The art and science of effective science advice

by Judith Curry

“Universities, then, are doing the research. Governments, and their public services, want the evidence. Why is it so difficult to get these two worlds to meet at an intersection of knowledge that can influence in significant ways the making of public policy? Why does Australia’s large public investment in research and development contribute so little to addressing the political response to the nation’s economic and social challenges?” – Peter Shergold

Future Directions for Scientific Advice in Whitehall is a volume that was assembled by Robert Doubleday of Cambridge University and James Wilsdon of the University of Sussex on the occasion of Mark Walport taking over as the UK government’s chief scientific adviser.

The volume covers issues of broad relevance to science advice for government.  I’ve excerpted some gems that I found to be particularly insightful:

Geoff Mulgan

Perhaps the most important finding of almost all research on this topic is that demand matters as much as supply. The most brilliant advice may go wholly unheeded if it’s not fitted to the social context of decision makers, the psychology of people making decisions in a hurry and under pressure, and the economics of organisations often strapped for cash. What works for whom and in what circumstances are crucial factors; and evidence and advice have to make themselves useful if they are to be used.

So how should advisers raise the odds of having impact – and of being useful? In my experience, the successful ones understand two fundamental aspects of the context in which their advice will be heard, both of which are radically different from the cultures they are likely to have experienced for most of their careers outside government.

The first is that they are operating in a context where there are often multiple goals and conflicting values. As a result, there may often not be a single right answer (though there may be any number of demonstrably wrong answers). Instead there will be right answers that are more or less aligned to the priorities of government (and of the public). The better the providers of advice understand decision makers’ perspectives and needs the more likely they are to be influential.

Take energy. I twice had to oversee reviews of energy policy and in each case the scientific analysis of such things as potential energy sources, current and future renewables or carbon scenarios, had to be linked to the very different goals of ensuring affordable energy, energy security, and protecting the world from catastrophic climate change. Scientific method cannot tell us which of these goals is more important. This is a matter for judgement and wisdom – and as the study of wisdom tells us, wisdom tends to be context-specific, rather than universal like natural science.

The second vital, but not always obvious, point is that governments have to deal with multiple types of knowledge. A minister making decisions on a topic such as the regulation of pesticides or badger culls may need to take account of many different types of knowledge each of which is provided by a different group of experts. These include: evidence about policy, such as evaluations of public health programmes; knowledge about public opinion, and what it may or may not support; knowledge about politics, and the likely dynamics of party or parliamentary mood; intelligence, whether human or signals; statistics; economics; history; knowledge about Civil Service capacities; and performance data, for example on how hospitals or police forces are doing.

Trump cards and clever chaps

Formal scientific knowledge sits alongside these other types of knowledge, but does not automatically trump the others. Indeed, a politician, or civil servant, who acted as if there was a hierarchy of knowledge with science sitting unambiguously at the top, would not last long. The consequence is that a scientist who can mobilise other types of knowledge on his or her side is likely to be more effective than one that cannot; for example, by highlighting the economic cost of future floods and their potential effect on political legitimacy, as well as their probability.

These points help to explain why the role of a chief scientific adviser (CSA) can be frustrating. Simply putting an eminent scientist into a department may have little effect, if they don’t also know how to work the system, or how to mobilise a large network of contacts. Not surprisingly, many who aren’t well prepared for their roles as brokers, feel that they rattle around without much impact.

For similar reasons, some of the other solutions that have been used to raise the visibility and status of scientific advice have tended to disappoint. Occasional seminars for ministers or permanent secretaries to acclimatise them to new thinking in nanotechnology or genomics are useful but hardly sufficient, when most of the real work of government is done at a far more junior level. This is why some advocate other, more systematic, approaches to complement what could be characterised as the ‘clever chap’ theory of scientific advice.

First, these focus on depth and breadth: acclimatising officials and politicians at multiple levels, and from early on, to understanding science, data and evidence through training courses, secondments and simulations; influencing the media environment as much as insider decision making (since in practice this will often be decisive in determining whether advice is heeded); embedding scientists at more junior levels in policy teams; linking scientific champions in mutually supportive networks; and opening up more broadly the world of evidence and data so that it becomes as much part of the lifeblood of decision making as manifestos. Here the crucial point is that the target should not just be the very top of institutions: the middle and lower layers will often be more important. A common optical mistake of eminent people in London is to overestimate the importance of the formal relative to the informal, the codified versus the craft.

Second, it’s vital to recognise that the key role of a scientific adviser is to act as an intermediary and broker rather than an adviser, and that consequently their skills need to be ones of translation, aggregation and synthesis as much as deep expertise. So if asked to assess the potential commercial implications of a new discovery such as graphene; the potential impact of a pandemic; or the potential harms associated with a new illegal drug, they need to mobilise diverse forms of expertise. Their greatest influence may come if – dare I say it – they are good at empathising with ministers who never have enough time to understand or analyse before making decisions. Advisers who think that they are very clever while all around them are a bit thick, and that all the problems of the world would be solved if the thick listened to the clever, are liable to be disappointed.

Sheila Jasanoff

Institutions that play a watchdog role in society offer a persistent challenge for democracy: who shall watch the watchers? We shrink at the thought of unlimited police power or judges who place themselves above the law. Scientific advice is not immune to such concerns. Its role is to keep politicians and policymakers honest by holding them to high standards of evidence and reason. Arbitrary and unfounded decisions are anathema to enlightened societies. But who ensures the rationality of science advisers, making sure that they will be held accountable for the integrity of their advice?

That question may seem too trivial to be worthy of serious consideration. Aren’t science advisers accountable at the end of the day to science itself? Most thoughtful advisers have rejected the facile notion that giving scientific advice is simply a matter of speaking truth to power. It is well recognised that in thorny areas of public policy, where certain knowledge is difficult to come by, science advisers can offer at best educated guesses and reasoned judgments, not unvarnished truth. They can help define plausible strategic choices in the light of realistic assessments of evidence; rarely can they decree the precise paths that society should follow. Nonetheless, it is widely assumed that the practice of science imposes its own discipline on science advisers, ensuring that they are bound by known facts, reliable methods, responsible professional codes, and the ultimate test of peer review. Seeing their role as apolitical, science advisers are not inclined to introspection in situations where their work fails to persuade. It seems more natural to blame external factors, from public ignorance and media distortion to the manipulation of science by powerful corporate funders or other large interest groups.

STS scholarship, backed by detailed studies of science advice in action, has come to almost the opposite conclusion: that better science advice requires more intelligent engagement with politics. This observation may initially sit uncomfortably with advisers but should in the end lead to more accountable uses of their knowledge and judgment. The most relevant findings from STS research can be summarised as follows:

• First, ‘regulatory science’ (the science most relevant to policy) does not simply exist as such in the outside world but rather is the output of advisory processes which are themselves loaded with value judgments, often in a form that social scientists call ‘boundary work’: for example, which facts and disciplines are relevant; when is new knowledge reliable enough for use; which dissenting viewpoints deserve to be heard; and when is action appropriate, even if not all questions are answerable on the basis of available knowledge. Accordingly, science advice can never stand wholly aloof from politics. The problem is how to manage its boundary-straddling role without compromising scientific integrity.

• Second, public refusal to accept the judgment of science advisers does not reflect intellectual ‘deficits’ on the public’s part but rather the failure of decision making processes to resolve underlying questions of responsibility: for example, who will be monitoring risky new technologies after they have been released into the market, and who will pay if the consequences are unintended but harmful? Science advisers may consider these issues outside their remit, but publics have good grounds to believe that experts will take note of these contextual factors when they advise policymakers on matters of risk and safety.

• Third, science advice often tracks the promises and practices of science itself, attaching disproportionately greater value to what is known or can be learned than to what is unknown or outside the reach of the advisers’ immediate consciousness. That tendency leads in turn to a relative disfavoring of hard-to-gather social and behavioral evidence, as compared to measurable facts about the natural world. It also makes the process of science advice inattentive to hierarchies of power and money, not to mention to cultural biases and global resource inequalities, which shape the problem framings and methods of investigation that scientists bring to bear on social problems.

• Fourth, science advice partakes of, and to some degree reproduces, salient features of a nation’s or region’s political culture, including a society’s relative weighting of experts’ technical knowledge, personal integrity and experience, and capacity to represent significant viewpoints in society.7 In turn, those ingrained but on the whole invisible cultural preferences may affect an advisory system’s own resilience and ability to learn from its past mistakes and false turns.

Science advice has become a vitally important site of knowledge creation in modern societies, a site in which knowledge combines with wisdom to everyone’s benefit. It is time for science advisory systems to recognise that – to stay honest – they too need critics from the communities of research studying how knowledge and action are linked together. In democracies, no institutions of power should be beyond critique. If judges may not presume to stand above the law, still less should science advisers seek to insulate themselves from the critical gaze of the sciences of science advice.

David Cleevely

It is obvious how scientific advice ought to get incorporated into policy. Scientists should be called on to set out the implications of the latest discoveries or technologies, while policymakers, frowning with concentration, listen attentively, ask astute and penetrating questions, and then put together a policy firmly rooted in evidence.

It is equally obvious that this is not what happens. The process is nonlinear, sometimes generating policies that have scant regard for evidence, with occasional breakthroughs, and many delays or cul-de-sacs. Yet, oddly, instead of standing back and trying to explain what is observed in practice and using that practical understanding to create better processes, systems are created based on what ought to work. Scientists bemoan this messy system and insist that, if only it were rational and linear, how much better it would be. It is ironic that an area of human endeavour that is based on positive analysis should find itself making normative proposals. Before suggesting how the system ought to work it would be worth applying the scientific method to understanding how scientific advice gets incorporated into policy.

Jack Stilgoe and Simon Burall

The most important conclusions of the Phillips Inquiry as they relate to the question of openness are that:

  • Trust can only be generated by openness.
  • Openness requires recognition of uncertainty, where it exists.
  • The public should be trusted to respond rationally to openness.
  • Scientific investigation of risk should be open and transparent.
  • The advice and reasoning of advisory committees should be made public.

Openness, according to Phillips, is not just about transparency. It also, crucially, is about being open-minded. Opening up expert advice means paying attention to scientific uncertainties, rather than obscuring them. It means opening up the inputs to scientific advice (who is allowed to contribute, how and on what terms?). And it means changing the outputs from advice, such that they do not offer single prescriptions but rather help to inform the range of available policy options.

Old model of expertise:

  • Closed
  • Homogenous
  • Hubristic
  • Demanding public trust
  • Expecting expert consensus and prescription
  • Managerial control
  • Presenting the evidence

New model of expertise:

  • Open
  • Diverse
  • Humble
  • Trusting the public
  • Expecting plural and conditional advice
  • Distributed control
  • Presenting evidence, judgement and uncertainty

Over the last 30 years, policymakers have rethought the contribution that publics and experts can make to policymaking. With both, we can see that the word ‘open’ is not straightforwardly defined. Are we talking about open doors, welcoming in new perspectives; open minds, reflecting on the limits of centralised control and predictability; or transparent but closed windows, revealing policy but maintaining control of its contributors?

If we adopt the instrumental rationality of ‘evidence-based policy’, we can tie ourselves in knots trying to work out how expertise, evidence and public inputs should all be ‘balanced’ as we assemble a justification for policy action. If however, we relax this view, and recognise that policy is often messy, surprising and responsive – what Charles Lindblom memorably called ‘muddling through’- then we can identify more constructive, sympathetic roles for these plural inputs. They all, in their way, help us make sense of the many dimensions of issues.

JC comments:  This volume fortuitously became available the week before my Congressional testimony.  I tried to operate under the ‘new model of expertise’ and to be as non-normative as possible (recall this previous post Congressional testimony and normative science.)  I hope that my testimony was convincing to the Republicans, and helps move them to a more defensible and rational position on climate science.  Then hopefully we can put the debate on climate policy back into the sphere of politics and economics, where it belongs.  That was the ‘agenda’ in my testimony.

954 responses to “The art and science of effective science advice

  1. One major problem for US is that the President’s Science Advisor, the current incumbent, Dr. Holdren, is pretty good fit for the old model. Instead of encouraging open discussion at the policy level he ruthlessly advocates for his views. Instead of using his office to bring different sides together he is actively working to exclude diverse views. As a result the President is not exposed to the points that you made in your written testimony. Notice that only Republicans invite to hear your views in congress. Senator Barbara Boxer would never have you speak to her committee.

    • Andy K,

      Dead right. John Holdren has been a dogmatic advocate of renewable energy and anti-nuclear for 30 years. How can the President get sound, objective advice from a person who has had entrenched views like these for 30 years.

      • Advice is non-linear.

        Do really think that Holdren is the only person Obama heras from??

      • reply to Michael: I am not aware of any serious debate and discussion within the administration on Human Control of Climate Change. Holdren would be more credible if he had organized a session similar to what was done in the case of the Afghanistan decision, namely organize a debate where the different perspectives and views were aired and debated. When such ideas were presented to the administration all were referred to Holdren who rejected it all on the basis that there was a scientific consensus on AGW and Climate Change. All panels by the NAS on this topic are stacked with no diversity of view, all panels on AAAS are stacked without diverse views, all government advisory groups are stacked with no diverse views,,,,so tell me what I am missing.

      • Your tin-foil hat??

      • Advise in non-linear…Tin foil Hat

        Cliché is French for moron.

      • Michael

        No. Holdren is certainly not the only person President Obama listens to.

        But he is his chief scientific adviser.

        And he has been a “dogmatic advocate of renewable energy and anti-nuclear for 30 years”, as Peter Lang writes. He is also strongly in favor of population control and curtailing economic growth and has proposed some really goofy climate geo-engineering schemes like shooting sulfuric acid into the stratosphere to initiate global cooling (ouch!).

        There is no way that President Obama can get “sound, objective advice” from John Holdren – just look at his track record!

        Max

      • Willard, ‘moron’ is Welsh for ‘carrot’.

      • Eli would appreciate this fact.

        Eli eats carrots.

      • willard,

        You saying Michael is a French twit?

    • Currently Republicans in Congress seem more open-minded to hearing views that differ from the Democratic President’s views, but neither party wants to hear that they are totally powerless over a tiny pulsar in the core of the Sun that controls a region of space greater that ten billion, billion Earths, just as the tiny atomic nucleus controls the entire atomic volume.

      • David Springer

        The Chandrasekhar Limit forbids the formation of a neutron star (pulsar) with a mass less than 1.44 solar masses. Simply stated the mass of our sun is insufficient to produce enough gravity to overcome electron repulsion to collapse hydrogen atoms into neutrons. It is thus physically impossible for our sun to have a pulsar core.

      • David Springer

        How come you never answer my question about the Chandrasehkar Limit? Cat got your tongue?

      • David,

        I have repeatedly answered your inquiry here, and each time my reply has been deleted.

      • perhaps your replies have fallen in to a quantum pulsar?

      • Neutron stars less massive than 1.44 solar masses are observed.

        “The minimum stable neutron-star mass is about 0.1 Mo, although a more realistic minimum stems from a neutron star’s origin in a super-nova.”

        http://www.astro.columbia.edu/~jules/C3273_10/kaper.pdf

      • Hmm… something new under the sun, possibly.

        I don’t know one way or the other – I’m not an astrophysicist – but I do note a certain rhetorical symmetry between Chandrasekhar’s 1930 discovery and subsequent resistance to the idea by “the community of scientists [who knew better] because such a limit could only lead to the natural discovery of black holes, which were considered a scientific impossibility at the time,” and the condensation of David Springer and DocMartyn’s replies to Mr. Manuel.

        I don’t know what the truth of the matter is, and don’t pretend to – BUT – if the lower bounds on the mass of a neutron star *is* on the order of .1 solar mass, as Kaper et al and Mr. Manuel seems to show here – rather than what is currently ‘known’ as the Chandrasekhar Limit – then his ideas about the inner workings of stars [though possibly still wrong] may deserve a little less condensation.

        This is after all the way science actually works, somebody, usually an outsider, comes up with a new idea that is ‘known’ to be wrong and is later [sometimes much later, and usually by somebody else] shown to be right – OR – in the act of formally disproving such a hypothesis, a better theory does emerge. Of course for every such person and idea there are 10 or 100 or 1000 crackpots, which makes the triage process rather complex for the rest of us.

        If the data from Kaper et al turns out to be reliable, it could cause the Chandrasekhar Limit to be regarded as something of a specific case of an as yet unidentified more general law. [when have we ever seen THAT before?] Even if Mr. Manuel’s stellar neutron core hypothesis is eventually proven to be wrong, his willingness to look beyond what is currently known may eventually lead to a better understanding of what is actually going on inside a star. There seem to be enough gaps in what is known and shortcomings in the current theory to warrant a serious look.

        That’s my opinion anyway.

        W^3

        “I have no doubt that in reality the future will be vastly more surprising than anything I can imagine. Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.” ~ J.B.S. Haldane, Possible Worlds and Other Papers (1927), p. 286

      • Chandrasekhar’s limit gives the maximum mass a white dwarf may have. Above that limit it collapses to a neutron star. That by itself does not tell about the lower limit of a neutron star mass as it’s quite natural that there’s a range of masses with two stable solutions. Based on the present theories that range may span all masses from about 0.1 to 1.44 solar masses.

        It’s, however, possible and even likely that there are no pathways that can lead to a neutron star with mass far below the Chandrasekhar’s limit. The empirical data presented by Kaper indicates that neutron stars tend to have a mass close to Chandrasekhar’s limit, either a little below or a little above.

  2. “Promised Land” starring Matt Damon (!) will be more impactful to public sentiment than any chief scientific advisor.

    I’m not the first to say this, but if skeptics want to reach out to more than just the engineers (and those already prone to stand against AGW) you need a simple slogan that appeals to emotion. That’s why I thought the heartland billboard was important and unfairly criticized.

  3. This problem was solved in 1938, by Robert Watson-Watt. The scientists who provide the advice, have to work for the decision makers, and be part of their establishment. In 1938, radar, as it came to be called, had been invented, and was first implemented. The RAF had no clue in the world how to use it. Harold Larnder was picked by Watson-Watt to teach the RAF how to use radar. His orders were, that the day war broke out, he was to report to Air Vice Marshall Park; which he did. The rest is history

    • The RAF knew exactly how to use radar has they had set up the Command, Control & Communication systems to a pre-existing sensor grid. The RAF had the previous used acoustic aircraft detection systems and the observer corp to detect engine noise and have the information collected, collated and fed to people making decisions in real-time. When aircraft became faster, the acoustic systems limited range made it nonviable. However, the whole information transfer and analysis system worked very well indeed, so that when radar stations were developed they could be quickly integrated into the pre-existing, tested and robust Command, Control & Communication system.

      • Doc Martyn, you write “The RAF knew exactly how to use radar has they had set up the Command, Control & Communication systems to a pre-existing sensor grid.”

        Sorry, Doc, I knew Harold Larnder, and he told us precisely what happened to Fighter Command before and during the Battle of Britain. He worked at the top levels of Fighter Command, and knew Dowding on a personal basis. When he retired, we put on a series of skits representing Harold’s life, and I had the honor of playing Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh (later Lord) “Stuffy” Dowding. Read the history of the RAF, and you will find that Harold invented the Command and Control system. The history records that RDF gave the RAF a 2:1 advantage over the Luftwaffe, and Harold added a further factor of 6. Harold told me of the exercise, held in March 1938, when the first CH station became operational on the Isle of Wight, and the second exercise in April of the same year, when the second RDF site became operational. Both were complete and utter disasters. It was then that Harold was given the job, and he invented the term “Operations Research”.

      • You are just describing the debugging of the system. The RAF was a forward looking organizations that integrated technological advancements rather quickly. The updating the speed and analysis of information flow pre-dated the establishment of RDF stations. the system was also open so that future developments could be spliced in.

      • Doc you write “You are just describing the debugging of the system.”

        You are as bad as Steven Mosher. I wont argue with you. I studied the Battle of Britain in great detail many years ago. I had the advantageof talking directly to Harold Larnder, who was at the center of the whole battle. I know what happened. What your imagination tells you does not matter.

      • Steven Mosher

        Doc,

        dont inform Jim Cripwell about radars. If you did that you would have to explain physics to him. Physics which show that doubling C02 will lead to 3.7 addition Watts. I bet Jim Cripwell didnt know that fundamental aspects of climate science are used by the defense industry. It’s where I learned that doubling C02 will lead to 3.7 Additional Watts.

        Of course, those of us who worked in OR appreciate one of our founder’s

        Of course we all know that Larnder was instrumental in the war, presented “projections” of aircraft losses . These were not experiments. They were estimates of losses.

        Dont tell Cripwell that one of the tools we use in OR is simulation ( Personally I did theatre level air combat simulations) Dont tell Cripwell that Larnder used models, mathematical models to make his famous charts which Dowding used to great effect. Luckily there was no one asking whether this chart was a measurement or an estimate.

        Yup Jim knew Larnder, but it appears he learned nothing from him.
        Frankly if Cripwell worked for me in OR I would have fired his ass.

        Here’s my baby Jim

      • Steve Mosher

        doubling CO2 will lead to 3.7 Additional Watts.

        Yep. That’s the theory all right.

        This is an estimate based on various radiative transfer calculations determined from experimentally established IR absorption characteristics.

        http://www.grida.no/publications/other/ipcc_tar/?src=/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/222.htm

        2xCO2 theoretically gets us 3.7 Wm-2 radiative forcing; plug that into S-B at 255°K and you get ~1°C warming from doubling CO2.

        Let’s accept that at face value.

        The problem is that this value is multiplied by three by cranking in the hypothetical added forcing from postulated positive feedbacks, primarily from water vapor and clouds. Clouds alone add 1.3°C to the 2xCO2 ECS.

        Latest observations over the tropics (Spencer & Braswell 2007) suggest that overall cloud feedback is very likely strongly negative, rather than strongly positive, as assumed by the models cited by IPCC. This would reduce ECS by around 2°C.

        Other recent independent estimates of 2xCO2 ECS suggest that the earlier estimates were exaggerated by a factor of ~2x (Lewis, 2013, Schlesinger 2012, Berntsen 2012, Lindzen & Choi 2011, Schmittner 2011, van Hateren 2012, Master 2013 – not yet published)

        So that is where we stand today, Mosh, as far as I can see.

        It’s a “moving target” with ECS estimates coming down.

        Max

      • Steven, you write “Dont tell Cripwell that Larnder used models, mathematical models to make his famous charts which Dowding used to great effect.”

        It seems to me that you dont seem to realise that at the time of the Battle of Britain, all we had to help us with arithmetic were a slide rule and a set of log tables. Sometime around 1950, DRB bought some of the latest models of Marchand electric calculators, which could add, subtract, multiply and divide. They cost, in 1950 dollars, $850 each. I would like to see anyone create a model in those circumstances.

      • ” I had the advantageof talking directly to Harold Larnder, who was at the center of the whole battle”

        He that shall live this day, and see old age,
        Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
        And say “To-morrow is Saint Crispian.”
        Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
        And say “These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.”
        Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
        But he’ll remember, with advantages,
        What feats he did that day.

      • Steven Mosher

        manaker

        “2xCO2 theoretically gets us 3.7 Wm-2 radiative forcing; plug that into S-B at 255°K and you get ~1°C warming from doubling CO2.

        Let’s accept that at face value.”

        I count this as a victory of common sense.

        3.7Watts is what our best science tells us. That science is used used in engineering everyday. Our best science says we can expect 1C of warming.

        everything beyond that is the question.

      • Steven Mosher

        Steven, you write “Dont tell Cripwell that Larnder used models, mathematical models to make his famous charts which Dowding used to great effect.”

        It seems to me that you dont seem to realise that at the time of the Battle of Britain, all we had to help us with arithmetic were a slide rule and a set of log tables. Sometime around 1950, DRB bought some of the latest models of Marchand electric calculators, which could add, subtract, multiply and divide. They cost, in 1950 dollars, $850 each. I would like to see anyone create a model in those circumstances.

        #######################

        Jim, there is no difference between the calculations made by rooms of guys with slide rules ( been there done that ) and doing the same thing with a computer which entered into use around 1962 at RAND ( using simscript I believe )
        .
        Larnder used a MODEL of loss rates and replenishment rates to estimate that the british forces would be drawn down to nothing in two weeks. That wasnt an experiment. That was an estimate based on an equation, a model. you know what lanchester equations are right?
        models. and you know in OR we use models and simulations all the time. What happens if we move our forces over here and attack with this firepower? nobody does an experiment, the guys in OR do simulations, war games, estimates, and people win or lose battles based on our math. You know about his work on the vulnerability of american bombers and the the placement of the Mid canada line. So, you understand the role that mathematical modelling played. And you know how “plan position filtering” was used in WWII so you understand how we can know things by estimating..

        Figuring out sensitivity is just an OR problem. You should know that

      • Steven, you wrfite “Larnder used a MODEL of loss rates and replenishment rates to estimate that the british forces would be drawn down to nothing in two weeks.”

        Now I think I know what you are talking about. Where did you get your information? I would be interested in where you read what you think happened.

        I believe your story relates to the French request for the RAF to send 7 squadrons to France just before the German attack in 1940, which ended, for the British, in Dunkirk. If so, Larnder told me exactly what he did. I know his version of precisely what happened, though I have forgotten the precise mathematics. It was, in fact, the basis of the skit we wrote at his retirement. You might be interested, but I doubt it. If I am right, the question was posed by Dowding at 9.30 one Sunday morning, and Dowding was leaving to meet Churchill at 11am. Larnder had less than 1 1/2 hours to do the work.

      • David Springer

        3.7W/m2 of fifteen micrometer illumination from CO2 doubling. The frequency is important because matter responds differently to different frequencies. When you figure out the difference in response between rocks and water you’ll have a clue, Mosher. Until then you’re just throwing numbers around that you don’t understand pretending that you do.

      • David Springer

        Mosher at a loss for words. Amazing. I’ll take that as tacit agreement that matter responds differently to different frequencies of electromagnetic radiation and that rocks and water respond very differently to mid-infrared in the range emitted by the earth’s surface and lower troposphere.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      The following excerpts trace the close parallels between the development of radar and the development of climate-change science. In both cases a primary historical resource is supplied by The American Institute of Physics (AIP) Center for the History of Physics

      The History of Radar in WWII
      by Henry E. Guerlac (1987)
      published by the American Institute of Physics (AIP)

      It is much too easy, now that we are all fully aware of the immense military value of radar, to assume that its revolutionary significance must have been fully grasped at the beginning, and that the development of a device with such potentialities must have fired the imagination of all persons to whom the idea was disclosed.

      This was far from being the case. It is an important fact that during the early phases of its development [...] radar encountered a great deal of skepticism in the Bureaus, where in certain quarters it amounted to outright antagonism [which] did not evaporate until the feasibility of the equipment had been demonstrated beyond a doubt.

      Radio detection devices using the pulse-echo principle were developed independently and almost simultaneously during the 1930’s and 1940’s by a majority of the great powers. In 1939 closely guarded secret programs were in various stages of development in Great Britain, France, Germany, Canada, and the United States. Russia, China, Japan, and Italy were at that time without the equipment, and seem to have acquired it after the outbreak of war, by capture and by disclosures from their allies.

      Such a duplication of effort will surprise only those who cling to a hero theory of scientific progress, and demand for each discovery or development a single putative inventor; or those who are unaware of the frequency—one is tempted to write, the regularity—with which such parallelisms are encountered in modern scientific work.

      Clearly, such a striking instance of parallel and independent discovery raises a number of fundamental historical questions. When a real burgeoning takes place we are led to ask what were the conditions which favored it. The main lines of inquiry are obvious. First of all, when a serious effort is put behind a given development, as it was in the case of radar, it is evident that it satisfied a clear and urgent need. Second, since the principle nihil ex nihilo applies quite as surely to the history of science as to biology, it is obvious that some key features or central ideas in pure science must have been the point of departure. Lastly, when success is attained, it is obvious that the state of the art, that is, the perfection of engineering skills in this or neighboring fields, must have reached a point where success was fairly well assured.

      The parallels with the AIP’s history of climate-change science are evident. Just as the Army and the Navy did not *want* to see enemy bombers coming — and hence opposed radar science — nowadays Big Carbon does not *want* to see AGW coming … and hence opposes climate-change science.

      Notice how readily Guerlac’s first paragraph can be transposed to a climate-change theme:

      It is much too easy, now that we are all fully aware of the immense significance of AGW, to assume that its revolutionary significance must have been fully grasped at the beginning, and that the appreciation of a feedback mechanism with such potentialities must have fired the imagination of all persons to whom the idea was disclosed.

      This was far from being the case. It is an important fact that during the early phases of its development [...] climate-change encountered a great deal of skepticism in the Congress, where in certain quarters it amounted to outright antagonism [which] did not evaporate until the feasibility of the equipment had been demonstrated beyond a doubt.

      History repeats itself, eh Climate Etc readers?

      Appreciation is extended to AIP authors Henry Guerlac, for his outstanding history of radar, and Spencer Weart, for his outstanding history of climate-change … which teach so many of the same lessons in history, science, and technology!

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      • The Royal Navy was most enthusiastic for the development of radar.
        The cavity magnetron was invented once, why Randall and Boot at Birmingham University, and produced centrimeric radio waves at high power densities. This technology was shared with the Americans but was not invented in parallel by any other power, including the Germans and Japanese, both of which had a background in magnetron invention and active R&D radar programs.
        The comparison between the development of Radar and climate science is apt; the British used a ‘what works works’ philosophy. Being unable to tune individual cavity magnetron’s to a particular frequency, they tuned their receivers to an individual cavity magnetron’s output frequency. They were great believers in phenomenology and didn’t make up complex models.

      • In November, 1942 my father was in a task force that was sent out one night to interdict the Tokyo Express. The US Navy had radar, but the task force commander was apparently a skeptic. When they detected enemy ships on radar, the destroyer captains calculated firing solutions and asked for permission to drop fish. The two antagonists were sailing right into one another. The task force waited for several minutes, and then opened up with the big guns, which blared their location to enemy torpedo men. Nobody seems to know exactly why he delayed, but he had arranged for catapult scout planes to be over the area at that time, and it is likely he wanted to have human eyes on the target before firing. The scout planes were unable to take off on time because there was no wind that night in the lagoons along the slot. This first one arrived just as the forward magazine of the USS New Orleans exploded and sent a towering fireball up to greet it. The youthful medical team, of which my father was a member, assigned to the improvised galley sickbay were suddenly the #-1 medical team as the sickbay was blasted and flooded.

        Nothing like waiting for the hard, measurable empirical evidence, which arrived in the form of long lance torpedoes.

        Speaking of which, has anybody tallied how many people have died in theater fires due to the shenanigans of non-alarmists?

      • David Springer

        DocMartyn | April 28, 2013 at 11:03 am |

        “The Royal Navy was most enthusiastic for the development of radar.
        The cavity magnetron was invented once, why Randall and Boot at Birmingham University, and produced centrimeric radio waves at high power densities.”

        I had a mechanically tunable magnetron in the weather radar I trained on. I’m here to tell you sticking your hand near a 500kw magnetron while it’s operating to tweak it is like cobra handling. An unnatural act that you best do with extreme caution. Not doing it all would be preferable. Tuning the receiver to the magnetron instead sounds good to me.

      • David, my father was an RAF radar technician in the 1950’s working with war time and early post-war systems. The amount of power and the lack of safety systems are toe-curling.
        He was once electrocuted by DC when an officer removed the ‘Men Working. Do not turn on’ sign and turned on the power supply to a radar he was working on.

      • David Springer

        I had a job fixing TVs to help pay expenses in college in the 1970’s. House calls with a van full of spare parts and tools. TVs in those days had picture tubes driven by several thousand volts. I’ve had my share of electrical shocks but the worst ever was in a home fixing a TV. The convergence was way off. I had my left hand on the yoke of the picture tube moving the slider adjustments for the magnets and the rest of me wrapped around the set so I could see the effect of the adjustments on the picture. I had my right hand on the (metal) chasis to steady myself. In a shop when you do this you use a mirror to watch the screen as you adjust the magnets and/or pincushion potentiometers. I should have used a mirror there too but I didn’t. The inside of my left arm about two thirds the way from wrist to elbow was aligned with the tripler, a transformer on the final stage of the CRT power supply. The terminals were facing outward and bare metal. I leaned too far and touched one of them. I got knocked backward onto my ass and dead skin about as big around as a US 25c coin. It took forever to heal and there’s still a faint circular outline in that spot. Lucky it didn’t stop my heart on the spot considering the path was hand to hand and the current follows the path of least resistance which is through the big arteries in the heart.

  4. I find that “scientific advice” in any public policy context is a non sequiter because science IMO should be only interested in a field of research and that it would be up to others to determine what future action should be considered.

    Once scientists start becoming involved in the broader community issues that might arise as a result of any scientific study, it ceases to be science and instead becomes yet another form of advocacy and thereby lacking true independence.

  5. When science makes forecasts that are right on the money for two decades instead of getting progressively worse for two decades all the while increasing the certainty that they are right, we could be more expected to trust them.

    • Herman, a person has to be extremely naive to believe forecasts consistently will be “right on the money.” It is unrealistic to expect such accuracy.

      • If that were true, why not just throw darts at a chart or pick predictions out of a hat?

        One should not expect precision from forecasts, but without accuracy, why bother?

  6. In the first excerpt, I was intrigued by the idea of better educating all levels of governance in science. What I didn’t really see sufficiently emphasized in any of these pieces is the idea that scientists need to recognize that the really interesting (as in a Chinese curse) public policy problems are truly “wicked.”

    Climate change is a good example. The climate change activists, such as Hansen, take a rather linear approach to the whole thing: temperatures are rising because of CO2; if we don’t do anything, CO2 will continue to rise [of course, this is almost always based on some sort of linear projection of the future]; therefore, we need to take action curtail CO2.

    But we don’t live in a linear world, and bold action is very often the absolute worst way to solve non-linear wicked problems (Our well-intentioned spectacularly unsuccessful attempts to eradicate poverty offer an excellent example.). For example, many of the activists call for taxes on carbon of one form or another. They seemingly ignore that there will be very real economic consequences particularly for the poor. A politician can’t ignore these consequences.

    Nor should politicians ignore the non-linear consequences of inaction. As an example, if coastal storms were to increase in intensity, we would see a migration away from our coasts, reducing the costs of disasters [Here in SC, we have seen an uptick in Northern retirees moving in from FL to get away from hurricanes - in fact, they are numerous enough to have their own nickname: half-backs]. Again, a linear thinker would never see the possibility.

    Both the glory and the tragedy of experts is that they too often live in Ivory-Towered silos of excellence. We as scientists need to be more humble in our advice, and less linear in our thinking. If we can do this, we will both give better advice and have more influence over the actions of the politicians.

  7. JC, Thank you for opening this post with a quote from Dr. Peter Shergold. M y comment is a bit OT, but is relevant (I believe). Dr Peter Shergold was head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet when John Howard was Prime Minister of Australia (same time as end of Clinton Presidency and most of the George Bush Presidency).

    One of the things that Peter Shergold introduced in the Australian public service was that policy development must be handled using project management principles. He believed there was far too much policy development with insufficient (in fact almost nonexistent) consideration and planning of how the policy could be implemented so that it would be successful over the long term. So he wanted policy development to include the planning for implementation and continued operation. The implementation of the project management approach was underway when the Labor Party won government and it went no further. The government then had a series of massive and high profile policy failures.

    The failure of carbon pricing in EU and elsewhere is a case of poor planning of the implementation and sustainability of the policy. Richard Tol’s one page article here: http://www.voxeu.org/article/global-climate-talks-if-17th-you-don-t-succeed explains that game theory showed as early as 1991 that there was low probability that global carbon pricing could succeed. The full project plan to implement a carbon pricing system that would survive was never done by EU, UN, Australia or anyone else.

    As far as I know, no one has properly analysed the probability that a global carbon pricing scheme could be implemented and maintained for as long as is necessary to get global GHG emissions down to a ‘sustainable’ level (whatever that is)

    • > Richard Tol’s one page article here [...] explains that game theory

      More precisely, it handwaves to (Barrett 1991), (Carraro and Siniscalco 1992), and (Carraro and Siniscalco 1993).

  8. This is hardly a new issue.

    There is an extensive literature in the health field on the topic, variously tilted; knowledge translation, knowledge transfer, research utilization etc.

    Most of the quoted writers say things that make some sense, but the overwheleming sense I get is the absence of any ideas for a systematic approach to knowledge translation

  9. You should have heard what the prion disease specialists were shouting about in the year 2000.

    based on the number of cases of vCJD an epidemic of biblical proportions was going to sweep the UK. When the numbers ceased to match the models the leaders of the field fell back on a ‘hidden epidemic’, whereby the prions hid deep inside peoples brains, only to emerge decades later. Thus, there was postulated to be a ‘decadal lag’ between infection and manifestation of symptoms.
    How this reminds me of heat hiding in the ocean depths, ready to spring out in a few decades and usher in the Apocalypse.
    I used to work 3 floors above the nations premier vCJD research group. Normally people who work on dangerous human pathogens have a very cautious working practice, they have an incredibly hateful regard for the little swines. The people working on vCJD tended to be not very fearful, in spite of the routine public pronouncements of danger to the masses.
    I wonder what locations and weather proofing the homes of ‘real Climate Scientists’ have.

    • Using this analogy, I believe policies were enacted to remove the ‘mad cows’ from the system in that case. In the climate debate, there are still some arguing to leave the ‘mad cows’ in the system because it is too expensive to remove them.

      • You do persist in being completely unenlightening

        Try this “mad cow”, Jimmy:

        http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com.au/2013/04/new-data-falsifies-basis-of-man-made.html

      • Ian Blanchard

        Jim

        There were 3 strands of policy in response the the BSE/vCJD scare. I’d say 1 was effective, 1 was probably of limited value but technically speculative and 1 was almost entirely about political efficacy rather than any scientific merit.

        In order, these were:
        1 – The ban on bone meal in cattle feed, to reduce (and not essentially eliminate) new cases of BSE. Given that the origin of the disease was consumption by cattle of feed contaminated with either or both scrapie or BSE prions, this made sense. From a peak in the early 1990s of 37k confirmed BSE cases in a year (and about 150k between 1990 and 1995), last year saw just 3 new BSE cases, the end of a long tailing-off.

        2 – The ban on certain beef products and other cattle-derived products from the human food supply (in particular those including bone marrow, spinal cord or brain materials), on the grounds that these were the main sources of the prions. This may have had a slight positive effect on reducing the incidences of vCJD, but given how the predicted catastrophic vCJD epidemic has not (yet?) come to pass (despite the fact that we were eating potentially contaminated products in the late 80s), the importance of this remains difficult to quantify. Indeed, the figures for CJD cases are interesting – http://www.cjd.ed.ac.uk/documents/figs.pdf . OK, there is always a possibility that there is a huge epidemic about to occur, but the pattern of vCJD cases (peaking around the millenium at 28 cases a year and tailing off, with 0 cases last year) better fits the idea of a shortish gestation period (<10 years) from consumption of contaminated material in a population with a very low risk of disease development.

        3 – The ban on slaughtering cattle of more than 30 months old for human consumption. Obviously, such cattle will not be showing syptoms of BSE, simply because the gestation period of the disease is long. However, this does not mean that these animals were free of potentially infectious material.

      • Ian Blanchard

        Typo:
        1 – The ban on bone meal in cattle feed, to reduce (and now essentially eliminate) new cases of BSE.

      • Ian, for efficient transmission of prions from cattle to humans there is one cohort that is extremely at risk population; children losing their milk teeth have open wounds in their mouths.
        This was pointed out to Sir John C., who got rather angry.

      • Ian Blanchard

        Doc
        Thanks for the not very reassuring follow-up. As a Brit who was a child in the 80s and partial to meat products and jelly sweets at the time, I am probably in a higher risk category than most.

        Having said that, one of the things I noted about vCJD is that the age of onset of the illness is around mid 20s, so if there was a big epidemic in the offing, it should be showing up now.

  10. Paul Vaughan

    Judith Curry wrote:
    “Then hopefully we can put the debate on climate policy back into the sphere of politics and economics, where it belongs.”

    Without a firm handle on natural variations, it is impossible to speak about and quantify uncertainty in any meaningful way.

    Until natural variations are better understood, a simple 2-prong climate policy is the only thing that makes sense — no debate is necessary IMHO:

    A. Be prepared for a wide range of natural variability.

    B. Prioritize the direction of funding towards researchers & explorers who are actually capable of solving the natural climate puzzle (e.g. NASA JPL unit led by Jean Dickey).

    I guarantee that with adequate funding & freedom, Jean Dickey’s NASA JPL group can figure out the following and much more:

  11. Is this a plan for growing the governmental-education complex? How about adding an army of social workers to help those who have trouble buying into the secular-socialist liberal Utopia of the Left to draw up a formal plan with clear milestones and suggestions from celebrities about becoming more accountable?

  12. What is remarkable here is that the scientific climate controversy is irrelevant, moot, to the policy features already implemented.
    It does not matter if a CAGW catastrophe is coming or not, if the climate is going to heat up by 6 deg or only 1 deg, as far as the so far implemented policy is concerned.
    The developed nations ( EU and US ) have already spent hundreds of billions of dollars on windmills, solar pannels or electric cars, and these things are totally useless in acheiving any CO2 reduction. These are totally impractical and have no effect at all, except burning wealth.

    What the scientific advice has acheived, so far, is only to whip up a hysteric frenzy, that has already led the decission makers to disregard engineering and physical reality, and do irrational things that acheive nothing.

    Scientists, whether warmists or skeptics, should try to stop this mindless, absurd, waste of resources. It is not their field of expertise, nor their proper task, but it is something in the domain of public policy that needs to be corrected,

    • +10

      The Achilles Heel of CAGW

    • +1

    • Speaking like he’s a friend of Big Oil, someone here (I forgot his name) said:

      ” The developed nations ( EU and US ) have already spent hundreds of billions of dollars on windmills, solar pannels or electric cars, and these things are totally useless in acheiving any CO2 reduction. These are totally impractical and have no effect at all, except burning wealth.”
      _______

      What a crock! Our windmill on the farm didn’t burn our wealth, nor was it impractical.

      Electric cars with batteries charged by electricity by gas-fired power plants are the best thing since sliced-bread.

      Solar panel are cool.

      • Max,

        It is foolish to compare a wind driven well pump to mass development of wind generation.

        RE: Electric cars with batteries charged by electricity by gas-fired power plants are the best thing since sliced-bread.

        We will see. Based on usage rates of the all electric vehicles in our fleet motor pool, I have doubts about how successful electric cars will become. The hybrids on the other hand get used a lot.

        Exactly how does being “cool” matter when discussing electrical generation?

      • timg56, “We will see. Based on usage rates of the all electric vehicles in our fleet motor pool, I have doubts about how successful electric cars will become.”

        I am shocked! Can’t y’all hire some more young progressives so that they can experience the future?

  13. From Plutarch’s The Life of Themistocles :

    Now the rest of his countrymen thought that the defeat of the Barbarians at Marathon was the end of the war; but Themistocles thought it to be only the beginning of greater contests, and for these he anointed himself, as it were, to be the champion of all Hellas, and put his city into training, because, while it was yet afar off, he expected the evil that was to come.

    And so, in the first place, whereas the Athenians were wont to divide up among themselves the revenue coming from the silver mines at Laureium, he, and he alone, dared to come before the people with a motion that this division be given up, and that with these moneys triremes be constructed for the war against Aegina. This was the fiercest war then troubling Hellas, and the islanders controlled the sea, owing to the number of their ships. Wherefore all the more easily did Themistocles carry his point, not by trying to terrify the citizens with dreadful pictures of Darius or the Persians — these were too far away and inspired no very serious fear of their coming, but by making opportune use of the bitter jealousy which they cherished toward Aegina in order to secure the armament he desired. The result was that with those moneys they built a hundred triremes, with which they actually fought at Salamis against Xerxes.

    And after this, by luring the city on gradually and turning its progress toward the sea, urging that with their infantry they were no match even for their nearest neighbours, but that with the power they would get from their ships they could not only repel the Barbarians but also take the lead in Hellas, he made them, instead of “steadfast hoplites” — to quote Plato’s words, sea-tossed mariners, and brought down upon himself this accusation: “Themistocles robbed his fellow-citizens of spear and shield, and degraded the people of Athens to the rowing-pad and the oar.” And this he accomplished in triumph over the public opposition of Miltiades, as Stesimbrotus relates.

    Now, whether by accomplishing this he did injury to the integrity and purity of public life or not, let the philosopher rather investigate. But that the salvation which the Hellenes achieved at that time came from the sea, and that it was those very triremes which restored again the fallen city of Athens, Xerxes himself bore witness, not to speak of other proofs. For though his infantry remained intact, he took to flight after the defeat of his ships, because he thought he was not a match for the Hellenes, and he left Mardonius behind, as it seems to me, rather to obstruct their pursuit than to subdue them.

    This is one of my favorite stories from history, for a variety of reasons. It does seem relevant here.

  14. “a scientist who can mobilise other types of knowledge on his or her side is likely to be more effective than one that cannot…”

    Correct.
    Scientists need to mobilise engineering knowledge, and propose good, cheap, practical “solutions” (if available), not fairy-tale phantasies.

  15. So, is the topic The art and science of Socialist science advice, or The art and science of Capitalist science advice (they can be quite different, you know)?

    Wartime special case technology transfer in the military aside, for the most part government stands in the way of innovation until it is stampeded by the private sector. Government decision-making on which new technology to adopt leads places like vector graphic displays, an Internet where all commercial activity is banned or all communication is unidirectional, the Lada, the One Child Policy, forced sterilization, eugenics, segregation, Brave New World and expropriation. It is historically a vault of horrors as much as an amusement park of absurdities.

    Capitalism largely avoids this mess not because of the virtue of wiser government officials but because the power to determine adoption of new technology resides in the Market. Government is still small enough that it is just another consumer following the Market’s adoption of new technology, from Bring Your Own Device programs where (shockingly) government workers are actually allowed to use current technology to do their jobs without seventy layers of approval and red tape, to tearing down public infrastructure that has become so obsolete through disuse that it no longer makes sense to hold the land and resources in the public commons, to auctioning off bandwidth for mobile technology with no restriction on what new innovations the buyers may produce.

    In general, the best science advice is given to the whole world, and not to government. Where government believes it knows better because of the better access it has to advice, that is when it becomes tyrannical, and at the same time comical.

    • True, true… reverence for individual liberty — building on the wisdom of the ancients — and, upon which Americanism was founded, was Western civilization’s greatest accomplishment to date.

      “Because we have for millennia made moral, aesthetic, religious demands on the world, looked upon it with blind desire, passion or fear, and abandoned ourselves to the bad habits of illogical thinking, this world has gradually become so marvelously variegated, frightful, meaningful, soulful, it has acquired color – but we have been the colorists: it is the human intellect that has made appearances appear and transported its erroneous basic conceptions into things.” ~Nietzsche

      • Popperians should appreciate Nitzsche’s Platonistic episodes.

      • “The suspicion is in the air nowadays that the superiority of one of our formulas to another may not consist so much in its literal ‘objectivity,’ as in subjective qualities like its usefulness, its ‘elegance,’ or its congruity with our residual beliefs.” (William James)

      • Waggy sez: “True, true… reverence for individual liberty — building on the wisdom of the ancients — and, upon which Americanism was founded, was Western civilization’s greatest accomplishment to date.True, true… reverence for individual liberty — building on the wisdom of the ancients — and, upon which Americanism was founded, was Western civilization’s greatest accomplishment to date.”
        _______

        Some of our founding fathers demonstrated their “reverence for individual liberty” by buying slaves to work on their plantations.
        A little know fact is some slave owners assigned daily tasks to their slaves, and when a slave had finished his task he was at liberty to spend the rest of the day doing whatever he liked ( except running off).

      • Bush is a lover of individual liberty. Bush had principles too: he knew there was such a thing as right and wrong. Bush would oppose the killing of the innocent survivors of botched abortions on moral grounds. Bush believed good would triumph over evil. Bush eschewed the liberal fascist tyranny of gas bag politicians full of hot air like Gore and Kerry.

      • Waggy thinks Bush was one of our founding fathers.

        Proof going far-right disables the brain.

      • Bush was a slave-owner?

    • About 20 years ago big pharma decided to do their own in-house basic research, instead of running transfers from the academic sector.
      After 20 years the result are in and it was a complete failure. basic and applied research are different things and the type of thinking, and some times the type of people, that shine in one field fade in the other.
      I suspect that academic research in biomedicals is going to prove to be a better use of resources than allowing industrial R&D to get government funding.

      • DocMartyn | April 28, 2013 at 1:06 pm |

        Which proves what we have known for two millennia: a strong independent academia has great value and ought stand apart from other enterprises with other value propositions.

        Perhaps someone suggested to Big Pharma that a model where management of science by putting it on a leash and letting experts try to predetermine outcomes was a plausible model. After all, it works so well in managing family size in China, and corn yields with ethanol subsidy, and distribution of potato and cabbage crops in the Ukraine.

      • Steven Mosher

        “basic and applied research are different things and the type of thinking, and some times the type of people, that shine in one field fade in the other.”

        that observation comports with my experience.

    • My letter to the Oz today is relevant. (The NBN is the National Broadband Network, a high-speed fibre-to-the-home government network touted as world-changing in the 2007, estimated cost $A47bn, so far connected to, I think, less than 100,000 premises rather than the 1.3m or so promised by mid 2013.)

      “Private firms in a competitive market must be cost-competitive or fail. They have strong incentives to get the best deal from their suppliers. Unfortunately, those “responsible” for politically-driven government programs such as school buildings, roof insulation and the NBN have no such incentive, and are open to exploitation. The incentive for the head contractors for the NBN rollout is to extract the maximum from the government body and pay the minimum to their sub-contractors. That the amount they can extract from the NBN is 180 per cent more than they offer to sub-contractors is an indictment of the government and its agency, but it should surprise no-one (“’Gouging’ blamed for NBN delays,” 29/4).”

      The sensible alternative, of course, would have been a regulatory framework which encouraged private sector innovation and competition. Even in 2007 it was clear that wireless communication was outstripping fixed lines, that has intensified since, most people access the Internet on mobile devices but the government has locked in to costly fixed cable technology to be rolled out by about 2025. I don’t think that they sought scientific advice before proceeding.

    • +1

      On second thought, +10.

