weather statistics, I think long term should be at least 60-90 years. So where are the long-term predictions and appropriate statistical analysis.

  60. John DeFayette

    My response would be to throw out a question with so many embedded conclusions.

    You ask us to consider that there is some warming, but the original question is already loaded with “…a profoundly changed Earth…” and “…to limit … regrets.” I accept your assessment of some ACO2 warming, but I am a long way from being convinced of either of Revkin’s gloomy premises.

    How about an alternative question, such as “Mr. Candidate, how will your administration assess the existing scientific basis for policy actions based on the AGW hypothesis?” Just for the record, if the answer is “Ask Stephen Chu” then my vote goes to the other guy.

    My second question is more of a plea: “If elected, will you (please) shut down GISS?”

  61. It shouldn’t be a problem… but, it is:

    –e.g., I ask you to ADMIT as a matter of science that, at least in part, the facts as adopted suggest humans cause global warming or CO2 causes global warming.

    You will say, ‘Correct,’ right?

    And, that’s the problem: the science of AGW theory is to use some facts to tell a lie.
    8888

  62. David Springer

    The question for debate is:

    “Do the known immediate benefits of higher atmospheric CO2 (longer growing seasons in the north, faster plant growth, and increased drought tolerance) outweigh the imagined risks many decades in the future (sea level rise, ocean neutralization, and climate disruption)?

    • A reasonable question, and with a few more summers like this one and food prices skyrocketing, we’ll have even a better answer.

      • Ah, the wonders of instantaneous attribution.

      • David Springer

        Nitrogen is generally not a limiting factor in modern agriculture as it widely and cheaply available in bulk soil fertilizers. Sunlight is a limiting factor in that there isn’t enough of it in higher latitudes for crops which requires longer growing seasons and/or for getting more than one crop cycle per year. Water is also limiting factor as there isn’t always enough rain or stored water available for irrigation. Higher CO2 reduces the amount of water a plant needs regardless of other limiting factors. And CO2 itself is a limiting factor. It’s a terrestrial plant’s only source of carbon and at 280 parts per million in the atmosphere a plant must work very hard to extract what it needs out of the gases it does not need. In other words higher CO2 isn’t always beneficial but it’s never detrimental.

  63. What’s the best climate question to debate?

    Choice 1: How much money do we want to spend today on reducing carbon dioxide emission without having a reasonable idea of:
    a) how much climate will change under business as usual,
    b) what the impacts of those changes will be,
    c) the cost of those impacts,
    d) how much it will cost to significantly change the future,
    e) whether that cost will exceed the benefits of reducing climate change,
    f) whether we can trust the scientists charged with developing answers to these questions, who have abandoned the ethic of telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but, with all the doubts, caveats, ifs, ands and buts; and who instead seek lots of publicity by telling scary stories, making simplified dramatic statements and making little mention of their doubts,
    g) whether other countries will negate our efforts,
    h) the meaning of the word hubris, when we think we are wise enough to predict what society will need a half-century or more in the future?

    Choice 2: Why would anyone support cap-and-trade when it creates emission permits of great value are to be given away by legislators?

    Choice 3: Can we devise a carbon tax flexible enough to deal with the above uncertainties that:
    a) is fully refunded to every citizen and exporters,
    b) collected from importers,
    c) rises exponentially with future temperature change,
    d) responds to the willingness and effectiveness of other nations to limit their emissions, and
    e) provides reasonable economic incentives to reduce emissions if the IPCC’s central estimates are correct?

    Choice 4: Why would we want to limit future temperature increase to 2 degC above pre-industrial temperature when:
    a) we don’t know what pre-industrial temperature was,
    b) the most recent pre-industrial temperature occurred during the LIA,
    c) temperature rises representing a significant chunk of the remaining allowed increase have happened in the past without anthropogenic forcing, and,
    d) we really don’t know how to achieve this goal?

    Choice 5: Does the fact that life on this planet has survived a billion years of climate change caused by orbital mechanics, asteroids, the evolution of photosynthesis, plate tectonics, the variable star we call the sun, chaos, plagues, and possibly supernovae.

  64. When will journalists do their job of being skeptical when media-hungry, new-age shamens claim to know things without any data or theory to support them? What now would falsify the hypothesis of AGW now that the AGW fingerprints are obviously missing yet nobody cares? How do so many academics win prestigious and lucrative prizes and jobs despite a long history of being wrong all the time?

    Actually all the no_regrets policies are simple and already out there but Andy doesn’t care to read them because they are all written by skeptics. Even writing a no-regrets tract gets you Lomberged because clearly the only solution for the angst-ridden, enviro-hypocrite is to stop burning fossil fuels completely and anyone who disagrees is surely evil.

  65. In the spirit of bi-partisan consistency, I will note that Pew has a poll out showing Romney ahead by 5%. The problem with the poll, the internals show a sampling of +5 for Republicans. Meaning that the poll is based on an assumption that 5% more republicans than Democrats will vote.

    Since that has never happened in my lifetime, I suspect this poll should be ignored just as much as the other recent polls.

    Oh, and on another recent issue, of the miraculous increase in jobs reported by the administration,it seems Gallup, hardly a hot bed of conspiracy theories, doesn’t think much of them either.

    http://dailycaller.com/2012/10/08/gallup-economist-fridays-job-numbers-should-be-discounted/

    Now back to our regularly scheduled progressive straw man arguments.

  66. MattStat/MatthewRMarler

    I think that the most important question is: What is the transient climate response to a doubling of CO2 over approximately a 70 year period? Anything beyond 20 years is hard to imagine, and anything beyond 70 years is harder still. A really good estimate of the transient climate response will give us a good handle on how things might be different 50 years after the technologies of the next 20 years have been developed.

    However, that may depend on the answer to the question: What are the cloud feedbacks that will follow from increased CO2? If so, then this is a more important question than the former.

  67. “What do you see as the best mix of achievable policies to limit environmental and economic regrets?”

    If we are to leave scientific aspects out of the mix of potential regrets, why am I bothering to write this? We scientists are going to look awfully silly when we have to admit that we got climate all wrong in our explanation of 1940.

    Did the Royal Society refuse to discuss climate science?

    Both the US and Australia are large exporters of coal and this can only increase when Germany, and potentially Japan, close their nuclear power stations. There are lots of votes in the coal mines. Climate is a can of worms best not opened before an election. Rivkin is right there.

  68. How about,
    “While persistent and deep uncertainty surrounds the most important potential impacts from and responses to greenhouse-driven global warming, the long-term picture of a profoundly changed Earth is UNclear.
    Should we put a team of leading academics together to nail this once and for all? If so, who should make up this team”?

    Two questions I know and I accept the first could be worded more carefully!

  69. All the food that I eat has been specifically and painstakingly breed by peoples in the past; all the common fruits and vegetables, also all domestic meats.
    I have some kitchen furniture that is about 125 years old, and it is just possible that the Oaks were deliberately planted for harvesting as wood about 300 years ago.
    I will pick up some jewelery that belong to my deceased mother (and her mother) that probably contains gold mined >1,000 years ago.

    That it as far as what the people from 3 generation plus have given me in physical terms. Everything I own or work with is younger than my birth. Most modern buildings are only constructed so that they will only last around 20-40 years. A car and passenger plane lasts for about 15 and a modern ship 15-20 years. A computer chip factory last for 10 years.
    However, the great mass of humanity from before my birth has given me information. Art, literature, music and science are the things that enrich my life and just forms of information.
    All that counts in my life from the peoples who lived in the past is information, how things work and how to make things being rather important, but art, literature and music also being important.
    Surely, the most important thing we pass to our great-grand children will be information too. As so the best thing we can do is structure of societies to generate as much information and technology as possible?

  70. David Springer

    The best climate debate question:

    How many people at the EPA should be fired in addition to Lisa Jackson?

    • Dvid Springer

      Let me reword that:

      How many people at the EPA should NOT be fired?

      (Let’s keep the list short.)

      Max

      • David Springer

        Your question doesn’t ask for a list as answer.

        Please try to get your head and ass wired together for once.

  71. Good questions from Stan and David Springer.And I’ll add, like the song says,”What the world needs now is ‘… luv, sweet luv, sure, but also, what the world needs now is abundant cheap and efficient energy, reduction of particulate pollution and local initiatives to improve soil fertility and water quality.

    • Oh the inhumanity of you Beth.

      Ignoring the harm to unborn generations – i.e. non-existent people – just to benefit people that are alive and breathing today. Can’t you accept the fact that all of these people will die eventually? Why not help them along in the name of our precious future generations?

      Ok, back to being serious. You highlight my biggest issue with folks who insist action is needed to address climate change – stealing attention and resources away from real problems that have real solutions.

  72. OK. Everybody has had a crack at it – and there are some real weird answers out there.

    What do you see as the best mix of achievable policies to limit environmental and economic regrets?

    Inasmuch as I see that climate science has reached a dead end, largely as a result of mismanagement by IPCC, UNEP and UNFCCC and that there are serious energy supply problems and resulting economic pain especially for middle-class Americans as a result of a poorly conceived national energy strategy and policy, I would:

    - Put the “science” back into “climate science” by stopping all US support for IPCC and proposing a resolution to shut it down permanently
    - Establish a small group of independent scientists and engineers (not under the UN), representing all opposing scientific opinions on AGW, to take over the function of IPCC; expand this function to include natural climate change and its causes; eliminate political appointments to fulfill national quotas; eliminate the “consensus process”
    - Replace the management of the EPA down to the operating level with clear instructions to stop all activities to punish companies whose operations generate CO2 and to eliminate at least two-thirds of all EPA regulations within one year
    - Retire James E. Hansen and replace him and other senior NASA climate scientists, who have become advocates, with objective scientists; cut NASA budget for climate science; put this money back into space exploration instead, on a “must have” basis
    - Cut government funding for “climate research” by 90% to include only “must-have” programs, with an equal balance between research of natural and man-made climate change; use a portion of the savings to encourage basic research into new energy sources
    - Instruct State Department to immediately reverse its ban on the Keystone Pipeline project
    - Grant permits for increased oil and gas exploration on federal lands and offshore, including fracking permits for shale deposits, which have been blocked so far.
    - Instruct the new Energy Secretary to work with oil and gas industry to put together and implement an energy independence plan, with the clear goal of making the USA a net exporter of energy products within four years, at the same time creating millions of new jobs
    - Instruct the EPA Director to work with coal burning companies to encourage “clean coal” projects (eliminating pollution), by offering tax incentives for those who invest in these projects
    - Instruct the new Energy Secretary to set up a special task force to encourage the expansion of nuclear power and ease the permit procedure for new or expanded plants, with the goal of increasing nuclear power generation from 20% to 25% within four years

    [Did I leave anything important out?]

    Max

  73. Hank Zentgraf

    “Would you agree to a policy that requires US government agencies to validate all models used to conduct climate change and to publish all model modifications and tuning efforts deployed since 1988?”

  74. Comment on free market got swallowed, try again.
    At the communist dictatorship village fair, near the maypole a woman sells her wares:
    ‘Apple cores fer sale, who’ll buy my apple cores?

