Climate policy discussion thread

by Judith Curry

There are several topics in the news regarding climate policy, that I am trying to follow and understand.

Legal challenge to the U.S. EPA

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit heard arguments for a set of challenges to EPA’s various rules in applying the Clean Air Act to greenhouse gases.

From Greenwire:

“This is one of the most complex and consequential sets of cases in the history of environmental law,” said Michael Gerrard, director of the Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School. “It involves not just one project, industry or regulation, but a whole structure of interlocking regulations that affect broad swaths of the economy.”

There are four principal rules under the legal microscope before the court, although two, the “timing” and “tailoring” rules, have been consolidated into one case.

Arguments over the “endangerment” rule, which focuses on EPA’s initial decision in which it held that greenhouse gases are harmful, and the “tailpipe” rule, which adopts new standards for car and light-truck emissions, will be argued tomorrow.

The tailoring rule interprets the Clean Air Act in such a way that only major polluters are required to obtain permits for greenhouse gas emissions. That rule is considered the most vulnerable to legal attack because EPA was forced to effectively rewrite the Clean Air Act in order to prevent the regulations from applying to nonindustrial sources like schools and apartment buildings.

A summary of the opponents’ arguments can be found at Scientific American.  An assessment of the arguments is provided by  Volokh:

For instance, given Mass v. EPA it is difficult to argue that the EPA Administrator was wrong to conclude that the emission of greenhouse gases cause or contribute to air pollution that could be reasonably anticipated to threaten health or welfare.  Yet this is one of the claims the industry groups have to make if they are to succeed.  Similarly, it will be difficult to challenge the substance of the EPA’s rules governing GHG emissions from motor vehicles.

The more serious challenge to the EPA comes from the challenges to the so-called “tailoring rule” which is the EPA’s effort to apply some of the Clean Air Act’s stationary source provisions to greenhouse gases.  The reason this challenge is more serious is because the EPA looked at the statutory requirements of these provisions and realized that implementation of the Act, as written, was impossible.  The statutory thresholds that determine what facilities are covered are low enough that, when applied to GHGs, they increase the number of regulated facilities over 140-fold, according to EPA.  The administrative costs of trying to process this many permits threatens to grind the EPA’s air office – and state air permitting authorities — to a halt.  So, the EPA is trying to rewrite the relevant Clean Air Act provisions by administrative fiat.  In the alternative, the EPA has argued, regulatory agencies would have to hire hundreds of thousands of new regulators to handle the permit applications.  The problem for EPA is that the relevant emission thresholds are expressly written into the Clean Air Act, and there is no provision giving the EPA authority to modify these limits. So, what the EPA is asking for authority to do, is rewrite the law by administrative fiat — something no federal agency has the authority to do.  This puts the D.C. Circuit in a tough place: either let EPA rewrite the law, or enforce a statutory provision that threatens to shut down the agency.  Further evidence the Supreme Court was wrong in Mass. v. EPA, particularly when it suggested that applying the Clean Air Act to GHGs would pose no problems.

A group of scientists have written an op-ed supporting the EPA against legal challenges, which can be found at Climate Science Watch.  The usual arguments:  climate change is real, and dangerous.  The list of  scientists:  Ken Caldeira, Julia Cole, Andrew Dessler, Jacqueline Mohan, Michael Oppenheimer, Ted Scambos.

Changing paradigms

Strengthening social resistance to climate change is a new initiative at the World bank. “According to the World Bank , to this end, it promotes State-level climate change action planning; disaster risk reduction and the implementation of land development activities, especially at the municipal level; and community-level sustainable forest management.”

BanglaWire has an article Climate Change: Paradigm Shift Needed?  Excerpts:

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which was signed and ratified almost two decades ago to tackle the threat of human induced interference in the global atmosphere, has gone through several paradigm shifts over the last two decades. It is on the brink of making a new paradigm shift on the issue of “Loss and Damage” from climate change. The issues are described below.

The UNFCCC, as a treaty, is designed to deal with the two paradigms of preventing dangerous climate change and not with dealing with damages after they occur.

Nevertheless, some vulnerable developing countries, led by the small island states, have been pushing for a work programme to be undertaken under the UNFCCC on “Loss and Damage” for some years. It has been strongly resisted by the developed countries, as they fear it will open up the twin taboo subjects (from their perspective) of dealing with “liability” and “compensation.”

However, at the sixteenth Conference of Parties (COP16) of the UNFCCC held in Cancun, Mexico in 2010, the small island sates were strongly supported by the least developed countries (LDC) group (with the Bangladesh delegation playing a key role) and succeeded in getting some language into the Cancun Agreement on loss and damage.

This was further developed into a “work programme on loss and damage” at COP18 held in Durban in December 2011, again with strong support from the LDCs with the Bangladesh delegation playing a leading role.

The Durban Work Programme on loss and damage consists of the following three thematic areas:

Thematic area 1: Assessing the risk of loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change and the current knowledge on the same.

Thematic area 2: A range of approaches to address loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, including impacts related to extreme weather events and slow onset events, taking into consideration experience at all levels.

Thematic area 3: The role of the convention in enhancing the implementation of approaches to address loss and damage associated with adverse effects of climate change.

The population problem

A primary cause of increasing CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing population. Philip Cafaro has a provocative paper on the subject, entitled Climate ethics and population policy:

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, human population growth is one of the two primary causes of increased greenhouse gas emissions and accelerating global climate change. Slowing or ending population growth could be a cost effective, environmentally advantageous means to mitigate climate change, providing important benefits to both human and natural communities. Yet population policy has attracted relatively little attention from ethicists, policy analysts, or policy makers dealing with this issue. In part, this is because addressing population matters means wading into a host of contentious ethical issues, including family planning, abortion, and immigration. This article reviews the scientific literature regarding voluntary population control’s potential contribution to climate change mitigation. It considers possible reasons for the failure of climate ethicists, analysts, and policy makers to adequately assess that contribution or implement policies that take advantage of it, with particular reference to the resistance to accepting limits to growth. It explores some of the ethical issues at stake, considering arguments for and against noncoercive population control and asking whether coercive population policies are ever morally justified. It also argues that three consensus positions in the climate ethics literature regarding acceptable levels of risk, unacceptable harms, and a putative right to economic development, necessarily imply support for voluntary population control.

PeakOil has an article entitled Time to tackle the ‘last taboo’ of contraception and climate.  Excerpts:

Finding a way to put the environmental impact of population and women’s reproductive health more prominently on the climate change agenda is increasingly urgent, experts said in Washington this week.

Suggesting a strong connection between family planning and the environment often risks an explosion in the highly charged political landscape of climate talks, meaning the word “population” is rarely heard, observed speakers on a panel assembled by the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program (ECSP).

210 responses to “Climate policy discussion thread

  1. Stopping EPA is the last step in shutting down US CAGW policy.

  2. “This puts the D.C. Circuit in a tough place: either let EPA rewrite the law, or enforce a statutory provision that threatens to shut down the agency.”

    Surely a court must rule on a strict legal basis, not on whether it makes fools of the politicians who passed the legislation, or discommodes the bureaucrats.

    But I guess courts everywhere have a politician whispering in their ear….

  3. Just like CO2 harm, it seems that the fundamental assumptions of the Green cabal about population are about to be detonated by reality:

    Depopulation by birth shortage in almost all the world — except the US; huge male child imbalances throughout Asia; falling lifespan in Russia.

  4. David Springer

    Mass v. EPA wrong according to NASA scientists caught in candid moment in May 2011 press release. My emphasis.

    http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/scitech/display.cfm?ST_ID=2385

    May 26, 2011: A team of scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., in partnership with the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, developed a Direct Methanol Fuel Cell technology for future Department of Defense and commercial applications. Recently, USC and the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, which manages JPL for NASA, awarded a license to SFC Energy, Inc., the U.S. affiliate of SFC Energy AG. The non-exclusive license for the technology will facilitate the expansion of the company’s methanol fuel cell products into the U.S. market.

    This novel fuel cell technology uses liquid methanol as a fuel to produce electrical energy, and does not require any fuel processing. Pure water and carbon dioxide are the only byproducts of the fuel cell, and no pollutants are emitted.

    • Yes, David, but unfortunately our government encourages scientists to manipulate, hide or carefully disguise unwanted truths from official reports and must be accidently “caught in candid moment” in press releases and TV recordings like this:

      The problem is not the compliant scientist that reports what is wanted, but frightened world leaders who believe tyrannical control of society is the only way to save themselves and the rest of the world from nuclear annihilation.

  5. The optimal way (balancing ethics, economy and equity) to first slow, and then potentially reverse, population growth is to increase the economic status of the poor, esp. in developing countries. This means accepting that the concentration of CO2 would continue to increase for a while. However, at some point the rate of population growth would level and then begin to decrease. As a strategy, this is open to the criticism that it will take too long. However, the rate of T change is such that that seems to be a canard. For those who argue that it won’t or can’t happen, they ignore two things:
    • We are in the midst of the greatest transfer of wealth in all of history – from the US to its foreign debt holders.
    • The very real increase in incomes in China and India.

    • David Springer

      The total number of children under 15 years of age has been stable at 2 billion since 1990. This is the source of the widely accepted estimate of global human population stabilizing at 9 billion souls in the year 2050 which is enough time for those now 15 and below to grow up and produce one child each which will then grow up to produce one child each and so on in a stable population. In wealthier nations they produce less than one child each so increasing incomes in India and China will actually lead to negative world population growth since the population under 15 years of age has been stable for over 20 years. Anything between now and 2050 that reduces the reproductive rate will result in negative population growth.

      Most people do not understand that reproductive rate reached break-even in 1990 because the entire population is still growing. The distinction between the two metrics eludes them.

  6. “This puts the D.C. Circuit in a tough place: either let EPA rewrite the law, or enforce a statutory provision that threatens to shut down the agency.”

    The law was badly written and it is up to Congress to fix it. The simplest fix would be to repeal.

    • David Springer

      No doubt. When the republicans gain control of the Senate in 1990 the congress will need to pass a law which defines CO2 a non-pollutant and thus outside the regulatory control of the EPA. It’s a perversion of the intent of the law to let it come under EPA regulation in the first place. If the president (should Obama be re-elected) refuse to sign it into law there should be a large enough majority in congress (read sane members) to pass it without presidential approval.

      • David Springer

        oops – still had 1990 on the brain from previous comment. Meant to say when republicans control both houses of congress in 2013.

      • Doubtful with the weak GOP presidential field, and now Snowe retiring.

        Overall, the limited appeal of the GOP (angry white men and women who think women using contraception are “sluts” or “prostitutes”) will condemn them to a minority position in the electorate going forward unless they radically revamp their message — which hopeful will include ditching science denial and ill-judged attacks on clean air and water.

      • John Carpenter

        Heh… Hey Robert, heh…so… nice… to hear from you…. again.

        Where you been? Oh well, nevermind… I guess the important part is…. your back… heh. Just remember that New Years resolution you made… right? Ok…. well… be seeing you around… again… I guess… bye.

      • David Springer

        Robert

        It’s inevitable. There are far more Democrats than Republicans up for relection and congressional approval rating is in the toilet. When the approval rating is in the toilet the trend is always towards replacing the incumbents. This will inevitably lead to far greater losses for Democrats due to the simple fact that there are far more Democrat incumbents this year. It’s writ in granite. Get used to the idea of Republican majorities in both houses of congress for at least 2 years. I think it’s more likely than not that Obama will also be replaced but that’s not writ in granite.

      • David Springer

        Robert

        Few of us care whether a woman chooses to use birth control pills or not. We simply object to forcing others to pay for her choice. The ease and ability to have sex without worrying about getting pregnant is recreational in nature. Would you have a federal mandate that sunscreen be paid for by all health care plans too? How about water skis? Or gas for my boat? If I don’t use birth control pills yet my insurance premium goes to paying for the pill for others shouldn’t I get to choose something equally frivolous of equal cost? Thanks. I knew you’d be fair about it. I’ll take $100 worth of gas in my boat each month in lieu of birth control pills.

        Have a great day! :)

  7. Another reason to abolish the EPA as it exists.

    “Climate policy” is again the “assumption close” invoked by used car salesmen of the worst sort for a century; “would you like the red one or the silver one miss?” How about “I don’t want any of them”.

    We have little but speculation on climate and human impacts forget “policy”. The science community that injects this political technique should be rebuked and rejected. They diminish science.

    The EPA are infested with activist greens, Obama trolls. It’s sad sack all around. The UN can stuff Agenda 21, naturally.

    • David Springer

      Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. I still remember when living in Southern California meant that anything left outside for long turned black from smog settling on it and little kids were getting lead poisoning from ingesting lead-based paint chips and host of other evils. If you’re old enough to recall the pre-EPA days and have a triple digit IQ you should know it isn’t all bad.

      • What about “as it exists” don’t you understand David?

      • The EPA threw the baby out and kept the bathwater years ago. Virtually everything they have done in the last 20 years has been regressive, unscientific and harmful to the general public.

      • David Springer

        cwon14

        mibad

      • David Springer

        There was a time when the EPA was an environmental protection agency, getting rid of real pollution, as you write.

        Today’s EPA has become a bloated bureaucracy, intent on carrying out a political (not environmental) agenda.

        Getting rid of today’s EPA will not plunge LA (or any other city) into a deep smog. Those days are over.

        EPA actually had little to do with getting rid of the LA smog. It was primarily the work pf the LAAPCD, long before EPA existed..