  16. In policy, politics always wins the battle over science. Eventually, the science becomes so obvious or popular or financially necessary, that politics and science combine to make policy that overreacts to actual scientifically verified conditions.

    Modified from Rumsfeld:

    As you know, you go to make policy with the political environment you have, not the political environment you might want or wish to have at a later time.

  17. Advising is always a complex task, especially if one seeks to be efficacious.
    Advising on climate science is doubly complex it would seem, for two very different reasons.
    First, despite the IPCC meme about ‘settled science’, it isn’t. Difficult and uncertain measurements of a complex nonlinear dynamic system leave much uncertainty. How much uncertainty does or does not justify action on the precautionary principle requires judgment, not science. Yet ‘scientists’ like Hansen don’t recognize uncertainty and have repeatedly demonstrated lack of judgement even in some of their ‘scientific’ pronouncements.
    Second, climate policy is intimately and inextricably linked to environmental and energy policy. Both arenas have complex sciences unrelated to climate, as well as large entrenched interests. To point out two of the more obvious, increasing weather extremes raises questions like site restrictions (flood plains, coastlines), building codes, insurance rates…while focus on CO2 immediately raises questions about one of the economy’s largest sectors (only healthcare and agriculture are larger).
    Science advisor as integrator oversteps into policy making. And sufficient scientific expertise in all three arenas to render sound and balanced science advise isn’t very likely in individuals.
    Long way of saying that the science to policy translation mechanisms are complex processes that could be better designed, but without one size fits all solutions.

    • Under the Leftist scheme of things humanity is always waiting for the next champion mesmerizer to lead the people. Take Al Gore for example: did you know Gore invented the internet and was awarded a Nobel for helping the U.N. bring peace to the world?

      • Wag, have you read some of Big Al’s Climate Poetry?
        Spectacular.
        Breathtaking.
        Is there anything His Fatness can’t do?

        Andrew

      • Gore is a left-wing hoodwinking fabricator par excellence who gives up nothing to Adolf Hitler about whom it is said, “Many writers have commented upon his ability to hypnotize his audiences.” (see—e.g., Jewish Virtual Library, A Psychological Analysis of Adolph Hitler His Life and Legend As the German People Know Him).

      • I used to think Al Gore was a clown. Until I realized he was laughing all the way to the bank.

        On a smaller scale he’d be considered a grifter. Instead he is a shinning example of what is possible if one does not worry about hypocracy.

        Personally I don’t have a problem with him. He shows what a free enterprise system can allow you to achieve. I simply don’t believe a word he says and can’t really respect him because of that.

    • Rud Istvan | April 28, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Reply

      One notes the superfluous use of ‘air quotes’, and offers this free advice, worth every penny: in this audience, there is no need to indicate irony, sarcasm, skepticism or connote weak support by adding punctuation marks.

      The denizenry here, by and large, either are already inculcated into a system of beliefs surrounding ‘settled science’, ‘scientists’ like Hansen, ‘scientific’ pronouncements and the like that air quotes aren’t necessary for them.

      The rest of the denizenry seems keenly aware of those so programmed as to drool at the sight of terms containing “scien..”, too, so your air quotes benefit them not at all. If you really must denote special terms, one suggests itallics.

      And people new to the discourse are sure not to understand what the fuss is about.

      You’re already accepted by your tribe; you don’t need to enunciate shibboleths for them time and again. The air quotes fall into the same category of distracting irritants as colored emoticons.

      And to the question: due the complexities you see, do you agree it is better to remove policy matters that are so complex entirely from the public arena, remove advice and consent both from expert committees, and resort to laissez faire?

      • I am not sure of your reply, since has overlapping parts. The quotation marks I used are not emoticons. They indicate that I do not think what is asserted is meant. To be specific, Hansen’s ‘science’ claim of 5 meter sea level rise by 2100 is absurd, yet NASA allowed it and it also passed peer ‘pal’ review. And yes, I just did it again, on purpose, twice. Hope that really annoys you.
        As for policy, more apropos our geacious hostess’ post, I think it should be in a more, not less public arena. That way the cleansing light of public scrutiny can shine on what are otherwise rather dark and devious decisions. Solyndra, A123 Systems, and Fisker come readily to mind on any short list of bad but politically motivated wastes of taxpayer dollars. All predictable in advance.

    • Rud –

      Could you point to evidence of the IPCC claiming “settled science?” What does that mean, exactly? Does it mean that the IPCC has argued that there are no scientific questions related to ACO2 affecting climate? If so, could you point that out?

      Is it your opinion that stating probabilities of cause-and-effect within a range is the equivalent of arguing that the science of an issue is “settled?”

      I’ve asked you similar questions in the past – you declined to answer. Could it be that you are arguing against a straw man that you have constructed, and are simply resistant to acknowledging that you’re doing so?

      • Sure. AR4 WG1 3.4.2.2, restated in 8.6.3.1.2. Constancy of UTrH (to agree with GCM results) was so important that it even earned a special box 8.1. The problem is, it is not true. Wrote a guest post on the subject here last year. Long section in the climate chapter showing how the consensus got formed via selection bias in the IPCC meta analysis.
        You asked for one. My book provides specifics on a number of others, all drawn from AR4.

      • > Due to instrumental limitations, long-term changes in water vapour in the upper troposphere are difficult to assess.

        http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch3s3-4-2-2.html

        No hit for “UTrH”.

      • In Joshua | April 28, 2013 at 1:04 pm | it is asked Could you point to evidence of the IPCC claiming “settled science?”

        In Rud Istvan | April 28, 2013 at 2:08 pm | the answer, “Sure. AR4 WG1 3.4.2.2, restated in 8.6.3.1.2. Constancy of UTrH (to agree with GCM results) was so important that it even earned a special box 8.1. The problem is, it is not true.

        And when we look at what WG1 3.4.2.2 we find, taking the liberty of bolding for emphasis the terms that indicate the degree of confidence ascribed the results, in just the first three paragraphs:

        http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch3s3-4-2-2.html

        Water vapour in the middle and upper troposphere accounts for a large part of the atmospheric greenhouse effect and is believed to be an important amplifier of climate change (Held and Soden, 2000). Changes in upper-tropospheric water vapour in response to a warming climate have been the subject of significant debate.

        Due to instrumental limitations, long-term changes in water vapour in the upper troposphere are difficult to assess. Wang et al. (2001) found an increasing trend of 1 to 5% per decade in relative humidity during 1976 to 1995, with the largest increases in the upper troposphere, using 17 radiosonde stations in the tropical west Pacific. Conversely, a combination of Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) and Halogen Occultation Experiment (HALOE) measurements at 215 hPa suggested increases in water vapour with increasing temperature (Minschwaner and Dessler, 2004) on interannual time scales, but at a rate smaller than expected from constant relative humidity.

        Maistrova et al. (2003) reported an increase in specific humidity at 850 hPa and a decrease from 700 to 300 hPa for 1959 to 2000 in the Arctic, based on data from ships and temporary stations as well as permanent stations. In general, the radiosonde trends are highly suspect owing to the poor quality of, and changes over time in, the humidity sensors (e.g., Wang et al., 2002a). Comparisons of water vapour sensors during recent intensive field campaigns have produced a renewed appreciation of random and systematic errors in radiosonde measurements of upper-tropospheric water vapour and of the difficulty in developing accurate corrections for these measurements (Guichard et al., 2000; Revercombe et al., 2003; Turner et al., 2003; Wang et al., 2003; Miloshevich et al., 2004; Soden et al., 2004).

        Wow.

        That sure spells “settled science” to me.

        Or is it ‘settled science’?

        On its own, the data alone barely satisfies the level of generally exhibit skill. We’re warned against too strong reliance on this entire field by itself in almost every sentence of two chapters of AR4.

        So anyone claiming confidently to have found the “Truth” of UTrH is claiming better understanding than a vast array of specialists in the field and/or better data than all data collected to date by all means.

        I’m.. skeptical.

      • Bart R,

        No amount of emphasized qualifiers would ever undermine the claim that:

        The consensus places unshakable faith in simulation models that provably do not correctly reproduce the most important two feedbacks.

        http://judithcurry.com/2012/07/22/what-climate-sensitivity-says-about-the-ipcc-assessment-process/

      • willard (@nevaudit) | April 28, 2013 at 3:56 pm |

        Yeah, sorry. I didn’t follow the reasoning behind that line the first time.

        It parsed down to |name-calling| |tribalism| |illegitimate proposition| |straw man| |irrelevancy| |devil word| |handwave| |conclusion not following from fact| |value judgement| |dangling implication| when I looked at it.

        Does it have an actual objective meaning?

      • Bart –

        I notice that Rud offered no quotes. No excerpts. In fact, no argument of “settled science” by any definition I consider reasonable.

        I notice that in contrast, you offered excerpts and highlighted quotes – to the effect of making it clear that contrary to arguing “settled science,” the IPCC speaks of probabilities within a range.

        Hmmm. Kind of makes me wonder just who is a “skeptic” and who a skeptic.

      • > Does it have an actual objective meaning?

        No, it only has an actual objective.

        But which one?

      • Steven Mosher

        “Could you point to evidence of the IPCC claiming “settled science?” What does that mean, exactly? Does it mean that the IPCC has argued that there are no scientific questions related to ACO2 affecting climate? If so, could you point that out?”

        This debate is silly. It goes something like this.

        a proxy warrior says things like this

        “Ultimately the NASA Apollo-era retirees expect the public to defer to their opinions on climate change, despite the fact that they have failed to do more than the most basic climate research and do not understand the most fundamental aspects of risk management (which is rather strange, since Apollo 13 was a good lesson in preparing for the worst case scenario).
        In reality many of the questions they believe nobody has answered are actually settled science. We know humans are causing global warming, we know there is also natural variability in the climate system, and we know the climate consequences will be bad if we continue on our present course. Just how bad is an open question, which depends in large part on how quickly we reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. However, these NASA retirees are asking us to delay action in the hopes that the best case scenario will occur. This is a total risk management failure, because if they are wrong and the best case does not come to fruition, we will face some nasty consequences, and there will be very little that we can do about it.”

        And then if you actually push on this, they will say that “no science is settled” or the IPCC never said that.

        here is another tribal warrior explaining what science is settled

        “Here is another person’s take on this.BrooklineTom:The science that remains settled is:1. The role of atmospheric CO2 as a greenhouse gas.2. Thermodynamics3. The fact of anthropogenic emissions of CO2 as a primary forcing function of increasing global warmth.4. The negligible impact (on global climate change) of solar cycles, orbital changes, cosmic rays, etc.The science being aggressively altered includes:1. The roles played by various ocean circulations and oscillations.2. The effect of the interactions among the complex (in its technical sense) feedback mechanisms.3. The timing and intensity of changes implied by anthropogenic atmospheric CO2.I never claimed that ALL the science was settled — if that were true, no research would be needed. My point (which, by the way, Dr. Lindzen often agrees on) is that there is more than enough new and unsettled science at the boundaries of our understanding — so much so that we don’t have time to waste in fruitless rehashing of the aspects that are and remain settled.”

        Now, of course, when pressed, they say the science isnt settled. or the IPCC never said it was.. But they only say this after suggesting that debate was over because the IPCC said so.

        The science is settled debates are as boring as the consensus debates.

      • Steven Mosher

        somebody educate this clown

        http://www.thescienceisstillsettled.com/

        Opps..

        http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9047642

        very interesting to read the science journalist take on on Gore
        and un named scientists who bristle at Gore’s mistakes..

        Of course this is not the IPCC claiming that the science is settled.

        That’s not how the game works.

        The game works like this.

        A popularizer says “the IPCC proves this” “The science is settled”
        These are messages used in two ways: they are used to communicate to folks who dont want to know all the details. they are used to suggest that opponents are denying known science. Scientists won’t call out the popularizer, maybe privately they “bristle.”

        Then, down the road a skeptic will make the mistake ( as Rud does) of claiming that the IPCC said the science was settled.. and then of course, he cant back it up.

        So the argument becomes… oh the IPCC never said the science was settled, but Gore said it, and well you shouldnt listen to Gore, except when you should listen to him.. or something. or we never said all the science was settled, only this part over here.. the part that even skeptics dont deny..errr wait.. or nobody ever said the science was settled, because science isnt settled, except for oh well..

      • Steven Mosher

        Here Joshua

        http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/unsettled-science/

        Note how NPRs report of Gore’s statement in 2007 “the science is settled” becomes a rhetorical device used exclusively by contrarians..
        But thats NPR claiming gore said it..did he?

        not in his opening statement

        Closest he comes is here

        around 10 minutes but the whole this is worth while.

        so if you read NPR they heard “the science is settled” and Gore said something more like “there is no debate”

        Most important thing is how do these statements operate in a discussion.. rather than the exact words

      • Look, a fat squirrel.

        ***

        Here was the claim:

        > Sure. AR4 WG1 3.4.2.2, restated in 8.6.3.1.2. [...] You asked for one. My book provides specifics on a number of others, all drawn from AR4.

        Can we now have another one, this time from Da Book?

      • mosher –

        Most important thing is how do these statements operate in a discussion.. rather than the exact words

        I completely agree. The debate about whether the IPCC or specific climate scientists underestimate uncertainty is perfectly valid. As such, skepticism is entirely warranted, IMO.

        The problem is when “skeptics” enter the discussion. They twist the arguments of the IPCC and climate scientists to be one of “the science is settled.” When they do so, they distort an acknowledgement of uncertainty (probability within a range) and portray it as a claim of complete certainty. A such, they have a very convenient straw man to focus their outrage, and in so doing contribute to the pollution of the debate.

        A similar process takes place when a climate scientist says something on the order of “there is no debate.” What do they mean by that? Do they mean that there is no debate that ACO2 warms the climate? Well, many “skeptics” say they agree with that assertion even as they misleadingly object to climate scientists saying that “there is no debate.”

        Again, IMO, debating the range of uncertainty is entirely valid and consistent with skepticism. My point was not to question Rud about the “exact words,” but to question whether he is furthering the science. When “skeptics” distort what “realists” actually say about uncertainty, they are not engaging the higher-order debate, but instead engaging in same ol’ same ol’.

      • The IPCC phrase that the warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and its paraphrase by the APS that it is incontrovertible are also flashpoints for push-back. Certain words trigger these emotional reactions.

      • Steven Mosher

        Joshua:

        “The problem is when “skeptics” enter the discussion. They twist the arguments of the IPCC and climate scientists to be one of “the science is settled.” When they do so, they distort an acknowledgement of uncertainty (probability within a range) and portray it as a claim of complete certainty. A such, they have a very convenient straw man to focus their outrage, and in so doing contribute to the pollution of the debate.

        A similar process takes place when a climate scientist says something on the order of “there is no debate.” What do they mean by that? Do they mean that there is no debate that ACO2 warms the climate? Well, many “skeptics” say they agree with that assertion even as they misleadingly object to climate scientists saying that “there is no debate.”

        That’s pretty much my view of things. For me the interesting thing to watch is the process of ‘grounding’, the process whereby people in a dialogue or debate try to find some ground or establish some ground that is beyond dispute, a place where parties can agree and then move forward. However, since everyone in this fight has some idea of the other sides endgame nobody wants to give ground or to find common ground, and it’s one of the reasons, I think, that we see philosophy and rhetoric play a role in a science and policy debate. A while back Zeke put up a list of things to see what kind of general agreement could be generated. It was interesting to watch the reaction. At Lisbon we tried to draft a list of things agreed to.. the whole notion of finding common ground was questioned. Incommensurability is the best word I can use to describe the situation

      • mosher –

        However, since everyone in this fight has some idea of the other sides endgame nobody wants to give ground or to find common ground…,

        I agree with this also. That is why, IMO, the application of “scorched earth” strategies is so ubiquitous.

        Establishing points of agreement (and common, agreed-up definitions) are, IMO, the necessary starting points for promoting useful dialog. IMO, that entails establishing good-faith and agreed-upon outlines of the points of disagreement also (something that it seems you and I have disagreed about in the past with respect to that being a ground-level requirement of arguing a thesis).

        It sounds touchy-feeling and Kumbaya, but IMO, trust is the key element here, along with a leveled-hierarchy of power in the debate and an orientation directed towards sharing interests rather than fighting about positions. These are basic principles of participatory planning and conflict negotiation. Short of working towards those principles, IMO, nothing much will occur other than people clubbing each other until the climate (in another 50-100 years at minimum) settles the debate in any practical sense (either no dramatic change or unambiguous and dramatic change).

      • Joshua- Imo, there is talk and endless speculation, but at the bottom line the rate of sea level rise is the driving issue. Up to now there has been no reliable evidence of an increase in the rate of sea level rise since there have been reasonably consistent and accurate measurements.
        Sea level rise is the largest factor driving the potential harmful effects of a potentially warmer world. Those who are most concerned about climate change will argue that the rate of sea level rise will undoubtedly increase in the future. Others (skeptics), argue that it may rise in the future but that there is no reliable evidence to determine how much or when. If there was reasonably reliable evidence of massive sea level rise, there would be more support for worldwide action. There isn’t, so the largest potential issue is largely diffused.

      • Bart R.

        http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2011/20110118_MilankovicPaper.pdf

        Here is :-
        Paleoclimate Implications for Human Made Climate Change
        James E. Hansen and Makiko Sato (2011) Got to page 16

        “PIG and neighboring glaciers in the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica, which are also accelerating, contain enough ice to contribute 1-2 m to sea level. Most of the West Antarctic ice sheet, with at least 5 m of sea level, and about a third of the East Antarctic ice sheet, with another 15-20 m of sea level, are grounded below sea level. This more vulnerable ice may have been the source of the 25 ± 10 m sea level rise of the Pliocene (Dowsett et al., 1990, 1994). If human-made global warming reaches Pliocene levels this century, as expected under BAU scenarios, these greater volumes of ice will surely begin to contribute to sea level change. Indeed, satellite gravity and radar interferometry data reveal that the Totten Glacier of East Antarctica, which fronts a large ice mass grounded below sea level, is already beginning to lose mass (Rignot et al., 2008).”

      • Having said what I believe Dr. Hansen hasn’t said, I ought perhaps clarify what I believe Dr. Hansen has said.

        While he uses a graph that extends to 2100 showing 5m rise, which he bases on the more moderate of two fitted exponential curves derived from actual sea level data, Dr. Hansen in his narrative also states clearly that exponential sea level rise cannot go on forever.

        Dr. Hansen seems to imply that either 2065 or 1.4m is the limit before such a trend will break and enter a new climate state due the significant changes in the ocean resulting from the melting of so much ice in so short a time. And after? I don’t know if Dr. Hansen contemplates one can say much more about ‘after’ a shift to such a dramatically different climate state in the short term.

        In the long term, Dr. Hansen’s references to Pliocene CO2 levels (that is, identical to or slightly less than current CO2 levels), to deep ocean warming and clathrate leaching, to historic sea level rises at 250MA and 55MA that show precedence for oddness such that 5m/decade sea level rise in unusual circumstances is not out of the question, and to 25+/-10m sea level rise in the long (perhaps millennial) run is plausible because it happened in the Pliocene at or near 400 ppmv CO2, as well as that his triple-inertia of ocean, ice, etc. systems implies the belief that no matter what we do going forward, much of that sea level rise is locked in, but that a separate and distinct tipping point of no return is also a concern as early as 2030.

        That’s what I believe Dr. Hansen has said, more or less.

        None of which to me means so much ‘catastrophic’ as ‘costly’, risky, waste of resources I have as much common claim to as anyone, and which I am being denied by those who feel entitled to piss in the common well.

      • timg56 | April 30, 2013 at 3:54 pm |

        There’s a really easy, intuitive way to demonstrate that “cheap energy” through tax breaks, public infrastructure support, subsidies, protectionism and like policies is more expensive all around. And there’s a hard way.

        Guess which one I’ll use?

        Most of the “cheap energy” policy requires collecting tax dollars (except from the ‘energy’ industry) and spending them. We all know the efficiency of collecting tax dollars is so low, the government is such a poor husband of its finances, that it takes over two tax dollars spent by government to get the equivalent of one dollar of private spending.

        When that government spending happens, that’s the big government with the consumer equivalent of monopoly power doing the spending, in such a way that other consumers do not gain the benefit but instead suffer a contraction in supply.. and it’s generally an artificial contraction in supply, due the inertia of government decision processes. We have to agree this makes things more expensive.

        But that’s not all. Because the taxes are higher than they would otherwise be, they’re more distortionate too. Because they’re not evenly spread around the retail Market (remember, cheap energy gives some favored players breaks), these distortions accumulate over time, entrenching outdated technology and undesireable goods by creating barriers for innovation and more preferred goods. This drives up the price.

        When any good is subsidized, waste will result, because the point of an unsubsidized Market is to ensure efficient allocation of goods; therefore, all differences between laissez faire and actual Market conditions involving only goods (consider the Theory of Bads) will always be less efficient. Waste is pure increase in cost for no increase in returns to stakeholders.

        Also, governments must play favorites for reasons of government priority, which will over time cumulatively grow further and further from the interests of individuals, as no government will have the same priority as individual people all the time. This means that less desireable providers will have an advantage, forcing buyers to choose them due that edge.

        “Cheap energy” is always the most expensive way to do things.

    • Rud Istvan | April 28, 2013 at 6:46 pm |

      It appears I was unclear, and a bit of mischief by me has taken on too much meaning for you. Use air quotes however much you wish, my point was more directed at others who use colorful emoticons to a clownish degree, taking away from the serious consideration of their sometimes extraordinary remarks. Your usage isn’t — especially after how much money I’m made by learning from the example you’ve set in the business world — going to annoy me. Why, any day now nostalgia for 90’s hipsterism as embodied by air quotes should make this affectation fashionable again.

      To digress, Hansen’s 5m by 2100 does not exist anywhere in Hansen’s writing that I have been able to find. And I’ve looked. And looked. And looked. Even 2m by 2100 is a mistatement of Hansen’s claims, largely due the original misreporting of it, later corrected, in the famous Manhattan Island at 2xCO2 interview. Could you point me, if you’re so kind, to the original citation? I would like to know, since it would be a significant departure from most of Hansen’s work, and I would prefer to understand the corpus properly.

      And to the misunderstanding. I do not for a moment propose to remove the discourse from the public eye. I propose to remove the spending of the public purse from the topic except so far as informing the public more transparently, faster, more openly, more independently, more reliably about facts and data and what the most parsimonious, simple, universal and accurate explanations that fit all the data are.

      Get rid of all the subsidies in the energy sector entirely.

      Every public road?

      Privatize.

      Every pipeline?

      Land prices ought be what the market will bear, not what expropriation extorts.

      Leaks? Not the damage function or the ‘good enough’ clean up standard, but full remediation paid by the drilling or pipeline company on the spot, up front, no deals cut, no discounts, no delay.

      Corn ethanol? It’s been decades, it’s no longer an infant industry: let it pay its own way, or let it go away.

      Taxes? Close the loopholes that mean oil companies can put their headquarters offshore and escape paying their fair share to America, that let their retail tax rate drop 60% in a quarter century, that allow accelerated depletion of in-the-ground inventories even as those inventories swell in value.

      Find every vestige of the “cheap energy” philosophy and stamp it out; it raises the price of everything, energy included, and induces waste and stagnation where otherwise there would have been frugalness, efficiency and innovation.

      Industry-specific research? Let the industry pony up the bill. In fact, make sure they pay for the research it takes to prove they won’t repeat the Gulf of Mexico in some way. Make sure the public is fully informed, and has all the input it needs to the process to ask whatever question it wants.

      Make every energy industry pay its own way. You know, laissez faire.

      • Not sure I would agree with privatized roads and stamping out a cheap energy philosophy, the rest all sounds good.

      • Under BAU forcing in the 21st century, sea level rise undoubtedly will be dominated by a third term (3) ice sheet disintegration. This third term was small until the past few years, but it is has at least doubled in the past decade and is now close to 1 mm/year, based on gravity satellite measurements discussed above. As a quantitative example, let us say that the ice sheet contribution is 1 cm for the decade 2005-2015 and that it doubles each decade until the West Antarctic ice sheet is largely depleted. That time constant yields sea level rise of the order of 5 m this century. Of course I can not prove that my choice of a 10 year doubling time for non-linear response is accurate, but I am confident that it provides a far better estimate than a linear response for the ice sheet component of sea level rise. … – Hansen 2007 (Scientific reticence and sea level rise)

        As a quantitative example, let us say…

        It ain’t “SLR will be 5 meters by 2100″.

  18. “The most brilliant advice may go wholly unheeded if it’s not fitted to the social context of decision makers, the psychology of people making decisions in a hurry and under pressure, and the economics of organisations often strapped for cash”
    ie, don’t tell the decision makers anything they don’t want to hear, if you don’t want to lose your funding!

  19. When it comes to science we know what the Left wants to hear. But, what should that have to do with science?

  20. Suggest the “Ivory Tower” folks take the approach of the ever practical but looked-down-upon engineer. Why not just use and create energy more efficiently; saves money and reduces CO2, regardless of whether or not it is an actual problem.

  21. For policy, consensus is usually very important in other fields, e.g. whether certain drugs are dangerous, or pollutant levels in the water or air, or food safety issues, so why abandon that for climate policy? I therefore disagree with plural advice over consensus. Giving them a smorgasbord to choose from leads to them just choosing what is best for their constituency (by which I mean their funders in the US system), which is not necessarily going to lead to the best decisions. On the other hand, if they ignore a consensus, so be it, then the consequences are on them and not on the scientists. They usually don’t ignore consensus in these other fields for that very reason.

    • the complexity of the climate problem is orders of magnitude more complex than the other examples you provide.

      • The smorgasbord approach is fraught with politicians making choices of personal convenience. How do we stop that?

      • i would add that, while in principle it is possible to hide the consensus view from the politicians, some of the diligent ones will figure out a way to find it, possibly by talking to their local university. The issue is that in climate science there is a consensus view which is actually a spectrum and it should be public, and politicians should. and mostly will, have an idea of where on the spectrum their particular briefer is sitting.

      • It’s OK Jim,

        Judith just has no idea of the complexities involved in pharmaco-kinetics and the massive uncertainties stemming from the large natural variability in individual genetic make-up.

      • -the complexity of the climate problem is orders of magnitude more complex than the other examples you provide.

        Jim D | April 28, 2013 at 1:54 pm |

        The smorgasbord approach is fraught with politicians making choices of personal convenience. How do we stop that?-

        Politicians can’t even do the simple stuff- so they disqualified to
        do anything complex.
        If you want to solve a complex problem, don’t depend on politicians.
        You have to get smart and willing people involved.
        Or the assumption is socialism works, and over and over again
        it has been shown it’s a bad idea. Power corrupts- it’s quite simple.

      • David Springer

        Michael | April 28, 2013 at 8:10 pm |

        “Judith just has no idea of the complexities involved in pharmaco-kinetics and the massive uncertainties stemming from the large natural variability in individual genetic make-up.”

        You got something right! Yay!

        +1

  22. Since it exists scientists, purposefully ignoring politics simply brings a new source of error to science. Certainly, the powerful effect Gore has on the typical Democrat Party audience is beyond question; and, Gore could have been president: the NYT claims Gore went through a period of post-traumatic stress syndrome over his loss to George Bush in 2000. It should all be on the table when it comes to global warming. We cannot dismiss the possibility that all government employees probably are damaged and, it’s your fault.

  23. David L. Hagen

    Thanks for that excellent selection and resource. Especially insightful in seeking how to restore climate science to the scientific method and public confidence:

    New model of expertise:
    Open
    Diverse
    Humble
    Trusting the public
    Expecting plural and conditional advice
    Distributed control
    Presenting evidence, judgement and uncertainty

  24. In my experience of effective science advice, separation of functions is crucial at the intersection of technical advisor and decision maker.

    Technical advisors can prepare lists of alternative courses of action, tables of plausible explanations, and reasons for each, such as cost-benefit analyses where appropriate, or case on relative merits, or measure of parsimony, simplicity, universality, accuracy and reliability, or whatever.

    Decision makers must apply their own judgement then, on the technical advise from all sources, and adjudicate first whether the advice meets the standard of evidence for decision-making, and then how to interpret the alternatives presented.

    Round after round of meeting of technical advisor (often involving getting rid of technical advisors who fall short of the measure the decision makers need) and decision maker are often required.

    And in situations limited by time and urgency or resources or risk, decision makers frequently must proceed with the poor pile of crap left at their feet by the scientists, and have to go ahead, holding their nose and picking through the pile for anything solid to take hold of and try.

    • Bart, that approximates how I worked with economic policy. I’d like to tell a story about the science-policy interface here.

      In 1997, I wrote a submission advising the Queensland Cabinet on what line to take with regard to the Kyoto protocol. Late in the process, I had to interact with a leading environmental academic. On the day I was to meet him to finalise his input, I also had to give emergency leave to one of my staff. The staffer’s girl-friend, in the govt environmental department and undertaking graduate work at the uni, was being so heavily stalked by the learned professor that the couple had to get out of town as a matter of urgency.

      While this certainly affected my assessment of the professor, it did not affect my assessment of his work.

      • One of the reasons the process is so difficult and so demands partition of roles is that the goals and guiding philosophies of both groups, of technical advisors and decision makers, are in many ways so diametrically opposite.

        A technical researcher must be skeptical of all things and seek to generate skepticism always. A decision-maker, while they too much be skeptical must convert from skepticism to eagerness in the process that transforms an unfiltered and unresolved group of alternatives and facts into an iron resolve to act, into motivation to succeed, into leadership at the reins of each decided outcome.

        A technical researcher must put truth above all other things. A decision-maker ought appreciate truth, but we know the philosophies of leadership of both the Eastern and the Western traditions heavily rely on deception, in particular of one’s own people, however much we lament such ancient, and I strongly feel inept advice. I’d rather blunt, honest and demotivating than wrong-for-the-right-reasons, ends-justify-the-means, all-warfare-is-deception, mission-accomplished, WMDism.

    • I think the problem with what Judith is suggesting is that it formulates the solution as scientists simply communicating their advice better.

      The literature on the topic in the health field makes it pretty clear that this is not the answer. Instead what is needed is a clearly defined and ongoing process of engagement. Better communication is important, buts it’s only one part of the puzzle.

      • That reminds me of a chess book in which we could read this rule of thumb:

        > Do not make mistakes.

      • Steven Mosher

        you will like matojelic Willard

      • i remember a 19th Century book of helpful hints for homemakers which had, mixed in with recipes and practical household hints, the treatment for electrocution, which was to put the victim in water in a barrel. After three days the instructions were to add salt.
        =========================

      • Steven Mosher

        mato has a wonderful collection of tutorials,a compelling life story, and a quirky sense of humor that I love.

        His collection and commentary on Tal is fantastic and his Fischer stuff is pretty good as well.

        I highly recommend him when the internet starts to make your blood pressure boil.. that and gwiyomi keep me at a semblance of peace

      • Michael | April 29, 2013 at 10:21 am |

        http://www.managementexchange.com/video/gary-hamel-reinventing-technology-human-accomplishment

        While not a perfect fit for the topic, I believe you may find, given the comment you’ve made, the link interesting, and adaptable somewhat to this subject.

        Or, just interesting.

      • Not quite what I had in mind, but yeah, interesting.

        There’s been a fair bit of work done in the health field on this, mainly beause so any studies have found an alarmingly wide gap between the evidence and medical practice, and an equally concerning lack of use of the available evidence in policy formulation.

        This gives a brief overview;

        http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/39033.html

        While it is health focussed, the principle, imho, holds.

        Though there are some significant differences between this and the issues surrounding AGW. In the health arena there is usually a reasonably discrete and cohesive geographical/political entity involved.

        The transnational aspect of policy-making wrt AGW is a difficult problem.
        Some people seem to think that the IPCC is, in effect, a ‘knowledge transation’ process, but it’s really just dissemination – policy makers can take it or or leave, and no amount of polishing it, or stressing uncertainty, or changing the font, will make any significant difference to moving the evidence into policy.

  25. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Today’s Climate Etc Topic:
    The art and science of effective science advice

    Judith Curry hopes: “Move [the polity] to a more defensible and rational position on climate science [and] put the debate on climate policy back into the sphere of politics and economics, where it belongs. That was the ‘agenda’ in my testimony.”

    That is an outstanding objective Judith Curry!

    The flip-side to “defensible and rational positions” in regard to climate-change is (obviously) “indefensibly nonrational positions” in regard to climate-change … which constitutes (of course) denialism.

    And outstanding example of indefensibly nonrational denialism is this week’s Anthony Watts/WUWT column Hansen unleashed: people he disagrees with are ‘neanderthals’

    WUWT denialist non-rationality #1  Nowhere in the WUWT story is James Hansen quoted verbatim and in-context.

    WUWT non-rationality #2  Nowhere in the WUWT story is is a link provided to James Hansen’s word-for-word testimony, that would assist readers to verify matters for themselves.

    WUWT denialist non-rationality #3  Nowhere in the WUWT comments does even a single reader object that WUWT’s coverage of Hansen’s testimony is factually, logically, and morally vacuous.

    Conclusion  Kudos to Judith Curry, for balanced, logical Congressional testimony that crucially helps to offset the vacuous climate-change denialism whose short-sighted willful ignorance and astroturfed demagoguery are so harmful to free democratic polities!

    As for the merits (or otherwise!) of James Hansen’s “effective science advice,” it is a pleasure to encourage Climate Etc readers listen for yourself, think for yourself, and decide for yourself, by following for yourself the Hansen testimony link.

    It’s not complicated, Climate Etc readers!

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    • Dear sir or madam, as the case may be,

      I am confused. Did we read the same post at WUWT?

      Firstly, Niall from Canada states: “denigrated our Government as “neanderthal” in it’s approach to AGW”. Having just watched the interview, I can confirm that Dr Hansen very clearly states in one of his responses to the interviewer that the Canadian government is Neanderthal in its approach, and repeats that characterisation when challenged. So the Neanderthal quote is correct, and not out of context. I don’t remember Dr Hansen using the exact words “crystal clear”, but he certainly says that the science is clear many times and in various ways.

      Secondly, I fear you failed to notice the link which Niall provided at the end of his request and which is included in the WUWT post. It’s the one I just followed to get to the interview with Dr Hansen.

      Thirdly, the post is short, easy to understand, makes sense, and is accurate. I’m really not at all sure what you mean by “factually, logically, and morally vacuous”, and I wouldn’t have made such a comment myself. I’m guessing other WUWT commenters have also failed to notice what you’ve picked up. Please could you explain?

      Yours faithfully,
      janets

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      janets asks  “Did we read the same post at WUWT? Please could you explain?”

      That is a good question, JanetS! Climate Etc readers are hereby strongly encouraged to follow along, as you and I begin by clicking on this direct link to Hansen’s testimony (a link that WUWT omitted to provide), and by verifying that the following quotations are in-context and verbatim (and which WUWT omitted to provide) :

      James Hansen [opening sentence]  The science is very clear. There’s a lot of carbon in the unconventional fossil fuels: the tar sands; the tar shales; fracking for gas. We can’t burn that without guaranteeing that our children and grandchildren will have a situation that’s out of their control.

      —- forward to the 9:00 “neanderthal” sentence —–

      Evan Solomon  How would you describe Canada’s approach to climate change, and the oil-sands role in it?

      James Hansen  Well the current government is a neanderthal government on this issue.

      But Canada can actually be a leader! In fact, British Columbia has taken a step, with a carbon tax, which makes sense. We actually need a carbon fee, collected from fossil fuel companies, with the money distributed to the public.

      So I have hopes that Canada will actually be a good example for the United States. But the present [Candadian] government is certainly not. They’re in the hip pocket of the fossil industry, as you can see. But that doesn’t mean the Canadian people are, and we have had examples in the past where Canada has been ahead of the US on environmental issues.

      Climate Etc readers are encouraged to verify for themselves that the preceding transcription is faithful, and moreover provides a reasonably fair context for Hansen’s words.

      A fair factual summary would be “James Hansen strongly praises foresighted Canadian carbon mitigation and environmental protection practices!” Ain’t that right, JanetS?

      Needless to say, the *ENTIRE* Solomon/Hansen interview is well-worth watching and thinking upon … and Climate Etc readers are hereby vigorously encouraged to do so! Ain’t that a good idea, JanetS?

      ——————————-

      Conclusion  James Hansen is succeeding pretty well at Judith Curry-style “effective science communicating!”

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      • Steven Mosher

        ‘James Hansen Well the current government is a neanderthal government on this issue.”

        please go give him polite lessons. maybe this will make him be a more happy camper

  26. Regarding consensus, I would pose the general question: Would there be scientific consensus on sensitivity without the IPCC? Some people say the IPCC forced a consensus where there wasn’t one. Unfortunately we can’t go back and undo the IPCC process, but there was already a growing consensus before this became politicized in the late ’80’s that the range of sensitivity was 2-4 C per doubling from models of various complexity, and independently paleoclimate was backing this up. Later, in the ’90’s, the warming became more evident, as Hansen had predicted in 1981, further backing up the sensitivity. Now with land warming, sea-ice melting and ocean heat content rising, the global temperature pause is seen as just the latest of a series of pauses caused by natural variability, and the consensus is not changed by it because the pauses are interspersed with accelerations, not drops. In conclusion, I think the consensus would be the same with or without the IPCC and politicization. The only difference is you would find it in the scientific literature, at conferences, and talking to university professors, rather than looking at an IPCC report, and it would not be hotly debated if it had no relevance to policy or our global future.

    • I just read this November 2012 article in Scientific American, called “America’s Science Problem” by Shawn Lawrence Otto. It is paywalled, but one phrase that is relevant here is
      “By falsely equating knowledge with opinion, postmodernists and antiscience conservatives alike collapse our thinking back to a pre-Enlightenment era, leaving no common basis for public policy. Public discourse is reduced to endless warring opinions, none seen as more valid than another. Policy is determined by the loudest voices, reducing us to a world in which might makes right—the classic definition of authoritarianism.”
      By Googling this phrase you can find other excepts from the Daily Kos, for example, but I recommend the Scientific American article. This phrase echoes my concern about abandoning scientific consensus in policy decisions.

      • David Springer

        Relative morals and relative truths are inventions of the political left. Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind. You have only yourself to blame.

  27. Jim D

    What you write makes sense.

    IPCC has definitely brought general awareness to the possibility that increased CO2 levels could have an impact on our climate. The model-based attempts to quantify this were also “weighted” by IPCC in order to come up with a “consensus” estimate of ~3.2C+/-0.7C (IPCC AR4 WG1, Ch.8, p. 633). The range of the model estimates was from 1.88C to 5.87C (Table S8.1), so this is a very wide range.

    That was over six years ago.

    Time has passed and new studies have been made which, unlike the earlier model-based IPCC estimates, are (at least partly) based on actual physical observations. And, of course, there have been six more years of data to consider.

    These new studies show values around half of the previously estimates, and the “fat tail” is gone.

    The question now is: will IPCC report this new information and revise its estimates and projections for the future accordingly OR will it stay with its previous “consensus” position?

    Max

    • There are many ways to fool these simple-model approaches into giving lower climate sensitivity. They may not fully account for solar changes, they may underestimate the changes in aerosols in recent years, and they don’t have a way to distinguish natural variability from the ‘true’ climate they are trying to fit with their Bayesian methods. I am skeptical of that approach.

  28. Chief Hydrologist

    Abrupt climate changes were especially common when the climate system was being forced to change most rapidly. Thus, greenhouse warming and other human alterations of the earth system may increase the possibility of large, abrupt, and unwelcome regional or global climatic events. The abrupt changes of the past are not fully explained yet, and climate models typically underestimate the size, speed, and extent of those changes. Hence, future abrupt changes cannot be predicted with confidence, and climate surprises are to be expected.

    The new paradigm of an abruptly changing climatic system has been well established by research over the last decade, but this new thinking is little known and scarcely appreciated in the wider community of natural and social scientists and policy-makers. http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10136&page=1

    In the evolving field of climate science some knowledge is esoteric – such as the implications of a complex systems approach to climate. In fact we have a complex systems approach in models but we are as yet scarcely cognisant of the problems and limitations of this approach – certainly outside the modelling community – in terms of being able to provide only estimates of risks – and that only a potential at present.. As the title of the NAS report – by 11 top climatologists and chaired by Richard Alley – there are ‘inevitable surprises’ in store. Twenty to forty years of non warming seems the least of it as the sun quiets after a 1000 year high and we cross into at least Bond Event Zero. Such knowledge is very difficult to convey as it is a threshold concept – one that is –

    • Transformative: Once understood, a threshold concept changes the way in which the student views the discipline.
    • Troublesome: Threshold concepts are likely to be troublesome for the student. Perkins has suggested that knowledge can be troublesome e.g. when it is counter-intuitive, alien or seemingly incoherent.
    • Irreversible: Given their transformative potential, threshold concepts are also likely to be irreversible, i.e. they are difficult to unlearn.
    • Integrative: Threshold concepts, once learned, are likely to bring together different aspects of the subject that previously did not appear, to the student, to be related.
    • Bounded: A threshold concept will probably delineate a particular conceptual space, serving a specific and limited purpose.
    • Discursive: Meyer and Land [10] suggest that the crossing of a threshold will incorporate an enhanced and extended use of language.
    • Reconstitutive: “Understanding a threshold concept may entail a shift in learner subjectivity, which is implied through the transformative and discursive aspects already noted. Such reconstitution is, perhaps, more likely to be recognised initially by others, and also to take place over time (Smith)”.
    • Liminality: Meyer and Land [12] have likened the crossing of the pedagogic threshold to a ‘rite of passage’ (drawing on the ethnographical studies of Gennep and Turner in which a transitional or liminal space has to be traversed; “in short, there is no simple passage in learning from ‘easy’ to ‘difficult’; mastery of a threshold concept often involves messy journeys back, forth and across conceptual terrain. (Cousin [6])”.
    http://www.ee.ucl.ac.uk/~mflanaga/thresholds.html

    The messy journeys of science back and forth across conceptual terrain are impossible to put into policy when politicians, the public and most scientists lack the basic conceptual tools to understand that there is even a journey happening.

    A complex systems approach – properly understood – allows the problem to be reduced to its simplest aspects. We are emitting greenhouse gases in increasing quantities as economies grow this century – and in a system with tipping points and multiple equilibia the climate will shift in unexpected ways. These are not necessarily connected but the risks cannot be discounted in any rigorous way.

    There are two rational policy responses. The evolution of climate models towards probabilistic forecasts. ‘As the ensemble sizes in the perturbed ensemble approach run to hundreds or even many thousands of members, the outcome is a probability distribution of climate change rather than an uncertainty range from a limited set of equally possible outcomes, as shown in figure 9. This means that decision-making on adaptation, for example, can now use a risk-based approach based on the probability of a particular outcome.’ – http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1956/4751.full – Although while maintaining a sceptical eye on results. The other is to develop a suite of responses that is multi-gas and multi-objective.

    1. Conservation – restore and enhance ecosytems
    2. Conservation farming – build productivity, build soil carbon, conserve water, protect downstream ecosystems.
    3. Health, education, development, safe water and sanitation – moderate population pressures, reduce black carbon, tropospheric ozone, methane, sulphide.
    4. Energy innovation – billion dollar energy prizes, mobilise the world’s resources to providing new sources of cheap and abundant energy.

    The climate discourse is a cacophony of disparate cultural values absorbed in an irrational and shallow debate. The climate war is the new field of the culture wars of the 20th century. A new path is needed. Certainly different in the immediate expectation of how climate will behave – but perhaps longer term as well. It seems ultimately short sighted to cling to old certainties as the world refuses to warm – and people everywhere with no alternative narrative move to reject science holus bolus. The more prudent way forward seems to be to accept uncertainty – accept the potential for climate surprises – and to build a momentum for diverse efforts to change trajectory in a new global framework.

  29. Dr. Curry’s post was on the complexities of science advice to politicians, not on the truth or falsity of climate science per se, or on the cultural/political values around same. Her post remains a worthy, deep, and complex topic. I will continue to maintain, since there has been no on topic response whatsoever, that the general answer to her originally posed question is both process and situational dependent. That is, there is no single or simple answer.

    And, coming from 15 years of past professional consulting experience, I might have some SME in declaring her subject matter about ‘as clear as mud’. Therefore a worthy topic for serious discussion here.

    • Rud Istvan

      Most of us here (including me) are not in a position to give Judith advice on how to communicate with policy makers. I, personally, believe she did an excellent job, as she did a fewl years ago before the Baird committee.

      The topic is not a “black and white” one (“as clear as mud?”), which makes it difficult for politicians to understand. There are no “silver bullets”; in fact, it is extremely uncertain that a problem even exists and, as she has testified earlier, even if there is a problem, it is not likely to be an existential one in this century, even in its worst incarnation. As a result we should not jump into implementing actions whose benefits are doubtful and whose unintended consequences we cannot foresee.

      This is the message, as I see it.

      As she concluded:

      hopefully we can put the debate on climate policy back into the sphere of politics and economics, where it belongs. That was the ‘agenda’ in my testimony.

      And I think that policy makers on both sides of the debate could benefit from this advice,

      Max

      • David Springer

        Yer kidding right? Bjorn Borg stole the show. Curry and Chameides might as well have been stuffed dolls with a tape recorder inside playing a monotonic reading of engineering specifications. Borg on the other hand is a polished public speaker. Not to mention Borg was the only one with a rational plan about how to solve the problem – throw everything at developing cheaper alternatives to fossil fuels. Doing that requires balls and trust that the hard sciences and engineering can lift our chestnuts out of the fire. Hard science and engineering has always come through in the past and I see no reason why it will stop now. There’s plenty of energy available in sunlight. Green plants capture and convert it to suitable chemical forms and they literally grow like weeds without any help. They just don’t devote their existence to producing the fuels we want from them because that doesn’t make them fitter competitors for finite resources in the wild. That’s where we come in. We modify them to devote their metabolism to producing the fuels we want and in return we protect them from wild competitors. A mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship in other words. The only thing that’s really new about it is the timeframe. Evolution is slow. Intelligent design is fast. We are simply speeding up evolution and directing its course through the wonders of modern bio-technology.

      • David Springer

        ‘Scuse me. Lomborg. Beam me up Scotty I’m being assimilated.

      • Springer, that’s not the definition of Intelligent Design.

        Intelligent Design is your spaghetti monster.

        Funny how revisionist history works now that the skeptics and cornucopians have lost the war.

        Now it is all about cheaper alternative energy strategies. That’s what the progs and greens have been saying all along.

      • David Springer

        Oh I’m sorry webster. When did you become part of the ID movement and thus get to define what ID is?

        Here’s a clue buddy. I chose the following definition as the best I’d seen and posted it years ago on Uncommon Descent where it remains today.

        http://www.uncommondescent.com/id-defined/

        The theory of intelligent design (ID) holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. ID is thus a scientific disagreement with the core claim of evolutionary theory that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion.

        In a broader sense, Intelligent Design is simply the science of design detection — how to recognize patterns arranged by an intelligent cause for a purpose. Design detection is used in a number of scientific fields, including anthropology, forensic sciences that seek to explain the cause of events such as a death or fire, cryptanalysis and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). An inference that certain biological information may be the product of an intelligent cause can be tested or evaluated in the same manner as scientists daily test for design in other sciences.

        ID is controversial because of the implications of its evidence, rather than the significant weight of its evidence. ID proponents believe science should be conducted objectively, without regard to the implications of its findings. This is particularly necessary in origins science because of its historical (and thus very subjective) nature, and because it is a science that unavoidably impacts religion.

        Positive evidence of design in living systems consists of the semantic, meaningful or functional nature of biological information, the lack of any known law that can explain the sequence of symbols that carry the “messages,” and statistical and experimental evidence that tends to rule out chance as a plausible explanation. Other evidence challenges the adequacy of natural or material causes to explain both the origin and diversity of life.

        Fer instance, with a specific reference to ID and genetic engineering. J. Craig Venter produced the first artificially constructed working bacterial genome. He put watermarks in it where he spelled out, in code, the names of people who contributed to it as well as his company name, and other things.

        http://singularityhub.com/2010/05/24/venters-newest-synthetic-bacteria-has-secret-messages-coded-in-its-dna/

        If someone were to swipe his genome or it escapes the laboratory these encoded messages, being so complex and specific, would be incontestable proof that it’s Venter’s watermarks and not some random DNA sequence.

        This is a perfect example of specified complexity created by an intelligent agency. Now you know.

      • I like the qualifier “certain features”. I presume this phrase allows one to rule out the origin of the universe or the origin of life then. So wishywashy, ha ha

        Let’s settle on a new definition, “humans are smart”.

      • David Springer

        Certain features of the universe writ large is generally described as “the fine tuning problem”.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine-tuned_Universe

        On the biology side the iconic symbol is the bacterial flagellum. I prefer the ribosome myself. I assembled a list of molecular animation vids showing a variety of cellular machinery that ostensibly assembled itself de novo through a random dance of atoms. Seems like quite a stretch of the imagination to me to say these machines just fell together by accident. But hey, people will believe the craziest things.

        http://www.uncommondescent.com/category/molecular-animations/

        Unfortunately most of those I put up are no longer on YouTube. One of my favorites, topoisomerase, is worth finding again.

        This is an exceedingly simple (comparatively) accessory enzyme used in DNA replication to deal with supercoiling as the twisted double helix is unwound and separated into single stranded DNA.

        Here’s a short TED talk with molecular animation videos of the replication process. Well worth the ten minutes to watch it. The good stuff begins at 2 minutes 55 seconds.

      • David,

        I thought Judith said several things that were important to hear:

        A) Despite what people tell you, climate is a complex topic, and scientists really don’t know.
        B) You might have (much) more time than you think.
        C) I don’t disagree with Dr. Lomborg.

        Meanwhile, I am quite dismayed to see the policy aspect of this completely aligned with party affiliation. And more extraordinary, is the populist tone of the Republicans!

  30. JC said : “I hope that my testimony was convincing to the Republicans, and helps move them to a more defensible and rational position on climate science.”
    _____

    I hope you won’t be disappointed.

    • David Springer

      I wonder what she believes is not as rational as it should be about the Republican position on climate change. The rational position was given by Bjorn Lomborg. I would hope he could move JC towards a more rational position but I doubt it will. Some people are simply convinced they own the rational high ground when it’s plain to others they do not. Climate change is something that has always happened and always will. It can’t be predicted or controlled only adapted to as it occurs. A finite supply of fossil fuel is a real concern and its growing cost has put the world economy into a recession that will continue as long as fuel prices remain high or increase. Developing technology that lowers the cost of energy is the only rational course of action. Fretting over things we can neither predict nor control is not a rational pursuit yet that appears to be the course that JC has set herself upon.

