UN Talks and Power Politics: Its Not About the Temperature

by Judith Curry

In the wake of the breaking  announcement that Russia, Japan and Canada told the G8 they would not join a second round of carbon cuts under the Kyoto Protocol at United Nations talks this year and the US reiterated it would remain outside the treaty, it is instructive to took a look at what has been going on in the context of the UNFCCC.

The title of this post comes from a recent hearing from the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

The website for the hearing is [here], and the hearing is discussed at length at Rick Piltz’s blog Climate Science Watch.  Testimony is from:

Some excerpts from the testimony are provided  below, along with my comments and also comments from Rick Piltz’s blog (RP).

Chairman Rohrbacher

Chairman Rohrbacher is skeptical of the science of climate change (and is referred to as a “denier” at RP’s blog).   Some excerpts from his opening statement:

Significantly in determining what the heck is going on here is the fact that the UN climate talks have not become a forum for global cooperation, but an arena for competing national interests.

Under the slogan “common but differentiated responsibilities” a “zero sum” world was created which pitted developed and developing countries against each other and within each block of nations. Behind the debate over the supposed science of climate change, nations have fought for trade advantages, the transfer of technology, the flow of capital, and political influence. Coalitions have formed that will affect the global balance of power far beyond the conference halls.

The stakes are high; nothing less than how the future growth of the world economy will be divided up. Who will be allowed to prosper and who will be forced to slow down or even go  into decline are issues on the table.

The purpose of this hearing is to examine the UN climate talks and the swirling maneuvers and power plays observed in the wake of these global gatherings. Are our national interests at stake? How can America protect its national interests against the demands of rivals? What coalitions confront us and how can we thwart moves hostile to our interests? Why do we not claim the same right to growth as other nation’s claim, and act as they do to protect that right?

JC comment:  At the beginning of his opening statement, he provided a list of scientists that are skeptical of climate change.  So while this is clearly about power politics, the scientists and the science are at least acknowledged (with people on both sides picking and choosing which scientists).

Todd Stern

This testimony is worth reading in full since it provides a recent historical and political context for U.S. climate policy.

Our program – the Global Climate Change Initiative – is built on three pillars:

• First, clean energy, to help put devcloping countries on a low-carbon path, decrease pollution globally, bolster international energy security by strengthening reliance on domestic and renewable resources and create increased trade and investment in clean technologies and new opportunities for U.S. business and workers;

• Second, sustainable landscapes, which entails conserving forests, fostering sustainable land management, and combating illegal logging around the world. We do this not only to limit climate change, but also to preserve the home of at least 80 percent of the world’s terrestrial species. including 70 percent of plants identified as having anti·cancer characteristics; and

• Third, adaptation, which mcans building resilience against cxtreme weather events to reduce the risk of damage, loss of life and broader instability that can result from extreme weather and climate events, such as droughts, floods, and extreme storms. Whatever your views on climate change, the United States needs to – and always docs – stand ready to help countries victimized by such events. It is who we are, and it is in our own interest to do these things. It is part of why people around the world  look with favor on America. Likewise, helping countries take action in advance that reduces damage from extreme events makes good sense and is cost-effective: the World Bank Eslimates that every dollar spent on disaster preparedness saves $7 in disaster response.

With regards to the UNFCCC:

Most fundamentally, many developing countries, including large ones, continue to be fixated on preserving the firewall between developed and developing countries. As I have explained, we see this as both unjustified and incompatible with solving the problem. As I have said repeatedly, we are not going to be part of a new agreement with a fixed, bright~line, 1992~vintage firewall. After all, the notion that the world should be indefinitely divided for climate change purposes into categories establishcd in 1992 makes no sensc. Thc world has changed dramatically since that time. 

Beyond the firewall qucstion, there arc other difficult issues that could derail the international negotiations. . .  The question for the UN climate negotiations, at the end of the day, is what parties want.

The UNFCCC has the potential to be a cooperative, mutually beneficial platform- though not the sole platform- for combating climate change. It also has the potcntial to be a platform focused mostly on rhetorical thrust and parry, with a thick overlay of accusation and blame. The one vision is useful. The other is not.

We will continue working to support that first, cooperative vision, always bearing in mind that the central mission of our discussions must be to try to address the climate challenge, not to settle old scores. The ongoing challenge for the UNFCCC is to be the kind of body that remains relevant to that task. We have made some good progress, especially in working to knock down the firewall I’ve discussed, and in insisting on a new level of international transparency. But much work remains.

From RP’s blog:  At the conclusion of Stern’s panel, the Chairman again advocated that any international agreement, the purpose of which, in his view, was to remove autonomy from the U.S. and stifle economic development, was unacceptable as U.S. policy. Stern challenged that framing by asserting that lying dormant while other international powers sat at the negotiating table was similarly unacceptable as an approach to global climate change.

Elliot Diringer

I would like to focus my testimony today on three topics: 1) the status of the international climate negotiations, and the objectives that should guide U.S. climate diplomacy; 2) the policies being implemented in other countries – including our major trading partners – to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and 3) the environmental, economic and security rationales for stronger climate action.

My principal points are as follows:

• The past two years have seen the emergence of a more realistic and balanced approach in the international climate negotiations, thanks in large measure to the efforts of U.S. negotiators. The United States must remain fully engaged in the talks with the aim of strengthening multilateral support and transparency, thereby promoting action while laying the groundwork for a future binding agreement.

• A growing number of countries are pursuing policies that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Many see the challenge as an important opportunity as well. Some of our major trading partners are moving aggressively to grow their clean energy technology industries, which create domestic jobs and high-value exports. Without stronger policies creating similar incentives here, the United States risks falling further behind in the rapidly expanding clean energy market.

• U.S. inaction on climate change exposes our nation to real and rising risks. The longer we delay action, the harder it will be to avert the worst consequences of warming, the higher the cost of coping with those that can not be avoided, and the further we fall behind in the clean energy race. Taking steps now to expand clean energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions is squarely in our strong national interest.

Concluding remarks:

Mr. Chairman, U.S. inaction on climate change exposes our nation to real and rising risks. The longer we delay action, the harder it will be to avert the worst consequences of warming, the higher the cost of coping with those that can not be avoided, and the further we fall behind other countries in the clean energy race. Taking steps now to expand clean energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions is quite clearly in our strong national interest.

As the world’s largest economy, leading innovator, and largest cumulative emitter, the United States also has a responsibility to to the international community. Thanks to U.S. efforts, the global climate effort now appears headed on a more reasonable course. Our ability to continue to shape that effort in the years ahead depends heavily on a demonstrated commitment to address climate change here at home.

Daniel Twining

Must U.S. climate diplomacy be a wedge rather than a bridge between the United States and key international partners? Arguably, poor American diplomacy combined with the flaws of the United Nations-led climate-change negotiations have had the effect of isolating the United States from important friends and allies rather than enabling it to build like-minded coalitions on environmental issues of shared concern. A more effective approach would integrate U.S. interests in mitigating climate change with broader strategic concerns vis-à-vis both allies and rising powers. It would work to produce positive-sum outcomes to climate negotiations facilitated by joint development and deployment of key energy and environmental technologies, rather than succumbing to a zero-sum logic pitting the developed world against the developing world in global, U.N.-led multinational arenas.

Both U.S. diplomacy and the cause of managing climate change would benefit from a different approach to tackling global warming: one that was not U.N.-led with universal membership in which small countries can play the role of spoilers and global consensus is achieved only with lowest-common-denominator results that please no one. Climate negotiations instead could take the form of smaller groupings led by the great powers, as the world’s largest emitters, in closed-door negotiations that could encourage countries like China to be constructive rather than to grand-stand. From a U.S. perspective, joint development and application of key energy and environmental technologies with friendly emerging economies could replace the setting of vague environmental targets without action plans to meet them.

Although tech-transfer concerns unquestionably apply to China, American businesses and officials are far more comfortable with the possibilities for collaboration and talent-sharing with Indian, Brazilian, Indonesian, and other rather than attempting to bring these countries onside in the more difficult context of global, multilateral climate negotiations. Finally, prioritizing climate concerns at the expense of broader strategic ties puts the cart before the horse: in the case of countries like India, both U.S. interests and the wider climate agenda might be better served by building comprehensive strategic partnerships that develop over time the mutual trust necessary for hard but necessary collaboration on managing climate change. Because climate change is expected to hit countries like India especially hard, New Delhi and other emerging centers of power do have an incentive to become constructive players on this issue. The United States can and should help them do so. 

Steven Hayward

I will begin with my contentious conclusion, which is that the international diplomacy of climate change is the most implausible and unpromising initiative since the disarmament talks of the 1930s, and for many of the same reasons; that the Kyoto Protocol and its progeny are the climate diplomacy equivalent of the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928 that promised to end war (a treaty that is still on the books, by the way), and finally, that future historians are going to look back on this whole period as the climate policy equivalent of wage and price controls to fight inflation in the 1970s.

The diplomatic approach—the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change UNFCCC)—first set in motion formally at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 has reached a dead end. I think the dead end of what might be called “first generation climate diplomacy” was tacitly on view at the last major climate summit in Cancun a few months ago. It is important to understand the deeper reasons why if we are going to chart a new course on climate that has a better chance of making real progress.

But climate assistance has revived the old idea of requiring wealthy nations to indemnify poor nations. The German newspaper Neue Zurcher Zeitung observed shortly before the Cancun summit last year: “The next world climate summit in Cancun is actually an economy summit during which the distribution of the world’s resources will be negotiated.” What prompted this conclusion was a candid admission from a UN official closely involved with the climate negotiations, German economist Ottmar Edenhoffer: “But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy. Obviously, the owners of coal and oil will not be enthusiastic about this. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore.” This is the kind of loose and unserious talk that brings discredit to the UN and to international climate diplomacy. But it is very popular with much of the UN’s constituency, and America’s diplomatic corps indulges this mentality with polite indifference.

I conclude briefly with two observations. First, the nation that made the largest climate assistance commitment at Cancun—to the tune of $15 billion—was Japan. I don’t think there is anyone who thinks Japan should make good on that commitment right now. This suggests how events may rapidly change our perceptions and priorities of risk.

Second, what approach can replace the UN diplomatic track? This is a long subject, but a more likely path to more significant climate outcomes would focus not on emissions limits but an emphasis on cheap decarbonization of energy through innovation, the approach we at AEI have recommended in collaboration with the Brookings Institution and the Progressive-leaning Breakthrough Institute in California in a report called “Post-Partisan Power.” And the diplomatic framework for this would ignore the UN and start with the leading economies of the OECD nations, a process begun tentatively by the Bush Administration, but which now appears to have been embraced by the Obama Administration in the aftermath of the failures of Copenhagen and Cancun.

He concludes by recommending the Hartwell paper and Pielke Jr’s book The Climate Fix.

Summary comments from RP’s blog

Rohrabacher seemed most interested in those alternative approaches that create markets or incentives for private investments in alternative energies. He was joined by Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-Missouri), who specifically asked each of the panelists to suggest how the U.N. climate talks and an international agreement might affect domestic industries and the transfer of intellectual property rights relating to new technologies. Rohrabacher argued that a global climate change policy need not resemble a command and control regulation, and indicated he had less of a problem with providing incentives for private parties to enter the market for efficient energies, which could serve as the U.S. domestic climate change policy. He warned that global environmental policy shouldn’t take the place of good domestic economic policy.

