Proactionary principle

by Judith Curry

Between no action and precaution.

The Proactionary Principle was conceptualized by Max More, and is outlined in this document.   The proactionary principle is presented as an alternative to the precautionary principle.  So what is wrong with the precautionary principle?

The precautionary principle has at least six major weak spots. It serves us badly by:

  1. assuming worst-case scenarios
  2. distracting attention from established threats to health, especially natural risks
  3. assuming that the effects of regulation and restriction are all positive or neutral, never negative
  4. ignoring potential benefits of technology and inherently favoring nature over humanity
  5. illegitimately shifting the burden of proof and unfavorably positioning the proponent of the activity
  6. conflicting with more balanced, common-law approaches to risk and harm.

More describes the essence of the proactionary principle as:

Most activities involving technology will have undesired effects as well as desirable ones. Whereas the precautionary principle is often used to take an absolutist stand against an activity, the Proactionary Principle allows for handling mixed effects through compensation and remediation instead of prohibition. The Proactionary Principle recognizes that nature is not always kind, that improving our world is both natural and essential for humanity, and that stagnation is not a realistic or worthy option.

The Proactionary Principle stands for the proactive pursuit of progress. Being proactive involves not only anticipating before acting, but learning by acting. When technological progress is halted, people lose an essential freedom and the accompanying opportunities to learn through diverse experiments. We already suffer from an undeveloped capacity for rational decision making. Prohibiting technological change will only stunt that capacity further. Continuing needs to alleviate global human suffering and desires to achieve human flourishing should make obvious the folly of stifling our freedom to learn.

More outlines 9 component principles to the proactionary principle:

  1. Freedom to innovate: Our freedom to innovate technologically is valuable to humanity. The burden of proof therefore belongs to those who propose restrictive measures. All proposed measures should be closely scrutinized.
  2. Objectivity: Use a decision process that is objective, structured, and explicit. Evaluate risks and generate forecasts according to available science, not emotionally shaped perceptions; use explicit forecasting processes; fully disclose the forecasting procedure; ensure that the information and decision procedures are objective; rigorously structure the inputs to the forecasting procedure; reduce biases by selecting disinterested experts, by using the devil’s advocate procedure with judgmental methods, and by using auditing procedures such as review panels.
  3. Comprehensiveness: Consider all reasonable alternative actions, including no action. Estimate the opportunities lost by abandoning a technology, and take into account the costs and risks of substituting other credible options. When making these estimates, carefully consider not only concentrated and immediate effects, but also widely distributed and follow-on effects.
  4. Openness/Transparency: Take into account the interests of all potentially affected parties, and keep the process open to input from those parties.
  5. Simplicity: Use methods that are no more complex than necessary
  6. Triage: Give precedence to ameliorating known and proven threats to human health and environmental quality over acting against hypothetical risks.
  7. Symmetrical treatment: Treat technological risks on the same basis as natural risks; avoid underweighting natural risks and overweighting human-technological risks. Fully account for the benefits of technological advances.
  8. Proportionality: Consider restrictive measures only if the potential impact of an activity has both significant probability and severity. In such cases, if the activity also generates benefits, discount the impacts according to the feasibility of adapting to the adverse effects. If measures to limit technological advance do appear justified, ensure that the extent of those measures is proportionate to the extent of the probable effects.
  9. Prioritize (Prioritization): When choosing among measures to ameliorate unwanted side effects, prioritize decision criteria as follows: (a) Give priority to risks to human and other intelligent life over risks to other species; (b) give non-lethal threats to human health priority over threats limited to the environment (within reasonable limits); (c) give priority to immediate threats over distant threats; (d) prefer the measure with the highest expectation value by giving priority to more certain over less certain threats, and to irreversible or persistent impacts over transient impacts.
  10. Renew and Refresh: Create a trigger to prompt decision makers to revisit the decision, far enough in the future that conditions may have changed significantly.

The Breakthrough Institute

Steve Fuller has a recent essay on the proactionary principle at Breakthrough.  Excerpts:

When dealing with complex systems, the science is such that there is a strong chance that any currently supported model of, say, climate change will be superseded by the time it would predict a major catastrophe. Put flippantly, you can be sure that if a model says the world will end in 50 years, the model itself will be gone in 25. From that standpoint, the precautionary principle can look quite shortsighted, as it places too much trust in today’s science, overlooking science’s long-term tendency to shift its ground, often as a result of a massive reinterpretation of data, which in turn leads to new projections.

Protection and promotion are, of course, not incompatible, but they pull in opposite directions. If you believe that you are in the business of protecting people, then minimising risk can become an end in itself. Thus, the welfare state is often said to provide a “safety net” for the most vulnerable members of society, who in principle could be anyone, given the world’s fundamental uncertainty.

But some critics would reverse the priority of protection over promotion of humanity as the goal of government. The proactionary principle valorizes calculated risk-taking as essential to human progress, where the capacity for progress is taken to define us as a species.

Moreover, “proactionaries” believe that by restricting risk-taking the “precautionaries” place humanity at still greater risk, as we are prevented from making the sort of radical experiments that in the past had resulted in major leaps in knowledge that enabled us to overcome our natural limits. Perhaps the proactionaries overstate their case. Nevertheless, were any of the path-breaking lab-based research that was done on humans and other mammals before, say, 1980 to be proposed to the precautionary institutional review boards that authorise academic research today, they would probably face serious objections, if not be outright prohibited.

JC comments:  I am not a fan of the precautionary principle when applied to complex environmental problems such as climate change, for the reasons outlined by More.  I have been a proponent of alternative frameworks for decision making under deep uncertainty, including increase resilience, adaptive management, and broadening the perspectives for decision making.  The proactive principle seems consistent with the thrivability approach (previously discussed on the bouncing forward thread), whereas the precautionary principle seems more consistent with the sustainability approach.

The proactionary principle (like the precautionary principle) is both a decision making principle as well as an ethical principle.  The climate policy debate at its most basic level is posed as a clash of values between those who want to protect the environment and future generations versus those who want to spur economic development in the near term: a dichotomy of values between the political left and right.

The protection vs promotion dichotomy is an illuminating one. Steve Fuller sums it up this way:

[the] question of whether risk should be avoided or embraced may come to be a defining feature of future ideological struggles.

. . . one division that looms on the horizon could reinvent the right-left distinction for the twenty-first century: precautionary versus “proactionary” attitudes toward risk as principles of policymaking. 

410 responses to “Proactionary principle

  1. Neologisms for the madness.
    ==========

    • Better you should feature von Storch. Now there is a proactionary article, whatever the Hell that word means, which can change like the fitful whims of a dreamer.
      =========

    • kim

      +10. it’s kinda like TV–fill the air waves with whatever–the first priority being production costs.

      pretty saying it all here, kim.

      ‘The irony of socially formalized principles is that evoking them as authority too easily puts one at risk of acting without adequate thought, preparation, and effort.’

      -Michael’s Principle ;o)

    • oops.
      ‘TV–filling
      ‘pretty much saying it all here, kim. ‘

  2. I always find it odd that the groups who tend to cite the precautionary principle with respect to scientific innovation; say with genetically modified foods or fracking, are unmoved by its invocation with changes in the social sphere; for instance same sex marriage or integration of women in combat positions.

  3. Great post and great point, but the issue here is broader as folks like McCain argue that even if ee change for no reason (eg climate change is false) it is a good thing. We need to discuss energy cost for the poor and the increased poverty and death caused by increasing energy costs for no reason.

  4. From my experience the “Proactionary Principle” looks very much like what I would call “Business as Usual” for any well managed and successful organisation to benefit and adapt, be it business or government.

    • Sorry old buddy, but I have to disagree. ‘BAU’ must equate to a ‘precautionary principle’ because ‘precaution’ leads to little advancement/change of activities in any direction.

      However, on the other hand, the ‘proactionary principle’ needs to show/declare the direction in which it’s ‘pro-activity’ is focused to alter outcomes from a ‘BAU’ scenario.

      Best regards, Ray Dart.

  5. “The climate policy debate at its most basic level is posed as a clash of values between those who want to protect the environment and future generations versus those who want to spur economic development in the near term: a dichotomy of values between the political left and right”.

    Boy. This is simplistic and wrong imvho. My sense is skeptics care about the environment and future generations as much as anyone else. Somewhat objectionable characterization I’d say.

    • It’s Techo-Optimists vs Malthusian Doomsayers, historically not even a sporting contest. The politics will sort itself out, in the usual ugly fashion.
      ==============

    • +100 pokerguy.. This is the basic assumption from our hostess that CAGW is real. She really never left her tribe.

    • Hi Jim, I very much prefer to think Judith is often rushed, and sometimes says things off the cuff that she doesn’t quite mean. Because it’s a pretty offensive characterization which would be right at home on some of the alarmist Internet indoctrination camps…oops, I mean blogs.

    • pokerguy, you write “says things off the cuff that she doesn’t quite mean. ”

      I wish I agreed with you. This sort of remark has been present in our hostess’s comments ever since CE started. If this were the first time it happened, I would agree with you. But it isn’t. I suspect our hostess has had problems trying to leave her tribe

    • ‘protect……future generations’ is her flaw. The damage already done is worse than any likely warming can do.
      =========================

    • “I very much prefer to think Judith is often rushed, and sometimes says things off the cuff that she doesn’t quite mean.”

      Special pleading and quite absurd.

      Andrew

    • “Special pleading and quite absurd.”

      Maybe Andrew. I’m a soft-hearted guy. I admire the woman. So shoot me. In any case, it’s such an absurd characterization I have a hard time believing it’s really her point of view. Perhaps she’s meaning, “this is how the debate is presented.” She actually does say “The climate policy debate at its most basic level is posed as ….”

      Be great if she’d weigh in and clarify…

    • Pokerguy,

      Boy. This is simplistic and wrong imvho. My sense is skeptics care about the environment and future generations as much as anyone else. Somewhat objectionable characterization I’d say.

      I agree. I also think that is an unfortunate characterisation. It reinforces the ‘Progressives’ belief that they are right and good, and the Conservatives are wrong and bad/evil/immoral. IMO, the opposite is the case. Progressives are immoral, but they don’t realise it because they don’t understand the consequences of the interventionist policies they advocate.

    • Uncertainty breeds tribalism.

    • Why would you think that Judith is expressing her own opinion, when she said “is posed”? It seems obvious she is talking about someone else’s characterization. A question to her on her intention would have been more appropriate than criticism. Not your usual style. From some others, pretty much the expected knee-jerk reaction.

    • I say this in comment above: Perhaps she’s meaning, “this is how the debate is presented.” She actually does say “The climate policy debate at its most basic level is posed as ….”

    • Michael Larkin

      Don Monfort +1

    • Don, you write “It seems obvious she is talking about someone else’s characterization.”

      I dont buy that. Judith put the comment in, without comment. Usually, if she disagrees with a comment, she says so. Since she has not specifically said she does not agree with the comment, I conclude that she agrees with it. If our hostess reads this, she might like to comment.

    • poker:”She actually does say “The climate policy debate at its most basic level is posed as ….” ”

      That is exactly what she said, the first time. And “posed as” has meaning.

      Jim Cripwell: You are being silly. Don’t expect Judith to worry too much about silliness.

    • “Don’t expect Judith to worry too much about silliness.”

      Don, I guess you don’t read this blog too closely. She often dedicates lengthy posts to it (silliness).

      Andrew

    • I grant you, I made an error. My first reading was quick and incorrect.

    • Pokerguy owns up. As I expected. The rest stick to their silliness. Also, not a surprise.

      There are some “skeptics” here, who are mirror images of our little joshie. Just hanging around here mostly to harangue our gracious hostess. I don’t think she notices much.

    • Steven Mosher

      Don m +1

    • Wow, Judith. Is this really how you see it?

    • She’s not an economist, and they’ve mostly been warped about imaginary harms.
      ===========

    • Jim S–What in your opinion are the top 3 potential harms of a warmer planet? Are you sure that the net long term impact is negative and not positive?

    • @ Rob Starkey,
      This is what I was responding to, the positing of a false dichotomy.

      “….those who want to protect the environment and future generations versus those who want to spur economic development in the near term…”

  6. The precautionary principle applied to the precautionary principle would result in its elimination.

    It is inherently dangerous to do things based upon the lack of knowledge, evidence, or possibility of demonstration. You will most likely do the wrong things, at the wrong time, in the wrong way and encounter far too many deleterious unintended consequences. The reason is really quite simple. Since you do not know the right thing to do let alone the right way to do it, the action taken will only have an accidental connection to the thing feared. Clearly, there are far more wrong things to do and even more wrong ways to do them than right ones done the right way. Hence there is an almost certainty that things will turn out worse than simply waiting until you do know what to do and how to do it. Hence, it stands to reason that by the precautionary principle, one should never use the precautionary principle.

    Unfortunately, the users of the precautionary principle do not use reason and plow forward without knowledge, evidence, or experience of what will or won’t work. Then, they expect the rest of use to pay for the wreckage that their irrational policies create. After all they had good intentions and felt they and we had to do something even if it turned out worse than if we had done nothing. They think “what could go wrong?” It turns out just about anything and everything.

    • Lionell Griffith

      +1

    • > The precautionary principle applied to the precautionary principle would result in its elimination.

      Show, don’t tell.

    • It is a truism Willard, “No good deed goes unpunished.” “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” “Let sleeping dogs lie.”

    • One might have a tough time applying “If it ain’t broke, fix it” along with the PP, Cap’n, and no good deeds does not express a principle.

      Think harder.

      Tough you might have a point about the dogs.

      I’ll return AFK.

    • Now Willard, “No good deed goes unpunished.” should be obvious. Medical science has advance to the point we now have an over-population problem Oil drilling has progressed to the point that we now have a peak oil problem. Robotics has progressed to the point we now have an unemployment problem. The US food stamp program has progressed to where we have an obese poverty problem. No matter what good you think you are doing there will be unintended consequences.

      That leads to “if it ain’t broke, don’t fit it.” If something is working, even not perfectly, fixing it can lead to more problems that just letting it die on its own terms. “Improvements” often end in failure. There is another cliche, “You need to be smarter than what you are effin with.” which leads to the cliche response, “Well, in theory….” Kind of like US economics models.

      It is fun Williard, they are cliches for a reason.

    • “> The precautionary principle applied to the precautionary principle would result in its elimination.
      Show, don’t tell.”

      Precautionary principle is about doing something about a supposed risk.
      Doing something about a supposed risk, has risks.

      There are risks associated with higher energy prices.
      There are risks associated with increasing taxation.

      Detroit isn’t the worst that can happen to a city.
      And what happens to one city could happen in all cities.

      The Great Depression isn’t the worse that can happen at some
      point in future.

      Could there be problems with increasing battery production
      by 10 fold? And after the batteries wear out on green cars, what is
      the worst which could happen?

      What worst that happen when everything done is based upon lies to the public?

      And generally what worst that can happen if a lot of political power is
      given to any group of people who are “saving the world”?
      Is there a special type of people in which this would not be a problem?

    • Serfs, but they would grumble and growl in their misery.
      ============

    • Still no prescription behind No good deed goes unpunished, Cap’n.
      It does not tell you to stop doing good deeds, nor to keep doing them.

      ***

      > Precautionary principle is about doing something about a supposed risk.

      Or not.

      ***

      Such low-level analysis won’t be of any use when we’ll enter into reasoning under uncertainty.

    • Lionell Griffith

      Excellent summary of why the “precautionary principle” is foolhardy. I agree 100% with your analysis.

      As I read the post by Max More, the proposed alternate “Proactionary Principle” does not have the six basic flaws, which he lists for the precautionary principle.

      However, his overall description is a bit like “motherhood and apple pie”:

      The Proactionary Principle stands for the proactive pursuit of progress. Being proactive involves not only anticipating before acting, but learning by acting.

      I’d see the most logical approach as continuing to try to develop a better understanding of what has made our climate behave as it does – not focused myopically on AGW (as IPCC has done), but more on the many natural phenomena we still do not understand.

      And this should be done long ”before acting” according to the “precautionary principle” (i.e. before undertaking any mitigation actions, whose impacts we cannot predict and whose unintended negative consequences we cannot foresee). That includes a direct or indirect tax on energy, of course. That’s how I would read it.

      I like More’s “9 component principles to the proactionary principle,” especially allowing individuals the “freedom to innovate”. I would interpret this as individual freedom to innovate without undue restrictions or big government attempts to “level the playing field” for one or another politically favored pet project.

      Although I would have strengthened the “no action” alternate to be the “default setting”, I also like “consider all courses of action, including no action”.

      The rest of the 9 premises are just common sense rules.

      But the main take-home for me is to keep the top-down government regulators and tax imposers out of the equation and let technological progress develop on its own, learning from its mistakes and building on its successes as it has for centuries, based on human ingenuity, the desire for a better life and economic drivers.

      If you want to call this a bottoms-up “proactionary principle” as opposed to the top-down “precautionary principle”, so be it.

      Unfortunately, it does not appear to me that the Obama administration sees it this way.

      Max

    • Hi Max,
      I used ter read Lionell Grifffith when he regularly posted
      at JO Nova. Yes he’s good on the precautionary principle.
      I also agree with yer comment above about keepin’ the top-
      down regulators out of the equation. They make the grand
      ‘pro-actionary-principle’ statement and then, why, they hafta’
      act on it from ABOVE, and we know what that means …
      A
      serf
      from
      d
      o
      w
      n
      be-
      low.

    • + 10 (splitting the difference)

    • Agreed.

      What Max More missed was that the so-called Precautionary Principle also allows an illegitimate shift in responsibility for harmful consequences to everyone else other than him or her self. The precautionary types will never accept responsibility for anything they want to force everyone else to do.

      W^3

  7. I suspect there should soon be a post on the Reactionary Principle. That is where you do something because you can with no real concern of the potential unintended consequences.

  8. I agree with Lionel Griffith. If the precautionary principle was applied to itself, one would never use it.

    In para 6 of the problems with the precautionary principle, there is a reference to common-law. Unfortunately the EU, which has embraced the precautionary principle to its limit, does not recognise common-law. In fact it is regarded as an anglo-saxon aberration and has no meaning in the Napoleonic code. Regulation is the key and precautionary principle regulation stifles just about everything.

    A british politician remarked the other day that the shale gas industry was better regulated in the UK than in the US, with full regard to the precautionary principle. This explains why we don’t have a shale gas industry in the UK.

    Therefore, expecting the EU to adopt a common-law, or even a common-sense, approach is doomed to failure.

  9. Good post. For me it says BAU is the best approach. To me that means, get central control out of the way (largely). We’ll manage fine.

    And to make my point, I’ll repeat a point I’ve made many times before. if not for the regulatory impediments imposed by ‘progressives’ over the past ~50 years on the development of nuclear power, global CO2 emissions would be 10% to 20% lower now than they are and, importantly, we’d be on a fast trajectory to reduce global emissions over the next 50 years (instead of locked into a trajectory of increasing emissions).

    So, the moral of the story, is get the ‘Progressives’ out of the way. leave them to chat among themselves in academia. The innovators and buiness people in the business world will address the real world issues, as they have been doing for the past 200,000 years.

    • > And to make my point, I’ll repeat a point I’ve made many times before.

      “Many times” here may mean “almost every thtreads so far this year”.
      “.

    • Willard, typical dishonesty from you.

      Try to substantiate your statement.

    • You really want me to quote every thread of this year in which you said something like this?

      Please mind the last time you called me dishonest, Tar Baby.

    • Remus calls ‘Uncle’.
      =====

    • Willard, apparently, he hasn’t repeated it enough. Read harder!

    • We serfs tend ter be suspicious of high sounding socially
      formalizing principles that sound as if they originate at top
      down talk fests like at the UN and usually lead to more
      regulatory interventions in citizens’ lives and cost $$$
      beth the serf.

    • Beth

      This serf agrees.

      +100

      Max

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Peter Lang believes (ideologically) “The innovators and buiness people in the business world will address the real world issues, as they have been doing for the past 200,000 years.”

      Corporations have been around less than three centuries; globalized corporations less than sixty years.

      There’s scant evidence that globalized corporations handle technological challenges rationally, efficiently, effectively, or morally.

      Isn’t that a plain-and-sobering lesson of history, Peter Lang?

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • Fan

      I usually don’t reply to your nonsense, but isn’t it true that the last 3 centuries have been rather outstanding for humanity? Isn’t that pretty strong evidence of the net positive impact of corporations

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Rob Starkey nores “I usually don’t reply to your nonsense, but isn’t it true that the last 3 centuries have been rather outstanding for humanity? “

      Yes, thanks to the (still progressing!) Radical Enlightenment!

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      morediscourse@tradermail.info
      A fan of *MORE* discourse

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Radical enlightenment is defined as radical in it’s time – the time of the American and French revolutions. The scientific enlightenment – whether radical or not – has core values of free individuals, the rule of law, democracy and free markets. FOMBS version seems more the Robespierre and cohorts version of the French Revolution – authoritarians who in own eyes embodied the purity of the revolution justifying any repressive action. In time the French revolution came to be regarded universally as abhorrent. This is an old story where the most brutal of the brutal remake idealism in their own image murdering in their bloody path hundreds of millions of people. The American revolution in contrast established a system of government that embodied enlightenment principles and created success on success.

