Towards a pragmatic ethics of climate change

by Judith Curry

The global climate change debate has gone badly wrong. Many mainstream environmentalists are arguing for the wrong actions and for the wrong reasons, and so long as they continue to do so they put all our futures in jeopardy. – Thomas Wells

My recent post Why scientists should talk to philosophers elicited a comment on twitter (that I can’t find) that recommended Lawrence Torcello as a philosopher that I should be paying attention to.  In case the name doesn’t ring a bell, Torcello famously wrote an essay entitled Is misinformation about the climate criminally negligent? More traditional (less outrageous) thinking about climate ethics is typified by this Nature essay by Stephen Gardiner.My response to most writings on climate ethics that I’ve encountered has ranged from outrage to a yawn.

Today’s cartoon sums up my problem with the traditional perspective on climate ethics:

ethics cartoon

With this context, I was very pleased to come across this essay by Thomas Wells at the blog Essays in Philosophy, Politics and Economics ,entitled Debating Climate Change: The Need for Economic Reasoning.  Excerpts:

My diagnosis is a twofold ethical failure: of pragmatism and perspective (or, more eloquently, of ‘sense and sensibility’). Many environmentalists argue that climate change is fundamentally a values problem. And yet their interpretation of this has taken a narrow moralising form that systematically excludes consideration of such important ethical values as improving the lives of the 1 billion people presently living in unacceptable poverty or even protecting other aspects of the environment (such as wilderness areas). That narrowness also leads to self-defeating policy proposals founded almost entirely in the economy of nature rather than political economy. The result is a fixation on global CO2 levels alone as the problem and solution, at the cost of systematic and broad evaluation of the feasible policy space.

These foundational errors have induced a kind of millenarian meltdown in many otherwise sensible people, to the extent that to be an environmentalist these days is to fear the oncoming storm and know that all hope is lost. My recommended treatment, to reinvigorate their confidence as well as their ethics, is a dose of economic reasoning.

As well as incorporating the full range of our ethical concerns and values (sensibility) such a debate requires further facts about how our socio-economic institutions interact with the environmental mechanisms (sense). Relying on the natural scientific account alone leads us to fixate on the minutiae of greenhouse gas emissions levels and climate sensitivity, while drastically simplifying the human side.

One way of dealing with such difficult problems is to moralise them, and this seems to be the strategy currently favoured by mainstream environmentalists. Climate change is thus simplified and personalised as a simple ‘values’ choice: Are you for the planet or against it?

On this model, one’s carbon footprint is a moral crime (against the planet presumably) which one should feel guilty about and strive to reduce. As of course are other people’s carbon emissions: they deserve to be shamed or otherwise forced into submission by the righteous ones.   Forging such a moral identity may strengthen solidarity within the environmentalist movement, but it certainly doesn’t build the necessary bridges for successful political action.

The moralisation approach undermines itself since it frames climate change narrowly in terms of righteousness. Inevitably deliberation about action gets bogged down in an interminable blame-game about what justice requires – who had their industrial revolution first, etc. Furthermore, the moral duties of different actors do not all point the same way: poor country governments have a clear and over-riding moral duty to help their citizens achieve the quality of life and prosperity which the West takes for granted, and which is inevitably energy (i.e. carbon) intensive. And then there is the practical economics: the world still has lots of coal, a lot of it in poor countries like India, that can produce electricity very cheaply. Not even the strongest moral rhetoric can make renewables competitive without radical technological (i.e. price) breakthroughs.

The moralisation approach contrasts with a fuller ethical thinking in which values are considered and debated explicitly and openly. Righteousness simplifies but it doesn’t try to understand. No-one emits carbon deliberately ‘for fun’, but rather we engage in activities which are more or less valuable to us – such as flying across the Atlantic to visit grandparents – which happen to emit carbon as a byproduct. To ignore the value of these human activities and see them instead as moral crimes is to do a violence to the very humanness of the lives (including those of future generations) that we are supposed to be so concerned about preserving. We need a broader ethical debate about what the consequences of climate change will be for what we humans have reason to value so that we can take really credible actions to protect them.

This is an essentially pragmatic approach – breaking the ‘end of the world’ into human-sized and human-relevant problems and solutions and ordering them by their importance, feasibility and (opportunity) costs. For example low-lying places such as Bangladesh or the Maldives are at particular risk from rising sea-levels, but piecemeal interventions like building sea walls are not only cheaper but much more likely to protect them than global carbon austerity.

The pragmatic approach does not depend on reaching an impossible global agreement on a perfect solution requiring moral or political coercion. Instead it offers feasible paths through the moral storm while respecting the existing interests and values of the human beings concerned. It is more democratic than the moralising approach because it works within our existing political institutions (no need for a ‘global government’) and offers transparent arguments for action within our present valuational framework (rather than requiring us all to assume a new and narrow set of values). It is also fairer. While the moralists’ fixation on minimising further CO2 emissions places excessive burdens on the world’s poorest, the pragmatic approach naturally pushes the greatest obligations and costs onto those (rich countries) most able to act.

At present too many environmentalists are guilty of the same moral and cognitive melt-down in the face of its complexities that they accuse their detractors of. They are wrong to see the development of human freedoms and well-being (prosperity) as a distraction or even a threat to the world. They are wrong to fixate on an abstract and impossible problem (450 CO2 ppm) and seek a perfect solution without reference to wider ethical issues, and political and practical feasibility. They are wrong to give up on the potential of democratic politics and human ingenuity and settle for Malthusian doom mongering and moralising.

JC reflections

I think that pondering the ethical issues surrounding climate change and proposed policies  is important.  However, I have found the narrow moralizing of Torcello,  et al. to be not very useful in the context of the policy debate on climate change.  Wells’ pragmatic approach to climate ethics makes a lot of sense to me, and it ties in well with adaptive governance and robust decision making.

The IPCC AR5 WG3 report introduced an element of ethics, as is summarized in this article in the E&E.  Excerpt:

“We are trying to look at the social, economic and ethical conceptions of [things like] what is ‘dangerous’? ” said Kevin Urama, executive director of the Africa Technology Policy Studies Network in Kenya and a co-lead coordinating author of the ethics chapter.

“The ethics deals a lot with justice, fairness, distributional weights. Basically, it sets a pace for better understanding for policymakers,” Urama said.

“Really, what we’re dealing with climate change or historic responsibility is ‘What do we think is the ethical way to view someone who did something harmful, but before anyone realized it was harmful?'” said Charles Kolstad, a Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research economist and co-lead coordinating author of the chapter.

The ethical framing being used by the IPCC seems tied to the blame game associated with the Warsaw Loss and Damage Mechanism, and distracts from the real problems facing the developing world.

Clearly the issues of ethics surrounding climate change and proposed policy responses have many dimensions.  Avoiding oversimplifications simplistic moralisation seems a good framework for rethinking how we approach the ethics of the wicked climate problem.

420 responses to “Towards a pragmatic ethics of climate change

  1. Reblogged this on Centinel2012 and commented:
    I like this discussions but before we enter into them we must understand the issues without the political baggage. With climate change the science got politicized before it was even close to understood. So now we have hardened positions and climate models that can show what it happening today — so how can be believe that can can show what might be even a few decades off. Since the key to all of this is the forcing values of CO2 it would seem to me that that must be understood fully first before any other issue.

    • ‘climate models that can not show what is happening today’. Your point is important enough to remediate the construction.

  2. Academics can indulge in such debates to their hearts content – though I’d prefer they weren’t doing it on my dime and on my time.

    But the real world takes an increasingly pragmatic view. ‘Climate change’ is falling inexorably into the ‘scare stories of the past’ category and people just ain’t interested any more. Neither are they much bothered about the number of angels that can stand on the head of a pin, or the precise nature of the Trinity. Yesterday’s problems…yesterday’s excitement.

    The bright young academics will get out of the sterility of the area with all speed. And the dumb old ones will stay and squabble over whether they can breathe any further life into the rapidly expiring corpse of the once thought important ’cause du derniere decennie’. They can’t. Il est mort.

    • Academics argue more and more over less and less, until they go to war over nothing.

    • David Wojick

      But the US EPA is busy regulating CO2 emissions in the real world, based on huge projected damages over the next 300 years (SCC). Is this not scare stories of the present? Academics run the models that EPA is basing their real world actions on. Thus the climate scare is not passe, rather it is rising to power before our eyes. Perhaps skeptics are too busy debating, or relaxing, to notice this.

      • When your enemy is taking Vienna. Wait, I’ve got that a little garbled.
        ==========================

      • There’ll be lot’s of yelling about what it will do to costs (e.g. energy), but those regulations probably won’t have much effect. Coal will take a beating, but gas will replace it with little added cost. And remember each state will be able to choose its own way of meeting the requirements. Which will take long enough to take effect that investment and industry will be able to adapt.

      • David Wojick

        The point is that the federal government is beginning to control CO2 emissions, and not just via EPA, based on bogus modeling. That is very wrong. It is not about coal, but about absurd government action. There is no end to this push.

      • Absurd, David? Never in history has government ever become absurd.
        ===========

      • David, your point is very valid but likely only to last until the next 1 or 2 elections.

      • The point is that the federal government is beginning to control CO2 emissions, and not just via EPA

        All bureaucracies justify their continued expansion based on protecting the citizenry from some harm.

        The air and water are already cleaner then ever imagined by the drafters of the clean air and clean water laws.

        Unfortunately, large bureaucracies never declare ‘mission accomplished’ and disband.

      • David Wojick

        Kim, the question is if the warmers have won why are we still here?

      • Rob Starkey

        The EPA was granted powers from the US Congress. It is acting within its authority. (argueable) It will take Congress to change the EPA’s authority and a President’s signature

      • Andrew Russell

        “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed
        (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an
        endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

        – H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) -

      • The Models get more and more different from real data. That should have killed them a decade ago They are getting worse and worse. Flawed Forecasts will, at some point, kill the Consensus Alarmism. The asked for 5 years, then 7, then 12, then 15, then 17. Now I believe they are asking for 30 or 50.

        For those of you that go along with this Chicken Little Alarmism, how long is long enough for you to have some doubt?

      • David Springer

        The house alone can change EPA through not authorizing any funding for the president’s end-run around the legislative branch’s refusal to enact climate change legislation. Regulating carbon emissions is an expensive expansion of EPA and the house can simply refuse to increase EPA funding to pay for it.

      • David Springer,

        agree that the House OUGHT to assert itself strongly in cutting off the funding for at least the worst aspects of abuse by exec. branch depts.

        However, this option is severely constrained by 3 problems (at least):

        (1) widespread spinelessness and lack of vision among even R. members of the House (the Democrats are largely worthless, of course);

        (2) bills passed must get through Senate passage and/or House-Senate conference committees which can strip out provisions passed by the House and insert garbage from the Senate (also refer back to (1) for weakness of many Rs in negotiations);

        (3) of course the President has to sign bills, and can force many concessions with the help of servile and biased journalists, who routinely skew the presentation of “facts” in budget confrontations…. Rs are always “obstructionist” and “heartless” while the Demagogues are always on the side of hope, peace, love, progress, and humanity.

        What ought to happen with budget bills and amendments is not, alas, what will happen.

      • Changing over from coal to gas won’t be such a big deal in the USA. It would require enormous sacrifice in Europe. And the USA will have to deal with the forthcoming and inevitable depletion of gas resources. Eventually gas prices will rise, and they will probably keep on rising…

    • Understood, but they are an important part of the debate – particularly Wells’ thoughtful comment. Many people actually get their ideas and/or their arguments from these (yes, I do too – some(!)). In any DIalogue, third parties are often the most important (passive) participants.

    • AK wrote:

      “but those regulations probably won’t have much effect. Coal will take a beating, but gas will replace it with little added cost. And remember each state will be able to choose its own way of meeting the requirements. ”

      For some states that is wishful thinking. Mississippi only generates about 13% of its electricity from coal (about 72% from natural gas), yet the EPA insists it cut CO2 by 38% over the next 16 years. Not much low-hanging fruit there. But since they are not on either the east or west coast they don’t really matter much to the current admin.

  3. I can see their dilemma, but not sympathize with it. An old MASH episode highlighted it. To be a good American, he had to kill Chinese, but to be a good Chinese, he had to kill Americans.

    When you force the world to conform to black and white, it is hard not finding any black or white on your ownself. So they label as evil that which they do. It is not the “ethics” that they have a problem with. It is their coloration of the world.

  4. Excellent post. The first time I stepped into the this debate by asking an innocent question about an error bar, I got immediately accused of being anti Science and in the pay of big oil and an enemy of the planet. To say I was taken aback would be an understatement. Nothing useful can be accomplished in the face of that kind of fanaticism. I find strong parallels to those who insist nothing can be done about crime or terrorism without first understanding and addressing and changing the “root causes”. Such moralistic outrage becomes a substitute for action because one can just make pronouncements and feel good about oneself without taking any real action.

    • “Such moralistic outrage becomes a substitute for action because one can just make pronouncements and feel good about oneself without taking any real action.”

      Nicely said!

    • Danley Wolfe

      I learned a long time ago never get into discussions on error bars with a) non technical people that buy into the consensus story line, b) people that think they are brilliant and think they already know the truth, c) your wife.

  5. The only ethical thing to do is become more skeptical and eschew those in government science who abandon their principles to simply say whatever the government wants to hear. The transition from the skeptic who questions the consensus to a public that accepts the skeptic’s truth oftentimes takes time. Remember how Fulton persisted in his folly and Dr. Barry Marshall drank H. pylori cocktail and vindicated science by vomiting on the accepted knowledge of his peers? Imagine a frail and doped Nietzsche glaring at the paper inches from his nose through blistering eyes as he scribbled about the coming of The Dude. Feel the suffering of Socrates, Jesus and George Bush who refused to sign away America’s future at Kyoto.

    • Nice trinity. From your lines to Dubya’s eyes.
      ========

    • “Socrates, Jesus, and George Bush.”

      I get that you’re grooving on your own writing Wag. Just letting it flow. Feels good, eh? Still, you might want to invite your own inner censor back into the room. Those guys can come in handy sometimes.

  6. The science of climate change does set the parameters of the problem, even though it doesn’t dictate the correct solution. The greenhouse gas build-up cannot be wished away by the kind of pragmatic, social choice guided exercise I have been recommending. It must be dealt with in the medium term, but through the structural transformation of our carbon economy rather than global austerity. That will include both developing scalable technologies for removing CO2 from the atmosphere (such as genetically modified algae and trees) and reducing the carbon intensity of our high energy life-styles (for which we already have some existing technologies, such as nuclear power). But note that such innovations require no prior global agreement to set in train, but can be developed and pioneered by a handful of big industrial economies acting on the moral concerns of their own citizens.

    Here’s good sense.

    • David Wojick

      We can roughly divide climate change essays into two groups, namely those that assume the threat is real and those that do not. That is the debate. This one assumes there is a threat and strong action is called for, the only question being what sort of action. That makes it useless in my view, because the assumed threat has not been demonstrated to exist. There are many such.

      • [… T]he assumed threat has not been demonstrated to exist.

        It hasn’t been demonstrated not to. The biggest problem, IMO, is that the risk from dumping fossil CO2 into the system is almost entirely non-linear: it might push something over a tipping point.

        And there’s no way to asses the actual (real-world as opposed to perceived) probability of that happening. And it isn’t just climate, but the effects on ecosystems in general: yes CO2 is plant food, but weeds are plants as much as crops. And so are possible thousands of potential weeds that may show up as the pCO2 climbs.

        Such a risk is arguably sufficient to justify low-regrets responses. The ability to divide responses between low-regrets and high-regrets is far more important than demands that a threat be “demonstrated to exist” with 100% probability before anybody even takes notice of it.

      • David Wojick

        But if the threat is real then low regrets actions are pointless. So I see no way to justify any action at this point, other than more study. But then I do not know what these low regrets actions might be. Things that cost nothing I assume, otherwise the regrets are not low.

      • The tipping point the butterfly(it’s a moth, really) worries about is the lamp of the glaciated attractor.
        =================

      • Ah, David, we have ‘values’ to determine ‘low’, even plenty to fit, Procrusteously, ‘regrets’.
        ============

      • David writes- “divide climate change essays into two groups, namely those that assume the threat is real and those that do not.”

        I do not agree. There can be a real threat but the probability of that threat may be to low to justify a costly action that has not been shown to have any impact in reducing the reported threat.

      • David Wojick, “But if the threat is real then low regrets actions are pointless. So I see no way to justify any action at this point, other than more study.”

        No regret and low regret actions are forms of study provided policy is flexible enough to respond. The biggest problem is mandating actions that may be ineffective, eliminating or slowing response time if they are.

      • But if the threat is real then low regrets actions are pointless.

        Not if they have as good a probability of “fixing” the problem as the “high-regrets” solutions

        But then I do not know what these low regrets actions might be. Things that cost nothing I assume, otherwise the regrets are not low.

        Things whose likely ROI is positive, regardless of whether they fix any problem. Things that are already desirable, where their potential ability to “fix” the problem just makes them more so.

      • Research almost always pays for itself (on a societal level), in spin-off if not the actual target. But picking targets that will help convert atmospheric CO2 to something salable will (almost certainly) increase the likelihood that such technology will be developed.

        Spin-off not limited to technology, although that’s big. Just providing jobs and incentive for technically trained people can be valuable to a culture.

        Above IMO, of course.

      • AK | July 24, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
        [… T]he assumed threat has not been demonstrated to exist.
        “It hasn’t been demonstrated not to.”

        With that philosophy we should take action against the threat of space alien invasion since “it hasn’t been demonstrated not to exist” or of an asteroid collision which has been demonstrated to have existed in the past and (100%) will in the future. When you spend a trillion on a high cost “low-regret response,” on something that “hasn’t been demonstrated to not exist” you are deciding not to spend the trillion on something that is demonstrated to exist today such as hunger, disease, poverty, etc. In the end we have to make choices what we do as well as what we don’t do.

      • With that philosophy we should take action against the threat of […] an asteroid collision which has been demonstrated to have existed in the past and (100%) will in the future.

        Yup.

        The spin-off from the Apollo program was tremendous (IMO). A real space program with a real budget would almost certainly pay for itself with spin-off, regardless of whether there’s an asteroid headed our way.

      • Steven Mosher

        “That makes it useless in my view, because the assumed threat has not been demonstrated to exist.”

        of course the threat exists.

        There is a threat of a CME. we’ve seen them in the past. so they are possible. We dont know if one will come so we cant demonstrate the threat. But the threat is real nonetheless.

        There is a threat of a coming ice age. we’ve seen them in the past.
        we can’t demonstrate the threat, But the threat is real nonetheless.

        There is a threat that Yellowstone caldera may blow. We’ve seen it in the past. But we cant demonstrate the threat. Still it exists.

        You’re problem is understanding what it means for a “threat” to “exist”

        Threats dont exist. but they are real

      • I think we have a different understanding of low-regrets and no regrets policies. IMHO, a no regrets policy moves the world in a direction I would like to see irrespective of the truth of CAGW.

        I am then prepared to discuss my no regrets policy from a morale perspective that does not rely on climate science.

      • “We can roughly divide climate change essays into two groups, namely those that assume the threat is real and those that do not. ”
        Well possibly, but I’m one of those who find the threat to be too poorly defined (has there ever actually been a previous CO2 induced thermageddeon?) and of unknown uncertainty (how likely?) to have a strong opinion. All I really know is that atmospheric CO2 seems to be rising (we have seemingly reliable data and therefore low uncertainty), human emissions are likely contributing to the rise (mostly poor quality data, and therefore, moderate uncertainty), and no real idea if this is good or bad for the planet (lots of handwaving, but variable and inconsistent data, therefore, very high uncertainty). Therefore, I’d have to agree that Wells’ analysis is based on a false assumption (that the science is settled) and should be disregarded.

        Coronal Mass Ejections – that is a real danger to our power grid and I’m annoyed that governments do not take it more seriously. We should be spending more on this: they happen regularly and are potentially devastating.

        Asteroid strikes – we are now monitoring the skies for them (and possibly developing contingency plans for doing something more if needed). I think that is good and may result in both direct and spinoff benefits at a low cost. CAGW should be treated similarly.

        The Yellowstone Caldera – well we are monitoring it, but I don’t think we have much hope of doing anything about it. If there is research on letting the pressure out of building volcanos then I suppose that is good, but if it ever gets to the stage of a field test, then I would become a Precautionary Principle fan, especially if a predicted eruption was based on an unverified model.

      • Go the Woj. + 10

      • –Coronal Mass Ejections – that is a real danger to our power grid and I’m annoyed that governments do not take it more seriously. We should be spending more on this: they happen regularly and are potentially devastating.–

        ** “In my view the July 2012 storm was in all respects at least as strong as the 1859 Carrington event,” says Baker. “The only difference is, it missed.”

        In February 2014, physicist Pete Riley of Predictive Science Inc. published a paper in Space Weather entitled “On the probability of occurrence of extreme space weather events.” In it, he analyzed records of solar storms going back 50+ years. By extrapolating the frequency of ordinary storms to the extreme, he calculated the odds that a Carrington-class storm would hit Earth in the next ten years.

        The answer: 12%.

        “Initially, I was quite surprised that the odds were so high, but the statistics appear to be correct,” says Riley. “It is a sobering figure.” **

        http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/23jul_superstorm/

        So you can basically count on one of these Carrington events hitting earth by 2100

        I would say damage estimate seems on low side:
        “According to a study by the National Academy of Sciences, the total economic impact could exceed $2 trillion or 20 times greater than the costs of a Hurricane Katrina. Multi-ton transformers damaged by such a storm might take years to repair.”

        Perhaps they just mean damage costs to US.
        Anyways, it’s worth at least millions to takes steps to mitigate this future event- though it’s not worth trillions..

      • The rational choice is between proving that there is no risk in changing the composition of the atmosphere – a fools quest – or finding ways to change direction that don’t have costs greater than benefits.

      • “The rational choice is between proving that there is no risk in changing the composition of the atmosphere – a fools quest – or finding ways to change direction that don’t have costs greater than benefits.”

        How about, the rational choice is between proving that there is no risk in adding too much plant food to the atmosphere.

        And I would say, “finding ways to change direction that don’t have costs greater than benefits”.is normally quite difficult and costly. Or so far we have spent trillions of dollars trying determine whether solar and wind energy is viable. And some people still think this is a possibility, despite what should be obvious, and that is, they are not.
        And when you consider that we already know that nuclear energy is a viable option and so it’s not a matter of “finding ways to change direction”.