The fundamental disagreements expressed at the hearing reflect the state of U.S. policy today. The U.S. currently has no coherent climate change policy or strategy – i.e., none that represents the agreed position of the governing institutions. Global climate policy and international agreements first require that individual nations possess the political will to address the issue. The U.S. currently lacks that political will, although the Obama administration has taken some steps to advance meaningful negotiations and develop new agreements.

The lack of a coherent U.S. climate policy weakens the U.S. position in international negotiations. It will remain a problem until the U.S. has a strategy commensurate with the importance of the issue, and until U.S. negotiators represent a government that is prepared to make and live up to strong international climate policy commitments. That will require, not only a commitment by the White House and administration negotiators, but a Congress ready to move beyond the kind of anti-science distractions and obstructionism represented by members like Rep. Rohrabacher.

JC’s comments

First, the three pillars of the U.S. Global Climate Initiative are examples of robust, no/low regret policy options.  As I have argued previously, emissions stabilization target is not a robust policy options.  I view the U.S. Initiative as positive, and this is something that makes sense and I can generally support.

Second, I was struck by Hasting’s testimony where he described the collaborative effort between the  libertarian AEI, the Brookings Institution and the progressive-leaning Breakthrough Institute in California, to consider Hartwell-style low/no regrets policy options.  It looks like this group could be developing some bi-partisan common ground policy ideas.

And finally, with the exception of Elliot Diringer, none of the others felt that the UNFCCC Kyoto extension was desirable or viable, and this reflects the position of the Obama administration as per Stern’s testimony.

Message to climate scientists (especially in the U.S., and especially the climate/science establishment):  now that the UNFCCC treaties do not seem to be desired by even the most progressive U.S. administration in recent (and likely future) decade, please rethink your allegiance to the UNFCCC/IPCC ideology.  Let’s get back to doing climate science as it should be done: challenging every aspect of the climate science to broaden and deepen our understanding of the climate system and the full range of possible future climate scenarios associated with both natural climate variability and anthropogenically forced climate change.   And supporting policy makers in developing and assessing a broad range of robust, no/low regrets policy options.

219 responses to “UN Talks and Power Politics: Its Not About the Temperature

  1. Hi Judy
    Very well summarized!
    Roger Sr.

    “Message to climate scientists (especially in the U.S.): now that the UNFCCC treaties do not seem to be desired by even the most progressive U.S. administration in recent (and likely future) decade, please rethink your allegiance to the UNFCCC/IPCC ideology. Let’s get back to doing climate science as it should be done: challenging every aspect of the climate science to broaden and deepen our understanding of the climate system and the full range of possible future climate scenarios associated with both natural climate variability and anthropogenically forced climate change. And supporting policy makers in developing and assessing a broad range of robust, no/low regrets policy options.

    • Yes, Roger, this is really great news!

      However, the climate scandal is only the tiny visible tip of an iceberg of deceit and manipulation of government science that has grown, “out-of sight” – almost since the time former President Eisenhower warned of this danger to our free society in his farewell address to the nation on 17 Jan 1961:

      http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/ike.htm

      Government leaders must have realized that the game was up when the Environmental Law Center of the American Tradition Institute obtained a court order for the University of Virginia to comply with legitimate FOI (freedom of information) requests.

      http://www.atinstitute.org/court-orders-university-of-virginia-to/

      Unfortunately many leaders of the scientific community – including heads of the US National Academy of Sciences, the UK’s Royal Society, the UN’s IPCC, heads of government research agencies (NASA, EPA, DOE, NOAA, etc.), editors of once prestigious research journals like Nature, Science, Proceedings of the National Academy, Proceedings of the Royal Society, etc., will probably have to go in leave to return integrity to government science and public confidence in these organizations.

      Thank you, thank you, Professor Curry and other skeptics of the distorted “science” of CO2-induced global warming!

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

      • Joe Lalonde

        Oliver,

        If the climate keeps getting colder, all the promotion of going green will collapse onto itself.
        Creating an environmentally friendlier planet is fine but promoting it on the basis of a planet overheating when it never has in the past is suicidal.

      • I agree, Joe.

        The climate scandal is a blessing in disguise.

        Without the widely publicized campaign of Al Gore and the UN’s IPCC, we would not have discovered the unholy international alliance of politicians with leaders of the scientific community worldwide.

        In 1961 Eisenhower warned of danger to our free society from a federal “scientific-technological elite”.

        http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/ike.htm

        Al Gore’s propaganda campaign and attempts to whitewash and cover-up evidence of data manipulation revealed a much more serious threat to society worldwide:

        An “international scientific-technological elite” !

        We will know that the battle is over when the “international scientific-technological elite” starts studying – instead of ignoring – nuclear rest mass data that explains why Earth’s climate changes.

      • “Without the widely publicized campaign of Al Gore and the UN’s IPCC, we would not have discovered the unholy international alliance of politicians with leaders of the scientific community worldwide.”

        And behind it all . . . the Freemasons.

      • Rob Starkey

        LOL—time to get your medication checked

      • Exactly.

      • Robert – its worse than I thought. On checking very carefully, it seems that of the last 20 presidents at least, AND their vice presidents (including Al Gore and that bloke that Oliver K. Manuel kept posting a video of a few months ago – yes even that bloke), ALL have all been members of one of two secretive organisations, one which worships the elephant, the other some kind of donkey. One goes by the name GOP (Global Order of Power?) the other the symbol “D” which stands for a very happy face, if used with a colon – see for yourself : D. On further checking, many other countries have similar kinds of organisations, the leaders of which meet regularly to discuss things such as the world economy and such like. In Mexico last year these leaders of the world met to discuss climate change and possibly weather policing (hence the word “COP”) in meetings that were closed to the general public . What do they have to hide? It makes you think.

        http://mitigatingapathy.blogspot.com/

  2. Latimer Alder

    ‘Let’s get back to doing climate science as it should be done: challenging every aspect of the climate science to broaden and deepen our understanding of the climate system and the full range of possible future climate scenarios associated with both natural climate variability and anthropogenically forced climate change’

    Juts change the first words to:

    ‘Let’s start doing climate change……’ etc etc…

    and all will be well.

    Since climatology was only a very tiny area before the birth of the UNFCC/IPCC, and since most climatologists have never known a non-IPCC based regime, I don’t believe that there ever was a general golden age of pure science and seeking only after truth. Even if one or two individuals tried hard to resist the sirens of conformity.

    • Lindzen once said something similar to that. Since the alarm bells started sounding in the ’80s, the field grew by an order of magnitude, and like the snake that swallowed the crocodile, it wasn’t pretty.

    • Latimer –
      since most climatologists have never known a non-IPCC based regime, I don’t believe that there ever was a general golden age of pure science and seeking only after truth.

      Yes, there was – and I was there. In the 60’s and 70’s there were no “climatologists” as such. But there were “atmospheric physicists”. And they were “scientists” who knew what science is and how to conduct it. They were the people who envisioned, instigated and enabled the beginnings of the space remote sensing capability that we now have. They were the people I worked with/for and who taught me about science. Ruined my life, they did. NOT. But they did set my career on a path that was “different” in that I spent most of my career as the “science puke” for a lot of spacecraft programs (among other things). Were they human? Yup. They squabbled, disagreed, fought – not for power or grant money, but to find as much of the “truth” as possible, and to attain their prestige by delivering that “truth” to humanity. Yeah, they had egos, too – big ones. But above all, they had integrity – something that’s all too lacking in many quarters today.

      But then, that was only my part of the world. Maybe it was different in other parts.

      • Latimer Alder

        Thanks, Jim, for emphasising my point about the history of climatology.

      • Latimer

        You might be interested in the 1903 book the “Handbook of Climatology” by Dr Julius von Hann (b. 23 March 1839 d. 1 October 1921) which contain the sometimes acerbic observations of this Austrian, considered the ‘Father of Meteorology.’
        It is contained in my article on the History of Temperature measurements, part of which is carried here;

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/05/23/little-ice-age-thermometers-%e2%80%93-history-and-reliability-2/

        tonyb

      • Jim, exactly! In the 60’s and 70’s, and before, there were proper atmospheric physicists (and a few even exist today) and they are never included when I come down on today’s one-dimensional “climatologists”. The thrust now needs to be how to totally dismantle the UNFCCC/IPCC regime and get back to some resemblance of proper science. The world needs that now more than ever.

      • wayne –
        You’ll get no arguments about that from me. But it may take more time than either of us would like.

      • I just remember my Physics teacher in 1968 (when people were starting to goggle at the idea of “supercomputers”) telling us that the nonlinear character of climate meant that he was confident it could not be predictively modelled in his lifetime, and probably not in ours either. Seems he was right.

  3. I am proud to be a Canadian.

  4. Kent Draper

    I really feel bad for the UK, Aussies and New Zealand :( Talk about getting the short end of the stick…………… Maybe they can get a rebate on their CO2 footprint :)

    • Kent, I dont feel badly for these people at all. The science is, and always was, quite clear that CAGW never was correct. They made their beds, and now they have to lie on them. They can take the same action as Canada, Japan, Russia and the USA, if they want to.

    • Kyoto itself will be abandoned – so its not going to be a problem for Australia, New Zealand, UK etc either. In fact it was clear that Kyoto itself was gone when Japan pulled out at Cancun – but that went entirely unreported in the Oz media, (I wonder why?).

      Of course, they will attempt a “son of Kyoto” – I think its called the “Copenhagen Protocol”, (or some such).

      • Kyoto runs out next year and will not be renewed, except perhaps as a multilateral treaty with the EU and developing countries. The Copenhagen Accord is a vague, non-binding wish list. As most of the testimony above suggests, there will be no new universal, binding climate treaty, although negotiations may never cease. At this point it appears that 1998 was the high water mark for global climate activism.

      • Agreed, no binding and meaningful deal will be signed, (Not for at least 20 yrs anyway). But they will probably come up with some sort of figleaf, (Too much political credibility at stake to just publicly give up)

  5. frankly , I am amazed that someone beat Oliver K. Manuel to the place of first respondent.

  6. I missed something. What exactly is a “no/low regrets” policy option?

    • Renewable energy R&D (and subsidies), forest conservation, and preparation for extreme events, including lots of foreign aid for developing countries. Stern’s list in plain English. Relatively harmless, all things considered.

      • Is there a source document for this? Or is it a flexible concept that means whatever you want it to mean?

      • Not sure what you are asking for. I just summarized Stern’s three bullets. That is US policy.

      • And right off the bat, renewable subsidies seems potentially pretty harmful. Look at the controversy over corn ethanol. I don’t think that’s low impact, and even Gore’s backed away from that one.

      • Tim Pawlenty just endorsed ethanol subsidies though. Just goes to show that progressive interference in free markets is not a one party problem in the U.S. Bad government programs almost never die, which is why it is so important to fight their imposition in the first place.

      • Jeff Norris

        GaryM
        I am not sure where you get your information or maybe you wanted him to immediately stop it at once.
        I’m here today to tell Iowans the truth, too.
        America is facing a crushing debt crisis the likes of which we’ve never seen before. We need to cut spending, and we need to cut it.big time. The hard truth is that there are no longer any sacred programs.
        The truth about federal energy subsidies, including federal subsidies for ethanol, is that they have to be phased out. We need to do it gradually. We need to do it fairly. But we need to do it.

        http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/2011/05/pawlenty-calls-phasing-out-ethanol-subsidies-iowa#ixzz1NngmCaiH

        Romney on the other hand said “I support the subsidy of ethanol,” “I believe it’s an important part of our energy solution in this country.” Perhaps after he wins the Iowa caucus he will modify his position.