      The core enlightenment values are essential to the success of human societies. FOMBS assumes that the word radical entitles him to dispense with freedom, free markets and democracy. Claiming an enlightenment imprimatur for a radical agenda is par for the murderous course of dangerous fanatics.

    • Willard

      A good point is worth repeating.

      So lemme do it.

      - Leave the talkin’ to academe.

      - Leave the doin’ to innovators, inventors, engineers, applied scientists – driven by human inventiveness, the desire for a better life and economic forces, as Peter Lang has suggested.

      - And leave the pols out of it completely, as Beth the serf has advised wisely.

      As the old song goes, “There I’ve said it again…”

      Max

  10. A most interesting set of ideas, for which many thanks! I’ll use some of them in an essay on my own blog.
    Cheers,

    Don

  11. “Just do it.”

  12. Terrific subject, Judith. Human ingenuity needs problems to solve; not roadblocks.
    Again, well done!

    • The torque applied to climate science by the need to provoke fear of catastrophe has been an awful roadblock. The detour has led into the wilderness.
      ================================

    • kim

      …and, eventually, into the ditch.

      Max

  13. If you believe that the application of the precautionary principle is the appropriate response to humans damaging the environment by adding CO2, how is the appropriate other than seeking to control the human population since that would be the root cause of the problem. Does it make sense to only treat a symptom and not the cause?

    • Appropriate, not fear laden, evaluation of the real benefits and costs is a magic bullet to the heart of the problem, which is a false and artificial narrative of the harms.
      ==================

    • Kim

      What I find interesting is that ultimately, control of the human population is at the heart of sustainability and that has not been a main battle cry of those who want to limit CO2.

    • The sustainability people could have noted that a warmer world sustains more total life and more diversity of life, but noooo!, their hearts are full of doom and they are willfully one-eyed, and thus vulnerable.
      ===========

    • Koldie will be moving to the Sahara as soon as it warms up enough to sustain more life.

    • Kim

      Imo, the “sustainability people” seem inconsistent in their application of logic. They may be uncomfortable with the long term potential of sea level rise, but they still seem to be attacking a symptom and not the root cause.

    • “….control of the human population is at the heart of sustainability and that has not been a main battle cry of those who want to limit CO2.”

      It’s in there. All you have to do is listen closely. The root of the left’s environmentalism is “anti-growth” in all it’s forms.

    • JimS– In your opinion is there a limit as to how large the human population should be on planet earth or can it expand indefinately?

    • kim, the precautionary principle is full of rubbish – bin-laden, you might call it.

    • Rob, many of those who wish to restrict CO2 do aim for a much reduced human population, billions lower, they are essentially anti-human. I’ve never seen a remotely acceptable suggestion as how this mass genocide might be brought about.

    • “Mass-genocide”????

      That’s mass hysteria.

    • “Mass-genocide”????

      That’s mass hysteria.

      No, it’s just a realistic look at the core CAGW agenda. Even many people who are convinced there is warming and fossil CO2 may be the cause of it admit that, for a core group who won’t “cross that thin green line”, it’s not about carbon.

    • Interesting:

      Rob, many of those who wish to restrict CO2 do aim for a much reduced human population, billions lower, they are essentially anti-human….

      Ok then. “Many” of those. Vague enough that we might say that it could be true. What does “many” mean?

      Let me try.

      Many of those who aren’t concerned about the impact of global warming are conspiracy mongers.

      Does that work also?

    • Many of those who aren’t concerned about the impact of global warming are conspiracy mongers.

      What’s a “conspiracy monger“? Couldn’t we reasonably call anybody who consistently denies that their even might be a conspiracy a conspiracy denier?

      There are two different questions, that many conspiracy deniers conflate for purposes of rhetorical deception:

      “Is the whole “global warming” schtick a conspiracy?”

      and

      Might there be a conspiracy of people with political agendas trying to use CAGW as a stalking horse for their own purposes?”

      Of course, the equivalent pair of questions WRT “global warming” skepticism should also not be conflated.

    • “Even many people who are convinced there is warming and fossil CO2 may be the cause of it admit that, for a core group who won’t “cross that thin green line”, it’s not about carbon.” – AK

      Speculation, twice removed.

      Nice.

    • Speculation, twice removed.

      No, I’ve seen such statements on Climate, Etc. I’ll admit the “many” is partly speculative, but it’s also partly relative to expectations. And the interpretations are partly my own.

    • Twice today, admission of religion. It’s quite a contribution.
      =========

    • Couldn’t we reasonably call anybody who consistently denies that their even might be a conspiracy a conspiracy denier?

      Just in case this was in reference to me – I have never, let along consistently, “denie[d]” that there “even might be a conspiracy.”

      I have spoken to the probabilities of the conspiracy.

      But perhaps you missed my point. My point was that Faustino’s use of “many” is the sort of rhetoric that opens the door for virtually anything. What % of those who wish to “restrict CO2″ are “essentially anti-human,” do you suppose?

      Of course, then we have to define “essentially.” If we take it in the way that Brandon uses “basically,” we can use it to mean that anyone “essentially” says anything that we want to determine that they’ve said.

      And please notice that for those who fit his descriptor of “many,” Faustino goes on to call their objective “mass genocide.”

      Same ol’ same ol’ in the climate change wars, IMO.

    • The top 500,000,000; Joshua. At least that is what the Georgia Guidestones, suggest. What number have you heard?

    • Poorly written-I really should proof before hitting enter.

      If you believe that the application of the precautionary principle is the appropriate response to humans damaging the environment by adding CO2, how is the appropriate response other than seeking to control the human population. That would be the root cause of the problem. Does it make sense to only treat a symptom and not the cause?

    • Reducing CO2 would reduce the world’s food supply and would add some control to population. Maybe that is what the Greens have in the back of their minds.

    • It makes a person wonder what were inside the seven sacks too…

      http://www.hoteliermiddleeast.com/18070-40-pythons-discovered-in-canada-hotel-room/#.UhNrTX8tXNk

      slithering black swans sold by the bucket full. Python frequent flyers want them living in a tree near you soon. Look just how far they migrated, it has to be man made climate change or something.

    • If a smoke causes cancer and other collateral damage why not just stop the selling of these coffin nails? Taxes the imagination.

    • If a nation determined that smoking by people in that nation, increased the long term costs of that nation; it would seem a very reasonable response to ban smoking in that nation. Now doing the math may not be as easy as 1st thought since the lower age in which some people die may decrease long term costs of caring for the elderly

    • Imagine, the taxes.

    • So why doesn’t he issue an EO?

    • Now doing the math may not be as easy as 1st thought since the lower age in which some people die may decrease long term costs of caring for the elderly

      And then you have to consider the loss of economic contributions to society and to the families from those who die younger, or live for extended periods of time with reduced productivity and with higher rates of consumption of extraordinarily expensive healthcare. And you have to consider the costs associated with caring for elderly who are sicker, and who consume extraordinary resources in order to stay alive in a highly diminished capacity.

    • Then we all get into our little boxes…

    • Rob @ 4.01: “JimS– In your opinion is there a limit as to how large the human population should be on planet earth or can it expand indefinitely?”

      I don’t know whether we need to address that. The relationship between growth in living standards and slower population growth is well documented, and most estimates are for world population to stabilise mid-late century. If the question arises, it will be in the remote future, with entirely different technological frontiers.

    • Faustino- Doesn’t that imply that you believe that 8 billion or so people consuming at a rate similar to that in the west currently will be sustainable?

    • Faustino-

      Is a person anti human if they do not think the planet can support an infinite number of humans?

      In your mind is the person who thinks the number is 10 billion less anti human than the person who thinks it is 5 billion?

    • Rob Starkey

      Human population grew at an astounding exponential rate of 1.7% per year from 1970 to around 2010 (1.9x)

      At the same time overall crop yield increased by 2.4x, starvation rates decreased significantly and (despite the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa, etc.) average human life expectancy at birth increased dramatically from ~55 years to ~68 years

      The population growth rate has slowed down a bit already and is anticipated (UN estimates) to slow down even more, to an average until 2100 of around 0.48% per year, with population leveling out at around 10.8 billion by year 2100.

      Many factors are cited for this anticipated slowdown in growth.

      I don’t see any logical reason why we cannot support another 50+% human population over the next 80+ years – do you?

      If so, what are these reasons?

      Max

    • Rob Starkey

      Something else to think about:

      As human societies developed an energy infrastructure, which afforded them a reliable source of low-cost energy based on fossil fuels, their per capita “carbon footprint” increased and then leveled off and began to slowly decrease.

      The affluence of these societies, quality of life, average life expectancy, etc. increased concurrently, arguably to a large part as a result of the availability of low-cost energy. [I know "correlation doesn't provide evidence for causation", but I don't believe there are many who will argue that increased energy use had nothing to do with increased affluence and quality of life.]

      At the same time their rate of population increase declined dramatically.

      So one could conclude from this that as energy use increases in a society (up to a point), affluence and quality of life also increase, but population growth decreases.

      If this is true, our best way of ensuring a slowdown of population growth in the underdeveloped word is to allow and encourage this sector to develop a reliable source of low-cost energy for its population (as China, India, etc. are doing today). Fossil fuels are still the lowest cost alternate for this, but (as Peter Lang argues) nuclear could be just as economically viable for a major segment of the energy requirement.

      Just something to think about.

      Max

    • Rob,

      You said, “What I find interesting is that ultimately, control of the human population is at the heart of sustainability and that has not been a main battle cry of those who want to limit CO2.”

      I think you may have missed something. If you question the sustainability people closely I believe you will find an almost universal attitude that wants to reduce the human population as quickly as possible [their political enemies first of course] and that the desirable number ranges from around 4 billion to less than 1 billion – what the global population was when they were in grade school seems to be a popular figure [baseline 'normalcy'??].

      The ‘population problem’ of course is presently ‘solving itself’. Human population trends are undergoing massive readjustment, and far more quickly than experts anticipated a generation ago. The current UN high-range projections are completely in the science fiction range and should be dumped – it will never, ever happen Only the lunatic fringe quote the 14 billion figure anymore.

      http://www.treehugger.com/culture/global-population-could-hit-14-billion-by-2100-without-greater-effort-to-slow-it-un.html

      The current mid-range projections should be the new high range projections, the current low-range projections should become the mid-range projections, and a new ‘uh oh-low’ projection needs to be developed.

      http://www.overpopulation.org/faq.html

      Fertility rates pretty much everywhere in the developing world but Africa and a few Muslim country holdouts have fallen from the ‘traditional’ 4-5+ children per woman to the European norm of ~1.2 – in a single generation – well below replacement. The population problem for the second half of this century is going to be DEPOPULATION not over-population [just ask the Iranians]. If you are worried about ‘over-population’ try moving to Poland or Hungary and find out what happens to a country with a fertility rate of 0.95.

      We’ll have to see what happens.

      W^3

    • At last! A very cogent summary of the scene, sir. The current low band estimates, big odds-on favourites to be correct, are that population will peak at around 8 bn. in about 2040 and decline thereafter. Maybe android robots will pick up the slack of elder care!

    • Thanks. Judy’s blog platform enforces a certain level of economy of thought that I’m otherwise not always up to.

      Yes, as I said, the estimate of peak pop declines by about a billion every decade. The idiotic, paranoid Ehrlich have never been on top of the real trends. As an ‘evolutionary dead end’ myself I’m a little concerned personally about what happens on the defilade side of that slope. It’s coming sooner than many of us expect. I’m hoping my family remembers my helping take care of their crazy Alzheimer parents when my turn comes. Hard to say what it will actually be like for everyone else, as Uncle Terrence used to say, “Objects in hyperspace get smaller as you approach them.” Then again the World is known for its great dislocations [a polite term for mortality crisis].

  14. Applying the precautionary principle to the silicon industry would have meant outlawing the Apple II and holding massive protests to prevent the IBM PC, all on the theory that they’re too slow to do any real computing, we don’t need them because 5 mainframes can do all the world’s computing, etc. After all, could anybody in 1979 prove that all these computers weren’t going to cause massive disruption?

    • When we used the precautionary principle and ended the national draft our armed forces became the worlds most powerful foreign leigon. How about that?

    • The national draft was ended and it was the moral thing to do. Especially since each American owns his own life and no one else has a right to its use and disposal. There was no precautionary principle involved. The principle was clearly stated in the nations founding documents and was a foundation of our liberty. It was simply an example of our nation at long last following them in at least one respect.

      Unfortunately, 18 year old male individuals are still required to register with the Selective Service in the event that society decides there is an emergency of sufficient import to turn individuals into slaves to their whims. We do not yet have the liberties the colonists fought and died for
      to establish a nation of free states and men.

      The draft assumes the individual is owned by society and that society can do with any individual as it chooses based upon societies whim. THAT is a fundamental violation of individual rights. There can be no such thing as a right to violate rights. It can be done only by the initiation of force upon the individual who’s rights are to be violated.

    • Mr Lionell Griffith, I did not know this. Peace with Honor.

    • Shoot a nation in the foot, call a doctor, cut off a leg or two… National Health, walking.

  15. At 150 baud, come on.

  16. The Proactionary Principle is shooting yourself in the foot before you really know there is something wrong with your foot that would cause it to need being shot.

    You will most certainly find out later, after you have ruined you economy and energy production capability, that it was a mistake. Germany is finding out. Others around the world are finding out. Others are building coal fired power plants and laughing at the fools.

    • The BRICs are protecting future generations. We, not so much.
      =================

    • But the BRICS, or at least their women, are not having future generations [well except for India maybe, 2010 fertility rate 2.6]. Brazil went from a fertility rate of ~6.1 child per woman in 1960 to 1.8 in 2010 – below replacement. Russia seems to be staging a comeback from a 1999 low of 1.18 to an impressive 1.5 in 2010 – but still demographic death.

      What does it mean to “protect future generations” either by ‘pecautionality’ or ‘proactivism’ if you basically don’t value human life enough to have children to ‘sustain’ your own society?

      There is a real shortsighted and selfishness inherent among the childless in that they seem to expect somebody else’s children to be around to take care of them when they are too old to take care of themselves, even if they decided to opt out of child rearing themselves.

      Speaking as an evolutionary dead-end myself of course.

      W^3

  17. Here is a real-world example of where the precautionary principle is affecting public policy. I believe that the procautionary principles described by More are better public policy drivers than what is proposed in this New York State action.

    The Great Lakes Action Agenda (http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/91881.html) is “a draft plan to support programs and partnerships involving state and federal agencies, municipalities, academic institutions, non-profits, and other stakeholders in New York’s Great Lakes basin. The Great Lakes Action Agenda identifies the most pressing problems and actions needed to protect natural resources, environmental quality and economic development. It helps focus federal and state programs on key challenges faced by this region of the state. Once finalized, the Great Lakes Action Agenda will be a tool that agencies, communities and organizations can use to help plan, fund and track projects that support the shared vision for the conservation, restoration and protection of New York’s Great Lakes basin.”

    On page 7 of the draft agenda document, the precautionary principle is used to justify adding climate change as one of the items on the agenda: “Climate change, sound science and ecosystem-based management are key cross-cutting State priorities integrated into this Action Agenda. Overwhelming scientific evidence shows that New York State‘s air and water quality, forests, fish and wildlife habitats, people and communities are at risk from climate change. Continental-scale changes in climate may result in such impacts as changing lake conditions and lake levels, decreased winter ice cover, increased lake-effect snow events, and related water-management, navigation, and hydroelectric production issues. Longer shipping seasons may provide more opportunity for the introduction of invasive species. Changes in the region‘s temperatures could affect fish communities, commercial and recreational fishing and the tree composition of the region‘s forests. Recognizing the relationship between the Great Lakes ecosystem and climate change, the Action Agenda seeks to support the State‘s dual climate change goals: to mitigate climate change, through reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and enhancement of carbon sinks, and to adapt to the expected effects of climate change.”

    Three of Max More’s six major weak spots are present. In order to justify inclusion of climate change on the agenda, the authors assume worst-case scenarios: “overwhelming evidence” shows that things may result in impacts such as “changing lake conditions” and three sentences worth of potential effects. There is no suggestion that any of the impacts could be positive or neutral. However, my major concern is that this certainly distracts attention from established threats.

    Consider this sentence: “Longer shipping seasons may provide more opportunity for the introduction of invasive species.” I think that More’s component principles to his proactionary principle provide a better approach for protecting the natural resources, environmental quality and economic development of the Great Lakes. In particular, “Triage”, in which we give precedence to ameliorating known and proven threats to human health and environmental quality over acting against hypothetical risks. Invasive species have already had extraordinary impacts and continue to have major impacts on the Great Lakes (http://www.epa.gov/glnpo/invasive/). From the sea lamprey and round goby to zebra mussels the invasive species have managed to populate the Great Lakes over the past two hundred years.

    More’s “prioritize” principle is also better. Clearly society needs to “give priority to immediate threats over distant threats”. Any resources expended to reduce longer shipping seasons which may or may not introduce invasive species would be better expended trying to keep Asian carp (http://www.asiancarp.org/) from migrating from waterways that eventually connect to the Great Lakes.

  18. Interesting, and less stupid than precautionary principle.
    Nassim nicholas Taleb propose another vision.

    The idea is that you avoid to touch on “too big to fail” things that works well,because it may break for an unpredictable reason.
    On the opposite where things are desperate, you can try all you want… take risk, ans it cannot be much worse.

    about research his position is that provided you can “cut the rope” in case of trouble, just test. If once started you cannot cut the rope, don’t do it…
    or do it on something you can lose without being destroyed.

    For polluting, his position is to balance pollution among various kind, because it will be less toxic than one big kind of pollution, and easier to manage.

    You can take huge risk, but only on part of your asset.
    and don’t try to cure someone in good health.

    for climate maybe this mean balancing pollution between co2, nuke, poverty induced by renewables, starvation induced by biofuel.
    He fear GMO as global risk, I don’t do so as species are never free to occupy the planet… no risk of invasion (and to be hones any species, natural or not can be invasive and dangerous… GMO are not specific). But he fears simply GMO because too recently created… seems logic… hum… dunno…
    Beside that develop research on all possible solutions. Once needed you may use it provided you don’t use it at the planetary level, except if you are nearly dead.

    You should read anti-fragile… a sharp book, written with a knife.

    • Taleb is always worthwhile.

      Following on my remark to kim about bin-laden, dare I suggest that CAGW proponents should seek a Taleb-ban?

    • Thanks for bringing up Taleb, he can’t pick the right tutelary animal to save his own metaphor, but otherwise he’s right on the money.

      Any system, or society, should be engineered to reduce “fragility” and promote “resiliency” and should use analytic tools appropriate for the types of uncertainty involved. Any set of principles used used to engineer society should be able to state these things explicitly.

      Neither of these concepts is taken up directly either by Precautionary or Proactive principles, nor it the concept of avoiding “fourth quadrant” dangers, the so called “Extremistan”, where high impact events characterized by both large uncertainty and consequences – the so called ‘fat tail’ – become the new norm.

      This is where the usual set of tools used by statisticians to gauge uncertainty and build models to simulate future events are no longer sufficient to predict the effects of these “black swan events”. [I prefer to call them "platypus events", but I'm weird that way - I also don't sell any books]

      This “fourth quadrant” was not always recognized and people involved with using statistics often relied on a belief Taleb calls, the “Ludic Fallacy”, which is the assumption that the unstructured randomness found in life resembles the structured randomness found in games. This, according to Taleb, is a dangerous assumption because the unexpected can be predicted from extrapolating [inferring] from statistics based on past observations only if they are assumed to represent a bell-shaped ‘normal’ curve or Gaussian distribution. As it turns out, Gaussian distributions aren’t ‘normal’ in “Extremistan”.

      Pardon for piling on your comment.

      W^3

  19. The proactionary principle seems to me to be a useful great tool for explaining why America should not abandon the Constitution, free enterprise capitalism, Judeo-Christian ethics and principles, the scientific method nor common sense, on the altar of politically-correct, liberal Utopian progressivism.

    • They would rather we continue to turn on the boob-tube and buy the new fathead face, to put it into your home some place. It’s for the kids again.

    • You’d think the average American would have enough compassion for those less fortunate to demand the UN admit CO2 has never killed a kid but socialism has.

    • None of the people arriving at Ellis Island appear to have observed the precautionary principle.

    • Doc, the entry of those arrivals into the system described by Wag had led to such great benefits that one wonders how anyone with positive intent could ever have dreamed up the precautionary principle.

  20. Another fad word.

    I particularly liked this;

    “More outlines 9 component principles to the proactionary principle:
    1.Freedom to innovate:

    10.Renew and Refresh: “

  21. Reblogged this on evilincandescentbulb and commented:
     

     

    … [the] question of whether risk should be avoided or embraced may come to be a defining feature of future ideological struggles.

    The proactionary principle seems to me to be a useful great tool for explaining why America should not abandon the Constitution, free enterprise capitalism, Judeo-Christian ethics and principles, the scientific method nor common sense, on the altar of politically-correct, liberal Utopian progressivism.