  31. A problem with much commentary on this issue is that people take as obviously correct the “regulatory science” applied in familiar domains, such as pharmaceuticals, highway safety, nuclear power and radiation protection, gun control, airline safety, endangered species, toxic chemicals, intelligence tests, etc. The idea seems to be that all those past problematic applications of science to public policy are just fine and the only cases where we need to worry about science advice are when new regulations are proposed.

    Now, one could take the view that as they are ultimately the outcomes of a deliberative democratic process, all of the regulatory policies we have are “correct” by definition. In that case, one would have no independent criterion by which to criticize any policy and all we would have is a political free-for-all whose power-driven results could not be questioned. Whatever happened would be best by definition, including the current feeble action with respect to CO2.

    I would feel better about all the consensus-mongering and consensus-flaying on the climate issue if we paid similar attention to the nature and credibility of the “consensuses” behind much current public policy. In some cases, we have policy based on a ginned-up consensus, e.g. the linear-no-threshold model of radiation damage; in others, we have policy in contravention of scientific consensus, e.g. the higher regulatory costs per life-year saved applied to nuclear power than to other technologies. Perhaps these twists and turns are each individually justifiable (no-threshold is a simple, conservative rule that everyone understands; citizens feel worse about dying from radiation-induced causes than about dying from chemically induced causes) but the mere fact that such rationalizations can be found is not evidence that the pattern of policy makes sense, or that scientific advice has helped make it better.

  32. Judith Curry,

    This is an excellent post, IMO. I think it is enormously valuable. Many Climate Etc. denizens could learn a lot from getting to grips with the meaning of the bits quoted in the lead article.

    [on a minor point, I am not sure about the bit by Sheila Jasanoff though. I’ll have to think about it some more. When I see advocacy for a role by social scientists I think of the bias, partisan, ideologically driven manipulation employed by people like Professor Lewandowski and his mates John Cook, owner of ‘SkepticalScience’, and the editorial team at ‘The Conversation’.]

  33. JC Comments
    … I hope that my testimony was convincing to the Republicans, and helps move them to a more defensible and rational position on climate science. Then hopefully we can put the debate on climate policy back into the sphere of politics and economics, where it belongs. That was the ‘agenda’ in my testimony.

    That statement comes across as partisan to me. From my perspective, while the democrats have embraced CAGW and alarmism (as the two Democrats that spoke and asked questions at your presentation to Congress on 25 April demonstrated so clearly), the Republicans have been more cautious and considered the economic consequences of the policies advocated by the Democrats. I think that needs to be recognised.

    Both have an important role and represent the views of their electorates. A focus on explaining ‘Robust analysis’ could help to educate and bring the two sides closer together so they can work towards solutions that are pragmatic and can be supported by a large majority of the electorate.

    • Then hopefully we can put the debate on climate policy back into the sphere of politics and economics, where it belongs.

      To do that ‘we’ need to focus at least as much on the Democrats as on the Republicans. The Democrats need to understand that economically irrational policies will not be accepted. Some may get started (like the EU, NZ and Australian carbon pricing schemes and mandatory and highly subsidised renewable energy schemes, but they will not survive if they are not economically rational. All these schemes have been pushed by the Left, and in the US most strongly by the Democrats. So there is at least as much ‘re-education’ required of the Democrats as of the Republicans.

      At the moment, I am very pleased the Republicans have strongly resisted the policies the Democrats would like to impose on the USA, because when the USA sneezes, Australia catches a cold.

      A really important point the Democrats need to understand and apply – one that I think the Republicans inherently understand and is what motivates their opposition – is:

      Uncertainty about the problem is a given; uncertainty about the chosen solution is inexcusable. This is to say, we should be confident that our solutions are going to be effective, and the more expensive the solution the more confident we should be.

      Given the huge cost of the policies the Democrats and CAGW alarmists want and the low probability those policies will achieve anything much at all, I think those who oppose the high cost mitigation policies are wise to be questioning everything that is involved in justifying the policies. That means everything that is being said to justify CAGW must be questioned.

      I restate, my support for changing direction, from what we’ve been doing for the past 20 years; i.e. change direction and focus on robust analysis as a means to make progress.

      Which reminds me of this:

      If we always do what we always did
      We’ll always get what we always got

  34. “Universities, then, are doing the research. Governments, and their public services, want the evidence. Why is it so difficult to get these two worlds to meet at an intersection of knowledge that can influence in significant ways the making of public policy?”

    What planet is this rocket scientist living on? The two worlds of progressive governments and government funded scientists met at the intersection of their common interests damned near saddled the western world with Copenhagen.

    Does any sentient human being actually believe that “climate scientists” have failed to convince their political patrons of the truth of the “science” they were paid to produce? Barack Obama – skeptic. Oh please.

    The interests of the governments and their pet scientists are virtually identical. Their policy goals are indistinguishable. So what is all this blather really about?

    Here’s the key. In the proposed “new model of expertise:”

    “Trusting the public.”

    It is hard to find a better example of CAGW cognitive dissonance than a list of a new, improved, super duper model of expertise than one that includes both “humble” and “trust the public.”

    News flash. The politicians and government funded scientists work for, and are paid for, that stupid public that progressive politicians and their pet “experts” are now being told to trust. Trust the public? That’s like saying a lawyer should trust his client. The fiduciary duty runs one way only. And it is not from the public to the policy makers.

    This is not just a matter of semantics either. It is the crux of the whole CAGW debate. For the umpteenth time, the failure of Copenhagen, and the failure of progressives, so far, to obtain control of the world energy economy, is because those stupid voters woke up and saw the massive collision that was about to take place at the “intersection” of science advice and politics.

    “If judges may not presume to stand above the law, still less should science advisers seek to insulate themselves from the critical gaze of the sciences of science advice.”

    “Science advisers” and those politicians they advise, should not care one whit about what the “sciences of science advice” think. The only opinions that matter are those of the voters.

    “So how should advisers raise the odds of having impact….” and “…a scientist who can mobilise other types of knowledge on his or her side is likely to be more effective than one that cannot.”

    It is not the function of a science adviser to “have an impact” or “mobilise” other types of knowledge of which the scientist has no expertise (economics being one area that comes readily to mind). “Impact” and “mobilise” are just euphemisms for power. Any adviser’s primary goal should be to provide the most accurate, honest advice possible. Period. Tailoring advice to ensure a particular impact is what has destroyed the reputations of many “climate scientists” to date.

    Each of these articles seems to be just another re-tread of the “reframing” arguments that appear online every month or so.

    There is nothing new in the climate debate.

  35. Advice to government

    Danderous territory. I was once carpeted by our head officr for giving advice to an agency that conflicted with the conventianal management views. This eventually resulted in my forced early retirement. 20 ywars later my advice proved correct but by that time everyone had forgotten about it.

    So giving advice to government can be dangerous and unrewarding and you don’t even get the satisfaction of saying ‘I told you so’

    • David Springer

      The internet never forgets. That’s both a curse and a blessing and sometimes leads me to regret inventing it.

    • Alexander Biggs: “I was once carpeted by our head officr for giving advice to an agency that conflicted with the conventianal management views. This eventually resulted in my forced early retirement.”
      _______

      I’m skeptical because I thought it was hard to be forced out of a government job. I thought you had to do something really bad like stealing money or physically punching your boss in the nose.

      • Max, you, are right. you normally have to do something pretty heinous, like stealing the petty cash to get the sack. But there are other ways like transferring your scientists to other groups and leaving you with no staff. In the event my invention earned a billion dollars but that was long after I left.

  36. Chief Hydrologist

    Taking a step back. From a course blurb at Bishops University.

    ‘Environmental science is a highly interdisciplinary field to which a wide range of scientific disciplines contribute: from basic sciences such as physics, chemistry, and mathematics to the earth sciences (geology, atmospheric and climate science, oceanography, glaciology, …) and the life sciences such as biology, biochemistry, and even medicine. Pure sciences provide an understanding of the basic processes involved and mathematical models for them, while applied sciences contribute experimental methodologies, data, and technologies. In spite of the extreme specialization and focusing of today’s science, which is needed to push the limits in all areas, work in environmental science requires a truly interdisciplinary approach. Students of environmental science need to avoid becoming rigidly attached to a single discipline.

    The subjects of environmental science are many but, oversimplifying, they are reduced (to)

    1.a scientific understanding of the natural environment and its physical and chemical laws, including the geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere.
    2.Modeling mathematically and predicting various forms of human impact on the environment and related problems, followed by searching for possible scientific and technological solutions and ways of preventing or alleviating these problems. This includes all scientific and technological aspects related to the production, use and transport of energy and raw materials, the quantitative study of pollution and waste (in its many forms) and of climate change.

    The solutions to environmental problems can not come from science alone. Ultimately, these solutions involve social and political aspects whose study is covered thoroughly at Bishop’s in the courses and programs offered by the Department of Environmental Studies and Geography (similarly, an ecology-based approach is covered in the Environmental Biology programmes of the Biology Department). However, it is the duty of the environmental scientist to understand and formulate the problems as completely and rigorously as possible, to search for technical avenues of solution, and to provide scientific understanding and technical advice to politicians and national and international organizations. http://www.ubishops.ca/academic-programs/natural-sciences/environmental-science/index.html

    Most scientists lack these fundamental inter-disciplinary skills – they are trained to be profoundly limited.

    Understand and formulate the problems as completely and rigorously as possible?

    People are emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. I think from the perspective of complex systems analysis it is mathematically certain that this is potentially something that could cause climate to shift in ways that are not to our liking. Simple probability theory – and we could have both a mathematical and numerical proof.

    There are two rational policy responses. The evolution of climate models towards probabilistic forecasts. ‘As the ensemble sizes in the perturbed ensemble approach run to hundreds or even many thousands of members, the outcome is a probability distribution of climate change rather than an uncertainty range from a limited set of equally possible outcomes, as shown in figure 9. This means that decision-making on adaptation, for example, can now use a risk-based approach based on the probability of a particular outcome.’ – http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1956/4751.full – Although while maintaining a sceptical eye on results.

    The other is to develop a suite of responses that is multi-gas and multi-objective.

    1. Conservation – restore and enhance ecosystems
    2. Conservation farming – build productivity, build soil carbon, conserve water, protect downstream ecosystems.
    3. Health, education, development, safe water and sanitation – moderate population pressures, reduce black carbon, tropospheric ozone, methane, sulphide.
    4. Energy innovation – billion dollar energy prizes, mobilise the world’s resources to providing new sources of cheap and abundant energy.

    The latter are things agreed to in many forums and we should be building momentum towards these practical ways forward. The former is a bit esoteric – but models are intrinsically good if sadly misunderstood.

    “Philosophers are people who know less and less about more and more, until they know nothing about everything. Scientists are people who know more and more about less and less, until they know everything about nothing.” Anon?

    It may be that most people here are philosophers or scientists. Environmental scientists build synergistic, multi-disciplinary solutions that might have a chance of success in the real world. If you are going to have a scientific advisor – ask for an environmental scientist.

  37. Judith Curry

    Talking to politicians is a tiresome job, but somebody has to do it.

    Glad you did your part to keep the conversation “non-normative” (i.e. objective and fact-based, where possible). I’m sure this was not easy.

    You specifically mentioned the “Republicans” on the committee. I’m aware that the House has a Republican majority and that the subcommittee chairman was, therefore a Republican, Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah).

    As a result, I found that the tone was a less alarmist than it was at your earlier testimony before this subcommittee in fall of 2008, at that time chaired by a Democrat, Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA), who appeared to be trying to get you to support his call for immediate action on climate (which you resisted artfully, in my humble opinion).

    I would suppose that many politicians have already decided which side of this debate they are on politically, but it is still good to know that someone of your stature is giving them straight (and effective) advice; hopefully they have all learned something from it.

    Max

  38. Some interesting material here, though not all of it provides a useful guide to action.

    Geoff Mulgan says that: “The consequence is that a scientist who can mobilise other types of knowledge on his or her side is likely to be more effective than one that cannot. … This is why some advocate other, more systematic, approaches to complement what could be characterised as the ‘clever chap’ theory of scientific advice.” The question is what is meant by “effective.” If scientists are effective in communicating to decision-makers the findings of science relevant to policy, complete with assessments of uncertainty, fine. If it means achieving what a scientist or scientist considers the optimum outcome from their perspective of the world, bad.

    Mulgan indicates that scientists need skills of “translation, aggregation and synthesis,” which is fine if confined to their field of expertise, which will rarely include the capacity to “assess the potential commercial implications of a new discovery.” The skills to do that are quite rare, Australia for example is highly inventive but very poor at innovation, which requires, inter alia, entrepreneurial skills and often specialist venture capitalists.

    Sheila Jasanoff sees the role of scientific advice as “to keep politicians and policymakers honest by holding them to high standards of evidence and reason.” No, that’s the role of the electorate and the media. It’s good that she recognises that “in thorny areas of public policy, where certain knowledge is difficult to come by, science advisers can offer at best educated guesses and reasoned judgements, not unvarnished truth. They can help define plausible strategic choices in the light of realistic assessments of evidence; rarely can they decree the precise paths that society should follow.” IPCC please note. The claim that “science advisers are not inclined to introspection in situations where their work fails to persuade” suggests that scientists consider that their view is optimal, even though they do not have the broad range of considerations, responsibilities and background of those making public policy decisions. Their job is to give clear, comprehensible and sound information and advice, not to achieve a particular outcome.

    Jasanoff says, however, that her field of science, technology and society has concluded that “better science advice requires more intelligent engagement with politics,” and that this should lead to “more accountable uses of their knowledge and judgment.” I haven’t seen the research on which this was based, but in my experience it is very hard for those who engage with politics not to become partisan and begin to provide the advice that their political associates seek. In the last six years in Australia, many positions for non-government advisors in, e.g., climate change, economics and industrial relations, have been filled by “experts” whose partisan allegiance is clear but whose professional reputation is poor or – cf Tim Flannery – in an unconnected field. Jasanoff recognises the risk of compromising scientific integrity.
    In her second finding, Jasanoff says that the public refuses to accept the findings of science advisers because of “ the failure of decision making processes to resolve underlying questions of responsibility: for example, who will be monitoring risky new technologies after they have been released into the market, and who will pay if the consequences are unintended but harmful?” That surprises me, it’s not how I perceive the Australian situation, e.g most of the population initially embraced the concept of CAGW and the need for emissions reduction (“Save the Reef! Save the koalas!”), but have become increasingly sceptical about the trade-off between costs and dubious benefits. Jasanoff says that “Science advisers may consider these issues outside their remit …,” rightly so in my view but not in hers.

    She notes that “science advice partakes of, and to some degree reproduces, salient features of a nation’s or region’s political culture, including a society’s relative weighting of experts’ technical knowledge, personal integrity and experience, and capacity to represent significant viewpoints in society. In turn, those ingrained but on the whole invisible cultural preferences may affect an advisory system’s own resilience and ability to learn from its past mistakes and false turns.” Well, of course, this is true throughout decision-making.

    David Cleevely say that “It is ironic that an area of human endeavour that is based on positive analysis should find itself making normative proposals. Before suggesting how the system ought to work it would be worth applying the scientific method to understanding how scientific advice gets incorporated into policy.” Quite so.

    The comments from Jack Stilgoe and Simon Burrall, drawing on the Phillips Inquiry [?] are the most valuable. Issues of trust and openness are critical, something often not recognised by global warming activists. I would not agree that “The public should be trusted to respond rationally to openness,” the public will quite often not respond rationally, but they will be much more prepared to accept advice from people they recognise as trustworthy than from those who appear devious and self-serving. In an area of highly complex and esoteric science which you probably don’t understand, the rational choice is to go with those you trust. “paying attention to scientific uncertainties, rather than obscuring them” and “opening up the inputs to scientific advice (who is allowed to contribute, how and on what terms?)” are vital to gaining trust.

    We need to stick with “evidence-based policy,” but recognise – as Bob Hawke did – that successful adoption and implementation of such policy requires garnering support for it, which again means taking people into your confidence and gaining their trust, not presenting elitist tablets from the mountain of science.

    [My draft had all quotes in italics, but they didn't survive the cut & paste.]

  39. +1

  40. Peter Lang is throwing +1s around, I noted at an early stage good posts by John Plodinec (28/9.34), Paul Vaughan (28/11.17) and (Jacob 28/11.54), there may be others since, e.g. PL at 2.01, Gary M, no doubt more. I’m not convinced by all of the cited authors, but some good responses.

    • Sorry to those I missed, I haven’t read the whole thread yet. No preferential treatment intended. I do think it is a very good and valuable post by JC, but don’t know how to say it in a way that can influence denizens to take it more seriously. The science-engineering-economics-education-MSM-policy-politics interface is critically important.

    • Ahemm … Peter Lang does not. I repeat, does NOT
      have the franchise fer’ plus ones.’
      Contractual laws COUNT in an environment of basic rule
      of law policy de – cish -uns . Tsk

      Cow girl beth

      • If one could cash in all his/her +1 points at the rate of 10 cents per, I’d perhaps have enough for half a candy bar.

        Hey Beth, been reading up on Tolstoy and his love for peasants as I ponder my t-shirt assignment…

        Found this interesting:

        “At times Leo Tolstoy sings the praises of the peasants and their way of life so loudly and spends such long hours working beside them in the fields that his wife Sophia feels threatened by their influence. She hates seeing Aksinya Bazykin, the mother of Tolstoy’s love child, and is paranoid about how many other women on the estate he has slept with.

        Back in 1848 Tolstoy opened schools for the children of his serfs, closing them down when he joined the military. On his return in 1855, he reopens one in his home. Eventually there are 14 in the district although the students have no obligation to attend, are not expected to do homework, and are not punished for wrongdoing. Tolstoy wants them to learn out of interest, not in an authoritarian environment where they have to learn facts by rote. The teachers are students from the city paid per month per pupil. In 1859 an estimated one per cent of Russia’s 70 million people are literate (p56, Tolstoy, Simmons). ”

        Now that’s my kind of school. I read “Death of Ivan Ilyich” for the first time in my late teens and I’ve never forgotten the image of Gerasim taking the tormented Ivan’s legs on his shoulders. I’d like to think I’d take a suffering persons legs on my shoulders, though I’d likely draw the line at WebHubT.

        Meanwhile, don’t you just love that stuff about Tolstoy and his lady friend, Aksinya. Doubtless others. Reminds me of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, All men are cads, even the great ones..

        pg-aspiring serf

    • Expert advisers of the science …

      Do not overstep the bounderies
      of yer expertise, speak
      only of what yer know,
      raising uncertainties.
      Do not accentuate too
      much the positive
      nor in hubris transgress
      into the normative.
      Let others join dots
      ter make the policy …
      Hopefully then t’will be open ter
      the plebs fer scrutiny

  41. I Heart Serfs
    Take a Serf to Dinner
    Serfs Do It Better
    I Brake for Serfs.
    Date a Serf. You Could Do Worse.
    Serf’s Are People Too.
    California Serf’n, by The Beach Boys
    I Surf for Serfs
    Serfs Not Smurfs
    Obama’s Not a Serf.
    Serf’s Don’t Carry Thermometers
    I Could have Serfed All NIght
    I Feel Serfy
    Better LIving Through Serfdom
    Free the Serfs
    MAke Serf’s, Not War

    Meh. I think we’d better hand this project off to Climate Etc.’s Poet laureate, Kim.

  42. Oh pokerguy, your jerney inter serfdom makes me l-o-l,.
    eg ‘Date a serf….You could do worse.’
    Fer perposes of Carbon Taxing I’ll go fer ‘Free the Serfs.’

    A true story re yr Tolstoy and my family.In a biography of
    Tolstoy there’s an account of Tolstoy after a fiery clash
    with his wife, leaving home in a severe snow storm, and
    taking refuge at the local railway station where I believe
    he died.
    My parents, happily married) were nevertheless chalk
    and cheese. Father, Scottish engineer, steady, analytical,
    mother a very pretty, animated musician, fond of Tolstoy.
    When they sometimes argued and my mother became a bit
    animated, my father threatened ter abscond to Eaglemont
    Railway Station … He had a nice sense of humour.)

    Beth the serf.

    • +1 on your dad’s sense of humor.

      • Beth Cooper

        tim 56 he was given ter aphorisms …hope I’ve spelt
        it right, Max _OK, he used say to us, ‘If yer get in fer
        nothing yer clap.’
        BC

      • One of my favorites from my dad was “a slice from a cut loave is rarely missed.”

        and

        “He’s so dumb he couldn’t pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were on the heel.”

    • BTW – did he ever ask you to pull his finger?

  43. I live for making pretty serfs laugh, Beth. You make my day. “Free the Serfs” it is then, at least until something better comes along, which shouldn’t take long.

    I love your story, If you’re going to fight, and we all do, at least show a bit of imagination and intellect. My father showed no more intellect than threatening to head for the nearest gin mill, a threat he would often make good on. But he was a good man nonetheless. We’ve all got the drinkers curse. My whole family, including my mother. You haven’t lived til you’ve had to scrape your elderly mother off the floor after taking too much “headache medicine.”

    pg, aspiring serf

  44. There are the pragmatic issues of climate science that the post does not seem to recognize.
    1. The planet is governed by roughly 200 independent nations. Many of these nations will be helped by climate change while others are harmed but nobody knows which nation will be helped or harmed or to what amount over specific timescales.

    2. There are over 3 billion people who will be seeking electricity and personal transportation in the next few decades and the nations in which these people reside will wish to provide that power in the most cost effective means possible.

    3. Nations that have traditionally been considered “wealthy” have in recent decades grown accustomed to providing more services to their citizens than is affordable based on the revenues they are generating. These same nations simply have no funds to provide substantial subsidization of the 200 nations wanting power.

    So now let’s get to seemingly unavoidable conclusions.
    1. There will be a lot of talk and little meaningful action by the traditionally wealthy nations to reduce the worldwide CO2 growth curve. They do not have the funds to do much else.
    2. Construction and proper maintenance of robust infrastructure is and always will be the best method to prevent or minimize harms from a changing climate or adverse weather. People who reside in nations that implement policies to build and maintain robust infrastructure will experience far fewer harms than others.
    3. Nations that need more reliable electricity will build power plants that provide that electricity in the most cost effective means possible. These are the nations that will drive the worldwide growth of CO2 emissions.

    • +100

      • TY- a little reality for folks to consider when pontificating about all the things that “should” be done by the US or the EU.

      • mosher –

        “dissenting voices are being silenced by intitutional power. Not just on the skeptical side, James Hansen, has argued that the Bush administration tried to gag him”

        Sure – that would have been better.

        I think that “silenced” is too strong. I’m not into drama-queenism. But that would have been better.

        The notion that dissent is openly-welcomed defies what we know about human nature.

        The notion that “skeptics” are treated like dissidents in a fascist state is obvious self-victimization.

        When smart and knowledgeable people make obviously false arguments, motivated reasoning is usually rearing its head..

    • In the end, this barroom brawl is just an entertaining diversion from the main issue. Scientists, economists, and politicians have serious challenges beyond dodging distractions. We must continue to improve our scientific understanding, particularly of the impacts of climate change; we must implement policies such as raising the market price of carbon to provide incentives to households to alter their consumption so that they will have a low- carbon diet; we must also raise carbon prices to send a signal to firms like ExxonMobil that their future lies in research, development, and production of low-carbon fuels; and we must devise mechanisms so that countries will join in a global effort rather than one limited to northwest Europe. All these efforts need to start now, not in fifty years.

      http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/apr/26/climate-casino-exchange/

      • Wag- i am not sure of the point of your comment. Nordhaus was wrong in his analysis on several levels.

      • Steven Mosher

        somebody needs to inform nordhaus and these guys of the proper science rulz for disagreements.

      • Somebody needs to tell that what Nordhaus says here does not imply Black Helicopters, Illiminati handshakes, and a World Government:

        In reading the letter from Roger Cohen, William Happer, and Richard Lindzen (CHL), I have the sense of walking into a barroom brawl. They defend the article by sixteen scientists in The Wall Street Journal by firing a fusillade of complaints at everyone in sight, including Science editor Donald Kennedy, climate scientists with hacked e-mails, columnist Paul Krugman, biologist Paul Ehrlich, activist Robert Kennedy Jr., economist Nicholas Stern, and even former Vice President Al Gore.

        However, when all the shooting has stopped and you look up from behind the table, what you see can be summarized in one central point. They argue that global warming is full of uncertainties, but its dangers are being systematically exaggerated by climate scientists.

        http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/apr/26/climate-casino-exchange/

        Surprise, surprise.

        Yes, but uncertainty.

      • Steven Mosher

        nordhaus weirdness

        first he used a strawman

        ‘The idea that skeptical climate scientists are being treated like Soviet geneticists in the Stalinist period has no basis in fact. ”

        that was not the argument. but nevermind

        nordhaus raised a point:

        ‘I can speak personally for the lively debate about climate change policy. There are controversies about many details of climate science and economics. While some claim that skeptics cannot get their papers published, working papers and the Internet are open to all. I believe the opposite of what the sixteen claim to be true: dissident voices and new theories are encouraged because they are critical to sharpening our analysis. ”

        Now, how does one counter a claim that dissident voices are encouraged? well by counter example.

        In another rhetorical flourish, Professor Nordhaus’s fourth point misrepresents us as claiming that “skeptical climate sci-entists are living under a reign of terror about their professional and personal livelihoods.” This reductio ad absurdum is inappropriate, but we observe that individuals like climate scientist James Hansen, environmental activist Robert Kennedy Jr., and economist Paul Krugman have characterized critics of climate alarm as “traitors to the planet.” We noted the systematic dismissal of editors who publish peer-reviewed papers questioning climate alarm, as well as the legitimate fears of untenured faculty whose promotions depend on publications and grant support. We note here that editors like Donald Kennedy at the prestigious Science magazine have publically declared their opposition to the publication of papers finding results in opposition to climate dogma.5

        And nordhaus responds with a non sequitor

        ‘They defend the article by sixteen scientists in The Wall Street Journal by firing a fusillade of complaints at everyone in sight, including Science editor Donald Kennedy, climate scientists with hacked e-mails, columnist Paul Krugman, biologist Paul Ehrlich, activist Robert Kennedy Jr., economist Nicholas Stern, and even former Vice President Al Gore.”

        no, they didnt fire a fusillade at everyone in sight. They answered Nordhaus’ laughable claim that dissent voices were encouraged.

        jeez these morons should keep their disagreements out of the public eye.

      • This reductio ad absurdum is inappropriate,

        I have to admit – claiming Lysenkism as “an example” of what we’re seeing now, and then arguing against Nordhous on the basis of his fallacious use of reductio ad absurdum, is a sight to behold and a work of beauty.

      • Steven Mosher

        Nothing beats this for a horrible argument, by an economist no less

        “This is a ludicrous comparison. To get some facts on the ground, I will compare two specific cases: that of my university and that of Dr. Cohen’s former employer, ExxonMobil. Federal climate-related research grants to Yale University, for which I work, averaged $1.4 million per year over the last decade. This represents 0.5 percent of last year’s total revenues.

        By contrast, the sales of ExxonMobil, for which Dr. Cohen worked as manager of strategic planning and programs, were $467 billion last year. ExxonMobil produces and sells primarily fossil fuels, which lead to large quantities of CO2 emissions. A substantial charge for emitting CO2 would raise the prices and reduce the sales of its oil, gas, and coal products. ExxonMobil has, according to several reports, pursued its economic self-interest by working to undermine mainstream climate science. A report of the Union of Concerned Scientists stated that ExxonMobil “has funneled about $16 million between 1998 and 2005 to a network of ideological and advocacy organizations that manufacture uncertainty” on global warming.e So ExxonMobil has spent more covertly undermining climate-change science than all of Yale University’s federal climate-related grants in this area.

        So.

        Exxon, distributed 16 million over a 7 year period to various organizations. Thats 2.2 Million per year spread amongst various folks

        Nordhaus compares this to the grants received by one university from the federal government.. Yale got 1.4 Million per year for a decade.

        One could point out that one researcher, Mann, got more than 2Million from the trough.

        http://www3.geosc.psu.edu/people/faculty/personalpages/mmann/documents/Mann_Vitae.pdf

        bad cherry picking economist. the stupid just burns

      • > By contrast, the sales of ExxonMobil, for which Dr. Cohen worked as manager of strategic planning and programs, were $467 billion last year. ExxonMobil produces and sells primarily fossil fuels, which lead to large quantities of CO2 emissions. A substantial charge for emitting CO2 would raise the prices and reduce the sales of its oil, gas, and coal products.

      • Steven Mosher

        Joshua, the actual argument was..

        1. We see young people afraid to dissent and speak out because they are afraid of not being promoted or worse.
        2. This is not a unique, see the example of lysenkoism.

        ( horrible argument)

        Nordhaus’s response, of course, is to run with the bad argument and think that the point made in #1 is countered.

        like so.

        1. People are buying guns because they are afraid that the government
        will take their guns.
        2. We’ve seen guns taken before, nazi’s did it.

        Nordhaus: That’s silly our government doesnt put jewish folks in concentration camps.

        Nordhaus would have done better by simply calling the analogy silly and addressing the point of tribalism enforcing “speech codes” on people.

      • > I also criticized their suggestion that climate-change skeptics are suffering under a reign of terror similar to that of Soviet geneticists in the Lysenko era; they dismiss my criticism as a “rhetorical flourish.” If they did not mean to imply a parallel of the situations of Soviet geneticists and Western climate skeptics, why did they use the example? Their approach is like the campaigner who smiles benignly and says, “I would never call my opponent a Communist.”

        http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/apr/26/climate-casino-exchange/

      • When did the IPCC stop beating their wives?

      • Steven Mosher

        “ExxonMobil produces and sells primarily fossil fuels, which lead to large quantities of CO2 emissions. A substantial charge for emitting CO2 would raise the prices and reduce the sales of its oil, gas, and coal products.”

        bad economist.. Exxon exited coal outside the US sometime ago and by switching folks to gas has done more to reduce C02 than any nordhaus proposed tax could. That said, taxing c02 is still an idea worth looking at.

      • Steven Mosher

        “If they did not mean to imply a parallel of the situations of Soviet geneticists and Western climate skeptics, why did they use the example? ”

        well I use willard’s principle of charity. They wanted to make the point that enforcing silence on dissent in science is not unheard of.

      • > This is not the way science is supposed to work, but we have seen it before —for example, in the frightening period when Trofim Lysenko hijacked biology in the Soviet Union. Soviet biologists who revealed that they believed in genes, which Lysenko maintained were a bourgeois fiction, were fired from their jobs. Many were sent to the gulag and some were condemned to death.

        http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/mar/22/why-global-warming-skeptics-are-wrong/

        Reasonable people should agree with Nordhaus that “The idea that climate science and economics are being suppressed by a modern Lysenkoism is pure fiction.”

      • > Nordhaus’s response, of course, is to run with the bad argument and think that the point made in #1 is countered.

        Here’s how Nordhaus runs with the bad argument:

        The idea that skeptical climate scientists are being treated like Soviet geneticists in the Stalinist period has no basis in fact. There are no political or scientific dictators in the US. No climate scientist has been expelled from the US National Academy of Sciences. No skeptics have been arrested or banished to gulags or the modern equivalents of Siberia. Indeed, the dissenting authors are at the world’s greatest universities, including Princeton, MIT, Rockefeller, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Paris.

        I can speak personally for the lively debate about climate change policy. There are controversies about many details of climate science and economics. While some claim that skeptics cannot get their papers published, working papers and the Internet are open to all. I believe the opposite of what the sixteen claim to be true: dissident voices and new theories are encouraged because they are critical to sharpening our analysis.

        http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/mar/22/why-global-warming-skeptics-are-wrong/

        Reading harder improves charity.

      • Steven Mosher

        willard, trying to intuit why they used the example of lysenkoism, trying to discern their motives is hardly charitable.

        Yes he writes

        ‘ I believe the opposite of what the sixteen claim to be true: dissident voices and new theories are encouraged because they are critical to sharpening our analysis.”

        argument by assertion. What Nordhaus fails to have is the experience that lindzen had in trying to get published in the field of his expertise.
        Merely asserting that dissent voices are encouraged when Lindzen has offered evidence and documents indicating the contrary is arguing by assertion. Bad Nordhaus.

        I wonder if nordhaus sent the guys a copy of his work in advance or if he farts in church. Where is FOMD to throw the flag for unnecessary rudeness.

        Psst Nordhaus also gets modelling wrong, but we will leave that for another day.

      • Have to keep an eye out on natural gas emissions. The latest claim is that a few percent of methane escapes to the atmosphere without getting combusted. The excess methane nullifies the advantage that NG has with respect to oil as far as GHG emissions are concerned. Google “methane leakage rate” and NOAA. The leakage has to be less than 3% for NG to have less GHG effect than coal. The jury is still out what the actual percentage is of methane leakage.

      • Steven Mosher

        “Reasonable people should agree with Nordhaus that “The idea that climate science and economics are being suppressed by a modern Lysenkoism is pure fiction.”

        Sure. However, that was not the explicit argument being made.

        Moshpit: Today in california we find examples of people being enslaved. http://abcnews.go.com/Primetime/story?id=3409293&page=1#.UX7vMqLvufU.
        That’s not how our free society should operate. But, we’ve seen in before. Long ago we enslaved blacks.

        Nordhaus: That’s silly, nobody is operating slaves ships taking people from africa to the US. nobody is running plantations with these workers.

      • Steven Mosher

        “Have to keep an eye out on natural gas emissions. The latest claim is that a few percent of methane escapes to the atmosphere without getting combusted. ”

        Not an issue. Perhaps I can get Zeke to put up his numbers on the issue.

      • Steven Mosher

        “If they did not mean to imply a parallel of the situations of Soviet geneticists and Western climate skeptics, why did they use the example”

        If you looked for the best in their argument you wouldn’t jump to conclusions about the implications you read into it. Nordy needs to take charity lessons

        The other uses words in the ordinary way;
        The other makes true statements;
        The other makes valid arguments;
        The other says something interesting.

        We see a meteor strike russia
        Somebody on the news says, ‘these kind of strikes are nothing new’ and they flash to a picture of Tunguska.. miles flattened. total destruction.

        Willard: Tunguska was a much larger event, miles were flattened. Why are they drawing that parrallel. Boo.

        Moshpit: err they said why? this has happened before. its called evidence that something is not unique.

        Willard: But they used a huge example, a really bad example to scare people. I know this.

        Moshpit: ok, suggest a different example, but the mere fact that they picked a bad parallel says nothing about the issue they raised. Russia was hit by a meteor, and its happened before.

      • No personal experience here, but I’ve heard it said that meteors, even huge scary ones have struck before, even in places besides Russia.
        ====================

      • well I use willard’s principle of charity.

        Well – being charitable, it is a case of a group of among the most notable “skeptic” scientists allowing bias from motivated reasoning to result in them singing off on a fallacious argument employed towards a tribalistic end.

        Being non-charitable, it is a case of a group of among the most notable “skeptic” scientists exploiting the memory of those who suffered at the hands of fascists in order to score tribal points in the climate war.

        I am more then happy to be charitable and chalk it up to motivated reasoning. In no reasonable scenario, charitable or otherwise, does the use of the Lysenko analogy further the discussion in any way, shape, or fashion.

        It was unfortunate that, at the time the editorial was published, very few “skeptics” were willing to call out the tribalism in the name of skepticism.

        As I said to you around a while back:

        Useful analogies are useful.

        Useless analogies are useless.

        Always have been, always will be:

      • kim

        I ain’t never been hit in the head by one of them meteorites.

        But I had a brontosaurus friend that got wiped out by one.

        Big guy, too!

        Max

      • mosher –

        but the mere fact that they picked a bad parallel says nothing about the issue they raised.

        Once again, I agree.

        Their analogy said nothing about the question of whether or not skepticism is welcomed in the climate debate. This choice of analogy was tribalism in its pure form. It was a useless analogy – except from a perspective of justifying, and thus perpetuating, tribalism.

        Useful analogies help to clarify an argument.

        Please remember: useless analogies are useless.

      • Comparing the environmental impact of methane with that of coal by myopically looking only at the GHG CO2 equivalent impact of methane leaks versus higher carbon content in coal would be silly indeed.

        Methane is non-polluting.

        Coal is not (even if flue gas cleanup facilities are installed there is still real residual pollution).

        You have to compare the whole environmental impact, not just the theoretical GH impact.

        Max

      • > However, that was not the explicit argument being made.

        Perhaps my emphasis earlier was not clear enough:

        (1) The dissenting authors are at the world’s greatest universities, including Princeton, MIT, Rockefeller, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Paris.

        (2) I can speak personally for the lively debate about climate change policy. There are controversies about many details of climate science and economics.

        (3) While some claim that skeptics cannot get their papers published, working papers and the Internet are open to all.

        (4) I believe the opposite of what the sixteen claim to be true: dissident voices and new theories are encouraged because they are critical to sharpening our analysis.

        http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/mar/22/why-global-warming-skeptics-are-wrong/

        I believe that this is Nordhaus’ argument. However arguable its conclusion might be (e.g. YesButClimategate), we can read that he did a bit more than running with his opponents’ silliest argument.

        Why would YesButLysenko be that silly anyway? The framing effect is quite obvious, and this ain’t an academic debate. The concern (DeathsAndTaxes) seems quite natural.

        I hope Wagathon does not hear anyone saying that this kind of argument is silly.

      • Steven Mosher

        Joshua,

        I cant disagree with what you say about analogies.

        I wonder what the response would have been if they sacked the exchange.

        Something along the lines of

        “dissenting voices are being silenced by intitutional power. Not just on the skeptical side, James Hansen, has argued that the Bush administration tried to gag him”

        Now, to make that move you have to sacrifice some things, but it’s way better than the stupid lysenko crap.

        Just sayin.

      • Steven Mosher

        But willard, Nordy’s argument doesnt even follow

        (1) The dissenting authors are at the world’s greatest universities, including Princeton, MIT, Rockefeller, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Paris.

        Yes, so when they tell you they have trouble publishing in peer review and give you evidence, then you have to see how bad it is. People with their prestige are thwarted by the instititional power that runs the journals.

        (2) I can speak personally for the lively debate about climate change policy. There are controversies about many details of climate science and economics.

        Non sequitor. How is this related to #1, and how is it related to the claim they make about climate science publications and young people being in fear of not getting promoted?

        (3) While some claim that skeptics cannot get their papers published, working papers and the Internet are open to all.

        Well, this is the argument. The skeptics used the internet and the response was that only peer review matters. So, Nordy is making their argument not countering it.

        (4) I believe the opposite of what the sixteen claim to be true: dissident voices and new theories are encouraged because they are critical to sharpening our analysis.

        Nordy can believe what he likes.His belief is not the issue. The issue is the silencing of voices of dissent in peer reviewed literature. An issue which he hasnt taken up.

      • Steven Mosher

        good point Joshua.

        I think silenced and dissendents are drama queenish. Sorry. One difficulty
        is explaining how one can believe in the science and still see things that could be handled better.. without invoking words like lysenkoism, silenced, etc etc etc. or better, until skeptics moderate their rhetoric nobody is going to hear the underlying good points. But for some I suspect ( heck I know ) the point isnt about improving science.. they could care less, but it plays well

      • > Nordy’s argument doesnt even follow.

        Perhaps this is why Nordhaus’ conclusion is this:

        I believe the opposite of what the sixteen claim to be true: dissident voices and new theories are encouraged because they are critical to sharpening our analysis.

        Nordhaus showed reasons for his belief. It’s Nordhaus’ arguments against the Sweet Sixteen’s YesButLynsenko and Climategate and “look at this poor, young, abstract contrarian”.

        ***

        > Non sequitor (#2). How is this related to #1.

        It does not have to: it’s another premise. Another argument related to the conclusion.

        Did Moshpit really teach that crap?

        ***

        > The skeptics used the internet and the response was that only peer review matters.

        Indeed, contrarians used the internet to create negative publicity. And yet contrarians get published in peerreviewedlichurchur. Fancy that.

        ***

        > The issue is the silencing of voices of dissent in peer reviewed literature.

        Yes, and Nordhaus claims that this runs against his experience.

        The Sweet Sixteen should have mentioned YesButClimategate with more force. I have the book, now. Should I open the book myself?

        ***

        How the hell do contrarians think institutions work? Do contrarians really think that everything should make in the peerreviewedlichurchur?

        No wonder concern trolling is so easy. If nothing gets your way, play the Abstract Ref. If everything gets your way, play the Abstract Ref too. Mobilize a readership of concerned citizens, then play the Abstract Ref some more, meach and every freaking minute.

        Anything goes.

        ***

        This is pathetic.

        Truly pathetic:

        > Pathos (pron.: /ˈpeɪθɵs/; plural: patha or pathea; Greek: πάθος, for “suffering” or “experience;” adjectival form: ‘pathetic’ from παθητικός) represents an appeal to the audience’s emotions.[1] Pathos is a communication technique used most often in rhetoric (where it is considered one of the three modes of persuasion, alongside ethos and logos), and in literature, film and other narrative art.

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

      • Steven Mosher

        “(2) I can speak personally for the lively debate about climate change policy. There are controversies about many details of climate science and economics.”

        Willard this say nothing about what the 16 are claiming and it doesnt even support what Nordy claims in 4

        1. Nordy can speak for a lively debate
        2. There are controversies.

        Therefore

        “dissident voices and new theories are encouraged because they are critical to sharpening our analysis.”

        Wrong, it does not follow from the fact that Nordy can speak for a lively debate and from the fact that there are controversies to the conclusion
        that new theories are ENCOURAGED.

        #2 argues about the EXISTENCE of the controversy and the existence of a lively debate.

        #4 make a claim about the new theories being ENCOURAGED.

        Look. I can attest to the existence of a lively debate about a young earth. Its sure is lively. And I can attest to the existence of a controversy. Those premises in NO WAY support the conclusion that new theories are encouraged.

        Nordy is arguing by assertion. there isnt a logical connection between any one of his steps.

      • Yet another untruth:

        > [2] this say nothing about what the 16 are claiming and it doesnt even support what Nordy claims in 4.

        Here’s (2):

        > (2) I can speak personally for the lively debate about climate change policy. There are controversies about many details of climate science and economics.

        This supports Nordhaus’ conclusion: the Sweet Sixteen’s claim is implausible to him.

        SUPPORT, for heaven’s sake.

        That doesn’t mean you need to deduce (4) from (2) alone.
        That doesn’t mean you need to deduce anything.
        This is an op-ed, not a deduction contest.

        Pathetic.

        Anything goes.

        ***

        Suppose you want to make that a deduction. What would be the operative premise? An implicit operative premise would be this:

        (2a) The existence of lively debates and controversies entails a freedom that the Sweet Sixteen are refusing to admit with their claim people get SILENCED in a way that runs against their to-be-defined conception of science.

        How do the Sweet Sixteen thinks science works?
        Not like Lysenkoism, that’s for sure.
        Anything goes.

        Pathetic.

        ***

        The Sweet Sixteen are talking about SILENCING people and viewpoints. Isn’t it a bit over the top? No wonder we get this parsomatic episode over ENCOURAGE.

        Oh, and where was Anastassia’s revolutionary paper got published, again?

        ***

        This is pathetic.
        More emails, please.

      • Steven Mosher

        “Oh, and where was Anastassia’s revolutionary paper got published, again?”

        If the argument was that No skeptic could get published, then counter examples could be effective. But that’s not the argument.
        Look, Anthony has a paper in preparation and I know no matter what he argues that as a reviewer I could make his life miserable and still appear rational to the editor. The gate keeping argument is more subtle than “nobody can get published” . So spare me the counter examples to strawmen.
        Until you’ve been on the other end of reviewers who eventually get removed by the editor, you haven’t got a clue.

        Mails, maybe when I retire, but it would be an entirely different perspective from the first book

      • Fulsome pathos, flow some bathos.
        =========================

      • > If the argument was that No skeptic could get published, then counter examples could be effective.

        Again with the search for a deductive argument. There are other effective ways to construct arguments than building deductive ones. Nordhaus does not exactly provides a counter-example anyway, only as his own testimony of how things work in climate science economics in general.

        But enough with that. It’s futile if I have to deal with unjustified disingenuousness. Let’s try this other way:

        Nordhaus has written an op-ed which, in my opinion, easily and completely bests the Sweet Sixteen’s. The Sweet Sixteen’s op-ed is just a notch above very crude propaganda. Just a notch.

        Nordhaus’ construction is not deductive. It’s an op-ed. He allowed himself liberties that he would need to complement were he to make the same argument in a more formal setting. So it’s not a KO. Just a wash out.

        Now, try to imagine the Sweet Sixteen’s op-ed in a more formal setting. I bet you can’t. Were it possible, ALL THE ARGUMENTS would have to be rewritten. Their op-ed was rude, argumentative, petty, and crass. It reminds me of semi-pro leagues of hockey, where the showcase is based on fights:

        > The LNAH has the unofficial reputation as the world’s toughest hockey league; a New York Times article stated that the league averaged 3.2 fights a game during the 2010-2011 season, compared with 0.6 fights in the National Hockey League.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ligue_Nord-Américaine_de_Hockey

        ***

        The only solution I see to stop this incessant slug fest would that more writers of the quality of Nordhaus enter the debate. The same happens when John Nielsen-Gammon drives by:

        > Nick, thanks for hanging in there, and guaranteeing that somebody on this thread is mostly right. I’ll try to go all the way, with another example. [...] Lastly, I didn’t get any of this out of an applied statistics journal, so feel free to ignore it.

        http://climateaudit.org/2013/04/07/marcotts-dimple-a-centering-artifact/#comment-411240

        To remove that article from the first page of CA took a few days of alketone plots.

        ***

        The most important matter in that Nordhaus-Sweet Sixteen’s exchange is that Nordhaus provides one of the most conservative economic model to evaluate the costs of climate change. He’s used by the members of the Guild of Honest Brokers all around the world.

        Nordhaus is one of yours, Denizens. (Go team!) As far as I am concerned, he’s your best archetype for the limits of justified disingenuousness you should seek. Perhaps the best bet you’ll ever get. Everything below his position risks being disingenuous simpliciter. (Hi Richard.)

        ***

        Now, perhaps it’s time to mention my own position about peerreviewlichurchur.

        I don’t care for it. For me, ArXiv is enough. Here’s an article that was posted on ArXiv:

        http://arxiv.org/abs/math.DG/0211159

        Here’s the background:

        > In November 2002, Perelman posted the first of a series of eprints to the arXiv, in which he claimed to have outlined a proof of the geometrization conjecture, of which the Poincaré conjecture is a particular case

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

        Now, I understand that we need some kind of QA for articles. In fact, having one’s article read and criticized should be considered a privilege. But anyone who has experience in fields where writing properly matters should attest that scientists might never have experienced what it is to deal with an hostile reviewer.

        We should stop quarrelling about commas and sucking up deep meaning for words written by people who were not trained to write. Parsomatics is fun, but it’s too easy. Here’s my friendly advice: continue on that path and you’ll get crushed. (Hi Lucia.)

        ***

        Anyway, the whole model sucks. Not because of the reviewing system, but because the whole publishing system should be revised. A racketeering gimmick, I say.

        So, we need to change everything. But how to proceed? I don’t know.

        All I know is that what’s happening right now won’t be it.

        ***

        Thank you very much for your concerns,

        w

      • willard,

        I had you pegged as being smart enough to know better than to get into an ass kicking contest with Mosher.

        If you feel the urge, at least pick a more defensible subject than Nordhaus.

      • timg56,

        Your chearleading is like chicken soup for my soul.

        I offered a gentlemen’s draw in a good position.
        You can take your best shot if you please.
        What would your move against Nordhaus op-ed?

        I’ve never seen anyone play with pom poms in his hands, though.

      • David Springer

        webster

        Methane appears to have “paused” about the same time as global average temperature.

      • Steven Mosher

        Kim

        “kim | April 30, 2013 at 4:03 am |
        Fulsome pathos, flow some bathos.”

        ###############

        you’ve gone and used one of my most favorite words. bathos.
        See the Love song of J Alfred Prufrock. You can well imagine how I examined all forms of bathos in that poem..

      • Steven Mosher

        “Again with the search for a deductive argument. There are other effective ways to construct arguments than building deductive ones.”

        yes, appeals to authority, chewbacca, black hat marketing, many ways to create effective arguments, arguments that work, but are deductively bogus.

        The sweet 16. Easily dismantled. N’s goal, can be done rather easily. The bigger task is to take down fools without making your own mistakes… like comparing all of exxons spending ( 16Mlillion) to the spending at Yale (14 million) when in fact One university ( Yale) and one researcher ( Mann 2 million) got as much money as all of Exxons shills combined. When winning the argument against your opponents is easy, its best not to hit a shot OB. Why? because then a black hat guy will focus on the mistake you made rather than tap in putt you sunk.

        Put another way, when you take down idiots dont step on your own junk, and dont make stupid economic comparisons when you are an economist. Hopefully I’ll get to ask him about this. I’ll let you know.

      • One of the worrisome features of the distortion of climate science is that the stakes are huge here—even larger than the economic stakes for keeping the cigarette industry alive. Tobacco sales in the United States today are under $100 billion. By contrast, expenditures on all energy goods and services are close to $1,000 billion. Restrictions on CO2 emissions large enough to bend downward the temperature curve from its current trajectory to a maximum of 2 or 3 degrees Centigrade would have large economic effects on many businesses. Scientists, citizens, and our leaders will need to be extremely vigilant to prevent pollution of the scientific process by the merchants of doubt.

        Yes, but Mike.

        More emails, please.

      • Steven Mosher

        “Restrictions on CO2 emissions large enough to bend downward the temperature curve from its current trajectory to a maximum of 2 or 3 degrees Centigrade would have large economic effects on many businesses.”

        Nonsense. This depends entirely upon the estimate of sensitivity and Nordhaus has never, unlike Held, done a sensitivity analysis on the importance of ECS uncertainty. This uncertainty, as Held notes, can best be narrowed by spending more on Mann’s type of work, and I concur. I’d co author with Mann in a heart beat.

        Now, perhaps Nordhaus thinks that companies have some sort of nefarious intent. I dont know, when Shell gave money to CRU, where were you? In the end companies dont care about limits on emissions. you limit C02, they make money on solar or bio fuel or whatever.
        Of course they would like a less painful route, but in the end, they dont care. there is a demand for energy. they are best suited to deliver it.