      • Jeff,

        Pawlenty, like many government loving Republicans, has been a long time supporter of ethanol subsidies and other boondoggles. From the same article: “”I’m not some out-of-touch politician. I served two terms as Governor of an ag state. I fully understand and respect the critical role farming plays in our economy and our society. I’ve strongly supported ethanol in various ways over the years, and I still believe in the promise of renewable fuels – both for our economy and our national security.”

        Notice that he is clear that he does not intend to cut subsidies now, just some time in the future, long after the Iowa caucuses I am sure. When a politician tells you something needs to be cut, but not yet, he is just trying to have it both ways.

        While Romney is clearly worse on that issue (and many others), Pawlenty is no threat to big government.

      • How would you expect Pawlenty, a private citizen, to cut ethanol subsidies before the Iowa cacuses, since by definition he hasn’t been elected yet and isn’t even a member of Congress?

        This is grade-school civics stuff.

      • He is referring to Pawlenty’s position as a candidate, not his present power.

      • “Notice that he is clear that he does not intend to cut subsidies now, just some time in the future, long after the Iowa caucuses I am sure.,”

        Versus: “He is referring to Pawlenty’s position as a candidate,”

        That makes no logical sense. How could he intend to cut the subsidies before he was elected after he was elected?

      • David Wojick,

        Don’t mind Robert, English comprehension can be difficult subject for some. The concept of “now” in the context of a politician’s promises may be just too complex for those not accustomed to thinking before they type.

      • It’s pretty amusing how once a “skeptic” has been spanked a few times in direct exchanges, they retreat to the “I’m not talking to you, I’m just talking to other people about you” rhetoric. You do it, Jim does it, sunshine does it. It’s kind of pathetic, but at least you know your limitations.

      • Renewables subsidies are trivial compared to forced decarbonization.

      • Building carbon in agricultural soils to boost productivity, reducing black carbon and tropospheric ozone in the atmosphere for health and environmental benefits, population stabilisation through health, education, safe water and sanitation, conserving and restoring forest and savanna, building resilient global economies through free trade and good corporate governance as well as basic science in transportation, energy, food production, health and agriculture.

        It is the most exciting and promising development on the planet. We need to increase food and energy production by 3% a year for the rest of the century and we need to start yesterday.

      • 2020 news update: Socially acceptable methods of birth rate reduction have been studied by various governments. China’s limits on reproduction have been somewhat effective. In developed nations, use of mass media has proven more effective. The UK has had good success with Teletubbies, but the US Barney song has more that doubled use of contraceptive devices in heterosexual relationships and increased same sex partnerships by 175 percent.

        In the Southern United States, Biscuits and Gravy remain the most popular population stabilization choice. Taylor pork loaf production in the northeast is to be expanded following US Surgeon General Emeril Lagasse’s, “Pork fat is where it’s at” euthanasia platform.

        The US Department of Population Stabilization announced today that tobacco subsidies will be increased and that 50% of corn ethanol production is to be cut to allow for increased imports of NAFTA partner Mexico’s more effective agave based ethanol product.

        In Europe, the Volvo international, Peugeot/Citron merger is expected to be completed by the end of the month. :)

      • Hmmm – biscuits and gravy. Doh.

    • Where have you been? Try the Hartwell 2010 paper for a start – http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/27939/

      There is an earlier thread.

      • “It is past time to seriously consider ‘no regrets’ strategies for adapting to climate change.”

        http://reason.com/archives/2004/12/14/adapting-to-climate-change

        Notice the date? There is nothing new in the real climate debate, just endless reframing and recycling. Someone must have done some recent poll testing and focus groups, because it is suddenly becoming prominent.

      • In climate-speak some mitigation strategies aimed at cutting GHG emissions by limiting energy use are called “no regrets” proposals, that is, actions that a company or agency would take anyway that also results in GHG reductions, e.g., switching a power plant from coal to natural gas. It is past time to seriously consider “no regrets” strategies for adapting to climate change. No country would regret having better roads, hospitals, sanitation, sea walls, houses, access to electricity, communications and so forth. All of these things would make its citizens less vulnerable to whatever weather disasters a changing climate might bring.

        I get the idea. It’s one of these fuzzy-wuzzy buzzwords that means whatever the user feels.

      • I get the idea. It’s one of these fuzzy-wuzzy buzzwords that means whatever the user feels.

        Hardly. It means proceeding cautiously…taking actions that have little downside and that can be backed out if wrong. It’s pretty much the essence of responding to uncertainty.

      • No, it isn’t.

        Soldiers, physicians, and entrepreneurs regularly confront conditions of uncertainty. “Actions that have little downside and can easily be backed out of,” while loved by all, and rarely enough to get the job done.

      • and rarely enough = are rarely enough

      • Entrepreneurs, while wonderful people, have a rather uneven track record of dealing with uncertainty (similar to gamblers). Reconnaisance by fire seems to be a pretty robust way of dealing with uncertainty, and poses little risk to the practitioner. Physicians have that “first do no harm” motto to contend with. Which, if you think about it, tends to be a successful philosophy.

      • Nevertheless, if the “essence” of responding to uncertainty were “Actions that have little downside and can easily be backed out of,” no one would undergo surgery, there would be no chemotherapy, no radiation treatments, no vasopressors or IV antibiotics.

        Who wouldn’t like an approach with no downside? But often something more committal is called for.

      • I’m unaware of radiation or chemo being prescribed absent a diagnosis of a condition that would warrant their use, but perhaps you could give an example of where they’ve been used more speculatively.

        I’ll agree that more drastic approaches are sometime called for, but generally that happens when the harm of the treatment is outweighed by the circumstances being treated.

      • Robert,

        From time to time, I’ve also tried my hand at trollery and so I appreciate some of its challenges. So I’d like to offer some advice as a friend who has walked a mile in your shoes.

        Please don’t take offense when I tell you that way too many of your way too man comments have shown an excess of uninspired booger-flicking. So you might want to go for fewer comments, but ones with wit, humor, punch and effect, and good-fun entertainment.

        For what it’s worth, Bob.

      • Pooh, Dixie

        Chief, with respect, “no regrets” is not the centerpiece of The Hartwell Paper.
        Page 20: “Our goal is broad-based support for radical acceleration in decarbonisation of the global energy economy. We believe that an indirect approach, which pulls on the twin levers of reducing the energy intensity of economies and the carbon intensity of energy, is more likely to win public assent than a frontal assault upon carbon emissions, especially one coming soon after the recent turbulences.”

        “First, we do not mean that all or any action on the most ambitious goal of radical decarbonisation is postponed until previous steps – such as efficiency improvements – are successfully underway, let alone complete.”

        “Secondly, to advocate this different pathway does not imply that we think that there is inadequate or weak scientific evidence to support the case for decarbonisation.”

        (The paper has 41 uses of “decarbonisation”, including page 27, which see. The incremental approach is known elsewhere as “Fabianism”.)

      • Pooh, Dixie

        Chief. Radical decarbonisation is urged despite The Hartwell Paper’s identification of two CO2-independent drivers of “climate change”.
        Page 22a: – 23: After appropriate statements about the role of CO2 / GHG as a driver of AGW, the authors introduce two other factors, each independent of emissions (CO2).

        Land Use. “The importance of land use change to emissions of GHGs”, the article then states “…a growing body of evidence suggests that land use is playing a significant role in ongoing climate change through a set of biogeochemical mechanisms independent of the radiative effects of GHG emissions, ….” And
        UHI. “For example, the recent work by Stone suggests that alterations in surface fluxes of moisture and energy resulting from land use activities may contribute to regional scale climate phenomena more directly than associated changes in emissions.

        Opinion: This contradicts IPCC doctrine. A (warm) forcing, independent of GHG / CO2, reduces any effects attributable to CO2. Nevertheless, this Paper urges accelerated decarbonization.

  7. Jeff Norris

    As a counter point to a range of robust, no/low regrets policy options I submit an English version of a Report by the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) highlighted at Bishop Hill in a post called Eco Dictatorship.
    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2011/5/27/eco-dictatorship.html
    http://www.wbgu.de/fileadmin/templates/dateien/veroeffentlichungen/hauptgutachten/jg2011/wbgu_jg2011_kurz_en.pdf

    The report is called “World in Transition: A Social Contract for Sustainability” and it does not get really scary until it starts talking about Extensive Global Governance Architecture for the Transformation.

  8. Herman A Pope

    UN Talks and Power Politics: Its Not About the Temperature
    That is right!

    Temperature has been extremely stable in a narrow range for ten thousand years. During that time there was significant increases in CO2.
    Look at and analyze the temperature data. Temperature is stable and it does not increase when CO2 increases.
    The most recent 130 years of instrumented data falls well inside the stable range of the past ten thousand years.
    Do any of you really look at and analyze the data?
    There is no unstable temperature data.
    Well, except in the false Hockey Stick and similar made up stuff.
    Try to use real NOAA Data and find an instability.
    There are only unstable temperature projections.

  9. Bad Andrew

    “And supporting policy makers in developing and assessing a broad range of robust, no/low regrets policy options.”

    I’m going to be supporting lawmakers in this option:

    No deals.

    Andrew

    • Bad Andrew

      Which lawmakers are you referring to? US? Canadian? UK? Australian? etc.

    • BA: Not sure what you mean by “deals” but politics and policy are the art of compromise. This is democratic decision making in the face of deep disagreement. Deals between adversaries are often necessary. We are governed by committees of committees of committees, such as the US Congress. Deals are us.

  10. Judith Curry

    Although others would possibly have worded this differently or shifted the emphasis, I do not believe that there are many posters here that would disagree fundamentally with your concluding advice to climate scientists:

    rethink your allegiance to the UNFCCC/IPCC ideology. Let’s get back to doing climate science as it should be done: challenging every aspect of the climate science to broaden and deepen our understanding of the climate system and the full range of possible future climate scenarios associated with both natural climate variability and anthropogenically forced climate change. And supporting policy makers in developing and assessing a broad range of robust, no/low regrets policy options.

    I personally would have modified the last sentence slightly:

    And, once we have developed a better understanding of the potential climate impact of human-induced greenhouse warming in relation to naturally occurring factors, supporting policy makers in developing and assessing a broad range of robust, no/low regrets policy options to respond to any challenges that this better understanding may identify.

    [At the risk of being branded a “delayer” by some, I guess I’m trying to introduce the “we’re not there yet” concept.]

    It would be interesting to see how many bloggers here would basically agree/disagree with your above statement and why.

    Max

    • Congress cannot do nothing when a lot of people want something done. I am happy with non-serious token actions like renewables R&D, forest protection and building resilience to extreme events.

    • Charles Hart

      Prof Curry,

      May favorite “no/low regrets policy option” is to follow the Chinese and develop “green” nuclear.

      “China has officially announced it will launch a program to develop a thorium-fueled molten-salt nuclear reactor, taking a crucial step towards shifting to nuclear power as a primary energy source.

      The project was unveiled at the annual Chinese Academy of Sciences conference in Shanghai last week, and reported in the Wen Hui Bao newspaper (Google English translation here).

      If the reactor works as planned, China may fulfill a long-delayed dream of clean nuclear energy. The United States could conceivably become dependent on China for next-generation nuclear technology. At the least, the United States could fall dramatically behind in developing green energy.”

      http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/02/china-thorium-power/

      • Charles –
        China is also building an undersea facility to research the use of methane hydrate as a fuel source. Should be an interesting decade coming up.