  22. Similar issues are addressed in:
    Law, Uncertainty and Emerging Technologies: Towards a Constructive Implementation of the Precautionary Principle in the Case of Nanotechnologies. Elena Pariotti (2010)

    The precautionary principle was recognized for the first time within the World Charter for nature in 1982, restated in 1992 within the Rio Declaration, . . . .
    Common to all the definitions of the principle is the inversion of the burden of proof, which depends on those who propose the actions at issue.
    In recent years, a wide-ranging debate has underscored the shortcomings of the precautionary principle, which has been regarded as ambiguous, unsuitable for the orientation of genuine regulatory options, capable of increasing people’s anxiety, and too intertwined with a biased social perception of risk.11
    It has often been pointed out that the precautionary principle is geared towards the status quo and fails to highlight opportunity costs. . . .
    regulative decisions would tend to be based on the most negative predictions, rather than on a balanced consideration of all possible consequences. . . .
    Sustein, C.R. (2005) Laws of Fear. Beyond the Precautionary Principle, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (Mass.)

    It is extremely important to determine how the process of defining an acceptable level of risk can become a democratic one. . . .
    search for the soundest meaning of this principle through coherent and effective regulatory measures.

    The precautionary principle in environmental policy and the theory of choice under uncertainty, John Quiggin 2005

    The incompleteness hypothesis states that estimates derived from formal models of choice under uncertainty will generally be over-optimistic and that the errors will be greater, the less well-understood is the problem in question.

    • David, I haven’t read Quiggin’s paper (and it is no longer available online), but he is held in poor regard by most economists, he’s part of the progressive-left/anti-growth crew and the abstract suggests that he is seeking ways to deflect criticism of the Precautionary Principle rather than rigorously analyze it. But perhaps that’s my bias, I know some of those with whom Quiggin keeps company (and know Quiggin), and have a low opinion of them (and them of me in times past).

    • David L. Hagen

      Thanks Faustino for your caution.
      I see Quiggin (2008) asserts:

      The scientific literature on climate change is virtually unanimous . . . and those seeking to manufacture uncertainty (commonly self-described as ‘skeptics’) have not undertaken significant peer reviewed research to justify an opposing conclusion.

      Quiggin has a 2013 working paper “Carbon Pricing and the Precautionary Principle”

      By contrast, with a fixed tax rate, there is a significant risk that emissions will exceed dangerous levels

      He addresses Australia’s carbon tax but no mention of McKitrick’s T3 tax.
      He mentions Stainforth’s (2005) high sensitivity of 11 C and 1.5 to 4.5 of Annan & Hargreaves (2006) but not the numerous recent publications with low sensitivities.

  23. The best way to meet the proactionary principle may be to divest.

  24. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Please allow me to commend to Climate Etc readers the recent (Gates Foundation-funded) Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study 2010.

    Broadly speaking, GBD is to disease what the IPCC is to climate: a summary of “best available science”. In both cases:

    • the statistical evidence is incomplete,
    • the scientific understanding is incomplete,
    • the policy recommendations are controversial

    See in particular the discussion Should the GBD risk factor rankings be used to guide policy?

    The short answer is “Yes, obviously”. The nuanced answer is:

    “In such a complex and ambitious exercise, trade-offs between rigour and policy relevance are inevitable. Judgment calls have to be made when data are not reliable or consistent, and these will sometimes be con- tentious. In the long term, the work’s value will depend on whether the findings are internally consistent, complete, and supported by scientific consensus.”

    Among the sequelae of the emerging medical consensus are global trends toward:

    ▶  universal sanitation
    ▶  universal vaccination
    ▶  universal pollution controls (e.g., mercury, DDT)
    ▶  universal education (e.g., sex education)
    ▶  universal access (e.g., ObamaCare)

    Needless to say, there is a substantial class of corporate interests and/or political ideologues who deplore all of these health-care actions … and to protext these interests and ideologies, denialists have worked to deny the health-care science by unscrupulous means that amount to criminal racketeering.

    As with medical science, so with climate-change science, eh?

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    • We had to pass it to find out we can’t implement it.
      ==============

    • Kim never ceases to amuse. Please don’t stop.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Market/political/scientific forces ensure that:

      ▶  ObamaCare will evolve to SwissCare

      ▶  If the GOP leads, the GOP will prosper.

      ▶  If the GOP denies, the GOP will wither.

      Conclusion In regard to “best principles” healthcare and climate policy alike, rational adaptive conservatism prospers, demagogic denialist conservatism withers.

      It’s not complicated, kim!

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • GMO crops
      Fluoridation

    • “As with medical science, so with climate-change science, eh?”

      I know replying to this will be complete waste of my time but….

      We know how to deal with most of the world’s major diseases. We don’t know how to deal with a changing climate.

      That’s the difference/.

  25. I’m Afraid.
    I’m Hopeful.

    now build a system of rational principles to defend your irreducible emotional reaction to uncertainty.

    next use this rational edifice to convince a fearful person that he should have hope or a hopeful person that he should have fear.

    When they refuse to listen or be persuaded call them irrational.

    or avoid building these machines of justification and just use a cliche

    look before you leap.
    he who hesitates is lost.

    • Easy, peasy, regard history; the hopeful always triumph over the fearful, well, statistically speaking ‘always’.
      =============

    • Steven Mosher

      history repeats itself. there is nothing new under the sun.
      so, you ask me to put my faith in innovation.

      the more things change the more things stay the same. you can never step in the same river twice.

      history is a box. you need to think outside the box.

    • Thanks, m; it’s box turtles all the way down.
      =========

    • The most important English innovation of that of ‘loyal opposition’. It meant that one could be in opposition to a particular action, policy or even government and yet remain loyal to the Sovereign, and eventually the sovereign state. This allowed coalitions of interest to form, without the fear of being branded traitor, and gave rise to political parties.
      Basically, it meant that opposition to an idea, policy or societal movement, was not evil.
      Sad to watch it die.

    • “I’m Afraid.”

      Of what? Telling the truth?

      Andrew

    • Moshman,

      This is some kind of dialectic?

      There is, as I think you may be trying to point out, no way to argue yourself out of a lower level mind space. If you can’t get people ‘up’ to a rational level of discourse then indeed we have problems. It’s a hurdle, its a leap. However, if we can get enough people to agree, at least in principle, that a rational discourse is preferred then there is hope that a rational and humane solution can prevail, even if the majority are still embedded much of the time in their slope-browed-retro-troglodyte emotional reactions to uncertainty. It’s temperament, it’s to a degree hard wired, but people can compensate – using reason. Fortunately there are more people and in many places a greater concentration of people able to attempt this than at any time in history.

      Unfortunately, more dim-bulbs have more real power than at most times in history.

      So, there is hope because, history has in fact, never repeated itself. Thing build up, things fall down, but never the same way twice. There was a Roman Republic, a Roman Empire, a Western Roman Empire, and Eastern Roman Empire, a Holy Roman Empire… one after the other none the same, all introducing novel aspects and new levels of complexity built on levels of complexity already attained. Evolution. New failure modes emerge with every novel holon that emerges, but over time precautions against these new failure modes are adopted. As intelligence increases our ability to proactively anticipate new failure modes improves, and our insight into the limitations of our predictive skill increases. Progress in the face of ever steepening complexity – with the periodic platypus [you know the beastie with the fat tail] to keep things interesting.

      Great dialectic Mr. Mosher.

      W^3

  26. You try to make progress by doing new things. When you get them wrong or there are unforeseen outcomes, you do things to correct that in the present moment.

    This applies to that relatively new thing, the predominance of wanting to apply the precautionary principle. I happen to think there’s already powerful evidence that it has been wrongly emphasised in the climate issue. I would cite, for instance, the detrimental effects of biofuels and windmills on both the environment (e.g. deforestation, damage to peat lands and bird/bat populations) and on human well-being (e.g. food and fuel price increases), each running contrary to the intentions the precautionary principle was putatively applied for (i.e. saving the environment and helping mankind).

    However, it seems that those in power, at least in the developed nations, have not yet reached the same conclusion. Being charitable, let’s assume that’s because they still consider the threat of AGW to be worth the downside, rather than that they’re still invested for political reasons or for financial gain. But whatever the motivation is, let’s suppose they continue giving precedence to the precautionary principle. Whether or not they will be vindicated, and people like me proven wrong, will become apparent in some future present moment. It’s surely plain that that moment hasn’t yet arrived because neither side has conceded its ground.

    The situation will run its course until the moment arrives. When it does, and if I am proven right, the learning point should be that the precautionary principle is actually damaging, and I like the proactionary principle rather more. Thing is, I don’t think it’s new. We used to call it commonsense, and it’s just been formalised a bit.

  27. Matthew R Marler

    It’s a nice new phrase: “proactionary principle”. I am reminded of the self-help sections in bookstores and libraries. It sounds like a succinct rehash of ideas already commonly expressed.

    Haste makes waste.
    A stitch in time saves nine.

    Can the “proactionary principle” and the descriptions of it actually clarify whether taxing the carbon content of fuel is a good idea? Or help us decide whether to increase or decrease subsidies to wind energy?

  28. It is still true that if you really don’t know the cause of the thing you fear, you won’t know what will work to counter it. Then, if you must still act because of your fear, you will most certainly do the wrong things, at the wrong time, in the wrong way. There is a miniscule probability that you will accidentally do the right things, at the right time, and in the right way. Even if that very improbable event occurs, you will not know why it worked and will most likely misapply it the next time you try it. There is no substitute for knowing what you are doing, knowing how to do it right, and knowing the right time to do it.

    To believe otherwise is to believe that there is one overpowering cause that can have any wished for effect. Then, if tried and failed, it is presume one did not apply the cause with sufficient force. Followed by a doubling down on what didn’t work. Interestingly, that one truly believed in one overpowering cause that can fix any problem is totalitarian global governance. Its primary feature is top down command and control implemented by using brute force to make sure the sacred universal one size fits all plan is put into action. That this has never worked, does not work, and will never work does not diminish the faith in its efficacy.

    If you continue to believe it will work, then the end you are after is the poverty, despair, death, and destruction that has always accompanied any attempt to implement it. Any so called “good intentions” you have are total BS and you are irremediably evil to the core. See the history of the 20th century for massive instructional detail.

    • +1 Lionnel.

    • The dirty little secret is that Mussolini didn’t make the trains run on time. He just claimed that he did, and people outside of Italy believed it. That can work for a while. As long as you aren’t in a hurry to get anywhere.

    • Harold

      Ja.

      But Adolph did have the Autobahns built and designed the concept for the Volkswagen.

      Unfortunately his other “precautionary principle” actions backfired big-time.

      Max

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Lionell Griffith claims (wrongly)  “If you continue to believe [public measures] will work, then the end you are after is the poverty, despair, death, and destruction that has always accompanied any attempt to implement [public measures] . Any so called “good intentions” you have are total BS and you are irremediably evil to the core.

      Lionell Griffith, it is astonishing to consider that the following “good public intentions” are in fact “irremediably evil to the core”:

      ▶  universal sanitation
      ▶  universal vaccination
      ▶  universal pollution controls (e.g., mercury, DDT, tobacco, sulphates, fluorocarbons)
      ▶  universal education (e.g., sex education)
      ▶  universal access (e.g., ObamaCare)

      Needless to say, corporate interests and/or political ideologues (and their agents) work to deny this health-care science by (legally determined) criminal racketeering practices (RICO).

      Conclusion  By Lionell Griffith’s standards, the corporate interests and/or political ideologues (and their agents) who embrace non-scientific denialist demagoguery are pure-and-simple racketeers who are “irremediably evil to the core.”

      Perhaps that is too harsh a judgment, Lionell Griffith?

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • So you think Obama was right to set up a fake Polio vaccination campaign so that agents of the CIA could obtain blood samples of Osama’s children?
      Personally, I find the idea offensive and the current murders of real vaccination workers in Pakistan,Afghanistan and now in parts of Africa will make the eradication of this disease impossible in my lifetime.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Thank you DocMartyn, for sharing with Climate Etc readers your exciting cherry-picked denialist rationalization that vaccination programs are (in Lionell Griffith’s phrase) “irremediably evil to the core”

      `Cuz heck, healthcare scientists never *did* figure out all the details of smallpox biology, did they?

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • Yes, I do say that if you don’t know what is causing the thing you fear and that you believe the way to solve it is through global or even local totalitarian governance. In which, a one size fits all program implemented using enough boots on enough necks, enough knifes at enough throats, enough guns at enough heads, enough whips on enough backs, and if they fail, enough gulags to house the deniers for life are expected to work. Well, it won’t and you ARE irredeemably evil. This no matter what you pretend your good intentions are.

      Now if “all” you want to do is confiscate private property, extort wealth from its producers, and force people to do what they would not otherwise do, you are just as evil. There is no such thing as a right to violate individual rights no matter how urgent your need nor how strong your desire nor how numerous the people who want it done. To do so is to be a thug or a gang of thugs even if your action has been sanctioned by a government and its illegitimate laws.

      An illegitimate law is ANY law that sanctions the violation of individual rights by the initiation of force or threat to do so. By this standard, the things you so prize are as evil as a Nazi Concentration Death Camp only not as obviously so If you can’t persuade, you have NO right to force. Especially not anyone who has not initiated force against you and thereby violated YOUR rights.

      Man’s rights are prior to and superior to government. The individual is soverign over himself and a proper government is subservient to those rights. The ONLY obligation that one has for another is not to violate his rights. To think and act otherwise is to enter the realm of the irredeemably evil.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Rob Starkey claims “The individual is sovereign over himself [...] to think and act otherwise is to enter the realm of the irredeemably evil.”

      That is the demagoguery of animal waste management!

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • Well said, Lionell

      (But I’m afraid it’s all going over the top of “Fan’s” head.)

      Max

    • To: A Fan…..

      It’s quite sad.

      You obviously believe that is it proper for you to be the property of others for their use and disposal and/or that it is proper for others to be your property for your use and disposal. If that isn’t bad enough, you can’t even get the attribution of the quote correct. However, it is consistent. You steal my words and give them to someone else as if they were your property.

    • Lionell, we are having an election in Australia, see if you can get drafted into a winnable seat within the next three weeks. There is no one of your calibre currently standing.

    • Sorry, I am a US Citizen and cannot stand for an Australian election. However, it would be an interesting experience.

  29. I am originally from England and never in my life have I been upset that my neolithic ancestors used all the really good flint that was formed over millions of years in the chalk downs.
    Now, by mining for flint, especially for the large pieces, they stopped my and future generations from accessing this valuable resource. However, I forgive them, as I expect the people in 30,000 years time to not be very bothered about my carbon foot print.

    • You believe that there is a high probability of there being people 30k years from now?

    • I’m guessing there will be human genes still traceable then, and not from fossils.
      =============

    • Kim– that is one potential outcome. If there are, I’d guess they would have very little in common with us.

    • It’s odd, how my sense of time has altered as I’ve gotten older. 30 thousand years no longer seems almost incomprehensibly long to me. How many life spans is that? Assuming centenarians which of course exist in rather large numbers, we’re talking about 300 generations. Long time of course, but I can wrap my tiny mind around it nonetheless. I’d say there will still people around in 30 thousand years…

    • Only if you use twisty light bulbs.

    • michael hart

      Is there a flint-futures market?

    • New elements & no watches someday…

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

      for now, it’s just us?:o)

    • David Springer

      I believe there is a high probability our descendents will be around in 30,000 years but that they probably won’t be the same species. Evolution is being co-opted and accelerated by genetic engineering. Our descendents in 30,000 years might not even be organic in the generally accepted sense of the word.

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

      The person behind the concept of a technological singularity, Ray Kurzweil, is a transhumanist. Max More is a transhumanist. I am a transhumanist.

    • You believe that there is a high probability of there being people 30k years from now?

      Anyone starting a bet?

    • 95% chance that humans will be extinct within 10,000 years
      http://io9.com/can-the-doomsday-argument-predict-our-odds-of-survival-472097460

    • lolwot, The Mao-Mao, have a neo creed for their hard core cadres…

      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/20/world/asia/chinas-new-leadership-takes-hard-line-in-secret-memo.html?_r=0

      who will now use something other than MSM.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      And I thought multiverse proponents were screwy.

    • Heh expected denier reaction. Can either of you actually address the point though? I mean logically rather than emotionally.

    • 30k years?? It’s likely enough that if you Rip Van Winkled and woke up at the end of the next century you might not recognize another human being right in front of you as a member of your own species. After a phase of bio-perfect Kens and Barbies, people will have moved onto other things, will have shed the monkey completely or have left planet on their way to distant stars and galaxies as they while away the millennia wandering the digital beaches of their imaginations. How do I know? because that’s what people have been saying they want to do for the last fifty or a hundred years. Everything we’ve ever wanted we’ve produced eventually ['thing' being the operating word]

      W^3

    • R. Gates the Skeptical Warmist

      Speculation as to the future of humanity is quite entertaining, and the best of us at the specualation game have made a living out of it as in Science Fiction writers. Nanotechology, the mapping of the human genome, bioengineering, and the potential for new superintelligent life forms arising from all this (that might just think humans are not worth much), makes the game all that much more entertaining. As we aren’t even sure what the majority of the universe is made out of (as in Dark Matter and Dark Energy), specualtion about our future is a bit like speculation about the way the foam on the top of the ocean might move about, when we haven’t the fainted idea what most of the ocean is even made of.

    • Our descendents in 30,000 years might not even be organic in the generally accepted sense of the word.M/blockquote>

      Inorganic humanoids?

      The mind boggles.

    • Don’t you hate it when the bloke a the jumble sale who gets all of the good swag just before you? especially if he’s a relative. Of course by the end of the decade you’ll probably be able to print-out as much flint as you want without getting out of your chair – except to add some more silicone to the hopper.

  30. “Triage: Give precedence to ameliorating known and proven threats to human health and environmental quality over acting against hypothetical risks.” – Max More.

    I think the above is a good one. The Global Warming threat is pretty far in the future and has some doubts associated with it.

    This threat changes its Triage value if we are convinced that it’s happening now, and there are few doubts about it.

    We now know the marketing strategy, if we wanted one.

    Looking at the Triage guide above from a business point of view, if a company incorrectly weighs the threats, acts on less certain long term ones at the expense of the more certain short term ones, they increase the risk of closing the doors soon, for the decreased risk of closing them much later. In some situations that is the best thing to do. But it seems in this case, you have pulled a risk forward in time, having this new current burden on your operations.

    Which is to say I think, avoid the long term risk by taking risks now. So when we hear we are avoiding a long term risk there is this pushback effect.

  31. What a muddled web we weave when first we practice to believe (in statism).

    The list of items for the “proactionary principle” starts out with a bang.

    “Our freedom to innovate technologically is valuable to humanity.”

    It then promptly busts into yet another list of statist wish lists, based on this apparently central theme:

    “…the Proactionary Principle allows for handling mixed effects through compensation and remediation instead of prohibition….”

    Now just who, I wonder, is going to set the guidelines for, and enforce, the “compensation” and “remediation” proposed? This is just reframed lukewarmerism – rejection of full scale decarbonization, but embrace of government control as the answer to any problem.

    Here’s the clue for those of you pretending to value “freedom.” Freedom is not found in a list telling the targets of your intellectual beneficence of how they must exercise it.

    You want the benefit of innovative technology? Get the hell out of the way with your dreams of telling other people how to do what they do. They don’t need your direction.

    • Let me guess. You’re not a Sunstein fan.

    • Give the man a cigar.

    • Absolutely correct, GaryM.

      “Our freedom to innovate….” A very deceptive word, “our”.
      It works for a for a group of individuals.
      It works for an individual group.

      The burden of proof therefore belongs to those who propose restrictive measures. This is as it should be. But let’s face it — what can possibly be the standard of “proof”? And what is the process of “proof?” Is it an adversarial proceeding? Suddenly the innovator doesn’t look unhampered, anymore.

      All proposed measures should be closely scrutinized.
      Well, that give up the game, doesn’t it? To “closely scrutinize” means huge demand for data and time from those who attempt to innovate.

      And just WHO gets to do the close scrutiny of WHOM? It used to be that those who had the financial responsibility for failure or accident would scrutinize “all proposed measures.” That’s not good enough for the Proactinary Principle; otherwise it would be called by the “quaint” term Laissez Faire. Nope, Proactionary Principle is carte blanche for third-party busy-bodies poking their nose into innovation they cannot understand and do not value.

      Proactionary Principle. “Pro” and “Action” A bias for taking action – against innovation. I’m not fooled.

    • During the moon landings 1969-1972, Arthur C Clarke was on a show, I think CBS with Cronkite. He was asked about the purpose of going into space. His reply I remember hearing was very similar to this quote from the BBC BBC

      “The analogy I often use is this: if you had intelligent fish arguing about why they should go out on dry land, some bright young fish might have thought of many things. [That fish might have come up with many good answers, but I feel certain that the fish would have missed the BIG one.] They would never have thought of — FIRE. I think that in space we will find things as useful as fire.”

      That is the problem with the Proactionary Principle, as well as the Precautionary Principle. Had either of those Principles been in place 10,000 years ago, we would have never had to collective courage to allow experimention with fire and would have prevented individuals from learning about fire.

    • Gary,

      To give Max some credit, from his complete article:

      Sixth, and finally, the precautionary principle conflicts with the more balanced approach to risk and harm derived from common law. Common law holds us liable for injuries we cause, our liability being proportionate with the degree of foreseeable risk. By contrast, the precautionary principle dismisses liability and acts like a preliminary injunction but without the involvement of a court, without the burden of proof, and without taking responsibility for harm caused by the injunction.