        Or in other words, it is well known established fact that using nuclear energy is fairly cheap, very abundant, and has very low CO2 emission for the amount electrical energy it produce.
        Whereas solar and wind are very expensive, and it can be argued their use has increased the amount CO2 emission for countries which are using them, Or Germain is increasing it’s emission and they are cutting nuclear use and they are “solar capital of the world”, and are currently building a significant amount of new coal plants to meet their future shortages of electrical capacity, which directly due to their policy depending upon solar and wind energy. [and have one of highest price of electrical energy in the world]..

      • ‘How about, the rational choice is between proving that there is no risk in adding too much plant food to the atmosphere’ while remaining clueless about the consequences.

        Either way a fools quest.

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

        http://www.wfs.org/blogs/richard-samson/shhh-new-energy-breakthrough-quietly-powering

        Where does it say anything about subsidising energy of any sort?

      • RobertInAz | July 24, 2014 at 6:17 pm |

        @

        I think we have a different understanding of low-regrets and no regrets policies. IMHO, a no regrets policy moves the world in a direction I would like to see irrespective of the truth of CAGW.

        Both “low-regrets” and “no-regrets” are actually myths, of course. We can’t know in advance how much “we” might regret any particular action. All we can do is estimate the relative probabilities of different classes of future outcome, and judge how much we might like them relative to what we think might have occurred if we had taken some different action(s).

        Given that, I would roughly define “low-regrets” as being actions that we think likely to steer the “world in a direction” we would “like to see” more than some other “direction” we would also “like to see”, only not quite so much. Along with little ex post facto judgement of added risk of serious down-side.

        There are many ways various organizations (“for-profit” and otherwise) could be incented towards more intense investment in R&D, infrastructure, and innovation likely to help solve the problem of fossil carbon, without substantially impacting any culture’s current life-style.

        Anybody who approves of the sort of technological innovation our culture has experienced over the last few centuries could probably be convinced that there are paths for future innovation that would be superior in terms of eliminating the risk from fossil carbon over the long term, without any significant downside. Superior, that is, to other paths for future innovation that don’t.

        Anybody who disapproves of the sort of technological innovation our culture has experience over the last few centuries is the enemy.

      • gbaikie | July 25, 2014 at 12:59 am |

        How about, the rational choice is between proving that there is no risk in adding too much plant food to the atmosphere.

        That can’t be proven, of course, because there is some “risk in adding too much plant food to the atmosphere.” We don’t know how much it is, but given the continual improvements in agriculture, the benefit can reasonably be expected to disappear. Thus it’s desirable to put a stop to digging up fossil carbon and dumping it into the atmosphere, as well as the rest of the biosphere. We just don’t know how desirable. Most likely it’s not worth “high-regrets” approaches. And not very urgent.

        IMO. But that’s a judgement each voter (etc.) has to make for themself.

      • AK | July 25, 2014 at 9:06 am |

        gbaikie | July 25, 2014 at 12:59 am |

        How about, the rational choice is between proving that there is no risk in adding too much plant food to the atmosphere.

        “That can’t be proven, of course, because there is some “risk in adding too much plant food to the atmosphere.” ==

        Plants will thrive almost regardless of how much fossil fuels we use- or one can easily say, no worries with less than 1000 ppm.
        And humans living in modern housing typically spend most of the time in a indoor environment which exceeds 1000 ppm. As human breathing emits a large amount of CO2 in relation to a confined space which is more or less, well insulated and sealed. In actual airtight living areas [submarines or space stations] CO2 levels are routinely maintained at an even higher levels. Of course more primitive living, say living igloo or caves [particularly if using fire to keep warm] could have even higher levels CO2 and much worse indoor pollution.
        The human is a tropical creature, it’s designed by evolution to be in warmer conditions, but by various technology it has expand it’s habitat
        beyond this environment [some speculation is that the cooling climate in tropics of Africa was part of “why” human became more technological]. .

        Anyhow, basically this involves keeping warm at night, and this result in higher CO2 levels- which includes merely keeping warm by sleeping together.
        In our current Ice Box Climate [tens of million of years], it is cooler than most of the time in which animals evolved. Also we had lower CO2 levels in last tens of millions of years, considered to be due to more weathering of rock from global geological activity [e.g mountain building].
        “A major geologic process that removes CO2 from the surface environment is the weathering of Ca- and Mg-bearing silicate rocks and the subsequent deposition of Ca- and Mg-bearing carbonate sediments.”

        http://openearthsystems.org/projects/gcc.php

      • Jim Zuccaro

        Climate change has occurred for 4 billion year prior to human existence, so now we argue about attribution of climate change to humans.

        Geology abides: Eldridge Moores had a bumper sticker that said “STOP CONTINENTAL DRIFT”

      • @ gbaikie | July 25, 2014 at 4:41 pm |

        Plants will thrive almost regardless of how much fossil fuels we use- or one can easily say, no worries with less than 1000 ppm.

        But which plants? Weeds are plants. Lichens may not be plants, but with more CO2 they might well become weeds. So might all sorts of plants that currently cannot compete with crops.

        Seems to me what we have here is misdirection: dishonest rhetoric. The problem you’re claiming doesn’t exist isn’t the same problem that presents the risk to NEXT YEAR’S AGRICULTURAL YIELDS!

      • –AK | July 26, 2014 at 12:58 pm |

        @ gbaikie | July 25, 2014 at 4:41 pm |

        Plants will thrive almost regardless of how much fossil fuels we use- or one can easily say, no worries with less than 1000 ppm.

        But which plants? Weeds are plants. Lichens may not be plants, but with more CO2 they might well become weeds. So might all sorts of plants that currently cannot compete with crops.–
        If CO2 were not so expensive, farmers would add it to the fields.
        Or water is cheap, but water has a significant cost to farming, but if using CO2 were as cheap to farmers as using water, then farmers would use CO2.
        And the higher global CO2 to farmers would be something which is free.
        Or greenhouse grower do spend the money to grow plants in enriched CO2- because they already have an enclosed space, so one isn’t wasting large amounts of CO2. And another reason, is without a system of adding CO2, the plants in greenhouse can be CO2 starved [plants die]. So they need to add some CO2, and cost of providing an abundant amount of CO2 is fairly insignificant compared cost of setting up system that provide “enough” CO2.
        As far as Lichens goes, I don’t think it could be a threat to humans, and don’t a see problem with having a lot of lichens in the regions where they typically grow if more CO2 increase their grow significantly. And I think caribou eat a fair amount of it, and imagine other animals would benefit also from more lichens.

        –Seems to me what we have here is misdirection: dishonest rhetoric. The problem you’re claiming doesn’t exist isn’t the same problem that presents the risk to NEXT YEAR’S AGRICULTURAL YIELDS!–

        Well my whole point of mentioning it was rhetoric, instead “adding something” to atmosphere [as if this by itself was somehow wrong or the amount was vaguely significant- increasing a trace gas]. I think very significant in regard to mentioning CO2, that it’s most relevant aspect is it fundamentally required for plants to grow. Or it’s a plant food. Or it’s the plant food of Earth.

  7. “My response to most writings on climate ethics that I’ve encountered has ranged from outrage to a yawn.”

    Somehow made me feel better about myself to learn that Dr, Curry the very apotheosis of sober restraint, can lose it too…

  8. What climate scientists (and activists) need, much more that a new ethical perspective – is some grasp of engineering. They need to understand that the policy “solutions” they push – i.e. windmills and solar panels – won’t solve the problem they aim at solving (reducing emissions).

    Under climate alarmism pressure the world has already spent enormous amounts of money, without achieving any meaningful mitigation (from their own perspective). Mitigation is impossible – technically – by the means available to us now. It’s not a matter of moral failure.

    They need to get real and understand the physical reality of energy production. Wasting money on things that don’t work is also un-ethical or anti-ethical (i.e. corrupt).

  9. A valuable discussion, since there are so many claims that those who challenge the frothing and hysteria about “climate change.”. As a non-scientist, I began to pay more attention to debates about both the science and the proposed policies when it became evident that,

    (1) there are soooo many inaccuracies and exaggerations in the claims about the science, and

    (2) so many of the proposed policies are incoherent in light of the claimed magnitude of a crisis.

    With regard to the latter point, even the policies of the beloved (sic) Kyoto Accord would have such a miniscule effect according to the numbers offered by its proponents, that something else must be going on…. such as flagellating the most “developed” countries for their economic succeses.

    note: if is some “Crime Against Humanity” to fail to advocate and implement drastic, radical changes in CO2 output, then the Kyoto Accord and similar proposals constitute “Crimes Against Humanity” — for failing to solve the purported problems!!

    • correct incomplete first sentence:

      “…since there are so many claims that those who challenge the frothing and hysteria about “climate change” are guilty of severe ethical lapses, up to and possibly including alleged “Crimes Against Humanity.”

      • The BRICs caught on to all of this long ago.
        ================

      • Well, that was a leap just a bit far. One of the gorgeous lessons of Copenhagen was the display, by the BRICs of the shakedown of the guilt-ridden West. The Chinese were able to elegantly disguise their chagrin at the failure of the shakedown by pretending outrage at the last minute neo-colonial machinations of one Obama. Hope still rests in the breasts of the BRICs that some result of the shakedown still might transpire, but they are recognizing the bankruptcy of the West, both in terms of funds to fling about, and in the blame and shame, fear and guilt, that underlies so much of this catastrophic alarmism.
        ===============

      • kim,

        Glad you caught that yourself. I would also point out that the BRIC’s rejection of CAGW/decarbonization is based on the same principle as the embrace of CAGW by the progressives in the west – pursuit and maintenance of power.

        Progressives in the west are desperately trying to change democratic republics into centrally planned states. The governments in Brazil, Russia, India and China already have enormous control over their energy economies. Decarbonization has no benefit to them as far as gaining power.

        But CAGW could be a serious danger to them maintaining power. Their populace, except for the crony capitalists, have massive percentages among the poor who are, at least to a very small degree, seeing some improvement in their stone age life styles, in large part due to cheap energy (and a mild degree of relaxation of their control over the economy).

        If they were to suddenly stop the building of power plants and the sale of oil, their people might well turn on them. They are no more intelligent than their progressive counterparts in the west. It’s just that they have different “initial conditions.”

  10. Our school teachers must start serving the interests of the public — it’s the working stiff that pays their salaries and not government that simply transfers the blood, sweat and investment of the productive to ‘public servants.’

    Our school teachers must change and start doing whatever they can to stop the infringement by government of our liberties. And, stop preaching fear!

    Otherwise, we need to rethink public education and do whatever is necessary to downsize a metastasizing government. Waiving the flag of liberal Utopianism the Left has taken over academia, the media and all public offices. The Left — paid by government to keep government in power over the people — is now the mainstream that the public must learn to fear and that is not right! That is a system that is not sustainable by a free people.

    The public now fears everything: even, changes in the climate. The public is a slave to the mainstream — the carpetbaggers — and, it’s all legal because of another old maxim: a slave is not a person.

  11. A most relevant quote from John Mauldin:
    “In Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy [Schumpeter] made a fabulous remark which throws more light on the matter. He explained that the rise in living standards allowed by capitalism through the process of creative destruction was going to drive a huge rise in the educational level of the population. The educated but uncompetitive would grow to hate the capitalist system, under which their merits were not recognized, and would try to seize control of educational and cultural institutions in order to teach the youth that markets do not work.”

    This seems uncomfortably close to too many of the eco-moralists.

  12. David L. Hagen

    Can We Use Cost Effectiveness Pragmatism?
    Thanks for raising these issues.
    Why are we being forced to spend billions of dollars now and soon trillions of dollars for unmeasureable future climate “benefits” – while ignoring millions of extreme poor dying from indoor air pollution? Why can’t we instead refocus efforts based on their cost effectiveness?
    Bjorn Lomborg has numerous articles on ethics of climate and poverty as well as leveraging Economics Nobel Laureates via the Copenhagen Consensus
    e.g., The Environment of Poverty

    According to the World Health Organization, about seven million deaths each year are caused by air pollution, with the majority a result of burning twigs and dung inside. Previous generations’ use of lead in paints and gasoline is estimated to cause almost 700,000 deaths annually. Ground-level ozone pollution kills more than 150,000 people per year, while global warming causes another 141,000 deaths. Naturally occurring radioactive radon that builds up inside homes kills about 100,000 people every year.
    Here, too, poverty plays a disproportionate role. No one lights a fire every night inside their house for fun; they do so because they lack the electricity needed to stay warm and to cook. . .
    China has lifted 680 million people out of poverty over the past three decades through a strategy of rapid integration into the global economy. . . .
    Almost all environmental aid – about $21.5 billion, according to the OECD – is spent on climate change. . . .
    Indeed, there is something fundamentally immoral about the way we set our priorities. The OECD estimates that the world spends at least $11 billion of total development money just to cut greenhouse-gas emissions. . . .If all $11 billion were spent on solar and wind in the same proportion as current global spending, global CO₂ emissions would fall by about 50 million tons each year. Run on a standard climate model, this would reduce temperatures so trivially – about 0.00002oC in the year 2100 – that it is the equivalent of postponing global warming by the end of the century by a bit more than seven hours. . . .
    Why does the world consciously choose to help so ineffectively? Could it be that environmental aid is not primarily about helping the world, but about making us feel better about ourselves?

    The Copenhagen Consensus is providing cost effectiveness evaluations of the UN Post-2015 Millennium Development Goals for the 12th session of the Open Working Group.
    Preliminary Benefit-Cost Assessment for 12th Session OWG Goals, 9 June 2014. e.g. on climate:

    Just think: if we could prioritize a goal that saves 10 lives for every $250,000 spent, over another goal that saves 1 life for the same amount, we could do billions of dollars more good over the next 15 years! . . .
    13.1 hold the increase in global average temperature below a x°C rise in accordance with international agreements = POOR
    13.2 build resilience and adaptive capacity to climate induced hazards in all vulnerable countries = PHENOMENAL
    13.3 by 20xx integrate climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies into development plans and poverty reduction strategies = GOOD

    The Cornwall Alliance has numerous related articles. e.g.,
    A Renewed Call to Truth, Prudence, and Protection of the Poor: An Evangelical Examination of the Theology, Science, and Economics of Global Warming

    “global warming alarmism” . . . It rests on poor economics, failing to do reasonable cost/benefit analysis, ignoring or underestimating the costs of reducing fossil fuel use while exaggerating the benefits. And it bears fruit in unethical policy that would
     destroy millions of jobs.
     cost trillions of dollars in lost economic production.
     slow, stop, or reverse economic growth.
     reduce the standard of living for all but the elite few who are well positioned to benefit from laws that unfairly advantage them at the expense of most businesses and all consumers.
     endanger liberty by putting vast new powers over private, social, and market life in the hands of national and international governments.
     condemn the world’s poor to generations of continued misery characterized by rampant disease and premature death.
    In return for all these sacrifices, what will the world get? At most a negligible, undetectable reduction in global average temperature a hundred years from now.

    Why not apply rational stewardship of our resources to poverty and environment?

    • “Why does the world consciously choose to help so ineffectively? Could it be that environmental aid is not primarily about helping the world, but about making us feel better about ourselves?” And how can anyone in that camp claim the moral high ground?

      • Merit accrues more to the one giving opportunity to acquire merit.
        ===============

      • David L. Hagen

        Faustino – “How can they claim the moral high ground?”
        By inverting morality to worship earth and control the climate status quo instead of worshipping its Creator and caring for the poor.

  13. You have to get back before the pollution of the language — before the concept of anthropogenic forcing via release of CO2 was introduced into the putative field of climate science for political purposes — to get an idea about where we must return and hit the restart button–e.g., I’d say, before about 1997. As you can see below, the role of the Sun on the climate was not an inconvenient truth, as follows:

    Science 26 September 1997:
    Vol. 277 no. 5334 pp. 1963-1965
    DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5334.1963

    Total Solar Irradiance Trend During Solar Cycles 21 and 22

    Richard C. Willson

    Abstract

    Results from Active Cavity Radiometer Irradiance Monitor (ACRIM) experiments show an upward trend in total solar irradiance of 0.036 percent per decade between the minima of solar cycles 21 and 22. The trend follows the increasing solar activity of recent decades and, if sustained, could raise global temperatures. Trends of total solar irradiance near this rate have been implicated as causal factors in climate change on century to millennial time scales.

    • +1. If you control the language you control the politics. Think of ‘denier’, ‘carbon pollution’, etc. The planet has a fever.

      Try having a discussion with an alarmist about why they can continue to use the word. The moral blankness of their arguments clearly shows they can’t give up their bluntest of instruments.

      • Think of ‘racist,’ sexist,’ homophone,’ ‘radical right winger.’ The tactic is ubiquitous in progressivism.

      • I point at this:

        > If you control the language you control the politics. Think of ‘denier’, ‘carbon pollution’, etc.

        Then I point at this:

        > Try having a discussion with an alarmist […] The moral blankness of their arguments clearly shows […]

        That is all.

      • Steven Mosher

        control over the language is never perfect.
        you can’t avoid trying to control the language.
        everyone tries to control the language because we use language to control behavior.
        When controlling others through language doesnt work,
        we say the debate is over.
        we hint at what will come next.
        in the end meaning is controlled by the application of force.

      • Steven Mosher | July 25, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
        Good comment. “in the end meaning is controlled by the application of force.” While I want to resist the above line, I think it’s true.

      • Jim Zuccaro

        So Steve Mosher,

        With regard to coercive governance, isn’t Antoropogenic Global Warming really just an other manifestation of the human age old conflict of ‘who gets what’?

      • I was waiting for you to note my use of alarmist, willard. Thanks!

  14. One way of dealing with such difficult problems is to moralise them, and this seems to be the strategy currently favoured by mainstream environmentalists. Climate change is thus simplified and personalised as a simple ‘values’ choice: Are you for the planet or against it?”

    Climate science has become a religion to the catastrophists and the conflict is perceiived as a religious war. The current religious movement is towards radicalism and bomb throwing. Are we in for another “100 years War”? a French Revolution where the protagonists succumb themselves to the violence only to have a lingering legacy of self proclaimed messiahs? the aging and intellectual dwindling of leadership like the demise of the Soviet Union?

    I of course can not predict the future for the Climate Change religious adherents. What I can do is assess the likelihood of the Climate Change religious adherent’s movement to be altered by the greater societal requirements and needs.

    Morality, ethics be damned.

    Costs, costs of energy that erode disposible income will more likely than not, drive the discussion in the developed world towards adaptation to a changing climate. Economic realities in Western worlds depend upon consumer spending for 2/3 s of their GDP. Artificially raising the cost of energy is a superimposed brake on the economy and is utter non-sense.

    Costs of energy will drive the moral dialogue in the under-developed countries towards cheap fuel sources.

    Cost control will be the politician’s mantra as subsidized renewable energy looses its appeal. Politicians will, if they are not already, become aware that expensive energy is a drag on the economy. Even President Obama may lift his head from the mud of denial, sniff the political air, and realize his making energy more expensive has been one of the reasons for his economic jobless “recovery.” Hope springs eternal.

    Moral and ethics seem to play best in Peoria, as theater and show and other story telling. Down on the farm, the cost of fertilizer will determine if there will be a profit or loss this year.

  15. Steven Mosher

    “The pragmatic approach does not depend on reaching an impossible global agreement on a perfect solution requiring moral or political coercion. Instead it offers feasible paths through the moral storm while respecting the existing interests and values of the human beings concerned. It is more democratic than the moralising approach because it works within our existing political institutions (no need for a ‘global government’) and offers transparent arguments for action within our present valuational framework (rather than requiring us all to assume a new and narrow set of values). It is also fairer. While the moralists’ fixation on minimising further CO2 emissions places excessive burdens on the world’s poorest, the pragmatic approach naturally pushes the greatest obligations and costs onto those (rich countries) most able to act.”

    yup

    • You can double underline that ‘yup’.
      ============================

    • David Wojick

      If only there were such paths. There are not, or we would have found them long ago.

      • Jim Zuccaro

        David,

        there are too such paths. they are personal choice. conservation of resources, for the sake of not wasting that which is limited.

    • “the pragmatic approach naturally pushes the greatest obligations and costs onto those (rich countries) most able to act.” Such as the US, which has reduced emissions (though mainly through capitalist-driven fracking rather than government emissions policies), but not China, India etc where the vast growth in emissions is and will continue to be. This is not pragmatic, it is useless if you really seek GHG emissions reduction (which I don’t).

    • Jim Zuccaro

      +2, Steve. I agree.

  16. It could have been said in many fewer words: Adaptation is the only possibility now. We’ll think about mitigation later.

    • Jim Zuccaro

      Adaption is the only way. Evolution of the species; e.g. the biosphere after the Cambrian explosion.

      Change the constitution of the atmosphere? You might as well try to empty the oceans with a bucket.

      • Jim Zuccaro

        Meant; Adaption is and has been the only “policy”, ever, in all of biologic time. The evolutionary mechanism. That is why we are. And it is ‘blind to logic’!

  17. Thus… (see below–science did not hide inconvenient truths about the world around us)

     

    Science 21 January 1994:
    Vol. 263 no. 5145 pp. 341-347

    Detecting Climatic Change Signals: Are There Any “Fingerprints”? by Stephen H. Schneider

    Abstract: Projected changes in the Earth’s climate can be driven from a combined set of forcing factors consisting of regionally heterogeneous anthropogenic and natural aerosols and land use changes, as well as global-scale influences from solar variability and transient increases in human-produced greenhouse gases. Thus, validation of climate model projections that are driven only by increases in greenhouse gases can be inconsistent when one attempts the validation by looking for a regional or time-evolving “fingerprint” of such projected changes in real climatic data. Until climate models are driven by time-evolving, combined, multiple, and heterogeneous forcing factors, the best global climatic change “fingerprint” will probably remain a many-decades average of hemispheric- to global-scale trends in surface air temperatures. Century-long global warming (or cooling) trends of 0.5°C appear to have occurred infrequently over the past several thousand years—perhaps only once or twice a millennium, as proxy records suggest. This implies an 80 to 90 percent heuristic likelihood that the 20th-century 0.5 ± 0.2°C warming trend is not a wholly natural climatic fluctuation.

    • Thanks for this. This is Stephen Schneider fooling himself with those big numbers(80-90%), and totally ignoring just how much of that 0.5 deg C. temp rise was natural and how much not. Truly, a far more important question than merely establishing that the rise was not all natural.
      ==========================

  18. Back in 1991, scientists who studied the climate saw the Sun as a key independent variable and not an inconvenient truth:

    Science 1 November 1991:
    Vol. 254 no. 5032 pp. 698-700

    Length of the Solar Cycle: An Indicator of Solar Activity Closely Associated with Climate by E. Friis-Christensen and K. Lassen

    Abstract: It has recently been suggested that the solar irradiance has varied in phase with the 80- to 90-year period represented by the envelope of the 11-year sunspot cycle and that this variation is causing a significant part of the changes in the global temperature. This interpretation has been criticized for statistical reasons and because there are no observations that indicate significant changes in the solar irradiance. A set of data that supports the suggestion of a direct influence of solar activity on global climate is the variation of the solar cycle length. This record closely matches the long-term variations of the Northern Hemisphere land air temperature during the past 130 years.