        OTOH, keep in mind that China is also building many more coal fired plants. Their “green” fantasy is a screen for their intent to become a modernized technological society. And they’re following a proven pattern – the same one that Japan followed after WWII.

      • Their military is following the pre-WWII Japanese model and is being paid to do it by environmentalists killing jobs in Europe and NA and moving them to China.

      • Their military is following the pre-WWII Japanese model and is being paid to do it by environmentalists killing jobs in Europe and NA and moving them to China.

        And standing behind it all . . . the Freemasons.

      • I agree with your sarcasm. The idea that the Chinese army is in the pay of enviros is one of the strangest I have ever heard, one for my collection.

      • Step 1: Kill jobs in Europe and NA.

        Step 2: Buy goods and services from China

        Step 3: Profits go into expanding military.

        Step 4: China buys aircraft carrier and plans more allowing them to project air power in region.

        Step 5: Invasion of Taiwan imminent?

      • Rob Starkey

        No–as it would be bad for Chinese business

      • Owning Taiwan would place a greater stranglehold on high technology. And freak out every other asian country.

      • The Chinese will own the future, just like the Japanese were going to, the Arabs, heck, even the Canadians at one point were predicted to be the wave of the future. But before everybody goes all Tom Friedman on the brilliant Chinese and what they are currently building, keep in mind that China as it now exists may not even last 10 years.

        The U.S. has the most experienced, best trained, and most computerized economic planners, brokers, and capitalists in the history of the world. And we damned near crashed our own economy again recently because of the mindless statists who run our government, and their rent seeking pseudo-capitalist friends like Goldman Sachs and GE.

        The Chinese are just experimenting with pseudo-capitalism, combined with unrepentant communism, and don’t seem to be doing quite as well as the sino-philes would like to think.

        For an idea of how Chinese perestroika (without the glasnost) is working, check out their fancy new cities.

        http://www.businessinsider.com/pictures-chinese-ghost-cities-2010-12?slop=1

        The title of this interesting article saves you the need to actually read the whole thing (though it is fun to do so):

        http://www.businessinsider.com/there-are-now-enough-vacant-properties-in-china-to-house-over-half-of-america-2010-9

        They have enough empty houseing to house half the population of the U.S.

        Looking to the dictatorial Chinese for pointers on running a capitalist economy, or any sector of it, is like looking to fish to learn how to fly.

      • Rob Starkey

        Gary

        I would estimate that you have not none much business in China when I read your conclusion.

      • I would estimate that I have read not a single comment from you that actually added to the substance of any discussion on this blog. Not one has contained a single fact, citation or actual argument that I have read. You are a content free zone.

      • Rob Starkey,

        Read your comment on the way out the door, and wrote a quick reply, but misread the name. I thought your comment was from Robert, whose comments rarely contribute to the discussions while yours, to the contrary, usually do. So I regret the dismissive tone of my response.

        But as to your comment, I have never set foot in China, nor in Russia, nor in Cuba. I don’t see that as relevant. Knowledge of the likelihood of success of an economy, particularly one of over a billion people, is not based on performance of individual contracts.

        If you have information that contradicts my point that China is still run by avowed communists, or that they are attempting the same thing Gorbachev did in the USSR, a version of perestroika (restructuring), let me know. If you have evidence that the Chinese leaders understand capitalist markets better than US entrepreneurs, I would be interested to see the evidence of that as well.

        I am sure there are brilliant and successful entrepreneurs in China, and congratulations to anyone who has had positive experiences with them. But that is totally irrelevant to my point. I don’t need to do business in Havana to have an opinion on the failures of that system. Nor do I need to travel to Beijing to know that centralized control of a government inevitably dooms that country’s economy. Or do you think the ghost towns are examples of good economic practices?

        Anyone who thinks they really know what is going on with China’s economy is dreaming. Our government can’t get economic statistics right, and regularly manipulates the statistics that they do release. (The “inflation” figure reported by the US government for instance no longer includes the cost of food and fuel.) The thought that the Chinese are being honest, even with themselves, is ludicrous.

      • Rob Starkey

        Gary
        Thanks for the explanation and I understand how those things happen in the blog world. I can not claim to have not posted flippant comments from time to time.

        Regarding China, I have done a significant amount of business in China over the last 10 years, and I can tell you it is COMPLETELY different than I thought it would be in most ways, and exactly the same in other ways. I have had the opportunity to interact with both “State owned” businesses and “privately owned” businesses.

        I found that the “state owned” businesses to be slow in making decisions, very poorly equipped and generally everything negative you heard about an unmotivated communist country. I found that there are a very large number of “privately owned” businesses (probably 2/3 of the businesses I dealt with were private and they are all over). A high percentage of these private businesses received capital from and were at least partly owned by people in Taiwan. They have new equipment, are very customer service oriented and very, very long term profit oriented.

        Another point I have found interesting is that the Chinese government “encourages” investment in specific industries. Today, many new Chinese companies are opening or expanding to support the auto industry. They have done this because the volumes required in manufacturing are large and it employs larger numbers of people. They are just starting to penetrate the aerospace industry. Aerospace requires more record keeping and produces in lower volume so it was a lower priority to develop.

        In summary, I could not have been more surprised as my experience there grew. In many ways, China today is one of the most capitalistic countries I do business in. If you want to take a two week vacation, visit eastern China. Take almost zero luggage or clothing. You can buy a suitcase for $5 and cloths for less than half of what it costs in the US.

        Remember being a capitalist does not make one nice, or fair or anything other than seeking profit for your own interest. China is trying to do what is right for China long term. They are doing very much correctly.

  11. Jack Hughes

    Go back to you labs and keep quiet until you have some real science.

    You know: laws, correct predictions, real numbers.

  12. “no/low regrets policy options”…”for combating climate change.”

    When someone tells you they are going to do something like “fight climate change” with a “no/low regrets” policy – reach for your wallet. (As an aside, is there a more quixotic sounding endeavor than “fighting climate change?”)

    This first element of the Global Climate Change Initiative is something any CAGWer could love:

    “First, clean energy, to help put developing countries on a low-carbon path, decrease pollution globally, bolster international energy security by strengthening reliance on domestic and renewable resources and create increased trade and investment in clean technologies and new opportunities for U.S. business and workers….”

    Putting countries on a low carbon path; strengthening reliance on renewable resources; using “clean energy” to “grow economies,” this language is broad enough to encompass the entire IPCC/Al Gore/Jim Hansen agenda. This is a CAGW wolf in a lukewarmer sheep’s clothing.

    • As an aside, is there a more quixotic sounding endeavor than “fighting climate change?

      With windmills, no less? How do you tilt a windmill with a windmill?

    • And as another aside, I’d like somebody to explain what’s “dirty” about CO2.

      • Google “fly ash” and “coal ash dam.” Maybe look up this specific example:

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

      • Robert, are you really confused or simply seeking to mislead? Your lead takes us to a truly horrible disaster that proves that badly run coal plants are dangerous to the environment. It says nothing at all about CO2.
        Now can you produce something that explains why CO2 is itself a pollutant, rather than that some ways of producing energy are dirty and dangerous? We knew that already, and if environmentalists had concentrated on the environment, rather than being sidetracked into unsupportable assertions about CO2 and AGW, they might have got more traction on things that really matter like the Kingston plant.

      • People exhale CO2. Its quite normal. In fact, plants give off 220 gigatons of CO2 each year.

      • “People exhale CO2. Its quite normal. In fact, plants give off 220 gigatons of CO2 each year.”

        Which implies what, to your way of thinking?

      • Co2 is a symptom of warming.

        Warm water holds less CO2. As previous interglacials have shown, warming causes Co2 to rise, not the other way around.

        Plants produce more Co2 when it is warmer and the growing season is longer.

    • Yep; strip the “low-carbon” and “decarbonization” guts out of the statements, and there’s only clichés and waffle left. That’s the real poison pill that they’re trying to sugar-coat.

      And it’s nonsense for all LDCs and Developing Nations. China is de facto going high-carbon as fast as it can acquire the coal and find or buy the gas. As it should.

  13. This does rather question generally held belief amoung IPCC supporters that it’s a few rogue scientists (you know who you are), skeptic lobbyists/blogs and Big Oil that are holding back policy development.

    It’s seemed obvious to me that these international meetings have always been about pursuing national agendas whether we are talking about the moribund western industrial countries, developing economic giants or poorer countries. For example the European position is as much about trying to maintain a position of control in a world were they face being left behind economically by fast growing giants. With this in mind it becomes problematic to think of any one group of nations as progressive or another group as binkered.

    One aspect missing here is the role green/environmental politics are playing on a domestic level. There has been little opposition on a domestic level to the basic austerity and misanthropic politics of climate change. Unfortunately there are few people I know who don’t hold (at some level) the idea that the human species is basically driven by greed and that this greed is a problem for the planet. Its a dream position for politicians with no ideas of how to move forward to have the idea that problems stem from the basic nature of the mob.

  14. I like the idea of robust no regrets policies, but have concern over exactly what pillar #1 – clean energy – means. I’d hope that right now it means nuclear and gas, with wind and solar where this can be done with low impact – and R&D to broaden the options in the future. But here in the UK, it currently seems to mean massive numbers of wind turbines in the most vulnerable wild places still left – usually in Scotland and Wales – ruthlessly supported by government subsidies.

  15. maksimovich

    One of the primary reasons for the failure of the Kyoto protocol was the inadequacy in the beginning for the countries (actors) agreeing upon “fair play” principles, (a priori) in accordance to an equilibrium strategy. Quantative and qualitative attributes for the Kp were not ascertained prior but after the initial agreement ,meaning ratification of the KP was politically untenable for the US and others and as was seen in the 95-0 vote in the US Senate for emission and energy reforms under the Clinton/gore administration.ie The Coefficients of Egoism, or how Altruism is important until it affects my Political majority

    The St Petersberg school of game theory predicted that this would be the outcome in the late 1990’s a point made by Illarionov during the 2003 climate conference in Moscow.

    The late Yuri. M. Svirezhev, W. von Bloh, and H.-J. Schellnhuber showed the application of the “emission game” to Co2 perturbations that agreement and cooperation was a priori to an ESS(evolutionary stable strategy) in a NON-ANTAGONISTIC game.

    If there are no doubts that we must reduce the total emission of carbon dioxide then the problem of how much different countries should be allowed to contribute to this amount remains a serious one. We suggest this problem to be considered as a non-antagonistic game (in Germeier’s sense). A game of this kind is called an “emission” game. Suppose that there are n independent actors (countries or regions), each of them releasing a certain amount of CO per year (in carbon units)into the atmosphere, and that the emission would be reduced by each actor. Each actor has his own aim: to minimise the loss in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) caused by the reduction of emissions. On the other hand, taking into account that it is impossible to estimate more or less precisely the impact of the climate change on GDP for each country today, a common strategy will be to reduce the climate change. Since one of the main leading factors in global warming is the greenhouse effect, then the common aim will be to reduce the sum of emissions. This is a typical conflict situation. How to resolve it? We can weigh the “egoistic” and “altruistic” criteria for each actor introducing so-called “coefficients of egoism”. This coefficient is very large, if the actor uses a very egoistic strategy, and conversely, if the actor is a “super-altruist”, then the corresponding coefficient is very small. Using these coefficients we get the general solution of the game in a form of some Pareto’s equilibrium. The solution is stable and efficient.

    http://www.pik-potsdam.de/~bloh/publications/svirezhev99a/welcome.html

  16. According to the UK Met office, the Sun is causing the jet stream to shit, resulting in less wind….

    Shame about the UK’s dash to wind-turbines for it’s energy policy…. ;)

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/8545306/Wind-farms-Britain-is-running-out-of-wind.html

    “According to government figures, 13 of the past 16 months have been calmer than normal – while 2010 was the “stillest” year of the past decade.