      I haven’t read anything else of his, but from this statement it seems as if Mr. More means Common Law in the legal sense, though I’m not sure if he would exclude Civil Law or some combination of the two. I don’t think he is proposing the rest of the world adopt Common Law jurisprudence just to make his idea work. Its a little hard for me to tell, at heart, how much of a: statist/collectivist he might be, whether he is Hobbsian in his outlook, is a redistributive social-democrat type, or a Hayekian ‘liberal-democrat’ natural-law kind of guy. My guess is that he isn’t a hard core libertarian nor is he a devout social democrat, and that he is talking about a Proactive Principle in operation at the societal level, though I don’t think it would necessarily exclude operation at the individual level.

      What Mr. More is proposing is a group decision making strategy, not a political system ‘per se’.

      W^3

  32. “The Proactionary Principle was conceptualized by Max More, and is outlined in this document. ”

    Wickedpedia might be a less biased source than More’s web page.

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

    Jargon is not going to solve any problems except perhaps the problem of what to put on T-Shirts given out to promote corporate reorganizations.

    • David Springer

      Sorry wrong url

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

      Damn you google autocorrect.

    • Talkin’ about language, mosomoso, as I may have mentioned,
      been lookin;’ at the Sorpir-Whorf Hypothesis, language-as-
      strait-jacket, all of us at the mercy of a particular language
      that’s become the mould in which our thoughts are cast –
      the die is cast, yer might say.

      Got ter thinkin’ about language “Thou-shalt-nots,” from
      theliterati such as do-not-use-adjectives-or-adverbs, fer
      they are mere ornament and yer know what that means,
      means a bourgeois legacy, that’s what!

      So if yer hafta be evocative and persuasive, and after all,
      Sapir- Whorf is about linguistic determinancy, why, jest put
      more weight inter yer verbs, verbs like ‘ter arc’ or ‘torquing’
      and here’s a good one, ‘problematizing,’ that’ll impress.

      And say, by hyphenatin ‘bourgeois-legacy’ ‘n such, yer
      sub-sume :) an adjective inter part of yer new noun, like
      Shakespeare did in ‘The Tempest’ with ‘sea-change’ and
      ‘hag-seed’ etc. So yer in good company. And it gives a
      kind of progressive-post-modern quality ter yr writing too.
      Here’s a couple ter try out.’Transformative-hermeneutic,’
      ‘post-enlightenment-hegemony’ …and here’s a sample
      in context:”These post-modern-theories meta-critical in
      the sense that they foreground themselves as metaphors
      rather than descriptions of reality.” (H/t Alan Sokal.)

      You’all ‘ll be writin’ better after this .Yikes! I jest used
      an adverb ‘in-ad-vert-antly.
      B-t-s

    • Beth,

      Zarathustra had it that it was the course of human development that man starts out as camel who trots out into the desert and becomes a lion who’s job it is to slay a dragon, and on every scale of that dragon is written a “Thou Shalt!” and then returns as an enlightened child.

      Of course Nietzsche, being German, would naturally write that entire sentence as one word. We English speakers can approximate by using hyphens. I do this often. Sam Clemens has his own thought on this feature of that awful-german-language here:

      http://www.crossmyt.com/hc/linghebr/awfgrmlg.html

      W^3

    • David Springer

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proactionary_principle#Predictability_and_sufficient_study

      my emphasis

      Predictability and sufficient study[edit source]

      In theory, sufficient study of the variables of any proposed course of action may yield acceptable levels of predictability. In this regard the proactionary principle can be looked upon as the philosophical formulation of the accepted mathematical principles of extrapolation and the logical principles of induction.

      However, the proactionary principle argues that “sufficient study” may in some cases be impractical. For instance, in releasing a new life form into the biosphere — whether genetically-modified plant, animal, or bacteria — one would have to simulate the biosphere to achieve “acceptable levels of predictability.” While the innovator of the new life form might point out that such a simulation would be a heavy burden, the other life forms in the biosphere could suffer irreparable harm in the case of an untested release. More’s first principle, freedom to innovate, would place the burden of proof on those who propose a restrictive measure.

      Perfect. Burden of proof for those who want to restrict CO2 emission is to demonstrate that benefits of fossil fuel use are outweighed by adverse effects. First principle, freedom to innovate, rules until then and in this case the innovation is new ways to increase economically recoverable fossil fuel reserves.

    • David Springer

      Proactionary Principle:

      Burden of proof for those who want to restrict CO2 emission is to demonstrate that benefits of fossil fuel use are outweighed by adverse effects. First principle, freedom to innovate, rules until then and in this case the innovation is new ways to increase economically recoverable fossil fuel reserves.

      That’s how I would interpret it, too.

      Drill, baby, drill – frack, baby, frack!

      Max

    • How would you interpret it in the context of a company wanting to sell an untested medicine to the public?

    • lolwot,

      The last thing you should want to do is start a debate on the impact of the FDA on drug approval. They are an example of the precautionary principle run amok, preventing the sale and distribution of drugs proven to provide benefits, because of some of the most byzantine approval mechanisms imaginable.

      Which is of course exactly where the “proactionary principle” would take us in energ.

    • Having just written the above comment clarified a thought I had. The difference between the precautionary principle and the proactionary principle will not be all that remarkable, in practice. Just as economic fascism/”state run capitalism” is merely a modified form of socialism, the proactionary principle, with its devolution of control to the state, is merely modified form of the precautionary principle.

      In both cases, you are providing for government control. The proactionary principle simply creates somewhat more lenient rules for the imposition of that control. But once control rests with the state, the end result will be the same.

    • +1 Gary M.
      Proactionary is ter precautionary, jest another principle
      leading ter control by the state, fer the right reasons,
      actin’ on a principle.
      A-serf-suss-of-socially-formalised-principles. (

    • Perhaps we could make decisions and take action without consulting the latest fashionable “principle”? Especially if the principle consists of a lot of old saws and obvious maxims, but expressed as a gruesome new abstract noun.

      Yes, I’m in favour of openness, transparency, simplicity, innovation etc etc…but I’m also in favour of motherhood, lemon meringue pie, koalas and a better future for our children.

      As a first step toward clearer thought, let’s ban the torture and murder of the English language.

    • Mosomoso +1

      There is a tendency for modern humans to overanalyse and to ascribe motivations and causations for normal life decisionmaking that would leave our sturdy ancestors shaking their heads in perplexity. Damn Freud for the fraud that he has perpetrated!

    • Hey, Peter,
      Freaked by Freud’s fraud.
      Poor us.
      Beth the serf.

    • +1 to Beth the friendly serf whose sang froid in the face of Freud’s fraud is most commendable!

    • Another annoying allegory antagonizing anti-alliterationists. :-)

    • GaryM +1 not only for the above but for a most useful contribution to Judith’s blog on many of the more recent threads. Thanks.

    • Here’s the problem though, and it cuts several possible ways.

      From the Wiki:

      In theory, sufficient study of the variables of any proposed course of action may yield acceptable levels of predictability.

      Nice effort by Radagast83, but as anyone who owned bank stock, or just about any other kind of stock, found out in 2008 is completely wrong – almost.

      As I mentioned at AlainCo’s 10:35 comment above, elaborating on the subject of Nassim Taleb, in theory it is impossible to fully identify and quantify the variables of a problem where the unstructured nature of variability or real life do not not resemble the structured randomness found in games – are non-Gaussian in other words. This is the “Luddite fallacy” described by Taleb, [who understands the math better that I] it may work where both uncertainty and consequences are not large, but it will not work where they both are. This, according to Taleb, is a dangerous assumption because the unexpected can be predicted from extrapolating [inferring] from statistics based on past observations ONLY if they are assumed to represent a bell-shaped ‘normal’ curve or Gaussian distribution.

      Precautionary or Proactionary, there are evil gremlins who will crash your airliner and kill you no matter what you do because the right chain of mistakes had never occurred before to turn a gaseous anomaly in a fan disk forging into a total hydraulic failure at 37,000ft – and those were all *known* possibilities, not the even the unknown possibilities.

      Of course it all makes complete sense – in hind sight. Another part of the problem, retroactively minimizing the uncertainty and thus perpetuating the Luddite fallacy

      So, there is always the place for our messy, unpleasant, and costly legal system to sort out who owes what.

      W^3

  33. Supporting fears of future climate change may be as readily accomplished by slaughtering five goats as by averaging temperatures taken twice a day at discrete locations around the world. Belief by the participants is all that matters.

    • Wagathon,

      Unless you have a use for all the resultant goat meat, I find that reading tea leaves, or even the lines on your palm (if you use tea bags) is quite sufficient.

      Even though, long ago, Gavin took umbrage with my proposal, he showed a distinct lack of enthusiasm about placing a small wager on a measurable future climatic event. At that time, I was rather enthusiastic about chicken entrails, but they are in short supply at my local supermarket.

      However, regardless of the materials used, the portents seem to be a bit thin on the ground. The best I can see, into the future, is that the vast majority of the gullible would-be scientists accept that they were guilty of putting their faith in false prophets, rather than using their brains.

      As FOMD might say, the conclusion is that bull*hit baffles brains if you are both lazy and gullible.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

  34. …same outcome (except for the “goats”).

    In the latter case the taxpaying public are the “goats”.

    Max

  35. Proactionary about an acceleration in global warming?
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/plot/uah/from:1979/to:2008/trend/plot/uah/from:2008/trend

    UAH is of course the gold standard of temperature records.

    It appears the trend from 1979 to 2008 was just 0.15C/decade.

    Since 2008 the trend is greater, 0.24C/decade

    Will this apparent acceleration in global warming continue?

    • Chief Hydrologist

      No – it will turn negative in the next transition to La Nina.

      http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2013/anomnight.8.19.2013.gif

    • 5 years is evidence of an “acceleration” in warming, but 15 years is not evidence of a “pause.’

      Warmists use funny math.

      I guess 5 years is now climate, as long as it supports the CAGW political lunacy.

    • Oh look a skeptic is suddenly concerned about time periods being too short for analysis.

      That’s strange. Skeptics have never been concerned about that before, in fact they’ve gone out their way to rubbish the idea that periods can be too short for analysis.

      What’s changed GaryM? Please explain why 5 years (going on 6 years) isn’t long enough. This should be interesting.

    • lolwot,

      “Oh look a skeptic is suddenly concerned about time periods being too short for analysis.

      That’s strange. Skeptics have never been concerned about that before, in fact they’ve gone out their way to rubbish the idea that periods can be too short for analysis.”

      This skeptic has never made any argument of the kind. I don’t believe you or anyone else knows what the actual “global average temperature” is to any degree of precision, let alone trends to tenths of a degree per decade.

      I’m just pointing out your own hypocrisy. I know how badly you would like to divert attention from it by pointing to any on my part, but I can’t help you there. You’re on your own.

    • “Proactionary about an acceleration in global warming?
      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/plot/uah/from:1979/to:2008/trend/plot/uah/from:2008/trend

      UAH is of course the gold standard of temperature records.

      It appears the trend from 1979 to 2008 was just 0.15C/decade.

      Since 2008 the trend is greater, 0.24C/decade

      Will this apparent acceleration in global warming continue?”

      It’s only an apparent acceleration if somehow ignore the downward step
      from the end of your green line trend to the start of the blue tread.
      If believe that your green line is a actual trend, you would put the beginning of the blue at the end of the green line.

      Which would then indicate a flat trend of the blue line.

      But to your question, it seems quite likely that your blue line trend will not continue.
      But if continue cherry picking in manner that you are doing, I feel confident that in the future you can continue to delude yourself.

  36. Chief Hydrologist

    “In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.” 1992 Rio Declaration

    It is basic principle of risk assessment written large. Although often misapplied for political or ideological reasons – substituting the idea that absolute proof of serious or irreversible damage is required seems equally political. And far less justifiable. Climate change aside – technologies grow ever more powerful and inherently dangerous. Reasonable controls on technologies are part and parcel of civilised societies. Reasonable limits on freedoms to ensure the freedoms and welfare of others are not infringed.

    • The Chief:
      “In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.” 1992 Rio Declaration

      To change the subject a bit,
      “…lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures ( << Insert Miracles Here) to prevent environmental degradation."

      Cost-effective measures. Still working on those.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Unless you have specific projects in mind – it is impossible to determine cost effectiveness.

      This one for instance is relatively expensive I should think. Whether it is cost-effective depends on the value placed on remote Antarctic ecosystems.

      http://www.antarctica.gov.au/about-us/publications/australian-antarctic-magazine/2011-2015/issue-23-december-2012/science/a-brave-new-world-as-macquarie-island-moves-towards-recovery

      Controls on a wide range of pollutants is now widespread – doing away with these controls would be unthinkable.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihFkyPv1jtU

      This one’s fixable while saving saving money and increasing productivity.

      http://www.weather.com/video/what-caused-the-dead-zone-38162

      Is this one a miracle?

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/10176217/The-underground-forests-that-are-bringing-deserts-to-life.html

      I suggest you give up trying to be a smartarse – you really don’t have the licks for it.

    • Chief Hydrologist,

      Take away message from your first link : -

      “‘Their message is that we should expect the unexpected,’ Dr Whinam said.” Good luck with that, as a modus operandi.

      I looked at your last link, and I can’t see anything miraculous. Increasing the population in that area doesn’t seem to be a really smart idea. I am not sure what it would achieve.

      I too, lack the licks to be a smartarse. I leave that to you.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      ‘Department scientists started monitoring Macquarie Island’s vegetation in the 1980s. Their exclosure plots and photo-monitoring sites have provided graphic visual evidence of just how badly the island was degraded under the pressure of a rabbit population estimated at more than 100 000. It was a landscape-scale catastrophe that saw increased incidence of landslips resulting from the island’s denudation and subsequent erosion.’

      Your take home message is that the precise ecological balance of the restored ecosystem is uncertain? Therefore it shouldn’t be done?

      And Africans restoring the Sahel, producing more food and sequestering carbon is a bad idea because it will help people survive and boost population?

      You’re not even close to being a smartarse – but you are a fully fledged maniac.

    • Chief Hydrologist,

      Whilst I appreciate your desire to “restore an ecosystem” to a state that you consider optimal, you will fail. Change happens.

      Nature cannot be fooled or beaten. If you wish to spend all your money bending the natural state of Macquarie Island to your will, go for it. Please don’t expect me to willingly contribute. I have other preferences.

      As to increasing the population of the Sahel, I am mystified as to why you think this is a good thing. You obviously have small knowledge of the climate, conditions, and culture of the region. Throw your money at any wandering do-gooder with all he answers if you wish. Check back in a few years.

      Fully fledged maniac? My feathers are looking a bit tatty, so maybe not so fully fledged any more. Idiot? Not according to ACER.

      Daring to disagree with the humble Chief Hydrologist? One of us is wrong – I don’t think it’s me. Time will tell.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Restoration ecology is and emerging multi-disciplinary field

      e.g. http://water.epa.gov/type/wetlands/restore/principles.cfm

      Rivers catching in fire is an example of nature taking it’s course?

      http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/education/kits/pollution/media/supp_pol02d.html

      The Gulf of Mexico dead zone is an American success story?

      http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2013/2013029_deadzone.html

      Somehow increasing food production and incomes in the Sahel is a bad thing because they need to die off at an increased rate? Population controls in reality emerge from development and economic growth.

      - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LB_oERqQP6A

      Mike – you are an utter d_ckhead.

    • Chief Hydrologist,

      You have asked some questions. I will try to help you.

      First though, you have made an observation about restoration ecology, to the effect that it is an emerging multi-disciplinary field. I am not sure why you made this comment. Are you trying to make a point? Could you please expand?

      Now as to your question about rivers catching fire. Of course combustion is “natural”. Or are you arguing it’s a magical process akin to CO2 warming the atmosphere? Or maybe that humanity is not part of Nature?

      No, I would suggest the Gulf of Mexico dead zone is not an American success story. I am surprised you would think it to be so. If it occurred as an unanticipated side effect of “progress”, it would be an example of progress not always being a good thing.

      If you are thinking that increasing food production and incomes in the Sahel is a ” . . . bad thing because they need to die off at an increased rate.”, you will have to excuse me for not understanding your question.

      I assume that exceeding the natural carrying capacity of the semi-arid region of the Sahel by increasing the population artificially may lead to an increase in deaths by starvation and disease in the longer term. My assumption may be wrong, as may yours.

      Thank you for characterising me in such colourful terms. I have been called much worse things by experts. Your epithets pale into insignificance by comparison.

      If you need any more answers, please do not hesitate to ask.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Restoration ecology is about returning complexity to systems. If you really can’t see the connection between damaged and restored ecosystems – and see the point in doing in places like Macquarie Island – I can’t help. If you can’t see parallels in rivers on fire and dead zones – I can’t help. If you assume that rivers on fire is natural because people are natural – then no amount of common sense will prevail.

      The point was that greening of the Sahel by the people themselves is unambiguously a good – even for encouraging population growth restraint. More food and higher incomes – lower childhood mortality as the children in the linked video attest – equals population restraint.

      Are you really suggesting that development is bad because it encourages population growth? You are an utter phuckwit.

    • Chief Hydrologist,

      You said : – “And Africans restoring the Sahel, producing more food and sequestering carbon is a bad idea because it will help people survive and boost population?”

      My answer to your question is obviously yes, in respect to boosting population. The diversionary tactic of phrasing your statement as a question of the “. . . are you still beating your wife . . . ” variety, and including a mixture of truisms and unsupported assertions is just plain amateurish.

      However, I will provide opinion, (nothing more than that), on your “questions”.

      1. Africans restoring the Sahel. To what, precisely, and at what cost?

      2. Producing more food. Once again, at what cost? If the returns, culturally, economically or otherwise, are negative, then what is gained?

      3. Sequestering carbon. It seems that any effort devoted to such an enterprise may be diverted from something useful, such as trying to get enough to eat, if it does not occur as a no cost byproduct of something beneficial.

      4. Help people survive. Survive what, and for how long? Individuals, family groups? Do gooders’ families? Corrupt officials at he expense of subsistence semi- nomadic tribes? A bland motherhood statement, as far as I can see.

      5. Boost population. Here, I cannot see why any rational person would blindly want to achieve this in a region such as the Sahel. “Populate or perish” is no longer the catch cry of he day.

      In any case, you are free to apply your resources as you see fit.

      I have seen first hand the application of “good ideas” in certain areas of the world. Twenty or thirty years later, the results are often quite different from those intended.

      Even things such as medical assistance and education, turn out to have unintended consequences, to the detriment of the recipients. True thing.

      I wish you well with your noble endeavours. Do let me know how they turn out.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      You are arguing that:

      1. ecological restoration might not quite restore systems to pristine conditions so it shouldn’t be done;

      2. people in the Sahel shouldn’t be allowed to feed themselves or increase their incomes because there might be unforeseen consequences.

      Utter, unanswerable, insanity.

    • Chief Hydrologist,

      It is obvious that your mind cannot absorb what I write.

      I am not sure why you ask questions, unless it is some sort of strange game. You seem to be providing answers on my behalf to your own questions, regardless of what I have actually written.

      If you don’t like the answers, I’m not sure why you continue to ask questions. I suppose it takes all kinds!

      In response to your repeated reference to a newspaper report, my answer to your question is “or what”, as you only gave me two choices.

      I will cede the field to you. You seem to be quite capable of answering your questions to your own satisfaction. I can’t assist you any further.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      I understand entirely. You make an insane comment that people feeding themselves and increasing their incomes – as well as creating better environments, conserving water and sequestering carbon – is a bad idea because it leads to population increases. Untrue.

      Starvation and lack of development is a good thing because it removes excess population? Evil and stupid.

  37. I wish to release a new anti-hyperactivity drug to market. It’s pill based and is aimed at young children. I should make a huge profit out of it! To boost my profit I haven’t bothered testing the drug for side effects. Don’t need to, I am following the proactionary principle.

    Freedom to innovate: The burden of proof belongs to those who propose restrictive measures on my drug. Until they can prove in cast iron that it has side effects that harm children I should be allowed to sell as many pills as I want. (lolwot says: Remember patriots, Our freedom to innovate technologically is valuable to humanity!)

    Objectivity: Those who attempt to test my drug should be made to jump through a long list of hoops. Force them to use a decision process that is objective, structured, and explicit. Evaluate risks and generate forecasts according to available science, not emotionally shaped perceptions; use explicit forecasting processes. They need to fully disclose the forecasting procedure; ensure that the information and decision procedures are objective; rigorously structure the inputs to the forecasting procedure; reduce biases by selecting disinterested experts, by using the devil’s advocate procedure with judgmental methods, and by using auditing procedures such as review panels.. (lolwot comments: I will of course be sitting back trying to slow the process down by insisting on everything by the letter. By the time they get through all that red-tape I should have sold heap loads of pills! Money in the bank!)

    Comprehensiveness: Consider all reasonable alternative actions, including no action. (lolwot comments: yes please, consider letting me sell untested pills to children and while you are considering that, I will of course be selling pills!)