  19. …one’s carbon footprint is a moral crime (against the planet presumably) which one should feel guilty about and strive to reduce. As of course are other people’s carbon emissions: they deserve to be shamed or otherwise forced into submission by the righteous ones…

    A war against the productive has been going on since the mid-’70s. Al Gore, for example, was elected to Tennessee public office in 1977. The growing secular, socialist government bureaucracy decided back then that the public (the risk-taking taxpayer) was the enemy. That is when the language pollution began–e.g., anthropogenic global warming. Contemptuous of the old maxim – he who has the risk has the dominion or advantage – the government also decided its true purpose was staying in power and to do that it had to strike fear in the hearts of its enemy.

  20. Sounds like another version of “it’s a communication problem” to me.

    The take-home message is that beating people up about their lifestyles is not the way to win hearts and minds. Plus, people get cranky when their money is wasted on dopey schemes and their energy costs go up. Who knew?

    I don’t think that this has anything to do with ethics at all. It’s just another marketing strategy for dodgy climate “science”, IMO.

    • David Wojick

      Indeed, it is basically a call to frame the same old arguments a better way, one we have seen before.

  21. George Turner

    I get upset because most armchair environmentalists are so wishy washy about the need to kill animals whose individual CO2 emissions vastly exceed the levels that any one organism has a right to emit. Whales typically emit a thousand times more planet-destroying greenhouse gases than a wolf, deer, or antelope. How long can we let this continue? The Earth’s large species must be culled, their numbers reduced to zero, and only afterward should we evaluate what other measures we should take stock to see what other measures might be required to save our beautiful planet.

  22. @ Dr. Curry

    ” Debating Climate Change: The Need for Economic Reasoning. ”

    No.

    Debating Climate Change: The need for Reasoning.

    The first and foremost requirement to get ‘the likes of me’ on board is to demonstrate, using other than the usual ex cathedra pronouncements of consensus dogma, that:

    the climate is doing anything out of the ordinary.

    the ‘out of the ordinary’ behavior has anything to do with ACO2.

    the observed changes in climate represent a threat.

    the threat is so severe that it warrants the imposition of measures to ameliorate it.

    there is convincing evidence that the recommended amelioration policies would have measurable efficacy.

    a bunch of other stuff.

    THEN we talk about the Need for Economic Reasoning. I. e. ensuring that the ‘cure’ is not worse than the disease.

    • David Wojick

      Getting you, or any skeptic on board, is no longer relevant. The US Government is going ahead with the control and reduction of CO2 emissions. Once in place these rules will never be overturned. The debate is over in America.

      • “US Government is going ahead with the control and reduction of CO2 emissions”
        False.
        The US government is going ahead with actions that are labeled “CO2 reduction action”. They will achieve no significant CO2 reduction. They are ineffectual and useless.

        But you are right. The alarmist agenda has prevailed and is being implemented. Only – it con’t achieve the declared goals.

      • Can’t achieve is the absurd part, won’t achieve is the tragic part.
        =====================

      • The policies implemented would be comic if they weren’t so absurd and tragic.

      • @ David Wojick

        You are exactly right, with one exception: the debate is not over. CAGW arrived on the scene 20-odd years ago with the announcement that ‘The science is settled!’ and the US Government has proceeded accordingly. The debate never existed. In CAGW, as in every other subject, the progressive idea of ‘debate’ is to issue marching orders, followed by the ubiquitous ‘Or else’. And they don’t kid around.

      • Jim Zuccaro

        “Can’t achieve is the absurd part, won’t achieve is the tragic part.”

        kim, that is sublime. I will steal it from you.

  23. This is the best non-science post ever.

  24. Gobbledygook philosophy exposed

    George Monbiot’s SPERI Annual Lecture: ‘Put a price on nature? We must stop this neoliberal road to ruin.’

    Another major u-turn by Monbiot the establishment Leftist. I think we can assume that the UK establishment has had enough of the U.S Cold War/Climate War narrative to control development in the BRIC nations, and of course the EU (especially Germany), by sending out thousands of NGOs armed with America’s tyrannical Green conceptual frameworks to slice value off our GDP. Nice try Uncle Sam.

    So what will happen next?

    1) The establishment Left must change their “gobbledygook” politics before the general election, because the tame, controlled opposition will want to keep their jobs at The Guardian and the BBC.

    2) The UN COP20 and 21 will be a failure. New institutions like the BRIC New Development Band and BRIC Energy Institute will replace the IMF and World Bank and even, eventually the UN itself. All institutions of U.S soft power will become defunct, if they aren’t already.

    Times are changing fast. Regroup and charge……..

    Read more here : ‘The failure of the markets hasn’t stopped the rise of the gobbledygook-filled Nature Capital Agenda. We can.’

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/georgemonbiot/2014/jul/24/price-nature-neoliberal-capital-road-ruin

  25. This simple point is good:

    “For example low-lying places such as Bangladesh or the Maldives are at particular risk from rising sea-levels, but piecemeal interventions like building sea walls are not only cheaper but much more likely to protect them than global carbon austerity.”

    Point fixes can make sense when compared to global ones. I suppose the goal is to arrest sea level rise. That’s quite a tall order and arguably lacks focus.

    • Ragnaar, when I read that I thought that Wells doesn’t actually know much about the issue, where in Bangla Desh land-water intersections and land levels are very fluid due, for example, to deposition of flood silt. I understand that many areas depend on flooding to be productive, sea-walls might be counter-productive. There has been some detail on this at CE in recent weeks; can’t recall where. There are other indications that Wells is not across the facts needed to pursue a “pragmatic” approach.

  26. Wells is a voice of relative reason at one edge of the Consensus, but his words won’t easily be absorbed by others. Most in the Consensus don’t think, after due consideration, that fighting CO2 is the best policy out of the range of policies available. They *believe* it, and they believe precisely *because* of the ‘moral simplifications’ that have bypassed their proper consideration and targeted their emotive drives. And, incidentally, caused them to moralise the same simplifications on to others too. This is part of how the climate change narrative sustains itself. While it’s nothing to be embarrased about and perfectly normal (we are likely all at some point influenced by emotive narratives), getting core Consensus folks to acknowledge these moral simplifications post commitment, and hence also acknowledge their misplaced belief, would be something akin to a religious conversion.

  27. Does anybody have an ethical problem with this Katherine Hayhoe statement?
    “If you believe that God created the world, and basically gave it to humans as this incredible gift to live on, then why would you treat it like garbage? Treating the world like garbage says a lot about how you think about the person who you believe created the Earth.”

    • George Turner

      That she thinks “a person” created the Earth says a lot about her theological seriousness, or lack thereof.

      Matthew 25, on the talents.

      He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, “Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.”
      But his master answered him, “You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

      Aside from that, petroleum is a toxic substance that shouldn’t under any circumstances be released into the environment, and where it already exists in the environment, even deep underground, it must be removed and safely incinerated in an engine designed to turn dangerous environmental contaminants into useful work, like propelling race cars.

      • George Turner — You’re giving Bible lessons and obviously don’t even know the song “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty” (and its Biblical Basis)?

        Probably the most important phrase in this song (that we Christians are introduced to as children) is “God in three persons, blessed Trinity”.

      • To all the AGW Skeptics, I have two questions:

        (1) How come when many people in Congress quote the Bible as a basis that AGW can not possibly be occurring, you look the other way, let these comments slide, and certainly don’t get upset. An example is Senator Inhofe constantly quoting Genesis of God’s promise never to flood the Earth again.

        (2) Now if I started quoting Scripture from the Books of Peter and Revelation that per New Testament prophecy, the current Earth will end in fire as a basis that AGW is occurring — what would be your reaction?

        The answer to question 2 is of course, you would think I’m a Kook!

        So why don’t you think and react the same about people like Inhofe’s (and other Religious Fundamentalists) Biblical interpretations applied to AGW?

      • Dear Dr. Curry, For some reason, my posts explaining Katherine Hayhoe’s comments are being “blocked”. Could you look at this?

      • @ Stephen Segrest | July 25, 2014 at 3:10 am |

        To all the AGW Skeptics, I have two questions:
        *****
        You would have to ask them those questions since they are saying those things. Personally, I don’t believe the Bible has any effect on climate.

      • Jim2 — I’m in 100% agreement with you that interpretations of passages in the Bible should not be part of the debate of whether AGW is or is not occurring.

        It is members of Congress and the Radical Religious wing of the Tea Party that has brought this topic into a national dialogue on GW.

        Katherine Hayhoe’s targeted audience is “Believers” not the secular world in refuting (on a Biblical basis) the Biblical interpretations of people like Inhofe (and many more in Congress).

      • Well, Stephen, as many have pointed out in the past, you can interpret the Bible to mean just about anything you like. But even the strict “it means what it says” team don’t read the Bible as written in the original language in the context of the time it was written. That would be truly a literalist.

      • Stephen says: two questions….

        Has it not occurred to you that you are moralizing in the same way that Wells describes, just on a different topic? You are making how one interprets the Bible as a black and white topic which it most certainly is not.

        Perhaps that is why the “skeptics” that you are attempting to call out (who are they, by the way) are not “getting upset” as you seem to want to require them to.

        Simple answer: this skeptic doesn’t take direction on how to behave about any subject from self-righteous ideologues.

      • Stephen Segrest | July 25, 2014 at 3:10 am |
        To all the AGW Skeptics, I have two questions

        Stephen, there is no hypocrisy for me here, I mainly ignore all claims from a religious perspective, unless someone tries to demand that I respond to them.

        I ignore Inhofe’s claims (from religion) and try to notice only his assertions about science or policy from a secular point of view (whether or not you think they are well founded).

        Same with Hayhoe, I have no interest in what she thinks her religion requires in climate science, environmental policy, or anything else.

        A concern does arise when she is speaking **as** the Director of a major climate science program at a public university, IF she does not make it clear when she is addressing her assertions only to fellow Christians.

        It’s a different argument, but I think the only things relevant to the public regarding policy issues are evidence and argument based in what has been termed “public reason” — i.e., (roughly) reason(s) which can (potentially) have claims upon anyone in a certain society, without regard to their religious or spiritual background…. i.e., where there is a possible convergence of different views on a purely secular basis. It does not mean that people cannot come to such views/beliefs from their own religious standpoints, that may often be the case. but no citizen should expect other citizens to be swayed by arguments/reasons based in specific religious beliefs which are not universally shared in that society.

        the late philosopher John Rawls developed this kind of argument about “public reason” (one need not agree with any other aspect(s) of Rawls’ views to find this particular aspect convincing:

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

        also, “public reason” does not mean that people are not free to make claims and arguments based upon their “private” or controversial reasons….. people can say anything they like within the broad limits of law and constitution….

        It simply means than anyone from Hayhoe to Inhofe should not expect to interest or persuade citizens who do not already share their religious outlook, if they resort to religiously based arguments in public.

        Anyone can make any kind of argument but the rest of us are free to ignore or reject all arguments which do not appeal intelligibly to public reason.

    • David Wojick

      Only that it is meaningless because no one treats the world like garbage. The concept itself is meaningless. Vague metaphors are not logical arguments. In fact I treat my garbage with considerable care. Special bags, special cans, special handling, etc. Presumably that is not what she means, special treatment and all that, so who knows what she means? Mind you this is not an ethical problem with her statement, it just does not make any sense.

      • Steven Mosher

        It’s easy to see what she means.

        The first rule of interpretation is assume the speaker says something meaningful.
        it is easy to do as you do and find conditions under which what they say is rendered less meaningful.

        Treat the world like garbage.

        Different people treat garbage differently. Some treat it as something valueable. so, she is not talking about them. If she were it wouldnt make much sense. so we dont ascribe meaningless beliefs to her. That is called charity.

        Me, I treat my garbage as worthless. I think someone else should take care of it.

        Here is the silliness you are engaging in.

        Mosher: Obama is an imperial president
        Wojick: he’s not a king, he doesnt have a crown.

        So yes speaking metaphorically ALLOWS silly people to avoid your point, or mispresent your point. That says nothing about the point you were trying to make.

        She is speaking to believers ( if you believe in God)
        And she is appealing to the concept of Stewardship.
        She is not talking to YOU.
        of course you cannot get her point.
        The right response to her would be to engage her on her concept of stewardship and talk about dominion.

        Then you would be engaged in a dialog.

      • It becomes unethical IMO because of her public standing. She is director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech and presents herself as a strong evangelical Christian; writing and broadcasting a message that skepticism of consensus science is unchristian.

      • David Wojick

        Sorry Mosher, but your interpretation does not help. I do not know what treating the earth as worthless means either. My point, which you failed to grasp, is that this kind of metaphorical rhetoric is not a logical argument. I do not even know what it means to “treat the world” much less to treat it like garbage. One never deals with the world per se. But then vague rhetorical phrasing is your style so I guess you are comfortable with it. Yup.

      • She’s attempting to use moral leverage from one faith, to reinforce another. Hers is not the only attempt to link formal religious sin to carbon footprint. But it’s a difficult bridge to forge across domains, and overall the narratives of Christianity and Climate Change are still in the “shall we shan’t we dance” stage. On the -shan’t- side, evangelical skeptics at Resisting the Green Dragon say:
        ‘Without doubt one of the greatest threats to society and the church today is the multifaceted environmental movement. Although its reach is subtle, there isn’t an aspect of life that it doesn’t seek to force into its own mold.
        Environmentalism has become a new religion. Environmentalism’s policies are devastating the world’s poor. Environmentalism threatens the sanctity of life. Environmentalism is targeting our youth. Environmentalism’s vision is global.’

      • David Wojick

        Mosher, can you at least give us an example of treating the world like garbage?

      • David –
        My guess is that she means that you shouldn’t pollute (like dumping toxins in streams), try to avoid doing things that would alter the environment radically – like (in her opinion pumping CO2 into the atmosphere) cutting down rain forrests or mountaintop removal, etc.

        Just a wild guess, I know.

      • Steven Mosher

        Joshua, david is trying to not understand.
        examples wont help him
        he is determined to say that sentence which both of us understand
        has no meaning.

        horse. water. drink. he wont

      • Mercy more than charity, dirty dancing on the wallflower.
        ==================

      • > examples wont help him

        Let’s try this one:

        Conventional and clean coal technologies are the cheapest forms of electricity generation available. Policymakers can preserve and enhance environmental quality while encouraging robust economic growth by allowing the use of cheap, reliable energy rather than imposing subsidies, mandates, bans, and regulations.

        http://heartland.org/policy-documents/research-commentary-coal-power

        Perhaps it depends on what “available” means.

        Let’s turn to modal logicians.

      • David Wojick — As a Christian, I will try and explain. The central Biblical interpretation that Katharine Hayhoe and Tea Party Religious Extremists (like Inhofe) are fighting over is: God’s Word that He gave Man (mankind) dominion over the Earth.

        As Katherine is stating to “Believers” this is cherry-picking Scripture. God didn’t give Man a “free-pass” to do anything he wanted to. God also expects man to be good stewards and per a gazillion Scripture citations, to act in a responsible way.

        What you believe on AGW should be driven by science (pro or con) — not interpretations of Biblical beliefs.

        This is Katherine’s message to Believers — that its OK to believe that AGW is occurring and be consistent to God’s Word.

        Katherine is not advocating that one should believe that AGW is occurring because of Biblical scripture. She is giving Believers a Biblical basis of countering people like Inhofe’s religious beliefs.

        David, Well — I tried.

      • Steven Mosher

        Sorry Mosher, but your interpretation does not help.

        of course my interpretation helps.
        It doesnt help you because
        1. you dont want to understand
        2. you have an incomplete understanding of what is logical, reasonable, and meaningful.

        The attempt to purge language of the metaphorical, rhetorical, analogical, methods of thinking and reasoning, has failed repeatedly.

        You’d do much better trying to understand what it means to treat the world with no regard for the consequences of your actions.

      • Stephen: The term “Tea Party Religious Extremists” is pure propaganda. The Tea Party movement is about adherence to the constitution, iindividual liberty, and less intrusive government. There might be some religious extremists in the movement, but the phrase you used is obvious propaganda, something a progressive think tank might have conjured. The left sees no bounds in trying to defeat tea party influence.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        rls, of course it is propaganda. It’s like how the Tea Party was routinely called racists. There’s no basis for these claims. People just don’t care because they’re lazy and close-minded. Understanding the views of a new political party was too much work so they did anything else.

      • > It’s like how the Tea Party was routinely called racists. There’s no basis for these claims.

        See for yourself:

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tag/tea-party-racism/

        First paragraph from the first article in the list:

        In quick succession in one week’s time, a protestor waves a sign “bye bye black sheep” and a small chorus chimes in and puts it to the popular song ditty of “Bye, Bye, Blackbird” in front of Desert Vista High School in Phoenix where President Obama spoke about housing finance reform. Hundreds of attendees at a Missouri state fair roared with laughter and applause at a rodeo clown’s mocking Obama. In Orlando, a knot of protestors wave racially insulting signs including “Kenyan Go Home” at Obama’s motorcade. And a GOP congressman hints that there’s sentiment among House Republicans for an Obama impeachment drive over questions about his American citizenship.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/earl-ofari-hutchinson/method-to-racist-madness-_b_3749451.html

      • LOL! Yes, they claim a lot of racism. yet the $100k has gone unclaimed because facts require proof. And Huffpo has none – nor do the liberals in general.

        I am sure I could pen an article lying about the liberals. But why bother? The documented racism of the left is sufficient and is well documented by themselves.

      • willard’s link shows exactly what I’m talking about. The article doesn’t even claim the examples he cites were from Tea Party members. There’s no indication given of any political affiliation from any of them. Despite that, willard offers it as evidence Tea Party members are racists.

        But this goes beyond that. In one example, a rodeo clown wore an Obama mask and mocked him. That fair did the same thing for previous presidents. Nobody cried racism when it had a rodeo clown with a Bush mask. A lot of people apparently feel criticizing a white president is okay, but criticizing a black president in the exact same way is racism.

        There are other ridiculous accusations of racism as well. For example, one congressman claimed the Tea Party was racist after he heard a racial slur shouted by it. There was no evidence such a slur was actually shouted, but he said it, and immediately, it was taken as proof of the Tea Party’s racism. Nobody did the slightest bit of checking to verify his claim. For all anyone knows, he may have misheard something or just made it up. It doesn’t matter though. It’s enough “proof” for the Tea Party’s critics.

      • Brandon

        I have of course heard of the Tea Party, but in what ways do they differ materially from mainstream Republicans?

        Tonyb

      • nottawa rafter

        Williard
        It is pretty clear you can’t distinguish between inductive and deductive reasoning. Which explains your position on AGW. Provide empirical evidence to substantiate your statement about the Tea Party. I want the methodology in collecting the data and proof of unbiased analysis of the results. What kind of interview techniques were used etc. What were the criteria for determining the threshold of racist views. Etc, etc etc.

        No one with an iota of logic should ever make such gross generalizations as you just did.

      • > There’s no indication given of any political affiliation from any of them.

        Indeed. All those who were caught with these racist slogans were parachuted from mysterious black helicopters. The Tea Party has been set up.

        ***

        First paragraph of the second link:

        One of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s (R) picks for her reelection committee in February has now been accused of being a white supremacist, Raw Story reported Wednesday.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/23/roan-garcia-quintana_n_3325885.html

        There’s no evidence at all that Mr. Garcia-Quintana is a supremacist, except perhaps that

        Garcia-Quintana is a lifetime member and current board member of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), which is listed as a white nationalist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The CCC is the linear descendant of the old White Citizens Councils, which were formed in the 1950s and 1960s to battle school desegregation in the South, and has evolved into a crudely racist organization. Its website, for example, has published pictures comparing pop singer Michael Jackson to an ape and referred to blacks as “a retrograde species of humanity.”

        http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2013/05/22/sc-governor-names-white-nationalist-to-reelection-committee

        Haley must have been sedated by federal agents to suggest the name of Garcia-Quintana. The Tea Party has nothing to do with that plot. This was a setup.

        Nothing in this can be considered as evidence that the Tea Party is racist. Far from it. It only shows leftist alarmist lunacy.

      • It’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard drive gonna get scratched.
        ==============================

      • Tony B,

        There is no Tea Party, in the sense of a national party like the Republicans and Democrats. The ‘tea party” in general is a reference to a movement among conservatives and some libertarians, that was started when a guy named Rick Santelli went on a rant about the idiocy of bailouts and overall shredding of the Constitution by both parties’ elites.. (I include a link to the youtube of the rant below.)

        There are a number of organizations that have since been organized calling themselves the X Tea Party or the Y tea Party. and many of the people who organized those groups have appointed themselves spokesmen for “The Tea Party.”

        But there is really a grass roots movement against the over all lawlessness of government in the US.

        A tea partier is alike a libertarian. They likely don’t belong to any of the formal tea parties, and don’t share all the same ideas. But are pretty much agreed that massive government in general, and the increasingly un-democratic way the US is being run has to be stopped.

        willard and most other progressives respond to them as they do to anyone who disagrees with the borg consensus. They label them racist,s exist and homophobic, stupid and crazy and evil all at the same time..

        What willard is doing is listening to the dog whistle of racism. And can you guess who it is that hears dog whistles?

      • What willard is doing is listening to the dog whistle of racism. And can you guess who it is that hears dog whistles?

        That always puzzled me. The left loves using the phrase “dog whistle” to insinuate something that is not there. And as the answer to your question demonstrates, the ones that hear it are the dogs. So since no one else is hearing it EXCEPT them, I find it funny they are actually calling themselves racist.

      • Link to the Santelli rant. It’s a classic and only a little over 4 minutes long.

      • nottawa rafter

        Williard
        The point is clearly over your head. If you walk outside and see a dog with brown spots, are you going to deduce that all dogs have Brown spots? Try to be more incisive in your thinking. The adolescent brains on Huffington Post certainly see nothing wrong in your mentality. To others the point is obvious.

      • A figment outre that the outrage is pigment.
        ==============

      • > What willard is doing is listening to the dog whistle of racism.

        Here’s more for the Denizens’ eyes only:

        Get there firstest with the mostest.

        http://www.complexmag.ca/pop-culture/2014/07/most-racist-things-tea-party-politicians-have-said/trent-franks

        Please explain to TonyB where that quote comes from, GaryM.

      • Seems willard is hearing a lot of dog whistles.

      • It’s always been pragmatically ethical to follow leaders whose skin contains within good character.
        ====================

      • willard,

        You keep on listening for the dog whistle. Maybe somebody will come by and scratch you behind your ears.