        Max

      • Max, Again, it is truly pathetic reading a Swiss Miss constantly taking potshots against some aspects of the USA’s regulatory system. We all know that you are taking it out based on how hen-pecked you are WRT to the regulations you have to endure. This is rich. You could complain about your own situation but you know how many people would care? Like zero?

      • Good coment. Big problems existed with real pollution in the air and rivers. Sewage treated to basic levels and dumped in downstream water users drinking sources. Industrial chemicals dumped in rivers. Large emissions of acid precursers from coal fired power plants. EPA did good but now lost it’s way in going after carbon instead of real pollution.

  8. Ja Danke AtomKraft & Our Friend, The Carbon Atom and two Oxygen Atoms-Together Again.
    ================

    • Oops, climate policy not energy policy, kim. You’ve blown a fuse. And now you can’t say anything about climate policy because you know nothing for sure about climate.
      ===================

  9. and the “tailpipe” rule, which adopts new standards for car and light-truck emissions, will be argued tomorrow.

    Chasing the tailpipe rule in court is a ‘dead horse’. Congress spoke specifically to the question of CAFE standards in the Energy Security Act of 2007. EPA is merely carrying out ‘Congressional Intent’. Of course the ‘court case’ shifts the anger people may have at their congress critters for voting for such a law to the EPA.
    http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h110-6

    Finding a way to put the environmental impact of population and women’s reproductive health more prominently on the climate change agenda is increasingly urgent

    The current fertility rates in the ‘developed world’ are pretty much at ‘replacement’.

    The ‘Saudi Experiment’ of ‘Universal Education for Girls’ resulted in a drop in Fertility rate from 6 to 2.5 in a single generation. An almost unbelievable success story given how ‘socially conservative’ Saudi Arabia is.

    People can talk about ‘reproductive health’ and ‘contraception’ all they want as a solution to the worlds ‘population’ problem. The fact remains that illiterate girls will not insist that an ‘illiterate boy’ thinking with his ‘little head’ wear a condom, nor will they themselves use contraception.

    Illiterate girls in undeveloped countries measure the ‘value of their life’ by how many children they have. Why ‘rich educated people’ can not understand the fundamental fact that the only thing of ‘value’ poor people have is their children is beyond me.

    • It’s always been and always will be social security.
      ====================================

    • “Illiterate girls in undeveloped countries measure the ‘value of their life’ by how many children they have.”

      I suppose that’s why the Santorums have seven kids . . . and why they regard college education as a liberal plot against their worldview.

      • Are you some kind of shrewish, vegan, dark-glasses and skinny-pants, angry atheist, anti-capitalist progressive who sits and stews in the dark because too many of us are breeding, consuming, and worshiping some God?

  10. “it is difficult to argue that the EPA Administrator was wrong to conclude that the emission of greenhouse gases cause or contribute to air pollution that could be reasonably anticipated to threaten health or welfare. ”

    Ban H2O. #1 Greenhouse. #1 air pollution. I hate fog. And rain and mist and steam and …

    • It is actually easy to argue the EPA administrator was wrong to conclude the emission of CO2 is a pollutant when at the same time the EPA administrator needed to raise by administrative fiat the actionable level by a factor of 100 times over the statutory level. The EPA’s arithematic is (wrong + wrong) better than (doing nothing.) That makes the EPA a government of Rulers, not one of Laws.

  11. David Springer

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

    Total annual births were highest in the late 1980s at about 138 million,[6] and are now expected to remain essentially constant at their 2011 level of 134 million, while deaths number 56 million per year, and are expected to increase to 80 million per year by 2040.[7] Current projections show a continued increase in population (but a steady decline in the population growth rate), with the global population expected to reach between 7.5 and 10.5 billion by 2050.

    World population growth declining to zero by 2050 has 20 years of hard evidence to back it up. Only two things might derail it – negative global GDP growth or a cheap medical miracle that extends maximum expected lifespan. The latter may be more likely than you might think …

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mammalian_target_of_rapamycin#Aging

    and the former is likely if the climate alarmists have their way.

  12. David Springer

    Down regulating CO2 emission will (by EPA-accepted reasoning) cause falling temperatures in higher NH latitudes. Falling (or even not-rising) temperatures will result in increased duration and severity of the notorious “cold and flu season”. Colds and flu kill a significant number of weaker individuals (read children and elderly) so in fact by their own reasoning reducing CO2 emission has immediate negative health consequences. The EPA is thus acting against its mandate. QED

  13. David Springer

    Water vapor is a greenhouse gas. I wonder how many man-made things have the potential of emitting 250 tons per year of water vapor? For sure all the parks and golf courses and other artificially irrigated tracts of land will qualify. If they follow the law then drip-irrigation should be the only legal way to irrigate an area larger than about a quarter acre or so. Someone will probably accuse me of reductio ad absurdum but it’s really the Mass vs. EPA decision by the Supreme court which establishes the absurdum and I’m merely adding a bit of reductio to it. :-)

  14. EPA was created to address specific issues, provided with enabling legislation, and given a pot of money from which to work. EPA developed a bureaucracy, Congressional and Environmental Organizational alliances and went about the tasks of scrubbing the environmental pollution that was the legacy of the Industrial Revolution. Job done. Well done; thank you.

    Time has moved on and EPA has undertaken the Herculean task of re-inventing itself to a new purpose, with issues less clearly visible, and alliances that themselves have outgrown their usefulness and now represent stasis instead of progress. EPA monies that were once well demarcated now find niche quarters in NASA, NOAA, and elsewhere, each with its adherents and supporters.

    To me, EPA needs to find a new home, in much smaller quarters, paper shuffling states activities, and with a substantially smaller budget.

    Weather and its distant relative climate belong in NOAA who can contract with NASA to send science satellites whizzing around to improve our understanding of weather.

    Earth science should be offered in academic institutions with emphasis reflecting the job market and kid’s enthusiasm for the subject reflected by whether or not they sign up for the curriculum.

    The CO2 footprint concerns have permeated so many Departments of the Federal Government that advocacy and the growth of elites have dominated the dialogue and resources to the detriment of the issue. Just like the railroads of the 19th Century controlled the dialogue of the Congressional halls, their time has come and passed. So too for the reborn EPA. Rest in peace.

    “Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it.” Primarily because, we don’t know what weather is all about. Small groups, narrowly focused are more likely than not to find solutions to narrow questions, use models to learn “where to dig” and learn more. The big picture is not in the cards any time soon.

    I would like to conclude my Sunday sermon for the congregation that is still left by saying: EPA is not fit for purpose; NOAA is fit for the task of understanding weather, and by extension climate; DOE needs new management.

    • “To me, EPA needs to find a new home, in much smaller quarters, paper shuffling states activities, and with a substantially smaller budget.”

      How about on Tonga? Nice spot. Roughly 0.5% of the agency would fit there nicely. The rest could be put to work helping build the Keystone pipeline and develop the shale oil and gas. Shovel-ready work there.

      Max

      • Manacker, It is really pathetic seeing a Swiss Miss constantly taking potshots against some aspects of the USA’s regulatory system. We all know that you are taking it out based on how hen-pecked you are WRT to the regulations you have to endure. Ha Ha Ha.

  15. Doug Badgero

    The tailoring rule outcome is bigger than the EPA or climate change. The law passed by the representatives of the people says what it says. It does not matter how many sources are affected nor how many people EPA must hire to enforce the rule as written. If EPA insists on defending the endangerment finding then it must enforce it as the statute requires. To do anything else would violate equal protection requirements. To find for EPA would set a frightening precedent that reaches well beyond the climate debate.

  16. “For instance, given Mass v. EPA it is difficult to argue that the EPA Administrator was wrong to conclude that the emission of greenhouse gases cause or contribute to air pollution that could be reasonably anticipated to threaten health or welfare. Yet this is one of the claims the industry groups have to make if they are to succeed.”

    This is simply wrong. It is rare for a litigant to convince a court to overturn the factual findings of a regulator, and that is not what the plaintiffs are doing in the litigation against the EPA. What they are challenging is HOW the EPA reached its conclusions on endangerment. The argument is that the EPA did not follow its own rules requiring it to do the work itself, instead relying completely on the conclusion of a non-scientific body, the IPCC.

    By basing its conclusions on the IPCC’s “assessment” of climate science, the EPA effectively delegated part of its rule making function to a non- US, non-governmental, non-scientific body. That is grounds for reversing the rules. This appellate case is mostly irrelevant, the final legal decision will be made by the Supreme Court. Can the four progressives on the court, plus the often progressive Justice Kennedy, ignore the requirements of EPA’s own rules? Why of course they can.

    The final real decision will be made at the ballot box this November. What the EPA takes away, the Congress can give back. But only if Republicans don’t screw it up, which they could very well do. Heck, they’re about to nominate the one candidate who can’t make any argument against the socialization of medicine in Obama care, which was the main reason they gained so much in 2010. So the court case looks more important than ever now.

    • Billy Ruff'n

      Re. GaryM | March 4, 2012 at 12:00 pm
      “By basing its conclusions on the IPCC’s “assessment” of climate science, the EPA effectively delegated part of its rule making function to a non- US, non-governmental, non-scientific body. That is grounds for reversing the rules.”

      In addition to the delegation of the rule making function, by relying on the IPCC the EPA may have violated it’s own guidelines for the use of “influential information”. See http://www.epa.gov/quality/informationguidelines/documents/EPA_InfoQualityGuidelines.pdf ;
      specifically, Section 6.3 How Does EPA Ensure and Maximize the Quality of “Influential” Information?

      “…..For disseminated influential original and supporting data, EPA intends to ensure reproducibility according to commonly accepted scientific, financial, or statistical standards. It is important that analytic results for influential information have a higher degree of transparency regarding (1) the source of the data used, (2) the various assumptions employed, (3) the analytic methods applied, and (4) the statistical procedures employed. It is also important that the degree of rigor with which each of these factors is presented and discussed be scaled as appropriate, and that all factors be presented and discussed. In addition, if access to data and methods cannot occur due to compelling interests such as privacy, trade secrets, intellectual property, and other confidentiality protections, EPA should, to the extent practicable, apply especially rigorous robustness checks to analytic results and carefully document all checks that were undertaken……”

      By their own admission the EPA relied on the IPCC in development of it’s endangerment finding, but do the IPCC findings meet the EPA standards?

      • Carlin, Alan, and NCEE/OPEI. “Comments on Draft Technical Support Document for Endangerment Analysis for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Under the Clean Air Act”, August 8, 2009. http://www.humanevents.com/downloads-pdfs/Endangerment_comments_v7b.pdf

        We have become increasingly concerned that EPA has itself paid too little attention to the science of global warming. EPA and others have tended to accept the findings reached by outside groups, particularly the IPCC and the CCSP, as being correct without a careful and critical examination of their conclusions and documentation. If they should be found to be incorrect at a later date, however, and EPA is found not to have made a really careful independent review of them before reaching its decisions on endangerment, it appears likely that it is EPA rather than these other groups that may be blamed for any errors. Restricting the source of inputs into the process to these these two sources may make EPA’s current task easier but it may come with enormous costs later if they should result in policies that may not be scientifically supportable.
        We do not maintain that we or anyone else have all the answers needed to take action now. Some of the conclusions reached in these comments may well be shown to be incorrect by future research. Our conclusions do represent the best science in the sense of most closely corresponding to available observations that we currently know of, however, and are sufficiently at variance with those of the IPCC, CCSP, and the Draft TSD that we believe they support our increasing concern that EPA has not critically reviewed the findings by these other groups.
        As discussed in these comments, we believe our concerns and reservations are sufficiently important to warrant a serious review of the science by EPA before any attempt is made to reach conclusions on the subject of endangerment from GHGs. We believe that this review should start immediately and be a continuing effort as long as there is a serious possibility that EPA may be called upon to implement regulations designed to reduce global warming. The science has and undoubtedly will continue to change and EPA must have the capability to keep abreast of these changes if it is to successfully discharge its responsibilities. The Draft TSD suggests to us that we do not yet have that capability or that we have not used what we have.

        Based on TSD Draft of March 9, 2009. Alan Carlin was “retired” shortly thereafter.

      • Alternatively, Carlin, Alan. “Comments on Draft Technical Support Document for Endangerment Analysis for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Under the Clean Air Act (Based on TSD Draft of March 9, 2009).” Scientific Blog. Carlin Economics and Science, March 16, 2009. http://www.carlineconomics.com/files/pdf/end_comments_7b1.pdf

      • Of course, none of this was in the least political nor bureaucratic:

        Kazman, Sam. Letter to Environmental Protection Agency. “Re: Proposed Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases Under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act, Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0171”, June 23, 2009. http://cei.org/cei_files/fm/active/0/Endangerment%20Comments%206-23-09.pdf

        Email # 3: March 17 email from Mr. McGartland to Mr. Carlin, stating that he will not forward Mr. Carlin’s study.
        “The time for such discussion of fundamental issues has passed for this round. The administrator and the administration has decided to move forward on endangerment, and your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision.
        …. I can only see one impact of your comments given where we are in the process, and that would be a very negative impact on our office.”

      • But some aspects were not visible:

        Dinan, Stephen. “Obama Climate Czar Has Socialist Ties.” Washington Times. Washington, D.C., January 12, 2009. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jan/12/obama-climate-czar-has-socialist-ties/

        Until last week, Carol M. Browner, President-elect Barack Obama’s pick as global warming czar, was listed as one of 14 leaders of a socialist group’s Commission for a Sustainable World Society, which calls for “global governance” and says rich countries must shrink their economies to address climate change.