    Openness/Transparency: Take into account the interests of all potentially affected parties, and keep the process open to input from those parties. (lolwot comments: yes if anyone tries testing my drug I want to be notified so I can follow closely and slow them down with procedure and bureaucracy as much as possible)

    Triage: Give precedence to ameliorating known and proven threats to human health and environmental quality over acting against hypothetical risks. (lolwot notes: there are children dying in the third world. We should focus on saving those children rather than fretting over some hypothetical risk concerning the pills I am selling)

    Proportionality Consider restrictive measures only if the potential impact of an activity has both significant probability and severity. (lolwot comments: it’ll take the years of experimentation to prove a significant probability of anything! meanwhile I will be selling pills!)

    lolwot concludes: Three cheers for the proactionary principle! A couple thousand kids did sick in the end from my pills, but I am blameless. I followed the proactionary principle to the letter! I also made a HUGE profit!

    Thank god I wasn’t made to follow that stupid precautionary principle and test the drug myself before going to market!

    • Lolwot,

      I admire your desire to become wealthy. Unfortunately, what you suggest has already been done. Amphetamines are widely used in the treatment of supposed ADHD, and it is recognised that the long term effects (obviously) are not known. Good, bad, who knows?

      You might just list every possible adverse reaction to every known drug, and use very small print on a very large insert. Covered.

      There are quite a few drugs, antibiotics, and so on, which were poorly tested but have been shown to be useful (Aspirin, penicillin), in spite of occasionally fatal side effects becoming apparent later on.

      On the other hand, drugs like Thalidomide were tested, approved, and later found wanting. The consensus of the day, (based obviously on best scientific knowledge), proved to be somewhat incorrect.

      But good luck to you. Your simple approach may work.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Mike, it is rather unfair to use Thalidomide as an example; Thalidomide is a fantastic drug that is useful in a large number of conditions. One of its isoforms is a potent tetrogen, HOWEVER, at that time no drugs were tested for tetrogenicity. Indeed, almost no one had any idea that drugs could have tetrogenic effects; tetrogenicity was a ‘unknown, unknown.
      Now the pendulum has swung too far the other way. Almost all initial trials are carried out on men, trials exclude all women of child baring years. Such is the fear of tetrogenicity. Women who have just given birth are used as subjects for analgesic trials, as we know they are not pregnant, but that is about it.
      One day we will find a drug that is super-dooper in men, but harmful to women.

  38. *Time* triage. The future holds better evidence for sensitivty, and better technology for adaption. Use this in your decision making to your favor.

  39. Don Monfort, in whining about “skeptics” you am become Warm, Josh’s Clone. ;)

    Andrew

  40. I find it strange that they define the proactionary principle in terms of a pursuit of progress. Surely the debate isn’t about whether to pursue progress or not, it is about which direction to pursue progress. On the one hand, I don’t mind progress that leads to replacing dirty fuels with clean ones, cleaning up side-effect pollution, increasing fuel and energy efficiency and use of renewable energy, etc., and innovative things are already being encouraged in those directions. On the other hand, they probably mean innovative ways of getting fossil fuel out of the ground, which is exactly the wrong proactionary direction to go. Since it was vague on what technologies it was talking about, I can’t decide whether I would support such a principle, but surely it leaves the direction of progress as somewhat independent of possible outcomes, and they are not even considering no-regrets options.

    • JimD, “which direction to pursue progress”

      One that actually works would be nice.

    • Works for future generations or near-term profit?

    • JimD, Making a profit in order to do more is a bad thing isn’t JimD. Only paupers in $1000 suits flying around the globe so they can chain themselves to dung fires are capable of accomplish good. Why should we allow successful people to do successful things. In the US private giving exceeds federal foreign aid.

      http://foundationcenter.org/pnd/news/story.jhtml?id=140500009

      All those rich big whatever tight arse schmucks giving $71 billion to the needed of the world. Next time you buy a car get a Studebaker, Stutz or Rambler, you know they have to be good because they are failures.

    • captd, it is not either/or, preferably it is both. There are some obvious examples of short-term profit at the expense of future generations. On the other side there are things we can give up or pay for to help future generations.

    • JimD, “captd, it is not either/or, preferably it is both.”

      No JimD, it is either or. We take care of our own business and the ROW will learn. China is burning imported coal and hording oil because of the loony tunes in the West. India still has the caste system, a little behind the scenes but there, which they have to come to grips with or their poor will always be poor just like they are supposed to be or there would be no classes. The mid-east will always be in turmoil until they decide to quite and there is squat we can do about but be successful and good stewards of our own stuff.

      If you want to do something, tell the EPA that 15 millirem per year for Yucca Mountain is friggin’ insane.

    • captd, you seem to be equating the rest of the world with future generations as equally unworthy of any thought. As Judith said, it is just a left/right thing: selfless or selfish. We can agree to disagree on moral grounds.

    • JimD, You can do whatever you want. But TELLING people doesn’t work as good as SHOWING people. You have this naive impression that UN means something other than UNsucccessful.

      Since you seem to intentionally over state CO2 impact and the data is obviously showing you are wrong, you wouldn’t have any creditability to call global shots anyway.

    • Actually, I don’t think the UN are very successful, or likely to be. It would be a fatal error to rely on them getting anything done, somewhat like US congress. Each country has to decide their own moral values regarding the world and their future generations. Those with better planning for change will win out.

    • JimD, “Those with better planning for change will win out.”

      And be copied. For all we know the Sudan could end up being the ethanol capital of the world.

    • Frackin’ in the USSR boy,
      You don’t know how lucky you are boy,
      Frackin’ the US
      Frackin’ the US
      Frackin’ in the USSR.

    • “I find it strange that they define the proactionary principle in terms of a pursuit of progress. Surely the debate isn’t about whether to pursue progress or not, it is about which direction to pursue progress. On the one hand, I don’t mind progress that leads to replacing dirty fuels with clean ones, cleaning up side-effect pollution, increasing fuel and energy efficiency and use of renewable energy, etc.”

      What is dirty fuel. Is coal that has low contaminants, clean fuel, or do you mean the amount energy produced vs the amount of CO2 emitted?
      Therefore burning wood and a dung is dirty fuel.

      “On the other hand, they probably mean innovative ways of getting fossil fuel out of the ground, which is exactly the wrong proactionary direction to go. ”
      Why is this the wrong direction to go.
      It cost money to drill new oil wells. This added cost can converted into amount CO2 used. Natural gas is usually considered a clean fuel, and this is gotten from “getting fossil fuel out of the ground”.

    • I don’t think you are being serious in promoting dirty fuel, but anyway. Shale oil is a good example. Oil and coal are dirtier than natural gas. Natural gas is problematic if the methane leaks or waste is burned off during extraction. Wood and dung are dirty in the black carbon sense, which I thought even skeptics want to control, but perhaps not, but at least they are renewable, I suppose. We can do better, and technology can help. Informed that, for example, each 2000 GtCO2 leads to an extra degree of warming, I think people will make wiser decisions on technologies and futures to pursue. Perhaps we just need better sea barriers and cheaper air conditioning or efficient relocation from coastal areas. This is the debate.

    • “I don’t think you are being serious in promoting dirty fuel, but anyway. ”
      Just trying to get what you mean by dirty. Light Sweet crude is not something you want on your face.
      “Shale oil is a good example.”
      Problem with shale oil is the energy costs to extract and refine it.
      Is that what mean by dirty- energy intensive mining and processing?
      So oil sand is also “dirty”, Despite that fact that one is essentially cleaning up Mother Nature’s oil spill?

      Of course the problem with all “green energy” is it is energy intensive.
      If it was not, it would be very cheap to make.

      Of course with natural gas and gasoline both are odorless, and made to have a certain smell because they can be dangerous to general public, for safety purposes you want to alert people to it’s presence in the air. So nothing inherently dirty or smelling about natural gas or gasoline.
      Shale or crude oil have some very foul smelling and dirty like sewer products other than gasoline. And these products have many uses including making dyes to make pretty pictures. Or other ways to color your world.
      “Oil and coal are dirtier than natural gas.”
      But natural gas is gotten from shale deposits.
      “Natural gas is problematic if the methane leaks or waste is burned off during extraction.”
      You mean gas flares?
      “A great deal of gas flaring at many oil and gas production sites has nothing to do with protection against the dangers of over-pressuring industrial plant equipment. When petroleum crude oil is extracted and produced from onshore or offshore oil wells, raw natural gas associated with the oil is produced to the surface as well. In areas of the world lacking pipelines and other gas transportation infrastructure, vast amounts of such associated gas are commonly flared as waste or unusable gas.”
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gas_flare
      Globally this is due to lack of market for natural gas. Lack of natural gas infrastructure. But also as wiki says:
      “In industrial plants, flare stacks are primarily used for burning off flammable gas released by pressure relief valves during unplanned over-pressuring of plant equipment. During plant or partial plant startups and shutdowns, flare stacks are also often used for the planned combustion of gases over relatively short periods.”
      So in these circumstances it’s safety issue.

      “Wood and dung are dirty in the black carbon sense, which I thought even skeptics want to control, but perhaps not, but at least they are renewable.”
      You could burn wood [or dung] without black carbon issues.
      But they don’t make much energy.
      They are energy intensive.
      Coal has problem of making less energy per ton of CO2 created- wood or dung is far worst than coal in this regard.
      Dung or wood is convenient for some people [billions of poor people]- they can have lots of dung or wood which is essentially free to use- and it’s cheapness is dependent upon how far they have to walk or drive to get it.
      Though how far you have to drag the stuff is of key importance, whether it’s poor people or industrial type scale.
      In non wealthy metric, shale oil was cheap or free to get at one time.
      If you are poor and need heat to cook and keep warm, spending a few days a month getting fuel [or weeks per year] getting such fuel is worth it.
      Whereas if you work at McDonalds is is not worth it.

      Sometimes in certain circumstance [wood or dung] might be economical on a industrial scale- but it’s energy intensive. And not a global answer. And makes more CO2 per amount of energy generated as compared to coal.

    • Dirty energy to me is not only pollutants (air and water) during production and burning, but inefficiency in energy per CO2 burned. Proactionary innovation should aim to minimize or eliminate these in favor of cleaner ways of producing energy. Coal to natural gas helps. Shale oil to anything helps. Not drilling in the Arctic Ocean helps. These are proactionary steps in the right direction. The negative of these, development of coal power stations, making available new fossil fuel sources, are proactionary in the retro sense.

    • JimD, “Proactionary innovation should aim to minimize or eliminate these in favor of cleaner ways of producing energy.”

      That would make sense. Then you have Obombed out, “They can build coal, but we will bankrupt them!” Then he uses the EPA ot over regulate to the point it stifles innovation. Bush, “Mandates” ethanol. The US farmers were doing just fine building a responsible Ethanol program before that nonsense. The mandate caused the problems because is was U of S mandate. Every time these supposed leaders open their stupid mouths they cause problems.

      Innovation happens when the timing is right. Pushing research is the government’s job along with setting reasonable pollution limits with reasonable time frames for them to be met. The EPA, IRS and Treasury are not political tools, they are supposed to be the best of the best.

    • Supporting or jump-starting US companies with new technology to compete with the world also helps, otherwise we just end up importing everything. This would be proactionary from a modern jobs point of view too.

    • captdallas,

      It’s hard to underestimate the degree of harm done by the idiotic ethanol mandate.

      “The price of corn broke record highs last year. It has since decreased, but the highs nonetheless had a severe economic impact: A staggering 2,000 feedlots ceased to operate in the past year, compared with only 20 that had closed the previous year, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month.

      But the price of corn, caused by scarcity, has as much to do with politics as nature. In 2007, under the Energy Independence and Security Act, Congress established renewable-fuel standards with hefty requirements for biofuel usage. Over the next quarter century, according to Congress, Americans must use 36 billion gallons of ethanol to fuel their vehicles, even though the biofuel is expensive and yields lower mileage than traditional gasoline.

      In the past year, the government has directed more than 40 percent of the American corn crop to ethanol production. To meet the mandate next year, Americans will be required to use 16.6 billion gallons of ethanol — ‘requiring farm land roughly equal to the size of Kentucky,’ as USA Today recently noted.”

      http://www.nationalreview.com/article/356106/corn-broke-cattlemans-back-jillian-kay-melchior

      But don’t worry, those out of work former feed lot owners probably didn’t vote progressive, so who cares?

    • “The EPA, IRS and Treasury are not political tools, they are supposed to be the best of the best.”
      Really, I thought they had to merely avoid being drunkards.

      When have they ever been more than competent, rather the best?
      Or such extremity as “the best of the best”.
      I believe the best of the best of government is when corruption isn’t completely running amuck.
      Obviously, Obama administration need not worry about being the best of the best. Did anyone, at any time, imagine it might be?

  41. Also the precautionary principle isn’t to react to worst-case scenarios, it is to react to middle-case scenarios, e.g., 3-5 C warming by 2100, rather than 1 or 7. If the policy and especially preparation is set at the middle of the uncertainty range, it is easier to adjust in either direction as reducing certainty with time focuses down the projections.

    • Then again it could be 0.8 to 1.6 C, then the precautionary principle would be to make a rather change in leadership before the minions totally screw the pooch.

      http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2013/08/sea-dog-wagging-best-tail.html

    • Even with five times as much CO2 added in the 21st century as in the 20th? Or are you assuming drastic mitigation will happen anyway?

    • JimD, I don’t think there is any way to add 5 times the CO2. China is killing themselves with smog and pollution now because they are idiots. Even if we try, we can’t force them to do squat. They have to learn on their own.

      What WE can do is the best we can. There is no “Global” kumbaya get together of brain dead minions that is going to accomplish anything. You lead by example.

    • We are already past three times the average rate of the last century, possibly close to four by now.

    • JimD, “We” You got a frog in your pocket? Thanks to Frakking we have reduced emissions and thanks to tree planting and other agriculture practices the US offsets 17% of emissions. Germany is going coal, China is working on reducing the population problem and India has treadle pumps thanks to the Gates Foundation.

      http://static.berkeleyearth.org/graphics/china-us-ghg-emissions.png

      They have the problems which WE can provide solutions, but WE have these numbskulls that know squat trying to call the shots.

    • Indeed China is the problem, shortly to be followed by India and the rest of the developing world, unless better alternatives are found for them. This is the proactionary technological progress that is needed.
      http://berkeleyearth.org/graphics#us-emissions-flattened

    • JimD, that is what the US is doing and it ain’t government, it is private enterprise in spite of the government. President, “We Don’t Need No Stinking Congress” Obombed, hasn’t done anything but finance failures.

    • If only Canada and Australia also had cheap local natural gas the world could benefit. As it is few can do what the US is. Or maybe you are saying the US can export its natural gas to help the world in this way.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Although we are the world’s 3rd largest LNG exporter, the unconventional resource is pretty big and there is infrastructure being installed to more than quadruple production by 2020.

      ‘Australia’s $195 B LNG industry simply cannot afford to fail. The seven export facilities currently under construction represents 64% of new global capacity, adding to the country’s existing three plants already producing 24.2 MMtpa to world markets and an additional five on the drawing board.

      Should Australia fulfil its potential, after overtaking Qatar as the world’s leading LNG exporter, by 2020 it will be shipping a whopping 128 MMtpa of LNG to overseas markets as the undisputed world leader in gas cargoes.’

      http://www.spenewsaustralasia.org/article.aspx?p=1&id=2119#sthash.4TTYx1L6.dpuf

      You seem to be a fact free zone Jimbo.

    • Good to know. Along with the carbon tax you people pay, you are an example to the world. Thanks. Now if you could just leave some of that coal in the ground, that would be three for three.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Australian coal as 1/3 of global exports? Give it up?

      The carbon tax has a very limited future. Just over two weeks to be precise.

      http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/election-2013/kevin-rudd-support-sinks-to-record-low-in-latest-newspoll/story-fn9qr68y-1226699575981

    • Oh well, too good to last. Let’s see what they do.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      To be replaced by something much more sensible and with the same target reduction. But it is not about practicality but ideology with you guys. Hopeless.

    • Reduction is good however it is achieved. Effectiveness is what matters.

    • Jim raises some good points.

      It’s wishful fantasy to imagine that anything the US is doing will reduce CO2 emissions. Watch in the longrun as US emissions increase. Watch as global CO2 levels continue to accelerate.

    • Interesting:

      President, “We Don’t Need No Stinking Congress” Obombed, …

      Even one of the more legitimately skeptcal “skeptics” here shows his political stripes. “Obombed.” Haven’t seen that one before – not even at HotAir, Breitbart, etc.

    • lolwot, you write “Watch as global CO2 levels continue to accelerate.”

      Break out the champagne! I am sure if the plants which grow our food had a lobby, they would be cheering like mad. This is some of the best news you have produced, lolwot, in quite some time.

  42. We have here a discourse between alarmists who are convinced that we are destroying the earth and we who are actually in the process of creating a future that is more suitable for man than for rats and cockroaches.

    The alarmists are true believers that the earth should not change from what it was 20 minutes ago (or whatever geologically brief blink of time) forevermore amen. Then if it does change, the change must be due to the acts of man. To them, man is known to be evil and to cause all kinds of destruction so the must be true that man caused the change. Hence, we must be forced to repent and forsake our evil ways.

    What is our evil? We have used our minds to discover actual knowledge and have use that knowledge to make our environment better for us. Yes, we have actually changed our environment quite selfishly to preserve and further our lives and its quality. In effect, we have eaten all the apples from the tree of knowledge and left none for them.

    They fear and insist that we are in the process of being cast out of the Garden of Eden by mother earth. That is unless we give up using our power of reason and return to our former state of small hunting and gathering tribe and use only a subsistence level of natural resources while doing so. The gathering of sunlight and wind as “alternate” energy sources and giving up our primary sources of energy is only a small step in that direction.

    By comparison, Chicken Little was a paragon of rationality and applied science. At least a real acorn hit her on her head and it did fall from above. This is vastly more evidence than the total compendium of evidence from the alarmist true believers. Their only evidence for their alarm that is things have changed over the last blink of time. From that they create their fear of a totally devastating change that is out of control unless we stop whatever it is that we are doing.

    Actually, thing they fear is the future and they desperately want the future to stop. Especially they fear we who create the future so it matches our vision of what we want and need. So it is we who they feel the need to stop and ultimately destroy. By that destruction, they think they will have stopped the future and will no longer have to fear it.

    Since it is we who create the future and not they, why have we allowed them to exist and to define our future?

    • Well, put.

      I will joke that the “true believer” types seem think the world should be put back to the way it was when *they* were in kindergarten, which creates a kind of rift between the generations as well as certain other problems which you have described.

      On a more serious note I will add, the real problem is that ‘conservationist’ and ecological types are all valuing the wrong thing, or wrongly value all things equally – having the rather simpleminded notion that all things are of equal value and worth.

      We have the 19th century humanists and anti-deists to blame for this unfortunate situation. To give their positivist world view and new theory of evolution some traction, it was very important for them to solve the ‘problem of teleology’ in just such a way that causality was pushed from behind by purely random processes. The unfortunate consequence of this and their need to get God completely out of the picture as a possible point of attraction or telos – the much discussed eschaton – flattened the whole of Nature. The “disaster of modernity” as Ken Wilber puts it.

      The only property of value for Nature to the ‘true believer’ became ‘diversity’, and which was then incorrectly identified as the goal of evolution – not the raw material. The Copernican decentering of man from the center of Cosmos, was extended to the point where humankind was reduced to spectator to a cosmos that knows nothing of us and cares nothing for us, which we did not write and we cannot understand – dehumanized in other words. And the individual human was likewise flattened in value along side all others.

      However, it you take the position that what Nature, through evolution, is trying to maximize is intelligence and novelty, then once again Humanity is placed – properly – back in the very center of the stage of the cosmic drama. Humanity is the pinnacle of the expression of complexification, novelty and intelligence on Earth, and so far as we know the Cosmos.

      Clearly, or at least to those who can think clearly, there is something of enormous importance going on with Humanity that is worth recognizing, promoting and conserving – including our appreciation of all the other forms of Nature in its infinite beauty.

      W^3

    • Quite a reversed entropic creature.
      =============

    • The creature of his creator. I am a human, I make meaning ‘ex nihilo’ by artfully twisting together strands of syntax, even as Kosmos generates matter out of nothingness by artfully twisting together strands of space-time.

  43. Our assessment of nine advanced designs, from high-temperature gas reactors to fusion, finds four factors that will most likely prove determinative in achieving any significant cost declines. We conclude that policymakers, investors, and entrepreneurs should pursue reactors models that are:
    1 . S a f e . Inherent safety characteristics eliminate the need for expensive and redundant safety systems.
    2 . R e a d y. Ready designs will utilize existing supply chains and will not require the development or commercialization of new or unproven materials and fuels.
    3 . M o d u l a r. Modularity allows whole reactors or their components to be mass-produced and assembled uniformly.
    4 . E f f i c i e n t . High thermal efficiency enables reactors to generate more electricity from a smaller physical plant. Reactors with advantages in these areas show an emerging technological path to safer and cheaper nuclear energy. A good place to begin is with the Generation III+ reactors currently being deployed, which exploit existing supply chains and incorporate new materials and techniques that will prove important to Generation IV designs.
    Gas-cooled and salt-cooled thermal reactors, which can also rely on much of the light-water supply chain and fuel cycle, are the most ready candidates for commercialization among Generation IV designs. Over time, fast reactors may become attractive for disposing of nuclear warheads and reusing spent fuel, though their widespread commercialization and deployment will most likely depend on the successful commercialization of advanced thermal reactors.
    While it is crucial for policymakers to identify the technologies most amenable to commercialization and deployment, it is also important to not lock in energy systems to a single design, as in the case of light-water reactors. The choice is not, for example, between fast reactors and thermal reactors. Policymakers should instead support
    a broad commitment to nuclear innovation aimed at expanding, rather than restricting, technological options. To advance these priorities, policymakers should support three key areas of reform:

    I n v e s t i n n u c l e a r i n n o v a t i o n . Expand support for public research,development, and demonstration; certification of new materials; supply-chain development; and test facilities.