    Meteorologists believe that changes to the Atlantic jet stream could alter the pattern of winds over the next 40 years and leave much of the nation’s growing army of power-generating turbines becalmed. ”

    “…the last two winters have featured exceptionally low temperatures and were remarkably still when they should have been the windiest seasons of all, as high pressure diverted the jet stream from its normal position.

    Meteorologists have found that the position of the jet stream has been influenced by the lower levels of activity on the Sun. This decline in sun-spot activity is expected to continue for the next 40 years, with potentially serious consequences for the viability of wind farms.

    Professor Mike Lockwood, from Reading University, said: “Changes in the jet stream will change the pattern of winds that we get in the UK. That, of course, is a problem for wind power.

    “You have to site your wind farms in the right place and if you site your wind farm in the wrong place then that will be a problem.”

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2011/5/30/lockwood-no-wind-for-40-years.html#comments

    • oops! dreadful typo on what should have been “shift” minus the f explains why it must have fallen into the spam filter originally…
      please feel free to edit for politeness sake

    • Barry, I don’t know if that should be a typo. It seems something is causing a f-less shift :)

      • And was the “it’s energy policy” mis-apostrophication also a typo? ;) I ‘spects not … :p

  17. UN Talks and Power Politics: Its Not About the Temperature

    Indeed!

    20th Century: http://bit.ly/eUXTX2

    21st Century: http://bit.ly/dEFb9d

  18. “JC comment: At the beginning of his opening statement, he provided a list of scientists that are skeptical of climate change. So while this is clearly about power politics, the scientists and the science are at least acknowledged (with people on both sides picking and choosing which scientists).”

    The scientists chose for themselves the side. The politician simply named them.

  19. “Todd Stern

    This testimony is worth reading in full since it provides a recent historical and political context for U.S. climate policy.

    Our program – the Global Climate Change Initiative – is built on three pillars:

    • First, clean energy, to help put devcloping countries on a low-carbon path, decrease pollution globally, bolster international energy security by strengthening reliance on domestic and renewable resources and create increased trade and investment in clean technologies and new opportunities for U.S. business and workers;”

    1. “low-carbon path” There is very little persuasive evidence that a low carbon path is desirable.

    2. “bolster international energy security by strengthening reliance on domestic and renewable resources” This is hogwash of the most insidious kind. There is no reason not to get energy from foreign sources. Oil is fungible. There is no such thing as “international energy security.” This is supposed to motivate us to do as he says. It is BS. We simply need to develop oil, coal, and nat gas we have in the US and buy what is cheapest, even if it comes from overseas.

    3.”investment in clean technologies and new opportunities for U.S. business and workers” More BS. “Investment” has become a socialist code word for government spending. It isn’t investment. Texas is one of the few if not the only state growing jobs. It does it specifically by letting the free market operate. The “new opportunities for U.S. business and workers” lies with the free market, not central government planning (socialism).

    • Regarding #3, Federal research funding is not generally regarded as “central planning,” but rather as a form of investment. In fact there is a large literature on estimating the return on this investment, which seems to be quite large. US basic and early applied research funding is about $60 billion a year, about half of which goes to medical research via NIH. Industry does relatively little basic research, in part because the payoff on a breakthru takes 30 years.

      Renewables and efficiency get about $2 billion a year. See http://www.eere.energy.gov/ and http://www1.eere.energy.gov/ba/pba/pdfs/fy10_budget_brief.pdf
      It used to be a billion but the Dems doubled it. The Reps are cutting it back.

      • I’m sure that the management where you work would be thrilled at making an investment because some academic paper says it has a high rate of return. Have you ever had to jump through real hoops to satisfy real accountants?

      • I am talking about little things like inventing the Internet and nuclear medicine. Most basic research is Federally funded, but perhaps you think science has made no contribution to economic growth.

        As for me, I have run my own company since 1976. You?

      • ‘Crats and pols picking winners and losers is bad news in general, since they’re so crappy at it. The exceptions you note are far in the past now–under different political priorities, fortunately.

        The “renewables and efficiency” investments you mention above are heavily “renewables” dominated, and is going down a rathole, and sucking much that would otherwise be productive with it. As CH suggests, something like Lerner fusion is likely to change the game, in spite of all that. Total government investment (all levels) to date: $0.00. $5-10 million would have had it far advanced 5-10 yrs ago, but it’s taken till about ’08 to scrape up half of the lower end of that privately. E.g.

        The Feds seem more willing to spend big on big showboat stuff like ITER, which isn’t even a commercializable concept. It’s all optics, and benefits mostly come by serendipitous dumb-luck spinoffs developed in spite of the ‘crats, not because of them.

        So what the Repubs are cutting isn’t flesh or bone, it’s fat, the principle component of gravy.

      • The fallacy in that argument, which is big enough to drive a Bradley tank through, is the assumption that if the US government hadn’t done what they did, that no one else would have either. Do you honestly think that there’d be no message-routing telecommunication system if the US government hadn’t demonstrated (not “invented”) the internet though that tiny ad hoc system of minicomputers and modems called the ARPAnet?

        Technology happens when the time comes. If a government can hurry that process a little, it might. Non-US governments can also do this, btw, there’s nothing written in the bible that says the US government is the fount of all technology.

        No, packet-switching and routing (which is the core technology of the internet) would have happened anyway without the US government, or any other government. The US government just happened to stimulate early demand for it.

        If the US Air Force hadn’t have provided the seed capital for the 747 program through the C5a starlifter program, would there be no wide body jets today? That’s ludicrous, but it’s essentially the same argument.

      • DeNihilist

        not only guverment , ChE, but Hollywood beauties too…
        “However, Lamarr was also an inventor and mathematician who co-invented — with composer George Antheil — an early technique for spread spectrum communications and frequency hopping, necessary to wireless communication from the pre-computer age to the present day.” from here http://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Hedy_Lamarr

        Heddy Lammar was a world class scientist, who woulda thunk?

      • Heddy Lamar was a surprise to me in 1981 when I was studying communications. Interesting story and interesting technology. Government financed research does lead to some interesting technologies and a good bit of humor. Whether ketchup can be considered a vegetable serving, the critical frying time of an egg, critical television viewing skills, marijuana’s impact on male sexual arousal and health impacts of thong underwear (which should have federal funding to established weight and age restrictions for thong beach ware) are countered by other things that are useful for more than just laughs. Even climate change funding discovered the ENSO patterns and explained why Texas is having a major drought year and tornado alley is at its maximum. Oh, wait, there is something else causing that.

      • randomengineer

        The fallacy in that argument, which is big enough to drive a Bradley tank through, is the assumption that if the US government hadn’t done what they did, that no one else would have either.

        That’s not the argument at all. Rather, the argument is that government investment pushes development faster than “natural” need. Government funding yielded working EVA spacesuits for the gemini / apollo space programs in the 60’s; business has yet to demonstrate a need for such a thing given that not one single human has spacewalked or moonwalked in a commercial effort (the “natural” need.) Meanwhile the technologies required to make such a suit have trickled down and even proliferated in society since the 1960’s to make all sorts of products that wouldn’t have been possible without that government investment (e.g. materials sciences such as gore-tex or tyvek) which are widely used today.

        Nobody but nobody has ever argued government is the source of technologies. The argument re government involvement has always been about acceleration. A 20 to 40 year head start on a technology helps play a major role in the difference between being a superpower and being Bostwana.

        This is and has often been deliberate. Google “Strategy of Technology” by Possony and Pournelle which discusses this in an introductory form; this was a cold war document originating in the 1960’s. The underlying concept here is that from a strategic viewpoint a national effort to be first in key technologies results in being in the driver’s seat. America didn’t become the world’s sole superpower by accident.

      • Gor-Tex is the best thing what the space race gave us? I don’t see how that is an argument against the post of Che.

        Central planning for long term does very little. It’s small role should not be over emphasized. That manned space flight is not commercial points more to a failure than anything else. It’s currently too expensive and dangerous. I wish it wasn’t but it is.

        Being flexible, openness and upward mobility has been more key to the USAs success than long range central planning which usually relies more on luck than anything else.

      • “Central planning for long term does very little.”

        What is the evidence for that claim?

        There are roads built by the Roman state still in active use. Dramas composed by the Greeks competing for government-sponsered prizes are still read today. The Interstate Highway system is a pretty useful thing.

        You can’t generalize from the failure of command economies, which tried to dictate everything, to indict mixed economies, in which the government invests in various projects regarded as public goods.

      • randomengineer

        Gore tex, genius, is but one teensy weensy example; do note that I’d used the (e.g.) to say so originally. I suppose for the addled I could have listed the gamut but I’d reckoned the average right side of the bell curve reader to be capable of extrapolation to grasp the overall point. I think the right side of the bell curve is getting this. Next time you read my commentary let me know in advance and I’ll use crayons for you.

      • So you have other examples? Tang maybe?

      • Where’s this “20 to 40 year head start” coming from? The internet wasn’t really a significant commercial phenomenon until the WWW was added by the private sector in the 1990s. It’s silly to say that a packet switching network wouldn’t have existed by then without the original ARPAnet. If ARPAnet hadn’t been created, the impact on the commercialization of the internet would have been negligible.

        I can think of only two examples of commercial technologies that got a significant jump start from government programs, and one of them is moribund due to political activity: nuclear power and commercial communication satellites.

        The rest, about everything from Goretex to the integrated circuit is sheer speculation. The integrated circuit may have been given a 5-year jump, not 20-40. The notion that the government gave these technologies enormous head starts is just an assumption without any basis.

      • randomengineer

        Russia was still playing with vacuum tubes when US digital modems were spewing ones and zeros, spurred by US government investment into development of microelectronics in the late 50’s looking for smaller more reliable ICBM guidance. That created the backbone by which the internet etc could even be imagined. Apollo/Soyuz astronauts shocked Russian counterparts with their HP digital calculators. The 1989 Buran shuttle copy was a *copy* of 1970’s era technology. No country in the world in 1991 had a clue how to defend against an F-117 developed in the late 70’s, much less make their own. And so on. All of these things were accelerated by government money. And depending on the exact technology, many of these are and/or were 20-40 years ahead. Despite the French having significant interest in developing a competing technology because of the billions of euros in Mirage fighter exports, they never did, and the Euro fighter concept that they helped with started some 20 years after the F-117 and only then because of US help.

        And so on.

        Tech ain’t limited to the internet or the xbox.

      • And let me add that the US never really had a monopoly in nuclear power, and not much of one in commercial satellites. What really happened was the opposite of the standard narrative: the commercial satellites underwrote a lot of NASA’s expenses. Their alternative would have been to try to work with the USSR, which would have been complicated, but not impossible.

      • It seems I remember about a trillion of “investment” made by the government not long ago … some call it a product of the “Porkulus” bill.

      • I am not talking about government spending in general, just basic research. Research expenditures are considered long term investments.

      • Wrong terminology. To be effective, “basic research” expenditures have to be very loose, not “targetted”. Because of who gets to do the targetting: serial vote-seekers. A class composed of at least 49% sociopathic liars.