        By Thursday, Mrs. Browner’s name and biography had been removed from Socialist International’s Web page, though a photo of her speaking June 30 to the group’s congress in Greece was still available.

        Screenshot: “Commission for a Sustainable World Society Members as of January 5, 2009.” News. 24Ahead, January 10, 2009. http://24ahead.com/commission-sustainable-world-society-members-january-5-2009

  17. David in Cal

    I wish there were some way for the courts to take magnitude into effect. Even if one believes the warmists’ doomsday models, the actions contemplated by the EPA will have too small an impact to make an appreciable difference in the earth’s temperature.

    Of course, a sensible, public-spirited administrative agency would take magnitude into effect. They wouldn’t propose enormously costly regulations that have virtually no benefit.

  18. “Contraception,” “women’s reproductive health,” and “family planning”

    Such wonderful euphemisms for abortion. We have to kill more third world babies in the womb so they won’t use fossil fuels and mess up our imaginarily fragile climate. Oh, and we’re more than willing to open more Planned Parenthood abortion clinics in the developed world (80 percent of which we locate in “minority” neighborhoods) to show we aren’t the racist eugenicists our hero Margaret Sanger was.

    The “population problem,” like the DDT problem, ozone problem and CO2 problem before it, are all just trojan horses for progressive assertion of power over the economy.

    Notice the eagerness with which the peak oil hysterics embrace the barbarism of “population control,” just as their CAGW fellow travelers did before them.

    • “Suggesting a strong connection between family planning and the environment often risks an explosion in the highly charged political landscape of climate talks”

      Exactly GaryM. It’s just more of “which propaganda slogans are we going to use to try and get what we want.”

      Any actual science departed this scene long ago.

      Andrew

    • For the unique blend of climate denial, ignorance about women’s health, confusing contraception with abortion, and paranoid ravings about “power over the economy” I dub this the comment of the day: http://theidiottracker.blogspot.com/2012/03/idiot-comment-of-day.html.

    • COOL!!! Being dissed by Robert is almost as good as making the bore hole at Real Climate.

      Oh, and for poor Robert, who seems to be the only one who didn’t get the memo, one of the “contraceptives” that are required to be provided by the HHS rules is RU 486. To those who are not blind sycophantic progressives, RU 486 is what is known as an abortifacient. I will leave it to Robert to look up the big word on his own.

  19. The idea of population engineering is anathema. The result of the one baby policy in China has resulted everything from dramatic abortion rates, to episodes of infanticide (due in part to a cultural preference for male children), to creating an entire generation with an artificial imbalance of gender as well as many other highly problematic (to say the least) social issues. We have not yet encountered the social/political results of that last bit. I doubt it will end well.

    Above it was mentioned that improved economics is the solution to population explosions. To my current knowledge, that is correct. There was a fairly comprehensive study of this phenomenon in the nation of Columbia, originating I believe in the late 1960’s. It’s been so long I don’t remember details but essentially, once the population realizes that their children are mostly surviving to adulthood, that the value of children as agricultural workers can be replaced more cheaply/efficiently by equipment and that on balance in a developed economy that children cost rather than produce economic value, birth rates drop quickly and precipitously.

    Anecdotally, my great grandfather (Ebeneezer – I’m not kidding) marrying in rural Kansas in the late 1800’s fathered 14 children (aka, farm hands). His oldest (my grandfather), fathered 9. The following generation coming after the end of the Great Depression, WWII and the rise of the middle class, averaged between 2 and 3. The number is (give or take as I’ve lost touch with a good number of cousins) is now 1.9.

  20. I’ve noticed more and more “enviro/population” stories in the MSM lately. These seem a bit premature. One would think that the population control push would come AFTER cap and trade is set in place.

    Because cap and trade cannot work, and will not result in a cooling of the earth, it would then be necessary to manufacturer a new enemy (population) to explain it’s failure.

    That population control is being openly flouted now reeks of desperation. I think they see that their time is running out, and they are trying to get everything on the table ASAP.

    At least now they are being honest.

    • Jim,

      Cap and trade was always a singular dishonesty in regards to climate. In fact concern about the climate is dishonest in itself as well.

      It’s always the eco-60’s Marxist theme of social controls and rationing for the “common good” at the expense of individual rights.

  21. Judith. You say: “A group of scientists have written an op-ed supporting the EPA against legal challenges, which can be found at Climate Science Watch. The usual arguments: climate change is real, and dangerous.”

    Given that is the case, it would be good if another group of scientists could write an op-ed presenting the arguments that there is very little evidence that CO2 is a major cause of climate change and rebutting the arguments of the first group. At least that way the court will understand that the issue is controversial and contested.

  22. Michael Hart

    Regarding carbon dioxide, I think I must be missing something in the statement:
    “…it is difficult to argue that the EPA Administrator was wrong to conclude that the emission of greenhouse gases cause or contribute to air pollution that could be reasonably anticipated to threaten health or welfare.”

    While the air I exhale from my lungs has more than 100-fold greater carbon dioxide concentration than the air I inhale, it seems reasonable to assume that it does not threaten my health.

    While small increments in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration are not taxed, it seems reasonable to assume that it does not threaten my welfare.

  23. Cato held a policy forum titled, “A Landmark Legal Challenge.
    Reversing the EPA’s Regulation of Carbon Dioxide and other Greenhouse Gases”
    Four petitioners spoke.
    http://www.cato.org/event.php?eventid=9018
    There is a podcast available.

  24. John Whitman

    One of the topics listed by Judith in her post is what she called the population problem.

    The false premise that population is a ‘problem’ is, in modern times, from irrational Malthusian ideology.

    Catastrophic Anthropogenic Population Increase (CAPI – note, I just made that up) is another post normal/postmodern non-scientific miscue from the UNFCCC’s stepchild the IPCC. Discredited CAGW is being used as a template for establishing an agenda for CAPI. How absurd.

    From the extensive blog discussions of how CAGW, via the IPCC ideology and processes, have profoundly biased science and even expanded pseudo-science we can see precisely similar parallels with the CAPI initiative of the IPCC.

    Once the dangerous precedent of the IPCC’s CAGW mandate by the UNFCCC was established it is now very easy for inane ideas like CAPI to flourish.

    Suggestion of authoritarian action into depopulation or population management is just as absurd as attempting the authoritarian control of the planet’s carbon cycle. Authoritarianism is the opposite of a successful solution to population control just like it is for the planetary carbon cycle.

    Authoritarianism in human action cannot achieve effective results. Modern history is the evidence, as is classical economic knowledge.

    John

    • It’s worth noting that at the recent AAAS Annual Meeting, during the webcast on “Science is not enough” of Feb. 18, Dr. Hans Rosling had demonstrated that the world is “already at peak birth”. See:

      http://hro001.wordpress.com/2012/02/17/science-is-not-enough-invitation-to-an-exceptional-aaas-live-webcast/#comment-769

    • Haven’t the neo-Mals dejaed this vu? Back in the 70s, ZPG, and no understanding of the coming predicted and predictable Demographic Transition.

      Now we’re seeing about half the world with population declines (barring mass immigration) and economists worrying who is going to generate the wealth required to support pensions owed to the ‘Boomer bulge’ generation.

      And yest the neo-Mals still don’t understand the Demographic Transition even when it’s here and happening in front of their eyes.

      • Haven’t the neo-Mals dejaed this vu?

        Er… The Population Bomb by Paul R. Ehrlich (1968)

        Humanity is all supposed to have become extinct by now – only somebody didn’t get the word…

        Max

      • Max

        Were not our parents told they are the last to hear birds singing in spring?

        Were not our children told they are the last to know what snow is?

    • Improving education and providing easy access to contraception are not “authoritarian action.”

      Nor is choosing to pollute less.

      • John Whitman

        Robert | March 5, 2012 at 5:43 am
        – – – – – –
        Robert,

        Contraception is easily provided voluntarily and has been from the beginning of the modern open medical processes provided by the free market without any authoritarian action at all at very affordable market prices or even free through voluntary charities. Ergo authoritarian action, in that sense, to provide humanity with contraception is not relevant to reality. Or are you talking about physically forcing certain people against their will to use them; authoritarianism? That is a violation of human beings fundamental inalienable rights.

        Education is not the solution; it is merely a sub-sequential step after the removal of the primary cause which was/is the world view that promotes treating women as mere chattel to be used as breeding stock and domestic labor. The primary cause was/is authoritarianism over women by the mores of mystical societies and male dominated societies. You must shift the philosophy then let voluntary education run its course. Education through authoritarianism is propaganda, n’est ce pas? We know how well propaganda does not work from the climate dialog of CAGW, right?

        I actually have never in my 45 years of wide world travels met anyone or any business who were pro-pollution. If there are disputes then the normal democratic organizations can settle those individual disputes among citizens; they are called law courts..

        The ideological environmentalist’s childish morality play that spins the myth of good children of earth pitted against evil capitalist society is a lie that has outlived the shipwreck of the Marxism that spawned that moronic morality play in the first place. Second only to them in gullibility are the followers of the noble savage moronic morality play.

        Authoritarianism is a petty excuse for mere power plays without the benefit of being effective

        Note: I took the morality play theme from a post at Motl’s Reference Frame blog written by Eric Dennis ‘Selling your soul for a narrative: understanding the Gleick fraud’ on Sunday, March 4 2012. I recommend it.

        John

  25. Dr. Curry: Thanks much for this important and timely thread. I have often thought that population control (reduction) was at the heart of the CAGW agenda.
    I think everyone would agree that the world is overpopulated. At issue is how, going forward, population reduction can best be accomplished. I think it has been amply demonstrated that prosperity brought about by cheap energy dense sources of power is quite naturally lowering birth rates in the developed world without employing draconian measures as eloquently pointed out by Cwon and David. In contrast, saddling the world with windmills and solar panels runs the real risk of global impoverishment which would quite likely accomplish the same thing through other means. Looks like we have a choice to make.

    • John Carpenter

      JIm, as long as we have a choice in the matter. The CAGW agenda is about removing choices and limiting access to energy… as I am sure you already know…. or limiting access to cheap energy. So how we decide to mitigate, if at all, is a question that must be considered by the mass populace, not an elite group who ‘knows’ what is best for everyone. The CAGW group has not made a case the masses are buying… but those who see the opportunity for a power grab are. Those types need to be closely watched. They are interested in the power of ‘the cause’. They are not interested in democratic processes that would hinder their ability to gain power. As long as we proceed using democratic processes, where voters can hold policy/rule makers accountable for legislation, then our climate outcome will be in our hands. However, If government agencies are allowed to change the rules and self legislate for their own purposes, the masses will be disenfranchised and feel resentment. Authoritative processes are likely to fail in the long run. We have time to get this right, there should be no rush. Watch out for those who say we need to act now or who are not willing to debate the issue fairly.

    • >>I think everyone would agree that the world is overpopulated.

      No they wouldn’t. I don’t, for example.

      • k scott denison

        +1

        Anyone claiming to know the world is overpopulated, and then wanting to tell us all how to “fix” this problem, is, IMO, arrogant and dangerous.

      • A theoretical maximum population of the earth, if all energy reaching the earth from the sun were dedicated to that population’s sustenance, is in the quadrillions. That’s about a million times more than the earth currently sustains.

        Obviously, this is practically impossible, but it illustrates that even a tiny increase in the efficiency of our use of that energy, a la Norman Borlaug, would sustain more humans than at present.

        And we haven’t even broached capturing more of the sun’s energy from space, one of the topics of discussion in high school debate this year.
        ==================

      • “soylent green”, anyone? anyone?

    • “I think everyone would agree that the world is overpopulated. At issue is how, going forward, population reduction can best be accomplished. ”

      I don’t. But for thousands of years [at least] people have imagined that the world is overpopulated.
      I would agree that there are too many people in the world who living in poverty. But China and India are making some progress in dealing with this issue in their nations. It seems in retrospect that Nixon [a liberal republican] has done more than any other America President in moving in direction reducing this global poverty. But generally Western Nations have had poor performance in resolving this problem.

      “I think it has been amply demonstrated that prosperity brought about by cheap energy dense sources of power is quite naturally lowering birth rates in the developed world without employing draconian measures as eloquently pointed out by Cwon and David. In contrast, saddling the world with windmills and solar panels runs the real risk of global impoverishment which would quite likely accomplish the same thing through other means. Looks like we have a choice to make.”

      No doubt “windmills and solar panels” are hindrance rather any kind of step in the right direction in regard to anything, and certainly is not helping
      global poverty.
      But the focus on increasing cheap energy, is important way of resolving this issue. The international focus on Hydro dams had some merit in terms of intention, but system used impediment such ideas, breed corruption and the generation of corruption greatly reduces whatever good was accomplished. One can look at Russia and see that the lack technology or shortage energy energy isn’t the issue as much as the corruption and lack of freedom for it’s people.

      It seems computer and cell phone technology has had and will have the greatest effect towards resolving global poverty- because it connects people and means transferring information- it creates free trade and is “educational”. And in terms politics it transform it- more dramatically than what it already done in “advanced” countries.

      Now, if solar energy were say a washable shirt which produced a small amount usable electrical power or could be printed on paper or whatever
      and made anywhere- that kind solar energy would be vastly important in terms poverty.