    I n n o v a t e a c r o s s a d v a n c e d d e s i g n s . Prioritize technological challenges that have the greatest cross-platform relevance to multiple reactor designs.
    L i c e n s i n g r e f o r m . Increase government cost-sharing; integrate licensing with the innovation process, so developers can demonstrate and license reactor components; and lower the costs, regulatory barriers, and time to market for new designs.

    http://thebreakthrough.org/images/pdfs/Breakthrough_Institute_How_to_Make_Nuclear_Cheap.pdf

  44. theologically charged beliefs / ideas regarding climate changes are self destructive – for both camps

  45. I find precautionary principle advocates tend to heavily regulate or ban certain materials in the name of protecting people, but conveniently also imbues them with new powers to control commerce. This is my opinion, but its based on my experiences working in a field where many materials used are on hit lists to be heavily regulated or eliminated entirely from use. The EU is a good example with their REACH laws where they are controlling how products are manufactured for sale in the EU based on the use and amounts of a materials in the products. I dont want to discuss the political aspects i see in those regulations as they are unrelated to the topic of discussion.

    I choose to focus on another weakness of the PP that More does not mention as a weakness, that PP stifles creativity. When the assumption is taken where a material has only bad qualities that need to be limited and the good qualities are minimized, it results in taking a useful material off the table which in turn stifles innovation. Once the material is stigmatized, it’s usefulness becomes forgotten. Instead of finding smarter ways to use the material, it becomes easier to get rid of it. You would think this would spur innovation to find replacements. But when the materials in question are some of the most basic compounds and building blocks of more complex materials, it greatly hinders the progress of finding any true alternatives. Though I am speaking of specific surface engineering materials and processes to form them, it is true on a broader sense of how we create energy and what we use to create energy. There is no question we should find alternatives, but we can’t dismiss that some alternatives will still require the use of finite resources or may have different un-intended consequences not originally foreseen in development. Or even consequences that were foreseen but marginalized in order to get something done. Regardless, there is no free lunch. Whatever alternative energy sources to fossil fuels are adopted, there will be consequences to their use that can only mean new precautionary measures against the new alternatives in the future. This specter stiflles innovation before it even gets out of the gate. As soon as an alternative is developed, someone somewhere will find a reason why it would be harmful to use it and the precautionary process is under way.

    • That is their whole point. They want to ban all human activity if that activity changes anything on earth. As I have said before, they fear change. In fact, they see any change as a potential avalanche leading to their total destruction and the destruction of the earth.

      I suggest that there is a basic motivations for this. It is that they hate the responsibility for being human and having to choose to think or not. Then if they choose to think, they must choose how to think and must what choose what to think about. The final blow to their sense of being is that they are aware their existence is dependent upon the quality of their thinking. Something that they have never been taught how to do and cant do on their own. So they choose not to think but to rely on their *sacred* consensus and the mantras they learned well in the government indoctrination centers called public education.

      This is why they attack so viciously we who do not fear the future because we are the ones who determine its shape. We do it by choosing to think and to embark upon a life long pattern of improvements in the quality, depth, and breadth of our thinking. We choose to know and we choose to act upon that knowledge to make our lives and environment better for ourselves. We are the builders, the givers of life, the makers of the values that sustain and advance lives. Yet, it is this exactly what they fear and want to destroy. They hate being human so much they plot to destroy all that the mind of man has created even if it includes their own extinction.

    • This is a very interesting idea, sounds like something Screwtape would have come up with [I'm on a C.S. Lewis tear lately]

      I suggest that there is a basic motivations for this. It is that they hate the responsibility for being human and having to choose to think or not. Then if they choose to think, they must choose how to think and must what choose what to think about. The final blow to their sense of being is that they are aware their existence is dependent upon the quality of their thinking…

      The ‘reaction’ against this, I guess, would then be their overweening desire to tell everyone else what to do, and general attitude that rejects reason, while they wrap themselves in the mantle of science.

      Could be a little simpler though. Maybe you noticed Steve Mosher’s ‘dialectic’ above on August 19, 2013 at 11:52 am:

      I’m Afraid.
      I’m Hopeful.

      now build a system of rational principles to defend your irreducible emotional reaction to uncertainty.

      next use this rational edifice to convince a fearful person that he should have hope or a hopeful person that he should have fear.

      When they refuse to listen or be persuaded call them irrational.

      or avoid building these machines of justification and just use a cliche

      look before you leap.
      he who hesitates is lost.

      I lower down the thread replied pointing out that:

      There is, as I think you may be trying to point out, no way to argue yourself out of a lower level mind space. If you can’t get people ‘up’ to a rational level of discourse then indeed we have problems.

      Add to that list, ‘I’m paranoid’, which is more than “I’m afraid, or “I’m hopeful” and you begin to have sense of the problem.

      Paranoia is a particularly virulent lower level thought disorder, as opposed to an emotional state, comprising both fear and anxiety to the point where it makes rational thought almost impossible [gives Mosher a point here] and may lead to truly psychiatric forms of delusion.

      Seeing the amount of pure paranoia in the world – in the clinical sense of the word – is where I begin to be despairing. Unless you have a good shrink, paranoia is something you’ll probably take to the grave with you, its really tenacious – its also dangerous in every sense of the word.

      W^3

  46. “Objectivity: Use a decision process that is objective, structured, and explicit. Evaluate risks and generate forecasts according to available science, not emotionally shaped perceptions; use explicit forecasting processes; fully disclose the forecasting procedure; ensure that the information and decision procedures are objective; rigorously structure the inputs to the forecasting procedure; reduce biases by selecting disinterested experts, by using the devil’s advocate procedure with judgmental methods, and by using auditing procedures such as review panels.”

    Brilliant!

  47. I don’t suppose it would do any good to point out that Max More’s definition of the Precautionary Principle has next to no resemblance to the real thing.. and that his Proactionary Principle is almost exactly what the actual Precautionary Principle sets out?

  48. R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

    This bit about the Proactionary Principle:

    “By contrast, the Proactionary Principle urges all parties to actively take into account all the consequences of an activity…”

    —–
    Ha! If only that were even remotely possible! Given the nature of the complex chaotic system we find ourselves in, aka the actual universe we inhabit, we might be able to, for very very short periods of time take into account a handful of the consequences of any activity, but over any meaningful periods of time, the consequences quickly spread out in vast unpredictable chaos. In short, you can’t possibly take into account all the consequences of an activity. The best you can do is recognize that complex systems co-evolve over vast periods of time to reach some measure of relative stability, and any major nudge to these systems is likely to cause the sorts of mass extinctions such as we are witnessing right now as ecosystems are put under major stress. This stress is an inevitable result of the dominance of one species on the planet. The Proactionary Principle assumes (incorrectly) that the best course forward is to focus on the betterment of existence for that species, when in fact, a more wholistic approach would be stewardship for the betterment of all species, perhaps even necessitating the control of human population to within the carrying capacity of Earth’s resources.

    • If humans weren’t around, who would know about extinctions, and who would care?

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      What is your point? Human ability for self-reflective consciousness and higher order reasoning is exactly the ability we need to consciously take stewardship of this planet. Up until now, the Anthropocene has been accidental on our part, but now that it is clear that the human carbon volcano and other human activities are having profound impacts on the planet Earth, best to get on with Anthropocene management with the core principal being wholistic stewardship.

    • The best you can do is recognize that complex systems co-evolve over vast periods of time to reach some measure of relative stability, and any major nudge to these systems is likely to cause the sorts of mass extinctions such as we are witnessing right now as ecosystems are put under major stress. This stress is an inevitable result of the dominance of one species on the planet.

      Human ability for self-reflective consciousness and higher order reasoning is exactly the ability we need to consciously take stewardship of this planet. [...] best to get on with Anthropocene management with the core principal being wholistic stewardship.

      There are only two outcomes for any species: extinction or a bout of adaptive radiation. Most species will go extinct. Those that succeed in prospering and leaving descendents will owe much of their success to interactions with other species. We’re one of those other species.

      Mass extinctions, such as that at the end of the Permian, clear the deadwood for mass radiations, including the ancestors of mammals, birds and other dinosaurs, and many very successful insect clades. Another mass extinction event on that scale may be a disaster for many species, but it will be a benefit for the descendents of the new bouts of adaptive radiation.

      All we need to worry about is continuation of life, and that our species is one that undergoes adaptive radiation rather than extinction. And humans are very adaptable.

    • How can this priest rid himself of his troubles? Perhaps by contemplating how cold it would now be without AnthroCO2 at the sensitivity he fears.
      ===============

    • What’s my point? Simply trying to restore some kind of perspective in response to your: “…the sorts of mass extinctions such as we are witnessing right now … perhaps even necessitating the control of human population”

    • R. Gates the Skeptical Warmist

      There is a clear choice now before us. We can fully admit and accept that we have unwittingly created the Anthropocene and use our large brains and reasoning to become conscious stewards of such, or deny the reach of our species on this planet and pretend that we can go about business as usual, with the second choice greatly increasing the chances that we could be one of those species eventually caught up in the current ongoing mass extinction event.

    • WHAT “ongoing mass extinction event”???

    • R. Gates the Skeptical Warmist

      Seriously phatboy? Sorry, I mistook you for someone who read widely from all fields. Suggest you go to google scholar and do some research on the current rate of species loss. Maybe start here for a warm-up:

      http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/biodiversity/elements_of_biodiversity/extinction_crisis/

    • Seriously, Gates?
      I wonder how many creatures have died by choking on some of all those free con-d-oms which the CBD has being giving away

    • R. Gates the Skeptical Warmist

      I guess when science won’t do…you can make with jokes. Nicely played! for others who still prefer science, see:

      http://theconversation.com/extinction-just-how-bad-is-it-and-why-should-we-care-13751

      The only logical Proactionary Principle here would be one of extreme planetary stewardship, or Anthropocene Management 101.

    • R. Gates

      150-200 species are becoming extinct per day (warns the UN).

      And, of course, humans are to blame…

      But as a blogger named Shallora writes
      http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=521073

      Sounds like complete and utter bullshit to me.

      Scientists estimate there is something between 5 million and 30 million species on earth
      http://www.eoearth.org/article/Biodiversity

      So let’s say there are 17 million species on earth, just to plot it right in the middle.

      200 species per day = 73000 species per year

      So if there are 17 million species on earth, and we lose 73000 whole species per year, that means in 232.8 years there not be a single living organism on earth. No animals, plants, humans, fungus, NOTHING in 232.8 years. Earth will just be a bald, powdery rock in 232 years, just like the Moon.

      Sounds like utter bullshit to me. Some environmentalist probably pulled that extinction rate out of his arse just to so that he could sing Kumbaya at a Greenpeace rally one year, and the figure has since taken on a life of its own.

      Sounds a bit like BS to me, too, Gates.

      Max

    • R. Gates

      This message got tossed out – probably because of some graphic words in the quote (which I’ve modified this time)

      150-200 species are becoming extinct per day (warns the UN).

      And, of course, humans are to blame…

      But as a blogger named Shallora writes
      http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=521073

      Sounds like complete and utter bulls–t to me.

      Scientists estimate there is something between 5 million and 30 million species on earth
      http://www.eoearth.org/article/Biodiversity

      So let’s say there are 17 million species on earth, just to plot it right in the middle.

      200 species per day = 73000 species per year

      So if there are 17 million species on earth, and we lose 73000 whole species per year, that means in 232.8 years there [will] not be a single living organism on earth. No animals, plants, humans, fungus, NOTHING in 232.8 years. Earth will just be a bald, powdery rock in 232 years, just like the Moon.

      Sounds like utter bulls–t to me. Some environmentalist probably pulled that extinction rate out of his a– just to so that he could sing Kumbaya at a Greenpeace rally one year, and the figure has since taken on a life of its own.

      Sounds a bit like BS to me, too, Gates.

      Max

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      Max,

      It would be great news if the current ongoing extinction event was “BS”. It is of course quite real and yet one more sign of the reach of the Anthropocene into the biosphere and another reason why we need to get on with the business of conscious Anthropocene Management 101.

    • R. Gates

      Bad news: scientists believe that species are becoming extinct

      Good news: this is apparently nothing new (we just have no reliable quantifying data for earlier periods). We also have no reliable evidence that the most recent extinctions are being caused principally by humans.

      Really good news: the UN projection of “200 species per day” is speculative – and, since it would mean no more species in 200+ years, highly doubtful.

      Sorry. NO SALE.

      Go try to peddle it somewhere else, Gates.

      Max

    • I guess when science won’t do…you can make with jokes

      science???

    • Skeptical Warmist,
      You said above:

      …Human ability for self-reflective consciousness and higher order reasoning is exactly the ability we need to consciously take stewardship of this planet. Up until now, the Anthropocene has been accidental on our part…

      Fine as far as this goes, then you proceed to plunge off the ‘Mosherene cliff’ of, “I’m afraid.”
      The Anthropocene *has* been “accidental” to this point because Humanity currently lacks a sufficiently powerful method for resolving the consequences of our own actions. That is the subject of this conversation.

      Buck up, take some heart, the process is on schedule and under budget – as scary as it looks.

      Your solution, “holistic stewardship”, sounds nice but what is that exactly? what rational analytical process is involved here that keeps the *worse* away?

      Please let me know if I’m mischaracterizing your position unfairly, but in my experience ‘holistic stewardship’ boils down to what I and others have been complaining about; namely, an irrational desire to maintain a particular ‘status quo’ that is based on little or nothing more that an individual’s or set of individuals’ idealizations of what ‘things should be like’ when they were in kindergarten or first grade and that revolve around a flattened, paranoid, and misanthropic value system such as I have described at some length above, namely that *all* creatures are of equal worth with humanity and that all must be conserved and preserved as equals, even at the cost of Humanity fulfilling its evolutionary prime directive, to evolve faster and achieve greater depths of novelty, complexity, and intelligence than any other life form we know of – to in fact wake up the world and understand creation. [exactly like Tolkien's elves if you don't understand the metaphor]

      I’ll close as I did with my comment to Lionell Griffith above:

      Clearly, or at least to those who can think clearly, there is something of enormous importance going on with Humanity that is worth recognizing, promoting and conserving [that is different from the rest of nature] – including our appreciation [and valuing] of all the other forms of Nature in its infinite beauty.

      W^3

    • That’s real or imaginary extinctions – and only humans have been shown to be capable of imagining them.
      Nature is sublimely indifferent.

    • It’s progress to hear the statement of religious principles from R. Gates. Walter Carlson elsewhere similarly explains his devoutness.
      ==============

    • Odd from the kriest of kooling.

    • “perhaps even necessitating the control of human population to within the carrying capacity of Earth’s resources.”

      Ah, the iron fist of anti-human fascism inside the velvet glove of environmentalism.

      Peter Singer, not to mention the Communist Chinese, couldn’t have said it better.

    • R. Gates, a simple question regarding warming and extinction. Why did these species that are now going extinct survive the MWP? Even if you accept that the MWP was a regional event (which is contested) with the hemispheres warming at different times this would hardly matter to life forms subject to extinction. They would have to be rather large to be in both hemispheres at the same time.

    • R. Gates the Skeptical Warmist

      steven,

      MWP was not as rapid nor as a widespread a warming, but more importantly, the overall reach of human influence into the oceans, atmosphere and biosphere did not exist at that time, i.e., the Anthropocene was just getting started back then as the human carbon volcano had not yet erupted.

    • R. Gates, considering the first half of the 20th century warmed as fast as the second half, it is a bit of a stretch to determine that the warming of the MWP was any different. Besides, the point is those life forms had already experienced the same level of warming and had survived just fine. I addressed the regional argument. Life does not live globally, it lives regionally.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      R. Gates, you have absolutely no way to know that. Paleoclimatic temperature reconstructions do not have the temporal resolution to determine how rapid warming was in the past. Even if we don’t accept temperature reconstructions are damned due to constant, incestuous cherry-picking, it is undeniable they fail to accurately capture past fluctuations. An obvious example of this is the massive variance deflation created by the use of methods like CPS.

      You do your name a disservice every time you show such blind faith in your positions.

    • R. Gates the Skeptical Warmist

      Of course life “lives” regionally, even of course hyper-locally, but global conditions set the stage for what those regional and local conditions will be. Just as a very hyper-local event can affect the entire globe (a volcano, for example) because the influence spreads globally. In the case of the human carbon volano (and all the other human influences seen in the Anthropocene) we have a very global phenomenon that affects the biosphere down to the hyperlocal level. Species loss and ecosystem disruption occurs at the very regional and hyperlocal level, as some species have very small territories they exist in.

    • R. Gates, if the species developed during the LIA and couldn’t survive a return to todays temperatures which are roughly equivalent to those of the MWP they were doomed to suffer extinction regardless of what man did. Since you agree that life only is concerned with the region it lives in can you find an example where today’s climate is so unusual that the species wasn’t either already doomed due to natural variation or the climate has exceeded the bounds of natural variation?

    • R. Gates the Skeptical Warmist

      Steven,

      No species developed during the LIA. This was far too short a period for a species to develop, and far too mild a cool period for it to have much of an impact on species overall- other than testing their adaptability-migration habits. The eruption of the human carbon volcano, beginning as it did, at the end of the LIA is far more an abrupt jolt to ecosystems, especially now in the 21st century when the eruption is quite intense. The pressures now put on species and ecosystems is far more potent than anything seen in many thousands of years– perhaps since the Younger Dryas period.

    • No species developed during the little ice age? In that case they were all around for the MWP and to suppose the temperatures of today suddenly killed them off is a ridiculous argument and you should recognise it as such. One can only wonder how life manages to survive other really stressful situations, like spring.

    • R. Gates

      Anthropocene?

      Wiki tells us:

      The Anthropocene is an informal geologic chronological term that serves to mark the evidence and extent of human activities that have had a significant global impact on the Earth’s ecosystems. The term was coined recently by ecologist Eugene F. Stoermer and has been widely popularized by the Nobel Prize-winning atmospheric chemist, Paul Crutzen, who regards the influence of human behavior on the Earth’s atmosphere in recent centuries as so significant as to constitute a new geological epoch for its lithosphere. To date, the term has not been adopted as part of the official nomenclature of the geological field of study.

      So it’s not “official” yet. That’s good. And when an “ecologist” and an “atmospheric scientist” want to change the name of a “geological epoch of the lithosphere”, I get suspicious.

      But just how logical is it?

      It is based on the anthropocentric notion that we human beings are really making all that much difference to our global “ecosystems”. And (of course) that this is all “bad” on balance, unless we mend our sinful (industrialized) ways.

      To be sure, humans have changed ecosystems locally since the Agricultural Revolution, all for the net benefit of mankind. Forests have been cleared and crops planted, rivers that flooded frequently have been re-routed and levees added, canals have been built, coastal dikes have been built to hold back the overall impact of subsidence and rising sea levels and to reclaim cropland, etc.

      The Industrial Revolution brought more change and an even more significant improvement in the quality of life (and overall life expectancy) for those humans who were fortunate enough to be a part of it. Those who did not benefit from the first wave, like China and India, are now rushing to catch up. This has all been based on the use of fossil fuels.

      All good news for humanity.

      And on a local or regional basis, these changes have also resulted in changes to the local or regional “ecosystems”.

      The notion that these changes have been inherently harmful to the global “ecosystems” is not founded on any empirical evidence.

      Sure, atmospheric concentrations of a life-giving trace gas, CO2, have increased from an estimated pre-industrial 0.028% to around 0.04%, but so what? Plants (including human crops) apparently love this increase – and it seems to make them more drought-resistant. If this really has resulted in global warming of a fraction of a degree, this could extend growing seasons as well as arable land area in northern latitudes.

      But we humans are a long way from being in full charge of our “ecosystems” – so the term “anthropocene” is actually a misnomer, based on a grossly inflated perception of our own importance in the overall scheme of things.

      Face it, Gates, it is obvious that we have changed and are changing our quality of life as a result of industrialization.

      But it is frankly silly and a bit presumptuous to think that we puny humans are really changing our global ecosystems significantly in a negative fashion on balance as a result.

      So let’s forget about the “anthropocene” label. It’s phony.

      Max

    • I can’t really argue with the habitat destruction portion of the argument. Not because it isn’t arguable but because I haven’t looked at it.Certainly there are good arguments that it must have caused at least some. I wonder how many species would go extinct if we littered the countryside with windmills?

  49. Excellent approach by Max More. This has essentially been the approach since 1973 of Australia’s world-leading Industries Assistance Commission (later Industry Commission, now Productivity Commission), which has produced many excellent and comprehensive reports on a wide range of topics. The main constraint on it has been when government gives it severely restricted references or, as in the last six years, tends to ignore it.