      • > Nonsense.

        Chewbacca awakens.

        Perhaps this voice would tame Moshpit:

        > That metric is worth trillions. Trillions of dollars per degree.

        http://judithcurry.com/2013/03/31/uk-msm-on-climate-sensitivity/#comment-308087

      • > chewbacca, black hat marketing, many ways to create effective arguments, arguments that work, but are deductively bogus.

        One might think Chewbacca and our Black Hat Marketer take their moniker with the same kind of attitude that Steve ‘gadfly’ McIntyre took his moniker [1]:

        > Tom Yulsman has stated that he consulted the dictionary prior to using the term, that the usage was considered and it is the non-pejorative sense that he meant. So I would like readers to take this at face value, as I will do with slightly arched eyebrows. Let’s leave it at that.

        http://climateaudit.org/2009/01/09/tom-yulsman-the-gadfly-and-the-dim-witted-horse/#comment-172099

        So let’s just say it’s for slightly arched eyebrows’ sake, not for arguments’.

        Speaking of which:

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

        Yup.

        [1] http://climateaudit.org/2013/04/29/more-kaufman-contamination/#comment-416819

      • Steven Mosher

        Yes, willard the metric is worth trillions of dollars per degree, that’s Held’s number. Unlike Nordhaus he is both a climate scientist ( GCMs ) and an economist. And you can see how it is worth Trillions by simply looking at DICE. On the assumption of 3C per doubling you have to impose a cost (in trillions according to Nord ) to decrease emissions.
        A typical figure might be 1% of world GDP per year. Thats based on an assumption of 3C per doubling. Run the numbers at 2.5C. Trillions.
        Is that cost imposed on energy companies. Nope. Its imposed on their users. Can a multinational avoid taxes altogether. Yup. been there done that.

      • Steven Mosher

        Here is a simple question willard.

        With Billions of dollars at stake, with billion of potential taxes hanging over their heads at Exxon, with great risk of damage to the company , would you bet 16Million over a 10 year period to hedge that risk, and would you hedge that risk with the likes of the 16 dwarfs? Nope. You’d bet waay more if you thought there was a real risk to your business that you could not handle by the standard methods of diversifying, passing on costs to customers, and moving profits to tax havens. Of course you’d make a side bet on the longshot and hope to win the lottery. 16M over 10 years tells you the probability of success they attributed to the effort: low.

        So when you follow the money and look at the expected benefit and look at the money they bet to win that benefit you get the odds. Its not that hard to figure out.

      • Steven Mosher

        willard,

        why so joyless? would you ban playful banter from human discourse?
        Nick takes his racehorse moniker in good spirits and despite my years of battling with him at CA, he and I have actually worked together, and I dont think we spoke a single word about our internet quarrels while in Lisbon. It’s theatre. Steve took his gadfly moniker with good spirits, as opposed perhaps to the case with the Jester comment made by Hansen. Moshpit exists to play a role. Once or twice I played tristram shandy and others played Dr. Slop. And there is always the pool boy who shows up when the time is right. If you know how to summon him.

        Giving nicknames and taking nicknames is a vital part of the male experience ( ha I actually did field research on this in grad school )
        hmm: Lionel Tiger Men in Groups.

        of course people will position CA as all about the science, but no text is pure, have a look at the marginalia in mideval bibles, surely you know about the scared and the profane.

      • Let’s read that again, with a narrower emphasis:

        > Restrictions on CO2 emissions large enough to bend downward the temperature curve from its current trajectory to a maximum of 2 or 3 degrees Centigrade would have large economic effects on many businesses.

        http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/apr/26/climate-casino-exchange/

        Trillions.

        Beliefs about trillions can have large economic effects.

        ***

        Go ahead, show us Held’s stuff.

      • > Giving nicknames and taking nicknames is a vital part of the male experience[.]

        Some say it offers many ways to create effective arguments, arguments that work, even though they are deductively bogus.

        Lots of theories.

      • Steven Mosher

        willard,

        Nicknames dont make arguments. Nicknames, like racehorse or gadlfy, are meta comments.

        Held. I’ve posted it several times, Bender would advise you that when Moshpit links it is always worth your while.
        minute 30 to see the economic value of paleo work and why it is critically important that this science be best practices.

        http://www.newton.ac.uk/programmes/CLP/seminars/2010120916101.html

      • This link is definitely worth a look, i’ve flagged it for a future post

        And where the heck is Bender these days?

      • Thanks for the link. I knew it, but sometimes I get tired of playing go fetch. Citing one’s references sounds like good practice.

        ***

        Now, there’s this theory:

        [T1] Nicknames dont make arguments. Nicknames, like racehorse or gadlfy, are meta comments.

        http://judithcurry.com/2013/04/28/the-art-and-science-of-effective-science-advice/#comment-317883

        There’s this other theory:

        [T2] yes, appeals to authority, chewbacca, black hat marketing, many ways to create effective arguments, arguments that work, but are deductively bogus.

        http://judithcurry.com/2013/04/28/the-art-and-science-of-effective-science-advice/#comment-317828

        There’s also this other one:

        [T3] Giving nicknames and taking nicknames is a vital part of the male experience.

        http://judithcurry.com/2013/04/28/the-art-and-science-of-effective-science-advice/#comment-317858

        And there’s this one:

        [T4] [An] inevitable, propagandized topic on the internet. [T]he person you presently deride with [nicknaming] undermines your own credibility and further propagandizes the discourse.

        http://judithcurry.com/2013/04/24/congressional-hearing-rescheduled-2/#comment-317741

        ***

        Are T1-T4 compatible with one another?

      • Meh, when the benefits of warming are appreciated and properly accounted for. Look at the benefits of the last 2 C degrees.

        This is the where the train ran off the rails. To make ‘global warming’ a thing to be feared and to source that fear to human guilt?

        This took remarkable imprescience. Soon to be celebrated imprescience.
        =================

    • Most would agree that infrastructure needs to account for climate change, but there are some local legislatures in the US who ban the words ‘sea-level rise’ from planning documents (Virginia), and others who ban accounting for the IPCC modest level of sea-level rise (NC). This is not a sensible path for them, and is completely politically motivated, or perhaps just ignorant.

      • Jim
        At a local level, since changes of land height dwarf sea level changes in importance it probably is not important. They can simply describe the situation as land erosion prevention measures. It will be the same infrastructure.

      • As long as there is a realization that 100-year events of the future are not the same as 100-year events of the past. Infrastructure planning and zoning use these numbers.

      • If you are suggesting that planners should use the best forecasts of future conditions that are available, then I agree. I doubt anyone would suggest using outdated forecasts would they. Agreement on what the “best forecast” of future conditions will be the subject of great debate.

      • I think we agree that banning even the mention of sea-level rise is counterproductive. These types of thing should be called out for poor policy-making.

      • Jim D

        Let me modify your sentence, so it makes sense:

        As long as there is a realization that 100-year events of the future are not necessarily the same as 100-year events of the past.

        Point: we don’t know what 100-year events of the future will be.

        Max

      • Steven Mosher

        personally I’d make sure the stupid get no FEMA dollars.

        crap in malibu the residents ( ya, rich liberals ) are fighting to build another damn wall–

        then of course they hire private guards to scare folks off the public property in front of their beach homes..

    • Re sea level rise. A few numbers might be in order. If we look at probably the worst case in the US re “sea level rise” (based on expected change in land vs sea level) by 2100 – New Orleans – the total expected delta is on the order of two feet. Expected actual rise in sea level is about 6 inches, and subsidence makes up the rest. Kind of hard to get too worked up about sea level rise when the land is sinking faster!

      • JCH

        Interesting article on S. Louisiana.

        “Scenarios” for the future range from 0.2m to 2m SL rise (including subsidence) by 2100.

        Quite a range!

        “Scenarios” are fun; but let’s look at the actual.

        The article tells us that Key West, with “very little” subsidence shows 2.24 mm/year SL rise, while Grand Isle, with “lots” of subsidence shows 9.24 mm/year.

        A separate study shows that there is around 1 mm/year subsidence in the Keys.

        http://sofia.usgs.gov/publications/papers/keys_geohydro/setting.html

        So, as a rough check, we have for Key West:
        1.24 mm/year SL rise plus 1 mm/year subsidence = 2.24 mm/year total

        And for Grand Isle
        1.24 mm/year SL rise plus 8 mm/year subsidence = 9.24 mm/year total

        Grand Isle has a problem, but it is not related to global SL rise.

        Max

      • John Plodinec

        Your figure of 6 inches SL rise checks out fairly well with the current actual rate 1.24 mm/year *86 years / 2.54 = 4.2 inches.

        The study cited by JCH gives the low end of the range at 20 cm = 7.8 inches.

        So your guess is right in the middle.

        The problem there seems to be from the subsidence, as you write.

        Max

      • The current rate times 86 years = perfect vacuum.

    • that was not the argument. but nevermind

      hmmm…

      This is not the way science is supposed to work, but we have seen it before—for example, in the frightening period when Trofim Lysenko hijacked biology in the Soviet Union. Soviet biologists who revealed that they believed in genes, which Lysenko maintained were a bourgeois fiction, were fired from their jobs. Many were sent to the gulag and some were condemned to death.

      jeez these morons should keep their disagreements out of the public eye.

      I’m not sure that there are any “morons” involved – in fact I rather doubt it. Instead, I see smart and knowledgeable people who allow motivated reasoning to bias their analysis.

      • Steven Mosher

        yes, the argument was not that the current snuffing of dissent was exactly like lysenkoism. the point was that snuffing of dissent, shutting off debate, has been seen before.

        Now of course they pick one of the worst examples for rhetorcial flavor.
        But, they don’t make the explicit argument that the current case is exactly like the previous case in every regard.

        I’m trying to follow the rules of charity, here Joshua..

      • Lysenko is Godwin violation 104.24c (equating a soviet era scientist with threat of the gulag archipelago, torture and death for lack of grant funding)

        Joshua… let me give you some advise. We are all morons, especially smart and knowledgeable people. Motivated reasoning, in this case, is trumped by persecution complex, conspiracy ideation and irrational free market libertarian complex. You need to read your Lewansandusky & Kook, 2013 (in revision) to strengthen and reinforce your psychopathology projection complex.

    • Rob, good points. A pity the resultant thread seems unrelated to your post.

  45. Fergot this …
    ‘Although only a few may originate a policy, we are all
    able to judge it’
    Pericles Funeral Oration..

  46. http://eei.org/ourissues/finance/Documents/disruptivechallenges.pdf

    Effective advice put forward by the energy industry to deal with the Disruptive Challenges that they see coming in the future.

    This has marginal ties to climate change but the end result will help mitigate risk nevertheless.

    What causes skeptics heads to explode is that the individual alternative energy strategies may not look impressive until one starts aggregating the advances. That is what has the power industry nervous.

    • Au contraire, mon ami. What has the power companies nervous is that they are going to get stuck with the bill for uneconomic but politically correct changes to the financing of electric power.

  47. Do we really want any particular profession embeded at all levels in government? The governing types seem to have a soft spot for solutions that save everyone (the country or even better the world) from disaster.
    Britain has had clerics and farmers as embeded professions in the past, we do not want another special interest group exploiting politician’s gullibilty.
    I am not implying that there is anything wrong with scientists, farmers or the clergy; embeded vermin exterminaters or undertakers would be just as like to become corrupt; weaving imminent doom scenarios which feeble minded politicans would lap up. All to the benefit of their particular profession.

    • The UK has the House of lords as its second chamber. There are a number of scientists in the House of Lords.

    • Chas said: I am not implying that there is anything wrong with scientists, farmers or the clergy; embeded vermin exterminaters or undertakers would be just as like to become corrupt; weaving imminent doom scenarios which feeble minded politicans would lap up.
      ______

      The GOP’s Tom DeLay was one of those vermin exterminators. Tom got himself into some trouble and is appealing his conviction. Unless his appeal is successful, he may do time.

  48. Lauri Heimonen

    Judith Curry:

    ”I tried to operate under the ‘new model of expertise’ and to be as non-normative as possible (recall this previous post Congressional testimony and normative science.)”; e.g. link
    http://curryja.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/curry-testimony-2013-il.pdf :

    ”The politicization of climate change presents daunting challenges to climate science and scientists. In my assessment, the single most important actions that are needed with regards to climate science – particularly in context of assessments for policymakers – is explicit reflection on uncertainties,
    ambiguities and areas of ignorance (both known and unknown unknowns) and more openness for
    dissent. Natural internal variability is a topic of particular importance over which there is considerable disagreement. Disagreement and debate is the soul of the scientific frontier, which is where much of climate science lies. Greater openness about scientific uncertainties and ignorance, and more transparency about dissent and disagreement, would provide policymakers with a more complete picture of climate science and its limitations. When working with policy makers and communicators, scientists should not fall into the trap of acceding to inappropriate demands for certainty; the intrinsic limitations of the knowledge base need to be properly assessed and presented to decision makers. The role of scientists should not be to develop political will to act by hiding or simplifying the uncertainties, either explicitly or implicitly, behind a negotiated consensus.

    – – –

    Returning to my experiences with decision makers in using weather and seasonal climate forecasts, I would like to remind that uncertainty about the future climate is a two-edged sword. There are two
    situations to avoid: i) issuing a highly confident statement about the future that turns out to be wrong; and ii) missing the possibility of an extreme, catastrophic outcome. Avoiding both of these situations requires much deeper and better assessment of uncertainties and areas of ignorance, as well as creating a broader range of future scenarios than is currently provided by climate models.”

    I appreciate your ‘non-normative’ statement, and I understand your concern about difficulties related to uncertainties on the future climate.

    As I have learned to see, concerning both of the threatening situations above, one can avoid the uncertainties related to them by understanding the role of anthropogenic CO2 emissions in reality. The uncertainties are mainly caused by certain parameters of models based on assumptions. The most striking of them is the recent increase of CO2 content in atmosphere that is, without any evidense in reality, assumed to be anthropogenic. Look e.g. at comments http://judithcurry.com/2011/08/04/carbon-cycle-questions/#comment-198992 ; and http://judithcurry.com/2013/01/16/hansen-on-the-standstill/#comment-287036 .

    Anthropogenic CO2 emissions do not have controlled the recent increase of CO2 content in atmosphere, and even the total increase of CO2 content in atmosphere have not controlled the recent warming of global climate. Thus the threat on anthropogenic warming is avoided. An uncertainty is connected only with natural changes of climate and natural events of weather, where the main challenge is to learn how to adapt mankind to potential threats of climate changes and extreme events of weather.

    • This is egregiously bad misinformation by Lauri Heimonen.

    • Lauri is right, you only have to look into the history of the CO2 molecule to realize the whole thing is a fraud. The now discredited atomic theory of matter claims that carbon atoms and oxygen atoms not only exist, but can bond to form a gas no-one can actually see (how convenient). But this is just a far fetched model. Where are the measurements? How come no-one has devised an actual experiment that would prove CO2 exists?

      So much for science. For all we know the actual world may simply consist of the five elements wind, ice, fire, earth and surprise.

      People are slowly waking up to the fraud of the CO2 molecule. The gig is up. What are they really measuring up at Mauna Loa? I tell you what they are really measuring – truckloads of squandered cash that Obama is shipping them every day to prop up the fraud. In return they keep their CO2 myth and Obama gets sent a fake Hawaiian birth certificate.

      • Yes, Lauri has rewound skepticism back to the stone age.

        Lauri’s premise is that excess atmospheric CO2 is not caused by man.

        That is the showstopper and anything Lauri says beyond that is irrelevant.

        It’s like if we elect a president and in his acceptance speech the first thing he says is that squirrels know how to talk in Latin.
        At this point, everyone listening would check out.

        Unfortunately, this is the state of WUWT-styled skepticism. Sane people ignore it, but those intrigued by Latin-talking squirrels will continue to listen.

      • Cool. Latin-talking squirrels.

        All the squirrels in my neck of the woods speak only English.

        (What do you call a squirrel that speaks three languages? A trilingual squirrel. What do you call a squirrel that speaks two languages? A bilingual squirrel. What do you call a squirrel that speaks one language? An American squirrel.)

      • lolwot | April 29, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Reply Lauri is right, you only have to look into the history of the CO2 molecule to realize the whole thing is a fraud. The now discredited atomic theory of matter claims that carbon atoms and oxygen atoms not only exist, but can bond to form a gas no-one can actually see (how convenient). But this is just a far fetched model. Where are the measurements? How come no-one has devised an actual experiment that would prove CO2 exists?

        You should have stopped at the first sentence – because we know all about CO2 – we know its weight, we know its molecular structure, we know its heat capacity, we know what it can and can’t do.

        It can’t do what the scaremongering claims put in place by AGWScienceFictionInc says it does.

        The real scientists, and not you pretend wannabees as fake as your non-existant ideal gas version of carbon dioxide, know:

        – that the real gas carbon dioxide separates out because it is heavier than air under gravity because it has mass, so will always spontaneously sink back to the surface displacing the real gas air.

        – that the real gas carbon dioxide is always attracted to water in the atmosphere and that all rain is carbonic acid, so every time it rains all the surrounding carbon dioxide is washed out of the atmosphere, fully part and parcel in the 8-10 day residence time of water in the atmosphere.

        – that the real carbon dioxide has no heat capacity, that it cannot store heat, but releases any heat it absorbs practically instantly.

        – that it is totally irrelevant to changes in temperature and is an effect of temperature change not a cause, that it lags hundreds of years behind temperature changes and so logically can’t be a driver. Real scientists don’t believe in magic impossible AGW molecules which create effects 800 years before it can cause it..

        – that the figures for Carbon Dioxide were faked by Callendar and Keeling who claimed to see a trend in man-made carbon dioxide from less than two years data and without the ability to tell that apart from the vast amounts of volcanic carbon dioxide produced in the great carbon dioxide producing hot spot of the world where they were sitting on top of the world’s biggest active volcano surrounded by active volcanos continually producing carbon dioxide by venting and thousands of earthquakes a year in the warm seas.

        – that real empirical science disproves the fatuous AGWScienceFiction fisics and claims which can only be promoted by AGWSF wannabee scientists by lies more lies and corrupted data and statistics.

        – that the whole package of AGW and its Greenhouse Effect Illusion is a fraud because they are real scientists who understand properties and processes and can see where and how the tricks were made by sleights of hand misappropriating real physics.

        – that the world created by the wannabee scientists, or more usually regurgitated by them as they don’t have the nous to create such a complex scam, is impossible and a total joke with its empty space ideal gas instead of real gas atmosphere, they don’t even have weather.

        http://judithcurry.com/2013/04/27/open-thread-weekend-15/#comment-317129

        “Plant stomata suggest that the pre-industrial CO2 levels were commonly in the 360 to 390ppmv range.”

        The Callendar/Keeling fraud to pretend to track increasing levels of the not possible to tell apart man-made from volcanic carbon dioxide* by cherry picking a low start point is contradicted by measurements by real scientists.

        This AGWScienceFiction’s Greenhouse Effect illusion has fraud written all the way through it.

        * http://carbon-budget.geologist-1011.net/

        “Both tectonic and volcanic CO2 are magmatic and depleted in both 13C & 14C. In the absence of statistically significant isotope determinations for each volcanic province contributing to the atmosphere, this makes CO2 contributions of volcanic origin isotopically indistinguishable from those of fossil fuel consumption. It is therefore unsurprising to find that Segalstad (1998) points out that 96% of atmospheric CO2 is isotopically indistinguishable from volcanic degassing. So much for the Royal Society’s unexplained “chemical analysis”. If you believe that we know enough about volcanic gas compositions to distinguish them chemically from fossil fuel combustion, you have indeed been mislead. As we shall see, the number of active volcanoes is unknown, never mind a tally of gas signatures belonging to every active volcano. We have barely scratched the surface and as such, there is no magic fingerprint that can distinguish between anthropogenic and volcanogenic sources of CO2.”

        Real scientists think like adults with integrity.

      • Myrrhmurs persistent in whispers, wisps of water vapor whimper.
        ====================

      • Josh,

        + 1/2 for latin speaking squirrel.

      • David Springer

        WebHubTelescope (@whut) | April 29, 2013 at 10:27 pm |

        “Yes, Lauri has rewound skepticism back to the stone age.”

        Where we find you already in residence.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Allowances should be made for non-native users of English and simple typos. This type of argument is incorrect – the real risks emerge from dynamic complexity – but will become more persuasive to policy makers and the general public as the lack of warming proceeds.

      • Steven Mosher

        i purposely stayed away from being a grammer nazi.. cause the spellin nazis and capitilzation nazi’s drive me crazy

      • The “I’s” have it, mother tongue twisted.
        =========

      • David Springer

        Steven Mosher | April 29, 2013 at 8:39 pm |

        “i purposely stayed away from being a grammer nazi.. cause the spellin nazis and capitilzation nazi’s drive me crazy”

        Ah. I was wondering what it was that made you into a crazy person. Thanks for sharing.

      • Steven Mosher

        ah kim.

        you must learn the eighth wonder of the world. where the letters mirror the tongue

  49. In today’s news the Supreme Court rules States can block out of State FOIA requests.

    http://hamptonroads.com/2013/04/court-virginia-can-block-out-state-use-foia

    ______

    Damn, there goes another one of our freedoms.

  50. Concerned Citizen

    ” I hope that my testimony was convincing to the Republicans, and helps move them to a more defensible and rational position on climate science.” So Republicans had an indefensible and irrational position on climate science? After all the seeming evenhandedness here, I guess some things just ARE.

    • Alexej Buergin

      I guess that JC met Ms Pelosi and Mr Waxman and therefore believes Democrats are hopeless.

  51. Chief Hydrologist

    ‘A disruptive innovation is defined as “an innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually goes on to disrupt an existing market and value network (over a few years or decades), displacing
    an earlier technology. The term is used in business and technology literature to describe innovations that improve a product or service in ways that the market does not expect, typically first by designing for a different set of consumers in the new market and later by lowering prices in the existing market.”
    webby’s reference

    It is well known that businesses evolve from cash cows to dogs. An example is perhaps Gen 4 nuclear technology which will be cost competitive across areas of the globe without an established distribution network. This seems likely to pave the way for global adoption. They are likely to be cheaper and more effective than disposing of conventional nuclear waste in deep repositories. Small, modular, efficient, and technology that has been in development for 60 years.

    The General Atomics module is based on a Los Alamos design for a closed gas cycle system.

    http://www.ga.com/docs/em2/pdf/FactSheet-TechnicalFactSheetEM2.pdf

    http://www.ga.com/nuclear-energy/energy-multiplier-module

    Seriously – you would put excess power into hydrolising water and catalyse with carbon to create liquid fuels.

    This doesn’t require tax or subsidies for inherently inefficient technology and all the downstream distortions that implies. There are a plethora of other paths for mitigation as I define above. It is not rocket science – no one objects to cheaper energy prices. If a few industries evolve into dogs – well so what?

  52. It is not simply the complexity and political pressure on decision makers that leads to problems of bad science advice. Let’s take a much simpler issue than climate policy where “expert” opinions dominate: Approval of drugs for human use.

    As a matter of practice, today’s FDA requires 1) proof of safety and efficacy in animals, 2) a specific identified mechanism of action before even considering approval, and 3) clinical trials showing evidence of human efficacy superior to existing drugs. The FDA also 4) prohibits “off-label” marketing by owners of drug patents even if doctors and researchers are openly discussing the off-label benefits of a drug. Not one of these policies is easily justified on a “scientific” basis.

    On 1), it’s often remarked that drugs that work well in animals fail in human trials; what is more insidious is that lots of drugs that fail in animal models might well be effective in humans (e.g. aspirin) but we will never know. In fact, it is a commonplace among workers in the pharma industry that aspirin could not be approved today, a sobering fact that by itself should tell us that the system has gone off the rails.

    What expert science advisors will take responsibility for this state of affairs? Have they skewed their research to fit the needs of the politicians?

    On 2), all drugs before the 1970s were approved without knowing exactly how they work. Of the drugs approved later with purported mechanisms, later research, when it has been performed, has often found that those mechanisms were either spurious or partial. (There is evolutionary reasoning to suppose that single-pathway, highly targeted drugs are less likely to be effective because biological organisms need to be robust to blockages or up-regulation of single pathways.) Therefore, many recent drugs were found to work and were approved based on a fictional theory of action. Yet new drugs are still expected to produce these fictions.

    Is there a valid “consensus” that this procedure is defensible? Are the scientists simply being overwhelmed by politics?

    On 3), asking each new drug to beat the existing standard rather than a placebo is counterproductive because any trial population aggregates hidden patient characteristics. A drug might beat placebo but not the existing standard drug in such an aggregate population while having superior performance or lower side effects on an unsuspected sub-population. If the drug were approved, doctors would be able to try it out on patients who responded poorly to the existing standard treatment, and so find, by trial and error, these sub-populations that benefit from the new drug. FDA rules prevent this form of progress. Instead, the drug company must try to predict in advance of the trial the sub-populations that will benefit most from the new drug and then set up the trial to include only those types of patients. But, given 2), that is not really doable most of the time. Humorously, if the drug were to be approved, doctors could still prescribe it “off-label” to whatever sub-population they wanted.

    Whom should we blame for this outcome? The politicians? The public?

    That leads to 4). Aside from the blatant First Amendment infringement entailed by FDA “off-label” marketing rules, we have the absurd spectacle that, for example, chemotherapy drugs are prescribed “off-label” the majority of the time because they are mixed and matched based on clinical experience and the odd academic (not FDA-submitted) clinical trial. We know with certainty in this case that the presumption that drugs should not be prescribed “off-label” is ridiculous; no responsible oncologist would harm her patients by restricting her treatments to those the FDA has approved. Yet the FDA shields its policy under the guise of insisting on “scientific evidence” and the silence of the lambs is pervasive.

    Before we try to apply “science advice” to the hugely complex, socio-economic-geographic-political issue of trying to force the world off fossil fuels, we might first try to figure out why the “science advice” applied by technocrats to the much simpler issue of drug approval so patently contravenes widely known facts.

    Hint: I don’t think you can just blame the politicians.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Most global systems are inherently complex, consisting of multiple interacting sub-units. Scientists frequently attempt to model these complex systems in isolation often along distinct disciplinary lines, producing internally stable and predictable behaviour. However, real-world coupling between sub-systems can cause the set of interacting systems to exhibit new collective behaviours — called “emergent properties” – that are not clearly demonstrable by models that do not also include such coupling.

      Furthermore, responses of the coupled systems to external forcing can become quite complicated. For example, one emergent property increasingly evident in climate and biological systems, is that of irreversibility or hysteresis — changes that persist in the new post-disturbance state even when the original forcing is restored. This irreversibility can be a consequence of multiple stable equilibria in the coupled system — that is, the same forcing might produce different responses depending on the pathway followed by the system. http://www.oecd.org/env/cc/2482280.pdf

      The Earth’s climate system is highly nonlinear: inputs and outputs are not proportional, change is often episodic and abrupt, rather than slow and gradual, and multiple equilibria are the norm. While this is widely accepted, there is a relatively poor understanding of the different types of nonlinearities, how they manifest under various conditions, and whether they reflect a climate system driven by astronomical forcings, by internal feedbacks, or by a combination of both. In this paper, after a brief tutorial on the basics of climate nonlinearity, we provide a number of illustrative examples and highlight key mechanisms that give rise to nonlinear behavior, address scale and methodological issues, suggest a robust alternative to prediction that is based on using integrated assessments within the framework of vulnerability studies and, lastly, recommend a number of research priorities and the establishment of education programs in Earth Systems Science. It is imperative that the Earth’s climate system research community embraces this nonlinear paradigm if we are to move forward in the assessment of the human influence on climate. http://www.globalcarbonproject.org/global/pdf/pep/Rial2004.NonlinearitiesCC.pdf

      Where there are competing paradigms it is impossible for science to provide an unambiguous message. At this stage of the game both sides of the climate war are arguing from competing versions of climate linearity. Sensitivity is high or it is low. This factor or that mechanism within the complex and dynamic system. CO2 is rising and the world is not warming – the CO2 radiative imbalance continues and the oceans are warming. Both sides are entrenched but horrendously wrong headed.

      In a nonlinear world the climate can not warm for 20 to 40 years (at least) and yet there can still exist a risk of abrupt and nonlinear change whenever the climate shifts as a result of relatively small changes in forcings. In a decade or so hence? The clock is always ticking.

      There is a definitive scientific position with an inevitable mathematical corollary. But it is a threshold concept.

      • Above the ground
        we think is solid
        as a rock
        back swans abound.
        as also down below …tick-tock…

  53. Good article about point 1) above from a guy who is pretty much comfortable with the FDA status quo (unlike me):

    http://www.medicalprogresstoday.com/spotlight/spotlight_indarchive.php?id=1039

  54. Regardless of what proponents of nuclear power may think, Fukushima’s continuing problems are making nuclear a hard thing to sell.

  55. Investors also need advice.

    Carbon bubble makes Australia’s coal industry ripe ‘for financial implosion’ says an article in the UK’s Guardian.

    The following excerpts are from the article:

    “Australia’s huge coal industry is a speculative bubble ripe for financial implosion if the world’s governments fulfil their agreement to act on climate change, according to a new report.The warning that much of the nation’s coal reserves will become worthless as the world hits carbon emission limits comes after banking giant Citi also warned Australian investors that fossil fuel companies could do little to avoid the future loss of value.”

    “Earlier in April, Citi banking group issued a warning to investors in fossil fuel companies. “We see limited potential for engagement to alter the outcome in this case,” concluded its report. “If the unburnable carbon [scenario] does occur – even with carbon capture and storage technology – it is difficult to see how the value of fossil fuel reserves can be maintained.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/apr/28/carbon-bubble-australia-coal-industry

  56. Needless to say, none of my money is going into Australian coal or any other country’s coal, unless of course it gets way underpriced. If you want a good investment, think natural gas, not dirty coal or poisonous nuclear power. Who wants diseased lungs and hair growing out of their palms?

    • Chief Hydrologist

      ‘Australia provides around 30 per cent of the world coal trade.

      In 2011, Australia was the world’s largest exporter of metallurgical coal and the second largest exporter of thermal coal. Australia is also the fourth largest producer, and has the fifth largest resources of black coal in the world.

      Australia’s accessible economic demonstrated resources are sufficient to sustain current black coal production rates for nearly 100 years. Brown coal accessible economic resources are estimated to be able to sustain current brown coal production for over 500 years.’ Our top 5 customers are China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and India. Growing markets no matter how you look at it. Much of the coal export is high quality metallurgical coal.

      We also plan to become the world’s biggest exporter of gas within the decade.

      China is planning 363 new coal plants and worldwide – 1000 new plants are planned. These customers would need to have a viable alternative for electricity production and they are not likely to prematurely retire their assets or tax them out of existence.

      If there are viable alternatives at acceptable costs – that’s life. Markets and innovation rule – there are many alternative uses for coal we can find.

      At any rate – alternative responses to mitigating CO2 are required.

      • speaking of Australia – it’s nice to know that we aren’t like Australia (and that not all Australians are rightwing extremists):

        http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-april-25-2013/australia—gun-control-s-aftermath

      • Chief Hydrologist

        The original story comes from a report from carbontracker on ‘unburnable coal’ – I can’t link because the coal companies have infested the site with multiple malware sometime over the past couple of days.

        Wishful thinking I would have thought – but if some alternative happens and coal companies become dogs well that’s just life.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        I can’t see the video – but hey we still have kangaroos and boomerangs. The gun laws were tightened by the ultra-conservative John Howard after the Port Arthur massacre. Really it was only a matter of banning semi-automatic assault weapons. There are still illegal guns, semi-automatic hand guns, people getting shot in the streets, criminals with guns, shoot outs with police, etc. Mind you the US is a bit of a special case.

      • Joshua, thanks for the link to the video about Australia.

        Australian women are hot.

        Fosters beer is a poor value in the U.S.

      • It’s a great country, Max. For the women. For the geography. For the diversity. For the aborigine’s art (that I find spectacular). And for the characters like our very own Chief, god love’m.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Aboriginal art. For the absurdities – the trivialities – the adolescent musings about women – the utter inability to frame any coherent ort substantive comment. Thankfully not.

  57. Republican skepticism about global warming eases says recent Gallup Poll.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/161714/republican-skepticism-global-warming-eases.aspx

    I thought maybe JC was already doing some good, but then I saw the results of this poll were released on April 9. Hopefully, JC has momentum going for her.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      ‘Currently, two-thirds of Democrats, compared with 52% of independents and 39% of Republicans, say the effects of global warming have already begun to happen. Partisans were in roughly close agreement on this question in the late 1990s before diverging sharply in 2006 and 2008.

      Since 2011, Republicans’ views in particular have changed slightly; the percentage saying the effects of global warming have already begun increased to 40% in 2012 from 32% in 2011. Republicans’ views on this issue are back to where they were during the George W. Bush administration.’

      ‘PRINCETON, NJ — U.S. worry about global warming is heading back up after several years of expanded public skepticism. Views on the subject are now near the midpoint in Gallup trends, exemplified by the 58% of Americans who say they worry a great deal or fair amount about global warming. This is up from 51% in 2011 but still below the 62% to 72% levels seen in earlier years.’

      Extreme weather has a temporary effect on who believes or not. Really the problem is not who is worrying about it – the problem is what to do about it. People have generally been inclined to believe scientists – but this is wearing thin. It will wear even thinner as the planet refuses to warm for decades. This becomes a policy problem of stupendous proportions if there remains non-linear risk.

  58. In the most recent Gallup Poll, 52% of Republicans believe scientist agree global warming is happening, up from 37% in 2011.

    However, only 18% of Republican believe global warming will pose a serious threat to them in their lifetimes. I would say that makes sense because lots of Republicans are old timers and have one foot in the grave anyway.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Actually – Republicans say that 52% of scientists believe in global warming.

      This will actually decline precipitously as the world doesn’t warm for a decade to three more. The only real solution is to shift to a non-linear narrative and really the AGW space cadets would sacrifice what little credibility remains to them. Rock and a hard place.

      Unlike El Niño and La Niña, which may occur every 3 to 7 years and last from 6 to 18 months, the PDO can remain in the same phase for 20 to 30 years. The shift in the PDO can have significant implications for global climate, affecting Pacific and Atlantic hurricane activity, droughts and flooding around the Pacific basin, the productivity of marine ecosystems, and global land temperature patterns. This multi-year Pacific Decadal Oscillation ‘cool’ trend can intensify La Niña or diminish El Niño impacts around the Pacific basin,” said Bill Patzert, an oceanographer and climatologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “The persistence of this large-scale pattern [in 2008] tells us there is much more than an isolated La Niña occurring in the Pacific Ocean.”

      Natural, large-scale climate patterns like the PDO and El Niño-La Niña are superimposed on global warming caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases and landscape changes like deforestation. According to Josh Willis, JPL oceanographer and climate scientist, “These natural climate phenomena can sometimes hide global warming caused by human activities. Or they can have the opposite effect of accentuating it.”

      • Hmmm.

        Now you say this:

        Actually – Republicans say that 52% of scientists believe in global warming.

        And the Gallup article says this:

        All party groups are now slightly more likely than in the recent past to believe that scientists agree global warming is happening. Nevertheless, differences remain, with 74% of Democrats, 58% of independents, and 52% of Republicans believing so.

        Now I suppose that both statements could, very coincidentally, be true. Or then again, you might have been sloppy and have some reconcilin’ to do.

        Which is it, Chief?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        The question asks what percentage of scientists believe global warming is occurring. Republicans 52% – draw your own conclusion.

      • Heh. Looks to me like they are showing one of the three parts to the question, Chief.

        They show the results that 52% of Republicans (75% of Dems, and 58% of Indies) answer that scientists believe that global warming is occurring.

        My interpretation agrees with the write-up. Your interpretation agrees with your fantasies

        Nice try, though. You get points for creativity.

      • BTW –

        The question asks what percentage of scientists believe global warming is occurring.

        Actually, that is not the question they ask. More fantasies, eh?

        And notice the next question:
        Cause of Temperature Increases,by Political Party
        And from what you have heard or read, do you believe increases in the Earth’s temperature over the last century are due more to – [the effects of pollution from human activities {or} natural changes in the environment that are not due to human activities]

        And then notice what is written in the next line below the question:

        % human activities.

        Do you notice how that looks just like the

        % Scientists believe global warming is occuring

        That you interpreted to mean that the graph what showing the % of scientists that Republicans, Dems, and Indies thought believe global warming is occurring, respectively.

        By applying your logic, then you think that the graph for the next question is showing “% Human activities” – an interpretation that our friend Brandon might say “makes no sense.”

        Here’s your test, Chief. Show that you’re capable of accountability. Show that your “correction” of Max was wrong – and based on a sloppy and incomplete reading of the data available.

        It isn’t that hard. You’ll feel better for doing so. And you will earn a measure of my respect.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Perhaps you are right – perhaps the answer is 52% of Republicans believe most scientists believe in global warming. Most scientists in that case would be wrong for the reasons I have given.

        But again the failure to address the substantive points are due to your immense failures of intellect and imagination and your unrelenting trivial tribalism.

        This proportion of anyone believing that the world is actually warming will decline precipitously as the world doesn’t warm for a decade to three more. The only real solution is to shift to a non-linear narrative and really the AGW space cadets would sacrifice what little credibility remains to them. Rock and a hard place – aye Joshua.

        Unlike El Niño and La Niña, which may occur every 3 to 7 years and last from 6 to 18 months, the PDO can remain in the same phase for 20 to 30 years. The shift in the PDO can have significant implications for global climate, affecting Pacific and Atlantic hurricane activity, droughts and flooding around the Pacific basin, the productivity of marine ecosystems, and global land temperature patterns. This multi-year Pacific Decadal Oscillation ‘cool’ trend can intensify La Niña or diminish El Niño impacts around the Pacific basin,” said Bill Patzert, an oceanographer and climatologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “The persistence of this large-scale pattern [in 2008] tells us there is much more than an isolated La Niña occurring in the Pacific Ocean.”

        Natural, large-scale climate patterns like the PDO and El Niño-La Niña are superimposed on global warming caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases and landscape changes like deforestation. According to Josh Willis, JPL oceanographer and climate scientist, “These natural climate phenomena can sometimes hide global warming caused by human activities. Or they can have the opposite effect of accentuating it.”

        Is it not more than time that AGW space cadets relented on the much more important aspects? But of course they cannot.

      • Perhaps you are right

        Perhaps?

        Heh.

        C’mon, Chief – show you’re capable of accountability. You were wrong.

        And notice the “perhaps you are right….but..

        There are no buts here. I was right. You were wrong. You were wrong because of sloppy treatment of the evidence – even when shown that your analysis was weak. This is unarguable.

        It happens to the best of use, Chief. What matters isn’t that you were wrong due to shoddy analysis – what matters is what you do with having been wrong.

        So no buts here: The other issues you tried to link with the “but” are unrelated.

        But let’s get to them anyway – because you were wrong in your assertions about me there, also:

        This proportion of anyone believing that the world is actually warming will decline precipitously as the world doesn’t warm for a decade to three more.

        I think there is a reasonable chance that the world won’t warm for the couple of decades. As I have told you many times, I have been most impressed with the analysis by Mojib (my name is global warming) Latif.

        The only real solution is to shift to a non-linear narrative

        I think that is true – and that is why I pole fun at “skeptics” who try to use a “linear narrative” to support their “skepticism.”

        and really the AGW space cadets would sacrifice what little credibility remains to them. Rock and a hard place – aye Joshua.

        Anyone who argues some kind of strict linear analysis would be wrong, IMO. That would apply to some “realists” as well as to some “skeptics.” I’m not troubled by this personally because I have never argued for such a strict “linear narrative.” You see, chief, your attempt to draw conclusions about me is once again flawed. I mean the entire cause-and-effect construct that you use – characterizing me personally based on what I think about various controversial issues – is fundamentally flawed. But even if the model weren’t flawed, your application if flawed because you don’t even know what I think.

        Is it not more than time that AGW space cadets relented on the much more important aspects? But of course they cannot.

        Any “realists” and any “skeptics” that arguing on the basis of a strict “linear narrative” should adopt a more sophisticated approach on the issue, IMO – to recognize that small scale variability does not justify a determination about the long-term trend. They also should carefully account for uncertainty and, very importantly, the tendency we all have towards a form of motivated reasoning when doing this kind of analysis in issues that overlap with fundamental cultural, social, political, and psychological identifications.

      • Generalissimo Skippy

        ‘Actually – Republicans say that 52% of scientists believe in global warming.

        This will actually decline precipitously as the world doesn’t warm for a decade to three more. The only real solution is to shift to a non-linear narrative and really the AGW space cadets would sacrifice what little credibility remains to them. Rock and a hard place.

        Unlike El Niño and La Niña, which may occur every 3 to 7 years and last from 6 to 18 months, the PDO can remain in the same phase for 20 to 30 years. The shift in the PDO can have significant…’

        It was a hook for the more substantive comments that you then fail to address at great length. As if most scientists haven’t already moved to a more nuanced position – with a few noisy exceptions. And the intransigent space cadets – they continue with their groupthink and cognitive dissonance. Instead of focusing on a mote – why don’t you demonstrate a little integrity and reflect on the extreme nonsense from all your fellow travellers? Could it be that you lack integrity, honesty and good faith and that your sole purpose is to score tribal points?

        Rather than being right or wrong on such a single minor point – something I mentioned once, reflected on and refrained from insisting on as a matter of good faith – what this demonstrates again and again is your inability to focus on the major points for some trivial, personalised and long winded diatribe. Contemptible is the right word for such pissant antics.

    • Steven Mosher

      “In the most recent Gallup Poll, 52% of Republicans believe scientist agree global warming is happening, up from 37% in 2011.”

      Yes, and with a constant percentage (^0+) thinking that the danger is overblown you have to connect the dots.

      Yes, more republicans believe that more scientists believe. and since they think the danger is overblown, you want to ask what they thnk about scientists. Last time that question was asked trust wasnt so great.

      Beleiving that scientists believe tells you nothing about what they believe about those believers. So one wants to ask more questions.

      In the end public opinion will only matter if and when they impose costs.

      The other funny thing to look at it the long term trends from 1998 as opposed to cherry picking short term dips and pauses.. sheesh, did you take lessons from fake skeptics

  59. People have generally been inclined to believe scientists – but this is wearing thin

    Heh In contrast to the evidence you, yourself provided. Too funny.

    Never let the evidence get in the way of forming your opinion, chief We like you just the way you are, and wouldn’t want you to change.

    It will wear even thinner as the planet refuses to warm for decades.

    You see – this shows the problem with counterfactuals when they are simply used to confirm bias.

    More than likely, if “the planet refuses to warm for decades,” what scientists say will change – and therefore what they say “wearing thin” won’t be the case. So your counterfactual is weak, and mostly just a projection of your biases.

    The claims of the public becoming increasingly “skeptical” due to the statements made by “climate scientists” is ‘oft proffered by “skeptics,” even though they lack evidence to back their assertion.

    Instead, what we see is that more likely, “skeptics” unskeptically project their own mindset onto others. Many “skeptics” claim that their “skepticism” is rooted in their realization that climate scientists overstated the case for AGW. No doubt, for some “skeptics” that may be true. But the evidence we can easily find shows that most “skeptics” are ideologically associated with groups who are inclined to distrust climate science, and as such, as a group climate “skepticism” can be predicted by the process of motivated reasoning (which speaks to the selectivity in how we all filter evidence so as to confirm biases).

    You’d think that being “skeptics,” they’d feel some obligation to provide evidence for their claims. Guess not, huh?

    Seems to me that the most salient factors in short-term variation in views on climate change are short-term weather trends and the health of the economy – not what climate scientists do or don’t say.

    Long term, what will decide the debate is what the climate does over the next 50-100 years (at minimum).

    • Chief Hydrologist

      ‘Using a new measure of coupling strength, this update shows that these climate modes have recently synchronized, with synchronization peaking in the year 2001/02. This synchronization has been followed by an increase in coupling. This suggests that the climate system may well have shifted again, with a consequent break in the global mean temperature trend from the post 1976/77 warming to a new period (indeterminate length) of roughly
      constant global mean temperature.’ S&T09 ‘Has the climate recently shifted?’

      This is what science is saying Joshua. It seems clear enough – but I doubt very much that you understand the implications of synchonized chaos. Your inability to understand why and how is not a matter of my not providing justification – but of your inability to understand or assimilate the ideas. Mostly it seems this stems from groupthink in your case – and cognitive dissonance in someone who has any scientific background at all. Or simply the difficulty of assimilating a difficult ‘threshold concept’.

      In the case of the public they will see that the world is not warming – and discount further the simple memes of AGW. The only real solution is to shift to a non-linear narrative and the AGW space cadets would sacrifice what little credibility remains to them. Rock and a hard place – aye.

      You merely reiterate your pop-psychology nonsense in the service of your groupthink. Long winded rubbish with no purpose other than to denigrate those you regard as a political other – with the sole purpose of creating a sense of moral superiority. Pathetic really.

      • Mostly it seems this stems from groupthink in your case

        What do I think, Chief?

        You have expressed complete certainty about what I think, to the point of reverse engineering from what I think to then formulating assertions about me in all sorts of ways. So, then, you must know what I think.

        Just touch on a couple of areas. No need to go into great detail. Let’s see whether you formulate conclusions based on evidence, or on your biases?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        You are a pissant progressive who lives in the inner city, votes green or democrat and has goats cheese in the fridge.

        And has an inability to address the substance in anything but merely skates across the surface with silly pop-psy characterisations of the other.

      • Notice that you needed to duck the question, Chief.

        You made made assertions. You formulate conclusions. You based them on “what I think” – yet you can’t even articulate what it is that I think. Instead, you talk about how I vote, and what’s in my fridge – neither of which assertion can be based on anything other than your fantasies about me.

        You call yourself a scientist, Chief – yet you regularly display entirely unscientific thinking, such as I just exposed.

        Why is that, Chief? Why would a smart and knowledgeable person who self-identifies as a scientist display entirely unscientific reasoning?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        So you deny you have goats cheese in the fridge?

      • Notice that you keep ducking, Chief.

        What do I think?

        (FWIW, I ran out yesterday)

      • Chief Hydrologist

        We have been through this before Joshua – do you have a memory problem? Are you the pissant progressive version of a goldfish?

        ‘The inner-city elite: a fast-rising population, living within a 5km radius of the centre of all capital cities. This “hipster” community contains 1.3 million residents, about 5 per cent of the nation’s total and up 24 per cent across the past decade.

        This segment includes the residents of Sydney’s Paddington, Melbourne’s Carlton and Brisbane’s New Farm. The inner-city elite tends to be better educated, more global, as in born overseas, and likelier to earn higher incomes than other tribes. They are less likely to be married with children and, based on the most recent federal election results, likelier to vote for the Greens or ALP. About half the nation’s inner-city elite lives in Sydney and Melbourne. You can tell if you live in a hipster household because there’s goat’s cheese in the fridge.’ http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/opinion/the-five-tribes-that-shape-our-modern-nation/story-e6frg9jx-1226405893376

        It is Australian data – but you fit the profile. You are the 5% pissant progressive. You believe in limit’s to growth – and that we have come up against them in carbon emissions – same s@x marriage, free health care, drug liberalisation, Iraq and Afganistan were adventures too far, free markets need to be not so free and gun control. More to the point – you feel that this makes you a much more moral and up-righteous person than some right wing, wack job redneck you imagine me to be. You are truly pathetic.

      • All refrigerated cheese and no goats.
        ===============

      • You believe in limit’s to growth –

        Really? What does that mean? That I think that economic growth must be limited by virtue of governmental policy?

        Wrong. That is not what I think.

        and that we have come up against them in carbon emissions

        Also wrong.

        same s@x marriage,

        Do I think that same sex marriages should be afforded the same legal status as marriage between a man and a woman? Yes. Well done.

        free health care,

        Wrong. I don’t think that health care should be “free.”

        drug liberalisation, Iraq and Afganistan were adventures too far,

        Well, yes – just like many of the “skeptics” who show up here, if not most of them, I think that drug laws should be liberalized and Iraq was a mistake.

        free markets need to be not so free

        It isn’t clear to me what that means, but like you, I think that governmental regulation has it’s place, and that it must be carefully analyzed.

        and gun control.

        Really? What do I think about gun control?

        More to the point – you feel that this makes you a much more moral and up-righteous person than some right wing, wack job redneck you imagine me to be.

        Also wrong in both aspects: I don’t think that I am “more moral” by virtue of my political beliefs. I think that values and morality are largely independent of political beliefs.

        Oh, and btw, I have lived both in inner cities and in rural areas (and for a short stretch, even in the suburbs once. Yuck), I’m not a hipster, not born overseas, I don’t make a particularly high income, I have never voted for a Green. I don’t live in the areas you mentioned, I’m not an elitist.

        I do, sometimes, eat goat cheese but have none in my fridge.

        So let’s take count – leaving behind your lame guilt-by-association nonsense and trying to focus on the question at hand: what I think and why you think that you can reverse engineer from what I think to draw conclusions about me. Clearly, do do such reverse engineering, you must be substantially, if not completely, accurate about what I think.

        Here’s the count: Probably wrong, wrong, right, wrong, right, right, unclear, unclear, wrong, wrong.

        Well, just as wrong as you are right. And so let’s look at what that means. It means that you think that by significantly wrong about what I think, you can determine what I can and can’t understand, that I suffer (as distinguished from yourself) from “groupthink,” that I have no purpose but to denigrate people as “political other[s].”

        And please, let’s notice that you mostly avoid the subject that is more relevant here: what I think w/r/t climate change.

        And this is the kind of logic that a scientist employs? This is your careful analysis?

        See, Chief, when smart and knowledgeable people such as yourself, who are clearly capable of valid scientific analysis, perform such obviously shoddy analysis based on poor data acquisition and faulty logic, and then draw absolutely certain conclusions about cause-and-effect, without even a cursory attempt to acknowledge and allow for the presence or error, you can see the evidence of motivated reasoning.

        Thank you (once again) for providing a text book example of the phenomenon. Perhaps I should change your label from “Chief of Unintentional Irony” to “Chief of Motivated Reasoning?”

      • Chief Hydrologist

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

        So I am right about everything – but you deny knowing anything about the central tenet of the pissant progressive or feeling morally superior to me. You have reiterated my personal failings time and again and at great length – let me doubt the latter and find the former incredible.