      • Whether or not the world is overpopulated is a secondary issue. I will cede the point that the “condition” is… subjective. The primary concern is how the efforts at mitigation such as are being currently proposed and enacted will effect the world’s populations.
        During WWII, a group of scientists offered a very serious proposal to help insure the defeat of Nazi Germany. Should we not expect anything less from our present day science community who claim we face a world altering cataclysm. Wind, solar and carbon credits are foolishly inadequate. It would seem anyone with an ounce of intelligence would recognize this folly.
        As a non Scientist, I cannot evaluate the science on its merits so I am left to evaluate the rhetoric as best I can and I am deeply suspicious of the motives of those who would propose mitigations efforts so deeply flawed.

        Jim

    • Nor me. The world can support far more people than we presently have. Whether we want it to…

      The neo_Mal agenda is simple: to reduce the human ‘footprint’. Meaning fewer people with less access to energy and resources.

      If we just run the tape of human history backwards a few thousand years, we’ll end up where they want us to be.

    • John Whitman

      Jim J | March 4, 2012 at 3:17 pm

      I think everyone would agree that the world is overpopulated. At issue is how, going forward, population reduction can best be accomplished.

      – – – – –

      Jim J,

      There is no objective context to state the world is overpopulated or even can be overpopulated. Sure, the earth itself needs transformation by human ingenuity to sustain a growing population . . . . no problem with doing that. We, as human beings, always have engineered our environment . . . and will do so in spite of ideological environmentalists to the contrary notwithstanding.

      To the future with much more brainpower (population) than we already have.

      : )

      John

    • “I think it has been amply demonstrated that prosperity brought about by cheap energy dense sources of power is quite naturally lowering birth rates in the developed world . . .”

      No, you haven’t demonstrated anything of the kind. Please do so.

    • I do not agree the world is overpopulated, and I strongly oppose any attempt to reduce it. High population density is the primary driver of economic prosperity, because it permits division of labor, including specialization in professional innovation.

      What we need is to spread the institutions that drive prosperity: freedom, the free market, education, and cultural and religious tolerance. It is true that these institutions collectively lower birth rates, but that is not why they are good.

  26. Tom Choularton

    What a strange system you have in the US seems designed to make money for lawyers. In the UK the elected parliament enacts legislation then the Corporations obey it or get fined.

    • It suspect it is more complicated then that even in the UK.

      Almost everywhere ‘disturbing the peace’ is against the law. The definition of ‘disturbing’ and ‘the peace’ is then open to interpretation.

      Absent our congress acting to specify what acts may or may not be considered ‘disturbing’ the courts decide.

      Lot’s of things that might ‘disturb the peace’ weren’t even invented when disturbing the peace law was made.

  27. Two of the 3 judges already have heard the Mass. vs EPA case. So one presumes they will be less likely to change their minds based on their previous considerations of evidence.

  28. On the legal challenge to EPA, Roy Spencer addresses: Daubert and the Admissibility of Climate Models as Evidence in a Court of Law February 29th, 2012

    . . . a paper I co-authored with attorney Brooks Harlow appeared in Energy Law Journal entitled: An Inconvenient Burden of Proof? CO2 Nuisance Plaintiffs Will Face Challenges in Meeting the Daubert Standard . . .
    “The Daubert standard is a rule of evidence regarding the admissibility of expert witnesses’ testimony during United States federal legal proceedings.” . . .
    There are 5 relevant standards in the Daubert test of admissibility, but which the judge does not necessarily have to follow rigorously. Again from Wikipedia:
    1. Empirical testing: the theory or technique must be falsifiable, refutable, and testable.
    2. Subjected to peer review and publication.
    3. Known or potential error rate.
    4. The existence and maintenance of standards and controls concerning its operation.
    5. Degree to which the theory and technique is generally accepted by a relevant scientific community.
    In my opinion, two of the standards above (#1 and #3) are not met by climate models. In standard #1, climate models are not testable in any rigorous sense in what they are being used for: prediction of future climate change. . . .
    Standard #3, which I also believe is not met, is related to standard #1 just discussed: the methodology should have a known error rate. In other words, how likely is a climate model to be correct based upon its success in previous predictions?
    “Predictions” of the past (e.g. what happened in the 20th Century) don’t really count because those are more exercises in curve fitting than prediction. What if the modelers did not know what the 20th Century temperature variations looked like, and were asked to use models to “hindcast” what happened. Would they be able to? Not likely.

    See: AN INCONVENIENT BURDEN OF PROOF? CO2 NUISANCE PLAINTIFFS WILL FACE CHALLENGES IN MEETING THE DAUBERT STANDARD Brooks E. Harlow* and Roy W. Spencer, Ph.D.*

    They conclude that based on the current state of climate science and the principles of Daubert, climate change theories are not yet well enough established to hold CO2 emitters liable for damages in a court of law. . . .
    But it is the fifth pillar that constitutes what could be the Achilles Heel of AGW theory: that the direct warming tendency resulting from adding CO2, which is known to be small, will cause indirect changes (positive feedbacks) such as increasing water vapor and decreasing clouds that will amplify the warming. All of the speculation about climate system tipping points – catastrophic global warming, a collapse of the Greenland ice sheet, etc. – are the result of the assumption of strongly positive feedback. But if the true feedbacks in the climate system are negative and actually reduce the already small direct warming influence of more CO2, estimated to be slightly more than 1°C for a doubling of atmospheric CO2, then anthropogenic global warming becomes for all practical purposes a non-issue. Unfortunately, due partly to issues relating to the direction of causation, it has not yet been convincingly established whether atmospheric feedbacks in the climate system are positive or negative. . . .
    VI. CONCLUSION
    While the theory of AGW may be sufficient for policy makers to make policy decisions (based on an abundance of caution or furtherance of other legitimate public policy goals, such as reduced dependence on foreign oil), it has not been proven yet via the scientific method and therefore cannot—or at least should not—provide the basis for civil liability for damages in a tort case. This problem is compounded in cases based on specific local or regional weather events or trends due to the inability of scientists to demonstrate with any degree of certainty that such an event was more likely than not caused by the emissions of CO2. Trial judges should approach any scientific evidence on causation carefully and with a healthy dose of skepticism. Ultimately, we do not believe the current state of climate science should permit such evidence to be admitted under Evidence Rule 702 and Daubert.

    http://www.felj.org/docs/elj322/13-459-daubert.pdf

    • John Kannarr

      I found Spencer’s column to be particularly insightful:

      After all, the twenty-something climate models are all over the map in their predictions, and if one or two happen to be correct, what about all the other climate models which are also based upon “physical principles”, but which were wrong in their predictions? At some point, we have to admit that given enough different model predictions, one or two models are bound to be close to correct just by chance.
      Standard #3, which I also believe is not met, is related to standard #1 just discussed: the methodology should have a known error rate. In other words, how likely is a climate model to be correct based upon its success in previous predictions?
      “Predictions” of the past (e.g. what happened in the 20th Century) don’t really count because those are more exercises in curve fitting than prediction. What if the modelers did not know what the 20th Century temperature variations looked like, and were asked to use models to “hindcast” what happened. Would they be able to? Not likely.
      And since future warming (if it occurs) is a one-of-a-kind event, we won’t know for many years whether any of the climate models are correct even once, let alone for a statistical sample of independent predictions.

      http://www.drroyspencer.com/2012/02/daubert-and-the-admissibility-of-climate-models-as-evidence-in-a-court-of-law/

      • “At some point, we have to admit that given enough different model predictions, one or two models are bound to be close to correct just by chance.”

        +1.

        When people say to me “well so-and-so predicted the 2007-8 financial collapse,” I usually point out that, in practically every year t, there is a book on the market with a title like “The Coming Financial Collapse of t+1 and How to Protect Your Family.”

    • Judges who have no difficulty ignoring the plain language of the Constitution and statues have never had any difficulty in ignoring the Daubert Standard. The question of whether the EPA’s rules meet constitutional muster actually turns on how Justice Kennedy applies a delicate balancing test between the law, and his personal desire to be liked by the New York Times’ editorial page.

  29. Peter Davies

    If the law is an ass (more particularly in the US where judges are politically appointed) then what hope is there that any form of sane reasoning will be applied to to the issue of EPA (or their equivalent in countries outside the US) exceeding their authority?

    • The EPA is constrained by Congressional intent.

      If congress is silent then it is up to the courts to determine congressional intent. Congress makes the laws, congress can repeal the laws, congress can amend the laws.

      • harrywr2 – perhaps not my place to ask as not US citizen, but why hasn’t Congress amended the law?

      • It’s trends even less predictable than climate ones. If the present trend continues, the laws will change next year.
        ===============

      • Kim – as long as nobody comes up with a computer model that says real votes are irrelevent, and the model must be right. :-)

        Actually, see Isaac Asimov’s 1950s story ‘Franchise’, set about now.

      • Hey, I know Norman Muller and he doesn’t understand how he got the answers wrong. Neither do I.
        ===============

      • Tee hee.

      • “The EPA is constrained by Congressional intent.” This is theoretically true, but does not reflect the way the system really works, or was intended to work.

        When our genius legislators want to engage in serious economic and social engineering, but don’ want to risk losing re-election for doing so, they give some broad, non-specific grant of authority to some regulatory agency. That agency then takes the place of all three branches of government, legislative, executive and judicial to implement that poorly defined policy.

        That is why progressives love the regulatory state so dearly. You can make massive changes in society without worrying about those stupid voters. The only way to reverse this regulatory leviathan is by electing a new congress to enact new laws restraining the virtually unrestrained regulators.

        As noted above, the judiciary in the vast majority of cases does not review the correctness of regulatory decisions, but only whether the agency properly followed its own procedures. It is thus no coincidence that review of the actions of the un-democratic regulatory state are rarely over turned by the least democratic arm of the federal government, the judiciary.

        The system was designed this way. Like the un-democratic, highly politicized IPCC, it is functioning exactly as it was intended.

      • Gary M,

        I sympathize with much of this, but has it ever been thus? I have seen it argued that this “legislature proposes, bureaucracy disposes” aspect of (at least) U.S. government dates to the progressive era, and (eventually) resulting changes in legal ideas about the limits on the legislative branch and its ability to delegate decision making to ‘experts’ and career bureaucrats.

        Does that sound right to you? I only ask because, when you say the system was designed to work this way, I’m not sure that was true from the beginning of the Republic.

      • cui bono
        Re why hasn’t Congress amended the law?
        Because:
        1) Any effort to do so results in those legislators being attacked as anti environment.
        2) Getting legislation through a politically divided congress is very difficult, especially when the President then vetoes it.

        Industry Cries Foul to EPA’s Attempt to Regulate GHG Emissions Using the Clean Air Act

        In 2007, the Supreme Court in Massachusetts v. EPA held
        that carbon dioxide (“CO2”), the most common GHG, was a “pollutant”
        under the CAA, and, although the Court did not compel
        regulation of GHGs, it did require an evaluation of whether GHG emissions from all sources were causing an endangerment to public
        health
        and the environment, whether automobile emissions
        were contributing to that endangerment, and whether regulation
        of mobile sources was required.8 The Court also directed EPA to
        “ground its reasons for action or inaction in the statute.”

      • harrywr2,
        EPA is constrained by little. Congress has been either co-opted or cowed into doing nothing.

      • GaryM has it exactly right. Our government jumped the tracks when we accepted the unconstitutional practice of delgating lawmaking ability to unaccountable regulatory agencies. The typical response, of course, is that without that ability the government would simply be unable to do all the things that need doing. But, of course, from the founders’ perspective, that is a feature, not a bug. It is precisely the ability to “do things” that was well constrained–deliberately constrained–under our Constitution.

        Over time, administrative agencies have predictably become agents of statism. In part that is due to the fact that they tend to be captured by those who have things they want to get done. But the most important, inescapable force is the need to the administrative agencies to preserve themselves. As others have commented, the EPA completed the task it was assigned; the present mischief is part of its effort to find a new reason for its existence. No professional bureaucrat will ever volunatarily reliquish a budget and a department full of serfs.

      • cui bono | March 4, 2012 at 7:27 pm |

        perhaps not my place to ask as not US citizen, but why hasn’t Congress amended the law?

        Since the courts haven’t made a decision yet, congress doesn’t know that the decision made by the courts isn’t the ‘will of congress’.

        The way the US Senate and Congress are structured one ‘contentious’ piece of legislation every two years is about all they can manage.

        Our government was deliberately set up to make it difficult to pass ‘contentious’ legislation. Some might call that a bug…I personally see it as a feature.

      • NW,

        The regulatory state as we know it in the US is usually considered to have begun under Woodrow Wilson. A fanatical progressive. It has grown under progressives of both parties ever since, the EPA being a case in point, having been created by Richard Nixon.

        It began as a reaction to the fact that the court’s were not resolving commercial issues the way Wilson wanted them to. When courts continued to give the Constitution precedence over the regulatory excesses of the progressives under Roosevelt, he flat out threatened to pack the court, ie. appoint a whole series of new progressive jurists.

        The decision by the progressive Justices in Mass. v. EPA was just a logical step further down the path toward the anti-democratic regulatory state. It will either get much worse, or much better, depending on the results of the 2012 election in the US.

      • @GaryM: “It will either get much worse, or much better, depending on the results of the 2012 election in the US.”