  50. “Freedom to innovate” disappeared before synthetic chemists had to start filling out forms and risk assessments for what chemicals, however small the amount, they wanted to weigh-out into a glass flask.

  51. Proactionary Principle is a longer phrase for the word proactive.

    Getting an education is being proactive.
    Getting routine medical checkups is being proactive.
    Checking the weather forecast or traffic conditions is being proactive.

    Projecting future supplies of fossil fuels is being proactive.
    Doing research on the possible deleterious effects of excess
    atmospheric CO2 is being proactive
    ….

    Throwing out bizarre theory after bizarre theory is being an impediment.

    Got it?

    • Yes, education is good. Doing research on the possible beneficial effects of excess atmospheric CO2 is also being proactive.

      But just what is “excess atmospheric CO2″, anyway? Sounds like a phrase employed by someone who is not really interested in research, but has already made up their mind and has an agenda. Education is still good.

      Theories, bizarre or credible, are free and should be judged by how correct and useful they turn out to be.

    • From his point of view, excess CO2 is any amount over what it was 22 milliseconds ago. From a plant’s point of view, the atmosphere is at least an order of magnitude below excess and only slightly more than 2x above lethally inadequate. They become much happier at 3x and thrilled at over 5x. In fact, they would not suffer at 10x and neither would we. A runaway global warming effect is simply a fantasy on the part of the Latter Day Luddites who call themselves ecologists and defenders of the *earth*. If they achieve their goal of “zero carbon”, all life above some few deeply buried microbes would be soon extinct.

    • ” michael hart | August 20, 2013 at 11:03 am

      But just what is “excess atmospheric CO2″, anyway?”

      Forced to state it clearly, otherwise one will get nitpicked to death by the fake skeptics who only have rhetorical and semantic arguments left (the Cripwell Criteria).

      excess = beyond what the historical baseline levels are
      atmospheric = what gets measured at places such at Mauna Loa
      CO2 = the subject

      I am afraid you have lost the argument.

    • Aw c’mon folks.

      Take it easy on Webby.

      He just can’t decide whether we are about to run out of fossil fuels, and the lights will all go out, or we are going to generate so much CO2 from burning fossil fuels that we all fry as a result of greenhouse warming.

      He can’t have it both ways, so he’s between a rock and a hard spot.

      He knows doomsday is just around the corner, but he doesn’t know why this is so.

      Let him suffer silently (he actually enjoys it).

      Max

    • Silently? SILENTLY?

      :-)

    • MaxieBaby, You have to get with the program and try to enjoy the transition to alternative and renewable fuels. You shouldn’t go on and be such a sour puss, bemoaning the fact that the earth doesn’t revolve around your wishes.

  52. smaller is better?
    too many people on the planet

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/ze-germans-aren-t-coming_749902.html

    • If all of the sun’s energy reaching the Earth were dedicated to supporting humans @ 100W/human, then the Earth’s theoretical population of humans is in the low quadrillions, nearly a million times as many people as the Earth sustains now. This is practically impossible, but still illustrates the magnitude of the lack of imagination of the Malthusian Doomsayers.
      ==================

    • Germans? Sounds like Detroit.

      When population drops to the point when the sewers start going anaerobic, you have a genuine crisis on your hands. Phew.

    • Der letzte Deutsche wird ein Türke sein

    • And the last Turk will be a Kurd.

  53. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Lionell Griffith asserts the supremely selfish ideology “The individual is sovereign over himself [...] to think and act otherwise is to enter the realm of the irredeemably evil.”

    Let me commend some Beth-style poetry to your attention, Lionell Griffith!

    Island

    No man is an island,
    Entire of itself,
    Every man is a piece of the continent,
    A part of the main.
    If a clod be washed away by the sea,
    Europe is the less.
    As well as if a promontory were.
    As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
    Or of thine own were:
    Any man’s death diminishes me,
    Because I am involved in mankind,
    And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
    It tolls for thee.

       John Donne

    The chasm between common-sense responsible conservatism on the one hand, and outright hateful self-centeredness on the other hand, is pretty plain to most voters, eh Lionell Griffith?

    Fortunately, the hateful self-centeredness that masquerades as faux-conservatism has been losing at the polls, around the world, over-and-over again.

    Conclusion  Responsible 21st century conservatism denies neither the scientific foundations nor the moral foundations of climate-change health-care economics. For the simple, human reason that the love of grandchildren is foresighted beyond the domain of short-sighted selfish economic analysis.

    Question  Will Ayn Rand’s sole legacy be the destruction of conservatism, in sacrifice to selfish denialist demagoguery?

    Answer  Responsible rational conservatism — that wisely rejects Randian shortsighted selfish ideologies — can prosper in the 21st century; otherwise not.

    \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • A fan ,

      I see. I am evil because I claim I own my life and that I own the products of my life because I produced them using my life. You, on the other hand claim I have no right to what I have produced but you do. Why? Isn’t it precisely because you did NOT produce them? In justification, you say are willing to take from me by force to give to another. Yet the fact remains that you would have nothing to take and give if I and others like me had not produced in the first place.

      Explain to me how it is good for you to take from me and give what you have not produced to others without me having a choice. At the same time, you hold it is evil for me to produce and trade with others who have also produced by mutual choice and to give or not to others by my own free choice.

    • We can certainly consider your argument, Lionell, after you surrender all the money you possess, since you have NOT produced any money, which is the product of the US government.

      I’m sure you don’t want to continue to be a parasite on the government, so please verify that you have returned all your dollars and dollar-denominated assets to their producer, the government. Then you can argue for your right to what you yourself produce, which I hope includes all the food, shelter, and medicine you will be needing after you have returned what you didn’t produce. :)

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Lionell Griffith demains “Explain to me how it is good for you to take from me and give what you have not produced to others without me having a choice.”

      Dinnertime conversations with your kids and grandkids must be mighty interesting, Lionell Griffith!

      Pray tell, what brand of libertarianism is it, that you espouse?

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    • A Fan,

      Answer my question if you can.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Lionell Griffith demains “Answer my question if you can.”

      The selfish denialist focus upon inhumane questions is even more harmful than the ignorant denialist insistence upon wrong-headed answers.

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    • A Fan,

      I see. You can’t answer the question.

      Apparently our conversation is over because I will not continue with you until you answer it.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Lionell Griffith the electorate “Explain to me how it is good for you to take from me and give what you have not produced to others without me having a choice.”

      The electorate denies your right to lay waste to the land, and seeks to bequeath a healthy earth to our grandchildren.

      What other wisdom and heritage would you like to pass to our grandchildren, Lionel Griffith?

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    • A Fan,

      Invalid answer. A gang of thugs has no more right to violate rights than a single thug. Your argument is that the majority can violate the rights of ANY minority at whim. What about the day after? Who’s rights are next to be violated? By your proposed morality, all I need to do is acquire a larger gang with better weapons, and you are my slave or dead rather than I. This has been the state of mankind for most of history. It didn’t work out so well for either side of the argument in the long run.

      Try another justification.

    • R. Gates the Skeptical Warmist

      Lionell G. said:

      “I am evil because I claim I own my life and that I own the products of my life because I produced them using my life.”

      _____
      On the most basic level of course, no one can claim to be solely responsible for anything they’ve produced using “their life”. From the air you breath, to the food you eat, to the water you drink, to the clothes you wear, to the tools you use, to the energy you use, to the car or truck you drive, to pretty everything your life touches, other humans and other species were intimately involved in assisting in bringing it to you. Like it or not, you are part of a intricate and complicated web of existence on this planet, and the notion of an independent “rugged individualist” is a romantic, but impossible illusion. You need that web of other living things and other people to go about producing the products of your life.

    • Robert

      You logic is flawed.

      Lionell is NOT a “parasite on the government”.

      He (and all other citizens) are the employers of the government.

      The government, if it does not limit itself to providing the services, which its “employers” want, and if it levies excessive taxes in order to finance these excessive activities, has become the “parasite”.

      Got it?

      (That’s the way a democratic society works, Robert.)

      Max

    • R. Gates said: “On the most basic level of course, no one can claim to be solely responsible for anything they’ve produced using ‘their life’.”

      I see. I used something from the environment. I transformed it into something more valuable by action of my discovery, my thought, and my effort. It came into existence by my mental and physical effort. However, because I used that raw something, I no longer own myself, my life, nor my product. According to you, it is therefor properly subject to being taken and consumed by others who had no part in that mental and physical effort. All because I used something and made it more valuable.

      By this, you project a society of slaves and parasites. Those who produce have no rights. Those who don’t produce get to take what they want from those who do. Either that, or they take it vicariously through a third party called “government” – same difference.

      Apparently you have never heard of a transaction of trading value for value to mutual benefit. I do something that you want better than you can and you do something I want better than I. We trade and we both come out ahead. Wealth has been created by that division of mental and physical labor. By such voluntary trades, we each produce more of higher quality than if we did it separately we both grow more wealthy.

      However, trading value for value means only actual producers of value can trade. Parasites are left to the voluntary charity on the part of the producers. I see this as it should be and you don’t. You want only slaves and parasites. All because we producers did something with the resources around us and the parasites didn’t.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Lionell Griffith claims “All I need to do is acquire a larger gang with better weapons, and you are my slave or dead”

      Gosh, Lionell Griffith, that’s kind of dark!

      The methods of the Enlightenment work better!

      “If error and ignorance have forged the chains which bind peoples in oppression, if it is prejudice which perpetuates those chains, science, reason and truth will one day be able to break them” (si l’erreur et l’ignorance ont forge les chaines des peuples, si le prejuge les perpetue, la science, la raison, la verite pourront un jour les briser).

         d’Holbach

      Conclusion  Science, reason, and truth together suffice to break the chains of denialist ignorance!

      So why not loosen up and enjoy life, Lionell Griffith?

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    • A Fan,

      You continue to dodge the question and refuse to give a substantiation answer. Our conversation is over.

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      You miss the point Lionell. The entire system of this planet, in all phases from the ecosystem to the society of which you are a part, supports your ability to create things, or trade things, or do anything at all. There is no “you” separate from this world around you. Take away this world, both natural and human, and you would cease to exist as well. The notion of an “individual” is the grandest illusion of all. It is great to work hard and strive to improve your lot in life, but in all humility you should understand the world that supports you even having a life at all.

    • Fan:
      I fear you are not helping me to get past my hateful self-centeredness. Nevertheless, you can’t save the whole world.
      With that linked Beethoven video did I see a kind of Warmist music thing going on?
      Here’s a no regrets video (I promise) that kind of captures the Skeptics point of view in music.
      “This is the dawning of…”

    • R. Gates, aka the nascent fascist Warmist, says:

      “The notion of an ‘individual’ is the grandest illusion of all.”

      And elsewhere said:

      “perhaps even necessitating the control of human population to within the carrying capacity of Earth’s resources.”

      And this from one of our more genteel progressives.

    • R. Gates said: “The entire system of this planet, in all phases from the ecosystem to the society of which you are a part, supports your ability to create things, or trade things, or do anything at all.”

      Supports? How is holding that I have no rightful claim over my life, what I do with it, and the results it has “support”? Especially if that “society” has an unlimited claim on those things which you hold I cannot properly object.

      R. Gates said: “There is no “you” separate from this world around you. Take away this world, both natural and human, and you would cease to exist as well.”

      Cute. You have made the discovery of the ages. If you take away everything that exists, then what is left is nothing that exists. Tell me, how did you come to that astounding discovery? However, I can play that same game, if you take away all the INDIVIDUAL humans, your sacred *society* would also cease to exist. So what?

      R. Gates said: “The notion of an “individual” is the grandest illusion of all. It is great to work hard and strive to improve your lot in life, but in all humility you should understand the world that supports you even having a life at all.”

      Why would I want to strive since, as you hold, the “I” in me does not exist? For whom would I strive? Who would do the striving? However, lucky you. You do not have to strive because you are a member of that sacred *society* and get to take all that I produce without so much as a by your leave. To add insult to injury you are unwilling to admit that I exist even as you bind me with still more rules and regulations. Then you proceed to confiscate what ever meager produce I might retain in spite of those rules and regulations. The final insult, you demand that I continue to produce for the sake of “society”. I who, according to you, does not exist.

      Once again, we see talk of slaves and masters. The slaves have a duty to produce because the society supports them. The masters get to take without limit because they are the chosen ones who represent society. It is the same old same old argument from an endless line of wannabe dictators and actual dictators. Hopefully, you represent the end of a very long and very dishonorable line of such sub humans.

      To all of that I say may you live forever in the hell you are planning for the rest of us. Leave us out of it because it is your own private hell of your own making.

    • Fan:
      What is this hateful self-centeredness of which you speak?

      If we’ve decided that self-centeredness leads to hate of others, then perhaps altruism would lead to love of others. Given a zero sum game, it seems the more you love yourself, the more you hate others. So we should divide our love between ourselves and others. Trying to have a proper balance. To keep in mind our obligation to our fellow men. So that others cannot look at us and say, He’s not doing his part. So others do not shame us. So that we are not considered an example of what people do not want to be.

      Can we start talking about some numbers Fan? I want to stop hating others so much. I’ll open the bidding with a Tithe which is a one-tenth part of something, like my income.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Lionell Griffith claims “Can we start talking about some numbers Fan?”

      10,000 is a mighty good number, Ragnaar!

      Let us know the monetary value that you (and Lionell Griffith and Peter Lang too) assign to that number, eh?

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    • A Fan,

      Now you are taking someone else’s words and attributing them to me. Please try to keep the topics associated with the people commenting on them.

    • *MORE*

      Lionell Griffith asserts the supremely selfish ideology “The individual is sovereign over himself [...] to think and act otherwise is to enter the realm of the irredeemably evil.”

      Your argument is basically the third temptation of the Buddha – the temptation of social dharma. I thought we were all supposed to have gotten over this around 500BCE or so.

      If I’m remembering the story correctly, when Mara appeared to the Buddha-in-training for the third time and started in on him about his social responsibility for this and that he appealed to Phra Mae Thorani, mother earth, to testify that he had the right to be there. Of course she obliged.

      Lionell is completely correct of course about the sovereignty of the individual over himself. There is nothing supremely selfish about it, its a kind of a fact. If you re not sovereign over yourself in your interior and exterior lives, who is? and how do THEY decide. If no one else happens to be around who is in charge? I would, however, take a softer view than he did about the irredeemability of the evil of disagreeing with his position.

      Point is, we are each completely sovereign over our own lives, our interior lives and our exterior lives. We have free will to do ‘this or that’ as we choose. Compassion suggests strongly we should make the necessary accommodations for our fellows – but they do not have the ‘right’ to it. Compassion and selflessness are completely voluntary. If they were not completely voluntary they would be completely worthless as acts. It is compassion’s voluntary nature that elevates our actions and saves us from selfishness.

      If you don’t have an interior capacity to generate the necessary compassion, well, then you may come to the unfortunate conclusion that you are not sovereign, or should not be sovereign over yourself, or that outside intervention may be necessary to enforce ‘right action’ – a kind of contradiction best avoided.

      I’ll lay it out as simply as possible, you can believe me or not, the highest of all ethical positions is to not impose one’s will upon another – children with their wills-in-training, the insane with defective wills, and the criminal who plunder the wills of others are exceptions.

      You also want to be careful with the Donne, you could just be opening a Pauline can of worms that springs directly from the Christian conception of the Church and its “members” being the bride of Christ. I’m not sure this is what you intend. Donne’s “Europe, was still in the difficult process of disentangling the religious, the social, and the political. The Donne can be read all three ways, but not exclusively one and not the other two. And still, you may be a ‘member’, but you are yourself first. For a correct and accessible understanding of the concept of Christian “membership” one can be found in C.S. Lewis’ 1945 essay “Membership”.

      W^3

    • *MORE*

      Here’s some more, in case you aren’t sick of me already and might listen to another voice.

      Uncle Joe [Campbell] had this same “standard point of view” come up during the Q&A after a lecture he gave at the Ojai Foundation years ago. Here is the transcript I made from the talk.

      Questioner: “Yet that kind of concentration [on the individual] can lead to narcissism, to turn away from social, community and cultural concerns. It seems to me that kind of luxury is something we ought to examine.”
      Campbell: “Why is it that a luxury?”
      Questioner: “You could explain the state of the world by that kind of luxury.”
      Campbell: “And we have very little of it. Very little of it. Luxury…
      You know what you’re bringing in here? The third temptation of the Buddha. Social dharma. The very thing that brought about the Wasteland. What I’m talking about is an individual finding the authenticity of his own life course, not simply doing what everyone in the newspapers tells him to do. Making the decisions of his own life. Moving with compassion. Selflessness is fundamental here, not greedy grabbing, I don’t see that. It’s a standard, you are bringing in a standard point of view I’ve been listening to for fifty years. When ever someone tries to make something out of himself, he’s not taking part in the recent you know whatever it is: a strike or parade or what not. There is an inner life as well as an outer. Now you’ve spoke about the danger of the inner life, it turns one into a narcissist, there is the danger of the out life as well, it leaves you just a blank, and we’ve got plenty of those around. So, I heat up a little on this one.

      W^3

    • w.w.wygart,

      God does not exist and religion is noise. The borrowed words you write refer to nothing the real world. You only feel they have meaning but there is no there, there. It is a demented hall of mirrors with endless recursive reflections of nothing.

      Oh yes. Thank you for identifying me as selfish. That I am. I strive to fulfill my own best interests. However, selfishness does not mean what you think it means. Most of those things are not in one’s actual self interest but are destructive of self and others.

    • Lionell,

      Sorry if you feel I’ve stepped on your toes, but I’m a little confused by the things you’ve said in your comment. I’ll attempt to clarify.

      1] You wrote, “God does not exist and religion is noise.”

      I’m not sure where this is coming from. It would be a rare day if you found me saying that God “exist[s]” in any conventionally held view of either ‘God’ or ‘existence’, and so far on this thread I’ve only used the trigrammaton once, which was to explain atheist and positivists’ need to get that particular conception out of their own philosophical frameworks. Just because I use a particular theological argument or framework, and I use lots of them, doesn’t mean I either hold or espouse it personally, it may just mean that I think it will fulfill the function of illustrating the point I’m trying to make.

      I wasn’t meaning to talk about religion directly either, I used the word once in this post above in a list of human intellectual achievements. Just to be clear, I use a phenomenological definition [my own] of “religion” namely: the set of customs or practices that ‘bind’ [religare] a person’s beliefs or belief system to their life as they actually live it. This definition stretches to include almost everyone not operating at the persistent non-dual state of consciousness – whether they like it or not.

      2] You wrote: ” The borrowed words you write refer to nothing [in] the real world. You only feel they have meaning but there is no there, there. It is a demented hall of mirrors with endless recursive reflections of nothing.”

      I don’t follow you. What are the “borrowed words” of mine are you referring to? and I’m not sure what you mean by “borrowed”. I may clarify further when I feel I understand what you are referring to.

      I will add that I’m with Doug Hofstadter in that recursivity is closely associated with the foundation of consciousness [hyper-recursivity].

      3] You wrote: “Oh yes. Thank you for identifying me as selfish.”

      What do you think I meant by “selfish”? I didn’t think I had “identified” you as anything other than “completely correct” about the sovereignty of the individual over himself. Where do you think I “identified” you as “selfish”? I thought I was saying quite the opposite when I defended your position [should have put the "supremely selfish" in quotes]:

      Lionell is completely correct of course about the sovereignty of the individual over himself. There is nothing supremely selfish about it, its a kind of a fact.

      ‘Personal sovereignty’ is a concept for a power or authority over oneself, a noun, a kind of a fact, one we both might agree is frequently impinged upon by others; ‘selfish’ functions as an adjective or a verb – not ‘factual’.

      4] You stated, “I strive to fulfill my own best interests.” Wonderful, and well put, and not necessarily “selfish” in my opinion, at least according to some definitions of ‘selfish’. I think we may be more in accord with this than you think.

      To clarify: what is important to me is the style of transaction you pursue your “own best interests” with; your preferred or habitual style could be positive-sum, zero-sum, or even negative-sum transactions. In the first case it would indicate to me that Lionell is a sophisticated and high level functioning human being, if it is mostly the latter two it might indicate that Lionell might be a slope-browed-retro-troglodyte of some kind and needs to upgrade to human. So, far I’ve been giving Lionell credit for being humane rather than ‘slopish’.

      W^3

    • w.w.wygart,

      Your first line in your message had to do with a report of a report of an ancient mystic who may or may not have existed. Hence, you were the one to bring up religion. I simply categorically shut down discussion of such things. There is nothing to discuss, nothing that can be proved, and no actual evidence that can be offered in defense of the comment. Hence, it is nothing but noise without referent in reality.

      As for the selfishness, I have presented in this blog thread more than enough of my thinking on the matter that you should be able to judge what I mean by it. However, by your bringing mystical mythology into the picture, I have no way to know what if anything you mean by the concept.

    • Lionell

      Ah, I’m beginning to see the problem now. My confusion was originating from your ‘non sequitur’, your desire to “categorically shut down discussion of such things” when those things hadn’t actually been part of the discussion – you wrongly assumed they were. I know what I meant – you obviously don’t and don’t seem to be interested in a genuine conversation about it – too bad.