        Is it so personal and trivial. Try to focus on the important issues.

      • Well, we seem to now be narrowing things down a bit – although you are still seeking solace through vagueness:

        So first you link “Limits to Growth” – and then you say:

        So I am right about everything

        So what does that mean? Does it mean that you know what I think about limits to growth? Really? This should be interesting. What do I think about “limits to growth” that is different than what you think about “limits to growth?” And how am I wrong in contrast to you? And how does that then justify the long list of ways that you have characterized me, personally?

        You have reiterated my personal failings time and again and at great length…

        Chief – being wrong is not a personal failing. Employing shoddy analysis is not a personal failing. I would say that a lack of accountability is a personal failing, but I would guess that your unaccountability is fairly limited in nature – mostly to stupid blog comments that in the end, are practically completely meaningless. I have no particular reason to think that in matters of real import – say your professional responsibilities or how you treat your family and friends – you are just as accountable as the next person. That is why I am confused as to why you have such difficulty showing accountability in these trivial matters. Why do you (as it seems, anyway) find it so difficult?

        My guess is because it rubs up against your tendency towards motivated reasoning – in other words, to be accountable in these trivial matters would threaten your political identifications. It would force you to re-think your strict “linear narrative” about me and my political beliefs

      • And Chief – I do not thin I am “morally superior” to you. This is what you tie to your “central tenet” of my thinking – and as such are wrong.

        I have absolutely no idea what your moral character is – so I can’t formulate conclusions about that.

        Your model is highly flawed, chief. Your application of your model is flawed. Your strict “linear narrative” is simplistic, naive, unsophisticated, riddled with methodological problems, based on incomplete evidence and shoddy evidence acquisition. There is nothing wrong with speculation about cause-and-effect. Your speculation is not the problem here. The problem is your confidence about the correctness of your methodology and thus, your conclusions. Your confidence is misplaced, and it prevents you from properly handling contradictory evidence.

        That is motivated reasoning, my friend, because I would guess that you are definitely capable of better analysis.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Try discussing real issues in concrete terms and not the pop-psy nonsense. Too hard? Your tactics are trivial distortion and distraction on and on at great and very tedious length. Mostly I simply scan and catch a word here and there. It is all so horrendously lacking in any formal structure that would hint at an underlying rational argument. If you want to talk about limits to growth – by all means but say something that has some focus and relevance.

        And springer is quite unbelievable – typically worthless and witless interjections about women with bags on their heads and homophobic jibes dotted with specious and simplistic, home grown good ole boy philosophies of climate or improbable claims of inventing the internet.

      • David Springer

        Sticks and stones may break my bones but handbags cannot hurt me.

        Write that down Chief Kangaroo Skippy Ellison!

        Sorry to have interrupted your handbag fight. I know how important it must be to someone like you. Joshua is like public enemy #1 huh and you’re like the fearless Caped Crusader who must fight evil at all costs.

        Or something like that. Babble on, Garth.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Right place?

        Chief Hydrologist | May 1, 2013 at 5:43 pm | Reply

        It is just what you impetuously said springer – and you keep popping up with worthless, overbearing and pompous comments laced with ill-considered redneck gunk. You have a problem with not cyberstalking me. Why do you have a compulsion to cyberstalk me springer? I most often just pass on your comments – worthless science free nonsense if not just pathetic snark – but you just keep popping up after my handle with the same pathetic attempts at insults over and over again. Just stop being such a ponce – it is simple.

        You should get some serious professional help – not just a therapist once a week but a team of doctors in Vienna working round the clock on just you.

      • Steven Mosher

        why make it all about goat cheese. great stuff

    • Hey Joshua, aren’t you being hypocritical with this statement:

      Never let the evidence get in the way of forming your opinion, chief

      Isn’t that what you do, Joshua (expert in ‘motivated reasoning’)?

      I am really looking forward to seeing your acknowledgement of your motivated reasoning or how you attempt to weasel your way out of the motivated reasoning that you and others have so clearly demonstrated on the sub-thread leading to this: http://judithcurry.com/2013/04/24/congressional-hearing-rescheduled-2/#comment-317277.

      For those who have not followed this display of motivated reasoning by four CAGW doomsayers, I have had a great time sucking them in deeper and deeper, exposing their motivated reasoning and their lack of intellectual integrity. And there’s more to come :).

      It began when Bart R asserted that Lomborg had misled Congress. Ridiculous, it may seem, but that is what Bart R asserted. Then bit by bit more of the regular CAGW doomsayers, joined in to back up Bart R. Joshua is one of them. None of them looked critically at their assertion, they simply believed it and then tried to justify it because it supports what they want to believe. They continually avoided answering the simple question:

      In what way has Lomborg misled Congress. Please be succinct and specific.

      Instead of answering they wrote screeds of irrelevant nonsense, much of it abusive, to try to justify their motivated reasoning. The resident expert in motivated reasoning – Joshua – is one of them.

      I really look forward to reading how they respond to the last comment (see link above). It will be revealing because it will clearly expose the integrity, or the lack of it, in each of the four doomsayers who took part: Bart R, Joshua, Michael and Moron.

      • Peter Lang | April 30, 2013 at 12:17 am |

        Still playing the Repeat a Big Lie Until it Becomes the Truth game?

        I expect you’ll carry on thus for months, so the denizens had best buckle in for a grinding sob story about how hard done by you’ve been at the hands of malicious Bart R.

        The people you blame for coming out against your claims — which is, so far as I’ve seen, everyone who’s voiced an opinion at all — are not known for giving anyone an easy ride. Mosher and I are diametric opposites in so many ways (though I respect his work even where I disagree with it, and he’s more than once said similar things about mine) and say what you will about him, if he’s said he’s spent two or more hours fruitlessly searching for something, then it’s likely he used a stopwatch and logged his methodology, so I don’t doubt it. Which is the opposite of your claim, “None of them looked critically at their assertion, they simply believed it and then tried to justify it because it supports what they want to believe.

        Let’s face it, knocking someone as irritating as I am down for anything like the blatancy you accuse me of would be a far bigger accomplishment than affirming that yet again, Peter Lang is making false charges against someone.. because that’s been done so much more frequently, and is hardly much of an achievement. All it takes is reading what you’ve written about what happened, and comparing it to what actually happened.

        Also, I ought point out, I’m neither a doomsayer nor much interested in CAGW. I believe man-made Forcing is economically detrimental, not that it will trigger the Climapocalypse. Mosher’s certainly not a doomsayer, though he and I differ on details of why, and I think a bit about CAGW and Forcing. I’m afraid I don’t pay attention much to names, so couldn’t tell you what views Joshua, Michael or willard subscribe to.

        This Big Lie thing, one problem with it is you have to keep inventing fresh, more far-fetched, lies to cover up the issues people find as your web unravels. You sure you want to keep going down that tangled path?

      • Bart R,

        Still playing the Repeat a Big Lie Until it Becomes the Truth game?

        No Bart R. That is what you are doing.

        I expect you’ll carry on thus for months

        You bet I will. i am going to really enjoy pointing out your stupidity, gullibility, motivated reasoning and lack of integrity until either you admit you were wrong (dead wrong) until every one knows.

        You say Mosher supported your assertion. I didn’t read it that way, but he can say whether or not he also fell for your stupid and wrong assertion.

        The rest of your comment is the same drivel you posted to avoid answering the direct straight question

        In what way has Lomborg misled Congress? Please be succinct and specific.

        And finally, you revealed you had made a baseless assumption that Lomborg’s statement you based everything was based on Nordhaus’s DICE model. What a joke you are! What a twit. And, importantly, how lacking in integrity, for not being able to admit your errors when they are shown so clearly.

        But I guess it is a common trait in the CAGW doomsayers. That is why it is vitally important that the realists do not accept anything the CAGW doomsayers say without careful and critical examination. It is why the Republicans are dead right to oppose all the Democrat’s proposed mitigation policies until the work has been done to show they are economically rational and have a high probability of producing the proponents claimed results (i.e controlling the climate within the proponents stated tolerances).

      • Bart R,

        Can you please make it clear for me and other readers what is the “Big Lie” you are referring to when you said this?:

        Still playing the Repeat a Big Lie Until it Becomes the Truth game?

        Surely the big lie is your assertion that Lomborg misled Congress, eh?.

        Which was based on your false assumption that you developed based on your motivated reasoning, right?:

        http://judithcurry.com/2013/04/24/congressional-hearing-rescheduled-2/#comment-317356

      • Steven Mosher

        Peter:

        “It began when Bart R asserted that Lomborg had misled Congress. Ridiculous, it may seem, but that is what Bart R asserted.”

        It’s not a ridiculous claim. It has some merit. It’s worth discussing

        Why don’t you just move on and get to the real issue. What bart said was subject to misunderstanding. You misunderstood or he didnt write clearly enough. IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME. BFD. that doesnt make Bart bad or you stupid. What is ridiculous is to continue this fight against Bart when there is a real issue to discuss.

        That real issue is not whether Lomborg represented or misrepresented Nordhaus’s work. It’s not whether nordhaus endorses or criticizes what
        Lomborg did. Forget Lomborg. Forget Nordy. Forget Bart and me and willard and Joshua and make a case for looking at cost/benefit ratios as opposed to net benefits.

        Isnt that the real issue that Bart brought up ? and not who said or implied what.

      • Steven Mosher

        “You say Mosher supported your assertion. I didn’t read it that way, but he can say whether or not he also fell for your stupid and wrong assertion.”

        Huh. you need to learn to read. I read what Bart wrote. It seemed incredible because I thought he meant that Nordy had called out Lomborg by name.. which would be big news. However, I also know bart to be a careful rational man, so I went to look for the truth in what he said. When I found the editorial by Nordy Barts’ meaning was clear.
        And I spared myself the embarassment of accusing a good man of bad things. well worth the effort.

        In academia we often say things like ” Nietzche disagreed with Plato” when in fact the two never met. So it was clear to me that Bart wasnt claiming that Nordy had called Lomborg out by name, but that he was being critical of a particular use of his work. all cleared up. move on.

        Did Bart mislead or did I misunderstand? that’s a pointless question. I dont agree with everything that Bart says, but I’ve found him to be an honest partner in dialogue and debate, so I’m an apathist when it comes to the question about “mis lead or mis understand?”. He apologized and I probably should have trusted him. If you want to continue your diatribe against him, you’re free to do so, but you’ll miss out on the good he has to offer.

      • > I expect you’ll carry on thus for months [...]

        I would not bet on this.

        Tar Baby will soon realize that he should find another one to tar.

      • > I’m afraid I don’t pay attention much to names, so couldn’t tell you what views Joshua, Michael or willard subscribe to.

        1. Today is Tuesday.

        2. Billions of people will need more energy to lift themselves out of abject poverty.

        3. Burning coal, oil, and gas produces CO2.

        4. CO2 emits heat (please don’t fall into this trap).

        5. Heats warms things up.

        6. We need decent quality of life for billions of people, and energy to provide wealth and well-being. Only mixed economies have been known to mankind to bring this about, and these include marked-based solutions.

        7. We’re not talking about any coming soon election right now. We’re talking about a problem of a scale never encountered in our history as far as we know it. Will you stand up and offer solutions, or are you willing to be played by gaming theorists like Tar Baby?

        8. The world needs you, Denizens, to be engaged. If you want to maintain people in the abject poverty that even Americans are now beginning to have a taste, please continue what you are doing.

        Go Team Denizens!

        Thank you.

        w

        See also http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/24619490642

      • Steven Mosher

        for willard.

        sadly his first device didnt work.

        ironically folks are spending 17Billion on ITER, which will produce no electricity.

      • Willard

        Who is the “we” you are referencing?

      • willard (@nevaudit) | April 30, 2013 at 12:55 pm |

        I cannot agree that CO2 “emits heat”.

        I believe it is more correct to say that CO2 re-emits heat it absorbs.

      • Am I referencing to a “we”?
        By “we”, I mean us.

        Among other things and people, I am referring to Denizens.
        Go Team!

        To make sure I am referring to us, to we, we might need to ask Scott Denning:

      • In other news:

        This is a small modular reactor. So it’s not as big as the reactor you see in the diagram here. This is between 50 and 100 megawatts. But that’s a ton of power. That’s between, say at an average use, that’s maybe 25,000 to 100,000 homes could run off that. Now the really interesting thing about these reactors is they’re built in a factory. So they’re modular reactors that are built essentially on an assembly line, and they’re trucked anywhere in the world, you plop them down, and they produce electricity. This region right here is the reactor.

        [...]

        But let’s go back to safety, because everybody after Fukushima had to reassess the safety of nuclear, and one of the things when I set out to design a power reactor was it had to be passively and intrinsically safe, and I’m really excited about this reactor for essentially two reasons. One, it doesn’t operate at high pressure. So traditional reactors like a pressurized water reactor or boiling water reactor, they’re very, very hot water at very high pressures, and this means, essentially, in the event of an accident, if you had any kind of breach of this stainless steel pressure vessel, the coolant would leave the core. These reactors operate at essentially atmospheric pressure, so there’s no inclination for the fission products to leave the reactor in the event of an accident. Also, they operate at high temperatures, and the fuel is molten, so they can’t melt down, but in the event that the reactor ever went out of tolerances, or you lost off-site power in the case of something like Fukushima, there’s a dump tank. Because your fuel is liquid, and it’s combined with your coolant, you could actually just drain the core into what’s called a sub-critical setting, basically a tank underneath the reactor that has some neutrons absorbers. And this is really important, because the reaction stops. In this kind of reactor, you can’t do that. The fuel, like I said, is ceramic inside zirconium fuel rods, and in the event of an accident in one of these type of reactors, Fukushima and Three Mile Island — looking back at Three Mile Island, we didn’t really see this for a while — but these zirconium claddings on these fuel rods, what happens is, when they see high pressure water, steam, in an oxidizing environment, they’ll actually produce hydrogen, and that hydrogen has this explosive capability to release fission products. So the core of this reactor, since it’s not under pressure and it doesn’t have this chemical reactivity, means that there’s no inclination for the fission products to leave this reactor. So even in the event of an accident, yeah, the reactor may be toast, which is, you know, sorry for the power company, but we’re not going to contaminate large quantities of land. So I really think that in the, say, 20 years it’s going to take us to get fusion and make fusion a reality, this could be the source of energy that provides carbon-free electricity. Carbon-free electricity.

      • RickA,

        You know, I was thinking about you when I wrote my parenthesis.
        I hope you remember why. Hint: you fell for it at Keith’s a while ago,

        ***

        Searching back for that conversation (Keith’s move renders that more difficult), I stumbled upon this promise:

        > Next time I’ll write Denning’s list, I’ll write: [...] CO2 act as a thermal inhibitor, preventing absorbed solar radiation from being reradiated into space as black body radiation in the form of what is vulgarly known as “heat”.

        http://judithcurry.com/2012/07/30/observation-based-attribution/#comment-224253

        Seems that I preferred to add a parenthesis instead.
        Oh, by the way, do you believe that France is hexagonal?

        As PDA and Web said:
        Illegitimi non carborundum.

        Many thanks!

      • Willard:

        Yes – that phrasing would be more accurate.

      • Thanks, RickA.

        Now, what would be more precise way to say:

        > Today is Tuesday?

      • RickA,

        Found it:

        > CO2 does not “emit” heat. Sorry, I cannot agree with that, as phrased.CO2 absorbs radiation and re-emits radiation at a different wavelength – which is very different than emitting “heat”.CO2 atoms are not like little campfires, generating heat as fuel is burned.

        http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2012/06/05/conservatives-who-think-seriously-about-the-planet/comment-page-4/#comment-790634813

        Seems that Tar Baby was already at Keith’s too.

      • Today is Tuesday to the west of approximately 45 degrees east longitude?

      • Joshua,

        You’re right: “Tuesday” is not very crisp.

        There’s also “Today”, which is an indexical:

        > Indexicals are linguistic expressions whose reference shifts from context to context: some paradigm examples are ‘I’, ‘here’, ‘now’, ‘today’,‘he’, ‘she’, and ‘that’. Two speakers who utter a single sentence that contains an indexical may say different things. For instance, Fred and Wilma say different things when they utter the sentence ‘I am female’. Many philosophers (following David Kaplan 1989a) hold that indexicals have two sorts of meaning. The first sort of meaning is often called ‘character’ or ‘linguistic meaning’; the second sort is often called ‘content’. Using this terminology, we can say that the word ‘I’ has a single character (or linguistic meaning), but has different contents in different contexts.

        http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/indexicals/

        ***

        Also, what does it mean that today is tuesday?
        H/T Bill Clinton, pace Hintikka, Frege, Aristotle, etc.

        ***

        Lots of uncertainties.

      • Bart R
        @ April 30, 2013 at 12:48 am

        Peter Lang is making false charges against someone.

        So you are still trying to deny you are totally wrong asserting Lomborg misled Congress, that he misrepresented Nordhaus and DICE? Are you trying to avoid admitting your are wrong? I haven’t made any false charges, that is what you did when you asserted Lomborg had misled Congress.

      • Steven Mosher

        Willard

        “In other news:

        This is a small modular reactor. So it’s not as big as the reactor you see in the diagram here. This is between 50 and 100 megawatts. But that’s a ton of power. That’s between, say at an average use, that’s maybe 25,000 to 100,000 homes could run off that. Now the really interesting thing about these reactors is they’re built in a factory. ”

        Not an optimal solution for the developing world. Overlooking his failure to credit the folks who actually pioneered these types of designs, I’d point out as Norcera has argued, that you simply cannot generate cost savings by taking a big thing and trying to make it smaller because of balance of systems.. In this case the rest of the system is the grid infrastructure. This is a hard lesson to learn but once you’ve seen how it never works to try to scale down a big system, you’ll get what Norcera’s manufacturing point is. Making it “in a factory” is not the important thing. Airplanes are “made in factories” our bay bridge going up is “made in a factory” the key is design for weight. It is quite remarkable and something I learned building planes that you can very easily estimate cost by estimating weight. This works for everything except chips and drugs. Put another way, they reactors might work just fine for developed countries that already have a grid ( what the grid weigh ) but for developing countries that have no grid, personalized energy.

        its all about freedom you see.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      It is just what you impetuously said springer – and you keep popping up with worthless, overbearing and pompous comments laced with ill-considered redneck gunk. You have a problem with not cyberstalking me. Why do you have a compulsion to cyberstalk me springer? I most often just pass on your comments – worthless science free nonsense if not just pathetic snark – but you just keep popping up after my handle with the same pathetic attempts at insults over and over again. Just stop being such a ponce – it is simple.

      You should get some serious professional help – not just a therapist once a week but a team of doctors in Vienna working round the clock on just you.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Ah – wrong place – oh well – it can hardly detract from the tone of the joint.

  60. Shorter Peter = “I am experiencing butthurt.”

    • Does that a sign that you do not have the integrity to admit your own ‘Motivated Reasoning’ but are happy to keep criticising those who do not accept your CAGW doomsayer beliefs?

      If so it is a classic example of why the doomsayers cannot be trusted.

      • Peter –

        Once gain, show any evidence – one quote,one excerpt, that supports your repeated claim that I am a doomsayer.

        You will earn a measure of my respect if you do so. You are capable of supporting your assertion, are you not?

      • Joshua, Still dodging and weaving, eh? No integrity whatsoever. Trying to avoid acknowledging your error, the v esry clear demonstration of your motivated reasoning and the extent of it.

        You really are a flake, aren’t you? Nothing of substanc e to offer. No integrity. Continually accusing others of motivated reasoning and other accusations, when you are the absolute expert at it. You contribute nothing of relevance but continual abuse. And when your hipocrisy is revealed so clearly, as it was here: http://judithcurry.com/2013/04/24/congressional-hearing-rescheduled-2/#comment-317277 you don’t have the integrity to admit it, do you? Instead, you just try to weasel out of it. That is common with the doomsayers (of which you are one – as demonstrated by your continual attacking the realists and siding with the doomsayers, as you did with Bart R’s assertion that Lomborg had misled Congress).

      • Willard, I think you and Peter should just sit down and enjoy a nice, crisp, refreshing Coca Cola. :)

      • When he’ll act as a human being, sure.

    • Steven Mosher

      the crazy thing is that peter could just admit his mistake and nobody would give a rats ass.. well you , Joshua, might demand a complete confession and psychological profile.. but the rest of us would just shrug and move on to better fights..

      • Steven Mosher,

        the crazy thing is that peter could just admit his mistake and nobody would give a rats ass..

        What is the mistake you reckon I have made? Can you state it clearly and concisely so I can understand (and without pejorative component or flaming). Because I genuinely do not think I have made any mistake. i am sure I am correct and it is you and the experts in motivated reasoning Bart R, Joshua, Michael and Moron, who have made the mistake, and it is an excellent example of their motivated reasoning.

        If I believe I have made a mistake, I will retract. So please make the case, but very concisely, not with a long pile of inuendo and abuse. I just skim or completely ignore such comments.

      • Steven Mosher

        “If I believe I have made a mistake, I will retract. So please make the case, but very concisely, not with a long pile of inuendo and abuse. I just skim or completely ignore such comments.”

        I believe the mistake you made was interpreting what Bart wrote.
        You interpreted his statements to mean that Nordy had explicitly named Lomborg as someone who mis used his data.

        And it was an honest mistake given the ambiguity of his statement.
        He’s acknowledged that such a reading was plausible and not what he intended.

        It would be best to move on to the issue of net benefits versus cost benefit ratios.

    • Steven Mosher

      Sorry Joshua, I did not mean to make that last comment about you.
      knee jerk writing

    • Joshua,

      Once gain, show any evidence – one quote,one excerpt, that supports your repeated claim that I am a doomsayer.</blockquote.

      Sure. You continually chime in to support the comments by the doomsayers (e.g. WHT, Bart R, Michael, Willard (Moron), Max_OK) and continually chime in with pejorative comments and criticisms aimed at the rationalists.

      QED!

  61. Joshua says: “But the evidence we can easily find shows that most “skeptics” are ideologically associated with groups who are inclined to distrust climate science, and as such, as a group climate “skepticism” can be predicted by the process of motivated reasoning (which speaks to the selectivity in how we all filter evidence so as to confirm biases).”
    _________

    True. It’s hard for a group to accept what they don’t want to believe. The “skeptics” don’t want to believe AGW will be a problem because they don’t like the solutions.

    Anti-government ideologues are a group that opposes government regulations in general, so it’s no surprise they resist the solution of government regulating carbon emissions. If the market were the solution, I doubt many anti-government ideologues would be against it.

    I’m not saying all “skeptics” are anti-government, but a lot of those who show up here seem to be.

    • Of course not all. Such a statement would be a product of “skepticism” as opposed to skepticism.

      There is certainly evidence of a commonality w/r/t views on government among “skeptics” more generally, and not just those who show up here. But the term “anti-government” is, I’d say, problematically ill-defined. It’s the sort of labeling ‘oft applied by “skeptics.”

      • Not anti-government to the extent they want no government at all. Not anarchists. But I think they oppose government regulations having to do with the economy, the market, the environment, or anything they see as restricting their freedoms. There’s lots of talk here about fear of government taking away freedoms. I don’t understand the fear. I can’t empathize. I haven’t lost any freedoms, and I don’t fear losing any.

      • Libertarians, raise your invisible hand.

      • Steven Mosher

        MaxOK

        here’s a recent hot button in the heart of libertarian land ,, the OC

        http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/orange_county&id=9083004

        1. Wealthy homeowners bought houses with public beaches in front of them.
        2. Those public beaches had fire pits used by the public for decades.
        3. The home owners didnt like the public exercising their right to roast marshmellos. They went to the city.. No luck. They went to the coastal commission who called bonfires an irreplaceable part of our heritage.. no luck.. Finally the AQMB said they would move to ban bon fires on beaches. Next up, camp fires in state parks.

        I know you cannot empathize. There are ways to learn empathy.
        One way would be to list the things you enjoy most in life. I’ll take it from there. Or you could acknowledge that other folks dont share your fear of future climate disasters. I have little doubt that 2100 will bring us 2C of warming and absolutely zero fear about the pain and suffering this will cause. I cannot empathize.

      • Marlowe Johnson

        “and absolutely zero fear about the pain and suffering this will cause.”

        because you’ll be long gone or because you think we’ll all have moved to mars by then?

      • Steven Mosher

        because you’ll be long gone or because you think we’ll all have moved to mars by then?

        no, because pain and suffering are nothing to fear. duh

      • Now Mosher, that was mean. They can’t deal with reality.

      • @Steven Mosher…

        here’s a recent hot button in the heart of libertarian land ,, the OC

        And here’s what seems like a Libertarian take on the issue:

        It’s the Pits

        Putting down “ the beach property owners in Newport Beach, backed by their Republican Mayor,” and “[t]he socialist environannies at the South Coast Air Quality Management District “.

        Huntington Beach clearly got blind-sided by their neighbor city, and the street’s saying the real reason behind the attempted ban are a handful of wealthy NBers who want the grimier, mostly human “element” the fire pits draw off their beach. The smoke in the wind argument hasn’t been proven by the AQMD, and according to Epting, they haven’t even done any testing. [my bold]

        According to a later story:

        Red and blue politicians show up in H.B. to support the fire rings

        I can’t recall the last time we saw so many of Orange County’s Democratic and Republican elected officials working together to advance the same cause. But that is exactly what happened today as State Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) held a community rally today in Surf City to support the fire rings that AQMD Chairman William Burke and a bunch of NIMBY’s in Newport Beach are threatening.

        Interesting that it’s the libertarians and some liberals and conservatives (in HB), against some Republican elitist homeowners (in NB) and the “socialist environannies“. Local issues can split parties right down the middle, can’t they?

        The issue of record, the safety of wood smoke under a stationary inversion, is one of a class of issue that most (knee-jerk) libertarians have a hard time with: when advancing science brings an issue once considered a matter of personal choice into a class more analogous to Lateral and subjacent support, “ the right a landowner has to have that land physically supported in its natural state by both adjoining land and underground structures.“. Unlike the latter, which has tradition and everyday understanding behind it, questions like the safety of wood-smoke, or even 2nd-hand tobacco smoke, have answers that change as science advances.

        It’s not a simple issue, since traditional “rights” have to be abrogated when science determines that their exercise actually causes damage to other people. This especially when the supposed “science” appears to have been driven by bureaucratic cronyism, and may not even have been done. This is an excellent example of why libertarians in general are opposed to governments, especially government bureaucracy: they’re too open to corruption.

      • Marlowe Johnson

        speak for yourself mosh. oh and hawaii got it right when they made beaches public.

      • Max,

        In many places you cannot enjoy a fire in your fireplace if the city or county declares you can’t.

        In some places you are required to spend your money on buying and installing carbon monoxide detectors, regardless of whether you know not to cook or heat indoors with your charcoal grill or vent the exhaust of a portable generator into your home.

        In some places you have to pay for the cost of adding chemicals to your water supply because it is too pure. The reason – you are not considered smart enough to a) know whether you have lead or lead soldered plumbing and b) too stupid to follow the simple expedient of allowing the water to run for a few seconds.

        In many places in the western US you can no longer engage in recreational activities on public land.

        The list of things which you can either no longer do or for which you have to pay for with no return benefit is large.

      • Well, I told how I felt about libertarians, punched the “post comment, and what I wrote disappeared. In retrospect, it’s just as well. I said some very unkind things.

        Libertarianism would work just fine if everyone was a nice guy and followed the golden rule. Probably even communism would work if everyone was that good.

        But the world has a lot of selfish self-centered egotistical jerks who are so wrapped up in themselves that they never consider how their behavior (exercising their freedoms) affects other people. Not that they would care. Libertarianism is a magnet for these jerks.

      • timg56 said on April 30, 2013 at 4:37 pm

        Max,

        In many places you cannot enjoy a fire in your fireplace if the city or county declares you can’t.
        _____

        I wish it was that way where I live. Smoke from my neighbor’s fireplace drifts into my house. I don’t like their damned smoke. What’s their stinking smoke doing in my house?

        Of course, they may be libertarians just exercising one of their freedoms, the freedom to be a nuisance.

      • David Springer

        re; Huntington Beach fire rings.

        I have many fond memories of evenings spent around fires on Huntington Beach! It’s where in the 1970’s I most often used my home-built portable laser. People around a fire would see a little red dot dancing about on them and think it was a hot coal then flail about trying to get it off before it burned them. Great fun. My first laser was a huge affair using a 12 inch-long glass tube lasing element and a huge NiCad battery from a portable video tape recorder to power it. Several years later when solid state lasers became cheap and widely available I put one inside an empty cigarette pack powered by two AAA cell batteries. That was over 25 years ago. It still works and still has the original AAA batteries in it. Hard to believe the batteries lasted that long. It has a lot of time on it although most of that time is cats and dogs chasing a red dot around the house and up the walls.

      • Max,

        Close your windows.

        Should keep the smoke out.

      • k scott denison

        Max_OK (whom I will once again point out prefers to be anonymous) says:

        “I wish it was that way where I live. Smoke from my neighbor’s fireplace drifts into my house. I don’t like their damned smoke. What’s their stinking smoke doing in my house?”

        Have you considered, Max, that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness isn’t all about you? That one of the prices of freedom is that you dont always get what you want, get to be the center of attention? Or that truly free people talk to each other about what they don’t like in order to show respect for the other’s freedom as well as asking for respect of theirs?

        To really respect and stand firm for the freedoms and rights that we enjoy in the US is to also stand up for the rights of the other guy to sometimes do things we don’t like!

      • Steven Mosher

        “Marlowe Johnson | April 30, 2013 at 3:32 pm
        speak for yourself mosh. oh and hawaii got it right when they made beaches public.”

        Marlowe. the beaches in question ARE PUBLIC. Basically, you have public beaches which have been enjoyed for decades by the public.
        Now, along come some new fat cats who buy houses only to discover that the public like to use the public beach to do what the public have done for decades: build bonfires and party on public property.

        So, they complain to the coastal commision who govern all things beach in california. And the coastal commission found that the public use of the beach trumps the land owners concerns. Not satisfied the fat cats head to the AQMD.

        Dont miss the point of this discussion

        Max said he didnt fear freedoms being lost and didnt understand what folks were talking about.

        I supply a sample.

        This ISNT about the merits of this particular case. This addresses MaxOk lack of understanding.

        His argument was ‘ what freedoms being lost? I dont have that fear”

        I also supply a parody of that argument

      • Steven Mosher

        “I wish it was that way where I live. Smoke from my neighbor’s fireplace drifts into my house. I don’t like their damned smoke. What’s their stinking smoke doing in my house?”

        1. It is smoke from fires on public property, not your neighbors house.
        2. You said you didnt understand the loss of freedom, But note the following:

        A) you would like to be free from smoke
        B) they would like to be free to burn wood on public property.

        So, you DO understand the loss of freedom, as evidenced from your statement that you would like your house to be free of smoke, that you would like to be free to enjoy your house, and free from smoke from public lands. This means you need to adjust your prior statement that you
        didnt understand the loss of freedom or have any fear of the loss of freedom.

        playing dumb to the concerns of others, rather than addressing them, doesnt work, as you are easily smoked out

      • David Springer

        Bird’s eye view of the fire rings in Huntington Beach that I used to use in the 1970’s and 1980’s. My wife was born and raised nearby.

        http://www.google.com/mapmaker?ll=33.64551,-117.98471&spn=0.002086,0.004581&t=h&z=18&q=Huntington+Beach,+CA&utm_source=mapseditbutton_normal&gw=30&lyt=large_map

        Houses are on the other side of PCH and a big parking lot. There’s a fee to use the parking lot. You can’t walk across PCH just anywhere only at designated crossings so the homes don’t have like beach goers near them nor I think within earshot, smoke-smelling distance, or even a short walk.

        I should think it’s somewhere else the complaints are about because those houses aren’t in Newport Beach. I have no idea how houses in Newport Beach could be fronted by Huntington Beach in any case. Something doesn’t sound right.

      • @David Springer…

        I have no idea how houses in Newport Beach could be fronted by Huntington Beach in any case. Something doesn’t sound right.

        If I understand the stories correctly, when the folks in NB couldn’t stop people on “their” beaches from building fires they went to a state (or Fed) board who’s looking to ban fires everywhere. Perhaps without actually doing a scientific study.

        For what it’s worth, I grew up in Corona (not Del Mar) which is right up the Santa Ana Canyon from OC, and IIRC in the ’60’s you couldn’t do open burning without a permit, which wouldn’t be granted if a stationary inversion was present or forecast. There also had to be proof of adequate fire protection, if it was a big one a fire truck had to be present, for which a fee had to be paid. Looks like regulatory stupidity increases with increasing level of bureaucracy.

      • David Springer

        AK | May 1, 2013 at 6:21 pm |

        “If I understand the stories correctly, when the folks in NB couldn’t stop people on “their” beaches from building fires they went to a state (or Fed) board who’s looking to ban fires everywhere. Perhaps without actually doing a scientific study.”

        Understood. Thanks.

        “For what it’s worth, I grew up in Corona (not Del Mar) which is right up the Santa Ana Canyon from OC, and IIRC in the ’60′s you couldn’t do open burning without a permit, which wouldn’t be granted if a stationary inversion was present or forecast. There also had to be proof of adequate fire protection, if it was a big one a fire truck had to be present, for which a fee had to be paid. Looks like regulatory stupidity increases with increasing level of bureaucracy.”

        Small world. I bought my first house in Corona, CA in 1983. On the corner of Cortez and Buena Vista just a stone’s throw from the edge of the Cleaveland National Forest. Lived there for several years until the commute into OC on the 91 freeway became intolerable. I then rented out the house in Corona and rented a condo in Irvine close to where I worked. In 1993 I moved to Texas to go to work for Dell. Part of the job offer to move to Texas was paying all costs and commissions associated with selling the house in Corona. Best move I ever made.

      • David Springer

        AK | May 1, 2013 at 6:21 pm |

        About the outdoor burning restrictions in Corona. Never heard of it but never did it either. I had an indoor fireplace like most homes but never used that either. Smog was a big concern of course especially back in the 60’s and 70’s and in general the LA basin can easily trap and hold emissions when conditions are favorable. I took flying lessons out of Corona Municipal Airport. Very often the smog was so heavy at anything over 1500′ AGL you couldn’t see chit below you except for brown haze. Common practice for VFR in small planes was to fly at about 1200′ AGL and navigate by following freeways which you could barely make out directly beneath you. My instructor used to joke about it saying that in southern California IFR didn’t stand for “Instrument Flight Rules” but rather “I Fly Roads”. After you got out over the desert or mountains or coastline you could climb up to a few thousand feet AGL and see far enough to navigate by major land features. Flying the coastline was cool and visibility was generally good at least close to the beach. Catalina Island has a small runway that was popular.

      • @David Springer…

        Best move I ever made.

        California’s a good place to be from. (Sorry for the long delay, I’ve been swamped.)

    • Chief Hydrologist

      ‘There is no reason why in a society which has reached the general level of wealth which ours has attained the first kind of security should not be guaranteed to all without endangering general freedom…there can be no doubt that some minimum of food, shelter, and clothing, sufficient to preserve health and the capacity to work, can be assured to everybody…Nor is there any reason why the state should not assist the individuals in providing for those common hazards of life against which, because of their uncertainty, few individuals can make adequate provision. Where, as in the case of sickness and accident, neither the desire to avoid such calamities nor the efforts to overcome their consequences are as a rule weakened by the provision of the assistance – where, in short, we deal with genuinely insurable risks – the case for the state’s helping to organize a comprehensive system of social insurance is very strong….To the same category belongs also the increase of security through the state’s rendering assistance to the victims of such “acts of God” as earthquakes and floods. Whenever communal action can mitigate disasters against which the individual can neither attempt to guard himself or make provision for the consequences, such communal action should undoubtedly be taken….There is, finally, the supremely important problem of combating general fluctuations of economic activity and the recurrent waves of large-scale unemployment which accompany them…’ F A Hayek

      There is no hard and fast line to draw on the role of government. Economists suggest at most 30% of GDP is most productive. Other than that the line is drawn in the messy workings of democracy.

      The straw man arguments from the 15 year old continue. You will find that there is an opposition to taxes or caps on carbon. I think that is quite sensible for any number of reasons – primarily that it is utterly and unmistakably destined to continued failure.

      There are many interventions in the market that are justifiable but I will refer the adolescent to any reputable text on economics rather than reiterate them here.

      The question of freedom remains fundamental to the defence of a free society. ‘“We must make the building of a free society once more an intellectual adventure, a deed of courage…. Unless we can make the philosophic foundations of a free society once more a living intellectual issue, and its implementation a task which challenges the ingenuity and imagination of our liveliest minds, the prospects of freedom are indeed dark. But if we can regain that belief in the power of ideas which was the mark of liberalism at its best, the battle is not lost.” again Hayek

      While the recent challenges to freedom in Australia have been laughably incompetent – there is still a duty to reflect on freedom in society and defend it if we must. Where pissant progressives most egregious intellectual failures occur is in the inability to value freedom at all highly enough. Losing freedoms to opportunists is the way it happens – Venezuela is a case in point with their latest rigged elections.

    • I don’t think my father’s buddies bled to death, or were maimed for life, or killed outright on Green Beach, Iwo Jima so that beach bums could do drunken/substance-assisted bonfires on Huntington Beach.

      • David Springer

        Interesting about Iwo Jima reference. I was in the Marine Corps stationed about 10 miles from Huntington Beach and rented an apartment even closer than that from 1975 to 1978. I don’t know about Iwo Jima Marines but I have personal knowledge of a buttload of El Toro and Camp Pendelton Marines who had many a drug-assisted drunken bonfire party on beaches near the bases. Many of them had done tours in Vietnam and that’s where they picked up their drug habits.

      • They had so many drunken forays of various kinds many California cities banned Marines from the civilized sections of their towns. It got so bad that some think they moved the 5th MARDIV moved from Camp Pendleton to Camp Tarawa in Hawaii so they could sober up and train for Island X.

        I doubt the Marine Corps changed a great deal between WW2 and Vietnam. There were significant changes after Vietnam.

      • David Springer

        The significant changes mostly have to do with becoming an all-volunteer force starting in 1972 when the last draftee was inducted. I enlisted in November 1974 when I was still 17 years old to get in on the very generous GI Bill before it was abolished. By then there were no draftees left as compulsory time in service (24 months) had expired and they would have had to voluntarily re-enlist to still be there.

      • David Springer

        PS “many California towns banned Marines”

        Highly doubtful. That’s unconstitutional and they’d get their municipal asses sued into bankruptcy so fast it would make their heads spin. Private establishments with limited membership can get away with it but municipalities cannot.

    • timg56 said on May 1, 2013 at 12:44 pm
      Max,

      Close your windows.

      Should keep the smoke out.
      ______

      Of course, that’s what we have to do. But we don’t like keeping our windows shut. We like fresh air, especially when we are sleeping. So when we have to close the windows because of the odor from a neighbor’s fire place, we have trouble getting to sleep.

      Would the libertarian position be (a) the neighbors aren’t breaking any law and the freedom to use a fireplace is guaranteed in the constitution, or (b) the inside of our house is our space, and our neighbor has no right under the Constitution to invade our house with the fumes from his fire place and deprive us of the right to enjoy our home ?

      • This is one of those areas where I disagree with people I respect.

        (Which is actually the same as every area.)

        Bonfires on beaches, where the smoke blows into no houses, takes away the issue of children with asthma or anyone with emphazema or lung cancer or pneumonia or cystic fibrosis in the path of the smoke. Those cases, by the way, I imagine to be clear and sufficient reasons to bar even the most libertarian rugged individualist from callously killing a stranger so they can party in the sand.

        Bonfires on beaches, in a world where the smoke wasn’t joining the smog of a city with the population of most countries, so polluted you can look at the sun at noon without fear of damaging your eyes, and the sky is orange from dawn to dusk, and the air is brown if you escape it and look back in disgust, that would be without the issue of being part of a hazard and a pity, where the population must balance what rights it holds more sacred because it can’t have both liberty to burn and liberty to breath.

        Bonfires on beaches in California, even half a mile apart, would vie in number with the population of Switzerland. Swiss beaches on the Pacific coast, though I’m sure must be as beautiful as unicorns, do not compare to California beaches and there’s no way people who have never seen the one ought compare them to the other or think they’re equipped to opine intelligently about them.

        And if every Californian pissed on his neighbor’s strawberries, the NOx emitted would choke Switzerland.

      • @Max_OK…

        Would the libertarian position be (a) the neighbors aren’t breaking any law and the freedom to use a fireplace is guaranteed in the constitution, or (b) the inside of our house is our space, and our neighbor has no right under the Constitution to invade our house with the fumes from his fire place and deprive us of the right to enjoy our home ?

        AFAIK, neither, although libertarians hardly agree on such things. The classic position would be that the neighbors have a perfect right to use their fireplace, as long as the smoke doesn’t cross the property boundaries where it can enter your house.

        Not quite as ridiculous as it seems, since superheating the smoke and surrounding it with a shell of heated clean air could probably assure that it rose to well above the inversion, or into the mid altitudes.

        However, the sort of solutions libertarians usually (in my experience) talk about involves the original partitioning of the land, and setting of such “rules of the road” into the deed. Thus, in some developments/subdivisions, it might be OK to burn (wood) in your fireplace whenever you want, while in others its isn’t unless it’s blowing into neighbor space where they’ve given permission. Perhaps for a fee. In many existing subdivisions, the decision is primarily up to some sort of “neighborhood association”.

        My own studies in anthropology and historical societies suggest (to me) that such rules usually exist as social or cultural tradition. The key problems arise when societies change, or one takes over another. Then conflicts of rules arise that must be resolved. The resolution process is determined by the imperial polity, according to its rules of allocating power over such things.

        The fundamental ideal of libertarianism is that each individual must be allowed to do whatever he/she wants, except for when it violates another individual’s “rights”. Despite a variety of objections raised by libertarians and America boosters, the definition of “rights” is a cultural artifact, in my informed opinion. But cultures change, and older and newer systems can and often do come into conflict.

        In addition, only individuals have fundamental rights. Group, collective, or corporate entities only have what they inherit from some individuals, according the the rules of society and their own charters or whatever. This is a key distinction from socialism or communitarianism, where the community or collective itself is held to have fundamental “rights” beyond what it inherits from its individual members.
        A final point I need to make, another often missed by libertarians and many others, is that the distinctions between socialism, capitalism, democracy, oligarchy, and monarchy tend to become much more evident as a community grows from a few hundred (small village) to thousands, myriads, and millions. A small community can be both democratic, in the sense that each member gets a “vote”, and oligarchic in the sense that most of the votes are cast according to the recommendations of important patrons. Similarly, “capital” can be individually owned and invested according to the individual’s choice, while fitting in to an overall community plan. It’s as the community grows larger that differences will grow faster (IMO), and a distinction between oligarchic and democratic processes, capitalist and socialist systems of allocating capital investment, will become unavoidable.

      • Re the post by AK on May 1, 2013 at 10:36 pm

        AK, thank you very much. I appreciate your response to my question.

        I frequently bash libertarians, but I will confess to having some libertarian tendencies. For example, I believe prostitution and polygamy should be legal.

        But anyway, what troubles me most about libertarianism is it’s fundamental ideal. As you said, the fundamental ideal of libertarianism is that each individual must be allowed to do whatever he/she wants, except for when it violates another individual’s “rights.”

        The libertarians I have known did seemed to think that they should be able to do whatever that liked as long as it didn’t violate my rights. The problem was they also seemed to think they knew my rights but I didn’t.

    • Steven Mosher said on May 1, 2013 at 1:49 pm

      “So, you DO understand the loss of freedom, as evidenced from your statement that you would like your house to be free of smoke, that you would like to be free to enjoy your house, and free from smoke from public lands. This means you need to adjust your prior statement that you
      didnt understand the loss of freedom or have any fear of the loss of freedom.

      playing dumb to the concerns of others, rather than addressing them, doesnt work, as you are easily smoked out”
      _____

      Mosher, you have smoked yourself out as a careless reader of what I wrote. Please read my words carefully.

      Here’s what I said: “There’s lots of talk here about fear of government taking away freedoms. I don’t understand the fear. I can’t empathize. I haven’t lost any freedoms, and I don’t fear losing any.”

      The government didn’t take away my freedom to have a house free of fumes from my neighbor’s fireplace. There is no law about fireplaces where I live, so I suppose you could say the absence of a fireplace regulation takes away my freedom. But what I hear all the time here at Climate Etc is talk about the government passing laws to take away freedoms, not passing laws to assure freedoms.

      If there were a fireplace regulation, I wouldn’t live in fear it would be repealed and I would loose my freedom to have a fume-free house. So when people piss and moan all the time about the possibility of loosing freedoms, and seem obsessed with the fear of losing freedoms, no, I do not understand them and I do not empathize with them, and that’s because I do not share their concerns. On the contrary, I think there’s something wrong with them.

      • Steven Mosher

        “Here’s what I said: “There’s lots of talk here about fear of government taking away freedoms. I don’t understand the fear. I can’t empathize. I haven’t lost any freedoms, and I don’t fear losing any.”

        So you have no fear of losing your freedom to enjoy a planet without global warming. I get that. And you have no fear that by in action governments will take away your freedom to enjoy and pass on a world free from pollution and poisened water, a world free from more extreme weather. I get that. Sorry. You are right.

      • Mosher says: “So you have no fear of losing your freedom to enjoy a planet without global warming. I get that.”

        Max_OK replies: Right. I won’t live that long.

        Mosher says: “And you have no fear that by inaction governments will take away your freedom to enjoy and pass on a world free from pollution and poisened water, a world free from more extreme weather. I get that.

        Max_OK replies: I’m optimistic about the government doing the right thing. While I’m not certain the government will, my uncertainty gives me cause for concern rather than fear.

        But there are plenty of other things for me to fear. Here’s a list of what I fear most:

        1. A slow and painful death.
        2. A fast and easy death.
        3. A slow and painful death for loved ones.
        4. A fast and easy death for loved ones.
        5. Being so sick I wish I were dead.
        6. Loved ones being so sick they wish they were dead.
        7. Everyone who knew me dying, and me no longer existing as a living person in anyone’s mind.
        8. Leaving no legacy.
        9. Going to hell if there is a hell.
        10. Being reincarnated as something disgusting.

      • Max_OK seems to think too much about death. It happens and there’s no point worrying about how quickly or slowly it happens. Its like going to the loo really, go with the flow and enjoy the journey.

      • Max, OK, kick it;
        Parbati’s little cricket.
        Where is best hidden?
        =========

      • Parvati? Yes indeed!

      • Chirp.
        ===

  62. HOLY COW, the U.S. government is buying ammo for a war against Americans. Well, that’s gratitude for you. Elect politicians, and they repay you with hot lead. Whatever happened to politicians who were satisfied with graft and fornication?

    http://www.infowars.com/homeland-security-buys-enough-ammo-for-a-7-year-war-against-the-american-people/

    But maybe that’s just a crazy conspiracy theory, and the government is simply trying to buy up all the ammo so there won’t be any left for gun owners. Oklahoma’s Sen. Inhofe thinks so, and he wants a bill to stop the government from buying up all the ammo.

    On the other hand, maybe that’s yet another wacky conspiracy theory.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Again – there is no ‘global warming’ conspiracy – just groupthink and cognitive dissonance. I know you are only15 – but do try to keep up.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      I wonder if someone could publish a paper that says proponents of global warming are conspiracy theorists. I bet we could find plenty of evidence.

    • David Springer

      No problem. It’s warehoused in conveniently breached locations. It’s not like they’re storing it all in Fort Knox fercrisakes. The big worry for federal government thugs isn’t so much the citizenry at any rate. It’s the uniform military forces they would have to defeat. Those forces are staunchly conservative, sworn to defend the constitution not the civilian government, they take their oaths very very seriously, and they control the vast majority of both large and small weapon systems.

      • David Springer

        Yeah, so what’s your hypothesis of why Homeland Security needs 1.6 billion rounds of small arms ammo? Either they think they’ll need it or they’re buying it to make it a scarce expensive commodity that regular citizens can’t afford to stockpile.

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/ralphbenko/2013/03/11/1-6-billion-rounds-of-ammo-for-homeland-security-its-time-for-a-national-conversation/

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Did my response to you get deleted David Springer? You seem to be responding to it, but I don’t see it anymore. I hope it just didn’t get through for some reason. If it got deleted and the multitude of comments on this page with blatant name-calling didn’t, I’m going to be very confused. My comment didn’t even break the site’s rules.

        Anyway, thanks JCH. Your link is the first I’ve seen posted that has anything resembling a reasonable analysis. It’s entertaining to see it is from Breitbart.com. A notable right-wing site giving legit analysis of a conspiracy theory from a known left-wing site.

        Where’s Stephan Lewandowsky when you need him?

      • David Springer

        Breitbart was murdered and left-wing gov’t thugs took over the news outlet.

        That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

    • Max_OK | April 30, 2013 at 1:47 am |

      Here’s the math that happened in my head in the first 3 seconds of reading this malarky:

      1.6 billion less (3 rounds/person * population of the USA) ~ 0.7 billion
      0.7 billion/5000 practice rounds per DHS soldier = 140,000 DHS soldiers.

      0.9 billion rounds /140,000 DHS soldiers ~ 6,500 rounds.

      If the DHS is planning to make war on the US population with these numbers, then the DHS needs to hire someone who passed gradeschool math to point out the flaws in its plan.

      Forgetting that even at these numbers, the “DHS army” would be outgunned in any city in the USA by private citizens.

      Which really ought to disturb people who can do math, and understand demographics.

    • Steven Mosher

      hmm looks like they have about 5 years of ammo.

      so choose.

      1. stupid planner. you could get the same supply with a long term contract
      at a much lower price as opposed to buying on the spot market and
      driving up the price for your own purchases.
      2. Planning a war against citizens.. dumb they cant buy enough ammo.
      3. Making it harder for citizens to buy ammo.. hmm not logically impossible, but also dumb, see 2.
      4. dunno

  63. Chief Hydrologist

    A cool-water anomaly known as La Niña occupied the tropical Pacific Ocean throughout 2007 and early 2008. In April 2008, scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced that while the La Niña was weakening, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation—a larger-scale, slower-cycling ocean pattern—had shifted to its cool phase…

    Unlike El Niño and La Niña, which may occur every 3 to 7 years and last from 6 to 18 months, the PDO can remain in the same phase for 20 to 30 years. The shift in the PDO can have significant implications for global climate, affecting Pacific and Atlantic hurricane activity, droughts and flooding around the Pacific basin, the productivity of marine ecosystems, and global land temperature patterns. This multi-year Pacific Decadal Oscillation ‘cool’ trend can intensify La Niña or diminish El Niño impacts around the Pacific basin,” said Bill Patzert, an oceanographer and climatologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “The persistence of this large-scale pattern [in 2008] tells us there is much more than an isolated La Niña occurring in the Pacific Ocean.”