      • David W. – A simple comparison will highlight the issue with socialism. Inner city kids have amazing cell phones, a product of free enterprise, and sucky schools, a product of socialism. Not only that, but politicians continue to throw more money at schools in the name of education when most of the spending goes to teacher salaries, administration, and smaller class sizes. Meanwhile, student performance continues to be flat or down. In reality, the money spent by politicians on education goes to teachers and other government workers, who in turn vote for those same politicians. This mutual back-scratching is at the expense of the tax payer.

      • This really has nothing to do with the topic, Jim. My only point is that research is an investment, no matter who pays for it. I try to confine myself to narrow, politically realistic issues, because that is where the action is and I am in action.

      • I don’t have a problem with a reasonable spend by government on basic research, but even that should be restrained and take into account our debt.

      • Rob Starkey

        Exactly correct

      • This restraining should happen. The 2011 CR made a big cut in renewables R&D, hopefully with more to come. I would be happy if they zeroed the $2 billion pro-AGW climate change research budget, which was also cut some, but that is probably too much to ask for. A lot depends on the next election.

  20. “CARBON” TAX ADD IN AUSTRALIA

    Look at the new advertisement in Australia that is being used to support the “carbon” tax.

    http://bit.ly/iUTibg

    They call carbon oxide “carbon” in order to associate it with soot, the pollutant.

    However, few power plants in developed countries emit soot. So they doctored the image of a power plant to emit soot, and they claimed the carbon tax would remove this soot.

    http://bit.ly/l49Pf3

    Why the fabrication?

    • The words “carbon oxide” never appear in the ad.

      The word “soot” never appears in the ad.

      Power plants in the developed world do emit soot.

      Why the all the lies?

      • Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 01, 11 (07:02 am)
        Column – If the science is sound, why these lies?

        Says Caton: “What if we say yes to making big companies pay when they pollute our skies? We’d be saying yes to less carbon pollution.”
        Stop right there.
        First, where in Australia are our skies black with “carbon”?
        Answer: nowhere. The ad describes a problem we don’t actually have.

        Do our power stations—the main target of the carbon dioxide tax—actually belch out black smoke like that?
        No. Most coal-fired ones here emit little more than steam and invisible gas. Drive past one and see for yourself.

        So what power station are we shown in this ad?
        The Battersea plant in Britain.

        Does it vomit out black soot like that?
        No, it was closed almost 30 years ago.

        So will the Government’s tax close the Battersea plant? Don’t be an idiot.
        Well, will the tax at least remove that sooty carbon in our skies Caton wants gone?

        No, because the sign perched over Caton’s head deceives, too. The Government’s “carbon” tax is not actually designed to remove carbon, which is a solid, but carbon dioxide, which is a gas that’s invisible, as you can see when you breathe out.

        Source: blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/

  21. Bad Andrew

    “Mention the network of informants backed up by law enforcement.”

    FYI, Robert, it already works this way.

    Andrew

    • This is typical of the thoughtlessness of the “green” side of the dance floor. They never seem to understand that what they do has consequences. So they always end up with unintended consequences.

  22. Andrew –
    I have a suggestion for Robert. He should find out the truth about something

    I think that part alone may be beyond his ability. But one can always hope.

  23. “As economic policy, the Kyoto Accord is a disaster. As environmental policy it is a fraud”: Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada.

    A fraud, I could not have put it better myself.

    • Please, Andrew, do you have a citation for where this comes from. I have missed it.

      • The Official Government of Canada Record of the
        39th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION
        EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 100
        Wednesday, January 31, 2007
        http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=2648256&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=39&Ses=1

      • So….. it would seem that Canadian politicians are no better than US politicians. Not surprising.

        But then Canada did recently opt out of the Kyoto extension.

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/05/29/its-all-over-kyoto-protocol-loses-four-big-nations/

      • I would say that the government in Canada is the world leader practical realism.

        In Canada we have lots of space and all the stuff; the iron ore, coal, wood, oil, gas, water, bauxite, nickel, uranium, food, low corporate taxes, freedom, infrastructure, year round ice free harbors, universal health care, etc, etc, etc; and the will to use them all to attract the best and the brightest, grow the economy, pay our debits and secure our future. That is the plan.

        I understand Great Britain is in the market to borrow another few billion from China to buy more windmills from China (How does that work?), or was that Germany buying the junk. Of course they could both wait and get them at fire-sale prices from other green energy leaders like Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Greece or Italy.

        We watch in wonder as the European provinces lead the devolving greens world.

      • Andrew –
        I’ve spent a lot of time in Canada. I like it there. I could live there – except — it’s too expensive and I dont think much of the health care system. And I do know more about the health care system than the average US citizen. But, in general, I do like Canadians – many of them are crazy in ways that resonate with my craziness. OTOH – a politician is a politician as illustrated by your link. :-)

      • Jim;
        [politician is a politician as illustrated by your link]

        That is wide brush you are using. This person said something that at the time was very unpopular, he would not retract it, he did not back down to the polls, he did not try to follow the demands of the greens, the main stream media, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club or the WWF. He kept saying what he believed, all these years, and eventually he was elected as Prime Minister of a Majority Government. The people understood what he had been saying and ultimately chose to follow his lead; he did not try to follow the people.

        That, in my opinion, is not your average ‘politician’.

      • Sorry – I was speaking in this regard of all the other politicians that played their part in your link. I failed to give proper credit to the one who actually deserved praise. That was my failing.

        Like everyone else in the world, I’m not alway as bright as my mother thought I was. :-)

    • Joe Lalonde

      Andrew,

      It is not exactly a fraud.
      Biased based, definitely. As these scientists do believe the planet is warming from the statistical data they generated for a cherry picked period of time.

      • Joe;

        In criminal law, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual; the related adjective is fraudulent. The specific legal definition varies by legal jurisdiction. Fraud is a crime, and also a civil law violation. Defrauding people or entities of money or valuables is a common purpose of fraud, but there have also been fraudulent “discoveries”, e.g. in science, to gain prestige rather than immediate monetary gain.

        Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraud

        It is “intentional deception”, it is “made for personal gain”, it is about taking or depriving “people or entities of money”.

        Do you use a different definition of the word?

      • Joe Lalonde

        Okay then,

        Scientists getting grants to generate Quantum Mechanics should be charged with fraud then.
        Reproducing string theories with lasers in a lab is not what the solar system has generated. No fixed points and everything is in circular motion.
        To have two fixed points, you need exact locations at a fixed point in an exact time. There is no fixed point in space to calculate an exact point as everything is moving and expanding.
        This means time travel or dimensional shifting or quantum physics is impossible due to not including a fixed location in their calculations in space.

      • Bad Andrew

        Joe,

        Stop being deliberately obtuse. Fraud is about misrepresentation. If everybody knows these things about Quantum Mechanics, and no one is trying to fool anyone else, then there is no misrepresentation going on. Sheesh.

        Andrew

  24. 97% of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is from natural sources, but only 3% are from fossil fuels.

    No wonder no enhanced greenhouse effect has been observed in the global mean temperature data as a result of human CO2 emission.

    http://bit.ly/cO94in

  25. @ChE | May 30, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
    It’s odd that even though China is one of the largest GHG emitters (not that it matters), the UN still puts blame on the West for CHINA’s emissions. That is a tell. It tells us the UN wants it’s dirty, slimy hands in the deep (well, previously deep) pockets of the West for its Socialist program to transfer money to the third world. These people are the real criminals.

  26. “the UN still puts blame on the West for CHINA’s emissions”

    Citation needed.

    • http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/may/30/environmental-tax-threatens-green-energy-research

      UN’s call to CO2 action

      The fastest-ever rise in greenhouse gas emissions, revealed by the Guardian yesterday, is an “inconvenient truth” the world must face, the UN’s climate change chief said.

      Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN framework convention, said: “This is the inconvenient truth of where human-generated greenhouse gas emissions are projected to go without much stronger international action, ” she said, issuing a call ahead of UN talks in Bonn next week. “I won’t hear that this is impossible.”

      Estimates from the International Energy Agency show that last year saw a record CO2 rise, despite the recession and government policies aimed at curbing greenhouse gases. Most came from emerging economies, including China, but there is evidence the west “exported” billions of tonnes of emissions. Fiona Harvey

    • Robert, the citation is the link posted @ChE | May 30, 2011 at 9:04 pm |

      • Are you referring to this statement?

        “Most came from emerging economies, including China, but there is evidence the west “exported” billions of tonnes of emissions. Fiona Harvey”

        How are you attributing that claim by a journalist to the UN?

      • Given that this meme is loose, I’m betting it indicates a push to go there.

      • “Sir David King, director of the Smith School of Enterprise at the University of Oxford and former chief scientific advisor to the UK government, said the emissions rise showed how developed countries had exported their greenhouse gases to the developing world. This is because the migration of heavy manufacturing industry to developing countries has raised emissions in emerging economies,”

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/may/31/emissions-rise-un-climate-chief

        Mitigation = more CO2 (just in a different country)

    • Booringgg. The progressivist playbook specifies the tactic: “Always demand full documentation for every damaging assertion made by the targets.” While providing only circular self-references, if any, for your own claims. Petty harassment.

  27. @Robert | May 31, 2011 at 7:22 am |
    “The Interstate Highway system is a pretty useful thing.”
    The first turnpike and first paved highway was built by private enterprise. So were the railroads. The New York subways had it origin in private enterprise. Hong Kong’s subway to this day is privately run at a profit and makes New York’s subway look antiquated.
    The interstate system, in large part, made possible suburbanization, leaving the urban and inner city bleak and enabled greater segregation and higher rates of crime in the cities. They cause congestion and pollution. Maintenance is an ongoing tax nightmare. And like all socialist programs, more socialist programs were spurred to “help” inhabitants of the inner city.

    • Public roads are not “socialist.” That word has a specific meaning, and it is not “whatever the government does that libertarians disapprove of.” The existence of private transportation infrastructure does not imply public infrastructure is not needed or not useful. I am familiar with the libertarian faith, but find its theology too irrational and anti-empirical to be persuasive.

      • The key characteristic of socialism is central planning and control. Otherwise, it can be democratic or totalitarian, nationalistic or not. It can implement that control by direct “ownership” of the means of production or control the economy, individuals, and businesses through regulation. At the end of the day, it’s all socialism.

      • “The key characteristic of socialism is central planning and control.”

        No. That would be like saying that key characteristics od democracy is capitalism/corporatism and MSM control.

      • Pooh, Dixie

        I disagree. The American “democracy” is a direct result of our framework as a Constitutional Republic. A democracy was explicitly rejected; framers had read The Peloponnesian War, (Thucydides, 431 B.C.E.) and concluded: “Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.” – Federalist #10, Pg 133.
        Hamilton, Alexander, James Madison, and John Jay. 2002. The Federalist: The Famous Papers on the Principles of American Government. MetroBooks (NY), March.

      • Edim – Socialism is defined by centralized planning and control. It can be democratic or totalitarian. The centralized planning is for the economy and the control element is necessary to enforce “the (central) plan.” Socialism frequently embraces corporatism in scenarios where the means of production aren’t seized outright.

    • randomengineer

      You’re missing the point, I think. The autobahn is first and foremost a military materiel road system useful for defense and/or emergency work. The government is in charge of military needs, not private business. After the construction of the US autobahn system interstate commerce changed and many business opportunities were created. This was not the primary or intended function of the military road system. It really helps if you can work with these things we like to call “facts” rather than reactionary right wing imaginings of Eisenhower being a closet commie.