  75. Can we fix it? Maybe, in the long run, if it doesn’t prove to be due to natural cycles.
    Can we live with it? Of course, we are inventive and adaptable humans not dumb beasts.
    Are those predicting doom and apocalypse cognitively challenged and\or shysters. Without a doubt.

  76. Why is the phony GLOBAL warming put in the same basket as the big / small climatic changes?!?!?Those two are not related. Climatic changes are necessary / natural phenomena – GLOBAL warmings are a phenomenal lie. CO2 absorbs much more heat than O&N, during the day – CO2 also absorbs much more coldness during the night. those two factors cancel each other.

    WHAT, coldness doesn’t exist?! How come in cold winter, wood doesn’t stick to your skin, but metal does?! CO2 cannot absorb coldness? Why is CO2 used to make dry ice, instead of O&N?!?!?! Com-on Kelvinist, why is your fridge and stove calibrated in Centigrade of Fahrenheit, , http://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/global-temperature/
    time is against you guys. Climate will keep changing, but the phony GLOBAL warming will become your milestone, not a cash-cow!!!

    • stephanthedenier said:

      ” CO2 also absorbs much more coldness during the night…”
      ____
      Please do tell us..what is this strange new substance, force, or radiation called “coldness”? Where would it be in the EM spectrum?

      • R. Gates | October 8, 2012 at 8:10 pm said: ”stephanthedenier Please do tell us..what is this strange new substance, force, or radiation called “coldness”?”

        Gates, It’s new to you and the rest of the extremist, from both camps; but is not new to the other 7 billion people. People that use Centigrade and Fahrenheit – people that are not desperate to make crap to sound scientific – only Desperadoes like you, use Kelvin in empty talk… I’m just going to cool couple of bottles of beer – for them to collect some ‘coldness” by that coldness, it will cool me, in the tropical afternoon…

        I’ll tell you something, in secret: during the phony Big Bang – the universe was very, very hot – that was THE starting point – then lots of units of ”COLDNESS” was created and that cooled the universe… my fridge is good to me, creates lots and lots of ”COLDNESS” to cancel the extra heat. Happy now Robert? You are desperate to complicate things; as a smokescreen; but only you can succeed with few nutters – nothing to be proud of… only will give you more chances, to bit the record jail-term by Bernard Madoff, lucky you. If the jury believes that you are so stupid and don’t know what ”coldness” is; they might let you free / ignorance is not a crime. But, if you had any kind of marking in your house where it states: ”cold” but it wasn’t ultimate zero Kelvin… then you will be in trouble…

        Apparently, you are operating under few names; but the people that collect evidences for court of justice; for the time when the ”Truth and Reconciliation” comes – they told me that: your real name is ”Baron von Munchhausen”

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

        You do realize that you refrigerator is little negentropy machine, with energy required to keep the heat from averaging out between the inside and outside of it. Now, depending on where you live, that energy likely comes from the burning of fossil fuels, and those fossil fuels are of course stored sunlight. So stored sunlight is being used to keep your beer cold.

        You recognize of course that no “cold units” exist, for cold is simply a relative term of something that has less average kinetic energy. In the end it is all just energy. To keep you beer cold in the tropics you’ll need to expend real units of energy to remove heat from your refrigerator, but if you live in the Arctic (at least in the winter) you’ll need to expend real units of energy to keep your beer from freezing solid, so it can be just the right temperature for drinking.

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates) | October 8, 2012 at 11:26 said:
        You do realize that you refrigerator is little negentropy machine, with energy required to keep the heat from averaging out between the inside and outside of it. Now, depending on where you live, that energy likely comes from the burning of fossil fuels”

        Bobby, if you want to make me feel guilty for having a cold beer; you need to put much more effort into it.

        1] when i prove to you that CO2 doesn’t produce any GLOBAL warming – no need to for you to leave in fear == instead of rejoicing, you don’t like it, you prefer catastrophe – otherwise you would have being studding every post on my blog.

        2] whoever was the clown who told you that: 149 years ago was the best amount of CO2 for the trees and crops… he told you a sick lie; it was always more CO2 than 150y ago – plants love more CO2; why you should denye the plants CO2, what they need?! there are more people now and they need more trees and food.

        Gates, you are made 23-25% of carbon – do you really, really hate big part of yourself?

        You are inhaling oxygen, but exhaling CO2 – to make it even more pathetic – by exhaling the CO2, your vocal cords are using that CO2, to badmouth CO2…?! I’m not going to call you a ”self-centered hypocrite”..

        but, if you want to impose guilt factor on others 1] stop exhaling CO2, stop eating food. made of carbon… I love those bubbles of CO2, coming out of the beer. You should find something else to blame, not CO2, because is essential for life.

        i told lolwot, you should use it too; too many satellites in orbit – all of them spread lots of solar panels – intercept lots of sunlight, not to come to the ground, that is ACCUMULATIVE, every day a bit less sunlight -> it will become cold, and all of you will die from freezing, or from old age, or from something else; how am I doing? You see, if you start ”saving” the planet from those satellites and other junk in outer space – at least you wouldn’t be doing any harm, and would have made yourself lots of loot money. By blaming CO2, you are committing terrible crimes, think about it

  77. Roger Caiazza

    Folks,
    Let me re-phrase the question in the light of what is actually going on in, for example, New York State. New York is part of RGGI so there already is a tax (auction proceeds) on electrical generating unit CO2 emissions, there is a Climate Action Plan goal of an 80% reduction of CO2 emissions from 1990 levels by 2050, and the State’s draft Energy Plan is about to go public. In other words there is no recognition whatsoever by anyone in New York regulatory agencies or the Administration that there is any uncertainty whatsoever, period. Get over it, swallow your bile and suggest policies to use the RGGI money that will not be a complete waste of money.

    The original question: While persistent and deep uncertainty surrounds the most important potential impacts from and responses to greenhouse-driven global warming, the long-term picture of a profoundly changed Earth is clear. What do you see as the best mix of achievable policies to limit environmental and economic regrets?

    Rephrased question for New York State: New York State policies presume that greenhouse-driven global warming could lead to a profoundly changed Earth. What do you see as the best mix of achievable policies to limit environmental and economic regrets that should be funded with the RGGI funds?
    I
    f you really get into this you can submit comments on the New York Energy Plan when it comes out for comment later this year.

    • rogercaiazza

      My answer to the narrowed question:
      • Identify adaptation policies that can be implemented to reduce impacts of extreme weather events (which will happen with or without greenhouse driven global warming)
      • Research on nuclear energy to reduce the stigma of nuclear generation, e.g., fast reactors (Generation 4 reactors) or thorium fueled.
      • Determine what would actually be required by society to achieve the 80% reduction Climate Action Plan goal
      • Calculate whether the change in greenhouse-driven global warming as a result of New York’s actions could be measured

    • Uhhh…vote for politicians who aren’t dumb as a box of rocks?

      I offer the same solution to California and my own state of Illinois.

      Europe has its PIIGS, we have our INCs (incompetents).

      • rogercaiazza

        I don’t disagree but suggest that being politically correct is the problem. Corporations cannot even suggest that this is all lunacy lest they be accused of being the same as Tobacco companies and deniers of the holocaust.

      • rogercaizza,

        Oh I agree 100%. You can’t rely on corporations to safeguard capitalsim. The temptation to engage in rent seeking, particularly with progressives (of either party) in control of the government, is just too much for many to resist.

        It’s like Warren Buffet or George Soros, having made their billions, advocating all kinds of taxes and regulations for those who have not, in return for their “seat at the table” of power.

      • rogercaiazza

        In summary there are two angles – don’t speak up lest you get slammed by negative public relations and don’t speak up so you can take advantage of the largesse of government.

  78. John Carpenter

    Clearly we need to maintain cheap and abundant energy in order to sustain our current economies and provide opportunities for humans to thrive across the world. At the same time, unmitigated consumption of fossil fuels to power our energy needs is problematic from the perspective of both fuel sustainability and potential damage to the environment.

    Taking to heart the idea that continued buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere will lead to more planetary warming which may not all be good, we should not simply take a wait and see attitude. Similarly, imposing a strict mitigation strategy curtailing fossil fuel use without suitable cheap and abundant alternative sources would likely lead to economic disaster.

    One way forward would be to increase nuclear energy production. Perhaps large multi reactor power plants are not the optimum choice. Perhaps nuclear power facility design should become more standardized. Perhaps much work in reclaiming and reusing spent fuel is needed. Perhaps the consequences of nuclear accidents need to be faced in a way where improved engineering is the solution rather than mothballing. Perhaps nuclear power plants can’t be an option for earthquake/natural disaster prone sites.

    But

    If adding gigatons of CO2 into the atmosphere could be a non trivial problem for future generations, then at this time there really is no other choice. We can’t start to stop using fossil fuels as our primary energy source without a viable alternative. Nuclear emits exactly zero CO2. However it does come with a lot of ‘other’ responsibilities. But as an energy source we can develop now that has the capability of producing the required energy at a cost that is somewhat competitive, there is no other clear alternative.

    I don’t mean to suggest that solar, wind, hydro, tidal, geothermal etc… sources should not also be considered and advanced, they should. However, they alone do not have the power capacity needed now or in the future.

    I don’t mean to suggest that we should not continue to improve energy efficiency everywhere possible using technology advances that allow such efficiencies to be implemented cost effectively. We should.

    If mitigating CO2 is necessary to reduce future environmental risks, nuclear energy has to be a part of the solution.

    I am not an alarmist, but I can recognize potential problems with unmitigated CO2 emission. I can recognize we have a limited supply of practically usable fossil fuels. We need to use our democratic systems of government to implement solid energy policies that address the need for abundant cheap energy while being good stewards of our planet. Shifting our energy production away from fossil and more toward nuclear sources would buy time for new and alternative energy source development to mature that one day would supplant nuclear sources. We need energy evolution.

    • John -

      Clearly we need to maintain cheap and abundant energy in order to sustain our current economies and provide opportunities for humans to thrive across the world.

      Are you thinking of a comprehensive cost/benefit analysis there, considering what the full price of current energy would be with a full accounting for costs including: subsidies (of one form or another), known environmental and health impact of current energy sources, “opportunity cost” of not directing resources elsewhere/developing other energy sources, and geo-political costs of “maintaining cheap an abundant energy.”

      I take arguments about the importance of “maintain[ing] cheap and abundant energy” seriously – but I don’t know of any comprehensive attempts to cost-out what that looks like based on a full cost accounting for the current energy sources we currently have.

      Not that it suffices as a counter-argument to looking to nuclear as a part of a way forward, but I don’t see how to evaluate this statement:

      Similarly, imposing a strict mitigation strategy curtailing fossil fuel use without suitable cheap and abundant alternative sources would likely lead to economic disaster.

      w/o a full-cost accounting. How do you assess the likelihood of disaster without such an accounting?

      • rogercaiazza

        The full accounting arguments presume that there are all kinds of negative externalities but tend to ignore positive externalities. If fossil power is cheap enough that there are only x% households in fuel poverty (Wiki: In the UK, fuel poverty is said to occur when in order to heat its home to an adequate standard of warmth a household needs to spend more than 10% of its income to maintain an adequate heating regime), but the alternative carbon-free power increases the percentage of households by 10% there are negative consequences to not using fossil power. If you want to play that game then everything should be on the table.