    Natural, large-scale climate patterns like the PDO and El Niño-La Niña are superimposed on global warming caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases and landscape changes like deforestation. According to Josh Willis, JPL oceanographer and climate scientist, “These natural climate phenomena can sometimes hide global warming caused by human activities. Or they can have the opposite effect of accentuating it.” http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=8703

    I have quoted this a hundred times because it is such a simple, obvious and unambiguous statement of decadal variability – and that we are in a cool mode.

    I am sure people are sick of it. Yet when I don’t quote it or something similar some utter twit like Joshua insists that it isn’t so.

    ‘Heh In contrast to the evidence you, yourself provided. Too funny.

    Never let the evidence get in the way of forming your opinion, chief We like you just the way you are, and wouldn’t want you to change.’

    Bizarre – it seems just not to register – it is like talking to a hamster.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Except it is a hamster who mouths some AGW groupthink platitudes.

      ‘Instead, what we see is that more likely, “skeptics” unskeptically project their own mindset onto others. Many “skeptics” claim that their “skepticism” is rooted in their realization that climate scientists overstated the case for AGW. No doubt, for some “skeptics” that may be true. But the evidence we can easily find shows that most “skeptics” are ideologically associated with groups who are inclined to distrust climate science, and as such, as a group climate “skepticism” can be predicted by the process of motivated reasoning (which speaks to the selectivity in how we all filter evidence so as to confirm biases).

      You’d think that being “skeptics,” they’d feel some obligation to provide evidence for their claims. Guess not, huh?’

      It is in English – it is from NASA – it is quite obvious science.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/PDO_zps89a7b4c1.jpg.html?sort=3&o=9

      http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/enso/mei/

      Compare the frequency and intensity of ENSO events with the PDO and the periods of global warming or cooling.

      Anastasios Tsonis, of the Atmospheric Sciences Group at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and colleagues used a mathematical network approach to analyse abrupt climate change on decadal timescales. Ocean and atmospheric indices – in this case the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation and the North Pacific Oscillation – can be thought of as chaotic oscillators that capture the major modes of climate variability. Tsonis and colleagues calculated the ‘distance’ between the indices. It was found that they would synchronise at certain times and then shift into a new state.

      It is no coincidence that shifts in ocean and atmospheric indices occur at the same time as changes in the trajectory of global surface temperature. Our ‘interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural,’ Tsonis said.

      Four multi-decadal climate shifts were identified in the last century coinciding with changes in the surface temperature trajectory. Warming from 1909 to the mid 1940’s, cooling to the late 1970’s, warming to early 1998 and declining since. The shifts are punctuated by extreme El Niño Southern Oscillation events. Fluctuations between La Niña and El Niño peak at these times and climate then settles into a damped oscillation. Until the next critical climate threshold – due perhaps in a decade or tree if the recent past is any indication.

      • Tsonis believes there is an AGW trend underlying all his climate shifts.

        that is all.

      • Chief

        A question:

        Does PDO stand for Pretty Damned Obvious?

        Max

      • bob droege

        From Tsonis et al. conclusions:

        If as suggested here, a dynamically driven climate shift has occurred, the duration of similar shifts during the 20th century suggests the new global mean temperature trend may persist for several decades. Of course, it is purely speculative to presume that the global mean temperature will remain near current levels for such an extended period of time. Moreover, we caution that the shifts described here are presumably superimposed upon a long term warming trend due to anthropogenic forcing. However, the nature of these past shifts in climate state suggests the possibility of near constant temperature lasting a decade or more into the future must at least be entertained. The apparent lack of a proximate cause behind the halt in warming post 2001/02 challenges our understanding of the climate system, specifically the physical reasoning and causal links between longer time-scale modes of internal climate variability and the impact of such modes upon global temperature.

        Take homes for me:

        – Yes, there is an underlying AGW warming effect.
        – This has been overpowered by natural factors since 2001/02
        – Based on similar periods in the 20th C, the current lack of warming is likely to continue for a decade or more
        – Variability in ENSO, PDO, NAO and NPI may explain some of this but we do not really know all the causes for this dynamically driven climate shift
        – As a result we are not able to make meaningful longer-term projections of global temperature

        Is that what you got out of it, bob?

        [This seems to be pretty close to what the Chief has been writing.]

        Max

      • Max,
        I think you get the gist of the Tsonis conclusions, but I don’t think Chief agrees with the AGW part, and when Chief predicts the plateau to continue for another decade or three and Tsonis says that would be purely speculative, I see disagreement between the two.

        What I would get from Tsonis’s conclusion is that it is unlikely that the current trend will continue as long as it did in the period 1940 to 1970 and that warming trends typical of the period 1970 to 2000 would resume sooner rather than later.

      • Generalissimo Skippy

        ‘This paper provides an update to an earlier work that showed specific changes in the aggregate time evolution of major Northern Hemispheric atmospheric and oceanic modes of variability serve as a harbinger of climate shifts. Specifically, when the major modes of Northern Hemisphere climate variability are synchronized, or resonate, and the coupling between those modes simultaneously increases, the climate system appears to be thrown into a new state, marked by a break in the global mean temperature trend and in the character of El Nino/Southern Oscillation variability. Here, a new and improved means to quantify the coupling between climate modes confirms that another synchronization of these modes, followed by an increase in coupling occurred in 2001/02. This suggests that a break in the global mean temperature trend from the consistent warming over the 1976/77–2001/02 period may have occurred…

        Using a new measure of coupling strength, this update shows that these climate modes have recently synchronized, with synchronization peaking in the year 2001/02. This synchronization has been followed by an increase in coupling. This suggests that the climate system may well have shifted again, with a consequent break in the global mean temperature trend from the post 1976/77 warming to a new period (indeterminate length) of roughly constant global mean temperature…
        If as suggested here, a dynamically driven climate shift has occurred, the duration of similar shifts during the 20th century suggests the new global mean temperature trend may persist for several decades. Of course, it is purely speculative to presume that the global mean temperature will remain near current levels for such an extended period of time. Moreover, we caution that the shifts described here are presumably superimposed upon a long term warming trend due to anthropogenic forcing. However, the nature of these past shifts in climate state suggests the possibility of near constant temperature lasting a decade or more into the future must at least be entertained.’ S&T 09 ‘Has the climate recently shifted’

        We are in a cool mode as the NASA link says and these tend to last 20 to 40 years in records going back 1000 years. Well might we speculate.

        The nature of these shifts moreover suggest that other outcomes are possible – difficult as that is for space cadets to contemplate.

        ‘The apparent lack of a proximate cause behind the halt in warming post 2001/02 challenges our understanding of the climate system, specifically the physical reasoning and causal links between longer time-scale modes of internal climate variability and the impact of such modes upon global temperature. Fortunately, climate science is rapidly developing the tools to meet this challenge, as in the near future it will be possible to attribute cause and effect in decadal-scale climate variability within the context of a seamless climate forecast system [Palmer et al., 2008]. Doing so is vital, as the future evolution of the global mean temperature may hold surprises on both the warm and cold ends of the spectrum due entirely to internal variability that lie well outside the envelope of a steadily increasing global mean temperature.’

        We are a long way from reliable initialised forecasts.

        They speculate that the shifts result in cloud cover changes or changes in the distribution of heat between the oceans and atmosphere.

        The satellite records say the earlier warming is mostly cloud. It is what it is.

        http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/tropicalcloud.png.html?sort=3&o=37

      • bob droege

        Just goes to show that two people can read the same study and come away with a different “take home”.

        Tsonis clearly states that we do not know the entire reason for this (or previous) periods of no warming, although we have some clues for at least a part in PDO, ENSO, etc..

        He also states that an extension of the current period for a decade or more is not at all unlikely. I do not see anywhere that he writes that this period will be any shorter than the last one (mid-20th C). [But, of course, no matter what he might have written, this is all conjecture in any case.]

        The main “take home” I got from Tsonis was that, while AGW has resulted in an underlying warming trend, there is more uncertainty on what makes our climate behave the way it does than was previously thought, and that this challenges model projections of future global temperature.

        Max

      • “- This has been overpowered by natural factors since 2001/02″

        If this “has been overpowered by natural factors” why is the land-based temperature anomaly still up by about 1.2C ? Shouldn’t that be down to zero if it was “overpowered”?

        Watch how the fake skeptics like Manacker use words straight out of pro wrestling scripts, where the “overpowering” is all faked too.

      • Generalissimo Skippy

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/best/from:2002/plot/best/from:2002/trend

        If you weren’t such a clueless buffoon – someone might take you seriously.

      • Look at the clueless Skippy, using a dataset marked “preliminary”, where the latest data points have a dip. Just like Skippy.

      • Webby

        A geographical fact that you maybe didn’t learn in grammar school (maybe you had the chicken pox that day):

        Land represents only ~30% of the Earth’s surface.

        A “globally and annually averaged land surface temperature anomaly” tells you 30% of the story. Nothing more.

        Max

      • Webby

        Tsonis refers to a “halt in warming post 2001/02″ if you like that wording better.

        Max

      • Generalissimo Skippy

        Use any damn dataset you like – you are still a clueless buffoon.

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss-land/from:2002/plot/rss-land/from:2002/trend

      • David Springer

        WebHubTelescope (@WHUT) | May 1, 2013 at 2:24 am |

        “If this “has been overpowered by natural factors” why is the land-based temperature anomaly still up by about 1.2C ?”

        I’m so glad you asked!

        It’s because greenhouse gases have very little warming effect on the ocean. You can’t warm a body of water by illuminating it from above with mid-infrared. All you can do is evaporate it without any change in temperature. More CO2 causes dry land to rise in temperature. Over wet surfaces it causes the water cycle to go faster. If you’d just get that physical fact through your thick skull you wouldn’t need to wonder why the observations are what they are and why the actual global average troposphere temperature has slowly but surely over the past 22 years drifted outside the lower 95% confidence range of GCM ensemble prediction.

        I know it’s gotta hurt, a lot, acknowledging that a collosal arse like me was right all along but inevitably you must because I am. The longer you put off the admission the more painful it becomes and the more delight I take in the ultimate outcome. :-)

      • David Springer

        WebHubTelescope (@WHUT) | May 1, 2013 at 2:24 am |

        The water cycle is like a steam locomotive my dear webster. Adding CO2 to the atmosphere is like adding coal to the boiler fire. As long as the boiler is already up to steam adding more coal won’t increase the boiler temperature it just increases the rate of stream generation and the train goes faster.

        HOWEVER, if the boiler is dry, adding more coal will increase its temperature.

        Funny how water works, huh? Once you get a good grip on the engineering properties of water climate observations make all sorts of sense. For instance you will cease to wonder why “global” warming is far more evident in the northern hemisphere. It’s because the NH has twice the land area of the SH. You will also cease to wonder why “global” warming becomes more evident with increasing latitude. That’s because higher latitude lands are frozen for some portion of year and frozen land is almost perfectly dry land so evaporation can’t negate the effect of higher CO2.

        There are complicating factors of course but they are secondary to the complicating factor of mid-infrared’s inability to warm a body of water from above. In politics follow the money. In anthropogenic global warming follow the water.

        Thanks again for your question.

      • I am happy that Springer has been reading my blog and is learning that the ocean acts as a large heat sink. Since he is experienced with personal computers, he also should have an intuitive understanding that a heat sink can absorb much heat without raising its temperature. And without a fan to dissipate the heat, the thermal energy contained within the heat sink will continue to build up. Who knows what effects this heat buildup will have. Perhaps it will melt some ice.

        Springer can also learn how we can apply this 70/30 split between ocean (OGW) and land (LGW) to estimate the global warming GW signal. So if half of the excess heat is being absorbed by the ocean according to the OHC signal, then the actual GW would be as follows

        GW = 0.7 * (1/2*LGW) + 0.3*LGW = 0.65*LGW

        And this approximately reflects what we see. The GISS or HADCRUT measure of global temperature anomaly is about 2/3 of the BEST land-only temperature anomaly. The GISS shows about a 0.8C anomaly, while BEST is about 1.2C over the last 100 years. This seems like a very intuitive take on what is happening with regard to the role of OHC. Wouldn’t you agree Springer? I don’t mind if you take credit for this knowledge.

      • David Springer

        I haven’t been reading your blog, webster. I glanced at your clown list once maybe a year ago.

        PS your notion that a heat sink absorbs energy without rising in temperature is certainly a novel one. So where does the heat go exactly while the temperature isn’t rising? [snicker]

      • Just like a capacitor can sink lots of current without raising its voltage. Considering Springer claims to be such an authority on PC electronics, he seems awfully limited on the science stuff.

        Springer just can’t admit that the ocean acts like a heat sink. If he does it will blow away his evaporative cooling theory. He can’t allow any excess heat to enter the ocean.

        See how he plays this game?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        You 2 buffoons deserve each other.

        There is no huge difference between datasets – http://berkeleyearth.org/pdf/annual-comparison.pdf

        And the difference between land and ocean is variability – apart from the past decade or so. Which is interesting in itself.

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/crutem4vgl/plot/hadcrut4gl

      • David Springer

        WebHubTelescope (@whut) | May 1, 2013 at 1:40 pm |

        “Just like a capacitor can sink lots of current without raising its voltage. Considering Springer claims to be such an authority on PC electronics, he seems awfully limited on the science stuff.”

        Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzt! Wrong.

        The capacitor *resists* a change in voltage it doesn’t stop a change in voltage. It accepts a charge like a battery. You don’t think battery voltage rises as it charges? Duh. I’ll add basic electricity and electronics to your many areas of ignorance.

        http://www.electronics-tutorials.ws/rc/rc_1.html

        The ocean does act like a capacitor though smoothing out what would otherwise be rapid temperature change. We observe this most starkly in the difference between diurnal temperature range of ocean air and desert air. The former changes about 1C between day and night and the latter is more than 30C. This is how a capacitor works as well. Call the ocean a big capacitor and the desert a small capacitor.

      • Steven Mosher

        “The ocean does act like a capacitor though smoothing out what would otherwise be rapid temperature change. We observe this most starkly in the difference between diurnal temperature range of ocean air and desert air. The former changes about 1C between day and night and the latter is more than 30C.”

        ding ding. also, this nice little fact makes measuring SST a tad bit easier than measuring SAT. While many SST records record the time of day the measurment is taken, its really not that important ( meaning the answer doesnt change ) in addition to the smaller temporal variability, there is a smaller range of values ( say -2C to 30C at the surface ) and the spatial variability is less than the spatial variability of air.. also something folks forget when they trash SST records and ARGO.

      • ” This is how a capacitor works as well. Call the ocean a big capacitor and the desert a small capacitor.”

        Nice to see Springer starting to catch on to this physics stuff.

      • David Springer

        Webster,

        I’m not “catching on”. This is very basic stuff I’ve known since the 1960’s. I’m glad you’re no longer trying to say that voltage doesn’t rise as a capacitor takes on a charge. Of course it makes little difference what fundamental mistakes you make that just a little bit of learning would reveal as a mistake so long as you make the mistakes anonymously, huh?

      • Springer sez:

        “I’m not “catching on”. This is very basic stuff I’ve known since the 1960′s. I’m glad you’re no longer trying to say that voltage doesn’t rise as a capacitor takes on a charge. “

        Yea, I’ve known about this since the 1980’s, after my interest in fishing and hunting kind of waned. College and a job in engineering helped in that regard. Everyone can clearly see that I understand the distinction between the heat capacities in the ocean and the land, if you read this post, ha ha:

        http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2013/03/ocean-heat-content-model.html

        Applied math is the great leveler and it separates those who understand what is happening and those that are all talk.

        “Of course it makes little difference what fundamental mistakes you make that just a little bit of learning would reveal as a mistake so long as you make the mistakes anonymously, huh?”

        I think the correct term is “pseudonymous”. If I was anonymous, my handle would be “anonymous” or “guest”. Anyone can go back and look at my track record for understanding how the concept of heat capacity works.

    • PDO.

      A continuous monotonic signal since 1900, and it is not going to stop.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        You don’t have any point at all – which is why you cannot speak to it.

        ‘Monotonic functions are functions that tend to move in only one direction as x increases. A monotonic increasing function always increases as x increases, i.e. f(a)>f(b) for all a>b. A monotonic decreasing function always decreases as x increases, i.e. f(a)b.’

        The PDO obviously has 2 states – warm and cool – the warm mode is associated with warming surface temperatures and the cool mode cooling. These ocean states – ENSO and the PDO – are convenient to talk about and are major modes of climate variability – but they are not isolated from workings of the global system.

        The systems are non-stationary series so while they wont stop – what will change substantially are means and variability over centuries to millennia.

      • “A continuous monotonic signal since 1900, and it is not going to stop.”

        JCH,
        I think you are describing The Chief — “A continuous monotonic bore since the inception of this blog, who is never going to stop”.

    • Looks like the butthurt has flared up again, eh? Addressing me indirectly? In comments that aren’t even in response to my comments? Butthurt, my friend. Of the first order. Anyway:

      I am sure people are sick of it. Yet when I don’t quote it or something similar some utter twit like Joshua insists that it isn’t so.

      What have I “insisted isn’t so?” Looks like more of your shoddy analysis, Chief. Why do you perform such shoddy analysis? Even more interestingly, why do you ignore your tendency to do so?

      And as a bit of side information, why are you so proud of shoddy analysis that you keep repeating it?

      • Joshua,
        I agree that the Chief produces shoddy analysis.
        But it is intentional as he tries to sustain a long-running prank.

      • Playing a prank would be a logical explanation – but I don’t think a plausible one.

        His level of emotionality when obsessively ranting and raving about his “enemies,” and keyboard valor in his quest to vanquish them, suggests, to me a degree of seriousness.

      • My guess is that maybe a progressive beat him up as a kid, stole his girlfriend – something like that.

      • That is part of the prank, and it is the art of the prank.

        Look at all of his fellow Aussie pranksters that contribute here — StefanTheDenier, Myrrhh, Doug Cotton, Girma, Peter Lang, Alexander Biggs, Tim Curtin, Greg House, kim, Robert Ellison, Beth Cooper, Peter Davies, Captain Kangaroo, Faustino.

        The joke is on us for continuing to listen to any of this garbage. They have completely subverted the discussion, using misdirection, absurd arguments, cheap sarcasm, sockpuppets, and thread-jacking to make this blog into a continuing embarrassment, ranking with up there with WUWT.

      • A textbook example of projection by Webby.

      • Yes, we do have a crank fringe in Oz – not sure why they flock here.

      • Michael, I am not including you, R Gates, tempterrain and other rational Australians that comment here in that group.

        Edim says that I am projecting, which would mean that I am also pulling a prank. Far be it, as I am serious about the science and only document the atrocities of those who treat it like a joke.

        The facts speak for themselves and I am only providing observational data to what is going on here. A contingent of Aussie kranks are over represented in comments here. One can deny this fact, but it is true.

      • Web, as the self-proclaimed purveyor of facts perhaps you can explain why your web site still connects “steven” with a 2 month oscillation argument. Perhaps we need a new historian. One that can get the facts straight.

      • Steven, I think Webster thinks that anything over two months is a prank. He is a tad paranoid about pranks :)

        http://www.climatedialogue.org/long-term-persistence-and-trend-significance/

        That is a pretty good discussion that I am sure he will avoid.

      • Dallas, I just started reading that earlier this morning. It is interesting and an important question.

      • steven, it is a complicated subject. With inertia it is often not how hard you push but when. Like solar and ENSO. ENSO has an irregular pattern since the OHT poleward varies with atmospheric oscillations and seasonal timing. Solar has its own irregular pattern due to its own extra terrestrial influences. When the two cycles tend to be in phase, there is greater impact. Volcanic forcing is the same thing, forcing during a cooling phase has a greater impact than forcing during a warming phase. CO2 has greater impact on a rise than on a fall in surface energy. There is nothing but oscillations of different periods and no good way to evaluate the system.

        It is frustrating to be able to “see” something, understand the impact but not be able to quantify the impact.

      • Don’t worry lower-case steven, your misinterpretations will become detritus over time.

        They should really look at the Greenland dye3 temperature series to get a handle on noise versus signal. Have each of the climatedialogue participants analyze that data to see what they come up with.

      • Web, I am not responsible for your lack or reading comprehension. Write that down.

      • You and your teammates were pointing to the data and one journal article implying that the sea-level could be decreasing. I did a FFT power spectrum on the waveform and found a persistent oscillation of 2 months in the time series. Got rid of that and much of the noisiness is removed.

        Trying to mind read is hard, but thanks for providing the motivation in finding the buried signal.

        Real science advances in small steps.

        Continued luck in finding the multidecadal period in the time series. What was it, 60 years?

      • So because I linked a paper regarding 60 year cycles and someone else was arguing something about 2 months, you associate my link with their argument. It never crossed your mind that I might have linked it because it shows some coherence with the Holgate study that was mentioned just prior to my link. Like I said, I am not responsible for your lack of reading comprehension. You don’t seem to believe you are either. Who would like to claim responsibility? Anyone?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Butthurt – ‘Use of this is an instant way to let the entire online world that you’re a complete idiot. Originally a crass way to make fun of someone who is irrationally upset about something, is now used by total …… who don’t have a creative or original bone in their body to troll on someone who expresses the slightest displeasure in anything.’ urban dictionary

      • Webby only includes people who have a different opinion from his on the crackpot list.

        Hmm..

        Is HE maybe the crackpot?

        Check out all his comments on this thread and others and then decide.

        Max

      • Joshua, in a comment yeatrerday, tirwed to suggested he is not one of the CAGW alarmists, doomsayers. he said I couldn’t link to any comment that shows he’s one of the CAGW alarmist, doomsayer crowd. Well I can’t be bothered looking. But there is plenty of evidence. He continually chimes in to support the doomsayers, e.g. Bart R, Joshua, Michael. Willard (the Moron), WHT to name just a few, and continually attacks the realists. So clearly, Joshua shares the beliefs – ideological and eco religious – of the CAGW doomsayers and advocates their beliefs, often without question.

        He is an expert practitioner of his pet subject, ‘motivated reasoning’

      • Manacker is a liar and a serial data manipulator, which I have documented with several cases.

        Regarding steven’s problem of me lumping him in with his involuntary tag-team pro wrestling partners (Cappy and Ringo), I will take the reference to “steven” down from my blog.

      • David Springer

        Michael | April 30, 2013 at 9:39 am |

        “Yes, we do have a crank fringe in Oz – not sure why they flock here.”

        Introspection could provide a partial answer to your puzzlement, if you get my drift, and I think you do.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      You’d think that being “skeptics,” they’d feel some obligation to provide evidence for their claims. Guess not, huh?’

      It is in English – it is from NASA – it is quite obvious science.

      Joshua whines that I don’t provide evidence when I have many times. I provide evidence and the usual twitterati chime in with pointless distractions.

      It is a pattern called the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation – although we have come to realise that it is a non-linear climate shift and not an oscillation.

      http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/diagram/7788/interdecadal-pacific-oscillation-1920-2000

      The signal goes back a 1000 years at least.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Vance2012-AntarticaLawDomeicecoresaltcontent.jpg.html?sort=3&o=48

      ‘ENSO causes climate extremes across and beyond the Pacific basin; however, evidence of ENSO at high southern latitudes is generally restricted to the South Pacific and West Antarctica. Here, the authors report a statistically significant link between ENSO and sea salt deposition during summer from the Law Dome (LD) ice core in East Antarctica. ENSO-related atmospheric anomalies from the central-western equatorial Pacific (CWEP) propagate to the South Pacific and the circumpolar high latitudes. These anomalies modulate high-latitude zonal winds, with El Niño (La Niña) conditions causing reduced (enhanced) zonal wind speeds and subsequent reduced (enhanced) summer sea salt deposition at LD. Over the last 1010 yr, the LD summer sea salt (LDSSS) record has exhibited two below-average (El Niño–like) epochs, 1000–1260 ad and 1920–2009 ad, and a longer above-average (La Niña–like) epoch from 1260 to 1860 ad. Spectral analysis shows the below-average epochs are associated with enhanced ENSO-like variability around 2–5 yr, while the above-average epoch is associated more with variability around 6–7 yr. The LDSSS record is also significantly correlated with annual rainfall in eastern mainland Australia. While the correlation displays decadal-scale variability similar to changes in the interdecadal Pacific oscillation (IPO), the LDSSS record suggests rainfall in the modern instrumental era (1910–2009 ad) is below the long-term average. In addition, recent rainfall declines in some regions of eastern and southeastern Australia appear to be mirrored by a downward trend in the LDSSS record, suggesting current rainfall regimes are unusual though not unknown over the last millennium.’ http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00003.1?journalCode=clim

      There is so much science that doesn’t penetrate the groupthink and cognitive dissonance. Collectively – they present no science at all. It is like talking to hamsters. They are not interested in science but in their little groupthink hamster wheel. All we get is silly little noise from the usual suspects.

      There is no science that suggests that that these patterns of ocean and atmospheric circulation don’t exist. The real problem of science advice must be in distinguishing the climate discourse signal from noise – when the noise is so loud and so silly.

    • David Springer

      Chief Hydrologist | April 30, 2013 at 6:17 am | Reply

      “Bizarre – it seems just not to register – it is like talking to a hamster.”

      Yet you obsessively continue doing it all day and all night.

      They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over getting the same result each time while expecting different results. Do you really think the hamster is suddenly going to get smart? That’s insane.

  64. “I hope that my testimony was convincing to the Republicans, and helps move them to a more defensible and rational position on climate science.”

    The current GOP position is the only defensible and rational position on ‘climate science’.

    • Climate changes slowly, so the Republican position of gambling on future climate is rational for any older person who doesn’t care what happens after he dies. But it’s a gamble with an unknown outcome for generations to come. Usually, a gambler stands to lose, but not in this case.

      • Max

        Can you point to any CO2 strategy that is a sure bet? Answer- No

        It is not a republican vs democratic issue. It is one of doing what is rational in the real world.

      • Rob, if you want certainty, consider religion.

      • Religion bashers should pay due diligence to the concept of faith:

        An initial broad distinction is between thinking of faith as a state and thinking of it as an act, action or activity. Faith may be a state one is in, or comes to be in; it may also essentially involve something one does. An adequate account of faith, perhaps, needs to encompass both. Certainly, Christians understand faith both as a gift of God and also as requiring a human response of assent and trust, so that people’s faith is something with respect to which they are both receptive and active.

        There is, however, some tension in understanding faith as both a gift to be received and a venture to be willed and enacted. A philosophical account of what faith is may be expected to illuminate this apparent paradox. One principle for classifying models of faith is according to the extent to which they recognise an active component in faith itself, and the way they identify that active component and its relation to faith’s other components. It is helpful to consider the components of faith (variously recognised and emphasised in different models of faith) as falling into three broad categories: the affective, the cognitive and the volitional. (There are also evaluative components in faith—but these may appear as implicated in the affective and/or the cognitive components, according to one’s preferred meta-theory of value.)

        http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/faith/

        We should not conflate faith with belief.

      • Steven Mosher

        yes willard; πισευω Action based on Belief sustained by Confidence

      • Rob Starkey

        Willard- Those who have faith in a particular religion should imo examine the historical basis to support their chosen belief. Generally it seems very similar to belief in many superstitions.

      • David Springer

        Yes until you find God it appears to be just superstition. I would say to those without faith to ask why so many for so much of human history held a belief that there’s more to the universe than what we perceive with our five senses. Seems kind of arrogant to me to presume they’re all just wrong about that.

      • David S suggests that the 5 senses is insufficient for true understanding of our universe and its origins and I agree, however, intuitive thinking and common sense are under-utilised in the rational world of scientific enquiry in climate change.

  65. JC should tell Republicans they may be wrong about China. We frequently hear it’s useless for the U.S. to take action on climate change because China will not. It looks like that’s not true.

    “China is fast becoming a world leader in the fight against climate change,” says an article in latest edition of the New Scientist”

    “In the past year, it has halved the growth in electricity demand, continued to increase its wind and solar energy production, and is in the process of developing emissions trading schemes to cover a quarter of a billion people.”
    The article goes on to say “The US is also doing well, although much of its improvement comes from a shift away from oil in favour of cheaper gas and a slower economy, rather than as a result of direct action on climate change.”
    The article is based on the findings of the latest in a series of Australian Climate Commission Reports.

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23464-china-leads-in-climate-changes-critical-decade.html

    •  

      Idiot food:

      The report’s – describing this as the critical decade to accelerate climate change action. “This decade must set the foundations to reduce emissions rapidly to nearly zero by 2050. The earlier such action is under way the less disruptive and costly it will be.

      So say the the authors (with whom Tim Flannery, Australia’s chief climate commissioner, agrees).

      Are they looking forward to the next Stone Age or are they feckless hypocrites or simple-minded brain-damaged liberal Utopians looking to Al Gore for the next bullet train to Idiotville?

    • Max_OK

      China has not really reduced its CO2 emissions.

      Check out the emissions data out there.

      In 1990 China emitted 2.2 GtCO2 (10% of world total of 21.3 GtCO2); by 2012 this had increased to 9.0 GtCO2 (25% of a world total of 35.6 GtCO2).

      [Over the same period, the USA grew from 5.0 GtCO2 (23%) to 5.9 GtCO2 (17%).]

      China’s CO2 emissions have increased by around 20% over the past three years, as well, so there is no real slowdown.

      The trick is this: China has stated that it would reduce its “carbon intensity” (CO2 emitted per unit of GDP) and GDP has been growing more rapidly than CO2.

      For comparison, the inverse is “carbon efficiency” ($GDP per ton of CO2 emitted). Today China is at $600 compared to $2,400 for the USA (and over $3,000 for the EU and Japan).

      So China’s CO2 output is still growing, albeit at a slower rate than its GDP, but it still has a long way to go to reach the carbon efficiency of the EU, Japan or the USA..

      Max_CH

  66. Waggy, the Stone Age was pretty much government-free, making it ideal for anti-government ideologues like yourself.
    But even if there were no government, I am sure you would find something to whine about.

    • Max_OK

      In the Stone Age, clan leaders, priests and warrior chiefs were the government.

      So it was not “government-free”.

      And that “government” could be invasive, controlling and brutal.

      IMO the problem today (in all countries) is that we have a trend toward too much (well-meaning but misplaced) government control and regulation of everything, too much wasteful bureaucracy and (as a result) taxes that are increasing to the point that they become oppressive.

      This grows organically and it is very difficult to reverse the process, even if a significant percentage of the citizens would like to do this.

      Max_CH

      • Well, just send Waggy to Somalia. That’s about as close as he’ll get today to no government.

      • IMO the problem today (in all countries) is that we have a trend toward too much (well-meaning but misplaced) government control and regulation of everything, too much wasteful bureaucracy and (as a result) taxes that are increasing to the point that they become oppressive.

        Fascinating.

        In many countries today, by-and-large those with the proportionally biggest, most complex, and most extensive governments, large %’s of the population enjoy more civil rights, more freedoms, and greater economic prosperity than all but tiny minorities have enjoyed throughout the entire history of civilization.

        Not a panacea, but any stretch. We still have too many in poverty, too high an incarceration rate, too much crime, too many children who don’t get quality education, too much inequality, etc.

        And certainly, there is no direct function that dictates that more government = better lives.

        But neither is there some direct function that more government = worse. The operative variable is the quality of government and the measure of balance – on many levels.

        Your “(in all countries) …trend towards too much…. government control and regulation…” is associated, if not necessarily causal, with more good for more people. That doesn’t prove causality in either direction, but it certainly does suggest that for all those who prefer “socialist” Europe, South Asia, the US, Canada, etc. over “smaller government’ states like Somalia, paleo-libertarian utopianism is probably not the best ideology.

        And please, the drama queenism and hand-wringing about your “oppress[ion]” is laughable. Your “oppress[ion]” is living high on the hog, not only relative to most people alive today, but to the vast, vast, vast majority of humans who have ever lived.

        That said, I think that non-extremist libertarianism is a useful construct for creating a well-balanced society. To bad it is such a rare commodity.

      • Generalissimo Skippy

        “Between the extremes of virtually no government and a pure communist state, how much government is necessary and desirable…?”

        ‘Most of the studies of the optimum size of government made by reputable scholars in recent decades have indicated that total government spending (federal plus state plus local) should be no lower than 17 percent, nor larger than about 30 percent of GDP. In a just completed paper, economists at the Institute for Market Economics in Sofia, Bulgaria, have provided new estimates of the optimum size of government, using standard models, with the latest data from a broader spectrum of countries than had been previously available. Their conclusion is that there is a 95 percent probability that the optimal size of government is less than 25 percent of GDP.

        Because most governments are – and have been for many years – larger than the optimal, there are insufficient data to give a point estimate as to the best size, other than it is less than 25 percent. Other studies have shown small-population homogeneous countries, such as Finland, may have slightly higher optimal government sizes than heterogeneous countries, such as Switzerland and the United States.’ http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/optimum-government

        ‘FEW Australians are aware that we have one of the three smallest governments in the Western world. We complain endlessly that our governments tax too much and spend too much – but that is not the way we appear in international comparisons.

        ‘The International Monetary Fund estimates that, in 2012, Australia’s governments, state and federal, will raise a bit over one-third of our GDP, 34.5 per cent, and spend 36.3 per cent. Of the 34 advanced economies, our revenue is the ninth lowest, our spending the seventh lowest.

        That might not sound too flash. But the four lowest-spending countries are Hong Kong (19.1 per cent), Singapore (19.4), South Korea (20.4) and Taiwan (20.9), where your welfare is your responsibility.

        Among those with whom we compare ourselves, only New Zealand (33.1 per cent) and Switzerland (34.3) have leaner governments.

        http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/two-new-taxes-are-on-the-way-but-we-shouldnt-complain-20120625-20yg0.html#ixzz2S0slNDyY

        There are serious questions about the size of Government for optimum growth but interest rates management, prudential regulation and government debt are huge factors. We definitely need to cut back spending.

    • “An old Chinese said he had heard that when empires were doomed they had many laws.”

      ~Friedrich Nietzsche

  67. China should, indeed, be an example to the West and to conservatives.

    Make and sell far more solar panels and turbines than you use; window-dress your won power generation with alternatives while vastly increasing fossil fuel and building naughty mega-dams; make new fossil fuel plants vastly more efficient; talk of the old ones you’re closing down, not the new ones you’re bringing on line; firmly commit to deadlines for the inception of emissions trading schemes which are as light as a feather; then, with polite regret but earnest intentions for the future, don’t meet the deadlines…

    Then you just need to find some of those good old western intellectuals and journalists who write so fluently, but would not notice a new Chinese coal power plant if it crawled up their legs and snuggled into their laps.

    • mosomoso

      Go to any medium-sized (multimillion population) Chinese city and you’ll realize there are coal-fired power plants with not much flue gas cleanup around.

      [Don't do this if you suffer from asthma or any other respiratory ailment.]

      Max

      • You know, Max, not being much of a libertarian I believe in heavy regulation re sanitation, pollution. China’s real pollution is excused too readily, and the Chinese are experts in patiently evading regulation, delaying response etc. This kind of quiet, sly defiance is almost a matter of pride with them. (I worked in the Sydney restaurant game years ago.)

        It’s appalling to witness the intelligentsia’s discovery of “markets” as the latest Big Lever of government. If CAGW was real, sane people would act ruthlessly and fast through government, as in war. When France was faced with ruin through energy poverty, Messmer and the ailing Pompidou acted with extraordinary speed and decision to make France nuclear. You don’t cant about “markets” when faced with a real national or global threat.

        There again, the climate is just the climate, capricious and often hostile, like always. You can tell by the hopelessly frivolous “solutions” offered that there is no new climate threat. Still, the loftily-concerned will always have memories of those magnificent jet trails they made to Cancun and Rio. They had their shining moment of sexiness mixed with moral hauteur.

      • “If CAGW was real, sane people would act ruthlessly and fast through government, as in war.”

        That’s the flaw with the “we’ll just adapt to it if it happens” plan. As if people will just calmly adapt if it happens. But as you allude to, if it does happen, sane people will act ruthlessly, as in war.

    • Sounds like the pragmatic policy of Talleyrand in yr story,
      ‘The Peace of Careme,’ mosomoso, and dealings at the
      Congress of Vienna looking after France.

      http://www.niterose.tersonodesign.com/trand.html

      • Ah, the Big T. My favourite rogue! Now there was an adviser to government. Take bribes from everyone, but only give back to the more reasonable.

  68. “Why is it so difficult to get these two worlds to meet at an intersection of knowledge that can influence in significant ways the making of public policy?”

    Here’s a suggestion. Instead of assuming that we must have an endless stream of public policy, let’s instead assume that government should leave people alone.

    • I agree 100%

    • I wouldn’t want a government that just left people alone, so people could just do as they pleased. I’m afraid too many people would do things I wouldn’t like.

      • Max “I’m afraid too many people would do things I wouldn’t like.”

        And too many people would be afraid that you would do things that they wouldn’t like. The end result is a life of fear lived with no freedom. And freedom is life’s most precious commodity.

        Government can always play off the fears of one group to reduce the freedoms of another group. Sometimes you are in the position of having them remove others freedom for your benefit and other times you are in a position of having them remove your freedoms for someone else’s benefit. It’s an endless process. Can you think of a single administration that has ever made it’s primary mission the reduction of laws restricting personal freedom?

      • Max_OK

        I want a government that provides infrastructure and services that I want, defends me from attack and arrests and prosecutes those who commit crimes or misdemeanors. I don’t mind paying taxes to the government to do these tasks.

        I’m not so much concerned about anything other people do, as long as they do not commit crimes or misdemeanors.

        If the guy next door paints his house red or burns firewood in his fireplace, I might not like it, but I don’t think I would want a government enforcing everyone to do the things I like rather than the things they pleased.

        In that sense I’d agree with vsaluki that, in general, “government should leave people alone”.

        Does that make me a “libertarian”?

        Max_CH

      • Max – unless you are a Super Lawyer (and if you live in the US), you are much more likely to get arrested for doing something that you think is mundane but is nevertheless against the law. That’s just one big problem of many with labyrinthine laws and regulations.

      • What a CROCK ! I’ve never been arrested for doing anything mundane.

        Oh, excuse me, you said Max_Ch being arrested for what HE thinks is mundane. God knows what he thinks is mundane. Maybe, robbing a bank.

      • And not upsetting you by having people not do things you don’t like should be the driving force for society.

    • I agree with this in essence, though I take issue with conservatives who preach same but don’t really mean it when you start getting down to things like certain basic freedoms of choice, including a woman’s right to choose what to with her own body.

      But in fairness, my position is far from pure as well. For example, I believe markets need to be regulated to a certain extent to avoid financial catastrophes like the one we had in 2008, and from which we have yet to fully recover…

  69. Max,
    With yer permishun, the ‘Serf Under-ground’ will publish
    this comment under Letters.’ The Serf charcoal burners’
    illegal association will also comment re controls on out
    of doors burning of firewood.
    Editor in chief S U-g

  70. Max _CH, If your fireplace smoked up my house, would it be OK if I came over and whizzed on your flower bed?

    I think every time your fireplace stinked up my house, I should return the favor with my bladder, so your property would end up smelling like an over-ripe Jiffy John.

    Would our disregard for each other that make us both libertarians?

    As for vsaluk, I do think he’s a libertarian. I’m glad he’s not my neighbor. I used to have a libertarian neighbor. I sure don’t want another one.

    • Generalissimo Skippy

      Congratulations Comrade Max – you have won an all expenses one way trip to UNtopia Minnesota for your services to trivial distraction from rational discourse. The last thing the comrades need is rational discussion. Pack warm and remember those who have gone before. Stevie Nicks, Steve Miller, Stevie Wonder and Stevanopolous the Wonder Dog. You may be only 15 – but we can see you going far. Further. No further.

      • General Skippy, you ole peanutter, see if this story sticks to your mouth.

        Ron Paul slams Boston police. Has he gone too far?
        Asks an article in today’s Yahoo.com

        Some excerpts from the article:

        In a post on the website of libertarian activist Lew Rockwell, Mr. Paul said Monday that the governmental reaction to the tragic explosions was worse than the attack itself.

        “The Boston bombing provided the opportunity for the government to turn what should have been a police investigation into a military-style occupation of an American city,” according to Paul

        “But Paul’s contrarian take perhaps should not be surprising. After all, he’s a committed libertarian who at one point in the GOP presidential debates said that the border fence with Mexico might at some point be used to keep US citizens penned in.”

        http://news.yahoo.com/ron-paul-slams-boston-police-gone-too-far-170321289.html

        ________

        Libertarians are wacky but entertaining. Who could forget Rand Paul’s speech about his toilet.

      • Max –

        This one’s my favorite example of extremist libertarian ideology – from the most powerful and influential libertarian leader in the country, probably the world?

        Ron Paul: Korea Conflict May Be Orchestrated Crisis To Boost Dollar

        Paul Joseph Watson
        Infowars.com
        November 23, 2010

        Congressman Ron Paul speculated on the Alex Jones Show today that the war footing between North and South Korea could be an orchestrated crisis to boost the dollar and reverse the US economy, paralleling the RAND Corporation’s call two years ago for the United States to become embroiled in a major war as a means of preventing a double dip recession.

        http://www.infowars.com/ron-paul-korea-conflict-may-be-orchestrated-crisis-to-boost-dollar/

        I mean seriously, you just have to love that!

      • Say, WHT –

        Check this out!

        Paul Joseph Watson [see my comment immediately above] is the editor and writer for Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a fill-in host for The Alex Jones Show. Watson has been interviewed by many publications and radio shows, including Vanity Fair and Coast to Coast AM, America’s most listened to late night talk show.

        Spectacular.

      • Joshua, I hadn’t heard that one. It’s crazier than the Boston thing.

      • Generalissimo Skippy

        Say Guys – why don’t you take the vast right wing conspiracy test.

        http://www.okcupid.com/tests/take?testid=2338608602432446205

        Get your friends and neighbours to take it. You would not like us when we are angry.

        ‘Several House Democrats are calling on Congress to recognize that climate change is hurting women more than men, and could even drive poor women to “transactional sex” for survival.

        The resolution, from Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and a dozen other Democrats, says the results of climate change include drought and reduced agricultural output. It says these changes can be particularly harmful for women.

        “Food insecure women with limited socioeconomic resources may be vulnerable to situations such as sex work, transactional sex, and early marriage that put them at risk for HIV, STIs, unplanned pregnancy, and poor reproductive health,” it says.

        Climate change could also add “workload and stresses” on female farmers, which the resolution says produce 60 to 80 percent of the food in developing countries.

        Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/296679-dems-warn-climate-change-could-drive-women-to-transactional-sex#ixzz2S0eWd14M

      • Alexej Buergin

        “transactional”
        That is a problem that could not be solved with a Lady-to-Lady-talk between Ms. Lee and JC.

    • One wonders why yer neighbour went away,
      Max_who _*knows* _ he’s_oh_kay!
      Bts

    • Max_OK

      “If your fireplace (or outdoor BBQ) smoked up my house” is an interesting premise, with several solutions, not the least of which is “fuggidaboudit” (life goes on)”.

      The other is, of course, that you are not burning firewood specifically to smoke up my house.

      If, however, I piss on your strawberry patch, that is an overt aggressive act with the intent to cause damage and, in many parts of the world, you’d have good cause to sue me (or fill my privates with buckshot as I was in the act)..

      So that is a key difference to start of with.

      Now some tips:

      Have you tried closing your windows when your neighbor burns firewood?

      Have you tried using an air freshener?

      Does your neighbor have a chimney problem?

      Have you discussed the problem with him, with the idea of finding a mutually acceptable solution?

      Okie, you don’t need a law or regulation for this case. It can be handled person-to-person. Much simpler.

      And besides, most people are not offended by their neighbors’ use of a wood fireplace – just an occasional cranky, old nut-case.

      Max_CH

      • Max_CH, if you knew anything about farming, you would know urine is plant food, and you wouldn’t mind if i peed on your strawberries because it would help them grow. In contrast, smoke from your fireplace drifting into my house would be an unhealthy nuisance.

        Of course, if you are a libertarian, you are too self-centered to imagine what’s good for you can be bad for anyone else. Your libertarian thinks everything is about him. Some of these jerks probably are sociopaths.

        Have you heard of urine therapy? It might work on libertarians. I will gladly pee on as many libertarians as I can, if you furnish the beer.

      • Generalissimo Skippy

        This is just utterly repulsive and pathetic. It is time that you grew up a little if you want to play with the adults.

      • Manacker, In Switzerland, don’t forget that it is the law (at least in some cantons) to have to hire a chimney sweep to clean them out regularly. Even if you don’t use the chimney. Don’t you love the laws of these overbearing countries? ha ha. No wonder you are always so crabby and cranky.

      • Alexej Buergin

        @WHT
        Which cantons?

      • Alexej Buergin

        A mischievous Swiss must have taken advantage of our WHT.
        This is true: If you heat with oil, the chimney must be cleaned once a year; the sweep will also measure the efficiency of the heating and adjust it.
        If you heat with gas, if you just have a fireplace, or if you do not use a chimney at all, you are left alone.
        (Similar, if you have an older car.)
        Guess what: The air is not yellow as in LA.

      • Urine is plant food, an excellent source of nitrogen and other things plants like. No wonder pollution advocates are disgusted at the thought of using pee as fertilizer. It’s easy to produce and requires no additional burning of fossil fuels.

        Pollution advocates also are disgusted at the thought of urine therapy. I don’t know if urine therapy actually works, but it’s safer than bad air. No one in his right mind would believe inhaling exhaust fumes is therapy.

      • From fire place smoke in your house to golden showers. Max_OK you are a Renaissance denizen.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        What is the obsession with golden showers? Urine contains potentially many pathogens some of which survive in the soil for months.

        I don’t live a city – mainly because I don’t like the air quality, the congestion, the germs and the lack of nature and open spaces.

        But at any rate you lack any serious intent or capacity here – and merely hand wave about nonsense.

  71. Some random thoughts about the latest hearing.

    There were so many gaffes, from a smart-alec CO2 plays jazz (immediately apologized for and forgiven) to Lomborg flat-out trying to misleading the committee through his teeth, to Judith informing sitting members of Congress that she had discovered how people manipulate facts, like a four-year old child running up to a group of hookers on a street corner announcing, “I know where babies come from!”

    They know, Dr. Curry. They know. Better than you, or any of us, or even than Dr. Lomborg with his PhD in the science of Danish politics.

    They also have interests of their own, limited time and resources, and very important jobs. An exercise like this ought not be treated as an opportunity to show off for cameras or plug one’s books or blogs. It was inexcusable that not once, not twice, but more than that questions which the experts ought have been amply prepared for they answered with waffle or “I don’t know,” or “I heard nothing I disagree with.”

    That was a pathetic, and shameful show. Members of Congress on this issue feel the fetid breath of eight kinds of monsters breathing down their necks. They have a great deal of pressure on them, need the best the experts they call on for guidance can offer, and will pay for their choices right or wrong. Congress has a hard job, and this was time wasted.

    If you’re ever called on to be a witness, begin by finding out who you are called before. Their district, their voting record, their interests and stated positions. Find out if they care about Texas electricity rates or Chinese investment in research or jazz music, or not. Prepare as if preparing for an oral defense of a PhD paper, only with mean people who will walk into the heat of battle for their political lives with only what you hand them as your panel.

    Show that those vaunted credentials of yours mean something. And move the committee forward by your testimony.

    • Still lying, Bart R/

    • Bart R

      Your random thoughts on the recent hearing were more like “rambling” thoughts.

      You do not even mention the testimony by William Chameides.

      Was that OK in your opinion?

      Just curious.

      Max

      • manacker | May 1, 2013 at 2:06 am |

        The smart-alec who said CO2 plays jazz music was Dr. Chameides. Of the written submissions, his was perhaps on paper the most to the point and the most difficult to tear down on facts (though as you know, I’d have preferred focus on Forcing over warming) so far as it went, but his spoken testimony came last of the three and he didn’t have a head cold to blame it on.

        Sadly after a great start in writing, Dr. Chameides recommendations remained so high level and nonspecific as to be virtually useless on paper or in spoken testimony. Further, the recommendations are Economics naive and human behavior naive, presented as if people in large groups are programmable units. Perhaps it was good that the testimony stopped short and remained high level to allow Congress to imagine their own versions of what the testimony might mean, given these failings.

      • > [T]he recommendations are Economics naive and human behavior naive, presented as if people in large groups are programmable units.

        Perhaps scientists ought to get acquainted with less programmable units: humanities’ students, theatre directors, psychologists, hackers, artisans, etc.

      • willard (@nevaudit) | May 1, 2013 at 10:18 am |

        As the testimony was based on the ACC, which was the product of 90 experts across multiple fields, I lament the low likelihood that introducing some scientists to yet more lowlifes will have the effect I’m after.

      • What would be the effect you’re after, Bart R?

      • willard (@nevaudit) | May 1, 2013 at 11:03 am |

        I thought I’d made that clear. I want my money back.

      • Even I can get that you want your money back, Bart R. Just like students go see Grandmasters and tell them they want to win more games. That’s not very helpful.

        So, you want scientists to stop entertaining caricatural economic models. How should we proceed? Perhaps it’s just a matter of knowing more about economics. To that effect, Herbert Gintis suggests **Naked Economics**

        Most books on economics for the layperson are written with some political axe to grind. These books are universally worthless. There are a few books that simply present what economists know, and basically agree that they know. There is a lot more that economists know than might be gleaned from reading the newspaper or following political debates. Most political hacks (and anyone who says “I am a committed liberal” or “I am a committed conservative,” is a political hack in my opinion, because issues general benefit from insights from both camps) simply ignore the laws of economics. There are a few informative and unbiased expositions for the layperson, which I have reviewed on my web site (under “You Must Read This!”, Books on Economics for Serious Beginners. Naked Economics is probably better than any of these, simply as a balanced literate exposition.