      • Pooh, Dixie

        “The autobahn is first and foremost a military materiel road system useful for defense and/or emergency work.”

        Indeed, the U.S. military (tanks) found it very useful. :-)

  28. Judith, you should seriously prune this thread. It has degenerated into something wholly unsuitable for a Science blog. Take charge. There is nothing reprehensible in discarding the dross.

    • How can you say “UN Talks and Power Politics: Its Not About the Temperature” does not relate to government policy and politics? I think we have found a sensitive topic for you. Why is that?

      • This thread has wandered off (degenerated?) into general political theory, not to mention name calling. Most of the comments have nothing to do with the posted topic, which is about a House Committee hearing on US climate policy. Comments that do not relate to the topic should be removed.

        We are trying to maintain some fairly high standards of analytical rigor here. I am concerned about what I call “Gresham’s law of blogs” which says that bad comments drive out the good.

      • I see your point. But given the central role of government in funding global warming research, by way of funding climate scientists; making regulations to control everything from gasoline blends, corn production, vehicle mileage, CO2 regulations, funding and subsidizing “green” energy, to a possible carbon tax/cap and trade – it is just difficult to keep even a general discussion of government out of this. Government is all over it

      • It’s a very thin line between general political theory and economic theory, particularly since this, in the end, is all about economics. There are two competing models; one that involves high government involvement, and is favored by one political pole, and its opposite, favored by the other pole. I don’t think the politics and relevant economics can be teased apart so readily.

        Getting rid of the “yay for our team/those guys are morons” comments is another matter. They don’t have any value in any context.

      • I am working on cleaning up the thread. If people would behave, I could spend less time doing this and get on with my next post.

      • Thank you.

      • And if wishes were horses, then beggars would ride. People “behaving” on blogs would be a wonder! But, of course, there are all degrees of netiquette and lack of same. More would be better, but good luck in enforcing it!

      • Pooh, Dixie

        “This thread has wandered off (degenerated?) into general political theory”

        Inseparable under Post Normal Science, which calls for “Democracy”, and the UNFCCC Objective.

    • i’ve weeded out some, will go back and do it again, thx

      • Judith,

        I don’t know how hard it was for her to do it, and don’t if your blogging software will support it, but Lucia managed to control the “yes you are, no I’m not” petty arguments by implementing some sort of automatic “time out” feature. Bascially, you are allowed a certain number of comments within a certain amount of time. If you exceed your allotment, you get a “time out”.

        She also experimented with some sort of “troll control” software, but not sure she got it to work. That’s a shame, since I think it could have been put to good use on this thread. (Troll defined as someone who tries to start an argument rather that to intellegently participate.)

      • If the troll control works anything like the spam filter, you won’t get many false negatives, but you’ll get a lot of false positives. If you notice, the spam filter here frequently catches valid comments. But it does an excellent job of catching the Viagra ads.

  29. Rob Starkey

    Diringer writes-
    U.S. inaction on climate change exposes our nation to real and rising risks.

    My question:
    Can someone please specify what the risks to the United States are that are rising due to climate change?

    Diringer writes-
    The longer we delay action, the harder it will be to avert the worst consequences of warming, the higher the cost of coping with those that can not be avoided, and the further we fall behind in the clean energy race.

    My question:
    Can some please explain what the “worst consequences” that Diringer writes about are for the USA that can be avoided by taking action now and how can these “worst consequences be avoided?

    Diringer writes-
    Taking steps now to expand clean energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions is squarely in our strong national interest.

    My question:
    I would agree if it meant building a power infrastructure that eliminated the countries need to import oil in 20 years, but otherwise, I do not see the case.

    • Excisely! Our motto would be better as, “2,100 (ppm) by 2100!” based on the recorded history of boom times for humanity and the rest of the planet’s flora and fauna when temps and CO2 improve (rise).

      • Rob Starkey

        LOL… personally I would not support such a goal since I have no reliable data to show that the warmer world would be better for the US.

        I would sure support “no imported oil by 2030.” This could actually be achieved, but it would have HUGE worldwide political ramifications if we actually did it.

      • randomengineer

        You’d still have the US in the middle east because all of the trading partners etc that make the US economy work need that oil. There would be no real difference from today other than the empty claim of using up our oil vs their oil.

        And no you can’t let the smaller partners figure it out. The last great war got started when Japan was embargoed and Stalingrad 1941 was about the push for the oil fields.

        So yes, you are absolutely correct — huge worldwide problems.

      • Rob Starkey

        Random wrote:
        “There would be no real difference from today other than the empty claim of using up our oil vs their oil.”

        My response
        It would have the extremely large benefit of stopping the outflow of US capital that would then be spent domestically. It is interesting to see a point where we do not fully agree.

      • randomengineer

        It would have the extremely large benefit of stopping the outflow of US capital that would then be spent domestically. It is interesting to see a point where we do not fully agree.

        …and yet I agree fully on the benefit. Where I think we disagree is that I reckon the average voter to be vapid enough (individually voters are clever, but in herds tend to function as per Asimov’s “psychohistory”) to try to end US involvement overseas, not quite grasping that in this one case “the long haul” means until 2070 or so whether we like it or not.

        As such I think we’re better off in the short term with *slower* domestic increase solely in the interest of foreign policy strategy.

        Of course I could also be wrong.

      • Hi Rob – Stopping the outflow of capital isn’t in and of itself a worthy objective, IMO, as that capital gets the US a critical resource. It is beneficial only if we can produce energy here at home more cheaply than buying it from overseas or, more realistically, from Canada and Mexico, the largest suppliers to the US. We in the US get between 21-25% of crude from the Middle East. All I’m saying is we should get our energy the cheapest way possible and spend the savings on something else – or maybe save and invest it. Oil is fungible, so they can’t stop selling it to us even if they wanted to.

      • Rob Starkey

        Jim/Random

        I actually agree with Random’s analysis that if the US were to discontinue importing oil that it would have a massive impact of international relations because so much of the world relies on being able to spend US dollars. It really doesn’t matter from an economic standpoint very much if the US capital flows to the Middle East or to Mexico/Canada. (that is actually being overly simplistic since if Mexico/Canada have more to spend a larger percentage of their spending goes to the US rather than if a middle east country has the money.)

        On Jim’s point that is doesn’t matter as long as we get a valuable resource, that is not quite true. Economically, it really matters a very great deal. If the dollars currently being given to Saudi Arabia were given to a US supplier of oil (or an alternate energy source) then that income (profit) would be re-spent in other areas of the US economy. The impact on the US economy would truly be vast. There would be a corresponding decline in the economies of the rest of the world. They would not be very happy about that. If you have been to the Middle East recently you will note all the new building. Most of that is only possible due to our outflow of capital. If the oil was “mined” domestically, that investment would be done here.

        You can make a pretty solid case that it is in the US’s best LONG TERM interest to delay the use of its limited energy resources, but that case is at the expense of those around today in the US.

      • “If the dollars currently being given to Saudi Arabia were given to a US supplier of oil (or an alternate energy source) then that income (profit) would be re-spent in other areas of the US economy. The impact on the US economy would truly be vast. There would be a corresponding decline in the economies of the rest of the world.”

        This couldn’t be more wrong. On several levels. Petroleum is a fungible commodity in a global market.

        First, If the US stopped buying oil from Saudia Arabia, or any other country, then that country would…sell its oil to somebody else.

        Second, the primary impact of increasing U.S. production would be a decrease in the cost of oil (and therefore gasoline) in the U.S. A secondary effect would be a decline in the cost of oil/energy in the rest of the world. Everyone would benefit, not just the U.S. There’s this thing called supply and demand….

        And third, it would not matter who purchased the newly produced U.S. oil, the effect on the U.S. economy would remain the same if we sold a billion barrels a day to foreign countries, or ourselves. The issue is not where the U.S. buys its petroleum, but how much petroleum the U.S. extracts and sells on the market.

        Progressives swoon over the thought of rising energy costs, but the reality is that the whole energy consuming world would benefit from increased U.S. production, no matter who purchased the resulting fuel. Declining energy costs would be a boon to the world economy, not just our own.

      • Another way the U.S. could stimulate its economy in the oil business would be to increase its refining capacity. Greens have killed new refineries almost as thoroughly as they have killed new nuclear power plants. Where the U.S. could save a lot of money, and directly boost our economy, would be in not just extracting petroleum, but in adding value through refining the oil here.

        Both increased extraction, and increased refining here, would not just reduce the cost of gas by increasing global supply, but would also reduce the transportation costs of the finished product. That secondary benefit would overwhelmingly accrue to the U.S. economy, more so than an increase in extraction.

      • Rob Starkey

        Gary
        I largely agree with your comment, with the exception that countries currently exporting oil would not like higher worldwide supply and lower revenue. Their economies would be hurt. It would seem wise from a US perspective to minimize our domestic use of oil to the maximum amount economically possible and shifting to things like nuclear where possible so that the oil we have lasts as long as possible.

      • Rob – Check out what happened when Ghandi implemented Swadeshi – the philosophy of self-sufficiency. That is, no foreign trade, source everything locally. The economy went down the toilet. Like capitalism and free markets, foreign trade helps everyone, including us in the US, by expanding the global economic pie. Again, economic self-sufficiency has been tried in India, the result was that millions more than otherwise starved. Read up on it.

      • And the reason why it’s not going to happen is that it would mean developing natural gas production and liquefaction and oil production using fracking, and that’s going to be blocked by … cui bono?

      • Rob Starkey

        It would also require fielding large number of modern nuclear power plants- something very logical, that emotions and not science disallows happening

    • Rob –
      Every one of those Diringer statements is couched in emotional language with no specific defined solutions. They appeal to the gullible and encourage the transfer of unlimited cash and power to those who would be entrusted to resolve the “problems”. IOW, “Trust me – and send cash.” It’s a classic con game that I was taught before I got out of grade school.

      Those statements would be just as valid and more believable in this form –

      “U.S. action on climate change, via recently proposed formats, expose our nation to real and rising risks”

      “The longer we delay action, the easier it will be to adapt to the consequences of climate change, the lower the cost of coping with whatever consequences occur, and the further along we can be in developing clean energy.”

      “Taking steps now to expand clean energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions is squarely in our strong national interest as long as we do not eliminate our present energy capacity without immediate robust replacement”

      Just as valid, cheaper, involves less ultimate risk, does not require a complete re-ordering of society, avoids the coming “oil crash” and is compatible with the present (and probably future) international political situation.

  30. Congratulations, skeptics!

    It is my impression this evening that science is starting to advance again, as the Western economies crumble and political leaders realize that the future of their political power depends on how quickly that can abandon the fabricated illusion that the violently unstable neutron star in the core of the Sun has less influence on Earth’s changing climate than CO2!

    See PhysOrg.com news stories and AGW anger vented here:

    http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-05-forest-fragmentation-threatens-europe-species.html

    http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-05-dead-galaxies.html

    http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-05-probing-extreme-neutron-stars.html

    • Joe Lalonde

      Oliver,

      Physics still has no grasp on circular motion, nor planetary shapes and the differences in sizes and energies from equator to poles.
      As far as physics and science is concerned, the planets don’t move and are fixed objects in a lab or computer model. Only one temperature calculation for the difference in distance at the equator to the poles.