      • The full accounting arguments presume that there are all kinds of negative externalities but tend to ignore positive externalities.

        I’m not arguing for any “presumptions.” I’m not advocating that anyone “ignore” positive (or negative) externalities.

        I don’t think it’s a game to say that you can’t argue about the cost of fossil fuels without a full accounting.

        but the alternative carbon-free power increases the percentage of households by 10% there are negative consequences to not using fossil power.

        Along those lines – that statement would be only be comprehensive contingent on whether you account for the reversal of any negative externalities associated with that 10% reduction in carbon-free power; (say 10% less harm from particulates), or positive externalities associated with the development of alternative fuels, (say the economic growth or employment associated with increased non-carbon powered public transportation).

        The problem, as I see it, is the abundance of facile arguments on both sides. It’s similar to the facile association of increased fossil fuel usage and increased standard of living w/o accounting for the influence of other factors that directly affect development such as increased civil rights, spending on education, etc.

      • rogercaiazza

        Joshua says “The problem, as I see it, is the abundance of facile arguments on both sides.”

        I agree with that and suspect that may complicate the attempt to fully account for costs too much for it to be practical.

      • I agree with that and suspect that may complicate the attempt to fully account for costs too much for it to be practical.

        No doubt it complicates the situation. I agree that the complexity of a full cost accounting is enormous. I agree it is unrealistic to expect a perfect accounting. But i am “skeptical” about arguments that an attempt is impractical; that argument seems to me to fit too nicely with a pro-fossil fuel agenda. Highly complex analysis is unavoidable in examining these issues. Seems to me the alternative to imperfect and more comprehensive is imperfect and less comprehensive analyses.

      • rogercaiazza

        I give you credit that at least you admit that full accounting is preferable but I have discussed this with others who won’t admit that there is another side to the externalities.The problem for pro-fossil fuel folks like me is that it is very likely that there won’t be a full accounting attempt only a one-sided agenda driven demonization of fossil fuel that will capture media attention. I agree that the cost benefit approach is necessary.

      • John Carpenter

        Joshua, speaking as a US citizen, clearly we have had almost no new energy policies since the 1980′s. Neither party has advanced creative new energy policies when they were in power. Currently, Obama has done nothing new of note, other than throw a lot of ‘stimulus’ money at ‘green energy’ companies. What has this to do with your question? Comprehensive cost/benefit analysis needs to be part of effective energy policy. I don’t know of any comprehensive cost/benefit analysis performed by any administration that is readily available… though I’m sure some have probably been done. I haven’t looked.

        “w/o a full-cost accounting. How do you assess the likelihood of disaster without such an accounting?”

        I said ‘likely’ for the reason that I can’t fully predict it to be so. Having said that, I don’t see how an aggressive CO2 mitigation strategy aimed at eliminating fossil fuel sources in a short time period wouldn’t have a noticeably negative economic impact if a suitable cheap abundant alternative is not ready. I don’t think it is unimaginable to believe energy prices would skyrocket if energy sources were reduced without replacement, that seems like simple supply and demand economics.

        Regardless, cost/benefit analysis has to be done.

      • Joshua,

        Utility companies do these analysis all the time. In fact they are usually required to do so by state regulators. That doesn’t stop politicians from short circuiting the process. Here in Washington we have mandates percentages for “renewable” generation, reaching 20% by 2020. Hydropower has legislatively been redesignated as “non-renewable”. The legislation ignores state least cost requirements that would otherwise apply. Even provides tax breaks.

        One result is that PUD’s who are already meeting their load needs with hydropower are being forced to “buy” wind generation in order to meet the “renewable” standard, even though there is a cost difference to them of 59 cents/kwh compared to 23 cents for hydro.

        It has also resulted in complaints to FERC and lawsuits by wind generators against BPA over curtailment during high flow periods, which generally coincide with high wind periods. So who exactly benefits from lawsuits and federal regulatory intervention? That is an externality that is quantifiable. Where are the numbers that quantify the cost of producing CO2?

    • John Carpenter,

      Excellent, balanced comment.

  79. A plan to open up science journals
    Cambridge’s Labtiva applies the iTunes sales approach to often costly research
    By Karen Weintraub
    October 08, 2012

    Science publishing today is much like the pre-iTunes days of music sales, when customers who wanted just one song from an artist had to buy a whole album.

    University libraries and companies have to buy yearlong subscriptions, called site licenses, to give ­researchers access to a handful of articles. But at several thousand dollars or more per subscription, even the richest libraries can’t ­afford to buy every scientific journal that’s published. And most researchers can’t justify the $30 to $50 single-article fee or the wait of weeks or months for an interlibrary loan.

    So, libraries pay for material they don’t need, researchers are unable to access scientific papers they do need, and publishers produce content their audience can’t afford.

    “I don’t think I’ve ever met a researcher who said they did not have an access problem,” said Sinisa Hrvatin, a PhD candidate in biology at Harvard University. “The market is not optimized.”

    Hrvatin and his college roommate, Robert McGrath, think they can solve the problem by incorporating an iTunes model of ­single sales. Reducing the cost of individual articles — with some restrictions to protect the publishing business — will help scientists keep up with research and help libraries hold down costs, say the pair, who have named their product ReadCube Access.

    So far, the two entrepreneurs, who are founders of a Cambridge company called Labtiva, have sold the ReadCube Access idea to the industry giant Nature Publishing Group and to the University of Utah’s library system, which started implementing it this fall.

    Researchers at the University of Utah can get access to individual journal articles in one of Nature’s 80 or so subscription-based publications, many of which Utah cannot afford to buy. The library is charged under $6 for articles researchers decide to rent for a limited time and $11 or less (depending on the publication) for articles they buy. Researchers cannot yet print out the articles, and much like with iTunes, they cannot share the content with colleagues.

    http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2012/10/07/start-readcube-program-uses-itunes-payment-model-for-access-scientific-articles/1UopCX1qfEE3uO2UEzuM7L/story.html?s_campaign=8315

  80. Apologies – the journal article article should have been in week in review.

  81. “the long-term picture of a profoundly changed Earth is clear” ??
    A profoundly changed Earth is NOT clear, profoundly change relative to when ?

  82. I want to acknowledge and extend my deep appreciation to NY Times’ Andy Revkin for having the courage to publish both my comments.

    1. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/05/whats-the-best-climate-question-to-debate/?comments#permid=75

    2. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/05/whats-the-best-climate-question-to-debate/?comments#permid=86

    His actions in ending censorship of unpopular scientific opinions may speed resolution of this tiresome debate about matters already clearly answered a hundred times by precise experimental data and observations.

    Thanks, Andy! All inhabitants of this water-covered planet are in the current mess together, and it is now in everyone’s best interest to decide transparently and promptly if Earth’s heat source is:

    a.) A stormy pulsar whose force extends out >100 AU from the Sun, or

    b.) The stable H-fusion reactor of post-1945 consensus science.

    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo
    http://omanuel.wordpress.com/

  83. Judy,

    Andy Revkin links to Michael Levi’s post, which ties the knot quite well:

    The basic problem is that climate policy faces at least two sets of big unknowns. The first concerns the climate itself: How much damage will a given accumulation of greenhouse gases cause? Will damages rise steadily with increasing concentrations – or are there thresholds beyond which impacts will rapidly multiply? In the presence of such unknowns, a push for robustness tends to mean a push for deeper emissions cuts, even if those might turn out to cost more than actual climate sensitivity ultimately justifies.

    The second set of unknowns surrounds the relationship between public policy and the energy system. We have little idea of which policies would actually succeed in delivering particular emissions reductions – and no, “capping” emissions doesn’t guarantee any particular outcome.

    Combining this source of uncertainty with the first one can quickly run you into trouble. Unknowns at the extremely ugly end of possible climate outcomes tend to drive policy toward big bets on large emissions reductions. But these sorts of bets, which take us the furthest away from past experience, are vulnerable to the biggest unknowns on the policy side. It’s difficult to completely escape this bind.

    http://blogs.cfr.org/levi/2012/10/05/how-can-we-cope-with-deep-climate-uncertainty/

    • Hey, Willard, What has happened to “The Curious Case of Jim Cripwell”? I have looked at Isaac held’s blog and haven’t seen anything yet.

      • Jim Cripwell,

        Here was his reply:

        > Doing this through an intermediary seems very awkward. He can always send me an e-mail with an exposition of his ideas and I will respond directly to him. I am not sure from skimming your links whether what he is getting at is semantic or physical. I talk about the arbitrariness in the definition of the no-feedback response on my blog in post #24.

        This was mine:

        > Of course, this is awkward. And the reward is quite thin. But that
        would be nice if you show up there and tell him so. Or if you email
        him directly. If you prefer not, I would understand. In that case, I’ll simply post your last email.

        So here I have.

        It’s easy to find his emain, ya know.

      • Willard. Thank you very much indeed for trying. I have never had any lick peersuading any blog owner to print my ideas, so I have pretty much given up trying.

        But it was very kind of you, indeed, to try to get publicity for me, and present my ideas to a wider audience.

      • Jim Cripwell,

        Grateful to obliged.

        You know, this is not about promoting your idea. This is to promote how to do science and how to settle scientific questions. You seem to claim that your interest lies on the side of science. I am at loss why you think coming up here and challenging patzers will help you settle anything.

        There is no need to have a formal definition of what science is to do science. All it takes for wants to play the science game play like scientists. You’re not playing like a scientist by coming up here: even Senior looks more like a peddler than a scientist when he comes to post his almost irrelevant drive-bys.

        Think of science as a game. I believe there is no accepted general definition of what a game is for human beings. That lack of definition does not prevent anyone to play games. Anyone can provide an existential proof of that statement, more so if are we playing a game right now.

        In my opinion, playing the scientific game entails seeking challenges for your theory by yourself. If you don’t have access to the publication process, the only strategy you have is to contact scientists and hope to get their interests.

        Even Girma tried it with Trenberth. I’m not sure where else he tried, and why really, but let’s not digress. Your theory can’t be worse than Girma’s curve fitting, can’t it?

        Let’s not that there is the scientific game and the scientist game. Here’s how to play the scientist game:

        http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/13157516404

        Let’s hope David Springer won’t spill any coffee by reading this.

      • David Springer’s dogs ate some words from this sentence:

        > All it takes for wants to play the science game play like scientists.

        It should read:

        > All it takes to play the science game is to play like scientists do.

        Or something like that.

        Let’s hope Latimer finds this sentence not too gnomic for his own satisfaction.