        Wheelan explains the benefits and limitations of markets, the benefits and limitations of government interventions, the basics of finance (especially, how to avoid the costly errors that about 50% of investors are prone to make, such as believing they can pick winners), and the role of international competition. There is nothing that Wheelan asserts that I think is not 100% correct, including his exposition of development economics and globalization. Highly recommended.

        http://www.amazon.com/review/R16QWUJT1D6OC6/ref=cm_cr_old_cmt_rd/186-6024368-7532212

        Would you have other recommendations?

        ***

        My own suggestion amounted to the observation that scientists ought to grasp the limits of their cultural traits, which too often turn into weaknesses. Prominent ones, those who testify to Congress for instance, ought to get professional help. Most of them earn enough (we can estimate that some even earn 300k per year or more) to hire consultants.

        More on that later if you like.

      • willard (@nevaudit) | May 1, 2013 at 11:58 am |

        I’m very much the wrong guy to invite to the Climate Etc. Book Club. Here goes why: though I deplore the following method, I recognize it’s more likely to be relevant than my own:

        Pair Wheelan’s Naked with Perkin’s Confessions of an Economic Hitman;
        Balance Ballve’s Essentials with Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations.
        Follow Hazlitt’s One Lesson with Keynes’ General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money

        I know these seem like wonky match-ups, and highly diverse in seriousness and sanity, and you’d likely get every bit as much technical information about Economics from the Khan Academy (which also works).

        I haven’t read all these books in detail, but the point is Economics doesn’t have a single taproot, nor a single time. Objective distance helps demonstrate where an author was caught up in a narrow agenda of his time, while readers might be too close to present issues to understand when they’re seeing a biased framing.

        Contrast with the way I did it: I did it. I did the math. Textbook after textbook, thesis after thesis, journal article after journal article I did the math. I programmed computers to do the heavy lifting, and I used tools to make it easier, but I did the math.

        I looked at the demographic data. I looked at what actually went on in the buying and selling and distribution channels and size and shape of firms and technology transfer and inputs and outputs and finished goods and partial inventories and industry ratios and I did the math. It would have been easier if I had something like R back then, and something like the internet when I started, and those days are long, long past me, but I did the math. So should anyone who wants to learn Economics as more than a dilettante.

        That’s how you learn winning chess, too. You do the math, and you play the games, both. Over and over and over with as much diversity and seeking all the insight you can while you do it, but you do it. You do it like calisthenics. You do it like piano practice. You do it until you win games. You do it until you’re a chess player. Or a piano player. Or fit.

        And whatever you do, don’t even imagine picking up the likes of Hayek until you’ve done the math and have some idea of what’s what.

        And then, if you’ve done the math, you’re equipped to comment on Economics at the BA or BSc. level, if when tested you pass muster to graduate, on the balance of probabilities. Or, if you’re really slick, if you pass muster by making it work at a trading desk or running models for big firms, or in actuary.

        After that comes the hard stuff, and no half-dozen books by Economists will get you even part of the way there. Reading a book, even a book by Ballve or Keynes, gets you no further to being an Economist than reading a recipe book turns you into a loaf of bread.

      • willard (@nevaudit) | May 1, 2013 at 11:58 am |

        As to what I recommend be done about the topic at hand, were I an advisor in Lomborg’s position?

        I’d recognise that these committee hearings have a structure. There’s a BMOC, and that in this case was Chameides, because he could bring the ACC to the committee and sum it up and personify it for their questioning. All other witnesses not the BMOC have a support role, and ought understand that and present accordingly, speaking to the BMOC’s topic, not dragging their own tired old tale in and dropping it on the table like a half-feral cat with some limp vole’s carcass.

        Where Chameides stopped, I’d hope to take up his thread and move forward in a trajectory of use to the members. I’d hope if they’re concerned about maintaining material competitiveness with China that I’d bring the figures that would remind them they fell behind in that race a decade ago, and are far, far behind on research spending and innovation spending and capturing hold of the technology of the future — I might even remind them of the rumors that China has moved the bulk of its intelligence efforts into industrial espionage to augment that research and innovation lead and cement their advantage over the rest of the world while America’s attention has been diverted otherwise, but that’s not my area of expertise, I’d say.

        I’d point out that America’s one advantage over China is that government research and innovation is invariably slower — planned government innovation and science is invariably worse — than enterpreneurial research and business innovation motivated by building something as the owner of the idea from the ground up. If America wants to regain the lead Capitalism gave America, then America must return to Capitalism.

        Which means an end to all subsidies other than those supported by the infant industry argument. Which means privatization of all resources that are administrably feasible to privatize where they are scarce, rivalrous and excludable. That means a carbon dividend and fee. Conversely, it also means strengthening educational and scientific institutions, with government at arms length while it trusts the value proposition that a science education is worth having.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Bollocks – engineering needs maths – economics needs curve fitting at the outside – simple curves at that – the rest can be learned in a 10 minute youtube video.

        There are a two simple economic rules. Manage interest rates to prevent asset bubbles – balance government budgets at about 25% of GPD. The rest is just prudential management and messy politics.

        The best known of Hayek’s works are The Constitution of Liberty and The Road to Serfdom – neither notably about economics as such but of the impulse to and methods of restraining market freedoms and human freedoms more generally.

        ‘When I say that the conservative lacks principles, I do not mean to suggest that he lacks moral conviction. The typical conservative is indeed usually a man of very strong moral convictions. What I mean is that he has no political principles which enable him to work with people whose moral values differ from his own for a political order in which both
        can obey their convictions. It is the recognition of such principles that permits the coexistence of different sets of values that makes it possible to build a peaceful society with a minimum of force. The acceptance of such principles means that we agree to tolerate much that we dislike. There are many values of the conservative which appeal to me more than those of the socialists; yet for a liberal the importance he personally attaches to specific goals is no sufficient justification for forcing others to serve them.’

        Carbon taxes come under this general heading something that must be tolerated if the messy processes of democracy demand it. Bart tends to want to elevate it into a moral imperative – something that should be regarded with derision.

      • Bart R,

        Thanks for your answers. I agree with the first one. I tell about the same thing about those who ask me: if you want to win chess games, play chess games. To play chess games, you need to sit in front of a chessboard and play. Really play. It’s a game. You have to feel what it’s like to play.

        If your play suck, you have to get better. How? By playing chess before you play chess. Some call this preparation, but this has nothing to do with preparing to play. There’s all kinds of exercises, books, tools, but they’re only gimmicks if you can’t sit in front of a chessboard and see how you experience the game. In situ.

        To learn from your mistakes, you need to feel what it is you feel when you made them. Then you’ll be able to study. Studying chess is basically a way to clarify the experiences you had with the experiences you have while studying, and correct how you approach the game.

        ***

        So we now know that people ought to give you your money back. Were they proficient enough in the mathematical problems behind economics, they’d see this immediately. But that’s a lot to ask of scientists, no? More so if they’re physicists, as all the ones I know solved Economics over and over again in cocktail parties, with a few equations, for fun:

        http://xkcd.com/793/

        ***

        OK. Onto my point. My point was that about the “here’s what I know” stance. This might work in front of a science crowd, but that does not work in more turbulent classrooms. Imagine a room with 150 Moshpits and try a “here’s what I know” stance. You better know your stuff really well. You better know how to defend your stuff really well too. And to learn to say “I don’t know, what do you think?” a lot, and most importantly, to realize that you’re in front of them, so you better sound like you deserve it:

        Some have this naturally. Some need to help of an art director. Actors oftentimes do. And there’s the need to realize that you better be yourself, while at the same time getting over it. Fulfilling your role of a witness about what everyone already know you know, so that you can say it in a way the audience can feel you know what your role is.

        More practice would certainly help. (Do maths! Play chess!) I don’t want to mean that it’s just a show. But it should, first and foremost, be one. It must be, or else it will sound rehearsed.

        We’re losing rhetoric. It sucks.

        Anyway.

      • Chief Hydrologist | May 1, 2013 at 11:17 pm |

        Having done the math of Engineering, and the math of Economics, and the math of Physics, and of various other fields, I have to say you sound like someone who learned his Engineering by reading Hayek.

        Going straight to Hayek, you skipped over the good parts, and headed straight to the tailbone. You bit off more than you can chew, and you’re choking on opinion without foundation. Retreat to Ballve. Have a bit of fun with Perkin’s little amusement. Attend the freaking Khan academy.

        Sure, half of Economics needs no more than simple arithmetic and elementary logic; the problem is deciding which half.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Bollocks. Having sat in the auditorium making notes of macroeconomics and microeconomic. Having read Keynes, Freidman, Stiglitz, Soros, Ostrom, God help me Marx, Adam Smith, E. F. Schumacher and numbers of others of the dismal breed. I had much more joy in the works of Albert Einstein which unfold like a lotus in the mind over decades. I found much more passion in the realm of rainfall and floods. I can model this you say? I can gather all this beauty and power and turn it into pure math? I stood on my chair and applauded madly and cheered at reduction to row echelon. We did a Mexican wave in the lecture on hydrogeology. I contemplated wave theory and refraction on my lake in mid winter where the pelicans soared and time unfolded to infinity.

        A cold wind buffeting off the lake
        captures the imagination for an instant,
        plunging with the pelicans wings glancing
        sunlight off feathers…

        If I could wait like a stone on the shore,
        fast dissolution in the storms of time.
        If I could break the barrier of light
        to freeze the instant, it would still be
        unfolding to infinity.

        But you have practical things like managing interest rates – which you leave to drones with their special rules. Maintain inflation at 2 to 3%. Refrain from over enthusiastic printing of money – it will lead to devaluation and tears. Do not let the cat out amongst the pigeons.

        Hayek is of another order. An eloquent heir to the Scientific Enlightenment – and especially the Scottish enlightenment – whose true antecedents are Hume, Paine, yes Adam Smith and many others. ‘Sharing the humanist and rationalist outlook of the European Enlightenment of the same time period, the thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment asserted the fundamental importance of human reason combined with a rejection of any authority that could not be justified by reason. They held to an optimistic belief in the ability of humanity to effect changes for the better in society and nature, guided only by reason. This latter feature gave the Scottish Enlightenment its special flavour, distinguishing it from its continental European counterpart. In Scotland, the Enlightenment was characterised by a thoroughgoing empiricism and practicality where the chief virtues were improvement, virtue, and practical benefit for the individual and society as a whole.

        Among the fields that rapidly advanced were philosophy, political economy, engineering, architecture, medicine, geology, archaeology, law, agriculture, chemistry and sociology. Among the Scottish thinkers and scientists of the period were Francis Hutcheson, Alexander Campbell, David Hume, Adam Smith, Dugald Stewart, Thomas Reid, Robert Burns, Adam Ferguson, John Playfair, Joseph Black and James Hutton.

        The Scottish Enlightenment had effects far beyond Scotland itself, not only because of the esteem in which Scottish achievements were held in Europe and elsewhere, but also because its ideas and attitudes were carried across the Atlantic world as part of the Scottish diaspora, and by American students who studied in Scotland.’ Wikipedia Indeed it was carried as far as the antipodes.

        Hayek gives a vision to the ongoing adventure of human freedom. Sadly Bart it seems to me that you are like a damp fire – much smoke, little light and no heat at all.

      • Chief Hydrologist | May 2, 2013 at 1:53 am |

        Oh. You sat in a lecture hall and made notes, you brave soul!

        You read a few big names in the art, and became their equal by that exercise in expanding your mind. And all without ever checking their facts or skeptically testing whether anything they said meant anything at all.

        Reading about economics is not practicing economics; it’s the opposite of practicing economics because it is not the action of doing economics. It’s like reading about football and thinking you’ve become an athlete.

        And reading Hayek for an education in economics is the rohypnol dating of economics: you might get there faster, but it’s cowardly, baseless and wrong. If you don’t have the guts to do the math, if you can’t actually engage on the statistics and explain the trends, if you’re just propping up preconceived notions with big words, you’ve failed to grasp the subject.

      • Steven Mosher

        ” Imagine a room with 150 Moshpits and try a “here’s what I know” stance. ”

        Moshpit learned early on that all good exchanges came during office hours after watching this exchange as an undergrad. Earle invited me to attend his graduate seminar in Hegel’s phenomenology of Mind.

        Earle: So, what is mind? is your mind the brain, is your brain your mind? Mind takes mind as its object, thought takes thought as its object and is one with its object. Hearing cannot take hearing as its object……

        Eager Grad student: [interrupting] But Professor Earle some philosophers argue that the mind is nothing more than a brain state.

        Moshpit [ ducking ...poor kid.. man this will leave a mark ]

        Earle: “So Eager Grad student you think you have a brain? How do you know, did you read about it in the newspaper?”

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Bollocks. You sit there in your cabin in the woods pontificating – zen like – on nothing much at all but your own wisdom and importance. Really it is all a bit old and tedious.

        Should I practice economics like Citibank or Fannie Mae? Should I practice economics like Spain. Ireland, Greece or indeed the US?

        When I say there are simple rules – I didn’t make them up. Although Hayek more then anyone was responsible for the practices on interest rates and inflation. Not do these occur in a theoretical vacuum. They are applied every day in Australia – in a more or less consistent way. We may have wished for less Keynesian profligacy in the past few years – then perhaps we could pay for a National Disability Insurance Scheme without groaning and digger deeper into our pockets. Instead we had $100 billion of frivolous spending with nothing to show for it – like a well heeled but hungover sailor after a weekend of leave. It pre-empted lower interest rates and kept the dollar high. Pigeons that are well and truly roosted requiring now a decade or more of restrained spending.

        These are practical economics for a trading economy – and the proof is in the pudding.

        http://www.arnnet.com.au/article/459273/australian_growth_3_per_cent_year_imf/

        And sure we have a ‘revenue neutral carbon tax’ – but this is not a matter of pure, purer, purest economics. It is a matter for the messy sphere of government and politics. The is nothing pure and capitalist about a tax. It is not something that arises spontaneously in a marketplace. Practically – there is only the question about whether – even if one agrees with the objective of carbon mitigation – there are not more efficient, pragmatic and practical ways for government to proceed. Having said that – the ability to compromise to the ends of a peaceful and non-coercive polity is – as Hayek said – something a true enlightenment liberal understands but such an understanding is lacking in both the conservative and pissant progressive.

      • Let’s cut to the chase:
        Bollocks, because Hayek.
        Pissant progressives.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        …studied in Scotland.’ Wikipedia…

        Note the quotation marks and the attribution. I rarely quote Wikipedia accept on biography and historical background. In this case it was the Scottish Enlightenment that was a foundational influence on the US. Although I am sure that webby remains as fundamentally ignorant of this as of much else.

        So the question is – is he a liar – a fool – or both. And yes I continue to mock Laplace’s long haired, monomaniacal, leaping gnome – how simple it all is for such a wondrous intellect to solve climate. Well seriously – it is 5.00am and I have been sitting at my dining room table for hours writing a report and waiting for the sun to come up over the tropical ocean – I have to get my jollies somehow. Looks like webby is it.

      • Generalissimo Skippy

        There is a tide in the course of climate wars.
        Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
        Omitted, all the voyage of their life
        Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
        On such a full sea are we now afloat,
        And we must take the current when it serves,
        Or lose our ventures.

        H/t big willie – not wee willie

        On such a tide I with my trusty blue mount Shibboleth have launched all of our forces, committed all of our resources and thrown all caution to the winds. Victory or ignominy. Success or distress. Triumph or defeat. A man – or a woman – and his trusty steed takes all this in a stride.

        It matters only to be a man. Free, honest, forthright, steadfast, reliable – and the truth will follow. That there are miserable curs who slink about with their hearts full of lies and deceit. Who have abandoned the dignity of honesty and truth. Who whine with thinned lipped meanness of this and that without any conviction or passion. Those without freedom on their lips have tyranny in their souls. It matters not at all – they are bound in shallows and in miseries while we heirs of freedom sail the open oceans true to our moral compass.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        And wee willie – my words speak for themselves. Your diminutive chase is even less coherent than usual.

        What is it exactly that I have said?

        We should keep interest rates between 2 and 3% – check – interest rates are adjusted monthly in Australia to keep interest rates between 2 and 3%.

        Carbon taxes are political rather than emerging spontaneously in the marketplace. They are therefore a matter for the messy processes of democracy.

        Hayek talks about commitments to democracy. ‘It is the recognition of such principles that permits the coexistence of different sets of values that makes it possible to build a peaceful society with a minimum of force. The acceptance of such principles means that we agree to tolerate much that we dislike. There are many values of the conservative which appeal to me more than those of the socialists; yet for a liberal the importance he personally attaches to specific goals is no sufficient justification for forcing others to serve them.’ – FA Hayek ‘The Constitution of Liberty. Reading Hayek for the economics is like reading Playboy for the articles.

        Bart has studied physics, engineering, economics, mathematics, computer science – I think it is all quite laughable in fact – but he certainly misses the point of Hayek entirely. Despite my spelling it out. Along with some important insights that are central to economic management today – Hayek is primarily a philosopher of freedom in the great traditions of the enlightenment.

        “We must make the building of a free society once more an intellectual adventure, a deed of courage…. Unless we can make the philosophic foundations of a free society once more a living intellectual issue, and its implementation a task which challenges the ingenuity and imagination of our liveliest minds, the prospects of freedom are indeed dark. But if we can regain that belief in the power of ideas which was the mark of liberalism at its best, the battle is not lost.”

        How sad is it that this quest to best create and maintain a free society is not at the forefront of our civic endeavours. What we need more than ever is to emulate the old heroes of freedom. To recover this requires the power to dream.

        ‘I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.’

      • Chief Hydrologist | May 2, 2013 at 6:27 pm |

        I have sat in lecture halls and taken notes on Archimedes and Watt. I have read a book by Descartes. And while I didn’t do any math, I drew some pictures, and based only on those pictures I just built a bridge.

        It’s a kilometer high (more or less, I guessed about some of the longer bits), and a hundred meters long and a meter wide (except for the exceptions that I had to make because of my pet peeves) and hardly bends and I’m quite certain it is exactly one centimeter thick, just like Descartes’ Pensees specified.

        Oh, but don’t worry, you don’t _have_ to cross it to get to safety with all you love and all you own. There’s every chance philosophy will overrule Physics just because you really, really want it to.

        Go ahead. Cross the bridge. I sat in a lecture once, and read a book. So I’m the guy you want building your bridge for you.

        Go ahead. Cross the bridge. I’ll be right behind you.

      • Generalissimo Skippy

        It is a dream of a bridge then is it bart? I recall one of my very first engineering lectures – eager little things we were with the world opening before us – that anyone could build a bridge. Engineers can do it cost-effectively. The sole function is minimising materials and maximising efficiency.

        So if you build a bridge I would no doubt load test it first – but otherwise have no problem at all. A party of politicians in Humvees should do the trick. We had a Minister of the Crown long ago who was 7ft tall and 400lbs. He had a penchant for cutting ribbons. So we would get him to load test just about everything. Stand over there while we take a photo.

        But the idea of an economist with a slide rule is a vision of hilarity. Are you really an economist or are you just joshing us? And what makes you think that the Reserve Bank needs my help setting interest rates. I had nothing to do with setting the system up. Although this was Hayek’s central economic concern. In more than 20 years of growth – this is a bridge crossed many times.

        So in just what manner would you exercise your economist slide rule? I know – you want your money. I am sure that I don’t have it – but if I see it lying around I will be sure to let you know. But then again I am sure from my immense breadth of reading and experience – of engineering, environmental science, economics, philosophy and the many other areas – that there are much more effective, pragmatic and practical measures to mitigate carbon emissions. Trust me I’m a professional environmental scientist.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Of course it is like being an officer and a gentleman. If the things falls down you are handed a pistol and expected to do the right thing. Still up for it Bart? No? I guess that’s why economists are held in such high regard.

      • .. who broke the Great Barrier Reef.

        We all have to learn to distrust each other a little more. More formally. More skeptically. More earnestly. With better fact checking and statistical analyses and effort to bring value to the table.

        Imagine what might have happened if, a quarter century ago all the plumbers in Australia got together and scrutinized their plans with decent skeptics and biologists and mathematicians and if maybe, just maybe, one of them said — Hey! Hold up. We have a little problem about 35 km out of the outflows if we go on this way.

      • Generalissimo Skippy

        Having sung and danced, published, talked, studied, lived and breathed water quality for 30 years – I can’t help thinking we would be further long if not for the idiotic distraction that is global warming. Thanks for that.

  72.  

    Mistakes are common in science and they can take a long time to correct, sometimes many generations. It is important that misguided political decisions do not block science’s capacity for self correction, especially in this instance when incorrect science is being used to threaten our liberties and wellbeing.

     
    ~Dr. William Happer

    • Some may have thought the liberty to pollute and own slaves was guaranteed under the Constitution. It turns out they were wrong.

      America’s well being would be best served by encouraging anti-government ideologues to emigrate to Antarctica where they could have little or no government and all the freedoms anyone could want, at least for a while. Antarctica may be the next Australia

      • Not anti – guvuh-mint, Max-Okay
        We so called, by u , “idealogues” are fer
        rule-of-law-fer-all, but law that observes
        certain boundaries, like non – retrospective
        laws, intrusive, sometimes petty, interference
        in people’s lives and individual autonomy.

        Heyek sets it out fer u – if – u – will- but -open –
        the – pages – ter – en – light – eh – n’ment on
        citizens versus centralized – creep -ing –
        author-i-terr-ior-nisim.

        Serfs – fer – liberty – of – the – individual, – the
        – right – ter – choose – what – ter – eat.

      • Most of the global warming that occurred since the Little Ice Age occurred before Leftists began trashing the culture and who knows how long either will last?

      • Don’t try to Heyek me, Beth Cooper. I will be the judge of what’s good and bad for me, not you and some dumb ass ideology. I know what you want. You want the freedom to be a nuisance. Why, I don’t know, but my guess is personality disorder.

      • Generalissimo Skippy

        Tut tut Max – you will do as you are told and learn to like it. Besides which – your lack of book learnin’ makes you indistinguishable from a redneck.

        Lincoln was a Republican and Hayek was an eloquent heir to a rich tradition that that had it’s core a regard for the freedom of all and in its practice freedom for slaves, universal suffrage and the protection of the weak against the strong and ruthless.

        ‘When I say that the conservative lacks principles, I do not mean to suggest that he lacks moral conviction. The typical conservative is indeed usually a man of very strong moral convictions. What I mean is that he has no political principles which enable him to work with people whose moral values differ from his own for a political order in which both
        can obey their convictions. It is the recognition of such principles that permits the coexistence of different sets of values that makes it possible to build a peaceful society with a minimum of force. The acceptance of such principles means that we agree to tolerate much that we dislike. There are many values of the conservative which appeal to me more than those of the socialists; yet for a liberal the importance he personally attaches to specific goals is no sufficient justification for forcing others to serve them. I have little doubt that some of my conservative friends will be shocked by what they will
        regard as “concessions” to modern views that I have made in Part III of this book. But, though I may dislike some of the measures concerned as much as they do and might vote against them, I know of no general principles to which I could appeal to persuade those of a different view that those measures are not permissible in the general kind of society
        which we both desire. To live and work successfully with others requires more than faithfulness to one’s concrete aims. It requires an intellectual commitment to a type of order in which, even on issues which to one are fundamental, others are allowed to pursue different ends. It is for this reason that to the liberal neither moral nor religious ideals are proper objects of coercion, while both conservatives and socialists recognize no such limits. I sometimes feel that the most conspicuous attribute of liberalism that distinguishes it as much from
        conservatism as from socialism is the view that moral beliefs concerning matters of conduct which do not directly interfere with the protected sphere of other persons do not justify coercion. This may also explain why it seems to be so much easier for the repentant socialist to find a new spiritual home in the conservative fold than in the liberal.’ FA Hayek – ‘Why I am not a Conservative.’

      • Beth Cooper | April 30, 2013 at 11:38 pm |

        In the last election, did you vote Romney, or Obama?

        Oh. You’re not from America?

        Well, that makes your opinions about the US Constitution so much more interesting.

    • Skippy, I ain’t big on ideology. Mostly it’s BS (someone’s opinion) about how things should be. I think ideology is for saps who believe things can actually be the way someone thinks they should be. I’m not wasting my time on ideology.

      I had an ADD spell before i got through your lengthy post, but the following caught my attention:

      FA Hayek – ‘Why I am not a Conservative.’

      This got me to thinking about why I am conservative but not “a conservative.” Off hand, I can’t say, but i’m sure there’s a good reason.

      • Generalissimo Skippy

        You have no economics, no science, no political philosophy. no maths, no poetry and you ain’t interested. Says it all really.

        And I am trying to figure out why my comments keep disappearing down the rabbit hole.

      • k scott denison

        Max_OK | May 1, 2013 at 1:19 am | Reply
        Skippy, I ain’t big on ideology. Mostly it’s BS (someone’s opinion) about how things should be. I think ideology is for saps who believe things can actually be the way someone thinks they should be. I’m not wasting my time on ideology.
        _______

        Appears to me that what you ain’t big on is self awareness. Could just be me, though.

    • Beth Cooper

      Amen ter above, ‘those without freedom on their lips have
      tyranny in their souls …they are bound in shallows and
      miseries while we heirs of freedom sail the open seas.’
      Another great speech on liberty, Pericles Funeral Oration,
      A serf.

      http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/pericles-funeralspeech.asp

      • Generalissimo Skippy

        Beth me Darlin’

        I felt a bit of florid oration come over me of a sudden. It must have been the Shakespeare. I will read the other oration at a quiet moment.

        I am so enthusiastic about your poem yesterday – it is utterly splendid.

        Best regards,
        Skippy

      • Beth Cooper

        I am happy yer liked it dear Generalissimo Skippy
        I had wondered whether ter post it.
        Btcg..

  73. Another approach to advising political representatives might be to paint a vivid scenario where the Western United States are afflicted with a near-biblical flood that stalls all commerce, transport, communications etc and sends the State of California broke (we have to assume a California that is not broke already, for the sake of argument).

    Next, a dramatic pause as the educated audience of WAPO readers contemplates that even the cities of the just and enlightened like Portland may be engulfed along with the wicked Nascar cultures…

    Then tell them the event has already occurred – in 1862. (If there had been cities etc in 1605…even worse!)

    You never know, this may lead politicians back to a mood of skeptical prudence, which is far more valuable in their sort than adherence to dogmas of progressivism, libertarianism and so on.

    • Don’t forget to tell ‘em about all the times New Orleans has been wiped out and about the grapes in England.

      • Generalissimo Skippy

        http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/ENSO11000.gif.html?sort=3&o=107

        Mega drought and mega floods? The demise of the Minoan civilisation commencing some 3500 years ago? The drying of the Sahel starting some 5000 years ago that changed the course of human history?

        The kids these days are so poorly educated. I blame the guvmint.

      • Whoops, I forgot about the cancellation of the past. Murky old sepia thing, it is. So boring.

        The future, on the other hand, is far more certain and sharp…but I’ll leave it to the more imaginative of our climate bedwetters to tell of future grapes in Antarctica. Playful little shiraz from the north side of the moraine, and so on.

      • Climate skeptics are sort of today’s Luddites. They can’t accept change, but cling to the old ways and want to live in the past, preferably the Medieval Warm Period, even though that period wasn’t as warm as today. If you suggest it wasn’t as warm then, they will get all surly and call you a fraud, and even compare you to pedophiles.

      • Max_OK

        I’ll only tell them about the grapes in Medieval England when some knucklehead tries to tell me that the current warm period is unusual for 1300 years.

        The same goes for New Orleans flooding.

        Max_CH

      • Generalissimo Skippy

        Actually – they say it was as warm 1400 years ago but that was probably due to Antarctica. Most other places were quite warm 1000 years ago.

        http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/22/study-charts-2000-years-of-continental-climate-changes/

        Wonder if that Antarctic record is reliable?

        Luddite and living in the MWP has me a bit confused however – and I don’t intend to struggle with it.

      • Beth

        You might fault Okie for his bad manners, juvenile attitude and aggressive disposition, but don’t hold his poor “book learning” against him.

        After all, OK schools rank 40th among the 50 states.

        Max

      • Luddites clinging to the past? You saw my windmill!

        Seriously, I’ve had some odd reactions from alarmists when I’ve referred to their least favourite subject: the great climatic events and trends of the past. That’s about the oddest reaction.

        All up, they just don’t like the past. It’s “anecdotal”, it’s “cherry picked”, it’s pre-satellite and…just stop it, okay! The past is out-of-bounds. Things are worse than before…but there is no “before”, just in case you thought you’d be clever and check.

      • Reliability of paleoclimate studies of Antarctica climate during MWP?

        All paleoclimate studies are not much better than reading tea leaves.

        Often they are simply subjective interpretations of dicey paleo proxy data taken from carefully “cherry-picked” periods of our geological past, used to “prove” a preconceived notion by using the argument from ignorance in their evaluation.

        As John Nance Garner said about the US vice president’s office: it’s “not worth a warm bucket of spit”.

        This probably also goes for most paleo-climate studies.

        Having said that, Hemer et al. 2003 found that the Amery Ice Shelf was likely warmer than at any time during the CWP, inferred from measurements of absolute diatom abundance and the abundance of the algae, Fragilariopsis curta, found in sediments retrieved from beneath the ice shelf.

        There have been several other studies, using different paleoclimate methodologies, which have come to the same conclusion.

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/04/11/evidence-for-a-global-medieval-warm-period/

        Max

  74. Generalissimo Skippy

    Hayek not Heyek – get the name if you are going to call him a crazed, right-wing demagogue. A sad lack of book learnin’ is my a-sess-ment. I blame the guvmint.

    • I didn’t want to call attention to Beth’s misspelling, so I repeated it. She is the worst speller at Climate, Etc, but she doesn’t let that stop her, and I think that’s good. When I get to be a perfect speller myself, I’ll start correcting others.

      • Generalissimo Skippy

        Beth’s misspelling is usually deliberate for poetical purposes – you are just an undereducated adolescent with far too little book learnin’ and much too big a mouth. I blame the guvmint.

      • Yeah, well I’m not a descendant of jail birds.

        The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

        Hmmm … maybe it’s the nut (acorn) doesn’t fall far from the tree. Yes, I like that better.

      • Generalissimo Skippy

        Australians are descended from a motley collection of poor white English trash, starving Irish and Scots who had been transported for handing out Thomas Paine tracts.

        ‘Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.’

        ‘The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection.’

        ‘Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.’
        Thomas Paine

        Read more at – http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/t/thomas_paine.html#cicU6GHM0d7ux5Bk.99

        We soon in the open air and with abundant protein grew stronger, smarter, faster than our forebears and we forged a unique democracy with our blood, sweat and tears in a nation that was born in chains and fear. We may appear to be carefree, insouciant, devil may care but below that is a steel hardened in the flames of freedom. Don’t imagine for an instant that we are ashamed of our heritage – it is rather a mark of high distinction.

      • Beth Cooper

        Ahemm. Max_ Okay, I’ve taught Baccalaureate English
        and was a deputy principal, or is it principal, :)
        Beth the cow-girl, serf and uther things.

      • Beth, I just thought you couldn’t spell or were too lazy to try. I didn’t know you were intentionally misspelling.

        I really don’t care if your ancestors were jail birds. I don’t believe that necessarily means you have criminal tendencies.

        It’s past my bedtime. Goodnight.

      • David Springer

        The real badasses left England voluntarily, declared independence on another continent, and went on to found the United States of America after winning a hard fought revolutionary war with England. Today, over 200 years later, the country they founded is the foremost military and economic power in the world.

        Remind me when Australia officially became independent of England and at what cost in blood and treasure? Hahaha – that’s a rhetorical question.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        A bad case of big swinging dick springer? I will tell you something for nothing. America used to talk quietly and carry a big stick. The louder the talk the less the size of the stick.

      • When we spoke softly we had a below-average stick. We were like the stick extender for England’s stick. Frog’s too.

      • MAx_OK,

        You’re so far over your head it’s kind of painful. I’d quit while you’re still way, way behind…

        pg, aspiring serf
        Or is it surf?
        Cerf?

  75. BS, you envy the U.S.A., and wish you were Americans. Since you can’t measure up, you come here and try to run America down.

    • Max_OK

      Nobody is “running America down”

      To most of the world the USA remains a beacon of freedom.

      It is the second-oldest living democracy on Earth (Switzerland is a few hundred years older).

      It has helped bail out the rest of the world at least twice during WWI and WWII, not including its major role in helping build Europe up again with the Marshall Plan and defeating the USSR in the Cold War, thereby liberating millions in Eastern Europe.

      Immigrants from all over the world have flocked to the USA as the land of freedom, liberty and unlimited opportunity. Almost none of these have returned to their native countries in disillusion.

      So it is a great nation and a great place to be.

      Some denizens have expressed regret that America has lost some of its economic strength, that growing government bureaucracy could stifle individual freedom and some might not agree with all the current or past policies of the US government, but I am not aware of anyone here “running America down”, Okie.

      Certainly not me.

      Max_CH

      • Alexej Buergin

        Switzerland is a democracy, the USA are a republic. Switzerland imitated congress, but not the powerful president, and they have no capital. But the “Bundeshaus” is as dirty as the Mall in DC.

      • I was under the impression that Iceland is the world’s oldest democracy.

      • “Growing government bureaucracy” is a crock.

        http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/jobs/posts/2012/08/03-jobs-greenstone-looney

        Growing government debt ain’t a crock.

        But anyway, as an American, I resent foreigners telling me how to run my country. These foreigners have it backwards. Don’t they know Americans are supposed to tell them how to run their countries?

      • Alexej Buergin

        timg56
        Iceland: A case for Wikipedia.
        But was Switzerland a democracy when it was occupied by Napoleon? Or: Do you start counting in 1291 or in 1848?

      • Alexej Buergin

        Max OK:
        2 possibilities to produce a lot of bile:
        1) Tell a Swiss what Americans are doing better
        2) Tell an American what any other country is doing better

      • Alexej Buergin

        Switzerland is today, like the USA, a representative federal republic with a democratic voting system. Its most recent constitution, and form of government, was patterned after the USA.

        It started out as a democratic confederation of three mountain cantons in 1291, new territories joined over the centuries. These were German, French and Italian speaking cantons, with one canton also having Romantsch speakers. Of course, it went through many of the European wars of the times since then, but has remained an independent entity throughout.

        Napoleon invaded and changed the loose confederation to the more centralized Helvetian Republic, which lasted a few years.

        The new constitution was ratified in 1848; it has been amended from time to time since then, like the US constitution.

        Switzerland has the same division between legislative, executive and judicial branches as the USA.

        The legislature has an upper and lower house (elected as in the USA).

        The federal court has 38 federal justices, appointed by the legislature.

        The executive branch does not have a single elected president, like the US, but a 7-member executive council, elected by the parliament, with each member responsible for one department (interior, state, defense, finance, etc.); one member is voted by the council as president for a year on a rotating basis. So the federal council is, in effect, the “cabinet” in the USA.

        A major difference is that the Swiss electorate retains the right to call for popular referendums on major issues, often voting against the will of the executive or legislative branch – and the vote of the people takes precedence over the others.

        A second big difference is that it is a “bottoms up” rather than “top down” system. The communities get the largest share of income taxes, the canton gets the second largest share and the federal government gets the smallest share. The cantons are like the states in the US.

        In 2001 the Swiss voters decided by referendum to add a “debt brake” amendment (frein à l’endettement or Schuldenbremse) to the constitution, whereby federal spending is not allowed to increase federal revenue. This works (to avoid getting into a “Greece” problem).

        Corruption at the “Bundeshaus”?

        There is not much corruption (but I would not say there is no corruption: where there is power, there is always the danger of corruption). The big problem is not corruption, but, as in all federal republics, there is constant pressure from the federal government to increase its power over the cantons.

        The Swiss system manages to cope with this “power creep” by the feds, but it is there, and being surrounded by the centralistic-minded EU (Switzerland’s #1 trading partner) does not help, so this is an ongoing struggle between the forces that want to centralize and those that want more decentralization.

        The system isn’t perfect, but it works for a small place like Switzerland.

        Max

      • correction

        …federal spending is not allowed to increase exceed federal revenue…

      • Alexej Buergin

        You are right that nobody likes ctiticism.

        The historical difference is great between the USA, a giant nation that emerged as a world power ~100 years ago, and has rescued the rest of the world from wars, dictators, totalitarian empires, etc. a few times since then, and Switzerland, a tiny multi-lingual nation with a long history, which has managed to remain neutral for over 200 years now.

        As the Brisbane Courier-Mail wrote in 1948, shortly after WWII:

        Switzerland is an island of sanity surrounded by the surge of the mad, bad world.

        You can draw comparisons, but you cannot say “one governmental system is better than the other”.

        Each fits the specific needs of its voting populations.

        And, besides the similarities in the form of government are greater than the differences.

        Max

      • Beth Cooper

        Look fer me serf musings on the origins of the
        open society, lead article in the first edition of
        The Serf Under-ground when I am able ter post
        it on the internet! Bts.

      • Alexej Buergin

        Nevertheless Brobdingnag and Liliput can learn from each other.
        A few years ago a majority of Swiss citizens suddenly agreed with Americans that it is more agreable to eat in a restaurant without somebody smoking at the next table.
        And if Americans would imitate “Vernehmlassung”, their laws would be much shorter and not nearly as stupid. (A proposal for a new law has to be shown to everybody concerned, who then may lobby for changes).

  76. Chief Hydrologist

    ‘Chief Hydrologist | April 30, 2013 at 3:04 am |

    ‘Scientists think the antimatter particles were formed inside thunderstorms in a terrestrial gamma-ray flash (TGF) associated with lightning.’ http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2011/11jan_antimatter/

    First it absolutely was with an excuse to insult Pekka, then it emphatically wasn’t with your arse in the air – finally it is ambiguous and you accuse me of babbling.

    You are a total dingbat.

    David Springer | May 1, 2013 at 6:06 am |

    This comment is an experiment to see whether it’s possible to ever have the last word in a thread where Chief Kangaroo Skippy Ellison is involved. Evidently and by his own admission, he’s too weak willed to resist responding to me. I play him like a fiddle. Watch now as he flings ad homs at me in a tirade that can only be described as Tourrete’s-like. They should name a monkey cage in a zoo somewhere in his honor. LOL’

    This is an experiment to see if springer can make an even bigger dingbat of himself.

  77. David Wojick

    The primacy of science is not relevant when science is undecided.

  78. patrioticduo

    It’s becoming clearer by the day that Climate Etc has been overtaken by irrational commenter’s that are best described as rock hurlers. Who throw without knowing why, for what purpose, or to what end, other than to hurl. I wonder how long this can keep up before there is no one left to hurl at?

  79. Chief Hydrologist

    ‘Finally, it is vital to note that there is no comfort to be gained by having a climate with a significant degree of internal variability, even if it results in a near-term cessation of global warming. It is straightforward to argue that a
    climate with significant internal variability is a climate that is very sensitive to applied anthropogenic radiative anomalies [cf. Roe, 2009]. If the role of internal variability in the climate system is as large as this analysis would seem to suggest, warming over the 21st century may well be larger than that predicted by the current generation of models, given the propensity of those models to underestimate climate internal variability [Kravtsov and Spannagle, 2008].’ S&T 09

    This is not sensitivity as most would understand it – it is sensitivity to initial conditions. Thus – as in the penultimate paragraph to this paper – there are risks of climate surprises at both extreme ends of the warming/cooling spectrum. Climate change could be very much worse than thought and occur in as little as decade. Climate is a coupled non-linear system and to argue that it isn’t would be to go very much against the grain of scientific thinking. So in this sense the science is settled. We know what the system is and broadly what behaviour can be expected from this class of system.

    It seems to me that the promulgation of rational ways forward to mitigate emissions is the order of the day – and taxes and caps seem neither rational or a way forward.

    • Finally, it is vital to note that there is no comfort to be gained by having a climate with a significant degree of internal variability, even if it results in a near-term cessation of global warming. It is straightforward to argue that a
      climate with significant internal variability is a climate that is very sensitive to applied anthropogenic radiative anomalies [cf. Roe, 2009]. If the role of internal variability in the climate system is as large as this analysis would seem to suggest, warming over the 21st century may well be larger than that predicted by the current generation of models, given the propensity of those models to underestimate climate internal variability [Kravtsov and Spannagle, 2008].’ S&T 09 …
      -SWANSON AND TSONIS: HAS THE CLIMATE RECENTLY SHIFTED?

      This is not sensitivity as most would understand it – it is sensitivity to initial conditions.

      The more positive the feedbacks are, the greater the variance: Anomalies are stored up and remembered over longer periods of time, leading to larger excursions. Again, this reflects the integrative
      nature of a system that does not eliminate perturbations efficiently. This is one reason why the claims that the global temperature record primarily reflects natural variability and not anthropogenic forcing miss the mark a little in regard to the implications for global warming. If the temperature reconstructions reflect high natural variability of global mean temperature, then odds are that the climate system is even more sensitive to external forcing (i.e., the positive feedbacks are even larger).
      Feedbacks, Timescales,
      and Seeing Red – Gerard Roe

      • Chief Hydrologist

        I have quoted S&T so often – I think everyone should know what it is.

        Thus – as in the penultimate paragraph to this paper – there are risks of climate surprises at both extreme ends of the warming/cooling spectrum. The very use of the term ‘global warming’ shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the system.

        The feedbacks are multiple – negative and positive – and the control variables may be such things as solar UV or orbital eccentricities. The impacts of CO2 relies of inference and models. Neither is reliable. The only direct evidence in satellite radiant flux shows cloud cover dominating recent warming – and more recent non warming – with changing ocean and atmospheric patterns.

        ‘In summary, although there is independent evidence for decadal changes in TOA radiative fluxes over the last two decades, the evidence is equivocal. Changes in the planetary and tropical TOA radiative fluxes are consistent with independent global ocean heat-storage data, and are expected to be dominated by changes in cloud radiative forcing. To the extent that they are real, they may simply reflect natural low-frequency variability of the climate system.’ IPCC 3.4.4.1

        The patterns are real and associated cloud changes equally so. See Clement et al 2009 – ‘Observational and Model Evidence for Positive Low-Level Cloud Feedback’ – for instance.

        http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Clementetal2009.png.html?sort=3&o=38

        There is little to demonstrate that CO2 has been more than a bit player in changes of the past 150 years. Nonetheless – it is certain that climate will shift by the nature of non-linear systems and that the shifts are quite unpredictable at present. We may be changing elements of the system in ways that increase the potential for instability in ways, at times and to an extent that we cannot possibly know beforehand.

        This argues strongly that perhaps we should be a little more cautious and do what we can reasonably do to reign in some of the more problematical behaviours. What can we do? I was reading a report from Western Australia that suggested that carbon sequestration in agricultural soils would cost $80/tonne. The report went on the say that there were many ways to improve soil carbon but that these were normal conservation measures and did come under the additional carbon sequestration above and beyond BAU rule. For God’s sake – let’s do what we can to conserve soil and water, build productivity, protect downstream environments and sequester 500 billion tonnes of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

        Worse than misleading – global warming is a madness that has derailed environmental progress for a generation.

      • My father and I started using a no-till system for our cornfields ~1970.

        We went to Lubbock last weekend for my son’s induction into AOA, and it was shocking to see plowed cotton fields (I’ve never grown cotton and it may be the only way they can do it). Mile after mile of them, so yes, there is a lot of room for CS in soils.

      • David Springer

        http://www.cottonman.com/Cotton%20Production.htm

        No-till cotton is expensive and herbicide intensive. Requires planting a cover crop of wheat between cotton rows after cotton harvest in October-November and two separate herbicide treatments in the spring, one a winter-weed killer applied everywhere and the second a general purpose herbicide applied a few weeks before sowing cotton to just the soil where the cotton is planted.

        No mention is made of how rows of wheat between rows of cotton effects how the cotton is harvested.

        Another study found that effective nitrogen fertilization becomes more expensive as urea/amonium-nitrate solutions banded or soaked into the soil need to be replaced by more expensive amonium-nitrate broadcast on the surface.

        Where soil erosion isn’t a problem no-till is probably not a good option as the chemicals in the required herbicides dumped into the environment year after year is not without undesirable consequences. I’m sure chemical companies have a vested interest in no-till farming and dump plenty of money into lobbying for it in DC (there are federal laws requiring a certain percentage of no-till for lands subject to high erosion rate) and grants to researchers who produce favorable economic findings. In the latter one continuously runs across the term “long term economic benefit”. That’s because there is usually obvious short-term economic harm, Sort of like CO2 mitigation which causes short-term harm in return for a mere promise of greater benefit so far in the future that the purveyors of the promises will be dead and buried, or at least retired emeriti, and thus unaccountable for the long term results.

      • Reading that, it’s possible what I was seeing is no-till in a drought situation where they were unable to get the follow-on crop out of the ground.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        No till farming is one of a number of techniques which include minimising soil compaction, precision spraying and integrated pest management. Water holding improves, productivity improves and large decreases in input costs are possible. The bundle of practices are the modern farming revolution that is conservation farming.

        ‘• Soil that is full of nutrients and organic matter and that can store moisture grow better, higher yielding crops, contribute to water use efficiency and break down residual herbicides faster.

        • Many cotton growers are using minimum or no till farming systems (where the soil is not ploughed, and stubble is retained and planted into) which has seen dramatic improvements in soil health, retaining moisture and nutrients, and a reduction in diesel fuel usage (hence carbon emissions).

        • Cotton is grown in rotation with other crops such as wheat, chickpeas and sunflowers (legumes) to increase nutrient level in soils.

        • It is common practice for paddocks to be left to rest or remain ‘fallow,’ allowing a natural build-up of nutrients in the soil.

        • Many cotton farmers use organic fertilisers such as chicken and feed lot manures, and some are experimenting with bio-solids, or human waste.’

        http://cottonaustralia.com.au/australian-cotton/environment/sustainability

      • David Springer

        No-till is controversial. The plow is replaced by chemicals. A head-long rush away from farming practices safely employed for thousands of years is ill-advised. See below.

        http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/no-till-farming-zmaz84zloeck.aspx

        snippage (my bold)

        No-Till Farming Pros and Cons
        The agricultural industry is converting to this new and (on the surface, at least) better method.

        To many people, no-till farming appears to be a tremendous step forward for agriculture. At a time when fertile topsoil is being worn away by wind and water at rates that are figured in tons per acre per year, a drastic new soil-conservation measure is certainly in order. And as you’re about to see, no-till does preserve topsoil, but this advantage doesn’t come without certain trade-offs. As it’s currently practiced in the U.S., no-till farming might more appropriately be called no-till/chemical agriculture.

        In 1982, about 275 million acres of U.S. cropland were sprayed with 360 million pounds of active herbicidal ingredients. Twenty years ago, before the advent of no-till agriculture, the numbers were only tiny fractions of these figures.

        And in some cases, where crop residues harbor insect pests, the use of insecticides may be greater, as well. What does this mean for our health and that of the land? Let’s look further into herbicides to see.

        Concerns

        Toxicity: Herbicides work because they’re dangerous; almost without exception, a human could be killed by ingesting enough of a weed killer. Some herbicides, however, would have to be taken in pretty heavy doses to do the job. Paraquat is probably the most toxic weed killer in widespread use today. In laboratory tests, half of a population of rats will die if they’re fed 150 milligrams of paraquat per kilogram of body weight. To put that in human terms, it takes about a teaspoon of paraquat to kill a person. People who handle herbicides—in both production and application—can be in great jeopardy if they don’t exercise proper precautions.

        How likely is it that we’ll be poisoned by herbicide residues in our food? Not very likely. First of all, our nasty example chemical, paraquat, is only applied to fields at the rate of about a pound of active ingredient per acre, which means that its concentration would be pretty low on any given unit of food. And second, as you’ll see in the paragraph on persistence, the concentrations of many herbicides drop off quickly. We do, however, consume some amount of herbicides on treated crops or via livestock that have eaten the crop or foraged on the ground. The long-term effects of even small dosages are very difficult to predict.

        There is no question that wildlife is damaged or killed by certain herbicides. Birds can be injured if they get in the way of spraying (small amounts of paraquat can kill eggs), and the runoff from herbicide-treated fields can be injurious to a range of water-dwelling organisms. The herbicides paraquat, atrazine, and MSMA have been found to inhibit the growth and productivity of algae in streams, which can affect the overall bioproductivity of the water. (Of course, no-till farming goes a long way toward eliminating water runoff, so this new agricultural practice may limit that specific effect.)

        Persistence: Herbicides remain active in the soil for anywhere up to about 30 months, but most of the commonly used chemicals have broken down by the end of the eighth week after their application. DDT, an insecticide, gained its notoriety because it remains active in the environment for a very long time, accumulating in the bodies of creatures (especially birds) exposed to it. Herbicides, as opposed to insecticides, are less likely to show such effects because they tend to break down as they work. For example, 2,4-D is degraded as it does its job of stimulating auxins in the plant. Paraquat may be the herbicide that presents the greatest persistence problem. Though it’s held inactive in most soils, clay-heavy earth may enhance its cumulative qualities, eventually posing a hazard after a field has been sprayed for several years.

        Ecological effects: There is widespread concern that herbicides may kill soil microorganisms, those bacteria and fungi that decompose organic matter and make the earth fertile. In fact, many herbicides may inhibit microorganism growth, and a few are very destructive. Others, such as 2,4-D, seem to have no effect at all.

        There’s also reason to worry about the development of strains of weeds that aren’t affected by herbicides. This isn’t a matter of the genetic development of strains resistant to herbicides, the way in which some insects have come to tolerate insecticides. Rather, weeds that are already resistant—Johnsongrass is a good example—often flourish in herbicide-treated fields. Because other weeds that may have competed with the resistant species have been wiped out, the tough weeds are free to run amok.

      • David Springer

        So basically if you’re Monsanto you love no-till farming because you sell uncounted billions worth of herbicides and insecticides in matching sets with GM seeds. And if you’re John Deere you hate it because there’s a lot less wear and tear on farm equipment used to mechanically condition the soil against weeds and insects instead of chemical conditioning.