        I doubt it. This issue isn’t even on the radar screen of any of the candidates except Newt Gingrich. As you say, the regulatory state has advanced under Republicans and Democrats alike–indeed, for the most part they are indistinguishable from one another in their hunger for more government control over people’s lives. I can’t imagine why you would expect any change of course following a win by any of the candidates, with the arguable exception of Gingrich.

      • You guys need to get out there and sell your message of dirty air and dirty water, of poisoning children rather than ask anything of persons-of-corporateness.

        Tell them how the nosy feds are ruining everything, first saying you can’t owe slaves, then that you can’t beat your wife, and now even that you can’t dump carcinogens in a public pond.

        Be sure to use sweeping hand gestures.

      • Incidentally, James Q. Wilson passed away a few days ago, and his book Bureaucracy had a big influence on many social scientists. Worth reading if you haven’t….a classic of sorts.

        http://www.amazon.com/Bureaucracy-Government-Agencies-Basic-Classics/dp/0465007856

      • qbeamus,

        The speeches of the candidates are irrelevant. And it is not just the presidential election that matters in 2012. If any Republican is elected president, and a majority of both the House and Senate are controlled by Republicans, the efforts of the EPA to regulate carbon will be rolled back. And restrictions on oil, gas and coal exploration, recovery and refinement will be relaxed. (This would be the “much better.”)

        If Obama is re-elected, or the Republicans do not gain control of both houses of congress, Obama will be unrestrained by the need to seek re-election (which was the only reason he stalled the EPA CO2 regulations), and he will proceed to allow the EPA to run amok in the energy economy. (This would be the “much worse.”)

  30. John Warner

    The doctine of ultra vires is at the core of all legal systems. It stops would be totalitarians from getting their way. In fact there is no point to a legal system if public bodies can do whatever they like irrespective of the law from which they draw their powers. For a US court to allow them to act beyond their power is not just an ugly precedent but a rejection of perhaps the most important core principle of any system of law. Why shouldn’t terrorists and murderers just challenge convictions because they have decided the law should not apply to them and restrict their behaviour, taking as their example the EPA?

    • It may be prudent to consider the actual arguments being made to the Court in the tailoring case. EPA wants to relax a requirement, not impose one. There may be precedents for this. This case is actually pretty funny. The anti-EPA forces (including me) want EPA to enforce the law. That is usually the green’s role, right?

      • And of course we know why. When the law is literally strict, but those with the job of enforcing it are “lenient,” it is, in effect, tyrany, because the rule of law is replaced by the rule of men. If everyone is breaking the law all the time, but the king simply chooses to indulge most everyone all the time, then we’re back to a system where the citizens live only at the pleasure of the king.

      • I think the reason is much simpler. We hope that if 6 million facilities require operating permits Congress will be motivated to amend the CAA. Legal theory is not the issue.

      • David,

        Won’t they in that case simply legislate a “de minimis” exemption for CO2?

      • Could be Bill, but it’s worth a shot.

      • What would the desired change be though? An explicit exemption for all GHGs? I assume we’re not talking about repeal. I don’t personally think EPA moving to regulate GHGs under the CAA is good, for some of the reasons discussed here. I would however like to see them do their own damage study as opposed to relying on IPCC.

      • Congress should say that the CAA does not apply to CO2, because its mechanisms do not work for billion ton emissions. Congress made a mistake when it added climate change to the definition of pollutant in 1990. Enforcing the CAA could be a political disaster. Combining that with the growth of skepticism in the Rep party makes this politically feasible.

      • OK. Congress should undo what it did in 1990 by adding GHGs. Fine with me.

      • Congress did not add GHGs. The CAA does not mention GHGs. It just added causing climate change to one of the several definitions of pollutant. It is because GHGs, especially CO2, are not mentioned in the CAA that this issue went to the Supreme Court.

    • Doug Badgero

      It maintains accountability between the makers of the laws and the people who elect them.

    • “For a US court to allow them to act beyond their power . . .”

      If a US court says they have the right to take the action, then it is not beyond their power. That is the very definition of their power.

      You might want to Google “co-equal branch of government” and ponder what you learn.

  31. Captain Kangaroo

    Dear Pissant Progressives,

    Don’t get me wrong we appreciate your company – despite the smugness, the science free narrative, the rehearsed rhetoric, the drollery that is about as funny as stepping in dog sh_t, the messiah complexes, etc. It is just that we have made a policy decision and it is time to move on. The policy is based on the latest science. You see – the background warming is at most 0.1 degrees/decade and we have decided that this is too minor to have any impact at all over at least a few decades. If indeed warming even continues. There are a number of ways to derive this result. My favourite can be found at realclimate – yes I have raided the heart of enemy territory and emerged with my skin and horse intact. – http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/07/warminginterrupted-much-ado-about-natural-variability/

    There are a few quibbles and snarks – but we’ll take the result. Exclude the 1976/77 and 1998 ENSO dragon-kings – extreme ENSO events occurring at times of climate shifts – and we are left with what Kyle Swanson postulates is the ‘true’ global warming signal. You will note resumption of warming sometime after 2020. I am pretty sure he is wrong about the ‘true’ global warming signal. I keep coming back to the Wong et al 2006 study – http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/JCLI3838.1 – see Fig. 7 and the explanation especially. No – I am pretty sure the ‘true’ global warming signal was from clouds.

    Policy is of course value free – it is about choices – it is not about right or wrong. We value individual freedom, free markets, democracy and the rule of law – you value shooting your mouths off without having any ammunition. So – hey – it’s been swell but you can leave now. It is all over – nothing more to see here. The decisions have been made in the real world – the planet is not warming for another decade or three and we will certainly press the advantage for all it is worth to bury you guys in ordure over the next decade. You will be a laughing stock – the butt of the joke of the century.
    “Al Gore announced he is finishing up a new book about global warming and the environment. Yeah, the first chapter talks about how you shouldn’t chop down trees to make a book that no one will read.”

    We would like to have Judy’s site back now so that natural philosophy can be discussed in a less confrontational way.

    Best regards
    Captain Kangoroo

    • incandecentbulb

      Sorry but too many of the population has sat by and done for too long, doing nothing and knowing full well that global warming was a hoax and a scare tactic. You cannot unring that bell; the liberal fascists are fewer but far more determined and they seethat Western civilization is ripe for the taking. That is why nearly 50% of the country is willing to elect a Democrat–even if that means electing the devil herself–and all the while demonizing bankers and treating workers in the American free enterprise economy like a part of the human race to be liquidated.

      • IIRC, Vladimir Lenin said that seizing power in the disorder and (to an extent) apathy that predominated at the time was “as easy as picking up a feather”.

        Apathy we cannot do much about in the short term, but let us do our best not to be disordered while we are in this situation. Hopefully we can all agree on that as a principle.

        RTF

      • Captain Kangaroo

        WTF – I am suspecting that you did not read the entire post, have had a humour bypass or have reading comprehension problems.

    • Peter Davies

      CK has written up the sceptics position wrt AGW in pretty much the same vein as the pro-AGW crowd have been doing for the past 20-30 years. As if the science has been settled indeed!

      The clue is obvious when CK suggests that natural philosophy is the topic most dear to the hearts of most of the visitors to Judith’s place.

      As usual, the bait has been snapped up and we have the usual comments that simply don’t relate to the topic and are about the confirmation bias that many of us struggle with every day.

      • Captain Kangaroo

        Did I? Cool.

      • I suspect that Captain Kangaroo has not come to the conclusion that there are just the right numbers of him, but too many of the.

      • “Confirmation bias”?

        My comment was about the Russian Revolution and parallels with the current political situation in the U.S. — a situation which has obvious and deep connections to the topic.

        I don’t see precisely what that has to do with confirmation bias.

        As for snapping up bait, I read IB’s comment because it looked important, and I barely read CK’s because it looked, frankly, unpalatable from the first three words. I didn’t intend to derail the discussion; I frankly was hoping to bring it back closer to where it needed to be. As apparently are you.

        RTF

      • Peter Davies

        RTF in answer to your post and your query as to relevance of confirmation bias in the context of your previous comment to IB I refer you to the topic of the original post by JC, which is climate policy.

        CK makes an ironic comment about the state of the AGW debate but which nonetheless partly relates to the topic but IB in response to KC then comments about liberal fascists, the demonisation of bankers, and the (unwelcome) prospect of democrats being elected to power in the US. Then you make an allusion to the Russian Revolution as somehow being similar to the prospect of Democrats being elected to power in the US.

        I agree with you that if you find a comment is offensive: stop reading; but disagree with you that to add a comment beneath that sub-thread without understanding what went on before is not tantamount to you allowing your views on the apparent gullibility of people to stand in this climate policy thread.

        I also wholeheartedly support your hope that the thread stays on topic, because I truly want to read what people think about this vitally important topic.

      • incandecentbulb

        Climate change is normal and that is not the belief of skeptics: it’s reality. Another reality is that the mass mania of global warming alarmism says a lot about the culture and nothing about science or the social bureaucrats who want to make ideologically-based policy decisions based on superstition, ignorance and bias

    • “Dear Pissant Progressives,”

      Dear fascist fanatic,

      What you couldn’t win on the battlefield, you won’t win whining on the Net.

      The slaves were freed, despite you. Women can vote, despite you. Workers have rights, despite you. There are laws against persons-of-corporateness poisoning our air and water, despite you.

      You’d think all that experience losing the things you fought for would make you righties better losers. But of course learning from experience is not your strong suit. ;)

      I guess us normal people are just going to have to help you practice your losing some more. Enjoy!

      • Captain Kangaroo

        I don’t know who you think I am. I am in fact a classical liberal – although the term has been devalued by people like you. We are enlightenment liberal whose primary truth is individual freedom. These This must include freedom regardless of race, gender or class. It embraces the rule of law – which in the tradition is about protection of the weak against the strong. In the Heyak vision – that includes both workers rights and the environment. I am a trained Environmental Scientist – it is my job not just to adhere to minimal end of pipe standards but to go beyond to best practice integrated systems of environmental management.

        I provided elsewhere some links to the science where you showed an extremely poor grasp of the science basics. Your economics and politics are equally poorly conceived. Your grasp of history is negligible. Your relevance to the future is nonexistent.

        We believe in individual freedom, free markets, democracy and the rule of law. You believe in suspending democracy and criminalising dissent. Liberal enlightenment values are the foundations of both American and Australian civil institutions. We have always prevailed and now we are defending our heritage from the likes of you.

        http://thepeoplescube.com/peoples-blog/comrades-we-must-get-behind-this-new-protest-movement-t7961.html

      • Dear Robert,
        It is in fact progressives who are currently (never mind labels in history) clamoring for censorship, who are ramming laws through despite the ignorant masses objections, who create fake strategy memos, who control the government and the media. In Australia at the moment there is a 400 page gov report calling for extensive censorship of all newspapers, blogs, everything that questions the gov on climate change particularly but also other stuff. Charming. The definition of fascist is gov control + censorship, even if it is in the name of “good”–communism had high sounding aims too and Mussolini made the trains run on time, but still evil.

  32. Beth Cooper

    Article cited by Brian Henderson @ 4/12 9.30 am, ‘Four Surprises in Global Demography’ by Nicholas Eberstadt, presents surprising figures of global population fertility rates.
    Most of the developed world including SE Asia, are falling below the 2.1 fertility rate,total fertility rate (TFR) needed to maintain stable popuation.

    China is faced with a future gender imbalance, no surprise, BUT,
    quelle surprise, there are sub replacement trends in Arab and Muslim countries, Algeria, Tunisia, Lebanon and, wait for it , Iran!

    Another surprise, lots of surprises, c’est la vie. America, virtually alone among developed nations retains the magic stable population rate. America, says Nicholas, ‘does not look set to be going off gently into the night.’ :-)

    • Wage, wage war against the lying and the fright.
      =============

    • Peter Davies

      The best thing that can happen for keeping the world’s population within viable bounds is to increase the standard of living of the 3rd World so that fertility rates fall as it has done for westernised countries over the past half century.

  33. Beth Cooper

    Hey K!
    I’m gettin’ that printed on a tee shirt if’n you have no objections.

  34. Beth Cooper

    Everybody’s funny today. ) C.Kanga @ 4/12 6.27 pm ..’so that natural philosophy can be discussed in a less confrontational way.’ ‘WTF??’

  35. Before implementing any climate (global warming) policy, please let us wait whether we see the next climate turning point to cooling.

    30-year GMT trends showing CLIMATE TURNING POINTS:

    1) From warming to cooling in the 1880s => http://bit.ly/yDY0IU

    2) From cooling to warming in the 1910s => http://bit.ly/y6mCCp

    3) From warming to cooling in the 1940s => http://bit.ly/Af1Ghh

    4) From cooling to warming in the 1970s => http://bit.ly/xt49xK

    5) Are we at the next turning point? http://bit.ly/nz6PFx

    Time will tell.

    I hope they don’t increase the cost of living before then.

  36. incandecentbulb

    The best policy can only stand if based the foundational principles of the nation. Obviously the UN hates Americdanism but they’re not the real problem.

    Global warming is just a symptom of the problem. America is being brought down from within: English has been turned into a liars language and truth for its own sake no longer has value.

    The Tower of Babel is going to tumble down. If we do not have the will to defund the federal governmental-education complex, individual liberty will be forever crushed.