  84. My short list of debatable questions:
    1. Can we at least agree to pick low-hanging fruit wherever we can? For example, decouple lighting from heat production as much as possible (passive solar is good for this). Promote heating homes and water heaters with solar as much as possible, wherever it is cost-beneficial to do so? Make uses of carbon-based energy as efficient as possible, because no matter what you believe about the urgency of CAGW we are nowhere near to being able to give up on carbon-based energy sources even if everyone agreed that we should?
    2. Should we increase nuclear power? If so are we aware of the terrible costs of effing up (and are we capable of managing these risks?)
    3. Are we prepared to make large public investments in R&D for non-carbon based sources of energy? Private corporations which live or die on their quarterly financial reports can’t be expected to do this on the scale that it needs to be done. Are we capable of making a sustained, rational effort without letting politicians pervert it to favor their special interests? No more Solyndras? No more corn ethanol cronyism?

    • BobK,

      Your questions demonstrate an example of the thought process that are blocking progress. In effect, you are advocating “every little bit helps” and government intervention to make it happen.

      Well, no!. Both are wrong headed. “Every little bit helps” puts the focus on doing thigs that will have negligible effect. By so doing we do not focus on “every big bit helps”.

      Tackling light bulbs, energy efficiency and renewable energy are next to useless policies. They can have negligible impact. If you want to make an impact you have to make a cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels available to the whole world.

      The technology that can have by far the greatest impact is nuclear power. But your Q2 shows you oppose that. Therefore, you are opposing progress to cut global GHG emissions. Can it be any clearer?

  85. Judith asks:

    … in the context of the U.S. presidential debates …:

    While persistent and deep uncertainty surrounds the most important potential impacts from and responses to greenhouse-driven global warming, the long-term picture of a profoundly changed Earth is clear. What do you see as the best mix of achievable policies to limit environmental and economic regrets?

    The question asks us to accept the premise and to keep answers on topic. It also suggests the answer should be framed in the context of the US presidential election. I interpret the question is about what the USA could do to mitigate ‘greenhouse-gas driven global warming’. Therefore, the question is not about what some sort of idealistic but unrealistic global agreements could do to cut global emissions. It is not about Kyoto type agreements or what could, idealistically, be achieved from Copenhagen, Cancun, Durban and Rio+20 type meetings. So we are not talking about world agreements to price carbon or mandate renewable energy. We are just talking about what USA could do?

    I believe the USA could do more than any other country. Not by imposing bad policies that damage its own economy, but by leading the innovation of solutions for the world.

    Furthermore, I believe pragmatic solutions to cost effectively cut global greenhouse gas emissions are not blocked by technological limits. They are blocked by ideological beliefs and politics.

    Therefore, the US President, if properly informed and properly motivated, could lead the USA to provide the solution for the world.

    The solution requires, as a first step, removing the impediments that are preventing nuclear power from being a cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels.

    Once the USA removes the impediments that are preventing nuclear power from becoming a low cost, clean supplier of a large component of global energy, then the world can replace fossil fuels. It will take decades.

    The next US President could be more effective than any other person on this planet at starting the process.

    • Peter Lang

      I agree with your conclusion that the next US President can set the tone for the rest of the world by lifting all the hurdles and restrictions that new nuclear power generation plants in the USA face today. He could even set a goal to increase nuclear power from 20% of the total in the USA to 25% by the end of his term (a very ambitious goal IMO).

      This does not mean that those nations, whose populations and governments have already been scared out of their wits by decades of fear mongering against nuclear power by green lobby groups, etc. will follow suit right away. This conversion in places like Germany may take decades, possibly generations.

      So much for that premise.

      Your answer is correct.

      But the question as stated is NOT.

      While persistent and deep uncertainty surrounds the most important potential impacts from and responses to greenhouse-driven global warming, the long-term picture of a profoundly changed Earth is clear. What do you see as the best mix of achievable policies to limit environmental and economic regrets?

      As you write: “The question asks us to accept the premise and to keep answers on topic.”

      But it is a loaded question. IOW it is not a logical one. Therefore, it is not possible to give a logical answer.

      It’s just like if I asked you:

      While persistent and deep uncertainty surrounds the most important potential impacts from and responses to an imminent invasion of Earth by extraterrestrials, the long-term picture of such an invasion is clear. What do you see as the best mix of achievable policies to limit future regrets?

      No logical way to answer that by accepting the premise and keeping the answer on topic, is there?

      Max

      • Manacker,

        I agree with all you say in this comment. However, perhaps I need to state my agenda for the benefit of other readers.

        My agenda is to find a way to make progress on improving human wellbeing world wide while accepting there are irreconcilable differences about ‘greenhouse-driven global warming’ and its consequences.

        The reality is that the skeptics of CAGW will not convince the alarmists they are wrong and nor will warmists convince skeptics they are wrong anytime soon. Another reality is that ‘ Progressives’ (CAGW Alarmists mostly) have been delaying progress on energy matters for 50 years. One important example of how ‘Progressives’ are delaying progress is they have been and still are delaying the world from having the benefit of an energy source that is 20,000 to 2 million times more energy dense than fossil fuels, and much safer. It is needed if the world’s standard of living and human well being is to improve as fast as possible.

        The world can have what the alarmists say they want – reduced CO2 emissions – and have a vastly more energy dense, and safer, source of energy. This will provide the world with the opportunity to make another leap forward in standard of living and human wellbeing as happened each previous time the world found a more energy dense source of energy. Previous times were when man learnt to control fire, domesticated animals to pull a plough and pump water, learnt to use wood and charcoal to smelt and later to drive engines, then coal, then oil and gas. These previous increases in energy density were small compared with the leap from fossil fuels to nuclear power.

        So, my agenda is to advocate an economically rational policy that should give the CAGW alarmists what they say they want, as well as give the world an opportunity to improve its standard of living and human wellbeing faster than will happen with the economically damaging policies being advocated by the CAGW alarmists (such as carbon pricing and renewable energy).

        Max, I would like to clarify one thing were I’d advocate a slightly different approach than you wrote in your comment. You said:

        I agree with your conclusion that the next US President can set the tone for the rest of the world by lifting all the hurdles and restrictions that new nuclear power generation plants in the USA face today. He could even set a goal to increase nuclear power from 20% of the total in the USA to 25% by the end of his term (a very ambitious goal IMO).

        I agree with all that, but it is not what I see as the most important thing the US President could do. I suggest the most important things the next US President could do to promote a leap forward that will benefit of the whole world most are:

        1. Make it very clear in his speeches that nuclear power is good for the world – lead the US citizens to agree they need to support development of nuclear power.

        2. Direct that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) be changed from top to bottom. A revolutionary change is needed not an evolutionary change. The NRC needs to change its focus from being only on safety to being first and foremost on providing low cost energy (the cost of energy includes the cost of safety just as it does in any other industry). I suspect it is near impossible to change the culture of a bureaucracy like NRC to the extent required so the practical solution might be improve it for regulating the Gen 3 (water moderated) reactors and establish a totally new NRC for Gen 4 reactors.

        3. My most important point is that making it easier to build the current generation of nuclear power plants in USA is of limited hep to most of the rest of the world. The Gen 3 nuclear power plants are too big for most electricity grids in the world. What I would like to see USA do is to focus on making small, modular nuclear power plants cost competitive with fossil fuels. Below I list some reasons why I advocate the USA should focus on developing small nuclear power plants that are suitable for use throughout the whole world.

        Here is how we could get to low cost nuclear:

        We need as much competition as possible. Competition improves the technology and reduces costs. We need competition from companies in the manufacturing countries – USA, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Russia, China. Korea, Japan – building small modular nuclear power plants on production lines like aircraft. Small is essential for several reasons:

        a. only small power plants can fit easily into most electricity grids around the world
        b. small units can be ordered ‘just in time’, once demand is assured
        c. small can be constructed and installed quickly, thus reducing investor risks
        d. small can be built in factories, shipped to site, returned to factory for refuelling
        e. small can be manufactured on production lines like aircraft, turned out rapidly and with good quality control
        f. small leads to faster rate of improvement because more are manufactured and lessons learned are built into the next model more quickly.
        g. More competition between more manufacturers leads to faster rate of improvement

        Examples of small modular nuclear reactors here (see also the ones accessible from the left margin):http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/advanced/hyperion.html

  86. Yikes, me reply ter Climate Weenie,8/10 11.30 am posted on wrong thread,
    ‘Weak’ in Review (

  87. The best question to debate ?

    It depends who with. With the climate deniers on CE it doesn’t really matter. It’s a bit like fighting Zombies. You can’t kill them – they are already dead and if you do succeed with one, there’s always another of the undead climbing out of the grave to have a go at you.

    They’ll shift from one argument to another, and then right back to the first one again, even when their argument has been shown to be incorrect.

    http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8177/8069906661_d34796f648.jpg

    • temp,

      killing zombies is not a particularly challenging task. The tools are readily available and with proven capability.

      well, I guess that is no longer the case down under -

  88. Life affirmation Tempterrain, is about celebration of human creativity, freedom, human development of critical thinking and impartial rule of law, by human ingenuity and laughter. It’s expressed through the Greek chorus in Antigone, a play about freedom of choice, through Socrates’ questionning of entrenched authority and by the mores of the *open society,* parliamentary and market economy system, tempterrain. It is most certainly not yer ‘zombie undead’. I would not even wish ter label authoritarian followers of oracle shamen on the hill ‘zombie undead’… the term is repellant. Tsk.

    • Beth Cooper

      Aw, c’mon Beth. Take it easy on poor tempterrain.

      He’s got an overactive imagination coupled with an underactive sense of logic.

      Plus, he’s basically a scaredy-cat, who sees hobgoblins, bogeymen and (yes) even zombies around every corner, all working against his vision of a socially just world.

      Try to cheer him up with one of your poems.

      Max

  89. Do nothing except what local conditions warrant. Basing anything on predictions with the miserable qualifications of the GCMs is inane.

    • Chief

      The list compiled by Bjørn Lomborg makes sense (on a global basis).

      The US President might see some other higher US priorities, but neither his list, nor Lomborg’s has “cutting GHG emissions to avert climate disaster” on it.

      Interestingly, even the UN Development Programme list does not include mitigation of AGW. Wonder what happened?

      Max

      • It’s been combined into general mitigation of fossil fuel use, driven by he growing difference between the haves and the have-nots. And the haves have a lot to be concerned about.

      • David L. Hagen

        manacker
        Per Springer’s reproof, my apologies for my rudeness and missing the forest for the first tree on your “there ain’t no mo” response at Rebuilding Public Trust. Please see my detailed reply to your substance.

        On the Copenhagen Consensus, one year’s interest on Obama’s $5 trillion more debt would have paid for ALL the top 16 global humanitarian projects – and what did we get for that enormous sum into government with the debt on our children?
        Time to restore ethical stewardship in government.

        Note that Lomborg et al. document how research into sustainable energy will likely be the most effective way to invest in the future, with mitigating greenhouse gases at the bottom of the list. See their publications on Climate.

      • David Springer

        According to the administration what we got for our $5 trillion was avoiding a collapse of the world financial system so we got a severe recession instead of circa 1929 global depression.

        Entirely speculative of course. We can’t go back in time and see what the consquences would have been if our government had not borrowed $5 trillion and spent it like a drunken sailor. So don’t shoot the messenger. I’m just giving the stock answer you’d get if you asked a liberal economist.