        This must cause a lot of aingst among the uber-liberal Mother Earth News audience. The cognitive dissonance so thick you could cut it with a knife in other words. They basically hate anything unnatural. Farming should be done with no more than a sharpened stick from a tree you planted after apologizing to the tree for taking a stick from it and apologizing to the earth for poking it with a sharp stick. On first blush you’d think no-till farming is getting back to mother nature because those big farm tractors voilently tearing apart the soil into bare dirt and shredded vegetable matter periodically isn’t very natural. But then they look a little closer and find out the plow is replaced by unnatural chemicals toxic to plants and wildlife with very long formulas sold by evil industrial giants like Monsanto who brought you DDT and it becomes a whole other ballgame. Not so natural anymore. Suddenly the tractor and plow doesn’t seem so bad. As an added benefit, unlike weeds evolving resistance to being killed by herbicides, no weeds have yet evolved resistance to being torn apart and buried by sharp steel blades. :-)

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Notill is being decided by farmers on the basis of costs and benefit. And there are many other techniques in conservation farming.

        http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/135319/eib70_reportsummary.pdf

        http://talk.newagtalk.com/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=87978&DisplayType=flat&setCookie=1

        http://www.fao.org/ag/ca/CA-Publications/Pesticide%20Outlook%202005.pdf

        http://www.bcg.org.au/cb_pages/images/5708%20BCG%20Fact%20sheet%20Moving%20into%20No-till%20Final%20.pdf

        http://www.mudcitypress.com/PDF/notil.pdf

        It is by no means ‘controversial’. Springer relies on a 30 year article in Mother Earth News – the wonders of the internet.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      I have seen the FAO report.

      Just about everything is farmed no till in Australia – some 15% of farmers and increasing rapidly. 50% in sensitive areas in Queensland.

      There is perhaps even better opportunities with intensive rotational grazing.

  80. Beth Cooper

    pokerguy
    Yer not an aspiring serf, you ARE a serf,
    however yer spell it With yore permishun,
    extracts of from yore Tolstoy narrative will
    be published in Serf Under-ground. Serfs
    like Tolstoy. Bts

    • Sucks to be you, GaryM. Since when did you start to believe government estimates? I thought you hated the government.

      It appears as if the USGS is saying that the new total is essentially double the oil than they previously thought.

      The new prediction is “7.4 billion barrels of undiscovered—but technically recoverable—oil”. That means that the previous prediction was about 7.4 billion barrels (if it is now doubled).

      Now compare this number to what my blogger colleague DC modeled here recently: http://oilpeakclimate.blogspot.com/2013/04/bakken-model-suggests-7-billion-barrels.html

      Kudos to DC, as he took the numbers from current production and then extrapolated and essentially nailed the 7 billion barrel number.

      Great job.

      The new numbers now include the Three Forks formation, which the USGS calls “undiscovered”. They have not discovered it yet, but claim that it is recoverable.

      This is the fact sheet:

      http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2013/3013/fs2013-3013.pdf

      “The geologic model for the assessment of the Bakken Formation and underlying Three Forks Formation is that oil generated in the upper and lower Bakken shale members migrated locally into low-permeability and variable-porosity reservoirs of the middle Bakken member, the Pronghorn Member of the Bakken Formation, and dolomitized units of the Three Forks Formation. Locally, oil was also retained in the low-porosity matrix and fractures of the upper and lower Bakken shale members. A hydrogen index (HI) value of 450 was used to define the boundary of thermally mature source rock in the upper Bakken shale member as indicated by recent USGS research.”

      They classify two new “hypothetical” assessment units, Middle Bakken and Three Forks as conventional and estimate the total undiscovered in these two units to only contain 8 million barrels. That is piddly. The rest of the undiscovered oil is in what they call “continuous” units. I think this is the unconventional, tight oil which can only be extracted by hydrofracturing.

      In any case, 7 billion barrels of oil will provide all of the USA’s oil demand for about 1 year, and this new undiscovered stuff another 1 year, if it pans out.

      That’s the Bakken for you, lots of hype.
      Not really a Black Swan, more like Black Ducklings.

      • So not o horribly long until we’ll be back to what North Dakota is actually good for: loneliness.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        More likely to be underestimated than over estimated.

        I am not sure anyone is suggesting that it is going to power the world for a hundred years. But still a nice little couple of trillion dollar earner.

        There are newer and deeper discoveries and – perhaps more importantly – enhanced oil recovery techniques.

        http://www.csiro.au/Outcomes/Energy/Energy-from-oil-and-gas/EOR.aspx

        It all adds up to increasing liquid fuels supplies at the important margins for the foreseeable future – as everyone important keeps saying.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      SS: The Lives of the Cowboys. Brought to you by Morning Star aloe cream for your saddle. It’s natural. And now we join Dusty and Lefty for another exciting western adventure. (MUSIC FADE, NIGHT AMBIENCE)

      GK: Kind of quiet out there, Dusty.

      TR: Well, it gets quiet in Minnesota in January. People get thoughtful.

      GK: Nobody moving out there. Makes me nervous something bad is just about to happen.

      TR: That’s why you didn’t want to camp under a tree?

      GK: That’s right. Cougars jump out of trees. Anvils fall out of trees.

      TR: What anvils?

      GK: That’s the problem. You don’t know until it’s too late.

      TR: Never heard of an anvil falling out of a tree.

      GK: You never heard of it because the people they fell on couldn’t pass on the word.

      TR: What’s the anvil doing up in the tree?

      GK: Somebody put it there because that’s the last place you’d look.

      TR: You are crazy. You know that?

      GK: Just telling you what I think.

      TR: Loneliness has driven you over the brink into paranoia and insanity, pardner.

      GK: Ha! I’m a cowboy. Loneliness is what I crave. Insanity is what we eat for breakfast. No, sir, solitude is a gift, Dusty. We are cowboys. Lonesome is part of the iconic nature of the calling.

    • Web

      Aw, c’mon Web.

      – All those evil oil companies are throwing their money down a rat hole that only Webby knows is a bad deal?

      – And the drilling & service companies are all jumping on a bandwagon that will end up in the ditch?

      What are the odds the above statements are correct?

      Get serious.

      If the estimates of 7.4 billion bbl of oil and 6.7 trillion cubic feet of gas in Bakken plus Three Forks are correct, there is enough oil to cover the entire US demand for ~400 days (worth $660 billion @ $90/bbl) and the entire gas demand for ~100 days (worth $20 billion @ $3/thousand cf).

      So it’s not chump change.

      Plus, it will help with the balance of payments and create a lot of new jobs to an ailing economy.

      Max

      • Manacker said:

        “So it’s not chump change.

        Plus, it will help with the balance of payments and create a lot of new jobs to an ailing economy.”

        So you can’t argue that our technical analysis is correct. At one time, understanding natural resource limitations was a significant part of earth sciences. I have some old textbooks with names like “Environmental Geology” that actually discuss the concept of finite fossil fuel supplies. Who would have thunk it?

        Certainly, the economics are important, but somebody has to be counting the beans.

        There are three of us bloggers that have been looking at the technical analysis of hydrofracture-assisted fossil fuel depletion have been spot on in narrowing the numbers down from the original over-estimates, and in explaining the production of these kinds of oil fields:

        http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2013/04/ornstein-uhlenbeck-diffusion.html

        http://oilpeakclimate.blogspot.com/

        http://www.theoildrum.com/node/9954

        We are just doing what any amateur earth scientist would do — we study the earth and see what surprises it has in store. Isn’t that what effective environmental science advice is all about?

        Eh, Manacker?

      • David Springer

        WebHubTelescope (@WHUT) | May 2, 2013 at 7:57 am |

        “I have some old textbooks with names like “Environmental Geology” that actually discuss the concept of finite fossil fuel supplies.”

        That’s SO 1970’s.

        “Who would have thunk it?”

        Paul Ehrlich comes to mind.

      • Yes, sticking your head in the stand is so 21st century thinking.

        The beginnings of the Red Queen in Bakken production

        http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2012/05/bakken-growth.html

        The production response of a hydrofractured well

        http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2012/07/bakken-dispersive-diffusion-oil.html

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

        Ornstein-Uhlenbeck diffusion

        http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2013/04/ornstein-uhlenbeck-diffusion.html

        The ongoing recession is difficult to separate from a lack of conventional crude oil supplies:

        Consumption of oil is down 5% in the OECD nations since about 2005.

        Alternative energy strategies are needed to compensate for the land grab that chindia is making for the remaining supply.

        “Paul Ehrlich comes to mind.”

        It looks like Paul Ehrich was right about depletion of non-renewable natural resources, and that Julian Simon has become an irrelevant historical footnote. Not that any of this was painfully bleeding obvious from the outset.

        Cornucopians come to mind.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘Julian Lincoln Simon (February 12, 1932 – February 8, 1998)[1] was a professor of business administration at the University of Maryland and a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute at the time of his death, after previously serving as a longtime business professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.[2]

        Simon wrote many books and articles, mostly on economic subjects. He is best known for his work on population, natural resources, and immigration. His work covers cornucopian views on lasting economic benefits from natural resources and continuous population growth, even despite limited or finite physical resources, empowered by human ingenuity, substitutes, and technological progress…

        He is also known for the famous Simon–Ehrlich wager, a bet he made with ecologist Paul R. Ehrlich. Ehrlich bet that the prices for five metals would increase over a decade, while Simon took the opposite stance. Simon won the bet, as the prices for the metals sharply declined during that decade.’ Wikipedia

        Simon was without doubt correct – and the continuing growth in liquid fuels supplies demonstrates this admirably.

      • Paul Ehrlich wasn’t.

      • Paul Ehrlich was correct. The year that crude oil production hit an extended plateau (2005), the consumption of oil in the Western countries started to decline

        Consumption in the OECD countries has gone down by 10% since the plateau started. Countries like China are compensating for this decline as they still have a huge inertia invested in a production-based economy and they have the money to pay for expensive fuel.

        You can try to justify this anyway you want but the laws of finite constraints of nonrenewable resources are immutable. Ehrlich knew that, while Julian Simon was purposely clueless.

  81. Beth Cooper

    WHT it’s always wise
    ter remember that
    black swans abound,
    not jest above but
    also below ground.

  82. Oh, and yes, that’s GM’s logo at the bottom of the page there:

    http://www.ceres.org/bicep/climate-declaration

    • Chief Hydrologist

      My electricity usage is 40% of the regional average. No mention of taxes and caps? Just efficiency and innovation? OK.

      Most climate scientist are still wrong – and it is not warming for a decade to three more. How are you going to explain this to the folks down home? Surprise surprise – we were holding back on the really bad news?

      • Chief Hydrologist | May 2, 2013 at 12:09 am |

        Forcing, not warming, is my issue.

        Climate change is a result of a Forcing that is so bloated as it is because of an Economic Climate that has been bloated by interference and ineptitude, neglect of underlying principles for glamorous, but wrong, superficialities.

        The low carbon path (www.trust.org/item/20130426134446-vg28n/) is not the one of deprivation and misery; there is no correlation in actual demographic data about welfare compared to carbon emission that shows higher carbon emission to lead to higher welfare. Skipping over the high carbon mistakes of nations that depend on fossil burning is the wisest, cheapest, route to prosperity for the LDCs.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Bollocks. That’s such a bad add campaign. OK – it’s not warming but we have this monster forcing over here that is going to cause you a whole lot of butthurt? To borrow a term that I find vulgar and homophobic. Not that I have anything against homophobes like springer and Josh. My sister is a homophobe.

        Where were we – oh yes. As an add campaign it sucks big time. Perhaps – the Surgeon General says forcings are bad for your health – don’t pass on your forcings to your children and grandchildren – managing forcings for fun and profit – forcings led me into a life of sin don’t let it happen to you or to the cute little fairy (no pun intended) penguins – forcings suck help blow forcings away.

        High energy cost is the path to continued deprivation for many – other than that go for it.

      • Bart R

        there is no correlation in actual demographic data about welfare compared to carbon emission that shows higher carbon emission to lead to higher welfare

        Huh?

        What planet are you referring to, Bart?

        Human welfare has increased markedly since the Industrial Revolution, especially in those nations where industrialization has already taken place. The quality of life for the majority, and thus for the average, has improved. But there is still a large gulf between rich and poor nations, where the populations do not yet have access to a reliable, low-cost source of energy.

        Global carbon emissions have increased from 0.53 GtC/year to 9.1 GtC/year from 1900 to 2010. [CDIAC data]

        At the same time, world population has increased from 1.65 billion to 7.0 billion and GDP (in 1990 $) has risen from $1.1 to 71.8 trillion per year [Wiki], so annual per capita GDP (an indicator of affluence) has increased from $670 to $10,300.

        Quality of life has improved (especially in those places where industrial development has taken place) and average life expectancy has increased from 31 years to 67 years. [Wiki]

        The “pre-carbon” world was a place where human life was short and brutal (as it still is in some underdeveloped nations).

        Max

      • “The “pre-carbon” world was a place where human life was short and brutal (as it still is in some underdeveloped nations).

        Max”

        The current oil recession is brutal, let’s look for alternative energy strategies and kill the climate change monster with the same stone.

        That’s effective science advice.

      • manacker | May 2, 2013 at 3:52 am |

        If you’re going to correlate human welfare with the Industrial Revolution, and carbon emission with the Industrial Revolution, then of course you’re going to correlate human welfare with carbon emission in the same way as you’re going to prove that the rise of communism correlates with human welfare, or the rise of pornography, or the rise of atheism, or the rise of cocaine. However, we’re fortunate that so few people are gullible enough to believe that sort of glittering genera.. (this just in! Many people are gullible enough to believe exactly that sort of handwaved fallacy.)

        So, you can say it. And dimwits incapable of digging deeper for facts might believe you. But you’re still saying something that is essentially false.

        There is plentiful poverty and misery in the USA. There’s plenty of poverty and misery in those states that dig and burn the most coal. There’s plenty of wealth and a thriving middle class in many nations and states that burn half or a third or a fifth or a tenth the carbon per capita of those coal states. The correlations are to education (in particular of young women) and health care (in particular of young children and their mothers) and enterpreneurship (in particular at the level of one or a few people in enterprise).

        You may wish to ask me for links or citations, but I know I’ve provided them here before. Heck, I’ve seen you cite the same sources before here. Either you aren’t reading your own sources — and no amount of citing by me can fix that, as we’ve seen with Peter Lang — or you’ve read them and chosen to ignore the mathematically inevitable correct conclusion.

      • The family plot in Gunn City indicates this. Most of my ancestors from the 19th Century lived into their 70s, 80s, and 90s. The only exceptions were the women who died in child birth, and a few young children. None of the men died from 6 to 69.

        So the lucky old goats had no alimony and 3 or 4 wives, with the favorite buried next to them.

      • Bart R and Web

        If either of you doubt that the (fossil fuel fed) Industrial Revolution had anything to do with the dramatic increase in affluence, quality of life and life expectancy that humans have seen over the past century or more, you are simply sticking your heads in the sand.

        Read some history books and check out some statistics.

        Max

      • JCH

        Thanks for the anecdotal “evidence”.

        Max

      • It is simply what happened. When lifespans were under 50, not many people died around the age of 50. They died as infants in very high numbers; women died during childbirth in very high numbers. People who survived infancy and women who survived giving birth tended to live very long lives, just like we do. You make it sound like they hooked up gasoline hoses to mothers and babies and pumped them full of premium and presto, the average jumped above 70. Totally ignoring what actually motivated and allowed improvements in medicine that allowed for longer lifespans.

      • Bart R

        How do you measure carbon use by nation or group of nations?

        China likes to talk about “carbon intensity” (tons CO2 generated per unit of GDP), and has even made statements that it would improve its CI as part of the global effort to reduce CO2 emissions.

        Another way to look at this is the inverse of CI (GDP $ per ton of CO2 emitted), or “carbon efficiency” of an economy.

        This (not simply per capita carbon usage, which is sometimes cited) is the true measure the ability of a nation to generate affluence for its population with a minimum amount of carbon use (the higher the “carbon efficiency” the better).

        Based on Wiki data, the world average carbon efficiency in 2010 was around $1,900, up significantly from around $1,500 in 2008.

        The USA currently has a “carbon efficiency” of around $2,700, while China is at around $900. (Both nations have increased this significantly over the past 2-3 years.)

        The EU and Japan (nations with a relatively high population density) are above $4,000.

        Australia plus Canada (nations with a relatively low population density, even lower than USA) are at around $3,000.

        The “Asian Tigers” (Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, S. Korea) are slightly behind at around $1,700.

        The other “BRIC” nations plus the “OPEC” nations are between $700 and $1,000, as is the average of all other nations.

        A few small nations like Norway, Sweden and Switzerland are over $6,000, as is nuclear-powered France (S and F are included in the EU total).

        And the good news is that this number is steadily increasing in essentially all countries or groups of countries.

        And the even better news (IMO) is that this is occurring without the implementation of a global carbon tax.

        Max

      • manacker | May 2, 2013 at 9:09 pm |

        You ask an intelligent question.

        One first asked a generation ago, and negotiated, and haggled over, and determined in what is called under treaty the Carbon Inventory of nations.

        Of course, it’s not perfect.

        For example, the much vaunted US figures for reduced carbon emissions are.. well.. possibly overstated due “outdated and inaccurate formulas to estimate levels of air pollution“.

        http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Environmental-groups-sue-EPA-over-refinery-4484297.php

        But the treaty makes allowances for improving calculation of Carbon Inventories; isn’t the humility to acknowledge there’s room for improvement refreshing?

        Sad, that it takes litigation against the foot-dragging government to force it to do its job, sometimes, but refreshing that science marches forward toward more parsimonious, simple, universal, accurate truths.

        And let’s face it, the whole carbon efficiency shell game is a pointless exercise in boasting about who has the biggest one. If it ever gets useful in some way, be sure to let us know.

      • Bart R

        It appears that you are missing the point.

        The “no regrets” approach is to attempt to reduce the dependency on fossil fuels without destroying the world economy or reducing the quality of life of its inhabitants.

        An IEA 2012 report tells us that

        nearly 1.3 billion people remain without access to
        electricity and 2.6 billion do not have access to clean cooking facilities.

        This problem can only be resolved by providing these poorest people of all a reliable source of low-cost energy, which in most cases will have to be fossil-fuel sourced. Nuclear is a problem for proliferation reasons and other non-fossil fuel alternates (wind/solar) are too expensive.

        Yet we want to move in the direction of lowering our overall dependence on fossil fuels, while not adversely affecting our quality of life and affluence.

        A good indicator of whether or not we are moving into that direction is the inverse of the “carbon intensity” (as suggested by China( tons CO2 per unit of GDP).

        The “carbon efficiency” (or “effectiveness”) of an economy or nation can be measured by $GDP per ton CO2 of that nation or economy.

        If this increases, we are reducing the amount of CO2 generated as a percentage of the GDP generated, which should be our goal.

        If we look at the past several years, we see that this indicator has, indeed, moved in the desired direction as nations develop their economies, with the more developed nations (such as the EU, Japan, USA, etc.) showing a higher “carbon efficiency” than the developing nations (China, India, etc,) or those nations that are even less developed.

        IMO this is the direction in which we need to be moving, and it appears that we are already doing so.

        Max

      • Peter Lang

        Manacker,

        IMO this is the direction in which we need to be moving, and it appears that we are already doing so.

        But very slowly and the rate has been slowing for the past two decades.

        Since UN climate change conferences began, in 1992, the rate of decarbonisation of the global economy has slowed from 2% pa (in 1991) to 0.7% pa (in 2009) (see figure 2 http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com.au/2010/07/decelerating-decarbonization-of-global.html ).

        The slowing over two decades suggests the way we’ve been trying to approach this – international agreements to targets and timetables with penalties for breaching commitments and, more recently, pricing carbon – is the wrong approach.

        To cut global emissions by 50% over 50 years would require carbon intensity (or carbon effectiveness) improves by 4%-5% pa (average). That’s an enormous increase in the rate from the current 0.7% pa.

        The only way, realistically, the world can achieve that rate is with a major contribution from nuclear power.

        The major economies need to do what France did over a period of about two decades. From 1970 to 1990, France replaced most of its fossil fuel electricity generation with nuclear power. Over 75% of France’s electricity is generated by nuclear power and it achieved that by about 1990 (roughly from memory). The major emitting nations need to do this too, just like France did from 1970 to 1990. Also note that France now has about the cheapest electricity in Europe.

        The nine largest emitters contribute 75% of the world’s emissions (USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, EU, Russia, China, India, South Africa). If they moved to largely replace fossil fuels with nuclear power for electricity generation, over 50 years, as France did over about 20 years, that would make a major dent in global emissions. There really is no other practical way.

        This could be achieved at little or no net cost, even a cost savings (as France did). As fossil fuel plants reach the end of their economic life they would be replaced by nuclear power if it will provide the cheapest electricity over the life of the plant.

        Virtually all plants are replaced within around 40 to 50 years anyway, so all existing plants will be replaced by the least cost option in the normal course of events over the next 50 years.

        What is needed to make this happen is for the advanced economies, especially the USA, to allow nuclear power to be cheaper – cheaper than fossil fuels.

        The US President could remove the impediments that are causing nuclear power to be high cost.

        The solution is within the US President’s power to achieve. (The Eco-NGOs could also make it happen)

      • ” manacker | May 3, 2013 at 4:07 am |
        Bart R
        It appears that you are missing the point.

        The “no regrets” approach is to attempt to reduce the dependency on fossil fuels without destroying the world economy or reducing the quality of life of its inhabitants.”

        Notice how Manacker uses rhetoric to try to redefine terms to match his own sinister agenda. He completely misinterprets what the “No Regrets” policy or strategy means. Yet, Manacker cannot change history and all one has to do is go to the source of the policy. From 1991 and a review of a National Academy of Science report:

        “The panel’s “no regrets” strategy starts with emissions-reducing initiatives that would pay for themselves in greater economic efficiency. High on this list is energy conservation for buildings, vehicles and industrial processes.”

        Or this one from that time

        “The concept of no-regrets policies is that there are actions which have merit on other criteria, that we might responsibly pursue anyway, that would slow the rate of growth of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These are actions for which we would have no retrospective regrets even if he risks of climate change turn out to have been overstated. Some of the proposed measures would seek to limit the magnitude or rate of climate change while others would simply try to anticipate and accommodate the changes which occur. It is in this context that we return to the issues of forestry. Forests are perceived as king fundamentally “good” and most plans to confront global climate change include some effort to maintain and/or increase the amount of carbon which is stored in forests.”

        The bottomline is that the world should apply a “No Regrets” policy because we have to get off of fossil fuels anyways. It is a finite resource for cripes sake. This is painfully obvious.
        For shame Manacker, for always trying to twist any act of logical policy into a barbaric act.

      • “manacker | May 2, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
        Bart R and Web

        If either of you doubt that the (fossil fuel fed) Industrial Revolution had anything to do with the dramatic increase in affluence, quality of life and life expectancy that humans have seen over the past century or more, you are simply sticking your heads in the sand.

        Read some history books and check out some statistics.

        Max”

        What kind of fallacious argument are you engaging in Max? You implied that I stated something starting with the phrase “I doubt that the …”.

        Go ahead and find it. Until you do that, you are MiniMax, the one who “no play fair”, in the words of Willard.

      • manacker –

        This problem can only be resolved by providing these poorest people of all a reliable source of low-cost energy,

        What does providing these poorest people of all a reliable source of low cost energy (from fossil fuel)? What would that entail? Would it entail a comprehensive effort to build supporting energy infrastructure? Would it entail other development, such as enlarged and enhanced civil society, educational systems, court systems, judicial systems, and democratic political systems?

        How do you propose that such developments take place? Where will the funding come from?

        I’m afraid that you don’t have answers to those questions, then you are holding energy policy hostage to an unrealistic fantasy, and so doing, whether intentional or not, effectively rhetorically exploiting the lives of poor people to try to win an argument.

      • Joshua would be the first to admit that he doesn’t have the science or engineering background as others on this list, yet some of the arguments are so fundamental that anyone with any intuition or logic can lay them out, and here Joshua does just that by ripping apart faulty rhetoric by Manacker.

        That is why I do read what Joshua says. It is the combination of technical facts and common sense reasoning that lead to a path forward. Support the science, and destroy the rhetorical lies. It sounds like fluff, but tis true.

      • Rob Starkey

        There is no worldwide “we”. There are independent nations doing what they believe is generally in their best interest. That is why the nations that currently have a large number of citizens who do not have access to power will obtain it from the most cost efficient source over the coming years/decades.

        The global “we” only exists in the fantasy of many western minds.

      • We are human beings. If we didn’t exist then the fossil fuels would still remain buried under the ground. So by the fact that we have extracted more than half of the crude oil, it means that we will have to wean ourselves off the supply. The bottomline is that the world should apply a “No Regrets” policy toward climate change because we have to get off of fossil fuels anyways. It is a finite resource for cripes sake. This is painfully obvious.

        Funny how someone like Ringo can’t follow straightforward logic,

      • There are no independent nations doing what they believe is generally in their best interest. It is just a myth. Et cetera.

        For more on this:

        http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/platonism/

      • Rob Starkey

        Webby
        Think more and make fewer pointless comments. There is no global we, only independent nations doing what they think is best for themselves. That has led to predictable human behavior in the past (to develop power for their citizens) and will in the future.

        Yes, as your have ranted for years, crude oil is a finite resource. Yes, you have been wrong in ranting about the decline of crude oil being critical when in fact it is overall fossil fuel supplies that are critical. Overall fossil fuel supplies are adequate for many decades. Yes, a transition from fossil fuels is inevitable, but it will occur as economics and technology determine it will.

        In regards to potentially limiting CO2 emissions, the key overall issue is the over 3 billion people worldwide who do not currently have access to electricity or personal transportation. In the coming decades, the leaders of the nations in which those people reside will find ways to get them access to both or they will be at risk of being replaced by their citizens. They leaders of those nations will logically choose to provide power in the most cost effective means possible. The citizens of more developed nations like the US will decide to not (to any significant amount) subsidize these nations development of a power infrastructure. There is not a regrets policy to get these 3 billion people electricity that does not lead to much higher worldwide CO2 emissions.

      • Rob,

        Think.
        No nations think.
        There is no such thing as a nation.
        There are no independent nations.
        There is no such thing as independence.

        See how easy it is.

      • manacker | May 2, 2013 at 2:59 am |

        In development Economics, two things professionals cringe at because of their wanton stupid destructiveness are megaprojects and exploitation for ulterior agenda. And it’s amazing how often those two go together.

        The far end of the scale of exploitation for ulterior agenda includes things like calling for food aid for your starving people. Why are they starving? You’ve been starving them to draw foreign aid workers into the area to kidnap and ransom, or to disrupt government efforts by requiring soldiers to accompany food aid workers, or just so you can charge a toll on the roads for passage of food trucks. However, it’s no morally different when some carbon fuel worshipper extols the virtues of bringing carbon burning to “the poor” because their vain belief in the sanctity of coal is insurmountable.

        Megaprojects seldom produce the benefits claimed in proportion to the amount spent — and the amount spent is often borrowed from some source that then preaches Austerity on the backs of the same people as supposedly benefit ever after, as the taxes that pay the interest on the loans that paid for the megaprojects that took away the livelihoods of the taxpayers grow ever larger as a proportion of dwindling GDP, in the most extreme examples, but even in the best examples are always worst for the general population than small enterprise would have been, and only went forward because of the graft, greed, folly and pride of a very few.

        So when you laud how much good the Industrial Revolution has done, equating the Industrial Revolution only and solely with coal-burning while ignoring the co-evolution of much larger scientific, education, social, political, communication and medical revolutions and then use this utterly false foundation as an inappropriate model to justify base colonialism, you must understand how great the disdain that rises in one’s throat at the nauseous stench of such snake oil acts is.

        Produce those revolutions of science, education, society, politics, communications and medicine among LDCs, leaving aside the coal-burning, let LDC’s decide which path to embrace (which by and large they do, choosing the low-carbon path where free to vote), and you will see the improvements you so wrongly attribute to your pet petroleum product.

      • Ringo says “overall fossil fuel supplies that are critical“.

        I now expect him to begin arguing with himself as to who the “we” was and which nation that this applies to.

        You have to hand it to these logical Lilliputians.

      • Ringo should talk meaningless. Per the sea level rise discussion of a few days ago, Ringo tried to throw everyone off the trail by pointing to a meaningless decrease in recent data. By looking at the data, I was able to show a meaningful 2 month oscillation as the real source.

        I think your projection is showing.

      • manacker | May 3, 2013 at 4:07 am |

        Your “..problem can only be resolved by ..” line of reasoning is patently false. We know this, as we know from the work of Esther Duflo and Hans Rosling and a hundred others that what you say bears no semblence to actual fact in actual cases.

        So we must conclude you have an ulterior agenda,.

        What is the possible regret of a fee and dividend mechanism to privatize the carbon cycle?

        The 70% of the population who come out ahead because their dividend collected are so much less than the carbon fees they pay don’t regret it.

        The 20% of the population who come out about the same because the fees they pay are about equal to the dividends they pay, still benefit from reduced tax churn and from the economies of scale as less carbon-intensive alternatives become less costly for them, and waste is squeezed out of the Market.

        That leaves the 10% you care about. The 10% Free Riders who currently benefit because they overuse the Commons so much that it will actually hurt their pocketbooks to pay for the benefits they get. The 10% who are in industries that will contract as they are replaced by new, more profitable, modern industries. The 10% who were so wealthy under the old system that they could afford to burn more carbon than 90% of the rest of the population.

        Are you arguing that these Free Riders ought be our concern, and not the 90% of decent people?

        I would regret putting 9 out of 10 people at an economic disadvantage so 3 out of 10 can continue to waste the scarce carbon cycle resources of all ten.

        Why don’t you?

      • WHT

        By looking at the data, I was able to show a meaningful 2 month oscillation as the real source.

        Wiv a bit ov ‘elp from me, innit?

      • Yes BBD and I tag teamed this one, and so documented.

      • Peter Lang

        Agree. If the goal is decarbonization, nuclear is a key component of the “no regrets” solution. In fact, it’s the only viable alternate. The problem is political (USA, Europe, etc.).

        Webby

        Agree with you that improving energy efficiency and reducing waste is another key component of the “no regrets” solution.

        But the rest of your comment is the usual silly blah-blah:

        For shame Manacker, for always trying to twist any act of logical policy into a barbaric act.

        Huh?

        Whazzat?

        Improving GDP$ per ton of CO2 emitted (as the world has been doing) is a “barbaric act”? (Sounds like a “logical policy” to me.)

        Max

      • Rob Starkey

        +1

        Excellent comment.

        Max

      • Bart R and Web

        Leaving the rhetorical histrionics aside, we all agree that reducing our dependence on dwindling fossil fuels makes sense for several reasons.

        If we want to achieve this with “no regrets”, it should be on the basis of not reducing our global GDP or its growth, including that of the developing nations as well as those regions that are still industrially underdeveloped today.

        We all agree that improving energy efficiency and reducing waste are good “no regrets” actions. Peter Lang points out that switching essentially all new electrical power generation from coal to nuclear, at least in the industrially developed world, would be another major “no regrets” step.

        The record shows that the world has been able to reduce the amount of CO2 emitted per $ of GDP generated. This has been a slow but steady process and there is undoubtedly more that can and should be done to continue this development.

        In 1990 the world generated a GDP of $1217 per ton of CO2 emitted; in 2010 this was $2064. This is an increase of 70%, or a compounded annual increase of 2.7% per year

        But we also have to realize that the problems of dwindling global fossil fuel resources or human CO2 emissions are not the most important problems that the roughly 1.3 billion people on this world face who do not have access to a reliable source of low-cost energy today, as we do.

        And we must be aware that providing this access will very likely involved some added fossil fuel based power generation, as the lowest cost alternate in politically unstable regions where nuclear proliferation could present a problem.

        However, as the past has shown us, as nations increase their industrial development, their affluence (GDP) increases more rapidly than their CO2 emissions (i.e. they increase their “carbon efficiency”).

        So it seems to me that there is no reason to be pessimistic or to move away from “no regrets” actions.

        Max

      • Oh, Gawd, Web and Bubba are ‘it’ again, from Oakland, itself.
        ==============

      • manacker | May 4, 2013 at 5:23 am |

        You, nor I, nor Web, nor Peter Lang, nor any denizen here know the least freaking thing (histrionic, but not very rhetorical) about what the actual form of no regrets energy will be for each nation or state. We’re not them. We’re not the democratic voice of them. We know neither their circumstance first hand nor have we done the due diligence to support a rational selection. Predetermining such decisions is frankly idiotic. We can propose possibilities, but we have no reason to seek to supplant valid decision processes with our own ‘expert’ opinion, other than to stand for an unspoken, and likely illicit, agenda.

        So you say nuclear is inevitable. I say HTCSV is apparently on the immediate horizon.

        You say this will cost GDP. And you’re right: your expert opinion decision for people you know nothing about megaproject plan will contract economies. I say this will unleash GDP. And I’m right; democratic choices of free people in the fair Market will stimulate innovation and seed new industries and products that will expand economies.

        See? We’re both right.

        So your straw man that somehow GDP would contract if we moved away from politburo command and control enforced Austerity-inducing megaproject nuclear toward Capitalism and innovation, while it’s prettily worded for all its subtle propaganda, is not needed.

        Perhaps peddle communism after we fix the mistakes socialism is causing? Grown ups have to talk now.

      • Bart R

        Neither you nor I know exactly what a dirt poor individual in Eritrea (for example) is thinking.

        According to Wiki, Eritrea has a population of 5.74 million and an annual GDP of $2.6 billion.

        It only emitted 414,000 tons of CO2 per year, so has a relatively high “carbon efficiency” of over $6,000 per ton of CO2 emitted (over twice that of the USA!).

        But most of its citizens do not have access to a reliable source of low-cost energy (as those in the USA do) and live in abject poverty with an annual per capita GDP of less than $500.

        I would guess that these folks would be very happy if they had this energy access and the increase in per capita GDP that goes with it, even if the nation’s “carbon efficiency” diminished to a third of its present level.

        Max

      • Eritrea is a fascinating example.

        http://www.indexmundi.com/eritrea/economy_profile.html

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2013/jan/15/eritrea-mining-human-rights-laws

        Fascinating how often Canadian mining executives and dirty hands in projects that require reliable energy megaprojects happen to pop up together in web searches.

        Now, I’m not suggesting anyone Google the last names of retired Canadian mining executives and the names of Canadian companies that really profit from energy megaprojects under tinpot dictatorships where no one knows what a dirt poor individual might be thinking, because that would be so defamatory even if it does turn up over 7,700 hits.

        However, Eritrean agriculture has plenty of needs that aren’t being met by bloated mining projects and their associated ‘reliable’ energy projects that do no good for the average farmer.

        And let’s face it, there’s plenty of British Lords whose names pop up in similar Google searches.

      • Bart R

        As you note, tinpot dictators and abject poverty of the populace often go hand in hand.

        Just as the universal access goes hand in hand with improved quality of life.

        But the tinpot dictators are not interested in improving the quality of life of their populations, so they cut deals with Western companies and pocket large sums of private money in the process, some of which ends up right here in Switzerland (in private accounts under the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich).

        So, even if power plants are built to supply these projects, the general population does not get access to electrical power – so they still burn (renewable but highly polluting) wood and dung (and die early from respiratory illnesses).

        The key to improving the quality of life in these countries is to make sure that everyone has access to a reliable source of low-cost energy.

        Without it, life is brutal and short.

        Max

      • Bart R

        Correction

        Second sentence should read

        Just as the universal access to a reliable source of low-cost energy goes hand in hand with improved quality of life.

      • manacker | May 5, 2013 at 4:36 am |

        Well, if you’re willing to inveigh upon any British Lords and retired Canadian mining executives you can think of to pull their support from tinpot dictators, I’m willing to work on ways of improving the lives of people.

        Deal?

    • Bart R

      Gumment Motors. Whaddaya expect?

      [They're lined up at the taxpayer-money trough, along with a lot of other companies that smell a buck. Duh!]

      Max

      • Max_CH, you are doing it again. Can’t a day go by without your anti-American innuendos?

        GM and Chevrolet are as American as baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie.

      • Alexej Buergin

        Actually, Max from Fly-Over-Country, Louis Chevrolet was a Swiss.
        And maybe you should say that GM WAS typical American (you do not want to imply that a typical US company can only exist with support from the state).

        (I have to admit that quite a few relatives used to work for GM when it was strong, proud and independent. (Neverthless I drive a Dodge Caravan.))

      • Alexej Buergin

        Max_OK is right about GM being as American as apple pie.

        In 1953, President Eisenhower nominated GM’s CEO Charles Wilson to be Secretary of Defense. [See Wiki]

        During the hearings, when asked if as secretary of defense he could make a decision adverse to the interests of General Motors, Wilson answered affirmatively but added that he could not conceive of such a situation “because for years I thought what was good for the country was good for General Motors and vice versa.”

        [And they have made some fantastic cars over the years.]

        Max

      • Alexej Buergin

        Yes, like Sam Malone’s Vette.
        But what are they producing now? (Neither Jimmie’s nor Danica’s car count). The Volt?

      • Alexej Buergin

        Max-CH will tell you that GM had a factory in Switzerland, too, where they assembled a lot of Chevrolets. And yes, the Swiss donated the site and built the factory. Plus ça change …

      • manacker | May 2, 2013 at 2:59 am |

        And the 40 other logos?

      • Among these logos, there’s a Swiss one.

        Perhaps .minimax ought to tell us more about Nestlé.

    • Ringo was cited for his meaningless efforts.

      http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2013/04/filtering-sea-level-rise.html

      Onward science, ignore the roadkill.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Who was that masked man?

        Webby is not known for deep thinking or rigorous data analysis. He runs what I assume is a 2 month running mean over sea level data and calls it science. He assumes because the 2 month graph is smoother that there is a 2 month oscillation.

        The real story is a lot more complex.

        http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/sl_hist_last_15.html

        The ongoing crowing about nonsense is just a bit odd.

      • There is an oscillation of period ~59 days in MSL. The La Nina “pothole” is what it says on the tin.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Does this mean anything blah blah? Just asking.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        There is no 59 day ‘cycle’ but a continuum of variability from seasonal to multi-decadal at least. All of which I have referenced from reputable – as opposed to webby – sources in the last 10 minutes.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘Although the tide gauge data are still too limited, both in time and space, to determine conclusively that there is a 60-year oscillation in GMSL, the possibility should be considered when attempting to interpret the acceleration in the rate of global and regional mean sea level rise.’

        The inability to consider other than simple space cadet memes is a psychopathology. The reality is both dynamically complex and uncertain at the level of understanding of the system.

      • There is no 59 day ‘cycle’

        Actually, there is. It’s the merest wibble and nobody’s arguing that it is significant, but it is there. Go back to WHT’s link, or just look at the raw data, as I did initially (earlier discussion on previous thread). You will see it.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Please – links to real science not eyeballing and definitely not webby. A data smoothing is a data smoothing – it means nothing at all. There is a 3 month smoothing of the CSIRO site I linked to. Does that mean that there is a 3 month ‘cycle’?

      • The filter I applied was a Z-transform z^-2 time shift which essentially removed that period by cancellation.

        As I noted, the group analyzing the data did a more brute force low pass filter. The rule of thumb is to minimize filtering because you will lose information. In this case, BBD and I did not lose information. We were able to identify a 2 month wiggle that was giving Ringo and Cappy fits.

      • Webster, Cappy was never concerned with that tiny wiggle. steven lower case and I were discussing a dismissal of OHT. This wiggle is your latest strawman. The same site has MSL estimated back to 1880. Why don’t you compare that with SST?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        I got it wrong. Didn’t look at the FFT – just the wriggle. I tend to want to waste as little time as possible with webby. Had to get past the silly personalisations to the simplistic maths, physics and earth sciences.

        The FFT is so noisy that picking a ’59’ day ‘cycle’ by ‘eyeballing’ it is misleading in the extreme. This is typical of complex signals you find in ECG’s for instance – and apparently in sea levels even more so. Who would have guessed.

        A notch filter is a physical device in optics or electronics – I have just learned – for filtering out certain frequencies. It is impossible to see what a 2 month ‘notch filter’ is when applied to sea level data – other than sliding window averaging as I assumed.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Blah blah – you should try comparing the 2 plots in the link I provided earlier. You show the one with the seasonal variability removed.

        http://judithcurry.com/2013/04/28/the-art-and-science-of-effective-science-advice/#comment-318115

        Annual variability there is which peaks in the SH summer. I’d guess that is a function of land area. More southern ocean to warm in summer.

      • You show the one with the seasonal variability removed.

        So what?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        We were talking about a 59 day ‘cycle’ – which is nonsense precision. The Madden-Julian Oscillation – a quirky little system – has a period of 30 to 60 days. But sea level is obviously variable with seasons – with ENSO – and over a few decades.

        ‘Although the tide gauge data are still too limited, both in time and space, to determine conclusively that there is a 60-year oscillation in GMSL, the possibility should be considered when attempting to interpret the acceleration in the rate of global and regional mean sea level rise.’

        The inability to consider other than simple space cadet memes is a psychopathology. The reality is both dynamically complex and uncertain at the level of understanding of the system.

        You must realise by now that I think you are all quite literally insane? It is something that is Indistinguishable from the millennialist impulse that occasionally transfixes some portion of humanity. Hence the space cadet – metaphorically waiting for the space ships to arrive. There are a few pointers – but the lack of uncertainty is the clincher.

      • Chiefio says

        “The inability to consider other than simple space cadet memes is a psychopathology. “

        I don’t know what exactly that means but it is obviously something that drives the chief crazy. So here is another straightforward analysis

        http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2013/05/proportional-landsea-global-warming.html

        This particular analysis combines OHC, SST, land temperatures, and the global temperature anomaly into a nice little package.

      • Det gäller förstås sammanfattningarna (Summary for Policy Makers) som skickas ut till politiker och journalister (sent out to politicians and journalists) men även allt från tekniska rapporter och stödjande material till själva den mångsidiga huvudrapporten (liberally translated is a pack of lies for the consumption of liberal idiots).

      • “klimatsamfundet har arbetat i mer än 20 år för att skapa en vetenskaplig konsensus om antropogen klimatförändring. analyser från flera discipliner stöder slutsatsen att processen för det vetenskapliga konsensussökandet som använts av ipcc har haft den oavsiktliga konsekvensen att snedvrida både vetenskapen och de tillhörande beslutsprocesserna” ~Judith Curry

        Translated from Swedish: The climate community has worked for more than 20 years to establish a scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change. Analyses from several disciplines supports the conclusion that the process of the scientific consensus, the conclusion reached by the IPCC, has had the unintended consequence of distorting both the science and the related decision-making processes.

        Sounds to me like the beginning of a new global consensus on the validity of global warming alarmism and not that long after we all smelled the stink of rotten fish in Copenhagen. Progress!

      • Here you go Webster,

        You should double check that, it is detrended, adjusted to a common baseline anomaly and then normalized. Lots of places I could have screwed up. Some say that mean sea level is a fair proxy for ocean heat capacity. You could probably massage the BEST land only the same way. Wonder how that would look?

      • About half the excess heat is absorbed by the ocean so that one can estimate the global temperature by composition.

        Together with OHC one can safely say there is no missing heat.

      • There is no missing, The manufactured consensus of the IPCC has had the unintended consequences of distorting the science, elevating the voices of scientists that dispute the consensus, and motivating actions by the consensus scientists and their supporters that have diminished the public’s trust in the IPCC. J. Curry

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Damn the threading.

        There is a very simple explanation for ‘missing heat’. Not as simple as baby algebra and fantasy physics – ensuring that webby couldn’t follow it even if he weren’t afflicted by the groupthink psychopathology.

        ‘The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment, and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.’ KT

        So here is the data – and yes net radiant flux is increasing so the planet warmed.

        http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/CERES-BAMS-2008-with-trend-lines1.gif.html?sort=3&o=95

        The problem was that it wasn’t in the atmosphere and wasn’t in the oceans to 700m.

        Karina von Schuckmann eventually found a little bit of heat in the deeper oceans.

        http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/vonSchuckmannampLTroan2011-fig5PG_zpsee63b772.jpg.html?sort=3&o=17

        Of course – going back to the BAMS date it is all in shortwave.

        It fact the source of all recent warming seems quite evident – as in evidence.

        http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/tropicalcloud.png.html?sort=3&o=37

        These people are so far down the rabbit hole they can’t see the light of day.

      • Chief, “These people are so far down the rabbit hole they can’t see the light of day.”

        Yeah, but they are fun to watch.

      • You can see the stars during the day from the bottom of a really deep rabbit hole. See how they twinkle! With amusement.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Any science blah blah? Or just that good ole blah blah religion?

      • “Karina von Schuckmann eventually found a little bit of heat in the deeper oceans….”

        How, casting spells and using a witching wand?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        By integrating the results from ARGO instruments to 2000m – it is called science.

      • Bias isn’t science.

      • At what point does does numeracy stop and numerology start?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        I guess at the point where data no longer matters – and all there is post modernist snarking from the sidelines. Science is about replication. You have decided that the data you don’t agree with is numerology just because. Such utter BS.

      • When you already knew what you want to find before you find it you have to admit it’s al lot easier to find among numbers using numbers than to go out there and actually find something real. Don’t lie about replication. You may not be better than that but just trying to do what you know you should and not being as guilty yourself of what you say others are would help a lot.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        In this case I have cited both the altimetry and ARGO data. We are getting sea level rise or we are not – and there are a number of ways of determining that.

        These may all be wrong – but I suggest less wrong than pulling it out of your arse. You are full of stuff and nonsense. If you are going to question data you need to question on a rational basis and not just wave your arms about because it doesn’t fit your narrative.

      • Your pretense at being piqued and dragged off your place on the high road by others full of stuff and nonsense is itself a deception. A claimed rise is the sort of calamity climatists said was happening and being caused by global warming.

        Reasonable or not anyone who desperately wants to believe in human caused global warming is probably desperate to believe in anything even hot expanding seas! “Several recent polls have found ‘climate change’ skepticism rising faster than sea levels on Planet Algore (not to be confused with Planet Earth, where sea levels remain relatively stable).” ~Jay Richards

      • Chief Hydrologist

        The measured increase in sea level is a result of warming – 0.69mm/year in the last decade according to von Schuckmann.

        http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/vonSchuckmannampLTroan2011-fig5PG_zpsee63b772.jpg.html?sort=3&o=17

        The cause seems to be changes in cloud almost entirely.

        http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/CERES_MODIS.gif.html?sort=3&o=70

        Your silly rants notwithstanding – oceans warmed moderately since the start of ARGO.

        It seems to be fairly consistent – http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/sl_hist_last_15.html

        Unless you want to do away with science entirely?

      • Only those who abandon the scientific method have abandoned science. “The absence of heat accumulation in deep water is corroborated by a recent study of ocean mass and altimetric sea level by Cazenave, et. al. Deep water heat should produce thermal expansion, causing sea level to rise. Instead, steric sea level (which measures thermal expansion plus salinity effects) peaked near the end of 2005, then began to decline nearly steadily. It appears that ocean volume has actually contracted slightly.”(William DiPuccio)

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘Inferred steric sea level rate from (1) (∼0.3 mm/yr over 2003–2008) agrees well with the Argo-based value also estimated here (0.37 mm/yr over 2004–2008).’ And also agrees with von Schuckmann and Le Troan – 0.59m/year on a slightly longer record.

        ‘From the results presented in this study, we see that confronting independent estimates of ocean and land contributions to sea level with altimetry results leads to a rather coherent picture for recent years variations. This can be summarized as follows: since 2003, sea level has continued to rise but with a rate (of 2.5 +/.0.4 mm/yr) somewhat reduced compared to the 1993-2003 decade (3.1+/.0.4 mm/yr). Over 2003-2008, the GRACE-based ocean mass has increased at an average rate of «1.9 mm/yr (if we take the upper range of possible GIA corrections as recommended by Peltier, submitted for publication). Such a rate agrees well with the sum of land ice plus land water contributions (i.e., GRACE-based ice sheet mass balance estimated in this study, GRACE-based land waters plus recently published estimates for the current glacier contribution). These results in turn offer constraints on the ocean mass GIA correction, as well as
        on the glacier melting contribution. The steric sea level estimated from the difference between altimetric (total) sea level and ocean mass displays increase over 2003-2006 and decrease since 2006. On average over the 5 year period (2003-2008), the steric contribution has been small (on the
        order of 0.3+/.0.15 mm/yr), confirming recent Argo results (this study
        and Willis et al., 2008).’

        http://etienne.berthier.free.fr/download/Cazenave_et_al_GPC_2009.pdf

        Try checking the original and not obsessively repeating claims from a blog.

      • As is usually the case arrogance lacks perception and wisdom. The detailed Maldives sea level studies done by Axel-Mörner’s team of scientists — looking back over the last 5,000 years — found that, “All over the Maldives there is evidence of a sub-recent sea level some 20 cm higher than the present one. In the 1970s, sea level fell to its present position.” No one is drowning in the Maldives because Americans drive SUVs. And, what if the seas do rise? It has happened before but change is slow. The recently discovered ancient port of Wadi el-Jarf on the Suez is thought to be the oldest harbor in the world. It dates back to the time of the Pharos (2600 BC). It’s submerged limestone anchors and an L-shaped wharf from the shore (determined using a tacheometer) is partly out of the water at low tide: proof that what is fast for the earth is in our terms at the pace of the long slow march of human civilization.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Again – the discussion was about short term warming in the oceans. Last decade? Remember?

      • Are you still beating your wife? if climate is 30 years of weather sea rise is like digging up your neighbors great, great grandfather to gripe about the dog barking next door.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Well that makes about as much sense as anything you have said here – nil.

      • The rules of logic still work well enough to easily falsify the Left’s doomsday theories.

        The global warming hypothesis with respect to CO2 is not based upon the radiative properties of CO2 itself, which is a very weak greenhouse gas. It is based upon a small initial increase in temperature caused by CO2 and a large theoretical amplification of that temperature increase, primarily through increased evaporation of H2O, a strong greenhouse gas. Any comparable temperature increase from another cause would produce the same calculated outcome.

        Thus, the 3,000-year temperature record … also provides a test of the computer models. The historical temperature record shows that the Earth has previously warmed far more than could be caused by CO2 itself. Since these past warming cycles have not initiated water-vapor-mediated atmospheric warming catastrophes, it is evident that weaker effects from CO2 can not do so. (Petition Project — “Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide”)

      • Wtf! (wood for trees!)

        Just curious, why on earth would CH want to find rising sea levels and rising ocean heat content?

      • The seas-are-rising meme is a great gig for the phenomenal stat-pricks of Western academia — government-funded gadflies all — that are handy only in masturbating their fears in public classrooms and pontificating from