      The reference to Siddhārtha Gautama was what I was just describing to you above as an *example*. I was tying to instruct *More* about a particular rhetorical error she was falling into – I wasn’t actually ‘bringing up religion’ at all. All that was, in fact, was a metaphor – it wasn’t even directed at you. I was just trying to illustrate the conflict over the whole social dharma thing that you had been struggling over with *More* yourself – just using a different set of terms. To my mind it doesn’t matter one whit if Siddhārtha Gautama, Jesus Christ or whoever existed at all for this purpose – it was just an example – a heuristic. I am absolutely free to use whatever metaphors I want – right? sovereign self? If you think you have some special power to shut down discussions [on someone else's blog I might add] that don’t tickle your fancy or use the wrong lingo it’s not appreciated – especially if you’re not on the ball enough to keep up with me.

      That said, I think we are probably in closer agreement on many issues than you may think – that’s the irony here. Voeglin? Van Dunn? Natural law theory? Any of this in your vocabulary? I’m just weirder than you know how to deal with. I probably don’t fit into ANY of your little boxes, and I don’t like being force-fit.

      As for ‘selfishness’, I’m not even going to walk across the room and pull the OED off the shelf for this one, Webster is keystrokes away:

      “Selfish: adjective (of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure: I joined them for selfish reasons.

      Works fine for me, but I didn’t think that was what you actually meant which is why I asked for clarification. I actually liked your term “my own best interests” a lot – great, very clear – which seems completely different to me than “selfish”.

      So, I asked for clarification from you not wanting any lingering misunderstandings – expecting a fair response – I don’t think I got one. You on the other hand, on this very webpage, have demanded answer to your own questions threatening to boycott the conversation – the thermonuclear option – yet with me you won’t answer a couple of questions of mine that would clarify your position to me. What’s up with that?? Not fair Lionell, not fair. I asked you these questions in good faith Lionell, as much as I dislike being misunderstood by you, I don’t want you to be misunderstood by me – really.

      As for your statement:

      There is nothing to discuss, nothing that can be proved, and no actual evidence that can be offered in defense of the comment. Hence, it is nothing but noise without referent in reality.

      I’m not even going to touch the intellectual poverty of that position – you can keep it.

      Is this the type of game player you really are – zero sum? Seem kind of “slopish” to me.

      See you around,

      W^3

  54. Between no action and precaution…

    What is the difference between living in liberty and surviving in serfdom? To know that is to answer the question, who shall be responsible for your actions? For those who are willing to accept personal responsibility for thfeir own lives, there is no one more than the responsible individual that can better determine those things they must and must not do to live their dreams.

  55. “The climate policy debate at its most basic level is posed as a clash of values between those who want to protect the environment and future generations versus those who want to spur economic development in the near term”

    But of course that is a false dichotomy, given that climate deniers have never demonstrated that allowing massive damage to the economy via BAU has any short term economic benefits. Given the current need for stimulus in most of the developed world, intensive mitigation could very well increase short-term economic growth.

    The primary fear on the right is not of slowing economic growth, which is a red herring, but of any collective political action that does not involve restricting women’s reproductive choices or dropping bombs on brown people. In other words, it is no different from the right’s desire to eliminate Obamacare or cut food stamps: there is a deadly fear of any use of democracy to improve human welfare (as opposed to the corporate welfare they enthusiastically support.)

  56. Speaking of false dichotomies, it’s hard to see what the “proactionary principle” has to do with the mitigation of global warming, since that has nothing to do with banning any form of technology, but rather on reducing certain kinds of pollution (greenhouse gases). Anyone can use any technology they want to, as long as they don’t produce an excessive amount of pollution harmful to their neighbors. A “proactionary principle” might help us evaluate different technologies for mitigating global warming, but it really doesn’t apply to the question of intensive mitigation itself.

  57. For the good “progressive’s” critique of the precautionary principle, see

    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/students/envs_5000/sunstein_2003.pdf

    by Obama’s former head of OMB’s OIRA, Cass Sunstein.

  58. Like the broken hockey-shtick, which was discredited statistically and scientifically, the Precautionary Principle has been discredited logically and laid to rest.

    Yet, like a vampire, they both keep rising out of the coffin to fill us with fear again.

    And, since neither has a heart, there’s nowhere to drive the stake to polish them off forever.

    But, fortunately, like the bogey-man, we know they are only imaginary hobgoblins.

    Max

  59. During the moon landings 1969-1972, Arthur C Clarke was on a show, I think CBS with Cronkite. He was asked about the purpose of going into space. His reply I remember hearing was very similar to this quote from the BBC BBC

    “The analogy I often use is this: if you had intelligent fish arguing about why they should go out on dry land, some bright young fish might have thought of many things. [That fish might have come up with many good answers, but I feel certain that the fish would have missed the BIG one.] They would never have thought of — FIRE. I think that in space we will find things as useful as fire.”

    That is the problem with the Proactionary Principle, as well as the Precautionary Principle. Had either of those Principles been in place 10,000 years ago, we would have never had to collective courage to experiment with fire and would have prevented individual from learning about fire.

  60. “Thousands of years ago, the first man discovered how to make fire. He was probably burned at the stake he had taught his brothers to light. He was considered an evildoer who had dealt with a demon mankind dreaded. But thereafter men had fire to keep them warm, to cook their food, to light their caves. He had left them a gift they had not conceived and he had lifted dardness off the earth. Centuries later, the first man invented the wheel. He was probably torn on the rack he had taught his brothers to build. He was considered a transgressor who ventured into forbidden terrritory. But thereafter, men could travel past any horizon. He had left them a gift they had not conceived and he had opened the roads of the world.
    “That man, the unsubmissive and first, stands in the opening chapter of every legend mankind has recorded about its beginning. Prometheus was chained to a rock and torn by vultures—because he had stolen the fire of the gods. Adam was condemned to suffer—because he had eaten the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Whatever the legend, somewhere in the shadows of its memory mankind knew that its glory began with one and that that one paid for his courage.
    “Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, the vision unborrowed, and the response they received—hatred. The great creators—the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors—stood alone against the men of their time. Every great new thought was opposed. Every great new invention was denounced. The first motor was considered foolish. The airplane was considered impossible. The power loom was considered vicious. Anesthesia was considered sinful. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered and they paid. But they won..”

    Who wrote that? Answer

    • It is from Howard Roark’s trial speech written by Ayn Rand in The Fountainhead.

      Lovely, timely, and true. I have experienced such things myself.

      I have accomplished many things thought impossible by fully credentialed and highly respected others. I have been able to demonstrated that they actually work. Even as one particular invention was doing the thought impossible, one well known authority in the field insisted that it did not and could not do what he was seeing it do. The authority could not stand the thought that someone without his vaunted credentials and reputation could accomplish something he could not even understand.

      I used only what was available to anyone to learn and use: Math, Physics, Chemistry, Physiology, Computer Programming, and the like. The difference is that I did not look at the problem with second hand ideas. I simply looked at the problem, its context, and its structure. After understanding that, I was able to invent and build its solution. I was focused on what is and the fact that what is, is the only thing that can be used to make what can be.

      Except for me, my unique approach, and my focused mental and physical effort, these things would not have existed. If you think not, consider that I used only what was available to anyone else on earth and that still are available. They did not do it but I did. I as an individual made the difference and not some imaginary collective called “society”. Hence, I owe this *society* thing absolutely nothing. I especially owe *society* nothing for their not killing me or not putting me in jail for thinking about and doing what it thought impossible.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Stephen Rasey quotes Ayn Rand “Every great new thought was opposed. Every great new invention was denounced. The first motor was considered foolish. The airplane was considered impossible.”

      Stephen Rasey, please be aware that historical scholars have confirmed that Ayn Rand’s account of the inventive process is so grossly wrong-on-the-facts, as to constitute an ideology-driven far-right fantasy pure and simple, containing few or no elements of historical reality.

      E.g., for an in-depth history account of how the Wright brothers actually invented the first practical airplane, consult James Tobin’s First to Fly: the Unlikely Triumph of Wilbur and Orville Wright (2003, also published as To Conquer the Air: The Wright Brothers and the Great Race for Flight).

      Far from being opposed by competitors like Samuel Pierpont Langley, the Wright brothers received vital encouragement and technical help from him, sustained over many years, and the large body of their correspondence (which still exists) reflects mutual professional relations that throughout were cordial, respectful, and even affectionate.

      Gosh, the facts of history are considerably more illuminating than juvenile Randian fantasies, isn’t that the plain fact, Stephen Rasey and Lionell Griffith?

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    • The thesis is not that inventors are without any support.
      The thesis is that inventors have opposition.

      J. P Morgan supported Thomas Edison. But even J. P.’s father, Junius thought J. P. was making a huge mistake investing in this toy of electric lighting.

      You bring up the Wright’s supporters. But it was a long 5 years between the Kitty Hawk flights to their Army Contract. http://www.wifcon.com/anal/analwright.htm

      There are plenty of people who supporting the technology of fracking. Tell me there is no opposition. Tell me the opposition is politically and legally impotent.

    • Fan wrote:

      “…please be aware that historical scholars have confirmed that Ayn Rand’s account of the inventive process is so grossly wrong-on-the-facts, as to constitute an ideology-driven far-right fantasy pure and simple, containing few or no elements of historical reality.”

      While commenting on this from Rand:
      http://judithcurry.com/2013/08/19/proactionary-principle/#comment-367251

      Whether or not she read her history books is not the point I think. She had a view point at the linked post, which I think is where I read about her idea of the creators. If we wonder what is the opposite of the creators? We may find those opposed to advancement and achievement. Then we ask ourselves, which do we value the most? A bit a change of tearing down the successful, don’t you think?

      It may all be a fantasy Fan, or it may be a good idea.

      And I am finding a bit difficult to believe that historical scholars spent much time comparing the quoted passages to their own understanding of history. The more objective of them, probably just realized she was on a literary roll, and let it go at that.

    • Did Edison support Tesla?
      Trick question. Tesla worked for Edison a short time, but left when Edison showed no interest in Tesla’s AC motor design. Thereafter Edison fought Tesla and used the legal system to challenge Tesla AC patents because Tesla worked for Edision at one point.

      Did Edison oppose Tesla? The war between AC and DC standards are legonday. http://www.abb.us/cawp/seitp202/c646c16ae1512f8ec1257934004fa545.aspx Edison used a version of the Proactionary Principle to hamstring Tesla. The AC system was potentially more dangerous than DC. It could electricute people. But it offered advantages of smaller conductors and longer transmission. Imagine what Edison could have done to Tesla armed with an official Proactionary Principle as proposed.

      As for Edison, do you think there was little opposition to him tearing up some of the streets of Manhatten to bury is DC conductors?

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Stephen Rasey approvingly quotes a false claim:

      Ayn Rand (falsely) claims “The great creators—the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors—stood alone against the men of their time.”

      and then Stephen Ramsey himself falsely claims “The thesis is not that inventors are without any support. The thesis is that inventors have opposition.”

      Stephen Rasey, did you not notice that Ayn Rand’s (false) claim explicitly nullifies your own (false) claim?

      The plain-and-simple facts are:

      ▶ THe historical record shows us plainly that the people Ayn Rand calls “the great creators—the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors” invariably received very substantial help from colleagues and institutions!

      ▶ Ayn Rand received less help than many for one simple reason: Ayn Rand was a narcissistic nutjob whose “objectivist” philosophy was intellectually juvenile … and practical application of that philosophy has proved to be evil outright.

      Stephen Rasey, isn’t that the verdict of history upon Ayn Rand’s philosophy?

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    • Fan, why are you stuck on the support of a few and cannot see the simple facts of opposition by many to innovation that is the heart of the Roark speech?

      Galileo wasn’t the only one who believed in a sun centered solar system, yet he stood alone before the Inquisition. Copernicus wrote his solar centered theory on his death bed – he didn’t want to endure “the rack”. Wegner didn’t have the continental drift theory completely worked out; others noticed the similarities of coastlines, yet Wegner and his ideas were vilified by people holding ideas further from the truth we believe today.

      Every good idea has at its birth far more detractors than supporters. Logically it can be no other way. Likewise, every bad idea similarly begins with few supporters. But I think ideas should live or die based upon the growth in number of supporters rather than the power of their detractors.

      The Precautionary and Proactionary principles being discussed here give the detractors much more power over the innovator than generally allowed through most of history. Should the Wheel proposal have gone through committee process to “closely scrutinize” it? Would it have been better to give detractors of the use of fire greater power to slow or stop it’s use?

      FORD: Oh this is futile! Five-hundred-and-seventy-three committee meetings and you haven’t even [approved] fire yet!

      Seems to me that we should first apply the Proactionary Principle to the very concept of the Proactionary Principle and those who support it. The Roark speech was an early formulation of the argument.

  61. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Lionell Griffith says “I used something from the environment. I transformed it into something more valuable by action of my discovery, my thought, and my effort.”

    The links were added by me!

    Lionell Griffith, aren’t you foolishly advocating for (as Wendell Berry calls it) the “Earth’s destruction as a normal economic enterprise“?

    Lionell Griffith, aren’t you and your fellow narrow-minded ultra-libertarians, wrongly standing with (as Wendell Berry calls them, echoing Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels) “the gleeful yahoos who are destroying the world, and the mindless oafs who abet them.”

    These are serious questions, Lionell Griffith!

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    • Using something from the environment and transforming it to be more conducive to sustaining and advancing life is what living things do and must do to continue living. Humans add one thing that other life forms don’t, the ability to reason which allows a vast improvement in the process. You denial of living things using and transforming the environment is anti life. Your objection to man using reason in that process is anti mind which for man is anti life.

      Why do you hate life so much that you want to destroy it by not allowing it to do what it must do continue to live?

      Like I said, may you live forever in the hell of your own making. Just leave the rest of us out of it.

    • Example:
      Pre-life: 20%+ CO2 atmosphere.
      Life: 20%+ O2 atmosphere

      Life proacted and continues to do so.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Lionell Griffith claims an unrestricted license for “using something from the environment and transforming it to be more conducive to sustaining and advancing life [because that] is what living things do and must do to continue living.”

      Photo-links added by me!

      Lionell Griffith. something tells me that you respect none of the following organizations:

      •  Ducks Unlimited
      •  Trout Unlimited
      •  BASS/ESPN Outdoors
      •  Izaak Walton League of America
      •  Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
      •  Coastal Conservation Association
      •  American Sportfishing Association
      •  Pheasants Forever
      •  Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
      •  Wildlife Management Institute
      •  Delta Waterfowl
      •  Boone and Crockett Club

      Is that a correct surmise, Lionell Griffith?

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    • You continue to evade my question. No more conversation with you until you answer it. Until then, I consider all your words nothing but a meaningless word salad intended to distract you and others from the topic you fear most: yourself.

    • R. Gates the Skeptical Warmist

      Back when there were just a few million or even a few hundred million people on the planet, you could just walk out into the jungle or forest and make something or dig up something or kill something and the impact on the planet was fairly inconsequential…i.e. it really didn’t matter too much. Now that the world is filled with 7+ Billion of us and growing, the romantic notion that we can all just run around doing whatever “freedom” allows us make or do or build is unworkable and unsustainable. More than that, the consumer culture we’ve created that thrives on billions of us buying stuff and then discarding it, and then buying more stuff is unsustainable in its current form. Fortunately, recycling is taking care of that issue, so we can buy stuff, recycle the old stuff that can then be reused to make new stuff for us to buy.
      Now that we live in an interconnnected global society, our everyday choices, when multiplied a few billion times over, do make a difference, and so we are only as free as our impacts on our fellow humans and other species.

    • @Gates:

      Now that the world is filled with 7+ Billion of us and growing, the romantic notion that we can all just run around doing whatever “freedom” allows us make or do or build is unworkable and unsustainable.

      The heart of your argument is a strawman. Those 7+ Billion people have created in one form or another a system of property rights and common law. So there needs to be trade of value and acceptable levels of risk.

      and so we are only as free as our impacts on our fellow humans and other species.

      What do you mean by this. It is a passive voice because you hesitate to say what you really mean. It sounds like limitations to our freedom somehow automatically happens by our free interchange with billions of others. Poppycock.

      Limitations to freedom don’t happen automatically. Limitations to freedom don’t come from the billions of the world. Limitations to freedom come deliberately from a very few who have assumed the power to limit the freedoms of billions. Rule by law transformed to Rule by man.

    • (@Gates, continued…)
      … Unless you mean that we are “as free as our impacts on our fellow humans” through the well established concepts of property rights, fair trade, and civil liability. In which case, I agree. But then where does the Proactionary Principle fit in?

      and other species.” So who speaks for the beaver, the angus, the lab rat, the algae, and the lodgepole? And who elected those speakers and how?

      By the way, when it comes to CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, who on the IPCC is speaking for the conifers who want “More, More!”

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Lionell Griffith deplores “distraction from the topic you fear most: yourself.”

      Michael Prescott’s justly celebrated analytical essay (which was written from personal experience) Shrugging off Ayn Rand speaks eloquently to this point.

      Let us know what you think of it, Lionell Griffith!

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    • You continue to evade my question. No more conversation with you until you answer it.

  62. DocMartyn | August 21, 2013 at 12:04 pm |

    all women of child baring years.

    Diaper-changers? ;)

  63. “…I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”
    - Jefferson to Dr. Benjamin Rush, September 23, 1800
    Inscribed under the dome of the Jefferson Memorial, Washington D.C.
    H/T to “Born Yesterday”
    I am sure there will be those who say that the flaws in Jefferson’s personal life invalidate and falsify everything he said or wrote. Not I.

  64. Ah yes, A Fan is a perfect second hander. She has no ideas of her own and no will to communicate them. It is always reference to one or more of her sacred *others* as if by reflecting their thoughts it makes her whole. It doesn’t, she is still as empty of content as she always was. All it does is make her a thoughtless mirror who contributes nothing of herself to the conversation. Another fine example of an inhabitant of the demented hall of mirrors that our society has become.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Lionell Griffith claims “She [FOMD] has no ideas of her own and no will to communicate them … empty of content … a thoughtless mirror … demented”

      Lionell Griffith, your point-of-view is itself well-mirrored in a famous mathematical article by Arthur Jaffe and Frank Quinn, titled “‘Theoretical mathematics’: toward a cultural synthesis of mathematics and theoretical physics” (arXiv:math/9307227 [math.HO]). The Jaffe/Quinn article was notable for its harsh personal attack upon the mathematician William Thurston.

      William Thurston’s wise and gentle reply, titled “On proof and progress in mathematics” (arXiv:math/9404236 [math.HO]), advances the same intellectual themes — with almost-eery isomorphism! — as Wendell Berry’s Jefferson Lecture, and ranks among best-loved articles (and most-cited too) in the history of mathematics. That is why Terry Tao’s celebrated What’s New mathematical weblog includes a permanent link to Thurston’s article on the sidebar, as recommended reading for all students of mathematics.

      Is there an article that comparably provides foundations for “Evidence and understanding in climate science”, that would wisely summarize (what Judith Curry calls) “the best available science”? Arguably the leading candidate for such an article is the 19-author “Scientific Case for Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change to Protect Young People and Nature” (arXiv:1110.1365 [physics.ao-ph]).

      Conclusion Both your ideas and mine (and everyone else’s too) have considerable precedent in the literature, Lionell Griffith!

      Such articles provide a terrific foundation for public discourse (obviously).

      And that’s mighty GOOD, eh?

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    • Hello? Is anybody home? Perhaps it is just that the lights are on and the radio is playing. It appears as if anyone who once lived there is long gone. The tape is running in an endless loop.

      Where is YOUR content? So far all it has been is pointless reflection of others reflecting still others recursively and without end.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Lionell Griffith asks “Where is YOUR content?”

      LOL … Pope Francis has assigned a team to write it up for me in 2014!

      Looks like “checkmate” for denialism, eh Lionell Griffith?

      Good on `yah, Pope Francis!

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  65. I see. You rely on a fake representative of a fake god who is at the head of a fraudulent religion. That is not as good as second handed. In fact, it is recursively empty all the way down into the endless abyss. Is there a you that actually exists? I think not. You project nothing but ephemeral reflection of an endless series of ephemeral reflections.

    I will let it fade into the pit of entropy.

    • Lionel, sadly, you’re wasting your breath

    • I thought that was the case from the get go but I thought I would give it a try. Such an assault on the mind of man should not go unanswered.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      “Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.”

      Ayn Rand or Wendell Berry? You decide!

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    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      “Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you.”

      “Rats and roaches live by competition under the laws of supply and demand; it is the privilege of human beings to live under the laws of justice and mercy.”

      “A corporation, essentially, is a pile of money to which a number of persons have sold their moral allegiance.”

      “Let us have the candor to acknowledge that what we call “the economy” or “the free market” is less and less distinguishable from warfare.”

      “There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.”

      “What I stand for is what I stand on.”

      Ayn Rand or Wendell Berry? You decide!

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    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Lionell Griffith posts “You rely on a fake representative of a fake god who is at the head of a fraudulent religion. … I will let [your opinions] fade into the pit of entropy.”

      LOL … Rand Paul, is that you?

      So yer determined to abide in the Ayn Rand “nexus”, eh Lionell Griffith?

      James T. Kirk sure thought different, ain’t that right?

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  66. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup | Watts Up With That?

  67. Pingback: Proactionary Thriving | Skeptical Swedish Scientists

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