      • “Note that Lomborg et al. document how research into sustainable energy will likely be the most effective way to invest in the future, with mitigating greenhouse gases at the bottom of the list. “

        The mitigation strategy is exactly the same for replacing fossil fuels as for reducing greenhouse gases ⇶ reduce reliance on fossil fuels by going to sustainable energy!

        Can it be any more simple than this?

        Of course it can’t get any simpler, yet this is not within the realm of the fake skeptics world-view, who have a different underlying agenda at their core.

        I wonder what that agenda could be?

        Whatever the agenda, mitigating greenhouse gases by association goes to the top of the list ⇶ ⇶ reducing reliance on fossil fuels !

        I like logic.

      • David Springer

        re; Lomborg

        Completely agree with you. CO2 mitigation shouldn’t even be on the list of things that need to be done until it can be demonstrated that the known benefits of higher atmospheric CO2, as well as the lower cost of energy production when CO2 emission is not subject to constraint, are outweighed by the imagined negatives. In other words the maxim “If it isn’t broken don’t try to fix it” is apt. We know plenty of things that are actually broken and the cost/benefit of fixing them. Lomborg lists many such known problems which should, in any sane analysis, have priority over CO2 mitigation.

      • David Hagen

        No problem – no offense.

        I just replied to both you and David Springer on the other thread.

        Don’t think our views on this are that far apart.

        Max

        PS Agree that the US needs a change of direction before it goes down the same path as Greece. This will most likely require a change of government – but that will be up to US voters.

    • Web Hub Telescope

      Reduce dependency on (imported) fossil fuels (balance of payments, reliance on potentially unfriendly or unstable nations as suppliers, high cost at the pump, all problems as seen from US viewpoint):
      - encourage nuclear power generation (cut red tape)
      - encourage energy savings and improved efficiency projects (tax breaks)
      - encourage basic research into new (non fossil fuel) resources (subsidies)
      - encourage imports from friendly neighbor, Canada (Keystone pipeline)
      - encourage local oil and gas exploration (“drill, baby, drill”)
      - encourage “clean coal” projects (tax incentives)
      - set goal to become energy independent within ten years

      This course will have the side benefit that it will result in a long-term slowdown of fossil fuel combustion and CO2 generation – and a continuation or even acceleration of the current improvement rate of the “carbon efficiency” of the USA (GDP generated per ton of CO2 emitted).

      Are we on the same track here?

      Max

    • Chief Hydrologist

      The US committed to the Millennium Development Goals and increasing aid to 0.7% of GDP. Not even close. Nor is Australia’s aid btw.

      There are many carbon mitigation outcomes that emerge from development – reducing population pressures, greater capacity to invest in better technology and in ecosystem conservation and restoration, improved farming techniques.

      But the great improvements come not from aid but in fostering free markets supported by democracy, the rule of law and good governance. One of the problems is that energy is not cheap or abundant enough from conventional sources to meet global development aspirations. We need new and cheaper sources of energy (and not limits and higher costs) to meet development goals – and there are dozens of potentially viable technologies.

      The most effective – and certainly the most cost-effectve – means of taking carbon from the atmosphere is also the best means of feeding the world, conserving and building the soil resource, conserving water and conserving environments and biodiversity.

      http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/cropsystems/components/7402_02.html

      ‘The problem’ is not a problem of carbon in the atmosphere as such but in seeing ‘the problem’ in such a narrow focus that solutions are limited.

      Part of the solution to be forged this century is in new ways of managing the global commons – ways that go beyond the business/government duality to inclusive and informed networks.

      It is a geo-political neccessity for the US.

      http://csis.org/files/publication/twq10julydenmark.pdf

  90. Yesterday, I posted a question to be considered which I thought was reasonably provocative.
    @@@
    Should the world commit economic suicide by reducing our consumption of cheap fossil fuels on the basis of the hypothesis of CAGW, when we know that there is absolutely no empirical data whatsoever to support this hypothesis?
    @@@
    I was very pleased to see that this idea received quite a lot of aupport. However, I notice that none of the denizens of Climate Etc. who are proponents of CAGW have challenged my claim that “we know that there is absolutely no empirical data whatsoever to support this hypothesis (CAGW)?”
    Putting this another way, are there any proponents of CAGW who have the scientific integrity to agree that this statement is correct? I suspect not.

  91. David Springer

    willard (@nevaudit) | October 8, 2012 at 7:20 pm |

    David Springer,

    Once we establish the physical basis of what CO2 does, we could follow up by looking at its biogeochemistry, one of the chapter Latimer Adler might have glimpsed, if only because his alleged background in chemistry:

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch7.html

    Online bitch-slapping does not hurt much. In fact, I see no reason for you to motivate me to drop citation after citation of documents you’re supposed to have read. Quotes will soon follow.

    —————————————————————————————-

    I’m waiting for those quotes. What’s the hold up?

  92. David Springer

    Curry writes: “This [What do you see as the best mix of achievable policies to limit environmental and economic regrets?] is a very good question to ponder, its at the heart of the climate policy debate.”

    It’s a bogus question as it presupposes regretful consequences. The classic illustration of this logical fallacy is “Do you still beat your wife?”.

    See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loaded_question

    • David Springer,

      While trying to find a good page for the expression “for argument’s sake”, which you seem to conflate with a petitio principi, I stumbled upon this essay which seems meant for you.

      The title is For Argument’s Sake; Why Do We Feel Compelled to Fight About Everything?

      A random quote:

      > Smashing heads does not open minds. In this as in so many things, results are also causes, looping back and entrapping us. The pervasiveness of warlike formats and language grows out of, but also gives rise to, an ethic of aggression: We come to value aggressive tactics for their own sake — for the sake of argument. Compromise becomes a dirty word, and we often feel guilty if we are conciliatory rather than confrontational — even if we achieve the result we’re seeking.

      http://www9.georgetown.edu/faculty/tannend/argsake.htm

      As if the author knew your act.

  93. Which CO2 physical properties can warm the atmosphere?

  94. Professor Bob Ryan

    My question for what it’s worth is as follows: ‘what is the optimum global temperature required to support a population of 9bn in thirty year’s time?

  95. Okay, Max, I mean Max _at not OK, lol,
    I’ll send tempt one of me short poems, that’ll do him… Hope yer don’t find the last line too worying tt ?

    Showers came,and the web became
    A tiny galaxy strung with crystal spheres,
    Filaments of light in suspended orbit
    Around the lurking shadow at its hub.

  96. what about…

    ” where is the evidence that the warming since the LIA is not wholly or mainly natural, given that the earth’s temperature is well within its centennial behaviour?”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Holocene_Temperature_Variations.png

    or “how does current temperature compare with the last 12000 years and is current warming anomalous statistically?”

  97. or

    “why do we suppose several degrees warming would be bad rather than good?”

    “if there is no ‘best’ temperature, can the earth’s population just take a vote on which direction they’d be happiest with temperature moving in?” – i vote warmer summers and colder, more snowy winters (UK)

  98. Revkin writes: “While persistent and deep uncertainty surrounds the most important potential impacts from and responses to greenhouse-driven global warming, the long-term picture of a profoundly changed Earth is clear. ”

    Clear to whom? Utterly without foundation except in the most general (hence meaningless) ways…which is to say that the earth is always changing in profound ways. The connection between any long term change and Co2 emissions is far from established. How do these people get away with this stuff?

  99. A comparison of tropical temperature trends with model
    predictions

    We have tested the proposition that greenhouse model simulations and trend observations can be reconciled. Our conclusion is that the present evidence, with the application of a robust statistical test, supports rejection of this proposition. (The use of tropical tropospheric temperature trends as a metric for this test is important, as this region represents the CEL and provides a clear signature of the trajectory of the climate system under enhanced greenhouse forcing.) On the whole, the evidence indicates that model trends in the troposphere are very likely inconsistent with observations that indicate that, since 1979, there is no significant long-term amplification factor relative to the surface. If these results continue to be supported, then future projections of temperature change, as depicted in the present suite of climate models, are likely too high.

    In summary, the debate in this field revolves around the idea of discrepancy in surface and tropospheric trends in the tropics where vertical convection dominates heat transfer. Models are very consistent, as this article demonstrates, in showing a significant difference between surface and tropospheric trends, with tropospheric temperature trends warming faster than the surface. What is new in this article is the determination of a very robust estimate of the magnitude of the model trends at each atmospheric layer. These are compared with several equally robust updated estimates of trends from observations which disagree with trends from the models.
    The last 25 years constitute a period of more complete and accurate observations and more realistic modeling efforts. Yet the models are seen to disagree with the observations. We suggest, therefore, that projections of future climate based on these models be viewed with much caution.

    http://www.pas.rochester.edu/~douglass/papers/Published%20JOC1651.pdf

    • On the whole, the evidence indicates that model trends in the troposphere are very likely inconsistent with observations that indicate that, since 1979, there is no significant long-term amplification factor relative to the surface.

      Translation:

      The suite of climate models that Western academia provide to us have been made de facto fortunetellers depicting what many of us believe to be a failed forecast of disastrous climate change calamity caused by industrial man in general and America in particular and I think such global warming fearmongers, really require a willing suspension of disbelief.”

  100. To put Web in the picture, the root cause of most climate skepticism was the dawning realization that most climate alarmism was driven by agendas other than the actual climate – typically a desire for a more totalitarian society with more taxes and so on. Or, in his own case, apparently some anti-fossil-fuel-corporation mania, which then pushes forward his reams of motivated logic here.

    • As with most of the denizens here, Vassily, you appear to fit well with the conclusions of Lewandowsky et al:

      …endorsement of a laissez-faire conception of free-market economics predicts rejection of climate science…

      interestingly

      ……Endorsement of the free market also predicted the rejection of other established scientific findings, such as the facts that HIV causes AIDS and that smoking causes lung cancer.

      Looking forward to you treating us to the rest of your oeuvre of rejectionism.

      • VTG fits the description of a warming alarmist that advocates implementing ideas with no knowledge what the proposals he advocates will accomplish except that they will cost more for many people alive today.

        Try to be realistic and practical and to not be untruthful in your generalizations

      • Rob, interested in what is untruthful? I would generalise that most denizens here are very strongly free markets driven. Lewandowsky predicts rejection of science as a result, and we certainly see most people here reject the science. Where’s the lack of truth?

      • Rob -

        In reading comments here and other locations around the “skeptosphere,” do you doubt that there is a strong correlation between rather extremist libertarian (or libertarian-like) ideology and climate “skepticism?”

        I’m not saying that it is a causal relationship (I suspect that both attributes are attributed to a different “cause,” although libertarian ideology may be a moderator or mediator in the actual causal relationship). And the correlation isn’t as strong outside the blogosphere (although there, also, there is a strong correlation between political ideology and views on climate change), and the existence of a correlation doesn’t really say anything about the science, but surely you see that there is a correlation.

        Don’t you?

      • VTG

        Attempting to link the positions of people on policies towards the climate and the positions of other people regarding the cause of AIDS or yet other peoples position regarding smoking is untruthful.

      • Joshua
        I would personally not think it is appropriate to generalize the beliefs of all people who might describe themselves as libertarian.