  31. St Petersburg Times, Monday, January 1, 1979

    Prediction:warming trend until year 2000, then very cold
    http://bit.ly/lKNUly

  32. Pooh, Dixie

    Re: Steven Hayward
    “He concludes by recommending the Hartwell paper and Pielke Jr’s book The Climate Fix.”

    The Hartwell Paper, Page 27-28: “The Kaya Identity shows that there are four – and four only – macroscale policy levers in pursuit of emissions reductions. These are, respectively, population, wealth, energy intensity (meaning units of energy per unit of GDP) and carbon intensity (meaning the amount of carbon produced per unit of energy). Each of these factors is amenable to the action of a particular lever and each lever prescribes a particular approach to policy. In the case of population, the lever is population management. In the case of wealth, the lever is to reduce the size of the economy. In the case of energy intensity, the lever is to increase energy efficiency. And for carbon intensity, a switch to energy sources that generate fewer emissions is the primary lever.”
    “Our strategy is to find ways to pull the levers of energy and carbon intensity.”
    Opinion: The Kaya Identity is a really scary reference. The scary part is “population management”. (In for a dime, in for a dollar.) Once the “Identity” principle is accepted, the other levers may be engaged whether or not the Hartwell authors agree. The Club of Rome and John Holdren have advocated this in various forms; Stalin (Ukraine) and Hitler (western Russia) implemented it. (It would be an attractive method of managing the cost of entitlements.) Wealth is easily minimized through taxes and economic recession.

  33. Pooh, Dixie

    In my opinion, there are three essentials:
    1) Accessible raw data with demonstrable integrity, together with corresponding queries and code used to process it. This supports repeatability and audits of conclusions.
    2) Understanding (normal science) of the climate system, including ocean and atmospheric currents and heat transport (with their lags), clouds and other albedo sources, external inputs beyond TSI, the effects of land use and UHI, etc.
    3) Absolute separation of the science from the rewards of government policy.

    Somewhere else, defunding the IPCC and UNFCCC was suggested. If that were done, there should be enough resources to support #2.

  34. I’m going to dip my toe into this one….

    Years ago, when I had followed mainstream concern about global warming, I was extremely dissappointed that the US had not joined the Kyoto ageement. It seemed the sort of selfish unilateral behaviour that was making it a world pariah. At the very least it seemed to me that global warming concern was a political motivator to get different countries around the world to act for t he common good – to avoid the tragedy of the commons.

    Even as some doubts began to grow surrounding some of the conclusions pertaining to the science, I still felt that the opportunity for humanity to set aside petty differences and unite was too good to pass up.

    I think the principle of Kyoto was a good one, but it has now been completely undermined by the rashness of a cabal of scientists who have behaved extremely unprofessionally in my opinion. You cannot fashion that sort of political unity on a lie, however good the intentions.

    I have no doubt that our politicians are aware of the uncertainties and doubtfulness of the ‘consensus’ position. They may not admit it, but their focus is entirely on national self-interest even if they make pronouncements on the importance of ‘tackling climate change’. In the wake of this and the slow fallout and realisation that the AGW is losing traction and credibility, we are left with a lingering suspicion about anything we are told by authority, and our focus shrinks to what affects us directly, with little tolerance for ‘the big picture’.

    No world peace in my time then. Sigh.

    • Agnostic,

      Be thankful, last time there was “peace in our time,” we had a world war.

    • These quotes from AGENDA 21 show the problem:

      “Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human impacts on the environment.”

      “Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the Statement of principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests were adopted by more than 178 Governments at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, 3 to 14 June 1992.”

      http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21/

  35. One hundred and seventy-eight (178) Governments at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development were sold a load of garbage in June 1992, ling before most of us heard of global warming.

    • Bad Andrew

      Oliver,

      It would be interesting to trace back to the genesis of the current Global Warming movement to when exactly the first claims were made and by whom. Has anyone ever done that type of investigation and made a chronology of subsequent related events?

      Andrew

      • http://www.noaa.gov/newsarchive.html
        NOAA’s news archive goes back through 1995 and into 1994
        that might be worth looking through to cover the most recent years.

      • Thanks, Alex (1:56 pm and 2:35 pm).

        You are, as usual, right on both accounts

        1. AGENDA 21 does not mention Global Warming or CO2.

        That document “adopted by more than 178 Governments at the United Nations Conference” in June 1992 merely outlines the agenda for the global warming scare.

        2. NOAA’s News Archive (Oct 1994-present) may show the development of AGW, the global warming scare.

        Thanks for providing that link!

      • Pooh, Dixie

        A few references to “Global Warming” history:

        Global warming controversy
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_controversy
        I was pleasantly surprised to find this fairly even-handed (in that it mentions the positions on both sides). Judge the net tilt for yourself.

        The Discovery of Global Warming
        http://www.aip.org/history/climate/timeline.htm
        Approx 1824 – 2009. Additional external “influences” from the 1950s to the 1970s are covered at the bottom.

        Global Warming: The Origin and Nature of the Alleged Scientific Consensus (Spencer, 1992)
        http://www.cato.org/pubs/regulation/regv15n2/reg15n2g.html
        Definitely not a proponent, as early as 1992. The tone is that of one that is royally ticked off. A couple of examples of censorship of skeptical views, which may explain why wikipedia found few skeptical peer-reviewed articles.

        Many references 1978 – 1992 through Google:
        http://www.google.com/search?q=%22global+warming%22+1978..1992&hl=en&authuser=0&num=10&lr=&ft=i&cr=&safe=images&tbs=#q=%22global+warming%22+1978..1992&hl=en&lr=&authuser=0&prmd=ivnsbl&ei=LNXnTZGsMKHV0QG7-7iKCw&start=20&sa=N&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=b9a170b3bd386730&biw=1230&bih=609

      • Thanks for the links, guys.

        What I’d like to find out is what Agency first prompted what News Outlet with the Global Warming Story. You know, what date it happened, what the specific claims were, that kind of thing. I know it would take some digging, but I’m soooo curious about it now.

        Andrew

      • At all started with noted statist and notorious media hound Jean Baptiste Fourier. Historical reconstructions tell us it went down like this:

        The year was 1824. Jean Baptiste Fourier sat stooped over in his study, when he felt a thrill of fear at the approach of a rasping, metal-on-metal sound. All too soon, the Grand Wizard appeared before him.

        “Sir Newton” Fourier asked with a slight shiver of fear, wondering if he would ever get used to the unnatural steam-powered apparatus that prolonged the life of Isaac, the greatest of the European Illuminati. “How may your humble servant assist you?”

        “Fourier, we need you to fabricate something called a “greenhouse effect” saying that CO2 warms the planet.”

        “CO2!” Fourier was shocked. “But it’s a harmless trace gas!”

        “I know, Fourier, and of course, all clear-thinking minds know intuitively that a large and important effect cannot proceed from a small cause. To maintain this deception, we will have the falsify vast amount of scientific data for the next two centuries. But we must convince the ignorant that this is so.”

        “But my master, why?”

        “Wheels within wheels, my son. Wheels within wheels.”

        Flash forward to 1989. James Hansen is in his lab, working on Vensuvian climatology. Steven Hawking enters, making use, far from the prying eyes of the public, of the cybernetic body suit designed for him by Robert Noyce in Atlantis.

        “It’s time, James. All our work with Fourier, Tyndall, Arrhenius and thousands of lesser scientists in about to bear fruit. You – you will have the honor of unveiling to the public the theory of anthropogenic global warming!”

        “I still don’t understand, Hawk. Why must we go forward with this deception? What will it achieve?”

        “Don’t you understand yet, James? All our preparations and planning has been for this – to give the world no choice but to raise taxes!”

        “But why?”

        “To destroy the free world! After which I will return to the use of my family name, Darvos, and be free to design a race of pitiless cyborgs to enslave the galaxy! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! EX-TER-MIN-ATE! “

      • I was looking for a serious answer, Robert.

        Andrew

      • He doesn’t have any of those, BA

      • From Robert?
        lol.

      • Try asking a serious question instead of tinfoil-hat nonsense.

      • Robert,

        I’m simply asking for a little history. I’m not sure why you have a problem with that.

        Andrew

      • That history is as accurate as anything you are going to get starting from the frankly paranoid assumption that an “Agency” prompted a “News Outlet” (really strange words to capitalize, BTW) with “the Global Warming Story” (there it is again).

        What “Agency” prompted what “News Outlet” with the “Evolution by Natural Selection Story”?

      • Rob Starkey

        Robert

        Please consider the following. I’d appreciate your honest perspective.

        Given that Kyoto is dead and
        1. There is no evidence that the 200 nations here are planet earth are going to joinly implement any policies the will preclude the continuing rise of CO2

        2. What sense does it make for an individual country to take actions that will cost its citizens, but will have no impact on reducing global CO2.

      • Rob,

        We should probably try to keep this discussion where it started. I’ll quote your post and respond over there.

      • Pooh, Dixie

        Try this, remembering that part of the CAGW story is a confluence of interests, reinforcing each other over time.
        In the reference below, search for “Callendar” in 1938.
        The Public and Climate Change
        http://www.aip.org/history/climate/public.htm#L_M008

        This reference also cites the Dust Bowl as a wake-up call. However, the real driver turned out to be poor land management:
        Sykes, Frank. 1946. Humus and the Farmer. London: Faber and Faber limited. (LOC, S493 .S98)

        If you are looking for the start of the current frenzy, consult the heading Threats of Climate Disaster (Early 1970s) It cites “Silent Spring”, (Rachel Carson 1962) as a catalyst, and then the rise of organized environmentalism.
        “The first Earth Day, held in 1970, marked the emergence of environmentalism into powerful political action.” and “The risk of global warming, they (Study of Critical Environmental Problems) declared, was “so serious that much more must be learned about future trends of climate change.””

        The remainder of The Public and Climate Change is, IMO, well worth the read. The role of scientists and the media is documented.

      • Fascinating link, Pooh. Thanks very much.

      • Yes, thank you for the link, Poo. That’s close to what I was looking for.

        Andrew

      • BA and others, if you are interested in the wider social history of the compulsive catastrophism (perhaps I should say chicken-littleism) that underlies the irrationality of warmism, read Kesten Green’s structured analysis of (I paraphrase) Big Scary Predictions That Have Yet To Come True?

        http://kestencgreen.com/green%26armstrong-agw-analogies.pdf

        He studies unfulfilled scares like Eugenics (hunter’s favourite), Y2K, DDT (shown to be far less toxic than claimed, and certainly not such as to justify the immense loss of African life that its forced discontinuance brought about – by Al Gore among others – entailed) and a delightfully quaint mid 19th century alarm that the world was running out of shipping timbers. All were, like CAGW, perverse extensions of “settled” science, which led to irrational conclusions. All turn out, on later examination, to rest on unfalsifiable argument. All were attended by strident appeals to the Precautionary Principle. More importantly for any scientist with ambitions to influence public policy, Green systematically charts the results of legislative efforts to forfend the calamity. It’s not encouraging. The result tends to be that worthless and costly legislation festers on the statute books, because although nobody believes the scare any more, so many did during its currency that it can’t be openly disavowed.

      • Ah… I went to read the “A Personal Note” section and I knew I had read those words somewhere before. Someone on another blog recommended I read Spencer Weart’s book a year or two ago. That’s in it.

        Andrew

  36. randomengineer:
    http://www.aiche.org/About/Centennial/Mini/Profiles/gore.aspx
    you need a different example to illustrate your point.

    even as you need to acknowledge that the unprofitable projects with great funding cause market distortions which have negative consequences. do the cost/benefit calculations with that data included.