      • Does Douglas Spencer meets your definition of a conservative, GaryM?

        Here:

        In November 2008 he spoke about Nietzsche at an H.L. Mencken Club event. By early 2009, Spencer could no longer hold back his fixation on “contemporary white consciousness.” In a May 29, 2009 TakiMag piece entitled “White Like Me” Spencer opined, “In our increasingly globalized world (it’s not just a cliché), race hasn’t been obscured or overcome, as many had hoped, but heightened and magnified—and contemporary white consciousness, if we’re to use this term, is so complicated and bizarre (more on that below) that no serious cultural publication should refrain from discussing it.”

        http://www.irehr.org/issue-areas/race-racism-and-white-nationalism/567-who-is-richard-spencer

      • is Biden a liberal? – http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/01/31/biden.obama/

        “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,”

        here any more dog whistles?

      • @ tonyb

        “I have of course heard of the Tea Party, but in what ways do they differ materially from mainstream Republicans?”

        It may be useful to remember that the name ‘TEA Party’ came from the acronym Taxed Enough Already (TEA).

        While the people who feel that we are ‘Taxed Enough Already’ are (obviously) more likely to be sympathetic to Republican views rather than Democratic views, those who self identify with the TEA Party come from a wide variety of political backgrounds. It is not formally associated with the ‘mainstream Republicans’. In fact, the Republican Leadership is at least as implacable in its visceral hatred of the TEA Party as the progressives and in political races where candidates sympathetic to TEA Party principles are polling strongly, the progressives are usually happy to stand back and let the ‘mainstream Republicans’ destroy them. Sorta like the Consensus vs Dr. Curry.

        The tarring of the ‘TEA Party’ as racist, sexist, homophobic, religious fundamentalist, anti-science, totalitarian bigots was done by–surprise–progressives, using Alinsky’s ‘Rules for Radicals’ as their playbook. A favorite tactic is for progressives to attend TEA Party rallies and wave racist etc and shout racist etc slogans. Why? It obviously works. Their efforts are picked up by the (progressive) MSM and featured prominently in their coverage of the TEA Party. See the comments on this thread which accept the above description of the TEA Party as gospel and assumes that anyone who defends it is–you guessed it–a racist, sexist, homophobic, religious fundamentalist, anti-science totalitarian bigot, just like the TEA Partiers. And all for the sin of thinking that we are ‘Taxed Enough Already. Never a safe slogan in the presence of a progressive.

      • @Bob Ludwick – excellent synopsis! And TonyB, if you want proof – http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2013/07/busted-left-wing-plant-at-houston-pro-zimmerman-rally-is-far-left-activist/

        There is a lot more where that came from. Liberals just cannot impersonate conservatives.

      • willard,

        You can’t win the race game. You favor the party that fought to keep their slaves, the party that formed the KKK to lynch them once they were free; the party that fought to keep them in from voting with Jim Crow; the party that successfully fought to prevent the passage of civil rights legislation under Eisenhower; the party that was defeated in filibustering the civil rights acts under LBJ by conservative senators; the party who elected as majority leader of the Senate, as late as 1988, when he was still throwing the n-word with aplomb; the party that currently runs the “education” systems in almost every major US city that virtually all put Democrat campaign contributions and teacher union pensions ahead of the education they are supposed to be providing those children; the party of Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton and other race/hate mongers who have gotten rich, by trading race baiting for a seat at the Democrat Party power table; the party that to this day keeps Davis-Bacon alive as a means to raise the bar to entry into construction and other trades to protect the white Democrat base.

        Yeah. I’ll take conservatives who fought to free the slaves, imprison the Klan, end Jim Crow, passed the Civil Rights Amendments, let alone the civil rights acts, and have fought every Democrat scheme to keep African Americans poor, uneducated and dependent on the Democrat Party.

        Racism is just another form of elitism. Which is why it has always been an institution of the Democrat Party itself. Democrats can’t own their slaves any more, so they have to settle for trying to make them dependent on government, for life.

      • Oh, and a comment by cwon elsewhere on this thread reminded me of another of the Dem’s most racist current policies – the continued implementation of Margaret Sanger’s eugenicist dreams in Planned Parenthood. See if you can guess where Planned parenthood locates most of its health clinics/abortion abattoirs? Guess what party the white Supreme Court Justice who said the following belonged to – “Frankly I had thought that at the time [Roe v. Wade] was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.”

        Marge Sanger would be so proud of today’s Democrat Party. Right along side Bull Connor, Robert Byrd, Lyndon Johnson and other proto-typical progressives. See, these weren’t cranks or minor functionaries who said ignorant and racist things. They are people with real, often enormous power, who racism was an integral part of their entire lives.

      • > You can’t win the race game. You favor […]

        I would favor listening to you telling Denizens if Douglas Spencer is a conservative according to your own definition, GaryM.

        Alternatively, tells us why you associate the Tea Party with libertarianism when Bill Maher says:

        I know the tea party hates hearing that. That, you know, they’re racist, because 99.999% of them are white and the president who drives them insane is black is just a coincidence. I’m sorry, nobody has had to deal with what he had to deal with. I never saw … I never saw a governor stick the finger in a president’s face like the governor of Arizona did. I never saw a president heckled at the State of the Union like he was. I never saw Bill O’Reilly interrupt a president the way he does. There’s a kind of in your face, in your space, disrespect going on there.

        http://www.buzzfeed.com/andrewkaczynski/bill-maher-on-tea-party

        Don’t forget to explain to TonyB that incident with the governor of Arizona before returning to your editorials.

      • Bill Maher says? LOL! Talk about using a skunk to tell you what stinks! Has he gotten out of his racist misogynist rant yet?

      • No matter how many times you smack this little puppy on the nose with the evidence of his own party’s institutional racism, he just won’t go home.

      • You have no idea which party’s mine, GaryM.

        Simple question, since you’re the go-to guy for it.

        Tell us if Mark Frowley a true conservative according to your definition:

      • Wikipedia has very good description of the tea party movement. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_Party_movement

      • Willard; Respectfully, Maher and the SPLC are not credible sources.

      • Tell me if that’s more credible to you, rls:

        Race, Ideology, and the Tea Party: A Longitudinal Study

        The Tea Party movement, which rose to prominence in the United States after the election of President Barack Obama, provides an ideal context in which to examine the roles of racial concerns and ideology in politics. A three-wave longitudinal study tracked changes in White Americans’ self-identification with the Tea Party, racial concerns (prejudice and racial identification), and ideologies (libertarianism and social conservatism) over nine months. Latent Growth Modeling (LGM) was used to evaluate potential causal relationships between Tea Party identification and these factors. Across time points, racial prejudice was indirectly associated with movement identification through Whites’ assertions of national decline. Although initial levels of White identity did not predict change in Tea Party identification, initial levels of Tea Party identification predicted increases in White identity over the study period. Across the three assessments, support for the Tea Party fell among libertarians, but rose among social conservatives. Results are discussed in terms of legitimation theories of prejudice, the “racializing” power of political judgments, and the ideological dynamics of the Tea Party.

        http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0067110

      • Hmmm. I love me some interesting juxtapositions:

        On the on hand, we have this:

        While the people who feel that we are ‘Taxed Enough Already’ are (obviously) more likely to be sympathetic to Republican views rather than Democratic views, those who self identify with the TEA Party come from a wide variety of political backgrounds. It is not formally associated with the ‘mainstream Republicans’. In fact, the Republican Leadership is at least as implacable in its visceral hatred of the TEA Party….

        And on the other hand, we have this:

        Republicans are now reliant on the Tea Party. While the number of Tea Party supporters has declined since 2010, they still make up around half of Republicans, according to NBC/Wall Street Journal surveys. More important, they are the most active supporters when it comes to voting in primaries, volunteering on campaigns, and participating in various other activities political parties are reliant upon. Seventy-three percent of Republicans who attended a political rally or meeting identified with the Tea Party. The activists are vehemently anti-Democratic. Among the FreedomWorks sample, only 3 percent of people voted for Obama or a Democratic House candidate in 2008, and less than 6 percent identify as either independents or Democrats.

        http://prospect.org/article/three-new-facts-about-tea-party

      • Willard: Thank you for taking the time to reply. I read the study and don’t understand why it was done the way it was done, but don’t have enough knowledge to either accept it or reject it. I do, however, have eyes and ears, and can say that in my conservative community there is no racial animosity.

      • willard and crew don covering capes to burn windmills on the lawns of Tea Partiers.
        ==================

      • nottawa rafter

        If williard is incapable of understanding the distinction between inductive & deductive reasoning, why should we believe he could vouch for the efficacy of an amorphous longitudinal study.

      • > If williard is incapable of understanding the distinction between inductive & deductive reasoning […]

        That’s a big if you got there, nottawa rafter. Where’s your cite for that big if?

        Meanwhile, here’s how we could induce some americanization into the minds of young illegal immigrants:

        During an interview with Minnesota’s Twin Cities News Talk, Bachmann revealed her plan while addressing the border crisis. “I’m calling on all of us, Obama and Congress and everyone, to chip in and build special new facilities… `Americanization’ facilities, if you will. And we’d send these kids to these facilities, in Arizona and Texas and wherever else. And we’d get private sector business leaders to locate to those facilities and give these children low-risk jobs to do. And they’d learn about the American way of life, earn their keep, and everyone wins in the end.”

        http://kctv7.com/michele-bachmann-suggests-labor-camps-for-immigrant-children/

        Americans need camps to reeducate young immigrants.

        Let’s prepare them for a shiny Wal-Mart future.

      • > If williard is incapable of understanding the distinction between inductive & deductive reasoning […]

        That’s a big if you got there, nottawa rafter. Where’s your cite for that big if? Meanwhile, here’s how we could induce into the minds of young illegal immigrants some American ideas:

        During an interview with Minnesota’s Twin Cities News Talk, Bachmann revealed her plan while addressing the border crisis. “I’m calling on all of us, Obama and Congress and everyone, to chip in and build special new facilities… `Americanization’ facilities, if you will. And we’d send these kids to these facilities, in Arizona and Texas and wherever else. And we’d get private sector business leaders to locate to those facilities and give these children low-risk jobs to do. And they’d learn about the American way of life, earn their keep, and everyone wins in the end.”

        http://kctv7.com/michele-bachmann-suggests-labor-camps-for-immigrant-children/

        Let’s reeducate young immigrants and prepare them for a shiny Wal-Mart future.

    • “If you believe that Sasquatch came from the aliens and that the aliens have gifted Sasquatch to humans, the why would one cut down trees since doing such is almost definitely going to trigger an immediate interstellar invasion to rescue Sasquatch and result in the end of the human race.”

      Its like talking to a crazy person. One can build infinitely complex logical conclusions if one starts basing them on ridiculous assumptions. Actually probably a more relevant example is the classic:

      Theorem:
      2 = 1
      Proof:
      Given:
      A = B
      A2 = BA
      A2 – B2 = BA – B2
      (A + B) (A – B) = B (A – B)
      (A + B) = B
      B + B = B
      2B = B
      2 = 1

      I guess if you wanted something from the person you could try to relate (we all have relatives), but you have to nip this kind of insanity in the bud before worthless conclusions are drawn from it.

      • (A-B) = 0 , you can’t divide by that.

      • Yep, that’s the magical move!! Once you slip that one through you can prove anything you want. Kind of like Mann’s paper a few topics back where he assumed temp = internal + anthropogenic!

    • I would think that “If you believe that God created the world, and basically gave it to humans as this incredible gift to live on,” the best thing would be to say, “Thanks, God,” and get on with your life as you see fit. If you don’t believe in God, just omit the “Thanks” part.

    • “To all the AGW Skeptics, I have two questions:

      (1) How come when many people in Congress quote the Bible as a basis that AGW can not possibly be occurring, you look the other way, let these comments slide, and certainly don’t get upset. An example is Senator Inhofe constantly quoting Genesis of God’s promise never to flood the Earth again.”
      Or to loosely paraphrase, never some similar global destruction will God bring upon the earth due to behavior of humans.
      So maybe God will bring destruction because of the behavior of AI or space aliens..
      But anyhow, that is generally what is said in the Bible, and it does seem somewhat relevant to the topic of global warming.
      And I suppose Christians or Jews [and Muslims] should be aware of this fact.
      Eastern religions and other religions consider that there are cycles of global destruction and seems they do not having any particular relation to human activity.
      I don’t why anyone should be upset about quoting the bible- there a lot other things congress critter say which find more annoying. And in terms of subject of global warming, we weren’t getting thing intelligent said by Al Gore when senator or vice president, nor does it seem they are many members that can say anything particularly defensible regarding anything they say about the topic [or any topic].

      -(2) Now if I started quoting Scripture from the Books of Peter and Revelation that per New Testament prophecy, the current Earth will end in fire as a basis that AGW is occurring — what would be your reaction?-

      Only the wackies of CAGWer [like James Hansen] believe earth could become like Venus. So I would say you must be a fan of Hansen.

      • gbaikie — Your post comment reply exactly makes my point.

        If someone like Sen. Inhofe makes a Biblical comment that supports your position on GW, you say: “I don’t why anyone should be upset about quoting the bible.”

        But if a Biblical quote that doesn’t support your opinion on GW is made — the person making it must be a Wacko and Al Gore lover.

      • Yes, Stephen, in terms of your self-righteous, black and white moralizing about how one must interpret (or not interpret) the Bible, gbaike is indeed making your point.

        Congratulations, you win. Unfortunately I suspect it won’t change gbaike’s mind about anything you say, but good on ya, you made a point.

      • gbaikie — Your post comment reply exactly makes my point.

        If someone like Sen. Inhofe makes a Biblical comment that supports your position on GW, you say: “I don’t why anyone should be upset about quoting the bible.”

        That’s good. But one aspect you might be misunderstanding is that Sen. Inhofe is not depending upon a few bible quotes to inform himself upon the issue of the climate debate.
        You should look up more of what Sen. Inhofe spoken about regarding this issue and then perhaps you would understand it not merely based upon some bible quote.
        Though perhaps, there is some truth to idea that the bible inspired him to look more closely at the issue.

        Personally, I don’t think any god caused a global flood particularly due to the behavior of some people in the middle east. [or any or all human behavior anywhere on the planet].
        I am not a Christian, but I am aware that vast majority of Americans [and significant portion of world population] are Christians. And that this will certainly remain so.
        [And related to this I find it somewhat interesting what is currently happening in Russia in regards to religious beliefs].

        But I do accept the possibility of the existence of God- simply as matter of reasoning and logic. Or as counter point, it does not seem at all likely that existence was constructed solely on chance. Or that there is only the physical universe of space-time encapsulated within the Big Bang event.

        So I view the atheistic and/or materialist worldview as non-productive and irrational- and I would also say it’s even more foolish to assume it’s somehow “scientific”. Just a lousy effort at another kind of religion.
        Whereas in comparison the great religions, in general they have been constructive and led to a better world- which should not confused with the best world or a perfect heaven on earth.
        Or simply I recognize how good the modern world is, as compared to early times, and religions have been part of this transformation- with Christianity seemingly playing a very significant role.

        A problem with religion or any ideological belief system is when it become totalitarian in nature- but also I see a benefit, generally of a pluralism of religions, as it acts as counterweight or counter force to any totalitarianism.
        There’s that thing about government going after the Jews, “Jews are the canaries in coal mine”, so yeah it’s easy and clear indicator, but one could extend it to idea that all totalitarians regimes will focus their efforts at subverting and/or oppressing all religions. Jews may be more obvious, as they could be described as more stubborn about their religion [which has persisted for several thousand years].

        –But if a Biblical quote that doesn’t support your opinion on GW is made — the person making it must be a Wacko and Al Gore lover.–

        I have actually read the Bible.
        But regardless, if you could find a quote regarding something like,say, the breath caused by humans bringing the ending the world, I will be duly impressed.
        Or something like a gas bag Manbearpig, being instrumental in saving the world. That also would be fascinating.
        Though, not convincing of anything in particular, but rather it would be pretty amazing.
        I generally found the future prophecies stuff to be rather vague, but something like this, which a ‘stranger than fiction’ type prediction would cause some re-evaluation.

      • gbaikie — As I said repeatedly in this blog thread, one should make up their mind on AGW theory (pro or con) based on science — period! Case closed on this.

        As a person trained in the fields of climate science, Katherine Hayhoe has used her knowledge to come to a personal conclusion that AGW is occurring. You, Sen. Inhofe, and any other Skeptic not only have the “right” to question her science conclusions, you and others have an obligation (as this can impact policy decisions that affect everyone).

        In a prior post, I gave an example of this — criticizing Dr. Michael Oppenheimer of Princeton. After the release of the latest IPCC report, he went on many public venues discussing near term catastrophic impacts on world agriculture with AGW. What Dr. Oppenheimer never mentioned (not once) was this belief is based on projections of current world and regional climate models coming true.

        Since you are not a “Christian Believer”, you should blow-off Katherine’s comments since her message is not directed to you (or others that are not Christian Believers).

        The conflict between Hayhoe and Inhofe (and others like him) isn’t anything new. It has raged in the conservative Christian community since the beginning of the modern environmental movement with Rachel Carson (e.g., Silent Spring). This conflict spills over into the secular world because of the political significance of Christian voters who believe in Fundamentalist Theology that “God gave Man (mankind) dominion over the Earth”.

        Beginning with the pesticide use of DDT and then environmental issues such as ozone depletion and MTBE in gasoline (which ethanol safely replaces) — much of the health science research found clear harmful impacts (like cancers) in animals, but no absolutely conclusive links to humans. While science found “footprints”, science could not always absolutely “connect the dots” to human health.

        Fundamentalist Christians went and continue to go ballistic over this, charging that the environmental movement gives priority to animals and plants over man (which God says man has dominion over), is worshiping a false God of “Mother Earth”, and has created a new “Religion” based on the deceit of the “Evil One” (Satan).

        The Cornwall Institute’s Green Dragon campaign (a religious Fundamentalist Theology organization mentioned several times in the blog thread) is an illustration of this conflict — as they have adamantly opposed banning of things like DDT, CFCs (ozone depletion), MTBE (gasoline oxygenate additive) and now AGW.

        It should be noted that historically, a major funding source for Cornwall has been Exxon/Mobil. Now why would a secular company be a major Funder to Cornwall? Recognizing the political clout of the “Religious Right”, its pretty obvious. Its in Exxon/Mobil’s corporate interests to keep this pot stirred.

        Since this issue has been around since the 60’s and 70’s, as you can imagine, its pretty well ingrained/established in many conservative churches (especially in the South). What you in the secular world are seeing is that really for the first time this “Dominion Mindset” is being challenged within churches by Hayhoe and other Christians (e.g., Creation Care) with Biblically based environmental stewardship.

    • YES

      People should have the right to support any superstition that they please, but they should not be trying to force others to conform to their personal system of beliefs.
      That is a major difference between western culture and the rising culture of “radical” Islam. That is a difference that imo is likely to result in major future wars.

      • Rob Starkey — You are 100% correct, but this also includes people like Inhofe’s interpretations of God’s Word!

        Make your decision on AGW based on science, not religion.

      • Imo, any US politician who says an action should be taken “because God would have supported such an action” should be voted out of office. There are a issues where I agree with the “Tea Party” and areas where their position seems unsupportable.

    • re: Hayhoe quote
      if “God” can throw planets, stars, solar systems, galaxies into each other, smashing all local creations into oblivion, then I am rather confident that he/she/it doesn’t give a flyin’ #### what humans do with all the matter on an in planet earth.

      People will believe what they want to believe, but trying to bring shallow, contested theological claims into discussions of humans and “climate change” seems like one of the more fruitless paths available.

      • “re: Hayhoe quote
        if “God” can throw planets, stars, solar systems, galaxies into each other, smashing all local creations into oblivion, then I am rather confident that he/she/it doesn’t give a flyin’ #### what humans do with all the matter on an in planet earth.”

        Yes.
        I think the earth likes being a boiling lava swirl more than solid anyways!

      • “if “God” can throw planets, stars, solar systems, galaxies into each other…”

        Yes! The earth was probably happier as a big glowing lava swirl anyways!

      • Skiphil — I tried several Google searches for the quote you attributed to Katherine Hayhoe and could not find anything. Could you provide me a link to your source? Thanks.

      • Stephen,
        sorry I am just seeing your question (I’m afraid I often don’t get back to a thread at all, so I don’t know what I miss, but in this case I am glad to be able to respond).

        It was not me quoting Hayhoe, I merely commented on what “rls” said was a Hayhoe quote, higher in the thread. If it is not a valid quote then rls should explain where it came from; I have no idea.

        In any case, Hayhoe is of little interest to me, I am commenting on that general line of “God requires us to this or that or that on the planet.”

        Certainly I do NOT want humans to “wreck” our habitable planet, but a lot of minor to non-existent environmental issues are blown up to hysterical proportions (imho). I’m not convinced that CO2 emissions are putting “garbage” into our atmosphere, but I am definitely open to the evidence and arguments. I simply don’t value the arguments which are made on theological grounding, but others may differ.

        This is the “rls” post above on the thread:

        rls | July 24, 2014 at 3:10 pm | Reply
        Does anybody have an ethical problem with this Katherine Hayhoe statement?
        “If you believe that God created the world, and basically gave it to humans as this incredible gift to live on, then why would you treat it like garbage? Treating the world like garbage says a lot about how you think about the person who you believe created the Earth.”

    • Jim Zuccaro

      rls wrote:
      “Does anybody have an ethical problem with this Katherine Hayhoe statement?
      “If you believe that God created the world, and basically gave it to humans as this incredible gift to live on, then why would you treat it like garbage? Treating the world like garbage says a lot about how you think about the person who you believe created the Earth.””

      Not science. No problem for non-scientists. No ethical problem for scientists.

      • Jim Zuccaro

        No logical problem for non-scientists. No ethical problem for scientists.

      • So, no problem(s)!

      • It makes no difference that she is the director of the center for climate science at Texas Tech and frequent AGW spokesperson? Sending out a message that skeptics are not Christian enough? Do not people of authority have a higher ethical standard commensurate with their position?

      • rls,

        No. It isn’t an ethical problem for science.

        There is no causality between Christianity and climate.

      • Jim Zuccaro

        rls,

        I’m not a Christian, and I’m not a alarmist. YMMV. America is a great country, no?

      • God is not a “person”. Kayhoe does not seem to know that.

  28. Thanks for a great post.

  29. “One way of dealing with such difficult problems is to moralize them, and this seems to be the strategy currently favored by mainstream environmentalists. Climate change is thus simplified and personalised as a simple ‘values’ choice: Are you for the planet or against it?”