  37. For instance, given Mass v. EPA it is difficult to argue that the EPA Administrator was wrong to conclude that the emission of greenhouse gases cause or contribute to air pollution that could be reasonably anticipated to threaten health or welfare. Yet this is one of the claims the industry groups have to make if they are to succeed. Similarly, it will be difficult to challenge the substance of the EPA’s rules governing GHG
    emissions from motor vehicles
    *****************
    Many PhD scientists can and do dispute that CO2 will cause harm.

    I think they are right.

    Without studying the problem they sided with the alarmists.

  38. in australia, warmist climate policy has reached catastrophic proportions !!! (cwcp)
    a gag on dissent, a government borrowing of $200 billion, thrown at anyone prepared to say ‘clean energy’ or mention global warming. it’s truly been a waste.
    the banks are ‘interested’, the tax payer subsidises domestic solar instalations.
    Australians are uniquely positioned to escape the cagw claptrap, my fingers are crossed.
    cwcp thus far has wrecked or is wrecking the economies of the west. which of course has been it’s prime purpose. it used to be that 10% of the world population used 90% of resources. the 10% figure, (that’s us!) is reducing fast. the other 90% of world population are lucky to live past 40, will probably live to 20.
    cwcp is also focussed on birth control. those that do live will die less traumatic deaths.
    cwcp is and will further regulate lives.
    you are either part of the problem or part of the solution.

    • incandecentbulb

      It was the endorsement of the American-Australian Chemical Society of IPA Swillers that really kicked the cultural hegemony out of its naive reliance on pseudo science to the current polic of pushing SPAM.

  39. Captain Kangaroo

    Perhaps if I explain in pictures. Here is Fig. 1 from the Swanson post from realclimate. http://s1114.photobucket.com/albums/k538/Chief_Hydrologist/?action=view&current=rc_fig1.jpg

    What it shows is HADCRUT3 land and ocean temps. The trend shown is the trend between 1979 and 1997. There is the Smith trend shown – and a postulated lack of warming from the 1998/2001 climate shift to 2020 and perhaps beyond.

    Here is Claus Wolters MEI – http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/enso/mei/ – it shows a couple of things. Before 1976 La Nina (blue) prevailed – from 1977 to 1998 El Nino (red) was dominant and since we have had La Nina pattern. In terms of sea surface temperature it has vacillated between warm and cool – but as the system involves upwelling of super cold and nutrient rich water the biology doesn’t lie. The sardines have returned to Monterey Bay, the seal pups are fat, Chinook salmon in North American streams are in numbers not seen since the 1970’s. Hydrology is confirming the shift – the Sahel is greening, China, Australia and India/Pakistan are flooding, a lot of American is in drought – and this pattern is likely to continue for a decade or three more.

    The shift between La Niña and El Niño dominant multi-decadal phases is associated with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. The frequency and intensity of La Niña increases in a cool PDO mode and conversely the frequency and intensity of El Niño increases in the warm mode. These are decadal modes but are not by any means the limit of ENSO variability. Here for instance is an 11,000 years ENSO proxy based on red sediment in a South American Lake.

    You can see the great variability of ENSO. The drying of the Sahel from 5000 years ago, the demise of the Minoan civilisation starting 3,500 years ago, the medieval optimum and the little ice age. Periods of hundreds of years where mega- cyclones lashed the Australian coast and long periods of drought. To read all this it is simply a matter of knowing a little about what ENSO does to global energy dynamics and global hydrology. It is very unlikely that ENSO is anything but an integral part of an Earth’s climate system. It is part of a single Earth climate system that moves together.

    Climate shifts are defined as abrupt and non-linear change – abrupt shifts at asll scales are prominent ion the climate record. They result from interactions of ice, cloud, dust, atmosphere, ocean circulation, biology, hydrology, etc as tremendous energies cascade through powerful mechanisms. Weather has been known to be chaotic since Edward Lorenz discovered the ‘butterfly effect’ in the 1960’s. Abrupt climate change on the other hand was thought to have happened only in the distant past and so climate was expected to evolve steadily over this century in response to ordered climate forcing.

    Anastasios Tsonis, of the Atmospheric Sciences Group at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and colleagues used a mathematical network approach to analyse abrupt climate change on decadal timescales in ocean and atmospheric indices. The Swanson et al study was the second in the series. Ocean and atmospheric indices – in this case the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation and the North Pacific Oscillation – can be thought of as chaotic oscillators that capture the major modes of climate variability. Tsonis and colleagues calculated the ‘distance’ between the indices. It was found that they would synchronise at certain times and then shift into a new state.

    It is no coincidence that shifts in ocean and atmospheric indices occur at the same time as changes in the trajectory of global surface temperature. Our ‘interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural,’ Tsonis said.

    The other thing you can see from Claus Wolter’s MEI is the extreme fluctuation in ENSO in 1976/77 and 1998/2001. These are extreme events associated with climate shifts. These are extremely interesting events with respect to potentially predicting climate shifts. ‘We develop the concept of “dragon-kings” corresponding to meaningful outliers, which are found to coexist with power laws in the distributions of event sizes under a broad range of conditions in a large variety of systems. These dragon-kings reveal the existence of mechanisms of self-organization that are not apparent otherwise from the distribution of their smaller siblings….We emphasize the importance of understanding dragon-kings as being often associated with a neighborhood of what can be called equivalently a phase transition, a bifurcation, a catastrophe (in the sense of Rene Thom), or a tipping point. The presence of a phase transition is crucial to learn how to diagnose in advance the symptoms associated with a coming dragon-king.’ http://arxiv.org/abs/0907.4290

    So it is simple – we remove extreme ENSO events and the residual trend is about 0.1 degrees C/decade. Mind you – I can’t see that the temperature trend means much on its own – as we can’t yet predict when or to what the next climate shift will be.

    Large, abrupt climate changes have affected hemispheric to global regions repeatedly, as shown by numerous paleoclimate records (Broecker, 1995, 1997). Changes of up to 16°C and a factor of 2 in precipitation have occurred in some places in periods as short as decades to years (Alley and Clark, 1999; Lang et al., 1999). – http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=10136

    The Wong et al 2006 study is more interesting in that it showed that short wave changes – which are largely due to ENSO cloud feedbacks – dominated energy flux change in the Earth Radiant Budget Satellite record. In fact – the Earth was seen to be cooling in the infrared.

    ERGO the trend is about 0.1 degrees C/decade and the influence of CO2 is not noticeable within the measured global energy budget. The science is fairly obvious – there is decadal variability. Although if Girma doesn’t stop posting meaningless temperature graphs and asking fey questions – I am going to deny it.

    So if you want to discuss natural philosophy – something dear to my heart – I would be happy to.

    Best regards
    Captain Kangaroo

    • Captain –

      Brilliant, and even I could follow it!

      I was a great fan of Thom and Catastrophe Theory when very young, and rather disappointed that it seemed to die a death, possibly as a reaction against it being over-hyped. Glad to see reference to it again, although it does mean that, in a mathematical sense, one could describe what happened in the 80s and 90s as ‘catastrophic global warming’. :-)

      • Girma is good for morale, and oh, those optics. Plus, look at all the ammo getting used up.
        ====================

      • The globe is cooling, folks; for how long, even Girma admits not to know.
        ==================

    • It is no coincidence that shifts in ocean and atmospheric indices occur at the same time as changes in the trajectory of global surface temperature. Our ‘interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural,’ Tsonis said.

      SHIFT 1 (1880S) => http://bit.ly/yDY0IU
      SHIFT 2 (1910S) => http://bit.ly/y6mCCp
      SHIFT 3 (1940S) => http://bit.ly/Af1Ghh
      SHIFT 4 (1970S) => http://bit.ly/xt49xK
      SHIFT 5 (2000S) => http://bit.ly/yxpeVs

    • KC, the 14C age of mobilized organic material in melting permafrost has peaks at 3,500 and 5,000 years ago.

  40. Somebody on the blackboard claims to know something about little joshie’s disappearance:
    ——————————————————————
    “As some clown on another thread said, enough of gleick.

    Actually, I am beginning to admire the man. At least he had the guts to put his phony reputation on the line, for the cause. If I thought the world was going to burn up and my children were going to be toast, I would take some drastic measures.

    Where are the warmistas who are willing to go for a little self-immolation, to protest the lack of action on CAGW? How about a hunger strike? I remember Caesar Chavez allegedly going without food for 199 days, to protest something or other. Where is the commitment of these modern day leftwing faux humanitarian zealouts?

    Can you imagine the impact on public opinion of this headline in the mass leftstream media:

    “Former US VP and Nobel chad cheated Presidential candidate goes on limited modified hunger strike to save the world from CAGW: loses 4 pounds”

    He could do it with Jenny Craig and get paid $8 million for his pain and suffering.

    Alas, they are not up to self-immolation. Only self-humiliation.

    I think I know why little joshie has disappeared. He has gone undercover to expose HI, for real this time. He got the idea from studying the tapes on the ACORN takedown. I don’t know how it’s going to work out for him, but I hear he looks pretty comical in wire rimmed goggles, platform shoes, and a fur cape:

    ——————————————————————————-

    Should somebody alert HI? Nah.

  41. Above we have seen argumentation on the question of overpopulation, where some consider it evident that world is overpopulated and others argue that the Earth could allow for much larger population.

    As most of the comments are from US we might continue by the question:

    How big is the population that the Earth can carry far to the future assuming that their consumption patterns are those of average North American?

    Is it fair to say that the Earth is not overpopulated if the answer is a small fraction of the present world population?

    What should the world population be to maximize future well-being of humans? What does that maximization mean, what is the importance of average in that and how does the size of population enter? (Assuming an individual well-being index, is the total well-being higher for 10 billion people with average 10 than for 1 billion people with average 50?)

    Whatever the precise answers to those questions are taken to be, to me it’s clear that we have right now an overpopulation problem. The Earth cannot sustain this size of population at a desirable level of well-being.

    • Captain Kangaroo

      Pekka,

      Where on Earth do we get a choice about a billion or 10 billion? Already we have billions on the edge of survival, perhaps half a billion undernourished and many millions dying. Where is the justice in that? What are we meant to do?

      Elsewhere you talked about cost-effective energies taking into account the tradegy of the commons. When as an engineer I talk about cost effective tehnology – it is about the biggest bang for the buck. We need to be doubling or tripling or more food and energies supplies this century or the bodies will be piling up 10 deep.

      Obviously the best thing that can be done for population is health, education and economic development. There are many things that can be done – but the key is economic development.

      Robert

      • Rob,

        I tried to explain by this example one problem that I have seen in attempts to quantify total well-being. I could have chosen very small numbers, but thought that even more difficult to understand.

        The issue is that something called total well-being is often calculated as a sum of positive numbers where a badly suffering person adds very little but still adds to the sum. That leads to the conclusion that increasing the population is inherently good, although that may be canceled by reduced well-being of others. But is increasing the population inherently good at all?

        Such pondering may be relevant for the climate change discussion as well at least when an attempt is made to justify policies by calculations that extend centuries to the future. The most obvious example of that is the Stern Review, which in my view fails totally because it tries to present quantitative justifications without absolutely necessary understanding of the quantities that it adds together.

      • Pekka,

        You subscribe to the usual view of population vs. “well-being” as a tradeoff. Yet as human population has risen, so has wealth, health and comfort. Population pressures have pushed major improvements in long-term human welfare, from agrarian to industrial revolutions.

        If “well-being” is defined in any measurable economic way, we are far better off than the few thousands of hunter-gatherers now so beloved of the neo-Mals with their view of the ‘noble savage’.

        Of course, if you define “well-being” in the way a Californian pet-rock keeping, crystal-healing, quantum theory-traducing, aboriginals-are-more-spiritual feel-the-glory-of-Gaia hippy, you might be right.

      • I don’t claim to know what is the best way towards better well-being.

        What I consider indisputable that really many people around the world have such a view about what well-being is that cannot be realized for a population nearly as large as the present. Accepting those views we have a contradiction that can well be described as a trade-off. The estimates mineral and energy resources are far too limited for fulfilling all the aspirations for the present number of billions.

        The future world may be very different and allow new solutions for reaching a high level of well-being but the present aspirations of the poor people are towards the lifestyle of Americans, Europeans or other well-off countries.

      • Pekka –

        “The estimates mineral and energy resources are far too limited for fulfilling all the aspirations for the present number of billions.”

        Human ingenuity is always underestimated. The estimates of resources available always go up with time. If that fails, we substitute (coal for wood). If that fails we seek out new resources (shale, asteroids?).

        The inevitable consequence of your ‘fixed pie’ view is that either the rich nations must become poorer, or the poor nations must stay down at heel. In either case, the result will be war, and not good for ‘well-being’.

        This is why energy and resource policy is so important. If all possible options for ‘expanding the pie’ (from frakking to fusion) are blocked by Governments, NGOs and their supporters in the bureaucracy, then we are on a one-way trip to disaster.

      • “This is why energy and resource policy is so important. If all possible options for ‘expanding the pie’ (from frakking to fusion) are blocked by Governments, NGOs and their supporters in the bureaucracy, then we are on a one-way trip to disaster.”

        The sad part is that we are totally forbidden to discuss the numbers. One can write objectively about the facts and data pertaining to finite energy supplies and resource usage yet still get slammed for being a neo-malthusian. It is all part of a grand plan to keep people quiet and maintain BAU. IMO, the strategy is to let the free market run open loop and then assume that capitalism’s sensors and actuators will automagically adjust. Good plan, that one.

        I noticed Curry linked to the http://peakoil.com site. That message forum is pretty nasty when it comes to doomer thoughts, and I consider The Oil Drum much better when it comes to dealing with the data.