        To play a thought game with you, if you accept the definition of a libertarian as someone who generally favors as small and efficient of a government as is reasonably practical to do the job that has been assigned to it, then I would agree that those with this viewpoint would be skeptical of increasing the size, roll, or cost of the government unless or until there was clear evidence that there was a need for the government to take action.

        In the case of climate related proposed actions, I can understand that those who might call themselves libertarians would feel that there is very poor fidelity regarding what harms (for the USA) we are trying to stop, and what benefits will come to the US taxpayer in the event the actions sometimes proposed are implemented. What I have difficulty understanding is why everyone, regardless of political viewpoint; does not ask these same questions before advocating implementing an action.

      • Rob -

        I would personally not think it is appropriate to generalize the beliefs of all people who might describe themselves as libertarian.

        I agree. I’m not talking about generalizing the beliefs of “all people” who have any particular self-identified ideology.

        To play a thought game with you, if you accept the definition of a libertarian as someone who generally favors as small and efficient of a government as is reasonably practical to do the job that has been assigned to it, …

        I am not a libertarian, yet I share that set of beliefs. The difference between me and many of those who self-identify as libertarian lies in how we reach conclusions based on that set of beliefs. For example, I have met many libertarians who object to progressive taxation to pay for various services, who think that there should be basically no federal spending on infrastructure like roads or public transportation, or public education. Although I favor a small and efficient government, I do not think that it entails such extreme measures w/r/t federal spending.

        What I have difficulty understanding is why everyone, regardless of political viewpoint; does not ask these same questions before advocating implementing an action.

        Just because someone doesn’t share your conclusions about those questions does not mean that they don’t ask the questions.

        It seems to me that you framed your answer in such a way as to avoid directly answering the question I asked. Please read my question again, and if so inclined, provide a more direct answer.

      • Joshua

        You write that you “have met many libertarians who object to progressive taxation to pay for various services, who think that there should be basically no federal spending on infrastructure like roads or public transportation, or public education.”

        Interestingly, I am in Texas today and discussed what you wrote with several people here who consider themselves to be libertarian. None of them felt those were libertarian viewpoint generally held and they considered people taking those viewpoint as extreme (one used the term nutcase). I do not consider what you wrote to be other than an EXTREME libertarian position. A high percentage of extreme positions are unsupportable upon closer review.

      • Rob

        Attempting to link the positions of people on policies towards the climate and the positions of other people regarding the cause of AIDS or yet other peoples position regarding smoking is untruthful.

        It might be offensive, unpalatable, distressing even, but it’s not untruthful. It’s backed up by measured evidence.

        Also, specifically on smoking, you’ll note that the same organisations and in some cases, even the same people, fought the war against tobacco science that are now engaged in the campaign against climate science.

      • VTG
        You appear to be acting untruthfully by writing that people who are skeptical that proposed climate mitigation actions make sense are the same as people or of the same type who did not believe that AIDS is caused by HIV, or that smoking did not cause cancer. It is an unfortunate attempt to wrongly generalize people’s positions and thereby somehow to strengthen the support of your beliefs. It is untruthful, because you have little to no objective data to support your stated conclusion and you know that.

        The evidence in each of the situations was completely different and people’s positions should be evaluated based upon the evidence upon which they based their conclusion. I challenge you to answer the 3 questions I asked earlier in this thread. Maybe we can actually address specific issues

      • It is untruthful, because you have little to no objective data to support your stated conclusion and you know that.

        Again, no, it is not untruthful. I referenced a scientific paper which shows clear evidence that both positions are predicted by an attachment to free market economic ideology.

        This does NOT mean, of course that everyone who is a free market libertarian automatically rejects climate science, tobacco science or AIDS science. But it does mean that is is more likely that they will compared to the general population.

        An inconvenient truth.

      • Rob –

        As just a few examples, Ron Paul – probably the most prominent libertarian in the country – wants to eliminate income taxes. He says that government-funded research (e.g., the money spent on AIDS research) is a “waste of money.” He opposes anti-trust legislation. He would overturn the Civil Rights act of 1964. He’s against the licensing of doctors. He said that recent hostilities between North and South Korea were possibly orchestrated by the Obama administration to to “boost the dollar.”

        Ask your libertarian acquaintances about those views also. Now maybe they think that Ron Paul is a “nutcase” – but he’s probably representative of a fairly large group of libertarians.

      • ” …endorsement of a laissez-faire conception of free-market economics predicts rejection of climate science…”

        That’s what Lewandowsky says, but McIntyre suspects a lot of free-market endorsers are actually sneaky greenies just pretending to be free-marketers and saying outrageous things so they can make the public think climate science skeptics are fools. There may be a few of those posting here at Climate, etc.

      • The only people sneaky greenies are likely to convince that free-market endorsements are foolish, are other greenies ever more stupid and ignorant than themselves.

        And I don’t think McIntyre takes that view of free-market endorsements in general, even though he himself is not particularly freedom-oriented. That’s probably just another Lewandowski pal-reviewed ‘fact’.

      • Bated,

        you misunderstand the research entirely. It says nothing of the foolishness or otherwise of freemarket libertarianism, it merely points out that following that ideology is a predictor scientific rejectionism.

      • Max
        I wasn’t commenting on Lewadowski’s ‘research’, but on what what you (wrongly) said McIntyre said about it.

      • Max_OK

        ‘Fess up, Okie.

        U one of them guys that’s tryin’ ta make climuht a-lar-mists look stoopid?

        If so shame on U.

        Max_not from OK

      • Very Tall Guy

        Does that mean that “anti-libertarian” (i.e. “socialistic”) mindset is a predictor of scientific gullibility?

        Just checking.

        Max

      • manacker said on October 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm
        Max_OK

        ‘Fess up, Okie.
        ___________

        Damn ! Where’s my check from Fartland ?

      • Not that you are likely to take it Max, but a piece of advice.

        Relying on the Lewandowski paper in any discussion is a sure fire way to classify yourself as either gulliable or of an idiological bent that is highly susceptable to believe in any report that supports your preconceptions, no matter how badly done or of such low scholarly standards.

        If Professor Lewandowski had any professional integrity he would be back pedaling as fast and as far as possible from his paper. Eating a little crow is a small price to pay for one’s integrity, assuming one has some in the first place.

      • VTG,

        How about rejection of these “theories” or threats:

        ALAR,

        Killer Bees,

        Acid Rain,

        SARS,

        Ozone hole

        Time has shown how deadly and harmful these all were. Uh, wait a minute. Time hasn’t shown this at all.

      • VTG,

        Kudos for coming up with the funniest comment of the day.

        I’m referring to this gem:

        “I referenced a scientific paper which shows clear evidence that both positions are predicted by an attachment to free market economic ideology.”

        I’d have been lucky not to get a D from the Brothers back in High School had I submitted work the quality of Prof Lewandowski’s recent paper, let alone at a college or grad school level.

        Go ahead and refer to it as often as you want. It’s only your credability at risk.

      • btw, do you guys know that Lewandowski’s faked results were so bad, it turns out that actually CAGW *believers* are actually more prone to dispute the lunar landings etc. Not by much, but still.

    • This would be the Lewandowsky report that was fabricated from start to finish.

      • Vassily,

        Lewandowsky prediction: you would reject scientific findings.

        Your summary of his peer reviewed scientific paper:

        fabricated from start to finish.

        Priceless.

      • VTG

        Do you “believe” in “peer review”?

        (If so, see my previous post.)

        Max

    • Indeed Lewandowsky himself fits the model exactly. His parade of lies is rooted in his position as state employee and statist ideologue.

      • I suggest an automatic weapon. Shooting yourself in the foot is much easier that way.

      • Indicates a lack of familiarity with weapons.

        What else do you like to comment on without having any substantive knowledge?

  101. Pacific eases further away from El Niño thresholds

    The chance of El Niño developing in 2012 has reduced over the past fortnight. The tropical Pacific continued its retreat from El Niño thresholds for the second consecutive fortnight (i.e., ocean temperatures cooled), remaining within the neutral range (neither El Niño nor La Niña). Other ENSO indicators such as the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) and tropical cloud patterns have persisted at neutral levels since late July.
    Given the rate of ocean cooling, and the continued neutral conditions in the atmosphere, the chance of an El Niño developing in 2012 has reduced further over the past fortnight. However, some risk still remains while the trade winds in the western Pacific continue to be weaker than normal. Climate models surveyed by the Bureau of Meteorology have increased their chances of sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean remaining at neutral levels, though still warmer than average, for the remainder of 2012.

    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/

    • This current “head fake” with the rather weak to non-existent El Nino is consistent with the continuing cool phase of the PDO. However, one should be very careful in thinking about what this means for overall ocean heat content. El Nino’s are periods where in general more heat is tranferred from ocean to troposphere. A weaker or ENSO neutral period simply means the oceans are keeping more of their energy, and in fact, ocean heat content has been growing in the central to western Pacific at depths below the surface as shown in the latest ENSO weekly report:

      [IMG]http://i45.tinypic.com/qz2bye.jpg[/IMG]

  102. 1. “Mr. President, how much funds were spent in all different departments of government to limit global climate change under your administration, and how much change in global temperatures did you achieve?”

    2. ‘Mr. Romney, how much funds will you spend in all different departments of government to limit global climate change, and how much change in global temperatures do you expect to achieve?”

  103. tempterrain

    You were kind enough to post a cartoon.

    Let me post you mine.

    http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8314/8071288241_100fe82a9d_b.jpg

    Cheers!

    Max

  104. “Global warming and Mann have been worth millions of grant dollars and lots of publicity for Penn State. But one would think the institution’s integrity is worth more.”

    ~Steve Milloy

    • I’d never heard of Steven Milloy. To me integrity is very important and skepticism is vital. Let’s apply both to Milloy via the magic of google, shall we?

      In January 2006, Paul D. Thacker, a journalist who specializes in science, medicine and environmental topics, reported in The New Republic that Milloy has received thousands of dollars in payments from the Phillip Morris company since the early nineties, and that NGOs controlled by Milloy have received large payments from ExxonMobil

      In 1999, David Platt Rall, a prominent environmental scientist, died in a car accident. Steven Milloy, at the time a Cato adjunct scholar, commented: “Scratch one junk scientist….

      refs sourcewatch, wiki

      Integrity my arse.

      • David Wojick

        Steve Milloy got paid to do science and policy analysis regarding the second hand smoke issue and CAGW. Penn State did a cover up. There is a difference.

      • Penn State has an Integrity Crisis so you attack Steve Milloy, founder and publisher of JunkScience.com. Shocker.

      • You chose to quote him. I’d never even heard of the guy. Doesn’t sound very rational though.

      • That Penn State’s. integrity you’d thing woudl be worth more?

  105. Willis Eschenbach

    Steven Mosher | October 9, 2012 at 2:08 am

    How do you know when Willis has no argument?
    He cites lincoln.

    Oh, please, your nastiness is uncalled for, particularly when you are simply making things up. You claim that the issue was that Jones lost the data, which was never the problem:

    [Jones] lost data that others gave him. … Let’s put it in perspective. Lucia lost a hard drive and some mails. Nobody gives her grief. I’ve misplaced a bunch of papers and data over the last 5 years. Nobody gives me grief. Jones misplaced data or failed to preserve data that others gave to him. And you want to crucify him.