    Oddly, it seems that for many environmentalists it is not necessary that one’s moral views on climate debate actually cause one to act differently (i.e. take steps to reduce one’s own carbon footprint) Likewise, it seems that it is not necessary for the public policies one advocates to actually be effective. One must simply have the correct moral viewpoint on climate change.

    • Well spotted. But it isn’t odd if viewed from the perspective of self-sustaining narratives. This is how they work. Outrage and other emotive drivers are engaged enough to sustain the narrative and all the societial accretions and self-interests growing around it. But neither personal nor communal actions that might actually impact ‘the problem’ will have much effect on narrative propagation, so won’t tend to be preferentially taken up. Anything that *does* further the narrative, will tend to be preferentially selected, even if some of these things might even make ‘the problem’ worse. Hence for instance the chopping down of major areas of hardwood forest in south-east US, to process and ship across the Atlantic as chips, to feed the UK’s Drax power-station. And other examples of highly dubious policy. What is really being fed, is the narrative.

    • But there is no such thing as objective morality. So how can climate science denialism be morally wrong? Let alone racism, slavery, murder….

      Morality is just a concept created by those who seek to impose their views on others, usually dead white (religious) males in the west.

      Cognitive dissonance – don’t leave your progressive home without it.

      (Goes for liberaltarians too.)

  30. Here is a transcript of the first 6 mins of Ascent of Man. It touches on philosophy, science and what it is to be human. The series is worth watching again.

    All the best Fay

    Link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2kiAF1GL9M

    BBC Ascent of Man by Dr Jacob Bronowski 1973

    “Man is a singular creature. He has a set of gifts which make him unique among the animals: so that, unlike them, he is not a figure in the landscape – he is the shape of the landscape.

    Every landscape in the world is full of exact and beautiful adaptations, by which and animal fits into its environment like one cogwheel into another. But nature, that is evolution, has not fitted man into any specific environment.

    On the contrary, he has a rather crude survival kit, and yet this is the paradox of the human condition, one that fits him to all environments. His imagination, his reason, his emotional subtlety, and toughness, make it possible for him not to accept the environment, but to change it. And that series of inventions, by which man from age to age has remade his environment is a different kind of evolution, not biological, but cultural evolution. I call that brilliant sequence of cultural peaks – the ascent of man.

    [Picture of cave paintings]

    In these paintings the hunter was made familiar with danger which he knew he had to face, but to which he had not yet come. When the hunters were brought here they see the dark and the light was brought and suddenly flashed on the pictures he saw the bison as he would have to face him. The moment of fear was made present to him, his spear arm flexed with the experience, which he would have, and which he needed not to be afraid of.

    I think that the power that we see expressed here for the first time is the power of the forward looking imagination. The imagination is a telescope in time we are looking back at the experiences of the past.

    The men who made these paintings, the men who were present, looked through that telescope forward. They looked along the ascent of man. Because what we call cultural evolution, is essentially, a constant growing and widening of the human imagination.

    The men who made the weapons, and the men who made the paintings, were doing the same thing – anticipating a future as only man can do, inferring what is to come, from what is here. All over these caves the print of the hand says that: this is may mark – this is man.

    We are all afraid for our confidence – for the future – for the world. That’s the nature of the human imagination. Yet, every man, every civilisation has gone forward, because of engagement with what it has set itself to do. The personal commitment of a man to his skill. The intellectual commitment, and the emotional commitment, working together as one, has made the ascent of man.

    Man is unique, not because he does science, and he is unique, not because he does art, but because science and art, are equally expressions of his marvellous plasticity of mind.”

    [6:18 mins]

    • Thanks for posting that, it brings back memories of when there was intelligence on television. Bronoski. Magnusson. Calder. Morrison. Etc.

      Then came Sagin. Damn him.

  31. It does not take a government scientist to tell us it’s not the weather nor the climate but our economic climate that’s changing for the worse. The Left’s refusal to take responsibility does not change reality: now we’re broke (society is broken too).

    But, we can change! All we need is the courage to do something about what is we’re getting for our investment in in the government-education business. When it comes to government of any kind, less is more: more individual liberty and more personal responsibility and that means more opportunity and a healthier society.

    We know change is possible. For example, a week ago Australia repealed its carbon tax bills by a vote of 39 to 32 in the Senate.

  32. I thought we weren’t supposed to legislate morality?

  33. The single most pragmatic thing we can do is to first ask if it makes sense that a global average temperature even exists. For arguments sake, assuming that an average global temperature does exist, we must then answer the question that is put to us by C. Essex et al.: are there physical or pragmatic grounds for choosing one over another –i.e., increasing averages over a decreasing averages?

    If not, there is no basis for concluding that the atmosphere as a whole is either warming or cooling. A pragmatist would concede than global warming has been good for humanity.

    No one is clamoring for a colder Earth. Moreover, no one believes Western school teachers have the ability to stop climate from changing even if by popular vote we decided that is what we wanted.

    (C. Essex. et al., Does a Global Temperature Exist, J. Non-Equilib. Thermodyn. 2007 Vol. 32 No. 1)

  34. –“Really, what we’re dealing with climate change or historic responsibility is ‘What do we think is the ethical way to view someone who did something harmful, but before anyone realized it was harmful?’” said Charles Kolstad, —
    I would regard it as a fantasy that emitting CO2 is unethical, and it seems within a couple decades we will all reach a firmer conclusions in this regard.
    And no, the world is not going to end within couple decades, but we will have longer and more accurate measurement- satellites and ocean bouys.
    And prior to year 2000 I thought global temperature could rise as much as 3 C prior to 2100, and now I know better. And generally it can be assume that everyone will get more knowledgeable on the topic. And in some ways even the IPCC has gained a clue or two.
    So by 2100 I doubt global temperature will rise by as much as 2 C, but within a decade or two, it’s possible new information will cause me think that a 2 C or higher rise is a possibility. Though if it did, the world doesn’t end by 2100. Instead the temperature difference would have little effect upon life and the world. But in decade or two and with more information, I could draw difference conclusions, armed with such information. Maybe 200 year into the future, it might look like something needs to be done soon.
    But also expect in decade or two, technology in general could alter future expectation. And also [and related to technology] one changing politics in the world. No one know what China will look like in 10 years. And this also applies to US, Europe, middle east, and etc. Or within a decade it’s unlikely China will continue the economic growth it’s had over last decade. Though may still be relatively high economic growth.

    But point is we don’t yet know that emitting CO2 was a problem, and since the trend towards lower global poverty as been occurring at same time as growth in Human CO2 emission, what other route was possible which would given same or better results in this regard?
    It seems one could make the argument that had more resources had been
    put into increasing the use of nuclear energy, then that conceivable could have had similar or better results. But I have never been oppose to more responsible use of nuclear energy- and that it lower CO2 emission, had little to do this why we should use more nuclear power. Reducing pollution is stronger argument for using nuclear, as coal burning puts much more radioactive waste into the Atmosphere than nuclear energy, and mercury. And reducing that kind of stuff could be a good idea.

  35. Of course, when it comes to the consideration of global warming in an ethical light, it is definitely ethical to first determine of catastrophic global warming will occur. This hasn’t been proven yet, despite all the socialistic articles – oops! sociology articles – oh well – same difference, and all the hype from the Idjit-in-chief and the media.

    There’s a great post on Climate Audit on some of the most serious climate science FAILS.

    http://climateaudit.org/2014/07/24/new-paper-by-mckitrick-and-vogelsang-comparing-models-and-observations-in-the-tropical-troposphere/

    • I liked where he showed the link from this flawed research to the EPA’s Endangerment Finding, which itself seems now to be in danger.
      =================

  36. I think we’ve had enough pragmatism when it comes to climate science. For the global warming alarmist, we’re already dealing with the abuse of ‘pragmatic’ truth as it is described by William James –i.e., the alarmists’ truth is based on its utility in creating an sense of alarm about American’s release of CO2 and the urgent need of the world community to act quickly to stop America from destroying the globe.

    Scientists should be interested only in objective truth. We’re all capable of indulging in pragmatic truth. If they’re competent to provide any value to society at all we need from scientists the sort of truth we associate with a pursuit of knowledge for its own sake. We have no money to pay for plastic truths that can be pushed and pulled to fit Leftists’ biased and superstitious preconceived notions about over-population the price of fossil fuels to better achieve some political objective like raising more taxes to pay for more government bureaucrats.

  37. The Copenhagen Consensus has identified ‘phenomenal’ goals (benefit to cost ratio of at least 15) for multinational development. It is a dozen ways to save the world.

    1. Achieve full and productive employment for all, reduce barriers to productive employment for all including women and young people.

    2. Reduce by 50% or more malnutrition in all its forms, notably stunting and wasting in children under five years of age.

    3. By 2030 end the epidemics of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases reverse the spread of,and significantly reduce deaths from tuberculosis and malaria.

    4. Achieve universal health coverage (UHC), including financial risk protection, with particular attention to the most marginalized, assuming a gradual increase in coverage over time, focusing first on diseases where interventions have high benefits-to-costs.

    5. Ensure universal access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health for all, including modern methods of family planning.

    6. By 2030 ensure universal access to access and complete quality pre-primary education

    7. By 2030 ensure equal access to education at all levels.

    8. By 2030 ensure increased access to sustainable modern energy services.

    9. By 2030 phase out fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption

    10. Build resilience and adaptive capacity to climate induced hazards in all vulnerable countries.

    11. Promote open, rules-based, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading and financial systems, including complying with the agricultural mandate of the WTO Doha Round.

    12. Improve market access for agricultural and industrial exports of developing countries, especially Least Developed Countries, and at least double the share of LDCs’ exports in global exports by 2020.

    These are just the ‘phenomenal goals’. I have organised them here and am looking at specific approaches. http://watertechbyrie.com/

    Number 9 is obviously a direct mitigation of CO2. Number 8 has a very significant impact on black carbon emissions. Most of the rest lead to indirect mitigation potential through reducing population pressures, providing resources and incentives for repair of agricultural soils and ecosystem mitigating emissions of CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphides and methane.

    Number 8 has implications for R&D for an energy rich future.

    http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/programs/energy-and-climate/our-high-energy-planet

    • And in all it’s socialist glory!

    • There are some good goals here, but they don’t require a centralized effort. To get there we need non-corrupt government all over the world, capitalism everywhere, the rule of law, individual freedom, and small government.

    • Rob, but where’s the fun in that compared to being a self-righteous warming alarmist? Where’s the incentive to pursue such sensible and beneficial goals?

    • Agree with Lomberg until it comes to spelling out pragmatism?

      Get rid of farm and oil subsidies and then preach capitalism. Otherwise it just comes across as self serving cant.

      Let the progressives waste your aid dollars in ineffective nonsense and you come across as the unimaginative dupe you are.

      • I’m not certain, but you may have been addressing my comment? Part of the point is that trying to “save” people with corrupt government is like trying to “save” an addict. You can spend lot’s of time and money on the addict, send him to treatment, get him sober – but then, six months later, he’s drunk again – and you need to help him – again.

        There is a big debate on “tax inversion” in the US. This is where a corporation will merge with a foreign one to keep income overseas where it is taxed less. In the final analysis, this is is a result of big government in the US. One secondary effect of that is that we have the highest corporate tax in the developed world.

        So, with that in mind, and your subsidy dig at the oil industry, the more superficial solution is to lower the corporate tax a lot – preferably to zero. This would make “subsidies” unnecessary and would immediately stop “tax inversion.”

        But a more to-the-point solution, and one that should be done even with a lower corporate tax, is to SHRINK this socialist government of ours – A LOT.

      • Fuel subsidies is on the G20 agenda. No dig – just not distorting markets.

        There is an optimum size of government for maximum economic growth. This includes many necessary expenditures – including welfare and foreign aid. These may as well be focused in the most effective ways.

    • Hi Michael – wasn’t talking to you. Crossed comments. I’m at the stage of not caring what either extreme imagine – of rejecting the terminology they try to impose and all of their ‘solutions’ holus bolus. Start from scratch.

      Frankly – there are much more effective ways forward. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone and CFC’s. If we are talking about changing the atmospheric composition in ways that are climatically active then sulphates and black carbon should be included as very significant climate actors. It is all exacerbated by population and development pressures. There are ways to approach all of these pressures in an oblique way by looking at global health, education, development, improved agricultural productivity and ecological conservation – while progressing through energy innovation to a high energy future for the peoples of the planet.

      • Rob, I’m glad that you have this holistic approach, which is all too rare.

      • A high energy future is good, but you shouldn’t stress to much over CO2 unless we get evidence it will cause catastrophic warming. And, I’m not extreme – but you might be.

      • Proving that there is no risk from changing the atmospheric composition – with little idea of consequences – is a fools quest.

      • But assuming there is a risk from ACO2 is unwarranted. There is no scientific proof and spending money on something with so little proof is foolhardy.

        That being said, I’m all for cheap, abundant energy. But it is also necessary to engender economic activity. That’s where the smaller, unintrusive government idea comes in. This doesn’t preclude welfare, it would just be distributed in an even handed manner to those who need it most, and using simple, easy-to-understand laws by a single government entity.

      • We have a good idea of the consequences, minimal warming and bountiful greening.
        ============

      • No – you are assuming that there isn’t a risk – and Kim is assuming that happiness is a warm meme.

      • I’m not assuming zero risk, but there is no indication that that science is correct. The models predict phenomena that aren’t present in climate, and the climate sports characteristics that aren’t in the models.

        The only fact that ACO2 scare has going for it is that there has been an uptrend in both CO2 and temperature. At least tobacco researchers had a segment of the population to which to compare smokers.

        And simply saying we will have global warming because CO2 is a greenhouse gas (politically named, but it is one) is kind of like saying that because the spark plug spark is 800 C, that the entire car will melt. It just doesn’t take into account the context.

        Climate scientists don’t have a second solar system where they can hold CO2 constant from, say 1000 AD.

        Where’s the freakin’ evidence?

      • The biome does better with warmer and more CO2 and we do better when the biome does better, while my climate model gently weeps.
        ===============

      • So we have a risk of something indeterminate in a complex, nonlinear and chaotically coupled climate system? And the solution we don’t like is cheap energy and Lomborg style ‘phenomenal’ economic and social goals?

        Beware a biome in seers clothing – there are many horses in the stream.

      • Change horses in mid-stream. Yay or Neigh?

      • Here’s an example of just how out of control the government is in the US.
        From the article:

        The pushback is not about students’ taste buds, but their wallets. Food fundraisers are a crucial source of revenue for schools, state education officials say. “Tough economic times have translated into fewer resources and these fundraisers allow our schools to raise a considerable amount of money for very worthwhile education programs,” the Georgia Department of Education wrote in a recent press release. “While we are concerned about the obesity epidemic, limiting food-and-beverage fundraisers at schools and school-related events is not the solution to solving it.”

        http://www.nationaljournal.com/domesticpolicy/the-government-is-cracking-down-on-school-bake-sales-20140725

      • Your internal nanny state problems are far from my concern.

        On the other hand you should perhaps stop lying to the rest of the world.

        http://iif.un.org/content/un-target-oda-united-states

        http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PDACL239.pdf

      • jim2 –

        But assuming there is a risk from ACO2 is unwarranted. There is no scientific proof and spending money on something with so little proof is foolhardy.

        So – we see that assumption of risk is not warranted, in the “skeptical” mindset, unless it can be “proven.”

      • No – Joshua – there is a mathematically certain risk in a complex, nonlinear, coupled chaotic system that shifts every few decades.

        We don’t know what that risk is – if it will eventuate – or just what the results might be. Contrary to the uncertainty monster hiding fanatics with their impossible utopian fantasies. What is certain is that the world is in a cool mode and that these last decades. Nor is it certain that the next climate shift will be to yet warmer conditions. Hah hah.

        What is suggested – however – again and again – is actions with benefit to cost ratios greater than 15 – not counting avoided climate change – in social and development outcomes but with ancillary climate and environmental benefits. Using money (0.7% of GNI) that has been committed to by developed nations. These are things we should be doing anyway.

        The Bush era document linked earlier seems a reasonable blueprint. If only America stumped up to the plate instead of merely posturing.

        Low cost and high density energy systems are a virtual certainty using incremental advances in decades old technology – or indeed with breakthroughs possible in any of a dozen theoretically feasible areas.

        What the west is coming up against is technological limits in improvements in efficiency. Maintaining a competitive advantage in fossil fuels will be an impossibility – with a decades long respite in the US with natural gas. There are as well resource constraints with increasing competition, very sharply rising prices in the recent past, increasing costs of more marginal resources and absolute resource limits.

        The west – and the world – can only maintain productivity into the future with new energy sources. Something that is anathema to a fringe neosocialist-green cohort.

      • Chief –

        Here’s the problem.

        When some “skeptics” see this:

        No – Joshua – there is a mathematically certain risk in a complex, nonlinear, coupled chaotic system that shifts every few decades…

        and then see this…

        We don’t know what that risk is – if it will eventuate – or just what the results might be…

        Their brains melt. They can’t handle the juxtaposition of there being an assumption of risk if the risk can’t be quantified with absolute certainty, and further, the can’t accept that if we don’t know when it will eventuate or just was the results might be translates into a “certain risk.”

        Solve this communication problem, and the comments of “skeptics” would dwindle down to a fraction of their current level.

        Or at least there’s certainly a risk of that.

        Heh.

      • No Joshua – the borg collective needs to be certain of catastrophe to sell their stupid fringe agendas.

      • Joshua,

        I think that the claim made by you and others that skeptics/critics require “absolute certainty” is merely a straw man argument.

        Everyone I know about seeks credible arguments and risk assessments, and credibility is not tantamount to “absolute certainty”….

      • Skiphil –

        ==> “Everyone I know about seeks credible arguments and risk assessments, and credibility is not tantamount to “absolute certainty”….

        heh. Did you read jim2’s comment that I responded to? The logic is fairly typical among “skeptics.”

        You have to look at the logic that underlies their arguments to get a complete picture.

    • The denial of human nature.

      Hey! The lefties are denialists!

      • (Try again)

        Robert, your Copenhagen-isms, 1 – 12 are denialism of human nature.

      • “ To spread a vision of hope, the United States is determined to help
        nations that are struggling with poverty. We are committed to the
        Millennium Development goals. This is an ambitious agenda that
        includes cutting poverty and hunger in half, ensuring that every boy
        and girl in the world has access to primary education, and halting the
        spread of AID S — all by 2015.”

        President George W. Bush, United Nations High-Level Plenary Meeting, United Nations Headquarters, New York, New York

        http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PDACL239.pdf

        There are very simple ways forward. Specific micro-nutrients for kids for instance. Mosquito nets. Efficient solid state stoves. Cheap sanitation.

        If you bothered to read the Bush era document – it is predicated on encouraging trade and open and democratic governance.

        Still – bs talks…

      • Oh and if you want to waste what the US has stumped up – as opposed to what it said it would – don’t let CBA by Nobel Prize winning economists dissuade you.

      • Careful, Jim –

        Judith gets very upset when people start calling other people “deniers.”

  38. Curious George

    Dangers ahead: We drove up from Southern California, and did not have a Northern California DeLorme atlas. I told my fair lady, a mathematician, Simply extrapolate the Southern California atlas.

    Isn’t it what Climate Changers are doing?

  39. “…the pragmatic approach naturally pushes the greatest obligations and costs onto those (rich countries) most able to act.”

    Buried right in the centre of this cake of apparent good sense…that little poison pill of warmism. The author has the tactical shrewdness not to specify much what “acting” is for or why those designated as “rich” should “act”. Perhaps because we are so conditioned to associate climate with “acting” and “tackling”? The confounding of CO2 with actual pollution seems to have been achieved after a couple of decades of solid propaganda…so why make oneself needlessly unpopular with those skeptics?

    That little warmism pill is kept deliberately tiny here, and you might miss it, but the cost of swallowing that pill is more massive white elephants to trample economies. It is no comfort that the white elephants are imposed on “the rich”. If the waste and economic deterioration go on, it matters not if they are afflicting the rich or the poor. All people everywhere are entitled to reduce actual pollution and reduce it now. Conservation (as opposed the mass neurosis called “being green”) is for everyone and it’s for the here-and-now. Nobody should waste resources on phantom pollution and its phantom consequences. Or has the “climate debate” been about something else?

    And if you are in any doubt that this is, at base, a heavily moderated warmist tract flavoured to appeal to skeptics:

    “We need a broader ethical debate about what the consequences of climate change will be for what we humans have reason to value so that we can take really credible actions to protect them.”

    “For example low-lying places such as Bangladesh or the Maldives are at particular risk from rising sea-levels…”

    Bangladesh has been at particular risk since God made deltas, but someone needs to tell the author that the Maldives are out of the climate refugee business and into the business of air-freighted caviar for zillionaires.

    Got us again, warmies!

  40. The size of the slices of cake fit the sizes of the participants exactly so what is the problem?
    Without the morality (or righteousness) there is no imperative for action.
    The ethical way to view what someone who did something harmful but before anyone realised it was harmful is very clear.
    “We know they were wrong so they and their successors must pay”
    After all ethics is for the complainers.

  41. To paraphrase, no one needs ethics when they are right
    TM angech

  42. It is now clear that the predictions of the mathematical models were all wrong. Instead of the monotonic rise in global temperature predicted by the scientist consensus, we have a flat result since 1997 which leavrs the consensus in disarray.

  43. I am just reading ‘Arming Mother Nature: The Birth of Catastrophic Environmentalism’ a history by Jacob Darwin Hamblin. See his lecture here:

    “When most Americans think of environmentalism, they think of the political Left, of vegans dressed in organic hemp fabric, lofting protest signs. In reality, maintains historian Jacob Darwin Hamblin, the movement and its dire predictions owe more to the Pentagon than to the counterculture.

    In his new book Arming Mother Nature, Hamblin argues that military planning during the Cold War created “catastrophic environmentalism”: the idea that human activity could cause global natural disasters. This awareness emerged out of dark ambitions, as governments poured funds into environmental science in search of ways to harness such natural elements as animals, bacteria, plants, and even the weather to kill millions of people. Hamblin presents his research, which is rapidly changing our understanding of the Cold War and the birth of the environmental movement.”

    This history adds to the debate and tells us something about the U.S Democrats and the British Labour party, who are so keen to support the morphing of the Cold War narrative into the Climate War.

  44. There shouldn’t be a policy debate at all because there is no climate science.

    Moralizing ought to go to that.

    There’s a system of payoffs, aka funding, driven by the people funded.