      • “IMO, the strategy is to let the free market run open loop and then assume that capitalism’s sensors and actuators will automagically adjust. Good plan, that one.”

        It’s always worked in the past!

      • No need for any book learning then either, as its all autopilot from here on.

        Individuals have to meet their own budgets to function as productive members of society, but when it comes to mankind as a whole, no budgets are required, as some laconic dorkweed deemed them as unnecessary. Lots of people buy into this because it provides a built-in collectivist solution. The collectivism is in letting the other guys figure out how to expand budgets on their own time and pace, and then the rest of society will benefit from their work later on.
        No matter what anyone thinks about its merits, the concept will continue on its own inertia. That is the definition of BAU.

      • Pekka,

        Here is a paradox. Suppose you really define a social welfare function as an expected sum of discounted individual welfares, say you have the objective function W = sum(over i,t) of D(t)w(c(i,t)), this is not going to be a very interesting function if w (individual welfare) is a weakly convex function of c (individual consumption or “goods” for short).

        If w is linear, it wouldn’t matter how individual consumption is distributed at any time. If w is strictly convex, you should have a society with 1 individual in generation t=1) (if additionally D(t)1, i.e. the future is discounted, say because of uncertainty that we reach t>1 because of some planet-killing event).

        Moreover, a weakly convex w is non-intuitive…it does not fit notions of inequality aversion or risk aversion, for instance.

        So alternatively assume that w is strictly concave in goods x. Then if you get to choose the number of individuals N(t) at each time t, and can freely divide X(t) (total goods at time t) amongst them with no loss (that is ridiculous since incentives matter to economic behavior, but let’s run with it) you should let N(t) diverge and choose to have x(i,t) converge to zero: Infinitely many people as poor as you can make them, at every time t. Indeed with strict discounting of the future (D(t) 1), we should mortgage the future to the hilt, creating on maximally, equally miserable and huge generation at t=1.

        From these kinds of considerations, a strictly additively separable social welfare function (separable across both individuals and generations) seems pretty strange and unpalatable to me. Or at least, this is true IF the size of generations N(t) is imagined to be a planning variable, rather than a given with (at least some) laws of motion beyond the control of some benevolent utilitarian planner. Indeed there may be something deeply incoherent about a utilitarian welfare maximization problem in which the number of souls is (even in part) a policy variable. I don’t know but it smells funny.

      • dam, for some reason the discounting qualifiers didn’t go through… they are always “D(t) less than unity for all t greater than unity.”

    • “As most of the comments are from US we might continue by the question:

      How big is the population that the Earth can carry far to the future assuming that their consumption patterns are those of average North American?”

      The issue is energy. And since there is abundant coal and even more abundant nuclear fuel, the issue is mostly the supply of portable energy for transportation: trucks, cars, and planes. Or gasoline or diesel/kerosene which are excellent fuels due their energy density..
      Crude oil makes these fuels, plus many other useful products Crude oil at $100 per barrel is cheap. But cheap is good, and it should be even cheaper, and could be made cheaper [if that was desired- Obama wants high gasoline prices- and if a government want higher prices it not very difficult to achieve].
      For a government or business it actually take work to make lower prices, which is unlike making higher prices.
      If you tax, “regulate”, and restrict the amount oil discovery- prices will go up.
      And persons owning existing producing oil fields obviously will make more money [again, requiring no work] if the price goes up.

      So, I would say that right now at this moment there is oil shortage [high prices means this] but it’s a shortage created by actions done by the government. If the price is higher, you will get less demand- and many people [idiots] favor the idea of using less oil.
      Having higher oil prices is like a tax- some say it’s a very regressive tax, but these people tend to be clueless on what effect taxes have in general. Anything taxed in which lower income needs is a regressive tax- taxing “rich corporations” is a regressive tax- it results in higher prices to the consumers. Though reducing consumption in general is also an idea many of the same idiots favor.

      But returning to the issue, shortages of crude oil depend upon the price of the crude oil. Though more exactly it depends upon the amount net profit can gotten from a barrel of crude- if it’s on government land a company will need to pay a certain amount per barrel gotten. If in deep ocean there addition cost to extract it. Etc For example the cost of Saudi oil to extract it is about $2 per barrel- they make money if oil is selling at $3 dollar per barrel.
      Whereas oil sands it’s a cost around $20 to $30 per barrel. Wait I check that: “This has held production costs to around $27 per barrel of synthetic crude oil despite rising energy and labor costs” wiki.

      Which means if crude oil was $26 per barrel, they would be paying you to buy their oil [they would cease operation]. And if instead the price was 27 to 30 per barrel, they still be losing money- but might continue it if deemed a temporary low price [they certainly would tend towards slowing down production and not investing further capital].

      The oil sand guys have lowered their costs and want to lower it further [make more money- and in better position if crude oil price lowers]. They doing it on massive scale [which lowers their costs]. If crude oil were to go to significantly higher price, they would spend significantly more capital and expand their operation {and other companies would get involved in oil sand mining [and hope to get their cost down with continued and expanded operations]}. So shortage depends on price, or potential net profit after all expenses.
      So historically crude oil has been really cheap, and this made economic growth easier, now crude oil is still cheap- but these higher prices and other factor have reduce economic growth [which the same idiots also think is good idea]. So all these things will at some point drive us over cliff [which also the same idiots think is a good idea].

      The point is that crude oil could sell at $200 per barrel or more- and still be cheap. And therefore at those prices you will get more areas which go into production.
      But our present economy sucks and at current crude oil or $10 increase who can say when or if the wheels to fall off. And if the wheels come off, crude prices will drop and production will halt and this lower oil prices will be not “helpful”- the result of wheels coming will be a huge national cost.
      Things aren’t going to work- dropping nuclear bombs on US could less damaging.

      If you didn’t want the US economy to suck [you would increase oil production domestically in the US, and this will lower the price of oil increase economic growth and pay off the huge debt that has been incurred.
      If you did that, it wouldn’t matter if oil was $200 per barrel [though cheaper oil is better].
      Once crude oil gets to $1000 per barrel [at today’s dollar] than it will not be cheap and will irrevelent, because few will buy and it will more expensive than vodka. Crude oil will be like buying whale oil.

      But perhaps one will have healthy market at say $500 per barrel [at today’s dollars].
      At such a price we expect a lot more offshore oil recovery. And oil sand mining might recover a far greater percentage oil than they do currently- the tailings may have less oil in them then “any other sand”- because improvement in technology and because it might be worth the extra cost. Gone will the day where one can find natural oil seepage ending up in beaches.
      And world consumption equal to US, I guess we have more than century of uo to that price level and at that US level of global consumption. Or we not going have an actual oil shortage [one isn’t created by politicians] within 50 years. Planning over 50 year particularly centuries into the future is pretty silly because technology is changing and can’t say what changes it will bring about in 10 or 20 years into the future.
      Now I doubt China will continue to grow at 10% for next decade, but if it does, then China will another element which makes more difficult to predict technology in the future- they might surpass the West in terms of the number of innovations developed.

      Now as for some clues of what new technology could be. We have the obvious stuff of reduction in commuting to work. Since government employee are mostly dealing with information. They should not be going to office buildings.
      Going to school will become outdated.
      Nanatechnology will have broad effects. But nano made material will be stronger. Which lead to lots of directions. But lighter and stronger and safer cars,
      Roads could be intelligent- and they could provide a vehicle with energy.
      You might get intelligent roads for the benefit of improving safety- if you intelligent roads perhaps could reduce the some 40,000 deaths per year to say 20,000 or less- and reducing injuries, improving medical services to accidents, etc. This assumes one had a very smart government, but maybe there will be one somewhere in the world.

      • In short.
        At current consumption for 100 year, need 3 trillion barrel.
        Have trillion in proven reserves. and 2 trillion in global known
        oil sands. Or if doubled consumption- 50 years.
        For consumption of 3 trillion barrels- prices could at $100 per barrel
        or less. Tar sands should cost around $30 or less per barrel.
        We aren’t mentioning shale. Shale is as expensive or more expensive
        than sand. US has the Green River Formation which has 1.2 to 1.8 trillion barrels in total [not all recoverable [though depends on price per barrel].
        “There are around 600 known oil shale deposits. Many deposits need more exploration to determine their potential as reserves. However, worldwide technically recoverable reserves have recently been estimated at about 2.8–3.3 trillion barrels”

        And we get to all the stuff not found, And if one includes, oil drill, and tar sands, and shale, there could twice or more than above. I would including Arctic, Antarctic, off shore. And competent exploration in other counties other than than the US [and also in US ].

        To recap, there could be no shortage oil in next 50 years even consumption increases dramatically [unless people are using it to make electricity- which should not be done- there endlessly amount of natural gas, particularly if methane hydrate deposits are used. And if there was dramatic increase in oil use for transportation, and if you used natural gas and/or nuclear for generating electrical power- and reduced say halved the amount coal being used, you would have not have a significant increase and may have a reduction total global yearly CO2 emission [assuming you care about this] Simply due to the fact that transportation is not a major factor in generating CO2. And this doesn’t need new oil discoveries, nor increase above $100 per barrel.
        But instead we should be seriously looking for more oil and work toward lower price [around $60 per barrel] and this would very beneficial to the entire world.

        So obviously longer term [centuries] there will be shortage of oil which provides a nice portable source of energy. But include the environment of space being used in the future and you still needed gasoline. With space access [meaning affordable ways to get of this planet] one then has unlimited energy and unlimited stock of resources like methane which you can make into complex hydrocarbons.

        And without using the space environment it is still possible that the promise of fusion treactor being “made in the next 30 years” [which has promised for decades] could be realized. If so, then you will also have cheap and also as much unlimited amount of energy.

  42. Captain Kangaroo

    Is the term natural science the problem? ‘Major branches of natural philosophy include astronomy and cosmology, the study of nature on the grand scale; etiology, the study of (intrinsic and sometimes extrinsic) causes; the study of chance, probability and randomness; the study of elements; the study of the infinite and the unlimited (virtual or actual); the study of matter; mechanics, the study of translation of motion and change; the study of nature or the various sources of actions; the study of natural qualities; the study of physical quantities; the study of relations between physical entities; and the philosophy of space and time.’ (Adler, 1993)

    There are 2 types of science. There is the very limited type where knowledge is gained through the special experience of experimentation. One example is the measurement of the speed of light. 300,000 km/s. The other part of science is in the synthesis of knowledge – discerning pattern in diverse experimental results. An example is the special theory of relativity where the speed of light is used to deduce time and mass dilation. The former is empirical science and the latter is an astonishing triumph of natural philosophy. I have been a humble seeker of the hydrological truth in the garden of science for many years and think of myself as natural philosopher – although not of course in the same class as Albert.

    Climate is a science that is largely in the realm of synthesis – and it is very haphazardly put together. There is a natural philosophy that is larger than climate science and that tells a very different story. But the policy issue is quite different and is as I explained. We must use especially the tools and language of science, of moderation, a sober assessment of the risks but also a positive narrative of the solutions and success for the future. We must own the social narrative in a way that Friedrich Heyak counselled through positive action and policy rather in a reactively conservative way.

    The great society of the future is to be built on the foundations of the enlightenment. This is not a European privilege but a common human heritage. Great swathes of the human race lack the freedom and wealth we take for granted – they lack clean water and sanitation, health care and education. They yet lack these essential advantages that come from the great society built on the principles of freedom, free markets, democracy and the rule of law. If we forget that heritage – as ideologues of the left and right have now and in the recent past – then we risk it all. The last century saw great paroxysms, tyranny, genocide, murder and torture. This century the risk is not diminished but is amplified 100 times.

    I believe that we stand at a critical juncture in human history – and that we may flourish or struggle through a flood of blood and pain. Thus now our ideas and our rhetoric must be equal to the task of inspiring a great flowering of the human spirit. We must be at least equal to past heroes of human freedom. So in my little way I try to make my words and thoughts every day a song, a poem, a paean to a limitless future for the human race. It is why I am – reluctantly – a climate warrior.

    Best regards
    Captain Kangaroo

    • In view of the this paean to human ingenuity and the possibility of future “sunlit uplands” vs. the sinking of humanity “into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science”, a mere “hear hear” seems insufficient.

      Thanks Captain.

  43. Apparently, Kangaroo has license to simply rant on, ad infinitum, about practically any topic imaginable in natural science, and not be called on it, but if I post my little two paragraphs (64 words) closely related to U.S. environmental policy, there are some who think I should be disciplined as being a derailer. I just can’t help but wonder, could Kangaroo’s general political persuasion and mine be playing a role in that disparity?

    RTF

    • Peter Davies

      No-one has any licence to do off-topic rants and if they do the rest of us will either ignore them or take them up on it. There’s nothing political in it at all.

      While I believe that CK’s science is top notch and that I have learned more about climate science from him than all other contributors combined, I can accept that not everyone will agree with me.

      By the same token, if CK does go off topic, I have the choice to ignore him or to use the moment as an opportunity to learn. In this context, the statements by IB do not interest me, not because of my political persuasion, but simply because I distrust people who use emotive language to put their point across.

      While I am still not clear as to how the Russian situation is closely related to US environmental policy (it was in fact related to the possibility of Democrats being elected) I would be pleased if you could elaborate further on this issue but understand that the other visitors to this blog may wonder what is going on.