    Learn to read, Steven. As I said above, the issue is not that he lost data. That’s just your puerile claim. You keep trying to pretend that data loss was the problem with Jones’s actions. Data loss was not the problem, you know it was not the problem, and yet you still are claiming it was. Fortunately for us, repeating your ludicrous claim doesn’t make it true.

    The problems were that a) Jones lied about losing the data and gamed the FOI system to avoid revealing the data loss, b) his friends lied to cover it up, c) when the lies were discovered, very few mainstream scientists were willing to say anything negative about his actions, and d) the investigations of his actions were a pathetic joke.

    Or to quote my exact words from above, which you seem incapable of either reading or responding to:

    The big problem wasn’t that he had only a small number of records and had lost the rest … although assuredly the guardian of the records losing the records is indeed a problem.

    The larger problem was that he was (and still appears to be ) willing to lie and cheat to keep anyone from finding out that he had lost the records. Not only that, but his friends were willing to lie and cheat to cover up Jones’s sins of omission and commission.

    Finally, when it was all revealed, almost no mainstream climate scientists had the balls to comment on those transgressions. Instead they were all off pondering crucial questions like “How about those Yankees, you think they’ll win the pennant?”.

    And those, my dear Steven, are HUGE issues that have led to the deserved discrediting of an entire branch of science … a discrediting that will be extremely difficult to repair.

    So how about you deal with the real issues, and stop your unsustainable pretense that the issue was Jones losing data? You lose data, Lucia and I lose data, everyone loses data.

    But not everyone lies to avoid a Freedom of Information request.

    w.

    • “You keep trying to pretend that data loss was the problem with Jones’s actions.”

      But we were told repeatedly by climate skeptics that the lost data was a big problem: that the basis of “global warming theory” had been lost and other such nonsense. As one example of thousands here is Patrick Michael’s take at NationalReview:

      “Imagine if there were no reliable records of global surface temperature. Raucous policy debates such as cap-and-trade would have no scientific basis, Al Gore would at this point be little more than a historical footnote, and President Obama would not be spending this U.N. session talking up a (likely unattainable) international climate deal in Copenhagen in December. Steel yourself for the new reality, because the data needed to verify the gloom-and-doom warming forecasts have disappeared.”
      http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/228291/dog-ate-global-warming/patrick-j-michaels

      Funny how you and your pals have not a whisper to say about the actions of those such as Patrick Micheal’s on the subject of this lost data. There’s never an audit of their articles is there….

      Even though from what you’ve said you must agree Patrick Micheal’s claims about the significance of the lost data are hideously wrong and so by extension the VERY dramatic conclusion he spreads will misinform anyone reading them. That’s whether Patrick Micheal’s is aware of what he’s done or not.

      All your efforts are trained on Phil Jones, despite you admitting the lost data was irrelevant.

      So what did Phil Jones do then? How did he misinform people? Well he didn’t did he. All he did was not admit some irrelevant data was lost. The only substantial thing that did is prevent Patrick Micheals and co from “using” that fact as they did. So if say Phil Jones did it precisely for that reason, it would fall under “white lie” category.

      In comparison I wonder what category Patrick Micheal’s actions on the matter fall under.

      • iolwot

        You missed out the next crucial sentences.

        ‘Or so it seems. Apparently, they were either lost or purged from some discarded computer. Only a very few people know what really happened, and they aren’t talking much. And what little they are saying makes no sense.”
        The rest of the article then provides context. I quite like Phil jones’s work, in fact one of his books is on my Christmas present list (hint)
        The basic point as I understand it from Willis was that Jones deliberately avoided responding to a FOI request.
        tonyb

    • Steven Mosher

      Willis.

      was responding to a poster who claimed that Jones had lost the data

      OF COURSE I will discuss the data loss. like DUH!

      “The problems were that a) Jones lied about losing the data and gamed the FOI system to avoid revealing the data loss, b) his friends lied to cover it up, c) when the lies were discovered, very few mainstream scientists were willing to say anything negative about his actions, and d) the investigations of his actions were a pathetic joke.

      A) he didnt game the FOIA system to avoid revealing the data loss. We have no evidence that is why he gamed the system. Its far more likely that he decided to game the system BEFORE HE EVEN CHECKED for the the data.

      B) His friends lied to cover up? And this says what about Jones?
      You best be careful about friends lying to protect friends. It will
      not end well.
      C) Agreed. And this says nothing about Jones or his data “loss”

      D) Agreed. And this says nothing about the data loss.

      The OP asked about the data loss. I answered. You cited lincoln because you have no words or ideas of your own on the issue at hand.

      get it. you used a simple question to get on your soap box and crow bar your issues into the subject. I hit you with your crowbar. Next time, leave it in the toolbox

  106. Curiuos George

    Climate is an extremely complex and a poorly understood system. Our best course of action today is NO ACTION. Rather. let’s attempt to understand the climate better. Here the action is: better computers, better software, better data.

  107. Julian Flood

    quote
    What do you see as the best mix of achievable policies to limit environmental and economic regrets?
    unquote

    Policy one: get the science right, or at least as right as possible, certainly righter than it is at the moment. To this end, try to ensure that the ‘handwaving adjustments’ of AR4 are addressed: it is not good enough to leave the error bounds so wide on clouds and aerosols that they provide a get out of jail free card for sloppy modelling. This will reduce the number of climate models which can be tweaked to fit the data and will mean we have a better idea of the crisis, if crisis there is. The IPCC system is not adequate as it fails to direct climate science to where the puzzles are.

    Policy 2: we will eventally need non-fossil fuel power generation even if the CO2 bogeyman turns out to be a will o’ the wisp. Research and pre-produce new technology so that we are ready when the time comes.

    Policy 3: suspend all manipulation of the price of power. This will encourage development in the 3rd world and bring up their standard of living, the surest way to limit population growth. Fewer people in the future will ensure that the problem, if it exists, will be more controllable.

    Policy 4: wait. Wait until you know what’s going on before e.g. introducing mercury lighting or hacking down the rainforests for biofuels, Wait until you know you are not storing up greater problems in the future.

    JF
    Oh, yes, try some blue sky research. Fill a tanker with oil and/or surfactant and spill it on the ocean. Watch the water warm… measure oil spill down the rivers… quantify the extra warming around polluted runoff… etc rave froth.. Kriegsmarine effect… burble…

    • Julian

      I would like to amplify your point 2. We need renewable energy if only to ensure energy security in both senses of the word.

      The world funded CERN which has a fairly nebulous concept at its heart. Far more useful would be to fund an energy CERN whereby all the advanced nations come together in an Apollo type mission to create new/more efficient/cheaper forms of renewable energy within 10 years. The desirable end results would cater for slightly different needs, for example solar power will be a solution to some countries but not others whilst wave/tidal would work well in those countries with an appropriate coastline but be pointless for say switzerkand..

      In the meantime watch and wait and see if there is a climate problem. If there is we have created the solution, if there isnt we have created new sources of much needed energy

      tonyb

      • Tonyb,

        Have you made any attempt to do the maths. Renewable energy can make very little contribution to global energy needs. Its a waste of time, resources and an enormous waste of money.

      • Pete Lang

        Yes I have, I wrote a peer reviewed artcle on wave/tidal energy.

        For a country such as the UK surrounded by often stormy seas and powerful tides and where nowhere is further than 70 miles from the sea it probably makes sense. Solar doesnt here but might do in Spain if it were developed better than today.

        Wave/tidal technology is currently 20 years behind wnd which in itself is woefully inadequate Thats why I suggest a collective effort is required, but in the meantime I cant see any alternative to fossil fuels as a mainstay.

        However pesonally I worry about energy security (we dont have enough of it here) and in the other sense I don’t like the idea of being in thrall to fossil fuel suppliers who basically don’t like us.
        tonyb

      • Peter Lang

        I wrote Peter in my post but it got truncated to ‘Pete’. Sorry if you don’t like the shortened version.
        tonyb

  108. Willis Eschenbach

    verytallguy | October 9, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Reply

    I’d never heard of Steven Milloy. To me integrity is very important and skepticism is vital. Let’s apply both to Milloy via the magic of google, shall we? …

    verytallguy, how about you demand some integrity from and apply some skepticism to your sources? You quote from Sourcewatch, so I thought I’d see how good they are. I looked up Anthony Watts. They say:

    Willard Anthony Watts (Anthony Watts) is a blogger, weathercaster and non-scientist, paid AGW denier who runs the website wattsupwiththat.com. He does not have a university qualification and has no climate credentials other than being a radio weather announcer. His website is parodied and debunked at the website wottsupwiththat.com Watts is on the payroll of the Heartland Institute, which itself is funded by polluting industries.[1]

    Let’s start with the word “denier”. This word is only in there to scare you. What is it that they think Anthony is “denying”? They don’t say. The use of the word merely shows they have taken a side. Which is ok, but it also means you can’t take their word for anything, they have an axe to grind.

    Second, Anthony has done scientific work, work that is published in the scientific journals, so he is assuredly a scientist.

    Third, while Anthony did get one grant from the Heartland Institute for a particular research study, he is not a “paid AGW denier” in any sense. That’s simply not true. Anthony (like myself) gets nothing for the work that he has done and continues to do. He’d love to be paid for it, but he is not, and your site is either ignorant or lying when they make that claim.

    Fourth, Anthony organized a project which has successfully surveyed, mapped and photographed nearly every weather station in America … and they have the balls to say he has “no climate credentials”?

    Fifth, he is not “on the payroll of” the Heartland Institute, that’s a joke. He got grant money for one project.

    Sixth, they say Heartland is “funded by polluting industries”, by which I assume they mean a bit of money Mobil Oil gave Heartland some years ago … but since Mobil also gives money to Stanford University, many times the money that Mobil gave to Heartland, is Stanford University now suspect because it is “funded by polluting industries”?

    Finally, their only citation for their claims is to an early report of the forged Heartland document circulated by Peter Gleick. The report treats the forged document as though it were real. Stupidity, laziness, or dishonesty are the possible explanations for them citing a document which is known to be forged. Your choice.

    This deceptive, shabby, false characterization of Anthony on Sourcewatch is nothing but vindictive venom. verytallguy, you say that you want to apply some skepticism … I’m skeptical of Sourcewatch, they have an axe to grind, they haven’t done their homework, they rely on a forged document, they are telling porkies …

    In closing, the issue is not Milloy and what he has or hasn’t done. The issue is whether some particular claim of his is true or not. Milloy could be a believer in pyramid power, he could have been on Che Guevara’s payroll, he could be the janitor, none of that makes any difference.

    The only valid question is whether a specific scientific claim is correct. It has nothing to do with the history, style, or attributes of the person who is making the claim. The real question, the question worth pursuing, the only scientific question, is whether the specific claim is true or not.

    So let me invite you to forget about Milloy, drop that question, and concentrate on whatever claim of his you think is wrong. That way, you might get some traction.

    w.