  45. The climate debate is all about false moralizing. It is portrayed by environmentalists as an end-of-world scenario when it is nothing of the kind. Even if you believed CO2 was a vile GHG (I do not) ask yourself why must we stop producing it? The eco-freaks make the argument that if we don’t, then we will destroy all life. Let’s assume for the moment they’re right. That doesn’t mean we need to stop the production of CO2. Technology already exists to sequester CO2, to turn it into food, to turn it into fuel. Why are those approaches not being pursued with the utmost vigor? We could have fish food plants attached to power plants adjacent to fish ponds and thus create a virtuous circle. But, no, the eco-freaks want to end our production of CO2. It has nothing to do with CO2. It has everything to do with the hatred of modern life and a childish belief in some idyllic agrarian past. This is an ideological struggle masquerading as a moral/ethical struggle. It is a religious battle pure and simple, between the simple-minded and modernists.

    • Last evening on tee-vee
      SBS our multi-culturule
      television hosting le Tour,
      – or otherwise I wouldn’t …
      SBS for those who came to Oz
      with hopes to better themselves,
      – advertising wunderfool
      wind technology for overseas
      development and the environment
      – ironic ain’t it?

      A serf.

  46. From the linked article “It is clearly a scientific fact that the world’s regional climates are changing substantially and at unprecedented speed as a result of the global warming produced by the greenhouse gases emitted by human activity (in particular by the industrialisation of the West). ”
    Yes, the first step is to realize that there is a problem. This will guide and incentivize the correct pragmatic actions, as outlined in this paragraph, and I also agree with this:
    “The greenhouse gas build-up cannot be wished away by the kind of pragmatic, social choice guided exercise I have been recommending. It must be dealt with in the medium term, but through the structural transformation of our carbon economy rather than global austerity. That will include both developing scalable technologies for removing CO2 from the atmosphere (such as genetically modified algae and trees) and reducing the carbon intensity of our high energy life-styles (for which we already have some existing technologies, such as nuclear power). But note that such innovations require no prior global agreement to set in train, but can be developed and pioneered by a handful of big industrial economies acting on the moral concerns of their own citizens.”
    Actions will be nation-based. Countries will do what is pragmatic under the guiding principle that burning all known fossil fuels is not the direction to go.

    • “…clearly a scientific fact….”

      My, how sciency of them.

      • Anyone who thinks recent climate change and sea level rise is “unprecedented” obviously hasn’t been following the Interglacials. Maybe they’ve been watching the Flintstones or An Inconvenient Truth and missed all the good stuff.

        Anyway, now that all those “south” races have stopped dying so fast because of all that silly medicine and sanitation and technology thrust on them by the “north”, the “north” really should do something about impoverishing itself so the “south” can get a chance at being “north”. That should work.

        Remind me again why we have intellectuals?

      • Why, moso, they’re the only ones who can work the compasses.
        =========

    • Wells also says “A high price on carbon in a few large rich countries (preferably via a non-regressive carbon tax) supplemented with regulations where market forces have less bite (e.g. to force the construction industry to develop more energy efficient methods and materials) and research subsidies would provide the necessary incentives. ”
      It is a start that the skeptics are starting to accept these types of articles, because this shows that common ground is within reach.

    • JimD, “It is clearly a scientific fact that the world’s regional climates are changing substantially and at unprecedented speed as a result of …”
      I believe “Global” means Global where as regional is not “global”. The more you have to tease out a “global” signal the less likely it exists.

      Now for the “Global” thing, there were several “signatures” that were supposed to be absolutely obvious by now, like the tropical tropospheric hot spot, reduced sea ice extent at both poles, an acceleration in the rise of sea level increase plus warming oceans that don’t require creative reanalysis to measure.

  47. From the linked article:
    It is clearly a scientific fact that the world’s regional climates are changing substantially and at unprecedented speed as a result of the global warming produced by the greenhouse gases emitted by human activity (in particular by the industrialisation of the West).
    *****
    This has clearly not been demonstrated in any manner that could remotely be called scientific.

    • That being said, the author at least was promoting a more decentralized approach to what more and more appears to be a non-problem. This is a step in the right direction.

      • Jim, it will mean a decentralising of the white elephant business. But we need to stop the breeding of white elephants altogether.

        I’m just wondering if the people who brought us the mega-bungles of alternative energy are the right ones to be consulted about mitigation. There is nothing wrong with alternative energy or mitigation but it would be just like our climatariat to come up with the wrong mitigation suggestions for the wrong set of problems.

        We have known forever that we need to engineer against the worst moods of nature, but not all people have the wealth, smarts and resolve of the Dutch. You don’t need a climate conference to tell you New York is near sea level in a hurricane belt notorious for centuries. You don’t need a climate conference to know that pinning down roofs in the tropics would be an immediate saving of life and property. You need wealth, will and horse-sense. And you need engineers with that most valuable of all practical experiences: saying no to architects.

        While I appreciate the conciliatory tone of people like Mr. Wells, I’m very much concerned that they will be the acceptable face of white elephant breeding into the future, long after the extremists are gone.

    • David Wojick

      Indeed, we can write this guy off as a green loon. An ornamental bird at best. More a whistle than a quack.

  48. Speaking of ice, did anyone ever figure out if the satellite(s) have gone bonkers?

  49. There are some good points in Wells’ essay, but some problems with the basis for it. For example, he says that “It is clearly a scientific fact that the world’s regional climates are changing substantially and at unprecedented speed as a result of the global warming produced by the greenhouse gases emitted by human activity,” something which many here would dispute – he should talk to Tony Brown about “unprecedented.” He says that “A high price on carbon in a few large rich countries (preferably via a non-regressive carbon tax) supplemented with regulations where market forces have less bite (e.g. to force the construction industry to develop more energy efficient methods and materials) and research subsidies would provide the necessary incentives” – hardly an answer to the growing emissions from China, India et al. Wells talks about a failure of pragmatism and perspective, but I think he has some failures on both counts.

  50. Off topic Paul K at the blackboard has some interesting findings on Best data being inappropriately used.
    Steven Mosher was discussing it but has then gone quiet.
    Seems to have struck a nerve
    Has implications for Cowtan and Way misuse of data.
    Worth a look ,Judith.

  51. Dr Curry….sidebar note: the cli fi genre for novels and movies you wrote about back in Dec. 23, 2012…..continues to gather steam, mostly due to your blog post that day which was picked up by NPR and then went viral. last week the WAPO did a good oped on CLI FI written by someone named in the byline as “Daniel Bloom”, google it, and soon, next week, the NYT is running a new OpEd on cli fi novels and movies under the true byline of “Dan Bloom” – i have no idea why the post called me DANIEL, i submitted the piece under “Dan Bloom” but that’s the POSt for you! In addition, a small college in the Midweest weill host the world’s first CLI FI MOVIE awards next March 2015, dubbed THE CLIFFIES, google it, and in addition, a mahor new literary award dubbed THE NEVILS in honor of Nevil Shute’s 1957 ON THE BEACH novel is set for a 2020 launch with an annual prize of US$202,000 for the top CLI FI novel of the year, which can include both pro AGW novels and Denialist-AGW novels like STATE OF FEAR so the genre is open to everyone to write abotu the issues in novelistic format. Google THE NEVILS too. I feel that literature and cinema can help us through the impasse of all this and help readers and viewers to come to better understanding of what we are facing. It’s not “clience fiction” but “cli-fi” and when both the WAPO and the NYT support it with opeds, you know something is happening. Your blog post in 2012 set this off. Time for a CLI FI REDUX post? , cheers danny

  52. btw, ”CLIENCE FICTION” is a new term for novels and movies that are in the science fiction category but focus on climate issues, therefore the new portmanteau term “clience fiction” — not really sci fi, and not really full-fledged cli-fi, so termed as “clience fiction.”

    This term is making the rounds now on Twitter and Facebook and other social media platforms like Pinterest and U-tope, etc, and it has possibilities, possibilities. You can look at it in two ways for now: a humorous portmanteau coined just for, well, humor, in much the same way as terms like “client fiction” (novels about customers and clients) and “plient fiction” have boomed in recent years.

    But CLIENCE FICTION, as goofy as the term initally looks and sounds, could in fact have a serious outreach and take root. Sci fi writers might like it, especially those who want to use their sci fi savvy to tackle climate issues but do not want to go full-fledged cli fi yet. So bet it. On va voir, as they say in France.

    ON THE OTHER HAND, when I googled the term CLIENCE FICTION, not one link showed up in the entire internet universe, NOT ONE LINK! So whoever coined this term might very well be on to something, because if the term does not exist online yet — and why not? — then maybe there IS a future for this goofy, silly-sounding yet potentially redeeming term for short stories and novels that take this route? Could happen.

    When I googled the term, all i got was “client information” and “client fiction” for insurance company websites and stuff like that. Go figure!

    • Sorry, I like you, but ‘clience’ is clunky. It rattles around in the trunky.
      ==================

    • Daniel, I suspect that the sub-genre will not have enough traction to warrant its own name, particularly if the climate science fear bubble bursts, as I would hope.

    • Doesn’t the IPCC have a monopoly on Clience Fiction?

    • nottawa rafter

      This is all a hooty! Looking forward to hearing more. I hope it catches on. The offshoots are limitless.

  53. The issues reduce to adaptation vs. mitigation. The former works, is orders of magnitude cheaper, and saves billions of lives.The latter is a fantasy and deception; only morally blind power-seekers prefer it.

  54. If you present the CAGW problem as a moral problem (“for the children”), it’s morally imperative that you “do something”. You must do something to prove your moral rectitude. It doesn’t matter what you do or if it achieves any practical results. It is a moral, categorical imperative.

    This idealistic disregard of practical methods and results is, perhaps, the main characteristic of the climate change activists. The other characteristic is the fudging of data and calculations (in science and economy), to support this moral vision.

  55. I’m not so sure Torcello is wrong. Any scientist who tells us there is a problem that needs urgent restructuring of our energy policy leading to possible widespread poverty and starvation and who has reached this conclusion by dint of obviously inadequate models, ignoring data that utterly contradicts them and rank bad statistics that creates false hockey-sticks that didn’t exist in the raw data is – in my opinion -criminally negligent and should be censured, if not actually prosecuted.

    Currently we are wasting vast chunks of money that could be better spent and the policy based, not on the science itself (which virtually screams that nothing unusual is happening), but on the arrogant, pessimistic opinionate of a climate cabal who have a record of being 100% wrong all the time, is currently doing more harm than good and could very well be catastrophic.

    Morally the alarmists pretend to occupy the high ground but in actuality their effect is the opposite. Only Abbot of Aus and the ~~Indians have grasped this reality but every politician will eventually. The acquiecent and meek majority of scientists who know these truths but remain silent should choose now to admit what is really known about climate drivers; which is a) not very much and b) certainly not enough to base policy on.

  56. @Rob Ellison | July 25, 2014 at 1:14 am |
    Rob, small, modular nuclear reactors is a great idea. But as usual, in the US government stands in the way of implementation.

  57. Jeffrey Eric Grant

    The (U.S.) government has had recently enacted the ‘War on Poverty’, the ‘War on Drugs’ and the ‘Clean Air Act’ and the ‘Clean Water Act’…ad nauseum. Let’s start the ‘War on CO2′, oh yeah, they have.

    There is no empirical scientific link between increased atmospheric CO2 and alarmingly increased atmospheric temperatures – none. Yet, we (the people) let them get away with it. Elect a non-citizen to the Presidency – that’ll help.

    Is there no justice? Energy prices will go up and poverty will go up with it. My middle class economic position may drop, but at least I’ll stay warm. I like the scientific method – let’s keep at it. In the meantime, adapt to current situations as they develop.

    • The US government is really conducting a “War on Prosperity.” It’s sad really.

      It also has sparked many wars in the Middle East – the ME is quickly returning to the Middle Ages.

      • Beautiful –

        ==> “The US government is really conducting a “War on Prosperity.” It’s sad really.

        It also has sparked many wars in the Middle East – the ME is quickly returning to the Middle Ages.”
        —–

        Indeed. Enriching despots in the ME through a fossil fuel-based economy? Nah. No “spark” there.

      • Stop supporting them then. Turn off your computer, lights and HVAC. If you do not, I guess that is your tacit admission you support them.

    • ==> “Elect a non-citizen to the Presidency – that’ll help.”

      I absolutely love birthers I mean climate “skeptics.”

      Just love ‘em.

  58. Present way to boost a scientific career is to abide to AGW, nothing more.
    Are all scientists really 100% guilty?
    Not so sure because one of the root causes which boosted this dishonest behaviour is the fact that, before this climate scam, Universities and Scientific Community had installed a Rule according to “the career of a scientist depends a lot of the number peer-reviewed “papers” he signed.
    Thence, unexpected results are there: Who can resist Temptation ???
    I declare “criminal” the beahviour of installed high scientific authorities which fund only the guys talking / writing the most and ignoring all others.
    A lucky scientist is not necessarily a good scientist

  59. The global climate change debate has gone badly wrong.

    Perhaps because there hasn’t been one yet.

    At the beginning of this whole global warming push was the idea that the entire concept was to be presented as a fait accompli (i.e. the science is settled). A small group came to the fore and said, “This is what we found out, disaster is a comin’, and we’re going to have to do something drastic about it.” That was intended to be the extent of the debate (Step 1).

    However, when they tried to move on to Step 2, i.e. “we’re going to micromanage the rest of your life and the whole world economy based on this idea”, and as the political forces who love the idea of micromanaging everyone else’s lives accreted around them and their hypothesis, they were shocked to discover that it wasn’t that simple. Some people insisted on going back to Step 1 and asking inconvenient questions.

    It’s clear the proponents thought all they had to do was press a little harder, marginalize the questioners, and then get on with their plans as intended. How long could it take to push those pesky people aside? So they never really engaged in a true debate. Instead they turned to dismissiveness, assuming that would do the trick, and then they could get back to work. But it didn’t. So they pressed a little harder, moving on to bullying, but those pesky questioners wouldn’t back down. Then they upped the ante and went to smearing (Holocaust d*nier anyone?). Still, people insisted on asking step 1 questions, before moving on to step 2.

    So the pressure against the questioners was inexorably ratcheted up, in the “hurry” to move to Step 2. There were attempts at ostracizing people and banning them from media exposure, there were firings and other aggressive moves, there were calls for trying people as “climate criminals”, and there were arguments for executions. All the while, any actual debate was neglected. The proponents kept thinking that one more push would finally marginalize these pesky creatures and then things could move forward.

    Yet, 25 years later, we’re still on Step 1 and all the hurrying was for nothing. In hindsight it might have been wise for the proponents to step back and re-evaluate their strategy at some point. The quick fix, fait accompli strategy actually dragged things out for decades because it was dishonest at its core and that’s always going to raise hackles. An honest debate with honest scientific values would probably have been quicker, more productive, and more helpful. And more unifying, not less, as they seemed to assume. Of course, they might not have gotten everything they wanted (especially the political hangers-on) but an actual consensus (as opposed to a manufactured one) might have emerged as to what to do next.

    It’s not too late, of course. A change in direction is still possible. A genuine, open debate is still possible. But there’s no sign of its imminent arrival. The same strategy of ostracizing, pressuring, and bullying is still in play. After all, pressing just a little bit harder might yet work to “hurry” this thing along.

    Addendum: I’m sure the reason some people wanted to hurry things along was out of well-intended fear for our future. They probably decided there wasn’t time for the niceties of consultation and debate because of the imminence of the perceived problem. They were doing us a favor by not wasting time drawing things out when, in their mind, they already had the answer. Of course, that simply backfired. Other groups, of course, wanted to avoid a debate for different, more self-serving reasons. And once they joined the fray, the political weight became too heavy to step back and start a real debate.

    • It’s been a very useful effort to consolidate power and political force for statist interests regardless if the stated dream goal of carbon regulations and taxation has not been achieved.

      Here is the next leg in the U.S., focusing carbon taxes on reducing payroll taxes for another New Deal bankruptcy pending;

      http://www.newyorker.com/news/hendrik-hertzberg/carbon-tax-goes

      It’s how the left-wing mind works, a new hustle every minute. Climate isn’t warmer? Call it “Climate Change”. Missing heat? The ocean ate it. Carbon tax rejected? The oldest scam in the progressive handbook, promise to lower your taxes and raise them on others that most people don’t associate belonging to that group.

      Are people this stupid? Well about 39% support the current administration so the base is always there.

      Over time some people have grown to despise the progressive greens but all in all “global warming” been a useful mantra to fire up and grow the fringe that does after all control the White House. Probably for other reasons of course.

  60. “Pragmatism” is just more word code from moderate warmers who in the face of fantastic defeat of the global socialist and statist agenda (actual climate policy demands) think they should get something as a concession which of course would just be a further foot in the door as the agenda never changes for these people. One almost believes Dr. Curry and the writer are part of the team to be sent to the boxcar at Compiegne and that somehow
    we should be happy about the terms.

    It’s time the Greenshirt left be completely defeated, no compromises or concession from whom they are seeking to rule. As for the spinelessness of the post Reagan GOP in particular, Lindsey Graham, George Bush Jr. (as well as Senior) and John McCain quickly come to mind whose brand and legacy damages have been enormous…….they can go suck eggs. I can’t think of a single unwarranted concession that was reciprocated in conservative reforms. The single party domination of “green” policy has come to an end and the day of simple industry push back and delay to green inevitability to access power and control aren’t going to be tolerated. The EPA as it exists should be gutted, climate “research” (political activism in drag) should be defunded, NOAA purged and the broader issue of institutionalized leftism at the government facilitated university system completely reformed. We simply don’t need future monster political movements wrapped in the “science” wrapper to unfold to an even more poorly educated public then the current one. Thanks to idiotic “no child left behind” policy, dogma and fake “compromise” (pragmatism) we guaranteed a future generation even more poorly skilled then what came before it as just one shining example of what bi-partisan failure (pragmatism) looks like.

  61. Test to see if we can post pictures in our blog comments using the img=src html command.

    • That is great, Steven. From the link …
      ***
      But, say: have these guys thought this all through? Sure, they’re all PhDs at major universities, and therefore are as near to human infallibility as possible, but nobody bats 1.000. Should we be concerned?

      Of course not. Human engineering is safer than geo-engineering, say our cognitively superior colleagues. Safer? Yes, sir: safer. Proof? Hey, if their word is good enough for themselves, it’s good enough for us. Besides, their recommendations have been peer reviewed. What more proof do you need?
      ***
      I love it!

    • Sovaldi is a drug developed by Gilead used to treat hepatitis C infection. In combination with other therapies, it can effectively cure hepatitis in 90 percent of patients.
      15,000 Americans die as a result of hepatitis C infection each year.
      However, most people with HepC are poor, and treatment costs $84,000 for a 12-week treatment course.

      The total cost of treating all 3 million Americans is about a quarter of a billion, if we were to couple this with a mass HepC vaccination campaign it would be close to $400 million, money well spent in IMHO.

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/07/24/the-drug-thats-forcing-americas-most-important-and-uncomfortable-health-care-debate/

      • May be money well spent, but it’s being spent in large part on drug addicts. For something this expensive, if one accepts the treatment, there should be an agreement with a mandatory payback schedule, including the garnishment of wages, even if it’s over a 20 year period. This drug is putting a huge burden on the states.

      • Doc, I do not think there is a Hep C vaccine yet so no mass immunisation possible?
        15,000 die with Hep C a major component but this does not mean Hep C is the main cause of death, it is a contributing factor.
        Jim 2 drug addicts are people whom Hep C unfortunately hits more than others.
        Bit like car accidents , unlucky or careless or drunk people have a higher incidence bug they are people too.
        Our society should do what it can afford to with all sick people.
        This will always be less than what well meaning people will want and more than what pragmatists would like.
        Fixing their Hep C problem will not fix their other health issues but if it is affordable it should be done .

      • It’s not affordable, Angech.

      • Ang, I didn’t realize that SyCon’s HCV vaccine had not yet cleared phase II. Word is that it is working.

    • @ Steven Mosher

      Sorry for the repeat below Mosh; I got the link from Matt before I noticed that you had already posted a link to his blog about the paper.

    • It’s In the journal ‘ ‘Ethics,’ Policy and The Environment.’
      Shrink me pills from Wonderland followed by a dose
      of hormonal Oxytocin. (

      • Okay, I’ll have to apologise to tonyb. I checked and it’s not satire. Matthew Liao is apparently “Clinical Associate Professor of Bioethics”. The title basically means “uh-oh”. (Why, oh why, couldn’t he have been put to work harmlessly on post-modern gender semiotics or Derridan po-mo something-or-other?)

        I finally know what’s wrong with the planet: Global Pottiness. But I don’t think we have to pull down the dreaming spires of Oxford to rid ourselves of it. Maybe we can come up with an anti-pottiness tincture and put it in the faculty water cooler. Try the empathetic bio-engineering solution first.

      • Without a shudder or a grin.
        =====================

    • I have to say I don’t really like combining the terms ‘pragmatic’ and ‘ethics’ in the same sentence. Kind of like bacon and ice cream. Both can be very good, but in combination there’s a bit of dissonance involved for me. (And yes, I have no doubt that someone somewhere has eaten bacon flavored ice cream. Sigh…)

      I don’t want to get into dictionary fights with anyone, but pragmatic for me is associated with things like Kissingerian realpolitik and the like. Greater good, tough decisions, etc.

      And for me, ethics is about raising objections and finding exceptions to pragmatism, finding a way to save the fat guy from the cable car careening towards the group of tourists without throwing the others overboard (mixing case studies and game theory a bit… sorry.)

      Maybe it’s just sloppy thinking on a Saturday afternoon, but people who have told me they were pragmatic in the past were always trying to convince me it was all right for them to screw me or ask me to help them screw someone else. Doesn’t invalidate the concept of pragmatism and I know there’s a School of them wandering around. But I don’t like it.

      The idea that we can create a set of moral guidelines and choose to live by them even when it’s tough–well, that’s the kind of thing (rare as it may be in actual practice) that makes me proud to be a part of this species.

      • Tom, (hi! I hope China is treating you well )

        I agree that popular uses of “pragmatic” can verge on “the end justifies (any) means” etc.

        However, there are also more philosophical and/or academic uses which try to distance themselves from the “cruder” versions. William James and John Dewey are pioneers in this area, and they would not have wanted to be associated with the view you criticize.

        Whether there are any firm distinctions is, of course, one of the key issues.

        http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pragmatic_ethics

  62. For those fans of peer reviewed proposals on how to thwart the ravages of ACO2, ethically, here is a peer reviewed proposal that has been around awhile and shows how the experts would ‘solve the problem’, absent the stonewalling of the anti-science skeptics, who only pretend to doubt the oncoming thermogeddon because they are being paid off by the evil Koch Brothers:

    http://www.smatthewliao.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/HEandClimateChange.htm

    If nothing else, it demonstrates that the Climate Change Consensus is populated in large measure by individuals and organizations who are collectively, to put it politely, barking mad.