    • Richard, I don’t know if you’re new to the Internets, or what, but this is how it works:

      “derailer” = somebody the speaker disagrees with
      “troll” = somebody the speaker disagrees with
      “sock puppet” = somebody the speaker disagrees with

      I suggest growing a slightly thicker skin. Nobody here other than Dr. Curry has any moderating authority at all, despite what they may pretend. And Dr. Curry moderates with a very light hand.

      Make your points and don’t mind the monkey poop.

      • Robert, not new to it, just trying to preserve some semblance of sanity. I thoroughly enjoy those definitions!

        I think I’ve commented about enough for this thread. I am well aware of how “different” and, at times, intense I can come across to those who don’t share my paradigms about the world. I intend no harm, and seek to persuade where it may be possible, and to tread lightly when not possible.

        Judith, I am thankful for your light moderating hand and your willingness to explore many angles of an issue in your posts.

        RTF

      • RTF –

        If your reference to Russia was the equivalent of saying “All that is needed for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” then I agree.

        And if you are applying this maxim to the current nutty state of climate policy where the UK is covering itself with useless windmills and the US President is relying on pond-scum (h/t WUWT) to keep airplanes aloft, then again I agree.

        Perhaps approaching the matter from the point of view of the Russian revolution was a bit, um, tangential? Or have a missed the point completely?

      • “all that is needed [. . .]”

        More along the lines of “do nothing or be disordered”.

        Actually, I changed my mind. I have another comment to make. I just went out for a walk in Polk County, Florida. As I left, the sun had just risen but had not yet poked itself up above the building and tree tops.

        I walked out for about 15 minutes and back for about 15 minutes. On the way out, about half of the grass in my neighborhood was covered with frost, with about a quarter of that being thick frost. On my way back, at 7:18 am EST, I still observed frost on grass that had been receiving unobstructed sun for an estimated 10 minutes or slightly more. And as I write this, there is still frost on about a half-acre patch of grass in the back yard of the house behind me. It is 7:39 on the fifth day of March, 2012.

        RTF

      • And now at 8:32 am, the last of the frost visible to me, covering about 1/5 of an acre, is slowly fading from view.

        That’s why I talk about Lenin. Because one has to be like him to see such facts and hold the present policy views of U.S. liberals.

        RTF

      • Peter Davies

        After this post I don’t intend to pursue this any further RTF because you may think that I am stalking you and I am not like this at all.

        The first point is that I am generally inclined to agree that dangerous climate change is a myth but I would not base any comment on one day’s weather that I might experience.

        Weather is chaotic and subject to rapid change and hence weather observations would need to cover comparatively long periods in order for any sense of trend to be inferred from a climate policy perspective. By long periods I am talking many decades at least.

        The second point is clarity of expression. I simply did not understand the point you were making in relation to the Russian Revolution, but if it were more clear I (and others) could possibly have understood what you were driving at.

        When I am trying to read 300 to 400 comments at a time, I find that I tend to ignore those that have been made by people with an agenda, hidden or otherwise. I also tend to ignore badly written and/or offensive posts.

        I respect your beliefs and your right to put your point of view to all and sundry, You mentioned that you had paradigms but paradigms can and do change when something better comes up.

        Best regards

        PMD

      • Very well sir, but I want to just point out that I mentioned the weather not because I am ignorant of climate, but because such weather is beyond extraordinary for such location and time. For folks who haven’t spent a lot of time around here, I wouldn’t expect them to understand. But many have spent such time here, or know someone who has, and those comments were for them.

        RTF

      • Shoe = Robert

        Or so it seems to me.

  44. Beth Cooper

    Inherently good….Ah! ‘The Good.’ Come up to my tower for a while and we’ll enjoy a nice discourse about essences. Quite platonic, I assure you.

  45. Joe's World

    Judith,

    Billions would die without the aid of our artificial environments we created to sustain our existence to the harsh elements.
    Society seems to forget this as the years go by.

  46. I don’t think the world is overpopulated. one measure of total population is that the volume of such is around half a cubic kilometer, albeit, very hungry and energy expensive.
    I do think that competition for resources and consequent military activities are the main problems facing world population. indeed, as much as the trillion plus dollars wasted on idiot green schemes could have solved health problems into perpetuity, money relocated from military activities could do much more.
    I believe that advances in technology will outstrip the needs and energy requirements of a population explosion.
    our task is two fold; to strive to improve the lot of world population, and to minimise harm to the same.

  47. Beth Cooper

    And another thing… hmm, paeans.. I’ve had a go, but I like this one better:

    Wonders are many on earth, and the greatest of these
    Is man, who rides the ocean and takes his way
    Through the deeps, through wind swept valleys of perilous seas
    That surge and sway. …….

    Hunting the savage beast from the upland rocks,
    Taming the mountain monarch in his lair,
    Teaching the wild horse and the roaming ox
    His yoke to bear.

    The use of language, the wind swift motion of the brain
    He learnt; found out the laws of living together
    In cities, building him shelter against the rain
    And wintry weather.

    There is nothing beyond his power. His subtlety
    Meeteth all chance, all danger conquereth.
    For every ill he hath found its remedy,
    Save only death.

    (Sophocles Antigone.)

    • Beth – pure beauty. The old ones are the best, heh.

    • Beth Cooper

      Sophocles eh? Good choice. I include mention of Pytheas in my latest article on the Arctic but not sure I can legitimately include Sophocles and this wonderful piece you have quoted here.
      tonyb

    • Beth
      Re “nothing beyond his power”
      Except common communication and purpose:

      And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth.

      Genesis 11:6-9 ESV

  48. Dr. Curry,
    Great articles, and very disturbing. Now that AGW is failing in the public square, the losers are going to go to court and have their bad policies imposed by friendly judges and bureaucrats.
    The other articles basically talk about how Malthusian belief means never having to admit you were wrong. AGW is a very dangerous social movement, when you get past the saving polar bear images.

  49. Beth Cooper

    tonyb and cui bono . Yes, heady stuff. Don’t you like the idea of those Athenian out door annual festivals, competing dramas by the top tragedians? No namby pamby light entertainment, this is meant to make you think guys, 1700 spectators expected to get it. A few wives present too,( bet they got Media .)
    tonyb, do we get to read your article on the Arctic?

    • Beth

      This was part 1 from several years ago;
      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/20/historic-variation-in-arctic-ice/

      I have identified seven periods of arctic warming through the Holocene and accumulated some 500 articles that I am ploughing through in order to put a scientfiic and historic reference besides each one of them.

      The current Arctic warming seems fairly inconsequential compared to some of the melting we can observe in the past, and seems barely different to the 1918-1940 warming recorded on newspaper and Pathe news reel, but that we seem to have forgotten about already.
      tonyb

    • Beth & tonyb
      Speaking of “inconvenient truth”,
      2012 Is 0.6C Cooler Than 2010 So Far

      Tony – you might also highlight evidence for remarkable arctic cooling.

      • David

        Scientific papers tend to highlight the warming as that is evidenced by melting ice, cooling seems to be more tricky to identify although we have some good accounts of the cooling around 1350 AD from historical accounts .
        tonyb

  50. cui bono @ 8:09 am

    Hmm, nothing “tangential” about that at all, I suppose?

    Piece of advice for you: at some (as yet undefined) point, such myopia, coupled with questioning of the relevance of an attack on Lenin and Leninism, becomes a defense of Lenin and Leninism.

    No offense intended. But this is not a trivial issue. I have made a clear statement that these policy prescriptions are expressions of Leninism, so it is not off-topic. Judith said she wanted to “understand” the policies. So any reasonable interpretation of the policies is on-topic and, in my opinion, not tangential. It could only be tangential if the policies are not really Leninist and thus my comment were merely metaphor or analogy.

    RTF

  51. Concern over populuation growth is badly misplaced. The malthusian model, which posits that people are a net drain on resources, has been proved wrong over and over again. Population growth has been a good metric for material prosperity for virtually all of human history. Higher population densities support the division of labor that is the primary driver of economic prosperity. That division of labor includes allocation of labor to innovation, which is the second major driver of prosperity.

    Consider the “peak oil” (alleged) problem. Never mind that present innovation is making available shale oil and gas. Gas prices are cratering in response to the massive new gas supply. But assuming the biogenic theory of oil proves correct, eventually we will run out. But when we do, will we be any worse off than we were before some clever people figured out all the great ways to recover and use the stuff? Obviously not. Before human innovation, oil was just a somewhat bothersome fluid that leaked out of the Earth in some places.

    Anyone who doesn’t already know who Julian Simon is ought to do some Google research. His insight is the blueprint for a prosperous and happy society. I don’t understand why it remains so poorly known and understood.

  52. We are in the middle of a paradigm shift. The paralysis is about to end. The upcoming cooling will be a catalyst.

  53. What we are getting from the federal government is not anything close to what any rational person would voluntarily pay for. That’s why we’re broke, why we will see dead and dying Europe lead the way down the porcelain throne during our lifetime, and also why we can expect the liberal facists to to create an enemy and try to make war on that enemy to keep the public attention diverted from the policies of the Left–just as we see the Fidels and the Hugos of the world and just as they do Iran and N. Korea and all of other despotic outposts of inhumanity that comprise the UN.

  54. Beth Cooper

    tonyb @5/12 8.17am
    Thx for link, I will print your article for rereading, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, you have taken’what is called in military map making, a cross bearing. we have got independent testimony to the reality’ ..( of changing conditions in Arctic latitudes.)

    (I like ending my paragraphs with parenthesis, like Gleick.)

  55. Beth Cooper

    David H @5/12 9.37am
    Hmm, ‘Babel,’ well it sure puts the phizz into debate. We’d have no ‘Climate etc’, we wouldn’t have met Captain K. ) Come to think of it, there’d BE no debate before the intervention.

  56. Beth Cooper

    i am about to head off to a nephew’s music gig, he writes dern good music, ( dang that cowboy lingo, I keep fergettin’ ) call themselves ‘Duende’ ;-)
    Just want to say, a magnificent rant, Chief H…oops! I mean ‘Kanga!

    ( Shall I send your t shirt, with K’s message C/O the Rockhampton Pub?)

  57. Beth Cooper

    Sorry to disappoint prospective customers but I have decided NOT to go into the manufacturing and despatch of message t shirts . Thought I should let you know. Climate science is serious and I intend to mend my ways.

  58. Here’s the next generation of “Climate Policy”;

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100141570/why-i-owe-aussie-qc-raymond-finkelstein-a-pint/

    Just political correctness to another level of enforcement.

    • To push the mania of AGW, all things must be sacrficed: moral compass, freedom of speech, privacy, rational thought, history, data, honesty, civility.And of course a great deal of money.

      • One thing leads to another Hunter, you support Dr. Curry’s politically correct taboo word and topic system (such as “advocacy”) instead of being critical and specific to the topics at hand. She is subsidizing the radicalism we agree exists but you choose to ignore her complicity and defend her when I point it out.

        As I’ve said before the idiots and arm chair socialist sympathizers in London high society in 1918 did as much damage to Russia and World as any Bolshevik mob was doing in Moscow at the time. Dr. Curry and in fact you should be held to a higher standard not a lower one for appeasement of the radical AGW culture and postures she takes while you choose to grant permission. There are always excuses but the link I put up explains the stakes.

        Think about it.

  59. hunter,I said it was serious.

  60. EPA is starting to focus on “environmental justice” which is the theory that polluting factories are near poor people. But they have trouble proving it. So they just assert it is true or cherry pick instances where poor people live near a factory. Then they want to fine the factory or close it–but then where will those people get a job? Many of the worker-towns are near factories because when they were built that’s where the jobs were and people were happy to move there to be employed. When I spent a summer in a paper mill town (the only big business with good jobs there) people called the sulphur smell “the smell of money” and they meant it. Now with concepts that employment sprinkles down from heaven or something, such realities are glossed over.

  61. Captain Kangaroo

    Dear Beth,

    Hope you enjoyed Duende and you nephew and everyone is well and happy. Can’t say as the unicorn sized t-shirt is much of a disapointment. The unicorn has run away and by all reports is shacked up with a shetland pony he met at a strip club. They sit around all day smoking bongs and snogging. It is just like the 1970’s.

    I spent all me brass in a shanty smokin’ grass,
    across the western suburbs I must roam,
    ’til I find a home in my little darlin’s arms,
    across the western suburbs I must wander.

    As a commissioned climate warrior – I advise you not to take it seriously at all. Serious, like Elvis, has left the building. In fact Warministas are quite like those people who think Elvis was abducted by Aliens – space cadets I call them. Sceptics are like those people who think Elvis is alive and well and living in Dapto. He goes to the Dapto Dogs. Sometimes I wonder why I bother.

    Keep the spirits up dear girl and I will hope to see you at the Great Western Bar, BBQ and Bull Ring in Rocky. I will try to cut back on the swearin’ and spittin’ on account of your delicate sensibilities.

    Best regards
    Captain Kangaroo

  62. Beth Cooper

    G’day Captain Kanga, Thanx for kind wishes.
    Keep botherin’ Chief, many of us appreciate your posts on clouds and the
    phase changes in climate, the tremendous energies cascading through powerful mechanisms.
    Have to say my nephew was e l e l c t r i c , (no bias at all) his own songs and a wild performance of Radiohead:

    ‘What makes you happy
    Whatever you want
    You’re ……. special,
    I wish I was special.’

    Guess we don’t mind a bit of swearin, CK, spittin’? (
    ( Go and git yer pony back,)