    PS—And for goodness sakes, don’t be so trusting of random information that comes to you by what you call “the magic of google” …

    • The global warming fearmongers have long been little more than ad hominem attack dogs of the Left.

      • Once more unto the breach dear friends, once more

        …endorsement of a laissez-faire conception of free-market economics predicts rejection of climate science…

        In a strange way, I admire your tenacity, your sheer determination to fall into the elephant trap

      • Determination? It has been determined that sufferers of Hot World Syndrome are far more likely to be egalitarian communitarians and not the scientifically literate who are skilled in numeracy and who respect the teachings of the scientific method as the only rational means of ever hoping to escape the superstition and ignorance of trusting in the magic of witchdoctors.

      • Waggo,

        keep digging

        Endorsement of the free market also predicted the rejection of other established scientific findings

        Would you like a spade?

      • Do you consider yourself a contradiction or are your beliefs really very predictable? For example, Hot World Syndrome—fear of a hotter, more intimidating world than it actually is prompting a desire for more protection than is warranted by any actual threat.

    • Willis,

      I took the liberty of using sourcewatch and wiki for Milloy because it was easy. I provided the references so you could check them. You don’t seem to have found anything there to disagree with, you’ve rather diverted into a dissertation on Anthony Watts, which I hope you will forgive me for not responding to.

      If you don’t like the secondary sources I used, you could try and follow the references there. If any of what I said is proved wrong thereby I will immediately retract it. I hope you would characterise that as showing integrity in my commenting.

      Now, the comment I was responding to used Steve Milloy to question someone else’s integrity. If you use a quotation to do that then I think it’s reasonable to check up the integrity of the person quoted.

      Said integrity appears very obviously sadly lacking, on the basis of what I could find. I find that relevant. It informs me as to the intentions of the person commenting. It allows me to form an opinion as to how likely their claim is to be true. It allows me, indeed, to ignore the claim if I find the person making it lacks credibility.

      In my opinion, on the basis of my very limited research, Steve Milloy lacks integrity. I therefore find it very unlikely that his claims are worthy of note. I will not be wasting my time investigating them.

      If, of course, you can provide evidence that Steve Milloy is in fact trustworthy, truthful and worthy of taking seriously, then I’ll look into his claims.

      Good luck with that.

      • Curiuos George

        Dear verytallguy,

        for your private usage it is OK to use any source that is easy to use, without bothering to check its accuracy. But this forum is not very private. Either don’t post questionable data, or try to do it right.

      • What are you questioning exactly?

        If you think what I sourced was wrong the references are there for you to follow and prove it. That’s why I provided the reference.

        If you can’t be bothered, I’ll assume the information is correct, if that’s OK with you.

        There’s plenty out there on Milloy. None of it is pretty. That’s the value of skepticism see.

      • Curiuos George

        Dear verytallguy:

        It is not my responsibility to check the quality of your references. It is YOUR responsibility. I don’t have to disprove your crap. YOU have to prove it.

      • Dear George,

        I provided you with the references. You don’t like them – debunk by all means, provide better ones or accept mine.

        Put up. Or shut up. Simples

      • Curiuos George

        Dear verytallguy:

        Willis showed you that how your “source” – sourcewatch – treated Mr. Watts. That’s enough to prove that it is not impartial. You call it a diversion, I call it a debunking.

      • VTG,

        so much for integrity.

      • randomengineer

        In my opinion, on the basis of my very limited research, Steve Milloy lacks integrity.

        If it isn’t crystal clear that sourcewatch is a slanted, biased, ridiculously partisan hack job site, then clealy you have zero reading comprehension skills. Who the f* cares what you have to say?

    • “Second, Anthony has done scientific work, work that is published in the scientific journals, so he is assuredly a scientist.”

      I think a citation is called for on this point. Do you have a reference?

      • tempterrain | October 9, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Reply “Second, Anthony has done scientific work, work that is published in the scientific journals, so he is assuredly a scientist.”

        _____
        Maybe in a generic sense only. Show me the PhD or at least some advanced graduate level coursework completed and then we can talk. My son doing a Science Fair project could be considered a “scientist”. What matters is the advanced studies. Does Anthony even have a Bachelors?

      • lurker, passing through laughing

        R. Gates,
        Congratulation on your son getting a peer reviewed paper published.
        Not visiting here often makes the deterioration in your reasonableness more apparent.

      • randomengineer

        I think a citation is called for on this point.

        No, peter martin, it’s up to you to fail to find a paper written by watts or fail to find one somehow based on his work. You cite game is tiresome idiocy.

      • Willis and Randomengineer,

        I suspect that you both are just too embarrassed to tell me that Watts’ “scientific work” , “published” by the Heartland Institute in their “scientific journal” is:

        http://heartland.org/sites/default/files/SurfaceStations.pdf

        Am I right?

    • Willis,

      Willis,

      You comment “The issue is whether some particular claim of his [Steve Milloy] is true or not.” Well , yes of course it is, and it doesn’t matter, whether it’s “his” or “hers”, or who’s actually said it.

      So that’s where having some qualifications does come in handy. Neither Steve Milloy nor Anthony Watts have any, so, they don’t know what they are talking about. Period. (as Americans like to say).

      Furthermore if we look at other comments by Steve Milloy we can see he has other problems with consensus science.

      On Evolution

      “Explanations of human evolution are not likely to move beyond the stage of hypothesis or conjecture. There is no scientific way – i.e., no experiment or other means of reliable study – for explaining how humans developed. Without a valid scientific method for proving a hypothesis, no indisputable explanation can exist.”

      On the partial ban on DDT

      “Infanticide on this scale appears without parallel in human history,” writes Milloy. “This is not ecology. This is not conservation. This is genocide.”

      On Air Pollution

      air pollution in the U.S. was more of an aesthetic than a public health problem in 1970. That is even more the case today

      On Second Hand Smoking

      “the vast majority of studies reported no statistical association [to adverse health effects].”

      There are others relating to asbestos, food safety etc. He’s not a scientist, just a right wing ideologue who applies the term “junk science” to anything that doesn’t align with his right-wing concept of reality.

  109. There are some questions above I find quite interesting.

    One is the issue of the atmosphere being a “commons”. It is owned by everyone and by no one. Anyone can dump just as much of any gas into the atmosphere as they please, and there is no cost or liability to doing so (except for some but not all short term harms).

    A free market solution would be looking for ways to convert the atmosphere into private property, or at least some parts of the atmosphere. CO2 for example. Increase CO2 level enough, and much of the world is too hot for humans to live. Decrease CO2 level enough, and the world goes into a snowball, with the oceans frozen. There is geologic evidence that both have happened in the distant past.

    So under what conditions should the atmosphere be converted to private property, and under what terms?

    • LOL–when someone had the power and will to enforce their view?

    • Phil Hays,

      Its good you should recognise ” the issue of the atmosphere being a ‘commons’. It is owned by everyone and by no one”.

      I’ve tried to engage some of the more rabid libertarian types to discuss the economics of common property but they don’t seem too interested. They don’t seem to be able to grasp the concept that something which isn’t owned by anyone can possible have any value.

      If it will help, I’ll volunteer to ‘own’ the atmosphere. Or maybe head up a not for profit trust. I’m sure I wouldn’t be the only one. Maybe an election to choose the most suitable option? I can hear the denialists screaming about UN controlled world government already!

      • So in your view, if the atmosphere is owned by all, then there could be a law under those guidelines to install a requirement to gain approval prior to allowing an additional human from being created who would consume so much of the shared resource? If not why not? Humans pump out alot of CO2

      • I have heard of people eating coal, but providing fossil fuels are only a small part of anyone’s diet then there’s not really a problem from CO2 exhaled from the human body.

        I personally am reasonably happy that the atmosphere is owned by no-one, or everyone depending on which way you look at it, but if it helps the Libertarian types to get over their hang-ups on the question of communally owned property, it might be an idea to at least consider how it may be privatised.

      • “I personally am reasonably happy that the atmosphere is owned by no-one, or everyone depending on which way you look at it, but if it helps the Libertarian types to get over their hang-ups on the question of communally owned property, it might be an idea to at least consider how it may be privatised.”

        Oh, let’s begin with definition of privatize:
        “to transfer from public or government control or ownership to private enterprise”
        http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/privatize

        So to privatize anything first requires the public or government to own something.
        So air doesn’t require of investment to deliver it to you- like say the water which comes from your kitchen tap.

        If had settlement on the Moon which had some big dome in which air was put into it, and needed the air managed it start off as privately owned or could start off publically owned than at some point it could be privatized.

        But on earth we don’t want someone [or government] owning the air- similar to idea we don’t want government or other people owning our bodies.

      • tempterrain

        Your philosophical musings about who “owns” the atmosphere are interesting in an abstract way.

        Let’s say that we move from the abstract to the real and apply the “commons” philosophy.

        Does this mean that the “state” owns the air we breathe?

        In the case of an autocratic dictatorship like Zimbabwe, does this mean that its leader, Robert Mugabe, owns the air everyone breathes, and could exact a per capita breathing fee from everyone, depending (for example) on lung capacity?

        Or should this be “owned” at a supranational level, such as by the UN or possibly by a “World State”? Should this body have the right to charge each human on Earth a per capita breathing fee?

        Should this fee be based on a “graduated” scale, so that wealthier nations (and individuals) pay a higher fee than poorer ones?

        And, if such a graduated fee scale were introduced, should it be so structured that extremely poor regions (and individuals) pay a “negative: fee, i.e. receive a breathing rebate, which is paid by the wealthier nations (and individuals)?

        Should there be a penalty for regions consuming larger quantities of air for industrial uses (primarily combustion of fossil fuels)?

        And, if this is all implemented, who should calculate, collect and redistribute this money?

        The mind boggles (shades of “Brave New World” squared).

        Let’s leave it an abstract philosophical musing, rather than something “real”, OK?

        Max

      • Who owns the climate?
        Suppose North Korea starting pumping huge amounts of sulpher dioxide into the stratosphere. If done at a large enough scale, would cause the same cooling as a massive volcanic eruption. This might cause the failure of crops worldwide, much as Tambora did after the 1815 eruption. See the “Year With a Summer” or 1800 and “froze to death”.
        Or if you don’t want to deal with international issues, suppose some corporation in your country did the same thing.
        Do you have a right to complain, as you freeze and starve to death?

      • Phil Hays

        If North Korea were a) foolish enough and b) able to do what you indicate, it would be a suicidal act.

        But, fortunately, North Korea is not able to dramatically affect crop growth by polluting the atmosphere with SO2 (outside possibly Korea itself and maybe parts of eastern Siberia and Japan). The alternate of “shooting SO2 into the stratosphere” (John Holdren’s idea) is way too expensive for NK.

        Figure it out.

        And when you’ve calculated the amount of sulfur needed, the cost of this sulfur, the prevailing winds, precipitation along the way, etc.(or in the case of the stratosphere the cost to get the SO2 there in massive quantities) come back to me.

        Max

        PS If NK wanted to screw things up they could much more easily do so with dirty nuclear bombs, but even then the impact would be limited and the result suicidal.

        PPS You apparently argue against “national ownership” of the atmosphere, but rather “global ownership” (by