    Unfortunately, they are the ones who currently hold the reins of power in our former democratic republic as evidenced by the measures that they have already enacted and are currently proposing/decreeing to ‘fight climate change’.

    • Bob

      I read this through to the end convinced it was satire from ‘The Onion. ‘

      Sadly, it seems to be serious. Be afraid, be very afraid…
      Tonyb

      • nottawa rafter

        Tony
        There is an article today in Scientific American about 250 year old eye witness accounts of the Arctic Ice extent. Their logic and conclusions are as Swiss cheesed as Williard’s.

      • Nope, satire. Warmies are not this potty. Nobody is. Somebody has put a huge effort into a leg pull, and even I think it is rather unfair.

        Warmies, after all, are just good people who think that the planet warmed and the oceans rose massively a few thousand years ago – and then should have stopped doing all that. They are merely good souls in post-glaciation denial. (I’m not sure if that’s an effect or a syndrome, but it’s pretty bad.)

        There is no way that the article in Bob’s link is not satire – and pretty harsh toward its targets if you ask me.

      • Yeah, m, the mind is the target, not the body, but the targeted mind could write that without a shudder or a grin.
        =====================

      • Tony – this kind of thing is why small government is a beautiful government. These guys wouldn’t do these things themselves, they would present it to the government as a solution.

    • Kent Draper

      Used to be that a lobotomy was needed to get your mind right
      for folks that didn’t understand how important your cause was…..

      • It’s to be done with magnets.
        ============

      • Making the new man and woman fit fer the new totalitarian society
        re lobotomy or eugenics is nothing new. Long advocated by
        socialist and fascist enthusiasts advocating utopia, er distopia,
        from JM Keynes and GB Shaw In Great Britain ter u know who
        in Germany.

    • David Springer

      I didn’t make it past the first paragraph before deciding Liao’s article was worthless. How did you even find it?

  63. Reblogged this on The Oil in Your Lamp and commented:
    Here is a scientist that appears to me to be seeking truth and attempting to shine the light on those not seeking truth.

  64. Brandon, there is very little to expect from exchanging views with the likes of Willard. I am old enough to be your father (maybe grandfather) and you will someday come to realize it is people like Willard who are the real racists. The racism of low expectations. Everyone with an IQ over room temperature realizes Obama is severely economically challenged, albeit because of his strident ideology. Thomas Sowell, he ain’t.

  65. Ole Willy, you quote the “Southern Poverty Law Center”. We all know that an objective outfit that is, eh ole Willy.

  66. If Obama is a socialist imagine what he could do if he was a real conservative!

    Today after the market closed Obama’s Commerce Dept. crushed the solar industry with import penalties up to 165.04% on Chinese and Taiwanese manufactures.

    http://online.wsj.com/articles/u-s-finds-chinese-taiwanese-firms-dumped-solar-products-1406323563.

    The US solar industry predicts the domestic market will loose up to 60% of residential solar business by 2015. When combined with expiring solar tax credit in 2016 it will be economically prohibitive to install residential solar systems. Don’t forget that there are at least 27 states trying to repeal net metering and renewable energy portfolios via legislation developed by ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council).

    Obama reversed a 30 year ban on oil exploration off the east coast from Delaware to Florida.on July 18th. Industry estimates that there are 4.72 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 37.51 trillion cubic feet of natural gas off the Atlantic coast.
    On Aug. 20th.Obama will auction off more than 21 million acres offshore Texas for oil and gas exploration and development in a lease sale that will include all available unleased areas in the Western Gulf of Mexico estimated at 116-200 million barrels of oil and 538-938 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
    Obama had opened up the Arctic for expanded drilling back in 2013.

    And to think after all this drilling and production the price for gas and energy just keeps rising, The average price of a gallon of gas has increased 96 percent since President Barack Obama first took office in 2009.

    Obama has everyone fooled. To the left he’s a hypocrite, to the right he’s evil incarnate and to the 1% it’s been the greatest transfer of wealth in American history.
    Jack Smith

  67. “Climate change is thus simplified and personalised as a simple ‘values’ choice: Are you for the planet or against it?”

    Those with only one brain cell are obliged to reduce everything to a binary choice.

    Less than 2 degrees is safe, more than 2 degrees is catastrophic tipping point.
    What are your politics? Left or right?
    Are you with us or them?
    Are you for the planet or against it?”
    Do you accept that I dictate what you do or are a WAR CRIMINAL?

  68. The progressives’ white washing of their racist history (pun intended) is just another comm tactic. But at least they waited about 15 years before claiming all the racists had magically been transported into the GOP.

    With Obamacare, they haven’t waited two years.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/383780/controlling-past-charles-c-w-cooke

    “Fast forward a year or so, though, and you will see Gruber radically change his tune. In an interview with Mother Jones, conducted in early 2013, Gruber claimed that the very same ‘interpretation’ (read: plain meaning) that he had offered in January of 2012 was — now that it was being offered by opponents of the law — ‘screwy,’ ‘nutty,’ ‘stupid,’ and ‘desperate,’ representing an approach that only fierce partisans could consider to be intellectually serious.

    Today, he went for the full reversal. ‘I honestly don’t remember why I said that,’ he told The New Republic. ‘I was speaking off-the-cuff.’”

    Next thing you know, they’ll be claiming they weren’t predicting ever increasing temps for the last 17+ years.

    (Oh, and who unearthed this hilarious exhibit of progressive manndacity? The Competitive Enterprise Institute. Yes, the CEI who is a co-defendant in Mann v. Steyn.)

  69. The global warmists have governments’ ear, and money is flowing their way. But read the reaction when the government tells scientists that their field isn’t really all that interesting. Do they go and find worthy work elsewhere? Apparently not. Presumably, this is because the government has such deep pocket, they want to dance only with that partner.

  70. “Really, what we’re dealing with climate change or historic responsibility is ‘What do we think is the ethical way to view someone who did something harmful, but before anyone realized it was harmful?’” said Charles Kolstad, a Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research economist and co-lead coordinating author of the chapter”

    Certainly if anyone thought the global temperature rise of 0.5C between 1910 and 1940, and following the 19th century scientist Arrehniess, considered it harmful, had spoken out in the knowledge that eventually in 30 or 40 years time the oceans would contribute further to this rise, could have been considered a harbinger of disaster. But no one did speak out, and anyway the physics of the process limited the actual global rise to about 1.0C, so where is the disaster? What is wrong with this 1q9th century reasoning? Well Arrhenius could not have known that the absorption properties of the CO2 molecule depended on how many neutrons it had absorbed. Neutrons were unknown in the 19th century, so his thinking was linear and not on/off.
    .

  71. On the issue of bureaucratic control over academics via funding, a tale of the 800th anniversary of a crucial but unheralded battle:

    * Few people in the UK have heard of the battle of Bouvines on 27 July, 1214. But it “is the most important battle in English history that no-one has ever heard of,” says John France, professor emeritus in medieval history at Swansea University. Its impact on the power of King John led to Magna Carta.

    * France says that the trouble with Bouvines is that “it does not fit into the modern European narrative. Nowadays the EU has a huge budget for academic studies, but they have to comply with the theme of Europe as a big happy family. That is why Bouvines tends to get neglected.”

    * But Bouvines was a turning point for Europe, and above all for France and England. England withdrew to its insular priorities and began adapting its institutions to the new internal balance of power. The French monarchy emerged enormously enhanced and Paris became the centre of a national life.

    “A big, happy family.” Never mind the facts, let’s have a power-serving consensus.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-28484146

    • This is not the official version where all true Englishmen combine to fight off the cruel and snarling French from the shores of England led by Russell Crowe.

      Only to be betrayed by the nefarious John who ripped up the Magna Carta and declared that he was endorsed by God and not the Barons. A bit of a quandary there. Refuse to pay the Pope taxes and get disendorsed or pay the taxes and add to the general Baronial discontent.

    • Not even Charlemagne could make it a big, happy family. I love Europe as parts, loathe it as a whole. From the parts you get Haydn and Charles Trenet. When they all come together the result is Eurovision.

      The word “euro” is very special in that it sounds disgusting in all major European languages. Oh for a lira, a franc, or a mark again! Let free trade and the common traditions of Christendom operate for just enough unity. Cancel Consensusvision.

      • A euro is a wallaroo. Everybody knows that. So it might sound disgusting but the animal is iconic is Oz! Now, how did this topic crop up in Judy’s place?

      • The animal is pronounced “yew-row” in proper NSW Australian. It’s a very elegant sound.

        I think the clear relevance to the topic is…Actually, I’ll get back to you, okay?

    • Faustino

      Here is a bigger grittier story of the battle than the BBC one.

      http://xenophongroup.com/montjoie/bouvines.htm

      Of course the BBC neglected to tell of the ensuing loss and recapture of land in France by the English over the next 200 years nor that to this day the Channel Isles are a part of the ‘Norman’ legacy.’ One big happy family indeed….

      Anyway, I am shocked at you recounting history like this. Don’t you know its all merely ‘anecdotal?’ It is only when robust numbers are used-as in temperatures- that we can place any reliance on events.

      Words bad, numbers good as they may have said in Animal Farm

      tonyb

  72. JC says: “…Torcello famously wrote that climate scientists who fail to communicate the correct message about “global warming” should face trial for “criminal negligence”

    There were 311 comments listed when I read this. The actual article is linked to and *NOT* one person noticed that JC has completely misquoted Professor Torcello! Not one? Does anyone know how to read?

    Here’s what Professor Torcello wrote: “When it comes to global warming, much of the public remains in denial about a set of facts that the majority of scientists clearly agree on. With such high stakes, an organised campaign funding misinformation ought to be considered criminally negligent.’

    It isn’t climate scientists that he believes ought to be considered criminally negligent, but “an organised campaign funding misinformation.”

    One cannot actually read the article and misunderstand this point. It is, after all, the main point of the article. JC really ought to apologize for her complete mischaracterization of Professor Torcello’s words. And the commenters here ought to be ashamed for not reading the original and thinking for themselves instead of simply believing whatever pablum they’re being spoon-fed.

    • Kevin and Izen,

      calm down and get off your high horses!

      It is obvious from the thread that virtually no one was interested in Torcello, to the extent that there are on-topic comments they generally relate to Judith’s word “pragmatic” in her title.

      I suspect the reason no one cared about Torcello is because his vicious and malicious “criminally negligent” theme is beyond the pale. That is certainly why I ignored him. If you want to argue about “misinformation” campaigns under a legal rather than ethical standard, then you open up all of the clowns like Mann, Cook, Lewandowsky et al. to prosecution, too.

      Rather than discuss “misinformation” which is a tendentious claim not accepted by any critic of the consensus here, people talked about other matters that interested them (including many tangents and off-topic comments, alas). I am certainly guilty of some of the tangents and off-topic comments, because

      (1) I regard Torcello’s “criminally negligent” claim as too stupid and tendentious to want to discuss, and

      (2) there were a lot of more interesting points under discussion., even in tangents and off-topic comments.

      IF Torcello’s blather about “criminally negligent ” is relevant, then evidently no one here cares about what T. thinks re: who should be prosecuted. T. is a radical fanatic who does not interest even Joshua or Willard, judging from their comments here (lack of discussion of Torcello).

      IF and when someone presents an intelligent analysis of why “criminally negligent” and “misinformation” are actually accurate and useful concepts to introduce to sincere debates about differing judgments on climate change etc. then people might discuss them.

      Otherwise, “pragmatic” and other topics are the matters of real interest on this thread.

    • Kevin, Izen, and all:

      while “famously” is wholly inappropriate for referencing Torcello’s effort, there are some adverbs which would be more appropriate:

      recklessly
      desperately
      viciously
      helplessly
      maliciously
      hopelessly
      tendentiously
      dementedly
      pitifully
      pitiably
      criminally
      fatuously
      mendaciously
      improperly
      fancifully

      pick any and all, Torcello’s effort is now properly described!

    • @kevin o’neill – seems that Dr. Curry merely narrowed the population, but kept the message the same. Torcello did not say “no climate scientists” were involved with his imaginary massive funding. So you must either assume that NO climate scientists are included in his (false) generalization, or that he did not MEAN climate scientists. The former requires omniscience which I doubt you possess. The latter requires telekinesis which I also doubt you possess.

  73. anyway, the major significance of the Magna Carta did not develop until the 17th/18th centuries, when it was taken up for new political purposes and re-interpreted in ways that neither King John nor the barons could have imagined!

    Recently I enjoyed seeing one of the only four surviving copies. of the 1215 document — it is on display for the summer in Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, on loan from Lincoln Cathedral in the UK.

    Early next year there will be a commemorative exhibit in London, in which the four surviving copies will be re-united…. they have not been in one place in 800 years!

  74. I would welcome some clarification on what principles of pragmatic ethics are invoked to justify the miss-quoting or radical reinterpretation of a statement.
    for instance JC in the thread essay writes-

    Torcello famously wrote that climate scientists who fail to communicate the correct message about “global warming” should face trial for “criminal negligence”.

    there are quote marks around “global warming” and “criminal negligence” but the second quote is wrong, here is the actual sentence Torcello wrote

    “With such high stakes, an organised campaign funding misinformation ought to be considered criminally negligent.”

    The words used by Torcello are criminally negligent NOT criminal negligence, the quote marks do not indicate an accurate quote in this case.
    Note that there is nothing in this original suggesting that climate scientists who fail to communicate the correct message should face trial, In fact it is hard to see how any ethical reading can get from one to the other.
    The other two word quote is the same as quoted by JC but the context is rather different.-

    “When it comes to global warming, much of the public remains in denial about a set of facts that the majority of scientists clearly agree on.”

    I find it hard to reconcile this alteration of the meaning of statement by one person with that claimed for it by another, with any ethical system, pragmatic or otherwise.

    • Izen,
      talk about misinformation,

      Torcello did not “famously” write anything, because his obscure little article in that biased and obscure rag “The Conversation” did not “famously” attract any interest outside his tiny clique.

      Do you know what the word “famously” actually means??

      • note: it was Judith who introduced the word “famously” but Kevin and Izen took it up uncritically.

        While I have enormous respect for Judith, I think that introducing this word in the reference to Torcello was a lapse in accuracy.

  75. “Many mainstream environmentalists are arguing for the wrong actions and for the wrong reasons, ”

    Not in when you consider why they do so, like many who have hitched their wagon to ‘the cause ‘ there looking to advance their ideas which they know otherwise would stand no chance at all becasue the people would reject them. Its amazing how often the words ‘for the good of the people ‘ has been used about that is not good and certainly not for the people .

  76. The obviously ethical precedents for CO2 emissions are slavery and the tobacco industry. Both did something harmful before it was generally regarded as harmful. When societal ethics began to regard these commercial activities as harmful they mounted campaigns defending the probity of their enterprises.
    In the case of the tobacco industry they mounted and organised a campaign of misinformation about the science. This was considered negligent and was a significant factor in the industry organising the campaign to stand trial and be sued. This is the obvious precedent for the Torcello statement. JC unfortunately misquotes the Delingpole straw man version, but as can be seen the scientists involved in the tobacco misinformation campaign, Seitz, Singer et al, did not stand trial.

    As government regulation or prohibition of these industries became increasingly seen as an ethical necessity the counter argument was that government interference should be minimal. Despite the fact that such businesses had long since achieved regulatory capture of the government so that existing regulation did not merely enable their business model, but subsidised it and protected it from competition.

    Focussing on the generation of CO2 may be missing the big picture and applying an ethical judgement to a narrow aspect of the overall problem. But slavery was not the only moral flaw and social ill of 19th century society. And tobacco was not the only toxic carcinogen that the public consumed as a result of business enterprise from the 1900s.

    It is not an inevitable consequence of pursuing reductions in CO2 emissions as an ethical government policy that all problems with poverty, inequality and authoritarian ideologies will inevitably be sidelined or even impeded.

    • David Springer

      So now I’m being equated to a slave trader. Being equated to a Holocaust Denier wasn’t enough. The warmists have upped their game.

      ROFLMAO

    • I submit that the harm of slavery was apparent to some, right when it was happening. So far, CO2 emissions have proven to be beneficial.

  77. The obviously ethical precedents for CO2 reductions are slavery and the serfdom industry.

    • Chapter 7 Matt Ridley’s Rational Optimist, moso ‘The Release
      of Slaves.’ ‘Twas ol’ King Coal what released them. Beware of
      time – machine – back – ter – pre -Industrial – Revolution days.
      Beth the serf.

      .

      • I have but two heroes: coal and the automatic washing machine. (All right…and maybe Norman Borlaug. Plus maybe Joseph Bazalgette. And William Farrer. And Marie Curie. And…That’s it. I’m out.)

  78. I think we need to acknowledge the tensions inherent in proposed carbon emissions policies. I was in a symposium in which I heard the fight against anthropogenic climate change compared to the fight against slavery. This in a room where the lights were on, the a/c was running, and the speaker’s Powerpoint presentation was displayed on the screen. In Australia, where most of our electricity is derived from burning coal.

    I agree with Wells on this point. Access to energy is a good thing. To the extent it comes from fossil fuels there is risk of deleterious side effects. How do we weight that risk against other risks and economic needs?

    We in the developed Western economies take for granted we can walk in the door to our homes, school and offices, flip a switch and have the lights, TV, computer, stove, heat, a/c go on. And generally be assured the fridge has been on all day/night.
    We take for granted that when we open the tap water (esp. hot water when needed!) will come out. And when we wash or flush waste down the drain/toilet it “goes away” to be treated.
    If we need to be treated medically we are assured the hospital will also have necessary power to run imaging instruments and keep medicines refrigerated.

    And so on.

    These are good things. And something like a billion people do not have this access. That lack of energy access more than an inconvenience; it is life or death. Millions of deaths could be prevented, now (or soon) by providing people with energy access. This energy is needed to run sewerage and water infrastructure – how many die due to preventable diseases that can be averted by access to clean water and sewerage? Millions die each year from the respiratory effects of burning dung and other biomass stoves in confined spaces (see recent Nature paper).

    So if you went to these people and said, “climate change is the greatest moral challenge of our time” (as Australian PM Rudd did in 2007). Many might look at you and say (or think): “Really? You want me to worry about climate change in the next two or three decades? My child is dying NOW.” And further said something like, “You can have coal-fired grid power now, but there’s a risk from climate change.” A lot of them would take the coal power, as is happening in China, India, South Africa and other developing economies.

    So if we want these people to take climate change seriously we need to solve their more immediate problems now. And if we seriously want to see a global shift to non-fossil fuel energy we had better these people reliable affordable energy that’s cheaper than coal.

    • Which unfortunately ain’t intermittent inefficient solar or
      wind energy that’s not available twenty-four/seven or
      even twelve/seven, sometimes not even …

      • Furthermore a lot of renewables require backup from another source to make up for the intermittency. Intermittency may be OK in distributed small-scale systems where the activities are adjusted to power availability. But you cannot run a modern city that way purely with renewables, with present technology. You need something to provide base load. ianl8888 lists some of the services that require 24/7 power. Hospitals, water and sewage transport and treatment, public transport, and so on.

    • When listing the various activities that depend on 24/7 availability of electricity, most people miss the two big ones:

      1) from the first second of power loss, you cannot access your money. No ATM’s, cash registers, bank computers etc. And no fuel for motor vehicles

      2) from day 2, supermarkets are required by law to throw out food without refrigeration

      That is, within three days absolute panic is the norm

  79. How Ignoring Climate Change Could Sink the U.S. Economy
    Author: Robert E. Rubin, Co-Chairman; Former Secretary of the U.S. Treasury

    http://www.cfr.org/climate-change/ignoring-climate-change-could-sink-us-economy/p33290

    Robert Rubin, and Hank Paulson. Prime architects of financial disaster?? now argue for the next big conn

  80. David Springer

    There is risk in not adding plant food to the atmosphere.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0167880987900235

    Comprehensive reviews of the plant science literature indicate that a 300 part per million (ppm) increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration generally increases plant growth by approximately 30%.

    The Human Carbon Volcano has increased primary production in the food chain by some 15% so far.

    Cue the CO2 ABN (Always Bad News) crowd in 3… 2… 1… GO!

    • This will only be fully appreciated when cold starts cutting harvests. Yeah, the Human Carbon Cornucopia, not quite plentiful enough after all.
      ==================

    • hmmm.

      How did you get from the 30% growth increase mentioned in the abstract to your causal explanation for increase in production?

      • Here’s the complete abstract – it explains a bit more how they came to that conclusion.
        ****
        Abstract

        Comprehensive reviews of the plant science literature indicate that a 300 part per million (ppm) increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration generally increases plant growth by approximately 30%. Working with two species of floating aquatic plants and three terrestrial species, we demonstrate that this stimulatory effect of atmospheric CO2 enrichment is strongly temperature dependent. Indeed, our results suggest that for a 3°C increase in mean surface air temperature (as is generally predicted to result from the ‘greenhouse effect’ of such an increase in the CO2 content of the air), the growth enhancement factor for such a CO2 increase rises from 1.30 to 1.56. If the non-CO2 trace gas greenhouse effect is equally as strong, as recent model studies suggest, the growth enhancement factor rises still higher to a value of 1.85. On the other hand, our results also indicate that atmospheric CO2 enrichment tends to reduce plant growth at relatively cold air temperatures, i.e. below a daily mean air temperature of approximately 18.5°C. As a result, predicting the ultimate biospheric consequences of a doubling of the Earth’s atmospheric CO2 concentration may prove to be much more complex than originally anticipated.

      • Hmmm.

        I still don’t see any mention of “production” in the abstract. Presumably, Springer has some other reference that he’s using. Or, he’s just making stuff up.

    • Joshua,

      David Springer is allowed to discuss any word he thinks is relevant, whether or not you approve.

      If he thinks that “production” is a useful term in discussing the implications of the abstract then it is for you to argue why it is not relevant. Merely noting that it is not the author’s term does not discredit people discussing their own view of the matter.

      • Skiphil –

        I never suggested any thoughts about what Springer is “allowed” to do or not do.

        Of course he’s “allowed” to do whatever the f he pleases.

        I merely asked what evidence he used to go from the abstract (about growth enhancement) in question to his conclusion (about production). Presumably he has some other reference in mind.

        Or maybe he doesn’t.

        “Production” is certainly a useful term – but IMO, conclusions about production (and in particular “production in the food chain,” and even more specifically “production in the food chain” not in some abstract form, but in the form that would be affected by the “Human Carbon Volcano” and that has been measured quantitatively “so far”) are not directly supported by the abstract (which is about growth enhancement).

        Surely, you can understand how they are different, can you not? Springer is referring to a certain causal conclusion about increase in “production” in real terms – not theoretical or hypothetical terms. Do you see any way to draw such a conclusion from the abstract? I don’t, so perhaps if you do, you could explain it to me?

    • ‘Plants that release less water also take less of it from the environment. With less water being taken up by plants, more water is available for groundwater or runs off the land surface into lakes, streams, and rivers. Along the way, it accumulates excess nutrients and pollutants before emptying into waterways, where it affects the health of fish, algae, and shellfish and contaminate drinking water and beaches. Excess runoff can also contribute to flooding.

      Sometimes rising CO2 has the opposite effect, Felzer noted, promoting vegetation growth by increasing the rate of photosynthesis. More plant growth can lead to a thicker canopy of leaves with increased transpiration and less runoff. However, this effect has been shown to be smaller than the effect of reduced stomatal conductance.’

      http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/nitrogen_ozonestress.html

      Carbon is not a limiting nutrient – the adaptation is minimizing water loss while accessing optimal carbon from the atmosphere. Higher carbon content in the atmosphere allows for more efficient use of water.

      Changing plant water use changes terrestrial hydrology and therefore terrestrial ecologies. Again – change with little understanding of consequences. Which seems the epitome of lack of responsibility for actions.

  81. @ Rob Ellison | July 26, 2014 at 12:38 am |
    Your internal nanny state problems are far from my concern.
    On the other hand you should perhaps stop lying to the rest of the world.
    *****
    I’m not seeing how I’m lying to the world. Or perhaps you mean the US.

    You, Rob, whistle past the graveyard, so to speak, when it comes to the role of governments in all of this.

    For impoverished peoples, throwing money at these countries is simplistic and won’t achieve anything. For most third world countries, in order to truly help them, the oppressive government would first have to be dispensed of. Then, there would have to be a cultural change such that the people embraced a work ethic and learned how to create and build businesses. Of course, the new government would have to stand back and let this happen – via minimal regulation. This would result in a sustainable economy and relief from poverty. Of course, it is very difficult to change governments and cultures, but that is the reality of the situation.

    Your “just throw money at it” solution is very Pollyannaish. It will be a waste of resources.

    And you deride our “nanny state” problems, but in order to help someone else, you first have to be strong. Our nanny state is killing the goose that laid all those golden eggs in the first place. At some point, we will have to go begging ourselves.

    Finally, kindly just butt out of the business of the US.

    • To put a finer point on that last thought, please feel free to throw into a black hole your resources and the resources of your countrymen. Please proceed full speed ahead. Those resources belong to you.

      But when it comes to my resources and that of my countrymen, that does not belong to you in any way, shape, or form. It doesn’t belong to the EU, it doesn’t belong to the UN, and certainly doesn’t belong to you.

      So, funnel your ideas and energies toward your own government and leave the US out of it.

    • At least stay in the same thread. The US has committed to 0.7% of GNI to meet MDG. Either stump up of shut up.

      But not interested in maximizing the effectiveness of money that is being spent? No accounting for stupidity.

      • Hopefully a regime change in the US can stop that outflow of money needed here at home.


      • Economic inequality in the United States has been receiving a lot of attention. But it’s not merely an issue of the rich getting richer. The typical American household has been getting poorer, too.

        The inflation-adjusted net worth for the typical household was $87,992 in 2003. Ten years later, it was only $56,335, or a 36 percent decline, according to a study financed by the Russell Sage Foundation. Those are the figures for a household at the median point in the wealth distribution — the level at which there are an equal number of households whose worth is higher and lower. But during the same period, the net worth of wealthy households increased substantially.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/27/business/the-typical-household-now-worth-a-third-less.html

      • – jim2 | July 26, 2014 at 5:01 pm |


        Economic inequality in the United States has been receiving a lot of attention. But it’s not merely an issue of the rich getting richer. The typical American household has been getting poorer, too.–

        Well, Americans are not aware that the government’s war of poverty
        was a war that could not be won by government programs.
        Or they tend to think more money to government spending will reduce poverty, and such spending has demonstratively increased poverty- for obvious reasons.

      • The war on poverty can be won by a vigorous, prosperous economy and reasonable, minimal regulations.

        Then, the US also has this to deal with:

        Almost 18 trillion in debt – and this with companies being driven away by a corrosive 35% corporate tax.

        http://www.usdebtclock.org/

  82. How to Determine the Scientific Consensus on Global Warming
    An academic feud swirls around how best or even whether to express the scientific consensus around climate change

    There’s no doubt that Cook regards climate change as a moral issue.

    “As a father, I realized that we are handing over a world to our children that is worse than the world we were given,” he said over the phone from Brisbane, Australia. “And as a Christian, I saw climate change as a social justice issue.”

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-to-determine-the-scientific-consensus-on-global-warming/

    • “And as a Christian, I saw climate change as a social justice issue.”

      Actually, a Christian is called to see the truth before he or she makes an issue of it.

      Andrew

  83. I’ve changed the disputed sentence to:

    Torcello famously wrote an essay entitled Is misinformation about the climate criminally negligent?

  84. Danley Wolfe

    The “art” of science or technical advisory to a politician is doubly disingenuous hence ethically questionable. First, the science advisor is selected because his world view may fit with the politician’s and he support the politician. There are also similar issues in the private sector. “Independent” consultants or advisers are hired to influence opinions of others,. e.g., banks, rule makers, public institutions, etc.; however, they are paid megabuck fees and you would have look hard to find independent consultant/adviser providing a truly independent opinion. A better way would be for the consultant to work “double blind” – without the consultant being identified and without the hiring party knowing who the consultant is … until after his work is done. Secondly the politician obviously selects and uses his science advisers as an “appeal to authority” to control the story line. This does several things: first it introduces an obvious intentional bias (what is the definition of fraud) and is tricks on the target audience he wants to control; second it’s a prop for staging photo-ops also to dress the message to control the outcome. It is a well known propaganda technique. Of course the mainstream media may be biased either directly by the politician or ideologically and support and running cover for the trickster allowing him to manipulate public opinion. It doesn’t matter if it is patently obvious what tricks are going on, the supporting media will still give the trickster air time to allow him to spread his storyline because they want to it, and he may win at least some of the people some of the time. The climate area is similar to medical research on hot issues. Examples include phthalate ester plasticizers for PVC plastic and bis A a raw material for polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resin. Since these are “hot” research areas in the public eye it is tempting easy to knowingly or unknowingly introduce biases in conducting the research (which might include animal research, epidemiological panel studies, etc. Researchers (not all) obtain grant money to study the problem and they are highly subject to selection bias to get results they can publish; they are not going to be able to publish negative results. Climate science is worse since the research is often in the form of output of deterministic parameterized computer models.

  85. I agree with Prof Torcello – the organized misinformation campaign about global warming funded by the UN, the US, the EC and others is criminally negligent. The misallocation of capital caused by this campaign will result in the death of innocents who could have been not only been saved but had their lives uplifted by the proper allocation of that capital by the market. As Prof Torcello is one of those engaged in this criminal campaign, I look forward to seeing him in the dock.

  86. Patrick B,
    +1000

  87. JC writes: “I’ve changed the disputed sentence …”

    There was no dispute. You incorrectly quoted and completely mischaracterized statements by Prof. Torcello. That’s just a fact.

    It should be noted that your correction comes without an update to the original post alerting readers that you have edited your injudicious remarks. Neither is it accompanied by an apology to Prof. Torcello. And reference to your initial remarks as a ‘disputed sentence’ reeks of nothing more than a failure to assume responsibility or admit error.

    An explanation of how you could possibly have read Prof. Torcello’s essay and wrote what you did is completely missing. Did you, in fact, read his essay before writing?

    • Criminally negligent as opposed to criminal negligence? Take your win and piss off because you seem to be incapable of substantive comment and only waste our time with trivial point scoring.

    • Kevin,

      Torcello’s position, even though he tries to backpedal, is contemptible.

      In his article linked in the head post here, he actually dared to rely upon Peter Gleick’s dis-information campaign against Heartland! Not only that, but the reduced claim that he is only talking about large corporate-funded campaigns is irrelevant. If I had vast funds (which I don’t) I would not hesitate to fund what I would regard as better research, discussion, and debate about climate issues. This hypothetical means that I would indeed fall under the category of people Torcello claims should be prosecuted for “criminal negligence” — it is irrelevant to say that the current small fish are not the object of Torcello’s diatribe, since any of us might be the object of his claims under certain circumstances.

      I applaud Patrick B’s little parody above…. if something like my view of these matters proves correct, then it would be well-funded fervent Alarmists who should be prosecuted for harming millions of poor people, etc. etc. Yet, I do not think these issues are constructively engaged in this way and I do not call for prosecutions for “criminal negligence” against sincerely motivated Alarmists.

      I do not dispute the science or views of the genuine “consensus” which exists, which is ONLY that (1) humans have some impact on climate, and (2) there is no case yet for a “catastrophic” view of impending (this century) climate changes. Yet, if I were able and funding large efforts to disseminate my views I would indeed be in Torcello’s category of people who should be prosecuted.

      I despise and reject this view. I reject the idea that I “deny” climate science (oh wait, that does make me a “denialist” of something). I see the likelihood of limited climate sensitivities to increasing CO2, the gross failures of climate scientists and the self-styled “communicators” to make an adequate case for extreme Alarm, and the utter inadequacy of the proposed policy “solutions” to actually accomplish anything (in their own terms and numbers, Alarmists generally propose to reduce surface temps. by something like 0.2 or 0.4 C by the end of the century…. B. F. D.

      So virtually all of the Alarmists are also failing to propose actions to avoid alleged “foreseeable harms” in Torcello’s terms.

      [Torcello]

      “Criminal negligence is normally understood to result from failures to avoid reasonably foreseeable harms, or the threat of harms to public safety, consequent of certain activities. Those funding climate denial campaigns can reasonably predict the public’s diminished ability to respond to climate change as a result of their behaviour. Indeed, public uncertainty regarding climate science, and the resulting failure to respond to climate change, is the intentional aim of politically and financially motivated denialists.”

  88. Kevin,
    You are flat out wrong. I read the essay when it came out and Dr Curry accurately portrayed the desire to criminalize speech that stepped outside his self established correct thoughts. I went back and reviewed it just now.

    You are Dr Curry an apology.
    Scott

    • ~Scott Re the misrepresentation of Torcello which Dr Curry has tried to correct.
      you say –
      ” I read the essay when it came out and Dr Curry accurately portrayed the desire to criminalize speech that stepped outside his self established correct thoughts. I went back and reviewed it just now.”

      It is rather tellingly Dr Curry actually quoted the James Delingpole “version” which was the original source of the alteration of “criminally negligent to criminal negligence”.

      while you may agree with Delingpoles version, as does Dr Curry perhaps, there is one person that would dispute your reading of the essay.

      The author.

      “http://lawrencetorcello.wordpress.com/2013/09/05/83/
      “The current form of misrepresentation my work is receiving will be familiar to many who write and research on the topic of climate change. To be clear: I do not believe that anyone who doubts the scientific consensus that exists on climate change should be put in prison. I do not believe that scientists who challenge prevailing views in the course of their scientific research should be put in prison. I do not believe that people who disagree with me should be put in prison. Such views are ridiculous and abhorrent. I value and welcome informed discussion and disagreement. I encourage you to carefully read my real article, which addresses organized efforts to cloud public perception of science on issues that are relevant to public safety.”

      • Judith –

        No comment in response to the quote Izen offered?

        Seriously?

        In a post about ethics?

        Perhaps you didn’t see it?

  89. Owe.
    Scott

  90. michael hart

    Sorry, I don’t think ethics is really the problem.

    Does Thomas Wells realise that it was modellers’ pride and environmentalists’ prejudice that got us into this political mess?

  91. Many environmentalists argue that climate change is fundamentally a values problem.” That’s not really relevant to the issue of Climate Change. That some environmentalists try to turn it into that only fuels such peripheral philosophizing as exists in this large excerpted re-post. Wells just tried then to turn it into his notion of values, which tends to align with how he thinks the issue should be viewed.

    This is what always happens. A small group or a secondary point gets turned into the defining issue itself, “some environmentalists say,” and then the subject — Climate Change — gets addressed on that secondary level as if that was the Climate Change problem or what calls for sensible redress of it, are based on.

    While of course carbon is a byproduct of activities we all engage in, and believe we (and often do) benefit from, it is also presumptuous to assume as fact that providing cheap but damaging coal energy to India is somehow the moral high ground, or that the market, without incentive, would somehow achieve the very breakthroughs that Wells suggest are needed, but that probably won’t arrive in timely fashion without proper market motivation. Which will never exist when damaging energy sources and other practices are in affect heavily subsidized because, relative to other sources and practices, their real costs and harms are not integrated into their price.

    It is also a little presumptuous or overly general or simplistic to assert things such as; “For example low-lying places such as Bangladesh or the Maldives are at particular risk from rising sea-levels, but piecemeal interventions like building sea walls are not only cheaper but much more likely to protect them than global carbon austerity.

    Changing our pattern of radically adding to long lived atmospheric gg levels is like fixing the engine as best as we can, while trying to build sea walls for Bangladesh is like putting duct tape over missing gas tank wall. It is also presumptuous to assume what is cheaper, since it likely far cheaper in the long run to switch away (using market motivation) from counter productive practices, without moralizing, and possibly even in the shorter to mid range term as well.

    Building sea walls, as a replacement to redress rather than supplement to it, may also be an irrelevant sort of a dog chasing it’s tail type of act, since as melt starts to increase (as overall, it slowly has) albedo decreases, even more solar radiation is absorbed rather than reflected, then as longer wavelength radiation it is re absorbed and re radiated by far more long lived atmospheric greenhouse gas molecules, heating the atmosphere just above the earth’s surface even more, which along with the oceans — which have also continued to amass heat at a rate that may be several hundred (to even over a thousand percent) faster than at any point in 10,000 years — contributes to even more melt, and the cycle perpetuates, and hastens (albeit in volatile fashion); until jerkily (not smooth as model detractors expect large geological responses to large geologic externally forcings to somehow be), a new stases is reached well into the future. It is only our limited “current geologic state of the world” imagination which limits us to thinking that what we would consider a large rise in ocean sea levels, is all that big of a deal in response to geologically radical multi million year changes in long lived atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. And the IPCC, since it can’t be “sure,” to essentially limit its predictions to the trifling “thermal heat expansion” of the oceans, in comparison.

    Thus, the building, and probable re-building, of low lying sea walls (our duct tape on the engine that needs to be re done) may be somewhat fruitless as a solution in place of trying to improve the underlying problem in the first place, by stopping the additional (and greatly compounding harm) rather than some thing at such time to be additionally tried — such as sea wall building — in desperation, if need so be, for those people as a temporary stop gap.

    Climate Change is not fundamentally a values problem. It is fundamentally an atmospheric problem, a geologic physics problem, and, in terms of our response to this challenge, a problem of vast misinformation and confusion on the issue, and an unnecessary over polarization on it. (This is something which it seems poor media coverage (and understanding of the issue), poor articulation by scientists (particularly when it comes to modeling and explaining the underlying basis of the problem), large expenditures by the oil and gas industries to try and delay action through the conflation of uncertainty with lack of knowledge or need for strategic assessment and response, and in particular largely self selected reinforcing “sources” of news and information, have furthered.)

    Environmentalists who castigate our past actions as well as others in overly broad terms may be well meaning, but they probably only further confusion and divide on the issue, along with resistance to what seems to be most lacking (though belief in it is in great evidence), a willingness to consider fully what science has to say, rather than the near constant pattern, by those who wish to be skeptical, of always seeking to discredit it.

  92. Scott writes: “I read the essay when it came out and Dr Curry accurately portrayed the desire to criminalize speech that stepped outside his self established correct thoughts. I went back and reviewed it just now.

    Then you need to go back and reread a 3rd time. Prof. Torcello wrote: “With such high stakes, an organised campaign funding misinformation ought to be considered criminally negligent.’”

    My bolding. Both you and JC apparently cannot parse the bolded phrase using the general rules of English usage. Let me spell it out for you; Professor Torcello wrote that an organization paying others to spread misinformation ought to be considered criminally negligent. Got it?

    Skiphil writes:”Torcello did not “famously” write anything, because his obscure little article in that biased and obscure rag “The Conversation” did not “famously” attract any interest outside his tiny clique.”

    Funny, but TheConversation has an Alexa global rank of 15,591
    Meanwhile judithcurry.com has an Alexa global rank of 91,504.

    I never used the term ‘famously’ – JC did. I was only quoting her. The people that took notice of Torcello’s essay (and were equallu inept at comprehending what he wrote) included:
    WUWT
    JunkScience
    Reason.com
    Science and Public Policy Initiative (SPPI)
    Townhall.com
    FoxNews
    breitbart.com
    Bishop Hill

    …. and at that point I quit looking.

    • Kevin,
      I noted above almost immediately that it was Judith who introduced the word “famously.”

      No offense to Judith or any of the blogs/proprietors you listed, but the word “famously” makes me think more of top-20 websites on Alexa rankings. So some of simply come to discussions from different contexts or backgrounds.

  93. I note also that Dr Torcello writes

    “My argument probably raises an understandable, if misguided, concern regarding free speech. We must make the critical distinction between the protected voicing of one’s unpopular beliefs, and the funding of a strategically organised campaign to undermine the public’s ability to develop and voice informed opinions.”

    Why does he make the distinction? His whole thesis seems to be that climate “denial” is the equivalent of shouting “there’s no fire” in a crowded burning theatre.

    So who cares who does it? In his view climate “denial” is (or will be seen as sometime in the future) as criminally negligent, so what’s the difference between an individual and a “campaign?”

    And how would he decide what is merely an “unpopular belief” versus a strategically organised campaign? Many of the critics of the current dominant climate change paradigm are not organised campaigns at all but individual bloggers such as Watts, McIntyre, and others. There are organisations that criticise the paradigm (e.g. American Enterprise Inst.). So presumably Dr Torcello would only hold “organised campaigns” criminally negligent. But how big would you have to be to be an organised campaign?

    But Wells’ piece brings up the question about “strategically organised campaigns.” Greenpeace, Union of Concerned Scientists, the Sierra Club, even individual political financial contributors like Tom Steyer, rightly or wrongly, carry out “strategically organised campaigns” for climate change policies that would remove fossil fuels from the energy mix. To some extent this means no energy where alternative are limited.

    The denial of energy access is already detrimental to many. For example, smoke from small cooking fires is estimated to kill millions each year (Subramaniam, M. (2014), Deadly Dinners, Nature, 509(548–551), doi:10.1038/509548a) It’s published in Nature, so it must be right, right? ;) Let’s assume for the moment it’s right. Modern energy access, from gas stove and/or coal-powered grid electricity would prevent these deaths (I do note there are other alternatives such as clean(er) burning biomass stoves but not clear they are available yet at the scale needed). See also Caleb Rossiter’s May 4 2014 piece in the Wall Street Journal, “Sacrificing Africa for Climate Change”.

    To what extent are these deaths attributable to “organised campaigns” against fossil fuels? And if they are attributable, are these organisations criminal negligent in the deaths?

  94. wrhoward – the distinction is one of both free speech and the ability to be wrong. You are afforded the right to disbelieve the science and speak your mind about your beliefs. It doesn’t matter whether you’re right or wrong.

    But as we’ve seen, moneyed interests will literally stop at nothing to increase profits. The tobacco industry and cancer is the most well known instance of a financed campaign of misinformation. Less well known, but just as chilling was the attempt to hide the effects of leaded gasoline. What’s even sadder is that despite knowing the adverse effects producers continue to sell leaded gasoline in the third world.

    An individual writing a blog or talking at work versus corporations paying millions of dollars to mislead the public. We are talking many orders of magnitude difference. If you cannot see that difference, then I suspect it is because you choose not to.

    • Excuse me? Kevin, you know nothing about me, nothing about what I can or cannot see, or what I choose or don’t. Stick to the issue. I am not the issue here.

    • Kevin,
      Hardly any point continuing to discuss this. Prof T made a dumb, statement that resulted in headlines but made him look like a politically correct censor supporter. He backed off it when the response went viral and said he didn’t mean to criminilize individual bad PC but only coordinated campaigns of bad PC. Silly distinction. You should let it alone and stop insulted the hostess and denizens. No one said anything about you personally and you should remain courteous. No big deal but the people who support open discussion are not organized or supported by oil companies or the government. Just the opposite. Leaded gasoline was a controversial issue for awhile but the overwhelming weight of science publications convince the US public to restrict lead. Not so much in Saudi Arabia or many third world countries. Let the discussions continue without threats and insults.
      Scott

  95. Climate skeptics will never win a war against environmentalism per se. Nor would we want to. Environmentalism is motherhood and apple pie. It is a given that the quality of the earth’s natural environment, its biosphere and species inventory must be preserved as much as possible.

    The straw-man argument put into the mouths of skeptics by the greens is “actually we do propose to devastate earth’s environment and leave nothing for our grand-children”. We must be careful not to give the opposition easy grounds for making that straw-man argument. They are skilled at spinning to the general public the idea that we skeptics are anti-environment. Thus we need to avoid certain arguments such as “nothing that humans do has ever or could ever conceivably damage the environment, the world is too large and we are too small.”

    No – the way to “win” in this debate is not to oppose environmentalism but to propose an alternative environmentalism. The issue we have is very specific. It is the notion that “humans-burning-stuff-releases-CO2-which-makes-the-world-hotter-in-a-bad-way”. We must challenge this scientifically but at the same time make an equal effort to propose an alternative paradigm for the preservation and optimization of the environment, and show that we share the universal ideal to cherish the environment as humanity’s heritage.

    The main points to promote are
    (a) Climate by its very nature is always changing with no need of human input
    (b) CO2 causes only very minor or negligible warming
    (c) CO2 is in fact good for the biosphere promoting plant growth and the greening of marginal habitats
    (d) CO2 ocean acidification is utter crap (communicated in a nice way)
    (e) Economic growth supported by affordable energy eventually leads to a level of development where both environmental pollution and population growth are reduced and controlled to sustainable levels (so sabotaging economic growth on a false CO2 premise is a disastrous own goal).

    In summary, environmentalism is good, but in wrongly targeting CO2 as an environmental problem, the greens are “throwing out the baby with the bathwater”. CO2 is the (black) baby that is being unnecessarily – and counter-productively – thrown out. Thus an alternative CO2-friendly brand of environmentalism could be called for instance “baby environmentalism” with maybe a smiling black baby as an icon. This relates subliminally to the racist element of AGW that seeks to suppress economic and technical development in the developing world, satisfying the nostalgic racist supremecism of ageing westerners hankering for a bygone colonial-imperialist era; this point should be made but with subtlety.

    “Baby environmentalism” or some such carefully constructed alternative environmentalism is the weapon to use against CAGW, not a disorganized chorus of angry opposition to green issues as a whole, many of which are correct.